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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Thank you, Dr. Benjamin.

I refer, of course, to Dr. Regina Benjamin, the woman who may and should become our nation's next Surgeon General. She is a truly remarkable woman and humanitarian who has touched the lives of many through her work in the small, poor community of Bayou la Batre, AL, and through other jobs she has held through the years, including her membership on the Board of Trustees for the American Medical Association. If you want to see her resume, you can visit her Wikipedia page. In short, the world needs far more people like her, and I would be proud to see her become this nation's next Surgeon General. I can think of no one better to shape this nation's medical policy, and with that comment, I include Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who rightfully declined his nomination. I must admit that I find it somewhat amusing that, should she be confirmed, we will have at least one high-ranking government official who knows how to work within the constraints of a budget. While President Obama had trouble pronouncing the name of the community where Dr. Benjamin has done so much good, it should be noted that even people from this area have a poor handle on where Bayou la Batre is. I had to consult Google Maps to find it, and I'm barely better off.

That was nice, mellow, a glowing report, and if I were a different blogger, I would have left it at that. Sadly, I love to raise a little bit of hell, and I'm having a fire sale on it. There are some fucking idiots out there who say that she's too large and would therefore have a negative impact on the battle against obesity. They say she's 25 pounds overweight. Big fucking deal!!! I wish I were ONLY 25 lbs. overweight. Will that make her any less of an excellent administrator? Will her size make her any less capable of understanding the plight of the uninsured and underinsured and the best ways to address their problems? For one, I know several women larger than Dr. Benjamin, but that's completely irrelevant. How did she become a large woman? Was it when she had to moonlight in emergency rooms and nursing homes just to fund her nonprofit medical clinic? Was it when she did a number of things to improve the lives of others? She's a fucking hero!!! She should be treated with respect, not condescension from those unworthy to lick her shoes.

Enjoy. I apologize in advance for the excessive cheesiness of the video.

A rebuke of the Sotomayor candidacy.

Naturally, I will go with the Ricci case, and I will preface it with an expression of my utter contempt for her colleagues who concurred with her in this decision. The laws of this land do, or should, grant and affirm the basic human right to an equality of opportunity. What it cannot and should not do is guarantee an equality of outcome. By that, I mean that I should have the same opportunity to have the same achievements as two remarkable people from my area, JaMarcus Russell and Dr. Regina Benjamin. I will write a post on the latter shortly. In this nation, I do and have had the same opportunity to achieve what they have and will do in the future. However, because I suck at anything remotely resembling a sport and I hold neither an M.D. or M.B.A. degree, both are about as likely as the Washington Generals beating the Harlem Globetrotters. My outcome is not equal to these individuals because I lack the qualifications to be an NFL quarterback or the next Surgeon General of the United States, and that is fair and just. That is what should happen in society. This is exactly what did NOT happen in Ricci vs. DeStefano, until it reached the highest court in the land.

Through his previous work, Frank Ricci had proven he was capable and qualified to be a firefighter, but at first, was denied a job based on his disability, dyslexia. He ultimately won that case through legal channels, but he also showed a deep flaw in the system in the process. Sadly, this would not be the first time he would be the victim of discrimination.

In Ricci vs. DeStefano, he was denied an equality of opportunity because of concerns unrelated to the outcome of the testing. Actual discrimination should not be an acceptable response to concerns about the perception of discrimination. Such actions fly in the face of what civil rights are all about, and as disgusted as I remain with the GOP, I am glad Senators of that party grilled the hell out of her on it. I have very little doubt the martyrs of the U.S. civil rights movement are rolling over in their graves over Sonia Sotomayor's highly questionable reasoning.

Mohandas Gandhi once famously said, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." In that vein, if one wishes to see a nation, a society free of discrimination, one must not tolerate or defend discrimination. One can best address the horrible injustices of the past by not perpetuating those injustices against a new target. Changing the race of the victim and the beneficiary of racist policies is not "progress", as it is often called by those who benefit from it. It is merely the same ugly mess in more socially acceptable packaging.

The current laws against discrimination are, will continue to be, and should be enforced, and enforced equally to the protection of all. Anything more intrusive is simply indefensible and a violation of our highest principles, the belief that all men and women are created equal, with equal rights. Also, the Department of "Justice" should no longer be in the business of drawing district lines and setting the boundaries and locations of voting precincts in the South and other areas where problems may have occurred in the past. When I checked the newspaper this morning, the year was 2009, not 1965. The world has changed one hell of a lot since then. Alternately, the VRA should apply to every city, county, state, parrish, territory, or protectorate of the United States of America. I wonder how Detroit would feel about having to jump through the same hoops the South does long after such measures ceased to be necessary. It is long past time for Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to be abolished, as Section 2 has more than adequate protections and has the benefit of not being discriminatory against people because of the actions of their ancestors and those elected by their ancestors, although, for all I know, my ancestors could have easily voted AGAINST those who wrote the 1901 Constitution of the State of Alabama.

I have had the privilege of knowing several remarkable African-American individuals who have achieved great things in life, some of whom HATE the term "African-American" for reasons I understand very well. While I do not know if they have a greater capacity for learning than I do, or if they are "smarter" according to some IQ test, I am absolutely certain such metrics are worse than meaningless, because of one thing: they were willing to work harder and do so in a more intelligent manner at a younger age. Frank Ricci put out the greater effort and achieved a greater result on the promotion exam. He was wrongfully penalized, not because of his performance, but because of petty ideological reasons. That is damned wrong, and I find it horrifying that we will probably have a member of the Supreme Court of the United States of America who has shown such indifference to the basic right of equal protection under the law.

Instead of going with a video related to this post, I'm going to make myself happy and post some shit just for the hell of it. Enjoy.

Monday, July 06, 2009


Since it has now been three days since the political death of a star of the Republican Party, I find it fitting to now have a funeral. With every funeral comes one or more eulogies, of varying quality. In that vein, I will share my eulogy to Sarah Palin's career. Enjoy.

I knew Sarah Palin's career very well. Well, not at first, since she represented a tiny 3 EV state that is even more solid red than my beloved (PLEASE don't say "sweet home") Alabama. At first, I viewed her as an entertaining spectacle, and her career filled me with a great deal of amusement, none so great as when she pardoned a turkey (censored version) during last year's Thanksgiving. Then, gradually, I realized she had a serious chance to become the President of the United States, just one heartbeat behind a 72-year-old former POW, and while I remained amused by her, I that was tinged with a not insignificant amount of worry. As I saw the returns election night, that worry left, leaving a deep sense of satisfaction, relief, and joy. Still, I watched, waiting for her to inevitably put her foot in it again, and she never failed to give me a laugh and make thinking Republicans cringe. Finally, there came her bizarre feud and immaturity regarding a not very funny joke told by David Letterman, and despite Governor Sarah Palin giving an 18 minute press conference and three days to digest its contents, no one can quite figure out what the hell she was thinking, or even if she was thinking at all. Still, I'm going to miss watching her career, which is by now certainly an ex-parrot. Fare thee well, Caribou Barbie.

I will close by slightly modifying some of the lyrics to the song "Eulogy" by Tool.

"Standing above the crowd,
She had a voice that was strong and loud.
We'll miss her.
We'll miss her.

"Ranting and pointing her finger
At everything but her heart.
We'll miss her.
We'll miss her.
We're gonna miss her.
We're gonna miss her.

"No way to recall
What it was that you had said to me,
Like I care at all.

"But you were so loud.
You sure could yell.
You took a stand on every little thing
And so loud.

"She had alot to say.
She had alot of nothing to say.
She had alot to say.
She had alot of nothing to say.

"Come down.
get off your fuckin cross.
We need the fuckin space to nail the next fool martyr."

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Who needs The Onion?

Once again, I would like to express my condolences to the supporters of Sarah Palin's career. For those who loved her incoherent rambling, her absence from the Alaska governor's mansion will mar an otherwise bleak existence. Fortunately, we will still have the memories, and I'd wager, a Fox News show where she can talk about moose, lipstick, and hockey moms to her heart's content with the occasional potshot at David Letterman just for spice. Or will she be in a courtroom near you? Apparently, Sarah Palin felt that she was a lame duck one day shy of the end of her 31st month in office in a position where she was not term-limited. Here in the Lower 48, we have a saying, "Don't let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya." Now go put some lipstick on a pitbull and be for and against the Bridge to Nowhere.

Friday, July 03, 2009

The death of an American legend...

Namaste. In the last few weeks, we have lost several truly great Americans, people who have touched our lives and our hearts: Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, David Carradine, Michael Jackson, and Billy Mays, just to name a few. Each one of those was a devastating blow, made even moreso by the proximity of those deaths. However, I write today to mention, in mourning, the death of a true American legend, an icon the likes of which we rarely see. I refer, of course, to the train wreck that was Sarah Palin's career and the death of her relevance. While Governor of Alaska and candidate for Vice-President of the United States, her barely coherent rambling made us all laugh and provided ample fodder for late-night television comedians, such as David Letterman. Her various interviews never failed to elicit a heartfelt "What the FUCK?!" from those she would have as supporters. Now, with Alaska's government in ruins, Sarah Palin has finally taken her career off of life support, and with it, her relevance. It is in loving memory of her career that I share this video. Farewell, Caribou Princess. May your unwed teenage mother of a daughter find her Prince Charming, or at least, someone not as stupid as you and your husband.

And as an additional memorial to a once-promising career, enjoy.

In closing, a requiem for Sarah Palin's dream: