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1/01/2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I don't expect a great deal of good news in 2011 for Progressives.  So my message to congressional Democrats and especially to President Obama is this:  Please protect what progress, we all fought hard to accomplish these past two years.  Republicans will be doing everything in their power to dismantle health care and financial reform.  Now is not the time to compromise.  The country is still in a very fragile condition.  So please have a happy new year but don't forget to continue to fight for the people!

12/31/2010

Forget About American Exceptionalism! Republicans Want The U.S. To Be More Like Canada

Ever notice Conservatives, (Republicans), just hate it when anyone, (other than fellow Republicans), has the unpatriotic audacity to compare the U.S. to other countries.  Are they implying a possibility America is not the greatest, most successful country that ever existed on God's green Earth, EVER?  Which of course would then imply Americans are not the bravest, most charitable, and of course humblest people to ever inhabit this planet.  Conservatives were disgusted when Mexican-Americans dared carry Mexican flags while protesting Arizona's papers please act.  Yet, I never heard a peep over Sarah Palin proudly displaying an Israeli flag, (and what no American flag!).   Sarah Palin must hate America.  Why doesn't she just move to Israel if she loves it so much?  During the health care debate we heard a great deal from Conservatives about Canada's health care system.  Listening to the Right, they must have been shoveling the bodies of all those Canadians, forced to wait too long for life saving surgery, off the streets of Ontario.  Is it possible Fox is now commending that same country on it's low tax rates?  How can that be? Wasn't I once warned, (by this same channel), about Canada's citizenry being forced to pay sky high tax rates to pay for all that inefficient universal health care.  Once again, what's okie dokie when Republicans do it is labeled unAmerican, unpatriotic and occasionally even verging on treasonous when it's done by those of us on the left. 


For more on Republicans who heart Canada:
News Hounds: So Much For American Exceptionalism! Fox News Wants The U.S. To Be More Like Canada

12/30/2010

You're Boycotting Justin Bieber. Really???

Andy Sullivan is a Brooklyn native, construction worker and founder of the 9/11 Hard hat Pledge whose signers vow not to work on the construction of the Park 51 project.  Sullivan, always wearing his American flag painted hard hat, has been seen on television frequently talking tough about those "radical" Muslims. Well believe it or not, Sullivan has now extended his Hard Hat pledge to include boycotting teen sensation Justin Bieber. No kidding.

According to Salon.com magazine:

Mosque foes recently started a boycott of Bieber after he made comments in support of the mosque project in an interview with Tiger Beat, a teen fan magazine, Sullivan told WYNC earlier this month. Now, his 8-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son have been banned from attending Bieber performances.

I have a 12 year old daughter, Maya Emanuela, who, like almost all girls her age, is madly in love with Justin Bieber.  Posters of Justin adorn her bedroom walls and I know she dreams of marrying him one day.  I know because I was positive I'd be Mrs. David Cassidy some day, if only he could see how much my love for him was bigger than the rest of those 'other silly girls".  Incidentally, I did see Cassidy in Vegas a few years ago; my heart still skipped a beat upon finally seeing him in person.
I do have trouble seeing the immense talent my daughter sees in Justin Bieber, although he is a very cute boy.  However, since his recent comments in Tiger Beat concerning Park 51, my respect for him has just grown tenfold and someday, who knows, they may even receive my permission to marry.

Haley Barbour's Comments Reflect the GOP's Ugly Past (and Present?)

Haley Barbour's recent comments regarding civil rights are not surprising to those in Mississippi, familiar with the Barbour family's history.  However, considering Haley Barbour's presidential aspirations, maybe it's time the media does it's job and explores his history with the Black community more fully.  Barbour's racist past has continually been ignored by the mainstream press, even as he basically ran the GOP as Chairman of the Republican Governor's Association.  In reality, the mainstream media has given a pass to the whole Republican party in regards to it's, at times, contentious relationship with the African American Community. However, his Brother's recently released comments have surfaced and have been too hard to ignore.

Haley Barbour's Brother: Blacks Aren't 'Listenin' to White People Like They Used To'

Haley Barbour is currently governor of Mississippi. He is a staunch Republican and governs over the state that stands as a powerful statue of symbolism of America's racially problematic past. The prisons in the state are full of black people and enslave them as many other prisons in the South already do. Economic inequality persists and remains unaddressed. The state is a mess for black folks, racism is alive and well and Haley Barbour is leading the charge.

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    But being a nationally recognized politician, Barbour has learned some tricks of the trade. The game is not about directly supporting racism of the past. It's about maintaining support for norms and institutions of the past that were built on a foundation of racial inequality. Barbour and his GOP colleagues have mastered the art of racial illusion

    The problem for Haley is that while he might be the careful and polished political figure, some of his family members aren't. One of the banes of Governor Barbour's political existence could be his brother, Jeppie.

    Haley and Jeppie both grew up in the deep South, and Jeppie was actually mayor of their small town, Yazoo City. As you can imagine, life for African Americans in 1968 was already difficult



    Living in a small town in Mississippi was likely one of the harshest nightmares a person of color could endure during that time. In the 1971 book, "Integration in a Deep Southern Town," the author Willie Morris writes of conversations that Haley's brother Jeppie had regarding the Civil Rights Movement and his frustration with African Americans deciding to take more of their destiny in to their own hands:

    "Maybe five years ago," he said, "you could've appointed a colored man yourself. Now you simply can't get away with it.

    "They're goin' to have to pick their own leaders. You could've gotten on radio five years ago using these very words, 'George Collins is this ni**er we've appointed,' and could've gotten away with it.

    "I guess they're just goin' through a state of being rebellious and hard-nosed and not listenin' to white people like they used to."

    Jeppi and Haley are effectively the socio-political children of the late Strom Thurmond. Thurmond was unapologetically anti-black during most of his career, and this way of thinking primarily came from his deep indoctrination into a set of beliefs that rested upon the accepted inferiority of black people. Thurmond went to his grave believing that blacks were less human than whites, primarily because that was what he was taught to believe.

    This is not to say that Haley or his brother Jeppi are deliberately racist. Also, we must remember that 1968 was a long time ago. At the same time, their discomfort with a changing nation that slowly grows in its willingness to allow African Americans limited access to the American dream likely makes men like Barbour feel that blacks are taking something away from them. No man enjoys losing power.


    The psychology of white supremacy also helps us to understand why Haley Barbour is one of President Barack Obama's staunchest critics. He doesn't simply disagree with him, he works to fundamentally disrespect him.

    He is one of the leading politicians working to dismantle Obamacare through legal challenges that aren't even going to work. He has stood with leading Republicans who attack Obama for being incredibly radical, or foreign, like something our nation has never seen. His reaction to a black man sitting in the White House is the reaction you or I might have to a zebra driving a Volkswagon: It just doesn't make sense.

    Haley's reaction to this cognitive dissonance is one that goes beyond standard political disagreement and morphs into the kind of anger and hatred that fueled Mississippi lynch mobs 40 years ago. It's shocking to see the zebra driving the Volkswagon, but even more irritating when you think the zebra is driving in the wrong direction.

    We can't hold Haley accountable for the words of his brother Jeppi (I'd hate to be held responsible for everything my relatives say), but we can read the words of Jeppi, in conjunction with the actions of Haley, and the backdrop of Mississippi's racial history to get a further understanding of the mind-set of a man hoping to be president.  Republicans, like Governor Barbour, won't admit or don't want to believe, America has a great deal more to do when it comes to race. And Mississippi has more work to do than nearly any other state in America. Haley, as the state's governor, is a living manifestation of all that Mississippi represents and as the President of the GOP's governor's association, he may unfortunately also represent too much of the Republican party.




    Tucker Carlson Thinks Killing Animals Should be a Capital Offense (Watch Out Sarah Palin)!

    President Obama recently made a phone call to Philadelphia Eagle's owner Jeffrey Lurie, commending his decision to give quarterback Michael Vick a second chance after Vick's release from prison.  Vick had served 19 months on charges related to his involvement in a dog fighting ring. Tucker Carlson was substituting for Sean Hannity on Fox News, but is usually considered almost reasonable by Fox standards. This weekend however Tucker did a fine imitation of Hannity when he made blatantly offensive and just plain dumb commentary on the Eagle's new quarterback, by actually suggesting Vick should have have received the death penalty for his (admittedly indefensible) treatment of dogs.  I guess the 19 months Vick served in prison, the 2 year suspension in a career which lasts an average of 10 years, as well as his having to declare bankruptcy, just wasn't enough for Carlson.  Is Tucker Carlson claiming the life an animal, even that of a dog, is worth more than that of a human being?  Has Tucker ever watched an episode of "Animal Cops" on the Animal Planet channel?  With all the cruelty to animals I've witnessed on that show, we'd have to hold mass executions regularly for all the habitual offenders.  And will capital punishment be acceptable retribution only when cruelty is perpetuated on certain types of animals?  I'm sure there would have to be exceptions for pigs, cows, chickens and turkeys. And what about pet pigs, pet snakes or goats?  What about animals like minks or chinchillas, who are only bred for their fur?  If they die in captivity could that be grounds for charges of manslaughter, ( or should I say animalslaughter)?  Of course, penalties should be harsh against certain individuals who we should certainly make examples of.  Sarah Palin has bragged about how much she enjoys killing animals, (how sick is that, Tucker?)  She has even given us video of her taking a helicopter in order to pick off endangered, defenseless wolves with her rifle. There is just so much to consider if the United States is going to make killing animals a capital offense.  Of course, those at Fox don't like to put much thought into anything.  To do so would probably go against policy.

    Why John Stewart's Interview with Rachel Maddow Drove Me Crazy(and why I don't think he's funny)

    Each time I see a clip of Rachel Maddow's interview with John Stewart I once again become frustrated and angry trying to understand him.  I think it's his arrogance or all his incoherent explanations of what he does or what he think he does.  Rachel seems to be trying to play nice, when she seriously could have called BULLSHIT!   What is he attempting to prove by this interview?  He spends most of his time babbling and attempting to make everything he says sound important.   Rachel, always polite, does her best, but at times even she looks confused by Stewart's gobbledygook.   She desperately grabs coherent fragments and attempts to repackage them into some semblance of order.  She then repeats them in this new order and seems to be pleading with him to agree to her meaning. However, the worst for me is Stewart's bizarre attempt to justify his equating provable liar and fear monger Glenn Beck and his lying Fox cohorts with occasional asshole but always reputable MSNBC journalist Keith Olbermann.  Furthermore, didn't Stewart claim he somehow proved he was ""in the stands and not on the field" during his totally unfunny rally in D.C.? So why later in the interview does he claim he has "earned the right after 12 years" in the business (comedy?) to justify his (little?) foray into the serious political arena inhabited by real news journalists such as Maddow, Olbermann and Chris Matthews.  He certainly cannot continue to claim he is only mocking real news and has no measurable influence on events, after his decision to spend an entire show talking to 9/11 responders and has now widely been credited with shaming Republicans into finally passing the 9/11 responders bill.  I'm sure, I'll receive a great deal of disagreement with my critic of supposed funny man John Stewart, but I confess to never finding him very funny, original or insightful.  Really how hard is it to get laughs making fun of Glenn Beck, his misspelling or his silly chalkboard?  Beck is his own caricature. I laugh harder watching the real thing.  As for Stewart's war on the media which he blames for everything yet fails to realize the obvious hypocrisy.  John Stewart is the media whether he likes it or not.  Watching his interview with Rachel Maddow, only made me realize how much he resembles most Americans. Stewart is just as confused about what he believes in, as the majority of our uninformed citizens. I'm hoping his recent show devoted to the 9/11 responders bill which has now been credited with shaming Republicans into finally voting for it's passage, means Stewart is beginning to understand he is part of this media thing and denying it won't make the responsibility he fears disappear.