[ always tell stories ]

In Celebration Of 400 Tweeps: Here Are My 'Simple Four' Social-media Tips

In celebration of hovering
around 400 Twitter followers - clearly, some of the smartest folks on the web - I give you my “Simple Four” social-media tips and suggestions. Here we go:

Leave dirty laundry to the cleaners. Your best pal, your hairdresser, or perhaps an unlucky neighbor - those folks are the sympathetic ear you’re looking for. They could also be the object of your ire; don’t complain about someone or something unless you’re a) saying explicitly why it matters and b) following it with a solution. Any complaints about people in particular will feel to your readers as venting and sour grapes. Contribute to discourse and two-way discussion, because, in the end...

It ain’t about you. This web-advice gem came from a talk I heard from the incredible Peter Shankman, offered mostly to folks who get pissed off about something or someone, and take that complaint to Twitter or Facebook. “I deserved that promotion.” “I hate my sister.” “My colleague is a douchebag.” Or, a more specific Facebook post from a friend in response to a celebratory, pre-grilling food picture I loaded to Facebook: “That looks like dog food. Food pictures are my pet peeve!” I care about that, why? How about you be irritated in your quiet voice and let me, and the rest of us, celebrate a fun moment? (The burgers were exceptional, btw.) Make your posts useful to your friends and followers, or run the risk of appearing self-aggrandizing.

The “offending” Facebook dinner preview

Make your posts about your friends and followers - in this case, inspiration for cooking recipes - or run the risk of sounding vapid, self-obsessed and useless to the people who look to you for wisdom.

3. Don’t be a jerk. This is pretty straightforward: be respectful and always keep it classy. Here’s an example in support of this bullet, courtesy of the seemingly thin-skinned @Shoq on Twitter. After questioning his fiercely one-sided impugning of people who are concerned about Bradley Manning’s treatment - and after I joined with @a_picazo in asking him why - he Tweeted this: “.@wildcatatl I think you might either be sleeping with @a_picazo, trying to, or alternatively, you're just fucking stupid.” He then blocked me from his stream. I honestly didn’t understand why this otherwise progressive voice was railing on people so hard, without proof or support of his skepticism, and I honestly wanted to know why. The lesson: engage in conversations and debates in a mature way and do not needlessly flame people. Especially folks who know how to post about it later.

Always, whenever possible, include links. Be kind, support your findings. Your followers want to learn more about your positions and opinions. Tweets are nominations, if you will, for the most compelling news items of the day. Go to Mashable for more on this topic. The immediate click-through rate isn’t staggering, but if someone is evaluating your Twitter stream to decide if they want to follow you, those links will stay there and quite likely help you later.

Folks on the Internet want engagement, not one-sided preaching or personal blather. Scale to and maintain the high road - in the end, you’ll be rewarded. Happy


'Freedom To Hate' Will Lose To Freedom To Love, Every Time

In celebration of National Coming Out day, “hate” is a four-letter word.

This past July, Mary Grabar - somehow, inexplicably, professor at Clayton State University and conservative speaker and author - wrote a piece for the AJC entitled, “Freedom to Hate in College Shrinks.” With apologies for the dated material, it seems appropriate given recent events. In her piece, she led her pedestrian swat of ironic prose with this gem: “I tell my college students to feel free to hate.”

In the piece she gets busy demonizing groups - the Anti-Defamation League, Gay & Lesbian Straight Education Network, among others - that fight for the rights of marginalized youth and espouse understanding in schools, including use of emotional intelligence, for the advancement of society. Grabar bemoans that her students’ rights to youthful, exuberant, unencumbered hate have been systematically denied. They are “enjoined from hating” the people and behavior around them, and are, in her mind, neutered from expressing their opinions by evil feeling circles:

“Their teachers act as “guides on the side” for their little groups in which they are forced to expose their feelings and discuss historical examples of ‘hate.’ Creepy ‘emotional intelligence’ consultants make them show all the other kids how they react when they get angry or sad. They are made sissies in front of everyone when a big bearded guy asks them, “What was it doing to your heart?”

Some of them are even graded in a new subject called “Social and Emotional Learning.”

But I declare to my students, “Now that you are legal adults you may hate whomever you please!”

They look at me like prisoners who have forgotten what freedom is like.”

What’s “creepy,” Ms. Grabar, is you. Not you, specifically - your ideas. Do you see what’s happening in this country as it pertains to unchecked hate? In the past two weeks, we’ve had no fewer than five suicides related to bullying of gay teens. Is this a form of the hate you want your students to freely express? Why not teach them the perils of hate along with responsible self expression - rather than couch it in some form of social martyrdom where folks are let out of a metaphorical prison that simply, absolutely, doesn’t exist?

We had the situation in New York City where
three men were allegedly sodomized, burned and whipped simply for being gay - at the hands of nine youth who, I think it’s fair to say, expressed their prejudice as free thought. We’ve had myriad other examples of hate run amok in this country - I, too, was bullied in school when I was a kid. It makes you feel small; like you want to die. Have you ever felt that, Ms. Grabar? I can tell you with 100% certainty, kids all around this country ARE feeling that. And your ideas put them in greater peril.

This weekend was Gay Pride in Atlanta. It’s one of the nation’s most festive celebrations of free expression and togetherness and non-hate you can find; this year brought a bit more poignancy because of recent events. I invite you to come visit and see for yourself what understanding an anti-hate looks like, and what good it can do.

I drove down a Midtown Atlanta street on Saturday and saw a religious protestor’s sign that read, “I now pronounce you Pervert & Pervert.” Perhaps one of the sign holders is a former student of yours, Ms. Grabar? Why should you condone such speech when you have the opportunity to persuade otherwise? Not control, not imprison, as you suggest -
persuade. That’s your job as a teacher. Do it.

# # #


Get Real, Mr. Deal: Bring Common Sense Back To A Wayward State

(ATLANTA :: 19 July 2010) Tomorrow is election day here in the city of Atlanta and across the state of Georgia. We have been barraged by a litany of ads that tout the conservative cred of our candidates - including a now-infamous slam on Karen Handel’s previous support on “gay-partner” benefits and adoptions. Here’s a sample:

This is a multifaceted political trainwreck in that, since this charge, Handel has renounced any and all progressive values as she seeks the GOP state of Georgia gubernatorial nomination - and the conservative Deal appears to think he can score points with voters here in our state by calling her on it. (
He trails in the polls.) John Oxendine, also a GOP candidate in Georgia, tried to outdo Deal by associating himself with a mailer that basically used the same message.

Seriously? You’re so married to your conservatism - and so desperate to win at all costs - that you’d blatantly ignore and foment disgust within a segment of your constituency by maligning support of it?

My problem is that there are NO issues discussed in these mailers - NONE. Zip. Just a fraudulent indictment of someone who bucked her party on progressive issues in the past.

I am an independent voter who can at least appreciate when Roy Barnes, Democratic state candidate, calls out the GOP for its state shenanigans about succession and rejection of stem-cell research.

Get real, Mr. Deal, et. al. If you are to be considered for governor of this state, you must realize that you ALSO are asking to preside over the city of Atlanta, its people and its surrounding environs. The city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia’s relationship has only gotten more adversarial under the leadership of Sonny Perdue, who has thwarted key city funding and development, and even
disturbingly lead a prayer in front of the statehouse for rain. I object to those and other of his policies, although there is evidence of a thawing in relations of late.

If I am to swallow your bitter advertising pill, Mr. Deal - and if you make it into office, or even if Handel does - YOU are also required to accept, acknowledge and nurture the moral, civil, cultural and commercial center of this great southern state.

Here’s a hint: it’s NOT the statehouse, nor does it live under the Gold Dome. It’s Atlanta. And we will be voting this season.

Atlanta - cited as the “
gayest city in the nation” by the Advocate (a story picked up by the AJC, NPR, and our own ProjectQ Atlanta) - is a national treasure that includes gays and lesbians, Mr. Deal (Miss Karen, I’d pay attention to this, too). Your advertisement is disgusting and offensive, and will hopefully be ineffective as a dual-discriminatation, negative-attack ad.

I’d like to remind you that Atlantans - gay or straight, black or white, liberal or conservative -
will continue to speak up and seek the gay-partner spousal rights and gay-adoption benefits you malign in your ad. We will ALWAYS try and speak truth to your pursuit of power, and keep you honest at every point in the process. In other words, the more the state of Georgia tries to marginalize and diminish this great city and its people, the taller we will stand in reminding you not to mess with us.

Handel now says that Gay parents are "not in the best interest of the child." I happen to know gay parents, many of them. And you are completely and utterly full of shit.

As an intended gay parent myself, I represent the opinions mentioned in Deal’s ridiculous ad or in Handel’s comments or in Oxendine’s direct-bigot mailer campaign - and I object to all methods AND the content of the argument. They are all, down to their very core, false promises intended to scare people into voting for you. And it’s utter nonsense.

Mr. Deal, Ms. Handel, Mr. Oxendine: I invite you to take 10 minutes to speak to a candidate like Graham Balch - he has a mature and open worldview and an understanding of urban life that seems to be lost on you (and he’s in a tough race of his own). He rejects the status quo. He sees a city and state where EVERYONE thrives, where all people are accepted and encouraged to enter into partnerships and parenthood if they so choose. He is fiercely protective of our environment and wants us to pay teachers fairly and create superb learning environments. He is the Democrat for Georgia State Senate District 39, so feel free to look him up.

This Atlantan will be in the voting booth tomorrow, and I will select those candidates who understand me, my friends and my family, and whomever can celebrate diversity - not use it to malign your opponents.

(This post was sent to both the offices of Mr. Deal and Ms. Handel; I will update if I receive any official comment.)

(Photo courtesy of 11Alive.com, Atlanta.)


The Gusher Continues... To The Tune Of 4 Million Gallons?

And now gas hydrates have delayed the leak stoppage. Again.

Update (28 May 2010): Estimates show the BP spill is quite a bit bigger than previously estimated.

Are we going to take this as a learning moment or blow it off like the rest of them?


Phillippe Starck Puts The 'Buoyant' In Flamboyant


MANners: Ban Douchebags From The Gym. Now.

Here is the latest installment of a semi-regular series on wp.com. For your consideration, these are specifically related to gym-goers who have their cell phones attached as an appendage:

peeing: don’t let me hear the splash of your urine clashing with the blather of your conversation. sadly, that’s exactly what happened. and the call was answered while at the urinal. how is that possible? seriously?

seated biking: do you seriously think the person on the other end of the line wants to chat with you while you’re sweating? is the call really that important?

training: I’m thinking that your attention should be paid to your client, NOT to your texting friends or buddies who need to reach you for their steroid fix. keep the phone in your locker buddy.

More to follow.

(Image courtesy of

'Gay Panic Offense': How About You Go Fight Crime And Keep Your GD Hands Off

Here is a video round-up of Eagle-raid-related protests. Go here for a link to the SoVo video page, or here for the ongoing news story. Also, Mike Alvear has a great (but scary) round-up of what happened on his blog.

If you’re so inclined, write a letter of complaint to the Mayor’s office of communications and then make a comment here about the reply you get.

Here’s the contact info:

Beverly L. Isom, Director of Communications
404.330.6558 office
404.886.2334 cell

Mayor Franklin has apparently played pretty dumb in responding to this aggressive action, so we need to hit them with protests.

A round of applause to Mike Alvear and Justin Ziegler and everyone else who spearheaded this City Hall protest - taking a stand in the torrential rain.

And then finally, a rally outside the bar:


My Recent Facebook Rant And Other Corporate-greed Shenanigans

Fuck it, I wish our nation’s companies weren’t so fucking god damned greedy.

(Actually, I just wanted an excuse to swear and be able to justify it -- like I needed one.)

I was cussin’ in the same way after a recent news post about Novare Partners, a local company with whom I’ve had a beef for a number of years in its flagrant greed and disregard for what’s best for Atlanta. “For whom are we building in this city,” I asked back then. “For the people, or for the bank accounts of the suits?”

Turns out the bank accounts are not as fat as we thought they are - in fact, this company is being questioned as a “going concern.” Seriously? This is your legacy for our city?

Just because you CAN make a building, it doesn’t mean you should. Evidenced by the spectacular disaster that is Spire Midtown - its retail more than 50% vacant (sometimes more) and its interior spaces looking more like a Budget 8 Motel. Anyways, my set-up on Facebook, sparking a number of comments from my friends, included the following few-sentence editorial from yours truly:

“When you build shitty buildings, fuck up your retail spaces and allow a city to be mired by sameness... I say: you had it coming. (This is my version of "I Told You So.")

Then it reminded me of the Piedmont Park parking deck controversy, that was a soap opera starring a highly paid executive presiding over a no-bid contract and very little transparency in how they awarded it. Here’s the editorial I sent to the AJC:

The Garden, Parking Deck & Conservancy: Of Two Minds In Midtown

I’m following the debate over the Botanical Garden’s parking deck, as I hope many city residents are. The work of the Piedmont Park Conservancy has benefited me -- as an investor at Piedmont Crest, a new Park-side condominium development off of 12th street; as an ALTA player out of Piedmont Park Tennis Center; and as a frequent visitor to Park events such as Screen on the Green, the Dogwood Festival and the Dave Matthews Concert.

I am also a paid member of the Conservancy. Their work has, without question, brought this great park of ours forward – and has made it greener, cleaner and more full of life. We are the better for it.

So it’s with a heavy heart that I question the defensive and self-promoting editorial by Debbie McCown, the Conservancy’s Executive Director (“Conservancy openly takes park from blight to bright,” @issue, 22 August). This stuffy piece was the second of the one-two punch I read in the AJC, after a gaggle of attorneys wrote in defense of the Botanical Garden’s independence from city affairs and state Sunshine laws (“Plan will be a boon; Garden has nothing to hide,” 25 August 2007). Why are we rehashing this stuff?

Both McCown and Team McBeal are missing the point. We are on a slippery slope when we as a city give ourselves wholly over to the private sector. It’s one thing to source corporate assistance to help create a commercial thoroughfare such as the Midtown Mile; but quite another to give over a natural jewel such as Piedmont Park. Not only have our city planners ceded control of that treasured asset – we are, in many ways, relinquishing the spirit that our residents, our Mayor, our visitors and our city council members have worked so hard to build. As an activist, property owner, journalist and business manager here in Atlanta, I stand firmly behind Mike King’s plainly worded editorial (“Park groups should let sun shine in,” 17 August 2007). It asks, in simple language: Now that the Botanical Garden’s Grecian Army of lawyers has snake-charmed the presiding judge to toss many of the claims brought by Friends of Piedmont Park, just come clean.

Show us how you’ve awarded contracts, to whom, and why; disclose your finances and balance sheets; and give us less lip when we ask you to comply with Georgia’s Sunshine laws. You’re doing the city’s work, the people’s work, even if it’s not coming directly from City Hall. If you’ve given no-bid contracts to friends of the Conservancy, as is rumored, then I want to know about it. And so do a lot of other folks.

Doug Abramson, principal of Friends of Piedmont Park, the advocacy group leading the legal opposition to the parking deck, also says our great gains in beautification have come at a price.

“The Garden and the Conservancy do some good work in the Park, but when questioned about their decisions and their practices they respond that they have raised millions of dollars over the years and somehow that should insulate them from public scrutiny and accountability,” he says. “As stewards of our public park and as representatives of the City, they should act transparently and disclose how and where money is spent, and otherwise conduct their affairs publicly.”

Actually, the current parking arrangement works pretty well. Piedmont Park Tennis Center – one of the last units of the park still managed by the City of Atlanta, run expertly by Sharon Lester and her team – enjoys regular access off Park Drive to the modest yet ultimately convenient parking lot adjacent to Magnolia Hall and, yes, the Botanical Garden. We have managed with this arrangement because the unpretentious parking area provides a small, controllable yet effective resource when these great events happen (including our home tennis matches). My teammates and I use this lot frequently and do not want to see it torn up. Rather, it should be maintained and used as is. What about eco-friendly asphalt? Low-water landscaping? More restricted access? Other creative uses? This area could be a testing ground for new environmentally friendly landscaping products, but all we ever hear about is how this mammoth car deck is going to be our savior, an expansive car heaven that will alleviate Midtown’s parking woes.

Let’s also remember how royally the private sector can fumble the public ball. After mulling this issue, I kept having nightmare reminders of Iraq reconstruction getting handed over to the likes of Halliburton, Parsons Corp. and others -- only to have billions wasted. Do we need such a profound example of alleged no-bid private contracts gone awry? I don’t think so. Privatization, in some weird way, seems to absolve officials from the personal care and obligation that comes with public management. And since secrecy breeds skepticism and mistrust, here we are.

I write this, clearly, of two minds, because again, I know full well the benefits we’ve seen in the Park. I may be a Conservancy member, but remain a dissenting voice within, hoping the air around this project is cleared. But this nose-thumbing, redundant, “look what we’ve done for you lately” approach is maddening and makes me want to scream – and it should bring all Atlanta residents to their front porches, too, to do the same. McCown earned nearly $115,000 in annual salary in 2005, which has most certainly increased since then; in that year, the Conservancy paid more than $100,000 to an external PR firm. Are these needed expenditures or extravagant usage of donors’ generosity? And that’s only the stuff we know about.

Simply singing one’s own praises does not magically immunize you from public speculation – particularly when you have people in the city who enjoy the park set-up as is, and would rather not indulge the Botanical Garden’s desire to give their members in Alpharetta a more convenient place to park in the city. I use the tennis center proudly, along with its parking area, knowing the recently updated clubhouse and courts there are the last bastion of municipal-managerial excellence that the park has.

I am a traditionalist and would prefer to see the park’s car-management system kept the same while still have the park expanded and enhanced. However, if the parking deck is our savior, show us how. If any of our private partners must stand on a pedestal to claim grand success, and continue to move us forward in this great city of ours, let us peek behind your curtain so we’re all on the same page. Without that, it’s a mystery too great to accept.

I **definitely** would have swore a lot more if I thought it would have spurred them to print it. (They didn’t.)


Sen. Black Earns Her Medal... Probably The Only One She Deserves


On Tax Day, Let's Reclaim 'Teabagging' As Sexual Innuendo

...and not phony outrage.

BTW? The Iraq war was the biggest and most irresponsible example of socialism and nation building in the history of our nation -- and we have nothing to show for it.

So on tax day, I offer this:


The Lowest Common Denominator Seeks To Go Lower Still

Think we’re done with prejudice? Think again.

A man was
beaten in midtown last week for no other reason than his sexual orientation. “Are you gay?” two white men asked. When he replied, “Yes,” he got his ass kicked. Here’s some reaction:

To those two perpetrators, I say: get your shit together, because otherwise, you’re just taking up space. Also, get a better way to pass the time than to vomit your internalized fear onto other innocent people.

Can You Truly Follow Obama? In Tone & Substance, 'F' For Farcical

Granted, he had to follow a grand speech... But Jindal sounded like a wound-up doll with some sprockets missing.

Of course after
Chris Matthews’ groan, they gathered themselves up for this:

I like this iReport response:

But especially this:


Warning: Contents Have Shifted During Turbulence

(ATLANTA :: 24 February 2009) To all those sour, whiny bitches who think liberal-minded folks are reflexively following Obama because he’s a messiah, or that his recovery plan is a Robin Hood giveaway to the poor, or that we are blind sheep getting herded to slaughter, here’s my message.

Get the fuck over yourselves. Seriously.

I was asked to give Bush a chance in 2000. I did that. He failed. The most notable failure, of course, is his ridiculous invasion of Iraq and mismanagement of Afghanistan - two shitstorm doozies that continue to throw dookie on a fan that was submerged in it years ago. Where was the financial outrage then?

And then there’s Bush’s presiding over deregulation of the financial system, continuing the themes from the Clinton, Bush I and Reagan eras. We got the rich richer. The Bush’s nominations, minions and underlings were a particular source of twirling. Many of them in Justice came from Bible-chucking Liberty University, drawing from a pool of people he actually derided in secret meetings. Just ask
David Kuo, who did an exclusive book treatment in Time magazine.

“Evangelicals may share Bush's faith, but they would protect themselves--and their interests--better if they looked at him through the same coldly political lens with which he views them,” he writes. Barely anyone knows how sociopathic and opportunistic the Bush White House was with this particular group of people who elected him. Who helped put him in power, twice.

Now that we know “compassionate conservatism” is a sham, a farcical pretense, we need
serious answers to serious issues, and we need someone competent - with usage of complete sentences and a sense of reverence for the job - to oversee this enormous task we have ahead of us. And I trust Obama FAR more than I trust his predecessor, but more than that, the people out in the field who will be executing his orders.

Not all of Obama’s decisions have pleased me - far from it. Look for a post on civil liberties soon... it will surprise you. Even people on his team piss me off, and will continue to do so I’m sure over the next four years.

But this idea that Obama is the left’s “second coming” is just absolute horseshit. It is a waste of time my friends... Why not focus effort on holding the current government accountable rather than using labels to marginalize? We need to spend less effort deriding the
relief people feel (with approval of Obama running between 60 and 70 percent, although softening lately) and focus on solving our country’s woes. We’ll be better off. Seriously.

And make no mistake: Bush, Rove, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Hannity and Rush’s perverted version of conservatism is what created the craving, the need frankly, for strong, authentic leadership. So, you are now witnessing the intense feelings of liberation that we, yes, finally have someone responsible at the helm. And it’s about goddamned time.

If our country is the overhead bin on an airplane long suffering in turbulence, we are now seeing the after effects of the shifting contents falling out. And it’ll take time to gather our belongings and deplane.

(Image borrowed from Steve Morris/AirTeamImages)

Vote (And Donate) 'No' On California's Prop 8

(LAS VEGAS :: 30 October 2008) Does this look like a dangerous group of people?


And the answer should be the same on California's Proposition 8, which limits marriage between a man and a woman... and has incited some dangerous language along with it.

Listen to right-wing nut job Tony Perkins "interview" people about this legislation:

For so long, for TOO long, we've used religion as a way of restricting freedoms instead of celebrating them. It's time for that to stop.

You have people, responsible ones, who want to "focus on the family" and have settled, safe, abundant lives and you're actually trying to stop that success? Seriously?

My committed (and now married) friends, Brenda & Julie and Wayne & Ed, are not attempting to infiltrate the nation's families. Do your family dynamics - some of them are laughable, some admirable - somehow contribute to mine?

Californians, vote no on Prop. 8, and
give anything you can to defeat this measure. I just gave $50.

Stop messing with state constitutions as an end run around federal law.


So What Do These Folks Do If Obama Is Actually Elected?

Update: here's the best response I could find for such ignorance (as always, I turn to humor):


Xenophobia... Of An Average Upstanding Citizen? Seriously?

Note to Manchurian Candidate voters: your numbers are waning and the message is hollow.

As I've always said, never mistake fairness for liberalism. In the same way, don't interpret
hatred and fear of the unknown as standing up to a "terrorist" threat.

Thanks to Gini for passing this along. John McCain and Sarah Palin should be ashamed, but definitely not surprised, by the reverberations of their more recent lines of attack. A "greatest hits" of hate:

I have a question for the "balance of power" voters who are resisting a fully Democratic congress and executive branch -- is THIS the balance you want in the White House? Seriously? Does this campaign demonstrate the capacity we need for that balance?

Make a protest against this nefarious, deviant campaign and vote Obama. Send McCain back to Arizona and Palin and her First Dude back to Alaska.


No Need For A Set Up: Five Percent Of Europe Should Be Slapped

And not in a good way:


A Safe Nation Is NOT The OK Corral

(ATLANTA :: 13 October 2008) Do we really want to continue with the "Boot In The Ass" politics of the past? Do we *actually* want W's policies to live on past their 20 January 2009 dying day? Take a look at this clip, and then some comment excerpts following:

All the below comments, included without editing, come from the blog Macsmind. I normally don't give air time to festering wingnuts, but I want you to see and read firsthand how people have reacted to this video (courtesy of Anita sharing on Facebook):

Warden writes: "If Obama is elected you will no longer be living in a free nation."

Phipps writes: "Obama would have us show up for the gun fight at the OK corral with bare hands to negotiate! In his own words, Obama has declared this country open territory for every nut job in the world to do as they please."

Smith writes: "He IS someone to fear, and we Americans are the sheep going to slaughter if we don’t stop him."

Barber writes: "What every conservative christian in America should be doing is praying for God to have mercy on America one more time. If Obama gets this important possition, we have no hope in the values our fore-Fathers built this fine nation on."

Anonymous writes: "O’bama is a Muslim !! Anyone that will sit there and tell you that he will disarm our America definitely isn’t an American.We weren’t disarmed when our New York City exploded..We weren’t disarmed when our ships took on dynamite..Concerned,Very much so if we are lead by a Muslim.You “white” O’Bama nuts are only voting for this man because you hate george Bush so very much! He and his wife Hates White folks!!! The Blacks,what can I say more?They’re voting for him Because he is black..I don’t like the way GB has run our country either but I’m be damned if I’ll give a Muslim my vote!!!"

Assuming that many of these posters were transformed by 9/11, as we all were, fear is the guiding principle of their opposition to Obama. Fear of being left unprotected; that if we aren't always on offense we are pussies, wimps, losers, un-Christian and un-American. Fear of the great unknown.

That is a steaming pile of horse shit.

We've tried George Bush's America, his OK Corral, his anti-compassionate conservatism, and it hasn't worked. Time for something new.

But I'll go a step further: don't wave a loaded gun in my face and tell me your a peacekeeper. Fear makes everyone a gun-toting trailblazer - when you think you're protecting yourself from the angry mob in your neighborhood or if you're in the armed services. Guns, missile defenses, threats of war and phony posturing are all tools of a disintegrated masculine tirade, and it's all a bunch of crap.

If you believe radical Islam is out to get you, you should equally be fearful of radical Christianity, or radical anything. The McCain campaign has tried to instill fear in the American electorate by insinuations and wonderings aloud:

There are "leaders" who bait and switch because they don't have the chops, and there are leaders who... LEAD. There is sensible protection that doesn't inflame our friends, and then there is aggression for the sake of being a badass. We have failed on that point, and many others, over the past seven years.

If we continually operate from a place of fear, we will never, repeat NEVER, advance or learn from what happened on 9/11, as referenced in the above comments.

So, here the final thought: no more chest thumping, no more brow beating, no more "this town ain't big enough...", no more my dick is bigger than yours.

Peace will lead to prosperity and understanding. Sensible protectionism and normalized military mobilization is our best chance for freedom and world leadership.

Think about it. Leave the boots at home.

# # #

Rules & Oversight: Thanks But No Thanks

This report is about a month old, but it puts Palin's refusal to cooperate now in better context. Flouting rules and abuse of power is exactly why we find ourselves in the messes, plural, that we're in now. Is Palin cut from that cloth?


'The Great Schlep' - I'll Work On My Imaginary Jewish Grandmother

Thanks to Chuckles for passing this along.


Why Obama, Pt. II: Consider What Your Future Self Wants Now

(ATLANTA :: 5 October 2008)

Step out of the shadows.

That's the message from
Deepak Chopra, writing a piece called "Obama and The Palin Effect," for the HuffPost. Chopra argues that Sarah Palin represents the shadow self, tantalizing and luring us into embracing fear and suspicions rather than engaging our more integrated, enlightened and higher self.

"She is the reverse of Barack Obama, in essence his shadow, deriding his idealism and exhorting people to obey their worst impulses," he writes. "In psychological terms the shadow is that part of the psyche that hides out of sight, countering our aspirations, virtue, and vision with qualities we are ashamed to face: anger, fear, revenge, violence, selfishness, and suspicion of 'the other.' For millions of Americans, Obama triggers those feelings, but they don't want to express them."

Chopra's piece is a masterstroke in sensible reality creation and understanding where, either subliminally or directly, one can attempt to darken an otherwise bright and optimistic horizon. To turn the fear on its ear, think instead of "the other" as possibly "the one" for which we could be looking.

You are not subverting yourself to believe in a single agent of change. In fact, it's the very leadership we need in the face of the three "Es": energy, the environment and our pummeled economy, to name a few.

So, because I believe so strongly in
Barack Obama as a catalyst for change in this country, I ask you to stop and look forward:

...It's Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008. It's mid morning and you're into your third cup of coffee. One full month after our general election has passed; we are gearing up for the holiday season - but also, the next administration is conducting transition plans for January 20, 2009. These plans include choosing people for cabinet positions; setting critical policy direction and decisions; and ramping up other important political machinations that will shape our future.

On this day, would you prefer to be anticipating a McCain-Palin administration to take over, with much of the same philosophies and strategies and shortcomings of our current administration? Or, while in the transition, would you prefer to be anticipating a more dramatic change, with confidence that, no matter how scary the unknown may actually be, that by our own action and decisions, our country is going to fundamentally shift to a new tone, direction and priority system?

If you envision yourself on that day, awaiting the transition... which scenario fits with our collective needs as a country?

Barack Obama LogoAnd in the broadest of terms: would you prefer to install the oldest president ever chosen, an outwardly bitter and angry person, who chose a profoundly unqualified running mate; or would you want instead to be a witness to history - led by a clearly more integrated, connected, reasoned, decent human being, the first African American ever elected?

Does that last idea bring up a pang of fear or a feeling of pride?

If you answer "both," you're not alone. No change comes without preceding chaos, and Palin is sure tryin' hard to instill that in us - with a shameful accusation that Obama is "
paling around with terrorists." Seriously?

Do not give in to fear. Chopra writes:

"Obama's call for higher ideals in politics can't be seen in a vacuum. The shadow is real; it was bound to respond. Not just conservatives possess a shadow -- we all do. So what comes next is a contest between the two forces of progress and inertia. Will the shadow win again, or has its furtive appeal become exhausted?"

I believe the latter.

So... your future self is sitting in the presidential transition, on that fateful Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008, with the hope that we step out of the shadows as a powerful statement against the sad, manipulative pandering of both the Bush administration and what the McCain-Palin ticket has thus far stood for.

Neither party is perfect. But this year we have a clear choice. Step out of the shadows and embrace progress.

# # #

(graphic courtesy of geeksugar; chopra picture: intent.com)

Update: McCain gestures to Obama during debate last night (7 Oct. 2008) and says "that one," intending to be ironically and heroically dismissive and yet ending up looking like an ignoramus.


Take A Break From Election Hell For A Thrill Ride

Adam Kimmel presents: Claremont HD from adam kimmel on Vimeo.

My 'Cringe Reflex' Was Tripped A Few Weeks Ago

Whether or not Palin actually makes it to Nov. 4, the choice underscores McCain's poor judgment.

If you agree that we are as good as the people we gather around us, he's starting off with one of the biggest mistakes of his career.

But there's a somewhat strong chorus of boos coming from a surprising group of people: conservatives.

-- Kathleen Parker from the National Review urged Palin to bow out, at the end of a
diatribe that revoked Parker's early support of Palin. She refers to the choice and Palin's continued verbal stumblings as triggering her "cringe reflex."

-- George Will, a curmudgeonly journalist and writer I deeply admire, calls out Palin for "
negligible experience."

-- Peggy Noonan and Mike Murphy were
busted with hot mikes in deriding McCain's "narrative" pick. "It's over," Noonan said, among other things.

-- Fareed Zakaria was especially damning today on CNN, where he called the selection "fundamentally irresponsible." He writes a
striking piece for Newsweek that you can't miss.

In addition to the high-profile snub from the always conservative WSJ op-ed page, here's an extensive line-up of other commentators who are
seeing their skin start to crawl.

Is this the countdown to her recusal or the death knell of McCain's candidacy? Or perhaps neither... but that's a "door No. 3" I'm not interested in seeing.


Why Obama, Pt. I: Block Religious Freaks From A Full Takeover

(ATLANTA :: 29 September 2008) - Take a break from the financial disaster we are in for a moment. I learned a scary thing today - one of many that we can't lose sight of when we go to the voting booth.

We are in the midst of an attempted religious hijacking of American politics from pulpits across the country.

We don't need more examples of this than McCain's choice of Palin; she's fired up the conservative base of the party. But
here's a clear one in case you do. Many people have expressed concern about her freakishly conservative religious views that could be a "heartbeat away" from the presidency.

Are we open to that idea? Absolutely NOT.

A group of pastors are going to intentionally violate tax law and endorse McCain - the same candidate who called Jerry Fallwell an "agent of intolerance" and then a few years later embraced him and spoke at his school. (The self-proclaimed "Maverick" is a shape-shifting neo-con cypher that is a shadow of the shadow he used to be back in 2000.)

Still more dangerous is the Alliance Defense Fund (link intentionally omitted), a group that is poised to defend these pastors in court as they attempt to shape the campaign from the pulpit.

So, let me understand: you're going to break the law and then ask us to foot the bill when you are taken to court? This is not civil disobedience - you are BREAKING THE LAW. Equally bad is that you're pushing your religious beliefs in the public sector and our Constitution says it's wrong.

Let your parishioners make up their own minds and stay out of the process. Your job as spiritual adviser and advocate does not make the podium on which you speak a political bully pulpit.

Allow this trail of religion to inject itself and you'll see Roe v. Wade blown up... and our Supreme Court will start looking more like an Evangelical revival than a respected judicial body.

We can see how well we do when we see ourselves as the
chosen ones. Vote Obama and quite literally block this delusional world view from infecting our political system.

(Image courtesy of DailyKos)

# # #


'Pushing Populist Nonsense' And Getting Busted By A Teammate

"Because you're a pinhead," says Bill O'Reilly, the poster guy for junk journalism, when Neil Cavuto disagreed with him on an issue regarding oil profits.

I believe O'Reilly as a populist about as much as I buy Lou Dobbs as one. Phony.

Reality is somewhere in the middle of this argument below, but someone is at least trying to keep the bully pulpit idiot honest.

To wit:


Is This Man Ready To Be President?

With love and gratitude to Reeno for sending this creepiest of images along.

If I may say, the protest vote is starting to look more and more like a "Great Grandpaw Godzilla for President" campaign postcard!

Shop somewhere else -- we're fresh out of crazy.

I'm thinking... Presidency? No. Ritalin? Definitely.

Could be a doctored photo? But his temper (dis-temper) has been widely speculated to be as rabid as it is depicted here.

Let's Kick Off September With A F$##$%ing Reality Check

Double talk, shit shoveling and lies.

But don't take it from me. Take a peek at Jon Stewart's dumbass round-up.

"Hold on lassie. It gets bumpy from here."


Stolen Effexor Slogan Effectively Ends Ineffectual Affect Of The GOP

See more Adam "Ghost Panther" McKay videos at Funny or Die

McCain Should Have Considered An Ashley Simpson Exit

The befuddled among us... could there be a more tragic answer to a simple, seemingly non-toxic question?

Look up "Deer in Headlights" in the dictionary... there he'll be.


Jill Hazelbaker Is A Biased, Partisan Hack. Period.

McCain's spokeswoman is nice to look at, articulate, pedigreed, whatever.

But it's her comments about Gen. Wesley Clark that have caused Twirl Factor 10 in the Pollock household this morning.

Will someone please tell me when Clark joined the Obama campaign? Oh that's right... NEVER. Clark's opinion that getting shot down in open warfare doesn't qualify someone to be commander in chief has been contorted by Hazelbaker. Partial clip from RedLasso:

27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" width="390" height="320" id="Redlasso">

Quoting directly from American Morning: "This is not about Wesley Clark, this is about Barrack Obama. Let's drop the pretense that Barrack Obama is going to raise the dialogue and elevate the debate in this election. If Barrack Obama really wanted to do that, he would get Wesley Clark off the airwaves attacking John McCain's long record of and legacy of service to the American people."

Even though John Roberts meekly tried to explain to this hack that Clark wasn't impugning McCain's integrity, she replied (this portion is not in the clip because the interview rolled over the top of the hour):

"John, let's be clear, this is not about Wesley Clark, this is about Barrack Obama. He talks about changing this country and yet his surrogates are attacking John McCain on a daily basis. This is a pattern of going at John McCain's strength which is his military service and his long legacy of leadership in this country. And if Barrack Obama wants to really let us believe that there is truth behind his words he would stop his surrogates from attacking John McCain."

So let's
US be clear: Gen. Clark is not an Obama spokesman. He is on his own. He speaks from his own experience. He may be vying for a VP spot, but Obama has no control over what he says, nor should he try to exert any. This is a concerted attempt by the McCain campaign to redirect and spin political gold out of a nothing quote, a nothing event -- on behalf of a candidate that looks desperate to surf a false tide of negativity against his opponent.

Most of all, I wish Roberts would have reiterated the fact that Clark is not -- despite the frequent use of this pejorative word -- a "surrogate" of Obama's campaign.

Hey Jill, dude: stick to the issues. Our country is in the crapper and we need to focus on how to move forward.


No Embedding? Fine... I'll Go To The Concert And Do It Myself

This is a sequel post from yesterday. Mission accomplished.

I suppose I played right into their hands by attending the concert, but at least I kept my protest clean by not patronizing
Ticketwhore, oh sorry, I mean Ticketmaster. I bought directly from Variety Playhouse's box office.

Enjoy the clip below. More to follow on my
YouTube channel.

Colbie Caillat's vocals were strong and the audience seemed chill and engaged. A rare combination. Kudos to her for sticking with small venues.


Corporate America Sucks Ass

I'm going to see Colbie Caillat tonight at Variety Playhouse. I'd like to embed one of her videos from YouTube, but I can't because Universal Music has disabled that function.

The company obviously believes that being purveyors of creative property translates into being proprietary assholes.

So, instead of posting her video -- in fact, as a protest to NBC Universal's refusal to play in the sandbox like the rest of us -- here's a montage from a stalwart

This little nugget has about 800K views... Hits that the greedy bastards at the record company would have benefited from.


'Mic And The City': Lowering The Boom On A Blockbuster

(ATLANTA - 31 May 2008) :: OK, so I did my gay duty and went to see Sex And The City movie on its premiere night. Thanks to Thom for coming with.

The film was uproarious, vivid, full of couture, acted and written exceedingly well, and all expectations were surpassed... save for the hideous exception of a visible boom mic.

And not just in one scene - multiple times, and in such an overt way that you think some local loon is standing over the screen on a ladder, holding the long-arm mic, taunting you, teasing you for no apparent reason.

In an otherwise stellar display of cinematic joy, this was perplexing to say the least. The
boards are abuzz about this "gaff"; even Perez Hilton has posted about it. There is even an early YouTube review that pokes fun:

Please, New Line & WB, do us all a favor and fix this in post production somehow. Blame for this error stretches across multiple roles in this film, resting not only with the boom operator... but with the production crew, as well as the actors and director, for not catching it in the film's dailies.

Despite the rarity of this type of mistake, it
appears to have precedent in the TV-series run.

Even so, this movie is so good that it'll wipe out this weekend's competition despite "the long arm of the sound" stepping in front of its cast. The film stays so true to the original series - in fact, elevates it so elegantly - that the mistakes turn out to be just, quite literally, blips on the screen.

And believe me when I tell you - this boom-mic story is intended as fair warning, not as spoiler. I wish I had been warned ahead of time myself.

Here's the trailer!


The Myth (And Fact) Of Fingerprints

(ATLANTA - original date: 27 May 2008 | updated on 4 May 2011) :: In many ways, we *are the people around us.

We are an amalgam of personalities, legacies, love, hatred, ambivalence, random acts of all kinds - and yet we wake up some days thinking the entire world tilts on our axis; that everyone is against us and the sky is falling. And if you look just a little bit closer, you’ll see that’s a bunch of hooey.

Why does it matter? In the end, come judgment day - if you subscribe to such an idea - aren’t we all just gonna be part of the earth, anyway? I mean, why am I yammering on about people, the friends and family, new and old, unseen and known, who've taken the time to read, to listen, to love? Does my train of thought actually have a caboose?

Maybe. This is about knowing where love lies... about where it breathes, how we contribute to its collective, where it compounds itself and how, and when it's likely to happen again. When we turn the right stones, or seek the right fortune, there it will be. And that's for those of us lucky enough to have found love more than once, in more than one person; who are brave enough to risk the fool after getting the shaft and going great guns to find it again.

Truthfully, we're all faced with many great challenges over the term of our lifetimes. Our resiliency during these periods often help shape the way we cherish ourselves, and equally important, each other.

Jimmy Roberts, sports reporter for NBC and commenting on Andre Agassi some time ago, shared this spontaneous, eloquent gem about a person's unspoken impact:

"An old friend of mine used to say that there are people in this lifetime who leave footprints. In other words, there are these people, and we all know them, who have an impact. They aren’t necessarily the best at what they do; they might not always behave the way we wish they might, but they make an impact on all of us."

This thought is true for everyone - not just those like Andre, whom we might put on a pedestal. Consider Chris "Crusty" Haddle's fight against
mucinous adenocarcinoma, which caused a dull ache he detected in his lower abdomen that felt like simple appendicitis, but turned out to be stage-two cancer that required radical surgery. He'll need six months of chemotherapy to make sure nothing has spread.

Also consider Gene Rector, who was officially diagnosed today with lymphoma, and who will start with his doctor on a treatment course that will likely include chemo *and* radiation since it has spread to his spleen.

So what's or who is at work here? None of us can point to one thing. But the remaining residue - both in emotional and metaphysical terms - is that we should always know the fingerprints that our friends, family, neighbors, strangers on the street, anyone, leave on us. They contribute to your own. They are the cherished gas in our engine, the great person we've not yet met, the random person in public with whom you've just connected somehow... on a road that would be much more boring and barren without them.

So, run to the windows, rush to the phone... tell your mother, your friend, even someone you're unsure about. Tell them their impact. Crusty and Gene have both in their own ways changed me for the better, and for that I'll always be grateful.

Being good to each other, even when it might step on your own purpose or agenda, is tantamount to a peaceful coexistence. Think about it. If we use that mission in everything we do - from the politicians we choose down to the type of milk we buy - we'll see a spontaneously different world around us.

Because someday, somehow... someone will see your "footprints" in the sand, your fingerprints on something great, and admire the decisions you made.
- WP

# # #


Putting The 'Ick' In 'Maverick'

The math, and the calendar, are hideous.