Saturday, March 21, 2009

CLICK - Accep Us


I can understand. I can support. I will never accep. Never.

With all my love,
Aunty Em

Monday, March 16, 2009

Toussaint Louverture in Miami

I was on another route in Miami, headed from North Bay Village to 53rd Street. As I zipped along North Miami Drive I spotted a small parkette, with a statue, at 62nd. Having no good place to pull over, I circled the block and parked.

I knew I had read the name and I knew a connection to Napoleon, but that's all I could recall and the marker was not very helpful. As usual The WikiWackyWoo was more helpful:
Historical significance

Toussaint Louverture played a key role in what was the first successful attempt by a slave population in the Americas and the world to throw off the yoke of Western colonialism. He defeated armies of three imperial powers: Spain, France, and Great Britain. The success of the Haitian Revolution had enduring effects on shaking the institution of slavery throughout the New World. Haiti became the second independent republic in the Western Hemisphere.

After being captured by the French general Leclerc, on the ship to France, Toussaint Louverture warned his captors that the rebels would not make his mistake in the following words: "In overthrowing me you have cut down in Saint Domingue only the tree of the trunk of liberty, it will spring up again from the roots, for they are many and they are deep."
James Mastin has sculpted a very impressive Toussaint Louverture.


Bear with me, because I'm not an Art Critic and I never met Toussaint Louverture. However, Mastin gives his subject all the quiet dignity of the "warrior, liberator, diplomat, statesman" that Louverture represents. The statue seems to capture the man I have since read about.

He stands impressively on a black, polished granite base that has the brass plaque on its front.

It's unusual to see a Black man dressed in the European refineries of the day and, at least for me, that's also what's so striking about the statue.

Sadly, the parkette is a meager little thing. It appears to be relatively new, considering Google Maps satellite view has the park, but not the statue and landscaping that came along with it. Drag the little street view guy over, tho', and you'll see the statue is there. What's more, you can see the landscaping when it was new and lush.

Compare that with my recent picture at right. It's no longer lush, green and verdant. A lack of rain has dried the grass to patches of brown with some light green showing. The bushes were once a relatively thick hedge surrounding the parkette, which would have given the statue a sense of place. Now, again because of near-drought conditions, the are scraggly and, in some places, disconnected.

Oh, and that Napoleon stuff?

According to History Wiz:
By 1803 Napoleon was ready to get Haiti off his back: he and Toussaint agreed to terms of peace. Napoleon agreed to recognize Haitian independence and Toussaint agreed to retire from public life. A few months later, the French invited Toussaint to come to a negotiating meeting will full safe conduct. When he arrived, the French (at Napoleon's orders) betrayed the safe conduct and arrested him, putting him on a ship headed for France. Napoleon ordered that Toussaint be placed in a prison dungeon in the mountains, and murdered by means of cold, starvation, and neglect. Toussaint died in prison, but others carried on the fight for freedom.
With all my love,
Aunty Em

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Shame of Coconut Grove

Number Two in a series

I said a picture is worth a thousand words, but either I should have included more pictures, or at least a couple of words, because most people misunderstood what the picture represented.

It was viewed as a current picture of...as what exactly? A political statement? An uncaring neighbour? A lack of respect for those founding Blacks who, having settled the area, helped the Whites survive and conquer the conditions found in this humid, mosquito-infested swampland that was southern Florida in the late 1800s?

Well, yes it's all that, but it's more and my picture didn't tell the full story.

I have since visited Charles Avenue on four subsequent occasions. Only once was there no trash piled at the bottom of the historical marker. But, as you can see, it wouldn't have mattered. The base is broken and the sign leans at an uncomfortable angle against a wire fence surrounding an empty lot of gravel and weeds.

I have also now done a moderate amount of research on the area. The story of Coconut Grove, writ large, is the story of what happened in every Black neighbourhood in America, save NYC which has always been unique.

This historical marker demonstrates years of neglect of Black heritage, while the heritage (and racial make-up) of the area grew to be overwhelmingly one associated with White folk.

There is one thing that differentiates Black Coconut Grove from all other Black communities. When one speaks of "the other side of the tracks" it is a literal description of these areas. Black Coconut Grove has no railroad tracks to separate it from the more affluent homes. Main Highway is the main dividing line in The Grove.

Coconut Grove, on the west side of Biscayne Bay, was a sleepy holiday destination in the early 1900s, unknown by most United Statesers and frequented by The Very Rich™. However, in December of 1925 "The Cocoanuts," starring The Four Marx Brothers, opened at the Lyric Theatre in NYC. The madcap antics take place in Cocoanut Grove [sic; the original spelling], Florida, where Groucho runs a bankrupt hotel. The George S. Kaufman play ran for nearly 300 performances and became the first Marx Brothers' movie in 1929. In the movie Groucho famously said, "You can have any kind of a home you want. You can even get stucco. Oh, how you can get stucco."

And so, for the longest time, The Grove was associated with carpetbagging land speculators selling swampland to rich northerners.

Yet, something was happening in The Grove. First annexed to Miami in 1925, the same year the Marx Brothers trod the boards in the play, the sleepy town of The Grove already bragged of a library, school, yacht club and chapel, joining the Peacock Inn as structures in town.

Later, after WWII, Coconut Grove became an artists' destination after servicemen, who had experienced Florida weather for the first time, packed up their families and moved south. The great influx of people occurred in the 50 years since. These days Coconut Grove is one of the richest and most desirable neighbourhoods in these United States.

As more people moved into The Grove the division that Main Highway represented became the colour line.

According to The WikiWackyWoo:
Demographically, Coconut Grove is split up into North-East Grove and South-West Grove, and as of 2000, the total population of both of the neighborhood's sections made up 18,953.

As of 2000, North-East Grove had a population of 9,812 residents, with 5,113 households, and 2,221 families residing in the neighborhood. The median household income was $63,617.82. The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 35.24% Hispanic or Latino of any race, 2.25% Black or African American, 60.96% White (non-Hispanic), and 1.55% Other races (non-Hispanic).

As of 2000, South-West Grove had a population of 9,141 residents, with 3,477 households, and 2,082 families residing in the neighborhood. The median household income was $63,617.82. The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 14.80% Hispanic or Latino of any race, 48.27% Black or African American, 35.27% White (non-Hispanic), and 1.66% Other races (non-Hispanic).

Which side of that line do you think this historical marker is on? If you cross Main Highway due east from Charles Avenue and the historical sign you will find the gates of "Camp Biscayne," a lush gated complex less than a football field away. Most of the communities on the east side of this line are gated, as near as I can tell. This is a far cry from those that run along Charles Avenue, small bungalows and shotgun shacks that are set up cheek to jowel.

More to come...

With all my love,
Aunty Em

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Shame of Coconut Grove

Number One in a series

I am on another one of my routes in Miami-Dade County and looking for Charles Avenue, a street my GPS tells me is only a few short blocks long, running west, less than a mile ahead of me. I am travelling northeast on what is laughingly called Main Highway. This small street, part residential and part commercial, begins at Grand Avenue in the north, near Coco Walk. Running on an oblique angle, parallel to the coast of Biscayne Bay less than a half mile away, it ends at South Douglas Road, aka Southwest 37th Avenue. That's a distance of one mile. Yes, that's right. Main Highway isn't either very Main, nor is it much of a highway to be perfectly honest.

I am in Coconut Grove, long since amalgamated into the city of Miami.

The GPS announces, "Approaching left turn. DING," and I make the swing onto Charles Avenue. Immediately upon my turn I spot an historical marker. I've always been a sucker for historical markers, stopping for as many as I see. It's extremely rare to find one on residential street, tho'. Naturally I stop.


It seems like providence stumbling across this marker, considering my life-long interest in race relations (which involves a massive book I am writing on just that topic).

Our new Attorney General Eric Holder says we are are a cowardly nation when it comes to discussing race relations. "Some people say" a picture is worth a thousand words.

Allow me to add these thousand words to get the discussion started. Here's the reality of how Florida's oldest Black community is honoured:


Discuss.

I'll be back with periodic updates on my new research obsession: Coconut Grove.

With all my love,
Aunty Em

Sunday, February 01, 2009

CLICK

For Anisha

With all my love,
Aunty Em

CLICK

HIALEAH BONUS:
After I had explored that little lakefront I took a leisurely walk back to the car. I was less than 3 feet away when I saw this paper bag on the ground. Naturally, I was attracted by the curious shape sticking out of the broken bottom. It wasn't until I was standing right over top of it did I realize it was a whole chicken (or other fowl; I didn't examine it that closely), which had somehow been flattened and left for posterity.

On some of my routes I have seen roosters in the city (really!), but this was my first chicken.
Q: What's the difference between kinky and perverted?
A: With kinky you use a feather. Perverted? You use the whole chicken.
I also see a lot of odd and interesting signs on my travels as well. This one is my most recent favourite.

I know I promised Charles Avenue next, but I've determined that to do it properly it's going to take a little research. Once that's done I'm going to have to put on my Investigative Journalist Hat, so please be patient with me. I see it as a 2 week project, if I have the time.

With all my love,
Aunty Em

Saturday, January 31, 2009

America, The Beautiful

Work has me driving around every Zip Code in Miami-Dade County, from Sweetwater all the way north and over the county line into Broward, as far as Sunrise. In the course of an 8 or 9 hour day I see people and neighbourhoods of all descriptions.

My job also requires me to carry a camera, which is always within easy reach. I see a lot of strange stuff on these rounds. [CLICK] If I can snap off a shot, I will. [CLICK]

As I kick start Aunty Em’s Place back to life, let me share some recent pictures:

I carry a nice, comfy fold-up camping chair in the trunk of the car. If I'm doing an all-day, sometimes it's nice to pull over, grab a book and the chair and walk over to a nearby lake, pond, canal, or stream (there are TONS of those in Miami-Dade) and take a small break before I head back onto the road.

Here's a recent pit stop. You can see the lake in the background and beyond that a condo complex. On all 4 sides of this lake is not just civilization, but Civilization with a capital "C". It's a part of Hialeah, which is as dense as Miami-Dade gets and I'd say it was easily an upper-middle class area. If not that, then certainly a lower-upper class area.

This vacant lot off one side of the lake had been mowed, with tire tracks into it. That's why I chose it for a break: easy access with a walk of about 100 meters to the water's edge, just far enough not to hear the traffic on the residential road. If you ignore the debris in the foreground for a moment, you can see the property line for the next lot, also vacant. It had been allowed to grow wild (and had also been fenced), so there was no trashed dumped on this site.

Because the water was that far from the side of the road, my anticipation of a relaxing time out didn't dissipate until I had walked 2/3rds of the way to the water, over a small rise. Then suddenly I looked upon an environmental disaster zone. Cardboard and plastic, with oil leaching from all the crushed plastic containers littered an area about 100 square feet.

[Yeah, I know meters in one place, feet in another. I'm a schizophrenic Canadian when it comes to metric.]

It was too muddy at the water's edge to unfold my chair. All the best land was taken up by this mess. Obviously I wasn't going to be able to read my book, so I decided to take a few pictures, including the close-up at left. America The Beautiful™.

After I had burned off a dozen shots from all angles I used a stick to turn over some of the cardboard to see if there were identifying marks. Nothing that I could find other than some bar codes, but I don't read bar code.

I cannot imagine a more perfidious act than driving onto a vacant lot and purposely dumping this shit all over the ground. There ought to be a law. In fact, there is. Miami-Dade is littered [pun intended] with NO DUMPING signs. While obvious placement would be in vacant lots (and there were signs posted on this lot), one will see these signs in alleys, main streets, residential streets, and mall parking lots; places that I couldn't imagine anyone pulling up and dumping trash. Despite all of these signs, an eyesore in themselves, the idyllic garden spot these pictures document is not a rarity. I now have pictures of at least 20 sites that have become unofficial dumping grounds, but I thought these three told the best story.

Next stop: Charles Avenue.

With all my love,
Aunty Em

Monday, October 27, 2008

New Palin Slogan


Live blogging the current Palin speech:

No lie; today the crowd at a Palin rally chanted, "Use Your Brain! Vote McCain!"

Palin's reply (paraphrased, but these words), "That's good. You betcha."

When she brought up Joe The Plumber the crowd chanted:

"I am Joe!"

Now she's onto Socialism.

Now it's Tito The Builder. Tito (how ironic) has a question. "Why the heck are you going after Joe The Plumber?" and then proclaims, "Born in Columbia, but Made in the USA."

But Tito didn't talk, Palin quoted him.

"You Ess Eh," the crowd chants.

I am getting sick of this American bashing. Who'd a thunk?

With all my love,
Aunty Em Ericann

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Today In History - October 26, 1965

Queen Elizabeth II, to whom I swore allegiance when I became a Canadian citizen, awarded The Beatles the MBE, Member of the Order of the British Empire.

There's little I can add to the vast history of The Beatles, other than to say I have two personal stories tangentially related to The Fab Four: I once talked to George Harrison in his underwear (he was wearing it, not me; I was fully dressed) and, believe it or not, I was at the creation of the infamous Paul Is Dead rumour.

Watch The Beatles' "All You Need Is Love," which has two dual claims to fame:

1). It was performed live, to prerecorded backing tracks, in the very first global broadcast, linking countries around the world by satellite for the first time;
2). It was the first song in 7/4 time to hit the Top 20 (it debuted at Number One). The only other song in the same time signature to make the Top 20 was Pink Floyd's "Money."


Keep your veyes out for Mick Jagger, Gary Leeds, Keith Richards, Marianne Faithfull, Eric Clapton, Jane Asher, Patti Harrison, Mike McCartney, Keith Moon, Graham Nash, Hunter Davies who are doing backing vocals on the choruses and handclaps throughout.



With all my love,
Aunty Em

Friday, October 24, 2008

I think this is a brave video. Ron Howard, director of the upcoming "Frost/Nixon," has gone back to the '50s to revisit both Mayberry, RFD and Milwaukee, Wisconsin in order to support Senator Barak Obama.

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die


With all my love,
Aunty Em

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

26 Papers That Backed Bush in 2004 Move to Obama

If newspaper endorsements mean anything, It's Obama in a landslide.

Editor & Publisher has the full story:

26 Papers That Backed Bush in 2004 Move to Obama
By Dexter Hill
Published: October 20, 2008 9:45 PM ET

NEW YORK Taking a look at our daily endorsement tally so far (see link below), the Obama-Biden ticket has a hefty lead in both total newspapers and total circulation. But another figure that favors the Democratic candidates is the number of newspapers that have endorsed Sen. Obama despite supporting President Bush’s reelection in 2004.

At least twenty-six newspapers have switched their support to the Democrat, while only four newspapers (all in the South) endorsing Sen. McCain supported John Kerry in 2004.
TRUNCATED; More at: http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003875870

With all my love,
Aunty Em

The Debate



"There will be no mudslinging in this campaign."


With all my love,
Aunty Em

Sunday, October 19, 2008

This Crazy Election

Lipstick. Joe The Plumber. Bill Ayers. Change. No More Years. The War in Iraq. Paris Hilton. Flag Pins. Media Matters. Joe Sixpack. Ohio Flags. Culture Wars. Huffington Post. Oprah Winfrey. Pistol Pakin' Palin. Greg Palast. Reverent Wright. Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran. Community Organizer. Drill, Baby, Drill. Pigs. Troopergate. Melanoma. Talking Point Memo. Bank Failures. ACORN. David Letterman. Reverend Jesse Jackson. Faux Noise. Secret Muslim. DailyKOS. Vicki Iseman. POW. Reverend Phlegler. Beer. Phil Gramm. Home Mortagage Meltdown. Manchurian Candidate. The View. The Race Card. Keith Olbermann. Mr. Falafel.

With all my love,
Aunty Em

Saturday, October 18, 2008

R.I.P. - Frankie Venom



With all my love,
Aunty Em

Today In History - October 18, 2008

I don't really know what one has to do with the other, but...

1767

In order to resolve a border dispute between several British Colonies, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon set out in 1763 to survey the land. On this day in 1767 the boundaries between Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virgina were finally agreed upon. This we now know as The Mason-Dixon Line™.

1926

Chuck Berry born.

Here's a live performance of Chuck Berry in his prime:



With all my love,
Aunty Em

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Caption This:

ORIGINATING PICTURE MOVED.
NOTHING TO SEE HERE.
MOVE ALONG!

h/t Wizard of Wickedness

With all my love,
Aunty Em

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The New New Deal

Bring back FDR!


MSM calls it Wall Street vs. Main Street. With The Great Depression Redux™ on the horizon, the comedy stylings of the Squirrel and Moose Candidacy, $700,000,000,000.00 of YOUR MONEY on the line to support Corporate Fat Cats, isn’t it time to talk about Mom & Pop™?

Mom & Pop are struggling. Let me tell you something about what I do when I’m not poking sticks at the bear: I subcontract for lending institutions to visit homes in foreclosure in Miami-Dade County. Business is good. Too good.

I’ve been thinking along these lines for a few weeks. It seems like I’m not the only one. I’d like to direct your attention to an article on HuffPo by Robert Creamer called “An Obama Administration Must Deal with the Underlying Cause of Our Economic Meltdown: The Increasing Concentration of Wealth.”

It’s far too long to quote here, but it’s all about the disproportionate wealth between those at the top of the food chain with the rest of us: The food.

Please give it a read.

Meanwhile, here's some Dub Reggae as The Easy Star All-Stars cover Pink Floyd's "Money" from the amazing Dub Side Of The Moon CD, here on EMtv:



With all my love,
Aunty Em

My Fellow Prisoners

Johnny McChange is either losing it, or needs a nap. Watch:



With all my love,
Aunty Em

Friday, October 03, 2008

Candidate, Heel Thyself!!!

Can we finally admit that Pollyanna Palin™ is John McChange's Achilles' heel? From the WikiWikiWoo:
An Achilles’ heel is a fatal weakness in spite of overall strength, actually or potentially leading to downfall. While the mythological origin refers to a physical vulnerability, metaphorical references to other attributes or qualities that can lead to their downfall are common.
Last night Palin demonstrated she didn't even know what "Achilles' heel" even meant.

I'll give The Moose points: She didn't fall down. She didn't make any HUUUUUUUUUUUUGE gaffes, but wasn't 100% correct on everything either.

If the best that can be said about your candidate is, "She didn't screw the pooch" what kind of candidate can she be?

However, leave it to the Three Faux & Fiends on The Curvy Couch, who have spent the morning cheerleading for Palin.

With all my love,
Aunty Em

Monday, September 29, 2008

Palintologist Palin Claimed Dinosaurs And People Coexisted

The Huffington Post, channeling an article from the LA Times:
Palin told him [local music teacher and Wasilla resident Philip Munger] that "dinosaurs and humans walked the Earth at the same time," Munger said. When he asked her about prehistoric fossils and tracks dating back millions of years, Palin said "she had seen pictures of human footprints inside the tracks," recalled Munger, who teaches music at the University of Alaska in Anchorage and has regularly criticized Palin in recent years on his liberal political blog, called Progressive Alaska.
I provide more photographic proof:

And, if you're in a mood to dance, I present Was (Not Was) who will help you "Walk The Dinosaur," our next Hit Line Request Golden Oldie™ on EMtv:



With all my love,
Aunty Em

Friday, September 26, 2008

UPDATE - McLame To Debate After All


John McChange-his-mind has decided to debate after all, As I type The Hot Air Express is landing in Memphis, Tennessee, on route to Mississippi, where it has been said he was born.

No doubt the minute he gets his face in front of the microphones he's going to take credit for solving The Money Mess™.

He's already claimed to have won tonight's debate---some 10 hours before it took place.

From WaPo:

McCain Wins Debate

Although the fate of tonight's presidential debate in Mississippi remains very much up in the air, John McCain has apparently already won it -- if you believe an Internet ad an astute reader spotted next to this piece in the online edition of the Wall Street Journal this morning.

"McCain Wins Debate!" declares the ad which features a headshot of a smiling McCain with an American flag background. Another ad spotted by our eagle-eyed observer featured a quote from McCain campaign manager Rick Davis declaring: "McCain won the debate-- hands down."

Screenshot above.

In what Alternative Universe is he living?

With all my love,
Aunty Em

On This Day In History - September 26, 1960

On Sept. 26, 1960, the first televised debate between presidential candidates took place in Chicago as Republican Richard M. Nixon and Democrat John F. Kennedy squared off. [Read the NYT's article published the morning after.]
This morning no one actually knows whether Grandpa McChange will actually show up for tonight’s scheduled debate—the first in the Marathon Race of ’08—except The Maverick himself…maybe…possibly…without a doubt!

As the whole world knows by now, McBush has suspended his Election Campaign, dissed David Letterman, and finally went to Washington, D.C. to save the world.

Before he arrived negotiators said they were near a deal. Once McSame entered the scene everything fell apart.

That said, it’s always nice to take a look back to see what history might teach us.

The election of 1960 was a watershed in history. It was the first with televised debates and the first in which the nascent medium of television took a deciding role.

Sitting Vice President Richard Nixon famously squared off with Senator John F. Kennedy. It's now conventional wisdom that those who listened to the debate on radio thought Nixon had won. Those who watched the debate on The Boob Tube thought Kennedy won. Why the disparity?

Nixon, who had actually been ill and hospitalized a few weeks before the debate, eschewed the television make up offered before the debate. As such his 5 o'clock shadow was rather pronounced. As well, he had lost weight but wore a shirt that was loose at the neck, making him look even more unkempt, if that's the right word.

And, let's face it, even had Nixon had a healthy-looking tan like Kennedy, there was no way he could compete in the looks department. The cameras loved Kennedy. Nixon? Not so much.

Here's the opening statement of Senator Kennedy:



And here's Nixon's opening statement:



However, my favourite Nixon moment is from 1962:



Let's hope we won't have John McSame to kick around anymore. Will he debate tonight? Only time will tell.

With all my love,
Aunty Em

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Even The Truth Has Technical Difficulties

Tucker Bounds, a name better suited to a Gay S&M Porn Star™ than a political flack, popped up on the tube yesterday---and all over the InnerTubes today---for a hard grilling on MSNBC. Unfortunately, just as things were getting good:



If I might just put on my tin foil hat for a sec:

The Right Wing did it! The Right Wing controls the airwaves. The Right Wing doesn't want any hard questions asked of anybody, from Petrol Palin to Johnny McSame to Tucker "I don't even know 'er" Rebounds. The Right Wing wants us to just follow along like good little ...

{hat blows off in the wind}

Where was I? Oh yeah. See how Friar Tucker avoids answering the question. It's hilarious.

With all my love,
Aunty Em

Sunday, September 14, 2008

It's A Bizarro World After All

As Blue Kryptonite is to Bizarro Superman, facts are to The McChange Campaign. Just when we were all prepared to award Arbusto&Co the award as The Biggest Liar In All The Land™, along comes Johnny Come Lately and takes the title, war injuries and all, without breaking a sweat.

I grew up with Bizarro #1, in the era known as (no kidding) The Pre-Crisis Bizarro. Senator Johnny Mac is the Post-Crises Bizarro. The crisis is The Bush Presidency. Bizarrely—with all evidence to the contrary—as poll after poll show electorate is fed up with the direction the country is taking, MacLaine wants to keep on keeping on in the same tired, discredited, worthless direction.

But, then, get this: he comes out as the Candidate of Change™.

Worthy of a Bizarro moment in The Graveyard of Solitude. And speaking of graveyards? How's that Iraq War thing going for ya?

What can explain the lies, distortions, half-truths being peddled by The Repugs? Bizarro World! Even when the lies have been exposed for what they are, the campaign keeps repeating them in advertisements that are flooding airwaves and the Blogopolis. You don’t have to swing a mouse very far on the Innertubes without finding these electronic political hatchet jobs are utter bullshit. There are so many, I won't bother linking to them. Take a Google Drive for yourself on the Information Superhighway to see how you are being lied to.

The pick of Pistol Pakin’ Palin is nothing short of political expediency. Yet, McChange has falsely accused Senator Obama of willing to lose a war in order to win an election (I don’t think the phrase has been trademarked yet). How Bizarro of him.

Even the Alaskan state motto seems to have been designed by a Bizarro Ad Agency, in light of Sensational Sarah: “North to the Future.” This woman wants to drag us kicking and screaming to the past. Book banning? Seems okay with Censorship Sarah. Regressive sexual education? Sarah Zygote would take us back to The Dark Ages. Ethics investigations? Sarah has one of those and even tho’ she’s said that she wants to clear the air, she’s hired lawyers to throw up roadblocks. Cronyism? She's hired more classroom friends than a monkey's uncle. (Can we still say "monkey," or is that sexist too?) More Bizarro behaviour: Now that she’s on The Change Team, she no longer supports the very same earmarks that had been the hallmark of her administrations as Mayor of Wasilla and the Great State of Alaska. And, she's ordered friends and family to clam up. People are wrong when they say Palin is Cheney Squared. She's Nixon cubed. She even denies Global Warming, but Clark Kent knows better:


Here’s the crazy thing: Despite all the opposite behaviour exhibited by The Post-Crisis Bizarro McCain™, the polls have the election at a statistical dead heat these days. Only in Bizarro World would things be so completely opposite.



With all my love,
Aunty Em

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

If It Oinks Like A Pig

Would you buy a pig in a poke?

The latest distraction in the increasingly silly Presidential Campaign is whether Senator Obama was calling a Moose a pig when he said, "You know, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig." He continued, "You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called 'change,' it's still gonna stink after eight years. We’ve had enough of the same old thing! It’s time to bring about real change to Washington. And that’s the choice you’ve got in this election."
I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.
-----Sir Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965)
I guess it doesn't count that on October 12, 2007 McChange is quoted in the NYT [registration required] as saying about Senator Clinton's Health Care Plan, “I think they put some lipstick on a pig,” he said, “but it’s still a pig.”

Not to be outdone, Elizabeth Edwards said in April of this year that McChange's Health Care Plan was akin to “painting lipstick on a pig.”
Pride grows in the human heart like lard on a pig.
-----Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918 - ), The Gulag Archipelago
I'm told that Torie Clarke, a former-press secretary for one John McChange published a book called, "Lipstick on a Pig: Winning In the No-Spin Era by Someone Who Knows the Game"

With such a fairly common expression, it seems likely that we'd find it coming out of the mouths of many. And, lo and behold, even Senator Obama has used it previously, when he said almost exactly a year ago, "George Bush has given a mission to General Petraeus, and he has done his best to try to figure out how to put lipstick on a pig."
The Pig, if I am not mistaken,
Supplies us sausage, ham, and Bacon.
Let others say his heart is big,
I think it stupid of the Pig.
-----Ogden Nash (1902 - 1971), "The Pig"
Suddenly the McChange/Moose Whine Machine™ is on a tear of Faux Outrage: Obama called Moose a pig! He's being mean to a girl!! He's being sexist!!! Wah! WAH!! WAH!!! Expect this silly piece of legerdemain to dominate the next news cycle, which is exactly what The Reich Wing wants. Anything to keep from discussing the last 8 years and scary thought of the possibility of the Moose and Squirrel Years™.

One ironic note: For her support of earmarks as Governor, and before that Mayor of Wassilla, Alaska, Pistol Pakin' Palin has earned the nickname "Queen of Pork."

With all my love,
Aunty Em

A Maverick By Any Other Name

There are lies, damnable lies and statistics!
A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.
-----Mark Twain


Mark Twain had a lot to say about lies. He also had a lot to say about the issues of race.

And a man of race calls John McChange (I'm trying, Mr. Man) a liar. Well, not really. Senator Obama said that the McChange/Bull Moose Party's "Maverick" advert is "not telling the truth."

Watch as Senator Obama and Keith Olbermann discuss recent statements from The McChange campaign:



There are other ways to say "not telling the truth." Pick one:

Lie, falsehood, untruth, the big lie, prevarication, fib, little white lie, quibble, equivocation, evasion, fiction, falsification, invention, concoction, falsity, barefaced lie, fabrication, trumped-up story, magnification, enlargement, yarn, tall tale, shaggy dog story, garbage, hogwash, baloney, cock-and-bull story, misrepresentation, fish story, perversion, distortion, corruption, inaccuracy, misconstruction, slanting, straining, torturing, canard, hoax, forgery, monstrous lie, mendacity, whopper, crap, dirty lie, shameless lie, defamation and big stinkin' pile of shit.
Mark Twain also had a lot to say about the politicians of his day. I wonder, considering his obviously progressive bent, what he would think of The Presidential Election of Ought Eight™. Would he consider it progress that a Black man is a candidate for president, or would he satire a Republican Party that would lie to The American Public™?

I'd like to think he'd satire a populace that would buy into such bullshit.
_________________________________________________

Later this month a disparate and intelligent group of brigands will be meeting in Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.A. to discuss this matter, as well as cats; missing feet; crotchless pantaloons; hurricanes; sock puppets past & present; RALPH! RALPH!! RALPH!!! and PIAPS PLOTS™; with plenty of beer, wine, and other liquors to wash it down.

I had hoped to be able to join these delinquents, but I guess this is as good a time to announce that I don't really have the funds for a trip to The Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut. And sadly too, because I am a big fan of both Mark Twain the OT Off-Regulars.

I hope you all have a great time and will toast at least one to me.

With all my love,
Aunty Em

Monday, September 08, 2008

Today In History - September 8, 1974

It was so appropriate that I started writing The Last Post about midnight and I didn't even know it.

According to The History Channel (and every other source I could find):

September 8, 1974

President Ford pardons former President Nixon

On this day in 1974, President Gerald Ford, who assumed office on the heels of President Richard M. Nixon’s resignation, pardons his predecessor for his involvement in the Watergate scandal.

TRUNCATED: Read more here.

When one is looking for an image to illustrate a story, sometimes it's hard to choose just one. Here's a small (Rogue's) Gallery:








The Culture War: It's So On!!!!

As a semi-retired, card-carrying, left-leaning member of the MSM, I am delighted that McSame/Palin '08 has reignited The Culture Wars™. It has, perhaps, angered and energized me enough to re-fire this Blog to fight the Perfidious Palin & Her Less Popular Sidekick™. I'm pissed!

This ploy---blaming the media---is as old as The Republic, but one can trace its modern roots to Richard Milhous Nixon and Spiro T. Agnew*---still the only Prez/Vice Prez team to resign in disgrace. It should be noted that Agnew also fulfilled the cynical "Southern Strategy," an election ploy played by the Republicans in various guises ever since.

Spiro set the bar pretty high, but that's because he counted Pat Buchanan and William Safire among his speech writers. Those guys loved illiteration and Agnew was glib enough to deliver lines like "nattering nabobs of negativism", "pusillanimous pussyfooters", and "hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history" without a single LOL. One of his best lines, and one which echoes in this election cycle, was when he attacked "an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals."

Can anyone say "arugula"? No. Really. Can you? It's a fun word to say.

But now even Eruca sativa is a Casualty of the Culture Wars™.

While it's true that Agnew set the bar pretty high, it's been lowered each election cycle. However, after years of Rushbo Limpballs (detained for the the importation of Viagra, not his own), Loofah Lad, mAnn Coulter and Shawnie Scammity, now it's as low as a Limbo Stick, far easier to step over it than to try and go under it.

Attacking the MSM is a two-fer for the Repugs:

► Lashing out at the so-called leftist MSM as part of the Eastern Establishment™ plays right into The Reich Wing Play Book and puts the media on defense, which might stop the tough questions;

► Painting Senator Obama as elite and effete, part of that Eastern Establishment™ that the MSM is so in love with.

These memes have been swirling not-so-quietly for months. They have intesified by a factor of 1,000 since Vee Pee Pick Palin was tapped. The Media's now been told that questioning Palin is off limits and she was vetted sufficiently. After the Repug convention bashed The Media at every turn, and then cut off all inquiries afterward, The Media is now going over Palin's Past with a fine-toothed comb. The Republican Convention may have woken up a sleeping giant to do its proper job.

[JUST ANNOUNCED: One interview, with ABC News, is tentatively scheduled for later this week.]

Ironically, had the MSM done its job 8 years ago, it's possible we'd have had a different president. Had the MSM done its job 6 years ago, Americans and Iraqis would not have died in a bogus war that's sapping our treasure. Had the MSM done its job 4 years ago the Swift Boaters would have been consigned to The Dustbin of History™.

As for the unofficial vetting of Governor Pain: We'll know what we know when we know it.

Meanwhile, there's already a lot of information out in the Blogopolis, from a "bridge to nowhere" to "Troopergate" to her saddling her hometown of Wassilla, Alaska with a crushing debt.

I predicted over at the News Hounds** OT Forum that Palin will not be on the ticket come election day. I stand by that prediction.

Meanwhile, The Culture War is on and I am prepared for battle.

Bring it on!!!

With all my love,
Aunty Em
______________________________________________
*Yeah, I know. It's The WikiWikiWee™. While I would caution not to believe everything one reads on The Wiki, it can still stand as a quick and dirty source as long as you back it up.

** If you want to know what those loons on Faux Noise are saying, but don't have the stomach for actually watching it, News Hounds is the blog for you. It dissects the lies on Faux Noise on a show-by-show basis, If you get over there, drop in to The Off Topic Forum and say "Hello."

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Knock Three Times, Senator Clark

I'm having so much fun from the Senator Clark fiasco.

Here's an oldie but goodie:



With all my love,
Aunty Em

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Fat Man and Little Boy

There are many points on which Al Franken and I agree, but chief among them is that Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot. Franken and Aunty Em aren’t the only ones who know this. It’s no big secret, but his audience has yet to catch on. It’ll be instructive to see if the dittoheads abandon him now, or will they continue to buy his EIB brand of BS? In other words: do they really want Rush to tell them the truth? If history is any indication, the answer is “No.”

Yet, that’s exactly what Rush did….finally!!! He told his audience the truth and nothing but the truth. Ironically, he did it while he was telling them that he had been lying to them for years.

To be honest, I never thought I’d live to see the day that Rush Limbaugh would admit live, on air, that he is a prevaricating sack’o’manure. Yet, on November 8th, immediately after the election, he confessed to his falsehoods. Unfortunately, he also added, in essence, that the ends justify the means and he would resort to any fabrication in order to support President Shrub and the other Conservative Agenda.

You don’t believe me? Here’s what he had to say:

LIMBAUGH: Now, I mentioned to you at the conclusion of the previous hour that people have been asking me how I feel all night long. And I got, "Boy, Rush, I wouldn't want to be you tomorrow. Boy, I wouldn't want to have to do your show. Boy, I'm so glad I'm not you." Well, folks, I love being me. I can't be anybody else, so I'm stuck with it. But the way I feel is this: I feel liberated, and I'm just going to tell you as plainly as I can why. I no longer am going to have to carry the water for people who I don't think deserve having their water carried. Now, you might say, "Well, why have you been doing it?" Because the stakes are high. Even though the Republican Party let us down, to me they represent a far better future for my beliefs and therefore the country's than the Democrat [sic] Party does and liberalism.

And I believe my side is worthy of victory, and I believe it's much easier to reform things that are going wrong on my side from a position of strength. Now, I'm liberated from having to constantly come in here every day and try to buck up a bunch of people who don't deserve it, to try to carry the water and make excuses for people who don't deserve it. I just -- I did not want to sit here and participate, willingly, in the victory of the libs, in the victory of the Democrat [sic] Party by sabotaging my own. But now with what has happened yesterday and today, it is an entirely liberating thing. If those in our party who are going to carry the day in the future -- both in Congress and the administration -- are going to choose a different path than what most of us believe, then that's liberating. I don't say this with any animosity about anybody, and I don't mean to make this too personal.

I'm not trying to tell you that this is about me. I'm just answering questions that I've had from people about how I feel. But there have been a bunch of things going on in Congress, some of this legislation coming out of there that I have just cringed at, and it has been difficult coming in here, trying to make the case for it when the people who are supposedly in favor of it can't even make the case themselves -- and to have to come in here and try to do their jobs. I'm a radio guy. I understand what this program has become in America and I understand the leadership position it has. I was doing what I thought best, but at this point, people who don't deserve to have their water carried, or have themselves explained as they would like to say things but somehow don't be -- aren't able to, I'm not under that kind of pressure.


What Aunty Em can’t understand is why the MSM has not reported this. Following so closely on the heels of Limbaugh’s dyspeptic rant against Michael J. Fox, a man suffering from a disease more dreadful than E.D., you’d think he was ripe for another MSM plucking. Yet, silence.

While on the topic, I don’t understand why the MSM won’t hold Rush’s feet to the fire on any controversy.

Let me take you back. It was the twilight of the mid-term elections. Way back in those dark days the MSM gave a lot of attention to that whole silly controversy over Fox stumping for candidates supporting embryo stem cell research. Yawn

I yawned, but the MSM gave it play for days because of The Fat Man’s comments. And, this sideshow replaced any discussion of actual election issues. Yawn

Much attention was drawn to the fat blowhard’s comments, and then the MSM widely—and FALSELY—reported that Rush had apologized. The fact of the matter is Rush never really apologized. What he said was that if people could prove to him that he was wrong, he’d apologize. That’s not an apology! Why didn’t the MSM parse his statements properly, as opposed to characterizing it as an act of contrition for the vast American Public™? Why does the MSM let him off the hook time and again?

Now that Lush Rimbaugh (I’m sure someone’s used that before me) has admitted to his band of dittoheads that he’s been lying to them, can they ever trust him again?

Here's The Colbert Report on Rush Limbaugh:



With all my love,

Aunty Em

[I would like to thank Media Matters for its wonderful newsletter, which alerted me to this item. It’s well worth a visit.]

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Vitamin K Street

It’s just a week since the mid-term elections of Aught Six, one they’ll be talking about for a century at least, and I’m still waiting for all the dust to settle. The Democrats are in control of the House and Senate. True oversight—what the founding fathers had always intended—can finally return to Washington, D.C. It really is morning in America, unless you are a Republican who is mourning America.

The first morning after the elections Dubya must have got up from the wrong side of the bed because the first thing he did was fire Donald Rumsfeld. Everyone was surprised. That’s because just last week he told us that Rummy would be staying on for the next 2 years. He knew these statements were false when he made them because he was already interviewing for Rummy’s replacement.

The Fibber-In-Chief. The Ends-justify-the-mean-In Chief. The Hypocrite In Chief.

Yet, it’s still progress. Rummy’s gone!

Will there be true oversight in Washington? Only if the Democrats are not bullied into sitting down and shutting up. I’m afraid that’s already begun.

During the election the Right Wing Echo Chamber Orchestra tried to scare The America Public™ by telling us that if the Dems took control, they’d tie up the President and the government for the rest of this administration with hearings and subpoenas, hereafter known as The Clinton Maneuver, after the last time a president and government was tied up for years with hearings and subpoenas.

It’s a funny thing about The Right Wing Echo Chamber Orchestra. While tone-deaf to what the people need and deserve, its melodies are still so infectious that the So-Called Left Wing Media are singing their tunes as soon as they leave the theater. Soon they are asking questions based on nothing more than those ephemeral notes in their heads. [F’rinstance: John Kerry’s bungled joke.] So, no sooner did the Dems take control, than the So-Called Left Wing Media extracted a promise from party leaders that they wouldn’t start issuing subpoenas, or extracting revenge.

Luckily for those of us who prefer that High Crimes and Misdemeanors go punished, or just those that hate Dubya [Full disclosure: I am in both camps], these were promises made by politicians. Therefore, Aunty Em really doesn’t expect them to be kept. I can dream, can’t I?

Aunty Em’s dream is Bush's worst nightmare. With both sides of the House in Dems hands, he now HAS to either make nice, or back the Dems into a corner, so they don't turn over any more Abramoff rocks.

And that, boys and girls, is the theme of today’s Blog Book Report. I’ve just closed an amazing book by investigative journalist Matthew Continetti, "The K Street Gang; The Rise and Fall of the Republican Machine." It's all about the Jack Abramoff/Tom DeLay/Lobbyist/Washington, D.C. Scandal. It’s also a very up-to-date book, current up until early 2006. Therefore, it’s filled with the latest skullduggery.

This book spells out—chapter and verse, referencing emails and news articles—the corruption and greed of the Abramoff/DeLay circle. It also details how these schemes—these crimes, actually—were a triumph of greed over Republican values. In one instance after another, when the choice was to line their pockets or stick to the Republican blueprint for shrinking government and regulation, they chose the former.

This is why the federal government under Shrub has grown despite the rhetoric of the right wing.

Usually criticism of the sort in “K Street” is dismissed as leftist propaganda. This book cannot be dismissed for two reasons: 1). All the evidence is there; 2). Continetti is a Conservative arrived in Washington during the Reagan administration. This was at a time when entire wave of Conservatives arrived, including people like Newt Gingrich, Tom De Lay, Karl Rove, and a host of other names you’ll recognize. They came to tame Big Government. Some of them were co-opted by Big Money instead.

Continetti was dismayed to see how Big Money and Big Lobbying tarnished the entire democratic process, to the point where the lobbyists were actually writing the laws which were being passed in the People’s House.

“The K Street Gang” exposes all of Abramoff’s (known) schemes. Each chapter is an entirely different fleecing. Abramoff had so many different ways to steal money, that it takes an entire book to detail them all. While reading the book I marveled at how complicated and Byzantine were some of these nefarious plots. It’s no wonder it took investigators years to untangle this myriad of webs. One can not help but admire this kind of deviousness and the agility of mind to come up with these schemes that The American Public™ will be paying for for many years to come.

“The K Street Gang” should be required reading for every member of both chambers. It’s a cautionary tale of how our elected officials, if they have no moral compass, can lose their way on a path is strewn with dollar bills.

Now the Democrats now have to prove they can do better. The honeymoon’s over, as far as Aunty Em is concerned.

With all my love,

Aunty Em

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Disgraced President’s Day

Irrespective of Tuesday’s election results, I would like to propose that Congress and the Senate meet in emergency session to make each November 5th Disgraced President’s Day. This in honour the nation’s 37th and 43rd presidents.

On this date in 1968, Richard Milhouse Nixon, was elected to his first term as POTUS. He is the only President (so far) to resign in disgrace. If you were to spin his Faustian tale to someone who’d never heard it, they’d never believe it. Dig:

From humble beginnings to the Oval Office. Want to talk about dirty campaigns? Nixon famously accused his opponent as being pink right down to her underwear. She wasn’t, but lost anyway, while Tricky Dickie (he already had earned the nickname) went on to capture Alger Hiss and rode his pumpkin-smashing McCarthyite to the Vice Presidency of the only President named Dwight. Then, he was almost dumped from the ‘56 ticket after accusations some businessmen had set up a secret slush fund for him. It was 100% true, but that didn’t matter after The Checkers Speech, which saved his ass.

Then he didn’t get The Big Chair™ in 1960 when the original JFK (not John Foot-in-mouth Kerry) trounced The Big Dick in a squeaker so close it is said that even the dead in Chicago stood up and applauded.

Everyone counted Nixon out, especially 2 years later when he lost the election for governor of California to Jerry Brown’s daddy. Even Nixon counted Nixon out. In his rambling concession speech, he blamed the media for his troubles (so what else is new?) and blurted, “You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference.

So, who ever thought he’d become POTUS? After finally reaching the pinnacle for which he fought all his life—becoming Commander-In-Chief—he lost it all because he was also Paranoid-In-Chief. Nixon had an Enemies List, was mired in an unpopular war and perverted the Constitution of the United States of America to cover up his crimes.

Does that last paragraph sound like any current occupant of The White House?

Well, lo and behold, November 5th is also the anniversary of the day in 1977 on which Laura “Librarian” Welch married President George “We were never stay the course” Bush, just 3 months after they met. We’d be horrified of any of our children married that quickly. Yet, it’s a marriage that has defied the statistical odds and today is their 29th Wedding Anniversary. That’s the Oil Anniversary.

But, it’s another important milestone on Disgraced Presidents Day. All the best biographies of President George “I’m a united not a divider” Bush credit Laura with helping her poor alcoholic of a husband kick the booze. If not for the marriage, there might not have been a 2nd Disgraced President to have allowed me to propose Disgraced Presidents Day.

With all my love,

Your Aunty Em

Friday, November 03, 2006

My Advice to Voters

After reading my last (first) blog entry, I received some private email. Naturally the most amusing emails were the ones more hateful than you can imagine. Laugh? Thought I’d surely die! But seriously, folks, to answer jmacue241@xxxx.xxx: I don’t really think of Queen Elizabeth II in quite that way. Honestly. And, no, I won’t send you any articles of clothing.

However, I’d rather people left their comments at Aunty Em’s Place, so we can debate some of these anatomical suggestions. However, I promise my dear readers that I will pass along any really good email I get.

Rosy Lamstock wrote me a thoughtful email from San Francisco, one of my favourite cities. (Neither of those two assertions should be read as sarcasm.) Rosy wonders why, if I care so much about the election, I didn’t offer suggestions for voters. The biggest reason is because these are mid-term elections and my candidates in Florida are not the same as yours running in San Francisco, a city that Right Wingers consider Gomorrah. My best advice is to stay away from those politicians, for starters, because San Francisco proves to the rest of the nation that tolerance makes a city more beautiful. San Francisco is the Toronto of the States, only with hills.

It never occurred to me that anyone would want my advice before voting, but since I was asked: I say that wherever possible, vote against the incumbent, whether they are Democrat or Republican, Red or Blue. Toss out every each and last one of them, Senators, Congresspersons, Governors, and School Boards. Let’s start fresh. The world is in such a mess we need new people running things. It’s a bet they can’t do any worse than those currently in office.

Remember that litmus test you were once asked to think about before you pulled the lever on Election Day? “Am I better off today than I was 4 years ago?” Now ask yourself, “Do I feel safer today than I did 4 years ago?”

I don’t. No, seriously. I don’t.

In all honesty, I felt safer on nine-twelve, with the tears still wet on my cheeks, than I do now that BushCheneyRumsfeldWolfowitzRice had time to tinker with the biggest set of Lincoln Logs a kid ever got at Christmas. They feel no shame at telling us they are re-making the Middle East.

Who asked you?

I want to make a radical suggestion: Regime change is really not up to the United States, unless we want to start at home and do it democratically. Every one of those jokers who frog-marched American soldiers into this illegal war needs to be standing on the unemployment line November 8th. Also, every one of those bone-headed politicos that supported the erosion of freedoms enshrined in The Constitution of The United States of America™ should be swept away like toast crumbs at IHOP.

I say it’s a radical suggestion because Regime Change seems to be as All American as Mom, Road Rage and out-of-control condo boards. It’s what American seems to excel at. In the past 114 years (or so), America has overtly, or covertly, removed the leaders of sovereign countries 14 times. That’s an average of one just about every 8 years.

I learned this from an excellent book that I just finished by Stephen Kinzer. “Overthrow; America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq” is a clean, polemic-free, just-the-facts-Ma’am reporting, in which each coup is taken up by a separate chapter in the book. I highly recommend it to anyone curious in the political term “blowback.” The amazing thing is that Kinzer never mentions “blowback” or even presents the concept. That’s how “facts only” this book is. “Overthrow” is a sobering look at American foreign policy, or what passes for it, and goes a long way towards answering the ultimate question, “Why do they hate us?”

Anyway, it’s a funny thing about Democracy. It gets harder and harder to prove what a great institution it is if the example one keeps setting around the world is that of a schoolyard bully.

I say throw them all out of office, right down to the last dogcatcher. If I lived in Texas, however, I’d definitely vote Kinky—Kinky Friedman, that is—for Governor, a job once held by George W. Bush.

With all my love,

Aunty Em

Odds & Sods News Wire:

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