Thursday, April 30, 2009

Specter Defected

First Colin Powell endorsed then candidate Barack Obama. Now Sen. Arlen Specter decides to join the Democratic Party. Hey look, I'm running out of Republicans to like.

Olympia Snow come on down your the next contest on This Party is Right.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The 1st 100 Days

Some say President Obama is restoring Americas greatness, bringing us back from the brink of the abyss. Some say he’s taxing and spending the country into oblivion. Most experts agree that it’s too early to tell one way or the other.

All I know for sure is that I'll take advantage of any occasion to celebrate the victory of hope and change. I look at the 1st 100 days the same way a young newlywed might look at his first three months of marriage. It might not be an accurate measure of the whole relationship, but so far it sure is mighty sweet.


Fighting is a movie about, wait for it ….fighting. I went to see it because I think Terrence Howard is a versatile and entertaining actor. To bad his performance is something of a distraction in this movie. Overall the movie is dull.

The movie seemed rushed. The characters were one dimensional and their connections with one another were tenuous at best. The fight scenes were brief and few and too far apart to make the movie interesting overall. The fight sequences were as predictable as a Rocky sequels. The rise of the hero Shawn McArthur, played by Channing Tatum, was unrealistic. His subway workout was ridiculous. The back story was seriously flawed. Then there was his romantic interest. I haven’t seen a more contrived and ill conceived romance since the Titanic. There was one lone attempt to deliver a plot twist, but it was stillborn.

There was one pleasant surprise. Brian J. White (pictured here) gave the only believable performance in the movie. I really found myself hating his character Evan Hailey. That means White did his job. I didn’t care at all if the hero had a happy ending. I just wanted White’s character to get what was coming to him. Interestingly enough, the best performance in this movie was given by an actor who got something like fifth billing in the credits. Most public relations material says "Brian White plays opposite the star Channing Tatum". But that’s like saying Darth Vader played opposite Jar Jar Binks.

All and all this movie is worth seeing. On cable. If you're suffering from insomnia.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

In Memoriam

Ernie Barnes
Ernnie Barnes was an African-American artists who graduated from North Central University. His most well known work was, Sugar Shack (pictured above), which was an album cover for Marvin Gaye. His paintings were featured in the popular 70's sitcom Good Times.

In Memoriam

Bea Arthur
Whoever said "timing is everything" was talking about Bea Arthur. No line ever written for her was as funny as the arresting looks she could give. Anyone can recite a funny line. It takes a comic genius like Bea Arthur to master the silent moment, the pause pregnant with innuendo. As Vera Charles, Maude, and Dorothy her acid tongue burned deep; but her sharp piercing glare cut to the bone. The funny bone that is.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Legacy of George Bush: Invasion, Torture, Occupation

President G. W. Bush invaded a sovereign nation, deposed their leader, occupied the country and set up a puppet government of his choosing. That ought to be grounds for a trail at The Hague. Whether or not his operatives sanctioned torture seems to be a minor point. He ordered U.S. troops to violate international law on a trumped up charge. Every other abuse of power flows from this illegal fount. Every subsequent action was illegal including torture. To investigate and hunt down every decision maker might mean bringing to trial every member of the Bush administration plus half the Congress.

I understand that many people feel duped. We should. We were. And the costs of Bush’s not so merry prank are still mounting. The state of the world is dire. There are pressing issues at hand. President Obama has wisely stopped the violations of the Geneva Convention. In a spirit of transparency the Atty. General declassified files that we might learn from the mistakes of the past. Sometimes that's all we get. History shows that sometimes a president’s reach regrettably exceeds his grasp. Would we file legal action against Lincoln for suspending habeas corpus during the War of Northern Aggression, Andrew Jackson for the Trail of Tears, Kennedy for the Bay of Pigs, or Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson for Vietnam?

The prosecution of any of these previous administrations would be just. But given the current state of the world I doubt it would be an expedient use of the countries time and resources; as much as I hate to admit it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

President Hugo Chavez: Man of The People

President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela gets a bad rap in the U.S. media. I’m not saying he’s a role model. But I don’t think he’s the villain lots of conservatives think he is. Like most people in the world he’s not good or bad. He’s complicated. Chavez, born to black Indian parents, is one of the few Latin American leaders whose look is distinctly non-European. Since the days of Columbus the descendants of Spaniards have governed Latin America and excluded native people. I don’t agree with all his tactics; but I also fail to completely understand what native people in Latin America suffer as a result of colonialism.

Centuries of European and Western (i.e.United States) influence in Latin American have lead to a series of social ills that are reminiscent of post colonial Africa. Corruption, classicism, and racism have left indigenous people sick, poor, and ignorant. Think what you will about his brand of populism, you can not ignore that his policies on the redistribution of wealth combat disease, illiteracy and malnutrition among people who have been exploited by the ruling classes (i.e. Europeans, Creoles and U.S capitalists).

The book President Chavez gave President Obama is called The Open Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galeano. I hope he reads it. It explains the history and exploitation of Latin America. I believe that an understanding of what kind of world created a man like Chavez is crucial to creating better relations between the two countries. Colonialism has had costly consequences in Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America. In order to lead the world to a brighter and more amiable future in the community of nations, U.S. policy makers must begin to reflect a fundamental understanding of the points of view of nations struggling still to recover from their pasts.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day

Most world religions agree that we have a relationship with the Earth. The Judeo-Christian religions teach that God gave man “dominion over the Earth”. That implies a certain stewardship. It implies a responsibility to take care of the Earth and use it responsibily.

Other religions believe some version the notion that Gaia Earth is our mother. She provides the resources we need to survive. We are under obligation to be grateful and use those resources gently and wisely.

Even some people with no particular religious affiliation believe intellectually that we can not continue to use the resources of the Earth with brutal disregard for our own impact on the future availability of those resources.

Today is a day to consider how to be more thoughtful about our impact on the world. Listed below are my own green resolutions that I’m trying to include in my lifestyle. I encourage you to think about how to be greener. What’s good for Earth is good for us.

  • Avoid single use plastic and Styrofoam (I use a travel mug at work and avoid disposable plates and forks, spoons, knives, even coffee stirrers)

  • Buy local or regional products if given a choice (I actively seek a choice)

  • Use a lap top at home and at work. They use less energy than desk tops

  • Use cold water to wash clothes. It saves 80% of the energy required to wash clothes.

  • Eat less beef. Cattle requires large amounts of land and water. Plus the gas they release is toxic to the atmosphere. (This by far is the hardest thing)

  • Use a canvas bag that can be used over and over again when I go grocery shopping

  • Reduce my consumption. Live more simply and starkly so that I don’t require so much stuff.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Republican Party's Problem

Here’s what happened. Republicans stopped choosing leaders who were smarter than average. For reasons unbeknown to me, Republicans like to follow the average Joe. While Democrats look for above average intelligence in their leadership.

George W. Bush barely graduated from college and ruined every business he ever had, then he ruined the country. John McCain crashed half a dozen military plans before finally getting captured. He got a job in government because his father was an admiral. He then married into one of the wealthiest and well connected families in Arizona and ran for public office. Sarah Palin who finally graduated from college after trying out three of four different ones, was touted as the future of the party. This Republican heroine went from the mayor of a small town who tried to ban books from the public library to the governor of a state with more grizzly bears than people. Michael Steele was elected to head the party. The fact that he was almost expelled from college because of poor grades didn’t seem to matter. It also didn’t matter that he got his law degree in night school and failed the Maryland bar. It was also immaterial that the company he started, The Steele Group, made so little money that he almost lost his house. Then there is the voice of the party, Rush Limbaugh. He became a conservative political commentator and the titular head of the party. He rose to national fame despite his two semesters of college in which he flunked everything including a modern ball room dancing class.

When you consider the roster of Rhodes Scholars, Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners, and Harvard Law Review presidents on the Democrats team, the Republican problem is clear. The Republicans are trying to win major league games with minor league players.

The Happy President

President Obama seems to genuinely revel in the presidency in a way that hasn’t been seen in a generation. In fact very few of our presidents have really enjoyed the office. The second president, John Adams, wrote to his son John Quincy Adams when he heard he had been elected president that “No man who ever held the office of president would congratulate a friend on obtaining it.” The presidency was left off Thomas Jefferson’s list of accomplishments on the tombstone that he designed. Presidents, with few exceptions, have seemed overburdened and frustrated during their terms of office.

Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt seemed to enjoy their terms and be up to the challenges of their times. Obama seems to meeting the challenges of the present day with an optimism and enthusiasm that is reminiscent of the Roosevelt models. He sees crisis as opportunity, and it shows.

I’m encouraged because some of our most productive presidents were the ones who approached their duty with cheerful optimism and seemingly boundless energy. Move over Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy. Barack Obama is on his way to greatness. And more to the point, seems to be enjoying the ride.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Susan Boyle Is Younger Than Madonna

If you haven't heard of Susan Boyle...well I don't know where you've been. I've watched her sing that song from Les Mis all week. On stage she sang it. On television she sang it. Anytime she's asked to sing she belts out that particular auria. But is anyone besides me wondering if that's the only song she knows? What if that's it? Will she be the most famous one hit wonder in cyber space?

By the way, I'm in full support of an immediate make-over. I realize it's part of her charm that she's an example for not judging a book by its cover. But a make-over isn't about becoming someone else. With a little help she could be her best self. And I want that for everyone. And it makes me angry to hear glamours television celebrities who spend hours in hair and make-up suggesting that Susan Boyle should not have the same advantages. Very few people reach their full potential without an army of personal trainers, yoga instructors, nutrionists, hairdressers, make-up artists, tailors, eye brow pluckers, manicurists, dermotologists, dentists, stylists, fashion and style magazines, etc. It takes a team effort in most cases. Not that you could tell by looking but Susan Boyle is 3 years younger than Madonna. Why should Susan Boyle be less worthy of that kind of effort from a beauty team?

Don't Fear the Light

I had separate conversations with three friends (all in their thirties) this weekend all of whom refuse outright to try any kind of social networking technology. No Facebook, no Myspace, no Twitter. They all gave a similar litany of reasons. But, their objections boiled down to the simple fact that they don’t understand social networking. They only think they do. And without ever trying any of the sites they all managed to make very superior sounding arguments against social networking.

It’s like the American gentleman who’s decided that he has no interest in trying Chinese food, for no other reason than because he’s never tried it before. And since he’s never tried it and managed to survive to maturity, he assumes that his life is better off without it. He can't imagine liking food with a foreign name, unfamiliar ingredients, or under any kind of circumstance where the use of chop sticks might encouraged. He thinks even trying Chinese food would be a pointless exercise. That may indeed be true. But the decision isn’t an informed one, it’s a decision rooted in ignorance. And if he tried it, he might find that he’s really very fond of Chinese food. Or he won’t like it, but at least he’ll no specifically why he doesn’t like it. He wouldn't have to rely on an inaccurate notion plucked from the ether of his own prejudices.

This world is getting more globally interconnected by the day. My friends have computers. So they have everything they need to try out all this newness; and its all free to try. The social network sites may also prove more convenient and less invasive than they think. If not they could abandon them. There’s no obligation to continue using them after you're registered. But at least the decision not to use it would be an informed one; and not based on ignorance and a disdain for something too new and shockingly different. Having new technologies available and not trying them out is like having electricity in your house and preferring to live by gaslight.

In 1891 electricity was installed in the White House. Benjamin Harrison (pictured above) was the 23rd president at the time. But President and Mrs. Harrison were both afraid to use the elecrtic lights and refused to touch the switches. Sounds silly huh?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Twitter a Better World

Ashton Kutcher got his 1 millionth follower this morning. Mark Satre at put Kutcher over the top.

In celebration of the momentous event he pledged to donate 10,000 mosquito nets to the Malaria No More organization. A pledge that was matched by CNN. The nets are about $10 dollars a piece and could save lives in underdeveloped countries. Kutcher issued a challenge to fellow twitterers using twitter Ryan Seacrest, Oprah Winfrey and Sean P. Diddy Combs. All of which pledge to contribute.

To help the celbs save lives go to . I don’t mind saying that I love the idea of using technology to change lives like this. Kudos to Kutcher for highlighting a movement to save the world 140 characters at a time.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Would You Twitter This Guy?

If the answer is yes then you're not alone. Ashton Kutcher is in the running to be the first to recieve 1 million followers on the social networking site Twitter. His nearest competitor is CNN.

As of this entry 977,911 people were following Kutcher to find out where he is, what he's doing and how he feels about it. All in real time. Why? Well, that's a whole seperate blog entry.

Both Kutcher, and wife Demi Moore, reportedly use twitter to communicate directly with their fans. That way they control their public relations information more personally. They pretty much cut out the tabloids. One of the reasons his twitter following is so large is because he is generally believed to be twittering himself. Some celebrities, like rapper 50 Cent, hire ghost writers to tweet for them.
So if you're interested in knowing the daily meaderings of Kutcher; and you want to help him make pop culture history, you can send him a tweet or a twitter at

If you're interested in following me

For the Love of God

I was talking to my friend Chelsea the other day. She is Jewish and I was asking her if she had a good Passover even as she was inquiring about how my Easter (I’m Protestant). I was interested in the details of the sedar she held at her home. She was interested in what I had given up for Lent. And that’s how people of different faiths should interact.

I have a cursory understanding of most of world religions. It’s interesting to me that there are at least two universal truths at the heart of every faith-based religion. One is that you should treat others as you would like to be treated. The other is that every day one should strive personally to reflect the best qualities of the deity in which one chooses to believe. So when does it become alright to demean people who believe something different? When does it become necessary to force your beliefs on your neighbors?

That happens when religion stops being a tool of spirituality and replaces it in order of importance. What you get then is a fundamentalist religious zeal that results in intolerance. That is the first step on the road to hate, bigotry, terrorism, war; and left unchecked, genocide. All for the love of God.

So if you find yourself searching your Bible, Koran, Torrah, or antiquated scroll to find evidence that your god hates the same people that you hate...then you're missing the point.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tax Day Tea Party

OK, I'm going to keep this real simple. The police should go around to the tea parties. Anyone found with a voter registration card should be arrested. Anyone who accepts medicare or medicaid should be arrested. Anyone who has ever benefited from the police department, fire department, or gotten mail through a post office should be arrested. On what charge you ask? High treason.

The Boston Tea Party was a just protest because people were taxed but had no say so in the government. And the money was used to support the British empire around the globe. This is a modern day conservative sham of a protest. Its a protest against the financial support of a just and representative government. Not wanting to pay for the services and proctection from which you benefit is at the very best tax evasion, and at worst treason. Book'em Dano.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Welcome Bo...Next.

All the world can breath a collective sigh of relief. No the economy is not rebounding. Bin Laden has not been brought to justice. The Mexican government has not defeated the the drug cartels. North Korea didn't trash its missile codes. Iran still has nukes. Hezbollah still vows to destroy Israel. The polar caps are still melting at an alarming rate. But oh thank God the Obamas have a new puppy. A Portuguese water dog to be exact. Never seen one before? Picture a standard poodle on steroids and you've got it.

I know good news is a rare commodity these days and we should rejoice when we find it. But it just seems a little weird that this has been headline news since the story was leaked Saturday night (three days ago). Let's run along now to the next big thing, shall we?

Out of Africa

If you are not watching The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency on HBO Sunday nights at 8pm (with re-airs throughout the week) then you are missing it. By "it" I mean the freshest, smartest and funniest new show on cable. Grammy award winner Jill Scott is perfectly cast as Mma Precious Ramotsue, the first lady detective in Bostwana. The accent, by the way, is spot on. Tony award winner and Florida A&M University graduate Anika Noni Rose, steals every scene "97%".

The show is not nearly as racy as other HBO shows tend to be. Its not even racy by FX standards. In fact, the word wholesome springs to mind. All the family-friendly actions and interactions of the characters runs smoothly together, all well lubricated by copious amounts of red bush tea.

It's also good to see people in Africa living lives of relative comfort and peace. Colonization, famine, war, and government corruption are mercifully not features of the story.

Hip Hop Boy Wonder

T.I is a genius. His latest album, Papertrail , beyond being a financial success is also the center piece of a hip hop revival. The album is a manifestation of what hip hop once was. It hearkens back to the day when poet philosophers linked words together in such a way that it inspired kids in the late 80's to gather around their televisions like campfires, to watch Yo MTV Raps.

While other artists are having trouble selling albums at all in this age of the internet, Papertrail is going to be re-released this year. During the king's unfortunate incarceration (366 days) the new release will feature five new singles. Real talk no shit, T.I.'s going to ball every chance he gets.

Friday, April 10, 2009


It's Holy Week, Passover, Good Friday, Easter and Spring. All kinds of things signal this season of rebirth and resurrection. Easter eggs, bunnies, chicks, straw hats, whites shoes and my favorite, the seersucker suit.

After a winter of serious heavy wool the light fun cotton suits are a welcome change. It's useful for lots of occasions. They can be formal but still fun. Dressed up with a tie it looks respectable at a wedding. Without a tie you're right at home at a barbecue. It's stylish without being pretentious. The seersucker suit is one of those objet d'arts that are simultaneously functional and fashionable... and I like 'em.

It's Good to be King

I know I'm two years late with this post but its still worth mentioning that this is not your father's King Henry VIII. The third season of The Tudors just started on Showtime Sunday nights 9:00 pm EST. And boy what a thrill ride.

It is loosely, and I mean LOOSELY, based on the life and times of England's petulant and progressive king, Henry Tudor. Historically the show is riddled with inaccuracies but it is so much fun to watch that you're forced to forgive the blurring of fact and fiction, provided you even notice it all. It is well written, well cast and the costume and scene budgets must be inexhaustible. The drama is high, with plot twists that are not as predictable as one might expect from a 500 year old story. The talented actors give emotional performances with rapid fire speech. Every scene is full of strikingly beautiful women with ample heaving bosoms and men exuding so much virile masculinity, that you forget completely that they're wearing tights.

Season four has been green lit. I don't know how long this show can continue without a more portly portrayal of the 15th century monarch. But I hope the creators can figure out how to keep it going. After all they still have four more wives to go.

Dead Men Don't Bite

This post is going to sound uncharacteristically,but decidely hawkish. I by nature am a dove. But the Somali pirates went too far when they boarded a U.S. ship and took the captain hostage. Maybe I've seen too many Errol Flynn movies. But I say the U.S. Navy snipers should shoot the pirates, cut their heads off and post them on pikes all along the Somali coastline. A deterrent to those who aspire to one day hijack ships (even commercial ones) from the most powerful nation on Earth.

Long ago Roman citizens could travel the world without fear of molestation. The statement "I am a citizen of Rome" use to mean that the speaker would be treated justly or the molester would suffer the full wrath of the empire. So let it be today. Let those pirates, and the world, know that those who sail under the stars and stripes will do so free from the fear of tyranny of bloody cut throats. Or else retribution will be terrible.
Sorry its been so long since I posted. But this ain't the Huffington Post with contributers and such. I've got to research and write this stuff myself. But I'll try to do better. Thanks for your patience.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Resurrection of the Rainbow Tribe

Adopting babies of different races is all the rage these days. Angelina Jolie and Madonna are have traversed the Earth in search of additions to their growing families. They may be controversial. They maybe trend setters by today's standard but they hardly invented the practice.

The great Josephine Baker adopted 13 children from a multiplicity of races and nationalities fifty years ago. She started adopting what she called her "rainbow tribe" with her fourth husband while living in France. Baker continued to performed despite failing health right up till her death to support her large family.
If Madonna can afford to adopt and the children will be loved and out of danger, then what's the big deal?

Leading Ladies

The Obamas are in France, having just left the G-20 meeting. They were recieved by President Zarkozy and First-Lady Carla Bruni. Carla Bruni, a former fashion model, is one of the most photographed women in Europe. She known around the world for her style despite her dislike of clothes and jewelry. She prefers jeans and t-shirts.

In this picture both are wearing coats. Michelle Obama, never afraid to dare, looks a little upstaged by the clean classic line of Carla Bruni's coat. Obama's coat is made of rich eye catching fabric but makes her look matronly. Bruni's bow, her 3/4 sleeves, covered buttons and matching belt worked together successfully to perpetuate her image, which is nothing if not chic.

Leading Ladies

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

President Obama Visits Queen Elizabeth II

President Obama is in England for the G-20 Summit. He took time to pay a call on Queen Elizabeth II. She and Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh received the U.S. President and First-Lady at Buckingham Palace.

I would have preferred a State Dinner in his honor but I suppose President Obama is on a tight schedule this week.

Note Mrs. Obama's up swept hairdo and double strand of pearls. Mrs. Obama was elegantly appointed in simple separates enhanced by a very low heel (as the queen is rather short). Carla Bruni the statuesque first lady of France wore flats when she met the queen. Mrs. Obama pulled off a simple sophisticated look that was appropriate for tea with the queen.

Chrysler-Fiat a Marriage of Convenience

The only real option American auto maker Chrysler seems to have is to go into partnership with Italian car company Fiat. If you're having trouble wrapping your head around what that means you have good reason for being puzzled. Fiat has not sold a car in the United States in over twenty years.

Pictured here is the 2009 Fiat Linea. It's a far cry from the boxy little compacts for which Fiat had become known. To survive somebody at Chrysler is going to have to learn, apparently from Fiat ,how to build energy efficient stylish cars with reasonable price tags. That's what all American auto makers are going to have to figure out in order to avoid going the way of the horse drawn chariot.
The White House, aka President Obama, urged the firing of GM executive Rick Wagner. That unprecedented move signals that President Obama is a take charge kind of fellow. I'm not sure if he has the authority to fire the head of a private company but I appreciate the nerve it took to do it anyway.

Before we cry to much for the newly unemployed captain of that perverbial Titanic lets remember that he's not exactly going down with the ship. His retirement package is in excess of 20 million dollars. He had agreed to work for a dollar year, so I'm not sure who the real sap is here in this scenerio him or the tax payer.