Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Hoodwinked, Bamboozled, Run Amok, Yet Well Hydrated

AverageSis is a Dasani addict, a completely unnecessary indulgence which reaks havoc on our monthly grocery budget. She routinely goes through 3-4 bottles a day, even mixing AverageBaby's formula with it. Growing up in the city, I somewhat understand the logic, since God knows DC tap water has all kinds of bad shit in it. Still, I've tried telling this woman for years that bottled water is only two degrees removed from the tap, but nooo, she ain't hear me though.

I'll admit to regularly refilling used bottles with filtered water from the fridge, and 9 times out of 10, assuming I open the cap for her (being a gentleman of course) she can't tell the difference. Still, she insists on giving Coca Cola what we already pay WSSC a grip for anyway.

This latest news probably helps my case, just a wee bit.

PepsiCo Inc. will spell out that its Aquafina bottled water is made with tap water, a concession to the growing environmental and political opposition to the bottled water industry. According to Corporate Accountability International, a U.S. watchdog group, the world's No. 2 beverage company will include the words "Public Water Source" on Aquafina labels.

Pepsi's Aquafina bottled water and Coca-Cola's Dasani are made from purified tap water.

"If this helps clarify the fact that the water originates from public sources, then it's a reasonable thing to do," said Michelle Naughton, a Pepsi-Cola North America spokeswoman.

Pepsi Chief Executive Indra Nooyi told Reuters earlier this week the company was considering such a move.

Pepsi's Aquafina and Coca-Cola Co's Dasani are both made from purified water sourced from public reservoirs, as opposed to Danone's Evian or Nestle's Poland Spring, so-called "spring waters," shipped from specific locations the companies say have notably clean water.

Coca-Cola Co. told Reuters it will start posting online information about the quality control testing it performs on Dasani by the end of summer or early fall.
The Grand Hu$tle here is obvious: most people (myself included) are too lazy to pull out a glass and turn on the tap, so Coke and Pepsi make a killing each year giving us what we already pay someone else for, with a little extra chlorine at a ridonculous 5,000% markup.

Maybe this news will bring usher a wave of fiscal sanity into the AverageBro household.


Aquafina labels to spell out source - tap water [CNN]

Monday, July 30, 2007

Hillary-Obama 08'?!? Newt Knows.

I'm not the biggest New Gingrich fan, but nowadays, who is? Regardless, with The Magic Negro Veneer nearly worn bare, and my $5 $500 campaign donation wasted, Newt may have a point. Perhaps it's time for Team Barry to start considering The Number Two Spot.

Newt Gingrich is convinced that the 2008 Democratic ticket will be led by Hillary Clinton with Barack Obama as her running mate.

But the pugnacious former Republican House speaker warns that Clinton faces a "very formidable" troika of GOP hopefuls - former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and undeclared former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson.
I mostly agree. Hillary-Obama is the best of both worlds. The veritable toofer. Women and minorities "win" in one fell swoop. This historic ticket has enough universal appeal to get everyone off their asses and to the polls, without thinly veiled and covertly commercialized threats of Vote Or Die to sell more t-shirts. Plus, this ensures victory unless Rudy Guiliani chooses a popular negro like Jay-Z or Diddy as his running mate to neutralize The Obama Factor. What's not to like? I smell the Barry-4-Vice-Prez tag already, and I like what's cookin'.

Of course, Gingrich, never one for subtlety, has to ruin the whole parade by throwing some assorted BS in there just for old-times-sake.
The former Georgia congressman also said he might jump in, depending how the "troika" candidates are faring against Clinton.

"If there is a vacuum and if there's a real need for somebody to be prepared to debate Sen. Clinton, then I would consider running. I think we'll know that in October," Gingrich said.
Thanks for the bright idea, but spare us the agony, and you the embarrassment, Newton Leroy.


Hil-Obama? Yeah, that's the ticket - Newt [NY Daily News]

Sorry Mike Vick, Your Boy Is About To Snitch

Apparently, The Universal Code Of The Streets means nothing to Mike Vick's former weed carrier, Tony Taylor. Faced with the prospect of doing some serious time for his role in the alleged dogfighting case against Vick, Taylor is about to sing like Jennifer Hudson.

One of the men facing federal dogfighting charges along with Falcons quarterback Michael Vick is discussing a plea deal with federal prosecutors, which could spell bad news for Vick.

Tony Taylor, 34, of Hampton, Va., has a plea agreement hearing scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday in the U.S. District Court in Richmond before Judge Henry E. Hudson. Meanwhile, court records show a sealed order signed by Hudson was issued in the case Friday, which might or might not be related to Taylor's plea.

The plea hearing could mean that Taylor, who pleaded not guilty to the charges Thursday, has agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors. Vick and the two other co-defendants in his case also pleaded not guilty Thursday.

"This could be very bad news for Vick," said Steven D. Benjamin, a veteran criminal defense attorney from Richmond who has represented many clients before Hudson. "If he is pleading guilty, he is cooperating with the government."

Taylor could get a lighter sentence through a plea deal.
Now ain't that bout a "B"? You take dudes out the hood, put them up in a mansion, pay them an exhorbiant salary to carry your piff and execute bum Rotweillers, and this is the thanks you get? Esteemed peers like James Cunningham are shaking their heads in disbelief right now. Tony Taylor is violating all rules of weed carrying with this reckless behavior. What a shame.

Scooter Libby Is Crying Inside.

Vick co-defendant strikes deal [AJC]

Cocaine (Or Whatever Lauryn's On) Is a Helluva Drug

I, like most 30-something males, had a monster grown-up crush on the Fugee's Lauryn Hill waaaaay back in the day (circa the "Nappy Headz [Mona Lisa] era). She combined the best of what semi-BoHo mid-90's black women were all about: sophistication, wit, intelligence, depth, and stunning beauty. I had a college friend who went to high school with her in East Orange, New Jeruz, and spoke volumes about how down to Earth she was, even while on the verge of blowing up in Sister Act 2 while still a student. I, like most other 30-something males, dreamed of crossing paths this fine nubian princess someday, in hopes of kicking my own Mona Lisa style game. Such a day never arrived.

I was less enthused about her subsequent rise to fame as a solo artist, as I personally didn't dig The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. It had less to do with the actual album than it did my next door neighbor's maddening tendency to play that damn CD loud as hell from end to end seemingly everyday after work. Didn't matter, Lauryn didn't need my $17 (isn't it odd how unlike everything else, CD prices have actually come down over the years?) anyhow. She went on to sell over 18 MILLION (cut the check, baby!) copies worldwide, and after a very successful solo tour, was poised to become a songmaker par excellence, a new school Steve Wonder. Basically, the Alicia Keys Prototype v1.0 for compare and contrast purposes if you're a 90's Baby. Thank me later.

Somewhere along the way to her BET Hall of Fame enshrinement, the proverbial wheels fell off. She bore a starting lineup of kids for one of those Bob Marley offspring. The ghostwriters and producers of her solo debut sued for unpaid and uncredited royalties. She allegedly joined a cult of some sort, and started acting strangely and crying unprovoked in public. She dropped an MTV Unplugged album that had no beats, and was lyrically and stylistically scatterbrained. Rumors of mental and substance abuse problems floated. The recording industry created newer, (mostly) less talented and (often) less drama-filled knockoffs (Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, India.Arie, Keys, Amy Winehouse). And eventually, despite being universally hailed as the illest femceee of all time and dropping one of Rolling Stone's 500 Best Albums of All Time, L-Boogie was slowly, but surely forgotten.

Now, after the short lived and hardly noticed Fugees reunion last year, Lauryn is back on the road, touring overseas performing who-knows-what material, and looking like death warmed over. Apparently she is still cracking up on stage, causing concertgoers to walk out and demand refunds. I don't know whether to cry or CRY when I look at photos like these, but damn, somebody get this chick some rehab and a stylist pronto.

Just in case you aren't queasy enough after looking at those pics, here's Lauryn butchering a classic live, singing "Killing Me Softly" very loudly and very badly in a recent concert in Dubai.

If you're still here, and still down for more polyphonic abuse, here's her alleged new single from her alleged upcoming album. It's a hot mess, and I have no idea in hell what she's singing about. Speaking of mid-90's has-beens, that "leaked" single by D'Angelo a few months ago was better. On a somewhat better and loosely related note, I have the new Adriana Evans, and it's pretty darned good.

Killing us, not-so-softly, indeed.

Probably Not Al Gore Sr.'s Idea of "Goin' Green"

Only a moron would have expected mega-stoner Al Gore III to actually do jail time after we was recently sqeezed with a bag of sticky icky icky, as well as some other recreational drugs of choice. Like most children of privilege, I figured his (estranged?) Pops would pull a string or two to get him off.

When the officer approached the driver, he was overpowered by the smell of marijuana, indicating that Gore was driving under the influence, and when he searched the driver he discovered not only a quantity of weed but also "the prescription drugs Xanax, Valium, Vicodin and Adderall" -- and no prescriptions for any of them. Gore was arrested, and yesterday he was charged with drug possession and speeding -- all told, three felonies and one misdemeanor. If convicted on all charges, he faces a maximum sentence of three years and eight months in prison, according to the local District Attorney's office.

A source tells People.com that police discovered 140 Vicodin pills on the former vice president's son as well as dozens of others.
140 Vicodin pills!?!? Damn!!! What a party weekend!!!

What I didn't realize was that this was actually Gore's fourth strike, not his 3rd, which in most universes would mean automatic time in the clink practicing the Art of Soap Holding. Right?

Al Gore's son pleaded guilty Monday to possessing marijuana and other drugs, but a judge said the plea could be withdrawn and the charges dropped if he successfully completes a drug diversion program.

Jaime Coulter, senior deputy district attorney, said Gore's sentencing will be continued until Feb. 7. If he has complied with all the conditions of the diversion program, the sentencing will be continued again for another year, with charges possibly being dropped in 2009.
Man, it's gotta be great being privileged and well connected. And folks think Ron Artest has a warped sense of entitlement. That, my friends, is what you really call being above the law.

On the bright side, at least Gore III was busted driving a Prius (albeit at 100 mph). Since that's one of those hybrids, I guess he does care about the environment after all. Big Al must be proud. And crying inside.

Gore's Son Pleads Guilty in Drug Case [Forbes]

Blame The Black Guy

"I Wasn't Driving, the Black Kid Was"

America's Favorite Junkie Lindsay Lohan, joined the esteemed ranks of Susan Smith, the Runaway Bride, Police, The Federal Government, and Black Women* Coast-To-Coast when she recently used America's Favorite Alibi: Blame The Black Guy!

Apparently, after being stopped, charged with another DUI, and getting busted with cocaine in her pants pocket, Lohan blamed a black passenger in the SUV she allegedly hijacked.
Just before Lindsay Lohan was arrested early Tuesday morning, she commandeered a car and took three men hostage -- this, according to the three men who were in the car with her.

TMZ interviewed all three, and here's the lowdown: Rewind to Monday afternoon. Dante Nigro, Jakon Sutter and Ronnie Blake drove to Malibu with the boyfriend of Lindsay Lohan's assistant. Lindsay and her assistant ran into Dante and friends. Later, the assistant text-messaged Dante, saying Lindsay wanted to invite him to a Malibu party that night.

Dante realized the mother was driving to the police station and warned Lindsay if she didn't stop she'd get in hot water. He says Lindsay responded, "I'm a celebrity. I'm not going to get in trouble."

The two cars stopped in a parking lot near the cop shop. When police arrived, Dante says it seemed as if Lindsay told officers, "I wasn't driving. The black kid was driving."
There's no real reason to believe the various slackers seen in these clips from TMZ, but then again, why shouldn't we? Dante Nigro (what a name!) and pals look really bitchmade for trying to play the innocent victim role here. Reality is, these three losers probably loaned/allowed use of their car to a stoned Lohan, probably hoping to score with a starlet. Obviously, that plan didn't play out to their liking, so now they claim they were abducted. Nigro Please (couldn't resist)! This whole "we've been wronged, cut the check" shakedown is eerily reminiscent of the whole KKKKramer charade a few months back. Then again, those equally bitchmade cats are probably gonna get caked up for their inconvenience so hey, if you can't beat em'...

I could probably go off on some "this type of hollow victimization overshadows true-life racism that real people experience everyday", but that would be too obvious, and hey, that record's beginning to skip.

Get your money Dante Nigro. And, in the words of my grandma, "Watch who you let in your car". A rule every black man should know by heart.

Lindsay: "I Wasn't Driving, the Black Kid Was" [TMZ]

* Sistas, please don't get mad. I ran short on examples. And it's sorta true anyway if you think about it.

Let Me See Ya' Grillz

A true life case of Life Imitating Art... or at least imitating a shitty cultural construct.

The family of a 7-year-old boy in Sanford who was rushed to an emergency room after he accidentally swallowed his "grill" -- or decorative metal mouth piece -- is concerned because the apparatus remains in his stomach.

Bobby Tedesco placed the grill over the teeth after his mother purchased it for $10 at a flea market.

Bobby said the grill fell out off his teeth and he started choking on it. His mother, Dawn Tedesco, attempted to clear his throat, but he swallowed the grill.

An X-ray taken three days after incident showed the grill in Bobby's stomach.

Doctors said there is only one way for the grill to exit.
I'll give you one guess on which state this nonsense took place in... hurry now...

...if you guessed Florida, go treat yourself to a 40'. A Double Deuce consolation prize if you said Cali or Texas.

I don't know who needs their ass kicked more: the mother for buying something so stignorant for her child, or the kid for flossin' on his friends (you know he was at summer school doing some Paul Wall or Nelly or Yin Yang Twins imitation that backfired) and ending up in the emergency room.

MLK is crying inside. And so will be young Bobby Tedesco when that grill does "exit". Oooouuuuuccchhh!!!

X-Ray Shows 'Grill' In Boy's Stomach [Local6.com]

Friday, July 27, 2007

This Ain't About Racism, Mike Vick Is Just An Idiot.

As if black folks didn't have enough other stuff to worry about (hypertension, the achievement gap, Rudy 4 Prez) already, the fine folks at Yahoo! Sports took a little time to enlighten us how the notorious Mike Vick case is indicative of the racial divide in America.

The crowded, chaotic sidewalk on Main Street, across from the federal courthouse, was an unlikely location for a lesson on the virtues of the fifth amendment.

But standing behind a throng that wanted a pound of Michael Vick's flesh – people that had just screamed for the Atlanta Falcons quarterback to "burn in hell" and held signs advocating his murder, torture and neutering – was Thomas Smith in work boots and a white t-shirt.

High above his head he held a simple sign with just a single word: "Constitution."

"These folks have convicted a man who hasn't even had a chance to defend himself," said Smith. "They just forget everything about America."
Knee-Grow, please. The man had a kennel full of dead Rotweillers buried in his back yard. How can you even attempt to defend that? And this ain't Mike Nifong Part II, this is the Feds we're talkin' about. As in the "we win convictions 95% of the time" Feds. #7 is in some serious #2.

Yahoo! commentator Dan Wetzel, a decent writer who is usually pretty insighful, couldn't resist the opportunity to pile on. Because, you know, people like reading about race and whatnot, and it probably will ensure plenty of hits and click-thru ads.
White people screaming for justice; black people asking if they still remember everything justice entails.

That a case involving dog fighting can break so quickly along racial lines is a testament to how it bubbles below just about everything in this country. We all wish it wasn't so, including both sides here. No one wanted this. Almost no one even wanted to acknowledge it. But it was there, plain as day in black and white.

"I wouldn't say it's a racial thing," said David Williams, an African American, in a hopeful tone. "It's not racial. But for these animal rights people to take one person and crucify him isn't fair."

The thing is, the "animal rights people" here were an estimated 90 percent white. The pro-Vick/due process crowd was probably 95 percent black.
Everything that involves race ain't racist. The PETA folks are on Vick because he's an easy target: a stereotypical dumb jock who allegedly committed an unjustifiable crime to numerous animals. Such a story only becomes "race-related" when the media decides that branding it as such is good business. There are lots of other legit cases of racism (Google "genarlow wilson" "stepha henry" or "jena 6" just for kicks) that are underreported, but then again, who wants to read about that?

I wish these "Vick Supporters" would get a life and a clue. Expending precious energy defending a guy who more than likely did it is like peeing in the wind. Nothing good is gonna come out of that. If they want to make a difference, go tutor, or mentor, or heck, COACH some damn kids so we don't have another Mike Vick in 10 years.

BTW, is it just me, or does anyone else notice that the minute a brotha gets in some legal trouble, he immediately changes his appearance to something less menacing/intimidating? Bye bye cornrows, hello Ceaser. Just an observation.

Racial Divide [Yahoo! Sports]

An AverageBro Brush With Fame: Scooter Libby

I live and mostly work in the burbs, so I don't get into DC as much as I used to during my, younger, more "outgoing" days. This is of course sort of a bummer, since all the action is down there, not in cul-de-sac and Bed Bath and Beyond land. So, yesterday, while downtown for a Day Job power lunch at Union Station, I had my most recent "brush with fame".

Seated with my party at the America Restaurant, a relatively cheap Bennigan's knockoff on Capitol Hill, I noticed a short, spritely white dude with a very plastic looking face walking toward the front door, then pacing back and forth. It took me a moment to place the face, since I'm not good with these sorts of things, then it hit me....

Hey, that's SCOOTER LIBBY!

I informed my lunch companions, and everyone turned in unison. I guess I said this kinda loudly, because the next thing you know, our entire section was looking, and in some cases, pointing.

Scooter, already an odd looking guy anyway, made note of the gawkers, looked even more uncomfortable, and before I could pay him a sincere compliment on his extreme gulliness, took off.

So, sorry, no camera phone pics (not that I would have anyway, but one of my co-workers was going to ask him to take a photo with him), but there's today's AvBro Brush With Fame.

Better Programming? Don't BET on it.

We watch, so you don't have to.

You'll recall that a few weeks ago after being coaxed into watching the BET Awards, I actually got momentarily excited about the array of "original programming" headed to The Station Everybody Hates this summer. For once, the suits at Viacom were actually spending money for a change to actually develop shows, rather than just playing Akon videos and 227 reruns all day. Well, the results are in. Just for you, AverageBro has sampled each of BET's summer offerings, and, well, let's just say thank God for Netflix.

[Disclaimer: Just in case you're wondering, NO, I don't sit around watching BET all day. YES, I have a family, a life, and better things to do. I Tivo'd the premiere of each of the shows below, and watched them on my own time, usually after AverageSis and AverageBaby had called it a night. And I'm still reading more books than watching TV. So there.]

The rundown:

Hot Ghetto Mess/We Got To Do Better - This show was supposed to be a controversial take on the controversial website of the same name. If you've never visited HotGhettoMess.com, then surely your inbox is familiar with some of its offerings. Ghetto Prom pics. Ghetto hairdon'ts. Ghetto Street Fights. Blah Blah Blah. So, when a TV show based loosely on this site was announced, The Black Crusaders went into full Code Red Terror Alert. HGM would be the bane of black existence, putting black folks deviant behaviors on blast for the whole world to see and gawk at. It would be rank exploitation for no real reason. And of course, given the network's history of airing shit that makes us look worse (think BET Uncut), it would be right at home on BET.

Some of the show's web-based sponsors pulled out in Imus-style protest as a result, even though nobody had even seen the show. All this, of course, lead to a great media buildup, and the subsequent renaming as We Got To Do Better, a tagline from the website. Turns out, the show, which debuted this week, isn't a ghetto mess at all. In fact, it's pretty tame, and borderline boring. Instead of the ghetto prom pics, this show is little more than miscellaneous junk you've already seen on YouTube like Ghostridin' the Whip Gone Bad, that dude who sings Why Must I Cry, and awful local commercials. Host Charlie Murphy, already severely overrated (his only comedic success was in the True Hollywood Stories Chappelle's Show skits, and even then, Dave as Rick James was the real punchline) is stiff and programmed as he introduces the segments. He absolutely murders the cue cards.

The only redeeming grace is that the show does have a point: to embarrass people to the point of making them consider doing better. On-street interviews where the roving host asks everyday people things like "what does NAACP stand for?" and "who is Barack Obama?" only illuminate just how misinformed many people really are. And the show is an equal opportunity offender, with plenty of clips of whites, asians, and hispanics to even the playing field of shame.

Maybe it would have been a bit funnier if they'd stuck more to the format and mission of the website, but all things considered, We Got To Do Better isn't all that bad. I've seen worse.

Rating: 3 Bob Johnsons [out of 5]

Take The Cake
- Speaking of worse, I knew that the premise of a TV game show that gives away money to callers every night was took good to be true. Therefore, a show on BET that gives away money is damn near delusional, and sure enough, the show comes with a big catch. Like a similar program on the TBS network (I forget the name), Take the Cake allows users to text message in for the chance to answer simple pop culture trivial questions and win money. The Grand Hu$tle, is that obviously these text messages cost $1 a pop. So, you might have a chance to win $500, but reality is, you'd probably be better off playing the Lotto. Hosted by Rap City Alum, and all around funniest dude you've never seen do standup, DC's own Joe Clair, Take the Cake is a bit too rough around the edges to be taken seriously. Speaking of too rough around the edges to be taken seriously, co-hostess Tocarra, of America's Next Top Model fame personifies the phrase. She routinely commits homicide on cue cards, even though this show is supposed to be interactive. She has zero screen presence, is overly loud, and has no idea how to conduct/run a show. She is, quite simply, a walking pair of tig ole' bitties in bad need of a stylist. Where's Hot Ghetto Mess when you really need em'?

I give BET credit for trying to provide fresh, live programming every weeknight, but this show is nothing more than a sham. And to think, BET has gone from Tavis Smiley and Ed Gordon in this timeslot, to Tocarra. Chew on that one for a minute.

Damn, we really got to do better.

Rating: 1 Bob Johnson

S.O.B. (Socially Offensive Behavior) - Hosted (poorly) by DL Hughely, SOB is nothing more than a black version of Candid Camera. The problem is, like shows such as Punked and Girls Behaving Badly, the fine line between candor and loose scripting appears to get crossed on the regular. F-list celebrities like GBH's Chelesa Handler, the Street Walking host from Hot Ghetto Mess, and that Saphyrri chick from Flavor of Love/Charm School appear in skits, which erodes the show's credibility from the jump. There was one pretty funny segment about Asian pedicurists, but otherwise, this show was just awful.

And I sure hope DL doesn't think coming back to BET atones for that mostly overlooked Imus-like incident he pulled himself. I can't look at this guy with any sort of respect anymore.

Rating: 1/2 Bob Johnson

Hell Date
- I thought this would be a cheap and cheesy rip-off of Blind Date/the 5th Wheel with all black folks. Turns out, this is a completely un-watchable and obviously scripted cheap and cheesy rip-off of Blind Date/the 5th Wheel with all black folks. I couldn't make it through 3 minutes of the one episode I tried to watch.

Rating: 0 Bob Johnsons

Baldwin Hills - Sorry, but I'm over the age of 16, so I can't watch pretend scripted "reality", "based on the lives of teens in the Black Beverly Hills". This is supposedly a black version of MTV's "The Hills" and "Laguna Beach" I suppose. But since I'm far removed from the MySpace/Sidekick generation, I couldn't bring myself to watch anything of the sort.

BTW, I've been to the real Baldwin Hills. There's the World Famous Magic Johnson TGI Friday's, FatBurger, and Starbucks strip mall there, but little else. Beverly Hills, it isn't.

And this show, as far as I can tell from the few commercials I've seen? Good, it isn't.

Rating: Incomplete

Meet The Faith
- BET's Sunday morning rountable is the actual rare show on the network worth setting a Tivo Season Pass for. Inexplicably, last season's host, Carlos Rogers, a notorious cue card murderer himself (what is it with the talent on this station?) is replaced with Dr. Ian Smith from Celebrity Fat Camp or whatever that show on VH-1 is called. This is a mostly good change. The show's format is basic: 20 minutes of roundtable discussion with 3 experts (usually 1 expert, 1 preacher, and 1 comedian to keep things light) dissecting an issue of interest to "the black community". The show usually centered around "churchy" topics last year, but this year it's far more secular, and thus, much more entertaining. The only problem: the show needs to be a full hour.

Rating: 5 Bob Johnsons

The Black Carpet - Hip Hop columnist Toure, and some generic trophy wife looking chick host this show, which is basically a black version of "Access Hollywood". It's not bad, but since this kinda show isn't really my thing, I probably shouldn't rate it. Besides, TV One already has "TV One Access" with the vastly superior Shaun Robinson, which I don't watch either, but seems better.

Rating: 2 Bob Johnsons

So there you have it. Even though Viacom rolled out all these new shows under the guise of finally spending some money, reality is, most of them are still produced on a shoestring budget. After all, Hot Ghetto Mess is just a bunch of YouTube clips, and all the other shows are reality/scripted, which means you don't have to pay SAG wages to the talent. Seems like life under the always fiscally stingy Bob Johnson ain't that far removed after all.

Thank God for TV One.

Most of the shows are busts, and won't be seen anymore beyond August, but Meet the Faith is a true winner, just in case you care. Again, we watch so you don't have to.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Karma's a "B"

As I told you guys a few weeks ago, the unholy union of YouTube and Google is nothing more than a Grand Hu$tle that will eventually allow movie and music studios to control the Poor Man's Tivo. My theory was greeted with crickets. It was received about as well as Mike Vick at a PETA convention.

Turns out AvgBro knows what the heck he's talking about after all (gasp). Everyone's favorite bootylicious "sanger" Beyonce recently took an awful spill during a concert in Orlando.

Beyonce Knowles made a dramatic misstep when she fell face-first down a flight of stairs during a concert. Ever the stage professional, she got right up and continued her performance as if nothing had happened.

The 25-year-old singer — flipping her hair dramatically and wearing a long red trench coat and high heels — was performing her song "Ring the Alarm" during a concert Tuesday in Orlando, Fla., when she tripped and stumbled down several stairs.

Knowles quickly regained her footing, reclaimed her microphone and went on with the show.
Obviously, a woman falling head-first down 12 stairs is hardly a laughing matter, and I'm glad the she's okay. But given how Beyonce and Kelly totally cold carried (DC slang) fellow Destiny's Child Michelle Williams when she notoriously fell on 106th and Park a few years ago, you can't help but think about this as karma being that proverbial bitch.

YouTube, corporate punk asses that they are, pulled the video after Sony BMG, Beyonce's corporate co-signer, claimed that posting it was "copyright infringement". Never mind the fact that most copies of the video that hit the web were filmed via camera phones.

Seriously, a camera phone video is a "copyright infringement"? Sheez. You'd think this was that old episode of What's Happenin' when Rerun was caught taping the Doobie Brothers concert.

Where's the line here?

Can Sony pull a video of me singing a Beyonce song (as if)?

A child wearing a Beyonce T-Shirt?

That damn effeminate little boy singin' "Irreplaceable" (please, do us all a favor).

This is obviously about protecting the fragile ego of a corporate ASSet (literally and figuratively), not copyright infringement. But YouTube is in bed with Google, who is in bed with Sony, which means you better look a little harder for that video, cause it ain't hosted on Poor Man's Tivo. If you lay down with dogs...

Just one more example of The Man, stickin' it to a brotha, because hey, how would you see this unless YouTube was around?

Thankfully, there are a million YouTube knockoffs like DailyMotion with good lawyers and presumably no corporate ties. So, enjoy, just in case you missed it.

And laugh. Beyonce's fine. Michelle would be proud.

Beyonce Busts Her Ass [Yahoo! Music]

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

YouTube Debate Recap

We watch, so you don't have to.

Last night's "groundbreaking" Democratic Presidential debate, sponsored by CNN and YouTube was supposed to be an interactive forum that allowed real life people to upload 30 second questions for the the candidates. It was supposed to be revolutionary, combining the technology of the Internet to pull in younger viewers.


Like many seemingly great ideas, this one was better in concept than execution. Because CNN had to predictably try and allow questions that "reflected the true face of America", we were shuffled in a somewhat stereotypical cast of questioners: a duo of manly looking chicks asking about civil unions, a "fresh out" looking cat posing a question in embarrassingly broken English about reparations, a couple of broke looking sistas asking about help for the poor, sullen Midwesterners querying about the war. Also, there were more than a few submissions that seemed to feature professional actors and were so slickly edited that you wondered if there was something fishy going on. With the exception of the reparations question, which failed to connect with the candidates, all of the questions were typical fare for such a debate, which seemed to negate the whole point. Its almost as if host/moderator Anderson Cooper was given the night off.


So, in the spirit of New Hampshire, here's my candidate by candidate recap, since you probably didn't bother Tivo'ing this. I'm sure it's all over on YouTube if you want to catch up, but hey, you probably have better, more exciting things to do like itemizing tax receipts, or watching paint dry, or something.

Joe "Don't Call Me Budden" Biden - The scent of desperation is unmistakable. He's speaking his mind, and making an occasional good point, but let's keep it real, he's a dead man walking. If hailing from tiny Delawhere didn't help him, that unfortunate "he's so clean" comment about Obama has probably long since sealed the deal. Also polling in the low single digits. - 3 CHADS

Hillary "My Swag Was Phenomenal" Clinton - As much as I cannot stand this woman (for lots of reasons), she is the master of this domain. She is the front runner, and with a commanding 15 percentage lead on Obama, the woman oozes swag. Her swag is phenomenal, like Gilbert Arenas. Maybe one of these days, after one of the early primaries when it becomes evident that its her or Rudy, I'll switch teams. But for now, I just can not embrace this woman as the next President. And I don't really know why. - 5 CHADS

Barack "The Magic Negro Veneer Is Wearing Thinner" Obama - I'll be honest, I'm beginning to wonder if Barack isn't better suited for Vice President, or just remaining in the Senate for now. After delivering fiery oratory, heck, making his name off fiery oratory, it's puzzling why he completely nuts up during debates. When confronted with the simplest of questions, he stumbled, diverts attention of the issue with "dreams of my father/audacity of hope" type vignettes, and when re-posed the question (something Cooper was pretty good at), still danced around it. People, for better or for worse, expect quick, applause inducing soundbites during a debate, not a meandering speech about "the vision for one America" or some such crap. He needs to come off the campaign trail for a weekend, and attend Rev. Al Sharpton's "Punchline and Soundbites Seminar". This ship, despite how well funded, and optimistically reverenced, be sinkin'. Quickly. - 1 CHAD

Dennis "Space Cadet" Kucinich - Give this man credit, he is willing to make bold promises that could never, evar, in a million years be delivered upon. Such is the case when you know you have no real shot, but can guarantee yourself another 3-4 terms in Congress just because your hometown (Cleveland) craves the attention. With a stature as diminutive as his single digit polling, Kucinich is the proverbial underdog, which endears him to the very audiences that wouldn't vote for him if Bush was running again. Dude was the only one on record to promise reparations, full blown gay marriage, and an immediate pullout of troops from Iraq, with no residual deployments. He's also got that brand new Biggie album, and some beachfront property in Akron for sale. Call him delusional, call him out there, just don't call him boring. - 3 CHADS.

John "Pretty Boy" Edwards - I'll be the first to admit, since I read about his $1200 haircuts, I've been a little distracted. However, I like Edwards for the same reasons I liked him in 04'. He's genuine, he speaks his mind, and he seems to be humble enough about the things he doesn't know to admit as much. I'm happy to see that his wife seems to still be in good health, because they'll need each other once he drops out of the race in February. In a perfect world, the weather would be sunny and 72 with a slight breeze everyday, the Wizards would win the NBA title each season, and people would see a return to The Best of Bill Clinton (compassion, intelligence, humble roots) in him, rather than in Hillary. Sadly, such a place does not exist. - 4 CHADS

Bill "Hey, I'M Hispanic" Richardson - Bill seems like the guy you'd most want to have a beer with, which makes him the George Bush of this class. Sadly, the historical significance of him running as the first Hispanic (sorta) evar is obscured by the fact that he has worse odds of winning than J-Lo. Or Ron Paul. Either way, despite having some great ideas, Bill is the proverbial Nice Guy, and we know where they finish in the polls. This guy deserves better. - 2 CHADS

Mike "Angry White Man" Gravel - I feel pretty bad for this guy. He was completely left out of the entire first hour of the debate, except for some sparring with Obama over campaign finance. He seems to have a sizable chip on his shoulder, and I understand why. By hour two, he was fuming, only to be cut off by Anderson Cooper mid-sentence, and hit with a question that regurgitated an old quote he said about Vietnam vets dying in vain. For an angry white guy, veins bulging and eyes watering all night wasn't a good look. Of course, since he is polling at less than 1%, maybe Cooper was doing the right thing by keeping him on the sideline. But then again, if they didn't want to include him, he shouldn't have been invited. Few of his points really resonated, simply because he was too damn angry to make any sense, but I give the guy a sympathy point. - 1 CHAD

Chris "The Butcher" Dodd - Sorry, but as much sense as this guy makes, with his snow white hair and multiple chins, all I can see is a butcher at Safeway, not Leader of The Free World when I look at him. Plus, he's polling in the negative teens, so he had about as much chance as AverageBro, which is to say, none. - 1 CHAD.

Step Yo' Game Up: Obama
Don't Be Mad, UPS Is Hirin': Gravel

Full CNN/YouTube Debate Replay [YouTube]

Monday, July 23, 2007

Robert Byrd Calls The Kettle Black

Since everyone is jumping on the Burn Mike Vick Burn Bandwagon, our esteemed Senator from West Virginia felt the need to chime in. Apparently Senator Bob Byrd didn't get his Cream of Wheat, or whatever takes his usual edge off this particular morning.

Barbaric. Barbaric. Barbaric. Inhuman. Dastardly. Shame. Shame. Shame. Inhuman. Cannibalistic. Sadistic.

Lest we not forget, this is indeed the same Bob Byrd who was once damn near Grand Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Just a few highlights of his Wiki...

In 1942, 24-year-old Byrd joined the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), whose parades in Matoaka, West Virginia, he had witnessed in his childhood. He was unanimously elected Exalted Cyclops, or leader, of his local chapter.[2]

Byrd, in his autobiography, attributed the beginnings of his political career to this incident, although he lamented that they involved the Klan. According to Byrd's recollection, Klan official Joel L. Baskin told him "You have a talent for leadership, Bob ... The country needs young men like you in the leadership of the nation." Byrd recalls that "suddenly lights flashed in my mind! Someone important had recognized my abilities. I was only 23 or 24, and the thought of a political career had never struck me. But strike me that night, it did."[2] He participated in the KKK during World War II, holding the titles Kleagle (recruiter) and Exalted Cyclops. He did not serve in the military during the war, working instead as a welder in a Baltimore, Maryland shipyard, where he helped build warships.[citation needed]

Byrd commented on the 1945 controversy about racially integrating the military. Byrd, when he was 28 years old, wrote to segregationist Senator Theodore Bilbo, of Mississippi, vowing never to serve in such a military:

Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.[3]

He had earlier written Bilbo "I shall never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side".[4][5]
So, killing a dog is barbaric, but Negroes don't get the same charity extended to them?

Barbaric! indeed.

Stepha Finally Gets Some Press

I just happened to tune into my new favorite show this weekend, and lo and behold, look who got a full 30 minutes dedicated to her?

The Nancy Grace Show's feature on the Stepha Henry case didn't really present any new information to anyone already familiar with the case, but at the very least it makes the general public more conscious of the story. That, of course, is the entire point.

Given the subject, I guess this would be the proper time to admit a past wrong. While watching coverage of the Bobby Cutts case develop, I gave cable news shows, specifically Nancy Grace, a lot of grief about how they were jumping all over Cutts without any evidence. This was a good thing for my blog, since our daily readership has increased tenfold as a result. I still don't think it's a best practice for a media outlet to start painting a person as guilty before evidence is presented. But then again, television shows, especially those on cable, are not responsible for presenting nuanced coverage of a breaking story, they are responsible for pulling in ratings. Just like talk radio shows bait listeners by presenting controversial viewpoints that the host may or may not fully agree with, television, a far higher stakes medium, plays the same card.

I mistook the Cutts case as being sensationalized primarily due to race. This may still be the case, and probably is to some degree, but then I saw how the Grace show handled a very similar case in New Jersey, involving Margaret Haddican-McEnroe, a mother of three who has gone missing, and a husband without a solid alibi. The formula was the same as the Cutts case; Grace and her female guests bashed the husband mercilessly, male guests mostly defended the husband on the grounds that little evidence was available. You can chalk this one up to fool-proof automatic ratings or journalistic laziness, but just maybe, race isn't as much of a factor here as in other more egregious cases.

Besides, it's summertime, and TV absolutely sucks, so what else is there to watch? I've come to enjoy Grace's birdbrain act far more than the ego maniacal rantings of Bill O'Reilly or the smarter-than-thou condescension of Keith Olbermann. Her regular guests, like the robotically comical Susan Moss or lovely, but mouthy sistagirl Lauren Lake add a "don't take this too seriously, it's just about ratings" undertone to the show. And by covering the Henry case far more extensively than any other televised outlet to date, I have to give a few cool points. Plus, the woman is 47 years old carrying twins. How gully is that?

Nancy Grace Show website [CNN]

Turn Out The Lights, Barry...

...the Party's definitely ovar.

According to today's Post.

By a wide margin, Democrats view Sen. Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) as the party's candidate best positioned to win the general election, and she holds a double-digit lead over Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) in the race for the nomination, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News Poll.

At this early stage, Clinton remains the candidate to beat in the Democratic field.

Overall, 45 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents support Clinton to be the party's nominee, with Obama second at 30 percent. Edwards, whose hopes for winning depend heavily on a victory in the Iowa caucuses in January, is at 12 percent. Clinton's margin over Obama has been generally steady since February, just after the two candidates launched their presidential bids.

Among whites, Clinton leads Obama by double digits, but the two run nearly neck-and-neck among African Americans: Forty-six percent would vote for Obama and 40 percent for Clinton.
What more can I say? Despite boatloads of money and positive press, Obama can't chip away at that deficit to save his life. Call me a hater, but the prospect of Hillary vs Rudy in November 08' makes Ottawa look really good.

Damn, if I could only get my $5 $500 donation back!

Poll Shows Clinton With Solid Lead Among Democrats [Washignton Post]

The NBA Has A Gamblin' Problem...

...but seriously, who cares?

Basketball "purists" are getting themselves all worked up over allegations that Tim Donaghy, an NBA official with supposed "mob" ties, is being accused of betting on games that he refereed last season.

As a regular paying customer of the NBA, I just can't get too worked up over this gambling scandal.

Seriously, does the average fan (or even the die-hard) care about this sorta stuff? That's a Vegas line. I guess I get the point about not wanting your product associated with organized crime or the word "fix", but such things seem to only effect the point differential (ie: a 5 points loss vs a 7 point loss), not necessarily the outcome (win or loss).

This is a "black eye" on officials because obviously the NBA should have a better grasp of what their employees are doing, but heck, how can this reflect poorly on Stern and the league as a whole?

Reality is, this Donaghy only worked 60 of the literally 100's of NBA games that took place last season. His effect on the outcome of games is minimal at best. Only a handful of games (the Golden State/Wizards game with the phantom technical come to mind) are decided by a bad call in the deciding moments. Far more games are decided by a blown defensive rotation (take your pick) or bad boxing out (that Knicks win over the Bobcats when David Lee got that lucky tip-in at the buzzer).

Does anyone else think this is a big deal!?!??

NBA Gambling Is a Big Problem [Newsday]

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Still Searching For Stepha Henry

My search for more info on Stepha Henry, specifically how and where to send money to donate to the Crimestoppers reward, is coming up short. If anyone has any great ideas, do tell.

The story got some decent coverage this week with a relatively generic AP story (not surprisingly by a reporter who seems to have a black name). While there's little new info in the story for someone already familiar with the case, it's good to see the AP run a feature. Unlike your local/regional papers, AP stories are usually syndicated and thus can end up as filler in various media outlets, from print to radio. So, from an exposure standpoint, this can only be considered a good thing. The blogosphere is also getting on board, but hey, we're not professionals, so we don't really count.

Unfortunately, I still don't see black media outlets running with this story. SyndicationOne, owned by a black woman (Cathy Hughes) is mysteriously silent. I don't watch BET, so what the hell do I know? I tried tuning in to Take The Cake, their ghetto-fab scam of a text-messaging trivia show. Joe Clair is a homeboy, and always entertaining (used to see him for $5 every Monday night at Takoma Station, he is severely underrated as a standup comedian), but co-host Toccarra is a hot mess of too tight outfits, crooked wigs, and overexposed tig-ole-bitties (there is such a thing). I won't bother wasting precious moments of life and countless brain cells on drivel such as Hot Ghetto Mess: The Series. Get real, Reginald Hudlin.

I have no idea how this dissolved into a BET-bashing column. Sorry.

Help this story last. Call your local TV and radio stations and ask them why they aren't covering it.

Trying Process for Families of Missing [AP]

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Oprah To the Rescue.

Just when you though The Obama Express was derailing, here comes Harpo to the rescue.

Invitations have been sent out for what promises to be a must-attend event for much of California's Democratic elite, particularly those in the entertainment industry: a Sept. 8 fundraiser for Barack Obama at Oprah Winfrey's home in the Santa Barbara area.

In the best tradition of Hollywood, the e-mail touting the afternoon gathering doesn't mince words, promoting it as no less than "the most exciting Barack Obama event of the year anywhere ..." And the invite urges haste in responding, saying: "Please get back to us soon before it sells out."

Oprah endorsed Obama, who she got to know through their mutual home bases in Chicago, back in the spring --- the first time she had ever officially embraced a White House contender. At the time, she told CNN's Larry King, "I haven’t done it in the past because ... I didn’t know anybody well enough to be able to say, ‘I believe in this person.’
Oprah's never made a foray into politics, especially not publicly endorsing a candidate for national office before, so this will be uncharted territory for her. If she is serious about getting behind him, she can undoubtedly use her show in the fall to help his cause, as well as the obvious fundraising benefits.

At well over 50 years old, and with plenty of money in the bank, this strikes me as a good time for Oprah to silence her critics who have over the years accused her of not being vocal enough on issues to blacks, for fear of alienating her mostly white female fan base. If there's anyone who can help Barry eat away at Hillary Clinton's advantage among women and blacks (yes, she leads in early polls), then it's Oprah. Or, she could simply play the neutral role on her show and not publicly endorse him.

We'll see how this one plays out.

Oprah to host Obama fundraiser [LA Times]

Don Imus: The Final Tally

Guess Who's Back!??!

The I-Man is returning
, and The King of the Black Crusaders (Rebb'nAl) isn't planning on doing anything about it.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who urged the firing of Don Imus, wouldn’t object if the radio personality returned to the airwaves.

“He has a right to make a living,” he said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

Sharpton said he hadn’t softened his views about Imus, who was dismissed from his syndicated program (simulcast on MSNBC) in April for calling the Rutgers University women’s basketball team “nappy-headed hos.” But he added that, under the right conditions, the radio star’s banishment could eventually end.
Not really sure how to read this one. As I told you months ago, I knew it wouldn't be long before Imus resurfaced, but I figured it would be months from now, and likely in a much smaller market. However, it seems like dude will be going right back to Media Market #1, with a hefty raise and even better ratings.

When you do the final tally, it's hard to figure out who won/lost here.

The Winners:

- Definitely raised his profile and expanded his influence after that sham of a presidential campaign and his mostly ignored affair and subsequent divorce from his wife of many years. Not that Jesse Jackson was still even remotely relevant anyway, but Al has totally eclipsed him in the Poverty Pimp Game. Definitely a come up.

Imus - Will be considered a martyr of sleaze radio forevar. Will get a massive pay raise to return. Ratings will be through the roof. Basically, he just got a 6 month (paid off the clock) vacation. CBS ain't that stupid. Ratings (and green) are all that matter, certainly not the feelings of a few black girls.

Rutgers Coach Vivian Stringer - Profile as groundbreaking college coach only will grow as a result. Rutgers bball recruiting is through the roof. You can't help but think that this will somehow, in some wicked Robert Downey Junior way, be good for the program longterm. Everyone loves rooting for a (perceived) victim.

Jason Whitlock - The real life Uncle Ruckus used this as the ultimate come up. He's gone from little known ESPN talking head to the new-school Armstrong Williams. When The Media needs a Negro to talk greasy (literally and figuratively) about other Negroes in public, JW's on speed-dial. He was even briefly being considered as Imus' on air replacement.

The Losers:

Tennessee Women's Basketball
- Does anyone actually remember that they WON the national championship? I guess since they win practically every other year, this is a wash, but still...

The Rutgers Women's Basketball Players - The only real victims in this whole thing. These ladies won't be able to shake this episode their entire lives, no matter how many no-lye relaxers they burn their scalps with. They are, truly, scarred for life.

(c)Rap Music - The subsequent backlash (which still makes zero sense to me) on Hip Hop music sure hasn't helped sales any. Last year, only TI, and the Black Eyed Peas (arggh) released platinum rap albums. This year's tally: ZERO. Until 50 Cent and Kanye West hit big with their releases this Fall, it may be a rap for rap. (ha ha)

Russell Simmons - Russell was finally exposed for the sheister that he truly is. Not that we couldn't see that this guy was a closet case in an arranged marriage all along, but his insistence on defending (c)rap music as "art" and the rappers as "poets" just did it for me. He got himself reamed on show after show from Oprah to Nancy Grace, while shilling his crappy book. If Al and Jesse are Poverty Pimps, then Russell (and Kevin Lyles) are Culture Pimps.

The American People - We somehow expected this to change the tide of the seedier elements of American culture. Shock jocks would be taken down. (c)Rap music would return to the golden ages. Robert Kelly would be mastering the art of soap holding. Sadly, 6 months later, none of these things (especially not the RKelly part) is even remotely close to reality.

We all lost.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Bron Bron Goes Hollywood (Sorta)

Lebron James is really on the come up. Fresh off his first NBA Finals sweep (of many, as long as the Spurs exist), a new kid with his baby moms, and a successful stint hosting the ESPYs, King James is about to join MJ as the only NBA players to host SNL. No, SNL doesn't carry the same cache it once did, but hey, it's a come up nonetheless. From Akron to 30 Rock in just 5 years. Now, if he could only work on going to his left.

Here's a sneak preview of what we'll probably see this Fall. Lebron's My Prerogative knockoff at the ESPY's wasn't nearly as brilliant as say, Jamie Foxx's Let Me Be Your Tennis Ball or Tennis Ball 2, but then again, Jamie can't drop 32 per night.

On an entirely unrelated note, has anyone else noticed Jamie Foxx's strangely shifting hairline? What man's hairline actually un-recedes (not a word, I know) over time? It's pretty evident between clips 1 and 2 above, and even more startling here. That's some Steve Harvey style work right there.

Since I'm on the Web Junk tip, here's one more. Can you spot the award winning actor in this janky late 80's R&B vid? Boy, thank God movies panned out for this dude. Watching him Pop Lock & Drop It would be too sad for words.

Hillary Roolz!

Despite his "get money" fund raising results, and increased emphasis on chasing the black vote, Barry Obama is faced with a very real roadblock on his Quest For The Number One Spot: Hillary Clinton is still pummelling him in early state and national polls, with a solid double digit lead in most.

Yes, February 2008 and the Iowa caucus are months away, but what does it say for Obama's prospects that he's beating Clinton in fundraising, has support of more individual donors (including yours truly), is universally hailed as anti-establishment and war, and he's still gettin' his ass kicked Sugar Ray Leonard/Terry Norris style?

Questions of why Obama's mass appeal have yet to translate into votes proliferate. Theories abound. Many say Clinton is the best promise of a return to the good ole' days. Lots of people think Obama isn't experienced enough. Several say his views aren't radically different enough from Hillary's to distinguish himself. I say the Magic Negro Veneer only goes so far, and folks who say they'll vote for you can't necessarily be counted on to do so when they enter their places of polling.

Regardless, it's becoming evident that until something dramatic happens, Obama will continue to trail, as he has hardly chipped away at the deficit thus far. This could mean another key candidate (John Edwards, I'm talkin' to you, cuz) dropping out and endorsing him. It could mean a Howard Dean-style public meltdown or some really bad publicity for Hillary (unlikely, given all the stuff that woman's endured. She's a Teflon Don-ette). Or best yet, it could mean something else, that was inevitably going to have to happen at some point anyway.

Barry has to grow some balls, shed the nice guy routine, and start talkin' greasy.

Going negative in a campaign sometimes works, but it can also obviously backfire, especially if you've been painting yourself as a positive candidate for change. But damn that, there are few things black people do better than talk shit about other folks, true or false, and it's time for Barry to maybe get familiar with his Inner Nigga. Of course, being only 50% black, this will probably come out in a slightly nicer manner than say, kids playing the dozens, but hey, it's nearing desperation time, and I'll be damn if my $5 $500 campaign donation is going to waste.

Barry, grow a pair, bruh.

Obama tries to peel away Clinton backers [AP]

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

NFL Players Just Can't Get Right

Not that we didn't see this coming months ago, but Atlanta Falcons QB Mike Vick is probably headed to the pokey after the Feds finally put together a thorough enough case to indict him. For those unaware, Vick has been under investigation for some time now over allegations that his Virginia home has been used to breed and host dogfights. Charges of sponsoring a dog in an animal fighting venture and conspiracy as part of another felony are just the latest off field problems for Vick, who has found trouble at every turn since joining the NFL.

Among his other notable scrapes with Johnny Law/dumb ass antics (courtesy of Wikipedia):

* In March 2005 a woman named Sonya Elliott filed a civil lawsuit against Vick alleging she contracted genital herpes from Vick and that he failed to inform her that he had the disease.[11] Elliot further alleged that Vick had visited clinics under the alias "Ron Mexico" to get treatments and thus he knew of his condition.

* On January 17, 2007 Vick surrendered a water bottle to security at Miami International Airport. Due to Vick's reluctance to leave the bottle behind, it was later retrieved from a trash receptacle. The bottle was found to have a hidden compartment that contained "a small amount of dark particulate and a pungent aroma closely associated with marijuana," a Miami police report said. "The compartment was hidden by the bottle's label so that it appeared to be a full bottle of water when held upright," police said.

* After a Falcons loss to the New Orleans Saints in the Georgia Dome on November 26, 2006 Vick made an obscene gesture at Atlanta fans, holding up two middle fingers.

* On April 24, 2007, Vick was scheduled to lobby on Capitol Hill, hoping to persuade lawmakers to increase funding for after-school programs. Vick missed a connecting flight in Atlanta on Monday and failed to show for his Tuesday morning appearance.
Vick is the real life version of Can't Get Right, the duddering mute boxer played by Bokeem Woodbine (as good a character actor as you'll find in the world of straight to DVD cinema) in the Murphy/Martin movie Life. He clearly has zero common sense. He is only famous because he can run when chased, and occasionally throw the ball (usually to the other team). He is, for lack of a better term, a nigga. Period.

The question is, why do we as a society expect more of Vick, or his brothers from another mother, ignorant morons like Chris Henry, Tank Johnson, and Adam "Pacman" Jones (whose Wiki entry is an entertaining read for anyone unfamiliar)? They were niggas before they got famous. They are now, simply niggas with money. Why would you expect anything other than the sort of behavior these idiots display on the regular?

Getting a huge contract to play a childrens' sport does not automatically turn one into Colin Powell. Folks like to talk about the benefits of college, but seriously, none of these cats are getting even the basic college experience. NCAA D-I football players are little more than unpaid professional athletes. The time and travel demands of the sport don't allow for pursuit of any degree other than Physical Education or Sports Management (riiight). Many colleges don't even graduate a single basketball player over many years (University of Cincinnati for example). College sports are a sham, and until the NCAA is able to stop fakin' and start paying these guys, it will continue to be. So please, miss me with that "they're better off staying in college" B.S.

Despite everyone's better wishes, Vick and company are not and should not be expected to be role models. Reality is, if your kids are emulating any of Mike Vick's behaviors other than those he performs behind the line of scrimmage, you're failing as a parent. Period. Either kill yourself now, or start saving up for bail money. To hell with a 529. And yes, I know, some kids don't have parents. Let's keep it real though: those kids are gonna end up screwed either way. Pacman Jones makin' it rain $81,000 isn't gonna make any difference in that outcome one way or another.

What's my point? Stop expecting anything more of these guys than 1,500 yards a season and 17 TD's. Anything more is just unrealistic.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

When Keepin' It Goth Goes Wrong.

I'll freely admit that I sometimes play video games a bit too much, as AverageSis frequently lets me know (and then some). Naturally I disagree. I think every man should have a semi-constructive veg-out/release, and hey, as long at it doesn't involve other women or copious amounts of Hennessey, I say we call it heads or tails.

Then again since I'm a bball junkie, I'm just playing NBA 2k. I've never been too much into shoot em' ups like Grand Theft Auto or SoCom. Reality, more specifically sports, is just my thing. Not that I begrudge people who play hour upon hour of Super Mario their own indulgences, but I just can't disconnect from the real world that much.

Somebody might want to explain the difference between fantasy and reality to these freaks.

A Nevada couple has pleaded guilty to child neglect, blaming the neglect of their 2 babies on the addiction to the Internet and video games, according to authorities.

Michael and Iana Straw neglected their children, 1 boy age 22 months and a girl age 11 months. Each child was severely malnourished and near death last month when doctors first saw them after they were taken from their parents by social workers, according to the AP.

Reportedly, both children are doing well and have gained weight since being placed in foster care, prosecutor Kelli Ann Viloria told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Michael Straw, 25, and his wife Iana Straw, 23, pled guilty on Friday to two counts each of child neglect. The couple each faces a maximum of 12-years in prison.

Viloria said the couple were too distracted playing online video games, mainly the fantasy role-playing "Dungeons and Dragons", to care for their children properly.
But, but, but, but, wait. It gets worse.
"They had food; they just chose not to give it to their kids because they were too busy playing video games," Viloria told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Authorities report that hospital personnel had to shave the head of the little girl, because her hair was matted with cat urine. The 11-month old girl weighed only 10 pounds, had a mouth infection and suffered from dry skin and severe dehydration.

The 22-month old boy was treated for starvation and a genital infection. Because of his lack of muscle development, he has a hard time walking.
If the complete lack of common sense and neglect of the children weren't so disgusting, this story might even be a bit funny.

Seriously, who spends so much time playing video games that they can't manage to feed their kids. Mix in a trip to the park. Heat up some Emfamil. Turn on SpongeBob. Damn, do somethin'.

Thankfully, the fine folks at protective services have the kids, and prayerfully they'll regain their health and still thrive with what will undoubtedly be a new set of parents.

Sadly for Michael and Iana Straw, their fantasy lives won't continue. They don't have PS2 in prison. Perhaps a cold dose of reality is just what these two need anyway.

Couple Blames Neglect Of 2 Babies On Their Internet Addiction [Post Chronicle]

David Vitter. The Passionate Conservative

I pride myself on being ahead of the story. I'm obviously not a journalist, you don't come here for that sorta info, but I try to always pickup big stories and bring them to you before they break. Sometimes, this approach works. I inform you of something you might not have otherwise heard about, then you're up on game when suddenly everyone at the water cooler is talking. Other times, not so much.

Such an example was the case of the DC Madame. You'll recall (or not) that a few months ago, that pimpstress in distress Debra Jeane Palfrey was threatening to release her client list unless someone paid her off. This list was to contain hundreds of names of politicians, celebrities, and other public figures. When nobody stepped forward to silence her, she sold the list to 20/20, which was to run a huge feature on the Johns. Years of underground corruption would be surfaced. It would be big. HUGE.

It was a dud.

Except for deputy secretary Randall Tobias, who stepped down before the show aired, nobody of note was implicated. AverageBro's first big scoop was a biggest bust than Kevin Durant.

Hold your horses.

Much like you can't write Durant (who'll be fine) off after a shaky summer league, you can't send AvgB off to the glue factory. Wouldn't you know it, a fine Congressman from the great state of Louisiana (Blanco. Jefferson. Nagin. What is it with Louisiana politicians anyway?) bails me out. Such southern hospitality.

A woman accused of running a Washington prostitution ring placed five phone calls to David Vitter while he was a House member, including two while roll call votes were under way, according to telephone and congressional records.

Vitter, a Louisiana Republican now in the Senate, acknowledged Monday that his number was on the woman's call list and apologized for a "very serious sin." The married father of four has remained in seclusion since, missing Senate votes and other activities Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Telephone records released by Deborah Jeane Palfrey indicate she placed calls that were answered by Vitter's Washington phone on five occasions while Vitter was in the House, from 1999 through 2001. On four of those five days, the House was in session and Vitter participated in every roll call vote.

One day was particularly busy in the House, with Vitter's phone receiving Palfrey's call in the middle of the eighth recorded vote of the day, at 5:06 p.m., according to the records.
Damn, setting up a trick while you're on the Day Job. That's pretty gangsta, and then some.

Indeed, compassionate conservatism at its' best.

Palfrey Called Vitter During House Votes [AP]

Help Build The Dream

Just in case you were wondering, the MLK Memorial is still in need of funds. So skip your morning Starbucks, and head over there.

For a donation of as little as $5 you can help make history and you get a pretty cool LiveStrong-like bracelet to show off to your cheap, non-philanthropic friends. An all around good deal if you ask me.

Donate to King Memorial [NEA website]

Preach Barry, Preach!!!

With more money in the bank than 50 (aka: "Fiddy" for my unhip, but wannabe-down brothers of a lighter shade) Cent, Barack Obama can now focus on narrowing that early gap between him and Hillary. Recent polls show he's still trailing by double digits, but as Howard Dean or any fan of the Washington Wizards will attest, a big lead in the first quarter don't mean jack. Well, maybe John McCain is the notable exception.

Once seen as a potential $100M man on the fundraising tip, McCain is darn near tapped out. Dude has raised $26M to date, and has run through it like a scorned black woman with her husband's Visa card. With his conflicted positions (pro-war, anti-abortion) lacking resonance with the Republican die-hards, the likelihood of McCain joining Jim Gilmore on the AverageBro UnEmployment Line is gaining momentum. Pencil Rudy in as the right wing challenger in 08'. Unless, of course, he goes back to that annoying habit of cross dressing again. Yikes.

But back to Obama. It's hard to believe that not long ago (still?) folks were making the man justify his thug, by asking such silly questions as "is he black enough?". To Obama's credit, he handled such criticisms with the usual grace, but it's a damn shame that black people can't even be happy with a man who has a better chance of winning than any person of color, evar.

Seriously, who's to judge what "black enough" is? Does the man have to a eat KFC and show up in a Jeezy video? Does he have to know how to "pop lock & drop it"? Chicken Noodle Soup? Sheesh.

Obama, fresh out of Harvard, spent two years post-graduate making in the mid-teens as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago. Find me another black man who's done anything similar, and ask him is he "black enough". If he doesn't beat the shit out of you for asking such a dumb question, I will. So, enough already. The man is black.

Recently in an attempt to make inroads with black voters (he surprisingly trails Clinton in early polls), he's reshifted focus on addressing black issues, albeit in a covert enough manner that whites don't get all nervous and worried too much about pro-reparations conspiracies. Today, he delivered a rousing speach in Chicago, addressing the recent outbreak of inner city killings there, and bemoaning the fact that our country isn't doing more. That, I can respect, which is why I finally decided to stop being cheap and put my money where my mouth is. The Barry-4-Prez Campaign has now raised $35,000,005. Hey, it's a start.

Please, for once and for all. The man is black. Stop hatin' (as we love to do), and participate.

Friday, July 13, 2007

A Missing Black Woman Is Only Worth $1,000. Your Prayers Are Priceless.

Yes, Stepha Henry is still missing, and apparently nobody gives a shit.

Henry's family is contributing a $4,000 reward in addition to the $1,000 offered by Crime Stoppers. A family friend also donated $1,000.
Ok, so the actual amount is $6,000. Whoop-De-Damn-Doo [Derrick Coleman ™].

Nearly $5,000 of that comes directly from the family, Crimestoppers is only throwing in a "G". Apparently society at large doesn't care enough to contribute more, and I have little doubt that the lack of media exposure for this story is a large reason for that, since people tend to pay attention to whatever's on the TV, as long as it's on the TV. Out of sight, out of mind, and unfortunately, shit out of luck if you're the family, and you've already given as much money to the reward fund as you already can.

This would be the space where I usually pop off a bunch of shit about why hasn't Oprah/misc NBA player/Al Sharpton/misc rich-slash-visible black person done something about this.

That story is played, because leaning on such people to make something important, to deem it worthy of attention, is a trick bag black people fall into far too often. It's a convenient excuse that puts all the weight off your shoulders and squarely on those of someone else who doesn't have time, doesn't care, or doesn't even know what the issue is. Enough of that.

If you care about Stepha Henry, stay tuned. I'm going to somehow find a way to contact the family and get info for contributing money to the reward. I'll provide the address, you (and I) write the checks. I'll also dig up a list of producers for national cable TV shows that we can pressure to picking up this story and raising it's profile. Something, anything needs to happen.

If we don't do it, who the hell will?

I'll keep you posted. Keep praying for this young lady and her family.

$6,000 Reward Offered In Stepha Henry Case [NBC6]

The Best Music Video. Evar.

AverageBro is strictly for the chil'rens. Thus, I'm taking a pause for the cause to enjoy some fun time with my own kid, so he isn't trying to break in your house 18 years from now. I'm just paternalistic like dat'.

While I'm on vaca with AverageSis & AverageBaby, enjoy this fine educational video for the tots. There's a real message, and some really foul language too, so if you're down with keepin' the Day Job, you might wanna cop some earbuds.

Monday, July 9, 2007

N-Word Please! Why The NAACP Is A Joke.

Not much new in the news, but I couldn't help but note the idiocy in this story. The fine septuagenarians at the National Association for The Advancement of Colored Peoples decided any news coverage is better than none, and are staging a mock funeral for the "N-Word" today in Detroit.

The NAACP is putting to rest a long-standing expression of racism in a ceremony similar to one six decades ago. The civil rights organization was to hold a public burial for the N-word Monday during its annual convention in Detroit.

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People delegates from across the country were expected to gather Monday morning at Detroit's Cobo Center and march about a quarter-mile to Hart Plaza for the ceremony and rally.

"While we are happy to have sent a certain radio cowboy back to his ranch, we ought to hold ourselves to the same standard," Bond said. "If he can't refer to our women as `hos,' then we shouldn't either."
Talk about useless rhetoric.

While I wholeheartedly agree with Bond's statement, and I'd like to see the word no longer used, I wonder just how much an aging organization like the NAACP can actually be a change agent for such a thing. Come to think of it, when was the last time the NAACP was a change agent for anything? 1968?

Also in the article....
The NAACP held a symbolic funeral in Detroit in 1944 for Jim Crow, the systematic, mostly Southern practice of discrimination against and segregation of blacks from the end of post-Civil War Reconstruction into the mid-20th century.
Riiiight, a mock funeral to Jim Crow laws waay back in 1944? Looks like that one worked immediately too.

The problem I have with such organizations like the NAACP, and to a far lesser extent, the National Urban League (which is far more grassroots activism) is that they are incredibly reactive, as opposed to proactive. In my short lifetime, I've yet to see the fruits of anything the NAACP has done in a tangible manner. I know that they're usually pulled in when there's some issue with police shootings or brutality, but other than bringing media attention (and presumably scaring white folks) to an issue, what cause are they actually advancing?

Why isn't the NAACP using it's considerable corporate clout to form partnerships with financial institutions and educating black college students on the perils of credit and the need for financial literacy? Why isn't the NAACP more visible in addressing the issues of unfair educational funding in our communities? Why isn't the NAACP raising awareness about AIDS, hypertension, diabetes, and the millions of other health issues that plague black America? Why isn't the NAACP creating alliances with black churches, which are pretty much the last bastion of "black establishment" to harness their massive human and financial capital for the good of our community?

Hell, on the issue of the "N-Word", why isn't the NAACP doing after Sony, Columbia, Clear Channel, Viacom, Harris Publications, and the hundreds of other corporate owned entities that could actually influence some level of change, at least from a media standpoint?

Other than holding a convention, usually at a white owned hotel once a year, what exactly in the hell is the NAACP doing?

That's a complex question, with no answer forthcoming. I guess borrowing a bootleg casket and throwing out some press releases is alot easier than real work.

NAACP Delegates Plan to Bury N-Word [AP]
NAACP Leader Blasts Bush Policies [AP]

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Where The Hell Did Scooter Get $250K Over The Weekend?

Our felonious friend, the non-snitching Lewis "Scooter" Libby somehow managed to scrounge up $250K over the weekend to settle his debt, making him a virtually free man.

Call me crazy, but how did this cat have time to get a check cut for a quarter mill over the weekend? He was commuted Friday, and paid his bill Monday. Talk about one hell of a July 4th celebration? I bet the Libby household was pretty crunk yesterday.

More importantly, however, is how did he come up with that kinda money?

On second thought, a look at his Wikipedia bio (which we know is the gospel) says dude is from an affluent family. His pops was an investment banker, and Scooter was a corporate atty himself. Besides, his legal support was paid for by the dubiously named "Scooter Libby Defense Trust", which apparently carried as much as $5M at one point. So, he was lawyered up, gratis, which is obviously a good look.

I'm sure there was probably a clambake of some sort this weekend to raise even more funds. Reality is, when you tally it all up, dude probably didn't have to call his Morgan Stanley advisor a single time.

Damn, you can out a spy, lie about it to a grand jury, get the sentence commuted, and have your boys foot the bill for the whole thing.

What. A. Country.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Imus is Back!?!?!

Looks like the originator of the term "Nappy Headed Hoes" was just on a quick sabbatical, not fired all along. That's right, the I-Man is off the AvBro Cheese Line, and seems headed back to his old gig.

IDon Imus may be returning to radio quicker than you think. According to the radio rumor mill, the return of Don Imus, the I-man to WFAN is just around the corner.
And WFAN itself is contributing to the reports.

Imus buds Mike Francesa and Chris Russo, of "Mike and the Mad Dog," while celebrating the sports station's 20th anniversary last Friday, whispered that a deal to bring the talk-radio legend back to the radio station is in the works.

"When we return to our regular schedule this September, I hope the team will once again be complete," Francesa said.

Something told me the way he was dismissed in such knee jerk fashion was too good to be true. The country has moved on to bigger and juicier distractions (Paris, Lohan, etc.) so I guess this would be a good time to slide him back under the radar.

Where's Rev. Al when you need him? Somebody tell Sharpton to put down that rib tip platter and get back to biz.

MLK is crying inside.

Imus In The Morning? Don Imus Rumored To Be Returning To WFAN [Post Chronicle]