100-Proof Blogging by Randle Aubrey

Saturday, December 30, 2017

PINK ELEPHANTS PODCAST EPISODE #04: BRUCE STURGELL IS LARGE AND IN CHARGE




On this episode, I talk with my good friend Bruce Sturgell, the country’s preeminent men’s plus-size fashion guru and founder of the website Chubstr.com, who’s new web series “Sized Up” just debuted with a big splash in September 2017.



“Sized Up” features Bruce touring the plus-size fashion scene in cities all across the country, meeting with private designers, fashion boutiques, and even major retailers who feature prominent plus-size collections, many of whom owe Bruce a debt of thanks for much of their success.

MUSIC:
Sweet HayaH – Better
Usurper Vong – The Hunt Is On (Ooh La La)
No Flow – Here To Stay
Doctor Striker – Be A Man, Go The Gym

If you're an independent musician or band and you'd like to have your music featured on the program, drop me an e-mail at 100proofpink@gmail.com.

Pink Elephants is produced by Randle Aubrey with with additional support from Echoplex Media. Subscribe to the show on Stitcher Radio, iTunes, or Google Play by clicking the buttons below.
https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/pink-elephants?refid=stpr
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/pink-elephants/id1302223341
https://play.google.com/music/m/Irsbroubukh3njzahxcxzzdjhby?t=Pink_Elephants
Help support Pink Elephants by becoming a Patron at patreon.com/pinkelephants, or do it the old-fashioned way by making a donation to our PayPal account, and thank you! 

www.patreon.com/pinkelephants

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

CORNEL WEST IS A HARD MAN TO LOVE

(PHOTO: Vice)
I have been extremely hesitant to wade into Cornel West’s most recent schoolyard showdown with Ta-Nehisi Coates, but after reading the former’s recent op-ed in The Guardian“Ta-Nehisi Coates Is The Neoliberal Face Of The Black Freedom Struggle” – I would like a word.

Coates never claimed to be anyone's radical; he writes for the Atlantic, America's preeminent liberal magazine, for Chrissake. For West to paint him as one, and some sort of "false one" at that, is misleading at best and incredibly disingenuous at worst. I also don't think Coates' fatalism towards white supremacy is entirely misguided, given the events of the last eighteen months. You only need to read his essay “The First White President” to see that.

Cornel West has picked numerous fights with black intellectuals over the years, and most of them have one thing in common: they're not academics, or if they are, they're not actively practicing academia like he is. I've known a great many teachers and professors over the years, and I can spot "Teacher Voice" a mile away, which is designed to scold and not inform.

Every time he takes to the press, it's always with that former voice, which reduces what are often valid criticisms (believe me, he’s no fool) to mere complaints over who gets to be in the spotlight. West has not been able to get much traction outside of "Democracy Now" and “Black Agenda Radio” for a long time, and I imagine he feels more than a little scorned by that fact. But his envy is plainly felt, and overshadows nearly all else.

But no one – including Cornel West – should be the least bit surprised that in our centrist corporate media environment, his talk of black revolution will never take center stage, and Coates' talk of black introspection will always lead the charge. There’s little doubt that Coates acknowledges this in his own work; You only need to read his essay "My President Was Black" to see that.

Sadly, there’s little room for purity angels or glory hounds in the current debate over the soul of America. Until West acknowledges this, he’ll always be the bridesmaid and never the bride.

Subscribe to the Pink Elephants podcast!
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Friday, December 15, 2017

PINK ELEPHANTS PODCAST #03: THE COMPANY TOWNS OF TOMORROW





Here in the Silicon Valley, technology has reigned supreme for about as long as anyone can remember. As we’ve all come to find out over the years, the ways in which Big Data shadows and even influences our online activities can be both eerie and unsettling, blurring the lines between private and public life faster than anyone can easily contemplate.

Now, companies like Facebook and Google are looking to take their operations into the offline world, and they’re starting here at home, swallowing up local real estate at a rapid pace for creating mixed-used housing developments that they plan to lease to their employees. But what does that mean for the residents of Silicon Valley, only a small portion of which have any actual say over the policy implications of building an IT company town?

To find out, I spoke with Julianne Tveten, a freelance tech journalist for Current Affairs and In These Times, and author of a recent essay for The Baffler magazine called “Zucktown, USA,” where she connects Facebook and Google’s real estate ambitions with the company towns of the 19th century.


Julianne is also a frequent guest on This Is Hell, a long-running radio program based out of Chicago. You can find her work with them here.

To learn more about what you can do to have a say in Big Data’s real estate ambitions, visit any of the following websites:


MUSIC:
Tributaries – Sugar Cubism
Kat Robichaud & The Darling Misfits – Definition Of Pretty
Doctor Striker – The Futurist
Landon Wordswell – Guess Who

If you're an independent musician or band and you'd like to have your music featured on the program, drop me an e-mail at 100proofpink@gmail.com.

Pink Elephants is produced by Randle Aubrey with with additional support from Echoplex Media. Subscribe to the show on Stitcher Radio, iTunes, or Google Play by clicking the buttons below.

https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/pink-elephants?refid=stpr
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/pink-elephants/id1302223341
https://play.google.com/music/m/Irsbroubukh3njzahxcxzzdjhby?t=Pink_Elephants

Help support Pink Elephants by becoming a Patron at patreon.com/pinkelephants, or do it the old-fashioned way by making a donation to our PayPal account, and thank you!

www.patreon.com/pinkelephants

Friday, December 1, 2017

PINK ELEPHANTS PODCAST #002: "A VAST, BLACK ICEBERG"





When it comes to the history of the Civil Rights Movement, no single organization stands out with greater potency – or controversy – than the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense.

Tragically, the Panthers’ revolution ended almost as quickly as it began, when their founder Huey P. Newton was arrested and charged with the death penalty for murdering Oakland police officer Johnathan Frey barely a year into party’s foundation.

Newton’s murder trial would go on to become one of the most groundbreaking criminal court proceedings of the twentieth century, a trial whose ramifications can still be felt in our justice system today. Yet the story of the trial – and the story of the Panthers themselves – have been all but lost to time, and historical revisionism.

I sat down recently with lawyer, historian, and author Lise Pearlman to discuss her new book American Justice On Trial: People vs. Newton, where she tells the story of Newton’s trial with unprecedented depth, and gives the reader insight into a Black Panther Party that was as complicated – and unpredictable – as their founder himself.

American Justice On Trial: People vs. Newton can be found on Amazon in paperback and ebook form. Lise Pearlman is also working on a documentary film to support the book, which you can find out more about at www.americanjusticeontrial.com.

MUSIC:
Billy Sheen – Severing
Kenny Thomas & The Southern Baptists – Stick
5avcat – Symbiotic Connections
Little Spiral – Tossing & Turning
Rebelskamp – Sideways

If you're an independent musician or band and you'd like to have your music featured on the program, drop me an e-mail at 100proofpink@gmail.com.

Produced by Randle Aubrey with with additional support from Echoplex Media. Subscribe to Pink Elephants on Stitcher Radio, iTunes, or Google Play by clicking the buttons below.

https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/pink-elephants?refid=stpr
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/pink-elephants/id1302223341
https://play.google.com/music/m/Irsbroubukh3njzahxcxzzdjhby?t=Pink_Elephants

Help support the show by becoming a Patron at patreon.com/pinkelephants, or my making a one-time donation to our PayPal account, and thank you for your support.

www.patreon.com/pinkelephants

Monday, November 20, 2017

TRUMP'S FCC DIRECTOR WILL END NET NEUTRALITY UNLESS WE STOP HIM

I'm not often one to issue direct calls to action. But this cannot be allowed to pass:
"President Donald Trump-appointed Pai’s plan would jettison rules that prohibit internet service providers from blocking or slowing web traffic or creating so-called paid internet fast lanes, the people familiar with the changes said.

Pai also will follow through on his plans to scrap the legal foundation that the FCC’s old Democratic majority adopted in 2015 to tighten federal oversight of internet service providers, a move he contends has deterred the industry from investing in broadband networks. Internet providers have feared that legal foundation, if left in place, could set the stage for possible government price regulation of internet service.

The chairman’s approach, to be voted on at the FCC’s Dec. 14 meeting, would also get rid of the so-called general conduct standard, which gives the FCC authority to police behavior by internet service providers it deems unreasonable. [...]
The move could also re-ignite interest in legislation to codify net neutrality rules, which Republican lawmakers and ISPs have pushed for this year. Some FCC watchers believe Pai’s dismantling of the rules could bring Democrats to the table to negotiate a legislative solution to the debate."
If the Dems are forced into a bargaining position over net neutrality, they'll lose. If they lose, we all lose. Please call/write the FCC and beg them not to allow this to happen. Unless you want to learn how to make a VPN just to make a dime online.

Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554

Ajit Pai, Chairman
Ajit.Pai@fcc.gov 

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Friday, November 17, 2017

PINK ELEPHANTS PODCAST EPISODE 001: A UNION STORY





On the first episode of Pink Elephants, I tackle labor organizing with Robert Hisle, a member of the Board of Trustees and the Executive Board of The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 1414 in San Mateo, California, who also happens to be my dad.

In the late nineties, after years of having their protections and benefits stripped and of their reputation being dragged through the mud, Robert and his fellow machinists worked together to install the first labor union in thier company’s nearly century-long history.

He went on to serve as his union’s steward for another fourteen years until his retirement, and remains passionately dedicated to the pursuit of labor rights to this very day.

Music:
The Hoovers – Our Secret Someone
No Flow – Amplify
Rebelskamp – Oldest Trick (feat. Sean Black)
Sweet HayaH – Backwards

Produced by Randle Aubrey with with help from Dana Blackhart, Danny Gerz, and Joe Endeglow. Additional support comes from Echoplex Media. Subscribe to Pink Elephants on Stitcher Radio, iTunes, or Google Play by clicking the buttons below.

https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/pink-elephants?refid=stpr
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/pink-elephants/id1302223341
https://play.google.com/music/m/Irsbroubukh3njzahxcxzzdjhby?t=Pink_Elephants

Help support the show by becoming a Patron at patreon.com/pinkelephants, or my making a one-time donation to our PayPal account, and thank you for your support.

www.patreon.com/pinkelephants
Pink Elephants is powered by free, open-source software. For more information on what the open source community can to do elevate your computing experience, visit the Free Software Foundation website at www.fsf.org.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, CON'T.

Sound familiar?
“In all the various subconscious messages that Clinton’s election represented from the nation to itself, and for all the ways he is a metaphor for the deep-seated national conflicts we can stand to neither face nor finish, Clinton may be American democracy’s last futile and ineffectual grasp. He is neither visionary enough to transcend national rage nor depraved enough to exploit it; and because rage is exhilarating to an otherwise enervated nation, we’re not willing to give it up to anyone who can’t redeem or justify it. It doesn’t matter how often we are told by however many reliable sources that the national deficit has been reduced by nearly a third during the past two years; national surveys show we insist on believing it has grown larger. It doesn’t matter how often we are presented the facts that less that one in 50 of us had our income taxes raised in the 1993 budget, we insist on believing it was “the biggest tax increase in history.” In short, we insist on our rage in the same way we insist on our cynicism, because it is the last easy thing we know how to feel, the last simple emotion we can understand, and the last from which we can still draw a sense of power, no matter how fraudulent it may be. […<br />] 

In the shortest and meanest terms, all of this may be viewed as “merely” a partisan effort to destroy Clinton at any cost. In fact, it is worse. Questioning Clinton’s legitimacy, the leading spokesmen for the Right insidiously question the legitimacy of democracy itself. They speak of Clinton’s election as a kind of foreign coup -- an insinuation made by the new House Speaker in ever bolder variations on Republican National Committee Chairman Rich Bond’s comments two years ago about “real Americans,” and James G. Watt’s jocularity of the early ‘80s that there are two kinds of people: “Americans and liberals.” If Clinton’s presidency is the product of the democratic process and that product is illegitimate, then the process that produced it is by definition illegitimate; in essence, the Right argues that a democracy that produces a Clinton presidency invalidates itself. This is more than just ruthless partisan politics, more than the “same old thing” political opponents have been doing to each other for years. No one in a much more turbulent America similarly questioned the legitimacy of Nixon’s election in 1968, when he received a percentage of the vote resembling Clinton’s. Indeed, we may not have seen anything quite like it since the election of 1860, when half the country considered intolerable any democracy that would produce the likes of Abraham Lincoln (who received a smaller percentage than either Clinton or Nixon)."
For all intents and purposes, this could have been written about Hillary last summer and not in 1995, mere months before her husband would kick off his second successful presidential campaign. Read through this essay long enough and you’ll see that many of the same players are still involved, having managed to wriggle their way out from under one career-busting set of lies and deceits after another.

Despite ultimately amounting to yet another hollow appeal to a smooth, creamy center that didn’t exist then and certainly doesn’t now, this essay still manages to produce a number of rather salient points. Lord knows I’ve read far less articulate claptrap on the Internet. And with that, I leave you with this to chew on:
"We find indignant solace in the single greatest myth of the contemporary political landscape, which holds that the problem with the country is the government and the politicians and the process as a whole. This myth, that the process has grown helplessly out of touch with what we really want and feel and need, is the opposite of the truth. The truth is that we are the problem with America. The process and politicians, the lobbyists and “special” interests -- by which we mean any interest that doesn’t penterain to us -- have reflected us all too perfectly; and we hate them for it."
I would ask that God save our woebegone republic, but she appears to have absconded for Sasketchewan some time ago. For the health care, of course.

www.patreon.com/pinkelephants

Monday, November 13, 2017

HOUSEKEEPING!

It pains me that I’ve had so little time to write as of late. Writing is seriously one of my favorite things in this world to do, and with the apple cart that is my life being completely upturned once again a few weeks ago, it’s been next to impossible to find the time.

However, it certainly hasn’t been for a lack of desire for productivity on my part. That energy’s just been devoted elsewhere, like getting a new job (Hallelujah!), dealing with the complexities of the medical system as a recently-uninsured patient (there are few things more maddening, lemme tell ya), and most importantly to you I imagine, putting the finishing touches on the first episode of my shiny, brand-new podcast.

I’m literally days from dropping the first episode, and I can’t begin to tell you how fucking excited I am. I’m bursting at the seams like I’ve had to pee for too long, and now my back teeth are floatin’. In light of recent events, I’ve had to make a few compromises regarding my release plans, so there won’t be any first-round binging in the works like I originally anticipated. There just won’t be enough time for me to make it happen.

But frankly, I don’t care. I’m just so excited to have come this far, and to be on the verge of making Pink Elephants happen for real. For years, I had convinced myself that there was no way I could produce a podcast on my own, that I didn’t have the knowledge or the resources or even the drive to make it happen. And while I haven’t done it on my own exactly, it couldn’t have happened without me.

Creating this show has been as much a process of self-discovery as it has a means to create something with which to entertain people, and that journey is only just beginning. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

As always, I want to give a 5,000-megaton shout out to everyone who has helped me along the way, whether you actually read this or not, and to all of my readers and prospective listeners, without whom none of this would be possible, let alone conceivable. Y’all are the unsung heroes of this operation, but if you want to change that, become a Patron or make a PayPal donation to Pink Elephants and you’ll get a shout out on Episode Two.

I’ve got some other exciting incentives in the works as well, but it all starts right here, right now, with your help. You’ve already done so much, I know. But if you believe in the work I’m doing here, then I hope you’ll believe it’s worth the round you know I’d have you back for in a heartbeat.

www.patreon.com/pinkelephants

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

RHYMES WITH "ATTITUDE"

The hardest part about gratitude is admitting that you have something to lose.

I am grateful for my home, a comfortable space with loving, supportive roommates in which I am able to work and create with few restrictions or limitations. Having just been laid off from a good job that has handsomely subsidized both my home and my ability to create, I am terrified of losing my home, and the closest thing I’ve had to family in quite some time.

I am grateful for my access to proper medical care, which has allowed me to manage both my physical and mental health in ways that are long overdue for someone who contends with ailments such as mine. I am terrified that, having just lost my job in a market that offers little for someone in my position, I may no longer have access to that care, and will once again be forced to operate under increasingly severe handicaps.

I am grateful for my parents, who will and have always done their part to ensure that things like this won’t happen to me, because they love and care for me and want to ensure that I am taken care of. I am terrified of losing them and their support some day, all the more so for having no say in the matter.

I am also grateful for my girlfriend, whose love and support for me has been unwavering practically since the moment we met and seems to grow with every passing day, and who can make me laugh longer and harder than anyone I have ever known. She makes me want to be a better person, and I am terrified of losing that, and her.

Lastly, I am grateful for myself, for having been able to build and maintain these relationships and create so much art throughout my life and somehow keep most of it – and me – intact, despite dealing with considerable adversity along the way. I am terrified of losing what I have gained, and I am even more terrified of losing myself in the process.

Until then, I will keep gratitude in close company, for knowing that I have so much to lose means knowing that, for me, there’s still so much to live for. I’d very nearly forgotten what that felt like. Now that I remember, I am terrified of forgetting again.

www.patreon.com/pinkelephants

Thursday, October 26, 2017

THE PINK ELEPHANTS PODCAST: COMING SOON TO SOME HEADPHONES NEAR YOU



That's right, folks: the podcast is about to arrive. Get the inside scoop on who I am and what the show's about in this brand-spankin' new trailer, and please, please, PLEASE share it with all of your friends and loved ones and strangers and your cat. 

Especially your cat.

Music:
Little Spiral - Arrive
Town Crier - Can't Make You Love Me (My old band, now-defunct) 
Kenny Thomas And The Southern Baptists - Chocolate

https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/pink-elephants?refid=stpr
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/pink-elephants/id1302223341
https://play.google.com/music/m/Irsbroubukh3njzahxcxzzdjhby?t=Pink_Elephants

Please consider supporting Pink Elephants by becoming a donor through our Patreon page, www.patreon.com/pinkelephants. Or, you can do it the old-fashioned way, and drop a few bucks in our PayPal account. Every bit counts, even more than you might think.

www.patreon.com/pinkelephants

GRIN AND BEAR IT

(PHOTO: Current Affairs)
Beyond a certain point, we're not going to have much of a choice.
"As a practical matter, to write off a population as broad as “Trump voters” or even “white supremacists” is politically irresponsible.  With respect to Trump voters, post election analysis has proven that an electorally significant percentage were once Obama supporters. This means that either racism isn’t as fixed as implied, or, in the alternative, that racists might be motivated by something other than hate at the ballot box. And although the idea of courting white supremacists is, of course, distasteful, doing so feels less controversial once you consider “white supremacy” to include a spectrum of beliefs from which few people are excluded. If everybody is racist, to refrain from talking to racists is to retreat from politics entirely. [...]

The Republican Party may get the vast majority of the Klan vote these days, but the ideology of white supremacy is bipartisan. White supremacy is deeply ingrained in people of all political stripes, because it’s such an inextricable part of the American subconscious. It can be found in the presumption that urban black and Latino youths are uniquely lacking in empathy, making them “super-predators,” or that a black presidential candidate wouldn’t be “clean” or “articulate,” or that the achievement gap is due to innate, biological factors...Speaking to these people is clearly a feature of doing politics, and a refusal to do so simply cedes these people to the other side, to disastrous consequence. [...]

...when members of an online group called “Upper East Side moms” were called “racist” for downplaying the importance of white supremacy, they did not immediately “check their privilege” and repent. Instead, they threatened legal action. If the Upper East Side moms can’t be shamed out of their racist beliefs, it’s unlikely to work on a man wielding a Tiki torch."
For your own health and safety, however, I'd recommend a slightly more passive approach to engaging the bigoted masses if you're not a member of the media. Best to let them bang on your door. Trust me, they will.

There is an argument to be made within this article about active listening and leading with your values, even if for purely tactical reasons. What's tricky is doing this at all times, even when you have nothing to lose and especially amongst members of your own coalition. 

The only way to prepare for such the naked, white-hot antagonism of the right is to ensure that there are little to no undercurrents of it within the ranks of the left. The failure in policing liberal values away from effete intellectualism has been its greatest gift to the right. 

Without getting back to what really matters - defining themselves as something other than opposition to the "deplorables" - the slippery slope to fascism will remain heavily greased by those who swear they're trying to talk the nation off the ledge.