Heh. Nice list over at Radar. Half of these movies I never saw because the sexism oozed off the trailer. Generally I hate listacles, but this is worth a look.
Ta-Nehisi Coates is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle. More
Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.
Heh. Nice list over at Radar. Half of these movies I never saw because the sexism oozed off the trailer. Generally I hate listacles, but this is worth a look.
Pretty awesome reporting job here by Anne Kornblut and Peter Baker. Screw the dumb analysis. Here is a pretty comprehensive accounting of the past few months. I've been burnt out on this stuff since Tuesday, but this was too hard to resist. I salute them both.
I thought I told you that we won't stop...
I want to say up front that it was stupid for Obama to deny this happened, when it in fact did. The "I was dealing with the facts as I knew them" defense doesn't cut it. Bush would say the same thing about Iraq. What I've loved so far about Obama's campaign is the cat's willingness to, as we say in the old country, Man Up. I hope he continues in that tradition and takes responsibility for his mistakes, and remains willing to
Now that that's out of the way, it also seems clear that Obama was basically set-up. Here's a piece in TNR on Canadian conservatives attempts to influence the election:
First and foremost, the U.S. media has identified his chief of staff, Ian Brodie, as the leaker of the diplomatic cable written by the Chicago consulate reporting on the Goolsbee meeting. Harper's domestic political foes are advancing a narrative that has already angered Democrats, and would be bad news for bilateral relations: that Harper was trying to do a favor for the GOP by tossing a piece of political dynamite in front of Obama's train as it was barreling down on Ohio.
"They will do what is necessary to help Republicans. They're a nasty, unprincipled bunch, who are incompetent to boot," Bob Rae, foreign affairs critic and member of the opposition Liberal party, wroteasked on his blog. "Is it possible that the prime minister himself knew about this information and authorized the leaks in order to discredit the campaign of Mr. Obama for president of the United States?" New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton
And also from Talking Points Memo:
Seems the NAFTAgate leak started with -- surprise, surprise -- the Chief of Staff to Canada's conservative PM Stephen Harper. Only the first hint wasn't about stuff the Canadians had heard from the Obama camp. It was about reassurances the Canadians got from the Clinton campaign. According to a reporter who heard the original conversation, Brodie said "someone from (Hillary) Clinton's campaign is telling the embassy to take it with a grain of salt. . . That someone called us and told us not to worry."
Only somehow this evolved into a story about the Obama campaign giving such reassurances.
Nasty stuff. But Obama better get used to it, and fast.
Well Obama got creamed last night. There's just no way around that. But Marc Ambinder points out that, even after her big ones, the math of Hillary come back is still really hard to see:
It is a sad irony or perhaps cosmic justice: just as Hillary Clinton succeeded in reforming her coalition -- older voters, working class women, self-identified Democrats, Latinos, the less affluent, the less educated -- just as she's succeeded in raising doubts about the presumptive Democratic nominee, the claws that are the Democratic rules tightened, perhaps inescapably -- in that she cannot escape from them. Forget about momentum. Or press coverage. Or arguments. Or moral claims to this or that. Forget about the external things that all of us in the media normally cover.
As the calendar progress, the reality is that the rules have become the controlling legal authority. When folks say "this ain't over for a while," they don't have a predicate. Perhaps the scrutiny on Obama will increase and that he will crash and that 30% of his superdelegates will crash and that 30% of his pledged delegates will defect and that 60% of the remaining superdelegates delegates will go her way. That could happen, but it is still not that likely to happen. I suppose that if we discover that Obama has a second family in Idaho...
Heard this today from my good friend Ed Park. Gygax, outside of my parents, may be the single most important factor in me becoming a writer. It's hard to explain to people today--hell it was hard then--what it meant to create an entire world inside your head with only some paper, weird dice, and rule-books. But, oh man, that world was so real to me. I later went on to MMORPGS like EQ and WoW, but in truth, nothing that any programmer does could match the limitless possibilities of conjuring a world in my head.
My sessions of Dungeons & Dragons were the most fun I ever had as a child, bar none. And it wasn't like I was the stereotypical geek with a pack of weird friends (really though, who was?). I was a relatively popular, if somewhat awkward black boy attending the public schools of West Baltimore. My brother Malik, who introduced me to D&D, was a similar dude--though a hell of a lot smarter.
The great thing about D&D though, was that as fun as it was, it really pushed your abstract thinking skills. I think that abilityto conjure a complete picture, based only on skeletal details stayed with me, and has really helped me as a writer.
And so now I look at my seven-year-old son, who has seen some of my rulebooks and wants me to teach him. What will I do? I was seven when I started. And yet, it's been so long since I've played. I wonder whether it will still feel the same. Time, I guess, to dig out my old gem dice...
Be still my heart. Man I can't take it--we got killed in Ohio and ambushed in Texas. I don't think I have the heart to even begin to try to analyze what any of this means yet. I think I'm with a lot of folks my age who just feel that we'll just die if we have to endure a smackdown of Hillary in the primary--that's what will happen--and then another four years of Republicans running this in D.C. Add that to the fact that I just don't see Barack Obama making another run for president after this.
I read somewhere that he really needs to take the gloves off and start hitting her hard. But I don't want to see that. I don't want him to become a win-at-all-cost Clintonite. I want him to draw a line in the sand about what the future means, and then force the Democrats to make a choice over embracing it, or rejecting it out of fear. All of that said, I'm with Andrew Sullivan tonight guys:
I just had a Jager shot, and hope to get drunk very soon.
OK, so maybe only in spirit. I still gotta get the boy to school in the morning...
Nice hit piece here on the inanity of Yes We Can and other campaign rhetoric. Hitches, as always, siffs out the b.s.:
Pretty soon, we should be able to get electoral politics down to a basic newspeak that contains perhaps 10 keywords: Dream, Fear, Hope, New, People, We, Change, America, Future, Together. Fishing exclusively from this tiny and stagnant pool of stock expressions, it ought to be possible to drive all thinking people away from the arena and leave matters in the gnarled but capable hands of the professional wordsmiths and manipulators.
He ends with a rather uncharitable jab at his now ex-friend Sid Blumenthal:
How well I remember Sidney Blumenthal waking me up all those years ago to read me the speech by Sen. Biden, which, by borrowing the biography as well as the words of another candidate's campaign, put an end to Biden's own. The same glee didn't work this time when he (it must have been he) came up with "Change You Can Xerox" as a riposte to Sen. Obama's hand-me-down words from Gov. Deval Patrick.
TNR argues that the press is finally turning on Obama. I gotta say, even as a supporter, I'm glad to see that happening. First of all, it's good for him--if he's going to be any sort of candidate in the general, or any sort of president, he better get used to answering tough questions. Second, it's good for all of us. I just hope he doesn't slouch into the same whiny press-bashing that the Clinton campaign has.
When I started The Beautiful Struggle, I refused to read any other memoirs. With the exception of Walter Bernstein's lovely Inside Out, I kept that promise. My reason for such a weird decision? Stories like this:
In “Love and Consequences,” a critically acclaimed memoir published last week, Margaret B. Jones wrote about her life as a half-white, half-Native American girl growing up in South-Central Los Angeles as a foster child among gang-bangers, running drugs for the Bloods.
The problem is that none of it is true.
Margaret B. Jones is a pseudonym for Margaret Seltzer, who is all white and grew up in the well-to-do Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles, in the San Fernando Valley, with her biological family. She graduated from the Campbell Hall School, a private Episcopal day school in the North Hollywood neighborhood. She has never lived with a foster family, nor did she run drugs for any gang members. Nor did she graduate from the University of Oregon, as she had claimed.
I flipped through a few memoirs when I was writing my proposal, and while I didn't get the impression that they were completely fabricated, I was amazed at the level of detail with which people could recall events. I'm talking about memories of attire and weather on specific days from, like, age five. And not just once, but all across the book. I felt like I couldn't trust any of it. To my mind, memoir is supposed to be true.
When I wrote mine, I struggled with even the idea of recreating dialogue. Ultimately I came to the conclusion that I couldn't write the book without doing that. I'm still not sure that was the right decision, and my discomfort is reflected in how little dialogue is actually in the book. OK, I'm getting off-track here. My point is that editors are going to have to start fact-checking mo-fos. They don't have to fact-check everything, because as I understand it, that would be prohibitively expensive. But maybe an audit system where they randomly fact-check books, and fact-check ones that raise the B.S. alarm. I think a white chick claiming to have grown up gang-banging in South-Central qualifies. Man, a few phone calls would have revealed the fraud...
Of course there are lots of other reasons why Jews support Obama. Jews have been the religious group most opposed to the war in Iraq. Jews are overwhelmingly liberal Democrats. The American Jewish Committee poll last November asked American Jews to pick their most important campaign issue. 23% named the economy and jobs, followed by health care (19%), the war in Iraq (16%), and then terrorism and national security (14%).
At the bottom of the list: support for Israel, at 6 percent.
That wasn't in the New York Times, either.
I find that fascinating because it mirrors a lot of what I see in black folks. People somehow think that reparations or Affirmative Action are voting issues for black folks, when in fact it's same stuff that other Americans worry over--the economy, the War, and health-care.
Oh man, you just made my blogroll. Yeah I know, I'm late. But anyway, here's Glenn's bumrush of Howie Kurtz:
On a weekly basis, Kurtz -- who, due to his deeply conflicted joint positions at both CNN and the Post, has significant influence on how political journalists behave -- makes his method for "media criticisms" clear. He scours the right-wing blogs, religiously consults Drudge, and listens to right-wing talk radio. He writes down all of the scurrilous filth he picks up there and copies it into his column (hence, his prominent, respectful featuring of Red State Erickson's "cokehead" commentary today). His most frequently cited sources are Bill Kristol, Michelle Malkin, and various far-right bloggers. And then he angrily demands to know why the media isn't passing along all the attacks and manufactured scandals he heard from Rush Limbaugh and Michelle Malkin. That's Kurtz's formula for "media criticism."
Never thought the Catholic League would nail this, but they basically get it right here:
Catholic League spokeswoman Kiera McCaffrey says Hagee is a "larger problem" than Farrakhan because Farrakhan is "small potatoes and old news" compared to Hagee and his huge following. McCaffrey says her group is calling on McCain to repudiate Hagee, a Christian leader spokeswoman McCaffrey claims has a long history of "anti-Catholic bigotry."
Yeah, maybe in the 80s and 90s, Farrakhan held some truck with black folks. But the NOI has been on a steady decline since the MMM. I think Tim Russert thought that his questioning put Obama in a bind because, it would split him from black folks who, of course, are mindlessly loyal to Farrakhan. What Russert fails to understand is how bad black people want this, and how little sway Farrakhan has, these days, in the neighborhood. No one cares if Obama denounces Farrakhan. This isn't Jesse circa 88.
Josh Marshall breaks down Wolf Blitzer for trying to equate John Hagee's relationship with McCain and Obama's relationship with Farrakhan:
Let's be clear what happened here. John McCain solicited the support and endorsement of Hagee and then he held a joint appearance with Hagee in which he formally endorsed him. In these terms, Obama has no connection whatsoever to Farrakhan. He's just someone who said positive things about Obama. So the premise for even asking Obama is dubious in itself, whereas McCain has openly embraced Hagee.
Kay Bailey Hutchinson, speaking on McCain's behalf, then basically refuses to denounce the dude. This is a guy who called Catholicism "the great whore." I'm not a Farrakhan fan. I was at the Million Man March in 2005. I want to know where all that money went that was collected. That said, there is something to this idea that media, and most of us, tend to tolerate white bigots, while leading lynch mobs to the homes of black bigots. Anyway, see for yourself.
Yeah I avoid that term like the plague, but wow. Man, listen, or rather, Woman, listen:
I can't help it, but reading about such episodes of screaming, gushing and swooning makes me wonder whether women -- I should say, "we women," of course -- aren't the weaker sex after all. Or even the stupid sex, our brains permanently occluded by random emotions, psychosomatic flailings and distraction by the superficial. Women "are only children of a larger growth," wrote the 18th-century Earl of Chesterfield. Could he have been right?
Better people than me have taken this on, but it just amazes me that this sort of stuff gets published. People just want to see a fight these days--preferably, apparently, a catfight.
Channeling Hova here. But my point continues from the earlier one I made. Here she talks to ABC News about the difficulties of being a candidate:
"And I think women just sort of shake their head," Clinton continued. "My friends do. They say, 'Oh, my gosh, this is so hard.' Well, it's supposed to be hard. I'm running for the hardest job in the world. No one has ever done this. No woman has ever won a presidential primary before I won New Hampshire. This is hard. And I don't expect any sympathy, I don't expect any kind of, you know, allowances or special privileges, because I knew what I was getting myself into.
"Every so often I just wish that it were a little more of an even playing field," she said, "but, you know, I play on whatever field is out there."
Nothing that she says is untrue. But if I, as an Obama supporter, read that he was complaining about how difficult it is being a black candidate, it would really piss me. What I see in the statement, and in how Hillary has conducted her entire campaign, is a profound weakness, cowardice and passive-aggressiveness. She's not hard enough to directly come out and call the process skewed, so she calls it skewed and then claims that it doesn't really bother her. Whatever. Whereas a true competitor would relish getting the first question and think only of socking it out the park, Hillary complains about it, and then claims that she's still happy to have at it.
The level of deceit which drips off her answers is nauseating. Here is a candidate so hamfistedly arrogant that she once claimed in a debate that her biggest problem is that she cares too much. Give me a break. The fact of the matter is that there may not have been a worse candidate in the entire field, short of Mike Gravel. Hillary was armed with entire machinery of the Democratic Party, and yet she's going to loose. Everywhere she campaigns her poll numbers sink and her opponent's numbers rise. And her only answer to that is to simply declare that the state doesn't matter. It's OK. One way or the other this is ending, and she's going to loose. If not next Tuesday, if not in the primary, I'm convinced, in the general.
Katrina vanden Heuvel on Morning Joe. Got a little hot in there weighing race against sex. Pretty interesting.
I really think, at the end of the day, she's just a bad candidate. The question isn't "Will the country elect a woman for president?" as much as its "Which woman will the country elect for president?" There is an implicit sexism in that query, when you note the fact that George Bush got elected to two terms. No woman as incurious and inarticulate as George Bush could even be elected class president. The game is rigged, no doubt. But if you want to win, you've gotta find ways around.
As I said before, Branch Rickey couldn't just snatch any old baseball player out of the Negro Leagues--even if he was a great player. He had to get the perfect one. It was not enough for Martin Luther King to demand equal rights from white America, he had to use nonviolence to demonstrate a level of moral superiority to his oppressors. Obama would be well within his rights to say, "Why do I have to answer for bigots who have no affiliation to my campaign, but John McCain doesn't have to answer for the bigots who are featured on his campaign's website?" But if wants to win, that would be stupid.
At some point, you have to decide whether you're trying to win, or whether you're just trying to even the score. Sexism is a given in any campaign in which a woman is running for president. But are you running to highlight and point out that sexism? Or are you running to overcome it and win? Any candidate who would choose the former would get destroyed in the general election. Thank God this will be over soon. McCain would run over Hillary with a truck.
Hopefully the Obama campaign will end the lie that if you somehow are critical of black people, you'll be criticized as an Uncle Tom. This was always a laughable theory proffered by jokers like Shelby Steele. Jesse, for all his foibles, was one of the loudest voices campaigning against blaxploitation in the 70s. The only people Malcolm X excoriated more than white people, were other black people. I make this point in a piece I just finished for The Atlantic on Cosby. Will obviously link when it's up.
Back to Obama. Check out this piece in the Washington Post in which Obama's relationship with the Jewish community is addressed. One of the great things that Obama has discovered is that you can say the same thing and both white and black people will hear two different things. So when Obama went to Ebeneezer and used all of 10-15 seconds to speak on anti-semitism and homophobia in the black community, white pundits--who tend to believe that before Obama, blacks just sat around patting each other on the back and blaming white people--see a courageous stand. And quite frankly, Obama plays it as such. But black folks just hear a dude expressing his opinion, in much the same way that black folks in private settings tend to generally do. It doesn't sound alien to them. Thus Obama is able to secure white support by appearing to give some ground, when in fact he actually is giving very little ground. Witness the following from none other than the ADL:
To some Jewish leaders, even ones who have remained neutral in the presidential campaign, Obama's struggles are exasperating. Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said yesterday from Jerusalem that Obama has gone much further than other black leaders in his denunciation of Farrakhan and has recently expressed stalwartly pro-Israel views.
"As far as I'm concerned, this issue is behind us," said Foxman, who has not endorsed a candidate. "But with the Internet, as all Jews should know, these things have a half-life. They just keep going."
Remember that Obama has done this while running at near 90 percent in the black community, so this idea that only jokers like Sharpton and Farrakhan have a claim on black folks is stupid. It's amazing that it took a dude running for president to make this clear to media.
Sign up to receive our free newsletters
Pardon my French
Why the reelection of the first black president matters even more than his…
As a candidate, Barack Obama said we needed to reckon with race and with America’s…