Tuesday, January 31

Coretta Scott King: At last, there's peace for the Queen

Coretta Scott King embraced by her husband, Martin Luther King, Jr.

My heart is quite heavy this morning from news that Coretta Scott King, widow of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., passed away last night in her sleep. What a peaceful, gentle transition to make. After having suffered a stroke last year, Mrs. King recovered enough to attend an annual celebration in her late husband's honor just two weeks ago. She was said to have looked absolutely beautiful at the event, which must have been her final public bow.

There are few more powerful historical images captured on film than a stoic Mrs. King at her husband's funeral. Such a brave face masking so much sorrow. She showed us how to mourn.Mrs. King on cover of Life magazine.

Yet she stayed with us; she didn't retreat or wallow. She intensified her march, carrying the torch of equality for which her husband Martin was known. Image Hosted by ImageShack.usShe became a civil rights force in her own right and took a stand for causes such as AIDS and curbing gun violence. Coretta Scott King In fact, Mrs. King worked on the international front over the decades, inspiring positive change in Latin America, South Africa and beyond.
Mrs. King and President Bush

Today, we wear the mask for you, Mrs. King. In some way, you were a mother and grandmother to us all. A woman of grace and dignity. We loved the upstanding freedom fighter and astute business woman that you became, establishing and heading The King Center and working for nonviolence. Let the world remember you always, our First Lady of the Civil Rights Movement.

Clicks to Miles Davis catalog, but explore as you like

Sunday, January 29

Chuuch: The Naked Truth

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From the Paris riots aftermath and the politically outspoken Ann Coulter to the meltdown of Planet Rock and the eerie rise of New Orleans's once buried saints, today's Chuuch service explores The Naked Truth as Lil' Kim would say, in all its untold glory.

In follow-up to the disturbing riots that racked Paris and other French cities recently, here's a story that touches on the next steps. They call them "colorblind resumes," and as you might expect, there's a bit of anxiety on the part of some employers about this new hiring practice leading to -- gasp -- affirmative action.

Typically, in France, "they throw away the résumés of people who are from bad parts of town which are supposed to have Arabs or blacks," Bebear, 70, said in an interview. "When you have somebody whose name is Mohammed and he lives in St. Denis," a low-income community outside Paris, "you say, 'I won't bother with that one,' and so they don't even answer them."

Hey Bat Fans and manuscript tossers! Did I mention my new pen name: Vicki Vail? Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

* * * * * * * * * *

Right-wing gangsta chick Ann Coulter "lectures" African American students at Philander Smith College, giving them her version of what Lil Kim would call The Naked Truth...

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usCoulter provoked boos, especially after she stopped two black men during questions, telling them, "I'm not gonna be lectured to," according to the newspaper account. She also was booed when she said that the crack cocaine epidemic "has pretty much gone away."

* * * * * * * * * *

Put'cha lighters up! It's almost 50 degrees in Chicago today, and it's only January!!!! Never mind, because Houston says this is a really big problem...

One paper (The Washington Post) reports a NASA scientist's alarming research conclusions that the end of the world as we know it is closer than anyone realized. The big clap back that's being caused by global warming must be checked now, the researcher says.
Earth's average temperature has risen nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit over the past 30 years, he noted, and another increase of about 4 degrees over the next century would "imply changes that constitute practically a different planet."
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Meanwhile, another paper (The New York Times) reports the Bush administration has asked NASA to silence the above doomsayer. Why? Here's The Naked Truth behind both stories.

* * * * * * * * * *

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us I wondered about this when Katrina hit, having known about the curious New Orleans custom of burying the dead in above ground tombs. According to this NPR audio file, keeping the saints from marching has, indeed, been a huge problem since the levees broke. Cemetery workers say they haven't come close to rounding up all of the float-away remains and split tombstones.

"It's very emotional," one NOLA resident said. "It's like having to bury your loved ones all over again."

It's unbelievable, the enormity of the untold truths and tragedies that are only now coming to the fore, five whole months after this disaster.

Read more:

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Friday, January 27

Madea Goes to Jail, but Oprah goes scot free

Tyler Perry's 'Madea Goes to Jail' hits theater screens in FebruaryTyler Perry

Tyler Perry's second outrageous flick, Madea Goes to Jail, is scheduled to put America on lock down in February, and I'm going to be among the guilty doing time in a theater, getting my hee-haw on. But after seeing Tyler on Oprah today, I got an idea. He should call the next one Oprah Goes to Jail. Why? Because she insisted that he close her show by showing the audience how to do that thing. You know, that thing that assaults the senses worse than the smell of tar. That damned dance, the Electric Slide.

Of course, Tyler Perry obliged and led a dozen giddy women in an on-stage Electric Slide-a-thon. It was like "Showtime Over at Harpo." And you know who played Kiki Shephard.

Unfortunately, mainstream America already knows the Electric Slide

So look out, y'all. There's about to be a tsunami of daytime ladies reinvigorating this maddningly uneventful dance that's obviously beloved by The Big O. She even told the world that whenever black folk get together, the event culminates in the Electric Slide. "Even after funerals," she added.

Huh?! This simply is not true. Makes me wonder who Oprah's hanging out with these days. Is this what she and her friend Gail do when they get bored in her deee-luxe apartment in the sky-y-yie? Move on up off the $30,000 sofa and start sliding across her Italian marble floors?

Lawd, let's hope not! So don't believe the hype, folks. You're being hoodwinked.

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Isn't this a bit like perpetuating A Million Little Lies?
Best selling book A Million Little Pieces continues to sky-rocket in sales on the heels of the author's apology for its embellishments on Oprah

I think Oprah should devote an entire show to addressing this gross err in judgment. For endorsing this weathered zombie march. She should bring back Tyler Perry and grill him about his ghastly decision to end both of his Madea movies with this square dance. He deserves an electric zap on the wrist for misleading Oprah and her loyal flock of sheep about black life.

I can see Oprah now, having been advised by the NAACP to do damage control. A few weeks from now, she'll have Madea seated beside her and looking upset. (Tyler was too fearful to face the cameras after that Larry King disaster. So he pushed big, bad Madea out the dressing room to hit the sofa this time.) Oprah and Madea are already sweating; the public scrutiny and stage lights are too intense.

"Madea," Oprah will say, "I feel duped. But more importantly, I feel you've betrayed millions of couch potatoes. Those who relie on me to tell them what to read, who to like, and how to dance."

"Looka here, girl, I made one lil' ol' mistake," gray-haired Madea will utter. "But the next movie we make, I'll end with a dance that shows the world what black folks are really doing behind closed doors."

"For real? Which dance?!" Oprah will insist, with eyes wide and sparkling. "The Smurf? Bankhead Bounce? No, I know: The Harlem Shake, right?"

Madea will wave a dismissive hand at the idea of those equally passe (but at least of a recent decade) dances, and rise to her feet. "Get up off of that couch, chile," she'll roar as her bullet-bosom shutters against her wide belly. "Let Madea show you -- and everybody -- the dance we doin' now. We call it the Snap!"

On comes Laffy Taffy, and that big sixties wig flops from the body shocks...

# # #

Article on the Atlanta-originated dance craze: Snapping
D4L's music video, Betcha Can't Do It Like Me, spotlights Snapping.

Clicks to Miles Davis catalog, but explore as you like

Friday, January 20

Will the real Slim Shady PLEASE stand up?

Hmmm... Are Americans being played like Boo-boo the Fool? As in this Jack-in-the-Box called Osama bin Laden, who conveniently pops up with a new, menacing video whenever the Bush administration calls Maaco. Or Hollywood Central Casting.

Need more money to sink into that five-finger oil discount? Hereeee's bin Laden.

Are the president's poll numbers plummeting? Hereeee's bin Laden.

Americans are outraged about illegal wiretapping? Boi-yoi-yoing: bin Laden magically popped up yesterday. After a year and a month secluded away in "rehearsals."

I swear, this Osama cat seems a cross between Santa Claus and the Boogey Man. Of course we can't find Osama... Perhaps because this Osama. Doesn't. Really. Exist!

The only factor preventing me from crying "They're Wagging the Dog!" is the absence of these two names from Osama's high-profile American shyt list: Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice. This might be a "black thing" that no Cecil B. DeMille would understand. That, or Osama has never considered them real heavyweights in the administration...

Still, will the real bin Shady please stand UP?
I'm your boogey man, boogey man.  Yes I am...

Please stand UP...
Ho! Ho! Hold up! That was bin Laden in the chimney?

Please stand UP!
bin Laden action figure

And I've gotta say, in the spirit of the inimitable words that Ray Nagin (unsuccessfully) ripped from George Clinton: "What's hap'nin, C.C.?!"

Can't go digging through my crates right now, but I don't think NOLA pre-Katrina exactly paralleled what Parliament's Chocolate City was about. Wasn't G-Funk rapping about a bit more than D.C.'s majority black population? Wasn't his point moreso about the collective, progressive vibe of the city in those days?

Me thinks the Chocolate City that Nagin vows to resurrect could use some extra cups of the sugar. You see, before Katrina, one of the more powerful images coming out of the Big Easy was that of slain rapper Soulja Slim, whose "boys" stood by his side... Shockingly ripping the extreme ice from his wrist before his body had even turned cold. I'm not saying that couldn't happen today in D.C. or anywhere else. I'm just sayin' some chocolate is too bitter, even for its own.

In other words, many NOLA residents seemed to feel the city needed quite a cleaning long before Katrina broke those levees. So now, it sounds like many families that were flushed by Kat aren't rushing back. By unfortunate default, some may have landed in safer communities, nicer domiciles. Found better school systems for their children. Found hope of comparable or better jobs.

I guess we agree on one thing, though, Mr. Mayor. We do have to look inwardly and take better care of our own. But did you have to go all Pat Robertson on the Mothership to make the point?

So will the real C.C. please stand UP?
Dr. King's historic March on Washington set the pace for the proud, majority black city that D.C. would become.

Please stand up...
Parliament's 'Chocolate City' album cover

Please stand UP!
Million Man March

Last but not least... What's up with the Condi for President rumblings? Is this just a ruse to knock the wind out of Hilary Clinton, divide and conquer style? Knowing full well the old Republican boys won't support the seating of a sister in the Oval Office. Or a woman, period.

I suspect the lip-licking men of the RNC are somewhere searching for two pairs of ladies' boxing gloves. Eventually, they'll have both chicks in wet t-shirts or a mud box, forcing them to cancel each other out.

This is America, after all. Not England.
Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of England

Not Liberia.
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia

Not Chile.
Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile

Not India.
Indira Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India

Not Israel.
Golda Meir, former Prime Minister of Israel

Not Finland.
Tarja Halonen, President of Finland

Not Ireland.
Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland

Not Germany.
Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

Not even Canada, where the Queen of England has appointed a woman of Haitian heritage as her de facto Commander-in-Chief.
Michaelle Jean, Governor General of Canada

So will our real Madam Champion please stand UP?
Will Hilary and Condi wind up duking it out a la Laila Ali?

Read more: AmericansForRice.com

Clicks to Miles Davis catalog, but explore as you like

Monday, January 16

Martin Luther King: A Dream Is a Terrible Thing to Waste

This morning, while chatting with the guy who owns the corner grocery store in my neighborhood, a scruffy little girl came in with an older man, whom I assume was her grandfather. She was dribbling the heck out of a lime-green basketball. Like bam...bam... bam... BAM!

The brother who owns the store turned his attention from me a moment, squinted at the girl and said from behind the counter, "Hey! You're not in a gym, you know."

Following his gaze, I turned to look at the kid, who appeared to be nine or ten. She had the delicate brown face of a young Mary J. Blige. Her fuzzy, unkempt hair was trapped in a rubberband with one long braid hanging down the back.

Anyway, she stopped bouncing her ball. She obediently pressed it against her green husky jacket, beneath which fell baggy camouflage-print pants. She stepped a little closer to her old granddad. But glanced sheepishly at me.

I smiled, noticing her thugged-out jewelry. Around her neck was a long, "silver" chain with a spinner emblem dangling at the end. So wanting to smooth over her embarrassment with a compliment I quipped, "You're a real baller, huh? Like that ice, girl!"

The child grabbed the chain and proudly lifted it closer for me to admire. At the same time, the store owner snuck me a glance and quietly said, "Umm... That's a boy..."

Oops... How could it be? I was too confused. I should have shut up, left it right there. But on I chatted -- now wanting to smooth out my own embarrassment. "So you have the day off from school for Dr. King's holiday?" I chimed.

He nodded yes.

I said, "Well, what did Dr. King do? He must have done something mighty important for us to get the day off. Tell me a little something about Dr. King."

"Uhhh.........................." the young gender-bender began verrrrry slowly. The three of us adults waited and waited. The child must have felt like Tupac: All Eyez on Me. "Uhhh..." he continued, "Dr. King did a lot of things............................ He played basketball!!!"

Now I thought the granddad would pass out in embarrassment. And if he hit the floor, he'd have to leave room for my completely dropped jaw.

One generation more, I realized, and children will barely know the name "Martin Luther King," let alone why they should. Clearly, we're in the midst of an alarming cultural crisis; it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I grappled to justify this child's bizarre reply. Maybe, I rationalized, this kid knows some trivia about Dr. King that I don't. Maybe he attended college on a basketball scholarship or something. And under pressure to answer, this was all the boy could recall at the moment.

Worried about the legacy of Dr. King -- that a 10-year-old today thought The Man was just a friend of Shaq's or something -- I dashed home to hit The Goog Monster. To keep hope alive...
* * * * * * *

On a mission, I opened Google's home page to begin an info search about MLK's b-ball skills. Lo and behold, here's the Google header that greeted me:

It took me a while, but I found this quote by Dr. King's daughter, Yolanda:

... And my dad was really quite a funny man. He was a bit of a cut-up. He was a jokester. He loved to tease, he loved to laugh. He probably could have been quite an athlete as well. He taught me to swim when I was four and taught me how to ride a tricycle and then into a bicycle, and we played basketball and baseball and went to the local amusement park. He and I, the two of us, would ride the dangerous shake-you-up rides, he called them "faith machines." We'd get on them and just have a ball, he was a big kid...

Well, guess that little drag queen told me!

Anyway... here's some other fun stuff that caught my eye about the "big kid" who became The King...

Sounds like Dr. King and his siblings were some bad-azz kids. Their mother had them taking piano lessons for years and they hated it. On numerous occasions, Marty and his brother sabotaged the piano, tried their best to destroy it. His brother took a hammer to the piano keys more than once. To this day, their old house in Atlanta -- now a historic landmark -- displays this very piano. And it is missing teeth.

Another time the King boys unscrewed the legs on the piano bench, praying that when their piano teacher visited again, she would sit on it and wind up crashing to the floor. Presumably she would never come back, having been successfully chased away by these little imps. Apparently, Dr. King's commitment to "nonviolence" would develop late in life.

As a youngster, Jesus wept was his favorite blessing for meals. Only because his belly was an infamous bottomless pit and he wanted to get quickly to Fried Chicken Heaven. So he always kept any grace-saying short and sweet. Cluck and apple pie were among little Marty's favorite foods. The kitchen, they say, was the mighty crumb-snatcher's favorite room in the house.

Guess it's a good thing that snaggle-toothed piano wasn't kept in the kitchen. For had Mama King fallen off that shaky bench while watching her pots, who knows if this child's hide would have been spared to lead a single march.

At the age of about eight, knuckleheaded Marty jumped out of the 2nd floor window. Lucky for us, he went unscathed. The rambunctious child also loved to slide down the banister inside their two-story home. One time, though, little Marty had a Chris Tucker moment: He got knocked the **** out!

I mean, poor Martin Luther rammed his little head into the cellar door, rendering himself unconscious. Three Stooges cuckoo birds aside, I wonder if this is when he first had his famous dream...

So what's the moral of this story?

  1. Never give up on a child. Even the bad-azz, fuzzy-headed ones are full of potential.
  2. Parenting itself may be the greatest "faith machine" in our lives, a double-decade long ride one can only hope to survive.
  3. Even grown folk like us can still learn a thing or two about the heroes we claim to know so well.
  4. And when we get ready to fight for another "black" national holiday, we should take it easy on ourselves. By-pass the great Rosa Parks and just shoot that hoop for Jordan.

Clicks to Miles Davis catalog, but explore as you like

Sunday, January 15

"Chuuch"! Five sinful sites for your Sunday delight

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It's Sunday -- Church Day. Or in this case, Chuuch Day, as the Reverend Snoop Dogg would say, preaching from the Pulpit of the Blunted Soul.

So here's an almighty amen to the best blogs and/or posts I've surfed today. Don't bother asking WWJD? (i.e., What would Jesus do). 'Cause He would just click the links below, check 'em each out, shake his head perhaps, but enjoy!

1. At Graffitti - The Writings On the Wall, check out the hilarious post of 1/11/06 titled LSD: The Fountain of Youth.

2. At Hot Ghetto Mess, check out everything. The site if chock full of the most jaw-droppingly funny photos I've ever seen in cyberspace.

3. At Soul Imperialist, there's a surprising and very interesting update on the legendary Sly Stewart of Sly & The Family Stone! It's the 1/12/06 post titled, How Could I Possibly Have Not Heard About This?

4. My girl -- Strange', the legendary Grace Jones -- has what I consider the very best site on the web. Like Grace, the site is an intensely exotic mindtrip. The mood, layout and photography are mesmerizing, and each stunning photo is narrated in her own powerful words. It feels a little like you're sitting in a dark room with Grace, and you're her fascinated psychiatrist -- and she has you strapped to a chair... You're clutching the arms and thinking: WTF?!?! But she's got you so hooked, you wouldn't dare run. Meaning, she lets you deep inside her head, her life and background. So enter at your own risk The World of Grace Jones.

5. Last but not least, if you own a blog, maybe make yourself one of these by clicking the link under the box:

Viqi's Blogging is Artistic and Passionate

You see your blog as the ultimate personal expression - and work hard to make it great.

One moment you may be working on a new dramatic design for your blog...
And the next, you're passionately writing about your pet causes.

Your blog is very important - and you're careful about who you share it with.

Clicks to Miles Davis catalog, but explore as you like

Green Eggs & Ham (hocks)?

Do you like green eggs and ham?
I do not like them, Sam-I-am.
I do not like green eggs and ham...

Somebody's having an acid flashback, and I swear it's not me!
It's those mad scientists in Taiwan.
Or maybe the one tripping is the smi-i-i-ling GREEN hocker in the middle here, created by the Dr. Frankensteins over in Taiwan.

Or maybe it's YOUR brain on drugs. 'Cause put 'em under black lights and this is what you get:

Yup! Believe it or not, Ripley, the planet now has its first-ever green, glow-in-the-dark pigs. Green skin, green hearts, green brains, green snouts, green booties, green uhhn!

Something is real wrong with this picture. First the Supreme Court gives Bush the election. Then no WMD in Iraq. Now this: Three little (green!) pigs. This is the real Surreal Life. Only I can't tell who's tweaking the hardest: us staring at the pig, or the one pig laughing at us.

Cross-breeding with jellyfish is what made these piggly wigglies fluorescent this way. This will allegedly aid stem cell research. But didn't these people see Jurassic Park? Keep porking around with Mother Nature, and she will make lunch meat of us! Yeah, that cute one's hamming for the camera now, but come at him with a butcher's knife and that sucker probably turns fatal as a squealing Velociraptor.

Look at 'em, really. Their bodies look a little like this Pit Bull's, don't they?

I'm giving up meat. For real. I ain't eating no ish that might bite back. So again I ask,

Do you like green eggs and ham?
I do not like them, Sam-I-am.
I do not like green eggs and ham...

Clicks to Miles Davis catalog, but explore as you like

Saturday, January 14

Jr. Birdman and Robin: Dynamic duo blow up late-night Batcave

Lil Wayne and Robin Thicke blow up the Jay Leno Show
Borrowing an unforgettable mental hook from my sixth-grade teacher, it was "b-e-a-utiful!" That's how Mr. Irwin taught us to memorize the spelling of the word beautiful. But I'm using it here to describe the amazing Lil Wayne and Robin Thicke performance I caught earlier this week on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

I'm hard pressed to recall seeing such a riveting hip-hop performance in a very long time. I mean, these cats -- a most unlikely pair -- grand-scale killed their collabo song, Shooter. I was so impressed that I'm actually considering buying the solo CDs of both artists, neither of whom previously were even blips on my radar screen.

With their steamy, high-energy set on Leno, out both have stepped from their respective anonymity. (In my mind, at least.) They gave the audience grown-up, funk-rock fusion mayhem. A far cry from anything that most of today's rappers (except Jay-Z and OutKast) seem to understand the dynamism of. This rock hybrid, I maintain, is one of the next frontiers that hip-hop should more fully explore.

Having largely ignored everything remotely associated with the Birdman's Cash Money label, it took me many months of hearing Go DJ before I finally "got" Lil Wayne's gravelly, Miles Davis like voice. Once I finally paid attention, I realized his voice is, indeed, quite distinctive in the sea of rap growls and mumbles. Can't say yet that his writing has my soul flipping, but he sure seems to think he's stepped up this aspect of his game, based on this interview... But hey, I dig Seinfeld and N.O.R.E. -- both of which are about absolutely nothing. So even if Lil Wayne's not as clever as Hova, we might still be Friends!

As for Robin Thicke, son of Alan Thick from the sitcom Growing Pains, I vaguely recall a song he released several years ago. I also vaguely recall liking his singing chops. Whatever. Point is, Robin Thicke definitely gives it up blue-eyed soulfully on this Shooter track with Lil Wayne. What a voice! Reminds me a bit of my #1 guy from London, acid jazz prince Lewis Taylor. Or Kenny Loggins.

Apparently, Shooter was originally Thicke's song. Perhaps this is why he drops his intro verse and the hook so sublimely. See how good it is to share? Now, thanks to his making space for this rap guy, more music lovers of the universe will know and appreciate them both.

Of course, it doesn't hurt that Robin Thicke's now signed to the Neptunes' Star Trak label. If Pharrell and Chad can do for him what they helped Justin Timberlake do in terms of solidly cross-over, I will gladly cop Thicke's CD when it drops in February.

Correction: I really like pop star Justin, but hopefully the Neptunes will keep Robin in the more mature, neo-soulish arena his sensuous voice seems to beg.

For more on Robin Thicke, check out his Vibe.com interview by blogger Clay Cane here.

And don't miss this dynamic duo's instant-classic Jay Leno video at 3030Media.net. I can't imagine that Jay-Z and The R. will ever collaborate again. So for my money, this Lil Wayne and Robin Thicke jumpoff qualifies as the Best of Both Worlds part 2.

Clicks to Miles Davis catalog, but explore as you like

Friday, January 13

Another Alito super fly: Yale's Ronald Sullivan

I wrote earlier about Professors Liu and Tribe, two strong dissenting voices who've testified against the nomination of Samuel Alito for Supreme Court Justice. Now add to that distinguished list Professor Ronald Sullivan of Yale -- originally a Morehouse College man -- whose impressive (and alarming) Alito white paper and televised testimony you can see here: Jamestown Project at Yale.

* * * * * * *

Many legal and Constitution scholars who supported the nomination of now Chief Justice John Roberts firmly oppose Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court. So the troops are mounting. The Democrats will likely delay the vote on Alito, to buy additional time to pressure the White House to send up a more moderate nominee. A STOP ALITO ad campaign already has been produced by the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. And they are but one vocal group that's gearing up to loudly protest Alito's appointment with marches and other activist projects across the country.

One of the protest organizers says that Alito on the Supreme Court threatens to "set America back seven decades on individual rights." If this projection is correct, get ready to:

-- Clam up about what you say on the phone and Internet, as privacy may no longer be a right you can expect,

-- Get your hysterectomy now if you possibly may need birth control or an abortion in the future, because Alito long ago found a Constitutional loop hole to do away with both,

-- Don't do anything that'll tick off a cop. Because if they kill you on a humbug, Alito will rarely have your family's back in court,

-- Assume the promotion you just can't get at work is because you're worthless and incompetent, because Alito rarely will agree that minorities and women are treated differentially,

-- Forget your aspiration to a seat in Congress unless you drinking ultra-conservative kool-aid. Because you may not be empowered to make a meaningful difference benefitting your constituents the way that congress members do today.

To read more:

Clicks to Miles Davis catalog, but explore as you like

Thursday, January 12

Goodwin Liu & Laurence Tribe: The super flies in Alito's ointment

Having listened closely to 90% of his testimony, I grappled with exactly what I sensed was skewed with the judicial disposition of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito. As of yesterday evening, I grappled no more. For along came the smooth but very fierce Goodwin Liu, assistant professor of law at UC-Berkeley, to articulate Mack Daddy-style what I'd been sensing.
Super fly #1 in the ointment of Judge Samuel Alito is Professor Goodwin Liu
Naive me: I'd concluded that Judge Alito -- in an attempt to be incredibly well reasoned -- simply plays it so by the book that plain ol' common sense sometimes flies out the window.

However Professor Liu, a former clerk to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, described Alito this way:

... Every case is different, and I'm sure Judge Alito got it right many times. But let me give three examples that show his instinct, I think, to defer to government power...

Instinct being the operative word. This New York Times article reprints Prof. Liu's opening statement from his testimony before the judicial committee. What I found most explosive was Liu's recounting Alito having sided with law enforcers killing an eight-year-old purse snatcher who ran from the authorities -- was not at all confrontational or a threat. Alito, he said, came down in support of the killing of this unarmed, African American child. Why? Because to have done otherwise would have set a precedent that could trigger coast to coast the overturn of past rulings on killing crime suspects who were unarmed and nonconfrontational. Whoa...

Prof. Liu seemed to have ticked off the Republicans by challenging Alito's civil rights record. After all, two African American lawyers testified yesterday, both saying they viewed Alito as having high integrity and admirably following the letter of the law. Which does not mean all that they intended it to. To me, their support of Alito could simply mean the man is well-mannered and collegial. Which has nothing to do with a penchant to move stealthily betwixt and between some of our shaky laws, depending on his agenda.

Picking up this morning where Liu left off was Harvard Law rock star Laurence Tribe. Considered one of the foremost authorities on Constitutional law, Prof. Tribe urged the committee not to cast their Alito votes as if in a Kubric movie: with "eyes wide shut." Tribe told the senators exactly how Alito had side-stepped their questions on abortion rights and executive power. He told them all the legal loop holes that Alito knows about, but certainly didn't mention in his testimony. Stuff the rest of us -- layman and senators alike -- would be too, umm, legally challenged to catch.

If the very fierce Prof. Liu ticked off the Republicans, I think the positively brilliant Prof. Tribe shook them the hell up. (snap!)

Professor Tribe told the senators precisely how Alito could help the high court usurp their power, giving a president a blank check to nullify their egotistical voices -- Republican and Democrat alike...

Now I imagine Senator Arlen Specter & Co. dig Bush and Cheyney, but they've got to be a little worried about this new Supreme Court possibly bending them over to become their butt boys. Alito's fuzziness on the checks and balance piece and executive power ought to give them all pause.

I could be wrong, but I sensed some of the Republicans looking a little like doe caught in the headlights of a Mac truck once Laurence Tribe spoke. They'll all vote yea for Alito, no doubt. But I seriously doubt all of these votes will be cast with 100% confidence, thanks to Tribe's call on congressional conquest.

I'll blog more on the Alito hearings later today. But if you want more right now, click here:

Clicks to Miles Davis catalog, but explore as you like

Wednesday, January 11

Flavor Flav-o-gram, ma'am?

Lord, what's the world coming to? Tuesday night I had Public Enema #1 -- reality TV star Flavor Flav -- unloading a lotta Yeah, Boyeeee in one ear. In the other was V.F.F. commenter, Udaman, all but calling Bill Clinton a serial killer. Well, neither was literally "in my ear." But both left hilariously rotten impressions. In a "I don't believe this #*$@#&!" sort of way...

Re: Flavor Flav -- For some unknowable reason, I watched his VH1 show, Flavor of Love. What was astonishing is that Flav seemed to be one of the saner characters on the set (but for his head-spinning attire). Point is, the show is sort of like The Bachelor, with a cadre of stripper-type chicks vying for his... clock? Never in life have I witnessed a more psychotic bunch of hookers. Just when I knew which of these demonic dames to hate, VH1's Flavor of Love nemisis, Miss New York along came another whose pathology clearly superceded unsavory vixen #1's. Miss Hottie is proving more psycho than the hateful Miss New York This one on the right seems about ready to burn the bunny of the gold (teeth) digga with the flora in her Yaki.

If you like the train wreck that is Being Bobby Brown, you'll love Flavor of Love. It's eerily better. I mean worse. I mean better because it's so much worse... Fantastically horrific it is, in its dizzying pole dance toward Jerry Springer-ish fist fights. But over Flavor friggin' Flav?!

If you don't believe the hype, just set your my neck-clock to catch the sleezy show next Tuesday night.

Then, in an effort to detox from Flav's intriguingly gutter show, I popped online and found a comment left by Udaman... Thanks, U-man, for letting me know about the 9/11 documentary I was unable to view, but really: That Bill Clinton conspiracy site you directed me to is nuts.

No joke, the site lists over 40 entries of "mysterious deaths" in which the author tries to implicate my man Clinton. I swear, people can publish all manner of lies on the Internet. I laughed out loud when the author implied that Bubba C. was somehow involved in Ron Brown's death. This I rate right up there on the laughometer with the military having bombed the New Orleans levee.

Sorry, U-man, but I just can't buy it. This ever flavorful, old white chocolate boyeee is many things, but come on... A serial hit-orderer? The way I see it, if Monica Lewinsky's still alive, the man is likely fairly harmless. Besides, Bush has a lot more blood on his hands in Iraq alone, never mind the theories out there about 9/11.

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Alito: Catching the Kennedy curse

Justice, she's all ablur...Every now and then, I can smell a bold faced lie. Clearly, Senators Joe Biden and Ted Kennedy are smelling something extra funky, too, with Supreme Court nominee Sam Alito. The man is full of it, and here's how the good senators (and I) know it...

At the core of one of the hot issues -- one which led Kennedy to boldly step on the toes of Republican chair Arlen Specter -- is Judge Alito's membership in a prestigious Princeton U. alumni group. Problem is, the group is widely known to have discriminated and actively campaigned against women and minority admissions in the eighties.

Alito claims he "just can't recall" being a member of this bigoted alumni group... Yeah, right. Funny, he ain't forgot ish else throughout the entire hearing. I swear, the man knows on which side Abraham Lincoln's bic was flicked on that fateful night at Ford's Theater.

And that Joe Biden: gotta love 'em (for president). Biden eventually grew fed up with Alito's dancing. He essentially flat-out asked the judge if he'd put a mention of this club on his resume/application because he hoped it would signal the Reagan White House that he was their kind of a no blacks/no women guy. It was a shocking and dramatic moment.

Thing is, I just updated my own resume. So the exercise is very fresh in my mind about how we agonize over what to add/delete before letting a potential employer see it. So we're to believe the man sent a resume to President Reagan's people, not at all sure what he had in it? Okay, maybe he didn't proof it. Or perhaps he lied and was never a member. Something's rotten here, and the Dems rightly want to know what's up.

Perhaps the Democrats have been working on their resumes, too (as well they should, since being sound asleep after 9/11!). Because showing some gumption for a change, Ted Kennedy subpoenaed the Library of Congress for the alumni group's records. He'll be looking for an indication of Alito's level of involvement in the offensive group. Oh, the Kennedy curse this may place on Alito's nomination.

This is good stuff. Primarily because it turns out that the Washington Post analyzed Alito's record on workplace discrimination cases and his marks are horrendous. Most judges rule for the little guy 50% of the time in these cases. But not Alito. He only sided with these plaintiffs in eight out of 100 cases. This screams volumes about his mind set. He either doesn't get what racism looks like, or espouses it.

Also, the way the Democrats are gnashing this man's hide makes me believe they fully intend to pimp-slap GW with an impeachment trial over the wire-tapping. Dem Senators Durbin and Leahy turned Alito's backside every which way but loose about his views on executive power vs. the Constitution. Reading between the lines, I'd say they know that if Alito makes it to the Supreme Court, there's no way in heel the court will admit the wire-tapping was possibly unconstitutional. It'll be another Bush vs. Gore election-type vic.

And meanwhile, the Republicans and their light-loafered questions are making their part of the hearing feel like the Oprah & Gail King Show. They intentially wasted lots of time just chatting at Alito, to use up time -- giving Alito a low-pressure break to regroup from the Dems' badgering. When they finally asked the judge a question, it was always like a delicate invite to take another stab at better explaining an answer the Dems had previously crucified him on. So much b.s.

Gotta commend the Democrats for mounting a serious effort to take back control of things -- EVERYthing -- today. Alito needs to go the way of Harriet Meyers. But fast and butt first.

Read more:

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Monday, January 9

9/11 Conspiracy Documentary

Loose Change by Alex Jones. I tried to watch this hour-long, online conspiracy film about 9/11, but have lost patience with my computer's buffering fits and starts.

If you check out this documentary, please let me know what you learn. You can click the above title to go directly to it, or copy 'n save this address to see it later: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2023320890224991194

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Sunday, January 8

Wait a minute, Mr. Postman

I love the United States Postal Service. Sometimes they feel like my only friends in government. The tax man sure don't love me. And my congressman still hasn't responded to my little love note about impeachment. But my postman and woman? They faithfully show up -- come rain, shine, sleet or on aching feet in snow. Often with a smile.

In return, all they've ever asked of me (until today) is thirty-seven measley cents per letter that I mail. For that paltry sum, they deliver my well-wishing cards to loved ones and relectant personal checks to creditors thousands of miles away. Note: If I wanted "me" delivered merely across the block, no taxi driver would ever take it this easy on my wallet.

So today, as the USPS hikes the price of first class postage to thirty-nine cents, I'm licking my new two-centers with a smile. Postal services seem to be the only necessities we purchase today that still offer us real value. They show up for us more reliably than some of our family members seem to. In fact, we should be so appreciative of postal workers that we shouldn't do much bill paying online. (We must protect their jobs! Some of these folks are latent killers, so who wants them working where we work?)

A few years ago I completed a survey issued by the USPS, whereby I was asked to give my assessment of their service. I gushed, told the USPS I was their biggest fan. Even urged them to please contact me if they ever wanted a satisfied customer to star in any advertising extolling their virtues.

Much to my dismay, no one ever followed up on my testimonial offer. I guess they were too busy sorting out my blasted bills... Which they're never too busy to stuff in my mailbox. Every single day, like clockwork (except on Sundays, thank you Lord).

Now, I'm not saying they're perfect. Turns out they lose my ish a lot. My postman is very social, I've noticed, chatting up all of us neighbors on his route. Probably accidentally dropping my mail in the sewer or snow. Or wiping remants of secret sauce from his ever-flapping lips with my Sears bill after lunch. But that's okay. With Sears's postage money, he can act as postal as he wants, get mad and toss every last bill in the gutter.

... Hey wait a minute, Mr. Postman: I'm picking up enormous late fees on this MIA stuff. So, love ya', but for this extra two cents, I need my Sears bill here on time.

Clicks to Miles Davis catalog, but explore as you like