Thursday, March 12, 2009

Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Evil Genius

Author, comedian and maybe--in time--the junior senator from Minnesota Al Franken had a best selling book: Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot. It was funny; it was a good read, but Mr. Franken had it wrong.
Mr. Limbaugh is a genius. An evil genius, but a genius nonetheless. His skill at marketing and running an extradinary con game has made him a millionare many times over. And Mr. Limbaugh's primary interests are money and ratings. He has captured the intolerant minority by waging his campaign of devisiveness and name calling.
He has his weaknesses. He is not very good at marriage. And he became addicted to prescription drugs. But he is a consummate con artist who has amassed a very large number of suckers who think that if he does not walk on water, it is because he does not want to.
His ditto heads, minions and suckers are the idiots. They run the gamut from big, fat idiots to little, skinny idiots. Since he has convinced them that the Democratic Party is the party of evil, they have come to constitute a significant block in the shrinking Republican base.
Woe be unto any Republican who criticizes Mr. Limbaugh. S/he will be drowned in blizzard of support for Rush and the threat of retaliation. And several Republicans were not smart enough to refrain from criticizing Mr. Limbaugh. So they were forced to apologize for telling the truth.
And while Mr. Limbaugh is a genius, he is not perfect. So, he made the mistake of saying that he hoped President Barack Obama would fail. Fail at what? Rescuing the nation from a major economic crisis? Rescuing the capitalistic system Mr. Limbaugh claims to love.
The Democrats saw a great opportunity, and they are milking this "sacred cow" for all it is worth. And the Republicans do not know how to distance themselves Mr. Limbaugh's gamemanship. And Mr. Limbaugh is too arrogant to admit his mistake. So he is trying to create a straw man by acusing President Obama of trying to destroy capitalism. It will not wash.
So the big, fat evil genius will be an asset to the Democrats and himself unless and until President Obama fails. If that happens everyone except Mr. Limbaugh and other fat cats will be the losers.
Until this plays out this will be fun for us liberals to watch.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Thank you Brother Mayor Jones

Mayor Dwight C. Jones' decision to drop former Mayor L. Douglas Wilder's appeals to the Virginia Supreme Court was very welcome news. This may mean that the era of Mr. Wilder's bullying, egomania and lunacy has been replaced by an era of cooperation, common sense and reason. Let us hope so.
The appeals of Judge Margaret Spencer's decisions revealed Mr. Wilder's unsurpassed capacity for doubletalk. When Mr. Wilder tried to hire and fire city employees who report to City Council, he argued he had to follow the City Charter. What the Charter says is that the Chief Administrations Officer is in charge of all city employees. But the clear intent of the Charter was to say that the CAO is in charge of all of the employees in the departments that report to the CAO.
The rational thing to do was to correct the Charter. But Mr. Wilder argued that the CAO was in charge of the city employees who report to Council, and he was in charge of the CAO. Therefore he could hire and fire these employees.
This was nonsense, and Mr. Wilder knew it was nonsense. But he made a power play; because, he thought he might be able to get away with it.
The City Charter is clear about who controls city property. It is the City Council. When Mr. Wilder tried to evict the Richmond Public Schools from City Hall--probably because he wanted its offices for himself--he argued that the Charter did not apply to him because he was a "strong" mayor.
This litigation had already cost the City over a million dollars; droping it was a very good idea.
Thank you Brother Mayor Jones.
Preston M. Yancy

Sunday, February 1, 2009

We lost two good men

Donald (Don) W. Taylor, January 17, 2009
James (Jimmy) E. Saunders, January 20, 2009
Friends and family are mourning the loss of Don Taylor and Jimmy Saunders.
Jimmy and I were active at All Souls Presbyterian Church in the 1960s and 70s. We were both on the Board of Deacons and that was where we interacted most often.
At the time we met, he was a police detective, and I was a federal employee. Later I joined the faculty at Virginia Union University, and I learned he was a student there. I did not get to have him in any of my classes. I wish I had. When he graduated, someone yelled "old timer", and he laughed.
I saw him every now and then recently. About six years ago he told me he had prostate cancer. Jimmy was forthright and up front.
I saw Don Taylor all the time. We belonged to two bridge groups. Sometimes he gave me a ride home. He was the dominant player in the Union Progressive Bridge Club when I joined several years ago.
I was very honored when he asked me to play with him in a tournament. I was new to duplicate bridge and bidding boxes, and I made a couple of major blunders. But we did fairly well.
Then he had an anurism that few people survive. But he survived, and he almost came all the way back. He was a decent player but no longer dominant. I last saw him in December 2008. Bridge will never be the same.
James E. Saunders and Donald W. Taylor were good men.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Is "liberal" still a "bugaboo"?

In an editorial Suspension, (Jan. 15, 2009) a Richmond-Times Dispatch editorial writer notes that the University of Virginia (UVA) is suspending classes from 11:00 a m to 1:00 p m on Inauguration Day. The editorial further notes that other institutions of higher learning are doing things such as taking buses to Washington.
The editorial notes that this is a historic inauguration worthy of celebration. But it cannot resist mounting a self-styled conservative hobby horse--liberal bias in academia. It concludes: "It seems doubtful that UVA and other schools would be so enthusiastic about a black president-elect named, say, Clarence Thomas."
Then came Times-Dispatch columnist Karin Agness with a column Why Did UVA Cancel Classes Only This Time?. (Jan. 18, 2009) Ms. Agness notes that classes were not canceled four years age or the second inauguration of President George W. Bush, and she answered her rhetorical question with predictable self-styled conservative tommyrot. You guessed it--liberal bias in academia. Ms. Agness is a law school student at UVA, and she says she will attend those suspended classes.
Will she teach herself?
Well, at least the editorial writer gets the historical significance; although, Minister Louis Farrakhan has a better chance of being elected president than Mr. Justice Thomas.
There is ordinary history, and there is unique history. President Bush's second inauguration was ordinary history. President-elect Baraka Obama's inauguration is unique history. When President Dwight Eisenhower's second inauguration took place in 1956 Mr. Obama would not have been able to attend UVA. When President Lyndon Johnson was inaugurated in 1964, Mr. Obama's parents' marriage would have been illegal in Virginia. The founder of UVA--the venerable President Thomas Jefferson--was a slaveholder.
Mr. Obama's inauguration means our country has moved another step away from its racist past.
I teach at a university, and one of my classes has been cancelled for observation of Inauguration Day. But I, and any competent teacher, can compensate for a missed class. But I doubt if I, or any teacher, can teach anything that could compete with observing the inaugural activities of this momentous ocassion.
And I am willing to pay new money to watch a recording of Ms. Agness attending those suspended classes.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hello Mayor Jones; Goodbye Mayor Wilder

Mayor Dwight C. Jones seems to be off to a good start' He would be well advised to undo as much of former Mayor L Douglas Wilder's nonsense as he can.
Mr. Wilder opposed elected mayor proposals prior to 2003. But that did not stop him from criticizing State Sen. Henry L Marsh for opposing a prior proposal that Wilder lobbies against.
Then in 2003, Mr. Wilder helped sell the Wilder/Bliley Charter Revisions that gave us an elected mayor. Mr. Wilder assured us that the mayor's role was clearly spelled out. Of course he also assured us that he would not run for mayor.
He did run for mayor, and as soon as he was elected he sought and got more power. But that was not enough. Today he criticizes the charter he helped sell and that he revised. He says it is a question of who runs the city. That says it all. He wanted to run the city all by himself.
Intellectually, Mr. Wilder fully understands separation of powers and checks and balances. But emotionally, he is power drunk and power thirsty. So he presumed to exercise the powers of all three branches of government.
Mr. Wilder tried to be an emperor; let us hope that Mr. Jones will be satisfied with being the Mayor.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Virginia Union University (VUU) and I/Me Thus Far: I am Glad I Did Not Send That E-Mail

I am a Morehouse College Alumnus (a "maroon and white tiger"); my blood is maroon, and my sweat is white. But I have taught at VUU since 1969, and I have developed a deep love for Virginia Union. There is at least one book about my four decades at VUU.
Virginia Union is a major asset to the Richmond community, and it deserves a lot more support than it gets from the Richmond community. It deserves a lot more support than it gets from its prominent alumni--especially its most prominent alumnus Governor/Mayor L. Douglas Wilder.
However, like any institution, Union Has its faults and its positive and negative critics. When I criticize, I aim to be a positive critic.
One of the impromptu speaking assignment options for my speech classes at Union is "VUU and I Thus Far."
Every now and then, I start the session off talking about my almost 40 years at Union.
Since my wife teaches at VUU, Union is our livelihood. Only a fool would want to do anything to hurt her/his livelyhood. A lot of negative things have been said about me over the last 39+ years at Union, and some of them are/were true. But only liars or fools (or some combination thereof) have said that I was not forthright or that I was incompetent. I tell everyone what I think, and "I'm 'bout half smart."
Last May, a senior administrator at VUU said in the presence of my wife that some faculty members seemed angry and demoralized.
I gave serious thought to sending a sarcastic E-mail entitled "You Mean We Are Not a Happy Camp? I Wonder Why?
In view of recent happenings at VUU, I am very glad I did not.
Sometimes procrastination has its rewards. I may write more about my perspectives on VUU later.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Drop the Suits Brother Mayor

Open Letter to Brother Mayor Dwight C. Jones:
Dear Brother Dwight,
Please tell Mayor L. Douglas Wilder's high priced team of lawyers to go away, and drop the appeals Mr. Wilder made to the Virginia State Supreme Court.

Mr. Wilder's first appeal was over the Richmond Circuit Court's ruling that Mr. Wilder cannot hire and fire city employees who report to City Council. Everywhere in the free world where there are executive and legislative branches of government, the legislative branch hires and fires employees who report to it.

Mr. Wilder exploited ambiguity in and half baked changes to the City Charter to make a power play. Please clarify the City Charter, and call off the costly and wrong headed litigation.

Mr. Wilder's second appeal was over the Circuit Court's ruling that he could not evict the Richmond School Board from City Hall. While Mr. Wilder claimed this would save the City money, he ignored repeated requests from City Council to document this claim. I strongly suspect that Mr. Wilder just wanted the School Board's offices for himself.

Mr. Wilder had a golden opportunity to unite the city; he blew it. You too have a golden opportunity to move us forward. I am confident that you are going to make positive change.

If I can help in any way, please let me know.

Your Brother,
Preston M. Yancy