Sunday, May 31, 2009

Killing Time Is Here


In watching United 93 last week, I realized how unnatural it must be for us humans to kill another human being and how important training and indoctrination are in getting us to murder. Outside of instant "fight or flight" moments, it seems that we humans are simply reluctant to kill one another. The movie portrayed the terrorists as terrified themselves. While this was most definitely artistic license, I found it a lot more believable than the usual madman terrorist we usually see on screen. Maybe I'm just a bleeding heart liberal, but I sincerely do believe that they were scared just as much as everyone else in that situation.

But the thing that really struck me was the last moments in the cockpit. I'm assuming that the filmmakers had access to the flight recorder and based the last scene on the tape. What really struck me is that, even though the passengers knew they and, perhaps, a whole lot of others would die if they failed, they actually did not think of killing the pilot.

In order to get into the cockpit, they had to overpower three other terrorists with box cutters. They then had to overpower the pilot before he took the plane down. Now, if there had been a veteran, soldier, or even a cop (in other words, someone trained to use lethal force), I'm betting one of those would've probably taken one of the box cutters and rammed it into the pilot's throat. It would've been messy, but they wouldn't have had to struggle with the pilot to control the plane. He would've been too busy dying and clutching his own throat. They could've easily taken control.

I don't know if it would've been possible for them to save themselves. I don't know if someone can right a jumbo jet once it's in a nose dive like United 93 was. I just found it interesting that they hadn't thought of using a box cutter on the pilot. And I wondered how many average citizens would've thought of it and, if they had, if they'd been able to use it. We often talk about that "killer instinct;" but it makes me wonder if there really is such a thing, or if killing is something we have to be trained and indoctrinated to do.





In watching Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals last night, I found myself wondering if my beloved Penguins actually have that killer instinct. Last year, their road to the Stanley Cup was way too easy. They were far more talented than everybody else in the Eastern Conference and simply, well, skated to the Cup. I think that (and D-Town's superior skills) was how the Red Wins were able to smack the living crap out of them in the first two games of last year's series. The Pens stepped up their games and split the rest of the series 2-2, but, you know, it only takes four games to win it all.

Last night it was obvious that the Penguins were way more prepared this go-round. They were tough and pretty much matched the Red Wings' stifling D. However, they still came up short. The Wings' first goal was a fluke, bouncing off the back of Flower's leg to go into the net. The second goal did the same thing, but there was a Red Wing there for the rebound if it hadn't bounced off the goalie's leg. Jordan Staal just lost sight of the puck and screened Flower for the third goal. All three of Detroit's goals were kinda flukey, which gives me hope, but if these teams keep playing the way they did last night, pretty much all the goals scored are going to be a little flukey.

As I said, the Pens played amazing defense last night. And I think they're going to keep it up. Defensively, I think they know what they have to do. It's the offense that I'm worried about.

With El Sid and Malkin, the Pens are used to outscoring folks. But, let's face it, these Detroit Red Wings might just be playing the best team hockey most of us have seen in our lifetimes. Last night, Zetterberg was on Crosby like Michael Steele on crack. They're going to have to figure out a way to free up Sid, and he's going to have to come up with ways to free himself.

I like the way they were dumping the puck into the zone last night, but the pursuit was kinda weak. They need to rip a page out of D-Town's book. Every time anybody (teammate or opponent) touches the puck, there are at least four Wings surround and beat that little black thing like it was Rodney King.

Chris Osgood's too good a goalie to be fooled too often with the Pens' finesse. They need to pound that man relentlessly. Skip all the beautiful stick-handling and skating and do like the Red Wings and beat the living shit out of the goalie.

Last night, it felt like the Pens were simply trying to prove they can keep up with the Red Wings. It makes sense. Detroit is the best, but I don't think they are so much better than the Pens that my boys can't beat them. They just need to show that killing instinct like they did against the Capitals in Game 7--only killing-er!

You know I got faith!





PS. Do you like how I tied hockey in with 9/11? Not even Giuliani could pull that off. :)

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Name That Sample 2

All right, the last Name That Sample was a bit harder than I thought it would be, and I was actually reminded of some songs that had sampled that one that I'd forgotten. But I think I got one yall Old School heads will remember. So, here we go:



Oh, and here's the answer to last week's:



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Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Queer Qase in Reverse Reverse Racism

It was a blustery, cold, January afternoon in Baltimore's Fell's Point, when Shamekia Watts lost her baby.

"It was my husband's birthday, and he wanted that movie, Putney Swope. So, I went down with my daughter, Tamara, to pick up the DVD."

Ms. Watts, a Harvard Law graduate and partner at the law firm, Watts, Day, Fuchs, and Associates, had just picked up her three-year-old daughter, Tamara, from day care when the incident occurred.


"We were just about to enter the CD store, when three white men approached," Ms. Watts stated. "They were big, and there was something wild in their eyes. I tried to rush into the store, but Tamara bent down to tie her shoes. That's when it happened."

What happened is still confused in Ms. Watts' own mind, but apparently these "three white men" with "something wild in their eyes" proceeded to jostle the mother and her child, knock the mother down in the middle of the street, took her purse, and her daughter.

"It was absolutely horrific," the 35-year-old mother wailed. "They took my baby!"

But the horror was only compounded when the authorities arrived.

"They didn't believe me," Ms. Watts claimed. "They didn't believe three white men would abduct my daughter. They didn't believe I had a daughter. They didn't believe I only had one child. They didn't believe I went to Harvard or that I had my own law firm. No matter what I said or did, they wouldn't believe me."

The police held Ms. Watts overnight in jail and ultimately charged her with filing a false report. She served six months probation and was expelled from the Maryland BAR Association. She and her husband are yet to find their daughter.

"We've received absolutely no assistance," Ms. Watts continued. "No one would believe us. We provided lie detector tests, hospital records. One security camera had even caught the three men on tape with my daughter. Yet, everyone decided to treat it as a hoax. We didn't even get an AMBER Alert."

The AMBER Alert (a backronym standing for America's Missing: Broadcasting Emergency Response") is a child abduction alert issued nationwide via commercial radio stations, satellite radio, television stations, and cable TV through the Emergency Alert System whenever there is a suspected child abduction. After much investigation, we at Tome discovered there actually was never one issued for four-year-old Tamara Watts.

"No parent should have to go through this," Ms. Watts moaned.

When asked about the failure to issue an AMBER Alert and asked about Tamara and Shamekia Watts, Baltimore Chief of Police, Harry Quim was incredulous.

"It was a hoax," Quim guffawed. "Shamekia Watts is a con artist. She got what she deserved. Like she went to Harvard!"

He continued, "I mean, come on, three white guys, stealing a black baby? Who's ever heard of such a thing?!"

The local media was equally unimpressed with Ms. Watts' story.

"What? Does Harvard have affirmative action?" WFUN producer, Liam Sacco-Shipp asked.

"She was graduated summa cum laude," I informed him.

"Still."

Nanny Mace, the host of cable network WNN's Mace Up Her Sleeve, didn't believe Shamekia Watts' story either. Mace's nightly show focuses on murdered women and missing children. According to National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), some 264,000 black children under the age of 18 go missing every year. The Violence Policy Center (VPC) reported that, in 2005 (the last year such data were collected), "574 black females were murdered by males in single victim/single offender homicides." None of these stories have been featured on Mace Up Her Sleeve.

"That was all a hoax, right?" Ms. Mace questioned. "She was the one who claimed carjackers took her kids and drowned them in a lake?"

"No. That was Susan Smith."

"Oh, right. She's the one who said she got kidnapped and ended up going to Disney World with her daughter."

"That was Bonnie Sweeten, and that just happened this week."

"Got me there," Ms. Mace smiled. "She was the one who got mugged, and they carved a backwards 'O' on her forehead for being an Obama supporter?"

"What the hell is a backwards 'O'?"

Ms. Mace shrugged and smiled impishly.

"No, that was Ashley Todd, a backwards 'B' because she was a McCain supporter, and a hoax."

"Right," Ms. Mace conceded. "She was the one who shot her pregnant wife in the stomach and blamed it on car jackers."

"What the hell kind of sense does that make?"

Ms. Mace shrugged once more.

"That was Charles Stuart," I finally huffed.

"Who knows?" Ms. Mace concluded. "Maybe her babby daddy took the kid."

"You mean, her husband?"

"Ooh, that reminds me. What has O.J. been up to lately?"

She reached for the phone to talk to her production assistant.

"It's a damned tragedy!" exhorted self-proclaimed civil rights leader, J.C. Sharktowne. "A white woman go claimin' a black man hurt her, and all the national media come runnin' to her side! Say, he hurt one of her children?! Hoax or not! There's an all-out manhunt! Brothers are rounded up and thrown in jail! AMBER Alerts go up in Sweden!!!

"But, you ask me! That AMBER Alert be lookin' mighty alabaster! What about our black babies?! Where Nanny Mace then?! Where CNN?! Where BET at?!

"No, forget the AMBER Alert! We black folks need a EBONY Alert! Something to protect our black babies!!!"

Shamekia Watts could not agree more.





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Soul Sista Saturday: Rufus & Chaka Khan


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Friday, May 29, 2009

James and the Giant Douche


All right, I admit, I don't watch basketball all that much. I used to be addicted ... way back in the day. But then the game went all Wild, Wild West on me, no rules, no violations, just one-on-one hamming it up. There used to be a thing called traveling, but you can watch dudes take three steps to the basket. Iverson legalized palming the ball. Shaq made elbowing a motherfucker in the grill all the rage. And, after decades of "Thinking-About-Fouling-Jordan" fouls which have been transferred to the stud du jour, you can watch superstars go basically unchallenged an entire game.

Why watch a game with no rules? That's why I quit Bear Stearns.

However, I will also admit, that if Nike can somehow pull off a Cavs-Lakers NBA finals, I will be watching (if it doesn't interfere with my Pens' Cup drive). And I pray that LeBron treats the Crybaby Rapist with the same ferocity the sports media treated Kobe's victim. Or at least like my boy Raja Bell used to treat the Rump Steak.



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Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Little Derailed

I got an email a little earlier this evening informing me that an old college bud committed suicide over the weekend. I hadn't seen him since college. We were supposed to hang out during my last book tour when I was going to be in Chicago, but he was called out of town for business. Of course, just like before, I thought it was no big deal. We'd catch up sooner or later. I'm starting to think ... maybe these things are bigger deals than we realize.
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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Opening Salvo in Impending Sotomayor-Terrorism Battle



I noticed last night that more than a few readers came across Tome here by typing in "sotomayor member faln," and I knew that I was onto something with yesterday's You Heard It Here First post. So, apparently my speculation's already in the air. But to determine whether it was more like nitrogen or argon, I decided to Google the term myself and came across this headline:


In College Thesis, Sotomayor Appeared
to Support Puerto Rican Independence


That's right, that bastion of liberalism, The Wall Street Journal, has provided the opening salvo in what promises to be yet another Culture War battle over a traitorous minority and her disloyalty to these here United States of America.

According to the article, the 21-year-old Boricua Bomber wrote these incendiary, downright seditious words in her senior thesis, discussing then-Puerto Rican governor, Luis Muñoz Marin:

“I do not disclaim in this thesis that I do not reflect my own bias toward independence for Puerto Rico. However, unlike other authors, I do not study Luis Muñoz Marin from the assumptions of my own status preference.”


Thomas Paine, look out!

WSJ goes on to quote:

"Mr. Muñoz Marin, she argued, had a great impact on Puerto Rico, but he failed to see how the commonwealth status 'simply perpetuated the very conditions he hoped to change.'"


Troskyite talk like that will get an ax in your head!

And what kind of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist crap is this?

“The experiences of Alaska and Hawaii since statehood with cultural destruction has been indicative of the cultural loss Puerto Rico would eventual [sic] face if statehood for the island were chosen. Under the commonwealth status, there has been a gradual deterioration of the Spanish language among the Puerto Rican populace and a growing Americanization of the island.”


Fidel, Subcomandante Marcos, Sendero Luminoso, watch your asses! There's a new camarada on the scene!


The article, on the face of it, is a lot less inflammatory than the headline actually suggests. After all, what American does not believe in a people's right to self-determination? If I am not mistaken, that is exactly what this country was founded upon.

However, WSJ is perfectly willing to throw a little napalm on this soon-to-be raging fire, by providing "the context" in which Sotomayor's senior was written:

The Princeton thesis was written at a time of heated political debate over Puerto Rico’s future. Beginning in 1974 and continuing for nearly a decade, the paramilitary group Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional, or FALN, carried out bombings in the U.S. to push for independence for the island.


I hate to say, "I told you so," but ...

Micheline, over at Daily Kos, calls the article a "hit piece," that "implicitly questions her patriotism" and "is trying to paint her as a multicultural fanatic."

After all, WSJ goes on to say:

"Ms. Sotomayor was born in the Bronx of Puerto Rican parents, and her pride in her roots is evident as she dedicates her paper 'to the people of my island – for the rich history that is mine.'"


In the "context" of the FALN bombings, we had not seen such revolutionary talk since The Diary of Che Guevara. At least, I have the feeling that that's how the Right is going to end up portraying this article and Sotomayor herself. It is only a matter of minutes before this tiny bomb explodes into a holocaust of disgusting, race-baiting invective that will have the Right blowing their tops. Don't be surprised if next week you see Sarah Palin on Faux News screeching about how Sotomayor was "palling around with terrorists" in the 1970s.




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Soul on Ice: The Willie O'Ree Story

Here's a nice little news piece done last year to celebrate "the Jackie Robinson of hockey," Willie O'Ree (a childhood hero of mine). I thought some of you might find it interesting.


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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bring Out the Broom!


That's right! Even with El Sid and Evgeni being shut out tonight, my Penguins dusted the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1 to pull off the sweep!

Now it's on to the Stanley Cup for the second year in a row!

But it ain't all love, peace, and chicken grease tonight, people!

There is a turncoat in our midst.

That's right. I'm talking to you, Bill Cowher!



Don't look so confused, fool!

Now, I know you went to my high school. I know you sent my Steelers to a helluva lot of playoff games. And you did win one Super Bowl for the Black 'N' Gold. So, I guess I should be grateful.

But, dude, you lost three--count 'em, three--AFC Championship games at home and came pretty damned close to losing the fourth one. The only way you could get to the Super Bowl was by being a wild card. And it took you, what, 13 seasons to finally get that one Super Bowl ring. It only took Tomlin two seasons. OK, sure, it was mostly your team that won this January, but the brother's obviously a far quicker study than you were!!!

I'm still pissed off at you for playing Big Ben your last season. The man had a head injury, asshole! Those things take at least a year to heal, and you had him out there two months after his melon cracked against a car windshield! You could've gotten that boy killed! I'm still lobbying to have you shipped to Canton and put on trial for sports crimes and misdemeanors. So, you better watch your ass, pal.

I'm not even going to mention how much you absolutely, positively suck! on that CBS pre-game show. Wait, did I just ...?

Well, all of you suck on that show. You've even dragged the immortal JB down into your Vortex of Vapidity!

But what really chaffs my ass is your turn of coat tonight. You ... are ... a ... Pittsburgher, jagoff! What the hell were you doing cranking the 'Canes' siren tonight?!

I don't care that you went to college in North Carolina. I don't care if you live down there. I don't care if you are addicted to their vinegar-based barbecue sauce. You do NOT go against your hometown team!

I hope Rick Kehoe kicks your ass!!!

(Now, if only the Blackhawks decide to go all Last Boy Scout and starts capping, maiming, or hobbling some Red Wings so we can have a shot at this.)

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You Heard It Here First: Sotomayor Is a Terrorist!

As you've probably heard already, The Big Brother has chosen federal appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor to replace Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court bench.

As you may have heard, the Republicans have been itching for this fight for awhile now--even without a nominee.

They've even named Alabama Republican, Jeff Sessions, to be top elephant on the Senate Judiciary Committee. This is the same committee (then Republican-controlled) who rejected Sessions himself for the bench back in '86 because, as a young US attorney, he called the ACLU and NAACP "un-American," "communist-inspired," and that they "forced civil rights down the throats of the people."

So, though they'll be howling in a wind tunnel, expect the Republicans to start screaming over this woman.

But Tio Memo, why do you think they'll call Judge Sotomayor, a respected federal judge, an alumnus of both Princeton and Yale, a George H.W. Bush appointee, why do you think they will call her a terrorist?!


Well, boys and girls, Judge Sonia Sotomayor is a self-proclaimed "Nuyorican."

[TRANSLATION: A Puerto Rican of New York descent.]

Now, unless your name is either "Little" Louie Vega or Kenny "Dope" Gonzales and you make some dope-ass house music, the mere use of this term marks you as "out of the mainstream."

[TRANSLATION: You made them Google the damned word just to figure out what it means.]

The Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (TRANSLATION: Armed Forces of National Liberation, or simply FALN) were also Puerto Rican, fighting for the island's full independence. They were terrorists. They bombed the shit out of us. Between 1974 and 1983 they bombed over 100 US targets--mostly in New York and Chicago.

Hm? ... Bombs? ... New York? ... Puerto Rican? ... Nuyorican? ... Terrorist!!!





That's right, boys and girls. You see, a certain Nuyorican future judge was a mere, impressionable 20-years-old in 1974. You know, terrorist age. And those were heady, radical times back then. Patty Hearst, the Symbionese Liberation Army, the Black Panthers, Brown Panthers, Gray Panthers (no shit!), American Indian Movement. Black was beautiful, Wounded Knee was under siege, "PR"s were suddenly calling themselves "Nuyorican"! That was like Che Guevara's "Chicanos" out in California!

(Yeah, I know. If you haven't figured out, I've changed voices here.)


This wasn't your momma's West Side Story. Natalie Wood (born Natalia Zacharenko) wasn't singing about feeling pretty and witty and wise. That bitch was throwin' bombs!!!





And before you can blink an eye, there's going to be some right-wing nutjob website (probably the same one that said Obama was Malcolm X's love child) that will claim that Sonia Sotomayor (aka "The Boricua Bomber") was right alongside Natalia, al Qaedaing America before the World Trade Center was even a gleam in Osama's eye.

If not her, I'm sure they'll claim that the future justice (that's right, you ain't stoppin' this one!) had a father, mother, first cousin-twice removed who was part of the FALN. Or better yet, Lucy and Alicia Rodriguez are Sotomayor's notorious Independentista aunts who were released by Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder!


(They already call him a terrorist sympathizer.)


Yes, those godless liberals are about to do us again! Not only do they insist on being soft on terrorists, making our country less safe with each drop of water not poured over Ahmed's face, but now these traitors are going to actually put a full-fledged terrorist on the bench of the Supreme friggin' Court!!!!





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Woke Up This Morning, Looked Out The Window, and This Is What I Heard



This is the first time Mrs. Unknown has to drop Pooh off at daycare. Let's hope they both do all right.
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Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Crispus Attucks Day!


While yall are chowing down on all that glorious barbecued po'k and beef, nominally remembering those who gave their lives for this country, don't forget the first man to give one up for the team, that mulatto scoundrel, Crispus Attucks, who took one to the dome on March 5, 1770, during The Boston Massacre.

Bon appetite!
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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Dick and the Big Rock

Blacklie Whiplash here (nee Peter Kirsanow of National Review) took time away from barbershop quartet practice long enough to write a glowing defense of Dick Cheney's torture speech this week at the American Enterprise Institute. In it he posited the ever-pertinent question on everyone's minds these days:

"When that big asteroid finally heads toward Earth, who's the person you'd most want to be in charge?"


and concluded:

"I suspect Cheney would score at or near the top."



Now, never ones to question the veracity of anything coming from National Review we here at Tome have asked ourselves WWDD if The Big Rock came hurtling towards our beloved Third Rock? and came up with this list:



Top 20 Things Dick Cheney Would Do
to Stop an Asteroid from Obliterating Earth


1. Shoot it in the face.

2. Go on a media campaign of outrage! Outrage, I say! against the asteroid for referring to his daughter as a "lesbian." His wife, Lynne, will ride shotgun on this one.

3. Declare it a "weapon of mass destruction," make allusions to "smoking guns" and "mushroom clouds" and never find the damned thing.

4. Join the circle-jerk seance with Rudy Giuliani and Bill Kristol, repeatedly chanting "9/11! 9/11! 9/11!" in the hopes of ... wait, why do they keep chanting "9/11!" again?

5. Cut taxes!

6. Defy all rules of logic--and the law of gravity--and waterboard the asteroid until it confesses that Saddam was involved in its hurtling towards Earth.

7. Nothing. Like military service in Vietnam, he'll have "better things to do."

8. Nothing. He doesn't believe that Big Government can solve all our problems.

9. Nothing. He'll be too busy testifying in the Hague.

10. Have another heart attack and recuperate by spooning Scooter Libby in an "undisclosed location."



Wait! We gotta stop here! Kirsanow has tied Nell to the damned railroad tracks again and we've gotta go save her before the oncoming train slices her in two!



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Soul Sista Saturday: Celia Cruz


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Friday, May 22, 2009

Name That Sample

I can't get this damned song out of my head this morning. Now, all you Old School Hip-Hop Heads tell me why. No YouTube or Google. This should be an easy one.


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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Burning Up!


I'm trying to remain calm. I'm trying not to say or do anything stupid--which can oftentimes be a real challenge for yours truly. But I picked little Pooh up from daycare at the normal designated time last night only to get home with a baby on fire!

103.7!

That's what the thermometer read.

What? Nobody in daycare noticed? Nobody felt the need to call the girl's parents?!

We're all burning up today.

Pooh with fever. Her parents in fury.
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

We Need a Hero


Good vs. Evil. The Good Guy against the Bad. It's the stuff that almost all fiction (whether good or bad) is made of. Whether it's a romantic competitor or an evil mastermind bent on worldwide destruction, we know there is one, single person our hero must defeat in order for all to be right in the world.

It makes for entertaining storytelling. However, as I said before about Philip Roth's The Plot Against America, sometimes it just doesn't make much sense. In that novel, Roth blamed the imagined Nazification of America on the election of Charles Lindbergh. When Lindy wasn't re-elected, everything simply went back to normal. But, in the case of this alternative history, the problems faced by Nazi America would've been a societal, systemic evil. The elimination of "the bad guy" simply would not have solved the problem. A single hero could not have stood up to the task.

Currently, our country faces more problems than I have time to enumerate. We've tried to offer up bogeymen for each one, to purge ourselves of evil and live happily ever after. But each Evil One seems to fall short. The execution of Saddam didn't end our problems in Iraq. Afghanistan's problems won't stop if we ever catch bin Laden. The prosecution of Lynndie England and The Abu Ghraib Gang did not kill torture as either a debate or a policy. And the banking crises didn't end with Bernie Madoff's pleading guilty.

These problems continue to persist--nobody's ridden off to the sunset, no credits have rolled--because they simply don't fit into the format of simple storytelling that we're accustomed to and our press uses way too often. This ain't no romantic comedy here. What we're facing are deep, ingrained system failures.

But even in the face of such grave challenges, in the past, heroes have arisen, people who stood in the face of powerful opposition to do, what they felt, was the right thing to do. FDR did everything he possibly could to end the Great Depression. Truman (after staring at 100,000 casualties after three weeks of fighting on Okinawa) dropped the atomic bomb on Japan. He also found the cojones to desegregate the military when segregation was pretty much the law of the land. LBJ pushed through Civil Rights legislation knowing that the "Solid South" would flee the Democratic party. Nixon (yeah, Nixon), no Friend of the Negro by any stretch of the imagination, found the courage to extend and expand that same Civil Rights legislation.

Now, none of these men are your prototypical hero and, in many respects, they are villains themselves. However, these men flew in the faces of their own parties and powerful interests when the time came for them to do something. They could've easily dissembled, demurred, or disregard the impolitic and do absolutely nothing. But they weathered the storm and took somewhat heroic action in order to do what was right.

But, when I look at all the ills facing America today, I can't help but wonder where are those people willing to take similarly heroic action? Where are our heroes?



It's not as though I want the government to take over the banks, reorganize and re-regulate them, sell off as much bad debt as possible, and then sell the banks off out of some imagined vision of revenge or "class warfare." I definitely don't want to screw the shareholders. I want the government to do all that with these failed banks because that's how we emerged from the S&L crisis of the '90s with minimal damage. Because that's how Sweden emerged from their banking crisis that same decade. Because every US Treasury Secretary before Paulson said that's how you rescue the banks. Because what we're doing now is what Japan did during their "Lost Decade." I want Uncle Sam to take over the banks because it is the right thing to do.

I don't want universal health care because I want to be French or Canadian or even French-Canadian, comprenez-vous? I want it because tens of millions of Americans don't have health insurance. Because tens of thousands of Americans go bankrupt because of illness and mounting medical bills. Because these problems persist despite the fact that America spends more on health care than any other country. I don't even want to "stick it to" the insurance companies--though they stick it to us every day. They spend millions to deny us the care we pay for in order to save themselves billions. They are the arbiters of life and death in order to make a profit. So, people suffer and die, they live with illness or delay treatment because they fear being diagnosed with a "pre-existing condition" and being dropped from their insurance, never to be picked up again. Patients can't afford the system. Our employers can't. OB/GYNs are constantly driven from the business. I want universal health care because it is the right thing to do.

I definitely want more than a Truth and Reconciliation panel for this torture debacle. I want prosecutions. Not because I hate America. Not because I hate Bush and Cheney. I want people punished for torturing detainees because torturing is morally reprehensible. Because it is against international law and US law. Because torture was much bigger than Lynndie England and The Abu Ghraib Gang. I want it because our former President and Vice President openly bragged about torturing prisoners. Because our own Justice Department wrote legal briefings sanctioning torture. Because it looks like it was not only the Bush Administration and Republicans in on the whole thing but also their Democratic "opposition." Because the CIA, FBI, our own soldiers, and even private contractors appear to have tortured people. I want prosecutions because all these people tortured in my name, they did it as Americans. And it was wrong and a systemic failing and I never want to see America sanctioning torture ever again. I want people prosecuted because it is the right thing to do.



But where are our leaders who believe in doing the right thing? Who has the courage to stand against the powerful interest groups and lobbyists, the pundits and donors?

Instead of the government's taking over the banks like they did with the S&Ls, we have Geithner and Bernanke pouring our grandchildren's down the drain. They don't want to hurt or offend or even hold their Wall Street cronies accountable for the disaster they've created. People aren't fired. They're given retention bonuses even if they've left the company. They don't want the share holders to lose their money. They want their buds to reap all the rewards of capitalism and the American taxpayer to assume all the risks--to the tune of $700 billion and counting.

The Obama team, who promised us some sort of universal health care while campaigning, has a heart-to-heart with the insurers and now says all options except a single-payer system are on the table.

Obama himself, our Constitutional scholar president, has reversed decades of human rights legislation by openly condoning the Nuremberg Defense. No, we won't be prosecuting individual CIA agents for torture. They were "just doing their jobs." He even, despite mounting evidence to the contrary, reached into a tried and true fiction trope by saying that it was only "a few bad apples" who committed torture.

We live in an era where no one believes in accountability and personal responsibility, where no one should suffer the consequences of their own misdeeds if they're rich and powerful enough.

The bankers get away with it. The torturers. Hell, even A-Rod has gotten away with taking steroids.

There is no such thing as personal responsibility. And our own elected officials can't be entrusted to enforce it because they can't even regulate themselves. Responsible for our money, they're running up an historic national debt. While it's only to be temporary, they refuse to take any action that will make it just that.

They squawk about fiscal responsibility, but none of them are going to give up their own pet projects. They refuse to curb spending but also refuse to raise taxes on the people who can most afford it. No, capital gains must remain taxed at 15 percent while everyone else gets taxed at higher rates. Ultimately, we all know taxes will be raised, but those who reap the most benefit from living in this country won't bear the brunt of the burden, the rest of us will.



And war crimes? What war crimes? Yes, Robert Mugabe must pay for his war crimes. Those despots in Sudan, North Korea, Burma, etc., must pay for theirs. But, when the rubber hits the road, Congress will scream, "We don't commit war crimes. We're Americans!"

Now, I am not naive enough to believe that there was some mystical "Golden Age" when the rich and powerful did not escape justice. However, there have been instances when the Michael Milkens of the world had to do at least a little time for their crimes. When the CIA was taken to task for their misdeeds. And I can't help wondering where those times have gone?

I don't expect a storming of the Bastille and the streets to run with blood. But, with all that has been going on, I do desire a return of the notion of The Common Good. That people have to take responsibility for their actions and their positions. These bankers were trusted with our money and squandered it. They must pay. These agents and soldiers and private contractors violated US law. They must be prosecuted. A-Rod sucks ass. He must die! Health insurers are bad actors and run an exploitative business. They must be taken to task or driven out of business. Our President and Congress were elected to create and uphold the laws of this land. They must enforce them.

These are not the rantings of a lunatic (I think) who lives in some sort of paranoid delusion. These are all parts of the social contract we sign onto by being members of society. These are the responsibilities of the positions these people hold. I am only asking them to do the right thing to do. Obviously, this is too much to ask from mere mortals. So, I guess, what I'm asking for is heroic action. I guess I'm asking for a hero.



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Saturday, May 16, 2009

My New Hero, David Waldman

Thanks to Driftglass (which you should read if you don't already), I have been treated this morning to something I hardly ever see in the Punditocracy: a journalist actually doing his/her job and denouncing America's Torture Regime for what it is. I, for one, am glad to finally see that Andrew Sullivan is not alone.


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Soul Sista Saturday: Jhelisa


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Friday, May 15, 2009

Liar, Liar

The Democrats thought they had him defeated, that the Republicans had been crushed, and the Bush Administration was now dead and out of the way--only to be raised from the dead when America needed another bugaboo. However, when it comes to the undead, they didn't realize these bastards don't just fade away, you have to kill their asses and make sure they remain dead. So, no, you couldn't just flash a crucifix, sprinkle a little holy water onto Dick Cheney, and nail his sarcophagus shut. You had to run that stake straight through his heart. And because of that little oversight, the Dickster has arisen from his grave to take down one of your own.

And he's doing a mighty fine job of it, too. The former Vice President's one-man crusade to devour the heart of American Exceptionalism and validate torture has caught Nancy Pelosi in its snare, and, like any trapped animal, the Speaker is lashing out furiously over whether or not she was debriefed about the CIA's torturing prisoners (or shall I say, “the Cheney methods of interrogation”). Pelosi forgets that the more you struggle, the tighter the noose becomes.

Look, we all remember how cowardly you Dems were after September 11. You were tripping over yourselves trying to out-patriot the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act. You just didn't give a shit. You didn't want to appear "anti-American." Bush could've said, "We're going to invade Mecca during Ramadan, rape all the women and boys under the age of 12, and slit everyone else's throats," and you would've crooned, "War on Terror, Massa Chahlie!"

So, it's not out of the realm of possibility that you were fully debriefed on what was going on. Your own words make me believe that you had. That whole thing you said about "the only mentioning of waterboarding was that they weren't doing it" crap? Why would they have even brought it up if they were not doing it? How would anyone would've even known how to ask? Were you all watching Pol Pot's Greatest Hits, saw some waterboarding, and wondered, "Hey, I wonder if our boys are doing that? Maybe I should ask?"

But what really convinces me is your calling everyone a liar. Cheney's a liar! Rove's a liar! The CIA are a bunch of liars! And you're the only one willing to stand up to the truth here, Nancy? Don't you realize that the more you protest, the more it sounds like there's a legitimate reason why thou dost protesteth too much? You're starting to sound like Marion Jones when she was screaming to high heavens about the steroid witch hunt before she had even been tested. And we all know how that turned out.



But hey, look, Nancy Pelosi isn't the only liar this week who's annoying me. Here are some others for your reading pleasure:





President Obama. No, it's Bash-O-Bama Week at Tome. In a strange way, I kind of admire the deftness of his sudden refusal to release the torture pix. Yeah, it was a reversal, a slap in the face to bring forth a new era of openness in governance. But, The Big Brother is now President. He has to support his troops, his CIA, FBI, and all that yadda-yaddaness. Besides, we all know that the photos will be released eventually, but now Obama can be all Shaggy-like, put up his hands, and say, "Wasn't me."

What does annoy me, though, is his perpetuation of the"few bad apples" bullshit myth. We couldn't have had W. spouting his Connecticut Cowboy Macho crap, the veep openly endorsing torture (then and now), and the Justice Department writing up legal justifications of torture and believe (without the help of a frontal lobotomy) that any of this stuff was "just a few bad apples." No, this torture nightmare was systemic, it ran all throughout American foreign policy. Apparently, even the Democrats knew about it (see above) and refused to do a damned thing about it. Hell, weren't there even Abu Ghraib photos where commanding officers were walking by while these "few bad apples" humiliated their prisoners?








Pat Buchanon and all those jackholes on the Right who are oh-so-morally outraged over Wanda Sykes's performance Saturday night at the White House Correspondents' Dinner--as though this was the most outrageous thing their virgin ears have ever heard. Well, what about these recent Republican doozies?

"How can 2,000,000 blacks get into Washington, D.C., in one day in subzero temps when 200,000 couldn't get out of New Orleans in 85 degree temps with four days notice?"
-- Hillsborough County, FL, Republican committeewoman, Carol Carter


"I believe that there is a very strong chance that we will see that young people will be put into mandatory service. And the real concerns is that there are provisions for what I would call re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward and then they have to go to work in some of these politically correct forums."
--GOP Congresswoman Michele Bachmann
(Oh, wait, she was being serious.)


"Despite how the conflict has been portrayed by our glorious media, if you gave any U.S. soldier a gun with two bullets in it, and he found himself in an elevator with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Osama bin Laden, there's a good chance that Nancy Pelosi would get shot twice, and Harry Reid and bin Laden would be strangled to death."
--CBS golf analyst (closet Republican?) David Feherty






Nick Cannon. Look, Nick, I understand that you're married to Mariah Carey. I understand that Eminem has called her a whole bunch of nasty in his latest album. I understand your need to call him out--maybe even whip his ass. I mean, a celebrity smackdown seems a bit silly, but I understand your perceived need. But am I really supposed to take you seriously when you write stuff like this: "...but I thought we got passed the days where white men could spew vulgar obscenities at our beautiful queens and get away with it."

Now, unlike a lot of folks in my community, I do not question your wife's racial identity. But, seriously, I'm supposed to get all Nat Turner and shit because Eminem has called your wife a "cunt"? Don't get me wrong, I even hate typing that word. So, I don't mind your trying to drum up a little antipathy for Mr. Eight Mile. But this one ain't racial. He didn't call her "black whore." He called her a whore.

And if you're really all that upset about what our black queens are being called by rappers, you've got about 20 years of righteous indignation to work through before you even touch Eminem's first album. Why don't you threaten to kick Ice Cube's ass? Or 50's?

But no, you get all Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al on us, calling us to boycott or protest or riot or sit in the front of the bus, or some shit. Come on, dude, we all know there wasn't anything racial in this attack on your wife. It's just Eminem doing what he does (have you heard what the man says about his own mother?), trying to outrage in order to revive a flagging career. In fact, your trying to manufacture some racial outrage of your own makes me wonder if a new Drumline is coming out, or something.




David Stern. Well, since we're all into claiming racism, what else can explain the NBA commissioner's latest non-action? He's willing to bring down the heavens on any player who strays one page off the Emily Post Guide to Proper Negro Behavior, and, yet, when Mavericks' owner, Mark Cuban, gets into a player's mother's face, screaming about how she raised her up a thug, Stern does absolutely nothing (talk about a white man being able to say anything to our black queens). And then when asked about it, Stern comes up with this load of bull:

"I thought it was time to try to make cooler heads prevail and move to something else. Because this is a league that I think takes justifiable pride in its inclusiveness and diversity, and this was not something I felt particularly proud of."


I don't know, people. This looks like a job for Nick Cannon, if you ask me.




Stellan Skarsgård. Look, as an actor, I love you, man. Breaking the Waves is still one of my favorite movies of all-time (which I don't know exactly what that says about me). I even love your honesty when it comes to what you think about Dan Brown: I think Dan Brown is a terribly bad writer, but he has cliffhangers after every chapter which makes you continue reading." But then I'm supposed to believe that you're appearing in Angels and Demons because it's better than the atrocious Da Vinci Code and that "the story is more simple and straightforward but just as dramatic?"

Come on, dude, fess up. You did it for the money!




Bill Campbell. Yes, I admit it. This week I'd promised my wife that I'd clean the bathroom tomorrow. But, in my head, I keep concocting elaborate schemes to somehow get out of the task. Don't be surprised if you see me tomorrow in a neck brace or ... wait, better yet, a full-body cast.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Samuella L. Chompers

Yesterday before the Penguins' game, yours truly decided to treat his little Poohbutt. So, he left work a little early, rushed through rush hour traffic, picked his darling, little child up from day care, rushed back through rush hour traffic all to take her to her favorite, little toddler park. It was a fine, no, perfect spring day, the kind that you don't get too many of here in our nation's capital. Mid-seventies, sun shining brightly, a nice cool breeze. Our hero and our hero's daughter were having a fine time of it.

However, time was running out. There was a hockey game to watch. Mother had to be met. Car and child dropped off. A train to catch.

Pooh had yet to go on her favorite slide (yes, that slide), the one she always makes it a point to go on. Her father had the bright idea that she would want to go on it before we left. He was just trying to avoid a scene.

So, he lifted her out of the little plastic car with the busted wheels that doesn't move. She wiggled a moment, whined a little.

"What's the matter, Pooh?" her father cooed. "We're just going on the sli---SONOFAMOTHERFATHERBURRRCOCKANOODLE!!!"

Yes, for all his troubles--leaving work a little early, rushing through rush hour traffic, picking his darling, little child up from day care, rushing back through rush hour traffic all to take her to her favorite, little toddler park--our hapless hero was introduced to his 18-month-old daughter's baby teeth. Right on the chest and clamped down with all her might. Mr. Writer discovered why those bad boys are called "incisors."

Yep, Pooh broke skin.


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Enough to Make a Cossack Go ... "Damn"



Yes, my Penguins delivered the ass-whuppin' of the millennium last night against the Caps (6-2, people! 6-2! The Pens scored five before the Caps even realized they weren't skating for the judges). Yeah, I know a lot of hockey fans out there probably found the drubbing quite a bore, but this Pittsburgher found it quite refreshing, after that last Super Bowl, to be able to watch a final elimination game without having to take my heart medication. Not to say that the experience was not without its pain. My boy and I actually injured our hands high-fiving each other so damned much.

But seriously, folks, this drubbing will now silence all the Capitals' fans' conspiracy theories about how the refs were trying to give the Pens the series because Sidney Crosby's the "New Face of the NHL." Maybe the refs were trying to give away last night's game, but they had to stand in line behind Ovechkin, Mike Green, and Simeon Varlamov.

(Once again, inferior team, you lost because you ... were ... inferior. The Illuminati doesn't give two shits about who wins the Penguins/Capitals series. They're too busy screwing around with my checking account.)

The rapine also answers the idiotic question asked by Caps' no-show, Alexander Semin: "What's so special about Crosby?"



Well ... everything!

The boy's barely 21-years-old and (while it's definitely not all him) looks like he may be leading his team to a second, consecutive Stanley Cup final. Now, Semin, ask yourself, Mr. Twenty-Five-Year-Old-Russian-Phenom-First-Round-Draft-Choice-with-Absolutely-No-Goals-in-This-Last-Series, what's so special about you?

Last night's blood bath also gave me and Triple P (Pinoy Penguins Pal) the opportunity to tell all those racist, homophobic, and downright inhospitable Caps fans outside the Verizon Center last night to, and I paraphrase, "Suck a dick, motherfucker."

And, finally, the murderous mayhem of Malkinian mastery gave this hockey fan hope for the rest of the season. That was the best I think I've ever seen the Pens play. They were like Detroit was against us the first two games of last year's Stanley Cup. If they play like they did last night and somehow escape having to face Detroit (Go, Anaheim! or Go, Chicago!), you've got to like our chances.


(Remember, I called the Super Bowl pretty early.)





Steeler All-Pro defensive tackle, Casey Hampton, is proof-positive that yours truly is not the only Hottentot hockey fan.


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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Pittsburgh Penguins Song of the Day

Look, everybody loves a penguin. They're cute. They're cuddly. And they make surprisingly good movies. And while they definitely know how to handle themselves on the ice, we need a completely different mammal out there against the Capitals tonight. Tonight, we don't need a Penguin, we need a

TIGER!!!



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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pants Down and Shirt Off: Obama and Gay Marriage

A conservative friend-who-shall-remain-nameless of mine, sent me a link to Iowahawk with this photo and the headline, "Breaking: Gay Marriage Opponent Topless Photos Leaked." Apparently, Miss California Carrie Prejean is getting even more flak for her opposition to gay marriage, and folks are threatening to come out with topless pics.

Hawk, and I'm sure other, disingenuous conservatives, are rightfully pointing out liberals' hypocrisy in decrying Prejean when their own, liberal president also opposes gay marriage.

As much as it galls me, as much as I hate to contribute to what will later turn into Gorgeous White Woman Redemption and a Prejean the Plumber book and concert tour (followed by a brisk business of CDs, DVDs, and swimsuit calendars), I'll have to agree with the conservatives on this one. Though for completely different reasons, I believe they should point out liberals' hypocrisy here. While they feel somehow vindicated that The Big Brother's on their side with gay marriage, I believe that they are all on the wrong side of civil rights and history when it comes to this issue.

Obama's need to appear as a moderate and mediator has him reaching out to a constituency who's never quite believed him and is always champing at the bit to have that hand returned as a stump. With the abortion issue, where he constantly talked about "curbing the need for abortions" on the campaign trail, he's found that there is no mythological "Third Way." Even before he was elected, Pro-Lifers were considering him "the most pro-abortion candidate" ever to step foot on the American political stage. And the furor over his appearance at Notre Dame and repealing his rescinding the Mexico City Policy, which blocked federal funding to overseas facilities that provided abortions, proves that there really is no middle ground when it comes to abortion rights. I don't know why anyone would be surprised at this. The woman's right to choose is a civil right--either one is for it or against it. There simply can be no middle ground.

That's the funny thing about civil rights. There are no half-measures. Or rather, the half-measures ones come up with are often tragic. Could there ever be three-fifths of an abortion?

As the Supreme Court decision, Loving v. Virginia, legalizing interracial marriage, proved, marriage is indeed a civil right. Moreover, it's a property rights issue, determining who rightfully inherits what and who has authority over one's person if incapacitated, etc. "Civil union" is a cute compromise that falls far short of the rights bestowed upon marriage. These rights are what the state, the secular state, have to concern themselves with. The so-called "morality" of gay marriage is nothing the state needs to worry about. Leave it up to the individual and churches to wrangle over that. Any politician, including Obama, who kowtows to the "civil union" argument is laying our own Constitution prostrate to the whims of the mob.

And what happens when we Americans allow civil rights to be dictated by plebiscite? It's not simply California's voters reimplementing their state's ban on gay marriage. Just look at slavery and subjugation of African-Americans. Political cowardice had our forefathers backing away from abolition, which extended the institution of slavery by some 80 years, giving us the Three-Fifths Compromise, a civil war in Kansas, and the Civil War itself. The Republicans' weak will led to the collapse of Reconstruction and the ultimate passing of Jim Crow laws all across the South. Millions were oppressed, thousands murdered, and we are still (despite Obama's election) struggling against the legacy that slavery left our country.

No, the gay marriage ban has not had such drastic consequences. However, when it comes to this fight for civil rights and human dignity, Obama's looking more like George Wallace ("Straight marriage now! Straight marriage tomorrow! Straight marriage forever?") than Martin Luther King--or, if we are to believe current and historical rumors about breast-bearing, more like Carrie Prejean than Sojourner Truth.



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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mothers' Day!


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Not Exactly Colbert But ...

Here's Wanda at the White House Correspondents' Dinner crackin' on Rush and Hannity...


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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Odds 'N' Ends




Just some random thoughts I've been having...


Jesus, enough with this damned swine flu already! I mean, seriously, we've seen this movie before -- way too many times before. Every few years, the media and our governments get us all worked up over the NEW KILLER EPIDEMIC! acting like the world is finally coming to an end and people will soon be dying in the streets from this Fever of the Month: Ebola, bird flu, SARS, jungle. Countless politicians, professionals, and press agencies beat the drum of hysteria. Hypochondriacs flood our hospitals. Millions of dollars are spent. They constantly tell us not to worry while worrying us with the hysteria of some other influenza outbreak that killed 20 million in 1910 and half of Europe in the Dark Ages.

And then it all mysteriously seems to vanish.

We never seem to get the follow-up reports telling us that this NEW KILLER EPIDEMIC! ended up being no deadlier than any other strain virus, flu, bacteria, whatever. They neglect to tell us that the reason this NEW KILLER EPIDEMIC! wasn't the Black Death at all is because we don't live in the same conditions they did back then or even our great-grandparents did 100 years ago. These people lived in overcrowded cities with common wells where the water gave them cholera, no indoor plumbing, and raw sewage tumbling down the gutters of their streets. In other words, our ancestors wallowed in their own shit. No wonder they got sick. In our highly sanitized world today, we simply don't live as wretchedly as our forebears.

But I guess that kind of reasoning don't sell newspapers, don't boost ratings, and definitely don't get you no extra funding for your local health department. I just hope they come up with a more politically correct name for the next outbreak. Swine flu was oh, so offensive.







This motherfucker is lying. Yeah you, Ben Bernanke, and your trusty sidekick, Eraserhead--I mean, Tim Geithner. That bullshit testimony you gave before Congress, talking about how the economy's starting to recover, well, no, I don't have any proof, and, well, yeah, millions of more people are going to lose their jobs in the next few months, and their houses, too, but, yeah, yall, things are looking up! Trust me!

And now you want us to believe this little "stress test" of yours? Coming up with more NEW and IMPROVED bullshit to cover the stench of the feces you've been burying us with for the past year. See, folks, everything's OK, the banks are starting to recover, oh yeah, sure they'll need hundreds of billions of more dollars, sure they still have those pesky "toxic assets," no, we don't need to fire anybody, take anything over, worse comes to worst, we'll just have to give these beautiful, rich people more of you poor bastards' tax money, but these banks are well on their way to recover! Things are looking up! Trust me!

What the hell, you lying sack of shit? I know you're just trying to cover your own ass over this TARP bullshit. And I know you're in bed with every banker in the biz. But damnit, you're the Fed Chair. You're supposed to be independent of your Wall Street cronies and the politicos. You're the one who's supposed to be making the tough decisions and cleaning this crap up. Not sitting up there trying to figure out how to save your boys' jobs and try to sneak them even more bonuses. When Paul Volcker was in your seat, facing runaway inflation back in '83, that bad boy cut off the money supply and threw America into a devastating recession. But he solved the problem. It was some mighty painful shit, but he ended stagflation as soon as he could. Not for the good of the Reagan administration. Not for the good of his banking BFFs. But for ... the ... good ... of the country! So Ben, quit your lying, quit lying around with whatever CEO's whispering sweet-nothings in your ears, take a shower, wash his sperm right out of your hair, and do your fucking job!







Well, Manny, as big as you are, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that you're on the 'roids. It's just that, damn, can't anybody hit an honest home run in Major League Baseball anymore? Yall are so juiced, I hear they caught the San Diego Chicken with Human Growth Hormone.

But what was it I heard you got caught with? Something about a female fertility drug? How embarrassing? I wish you would've come to me for help with your excuse, though. Yours was pretty lame. You should've said that you're getting up there in years; the window's rapidly closing; and you were afraid that you'd never have children. Just imagine all the different ways Yankees fans are coming up with calling you a "Bitch" tonight.







Speaking of Ramirezes, what is up with those damned Washington Capitals? [Yes, Dr. Monkey and Grant, this black man is once again talking about hockey!] First, you're complaining about how the refs called more penalties against you than they did my Pens in Game 3. Hm, I guess it is utterly impossible that you guys actually committed more penalties than the Penguins did. Yeah, what was I thinking? Of course, the refs are dirty.

And now, you have the cops arresting some 17-year-old kid just because he threatened your star, Alexander Ovechkin's life on a fans' message board? Some kid writes: "I'm killing Ovechkin. I'll go to jail. I don't care anymore," and yall suddenly think you're in Skating for Columbine.

Don't you fools know you're up in the series 2-1? Stop your whining. You're the kind of Ramirezes that give Ramirez a bad name.







Why, when he speaks, does John Boehner always look like he's had something violently shoved up his rectum and that he:

A) Doesn't want to admit that it hurts like hell;

B) Doesn't want to admit that he actually kinda likes it;

C) Doesn't want to explain why it's been lodged up there since 1972; and

D) Why he's never had it removed?







Why does Hollywood keep giving Rashida Jones the Rae Dawn Chong treatment? In The Office, in I Love You, Man, and now in Parks and Recreations, they've always got this biracial beauty (Quincy Jones's daughter, I might add) paired up with a white man. Please, Hollywood, let the sista love a brutha for once! I mean, damn, she dated Tupac for godsakes!







Why does dropping Pooh off at day care bum me out so damned much?

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Time-Traveling Clock Teasers



I'm sitting here, basking in another satisfying Lost afterglow, trying to blog about something else entirely, watching yet another, horrible episode of The Unusuals, wondering who the hell! thought this show could've possibly been a good idea. OK, I've always liked Harold Perrineau, and Adam Goldberg is the Hebrew Hammer; I'm still trying to figure out if Amber Tamblyn's cute or not, but Monique Gabriela Curnen most definitely is (though she could really use a catchier name). Anyway, I don't want to waste too many electrons on this crap show. It's going to be canceled soon enough. What really upsets me is that they canceled a perfectly functioning show in order to put this high-definition dung on the air.

Yes. I know I was probably 1/10 of Life on Mars' fan base, but it was a good show. Not a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, but with the dearth of good, hour-long programming on the networks, I don't understand why they just didn't give it a shot.

For those who don't know, Life on Mars was an American remake of a successful, 16-episode British series. In the ABC version, Jason O'Mara plays a modern-day cop who gets hit by a car and is mysteriously transported to the early '70s New York Police Department. O'Mara suffers through the usual time-traveling culture shock (you know, police brutality, sexism, drinking on the job were all cool in the '70s--of course, throw in killing unarmed black folks and you've got Giuliani's NYPD) while trying to get back home to the present. I was willing to ignore my usual disdain for Harvey Keitel (who hasn't been cool since Taxi Driver) as O'Mara's lieutenant because Michael Imperioli was absolutely brilliant as an anti-PC po-lice.

As I said, I wouldn't say LoM was brilliant, but it was fun. Even Gretchen Moll as the lone Angie Dickinson was growing on me, and it was a good complementary follow-up to Lost. But ABC wouldn't even let the damned thing last an entire season. One week I'm watching the show, going, "Ooh, that was a good episode," only to watch an advertisement a minute later, imploring me to watch the Series Finale!



Of course, I don't know why I was in the least bit surprised. I mean, ABC is the same network that contracted the 13-episode mini-series, Day Break, to spell lost for a couple months, and canceled the damned thing seven episodes in to flood the airways with more piss-poor episodes of Life According to Jim.

I'm still trying to figure out what was wrong with Day Break. It was a highly-stylized murder-mystery-meets-Groundhog-Day with a jam sexy cast. No, seriously, look at 'em! Moon Bloodgood, Meta Golding, Victoria Pratt! We all know the sistas love them some Taye Diggs, and even I've got to admit that Ramon Rodriguez is ... well ... pretty.

Now, I realize that Jim Belushi must give good noggin. I mean, how else could you explain how According to Jim has lasted this long? But what money shot was worth re-running his abysmal show instead of just letting this clever show run its course? Like 13 episodes ever hurt anyone.



Of course, ABC is not the only network to disappoint me--or Moon Bloodgood--with their abortive flirtations with science fiction and time travel. In '07 they premiered and abruptly canceled Journeyman. Kevin McKidd played a journalist whose life is turned upside down when he starts time traveling for absolutely no reason. Moon Bloodgood was an ex-girlfriend and guide who tried to help him figure out the mystery.

This one was looking like it was going to be a good one. It took about three episodes for my wife and I to get hooked. Then, on the thirteenth episode, my wife and I were getting this weird feeling. At the end, I turned to her, and said, "I think that might've been the finale." We went online to find out that they'd just canceled the show with barely any warning.

Look, I understand, Americans don't like science fiction. After a century of Buck Rogers and 40 years of the Star Trek/Star Wars paradigm, most people think of SF as space opera claptrap that appeals only to the pubescent mind. Adults, serious adults with brains of their own, who can think and reason, can never go in for that kids' stuff. If it's science fiction, they know they don't like it. And if they do like it (like Audrey Niffenegger's Time Traveler's Wife or a bunch of Margaret Atwood--who will cut you if you dare even suggest any of her work is science fiction), then it simply can't be science fiction. Or, as one of my co-workers put it to me once, "Oh, but it's so much more."

(We all know none of you Lost fans would ever consider that show SF.)



And, before thou doth protest too much, remember, I wrote a science fiction novel. I know of what I speak. I've seen the contempt firsthand. On tour, when people would ask me what kind of novel Sunshine Patriots was and I'd reply, "Science fiction," folks would turn up their noses and screw up their faces as though I'd said, "But wait! There's more! I've also brought along my genital fungus!!!"

So yeah, I get it. You don't like science fiction. You don't like time travel. I don't understand why the major networks don't understand. I don't understand why they even have to try to air shows like Life on Mars and Journey Man. I don't understand why they just don't let those shows have a chance on cable. Why do they have to give my cable-less ass hope? Why do they keep teasing me? Why do they insist on dry-humping me with the likes of Day Break only to cut me off short just when it's starting to get good?

Why, David? Why, Dexter? Why???



The Big 3 Networks keep complaining about losing viewers (maybe "Big" groups should stop coming in threes). So, if nobody's watching them, why not give some of these shows--even if they're science fiction--a little time to see if you can actually grow an audience? Pop culture has become a casino over the years, and everybody wants to hit the jackpot. These networks forget that both Bob Newhart and Cheers were absolute flops their first seasons, and they're still making money off of those shows.

So, why not give the next Journey Man or Life on Mars a shot? Ride it out a season or two. See how it goes. Maybe you'll ultimately have a gen-you-wine, boney-fide hit on your hands. Or at least I can stop having to take cold showers and sit around waiting for the DVD in order to finally be satisfied.

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