Tag Archives: new york times



Wednesday, The New York Times published a fascinating article dealing with Michelle Obama’s family history from slavery to First Lady of the United States.  I highly recommend that you read it, click here for the story.  Two of the interesting features of the article is a paper trail that shows original documents of Michelle’s ancestors being willed to successive generations.  Some of the documents have a yellow box that allows you to get detailed information of what each page says.  The other feature is an interactive family tree with some narration included, click here for that page. I bring this to your attention not only because it is a good read but to ask the question, what exactly do we know about ourselves and our family histories?

One of the most horrific practices of the slave trade was the practice of separating the slaves in the indoctrination period, this was done to specifically destroy any tribal or familial bonds that the slaves may have had.  That had the disastrous effect of ensuring that slaves with different dialects could not communicate with each other and had no genuine affinity for those in the same plight other than they were all black.  This same behavior was employed once the slaves were introduced to life on the plantations.  Family units were constantly being destroyed by the selling of one’s children and often their mates.  I am not a social scientist but I have long suspected that the dysfunction of some black families have become predisposed to troublesome familial relationships.  But that is not the track I want to take here.

What I would like to ask is how many of you, black or white can trace your family past two or three generations?  I am fortunate that on my maternal grandmother’s side I can go back three to four generations.  In fact, she put together a report before she had her stroke that I hope to make available to my family on DVD very soon.  That has all of the elements of black, white, and Indian blood.  I’ve read that the Indian blood is highly exaggerated in most cases.  However, my great maternal grandmother was indeed half Cherokee.  She had the scalps to prove it. LOL

I want to know more about the paternal side of my family.  They were practically wiped out during the tuberculosis epidemic in Washington, D.C. during the 1940’s.  Only four of seven children survived and my paternal grandmother was not one of them yet she is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.  If only by photograph.  Human curiosity is a wonderful thing and I will continue to explore it until my dying breath.

I am not famous, nor do I suspect that The New York Times will champion my cause like they did Mrs. Obama’s.  But I would like to take that National Geographic DNA test to determine exactly where from Africa my roots lie.  But I’d also like to know where I got the name Hardy.  If he’s rich, I want my fucking inheritance.



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Progressing Our State!


The imminent resignation of Alaska Governor and ptfan1 pin up girl Sarah Palin came as a great shock and with a bit of relief  when the announcement was made late Friday afternoon.  I mean, who would have thought that the narcissistic Palin would voluntarily step away from the spotlight.  To understand the severity of the situation; try to think of Anarchist paying full price at a Las Vegas hotel.  That’s the shock value.  The relief came because I momentarily got Fakename to stop talking about the ravishing effects of this week’s stomach virus.  Take some Pepto and go lay down!

In a hastily prepared news conference attended by a couple of ducks and the Governor’s family, Palin continued her tradition of giving incoherent and rambling remarks.  I could make fun of her but the New York Times columnist Gail Collins and the acerbic Maureen Dowd have done a much better job of it than I ever could.  Only Sarah Palin could cite how other people’s determination and dedication inspired her to quit.

But anyone who watched the new conference came away with more questions than answers.  I think that despite her proclamations of wanting to help children, her real motivation is money.  You can almost see Rupert Murdoch foaming at the mouth to throw millions of dollars at Caribou Barbie.  The “You betcha” and “Gosh darns” would be a goldmine for Fox News even if they threw her under the bus on Sunday.  Watch!

I was fully expecting her to come clean and admit that she had an emotional love affair with Klondike the polar bear while hiking alone in the ANWR province.  It would have been the perfect Republican tri-fecta.  On a serious note though I think Sarah Palin has had an epiphany and has realized that her intellectual ability or lack thereof was never going to produce the results she so obviously thinks she’s entitled to.  Maybe it was the Vanity Fair article that pushed her over the edge.  Maybe it is the greed of all the money that awaits her as a private citizen.  Whatever the case, Goodbye Sarah.  Don’t come back anytime soon.


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W. Worthless, Cheney, Himself, Dowd, Priceless!

April 29, 2009
Op-Ed Columnist

Vice’s Secret Vices





In a closed-door session on Tuesday, Dick Cheney testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating the “enhanced” interrogation techniques of “high value” detainees.

This columnist gained exclusive “access” to the classified testimony of the “deeply missed” former vice president.

The chairwoman of the committee, Dianne Feinstein, began by telling Cheney that she was “shocked personally” by what she had learned about the brutality of the way prisoners were treated.

“Those insects weren’t even poisonous,” Cheney growled. “Facial slaps? Abdominal slaps? Throwing a naked man into a wall? Kid stuff. Those methods worked. They kept us safe for seven years. Safer than with that delicate Hawaiian orchid in the White House. America is coming across as weak and indecisive. Just when Rummy and I had stomped out that ‘Blame America First’ flower-child culture, Obama has dragged it back, apologizing profusely all over the world for the country he’s running, canoodling with greasy dictators, kissing up to those weasels in Europe, which is only free today because of our military. Friends and foes alike will be quick to take advantage if they think they’re dealing with a Creamsicle.”

Senator John McCain, looking disgusted, began yelling at Cheney, telling him that waterboarding someone 183 times in a month was against the law. “The Japanese who did that in World War II were tried and hanged,” he sneered.

“Shut your piehole,” Cheney replied flatly. “Everyone’s sick of you being an apologist for torture. Why don’t you go join that pantywaist Specter on the other side where you belong?”

Senator Russ Feingold got into the fray, asking Cheney sarcastically: “Can you tell us exactly which terrorist plots were foiled by torture?”

Cheney offered his mirthless smile. “Certainly,” he replied. “Shortly after 9/11, we disrupted a plot to assassinate a senator, penetrating two terrorist cells and uncovering a Serbian scheme. Our interrogator used a chokehold, threatened to withhold a detainee’s heart medicine, and broke a few laws, but it was well worth it.”

Feingold interrupted with thinly veiled contempt: “You’re telling us now that the Serbs are linked to Al Qaeda?”

Cheney nodded. “Of course. Then, the following year, we were able to get a lead on an international terrorist named Syed Ali and stop a nuclear bomb from being detonated in Los Angeles. Sure, an enemy combatant was shot in the chest. Yes, a hacksaw came into play. There was some wall slamming, throat grabbing and when Ali wouldn’t talk because he was doing ‘Allah’s work,’ our agent had to feign the shooting death of Ali’s first-born son. But in the end we averted World War III with three Middle East countries and kept America safe from a suitcase bomb.

“In 2004, we thwarted the spread of a deadly weaponized virus strain. The following year, after some unsuccessful attempts at sensory disorientation with detainees, we got a torture specialist who had a way with a taser and his trusty syringe. Strict measures, like breaking fingers one by one and using an electrical cord from a lamp to shock a suspect, were necessary. We were under attack by a terrorist named Habib Marwan who controlled a bunch of Middle East terrorist cells. They were planning to meltdown nuclear power plants across the country, shoot down Air Force One and set off a nuclear missile. On top of that, we were dealing with a mole in our counterterrorism unit.

“In 2006, after an incident with the man who made history by becoming the first black president …”

Senator Feinstein interrupted: “Excuse me, Mr. Cheney, are you talking about Barack Obama?”

“I said the first black president,” Cheney snapped, before continuing: “Our interrogator needed to do some things outside protocol. There was an exploding vest, a foot digging into a wound, an injection of pain-inducing hyoscine-pentothal, a threat to cut out the eyes of a suspect being interrogated unless he confessed where the Sentox nerve gas cannisters were. But the Geneva Conventions are a small thing to give up when you consider that we broke up a nefarious plot that reached to the highest levels — the Oval Office.”

Senator Olympia Snowe looked confused: “But you were in the Oval Office in 2006, Mr. Cheney.”

Something dawned on Evan Bayh and he smiled grimly. “Didn’t it turn out in the end, Dick,” he asked, “that some of these so-called terrorist plots were really domestic villains with black ops teams scheming to control the oil supply and get rich? Sort of like what you did with Iraq and Halliburton?”

Cheney glared at him, saying “We’re the patriots.” Bayh walked over and whispered something to the chairwoman.

“Mr. Cheney,” Feinstein said, sounding shocked, “your testimony is delusional, not to mention derivative.”

Cheney looked apoplectic, not to mention apocalyptic. “How dare you,” he cried, “demean our country’s finest counterterrorism agent, Jack Bauer?”

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Torture Memos!


























 Let’s not be to harsh on President Obama and his releasing of the torture memos that has former members of the Bush Administration making plans to flee to Costa Rica.  Had Obama not released the memos, he would have been compelled by a federal judge to do so anyway.  This all stems from a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in 2003 under the Freedom of Information Act.  It has taken six years for these memos to be released.  Click the link to read the actual memos.

Every Republican talking head, Dickless Cheney in particular, are now running around like Chicken Little screaming that we are less safe for making information available to the public that was already widely known.  Cheney is even calling for the C.I.A. to make available memos that confirm that Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (torture) actually provided us with actionable intelligence.  According to the Washington Post

When CIA officials subjected their first high-value captive, Abu Zubaida, to waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods, they were convinced that they had in their custody an al-Qaeda leader who knew details of operations yet to be unleashed, and they were facing increasing pressure from the White House to get those secrets out of him.

The methods succeeded in breaking him, and the stories he told of al-Qaeda terrorism plots sent CIA officers around the globe chasing leads.

In the end, though, not a single significant plot was foiled as a result of Abu Zubaida’s tortured confessions, according to former senior government officials who closely followed the interrogations. Nearly all of the leads attained through the harsh measures quickly evaporated, while most of the useful information from Abu Zubaida — chiefly names of al-Qaeda members and associates — was obtained before waterboarding was introduced, they said.

 What is equally disturbing is that the C.I.A. has destroyed over 90 video tapes, some of which included the use of torture that were also requested by the ACLU.  You can bet your ass that shit rolls downhill and by the time this stinking ball comes to a stop there are going to be quite a few people with new numbers.  Prison numbers that is.  Torture must never be a tool of the United States Government.  It undermines the moral authority of the United States.  Not to mention it flies in the face of Christian sensibilities.

Unfortunately,  Americans are almost equally split on the use of torture.  See the latest poll numbers here!  For another interesting take on the torture issue, check out the lastest blog by Fakename.


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The Great Unraveling









December 17, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist

The Great Unraveling



Hong Kong

The stranger, a Western businessman, slipped into the chair next to me at an Asia Society lunch here in Hong Kong and asked me a question that I can honestly say I’ve never been asked before: “So, just how corrupt is America?”

His question was occasioned by the arrest of the Wall Street money manager Bernard Madoff on charges of running a Ponzi scheme that bilked investors out of billions of dollars, but it wasn’t only that. It’s the whole bloody mess coming out of Wall Street — the financial center that Hong Kong moneymen had always looked up to. How could it be, they wonder, that such brand names as Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and A.I.G. could turn out to have such feet of clay? Where, they wonder, was our Securities and Exchange Commission and the high standards that we had preached to them all these years?

One of Hong Kong’s most-respected bankers, who asked not to be identified, told me that the U.S.-owned investment company where he works made a mint in the last decade cleaning up sick Asian banks. They did so by importing the best U.S. practices, particularly the principles of “know thy customers” and strict risk controls. But now, he asked, who is there to look to for exemplary leadership?

“Previously, there was America,” he said. “American investors were supposed to know better, and now America itself is in trouble. Whom do they sell their banks to? It is hard for America to take its own medicine that it prescribed successfully for others. There is no doctor anymore. The doctor himself is sick.”

I have no sympathy for Madoff. But the fact is, his alleged Ponzi scheme was only slightly more outrageous than the “legal” scheme that Wall Street was running, fueled by cheap credit, low standards and high greed. What do you call giving a worker who makes only $14,000 a year a nothing-down and nothing-to-pay-for-two-years mortgage to buy a $750,000 home, and then bundling that mortgage with 100 others into bonds — which Moody’s or Standard & Poors rate AAA — and then selling them to banks and pension funds the world over? That is what our financial industry was doing. If that isn’t a pyramid scheme, what is?

Far from being built on best practices, this legal Ponzi scheme was built on the mortgage brokers, bond bundlers, rating agencies, bond sellers and homeowners all working on the I.B.G. principle: “I’ll be gone” when the payments come due or the mortgage has to be renegotiated.

It is both eye-opening and depressing to look at our banking crisis from China. It is eye-opening because it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the U.S. and China are becoming two countries, one system.

How so? Easy, in the wake of our massive bank bailout, one can now look at China and America and say: “Well, China has a big-state-owned banking sector, next to a private one, and America now has a big state-owned banking sector next to a private one. China has big state-owned industries, alongside private ones, and once Washington bails out Detroit, America will have a big state-owned industry next to private ones.”

Yes, an exaggeration to be sure, but the truth is the differences are starting to blur. For two decades, a parade of U.S. officials came to China and lectured Beijing on the necessity of privatizing its banks, said Qu Hongbin, the chief economist for China at HSBC. “So, slowly we did that, and now, all of a sudden, we see everybody else nationalizing their banks.”

It’s depressing because China in many ways feels more stable than America today, with a clearer strategy for working through this crisis. And while the two countries are looking more alike, they appear to be on very different historical trajectories. China went crazy in the 1970s, with its Cultural Revolution, and only after the death of Mao and the rise of Deng Xiaoping has it managed to right itself, gradually moving to a market economy.

But while capitalism has saved China, the end of communism seems to have slightly unhinged America. We lost our two biggest ideological competitors — Beijing and Moscow. Everyone needs a competitor. It keeps you disciplined. But once American capitalism no longer had to worry about communism, it seems to have gone crazy. Investment banks and hedge funds were leveraging themselves at crazy levels, paying themselves crazy salaries and, most of all, inventing financial instruments that completely disconnected the ultimate lenders from the original borrowers, and left no one accountable. “The collapse of communism pushed China to the center and [America] to the extreme,” said Ben Simpfendorfer, chief China economist at Royal Bank of Scotland.

The Madoff affair is the cherry on top of a national breakdown in financial propriety, regulations and common sense. Which is why we don’t just need a financial bailout; we need an ethical bailout. We need to re-establish the core balance between our markets, ethics and regulations. I don’t want to kill the animal spirits that necessarily drive capitalism — but I don’t want to be eaten by them either.

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2008 Voter Shifts Map!











Click the above link to get some very interesting data on voting trends in the 2008 election.


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Clash of the Titans







Another great Dowd column!


September 7, 2008


You know what I’m thinking, because you’re thinking it, too.

If Barack Obama had chosen Hillary Clinton as his running mate, we would now be looking forward to the greatest night in the history of American politics: the Oct. 2 vice presidential debate between Ma Barker and Sarah Barracuda.

Now, alas, we’ll have to wait until 2012 when the two fiercest competitors on the trail will no doubt face off in the presidential debate, with Palin still riding high from her 2008 field-dressing of Obama (who’s now back in the Senate convening his subcommittee on Afghanistan).

The two women are both aggressive pols who take disagreement personally, accruing a body count of rivals, and who have been known to exaggerate their accomplishments. But in ideological terms, the gun-toting hockey mom and the shot-swilling Warrior Queen of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pantsuits are opposites.

By 2012, the 76-year-old John McCain will be on his way out. His vice president will wear him down, making him change the name of the White House to Rouge Cou — the name Sarah licensed in 2005 in case she ever got into business — and turn Camp David into a caribou hunting ranch. Then she’ll scare him, informing him that if he tries for a second term, she’ll challenge him in the primary.

“How would you like this pit bull grandma to clean your grandfather clock?” she’ll tell President McCain in her flat “Fargo” accent. He’ll confide in his pal Joe that being a P.O.W. was nothing compared with being trapped in the White House with “that woman.”

It’s delicious imagining the Debate of the Century between Big Mama, as Bill’s male aides called Hillary, and “Hottie Granny,” as People magazine will doubtless dub Sarah. ESPN will want in.

PALIN: Before we start, Hillary, I want to honor your achievement in 2008. You nicked the glass ceiling. But in the end, as my friend Cheryl Metiva from Wasilla Bible Church said, I was more of a woman and more of a man than you, so I was the one who actually busted up the old boys’ club. Sorry I called you a whiner about sexism. That was before I realized how handy the victim card can be against the press wolves. In Alaska, we just gun down wolves from the air.

CLINTON: I do give you and John credit, Sarah, for following my blueprint to reveal Obama as all cage, no bird. But now the Democrats have crawled back to me and I will close the deal. So pack up your snow boots and antlers and backwoods brood and scram.

PALIN: I’ve got a little news flash for you, Hillary. Your night-shift, blue-collar-waitress, boilermaker routine didn’t fool me. It’s in your polls but it’s in my D.N.A. I’ve actually been up at 3 a.m. — gutting moose. While you got to go to your snooty Wellesley, I had to switch colleges six times in six years. While you got to go to Yale Law, I had to enter beauty contests and turn my back to judges in a bathing suit to get scholarship money.

CLINTON: I’ve got a little news flash for you, Annie Oakley. Dinosaurs disappeared a lot longer than 4,000 years ago. I admit you’ve had a profound influence on America, and I’m not just talking about all the women wearing up-dos and rimless titanium $375 Kazuo Kawasaki designer frames. You and John are now at war with four countries — Russia, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan, even as Osama bin Laden has opened a storefront in a strip mall in Pakistan to make TV ads.

PALIN: Those wars are tasks from God.

CLINTON: You said you wanted to help women, but you’ve only hurt them with your silly mantra that women can have it all if they just work harder and pray harder. You put Medicare on eBay. You cut funding for special-needs children. The Dobson Supreme Court has outlawed abortion, evolution and gun control. With sex education banned, baby bumps in high schools are rampant. And the head of your Abstinence Outreach Program, Levi Johnston, has failed to force any other teenage fathers to marry their prom dates.

PALIN: Life is always welcome. Unless it’s on four legs.

CLINTON: When it comes to Big Oil, you make Dick Cheney look small bore. You had secret energy meetings to eliminate polar bears. You’ve turned Alaska into Kuwait without the sand. Gas is $50 a gallon and global warming has changed the Rose Garden into the Palm Court. Your only energy plan is to give tax credits to people who put do-it-yourself oil rigs in their backyards. You created a Department of Drilling and More Drilling and put double-dipping Todd in charge.

PALIN: You’re chiding me about nepotism? At least I know how to control my First Dude. If you think that fake sniper fire in Bosnia was bad, wait till you get a load of my hunting rifle.

CLINTON: Adios, Sister Sarah. You’re tough, but I’ve been tougher longer. Slide out of town on that oil slick you made on the Mall. And take that Grizzly throw with you.


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