To Be Or Not To Blog?

This is an opportunity for me to take a short victory lap (because I hate to run) over a personal accomplishment for The Domino Theory.

Based in no small part from the higher profile given to my blog post review of Fruitvale Station being featured on the Word Press Freshly Pressed page, I rocketed to 500 “follows” in three months.    What really blows my mind is I’ve been grinding away at this blog since 2008 and I didn’t get to 100 Follows until June of this year.

What’s really been a surprise is it hasn’t stopped.   At the rate the follows have been coming I may hit 600 before Thanksgiving and that is something to be thankful for.

Fame, if not necessarily fortune at long last!   Yay! You like me! You really like me!

Trophy Case

But seriously, folks.   I can’t individually thank every one who has subscribed to my blog.   I am truly touched by the vote of confidence because everyone I know who does this has those moments where they get that sneaking sensation they are only talking to themselves.    Well, if I am I hope the conversation is at least interesting.

I’m not exactly sure where I’m going to go next with this blogging thing.    While I’m very good at saying precisely what I think about Ted Cruz,  Kanye and Kim or bad jazz, I would really like to transition to more serious, less frivolous, subjects.    I think of myself as a  good interviewer (though I hate transcribing interviews) and next year I’m going to get back to doing more of them.   If I want to raise the profile of The Domino Theory one way to do it is by talking with people I want to know more about  because nobody else seems to be talking to them for me.

Journalism as I know it is in a state of flux.   Anyone who tells you they know what happens next is lying to you and themselves.   What is known is the readership that faithfully followed newspapers, magazines and print is gone and they aren’t coming back.   They are accessing information and entertainment on handheld devices, on their phones, and via other means that doesn’t depend on dead trees to get the point across.

Even the best blogs can’t come close to what the Washington Post, TIME or Newsweek did when they were required reading.   Blogging is not the first draft of history.    It’s the immediate reaction to history as its made.   I know for a fact a lot of trained journalists absolutely despise bloggers and it doesn’t matter how polished or professional the prose and the presentation is.   They will never consider it a legit option to classic print, radio and television news media.

I don’t either.  Not yet anyway.  I’m not a blogger trying to create journalism.   I’m a journalist who blogs and this is still very much a work in progress, but I’m still excited by the possibilities.   If you gave me a million dollars and told me, “Go make some journalism” I wouldn’t start a newspaper.   I’d create a blog.

Since I have one already maybe the best bet is to keep trying to make it better and if it becomes something more like journalism and something less like blogging, that’s not a bad thing.   This is as much an experiment as it an experience.

Thanks again for your support.  Going forward I hope to give you even better reasons to continue doing so.


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.