Category Archives: The Press

Sotomayor nom: Exclusive excerpt from “racist” firefighter exam

Gearing up for the Sotomayor nomination to the Supreme Court, the Right is zeroing in on a particular case involving New Haven, CT’s firefighters in which the firefighter exam was ruled “biased” toward white candidates.  Sotomayor upheld the town’s decision to throw out the test results which would have promoted only white candidates taking the test.

A court that looks like us

A court that looks like us

We at were able to get a copy of the supposedly “biased” exam.  Check out this random excerpt to see if you think the test is biased toward white candidates …

Q12a. Which character on Seinfeld burns down George’s fiance’s parents house in the episode “The Cheever Letters” only to discover that George’s future father in-law was John Cheever’s lover?

a. Jerry

b. Kramer

c. Elaine

d. R. Kelly

Q12b. For extra credit, name one of John Cheever’s best known novels?


Q15. In 2003, a nightclub fire in Rhode Island caused the deaths of 95 people due to faulty pyrotechnics created by the 80’s hair metal band Great White.  What was the name of their biggest hit song?

a. Once Bitten Twice Shy

b. Call the Firehouse

c. Yellow Submarine

d. That Bitch Crazy

Q18. One of the movies that firefighters often site as their favorite is “Backdraft” starring Kurt Russel and directed by Ron Howard.  Before becoming a director, Ron Howard was a TV actor.  Name the 70s TV show that Ron Howard is most famous for.

a. Happy Days

b. Coach

c. Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne”

d. Todos a Bordo

Q21. Everyone knows the Marshall Tucker Band song “Fire on the Mountain,” which earned them the Grammy for best country song in 1979.  Who won best country song Grammy in 2003 (the year of the test)?

a.  The Dixie Chicks

b. Big and Rich

c. Eminem

d. R. Kelly


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Filed under Barack Obama, Democratic party, humor, political satire, Politics, Republican Party, The Press, Wordpress Political Blogs

McCain and the RNC: from pander to slander when will it stop?

When I started this blog back during the primaries I expected to hear a busload of pandering from both sides of the aisle and tried to comment on the most egregious outbursts from all parties, including Obama, Clinton and McCain — and they didn’t disappoint.

Say "ahhhhhrg"

Say aargh!

 But with just two weeks to go before the general election I can’t even begin to process the out and out lies and misdeeds perpatrated by the RNC and McCain’s oppo guys, including Palin and McCain himself.  The behavior and statements exhibited in the past few weeks go beyond the usual pandering to the base and truth bending and has entered the Twilight Zone.  Some examples:

  • Palin and others claiming that only certain parts of the country (that voted for Bush) are “pro America” or the “real America”
  • Stirring up racist feelings at rallies that turn into calls for violence against Obama (and are reminiscent of similar gatherings officiated by leaders from Hitler to Ahmadinejad)
  • Robocalls inferring that Obama is a Muslim terrorist that are scaring children and giving adults hearburn as they sit around that kitchen table we keep hearing about
  • Attacking Obama for being a “socialist” the same week that a Republican president and both parties in Congress approve a $700 billion bail out package for financial companies and McCain himself promises to buy up mortgages for those that can’t pay their bills
  • Repeated statements on the part of McCain that his attack strategy is part of the “rough and tumble” of campaigning and that Obama’s ads attacking McCain’s positions somehow equate with the race baiting and hate mongering coming from the McCain side
  • Attacking the media or refusing media access whenever they expose or question a particularly damaging comment or event (e.g., the congresswoman from Minnesota’s 6th district calling for a witch hunt to expose “un-American” members of Congress, showing evidence of Palin’s naivite about the position she aspires to, the McCain campaign worker who had the courage to question the motives of racists at the rally he helped organize)
  • Attacking Colin Powell’s recent support of Obama as being based solely on race as he’s been making a passionate argument about why Muslims are “real Americans” too
  • Attacking ACORN for “destroying the fabric of democracy”, even though the “other” John McCain was praising them as recently as 2006.   An obvious ploy to stir up further racist feelings by picking on a grass roots organization (read “minority” and “urban”) that is registering both Democratic and Republican voters and has no proven record of voter fraud (just faulty registration rolls they are required by law to turn in).

The list goes on.  Either McCain has willingly given up whatever integrity he has managed to retain from his 26 years in office or he is just too disconnected from what’s going on to make it stop.  Some people are thinking that, despite calls from some of the cooler heads of his party to go positive, McCain will unleash wall to wall Reverand Wright ads in the last days of the campaign so white voters going into the booth on election day will have that image seared in their minds.

Whether he takes this tack or not, and if through some twist of fate he actually becomes President come January, America is going to be in for a very bumpy ride. 

Welcome to Fake America

Welcome to Fake America

And I mean the real America and the fake America I’m sitting in as I write this.  You know the one; it’s the America where you can find that elite French lady in the harbor, the fake America that processed the millions of immigrants who passed its shores and whose descendents make up 40% of the US population; the fake America that suffered the worst attack in the nation’s history right in its backyard.  Oh, did I also mention it’s the fake America that hosted George Washington’s inaugural address, is the birthplace of John McCain’s idol Theodore Roosevelt, and is the final resting place of U.S. Grant — the guy who helped Lincoln save a divided America’s ass when it almost came apart due to ideological differences based on race and class?

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Filed under Barack Obama, John McCain, Politics, Sarah Palin, The Press, Wordpress Political Blogs

Pope brings “soft” power to U.S.; press panders accordingly

Apologies to presidential campaign watchers.  A Pander Watch special addition had to be created to point out the lack of substance and perspective coming from virtually all media outlets re: the Pope’s visit. 

(Stop, the love you save may be your own)

When the pedophile priest scandal first broke the press did a pretty good job of reporting on and investigating the details of the abuse as new stories came to light.  Now that the heat of the child abuse scandal has cooled a bit among U.S. Catholics, the Pope has decided to make nice by meeting with some of the victims.  Sadly, reaction from the press has been to congratulate the pontiff for his bravery and compassion.  You heard few, if any, mentions of too little too late from the official U.S. press for fear of insulting American Catholics — the local news in NYC should get a special pander award for avoiding the topic altogether and focusing their coverage instead on the superlative utterances of jubilent crowds. I hate to be a cynic here, but the Pope’s gesture to meet with victims is as much about his political skill as it is his true compassion and love for “the flock.”  The press panders on.

The silence from the Vatican has been so deafening for so long on this issue that many are giving his holiness praise for simply acknowledging the elephant in the room.  The media couldn’t wait to jump on this tidbit from the coverage of his first day …

“It is a great suffering for the church in the United States and for the Church in general and for me personally that this could happen,” Benedict said aboard a special Alitalia airliner, nicknamed Shepherd 1. “It is difficult for me to understand how it was possible that priests betray in this way their mission … to these children. I am deeply ashamed and we will do what is possible so this cannot happen again in the future,” the 81-year-old pope said, pledging to keep paedophiles out of the priesthood.

What most reports failed to point out is that the Pope continues to blame the priests and take no culpability or responsibility himself (also note that he still finds it difficult to believe it even happened.  He’s still in the first stage of shock — denial — while the rest of the world has moved to the last stage: acceptance).  And, he makes a promise he obviously has no power to keep since there is no way the church could possibly know if it has a future pedophile in its ranks (“don’t ask, don’t tell”).  The farthest he went in taking responsibility was in a speech to bishops later in the day in which he said the scandal was “very badly handled,” as if it were simply a PR problem.

You have to look outside of the U.S. to get some perspective on this.  Here is a bit of from London’s The Guardian that provided at least some background to the trip …

While it is Benedict’s first visit to the US since he was elected in 2005, as the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger he travelled to the US five times while he was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. As head of the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog, Benedict was in charge of investigating paedophilia allegations worldwide, which eroded its moral authority, cost billions of dollars in compensation and, in some cases, led to dioceses filing for bankruptcy.

Benedict was accused at the time of failing to investigate abuse claims. During the emerging news on the scandals in December 2002, he said the allegations were part of a “planned campaign” that was “intentional, manipulated” with the aim of discrediting the church.

(BTW, extra kudos to The Guardian for using the phrase “elected.”  That term itself may offend some Catholics who believe that the pontiff is “chosen” by God himself — not actually “elected” by a bunch of guys hand picked by his predecessors.  He may have even pulled a Dick Cheney by handpicking himself for the job.  Catholics should instead be offended that they had no say in his “election.”  So much for spreading democracy around the globe.)

When pressed by victims rights groups on the issue of the bishops’ culpability for the cover up , the official line from the Vatican continues to be that bishops did everything in their power to remove priests and console the victims.  In fact

Cardinal William Levada, an American cleric who runs the Vatican agency that enforces church doctrine, said Friday he does not know of any bishops guilty of “aiding and abetting” pedophiles, and would respond if he did.

Yet there is a pile of evidence to the contrary.  No mea culpa on the part of those in charge re: one of the biggest scandals against children in the late 20th/early 21st century .  No heads rolling.  No public flogging or even scapegoating of a few “bad” bishops.  Sorry, but being shocked and ashamed is not the same as saying, “we were wrong, we should have done more, we will rid ourselves of this cancer within — starting at the top.”  

And leave it to Fox News to really put the whole thing in perspective.  They made sure to repeat the Pope’s contention (he’s got to hang on to something) that it is our fault for the scandal …

Benedict addressed clerical molesters in the wider context of secularism and the over-sexualization of America. “What does it mean to speak of child protection when pornography and violence can be viewed in so many homes through media widely available today?” he asked.

Two words the Pope uttered in his Yankee Stadium homily perhaps best sum up his reasons for not taking action: Authority. Obedience.  Any and all obligation, the Pope believes, is to the church and not the other way around.  Independent thinking is discouraged, even if it is in the defense of helpless children. As the guy holding a job that can be traced in an unbroken line back to the Apostle Peter, he doesn’t have to explain himself to anybody. 

Shame on the members of the U.S. press for not giving the American people greater perspective on the role that this Pope and his corrupt bishops have played in the continued mishandling and denials regarding this horrible scandal. 

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