StreetLegalPlay by Kyle Thomas Smith

Petunia Fieno

Posted in Uncategorized by streetlegalplay on April 8, 2010

I’m about to go see Vincere, Marc Bellochio’s new film about the rise of Mussolini.

Somehow seeing the billboard got me thinking of Camille Paglia and Sarah Palin.  Not that Paglia is Mussolini, but for a long time, she was aiming for that kind of populist, revolutionary appeal, which Palin seems to have not only rebranded but seized thanks to the Tea Party.  Given half a chance, Palin would become a Mussolini.  Although she’s doing her song and dance on an anti-government platform now, if the right were to ever win back congress, she’d support letting them have a totalitarian carte blanche “without blinking.”

I probably shouldn’t be blogging about Paglia, though.  She’s old news and nobody cares.

It’s just that I continue to be so embarrassed that I emulated her in college in the early 1990s.  I mean, I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night cringing over how I staged so many sanguinary intellectual debates over nothing and thought I had to see things in the same weird, inscrutable ways she did (if she did indeed see them in those ways at all; a lot of her claptrap was just theater). Consequently, my grades took a nosedive in that full year of Paglia-esque posturing, which I mercifully knocked off the next year, though I continued to read her religiously until some time later.

I suppose I could say in my defense that those were different times and she was offering something unique in the era before contrarianism became a dead-tired reflex.  In a 2005 article in The Nation called “Look at Me,” Lee Siegel puts his finger on how Camille Paglia took full advantage of the cultural moment in the early 1990s:

When Camille Paglia first strutted onto the scene in 1991 with her polemical tome Sexual Personae, her smart, audacious duels with orthodoxy and militancy on both the left and the right were a tonic. Against highly theoretical academic feminists comfortable in their privileged aeries, she cited the experience of working-class women, and also just plain, ordinary struggling women who were unprotected by tenure and by the sealed borders of a campus. In response to the conservatives who sought to woo her, she flaunted her bisexuality and her love of gay style and camp. In response to the multiculturalists who dreamed of bringing into the “canon” comic books and television sitcoms – thus making it possible for comic books and television to also bear the stigma of “homework” – she defended the virtues of classic literature. But when the conservatives came calling again with their Great Books boosterism, she blasted them with her ardor for rock and roll.

Feminist martinets? Paglia zapped them with paeans to pornography, prostitution and the thrill of raw, heterosexual sex. Conservative prigs? She zinged them with hymns to Robert Mapplethorpe and to gay male porn, and to the superiority of gay male sex. Lesbians? Well, she didn’t really like them, but she loved having sex with women, just in case you underestimated her antagonism toward the idea of “normalcy.” And so it went.

Alas, Paglia’s novelty wore off, but by that time, I was already hooked. Siegel’s essay continues:

Like all styles of radical will, it eventually got tiresome…Worst of all was Paglia’s self-consciousness as a media personality. After a while, she was no longer taking positions in response to principles or ideas, but in response to her own positions. Her extreme rhetoric concealed a cautious tailoring of her image. For every step leftward, she had to take a step rightward; for every transgressive gesture she had to make a concession to middle-class mores, for every step down to pop culture, she had to step up to some exaltation of artistic greatness. [But] as the issues that launched her career as a public intellectual gave way to different ones that were outside her arena of expertise, she receded from public view.

By now, we’ve seen her fall. Fifteen years after lauding her, I feel like a boob.  But I’m celebrating how she’s not darkening Salon’s doorstep anymore!  In 2008, she put the last nail in her coffin at Salon with indefensible defenses of Palin like the following:

“As for Palin’s brutally edited interviews with Charlie Gibson and that viper, Katie Couric, don’t we all know that the best bits ended up on the cutting-room floor?”

This is the most desperate manifestation of denial I have ever read!  She’s actually expecting us to believe Palin was brilliant in the edited segments of the three-part Couric interview – the one which will live forever in the Television Hall of Infamy?

But look at this Xtra.ca interview with Paglia!  She even sounds like Palin now!

In the spirit of reparation for past misalliances, I have taken pleasure in the satire of a Salon reader named Susan Wood, who has created a character called Petunia Fieno, “whose mind has an eerie way of running in the same channels as Camille’s.”  Here’s a letter to Petunia about Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina shouting “You LIE!” at Obama at the 2009 presidential address:

Dear Petunia,

Although I am a conservative, I just love, love, love your column because you’re so smart for a liberal. Did you see Obama’ speech on health care reform? Wasn’t Joe Wilson great?

Fan in South Carolina

Dear Fan,

Oh yes, Joe Wilson was just brilliant. Such passion, such outspokenness, like the lyrics of rap, and with timing reminiscent of hip-hop music or a Bach partita. (And I hope you notice the elegance with which I mention both Bach and hip-hop in the same sentence. Remember that although I have an IQ that could sink a battleship, I keep it real by listening to the amusements of the Great Unwashed). Wilson is a performance artist worthy of a solo show at MOMA, except of course that the art world, like academia, is run by pasty-faced conformist poopyheads who don’t understand real genius when they see it. If you do something truly creative that shows thinking outside the box, like putting a whoopee cushion on the chairman’s chair at a faculty meeting, they do petty and vindictive things like denying you tenure and banishing you to some crappy Podunk art school where you have to teach five sections of Humanities 101 every term and coach the girls volleyball team. But of course, the future of American education is in places like that, not the snooty ivy league, because they can recognize the brilliance of a best-selling author of a book like “Erotic Masks,” available from Amazon for $37.50, with free shipping if you order three or more copies.

Makes you almost wish there was more Camille so we could have more Petunia.

P.S.: Check out this clip of Stephanie Miller asking conservative radio host Michael Slater whether Michelle Bachmann (“I want Minnesotans armed and dangerous”) and Sarah Palin have the intellectual strength to lead the Republican party.  It’s pure gold.

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Victory!

Posted in Uncategorized by streetlegalplay on March 22, 2010

Many years ago, when I was working for the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities, I helped arrange for Congressman John Lewis, one of the greatest heros of the civil rights movement, to receive the Founder’s Award at our 35th Anniversary luncheon. (Chicago’s own Barack Obama would win it the following year and speak at our luncheon.) I had the honor of being his valet for the day. He was an unaffected, salt-of-the-earth guy with a hearty laugh. But when I sat at a pre-luncheon roundtable with him and 10 other people from my generation, his eyes had a fiery intensity born of bitter experience that people my age, weened as we were on the complacency of an escapist entertainment industry, had rarely if ever witnessed.

Lewis talked about how he’d been hit over the head with a hammer on a march through Montgomery. He talked about the many times his community of activists had been thrown in jail, jeopardizing their already scant prospects to secure rights that the status quo was only too content to withhold from them. He talked about how he’d come through it all to be one of the most influential members of congress.

When he was done talking, he opened the floor to questions. Everyone was too stunned to talk. So he looked around until his strongest eye settled right on me, making it known that, if anyone was responsible for keeping this discussion going, it would have to be me, the guy who arranged it all. I didn’t know what to ask besides: “Well, God, did you ever think about giving up?”

John Lewis looked at me incredulously. He told us giving up was the furthest thing from their minds. There was too much to fight for and live for. If they died, they died, but the fight would go on.

This past Saturday, as John Lewis marched with his fellow congressmen to pull in the last units of support they’d need to pass healthcare reform, Tea Partiers called him n@%ger. Some even spat on Lewis’ fellow civil rights crusader Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver. They screamed “faggot”* at Barney Frank and mocked his lisp. Another congressman and civil rights pioneer, Rep. James Clybourn, said he hadn’t witnessed this level of hatred since South Carolina in the 1960s – and that’s saying something! But all four men soldiered on through Longworth Hall to make history this weekend.

This was a HUGE comeback for Barack Obama. This bill alone – rudimentary though it is – is enough to enshrine Obama’s name in presidential history. As I watched the number of votes tick to 219 last night without a single Republican Yay, I remembered Dylan’s line: “You didn’t know it, you didn’t think it could be done/In the final end, he won the wars after losing every battle.”

I was so afraid Obama had given up on healthcare, just as Clinton had in his presidency. Yet Nancy Pelosi and Al Franken were both instrumental in putting him back on track. At a party retreat at which Obama spoke in February, Franken, the freshmen senator, chastised his fellow democrats for all but scuttling the bill after the Scott Brown election in Massachusetts. Pelosi met privately with President Obama telling him that if she and Harry Reid were going to put their necks on the line for Obama’s foremost priority, he had better muscle through to the finish with them. At long last, Obama was no longer afraid to make waves. He hunkered down, wrangled in every stray bit of potential support, made his most impassioned speeches and, much like on his own election night, he clocked in a victory at about 11 o’clock (EST) last night.

Naturally, losing didn’t keep the Republicans from lying. They disowned responsibility for the Tea Partiers’ behavior even though they’d rallied them, led them in chanting “Kill the Bill” and applauded one protester for breaking into congress and shouting down democrats. Then, after the vote came down, Republicans ran their mouths about how this bill would increase federal funding for abortion, even though it is expressly written all over the bill and the executive order that such funding is strictly prohibited. (For the record, in countries where there is government funding for abortions, abortion rates are at least 20% lower per capita than in the United States. Such facilities provide ample contraception and information on safe sex, free of charge, thus greatly reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies without abortion.) But that didn’t stop the Republicans’ lying gums from flapping.

I would write this off as sore loserhood but it is in fact a calculation to rile Tea Partiers into an insurgency that the Republicans will stamp out the minute their party regains control of congress and/or the White House. (Funny how we don’t hear much about Big Government once Republicans are the big government, much like we didn’t hear a peep out of the Republicans about the deficit once they ran it up with war debts and Bush tax-cuts. Now, it’s just about all they talk about.) The Republicans should be publicly hauled out and censured for the  distortions they promulgated on the house floor last night.

When Bart Stupak, the Republicans’ great white hope, got up to make his speech in favor of the senate bill – which he demanded be sealed with an anti-choice executive order – a Republican congressman screamed, “Baby Killer!”

I’m glad Stupak cast his vote for the bill after all his vamping on TV this month, but I still want his ass run out of office. We don’t need democrats like him or Blanche Lincoln and Dan Lipinski. I’m waiting for those MoveOn emails to come asking us to drive out these conservative democrats, who stand in the way of progress every bit as much as their Republican colleagues.

All that aside, though…I gotta say, Ms. Palin…this hopey-changey stuff is really starting to work out for us!

______________________

* To me, the word “faggot” is just as offensive as the n-word, but unlike the latter epithet, I spell it out in full to avoid confusion with the other word known as the f-word, which I find infinitely less offensive.

Lightening Up in Manhattan

Posted in Uncategorized by streetlegalplay on March 10, 2010

So I had to wait around all yesterday morning for the AT&T guy to come fix the DSL line that was downed in the snowstorm that hit New York the week before last. It totally threw me off my game. Mornings are my Tea Lounge writing time. I got almost nothing done at home (I did get an early workout in, though) so it took all day to fish my self-esteem out of the sewer.

And it turns out it was the phone line that snapped, not the DSL cable! So now I have to wait around all day Friday for the Verizon guy. Can’t wait to see what depths my mood will sink to then.

Our house is beautiful but it’s old and dark. By the time I could leave it and get on with my day, I knew that Tea Lounge – which Julius says looks like an opium den, but which is afterglow-luminous compared to our own House of Ushers – would be filled to capacity with freelancers and the hosts of newly unemployed. Cocoa Bar was my only option and it’s pitchy as a charnel ground. Add to it that I would be reading up on Van Gogh in there (read yesterday’s post).

So, as you can imagine, I was running a really positive energy by the time I left Brooklyn for last night’s dharma class at New York Insight Meditation Center in Chelsea. I’d meditated beforehand actually, so my mood was a little better but I still wasn’t 100%.

That is, until I got off the F train at 23rd St and walked up 6th Ave. When you live in New York long enough, it’s hard to see it with outsider’s excitement, but something lit up in me and I saw it with the awe of the proverbial ingenue, stepping out of Penn station with her white gloves, straw hat, and valise. These very same downtown canyons, speckled with the lights of high-rise offices and apartments, were my stamping ground for many years, but now I walked down them with a vigor I did not have in the days when I was dragging myself to and from day jobs, which all too often ran late into the night.

Right there at 24th/6th was the Starbucks where I spent so many mornings, writing for two hours before heading into work at 9. Naturally, my coworkers hadn’t had a morning of creative writing, much less sitting meditation, behind them by the time they ambled into the office. At most, they’d glug down a mug of coffee and set their jaws for battle.

Yes, battle. I don’t know if it’s New York or if I just worked in the wrong places, but I have never seen such rampant office skullduggery anywhere else. The two most common maneuvers I witnessed people making were, one, brandishing bullwhips with little to no cause or, two, keeping their heads down and taking lashes lest they lose their jobs. I was never one to take either tack, but I was both fascinated and freaked out by all the everyday S & M around me.  It was a complete corruption of the lives most people (except bad people of course) deserve to live.  I’m eternally grateful that now I could walk these streets without fresh bruises.

I have a friend named Gina who is getting her masters in counseling psychology at the age of 43.  For many years, she’d worked in similar places and lost many jobs.  She’s not the least bit lazy but, in such enervating environs, her energy would shut down; she’s braved life in third-world countries but she’d catch herself crying on the subway or in the bathroom stalls of her office building in Midtown; she’s extremely thorough in almost everything she does, but she’d make buffoonish mistakes, especially when she’d force herself to buckle down and give the boss everything she demanded.  Now Gina is in school, subsisting on loans, and living in a meditation commune in Williamsburg that she found out about at the organic food co-op she belongs to, even though she’d never meditated before living there. Having seen the other side, she’d rather go to hell than back to where she was.

A couple years ago, when I told her I was considering leaving behind the uncertainty of freelance life and crawling back to the cold comforts of offices like a dog to his vomit, Gina painted a little vignette for me that, if I’m smart, will keep me freelancing forever. At the time, Gina was doing a minimal-commitment internship at CUNY Graduate Center at 34th/5th. According to her, the hallways look like coalmines. Inside the office where she did her project, they kept one solitary plastic plant. After all, they needed at least some semblance of decoration and, as there were no windows, all the real plants they’d tried had died, what with their only sun being the fluorescent ceiling lamps. She said the admin staff’s faces sag with their spirits. When they want to step out for a cigarette or just some fresh air, they have to sidestep the onslaught of pedestrians on 34th and 5th. When they look up, skyscrapers block the sunshine and blue sky.

My life has so much more ventilation now, I could weep with joy just thinking about it. And last night, it was like I was seeing 6th Avenue for the first time. These days, I’m only there once a week for meditation class. And now the city lights were as shiny as sudden revelations.

We started class with a 45-minute meditation. You’re not supposed to hang on to thoughts when you’re on the cushion but I couldn’t help but brood about writing. It was the whole why-can’t-I-write-fiction-these-days bête noire that I’ve been boring my blog readers with for months now. But this time something truly amazing happened.

Now, I’m not the kind of person who has bodhi tree-level experiences when I meditate. In fact, most people who say they do are usually full of shit. For instance, I once worked on a writing assignment with a formerly famous Hollywood actor who claimed to be a Buddhist. (Note: this wasn’t Richard Gere. Trust me, this guy was the furthest thing from Richard Gere.) I was with him all day, every day for a week at his apartment in Los Angeles and never once did I see him meditate. I’d invite him to meditate with me but he’d wander off to the other room and go watch Ellen or whatever. But when we’d be out with his friends, he’d brag about how he was, say, meditating in New Mexico and all of a sudden the sky turned purple and lightning rampaged across the sky and he sat still under these conditions and came to the conclusion that he should direct his career energies toward being on shows like Torchwood or the new Doctor Who.

Okay, I didn’t cause the weather to abruptly change last night. But I feel I got a message: as far as creative writing goes, blogging about my own thoughts and experiences is all I’m supposed to do for now. Now, it’s not like this communication came in words. It’s not like Buddha slipped me a note while I was dutifully breathing. It’s just that I noticed that I was exhausting myself trying to write in genres (fiction, playwriting) in which I was clearly blocked. Moreover, I was devaluing a genre (blogging) in which I wasn’t blocked, in which I could write for hours on end every day and tell much more entertaining stories.

But blogging? That’s so plebian! Anybody can do it! “What about the fine arts?” I’m ashamed to admit I’d been thinking this. In fact, these things have been on my mind for at least seven years, ever since I got that letter from Billy Hunt. He was on the board of a theater in Chicago where I worked for several years. I wrote a play that had a micro-run there, which he couldn’t attend, so I sent him the script. The play was about a young man, who was trapped in a print of a Monet painting that he didn’t wish to leave since this fantasyland stood in such delicious contrast to the replete disappointments of his real life. There were autobiographical elements to the play but it was almost all made-up. However, Billy, who hardly knew me, sent the script back to me with a scathing review, saying it was well written but “what impresses people is imagination” and “this play was so clearly based on your life.” He proceeded to say, “Nobody gives a fuck about your life,” and “find somebody other than yourself, Kyle, in writing…and life!” Shortly thereafter, I left the theater (for reasons that had nothing to do with him) but Billy’s letter has stayed with me, even though I proudly made a mini-bonfire of it before I moved to New York.

Some people say I should have a thicker skinned. But you can’t help what stays with you and what doesn’t. Believe me, I’ve done my damnedest to exorcise that letter with everything from satire to primal scream. But it stuck and I went years thinking I was a lame excuse for an artist if I wrote about my own experiences.  Pursuant to Billy’s letter, I tried living by Toni Morrison’s maxim: “The ability of writers is to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and to mystify the familiar is the test of their power.” But I couldn’t write from the void of unfamiliarity.  And I tried.  I tried.  But the plain truth is that the muse wouldn’t let me. No matter how much I parked my ass in a chair. No matter how much I free-wrote. No matter how much I begged.

And last night’s meditation told me to give up the struggle. Don’t write fiction (unless specifically instructed from within). Don’t write plays (unless specifically instructed from within). Just blog (as specifically instructed from within). As I sat in meditation, I remembered dozens of heroes who had to forfeit one dream in order to be fulfilled beyond their wildest dreams, in ways they couldn’t have imagined when they were entrenched in their former stubbornness. I remembered how Mary Hayes Grieco said, “Humility is taking one’s rightful place in the Universe,” and I knew what the Universe was telling me and I know how I’d wanted to do something which seemed grander but which was going nowhere.  I remembered reading an issue of Poets & Writers a long time ago where one writer said she kept wanting to write an epic of Scandinavia but a little voice in her head kept telling her, “Write about your divorce.” She rebelled and rebelled but the instruction to write a memoir about her divorce, which she had thought so frivolous, did not abate until she surrendered to it. From there, she ended up writing the most meaningful book of her distinguished career and the book sold epically.

So I gave in last night.  I began to breathe easier. I don’t have writer’s block anymore. I guess, in actuality, I haven’t had it in a while. I’ve been blogging. It may (or may not) be an inferior genre, but it’s mine. I don’t even know how good I am at it. But I like it and the words flow and it feels like it’s what I’m supposed to do. You can expect more posts out of me.

After meditating, one of the wonderful instructors, Charmaine Henderson, did a dharma talk on the Jhanas in the Theravada Buddhist tradition in which New York Insight is based.  She mentioned two venerated teachers of Insight Meditation Society founder, Sharon Salzberg: Goenka and U Pandita.  I can’t remember the quote she gave from Sri Satya Nayan Goenka but I did recall that Goenka didn’t start out as a holy man.  He was a businessman who came to the dharma (or, dhamma in Theravada) because he wanted to learn how to meditate to relieve his stress headaches.  (It’s no coincidence that he’s popular among today’s Manhattan practitioners.) But I did write down a quote she gave from Sayadaw U Pandita, a teacher who has been instrumental in bringing Buddhist teachings to the west:

“If you can keep your mind in balance, soothing excitement and lightening up depression, you can be sure that wisdom will shortly unfold on its own.”

This is exactly what I experienced last night.

I felt so much lighter by the time I got back home.  I turned on the news and laughed as I saw that Sarah Palin is telling crowds in Ohio that Isaiah confirms that God has crib notes too.  I clapped and howled with glee when word came that Nancy Pelosi might have already secured the votes she needs for the healthcare package.  I cheered even louder when I heard that Rush Limbaugh said he’ll leave America if healthcare-reform passes (Attention, fellow MoveOn members!  For this reason alone, we need to pass healthcare reform!).

I was back to my old self.

Progress Report on My Apolitical Status: Random Thoughts on a Ransom Note

Posted in Uncategorized by streetlegalplay on February 10, 2010

Moveon.org sent this today. Is this for real or are they just joking?

They’re saying that, when Obama invited the GOP to a televised conversation on health-care reform, the GOP sent this ransom note as their RSVP.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this were real. Republicans are bad people.

But, whoever it may have been who arranged this collage, we can cross Sarah Palin off our list of suspects. For one thing, it’s spelled right. And, besides, she’s too busy scribbling crib notes on her palm.

I’ll let Stephen Colbert handle her, though. He tells better jokes than I do. Hell, I’m still trying to figure out if Moveon was serious!

I tell you, I am not making good on my resolution to stay apolitical. (My friend Mike Levine would say I broke my promise ten minutes after blogging about it.) Nor am I acting like a happy liberal, as promised!

I mean, hell’s bells, I signed up to review The Real Van Gogh: The Artist and His Letters at the Royal Academy of Arts for WhiteHot when I’m in London the week after next! To prepare for this assignment, I’ve been reading over his letters to Theo. Many times, I’ve found myself saying, “Wow! I’ve felt much the same way about Westminster Bridge [or whatever].” Then I remind myself I’m reading Van Gogh’s letters, so maybe I shouldn’t be celebrating being on his wavelength.

But a lot of biographers point out that, most of the time, he wasn’t miserable. Nor were his bouts of mental illness out of control, except in the last several weeks of his life when Gauguin’s betrayals starting hitting him hard. In fact, he was in love with life in all its shades, hues, and moods. (Vincent Minelli even made a movie about this called “Lust for Life,” based on the Irving Stone novel, starring Kurt Douglas.) Behind his original visions was a penetrating, rapturous joy. But the flip-side to that sensitivity was the dizzying misery that compelled him to cut off his ear and stick a revolver to his chest.

When I was 18, I read Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, where he says:

“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.”

Well, I was pretty miserable already, so, after reading that little chestnut, I decided to go rent every Fassbinder movie at Facets Multimedia.

Those films were so horrifying and bleak that, going by Gibran’s logic, I thought I’d be brimming with mirth by the time I made it to Querelle. Having sat through the whole Fassbinder corpus, I can safely say I wasted years of my life on that shit and Kahlil Gibran had one ass-backwards way of finding happiness. But what did I expect? Poets have almost as high a suicide rate as dentists.

These days, I’m more a Jon Stewart man. (And in the video above, he exquisitely sums up my own feelings about Sarah Palin.)

Many years ago, I used to get my haircut for $8 in Chicago at a punk salon called Big Hair. My hairdresser there was also an astrologer and she told me that a lot of comedians have grim placements of Saturn in their charts, which means that their humor is derived from a deep sadness. Maybe that’s what Gibran was getting at.

It wasn’t long after she told me this that I had my own chart read and discovered that I have the absolute worst placements of Saturn and Mars, both in the fourth house of Cancer.

So, with that in mind, should I review the Van Gogh show or do stand-up?

Old Waverley Hotel

Oh, also! While I’m in the UK, I’m going to take a couple days to go to Edinburgh. I’ve never been to Scotland before. I’m going to be staying at the Old Waverley Hotel, which is supposed to be right where all the action is. If anyone has any thoughts on things to do while I’m there, I’d love to hear them.

My astrologer friend Annie, whom I met long after those $8 haircuts, tells me that being in a foreign country in February will give me ideas for new stories, maybe even a book. Well, here’s hoping the muse decides to stop holding out on me like congress and the GOP are holding out on Obama!

P.S.: Did you hear Bill Maher’s line about senate democrats’ handling of health care? He said, “They couldn’t sell cub scouts to a pedophile.” Comedy gold!

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.

Tina Fey as Sarah Palin

Posted in Uncategorized by streetlegalplay on September 15, 2008

This was perfect! Tina Fey as Sarah Palin and, once again, Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton on SNL.

Shell sent this around yesterday:

* If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you’re “exotic, different.”

* Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, a quintessential American story.

* If your name is Barack you’re a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.

* Name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, you’re a maverick.

* Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable.

* Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you’re well grounded.

* If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate’s Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran’s Affairs committees, you don’t have any real leadership experience.

* If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you’re qualified to become the country’s second highest ranking executive.

* If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you’re not a real Christian.

* If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you’re a Christian.

* If you teach teach children about sexual predators, you are irresponsible and eroding the fiber of society.

* If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state’s school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you’re very responsible.

* If your wife is a Harvard graduate laywer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family’s values don’t represent America ‘s.

* If you’re husband is nicknamed “First Dude”, with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn’t register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that hates America and advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

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