Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The New Facebook Is Torture, But This Is Ridiculous...

Okay, so I wish I was making this up, but Facebook just hired former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' chief of staff, Ted Ullyot.

From the article:
"We view Ted's joining us as just another reaffirmation of the fact that we are working at the cutting edge of lots of incredible innovation," said Elliot Schrage, Facebook's vice president of communications and public policy (and himself a lawyer). "He has an extraordinary combination of private legal practice and public sector experience. So many of the legal issues we face touch on both of those arenas. He is equally comfortable helping us expand internationally as he is in helping us navigate complicated legal issues we may face in Washington. Ted's arrival really demonstrates we're a little more grown-up."
I love the line about "complicated legal issues." O.J. Simpson has complicated legal issues--Mr. Gonzo and them are just crooks. I don't take it as a good sign that Facebook, a corporation that already holds a weird position of control over the intimate details of millions of people's lives is hooking up with folks who pride themselves on invading Americans' privacy.

Besides, they might want to check Ted's references because it looks like his former boss might face criminal charges from his last job.

But I got to admit that I do miss seeing Mr. Gonzo's smug mug in the news. No matter how much he broke the law and lied and broke the law and lied, you always got the sense that he was enjoying himself. And in some way that kind of made it alright.

Oh, and why is Mr. Gonzo always able to keep such an impressive smirk at the ready, no matter how many laws he's broken? Two words: Presidential Pardon. It's coming!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sarah Palin: Crackhead?


Today Misstra Knowitall found himself in a pitched debate with his brilliant high school journalism students over the proposition that Sarah Palin is indeed a smoker of rocks. After watching a video of Katie Couric's interview with Palin in class (see below), one student remarked that Palin "must be on crack or something--she's twitching that much."

One of the most difficult things about being a teacher sometimes is figuring out how and when to come in as the "voice of reason" in the classroom (read: wet blanket) and try to redirect the conversation more towards whatever learning objective (thanks TFA) I had planned for that day. I argued that in journalism class it was okay to criticize a public figure, but not alright to suggest they are crackhead just because they obviously don't know how to speak in front of a camera.

"That's called libel," I intoned.

Another student diplomatically suggested that perhaps the Vice Presidential nominee was stammering so much because she hadn't fully recovered from an undiagnosed stroke.


The frustrating thing about that moment was that the students were essentially correct. Their argument was not as nuanced as I would have hoped, but they had hit on something that was obvious to anyone who watched the video: Sarah Palin is not fit to be the next president of the United States. One of the saving graces of this election has been the idea that at least after January 2009 we won't have to be embarrassed to see our President out in public. At least we won't have to cringe every time this person gets up in front of a group of people and opens their mouth. At least we won't have to worry about our leader not being able to pronounce "nuclear." But with his selection of Palin, John McCain has ripped that silver lining off of the Presidential cloud. McCain is definitely on some scorched earth type stuff.

Oh, and yes Obama appears to be up big time right now, but mark my words: it ain't over y'all. It's just as important to ignore the polls when you're up as when you're down because there is still a lot of time left in this thing. I wouldn't be surprised if at some point McCain climbed back on top. Besides, I still think this election is going to be decided in the courts.

"Allow me to reintroduce myself, my name is O..."

And if you're one of those people who feels the need to slow down at the scenes of car crashes, I'm sure you'll enjoy the clip below.

I know our whole economy is in danger of collapse and all that, but why is it hard to shake the feeling like I'm in that bank robbery scene from Batman? You know the one, where Joker's goons are running around the bank lobby with funny masks, telling everyone to hand over their money quick "or else"?

If I were a more cynical person, I might suggest that this "crisis" was an attempt by the supporters of the current administration to pull up a school bus up to the back of the Federal Reserve and make one last withdrawal.

With the White House bailout talks having disintegrated and McCain and the Rethugs seemingly making a fool of Treasury Secretary Paulson, this is like the part where the bank manager (William Fitchner) comes out with that shotgun and the whole operation goes to hell in a hand basket.

Treasury Secretary Paulson, you might want to take a look behind you.

At least when Clintonanddem left the White House, all they did was steal a couple chairs and remove the keys off of some keyboards. These dudes are trying to steal the whole economy.

Hee, hee. Bailouts for all!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

It was the third of September, that day I'll always remember...

I just saw the news that Norman Whitfield died, y'all! What is it about 2008?

If you don't know who Norman Whitfield is, you probably do but you don't. Basically, dude revolutionized the Motown sound and brought them into the Funk age. He single-handedly transformed the Temptations and was responsible for "Papa Was a Rolling Stone," "Run Away Child," "Just My Imagination (Running Away From Me)," and one of my favorites, "Run Charlie Run."

In their heyday, Motown worked as a highly structured assembly line that matched in house producers with specific groups and artists. When the Temps first broke they worked with genius songwriter/singer/producer Smokey Robinson and recorded a string of hits, including "The Way You Do the Things You Do." But when the hits slowed up, Motown President Berry Gordy gave Whitfield a chance. Whitfield had been trying to get the Temps to sing "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" for some time, but Berry wasn't convinced the song was up to par. However, when Gladys Knight and the Pips recorded the song and had a big hit, Gordy let the Temps try their hand at it and the record turned into a smash. After that, Whitfield pretty much owned the Tempts.

Now I should say that Whitfield is more than a little controversial. If you've ever seen the Temptations movie than you know what I'm talking about. He was a brilliant, but he was mad arrogant and could be extremely difficult to work with. And he also had an edge that came through in his production and his writing. Whether it was the turmoil and chaos of "Ball of Confusion" or the paranoid delusion of "Just My Imagination," nobody was better at taking soul and Funk to the edge, while still making jams.

Whitfield was a master and he will definitely be missed. Check out this clip of the Tempts on Soul Train performing "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" if you have any doubts.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Don't Worry, Be Happy

Be easy, y'all. Barack is going to be all right.

We need to take a deep breath and stop watching the polls. With the way the news cycle works these days, you would think we were having an election every week instead of once every four years.

McCain was down big time in the Republican primary, but he came back.

Barack was down big time in the Democratic primary, but he came back.

This things is going to be close no matter what happens. We've got 51 days until election day and agonizing over every minute twist and turn in the polls is not going to help anything except your indigestion. The only numbers that count are the ones that come out on election day.

Sarah Palin is not going to make or break this election for anyone, so don't believe the hype. However, we do know a fewthings for sure:

1. This election will be settled in court and in the streets. I hope Obama and dem have a real serious plan to take it as far as they need to go because the Rethuglicans are definitely going to try and steal this one (again). I also hope they are ready to get gully and knock some folks up side the head if they need to. If you need a point of reference, check out how the Rethuglicans stopped the recount in Florida by kicking open the door to the election judge's room. I hope somebody has RayRay, Jaykwon, and Lil' KnuckKnuck on speed dial.

Yeah, we might have to take it there.

2. The whole qualification thing is kind of a joke, especially considering the standard set by our current President. At least Sarah Palin can read.

Could it really get any worse than this?

3. Why is it suddenly so cool to kill moose(es?) nowadays? Is that anything to be proud of? For all you conservative Christians out there, in answer to your bumper stickers: I'm not sure what would Jesus do, but I know for daggone sure he wouldn't be running around with a shotgun trying to clap at no moose.
There is an uncanny resemblance here.

4. By the way, how do you think the whole teen pregnancy would have played out in the media if it was Obama's daughter? The headline in four words: Obama Baby Mama Drama.

5. And I bet you Elizabeth Hasselback wouldn't have said what she said to Michelle's face.

Oh, no she didn't!

6. Another reason to vote for Obama: we could save tax payer dollars because the Secret Service wouldn't need to spend much on a body double--everyone knows that all Black men look alike.

Change is my prerogative!

7. Sorry to say, but if Obama does become President, racism is officially over, y'all. White people are going to be canceling the race card and using the Obama card. "Look, I'm no racist. I love Black people--Heck, I even voted for Obama!" I'm sorry to say that if they give this brother the job, it's going to be that much harder for a Black man to gain employment.

8. Can you ever remember a time when so much attention was paid for so much time on a Black man who was really about something? I know O.J. must really be ready for this election to be over so he can get his closeup back.

"Hello, I'm O.J. Simpson. Remember me?"

9. You have a Black man who is only two months from becoming President of the United States of America. Did you think this was going to be easy?

10. And finally: who are you to doubt the power of the Mighty Mighty O?

That's with the left (of course).

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The King Stay The King

Because I haven't said anything about chess in a while...