Friday, October 21, 2011

Apropos of Nothing

Manuel Ramos

Apropos of nothing. Always liked that phrase. It’s a ticket to conversation anarchy – everything goes because nothing is implicated.

Speaking of which … there’s an ugly surrealism surrounding the politicos who are praying and preying to unseat Obama. These freaky people grab, punch and pinch for attention, and their audience responds accordingly. Last year, Tea Party goons stepped on the head of a non-supporter; more recently, the Republican debate audience cheered death for anyone too poor to buy health insurance; more cheers for a record-setting executioner; and the pizza guy excused his call for electrocuting people, whose crime is risking their life and liberty to work in the U.S., by saying that he was only joking (or maybe not.)

tricks or treats?

Halloween is coming up and in timely fashion we have an overabundance of monsters. Unfortunately, it's politics as usual. The presidency has always attracted scoundrels and miscreants, but you'd think the modern crop of power parasites would have a bit more class, or discretion at least. Hell, these people attack their fellow contenders’ religion and race, and, gasp, the creation of jobs taken by immigrants! It’s as if these “challengers” have been injected with mad dog serum. The Republicans make it too easy. One of the more ridiculous and highly offensive rants comes from the pizza guy, again – “Jesus was killed by a liberal court.” Good God.

And none of the above crazy examples includes Michele Bachman or Sarah Palin. Talk about wicked witches. Just sayin' ...

I want to grab these misfits and delusional demagogues by their collective throat and give them a good shaking, then send them to the corner of the room to read the collected works of Twain, Spinoza, Sartre, and Bolaño because … well, just because.

The good thing is that we have only another year of this before the election.

“You’re being selfish” used to be a call down. Now it’s a badge of honor. As Tony Garcia, Artistic Director of Su Teatro, said recently, “It's really hard to talk to people who are coming from a place of deep, narrow self-interest.”

Meanwhile ...

Occupy Hawaii

Occupy Denver

Occupy Puerto Rico

Not to be left out of the zaniness, the Democrats are on a magical mystery bus tour when they should be taking care of business. They can’t get a comprehensive jobs bill passed in the Democrat-controlled Senate, can’t defend their health care plan from legalistic attacks (and have already scrapped a major piece of the plan because of inadequate planning and foresight), are willing to “leave no banker behind,” and appear disposed to sell out the elderly, poor, infirm, and uneducated in the name of debt crisis “compromise.” Remember the promise to reform the immigration system? Turns out that meant meeting a quota of at least 400,000 deportations a year. Occupy the White House?

Moving on -

Here's an announcement from Joseph Torres, Senior Adviser, Government and External Affairs, Free Press.

From revolutionary pamphleteers to websites, our media have reflected America’s racial divisions throughout the centuries. Communities of color have confronted prejudice in establishment media by creating their own vibrant alternative press and fighting for a just media system.

Juan González of Democracy Now! and I tell this important story in our new book, News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media.

Juan and I will be in Denver on Thursday, Oct. 27, to discuss how our book puts race at the center of the story of American media. We’ll also be signing copies of the book.

Details are below:

What: News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media: Benefit for KGNU Community Radio

When: Thursday, Oct. 27. 6 p.m.: special reception ($100 tickets required. To purchase, visit

7 p.m.: presentation and book signing (Tickets are $10 for KGNU members and $15 for the general public. To purchase go to

Where: Highlands Church, 3241 Lowell Blvd., Denver, Colo.

Who: Juan González, award-winning journalist and co-host of Democracy Now!; Joseph Torres, Free Press senior adviser for government and external affairs and Tina Griego, Denver Post columnist


Finally - we note the passing of Piri Thomas on Monday, October 17. In an introduction to a recording of Thomas reading Born Anew at Each A.M, Neal Conan of NPR said: "Writer and poet Piri Thomas died this week at his home in El Cerrito, California, at the age of 83. As a young man, he robbed people on the streets of New York, used and sold drugs and served seven years in prison. After he got out, he wrote a memoir called Down These Mean Streets, first published in 1967. It described growing up in what was then called Spanish Harlem in vivid, angry language that continues to be taught in universities today."

The N.Y. Times obituary is here.


That's it for now. Remember that you can always read a good book. You might check out Down These Mean Streets.


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