Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Here's a perspective on Buckeye football fever from 46 years ago, excerpted from the book "1968 -- The Year That Saved Ohio State Football" by David Hyde. Not much has changed.
In 1970, Ohio State student Thomas Harrington was arrested for public obscenity while driving his car, which had a bumper sticker that read: "Fuck Michigan."
Lawyers went to work. The prosecution argued that no word was more offensive than this verb, which was slang for sexual intercourse. But Judge James A Pearson in the Franklin County Municipal Court considered this dictionary definition and reasoned it "absurd" to think the bumper sticker meant "to have sexual intercourse with the state of Michigan."
"Mr. Harrington's bumper sticker accurately expressed the derogatory nature of this mood toward the University of Michigan football team and the state of Michigan as a whole," Judge Pearson wrote in his decision. He added, "Most of the people of Ohio would say that Mr. Harrington's bumper sticker also had redeeming social value."
Got two more comments from Anonymous #1. The last word?
|Divisive and inflammatory?|
That's a classic cop-out, experienced by Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and countless other social protesters. It's a rhetorical twist to shift the focus away from what is being protested to how it's being protested, and thereby distract from the bigger issue, the real issue.
"Well, I guess Kaepernick's right, but I can't support him because he won't stand during the anthem."
And it's fascinating to learn that I enjoy our divided country, I'm a perpetuator of disgust, and I'm a destructive non-builder of bridges! Wow! I must make amends. Watch for future posts where I tackle such topics as baking cookies, bird watching, and singing Kumbaya in three-part harmony.
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Got two direct comments to the blog. The first one came from Anonymous #1. Then the reply to that comment came from Anonymous #2. This post ends with my own comment to Anonymous #1.
Dear Anonymous #1 -- Not sure how much of your comment is an actual Bomani Jones quote, but I'm pretty sure that, on principle, Jones supports Kaepernick. Check out this video clip where Bomani Jones says that Kaepernick's "statement is in his words, not his actions."
Let's examine some parts of your comment:
Kaepernick's stand "won't change the world." Are we to do only what changes the world? What would that be and how do we do it?
Muhammad Ali's stand did nothing? Really? Name the last time we had a military draft.
"History" requires reflection and the passage of time for an accurate assessment. "Real time" is right now. It's transitory. It's a Trump tweet. It's reactive, not contemplative. History lasts. Real time doesn't.
"Widening the divisions" is your impression, an opinion not shared by all. Many in the black and Hispanic communities are in fact coming together in agreement with Kaepernick's message.
"It won't have an impact." Wrong. Certainly it's already had an impact in "real time." We'll have to wait and see about any historical resonance.
Now let's be clear. In a form of activism, Colin Kaepernick acted and spoke out against racism and police brutality. You say:
"He chose the wrong path." Describe in detail the right path.
"Do something positive." Such as? And are you so sure that Kaepernick was negative?
"Bring people together." Fine. How?
"There are better ways." Give us some examples.
Your comment still boils down to not liking the message. You're tired of the repeated reminders of American racism, and believe it's divisive and counterproductive. But happy talk and wishing the problem away has never been a solution. And if anyone ought to be tired of racism, it's African-Americans. They dealt with it personally for the past 400 years. If anyone knows about divisiveness, it's them.
Slavery was one of our great societal sins. Racism continues to this day -- it's embedded in our social fabric. We've made progress, no doubt. There is much more work to be done. That's why Colin Kaepernick (and so many others) keep bringing the message to our attention.
Sorry for the inconvenience.
Monday, August 29, 2016
The black-lash reaction from the right was swift, predictable and negative. Kaepernick was "disrespectful." Not standing for the anthem was "not the right way" to express himself. (That's a favorite old crutch for conservatives -- for them, it's never the "right way" or the "right time" for anything. But it's funny how they never say when it is right.)
Online, Kaepernick was crucified for being all kinds of wrong -- the wrong messenger with the wrong message delivered in the wrong way. He was a race-baiter; he was poorly coached; he's an unimportant second-string QB; he's a wealthy athlete who knows nothing. (The right routinely dismisses the opinions of academics, Hollywood types, black athletes, and other likely non-Republicans. The conservative attitude is that they should just shut up and teach, shut up and act, and shut up and play ball.)
The crucifiers are way off base.
Kaepernick's message is about our lingering racism. It's not really debatable. It should not be dismissed because of his income, his place on the 49ers' depth chart, or who his former coach was. (I will grant that Jim Harbaugh is a dick.) His message is not unpatriotic, and it doesn't disrespect the military or the entire nation. (Alex Boone should STFU.)
What's left, then, is his delivery method -- sitting during the anthem. You can do a lot of things, but, holy shit, you can't do that! Actually, yes, you can. There's no law against it, no NFL rule prohibiting it. You can sit, you can lie down. You can burn the flag if you like. You'll face certain ostracism, but you are allowed to do it.
(Way back when, I went to school with a Jehovah's Witness. She sat during the anthem and refused to say the pledge. Nobody gave her any grief about it. In today's internet age, she'd be trolled to death.)
Our flag is a symbol. It symbolizes many things, including free speech. Colin Kaepernick has a track record of speaking out on political issues and racism. His message is serious and as valid as any, he comes by his opinions honestly enough, and he's reasonably exercising his free speech rights.
His team supports him, and you should too. Get past the method, OK?
On rare occasions, a well-known athlete may be compelled to make a provocative gesture on the big stage in the service of big-picture ideals. Muhammad Ali's refusal to be inducted into the military, and the raised fists of Tommy Smith and John Carlos in Mexico City come to mind. At the time, white majority America was outraged. Time has led to acceptance, understanding and admiration.
Although we're 50 years down the road from those days, and whites will soon be a minority, Colin Kaepernick is compelled to remind us that race relations still haven't changed enough. Not by a long shot. And most of the people so quick to denounce him are angry because, deep down, they know he's right.
By simply sitting down, Colin Kaepernick is standing up for what he believes. Nothing could be more American.
Or is that too provocative for ya?
Friday, August 26, 2016
(From the HuffPost Hill, 8/26/16, by Arthur Delaney)
Two Trump surrogates demonstrated the new, softer campaign tone: Maine Gov. Paul LePage apologized for calling someone a “son-of-a-bitch socialist cocksucker” and New Hampshire state rep Al Baldasaro said he regretted “the way” he said Hillary Clinton should be shot by a firing squad, so civility is still alive in our politics. And the Trump campaign hired Bill Stepien, a guy Chris Christie fired for the Bridgegate scandal, which means America can expect a hell of a traffic jam on its way home from Hillary Clinton’s inauguration.
Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland (D) is in a tight race with incumbent Senator Rob Portman (R) for Portman's Senate seat. Robbie is a career political hack -- a corporate shill, an out-sourcer supreme, an NRA apologist, and a coward. He's a one-percenter who's not only personally wealthy, he has the financial backing of the Chamber of Commerce, the Koch brothers, and a variety of dark-money sources. They're all spending big to attack Strickland with TV ads which repeat a few lies over and over.
Class, we've covered this material before, but I want to make sure you've got these three points. There may be a quiz.
- Ted Strickland did not raise taxes by $800 million. He merely delayed an already-planned tax cut by one year in order to balance the budget. This is a "tax increase" only in Republican double-speak. Overall, Strickland reduced taxes by 13%.
- Ted Strickland did not cause Ohio to lose 350,000 jobs. There was a little thing called the Great Recession. You might recall it -- the worst financial downturn since 1929. Things were sucky from coast to coast, and jobs were lost everywhere. Ohio did better than many states.
- Ted Strickland did not piss away Ohio's rainy-day fund. The Great Recession was one hell of a rain storm, and he used our contingency fund appropriately, to avoid the alternative of tax increases and service cuts. That's what a rainy-day fund is for.
|"No, I am not an android. Why do you ask?"|
If you still need one more fact to convince you that Robbie Portman is a hack and a coward and a robotic tool, try this: Portman endorses Donald Trump.
Thursday, August 25, 2016
Some of the latest nonsense from The Donald:
Hillary is corrupt? Puh-leeze! Among a long list of similar offenses, Trump the "Debt King" owes his ass to Russia and China, refuses to show his tax returns, has six corporate bankruptcies, routinely stiffs his contractors, and built Trump Tower with illegal Polish immigrant workers he paid with vodka and threatened to deport if they made any trouble. Etc., etc. And you're worried about the Clinton Foundation? Get over it.
The system is rigged. The polls, the media, the election itself. All of it. Because if it wasn't rigged, Trump would be winning. Yuugely! Believe me.
Trump is "moderating" his hard-line anti-immigrant stance. Yes, he'll still build the wall, and he'll still have deportation squads, and every Mexican will still be sent back, but the "good ones" will be let back in. It'll be "humane." That sound you hear is Latino America rushing to vote against Trump.
Trumpenstein is "reaching out" to black voters, because their lousy black lives don't matter and really, what do they have to lose? Donnie's latest outreach involved bringing Brexit's nationalist, racist leader Nigel Farage to speak on race/class issues. To an all-white audience. In Jackson, Mississippi. LMFAO! Black support for Trump remains at 1%.
No word on how the Great Trumpkin plans to salvage the women's vote. Ha-ha!
Not to get cocky, but the die is pretty much cast. No matter what he says or does, Trump can't get much more support than he already has. Which is not enough to win.
It is, however, enough to keep him in the Kardashian-style, faux-celebrity spotlight for the rest of his goofy, selfish, needy life. Which is what he really wants. Ratings!
Friday, August 19, 2016
Look what mysteriously appeared yesterday in New York City's Union Square!
The official statement of Sam Biederman, NYC Parks Dept. spokesperson:
"New York stands firmly against any unpermitted erection in city parks, no matter how small."
(Sadly, the statue has already been removed.)
I'm approaching the end of my Olympic event. It's the two-week marathon beach-sitting competition. I've been doing very well and I'm in solid medal position. With my usual strong finishing kick, I'm confident I can bring home the gold!
I just need to focus and ignore those callouses on my fanny.
Thursday, August 18, 2016
The lovely Mrs. Gammons tolerates more nonsense on her Facebook page than I could ever swallow, some of it from old acquaintances from her Cincinnati youth. A regular offender is J.S., the brother of her sister's first husband. He's a Trump fan who routinely posts some the stupidest, most hateful things in the world, which is his idea of being "conservative." I'd have blown up his ignorant ass and unfriended him long ago, but Mrs. Gammons just waits to see what piece of idiocy he'll come up with next.
Today it was these two doozies:
People as stupid as J.S. should not be allowed to use any form of social media.
"Eight years of the divisive tactics of President Obama have undermined Americans' faith in politics and government." -- Jeb Bush in a recent Washington Post column.
It is standard practice among members of the Republican elite to falsely blame President Obama for Trump's rise. No matter how much you may wish it so, this is not Obama's fault.
Republicans Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush were competent and (arguably) excellent presidents. But the incompetence of George W. Bush is largely why Americans are disillusioned.
Bush inherited a federal budget surplus, but left office with a deficit. Unemployment skyrocketed from 4% to 8%. Now, after two terms of Obama, we're finally below 5% again. When Bush left office, we had 12 million undocumented immigrants (about where it remains). In the GOP's fantasy world, however, undocumented immigrants are Obama's fault.
Jeb blames Obama for divisive politics. Recall the the GOP's unfounded attacks in 2004 on John Kerry's military record. Kerry earned a Bronze Star, a Silver Star and three Purple Hearts. George W. Bush -- like Trump -- has never been near a combat zone. The GOP's treatment of Kerry set the precedent for Trump's cruel attacks on John McCain and the Khan family.
Republicans have spent the past eight years blocking Obama's proposals and nominations, and undercutting the legitimacy of our democracy. When Obama decisively won reelection in 2012, they threw a temper tantrum that brought our country to the brink of default.
Obama didn't solve all the problems he inherited. But let's be clear: Republicans left Obama a mess. And instead of being a party of competent conservatism, they opted for eight years of obstructionism, made-up facts and wishful thinking. In the process, the GOP has become increasingly dependent upon gerrymandering, voter suppression and fomenting the racial divisiveness it purports to object to -- all to stay in office.
Republicans created Trump. They should take responsibility.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
He blamed Milwaukee's tensions on Hillary Clinton's "bigotry" for "peddling the narrative of racist cops." Bad cops are not the problem, according to Trump. "The problem," said Donnie, "is that there are not enough police." (That's right, blacks and Latinos -- your only problem with policing is you don't get nearly enough of it!) Mr. Law n' Order said that would "make life more comfortable for African-Americans." Then he asked for their votes.
|Steve Bannon, right-tard slob|
It's just incredible. Trump never had the black vote or the Latino vote or much of the women's vote to begin with, and the Steve Bannon playbook won't change that now. Trump will just keep punching the buttons of those who were going to vote for him in the first place -- Already foaming at the mouth? Good! Here, take a torch and a pitchfork.
And I thought Mitt Romney was a treasure-trove of material!
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
He said, "We will be tough. And we will be very extreme. Extreme. I call it extreme vetting. I call it extreme, extreme vetting."
And what exactly would be involved in "extreme vetting"? No one knows, least of all Donald himself.
But when one has limited vocabulary and poor reading skills as Trump does, it's best to just pick a word and stick with it. Five times.
I was so disappointed to learn today that Comedy Central is cancelling The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. His final show will be this Thursday.
In the past year or so, Comedy Central lost their two mainstays, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. These two ground-breakers reinvented late-night TV with The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Their shows were topical, news-based combinations of political satire and media critique. And they were hilarious. Replacing both of them more or less simultaneously was a tall order, sort of like replacing Vince Lombardi and John Wooden at the same time. Following the legend is tough duty.
Relative newbie Trevor Noah took over The Daily Show, and the Colbert slot was renamed The Nightly Show and given to Wilmore, veteran comic and the "Senior Black Correspondent" on Stewart's Daily Show.
Both Noah and Wilmore are good, but I thought Wilmore's Nightly Show was the better of the two. He found his voice and his approach immediately -- an opening monologue on current events, a skit from his mostly black and Hispanic ensemble of comics, a table discussion including the guest celebrity, and the Keep It One-Hundred closing.
Comedy Central is doing their own un-blackening, and it's a big mistake.
Saturday, August 13, 2016
Met a North Carolina family down here at the beach. They had a YETI cooler, and were nice enough people. But they felt the need to advertise their political wing-nuttiness with numerous bumper stickers slapped all over their over-priced, status-symbol cooler. To wit:
- The "Don't Tread on Me" coiled snake (the Revolutionary War flag usurped by Tea Baggers)
- A Glock pistols decal
- "LaRue Tactical Weapons" (a custom gun maker in Texas)
- "I [Heart] Guns"
- "Extremely Rightwing"
- "Hillary For Prison 2016"
- A Confederate flag with the word "Redneck" superimposed on it
Well, yee-friggin'-hah, ya morons!
That's how you screw up a perfectly good $400 cooler.
He wants Russia to help hack Hillary's email server.
He will keep Putin out of Ukraine. "He's not going into Ukraine, OK? You can mark it down." (Russia has occupied part of Ukraine since 2014.)
He believes women who are sexually harassed on the job should "find another career."
He thinks he has already won the election in Pennsylvania, unless Hillary "cheats" and her supporters "vote five or ten times."
He claimed he saw a "top-secret" video of the U.S. dropping a pallet of currency in Iran. No such video exists.
He suggested "the Second Amendment people" (i.e. gun nuts) could "do something" if Hillary wins (like maybe assassinate her).
He repeatedly called Obama and Hillary the "founder and co-founder of ISIS." (He later said he was just being "sarcastic," and shame on the loser, low-ratings, lame-stream media if they couldn't recognize his sparkling wit.)
And the beat goes on. This was just my recollection of recent Crazy-Trump action, and I'm sure I missed some. It's impossible to keep track of every lie coming out of his mouth. It's pointless to try to fact-check him. He's virtually fact-free and simply does not care. He just sticks to his routine: Say something awful and outrageous, draw the anticipated media coverage (ratings!), then deny everything, move rapidly on to the next outrage, and dare all of us to try to keep up.
Trump is a McLuhanite* nightmare -- "the medium is the message." If he's on TV or being talked about on TV, that's all that matters to him.
He has no filters and refuses all advice. But despite the constant coverage he so desperately desires, his poll numbers (ratings!) are falling and the GOP is freaking out. Ha-ha-ha! Donald, your "brand" sucks!
*Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) was a Canadian professor, writer and media visionary. He coined the phrases "the medium is the message," "the global village," and predicted the world wide web.
Tuesday, August 9, 2016
Sent this to the Strickland campaign. I think it could be effective.
I'm a supporter and occasional small $5 - $10 donor. Where I live, we are inundated by Portman ads. I appreciate we can't match him dollar for dollar, but we need to have a short, sweet response ad on TV as often as possible. Given recent news, here's my suggestion for a 15-second, relatively cheap ad which could be effectively deployed over and over again:
[Voice & text over images of Portman & Trump]
"Robbie Portman endorses Donald Trump. Robbie Portman endorses Donald Trump. Robbie Portman endorses Donald Trump. Do you? We didn't think so. Strickland for Senate."
Call him "Robbie" because it annoys him.
The time is now! Do it!