Wednesday, April 30, 2008

No D in Denver

Allen Iverson is the modern day Cassius Clay.” - Id the Squid

In 2008 the Year of the Rat, the wild west saw the Denver Nuggets swept in the first round by the Los Angeles Lakers. Everyone knew it would be a dicey proposition. Denver plays no defense and Carmello Anthony has a history of tuning out. He has a low threshold for failure and when things aren’t easy things become painful. That is something that creeps up on talented people sometimes; if the win is tough giving up is an easy thing to fall into. This is called defeatism.

To my dismay my beloved Iverson, a very hard worker, walked off the court a few times this year to leave the team with minutes left in the game. I hate that because it means my quote from the top of the page must be defended instead of just accepted as the gospel. If you saw the first episode of Quite Frankly with Stephen A. Smith then you know why I compared Iverson with Ali; he is strong and true like a sports version of Reverend Wright, proud and unapologetic for telling it like it is. It sucks that Iverson quits sometimes, but I would say he only does to make a statement when the win is truly out of reach, like leaving the battlefield to fight the war another day. Plus I blame all the Nuggets and Sonics woes on George Karl and it serves him right for defecting to Denver after suffering the Sonics worst moment in franchise history when Robert Pack looked like Tony Parker and Dikembe Mutumbo cried clutching the ball at center court.

Watching the second game of the first round between the New Orleans Hornets and Dallas Mavericks “Ron Paul is sick” I said. Cod chuckled to himself and looked at me, “Ron Paul?” Yeah Ron Paul had like 33 points and 15 assists last game and he is even better tonight. He is a Libertarian from Texas, I said. I know the difference between Ron Paul and Chris Paul, but I purposely like to root for Ron Paul when I watch the Hornets. Maybe it is because there are “Ron Paul for President” signs with a blue background and whites letters and a red underline with one white star posted at every freeway on ramp in western Washington. A few months back I would routinely drive by Microsoft employees holding up a Ron Paul Revolution banner on the Montlake Bridge, University Bridge and on the 45th street I-5 overpass. For some reason a lot of Redmond tech yahoos supported Ron Paul. For good reason he is the only Republican candidate that talked like a normal human being about the Iraq War and American foreign policy in general and he is logical when it comes to the economy.

Back to my main point about rooting for Ron Paul in a Hornets uniform, actually it is Chris Paul whom I root for now. He is fun to watch and there is something comforting about an NBA team having success in New Orleans. It has been 20 years since the Jazz moved to Utah. I have never understood why Utah did not change the name to something that has to do with Utah or the Mormons or white people. Is Jazz even allowed in Salt Lake City? It seems like a mean joke that these freaks kept the name. The team is as white as a KKK hood. But anyway, some are predicting a meeting of the New New Orleans team and the Old New Orleans team in the playoffs, and as good as Ron Paul, oops I mean Chris Paul looks against Jason Kidd and Dallas, historically if you look at the numbers and the game tape, he struggles and gets dominated by Derron Williams, the Utah Jazz point guard.

I don’t know what this means, but I root for the New Orleans Hornets, the city , the coach Byron Scott and the Brothers Chris and Ron Paul.

Today, as I turned on sports talk radio 950 AM, Sir Mix A Lot was on the radio with Groz and Gas talking about the NBA playoffs. Mix A Lot said things are so different culturally now, not race matters but just in general, now everyone one is the same and there is no difference and exciting rivalries. He said the old Celtics were ugly physically like welders or laborers or blue collar heroes, with a flashy tinsletown rival. Now, there is nothing like that in the NBA. Everyone has braids and tattoos and it is all about celebrities and...stuff. I agree to a certain degree, but honestly it was just nice to hear an unexpected visit to Groz with Gas by a Seattle legend. Unplanned radio is always best. What Mix A Lot was articulating was profound. He put it all in perspective; Multiculturalism is not about being black or brown, but it is about difference and that is something we are suffering from. Too many people in the U.S. are scared to be themselves.

Ok for now.

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The black thing haunts Barack

"I'm not sure America is ready to have a black president.
I think they might kill him
." - 50 Cent on Obama as President.

That is something many wonder about but no one wants to talk about it openly. It was brought up once when Ted Kennedy was on The Early Show. It was eluded to, not overtly but still, the issue was poked at. Kennedy was asked if he was worried about Obama’s safety because he is a “JFK-like-figure.” It was a crude question, but how do you approach the subject? Michelle Obama has said she worries for her husband’s safety and he was reported to have the biggest secret service detail out of all the candidates. Or maybe he was the only candidate with any at all. Colin Powell’s wife had the same fear when Colin’s name was being floated as a possible candidate to run in 2000.

50 Cent is a successful businessman, has said he liked W. within the last two years, does not have a conscious message in his music, but still sees a problem with a black president. His instincts get right down to the nut of the whole thing. Will this man with the crazy name, almost like Osama but instead Obama, make it or get gunned down like usual? The anniversary of MLK’s assassination was just a little bit ago, have things changed enough in 40 years? It is hard to know, but we are thinking about it. We worry for Obama’s safety and root for him. We want to believe. We can taste it. We are ready for it. Let’s do this.

Bill Clinton knew exactly what he was doing when he brought up Jesse Jackson winning South Carolina twice and still losing the nomination. Bill is not dumb or insensitive to race, but that was his way of swatting down the black community. It was a signal heard loud and clear like “states rights” with Reagan or W.’s whisper campaign about McCain’s black baby in 2000. Or the rumor about Obama with his hand on a Koran during his senate swearing in ceremony in 2002, and the picture with Obama in traditional Ethiopian garb. Those were all lies but also signals to let White America know this one is not to be trusted. Chris Matthews believed the red phone ad the Clinton team put out was a classic ploy to show who will keep the kids safe, be scared of the black man he will not be the one to keep your family safe he lurks in the night.

50 Cent knows the limitations he has seen it too many times, the built up distrust and fear of blacks in the white community runs deep. Obama is half black, his mom is white yet he still is in the black column. A big part of me believes that The Establishment will make sure he is not the nominee. Watch, the Clinton’s will clamp down.

FOX has been attacking Obama and that usually means the rest of the news media is due to do the same. Recently ABC’s George Stephanopoulis used questions suggested to him by Sean Hannity and historically other networks fall in line behind whatever FOX is focused on. Not sure if there is an organized effort to do so or if it is cultural, a top down sort of thing, like proper etiquette, but in the 2000 election, all the networks declared Gore the winner and then FOX said it was W. and the rest flipped the switch.

The black thing looks like it may be the straw that breaks Barack’s back, early on in the 2008 primary I thought we might finally forgo beating a candidate purely because of his blackness, but it does not seem to be so, as the campaign drags on. Recently Bill Clinton accused Obama of throwing the race card at him, ironically Bill pulled out the freaking race card in the first place with his infamous Jesse Jackson South Carolina comments.

It has been hard to watch Obama as he refused to get down and dirty. He has been criticized for it, by me and many others, we think he should have been punching back much harder. Sheesh, I would have grabbed Hillary by her soccer mom mullet and thrown her off the stage ten debates ago, but Obama has been about as cool, calm and collected as a man can be with these charges being thrown his way. Remember John McCain has White Supremacist supporters and even as a Senator from Arizona, he has a history of not celebrating MLK Day.

I took the pictures of the Obama van near KeyArena when Obama visited Seattle during the 2008 Democratic primary.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Vietnam to Iraq: The guilt of not going

I must say, I’m a little envious. If I were slightly younger and not employed here, I think it would be a fantastic experience to be on the front lines of helping this young democracy succeed. It must be exciting for you . . . in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger. You’re really making history, and thanks.”
-W. to some soldiers right around the the five year mark.

Yesterday sitting in traffic I saw a bumper sticker that said “send the Bush twins,” and I thought about the quote at the top of the page. It is worth revisiting W.’s comments. When I read them, I immediately thought of the “Guilt of not Going”, a theory I came up with a while back. The “Guilt of not Going” is about men who did not serve in the Vietnam War but supported the War in Afghanistan and the Invasion of Iraq. Obviously I do not mean the “whole boomer generation” but a good sized chunk.

Two years ago I talked with my cousin Jim, a Vietnam Veteran, who said many of his male friends have expressed regret for not serving in the Vietnam War; for not serving their country. He speculated that the “regret” was triggered by some yearning for an epic life that all boys dream about. War is intertwined in a man’s DNA. So many have gone to battle, we watch movies about it, read about it and grow up playing with toy guns and GI Joes.

We have over 4,000 American deaths, who knows how many Iraqi’s are dead and how many In the Valley of Elah situations have come and gone without a line in a newspaper. How many American soldiers have committed suicide? How many have run away? How many have killed their wives? How many have kept torture videos on their cell phones?

W.’s quote at the top of the page had two words that made me cringe; romantic and envious. What could possibly be “romantic” about running over a child with a truck? It’s peculiar he is “envious” of the troops, he had the chance to “serve” in Vietnam, he fled to Alabama and hid.

I want to know if there really is this undercurrent of guilt for not fighting in one’s youth that fuels this current blood lust. Is that a crackpot theory or is there something to it? Most men I have talked with in their 50’s didn’t want to go to Vietnam and are against the Occupation of Iraq. But some of those same men believe we went into Afghanistan and Iraq with good intentions.

I married the top W. quote with the “Guilt of not Going” theory together even if they don’t connect at first glance. Both the regret of boomer’s and W.’s detachment to the seriousness of war struck me. Even John McCain said “anyone who romanticizes war is a fool and a fraud”. I agree. I am struggling with how to make sense of this occupation and how it has been reluctantly supported by many Americans. There are mind boggling amounts of reason and speculation about “why we are there” and I don’t want to try and tackle them all one by one.

Picture (Reed Wacker): Sign was at the corner of MLK and E. Madison St.

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