Aretha Frankly

 

bussingI’m reposting this in honor of the great Aretha Franklin, whose funeral was today in Motown. This essay is not about Ms. Franklin, it is my first recollection of the civil rights movement. But the title is a tribute to her, the first Aretha I knew of as a child, and someone who had a profound influence on civil rights in America.

By Jay McAdams

I was in the 3rd grade when school desegregation began in Oklahoma City. The entire South had been protesting desegregation for nearly two decades, since the 1954 Supreme Court’s Brown vs. Board of Education ruling, which overturned the 1896 Plessy vs. Ferguson decision that had ruled for “separate but equal” schools for blacks and whites. Angry mobs of white people had been held back by national guard troops at elementary schools, high schools, and even colleges across the South in the ‘50’s and ’60’s and now it was 1972 and The Supreme Court ordered bussing to force schools to end segregation. I understand all of this today as a middle-aged man, but at 8 years old I didn’t know any of this historical context. I just knew that it was fun to protest because it meant riding around town in the back seat of our Rebel convertible and holding up signs. It was like being in a parade. People honked and we waved. I was just a kid, so I only understood the issue from the POV of the adults around me, who were all Southern white conservatives. I understood that it was about racial tension between blacks and whites, but it only made sense if you bought into the premise that blacks were bad. But if you believed that to be the truth, then it made perfect sense to fight forced bussing. So we drove around for weeks after my mom got off work, with me and my sister holding up our handmade “Bomb Bussing” signs, which I was very proud of because I drew that stereotypical round bomb with the fuse, and I drew it perfectly.

But then, on the first day of bussing I got a different perspective. I remember very clearly that first day when black students were bussed to McKinley Elementary, my neighborhood school. As I walked to school that morning I came upon quite a scene. Parents were lined up in front of the school, shoulder to shoulder. The buses were parked there, full of frightened African American kids staring out of the windows at the not-so-welcoming crowd. Their parents weren’t there to protect them or comfort them. Just the angry white parents from the neighborhood. I remember a girl on the bus with her face pressed up against the glass in a mask of fear. I felt so badly for those kids. There were no police or screaming white people, nobody was shouting or doing anything overtly rude, yet it was palpably tense. Nobody was talking, and except for the wind, it was eerily silent. It was one of those movie moments, where everything seemed heightened with extreme close-ups and slow motion to the amplified sound of wind like in an old Clint Eastwood western. For months I’d been repeating the slogans of the adults in the room and the headlines on the news, but now I was seeing race relations for myself. They walked the children off the bus and into the school and we all stared as if they were aliens from another planet, as if we’d never seen black people before. My 3rd grade teacher, Mr. Jackson, was African American but somehow that seemed different.

When I got to my classroom Mr. Jackson had seated the new students randomly around the room. I sat next to a tall girl named Aretha. I could tell she was scared and I felt the need to try to make everything seem normal. I felt really sorry for the kids who were bussed in, so I made it a point to talk to Aretha at recess. Once the adults were out of the way, I realized that we were all just people. When you were eye to eye, it became clear pretty fast that we were all just kids. By the end of the day, Aretha and I were friends. I remember going home and reporting at the dinner table about my new friend Aretha. That day started off feeling very weird to me, but in the end it felt triumphant because of Aretha. Bussing wasn’t so bad after all. What had we been so scared of? A couple of years later, I’d be bussed to a mostly black school on the opposite side of town, but by then the controversy had died down and there was no hostile group of African American parents waiting to intimidate my bus full of white kids. There was no problem. And my 5th grade, just like my 4th and 3rd turned out just fine.

In my recollection, I am the hero, the omniscient 8-year old. In my memory I was the only one with empathy for the African American kids. But that must not actually have been the case. I couldn’t have been the only one seeing those terrified kids on the bus and feeling empathy for them. Maybe the reason those white parents were so quiet wasn’t because they were staring those little kids down to intimidate them, but rather because they too felt empathy for those visibly scared children. I hope that was the case.

I have only known a few people that I think to be truly color-blind, who just don’t see race when they look at someone. I want to be like that, but I am sometimes haunted by those headlines from my formative years. Most of us learned as kids to fear other races or nationalities or religions and no matter how ridiculous and reprehensible we find that as adults, it is hard to change what was imprinted in your youth. Today we know that racism does not come naturally to children, it is taught. At least the majority of us know that. Kids don’t naturally hate other kids because of race. They are taught that. They repeat what they hear from adults, like I did. Let’s just hope America’s parents have had the TV turned off for the last year. And that they will keep it off for the immediate future.

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Trump Fires Shatner from Space Force

Capt kirk

Washington D.C. – Aug 29, 11:51pm EST  – –  President Trump tweeted Wednesday that he was firing actor William Shatner. “I’m not happy with the slow progress of Space Force. It’s been weeks since I announced it, and where is it? Where’s our Captain Kirk?”

William Shatner said he had never met Trump, and that he had no idea what he was talking about.

Trump fired back on Shatner’s Snap Chat page using the Snap Chat lion filter. “YOU’RE FIRED!”, he roared looking like a strange man-lion. “Just like they fired you from those Priceline ads. Fired from everything. Fired Shatner. Fired.”

Shatner laughed when shown the president’s posts. “The sad thing is, I would have taken the job.”, Shatner joked, “ I mean, at my age a job is a job.”

Just last week Trump fired Omarosa from the job of Communications Director of Space Force after her press blitz calling the president insane. “Wouldn’t she look perfect as the new Lt. Uhura? In that little skirt… from the 60’s? Can’t you just see that? With that thing in her ear.” Like Shatner, Omarosa had never spoken with anybody about joining anything called Space Force. But unlike Shatner who joked about wanting the job, Omarosa said she is seriously interested in the job of Communications Director for Space Force and is … “waiting by the phone.”

Kellyanne Conway claimed Space Force is up and running, “Who are you to say that there is no Space Force? How dare you?” But when pressed for details of how many service members Space Force has and where it was located Conway said, “It’s in space. That’s where it is. I’m surprised you CNN guys aren’t smarter.”

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders went even further than Conway saying Wednesday at the White House daily briefing, “Space Force is the best force and the biggest space force in history. Period.”

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that they had contacted every single government agency, and that nobody in any of these agencies was aware of the creation of a Space Force. When asked why Trump tweeted that he was frustrated with the progress of Space Force if it is already up and running, Sanders replied, “In the words of Kellyanne Conway, How dare you!”

Trump tweeted late Wednesday, “I’m considering giving Captain Kirk a second chance, because mostly he beat the bad guys and got the girls. I’m considering making Shatner Attorney General.”

Trump’s Hair Stylist Granted Immunity

witchiepoo
Billie Hayes as Witchiepoo, in the 1969 kid’s show HR Pufnstuf. On Friday Rudy Giuliani compared Hayes’ orange hair and white eye make-up to the president’s.

WASHINGTON DC, Aug, 24, 1:10pm EST          Robert Mueller is tightening the noose even more on Donald Trump by offering immunity to his closest confidants. Thursday he granted immunity to media magnate David Pecker, who runs the National Enquirer and oversaw the “catch and kill” of the story of one of Trump’s extramarital affairs with porn stars to keep the stories from public view and help Trump win the election.

Then Friday morning Mueller announced that he had offered immunity to Allen Weisselberg who has been the CFO for the Trump organization for decades, going all the way back to Trump’s father. Weisselberg is alleged to have arranged payments to one of the women and for reimbursements paid to Cohen. Weisselberg has extensive knowledge of the Trump organization’s expenditures, which could provide powerful criminal evidence for the Mueller investigation on many fronts.

At noon on Friday, Mueller made yet another announcement. He announced that he will also grant immunity to the president’s personal hair stylist. A source close to the investigation said, “This might be the most important person yet to receive immunity because all reports indicate that Trump is most loose-lipped in the mornings, while having his hair done and watching Fox and Friends.” Trump has even been known to call in to the controversial morning TV show while having his comb-over sculpted.

“Nobody cares what shade of orange the president’s hair dresser uses.”, said Trump’s lawyer Rudolph Giuliani. “The hair dresser is not an elected official and knows nothing anyway. Look, we all know that hairdressers everywhere, I mean in every town everywhere, hairdressers know who is sleeping with who… that’s true. My hairdresser doesn’t know anything, but that’s because they only work on me for about 1 minute.”, Giuliani said joking with reporters and pointing to his own mostly bald head.

The name of the presidential hair stylist has not yet been released by Mueller, but Trump is said to have had the same hair stylist since before he went orange. An unnamed White House aide said, “He just sits there spewing about the news while he watches Fox for 2 hours every morning and while she works on the CO for the whole time hearing everything he says. The CO, is the secret service code name forwhat the staff calls his comb-over.”, the aide added. “She knows, perhaps more than anyone else on earth, what Trump is thinking.”, said the aide on condition of anonymity.

Rumors also began swirling in the West Wing Friday that Mueller is considering granting immunity to the make-up artist who is in charge of his dark base (his base make-up, not his ultra white political base) and the white around his eyes. “Bring it on.”, said Giuliani. “For those of us old enough to remember Witchiepoo from HR Pufnstuf, she had the most white around her eyes and her hair was over-the-top-orange and nobody ever said ‘Well we ought to subpoena her make-up person, or her hair dresser, for that matter’.”

Trump Creates Omarosa Smoke Screen

Breaking News graphic

WASHINGTON D.C. – Thurs, Aug 23, 2018      Just two days after his former campaign chair Paul Manafort was convicted of 8 felonies and his former attorney Michael Cohen implicated the president himself in criminal actions, President Trump tried to distract the white house press corps by announcing that he has fired Omarosa yet again.

He told the press before boarding Marine 1 to fly to his Florida resort, that he rehired Omarosa over the weekend, even after last week’s press blitz by Omarosa that shared secret recordings of the president and Chief of Staff Kelly. But this time, Trump claimed, he had rehired her as the new Communications Director of Space Force.

“I just had no choice but to fire her, again. Not the first time I’ve had to fire this one. I had thought she’d be the perfect Comms Director of Space Force, you know, to play the new Lt. Uhura with that thing in her ear, only now that thing in her ear would look more like a white i-phone ear thing, much smaller and made by Apple, one of our greatest companies. And I know Omarosa would have been great at that since she obviously is good at eavesdropping on people. And can you see her sitting there in one of those space uniforms? I can. I can just see that.”

A reporter asked Trump why he fired her if he was actually hiring her as Comms Director of Space Force. Trump replied “I had to fire her, well General Kelly, although I didn’t know about it at all, at the time, but they knew and look, I will tell you they run a big operation. Really a lot to look over. And why they tell me she had to go, was that she’s saying now that I am mentally unstable. Can you believe that?”

Trump spoke with reporters for 6 minutes on the South lawn and was asked 7 questions about Manafort’s conviction and Cohen’s cooperation with the special counsel, but his response to every question was about Omarosa.

Omarosa denied ever having been hired as Communications Director of Space Force. “I know nothing about that. America has heard quite clearly the last conversation I had with the president, and it was him lying about knowing anything about Kelly firing me. And he’s lying about this too. He never hired me to be the new Comms Director of Space Force. But let me just say, that if he were to seriously offer me such a position, I think I’d be highly qualified and interested in that position.”, she said.

 

Trump Revokes Judge’s security clearance after Manafort conviction!

Breaking News graphic

Washington D.C. – Tuesday, Aug 21st, 3:55pm EST     President Trump announced Tuesday, just minutes after Paul Manafort was convicted of 8 crimes that could send him to prison for life, that he was revoking the security clearances of the Judge and the even the jury in the Manafort case. When told that jurors are just citizens and they don’t even have security clearances, Trump exclaimed, “That’s what I’m trying to figure out! Why are they sending Paul to prison if the judge and the jury don’t even have security clearances? What is going on?”

“And those jurors, horrible people. Hillary supporters clearly. How they can do this, to a really really great guy, is just unbelievable. Really unbelievable.” Trump added as he boarded Marine 1 for tonight’s rally in West Virginia.

Nearly 30 minutes into his flight, President Trump tweeted “And I’m revoking the security clearance of the judge who oversaw Michael Cohen’s plea deal as well. Stupid. First of all the guy is clearly crazy. A real showboat this one. And this judge’s parents are from somewhere, I hear it’s Mexico, but maybe some other place. Who knows? But as I’ve said before, Mexicans, but also, also Americans with Mexican heritage and Mexican parents should not be judges in America. Period.”

“The president understands fully that judges don’t have the same type of security clearances as former CIA directors.”, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said when asked by reporters. “Then why is he saying it?”, asked a Washington Post reporter. “Well the president has a colorful vocabulary and …we don’t comment on his tweets.”, said Sanders.

Tuesday’s statement and tweet by the president raised new questions about last week’s White House rumors that the president had been telling White House staffers that he was considering revoking the security clearances of Judge Judy and all of the other TV judges. Some staffers thought it was only a joke, while others reportedly added Judge Judy to the “list of people to attack in the media”.

One White House staffer said on condition of anonymity, “He’s just very unhappy with a lot of the TV judges’ verdicts. Especially the one where the guy sues his former roommate, who looked just like Heather Locklear used to look, for never paying his rent. I mean never. And the judge ruled against her, who looks so much like she did on 90210. That one really pushed the president over the edge. He was a big fan of BH902.”

 

 

Trump Hires Jackie Chan as Envoy to Russia

SeagalVSJackieChan

WASHINGTON DC. –  Hours after learning on Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had appointed American action movie star Steven Seagal as an envoy to the United States, U.S. President Trump countered by appointing action movie actor Jackie Chan to serve as his U.S. special envoy to Russia.

“Everyone knows that Jackie Chan can beat up Steven Seagal.” the President said Tuesday from his resort in New Jersey.  “Seagal’s tough, I mean, he knows karate and all that, but Jackie Chan can walk on the ceiling. Have you seen this? He’s like a miracle. Like a monkey. He’s all over the place. And these Chinese guys, they know karate, plus jujitsu, plus taekwondo, they know all of that. You don’t mess with the Chinese… except with regard to trade, or course.”

When asked what experience Mr. Chan has in diplomacy or international affairs, Trump responded, “Well let me tell you, Jackie has had a lot of international affairs. The ladies really like a guy who can move like he does. I mean he’s literally walking on the ceiling, like he’s on the moon, but he’s right here on the earth. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen his movies and he does that. And the ladies really really love him for that.”

When shown video of Mr. Seagal pronouncing Vladimir Putin’s name with precise Russian pronunciation, Mr. Trump said “Well Mr. Chan’s accent is much better than Seagal’s. Because not only can Jackie say my name with a perfect Chinese accent, he can say anything with a perfect Chinese accent. Let Seagal try that!”

There are no plans for Seagal and Chan to meet officially but President Trump suggested that he would be happy to meet with Seagal anytime with no pre-conditions. When asked why Trump wouldn’t assign Chan to meet with Seagal, Trump said, “Well I would first want to try to work things out and see what happens before I’d call in the Chinese.”

Mr. Trump touted Chan’s box office success over Seagal’s. “If you look at Jackie’s movies, the box office numbers crush Seagal’s so-called movies. Chan runs circles around Seagal, who couldn’t run if he had to. Have you seen this guy since he stopped making those action movies? Sad. Probably weighs 400 lbs now. Very sad.”

The Kremlin was unavailable for comment.

What Would It REALLY Take?

nydailynews_071618

He claimed that he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and nobody in his base would care. And he was right. He has lied daily, even about unnecessary things like inaugural crowd size and they didn’t care. Not one bit. He refused to show his taxes like every other candidate has done for decades, then proceeded to profit off the presidency. But they didn’t care. He’s attacked our allies and protected our enemies. But nothing was quite like when he stood next to the former Russian KGB agent-turned-dictator and said he believed him over our own intelligence agencies. That was clear treason and still they didn’t care. That was shooting Uncle Sam right in the head in front of the entire world, and still, Republicans did nothing except feign outrage for 48 hours. They didn’t care.

So what would it really take to get these 30%-40% of uneducated Americans who are trump voters to side with Reason over Treason? Hard, concrete evidence of criminal wrongdoing from Mueller? Nope. They’ll say it’s just a witch hunt. More tapes catching him lying? Nope, they don’t care if he lies. Sex photos of him with Stormy Daniels? Nope. They’ll just be more proud of him. The Russian pee-pee-tape mentioned in the Steele Dossier? Nope. Not enough. If he said he was going to undo the traditional design of Air Force One created by Jackie Kennedy, would that outrage any Republicans? Nope. What if he threatened to revoke the security clearances of the most respected security officials in the U.S. because they dared to critique his antics with serious criticism? No problem, say Republicans. What if he gets innocent people killed? He’s already done that by stupidly moving the embassy in Israel, and nobody cared at all. Crickets.

No, it’ll take cutting the heart out of what Republicans really care about to get his base to take the hand of the rest of the world. Like cancelling the air force flyover at the Super Bowl, now you’re getting to the heart of the heartland. Or demanding that they print FAKE FOOD on Cheese Whiz cans. That might be enough to hit conservatives where they live. If he banned Dukes of Hazzard reruns, he’d surely lose votes from his Southern tiki-torch carrying friends. What if he put a tariff on Chick Fil-A sandwiches? Oh that’d burn up Scott Pruitt and all those conservative chickens. If he wore a t-shirt with a Mexican flag that says “It’s pronounced Hay Sus, not Jesus” to the national prayer breakfast, that’d get him impeached. Siding with Russia wouldn’t get him impeached, but a slander to evangelicals seriously would. If he banned NASCAR, he’d just have to go. If he deported Lee Greenwood, he’d not only be impeached, he’d be impaled by conservatives.

But what if… he told the truth? Oh, wow! That might really be thing that’d undo him. Not that we have to worry that ever happening, but just imagine how his base’s heads would explode. Because if he’d told the truth, he would have never fooled those poor 70 million Americans into voting for him in the first place. If he told the truth, even they would know that he’s nothing but a fat orange bluff in an overpriced suit. If he told the truth, they’d know he’s not religious. He wouldn’t be sleeping with all those porn stars if he were truly religious, would he? If he told the truth, even the dumbest of his voters who have never left their own counties would know that he is an idiot about foreign policy. If he told the truth, they’d know he’s not really against abortion. Or even gay people. He was fine with abortions and gays during his swinging Studio 54 days. If he told the truth for once in his life, they’d know what a vacuous bully he really is. If ever he decided to tell the truth, then his gaslighted Republican devotees would finally come to see that he’s nothing more than an emperor with no clothes.