Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Stay Classy, Salt Lake City.

My favorite line (of many) from the movie Anchorman was Ron Burgundy's sign off line "Stay Classy, San Diego". It was purposely campy, and honestly, I don't really have any idea what it meant.

I'm pretty sure he wasn't talking about Utah Jazz fans though.

After a playoff series allegedly that saw the Jazz faithful shout racial epithets at players from the Golden State Warriors, the great folks of Salt Lake City really took the cake last night... and pelted the visiting San Antonio Spurs with it as they exited following a close 91-79 victory, taking a decisive 3-1 series lead back home.

This only adds to the shameful legacy of Salt Lake City being an unattractive destination for free agents and opposing players, punctuated by Derek Harper's refusal to report when he learned he was once traded there from Dallas. SLC has long been considered unfriendly to African Americans. The Jazz' front office seems to have come to grips with this perception, and has successfully built a contender by assembling a team of guys who like Utah and that Utah likes. The Jazz's two best players at the moment, Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams, and both biracial. The majority of the rest of the team consists of foreigners (Andrei Kirilenko, Mehmet Okur) or American born white players (Matt Harpring).

Having spent a week or so in SLC a few years ago, I can say perception isn't reality, at least not outside the basketball court. I found the people of Utah excessively friendly, although I got a little tired of being stared at and sized up as an athlete. The women were pretty. The air fresh and clean. What's not to like, guys?

Then again, nobody tried to hit me with a pack of D Batteries, so what do I know?

This Is Why I'm Broke...

I should come up with a new Tag called "Frivolous Lawsuits".

Chart-topping rapper Mims has been hit with a $7.5 million civil lawsuit, claiming he reneged on a deal because of his "discriminatory" attitude towards women. [snip]

In the lawsuit, Blair claims she sent a $2,500 down payment to Mims' agents for a performance at Eugene, a nightclub in Manhattan.

According to Blair, the rapper failed to show because of his misogynistic views towards women, which are a "pattern of conduct involving the belittlement and degradation of females as 'b***hes and hoe's."

Anyone suing a one-hit-wonder rapper needs their head examined. The ambulance chaser that filed this suit also needs to be checked out.

Only such a moron would expect Mr. "This Is Why I'm Hot" to have more than a few G's in the bank. (c)Rap music is all about ringtones now, and we all know they don't exactly make you alot of money. Ditto for MIMS crappy album, which probably went triple wood.

Suing this guy for $7.5M is just beyond hilarious, it's delirious. You would be better off suing him for some used Timbs and a turkey sandwich, because that's probably all he has let to his name right about now.

You'd be better off suing Snap(!). Or Queen Penn. Or Das Effex. Or Black Sheep. Or Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz. Or....

Seriously Ms. Blair, get a life, a hobby, and a clue.

Rapper Mims Hit With $7.5 Million Dollar Discrimination Lawsuit [AllHipHop]

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Public Emasculation of Isaiah Washington

I don't watch nighttime soaps like Grey's Anatomy, so I know Isaiah Washington mostly for his extra-gully performance in Romeo Must Die, and of course the TV series Soul Food.

Washington reportedly screamed some homophobic epithets a few months back, during a fight with a co-star. Since then, in an effort to save his job, and probably one heckuva weekly paycheck, Washington has been repenting, crying, and apologizing more than Keith Sweat. Again, I don't even watch the show, AverageSis does, but I've heard more about this dude's efforts to clear up his name and spare his career than I have about the show itself.

The whole "I'm Sorry For 2007 Tour" culminates in the PSA below.

Geez. Why don't you just start dancin' for chicken while you're at it?

This is really not too different from seeing Don Imus doing a PSA for the United Negro College Fund. It comes across as little more than a "save my mortgage" ploy. Can a person really change such long harbored thoughts and prejudices in such a short period of time? Maybe, maybe not. But having to do things like this to prove you've changed seems dishonest, and well, just downright disgraceful.

I kinda feel bad for Isaiah. I'm sure his PR folks told him that doing this would help restore his career, but reality is, black men don't exactly get the luxury of rebounding in Hollyweird. Seriously, when's the last you heard a peep from Dave Chappelle? Does the name Page Kennedy ring a bell? Probably not.

The joke's on you Isaiah. Looks like the show is moving forward without you . We all know the show is about that McDreamy dude (or so says AvgSis), and that's why you really are about to stand on the AvgBro UnEmployment Line.

Raise Your Own Damn Kids!!!

I'm not the biggest TI fan, but I couldn't have put this in better words myself.

For the record, I don't know what it's like to have to sell a "bomb of dope" just to eat. You lost me there, Clifford.

Even Birds Know This President Stinks

What more can I add to this story? Seriously.

As President Bush took a question Thursday in the White House Rose Garden about scandals involving his Attorney General, he remarked, "I've got confidence in Al Gonzales doin' the job."

Simultaneously, a sparrow flew overhead and left a splash on the President's sleeve, which Bush tried several times to wipe off.
We always knew the President was full of crap.

Bush In Line Of Fire

I Smell Gas...

And I ain't talkin' bout' unleaded.

Motorists pulled in to Harvey Pollack's gas station, honked and gave him a thumbs-up -- because he wasn't selling any fuel.

The owner of Towne Market Mobil in this suburb north of Milwaukee shut down his pumps for 24 hours, hoping to start a movement aimed at convincing oil companies to lower their prices.

"Somebody out there is making money at these prices, but not me," said Pollack, 57. "So I just thought: What can I do to help the consumer?
Seriously, is this the thinnest ploy for attention you've ever seen? Obviously, dude just re-opens the doors the next day, quietly hikes the gas price a few cents to compensate for yesterday's loss, and the good PR of this article will probably help him make up for the lost revenue and then some.

Call me crazy, and I'm sure you have - and worse, but I wouldn't be surprised to find out ExxonMobil is somehow connected to this whole story.

Fed up station owner shuts off gas pumps

Comedy or Traaagedy?!? You Decide.

I know this sort of stuff isn't supposed to be funny, especially since I'm an AverageDad, but....

...tell me you didn't chuckle, just a little bit, before you realized it was a flying baby.

I haven't seen any updates on the child's health, but since this video is all over YouTube and millions have seen it, I hope the moron that taped it and put it on the web was smart enough to check with the parents first. Hopefully, like everything on TV (America's Funniest, COPS, Car Chase Shows) this video is only out there because the child is fine.

Still, I've seen in debated in various circles, was this the parent's fault or the breakdancer's? Honestly, I say it's nobody's. The dancer was doing a routine, he couldn't prevent kicking the kid. The mom probably just momentarily took her hands/eyes off the kid, as parents tend to do. The kid was being a kid. Assuming the child is okay, let's just call it even.

On the other hand, this video was just downright disturbing. I'm sure you've seen it by now.

There is clearly a culprit in this case. I just don't happen to know who it is behind the camera, but they need their ass kicked, hard and swiftly.

The boy is clearly feminine, or, as they refer to it in the South, "teep". I'm not here to make any judgement on that. That's his parents business. But putting the kid on display for the world to gawk at is just so wrong on so many levels.

This one takes the cake though...

Clearly a case of too much Pretty Ricky and not enough homework.

YouTube is both the best and wost of what the Internets is all about. I wonder what the longterm effect of all this will be on these kids.

Martin is crying inside.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

This Lawsuit Won't Get Far. Hopefully.

So, let me see if I have this right: The family of St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Josh Hancock is suing the restaurant that gave him drinks the night he died in a car accident, alleging that the restaurant is responsible.

This has to be about the dumbest thing I've heard in quite some time.

Consider the facts:

Authorities said the 29-year pitcher had a blood content of nearly twice the legal limit for alcohol in his system when he crashed into the back of the tow truck. He was also speeding, using a cell phone and wasn't wearing a seat belt, Police Chief Joe Mokwa said after the accident. Marijuana also was found in the SUV.
I'm not even a casual drinker anymore, but I think it's silly to hold a restaurant responsible for the death of a 29 year old man who should know his limits. This isn't exactly like adults holding drinking parties for teens. That's an entirely different level of liability. And stupidity.

Curiously not named in the lawsuit: The weed man who supplied Hancock with his postgame stash. I guess it's harder to slap these sorts of people with lawsuits, considering how, well, weed is somewhat illegal. They also don't happen to pay well in the event that you do win. Not that I'd know of course.

Lawsuits like this are the very reason that so many people dislike and distrust attorneys. I've got a few very good, very ethical lawyers in my family. I'm sure they wince when they read this sorta stuff.

The Hancock's apparently missed the two following items in the Ballers Handbook.

Essential BallPlayer Accessory #192 : Weed Carrier
Essential BallPlayer Accessory #193 : Fulltime Auto Detailer & Designated Driver

No disrespect intended for the dead, but the Hancock family should really let this one go.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

AverageBro Explains "Poppin' Tags".

For the uninitiated, "tags" are the "labels" and categories that you see following each post, as well as listed to the right of what you're reading now. For folks who want to read all your "posts" of a certain topic, tags/labels made finding interesting topics quick and easy.

The Urban Dictionary Defines "Poppin' Tags" as...

"buying shit...poppin' the tags off of merchandise. to buy new clothes; the act of purchasing something new. stealing."

Don't get it twisted. I ain't talkin' about none of that, this is just a semi-clever play on words. I wanted the "tags" for this site to be a little more descriptive than just "politics" and "sports", because, hey, I'm just that kinda dude. I've had folks ask me, what does "Nuthin' But Africans" mean. So, for the record, here's an explanation.

Poppin' Tags : 101

About The Blogger - Anything personal. As you know, I don't exactly "do" personal, so these will be few and far between. Yours truly chooses to Remain Anonymous.

Ad Nauseum - Strange commercials and whatnot. Usually political, sometimes racial, always puzzling.

AB Instant Classics - The best of the best. These posts are the quintessential AverageBro.

AB MultiMedia Expose - Pictures and talking Pictures combine to make one helluva post.

AB Goes To The Movies - The best movie reviews on the net. Usually 6-9 months after the movie's hit theaters. Sorry, I have two kids and a real Day Job. I see most of my stuff on Netflix.

AB GuestPost - The guest list. Usually employed when I'm really busy with The Day Job.

AB NewsBriefs - All the news that's fit to print, but not worthy of it's own post.

AB Rewind - Reruns Encore Presentations. Also usually employed when I'm really busy with The Day Job.

Bad Movies Good Casts - Exactly what it sounds like. Baaaad movies you'll see only on TNT & Skinemax.

Barry 4 Prez - All things Barack, pre-election.

Black White Or Other? - A cyber game-show exploring racial stereotypes in news reporting.

C.Y.I.N. - Channelling Your Inner Negro. The theory and comprehensive real-life case studies of what happens when Negroes drop the corporate decorum and take it back to the hood'.

Closed Caption - I put up a picture, you provide the pithy remarks. Winner gets Cyber CapriSuns.

Crap Music - (c)Rap and Hip Hop culture related.

Don't Drop The Soap - Folks going to, or already in jail.

Drive-By Activism - Bullcrap "activism" that doesn't help anyone but the folks organizing it.

Frivolous Lawsuits - Because some sh*t is too petty for even Greenberg and Bederman.

Get Money - Finance, investing, and of course, scams.

Go Sit Down - Knee-Grow Please: Ladies First Edition.

Grand Hu$tle - The poorly hidden scam behind the press release. Yeah, this is a play on TI's words if you're wondering.

Hollyweird - Celebrity BS.

Keep It In Your Pants - Folks who got caught creepin'.

Knee-Grow Please - Like JJB Says Do Better, but for stuff that's beyond comprehension, usually an out-of-pocket quote.

I Feel Sorry For Your Mother - When somebody really, really, really done messed up.

Mass Appeal - AverageBro in the news, or other forms of media.

MLK Is Crying Inside - An industrial grade dose of "Negro, Are You Out Of Your &@^!# Mind?" as only a slain Civil Rights Leader can issue it. That very special "MLK Returns" episode of The Boondocks was this tag personified... in a cartoon form of course.

NBA = Nuthin' But Africans - This was originally just "Nuthin' But Africans", so I changed it just to made sure nobody was confused. I got that acronym from some Comic View stand up comedienne. Basically, this tag is all sports.

Observations - Whimsical everyday stuff with no other logical tag.

People I Strongly Dislike - Because "hate" is such an ugly word, but some folks still need to be called out.

Politricks as Usual - Self explanatory.

Poll Position - Our occasional poll of various issues, and subsequent poll results.

Raise Your Own Damn Kids - Self explanatory. But just in case...

Stepha Henry - A beautiful young black lady who went missing in Florida, but got little to no press coverage before her body was sadly recovered a year later in NYC. The media didn't do sh*t to help the family, when they could have possibly helped solve the case if they just gave her 1/4 of the attention a missing white woman would get.

TeeVee Sux - Self explanatory.

That Sh*t Is Racist - Self explanatory, but often up for debate.

The Evil That Men Do - Racism, Sexism, Ageism, and other various ism's.

The Negro Prez - All things Barack, post election.

We Owned The 80's - A cultural celebration of the Greatest Decade Evar!!!

Web Junk - Various things discovered on YouTube.

What A DoucheBag - Knee-Grow Please: White Folks Edition.

What Would You Do? - I pose a real life dilemma I faced, you give me your solution, I tell you what I did.

What's On Your Ipod? - Well it's technically What's On MY iPod, but I'm too lazy to change the tag. Either way, I talk about what I'm bumpin' in my earbuds this week.

White Men Gone Wild - Who says only Negroes wild out and catch charges?

Workplace 101 - Various issues and random drama on the Day Job.

You Must Learn - Educational subjects and whatnot.

This list of tags continues to change, BTW.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering...

AverageBro - Me.

AverageSis - My Very Lovely Wife. Don't get it twisted, I didn't marry my sister.

Any questions, holla at me.

Nothing to Blog About

As anyone who's had an eye on this site throughout it's two month existence knows, I'm not the most consistent blogger. I blog, like I do most other things in life: in spurts. So, some days you'll get 4-5 posts, followed by 3-4 days of inactivity, then I'll hit you with some new stuff. It's cyclical, but hey, unlike lots of other bloggers, I have a life, and a family, and a Day Job. So, it's not exactly like I've got a boatload of time.

Anyways, I've run into a different problem the past few days: there's nothing worthy of blogging about. Seriously.

  • George Bush, although he's still stupid, hasn't done anything stupid lately.

  • NFL Players have been acting a fool, but that's hardly newsworthy anymore.

  • The NBA didn't bother rigging the biggest lottery since the King James Sweepstakes, sending two very marketable players to the 10:30pm EST timeslot. In the midst of maybe the most boring NBA playoffs in ages, not having a player like Greg Oden in the East is a bad move. Real smart, David Stern, real smart.

  • No new Imuses.

  • TV sucks worse than evar.
With a relative drought in stuff that interests me (Politicks, Sports, TV) what's an AverageBro to do?

If you've got some blogworthy stuff, holla at ya' boy.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Why Tyrone Can't Learn... The Achievement Gap

I'll keep this one short & sweet.

Since I'm now tasked, by God, with raising a young black boy, who will be of school age in a few years, every time I hear stories about the Achievement Gap between black and white students, I'm puzzled by the solutions that "educators" propose as a remedy.

Report after report is issued. Studies are conducted. White papers are presented. Pilot programs are implemented. All-male classes are considered. Dress codes are adopted. More black male teachers are needed. More funding is needed for special education. More funding is needed for better facilities. More tutors and role models are needed to mentor the kids.

All of these things are fine and dandy, but they miss the far bigger point that's the proverbial elephant in the room nobody wants to acknowledge: black culture.

Black kids aren't dumb. White kids aren't smart. Asian kids aren't just naturally good at math. People learn by repetition, pure and simple. The more time you spend doing something, the better you'll probably get. If you spend 20 hours a week on quadratic equations, you'll probably become good at math. If you spend that same 20 hours working on your crossover dribble, you'll be nice on the court. Of course, being good at math can lead you to a boatload of career choices (accountant, engineer, physicist), most of which will get you pizzaid. Being good at basketball, unless you've got a wicked "J" and are 6 foot 10, will probably just result in you being the best dude at the "Y". So obviously, it's pretty important to choose where you're spending your time and effort wisely.

Asians excel in school because academic achievement is such a strong (in some cases too strong) element of their culture. White kids are (generally) fed a strong dose of "work to achieve" ethos, and have external affirmation of the proper motivation for this in abundance. Seriously, when's the last time you heard a white person use the words "positive role model"?

Black people (in general) place far too much emphasis on style over substance. Athleticism over intellect. Dancing over critical thinking. Chillin' over reading. The whole "being smart is acting white" phenomenon is ages old, and isn't going anywhere until someone calls it for what it is.

Of course, no school superintendent in his right mind, not even a black one, would be bold enough to say this. For many parents, it's easier to blame the schools, and white female teachers unfamiliar with black boys, and "tracking", etc. But that doesn't make up for the problem: we need to study more, and bullshit far less.

This is all easier said than done of course. Heck, after I clock a solid nine at the Day Job and spend an hour in traffic slogging home, the last thing I'm thinking about is more work. But I know that unless I break these habits on my own, I can't help AverageBaby with his calculus when that day comes.

Like all wars, this one starts at home. I'm taking up my armor.

White People Can Make Money Off Anything!!!

I've always had this crazy theory, and since I've been smacked with a boatload of evidence in recent weeks, I gotta just go ahead and throw this out there...

White People Can Make Money Off Anything!!!

Now, before my Caucasian brothers (and I know you're reading) get all bent outta shape, let me quickly note that this is a compliment of the highest regard. I'm not picking fun here, just stating the facts.

Here's why.

1. White People Are "Experts" At Everything - Just watch 20/20, or Dateline, or heck, anything. There is always a white person who is an "expert", regardless of how mundane or irrelevant the subject. If someone writes a book about it, it's suddenly not just relevant, it's a nation-wide epidemic. John Stossel's "Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity" episodes are the ultimate circle jerk of so called "experts" who with one soundbite laden interview, can have you disregard what your mama n'em have told you to accept as common sense forever. BTW, is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that black people can only be experts when it comes to "being black" and related issues. Witness the proliferation of brown faces on the cable news circuit in the aftermath of Imus, and the subsequent re-whitening in weeks since. My man, Jimi Izrael nailed this one on the head.

2. White People Can Sell Shit To Other White People That Nobody Else Would Ever Consider Selling - Case in point, I'm listening to the radio (AM of course) this morning, and they're talking to some d-bag who invented a crustless pizza because he for some odd reason can no longer digest bread. No, seriously. Not only that, but he's makin' a killin'. Oxygen bars? Shit, bottled water! Stupid, mostly useless stuff, but somebody's gettin' pizzaid.

3. White People Make Tax Laws That Help Other White People Make And Keep Money - Easy enough to understand.

Maybe I'm a bit jealous. AverageBro had a bang-up idea a few years ago, but spent too much time clubbin' and being young. Some white dude stole the idea. He is likely in Hawaii right now. I'm blogging.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad, All Fake

Unless you've been under a rock the past 10 years, you've undoubtedly read, or at least heard about Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I read, and bought this book awhile back for my personal library. I still don't quite understand why I bought it, because unlike a similar book (The Millionaire Next Door) this book has few redeeming values that deem repeat reads necessary. It's packed full of "get money" cliches like "buy don't rent", "work for yourself, not others", "pay yourself first", etc. I can't really say I learned anything from the book since any knucklehead can deduce the proceeding info if they've got a shred of common sense.

Fast forward to a week ago, when I was at church playing a board game called Cashflow with some folks at church. The game is admittedly pretty interesting. It's like Monopoly, but with real life issues (having kids costs you money, you have to tithe, you can go bankrupt or have seemingly good investments go belly up) instead. I liked it, and considered getting myself a game of my own for the crib. I asked one of the other players at the table where to get it and how much it was. He said it's only available online, and it's $299.

Two Hundred Ninety Nine Dollars!!!!!?!?? For a board game? WTH?!?!?

"Man, it's worth it. This is by the guy who wrote Rich Dad Poor Dad", the guy proudly announced to me, as if he was up on some secret financial advice.

"How is a board game worth $300?" I asked, with a hint of cynicism.

"Man, it's real. It teaches you stuff." he replied, dismissively, as if I was somehow a moron for not being up in this. Since we were in the house of the Lord, I let it slide of course.

Still, I couldn't believe that these folks would drink the Kool Aid to that degree. A shallow $10 book is one thing. Spending $300 on a game that doesn't come with a Blu-Ray player is just plain ignorant. Spending $300 on a good financial advisor, or heck, 35 cents to read my girl Michelle Singletary is a better use of your money if you're really trying to learn something.

Being the thrifty dude I am, I search Ebay when I got home, and surprisingly, even used copies of the game were going for $150. Of course, by now, I'm thinking something in this whole scenario seems really fishy.

A few days ago, I hit you guys off with a story about an idiot named Casey Serin who attended a Rich Dad Poor Dad real estate seminar and ended up plunking down $10,000 for training, and subsequently ruined his life by falsifying loan documents and buying 10 homes that he either lost money on or had foreclosed. One link lead to another, and of course, I found out that Mr. Kiyosaki, the author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, is a fraud.

Kiyosaki didn't make his money on real estate or convenience stores. He made it by creating a fictionalized account of his own life, and selling a fake "success story" to millions of idiots like me and you. The "Rich Dad" referred to in the book isn't even a real person. Kiyosaki was basically involved in a pyramid scheme, or Multi Level Marketing for the squeamish, which he used in concert with the book to create a fortune. Basically, 90% of the stuff in the book is not only falsified, it isn't even the way that he made his money, so why should it work for you?

Seriously, man, believe none of what you hear, half of what you see, and heck, maybe a quarter of what you read.

Friday, May 18, 2007

That's The Way Bubble Bursts

There's not very much blog worthy out there right now, and the Day Job is taxin' a brotha right now, but I couldn't help but comment on this article I recently ran across.

As you guys know, I'm a real estate junkie, albeit more as a spectator (home owner) than an actual player (landloard, flipper, property investor). With the NBA Playoffs officially a snoozefest, My favorite shows (now that the Shield is done for the season again) all involve houses. My love for A&E's Flip This House is well documented. While the show looked like it was gonna dissolve to crap the first episode this season, thankfully they've refocused on the Montelongos and Wilifords. Than and Company are M.I.A., which is obviously a good thing. Even better, Richard, Fugly Ginger, and the rest of the Trademark Properties crew have resurfaced with their own show, the lazily named The Real Deal on TLC. It's more or less a copycat of Flip This House, with slightly better graphics. You can't beat having two shows! It's like Christmas in April. Ditto for Buy Me!, House Hunters, Sell This House, etc. Seriously this is about all I bother Tivo'ing.

It's easy to understand how folks can watch these shows, and see instant dollar signs. On TV, they easily find undervalued homes in neighborhoods that are stable and safe. Financing is never a problem. Contractors are always on time and on budget. Houses sell immediately. Profits are through the roof.

This is, of course, still TV, specifically reality TV, and undoubtedly, there's some scripting going on here. TLC's Trading Places was notoriously busted for over-representing the amount of work the actual couples do. Turns out, they have a staff of 20 some people who do a bulk of the remodeling, painting, and construction when the cameras are off. The "master carpenters" on these shows are little more than actors who can flip the power switch on a band saw. As addicted as I am to the "flipping" shows, I wouldn't put it past them to adjust numbers and make the whole industry seem far easier and more profitable than it really is. I knew this was becoming an epidemic when the dude who sells DVD's in my barbershop announced that he was "going legal" and getting into flipping homes. He disappeared for about a year, until I saw him last week. He had a boatload of Spiderman 3's. Needless to say, his career as a flipper was short lived.

These shows should probably feature some "don't try this at home" disclaimers. I'm sure Casey Serin would agree.

Long story short, this d-bag, a 25 year old Californian, got himself in a boatload of trouble by trying to follow the Rich Dad Poor Dad path to real estate wealth. This dude, barely making ends meet as a web developer, falsifies loan applications (a felony), overstating his income (such applications are seldom checked since lenders are so greedy and don't really care if you get foreclosed on) and eventually ends up owning as many as 10 homes. Of course, since the dude is a moron, the houses either eventually sold for a loss, were rented out for a loss, or went into foreclosure. His credit is shot fo' life, he's back to living with his mom, and his wife is probably going to leave him any minute now. What a winner!

Of course, just to prove my theory that white people can more or less make money off everything, he's now turned into an Internets Celebrity of sorts, with a wildly popular blog, loads of press coverage, speaking engagements, and a book on the horizon. He has come to more or less personify the perfect storm of greed, prosperity, and corruption that are the US Housing Market.

This stuff all makes me happy that I didn't take the plunge into "flipping" at the height of the market a few years back. I could very well have been another Casey Serin.

Then again, maybe not. I don't believe everything I see on TV.

Casey Serin: The world's most hated blogger?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

DC: Not So Chocolate City

A recent census report issued yesterday confirms what many already know: DC is getting alot whiter.

The 14 percent increase in non-Hispanic white District residents and 6 percent decrease in blacks from 2000 to 2006 are probably the result of the gentrification of once-affordable city neighborhoods, demographers said.

The impact on the city's racial makeup is noticeable. In 2000, blacks made up 60 percent of the District's population. By 2006, that figure was 55 percent.

If the trends continue, the city will almost certainly cease to be majority black by 2020, said Robert E. Lang, director of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech. "It will wind up more like a Los Angeles or a New York, with no clear majority."

I spend a lot of time in the city, but I'm a suburbanite, so I can't really say I've got much of an opinion either way on gentrification anymore. I used to see it as a travesty that erased the social fabric of a town and replaced it with an edgier version of the exurbs. Starbucks proliferate every corner. Bed Bath and Beyonds replace bodegas. And ultimately, poor and working class people of color are elbowed out to make way for monied whites.

Now, not so much.

Reality is, gentrification comes down to one thing: money. If you can afford, and are stupid enough to pay $650,000 for a brownstone that used to be a crackhouse, more power to you. Do that. It just so happens that whites are more willing to do this than blacks. That's not necessarily racist, although one race is effected more than another. Likewise for the leading trigger of this exodus: the conversion or destruction of apartment buildings and Section 8 Housing to make way for pricier real estate. But even then, it's a simple matter of economics: if you don't own anything (ie: you rent), then you aren't entitled to live anywhere. That's how this country works.

DC's U Street is a prime example of gentrification at work. About 10 years ago when I moved to DC, I'd spend entire weekends down there hitting the clubs (Republic Gardens, Bar Nunn, UTopia, Club U, etc.). This was definitely the place to be. But I would have never, evar considered living there. It was dark. It was rundown. And it was unsafe as hell, especially for folks stumbling out of clubs half drunk at 3am (not that I'd ever do this of course). Outside of the club scene, and the obvious energy that it brought, there was no other real reason to be there. Of course, cities can't be maintained by partygoers.

10 years later, U Street is very different. A few of the clubs I used to frequent are still there, but now there are also million dollar luxury condos, million dollar rowhouses, a Metro stop, chic clothing and furniture shops, high end restaurants, and of course the obligatory Starbucks. You're more likely to see white faces as you stroll the block than what I recalled back in the day. There is also more police presence, better lighting, better retail, etc. But is this necessarily a bad thing? Only a person who lives on U Street could really tell you this. My view as an outsider, however, is that this is change for the better.

People who argue against gentrification also miss one very large part of the equation: blacks with money are choosing not to live in cities anymore. I'm sure lots of people will see this as an abandonment of "our people" and "turning our backs when we make some money", but reality is, lots of black people grow up in urban settings. They grow used to crime, congestion, poverty, etc. Most make a conscious choice to move somewhere with more room to grow, safer streets, and better schools. This isn't racist either, it's just what it is: choice.

The only true losers in this entire equation are the elderly who may no longer have a mortgage, but see their tax assessments go through the roof as their property values rise. Cities should do things to assist, and maybe limit this financial strain for retirees. That's definitely not good.

Otherwise, what's not to like? Slightly changing the makeup of a city does not change the complexion of what that city is. DC may inch closer to being Vanilla City, but it will always be the birthplace of Go-Go, and Marvin Gaye, and Duke Ellington's Playground, and HU Homecomings, and Anacostia, and....

Times change, but history doesn't get erased.

Monday, May 14, 2007

We've All Been Had! I Love New York Is Totally Fake.

Ok, I know I should know better, so please save the drama. Still, finding out that my favorite reality show is even more staged than I would have ever suspected was a bit like the morning I woke up early on Christmas and found my Dad cussin' while struggling to assemble my Big Wheel. There was no Santa. This cold hard fact was heavy stuff for an 8 year old.

Thus, while I was smart enough to figure out that VH1's Minstrel Revue (Flavor of Love, I Love New York, Charm School etc.) was scripted to a degree, I didn't know it was to the degree that MediaTakeOut exposed recently.

Not only are New York and her Klingon Mother not related in real life, but Sister Patterson is only 5 years older.

Wowzers! Among the other revelations:

  • Mom and New York have both auditioned for the same reality shows before.
  • New York was rejected from "The Bachelor" three times.
  • Most of the contestants on FoL and ILNY are actors who have been on other reality shows.
  • New York was a former exotic dancer (no real shocker there).

Well just pee on my Cornflakes, why don't ya'? In the grand scheme of things, this is hardly important, or earth shattering of course, but it does taint the show a little. Just like when it was uncovered that the winner of Missy Elliott's reality show was already a recording artist who'd made songs with Timbaland and well, Missy, in the past, this is one secret I would rather have not discovered.

I Love New York 2 is already in pre-production. I'll have to find another guilty pleasure.

This Woman is Going to Ruin It For All Of Us

[obligatory disclaimer: I am NOT a chauvinist! I love black women. Heck, I married one. So don't get it twisted. However....]

Someone needs to tell Barry's wife, Michelle Obama, to have a Coke and a smile (my man Dallas has a far more crude phrase to basically say the same thing). By opening her mouth without a muzzle, and saying the most inopportune things at the most inopportune times, she is running the very real risk of derailing his campaign for Prez before it even gets started.

USA Today and the Washington Post both strangely featured Page A-1 exposes on Barry's Better (?) Half last week. While the USA Today article was far more in depth (seriously, WTH?), both played on a similar theme: Michelle Obama thinks she's the new school Shirley Chisolm (unbought and unbossed) and this might prove to be a liability down the road.

For better or for worse, America prefers it's First Ladies to be seen and not heard. We don't like 2 for the price of 1's, unless you're talking about McDonald's cheeseburgers. That's why Nancy Reagan will be far better remembered than Hilary Clinton.

I had my concerns about Mrs. Obama when the couple appeared on Oprah (where else?) a few months back. A success story in her own right (she was a hospital administrator making over $300k/yr until she recently stepped down), I wondered exactly how this independent woman would accept her career aspirations taking a back seat to her husband's quest for the Oval Office. As she's become more active and visible in his campaign, a style of unfiltered and unscripted candor had become her calling card.

Thus, you get nuggets like these, for the voting populace to chew and digest.

"Barack and I have lived very separate professional lives," she said. "He's done his thing, I do my thing. And my focus is on figuring out what's the right thing for me to do given where I am in my life, where my kids are. And I won't know what that looks like in '08 -- it changes," she said.

Her speeches this week in New Hampshire include references to Sen. Obama's "strange name" and his big ears. She doesn't repeat anecdotes from previous speeches about his inability to make beds or put the butter away after making toast — comments that prompted New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd to write last month that some voters find such teasing "emasculating."

..she doesn't want to be "so tied to all that (Barack) is that I don't have anything for me." It's also evident as she describes the "tension and stress" in their relationship a few years ago when he was focused on his political career and she was home alone with their two kids.

"Do you think I would ever hold my tongue?"

Barack Obama's less famous wife, though, warns that his superstar glow will fade as voters learn more about him... she wants them to know that he's not the "next messiah, who's going to fix it all." She's just as direct with her audience here: "He is going to stumble … make mistakes and say things you don't agree with."

"I have gone back and forth every year about whether I should work." When she finally winds down her duties as vice president of community and external affairs at the University of Chicago Hospitals in the days ahead (she was promoted to the position soon after her husband joined the Senate), she said, it "will be the first time that I haven't gotten up and gone to a job."

"It is very odd," she said of the prospect of interrupting her career... in conversations with her friends, Obama has expressed some ambivalence about shedding her independent life...she was earning almost $275,000 a year before scaling back her duties this year.

In his 2006 book, The Audacity of Hope, he wrote that during his failed congressional campaign in 2000, she told him, "You only think about yourself. … I never thought I'd have to raise a family alone." ... Michelle Obama tells USA TODAY that "there was a lot of tension and stress." She overcame it, she says, when she realized "that I needed to focus on what kept myself sane instead of looking to Barack to give me the answers and to help fulfill me. … I need support. It doesn't always have to come from him, and I don't need to be angry because he can't give me the support."

Jiminy Christmas, would someone put a muzzle on this woman?

Again, I'm all for women working and being career focused. Heck, if you're getting paid, it's more money for both of us, after all.

But being Miss Independent is not the card to play when your husband is gunning for that Number One Spot. The country is barely ready for a President of Color. Adding a First Lady who wants to telecommute to the mix is a bit much at one time, no?

Outside of Hilary (Bill's a story of his own) Obama's chief adversaries all have 2nd bananas who are more than willing to bite the bullet for their men. John Edwards wife is dealing with terminal cancer, but she's a trooper. Mitt Romney (whose 60 Minutes expose last night was pretty eye opening, and impressive for a Republican) has a wife who's got M.S., has popped out and raised 5 boys, and endured who knows how much polygamy. Judith Giuliani stole Rudy from his 2nd wife and endured a crapload of media scrutiny in the process.

These women are all Ryde or Die Chicks who understand the real prize is getting your man in office. Period. After he's in there, and the checks are cashing, you can pretty much do as you please. Someone needs to inform Mrs. Obama of this.

Michelle Obama, get a clue, and a hobby. It's about making history, Boo Boo, it ain't about you.

Somewhere in South Heaven, Coretta Scott King, The Original Ryde or Die Chick, is crying inside.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Boston Pops Is The New Fresh Fest

Anyone remember back in the 80's, when rap music was just gaining nationwide popularity? At venues all over the country, extra security was being called for to prevent the inevitable "riots" that ensue when people of color congregate in large numbers. Stopping rap concerts became the new cause celebre, although actual violence at these concerts was rare and isolated.

I clearly recall my first rap concert evar. As a middle schooler, my mom took me and my brothers (dropped us off) to see The Fat Boys perform at a small hotel conference room (yes, really). The venue was crazy overpacked, and the Boys didn't decide to show (maybe they got stuck at a really good buffet or something) on time. Of course, 7th graders who have dropped a whole month's allowance to hear "All You Can Eat" are gonna eventually get testy about standing around for nothing. The whole thing was ruined when overzealous cops started pushing and eventually busting heads. Four hours later, a riot DID ensue (mostly due to the unnecessary police presence. these were kids after all), some doors were knocked off the hinges, a few tables were flipped over, and unfortunately a few kids were arrested. It wasn't pretty.

Rap music, of course, was blamed for this melee, as it was for seemingly every other incident that happened during rap concerts, from Budweiser SuperFest to the world famous FreshFest. Even today, when a movie featuring a rapper is released, security is beefed up. As if folks can't go and watch a 50 Cent movie without being inspired to pop a cap.

Fast forward a few decades. The other night, a couple of d-bags decided to start fighting each other during opening night of the Boston Pops. I can't wait to hear Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and Co. accusing Ben Folds of inciting a riot, or asking Congress to take a closer look at classical music. Of course, I'm not holding my breath.

I've got good memories of that night in the mid-80's though. Just before 1am, Prince Markie Dee, The Human Beat Box, and Kool Rock Ski took the stage. They only did 3-4 songs, then bounced, presumably to hit up a late night buffet, but this 6th grader's love affair with hip hop was just beginning.

Open Mouth, Insert Foot, Rev. Al

Al Sharpton has been on a roll lately. There was the ethering of Don Imus. He held a "Freedom March" last week in NYC, protesting rap lyrics and asking for labels to clean up their act (which will of course never happen). His Syndication One radio show (which I listen to regularly) has seen a spike in listeners and ratings. He's been the toast of Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC, which is surely quite a coup de gras for such an attention seeker. Jesse, assuming he's not chasing trivial targets like the Atlanta Braves, is probably somewhere green with envy.

The wheels probably just fell off for the Good Rebb'n, however.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney denounced the Rev. Al Sharpton's remarks about God and his Mormon faith, saying it could be construed as "a bigoted comment."

"It shows that bigotry still exists in some corners," said Romney, who spoke to reporters Wednesday after a campaign event. "I thought it was a most unfortunate comment to make."

On Monday, Sharpton said in a debate that "those of us who believe in God" will defeat Romney for the White House. He denied he was questioning the Mormon's own belief in God.

Rather, the New York Democrat said he was contrasting himself with Christopher Hitchens, the atheist author he was debating at the time.

"As for the one Mormon running for office, those who really believe in God will defeat him anyways, so don't worry about that; that's a temporary situation," Sharpton said during a debate with Hitchens at the New York Public Library.

Romney's campaign seized on the comments to criticize Sharpton, and the candidate complained about the remarks on Wednesday, calling them "terribly misguided."
Open mouth, insert both feet.

I'll give Al some credit for being a stand up guy, and immediately going on the talk short circuit to try and clean this one up. But reality is, his comment, taken out of context (aren't they all) sure sounded an awful lot like a slam against Mormons. It's hard to get around that one, no matter how much back tracking you do.

Romney was a bit out of pocket by jumping right out there and calling Al a bigot, however. That's a pretty strong word, and undoubtedly, when this one is replayed in the months before the Republican primary (assuming Mitt's still in the game), revisionist history will paint Romney as the aggressor here. He, of course has a shaky history of making racially insensitive comments of his own, which doesn't help. For a party that's always paying lip service to courting "the black vote" (whatever the hell that is), this can't really help. Somebody should have schooled Mitt on the Barry Obama "don't say anything and hope this goes away" technique of dodging press inquiries. It worked for him. He came outta the whole Imus melee unscathed, as he should have been.

In the short term, however, look for the vultures to circle Sharpton. You just know that the forces that be have been examining him with a fine toothed comb for any indiscretion after his public flogging of Imus, and this just might be the blood in the water that lures in the sharks.

Is George W. Bush The Worst President Evar?

So, Bush, as expected, tells the Dems where to shove their plans for early withdrawal, and clapped back by authorizing the deployment of 30,000 more troops. Despite the Dems having a choke hold on both the House and Senate, reality is, as long as there's a moron in the White House, you're gonna get vetoed.

Bush's total and complete unwillingness to budge, while still spouting the same "connection to 9/11" rhetoric has me wondering: is this dude the worst President evar?

Consider the facts.

A record budget deficit. An unjustified war that will never end. A crumbling housing market. More children left behind. Administration scandals. A nation more divided than ever before.

Wow, I'll note, it's not like I've got lots of prior experience with evaluating Commanders in Chief. I'm just in my 3rd decade, so I missed the whole Ford/Agnew/whatever period. I vaguely recall Jimmy Carter (disrespected). I grew up with Reagan (oppressive). I tolerated Bush Sr. (forgettable and thankfully brief). I matured with Clinton (overrated and rife with controversy). "W" is honestly the first President that I've followed as an adult, and by comparison, the other guys look like Hall of Famers. Bush is the proverbial Tyronn Lue.

Thankfully, this reign, if that's what you wanna call it, will end soon. Only time will tell if this means 4-8 years of Hilary (a tyrant in training), Barry (perhaps in over his head), Edwards (ditto), McCain (more war), Rudy (see Hilary), or Mitt (seriously, who the hell names a child "Mitt"?).

Either way, it can't possibly be any worse than the past 7 years. No way, no how.

Then again, Tony Blair just stepped down, maybe his buddy Stateside will follow suit.

Or maybe not.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Jesse Jackson, Please Just Disappear Already

Yes, I know, this isn't Jesse per se, but someone in his organization came up with the idea, and he should have vetoed it if he disagreed.

Upset over the lack of African-Americans on the Braves roster, members of Jesse Jackson's Rainbow-PUSH Coalition asked for a meeting with team officials. They got one Monday.

Joe Beasley, Southern Regional Director for the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition,said he and Dexter Clinkscale, the director of sports for the organization, met Monday morning for nearly two hours with Braves general manager John Schuerholz, assistant general manager Frank Wren and three other Braves officials. "The team slipped ... down to [no African-Americans]; it wasn?t something that just happened," Beasley said Monday afternoon. "I think it was a lack of diligence on the part of the Braves to recruit African-American players. There's not diminished enthusiasm for African-Americans playing baseball. It's simply the opportunity hasn't presented itself."

Seriously, can't Jesse find a bigger target to shakedown? Is he that far behind on his child support payments that he has to take on an MLB team for not have any black players?

Who really cares about this anyway? Now, if the Lakers didn't have any black players, THAT would be a problem. But the Atlanta Braves? Err, not so much.

Please, Jesse! Get a hobby, and get lost.

Braves meet with Rainbow/PUSH officials

Will Whites Vote For Barry?

Lost in all the hoopla of "is Barack Obama Black Enough?", and "what does he think about Imus?", is a question that seemingly nobody is bothering to pose, but which will have the biggest impact of all on his presidential campaign: Will White People Vote For Barry?

The Post had a great article on this yesterday, which shed some light on the issue that maybe I hadn't considered. Obama trails in the early poles, but has made considerable progress in winning over black voters. We also polls relatively well with whites, but they have been known to say one thing and do yet another when they enter the friendly and private combines of the voting booth.

He's trying to become a pioneer (first minority) while running against Hilary Clinton, who's trying to make a little history of her own (first woman).

Only time will tell, but have a look at this article, there's some interesting insights there.

How Big a Stretch? [Washington Post]

Monday, May 7, 2007

Why MadTV Owns SNL

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, MadTV has overtaken SNL by leaps and bounds this season. While SNL is stuck on repeats and "best of" shows for a season that had no "bests", MadTV presented us with probably the most enlightening/funny political skit I've seen in ages.

Now tell me that ain't funny.

Lost In The Sauce

So, today alone, there's three stories of folks throwing away some portion of their lives for alcohol related indiscretions. Parasite Hilton is (though I won't believe it till I see it) about to do a 45 day stint for violating probation stemming from a tipsy night of reckless driving. David Hasselhoff (why, exactly is he still newsworthy?) loses visitation rights to his two daughters due to a recurring drankin' problem. Extreme Makeover d-bag Ty Pennington gets arrested on a DUI. In recent weeks, rapper Eve, and actress Vivica Fox have picked up alcohol related citations Clearly, it hasn't been a good 2007 for people who love their booze.

I've never been the heaviest of drinkers myself, except of course, for a few wild years in college. I actually sobered up when I turned 21, which I guess is a little backwards, but hey, better late than never. Of course, like most young and dumb kids, I occasionally slid behind the wheel when I shouldn't have, so I thank God for the grace.

Still, these are (mostly) rich and somewhat famous people. Can't they just bum a ride home?

The Most Hated Man In America...

A few days ago, a sportstalk show I listen to (The 2LiveStews) opined that Barry Bonds has supplanted OJ as the most hated man in America. Isaiah Thomas is running a distant third. Mind you, the hosts weren't saying most hated black man, or most hated sports figure, but most hated man, period. I thought this was BS, until I pondered on it a bit more and realized they might be onto something.

Baseball, a sport more steeped in old boy tradition and stats worship than any other, is bracing for Bonds' pending eclipse of Hank Aaron's 744 all-time career home run record. Bonds is only 11 shyas of today, and will not doubt break this at some point this Summer.

This, of course presents the sport with a quandary. Bonds more than likely was juiced when he belted a majority of these HR's, and in a sport so obsessed with numbers (Roger Maris' 61 for example), this amounts to damn near sacrilege for purists of the game. Of course, what these critics seem to overlook is that Bonds likely did it versus pitchers who were likely also on roids (anyone peep the size of Roger Clemens' domepiece lately?), and that it's hardly been proven that roids can improve your ability to hit the ball, which many consider the most difficult task in all sports. And even if he did juice up for some portion of his career (which can't be proven), it doesn't overshadow the fact that he was pretty darned good before the roids.

Long story short, baseball is being very low key about the inevitable record breaking, which is gonna happen unless someone takes a lead pipe to Barry's knee, Nancy Kerrigan style between now and August. Meanwhile, like every other issue in America, blacks support Bonds and whites don't.

It's a sad old song, and a microcosm of the fact that while sports do indeed bring us together, sometimes they also best illuminate those just-below-the-surface reasons why we're apart in the first place.

Poll: Bonds' HR quest gets scant support

You Like Me, You Really Like Me!

[I would have titled this post "Oh, I Think They Like Me", but hey, I'm not 15 years old.]

AverageBro has been in existence for little over a month now. After months and months of reading other blogs, and contemplating dipping my toes in the medium, I finally took the plunge, put up the site, and hoped for the best.

This site is, more than anything else, a creative release for me. As I've said before, I'm not doing this for any ulterior motive. I like my day job, so I'm not trying to flip this into a career. I'm not trying to make a name for myself (still remaining anonymous). I'm definitely not cruising for cybergroupies (which, strangely enough, do exist). I'm just a black man looking to share my two cents with the world.

Still, I'm human, and part of any creative endeavor is wondering how people are receiving what you're putting out there. The web, unlike, say, radio, or TV, is a medium in which it's difficult to gauge feedback. Basically, unless you guys leave comments, I have no idea of knowing what you think, or even more, whether you've even been here. Comments aren't really the best gauge of how many people are reading anyhow. After all, I'm a blog-a-holic, I literally monitors dozens on the daily, but I nevar, evar leave comments.

So, it can be lonely up here, you have no idea if anyone's checkin' for you. It was vexing, until I discovered Google Analytics.

GA, is basically a dashboard that allows me to see all types of stuff about who's visiting AvgBro, when, and from where. If you've got a blog, you just plug in some basic info, drop their "tracker" into your HTML template, and voila, you're your own version of Big Brother.

I'm pleased to say that despite any real pub, and without shopping myself to other sites for a blogroll linkup, AvgBro is getting a healthy number of visitors, and repeat visitors each day, reading on average 3-4 posts per trip. The traffic comes mostly from the DC area (again, it's scary how much of this stuff can be tracked), but I've seen hits from out west, down south, even a few from Europe (whatup Stockholm?). I don't really know how this is happening, perhaps it's because I'm blogging on lots of popular topics, and thus turning up on plenty of web searches. Maybe the handful of folks I have referred to the blog are telling a handful of folks, who are telling a handful of folks, who are telling a handful....

Either way, it's good to know somebody's listening. Add me to your RSS feeds, drop more comments, tell a friend to tell a friend. I'll hold up myAvgBro is here, and growing.

Oh, I Think They Like Me.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Good Girl Gone Bad

I, like every other 20-30 something male, used to have a grown man crush on Maia Campbell, who played Tiffany on the mid-90's LL Cool J sitcom In The House. Of course, I'm grown now, and married, so those are distant thoughts, but I couldn't help but cringe a bit when I saw the following newsbit the other day.

Maia Campbell, daughter of late author Bebe Moore Campbell. Mount Airy's Kevin Taylor filed a police report Monday accusing Campbell, who co-starred with LL Cool J on the series "In the House," with stealing his Jeep in Germantown.

According to Taylor and his friend Steve Johnson, the pair left Campbell and the car keys alone in the white 1998 Jeep Cherokee registered to Taylor's father, Christ Taylor, as they went into Johnson's home to retrieve musical gear. When they came outside minutes later, Campbell and the car were gone, they said.

Bebe Moore Campbell died of brain cancer in November, one day after her daughter's 30th birthday. Maia Campbell recently had Internet chatrooms buzzing over a video in which she appears to be naked and singing an Ashanti song, in a video clip posted on mediatakeout.com. The site alleges the clip was made in exchange for crack cocaine. Sources say Campbell has been floating around Germantown of late and doesn't seem to be in a good way.
A quick Google lead me to a cleaned up version of the aforementioned clip on Youtube. Let's just say, it ain't pretty. I'm not linking to that, find it on your own, but I will pass along this fine, somewhat related ditty.

Geez, I thought things were bad out here for ole' boy off That's So Raven. Apparently, between Todd Bridges, Gary Coleman, the girl off Family Matters, and now poor Maia, it's REAL hard out here for an ex-black child actor.

Then again, maybe it's just plain hard for ex-child actors, period.

Where are Maia & the car? [Philadelphia Daily News]

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Barry The Magic Negro (aka: The Curse of the Black Politician)

There are two schools of thought regarding how minority politicians can run a campaign for statewide or nationwide offices.

1) Run a color-free campaign based on unifying everyone for a common cause. You'll risk losing your base, but have to have wide enough appeal to win.

2) Rep' yo' peoples, and probably lose.

Barack Obama, largely by virtue of weak competition (anyone seen Jack Ryan lately?) and a superstar speech at the Democratic National Convention was able to avoid the issue of race in his ascension to US Senate. However, the same "is he black enough?" and "is he going to rep for us?" questions that dogged him in his Congressional loss to Bobby Rush a few years prior are resurfacing now that he's gunning for the Oval Office.

For the first few months of his campaign, Barack played the race neutral role, realizing that toeing the line between appealing to voters in Compton, CA and New Compton, RI is a tricky exercise that few have successfully navigated. But since his showdown with Hilary Clinton in Selma, AL a few weeks ago, he's been unable to distance himself from his roots in the black community. Now, whenever any issue of relevance to the black community raises to a level of national consciousness, Obama is forced to make a comment, as if the media is trying to make him choose sides.

Today's Post featured an interesting story on how Barry has refined his message a bit to address some of the issues that plague the black community. I cringed just a bit when I heard him talk about "Cousin Pookie" during that Selma address, but then again, pandering is nothing new when it comes to politicians, especially when they're addressing black folks. So, his latest stream-of-conscious, Cosby-lite routine is harmless, maybe even a bit refreshing since it's good to hear the message of self sufficiency and personal responsibility from someone with good intentions, rather than destructive and self-serving ones (Jesse Lee Peterson is a sterling example). I just hope he doesn't take it too far over the cliff and end up with a YouTube moment that comes back to haunt him.

Still, I can't help but wonder why only politicians of color (and women to a lesser degree) are asked to chime in with opinions on an entire group of people, who form only a small portion of their potential voting block. Obama gets besieged with questions about the Duke rape case, Don Imus, hip hop, and his association with Ludacris. Sure, I understand this is just par for the course for anyone in an underrepresented group (witness how many "black questions" Chris Rock gets when he's on Letterman, etc.) whose gettting even nominal shine, but it seems pretty unfair. Does John Edwards get put on the spot for not issuing an opinion about the VA Tech shootings? How many people have asked John McCain to speak about the suburban male pathology that creates a K-Fed? How come Rudy Giuliani, who's been on Imus' show lots of times, gets a pass on that story?

Again, I realize this is all quite trivial in the grand scheme, but something seems a bit unfair about making one man a bell weather for all things black, while his competitors get to focus solely on, well, running for President. What part of the game is that?

Am I right, or am I right?

The Dems Need to Grow A Pair...

[No offense intended to Nancy Pelosi on that post title]

Well, let's see, the Democrats own the Senate and the House. They've spouted off for months about getting the troops home and putting an end to this war. 90% of them used the rising anti-war sentiment to cruise into office last Fall. They're already staking their ground for the big seat in 08'.

They talk big game, but when it comes time to back it up, they bend over and assume the position.

I guess we shouldn't be surprised or really excited. Everyone knows Bush and Co is runnin' this war ish'.

Best of luck, and lots of prayers for those brave souls in the Middle East. You'll need it. Apparently voting isn't enough.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Is the NBA Racist?

In the midst of the best playoff series (Warriors-Mavs) maybe EVAR, the NBA gets hit with some pretty bad PR today.

An academic study of the National Basketball Association, whose playoffs
continue tonight, suggests that a racial bias found in other parts of American
society has existed on the basketball court as well.

A coming paper by a University of Pennsylvania professor and a Cornell
University graduate student says that, during the 13 seasons from 1991 through 2004, white referees called fouls at a greater rate against black players than against white players.

Justin Wolfers, an assistant professor of business and public policy at the Wharton School, and Joseph Price, a Cornell graduate student in economics, found a corresponding bias in which black officials called fouls more frequently against white players, though that tendency was not as strong. They went on to claim that the different rates at which fouls are called “is large enough that the probability of a team winning is noticeably affected by the racial composition of the refereeing crew assigned to the game.”

As a (very) frequent paying customer, I don't really know if I agree with the assertion above. More than anything else, the NBA is a star driven league, and most of the stars are black. Heck, most of the players are black. In fact, if there's anyplace in the world where black men seem immune to racism, it's on the NBA court.

I don't really know what, if anything, to make of this. But in the grand scheme of things, considering how bad it is out here for the AverageBro on the streets, Tim Duncan getting whistled for an extra foul here or there is pretty irrelevant.

What's Wrong With The Black Community... In a Nutshell

Fresh off the presses from AllHipHop.com

Bad Boy South artist Yung Joc is well known for catchy hits like "It's Goin' Down" and "I Know You See It", but today (May 2) the Atlanta native will step out of the spotlight as he and others honor an exceptional group of elementary, middle and high school students from Atlanta. The Choose Success Awards will honor and award students from Atlanta Public Schools and Dekalb County Schools who have made a difference through community service and who have also made significant improvements in school.

This is a microcosm of what's wrong with the black community. Black folks who are presumably educated, and whom I assume should know better, in a city full of black professionals, can find no better role model to present an award for academic achievement than Yung Joc?

Before you start branding me bourgie, or even worse, a rap hater (which I admittedly am), let me make this clear: I don't blame Yung Joc for this. Hell, I did the motorcycle dance just like everyone else for a hot minute.

But seriously, I don't think anyone in their right mind looks and him and thinks "scholastic achiever". I could be dead wrong on this, but I doubt it.

I know that kids are kids, and as such, they don't think long term, and would rather be entertained that educated. They simply don't know any better. But the adults who organized this should know better. With all the problems of self esteem, misguided role models, and "smart is white" that plague school kids, do you really need to celebrate their achievements by having a rapper hand them an award? Is that really the most appropriate thing? Since the topic is academic achievement, wouldn't an engineer, or a pediatrician, or a CEO of a real business be a better representative of what you're trying to uphold than a guy whose entire claim to fame is "meet me at the traaaap"?

Again, I don't blame Yung Joc. I thought his "prom tour" last year was pretty clever marketing. I blame the idiots who thought this was a good idea. Our community's biggest problem is that we value style over substance to a self destructive degree. The folks who organized the Choose Success Awards need to heed the not-so-kind advice of Judge Joe Brown.

Do Better.


Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Thanks, But No Thanks, Robert

Let's see... your campus has been ravaged by a serial killer, enrollment for next year is plummetting, and of course there's always the Vick brothers to mess things up.

Quick, somebody call the Pied Piper of R&B.

Something about R. Kelly doing a song to benefit Va Tech just seems so, so, wrong.

Maybe Imus Helped After All

Three "N" Word related items in today's EurWeb...

  • NAACP TO BURY N-WORD - The N-word is officially dead to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The civil rights organization, which held a symbolic funeral in Detroit for the demise of Jim Crow in 1963, will hold a similar service for the N-word during their national convention July 7-12 in Detroit.

  • SHARPTON TO CO-LEAD MARCH FOR DECENCY - Reverend Al Sharpton, representing his National Action Network (NAN), is scheduled to co-lead a March for Decency in Music on James Browns' birthday, Thursday, May 3. The march will kick off at 55th and Madison at Sony Music and head south to the Warner Music Group Building (75 Rockefeller Plaza), and then on to Universal Music (49th & 8th), and then on to the Time Warner Building (58th and Broadway). The final stop will be Columbus Circle for a rally.

  • CHAMILLIONAIRE IS NOW N-WORD FREE - Houston rapper Chamillionaire, who has never been one to toss around the B-word or F-bomb in his lyrics, has now added the N-word to a list of terms that he will not use on his upcoming album, "Ultimate Victory."
I applaud Rev. Al and Chamillionaire for at least trying to do something constructive. I personally view the "N" word as self hating and no better than cursing, so trying to clean up rap is laudable, although it still won't make me fork over $15 for Lil' Mama or DJ Unck.

On the other hand, the NAACP is so incredibly out of touch. A bunch of 65 year olds who haven't been using the "N" word for decades holding a mock funeral is tantamount to preaching to the choir. No wonder young people don't think this organization relates to them.

Let's Retire a Few More Words While We're At It.

Okay, so Hu$tle Simmons wants rappers to stop using the "N", "B", and "H" words. Well, at least in their radio edits. To me, this has to be about the dumbest thing I've heard since that "Lip Gloss" song. Radio edits for years have bleeped out the aforementioned words. It doesn't make the meaning of what's being said any better. "itch-bay" is still pretty identifiable as "bitch", just reversed. Kids are savvy enough to know that Akon's "I Wanna Love You" is definitely not talking about love on the album version. C'mon, Russell, you'll have to try a little harder than that, provided you can take a break from backpedalling and buttkissing Bill O'Reilly long enough to consider other options.

I will, however say that the whole concept of eliminating the use of certain words is enticing, provided we can expand the scope beyond radio edits, and just deal with misused and outdated slang in general. So, without further ado...

Slang That AverageBro Would Like to See Retired (and Why):

"Bling Bling" - This was maybe (maybe) fashionable for about 2 weeks in the late 90's when the Cash Money song was out. When I started seeing it dropped in Washington Post columns, and butchered by Pat O'Brien, I knew it was time for that word to go. That was 5 years ago. It's still around. Let's please retire this one.

"Tight" - I first heard this word used in like, 1994 or something by a fellow intern (whaddup D.R.?) from up North. Since we get things later in the South, I knew this word was already in rotation a good year or two prior. It's now 2007. Nobody should still be referring to anything as "tight". Ditto for the word "hot", which interestingly, seems to be a rare word that reverse migrated.

"Joint/Jawn" - Ahhh, a favorite catch-all noun for any "thing", inanimate, or otherwise. This one's been used in Philly since, well, forever, and folks in DC routinely toss it around. Either way, it's outdated, so please start referring to shoes as "shoes" and cars as "cars" again.

"Grown Man On/Grown & Sexy" - This one really ticks me off, because I usually hear it spouted by a dude 25, 30, and up. Technically, once you cross the 18 year barrier, you are indeed "grown up". Wearing a button down shirt doesn't give you reason enough to announce something so silly though. If you have to inform others that you're a grown man, then chances are, you're probably not. The Baby Boy Syndrome is real, ya'll.

"Real Talk" - If you have to preface anything you're saying with "real talk", then you probably make a habit of lying/exaggerating the rest of the time. Dead it.

"Player/Playa" - Unless you're getting paid to dribble a ball...

"Hate/Hata/Hater" - Just because a person constructively disagrees with you doesn't make them a hater. In the words of some rapper that I can't remember "just because you hate you don't mean you're a player". I don't exactly know what that means, but hey, is seemed appropriate. Don't hate the player, hate the game, and retire that whole phrase too while you're at it.

Got some more? Drop em' in the comments...

May 4th Will Be A Good Day For Divorce Lawyers

This one probably is too local to be getting national press yet, but after the upcoming 20/20 episode airing this Friday, I'd expect we'll see this become the next Imus/Gary Condit/OJ that feeds 24 hour news cycles and water cooler convos across America.

Miz Julia was the pseudonym for Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the woman at the center of a sex scandal that has caused a deputy secretary of state to resign and has lawyers calling around town trying to keep their clients' names out of public view. A one-time law student, Palfrey ran for 13 years what she insists was a legal escort service. Federal prosecutors allege she was providing $300-an-hour prostitutes, and a grand jury indicted her in February on federal racketeering charges.
Few things make for better news (ironically, during sweeps week) than sex. Mix it with politics that reach as far as the White House (Randall L. Tobias resigned as deputy secretary last week), and except for the omnipresent powder kegs of race and privilege, you could be batting for the cycle.

This story broke nearly a year ago, and went back underground. Some of the names leaked thus far have been prestigious, but hardly famous. We'll see what happens when the full list is scoured.

BTW, what kind of morons would use their own names/credit cards/info to procure this sort of "service"? Don't people know this stuff can be easily traced back to you?

And they say politicians are smart.