Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Racism in America

Ever since President Carter gave expression to what many of us already knew, there's been a firestorm of overanalysis (in my view) on the TV machine.

Setting aside the hideous historical narrative of racism in the U.S., this latest eruption is not that complicated to understand. President Obama lost the white vote by 12 percentage points, a demographic landslide. Of the 60,000 or so 9/12 protesters in D.C. (the lunatic Beck claims they numbered 1.7 million -- Fox network is an utterly shameful grab bag of liars and racists), many carried hideously racist signs.

A majority of white Southerners do not believe our President was born in the U.S.

That's an ignorant racist attitude.

A significant number of whites openly admitted they could not vote for a black candidate.

That's racism.

Despite the right wing propaganda that the 9/12 protesters represent "America" -- an increasingly multicultural nation -- the crowd was white, whiter, and whitest.

And their signs were dark, ugly, ignorant, and racist.

Bottom line: There's a certain fringe element of white America that will never accept a black president. Are they in the single digits or low double digits ... who knows?

In a word, the only solution to this abominable attitude is EDUCATION.

But racism in America won't be erased overnight, if ever. I give it at least two generations for this dark stain to be cleansed from the American soul.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

President Carter on Wilson, Anti-Obama Protesters

Thank you, Mr. President, for validating what we've been saying all along.

Shout-out to Maureen Dowd: Welcome to the club ...

House Passes Resolution Disapproving of Joe Wilson, 240-179

The resolution contains no sanction of Wilson but it is important and necessary for the historical record. What Mr. Wilson did was to not only disrespect the first African American president of the United States, but in the process he disrespected the Office of the President and the people's House. Most of all, it was an insult to the decorum of the House, in particular its African American members, who properly felt it was important to send this message, draw this line in the sand in rebuking Joe Wilson. This isn't the antebellum South.

I wonder who were the five profiles in courage among the Democrats voting present ... can anyone say Blue Dogs? Seven Republicans, to their great credit, voted with the Democrats.

By the way, say it ain't so, Joe ... Now the question's come up that your claim to being an immigration lawyer may in fact be a lie. Is anyone, other than the teabagger know-nothings (who were applauding Wilson in the House chamber), surprised?

We need to be discussing issues specifically to help the American people. And that would not include illegal aliens, these are people -- I'm for immigration, legal immigration, I've been an immigration attorney. But people who have come to our country and violated laws, we should not be providing full health care services.

Foot (In the Mouth) Fault

No one condones Serena Williams’s profanity-laced outburst against the lines judge at the U.S. Open women’s tennis final. The petite lines judge seemed to shrink into her chair the closer a menacing Serena leaned into her, clutching a ball with index finger pointed.

Serena “lost it” on the court when the lines judge called a foot fault on her second serve, two points from losing the match, which cost her an unconstested point. The official foot fault rule states that a serve is a fault if a player, at any time in his or her service motion, touches or goes outside the imaginary extension of the center mark with either foot. Here’s the problem: The rule is an ass.

Not that it shouldn’t exist, but tennis judges should have a great deal of discretion in applying such a rule at a critical juncture of a championship tennis match. The purpose of the rule is to prevent players from gaining an unfair advantage in their service game by planting their support foot over the service line. At this level, it’s called very, very infrequently.

If your pinky toe is resting a quarter inch over the line when you serve it will not give you any advantage whatsoever in your service game. Clearly, the original intent of the rule was to keep players from stepping a foot over the line, in which case their advantage would be real. In short, it’s one of those technical preemptive rules that contributes to the overall order of the game and should be more important in tennis academies and the junior levels, where young players are schooled to adhere to the game's basic rules.

I have rarely seen it called at a gamechanging juncture of a professional match.

So for a mentally myopic lines judge (believe me, they've chosen not to make such calls in such situations) to call a foot fault of inches in the decisive game, of the decisive set, of the decisive match is to me an obvious violation of the spirit of the game, superseded by the letter of the rules. The chair referee has the discretion to overrule a line judge’s call and order a point replayed. Unfortunately in this instance rather than appealing to the chair referee, Serena Williams -- one of the greatest tennis players ever -- vented her anger at the lines judge, with the game suffering as a result.

There is an unwritten rule in sports which states that referees, umpires, judges, and assorted officials should never, ever, get between the game and the players. It sounds counterintuitive, yet it’s what John Madden said with obvious frustration about great plays being called back on borderline -- literally, in Serena’s case -- calls: “You’ve got to let the players play!” Indeed, the best referees I’ve ever seen, in any sport, are those that make themselves invisible.

Had Serena said “If I could, I would take this f*g ball, and shove it down your f*g throat” to Rep. Joe Wilson instead of to the visible invisible lines judge, then everything would be all right.

The foot fault rule in tennis needs to be seriously revisited.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A GREAT read

Funny...and terrifying
The rise of Idiot America, though, is essentially a war on expertise. It's not so much antimodernism or the distrust of the intellectual elites that Richard Hofstader teased out of the national DNA, although both of these things are part of it. The rise of Idiot America today reflects — for profit, mainly, but also and more cynically, for political advantage and in the pursuit of power — the breakdown of the consensus that the pursuit of knowledge is a good. It also represents the ascendancy of the notion that the people we should trust the least are the people who know the best what they're talking about. In the new media age, everybody is a historian, or a scientist, or a preacher, or a sage. And if everyone is an expert, then nobody is, and the worst thing you can be in a society where everybody is an expert is, well, an actual expert.

This is how Idiot America engages itself. It decides, en masse, with a million keystrokes and clicks of the remote control, that because there are two sides to every question, they both must be right, or at least not wrong. And the words of an obscure biologist carry no more weight on the subject of biology than do the thunderations of some turkeyneck preacher out of Christ's Own Parking Structure in DeLand, Florida. Less weight, in fact, because our scientist is an "expert" and therefore, an "elitist." Nobody buys his books. Nobody puts him on cable. He's brilliant, surely, but no different from the rest of us, poor fool.