Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Miss the flavor of the Sixties?

Photo from the opening of the new Root Cafe last Christmas time.

Try a cup of Phoenix coffee at the reborn "Root Cafe"
by Mike Marcellino

If you hail from, ever in, or never been to Cleveland, don't miss stopping by The Root Cafe in Lakewood, Ohio (minutes west of Public Square downtown), for a trip back to why we miss the 60s and the best coffee, camaraderie, bakery, music, poetry and food like veggie pizza. (It already has two five star reviews on

I've the pleasure of knowing the proprietors Julie and Bobby, who realized their dream with hard work and help from the community. The cafe moved a couple of doors down from their Lakewood Phoenix Coffee, but the beans are still roasted right in town by Carl Jones of Phoenix Coffee, rising from the ashes of his once famed Arabica Coffee, founded on Coventry Road, Cleveland's answer to Haight-Ashbury.

While Cleveland carries shackles of such recent pop titles such as America's "most miserable city" bestowed by Forbes Magazine, don't believe it. Cleveland won that title largely due to its lake effect blizzards and corrupt politicians, aspects it shares with many of America's big northern cities.

If you doubt that unsung Cleveland's a cultural gem, stop by The Roots Cafe. Tell Julie and Bobby (and their really smart, friendly kids, Hazel & Gabriel) that Mike says hello, and misses them and the rest of what makes Cleveland special. Or, maybe we can meet there, at The Root Cafe, 15108 1/2 Detroit Ave. for their all day celebration of the spring equinox Saturday March 20th.  (I once read poetry at an open mic at the old Lakewood Phoenix.)

And to see that Cleveland does have some decent public officials, stop by the office of U. S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich, just down the road. He's the guy that ran for president to set up a Department of Peace.

Copyright by Mike Marcellino 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

Palin's early presidential bid slips off course again

Will the real Sarah, please stand up?
by Mike Marcellino

Ex-Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, vice presidential candidate in 2008, continues to go to the gold as she lays the groundwork for a presidential run in 2012.  Trouble is her apparent calculated public speeches and comments keep getting her off course and on some pretty think ice.

Only weeks ago Palin inked notes on the palm of her hand to remember to uplift people in trying to ignite the Tea Party by her speech in which she predicted flatly that the only way President Obama could get re-elected was the use what she referred to as "the war card" by declaring war on Iran.   That reminded me of the late Senator Barry Goldwater saying in a speech that he might use the atomic bomb against the communists. The difference is that then presidential candidate Goldwater's statement was a candid answer to a question, while Palin's created "the war card" phrase to nail her rival with a political shot.  Her shot trivializes the consequences of war and the complexity of U. S. relations with Iran, that country's nuclear program and Middle East peace.

In her latest pre-campaign episode, Palin lashed out bitterly against the makers of the latest episode of "The Family Guy," about a girl with Down syndrome with a joke about her family.  Palin's song, Trig, has Down syndrome.  Plan called the show's makers "cruel, cold hearted people" and accused them of "mocking her family."

Palin's criticism drew a response yesterday from actor Andrea Ray Friedman who portrays a girl with Down syndrome.  Ms. Friedman matter of factly explained that she has Down syndrome and also a sense of humor.

The Arts Beat "Culture at Large blog of Dave Itzkoff in The New York Times last night's has attracted 368 comments, one from a "conservative" Frank from Texas who wrote of getting annoyed by Palin.

What may be most revealing about the latest Palin episodes is they seem to reveal her real nature.  Palin portrays herself as a political outsider, a female version of Joe six pack and all for regular people. 

The uplifting palm notes, coining "the war card" and now blasting the liberal media, in this case an animated television comedy series raise serious questions about the true nature of Sarah Palin.   

Palin's choice of words in public  reveals a politician trying to win a campaign not yet begun by creating her own issues that don't match up with reality very well. The latest "Family Guy" episode belies the nation of equality and the wrong in discrimination.  

I don't know about Palin, but I look at blacks and whites, people with Down syndrome, AIDS and soldiers and veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as people.  Aren't we all just people after all? Isn't that equality?

When it comes to comedy, I like the kind that's funny and let's us laugh with each other, not at each other.  Other than that it doesn't make any difference if your mother is the ex-governor of Alaska and a former vice presidential candidate.  It's just a funny, quirky line in a television show, making fun of a politician, after all. 

When you've stated publicly that you may run for president of the United States, being the subject of jokes comes with the territory.  Lighten up Sarah.

Copyright by Mike Marcellino 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

Poetry and art

Over the crow’s nest
By Mike Marcellino

When at times
you see your state
icy, lost
Picture her at birth.
Imagine a man
with no country, alone
at sea forever.
Never to fly
Over the crow’s nest.

Copyright by Mike Marcellino Over the crow’s nest 2010

Print by Ashley Pastore

Monday, February 8, 2010

A political wild card plays the "war card"

Sarah Palin dazzles the Tea Party
by Mike Marcellino

For these two years now, I've been holding out on expressing an opinion about Sarah Palin, her brand of Alaskan politics, and run for the presidency.  (In fairness some folks in her home state may not want to be included in the Palin revolution.) Now, I'm trying hard to remember her main point in the vice presidential campaign, except that she didn't like McCain "handlers."

Here's the story by John McCormick of Bloomberg on Sara Palin's speech at the Tea Party rally.

Today, it wouldn't have surprised me if Governor Palin had tattooed her palm with the words, "Washington DC," to make sure she didn't wind up in the wrong capital.  What words she wrote on her palm before a speech at the Tea Party rally isn't the main point, though they are revealing.  The point is it suggests she had to remind herself that her choice is whatever it takes to capture the support of the disenchanted and Independents.  Before giving a speech I've jotted notes down on paper or a napkin just in case, but not to remind myself why I was speaking.  I also don't believe in speeches designed to tell people what they want to hear and to make them feel good.  Those speeches tend to ignore or warp the facts, don't get at the truth.

What put me over the top though, wasn't trying to remember whether she needed to be "uplifting" rather than, gee, "depressing" or even "real." 

What put me over the top was using "the war card" in your run for the White House.  Suggesting that President Obama could be reelected only if he used "the war card" by declaring war on Iran, is an incendiary, like throwing gasoline on a smoldering fire.  That there's been little reaction, says the pundits don't take Sarah seriously.  A mistake.  Palin also presupposes that Obama is wrong about everything.

Ms. Palin shows herself to be a "wild card" using the "war card" language.  It's irresponsible and certainly doesn't promote a peaceful solution to Iran's nuclear program and proliferation of nuclear weapons.

I suppose this must be part of brushing up on domestic and international affairs in endless briefings since her first appearance in the national spotlight.  But, is the main thing she has learned looking through political glass that the way to win is to use "the war card"?

Look. I'm as overdosed on politics as usual on Capital Hill rather than statesmanship.  But, would a Tea Party person explain why Sarah Palin is an outsider?  I think most Tea Party people like Palin because she thinks so little of our President Obama.

Yes, Governor Palin, we could use a political revolution.  But, going to war, isn't a card for anyone to play in political games.  

Soldiers go to war, not politicians, and soldiers, their families and friends pay the price.

Whatever you do Sarah, put the "war card" rhetoric back in you desk.  Sign up for a course on the Middle East/South Asia.  A briefing may not work as Iran is 5,000 years old.

copyright by Mike Marcellino 2010