Monthly Archives: June 2013

“You’re saying black people don’t eat bread with holes in it?”

Aisha Tyler on the idiocy of qualifying “blackness.” The relevant section begins at 7 minutes into the interview; although it’s also worth watching in its entirety.

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Posted by on June 13, 2013 in Pop Life, Social Commentary


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Cosmo Explains It All For You…

Cosmo puts the Edward Snowden/NSA leak story into perspective… not an especially rational one, mind you, but a perspective nonetheless.


Will “Cosmo” finally crack the secret to “mindblowing” sex?

According to a new profile of Snowden in The Guardian, before he made the decision to come forward, Snowden was a contractor for NSA with a cushy paycheck (about $200,000) and a long-term girlfriend in Hawaii. But, as he’s said in interviews, knowing about the encroaching on the private lives of citizens was weighing heavily on him…

So he told his clueless girlfriend — you can only imagine what she might be feeling now — that he had to take a trip, and bailed. Considering he’s deep in hiding now, it is safe to assume that this is probably the first she’s heard about him since. It’s understandable why he would not want to involve her, but difficult to imagine your boyfriend being caught up in one of the largest scandals our country’s ever seen. She’s probably terrified that the government will question her due to her affiliation with Snowden, even if she knows nothing about his plans.

Maybe she’s turned on by his commitment to transparency. Maybe dating a fugitive long distance will make the heart grow fonder. But if not, this is going to be one dramatic breakup.

The author lists Snowden’s “long-term girlfriend” like one of the nifty accessories he sacrificed for principle, along with his “cushy paycheck.” Because the author has done nothing resembling journalism, she asks us to “imagine what (Snowden’s girlfriend) might be feeling now.” Like Han Solo, I can “imagine quite a bit,” but I’d hope that a professional publication wouldn’t rely on my imagination to fill in the blanks. This isn’t Muppet Babies.

And it’s it possible that Snowden’s girlfriend admires and respects his decision rather than it simply “turning her on” like some Pavlovian dog with a fetish for candor: “Blow the whistle, baby! Blow it!”

Anyway, I’m glad that Cosmo pointed out that aside from facing possible charges of treason, Snowden might have to re-enter the dating pool.




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David Brooks on Edward Snowden…

David Brooks impresses me with his piece in The New York Times on Edward Snowden. I don’t agree with a lot of his conclusions, but I like that Brooks doesn’t leap at the chance to use Snowden as a blunt instrument against President Obama, as some conservatives are doing.

More importantly, I think, is that Brooks takes aim at modern libertarianism, which has often been a strange bedfellow with today’s Republican party.

If you live a life unshaped by the mediating institutions of civil society, perhaps it makes sense to see the world a certain way: Life is not embedded in a series of gently gradated authoritative structures: family, neighborhood, religious group, state, nation and world. Instead, it’s just the solitary naked individual and the gigantic and menacing state.

This lens makes you more likely to share the distinct strands of libertarianism that are blossoming in this fragmenting age: the deep suspicion of authority, the strong belief that hierarchies and organizations are suspect, the fervent devotion to transparency, the assumption that individual preference should be supreme. You’re more likely to donate to the Ron Paul for president campaign, as Snowden did.

Brooks does not overtly condemn the Tea Party but I can’t help but think he has them in mind when he writes the following:

But Big Brother is not the only danger facing the country. Another is the rising tide of distrust, the corrosive spread of cynicism, the fraying of the social fabric and the rise of people who are so individualistic in their outlook that they have no real understanding of how to knit others together and look after the common good.



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Today’s Flashback Clip…

Richard Pryor and Steve Martin talk on The Tonight Show in June of 1978. It’s rare to see people actually conversing on talk shows today. It’s usually over-rehearsed bits, which are especially obvious when the guest is a stand-up comic. You can trace the shift in format to David Letterman, who never seemed comfortable in interviews and often looked like he wished he was anywhere else.

Guest hosts are also rarer now. Jay Leno takes few vacations, and Letterman and the rest just throw on a repeat. I believe the last instance of high-profile guest hosts on a talk show was when Letterman had heart surgery.

The new material that Pryor says he’s “woodshedding” would become his double album Wanted and film Live in Concert.



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Posted by on June 11, 2013 in Pop Life


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Can we talk?

Joan Rivers celebrated her 80th birthday on Saturday (I’ll avoid the obvious jokes about the age of the majority of her body). When I was a kid and there was no school the next day, my parents would let me stay up to watch The Tonight Show or, as we all called it, Carson. If Joan Rivers happened to be hosting, my parents would race to change the channel. I loved her back then, though. She was hardly the prim and proper companion to the charming, Midwestern Johnny Carson (Betty White, for example). She was outrageous and overtly New York (the standard euphemism for “Jewish”).

This clip is from one of her Tonight Show monologues in 1984. It’s a time capsule of early 1980s Hollywood, which she skewers along with herself.

I haven’t followed her E! network career, but I did enjoy her appearances on Nip/Tuck. Now, that was inspired casting.



Posted by on June 10, 2013 in Pop Life



Texas’s Definition of Pro-Life…

Texas’s Definition of Pro-Life…

I might have to agree with John Lennon that “woman is the nigger of the world.” If George Zimmerman is acquitted of the murder of Trayvon Martin, the streets will rightly fill with protestors. However, a Texas man was acquitted for murdering a woman who refused to have sex with him and public reaction is muted at best.

Ezekiel Gilbert shot Lenora Ivie Frago in the neck on Christmas Eve, after she denied his requests for sex and wouldn’t return the $150 he had paid her, according to the San Antonio Express-News. Under Texas law, an individual is authorized to use deadly force to “retrieve stolen property at night,” and Gilbert’s lawyers cited that provision as justification for Gilbert’s action, reasoning that Frago had stolen $150 from him by taking his money without delivering sex.

I understand lawyers have an obligation to zealously defend their clients, but I think that’s adequately fulfilled with a successful manslaughter plea rather than arguing that a woman’s body is “stolen property.”

Frago was an escort, and although there’s often a “wink-wink-nudge-nudge” understanding about the extent of service provided, she was under no legal obligation to have sex with Gilbert, who I don’t believe was even charged with the criminal act of soliciting prostitution — although, his defense was based entirely upon the admission of this illegal act.

Because Gilbert walks free, this endangers the life of every professional escort who dares to obey the law. Ellwood City Ledger reporter Eric Poole put it best in the comments for the linked ThinkProgress article:

The idiot judge who failed to tell the jury that it wasn’t allowed to consider a property recovery defense, because even I – a reporter who covers police and courts – can see it doesn’t apply here. He paid for an escort. He got an escort. Case closed. He used a gun in an attempt to compel the woman to commit an illegal act.

By Texas law — he killed someone in the commission of a crime (attempt to coerce another person to break the law) — Ezekiel is not only guilty, he ought to be subject to the death penalty (I’m opposed to the death penalty, but the law says what it says).

Let’s be clear: Texas just let an attempted rapist and successful murderer tap-dance out of the courtroom.

In court, Gilbert, 30, testified that Frago spent 20 minutes inside his apartment before she left, telling him that she needed to pay her driver. Defense attorneys Bobby Barrera and Roy Barrera Sr. claimed that Frago’s “driver” had been her pimp, and argued that under Texas law Gilbert had been within his rights to use deadly force to recover his stolen property.

I guess the gun didn’t make Gilbert brave enough to confront the alleged pimp rather than the unarmed woman.

Recently, Texas Governor Rick Perry endorsed a so-called “fetal pain” bill that would ban abortions in Texas after the 20th week of pregnancy, because he will not “idly stand by while our unborn are being put through the agony of having their lives ended.”

But once that unborn child turns 21 and stiffs a guy who paid for sex, well, I guess that’s just business.



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Posted by on June 6, 2013 in Capitalism, Social Commentary


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It’s impossible to underestimate the achievement and sacrifice of the Allied soldiers at D-Day. The 2008 documentary A Distant Shore offers gripping firsthand accounts of the events from surviving African-American soldiers.

Although the almost 2,000 African-American troops fighting that day helped to liberate France, those who lived still returned to an America that looked like this.


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Posted by on June 6, 2013 in Social Commentary


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Esther Williams…

As my childhood continues to fade away, let’s take a moment to watch Esther Williams sing “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” with a young Ricardo Montalban.

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Posted by on June 6, 2013 in Pop Life


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Beware Yogi Bear…

Republican candidate for Virgina lieutenant governor E.W. Jackson, like most black men, has an issue with yoga (c’mon, just try to remember the last black guy you saw in a yoga class):

When one hears the word meditation, it conjures an image of Maharishi Yoga talking about finding a mantra and striving for nirvana… The purpose of such meditation is to empty oneself… [Satan] is happy to invade the empty vacuum of your soul and possess it. That is why people serve Satan without ever knowing it or deciding to, but no one can be a child of God without making a decision to surrender to him. Beware of systems of spirituality which tell you to empty yourself. You will end up filled with something you probably do not want.


Yogi wants to steal your pic-a-nic basket and claim your soul for Satan’s mantlepiece.

OK. So, apparently, the GOP is still using the same service to clear its candidates that produced Todd Akin.

(Jackson) has compared Planned Parenthood to the KKK, he’s said gays are “frankly very sick people,” and that homosexuality “poisons culture.”… The National Review ticks through a few issues that show Jackson’s surprising moderation: “he wouldn’t support any sort of ban on gay sex,” and “would oppose a constitutional amendment naming Christianity as America’s official religion.”

Oh, and he also thinks that God wants you to give him lots of money.

For example, as you read this book, you may feel a deep spiritual affinity for the things I am teaching and therefore a profound spiritual kinship with me. We may never meet in person, but you can draw on the anointing which God has placed on my life by sowing into my ministry. That opens a spiritual door for you to partake at a deeper level and for me to impart to you as one in Covenant with me. That is how I have come to support other ministries. Wherever you are moved to give, do it consistently and generously. This will start a flow of prosperity in your life which will enhance all the other principles you have learned.

Take it away, Rev.


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Crimes in America…

Crimes in America…

A 13-year-old girl is killed on her birthday, and it’s apparently not a crime.

A teenage girl was accidentally shot and killed Tuesday night in Johnson County while her teenage brother cleaned a gun.

Emilee Bates, who celebrated her 13th birthday Tuesday, was airlifted to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth, where she died, authorities said.

Deputies responded at about 8 p.m. to the home off FM917 near Joshua. Emilee’s 19-year-old brother was cleaning his guns when one went off, striking her in the stomach, authorities said.

The incident is being treated as an accident, and no charges are expected to be filed, said Lt. Tim Jones, a spokesman for the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department.

But this I suppose is a crime.

A Florida state senator says he wants changes made to laws in the wake of the felony charges against Kaitlyn Hunt, an 18-year-old high school senior who was arrested for her relationship with a 15-year-old girl.

Under Florida’s consent laws, it is illegal for an 18-year-old to engage in sexual relations with anyone under the age of 16. According to TCPalm, other Indian River County lawmakers said that the laws protect children as they stand.

Hunt faces two felony charges and could serve 15 years in prison if convicted. She is scheduled to appear in court June 20 after refusing a plea deal last Friday. The deal offered by the state of Florida would have placed Hunt under house arrest and required her to register as a sex offender.

How things change, I guess, as I recall when such laws were used to selectively ensure your white daughter didn’t date a black classmate.

Take it away, Archie.

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Posted by on June 5, 2013 in Pop Life, Social Commentary


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