The Dream Is A Bit Stronger

The speech itself is always worth watching; it is a wonderful bit of oratory, and maybe it is somehow fitting (although I would never try to draw too much into it) that Barack Obama will be sworn in tomorrow, and hopefully, we will begin to get past, but never forget, the awful things done in our name by the second Bush Administration.

It’s disingenuous to claim that America is even remotely post-racial because of the man’s election, but we cannot kid ourselves by saying it isn’t significant and important. This may be the most attention lavished on a presidential inauguration that I’ve witnessed personally — maybe because this is the first one where the Internet was truly at its full force — but it has so much to do with the image of President Obama.

Consider this: currently playing on my TV screen, in HD, is a TNT montage of NBA players, talking about how personal the election of Obama is for them and their families, to see someone who looks like them, who looks like America and its changing face, leading it, for even four years.

Of course, the question is what President Obama will do to live up to the promises he made, to drag us out of the state of affairs the country finds itself in. Whether he will be successful is left to us to judge.  For right now, we can enjoy the symbolism, and the hope.\

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Bring Out Your Poles

costanza

I still got a lot of problems with you people.

Political:

1) DC reporters, writers, and talking heads: where the fuck do you get this “we are a center-right country” shit? Johnny Mac tried to label Black Eagle as a commie pinko socialist and WE STILL VOTED FOR HIM. Stop moving the fucking goalposts for the Democrat. It’s nice to know you found a supposed spine after taking it up the ass for eight years from the Caligutard, but Black Eagle isn’t even in office yet. Sit down and shut the fuck up.

2) My fellow Californians: you let your inner hick show on Election Day and it wasn’t pretty with Proposition 8. You were dumb enough to fall for the “it’ll be taught in schools” crap.

3) To Congress: What the fuck do I pay your salary for? I vote to send a critter to the House and two senators and you can’t even do your jobs by investigating the abuses of the Chimp in Charge? Then, to truly demonstrate your incompetence, you give Hank Paulson complete control over distributing my money in a bailout without ensuring it has to be loaned out. Moronic or crooked? Which one?

4) Oh, Sarah. Stay in Alaska until you can form a complete sentence, OK?

5) Dubya. Where to begin? Your charming way of saying nuclear, your thirst for unnecessary war, or your handing out of political spoils to cronies in order to politicize entire departments. And let’s not forget: it’s 2008 and, like Kanye said, you don’t care about black people. Heckuva job, Bushie.  Take your ass back to Texas and let’s never hear from it again.

6) Wall Street Execs. You sounded like Dubya at Katrina when you testified and pleaded for your bailout in front of Congress: “No one could have predicted the collapse of this scale.” You got high living off the hog and now we’re subsidizing your fucking losses, and you’re still giving multi-million dollar bonuses. Can we implant a sense of shame?

Sports:

1) Fox. Worst. Telecasts. Ever. From football to baseball, you fail miserably and in every capability with the gimmickry.

2) ESPN. Good with games, lousy at actual journalism.  You realize you put yourself out there as a “news” source? That means you don’t get to ignore stories when you want to. (Brian Giles sued by his ex for abuse, ignoring the “Favre talked to the Lions” story until Brett the Jet wanted to deny the rumor, Ed Werder and the Cowboys.)  I long for the days of CNNSI or the return of Sports Tonight, to at leave have something of an option.

3) Mike Shanahan. Thank you, once again, for failing to place any emphasis on defense. Your offensive genius has obviously been predicated on the backs of Terrell Davis, John Elway, and a Hall of Fame offensive line. Now, if you lose out on a playoff spot on the last day of the season for the second time in 3 years, I’m going to be furious.

4) Everyone Even Considering Themselves an Analyst on TV. There are too many of you fuckers with not a whole lot to say. NFL Today, NFL Countdown, Football Night in America — the economy is suffering, why shouldn’t you? You can afford to survive the recession.

5) The BCS. Much like the Wall Street execs, a bunch of greedy, money hungry fucks more interested in preserving the big piece of the pie rather than actually giving the fans what they want. And we still watch it. Maybe I shouldn’t be bitching at the BCS conference commissioners, maybe I should be griping at myself for buying into it.

Share your grievances here. It’s safe.

The Shock Doctrine, In Practice

bobcorker

Putting the brakes on the auto industry bailout package of $14 billion dollars (which was designed to last until March or April, when Chrysler and GM could come back with better, more formative ideas of future strategies) has absolutely nothing to do with pricipled ideals about capitalism and the free market for Senate Republicans. If that had been the case, the previous $700 billion financial market rescue would have been filibustered and held up infinitely — and Henry Paulson would not be moving the goal posts on how the money is supposed to be used every couple of weeks.

It has nothing to do with waiting for better strategies and plans from those companies, either. If it had been, they would have asked for a clearer explanation from Paulson, the Fed and banks on not hoarding the credit, as they are doing right now.

This is about busting the United Auto Workers union, pure and simple. It’s Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine on display: use an emergency situation to force radical, unrelated changes in policy that you had wanted all along.   Please note the plan of one Tennessee senator named Bob Corker yes, the same hick fuck who race-baited former Representative Harold Ford, Jr. in order to win his Senate seat — that the G.O.P. proceeded to line itself up behind:

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A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Idiocy

inanimatecarbonrodThe staggering development of soon-to-be former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s apparent corruption, charges so blazen and blatant they would make “Lincoln roll over in his grave,” to paraphrase U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald (yes, that very same one in the Valerie Plame investigation; he is an equal opportunity angel of justice), is not staggering because a Chicago pol has some skeletons in his closet.

It is staggering because by all accounts, the Inanimate Carbon Rod, a Democrat, is quite possibly one of the dumbest men ever to hold elective office if all of the accusations hold up in court. He is accused of pay-for-play tactics that, per the FBI’s Robert Grant, shocked even the most hardened and cynical of agents.

Here is a basic laundry list of the most audacious alleged crimes contained in the indictment (PDF file):

  • Schemed to sell the appointment of President-Elect Barack Obama’s Senate seat to the highest bidder in exchange for either a high paying position with a non-profit or a labor union, a placement for his wife Patricia on corporate boards, campaign funds, or an ambassadorship or cabinet post (he wanted to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, apparently)
  • Threatened to put a halt to any public help to the Tribune Co. in selling Wrigley Field if they did not fire members of the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board who wrote unflattering portraits of him
  • Wanting to hold up $8 million dollars for Chicago’s Children’s Memorial Hospital because its administrator didn’t cough up $50K for his re-election campaign

The last one is what really makes it art. Earlier in the day, I thought it boring, quid-pro-quo crap; there was no particular skullduggery that made it stand out, but as soon as you get the health and care of kids involved, there’s a new level of arrogance there that would make Karl Rove smile from ear to ear, no matter what the political party.

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Death Comes In The Night On Little Cat’s Feet

Eventually, someone’s going to follow Andrew W.K.’s lead after making a song based off the ramblings of the McLaughlin Group, but for now, the original will do. (Hat tip: Idolator).

Next up: Fall Out Boy writing its next hit in tribute to Tim Russert.

A Crook Gets A Standing Ovation

So, what kind of crime do you have to be convicted of to get complete silence after you make your last speech on the floor of the Senate. Clearly, idiocy is not a barrier, as Ted Stevens is the infamous moron who described the Internet as a series of tubes, but he was also convicted of seven counts on corruption charges recently — which probably led to him losing his re-election battle.  Nevertheless, the whole damned Senate gave him a standing ovation after his final speech.

All of you, up against the fucking wall, right now. Asking if any of them had a scintilla of shame is a silly question that we already knew the answer to. He may be your friend, but HE ABUSED HIS FUCKING OFFICE. How hard is that to understand?

I think the reason they applauded was because Mark Begich saved them from having to decide whether or not to kick him out. Oh, and because they’d all like to do what he did — except get caught.

A Question Of Love

Because WordPress is a bee-yotch*, it will not allow me to embed the video, but I urge you to go and watch Keith Olbermann’s comment on Proposition 8.

I have had a love-hate relationship with K.O.’s show as of late, as the Special Comments became sometimes more than I could bear in terms of stridency, but this one should be watched and distributed as much as possible. The least I can do is quote the full text, without a jump:

Finally tonight as promised, a Special Comment on the passage, last week, of Proposition Eight in California, which rescinded the right of same-sex couples to marry, and tilted the balance on this issue, from coast to coast.

Some parameters, as preface. This isn’t about yelling, and this isn’t about politics, and this isn’t really just about Prop-8.  And I don’t have a personal investment in this: I’m not gay, I had to strain to think of one member of even my very extended family who is, I have no personal stories of close friends or colleagues fighting the prejudice that still pervades their lives.

And yet to me this vote is horrible. Horrible. Because this isn’t about yelling, and this isn’t about politics. This is about the human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it.

If you voted for this Proposition or support those who did or the sentiment they expressed, I have some questions, because, truly, I do not understand. Why does this matter to you? What is it to you? In a time of impermanence and fly-by-night relationships, these people over here want the same chance at permanence and happiness that is your option. They don’t want to deny you yours. They don’t want to take anything away from you. They want what you want—a chance to be a little less alone in the world.

Only now you are saying to them—no. You can’t have it on these terms. Maybe something similar. If they behave. If they don’t cause too much trouble.  You’ll even give them all the same legal rights—even as you’re taking away the legal right, which they already had. A world around them, still anchored in love and marriage, and you are saying, no, you can’t marry. What if somebody passed a law that said you couldn’t marry?

I keep hearing this term “re-defining” marriage. If this country hadn’t re-defined marriage, black people still couldn’t marry white people. Sixteen states had laws on the books which made that illegal in 1967. 1967.

The parents of the President-Elect of the United States couldn’t have married in nearly one third of the states of the country their son grew up to lead. But it’s worse than that. If this country had not “re-defined” marriage, some black people still couldn’t marry black people. It is one of the most overlooked and cruelest parts of our sad story of slavery. Marriages were not legally recognized, if the people were slaves. Since slaves were property, they could not legally be husband and wife, or mother and child. Their marriage vows were different: not “Until Death, Do You Part,” but “Until Death or Distance, Do You Part.” Marriages among slaves were not legally recognized.

You know, just like marriages today in California are not legally recognized, if the people are gay.

And uncountable in our history are the number of men and women, forced by society into marrying the opposite sex, in sham marriages, or marriages of convenience, or just marriages of not knowing, centuries of men and women who have lived their lives in shame and unhappiness, and who have, through a lie to themselves or others, broken countless other lives, of spouses and children, all because we said a man couldn’t marry another man, or a woman couldn’t marry another woman. The sanctity of marriage.

How many marriages like that have there been and how on earth do they increase the “sanctity” of marriage rather than render the term, meaningless?

What is this, to you? Nobody is asking you to embrace their expression of love. But don’t you, as human beings, have to embrace… that love? The world is barren enough.

It is stacked against love, and against hope, and against those very few and precious emotions that enable us to go forward. Your marriage only stands a 50-50 chance of lasting, no matter how much you feel and how hard you work.

And here are people overjoyed at the prospect of just that chance, and that work, just for the hope of having that feeling.  With so much hate in the world, with so much meaningless division, and people pitted against people for no good reason, this is what your religion tells you to do? With your experience of life and this world and all its sadnesses, this is what your conscience tells you to do?

With your knowledge that life, with endless vigor, seems to tilt the playing field on which we all live, in favor of unhappiness and hate… this is what your heart tells you to do? You want to sanctify marriage? You want to honor your God and the universal love you believe he represents? Then Spread happiness—this tiny, symbolic, semantical grain of happiness—share it with all those who seek it. Quote me anything from your religious leader or book of choice telling you to stand against this. And then tell me how you can believe both that statement and another statement, another one which reads only “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

You are asked now, by your country, and perhaps by your creator, to stand on one side or another. You are asked now to stand, not on a question of politics, not on a question of religion, not on a question of gay or straight. You are asked now to stand, on a question of love. All you need do is stand, and let the tiny ember of love meet its own fate.

You don’t have to help it, you don’t have it applaud it, you don’t have to fight for it. Just don’t put it out. Just don’t extinguish it. Because while it may at first look like that love is between two people you don’t know and you don’t understand and maybe you don’t even want to know. It is, in fact, the ember of your love, for your fellow person just because this is the only world we have. And the other guy counts, too.

This is the second time in ten days I find myself concluding by turning to, of all things, the closing plea for mercy by Clarence Darrow in a murder trial.

But what he said, fits what is really at the heart of this:

“I was reading last night of the aspiration of the old Persian poet, Omar-Khayyam,” he told the judge. It appealed to me as the highest that I can vision. I wish it was in my heart, and I wish it was in the hearts of all: So I be written in the Book of Love; I do not care about that Book above. Erase my name, or write it as you will, So I be written in the Book of Love.”

(*And seriously: I am considering moving back to Blogger because of this alone, and I loathe Blogger. Maybe Movable Type is in order or something.)