FashionSnob, Obamarama

Extreme Obama: Michelle Obama Action Figure

Made by Jailbreak toys and just in time for Christmas sales you too can own your own comically ridiculous Michelle Obama Action Figure!

More after the jump.

Meant to go with the Barack Obama Action Figure Jailbreak also produces, the First Lady comes in three iconic looks that are burned into my retinas – the infamous purple “fist bump” sheath dress from when President Obama clinched the Democratic nomination, the “black widow” dress I hated from election night and the awesome dress she wore from White House Black Market on The View.

I will be purchasing … um … none of these because, um … no. They’re cute, I guess, but I’m a bigger fan of the ridiculously expensive Michelle O. porcelain doll and if I’m going to blow money on Obama doll-related paraphernalia I’d like them to AT LEAST be as awesome as my goofy talking George W. Bush doll I got as a gag gift. George looked like George and talked like George and had a cloth suit and was more like a Ken doll or full-size GI Joe than a tacky piece of plastic crap.

So, what I’m saying is … if this doll was pretty and wearing cloth renditions of those outfits I might not be able to stop myself from buying one no matter the price so Michelle could hang out with my FloJo, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Brandi, MC Hammer and Michael Jackson dolls. But as long as she looks like a cartoon character I’ll pass.


Don’t Ask, But Do Tell (On How To End “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell)

On Saturday President Barack Obama addressed the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights organization, vowing to end discrimination against gay and lesbian servicemembers in the Armed Forces via the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT)” policy. The policy, set up during the Clinton Administration, allows homosexuals to serve as long as they are not “out” or open about their sexuality. It was hastily set up when President Bill Clinton’s hopes of ending sexual discrimination in the military hit a wall in the early 1990s.

Attitudes have changed some since the early 1990s. While homosexuals still face discrimination, American society has become more open to the idea of gays and lesbians being open about their sexuality. And with the US in the midst of prosecuting two wars and needing every Marine, soldier and sailor they can gather, news of servicemen and women being discharged due to DADT has come at a cost.

More after the jump.

Obama ran for president under the pretense that he would end the policy and allow for gays to serve openly as they do in the United Kingdom, Israel and other Western countries. Alas, a lot of people, including myself at times, are antsy to see the president and Congress follow through on this promise.

Considering the fact that most arguments against gays serving openly are the same ones that were given against women, blacks and other minorities (it would disturb moral, cause fights, ruin unit cohesion, etc.), I’m someone who thinks these arguments have always been false arguments rooted in homophobia, just as the others were cloaked in racism and sexism. If you’re getting shot at, in trouble or hurt, do you honestly care about the sexual orientation of the soldier coming to save you? No, no. You say. I’d rather just bleed to death to the gay medic. Please don’t fly me out of this hell hole Lesbian helicopter pilot. I’m just going to lie here and die rather than be helped by some queers. It’s ridiculous.

So I can understand many Liberals and members of the gay, lesbian and transgendered community when they express their angst over why someone they elected to end DADT hasn’t ended it yet. (see Maddow, Rachel)

It’s a hurry up and wait situation. Of course you want DADT to end and you want Obama to follow through on his promise, but there is the matter of Congress and Obama is, quite possibly, the most “gay-friendly” president since Clinton botched DADT. He’s only the second president to address the Human Rights Campaign and we all know how hard it is to nail down any politician, regardless of party, who isn’t the Bay Area’s own Nancy Pelosi or openly gay congressman Barney Frank on gay issues.

There’s also the fact that Obama is drowning in issues and expectations — Nobel Peace Prize, anyone? He has the healthcare crisis, the economic crisis, two wars, terrorism, North Korea, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Iran, the energy crisis, a gaggle of Bush-era loose ends that need tightening and whatever the disaster of the week is. (I think this week is more Afghanistan woes.) There’s a real fear that if he tossed DADT up on the pile everything could come crashing down. Still, how do you prioritize so many important priorities? Not dealing with DADT leads to more and more servicemen and women being discharged from the military when you need them to fight — which doesn’t exactly help those two wars.

Plus you have a wavering base that while isn’t under much threat of going with the pro-DADT other team, could become less impassioned, more disillusioned and not show their support at all.

From the Associated Press:

Some advocates said they already have heard Obama’s promises and now they want a timeline. Cleve Jones, a pioneer activist and creator of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, said Obama delivered a brilliant speech, but added “it lacked the answer to our most pressing question, which is when.”

“He repeated his promises that he’s made to us before, but he did not indicate when he would accomplish these goals and we’ve been waiting for a while now,” said Jones, national co-chair of a major gay-rights rally scheduled for Sunday on the National Mall.

Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network said he was encouraged to hear Obama’s pledge but added “an opportunity was missed tonight.” He said his group “was disappointed the president did not lay out a timeline and specifics for repeal.”

Obama also called on Congress to repeal the Defense Of Marriage Act, which limits how state, local and federal bodies can recognize partnerships and determine benefits. He also called for a law to extend benefits to domestic partners.

He expressed strong support for the HRC agenda of ending discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people but stopped short of laying out a detailed plan for how to get there.

It’s good that Obama is willing to address issues pertaining to gender and sexuality directly, but I too would like to hear something like a timeline sooner rather than later. I understand the weight of the world and its expectations hang on the president’s shoulders, but I voted for Obama for several reasons. Restoring common sense by booting DADT was one of them. Let’s kepp the common sense parade marching on and get some specifics on how this policy will end.


There is no such thing as Obama Kool-Aid. (Guest Blogger)

By Adeshola Blue

Last night, I watched the CNN special on Jonestown and the mass murder of those people who followed the venerable Jim Jones. I had the opportunity first hand to see the “Kool-Aid”  that everyone refers to when they say that people are blindly following others. Let’s just say that after watching that documentary, I will not use that terminology again. I may never drink Kool-Aid again.

More after the jump.

The most disturbing thing about the Kool-Aid analogy is that is commonly associated with supporters of President Barack Obama. Those of us who voted for Obama are allegedly blind followers that have been tricked and entranced by the awesomeness of the messiah/antichrist and we will do whatever he says.  The folks most egregiously accused of being Kool-Aid drinkers are black folks. Well, I beg to differ.  If we all were so entranced by President Obama, the following things would happen:

  1.  We would all have healthcare because Obama’s “grass roots community” would call their congressmen like the weekly White House emails suggest.
  2. Every child’s father and mother would be active in their lives because the President says it is important.
  3. We would all volunteer our time and become community organizers because we want to be like Mike, I mean President Obama.
  4. We would all read to our children every single night.
  5. We all would strive to attend Harvard University.
  6. There would be no more black-on-black crime.
  7. Every college and university would be overflowing with Black folks trying to get an education.

All these things would occur because the President says we should.  But that is not true. Folks may be entranced by the Obamas and we may like the photographs of the Obamas, but we don’t want to put in any work for the Obamas now that they are in the White House. Our motto is a simple one, “We have a black first family and y’all better not talk bad about them.”  Unfortunately that is Black American for “if you expect more than a whole lot of talk, you are sadly mistaken.”

InternationalSnob, Obamarama

Nobel Peace Prize Causes Fight

While some of us are still recovering from our pleasant, but confusing surprise of the president winning the Nobel Peace Prize, some battlelines were drawn Friday.

On one side you had your pundits, negative nellies and conservative opposition frothing at the mouth (as they’re known to do), screaming that this is a travesty and will cause the end times, on the other you have the president’s defenders, suddenly super knowledgeable in Nobel Peace Prize committee rulings, defending why someone who is in the midst of executing two wars and still hasn’t figured out how to close Guantamano deserves a Peace Prize.

In the middle are me and several other folks who are happy for the president, but think the award was a tad premature. Obviously he’s inspired the world and the committee has the right to give the award to whomever they see fit, but even the president didn’t think he deserved it and was humbled by the whole experience. But at the end of the day, it’s a good thing and always a good thing when an American receives such a huge accolade.

More after the jump.

Of course, there’s no room for a middle in American politics. Stand in the road and you will get run over. Hence when I looked to see what other writers, pundits and politicos were saying, things were heavily split and partisan with the exception of a few, like academic Melissa Harris-Lacewell, who seemed just as initially stunned as I.

From Politico:

I assume Kanye West will be at the ceremony, where he will grab the mic and express the sheer madness of this choice. This president is still prosecuting two wars and just bombed the moon. I support my President, but Desmond Tutu he is not.

Within the scheme of people the Nobel Peace Prize committee has awarded in the past — from Henry Kissinger to Yasser Arafat — President Obama seems more desirable than say, an actual Vietnam-era warmonger and the former head of the PLO. And many people have received the award based on what they are going to do or plan to do, versus what they’ve already done (see every award given based on peace in the Middle East). And conservatives have to be careful not to turn this into “Chicago Loses the Olympics” all over again. While some people may be befuddled, the president winning the Nobel Peace Prize is a good thing for America. This is not the time to go on some bizarre tear where you appear to be longing for the days when the international community disliked the United States. Americans like to win things and like to be liked, loved even, more than feared and despised. President Obama inspires many people worldwide. Obviously this accolade is rooted in that inspiration.

Still, you can’t talk about President Obama in the US without a fight breaking out so, I’m just going to get out of the middle of the road and let everyone else have at it.

InternationalSnob, Obamarama

President Obama Wins Nobel Prize (WTF!)

I almost spat out my coffee this morning when I heard the news. I wasn’t planning on updating the blog any further today and I’d slept in. And LOOK WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU SLEEP IN! Someone gives the dang president the dang Nobel Peace Prize for … um … what did he win it for? The man JUST got elected! He hasn’t even been in office a year. Isn’t this really the Nobel Peace Prize for “Dang, We Really, Really Hated Bush?” Either way, yeah for the prez. Yeah for us. But … um … what?

More after the jump.

From Politico:

Barely nine months into office, President Barack Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize – with the committee citing Obama’s “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy” and his support for nuclear arms reduction. 

“Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future,” said Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the Nobel Committee

But the prize shocked the White House and international observers – some of whom are already questioning what Obama has done in his short time as president to deserve the honor. 

The White House found out about the award at about 5 a.m., via a wire report out of the Situation Room, aides said. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called the White House a little before 6 a.m. and woke Obama to tell him he had won. 

Gibbs said that Obama was “humbled” to get the honor and senior advisor David Axelrod expressed surprise that the award went to Obama. 

“It’s an honor. It’s nothing anyone expected. It’s certainly nothing the president sought. I think that he’s less interested in individual honors, and this certainly is one, than in advancing the causes that were cited by the Nobel committee,” Axelrod said on MSNBC. 

Anyone want to take a stab at what Obama won the prize for? I get that he’s intelligent and dynamic, but shouldn’t this be something you get towards the end of your presidency (or at least the end of the first term) when people can actually measure what you’ve done? I am fifteen kinds of bemused and bewildered by the news. Can you be happy and highly confused at the same time?

Obamarama, The Snob

The First Lady’s Slavery Roots Published In NYT

The New York Times recently published a story about Michelle Obama’s slavery ancestry, chronicling the story of a slave girl named Melvinia who was the mother to Mrs. Obama’s great-great grandfather. The tale is a harrowing, but familiar one of a former black slave giving birth to a “mulatto” child a short time after emancipation.

More after the jump.

From The New York Times:

The newly discovered story of Mrs. Obama’s maternal ancestors — the slave mother, white father and their biracial son, Dolphus T. Shields — for the first time fully connects the first African-American first lady to the history of slavery, tracing their five-generation journey from bondage to a front-row seat to the presidency. The findings — uncovered by Megan Smolenyak, a genealogist, and The New York Times — substantiate what Mrs. Obama has called longstanding family rumors about a white forbear.

While President Obama’s biracial background has drawn considerable attention, his wife’s pedigree, which includes American Indian strands, highlights the complicated history of racial intermingling, sometimes born of violence or coercion, that lingers in the bloodlines of many African-Americans. Mrs. Obama and her family declined to comment for this article, aides said, in part because of the personal nature of the subject.

While it must be odd to have a newspaper do a little family history digging without your input or approval, the article is a fascinating portrait of what is a reality for most Americans, black and white. That many of us our bound by the commonality of the Peculiar Institution. It was so pervasive. So ordinary. So much part of the everyday reality to have people as property that it literally touches all Americans within its reach.

Very few black people know their deeper roots due to the lack of paperwork and most history being oral. Even in my family where there is some photographic evidence of relatives at the turn of the century on both sides, we know very little about how some branches on the family tree got started. From relatives who disappeared and passed for white to those who could have passed and didn’t, but did not like to talk about their origins, a lot of the Robinson-Belton family tree in me is a mystery.

The most I know about my maternal slavery roots comes from an oral history from my grandmother, recalling how her father escaped from a Mississippi plantation with the rest of his family in a covered wagon in the dead of night. He was only a child at the time, but remembered how they wrapped the wagon wheels in sacks so that they wouldn’t make as much noise. Because of that great familial break for it I have routinely joked that my family members must have made truly “horrible” slaves. Even on the Belton side it’s the story of how some Beltons, descendants of the much larger clan of Carolina based black Beltons made it mysteriously all the way to Texas.

I’d love to know more about my roots, if only to gain a better understand of where my family has been and how far we have come. Both my parents have very humble roots — one raised eldest of nine by a pair of sharecroppers who worked their way right out of the fields, the other the middle child of a poor, but ambitious Northern Texas family. My sisters and I benefited greatly from the hard work of generations before us. It’s fascinating to see where their spirit and desire to press on in spite of great obstacles. That’s what attracts me the most.

Because of this I would love to hear your family stories, your oldest family stories if you have any about either the time during slavery or shortly after at the turn of the century. What is your family’s story?