Forget Bradley, worry about The Blanchard Effect

I am not worried so much about The Bradley Effect as I am The Blanchard Effect. The Bradley Effect posits that an election can be lost despite a large margin due to silent racism. However, despite what some people might think, there is nothing that can be done about that. Those who want to vote based on skin color are going to do so no matter what.

In Michigan, we had a pretty popular governor named Jim Blanchard who was going up against John Engler. All of the polls said it was going to be a cakewalk for Blanchard. So a lot of people (myself included) didn’t even bother going to vote in that election because it was in the bag. The result was John Engler being voted into office, which was a horrible thing to happen to a lot of the people of Michigan. And he was elected because people against him were complacent and sat at home.

If Barack Obama were to lose because of racism then that would just prove that America is not ready for a black president. And as I said there is nothing that can be done about that. If he were to lose because people decided to stay at home that day, then that would be worse to me because that would mean that he didn’t HAVE to lose.

The Real October Surprise: Hubris and Short-Term Thinking

A lot of people have been expecting a Republican October Surprise, supposedly that time right before the General Election where the Republican Party goes into their bag of dirty tricks and pull out something that will severely damage the Presidential campaign of Barack Obama.

The only October surprise that I am seeing is coming from both “sides” of the political spectrum and that is a combination of hubris and short term thinking. [I realize that there are more than two sides to our current political landscape, but let’s face it, in the grand scheme of things only two of them count. Whether you want to label them “liberals/Democrats/Obama Supporters” or “conservative/Republican/McCain Supporters”, you know what I am referring to, so playing with semantics will only get you ignored and possibly mocked.] There is a sense of hubris so strong coming from the Obama side of things that even he had to come out and warn against it.

They need to realize that the Bradley Effect is not something that can be taken lightly. There seems to still be a deep racial animosity towards Blacks in this country. The fact that one could very likely be in charge of the country is not something that will sit well with a certain subset of people, regardless of what they say in public. They don’t see the uplifting of one person, they see the uplifting of an entire race at the detriment to their own.

This is, of course, ridiculous because like a lot of black people that I know, I don’t expect to automatically get a job on November 5 if Barack Obama gets elected. I don’t expect to get 40 acres and a mule or the monetary equivalent. I don’t expect to get invited to the White House (yes, it will still be called The White House) for a BYOB BBQ celebration, complete with chicken, watermelon, malt liquor and Kool-Aid. And above all, I don’t expect to get Universal Healthcare or an education system that will automatically improve (I fell for that okey-doke in the past).

On the other side, I hear a lot of angry McCain supporters who have already thrown in the towel and are looking for someone to blame. This week’s “Benedict Arnold” is Colin Powell who went against party lines to throw his way-too overinflated support behind the other guy. I have two comments on the Powell endorsement: 1) Isn’t going against the wishes of your party this year’s definition of a maverick, and if so, then why all of the lamentations and rending of garments? and 2) Despite how the relationship ended, wasn’t Colin Powell a part of the same Bush Administration who did a number on McCain back in 2000? Everything that I have heard about Bush/McCain, is that those two guys really don’t like each other. Is it really beyond all imagination that Powell would take the bullet for his old boss once again to do something that he might not have otherwise have done?

People need to realize that whether their side wins or loses in November, this country needs EVERYONE to come together to fix some of the problems that we have. A lot of people are acting like they want to just go back to their arms-filled compound and wait for the coming End of Days. Or worse, they are going to exercise their own version of non-violent protest and just not help. Not sabotage any efforts, but just not help. Sometimes the only thing worse than a guy who doesn’t show up to work is one who does but does nothing all day but complain about how he doesn’t want to be there.

Both sides need to get other themselves and realize that there is life after November 4. Chances are, you will not agree with everything that the winning side says and does, but act as if your side is the only side with any clue as to what they are doing is the epitome of hubris, it is short term thinking, and it is wrong.

I need some Steve McQueen help

I was on the 11 O’Clock Comics forum in the political talk thread. Patti was sitting next to me looking at the screen. She looked at the screen and saw this avatar for one of the other posters:

This is the conversation that followed:

Patti: Who’s that guy?

Me: What guy?

Patti (pointing to the screen): That guy. Who is he?

Me: That’s Steve McQueen.

Patti: Who?

Me: What? You’ve never heard of Steve McQueen?

Patti: No, who is he?

Me (long pause as I struggled to wrap my mind around the fact there is someone I know who has no idea who Steve McQueen is): The original Blob, Bullitt…

Patti: What’s Bullitt?

Me (long pause as I struggled to wrap my mind around the fact there is someone I know who has no idea what Bullitt is): What?

Patti: Don’t give me that look. I don’t know comic book stuff.

Me: The Great Escape, The Getaway, The Magnificent Seven.

Patti: Why does that sound familiar? I’ve heard of that.

Me: He’s one of the last real fucking men in Hollywood.

Patti: You could have just said he was an actor.

Help me out. Which Steve McQueen movies (besides the ones I have listed) should I show her?

As If I Needed An Excuse

A few weeks ago I was picking Stephen up from school. He’s in the morning kindergarten class and has to be picked up by 11:55 or else I catch hell for it. Not by his mother or the school, but by him. The kid is a little too smart for my own good.

Anyway, I was running late and was rushing to the front of the school where the kids were. One of his classmates was walking with her mother back to their car. The mother looked at me, smiled and in a very cheery voice asked “Hi, are you Olivia’s grandfather?”

I gave her the patented Derek Coward stone face and said “No, I’m Stephen’s father” and kept walking. In my head I was thinking “What the fuck? Do I look old enough to be Olivia’s grandfather?”

Then it occurred to me. “Uh, probably. Because YOU ARE A GRANDFATHER!!!”

It was too late to tell her that there was no offense taken because she was hurried up to her car, probably a little embarrassed. And Stephen was waiting for me. In fact the first words out of his mouth were “You’re late again.” [Even though I wasn’t the last parent/grandparent there, but if he has to wait even a second, then I’m late.]

This whole post was just an excuse to post this picture:

The Bad Mouth

I’m still looking for a job, but something really weird is happening. Someone will get a copy of my resume. I am posted on Monster.com, Michigan Talent Bank and I have been sending it out at least twenty times a week to various job listings that I see. I have been getting a pretty good response with employers checking it out on the sites.

A few weeks ago, things really started to look up. I started getting calls from prospective employers and had a few phone interviews. Things would go great and at the end of the call I would be asked to send an updated version of the resume, usually with salary requirements and references.

This is where things would get weird. I send the updated resume with a cover letter tailored specifically for the recruiter and the job. Then, nothing. No follow up at all. With one contract house I even had a sit down face to face with their recruiter, who helped me update my resume. After I left his office, I heard nothing back from him. With another, I sent the resume for a specific job and never heard back. I sent a follow up email asking about opportunities with other customers. She responded that the first customer was still reviewing resumes (after two weeks), but she would keep me in mind. Since then, nothing.

Back in 2001, I found out that my last employer at the time would stonewall people calling for references. The only thing my boss (who I worked with directly for five years) would tell them was “All I can say is that he worked here from 1996 to 2001.” That’s not exactly putting the bad mouth on someone, but if I was considering hiring somebody and I heard that, then they would be taken off my shortlist.

Anyway, I wonder if someone is putting the bad mouth on me. I keep in contact with three of the four people i have listed as references, so I doubt if it is any of them, but I am thinking that I should send the next resume without that fourth person and see what the results are.

BTW, I hate being unemployed. It makes me paranoid.