Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hope in a Hopeless World Part II

The world is a tough place.  Hundreds of thousands millions of people will go to bed hungry tonight.

But there is hope, and things seem to be converging in such a way it's tough to ignore.  Hans is telling us that the world is getting better.  And hey - that's cool.  And then Dave, over at Tea Party Jesus, writes this really cool blog launching Project Neighbor.  Basically that as tough as many of us may have it, we're still light years ahead of most of the world.

And then I stumbled upon the Killers new release Boots.  The Killers rock, and a powerful reminder that we still have struggles here at home, but we can overcome....  If you didn't click on the Project Neighbor link above, give it a go.

In the mean time... enjoy the Killers

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hope in a Hopeless World

Every now and then we need to step back from the crap of today and look back.  Where have we been?  Where are we going? Hans Rosling shares some information on global health that should give some hope.  

Hans has give several other great talks you can find at TED.

H/T to

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It gets better

I had to have a talk with my son the other day.  Not because of anything he did, but because of the homophobic attitudes, bullying, and outright violence toward gay and lesbian folks.

I want to raise my children so that they aren't bigots. And so that in the future this beautiful, yet tragically necessary video won't need to be made anymore.

After the talk my son said to me:  "Dad, in the future, these talks could be less embarrassing if you were more scientific."  Ah! the world of 9 year old boys....

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Does it matter what they think?

It's been a while since my last post...
I've been out of the country - traveling to Africa to see development projects by U.S.Doe NGOs first hand.  I flew down in the beginning of September and visited a couple east African countries.

Some amazing work happening which I'll write about later, but one piece I wanted to highlight.  When I left the states, the 'several blocks from ground zero community center' controversy was ongoing.  

As a freedom loving American I was torn between defending the Constitution which our country is based on (you know, that freedom of religion stuff and those free market principles we hold in such high esteem); and scaring the bejesus out of my fellow Americans by smearing other faiths / those who don't look like me.

It appeared to me that many proud American's decided to chuck the values we hold dear in order to gain political advantage; and they did it in the name of America and Christianity.  In doing so they accidentally conflated Islam with terrorism.  
I have to wonder what message this sends to the Islamic world, when American Christians position themselves in such a way.  But then I remember it doesn't matter what the rest of the world thinks because, by God, we're right don't-cha know?
While I was in eastern Ethiopia I was in a region that was 90% Islamic and looking at some development work done by an American Christian NGO.  Through local partners they were able to provide clean water in the village we visited.  Not just water for drinking, but water for people, water for livestock, water for sanitation, and water for irrigation.  It was done in a way where the local community had full ownership over the well and water systems.  It was done in a way that brought the local community together for joint decision making, empowering women in the process.  And it was done in a way that was sustainable so the people would have clean water into the future.
When we drove into the village, we were met by an Islamic community who came out to celebrate our arrival through song and dance. They cheered to see us coming. The gratitude was obvious and in this village, these Islamic people saw American's as people who want to work with them, to be their partners in life. They saw Christians as people who would come alongside them in their struggles and offer, not just assistance, but empowerment. And at the end of the project, it wasn't the American Christians who owned and controlled the water. They did.

They saw us as friends.  
I wonder what they would think if they saw us back home....

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Google and the whore of Verizon

I loved you!  Why'd you have to go and sleep with that whore Verizon?

So this morning I've called about a dozen different Google offices around the country asking to speak to the person who is putting the Verizon deal together.  Of course I didn't get to that person, but Google needs to know how people feel that they have betrayed the principles of net neutrality.

What is net neutrality?  I'm glad you asked....

You like access to all the stuff you like?  Protect it.  Speak out.

Look, it matters when people speak out.  Good things happen.

I've written my Senators today, and I'll do so again.  They need to hear over and over that net neutrality is a value.

Hmmm.... What if I put out a meme to the Tea Party that this is an Obama plan to take away their first amendment rights?  Think we could get them to ally with us?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

What's a little hateful rhetoric?

Or games...

h/t to John @ Democurmudgeon

Posted in its entirety:

Amusement Park Offers Alien Attack, Where you get to Shoot Black Man Holding a Scroll Labeled “Health Bill.”

Jaw dropping hardly describes the latest offering at a carnival of horror. 

The head of an eastern Pennsylvania amusement company, Irvin Good Jr., has yanked a carnival game in which players shot foam darts at an image resembling President Barack Obama. Good said his company, Goodtime Amusements, won't offer the game again. Good said that he voted for Obama and that the game wasn't meant to encourage violence against the president. He said the image was conceived and painted by a staffer. 
"It was just a big, big mistake in judgment, and I feel sorry about it," he told The Associated Press. "I can't take it back, but I can try to make it better."

The figure used as the shooting gallery target, with 'The Prez' belt buckle and 'Health Bill' in hand. Photograph:

Just how bad was the game? I hope you’re sitting down. 

The game, dubbed "Alien Attack," featured a large painted image of a black man wearing a belt buckle with the presidential seal and holding a scroll labeled "Health Bill." Players could win prizes such as stuffed animals by hitting targets on the image's head and heart. 
Kathryn Chapman, 55, of Medford, Mass., spotted the game and complained to Good. "What is the message you are sending kids, that if your views don't agree with somebody else's, shoot them? I just found it incredibly disrespectful and violent," Chapman said Wednesday. "And this was the president, the highest office in the country. It was absolutely appalling." 
The Obama-themed game had been running since April. Good said he had received one other complaint about it before Chapman's.
Any wonder 42 percent of Americans believe Obama is American? 

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Is Victoria Jackson a communist?

A while ago I got a kick out of watching a video of Victoria Jackson of former SNL fame rant about Obama at the Pasadena Tea Party.  Why would I get such a kick out of it?  Well, for one, she is so completely over the top.  Honestly, at first I thought it was a parody... that's how bad she is.  But then as I realized she was serious I even more hysterical because she sounds insane.  And to think the crowd actually thought she had any relevant arguments!

I searched for more of her appearances and watched them all for a hearty laugh. One of the things which struck me was how she tried to smear Obama as an Alinsky-ite or as someone who used Alinsky-like tactics.  Here is a clip of a song she wrote... (which may make me revoke the crown of Worst.Lyric.Ever from Eminem)... IF you can last to the 1:25 - 1:30 mark on the video, it is the place where she details one piece of her 'evidence' that Obama is a communist - he taught a course on Saul Alinsky.

The article you see floating over her left shoulder is from the World Net Weekly titled:

This caught my attention because it's a common trope on the Right - accusing their opposition of using Alinsky tactics.  Now I actually know a thing or two about Alinsky tactics because I was trained as a community organizer in the tradition of Alinsky.  I know people who worked with Saul in Chicago.  I've read his books.  I've taught the same trainings, and using those 'tactics' helped the communities I worked in win better affordable housing, prevented a truck route from being placed right through the middle of a Latino neighborhood, advanced health care, fought for improved services for the homeless, and more.

A lot of the criticism about Alinsky comes from some of his more creative tactics.  In his book Rules for Radicals he writes about principles for tactics, some of which include:

Ridicule is man's most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.

A good tactic is one your people enjoy.

In my experience these have proven true.  For example, when I worked on the truck route issue I noted above, one of the arguments the city made was that the noise levels would not constitute a problem for the homes in the neighborhood.  So... in preparation for a public meeting we held on the issue, folks from the neighborhood went out to the existing truck route, set up a camera and microphone and recorded trucks driving by.  Then, during the meeting, we had the City Code Enforcement Officer bring in his decibel measuring device (this is what they use to tell you if the music is too loud at your party...) turned up the sound of the trucks driving by to the level the City said it would be, and had the meeting continue with the sound of trucks driving by.  It was obvious to everyone in the room, city officials, the media, the public, that it was impossible to carry on a conversation over the sound of the trucks.  We made the city look like schmucks. The folks loved it. And, we won.

But I'm left with this memory of Victoria Jackson disparaging Alinsky-like tactics and all that was a while ago.  

The other night, we decided to have a family movie night.  Some friends had given us a cute movie called 
No More BathsNow this movie is produced by a company called Feature Films for Families and it's all about teaching how kids can come together to create positive change. 

Here is what Amazon reviews said: 
"Am I my brother’s keeper?" to 10-year-old Keagan, this isn’t a question but a way of life. After learning to help others by watching his parents work as legal-aid attorneys in his youth, Keagan puts his lessons to good use by watching out for his aging neighbor Jake. Years ago, after a fire took his family, Jake opened up his home and heart to the children of Glenwood Springs who come to play on his lot each day. When Jake gets in the way of a greedy developer, government bureaucrats are content to push him aside, but they don’t anticipate Keagan McPhie. Keagan organizes the Glenwood Springs Kids Corp into a powerful force of peaceful protest to help Jake and remind adults of their responsibility to a friend in need.
Starring none other than.... Ms. Victoria Jackson!  (Who, plays the exact same character she plays on SLN and as Speaker at the Tea Parties... a bleached blond bumbling airhead....)

My mind exploded...

See, in the movie, the hero Keagan "organizes the Glenwood Springs Kids Corp into a power force of peaceful protest".  OK, all nice and good... but what tactics do they use?  When their initial protest of a march doesn't work, they call together a meeting to think about how they could leverage their parents to helping Jake.  As you probably guessed from the title, they opt for No More Baths!  A tactic that not only uses ridicule, but is guaranteed to be one that Keagan's people (the other kids) enjoy.

The little band of kids soon realize that not bathing isn't enough, so they up the ante by playing in the dirt and mud to make sure they're really filthy.  My kids loved this scene and the scenes where they refuse to bathe. And as the protest continues, Keagan and his band of 'filthy' Alinsky-ites involve the media (another good tactic for any organization trying to get its message out).

My family enjoyed the movie and had a lot of fun... but I was left with this bizzaro world moment where Victoria Jackson starred in a movie extolling the virtues of Alinsky-like tactics...

Which leads me to wonder.... Is Victoria Jackson a communist?

Footnote: If you'd like to learn more about Saul Alinsky, his work, and his legacy please check out The Democratic Promise: Saul Alinksy & His Legacy (you can see a preview on

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Smoke and mirrors baby...

The Tea Party has racists elements in it. Period.  (See signs below for proof).

But CNN's Don Lemon missed a big chance here, and I think a lot of other folks have as well. There is this insanity to personalize the public; by which I mean, this incessant pursuit to get people to say they are sorry.

The Tea Party is a public institution and Mark Williams was acting in a public role when he posted his 'satirical'  letter to Lincoln on his blog (I'll give him it was satire... racist satire...).  You can see a screen shot of the blog at the bottom of this post but the point I'm trying to make is how we have moved from public to private...

We witness it here in this interview with racist Mark Williams...

The key point of Williams post was misdirection and he continues it in this interview. Lemon reads the quote from the blog post emphasizing the word ‘colored’.

Lemon: Are you still defending this as satire Mark?

Williams: I defend the idea behind it… but when a group that calls itself ‘colored people’ says it is against freedom, and emancipation, and it’s against self-determination… uh, the first thing that pops into my mind is that those colored people must be speaking for some bizarre group of people that I’m not familiar with…

Lemon sticks on the word colored…

Williams later in the interview… “I used the intent behind their resolution”

Lemon, trying to get the on air scoop of “I’m sorry”…. : Are you sorry for writing those things?

Williams: (F*** off, I’m not going to say it… ) "When their goal in the resolution they passed was to increase government dependency…"

The NAACP’s resolution condemned extremist elements within the Tea Party, calling on Tea Party leaders to repudiate those in their ranks who use racist language in their signs and speeches.

What racism you ask?

By focusing on the personal Lemon missed a huge hole in the Tea Party’s argument. If he had asked Williams to repeat the resolution, or read it to him, he could have followed with…

Mark, you’re a smart guy, tell me how a resolution that calls on you and other leaders in the Tea Party to repudiate those who use racists language... how is that akin to increasing government dependency? Or how is rejecting racism akin to standing against freedom, emancipation, and self-determination?"

Instead of getting him to say he's sorry, how about ask him about how he is using misdirection to avoid the charges of racism?

If are interested in more of how the Right uses racist language, I urge you to check out

Over the Cliff: How Obama's Election Drove the American Right Insane

by Amato & Neiwert

Here is William's original post:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Gotta give creds...

As the Tea Party tries hard to prove it is not racists after clearly racist rants, a spokesperson for the Tea Party, David Webb, draws a clear line and kicked Mark Williams out. What I'm impressed about is the amazing job this spokesperson does.

As they throw him under the train (and just as they should have) they do so in a way that crisis-communicators would have to applaud...

Let me be totally clear here... I think the Tea Party movement is an orchestrated astro-turf created movement which grew its own legs and now runs around saying and doing crazy stuff.  I think they are ill-informed, dangerous, lose cannons.

But this guy Webb impressed me.  Simply from a communication point of view.  He comes across strong and confident. He admits Wiliams is over the top, throws him under the bus without blinking an eye, and moves to control the debate.
I thought it amazing how he skirted the racism issue... I thought it was a fair to use the line 'I don't know what is in his heart'... but it was a clear skirt.

Ben Jealous does a great job as a spokesperson for the NAACP picking apart the Tea Party talking points.

A win for the NAACP here but creds go to David Webb for a great interview.

Friday, July 16, 2010

And in contrast to the last post...

From The Cat Empire's latest release Cinema, I present Only Light

Thank you Cat Empire for being so ridiculously good it blows my mind.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Worst. Lyric. Ever.

Eminen has as new song out featuring Rihanna called Love the way you lie.

It's a decent song but in Eminen raps about his woman leaving him...

"Now you get to watch her leave out the window...I guess thats why it's called window pane"


Worst. Lyric. Ever.

Dear God....

Please let this be true!

Can you imagine a Beck / Palin ticket?  Sadly for me, (as well as John Stewart, Steven Colbert and all other comedians) it doesn't look like that is a possibility.

Friday, July 9, 2010

My dog might be slightly retarded.

I read a great piece over at Hyperbole and a Half and wanted to share it...Dog

A lingering fear of mine was confirmed last night:  My dog might be slightly retarded.

I've wondered about her intelligence ever since I adopted her and subsequently discovered that she was unable to figure out how stairs worked.

Read the rest of the hilarious piece here ...
Allie is a brilliant writer and you should spend your days reading her posts.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fight the power ...

When street artists become social commentators, they fight for all of us.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Rich Man and Lazarus

h/t to Crooks and Liars for this...

I am stunned. Absolutely stunned.
I know Rush is a political hack who like to use inflamatory language to divide...

Listen to this. Rush, in his own words, expressing his concern for hungry children in our country.

I don't know about you, but listening to this made me sick. To suggest to hungry kids, "just go home and open the fridge." How cruel. Because those kids know, as do their parents, that there isn't anything there.

And when Rush tells his audience, parents won't let their kids starve... Not if they have means Rush. I could be wrong here... didn't Rush support raising the minimum wage? NOPE.

I know Rush make a lot of money. And I suppose one can get to the point where we just don't believe people could be hungry while we're so fat and stupid.

The reality is, across the nation, poverty is up, demand on food banks is up, donations to food banks are down. And sadly, hunger, in our country is up.

In 2008, 49.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 32.4 million adults and 16.7 million children.

Here, you can go take a hunger quiz. Let's see if you know more than Rush.

(btw - the title was taken from here)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Your daily "Wait! - What?"

German student attacks Hell's Angels with puppy

(Reuters) - A German student created a major traffic jam in Bavaria after making a rude gesture at a group of Hell's Angels motorcycle gang members, hurling a puppy at them and then escaping on a stolen bulldozer.

German police said on Monday that after making his getaway from the Hell's Angels club, the 26-year-old dumped the bulldozer, causing a 5 km (3 miles) traffic jam near the southern town of Allershausen, local police said. He then fled to his home nearby where he was apprehended by the police.
"What motivated him to throw a puppy at the Hell's Angels is currently unclear," said a spokesman for local police, adding that the student had lately been suffering from depression.
The puppy was now in safe hands, the spokesman added.
(Reporting by Max Chrambach, editing by Paul Casciato)

(Source: NOT the Onion)

Oh so many things here...

Why use a puppy as a weapon?  And how?
And if you did... why would you get it back?

And the puppy v. Hell's Angels wasn't enough... escape on a bulldozer?
And got away?  On a bulldozer?

And what are Hell's Angles doing in Germany?.... 

My head is spinning.
(Note to self... don't give a puppy to depressed friends to cheer them up.)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Holy Double Standards Batman!

I happened to be perusing the Federation for American Immigration Reform's website when I came across this:

"America uses the term “illegal alien” to describe someone in our country in violation of our immigration laws not to demean someone, but rather because it is the correct, and legally recognized, term." (source)

OK, perhaps it's not simply a term used to make people think hardworking immigrants are really sneaky criminals intent on harming you.  (Though they do have sections on their website that will tell you just how those illegal aliens will harm you.)

The fear mongering gets a bit overwhelming...

But this story jumped up on CNN today: Arizona bill would deny citizenship to children of illegal immigrants and it got me wondering how FAIR talks about this issue.

Lo and behold... they have a section called: Anchor Babies: Part of the Immigration-Related American Lexicon where they write: "The term 'anchor baby' may be unfamiliar to most Americans but it succinctly describes a troubling aspect of American immigration." (source)

Hey FAIR - I've got news for you... The legally recognized term for someone born in the United States is: U.S. Citizen.

Am I shocked that they would claim the 'legal term' when it scares the bejesus out of people, but ignore the 'legal term' when it suits their purpose?  No, but let's call hypocrisy when we see it.

Remember - FAIR isn't!

Friday, June 11, 2010

We have nothing to fear... well, except maybe fear.

Roger Ebert wrote a great post on the mural controversy down in AZ...   
(Photo courtesy of AP Photo/The Daily Courier, Matt Hinshaw)

The back story is that basically this mural (right) got painted on the side of a school.  It was a nice mural... the theme was "Go Green" and the goal was to promote "environmentally friendly transportation".  Four kids from the school were used as models for the figures depicted on the building.
Then, some City Councilman, a real winner of a human being named Steve Blair, complained that the brown looking kids in the mural didn't represent the community. Did I mention that four kids from the school were used as models for the figures depicted on the building? Yep. I did. But it's important enough to mention twice.

He had some things to say... like:

"I'm not a racist by any stretch of the imagination, but whenever people start talking about diversity, it's a word I  can't stand." Daily Courier 
"I will tell you depicting a black guy in the middle of that mural, based upon who's President of the United States today ..." Daily Courier

"To depict the biggest picture on the building as a Black person, I would have to ask the question: Why?"

"Personally, I think it's pathetic," he says. "You have changed the ambience of that building to excite some kind of diversity power struggle that doesn't exist in Prescott, Arizona. And I'm ashamed of that." -

This councilman wasn't just a councilman, he had a day job as a DJ at KYCA (he's been fired over this...).  During his time on air he riled people up.  Did it work?

Well, the kids and the artists, painting it together, got to know if it worked...  "We consistently, for two months, had people shouting racial slander from their cars" Wall said. "We had children painting with us, and here come these yells of (epithet for Blacks) and (epithet for Hispanics)." (From the AZ Central story quoted above in the first line)

So, as I mentioned, Roger Ebert wrote a great piece... but it wasn't on the controversy per say. He wrote:

How would I feel if I were a brown student at Miller Valley Elementary School in Prescott, Arizona? A mural was created to depict some of the actual students in the school.

Let's say I was one of the lucky ones. The mural took shape, and as my face became recognizable, I took some kidding from my classmates and a smile from a pretty girl I liked. My parents even came over one day to have a look and take some photos to e-mail to the family. The mural was shown on TV, and everybody could see that it was me.

Then a City Councilman named Steve Blair went on his local radio talk show and made some comments about the mural. I didn't hear him, but I can guess what he said. My dad says it's open season on brown people in this state. Anyway, for two months white people drove past in their cars and screamed angry words out the window before hurrying away. And the artists got back up on their scaffold and started making my face whiter.

We went over to my grandparent's house, and my grandmother cried and told me, "I prayed that was ending in my lifetime." Then there was more news: The City Councilman was fired from his radio show, the Superintendent of Schools climbed up on the scaffold with a bullhorn and apologized for the bad decision, and I guess the artists went back up and started making my skin darker again, but I didn't go to see, because I never wanted to go near that bullshit mural again.

(Take the time to read his whole post here...)

What Roger is writing about isn't the mural or the controversy itself, but the people driving by in the cars yelling stuff...

What I cannot imagine is what it would be like to be one of those people driving past in their cars day after day and screaming hateful things out of the window. How do you get to that place in your life? Were you raised as a racist, or become one on your own? ...  But what about the people in those cars? ... They don't think of the feelings of the kids on the mural. They don't like those kids in the school. It's not as if they have reasons. They simply hate. Why would they do that? What have they shut down inside? Why do they resent the rights of others? Our rights must come first before our fears. And our rights are their rights, whoever "they" are. 

(I really encourage you to read is whole piece.... it's great.)

So who are they? I suspect they are the same sort of people as these:

These fine folks just took part in a rally to support the AZ law SB 1070 (which I wrote about here).

What strikes me is their fear.
What I don't understand is, well... their fear.

Yes, there is crazy mixed in there as well, and crazy and fear can be deadly.   I recently spoke with a family member who tends to the right politically. I asked him if all the language about government take over, and socialists, and blatant racial undertones bothered him.  He said "No, it's all just talk."

Later I'll post something on language being more than "just talk."

In the meantime, I encourage you to try to do both, put yourself in the shoes of the kids at that elementary school and imagine what it is like to have very angry grown-ups yelling very ugly stuff at you.  And then try to put yourself in the shoes of the very angry adults.

Now - which side are you on?

(As an aside: I have to wonder how many of them are Christian?  And by that I mean, people who believe that we are all brothers and sisters...I'm sure there is a caveat in the bible for not having to love people who aren't like you... isn't there?)

Friday, June 4, 2010

A truly diabolical conspiracy

I invented a time machine. One that allowed me to go all the way back to May 25th.  So what did I do?  I found evidence of a conspiracy. A truly diabolical conspiracy.  The kind hatched in a secret lair hidden in an ice cap.

Shhh... come close so nobody hears *looking around nervously,* my source over at Zero Energy Construction came forward with all the details.  This is too hot to handle, so I'm sharing it right away.  Remember, you didn't hear it from me....

Dear Tea Party Friends,

I have a confession to make, a confession that may shock and alarm you. I am a liberal Democrat, and at the last strategy session/homosexual blood orgy, I became aware of a dastardly plot being perpetrated by my fellow socialists. As many of you in the Tea Party have correctly guessed, the census is a trap. Let me repeat that for the search engines: the 2010 census is a trap. Porn, porn, porn.

Whatever you do, do not fill out and return the census survey. Yes, it’s only 10 questions, and it only takes 10 minutes, but that’s not counting the years you will spend in forced labor camps once Nancy Pelosi rounds up everyone who bought Going Rogue and puts them to work in the medical marijuana fields. Think of your children, who will be confiscated by liberal shock troops (black liberal shock troops) and used to feed the giant underground blast furnaces that President Obama has installed beneath the White House to power his…

Okay, I’m still working on that part.

Some people, even a few in your own party, will try to tell you that the census is just a benign headcount that collects demographic information about the country. Some may even say that the census is an important way to make sure you are fully represented in Congress, and that if you don’t fill it out, your party might lose seats when the congressional district lines are redrawn.

It is very important that you hit these people with sticks.

The 2010 census is an unprecedented conspiracy of epic proportions, way worse than the 2000 Census or the 1990 Census. It’s a complicated plot, with layers upon layers of deception and misdirection, but let me see if I can explain it as simply as possible. The census process is composed of three steps:

Distributing the census survey to every home in America.
Encouraging all Americans to complete and mail back the survey.
Race war.
This is the truth they don’t want you to know. Whether you’re a Republican, a Tea Partier, an NRA member, a Texan, or you just plain hate the Jews, it is very important that you do not, under any circumstances, complete the 2010 census.

Army of bat robots. That’s what the underground blast furnaces power. The ones Obama is going to feed your children to. For real.

I’m just asking questions here, people!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Don't drunk dial...

Wanna learn more about Freedom Works? Click here.

H/T for the video to Cause for Concern followed by a thank you for telling me all about the follow widgit.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

What are we so afraid of?

“Justice denied anywhere diminishes justice everywhere.” MLK Jr.

Televisions were barred from the Prop 8 trials in CA., but because the testimony is compelling, Academy Award-winning actress Marisa Tomei and actor Josh Lucas reenact Kristen Perry's Prop 8 trial testimony in Plummer Park in West Hollywood.

When you're done watching, please ask yourself what we're so afraid of.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Imagine if the Tea Party was black - part 2

Tim Wise was interview on CNN. Check it out.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

AZ - A Racist Zone?

So I couldn't stay away from it.
AZ passes a bill basically shredding the 4th amendment rights of its citizens (yes, citizens... well at least the brown skin ones).

The Jurist notes Arizona Legalizes Racial Profiling

The amazing thing here is how the GOP is handling it. On the local AZ level the Governor is in a tight reelection and signs the law saying something like "We had to act because of the inaction of the federal government!".

So around the country we have Republican lawmakers supporting the decision of the AZ Gov. by holding up their hands saying "Gosh, what else could she have possibly done?"

And then everyone looks at Congress to say "so what's up?" and we all remember now why the immigration bill didn't go through last year. THE GOP BLOCKED IT!
(See the thing with our Government is we keep writing stuff down... don't believe that the GOP killed it? See for yourself:
So as the GOP continues to be on the wrong side of the immigration debate - which is insane as the number of businesses demanding immigration reform is huge, groups like the US Chamber of Commerce, and newspapers like the Wall Street Journal....

And because of the awful rhetoric used they lost the Hispanic and Asian demographic in a big way in the '08 election.

Some in the GOP are at least politically savvy enough to get it... Dick Armey notes that Hispanics are the fasted growing demographic in American, and then says the GOP seems to be saying, "Let's go out and alienate them." And ol' Dick isn't the first to be saying it.

So how's it going for them this year?

From Politico: "It’s just the start of the 2010 election season, and Republican candidates are already lining up to use the same old anti-immigrant rhetoric."

We already know what the Governor in AZ did.

And as the the Alabama gubernatorial race is heating up after Republican candidate Tim James released a controversial "We speak English" ad.

But now I find this:

GOPer: I Support Deporting American Citizens Whose Parents Are Illegal Immigrants (VIDEO)

I can't believe the stupidity of the GOP. Seriously.

Touching Strangers

Today a little break from the world of politics... Though with AZ trying to be the most racist state in the nation it's a bit hard.

But I stumbled upon this and couldn't help but share:Touching Strangers is an ongoing photographic project by photographer Richard Renaldi. In it he asks strangers, both to each other and to him, to pose with the stipulation that they must be touching. It's an amazing photo essay which touched my heart and, as he says, makes me "think about how relate physically to one another" and entertains "the possibility that there is unlimited potential for new relationship with almost everybody passing by."

Take a look.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

"Imagine if the Tea Party Was Black" - Tim Wise

(Cross-posted in entirety from Ephphatha Poetry)

Let’s play a game, shall we? The name of the game is called “Imagine.” The way it’s played is simple: we’ll envision recent happenings in the news, but then change them up a bit. Instead of envisioning white people as the main actors in the scenes we’ll conjure - the ones who are driving the action - we’ll envision black folks or other people of color instead. The object of the game is to imagine the public reaction to the events or incidents, if the main actors were of color, rather than white. Whoever gains the most insight into the workings of race in America, at the end of the game, wins.

So let’s begin.

Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters —the black protesters — spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government? Would these protester — these black protesters with guns — be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic? What if they were Arab-Americans? Because, after all, that’s what happened recently when white gun enthusiasts descended upon the nation’s capital, arms in hand, and verbally announced their readiness to make war on the country’s political leaders if the need arose.

Imagine that white members of Congress, while walking to work, were surrounded by thousands of angry black people, one of whom proceeded to spit on one of those congressmen for not voting the way the black demonstrators desired. Would the protesters be seen as merely patriotic Americans voicing their opinions, or as an angry, potentially violent, and even insurrectionary mob? After all, this is what white Tea Party protesters did recently in Washington.

Imagine that a rap artist were to say, in reference to a white president: “He’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on my machine gun.” Because that’s what rocker Ted Nugent said recently about President Obama.

Imagine that a prominent mainstream black political commentator had long employed an overt bigot as Executive Director of his organization, and that this bigot regularly participated in black separatist conferences, and once assaulted a white person while calling them by a racial slur. When that prominent black commentator and his sister — who also works for the organization — defended the bigot as a good guy who was misunderstood and “going through a tough time in his life” would anyone accept their excuse-making? Would that commentator still have a place on a mainstream network? Because that’s what happened in the real world, when Pat Buchanan employed as Executive Director of his group, America’s Cause, a blatant racist who did all these things, or at least their white equivalents: attending white separatist conferences and attacking a black woman while calling her the n-word.

Imagine that a black radio host were to suggest that the only way to get promoted in the administration of a white president is by “hating black people,” or that a prominent white person had only endorsed a white presidential candidate as an act of racial bonding, or blamed a white president for a fight on a school bus in which a black kid was jumped by two white kids, or said that he wouldn’t want to kill all conservatives, but rather, would like to leave just enough—“living fossils” as he called them—“so we will never forget what these people stood for.” After all, these are things that Rush Limbaugh has said, about Barack Obama’s administration, Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama, a fight on a school bus in Belleville, Illinois in which two black kids beat up a white kid, and about liberals, generally.

Imagine that a black pastor, formerly a member of the U.S. military, were to declare, as part of his opposition to a white president’s policies, that he was ready to “suit up, get my gun, go to Washington, and do what they trained me to do.” This is, after all, what Pastor Stan Craig said recently at a Tea Party rally in Greenville, South Carolina.

Imagine a black radio talk show host gleefully predicting a revolution by people of color if the government continues to be dominated by the rich white men who have been “destroying” the country, or if said radio personality were to call Christians or Jews non-humans, or say that when it came to conservatives, the best solution would be to “hang ‘em high.” And what would happen to any congressional representative who praised that commentator for “speaking common sense” and likened his hate talk to “American values?” After all, those are among the things said by radio host and best-selling author Michael Savage, predicting white revolution in the face of multiculturalism, or said by Savage about Muslims and liberals, respectively. And it was Congressman Culbertson, from Texas, who praised Savage in that way, despite his hateful rhetoric.

Imagine a black political commentator suggesting that the only thing the guy who flew his plane into the Austin, Texas IRS building did wrong was not blowing up Fox News instead. This is, after all, what Anne Coulter said about Tim McVeigh, when she noted that his only mistake was not blowing up the New York Times.

Imagine that a popular black liberal website posted comments about the daughter of a white president, calling her “typical redneck trash,” or a “whore” whose mother entertains her by “making monkey sounds.” After all that’s comparable to what conservatives posted about Malia Obama on last year, when they referred to her as “ghetto trash.”

Imagine that black protesters at a large political rally were walking around with signs calling for the lynching of their congressional enemies. Because that’s what white conservatives did last year, in reference to Democratic party leaders in Congress.

In other words, imagine that even one-third of the anger and vitriol currently being hurled at President Obama, by folks who are almost exclusively white, were being aimed, instead, at a white president, by people of color. How many whites viewing the anger, the hatred, the contempt for that white president would then wax eloquent about free speech, and the glories of democracy? And how many would be calling for further crackdowns on thuggish behavior, and investigations into the radical agendas of those same people of color?

To ask any of these questions is to answer them. Protest is only seen as fundamentally American when those who have long had the luxury of seeing themselves as prototypically American engage in it. When the dangerous and dark “other” does so, however, it isn’t viewed as normal or natural, let alone patriotic. Which is why Rush Limbaugh could say, this past week, that the Tea Parties are the first time since the Civil War that ordinary, common Americans stood up for their rights: a statement that erases the normalcy and “American-ness” of blacks in the civil rights struggle, not to mention women in the fight for suffrage and equality, working people in the fight for better working conditions, and LGBT folks as they struggle to be treated as full and equal human beings.

And this, my friends, is what white privilege is all about. The ability to threaten others, to engage in violent and incendiary rhetoric without consequence, to be viewed as patriotic and normal no matter what you do, and never to be feared and despised as people of color would be, if they tried to get away with half the shit we do, on a daily basis.

Game Over.

Tim Wise is among the most prominent anti-racist writers and activists in the U.S. Wise has spoken in 48 states, on over 400 college campuses, and to community groups around the nation. Wise has provided anti-racism training to teachers nationwide, and has trained physicians and medical industry professionals on how to combat racial inequities in health care. His latest book is called Between Barack and a Hard Place.

Update - Tim was interviewed on CNN about this topic... Take a look here.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Remember this outrage?

Back from Sunday Apr 19, 2009

DHS issued a report suggesting some right wing groups may get violent?

How did the GOP react?

What do we do now?

And they keep talking....

Take a listen to this interview


And now they're calling for an Armed March on Washington!