Thursday, October 16, 2014

Miscellaneous Stuff Of Note.

I've been out a lot lately, not that you didn't notice. While the blog gets back to normal (whatever that entails these days) here's a few things you might wanna check out.
Five reasons to love the Kansas City Royals - I haven't paid attention to baseball since the Nats lost, but this is a feel good story. Unless you live in B-More.

CDC permitted health worker to fly despite fever - The Strain is coming to life.

School Soccer Team Taunts African Student with ‘Ebola’ Chant, Coaches Resign - USA! USA! USA!

Apple leaks new iPad details - Apple's officially out of new ideas.

Ann Romney still done with 2016, but never say never - Just say never. Please.

Mark Driscoll, top megachurch pastor, resigns - This story is really fishy. Really.

Stewart vs. O’Reilly Showdown: Intense Battle over White Privilege - Two rich white guys argue about poor black people. Ugh.
Question: Got any links to share?

Bringing Online Poker to the People

The US online poker market is by far the most lucrative in the world. This may be a little surprising given the fact that just 3 states presently authorize online poker gaming – Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware. It should be remembered that prior to the infamous Black Friday in 2011, online poker sites had carte blanche to operate in US cyberspace. This multibillion dollar a year industry has Americans chomping at the bit – hook, line and sinker. For the remainder of 2014, it's unlikely that we will see any additional US states regulating online poker, but there is plenty of action going on behind the scenes. Lawmakers in California and Pennsylvania are toying with various online gaming bills to introduce online poker to their respective states.

The online poker industry is in its infancy stages in the US – at least in a regulated form. US players can dabble in all manner of online poker games including SNGs, MTTs, freerolls and bounty tournaments. Diehard poker fans will undoubtedly recall the popularity of the country's two biggest online poker sites: PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. Their absence to date is largely attributed with the anaemic growth rate of online poker in the US, but times they are a changing. In June, the Amaya Gaming Group (based in MontrĂ©al) announced a record breaking deal to acquire the Oldford Group and the Rational Group. This company owns PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. High-level discussions are underway in New Jersey and Nevada to bring these poker giants back into US cyberspace. Current legislation in various states prohibits the erstwhile versions of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker from operating, owing to bad actor clauses.

The PPA is Working to Prevent Online Gaming Prohibition

The mid-term elections are coming up in November, and the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) is determined to prevent Congress from pushing through any legislation that would ban – at a Federal level – online gaming. More importantly, they are looking to protect the entire industry, not only online poker which has a strong support base among many lawmakers. The executive director of the Poker Players Alliance – John Pappas – is keeping a watchful eye on Congress during this lame-duck session. Democrats in the Senate under Harry Reid are more inclined to push legislation in favor of online gaming, while Republicans are less supportive.

It should be noted that the PPA is not against online casino gaming; it actually supports it because online casino games are viewed as necessary supplements to the online poker industry. There is a great deal of symbiosis between the casino and poker industries, and the PPA wants to protect it all. The PPA is a little concerned that the GOP will likely win the Senate and attempt to push through legislation to appease Sheldon Adelson – an opponent of online gaming. The ongoing back and forth between the PPA and congressional lawmakers is covered in detail at

Crunching the Numbers

Online poker pundits have been optimistic about how much revenue New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada can generate from the game. To date, the numbers are lower than anticipated with online poker revenues from New Jersey amounting to $21.1 million from January 2014 through August 2014. This figure comprises approximately 25% of total online gaming revenues in New Jersey. For Nevada poker, the January through August tally amounts to $6.141 million, while for Delaware the total is $473,962. The University of Las Vegas Nevada Centre for Gaming Research Report further illustrates that total US online gaming is worth $12 million per month.

Analysts point out that rather than being viewed as alternatives to online poker, online casino games are complements. In each state where online poker and online casino games are legal, there are at most 2 or 3 operators competing with one another. The industry has been intentionally structured in that manner, to provide a sustainable and competitive business model. The online gaming industry has taken a leaf out of the traditional land-based casino industry, especially where issues like oversupply are prevalent. For example, New Jersey's Atlantic City started 2014 with 12 casinos, but only 8 remain today. New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, wants to be sure that the emerging online gaming industry is nurtured, and protected from oversupply.

Depositing Funds into Your Online Poker Account

Online poker rooms offer freerolls to players, but the big-money typically comes from real money games. Fortunately, there are several ways to deposit at your preferred online poker room, and each of them is 100% safe and secure. Some of these methods include prepaid cards, Cage Deposits at a land-based casino, MasterCard, Neteller, ACH checks, bank transfer, Visa, Skrill and other payment options there are presently being developed. In all instances, you have to be at least 21 years of age and you have to be physically present in the state that allows online poker gaming. These issues are verified by way of Social Security numbers, ID checks and geolocation technology. Of course, players win money when they win poker games and the house generates revenue by way of advertising, the rake and tournament entry fees.

Know Your Online Poker Room
Many players wonder whether online poker rooms are legal in their state. As mentioned, there are presently 3 states allowing online poker and online casino games. However you will likely find many unregulated online poker rooms offering games to players across all 50 states. It should be remembered that only regulated operators can be trusted, because they are vetted by the US gambling regulatory authorities. Since many operators have offshore poker sites, it's not always possible for the authorities to police each and every one of them at all times. Therefore it is incumbent upon players to check out each of these sites, to make sure that they are legit.

A big part of the reason why you don't want to be playing at an unregulated online poker room is because you don't know if you will get paid out or not. Other issues to consider include trustworthiness of the gaming platform, customer support and player numbers. At least with regulated online poker rooms, you have recourse in the event of unethical conduct. A recently released McAfee report states that the online gambling industry will be worth an estimated $43 billion by 2015, with an annualised growth rate of 7.3%. It's easy to see why shady operators would want to cash in on this lucrative industry. Fortunately, most poker players are savvy enough to think first and act later!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Black Jesus and black-ish: Great Sitcoms Or Borderline Coonin'?!?

In post-Tyler Perry America, the black sitcom has pretty much gone the way of the blackberry smartphone dinosaur. Sure, shows like Are We There Yet and Meet The Browns air several times a week in syndication, but seriously, who watches that sh*t? Thankfully, two new "black sitcoms" recently premiered, but I'm struggling to understand how I feel about them.

black-ish airs on ABC and stars Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross as parents raising black kids in the lily white suburbs. While the show's pilot was (predictably) iffy, subsequent episodes have explored some dynamics of black life seldom seen on network TV. After 3 weeks, I'm beginning to really love this show. Some people (I see you Donald Trump!) just can't get beyond the title, and that's a shame, because it's hard to imagine any other name describing this show as well as black-ish.

Black Jesus is the brainchild of The Boondocks ex-producer Aaron McGruder and airs on The Cartoon Network. In it, (black) Jesus comes back to earth in South (Central) Los Angeles, where he hangs out with a crew of ne'r do wells and plants weed in the community garden. There's not much of a plot to speak of beyond that. If you tuned into this show expecting social commentary, you're probably gonna be pissed. There's nothing nuanced, or thoughtful, or profound about this show. It is pure, uncut ignorance, and personally, as an upstanding member of the African American community, I find myself a little conflicted about how much I enjoy it.

Question: Have you watched either of these shows? What did you think?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

St. Louis Cop Shoots And Kills Teen Armed.... With A Subway Sandwich.

Remind me to never, ever, ever go back to St. Louis. Ever.
Another police-involved fatal shooting of a teenager, this time in south St. Louis not far from the Missouri Botanical Garden, led to hours of protests overnight Wednesday and into Thursday morning as an angry crowd gathered quickly when news spread across social media.

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said the officer was off-duty, working a secondary job for a private security company, when he chased and fatally shot an 18-year-old male Wednesday night who came at him aggressively in a gangway.

The teen had a gun and fired at least three shots at the officer, who returned fire, the chief said. The teenager attempted to fire more but his gun jammed, Dotson said.

The officer was unhurt. The officer fired 17 times, he said. It is unclear how many times the teenager was struck. Police said they recovered a 9mm Ruger.

Relatives of the dead teen who came to the scene identified him as Vonderrit Myers Jr., 18. They disputed the police version. They say he didn't have a weapon. Police did not identify the 18-year-old but said he "was no stranger to law enforcement."

Jackie Williams, 47, said Myers was his nephew and lived with him in the 4200 block of Castleman Avenue, near the shooting scene. He said he had talked to several people who had been with his nephew or saw the shooting.

“My nephew was coming out of a store from purchasing a sandwich. Security was supposedly searching for someone else. They Tased him,” Williams said. “I don’t know how this happened, but they went off and shot him 16 times. That’s outright murder.”
Let's step back and wait for details to actually come out. Unlike the Mike Brown story, this guy appears to have been armed and appears to have shot at the cop (for reasons that are unclear). Let's not conflate the two cases, just because a cop and a black teen were involved. That seems to be where the similarities end.

Question: Is everyone going to jump to a conclusion here without waiting for more details?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Steve Harvey, Paula Deen, Racial Forgiveness, And Sold Souls.

Sorry, but due to time constraints, this post isn't gonna be nearly as awesome as its title might suggest. My bad. Anyways, Steve Harvey's got tailors to pay, and the people responsible for making Paula Deen a household name would like to get back to cashing checks. I now present to you: Great Moments In (Purchased) Racial Forgiveness.
In an episode of the Steve Harvey Show set to air on Thursday, October 2, Paula Deen will speak with Harvey about what many might consider to be her surprising involvement with the Steve Harvey Mentoring Camp.

The annual four day event, held in Dallas during Father’s Day weekend, was founded by Harvey to teach hundreds of fatherless young men about “personal responsibility, dream building and the importance of nutrition and physical fitness,” according to the organization’s official website.

he 67 year-old Deen is slated to bring her famous Southern-style cuisine and talented team of chefs to Harvey’s mentoring program in an effort to help those boys who have an interest in the culinary arts. Harvey, in a recently released clip from the upcoming show, says that “Paula and her team has agreed to take as many boys as I want to fly down to Savannah [Georgia] … and teach them culinary skills. That, to me, is how you get something from something.” A one-time staple of the Food Network, a June 2013 controversy surrounding Deen’s admitted use of the “the N-word” in the past caused the channel to decline renewing her contract.

In addition to the mentoring announcement, the interview with Harvey addresses the 2013 controversy, with the host saying, “I just know the good in her. That’s all I know. And it outweighs the bad by a landslide.” Acknowledging that there could be a backlash from critics and the blogosphere for working with a woman some might still consider a racist, Harvey also said, “Now, when you blog about me … can you please type, right after you get through typing, that I don’t give a damn. Just for me.”
I don't give a damn, Steve. There, you asked for it.

You really have to step back and admire Steve Harvey's hustle. I mean, think about this: this guy went from being the 3rd stringer on the King's Of Comedy Tour to a household name quicker than you can say "Bernie Mack died?" I don't know who his image consultant is, but I'd bet that person is bathing in 20 dollar bills. Rebranding Harvey, a man married more times that Zsa Zsa Gabor as a relationship guru was a stroke of genius. He's ridden that train to a couple of so-so rom coms, a daytime talk show, a national radio show, and a hosting gig for Family Feud. The man is everywhere, clearly because someone responsible for determining who gets to shine gave him the seal of approval.

When I watch pure f*ckery like this Paul Deen interview, I wonder what strings came attached to that approval.

This is not to say than Deen doesn't deserve a 2nd shot. This is America, a country where people can drunkenly run over a man and play football the following year, or urinate on a teen and still have a career as a recording artist. So yeah, as long as she can make other people mounds of cash, she deserves another shot.

I just don't know that Harvey needs to be the one giving it.

Question: Is Steve Harvey "The Ultimate Hustler" or what? Should Rebb'n Al and Jesse be concerned about him stealing their racial forgiveness business?