Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Archive for September 2011

Melissa Harris-Perry, under attack


For those fans of the Rachel Maddow Show, and other MSNBC offerings who have become familiar with the commentary of Melissa Harris-Perry , just wanted to point out her recent piece in The Nation for those who have not read it.

Black President, Double Standard: Why White Liberals Are Abandoning Obama

and after the shitstorm that occurred, her response to her naysayers:

The Epistemology of Race Talk

If you can stand it – dive into the sewer of the comments section(s) of both pieces.

She is now officially a “racist”, “race-card player” and Obama pony dreaming hack.  

In her response to the storm she makes three main points.

Often, those of us who attempt to talk about historical and continuing racial bias in America encounter a few common discursive strategies that are meant to discredit our perspectives. Some of them are in play here.

1. Prove it!

The first is a common strategy of asking any person of color who identifies a racist practice or pattern to “prove” that racism is indeed the causal factor. This is typically demanded by those who are certain of their own purity of racial motivation. The implication is if one cannot produce irrefutable evidence of clear, blatant and intentional bias, then racism must be banned as a possibility. But this is both silly as an intellectual claim and dangerous as a policy standard. …

2. I have black friends

Which brings us to a second common strategy of argument about one’s racial innocence: the “I have black friends” claim. I was shocked and angered when Salon’s Joan Walsh used this strategy in her criticism of my piece. Although I disagree with her, I have no problem with Walsh’s decision to take on the claims in my piece. I consider it a sign of respect to publicly engage those with whom you disagree. I was taken aback that Walsh emphasized the extent of our friendship. Walsh and I have been professionally friendly. We’ve eaten a few meals. I invited her to speak at Princeton and I introduced her to my literary agent. We are not friends. Friendship is a deep and lasting relationship based on shared sacrifice and joys. We are not intimates in that way. Watching Walsh deploy our professional familiarity as a shield against claims of her own bias is very troubling. In fact, it is one of the very real barriers to true interracial friendship and intimacy. …

3. Who made you an expert?

This brings me to a final point about racial discourse. It is common for my interlocutors to question my professional, intellectual and personal credentials. It is as though my very identity as an African-American woman makes me unqualified to speak on issues of race and gender; as though I could only be arguing out of personal interest or opinion rather than from decades of research, publication and university teaching. …

Why am I not surprised?

Had she joined the Obama Critic of the Month Club she would be crowned Ms. Black Progressive of the Week, standing she had for a while, but which will surely be rescinded.  She’ll probably be impeached …oh wait…she’s not elected to anything.

My bad.

I guess the calls for her to have her own show, a la Rachel will subside, or be swallowed by those who issued them only a few months ago.

I’m solidly in the Sista’s corner, but we all know my POV has been suspect due to past critiques of a certain other Miz.


Post-blackness? Not.


It never ceases to amaze me, the number of ways new memes are tossed out in this country to twist pretzel-like the reality of “race” and how we deal with it. The new opportunism includes black Americans who jump on the bandwagon of book selling to justify themselves as heralds of acceptability, and who push these themes on order to line their pockets, and achieve instant pundit status-by garnering the imprimatur of the New York Times, and other weighty media outlets.

The latest addition to the book pile is Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness?: What It Means to Be Black Now, by Touré (he has only one name apparently) with a foreword by Michael Eric Dyson (why am I not surprised?)  

Who was this Jim Crow? It was Thomas D. Rice


Do you know where the term Jim Crow comes from?

We use the term Jim Crow to refer to a time when the laws of this land and its practices were designed to oppress Black members of society. But did you know it was actually a Black people’s song and dance? How did it come to have the meaning it does?

Jim Crow

What If I Were black smileycreek?

(cross-posted to Daily Kos under Barriers and Bridges)

I’ve been thinking about how white privilege has affected my life. I look at all the breaks I caught in my life as cute smart white smileycreek and wonder…what if I had been born cute smart black smileycreek?  How would it all have turned out?

I can’t really know, of course, but please try to understand as I work my way through the possibilities.

President Obama Opens Can of Whoop Ass: Seasons CBC Speech Liberally With It.

Last night the President gave a fire breathing speech before the Congressional Black Caucus during their Foundation’s annual Phoenix awards.  He had a special message for members of the CBC who have been for the last few weeks openly criticizing the President even going so far as Emmanuel Cleaver discussing that had the President been White there would have been protest marches organized against him.

The fact that for during the entire 8 years of the Bush administration and the horrors visited upon the community by him Mr. Cleaver did essentially nothing popping off to the McClatchy newspapers seemed more than a betrayal, considering the most push back they were able to organize were angry letters, it seemed cheap and displayed a stunning lack of leadership and knowledge of where we are and have been as a people in these United States.  Well last night the President reminded them.


Open Horserace Thread: Cain Wins P5 Straw Poll

Whoops.  It has been a very tough week for the GOP, desperately seeking consensus on issues of ideology and electability while rounding the first turn in their contest to select a presidential nominee.  And then it got stunningly worse after the collapse of their most recent favourite, Rick Perry, in the recent Orlando debate.  The conservative establishment quickly turned on him with the bitterness of a disappointed lover.  Perry’s back in the pack if not out altogether.

The Florida GOP straw poll results are in and it is pretty hard to fathom:

   Herman Cain: 37.11%

   Rick Perry: 15.43%

   Mitt Romney: 14%

   Rick Santorum: 10.88%

   Ron Paul: 10.39%

   Newt Gingrich: 8.43%

   Jon Huntsman: 2.26%

   Michele Bachmann: 1.51%

That’s a nasty spanking for Perry, who invested heavily in this poll, in a must-win state for him.  And while Romney has retained fund-raising momentum and blunted Perry’s brief rise in the give-and-take of recent weeks it is also clear that his “front-runner” status is limited by a fairly low ceiling of support among evangelicals and Tea Partiers.  Michele Bachmann’s star has fallen to new lows since her “fifteen-minutes” following her Ames straw poll win.

So, Bachmann clobbers Pawlenty, Perry clobbers Bachmann, Romney smothers Perry and the remaining cast of characters just can’t break through.  This recent upset by Cain seems more of a vote of no confidence in Perry than a sign of real resurgence for the pizza mogul, whose lack of foreign policy nous and odd tax reform proposals tend to disqualify him as a serious national candidate.

Labor Day well gone and the GOP is still looking for an electoral saviour?  It’s getting late folks.  Republicans are in serious trouble and they know it.  Pass the popcorn.

135 Honks in two hours

MOOOOOOOOOOOOSE!  Here’s another blast from the past and an example of how I really get down when things pluck my strings.  The ideas and traditions of standing up for oneself are not innate.  They must be passed down and here’s a little story from last year of something we do at least 4 times a year.  Get out in the street and yell at somebody!!!!!

Ever since Glenn Beck announced his plans to defile the memory of MLK with his brand of hate I’ve been announcing my intention to stand outside his corporate edifice in Los Angeles and protest the genesis of hate in this country his organization Newscorp/Fox/Rupert Murdoch.  


All week long it’s been hotter than July in Los Angeles.  Those days were trying very hard to give me an excuse to duck out.  No one would be there but me and those I brought, It wont do anything, and why should I put peoples health at risk by standing them in the middle of a 105 degree day.   So I wake up this morning and it’s overcast lovely and not even 75 degrees.  So we got our behinds up and got ready to go.

The Great Realignment: The 1928 Presidential Election, Part 2

This is the second part of two posts analyzing in more detail the 1928 presidential election.

The Great Realignment

The previous post noted that:

In 1928 the Democratic Party nominated Governor Al Smith of New York. Mr. Smith was nominated as a Catholic Irish-American New Yorker  who directly represented Democratic-voting white ethnics. Mr. Smith’s  Catholicism, however, constituted an affront to Democratic-voting white  Southerners, who at the time were the most important part of the party’s  base.

The 1928 presidential election thus saw a mass movement of white  Southerners away from the Democrats, corresponding with a mass movement  of white ethnics towards the Democrats. This was the beginning of the  great realignment of the South to the Republican Party and the Northeast  to the Democratic Party.

This change can be illustrated with a map detailing the state-by-state shift from the 1924 presidential election to the 1928 presidential election:


There are a number of things that stand out with this map.

More below.

Maybe it's time to dust off that tinfoil hat

There have been some major science stories recently. The news about CERN researchers observing neutrinos moving faster than light that Adept2 posted about the other day is certainly big news, if confirmed. It would fundamentally change the field of physics. Now there’s news that, IMHO, is every bit as exciting.

UC Berkley News Center posted this headline yesterday – “Scientists use brain imaging to reveal the movies in our mind

BERKELEY – Imagine tapping into the mind of a coma patient, or watching one’s own dream on YouTube. With a cutting-edge blend of brain imaging and computer simulation, scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, are bringing these futuristic scenarios within reach.

Using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and computational models, UC Berkeley researchers have succeeded in decoding and reconstructing people’s dynamic visual experiences – in this case, watching Hollywood movie trailers.

As yet, the technology can only reconstruct movie clips people have already viewed. However, the breakthrough paves the way for reproducing the movies inside our heads that no one else sees, such as dreams and memories, according to researchers.

“This is a major leap toward reconstructing internal imagery,” said Professor Jack Gallant, a UC Berkeley neuroscientist and coauthor of the study published online today (Sept. 22) in the journal Current Biology. “We are opening a window into the movies in our minds.”

I immediately thought of the movie Brainstorm while reading the article and, sure enough, that movie is mentioned in the article.

However, researchers point out that the technology is decades from allowing users to read others’ thoughts and intentions, as portrayed in such sci-fi classics as “Brainstorm,” in which scientists recorded a person’s sensations so that others could experience them.

This is an amazing breakthrough. Science fiction writers have imagined a future where some people would be paid to create virtual reality “movies” by thinking about them. Just as writers are paid to create screenplays, these “writers” would be paid to dream on-demand. Those dreams would then be available to anyone who wanted to immerse themselves into that dream. That future just got a little closer.

Is this a big deal or not?

Wayback Machine – Put me in, Coach

UPDATE: This diary was first published in January, 2010. Motivational diaries are always timely, so I decided to repost this one. As always with one of my diaries, feel free to treat this as an open thread.


The last two years have been quite a ride. The beginning of that two year period started in January, 2008. Super Tuesday was fast approaching. I was still a nominal Edwards supporter, although I had been leaning towards Obama for a while. I got on board after Super Tuesday. That’s when the real primary battles heated up. They stayed like that until Clinton conceded in June. Then we had to deal with the PUMA backlash. Time that should have been spent on kicking into general election mode was spent on repairing party unity. The Democrats were still dealing with bruised egos when Palin burst on the scene. Things got really nutty after that.

The Moose was born out of that perfect storm of politics. The first diaries were posted on about two months before the election. We agonized over every drop in a poll. We clapped with glee when things went our way. And, we watched the flameout of the ex-Governor of Alaska. Fun times, indeed.