Category Archives: Obama

A Rrose in a Prose Literary Salon this Sunday: Your Heroes Are Dicks

When I was a teenager, I had a wonderful mentor who helped me tremendously in becoming the public speaker and champion of the logical alternative that I am today. But later, when I was an adult, I learned he was accused of “indiscretions” with a juvenile and fired from his job.

Sound familiar?  Let’s not talk about it. Let’s just let the shame we feel about the chipped paint on our own superhero statues hold us upright, hard as tack, keeping our ribs clamped tightly against the bounds of our hearts, which will shrivel more with each passing year until we too can fail just as spectacularly as our heroes.

But are our heroes really all that terrible? Maybe they’re just humans, perhaps innocent of everything except perfection?

My mentor, the one accused, was only accused in the court of parental opinion: he was never charged with anything. He might even have been completely framed for a petty political workplace reason, and it worked, because he’s a closeted gay man in a state where that still isn’t acceptable the way it is in our protected enclaves of California and the liberal West Coast. I may never know.

I can’t help but think: maybe it is I who failed him?

Maybe heroes actually make us happy when they fall, because in our hearts, we really know it is we who are failing them. The only thing even easier than simply failing is to point out the failings of someone else, a big star that we can lampoon and mock. Remember Pee Wee Herman?

Pee Wee Mugshot

Paul Reubens may not have deserved the public shaming he received for being caught masturbating in public. But why does no one bring up the fact that as a very young teenager, he was accused of shooting his own uncle in what is still technically an unsolved murder case that was huge, even for its day?

New York Times

Of course, the section of newspaper highlighted above doesn’t really reference an uncle murder, because that’s just a work of fiction on my part. And if you liked that, you’ll love the fiction, poetry, and general literary amazingness of all the below performers and readers, which you’ll get to hear if you show up at 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 13, at Stories Books:

Joshy Fadem (wrote 356 stories in as many days!)
Nancy Lynée Woo (founded Lucid Moose Lit)
Cyrus Sepahbodi (Mad About Ink maestro)
David Gale (the man behind the man behind Mad About Ink)
VerBS (rapper and regal beagle of maverick music events)
Krista Husar (performer and poet!)
Mecca Vazie Andrews (Sex Stains)
Rebecca Gonzales (NOT the Rebecca from the Bible!)
Bhella Bell (the spirited stranger!)
Raelee Nikole (singer/songwriter siren!)

The whole thing is hosted by DM Collins and Art Currim and wrapped up in a heaping helping of schadenfreude all made to order for the fan of fiction and the peon of poetry! We got readers and rappers and singers and word-slingers, enough to make you forget all about that theme we talked about earlier, and the fallen heroes, and the sadness, and the lies. A lot of lies. Let’s talk about those brutal statues of doom who hurt you with their lies. Lies.


And stay even after we’re done, because at 5 p.m. is an amazing party/reading for the release for the new Jabberjaw book, hosted by friend of A Rrose in a Prose Michelle Carr (and featuring an amazing assortment of musical mavericks)!

can the media bias against Dems get any worse?

I expect bias from the Fox News folks (more on Victoria Jackson later), but why are all the press rooms today full of malarkey stories about Obama’s “earmarks,” as though Republicans aren’t asking for some of the biggest earmarks, and as though a bill with 1.9% of its money going to earmarks is somehow full of pork?

I wouldn’t have bothered blogging about it–the media bias has become so common in the last decade and a half that I think it’s not worth parsing through–I usually leave that to The Daily Howler, one of my favorite blogs.  But then I logged into my yahoo account and saw this:

 media bias against the Democrats

Yahoo, what the fuck?  Note that they fucking lead with “Obama defends pet projects.”  What about “Obama Passes Monumental Spending Bill?” or “Obama signs Omnibus Bill, but Cautiously,” or “Obama Signs Spending Bill, Cautions Against ‘Business as Usual,'” or one of the many fucking things that would be more succinct and to the point than this gobbledygook that obfuscates the real lead here, which is that a potential boon to the economy just passed, and that we should maybe make sure the money is enough and gets used wisely? 

I have no problem with criticizing Obama.  Hell, he sucks Clean Coal’s dick, he’s a shitty negotiator with the Republicans, and he lets bigots such as Rick Warren give his invocation.  But to lead with “Obama defends pet projects?”  That’s like a headline saying “FDR Owns Gramophone Recordings of The Mikado, but Declares War on Japan.”  Less than fucking 2% of this bill was used for earmarks, and half that money roughly was earmarked by Republicans anyway, and a lot of that money will still indirectly stimulate the economy by providing jobs.  As I learned today from a shockingly well-written and informative Republican blog, six of the ten highest earmarkers on this bill were Republicans.  And of what’s left for the Dems, maybe two things are “pet projects” of Obama.  So why lead with a sentence that refers to maybe 0.03% of a spending bill that, as John Stewart pointed out tonight, has less potential defects than a can of apricots?  Why put the pork guilt on Obama?

But what reaaaaallly makes me mad is that jab at the Kennedys, which in the context of this Yahoo splash page is basically another jab at the Dems.  Kennedy = liberal elitist from New England, and money for Kennedys = waste, right?

But  I did the math.  According to the pandering asshole loser, I mean, AP reporter Steve LeBlanc, a bunch of earmark money is going to the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston, plus like $22 million is going to the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, and a smaller chunk is going to the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the Senate.  That’s 32.8 million total.

Don’t get me wrong: to me, 32.8 million dollars is a lot of money, and I would gladly drink Drano for that amount.  But let’s look at the data from Taxpayers for Common Sense, not a liberal organ by any means.  According to their documentation, $51,075,000  in earmarks is set aside for the Eisenhower Executive Office Building Phase III, accompanied by $14,700,000 for the Eisenhower Executive Office Building CBR, whatever that is.  That’s over $65 million for one building named after a Republican president.  When you tack on the $333,000 for the Eisenhower Foundation, Washington, DC (“to replicate and evaluate job-training and supportive services programs for disadvantaged workers in Des Moines, Iowa”), you wind up seeing that $66,108,000 was spent on Dwight Eisenhower alone, more than twice the amount spent on three different Kennedys added together.

So, why did Steve LeBlanc craft an article together about Kennedy-funding earmarks, instead of “Dwight Eisenhower Takes Earmarks from the Grave,” or just simply “Millions in Earmarks Spent on Dead Presidents?”  Maybe it’s for the same reason that Yahoo put two anti-Dem articles in their email landing page today, or the reason that we see no articles about the Republicans such as Sen. Arlen Specter who decry earmarks while at the same time making them, or the reason that we NEVER saw articles during the primo Bush years that watered down his decision-making with scrutiny (they did start aiming criticism at him, eventually, but not until about 2005, after he’d already lied, tortured, spied, and Patriot-ed till the cows came home, literally).  It’s that the media has a hard-on about shooting down Dems.

Once again, there is plenty about Obama and the Dems in general to get riled up against, in particular their wormy weakness and their poll-driven poker faces.  They have two branches of government that they are just squandering, and it makes me want to puke.  But this spending bill was remarkably lean, and the fat was purely bipartisan.  The media wants you to believe that Ted Kennedy and Barack Obama crammed this bill into their own home-made pork barrel behind the Bobby Kennedy Special Interest Pig Barn, and that just ain’t the fucking case.

Obama’s “Sunlight Before Signing”

What a nightmare we’ve been in!  It’s been such a joy today to realize that the Bush administration is finally over.

One of the best things I got to do today was peruse the new site!  Besides just generally looking awesome now that Whistle-ass’s face is off the damned thing, it’s really informative and interesting to read Obama’s agenda all in one official and officious place that has “.gov” at the end of it.

In particular, this section on Ethics is really encouraging:

Sunlight Before Signing: Too often bills are rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them. President Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days.

I mean, if Bush had honored that rule after 9/11, we might not have the Patriot Act!  And then we wouldn’t see things like this, a woman who went to jail for three months and lost custody of her kids because she spanked her kids and then sassed a flight attendant, in a New York Times story from today:

A flight attendant confronted Freeman, who responded by hurling a few profanities and throwing what remained of a can of tomato juice on the floor.

The incident aboard the Frontier flight ultimately led to Freeman’s arrest and conviction for a federal felony defined as an act of terrorism under the Patriot Act, the controversial federal law enacted after the 2001 attacks in New York and Washington.

“I had no idea I was breaking the law,” said Freeman, 40.

After three months in jail, Freeman agreed to plead guilty in exchange for being released on probation. A court-appointed attorney told her that a plea deal would be the fastest way to see her children, who had been taken back to Hawaii and put into foster care.

Her probation required her to stay in Oklahoma City, where she grew up, and prohibited her from flying. Meanwhile, legal proceedings in Hawaii have begun to allow the children’s foster parents to adopt them.

Freeman has been denied permission to attend custody hearings in Maui over the last six months, court records show.

“I have cried. I have cried for my children every day,” Freeman said. “I feel the system is failing me.”

Congress and Bush failed us when they passed the Patriot Act, and I’m glad Obama is addressing things like this from day one.  Clearly we’ve been going about it the wrong way for far too long.  God, I can’t wait to return to a time when laws kind of make sense, and transparency and rationality returns to legislation and executive power.  Obama better not break his fucking promises (except the one about not bringing Bush to justice–it’s okay by me if he wants to flip-flop on that).

Blagojevich defies all reason and logic and appoints Roland Burris to replace Obama for Illinois’s Senate seat

Arg!  This makes me so mad!  What good does it to do Blagojevich to appoint Roland Burris now, at a time when the corruption charges leveled agaisnt Blagojevich ensures his nomination will never see a seat in the Senate honored?

Former State Attorney General Burris isn’t a terrible choice, and he’s a choice that Governor Blagojevich could have totally fucking made with impunity, if only he’d been content to stay in politics as a man of dignity.  ARRG!  I don’t fucking get it!  Why did he need to be so corrupt, especially now at this historic time of still tentative liberal gains?

It’s greed for greed’s sake, because we know Blagojevich ain’t starvin’.  And once you reach the level of governor, there’s no way you’ll ever be stuck in the poor house again.  After your term as Governor is over, you can join a left-leaning think tank, or get a snazzy job in the private sector heading some bitchin’ company, or run for another elected office, or fuck it, you can go make speeches at colleges, all of which pay more than I’m making, and I didn’t start off already fucking rich!

Instead, Blagojevich has tainted his own name and the names of everyone who’s ever donated money to his campaigns, including the name of Roland Burris.  Maybe Burris should have been chosen–though there are probably fifty veterans of Illinois politics who could say they have more experience–and it’s a choice that Blagojevich should have made honestly when he was still a revered statesman.  He fucked it up, and the Democrats are fucking it up, and this scandal will haunt us for the duration of Obama’s presidency, and we’re all just in a royal clusterfuck that we don’t yet have the political capital to withstand.

In a weird way, a choice like the one made in New York with Caroline Kennedy would actually make better sense in Illinois now.  A system as tainted with scandal as Illinois’ almost would do better to choose an outsider to conventional politics such as Kennedy, if only because we could be relatively sure such a person hadn’t been in cahoots with the Blagojevich political machine.  But because Democrats can’t help but be idiotic douchebags with self-afflicted open sores on their faces, we have Burris as our temporary choice in Illinois and Caroline Kennedy as the choice for Hillary’s replacement in New York.  Both of these controversies make me question the Democrats’s dedication to actual democracy.

electoral hanky-panky in Alaska? where are all those votes?

I read an interesting post today from Shannyn Moore: looks like there may be some serious missing votes in Alaska.  No proof here, folks, but she does present quite a head-scratcher.

This year, early voters set a new record. As of last Thursday, with 4 days left to vote early, 15,000 Alaskans showed up-shattering the old record set in 2004 by 28%! Consider the most popular governor in history-and now the most polarizing-was on the Republican ticket. Consider the historic nature of this race; the first African American presidential candidate EVER! The second woman to ever make a presidential ticket; and she’s one of our own. Despite that, we’re supposed to believe that overall participation DECREASED by 11%. Not only that, but this historic election both nationally and for Alaska HAD THE LOWEST ALASKA TURNOUT FOR A PRESIDENTIAL RACE EVER!!! That makes sense. REALLY??? Something stinks.

I remember well the 2004 election with Ohio–though Bush may still have taken the state, there were clearly several instances of sheer voter fraud from the Republican side that benefitted him.  And now it sounds like Alaska may have gotten into the game (though of course Palin would never use her political might for personal reasons).  Just because McCain may have won the state anyway doesn’t excuse disenfranchising 11% of the population (or more!).  The question is, will this be investigated?

After all the times the Republicans have rigged precincts, hired guys like Diebold to make shitty automated voting machines with no oversight, and then turned around and cried foul at a truly great organization such as ACORN when some dude at the mall wrote down “Mickey Mouse” as a name for their voter lists, it’s clear that we need voter reform ASAP.  One of the biggest goals of this administration and of this Democratic congress needs to be to undo all the jerryrigging that conservatives have done to our electoral systems, as well as to our media, to how we contract services in time of war, to how we conduct ourselves on the national stage–okay, to just about everything.

my predictions for Fox News and Republican spin

"I Predict!"

Now that Obama will soon be President, and will have a relatively safe Democratic majority in Congress to help him implement a new and progressive vision for America, look out for the biggest punditory flip-flop in recent history.  Conservative talking heads will soon be bending over backwards to contradict everything they ever espoused about how the political process should work.

  1. The phrase “legislating from the bench” in regards to judicial rulings will disappear from the lips of conservative pundits, as the Judicial Branch is now arguably the only conservative-leaning branch of government.
  2. Pundits will stop bitching about filibusters as if they are a nuisance that prevents work from getting done.  Instead, they’ll be portrayed as heroic attempts to curtail big government.
  3. Conservatives in Congress as well as in the press will accuse Obama of secrecy or even tyranny if he ever once evokes Executive Privilege.  The name “Stalin” might be bandied about.
  4. Unitary Executive Theory?  Is that a ballet outfit?
  5. After an initial round of bashing Obama for judicial litmus tests, we’ll see Republicans in Congress getting all huffy and filibustery and apply litmus tests of their own the moment Obama starts appointing Supreme Court Justices–which complements my other prediction, that at least a couple justices will retire the moment Obama is sworn in.

McCain loses out at Galco’s Old Time Grocery

Galco’s, the world-famous soda pop stop on York in Highland Park, is my favorite place to get Jolt Cola, Manhattan Specials, and the hottest ginger ale known to man.  That’s why I was pretty shocked, and a little hurt, to walk in earlier today and see shelf upon shelf of this soda:





Could it be true?  Could the good-natured, ruddy faced, barrel-chested owner of Galco’s, the guy who knows so many fascinating facts about the history of diet grape soda, now be showing himself to be a maverick-licker in sheep’s clothing?  There was nary a single Obama soda around!  What the hell was going on?

As we checked out, I hit up the young hipster check-out dude for info.  “So, you guys seem to have a lot of McCain sodas over there!” I casually dropped.  Like an anvil.

“Oh yeah!” he replied, “The Obama ones totally sold out!  We couldn’t keep them on the shelves!  Everybody wanted the Obama ones but no one buys the McCain ones.”

Thank god.  I can still shop at Galco’s.  It’s not that my favorite local haunt in Highland Park is run by fascists–it’s that they are a non-partisan soda shack that just can’t withstand the local demand for HOPE.

And I shouldn’t be surprised.  A little research online shows that McCain sodas aren’t even outselling Ron Paul!

It’s worse for John McCain than anyone imagined. He’s slipped to third place! That’s according to Jones Soda’s latest ranking of its best-selling presidential-candidate novelty coolers. Barack Obama’s Yes We Can Cola is currently the front-runner.  Defying all odds (even in the cola world), Ron Paul is running second with his Ron Paul Revolution Cola.  John McCain’s Pure McCain Cola, meanwhile, has fizzed out at No. 3, barely ahead of Hillary Clinton’s Capitol Hillary Cola.

When even a pure capitalist enterprise, one that packages sugar-water for the masses with fancy labels they don’t have to pay creative rights for, winds up proving yet again Obama’s undying popularity, I think it’s the final sign I need to believe that McCain’s bubble has popped (pun intended).  If McCain wins, I will no doubt be picking up the nearest bottle of soda and smashing it over some corrupt election rigger’s face.  Okay, probably not, but this is definitely not a bottle, er, battle that McCain can win fair and square.

Will the Republicans rig the election in McCain’s favor?

Reading this recent interview with Greg Palast, I have to come to terms once again with the grim but true fact that Republicans are rigging EVERY possible county’s election that they can in this country, using the political bulimia of binge and purge to make sure Dems’ votes don’t count.  The Rethugs did it in Florida in 2000, they did it in Ohio in 2004 (even if Kerry wouldn’t have won the state, he should have been noticably closer than he wound up being), and now they are doing it in Colorado and New Mexico and god knows where else.

And that’s why it’s a sneaky trick of McCain’s camp to pretend that ACORN is some kind of voter fraud machine that could have any effect on the election at all.  Sure, maybe a couple guys registered fake names like “Mary Poppins” or “Peter Pan,” but Peter Pan can’t go down and actually get a ballot.  ACORN checks those but by law has to submit them anyway.  It ain’t their fault, and it ain’t the same as lying to kids in Colorado about their voting status or purging minorities from voting roles like the Republicans do.  We need to fight back by volunteering to be part of the process on election day, to make sure the people taking the ballots aren’t giving out false information to the people waiting in line to be a part of democracy.  And when you do vote, make sure NOT to back down!  Argue or do whatever you have to, but make sure you get a ballot and make sure you see them put it in the same slot as everyone else’s ballot!

UPDATE: Seems that Greg Palast’s research ain’t always what it should be.  Or at least that’s one dude’s take.  It still doesn’t change the fact that Rolling Stone, the New Yorker, and countless other publications have found similar stuff all over, but maybe don’t quote Palast’s piece on rural New Mexico as part of your anti-fascist tool kit.

Hey Jews! Help Obama by seeing your grandmama!

A plea for help from my Jewish friends.  From Sarah Silverman.

Palin goes from most to least popular candidate

The favorability ratings for Sarah Palin slipped over just the course of this week.  Sure, the lustre of a charming female candidate from a rugged and mysterious state initially gave McCain a huge boost and stole Obama’s post-speech podium power.  But in the sober light of day, the more we know about Sarah Palin, the less we like:

Since Sept. 13, Palin’s unfavorables have climbed from 30 percent to 36 percent. Meanwhile, her favorables have slipped from 52 percent to 48 percent. That’s a three-day net swing of -10 points, and it leaves her in the Sept. 15 Diageo/Hotline tracking poll tied for the smallest favorability split (+12)** of any of the Final Four. [UPDATE: The Sept. 17 Diageo/Hotline tracking poll shows Palin at 47 percent favorable and 37 percent unfavorable–an even narrower +10 split.] Over the course of a single weekend, in other words, Palin went from being the most popular White House hopeful to the least.

It’s probably no coincidence that as Palin’s star has started to fall, Obama’s lead has ever-so-slightly returned.  It’s my guess that as Troopergate escalates and Palin’s total inability to grasp foreign policy becomes apparent, her advantage to the McCain ticket will become zilch.  And that goes double for when the Hillary Dems who’ve abandoned the party slowly start realizing they still want a healthy planet and a pro-choice President.