TV film alert: Alexandra Pelosi holds mirror up to US conservatives in new film

There is a new documentary by Alexandra Pelosi that is to be shown on HBO starting Monday 2/16 about the conservative reaction the 2008 US elections.(check your time and channel in your area).

Here is the blurb from HBO:

On the day Barack Obama was elected the 44th President, more than 58 million voters cast their ballots for John McCain. In the months leading up to this historic election, filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi (HBO’s Emmy®-winning “Journeys with George”) took a road trip to meet some of the conservative Americans who waited in line for hours to support the GOP ticket, and saw their hopes and dreams evaporate in the wake of that Democratic victory. These voters share their feelings about the changing America in which they live. Premieres Monday, February 16 at 8pm (ET/PT) on HBO2.

I did a post about on my Secular Left blog that includes an interview the filmmaker did on the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC on Friday night.

Alexandra Pelosi holds mirror up to US conservatives in new film

Welcome and Good Luck President Barack Hussein Obama

I‘ll be honest. Before the 2008 elections I didn’t pay much attention to who Barack Obama was. I knew the name, I knew he was black, and knew he was some up and coming politician from Illinois but that was about it. After hearing his personal story and his ideas for this country, I am so glad he is taking the oath of office today. He is a mix of different races and cultures but also the child of a single mother. He is a prime example of what America is all about.

Although I always knew there was a possibility we could elect a black man as President, I just never thought it would be now. I didn’t think we were ready. Sometimes current events come together and create that single tipping point which causes a major shift in this country. 2008 and was that tipping point and Barack Obama was the catalyst.

He knew he couldn’t win because he thought he deserved to. He had to sell himself to the electorate. He knew he couldn’t seem too left or right so he preached bi-partisanship. He knew he didn’t have an established machine most major political players do so he used his organizing skills to build one from scratch. 

He knew he had some things going against him. He was black. He had a Muslim sounding name in a post 9/11 world. He was the son of a single mother with his father dying when he was a young man.

Then we had an administration that for 8 years screwed things up from foreign policy to the economy. People were ready for a change.

Through all of that Obama worked for more than two years to eventually to win the office of President of the United States of America.

Today is his day. The day he officially takes office. It is also OUR day. The US is one of the few, if the only, country who has a change of government without guns and blood in the streets. Over 200 years of mundane hand over of the office to the next person.

40 years after the lowest point in the struggle for black civil rights we have our first black President. To me it was never about his race. It was never about his resume. It was about his ideas and his personal story.

I am also a child of a single mother. My father was killed in Vietnam when I was barely a month old, so I had no father in my life. Some kids called me a bastard and some conservatives kept saying my family experience was evil and that I would turn out to be some drug addicted criminal because I didn’t have a dad in my life. It was tough to take sometimes.

With Obama taking the oath today, it will vindicate me and be at least be a major step for all those children of single parents who are normal, well adjusted, and successful in life despite our fractured family history.

I know he doesn’t have a magic wand that will solve all our current challenges but it is great that we once again have someone who is smart, thoughtful, and someone who knows about the world outside our borders in the top job. It will be a refreshing change.

TV host Craig Ferguson opens his show each night saying “This is a great day for America!” and I echo that for this day – Inauguration Day

Good luck to us and our new President Barack Hussein Obama II.

Buh-Bye George Bush

Today is your last full day. Make sure you clean out your desk and turn in your parking pass. As one of my supervisors once told me “Your services are no longer required…” Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out – and take Darth Cheney with you.

The US Supreme Court installed you in office. You won re-election because of efforts to ban Gay marriage. You started 2 wars and had no exit strategy. You allowed our rights to be trampled on because you felt like it. You and your “free market” money whores fucked the economy and ruined our nation’s rep in the rest of the world.

You refuse to acknowledge you did anything wrong and hope that history judges you better than current events.

I will give you one small tiny credit – you did get the spineless Congress to bend to your will with a lower popularity level than Nixon had during Watergate. That was impressive.

Now, though, George W. Bush is in serious contention for the title of worst ever. In early 2004, an informal survey of 415 historians conducted by the nonpartisan History News Network found that eighty-one percent considered the Bush administration a “failure.” Among those who called Bush a success, many gave the president high marks only for his ability to mobilize public support and get Congress to go along with what one historian called the administration’s “pursuit of disastrous policies.” In fact, roughly one in ten of those who called Bush a success was being facetious, rating him only as the best president since Bill Clinton — a category in which Bush is the only contestant.

How does any president’s reputation sink so low? The reasons are best understood as the reverse of those that produce presidential greatness. In almost every survey of historians dating back to the 1940s, three presidents have emerged as supreme successes: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt. These were the men who guided the nation through what historians consider its greatest crises: the founding era after the ratification of the Constitution, the Civil War, and the Great Depression and Second World War. Presented with arduous, at times seemingly impossible circumstances, they rallied the nation, governed brilliantly and left the republic more secure than when they entered office.

Calamitous presidents, faced with enormous difficulties — Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Hoover and now Bush — have divided the nation, governed erratically and left the nation worse off. In each case, different factors contributed to the failure: disastrous domestic policies, foreign-policy blunders and military setbacks, executive misconduct, crises of credibility and public trust. Bush, however, is one of the rarities in presidential history: He has not only stumbled badly in every one of these key areas, he has also displayed a weakness common among the greatest presidential failures — an unswerving adherence to a simplistic ideology that abjures deviation from dogma as heresy, thus preventing any pragmatic adjustment to changing realities. Repeatedly, Bush has undone himself, a failing revealed in each major area of presidential performance.

The Worst President in History?


Not surprised “Magic Negro” song came from Republicans

You should have heard by now about the parody song called “Barack the Magic Negro” sent to Republican National Committee members by Chip Saltsman, who is running for the RNC chair. The backlash from normal people was loud and the defense of Saltsman, by racist Republicans was also loud. None of it surprised me really as I have enough common sense to know that “negro” is not a word one uses in public and defending its use as a “joke” is just plain mentally challenged.

Here are some of the “lyrics” of the song:

Barack the Magic Negro lives in D.C.

The L.A. Times, they called him that

‘Cause he’s not authentic like me.

Yeah, the guy from the L.A. paper

Said he makes guilty whites feel good

They’ll vote for him, and not for me

‘Cause he’s not from the hood.

See, real black men, like Snoop Dog,

Or me, or Farrakhan

Have talked the talk, and walked the walk.


Now a standard understanding of english and US History should see these words as not funny but racist to the core. It shouldn’t have to be said why “negro” is not a good word to be throwing around in public in the 21st Century.

Defenders of the song when it was first heard on Rush Limbaugh’s show back in 2007 (wow, imagine that..) including Saltsman himself now say:

“liberal Democrats and their allies in the media didn’t utter a word about David Ehrenstein’s irresponsible column in the Los Angeles Times last March. But now, of course, they’re shocked and appalled by its parody on ‘The Rush Limbaugh Show.”

Chip Saltsman’s ‘Magic Negro’ mistake

The column Saltsman refers to was about comparing Obama’s candidacy to characters in film and literature of a nonthreatening black man whites could embrace – which played on the racist idea that whites “normally” fear blacks.

As Tim Rutten says in his column:

The point is, when it comes to discussions of race in America — and particularly racial or ethnic humor — context is everything. In fact, racial and ethnic humor are probably the most contextually sensitive of all forms of satire. They work only when everyone is clear that the person making the joke regards the differences and foibles of another group affectionately and as something that makes everybody’s life more interesting. Lots of traditional Jewish and Irish humor falls into that category, though even there, it depends on who is telling the joke, and to whom.

The right contextual conditions, however, never exist in politics, which is why ethnic or racial references in that venue nearly always offend — or, at best, fall flat.

The reason there was little to no complaints about David Ehrenstein is that he was discussing cultural history and he is part black. There is just a basic taboo against a white person using racist terms about blacks just as there is a taboo about Jewish people using slurs against Irish Catholics in public etc….

This has been a staple tactic of the Republican party for more than 50 years. Using fear of minorities to rile up their white base with first outright racist terms but usually now they use codes. Saltsman seemed to have left his code book at home.

Now if it has to be explained why a white guy sending out a parody song which uses racially charged words about a black man isn’t funny then there is no hope for you and you will simply be a burden on society for the rest of my life and yours.

Since I don’t believe Saltsman went to a special school during his education days, I have to assume he is a racist idiot and so is anyone trying to defend his bone head decision to send out the song.

Public works IS a national interest

On Saturday, President-elect Barack Obama announced the largest public works program since the Eisenhower adminstration in the 1950’s.

Today, I am announcing a few key parts of my plan. First, we will launch a massive effort to make public buildings more energy-efficient. Our government now pays the highest energy bill in the world. We need to change that. We need to upgrade our federal buildings by replacing old heating systems and installing efficient light bulbs. That won’t just save you, the American taxpayer, billions of dollars each year. It will put people back to work.

Second, we will create millions of jobs by making the single largest new investment in our national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s. We’ll invest your precious tax dollars in new and smarter ways, and we’ll set a simple rule – use it or lose it. If a state doesn’t act quickly to invest in roads and bridges in their communities, they’ll lose the money.

Third, my economic recovery plan will launch the most sweeping effort to modernize and upgrade school buildings that this country has ever seen. We will repair broken schools, make them energy-efficient, and put new computers in our classrooms. Because to help our children compete in a 21st century economy, we need to send them to 21st century schools.

As we renew our schools and highways, we’ll also renew our information superhighway. It is unacceptable that the United States ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption. Here, in the country that invented the internet, every child should have the chance to get online, and they’ll get that chance when I’m President – because that’s how we’ll strengthen America’s competitiveness in the world.

In addition to connecting our libraries and schools to the internet, we must also ensure that our hospitals are connected to each other through the internet. That is why the economic recovery plan I’m proposing will help modernize our health care system – and that won’t just save jobs, it will save lives. We will make sure that every doctor’s office and hospital in this country is using cutting edge technology and electronic medical records so that we can cut red tape, prevent medical mistakes, and help save billions of dollars each year.

Weekly Address

Not only will this try and jump start our crashing economy but would fix some serious problems we have with our infrastructure. The prime example of the teetering collapse was the literal collapse of the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis in 2007.

Of course some people will complain about the spending of large sums of tax payer dollars but like the Interstate Highway System, our infrastructure should be of a national interest. Good roads, safe bridges, and school buildings are foundations for a strong society.

Only the federal government can marshal the money and vision to make these things happen on a scale to help the country on the whole. The Interstate system not only helped to support the military if needed, it transformed the economics of this country and allowed for more national businesses rather than local or regional ones. With that scale came lower prices and new products and services spreading from coast to coast. Would McDonald’s be an American icon today if there had not been interstate highways?