Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

I’m Voting for Obama. How about You?

I will be voting for Barack Obama on Tuesday. Despite my reservations about his centrist policies and his failures on Guantanamo and drone usage, I believe that President Obama has still led us on a path to economic recovery and social justice. Especially in the last 12 months, he has used his executive office to effectively grant protection to children of undocumented immigrants and to influence public attitudes about gay marriage. In contrast to Romney, I believe that Obama will make a difference over the next four years for all Americans and not just the oligarchs, the wealthy, and the religious right.

I remember that feeling I had four years ago, when President-Elect Obama came on stage in Chicago. Seriously, I was amazed and tearful seeing a person of color elected President of our nation. As a brown kid growing up in Iowa, I never imagined this could happen. Admittedly I’ve lost some enthusiasm for the compromises he has had to make over the last four years but I still support him overall. I’m excited to cast my vote for him in a few days.

President Obama is fighting for the American Dream because he’s lived it. http://OFA.BO/kV8SNu

Filed under: obama, politics, social justice, , , , ,

Limbaugh Explains Oprah and Obama’s Success

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You guessed it: Because they’re black.

In this searing clip, Keith Olbermann smacks down Limbaugh and his racist comments (the fun starts at 2:10). More than Glenn Beck and his ridiculous new job as a college professor (Olbermann’s “worse” person award), Rush Limbaugh earns Olbermann’s coveted “Worst Person in the World” award.

Among other odious comments, Limbaugh ranted on his weekend radio show:

[Obama] wouldn’t have been voted president if he weren’t black. Somebody asked me over the weekend, “Why does somebody earn a lot of money, have a lot of money?” I said it’s because he’s black.

It gets worse.

There’s a lot of guilt out there, to show we’re not racists, we’ll make this person wealthy and big and famous and so forth….

Thanks for explaining it all (and for using small words), Rush.

And thanks to Olbermann for doing what he does, drawing our attention to racist remarks like these ones, hiding in plain sight.

Filed under: hate, media, obama, politics, race, racism, , , , , , ,

Obama Calls Out Beck, Limbaugh, Cries of Socialism

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President Obama rationalizes that most Americans don’t believe the hype of his most extreme conservative critics. Is he a socialist? A step away from the next Hitler?

“Well, I think that when you listen to Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck, it’s pretty apparent, and it’s troublesome,” the President responded. “But keep in mind that there have been periods in American history where this kind of vitriol comes out. It happens often when you’ve got an economy that is making people more anxious, and people are feeling like there is a lot of change that needs to take place. But that’s not the vast majority of Americans. I think the vast majority of Americans know that we’re trying hard, that I want what’s best for the country.”

It’s nice to hear the President himself play down the excess of the media. Just as most Americans don’t believe in the extremism of the teabaggers and their irrational claims (e.g. more than half of the GOP believes the President is a Muslim), Obama notes that he didn’t believe the fauning, positive hype when he was elected.

Though I agree his delivery can be professorial at times, it’s nice to hear his humility and rational thinking as well.

Filed under: media, obama, , , , , , , , , ,

Shepard Fairey’s Obama, Part II

R1085COVERShepard Fairey’s second Obama commentary (because that’s the only thing to call it–more than art, Fairey is a master of cultural criticism), thoughtfully designed and gracing the cover of Rolling Stone. All those college kids summering at home while August slips through their fingers are gonna go nuts.

My first thought was the placement of the presidential seal behind Obama’s crown. Intentional, surely. Approaches a bit of bombasticness. The great Barkley Hendricks used the halo (or an initimation of it) to much more powerful effect in “Lawdy Mama,” his stunning gold-leafed portrait that typifies the 70’s mantra of “Black is Beautiful.

About his second Obama cover, Fairey writes:

However, a lot can and will change. As Joe Strummer of The Clash once said, “The future is unwritten.” In my illustration I make reference to Gilbert Stuart’s famous unfinished portrait of George Washington to capture the idea that, although we’re quick to judge, it’s too early to tell how Obama’s presidency will turn out. Hopefully Obama and all of us who have stood behind him will do everything we can to fill in our incomplete future the way we’ve pictured it.

It’s a great thing to ponder: As he enters the second part of his first year in office, will President Obama step boldly into the fray, fulfilling his promise of hope? Or will he suffer under the necessary weight of compromise?

Filed under: art, politics, , , ,

What is White Privilege? And what’s Sarah Palin got to do with it?

The cover art for Francine Prose's seminal anti-racist novel A Changed Man

The cover art for Francine Prose's seminal anti-racist novel A Changed Man

There are many truthful–yet not easy to digest–points made on the viral essay called This is Your Nation on White Privilege, going around the Web and written by Tim Wise, an anti-racism scholar. Some of the facts that I did not know: John McCain has referred to Vietnamese as “gooks” and “will always hate them”; Sarah Palin attended four colleges over six years (after failing out of one of them); Palin’s husband belongs to an extremist organization that wants to secede from the United States; Cindy McCain obtained drugs illegally (actually, I did know this fact because there’s a great profile in The New Yorker this week explaining how McCain forged the signature of the doctor who worked for her charitable organization–and this little tidbit has been buried by the media in comparison to the media frenzy from Obama smoking some pot in college).

White Privilege is a challenging notion to grasp, but I like Wise’s approach. And the opposition to his views have been downright nasty.

It’s always interesting to me to flip the idea of racism on its head and focus not on how people of color are oppressed, but rather on how whites receive invisible benefits.

On a somewhat related note, Francine Prose wrote a great novel last year called A Changed Man. I absolutely loved Prose’s novel (almost as much as the National Book Award finalist The Blue Angel). A Changed Man is about a racist skinhead who has done a 180, after being released from prison, and then seeks to work for an Elie Wiesel-type figure who survived the holocaust. Good satire, great storytelling.

Filed under: politics, racism, , , , ,



» "Pinays," AGNI, Spring 2016
» "Dandy," Post Road, Spring 2015
» "Wrestlers," Fifth Wednesday, Spring 2014
» "Babies," Joyland, August 2011
» "Nicolette and Maribel," BostonNow, May 2007
» "The Rice Bowl," Memorious, March 2005
» "The Rules of the Game," Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, June 2003)
» "Deaf Mute," Growing Up Filipino (Philippine American Literary House, April 2003)
» "Good Men ," Genre, April 2003
» "The Foley Artist," Drunken Boat, April 2002
» "Squatters," Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America (Asian Am. Writers' Workshop, 2001)
» "Deaf Mute," The North American Review, Jan 2001
» "The First Lady of Our Filipino Nation," The Boston Phoenix, 1999
» "Paper Route," Flyway Literary Review, 1996
» "Brainy Smurf and the Council Bluffs Pride Parade," Generation Q (Alyson, 1996)
March 2018
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Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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