From Reuters:

“Many whites feel they are losing their country right before their eyes,” said Mark Potok, who directs the Southern Poverty Law Center that monitors hate groups. “What we are seeing at this moment is the beginning of a real backlash.”


So, according to the lady in this clip and seemingly  a few other Talbot’s shoppers, most Americans are so pissed about the supposed Yankee governmental intrusion on their God given right to be unhealthy bastards that if it is infringed upon in any way, they will rise up in righteous indignation (and by the looks of the dude in the background on the left, they’ll be rising up very slowly because, well, apparently they’re not really that healthy).

This lady paints a dark, hellish, elastic waistbanded vision of a future America transormed into a vision from Dante’s inferno; an America lost after being deprived of one of its most cherished rights – the right to get sick and die of shit that there’s treatments for. Her frightening prediction goes like this:

Having had affordable healthcare tyrannically crammed down their phlegm filled throats – you see, they’re not really that healthy – Virginia’s Attorney General and erstwhile Birther Coach, Ken Cuccinelli, follows through with his bullshit promise and sues the federal government. Inspired by this staunch defender of the rights of the people, over half the country – bibles, guns and insulin that they can’t afford in hand – resist, sending a loud and clear… Well, sort of a raspy and wheezy message to them Yankee scoundrels the government that Americans have had enough.

Thus, one assumes, will the country be saved from this further, outrageous act of northern aggression. You know, it has to make you feel proud as an American and, yes, thankful, that this kind woman and the rest of her neighborhood watch are looking after your interests.

Members of The Texas Board of Education celebrate their decisive victory over “Yankee devil learnin'”

And so it came to pass that in the year 2010, with the United States in the midst of the deepest financial crises since The Great Depression; when some school systems in the country were forced to shutter schools and when the nation, facing competition it had never known before, desperately needed of a new generation of innovators that my home state, the Great State of Texas, answered the challenge.

Those who know Texans know that it’s a big and patriotic heart – one with great and abiding love for education and a deep respect for it diverse cultural heritage – the thump, thumps in the mighty Texan breast. So, in a gesture of service to God and country; to do its part in providing the nation with the next generation of scholars, the state voted to enact sweeping changes history curriculum. From the New York Times:

After three days of turbulent meetings, the Texas Board of Education on Friday approved a social studies curriculum that will put a conservative stamp on history and economics textbooks, stressing the superiority of American capitalism, questioning the Founding Fathers’ commitment to a purely secular government and presenting Republican political philosophies in a more positive light.

And what exactly might these changes portend in the way of righting the wrongs of the previous history books? Let this wet your brain’s appetite:

  • The board added a requirement that economics students “analyze the decline of the U.S. dollar including abandonment of the gold standard.” Students must also learn about Austrian economist Friedrich von Hayek, author of libertarian urtext The Road to Serfdom.
  • The famous clause requiring history students to “Describe the causes and key organizations and individuals of the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schafly, the Contract with America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority, and the National Rifle Association” remains in the standards, even after its author, Don McLeroy, lost his primary this month.
  • According to TFN: “the board stripped Thomas Jefferson from a world history standard about the influence of Enlightenment thinkers on political revolutions from the 1700s to today. In Jefferson’s place, the board’s religious conservatives succeeded in inserting Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin. They also removed the reference to ‘Enlightenment ideas’ in the standard, requiring that students should simply learn about the influence of the ‘writings’ of various thinkers (including Calvin and Aquinas).”

Now, I know y’all out there are wondering, “how can my state get in on this?” No need to worry. See, with the number of texts books Texas buys, it wields considerable influence over what goes into the history texts of most states.

So, if you’ve been longing for a day when you could get faith based chemo therapy; when holy water might be considered a viable propellant for the space shuttle; when people would finally realize that dinosaurs and people walked the earth at the same time, then your wait is over! Look the fuck out world – the Texans are coming! Yeee Haaa!

Ohhhhh, Shit!!!

That’s all I could think when I saw Sam Jackson’s face after Mo’nique’s I-Don’t-Give-A-Damn-If-Your-Ass-Plays-A-Down-Syndrome-Magdalene-In-A-Touching-Scene With-Jesus-Christ-Himself-Your-Ass-Won’t-See-Oscar Again Oscar acceptance speech. Hilarious.

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Say what, Muthafucka!?!

I don’t know what I feel about John McWhorter. I mean, I’m sort of iconoclastic in my own right (no, that’s not a euphemism for asshole), so I understand that, weird, irritating feeling that there’s bullshit everywhere and wondering why no one else seems to notice. OK, actually, it’s more like being pissed off that no one notices. Like being a really angry Ghost Whisperer. Except about bullshit. Black people’s in particular… I mean, c’mon, man – Nubian Islamic Hebrews?  House of Payne? The church’s building fund? Seriously? Brothers will make you ask yourself some questions.

But, true though this is, there’s that part of me that is highly suspicious of the good Doctor’s tactics (if not necessarily his motives). He reminds me of that Prof. Golightly from Space Traders (ok, maybe a little obscure but, as the saying goes, “If you don’t know, you better ask somebody.” Money shot starts at about 5:50) As he sits, listening to the President of the United States consult the rest of his cabinet about whether or not to trade all of the black people in the country (darker than a brown paper bag) to aliens for a source of unlimited energy, the Black, card carrying Republican,  Dr. Golightly makes a confession by way of attempting to make a stand:

I have often supported this administration’s repeal of Affirmative Action legislation. Not protesting it’s decreasing hand-outs to the poor. And, in helping you undermine these policies, I realized that your reasons for doing so differ from mine. And yet I was always a good soldier for the party. I sincerely believed – and still believe – that Black people need to learn how to stand on their own two feet without the crutches of governmental legislation. But I’m afraid I must protest in the strongest terms possible what I’ve heard in this room today.

[Editor’s Note: Now, just to be clear, Mr. McWhorter has never said that he was or is a Republican or, for that matter a Democrat. And I must admit that I might have expressed certain opinions about conservative Negrodom in the past… Hey man, he does tend to kick it around “conservative think tanks”… He wrote a book titled, “Why Hip-Hop Can’t Save Black America”… was anyone waiting for it to? Just sayin’.]

Dudes like this make me a little skittish. You get the feeling that someone is using these peoples (assumed) good intentions for reasons of their own. And not good ones. Motives aside, it seems to me that, in spite of the “road ends” signs crashing noisily into the windshield, they just don’t seem to notice anything’s amiss until they’re gliding off the precipice. Which is fine with me if it’s just their asses, bit different if you happen to be in the ride with them.

Needless to say I wasn’t surprised when I popped over to The New Republic and stumbled on his latest, titled provocatively, “Malcolm X and Nine Other People I’d Like to Erase From Black History“.  Nah, nah. Check it out. Seriously. You might not ultimately agree with his conclusions but if nothing else, it’ll get the blood going. Hell, who knows – you might even agree with a couple things. And I gotta admit, I too, have long wrestled with Kwanzaa issues.

Batshit crazy and proud of it!

Nutty people – the shonuff, marbles lost crazy – have no shame. They will take a dump in the middle of the street in broad open daylight. Gotta Pee? This bus stop is as good a place as any. You see, having taken leave of their senses, social norms lose their restraining effect; social cues become meaningless. Well…

Showing a brazenness normally associated with children, the mentally ill or the lower primates, erstwhile Moose Hunter-In-Chief, Sara Palin, appeared on Fox News to exonerate punditpotamus, Rush Limbaugh for using the word retarded (the “r-word” as her publicist now calls it – I shit you not). You might recall that keen-eyed Palin, who has a son with Downs Syndrome, took great umbrage with Rahm Emmanuel for using this same word to describe fellow Democrats with whom he disagreed. Actually, her crazy ass she wanted the cat fired.

It was just a day or so after that Limbaugh jumped, or waddled, in saying, among other things, “Our political correct society is acting like some giant insult’s taken place by calling a bunch of people who are retards, retards,” and further that the White House was going to hold a “Retard Summit”. This would put a mere mortal politician in a bit of a bind. Can’t look like you have a double standard or that you bend on such strongly held views. Sara Palin is no mere politician – she just plain don’t give a shit:

But the former governor went to great and sometimes awkward lengths to insist that when conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh used the same exact term to describe the same exact group, it was simply in the role of political humorist. “They are kooks, so I agree with Rush Limbaugh,” she said, when read a quote of Limbaugh calling liberal groups “retards.” “Rush Limbaugh was using satire … . I didn’t hear Rush Limbaugh calling a group of people whom he did not agree with ‘f-ing retards,’ and we did know that Rahm Emanuel, as has been reported, did say that. There is a big difference there.”

So, either she’s nuts or she thinks I am? Really, what more can you take away from that?

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Dr. John Hope Franklin: Historian, Author, Activist, Giant

Dr. John Hope Franklin: Historian, Author, Activist, Giant.

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Maybe it’s a generational thing but it seems to me that some people in politics–some older black people in politics–are quick to invoke images of black people’s collective suffering for their personal enrichment. This is nothing new. In fact, it’s so common as to be a truism.

Ersatz lynching victim, Clarence Thomas

Ersatz lynching victim, Clarence Thomas

But I hadn’t heard the “lynching” comparisons trotted out in a while so I naively figured that, 2008 being what it was, bullshit had effectively been called on that kind of self serving hyperbole. I lept too quickly to the conclusion that those black politicians who “grew up in/ during ‘The Movement'” had figured out that 1) relying too heavily on that kind of imagery, since it could be co-opted by anyone, had a diluting and numbing effect and, 2) at other times, was ancestors-rolling-over-in-their-graves embarrassing. My bad. I got got.

I’ve stayed away from the crap going on in Chicago partly because of a gut level revulsion at one of these “first black person to____” cats shamelessly allowing himself (and, yes has “blackness”) to be used to serve someone else’s ends. But, Ta-Nehisi Coates captures my views pretty well:

I don’t know if I’ve shifted politically or what. But after watching a black man named Barack Obama–who couldn’t get into the Democratic convention eight years ago–win Virginia, North Carolina, New Mexico and Colorado, my tolerance for Negroes claiming that we need an appointment like this–in this kind of situation–is zilch.

Look, I say this as a black dude obviously concerned about race in this country. If you want a black senator go out and do the work to get yourself one. Build the organizations, build the fund-raising, do a black version of Emily’s List, if need be. At some point, you have to stop bitching about the track. You have to stop bitching about your hand-me-down spikes. At some point, you just have to go out and run. I have little tolerance for the racial grievances of upper-middle class blacks. Do for your damn self, and speak for your damn self. Keep my name out your mouth.

Well said.

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La di da di, Doug needs some money

La di daffles we likes… chicken and waffles

Not to be out done by stuffy old jazz guys, or weird Hollywood types, the hip hop world has put forth it’s own list of the once mighty  who have fallen (on hard times). The list includes Doug E. Fresh, Fantasia Barrino, T-Boz. But the recession didn’t stop there. It went for baller icons too, including the once outrageously rich hip hop producer, Scott Storch and the once insanely paid music mogul, Damon Dash.

Unlike his colleagues, the more mature Doug E. Fresh, having gone through tough times before (during the tragic human beat box famine of the 90s), is not content to rest on his laurels as the lifestyle to which he’s become accustomed vanishes before his Gazelles. According to Vibe:

To make ends meet, he’s planning to open a Harlem restaurant called Doug E’s Chicken and Waffles, next month.

That ought to keep him in Bally shoes and fly green socks for at least a few more months.

Nat Hentoff and Miles Davis back in the day.

Nat Hentoff (right) and Miles Davis (left) back in the day.

If you were looking for more harbingers of economic doom or perhaps just wanting to snatch another glance at the vultures circling the publishing industry, dig this:

The troubled Village Voice laid off three employees Tuesday, including Nat Hentoff, the prominent columnist who has worked for the paper since 1958, contributing opinionated columns about jazz, civil liberties and politics….

In an article in the current issue of The New Yorker about The Voice, Louis Menand wrote, “Until its own success made it irresistible to buyers who imagined that they could do better with a business plan than its founders had done from desperation and instinct, it had the courage to live by its wits.”

Mr. Hentoff said he learned the news in a phone call with Mr. Ortega on Tuesday morning. “I’m 83 and a half. You’d think they’d have let me go silently,” he said. “Fortunately, I’ve never been more productive.”

Mr. Hentoff plans to continue to write a weekly column for the United Media syndicate and contribute pieces to The Wall Street Journal. His book “At the Jazz Band Ball: 60 Years on the Jazz Scene,” is expected next year.

“With all due immodesty, I think it doesn’t help to lose me because people have told me they read The Voice not only for me, but certainly for me,” he said.

Dude’s not being immodest – it’s true. He is, in my opinion one of the best jazz critics and thinkers that has ever put pen to paper. If you’re not hip to the man’s work, do yourself a favor – find some. That said, shit’s tight and seems to be getting tighter.

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So, I guess they figured, “No time like the present”. ABC News affiliate WAPT in Jackson Mississippi is reporting that a bus driver and a coach are unwilling to accept the new reality… the real one. They just plain refuse:

The Pearl Schools superintendent said that a school bus driver and a coach were disciplined for allegedly telling students not to say President-elect Barack Obama’s name.

Reporters with 16 WAPT News received several calls from upset parents that said a school bus driver told the children on a Pearl school bus that if they said Obama’s name, they would be written up and taken to the principal’s office for disciplinary reasons.

Another parent said that a coach at Pearl Junior High School told students that if they speak Obama’s name, they would face expulsion.

Shouts to Adekoye “Dr. Bambooli” Adams for the tip.

I love jazz. Especially the straight ahead variety. My personal favorite: a medium tempo blues with a soulful bassist and a drummer who can drop bombs. Nothing like it. Swings like apes.

I figure some of you out there dig jazz, too. Maybe just a little. Just enough to know the name, John Coltrane. And, if you know that name you probably have heard of his best known drummer, the late, great, Elvin Jones. I Elvin was a  33rd degree f jazz musicians were Freemasons, Elvin was a 33rd degree bad motherfucker. He completely changed the way his instrument was played. But, you know that, don’t you? You’ve, at least, heard it. I mean, it’s the cat that played with Trane, right?

But, even though you may know he was “the cat that played with Trane” bad, I bet you didn’t know that he was  “shoot a dude dead in his ass and afterward take a killin’ solo in front of a saloon full of stunned old west townsfolk” bad. Well, he was.


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From an article titled, “Brains Are Back” by Michael Hirsh

I am just as happy as everyone else over all this global good feeling. But there’s something else that I’m even happier about–positively giddy, in fact. And the effects of this change are likely to last a lot longer than the brief honeymoon Barack Obama will enjoy as a symbol of realized ideals. What Obama’s election means, above all, is that brains are back. Sense and pragmatism and the idea of considering-all-the-options are back. Studying one’s enemy and thinking through strategic problems are back. Cultural understanding is back. Yahooism and jingoism and junk science about global warming and shabby legal reasoning about torture are out. The national culture of flag-pin shallowness that guided our foreign policy is gone with the wind. And for this reason as much as any, perhaps I can renew my pride in being an American.

Just in time too because research is starting to confirm something I’ve suspected for a long while:

So, are people getting dumber?

The most intelligent 14-year-old in 2008 is now only on a par with the brightest 12-year-old in 1976, according to the findings.

Researchers at King’s College, London, asked 800 children aged 13 and 14 to take a series of tests which measured their understanding of abstract scientific concepts such as volume, density, quantity and weight.

The results were compared with a similar exercise in 1976.

In a test known as the pendulum test just over one in ten were found to have reached top grades which demanded a ‘higher level of thinking’, a significant drop from the 1976 result of one in four.

In a second test, which assessed mathematical thinking skills, one in five youngsters in 1976 had achieved high grades whereas the figure from the most recent study was only one in 20.

But average achievement was found to be similar in teenagers from both generations.

See what happens when “elite” is considered a pejorative.

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African-American’s were crucial in California bid to ban gay marriage. A step forward; a step backward. I’m as embarrassed as I am disgusted.

African Americans, energized by Barack Obama’s presidential bid, boosted their numbers at the polls this year to 10 percent of the state’s electorate, up from 6 percent in 2004.

“The Obama people were thrilled to turn out high percentages of African Americans, but (Proposition 8) literally wouldn’t have passed without those voters,” said Gary Dietrich, president of Citizen Voice, a nonpartisan voter awareness organization.

Latinos were 18 percent of California’s voters, and through sheer numbers also contributed to Proposition 8’s success. But 53 percent of Latino voters supported the measure, a much lower percentage than black voters. Among white and Asian voters, 49 percent voted for the measure.

Opponents of Proposition 8 appealed to voters to reject the measure as discriminatory and unconstitutional.

But messages that opponents hoped would strike a chord with minority voters – and remind them that interracial marriage once was banned – collided with traditional religious views.

“You listen to the African American pastors, they do not buy that argument,” Dietrich said. “They do not believe at all that there is a correlation between civil rights vis-à-vis blacks and rights for gays.”

 Seriously, y’all? We have got to be better. When African-Americans find themselves on the same side of a civil rights issue as the fucking National Review, questions must be asked and positions reconsidered. Full story here.

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So here are some photos from my street – U Street and 14th in Washington, DC – where, on the night of November 4th, 2008, we celebrated into the wee small hours of the morning.

U Street, between 13th and 14th Streets: Yes She Did

U Street, between 13th and 14th Streets: Yes She Did

I’m amazed that the GOP is actually clueless as to why their brand is in the toilet. The Washington Post reports:

Perhaps the most ill-timed press release of the 2008 campaign arrived shortly after 1:30 p.m. today, sent by the Republican National Committee.

The release forwarded word that the California Republican Party filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, in part because of a visit Sen. Barack Obama made to his dying grandmother.

“Obama for America violated federal law by converting its campaign funds to Senator Obama’s personal use,” the release stated. “Senator Obama recently traveled to Hawaii to visit his sick grandmother. This was the right thing for any grandson to do — at his own expense — but it was not travel that his campaign may fund.”

Takes hating to a whole new level, don’t it? Shouts to Michaela Brown for the tip.

Here’s a cool video I saw over at Wonkette featuring Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins. See y’all in a minute.

The New Republic offers what it is, in my opinion, the best analysis of John McCain’s counter intuitive beating of the “redistrbute your wealth” theme, in spite of all manner of evidence telling him that the vast majority of Americans believe that wealth should be redistributed.

But the more likely possibility seems to be that the McCain campaign is not monumentally stupid, and is trying to play on fears that Obama will take money from whites and give it to blacks. Hence McCain’s claims that Obama plans on “taking from one group of Americans and giving to another,” that Obama would turn the IRS into “a giant welfare agency,” and his television ads repeatedly flashing the word “welfare” to describe Obama’s plans.

Worth reading.

Barack Obama with his grandparents

Barack Obama with his grandparents

From the Washington Post:

The day took a tragic turn for Sen. Barack Obama when his ailing grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, died today.

Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Dunham died at home late last night in Hawaii, or roughly between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. Eastern. Obama learned of the news a little after 8 a.m. in Florida, where his campaign held a morning rally.

The campaign released a statement from Obama and his sister Maya Soetoro-Ng this afternoon:

“It is with great sadness that we announce that our grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, has died peacefully after a battle with cancer.  She was the cornerstone of our family, and a woman of extraordinary accomplishment, strength, and humility.  She was the person who encouraged and allowed us to take chances.  She was proud of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and left this world with the knowledge that her impact on all of us was meaningful and enduring.  Our debt to her is beyond measure.

“Our family wants to thank all of those who sent flowers, cards, well-wishes, and prayers during this difficult time.  It brought our grandmother and us great comfort.  Our grandmother was a private woman, and we will respect her wish for a small private ceremony to be held at a later date.   In lieu of flowers, we ask that you make a donation to any worthy organization in search of a cure for cancer.”