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I'm not afraid to call myself a liberal.  I don't think it's a dirty word, despite the largely successful reprogramming efforts undertaken by the Republican Party and conservative talk radio over the past decade. 

I think it's a valid platform for social thought, and in general a good position to stand in politically.  People should have as much personal freedom as possible, and the government should help the people live a better life if it can.  Sounds good to me.

But when we do something stupid, we deserve to be called out for it.

26 March 2008 @ 06:51 am
Christian Lander is either a brilliant conservative or a tragically dumb liberal.

His blog, Stuff White People Like, is the toast of all the internets, having appeared in media as far-reaching and diverse as the Los Angeles Times, Heeb Magazine, and NPR, which incidentally is one of the subjects of the blog.

There is doubtlessly a lot of traction to be gained in making fun of "white" people. And there's nothing wrong with a little self-deprecating humor, right?.

But once you've read a few entries, it's difficult not to notice that this blog really isn't about race at all. You certainly don't have to be white to enjoy coffee, organic food, wine, or Barack Obama. No, these things are appreciated by all kinds of people, but the ire seems to be aimed specifically at upper-class liberals. This elucidates one of the major flaws in the concept, and at the same time explains its success. If this blog were titled "You Might Be An Upper Class Liberal If..," no one would be reading. Lander has taken an essentially unexciting idea and spiced it up with societally sanctioned racism.

Stuff White People Like is a blog that is only amusing if you don't think about it very hard. The blog becomes pretty demeaning as a whole as you read on, painting support for ideas like diversity and recycling as insincere and expressed only for social gain.

It is at this point that I begin to question the author's intentions, and suspect conservative subversion. It's rather telling that Lander avoids lampooning the likes of that large percentage of the white population. There is no mention of the NASCAR racing, high school football and Michelob Light that fuels the so-called Ethnic Whites of the nonurban portions of this country. Never are Beanie Weenies, The Lord, and the illusion of low taxes presented for ridicule. There's not a single mention of John Deere tractors or Larry the Cable Guy.

It would be the perfect plan, after all - subtly demean and devalue the liberal agenda, all while getting liberals themselves to visit the site every day and laugh at themselves. But in interviews with Lander, who is himself white, he maintains that "this site pokes fun at ME. that's why I use pictures of myself. those aren't taken out of irony. this is the shit that I do. I need to call myself out for all of the stupid shit that I take for granted."

At this point, I feel the divining rod pulling more and more towards the "dumb liberal," side.

I'm not afraid to make fun of myself, as I have shown repeatedly in my comic, but to come up with a list of things you like and systematically insult every one of them strikes me as overkill and just maybe a touch of wannabe martyrdom.

Inaccurately embroiling race in the mix, even in an ironic and self-referential way, to me is a prime example of the naivety that I find runs rampant in some of my fellow liberals. They seem to operate under an assumption that because their opinions are correct and will be vindicated by the eventual evolution of mankind, nothing they do can be taken advantage of in order to hurt them or stifle their goals.

Of course this is not true, and those who would oppose genuinely good things like hybrid cars and multilingualism can come here for ammunition, since after all these causes are just the domain of 'those silly white people.' I wouldn't be surprised to see Christian Lander as the next chump to follow in Alan Colmes' footsteps, fulfilling the role of the liberal straw man as a guest commentator on Fox News.

Think that's not a legitimate possibility? Lander is already growing beyond mere internet fame. He just got a $350K advance from Random House for the book version of Stuff White People Like.

The most disturbing aspect of this story, though, is that this guy is now going to be thought of as an authority on race relations, when it's obvious that his experience even with his own race, and with anyone outside of his income bracket, is severely limited.
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18 March 2008 @ 10:03 pm

(37 Minutes, YouTube/CNN)
For a full transcript with the video on top, go here

A lot of people are calling this Barack's "I Have A Dream" speech.  When I first heard he was planning this, I knew it was a tremendous opportunity to not only put his pastor's words in context, but also make a larger commentary on race in this country in general.  He pulled it off beautifully, and people actually seem to be receiving the message.

This is an extremely smart person who comes to us from a background that allowed him to experience the effects of race from both sides, and enables him to take the lead in creating the conversation this country has so desperately needed to have for so long.  Here, in one speech, he has succinctly explained the damage racism causes as well as the genuine concerns held by all Americans that contribute to those lines of thinking.  He didn't back down, when he could have easily just abandoned the pastor and hoped it would all go away.  He has challenged us to take a look at ourselves, and our own families, and make the decision to take the right path forward.

If you don't listen to any other speech during this election cycle, make it this one.
Buried deep in the midst of the lead article on CNN.com all about how Barack Obama won a state that everyone expected him to win in the most racially polarized contest yet was this little morsel of information:

Obama also finished first in the Texas Democratic caucuses. The caucuses were held last week, but the race was not called until Tuesday night.

Obama will get more delegates out of the state than Clinton, who won the state's primary.

Someone should ask Bill Clinton if Hillary is ready to throw in the towel, considering that she DIDN'T win both Texas and Ohio, something he said she had to accomplish in order to be the nominee.

This means that after Mississippi, Hillary has only gained one delegate against him from all of her much-celebrated wins on March 4th. And guess who is losing a superdelegate if New York Governor Eliot Spitzer resigns?

I suppose this is not unprecedented territory for the media, however. Considering how much attention was paid to Mike Huckabee when it was more than obvious that he didn't have a chance, I expect we'll have to put up with the illusion of a much tighter contest for quite some time.
09 March 2008 @ 08:03 pm
funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Two moar.Collapse )
06 March 2008 @ 07:02 am
There are some caveats to Clinton's Tuesday night win that the media, in their glee at the prospect of a prolonged struggle, are neglecting to point out.

1. Barack Obama may have won Texas.

Senator Clinton's narrow win in the primary secures her just over half of those delegates. The primary accounts for 2/3 of the delegates, which will be nearly evenly split, only granting Clinton 4 more delegates. The other 1/3 of the Texas delegates come from the caucuses, where Barack is currently ahead by a larger margin. If that pattern sticks, he could very well end up with more Texas delegates than Clinton.

2. Hillary had a 20%-plus lead in polls in both Ohio and Texas just a few weeks ago.

For Barack Obama to come that close in such a short time to victory in Ohio, and (possibly) win in Texas, is not a real indicator of any comeback on Clinton's part.

3. It is still very unlikely that Clinton will catch up to Obama in delegate count.

Play with the Delegate Counter game over at CNN, and you can see what it would take for her to catch up. She would have to have an extremely generous margin of victory in every remaining state, which is not going to happen.

Here are my predictions for the remaining states -

Clinton: Pennsylvania, Indiana, Puerto Rico

Obama: Wyoming, Mississippi, Guam, North Carolina, Oregon, Montana, South Dakota

Close/Tie: Kentucky, West Virginia

These are pretty educated guesses, based on polls, location, and demographics, and even with meager victories, it still puts Senator Obama on top. The media acts like it is much more up in the air so they will have something to talk about.

Clinton's only real hopes lie with the Superdelegates, who she has been increasingly losing to Obama, and who would rend the party asunder if they overrode the pledged delegates, and the Florida and Michigan situation. Or Barack stumbling very hard, which is not likely to happen.

Florida and Michigan will not be seated with the delegates proportioned the way they did in their unsanctioned elections in January. It's not likely Clinton will repeat her huge victory margins from those contests, but I do think she would win those states if they do hold another primary. If they hold caucuses, Obama will split them evenly with her.

Unless she pulls some massive wins in Pennsylvania as well as Michigan and Florida, it's still over.

An ice storm over the northern half of Ohio may depress voter turnout. This stands to benefit Huckabee the most, as most of his voters are going to come from the southern half of the state, not that it really matters much. McCain will still more than likely clinch the nomination today.

Hillary Clinton may also enjoy a slight boost. While most Democratic voters are concentrated in the northern cities which may be facing the storm, she generally owns the rural Democrats.

Obama's coalition of well-educated city dwellers and black voters would seem to be most negatively affected by this turn of events. But Obama voters have also proven the most emphatic and resilient, so hopefully they will press ahead nonetheless.
01 March 2008 @ 03:02 pm
Hillary Clinton is going to appear on The Daily Show on Monday night.

In what is sure to be a part of Senator Clinton's "kitchen sink" method of trying everything she can do to get attention and overcome Barack Obama, she's going to use the critical last night before the Texas and Ohio primaries to go on The Daily Show, something she has resisted doing since before the election began.  Barack Obama has been on the show, and John McCain has been on 11 times in total, including a call from the Straight Talk Express.

This should be interesting, because while Jon hasn't come out and confirmed his support of any candidate, in his previous interviews he has had a lot of good things to say about Obama, and he hasn't been timid in his criticism of the Clintons.
21 February 2008 @ 01:51 pm
John McCain denies allegations he had an affair with a lobbyist.

  There are several things about this story that don't immediately add up.  First of all, the New York Times has been sitting on this story for months, so why release it now?  If they were really out to slam McCain, they would just keep sitting on it until the general election was under way.  However, pressure was building thanks to the impending New Republic report, so they may have had to release it prematurely.

I'm not going to speculate on the validity of the claims at the moment.  I do however wonder who it actually benefits.

At a time when McCain has a chance to really unite the party, nothing helps like a common enemy.  Conservatives have no love for the New York Times and will be quick to stand with McCain in this instance and hurl vitriol in the NYT's general direction.  It also gave McCain himself the opportunity to stand and calmly refute allegations that have little chance of being proven, with the obvious full support of his wife at his side.

On the other hand, this also takes the attention off of the tag-team negative attacks from Clinton-McCain on Barack and Michelle Obama, which gives Barack a cleaner slate going into tonight's debate.
21 February 2008 @ 01:49 pm

Michelle Obama clarifies 'proud' remark

Michelle Obama suffered a vocabulary malfunction the other day when she said "For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country. Not just because Barack is doing well, but I think people are hungry for change."

Predictably, people completely focused on the "first time in my adult life" and "proud of my country," parts.  It was a silly mistake, but she isn't a politician, and probably isn't used to having her words examined so meticulously.  While Barack pointed out on Tuesday that "What she meant was, this is the first time that she's been proud of the politics of America, because she's pretty cynical about the political process, and with good reason," I'd be willing to take it even farther than that.

I think it's safe to say that many of us have grown desensitized and annoyed by all the bandwagon patriotism and bumper-sticker pride that propelled George W. Bush through a host of poor policy decisions and an undeserved re-election.

It's this line of thought that made me second-guess displaying the flag of the United States in my home. I'm glad to be a citizen of this country, but I felt like I couldn't express any degree of civic pride because I don't want to be associated with the "Freedom Fries" demographic, and that is truly sad.

The neocons have perverted the very nature of American patriotism, confusing national pride with support for this corrupt administration and tragically wrong war. This is the main kind of pride and patriotism we have been exposed to for years, and it will take time and a serious change in leadership to heal the wounds.

Until then, you'll have to forgive Michelle Obama for seeing such a vast number of Americans motivated for change and regarding the emotion she experiences as a new one.