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Election Eve 2012: Public Service Announcement to the Undecided Caucasian Electorate

5 Nov

At this, the eleventh hour just one day before the United States’ official election day;  if you find yourself a member of the still undecided Caucasian electorate population that has basically garnered all of the attention from both major presidential candidates this election season, perhaps this very rudimentary and candid endorsement from Chris Rock will help you to decide for whom to cast your ballot more expeditiously.

You’re Welcome.

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Yeah…’Cuz Sorry is for Suckas!

27 Feb

So, in the latest episode of “I Can Do Better Than Obama,” starring the home-schooling, ovary inspecting Republican flavor of the week, presidential candidate Rick Santorum basically called out the POTUS for what he interpreted as being weak when The President apologized to the people of Afghanistan after it was revealed that American soldiers inadvertently burned materials belonging to prisoners at Bagram Air Base, including Qurans.

On NBC’s Meet The Press, Santorum clarified his remarks:

 “I don’t think the president should have apologized for something that was clearly inadvertent, [He should have said] this was inadvertent, this was a mistake. There was no deliberate act. There was no [intention of] disrespect – this is something that occurred that shouldn’t have occurred, but it was an accident.”

So, instead of simply stating “we apologize for accidentally burning your holy books,” Rick Santorum believes that the president should have articulated that sentiment 1) without actually using the words, “sorry” or “apologize” and instead replaced the short and sweet phrase or two with a varying amalgamation of the above 31 words.

Okay…wait.  So, admit to making a mistake, clarify that it was accidental, but by no means; NO WAY, NO HOW apologize for it. Right, because that makes sense.  Mr. Santorum went on to say that it was actually the Afghans that should be doing the apologizing.

 “The response… needs to be apologized for, by Karzai and the Afghan people, of attacking and killing our men and women in uniform, and overreacting to this mistake. That is the real crime, not what our soldiers did.”

 Okay, let try to put Rick’s theory into practice here…

You know what? I did mistakenly back into my neighbor’s car last week, but it wasn’t on purpose.  It was inadvertent – a misjudgment in night-time periphery.  It shouldn’t have occurred, but it was of course, just an accident.

I imagine that explanation will more than satisfy his claims adjuster.

But seriously though, someone cut off Santorum’s poppy supply please!  Westerners have played Occupy Afghanistan for the past several decades, have figuratively and literally pissed on their culture (and their dead) and now have burned their Qurans.  Mistake or not, how exactly did Santorum expect the Afghan people to respond? I’m pretty sure that we all believe in our heart of hearts that the matter of the burned Qurans was a horrible blunder on the part of the United States, but certainly one that was not deliberate.  I think however, at the very least, an apology for such an egregious error coming from the leader of the free world was not only a diplomatic gesture, but it was an opportunity to show that it isn’t global policing, ultimatums and sheer capitalism alone that makes our nation one of the greatest countries in the world, but the ability to display true contrition and humility, even in the face of an unintentional act that does.

Barry’s Best Week (In a Good Long While)

25 Jan

Coming off of a pretty resounding and  motivational State of The Union Address, The Obama Administration couldn’t have planned Tuesday any better, if they had hand-picked the joint sessions attendees themselves (or if they’d had the POTUS to end his speech with an encore rendition of Al’s Let’s Stay Together).

Like the rest of America, I’ve had my fill of talking points, bullet references and recycled stump speeches from both parties.  Last night, I was more interested in knowing where the President believed America really stood socially and economically, and what his plans were to resolve what has ailed us for so long.  And although he couldn’t have possibly given us an in-depth elucidation in the mere hour and change that he addressed the nation, I can say that I was satisfied with the fact that the President did address my big three.

National Security: Although not necessarily what I’d have opened with, right out of the gate, Barack Obama wanted to make sure that while some of America was pointing fingers and blaming him for any and everything, they were also reminded that Bin Laden had gotten “got” while on his watch…something the previous administration had only dreamed of doing (seeing as how they’d been playing a veritable game of Where’s Waldo with the man for the past ten years).  Prez also discussed the unacceptability of Iran constructing or acquiring nuclear weaponry and made clear his ardent stance (with or without peace negotiations or further sanctions) to ensure that Iran knew that although peace was always an option, America was not playing games with them and would respond swiftly and surely to their potential tomfoolery.

J-O-B-S: While the POTUS and his democratic supporters have been singing the same song for the last three years, Obama addressed the fact that like it or not, he had inherited the mess that had ultimately resulted in a not-so-fundamentally-strong economy and the loss of millions of jobs.  He also acknowledged that since in office, the economic rebound wasn’t as swift in coming as we all would have liked, but the Bailout out of companies like GM had in fact worked, resulting in more American jobs and the automaker reclaiming its throne as best in the business.  The President also expressed his willingness to work across party lines to get infrastructure jobs enacted, but challenged Congress to work to get a Bill on his desk that he could pass. Further, he suggested that incentives and tax relief be granted to American Companies that did not outsource American Jobs overseas.

Economic Equity:  Clearly the most divisive of political topics in the past few years (or ever), President Obama re-stressed his position that in order to stimulate the economy and provide opportunities that all Americans could benefit from, the nation’s majority (the 98 percent)who worked hard and did their fair share should be afforded some significant tax relief.  Becoming the poster child for this sentiment, Warren Buffet’s secretary (who notably makes substantially less money than her billionaire boss) was panned to many times during the speech, as Mr. Obama declared how senseless it was that those Americans who made significantly less money than their wealthy counterparts (the 2 percent), ultimately had to pay more in taxes.

Now, what I found so crucial about what the President discussed in The State of The Union Address last night was that so much of what he said could not have come at a better time.  For instance, yesterday’s release of Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s tax returns (in, let’s be honest, more grudging than perfunctory fashion) and the confirmation of SEAL Team 6’s rescue of two hostage aid workers in Somalia had to be a gift horse that the Obama Administration did not even consider looking into the mouth.  In the case of Romney, the situation clearly spoke to the distinct ideological contrast that while the President wants to provide tax breaks for the middle class, there is this potential Republican Presidential candidate who, in paying roughly 15% in Capital Gains Tax (because he is fortunate in the wealth department) believes that he should be paying less than that.  Where the SEALS are concerned, I wouldn’t go so far as to pat The President on the back for another mission accomplished, because let’s be for real for a sec, facilitating from the safety of a highly secure edifice is nothing like risking life and limb in the trenches; but it sure does look good for his presidential resume to be riding the wave of another military success.

As it were, I am not sure what last night’s address did to change the minds of staunch conservatives, or those who currently find themselves in the middle of the political road.  What I do know however is that from the various conversations that I’ve had over the past 24 hours, lots of Democrats seem pleased that the President is showing his aggressiveness; an almost forlorn trait that has now seemed to reenergize the democratic base.  I would be very interested to see what the Administration plans to do to maintain this momentum.

In the words of Rick Santorum (did I just do that??), Game On!

Let’s Take a Twirl Around Herman’s Foggy Head

16 Nov

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The only thing that could have made this answer better was if it had happened during one of the many Republican Presidential Debates that have been oh so entertaining over these past few months!

Agreeing to meet with reporters from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel earlier this week before one of several fundraising excursions in Wisconsin, Herman Cain gave the contingent his nonsensical perspective on what exactly he knew about the economy, collective bargaining and that great political equalizer, Foreign Policy.

Now, while I do understand the need for Cain to be careful in selecting his words and conveying his thoughts (less he end up a Morning or Late Show sound bite…wait…never mind), what Cain was doing in this interview was not carefully considering his verbiage, but instead having an “Oh –ish” moment where he had no clue how to answer the question at all.

But instead of asking for a lifeline or simply admitting to being a mere mortal like the rest of us (well, after about 4 minutes of hemming and hawing, he sort of does), Cain decided that Jedi mind tricks were the way to go.  I mean really, how could Herman go wrong by asking the interviewer to confirm that what he thought he knew was in fact correct before he proceeded to explain why he would do a better job than Obama in Libya without really knowing what Obama’s stance on Libya was in the first place? *takes deep breath*

Seriously though, as painful as the majority of this interview was to watch, I didn’t feel the least bit sorry for Herman Cain.  What I have come to notice with a great many of the GOP candidates for President is that they have a lot of fiery rhetoric to get the base clamoring behind their campaigns, but after peeling away the fervent speeches, singular philosophy and oversold images, there seems very little substance from which to truly gauge these men (and woman).

But hey, between Bachmann’s HPV flub, Perry’s 2 out of 3 Government Agency disbanding and now Cain saying a lot of nothing, I can’t help but anticipate some pretty epic miscues from the rest.

I’m quite sure Barry can’t either.

You Sir, Are No Slick Rick

10 Nov

If nothing else, this year’s Republican Presidential Debates have been chock-full of the best political entertainment that I have been fortunate enough to come across since The West Wing went off the airWith the various candidates’ religions under scrutiny, the alleged activity of their loins in question or their truths and facts in need of constant checking, the debates have shown more like a series of political soap operas than a weeding out process for the next GOP contender for the office of president.

But for all the drama that the debates have revealed, the unintentional comedy has both highlighted and exposed some of the candidates for the ill-equipped representatives that they are.  Take for instance Wednesday night’s rumble in Michigan at Oakland University.  It was there at the CNBC/Michigan Republican Party sponsored debate that Texas Governor Rick Perry revealed yet another similarity he shared with “Dub-yah” when he became tongue tied and forgetful while reciting the three agencies of big government that he would eliminate were he to become the 45th President.  Easily recalling Education and Commerce for the masses, Perry struggled to remember that he wanted to disband the Department of Energy as well.

While clearly a “human” moment for the governor, his gaffe was so glaring that one would have to wonder how serious Perry could actually be about running for President and developing (and remembering) a variety of unique thoughts and ideas to make better the nation he seeks to serve.  I mean, even Sarah Palin was serious enough about getting into the White House as the VP in 2008 that she made sure her talking points were prepared and clearly written out (on her hand).

I will say though, for all the talk about Perry’s damaging performance on Wednesday, I totally respect the dude for admitting that he simply couldn’t remember (his exact words, “…I can’t” were priceless).  Oh, and the “kill me now” Oops was a classic as well!  I guarantee it’ll go down in history alongside Nixon’s indignant little farewell declaration about us not having him to kick around anymore.

Clearly, pissed off and flustered Republicans produce the best sound-bites!

Hank, Hitler, The Three Stooges and Why Crack is Wack

5 Oct

I must admit, the one sucky part about having a blog site is, well…having a life.  Because I don’t blog for a living (oh, one sweet day), when I don’t hunker down and just commit an undisturbed hour just to posting, usually my job, family and/or wooo-saww time will take precedence over my writing.  What is even suckier about this is that 9 times of out 10, when I get into a perpetual state of busyness, I usually miss an opportunity to “break” a great post based on the recent lunacy going on in society or politics.  This was my cross to bear on Tuesday morning while jotting down notes on my sticky pad about Hank Williams, Jr. and why I didn’t really consider him a racist, but by all accounts, a likely indiscriminant abuser of substances both of the legal and illegal variety.

For those gluttons for punishment that actually watch the morning news show Fox and Friends, you get a pass this week, because for once, the “fair and balanced” network produced a rather entertaining segment that left the shows anchors as equally dumbfounded as the rest of us.  Now for those who have eternally sworn off Faux News, let me fill you in.

For reasons that only Rupert Murdoch’s receding hairline would know, Hank Williams, Jr. was invited to the show Monday, and not to ask the hosts if they were “ready for some football.”  In black-out shades, appearing torn all the way up, and between a somewhat creepy attempt at seduction with host Gretchen Carlson, Williams proceeded to display just how little he knew about politics…and math.

When asked who he favored in the GOP race, Hank replied with a swift, “nobody!” and then began his tirade about how the photo-oped golf excursion between President Obama and Speaker of the House Boehner was the worst political mistake ever.  Why? You ask.  Well, because according to the country singer, The Three Stooges are the enemy (1. Obama  2. Biden and 3. ??) and shouldn’t be engaging in any acts of civility across party lines.  Doing so would be like Hitler and Netanyahu working together to lower their golf handicaps.

But before everyone condemns Bocephus as being a racist, lets note that he did admit to liking  businessman and former Godfather Pizza mogul Hermain Cain as a presidential contender (although if he is always donning those black-out shades, it is possible that he might not realize that Cain is significantly melanin infused).  Also, Williams never called President Obama Hitler, he just made an obtuse dumb@$# comparison which suggested that in this extremely polarized country, our leaders shouldn’t be interested in bi-partisanship…and especially not on a golf course.  Now were Hank Williams’ comments bizarre times ten? Absolutely.  Did he further prove why staying abreast of the political process is so important? Sho’ did.  Was he effective in confusing and actually stunning the Fox & Friends hosts into an uncomfortable silence? You betcha.  Should Fox News more carefully vet their interviewees before going live from now on? Good luck with that one.

Seriously though, while Hank Jr. did make an off-hand and unfunny comparison between “OBAMA!” and the fuhrer with the worst mustache in history, all he was truly guilty of was being morosely ignorant, inarticulate and exemplifying drunkardness well before noon; offenses, yes. But none so great that the end result should’ve been ESPN pulling Williams’ iconic intro from the Monday Night Football game.  If we really want to tell the truth and shame the devil, Williams came to the show ill-prepared to talk politics and ultimately got called out on his incongruous statements regarding GOP candidate support and got surprisingly shut down when co-host Brian Kilmeade basically told him that his Hitler comparison was nonsensical.

Look folks, if we get bent out of shape every single time someone makes an asinine statement and turns it into a political talking point for dummies, then we will need neck braces, crutches and a chiropractor before too long.  I think this appearance by Williams on Fox & Friends was one of those telling moments where idiocy was exposed in its most basic and incoherent form, and that was a good thing.  Let the man have his inebriated opinions.  Just remember that if we truly want our politics to be effective and substantive, we have to first identify the white noise for what it is, and then simply filter it out to make room for true logic and discourse.

Obama: Campaigning, Constituencies and Colloquialisms

30 Sep

If ever there were a thankless job, I imagine that between drags on his Newport, Barack Obama would be lamenting to Michelle that the aforementioned was that of the office of President of The United States.  Whether he’s getting kicked in the teeth for trying to ensure that all of the nation’s citizens have a reasonable means by which to acquire medical treatment, blamed for the past, present and future fundamentals of this country’s economy or excluded as having had anything to do with the termination of International Enemy #1, President Obama has seemingly been given three years before everybody and their momma has decided that he’s responsible for the current decline of American Society.  But even as Barry makes preparations for a second term while bumping Mystikal’s “It Ain’t My Fault” throughout every room in The White House, it is important that we all take an assessing look at the direction of this country and identify what this administration has done well and what still needs to be timely and wholly addressed, should The President be afforded four more years.

For many Americans though, there seems to be no middle ground when it comes to our 44th.  It’s either Barry walks on water, or he needs to be publicly tarred and featured at the next Tea Party rally.  Unfortunately, thanks to these two extremes, any thoughtful or critical analysis on the job that President Obama has been doing thus far is more times than not seen as either “hate” or groupie love.  And when members of his most loyal constituency (re: black folks) start making some very vocal criticisms of the President, words like “sell out”, “jealous” or my personal favorite, “Uncle Tom” get strewn out into the Blackosphere.

For instance, people like noted philosopher, activist and Princeton professor Dr. Cornel West (don’t let his Matrix Reloaded and Raheem DeVaughn feature fool you, he’s still an academic) and political commentator/activist Tavis Smiley have been on the business end of Black America’s rebuke for publically calling out President Obama and his policies where they concern war, capitalism and the disproportionate effects of the recession on African-Americans.  Even California Congresswoman Maxine “the-Tea-Party-can-go-to-hell” Waters and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus have been critical of the president and the administration’s jobs record amid a current 16.7% unemployment rate for African-Americans (nearly 47% for younger African-Americans), only to be accused of rabble-rousing and not helping to join the fight in solving what ails America.

Apparently however, Mr. Obama had reached his culpability threshold and found the perfect opportunity to address some of his critics when he attended and spoke at the CBC’s annual Phoenix Awards gala last weekend.  Realizing his inner Reverend Dr. Obama, the president seared some of his detractors with fiery phrases like “stop complaining” and “take off your bedroom slippers.”  The President of course was speaking passionately about his desire to have lawmakers work with him to make legislations like his Jobs Act a reality, but his familiar dressing down of the black lawmakers may not have had the desired effect.

Rep. Allen West, a Republican member of the CBC from Florida, called Obama’s comments “disrespectful and reprehensible,” while Maxine Waters wondered if The President would have spoken so freely with other minority constituencies.

 “I found that language a bit curious because the president spoke to the Hispanic Caucus, and certainly they’re pushing him on immigration… he certainly didn’t tell them to stop complaining. And he would never say that to the gay and lesbian community, who really pushed him on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Personally, while I cringed a bit at Mr. Obama’s house slippers reference (if I’m being honest, it was deliberate and pretty indelicate), I did appreciate  the fact that he actually acknowledged that some black activists and members of the CBC were critical of his record and took the time to respond to it (if not round-aboutly).  What did annoy me a bit however, was the realization that Mr. Obama has not appeared as comfortable addressing his conservative detractors as bluntly as he did the attendees at the CBC Gala.

I don’t think that as a public servant, Barack Obama is above reproach when people are genuinely feeling as though he isn’t representing their interest, but I also don’t think Barack Obama should simply smile and nod or bend over backwards acquiescently as a means to avoid confrontation with those who don’t agree with his politics.  If he truly wants to enact change, Mr. Obama is going to have to be authoritative; he is going to have to be bold, and his is going to have to be confrontational.  And not just with the black people that Al Sharpton reminds “not to compare him with the Almighty, but with the alternative.”

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