Quotable Quote of the Month

What does it take for Republicans to take off the flag pin and say, 'I am just too embarrassed to be on this team'?".- Bill Maher

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Al D'Amato Goes Postal!

This is one reason I love live TV!  Last week during a segment on the Fox Business Channel, GOP strategist Jack Burkman needlessly brought race into a discussion about the viability of the USPS in today's world.  Although liberal attorney Tamara Holder called Burkman out for his comments, the best part was when former Republican Senator of New York Al D'Amato let Burkman know how he felt about his remarks.  It's great to see a Republican on one of the Fox channels call out one of their own for this type of nonsense.  I wonder if D'Amato has made his last appearance on any of the Fox-affiliated channels.  Well if that's the case, if you're gonna go out, go out in style!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A GOP Group Gives Us Their Version of the "Southern Experience"

South Carolina Sen. Glenn McConnell (center) flanked by two members of the Gullah-Geechee cultural group

In early September, The National Federation of Republican Women held its annual fall Board of Directors meeting in Charleston, SC.  One of the sponsored events connected with the meeting was a themed one dubbed "The Southern Experience".   This involved people dressing in attire from the Civil War era such as military uniforms and slavery garb.

Why would anyone think this was a good idea? Even if this were 1970, I'd ask the same question. It's incidents like this which is why I think many in the GOP are clueless when it comes to race matters in this country. Oh and just to be clear, the blacks who dressed up as slaves for this event aren't off the hook either!

Below is the segment in which WCBD-TV Channel 2 in Charleston covers the incident:

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Valerie Brown of Josie & the Pussycats Makes Saturday Morning Cartoon History

On September 12, 1970, Josie & the Pussycats made its transition from comic book to CBS Saturday morning cartoon.  One of the characters making the transition (Valerie) is significant because she became the first female African-American cast member on a regular Saturday-morning cartoon.  The first African-American Saturday morning cartoon character overall was Pete Jones, who appeared on  The Hardy Boys (which debuted on September 6, 1969).

Valerie almost didn't make her historic appearance on Josie & the Pussycats.  In preparation for the cartoon, Hanna-Barbera Productions decided to assemble a real-life Josie & the Pussycats group, who would provide the singing voices of the girls in the cartoons and also record an album (other actresses provided the speaking voices for the characters on the series). The company who would be in charge of the recordings (La La Productions)  held a talent search to find three females who would match Josie & the Pussycats in the comic book in both looks and singing ability.  The trio chosen to be "Josie & the Pussycats" were: Cathy Douglas (Josie), Patrice Holloway (Valerie) and Cherie Moor (Melody).  Side note: after Josie & the Pussycats disbanded, Moor got married, took her husband's surname and gained fame as Cheryl Ladd.

When one member of La La Productions (Danny Janssen) presented the newly formed trio to William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, he learned that they wanted to recast Patrice Holloway because they had decided to portray Josie & the Pussycats as all-white (even though Valerie was an African-American in the comic book).  Janssen refused to recast Holloway and threatened to walk away from the project.  After a nearly month-long stalemate between Janssen and Hanna-Barbera, Hanna-Barbera conceded and allowed Janssen to keep Holloway, and changed Valerie back to being African-American.  Ironically, Holloway became the most prominent voice of the trio.  In addition to singing lead on many of the tracks on their self-titled album, Holloway also provided lead vocals to the cartoon's iconic theme song.

Although it often gets overlooked, I think it's important to recognize the significance of the appearance of Valerie on the cartoon version of Josie & the Pussycats.  Her inclusion on the series opened the doors to black female cartoon characters on TV and helped lead to others such as Dee Dee (Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels), Susie Carmichael (Rugrats and All Grown Up), and Vixen (Justice League Unlimited).  

Below is the first single (Every Beat of My Heart) from the only album Patrice Holloway, Cherie Moor, and Cathy Douglas recorded as Josie & the Pussycats. Although the player below doesn't contain any performance footage, there are stills from the cartoon series and of Holloway, Moor, and Douglas recording in the studio.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

New Left Media Talks To Attendees At Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" Rally

Although I first saw this video in late August, I think it's still worth posting.  At Glenn Beck's recent "Restoring Honor" rally, the group New Left Media (which consists of college students Chase Whiteside, Erick Stoll and a camera) interviewed and filmed some of the folks in attendance.  Just as they've done in the past at such events as a Sarah Palin book signing and Tea Party rallies, New Left Media exposes the ignorance and mindlessness by some of the people on the right.  As you'll see, the interviewer (Chase Whiteside) doesn't have to work hard to bring out the ignorance and mindlessness of these people.  This video is loaded with priceless nuggets.  Some of the highlights or (depending on your outlook) lowlights include:

  • A man asserts that Al Sharpton is the leader of The Black Panthers (at the 2:48 mark of the clip)
  • People say they had never heard Glenn Beck's infamous comments in which he called President Obama a racist (3:23)
  • A woman (with no evidence to back it up) accuses President Obama of pitting blacks and whites against each other (4:20)
  • Plenty of anti-Muslim sentiment (7:00)

Credit goes to Chase because he somehow manages to keep a straight face throughout all the madness. While watching Hardball with Chris Matthews last night, I was pleasantly surprised to see a piece of this clip. It aired during the segment about the organization (TeaPartyTracker.org) that monitors racism and other forms of extremism within the Tea Party movement. The video put together by New Left Media is on the TeaPartyTracker.org site.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Guest Post by Sue: Insensitivity or Bigotry...

In late August, I contacted Sue (whose blog is titled Helloooo...... Mr. President, are you listening??) and asked if she was interested in writing a guest post. She offered up the following about the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" controversy:

"Lose your ego, find your compassion."

If Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has a mantra it is this: "Islamic extremism for the majority of Muslims is an oxymoron; It is a fundamental contradiction in terms."

71% of New Yorkers oppose the building of a mosque in lower Manhattan.. Are they being reasonable or reactionary? Is this about first amendment rights or insensitivity towards 9/11 victims families? It's not the only mosque in Manhattan, so why all the fighting? Not because it's being built on hallowed ground because it is not. It's on a sight 2 blocks from hallowed ground. Peace loving Muslims did not fly planes into the twin towers on 9/11, Islamic extremists did. So I'm baffled by that argument.

So then, who is Imam Rauf?

Fearmongering conservative politicians have called him a radical Muslim, a militant Islamist, and unbelievably "the enemy". His project in lower Manhattan has been framed as a conduit for Hamas to funnel money to domestic terrorist operations.

For those who actually know or have worked with the imam, the descriptions are frighteningly unhinged from reality. The Feisal Abdul Rauf they know spent the past decade fighting against the very same cultural divisiveness and religious-based paranoia that currently surrounds him.

"Imam Feisal has participated at the Aspen Institute in Muslim-Christian-Jewish working groups looking at ways to promote greater religious tolerance," says Walter Isaacson, head of The Aspen Institute. "He has consistently denounced radical Islam and terrorism and promoted a moderate and tolerant Islam. Some of this work was done under the auspices of his own group, the Cordoba Initiative... This is why I find it a shame that his good work is being undermined by this inflamed dispute. He is the type of leader we should be celebrating in America - not undermining."

Just days after the 9/11 attacks, Bush had much to say about the need for religious tolerance even after Islamic extremists carried out the worst foreign attack in history on U.S. soil.

"The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam," Bush said at the Islamic Center of Washington in a speech that set the tenor for when he later sent U.S. troops to fight on Muslim soil in Afghanistan and later Iraq. "That's not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don't represent peace. They represent evil and war."

He went on to say millions of American Muslims "need to be treated with respect. In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must treat each other with respect."

Passionate conservatism is dying in our country. The conservatives care only about regaining power in November. I don't believe for one minute this mosque debate will rage on after the elections, but the lasting effects are sure to harm our nation at home and around the globe.  What this hateful rhetoric means to the terrorists is we are not tolerant of Islam and of our Muslim citizens. We are a country of bigots and if we keep this up we are allowing the terrorists to win. Muslim Americans are enduring hate and bigotry all over this country, more now than ever with the election of Barack Obama.

Things have surely changed in America. What happened to our "melting pot" country? We are bigots, we are hateful towards our Muslim brothers and sisters. I am embarrassed and ashamed of my country today....