Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Coretta Scott King
1927 - 2006

Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King is one of the unsung heros of the civil rights movement. Her life was often endangered along with her husband's. During the Montgomery bus boycott her home was bombed while she and her infant daughter Yolanda were inside.

She must have been extremely proud of her husband but her life with him must have been extremely difficult too. Mrs. King was a classically trained musician. When she married she had every expectation of being the proper first lady of a baptist church. Fate had other plans for her.

I know that every one will claim to have loved her and her husband. George Bush, who opposes everything King stood for, will probably be front and center at her funeral. Yuck. Sorry, I have no articulate words to describe that image. It just makes me sick.

It is sad that at the end of her life she watched her children fight over the direction of her husband's legacy. The expectations her children lived under must have been crushing. I sincerely hope that they will be able to mend their family relationship and find a way to speak to the issues their parents fought for with such determination.


How America Sees the World

I had to go away unexpectedly. I won't have a post until tomorrow. Until then, see how America sees the world.

Friday, January 27, 2006

The "Minutemen" and White Supremacy Groups

In yesterday's Huffington Post, Earl Ofari Hutchinson wrote about illegal immigration and its effect on black Americans. I don't know of any definitive data that answers the $64,000 question. Do immigrants, illegal and legal, take jobs from blacks?

Hutchinson tells the story of a young black man who expressed support for the Minutemen, border vigilantes intent on stopping Mexicans from crossing. This man did not know that the Minutemen have ties to white supremacist organizations.

Orcinus has the story, including photos of confederate and Nazi flags at a Minutemen march.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

"I Really Feel Duped"
Oprah Winfrey

Oprah, who do you think you are kidding? At first you protected your investment and defended serial liar James Frey, but when it became obvious that your staff and possibly you were aware of the nature of one of the lies, you back tracked.

A former staffer at Hazelden, the rehab facility that Frey described in his book, says that she told Oprah's producers that Frey's accounts were lies. Oprah went ahead with her promotion of Frey's book anyway, knowing a besteller when she saw one.

In my Black Commentator column last week I said that Oprah should be seen for what she is, a business woman. She isn't a shrink, or a spiritual leader. She sells a feel good product and that is OK, but no one should be fooled by her claims of promoting our best selves. No one should now be fooled by her crocodile tears.

Oprah may not be a spiritual leader, but she is beginning to show signs of being a cult leader. Her viewer/followers backed her initial defense of Frey. What will they say now? If they go from felling OK to feeling duped too, Oprah should confirm the rumors and become a Scientologist. She is in a cult of her own making already.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Greater Georgelandia

A great cartoon by Mark Fiore can be seen here. Turn up your sound.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Chavez Remarks Not Anti-Semitic

"You have interfered in the political status, in the security, and in the well-being of our community. You have acted on your own, without consulting us, on issues that you don't know or understand."
Letter from Confederation of Jewish Associations of Venezuela to the Wiesenthal Center

By now you have heard the accusation that Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez made anti-Semitic remarks. You probably have not heard that the quotes were edited. Key comments were left out of news reports and result in a lie.

Fair has the story.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's Hardball, is a very lucky man. He is an idiot who nonetheless hosts a political talk show that is seen around the country. He claims to be a Democrat but constantly proclaims his love for George W. Bush. He recently declared that only the "wackos" dislike Bush.

Matthews most recent buffoonery was the result of bin Laden's latest message. Bin Laden knows what everyone else outside of the U.S. knows, namely that Halliburton and its ilk have made billions of dollars on the occupation of Iraq. When bin Laden stated what is now common knowledge, Matthews nonsense went into over drive.

Matthews said that bin Laden sounded like Michael Moore, as if Moore had some top secret information. Moore has a better sense of humor than I do. He used comedy to skewer Matthews. Well, Moore has given us a good laugh. Enjoy.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Wilson Pickett

Lou Rawls passed away this month. Wilson Pickett died yesterday. Like the other great artists of their generation, both men started as gospel singers. It is not a coincidence that they were able to sing from their souls.

Artists who came from gospel never lost their ability to convey a spirituality. They may not have sung about scripture, they may have even lived sordid personal lives like Sam Cooke, but their spirituality came through in every song.

We now have a generation of artists who don't know their craft, who have no true passion. It shows. That is why I can't listen to them.

Rest in peace Wilson Pickett.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Ray Nagin and New Orleans

"How do you make chocolate? You take dark chocolate, you mix it with white milk, and it becomes a delicious drink."
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin

Earlier this week I made my annual rant about the way King's birthday is celebrated. Politicians who promote injustice or war run to black audiences and pander. Think of Hillary Clinton and her plantation comment. What a hypocrite, pretending to be righteous. Hell no. The pro-war Mrs. Slick Willie shouldn't be allowed to celebrate King's birthay at all. Instead she is lionized and treated like a queen.

As for New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, where does one begin? He shoulda stood in bed instead of pretending to celebrate King's legacy. I don't have a problem with him calling New Orleans the Chocolate City. I'm just confused. I thought Washington D.C. was Chocolate City. What do I know?

What the hell did he mean by claiming that God was punishing America by sending Katrina? Who the hell is being punished? Why would God punish poor New Orleans residents? Have they caused global warming, destroyed the Gulf Coast marsh lands or killed thousands in wars? No they haven't. I guess Nagin thinks God is a pretty f*ed up guy.

Nagin shouldn't have apologized for calling NOLA Chocolate City if he meant that the feds should rebuild the city for its residents. Of course, Nagin is a corporate guy, not a politician. He endorsed a Republican gubernatorial candidate and even toyed with the notion of endorsing Bush in 2000. Telling the feds to "get up off their asses" was his shining moment. Keep that in mind the next time you are told that corporate types are better leaders.

Nagin back tracked from his ill conceived comments and now just looks like a jackass. At this moment New Orleans is in desperate need of leadership. The city's destruction is now underway. As always, Black Commentator has the story.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

War with Iran

Is your entire f*cking country on crack??? Are all you Americans out of your cotton picking minds??? Are you completely freaking delusional? Homicidal? Psychotic? Have you lost any shred of a moral compass? WHAT IN THE NAME OF JESUS H. CHRIST ON A CRUTCH IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE!!!!!
Den Valdron

The Bush team always wanted it. The neocons always pushed for it. Israel has been pushing for it. As the opposition to the Iraq occupation grows and talk of impeachment gets louder, the likelihood of a U.S. attack on Iran increases. Don't think for a momen that the Bushmen will just sit around and wait to be taken out.

For anyone stupid enough to think that attacking Iran is a good idea, read Den Valdron's piece in TPM Cafe. By the way Den, America is on crack, is out of its mind, is delusional, homicidal, and psychotic. As for its moral compass, it was always a bit haywire. Our country is led by insane people who will start an economic if not a shooting war with Russia and China if they attack Iran.

Everyone who threatened to leave the country if Bush won should start giving the idea serious thought.
Happy King Day

They must see Americans as strange liberators.
Martin Luther King, April 4, 1967

OK, I'm late. Yesterday morning the Blogger server had a poltergeist so I couldn't post. I then spent the rest of the day without email access. That is my story and I'm sticking with it. I don't really have that much to say about King, except my usual rant. It goes like this.

Very few people today really care what King said. He was passionately anti-war. He wanted to end poverty. Today we have a U.S. occupation of Iraq and the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. One of King's top aides, Andrew Young, sees nothing wrong with requiring voters to present I.D. in order to cast a ballot.

Yesterday pro-war politicians ran from black church to black church claiming to honor King's memory. It is a disgrace that they are allowed to walk in the door in the first place. King's children are squabling over money and the right wing quote King for their own benefit.

Maybe it isn't so bad that I was late.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Opray and Frey's Fakery

Thanks to a Crooks and Liars reader for this poem.


I read his book
Coming off a crack run
Holed up in a master suite
With marijuana
And a mad woman

It was just the kind of tripe
To take my mind off
My reality

Its only appeal
Was in the ideaThat AA
Could be avoided
I could dig that
Having been to meetings
Long before
He’d heard of them
And having my own misgivings
With the program

But they were nothing
Compared to the questions
I had about his story

It soundedLike a clear case
Of overkill
To the seasoned ears
Of someone
Who’d seen sobriety

And lost it
While living a life
Not nearly as adventurous

I could see how the uninitiated
Could find it intriguing

How it could titillate

And now it turns out
That even addled
My alarm bells
Were onto something

And the intuition
Of a REAL alcoholic
Was on target

When I saw him
As the shit-sucking

I’d suspected

From the very first line
Oprah Winfrey and James Frey

Oprah Winfrey doesn't believe her own press. "Be your best self." I think that is the pablum she sells to the public. What nonsense. She clearly doesn't believe one word of it.

James Frey is the author of an alleged memoir entitled "A MillionLittle Pieces." The book is the story of his drug addiction. Frey appeared on Oprah and was a featured author for her book club.

The website Smoking Gun looked into Frey's claims of arrests and incarcerations. It turned out that Frey lied, a lot. Apparently he is a pretty average addict, a self-aggrandizing liar. He may be a decent writer but he is also a con man too. Like I said, a typical addict.

Frey appeared on Larry King Live last night to defend his lies. Oprah called in to the show and said that she stands by the book.

And I feel about "A Million Little Pieces" that although some of the facts have been questioned -- and people have a right to question, because we live in a country that lets you do that, that the underlying message of redemption in James Frey's memoir still resonates with me. And I know that it resonates with millions of other people who have read this book and will continue to read this book.

Redemption? Excuse me, but lying is Addiction 101. What kind of redemption is it to make a living out of being a liar? Frey is probably still using and drinking. He is just a dog and Oprah would have been better off if she had said nothing at all.

Frey could have written the true story of his addiction. Perhaps the lack of embellishments would have kept if from becoming a best seller, but so what. Someone truly in recovery wouldn't care. Actually a writer in recovery would have written a novel. Yes, he could have honestly embellished an addict's story.

In any case, here are the 12 Steps that Frey, and Oprah, clearly don't care about but ought to know by heart.

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol--that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Gee, where does one begin? Number 10 jumps out at me. Frey and Oprah need to think long and hard about that one. They are both wrong and they need to admit it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Kickback Mountain

Thanks to American Idle for the link.

Harry Belafonte is Right

Is it worse to kill people or to criticize someone who kills people? I vote that killing is worse, so I think Harry Belafonte was absolutely right when he called Bush a terrorist.

Belafonte is being raked over the coals for comments he made in Venezuela at an appearance with President Chavez. He called Bush "the greatest terrorist in the world" and claimed that "millions" of Americans support the Chavez revolution.

Those of us who know anything about Venezuela are few and far between. Americans don't know much about their own country. So I disagree with Belafonte on that point, but it is a minor one.

Belafonte is catching heat because he gave Bush a well deserved slap in the face. Bush is a killer. Thousands are dead in Iraq because of the U.S. military, far more than those killed by "insurgent" car bombs.

This is not the first time that Belafonte walked into the cross hairs of the media. A few years ago he made the following statement about Colin Powell.

There are those slaves who lived on the plantation, and there were those slaves who lived in the house. You got the privilege of living in the house if you served the master. Colin Powell was permitted to come into the house of the master.

I wish that he had made a more reasoned, thoughtful criticism of Powell. When Belafonte had the opportunity to respond to his critics he did a much better job.

America has many plantations, even today. Not only in America, those plantations sit in many places around the world, where I've seen people suffer. I work for the United Nations. I go to places where enormous upheaval and pain and anguish exist. And a lot of it exists based upon American policy. Whom we support, whom we support as heads of state, what countries we've helped to overthrow, what leaders we've helped to diminish because they did not fit the mold we think they should fit, no matter how ill advised that thought may be. It is not without reason that I make my observation.

Belafonte is not just being criticized by right wing attack dogs. Everyone who ever gave him an award, or has any connection with him is now running for cover. The AARP is now sorry they honored him for his work as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador.

To our dismay, Mr. Belafonte has made reckless and irresponsible statements about the President of the United States which we neither support nor condone. Mr. Belafonte is entitled to express his own personal views, but AARP does not condone the manner and tone which he has chosen and finds his comments completely unacceptable.

Even UNICEF is doing a furious back pedal. UNICEF issued a statement making clear that Belafonte spoke "as a private citizen and was not speaking as a UNICEF ambassador, nor acting in an official capacity on behalf of the organization."

It is unfortunate that press is reporting on Chavez only because of Belafonte's remarks. Chavez usually makes the news because the White House has been outspoken in its desire to over throw him. Pat Robertson advocated killing him. When Chavez said Bush wanted him dead he was called crazy. Roberston's brazen threat ended up helping Chavez, so I say thanks to Pat.

When Harry Belafonte lies to Congress about WMD, kidnaps, tortures, kills thousands, and then spies on Americans I will be mad at him. Until that day, I'll direct my anger at the killers in high places.

We have to thank Belafonte. Reactions to his remarks will be very telling. Anyone who joins in the pile on is not to be trusted by thinking people. Black people are not excluded from that assessment. Belafonte gave us a water shed moment. Let us all pay close attention.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Media Corruption

In a note to readers on January 4th USA Today explained its errroneous report that 12 of 13 miners survived.

"This documentation proved inadequate and fell short of USA TODAY's professional standards. When USA TODAY learned that only one miner had survived, the story was immediately corrected at usatoday.com and in the newspaper's final edition. USA TODAY regrets the errors. "

I used to make fun of USA Today and call it the McPaper. It seems the NY Times and Washington Post are also McPapers. Unlike USA Today they did not 'fess up about their role in the disgraceful reporting of the mine disaster.

They are not alone. Editors and reporters around the country are acting like the people they cover. According to Editor and Publisher they won't return phone calls when they are asked to explain what they reported and why they reported it.

The explanations that have emerged have been astonishingly craven. The Associated Press used the families as an excuse. (Newsflash to the news media. Relatives miles from the scene are not a source). Other organizations blamed the Governor, some blamed the mining company. Few were willing to admit that they had no credible source and had no business making claims of any kind.

I am a bit obsessed with this story about the news business. It confirms what I have long feared about the corporate media. Their loyalty to the corporate structure has rendered them useless in news gathering. They turned a local news story into a national news story and at the moment when there was an opportunity for real reporting they didn't know jack.

It is significant that most reporters were at church with the families instead of the places where they could really get information. They were interested in showing weeping relatives or in the case of Geraldo showing themselves weeping. Getting at the truth was of no importance.

The corporate media are thoroughly corrupt. The word corruption may not seem to describe the current sorry state of affairs but it does. Reporters in West Virginia were not taking bribes, but they put ratings and readership numbers ahead of getting at the truth. They create false interest in stories that either aren't news at all or that are of concern to small numbers of people. They do it to make money and they do it because their desire to please the powerful prevents them from telling us anything important.

The consequences for our society are grave. What happens when talk of impeaching Bush turns to action? What will the Bushmen do to stay in power? They will announce terror alerts, which have been non-existent since last November, and then they will start a war. The media will be embedded and the American bubble will get thicker and thicker at the very moment we will need to know the truth.

Happy New Year.
Let Us Prey

"I don't know enough about him (Alito) to say I actually think he's the right man to do the job. I'm saying I trust a friend of mine who promised me that he would appoint people to the justice system that would be attentive to the needs I care about."
Rev. Herbert Lusk

Save us Jesus. Justice Sunday III is upon us and now colored people are part of the antics. Lusk is a pastor of a church in Philadelphia that has received more than $1 million in faith based initiative funding. The photo ops with Bush paid off.

Lusk is hosting the event that is meant to show right wing church support for the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. He claims to know little about Alito because of the judge's decisions on civil rights issues. On the other hand, he may truly be ignorant about Alito. Alito/Schmalito. It is time to render unto Caesar and keep that cash flowing.

Lusk will be joined by the usual suspects, Falwell, Perkins, etc. He will also be joined by people like Wellington Boone who brags about being an Uncle Tom, and Alveda King, an MLK relative who uses her family name to back the right wing and make a few bucks too. Read the sad story here.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Mining Disaster Heroes

"A lot of the media left to go to the church where family members were located, but I stayed put because this was where every official news conference was given--and we never got anything official here. Something was not right. Then we were hearing reports that 12 ambulances had gone in [to the mine area] but only one was coming out. There was so much hype that no one considered the fact that there was no [official] update."
Linda Skidmore, editor of The Intermountain News

Imagine that, actually waiting for confirmation before running with a story. Linda Skidmore is editor of the Intermountain News. Becky Wagoner is a reporter for the paper. While CNN, ABC, the New York Times and God knows who else got the miner story wrong the local news paper didn't go with the story.

That's right. The local people reported what should have remained a local story in the first place. Maybe Geraldo Rivera can go back to being a war correspondent and West Virginians will never have to look at him again.

Thanks to Editor and Publisher for the Intermountain story.
Zombie Coal Miners

I haven't written a word on this blog since November 17, 2005, and that was just to say that I wouldn't be writing for a while. My life is no less crazed and over committed, but nothing moves me quite like an opportunity to lambast the national media.

Yesterday as I heard endless stories about the trapped coal miners in West Virginia I experienced a terrible sense of deja vu. I have that feeling every time the media turns a local story into a national one.

Why do they do it? Why is a missing child in South Dakota a news story in Florida, Iowa and California too? Why do we know about nutty runaway brides or people who have 16 kids? The answer is quite simple. The corporate media is only interested in advancing corporate interests. Distracting us with bread and circuses makes it all the easier for them. They may tell us something useful every now and then, but that isn't their mission any more.

They won't tell us that the president is wired during a debate, or that he has illegally spied on American citizens, and that they knew before November 2004 and shut up to help keep him in office. Yes, all that applies to the New York Times.

Today the Times hedged, a little, but not enough. Their version of bad reporting was "12 Miners Found Alive, Family Members Say." They were a tiny bit better than the New York Post and Daily News. Their headlines screamed, ALIVE!, MIRACLE! Perhaps tomorrow they will say OOPS! or IS OUR FACE RED!.

Not only do the corporate media act only to protect the interests of the powerful, but now they don't even know fact checking 101 or any other reporting basics. Keep that in mind the next time you complain about the press. Remind yourself that they just don't know how to report any more, about miners or anything else for that matter.

They can make up for this stunning incompetence by telling us about work place safety. Oh, wait a minute. I started dreaming again. Sorry.

So, I'm back. All I needed was a little outrage.