The Tea Party has a Negro Problem.

Just a bunch of nice White people who don't like Black people.

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook and it hit on the maddening inconsistencies (and hypocrisy) of the Tea Party.

YOU WANT TO GET MAD? We had eight years of Bush and Cheney, but now you get mad! You didn’t get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President. You didn’t get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy. You didn’t get mad when a covert CIA operative got ousted. You didn’t get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.. You didn’t get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us. You didn’t get mad when we spent over 600 billion(and counting) on said illegal war. You didn’t get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq. You didn’t get mad when you found out we were torturing people. You didn’t get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans. You didn’t get mad when we didn’t catch Bin Laden. You didn’t get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed. You didn’t get mad when we let a major US city drown. You didn’t get mad when we gave a 900 billion tax break to the rich. You didn’t get mad when, using reconciliation; a trillion dollars of our tax dollars were redirected to insurance companies for Medicare Advantage which cost over 20 percent more for basically the same services that Medicare provides. You didn’t get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark, and our debt hit the thirteen trillion dollar mark. You finally got mad when the government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick. Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all okay with you, but helping other Americans… oh hell no. AND NOW YOU’RE MAD !

I didn’t write the “Now You’re Mad” remarks,  I just agree with the sentiments expressed. Being mad about taxes and the size of government  is one thing but sitting on that anger for eight years before taking it to the streets with homemade signs, heated rhetoric and venom seemingly directed at one political party and chief executive makes it a fair question to ask, “Where the hell were you guys then?”

Newsweek published the results of a survey that indicates the Tea Parties aren’t just about high taxes and big government, it’s about that old bugaboo–race.

A new survey by the University of Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race & Sexuality offers fresh insight into the racial attitudes of Tea Party sympathizers. “The data suggests that people who are Tea Party supporters have a higher probability”—25 percent, to be exact—”of being racially resentful than those who are not Tea Party supporters,” says Christopher Parker, who directed the study. “The Tea Party is not just about politics and size of government. The data suggests it may also be about race.”

Surveyers asked respondents in California and a half dozen battleground states (like Michigan and Ohio) a series of questions that political scientists typically use to measure racial hostility. On each one, Tea Party backers expressed more resentment than the rest of the population, even when controlling for partisanship and ideology. When read the statement that “if blacks would only try harder, they could be just as well off as whites,” 73 percent of the movement’s supporters agreed, while only 33 percent of people who disapproved of the Tea Party agreed. Asked if blacks should work their way up “without special favors,” as the Irish, Italians, and other groups did, 88 percent of supporters agreed, compared to 56 percent of opponents. The study revealed that Tea Party enthusiasts were also more likely to have negative opinions of Latinos and immigrants.

What’s even sadder to me is how those who support the Tea Party protests are untroubled by the fringe elements. They are what is going to destroy and de-legitimize the larger movement.

Even if there is a consensus that government is too large, too intrusive and too inefficient, that consensus fractures when the racially charged images and rhetoric comes out. That kind of radicalism turns me off and it turns a lot of other people off.

Some of my best friends are...

Should I feel sorry for people whom have yelled and screamed and pointed their crooked little finger are now getting back that same treatment in spades?

It is not enough to be angry and it’s not enough to be right. You also have to hold the moral high ground. Any movement that threatens the status quo is going to come in for its share of scrutiny from the status quo and if it can’t hold up being scrutinized, then God help them because nobody else will.

In this case, the fatal flaw in the Tea Party protests is their inability or refusal to purge their ranks of the extremist elements that pushes their legitimate arguments over to the fringe. That turns off the majority of possible supporters who might join in. Instead, they are repulsed by that whiff of intolerance and that weakens the overall movement.

You can call it persecution by the mainstream media, but that ignores the most popular media outlet in America, Fox News, damn near serves as the Tea Party’s ad agency.

This is the spotlight being turned on the Tea Party and what is says it stands for. If they can’t handle the heat of the spotlight there’s an easy way out: go back to sleep like they were when Bush and Cheney took a wrecking ball to the Constitution and America’s global reputation.

I doubt that’s what the Tea Partiers will do. Once you’ve woke up it’s hard to go back to sleep until you’ve confronted whatever it is that’s awakened you. It would be nice to think the Tea Parties might evolve and become more inclusive in its make-up and more far-reaching in their goals besides defeating Democrats.

As long as this movement pals around with extremists, it will have to share in that extremist label and all the negative connotations it carries. Truth don’t lie and the truth is, the Tea Party is a victim of their own success. They’ve become important enough to notice and potentially powerful enough that they can’t be ignored as cranky White folks who will eventually settle down.

But along with that sudden prominence comes a closer inspection of what the method is behind what makes them so mad. They’re coming up way short on that end.

Finally--a sign I can't argue with.

In a New York Minute (or two).

Fela! A Broadway show that makes you get up and shake 'em on down.

 

When I mentioned on my Facebook page I was going to New York City, someone asked me if I was going to take any pictures.    Pictures?   Whatever for?   What could be more uninteresting than showing people photographs of somewhere they didn’t go?   That’s like taking pictures of a great meal just before you eat it and saying, “See?  That’s what a five-star meal looks like.”    

Pictures are for the tourists.   Just because I’m from Ohio and haven’t been to the big, bad city in over a decade doesn’t mean I have to act like a hick from the sticks.   A native New Yorker can spot an out-of-towner from blocks away so why make it any more obvious?   As soon as I opened my mouth they would know I’m not from around these parts.     

It’s appropriate that all over the  subway walls  there are posters for the film Kick-Ass because New York kicks your ass good and hard.   After only three days of pounding the pavement Vanessa limped home with swollen knees and me with a sore back.    New York is a walking town.   There’s a ton of traffic, but the best way to get around town is either on the bus, in a cab, by the subway or just plain hoofing it.    At one point, frustrated by the cost of the airlines and those nickle-and-dime fees,  my dear darling wife momentarily lost her freaking mind and suggested driving her 2001 Ford Windstar to New York.   I just smiled sweetly and said,  “You’ll be driving your damn self.   I’m not going to add two days of driving to my three-day weekend and I got better sense to even TRY and deal with Manhattan traffic.”    

Because New York is not for weenies, pussies, the sensitive or anyone who cannot stand having cab drivers zoom up behind you and JUST WHEN you think they’re going to plow in your bumper, zip around you while leaning on the horn because you’re slowing them down you friggin’ idiot!   

Me'shell Ndegeocello

 

I love this city but I could never live here.   If I lived in New York City I’m sure I’d grow to hate it and I never want to hate New York.    Everytime I go all I can think of us how much there is to do and that no matter how long I’m there it’s not going to be long enough to do even half the things we want to do.   We said we wanted to go to a jazz club.   But we didn’t because by Friday night we were plumb worn out from Thursday and Friday’s full plate.   We wanted to get to the Museum of Modern Art.   Didn’t get anywhere near it because we just flat-out didn’t have the time.     

To “do” New York properly, I would need to hit the lottery and after about a month or so, I think I could say I’d taken a pretty big bite of the Big Apple.   But since I don’t play the lottery and my luck at winning things has never been any good, I guess I’ll just have to settle for taking small nibbles in  three or four day visits.     

Our first night we caught Me’Shell NdegeOcello performing at a place called Joe’s Pub in the East Village.     Me’shell is a helluva bass player whose musical output is wildly eclectic and a bit erratic.   I loved her first two albums. (Plantation Lullabies, Peace Beyond Passion), liked her third (the painfully intimate Bitter) and have found her later albums pretty hit and miss and mostly missing for me.    The irony that she’d be featuring songs from Bitter, which was new when we were last in New York in 1999 was not lost on me and besides, Me’Shell kicks ass live, so I was looking forward to catching the show.   

The thing is we’d never been down to the East Village before and despite getting directions we got off the subway at least two or three  stops too soon.     Here we are in the 100 block of Lafayette Avenue and Joe’s Pub is in the 400’s.   The show starts at midnight and it’s already 11:30 and unless we want to try to cover that distance in the dark in what appears to be some sort of Chinatown area from all the signs we can see, this is not looking good for us.   Vanessa is pissed and she’s ready to  hump the distance on foot.  Later for that noise.   Crime has dropped in New York but it’s still no place to be wandering around at night and especially not when you don’t know precisely where you are or where it is you’re trying to get to.    I hail a cab and we make it to the pub with time to spare.  Chalk one up  for the visiting team.    

You gotta eat so you gotta check out Restaurant Row.

 

She gets her revenge the next day.   Friday we’re on Madison Avenue and we are here to shop.  Not ’til we drop, but you don’t need any reminder that this is an upscale area of the city.   The majority of stores are named after proper names and you know they’re fancy because the last name ends in a vowel.   Like the one Vanessa flew hundreds of miles to go to, Marina Rinaldi.   

My lady gets frustrated because she’s not just a larger size woman, but she’s a tall woman as well.   When you factor in those two things together, it’s hard for her to find much of a choice when Lane Bryant is your main clothing option.   Looking online, she looked for plus-size clothing stores in New York and just shrugged, “There’s nothing for me there.”   Bull, I said.  If it’s not in New York, it’s nowhere and I refuse to believe it.   We just have to look harder for it.    I found Marina Rinaldi among other stores for the more generously endowed sisters much to her pleasant surprise.     

To make a long story short,  Vanessa found several outfits that were stylish and attractive on her.   They were also very expensive.   How expensive is between us and our banking account.  Suffice it to say, Vanessa found something to add to the clothes in her luggage and we’ll leave it at that.   No trip to New York would be complete without a  trip to Times Square, right?   

Sorry, that’s wrong.  Here’s the thing about Times Square, I could have skipped it and never missed a thing.   It’s the most overrated part of  the city.  It’s bright lights in the big city and total overkill.   It’s just too damn much of everything.  Too many people stepping on each other.  Too many cops waiting to put the clamps on anyone getting out of line (apparently there was a recent  incident where some teenagers  acting stupid, robbing stores and jacking tourists.   They ain’t having none of that so the police presence was definitely beefed up)  There are too many chain restaurants (why would anyone come all the way to New York just to eat at a Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Friday’s and Sbarro?)  Most of all it’s just too expensive.   We bought some cheesecake in a deli and two pieces  dinged my wallet for $15.   It was some really good cheesecake.   Tasty, not too sweet and  it was a generous chunk but it wasn’t that good. 

 42nd Street used to be NYC”s dirty little Heart of Darkness with seedy theaters, bump n’ grind joints, 24-hour porn shops, hookers, dopers, street hustlers and the rest of the city’s flotsam and jetsam.   ALL of that has been moved completely out.   In its place a new 42nd Street has arisen all scrubbed clean, bright, shiny and family friendly.   With the street’s  hard edge and ugly beauty  removed I hated every bit of it and I couldn’t wait to get away from it.   Rudy Giuliani started the neutering of 42nd Street and Mike Bloomburg finished the job.  Don’t get me wrong now.  I know  42nd Street was a real shit hole  but it was a shit hole with charm.     Times Square is open for business and from all the smiling families pushing strollers through the pedestrian walkways business must be great.    

Half the fun of going to the city is eating in the city and walking around is a good way to build up an appetite.   We had our first meal at a place called Joe Allen where we had eaten 11 years ago and it became a “must see” upon our return.    The food is still first-rate and while the restaurant is steps away from the Broadway theatre district, it features a “flop wall” of plays that bombed.   New Yorkers are justfiably proud of the theater, but they find a way not to take themselves too seriously.   

We took the subway up to Harlem just to try Charles’ Pan-Fried Chicken.   That’s a long way to go for fried chicken but served buffet style it was worth the trip.   Our last meal of our last night was at Da Rosina, an Italian restaurant which we picked at random while walking back from seeing “Fela!”    What they did to lobster and my chicken was so good I can still taste it and I don’t even like lobster!   Which leads me to believe  I’ve just never had it served to me right.   In between we had a few very good to pretty okay dining experiences.   We missed out on was breakfast but that was because our lazy butts never got up early enough to eat any.   I won’t bore you with the dining details because the only thing that makes less sense to me than showing someone pictures of a place they haven’t been is describing a meal they didn’t eat.   

Scene from an Italian restaurant.

 

We love live theatre and New York is the sourcepoint for the theatre in America.   The choice was between Black Wings Over Tuskegee, a well-reviewed drama about the Tuskegee Airmen and Fela!, the Jay-Z and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith produced musical about Fela Kuti, the Nigerian musician, social activist and political gadfly.   We chose to go with the musical over the drama.   

I have no idea  if Black Wings Over Tuskegee is destined to find a new life as a traveling production, but hot damn, Fela! is live and wired.   We’ve seen Dreamgirls and A Chorus Line in previous trips, but Fela! makes them look like high school musicals staged at a senior citizen’s home.  It’s a high energy, highly political and non-stop show with no slow parts, no bad songs and without a dull moment.   Directed and choreographed by Bill T. Jones,  I can see why the New York Times raved about the play.  My only gripe is for what we paid for our seats, I would have wished we hadn’t been seated at an angle where we couldn’t see all the production.  

After the show ended we enjoyed our late dinner at Da Rosina and strolled the nine blocks back to The Distrikt Hotel.   The Distrikt (yes, that is how it is spelled)  is a brand new “boutique” hotel  which just opened in November 2009.   It wasn’t the swankiest hotel, but it was clean, comfortable, affordable and centrally located with a friendly and knowledgable staff.  I gave them a write-up for Trip Advisor.com that reflects that sentiment.  I’d recommend the place, but with so many places to choose from I doubt we’ll be staying there on our next trip.   There’s just too many options and bargains available to limit yourself.  There’s always a better place to stay in New York and discovering it is half the fun.   

My last thought about this trip was how easy it was to plan the entire thing online.  I was able to find the hotel, reserve the room, choose a flight, read reviews of the various hotels, restaurants, and clubs we wanted to find out more about and handle everything with a few clicks of  the mouse.     It’s the only way to fly, book a room and generally get from point “A” to “B” without stressing yourself out. 

Flying to the New York will always be more convenient than driving, but it’s not fun.    I’m not a nervous flyer but Vanessa had some reservations about a little turbulence we experienced taking off from Port Columbus.   Whomever designed the seats on U.S. Airways must not have had people over six feet or 200 pounds in mind (and don’t even get me started on how many changes you have to go through just to board an airplane.  Never mind the security screenings.  Stand in line.  Take off your watches and rings and empty your pockets of change.  Untie and slip off your shoes.  I got no problem with it,  though my wife might feel a bit differently because she came in for some extra attention with the metal in her replacement knee cap.   

No, what frosted my flakes weres the extra $25 per bag for carry-on luggage the airlines gouged us for.   And then when we got to the plane they still checked it in the bottom of the plane  so it wasn’t really carry on at all.  Man, what a scam!   

Looking back on it it’s all good though, because now that I’ve been back for two weeks, what I’m wondering is just how soon we can go back?   It’s clichéd, but true.   I really do love New York!   It takes a toll on my mind, body and wallet, but as soon as I’m home, I can’t wait to get back to do it all over again.   

"Get me to LaGuardia, please."

“Kick Ass” totally lives up to it’s name.

"Do I look like I want a #$%* Barbie, you mother#@&"

 

This is not a review of  Kick Ass (shouldn’t there be a hyphen?).  As much as I’d like to write a review of  the movie, I can’t write one yet without spoiling it  Rather than give away a plot point to someone who’s thinking about seeing it,  I’ll hold off a little longer.   What I can say is it’s fast, funny, and very, very violent.  Not like  mad slasher flick violent, but unless you enjoy watching hundred of gangsters die in painful and bloody ways at the small hands of a 11-year-old psycho killer, you’re going to want to give Kick Ass a wide berth.   

 Fortunately for me, I love that kind of stuff.    

Just know this:  in no way, shape or form is Kick Ass for small children.  Spring for a babysitter and don’t bring the kids.   Don’t warp their impressionable little minds.   Have a little common sense and take them to How To Train Your Dragon instead.   Be a responsible parent, okay?   

I read the first two issues of Kick-Ass the comic book and hated, hated, HATED it.  It’s a tough trick to get readers to care about all-new characters and when they’re either clueless screw-ups or psychopathic killers it’s difficult to work up any interest or much sympathy for the situations they get into.  

So I was happy to find that Matthew Vaughn improved Mark Millar’s gory mess of a comic, and turned it into one of the most fun times I’ve had in the dark with a “superhero” flick since the end credits of The Dark Knight rolled two years ago (sorry, Watchmen fans, but 2009 sucked for comic book based movies).    

The problem with the comic book was there was plenty of blood and violence but absolutely no humor.  The funny books aren’t so funny anymore and Millar has never demonstrated any interest in making anyone laugh.  Given a choice between making people laugh and making them smack their foreheads with gratuitous, graphic violence, Millar will always opt for whatever gives him the biggest body count.  

How fortunate that in the process of turning Kick-Ass into a movie they noticed the glaring weakness of Millar’s story and vastly improved upon it.   Kick Ass is the superhero movie for people who hate superhero movies.  

  

Took my two kids (19 & 16) and they dug it as much as I did. Whether or not they make a sequel only matters if it’s The Further Adventures of Hit Girl. She kicks major ass.  

I read a comment where someone quipped, “this is what it would be like if Tarantino decided to make a superhero film.”  I think that’s as good a description of this movie as any. There is a certain Tarantino flavor to it because at no time does this movie take itself seriously.   

An Unexpected Bonus:  Who knew Nicholas Cage had it in him to make a movie that didn’t make me want to gouge my eyes out with a rusty fork?

Stop Snitching. Keep Dying.

Black-on-Black crime will put the Klan out of business.

When “keeping it real” goes wrong:

Police: Even while dying, teen won’t talk

Cop asks: Do you know who shot you? He replies: ‘I know. But I ain’t telling you. . .’

April 20, 2010

BY FRANK MAIN Staff Reporter/fmain@suntimes.com

Robert Tate wasn’t ever going to snitch — not even when it came to his own murder, according to the Chicago Police.

Tate, 17, was shot in the chest as someone approached him on a West Side sidewalk on the evening of April 12, police say. Seeing that Tate was wounded badly and probably wouldn’t make it, an officer asked: Do you know who shot you?

“I know,” Tate told him. “But I ain’t telling you s—.”

That’s according to Harrison Area Police Cmdr. Anthony Riccio, who said the murder investigation is focusing on a possible shooter — even though Tate took his secret to the grave.

“Unfortunately it’s almost a culture among the drug dealers and gang members, that code of silence, that ‘don’t snitch’ mentality that they not only have when they’re witnesses, but also when they’re the victims,” Riccio said.

But Tate’s mother Cynthia Washington doesn’t buy it.

She doesn’t know how her son — a “very respectful child” — could have told police anything as he lay dying on the scene in the 900 block of North Avers.

“Why wouldn’t he tell them who shot him?” Washington wondered.

Riccio responded that Tate was lucid as he spoke to the officer, then died as paramedics tried to save him.

Riccio said it’s commonplace for shooting victims whose wounds aren’t life-threatening to refuse to cooperate. Just last week, a 22-year-old gang member was on a bicycle in the 500 block of East 88th when he was shot in the thigh. He didn’t even want to report the shooting after he was taken to Stroger Hospital.

“But I have never seen anyone take it to the grave,” Riccio said.

Police think Tate was killed because of his involvement in the drug trade in Humboldt Park.


As far as another young man suffering an early and unnecessary death on the streets, that’s hardly an unusual occurrence, I’m sad to say. What elevates the store beyond the everyday tragedy/monotony of Black-on-Black crime is this kid’s pathetic adherence to the “stop snitchin'” code even as his life dribbles away.

This sort of appalling ignorance can’t be fought by ignoring or covering it up. All these little punk gangsta wannabees who think they’re so hard should know there’s nothing hard about watching your life end at 17 because bullets don’t care how tough you think you are.

If the Klan or neo-Nazis were shooting down Black kids at the rate they kill each other daily, all the usual suspects would be marching down the streets of Washington chanting the same old tired-ass slogans and demanding the federal government mobilize to stop the slaughter.

But when it’s just one more dead nigger killed by another nigger likely to end up the same damn way, nobody gives a shit. It’s like a self-cleaning oven. Call the cops, tape off the area, load ’em up in the meat wagon and another clueless mommy can wail and cry about how this couldn’t have happened to her good boy.

Change the name. The scenario remains the same.

Wash, rinse, repeat. Wash, rinse, repeat. Wash, rinse, repeat…

So does that mean I’m calling out Jesse and Al and Tavis and all the rest of the so-called “Black leaders” as a bunch of race hustlers who go after the same old soft targets instead of taking on an equally evil adversary that operates in our own backyard?

You damn right I am. They work on a formula that White racism is somehow more insidious and threatening to African-Americans than our own pathological inability and refusal to attack the root causes of our own self-destructive behavior. It’s easier to scream “racism” at a corporation for the lack of dark faces in the boardroom than it is to demand police and government action against a drug dealer or a gang terrorizing a housing project.

The War on Drugs might as well be called The War On Black People. All it does is funnel dope into the worst neighborhoods, destroy families, turn Black men into convicts and locks them away in rural areas to be guarded by White men who have no other employment available. It’s a great big racket and nobody gives a damn about it until it spills over and touches them or someone they know and care about.

I hate “thug culture” like God hates sin. This self-hatred will do what slavery, the Klan, the Tuskegee Experiment and COINTELPRO couldn’t do: make Black people extinct.

One day you will have to go to a museum to find out who we even were.

VH-1’s Basketball Wives: Uglier than a Shaq free throw.

"Basketball Wives" Because "Gold diggin' Chickenheads" would be too accurate.

I watched VH-1’s Basketball Wives the other night.   The verdict?  Not even good enough to be a guilty pleasure.  I stuck with the show as long as I could but had to bail before the end because the screaming from my dying brain cells drowned out the stupid drivel coming from mouths of these overly pampered diva wannabees.    I’m not saying these dull women are a bunch of jock-riding, gold diggin’ skanks, but Basketball Wives is proof while you can take the ho out of the ghetto you can’t take the ghetto out of the ho.

This show has an interesting premise: what is the life like for the wife or girlfriend of a pro basketball player?  Is it glamorous with all that money or is it a grind trying to raise a family and keep a home while your man is off traveling around the country for over half-a-year?  How do you handle it if he’s injured or traded from one team to another?  What about groupies and family and friends looking for favors and hand-outs?    But you won’t learn any of those things from this show because basketball has almost nothing to do with these “basketball wives.”

From it’s title on everything about Basketball Wives is just a hustle.    It’s all about watching women who jocked some ex-NBA players and walked away with more money than imagination or talent spend that money on partying,  getting their weaves twisted and fake nails polished, making catty remarks about each other and acting as “hood” and “street”  as they can while batting their eyelashes in front of the camera about how classy they are.   Blech.

I don’t think these overgrown girls playing dress-up are any worse than the overgrown boys they banged their way to Prada and Krystal if not genuine fame and fortune.  The only accomplishment they can claim is they found an NBA player willing to commit to something longer than a one-night stand.  Shallow and empty doesn’t begin to cover it.   None of these chickenheads seem to have a job,  they never mention their children or families, or exhibit any concern about anything but themselves.   It would be hard to find a duller, less interesting group people to revolve a show around.

Clank!

Even the title is as fake-ass as all the hair weaves, plastic surgery and boob implants.   Jennifer Williams is the only one of the seven “wives “actually married to a NBA baller and her husband Eric Williams has been out of the league since 2007.  Gloria Govan is engaged to Matt Barnes of the Orlando Magic, a journeyman player who’s bounced around the league and is on his seventh team.    All the rest are either ex-wives, ex-girlfriends or about to be with Shaunie O’ Neal in the process of divorcing husband Shaquille.

These are just horrible and boring women who shop too much, drink too much and bitch about their pampered lives and the men that done them wrong.   They make a strong case against marriage and for either monogamy or homosexuality.

And they aren’t even particularly hot.  They wear too much make-up in a losing attempt to approximate what made them hot enough to stand out from the pack.    The one that comes closet to not looking like leftovers is Royce Reed, a former Orlando Magic cheerleader who calls Dwight Howard her baby daddy.  Or she would if it wasn’t for the court-ordered gag order Howard filed against Reed barring her from uttering his name or nickname orally or in writing.    Shaquille O’ Neal’s attorney has also warned VH-1 and Shaunie O’ Neal to not air  “any further episode of ‘Basketball Wives’ which make reference to Mr. O’Neal.”     That goes a long way to explaining why basketball has so little to do with Basketball Wives.

Shaunie: "Hey baby, do you think my concept for a reality show is interesting?" Shaq: "ZZZZZZZZZZ."

None of these women come off as particularly smart or likable, but Reed at least has some personality and no illusions she’s isn’t just another booty call who got lucky.   Shaunie and the other girlfriends/ex-wives look down their noses at Reed’s silliness and clueless immaturity, but there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between them.    They’ve been around the block while Reed is still cruising it doubtlessly in search of another player who will promote her from baby mama status to actually putting a ring on it.

The world is not a kind place to pretty faces that are aging and looking a little tired and dried up. If there’s one thing there’s no shortage of its women younger, fresher, hotter and even more willing to do whatever they have to gash up on to a pro balla.   How much you enjoy this show will depend on how much you enjoy unhappy women who catty, dumb, dull and have nothing to say that Real Housewives and Bad Girls Club haven’t already said first and bitchier.

Basketball Wives is fine if you get off watching pampered jock riders babble on about their hair extensions, breast implants, and ugly little rat dogs and how they can’t get a table anymore at the best restaurants on Miami Beach.    Even reality trash television has to have a mildly interesting concept.  This isn’t one of them.

Looking for Common Ground When There’s Nothing In Common.

  

They say they're not racists, so why is there so much racism around them?

 

A friend of mine who’s usually leans so far to the Left she makes me feel like Clarence Thomas serving lemonade at a country club said something the other night that honestly shocked me.  She said she thought the Tea Party protestors were just standing up for the Constitution and had Barack Obama pretty much pegged as a 14-karat phony.   She then said, all this talk about the Tea Partiers being riddled with racists was equally bogus because after all nobody actually heard anyone call Rep.  John Lewis a “nigger” or saw someone spit on another Black Congressman. 

Do some people reach a point in their political development where they’ve gone so far to the Left they have nowhere else to go but to The Right?    Makes me wonder. 

So it got me thinking.  Could there be something–anything—that I could actually have in common with a Tea Party member?   It’s not like I’ve ever actually sat down and talked to one.   

I’d like to think it doesn’t take another September 11 type of disaster to remind us what we have in common is far more important than what we disagree about, but as we Americans have so aptly demonstrated almost nine years later, division is so much more interesting than unity. 

We swap Democrats for Republicans for Democrats and Republicans and then wonder why everything stays pretty much the same. Obama runs on the public option and when he’s in the Big Chair he tosses it aside. Bush says he doesn’t believe in nation building and then turns around and sticks America with two unending wars. Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid, John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi’s are nobody’s idea of statesmen or profiles in courage. 

Both parties are bought and sold. The only difference is who is holding the receipt. 

The Tea Party issued it’s “hit list” of incumbents they want to defeat. Every last one of ’em a Democrat.  How does that happen if you really want to throw the bums out? There aren’t any Republican bums that need to be kicked to the curb too? 

So we replace Clinton with Bush and Bush with Obama and Obama with (fill in the blank) and all of them tell us how much better they’re gonna be than the jackass they’re replacing, but all they do is futz around the edges and leave the heavy lifting for somebody else. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a real “change” candidate who ever got within sneezing distance of the Oval Office. If there ever were such a person, someone would kill them. 

When in doubt who the real enemy go with whom you've been told the enemy is.

 

Some of it is our own fault. We don’t want anybody to tell us we have to pay more taxes or cut back dramatically in government services or that we can’t go tear-assing around the world solving everybody’s problem and making countries safe for another McDonald’s. We don’t want to make hard choices, unpopular decisions or tough calls. We want to sit back on our butts and assume “someone” is going to take care of whatever is wrong. 

It doesn’t seem to occur to us that “someone” might be us. 

This country needs more and better options than the Repubicrats and Democans. There are some real and systemic differences between the two parties, but both dance to the tune called by special interests, corporations and big shots who jealously protect their own turf and don’t give a good goddamn about the grubby masses they manipulate one way or the other. 

Business goes on as usual. 

If my friend honestly believes these people shouting in the street aren’t motivated by racial animus against the president, they sure seem to attract a lot of people that do.  Tell me again that’s only a few rotten apples and how they aren’t representative  of the movement’s larger goals.   I still can’t shake the funny vibe they aren’t mad about the same things I’m mad about.    I don’t see that much outrage from the Tea Party about poverty, social injustice, unchecked corporate power, and the way the country is divided by class even more than it is by race and sex.  

 I’m not interested in knocking down a few trees when the whole damn forest needs to be burnt down.  Washington is a sewer where money flows in and sludge flows out.  On that point I can understand what these predominantly White, well-off and conservative people are upset about. 

I’m just wondering why now?   Why are bailouts for bankers and automakers so much more infuriating than being lied into a war, waterboarding and domestic spying on American citizens?   Why is Barack Obama so much of a clear and present danger to America after two years than George Bush over eight? 

There’s only one reason I come up with to explain why, but it’s a reason my friend tells me is just the media has blown way out of proportion.    I would really  like to believe my friend is right, but to do so would mean I have to ignore the evidence of my own eyes and ears and accept that John Lewis is lying.    But if he’s not that can only mean one thing: she’s wrong and my first impression is the correct one:  I don’t have much of anything in common with the Tea Partiers and I probably never will.  

Maybe we both want a revolution, but for very different reasons and certainly with much different results.

The Great Debate.

I’ve been asked to serve as the moderator for a debate with the three Democratic candidates vying to replace State Senator Ray Miller in the Ohio 15th District.  Miller is term-limited and can’t run again.   The primary is next month.

The debate is sponsored by The Change Agency, some talented, intelligent and motivated young sisters and brothers who are working to bring about change we can believe in.  Sound familiar?

Appearing will be State Representative Dan Stewart, Columbus City Councilwoman Charleta Tavares and attorney Oyango Snell.

The event is April 14, 2010 at the St. Stephen’s Community House from 5:30 to 7:30.  There will be a reception following the debate and Q&A.

Come on out and meet the candidates.  I’ll try to keep things lively.

A Sista for the Supreme Court?

Judge Leah Ward Sears, young enough, smart enough and tough enough to be on the Supreme Court.

President Obama called the task of nominating a Supreme Court justice, “the most important job I have.”    That’s why the president needs to replace John Paul Stevens with someone who can serve as a counterweight to the Court’s  swing to the right.

That’s why President Obama needs to put Leah Ward Sears on the Supreme Court.

Judge Sears is the former chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, a Black woman who has defended gay rights, is pro-choice and would be a liberal voice on the Court.  She’s also a friend of Clarence Thomas which means she would be hard for right-wingers to stick horns on her head as some sort of wild-eyed Lefty.

Sears turns 55 in June which makes her young enough to sit on the Supreme Court for 25-30 years.    Things will never get better for a strong progressive to get through the Senate during Obama’s remaining term.   Will the Republicans scream and shout that Ward is “out of the mainstream?”   Of course they will and what of it?    Who gets to decide what qualifies as being “in the mainstream?”   As Senator Lindsay Graham said during the Sotomayor hearings, “Elections have consequences.”    Obama won the last election and he needs to place people on the federal bench that reflect his beliefs, not that of the party that lost.

Long after Obama is out of office, the people he places on the federal bench will remain.   The choice of Sonia Sotomayor was a strong and principled one for Obama as it was time for a Latino representative on the highest court of the land.   Now it is time for him to make an audacious choice and choose a successor that will represent and defend the liberal perspective as solidly as Roberts, Alito, Scalia and Thomas represent the conservative perspective.

The one thing Sears should not be seen as if Obama taps her for the Court is as the arch-enemy of Clarence Thomas.   Sears and Thomas are friends despite coming from two very different political perspectives.

There’s no doubt Obama will choose a qualified candidate, but  being qualified isn’t enough.   He needs to choose someone who has lived in the real world and has some understanding of how the law impacts upon ordinary people.   Too many judges live in a bubble where they are removed from that type of reality.    Phrases such as “mainstream” judges who “respect the Constitution” and “the best and brightest” are thrown around by conservatives who ignore the real-life consequences of the High Court’s dictates.

Too often “the best and brightest” has been a euphemism for “the most plugged-in and Whitest.” I’d love to see a sista get tapped for the job and let those old bastards like Jeff Sessions and Jon Kyl TRY to attack her.

Step your game up Mr. President.  Be bold and go with a choice that excites your base and dare the Republicans to filibuster a Black woman.   Choose Leah Ward Sears and put a sista on the Supreme Court.