StreetLegalPlay by Kyle Thomas Smith


Posted in Uncategorized by streetlegalplay on March 26, 2010

What the fuck happened?!

I mean, don’t get me wrong. I couldn’t be more pleased with the results, but…

What the fuck happened?!

The Republicans caved!  They CAVED!

We thought they’d drag the reconciliation package out for months, right up to November.  They did actually get the package sent back to the House yesterday morning.

But all the fixes passed last night at about 9 pm. Nancy Pelosi banged the gavel at a 220-207 vote.

What happened?  Did we wear the Republicans down?  (I mean, for now…)

Is Obama the Judy Garland to the Republican Wicked Witch?

For a long time, I’ve written about how Obama was so naive to think a bipartisan bill would be possible. Now I’m thinking he knew from the start that it would be impossible, but he wanted to to prove it to the American people once and for all before passing healthcare reform and enacting what will hopefully be a whole panoply of reforms. Well, now, all those “next Jimmy Carter” predictions have been wiped clean off the map.

He’s just signed off on a landmark arms accord with Russia. Next up, immigration reform!

But shouldn’t we be working on a massive job-creation package first? Not even the Tea Partiers could reasonably justify opposing that. Not that the Tea Party could ever be accused of being reasonable. Death threats aside, they say they oppose big government but they want the government to create jobs, guarantee their mortgage deductions, continue public education, and build and maintain roads and highways. Maybe it’s like how the Republicans say they love democracy but evidently they don’t like elections (when they lose) or majority rule in congress (when they lose).

But, whatever, the reconciliation package has passed with unforeseen speed! And maybe I’m speaking too soon, but it seems that the Democrats are starting to find their spines.


No spankings for you today. You’ve kicked more ass than anyone.

Update on My Apolitical Status

Posted in Uncategorized by streetlegalplay on February 5, 2010

I just clicked on to Yahoo! news and saw this Associated Press article: “Obama Admits Health Care Might Die on the Hill.

This is a crying shame! This is pathetic!

I think Nancy Pelosi was right when she said that there’s no piecemeal solution to healthcare. (I’m one of the few Pelosi fans out there. If only she’d be appointed to manage both the house and senate, we might be able to get something done. Nancy, I think you handled health-care beautifully and you’re stronger than any man on Capitol Hill!) If only the Dems could have taken a stand! But even Obama is prepared to concede.

So I have an update to the post I wrote last week, “How to Be a Happy Liberal in a Center-Right Society,” where I rued the day I’d recently forked more money over to the DNC even though they’re clearly not doing their job.

Well, they called back from their San Francisco offices last Monday! They want even more money out of me!

They started in with scare tactics about how, if the republicans win more seats in congress, we’re not going to be able to get anything passed.

I cut the spokesperson off and said, “With the exception of the hate-crimes bill, the democrats haven’t gotten anything admirable passed in two years – even with a supermajority! With all due respect, you can’t assume that you’ve got my support just because I support a progressive agenda. I’m sorry, I pay for quality of work, not panic-peddling.”

She said, “I understand your attitude (she used the word ‘attitude’), Mr. Smith. Thank you for your past support.”  With that, she hung up.

Never will I understand why anyone votes republican.

But I sure as hell understand why they don’t vote democrat.

R.I.P. Healthcare Reform

P.S.: I still like Obama. Matthew Norman recently wrote a brilliant article about the fate of his presidency in the British newspaper, The Independent in which Norman says the following:

“[The Founding Fathers] righteous obsession with building a power counterbalance between President and Congress into the Constitution, as a check against tyranny, creates such stasis that, at times like this, benign dictatorship seems alarmingly attractive.”

Hey, congress! Why you gotta suck so freakin’ bad, morons?!

This Is How Bad It’s Gotten in America

Posted in Uncategorized by streetlegalplay on September 15, 2009

This makes me SICK!!!!

Michelangelo Signorile interviews Pastor Steven L. Anderson on his show after Anderson said from the pulpit, “I hate Barack Obama” & “God wants me to hate Barack Obama.”  The Pastor would not consider an assassination murder but rather a service to God & country.  (Some members of his congregation are now literally taking up arms against Obama.)

Anderson goes on to say that gays should be executed & that church-going gays only go to church so they can have access to children.  He ends the call by telling Signorile, a gay author & radio host, that he hopes he gets brain cancer & dies like Ted Kennedy.

For 8 years, we had a sociopath/war criminal in office & right-wing & mainstream media both promoted the fallacy that to denounce him was unpatriotic.

Oh, how times have changed! Now right wing feels that repudiating the new president (“You Lie!,” Rep. Joe Wilson) is one of the pillars of patriotism & mainstream media gives far more coverage to their constant calumny than it did to our protests of Bush’s criminal war & criminal presidency.

Is Pastor Anderson an extreme case?  As far as I can tell, only by a notch or two.  No matter what Obama does to appease the right (and he appeases them FAR too often, especially at the expense of the gay community), they will always find fault.  He can’t even give a back-to-school speech w/o being accused by millions of indoctrinating children into his “socialist” agenda.  Funny how Republicans once made a lifestyle of laughing off any minority group’s claim to “victimhood.”  But the minute they – especially Rush Limbaugh, once the biggest chortler of them all – can make themselves out to be victims, they don’t hesitate.  Many would even join Anderson in saying that an Obama assassination would be the furthest thing from murder.

To hear Anderson’s exact words of Obama hate from pulpit, see Don Lemon’s CNN report below:

The First Family

Posted in Politics by streetlegalplay on November 5, 2008


My wonderful friend and former boss, Aurie Pennick, President of the Field Foundation, sent me this picture with the email caption, “It Just Looks Right.” Her message contained another pithy aphorism, “As It Should Be.”

It is indeed a remarkable image and a welcome and long overdue moment in our history.

To follow up on my last blog post regarding Proposition 8: after Aurie sent me this, I emailed her back, thanking her and saying that I look forward to the day that a gay president will be in this picture with his or her spouse and children.

Many people lost hope that they’d ever see a first family like the one above. Likewise, this picture should give hope to those of us who oppose Proposition 8 and long to see gay spouses and their family in the highest, elected office.

Proposition 8 Passed: Bummer Bigotry on Obama’s Big Day

Posted in Uncategorized by streetlegalplay on November 5, 2008


So, amid my bliss over Obama’s election, I read the news a few minutes ago that California voters passed Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage. Can’t I ever just get an all-around Good News Day????

Says Frank Schubert, co-manager of the Yes on 8 campaign: “People believe in the institution of marriage. It’s one institution that crosses ethnic divides, that crosses partisan divides…People have stood up because they care about marriage and they care a great deal.”

Nice try at making marriage sound like an inclusive, ecumenical institution – “crosses ethnic divides…crosses partisan divides” – but it doesn’t cross divides in sexual orientation, does it? I guess it’s not supposed to. People on our side of the divide are dirty and deviant, aren’t we?

Oh, and “crosses ethnic divides”: clever, au courant way of inviting minorities to come on board and hate us as much as you and your kind once hated them.

Naturally, the Schubert camp will invoke the Bible, which condones all manner of bigotry.

Oh, yes, the Yes voters “care about marriage…they care a great deal”: and that’s why their divorce rates are over 50%.

Why is the (supposedly) straight majority so bent on claiming marriage as their own? How does commitment within homosexual relationships detract from commitment within heterosexual relationships? Why are some willing to go so far as to “concede” the right to civil unions to us (like we should even have to ask) but not marriage, as though we have no purchase on the sanctified term? John Edwards was one. Look how much respect he showed for the very institution that he said he would refuse to extend to gays – and he was cheating the whole time he was taking this moral high-ground, while his wife was battling cancer.

Meanwhile as Proposition 8 revved up in California, Arkansas voters approved a ban on unmarried couples from serving as adoptive or foster parents. Supporters did not hide that gays and lesbians were their chief target.

So, even with the hope that an Obama tomorrow brings, it does not herald an end to inequities.

Greeted as Liberators! (And, This Time, Rightly So…)

Posted in Politics by streetlegalplay on November 5, 2008


I’ll never forget where I was. It was 8 pm here in Brooklyn. Julius and I locked ourselves in place in our library. Julius was wearing his Obama t-shirt and Obama buttons. (And he says he’s not superstitious!) I supplicated myself before all the benevolent forces in the ethers. We both had our laptops out and CNN blaring.

First, CNN announced that Obama won Pennsylvania. I was hugging our cats and cheering, “We won!” Julius warned not to speak too soon. But then we won Ohio! Not even Julius could crab that. Still, it wasn’t official. A landslide of electoral votes poured into the Obama column. And then…Virginia! It was all over! For once, I can say that with relief!

Still, CNN was about to go on counting polls and I thought we’d have to wait until 1 am to get the official word. But, at about 11 pm, Wolf Blitzer stopped in midsentence to announce late-breaking news. A new screen broke in with Barack’s image. “Barack Obama has been elected President of the United States!”

I’m still trying to take it all in. We watched via satellite as Barack spoke before over 200,000 people in Grant Park in my hometown of Chicago. I became homesick, but Julius and I put our coats on and went to 5th Avenue. What can I say, it was a Par-tay!

Hope at last! Hope at last! Hope at last!

(Oh, yeah…And no more Sarah Palin!)

Kyle Thomas Smith

Brooklyn, NY

A Review of Toni Morrison’s A MERCY

Posted in Books by streetlegalplay on November 3, 2008

By Kyle Thomas Smith

This is my review of Toni Morrison’s new book A Mercy.

It will appear this week in Edge Magazine.

In 1990, three years before winning the Nobel Prize for Literature, Toni Morrison said in an interview with Bill Moyers: “I rewrite and rewrite to make the books look like they were written in a matter of hours.”

That’s one of the things I love most about Morrison whom I hail as one of the world’s greatest living authors. In interviews, she might appear to be all intellect, but her greatest works—Sula, Song of Solomon, Jazz, Beloved—are marked by simple, immediate prose that builds up to a burning tower of mythology, violence, calamity, deprivation and her characters’ tempestuous wills to survive. Over the course of her 38 years as a novelist, Toni Morrison has singlehandedly established a universe in which the black experience stands with one foot on the skids of America and the other in the anarchy of an ancient Greek tragedy. When I am hungry for inspiration, I often devour the fierce, possessive passages in Morrison’s books and find my imagination sated while my body quivers from aftershock.

Unfortunately, I did not experience such rapture upon reading her hotly anticipated new novel, A Mercy. When I first picked up the slim 169-page book, I rustled my backside into the couch, preparing for the ride of my life, but soon found myself turning over for a nap. Although lush and erudite, the narration runs like molasses. Pulling my attention back to the storyline was like wrestling the Good Year Blimp back to the ground with a lasso. Thinking that I might just have been having an off day, I gave the book another try the next day…and the next…and the next…and the following week. For the first time in my experience of Morrison, my attention consistently drifted away from the page and into the stratosphere. Oh, how I yearned for the reprieve of her past perfection! Alas, it did not come. No doubt Morrison deserves an A+ for effort and concept on A Mercy, but it’d take round after round of rewrites to give this book the momentum of her masterworks.

Like her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Beloved, Morrison’s A Mercy tackles the subject of American slavery. Where Beloved studied the catastrophic effects of slavery in the years before and after the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, A Mercy is set in the 17th Century when slavery first took root in the Dutch, Scandinavian and English colonies on America’s eastern seaboard. In an August 2008 interview, Morrison told New York magazine that she “wanted to get to a place before slavery was equated with race. Whether [slaves] were black or white was less important than what [slave-masters] owned and what their power was.” Where Morrison’s prior works explored societies of people marginalized on account of their race, A Mercy is more of a historical tale meant to underscore Morrison’s scholarly contention that “there is no civilization that did not rest on unpaid labor—not Athens, not Russia, not England, no one.”

Yet the novel’s young slave Florens subsists under conditions that are idyllic compared to the unrelenting treachery in Seth’s life in Beloved. The book begins with Jacob Vaark, a Dutch trader, travelling on horseback through the wilds of Virginia to Maryland to settle a debt that a Portuguese landowner, Senhor D’Ortega, is incapable of paying. Vaark compromises by accepting D’Ortega’s offer to give him one of his slaves. A slave named minha mae begs Vaark to choose her own nine-year-old daughter Florens. Vaark and D’Ortega agree to the arrangement while Florens crumbles inside at her mother’s betrayal. However, Vaark turns out to be a kind, compassionate master who owns acres of forested land in a Dutch-inhabited colony. He has two indentured servants and a Native American worker named Lina, who gloms on to Florens, conferring on her the love she had for the tribe she lost to a smallpox epidemic. Morrison creates a setting where black, white and red seem to all be treated the same.

But when Jacob Vaark dies, his wife Rebekka goes mad with grief. Rebekka had escaped religious persecution in England and hoped to find happiness by marrying Vaark in the New World. Only, disease was so rampant and conditions were so untested that Rebekka ended up losing child after child on its soil. Vaark’s death proves enough to set Rebekka over the edge. She begins to lose faith in a personal God and exacts the role of plantation termagant: “The pleasure of upbraiding an incompetent servant outweighed any satisfaction of a chore well done and the housewife raged happily at every unswept corner, poorly made fire, imperfectly scrubbed pot, carelessly weeded garden row and badly plucked bird.” Moreover, the novel comes equipped with Sorrow, an orphan servant girl who is the repository for all the foreboding that brews in the back of all minds on the Vaark estate. Like Little Father Time in Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure, Sorrow is the embodiment of a doom foretold in the days after Vaark’s death and in the formation of a nation where slavery will soon flourish in the uttermost cruelty. Yet having known life when Vaark, whom Florens refers to as Sir, was still alive, Florens comes to discover that her mother’s abandonment was, in fact, a mercy.

In A Mercy, Morrison tells the stories of more than half a dozen major characters from their own individual points of view. Yet, right up to the last page of the novel, the characters remain surprisingly underdeveloped. Where Morrison once packed her books with allegories that gave ample context to her characters and their strife, A Mercy has a prosaic monotony where precious little folklore and witchcraft lurk. Refreshing as it is that Morrison has presented an historical milieu in which different races coexist without racism—notably, at a time when so many Americans are eagerly waiting to elect Barack Obama—the narrative lacks the poignancy and piquancy that has put her on the pantheon of modern literature. Never did I expect that I would end up writing such criticisms of the beloved Toni Morrison. But what kind of reviewer would I be if I showed A Mercy too much mercy?

Nazi Skinheads, Al Qaeda on the Campaign Trail

Posted in Uncategorized by streetlegalplay on October 28, 2008

When I was growing up, there were Nazi skinheads and anti-Nazi skinheads. To me, as a gay kid on the punk scene, both were equally heinous. The anti-Nazi skinheads’ politics were a little better, except with regards to gays as I mention in 85A. Both camps were bullies and could do a job on you with their steel-toed boots and sometimes broken bottles and knives. The difference between then and now: as far as I know – and I knew the stories – neither camp carried firearms.

Yesterday, I was both shocked and relieved to read the news. The FBI had foiled an elaborate plot that two Nazi skinhead youths – Paul Schlesselman, 18, from Arkansas and Daniel Cowart, 20, from Tennessee – had hatched to decapitate 14 black kids and otherwise kill 74 other black kids before assassinating Barack Obama.

Police had pulled Schlesselman and Cowart over after they’d shot out the window of a Tennessee church. Their car was scrawled with swatstikas, racial epithets, and the numbers 14 and 88, which hold special symoblism in white supremacy and which also signify (a) the number of blacks they planned on beheading (14) and (b) the total number of blacks they planned on killing (88) at an unnamed local high school. Police also seized an unspecified number of unregistered firearms from Schlesselman and Cowart’s car. The two were allegedly on their way to a local gun-dealer whom they were going to rob in an effort to stockpile weapons for their high-school massacre.

After killing 88 blacks, Schlesselman and Cowart planned to don white Tuxedos and top hats and drive off to find and kill Barack Obama. FBI agents doubt that they could have pulled off the Obama assassination. But they at least might have at been able to put a dent in their high-school assassination plans.

Schlesselman and Cowart are being held without bond.

This level of hatred, within 8 days of the likely election of America’s first African-American president, makes the Bradley Effect look like miscegenation.

This morning, I had a hard time waking up. That is, until Julius jumped out of the shower and ran into our room, forgetting his towel, to rouse me with the news that Al Qaeda has endorsed McCain. I yawned and said, “Well, why would they do a fool thing like that?”

Nine hours later, I’m still at a loss for answers. Liberals might say that Al Qaeda wants McCain to win so that he’ll get trigger-happy, drain our economy to the dregs, and leave us as sitting ducks for a terrorist arrogation of the United States. Conservatives might say they’re trying to turn Americans off to McCain so that we’ll elect a “weak” leader like Obama, who will let terrorists run roughshod over the nation and the world.

Julius believes that Al Qaeda wants McCain to win so that they can show the world that the Bush administration will essentially continue for a minimum of four more years.

We must recall, though, that Al Qaeda didn’t like Clinton any more than Bush. Their first attempt on the WTC was in 1993 during Clinton’s first year in office. It seems to me that Al Qaeda hates all Americans, Republican or Democrat.

Whatever their rationale, it’s no feather in McCain’s cap that he’s won an Al Qaeda endorsement nor that two Nazis sought to eliminate his opponent.

Before I make my next point, let me qualify that I love Barack Obama, he’s one of my heroes and he has my vote handsdown. I have to come clean and admit, however, that I do have some misgivings about him becoming president. I don’t have any doubt that he’ll do a bang-up job at defending our nation against foreign terrorists. But can he defend himself against domestic terrorists?

This is something we’re going to have to watch as McCain and Palin’s New Red Scare progresses.

“In Hard Times, Tent Cities Rise Up Across the Country” (The Associated Press)

Posted in Uncategorized by streetlegalplay on September 19, 2008

This is so sad. The Great Depression has already started. From The Associated Press, “In Hard Times, Tent Cities Rise Across the Country,” September 18, 2008.

By EVELYN NIEVES, Associated Press Writer

RENO, Nev. – A few tents cropped up hard by the railroad tracks, pitched by men left with nowhere to go once the emergency winter shelter closed for the summer.

Then others appeared — people who had lost their jobs to the ailing economy, or newcomers who had moved to Reno for work and discovered no one was hiring.

Within weeks, more than 150 people were living in tents big and small, barely a foot apart in a patch of dirt slated to be a parking lot for a campus of shelters Reno is building for its homeless population. Like many other cities, Reno has found itself with a “tent city” — an encampment of people who had nowhere else to go.

From Seattle to Athens, Ga., homeless advocacy groups and city agencies are reporting the most visible rise in homeless encampments in a generation.

Nearly 61 percent of local and state homeless coalitions say they’ve experienced a rise in homelessness since the foreclosure crisis began in 2007, according to a report by the National Coalition for the Homeless. The group says the problem has worsened since the report’s release in April, with foreclosures mounting, gas and food prices rising and the job market tightening.

“It’s clear that poverty and homelessness have increased,” said Michael Stoops, acting executive director of the coalition. “The economy is in chaos, we’re in an unofficial recession and Americans are worried, from the homeless to the middle class, about their future.”

The phenomenon of encampments has caught advocacy groups somewhat by surprise, largely because of how quickly they have sprung up.

“What you’re seeing is encampments that I haven’t seen since the 80s,” said Paul Boden, executive director of the Western Regional Advocacy Project, an umbrella group for homeless advocacy organizations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Calif., Portland, Ore. and Seattle.

The relatively tony city of Santa Barbara has given over a parking lot to people who sleep in cars and vans. The city of Fresno, Calif., is trying to manage several proliferating tent cities, including an encampment where people have made shelters out of scrap wood. In Portland, Ore., and Seattle, homeless advocacy groups have paired with nonprofits or faith-based groups to manage tent cities as outdoor shelters. Other cities where tent cities have either appeared or expanded include include Chattanooga, Tenn., San Diego, and Columbus, Ohio.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development recently reported a 12 percent drop in homelessness nationally in two years, from about 754,000 in January 2005 to 666,000 in January 2007. But the 2007 numbers omitted people who previously had been considered homeless — such as those staying with relatives or friends or living in campgrounds or motel rooms for more than a week.

In addition, the housing and economic crisis began soon after HUD’s most recent data was compiled.

“The data predates the housing crisis,” said Brian Sullivan, a spokesman for HUD. “From the headlines, it might appear that the report is about yesterday. How is the housing situation affecting homelessness? That’s a great question. We’re still trying to get to that.”

In Seattle, which is experiencing a building boom and an influx of affluent professionals in neighborhoods the working class once owned, homeless encampments have been springing up — in remote places to avoid police sweeps.

“What’s happening in Seattle is what’s happening everywhere else — on steroids,” said Tim Harris, executive director of Real Change, an advocacy organization that publishes a weekly newspaper sold by homeless people.

Homeless people and their advocates have organized three tent cities at City Hall in recent months to call attention to the homeless and protest the sweeps — acts of militancy, said Harris, “that we really haven’t seen around homeless activism since the early ’90s.”

In Reno, officials decided to let the tent city be because shelters were already filled.

Officials don’t know how many homeless people are in Reno. “But we do know that the soup kitchens are serving hundreds more meals a day and that we have more people who are homeless than we can remember,” said Jodi Royal-Goodwin, the city’s redevelopment agency director.

Those in the tents have to register and are monitored weekly to see what progress they are making in finding jobs or real housing. They are provided times to take showers in the shelter, and told where to go for food and meals.

Sylvia Flynn, 51, came from northern California but lost a job almost immediately and then her apartment.

Since the cheapest motels here charge upward of $200 a week, Flynn ended up at the Reno women’s shelter, which has only 20 beds and a two-week limit on stays.

Out of a dozen people interviewed in the tent city, six had come to Reno from California or elsewhere over the last year, hoping for casino jobs.

“I figured this would be a great place for a job,” said Max Perez, a 19-year-old from Iowa. He couldn’t find one and ended up taking showers at the men’s shelter and sleeping in a pup tent barely big enough to cover his body.

The casinos are actually starting to lay off employees.

“Sometimes I think we need to put out an ad: ‘No, we don’t have any more jobs than you do,'” Royal-Goodwin said.

The city will shut down the tent city as soon as early October because the tents sit on what will be a parking lot for a complex of shelters and services for homeless people. The complex will include a men’s shelter, a women’s shelter, a family shelter and a resource center.

Reno officials aren’t sure whether the construction will eliminate the need for the tent city. The demand, they say, keeps growing.

We can’t continue the Bush-McCain economy. Please vote for Obama in November.

Two-Pronged Strategy to Combat Republican Allegations of Sexism

Posted in Uncategorized by streetlegalplay on September 7, 2008

Dear Readers:

Please forgive me for not keeping up with my blog. I’ve had lots of paying work to do. I have also been in an abject funk over how effectively McCain has plied petty politics, especially through the ludicrous addition of Sarah Palin. I normally deck my blog with pix but Sarah Palin is so vile in body and soul that I can’t even bear the sight of her.

At the RNC, Wolf Blitzer said, “She hit it out of the park with that speech.” What! I only saw a big nerd reading a lot of Hee Haw, hockey-mom hooey – off note cards, no less – that some speechwriter wrote for her and that spoke to anything but the real issues facing our nation. Then Anderson Cooper and company checked the applause meter and decided to nod in agreement with Blitzer. Palin knows how to be smug, shrill and catty, but let’s not confuse that with charisma or intelligence. She doesn’t come up to Hillary Clinton’s anklebones.

Our friend Frances Rodriquez gave the best description of Sarah Palin yet: “She’s Anne Coulter, but worse.” The woman is a vociferous liar, a bully and book-burner, not to mention eminently unqualified. The list of charges against her is growing sky-high (if any of those same charges were leveled against Obama, the GOP would demand that he be run out of the race and the senate).

Yet, in a strange change of face, the Republicans are screaming sexism whenever the media digs up any dirt on Palin, when in fact media researchers are treating her the exact same way that they have treated her male opponents all along – and the media itself has made her its darling. The McCain camp wants Barack and Biden to lay down before each one of Barracuda’s stiletto digs, lest they crush this poor shrinking violet with their big, insensitive man feet.

So, Barack and Biden, here’s how to handle this farce. If any Republican smears you as sexist for defending yourselves and attacking Sarah Palin’s record and positions:

1. Keep Talking. Don’t capitulate. If they scream, scream louder, affirm your stance.

2. If you must defend yourself against these calculated allegations, use one simple sentence: “If she’s gonna dish it out, she’d better be able to take it.”

What would be truly sexist would be to give Palin special treatment for being a woman.

She’s only been on the scene a couple weeks and she’s already dishing it out worse than anybody throughout this whole election race (though she has yet to face the press unscripted). Now she’d better be able to take it.

Senator Biden, please take her to the mat.

I will write more in the coming days. Stay tuned.

Kyle Thomas Smith