Friday, May 05, 2006

 

Cinco de Mayo (Clinic)

Guess Rep. Kennedy started the Mexican holiday a day early!

If this case comes to trial, will he, appropriately, be forced to take the Fifth?

Of course, the rules of rehab undoubtedly forbid him from taking A fifth.

Well, of anything stronger than Beethoven, anyway (think about it).

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Civics 101, Spring 2006

Child: Daddy, what's the difference between Democrats and Republicans?

Parent: Well, son, Democrats
accept bribes, punch out police officers and crash their cars after taking mind-altering substances. Republicans just accept bribes, hire ladies to do immoral things -- and sometimes shoot people in the face.

Child: Are we Democrats or are we Republicans?

Parent: Son, we're just having our money taken from us -- and having done to us by both parties what the ladies take money to do.



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Going, Going, Gone...Goss!

So, the CIA director steps down.

So, does it have to do with:


A. Ongoing war between CIA and administration that most recently manifested itself in the firing of an agent for allegedly leaking classified information?

B.
Duke Cunningham's hookers.

C. Both.

D. None Of the Above.

Discuss.


UPDATE: Josh Marshall gives a quick summary of the Cunningham-CIA links.

UPDATE II: Laura Rozen adds some behind-the-scenes nuggets, including the didn't-know-he-was-going-to-be-fired-when-he-went-into-the-boss's-office scene that all employees dread. And Bill Kristol doubts the White House's/CIA's "this-had-nothing-to-do-with-Cunningham" line.

UPDATE III: On the other hand, veteran reader ERA points out, "Isn't is curious that Goss would resign the same day that Tony Blair shakes up his diplomat crew?" Hmm...now that is interesting? So, again, which is it -- hookers or internal intel battles? ERA: responds: "If Goss's replacement is a Bush-outsider, then I'm guessing the prostitute story is the reason [he quit]. If Goss's replacement is a Bush insider, I'm betting on the need to keep a lid on secrets regarding Iraq. If Bush can no longer trust Blair to keep the lid down, he will need to put his own personal plumber on top of the agency."

Hmm...should be a fun weekend!


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"M:I 3" Question...

If Tom Cruise does two more sequels, can the British government sue for copyright infringement?

And what does L. Ron Hubbard have to say about this?

Just asking.


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No Blondes Were Harmed...

...in the crashing of this Kennedy vehicle.

Oh well. Some posts just write themselves. "Apple doesn't fall too far from the tree"?

Or is it -- "Grape doesn't fall too far from the vine."

"Sleep medicine" is sort of original.

I thought cold medicine was the usual preferred red-nose, driving erratically alibi?

Oh well, if this turns into a court case, Rep. Kennedy will have to cross that bridge when he comes to it.

UPDATE: Ah, memories of Capitol Hill! Waitress at venerable establishment, the Hawk & Dove, says that -- surprise! -- Patrick was drinking (uh, alcohol, that is).



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Thursday, May 04, 2006

 

Black vs. Brown, 2.0

Gee, it certainly took a while to figure this out :


[D]espite some sympathy for the nation's illegal immigrants, many black professionals, academics and blue-collar workers feel increasingly uneasy as they watch Hispanics flex their political muscle while assuming the mantle of a seminal black struggle for justice.

Some blacks bristle at the comparison between the civil rights movement and the immigrant demonstrations, pointing out that black protesters in the 1960's were American citizens and had endured centuries of enslavement, rapes, lynchings and discrimination before they started marching.

Others worry about the plight of low-skilled black workers, who sometimes compete with immigrants for entry-level jobs.

And some fear the unfinished business of the civil rights movement will fall to the wayside as America turns its attention to a newly energized Hispanic minority with growing political and economic clout.

"All of this has made me start thinking, 'What's going to happen to African-Americans?' said Brendon L. Laster, 32, a black fund-raiser at Howard University here, who has been watching the marches. 'What's going to happen to our unfinished agenda?'"

Good question.

Yes, one can argue whether there is -- or should be -- a black "unfinished agenda." Some might say that, at this point, there shouldn't be an agenda any different than that of the rest of the country. But, let's say for the sake of argument that there is, indeed, a black agenda that remains unfinished. Are the current crop of black leaders pursuing that agenda if they are also working on behalf of immigrant rights simultaneously?

Former British Prime Minister once said that in politics, there should be no permanent friends, no permanent enemies -- only permanent interests. Civil rights leaders and groups -- including the Congressional Black Caucus -- have adopted that motto as their own.

Yet, they don't live by it.

The near-permanent alliance the civil rights movement has made, not just with the Democratic Party, but with the broader modern liberal agenda has trapped itself.

Over the last four decades, various groups -- feminist women, gays, immigrants (including illegals) -- have adopted the rhetorical tropes of the civil rights movement for their own causes.

Now, there is nothing wrong with this, per se. The philosophy that Martin Luther King put forward was universal. After all, King adopted the non-violence part from Gandi. However, African American leaders should have recognized that the liberation agendas of other groups not only aren't the same as the "black agenda" (whatever it may be), but they may actually be in direct conflict with it.

Indeed, the combination of feminism and the expansion of the welfare state in the '60s arguably contributed to the complete unraveling of the black family. At the same time Daniel Patrick Moynihan was warning about an
increase in black illegitimacy, the Great Society was expanding benefits to unwed mothers. Simultaneously, feminists sent the signal that women could certainly get along without men.

This is an admittedly superficial snapshot of numerous social developments. However, the fact remains that the civil rights movement happily bonded with the women's movement and the expansion of the federal government -- despite what, in retrospect has been catastrophic impact on the black family (three-quarters of black children are now born out of wedlock).

And now, today, civil rights leaders are bonding with immigration advocates -- even as many of the illegal immigrants are helping to create a "false floor" of unskilled labor, which competes with many undereducated African Americans.

Remarkably, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson essentially let Mexican President Vicente Fox off the hook with
his comment last year that "Mexicans, filled with dignity, willingness and ability to work, are doing jobs that not even blacks want to do there in the United States."

So, who then among the "traditional" civil rights leadership is willing to speak for an unskilled black labor force -- and the threat posed by illegal immigration?


UPDATE: Tariq Nelson has an interesting take on the Black vs. Latino debate -- from a Muslim perspective. Hat tip: Umar Lee from the comments section.

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

 

Really Wise Immigration Words....

...from the mind of Carlos Mencia

A reminder why comedians can be the most insightful public philosophers.

Hat tip:
Stop.Think

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Monday, May 01, 2006

 

May Day

Wow. Really quiet on the old blog today. I'm getting the feeling that the old comments standbys -- Bill, Moose, AIP, etc. -- are all honoring the immigrant boycott!

Maybe they thought I was going to be honoring it and not be around.

Hmmnm....

Oh well, cross-posting my previous entry
over here certainly got me more responses than I could have ever imagined!

Too much fun!

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The Report on Colbert: Unfunny

Peter Daou and Chris Durang are frustrated and incensed at the media for ignoring Stephen Colbert's ascerbic routine at the White House Correspondents' Dinner.

They chalk it up to the (in their view) compliant MSM and its preference for buying into the preferred conservative view of politics:

The media's ignoring Colbert's effect at the White House Correspondents Dinner is a very clear example of what others have called the media's penchant for buying into the conservative/rightwing "narrative."

In this instance, the "narrative" is that President Bush, for all his missteps, has a darling sense of humor and is a real regular guy, able to poke delightful fun at himself and his penchant for mis-using and mispronouncing words.
You know, there may indeed be some of that. However, there are two other things going on here: Bush put on a very funny skit with this "Double-ya" Stephen Bridges and -- far more importantly -- Stephen Colbert, there's not polite way to say this, simply sucked.

He had a funny line about "the government that governs best is the government that governs least. And by these standards, we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq." And the joke about Washington, DC, as "The chocolate city with a marshmallow center...a mallomar..." was good.

The rest was really forgettable: What should have been an applause line -- "Misery accomplished" -- just bombed because his timing was off. He admitted to blowing the set-up of his "glass half-empty" joke about polling. And then, the ridiculous clip at the end where he is supposed to be the new White House press secretary being stalked by a vigilant Helen Thomas? Huh?

I say this not as an ideologue. I am someone who has enough of an appreciation of popular culture that I will praise good art/entertainment whether I agree with the political or philosophical view point expressed.

I loved NWA's Straight Outta Compton, though I don't necessarily ascribe to the notion of takin niggaz out with a flurry of buckshots or doing whatever it was with the police.

As I wrote Friday, I like the
new Neil Young album. I think Bill Maher has managed to keep himself funny while being explicitly political. On the contrary, Dennis Miller, who I once loved became supremely unfunny when he tried to transform himself into a part-time spokesman for the Bush administration.

Colbert was awful because -- to use a sports metaphor -- he didn't have a second pitch. His schtick on The Colbert Report is to be a pompous faux right-wing/populist talk show host, an ersatz Bill O'Reilly. And it works in a one-on-one setting for half an hour, regardless of whether the other "one" is the camera, or whomever is the guest foil.

At the March Oscar telecast, Colbert's mentor and former boss, Jon Stewart, realized that he had to do something that would be clearly his personality -- and what people tuned into -- but also recognize that the audience was very different than on The Daily Show. As
noted at the time:
Jon Stewart was a great host -- perhaps the most "normal-guy" host since the late, great, Johnny Carson.

Balanced hugging Hollywood with well-timed pricks of its elitist sensibility. Best line: After a lenghty series of clips showing Hollywood "message" movies, Stewart dead-panned., "And after all of that, all of those problems have been solved."

Next best line: "For those keeping track--Martin Scorsese, no Oscars; 3-6 Mafia [raucus winners of "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp" as Best Song], one Oscar."
On Stewart's own show, the target are the pretentious politicians running Washington, DC (majority Republican at this point in time) -- so they are the main targets of his barbs.

At the Academy Awards, the pretentious ones are the actors and directors (majority liberal Democrats), so they got their share from Stewart -- and rightly so.

As Bill Kristol discovered
to his regret, in the natural one-on-one setting of his own show, Colbert can be simply devastating:


Colbert: Speaking of thinking alike, you were a member, or are a member of the New Project for the American Century, correct?

Kristol: I am.

Colbert: Were or am, am?

Kristol: Were and am.

Colbert: How's that project coming?

Kristol: well. it's..(stammering)

Colbert: How's the New American Century, looks good to me?

Kristol: Ahh--I think...hehe yea--I'm speechless..

Colbert: Really?

Kristol: Yea...we've sort of...the Project for the New American
Century is just a few people..

Colbert: Come on, it’s a terrific New American Century, right?

Kristol: Well I think we do OK.

Colbert: You Rummy Wolfowitz, Cheney, Pearle, Feith, all you guys right?

Kristol (responds timidly): Well, we fought back after 9/11..
Ouch.

Unfair? Very much so.

But, really, really funny (even more so when you see the video).

But, the point is -- there has to be a foil, a "straight man"to help put the vacuous boorishness of the Colbert persona in context. Without the foil, the character isn't nearly as interesting. Imagine Ali G trying to do a stand-up monologue at the White House Correspondents' dinner and you'll get an idea as to why the character "Stephen Colbert" (as opposed to the real comic, Stephen Colbert) doesn't translate too well beyond the enclosed confines of his own TV show.

Ironically, for two years in a row now, George W. Bush has recognized his own limitations when it comes to "performing" at this dinner. Last year, he gave it over to Laura for her hilarious "Desperate Housewives" schtick (which was so good that comic Cedric The Entertainer admitted he was going to have a tough time following). This year, the "Double-ya" bit was a great bit of theater. Indeed, he arguably stole a page from "The Colbert Report": He set himself up as his own comedic foil.

Stephen Bridges played "George W. Bush" in the same way that Stephen Colbert plays a pompous talk-show host named "Stephen Colbert" who interviews "real" people in politics. Bridges was successful, because he brought along a "real" person ready and willing to take part in the joke.

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