If it weren't for those meddling kids!

This is almost too funny. It seems that a few days ago, a liberal friend of ours waded across the Atlantic - being careful not to trip over the bones of several million dead Afrikans - to complain to his British friends about those nefarious negroes in the CBC.

Yes - if it wasn't for those unfair darky members of the Congressional Black Caucus, white Democrats would be free to . . . do I really need to continue this parody? For those of you who are new to US politics, let me sum up this position as exactly analogous to the one that ended the first Reconstruction period, after the Civil War. Strangely enough, back then it was Democrats who complained the most then too. Andrew Johnson brought that brief 15-year period to a close and the Democrats were returned to power in the South (and the South has always produced more Presidents than the rest of the nation, I think it is the mint juleps but frankly – I don’t really care). Of course, they brought with them their old buddy Jim Crow and their new buddy KKK, but I am sure Democrats with 100-years of aging will not make those same mistakes decisions (because Professor Alterman tells us we can trust his friends; you know the ones who overlooked the 2000 election voting irregularities in Florida - when Black votes were thrown out because their names "resembled" the names of felons or those same nice folks in New Orleans who forgot that not everyone in the country has a car to drive off to their second home to escape an approaching hurricane).

Yes - let us place our trust in that same white man who brought us here in chains, because his kindly professor tells us we have no need to worry anymore.


I just wish Dr. King had lived to see this day.

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Can you tell a Sunni from a Shia

So, this is not my primary area of interest, but war should have the ability to focus ones thinking, no?

Very good question posed by this Jeff Stein; one has to wonder why no one has ever asked President Bush this question. But the boundaries of this "global war on terror" have expanded so wildly, that this question is no longer enough.

One of the poster here has pointed out that Iran is a Persian country and there is a lengthy history of animosity between Persians and Arabs (who are the majority of Iraqi's of any religion) that goes back much longer than the recent war between these two nations.

But now the word "nation" has introduced another hole into which the GWOT (or here) has stumbled, as Persia (Iran) has a long and storied history (which makes the idea of "regime change" there seem somewhat like an even loftier pipe dream; on the other hand, Iraq is just a creation of the west - for us, by us, in classic "FuBu" style - and its purpose was to serve our interests. So Iraq (and Kuwait too) are not nations in the classic sense like an Italy or a France or an England; peopled by folks with a history a common identity and an interest to want to live in a political union. Iraq was created by the west (Britain) to provide us with steady access to the oil that lay underneath the sand; we cared not about democracy or anything else that might hinder the oil flow. We can debate whether we truly believe in a democratic Iraq today, but the model is imprecisely applied as Iraq was never a nation to begin with.

The southwestern boundary was a compromise with King al Saud; the southeastern boundary was truncated to create Kuwait - as a means to siphon of the oil (a classic divide and conquer move to prevent oil from being in the control of just one country - as well as to prevent easy access to the Persian Gulf for Iraq, placing a premium on the pipeline builders); the western boundary was rather haphazardly drawn adjacent to Jordan and Syrian; the norther boundary was drawn to divide up any potential future Kurdistan dreams, by dividing up the Kurdish population between Turkey, Iraq and Iran - the nation that boarders Iraq on the East and probably has the most realistic (natural?) boarder of any nation with Iraq.

So into Iraq - this cauldron of peoples and religions - comes the most uncurious George we have ever had as a president; Shia versus Sunni is the start of any questions that need to be asked - not the end.

Be a good question to ask before you start a war - regardless of the urgency or the imminence of the threat, as that is a good way to know if you are going after a single bee or stumbling into a hornet's nest.

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Last of His Era

Never much of a baseball fan myself; when I was a kid, the concept of standing at a plate while some other kid threw a ball at me was not appealing. There, I said it. Football was more my game - more direct, more action and more tuned into what seems to come so naturally to kids: run around and hit people. Baseball was so sedate in comparison. I could go on; I could tell you how my older brother never really played baseball much and that I tend to trust his judgment.

But baseball was my grandfather's game. Summer vacations tended to line up with visits to my grandparents and those visits always found a baseball game on the set - and it did not matter who was playing. So as I grew older and began to attempt to learn more about this man who was the sine qua non of my existence, I starting watching those games with him whenever I visited and catching a game or two on TV at home myself. It occurred to me then that baseball is - perhaps more than any other sport - the search for perfection; repeated over and over and done in front of an audience and a hostile opponent. Pitchers chasing a perfect game; catchers chasing the perfect pitch to call for every count against every hitter; hitters chasing batting averages and home run titles; infielders chasing error free play and outfielders chasing the perfect hit-stealing, high-jumping or grass sliding catch. There is beauty in that.

Still for many years, that beauty was overshadowed by hatred, the insane hatred by white Americans against a people that has never wronged them. No war has ever been fought by these children of Europe against the sons and daughters of Afrika and yet they hate us so. For many years, that hatred expressed itself in the form of white people proclaiming that they would not allow us to sully "their" game by allowing us to play on the same field with them. And while this same story has been repeated in every other game or endeavor that the white man has ever insisted was his and his alone - from boxing to track to football to golf - no where did it strike more fear in the hearts of white men than to allow Afrikans to compete on the same baseball diamond with them. This fear kept Satchel Page from being on the same field as Joltin' Joe; made Jackie Robinson a household word even to this day for standing up against that fear in the strong, resolute manner that has ever been adopted by Afrikans facing abuse in America; and it is that same fear that kept Buck O'Neil out the Baseball Hall of Fame all of these years. To Afrikans, the question is almost ridiculous to even ask: did Buck O'Neil contribute enough to the game of baseball to be so honored with admittance into the HOF? Of course. Not only has his love of the game been in evidence throughout his 94 years on this earth, in his time he has only brought honor to the game. And all of this for a game that for much of his life, the fathers and grandfathers of those who were yet the latest to disrespect him denied him the opportunity to play on their hallowed fields and against their sainted elite.

The final vote of white supremacy in the game of baseball was cast this past March, when those children chose to validate the decisions of the fathers; when those children endorsed the viewpoints of their fathers; when those children cast their lots with their fathers - and told Buck O'Neil that he was not equal to his white compatriots of the era.

In the end - though those children had not the strength to stand up to the wrongs of their fathers and had not the strength to look Buck O'Neil eye to eye. What does that say about the lessons they will pass to their sons?

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The Secret Joys of Being a Negro

Okay, I admit it. Sometimes life can be so sweet. The best times are when we as adults can recall the carefree days of childhood; when we allowed ourselves to be so absorbed at play that the game itself became our world. Those times are harder to find as an adult - or perhaps they just require more hard target searching.

Here is a game that always does it for me: watching white people stumble their way around the horn on a good pitch and catch of "let he (she) who has not cast the 'N-word' about toss the first stone'. Watching Northerners play this game is like watching a double-A team; to admire real professionals at work, you have to head south of the Mason-Dixon line.

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Does this mean we can send Christopher Hitchens back to the UK?

So for three years now, we have had to listen to Hitchens lecture us, as though we were still subjects of the British Empire and he was our Colonial Governor. Here he is just last week, patiently explaining to us why he is the only human on the planet who still believes that Hussein actually attempted to buy "yellowcake" from Niger; but after all of the years of patronization - guess who now has the joke on him?

Our boy Chris.

After starting a campaign calling Henry Kissinger a war criminal, this past weekend we learned that Kissinger has been the Bush Administration consigliere, providing the most intimate counsel to Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al on what tactics to take. In the new Bob Woodward book, "State of Denial", we learn that Kissinger is still fighting the Vietnam war and encouraging the President to keep the fight going, to not let the American people lose their resolve - the reason (according to Kissinger) that the US lost the war in Vietnam.

(Perhaps you need to read the book to learn why it matters that we lost the Vietnam War and that if there are parallels to Iraq, perhaps that means losing in Iraq is equally harmless)

So the question to Chris is this: if one makes a career - indeed, sells a book - proclaiming to the world that Kissinger is a criminal who should never be trusted again, what does it mean when one then finds himself in thrall to that same criminal?

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