Black Dynamite And The Atlanta Mayor's Race

S. and I flew the coop for a few days this morning. I was riding shotgun in the AM through the slow as molasses Atlanta traffic after we dropped the dog off. Seeing him enter the facility is always one of the high points of any trip we take for me. So I hit the road with S. and my favorite traveling companions - a stack of the day's newspapers.

Tom Joyner and his crew on the Tom Joyner Morning Show were too funny this morning, though, so we were halfway to Chattanooga before I remembered my stack of fresh news. But by then it was too late.

It was my turn behind the wheel.

It just so happened, though, that I had opened the Atlanta Journal & Constitution first, so I actually did get to read through a few articles about Atlanta's mayoral election next week before Kim Whitley did a call in interview about her new movie, the 70's black exploitation era parody Black Dynamite.

Somehow, the idea of a pimp named Captain Kangaroo snatched my attention from reading any more about what may turn out to be a ground breaking election for the city of Atlanta.

Because for the first time in over 30 years, the front runner in Atlanta's mayoral race is white.

Mary Norwood, who is currently the front runner, is a veteran of City Council. Lisa Borders is a former City Council president. And Kasim Reed is a Georgia state senator.

If I were an evening news reporter, I'd immediately run out and find a couple of black City of Atlanta residents who are riled up about the potential of having a white mayor. Instead, I have talked to my friends and acquaintances over the last couple of months, and they are in a bit of a quandary - the idea of having another black mayor and all its attendant perks, especially if you have a personal relationship with said black mayor, is losing big time in their minds to the idea of getting anyone in there who can do something to fix the chronic problems at City Hall.

None of them, however, feel that Mary Norwood is that person.

Neither do I.

But I'm tired of the same old same old, even though I can't vote in this election because I live out in the sticks in suburban (gasp!) John's Creek north of town. And I am a firm believer that the Obama presidency has raised the bar for the many, many black politicians around the country whose only real accomplishment has been getting re-elected, or holding down the "black" seat.

Maybe there is more than a coincidence that I've mentioned a black exploitation movie just after describing the glimpse I had of the latest projections on the Atlanta Mayor's race. The transition the city went through during the Maynard Jackson years was both positive and negative. It brought a new look to Atlanta's City Hall at the department level, where the real work gets done in a city, with minorities ascending to positions of real power within Jackson's administration. On the flip side, it was some of these same minority political appointees who simply did not get the work done, whether they fell down on the job, were ill prepared, or just didn't give a damn about anything but a paycheck.

This in itself was nothing new - it happens in every city in the country big enough to have a bureaucracy. It was certainly going on in Atlanta before the administration's skin tone began to darken.

But we don't need anymore "black exploitation" politicians here in Atlanta, or in Detroit, or D.C. or Baltimore, or Philadelphia.

S. and I talked about this phenomenon in the car, after we'd dried our tears about the idea of a pimp known as Captain Kangaroo.

"As far as I'm concerned, Atlanta has basically had the same mayor for thirty years. Maynard has annointed them all, either in person or by proxy. Andrew Young got his okay. He fingered Bill Campbell to carry the torch next. And the whole Jackson coterie carried the flag for Shirley Franklin, an old Jackson crony from way back when, after Jackson's untimely demise.

Now it looks like Kasim Reed is next in line."

I actually like Kasim Reed personally. Every time I've met him, he has been willing to talk about the things I was dissatisfied with at the state level, where he worked in the Georgia Legislature as a state senator. I haven't always agreed with his stances, but I have always admired the sense of dogged professionalism he brings to any encounter.

So I guess, if Brown Man Thinking Hard was in the business of making political endorsements that really mattered, that I would unequivocally support Reed.

The question is, if he can hang in there for a runoff, or generate the kind of last minute support that allows him to claim victory on Tuesday night, what the hell will he do to get beyond the shadow of Atlanta's first black mayor?

Can he grow beyond the constraints of a legacy that Maynard Jackson himself was in danger of outliving?

Can he begin to select a more diverse staff, both in ethnic backgrounds and life experiences?

I guess we'll just have to see what next Tuesday night brings.

Joe Lieberman: There's An App For That

After spending a couple of hours wrestling with Microsoft's latest version of Outlook to try to get it to do something it used to do - switch between multiple email identities with two simple clicks - I felt the way I do when I go into our neighborhood big box grocery store and they've moved all the stuff around.

Lost and betrayed.

I guess it was ironic that I saw Bill and Melinda Gates on the news last night, talking about their efforts to combat Third World childhood diseases, as if they had whipped the software world into shape and left for bigger challenges, knowing that their customers were totally satisfied with all things Microsoft.

The next time I upgrade my operating system, I am going to take some classes to understand the nuances of what it can and can't do from the rip, instead of beating my brains out because some brilliant software designer decided that a task that used to be simple now needs to be complex because he's got the horsepower in the latest CPU to execute his code.

I am annoyed, but not surprised, because I've learned to expect this kind of stuff over the years from the software industry in general, and Microsoft in particular.

It's probably the same way Harry Reid and President Obama feel about Joe Lieberman's declaration that he will filibuster the healthcare bill after all - annoyed, but not surprised, because they've learned to expect this of stuff from old "Contrarian Joe".

Now that I think about it, Lieberman is a lot like the Microsoft XP operating system and all the software that are on my old desktop computer that I only use in emergencies - like when I've left my laptop upstairs. He probably started out like my old desktop, with features that were cutting edge years ago. With a memory that seemed prodigious, and and ability to run multiple programs with one arm tied behind his back.

But over the years, Lieberman has become corrupted, a lot like the registry on my old desktop has, so that he is prone to display a "runtime error" similar to the one my old computer does when it tries to keep up with the latest high definition video.

Lieberman is what happens in a seniority system, when the voters hold their noses while they vote because whether they like him or not, he can and does bring home the bacon. Its not much different than the way a sizable number of people hold their noses when they buy Microsoft software products - like it or not, they can and do help bring home the bacon despite their shortcomings.

Senator Lieberman has fared pretty well in the past because most of these "tempests in a teapot" that he has been involved in are over forgettable issues, during forgettable times, under presidents we barely pay attention to between baseball, football, basketball, NASCAR and hockey seasons.

I wouldn't bet against Lieberman winning re-election in two years when his term is up, but you never know. Why, Steve Job's Apple is even picking up a little more market share these days from Bill Gates and Microsoft.

So maybe there's an app for that.

Where Should I Begin Today?

Where should I begin today?

I'm not so sure.

But that's never stopped me before, so let's get this thing started with the topic that is on the tip of everybody's tongue in - healthcare reform. (Unless you're a FOX News political commentator, in which case the only thing on the tip of your tongue is the phrase "ObamaisaCommunistMarxistSocialistsecretMuslim", which has been repeated so many times it has now become one long word).

Senator Harry Reid seems to have gotten tired of being the Democrat's whipping boy - (can you still say that? - was that racist? - is it safer to just call him a CommunistMarxistSocialistsecretMuslim?) so it looks like a public option of some kind is going to be in the final healthcare bill that gets voted on. But whatever kind of option it is, you can be sure that it will be the variety Senator Olympia Snowe won't be able to support.

The White House spokesman says the president is happy with the outcome. I don't think he means Obama is "happy" like "happy he won the lottery" though. From the subdued tone coming out of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave these days, it seems more like Obama is "gritting his teeth together 'happy' that these clowns didn't drag this out much longer."

Then there is the FOX News debacle that the White House has gotten tangled in. I wholeheartedly understand their point. I can't stand FOX News either. When I am out somewhere, like the McDonald's I used to frequent for breakfast, and they have FOX News on, I ask for the manager and demand that he turn the channel.

Not that CNN delivers the news the way Walter Cronkite used to - after all, they've got their own in house ingrate, Lou Dobbs, stinking up the airwaves nightly as he sneers into the camera and rants about illegal immigrants. Even so, CNN still does better than the Newsreader Barbies and Brylcream Bobs that FOX seems to swear by.

But the White House is in a pickle on this one, because as soon as some emergency other than swine flu comes along, they will have to abandon their stance to get back to taking care of business. (If you believe in Glen Beck, that "taking care of business" will be Obama instituting martial law so he can hypnotize us all and turn us into socialist communist do gooder Ivy Leaguers who will line up to check out books from the library by William Ayers and equip ourselves to DESTROY AMERICA).

Although it is good to see President Obama, in his remarks about FOX News, calling "a spade a spade" somewhere else besides a speech to the NAACP.

NOTE TO WHITE HOUSE: Let us out here in the general public take care of this dustup with FOX. I enjoy putting restaurant managers on the spot.

Although I did notice tonight, while flipping through the channels to Monday Night Football, that Bill O'Reilly was TAKING CARE WITH HIS WORDS when he spoke of the president. I don't mind you trying to indict Obama if he's screwed up, Bill, but you've got to move on from ACORN and William Ayers. Obama won. The race is over. He will be with you for another three years and three months. Guess what? Keep up this nonsensical conspiracy shtick, Bill, and it'll be SEVEN YEARS and three months.

Speaking of Monday Night Football - can ESPN send Mike Tirico somewhere? Ron Jaworski and John Gruden can call the game by themselves. All Tirico does is tell me statistics that I really don't want to know. Add to all of this the fact that I'm suffering from John Madden withdrawal since he left the National Football League's Sunday Night telecast, and that I am still P.O.'ed Madden had to leave Monday Night Footabll, and I am ready to eject Tirico from the broadcast booth my damn self. As a matter of fact, I'll give him a penalty myself - "unsportsmanlike commentating."

Maybe I need to get Glen Beck on the phone and tell him that Mike Tirico is a "socialist communist Ivy League pianist who only has six degrees of separation from William Ayers". While I'm at it, I might as well bend Beck's ear a little more, and throw in there that "having the World Series in NOVEMBER is a communist act, and unconstitutional, and has the potential to MESS UP THE FOOTBALL SCHEDULE...

..and what could be more UNAMERICAN than that?

I Didn't Vote To Have A Weatherman In The White House

Sometimes, when you are playing both sides against the middle, you can forget where you are. But since Barack Obama is supposed to be one of the smartest presidents we've ever had, I won't be giving him the benefit of the doubt on his "now you see me, now you don't" stance on the public option.

There are so many trial balloons floating over Washington this afternoon, you'd think it was the Thanksgiving parade.

I didn't vote for a weatherman for president.

I'm not interested in which way the wind is blowing.

What I want to hear President Obama, "Mr. Noncommital" himself, tell me is something he can stick to this week and next week and the week after.

There is a point in any negotiation when you have to draw a line in the sand and stand pat. President Obama obviously has not reached that point yet, with his willingness to weaken the public option even more to accommodate Senator Snowe today.

I guess this was all just "negotiating practice" for the next initiative he wants to unveil, because at this point they are just killing time until a vote.

The ugly truth that the White House and Harry Reid and even the media don't want to face up to is how empty the threat of a filibuster has become.

Can you imagine John Boehner pissing in a trashcan at the senate podium? Can you picture Mitch McConnell fighting sleep as he reads Shakespearean sonnets in front of the entire senate?

Harry Reid himself was one of the last legislators to attempt use the filibuster
to stop business in the Senate. From the accounts I've read it was a disaster.

In reality, it very likely would be a silent and faceless process, which would be even worse in these times of Youtube, Photoshop, and the blogosphere.

Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Bill O'Reilly don't have to run for office. Senators do.

Maybe the president and the Democrats haven't realized this yet, but as short as the attention span of the American public is, we will always see healthcare reform as a Democratic effort. As an Obama initiative.

The president can stand in the middle of the road all he wants. He can fake left and go right like does on the basketball court, but the public is not going for the head fake.

In basketball parlance, its time for the president to commit. To "take it in the lane" and bang his way to the basket.

The public, the same public who is still broke while the fiddlers serenade the Wall Streeters who are down to their last few millions, has no reason to be excited about a legislative victory, especially if it is an empty one.

Colson Whitehead Reading In Atlanta TONIGHT

S. and I are going to see Colson Whitehead tonight at 6:30 pm at a reading on the campus of the Atlanta branch of Savannah College of Art and Design. The last time I saw him here was about five years ago, before the dreads, or maybe they were baby dreads then, at at a reading he did at Emory University.

He opened that one by reading the lyrics from a selection from Public Enemy, one of his favorite all-time rap groups.

I've read all of his books but one, The Colossus Of New York, which was essays, not fiction, so I don't really think I've missed anything. Sag Harbor, his latest effort, was so funny (to me) that people I saw at lunchtime when I was reading it probably thought I was crazy.

Who knows what he'll do tonight.

The good thing about this outing is it will take me away from the TV - more specifically, the evening news. I erupted last night when a reporter talked about the pay cuts at AIG, and how they were likely to lead to the "talent" leaving for more money.

The example she used - why work for ONE MILLION when someone else will pay you FIVE MILLION for the same work - was so ludicrous I thought she was a character in one of Mr. Whitehead's books.

Recycling the same old tired ass anecdotes, when their is NO evidence to support these theories is why the networks are losing out to the internet.

Anyway, I digress. Check Colson Whitehead out if you like to read. I loved The Intuitionist. I hung in there with John Henry Days, and I struggled mightily with Apex Hides The Hurt. Sag Harbor is worth every bit of the hardback cover price. I liked it so much I reviewed it myself.

Tonight, it's all about fiction.

See you political junkies tomorrow.

One of the more annoying things I've been hearing the last few weeks is the phrase "free enterprise", especially as it pertains to the way modern businesses are supposedly being run these days.

President Obama's visit to Wall Street yesterday brought my thoughts into sharp relief. I saw a headline that read "Into The Lion's Den" and immediately recoiled - "Into The Laughing Hyena's Den" might be more like it.

There is nothing like bankers who were insolvent a year ago - bankers whose complicated liabilities that they created themselves would have totally annihilated the value of the assets they had on their books - who are ready today to pop the champagne again and pat each other on the back for "pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps" and piling up record profits.

They have conveniently forgotten that it was the American public (YOU) who provided the bootstraps AND sweetheart terms for their homegrown toxic securities.

Because the Jedi Mind trick your mega banks have been using lately have not only been successful at getting the media to give up the "bailout money = government cheese" theme, now they are repackaging the same damn securities that built the real estate bubble in the first place.

Guess who will end up buying them?

The people who run YOUR 401(k).

You gotta love these Laughing Hyenas on Wall Street, who are always going to be scavengers at heart.

The question that sits at the tip of my tongue every time I see a smarmy faced pundit or my buddy Rush Limbaugh insisting that we protect "free enterprise" and get out of its way so it can work its magic is, are we talking about "don't tell me what to do when I need government money" free enterprise or are we talking about "when my business runs out of money it closes down" free enterprise?

Real free enterprise at the corporate level did exist in this country, but it didn't look anything like what we have now.

The nineteenth century version of the corporate world made the shenanigans of the mobsters on The Sopranos look like child's play.

I own quite a few exhaustive biographies of business titans from the 1800's, including John Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie and Jay Gould. I've been reading Fortune, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal for over twenty years. Our modern day scandals are more creatively executed, but they don't come close to the old days in terms of human brutality and financial chicanery.

The one thing that jumped out at me after reading the fourth or fifth book about our eighteenth century business moguls was the disservice we do to our youth by teaching history and economics separately.

The amount of bribery of government officials that took place was staggering.

The abuse of laborers, and the murder of those who dared to form unions, would rival the kinds of conditions found in migrant worker camps in the 50's and 60's. The outright theft of a corporation's property by its officers was commonplace. The prosecution of such theft was far and few between.

Practically all of the stock market methods and procedures that were originally banned in the 1933 and 1934 Securities Acts were either perfectly legal, or were maneuvers that could be executed in such a manner as to escape the boundaries of existing law. This is the kind of thing we gloss over in the news, as if modern business emerged fully formed into a regulatory atmosphere that was always there.

Jay Gould, the least known titan of the four men I mentioned above, was the Michael Millken of his day, a master of manipulating minority bond holdings into controlling interests in a variety of companies, including Western Union, A&P, the Erie Railroad, and the Great Pacific & Western Railroad.

He was a master at "puffing" the stock price of companies who teetered on the brink of insolvency, selling out at a high price, then shorting the same stock before beating the price back down by controlling the release of inside information that would be damaging to the enterprise.

He owned an interest in a few banks, mostly so he could certify checks when he didn't have ready cash available.

The robber barons, though, with all of their bribery of government officials and sweetheart contracts, etc, were still men who feared the unknown. They operated their businesses at a time when America's government coffers were thin. There was no one to bail them out if they failed. The only thing awaiting a troubled enterprise in those days were the vultures, who would pick a company's carcass clean of its valuables and leave the rest to rot.

What we have now is a prostitution of the ideals of corporate governance. Try to organize a resolution to be voted on by your fellow shareholders in any company you own shares in today and see what happens. Even bankrupt companies who have generated massive shareholder rights groups who have figured out how to use the power of the internet to aggregate their proxies have demonstrated time and time again that in the end, you have no say so in what happens to the pile of money that you and your fellow shareholders have handed over to the companies executives.

Police Chiefs Gone Wild

Chief Wayne Yates

Chief James Preacher

I've been in South Carolina for the last couple of days in my hometown, a small burg that doesn't have any outlet I know of that carries the New York Times. And don't even think about suggesting I go to the nearest Starbucks to get one, because it is forty miles away.

I know I can go to, but I have always been a hard copy newspaper kind of guy, probably because I grew up in a household that took both the local and the state newspapers.

So I've been reading the papers I grew up on this week. The stories are almost the same as they were fifteen years ago when I lived here - small town America crime scenes, new business spotlights, wedding announcements, and civic club events, sprinkled with a few human interest stories and AP News wire reports.

The two stories that tickled me the most this week were the ones about the "police chiefs gone wild" - one police chief was arrested after a bar fight at a bar called "Bubbba's", and another police chief is being sued because he tasered a satellite dish contractor when they got into a dispute over the bill for some work the contractor provided to the police department.

You can't make stuff up this funny.

I wasn't surprised in the least - growing up, all I heard about was how the sherriffs in a lot of South Carolina's smaller counties often worked both sides of the street, upholding the law by day and running their own illegal operations - gambling, strip clubs - unencumbered by any fear of being caught.

There is nothing like going home for a few days to make me realize why I don't have a lot of nostalgia for my home state. I love my hometown, but there are a lot of things about a lot of the rest of the state that I'd just as soon forget.

Oh well.

Off to grandmother's house we go.

Rush Limbaugh Plays The Victim After Rejection From NFL

I am back in my hometown again this week, which means that I couldn't help but listen to the Rush Limbaugh Show again yesterday as I drove down the highway from Atlanta to South Carolina. As I was listening to Limbaugh pontificate I remembered a guy I went to high school with named Micheal something or other who had red hair and was arguably the most obnoxious and aggravating person in the entire school.

My classmate was bombastic and ridiculous and took every opportunity he could to "get back" at the teacher if they admonished him for acting like an ass. Now they call it "ADD", but back then, he was just a loud mouthed, ill mannered, short attention spanned bully who was always biting his fingernails or fidgeting or ssomething, as if he was just a bundle of raw nerves.

Maybe he's a talk radio star now like Limbaugh.

Limbaugh wailed and huffed yesterday like Fred Flintstone did when the Water Buffalo Lodge refused to let him in. The irony is, he is probably more like some of the owners (except John Irsay, and maybe the Rooney's) than we want to admit - except they are smart enough not to pollute the airwaves with that old "cracker-assed cracker" race baiting garbage Limbaugh equates with "ballsiness" or some other ridiculous measure he fantasizes is the embodiment of white male manly prerogative.

For a guy like Limbaugh to want to own a piece of a team in a league where at least 70% of the players on every team are black speaks to the power of the profits and the prestige that the NFL generates. I don't have a problem with him owning a piece of a pro team, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit to reveling a lot in the comeuppance he got yesterday from other rich white men.

Or as I call people like them on this blog, "white people with good sense."

Limbaugh is right, though, when he says that it is wrong that rappers own pieces of teams and he can't - for once, he equates himself with someone who is actually at his level of importance to society.

They're out there on stage rolling up "stanky" and talking nonsense, and he's on the radio, crushing up Oxycontin and talking nonsense.

Wanda Sykes: "That's Not What We Do"

I guess I should have been watching the political pundits battle it out tonight after the historic vote on healthcare reform that took place in the Senate today. Instead, I watched Wanda Sykes new HBO special I'ma Be Me.

Maybe Wanda should have been on CNN at night instead of the more traditional political pundits. She certainly would have made more sense.

"And people are just nuts - just nuts - you know, scaring old people, talking about death panels.

'Oh, they gon' pull the plug on Grandma.'

Why would they even believe that?

You think we'd just start killing people because they're old?

That's not what we do.

Wanda Sykes
excerpted from
I'ma Be Me

An enterprising stand up comedian could build an entire act out of the illogical absurdities that have passed for opposing viewpoints in the healthcare debate.

The usual suspects did what was expected the last few days before the big Senate vote, ratcheting up the volume on the anti-reform rhetoric, but their opposition seemed a little limp, as if they had expended all their energy this summer against the rising tide of public opinion FOR healthcare reform.

Bipartisanship doesn't really matter to the American public, so I don't know why Olympia Snowe's vote really means anything. Because if this reform effort doesn't work the way it was intended, nobody is going to blame the "bipartisan" effort - they are going to blame Barack Obama and the Democrats.

I'd pay money to hear Wanda's definition of "bipartisanship".

The Brown Man went to Pirate Fest at Tybee Island last weekend and he is still tired.

No one who attended seemed to be concerned, at least for the weekend, about politics at all. The restaurants weren't full but no one seemed to go hungry. And the beer as always continued to flow unabated.

I've never been much of a traveler, but I look forward to this festival every year. Maybe it's the chance to dress up as someone else for a couple of days. Or maybe it is the lack of barriers between the all of the active participants that gives the whole thing a feeling of joie de vivre. Or possibly, since we go there all the time year round, it's because we've developed a nodding acquaintance with a lot of the locals. Whatever it is, I like it. I'll head back next year.

In the meantime, I guess I'll have to get back in action here on the homefront, since this week promises to deliver plenty of fireworks in Washington surrounding the healthcare debate in the House and the Senate.

See you tomorrow.


Just had to get that last "aaaarrrrggghh!" out.

Sarah Palin Is Giving Obama Foreign Policy Advice?

Sarah Palin is giving President Obama foreign policy advice from her Facebook account...

...and the news media is eating up every word her ghostwriter writes.

In a nation of three hundred million people, there have got to be more than the three hundred names we see week in and week out who have opinions worth exploring.

In all the articles about policy, you never see the number "165 million dollars a day", which is how much it is estimated the U.S. spends each day we are in Afghanistan, mentioned at all. I guess the actual cost is just an abstraction that most of these commentators believe a cash strapped nation shouldn't be worrying about, but in my book, A BILLION DOLLARS A WEEK for anything means we are spending real money.

We are approaching the Afghanistan conflict as if we are engineering a corporate takeover - add a few troops here, deploy a few weapons there, redefine what a "successful" outcome is, and then call it a day...

...the same way we did in Iraq or the laundry list of other countries bigger than Grenada that we have battled over the years since World War II.

The last time we won a war where we crushed the enemy in body and spirit was World War II. Our leaders had a different mindset back then, namely, one that acknowledged more frankly, although not publicly, our vulnerabilities and weaknesses.

Our nation wasn't filled with "USA! USA!" chanters but with people who all were related to someone serving in the war effort. We were a nation whose fear of the possibility that we could actually lose caused a large majority of us to understand that our way of life was on the line.

We are not willing to send the one hundred thousand or two hundred thousand or three hundred thousand troops it could take to crush the opposition forces in Afghanistan. Our allies aren't willing to pony up any more than a nominal amount of their own forces.

The way we felt for a few months after September 11th was the way we felt for years after Pearl Harbor. It was a fear so great that we locked up Japanese Americans by the thousands.

We are not yet afraid enough of the things that could happen to do those terrible things to another nation that we know will work.

I champion Barack Obama's presidency on this blog week in and week out, not because I believe he is a perfect leader, but because I believe he deserves a chance to succeed or fail like any other president. Most of us have normally forgotten we even have a president by now, nine months after a presidential election, but our parochial and narrow minded press will continue to report practically every breath he takes as long as the public keeps tuning in.

Obama's not seasoned yet, not by a long shot, but no other president in the modern era has been either, whether they acted like it or not, in nine months. Somewhere between the fading of the hoopla after getting elected and the re-emergence of the hoopla to get re-elected, you find out what kind of president you really have.

President Obama is a pretty smart guy, smart enough to know how much of a sticky wicket that "eeny meeny miney mo" warfare in Afghanistan has become.

Our leaders in the 1940's didn't have to deal with fighting only the parts of a country that opposed us in WWII - we were committed to killing everybody we could until our opponents surrendered.

If we had danced around the idea that "war=killing people" in World War II the way we do now, we could have very well lost that war.

We had to kill a million people in Iraq
before we could convince ourselves that we could leave in good conscience.

So boil it down to number, Mr. Obama, the way they do in corporate boardrooms - how many Afghans do we have to kill to make this mission successful?

I know you can't say this, Mr. President, but that's pretty much it - how many people are we willing to kill to get what we want, and how much is it going to cost? Or in liberal speak, how rich are we prepared to make our defense contractors?

Glen Beck Targets Obama Advisor Valerie Jarrett

Glenn Beck's latest witchhunt target is Valerie Jarrett, the special adviser to the president/homegirl to the First Lady/dyed-in-the-wool Chicagoan who is one of Barack Obama's closest professional and personal advisors.

After listening to him stumble through his radio show a couple of weeks ago, though, I don't know if this is going to be the one he wished he didn't mess with or not.

Below is video of Beck talking to Judicial Watch's Tom Fitton, who says Jarrett is one of the "ten most corrupt" politicians in America. He says she has managed to "hijack the Presidency" to benefit the local efforts of Chicago to get the 2016 Olympics. He attempts to justify the crazy tinfoil hat conspiracy theory he has that Jarrett and Obama's friends in Chicago stand to benefit big time if Chicago gets the bid:

But with more advertisers defecting from his show every week, it's got to be getting closer to "fish or cut bait" time for Glenn Beck's network bosses.

Beck has figured out how to dodge those white hot lashes of public opprobrium so far, but I get the feeling that a particular subset of that silent majority of "white folks with good sense", otherwise known as "CEO's who like their paychecks", will finish his show off sometime in the next twelve six months when his shtick goes one race baiting slur too far.

General Stanley McChrystal needs to decide whether or not he wants to run for president.

Once he figures that out, he needs to pack his bags.

There are a number of ways built into military protocol that a general can express his displeasure with the ideas the White House has.

But at the end of the day, after all the advice has been given and all the scenarios have been hashed out, America expects its commander-in-chief to be the lead dog on any direction our armed forces take.


Generals are a dime a dozen. Ask Fmr General Schwarzkopf, or Fmr General Powell. One of the good things about our military is it is designed to operate at a high casualty rate, not only on the field but in the top brass as well.

All I've been thinking about is Al Haig ever since McChrystal began playing rogue general for the media.

If you were the chairman of a major company, and you saw your chief financial officer on CNBC telling their interviewer that they didn't agree with the direction of some of the corporate policies you had put in place, your chief financial officer would be gone by nightfall.

S. and I went to a backyard ceremony for a neighbor's daughter last Saturday. The groom was a soldier, a young guy in his mid twenties who looked just like a young movie star Ronald Reagan with a crew cut. A tank commander, he was chiseled and lean from spending long hours sweating inside the tank's hot interior in Iraq. The groom stared straight into my eyes and said "I'll do whatever the American people ask me to do" without reservation, a statement I heard him repeat numerous times to other guests as he made his way around the room.

Maybe the general needs to spend more time with his troops, and less with the press.

These soldier's families understand what it is they have signed on to serve, but they don't want their loved ones in harm's way a moment longer than is absolutely necessary.

And they certainly don't want their commander in Afghanistan playing chicken with the commander-in-chief while their child's life hangs in the balance.

I hadn't really formulated any thoughts on this Roman Polanski thing other than the usual one I have when someone famous wants a pass for a crime they did commit - what would happen to ME if I as an adult male had gotten caught getting a 13 year old girl drunk and high and having sex with her?

Whoopi Goldberg probably wouldn't even blink when they threw my ass in jail.

Has anybody seen one of this guy's movies? If they're anything like Woody Allen's films, the judge could tack two more years onto his sentence.

I didn't even waste time asking S. if she'd seen any of Polanski's work - she's still trying to figure out why Jerry Seinfeld has so many fans.

Since Chris Rock does a better job of saying what was on my mind, I'll let him speak for me today in the video below:

If the video doesn't come up in your feed, you can go to youtube and type in "chris rock leno" and the video clip will pop right up.


Will Florida Brawler Inspire Democratic Crybabies?

Alan Grayson (D) Orlando

How do you get everything you ever asked for as a political party - popular president, significant majority in the House, a majority a hair away from achieving critical mass in the Senate - and then find every excuse in the book for not being able to do what you want?

This healthcare bill fight has been so predictable you would think the Democrats own the trademark rights to the term "political failure".

Even though the reality is that we are very close to seeing some kind of healthcare bill hit the president's desk, the perception that the Democrats are fighting an uphill battle against an opposition whose forces are weak and tattered is the one that predominates political discussions.

Setting aside the differences in rhetoric for a minute, the one thing you know about a Republican is, even if he is outnumbered a hundred to one, he will try to dominate the situation, as if to rule is his birthright. If he is only outnumbered ten to one, he will start proclaiming victory immediately, as if by force of will alone he will negate the mathematical inequality staring him in the face.

Representative Alan Grayson from Florida has had enough. I know he doesn't read this blog or others like it, but he has done the very thing I and countless other bloggers have been trumpeting for weeks - he has simplified the complexities of the healthcare debate down to a few words the general public can get its arms around.

He did not dance around the issues.

He did not come up with a legal sounding rebuttal to the opposition that left enough wiggle room for him to deny it all later.

And he damn sure didn't consult his pollster to determine how this might make his approval rating or his reelection numbers fluctuate.

He boiled down the Republican opposition to ANY healthcare overhaul to simple, direct, visceral terms - the kind Democrats normally shy away from. The kind the Republicans normally come up with in their sleep.

"The Republicans have a backup plan in case you do get sick ... This is what the Republicans want you to do. “If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly.”

Rep. Alan Grayson, Tuesday from the floor of the House of Representatives

Can this lone brawler inspire the rest of the Democratic crybabies?

America has put polio in the history books. Put men on the moon. We can even get our money out of the bank in the middle of the night after its staff has gone home by simply sticking a card in a machine.

We can do this. The Democrats can do this.

Are the Democrats waiting for perfect conditions? 75 or 80 Democratic senators and 300 or more Democratic members of the House? The way they look right now, I doubt if even those gargantuan majorities would be enough.

Maybe there are too many lawyers in the Democratic Party, including the president, who are prone to do that thing that lawyers instinctively do when they open their mouths - try not to get boxed into a corner.

Advocating for a client, ladies and gentlemen, is different than fighting for your constituents.

Quit playing to George Will and George Stephanopoulos - the Peorias around the country get their soundbites via Youtube just like everybody else does these days, and those websites with the weird names that slice and dice the news up into bits of entertainment, to be endlessly re-emailed, replayed and repeated.

The Democrats need to paint themselves into a corner on this one - they need to paint themselves into a corner and dare anyone to try and get them out of it.

Blind Arrogance: Governor David Paterson

Sean Yoes, the host of the AFRO First Edition talk show I appear on from time to time at WEAA, shot me an email a couple of days ago asking for my thoughts on the recent dust up between Obama and New York Governor David Paterson. The political brouhaha between them ensued when a White House emissary allegedly sent word to Governor Paterson to stay out of the 2010 governor's race. You can read the article Yoes ended up writing, titled "Should WH Stay Out of Paterson's Way?", at Black America Web.

But back to the day I originally got the email - later that night I asked S. what she thought about the Obama/Paterson situation. "Obama needs to leave Paterson alone," she said. "Really, he needs to quit sticking his hand into so many things."

I talked with a buddy of mine from New York yesterday. "When did this happen?" he asked.

It was when I spoke to my buddy from Alabama that we got a little deeper into it. "Who gives a damn about a black president telling a black governor not to run? Its all about the politics. The president has no choice but to do what he did."

"You know," I said, "Paterson makes me think of Kwame Kilpatrick. His daddy was a long time state assemblyman from Harlem, the same way Kilpatrick's momma was a congresswoman. You would think the two of them would know better. Actually, now that I'm really thinking about it, you could ask the same thing about Jessie Jackson Jr., Harold Ford Jr. - who else am I missing? - all of these guys had head starts on this thing and look what happens?"

My buddy from Alabama answered before I stopped talking.

"They think they're white."


"Privileged black kids like them never dealt with the same stuff average black kids did."

It was an interesting way to look at it, especially coming from someone whose own African American mother was the mayor of his hometown.

I thought about some of my old associates who qualified as spoiled children of South Carolina's black political elite, people I frequently socialized with back when I was growing up, and the otherworldliness they exuded when we talked about getting into jobs or out of legal problems, as if there was a permanent red carpet rolling along in front of them, smoothing out the little bumps life presents when you least expect them.

To look at Paterson's recent actions and then juxtapose them with his extraordinary confessions during his first days in office was to see the mannerisms and the actions of some of these long lost friends come to life.

My man Sean goes into the technical aspects of the political calculations in his article. Personally, I understand where Obama is coming from. And since I'm not a journalist, and won't ever need to get a quote from anybody in Paterson's administration, I can say this - too many of our black politicians like Paterson have been raised to do anything but work. Even so, I think that the execution of sending the message to Paterson was too sloppily done for it to be coming from the White House.

How come the DNC didn't weigh in on this instead, with the White House's intentions deep in the background?

Paterson's blind arrogance is not a reference to his sightlessness - but it is a deliberately pointed description of his administration, as far as the internet and the New York Times tells me, seems so intent on serving Paterson's agenda rather than his constituents, almost every New York state resident wants him gone.

The president may not feel that this could happen to him, but as I listened to all the people I asked about the Obama/Paterson debacle the last couple of days, all of who are die hard Obama supporters, I sensed a certain amount of "Obama fatigue" setting in, a sentiment that his "be everywhere at once" strategy is not helping lately.