Wednesday, August 24, 2011

From the Facebook News Feed...

"Had a lot of fun last night. When certain songs come on I forget I'm educated."
From the Facebook News Feed...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Balance the Crazy (Redux)

An additional note is which is a totally contradicting sentiment from my previous post...what's the point of voting in a Black president that isn't going to do this explicitly for Black people? That's the whole point of representative politics. The Right wants a business owner and Christian to push their agenda. I mean, the "he isn't Black enough argument"---I wouldn't characterize it that way because it cheapens it--- makes a valid point. If a really great academic definition of public policy is “The authoritative statements or actions of government which reflect the decisions, values, or goals of policymakers”, then the President lacks the conviction to make efforts for Black people. They way W. did for Evangelicals and Businesses. He doesn't own it. He lacks the crazy or from Bill Maher perspective, heart.
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Balance the Crazy

While on vacay a couple of weeks ago I caught Bill Maher proposing a liberal version of the Tea Party. Let me preface this by saying he thought that liberals were spineless in the fact that they have yet to do this. He equates logic and reason with lack of heart. Love, and despise if you ask me, makes the world go round and there ain't nothing rational about the two.  So I get his point.

While the clip was hilarious it caused me to seriously think about this idea of "balancing the crazy". A great deal of people are very, very frustrated with the President. Partially it is about his policies (or lack there of) but mainly that they do not sufficiently address need of any specific interest group in his constituency and even more so his political base (Blacks, Latinos, Gays, low and middle income). He is so middle-of-the road, that no one is happy. Secondly, "the middle" keeps moving farther and farther to the Right due to the extreme views and increasing rise of the Tea Party. (...Median voter theorem) In order to bring the middle the Left really does need to bring the crazy. Now unfortunately, the essence of the political party is that it is all encompassing. So it would be whose left-crazy would we promote? How do we organize the crazy?  We could  do just as much Bible thumping and counter the Evangelicals and the Rights anti-tax/social programs. The Bible says love thy neighbor and we should abide with "... faith, hope, charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity" (1 Corinthians 13:13) but the left has sooooo many unbelievers it would be difficult to execute (I'm referring to Atheists as upon further study, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam at its core are quite similar). Race/Otherness mitigates issues of class in this country. So this poverty tour, um yeah...while I know we reaaaaally want to, racializing the issue of poverty with out a critical mass almost guarantees it will be ignored. (Though I will note that they did a descent job by including stops in West Virginia and a few in Wisconsin. Outside of Milwaukee I'm willing to put good money down that there isn't a real "Black presence" in those areas.) So again, how does the Left begin to organize the crazy?

The Right has it so easy. For them otherness trumps class all together and the Left is a collection of heathens. Done.

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Hidden Costs Fine Leather Goods

I love fine leather goods. It's a weakness.  My husband thinks I collect handbags and shoes, but it's not true. It's the leather, the more rich and supple the better. So of course this lends itself to e-reader covers, car seats,'s a real interest. Though recently, I came across a video on Perez Hilton (don't judge me) that was almost as chilling as the narrative of  conflict diamonds and the torture over hair weave. Has anyone seen the task of leather tanning??? This features a 17year old in Morocco whose family has been tanning hides for generations. It is nasty, disgusting and after further research involves child labor.

It almost changed my life...Almost. *touching handbag*
The Hidden Costs Fine Leather GoodsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

From the Facebook News Feed...

"Let's ignore for one second that my political and moral views (i.e. I don't believe in hate) differ from those of Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann and focus on the biggest issue I have with them, which is that they are making WOMEN look absolutely ridiculous!"
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Thursday, August 18, 2011

From the Facebook Feed

Speechless...I can't

A great reaction to Kreayshawn and her eh, gimick is over at one my favorite blogs Politics and Fashion.
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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Drought. No, Famine.

Again, during my hiatus, I was away from my blog, but not away from my news sources. The Horn of Africa has been experiencing one of the worst droughts in history and the pictures suck something terrible. I am tempted to lament about the "humanitarian effort" that was launched in Libya on our behalf but is sooooo not present right now in East Africa. Especially now that effort that is "humanitarian" in definition and likeness is imperative. The US did commit to $545 million dollars to the UN effort. I will not say that that is equal to just one Will Smith and 1/112 of one Bill Gates. I am not going to get into how the world is desensitized to blacks suffering on a wide-scale and thus aren't pressed to help. It's too easy.

No I am going to take the hard road and look at Africa as an African (you can make the argument about how "African" I am...). Droughts happen. Droughts happen fairly often in East Africa and increasingly often in recent years. Droughts do not necessarily produce famine---scarcity of food. This year it has. It is painfully tragic. As an African, we can no longer look to, depend on, wait on, the Western World for aid. Outside of their focus on maintaining the level of world exploitation and massive consumption (I mean, the housing crisis was really because we (I'm American here) were buying homes we couldn't afford and trying to live the American Dream--which is massive consumption) the Western World does not consider you "as human" as them. Nope. If God were to strike Canada with famine right now...millions of American dollars would appear out of no where. That's not going to change.

What we have to do Africa, as a fellow help ourselves. The New York Time reports that the African Union has a Fundraising Conference planned for August 25. Really? You need to clear out your schedules?     
South Africa,has given $150,000 and promised another $850,000. Sudan has sent $2.5 million, Namibia $500,000, and Botswana a little less. Kenya and Ethiopia, affected by the drought, are using their own money internally. But from the remaining 48 countries in Africa, there has been nothing.

What happened to all talk about "African solutions for African problems".  Oil-rich Nigeria and the other large African economies Angola, Tanzania and Egypt have not contributed at all. Also there is a world of difference economically between South Africa and Sudan. It is unfortunate that their aid does not reflect that. The continent is not poor, the resources are poorly managed. The richest man in Africa is worth 13.8 Billion...#51 in the world according to Forbes. A Nigerian. I guess Nigerian tax code doesn't deem a donation tax deductible. What about Africans in the Diaspora, whether 1 year, 1 generation or 5 generations removed? Let's see...Jay-Z and Kanye are auctioning a vandalized Maybach and donating that person's money to the effort...meanwhile Jay just dropped $250,000 on champagne in at the Fountainbleu. Gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins for a reason.

Famine is the severe shortage of food. While I'm eating overpriced prime rib, a fellow sister as old as I is waiting in line for peanut butter paste...for her 6 kids and watching her infant shrivel away because her bosom is as dry as the soil. We may not be able to guard against drought, but we can guard against famine and that is through proper planning and allocation of public goods and resources. I know we have our own issues domestically...but we can still eat, eventually.
Donate. Please.

[photo source]
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Monday, August 15, 2011

The Throne was Well...Shiny

Last week my Facebook feed was filled with folks declaring that they've downloaded the Jay-Z/Kanye West collaboration "Watch The Throne" at midnight and intended for it to be the soundtrack to the night's shenanigans.

Then, crickets...for almost a week.

No one applauding the full length album or saying they have a specific song on repeat. No one said they hated it, no one said it was a huge disappointment. That was really concerning. Were people scared to say they hated it? It's ok to not like something but I also knew I couldn't trust their opinion (or their conspicuous lack there of) folks hated Beyonce's recent album "4". I am far from a Beyonce fanatic but she totally made that CD for yours truly. It is full of African-Caribbean beats and nods to the 90s. She didn't have to take such big risks to win over just one fan. She could have just sent me the mixtape.

On the other hand, I am stupid crazy Kanye fan and prior to that a stupid crazy Jay-Z fan. I spend the extra money to get floor seats at their concerts.

You already know what I'm about: flying birds down South
Moving wet off the step, purple rain in a drought
----Jay-Z "What More Can I Say"
Yeah...I'm lame like that, and I had no clue what "wet" was for years. So needless to say I am unfit to give an objective critique of such a collaboration yet still I give it two shrugged shoulders. It was Kanye and Jay being Kanye and Jay. But it was post-808 & Heartbreak and Kingdom Come Kanye and Jay. My biggest concern is that I am unsure if they are still connected to the "masses". All this talk about Audermars Piqet watches and $300 bottles of Champagne burns my stomach. Jay mentions the number of black faces he sees dwindles as they rise in wealth and status, they have a responsibility that is less like Will and Jada and more like Oprah' be relatable. I can't relate to "luxury rap". Not many unemployed Americans who are upside down in their homes and sending their kids to school with one pack of Lunchables but no juice (you know that is not enough food!) can relate to G4 jets or even aspire to. I was a bit distressed by the video of them cutting up the $375K Maybach even if it is going to be auctioned off for charity. (Who's gonna buy that shit anyway?) Lastly, I think the Frank Ocean features from OFWGKTA felt forced, like they were trying to Oprah an artist on me. Yes, I used Oprah as a verb. Don't dictate to me what's cool...just be cool, damn. OFWGKTA is their own beast. But it's hard to be cool on your own when you flying around in jets buying 100s of $10k Hermes bags for your wife's birthday...what do you know about the real world.

But it'll probably be on repeat for at least the next couple of days...because I am a crazy stupid fan and some of their lines were funny as hell.
The Throne was Well...ShinySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

From the Facebook News Feed...

 The announcement that Tim Pawlenty has dropped out of the race for the GOP nomination was met with a collective "meh" from the political community. His two campaign volunteers and a field of crickets were mildly disappointed.

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

It all started with the idea that I had too many shoes...

Phew! What an interesting 6 weeks! Well, my birthday has come and gone. I'm still standing...and the back to school commercials are rolling like clock work. I still hate them but I probably purchase a couple packs of college ruled loose leaf paper because I just can't help myself.
      I took a much need break...mental that is, I still have bills to pay. I may have been "away from my desk" but not too far from the T.V. The Debt Ceiling Drama reminds me of why I am a political scientist instead of a politician, the policy wonk instead of the campaign staffer. I can see the game but I lack the emotion to offer it. The Federal Government is not the same as a household and I am a little tired of the comparison. But if it were, I would send my new Mercedes back AND get a higher paying job to pay down my existing debt. Of course, I would also make sure my family members could still get around. So...clearly to not cut spending is silly and to not increase revenue is terribly silly. What makes this NOT similar to a household budget is that the upcoming election is a very real thing. In fact, the very basis of political theories involve the fact that politicians are motivated by the desire to be re-elected. That's it. No really, that's it. Incumbents would trade babies for crack to sell on the street if it would guarantee re-election. Some would sell more than others but everyone would sell.

So with that in mind, campaign money helps one get re-elected, people who actually vote...helps one get re-elected. Most importantly, crazy extremely passionate citizens who vote and are able to infect others with their crazy AND get them to vote...helps get a politician re-elected. Crazy people rule the country.

Where was I...if you ever hear me say I have too many shoes as some sort of "revelation" then know something is wrong. I've thrown some out and I'm off to buy more.

It all started with the idea that I had too many shoes...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend