Saturday, January 30, 2010

Obama Schools the GOP, Everyone

(Left to Right) Pres. Barack Obama, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA)

If you haven't seen it yet, get over to Huffington Post and watch President Obama bearding the GOP lions in their den, declawing them and their made for soundbite talking points one after another.

OK. Let's break this down. The lion's den I'm referring to is the House Republican Conference.

From Wikipedia: The House Republican Conference is the party caucus for Republicans in the United States House of Representatives. It hosts meetings and is the primary forum for communicating the party's message to members.

So this is the Republican side of the House of Representatives, chilling out for one of their little updates in Baltimore, patting each other on the back for reinforcing their talking points and making sure that everyone in their camp is on message. And as we all know, FOX Network has done an excellent job of getting out the GOP message which has basically been this:

Anything President Obama and the Democratic Party propose, say "no" to, even if it's a good idea. Hell, even if we gave them the idea and they said it was a good one, turn around and say "well now it's a bad idea" because if they liked it, it can't be a good idea anymore even if we thought of it to begin with.

Got that?

But while Republicans have prided themselves on being "The Party of No" - and pointing out that hey, they just can't say yes to a black guy, because that would make them look bad- they've been working against the best interest of everyone in this country.


So, in what is going to go down in history as the biggest schooling of the GOP since someone asked Stephen Colbert to speak at the 2006 Washington Correspondents dinner, someone asked President Obama to speak at their cozy little Republican gathering in Baltimore. They thought the President would say "no" (because that's the only word they understand) but The President, polite to the last, tendered his timely R.S.V.P.

I'm sure they thought, okay, great, he'll be on our turf. We'll sandbag him and get all on tape. Do you mind if we film this Mr. President? Hey, let's put it on CSPAN, MSNBC, and FOX. Again they thought the President would decline but he said, sure, bring on the cameras.

The GOP are regretting that now, because, in short, they got their asses handed to them. President Obama made it perfectly plain that he has, for the last year, given the Republican Party every opportunity to show true bipartisanship. Not the fakery they have portrayed as trying to work with the President while saying "No" to every plan he proposes just for the sake of doing so; but a true willingness to work with the President and to reach across the aisle and fix the messes comprised of our economy and deficit, energy, two-front wars, healthcare, social security and the general welfare.

What President Obama also made patently clear yesterday - without ever mentioning race - is that the GOP have backed themselves into a corner politically by vilifying the President and his party out of habit, (and bigotry), and not explaining to their "base" back home that it's all just politics.

In the end, The President put them on notice: The GOP is now between a rock and a hard place. Obama's year-long patience with their rhetoric is at an end. They can either keep fighting with him or they can go home and explain to their constituents that President Obama is not the bad guy they've made him out to be:

President Obama:

So all I'm saying is, we've got to close the gap a little bit between the rhetoric and the reality. I'm not suggesting that we're going to agree on everything, whether it's on health care or energy or what have you, but if the way these issues are being presented by the Republicans is that this is some wild-eyed plot to impose huge government in every aspect of our lives, what happens is you guys then don't have a lot of room to negotiate with me.

I mean, the fact of the matter is, is that many of you, if you voted with the administration on something, are politically vulnerable in your own base, in your own party. You've given yourselves very little room to work in a bipartisan fashion because what you've been telling your constituents is, this guy is doing all kinds of crazy stuff that's going to destroy America.

And I would just say that we have to think about tone. It's not just on your side, by the way -- it's on our side, as well. This is part of what's happened in our politics, where we demonize the other side so much that when it comes to actually getting things done, it becomes tough to do.

The President let it be known, in no uncertain terms, that the very Republicans who smile in his face (he addressed many of them by first name) are the ones who turn right around and say no to his policies to appease their base - then go to "ribbon cuttings" for projects in their home states that they voted "no" on but have no problem taking credit for. President Obama never said the word "hypocrite". He didn't have to.

I too learned some lessons from President Obama. I was reminded not to fall hook, line and sinker for talking points; to ignore the machinery of the news cycle and look to the real issues. I learned that for all the nasty public pandering, the Republicans can and do regard the President with respect when they meet him face-to-face. Case in point -the picture above of Representative John Boehner, from my own home state, cordially greeting President Obama. You would never guess that picture comes after Boehner has spent a year of doggedly attacking Obama's health care plan at every turn including brutal opinion editorials that have excoriated the very plan that the majority of Boehner's constituents, myself included, are actually for.

I saw an Obama yesterday that was the man I voted for. The one, who has spent the past year wisely - learning the job, building his capital, finding his feet, weathered some storms and is now ready to put paid to any notions that he will not elicit the change he promised in his campaign. Some politicans forget their campaign promises the minute the election is over. I have a feeling that this President will be working on his until 2016.

Not long ago, I posted a comment on another blog that I really thought the Democrats would have fallen in line by now and that Obama would have exacted more Party discipline by now. Because if that's how the President addressed the Republicans on their native heath, then any and all Democrats should be sitting up and taking notice. No wonder Joe Lieberman has been talking about just full out becoming a Republican lately. All those "conservative" Democrats need to be shaking in their shoes because Obama let it be known that he has not intention of letting them slide.

There were times in his speech yesterday, that Obama, in profile, reminded me a little of Malcolm X, minus the beard and glasses. But the gleam in his eye and his assertion that despite the tough situation, "I'm having fun." He showed his Presidential side and his black-hand side. He showed the side of himself that was tough, yet fair but that he has limits an he can only be pushed so far.

He let the GOP & Democrats know, their chickens have come home to roost. He is a rookie President no longer.

If you want to get some REAL commentary on what happened, not just the FOX regurgitated media spin that is going to follow this, check out these articles & blogs.

Mahablog: Cro-Magnon Republicans
Washington Post: President's Question Time
The Atlantic: Obama's Question Time, An Amazing Moment
Think Progress: FOX Cuts Away from Obama-GOP Conversation


Saturday, January 16, 2010

God Hates Haiti, Everyone Else Hates Leno, Part 2

Haiti Earth Quake Aftermath
Picture link goes to Google Crisis Response page
showing where to send donations

(Click here for Part 1)

The headline resignedly states what is a foregone conclusion: Rush Limbaugh makes racial, insensitive remarks about Haiti.

My underwhelmed response: Well duh. Poor headline writer guy. I know he gets tired of simply filling in the blank after "Rush Limbaugh makes racial, insensitive remarks about (fill in latest issue regarding people of color here)." Can't be much of a challenge to a gig like that.

Faster than NBC could officially push Conan out and put Leno back onto the Tonight Show, Rush Limbaugh was quick on the draw, racing to find something dumb, bigoted and outlandish to say about the crisis in Haiti. He goes for the extra points by completely twisting the words of President obama's White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel's into something utterly ridiculous and hideous.

Limbaugh: Yes, I think in the, uh in the Haiti Earthquake - uh, ladies and gentleman - the words of Rahm Emanual. We...uh...have another crisis simply too good to waste. This'll play right into Obama's hands ...humanitarian,compassionate...uh...uh...they'll use this to...uh... to burnish...uh their...uhm...uh...shall we say credibility with uh uh the black community, in...uh, the both light skinned and dark skinned this country. Uh...It's made to order for 'em. That's why they couldn't wait to get out there. Could not WAIT to get out there

Yeah, that's right. Obama didn't send aid to Haitians because their country is in a turmoil due to natural disaster. Nah, the President is just sending help to get on American black folks good side. And just so you don't forget that Obama is only all about the black people (after all Obama's black, we're black), Limbaugh emphasizes that even light skinned black people must be catered too. Oh, and Obama sent the aid way too fast. New rule: Since Hurricane Katrina, there is now a mandatory five day waiting period and a Dateline special must be produced before aid can be sent to black people.


Fast as he was out of the starting gate, Limbaugh was not quick enough this time. Pat Robertson, head of the 700 Club, had already beat Limbaugh to the punch this time with statements that quite frankly make Limbaugh's racist stutterings look pretty lame in comparison.

According to Pat Robertson, Haiti deserves the four hurricanes and the earthquakes. It's all Haiti's own fault due to a pact made with the devil by the entire country. And if those darkies would just have accepted Jesus, then the tectonic plates would not have shifted and the country would not be in ruins. No one could make this up. Here's Pat Robertson's account of Haiti's downfall.

What's worse...I'd already heard this story before Pat Robertson infamously spouted it. I was talking to a close friend of mine that morning who considers himself evangelical and he was absolutely certain that the series of natural disasters was a "judgment on Haiti" for embracing voodoo religions instead of accepting Jesus. He added, quite sincerely, that he had even talked to some friends from Haiti, who, having moved to American and accepted Jesus, quite agreed.

So when Pat Robertson, without any prompting that I know of from my friend, turned up with this same bullshit, it hit me: For evangelicals, Haiti is sort of a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah warning tale. It's got all the elements that are guaranteed to, quite literally, put the fear of God into any...well...God-fearing Christian. The Haitian Crisis has an all black cast, a plot that encompasses all the action of Twister combined with every disaster film ever made and even a back-story of devil-made deals and prophecies. It's only a shame that Kirk Cameron isn't black. Maybe Will Smith? Nah...he's a Christians Scientist who reportedly has *gasp* an open marriage. Who else could we get...I've got it! Wayne Brady.

So now that's settled, what should we do to hold the like Limbaugh and Robertson accountable for their hellish words cloaked in patriotic, evangelicalism?

I'm thinking that they're tyrants and it's about time to refresh that tree of liberty I keep hearing about and am starting to believe in, more and more. I honestly can't think of better fertilizer than their blood and the blood of their compatriots - Beck, Hannity, O'Reilly...and the rest. The argument can, and possibly should, be made that they deserve it every bit as much as Pat Robertson feels Haiti does.

Words like "liberal" and even "humanitarian" don't necessarily need be equated with "bleeding heart" or even "nice" any longer. There's a reason the left-leaning folks used to be called "radicals" in this country. It's about time to bring that back.

End Part 2

(Click here for Part 1)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

God Hates Haiti, Everyone Else Hates Leno, Part 1


Jay Leno can be funny sometimes. There, I said it. But Jay Leno is also, well...devious and not exactly my cup of tea. He's what I imagine George Bush was around the White House back when Cheney was President. Smiling, cheerful, woefully ignorant of the damage he's really doing and ultimately unable to hide that his outer visage cannot hide the schmuck inside.

Everyone channels surfs. I have to admit, I've surfed to Leno and, now again, he has made me laugh. But there's just something about the guy I can never put my finger on...and suddenly it all comes back...his uncompromising cheerleading of the Bush White House...his smug chin...the black guy on the stool in the corner always with the same lean back & laugh, firmly protecting his cherished guitar & never quite dropping it no matter how funny (or unfunny) Leno's last joke was.

I remember the initial buzz with the announcement that Leno would be stepping down as host of The Tonight Show in the far off year of 2009 and that, unlike the murderous succession following Johnny Carson's retirement, this would be an orderly and planned change of the reins. Leno's heir apparent: Conan O'Brien. People were surprised but, much like Drew Carey taking over The Price is Right, it was a sign of the times. How much more could we really ask of Bob Barker, who, by the time he retired could automatically add up any combination of "The Wheel" in his head at the speed of light and in his sleep with one hand tied around his back. Times, they were a-changing but the change to Conan, despite a tad bit of doubt, people weighed in the balance and found it might not be a bad idea after all. America waited.

After years of working second shift and coming home after 11pm, Conan's show was always a lovely way for me to wind down in the evening and fall in love with bands I never would have heard of in my R&B loving home. That I ever had a love affair with the White Stripes, Goo Goo Dolls or Pearl Jam (ah, the early aught's were fun) is a testament to Conan's loving tutelage in the finer points of alternative rock.

When the announcement about The Tonight Show transition was made, the target date of 2009 seemed so far away. But all too soon, 2009 was approaching and, it's funny how people remember things like this...but in a pop culture world like America, it really was an office water cooler question: Would Leno really step down? Would Conan really be stepping up and could he handle the job?

Amazingly, it all transpired as foretold. I think Leno's stepping down kind of went along with the election of a black President and the promise of a new decade that we wouldn't have to akwardly call "the aughts" (sure we have to brave 2010, 11, & 12 but then we can comfortably say it's the teens.)

But I think NBC panicked. Too much of the old guard changed so fast for them. Bush was out, Obama was in. Their old dependables like Frasier, Will & Grace, and ER had sung their last swan song. Their days as "Must See TV" were patently over even with shows like 30 Rock & The Office. Scrubs, in a move that was oddly precient of the current climate, moved to another network and My Name is Earl, well, did he ever finish his list?

NBC, in a modest little tongue-in-cheek campaign, began insinuating that Leno wasn't really going away after all. And America began to look at those ads sideways? What the hell was NBC talking about? Leno was already...well...gone. Conan had ascended to the throne. So far so good, and he obviously had a lot to learn, but his initial reception and his obvious willingness to string-dance his ass off in gratitude for his new spot, earned him grudging admiration. Conan had grown up when we weren't looking, and only he knew that his success hosting the Tony Awards (where, ironically, he pointed out that trouble was brewing at NBC) hadn't been a fluke. Conan was ready to be on TV when most of America was still awake.

When Leno was granted a brand new show (that looked remarkably like his old show) at 10 p.m., it was almost as if NBC believed that Conan was going to fail and trying to provide Conan's show with some training wheels in the form of a Leno lead-in. Or maybe they just felt 2009 had come before they had really realized it. I mean, with a new black President and all...maybe we would need to keep Leno around.

It hasn't even been a whole year since Conan took over and suddenly, NBC seems to feel it was all a mistake. They want Leno back on at 11 p.m., despite his less than stellar ratings at 10 p.m. and despite that many beloved shows that might have helped NBC through this tempest have been shuffled around or, in the case of Scrubs and Medium, been moved to other networks. The term for the fallout to other shows is called "being Leno'd." Viewers patience ran out with the announcement that it was Leno, not Conan, who would be pushed into the dawn.

The backlash against Jay Leno has been legendary. NBC did not recognize the muted collective sigh of relief that America heaved at Leno's retirement, and they somehow missed the buzz of uncertainty and outright dislike that Leno's return engendered. However with the proposed banishment of Conan to a next day spot at 12:05, they're certainly hearing the howls now.

Not since Stephen Colbert shaved his head under orders from President Barack Obama has America realized just how much the hair on the heads of late night talk show hosts means to America. Refusing to treat him like proverbial red-headed stepchild, America has chosen to embrace Conan's oddly flexible coif and taken his ruddy curls to our hearts.

They both have single monikers but the differences in how they're known are quite telling. While Leno is so old guard people call him by his last name, Conan is known by his first name like the guy in the office everyone likes. Leno, with his dry, unfunny, meandering, passive wit is the past. Conan is the future. Animated, intelligent, witty - who's already fought the odds against being canceled at NBC over & over again in the beginnings of his previous later than late show.

Here's to Conan beating those odds again.

I had more to say about this Conan-Leno thing than I intended so I'll write about Pat Robertson basically summing up that God hates Haiti, later tonight. In the meantime, check out what my blogpal The Skeptik One, has to say on the subject.

End Part 1
Click Here for Part 2

A link to some video clips with Conan's take on the matter.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Never Give Up

Sometimes I go weeks without a post and then other times, there's just not enough time to post it all.

First - the passing of Miep Gies who has been one of my personal heroes since I first read the "Diary of Anne Frank" back in grade school. Every girl needs a Miep in her life...someone to shed light in the darkest places and spread hope. Miep's humor and steadiness shine through Anne's teen angst and the world is just a shade greyer without Miep Gies in it.

Second - in the no one could make this up if they tried column of events, this BBC headline made even my jaded eyes pop open with the level of gall FOX News will descend into and this takes the cake: Sarah Palin signs on as a commentator with FOX News.

What, Rove wasn't enough? Makes me wonder how the good people, like Miep Gies, can even survive to 100 in a world full of Palins and FOX News propaganda.

There's a lesson in these two very different keep fighting in the face of overwhelming odds. To never give up. That ideals are worth fighting for....

It's just very hard, sometimes, to see the forest for the trees.


Saturday, January 09, 2010

Perish the Thought

Michael Steel
Chairman, Republican National Committee

Although Michael Steel is the Republican National Committee Chairman, the question still must be asked: What the hell is he doing acting like he's the head of the Republican Party?

First off, he's a black guy, right? But it seems that didn't stop him from writing a book. Seriously - the man wrote a book. And it's all about his plans to defeat the OTHER now semi-famous Black guy who, incredibly, is under the delusion that he's actually running America as President! What is with these black guys?

Because Michael Steele is under the impression that he, not Rush Limbaugh or Dick Cheney, is actually running the Republican Party. His book even outlines a Twelve-Step agenda for defeating his party's political political opposition. (Does anyone else find that a nationwide Republican Twelve-Step program is just so apropos?)

Unfortunately, Steele's "aides" - that's right, the people who ASSIST him, are pissed. They've been "blindsided" by this book and are quite certain that it should have been vetted by at least a junior aide, maybe even a senior one. Someone who is well...white and Republican at the very least.

Furthermore, they take Steele to account for his seemingly ulterior motives in writing the book and making speeches (like Cheney, Bush Jr., Bush Sr., Laura, Barbara, Cheney's gay daughter, Guiliani and any other Republican who just will not realize they're not or never were in office.) Michael Steele, according to his party, is all about the bling and the glam. His book is just a bid to "profit personally" and couldn't possibly have anything to do with setting goals and bringing his party back to the winning side of the game (perish the thought...seriously...kill that thought OK?)

Because it's all a game. And Michael Steele is definitively one of the black pawns. He better recognize, son. You can't just raise up and be the head of the Republican National Committee, just because they made you...well...head of the Republican National Committee. That's just crazy talk.


Monday, January 04, 2010

Might as well be me

Every now and again you read something in the news and you've gotta be kidding.

OK. It's bad enough that Dizzy Ghizzy slid her way onto Cincinnati City Council, there to remain like an aunt that's worn out her welcome but you just can't quite get rid of. But, please, Dear God, someone tell me that this article saying Leslie Ghiz is throwing her frilly bonnet into the ring for County Commissioner is just me waking from a nightmare. Not to mention she's endorsed by Si "Legree" Leis of all the god-forsaken people. I just don't want to believe that bullshit like this can really fly, let alone stick.

Unfortunately the sickening thud in my stomach is already telling me it's real.

I have a relative...a distant relative...who, despite all outward appearances of being dumber than a box of rocks, has attained a B.A. and is currently working on a Master's degree. And it was this, despite all other encouragement I'd received that prompted me to go back to school because, if this person could graduate from college then I knew I could.

I feel the same way about Leslie Ghiz. Dear God. If this dimwitted babelfish can run for public office and WIN then I've got day. Not any time soon. Maybe in the next 5, 10, 15 years...but I've got to...I don't care if it's dog catcher...someone has to counter the Dizzy Ghizzy's of the world.

Might as well be me.