Wednesday, March 21, 2007

To Err is Human ...

Tom Tomorrow

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The More They Open Their Mouths ... the More Obvious Their Disdain for Humanity Becomes

For Jessica McBride, Charlie Sykes, Peter DiGaudio and all the other short-sighted right-wing individuals who think that David Ehrenstein’s op-ed about Barack Obama – the “Magic Negro” – now gives you license to expose your racist hearts with impunity (oooh, the naughty left said it first), here is a comment from a fellow anonymously named “Fabtemp” at Media Matters for America (you know, the scholarly site, not the blogsite authored by the woman named McBride who poses as a scholar). It's about Rush Limbaugh's new found playground word that he has claimed he will continue to use it until someone says it originated with him ... thereby, and only in his twisted mind, confirming that it's all about him.

Wow, Rush! Are you surprised that you found an LA Times editorialist who is only slightly less racist than you are?

The "Magic Negro" is a denigrating term for a two dimensional character so often used in film stories. He is never allowed to be a "real" person with fears, weaknesses, psychological complexities or even much of a personal history. He has counter parts in the "Magic Asian Master" and the "Magic Gay Man".

If you wish to see a form rebellion against the "Magic Negro", watch films in which Denzel Washington wanted to be a part. He's made a career out of avoiding playing the "Magic Negro", routinely choosing instead rather complex characters, some with extraordinary personal flaws like homophobia, alcoholism and even sublimated socipathology.

Ehrenstein, of course, confuses film story lines with real life. What he perceives to be some sort of "mystification" of Barack Obama is racist in its perception already. Obama is not an angry, black man shouting colorful speeches about civil rights. He's a polished son of academia who rose to the position of United States Senator - not social issue gadfly.

As Chris Rock would mock about what was so often coined about Colin Powell "What do you EXPECT the man to sound like???"

It's Ehrenstein who has the problem of seeing Barack Obama as "real", not the Dem voters supportive of his candidacy.

And here you come, Rush, gleefully happy that someone you think is "on the left" (BTW, Would that be because of Ehrenstein's previous columns, his paper or his surname? Perhaps all three?), legitimizing your repeat of "Magic Negro" like a three year old who has learned a new "bad word" to gain attention from his parents.

You and your grazing herd will never quite understand the CRITIQUE inherent in the creation of the "Magic Negro" character in story lines and how inherently OFFENSIVE a character he is. All you want is the legitimacy to scream what you think is an offensive, racism term - because you needed some "leftist" permission to do so.

So scream it all you want to your beer-swilling, dashboard fist pounding, insecure legions. Barack Obama and his supporters aren't paying attention to either YOU or the soft bigotry contained in Ehrenstein's column.

Those who pay attention to racist stereotypes in American media were already well aware that "Hollywood" ain't exactly a factory in which true social equality dreams are made. Only you people look to "Hollywood" as some representation of "liberal" thought.

Are you SURE it's not about the surnames, Rush?

Would Judge Ziegler Have Recused Herself Considering ...

I should have pursued the law. Sent to me by my sister, Kate.

JCW INVESTMENTS, INC., d/b/a Tekky Toys, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. NOVELTY, INC., Defendant-Appellant. Before MANION, WOOD, and EVANS, Circuit Judges. WOOD, Circuit Judge.

Meet Pull My Finger® Fred. He is a white, middle-aged, overweight man with black hair and a receding hairline, sitting in an armchair wearing a white tank top and blue pants. Fred is a plush doll and when one squeezes Fred’s extended finger on his right hand, he farts. He also makes somewhat crude, somewhat funny statements about the bodily noises he emits, such as “Did somebody step on a duck?” or “Silent but deadly.”

Fartman could be Fred’s twin. Fartman, also a plush doll, is a white, middle-aged, overweight man with black hair and a receding hairline, sitting in an armchair wearing a white tank top and blue pants. Fartman (as his name suggests) also farts when one squeezes his extended finger; he too cracks jokes about the bodily function.

Two of Fartman’s seven jokes are the same as two of the 10 spoken by Fred. Needless to say, Tekky Toys, which manufactures Fred, was not happy when Novelty, Inc., began producing Fartman, nor about Novelty’s production of a farting Santa doll sold under the name Pull-My- Finger Santa. Tekky sued for copyright infringement, trademark infringement, and unfair competition and eventually won on all claims.

The district court awarded $116,000 based on lost profits resulting from the copyright infringement, $125,000 in lost profits attributable to trademark infringement, and $50,000 in punitive damages based on state unfair competition law. The district court then awarded Tekky $575,099.82 in attorneys’ fees.

On appeal, Novelty offers a number of arguments for why it should not be held liable for copyright infringement, argues that Illinois’s punitive damages remedy for unfair competition is preempted by federal law, and contends that the attorneys’ fees awarded by the district court should have been capped according to Tekky’s contingent-fee arrangement with its attorneys.

For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

Somewhat to our surprise, it turns out that there is a niche market for farting dolls, and it is quite lucrative.


Just wanted to echo Jay Bullock’s comments over at folkbum’s rambles and rants. The incident at the Army recruiting center is deplorable. I hope the perpetrators are caught and they spend some serious time for their stupid, inane actions. The only thing they have accomplished is to besmirch those who protested this illegal war with compassion, honor and respect.

Having said that, another prediction is coming true that the wing-nuts would be jumping all over this. Charlie Sykes used the phrase “well-coordinated” four times during the short amount of time I actually was able to listen this morning … this phrase obviously designed to give the impression that this kind of behavior is breaking out all over the country in perfect synchronicity. It’s not, by the way.

What is really well-coordinated is the constant assault of the right-wing noise machine (and their blogger sycophants) as they spread the verbal equivalent of human feces on the airwaves.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Operation Rewrite History a Success

From Jonathan Schwartz:

Four Years Ago
THE PRESIDENT: My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Four years ago today, coalition forces launched Operation Iraqi Freedom to remove Saddam Hussein from power. They did so to eliminate the threat his regime posed to the Middle East and to the world. Coalition forces carried out that mission with great courage and skill…

Who's on First?

An explanation to my son ... Why did we invade Iraq (from my mom, again):

Q: Daddy, why did we have to attack Iraq ?
A: Because they had weapons of mass destruction.

Q: But the inspectors didn't find any weapons of mass destruction.
A: That's because the Iraqis were hiding them.

Q: And that's why we invaded Iraq ?
A: Yep. Invasions always work better than inspections.

Q: But after we invaded them, we STILL didn't find any weapons of mass destruction, did we? A: That's because the weapons were so well hidden.

Q: Why did Iraq want all those weapons of mass destruction?
A: To use them in a war, silly.

Q: I'm confused. If they had all those weapons that they planned to use in a war, then why didn't they use any of those weapons when we went to war with them?
A: Well, obviously they didn't want anyone to know they had those weapons.

Q: That doesn't make sense. Why would they choose to die if they had all those big weapons with which they could have fought back?
A: It's a different culture. It's not supposed to make sense.

Q: I don't know about you, but I don't think they had any of those weapons our government said they did.
A: Well, you know, it doesn't matter whether or not they had those weapons. We had another good reason to invade them anyway.

Q: And what was that?
A: Even if Iraq didn't have weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein was a cruel dictator.

Q: Why? What does a cruel dictator do that makes it ok to invade his country?
A: Well, for one thing, he tortured his own people.

Q: Kind of like what they do in China?
A: Don't go comparing China to Iraq. China is a good economic competitor where millions of people work for slave wages in sweatshops to make U.S. corporations richer.

Q: So if a country lets its people be exploited for American corporate gain, it's a good country, even if that country tortures people?
A: Right.

Q: Why were people in Iraq being tortured?
A: For political crimes, mostly, like criticizing the government. People who criticized the government in Iraq were sent to prison and tortured.

Q: Isn't that exactly what happens in China?
A: I told you, China is different.

Q: What's the difference between China and Iraq?
A: Well, for one thing, Iraq was ruled by the Ba'ath party, while China is a Communist country.

Q: Didn't you once tell me Communists were bad?
A: No, just Cuban Communists are bad.

Q: How are the Cuban Communists bad?
A: Well, for one thing, people who criticize the government in Cuba are sent to prison and tortured.

Q: Like in Iraq?
A: Exactly.

Q: And like in China, too?
A: I told you, China's a good economic competitor. Cuba, on the other hand, is not.

Q: How come Cuba isn't a good economic competitor?
A: Well, you see, back in the early 1960s, our government passed some laws that made it illegal for Americans to trade or do any business with Cuba until they stopped being Communists and started being Capitalists like us.

Q: But if we got rid of those laws, opened up trade with Cuba, and started doing business with them, wouldn't that help the Cubans become Capitalists?
A: Don't be a smart-ass.

Q: I didn't think I was being one.
A: Well, anyway, they also don't have freedom of religion in Cuba.

Q: Kind of like in China?
A: I told you, stop saying bad things about China. Anyway, Fidel Castro and Saddam Hussein came to power through military coups, so they're not really legitimate leaders anyway.

Q: What's a military coup?
A: That's when a military general takes over the government of a country by force, instead of holding free elections like we do in theUnited States.

Q: Didn't the ruler of Pakistan come to power by a military coup?
A: You mean General Pervez Musharraf? Uh, yeah, he did, but Pakistan is our friend.

Q: Why is Pakistan our friend if their leader is illegitimate?
A: I never said Pervez Musharraf was illegitimate.

Q: Didn't you just say a military general who comes to power by forcibly overthrowing the legitimate government of a nation is an illegitimate leader?
A: Only Saddam Hussein and Fidel Castro. Pervez Musharraf is our friend, because he helped us invade Afghanistan.

Q: Why did we invade Afghanistan?
A: Because of what they did to us on September 11th.

Q: What did Afghanistan do to us on September 11th?
A: Well, on September 11th, nineteen men, fifteen of them Saudi Arabians, hijacked four airplanes and flew three of them into buildings, killing over 3,000 Americans.

Q: So how did Afghanistan figure into all that?
A: Afghanistan was where those bad men trained, under the oppressive rule of the Taliban.

Q: Aren't the Taliban those bad radical Islamists who chopped off people's heads and hands?
A: Yes, that's exactly who they were. Not only did they chop off people's heads and hands, but they oppressed women too.

Q: Didn't the Bush Administration give the Taliban 43 million dollars back in May of 2001?
A: Yes, but that money was a reward because they did such a good job fighting drugs.

Q: Fighting drugs?
A: Yes, the Taliban were very helpful in stopping people from growing opium poppies.

Q: How did they do such a good job?
A: Simple. If people ware caught growing opium poppies, the Taliban would have their hands and heads cut off.

Q: So, when the Taliban cut off people's heads and hands for growing flowers, that was OK, but not if they cut people's heads and hands off for other reasons?
A: Yes. It's ok with us if radical Islamist fundamentalists cut off people's hands for growing flowers, but it's cruel if they cut off people's hands for stealing bread.

Q: Don't they also cut off people's hands and heads in Saudi Arabia?
A: That's different. Afghanistan was ruled by a tyrannical patriarchy that oppressed women and forced them to wear burqas whenever they were in public, with death by stoning as the penalty for women who did not comply.

Q: Don't Saudi women have to wear burqas in public, too?
A: No, Saudi women merely wear a traditional Islamic bodycovering.

Q: What's the difference?
A: The traditional Islamic covering worn by Saudi women is a modest yet fashionable garment that covers all of a woman's body except for her eyes and fingers. The burqa, on the other hand, is an evil tool of patriarchal oppression that covers all of a woman's body except for her eyes and fingers.

Q: It sounds like the same thing with a different name.
A: Now, don't go comparing Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are our friends.

Q: But I thought you said 15 of the 19 hijackers on September 11th were from Saudi Arabia .
A: Yes, but they trained in Afghanistan .

Q: Who trained them?
A: A very bad man named Osama bin Laden.

Q: Was he from Afghanistan?
A: Uh, no, he was from Saudi Arabia too. But he was a bad man, a very bad man.

Q: I seem to recall he was our friend once.
A: Only when we helped him and the Mujahedeen repel the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan back in the 1980s.

Q: Who are the Soviets? Was that the evil Communist empire Ronald Reagan talked about?
A: There are no more Soviets. The Soviet Union broke up in 1990 or thereabouts, and now they have elections and Capitalism like us. We call them Russians now.

Q: So the Soviets, I mean, the Russians, are now our friends?
A: Well, not really. You see, they were our friends for many years after they stopped being Soviets, but then they decided not to support our invasion of Iraq , so we're mad at them now. We're also mad at the French and the Germans because they didn't help us invade Iraq either.

Q: So the French and Germans are evil, too?
A: Not exactly evil, but just bad enough that we had to re-name French fries and French toast to Freedom Fries and Freedom Toast.

Q: Do we always re-name foods whenever another country doesn't do what we want them to do?
A: No, we just do that to our friends. Our enemies, we invade.

Q: But wasn't Iraq one of our friends back in the 1980s?
A: Well, yeah, for a while.

Q: Was Saddam Hussein ruler of Iraq back then?
A: Yes, but at the time he was fighting against Iran, which made him our friend, temporarily.

Q: Why did that make him our friend?
A: Because at that time, Iran was our enemy.

Q: Isn't that when he gassed the Kurds?
A: Yes, but we looked the other way, to show him we were his friends.

Q: So anyone who fights against one of our enemies automatically becomes our friend?
A: Most of the time, yes.

Q: And anyone who fights against one of our friends is automatically an enemy?
A: Sometimes that's true, too. However, if American corporations can profit by selling weapons to both sides at the same time, all the better.

Q: Why?
A: Because war is good for the economy, which means war is good for America. Also, since God is on America's side, anyone who opposes war is a godless un-American Communist. Do you understand now why we attacked Iraq?

Q: I think so. We attacked them because God wanted us to, right?
A: Yes.

Q: But how did we know God wanted us to attack Iraq?
A: Well, you see, God personally speaks to George W. Bush and tells him what to do.

Q: So basically, what you're saying is that we attacked Iraq because George W. Bush hears voices in his head?
A: Yes! You finally understand how the world works. Now close your eyes, make yourself comfortable and go to sleep. Good night.

Good night, Daddy.