Thursday, March 19, 2009

Setting The Record Straight

ENOUGH said. Click to enlarge.

Plugging Along

There's a big event going on in Indian Wells, California, and I'm blogging it like crazy over on my tennis blog.

Of course, I'm still following this administration's First 100 days closely and could probably write a tidbit a day about the political theater going on right now over this AIG bonus "outrage" but I'm not pushing that story because I know it's a lie and a distraction from the bigger fraud behind the entire bailout and a way to try to derail the president's progressive agenda.

I'm moving right along.

I think I need a vacation on a beach somewhere in the South Pacific.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Saturday, March 14, 2009

We Still Miss You, Daddy

Hazelle Hickman
February 14, 1920 - March 14, 2007

I couldn't get to Milwaukee this year, so the phone conversations with my mother and sister will have to do.

Movie Review: Milk

I just watched Milk last night and will watch it again.

As a film, the weakest part was the script, Academy Award notwithstanding. It needed to be better than it was because I so enjoyed the rest of the craftsmanship. Gus van Sant has a way of creating a world through images and a color palette that makes you want to live in it for a long time, even when the story, as in My Own Private Idaho, doesn't hold up. This story held up because it was history, but I still wished the writing was better. It needed, perhaps, a better balance between Milk's personal relationships and the political battles he waged. If you're going to include, say, as much of the second relationship as was included, Jack Lira needed much more meat on his bones as a character. As it was, he was a distraction from what I wanted to focus on at that point in the movie, which was the politics. Had I written the script, Diego Luna, after his introduction, would have gotten about as much screen time as Beatrice Straight in Network, minus her big scene.

Overall, though, I loved the film. History buff that I am, it takes a lot for a biopic about a person or subject matter I'm into to not work for me.

Sean Penn was Harvey Milk. I kept flashing back in my memory to The Times of Harvey Milk, which I will now see again, and feeling as though the same person was emoting from the screen. James Franco was a revelation. I'd never gave much thought to his appeal, but he kept pulling me in to his character. It didn't hurt that I kept seeing glimpses of Marat Safin, but that's a whole other thing. Josh Brolin was adequate as Dan White, but I'm not sure what his nomination was based on other than his role as Milk's assassin. Franco was much better. And Emile Hirsch was a spritely Cleve Jones. I enjoyed his performance.

I couldn't help but draw parallel's between Milk's successful 1977 campaign for supervisor and against Prop 6 in 1978 and the 2008 presidential election and Prop 8. The grassroots organizing, the bringing people of all backgrounds together, the "outsider" challenging the machine, the movement as candidate itself, and the message of hope resonated. But I kept asking myself, Did the "organizers" of No on 8 actually know anything about the history of Prop 6 or did the self-appointed gay leaders just take for granted that big old liberal California didn't need to be organized to safeguard GLBT civil rights? What was Cleve Jones' role, if any, in the 2008 battle? Did anyone listen?

These questions require a whole other essay.

Official Website: Milk the Movie

UPDATE: I just found this on YouTube and as beautiful as it is, it makes me shake my head. Why did no one organize at the grassroots with comprehensive community outreach to tell the California voters what Prop 8 was really all about? I understand that marriage equality isn't a top issue for many GLBT citizens, but given the vote, the fallout, and the marches around the country that were organized after the fact, the number of voters who changed their minds but couldn't do anything about it, it's clear to me those who led the fight against Prop 8 didn't do what they had to do.

Still, everything happens for a reason.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The View From Here

Popham Beach, Phippsburg, Maine

Women's History Month: Honoring Dorothy Dandridge

DOROTHY Jean Dandridge (November 9, 1922–September 8, 1965) was an American actress and popular singer. Dandridge was the first African American to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.

Dandridge was born in Cleveland, Ohio to Cyril Dandridge, a cabinetmaker and minister and Ruby Dandridge (née Butler), an aspiring entertainer. Dandridge’s parents separated shortly before her birth. Ruby Dandridge soon created an act for her two young daughters, Vivian and Dorothy, under the name of “The Wonder Children.” The daughters toured the Southern United States for five years while Ruby worked and performed in Cleveland. During this time, they toured non-stop and rarely attended school.

With the start of the Great Depression, work dried up, as it did for many of the Chitlin’ circuit performers. Ruby Dandridge moved to Hollywood, where she found steady work playing domestics in small parts on radio and film. “The Wonder Kids” were renamed “The Dandridge Sisters” and booked into such venues as the Cotton Club and The Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York. Dandridge’s first on-screen appearance was a bit part in a 1935 Our Gang short. In 1937 she appeared in the Marx Brothers feature A Day at the Races.

In 1940, Dandridge played a murderer in the race film Four Shall Die. All of her early parts were stereotypical African-American roles, but her singing ability and presence brought her popularity in nightclubs around the country. During this period, she starred in several “soundies”, film clips designed to be displayed on juke boxes, including “Paper Doll” by the Mills Brothers, “Cow Cow Boogie”, “Jig in the Jungle”, “Mr. & Mrs. Carpenter’s Rent Party.”

Carmen Jones
In 1954, director and writer Otto Preminger cast Dandridge, along with Harry Belafonte, Pearl Bailey, Diahann Carroll, Madame Sul-Te-Wan, and Joe Adams in his production of Carmen Jones. Dandridge’s singing voice was dubbed by Marilyn Horne.

Carmen Jones grossed $60,000 during the first week and $47,000 in the second upon release in 1955.[citation needed] The film received favorable reviews, and Dandridge was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress, becoming only the third African American to receive a nomination in any Academy Award category (after Hattie McDaniel and Ethel Waters). Grace Kelly won for her performance in The Country Girl. At the ceremony, Dandridge presented the Academy Award for Film Editing to Gene Milford for On the Waterfront.

See some YouTube clips of her work.

President Obama Announces the White House Council on Women and Girls

YESTERDAY was International Women's Day.

Later in the day, the First Lady was introduced by Secretary Clinton at the state department where they honored Muslim women.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Truth

REPEAT after Thomas Ricks of the Washington Post, as overheard on MSNBC this morning:

"This president has inherited the worst foreign policy situation than any president in American history. And that's not even his biggest problem."

Disagree with his policies. Wish for him to fail, if you must. But every time sometime throws a bullshit criticism at the president for attempting to do too much, just repeat that truth.

No need to even explicate, just say it every time someone goes there.

The truth shall set you free.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Rebuilding America

In its latest attempt to dampen Obama's approval ratings, the corporate media apparatus is pushing the narrative that the president is trying to do too much.

When someone has vision -- actual vision -- he razes the house, rebuilds it, and plans for renovations 10 years down the road when talking to the design and construction team about the project.

President Obama is doing exactly what he was elected to do. And the American people who elected him know it.

People trust the president far more than the shills on TV.

And the corporate media apparatus can't stand it.

Monday, March 09, 2009

The View From Here

Popham Beach, Phippsburg, Maine

Leadership and Self Love

ALICE WALKER wrote a great letter to our president the day after he was elected. It is worth revisiting right now:

Dear Brother Obama,

You have no idea, really, of how profound this moment is for us. Us being the black people of the Southern United States. You think you know, because you are thoughtful, and you have studied our history. But seeing you deliver the torch so many others before you carried, year after year, decade after decade, century after century, only to be struck down before igniting the flame of justice and of law, is almost more than the heart can bear. And yet, this observation is not intended to burden you, for you are of a different time, and, indeed, because of all the relay runners before you, North America is a different place. It is really only to say: Well done. We knew, through all the generations, that you were with us, in us, the best of the spirit of Africa and of the Americas. Knowing this, that you would actually appear, someday, was part of our strength. Seeing you take your rightful place, based solely on your wisdom, stamina and character, is a balm for the weary warriors of hope, previously only sung about.

I would advise you to remember that you did not create the disaster that the world is experiencing, and you alone are not responsible for bringing the world back to balance. A primary responsibility that you do have, however, is to cultivate happiness in your own life. To make a schedule that permits sufficient time of rest and play with your gorgeous wife and lovely daughters. And so on. One gathers that your family is large. We are used to seeing men in the White House soon become juiceless and as white-haired as the building; we notice their wives and children looking strained and stressed. They soon have smiles so lacking in joy that they remind us of scissors. This is no way to lead. Nor does your family deserve this fate. One way of thinking about all this is: It is so bad now that there is no excuse not to relax. From your happy, relaxed state, you can model real success, which is all that so many people in the world really want. They may buy endless cars and houses and furs and gobble up all the attention and space they can manage, or barely manage, but this is because it is not yet clear to them that success is truly an inside job. That it is within the reach of almost everyone.

I would further advise you not to take on other people's enemies. Most damage that others do to us is out of fear, humiliation and pain. Those feelings occur in all of us, not just in those of us who profess a certain religious or racial devotion. We must learn actually not to have enemies, but only confused adversaries who are ourselves in disguise. It is understood by all that you are commander in chief of the United States and are sworn to protect our beloved country; this we understand, completely. However, as my mother used to say, quoting a Bible with which I often fought, "hate the sin, but love the sinner." There must be no more crushing of whole communities, no more torture, no more dehumanizing as a means of ruling a people's spirit. This has already happened to people of color, poor people, women, children. We see where this leads, where it has led.

A good model of how to "work with the enemy" internally is presented by the Dalai Lama, in his endless caretaking of his soul as he confronts the Chinese government that invaded Tibet. Because, finally, it is the soul that must be preserved, if one is to remain a credible leader. All else might be lost; but when the soul dies, the connection to earth, to peoples, to animals, to rivers, to mountain ranges, purple and majestic, also dies. And your smile, with which we watch you do gracious battle with unjust characterizations, distortions and lies, is that expression of healthy self-worth, spirit and soul, that, kept happy and free and relaxed, can find an answering smile in all of us, lighting our way, and brightening the world.

We are the ones we have been waiting for.

In Peace and Joy,
Alice Walker

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Eye Candy

MORE March Madness eye candy.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

That Sound You Hear

IS THE screaming of the executives at CNBC and their parent company General Electric. You see, comedian Jon Stewart just exposed them for the snake oil salesman they all are.

An all because Rick Santelli bailed on the show.

I've never put a penny in Wall Street. I'm sorry for those whose retirement accounts are gambled away by lying, greedy, con artist gambling addicts.

Jon Stewart reveals it all for the casino it is and exposes the shilling cheerleaders for their role in all the corruption.

Give the man a Peabody and an Emmy. Give Joe Nocera, interviewed in the third segment, who breaks down the AIG scam here the Pulitzer. Now.

He has done the job the corporate media anchors can't do. They shill for the beneficiaries of the bullshit you're about to have broken down for you like counting for kindergartners.

This needs to go viral.

This man needs to disappear like a ghost.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The View From Here

Click to enlarge.

Netherlands In The House

A DUTCH journalist put up this blog post today. You can read it in English by clicking on the sidebar. She's writing articles about Dutch people from a certain province in the Netherlands who emigrated to the United States. She'll stay with us for a few days, then she's off to the Michigan and Wisconsin, my native state.

Monday, March 02, 2009