Saturday, May 31, 2008

Some Of My Dreams

Like everyone, I've always had hopes and dreams throughout my life. Here some of them:

  • I always wanted to be the first openly gay professional athlete (which would also make my the first closeted straight professional athlete).
  • I wanted to be the first Jewish President of the United States assassinated.
  • I hoped that everyone I know wasn't a terrible sexist and would go to the WNBA game with me.
  • I wish I had just a quarter of the ability doing anything that Candace Parker has out on the court.
  • I always wished I had a Slurpee machine in my house and I'd pay someone to make sure it was running smoothly at all times, like a Slurpee nanny.
  • I hope Hillary Clinton just goes away.
  • I'd like to see John Hagee, Rod Parsley, Jeremiah Wright, and Pat Robertson caught together in a Ted Haggard-type situation.
  • I dream of a fair presidential election in Zimbabwe and a peaceful transfer of power.

Friday, May 30, 2008

How To Ask Out A Jew

Let's say you're a gentile and you want to go out on a date with a Jew, but you don't know what to say to one of this mysterious lot. You're nervous you might spout out something about Jesus or blood libels. Or you might shave your mustache to look like Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's. You need help. That's where I come in. Here are a few things to say to break the ice:

"How 'bout that Holocaust? That was bad."

Just disagree with whatever the Jew says. Make sure you're yelling in a hostile tone. Trust me.

"You know who I think is great? Jon Stewart."

To a guy: "Let's go for a long walk and then just stare at the stars."
To a girl: "Let's go to [the most expensive restaurant] and then [do something equally as expensive]."

"Hey, that Joe Lieberman was almost vice president, sorta. That's something."

"Pssst, want some kugel?"

"I'm a gentile. Let's go out."

Robert Mugabe's mustache is no friend of the Jews.
The rest of him is no friend of Zimbabweans.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The New Hairstyle

According to the lady who cut my hair, I may have come up with a new hairstyle, the 6 on top, 4 on the sides and back cut.

It has received such reviews (all from that lady) as:

"Nice. Very nice."
"6 and 4, it flows together very well."
"Very nice. Very nice."
"Looks good. Very nice."
"This wouldn't work with Asian hair."
"You're hair is very soft, so it works."
"Very nice."
"6 and 4 is an interesting combination. Very nice. I have to remember that."
"Asian hair is stiff."

Then she offered to shave my facial hair to look like Robert Mugabe's. I'd love to bring the dictatorial mustache back in style, but now is not the time. People aren't ready.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Young and Bloody

This is not a post about the valiant MDC supporters fighting to give power to the people of Zimbabwe. It is about my trip from the metro to the Eyedea & Abilities concert.

We had to jump a fence and my hand was sliced worse than Robert Mugabe sliced the future of Zimbabwe. My hand is cut from my ring finger all the way down my hand and onto my wrist. I guess things could be worse. I could have fled Zimbabwe because of incredible inflation, lack of jobs, lack of food, and lack of prospects, to South Africa, only to face violence against me there. Or I could have been viciously lied to.

We had to show ID at the door of the show. A bouncer, who was sitting in a chair, looked at my drivers license, then looked back up at me. Then he looked back at the license, then back at me. Then he put the license up and compared me and to the picture.

The bouncer told another bouncer, "He's 26." The second guy asked me, "Do you get shit when you shave?" A little surprised, I answered, "I haven't shaved in like forever." He said, "Ah, you don't even want to deal with it, do you? Good shit."

It's been a couple of years since any kid has asked me, "Hey buddy are you 18?" [Yes] "Can you buy me cigarettes?" [No] so I figured I was looking older. Evidently not. You know who looks plenty old? Robert Mugabe. He's so old, his face is just one big wrinkle.

Stand up Zimbabwe!

Monday, May 26, 2008

John McCain Vice President Update

I still believe McCain needs to pick someone ("someone" in the classic sense of the term, meaning "a white male," to shore up conservatives) who is between 50-65 years of age. If he picks someone too young, he looks like that old stalker guy who sits on a bench in a park and checks out the young women, much to their discomfort. If he picks someone older, they will look like the two old dudes who sit in the balcony during the Muppet Show and rag on the proceedings. He should pick someone who is a moderate. This is his one chance, if he's going to go down in flames, do so with conviction.

Who is going to be his running mate? I have no idea. But here's a list of the most likely vice presidential choices (not necessarily the best) [Here's my first list] :

1. Gov. Charlie Crist (Fl) - Looks the part and comes across as affable. A moderate and helped McCain take Florida. [previous rank: 1]
2. Fmr Gov. Tom Ridge (Pen) - Fellow moderate with a combination of executive experience and homeland security cred. [4]
3. Fmr Gov. Mitt Romney (Mas) - Would he help McCain's perceived weakness on economic issues or expose it? He's a bad choice all around. [8]
4. Fmr Gov. Mike Huckabee (Ark) - He's not a good choice. He offends moderates but is a perceived economic liberal. [10]
5. Gov. Bobby Jindal (La) - He's young enough to be McCain's grandson. [13]
6. Gov. Tim Pawlenty (Min) - I think there are better choices, but he could work. [6]
7. Sen. Chuck Hagel (Neb) - He's a good choice, but I doubt McCain wants an Iraq war critic on the ticket. Hagel would help distance McCain from Bush though. [not ranked]
8. Gov. Mark Sanford (SC) - As far as I know, he's a good choice. He's a conservative though. [2]
9. Gov Rick Perry (Tex) - If McCain thinks some east coast southern states are in play, he could pick Sanford, otherwise, Perry is similar to Sanford. [3]
10. Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC) - Would be a good choice, but there are better ones. [nr]
11. Sec. Condoleezza Rice - She would link McCain directly to Bush, so she's not a good selection. [9]
12. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (Tex) - I've turned on choosing her a bit. A conservative senator is not a great choice. If she appeals to women, she would be attractive, but that would be easy for Obama to counter. [11]
13. Gov. Sarah Palin (Ak) - Want to make McCain look like that creepy stalker dude? With her on the ticket, he's one awkward ogle away from going down in flames. [16]
14. Fmr Gov. Robert Ehrlich (Md) - He'd be a good choice, but no one's talking about him, so probably not likely. [5]

A little fun:
15. Sen. Joe Lieberman (Con) - He would be a chic pick, but since when has an orthodox Jew had success in the Republican party. [26]
16. Sen. Hillary Clinton (NY) - A nice choice in theory, but imagine all of the headaches this would cause for the aged McCain. [nr]
17. Sen. Barack Obama (Il) - My uncle alerted me to an idea that McCain would choose Obama and Obama would choose McCain. So they're just battling for which one is on top of the ticket. I love it. But it'll never happen. [nr]
18. Fmr Sen. Sam Nunn (Ga) - I've heard talk about him, but he endorsed Obama, so it's out of the question. [nr]
19. Pres. Robert Mugabe (Zim) - His willingness to preemptively invade helpless countries puts him on common ground with McCain. But why would McCain want to deal with accusations that Mugabe is an election-stealing authoritarian dictator? Plus, he's not eligible since he's not a U.S. citizen. Stand up Zimbabwe! [nr]

Others to keep an eye on:
20. Fmr Sen. Fred Thompson (Ten) [previous rank: 7]; 21. Fmr Mayor Rudy Giuliani (NY) [17]; 22. Gen. Colin Powell [19]; 23. Sen. Elizabeth Dole (NC) [18]; 24. Fmr Rep. Newt Gingrich (Ga) [12]; 25. Gov. Matt Blunt (Mizz) [14]; 26. Gov. Mitch Daniels (Ind) [15]; 27. SCJ Anthony Kennedy [nr].

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A New Fraud

I recently finished reading Fraud of the Century: Rutherford B. Hayes, Samuel Tilden, and the Stolen Election of 1876 by Roy Morris Jr. It wasn't the worst book I've ever read- that honor belongs to Michael Parenti's To Kill A Nation: The Attack on Yugoslavia for unconvincingly denying the genocide in Bosnia- but it's in the running.

I must admit the first half of Fraud of the Century is an interesting read. Morris does a good job giving the back story for the two candidates and his illustration of the national conventions is intriguing. The second half of the book, which wasn't as good, could have been the sequel to Birth of a Nation.

Morris portrays an America where roving gangs of black Republicans bully, intimidate, and beat up those poor southern Democrats, white and black alike. He meets every alleged black victim of white Democratic violence with skepticism and every accusation of fraud towards a Republican with certainty. According to Morris, every slanderous thing the Democratic newspapers say about Republicans is truth and every malicious thing the Republicans newspapers say about Democrats is not only a lie, but also proof of Republican wrongdoing.

With each passing page, the author's bias becomes more and more apparent to the point of absurdity. Astonishingly, Morris cites virtually no sources in presenting his evidence of black supremacy, Republican fraud, and Democratic piety. He cites newspapers, but even those are biased. After the election, the Democratic papers called the election for Tilden, while the Republican papers called the race for Hayes. To Morris, while the Democratic papers were simply reporting the truth, the Republican papers were involved in trying to steal the election. In reality, the election was still in doubt and both groups were presumptuous in declaring a winner.

Besides that misuse of newspapers, entire stories are devoid of citations. There is not a footnote or an endnote anywhere to be found. It’s reminiscent of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe accusing the opposition of instigating violence as his own forces beat and kill his dissenters. It's ridiculous. I'm not accusing Morris of making things up, but due to his lack of citations, he could have.

I'm not an expert in Reconstruction era history, but I have taken a couple of courses on the subject which means I've read about 20 books written by people who are experts. All of them paint a picture of white intimidation of black people, particularly those freedmen who attempted to vote. There certainly was plenty of Republican corruption, but the Democrats were no slouches in that department either. Remember, the party contained numerous ex-Confederates who had grudgingly come back into the union within the last decade leading up to the 1876 election.

I'm not someone who condemns an author simply for going against the grain, but doing so contains certain requirements. Morris writes a history book meant for popular consumption, which is great, but not conducive for going against commonly accepted interpretations of a certain time and place, particularly a depiction so defiant of convention. I have no doubt that every fact he writes is true, but facts are funny little things. You can pick and choose them and ignore those that hamper the atmosphere you're trying to convey. At best, this book is a dishonest representation of Reconstruction-era America. At worst, it is white supremacist propaganda, guised in the language of legitimate history.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Hillary Clinton and Robert Mugabe

There is a difference between Hillary Clinton and Robert Mugabe. One openly talks about an opponent's potential assassination, the other denies it.

Hopefully Hillary Clinton, who made comments referencing the 1968 assassination of RFK as the reason why she's still in the race, is merely stupid. I don't believe so.

The 1968 primary season was very different than it is now. Primary votes mattered much less and the nomination was going to be decided at the convention regardless. Thus, no one was going to drop out of the race before the convention anyway. So referencing that event has nothing to do with stating a legitimate reason for staying in the race and everything to do with mentioning the assassination of her opponent.

If her only chance at the nomination is the assassination of her opponent (her words, not mine), shouldn't she drop out? The more pressing questions are: shouldn't she have dropped out immediately after realizing that? Why hasn't she?

Hillary Clinton has repeatedly delivered coded messages to white working class people throughout the campaign. Fortunately, the media has done a great job in exposing her. In addition, the American people are fed up with this Karl Rove type of campaigning in the wake of George Bush's stint in office. Effectively or not, Clinton has tried to stir up old animosities between white working class people and the idea of a black president. There is no reason to believe that she wasn't doing that again here.

There were threats against Barack Obama before. Was this the signal to go ahead? I don't know. It's possible. Whether it was deliberate or not, whether it was even conscious or not, Clinton was acknowledging that the assassination of Obama would give her the nomination (and is the only thing that would).

Just a few days ago, I said that Clinton should stay in the race until the voting ended (go ahead and scroll down). Not anymore. She should drop out immediately. In fact, she should no longer be a senator as well. The most ardent conservative would never say something like this. No person in their right mind would. Let's forget that it kicks the Kennedy's while they're down. She should just go away.

Meanwhile, Robert Mugabe's military intelligence plotted to kill his opponent Morgan Tsvangirai. But at least he had the good sense to deny it! Mugabe seems to understand that referencing an opponent’s assassination looks bad in the eyes of the public. Not to let Mugabe off the hook. Trying to kill your opponent is bad too. He should follow Clinton and just go away.

Every paper in the country is reporting that Clinton apologized for the comments. She didn't. She regretted them. That's different. Of course she regrets them, they've hurt her standing as a candidate (and as a person). Mugabe hasn't apologized either. Instead he said the opposition made up the plot to get attention. Is there a difference between Hillary Clinton's actions and those of Robert Mugabe? Sure. But they should both just go away. Stand up Zimbabwe!

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Break Up

Devastating news. It's over with Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. She was furious with my writings about Cindy McCain that she construed as sexual. I tried to explain them away, but she was having none of it.

Yulia says that these writings about Cindy McCain were simply the last straw, although they were crucial in her decision to separate. She was very upset over my recent post about the WNBA. Yulia told me that the lower skill level in the league is due to our patriarchal society that discourages athletic excellence in women and deems it to be unfeminine. She contends that I should have followed the WNBA in solidarity with women's sports instead of abandoning the league in its hour of need. A fair point, I suppose.

She also agrees with Geraldine Ferraro who recently called me a sexist because I made a gesture during a speech, metaphorically dusting the dirt off of my shoulders, a la Jay-Z. Ferraro thinks I was being dismissive towards women. Tymoshenko thought it was consistent with my sexist tendencies. She agreed with Zimbabwe's authoritarian dictator Robert Mugabe's assessment of me, as "small, lazy, [and] odorous," adding, "in more places than Mugabe knows about. Specifically in the pelvic region." Although she agrees with my passion to see democracy prevail in Zimbabwe and my support for opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. She credits that as one of the main reasons why she fell in love with me.

Needless to say, I am shattered over the whole ordeal. I feel blindsided. I thought we had something special. I thought there was a real connection. How could I have been so stupid? I just don't understand.

Tymoshenko released a public statement about the episode:
"My staff did not properly vet this individual before I fell in love with him. I was totally unaware of his less desirable qualities, particularly his abhorrent sexism, his typographical -womanizing, and his being a Jew. I apologize to all I have offended by maintaining a relationship with this individual. I beg for your forgiveness."

Yulia Tymoshenko, reading her statement about the break up, clearly looking distraught.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

An Apology and a Clarification

I would like to apologize to Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. I certainly did not mean to make her upset with my recent comments about Cindy McCain. I said, "I would give Cindy McCain the time of her life." Yulia misunderstood what I was saying and thought that my comment contained sexual undertones.

In actuality, I was saying that I would show Cindy McCain a very nice time visiting museums and such. I'm sure she would enjoy that greatly. There was absolutely nothing sexual about my comment. Why would I say something sexual about Cindy McCain? I mean, she's hot and everything, but, uh, um, not as hot as Yulia Tymoshenko. Not hot. Hot's the wrong word. Yulia's beautiful, yes, so beautiful.

What? Yulia is upset again. It turns out that the previous quote was preceded by a taunt of John McCain, "Dude, I heard you can't even get it up." I wasn't referring to his erectile dysfunction, which he does have. I meant, he can't get his weight up, as far as showing Cindy McCain a good time, like going to museums and such, which I think she would enjoy. See, no problem.

Hmm. I guess I followed it up by saying, "It's about time she had a real man, someone who cries during the movie Big Daddy but can also snap a pencil in one swooping attempt." Yulia's mad again. Listen baby, I didn't mean anything by it. I heard they have a pencil from the movie Big Daddy down at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in the Treasures of American History exhibit. Remember when I said Cindy McCain would enjoy going to a museum. The "real man" part? Because you know me, I'm a gentleman, unlike John McCain. I would treat her with respect. Friendly respect.

Oy vey. Yulia found my post I Want Cindy McCain. Sigh. This is going to take awhile. In the meantime, someone else might have to take up the fight against Zimbabwe's corrupt President Robert Mugabe. Stand up Zimbabwe!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My Critics Respond

I've been hard on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe lately. I've called him an authoritarian dictator with a quench for power that far outweighs his concern and compassion for his people. I also said he was old and pooped his pants.

Mugabe is fighting back. He said of me, "[He] is weazened, and shrimpled, and meanly cute. There is nothing about the man that is large, big, generous, solid, inspiring, powerful, or awakening. He's a small, lazy, odorous, ungainly, trickling stream, winding along and among the weeds that have grown up in the track of the great river, long since dried up. He is as cold as 32 degrees below zero. O that face!- that left eye!- that mouth... and his marathon time was beyond ghastly. I wish he would just shut up."

John McCain hasn't been a fan of my analysis of him either. He rebutted, "I am opposed to him first because he is a bachelor. Any man that will live in this country for [26] years, surrounded by beautiful women with rosy lips and dimpled cheeks, in every dimple lurking a cupid, with pearly teeth and sparkling eyes- any man that will push them aside and be satisfied with the embraces of the Democratic party, does not even know the value of time. He is a little, dried-up bachelor who courts men... I know this to be a heightened trait amongst the Hebrew people."

You know what Robert Mugabe? Takes one to know one! You're so old, you make John McCain look like a toddler. I'm not the one who has wrestled democracy, peace, stability, and success away from the proud Zimbabwean people. Stand up Zimbabwe!

As for you John McCain, calling me gay? Real mature. Jewish people are more inclined to be gay? Really, you wanna go there? Dude, I heard you can't even get it up. I would give Cindy McCain the time of her life. It's about time she had a real man, someone who cries during the movie Big Daddy but can also snap a pencil in one swooping attempt. Listen McCain, I know you're a war hero and everything, thanks for your service, but your face makes me want to throw up. Drop dead, dick.

note - Both are actual quotes about 1876 Democratic presidential candidate Sam Tilden... except the parts after the ellipsis.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ferraro's Crazy Rants

I support Obama, but Hillary Clinton has every right to stay in the race through the end of the voting. It's called democracy. However, Clinton supporter Geraldine Ferraro should drop out of sight.

Ferraro said that she wouldn't vote for Obama because he is a sexist. Her reasoning? "He has a penis. People with a penis are sexist." Ferraro could not give an example of sexism from Obama or his campaign. The charge makes no sense. Obama has never said that Clinton is weak, not qualified, or should stay in the kitchen. He's stayed above the fray.

On the other hand, it's been well documented that Hillary Clinton has repeatedly made racially insensitive remarks (The King owes his success to LBJ comment, the Obama talks purdy but there's nothing there comment, the he's too ignorant to be commander in chief comment, the "real" hard-working white people like me better comment). But I've never called her a racist. And if there was a person who would call her a racist, it's me. I call everyone a racist. So Ferraro is totally out of line.

However, Ferraro herself is a racist. Earlier, she said that Obama was lucky to be who he is. If he was white, he wouldn't have achieved the same success. I don't know about that, but I know that if he was white, he wouldn't be accused of hiding his "secret black Muslim" identity. It's ironic that Ferraro would stoop to calling Obama a token, when that was the very accusation tossed against her during her 1984 vice presidential run. Just because someone is a good liberal feminist, doesn't mean they're not a vicious racist. Ferraro is case in point.

Ferraro also blamed the media for their sexism. There are sexist media members and Clinton has been a victim of their treatment. They critique her appearance constantly. They talk about whether she can "control" her husband. But asking her tough questions is not sexist. Ferraro makes about as much sense as Jannero Pargo trying to take over Game 7 for the Hornets against the Spurs. None.

Following Ferraro's example, Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe has accused Morgan Tsvangirai of racism for "not letting me win the election without having to rig it." He also claimed, "He is also a racist imperialist because he wouldn't let my military intelligence assassinate him. His death directly helps a black man- me! So he is a racist for not dying." Flawless logic.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Why Am I Blue?

Why am I feeling down?

Is it because of the cyclone in Myanmar and the death and destruction left in its wake? Is it because the repressive military government won't let aid agencies do their work to save the desperate people?

Is it because of the earthquake in China, leaving thousands of people dead, more injured, and even more searching for answers?

Is it because of the violence and continued authoritarianism displayed by President Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe? Is it because my hope for democracy in Zimbabwe is clouded by the nagging feeling that those in power will not relinquish their positions for the good of their people, but instead will remain through force for the good of their egos?

Is it because the war in Iraq rages on, and even though most Americans want the troops home, we can't or don't or won't mobilize to bring them back here?

Or is it because of my horrible marathon time and Iraq war letter-writing campaign failure? Is it because I haven't been as physically active since the marathon? Is it because I'm feeling a little lonely, both friend and girlfriend-wise, but don't particularly want to be social either? Is it because I don't really trust anyone? Is it because several years ago, in my Fidel Castro death pool, I predicted he would die yesterday, and he didn't? Is it because I know I need to change, but change is scary?

Is it because of any of these things?


Then what is the reason, you ask?

You guessed it...

Finger stuck in the penis hole.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

They Are Who We Thought They Were

The Celtics outlasted the Cavs earlier this afternoon. Getting three stars together helps during the regular season, but it doesn't guarantee playoff success. It takes time to gain the subconscious trust needed to keep advancing. That is why the Celtics have struggled this post-season, going just 8-6 and failing to win a road game thus far.

The Cavs were the third best team in the East thanks to greatness of LeBron James and some solid surrounding role players. Their run to the Finals last season still seems amazing. I didn't think Orlando was an elite team yet. They rely too much on threes. They should take a page out of the champion Lakers and Spurs and use the three as a supplemental weapon. They might be an upper echelon team next season. I picked Detroit to win it all and they're looking good to at least make it to the final round. But the Celtics have home court advantage.

In the West, I thought last year's conference finals appearance for the Utah Jazz was an aberration. They were fortunately enough to play Tracy McGrady, who must think there's a glass ceiling right above the first round, and the 8th seeded Warriors. I think they are a conference semis team right now and it showed this year. But they have young players and don't have to change much to improve.

The Utah fans need a change though. Derek Fisher was courageous for the Jazz last season, flying back and forth between comforting his daughter who was undergoing surgery to remove eye cancer, and the Jazz playoff games. After the season, Utah let Fisher out of his contract so he could play for the Lakers because his daughter could get better care in Los Angeles. The move cost Fisher millions. The Jazz fans knew all of this. When Fisher returned to Utah as a Laker, he was loudly booed. Jazz fans also threw things at the Lakers bench in Game 6. Utah is filled with moronically heartless people. Maybe that's why they're all Republicans. I don't think it has anything to do with Mormonism, I think it’s a Utah thing.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe would be proud of Utahans as he's also quite heartless. He may have orchestrated the recent assassination plot against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, five weeks before the run-off election.

The Spurs will have to change things after this year. I picked them to make the Finals, but their old bench and lack of three-point assassins worried me. I must admit that the Lakers and the Hornets have totally surprised me.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Thoughts on the WNBA

I used to watch the WNBA during the Cynthia Cooper years. I stopped for a couple of reasons. I noticed that the skill level was rather low, which was exacerbated by the condescending announcing. A woman would miss a shot by three feet and the announcer would say, "Oh, so close." Then I'd watch an NBA game and a shot would hit the back rim and the announcer would say, "Way off."

I want to follow the WNBA. But this season, their ad campaign is nonsensical and antagonizing. A WNBA player says offensive things about women's basketball and then text appears saying "She wouldn't say that. Would you?" First of all, she would say that, she just did! Second, why would you run a campaign antagonizing (bigoted) men?

The criticisms that the women describe are fairly extreme. Those men that feel women's basketball is fundamentally bad are not going to watch. But there are plenty of people who want to watch, but have legitimate gripes with the league. Promote the players. Promote the style of play. Show that these players are inspirations to young girls. Be honest. Be cute with the subject of men following the league. "Don't worry, you can watch women's basketball and still be a man," a player says sarcastically.

Meanwhile, it's clear that the league is improving. Candace Parker is fantastic. In her debut as a pro, she scored 34 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, and dished 8 assists. But her numbers don't explain how good she is and how great she can be. Diana Taurasi is also an excellent player.

The league needs to change two other things. I don't want to hear the coaches yelling throughout the game. And the season should probably start later, when basketball fans are basketball starved. June 27, the date of the Zimbabwe run-off elections, would be a good date to begin the season.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Tree Revolution

For this coming revolution in Zimbabwe to work, we gotta have a catchy name. Ukraine had the Orange Revolution, Georgia had the Rose Revolution, and Kyrgyzstan had the Tulip Revolution. I have a slogan of course: Stand up Zimbabwe. But we need more.

I read in Stephen Chan's Citizen of Africa that Morgan Tsvangirai has a tall tree outside of his house which gives him hayfever, but he doesn't have the heart to cut it down so he just deals with the offending pollen. That seemed like an apt name for the revolution, but Chan never mentions the type of tree. So we have to find out that information. Anybody know?

A paraphrased quote from a 19th century American journalist about U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant fits Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe well: Twenty five years ago earth and sky would have shaken with thunder of his welcome. What a sublime possession to have thrown away, the confidence and gratitude of a nation!

Now the University of Massachusetts is considering taking away Mugabe's honorary law degree. I didn't know they take a degree back! Shit, I hope George Mason doesn't take back my history MA. They have every reason to do so!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Poop, I Did It Again

Reportedly, the 84 year old president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, shit his pants, much like he shit on his country. Stand up Zimbabwe. We need diapers and democracy.

Speaking of being shitty, I want to apologize to the readers of this blog for its recent quality. Sorry to all 14 of you, although 7 are only here looking for Bill Riccio or ugly basketball players. This blog is just terrible. I don't think I'll ever be able to write another For the Love of Hate. But I'm going to keep writing, if it is awful. Well, I guess it's not all bad. The Evil Leaders League is ok and my recent tribute to those leaders that have left us is pretty moving.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Failed State

I've been doing a lot of failing recently. I ran a terrible marathon time. I had an idea to get a large amount of people to write their senators and representative about bringing home the troops from Iraq. That plan fell flat (although if you read this and believe the troops should go home, go ahead and write your reps). My failed state is almost as bad as Zimbabwe.

According to Michael McFaul and based on revolutions in Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan, the list of conditions for a democratic breakthrough include:
1. a semiautocratic regime
2. an unpopular leader of the ancien regime
3. a strong and well-organized opposition
4. an ability to create the perception quickly that election results were falsified
5. enough independent media to inform citizens about the falsified vote
6. a political opposition capable of setting in motion tens of thousands of demonstrators to protest electoral fraud
7. a division between intelligence forces, the military, and the police

Zimbabwe contains 1-3; 4-6 will be the challenge after the next round of fraud; and I must plead ignorance, but I don't believe Zimbabwe benefits from 7. The essential aspects of a coming revolution in Zimbabwe include the courage of the Zimbabwean people first and foremost, the ability of the opposition to disseminate information and mobilize non-violent protesters on their behalf, and the role of Western election observers, who have thus far been banned by President Robert Mugabe. In the 2004 Ukrainian election, 13,644 foreign observers made sure that the re-run of the second round of elections were free and fair.

I didn't do a good job integrating Zimbabwe into this post at all. Damn, I need to try harder. At least I've kept up my goal of making a reference to the situation in Zimbabwe in every post until the run-off election. Stand up Zimbabwe!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Stand Up Zimbabwe

From now until the runoff election in Zimbabwe, I will try to put a reference about that situation in every post I make. Whether I comment on Terry McAuliffe telling Tim Russert that his father is dead (Big Russ is very much alive), or Ronnie Price's block of Luke Walton's lazy dunk attempt, or why LeBron James is shooting so poorly against the Celtics. It'll be a challenge.

From now until the runoff election is an extremely critical junction in the history of Zimbabwe and for its future. President Robert Mugabe has not only turned the country into an authoritarian state, but his policies have destroyed its economy. The opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has perceived through constant obstacles to put himself in a position to wrestle away control from Mugabe for the first time in nearly three decades.

Morgan Tsvangirai has prepared himself to take over the country. But the question is not whether Tsvangirai can fix Zimbabwe. The question is if he cannot, will Zimbabweans be able to choose someone to lead their country who can? Democracy is the key and at this junction, Tsvangirai represents democracy while Mugabe represents repression.

Democracy in Zimbabwe is essential, not only for that country, but for that region, and ultimately for the world. I hope that Zimbabwe will follow in the footsteps of the Rose Revolution in Georgia, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, and the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan. This is how you create democracy out of authoritarianism, through civic movements and elections, not with the violent overthrow of a government, as in Iraq.

The Orange Revolution in Ukraine is a good model for Zimbabwe. While Zimbabwe does not have the civil society that Ukraine possessed, the parallels are important. The opposition candidate beat the establishment candidate in the first round of elections but didn't have enough to win outright because of rigging. In Ukraine, the establishment rigged the runoff election. That is the moment a million Ukrainians chose to revolt, through peaceful protests in the capital. The protestors were well taken care of. The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) must prepare the public to protest after Mugabe steals the runoff. With the runoff election delayed, they will have more time to whip up public support. The U.S. must heed its own calls for democracy and help fund the MDC. Veterans of the Orange Revolution can also help. There must be international supervision of the elections.

This is an extremely important time for Zimbabwe and Africa. Unfortunately, the only outside force in South Africa's Thabo Mbeki, who runs a country with a one-party system. South Africa might become Zimbabwe in ten years, so he is not the man for the job. The world must help Zimbabweans and Zimbabweans must realize that this is a cause worth fighting for. Vote for Morgan Tsvangirai whatever the cost!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Ode to Timothy McVeigh

So we all know that killing mass amounts of people is bad. So is being a neo-nazi. But Tim McVeigh and his murderous actions have created some good.
  • After the Oklahoma City bombings, the neo-nazi movement fractured, with moderate neo-nazis becoming disillusioned due to the killing of innocent civilians. Wait, what the hell is a "moderate neo-nazi"?
  • Liberals have an easy punchline whenever a conservative says, "We must go after the terrorists and those who harbor them." In the words of Michael Franti, "Fight terrorists wherever they be found, but why you not bombing Tim McVeigh's hometown?"
  • Tim McVeigh gives Arabs an easy counter-argument against racial profiling. Of course, so does the most rudimentary logic. If Mohamed Atta flies a plane into a building, that doesn't mean Casey Kasem is going to also!
  • The Oklahoma City Bombing may have brought together militant Islamicists and American neo-nazis. Anything that brings together groups with seemingly nothing in common must be good.
  • I got a post out of it.*

*Yeah, it might not be worth it. But what's done is done. Let's look at the bright side here.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Defensive About the New Knicks Coach

Mike D'Antoni is the new Knicks coach. He's a good coach and the Knicks can expect to find more success than under Isiah Thomas.

I've learned to cope with the Knicks terrible play and unlikable players. The Knicks swiss cheese defense doesn't bother me as much, all things considered. But if the Knicks become a good team, thanks to D'Antoni's genius, and suffer playoff heartbreak because of poor defense, I might just have to end things. I just wouldn't be able to deal with that. I'm a defensive guy. Give me the 1990s Knicks over the 2000s Suns any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

I'm also wondering, where are the players on the Knicks' roster to run D'Antoni's offense? Because of their ridiculous contracts, the Knicks aren't able to get anyone worth a damn to run it. Is D'Antoni just taking the money and running, leaving the Knicks in worse shape? As you can see, I'm not sold on this coaching move quite yet.

I was hoping the Knicks would have promoted Herb Williams. If not, Avery Johnson would've been a good choice. I think Mark Jackson will be a good coach, but not getting this job might be the best thing that could happen to him. Plus, he's a good announcer. The dream of all dreams would have been Jeff Van Gundy, but he's too smart to take the Knicks job now.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Odds of Love

Generally, I think I'm pretty good at reading people. However, an exception comes in the form of not being able to read whether or not women have feelings for me. I am just oblivious. That might stem from the fact that I think every (non-related) woman has the same chance of liking me, regardless of reality. For every woman, I think there's a 5% chance that she likes me and a 95% chance that she doesn't.

Percentages suggest that I would only have to know 20 women and someone's gotta like me. It's ok if she's fat. But I don't think I even know 20 people all together! I'm becoming more of a recluse as time goes by. Even if I did know 20 women, there'd be no way any would like me. After all, there's a 95% chance that each one doesn't.

In recent years, I've blown by Ann Coulter, Kerri Strug, Miri Ben-Ari, and Cindy McCain. Now, there's a new lady on the horizon, Yulia Tymoshenko. Not only is she the Prime Minister of Ukraine, but she was one of the leading proponents of the Orange Revolution in 2004. Plus, I like her braided hair tiara thingy.

I like when women scowl; it's very sexy.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Israel Turning 60

As Israel reaches its 60th anniversary, we really have nothing to celebrate. Anti-Semitism is as present as it ever was. Instead of providing protection for Jews, Israel has lulled us into a false sense of security. People still hate Jews and now they have a new justification: the actions of the state of Israel.

Anyone who criticizes Israel's actions is called anti-Semitic. There are certainly anti-Semites who criticize Israel, but this blanket accusation gives them cover. We must listen to the criticism and then decide who is bigoted and who is simply a critic.

After 60 years, we care more about the state of Israel than for our people. The most important sentiment should be the well-being of the Jewish people, separate from that of Israel. If anything, Israel's military actions and racism has exacerbated anti-Semitism across the world instead of softening it. We need to change our attitudes towards Arabs and Muslims. We need to strengthen relations with those groups and we need to hold a bit more skepticism towards Zionist Christian fundamentalists.

We need to learn from our tortured history. We have known repression. We should have learned better instead of using this turn of history to repress others. Hopefully at some point we will learn the hard lessons of the last 60 years.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Cyclone of Death

We live in a lonely world. We live in a world where we ignore each other, we demean each other, and we kill each other. We have poisoned our planet and we highlight our divisions instead of appreciating our differences.

As tens of thousands of people are killed because a cyclone a half a world away, we have to fight against the grain even to feel for them. That same sadness, anger, and outrage we felt when our people were killed en masse is tucked away. We have contributed to shifting the climate in our world and we foster the fictitious systems of ruling people. Aid agency can't find their way to help the desperate victims of the cyclone because they can't get visas.

Nature is angry at us. Tragedies such as this one, emphasize how ridiculous our human-made catastrophes really are. We can't control when our world will create a disaster, but we can prepare to help when they do and we can stop creating our own.

Click here to help.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Shmendrick of the (Unspecified Time Period)

6. Me, for running an abysmal marathon time.
5. The person who dresses Charles Barkley, for putting him in a button-down shirt that was barely holding on for dear life on Monday evening. By the next time he was on the air, Barkley had changed.
4. Skip Bayless, for picking against nearly every NBA first round winner. In particular, he picked the Nuggets to beat the Lakers. The Lakers were the only team to pull off the sweep in the first round. Oops. Bayless is an obnoxious moron who should be fired because he is very bad at his job.
3. George W. Bush, for having a lower approval rating than a 1990s Ukrainian oligarch.
2. DeShawn Stevenson, for neither putting up nor shutting up. If you're an NBA player, you want the opposing crowd to boo you because of your play, not because of what you say. Stevenson talked the talked and then on the court he wilted like a daisy in the Karakum desert.

and the schmendrick of the (unspecified time period) is...

1. Glenn Beck, for claiming that the reason Barack Obama is against the gas tax holiday is because it would only save people a few dollars, which might not be much for an elitist like Obama. That is simply dishonest reporting. It's one thing to disagree with Obama, but don't misrepresent his position, particularly if your job is to analyze politics.

Obama believes that the gas tax holiday is a bad idea because people would only save a few dollars and the money generated from the gas tax goes into building and repairing roads and bridges. Remember that bridge that fell in Minnesota? Also, Obama recognizes that the American people wouldn't actually save any money, because the oil companies will simply raise their prices, effectively replacing the gas tax. So a gas tax holiday will hurt roads and bridges and help the oil companies.

But Glenn Beck is someone who questioned whether a sitting U.S. congressperson was working for al Qaeda simply because he was a Muslim. But I guess it's nothing new for a bigoted imbecile like Glenn Beck. He's more annoying than the constant wooing after Chris Paul does anything at a Hornets home game.

Monday, May 05, 2008

The Marathon

The marathon was a disaster. To start with, the traffic on the way to marathon went on for miles. Unfortunately, that's what happens when you have a marathon in Frederick, Maryland. There was one tiny road just off the highway that everyone and their mother could take to get to the starting line. Well, there were actually two ways, but only I went the other, much shorter, route. Props to Google maps.

Even so, I started the race about 8 minutes late. Apparently, I ran the first 6.5 miles in under 48 minutes and the first half of the marathon in under 2 hours. Over the next three miles, my pace continued to slow. At that point, I figured I'd implement my tortuous strategy of walking, then running, then walking, then running and so forth. There was on problem. By mile 18, something had gone wrong. I couldn't physically run anymore. I was nauseous and I could hardly breathe.

That wasn't all. "The claw" had gotten several parts of my leg, including my hamstring and it wasn't letting go. I turned into John McCain, as I couldn't lift my arms. My asshole and taint were on fire. My nipples were becoming raw, but luckily a spectator was offering vaseline, so I was able to fix that problem. I learned later that my arm pits chaffed and I got a sunburn, but the pain from those couldn't compare. I also didn't feel my swollen and painful feet at all the entire race, so I guess that's good. I was more concerned with the bit of heat exhaustion I was feeling.

At one point I crossed over a bridge and thought about jumping off. I didn't want to quit, but I didn't think I could even walk the last few miles. But the bridge had a chain fence and it would have taken too much energy to climb up and over it, so I'm still alive. Finally I crossed the finish line after 5:25. It took me about 3:30 to do the second half. The marathon was a abject failure.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Another Marathon

Tomorrow, in fact in just a few hours, I will be running the Frederick marathon, which will be my fourth run of that distance. My one request is that if someone is going to assassinate me, please do it early on during the race, not at the end, that would just be mean.

I'm realizing that I'm getting older. I can't just go and run like I used to. I actually have to think about it ahead of time. Now, my legs are all banged up. Various places on my legs are constantly swollen. My legs and feet look like it's after the marathon, not before.

I've run very slowly this time around. My outside goal is still to run under 4 hours, but I'd just like to beat my atrocious personal best of 4:25. The last three runs I've had have probably helped me the most. Last Saturday, I ran during the day for the first time since I've been training. It was 85 degrees and very humid. I was dehydrated from the first step. I wanted to just start walking or quit entirely for most of the run. It was only a 7.5 mile run, but it almost felt like I ran a whole marathon. It was good to feel that much pain and have the will to keep going. On Monday night, I ran a solid 15 miles.

On Wednesday night, I ran a very fast 7 miles, but my run was supposed to be 10 miles. The problem was I shit my pants. It wasn't the usual uncontrollable squirt; it was hardcore. I haven't shit myself like that since I was a baby. I don't really know what happened, probably too much vitamin water and power bars. I should just stick with my usual diet of Caffeine Free Diet Coke and Taco Bell. I waddled home the last half mile. I'm still very embarrassed about it.

Frederick is an interesting place. On the map of the course, the primary landmark is the Wal-Mart. I received a "10 days before the marathon" email 12 days before the marathon. That's TWO days off! A week later I received a "5 days before the marathon" email, so somebody had corrected the mistake. But the website's "countdown until the marathon" was consistently a day off. There will be a prayer service before the race. It's one of those places. I hope I haven't converted to Christianity by the time I finish the race. Hell, to be honest, I just hope I finish the race.

Friday, May 02, 2008

List of Possible McCain Running Mates

Who should John McCain pick as his vice presidential running mate? You don't want your vice presidential candidate to expose your weaknesses. He should pick someone between the ages of 50-65, who the American public has faith in if McCain should not be able to complete his term. He should pick a governor. It should be a white man (know your audience). Ideologically, it would be best to find someone who is acceptable to both conservatives and moderates, but if that person existed, they would be in McCain's spot right now. So he should pick someone more moderate. It doesn't matter if he wins Nebraska with 54% or 64%; he needs the center to win.

Who will he pick? I have no idea. But here is a list of the most likely candidates at this moment.

1. Gov. Charlie Crist (Fl) - Fits the bill, delivered Florida in Jan. and will probably deliver Florida in November.
2. Gov. Mark Sanford (SC) - Fits like Crist, but more conservative and not a swing state.
3. Gov. Rick Perry (Tex) - A conservative.
4. Fmr Gov. Tom Ridge (Pen) - Balances McCain very nicely while highlighting his strengths.
5. Fmr Gov. Robert Ehrlich (Md) - Won't deliver Md, but borders Penn & Va.
6. Gov. Tim Pawlenty (Min) - Probably won't help much.
7. Fmr Sen. Fred Thompson (Ten) - Too old and a fmr sen, but is conservative and friend of McCain. Probably better served in a lesser role.
8. Fmr Gov. Mitt Romney (Mas) - The party establishment wants McCain to fail so they gain power back. But they don't want Romney to lead them, because he makes many gaffes and is a Johnny-come-lately to their positions, so why not kill two birds with one stone by sabotaging both?
9. Sec. Condoleezza Rice - Fits the diversity bill. But one of the architects of the Iraq war, who has never campaigned, is a weak choice.
10. Fmr Gov. Mike Huckabee (Ark) - Conservatives distrust him, moderates despise him.
11. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (Tex) - A good choice, except she's a senator.
12. Fmr Rep. Newt Gingrich (Ga) - Fmr Speaker of the House has too much baggage, otherwise a good choice.
13. Gov. Bobby Jindal (La) - Fits the diversity clause, but too young. Not a good choice this time.
14. Gov. Matt Blunt (Mizz) - Young Gov of a swing state.
15. Gov. Mitch Daniels (Ind) - As far as I know, he'd be a good choice.
16. Gov. Sarah Palin (Ak) - A young woman from Alaska, not a good choice. Would make McCain look old and Alaska is not exactly great preparation for a national campaign.
17. Fmr Mayor Rudy Giuliani (NY) - Moderates distrust him, conservatives despise him.
18. Sen. Elizabeth Dole (NC) - She'd be a good choice, but a tad old.
19. Gen. Colin Powell - Could be a good choice. Two experienced men in a dangerous world. Both semi-critics of the Iraq war. But his UN speech was a watershed moment (in a bad way). Plus, can he campaign?
20. Sen. Mitch McConnell (Ky) - Senate minority leader.
21. Rep. John Boehner (Oh) - House of Reps minority leader. Pronounced BAY-ner: Not if you want the youth vote, it's not!

A little fun:
22. Fmr Gov. Jeb Bush (Fl) - The Dems are already trying to paint McCain and Bush together, why hand it to them?
23. Gen. David Petraeus - Some people seem to like him, but focusing on the Iraq war is not the best strategy.
24. Fmr Sen. George Allen (Va) - Also a former Gov. Would be perfect, except for his propensity to offend people.
25. Fmr Lt Gov. Michael Steele (Md) - A black Republican who had a nice showing in his senate race, but hasn't won a big contest.
26. Sen. Joe Lieberman (Con) - Would be perfect, except... he's a Jew.
27. C.J. John Roberts - Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
28. V.P. Dick Cheney - A comedian's dream.
29. Bill O'Reilly - A little accountability for his statements would be nice.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Dallas, Phoenix, and Other Coaches

Unlike seemingly every sports writer, I was shocked at the firing of Dallas Mavericks Head Coach Avery Johnson. I was so shocked, I shit my pants last night while going for a run. Although in fairness, the shitting my pants episode probably had very little to do with Avery Johnson's firing.

The argument for firing Johnson rests on his recent playoff record. The Mavs are 3-12 since going up 2-0 in the 2006 NBA Finals. It's not a great record, but it is explainable and understandable. The skid started in Miami. The Heat won their three home games in the Finals and then stole one in Dallas to take the title. Frankly, Miami was just a better team than Dallas then. Last year, Dallas lost to Golden State in one of the biggest upsets in NBA history. Johnson was criticized for being out coached by his mentor, Don Nelson, but fundamentally, the Warriors matched up extremely well with the Mavs. The Warriors exposed the Mavs lack of flexibility due to a lack of foresight by the guy who brought the players to Dallas. That, by way, is Don Nelson's son.

This year's playoff run was doomed from the start. The Jason Kidd trade covered up the fact that no deals were made during the off season. It is nearly impossible for a point guard to come to a place towards the end of the season and run the team with precision. Kidd was also expected to lead the team, an unenviable task for someone in Kidd's position.

The fact is that Avery Johnson led the Mavs to the Finals in 2006, something no other Mavs coach has done. His overall regular season record is impeccable, winning 50 games again this season. Just two years ago he was the coach of the year. Last year, his team had one of the best records of all time. He went from being the best black coach in the game, to the best regular season black coach, to the second best black coach in the Western Conference. A drop sure, but enough to get fired?

Dallas needed to stand pat, give Kidd a full season to become the leader of the team, and make one of their customary trades. Instead, the question persists: will they even make the playoffs next season? The Phoenix Suns should do everything they can to keep their coach, but they need to change their team. They gave up the future for an aged center. Shaq won't have a resurgent year beginning in November. He has followed Patrick Ewing: from prime, to productive but oft injured, to a role player. Grant Hill is old and not the answer. Does Steve Kerr think it's 1996? Steve Nash probably has one more championship-caliber year in him.

With Marion, they would have needed someone like Shaq (or Dampier). A guy who could come in and rebound and change the tempo if need be. But they shouldn't have given up Marion for that guy. Now, they're an old team, who can't run like they used to. Stoudamire is not a half court player. The Suns need to keep the offensive innovative, Mike D'Antoni, and get some up-and-down wing players to compliment Stoudamire and Boris Diaw in the front court.

Sam Mitchell shouldn't be fired either. Why are black coaches who make the playoffs on the chopping block? He took a Toronto team that was going no where and made them a perennial playoff participant. Mike Woodson, another black coach who made the playoffs, also shouldn't be fired. He's pulled off the unthinkable, taking two games from the mighty Boston Celtics in the playoffs.

I'm amazed the Hawks even made the playoffs. His team is terrible. Joe Johnson is a nice scorer, but that team needs him to be Kobe or LeBron and he's not. I don't think he even should have been an all star this year. Josh Smith will be one of the game's best, but he's only 22. Horford is also a nice player and also only 22. Mike Bibby, a point guard thrown into the mix just like Kidd, is not the player he once was. The blame should go on the GM, who drafted Marvin Williams instead of Chris Paul or Deron Williams (AND THE HAWKS NEEDED A POINT GUARD!) and Sheldon Williams instead of Brandon Roy. Oops.

The NBA did this a few years ago, when the Eastern Conference had changed every single coach. Eddie Jordan was the longest tenured coach in his second season. Now the East is weak. Patience people. Patience.