Republican Senators Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and Don’t Answer the Phone for Lady Ga Ga

Ga Ga: “I am here to be a voice for my generation, not the generation of the senators who are voting, but for the youth of this country, the generation that is affected by this law, and whose children will be affected. We are not asking you to agree with, or approve of the moral implications of homosexuality.”

There is so much wrong with these assumptions that it’s hard to know where to start (many Guard members are in their 30s, 40s, and even 50s, and why NOT ask the senators to stop declaring homosexuality is immoral?) but as the aunt of a 12-year-old, I know that Ga Ga is correct that she speaks for youth, and her heart is definitely in the right place on this one.

Michael Jackson in a Coma

Update: NBC News reports that Michael Jackson died today.

Unconfirmed stories say that Michael Jackson died this afternoon in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times reports that he is in a coma:

[Updated at 2:46 p.m.: Pop star Michael Jackson is in a coma and his family is arriving at his bedside, a law enforcement source told The Times.

Jackson was rushed to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center this afternoon by Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics.

Fire Capt. Steve Ruda said paramedics responded to a call at Jackson’s home at 12:26 p.m. He was not breathing when they arrived. The paramedics performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation and took him to the hospital, Ruda told The Times.]

Celebrity Dirt Goes Green

We welcome a new addition to our blogroll, er, sorry Jon, “web sites list.” This one was discovered by Buck during his live reporting from Florida’s “Serve to Preserve” global warming conference.

Ecorazzi bills itself as The Latest in Green Gossip, with current features on Rob Lowe’s testimony in Washington on behalf of hybrids, Courtney Cox’s line of global warming awareness t-shirts, and Madonna’s new movie on Malawi. At last, a way to waste time on celebrity scoop while feeling virtuous. Thanks, Ecorazzi!

Tune in Live Earth 7/7/07

Take a break from whatever you’re doing tomorrow and check out Live Earth, the international music event to combat global warming.

Live Earth is a 24-hour, 7-continent concert series taking place on 7/7/07 that will bring together more than 100 music artists and 2 billion people to trigger a global movement to solve the climate crisis.

Live Earth will reach this worldwide audience through an unprecedented global media architecture covering all media platforms – TV, radio, Internet and wireless channels…

Live Earth was founded by Kevin Wall, the Worldwide Executive Producer of Live 8, an event that brought together one of the largest audiences in history to combat poverty. Wall formed a partnership with Al Gore and the Alliance for Climate Protection to ensure that Live Earth inspires behavioral changes long after 7/7/07.

Live Earth will stage official concerts at Giants Stadium in New York; Wembley Stadium in London; Aussie Stadium in Sydney; Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro; the Coca-Cola Dome in Johannesburg; Makuhari Messe in Tokyo; the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai; and HSH Nordbank Arena in Hamburg.

Live Earth concerts will be broadcast to a live worldwide audience by MSN at

The newest artist to be added to the list of performers is Yusuf, formerly known as Cat Stevens.

New Governor: Dump “Darkeys” and Faux Florida State Song

Among the many controversies (and we’ll get to some in later posts) that Florida’s new kinder, gentler Republican-lite governor, Charlie Crist, has brought about is whether to change the state song. Even those of us who never really knew we had a state song can guess what it might be. That’s right, Stephen Foster’s classic, “Old Folks at Home,” popularly known as “Way Down Upon the Suwannee River.”

Pennsylvanian Stephen Foster never set foot in Florida, and his song wasn’t even about Florida until Foster realized that “Swanee” sounded better than “Peedee,” the river in South Carolina he originally sought to memorialize

It all started when Crist — who can’t pass a day without being compared to California’s Arnold Schwarzenegger for his “populist,” centrist, two-month-old leadership — decided to forgo the playing of the state song during his inauguration ceremony. No one seemed to miss it at the time, what with all the other festivities, but later Crist was asked to explain the omission.

”There are lyrics in it that are, in the opinion of some, a derogatory reference to some time in our historical past that involves slavery,” Crist said. ”I can’t condone it.”

Since he said that, people like me who know the first couple of lines and then hum, have been wondering what the actual lyrics are, and how this got to be Florida’s state song. What the research turns up is fascinating.

For starters, Pennsylvanian Stephen Foster never set foot in Florida, and his song wasn’t even about Florida until Foster realized that “Swanee,” as he spelled it, sounded better than “Peedee,” the river in South Carolina he originally sought to memorialize.

Wait, it gets better. Foster wrote the song in 1851 for E.P. Christy and his traveling show, “Christy’s Minstrels.” It sold hundreds of thousands of copies, and by the 1880s, was credited with starting Florida’s tourist industry. But a look at the lyrics is enough to make you recoil, or guffaw, or both. […]

Godfather of Soul

Super bad:

James Brown, the dynamic, pompadoured “Godfather of Soul,” whose rasping vocals and revolutionary rhythms made him a founder of rap, funk and disco as well, died early Monday, his agent said. He was 73 [born May 3, 1933].

Brown was hospitalized with pneumonia at Emory Crawford Long Hospital on Sunday and died around 1:45 a.m. Monday, said his agent, Frank Copsidas of Intrigue Music. Longtime friend Charles Bobbit was by his side, he said.

[Frank] Copsidas, the singer’s agent, said Brown’s family was being notified of his death and that the cause was still uncertain. “We really don’t know at this point what he died of,” he said.

Activists Urge Boycott of the ‘N-word’

Even a complete ban wouldn’t stop a rage-aholic like Michael Richards from spewing hate speech.

African-American leaders, including Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California) and Rev. Jesse Jackson, gathered in Los Angeles yesterday to urge a nationwide boycott of the use of the “n-word.”

They were reacting to the infamous “stage rage” incident on November 17 in which former television star Michael Richards was videotaped at a local comedy club shouting racial epithets at two African-American men in the audience. The leaders said they were encouraging everyone, particularly Rap artists and African-American standup comics, to “just say no” to the n-word:

“We’re not trying to penalize anyone,” Waters said at a news conference at the Los Angeles Sentinel newspaper, “but don’t use the n-word, no matter who you are, whether you’re black, white, young or old.”

Jackson added: “This word is a symbol of degradation and the actions that flow from it.”

Would banning the n-word help? It is already stigmatized among the 99.99 percent of African-Americans who aren’t Rap artists or their hardcore fans. It has been verbotten in all but a small reprobate segment of what might be called the “white community” for a generation or three. This self-censorship is why it is referred to as the “n-word,” like the “f-word,” “s-word” and the other unspeakables.

The boycott may resonate among standup comics but to reach Rap artists and their fans, political and spiritual leaders need to find advocates closer to the locus than Rev. Jackson and Rep. Water — maybe producer/artists like P-Diddy or Dr. Dre.

But even with a complete ban in place, it wouldn’t stop a rage-aholic like Michael Richards from spewing hate speech when he imagined his buttons were being pushed.

Girl in the War

If you haven’t heard “Girl in the War” by Josh Ritter, do yourself a favor and listen.

Peter said to Paul you know all those words we wrote
Are just the rules of the game and the rules are the first to go
But now talking to God is Laurel begging Hardy for a gun
I got a girl in the war man I wonder what it is we done

I’ve said from the get-go that this war is different because it’s not just young men dying, it’s men and women of all ages, from all walks of life. However you get your death toll (I usually catch it on ABC’s This Week), you can’t help but notice the 30-something, 40-something, and even 50-something ages listed, along with occasional names like Deborah or Maria.

I work part-time at UPS, and one of our drivers, a guy named Henry, got word a couple of weeks ago that his 20-something Army officer daughter is being called to Iraq in November. He’s spent the time since trying to locate the special knives, armor, and other protection her friends already there have warned her to bring.

After he gave money to another driver to pick up something at a gun shop on that driver’s route, I asked him how he’s doing with the whole thing. “I’m not really thinking about it,” he said. “I’m trying to make sure she has what she needs but it hasn’t sunk in yet.” He paused. “It’s pretty scary.” I tried to think of something to say along the lines of, “I’m sure it will be fine,” or, “It’s so wonderful that she’s doing this with her life.” I settled on a line that was at least true. “You must be proud to have such a brave daughter.”

Because the keys to the Kingdom got locked inside the Kingdom
And the angels fly around in there but we can’t see them
I got a girl in the war Paul I know that they can hear me yell
If they can’t find a way to help her they can go to Hell
If they can’t find a way to help her they can go to Hell