Category Archives: Racism

1000 Word: A Rich Vein of Hatred

I’m old enough to remember the Oscars night when Sacheen Littlefeather took to the stage and declined the Best Actor Oscar on behalf of Marlon Brando as a way to protest Hollywood’s depictions and treatment of Native Americans.

Brando’s turn-down of the award followed by a couple of years George C. Scott’s nix of it. Scott, though, thumbed his nose at the statuette because he didn’t like the idea of competition among actors. He’d won the Oscar for his portrayal of World War II Gen. George S. Patton in the eponymous biopic. Which, BTW, was co-written by Francis Ford Coppola who, of course, directed The Godfather, for which Brando was being celebrated — or at least scheduled to be — that fateful evening.

Marlon Brando, though, was a noted advocate at the time for Native Americans, and so came the appearance of Littlefeather.

Image: UCLA Library Special Collections

The New York Times yesterday ran a piece on the event that took place nearly a half century ago. Sacheen Littlefeather now is an old woman and the photo the paper ran of her was certainly jarring. About as jarring as the face that looks back at me from the mirror every goddamned morning. No matter how much we acknowledge that time flees, its flight freaks us.

Littlefeather was a White Mountain Apache. In keeping with the whole Hollywood thing, she was breathtakingly beautiful, her Native American accoutrements seemingly straight out of the costume department. Despite that, she spoke honestly and with real emotion about the film industry’s depiction of Native Americans through the years. It seemed she might break down in tears at any moment during her minute-long speech. Only a creep would be failed to be moved by it.

Well, the Oscar audience that night 49 years ago was filled with creeps.

I was 17 years old at the time and still in thrall to things like the Academy Awards broadcast. I watched as Littlefeather spoke and was aghast at the boos emanating from the crowd. Of course, not everybody booed. The cheers for her balanced out the jeering but it was the negative reaction that stuck with me. Even then I was baffled that anyone could be so…, well, assholish as to boo someone speaking from the heart about the racist portrayals and treatment of her people.

What I didn’t remember, and learned of in the NYT article, is many in the audience actually started doing the tomahawk chop while Littlefeather spoke. If you’re not a sports fan, you may be unfamiliar with the tomahawk chop. In places like Atlanta and universities whose team names are some variant of the Native American thing, fans launch into rhythmic faux-Indian calls, chopping with their right hands in time, mimicking warriors wielding their savage weapons. You know, the way they’ve seen Indians in old Hollywood movies behave. Cop a peek at the fans of the Florida State Seminoles doing the chop:

As an aside, this is a prime illustration of why I shun, as much as humanly possible, going along with the crowd. I steadfastly refuse to do a thing for the simple reason everybody else is doing it. Do you blame me?

Anyway, the Oscars, then as now, is not a sporting event. This despite that fact that, as George C. Scott pointed out, it’s a race between competitors. You’d figure an Academy Award night crowd would be rife with creative, sensitive, progressive, caring folk who’d at least wish to listen to the plaint of a young, frightened woman standing up for her people.

Sadly, the crowd on the night in question was (il)liberally sprinkled with, um…, assholes.

I’m no babe in the woods. I know there’s been a broad current of hate running through the American bloodstream since this holy land’s very inception. I know about lynchings and institutionalized racism and block-busting and red-lining and homophobia and misogyny and every other kind of emotional and spiritual cancer that afflicts far too many of our fellow citizens. Still, I was shocked to learn about many in the Oscars crowd doing that stupid chop during Littlefeather’s speech.

And it gets worse. Apparently John Wayne had to be restrained from charging the stage and stopping Littlefeather from speaking. And Sacheen herself claims she was shot at — with guns, mind you — in the aftermath of the event.

Another aside, this one about John Wayne. His career and legacy largely were made by his roles in all those gorgeous John Ford westerns like Fort Apache, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Stagecoach, and Rio Grande. During World War II, Ford served as a commander in the US Navy, heading the service’s photographic unit. He actually participated in the D-Day landing at Normandy, witnessing the carnage and suffering a wound himself. For his part, John Wayne, the movie tough guy, stayed home during the war, increasing his reputation and bank account while many other Hollywood actors and directors sacrificed years of their careers for the war effort. Ford never forgave Wayne for avoiding service. In fact, acc’d’g to accounts, Ford repeatedly harangued Wayne about it during filming of their last picture together, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence.

Pretend Hero.

Have we gotten better over the years? President Truman ordered the integration of the armed services in 1947. Minneapolis Mayor Hubert Humphrey gave his rousing “bright sunshine of human rights” speech in favor of integration and full civil rights in America in 1948. In the 1960s, Ernie Banks, the biggest sports star in my hometown, was compelled to live in the all-black Chatham neighborhood. Thirty years later, the one-time lily-white suburb of Highland Park was proud to claim as its resident Michael Jordan. Today, no one bats an eye when a black and white couple walks down the street hand in hand. The year Littlefeather spoke, I was in a car with an older co-worker when he spied a black man and a white woman walking on Grand Avenue. “Lookit that,” he said, his voice dripping with contempt, “a nigger and a white chick.”

I’d like to think we’re better than that today. We can’t say the word nigger in a public setting now. And the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has issued an apology to Sacheen Littlefeather for her treatment that night in 1973.

But they’re still doing the tomahawk chop in Atlanta.

1000 Words: A Blow For The Oscars

I’ve always been baffled by the attention people lavish on the Oscars. For me, the Academy Awards ceremony ranks up there with the British Royal Family and the Westminster Dog Show. I just don’t get it.

Then again, I’m obsessed with the fortunes of a bunch of guys in pinstriped pajamas trying to hit a little ball with a long wooden bat. So who am I to judge?

Last night’s Oscars actually made headlines for a reason other than some young star’s side-boob or an aging actor’s scold on the latest injustice. Will Smith, who didn’t know it at the moment but would in short order be named Best Actor, smacked with an open hand or slugged with a close fist — I couldn’t tell which — comedian Chris Rock.

It ranks up there with other ad-libbed acts on Oscar night through the years, including Sasheen Littlefeather standing in for Marlon Brando, the streaker who ran past David Niven, and the time the presenter announced the wrong Best Picture winner.

Anyway, Rock joked that Jada Pinkett Smith’s next movie should be GI Jane II. It got a chuckle because in the original GI Jane, Demi Moore had her head shaved. The joke being Pinkett Smith, recently revealed to be suffering from alopecia, likely won’t have to be shaved for the role.

It was a tiny bit risky, making light of her medical condition. Still, it’d be forgotten almost before the chuckling had died down but Smith strode on stage and whacked Rock. As he marched back to his seat, he announced, loudly, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!”

It may be the first time anybody ever clouted anybody else at the Oscars. I’m willing to bet there’ve been some thumbs thrown at one or another of the booze- and cocaine-fueled after-parties, but during the proceedings, I doubt it. Again I don’t know because, again, I don’t care.

The incident is big news this AM. People are gleefully expounding on it around the world. Editorialists are trying to Make Sense of It All. Opinionators are wondering What It All Means.

Let’s take a look at it through a variety of lenses.

Perhaps the first thing to consider is as yet we have no idea what Pinkett Smith thinks of the whole thing. She did not mount that stage and clock Rock. It was her husband. Many people find humor to be a healthy way of dealing with whatever malady has befallen them. I spent about six months making jokes about my cancer back in 2016. That, of course, doesn’t mean everybody enjoys a good guffaw when it comes to, say, a recent diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. But, again, we don’t know what Pinkett Smith’s views are.

We do know that the gag incensed Will Smith enough to resort to violence. And the funny thing is, many of the folks who’ve been decrying American society’s recent decent into violence (really, not a new development, after all, but…, y’know) have endorsed Smith’s slug. Or whack. Or whatever.

One social media poster I know wrote: “Chris Rock got what he deserved. Making jokes about a person’s disease is crossing that fine line between humor & inappropriate.”

Another poster wrote: “I spent years, as a volunteer & professional, involved w issues of domestic and other forms of violence… and Smith’s violent behavior is normalized every.single.day across the globe.”

Pinkett Smith’s kid, Jaden, tweeted: “And that’s how we do it.” Whatever it is and whoever we are.

It turns out Rock has made jokes about the Pinkett Smiths before. Back in 2016, they boycotted the Oscars over the Academy’s historic pushing of black actors and filmmakers toward the back of the bus. Will Smith the previous year had starred in the movie, Concussion, and many believed the Academy’s snub of him for the Best Actor nomination was yet another example of Hollywood’s apartheid. Rock, 2016 Oscars host, cracked: “Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited.”

Pinkett Smith took it in apparent good humor. Appropriate since, that’s what it was all about. “Hey look,” she told reporters afterward, “it comes with the territory.”

Pinkett Smith, after all, like everybody in the hall, makes her living standing before millions of people, essentially shouting, “Hey, look at me.” And she certainly hasn’t kept her alopecia a secret, so Rock wasn’t betraying any confidences.

And, again, we still have no idea what she thinks of the crack at this time.

But we know her man was moved to fisticuffs. Lawyers might tell us what Will Smith did to Chris Rock last night constitutes criminal assault and battery.

“He should have been arrested,” wrote Clemmie Moodie, the entertainment columnist for The Sun.

Moodie, I should point out, is a white woman. This is relevant because Will Smith is a black man. How might she have reacted if the swinger was white? How might the fallout have differed had Smith instead been, say, Tom Hanks? We’ve come a long way, baby, and overt racism is frowned upon in this day and age — cryptic references and dog whistles are preferred now — but the idea of a black man driven angry enough to start swinging still scares the bejesus out of way too many white people.

And too many women remain, even in these “enlightened” times, scared to death of too many men. Spousal and domestic abuse continues to be a dangerous epidemic around the world. The guys most likely to beat the hell out of their female mates seem to see their women as…, well, their women. One woman wrote on social media: “I am also stunned how many people are saying they would ‘stand up for their woman’ in the same way…. Violence in the name of protecting a woman is OK? Does it get more patriarchal than this?”

For all we know, Jada Pinkett Smith might have been mortified by her husband’s impulsive reaction. Thus far, there’ve been many ways to look at this incident. The only way we haven’t considered is Jada Pinkett Smith’s way.

Hot Air

What Cops Do

Really, calling the cops is white people’s security blanket.

Your home gets burglarized, you call the cops. You do this even though you know they’re not gonna put three shifts on the case to track down your flat screen. Still, you feel better when they show up.

You get into an accident, you call the cops. They come by and take your report — something you could have done simply by driving to the nearest police station. When they show up, you feel as though justice will be served as they haul in the idiot who slammed into your hot rod. Which, of course, they don’t do.

Some lunkheads start pounding each other out on the sidewalk, you call the cops. By the time the squad car rolls up, the lunkheads are gone. The cops tell you they’ll keep a lookout for them. Sure.

The cops are there, mainly, to hold your hand. They make you feel safe. They give you the illusion that the scary, chaotic incident you just witnessed or experienced is really under control, their control — your friends, the men in blue. Now you can go back to sleep.

It’s not that way for people living in black slums. Most residents of tough, poor, inner-city neighborhoods are afraid to open their doors to the cops. This was brought home dramatically Saturday when Chicago police, responded to a call about an emotionally disturbed young man raising hell in his father’s apartment on the city’s West Side. The young man, Quintonio LeGrier, was running down the stairs of the apartment building while carrying a baseball bat when one or more of the responding officers opened fire, hitting the college student with six slugs. A seventh shot took the life of a 55-year-old mother of five, Bettie Jones, who’d opened her apartment door to see what all the fuss was about.

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Bettie Jones

The kid LeGrier had lived a horseshit life. He’d been abandoned by both parents and was the victim of physical abuse. He’d recently lost a close foster brother to a random shooting. He’d also had a very recent history of troubles, allegedly being involved in three separate scuffles at Northern Illinois University where he was studying electrical engineering. He’d experienced alarming mood swings in recent months.

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Quintonio LeGrier

The crisis called for caring professionals with special training in handling emotionally disturbed individuals. Problem was the only people who came to the West Side apartment house were cops carrying loaded firearms, cops whose first impulse was to squeeze their triggers.

What is it that would cause a cop to open fire on an emotionally disturbed young man carrying a baseball bat? Other than his skin color, natch. And it really doesn’t matter if the shooting officers were white or black, the racist culture within the police department of Chicago and pretty much every force around this holy land trumps racial brotherhood. Black cops are just as petrified of crazy niggers as white cops are today. Because, really, that’s all young black men are anymore — to a certain segment of society.

Bettie Jones’s childhood friend Jaqueline Walker had a question for the cops in the aftermath of the shootings: “Why you got to shoot first and ask questions later?”

Quintonio LeGrier’s mother posed her own heart-breaking query about the cops in the wake of her son’s death. “What are they trained for? Just to kill?”

Hot Air

One Shot, One Year

For my money, this is the picture of the year, 2015:

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[Image: John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune, November 25, 2015]

That’s a young fellow named Lamon Reccord, a participant in street protests against Chicago police brutality and the killings of black people in general around this holy land. The protests broke out this fall in the aftermath of the release of a video showing a CPD officer shooting Laquan McDonald 16 times on a South Side street some 13 months earlier.

This particular confrontation took place at the corner of State and Randolph streets in the Loop the day after the video footage was released. Reccord already had gained national notoriety when he was video’d staring down another Chicago cop the day before. He’s either a symbol of morally-justified resistance to police racism and the use of deadly force or he’s a troublemaking punk, depending on where you stand on police/black relations in Murrica these days.

Loyal Pencillistas know where I stand.

Insurrection?

Correct me if I’m wrong, lawyers and military experts, but if Sy Hersh is right about this*, Gen. Martin Dempsey has committed a clear violation of military chain of command, putting the himself at risk of court-martial, incarceration, and even death. It seems like treason, pure and simple. It doesn’t matter if the president’s decision is right or wrong. That’s not how the military works. In fact, it borders on a coup.

And, really, haven’t you been expecting one or another Obama opponent to lead some kind of mutiny, even at this late date in his presidency?

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Dempsey (L) & Hersh

Remember when the big panic going around held that Obama was secretly planning to get us involved in a big war or some such emergency so that he could declare martial law and remain in office even after his term(s) expired? Then again, that particular paranoiac delusion might well have gotten lost in the flood of all the other psychotic reactionary hallucinations to Obama’s election. There were so many of them, after all.

In any case, at least one reactionary was sure to commit some act of overthrow, given all the panic surrounding the first black prez.

[ * Just in case you’re too pressed for time to read the piece, Hersh asserts in the January 7, 2016 issue of the London Review of Books that Dempsey engaged in a secret plan to lure the Russians into the Syrian civil war and simultaneous battle against ISIS. Further, he ignored the White House’s strategy of attempting to remove Bashar al Assad from power. Dempsey, acc’d’g to Hersh, thought Obama was all wet in his Syria strategy so he freelanced his own plot.

Hersh, BTW, is a dogged, fearless investigative journalist who exposed the My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War and the US Army’s abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad. He also occasionally cooks up the occasional crockpot conspiracy theory. The question, then, is where does this latest revelation fall in Hersh’s spectrum? ]

Cashing In

CBGB’s in New York City’s Bowery district was the chic-est place for punks to hang out in the late 1970s and into the early ’80s. The seediest bar imaginable, run by a guy named Hilly Kristal on a side street rife with the homeless, junkies, broken glass, and discarded syringes, the place introduced the world to the likes of the Ramones, the Talking Heads, Television, Blondie, the Dead Boys, Patti Smith, and countless other heroes of punk.

cbgb-1983-nyc-billboard-650

Even inside the place, CBGB was littering with trash, vomit, dog shit, and strung-out mainliners. The very ugliness of CBGB became its selling point. Punk — and CBGB — symbolized a violent reaction to Middle American sensibilities, corporatism, advertising, music marketing, and the use of personal hygiene products.

CBGB served food, after a fashion, because its liquor license demanded it do so. Nobody went there to eat, believe me. The place has been closed for years now, its frontage now redone a la gentrification moderne.

Nevertheless, an entrepreneur named Harold Moore is opening up a CBGB restaurant in Newark Int’l Airport. Moore says he’ll serve $9 deviled eggs, an $11.50 iceberg lettuce salad, and a $14 hamburger to travelers hoping to recreate the Bowery/punk experience. The only thing is, Moore isn’t going to be serving Hilly’s legendary chili which, acc’d’g to lore, usually contained cigarette ash, spit, and other bodily fluids you can only imagine.

Need I remind readers that this holy land is one weird fking place?

Duh!

FactCheck.org has named Donald Trump its political liar of the year. The truth-digging organization selects an annual top lying bastard and, really, who else could it be in 2015?

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Our National Shart

 

Girl Cooties

Ugh! Hillary’s got lady parts. And stuff comes out of them! Gross.

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Please, Click This Link — It Gets Better!

Okay, can we all admit now that Donald Trump is the worst excuse for a human being this holy land has produced in many, many a year?

Okay then.

 

Hot Air

Hell-ary

I didn’t watch last night’s Democratic candidates debate but I understand Hillary insisted it be conducted in Afrikaans. Yet another craven attempt to sabotage Bernie Sanders, whom the vast majority of America prefers and who holds a triple digit lead over her.

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Clinton: “Ons sal julle vermorsel!”

Like It Is

On a serious note, for all the bluster about which candidate speaks her or his mind and which one will dare to utter one or another truth, it was Martin O’Malley last night who was bold enough to say what the sane among us know:

What our nation needs right now is to realize that, while we face a terrible danger, we also face a different sort of political danger. And that is the danger that democracies find themselves susceptible to when unscrupulous leaders try to turn us upon each other.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley speaks during a roundtable interview in Annapolis, Md., Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, the first day of the 2014 legislative session. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

O’Malley (AP/Patrick Semansky)

We will rise to the challenge of ISIS and we will rise together to the challenges that we face in our economy. But we will only do so if we hold true to the values and the freedoms that unite us, which means we must never surrender them to terrorists, must never surrender our American values to racists, must never surrender to the fascist pleas of billionaires with big mouths.

Unscrupulous, racist, fascist, and a billionaire with a big mouth. Yeah, that’s pretty much a capsule summary of Donald Trump. And, hell — let’s take the gloves all the way off — he’s a terrorist, too.

Another Brown Bomber

Are you freaking kidding me? Yet another brown boy has been busted in Texas for the heinous crime of carrying something that some fever-delerious pack of scared bunnies thought was a bomb.

Yep. Last weekend, a 12-year-old kid named Armaan Singh Sarai was held in juvenile detention for three days in Fort Worth because some white boy miscreant told the schoolteacher he was going to bomb the school.

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Ka-Boom!

The teacher reacted — oh-so-reasonably, natch — by immediately calling the cops, who came to the school, took Sarai in, and locked him up from Friday through Monday. All on the say-so of some adolescent dickhead. Sarai’s parents, BTW, were not told of his whereabouts while he cooled his heels in stir.

It turns out Sarai has a backpack with a solar panel on it so he can charge his electronic device while carrying it. A dopey-assed clown in his class pointed it out to Sarai and told him he was gonna tell the teach it was a bomb. Sarai laughed and the dopey-assed kid laughed. But, mirabile dictu, the dopey-assed kid dropped a dime on Sarai anyway and paranoiac psychosis ensued.

The whole damned incident could have been no-harm, no-foul, except Sarai was incarcerated for the entire weekend and — get this! — he is suspended from school, must wear an ankle monitor, and still faces unspecified criminal charges.

No mention is made of the teacher, the cops, or any sane authority figure simply eyeballing the solar panel backpack and, once establishing it was not an weapon of mass destruction, kicking the class clown in his white-boy ass.

Kicking kids in the ass is forbidden in schools these days.

Putting them behind bars — especially when their melanin level is more elevated than the average Cauc. kid’s — ain’t.

‘Specially in the Lone Star State. Do us all a favor, Tex: Secede.

Wissing Well

A quick update: Doug Wissing’s new book, IN Writing: Uncovering the Unexpected Hoosier State, is flat-out flying off the shelves at the Book Corner. Grab it while you can, kiddies.

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Douglas A. Wissing

Hot Air

Potty Mouth

Okay, you wanna know what’s weird? Fox News, natch. ‘Course, you already knew that. But the point was driven home again yesterday when one Fox News commentator reacted huffily to Barack Obama’s utterance of the word “nigger” on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast.

Obama/Maron

The Prez & Marc Maron

For the two of you on this planet who don’t know the backgrounder yet, Maron does this online interview show in his garage and somehow scored a date with the Most Powerful Person on Earth. If you want more detail about it, click over to Terry Gross’s Fresh Air interview with Maron [the first time, I dare say, that the act of fellatio was ever broadcast on NPR.]

Anyway, Obama, talking about race relations in this holy land, said to Maron during the podcast:

Racism, we are not cured of it. And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say “nigger” in public. That’s not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It’s not just a matter of overt discrimination.

Now, that’s the kind of statement we’ve come to expect from the Good Obama — nuanced, incisive, compelling. As opposed to those statements of the Bad Obama — mealy-mouthed, evasive, nebulous — you know, the kinds of things that we demand our presidents say.

Obama has violated countless cardinal rules of the presidency, first and foremost among them being brown-skinned. Remember when George W. Bush’s chief of staff Andrew Card had apoplexy because BHO had the nerve to work in the Oval Office in his shirt sleeves? By uttering the South’s most famous gift to the American English vocabulary, Obama soiled the presidency once again, at least acc’d’g to a jimoke named Todd Starnes, who, apparently, says words for Fox on a regular basis.

Starnes, writing in his “Todd’s American Dispatch” online column, sez:

President Obama caused jaws to drop across the fruited plain when he uttered the N-word during the interview which was published on Monday. He mentioned the incredibly offensive racial epithet during a conversation over race in the aftermath of the church massacre in Charleston, South Carolina…. 

If he talks like that in public — I can only imagine what he says in private. [all sic]

Dig, this is from the “news” network that that for at least 36 hours tried to convince its senescent audience that the Charleston shooting was an attack on Christianity and not dark-skinned people. That Dylann Roof kid had to shriek that he did it because he wanted to start a race war before the Foxers finally came around to the truth of it all.

This, too, from the “news” network that champions and/or features the following people: Rudolph Giuliani, Jeb Bush, Nikki Haley — each of whom has been quoted as saying it’s impossible to know why Roof gunned down nine black people in a church, despite the facts that he told friends he wanted to kill black people, he explained to one of the black people at the church why he was killing black people, and then told the police he went to the church specifically to kill black people. Right, that Roof kid, he’s sure a puzzler.

So, Starnes positions Barack Obama as a foul-mouthed punk for merely saying the word that I’d guess a significant percentage of the Fox News audience uses in everyday language — and not in the abstract, illustrative sense that the President used it. Starnes shudders to think what maledictions Obama employs in private. One can only assume that in the Oval Office, women are “cunts,” Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who’ll visit Washington in September, is a “slant-eyed gook,” and a good weekend is chockfull of “bitches” and “whores” whose derrieres are covered with “animal trank.”

Because, isn’t that how black guys talk? And Obama’s a black guy, QED.

BTW: Starnes has written essays and/or posted videos at least five times regarding the Charleston terrorist act. Not once has he decried the odious racism that was at the heart of the massacre. In fact, he stuck with the attack-on-Christians trope much longer even than his Fox confreres.

The killing of nine black and brown human beings by a white supremacist, apparently, is far less serious than the president using the term “nigger” to make a point. Like I said, Fox News is weird.

Haley’s Kudos

Let’s give credit where it’s due. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley yesterday called for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the statehouse grounds in Columbia. I never thought she’d come around but she has and she should be commended.

SC Confederate Flag

Down With The Flag

If you want to split hairs and say she should have expressed herself in this manner long ago, go ahead. I agree. But she’s done it now; not every Republican has.

Bloomingfoods’ Tomorrows

Parsing the statements of the National Co+Op Grocers reps who spoke at last night’s Bloomingfoods co-op owners open house meeting, I sense that they see the local food retailer’s future much as I do.

National Co+Op Grocers people have taken over Bloomingfoods‘ operations this spring and summer in order to find out why the operation was collapsing in a heap. The president of the board of directors and the general manager have resigned, scads of mid-level managers have been axed, and even before Nat Co+Op took over, B-foods closed its flagship Kirkwood Avenue store.

My recommendation is B-foods should shutter all locations except the Near West site. Nat Co+Op director C.E. Pugh told the crowd yesterday that one of the many actions to be taken in the near future includes the shedding of “unnecessary assets.” That sounds like code for more store closings. “We’re going to be in the period of downsizing for a few months,” Pugh added.

Pugh and Nat Co+Op’s Paula Gilbertson, who’s serving as acting GM, both spoke of two of the three remaining B-foods locations in terms that cannot be described as optimistic. On the other hand, when talking about the Near West store Gilbertson and Pugh spoke of spiffying up the place.

Maybe — just maybe — B-foods can escape from this morass leaner and in possession of a brighter future.

She’s Got It

Day two of The Loved One’s birthday week. I’m posting songs dedicated to her Monday through Friday this week. Yesterday’s tune was Queen’s “You’re My Best Friend.” Today, let’s go with something from my fave blue-eyed soul brothers, the Average White Band.

 

 

 

Hot Air

Kill Joy

If anything of value can emerge from the South Carolina church shooting Wednesday, it’s the sheer entertainment we’ve gotten from the Wingnut Right’s reaction to it.

I mean, imagine how flummoxed the Fox News et al crowd has to be over this terrorist attack. Nine blacks (the American equivalent of one-half a 22-year-old suburban blonde) are killed by a white boy gun fondler whose beef against them is they represent the bestial horde that’s raping Cauc. women and “taking over” this holy land. Honestly, in the bizarro world of the Far Right, is this even a crime? Hell, the porcelain dolls who pass for news commentators on Fox and other ultra-conservative media outlets are hammering away at these grievances every day anyway.

So, while the sane among us were decrying this white supremacist attack, the Fox/Far Right people were dithering over its meaning. Golly no, it wasn’t a racial attack, a number of them bleated; it was…, um, er, more of an attack on Christianity — yeah, that’s the ticket! And the little loon who pulled the trigger wasn’t enabled by our devil-may-care gun laws; in fact, some “wits” proffered, the whole shebang wouldn’t even have gone down if the parishioners had been packing heat themselves, as should all god-fearing, Murrica-loving, primarily pale-skinned citizens.

Fox News

For nearly two full days, the Goebbels wing of the know-nothing crowd seemed nauseatingly (albeit explicably) muted about the attack. That is, until this AM when South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley finally found a reason to shout about it.

Perhaps it occurred to her as she showered. I know many of my own epiphanies come upon me as I lather up. However it happened, Haley realized she and the state could kill the kid.

How exciting! Haley announced that, goddamn yes, the sovereign state of So. Car. would indeed seek the death penalty when the kid goes on trial.

Haley

A Ray Of Sunshine

See? Now the Fox-ers and their ilk can get all het up over this…, er, um, little incident.

Hot Air

Hurt Us, Please!

Who’s the worst state governor in America? Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, whose claims to fame are his gleeful union-busting and obeisant coat-holding for the Koch Boys? Billionaire Bruce Rauner, who virtually purchased the guv’s mansion, office, and…, hell, the whole of Illinois? Can either ever be a fraction as bad as half-term slacker/grifter Sarah Palin?

At least her damage was limited to a truncated 31-month sorta term. She did do one thing spectacularly well and beneficial to the people of her state: She quit.

So Walker and Rauner duke it out in contiguous states for the heavyweight title of rotten. Except a third contender might well wrest the belt from the two. He is Sam Brownback of Kansas.

Brownback

Sam Brownback

Here’s his mortal sin: He claims to have cut Kansas taxes. Actually, he did; only for the wealthy — those who make more than half a million a year. Acc’d’g to an analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Public Policy, under Brownback’s new tax schedule, unfortunates making less than $23,000 a year (read: the working poor) will pay $197 more a year in state taxes. A couple of c-notes is real dough to someone making $442 a week at best. It’s like Bruce Rauner (2013 income: $67,780,000) having to fork over an extra $5,227,000 to the state, disregarding the fact that even if he had to, Rauner still would have tens and tens and tens of millions of bucks to maintain his lifestyle of Croesus.

That poor sap making $442 bucks a week would have to forgo (choose one or more):

  • Paying the electric bill
  • Paying the gas bill
  • Paying the cable/broadband bill
  • Getting new tires for the car
  • Going to the doctor for that troublesome mole
  • Beef
  • A new pair of shoes, a pair of trousers, a shirt, and six pairs of socks

The list can go on.

And the sick-as-hell aspect of this Kansas mess? A majority of people making $23,000 or less in that state actually voted for the dirty bastard who’s fleecing them today.

They got what they deserve.

The What & The Whys

Prof. Rich Lloyd of Vanderbilt University asks a compelling triad of Q.’s about former Spokane NAACP head Rachel Dolezal:

  • What prompted her estranged parents to publicly out her?
  • Why now?
  • And why is no one questioning this?

Count me in: I wanna know, too.

As for the corporate media, they’re loving this story because they can spin it off in a bazillion different directions, all predicated on this holy land’s singular historical malignant tumor: Blacks ain’t Whites and vice versa.

Jim Crow

As usual, the professional wits and wags are way off on this one. The Dolezal affair has nothing in the world to do with the state of race relations in America. It has only to do with her demonstrable craziness that, quite frankly, borders on the criminal.

As Sigmund Freud never said, Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

 

Hot Air

Choice?

What’s more depressing — the possibility that the 2016 presidential campaign will be between two near-doppelgänger dynasts, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, or the fact that a farceur like Donald Trump’s entry into the race is taken seriously enough that the New York Times covers it?

Clinton/Bush

Pick ‘Em

Me? I’d almost welcome Scott Walker’s nomination by the Party of God because at least he’s an ideologue. He’d offer us a clear choice between him and anybody else in terms of who we want to be as a nation. Then again, I say “almost” because, honestly, I don’t want him to get the nom. I mean, what if he wins the election?

Race War Vs. Class War

With the meme of Gen. Colin Powell decrying the racism within his Republican Party making the rounds again on social media, my pal, the Lake County Republican, poses the following Q: Why does Powell remain a Republican? Why doesn’t he just quit and join the Dems? Now, while the LCR fully agrees that the racists and chronic racism within the GOP are abhorrent, he believes there’s a greater underlying philosophical reason why the Republicans are the better party. After all, the LCR himself hasn’t quit the GOP.

Here’s the LCR’s explanation:

I think it is because the actions of a few [Democrats] are despicable [and] the ethos of the Democratic Party is even worse. They appeal to the base human instincts of envy and resentment of those better off….

This, among other things, the LCR posits, makes the Dems “even more corrosive to the nation” than the racism within the GOP.

That’s quite a charge. My take: I’ll bet Colin Powell himself can’t fully explain why he remains a Republican. It may be inertia. Powell grew up at a time when the most virulent racists and segregationists were Democrats. Harry Byrd, George Wallace, Orval Faubus, and Lester Maddox all were Dems. That, of course, was before Richard Nixon’s Southern Strategy folded the Neanderthal wing of the Democratic Party into the GOP.

Now then. The LCR’s charge that the 99% appeal (which precious few Dem candidates are embracing in any case) is worse for this holy land than the racism that has torn it apart since the early 1800s. Sheer lunacy, my friend. Peeps aren’t screaming bloody murder because others are successful or “better off.” They’re hollering because the game is rigged. The way the system works now, those who have dough get more at the expense of those who haven’t got it. The plutocracy more and more controls policy and legislation via lobbyists and campaign moneys. Too many Richie Rich’s didn’t earn their dough; they inherited it. And far too many millionaires and billionaires didn’t get that way through hard work and the production of goods and services that somehow benefit, y’know, people. They’ve been degenerate gamblers who gamed the system to rake in their dirty dollars.

Mr. Moneybags

A Crooked Game

And both the Democrats and Republicans are responsible for this economic world of shit.

Better Late Than Never

My delayed reaction to Bloomingfoods‘ divorce from long-time GM George Huntington and the subsequent axing of a nearly two doz. mid-level managers at the co-op’s three locations:

Both are good moves, albeit anywhere from two to 10 years too late.

Huntington

Bloom Mag Photo Of George Huntington By Amber Lynn Brown

My rec. for B-foods’ next good move? Shut down the East Side and the Elm Heights stores before tomorrow morning. Concentrate on the Near West site and make it a viable local alternative to the new Lucky’s Market and the to-come Whole Foods Market.

Hot Air

Black Like Her

“I identify as Black.”

So says Rachel Dolezal. The now-former boss of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, Dolezal has been outed by her parents and further embarrassed by the revelation that she sued Howard University et al years ago, claiming she was discriminated against because she was white.

If nothing else, we’ve learned she is an awfully confused woman.

Anyway, she’s not apologizing. She’s not outright admitting Caucasian-ness, either. She’s lingering in the limbo that a lot of public-eye fabulists inhabit. Pete Rose, Bill Clinton, cigarette company execs, everybody in the GW Bush admin. who breathed the words “weapons of mass destruction,” and Donald Trump, whenever he’s asked if he has a human conscience, all have danced around the truth in the face of incontrovertible evidence.

Here’s the sin, re: Dolezal’s charade: no matter how much she digs brown and black people, no matter how many R&B singles she has in her collection, no matter how many different African ways she styles her hair, she really, really, really doesn’t know what it is to be a “nigger.”

Jim Crow

Because that’s what the NAACP is all about: Fighting for people who’ve been nigger-ized. I’ll guess Dolezal was never savaged by dramatic, overt, racism. Not only that, she never had to endure the death by a thousand cuts that subtle, unintentional, casual racism visits upon every dark skinned person in this holy land every single day.

And even if she was, somewhere in the back of her mind — supposing that she is not psychotic or delusional — she always could comfort herself with the knowledge that she is genetically white. That is, of course, if there is such a thing as genetic whiteness. In fact, the whole notion of race is merely a a flimsy social construct anyway.

Still, the hate-laden racists of the world have a well-honed ability to sense who is descended from the nations and tribes of Africa. Like homophobes, racists devote ungodly amounts of time and energy to fingering and stigmatizing the objects of their disgust.

Brown and black people every day are reminded they’re not as good, not as deserving, not as ambitious, not as astute, not as civilized as white people. White people never fail to remind them — and themselves — of these “facts.” When you’re told that every minute of the day, you just might start believing it.

Inherent blackness — whatever that means — becomes equated with inherent inferiority. It’s the tyranny of melanin. Dolezal lives under no such tyranny.

Melanin

A Cause For Hate: The Molecular Structure Of Melanin

For my money, what Dolezal has done is analogous to sons and daughters of wealth who pretend to live as penniless bohemians. When push comes to shove, they can always go home for a hot meal.

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