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Tom sticks up for Ariana Grande and raps with the Confederate flag

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We all say stupid things from time to time. Fortunately, for most people (and most of the time), the only people who hear these things are friends and family—who are generally forgiving—or maybe a bartender, who really doesn't give a crap. There are exceptions.

Take, for example, Ariana Grande. For those who don't know the name, she was last month's teen pop sensation. She and her contemporaries (Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, et al) are all super-grateful that Amy Winehouse is dead and Adele is busy being a mom, so that leaves a vacuum into which the minimally talented can slip.

Last week, Grande and some friends were in a donut shop in Lake Elsinore, California. A store camera caught her licking some of the donuts that had been left out and then saying, "I hate Americans. I hate America."

Not surprisingly, Grande caught 12 kinds of heck for that statement, but I'm actually here to defend her. It's not her fault. Grande, who appears to weigh somewhere between 60 and 62 pounds, probably doubled her caloric intake for the week with that licking incident and then there was all that sugar! Let's just be glad that she was nowhere near the Bay Area and that the current mayor of San Francisco has an armed bodyguard.

•A few years ago, I wrote something about one of the morning talk-show hosts suggesting that he (and others) occasionally pandered to the racist elements in their audiences. He got all upset and said that I had called him a racist. (I hadn't.) I went on his show to clear things up, merely pointing out that an entertainer should know his audience and it shouldn't surprise anyone to learn that there is a much higher percentage of racists in Rush Limbaugh's audience than in the audience that listens to NPR. That doesn't mean that Rush Limbaugh is a racist or that everybody who listens to him is racist.

I thought that would clear it up, but I kept listening to his show and, months later, he would refer back to it and refer to me as a "big, fat slob." Over and over again.

Well, I still listen to his show when I'm out driving in the morning. Sometimes I even agree with him. He recently had a thing about a Georgetown University professor who wants to get rid of Mother's Day and Father's Day and replace them with a generic "Parents Day." That professor needs to be smacked around, first by his mother, then by his father, and then jointly in what would be a Parents' Smackdown.

Unfortunately, a couple weeks ago, the local host was trying to defend the indefensible—Southern redneck racists who love the Stars and Bars—by equating the way some black people use the N-word to the way some white people look at the racist symbol of the Old South. He said something to the effect of "Try it this way: Every time you're going to use the N-word, substitute the term 'Confederate flag.'"

It sounded like fun, so I gave it a try. First there was the Kanye West song:

"I ain't sayin' she's a gold digger; But she ain't messin' with no broke (Confederate flag)."

Being more of a vintage R&B guy myself, I went back to Curtis Mayfield's groundbreaking movie soundtrack to "Superfly." In the song "Pusherman," he sings:

"I'm your mama, I'm your daddy, I'm that (Confederate flag) in the alley..."

And who can forget the classic comedy album that was so popular, it actually spent four weeks atop the Billboard R&B Albums chart in 1974? Featuring the hilarious bit, "Wino Dealing With Dracula," we all loved Richard Pryor's album, "That (Confederate flag)'s Crazy."

It didn't work. I have no sympathy for ignorant knuckle-draggers who lament the fact that they couldn't live in a time where human beings owned other human beings and where the ancestors of today's rednecks committed torture, rape, and even murder—all in the name of commerce. I'm glad I lived long enough to see that despicable Confederate rag relegated to the dustbin of history, but I hate the fact that it took our country 150 years to start making that move.

•And finally, there's Bristol Palin, the former paid spokesperson for an abstinence campaign whose pregnancy out of wedlock did wonders for her mother's Family Values platform in 2008.

Well now, Bristol finds herself pregnant again, with no baby-daddy in the picture. She issued a defiant statement that I found inadvertently hilarious.

She started her statement with "None of us are perfect." You can say that again. Since "none" is singular, that sentence should be "None of us is perfect." (If you're unsure, just substitute the word "one" for "none" to make sure you're doing it right.)

She then said that she "would be completely crucified" after announcing her second pregnancy. It amazes me that self-proclaimed Christians use the word "crucify" so casually. If the atheistic John Lennon wants to use it in "The Ballad of John and Yoko," that's fine. However, for a Christian, it should mean only one thing and be used sparingly and accordingly.

Palin ended her rant with, "I don't need a lecture." No, you don't. You need contraception. Or perhaps a dictionary in which to look up the definition of "celibacy."

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