Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Archive for September 2011

It's October. Time for the Fall Classic.

September is always an exciting time for baseball fans as teams fight for a playoff berth. The 2011 MLB season proved to be no exception. There were many meaningful games left going into the final day with the possibility of two additional games being necessary to determine the wild card teams in both the American League and the National League. When the last game finished on Wednesday those games were no longer needed. The playoff roster is complete.

The St. Louis Cardinals clinched the wild card spot in the NL when they won their final game while The Atlanta Braves continued their late-season swoon by losing their last game. The same scenario played out in the AL with Tampa Bay claiming the wild card with a victory over the NY Yankees while the Boston Red Sox finished off a miserable September performance with a ninth inning loss to the last place Baltimore Orioles.

The playoff schedule was still uncertain until the Texas Rangers won their game against the Angels. That win gave Texas the second seed in the AL. They will open the playoffs at home against Tampa while the Detroit Tigers travel to New York to take on the Yankees. In the NL, the wild card team, St Louis, will travel to Pennsylvania to take on the Phillies while the Arizona Diamondbacks head to Milwaukee to play the Brewers.

The Lounge: Anybody Else Miss Richard Pryor?


Fair warning comedians swear.

I’ve been musing a lot lately over the petty and not so petty racial insults Barack Obama has had to endure over these last few years and missing Richard Pryor. Chris Rock you say? Chris is cool, but he doesn’t quite have the voice. Wanda, Aries, those comedy kings? Loves them, but could they do this?  As I’ve thought  about it lately I miss him even more.  I wonder how the idea of ARE YOU CALLING ME A RACIST would have stood up to someone who didn’t mind saying YES!

FALL OF THE HOUSE OF MURDOCH XXIII: Bernstein on Murdoch and Nixon: Floorgraphics Smoking Gun

Bernstein on the Watergate Analogy and the Culture of Lawlessness

If you think the Watergate analogy is hyperbolical or fanciful, don’t forget it was first made by Carl Bernstein himself in The Daily Beast nearly three months ago

The circumstances of the alleged lawbreaking within News Corp. suggest more than a passing resemblance to Richard Nixon presiding over a criminal conspiracy in which he insulated himself from specific knowledge of numerous individual criminal acts while being himself responsible for and authorizing general policies that routinely resulted in lawbreaking and unconstitutional conduct. Not to mention his role in the cover-up. It will remain for British authorities and, presumably, disgusted and/or legally squeezed News Corp. executives and editors to reveal exactly where the rot came from at News of the World, and whether Rupert Murdoch enabled, approved, or opposed the obvious corruption that infected his underlings.

And here he is, in a Guardian interview today where he makes the same point

The parallels with Watergate… Had to do with the culture itself that made this possible. In the Nixon Whitehouse Nixon was responsible for the sensibility that permeated the place, that had to do with unconstitutional acts with a cynicism about the political process and how it was practised, and a disregard for the law. And it became apparent to me, as I read more and more what was happening here, that really at bottom what this hacking furore is about, it’s about a culture in the newsroom that has nothing to do with real journalism, real reporting (which is very simply put the best obtainable version of the truth) but rather has to do with serving up both the lowest common denominator of information and calling it news, and obtaining it through a methodology which is outrageous, whether you’re talking about hacking or other kinds of invasions of privacy, and that the atmosphere in that newsroom is a product of the culture that Murdoch in the News of the World .

Solving a Mystery in Philadelphia Voting Patterns

A long time ago, I posted a series of posts analyzing the swing state Pennsylvania. One section of this series focused specifically on the city of Philadelphia. This section analyzed Philadelphia’s vote by precinct results and mapped out the results of several previous elections.

Of particular interest was the difference between the results of the 2008 presidential election and the 2008 Democratic primary, which illustrated a political divide not seen in presidential elections: between Democratic-leaning white Catholics in the northeast and Democratic-voting blacks in the west.

Here is Philadelphia in the 2008 Democratic primary. Take a note at the region the question mark points to, which this post will discuss:


More below.

Respect Your Commander in Chief

Okay, so I’m finally over my infatuation with that reddish yellow place enough to step up and venture writing something with the Meeses. Not the brilliant, insightful political analysis you guys knock out on a regular basis. I leave that to you experts. Those of you who were familiar with me at that other place know that I’m mostly about slices of life and veterans affairs. This is kind of a little of both.

I went to the VA today. To the Mental Health Clinic, where I spend a whole lot of time. As often as my head has been shrunk over the years it’s a wonder I can still find a hat small enough to fit. First session of what is for me a brand new program, they call it Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

It’s kind of a hybrid between group therapy and straight up classes. We’re supposed to learn stuff, and put it into action between our fellows (gender neutral, one female participant). The range in my group seemed to run from barely holding it together to doing pretty well, but still needing some help. Pretty typical for VA therapy groups I’ve participated in.

It’s a two hour session, with a fifteen minute break in the middle. Most guys used the head and came right back. The facilitators took the entire fifteen.

So while we’re waiting for the boss ladies to come back some of the guys got to chatting. One said something or other about how things “used to be”, maybe the conversation was about technology, how we “oldsters” weren’t up on game boxes, or X boys, or whatever that stuff is called. And then this little dude, late fifties, maybe sixty, younger than me, said “Before Obama”.

It wasn’t so much what he said. It was how he said it. I plainly heard “before the n*****”.

Anger management has never really been one of my strong suits. Not all that many years ago I’d have leapt across the table and bounced his scrawny butt off the wall before explaining, in a Lyndon Johnson lean, that “You’re in a United States Government VA hospital. To get in this building you had to walk past his picture hanging on the wall. That’s the President of the United States you’re talking about, the Commander in Chief. He deserves your respect”.

There would have been little fear of arrest. Unless you draw blood or break a bone the folks at the VA are pretty understanding. It’s the Mental Health Clinic fer gawd’s sake. Crazy people are run of the mill. They’d have called security, I’d have been escorted off the property, maybe even banned for a while, and only allowed back under promise of good behavior. But that would have been about it.

But my better angels prevailed and I sat there in silence, not even glaring. I waited until the rest of the group returned, including the facilitators, and immediately commanded the floor.

“We need a rule,” I said, “no partisan politics inside that door,” pointing at the door to the conference type room we were in. “What happened,” the lead faciltator asked, “did somebody say something?”

“Yes, ” I replied, “I’m not going to single anyone out, but a remark was made that clearly didn’t belong in here.” And the rule was declared.

The sawed off red neck squirt hardly muttered a word for the remaining hour, occasionally shooting me an unfriendly glance, but everything about his demeanor and body language said he won’t be back next week.

After all the stuff that’s been going on about race this past while I was in less than no mood to listen to racist spew. I don’t know if I’ll ever be again.

Believe me, it pains me to see another veteran not get the mental health help he needs. I hope he gets it, somewhere, sometime, down the road. Before he runs into another vet, maybe a Black one next time, who hasn’t been working on anger management as hard as I have.

It might not be the mental health clinic he winds up in.


Starting to GET How Much I Don't "Get" It (UPDATED With My Decision)

Or “Wherein Sricki Fesses to a Shameful Level of Ignorance.”

Whatever title works for you. I’m good with either.

We’ve been talking a lot about race on the blogs lately. I freely admitted in a comment the other night that I totally don’t “get it” when it comes to understanding racism and oppression. But there’s so much I don’t get, and the more I learn, the more clueless and out of touch I feel. Am I about to embarrass myself trying to talk about race? Maybe, but I can’t say that my personal sense of humiliation and shame about all this makes it any less true or noteworthy.

Balancing Act

Lately I’ve been thinking about forgiveness and atonement. This is perhaps due to circumstances in my personal life, or perhaps due to the upcoming Yom Kippur. No, I am not Jewish…however, it is my favorite holiday of all the major religions (at least of the holidays I know of). A day of forgiveness and atonement would probably serve every community well…no matter the faith.

Actually, I’ve given thought to writing a diary on my thoughts pertaining to Yom Kippur. In pondering such a diary, other things have come to mind. Sayings, teachings, thoughts, and beliefs…some held as truths by me, some only observed as truths held by others.

Thinking on this quote:

You are not obligated to complete the task (of building a better world), but neither are you free to desist from the effort. – Pirkei Avot 2:21

…led my wandering mind to another saying that I’ve long held close. Follow me below the fold and I’ll share it with you.


Game playing: the stoop, the street and the schoolyard


(Photo: Museum of the City of New York, Berenice Abbot)

(Cross-posted from Black Kos )

I was thinking today about growing up in NY (with part of each summer in Philly) and had memories of games I learned to play sitting on the stoop, or out on the sidewalk(or in the street dodging traffic)in Brooklyn, realizing that many of us share those same urban memories, though some are probably culturally specific. Others are generational – not sure how many kids still play simple games that don’t have a game controllers attached these days, but I can hope.

Just contributed to the Warren Senate campaign

It wasn’t much.  Things are tight.  But getting Warren’s voice in the Senate seems even bigger than taking a seat back.

I think we should start a practice at the Moose, where when one of us makes a contribution to any cause we post an announcement diary.  If the two minutes it’s taking me to type this plants the idea and even one moose thinks they can send a little something, it’s worth it.  It’s also a way of sharing our priorities and commitments and discussing them.

Here’s the Warren ActBlue page:…

Mr. Rumsfeld, I AM a reasonable person.

     From Last Night

“None of the authorized interrogation methods – either those approved in December 2002 and used on one detainee until I rescinded them, or those that I later approved in April 2003 – involved physical or mental pain. None were inhumane. None met any reasonable person’s definition of torture.”

       Donald Rumsfeld,

    “Known and Unknown”, page, 582

Mr. Rumsfeld, as you arrive in Boston for an event promoting your book this evening, I wish I could be there with all my heart. Unfortunately, circumstances mean I am not able to be there. Had I been there, and had I all the time I wished to address you, this is what I would have said: