Saturday, February 03, 2007


Whose Party?

Bill Kristol launches a shot across the bow to Republican senators straying off the "surge" reservation:
Some seven GOP senators are said to be wavering between the Democratic resolution and the McCain Graham-Lieberman alternative supporting Gen. Petraeus and the troops. They are Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Sam Brownback of Kansas, Norm Coleman of Minnesota, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, John Sununu of New Hampshire, and George Voinovich of Ohio. Alexander, Coleman, and Sununu are up for reelection in 2008. Some or all of the seven may still choose to stand with the president and the troops, and to give Petraeus a chance. This would leave the Democratic resolution short of the 60 votes needed to end debate. Perhaps the four ignominious ones could even reconsider and sign on with McCain, Graham, and Lieberman (whose resolution of support includes, incidentally, "benchmarks" of performance that the Iraqi government is expected to meet).

In any case, Republican senators up for reelection in 2008 might remember this: The American political system has primaries as well as general elections. In 1978 and 1980, as Reagan conservatives took over the party from détente-establishment types, Reaganite challengers ousted incumbent GOP senators in New Jersey and New York. Surely there are victory-oriented Republicans who might step forward today in Nebraska, Virginia, Oregon, and Maine--and, if necessary, in Tennessee, Minnesota, and New Hampshire--
to seek to vindicate the honor, and brighten the future, of the party of Reagan.
(Emphasis added).

Uh, Mr. Kristol, would that be the "party" of this Reagan?

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Retro Record Moment


I'm going to be scarce 'round these parts for a while, as I have some training going on at work for the next few weeks. So, an appropriate deplaning is the latest news from Viacom that they find newly acquired Google property YouTube to be an insufferable cyber-partner. Regular Ragged Thots readers know that I'm wont to throw up a YouTube object link in a New York Minute for some "great" music nugget I've stumbled over.

Perhaps Viacom is using this "pull-out" as a huge bargaining strategy with YouTube. If the other major media groups, like Universal, presently only have "short-term agreements", perhaps they too will threaten pull-outs from the social networking success. As far as Internet clips go, one could just as easily go to to view Viacom material, but I think the real success of YouTube is that people who have sat on "bootleg" or other material unreleased to the general public have generated interest in music and shows that probably wouldn't have been generated in the first place. Without performing a massive and time-consuming search on Google, Yahoo, Dogpile, and other engines, where else would I find gems like

While my views on intellectual property jurisprudence are (only slightly) closer to former Buchananite Pat Choate than lefty Lawrence Lessig of Stanford, I think the media companies, once again are proving how short-sighted and tin-eared they are when it comes to marketing their very own products to the public. In the day and age of the Long-Tail and instant cyber-purchasing, I would gladly have paid money on I-Tunes or Windows Media Music for any of the above-mentioned links. What a shame that in the 21st Century global marketplace, media companies still have the "cassette tapes will destroy us" mentality from the late 1970s/early '80s ...

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Open Thread

The Super Bowl of commenting...each and every week -- right here!

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Friday, February 02, 2007


Haggling Over Hagel

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza makes the presidential case for and against Hagel in 2008. Meanwhile, Jim Pinkerton sizes him up as the "new" John McCain:
So what does it mean for the future of national politics if Hagel is the new McCain? Two conclusions: First, the Nebraskan is now viewed with deep suspicion among many rank-and-file Republicans - the folks who control the GOP nomination process.

Second, as his stock goes down among Republicans, it goes up among independents. Even liberals might conclude that it will take a certified war hero -- Hagel won two Purple Hearts in Vietnam -- to make a credible exit from Iraq.

All of which means there's a chance for Hagel to follow in the footsteps of Teddy Roosevelt in 1912: He could bolt the GOP and run a credible independent bid for the White House. He might even win.
I agree with Jim in part. However, I think one of the side effects of campaign finance "reform" is that it makes it even harder for a non-self financed candidate to launch an independent campaign. That's something so-called "soft money" was ideal for -- "party-building." Obviously, the entrenched parties are already constructed and can find all sorts of ways to get around that.

That's not the case with smaller parties -- or individuals who want to launch independent efforts.

Another problem Hagel faces is that -- despite the criticisms he gets from many conservatives that he is playing for the cameras, the fact is that he is nowhere near the media tramp that McCain 2000 was. He doesn't have the same media most-dangerous-place-to-stand-is-between-him-and-a-camera gene that McCain, Schumer, Lieberman, Christopher Dodd and others possess. If anything, he needs to be more of a media hog -- not less.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007


Media Alert

Your Ragged Thots host will be in the top segment of Friday's "News and Notes" on NPR discussing Joe Biden and Barack Obama.

UPDATE: Here's the actual audio.

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Blonkie Watch: NIN/Bauhaus/TVOTR

In RT's now-ongoing quest to educate the New York Times and other outlets on the strange phenomenon of black people into indie/punk/New Wave/weird-ass-white-folks-music, here is a two-fer.

This black blogger hereby presents a video of Nine Inch Nails jamming with classic goth band Bauhaus and my Brooklyn post-punk homies TV On The Radio (who feature a *gasp* black lead singer! The song "Final Solution" is a cover of a seminal proto-punk/alternative band called Pere Ubu -- the second best thing to come out of Cleveland:

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Bye, Bye Biden

Everyone knew that Joe Biden's mouth would get him in trouble: With the Observer site crashing because of so many sites linking to the story, take the excerpts from the TPMCafe:

“I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” he said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”

But—and the “but” was clearly inevitable—he doubts whether American voters are going to elect “a one-term, a guy who has served for four years in the Senate,” and added: “I don’t recall hearing a word from Barack about a plan or a tactic.”

The first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy..."

I would have thought there might have been one or two other African-Americans who were articulate and bright and clean before Obama -- but that's just me.

Well, at least Biden didn't rip this line off from Neil Kinnock, so I guess there's progress.

UPDATE: Thank you, Gawker!

UPDATE II: Josh Marshall links to an actual soundfile of Biden's comments. The audio lends some ambiguity, but the phrase "first sorta mainstream African-American" still sounds patronizing -- and forget about the whole "articulate" stuff. However, this Commenter at Kevin Drum's blog accurately -- and, ahem, articulately summarizes the "articulate" problem.

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Why black coaches are important

I have talked before about how having two black head coaches in the Super Bowl is not important from a football perspective. But from a societal perspective, it is important for one simple reason: intelligence.

One of the flaws in recent "black culture" (for lack of a better phrase) is a de-emphasis on intelligence. Too often, blacks who are successful in intellectual fields tend to be ignored as "oreos" (black on the outside, white on the inside). Condi Rice and Clarence Thomas are fine examples, although their conservative views are used to excuse any racial slurs used against them by liberals, thereby neutering them as potential role models.

Unfortunately, where are the liberal black role models? Barack Obama might eventually become one, but he is not there yet. That leaves us with people like Cynthia McKinney, Al Sharpton, and Jesse Jackson, who only serve to reinforce a "blacks as victims" mentality. If you are doomed to be a victim all your life, what good will intelligence do you?

There are also too many stories of young blacks having educational success, only to be accused of being "sell-outs". This is how the "blacks as victims" mentality plays out within the black community.

This leaves limited acceptable success paths for black youths: entertainment (which is irrelevant), athletics (but God help the white person who says blacks are somehow superior athletes, even though the black community accepts this), or ultra-liberal politics (where they will be ignored by the mainstream, thereby reinforcing the "blacks as victims" since no one takes them seriously). Mind you, many blacks choose other career paths, and have success in them. But they get ignored when they try to promote other means to success, since they must have been "sell-outs" to have accomplished what they have.

But this is where Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith can make an important contribution.

While NFL head coaches normally come from a football background, harking back to athletics as an acceptable success path, these men have to be intelligent to have success, as defined in the NFL by winning the Super Bowl.

Sunday night, one of these two men will be unofficially crowned as the most intelligent man in professional football. Not the fastest, not the strongest, not the most entertaining, and we won't even know what his politics are, nor will we care. But he will be smart, and THAT is the most important role model for black youths.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Hey, Hey, We're The Blonkies!

Madscribe: Retro Record Moment
I am now indebted to RAG for coming up with the name of the Ska-Punk band I was thinking of forming later this year (ha!).
Yes, some of use were skinheads even before Mother Nature, the Aryan Nation, or New York Times ruined it for all us alternative-music-minded "crazy baldheads."

And surprise, surprise surprise. You'll never guess who was once recruited to do a "Blonkie Video." The un-Blonkiest filmmaker of them all, Spike Lee, once directed a very blonkie short subject for my all-time favorite blonkie group, Fishbone.

So, sit back and enjoy the ONLY heavy metal video directed by Mr. 40-Acres himself, "Sunless Saturday" ...

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Gray Lady Discovers Blonkies

If white kids into black music are "wiggers," obviously, black kids who like white music, must be "blonkies"! Thank you, New York Times for discovering this amazing trend:

WHEN Douglas Martin first saw the video for Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” as a teenager in High Point, N.C., “it blew my mind,” he said. Like many young people who soothe their angst with the balm of alternative rock, Mr. Martin was happy to discover music he enjoyed and a subculture where he belonged.
Except, as it turned out, he didn’t really belong, because he is black.
Black kids into indie rock! Who would ever think such a thing would exist?

Who indeed?

Finally, the New York Times can allow these invisible blonkies to come out of the closet and admit that, you know, they might
actually like punk rock!! What's next?

Thank you, New York Times, thank you!!! I can now die and go to punk-rock heaven and mosh in peace!

P.S. The above quote from the story should be prime source material for anyone attempting to write a parody of a New York Times article. (Hat-tip: Gawker)

UPDATE: The Gawker piece was written by this blogger who I am kicking myself for not discovering earlier. Being the hard-working black man that he is, he gets around: This piece on the dynamics of the all-black head coach Super Bowl is one of the funniest things I've read in some time.

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Fear And Self-Examination On The Right

The American Spectator's James Antle III reports from this weekend's National Review Institute Conservative Summit:
[T]he right's domestic policy project isn't looking that much more vibrant. Perennial Republican issues like crime control and opposition to higher taxes failed to deliver as they once did not only in reddish states like Virginia but also such Democratic bastions as Maryland and Massachusetts. Here it is the success of conservative policies rather than perceived failures that have brought the GOP to the point of diminishing returns. Once you have cut taxes and lowered crime rates, there isn't as much mileage in campaigning on promises to do so once again.

A more promising strategy might be to shape right-of-center policies that offer creative solutions to problems that vex large numbers of voters. The Reagan tax cuts and welfare reform, to cite just two examples, weren't popular just because they conformed to conservative ideology. They were popular because they were seen as addressing pressing national problems. The failure to think along these lines, Ramesh Ponnuru argues in the current National Review, has caused the conservative program to become "oddly detached from American life."

It isn't easy for a divided movement to react to sudden shifts in the political terrain, especially when conservatives were allowing themselves to dream of a near-permanent Republican majority just three years ago. But the prospect of another Clinton presidency is a pretty good reason for the right to give it a try.
Hmmmm...connecting ideology to how people actually live in society. What a thought.

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Monday, January 29, 2007



Madscribe Pointing Out:
What does it take for our host to toot his own horn? News and Notes topics for Monday: Afghanistan, Hate Crimes in California, and the 30th Anniversary of
Roots (starring Leslie Uggams as the amazingly well-coiffed slave). Speaking of Roots, the first grammar school I attended as a 5-year-old was named Toby Farms. No whips, but plenty of finger-painting and time-outs.

As usual, RAG is criminally short-changed on the amount of time he's given to respond to questions. You know the routine, click here.

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Short Takes...

1) Andrew Sullivan on Jim Webb's new politics.

2) Ben Smith
on Hillary Clinton's long memory.

3) Deborah Orin-Eilbeck, R.I.P.

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Sunday, January 28, 2007


Kill Me Now...

Apparently, I missed hearing about when it was first announced, but I certainly caught it tonight: One of my favorite all-time punk bands, The Buzzcocks, (most notorious song, "Orgasm Addict") leased one of their classics, "Everybody's Happy Nowadays" -- to the AARP.

Appropriately enough, the tune was played in the break right before "60 Minutes" (AKA, "Octogenarian Weekly").

Sigh...please put me out of my misery NOW!

Well, if Pete Shelley is going to sell out completely, he may as well let the Human Rights Campaign Fund use "Homosapien" in future fundraising drives.

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U.S. *Heart* Huckabee?


As if a governor from Arkansas with past weight problems could ever get elected president! Except for David O. Russell, who'd vote for him?

And, of course, the obligatory "Hope" references.

When will people realize that, whether golf or war -- or campaigning -- "hope" is not a plan..."hope" is not a plan!

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Under Construction

Some of you may have dropped by here today and found a new "look" -- but no comments. RT is currently under construction, so there may be a bit more of that today. For some reason, the new template wasn't accepting the Haloscan Comments code, so I switched back until I could figure out the problem. After all, the comments section is far more important than anything I put up!

Heh heh.


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