I'm slowly meandering my way though WEB DuBois' Souls of Black Folk, and got to this line in the essay Of The Training of Black Men:

We must not forget that most Americans answer all queries regarding the Negro a priori, and that the least that human courtesy can do is listen to evidence.

Now, that's just a hell of a line, and one that still has far too much relevance to the political landscape a century-plus later. But given what's been happening the last couple of days, the first person to pop into my head when I read it wasn't Obama, but LeBron.

The knives were going to come out anyway when he elected to make a spectacle of his decision, but I find the accusations that he's a coward for wanting to play with really, really good team-mates to be laughable. Playing with Wade and Bosh gives him arguably his best shot at winning it all, and isn't that supposed to be the goal of every athlete? Apparently, in LeBron's case, merely winning championships isn't enough.

The argument goes something like this: a real manly man with giant man-sized balls would want to succeed on his own terms. By going to someone else's team (i.e. Dwayne Wade), where that star has already established themselves and had success, LeBron is taking the easy way out in his quest for a title. Remember all that stuff you learned in school about there being no 'i' in team? Yeah, forget it; in LeBron's case, there most definitely is an 'i' in Greatest Of All Time, which is what is expected of him.

But frankly, you could have made (equally weak) 'coward' arguments no matter where he ended up going:

- LeBron is a coward for staying in Cleveland, where he is comfortable and revered, rather than pushing himself and going to a team that has a real shot at a title

- LeBron is a coward for going for the money and fame of playing in the New York/Jay-Z spotlight, instead of going to a team that has a real shot at a title

- LeBron is a coward for going to Chicago and settling for living in Jordan's shadow, rather than trying to carve out his own legacy somewhere else

In other, better words, the query regarding LeBron's manhood was answered a priori, without giving him the courtesy of listening to the evidence.

Toronto the Magnificent

Every once in a while this city reminds me of why I like living here.

When I got on the subway today to head to work, I sat down opposite two guys. One was an older gentleman, dressed in a natty slate gray three-piece suit, with a black fedora perched on top of long graying hair pulled into a pony tail, and bushy graying sideburns. He looked like an actor portraying a '70s mob lawyer, or a low-rent Satan who would try to buy your soul for $20 and a ham sandwich.

The other guy was a nondescript middle-aged man in a light sweat shirt, with a gym bag on the seat next to him. For the entire time I was on the train, he sat with an angry expression on his face and his arm resting on the gym bag, surreptitiously giving '70s mob lawyer guy the finger. No a word was spoken between the two of them, and in fact I'm not sure '70s mob lawyer guy even noticed he was being flipped off.

Then, when I switched trains at Bloor/Yonge, I walked up the staircase to the southbound platform. At the top of the staircase sat a busker playing a rather good bluesy, almost Stevie Ray-ish, version of Hallelujah. What made him the Most Awesome Busker Ever (Non-Accordion Guy Division) was the fact that in the chair next to him sat a kid of about five or six, presumably his son, intently strumming along on a red toy ukelele.

Now that's how you start a day.

Grasping At Photocopied Pictures of Straws

So after Section 2 of the Defense of Marriage Act was ruled unconstitutional in a federal Massachusetts court yesterday on 10th Amendment grounds, lefty bloggers rejoiced in the schadenfreude of a 'states rights' argument being used against a conservative position.

In turn, some conservatives are now desperately trying to find a silver lining:

The modern state depends heavily on the federal government’s taxing and spending powers for many of the benefits that citizens hold dear, including Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and the newly passed provisions of the Affordable Care Act. These programs have regulatory effects on state family policies just as much as DOMA does. If DOMA’s direct interference with state prerogatives is beyond federal power, then perhaps any or all of these programs are vulnerable– and unconstitutional– to the extent they interfere with state policies regarding family formation as well.

Yeah yeah yeah, IAMAL, but seriously... that's the best you can do? Try to argue that because certain government programs give incentives or disincentives to different family sizes and formations, they are the legal equivalent of DOMA's blatantly discriminatory ban on same-sex marriages?

Let's keep pushing that logic, shall we? The tax code gives incentives to be incorporated, and the definition of personhood is not a power specifically given to the feds. Bye bye, Dartmouth v Woodward! So long, Santa Clara County v Southern Pacific Railroad! Corporate personhood is toast.

Hey, this wishful lawyering stuff is easy.


Call me crazy, but I was kind of hoping LeBron would come out of the closet during his ESPN special last night, or announced that he'd be plowing most of his Miami contract into renewable energy research. An hour of television just to say "Hey, I'm playing with these guys" was a bit much.


This has apparently been sitting on Youtube for a couple of years, with me being completely unaware of its existence... until now.

No, it's not the lead singer of Mountain, asshole. It's me. Considering it was the end of the night, my voice was remarkably unshredded. Still doesn't sound great, but it could have been a lot worse.

The second scream needs some work though.


There's no other word for this.

Exposing the Game

JC's right: this is hilarious.

But it also pulls back the curtain a little too far, and demonstrates that to MSNBC (and, really, the whole corporate media structure), access trumps information.

The important thing in the minds of Phil Griffin, Joe Scarborough and their ilk, is not what gets said on the network. The important thing is who gets to say it.

Random Things I've Been Writing At Three In the Morning

This one's the beginnings of a song lyric... the rhythm is rough and it needs some clean up, not to mention a proper opening verse, but it's a start. It's sort of a countrified version of Ana Ng, really.

I'm the One For You


There's a place and a face
And a time and a space
That'll catch me in their spell
There's a drum in my chest
That's driving me west
Into arms I've never held
I don't know where
Or who you are
But I know this to be true
Hey there pretty baby
I'm the one for you

Every story says it's true
So who am I to doubt
That there's a we, a me and you
That I can't live without
But I've been livin' without you
For all these years of mine
Those years are a cage
Let's turn the page
And make those stars align

There's a cozy little spot
Where we can meet some day
With Loretta on the jukebox
Or maybe 'Retha and Ray
And the barkeep's name is Danny
Or Dixie, or Deb, or Drew
The details are hazy
But call me crazy
Someday they'll remind me of you

Take a Little Trip and See

For whatever reason, there were a ton of low riders cruising around on the Danforth today. The best of the lot: a stunning pure white '60 Impala (although it may have been a '61, really), not overly tricked out beyond the rims. Just a gorgeous, gorgeous car, prowling the street like an albino panther.

Most of the time, when old folk complain about how modern things suck, they're just being crotchety. Not when it comes to cars. New American cars suck. Detroit lost its collective mind sometime in the '80s, and it's never recovered.