Friday, September 17, 2004

Almost time to choose!

A brief and simplistic view of the campaign

Remember the scene towards the end of Rambo when Sly Stallone is stranded in the jungle? He finally reaches Murdoch on the walkie-talkie and Murdoch says “I’m coming to get you.” Remember what happened next? Rambo (Sly Stallone) says “No Murdoch, I’m coming to get you!” I remember seeing that scene in the theater and there were screams of encouragement for Rambo. You know, go get the SOB who did bad things to you.

Fast forward to the 2004 Presidential campaign, where we find Rambo (George W. Bush) running against Gilligan (John Kerry.)

President Bush has made it clear to the world that he will fight back if we are attacked. Any terrorist who tries to mess with us will be trying to outrun a Tomahawk cruise missile or dodge a daisy-cutter bomb. He will do what he can to get the bastards who try to ruin our country!

On the other hand, John Kerry reminds me of Gilligan. He is stranded, knows where he wants to go, can’t seem to figure out how, and keeps changing his methods until he finds something that works. What happen when Gilligan gets in trouble? He needs the Skipper. In Kerry’s case, the Skipper is the United Nations.

So who would you rather have? Rambo or Gilligan? As for me, I would rather see Rambo. Somehow I think that it's not likely I will see a Boeing 767 aimed at my office window with W in charge!

In my view, that is what it is all about. Safety. If we can’t live in freedom without worrying that our kids won’t come home from school, or that it is not safe to watch a Texas Rangers game (wait, bad example, watch out for flying chairs) then nothing else matters.

The economy will ebb and flow, it always does. The President doesn’t lose or create jobs, the economy does. I am not worried about the economy.

I don’t care about swift boats or National Guard memos, real or fabricated. My main concern is who is more qualified to react if and when we are hit again.

Rambo or Gilligan? 45 more days. Make your choice.


Rudderless Kerry Campaign seeks direction

The above rendered graphic was computer generated by The Glob Mainframe when fed information from the latest Gallup Poll

What I like about the above link is that it provides the actual questions used to develop the poll results. You can see the questions and decide for yourself if they were leading in anyway. fb

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Campaign Strategy
with Terry McAuliffe

Paddy, one of The Glob's interns, asked in her giggly bouncy way if she could have a real assignment. So, we decided to send her to interview Terry McAuliffe. As Trotter Johnson (writer of The Fishin' Report) is fond of noting, Paddy is "one hot hunk of girl meat." We knew she would find a way to get an interview. And she did.

Paddy caught up with Terry at a swank DC restaurant and made it to his table by bouncing up and down and feigning an orgasm. She was able to ask one question and get a partial response before the interview was abruptly terminated:

The Glob: So, Terry, this campaign seems to have gone somewhat awry. Kerry seems to be his own worst enemy. Why do you suppose he keeps shooting himself in the foot?

TM: Well, it always worked before...

Monday, September 13, 2004

Concerning Affirmative Action.

Strange Fruit

Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

Here is the fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

Abel Meeropol, 1937

I start with this poem because I believe that to honestly talk about affirmative action, one must come to grips with some historical fact, and reflect on how that reality reverberated throughout the first half of the 20th century.

One must consider the psychological effects, and reason through what that does to a person, and how it affects the raising of subsequent generations of people.

(continued from page 1)
I know a lot of the common sound bytes about affirmative action, because I’ve said them all myself. However, I was young and stupid.

Some statements like “It’s reverse discrimination” are less simplistic versions of “It’s not fair”. Others, such as “It is an insult and implies the black man cannot compete”, feign a higher enlightened road of inclusion. An attempted egalitarian nudge and wink shared with your black friends, demonstrating your belief that you think Blacks really are people, while in fact you are being intellectually lazy, if not dishonest.

Strong words?

Please review the following:

End of the Civil War, April 1865; slaves are freed.

Legislation largely for and about the freed slaves:

14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Civil Rights (1868)
15th Amendment "The Right To Vote", February 3, 1870
The Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The Civil Rights Act of 1991

It wasn’t until 1964 that freed slaves and their offspring actually had the unimpeded right to vote. Even then, the basic legislation had to be strengthened in 1991.

Elapsed time: 126 years.

The following is excerpted from a book called A Question of Manhood, Volume 2, Blacks in The Diaspora
-Darlene Clark Hine, John McCluskey, Jr., and David Barry Gaspar

The number of black voters in Alabama declined from a statewide total of 3,742 in 1908 to 1,500 in 1930. For all practical purposes, the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution no longer existed in the Black Belt, and blacks found themselves increasingly vulnerable to racist violence. Georgia led the nation in lynchings between 1885 and 1918 with 398. Mississippi was a close second with 381 and Alabama was fifth with 246. In 1915 there were 18 lynchings in Georgia alone, twice as many as in any other state. Appropriately, Mississippi and Alabama were tied for second place with 9 illegal hangings of black people that year. Carter G. Woodson, reviewing the economic chaos which had befallen black farmers throughout the South, refused to attribute the exodus of blacks into the North for any but political reasons. “It is highly probable that the Negroes would not be leaving the South today,” the Negro historian wrote in 1918, “if they were treated as men.”

The tie between voting, land-ownership and lynching cannot be minimized.

There are many reasons which explain in part the demise of black land tenure in the Black Belt South, and the destruction of an authentic, black landowning class. We have isolated several causes—the emergence of white racism and Jim Crow legislation, the fall of cotton prices, the coming of the boll weevil, the lack of adequate credit at reasonable rates, and the general erosion and depletion of the soil. All of these reasons and others stem from a larger and as yet unanswered dilemma—the existence and survival of black people within the context of the American capitalist system. In theory, capitalism is characterized by a degree of labor mobility and a free movement of capital from disadvantageous enterprises to more profitable sectors. But under the economic conditions prevalent in the postbellum South, an elite group of white planters, bankers, investors, and merchants held a tight monopoly over the monetary supply, credit sources and rates, and the entire agricultural production of the region. This economic monopoly gradually promoted the collapse of the black economic miracle which black educators and entrepreneurs like Booker T. Washington dreamed of building. Given the structure of the domestic economy, it was inevitable that black farmers would be forced off the land and evicted from their homes to work at factory jobs in the cities of the New South and the urban ghettoes of the North.

As economist Paul Sweezy observed, “the very essence of monopoly is the existence of effective barriers to the [free] movement of capital.” Neither the South’s social institutions, corrupted from the bottom up by violent racist ideology, nor its lily-white political institutions could provide fundamental solutions to the region’s regressive economic order. History thus illustrates clearly that the goal of black economic self-sufficiency was a bitter illusion rather than a possibility; the collapse of black land tenure in the Black Belt South was not a failure of black people, but a direct result of the denial of equal economic opportunity for all members of the society.

What happened in the late 1800s and early 1900s probably made many blacks hearken back to the halcyon days of slavery.

There are poignant moments in the history of dependent peoples, when the terms of their oppression have not yet been—or are no longer—fixed, when there is movement, be it forward or backward. Black Americans had been sliding backwards since the heady days of Reconstruction. Violence, fraud, and restrictive electoral laws were used by the Democrats to reduce and control the black vote in the South. “There are minor elections in which it is not thought needful to interfere,” a British essayist observed in 1891. “But, speaking generally, the fact is too well known to need either proof or illustration that … the colored people are not suffered to use the rights which the amendments to the constitution were intended to secure.”

By the time those words appeared, the South was already embarking on what one southern editor described as “a new method of dealing with that White Man’s Burden which she has borne for more than thirty years-a method that, in spite of appearances of injustice, promises … more generous treatment of the negro.” The South would no longer seek to curtail and control the black vote, but to eliminate it altogether.

Lynching, an old American tradition that had long flourished on the frontier, gained new importance in the South. According to historian Edward L. Ayers, “The visibility and ferocity of lynching seemed to assume new proportions in the 1880s and 1890s.” One British observer wrote that “In many instances deliberate arrangements for the ‘execution’ are made, special trains bring throngs of male and female visitors, and the event forms an interesting public holiday.” Lynchings were also educational events as “young black men learned early in their lives that they could at any time be grabbed by a white mob—whether for murder, looking at a white woman the wrong way, or merely being ‘smart’—and dragged into the woods or a public street to be tortured, burned, mutilated.” The complicity and approval of southern whites were matched by the indifference of northern whites and the federal government. “It was a revealing reflection on the times that so few congressmen showed any concerns about the lynchings,” notes one scholar. Americans “are a nation of lynchers,” distinguished African American journalist Ida B. Wells cried out to a British audience in 1898

A gruesome symbol of the growing white savagery against blacks was the lynching of Sam Hose, an African American who confessed to having killed a white man.

On April 23, 1899, Sam Hose was seized from his jail cell in Newnan, Georgia, by a mob of angry whites. For half an hour he was slowly mutilated. “While he pleaded pitifully for mercy and begged his tormentors to let him die,” the men severed his ears, and then cut off his fingers one by one. Finally he was burned alive. “The torch was applied about 2:30, and at 3 o’clock the body of Sam Hose was limp and lifeless. … The body was not cut down. It was cut to pieces. The crowd fought for places about the smoldering tree, and with knives secured such pieces of his carcass as had not crumbled away.” One special and two regular trains “carried nearly 4,000 people” to witness the burning or to visit the scene of the lynching. “Special train for Newnan! All aboard for the burning!” the criers yelled. The New York Times reported that “the excursionists returning … [were] loaded down [with souvenirs] … bones, pieces of flesh, and parts of the wood which was placed at the negro’s feet.” The paper also noted that “one enthusiast procured a slice of the heart, which he took to Atlanta to present to the Governor.” Another three to four thousand spectators visited the scene of the lynching the following day.

In the days after the incident, the governor of Georgia blamed the blacks for the entire episode, and the U.S. attorney general hastened to declare that no federal law had been violated and that “the government would take no action whatever.”

Granted, Sam Hose was a confessed murderer. But, still… spectators to mutilation and muder?

In 1940 Ralph Ellison wrote “The Birthmark”. Here is an excerpt:

When Matt lowered his eyes he noticed the ribs had been caved in.

The flesh was bruised and torn. [The birthmark] was just below [Willie’s] navel, he thought. Then he gave a start: where it should have been was only a bloody mound of torn flesh and hair. Matt went weak. He felt as though he had been castrated himself. He thought he would fall when Clara stepped up beside him. Swiftly, he tried to push her back…. Then Clara was screaming…. Matt pushed [her] to go, feeling hot breath against the hand he held over her mouth.

“Just remember that a car hit ’im, and you’ll be all right,” the patrolman said. “We don’t allow no lynching round here no more.”

Matt felt Clara’s fingers digging into his arm as his eyes flashed swiftly over the face of the towering patrolman, over the badge against the blue shirt, the fingers crooked in the belt above the gun butt. He swallowed hard … catching sight of Willie between the white men’s legs.

“I’ll remember,” he said bitterly, “he was hit by a car.”

—RALPH ELLISON, “The Birthmark,” in New Masses, July 2, 1940

Now that you are sufficiently disgusted, I want you to imagine that you watched your older brother or your father get dragged out of your house and disappear.

Later, you find this:

The picture that inspired the poem Strange Fruit

Tell me, how do you cope? What would you tell your children when they grow up? Your grandchildren? What do they tell their kids? Please take a moment to think about what do you tell your kids?

Lynching is a shameful fact of our history. It is or was a symptom of a national illness. The symptoms may have been assuaged, but, is the illness cured?

It is my opinion that even as late as today Black America is just now emerging from the hellish nightmare caused by our national illness. I don’t know what the psychic generational burden of such a legacy truly engenders.

But we can look at society and get a clue.

In 1985 I was interviewing candidates for a refrigeration position. Refrigeration in Texas is a big deal, and so refrigeration techs are in high demand. During the summer it is very hard to find one that has time to come in and interview. I finally had a young black male with all his certifications come in. Experience, etc. I had the supervisor do a second interview. Less than 10 minutes he was back down with the candidate. Smiling and shaking his hand he bade him farewell, saying we’d be in touch. When the door closed, the supervisor turned to me and said, quote “You know they all steal” and walked away. I was young and outraged and so I pursued it with my boss. We hired the guy. Which was no favor to him. He quit in 3 weeks. The only thing he told me in the exit interview was that “it just isn’t going to work out.”

As much as we want to think, discrimination is not gone in America. It’s not even dormant. The only inroads that have been made are due to Government addressing the situation. The only lasting solution is when you actually work with someone different from you, and realize how similar you really are. And you teach your kids to judge the individual, not the race.

None of that would be happening today if not for affirmative action, or the threat of it, in employment law.

The need for that government intervention is not gone. At least not in employment. But what of education? Well, this is circular. Which came first, the job or the education? Depends. The job of the parent perhaps maintained the family unit and allowed for the next generation to get an education. The education allows for better jobs, etc.

I submit the starting point is being able to make a living, any living. And that comes from being able to hold jobs. Of course you have to get the jobs first. And if you are dealing with residual mentalities that organized social events around a lynching, I submit that getting a job and keeping one can be a difficult proposition.

There is no denying that affirmative action is not perfect. It is distasteful to most, precisely because it is discriminatory. I think of affirmative action as a prescribed medicine, an antibiotic if you will, which one takes because it makes you better. But what does the doctor always say about your antibiotic? That’s right. Take them all until they are gone. Otherwise, the illness will come back stronger.

It is not yet time to toss affirmative action aside. Its job is not yet done. It has taken 126 years to get to this point, and only the last 30 years have shown any significant advancement. That’s only one generation from institutionalized lynching being part of your daily reality. Clearly that is not long enough.

Yes, things are a lot better. We can all feel better about the situation, and feel good about the progress that has been made.

But, the country is not yet completely healthy. We may feel better about discrimination in America, but we cannot stop taking the anti-biotic just because we feel better. We have to finish taking the prescription. Probably for another generation at least. Doctor’s orders.


See Affirmative on Page 3

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Is my blog Good or Evil?

No doubt, you have been secretly wondering if your blog is good or evil. I am proud to announce that my blog is 57% good. (Of course that means that my site is 43% evil, but we're keeping that on the down low.)

At the Sign of The Screaming Monkey's Head is currently 65% good. And The Spiritual Advocate, as one might imagine, is 75% good.

Follow this link and type in your URL and find out about yours!

The Sect of Homokaasu - The Gematriculator

A Public Service
how-things-work mazes

Instructional Anatomy Maze

Teach your children how the world works! Print out this maze and help them get the Idea from the Brain to the Mouth! (Number 17 in a series.)