Archive for March, 2012

March 23, 2012

Project Runway All-Stars: Mondo’s Redemption

About a year and a half ago, I took to the blogosphere to express my EXTREME displeasure at Mondo Guerra losing to season 8, Project Runway winner Gretchen Jones.

In Case you don’t remember:


Loss to this:

It is now considered the biggest upset in Project Runway history! I don’t have any facts to back that up, but in my mind, it has to be so I’m rolling with it.

At the time that this miscarriage of fashion justice was… carried out, I broke up with the show. It was simply an injustice that I could not let go! So, I missed Project Runway 9, although I’ve seen some of  Anya Ayoung-Chee’s collection, and although the piece on the left gives me granny panties flashbacks, it seems that her overall talent and artistry is several steps above Ms Gretchen Jones.

So, maybe they got it right last year. I wouldn’t know one way or another.

So, you can only imagine the position I was put in when Project Runway All-Stars was announced; and Mondo was set to compete. I’ll admit that my first reaction was, “So, I guess they did this show FOR Mondo.” Yes, I believed that the entire show was conceived of and produced solely to award Mondo. (I guess, I was right since he WON! Ha!) But, do I watch? Do I set myself up for disappointment again? Will someone by the name of, oh I don’t know, AUSTIN SCARLETT rear his ugly (well made-up and styled) head?

Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of Austin Scarlett – meaning, I am a sucker for a gorgeous gown and I know that it is his “thing,” but when he started to get pass after pass after pass on some of the most atrocious items I’ve ever seen grace the Project Runway… uh, runway, I started to get scared. I had several flashbacks to undeserved Gretchen praises and worried that the judges, although Nina Garcia and Michael Kors free, were smoking that same “stuff” they were in season 8! In other words, I was worried that they were setting us up for another upset.

Honestly – HONESTLY – if I did not think that Mondo’s collection was the stronger, far superior collection of the designers, I would have understood a loss. Truth be told, usually the designer I like most is not the winner. I had never been upset about it, prior to Gretchen’s win, because I recognized the designers who did win were talented, even if they weren’t my favorite.

So, to last night’s show. The final three was comprised of Mondo Guerra, Austin Scarlet and Michael Costello. All three put forth very different collections.

First up Austin Scarlett:

The piece to the left was definitely one of my least favorite pieces of the entire show. I don’t quite understand designers that insist on placing design elements that make hips look BIGGER than they are. I guess it’s because they are dealing with models who are a size zero. Just a hunch.

The piece above was one of two of my favorite Austin Scarlett creations. Although it also included a “hippy” element, it worked for this dress. It was probably one of my favorite pieces from him out of the season. But the Austin Scarlett showstopper was definitely his wedding gown. Just STUNNING:

Absolutely gorg! But, it did not at all fit in with the rest of his collection, which was much harder and primarily black and magenta/pinkish.

Next up, my man Mondo Guerra:

Although I did not feel that his collection had a “showstopper,” I found Mondo’s entire collection to be stunning and cohesive. My least favorite item from him was this piece he created from the left over fabrics given for their final look:

Although not my fav, still very much in line with the entire collection.

All in all, I felt that Mondo’s collection was well executed, artistic and original. I feel like he toned himself down, perhaps learning from the first time around that he should try to be a little more sophisticated instead of colorfully bubbly like his first Project Runway show finale.  If I had to judge the two, I still prefer his collection from season 8 to all-stars, but I am all about the color, baby!

The final designer to show was Michael Costello:

The design to the left was probably my favorite of Michael’s collection. Unfortunately, I don’t think that Michael created a collection that showcased his strengths. I understand that he wants the world to know that he is not a one trick, draped pony, but I think that instead he showcased that the only thing he does very well is drapery.

The best compliment I can give to Michael’s collection is that it was probably the most ready to wear collection of all of the designers, but this wasn’t a ready-to-wear show, and I’ve come to expect the finalists’ collections to be a bit over the top and to push the envelope a little.  I think that Michael’s problem is that he isn’t very artistic and he isn’t a designer as much as he is a great sewer and draper. (Not to be confused with Don Draper – two more days!) We don’t see a lot of creativity or originality from him.

The only item that had even a hint of the Michael Costello we know was piece below, and I feel like I’ve seen it 100 times.

In the end, I do think the best overall designers made it to the finale and that it made for a good show. I don’t know if it redeems the Project Runway brand in my eyes, but it did feel like a little redemption for Mondo, and THAT was much deserved. Throughout the season I worried whether or not he was mentally and emotionally strong enough to pull it off, and he proved that he was.

Congratulations Mondo! You deserve it!

And they say that ‘Therapy’ is overrated. 😉

March 21, 2012

Zimmerman’s Authority to Escalate Violence

Much has been written about the recent death of Florida teen, Trayvon Martin, over the last several days. The response to this shooting tends to vary depending upon where you are reading about the story. On websites like the Huffington Post, the majority of the posts – that are being let through – are in support of the family and their quest to see Zimmerman brought to justice. There are other sites, however, where the heavy hand of censorship is not present and that’s where you will find the Zimmerman apologists and those justifying his actions. What none of these people can tell me, however, is this:

What authority did Zimmerman have to approach Trayvon? In one “discussion” I was asked:

Do you remember any times when you had to confront an aggressive, angry black kid with an attitude?

Let’s ignore the ignorance of this question, and instead ask, Why did Zimmerman have to confront Trayvon? He is not a cop, a sheriff, or a deputy. He was not wearing an uniform to announce or display that he was in a position of authority (because, AGAIN, he is not in one). He was just an average looking CIVILIAN, stalking a young man who was not familiar with the inhabitants of the neighborhood he was visiting.

What I find most dumbfounding about the police investigation is that they seem to have accepted Zimmerman’s word from the start. They’ve said that the evidence that they’ve gathered points to self defense, the strongest “evidence” seems to come from Zimmerman. With the reports of witnesses being LED to provide statements that are consistent with Zimmerman’s assertion of self defense, one would have to seriously question their claim.

Here is what we have to consider when it comes to SPD’s dynamics with the shooter; Zimmerman is very well known to them having made dozens of calls, over the last year, while in his self-appointed position of neighborhood watch captain. It stands to reason that he has become relatively friendly with the cops that patrol that neighborhood. It also stands to reason that his relationship with real law enforcement officers buoyed him in his position of pseudo cop. Something told Zimmerman that he had the same authority as an actual cop. You know, cops who have actually gone through training and have actually earned the right to approach, question and detain suspects? The kicker here is that it seems as if law enforcement has given him that cover.

Escalation of Violence

Zimmerman apologists have suggested that Trayvon should have not run away from Zimmerman, because it makes him look guilty, and that he should not have engaged in a physical altercation with his pursuer. After all, if he would have just listened to the strange man stalking him through the rain and darkness, maybe he would still be here. Let’s just pretend that is even remotely rational for a moment. Even if the case is that George Zimmerman ran after Trayvon and didn’t lay his hands on him first, is it really OK to escalate from a fistfight to gunfire? Do we want to live in a country where that is a rational next step?

Law enforcement officials cite bruises “consistent with self defense” as their proof that Zimmerman, indeed, acted in self-defense. But, where is the proof that Zimmerman could have reasonably assumed that he was in danger of losing his life? If anything, he may have been in danger of losing a fight, but again is that really grounds to shoot someone? We all know, at this point, that Martin did not have a gun, a knife, a sword, a crossbow, a catapult,  an IED, or any other deadly weapon. Did Zimmerman think he was going to kill him with his bare hands? Does law enforcement?

In the end, it seems as if this case will rest squarely on the controversial Florida law, “Stand your Ground” which reads:

A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

Wow. Can you be any more broad? And is LE saying that Zimmerman was at risk of “great bodily harm” when Martin has few signs of a struggle present on his body? It is no wonder that this law met such strong opposition from prosecutors and law enforcement officials when it was introduced into legislation in 2005.

Florida’s elected leaders ignored the overwhelming opposition of prosecutors and law enforcement to the law, including the National District Attorneys Association, the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association, multiple State Attorneys, and police chiefs from cities like Miami and St. Petersburg. (Source)

Yup, I think we can safely call this law a license to kill and/or a get out of jail free card.

For me, this all circles back to the first question I posed in this post: What authority did George Zimmerman have to approach Trayvon Martin? What means did Trayvon Martin have to defend himself from George Zimmerman and why is there any expectation that he should not have been able to?

There are several petitions circling the internet to bring George Zimmerman to justice, but even if 99.9% of the population of the United States sign that petition, I fear that it won’t make a difference. If it is found that George Zimmerman acted in accordance to the laws of Florida, as it is written, he will remain free. Stand Your Ground has thrown all, that should be, common sense into question. Therefore, it is a real possibility that the only true justice seen in this case will come in the form of repealing this Freedom to Kill and claim Self Defense law.

Here is a link to sign a petition to repeal this law: Speak Out Against and Repeal All ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws As of now, it only has 39 signatures, so we have a long way to go to get it well circulated. I will sign it and make it 40. I hope that you will do the same, and pass it along.

Rest in peace, Trayvon Martin. May your death not be in vain.

March 17, 2012

In Defense of Bill Maher and Alexandra Pelosi… sort of

This week Alexandra Pelosi debuted a new video on Real Time with Bill Maher. This video was meant to give contrast to last week’s video which showed Pelosi in Mississippi speaking with lower income conservatives. Many conservatives expressed outrage that Pelosi and Maher would “cherry pick” conservatives in order to show the party in the most negative light possible. Personally, I think that the party does that on its own, with or without the video… but, that’s another story altogether.

Before showing last week’s video, Maher promised that he would send Pelosi into the inner city to get the “other side’s” view. Last night, he kept his promise of a new video and showed the audience Pelosi’s latest installment. Instead of going to the inner city, however, she just went right across the street, from her residence, to the Welfare office where she interviewed several black men and one white woman. All were seeking government assistance in one form or another. One guy said he didn’t know what he was applying for, he just wanted whatever he could get. Another guy was asked why he was voting for President Obama and he said because he’s black, which contrasts the white conservative who said that he didn’t like President Obama because he is a “half-breed.”

All in all, this week’s video showed people who voted democrat because of their belief that they will get handouts if they do, again contrasting the conservatives who say that they would rather go without than have help. I am sure that the video outraged many liberals, but we all know that these people exists on both sides. The problem tends to come in when we try to paint an ENTIRE party with the same brush based upon the most negative, ignorant elements that exists within each party. This puts everyone on the defensive and we spend more time fighting stereotypes than being productive. (Which, I imagine, is by design.) I frequently post on the Huffington Post with my avatar showing me as a black woman, and while I have never once signed up for any government assistance programs and have never been on food stamps, people have implied that I am only a democrat because I want handouts. I don’t want handouts because I haven’t needed them, but I DO like the idea of a safety net considering the state of the economy.

In the end, the questions we have to ask are: Are all lower income conservatives racists who will not support a black president? No, but many are. Are all lower income democrats looking for a handout? No, but many are. That is what the videos showed, that these elements do exist and these people are voters. (Of course, many conservatives also accept handouts, but don’t acknowledge it as a handout… but, again, that’s another story.)

While I support the IDEA of what Maher and Pelosi have been trying to accomplish, I feel as if they didn’t go far enough to create context. In the case of this week’s video, I also do not believe that they did an adequate job of giving an exact contrast to the Mississippi voters that they interviewed. In MS, you clearly saw them speak with working class people, who we honestly do not know whether or not they accept any form of government assistance, or not. Considering that at least 40 percent of the people who receive food stamps live in households with at least one wage earner, that is a question that needed to be asked given this week’s trip to the welfare office in NY.  Since Pelosi didn’t interview all food stamp recipients last week,  this week’s video didn’t make sense in context.

Another place the video missed is when showing the doorman lament about those at the welfare office not having a job. In context, you would need to consider the jobless rate and whether or not jobs are available for those able bodied individuals. And you would have to also consider whether or not ALL of those going to the office aren’t working, as pointed out above. In the end, however, the men didn’t act as if they had any interest whatsoever in actually working. One man said he didn’t want a job, but a career… As if those are any easier to get.

Pelosi made a good point when referencing that we spend 700 billion on defense, in comparison to the 70 billion spent on government assistance programs. I also think she made a good point when she referenced the billions given out in corporate welfare. These are things that she should have discussed with the anti-handout crowd in MS. Republicans, that they vote for, support corporate welfare while stating that poor people don’t deserve any help. It would have been interesting to hear their take on that.

After it was all said and done, I was left feeling as if Ms. Pelosi really could have done a better job. The first video seemed as if she took the time out to travel through MS to find different people to speak with. (Although conservatives will argue that they were all the same TYPE of people.) The second one seemed as if it was hastily thrown together, and frankly, lazy. She only made one stop and it was to speak only with people looking for a handout.

Maher and Pelosi have managed to piss people off, showing those of whom both sides would rather keep buried, out of sight and out of mind. My issue with the video is completely different, however. I don’t mind that these people were unearthed, only that the videos lacked depth and context.  As I’ve already said, I support the idea of what they did, so I am not offended… I imagine many black people will be because they may feel as if Maher and Pelosi are purposely playing into the stereotype that black people want handouts. Which is the argument that the right is making, only it’s for their side. So, there you have it. Something people on the left and right can come together on.  And they said it couldn’t be done!

In closing, am I the only one amused by the fact that the welfare office had a DOORMAN? Really?

March 8, 2012

To Be Republican

As posted by Outlandish, a user on the Huffington Post:

Republican base belief system.
You have to believe you know what women want but deprive them of the right to choice.
You have to believe that a man who has no core belief system is one of you because he described himself as a severe conservative.
You have to believe that those privileged from birth achieve success all
On their own!
You have to believe that wars are good so long as the rich make money out of them.
You have to believe that tax cuts for the wealthiest creates jobs and subsidies to job exporters are vital for America’s future.

You have to be against government programs, but expect your Social
Security checks on time.

You have to believe that government should stay out of people’s lives, yet
You want government to regulate only same-gender marriages, what a woman
Does with her uterus, and what your official language should be.

You have to believe that pollution is OK so long as it makes a profit.

You have to believe in prayer in schools, as long as you don’t pray to
Allah or Buddha!

You have to believe that only your own teenagers are virgins and het ro.

You have to believe that a woman cannot be trusted with decisions about
Her own body, but that large multi-national corporation should have no
Regulation or interference whatsoever!

You love Jesus and Jesus loves you and, by the way, Jesus shares your
disdain of LGBT’s and Obama!

You have to believe that society is color-blind and growing up black in
America doesn’t diminish your opportunities, but you wouldn’t vote for a
Black president!
You have to believe it is wise to keep contraceptives out of schools, because we
All know if teenagers don’t have access they won’t get pregnant.
You have to believe that a man can dictate what women’s’ rights should be.

You have to believe that the ACLU is bad because they defend the
Constitution, while the NRA is good because they defend 1 section of the Constitution.

You have to believe that socialism hasn’t worked anywhere, and that
The Nordic block and Australia don’t exist.

You have to believe that the federal government doesn’t have the right to mandate healthcare.

But states have the right to disenfranchise voters.

March 1, 2012

Rush Limbaugh: I’ll Buy Georgetown Women ‘As Much Aspirin To Put Between Their Knees As They Want’

Proof that republican men know nothing about Vaginas or general female reproductive organs. They are the last people that need to speak on what is and isn’t right for women.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost