Clay Cane is a New York City-based writer who is recognized for his contributions in journalism. Clay is a regular contributor for various print and online publications such as The Advocate and BET.com. He is the author of the highly anticipated novel Ball-Shaped World, which is a fictionalized account of the black and Latino ballroom scene. Also, he is the Entertainment Editor at BET.com and a member of New York Film Critics Online. He can be reached at claycane@gmail.com.


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    Tuesday, September 30, 2008

    Hold onto your gilda! You are about to watch one of the greatest vocal performances in R&B history. I loved this woman and the song -- she won a Grammy, but never released a second album. Supposedly, she did not want to be a soloist artist and preferred back-up for Luther Vandross, Tina Turner and the Rolling Stones. Notice how that whistle high note sounds crisper than Mariah's. The last two minutes are ungodly...

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    Posted by Clay :: 3:15 PM :: 12 comments

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    Monday, September 29, 2008

    It doesn't get better than Bill Maher's commentary...

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    Posted by Clay :: 11:51 AM :: 6 comments

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    Friday, September 26, 2008

    This is my second time around interviewing Jennifer Hudson. The first time was in 2006 for Dreamgirls. I remembered her as humble, sincere, and almost a bit shy. I was wondering if that would change now that she is a bonafied mega star and one of four black women to win an Oscar. Fortunately, J-Hud was exactly the same way this time around.

    Check out my interview wih her for Advocate.com. Her self-titled debut album is in stores Tuesday.

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    Posted by Clay :: 5:32 PM :: 1 comments

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    In these scary times, I truly think we need some church...

    Posted by Clay :: 10:59 AM :: 4 comments

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    Wednesday, September 24, 2008

    Tell it like it is Chris!

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    Posted by Clay :: 11:35 AM :: 6 comments

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    Monday, September 22, 2008

    Written by John Walker

    John Walker is a previous guest writer who wrote Did Latinos Betray Blacks? and Is Obama Too Black? In this provocative opinion piece Walker questions the state of Black Americans, our social accountability and what exactly does Sen. Barack Obama represent as a potential president. Again, I do not agree with everything he says, but it's an interesting perspective.

    ***
    I'm beginning to understand, to my horror, that we are in fact a people not yet ready for freedom. Nobody respects a fool, not even other fools.

    The more this election rolls on the more I understand why black people are in the shape that we are in. As a people we are so naïve, not just about issues of race, but about daily survival. Collectively and individually, too many black people look like the "deer caught in headlights"—my heart is heavy about it. Sometimes I use harsh and provocative language to cover up my sincere sadness over a people, my people, who are silly beyond words. I grieve for my people.

    The conservatives and so-called "white" swing voters don't just dislike Sen. Barack Obama, more importantly; they hate your black ass. Seeing those black delegates at the Democratic National Convention on primetime TV, smiling and crying with tears of joy is what makes them hate. We are so grateful for this moment in history, but not considering are dire, freedomless circumstances.

    Statistics and my own life experience bares witness of a people who are poverty-stricken, sickly, in debt, and are not able to see themselves within the context of a hostile environment because they perceive no threat. When I say threat, I'm not talking about white mob attacks, but the vulnerability of health, food, shelter and clothing (and not your Gucci rag/bag)… think every hurricane season in
    Louisiana and Texas.

    Even if we go to college, rack up on degrees, we're still winding up in debt and at risk to life's challenges. Black people always seem to be taken by surprise and then cry "Lawd, Jesus help me!", which isn't a testimony of faith, but instead the braying of an ass.

    Why do we spend more than we have and then wonder why we are broke? Literally, check-to-check and thinking that living in such a vulnerable state is security, having no concept that your bills should total no more than 60% of your gross income —particularly if we're trying to gain financial stability.

    Why do we think that we can be overweight and not get sick? Then have the audacity to be shocked when stroke, diabetes and heart attack come a-knockin'?

    Why do we think we can act with no discretion within our sex lives and NOT contract HIV/AIDS?

    I'm sorry to say all despair is not tragedy; some of this sh*t is earned. When I stumble, the most sobering and empowering thing I can do for myself is acknowledge my own contribution to my circumstance and then correct it. To understand that the heavens didn't conspire against me, but instead I've been unjust to myself.

    We are a people in a state of disrepair, expecting positive output from ill-conceived inputs "in the name of Jesus."

    That legacy plagues us to this very hour. We were not nor do we raise our children to compete. No wonder, for all the wrong reasons, most of us think we need a Barack Obama win...like showing a Negro child they can be somebody —just stupid.

    John Walker is a guest writer for ClayCane.net. This is an opinion piece and does not necessarily reflect the views of Clay Cane.

    Labels: ,

    Posted by Clay :: 12:00 AM :: 38 comments

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    Friday, September 19, 2008

    Summary: Angry black man is bitter about the interracial love fest that just moved next door to him. However, this angry black man is a crooked, widowed cop who wants a "chocolate drop" of his own—sort of like Training Day meets Single White Female. Yes, "chocolate drop" is actually used in this film!

    Review: Samuel L. Jackson is the hardest working man in Hollywood. He is always enjoyable on screen, whether it's bad movies like Snakes on a Plane or legendary films like Time to Kill—the man performs no matter what the role. So it makes sense that Jackson is the only person who could make the role of Abel Turner in Lakeview Terrace, which is theatres today, enjoyable. Mr. Turner is twitching in repressed black rage every time he sees Lisa Mattson, played by Kerry Washington, get some love by her big ole strapping, blonde and blue white husband. Lawd knows, this is the type of image of a black man Barack Obama is trying to take out of the mind of voters.

    Lakeview Terrace isn't terribly bad, but it's far from a chilling thriller. The scenarios are humdrum and don’t conjure the likes of true "someone is invading our home” thrillers. For example, Abel is "terrorizing" his neighbors with bright security lights—and, God forbid, the interracial couple can't sleep! This is a far cry from the The Hand That Rocks the Cradle when the mother found out the evil nanny was breastfeeding her child.

    Another example, Abel has a bachelor party and manages to catch Lisa's husband on camera being forced to dance with a stripper—he puts the DVD of the stripper and her husband in Lisa's mailbox. Again, leaps and bounds away from the shock we all had when Jennifer Jason Leigh slowly walked down the staircase of the salon in the same haircut, make-up, and outfit as Bridget Fonda in Single White Female. All of the oohs and ahhs were lackluster and weren't even worthy of a "no he didn't!"

    This is a “racial” thriller and the handling of our country's greatest sin is often times uncomfortable. The racist jabs are oddly placed and solely directed toward Washington's white husband. Lisa's father is racist to him, the neighbor is racist, and he mentions several times how he gets so much "shit" from black men for having a black wife. In the mind of the writers, David Loughery and Howard Korder, who happen to be white, it's as if white people just gave up on racism and transferred it to black folks.

    Furthermore, while I don't know every black man on the planet, I have never met a black man who truly cared that another black woman was with a white man. Reason being, there isn't a shortage of black women for black men. Now, a black woman mad at a brotha for marrying Mrs. Whitey—that might've been a hot movie! An angry, single black woman who had just about enough of seeing her menz being taken by Mrs. Blue Eyes (hell, add a black gay couple in the neighborhood to make her even angrier)—she goes in a Fatal Attraction rage to take back her brothas! "I won't be ignored, Daquan!" Well, that would still be socially problematic. Still, I see Sherri Shepard in the starring role!

    Whatever the case, Lakeview Terrace was such a weak film that it's hard to get offended. Fortunately, there are strong performances from every actor. Even though the movie is littered with uninspiring twists; the plot is one solid storyline and told smoothly. Lastly, Samuel L. Jackson's delivery as racist, angry blackey is fun to watch for 86 minutes.

    Grade: C

    Lakeview Terrace is in theaters today.

    Labels:

    Posted by Clay :: 12:00 AM :: 5 comments

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    Thursday, September 18, 2008

    The Stevie Nicks line wore me out...

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    Posted by Clay :: 10:32 AM :: 4 comments

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    Wednesday, September 17, 2008

    Leave it to the gays to make the absolute best out of a horrendous situation!

    While the residents of Galveston, Texas were told to flee because Ike was about to start rolling down the river—Robert's Lafitte, the local homo bar, ignored the warning and decided to have a "a pre-curfew drag show and Tina Turner sing-along."

    However, after three feet of water poured into the establishment and the windows blew out, the sequin dresses and Nutbush wigs had to be shelved for one night only. Big Mouth Robert, the bar owner, said after quick mop-up the next morning they had to reopen,”All of our customers kind of demanded it. It's their bar and they kind of dictate what's going on. We're survivors."

    Yes Lawd, the gays know how to survive, including Dixie Monroe, a transgender barmaid "who wore a tiger-print cowboy hat and a low-cut top." Miss Dixie said, "You can see there's not too much worry and stress on people's faces." Straight, gay, whatever, packed in the bar, which is now "setting out food donated by locals for people in need." A straight restaurant worker who never visited the bar before said, "It's more than a life saver. This is like the Coast Guard."

    Tina Turner remains “the artist of choice.” Why? You guessed it—"given that she survived another Ike -- her abusive husband Ike Turner."

    Don't you just love this story? Funny thing is, if a bunch of drags, lesbians, gay men, and transgenders trekked to a redneck bar for refuge -- I am sure they would quickly be turned away and threatened to be lynched. The gays are forgiving people.

    Click here for full story.

    Special thanks to my dear friend for sending me this story!

    Labels:

    Posted by Clay :: 12:00 AM :: 6 comments

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    Tuesday, September 16, 2008

    Damn, I feel like I've mentioned Mariah too much recently... once a month is enough. However, I couldn't pass up to write about the release of 1997's Butterfly, which came out eleven years ago today -- September 16th, 1997. This album marks a turning point of classic Mariah and eternally a pre-teen but dressing like a scallywag Mariah.

    I vividly remember when Butterfly was released, it had been two years since her last album (1995's Daydream) and everyone was anticipating this "new" Mariah. She was officially emancipated from Tommy Mottola, stripping down to a bikini in the “Honey” video and supposedly going a more urban, soulful route. While I always felt Mariah had soul, she was definitely more adult contemporary in the early to mid nineties.

    Now, of course this was the days before downloading music or "accidental" leaks. An album came out and you had to wait till you bought the album to hear even one additional song outside of the first single. If you were a young'n like me you had to wait till Friday when you got paid... hell, back then you even had to stand in line at the bank to cash your check during lunch! Direct deposit was only for the elite—but I digress.

    I wasn't exactly hooked on the song “Honey,” I was already bored with the Mase and Puffy blatino duo. But, one of my friends praised the Butterfly CD and he was a fan of Sade, Chante Moore, and The Brand New Heavies—he definitely had good taste.

    He played "Breakdown" for me over the phone, before the days of emailing an mp3 and raved about the other songs. Within in a week of the album's release I picked up Butterfly and fell in love with every track except for "The Roof" and "Fourth of July" (don't ask me why, just didn't move me). This was clearly Mariah's best work.

    However, the public didn't agree. Butterfly was praised by lovers of R&B, but alienated her pop fan base. The album sold five million, but her last two, Daydream and Musicbox, sold over ten million domestically. Still, this felt like Mariah’s most sincere and genuine work. Unfortunately, Butterfly would begin a downward spiral of short skirts, being eternally twelve, and focusing more on beats than her dynamic voice. Regardless, Butterfly is one of the greatest albums of the nineties.

    The Butterfly album as a whole is branded in my memory. Shortly after the CD was released my aunt suddenly died. I would listen to “Close My Eyes” on repeat, just thinking of my aunt who was more like a second mother. “Guardian angel I, Sail away on an ocean with you by my side / Orange clouds roll by / They burn into your image and you're still alive (You're always alive).”

    Here is an incredible live performance of the song—in just jeans and a T-shirt.

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    Posted by Clay :: 1:00 AM :: 10 comments

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    Monday, September 15, 2008

    After the horrible Fashion Rocks and VMAs in the past couple weeks, I've been overloading on old school performances. I came across the clip below -- it gave me the chills. That growl at 4:13 really hits me -- she is in the zone! If you don't feel this then you need a soul transplant.

    Labels:

    Posted by Clay :: 10:38 AM :: 27 comments

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    Friday, September 12, 2008

    Check out my interview with Michelle Williams in HX, which you can pick up anywhere in Manhattan, for their DIVA! Music Issue. Michelle talks Christianity, playing bi, and having a crush on Rihanna. Michelle's new album, Unexpected, is in stores October 7th. The full interview is pasted below.

    ***
    Originally published in HX.

    DAWN OF THE DIVA

    Michelle Williams delights gay fans by discovering her dance-pop destiny

    By Clay Cane

    Michelle Williams has been reaching out to the gay community like Barack Obama has been reaching out to the right. The former Destiny’s Child diva has endless YouTube.com videos shouting out the gays, and there’s even a Michelle look-a-like contest, which will surely bring in the drags. She also performed during Pride weekend at NYC gay club Splash with a dance troupe of shirtless, hunky men. Yes, Miss Williams wants our support, and she’s willing to lose her breath for it!


    Her upcoming album, Unexpected, is pure pop, demanding us to dance till dawn; in fact, “We Break the Dawn,” the album’s first single, gave the successful gospel artist her first #1 hit on the Billboard dance charts. In our one-on-one interview, Williams breaks down her love affair with gays, playing bi, and how to battle a Beyoncé drag queen.


    What can your gay fans expect from Unexpected?


    Expect just fierceness all the way through! Expect to dance—just expect Michelle Williams coming out in her own way. I’m having a ball. Expect a side of Michelle that maybe some always knew existed, and they just couldn’t wait to see it. Expect a classic album.


    You, Beyoncé and Kelly have done gay press for your solo records, but despite your gay following, there wasn’t really any gay press while you were Destiny’s Child. Why didn’t you reach out to the gay community as a group?


    I have no idea... I don’t have an answer for that, honestly—I’m not giving you a politically correct answer. Although we knew we had gay fans; we saw that at the shows—they were living! Some of the music, like “Lose My Breath,” we knew the queens were going to be tipping! I don’t know… Did gay press come to us or did they not feel they had to because we had addressed them already with the costumes and songs? We appreciate them. There are times I’ve gone on YouTube and I’ve seen drag queens as Destiny’s Child or Beyoncé. We definitely feel that love. I think that’s why individually we can give that love back because we didn’t get a chance to do that as a group.

    Who’s the first gay person you met in your life?

    When I was younger—this is so typical and cliché, but—it was the choir director at my grandmother’s church. I probably shouldn’t have said that because I don’t know if he was really open with it. [Laughs]

    Well, you had a sense!

    Yeah! I had a sense as a child—you know, something was different! [Laughs] Some of my closest friends are gay, the ones that keep us together, keep us in line, tell you the truth. I have a straight male best friend that tells me the truth, but there is something about a gay queen; he’s like, “I ain’t got nothing to lose, so I’m going to tell you the truth, baby! I’ve been there, done that, so what is the worst reply you can tell me that I haven’t heard?” I think that’s the toughness that comes with it.

    Patti Labelle once said, “The gays will make or break your ass!” How important is it to have a gay fan base?

    It’s definitely important because they are going to be loyal. They know what it’s like to stick together. I’m happy to gain that fan base, so I’m looking forward to having fun this year with this record.

    Given your religious background as a Christian, how do you reconcile your religious beliefs with the gay community?


    Well, the thing that shuts me up is “judge not.” We are all judged for being different, so that’s all I can say from my religious standpoint is to judge not. People can argue the Bible up and down, all day long—people have their own interpretation—but how about God is love first and foremost, and it’s important to have that relationship with God? Christ being the one, my specific one, and what my conviction is may not be your conviction, but that’s something that one has to personally work out with God. If you feel like your walk is solid, keep it moving!


    What are your thoughts on gay marriage?


    If that’s who you love and that’s who you want to be with, it’s not going to affect me at the end of the day. I don’t think about it, I don’t worry about it.

    You played Shug Avery in the musical version of The Color Purple in Chicago. Shug was a little lesbian, a little bisexual.

    She was a little of everything!


    Were you at all nervous about playing a bisexual character?


    If that’s all someone focused on in The Color Purple, you missed the whole story about love and overcoming things. I talked to my mother, and she said, “Baby, it’s just acting, don’t worry about people, especially in the gospel community. It’s okay; you’re going to be fine.” Shug needed some love, and she thought she was showing Celie love. Before you know it, it was something in Celie that empowered Shug as well.


    If you were bi, who’d be your girl crush?


    [Pauses] Lord, now they’ll be like, “She likes Rihanna!” Honey, just put Rihanna down! [Laughs]


    Do you get hit on a lot by women?


    I haven’t really had it direct and hard, but in their own way.


    Did it make you uncomfortable?


    No, I had fun—I’d flirt back!

    If a Michelle drag queen had to battle a Beyoncé drag queen, what advice would you give the Michelle drag queen?

    Well, since me and Beyoncé have both fallen—you should fall fabulous, honey! Roll, do the splits—and have some goldfish in your platform shoes!

    Unexpected (Columbia Records/Music World Entertainment) is out Oct. 7.


    Labels:

    Posted by Clay :: 12:00 AM :: 8 comments

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    Wednesday, September 10, 2008

    Joe Biden telling it like it is!

    Labels:

    Posted by Clay :: 9:00 AM :: 7 comments

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    Monday, September 08, 2008


    Sorry, no review of the 2008 Video Music Awards. After watching the first few minutes of Rihanna's 10,000 B.C. performance with the stage presence of a cave woman -- I couldn't take another minute.

    For some real music, check out my interview with up and coming British soul duo, Hil St. Soul. The lead talks her new album, white U.K. "soul" singers and the lack of her support in her own country.

    Hil St. Soul: A British Invasion

    Labels:

    Posted by Clay :: 10:18 AM :: 5 comments

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    Thursday, September 04, 2008

    Freestyle rarely made it out of the barrios of New York City, but with groups like Sweet Sensation, Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam, and Expose -- freestyle managed to rock the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts in the late eighteties and early nineties. One of the biggest groups of the freestyle era was the girl group Expose.

    If you thought Destiny's Child had drama, between the group's first single in 1985 and their debut album in 1987, Expose already went three group members. Finally settling on three memebers, Jeanette Jurado, Gioia Carmen Bruno, and Ann Curless released Exposure, their debut album, in 1987 on Arista Records. The album went double-plantium, spawning four top ten Billboard Hot 100 hits and three hits on the R&B charts. Exposure would go down in history as one of the most successful dance albums of all time. More drama ensued when the ladies of Expose were being cheated by their record label, only making $200 per show. Renegotiations for their contract were made and they were sent to work on their sophmore album.

    In 1989 the group released What You Don't Know, which went Gold. The hits from their second album made histoy according to Wikipedia, "when they became the first girl group to have 7 back-to-back Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100." Sadly, the group took a sudden turn when Gioia Carmen Bruno developed a tumor on her vocal chords and couldn't sing for many years. She was replaced for the 1992 album, Expose, which was when sales slumped, even with Clive Davis as Executive Producer.

    By 1995 Expose was dropped from Arista. In 2006 the group reunited for a tour and continued to work together for freestyle concets amd gay pride festivals...Lawd knows the gays will keep you working.

    Check out their greatest hits..

    "Seasons Change" was their only #1 hit in 1988. A good ballad from a dance group was always a guarranted hit for these freestyle groups.


    ***

    "Come Go With Me" charted at #5 on theBillboard Hot 100 and their biggest hit on the R&B charts, peaking at #14. The video is pure eighties madness!

    ***

    "Point of No Return" is their debut single and my favorite Expose song. The girls gave a great performance at the Apollo -- spandex, stretch pants and all. Check out the clip below.

    Labels:

    Posted by Clay :: 10:30 AM :: 4 comments

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    Wednesday, September 03, 2008

    I have always been taught to not capitalize black when referring to race. However, recently, when I have submitted finished stories to publications, after it's printed "Black" is capitalized. Usually, white remains in lower case.

    Is this some type of grammatical protest that I know nothing about? In college, all of my teachers, especially my African-American Studies teachers, would take a beefy percentage out of my paper if "black" was capitalized. Reason being, according to them, is you only capitalize proper names of races. When you are referring to groups of races, black and white, both should not be capitalized. As this site says, "Capitalize the proper names of nationalities, races, tribes, etc.: French, Caucasian, Mataponi, Zulu. However, lowercase black, white."

    I’ve noticed this capitalization of "black" on web sites from bloggers to respected publications. The only time I have considered capitalizing black is when using the term “Black American”. What confuses me even more is if you capitalize black then don’t you have to capitalize white?

    This is just one of many examples of how race is in illogical concept and only works in America. For black Americans, “race” is all we have. We don’t have a nationality, ethnicity, religion, or language. Therefore, we cling to the flimsy construct of race. When leaving the U.S., many of the brownest people I've seen don’t identify as black. Yes, even when it comes to grammar, the idea of race falls apart.

    Labels:

    Posted by Clay :: 8:25 AM :: 9 comments

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    Tuesday, September 02, 2008

    Before I get to Palin, CNN had poor Anderson Cooper in the heart of Hurricane Gustav this weekend! He is way too delicate to be ravaged by a big 'ole thing called Gustav. They should've thrown Soledad O'Brien out there -- Gustav needs to whoop that ass for that horrible Black in America special!

    This weekend, I was inundated with glowing press on the Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin. It’s shocking that people are turning the most irrelevant things into experience while ignoring her hypocrisy, extreme lack of experience, and a cheap ploy to appeal to Sen. Clinton voters…some who are so delusional that they might actually fall for it.

    Here are the top ten...

    10. Johnny Get Your Gun McCain only met Palin one to two times before deeming her his VP. Is that all it takes to make a major decision for the country? Imagine if we get another terrorist attack!

    9. Palin doesn't know what a VP does and asks, "What is it exactly a VP does everyday?" The journalist reassured her with, "It's a pretty big job!" Lawd have Jim Crow mercy...

    8. Palin is a "supporter of abstinence-only education and opposes sex education program", but her teenage daughter is knocked up and unmarried like Becky Conner from Roseanne! Maybe if her heat-seeking daughter knew how to use a condom she wouldn't be another teenage pregnancy statistic.

    7. Palin’s daughter’s baby daddy proclaims on his MySpace page, “I'm a ****ing redneck.” Also, "Ya **** with me I'll kick a** ." That isn’t very Christian now is it? His page also says he doesn’t want any kids. I wonder how it feels to be a teen daddy?

    6. Pro-life, pro-gun, pro-drilling, anti-gay—haven’t we already been down this epic road? Mind you, Palin’s husband has a DUI charge on his record. Is her family pro driving while intoxicated too?

    5. According to KTUU 2 NBC Anchorage, "Federal health officials say there were more than one million cases of Chlamydia reported in the U.S. last year, a record high for a single year." STDs are on the rise in Alaska and Palin is admittedly opposed to sex education. Hopefully she will lower the price of prescriptions for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.

    4. Alaska is littered with corruption—the state has had nine public corruption indictments in the last two years—and Palin might be number 10! She is already under investigation, after only 18 months as Governor of Alaska, for "potential abuse of power for firing the Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan for not removing Palin’s ex-brother-in-law from the police force."

    3. "Palin has the same experience as Obama!" Ummm, she ran a state with just over a population of 600,000 and mayor of a town with a population of 8,000. This is far from comparable experience, but the more bizarre pundits say it the more people believe it.

    2. "She has foreign policy experience because Alaska is near Russia!" Yes, someone on CNN said something to this effect this weekend. Now, I've heard of "spin", but this is more spin than a Tyler Perry movie preview!

    1. "She is a working mom -- that should account for something!" When I heard a woman on CNN say this, it really got to me. Being a working mom qualifies you to be vice president? Is this an episode of Oprah or the vice president slot? If Obama's supporters ever said, "He is a black man in America—that should account for something!" The media would pounce like R. Kelly at Chuck E. Cheese!

    The scary thing is some of these rants might actually work. Palin isn’t nearly as dangerous and hypocritical as Bush and he did two terms.

    Labels:

    Posted by Clay :: 9:50 AM :: 13 comments

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