The Strange Friends of Minister Farrakhan

Now this is one strange relationship

You will never hear any Black leader of prominence take on and repudiate Minister Louis Farrakhan in a direct, clear and unmistakable way.   Jesse Jackson won’t do it.  Al Sharpton won’t do it.  The NAACP won’t do it.  Even President Obama won’t do it.   That is a fight they do not want and know they can not win.

Farrakhan warned the president not to allow the United States to be drawn into a war with Libya and attempt to depose (or kill) the dictator Muammar Gaddafi.   The leader of the Black Muslims said Obama should reach out to Gaddafi.

“Why don’t you organize a group of respected Americans and ask for a meeting with Khadafy? You can’t order him to step down and get out, who the hell do you think you are?”
 
Farrakhan’s support of the dictator is in part based upon Gaddafi loaning the Nation of Islam $5 million dollars. 

Nothing has happened to change my mind that the U.S. and its allies should stay out of the civil war in Libya.  If Obama wants to take a giant step to reassure his reelection he should take full advantage not to drag the United States into yet another Middle East minefield.  There’s no upside to it.

The President IS wrong on Libya. I agree with Farrakhan that it is a Libyan civil war to be fought for and won (or lost) BY Libyans.   Obama is now saying he will arm the rebels.  The same rebels whom are being assisted by Al Qaeda.  Sure, we want to get rid of Gaddafi, but by indirectly giving a helping hand to America’s sworn enemy?   That seems incredibly wrong-headed.

Farrakhan has some advice for Obama. Some bad advice.

However, being criticized by the buddy of a dictator can’t hurt Obama.  If anything it makes the president look more mainstream when he’s blasted by someone so firmly out of it.

The question is, does Farrakhan know he can’t win a popularity contest against Obama?   A choice between backing the president and the minister is no choice at all for me.  I have heard Farrakhan speak live three or four times.  He is a charismatic and electrifying speaker.  Nobody sleeps when Farrakhan rocks the mic.   I’ve attended as part of the press pool and watched the White reporters shaking their heads grimly while the Black reporters would exchange knowing glances between them.

Farrakhan is an anti-White, anti-Semitic, homophobic demagogue who preaches Black separatism.  His appeal is he knows how to tap into Black resentment and he never puts any distance between himself and his audience by talking down to them.   Only Farrakhan could have pulled off the Million Man March.  Only Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam have demonstrated the ability to take the most wretched and hopeless and teach them how to clean up their lives and carry themselves with pride and dignity.

But Obama being wrong does not make Farrakhan right. I don’t care about his “disenchantment” with Obama and the Nation of Islam vote isn’t large enough to make a dime’s worth of difference in a national election. Besides, do Black Muslims even vote? Anybody who wants to take their political cues from a guy who says the president is caring out the agenda of “the Jews” probably isn’t anybody whom I want to be associated with.

Farrakhan has set himself an impossible goal if he hopes to sway the opinion of over 30 million Black people to side with a racist dictator who approved a terrorist attack that took American lives over that of the president.

What I WON’T do is bang on Obama because I think “the Jews” have him by the short and curlies. What I WON’T do is follow the lead of a man who possibly played a key role in the death of one of the strongest Black men to walk the earth. What I WON’T do is think Louis Farrakhan is Blacker and more down for the cause than Barack Obama because he speaks pretty and knows how to raise an audience to their feet.

Obama can do that to. And he doesn’t have to use hatred of other people to do it either.

If Farrakhan wants to make the case Blacks should be supporting Gaddafi and not Obama he only has to answer two questions before I switch my allegiance.

1.  Will Minister Farrakhan repudiate Gen. Gaddafi for ordering the 1988 bombing of Pan-Am 103 where 243 passengers, 16 crew members and 11 people on the ground in Lockerbie, Scotland died?   189 of the 270 who perished were Americans, so in some way isn’t the hell Obama unleashing upon Gaddafi long overdue?

2.  Speaking in Rome in August 2010, Gaddafi said on the subject of illegal immigration from Africa, “Europe runs the risk of turning Black” and  “We don’t know what will happen, what will be the reaction of the white and Christian Europeans faced with this influx of starving and ignorant Africans.”    Does the minister agree with the dictator’s remarks?

3.  Where does the minster stand on the arrest of Iman al-Obeidi, a Libyan woman who was dragged away after screaming to foreign journalists she had been gang-raped by Gaddafi loyalists?

A Libyan woman is dragged away after telling foreign journalists she was raped by Gaddafi supporters.

A distraught Libyan woman stormed into a Tripoli hotel Saturday to tell foreign reporters that government troops raped her, setting off a brawl when hotel staff and government minders tried to detain her.

Iman al-Obeidi was tackled by waitresses and government minders as she sat telling her story to journalists after she rushed into the restaurant at the Rixos hotel where a number of foreign journalists were eating breakfast. She claimed loudly that troops had detained her at a checkpoint, tied her up, abused her, then led her away to be gang-raped.

Her story could not be independently verified, but the dramatic scene provided a rare firsthand glimpse of the brutal crackdown on public dissent by Moammar Gadhafi’s regime as the Libyan leader fights a rebellion against his rule that began last month.

Before she was dragged out of the hotel, al-Obeidi managed to tell journalists that she was detained by a number of troops at a Tripoli checkpoint on Wednesday. She said they were drinking whiskey and handcuffed her. She said 15 men later raped her.

“They tied me up … they even defecated and urinated on me,” she said, her face streaming with tears. “The Gadhafi militiamen violated my honor.”


As al-Obeidi spoke, a hotel waitress brandished a butter knife, a government minder reached for his handgun, and another waitress pulled a jacket tightly over her head.

Al-Obeidi said she was targeted by the troops because she’s from the eastern city of Benghazi, a rebel stronghold.

The waiters called her a traitor and told her to shut up. She retorted: “Easterners, we’re all Libyan brothers, we are supposed to be treated the same, but this is what the Gadhafi militiamen did to me, they violated my honor.”

This is the fiend we’re supposed to feel sorry for?  A murderous, mad dog dictator with American blood on his hands whose supporters rape their opponents?   Or does Farrakhan think this is a made-up story by a CIA financed insurgent?

As he ages Farrakhan’s star is settling not rising.  He has lost his relevance to Black America.  His cozy relationship with maniacs like Gaddafi only erodes what little credence he has left.

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Seeing Sade Live: The Tickets Are Too Damn High!

Still looking good, but sounding good? It's going to cost you to find out.

Knowing how much of a fan I am, my sister sent me an e-mail to tell me Sade is coming to Columbus in July for the first time since her September 10, 2001 concert.   I hope she puts on a good show (and from seeing her in the past I have no doubt she will) and I pray there’s no day after as historic for all the wrong reasons as the last time she came to town.

However, I won’t be at there to find out.

I like Sade’s Soldier of Love but I do not love Soldier of Love. I hoped maybe over time I would, but nope.  One year after its release it’s still just second-rate Sade and when you’re demanding hundreds and in some cases thousands of dollars to see someone perform songs from a “okay” album live,  I had better be truly, madly deeply in love with it.

There’s no love at these prices.  If gas is too damn high and groceries are too damn high and the rent is too damn high, the best seats in the house .

The tickets at Value City Arena start at $109 for a seat in the terrace and top out at $449 to sit somewhere in section F3.   It’s not the nosebleed section, but it’s certainly not close enough to count Sade’s nose hairs either.

If I’m dropping over $900 bucks for two tickets I’m going to expect a backstage pass and champagne with Sade after the show.   Of course, maybe I’m just cheap.  The going price for a “top” ticket at the Staples Center in Los Angeles tops out at a measly $5,292!

When you look at the seating chart at Value City and what is unavailable to the public the first question is why paying top dollar doesn’t get you the best seats?

The answer of course is, the best seats never are available to the public.  The ticket brokers offer what is known as “pre-sale” tickets, but that won’t guarantee you a front-row seat .  The big shots and insiders get those.  You can’t touch this.

A fan on the Sade website explained how this process works (or in the case of the fan, doesn’t).

A credit card company or a fan club or Facebook is allotted a certain group of seats for a pre-sale. Every seat is pre-determined and chosen ahead of time. They then get the right to sell those exact seats in their pre-sales. Usually, there is a selection of every type of seat in the group – some good ones, some average ones, and some that aren’t so great.

Participating in a pre-sale doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get great seats. It just guarantees that you’ll get seats from that alloted group. They can work great for concerts that will sell out in minutes during the general sales, but if a concert isn’t going to sell out instantly, you can often get seats that are just as good or better in the general sale. It’s a little riskier though.

Even by participating in fan club presales, I’ve still never been able to get first, second, or third row for any concert ever. I talked to a Ticketmaster representative about this, and she told me that’s because those seats are generally held back for super premium sales, contests, well-connected people, etc.. They are near impossible to get in a pre-sale of any sort.

Hang on to your love? Hang on to your wallet is more like it.

The bloated price of a concert ticket can be blamed on many factors, but often its the artist themselves who take the hit.  Google “ticket prices” and a lot of pissed-off facts roar back in response.  Even on Sade’s official site one fan wrote,  “I, too am appalled by how much Sade concert tickets are. Her last show at Madison Square Garden was so good and I was really looking forward to seeing her again someday. But this seems like she’s trying to make up money from years of not earning. A lot of her fans won’t be able to pay this, and some of those who can will be disgusted to do so. Not cool, Sade. Don’t say “everyone” is doing it, because they’re not. I don’t want to assume you’re greedy, so I’ll believe you got in some trouble with a bookie or something like that instead.”

According to an ABC News report, with the collapse of record sales, artists now make up to 62 percent of their income from touring.  They have every incentive to keep the cost of a ticket high. That isn’t entirely without justification.  When Sade takes the stage it’s not as if  she strolls to the microphone wearing torn blue jeans with a guitar and a couple of backing musicians.    It’s a production putting on a major show and it takes lots of money to put it together, move it from city to city and employ anywhere to 50 to over 100 supporting staff.   Big acts put on big shows and demand big bucks. Cheap, it is not.

Downloading–illegal and otherwise–has reached right into the artist’s pocket.  Radio and record companies no longer break a new song or sell albums in the way they once did.   There is a generation of consumers whom only listen to singles, not albums and they have grown to expect the music should be made available to them as cheap as possible if not totally free.

But that’s no justification to gouge the fans $449 for a freaking two-hour concert.  The price is ridiculous.   For that kind of paper, I don’t want to see a one-hit wonder like John Legend as an opening act.   Throw in Stevie Wonder and Prince and I might be able that kind of outlay.  The operative phrase there being, ” I might.”

It’s not as if Sade is constantly on the road.   After a decade of silence, she dropped Soldier of Love, but then took another year  before going out to tour behind it.  To fill that lay-off, a new best-of CD,  The Ultimate Collection (featuring a Jay-Z 🙄 rap on one track) drops in May just before the America tour kicks off June in Baltimore.  That’s kind of weird, but then Sade is a weird kind of artist.

Unlike Kiss, the Eagles or the Rolling Stones, bands whom are always threatening that the next tour will be the last tour,  with Sade its more likely when she walks off the stage you won’t soon be seeing her again.   Simply cranking out the old hits  for big bucks has never seemed to be her prime motivation.

Which is not to say even Sade is immune to holding out the teasing temptation, “Well, are you sure you don’t want to see me one last time?”

Yes, I would like to see Sade one more time.  No, I won’t pay more for a couple of tickets more than I pay on my monthly mortgage.

I’ve seen Sade twice before.  It’s going to hurt a bit knowing she’s in town and I’m not there, but if I don’t see again I’ll take a Gloria Gaynor approach to it:  I will survive.

It’s never as good as the first time anyway.

"$449 for a ticket? Sure, I'm worth it."

A Place in the Sun for Elizabeth Taylor

Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor 1932 - 2011

Following the passing of Elizabeth Taylor, a Facebook friend posted, “So, Elizabeth Taylor was the Angelina Jolie of her day, with stealing folk’s husbands and all.” 

Okay, at eight marriages it’s fair to say Liz Taylor really liked wedding cake but she became a Hollywood icon the hard way: by building herself into one.   Angelina Jolie became the standard others are compared to by virtue of a lack of competition.   It’s like Liz was Muhammad Ali and Angelina is Larry Holmes.   The reining champion only because there was nobody else to claim the title. 

I replied, “Elizabeth Taylor was All-Woman. Angelina Jolie is a tattooed vampire who feeds off the blood of her multiracial brood and has sucked the soul right out of Brad “P-Whipped” Pitt.”

Angelina couldn’t snap Liz’s bra strap. 

When I think of a Star with a capital “S” I don’t think of Jolie, Jennifer Aniston or any other skin and bones stick figure some Hollywood producer keeps shoving into forgettable movies and are only two steps up on the hotness scale from the last pretty waitress who took my drink order at Friday’s.  My idea of a real movie star is someone who is glamorous, sensual, gorgeous and has a presence that makes all heads turn and all conversation stops when they enter the room. 

Liz Taylor had all that in abundance and she did it old-fashioned way: she worked at it.  Throw in the fact she could act too, she personifies the iconic Hollywood beauty; a gene pool dying out and one not being replenished much these days. 

Oh, and she was a sexy beast too.  As a species, women don’t get much hotter than Taylor.  She won her first Best Actress Oscar playing a prostitute in Butterfield 8, a movie she despised and her second for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? where she is absolutely devastating as the decidedly unglamorous Martha, a drunken lush with an evil tongue and a dark secret (Taylor packed on 30 pounds to play the part).   Virginia Woolf is the only film to be nominated for an Oscar in every category it was eligible for.    

The last of the movie stars?

There are still plenty of beautiful women and some of them even make movies.  But too many seem similar in form and feature, smaller in scale and more manufactured than real.   There’s nothing remotely larger than life about a Meryl Streep or Julia Roberts.    

To paraphrase Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. Elizabeth Taylor was always big. It’s what qualifies as a “movie star” these days that gotten smaller. 

One by one the true giants of their craft are leaving us. Before he passed on, the great Paul Newman paid homage to the his Cat On A Hot Tin Roof co-star.

Game recognizes game and we’re unlikely to see their type pass our way again.     

Not when people compare Angelina Jolie to Elizabeth Taylor without realizing how much that elevates Jolie and reduces Taylor. 

George Carlin once quipped that life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away.  Despite the many misfortunes that befell Taylor over her 79 years, she certainly gave many people reason to exhale then inhale deeply.  

Requiescat in pace, Elizabeth.  We shall not soon see your kind again. 

Dennis Kucinich: The elf with a bad attitude.

"Pay attention to me or I will eat this microphone!"

In shoes, Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich stands 5’7″, but what the Keebler Elf of Washington lacks in height he makes up for in stupid.  When the Cleveland Democrat isn’t filing frivolous lawsuits for the pain and suffering he experienced from biting into a “dangerous” sandwich with a unpitted olive in the House cafeteria, he can be found saying spectacularly dumb things  such as President Obama should be impeached for joining the United Nations in imposing a no-fly zone over Libya.

“It’s not even disputable, this isn’t even a close question. Such an action — that involves putting America’s service men and women into harm’s way, whether they’re in the Air Force or the Navy — is a grave decision that cannot be made by the president alone,” Kucinich said that although Obama’s decision “would appear on its face to be an impeachable offense,” the question of whether a trial should be held is “a whole separate question.”

Midget, please.

I’m on record as opposing the U.S. getting involved in the Libyan conflict, but I’m bored by perennial fringe/loser candidates like Dennis Kucinich and Ralph Nader and their diarrhea of the mouth.

The Far Right says “DO SOMETHING, YESTERDAY!” The Far Left screams “DO NOTHING, EVER!”

The truth is out there but you won’t find it from a failed former boy mayor who led Cleveland into default and may find himself gerrymandered right out of Congress.

The President doesn’t care if narcissists like Kucinich yap like a oversexed chihuahua and isn’t losing any sleep worrying about the “I” word tossed around.   Obama knows there’s a good chance Kucinich may run against him in 2012.   For his part, Kucinich is using his time in the spotlight for profit as much as principle.

Days after saying that President Obama’s authorization of U.S. intervention in Libya is an “impeachable offense,” Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) is now using his criticism of the president in a fundraising appeal.

Kucinich posted a video message on his campaign Web site Monday in which he asks supporters for campaign contributions and charges that the Obama administration’s decision to intervene in Libya was “outside the Constitution of the United States.”
 
The video comes as Kucinich, who is up for a ninth term in 2012, faces the prospect of having his district redrawn in Ohio’s redistricting battle, which will see the Buckeye State lose two House seats. Faced with the prospect of a tough bid, the Ohio Democrat has already made forceful fundraising pleas to his supporters; as he has in those previous messages, Kucinich notes in his most recent fundraising missive that his district may be “dramatically altered” and that he’s “going to have to make some decisions about where I’m going to run.” 
 

Obama: "Look me in the eye when I'm talking to you." Kucinich: "I can't look ANYBODY in the eye."

 

Scratch Kucinich’s “guts” and what you find is cold, cynical, calculation and a cheap hack following the First Commandment of politics: Do and say whatever you must to get reelected.

Kucinich is a political gadfly. A back bencher who rises up to tweak his fellow Democrats as the soul of the party, but that was a role better handled by the late Sen. Paul Wellstone.

 Kucinich’s assertion the president has committed an impeachable offense is not supported by Constitutional scholars or political realists. He’s pandering and playing to the cheap seats who lust for Obama to face a primary challenger next year. Fine. If Dennis sees himself as the left-wing Don Quixote as he did in his no-shot runs in 2004 and 2008, he’s welcome to get in the race. It might do Obama good to have a foil in a few debates and toughen him up for the rollicking the Republicans are going to give him.

But as a progressive, I’m choosy about whom I get behind to fly my freak flag. Kucinich ain’t my guy. Kucinich was a failure as mayor of Cleveland and as a Congressman he’s carved out a niche as an ideological fly in the ointment, but is he an effective legislator? I haven’t seen much evidence to support that.

On the score of being a relentless self-promoter who’s never shied away from a camera and the opportunity to run his mouth, Dennis Kucinich is exactly like Michelle Bachmann in neither has ever said “no comment” to an interview request.

Kucinich is playing to the Daily Kos crowd and raising campaign contributions by blurting out political absurdities like “impeachment” which he knows aren’t about to happen.

Kucinich enjoys yelling the “I” word and demanded it for George Bush and Dick Cheney and once again was roundly ignored for posturing like the world’s ugliest ballerina.

Yep, dude’s a real profile in courage self-preservation.   It may not save him though as the results of a recent poll by Public Policy Polling didn’t hold much love for Kucinich in it:

Ohio’s two-time minor Democratic presidential candidate and 10th district Rep. Dennis Kucinich is not well liked at all statewide, with 27% seeing him favorably and 40% unfavorably. He turns 63% of Republicans off and gets the nod from only 44% of Democrats. Independents mirror the electorate at-large.

 
Today’s example in shameless ass-covering has been brought to you courtesy of Dennis “the Menace” Kucinich.

Maybe when he’s done messing with Obama he’ll get back to filing stupid lawsuits against the peddlers of  “dangerous” sandwiches loaded with unpitted olives.

Such a unserious man hardly deserves to be taken seriously.   

 

"Sure, I'm homely and short and I'm 31 years older than she is, but she's HOT!"

 

The Dangle of the Angle: Sharron Angle’s Slight Return.

Angle is one hot mess for the Republicans.

There are so many extremists in the Republican Party it’s hard to keep track of them all.   A few of them rise above the fray if only because they are so far out of the mainstream.   In Nevada, rising from the ashes of a devastating defeat to Harry Reid, a Democratic senator many considered a dead man walking, Sharron Angle announced she will run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

A vacancy opened up with disgraced Republican Senator John Ensign announced he would not run for reelection following the exposure of his affair with another man’s wife.   Rep. Dean Heller declared his candidacy to replace Ensign thus creating an opening for Angle to angle into it–even if other Nevada Republicans aren’t crazy about the idea.

For the National Republican Senatorial Committee — which struggled managing Angle’s 2010 jumbled operation — her decision to pass on a Senate bid is welcome news. Heller, who on Tuesday announced his candidacy for the seat being vacated by Sen. John Ensign, has likely dodged the biggest obstacle to the nomination.

“We don’t want Dean Heller to have a primary,” said Smith.

Their House campaign committee colleagues, on the other hand, are now burdened with a high-profile candidate who is widely viewed as erratic, undisciplined and unpredictable. Angle’s entry raises the prospect of a divisive primary fight that could leave the party hamstrung for the general election.

“We’re not horribly excited about it,” said one House GOP aide, who requested anonymity in order to candidly discuss the party’s views of Angle. “She lost to Reid and is polarizing. She got so battered in the last election.”

Sharron Angle stands for lots of other things.

Like the U.S. pulling out of the United Nations because it is “the umpire on fraudulent science such as global warming.”

Like ending abortion in all cases including rape and incest.

Like ending the separation between church and state.

Like banning same-sex marriage.

Like privitalizing Medicare.

Like opposing fluoridation of water.

Like denying the existence of global warming.

Like lifting restrictions on offshore drilling and drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge.

Like proposing “Second Amendment remedies” to our current problems with government when she says off-the-wall things like, “You know, our Founding Fathers, they put that Second Amendment in there for a good reason and that was for the people to protect themselves against a tyrannical government. In fact Thomas Jefferson said it’s good for a country to have a revolution every 20 years. I hope that’s not where we’re going, but, you know, if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying, ‘My goodness, what can we do to turn this country around?’ I’ll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out.”

The biggest loser and winner of last November's election.

It didn’t quite work out that way as Reid, who was one of the most endangered Democrats on the GOP hit list, hung on to defeat Angle and foil the Republican hopes of knocking off the Senate Majority Leader.   I’m not a fan of Reid who is one of the weakest Majority Leaders ever to hold the gavel, but even honest conservatives know Angle’s whack job rhetoric and Tea Party philosophy cost them a seat they had a damn good chance of taking.

The Tea Party’s major success has been electing idiots whose primary job is to ensure the rich stay richer.

The Tea Party is a wholly owned subsidiary of greedy rich pricks like the Koch Brothers and Republican ass weasels such as Dick Armey. It’s not about smaller government or any of that crap. It’s about keeping power and money in the hands of the rich and corporations and they return the favor by bank rolling useful idiots in Washington and the statehouses who wallow in xenophobia and racism.

The Tea Party is a conglomeration of White conservatives who didn’t get interested in becoming activists until a Black man was elected president.

When you get past the poster-sized rhetoric and blah-blah-blah about “freedom,” “smaller government,” and “taking the country back” (from whom exactly?), the Tea Party is owned and operated by Corporate America:

– Freedom Works staffers coordinate conference calls among protesters, contacting conservative activists to give them “sign ideas, sample press releases, and a map of events around the country.”
– Freedom Works staffers apparently moved to “take over” the planning of local events in Florida.
– Freedom Works provides how-to guides for delivering a “clear message” to the public and media.
– Freedom Works has several domain addresses — some of them made to look like they were set up by amateurs — to promote the protests.
– Americans for Prosperity is writing press releases and planning the events in New Jersey, Arizona, New Hampshire, Missouri, Kansas, and several other states.

The feminist author Audre Lord said, “the master’s tools will never be used to dismantle the master’s house” and in the case of the supposedly grass-roots activism of the Tea Party these particular tools are being used to reinforce the master’s house, not dismantle it.

It doesn’t take a lot of sleuthing to figure out how and who owns the Tea Party. It does take a bit more analysis and critical thinking and a lot more critical thinking than some folks are putting into it. They seem to think volume and rancor is the same thing as commitment and purpose.

If you know nothing about Sharron Angle except that she doesn’t like Barack Obama and that makes her aces in your book, you’re probably as far out there on the edges of extremism as she is and I hope you’re very happy together.

For my part, I will be equally happy to write the largest check I can scratch to her Democratic opponent to beat Angle’s ass a second straight time.

It’s Not Our Oil. It’s Not Our Fight.

It's their fight. Let them fight it.

British, French and US military aircraft are preparing to protect the Libyan rebel stronghold of Benghazi after the United Nations security council voted in favour of a no-fly zone and air strikes against Muammar Gaddafi’s forces.

With Gaddafi’s troops closing in on Benghazi, the French prime minister, Francois Fillon, said “time is of the essence” and that France would support military action set to take place within hours.

Jets could take off from French military bases along the Mediterranean coast, about 750 miles from Libya. Several Arab countries would join the operation.

Isn’t it strange how we keep hearing over to the point of nausea, “WE’RE BROKE!” but there’s always enough leftover change in the cushions of the couch to buy another bomb to drop on nine boys looking for firewood one day and two more the next engaged in the terroristic act of watering the fields.

Yep, we’re really helping those poor, oppressed bastards in Afghanistan, aren’t we? Helping them right under the ground.

By the way, I know we’ve only been in that shithole for a decade or so now, but could someone remind me why we’re still in Afghanistan? It can’t be in search of Osama bin Laden. He’s chillaxin’ over in Pakistan somewhere under the protection of their version of the CIA.

It can’t be to keep Hamad Karzai in power. Dude’s as crooked as a dog’s back leg.

Some 64 percent of Americans don’t think the war in Afghanistan is worth fighting anymore. So why go on if there’s no point and no end to it. Ten years later and victory is no closer than it was in 2001. What an obscene waste of time, men, money and innocent lives.   If President Obama wanted to reassure his reelection he’d pull our troops out of Afghanistan and leave them to their endless wars and heroin production.

The Middle East is a quagmire for superpowers who try to impose their will upon it.  The Russians learned this lesson about Afghanistan and ten years down the road, the United States is getting schooled as well.

And now the U.S. is supposed to help the rebels in Libya? As one professional football player responded when asked why he took himself out of a game in order rather than risk an injury, “For who? For what?”

Why is this our fight? What’s it in for us? Gasoline back under $3.40 for regular?

Because dead Libyans being killed by their dictator isn’t a good enough reason for me. That sucks, but it sucked when the genocide in Darfur and Rwanda went down and I didn’t see anyone at the U.N. falling over themselves to get in there and break that mess up.

Of course, the only thing black you’re going to get out of intervention in the Sudan and Rwanda are grateful Africans instead of barrels of oil. Gratitude is cool, but you can’t fill your gas tank with it.

WHO are we supposed to be backing in this civil war and WHAT are we going to get out of it? If we didn’t go to war in Libya to get rid of Khadafy or Gaddafi (or however the hell we’re spelling his stupid name this week) after he blew 189 Americans to hell and gone in 1988 in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing, why he’s so much worse now than he was then?

I was against the last war and I’m against the next war too. There’s enough European countries with air power to impose a no-fly zone over Libya. Let them fight and die for their oil instead of the U.S. fighting and dying for their oil.

The change will do them good. Especially France.

Col. Gaddafi (or however he's spelling his name today)

Queen Arianna’s Reign of Error

The Queen of All Media on her throne.

When Howard Stern, the self-proclaimed King of All Media, took his dirty mind and love of lesbians, dwarfs and bigots with him when he abandoned terrestrial radio for satellite and millions of dollars I was among the masses of loyal listeners he left behind.

For  years I had woken up in the morning to listen to, get a laugh from and more than a few times get pissed off at Howard’s show.  I recognized the smutty and sophomoric nature of the program, but at least it wasn’t boring.  I vividly recall Howard and his sidekick Robin Quivers trying to make sense of what was happening on the morning of September 11, 2001and trying hard not to give into the panic.

Now that Howard has gone his way and I have gone mine, I’ve pretty much forgotten he exists.  I was flipping channels the other night and there he was yakking it up with that horribly boring Piers Morgan on CNN.  What I was struck by in the few moments I lingered before clicking away was how much Howard sounded and looked the same as he did when he signed off in 2005 and how little I cared any more.

The point is (and I do have one) is no matter how much you enjoy something, the time eventually comes when you leave it behind or it changes in such a way you leave it behind.  We form a relationship, a bond with our favorite musicians, authors, sports figures, TV shows and magazines.   When they change so drastically we no longer know what it was we liked about them in the first place we either live with the change or we move on.

That’s where I’m at with Arianna Huffington and her publication, The Huffington Post.  When I learned the repellent Andrew Breitbart, the far-right propagandist, character assassin and racist manipulator of the Shirley Sherrod incident was joining the supposedly “progressive” Huffington Post as a contributor, that was when it was time to say, “check, please.”  Any publication that wants to associate itself with a maggot like Breitbart is not a publication I want anything to do with.

I closed my account with The Huffington Post and deleted the site from my browser’s bookmarks.  I won’t hotlink to any more stories on the HuffPo and will do my best to ignore the site as much as humanly possible.  There are plenty of other sites that do politics, entertainment and news a lot better and doesn’t fuck over its writers in the process.

These days there are more sites that look like The Huffington Post than the New York Times.  Founded just six years ago, the HuffPo has created the template for a successful news site:  aggregate (or “borrow”) your content from other publications, don’t pay your contributors but assure them thousands of readers are eagerly devouring your writing and endlessly promote yourself as a liberal lion as you sit down with the other heavy hitters on the Sunday talk shows.

And it worked.  The downside is it’s a model built upon the sweat and toil of others and the final product treats empty entertainment the same as important news.

Arianna Huffington is not a liberal.

She’s an opportunist who will lie down even with sleazy race-baiting bastards like Andrew Breitbart.

Birds of a feather crap on journalism together

Actions (and acquisitions) have consequences.

Queen Arianna maximizing her opportunities has already had immediate and dire consequences. As part of AOL’s acquisition of The Huffington Post, 200 staffers from their sites such as Politics Daily and Daily Finance saw their jobs terminate

“There was no contact at all from whomever was making decisions,” said one AOL editorial insider who was let go. “Not a single person on our team was interviewed, and they didn’t even ask for resumes. It’s really a big mess.”

The layoffs include PoliticsDaily‘s editor-in-chief Melinda Henneberger, a veteran political journalist who spent 10 years at The New York Times, according to FishbowlDC.

“I have just laid off dozens of the most talented journalists & product folks I know,” Jonathan Dube, AOL’s senior vice president of news, tweeted around noon. “Need talent? Let me know!”

Even for those who remain, the future is uncertain. “Everything I support appears to be disappearing,” said one AOL tech staffer who survived the cuts. “They gutted the place.”

In addition to the 200 stateside job cuts, 700 workers in India are being let go.

Oh well, I’m sure they will be able to get jobs writing for The HuffPo for free. All they have to do is find another way to buy food, pay bills and afford the electricity for their laptops.

Will I miss the HuffPo?   As far as grabbing some fast food “infrotainment” when I want some quick and not too deep, sure I will.   But the HuffPo was never any good for in-depth investigative journalism and well-written commentary.   That was always something I had to go elsewhere in search of.  There’s no shortage of choices to go to for my information.   Huffington’s plantation is not required reading.

It all comes down to this.  I don’t need any more of Arianna Huffington’s bullshit.

Obama in 2007: When the Game Changed.

As part of my resolution to work out my body and exercise my mind (so far, so good) I’m reading Game Change:  Obama and The Clintons, McCain and Palin and the Race of A Lifetime. It’s an insider’s view of the 2008 presidential campaign written by two veteran political journalists,  John Heilemann and Mark Helperin.

It’s far from a scholarly read.  If People Magazine were to write a book about the 2008 campaign, it would probably be something like Game Change.   I’m enjoying it as a guilty pleasure even as I recognize its  gossipy and superficial.  There are better books about how Barack Obama won the election, but few are as easy to read through.

It took me back to a column I wrote in 2007 when Obama announced he was running for the presidency.

Let’s consider this for a moment. Let’s say you are running a business and you recruit a young, handsome, articulate (and ambitious) young man to join your organization. He’s green as grass regarding how the business works, but he’s eager, a hard-charger, a real go-getter. You see in him the kind of talent and drive one would only hope others to exhibit and emulate.

He’s been on the job for a few years. He’s congenial and everyone likes working with him, but he hasn’t really done anything yet.

A key vacancy at the top of management opens up. There is no shortage of qualified individuals vying for the job. They have decades worth of experience. They are battle-tested, seasoned and know their way around the block.

But they’re a pretty dull group of gray-suit guys. Competent as hell to be sure, but with the collective sex appeal of a cold bowl of chicken noodle soup. They’re VHS in a DVD world.

So do you give the job to the new kid on the block?

Do you risk putting a fresh young face up against some of the roughest and toughest competitors on the planet? Are you willing to risk the future of the business on a relative rookie who has more star power than street smarts?

Is this job one that can be trusted to someone with more enthusiasm than experience.

This is the question Barack Obama will have to answer.

The question of Senator Obama’s experience is the one both he and those that doubt he has the necessary skills to be President of the United States would prefer to focus upon. That debate distracts from the more uncomfortable one of whether or not the nation is ready to choose a Black man as Chief Executive.

But the experience question is a legitimate one. Unlike Senators McCain, Biden, Brownback and Dodd whom have decades of experience between them, Obama is a newbie. Even John Edwards waited until he finished his six years as a Senator before making a run for The Big Chair.

However, as someone who has met the man, shook his hand and watched the way he works a room, I can say with 100 percent certainty that whatever the elusive star quality is some people have in abundance and most people don’t have at all, Barack Obama has “it.” To quote that great philosopher Tupac Shakur, when Obama is onstage it’s All Eyes On Him.

Obama doesn’t need another 20 years watching his hair become a distinguished grey and giving increasingly boring and irrelevant speeches on the floor of the Senate. He is never going to be more popular than he is right now. He has tapped into the desire of the American public for fresh faces appealing to our higher nature and not our base instincts. Obama seeks to unite with rhetoric of common goals and shared sacrifice, not the politics of division and character assassination.

Not yet anyway.

I concede the criticism that the media has designated Obama as The Chosen One is a valid one. In the search for the Anti-Hillary, Obama has been cast in the role of the charismatic newbie who can inspire the masses and lead the Democrats back into the White House in 2008.

Yeah, well…

This may be surprising coming from me, but I don’t think being Black will be Barack Obama’s main obstacle. There’s a certain hardcore group of voters that will not under any circumstances vote for a Black candidate no matter how qualified they might be. Their vote isn’t up for grabs so there’s no point in wasting time and money going after them.

But the experience issue is one that nags at even those who admire Obama. They see a world full of potential enemies and real ones challenging the U.S. and a myriad of issues that can’t be solved with high-sounding accolades and vague generalizations.

The fallacy is that you have to possess a vast wealth of experience to become the President of the United States. Correct me, but I don’t think George W. Bush or Bill Clinton had an immense amount of exposure to draw upon in their stints as state governors in dealing with China, Iran, Russia or North Korea. Every president is heavily dependent upon the staff he hires to provide him with good intel and advice. Even the most rock solid Republican would probably admit that Bush was poorly served by the pre-war intelligence on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, though Bush didn’t seem to hold anyone accountable for it. I doubt Obama would have a problem putting together a solid staff to help him.

Nobody seems to be scoffing at Tom Tancredo, Duncan Hunter, Dennis Kucinich, Tom Vilsack or Sam Brownback for thinking about making a run at the White House and politically speaking these guys are nobodies. Most of them would have to walk around with a “Hi, My name is _____” sticker on their suits before anyone realized who they were. None of these guys have a snowball’s chance at winning so why are they running? Nobody thinks there’s anything weird about a White guy wanting to be president no matter how off the wall their candidacy is.

Barack Obama has the name recognition and high-profile most of the potential candidates would cut off their pinky finger for. The deconstruction of Barack Obama has already started in ways both trivial (his middle name being Osama) and slightly disquieting (that he has admitted to using drugs in his youth will disqualify him with those who imagine a every president should be made of a higher moral fiber than the rest of us).

Obama is nobody’s fool. He knows nobody has gone from the Senate to the White House since John Kennedy. But he also knows Kennedy had a skimpy job performance in the Senate and only viewed it as a stepping stone to the presidency.

Obama has drawn enough White support to make him a viable candidate for the presidency. That does not mean he can count on that translating into actual votes and victory because the same good people who say they’re open to voting for a Black man to be President, may go in a very different direction in the privacy of the voting booth.
Frankly, I don’t understand all the drama over Obama. He’s certainly not the first African-American to run for the top job. Maybe what it is if he can put together a credible campaign, he might be the first that could actually win?