Dems ‘Double’ Up on Racism

It would be comical if it weren’t sad, the transparent rationalization of Senator Harry Reid’s comments on the complexion of Barack Obama, the candidate.

I understand the president’s acceptance of the senator’s apology and his need to bar the White House door against a political tempest. But trying to explain away Reid’s choice of words as “inartful” does nothing more than put a ribbon on a rat.

Many influential African Americans have gone on the record in defense of Reid: CNN Political Analyst Roland Martin, PBS Editor and Senior Correspondent Gwen Ifill and John L. Jackson, Jr., author of Racial Paranoia. Furthermore, liberals galore – and I’m no conservative — are smugging up the joint. Case in point, Frank Rich, who writes in his Sunday column:

For all the hyperventilation in cable news land, this supposed racial brawl didn’t seem to generate any controversy whatsoever in what is known as the real world.

I suppose the “real world” would be rationalization nation, which, to me, is populated by hypocritical apologists.

Excuse me ladies and gentlemen, you’re focusing on trees: there’s a forest out there in them thar words. Shall I parse their highly charged meaning?

I’ll take a crack at it. Essentially, by saying Obama would work as a presidential candidate because he was light skinned and didn’t talk like those negroes (I exaggerate here to make a point) is racist pure and simple. You don’t have to be a linguist to read between these lines and their attendant implications. Turn the phrase around, and here’s what Reid is really saying: “I’m sure glad he doesn’t look real dark and talk, you know, real Negro.” Another words, this guy isn’t like those real dark black people who scare the pants off us white boys.

Exaggeration? If so, by how much. It’s all code, man, and we’ve all been around enough to know it. High-minded parsing can’t explain it away.

It’s a Democratic double standard, pure and simple. Maybe that’s why I became an independent long ago.

And, by the way, happy birthday, Martin Luther King.
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Obama and Oslo: A Tough President for Tough Times

In Oslo, President Obama showed that he is more about humility than hubris and, in so doing, demonstrated why the committee gave him the Nobel Peace Prize, even if in Obama’s own characterization it could be viewed as premature:

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the considerable controversy that your generous decision has generated. In part, this is because I am at the beginning, and not the end, of my labors on the world stage. Compared to some of the giants of history who have received this prize — Schweitzer and King, Marshall and Mandela — my accomplishments are slight.

Yet, Obama has demonstrated how a world leader can be strong both militarily and diplomatically, without turning the free world against America as George W. did.

What surprises our politicians on both sides of the aisle is how tough this president is. He’s no wimp when it comes to using military force. In fact, he has been criticized, from the left, for sounding hawkish.

But he came to his “surge” decision in Afghanistan with the professorial scrutiny — contrary to W. — for which he is famous.
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Moon Landing is Backdrop to Song

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the moon landing on July 20, 1969, I’m releasing the video of a song I wrote that includes that very scene as backdrop. The song is called “Miss America,” a raw tableau.

And how strange it is that the venerable Walter Cronkite, who defined that very moment, should pass right now. It’s as if he and Neil Armstrong will somehow launch into eternity together, in a fitting orbit.

I was in a second-rate hotel in Eureka, California the day the Apollo 11 crew landed. I was with my own merry band of pranksters on a cross country trip in my 1948 Cadillac hearse. As we descended into the hotel lobby, Cronkite’s voice crackled from a TV, saying something like, “What a great county…I just don’t understand these hippies…” The TV was a table model that sat on a broken Sylvania console. Behind these proceedings, a broken American Indian lumbered in the hot California sun. What an ironic scene. Could have been out of an Antonioni film.

The “Miss America” video is as raw as the song, which will be released on a forthcoming album. Here are the lyrics:

MISS AMERICA

Her cherry red lights in Tulane
her white fences in Springfield
her black gloves around your neck
dancing to “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White”
her white panties always only
a twirl away on the silver screen
her darker dreams always only
a thrill away on the back streets

Oh, Miss America
Oh, Miss America

Her John Garfield Joan Crawford face
in the clutches of industrial light
her cocktail lie under the nightclub table
her tires kissing always kissing the feremoned pavement
her cowboy stand on the drifting plains
her palaces of corn and artichoke queens
her dumb fuck Brooklyn hallways
stinging of Pampers and malt liquor dreams

We hung our balls from a Cadillac hearse
we were young and full of cream
we screwed a waitress in Barstow
to see her dessert hunger breath
we sang the Lord’s Prayer on Market Street
“Uncle John’s Band” in Birmingham
we blew our guts in a Eureka Hotel
the day they took a giant leap for mankind

Copyright Allen Shadow
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The ‘Thriller’ in Wasilla

It took Sarah Palin to knock the freshly-crowned King of Pop off the front pages. As it turns out, the Queen of Conservativism is as confounding as the King of Pop.

Actually, Palin should skip the talk show route and go directly into comedy. If she could find a good cigar-toting straight man, she’d give Gracie Allen a run for her money. Two minutes into her press conference on abandoning the Alaskan governorship, my head was spinning cartoon-style. It was the most rambling speech in recent memory. Actually, makes a perfect matched set with Miss South Carolina Teen USA’s inane competition comments from 2007.

For a moment, I thought it was me, until I got weigh-in from a few media mavens. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, looking more made-over than ever, featured former McCain/Palin campaign advisor Mark McKinnon:

Watching Sara Palin is sort of like watching a moose on roller skates. It’s never particularly graceful, but it’s always riveting.

But no one ever top’s Maureen Dowd on weigh-in:

Sarah Palin showed on Friday that in one respect at least, she is qualified to be president.

Caribou Barbie is one nutty puppy.

Usually we don’t find that exquisite battiness in our leaders until they’ve been battered by sordid scandals like Watergate (Nixon), gnawing problems like Vietnam (L.B.J.), or scary threats like biological terrorism (Cheney).

She continued:

As Alaskans settled in to enjoy holiday salmon bakes and the post-solstice thaw, their governor had a solipsistic meltdown so strange it made Sparky Sanford look like a model of stability.

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What Would the New Iran Look Like?

Excitement spills from the font of freedom fighting in Iran. But so do questions.

How different, for example, would a Moussavi regime be, from Ahmadinejad? And, even if it’s much better, would his policies be reformist enough for the people. Would the clerics still be supreme? Would they still control the militias? Would women be given the freedoms they seek? Would the regime be friendly to the West? Would it recognize Israel? Would a second movement, revolution even, be implemented?

Certainly, none of these questions should deter support for the people of Iran. Certainly, Iranians cannot answer these questions right now. What we do know is that freedom is forming in Iran. But we can’t know for sure what a new regime would look like.

That may explain President Obama’s careful approach. At first blush, his cool hand feels disappointing. Isn’t this the moment to step up to the plate, like McCain and many others are saying?

Perhaps Maureen Dowd’s Sunday column provides perspective on this “cool hand”:

…some Americans fear that President Obama is too prone to negotiation, comity and splitting the difference, that he could have been tougher on avaricious banks and vicious Iranian dictators.

While Dowd’s piece takes off, so to speak, on the “fly” incident (president kills fly on camera; comics kill audiences on late night tv), she divulges how half the president’s aides:

…are more caught up in the myth and magic, feeling that Mr. Obama summons the three-point swishes when he needs them; that his popularity is not so fragile; that the president’s unparalleled vision and buzzer-beating will shape fate.

If half of Obama’s aides are 100 percent right, the president may prove to be ahead of many of us on Iran versus behind us.
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Twitter to Ahmadinejad: ‘Tear Down this Wall’

Where’s Don Johnson when you need him? It was Don and New-Wave South Beach deco that brought down “the Wall.” You know, the one in Berlin. Reagan? Nah. That’s a bunch of Republican rubbish.

No kidding. An AP story back in 1989 made a case for how the fall of the Berlin Wall was largely due to yearning among West Berliners for the good life, the goodies, in particular, portrayed in the seminal “Miami Vice,” which breached the Wall via satellite transmissions from the West. It was technology, after all, killed the beast — iron-fisted communism, in the case.

Now, the new Iron Curtain that is being spun around Iran is already threatened by technology. This time in the form of YouTube, Facebook, and, yes, the Almighty Twitter.

Isn’t it fitting on the day that freedom-starved Iranians harnessed Twitter and YouTube to tell its story to the world, the Associated Press’ Stylebook sanctioned the lowercasing of the verb form of Twitter (as in to tweet) and the noun form (as in a tweet). On this momentous day, they should have declared them all caps.
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Press release for “We’re America”

(see “Time to pitch” post from today for background)
Rocker Releases Song to Rally Nation

On the heels of President Barack Obama’s recent warning of “more pain” ahead, rocker Allen Shadow has released the single “We’re America” to help buoy the nation’s spirit during the economic recovery.

“As the president recently reminded us, the challenges ahead are still great,” said Shadow. “Now, more than ever, we need to keep our heads and our spirits up.”

The indie artist’s song was originally inspired by Obama’s speech to Congress in late February. In his address, the president reminded the nation of its long history of innovation and accomplishment, promising the country would “emerge stronger than before.”

In fact, Shadow echoes the presidential pledge in the song’s chorus: “We’re America home of the brave/And we’ll be back again stronger than today.”

“I also channeled Woody Guthrie,” said Shadow. “He helped us remember the best of our land during the hard times of the Great Depression.

While “We’re America” is uplifting, it also bares teeth. The tune claims “the banks are bandits now” and chronicles the irony of congressmen who cried fowl yet gave away trillions with little oversight.

A video of “We’re America” is a slice of Americana itself, peppered with images of vintage cars and classic movies. The video can be seen on Shadow’s YouTube channel: allenville33.

“I think the American people understand what we’re facing and how long things are likely to take,” said Shadow. “Nevertheless, the road ahead could test our resolve as there will likely be further pressures on us as well as continued knocks from other nations.”

Shadow, whose indie debut CD “King Kong Serenade” (Blue City Records) drew critical acclaim in the early 2000s, is offering downloads of the new single free of charge. The artist’s raw, literate style is often compared to early Bruce Springsteen and Tom Waits.

“We’re America” will be included on Shadow’s forthcoming album, “American Alleys,” a street-savvy take on cities from coast to coast, due this winter from Blue City Records.

“We’re America” can be heard or downloaded from several Web sites, including both http://myspace.com/allenshadow2 and http://allenshadow.com.

In addition, Shadow blogs at both https://allenshadow.wordpress.com and http://twitter.com/AllenShadow.

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