The GOP’s strategy against Kagan? Trashing Thurgood.

Only the GOP can save us from this dangerous (and dead) judical activist.

When President Johnson nominated United States Solicitor General Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court, he was confirmed by the Senate 69-11 with 20 Senators not voting. 32 Republicans voted for Marshall. Ten Democrats–all from Southern states including the recently deceased Robert Byrd and Watergate hero Sam Ervin–voted against joined by one Republican, Strom Thurmond.

Fast-forward 43 years and Marshall would not have a hope in hell of finding 32 votes from this crew of Republicans.

John F. Kennedy said, “forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.” Here are some of the names of the enemy: Jeff Sessions. Jon Kyl. Orrin Hatch. Charles Grassley. John Cornyn.  These are the men whom in their impotent rage and frustration are trying to slime a man dead since 1993 in the hopes if they can dirty up the legacy of Thurgood Marshall as a wild-eyed radical and “liberal actvist” they might be able to derail Elena Kagan’s nomination.

Kyl: “Justice Marshall is a historic figure in many respects And it is not surprising that as one of his clerks she held him in the highest regard. Justice Marshall’s judicial philosophy, however, is not what I would consider to be mainstream.

As he once explained, you do what you think is right and let the law catch up. He might be the epitome of a results-oriented judge. And, again, Ms. Kagan appears to enthusiastically embrace Justice Marshall’s judicial philosophy, calling it, among other things, ‘a thing of glory’.”

Grassley: “Your Marshall memos indicate a liberal and seemingly outcome-based approach to your legal analysis.”

Cornyn: “[I]t is more about his judicial philosophy what concerns me and this has already been mentioned it is clear he considered himself a judicial activist and was unapologetic about it .”

Hatch: “There’s no doubt that he was an activist judge. “Let’s admire the man for the great things he did, but let’s not walk over and wipe out the things that really didn’t make sense as an obedient student of the practice of law.”

During the first day of Kagan’s confirmation hearings, Republicans mentioned Marshall’s name 35 times as opposed to 14 times of President Obama. Has anyone informed them Marshall was confirmed 43 years ago? Oh, and he’s been dead for 17 years too. I know conservatives hate science, but do they have a hard on against calendars too?

This is a particularly scummy approach even for Republicans used to low blow, gutter politics. If Kyl, Sessions and the rest of the right-wing cabal on the Judiciary Committee don’t know they are walking on a racial land mine by sliming Marshall it can only be they don’t care if they are.

Sitting two rows behind Kagan was the great man’s son, Thurgood “Goody” Marshall Jr. He had come to support his father’s former law clerk but found himself listening to his father being savaged as an unprofessional and unprincipled jurist.

Not one of the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee cited a single case where Justice Marshall’s supposed legislating from the bench, but that wasn’t the point.   Not even these group of pinheads would be stupid to go all-out in trashing Thurgood.   The point was to use a dead man to make a live woman look bad.

While trashing Marshall’s judicial legacy is a disrespectful and dumb, it won’t hurt the GOP’s standing with African-Americans any (which is close to non-existent) and helps them not look totally impotent limp dicks to their base.

Shameless political theatre and posturing is an ugly thing. It gets only uglier when it’s being done by stiff old White guys who have done less on purpose for racial progress and equality than Marshall did accidentally.   Kagan is no Sonia Sotomayor with a natural constituency of support behind her, but the GOP knows they don’t have the votes to keep her off the Supreme Court.   This is just kabuki theater to warn President Obama that the next time around thing may be a bit different when there are fewer Democrats in the Senate than there are now.  Thurgood Marshall’s historical legacy can’t be tarnished by these whiny bitches.  The Republicans know they can do so with no price to pay.

Politics.  What a racket. : (

"Uh, you guys do know my name is 'Elena,' not 'Thurgood', right?"

The Boondocks serves up a Tyler Perry smackdown.

  

Hey Aaron, you wouldn't hit a lady would you? Or a man pretending he's a lady?

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Aaron McGruder’s The Boondocks.  I loved The Boondocks as a newspaper comic strip and raised hell trying to get my local fish wrap to carry if.   I’ve found The Boondocks the cartoon on  The Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim to be occasionally funny and other times totally laugh-free.   A recent episode where thug wannabee Riley goes on a vandalism rampage with a psychotic classmate who arms himself with a gun wasn’t the least bit funny.   In its third (and last) season The Boondocks has been more miss than hit.  

But when it does hit, The Boondocks draws blood.  Last week’s episode where McGruder ripped into Tyler Perry for his crappy plays and movies was one such example.  It had me laughing for all the wrong reasons.  It was a crude and obvious shot at Perry as a down-low, predatory homosexual and Jesus-peddling hack.     For now you can still catch all 22 minutes of the frivolity online, but this link could go dead without notice, so hurry yo’ ass up.   

More details from the L.A. Times (yes, I do read a lot).  

In “Pause,” an episode written by McGruder and executive producer Rodney Barnes that aired Sunday, a thinly disguised version of Perry named Winston Jerome is positioned as a closeted, cross-dressing cult leader whose love of the Christian faith is a mask for his true sexuality. Though the character bears little physical or vocal resemblance to Perry, the reference is obvious to those familiar with Perry’s work. The dancing Ma Duke is a clear parody of Madea.
 
 
The Jerome character wears a pink sweater, is surrounded by bare-chested muscular men and constantly proclaims his love for Jesus even as he attempts to seduce Granddad (John Witherspoon), the guardian of the two boys, Huey and Riley Freeman, at the center of the series. The fame-hungry Granddad is trying out for a part in Jerome’s new play, “Ma Duke Finds Herself a Man.”
 
 
Near the end of the episode, Jerome bluntly asks Granddad for sex; the old man responds, “Do you mean to tell me that this whole cross-dressing Christian cult crap is just so you can sleep with men?” “Uh, pretty much, yeah,” says Jerome.
 
The episode marks one of the sharpest public criticisms of Perry. Huey Freeman calls the script for “Ma Duke” “terrible.” The Perry brand has also been blasted by some critics and entertainers such as Spike Lee, who say Perry’s projects perpetuate negative stereotypes, and present a narrow view of African American life.  McGruder and executives for Turner and Adult Swim declined to comment on the episode. Representatives for Perry did not return phone calls.   
 There are news reports Perry was so incensed by the episode he fired his entire writing staff.   Did McGruder have some inside information as to how things work on Team Perry?    Then again, considering how lousy  Perry’s TBS comedy House of Payne  is and amateurish his movies are,  maybe he probably should have fired his writers a long time ago.  

McGruder is probably safe from any threat of litigation from Perry as parody and satire of public figures is legally protected speech.  Like Michael Hastings won’t be receiving any Christmas cards from Gen. Stanley McChrystal, McGruder is probably feeling rather pleased that his put-down of Perry has obviously angered him.  Still, it’s pretty cold how Perry shit-canned a bunch of writers at this time in this crappy economy because he suspected one or more of them ratted him out.  

Perry has made himself  wealthy and powerful by taking some of the broadest oversimplifications about Black life and turning them into empty entertainment.   There’s no questioning his popularity and that millions of people enjoy his simplistic mortality tales.  Still, what’s wrong with faith-based messages of fidelity, family and honoring one’s commitment to their spouse and religion?    Perry’s greatest crime is shallowness and that makes him a prime target for McGruder’s less than tender mercies.  

While McGruder is on point taking Perry to task for overloading his films with Silly Negro foolishness, he’s equally guilty of falling back on it himself.  There’s not a show on television that tosses around “nigga” as casually as The Boondocks.     Having previously offended some viewers with Rosa Parks being bopped by a flying piece of chicken while protesting the R.Kelly trial, McGruder upped the ante by raising Martin Luther King, Jr. from the dead for laughs and to denounce Black folks as “a bunch of niggas.” That little lapse of bad taste would land The Boondocks on TIME’s  Top 10 Most Controversial cartoons    Al Sharpton  would later come calling to demand an apology from the cartoon’s producers.  McGruder would go on to incorporate the controversy into a later episode.  

What makes McGruder so good at what he does is he’s a first-class satirist and he doesn’t care if nobody else appreciates his sense of humor.  A satirist isn’t the same thing as being a comedian.  Comedians try to make people laugh.  Satirists try to make people think.  Sacred cows make the best hamburgers according to Mark Twain and like Twain; McGruder is butchering whatever trend, fad, or personality in his sights.  In the transition from three-panels on newsprint to 20 minutes of celluloid, The Boondocks lost much of its cutting political wit and all of its topicality.   Some of its rude humor still remains though sporadically.  

That doesn’t mean McGruder isn’t immune to pimping other discriminated groups for laughs.   Ma Duke/Winston Jerome serves up a smorgasbord of broadly exaggerated gay stereotypes.   Winston is swishy, effeminate and the embodiment of the predatory homosexual just waiting to pounce on some poor, unsuspecting straight man.   One musical interlude looks like a straight-up rip off (homage would be too benign of a descriptor) of The Rocky Horror Picture Show)   When it comes to forcibly outing closeted celebrities catering to the most offensive depictions of homosexuals  gives a tingle up the collective legs of McGruder and the suits at The Cartoon Network.   Just say no.  “No homo” that is.  

This is supposed to be the third and final season of The Boondocks.  Having given up the comic strip years ago McGruder hasn’t said what his next move will be.  I can’t imagine that a moderately successful cartoon would justify an animated film release, but if Marmaduke and The Smurfs can be turned into a film anything can.   Why not go all the way and make it a live-action movie with Jaden Smith as Huey Freeman?  Or is that too rude and edgy a character for any child of Will Smith to play?  

In the beef with Perry my sympathies are with McGruder.  I defend Perry’s right to make whatever kind of movies he wants to.  I also defend McGruder’s right to call them crap.  I only wish I felt a little  better about it.    That’s the problems with these cranky social commentators.  They do make themselves pretty hard to defend at times.

Seeing “RED”

Warren Ellis is one of the best writers I’ve ever read.  Now if you aren’t familiar with the name  you don’t read comic books because that’s where Ellis built his rep.   One of his best works is a three-issue arc about a grumpy old man who used to be the CIA’s deadliest assassin.  His forced retirement isn’t going too well because the CIA is trying to kill him.  Red was a tight, taut and thrilling little read that became the first Ellis story to get the big sceen Hollywood treatment.

The problem is Red  has now become an acronym (Retired, Extremely Dangerous) and looks nothing at all like the 3-issue mini-series it was taken from (I can’t call this an “adaptation”).  There were maybe three or four characters in the comic and none of them included the characters played by Freeman, Malkovich and Mirren.  This looks like a geriatric version of The A-Team.

Why bother making these properties if you’re going to totally gut them?   Ellis wrote a simple tale of a retired CIA agent being hunted down by the new head of the agency because he was terrified of what the Bruce Willis character had done when he worked for them.   They go after him and then he goes after them.  It’s not complicated.

That seems to have gone missing.  What DC Comics and Summit Entertainment (not Warner Brothers?) have done is replace Ellis’ lean, sparse story with a bloated variation of Oceans 11, Space Cowboys, Wild Hogs  and about two dozen other variations on the same theme.   An old CIA agent takes on his former employees all by himself and kills a lot of them along the way?   Guess that wasn’t enough for the Hollywood boys.  “Yeah, that’s great, but it’s kind of limited.  Let’s EXPAND it.”   I had someone like Robert Duvall in mind to play the part.  At 55, Willis is actually too young for the role but I guess the suits figure Willis can “open” a movie (not that he has lately).   Since Willis gave up wearing wigs with his last two flicks, Surrogates and Cop Out  it looks like he’s giving up acting as well.

All I needed was Paul (not Frank) Moses waging a one-man war against the CIA, straight, no chaser.  Yes, it was only three issues with perhaps four characters, little dialogue and less back story, but it worked just fine.  This looks like the typical “let’s-put-the-band-back-together-for-one-last mission/heist/job. What was a well-executed, but admittedly far smaller story has become a junked-up, warmed-over action comedy with a bunch of first class talent  cashing some fat checks  and doing nothing that requires any genuine acting. 

Here’s the synopsis for Red :  Frank (Bruce Willis), Joe (Morgan Freeman), Marvin (John Malkovich) and Victoria (Helen Mirren) used to be the CIA’s top agents – but the secrets they know just made them the Agency’s top targets.  Now framed for assassination, they must use all of their collective cunning, experience and teamwork to stay one step ahead of their deadly pursuers and stay alive.  To stop the operation, the team embarks on an impossible, cross-country mission to break into the top-secret CIA headquarters, where they will uncover one of the biggest conspiracies and cover-ups in government history.

An impossible mission?  Yeah, we know how difficult those that can be.   I don’t care that Red the movie is going to be so different from Red the comic.  Adaptations don’t have to be faithful to the source material.  Kick-Ass worked better as a film than comic because of the inclusion of some much needed humor.   I care that the movie looks so trite and uninteresting compared to the comic.  Why even need to adapt  Ellis and artist Cully Hamner’s work  for something that has been made a dozen times already?

For the answer to that, I’ll refer to the man himself who wrote on Warrenellis.com:

First off: RED, the book, is 66 pages long. If you were to film 66 pages of comics, you might, might just about get 40 minutes of film out of it. If you added a musical number. The comics-page to film-minute ratio is pretty bad. A straight adaptation of a 150-page graphic novel might, if you squint at it, get you a 100-minute film. But it’s unlikely, because comics and films use time so differently. One page with four lines of dialogue on it can be slowed to a crawl to the point where you have to spend several minutes digesting the information on it. In film, however, four lines of dialogue is four lines of dialogue, and you can’t just pronounce it very slowly for the same time consumption. Beyond filmic/dramatic effects like the pause or montage or whatever, film is timelocked.
 
So, yes, RED the film is very different. Not least because it needed to generate more material than the book itself actually constituted.  It is in fact best to consider RED as a short story being adapted into film

The tone: no, the film isn’t as grim as the book. The book is pretty grim. But it’s also pretty small. When I sell the rights to a book, they buy the right to adapt it in whatever way they see fit. I can accept that they wanted a lighter film, and, as I’ve said before, the script is very enjoyable and tight as a drum. They haven’t adapted it badly, by any means. People who’ve enjoyed the graphic novel will have to accept that it’s an adaptation and that by definition means that it’s going to be a different beast from the book. The film has the same DNA. It retains bits that are very clearly from the book, as well as, of course, the overall plotline. But it is, yes, lighter, and funnier. And if anyone has a real problem with that, I say to you once again:

Helen Mirren with a sniper rifle.

I mean, if you don’t want to see a film with Helen Mirren with a sniper rifle, I’m not sure I want to know you.

If Ellis is happy with this loose adaptation of his story, who am I to argue with him?   I’ve written plenty of stuff  and some orf it pretty good, but nothing anyone has ever thought highly enough to make a movie of.    I’ve seen a lot of movies, but I don’t know a thing about making one.   It’s just a little discouraging to see Red turned into  standard Hollywood rubbish with guns, explosions, cars crashing, glass breaking and PG-13 violence mining the tapped-out  “I’m too old for this shit” cliché. 

The unexpected sight of Helen Mirren blowing stuff up isn’t a sufficient enticement to plunk down $9 this October.  Maybe the final trailer and finished product will prove me wrong.   For now  Red looks  like  “strike three” of DC Comics properties joining The Losers and Jonah Hex on the fast track to DVD oblivion.

An Original Fire: Gilbert Price 1953-2010

Gil Price: Journalist. Nuff' said.

What turns a writer into a journalist?   A formal education in journalism helps, but is it essential?  No.  What is essential is someone who can bring forth whatever talent a writer has, get rid of their bad habits, energize their lazy writing and focus their attention.  That takes an editor.   Good editors create good journalists.

In my misadventures in journalism I’ve had the great fortune to have worked with several editors who have taken the raw ingredients and turned them into something resembling cuisine.   There was Bob Powers at the The Free Press, Pat Schmucki and David Smigelski at Columbus Alive, later followed by Brian Lindamood, George Myers Jr. and Frank Gabrenya at the Columbus Dispatch, Martin Yant at The Ohio Observer, but most importantly, Gilbert Price, the editor of The Call & Post newspaper played a vital part in the finished product that I am today.

As writing transitions from journalism to blogging (and no, they are not all considered equal to my mind),  what is missing are editors who can separate the treasure from the trash.  Bloggers have no filter between themselves and the few hundred people who read them.   Before his death from a heart attack, Price, 56, was a fixture in local journalism and he filtered many an aspiring writer into a skilled and trained journalist.

To be a serious journalist you have to love your craft.  Liking it isn’t enough.  You have to love being a journalist and Gil Price had a lot of love for his job.  He must have.  He did it so well.  Gil made it look easy but that was because his approach to journalism was like that a duck on the water: calm and placid on the surface and paddling like hell just out of sight.

If Amos Lynch is considered the Godfather of Black journalism in Columbus, Gil Price was the consigliere.  That’s not an insult.  Gil was one of the most astute political commentators in Ohio.  He knew his way around City Hall, the Statehouse and anywhere else where the political and powerful intersect.  It would be going too far to say Gil made me a journalist.  He did however mold me into become a better journalist one red-lined bit of bad copy at a time.  Gil would take an okay idea and bend it into a better idea and then a better idea into a good idea.

Anyone who likes their news straight with no frills and fluff will miss Gil Price’s brand of reporting.   Anyone who didn’t read him regularly won’t know what they missed.  That’s their loss.  We all lost a great journalist, a man of family and faith, and someone who made a difference in his brief time on this little blue planet.

I was pondering what to title this little remembrance  about Gil.  Audioslave’s “Original Fire” came pounding out of the speakers while I was writing and it seemed particularly apt for a man who was an original and brought considerable fire to his work.

The General vs. “the wimps in the White House.”

"Stan, you got some explaining to do."

America’s longest war–the one we’ve forgotten about–in Afghanistan drags on (and on and on) with no end in sight.  It was George Bush’s problem in 2001 and it’s still Barack Obama’s problem in 2010.   The other problem for President Obama is the guy he picked to fight the war, General Stanley McChrystal is apparently an idiot with a big mouth.

McChrystal  granted an interview to Rolling Stone where he ridiculed and disparaged “the wimps in the White House.”

WASHINGTON – The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has been summoned to Washington to explain derogatory comments about President Barack Obama and his colleagues, administration officials said Tuesday.

The move came hours after General Stanley McChrystal apologized for comments by his aides insulting some of President Barack Obama’s closest advisers in an article to be published in Rolling Stone magazine.

In the magazine profile, his aides are quoted mocking Vice President Joe Biden and Richard Holbrooke, the special U.S. representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The first victim in the growing controversy was the Pentagon’s PR official who set up the interview with McChrystal. NBC reported that Duncan Boothby, a civilian member of the general’s public relations team was “asked to resign.”

According to administration officials, McChrystal was ordered to attend the monthly White House meeting on Afghanistan and Pakistan in person Wednesday rather than over a secure video teleconference. He’ll be expected to explain his comments to Obama and top Pentagon officials, these officials said.

President Obama was described as “furious” about the remarks while the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen told McChrystal of his “deep disappointment” in a conversation late Monday, a spokesman said.

The interview describes McChrystal, 55, as “disappointed” in his first Oval Office meeting with Obama. The article says that although McChrystal voted for Obama, the two failed to connect from the start. Obama appointed McChrystal to lead the Afghan effort in May 2009. Last fall, though, Obama called McChrystal on the carpet for speaking too bluntly about his desire for more troops.

“I found that time painful,” McChrystal said in the article, on newsstands Friday. “I was selling an unsellable position.”

The article also reported:

  • McChrystal has seized control of the war “by never taking his eye off the real enemy: The wimps in the White House.”
  • One aide called White House National Security Adviser Jim Jones, a retired four star general, a “clown” who was “stuck in 1985.”
  • Obama agreed to dispatch an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan only after months of study that many in the military found frustrating. And the White House’s troop commitment was coupled with a pledge to begin bringing them home in July 2011, in what counterinsurgency strategists advising McChrystal regarded as an arbitrary deadline.
  • The article portrayed McChrystal’s team as disapproving of the Obama administration, with the exception of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who backed McCrystal’s request for additional troops in Afghanistan.
  • It quotes a member of McChrystal’s team making jokes about Biden, who was seen as critical of the general’s efforts to escalate the conflict and who had favored a more limited counter-terrorism approach. “Biden?” the aide was quoted as saying. “Did you say: Bite me?” Biden initially opposed McChrystal’s proposal for additional forces last year. He favored a narrower focus on hunting terrorists.

In Kabul on Tuesday, McChrystal issued a statement saying: “I have enormous respect and admiration for President Obama and his national security team, and for the civilian leaders and troops fighting this war and I remain committed to ensuring its successful outcome.”

“I extend my sincerest apology for this profile,” the statement said. “It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never have happened.”

There are several reasons of why it is a terrible idea for a soldier to speak critically of his superiors.

The first is it’s a bad message to send to our allies, our enemies, but most importantly, the soldiers who have to carry out the orders when the military commander, the POTUS and his advisers aren’t of one mind.

The second is where in the world can you make published remarks dogging out your boss and his management team and not be in deep crap? Would you loudly rip the boss in the company cafeteria and be surprised when he later calls you into his office to discuss what you said?

The next is if you’re so flat-out stupid that you’d even grant an interview to Rolling Stone for God’s sake it calls into question your judgment and intelligence.

The general has every right to think the president is a fool. He deserves to be fired if he says the president is a fool. Commander-in-chiefs sack generals all the time. Sometimes because they’re doing a bad job and other times because they’re not on board with the president’s wishes. Either way, there’s no shortage of generals to choose from. The problem is Obama already relieved one general in Afghanistan to appoint McChrystal and there could be political fall-out if he does it again.

McChrystal should offer his resignation to the President. The President should accept it. Obama risks looking like a bigger wimp if he permits his generals to publicly question and ridicule him.

"It is possible I misspoke."

True Confessions of a Kobe Bryant Hater.

"DAMN, I am GREAT! If you don't believe it just ask me."

There’s no single reason I’m such a Kobe Bryant Hater.   It’s a whole grocery list of reasons.  I hate Kobe because he plays for the Los Angeles Fakers, the most corporate and soulless franchise in sports not named The Dallas Cowboys.   I hate Kobe because he’s a whiny little bitch who has never fouled anyone in his life but screams and tries to show up the refs if they don’t blow the whistle when someone looks cross-eyed at him.   How many times in a game will you see him screaming for a foul and not bothering to get back on defense?  Too many times for me not to roll my eyes in disgust as he pouts like a baby who’s had a binky pulled from his mouth. 

 I hate Kobe for showing up his teammates by going entire quarters without taking a shot and when the Fakers fall behind, he’s yoking up shots from all over the court.  The guy is the original black hole.   He passes it when he feels like it, but God help you if you don’t knock down the shot when Kobe Bean decides you’re worthy to play with his basketball.  Screw it up and the next time you’ll see the ball is during morning shootaround.   

I hate Kobe for being mentioned in the same breath as Michael Jordan.   No doubt that Kobe is the best postseason player in the NBA (since Lebron only raises hell in the regular season).    I hate his swagger.  I hate his “me first” attitude.  I hate that he’s a gunner, a black hole and as selfish a player to ever step on the hardwood and I really, really hate the way he jabs at other players so he can feed his ego. 

I hated Kobe when he went to Denver, screwed some 19-year-old hotel clerk, lied about it and threw Shaquille O’ Neal’s big butt under a fleet of Greyhound buses trying to save his own sorry ass.   

But forget about all that.   Kobe and the Fakers have triumphed again.  Cue up “We Are the Champions.”   Nail the plywood over the windows for the victory parade.  Let the good times roll in the City of Angels.  

Hoo-rah and ho-hum.   Bryant the Brat,  the most unlikable superstar in a league full of unlikable superstars, and the L.A. Fakers won their second NBA championship in a row.  I’m just soooooooo excited.   Now go away.   I’ve had just about all I can stand from the David Stern Dog and Pony Show for this year. 

"You get to call one foul on me. Got it? ONE!"

Take your rings and your trophy and your stupid scowl and your crappy “Damn, I’m Great” attitude and lock yourself away in a vault somewhere with a bottles of Grey Goose, some porno skanks and a truckload of money from your Nike endorsement.    

What is there to brag about a game#7  where the Fakers shoot 32 percent and the alleged best player in Crunch Time bricked 18 of 24 shots?  That the referees kindly escorted Kobe Bean Bryant to the free throw line 15 times and helped him limp to a just-okay 23 points?    Yes,  Bryant grabbed an impressive 15 rebounds, but when you’re clanging them off the rim the way the Fakers did, you’re going to get plenty of opportunities. 

Back-to-back championships are something to brag about but despite the MVP award going to Bryant,  big man Pau Gasol had just as big of a contribution the Fakers dumping the Celtics.   Coach Phil Jackson will get to inflate his own insufferable egotism a bit more, but this is not a great Fakers team.   They happen to be the most dominant team in a league full of fatally flawed and talent-starved franchises. 

“Just got one more than Shaq,” Kobe said after downing the Celtics in a 83-79 slog through some of the ugliest basketball  ever seen, “You can take that to the bank.  I don’t forget anything.” 

Sensing perhaps that he was forgetting that he was coming off as a petty, arrogant and sniveling little asshole, Kobe tried to clean it up a bit. 

“It’s tough for me to really put that into any kind of context, because 90 percent of what I’ve learned and what I’ve figured out comes from him,” he said. “This is not a situation where it’s a me-and-Shaq rivalry kind of thing. It’s a genuine love that I have for him and what he’s done for me.” 

Genuine love?   There wasn’t anything remotely like love between the Bean and the Big Aristotle in 2003 when Kobe whined to ESPN’ Jim Gray: 

GRAY: What was your reaction to Shaq saying the Lakers are his team, and everybody knows it? 

BRYANT: It doesn’t matter whose team it is. Nobody cares. I don’t, Karl [Malone] doesn’t, Gary [Payton] doesn’t, and our teammates and the fans don’t either. There’s more to life than whose team this is. But this is his team, so it’s time for him to act like it. That means no more coming into camp fat and out of shape, when your team is relying on your leadership on and off the court. It also means no more blaming others for our team’s failure, or blaming staff members for not overdramatizing your injuries so that you avoid blame for your lack of conditioning. Also, “my team” doesn’t mean only when we win; it means carrying the burden of defeat just as gracefully as you carry a championship trophy. 

The beef between Kobe and Shaq really took off after Kobe’s rape bust in Denver when he told police detectives he should have just done like Shaq does with his women, pay them off so they don’t rat him out.   Eagle, Colo., Detective Doug Winters wrote in a police report  how Bryant ripped into his then-teammate:  

“Bryant stated he should have done what Shaq does. Bryant stated that Shaq would pay his women not to say anything.   He stated Shaq has paid up to a million dollars already for situations like this.” 

Bryant, 26, also insisted he hadn’t thought of a payoff because he treats women much better than his gargantuan teammate. 

“He stated he, Bryant, treats a woman with respect, therefore they shouldn’t say anything,” Winters said. 

“Respect” apparently including asking women if he can bust a nut in their face.   Keep it classy, Kobe.  

Enjoy your one for the thumb Kobe.  Now you can buy wifey another $4 million dollar, 8-carat diamond so she doesn’t walk out on your ass and rape  your bank account like Elin is doing Tiger.   Sell some more Nikes made in sweatshops by child laborers.   Sneer some more and boast about how great you are while the servile L.A. sport writers ride your jock. 

You still aren’t  better than Jordan.  You still aren’t a better player for the Fakers than Magic Johnson.   You still are a flaming asshole.  

"Rocky Mountain High?" I HATE that song!

 

Police Brutality or Civilian Stupidity?

When keeping' it real goes painfully wrong

Some people just go outta their way to get a beatdown. They wake up in the morning, brush their teeth, get dressed, look in the mirror and say, “I want to get my ass kicked today.”

They don’t have to work very hard to find one.   Case in point:

SEATTLE — Seattle police are investigating what they call an assault of an officer in South Seattle.

However, a police officer is seen punching a 17-year-old girl in the face during the incident captured by a video camera on Monday.

According to Seattle police, the incident began when an officer spotted a man jaywalking in the 3100 block of Martin Luther King, Jr. Way S. at approximately 3:10 p.m. The man was some 15 feet away from a pedestrian overpass, police said.

The officer was talking to the man when he saw four young women jaywalk across the same street at the same spot. The officer asked the women to step over to his patrol car, but the women were being “verbally antagonistic toward the officer,” according to officials.

One of the women, later identified as a 19 year old, began to walk away from the scene despite the officer’s instructions, prompting the officer to walk over to her and escort her back to his patrol car.

The girl then “began to tense up her arm, and pull away from the officer while yelling at him,” investigators said. The officer told the girl to place her hands on his patrol car, but she refused. When the officer tried to grab hold of her, “she pulled away and twisted, breaking free of the officer’s grip several times,” the blotter report said.

When the officer tried to handcuff the girl, another girl, this one 17 years old, intervened and placed her hands on the officer’s arm, “causing the officer to believe she was attempting to physically affect the first subject’s escape,” police said.

The officer pushed back the second girl, but the girl came back at him. The officer then punched her, police said.

The officer then handcuffed the 19-year-old woman. Other officers arrived and helped handcuff the second girl.

Both teens were cited for jaywalking. The older suspect was booked into the King County Jail for investigation of obstructing an officer. The 17-year-old girl was booked into the Youth Service Center for investigation of assault of an officer.

Nobody was injured during the incident, police said.

Seattle police have not reviewed the video of the incident. Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said investigators may review the video on Tuesday.

Whitcomb said the officer involved in the incident sent out a call for help, prompting other officers to rush to his aid.

All use of force on the job is reviewed, Whitcomb said, as use of force is under the officer’s discretion. He added that punching is a trained tactic.

“There will be a thorough investigation into this incident,” he said.

This was more of a case of civilian stupidity than police brutality. What’s she thinking the cop is going to do when she grabs his arm? Give her a high-five?

This isn’t another Henry Louis Gates situation where both parties contributed to a situation being blown up into a national dialogue on race and police. No beer summits here.

First, race is irrelevant here. A jaywalker is a jaywalker is a jaywalker. The cop was working alone in a situation where he had bitten off a little more than he could chew. Who knew what should be a stupid ticket turn into a viral video that will be shown over and over for the next few days?

Maybe the cop should have radioed for backup, but didn’t have the opportunity, besides who would think you’re going to need help to collar a jaywalker?

It looks bad when the cop clocks the one girl, but when she escalated the event from supporting her friend verbally to putting her hands on him, that was when his training had to kick in because the shit was getting real. I think she’s lucky he didn’t use more force because under similar circumstances I bet some cops would have shot first and explained later.

A longer version of the video shows what happened after the second girl was arrested.  Judge for yourself if the cop overreacted or his use of force was appropriate.

When the cops are in the wrong, give ’em hell. When the cops are in the right, give ’em a break. Besides letting the girls go, I’m not sure what else the police officer could have done…no, I take that back–there’s plenty more he could have done and if he had we would be debating cops gunning down jaywalkers instead.

As for those bystanders with their cell phone cameras providing a running commentary, we are a nation that likes to watch, haven’t we?

I’m not advocating cracking the heads of folks who think the cross walk is only a suggestion, but let’s use a little common sense here.  When your friend is being an idiot and talking smack to an annoyed police officer why jump in co-sign the stupidity?  Especially when that so-called “friend” is acting like a  fool and showing their butt in public. What anyone should do with a “friend” like that is let them take the ride downtown BY THEIR DAMN SELF and do them a favor by calling their ma and pa and letting them know they need to bail Pookie out of jail.

Yes, the officer punched the young woman. She attempted to intercede and stop the officer from making an arrest. She was obstructing the law and he laid down the law dead smack on the nose. BAM! ONE SHOT, KID!

I gotta give her some props. That was a pretty classic overhand right and she took it like a champ. Didn’t even knock her on her ass. They make ’em pretty tough in Seattle obviously.

Now before Al and Jesse and the other Usual Suspects parachute in to lead a one-day rally against police brutality before zooming off to their next photo-op, let’s be clear here.  Before anyone says, “He shouldn’t have hit a woman,” stop it.  Just squash that noise before you start. You’re the one being sexist here. If this was one guy coming to the aid of another guy nobody would be crying sexism.  If equality means anything it means when a woman gets stupid like this woman did, she can get her lights punched out just the same as any man.

No sexual discrimination. No double standards. Equal ass-whuppings under the law.

IF the cop had shot her or her mouthy friend, you bet I’d be all over him like a bad rash. Shooting someone for jaywalking? Nobody’s calling for that. But when you interfere with a police officer enforcing the law, you’re asking for bad things to happen to you.

It’s real easy to learn how not to get your ass kicked by the police.

Our friend who is now enjoying the hospitality of the Seattle Police Department should have paid closer attention.

Alvin Greene, Man of Mystery

 
 

The man with the plan or the plan with the man?

 

“I’m the Democratic Party nominee.  The people have spoken. The people of South Carolina have spoken. The people of South Carolina have spoken. We have to be pro-South Carolina. The people of South Carolina have spoken. We have to be pro-South Carolina.”      

~ Alvin Green, South Carolina Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate   

Think about the most inarticulate, mumbling, mushmouth you know.  Maybe he’s jacking up your order at the Burger King drive-thru window or throwing the jar of spaghetti sauce on top of the loaf of bread as he sacks your groceries or he’s knocking on your door to sell you subscriptions to magazines you never heard of  or offers to cut your grass for five dollars.  Think how unlikely it is that guy would ever run for Congress.

Then you’ll understand why Alvin Greene has turned the political landscape on its collective ear.

Nobody knew who  Greene was until he won the Democratic primary in South Carolina and the right to run against Republican incumbent Jim DeMint.  After nearly a week of painfully inarticulate and seemingly clueless interviews, there are more questions than answers about where he came from and whether he’s a Trojan horse for Republican mischief-makers.   

It wasn’t until he appeared on Countdown with Keith Olbermann the country got a good, long look at The Alvin Greene Show and when it was over, Republicans had to be crapping their pants in laughter while Democrats slid in their seats totally dumbstruck by what they had just seen.   

   

If Greene didn’t come off  like a poorly programmed robot when the camera light goes on he wouldn’t be such an object of morbid curiosity and sick humor. But he does act like he’s blown a gasket and I’m  not the only one to reach that conclusion:   

Todd Rutherford, another Democratic state representative who met with Greene today alongside Sellers, told TPMmuckraker, “Before I got to my third question, I could tell that something was awry,” adding, “I don’t know whether everything is OK.” 

Rutherford, an attorney, said that if Greene were his client, he would move for a mental evaluation. “If there’s a joke he doesn’t get the joke. If someone paid him to do this, they certainly exploited someone who is vulnerable. It’s not even funny, it’s just sad.” 

On election night, I was among the first reporters to speak with Greene after his victory was announced. His verbal tics and strange affect were immediately apparent: he frequently repeats and interrupts himself, speaks haltingly, and sometimes descends into incoherent rambling, as subsequent video and audio interviews have made all the more obvious. In his interview with Keith Olbermann on Thursday, he had great difficulty answering the most basic of questions, seeming to take cues from his attorney off-camera. There are still plenty of questions about his decision to run for Senate—perhaps less about any shadowy operatives than his own state of mind.   

Greene says he looks forward to debating DeMint.  That’s a spectacle that should be on prime time–if you enjoy watching a grown man being undressed and humiliated in public.       

Maybe Greene is just somewhat overwhelmed by the rush of reporters clamoring for a soundbite. He is a pretty unique interview subject. Or maybe he’s enjoying his own little private joke and hasn’t shared it with the rest of us. 

But I have my doubts this is an act.  It looks and sounds and feels like some classic South Carolina political dickery to throw a monkey wrench into what’s left of the state Democratic Party. If the goal was to make them look like bumbling incompetents who can’t even offer up their own choice of sacrificial lamb against a powerful GOP incumbent, the mission was successful.  

Greene says he wants to be the next U.S. Senator from South Carolina. If he can’t take the questioning from Olbermann (and Fox’s Shepard Smith whom was even more incredulous and skeptical in his questioning of Greene), he’s got no business running for elected office. He can’t “no comment” his way all the way to Washington and he’s got more immediate problems than the butt-whipping DeMint is going to lay on him  in November.  

Greene campaign coffers aren’t exactly  overflowing with $114 in the bank, yet the unemployed ex-soldier who says he was involuntarily discharged because “it just wasn’t working out” was able to hand over a cashier’s check for $10,440 to the South Carolina Democratic Party to qualify to run for the nomination.  He claims he saved the money for a few years.   He is also facing felony obscenity charges for showing pornography to a young woman in a library.  If Greene is indicted it would invalidate his candidacy per South Carolina law.  

"Hi. Wanna see some dirty pictures?"

 

About his discharge Greene told  Fox News,   “It was an honorable discharge, but it was involuntary,” Greene said about his military service in the Army, “Things weren’t working out…it’s a long story.”  

There’s plain-spoken and then there’s strange. More than how Alvin Green speaks is strange. Everything about homey is strange. Too strange just to sit back and applaud like a trained seal at the strange scenario of an ex-veteran who departed the military under murky circumstances, came out of nowhere to score an improbable victory with an unexplained source of funds and without the benefit of an active campaign, commercials, ads, a website, staff, contributions or  apparently even  giving a speech. Some people whom really should know better want to believe Alvin Greene has miraculously  rewritten the laws of political gravity.  They can believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny too.  I reserve the right not to believe in fairy tales.