Friday, February 6, 2009

You have no excuse!

If you're even marginally interested in how we've gotten into this economic crisis, and want a modicum of insight into how we might possibly survive this current crisis, then you have no excuse for not clicking this link.

This one.

Here it is.

Click it.

Or shut up.

Animal Farm Friday - Spineless with an identity crisis

I'm having a hard time these days trying to figure out who's on whose side, who's genuine, or who's pretending. Between the endless Republiscum inanity being vomited all over us incessantly by the Corporate-Run Media, and spineless Democrats acquiescing to the same dead-end ideas as they have for the past decade, instead of championing effective progressive ideas, I really can't tell who is worth supporting. But hey, sometimes being spineless and having an identity crisis can be a good thing - if you're an octopus:

The end of tokens!

I noticed right away when recently there were suddenly more black people in the ads on TV and in print. I'm not talking about the token black people either, but ads featuring real black people, not necessarily in white settings, or even with token white people in the ads for balance. I'm also not talking about black people in exploitative ads either, like for KOOL cancer sticks, or Hennessey Cognac. I'm talking about white people ads with no white people. You know the ones I mean. Ads for home improvement, groceries, luxury goods, and every place you'd expect to find only white people (or maybe a token black person). It's even spilled over into comics!

In fairness, comics have generally always been at the forefront of social change and civil rights, fully aware of controversy. Comic books had black heroes before blacks could get equal pay for equal work (well, they have lots of women heroines, but women are still fighting for that same right). They had gay and lesbian heroes, and even heroes that died from AIDS. But this is ARCHIE Comics! Check it out! The whitest of the white comics. Now, Chuck Clayton has been around for a while. The editors at Archie dust him off every now and then when they fear a black uprising coming on. Other than the Black Panther, Black Goliath, Luke Cage, or Robbie Robertson, Chuck here was one of the first black dudes I saw in a comic book. But Chuck Clayton here made being a token negro cool (to Archie fans at least). This character helped popularize the whitey apologist expression "I'm not racist, I have a black friend!" because fans learned that from Archie and Jughead.

Don't get me wrong. I'm ecstatic seeing more black people in commercials and ads, and especially in Archie (even though I don't read Archie). It's long past overdue. How long past? Well, this ancedote might help:

I worked on ad campaigns for a medical imaging company for several years in the late 90s through early 00s. This company was founded by a Turk-Cypriot, an Asian-American, and a gay white male. My primary contact at head of marketing was a black Canadian. This company was founded in San Francisco. Here's the sweet part. For every ad that I created for them that included people, I made a conscious effort to include an equal balance of people that reflected our Bay Area community (white, black, asian, latino), every time I was told that there weren't enough white people in the ads. This was communicated to me by the black dude. I kid you not.

I expected that kind of thing when I was working in Florida, which is why I left Florida. But in the San Francisco Bay Area? Man, that's been bugging me for over a decade.

So what if Archie Comics is dusting off their token black guy once more 'cuz it's the cool thing to do. Maybe now it won't be just the trendy thing to do, but perhaps Chuck will stay with the gang permanently. Maybe Chuck might even get his own series! And maybe, just maybe, whenever producers feel the need for token character, they'll be deciding between a chihuahua and a shitsu, or a calico and a tabby.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

What to bring to a gunfight

For a while, it seemed like Barack showed up to the Republiscum
gunfight with cookies and flowers. Then yesterday, we saw him brandish
a little cold steel, but now it looks like it's possible that the cold steel might actually be loaded. Lets hope it's like Tybalt's Rapier.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Stupid should be painful

This is painful enough on this end, but it really ought to hurt to be so stupid.

Bipartisan Agreement?

Barry was scarin' me

I guess I should have gotten through all of the days news before posting, but this just in from Greg Sargent, formerly of TPM, now one of the few shining beacons of hope in the WaPo family.

This blog has spent a fair amount of time wondering when President Obama would more aggressively take on the Republicans opposing passage of his economic agenda.

So it’s noteworthy that today Obama amped up his rhetoric, making a
clear attempt to draw a sharper contrast with his foes — in
philosophical and ideological terms. In his remarks on the economy
today at an event where he called for a cap on executive salaries,
Obama said (according to the prepared remarks):

Now, in the past few days I’ve heard criticisms of
this plan that echo the very same failed theories that helped lead us
into this crisis –- the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our
problems; that we can ignore fundamental challenges like energy
independence and the high cost of health care and still expect our
economy and our country to thrive.

I reject that theory, and so did the American people when they went to the polls in November and voted resoundingly for change.
So I urge members of Congress to act without delay. No plan is perfect,
and we should work to make it stronger. But let’s not make the perfect
the enemy of the essential. Let’s show people all over our country who
are looking for leadership in this difficult time that we are equal to
the task.

It's about time. Barry was scarin' me there for a while. But he still needs to drive the point home that bipartisanship is a means to an end, not an end in and of itself. Bipartisanship could also be a dead end, especially if the other party is undermining your party at every step.

Defining Obama's presidency

Theda Skocpol gets it.

[Obama] spent the last two weeks empowering Republicans -- including
negotiating with them to get more into Senate and his administration
and giving them virtual veto-power over his agenda... The country is in danger and he ran for president to solve this crisis
in a socially inclusionary way. He should be fighting on that front all
the time with all his energies -- and he certainly should give a major
speech to help educate the public and shape the agenda. That is the
least he can and should do. Only that will bypass the media-conservative
dynamic that is now in charge.

My guess is that Obama has until the end of February before the course of his first term is defined for him by the Republicans, and their Corporate-Run Media allies. He seems to be going out of his way to make it easy for them. In fact, unless he takes to the pulpit in the next few days and enlists the help of the American people, he risks being wrongly branded as Carter was. The bully pulpit is the only real shot now. With the Democrats being outnumbered by Republicans with airtime, Obama is the only Democrat that can compete on the airwaves.

Monday, February 2, 2009

mv=pq, or the velocity of money

And why the bailouts are doomed to failure. Here's a great little walkthru one the global financial crisis.

Deep Thought

From a reddit discussion:

If one of Jesus' hairs was found preserved, scientists should extract the DNA, clone Jesus, and experiment on his superpowers.

What do you need his hair for? Just let a Catholic eat a cracker (which
will transubstantiate), then surgically remove it from their stomach.
Bingo-bango, flesh of Jesus. Clone him up, and there you go. Jesus 2.0

Raisin of Reason: Another cool bus advert

Victor Stenger Bus Slogan