Month: September 2008

My new favorite YouTube dude…

is Jay Smooth of the website

Among the things that this dude talks about are the top 10 OTHER things that Martin Luther King said, how to tell people that they sound racist, and the legend of the RZA and the Replicator.

If you get a chance to check him out, you should. So, I’m attaching his take on the power of community organizers. Enjoy!

Revering the Alaskan…

ABC’s Charlie Gibson, one of the two jokers who took two hours of my life from me in April in the name of a presidential debate that focused more on flag pins and preachers than it did on issues, has the honor of being the first non-Fox News media person to interview GOP Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

But after listening to NPR’s “Morning Edition” this morning, I don’t think that I’ll be the next reporter to sit down with La Palin.

Why? Because I only show reverence to one person in this world and she’s about 5’1″, lives in New Jersey, and answers to “Mom”.

According to the report I heard on “Morning Edition”, John McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis, said that the reason why Palin wasn’t being made available to the press was because the campaign believed she wouldn’t be treated with “respect and reverence.”

Now, respect you’ll get from me. I respect all of my sources, even the ones that I feel like smacking around. I’ll ask you questions based on my research, use the proper addresses and make sure that I quote you directly and correctly.

But reverence? For reverence, you had to give birth to me. Since the only person who qualifies for that is 5’1″, lives in New Jersey, and looks nothing like Sarah Palin, Madame Governor is kind of out of luck.

Since reverence is something I’ve never been asked for from a source, I don’t know how to react to this. And what does reverence mean in this case? Does it mean that I have to have my questions come through one of your handlers before I ask them? Do I have to curtsy before I enter the room to talk to you?

Besides, I’m having a hard time seeing why you deserve my reverence, Ms. Palin.

First of all, you’re far too cozy with the National Rifle Association. Since I live in a city where guns have killed far too many folks, and the only person I do revere, my mom, knows better than that, you’ve lost me right there.

Secondly, your policy papers indicate a trend toward abuse of power and wanting to give the government far too much control over my reproductive functions. I believe that if you don’t want to have an abortion (or marry a gay person), don’t. But don’t make that decision for the rest of us. It’s presumptious.

And thirdly, it’s really hard for me to revere someone who calls themselves “a pit bull in lipstick” yet is ready to pull the “frail female flower” card when it comes to facing me and my fellow travelers in the Fourth Estate. You’re running for one of the top two elected offices in the United States, Ms. Palin. If you want to be seen as a true pit bull, might I suggest that you grow a set?!

So, as much as I would love to interview the governor of Alaska, it’s an interview I probably won’t get.

But you know what i’d like to see? I’d like to see Rick Davis come at Oprah Winfrey with the whole reverance thing when it comes to her being on her show. That would be worth the ticket to Chicago.

No one expects the American Electorate!

I saw this on LA and as a Monty Python fan, I just couldn’t resist!

He’s a lumberjack and he’s okay, and he knows what to do with a dead parrot. Besides, it beats the crap out of hearing John McCain tell us how we should vote for him because he’s a war hero, despite his having no knowledge of the economy.

And he’s certainly more amusing than Sarah Palin, “Fargo” voice not withstanding.


Tricky Dick Would Have Been Proud

When you think of nations that imprison reporters for doing their jobs, where do you focus?

Do you focus on African countries like Zimbabwe that are run by strongmen like Robert Mugabe? Or maybe you think of Iran, where free speech is in short supply? Does your mind drift to Russia, China or Cuba perhaps?

But of course you’d never think of America as one of those countries, right?

That’s because reporting in America is a Constitutionally-protected job. Under the First Amendment, you’re allowed to give people the news and make sure that they know what’s going on here. In fact, part of the function of the press is to keep the populace informed enough for them to make decisions on things that impact their lives.

Until yesterday, I believed that you could be a reporter in America without fear of arrest. I believed that you could cover stories no matter how unpopular and not have to worry about being carted away by police.

Then, as she often does, Amy Goodman, host of Pacifica’s Democracy Now! showed me that the America I thought I knew, and the real America, are sometimes two different places:

Sarah Speaks

If I did nothing else this evening, I wanted to make sure that I was home by 10 p.m. tonight so I could hear John McCain’s vice presidential running mate Sarah Palin make her acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention.

After days of hearing about her pregnant 17-year-old daughter, her possible ethics violations (she seems to be particularly fond of firing police officers for not bending to her will) and the controversy surrounding her youngest son, I was ready to hear what she had to say about herself, her vision for the country, and what she had to offer.

So I sat in my car, as I seem to have done for most of the speeches I’ve heard during the 2008 Presidential Campaign, and listened to Palin’s speech. I heard a lot of attacks on Barack Obama. I heard a lot of the usual Republican themes of “The Washington Elites hate us” (although her running mate is among them), “I speak for real people and they (the Democrats) don’t” and my personal favorite “What’s the difference between a Hockey Mom and a Pit Bull? Lipstick.”

(In case you don’t know what that last one was, that’s the usual sexist reference. That it was delivered by a woman gives it special resonance, I guess.)
I listened to the speech, then I grabbed a copy from I read it and read it, and read it again, looking for anything that didn’t look, sound, or feel like a McCain talking point. Something that felt like it was genuinely hers.

I’m still looking. In fact, here’s exactly what I got from that speech:

(a)While I’m not proud of this, I have to say to you that if the Coen Brothers decide that they want to do a remake of their hit movie “Fargo”, Frances McDormand won’t have to reprise her role as Sheriff Marge Gunderson if this whole political thing doesn’t work out for Sarah Palin. Most of the time she was speaking, I kept imagining this scene:

(b)As a member of the media, I’m tired of politicians with skeleton factories in their closets attacking us when we bring them out. If you don’t want your skeletons unveiled, don’t make them. If you want us to talk about your experience, have some. Otherwise, take your lumps and keep moving.


(c) During their speeches last week, most of the Democrats pointed out that because the Republicans have either (a) bad ideas or (b) no ideas, they’d go on the attack. Unfortunately, they were right. I saw or heard very few ideas here. But there was plenty of attack, and I expect to hear the same tomorrow when McCain does his acceptance speech.

So my assessment of this speech is that it served one of its purposes: providing red meat to the Right Wing Republican Base, but didn’t serve the other, which was to make me think of this woman as anything other than a Hockey Mom with an abuse of power problem.

But at least my assessment is kinder than the one given by a friend of mine. His two-word response: Fuck her!

Feel free to take another look at it and judge for yourself. If I missed something, tell me.

The August Surprise…

I was packing up to leave Denver after the Democratic National Convention when the Republicans showed us media types how they hoped to grab that percentage of Sen. Hillary Clinton’s voters that friends of mine kept asking me to smack in the back of the head last week.

The Hottest Governor in America!

(Boy, does this make the Vice Presidential Debate Must See TV!)

When CNN showed the political rally Sen. John McCain used to introduce the world to Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska, I didn’t have much time to pay attention because I didn’t want to miss my plane.

But my friend Vince hopped on and did some research. Before she became Gov. Palin, she was mayor of her hometown, a sports journalist, a high school basketball star, a life member of the National Rifle Association and, wait for it, a beauty queen.

(What the hell is it with John McCain, beauty queens and models? He’s like a bad “Sex and the City” character. If he wanted someone pretty that he could control as president, why didn’t he just put his wife Cindy on the ticket?)

Friends of mine who are active Democrats started popping champagne and making their hotel reservations for the Inaugural in January after getting that information. In light of Barack Obama’s speech (which won its time slot on Thursday night ratings-wise by the way) and a successful DNC, the road to the White House looked a lot clearer to them. I’ll address why that’s a bad supposition to make later.

Then news kept coming out that showed that maybe the McCain campaign didn’t do the vetting job that they should have before they selected this chick.

For example, she wound up issuing a statement saying that her 17-year-old daughter Bristol is five months pregnant and plans on marrying the 18-year-old father, Levi Johnston. (Because Mom is a life member of the NRA, I’m guessing that a shotgun will figure into this somehow.)

This statement was designed to counteract internet rumors that Palin’s last child, 4-month-old Trig, was actually her daughter’s kid, but it was really far too much information.

To his credit, Obama immediately declared this off limits in terms of campaign hits. Attacking families, especially kids, is beyond the pale, he said. Besides, his mom was 18 when she had him.

I can agree with that, but let’s keep it real. While it’s understood that you’re trying to run a different kind of campaign, one that’s trying to focus on the issues, if you were the parent dealing with an ‘oops’ moment like this, Sen. Obama, you and yours wouldn’t get the same courtesy.

That’s because if the poster child for why Abstinence Only sex education, which Sarah Palin espouses, doesn’t work were, say, Chelsea Clinton or Malia or Sasha Obama instead of Bristol Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and all of the right wing storm troopers would have a field day on this kid, her parents, and anyone connected to this. Ms. Clinton already knows this. When Rush Limbaugh calls you ‘ugly’ on his nationwide program when you’re 13, that tells you where you stand.

(But if Michelle shoots them her “black mama look”, they may think twice. Well, maybe not Rush. She might have to smack him around. He’s not very bright.)

But two things bother me much more than this: (a)It’s obvious that McCain isn’t running his campaign, the right wing of the Republican Party is and (b)the fact that Sarah Palin has the same “abuse of power problem” that President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have.

First of all, I’m pretty sure that before Obama put Joseph Biden on his ticket as the VP nominee, he went through Biden’s record from top to bottom. His vetting committee probably went to Delaware, Scranton, Pa., and anywhere else Biden had spent any real time getting the skinny on this guy. If anything embarassing or election-costing would have come up, he would have been left off of the ticket.

Wanna know the vetting process for Sarah Palin? A 70-question questionnaire, and two phone coversations, one of which was the one that McCain made to invite her to the VP nomination party.

She wasn’t his first choice. Wasn’t even his second. His first two choices were, according to the New York Times, Sen. Joseph Lieberman or former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge. But when you’re running as the standard bearer for a party that wants to control women’s reproductive functions as badly as the Republican Party does, having a pro-choice guy on the ticket isn’t going to cut it with the right wing base.

(So much for that “maverick” shit.)

Now if you’re not allowed to make a simple decision like a running mate on your own, how many decisions for the country are you going to be able to make without consulting your right-wing masters? I’m guessing as many as George W. Bush was allowed to…which is why the country is so fucked up now.

And secondly, I’m pretty sure that Alaska’s constitution doesn’t allow the governor to fire a state trooper or have one fired just because he’s leaving his or her sister.

Sarah Palin is under investigation in Alaska for firing the Public Safety director in Alaska because he refused to fire her soon to be ex-brother-in-law. In addition to the fact that this is a dumb move from her sister’s standpoint because you can’t collect alimony from someone who’s unemployed, it seems that the powers that be in Alaska believe this constitutes abuse of power.

Gee, ya think?

Considering that we already have two people occupying the nation’s two highest offices who have a problem with the constitution, namely that exists at all, bringing in someone who (a) doesn’t really know what the vice president does and (b) believes in imperial power, might be a bad idea.

But despite all of the negatives that Sarah Palin brings to this ticket, I’d put that champagne back on ice.

In fact, I wouldn’t go anywhere near a liquor store until November 5th, Obama fans.

Why? Because I’ve seen the American public elect George W. Bush president twice, so it seems to me that being a lightweight doesn’t seem to mess you up much with them if you’re running under the Banner of the Elephant.

Besides, and this is another let’s keep it real moment, remember that the man at the top of the Democratic Ticket is black. If you think that there aren’t people in America who will glom onto this chick to keep a black man out of office, you’re sadly mistaken.

And don’t even get me started on the Hillary voters who are willing to throw everything she supposedly espouses under the bus to make sure that Obama doesn’t get elected because they believe that a vote for McCain brings them one step closer to having what they want: her ascendance in 2012.

Also, they want a woman in the White House so badly that they can’t see that this might not be the right woman. When you’re blinded by hatreds that you can’t coherently articulate (I talked to some PUMAs in Denver) you also can’t see when your intelligence is being insulted.

(I really, really want to know where these bitches were when Shirley Chisholm ran for president. Oh, yeah, I know. A white woman has to be the first for it to be legitimate to them. Sorry, I forgot. That’s why I’ve also forgotten about feminism.)

So my suggestion to you Obama fans is that you remember that 60-plus days is a long time and show it the reverence it deserves.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to apply for my credential for the Vice Presidential Debate. This I’ve gotta see live…..