The Almighty and the Bully Pulpit

The “bully pulpit” is American life is a position of authority and public visibility. The current commander of the bully pulpit is President Barack Obama.

The President caught my attention several weeks ago when I heard him quote his Vice President, Joe Biden. “Don’t compare me with the Almighty,” the saying goes. “Compare me with the alternative.”

There are only a few Republican contenders left for the GOP nomination to unseat Obama from the bully pulpit, and none of them compare very favorably with the President, let alone with The Almighty. So why would any of them want to call The Almighty to the witness stand? Continue reading

Social media: don’t Twitter your ascot off

My super, well-dressed friend Roland Martin–who is known for sporting colorful, broad neck scarves known as ascots, as well as for his brash, yet pithy remarks on various CNN political analysis programs, and for his commentaries on the Tom Joyner Morning Show (TJMS) and for his show “Washington Watch” on TV One–stepped in some deep doo-doo the night of the Superbowl, because of a couple of flippant remarks he posted to the social media network Twitter.

A musician friend who is far less prominent–and who therefore has much, much less to lose–posted a sharp comment about one of the musical managers known for helping shape the career of recently deceased pop music superstar Whitney Houston, on his Facebook page.

In one of his tweets, Martin commented about an underwear ad that featured soccer star David Beckham dressed only in his skivvies. “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him!” said Martin. Continue reading

What I like about Republicans

What do I like about Republicans in 2012? In a word: nothing. Absolutely nothing.

I don’t like how they walk. I don’t like how they talk. I don’t like how they look. If I was close enough around any of them I probably wouldn’t like the way they smell.

I don’t like Mitt Romney and his duplicitous, scummy style. I don’t like Newt Gingrich and his pugnacious swinish style. He, after all, when he became Speaker of the House, did away with the staff structure that had been used by the Congressional Black Caucus and other Caucuses, with one stroke of his pen. Continue reading

A crock full of Republicans

I have long known that modern politics in the United States of America is nothing but a game. Period.

In the first place, half of those who are eligible to vote don’t even register. Half of those who are registered don’t even vote. So, at best we’re talking about only one fourth of the adult population even taking part in the process. That means that a majority of the vote is made up of some one eighth of the eligible voting age population. Some mandate.

On top of that, the new Republican-inspired laws requiring voter identification is a new tactic, not to increase participation, but to limit the participation in the governing process to fewer people still. Continue reading

Herman Cain, Emmett Till, and Tyler Perry

What do Herman Cain, Emmett Till, and Tyler Perry have in common? (Sincere apologies to Emmett Till and Tyler Perry!)

Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain–who never, ever, ever had even a snowball’s chance in hell to ever be anywhere near the eventual Republican presidential ticket, let alone the White House itself–prides himself on the fact that he overcame his roots as a poor African American growing up in the segregated South.

Just 10 days after he “suspended” his disgraced campaign on Dec. 3, Cain celebrates his 66th birthday, which means: more than his eligibility for Social Security and Medicare, which he would dismantle in a heartbeat, undercutting support for millions of Americans his age and older; which means that six months before his tenth birthday, the most shocking crime of the modern Civil Rights era took place–the murder and dismemberment of 14-year-old Emmett Till, near Greenwood, Mississippi. Continue reading

GOP formula for financial failure: it’s working

Back in the mid 1990s, when front-running Virginia Republican Senate candidate George “Macaca” Allen was Governor of the Commonwealth, Rep. Bobby Scott, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus from Virginia revealed a sinister scheme employed by Allen in order to bring about ruin to the dreaded social programs and entitlements in that state which he and other Republicans love to hate.

During his term of office Gov. Allen–who in his last unsuccessful campaign the Senate publicly mocked a questioner of East Indian descent at one of his campaign rallies as “Macaca”–set out to build prisons all over the state with the intention that years later, the state would have to financially maintain the prisons it had built during prosperous times, even if later the funds might be better used by the state for another purpose. Continue reading

Robin Hood in reverse: today’s Republicans

In 1968, following hundreds of inner-city rebellions over the span of four years, the President Lyndon Johnson’s 11 member panel to study civil disorders in this country Kerner Commission warned Americans: “

Our nation is moving toward two societies, one Black, one White–separate and unequal.” And so it was. So it is.

Instead of having the affect of arousing public support to save Johnson’s Great Society, that announcement seems to have signaled to the plutocrats in this country that it was time for them to come together and reclaim the nation’s wealth that had been redistributed among the poor, first by President Roosevelt’s New Deal, and then by Johnson’s Great Society, with its civil rights, and its gender equality, and its Skirmish (War) on Poverty. Continue reading

USA-9/11: Ten years of endless war

Like most people in this country I remember distinctly what I was doing on September 11, 2001. I was on my way back from the U.N. World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa. I was sitting in BJ’s at the Johannesburg airport–that’s tucked between the “Juicy Lucy” and the “Chicken Licken” franchises there. The South Africans seemed to have perfected the U.S. gimmick of cutesy names for food franchise business names…but I digress.

I saw something on a nearby television monitor that made me spring to my feet. It was about 3:30 p.m. local time–9:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time–and it was a Tuesday. Over and over again CNN was showing an airplane crashing into the World Trade Center. Panic and confusion were the order of the day, soon even in South Africa. Continue reading

Presidential candidate Herman Cain in Fantasy Land

When I was a child and Walt Disney’s playground “Disneyland” was young and his television show was in full swing, one of my favorite imaginary destinations was his “Fantasy Land.” It was the place of castles, and fairy godmothers, where childish dreams really came true.

As I grew older and was no longer enchanted by the hope for sugar-plum outcomes to life’s real problems, I also came to realize that Fantasy Land was just an illusion, a fake destination that does not exist in the real world.

I never imagined that grown-ups, even successful looking and sounding adults, could live their waking hours in such a Fantasy Land, or in similar destinations of their own creation. But they most certainly do.

Take African American Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain for example. Continue reading

President Obama (choose) lost? Surrendered? Capitulated?

It would be hard for me to imagine an explanation in which President Barack Obama gets a good grade for his performance in the debt-ceiling-capitulation, that’s been called a “deal.” There’s no question: the president got snookered by a band of rowdy Congressional freshmen.

Why, I remember the time when first-term members were not even supposed to speak on the House floor until they’d been seasoned enough. Now, these 80 or so Tea Party-afilliated members have re-designed the entire government tapestry.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) who was pushed further and further to the right during the weeks of these on-again, off-again White House negotiations by the Tea Party contingent of his Republican Caucus, declared victory. “It isn’t the greatest deal in the world, but it shows how much we’ve changed the terms of the debate in this town,” Mr. Boehner said on a conference call, according to GOP officials quoted in published reports. He added the agreement was “all spending cuts. The White House bid to raise taxes has been shut down.” Continue reading