09. July 2010 · Comments Off on The Shape of Things to Come and Go · Categories: Ain't That America?, General, Politics, Reader Mail, sarcasm, World

You know, out of all of the things that I was afraid might happen, after the presidential coronation of Obama, the Fresh Prince of Chicago . . . I never considered that race relations might be one of those things which would worsen. Hey – lots of fairly thoughtful and well-intentioned people of pallor voted for him, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, or at least in some expectation of him being a fairly well adjusted and centrist politician, or at least a fast learner. Wasn’t that what all the top pundits, and the mainstream media were insisting, all during the 2008 campaign . . . well, once they got up from their knees and wiped the drool off their chins.

And when he won the election by a respectable although not an overwhelming margin – hardly a crushing mandate – I am sure there were other bloggers thinking as I did, and looking on the bright side; hey, can we finally get past this “AmeriKKA is the most racist nation evah!” crap. Here I was hoping – even as I knew full well that the man had spent twenty years sitting in the Reverend Jeremiah’s mega-church. I could tell myself that maybe he went to that church for street cred and connections within the black community – no, Obama couldn’t possibly give credence to the sewage-spew of racial hatred that the good Reverend spouted like a fountain, every Sunday, to tumultuous applause from the pews – no, not when he moved on from grubby Chicago politics, and was running to be the president of this country – a country in which the race that Obama identified with is only 13-15% of the population. No, better to think (assume, pray!) that his membership there was a grubby political square-filling, in the Chicago political machine.

If I have known anything at all in my life, I know that a politician who is a minority hoping to get elected to any office get anywhere at all with a racially or sexually diverse electorate had best not be identified strictly as representing only that minority, to the exclusion of all others. In plain words, a seeker for an elected office, being a racial minority, or female had a better chance of success in downplaying their minority-hood, generally, in being seen to represent larger values than just their membership in a relatively small segment of the electorate. This was plain to me, as I grew up in Los Angeles, in the 1970s and 1980s. The mayor – Tom Bradley, who seemed to have been mayor for ever, demonstrated exactly that: he was black, but black with a small ‘b’ – in that he had the year-round dark tan, but actually seemed to be more motivated in being an effective mayor for the good of the entire community – rather than just catering to the racial special interests. Tom Bradley got elected, over and over again, without any particular fuss that I recall, in a racially diverse and wealthy city in which the color of his skin mattered less – much less – than the content of his character or his ability to administer to the interests of all of his constituents.

I had so hoped – against any evidence produced by the mainstream media and bloggers alike during that campaign season – that Obama would prove to be more of the Tom Bradley-variety of politician/administrator. That he would live up to the generous advance billing provided by the press . . . but alas. False hope, that. As if it weren’t annoying enough that any criticism of his policies is dismissed with a swipe of the race card through the electronic dispenser o’ sweet creamy diversity pablum, now it looks like justice is to be administered – not in a color-blind fashion, but according to the color of the skin of the person accused. It is perfectly acceptable to the current top administrators of the Department of Justice to have representatives of the New Black Panther Party, swaggering up and down at a polling place, intimidating voters. Nice. So, what are we to expect out of this new, post-racial, Obama Administration? Not having a pundit-approved crystal ball at my disposal, I couldn’t begin to guess – but I will venture one small prophecy: that the Icecapades will be hosted in Hell before another small-time, relatively obscure and totally inexperienced – yet somehow charismatic minor pol, spat up from the unsavory bowels of a big-city political combine will be elected to such a high office. Not all the efforts of all the media punditocracy will be able to make that happen again . . . and we’d better do more than pray it doesn’t. We can probably endure another two and half years of the Won, but I don’t think we could survive another of his ilk, or the rank stupidity of those who put him there in the first place.

21. June 2009 · Comments Off on For Your Amusement And Delectation · Categories: Ain't That America?, General, Rant, Reader Mail, The Funny, World

The stupidest, least-convincing and most inept spam/quasi-Nigerian Email ever received by yr Humble Correspondent is pasted in its entirely for your amusement.

And you know what is the scariest part? There are no doubt one or two people who will fall for this. G*d only knows who they voted for in the last election, although I have well-founded suspicions.

Did you authorize Mr Lious parker(Kindly get back to me immediately)
Sunday, June 21, 2009 12:37 PM
“Michael Povey”
Add sender to Contacts

From The Desk Of Impex diplomatic Courier Service.
FAX: 206-666-3947


Did you authorize Mr. Louis Henrik who presented document of claim andin
hand(Cash) the storage Dumurage Fees of $5,500.00 purported to have been
signed by you for the release of your Consignment containing your Immunity
Rebuilding Grant of Five million five hundred thousand US Dollars ($5.5)
only, which was made out by United Nations Grant for affected people of the
last Hurricane Kathrine,(London Office) via Cash Payment Consignment
delivery to this storage outfit last week Monday. Why this, because the
Fund Certificate was credited to you,hence this later development of Mr.
Louis Henrik?

Ensure that you do not delay to get back soonest as this calls for urgent
and cogent attention to avoid misappropriation, misconception and
misconstrue in our records. If you did not give any Power of Attorney or
Authorization to the said Mr. Louis Henrik for claim of your Consignment
fund, please reconfirm immediately to avoid irregularities, as your
Consignment fund is now ready to be delivered to you once payment for
Storage Duty Fees are cleared out (based on the urgent instructions from
the Committee of Out Of The States Payments Board under the control of the
White House D.C).In summary to your Consignment Release Order,contact this
office by taking note to
complete the under listed:

Fill the information required below and send it to;

ATTN..Mr Smith Tanner
1) Your full …………………………
2) Residential ………………………..
3) Direct Cell-Phone/Mobile ……………
4) Age and marital ……………………
5) Company Name and Position if any ………..

As soon as this information is received and charges for dummurage cleraed
out by you, your consignment with Ref. No. UN/GRANT/UK/USA/09will be
delivered to you via a doorstep delivery by one of our agents.

Waiting for your Reply.
Mr. Michael Povey.

For no particular reason, over last weekend I was re-reading David McCullough’s account of the Johnston Flood, and was struck by the chapter which recounts the aftermath. Scores of reporters for American newspapers leaped upon the story – it wasn’t every day that a thriving industrial town gets wiped out in forty minutes flat by a sudden colossal rush of water from a catastrophic dam failure upstream, not even in the admittedly accident-prone 19th century. Among the first sensational stories reported from the wrecked city were lurid tales of gangs of Hungarian immigrants – the downtrodden and resentful minority du jour of that time and locality – looting the dead and raping the living, and of vigilante justice on the part of other survivors… all of which turned out to have been untrue. Even retractions and corrections afterwards wouldn’t squash those accounts dead in their tracks, and it reminded me of the stories of horrors in the New Orleans Superdome after Katrina; also lurid, also untrue… but widely disseminated, and even when debunked at length, with footnotes, forensic evidence and pictures… still passionately believed.

It all comes down to memes. They are a set of assumptions which have a life of their own through being repeated, especially by organs like the news media and beacons of popular culture like the entertainment industry. Thus propagated, memes are pernicious as nut-grass. No matter how many times they are debunked… still they exist, springing up sturdily in the cracks of public discourse and popular culture. Most of them do little harm, and even boost the subjects’ ego in a small way: Frenchmen are good lovers, New York is the center of American intellectual life, you get the best education at the most expensive college. Others exasperate experts by their persistence, in spite of being debunked, corrected or explained, over and over: Columbus was NOT the first European to believe the world was round, aliens from space did not build the pyramids- or any other monumental structure in the ancient world, and President Bush did not serve up a plastic turkey to the troops.

This morning the Blogfaddah linked to a discussion of l’affaire Beauchamp, which began with the lament “Isn’t it sort of disappointing that one has to spend this much time telling journalists, and journalist’s most ardent supporters, why it is important that journalists don’t lie?” Discussion immediately lurched away from examining what I thought was the point of the essay in question; why the milblog community landed on the New Republic’s fables with such energy and enthusiasm.

The answer is because it was another brick in the wall of meme under current construction, itself is an extension of the one constructed around Vietnam war veterans, which almost without exception painted them as tormented and drug-addled lost souls, riddled with guilt over having committed atrocities, and unable to make anything of their post-service lives. This meme had far more damaging results than just providing a handy stock character for movies, television and news documentaries; it impacted the lives of real veterans, essentially isolating and silencing them. Men and women who had satisfying, productive and well-adjusted lives did not particularly want to be identified as Vietnam war veterans, not if it meant being dismissed as a freaked-out looser.

That is why milboggers came unglued over Beauchamp’s and other fraudulent and malignant stories given credence by self-isolated specimens like Franklin Foer; because it’s being attempted, all over again with a new generation of veterans. Last time, it went unchallenged for decades. By my recollection it took about fifteen years for a TV show to feature a well-adjusted non-traumatized Vietnam veteran hero. It’s not going to happen again, not if we have the ability to forcefully question the individual meme-bricks before the mortar has set. Doesn’t matter that The New Republic is a small-circulation magazine or that some kind of truthiness about the brutalities of war -blah-blah-blah, or that our pop-cult gurus are too damn lazy to work up another set of clichés. This one we’re going to fight on the beach.

A more interesting line of thought is – is there something more than just intellectual laziness and the comfort of slipping into a well-worn track at work here, even if only subconsciously? Could there be something to be gained on one side of the debates about war, Islamic-inspired imperialism, the whole tar-baby of nuclear Iran, if military veterans whose service at the pointy-end-of-the-spear might have given them some particular interest or insight can be easily silenced and isolated… simply by being routinely characterized as ignorant, out-of-control redneck freaks?

Yeah, I’ve wondered about that myself, lately. Discuss among yourselves.

18. June 2007 · Comments Off on The Passing Parade · Categories: Air Force, General, History, Military, Reader Mail, Wild Blue Yonder, World

Regular reader Robert D. emailed me overnight, letting me know that an ace in two wars, General Robin Olds had died over the weekend.

In my early time in service, General Olds was famous for a defiantly non-reg mustache, and for having flown with Chappie James over Vietnam, forming a duo nicknamed “Blackman and Robin”.

He was a colorful character; these days seeming like a character in a swashbuckling adventure novel, or a movie serial.

More here.

21. November 2005 · Comments Off on Internet Grins & Giggles · Categories: General, Reader Mail, Site News, Stupidity

The following appeared in my hotmail inbox this afternoon; there is a zip-file attached, who among you thinks I am fool enough to open it?

But I will listen to any amusing guesses as to what these idjits were after.

Dear Sir/Madam,

we have logged your IP-address on more than 30 illegal Websites.

Please answer our questions!
The list of questions are attached.

Yours faithfully,
Steven Allison

*** Federal Bureau of Investigation -FBI-
*** 935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Room 3220
*** Washington, DC 20535
*** phone: (202) 324-3000

12. March 2005 · Comments Off on Simon Wiesenthal Center Demands Apology From Livingstone · Categories: General, Reader Mail, World

Received this via email today:

SWC To London Mayor: Apologize Now For Antisemitic And Anti-Israel Comments

At a time when violent antisemitic attacks on British Jews increased 42% last year reaching greater levels than in France, where just days before Holocaust Memorial Day Jewish gravestones were desecrated with swastikas, while at the same time there was a spate of violent attacks against Jews in North London, where Jewish students feel increasingly intimidated on university campuses for openly expressing their support for Israel, and when young people in the UK increasingly display a lack of understanding of the Nazi Holocaust, the slanderous comments against a Jewish reporter and the State of Israel by London’s controversial mayor have fueled an already dangerous environment.

Mayor Ken Livingstone’s most recent statements accusing the Israeli government of “ethnic cleansing” and his description of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as a “war criminal who should be in prison” have added to the anger over comments made last month when he compared a Jewish reporter to a concentration camp guard. Livingstone has refused consistent calls from Prime Minister Tony Blair, British officials, Holocaust survivors, and London’s Jewish community to apologize.

Therefore, we are asking our supporters in Britain and around the world to join the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s protest directly to London Mayor Ken Livingstone to urge him to immediately apologize for his comments trivializing the Holocaust and demonizing Zionism and Israel.

Livingstone has had a long history of conflict with British Jews. Last year, he hosted Sheik Yusuf al Qaradawi, a Muslim Brotherhood Imam who has endorsed suicide bombings against civilians in Israel and attacks on foreign civilians in Iraq. In 2000, he made a speech claiming that global capitalism was responsible for more deaths that the Nazis. And as far back as 1983, in his capacity as a newspaper editor, he published a cartoon of then-Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin dressed in an SS uniform with a caption reading, “The Final Solution.”

Additionally, the Center is urging mayors of all cities to refuse to officially welcome Livingstone to their cities until he apologizes for his reckless and incendiary behavior.

By signing this petition, you will be sending a letter directly to Mayor Livingstone urging him to apologize for his anitsemitic and anti-Israel comments.

Donate now to fight antisemitism and to help us continue our work.
Please support the work of the Simon Wiesenthal Center .
Send inquiries to: information@wiesenthal.net

Livingstone is a wart on the face of Britain. I think he should step down.

17. November 2004 · Comments Off on GMail Accounts · Categories: General, Reader Mail

One of our readers, named David Price, has ten g-mail accounts that he would like to donate to members of the military. He may be contacted at “daprice@gmail.com”. If you are not able to contact him via a “mil” address, be prepared to give some indication to him that you are, indeed, a member of the active duty military.

Sgt Mom

15. November 2004 · Comments Off on Hmmmm… We’re Being Studied!!! · Categories: General, Reader Mail

This request was posted to my e-mail yesterday—-Indulge yourselves

My research partner and I are professors at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and University of Tennessee-Knoxville. We are conducting an online survey that examines the credibility of online and traditional media, and the motivations for accessing the Web, weblogs, chat rooms, bulletin boards and other Internet resources for political information

We are specifically looking for individuals who connect to online political information to fill out our survey. We’re collecting data through Tuesday 11/16. We are wondering if you’d be willing to link to our survey. All we are asking is for an icon that directs your readers to the survey URL.

Our survey has been approved by the University of Tennessee institutional review board and is being conducted for academic purposes only and follows strict privacy protocols. Additionally, all responses are confidential and anonymous.

Your help would be greatly appreciated and we would be more than willing to share our findings with you.

Survey URL:


Barbara K. Kaye, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
University of Tennessee-Knoxville