Speaking truth with power.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Other Black Guy to Head Other Party

Not to be outdone by Barack Obama's success (and blackness), the Republican Party has chosen Michael Steele to lead the GOP. Steele's victory is in large part due to his willingness to do battle on cable news. For many, this victory marks a departure from the far-right fringes of the party running the show.

And just about everyone can agree, that as far as black republicans go, Steele is a far better option than that windbag, Alan Keyes.

Here's Looking at Shoe - Part 2

Remember Muntadar al-Zaidi? No? Ok. Remember that Iraqi journalist who threw his shoe at President Bush during a press conference in December? Yeah. Now you got it.

Well, apparently, when he hurled his size 10 shoe at W, he shouted, "This is for the orphans and widows!" As a result, an orphanage in Tikrit, Iraq has erected a six-foot bronze statue of a shoe in honor of the jailed, presumably one-shoed, journalist.

Meanwhile, Muntadar al-Zaidi is still in jail. He did recently celebrate his 30th birthday, however. But instead of birthday cake and candles, he more than likely had a car battery connected to his genitals, while being waterboarded.

Oh Blago

Yesterday, America's Governor, Rod Blagojevich was unanimously removed from office by a vote of 59 to 0. Blagojevich delivered his closing arguements by calling for the impeachment of Ted Kennedy, John McCain and Rahm Emanuel. Then, according to reports that don't exist, Mr. Blagojevich ran his fingers through his awesome hair and shouted, "ATTICA! ATTICA!" According to 'real' reports, the governor responded to the news of his removal by saying he planned to go for a jog in the snow.

Blago, please don't go away.

Where My Ladies At?

President Barack Obama signed into law a bill yesterday aimed at making it easier for people to pursue pay-discrimination claims. Also known as the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, this law will, "send a clear message that making our economy work means making sure it works for everybody." Later in the Day, Obama promised to try that Activia yogurt everyone keeps talking about, and watch at least one episode of "Gossip Girl."

You go (to work), girls

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Guantanmo Bay to Close

In one of his first major acts as President, Barack Obama has agreed to close Guantanamo Bay Detention Center. Obama acted quickly in his first week, moving to shut down the controversial prison, making good on a recurring promise from his campaign. Humanitarian groups have decried Gitmo since shortly after it opened. And with the stroke of Obama's pen, this issue has finally been put to bed, and settled forever. We'll never have to think about Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, or "Gitmo," ever again.

Except not at all. Shortly after Obama signed this executive order, the NY Times reported about one Said Ali al-Shihri. Said Ali al-Shihri was a prisoner freed from Guantanamo, who is now a deputy leader of al-qaeda's Yemeni branch. Of course this is what happened. After all, Gitmo wasn't exactly the Hilton. Hell, put me in an orange jumpsuit, and trot me around the hot Cuban sun for six or seven years, and I'm liable to start changing, "Death to America" too.

Obama, however, didn't really have much choice in the matter. Gitmo was a taint on America's values and image abroad. It had to be shut down. It cannot, however, be forgotten. Nor can the detainees simply be set free. As Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan said last week that Guantánamo detainees who were moved to the United States “should be held at maximum-security federal facilities wherever they are available.”

It appears the legacy of Gitmo will unfortunately remain with us for a very long time. It seems the same can be said for its prisoners.

Madame Secretary

In what should come as no surprise, Hillary Clinton was confirmed as 67th Secretary of State yesterday by a vote of 94-2. Hillary brings with her a wealth of experience and knowledge, as well as a testicular fortitude not found on the job since Madeleine Albright. This pick also illustrates another example of President Obama's willingness to surround himself with a cabinet of rivals who will challenge his way of thinking.

It makes sense that Obama would keep Clinton close to him. It keeps her (and Bill) satisfied, and it also removes her as a possible dissenting voice in the Senate. However, Obama distinguished himself from Clinton during the primaries solely on the matter of the Iraq War, and where each stood before troops were sent in. In other words, the only difference between Clinton and Obama was foreign policy, and now he's chosen her for the highest foreign policy post in the country.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Who? Us?

Obama's speech yesterday on the steps of the Capitol wasn't necessarily his best speech. And it was by no means his longest, coming in at about 20 minutes. In many ways, it was atypical of the style we've come to expect from Obama. It wasn't lofty or even hopeful. It was realistic, and at times grim, stating plainly the challenges we as Americans will face in the coming years. In his inaugural address, Barack Obama implored the American people to take ownership of our own fates, ushering in what he called 'a new era of responsibility.'

This was a bold move for Barack. He's usually all 'hope' this and 'yes we can' that. This was a touch more fire and brimstone, dabbled with a call for pulling up of bootstraps. But he might be onto something. Because, apparently we as a nation are screwed. We are in two wars right now. Our economy has gone to shit. Our healthcare system is a joke. And the environment required immediate action 10 years ago.

Ok, so maybe the new President is right. Maybe we are screwed. But he wants us to take responsibility? He wants us to do something? Slow down, new guy. You do know who just left office, right? The last guy told us a week after 9/11 to return to shopping malls and theme parks; to go about our normal lives. There were no victory gardens in George Bush's America. Asking citizens to sacrifice during times of great national crisis is really more of a 1940s thing.

Let's not get too ahead of ourselves here.

Beat It!

It's not right to boo. Nor is it ok to criticize your predecessors while their seat is still warm. It shows no class. However, since President Bush never once showed a shred of class while in office, why on Earth should he be shown any on his way out? President Bush was wildly booed from the Mall and his chopper was given the one hand (and one finger) salute, as it exited the District for Andrews AFB.

The image of W. flying away (for forever please!) with Barry, Biden and their hot wives waving goodbye was one for the ages. And as the helicopter left the ground, it was as though weights were removed from our collective shoulders, and spirits exorcised from our shared psyche. However, as great as that sight was, it wasn't even the best disgraced republican picture of the day.

Cheney in a wheelchair?! The official story is that Cheney hurt his back lifting moving boxes. We here at Muck Breaker have a bridge to sell anyone out there who honestly believes that yarn. (Great condition!) In all probability, Cheney hurt his back trying to kickbox an orphan.

President Obama

Those words in the headline still sound foreign. But, yesterday at around 12:00 noon, Barack Hussein Obama took the oath of the highest office in the land. On a chilly day, with nearly two million people on hand to witness it, Obama became our 44th President.

And on the steps of the Capitol building built by slaves, America took a broad step in bridging the racial divides that keep us apart.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


For the most part, Barack Obama has done a good job with his cabinet appointments. Eric Holder will make a fine attorney general, and has just this morning gone on the record as saying that 'waterboarding is torture.' Picking Rahm Emanuel for chief of staff showed that the administration had balls, and that 'fucking around' would simply not be tolerated. Picking Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State showed the same thing, except with bigger balls.

Then there's Timothy Geithner, Obama's pick to head up the Treasury. It turns out the man chosen to fix the broken economy owes around $30,000 in back taxes. But it doesn't end there. Geithner also broke the golden rule of cabinet appointments: Thou shall not have hired illegal immigrants in the past. Didn't Clinton already go through all this with his Attorney General search in 1992? Was Geithner not paying attention? Geithener, it appears, will move through to confirmation. Bill Richardson, however, wasn't as lucky.

Obama has also come under fire for his choice of Leon Panetta as CIA director, and his retaining Bob Gates as Secretary of Defense. The Gates move is tricky cause on the one hand it's a dumb move. Obama made a name for himself by bashing Bush and his Iraq war. And now the first thing he does is keep Bush's number one man in Iraq. But on the other hand, it's a very smart move. Iraq's a mess. Obama himself used to refer to the Iraq war as a bus that had crashed into a ditch. Changing SecDef's at this point would probably only achieve partisan goals.


YOU GUYS! Canada is making a mix tape for Barack Obama! The project is being called 49 Songs from North of the 49th Parallel. By going to CBC Radio's website you can help vote on the 49 songs from a list of 100.

It's not clear if you have to prove that you are Canadian on the site by some sort of passport verification or making an iced-hockey wrist shot, but it's open til tomorrow, so go for it.

There's no Broken Social Scene on that ballot, so it's really not even worth voting. However, it remains a very cute gesture by our northern neighbors.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Oscar Grant

by Pugach

As Inauguration Day draws near and the excitement surrounding our incoming President reaches a fevered pitch, there is a strange rumbling in Oakland, CA. Two months ago, when Obama took the election, the scene in Oakland was not much different. A predominantly black community, that has endured some of the worst social and economic hardships this nation has ever seen, was rejoicing. Those feelings of hope and inspiration, however, were dashed in an instant, leaving an entire community in disarray.

A few hours into 2009, hundreds of revelers were filling BART trains headed away from a popular Oakland party spot. There was a disturbance on one of the trains and a group of young black men were removed from the train at a stop in East Oakland. Transit police engaged the group, attempting to subdue them and make arrests.

One of the men, 22 year old Oscar Grant, who by most accounts was trying to act as a peace-maker, was thrust against a wall and choked by police. He could be heard saying, "Please don't tase me, please don't shoot me. I have a daughter." A few moments later, police had Oscar on his back and were attempting to subdue and cuff him, when one of the officers pulled out his gun and fired a single round. The bullet passed through Oscar's back, ricocheted off of the ground and passed back through his lungs, mortally wounding him.

Last Wednesday was Oscar's funeral. A group of a few hundred protesters who had gathered near the train station where Oscar was killed had turned toward downtown Oakland and rioted for several hours destroying cars, stores and public property; clashing with police. The last time there were this many people in the streets of downtown Oakland was, you guessed it, November 4, 2008.

We are just a few days away from one of the most historic days of our lives. Millions of Americans, including this muck breaker, will watch with tears in their eyes as a black man is sworn in as President. Few of us thought that we would see such a momentous occasion in our lifetime. And while we can marvel at how far we as Americans have come, let's not forget how far we have to go. The true face of injustice rears its head in the clash between the haves and have nots; those with guns and the authority to use them and those without. The cops, judges, lawyers and politicians of all levels still rule this country. A black man in the highest office does nothing for Oscar's four year old daughter, and Oscar's murder should serve as a stark reminder at how fragile our American condition truly is.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

More Like Failout: Auto Edition

In keeping with its recent tradition of giving money away, the United States government, and her elected officials, recently heard the case of the failing automobile industry. And after a few days of procedural foreplay, Uncle Sam paid (put) out.

It still remains a mystery how this could have happened to the Big 3. It seems 25 years of corporate mismanagement, suffocating Unions, a tragic love affair with the SUV, and an industry-wide disregard for environmental and consumer trends has led the Big 3 down the road to financial ruin. By bailing out Big 3, the federal government is essentially putting a band-aid on a hatchet wound. Buick and Oldsmobile aren't exactly inspiring brands. Adding federal funds only serves to sicken an already dying breed.

But what's really lost here, besides billions in American tax dollars, is innovation. Why take a chance on a new auto technology when the old way will probably just get bailed out again in 15 years (or months). By pumping cash into a Stone Age business plan, the American government (and taxpayer) are basically salting the game of any up and coming auto industry entrepreneurs, who may bring with them a fresh perspective and approach to a century-old industry. It's not as though had the Big 3 failed, people would have stopped buying cars. Telling the Big 3 to 'beat it' would have been a tough call. It would have cost politicians some votes. But it would have been the right call.

So long, flying cars. See you in my dreams.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Curious Case of Rod Blagojevich

When Barack Obama was elected President of the United States, it fell to sitting Illinois Governor, Rod Blagojevich to fill his vacant Senate seat. But Blagojevich, determined not to lose out on a quick buck, offered to sell the seat to the highest bidder. However, instead of cashing in, Blagojevich was just arrested. US Attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald described the corruption as "the most staggering crime spree in office I have ever seen."

And it didn't end there. It was further alleged that Blagojevich pressured the Tribune Company, parent company of the Chicago Tribune, by threatening to withhold state funds in connection with the sale of Wrigley Field unless certain members of the editorial board who were critical of the governor were fired. Political strong arming? Suppression of first amendment rights? Baseball? And have you seen this guy's hair? It defies logic.

And now, amid cries for his resignation, whispers of recall, and preliminary impeachment procedures, Blagojevich has appointed Roland Burris to replace fellow black guy Barack Obama in the Senate. Because, why not? And going one step further, wouldn't Burris have to be a retard to accept this? Oh and the Senate is refusing to seat him. This should end well.

Still want to be President, Barack? Don't forget there is still nationwide economic hellfire to quell. Oh and Israel may have just started a war.

Good luck, buddy.

Here's Looking at Shoe

On December 15, Muntadar al-Zaidi, changed the course of a seemingly normal press conference and threw not one, but both of his size 10 shoes at occasional President, and all around numbskull, George W. Bush.

Muntadar has been in prison ever since. He could face up to 15 years in jail. He has more than likely been tortured. ("Tell us where the other shoes are! Tell us!") He's 29, and it's safe to say that his career as an Iraqi journalist is pretty much over. It's reasonable to assume that old Muntadar may never gain "access" to another important press conference ever again. Some have hailed him as a hero, while others have regarded him as a retard. Love him or hate him, Muntadar al-Zaidi certainly did capture the moment.

Truthfully, we will probably never hear from Muntadar al-Zaida again. But we'll certainly always remember the time that Iraqi guy threw both his shoes at Bush. I couldn't tell you what Tommie Smith or John Carlos (68 Olympics Black Power guys) are up to. And nobody even knows the name of the kid who stepped in front of the tanks at Tienanmen Square in 89. But the images stick with us. Call it momentary bravery or temporary insanity. But in these instances, these individuals went against standard operating procedure and listened to their gut, while the rest of us were left shaking our heads in disbelief.

Muntadar al-Zaidi, if it weren't for that black dude getting elected President of the United States, we'd hail you as our Person of the Year. But he did. So you're not.

Good luck in Iraqi jail, bro.

Did You Miss Me?

I missed you. Originally, Muckbreaker had agreed with the Internet gods to only publish through Election Day. But with impending inaugurations, recent shoe-throwers and the ongoing saga that is Rod Blagojevich's hair, we just had to come back. It is our aim to publish 3-5 stories a week, and we'd all be pleased as punch if you'd drop in and check on us now and again. Agreed?

Let's never fight again.