Coming to Kindle and Smashwords

Coming to Kindle and Smashwords
November 2013

Aug 24, 2012

Mitt Romney Tax Returns May Have Employed Legally Dubious Maneuvers, Tax Experts Say

Bill Nye on creationism: "Your world view just becomes crazy"

Bill Nye makes a plea for teaching our children science and preparing them to make good choices for the future.

When Did the GOP Get So White: The Republicans’ Loss of Diversity

The one-time Party of Lincoln boasted the first African-American, Asian-American, Native-American, Hispanic, and popularly-elected woman senators. Now polls show Romney-Ryan will get virtually no black votes. John Avlon looks at the party’s inclusivity retreat.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that no African-Americans will vote for the Romney-Ryan ticket, just that it will be within the margin of error and along the lines last time, when McCain-Palin somehow managed to score 4 percent of the black vote.
But ’twas not always thus for the GOP. Dust off your history books and you will see Republicans once had a virtual lock on the minority vote—and minority elected officials. The legacy of Lincoln was alive and well until not so long ago. Which makes the retreat of recent decades both unfortunate and ill-timed.
Consider that the first popularly-elected African-American senator was a Republican, Ed Brooke from Massachusetts, in 1966. Likewise the first Asian-American senator, Hawaii’s Hiram Fong, who was first elected in the Eisenhower era. The first Native-American senator, Charles Curtis—who went on to be Herbert Hoover’s vice president. The first Hispanic senator, Octaviano Larrazolo, also was a Republican. Ditto the first woman popularly elected to the Senate, Maine’s Margaret Chase Smith.
“The Republican Party was the party that gave hope and inspiration to minorities—and there was a coalition at first,” says Ed Brooke, now 92 and living with his wife, Anne, in Miami. “My father was a Republican. My mother was a Republican. They wouldn't dare be a Democrat. The Democrats were a party opposed to civil rights. The South was all Democratic conservatives. And the African-American community considered them the enemy.”
That’s why every single one of the 23 African-American members of Congress before 1900 was a Republican. They wouldn’t have dreamed of being anything other than members of the Party of Lincoln—Democrats were the party of the Confederate South.  Frederick Douglass summed up the sentiment when he said, “I am a Republican, a black, dyed-in-the-wool Republican, and I never intend to belong to any other party than the party of freedom.” This legacy echoed for generations.
“When I first went to the Senate there was one woman there, Margaret Chase Smith, who was a Republican,” remembers Brooke. “Of course, I was the only African-American. But there were a couple of Jewish senators—Jacob Javits [a Republican from New York] and Abe Ribicoff [a Democrat] from Connecticut. We had some diversity—racial diversity and [gender] diversity—but it was very small, of course. But we also had a degree of diversity as far as political ideology. We had a group of moderate senators who met for lunch once a week and we had a block of eight that usually voted together on these issues.”
Clockwise, from top left: Frederick Douglass, the first popularly-elected African-American Senator Republican Edward Brooke, the first Asian-American Senator, Hawaii’s Hiram Fong, and Senator Hayakawa.
The decline of centrist Republicans was one important reason for the decline in the GOP’s diversity over recent decades, according to Brooke. The shift of the party’s political base to the states of the former Confederacy coincided with the rise of social conservatism and states’ rights in what had been the progressive party in the era of Lincoln. The historic irony of a Southern Democrat, Lyndon Johnson, signing civil rights and voting rights bills into law (which his 1964 opponent Barry Goldwater opposed) solidified the shift of African-Americans into the Democrats’ camp, capped by the election of the first African-American president a half-century later.
Demographics are destiny, and looking like the party of old white men is not a recipe for Republican success in the future.        
“When you say Republican Party to the average citizen now, what comes up in their minds?” asks Brooke. “Not that it was the first party to elect an African-American to the United States Senate or the first woman. And then Hiram Fong and [S.I] Hayakawa, representing Hawaii and California. There were all these instances where Republicans were first. But they never really were able to capitalize on that. They always looked like they wanted to keep that hidden. If the Democrats had done that, we would have never stopped hearing about it.”
Demographics are destiny, and looking like the party of old white men is not a recipe for Republican success in the future. That’s why this forgotten legacy of diversity should be respected and celebrated, even as the Party of Lincoln has turned into the Party of Reagan. Because these forgotten figures deserve to be remembered by Republicans and all Americans as the pioneers they were.

variations on a theme.......

Adan Jodorowsky seeks funding for surrealist short featuring a gold-yielding vagina (and a pretty cool story)

Oh, my lovelies, wait until you hear about this so you can throw all your money at it like fairy dust: Adan Jodorowsky, son of avant garde filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky (who almost made Dune with Salvador Dali and Orson Welles), and Asia Argento, daughter of Dario Argento (Suspiria, Inferno), are both filmmakers in their own right, and are currently collaborating on a short, surrealist film called The Voice Thief. With the help of some interested parties, they hope to raise funds for the movie on Kickstarter. Here are some details about the film:
"[A] mad husband attempts to steal voices for his opera singing wife, who's since lost hers... Adan describes the journey as involving 'a prostitute dwarf who still lives as a child in the shadow of her mother’s corpse,' and 'a cult that worships a giant transvestite who drips gold from her vagina.'"
I'm sorry, but if that doesn't sound like something we all can't get behind in these divided times, I don't know what is. But seriously, this sounds like an ambitious and deliciously weird project being made by people with wonderful imaginations. And if Jodorowsky can find a way to bypass the studios and make this the way he wants, then that's excellent!
Jodorowsky will be directing Argento, who will be playing the mute opera singer, and his brother Cristobal, who is playing the voice-stealing husband. Their deadline is September 14, so visit their Kickstarter page to read more about the production and what you'll get if you donate.


Devon Steampunk Watch: all springs and belts and such and oh my

We interrupt our regularly scheduled blog to bring you a brief moment during which I will fantasize in public about having an extra $25,000 lying around so I could pre-order one of these Devon Steampunk watches