Monday, January 25, 2016

BOYCOTTING the Academy Awards, Reparations, and Meritocracy

I'm not  going  this  year.


This  will be  my 53rd  consecutive  year  of  boycotting  the awards.
Now I  haven't  been invited so I  doubt  my  opting  out  is  having  an  impact.

No one in our company, to my  knowledge  is  planning  to  go  but  I know  were  any  of  us invited  and  had  the  time and  money  to  travel  to LA  for  them  we  would  be there.
We  would  think  of  it  as a privilege  to be  asked.

So while  it's obviously  disappointing  more  African American performance  and   performances  from  actors  of color or  gender  diversity were  recognized, it's  odd  there's  been an  uproar  over  that exclusion  and  less  so  from  the  same  Hollywood  elite  performers  over  the  conversation  about  reparations  that  has been  raised recently  by Ta-Nehisi Coates 
 in  the  Atlantic.

In his  article he  movingly  describes  why   we  are  long  past  due  for  reparations  in   our  country. It's a moving  and  telling  argument  that  tugs  at  your  morality in our  current  world. It  seems  worthy  of  outrage  and  worthy  of a movement  that  would be  supported  by  prominent  people  of reputation  in  the  African American  community.  the  cause  seems  worthy  of  the  word "boycott"  with  all of  the  symbolic  populist  outrage  and  history  the  word  has  come  to  connect  with. Immediately  when  you  say  the  word  in America  you are  linking  yourself  with  some  of  the  most  important  social  activism of  our  time. It's a galvinizing word.

But  when it's  used in  relationship  to  the Oscars  in  describing  the  hurt, and  disappointment   some actors  are  feeling  that  members  of  their  race  were not  included as the  awards finalists,
it  seems  shallow.

It's just  not  deep  enough to inspire  "boycott".

The  people  who  are  doing  the   "boycotting "  are  not  people  who  would  be  categorized  as  underprivileged  by  our  industry  standards. Presumably  they  have  had  notable  roles in  notable  films  with  relatively  wide  releases.  Will Smith  is  not  starving  for  Instagram  followers, although he  lacks an nomination in 2016.

It's  difficult  to   turn  on  the  television  on any  night  and  not  see Idris  Elba in  something  wonderful.  He  has  justifiably  received opportunities  to offer  his talents  in many projects of  merit. Likewise, Michael B. Jordan,  another  snubbed  contender  for an  award  this  year  is  in  no  danger  of lacking  opportunity,  thanks  to his  memorable  and  deservedly  praised  work.

All of  which is  to  state  the  most  obvious point: The  Academy Awards  are  not  a  meritocracy.
The  Academy Awards  may be  the  very  definition of  elitist. Why  should  we  watch  thinking  they  were  governed  by  populist  appeal or  morals. Of  course  we watch hoping  the  best  man  or  woman  wins  each  year,  but  it's  not news to  say  the  Academy Awards is  political. So's the  race  for  President  of  the U.S.

It  seems  the  Academy  is  going  to make  some  changes  to address  all  this , and now there's  even  been a press  release  that Chris  Rock  intends  to joke  about  it  at  the  awards  show. Earth  shaking. The  thing  is, you  can  be  sure,  because  of  that  'joking'  it  will  one  of  the  "most  watched" Oscars  of  all  time. People  will  tune  in  to  see him  diss  the  Academy  for  racism. Perversely,  the Academy  of  Motion Pictures  Arts  and  Sciences  is  going  to  profit  from  its  racism.

But  none  of the  same  outrage  has  gotten  on  the  reparations  bandwagon, although  Bernie  Sanders  and  Hillary  Clinton  are  being  pummeled  for  think it's  not  a  practical  solution  to  the  problem. Of  course  it  doesn't matter  if  it's not  practical. It's  the  right  thing  to  do  so  we  should  do  it.

Doing  the  right  thing  is  rarely  practical  but  in any  organization just  about   any  top  leader  will  be  able to  tell  you  that  there  are  dividends  and  yield  within  every  company  when a  wrong  is  publicly and justly  righted.  It can  change  the  culture  of  an  organization. It  can  offer  real  hope  to  people   who  have  lost  hope  that  America  could  ever  justly  face  up  to  it's  past.

Now there  are  alot  of  challenges  with  the idea of  reparations  but  there are  alot  of  challenges
with alot  of movements  in  our  country.  There  are  alot  of  folks  who  want  to  make  abortions  harder  to  get  in  our  country. Seems  tremendously  unfair  but  after  Roe vs.Wade  they  certainly had  alot  of  challenges n front  of  them and  they are  prevailing  by  passing  phony  laws in  huge  states. If  they  can  prevail  with  that cause, it's  difficult  to  understand  why  the cause of  reparations  might  not  someday have a hashtag with  just  as  many  Hollywood  names  using  as  the  Oscar boycott.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

The No-Child-Without-A-Gun Policy

It's  an incredible couple of  days with  the  governor of  Texas, Greg  Abbott,  and  Donald  Trump vying  for top  dog   of  breaking  news. All  very  positive  for  the movement  to  found a new country   completely  devoted to  Republican  priorities and agenda.

First  we'll  start  with  Texas. The  governor  there  -  without  reading  my  post  I  sure -  he  came up  with a  brilliant idea: states  shouldn't  have  to  obey  the  Supreme Court  if  they don't like  the  laws  that rule  are  constitutional. Incredibly  progressive.

There  are   so many  ways  this  could  be  helpful  to   the  Supreme  Court further  the movement of  founding a  completely  new country  for  people  who  believe  in  things  like  'no abortions',  every body  gets  a  gun,  no  refugee and   bomb  them   till  the  sand  turns  red.  As an incentive  in  the  movement  some  are   even  bidding  that   the  new  country   could  be  called  the old  country  just  as  long  as  they all leave  us alone.  Fans  of  Mr. Abbott and Mr.  Trump  need their  own  constitution, it 's  clear, and  the  Texas governor  is  absolutely  right  to  petition  the  rest of  America  for  permission  to  opt  out. We  could  begin  opting  out   of  supporting  Texas  with federal  dollars  altogether  and  it    would  save  us  a  bundle  which  we  could  use  to  pay  off some   that  annoying   debt  our  Republican  brothers  and sisters  are  always  talking   about.

The  list  of  good  ideas that  have been  held  up  because  of Supreme  Court decisions goes  all  the way  back  to  slavery.  There 's  a  hint  that  they  could bring  that  back  to  in  Texas  if  they  get   rid  of   the  pesky  Supreme  Court  rulings.  Governor Abbott   was  conciliatory  in  observing  that he  was  fine  with  being  guided  by  unanimous  Supreme  Court  decisions.  There's  more of  those than  you  think.  He's  really  reaching   for  middle  ground.

With a post  like that Mr.  Trump  felt  undone  slightly so he  went  into  the  kitchen  to  prepare something   really special  for  America: announcing  if elected  President   he  would   eliminate gun-free  zones  surrounding  schools.

Good  news  is  we're  also  going  to  do  away  with  those  pesky  sensors  that  keep  teenagers from  bringing   guns to school.  NRA  has  stepped  up  to  the  plate and  is  willing   to  put   some semi-automatics   on  sale  now  AT  A  DISCOUNT   for  TEACHERS. Trump  feels, and  several Republican  candidates  agree  although  not  on  record  yet, if  you  put  a  gun  in  the  hands  of  a teacher  you're   going  to  see  a  better  response  from  kids.

Several  teachers  reacted  joyously  especially  because  they  were   going  to  be  able  to  include some  weapons  training  in  their  regular   teacher  training  hours  so  they  could  actually  hit  the students   who  were  being  a  nuisance. Mr. Trump  offered, "You  don't  have  to  hit  them  in  the head  or  the  chest,  a shot  to  the  floor  by  their  shoes. That'll wake'em up and  shut  'em  up!" Trump predicted  instant  improvement  in  test   scores  and  homework  return. Trump chimed  in, "If  you know  the  next  morning  you'll be   shot  in  the  foot  if  you don't do your homework , you're  gonna   buckle  down. I think we'll see  immediate  results. It's gonna  be  great . Really, really great."

Not  surprisingly  some  advocates   for  gun  control  have pushed  back  against  No-Child-Without-A-Gun policy, claiming  an increased  likelihood  of   violent   acts. Trump added, "Yes,  there will be some  unfortunate  casualties ,  but   what's  most  likely  is  we're  gonna  get rid  of alotta bad apples and  that's  a  good  thing.  We'll  decrease  overcrowding in schools  I  can  promise  that 100%  and
anyone who  comes into a  school  with a  gun and  things  they're  going  to  do  some  damage  is  in for a  very   rude  awakening.  Things will  get  better, very fast, you'll see.  I've  got  top  people working on this, it's  gonna be  great."

Apparently  the  Texas  governor , Greg  Abbott. is  just  one  of  those  top  people.  With  his  , Let' s Skip  Supreme Court  Rulings  If  We  Don't  Like  Them  plan he's  caught  Mr.  Trump's  attention
as a potential  Vice-Presidential  running  mate. Trump said, "I like  the  way  he  thinks. He's a  smart guy, like me."  Said  the Governor Abbott, "It's not  that  we  dislike   ALL Supreme Court  rulings. There  are  many  that we're  just   fine  with.  But  we  happen  to  disagree  with a  few.  The  people of  the  sate  of  Texas don't  want  them. We  have  spent millions  and millions and millions  of  tax payer  dollars  coming  up  with  phony  bills  and  plans  to  try  and legislate  around  Supreme Court decisions  on abortion. It  would  be simpler  if  we  could  just   ignore  them  outright.  The money we  save could be  dedicated  to  opening   some   Women's Health  Care  Clinics  that   provide health services  to  women  in  keeping   with  the  Bible."

Governor  Abbott coincidentally came out with his plan to have a conference  of states to  amend  the Constitution  at  the exact  same  time   some  Oregon  ranchers  had  decided to  take  over  a federal building   because  a court  case  had  been  decided  against,  they  didn't   agree  with  the  ruling and were  not   going  to  go  peaceably.  Again more  people  bidding to  leave  America.  These gentlemen,  by  all  reports, were   very  nice   guys, with  high  powered  ammunition  they apparently made  clear  they  would  only  use  if  someone  tried  to  tell  them  what  to do.

A  fine  example  of  where  we're  headed.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Here Comes The Radical Moron Party

President Obama caused a national stir  today  when  he put  into  action  a  plan  that  might  limit gun  access  at  gun  shows.

There  was a  good  deal  of  confusion  among  conservatives who lined  up  to bash  this  action  as if  President Obama was  crazy,  rather  than   the  leader  we are  fortunate  to  have.

Apparently  it  seems  unreasonable that  Mr. Obama  does not agree  with them.  It's a  radical day: Barack Obama disagreed  with  some  conservatives  and  had  the  audacity  to  actually  do something  about  it.

Today I felt moved  to  write  because of a Republican in California who  had  the  wisdom  to  offer  this: "I  would  like  to  actually  see  him  try  to  work  with  Congress."

Now  either  the  person  who  said  this  has  been  living  in a  sealed  compartment  for  the  last  seven  years  receiving  no  news  whatsoever  or   is  he   is a  new brand  of  Republican
best   described  as Radical Moron.

The  Radical Moron Party, an  extension  of  the  GOP, makes it  a  practice  to  say  things  to  the media  that were reasonable proposals, but  completely ignorant of the juggernaut  of  opposition President Obama has faced no matter  what  proposal  he has  made. Newsflash for  the  morons: he differs  ideologically with  you.

Rather  than  actually  offering  some  relevant  counter  argument  for  their  own  position,  radical Morons  always  attack  the  man  and  so the only  way to  have a  debate with  them  is  to  attack them  as well since it is the  only conversation they are  interested in having

Of  course  Barack Obama  WOULD  RATHER   work  with   Congress,  but  since  Congress  is  controlled  by  Republicans  and  Republicans  have  demonstrated  absolutely  no  willingness  to   even  consider   investigating  whether  gun control in  some  form  would  be  productive, the  blanket  opposition  to  any  form  of   gun  control  means  you  are  more  likely  to  get  Carly  Fiorina to have a tea-party  with Hillary  Clinton  than  anyone  in  Congress  will  ever  consider  anything  related  to  gun  control no matter  how  many  children and  citizens  die  at  the  hands  of  gun  violence  in  this  country.

Absolutely no  quantity of  deaths will  ever  change  the mind of  these  Republicans.

Radical Morons  are  interested in   numbing  the  public  ear. Radical Morons  will  say  anything and  not  stop  shouting  until  everyone  gets  tired  and  does  nothing. Radical Morons  refuse  to  acknowledge  there is  a  sizable  portion  of  our   country  who  do  no  agree  with  them.

In  the  face of  this  opposition , Obama  would  have  to  be  a  weak kneed, lily  livered  coward  to  not  take  some  action  against  these  people  (and  by  these  people  I  do  mean  people  who  are  uniformly  against  gun  control and  any  conversation about  it).

So his  action  was  logical and  expected because  he  has a  difference of  opinion.

To  criticize  him  for  taking  action is  identical to  criticizing  him  for   having  a  different  opinion. If  you  have an opposing  opinion  for  God's  sake  voice it but  please  do  us  all  a  favor
and  don't  pretend   you  think  he  actually  had  any  other  choice other  than  do nothing.
We all know he  had only  two  choices:  do  something or  do nothing because  Republicans  said  we  don't  want  to  consider no matter  how many  kids  die.

He  is  the  elected  President  of  the United  States  and  for  those  of  us who  are  happy  to  have  voted  for  him  twice  we   whole heartedly reject  the  Radical Moron position of . "I  think  he  should  work  with  Congress."

Obviously  he  has  tried that  route.

What's  more  remarkable  is  that  all of the  Republican  candidates  for  President  would  rather  stand  by  the  side  of  gun  owners  than   stand up  with  some  courage  and  take on  the  organization  of  the  National Rifle Association.

No,  the President's  action is just  that. It's an  action  and  anyone who  doesn't stand behind him makes clear  he or she is casting themselves as an opponent of defending innocent men, women  and  children who  have been  slaughtered in  cold blood. Here's an idea for the Radical Moron party: I'm  glad you  have a  gun and I  hope  you  have  it   with you  ready  to  shoot  when  the   day  comes  that    gun  is  pointed  at   you  and  a  shooter  has  pulled  the  trigger .  And  I  hope  that  you are  there  with  you're   gun   the  minute   your  child   or  husband   or  wife  or  mother   or  best  friend  is  in  the  room  and  that  happens ,  because I  hope  you  can  be a  super   hero  and  take  the  bad  guys    down  with  your   gun.  But just  in case  that  moment  comes   and  you're  not  there, there  are likely many  who  are  grateful  someone  has  the  courage  to  stand  up  and  say  that  something  has  to  be  done  to  control  the  sale  of  firearms  in  our  country  to  people   who  shouldn't  be  able  to  buy  them.

And   to  be  absolutely  clear: if  you  are  in  favor  of  no  gun control  at  all,
I believe the  President disagrees.

Friday, January 01, 2016

The President Test

I stand well  corrected.

Donald Trump is  far  from  honest. But  honest  or  not, you  could not  say  he  wasn't  purposeful.
Serving  his  own  perhaps,  but  nonetheless - direct  and  purposeful. he and  his  now  counterparts now  running  for  President  of  the United  States  do  truly  deserve a  country  of  their  own.  If you  wince  every  time   you  watch  a  Republican  debate  and  find  yourself arguing   with the television set, you know it's true. And  if  you're  tired  of  reading   the  'fact-check' after  every  debate   you  know  the  time   has  come  for  another  important  change.

We  know that  people  who  don't  know the  definition  of  'Carpet bombing'  but  are  bidding  to be  the  Supreme  Commander  of   one  of the  largest   military  forces  on  the planet  have  clearly  not  passed the  Presidential SAT  course.

Like Un-Christian America, The Presidential  SAT, or President  Test, is a new  movement.

Anyone  running  for  President would have to take and pass  a test  to  be  considered  for  the  top  office.  You  simply  couldn't  run  if  you  didn't pass  the  test. You can't be a  doctor , or  lawyer,  or  licensed  plumber  if  you  don't  pass  a  test. Why  shuldn't  we  have  one  for  being  President  of  the  United  States.

Now, as I write I know a  couple  of  big  test -writing  companies in  Texas  are  starting   to   rub  their  hands  together   at  the  prospect  of  creating  the  test. Seems  like a  bad  idea  to  farm  it  out   right  away to  these  Texas  companies  but  I'm  sure  eventually  they  will seem the  most  reasonable and  appropriate option, just  as  they  are   currently  writing   tests  that  are  administered  throughout  many  Common Core curriculums in  the US.

Now , of  course  you would  have  to  pay a nominal  fee  to  take  the  test,  and  at  first you would  have  to be 35  or   older to  take  it  and  a US  citizen.  We  could  throw  in a  a  great  grab  bag  of  political terms,  some  morality essays (let's  start by  defining 'politically  correct' as  the  use  of  non-offensive  language rther  than  turning  th term into offensive  language). Certainly a  multiple  choice  about  carpet  bombing  would  be a definite  requirement  of  the  test.

Based on some  of  the  debate  performances  the   test  would  be a  terrific  preparation  for  some  of  the  Republican  candidates   since  many seem  to  believe  the  Presidency  is  actually  a  dictatorship.  This  seems  odd  since   many  of  the  candidates  have  served  themselves in  the  Senate  or  state  government. Of  course,  the  biggest  proponent  of  the  dictatorship  mentality  have  been  the  'The Outsiders" of  Fiorina, Trump and Carson. (Surprisingly  no one  has  heard  that  IS  the  name  of  a  new  series  on  the  Fox  Channel  about three  candidates  who  try  to  change  the  world. It's  kind  of  a political  three stooges  series  where  three  people  who  have   absolutely  no  experience in  governing a country leverage  their big  business prowess and  wealth  to  lead a middle  class  nation  into  the  abyss).

The  Presidency Test  is  already  receiving  attention  from  top-flight  universities  across  the  political  spectrum  who  volunteer  to  teach  it  across  disciplines  of  study.  Anyone  could  enroll in  the   course. We  could  even  offer  it  online  for  free.  In  time,  the  Presidency  test  could  be a  requirement  for   fulfilling  certain  jobs, like  newscaster,  so  the  people  reporting  on  our  political  circumstances  actually  knew  and  understood  the  system  they  were  talking  about.

At  the  very  least  a  Presidency  Test  could  be  regularly  updated  so  candidates  like  Mr. Carson  wouldn't  have  to  hire  separate  advisors  to help  him 'bone-up' on  history  and  politics   before  an election. It's a little  scary  to  suggest  that  a   doctor  or  nurse  might  be  'boning  up' on  heart  surgery   before they opened  you  and  took  out   your guts. W e think  of  that  as  requiring  a  couple  of  filters  of  expertise   before  you  can  step  up  for  the  job.  Let's  make  the  Presidency -  since she or  he  will  be  literally  a  phone  call  away  from  unleashing  a  nuclear  attack  that  could destroy  the  world  as  we  know  it  -  let's  just   forget about  building  a wall  between  here  and  Mexico  and  build  one  between  the  Presidency and  stupidity.

One  of  the  chief Presidency  Test  developers  said  eloquently, "It's  going  to  be a  big  wall, it's  going  to  be  beautiful, and we  can  assure  you,  Donald Trump  will have  nothing  to  do  with  building  it - he and his  fellow leading Republican candidates  for  President in 2016  have  only  inspired  it ."

It seems Un-Christian America is catching on.  The  race  for  leader  of  the  new  country
is  going  to  be  thrilling.

Many  have  asked, in  the face  of  the current  worldwide  refugee crisis, would  we not  be  creating
a new  crisis in states like  California and New York: moderates currently  trapped in states  like Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina  and  Maine, would  migrate earnestly to move from  the  new UCA.  It's  an  understandable  concern.  The  Canadian government is  already  preparing  to  handle  how  they  will  handle a  similar  refugees-from-America  crisis should  any  of the front   runners  for  the  Republican Party  actually  make it  into  office. We  can learn  from  them.