Friday, November 30, 2007

Rodney King Has Nine Lives: Zero Luck, Zero Money.

[No, that's not Snoop Dogg on roids']

Party like it's 1991!!!
Television cameras swarmed the house of Rodney King Thursday after an incident Wednesday night in which he told authorities that he was riding his bicycle after 11 p.m. in a dicey area near the border of San Bernardino and Rialto and was sprayed with pellets from a shotgun.

He reportedly pedaled his bike for roughly a mile to his Jackson Street home in Rialto before calling police and heading to the hospital in an ambulance.

Rialto police, who were the first to respond, said King was intoxicated when they arrived and that it was difficult to decipher what had happened.

In interviews with investigators who visited him Thursday afternoon at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, King reported that a man and a woman approached him and demanded his bicycle.

When he rode away, King told investigators, someone sprayed his shoulder with pellets from a shotgun. King had pellet wounds on his face, arm and back, Paterson said.
What else can you really say about this? It seems like that $4M settlement he got for his inconvenience is long since gone. Dude started out in a Hyundai, and now is back to pushin' a Schwin.

Talk about hustlin' backwards.

Getting jacked for a bicycle? Who the hell gets caught up like that? This sounds like a deleted scene from Friday.

Rodney King didn't just write the forward for The Trent Benefield Book Of No Longer Sympathetic Victims, he published it.

Peep Rodney's rap sheet (literally) since he hit that $3.8M lick':
* In May 1991, he was arrested on suspicion of trying to run over a vice officer who allegedly found him with a transvestite prostitute in Hollywood, but no charges were filed.

* In 1993, King entered an alcohol rehabilitation program and was placed on probation after crashing his vehicle into a block wall in downtown Los Angeles with a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit.

* In July 1995, he was arrested by Alhambra police, who alleged that he hit his wife with his car, knocking her to the ground. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail after being convicted of hit-and-run.

* In 1999, he was sentenced to 90 days in San Bernardino County jail and put on probation for four years after a domestic dispute involving one of his daughters and her mother. He was required to attend a batterer's treatment program and a child-abuse program, according to court records.

* In 2001, King was ordered to attend a yearlong drug treatment program after he was arrested for indecent exposure and being under the influence of PCP at Ganesha Park in Pomona.

* In April 2003, Rialto police watched him weave through traffic in his Ford Expedition at more than 100 mph before plowing through a fence and into a San Bernardino house. He pleaded guilty to being under the influence of PCP and was sentenced to a six-month drug rehabilitation program followed by a 120-day jail sentence.

* That October, Rialto police arrested King on suspicion of punching his girlfriend in the stomach.
Curiously not mentioned: his mercifully short lived rap career.

Note to Trent Benefield, Genarlow Wilson, Bryant Purvis, Mychal Bell, Carwin Jones, Marcus Dixon, and Co.: Look. Listen. Learn.

Rodney King is shot while riding his bike [LA Times]

Thursday, November 29, 2007

NBC News To Black Women: "You'll Die A Lonely, Childless, Cat Lady."

[We Watch, So You Don't Have To.]

After blogging about the awful first night of NBC's series on Black women African American Women: Where They Stand, I honestly didn't plan on watching any more of the segments. After all, I do have other more important things to do (namely raise a child) after work. But for whatever odd reason, I set the Tivo Season Pass while viewing Monday's show, so the next two nights just happened to be there for my perusal. It also happens to be a pretty slow week for blogging fodder, so here we go.

Night two was far better than the initial segment. It focused on the epidemic of breast cancer among black women. Since I was born with testicles, I don't pretend to know a whole lot about issues of womens health, and thus this episode was pretty informative. Of course it also scared the heck outta me to the point that I badgered and annoyed the heck outta my wife to get her routine annual mammography scheduled (which she had already done anyway). I guess if NBC was shooting to enlighten someone, then you could consider night two a mission accomplished, at least in AverageHousehold.

Night three, however, is when the proverbial wheels fell off. Any time there's a segment called "Black Women And Relationships", I have to brace myself. The lead-in to the segment shows three "professional" black women sitting down with producer Rhehema Ellis to discuss the state of their relationships.

Cue The "Grim Statistics" Reel.

40% of Black Women have never been married, versus the national average of %27, and %16 for white women. The conversation immediately goes to the oh-so-predictable "black men are intimidated by women with more education and income" angle.

Stop the presses!!!

I am 34 years old. In my life, I have come to know lots of black men, from all levels of income, class, education, etc.

Not once have I evar, evar, evar, evar, evaaaaaaaaaaarrrr heard another black man say he was "intimidated" by a woman making more money than him. Nevaaaar!!!

On the other hand, black men bragging about having a woman that brings in as much, or more money than him? I've heard that one A LOT. A WHOLE lot. Heck, when I got married, my wife (who is now a stay-at-home mom) was making roughly twice the amount that I made. Was this "intimidating"? Hell naw, it was more money for BOTH of us. Man, that sh*t is a black man's DREAM!!!! Or at least a secure black man's dream.

It there's a brother reading this who is somehow intimidated by women making more, please, please explain why in the comments.

Since I can't personally say I've heard any man say this kinda thing, I can only surmise two possible "real reasons" why such an arrangement (woman makes more than man) wouldn't work out.

1) The man is needlessly insecure about many other things.
2) The man and woman simply aren't compatible and don't have anything in common.

But the NBC News segment, eager to boil issues down to a simple, easy to digest soundbyte, simply lets the sisters featured off the hook.

The conversation then shifts to the oh-so-predictable "all our black men are dating white women" angle.

Stop the presses!!!

Still fewer than 5% of black men are married interracially. Not that I care (because I obviously don't), but if these men find happiness with women that don't share their same skin tone, who's to judge? Ditto for black women dating outside their races. Get yours!

Simply put, relationships are hard work, especially when you're married. If you're able to find someone who can put up with your stuff and love you anyway, do it. If other people have a problem with this, then that's their problem.

The story then really goes off the deep end with yet another damning statistic.

70% of all black kids are born to unwed parents.

One thing oddly coincidental: One of the women on the panel had three children by a man and stayed with him for 14 years. They just got engaged to be married. Fourteen years! 3 Kids! Still NO RING! Another of the women was "a single parent for many years before she got married", and is then pictured with about 6 kids surrounding her.


Wouldn't that mean the very women on this panel grovelling about the 70% rate are a huge part of the problem themselves?


At what point does personal responsibility on both parts become a factor? After all, with the exception of a man forcing himself on a woman, it's not that easy for a woman to impregnate herself. So why frame the entire context of the out of wedlock kids issue as one of a lack of commitment from black men? What kind of idiocy is that?

Newsflash: It takes two to tango!

If you choose to continue laying down with (or simply staying with for that matter) a man who clearly doesn't want to marry you, then you're just a much of an idiot as he is, not a victim. Cut your losses and roll out.

I guess the biggest bone I have to pick with this segment is that it reduces black men and women to one-dimensional caricatures. Black men are noncommittal and afraid of women that make more than them. Black women are needy victims. Thus, when things don't work out, it's easy to chalk up grim statistics to these simple reasons.


Reality is, black men and women are no less complex than their white counterparts, and likewise, no relationship can be so easily diagnosed. Sometimes people are selfish. Sometimes their personalities don't mix. Sometimes it's just not the right time. Sometimes, it's just not the right person.

But it's never as simple as NBC News wants you to believe. And that's my problem with this series in a nutshell. NBC would never do a similar series on the state of "American" (read: white) relationships, because they wouldn't dare marginalize their viewers by reducing their problems to mere statistics and assassination by soundbyte. So why the absent minded reporting when it comes to black women and their "relationships"?

It's propaganda ya'll, I'm tellin' ya'.

On a far more positive note: the story did end by talking about the emerging trend of black women adopting children. I can only applaud that.

Thursday's show talks about the political power of black women in this next year's Presidential race, which admittedly seems interesting. But subsequent shows are about hip-hop's effect on black women and interracial dating, which are two tired issues I really don't need to hear any more about. Thus, I don't know if I'll be watching any more segments in this series, simply because lazy journalism doesn't appeal to me, and reality is, I don't (nor do I expect to) learn much of anything from watching TV anyway. Which leads me to wonder, if this series is so woefully imbalanced thus far (as both black men and women seem to largely agree), then who exactly was is intended to appeal to?

If it was meant to enlighten black America, I'd say NBC failed.

If it was meant to enlighten white America, I'd also say NBC failed.

However, if it was meant to perpetuate the same dangerous stereotypes that only serve to widen the rift in black relationships, I'd say NBC's right on the money.

I hoped (but didn't expect) this series would shed some light on the issues that black women face with advancing in the workplace. How they deal with an often racist society that pays them less than their counterparts. How they deal day to day with the very real issue of single motherhood. How they overcome despite the many obstacles they face due to the double whammy of being both black and female in a country that doesn't particularly uplift either.

So much for hope.

Redefining black relationships [NBC News Video]

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

NBC News To Black Women: "It Sucks To Be You."

[We Watch, So You Don't Have To.]

Well, here we go again. Every 3-4 months, the mainstream media tries to focus on a topic of interest to black people, and as opposed to objective coverage, they resort to flipping to page 94 in The Book of Manufactured Controversy.

This phenomenon is something I've blogged about in the past, especially such "issues" as black women dating outside their races, and the disparity between news coverage of missing black women and whites. BTW, how ironic is it that after shaking down and illegally arresting all those Arubans, the very cats we knew had abducted Natalee Holloway all along turned out to be responsible? Maybe ironic isn't the right word.

Anyways, NBC News With Brian Williams (how clever is that title?) is running a five part series this week called African-American Women: Where They Stand, and after watching the first night, I can already tell you it's the piece of oversensationalized crap you'd expect it to be.

Here's a blurb from NBC News about the series:
Throughout the week of November 26, "NBC News With Brian Williams" will take a look at the issues facing African-American women across our nation in a new series "African-American Women: Where They Stand." The series will cover a wide-range of issues from their role in the '08 Presidential race, to the increased health-risks that they need to be concerned about.

Monday's installment will discuss African-American women's progress in the education field. Nearly two-thirds of African-American undergraduates are women. At black colleges, the ratio of women to men is 7 to 1. And that is leading to a disparity in the number of African-American women who go on to own their own businesses. Rehema Ellis will talk to educators, students and businesswomen about why this disparity exists.
The problem with such coverage is the medium itself. Trying to objectively present the dynamics of such a topic in 3-4 minute vignettes is a surefire recipe for failure. If NBC was so concerned about "the state of black women", maybe they'd dedicate a few episodes of Dateline. Instead, these short segments, cleverly dropped at the end of each show (to make you watch the whole episode of course) go headfirst into misleading statistics that serve no real purpose other than further discrediting black men and magnifying a rift between genders that exists in every race.

Case in point, last night's segment lead off by showing a black single mom who owns her own PR firm. No problem here, entrepreneurship is positive stuff. But then the show starts throwing up a series of stats, namely the 7-1 ratio of black women to men at HBCU's and that black women account for 63% of all black college students. Never mind the fact that the academic gender gap is hardly unique to blacks, it's a universal problem that is just now emerging as one of the biggest epidemics in public education. And of course, the series reaches deep into The Book of Negro Excuses, and blames hip hop for the high dropout rates of black males. Typical. They droned on with more and more stats about how black women control a majority of the $850B of annual spending power in the black community, and how the rate of business ownership among black women is growing at a higher rate than that of black men.

If the purpose of the series is to focus on black women, why even bother mentioning how well they are performing relative to black men? Hell, why even bother mentioning black men at all?

What's really the point?

Don't misunderstand me, I'm obviously not downing black women here, but I think when you can only highlight their successes by contrasting them with the relative failures of black men, there's obviously an ulterior motive at work.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: relationships are hard. Period. But by continually bombaring ourselves with stories like this, the manufactured DL brother phenomenon, or Love Lust and Lies style destructive chatter, we're only making the issue worse. Black people operate in generalizations just as much (more?) as any other race, yet I can't say I see this level of devisive rhetoric directed towards anyone else.

It's like The Willie Lynch Letter personified. Never mind the fact that The Willie Lynch Letter is nothing more than an internet hoax, it's still pretty appalling.

Note to Black America: learn, trust, and love each other. Turn this crap off, because NBC News clearly cares about keeping us apart more than they do about where Black Women Stand.

The ladies at WAOD are ripping this series a new one, but if you're watching this series and have a different take, you know where to voice your two cents.

African-American Women: Where They Stand Series on NBC [with video]

AverageBro NewsBriefs: DC Edition

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

R.I.P. Sean Taylor

I'm not sure if this is news outside the DC urreah, but Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor (pictured above) died this morning after being shot Sunday night in an apparent home invasion. Details of why he was shot are sketchy at the moment, but what is known thus far seems to indicate that this was more than a routine robbery gone bad.

Taylor's home had been broken into twice in the week before the shooting. The telephone lines were severed before this incident. He was shot twice and the intruders, who did not steal anything, fled. Taylor has had some high profile brushes with the law in the past, and many speculate that this killing could be payback of some sort.

In a city chronically obsessed with all things Redskin (you'd really have to live here to understand), this story is being treated like the death of a President. Wall to wall Fox News-style coverage on local news and sports channels is already ongoing. Callers are dialing in condolences, more than a few people have broken down on the radio.

For a guy who has always been portrayed as a shady character with an icy relationship with the media, the coverage is somewhat surprising. Usually athletes of this sort are hardly given the sympathetic treatment when they fall on hard times. When chronic NBA underachievers Eddy Curry and Antoine Walker were similarly home invaded last summer, the media sentiment seemed to be that "they had it coming". If Barry Bonds were in such a predicament, I would expect very few supporters. Of course a guy being in a coma, then subsequently dying is hardly apples and apples, but it's enlightening to say the least.

I don't know Sean Taylor obviously, nor am I really much of a fan of the team, but it's sad to see yet another young black man (24) die in what seems to be a not-so-random act of violence. If there's any silver lining here, it's that Taylor's case will probably be given lots of attention, not necessarily because he's a rich athlete, but because his father is the police chief of a neighboring jurisdiction. I hope the killers are bought to justice quickly.

Pray for the Taylor family.

R.I.P. Trent Lott

No, Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott didn't kick the bucket, although you could argue that his career's been dead since that bizarre ode to Strom Thurmond years ago. Still, he's been subsequently re-elected, and one year into his latest term, has decided to call it quits at year's end. The reason? Because it's time to get paid of course.

Some odd new law requires Senators and Congressmen to wait two years after leaving office before they can legally become lobbyists. By leaving office on December 31st, Lott sidesteps this requirement and can start cashing in far sooner.

What. A. Country.

Does WifeTime Still Wanna Shoot That Cathy Lanier Movie?

A few months back I blogged about just how silly it was that Fox was considering a project based on the ascent of DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier. The premise of the show would be based loosely on Lanier's struggles and successes as the first white female chief of this majority black city.

I didn't have any problems with this concept, I just thought it was pretty silly given the fact that Lanier hadn't even been on the job for 6 months, hardly enough time to consider her time in office a success. This post picked up steam and ended up on 2-3 other sites around the web. Many disagreed with my rationale, and missed the point completely. I don't have any issue with Lanier, and I hope she does well. I just thought that any story about her before she had the time to prove herself was downright silly. Did anyone make a movie about Tony Dungee 2 games into his career as an NFL coach? Of course not.

I surmised that the only premise for such a show would have to be yet another example the of-so-tired "white person saves helpless blacks from themselves" genre of movies like The Substitute, Finding Forrester, Dangerous Minds, Freedom Writers, Take The Lead, etc. Really, what other premise could there be?

I've yet to hear any update on this series, but maybe Fox should consider tabling the idea. Lanier herself wasn't too crazy about it, and with DC murders hitting 170 this past weekend, surpassing the total for all of last year, she already has her hands full anyway.

The FCC Should Have Better Things To Do

So, in the wake of Nipplegate, which believe it or not, these guys were still deliberating just a few months ago, the FCC is now turning it's attention to cleaning up cable TV.

Spare us the trouble, guys.

Reality is, if people pay money for cable (as opposed to simply watching local channels, which are free), they should be able to watch whatever they darn well please and selectively block out the channels (as most receivers allow) they don't. The gubb'ment doesn't need to intervene here.

I swear, if I tune into The Boondocks and they are suddenly bleeping the "N-Word", or if The Shield suddenly looks more like CSI:Farmington, I'm walking downtown and smackin' somebody.

Note to the FCC: find another target.

Hot Links:

Redskins' Taylor dies after shooting [AP]

Sen. Trent Lott Announces Resignation [CBS]

At 170, Homicides Pass Total for Last Year [WP]

FCC Could Extend Reach To Cable TV [WP]

Monday, November 26, 2007

Maybe AB Owes The NAACP An Apology... Maybe Not.

Maybe I should lay off the NAACP after all. I've repeatedly bashed this old guard outfit without even bothering to see what they're claiming to be about nowadays. Turns out even their own mission statement says they're by nature a reactive organization.

Our Mission: Ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.
I had to navigate their very cryptically organized website, complete with lots of dead and recursive (pages that link to themselves) links, but there it was.

That said, maybe I should give them a pass. Despite whatever they might have done back in the days, they're pretty adamantly stating that their job is not to raise your child, but if he gets busted breaking in someone's house, don't hesitate to give them a ring. I'll have to file that one away in the mental Rolodex.

If you're an NAACP member (and I don't mean 20 years ago, I mean now) and would like to defend the merits of this venerable organization, you know what to do and where to do it.

Also found on their website: a rather cryptic petition to boycott Target.
For the third year in a row, Target has refused to participate in the NAACP’s annual survey on the state of diversity in corporate America, making them the largest retailer to refuse to answer questions about their company’s diversity practices.

Last week, thousands of NAACP supporters like you helped send a clear message to Target that economic opportunity for African Americans must be a priority.

Now, as we enter the holiday shopping season, we need you to help us turn up the heat on Target. We need 100,000 people to sign the petition telling Target to Answer the Question.
Seriously, WTH!??!

Where are black folks s'posed to throw away three months pay on meaningless crap that won't matter three months from now shop for Christmas? KMart? No thanks. Been there, done that. Not going back.

This looks like another shakedown. I'm sure Target will eventually come out in support of this survey, and subsequently announce they're establishing a new scholarship or internship program or some such nonsense to get the NAACP off their back. I guess this is good in the grand scheme of things, but there's probably easier ways of pulling this off.

Mary White Ovington is crying inside.

NAACP Mission Statement

Another Jena? (aka: Why The NAACP Is A Joke.)

An incident of provoked Black on White crime results in a black man being unfairly charged with a crime, while a white man walks. Sound eerily familiar?

Tell Rebb'n Al not to fuel up the jet, the NAACP is already all over this one.

Three young black men break into a white man's home in rural Northern California. The homeowner shoots two of them to death, but it's the surviving black man who is charged with murder.

In a case that has brought cries of racism from civil rights groups, Renato Hughes Jr., 22, was charged by prosecutors in this overwhelmingly white county under a rarely invoked legal doctrine that could make him responsible for the bloodshed.

Prosecutors said homeowner Shannon Edmonds opened fire Dec. 7, 2005 after three young men rampaged through the Clearlake house demanding marijuana and brutally beat his stepson. Rashad Williams, 21, and Christian Foster, 22, were shot in the back. Hughes fled.

Hughes was charged with first-degree murder under California's Provocative Act doctrine, versions of which have been on the books in many states for generations but are rarely used.

The NAACP complained that prosecutors came down too hard on Hughes, who also faces robbery, burglary and assault charges. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty.

The Rev. Amos Brown, head of the San Francisco chapter of the NAACP and pastor at Hughes' church, said the case demonstrates the legal system is racist in remote Lake County, aspiring wine country 100 miles north of San Francisco. The sparsely populated county of 13,000 people is 91 percent white and 2 percent black.

Edmond's stepson, then-high school junior Dale Lafferty, became brain damaged as a result of the baseball bat beating he took during the melee, and now lives in a rehabilitation center, prosecutor said.

Prosecutors say the men intended to steal marijuana when they invaded Edwards' home, while the defense maintains the shooting stemmed from a botched drug deal at the home of a known drug dealer.
Not mentioned in this story is the fact that Hughes is a known drug dealer (so is Edmonds), and the altercation that resulted in the shootings was a drug deal gone bad.

The minor fact that Hughes was engaging in criminal activity 100 miles away from home isn't getting in the way of another self-serving display of "support" by the NAACP. I'm not saying it's fair that Hughes is getting pinned with the murder rap (even though the rarely applied law does allow such charges). I'm also not saying that Edmonds (who is equally liable since he was in on the transaction) should skate.

But why is the NAACP wasting time and money defending and essentially condoning criminal activity? I realize the NAACP has evolved into more of a reactive equal justice organization than one that serves communities, but seriously, WTF?

Maybe I'm missing something here, but why, other than the fact that Hughes is a member of Amos Brown's church, is this case worthy of defense? Aren't there some truly innocent victims out there that deserve the attention and assistance more?

For those of you who think I'm being my usual hateful self, ask yourself this question: what's the last proactive thing you've seen the NAACP do? Wouldn't these resources and energy be better used perhaps proactively giving financial seminars to spare blacks the wrath of predatory lenders? Maybe teaching classes on parenting? Encouraging marriage? Raising awareness of health issues and encouraging healthy lifestyles?

Of course, there are already lots of other organizations that already provide the services mentioned above, but they don't make the news. And therein lies the problem, when the media only highlights organizations like the NAACP, Rainbow/PUSH, and the National Action Network, it only reinforces the stereotype that we only get upset when we're done wrong by whites, which just perpetuates the mentality of black victimhood. And that, my friends, is the biggest thing holding us back as a people.

[stepping off of rambling soapbox]

On a related note: if the judicial system allows for such things as "change of venues" when it's presumed that someone might not get a fair trial, isn't that a rather tacit admission that the judicial system doesn't even believe in the fairness of the judicial system? I mean, really.

I know we got a couple of lawyers on here, somebody tell me why "change of venue" is even allowed? Isn't it the job of the courts to correctly identify jurors who can objectively review the relevant facts of a case?

This whole case is just a giant cluster, and it's surely a story that's about to grow in exposure. Unlike the Jena 6, I sure hope the black blogosphere steps back and considers the facts before making Renato Hughes the 2007 Medgar Evers.

Lord knows there's still enough eggs on face [||] after Mychal Bell.

Julian Bond is crying inside. On second thought, he probably isn't.

Rare Robbery Case Brings Cries of Racism [AP]

Murder spotlights race in rural California trial [AP]

Friday, November 23, 2007

Giving Thanks

As we pause for the cause of this great holiday, let's not forget the real reason for the season. Well, other than luring folks in to drop a crapload of money on Christmas gifts and buying another Aspen home for lots of CEO's of course. The other reason for the season is the pause and reflect on all things good.

In that spirit, I present to you, Things AB is Thankful For:

God. Nuff' said.

A church that teaches practical biblical principle without pimping me in the process.

A wife who is 10 times smarter than me and fine as hell. Every man should be so lucky.

A brilliant son who looks just like me. No need to call Maury on that one.

A functional family.

Loving and supportive outlaws in-laws.

Great friends who don't care about my feelings.

Good health.

A reasonably challenging career that allows me to take care of my family.

Okay, now on to the trivial stuff.

Second chances. Because if my team hadn't resigned Andray Blatche after his highly publicized run in with a prostitute, our season would be lost right now.

Black people like Tavis Smiley who "get it".

Fantasy Football.

Hi Definition TV.

Broadband Internet Access. Because this blog wouldn't exist if I was still on dial up.

Black people like Michael Baisden, who "don't get it", thus giving me lots of fodder for this blog.

BET, for providing me with enough examples of Extreme Niggadom to keep this blog alive.

The NBA.

Good neighbors.

AverageMentee and Average5thGradeRecLeagueHoopsTeam. Cause AB love da' kids.

Readers like you who check for on the regular and don't mind letting me know when/if they disagree with me. Shouts out to Chris N., deedee, plez, GAGirl, cinco, and V. And yes, even you domo.

Happy Holidays! If you got something you're thankful for, drop it in the comments.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

It Ain't Over Yet - The Iowa Caucus is Coming.

For politicos like me, January 3rd will be a pretty interesting day. The Iowa Caucus(es?) finally rolls around, and we get an idea of just who's going to be gunning for that Number One Spot come November.

Polls all year long have indicated that Hillary Clinton and Rudy Guiliani have the whole thing sewn up, but let's not forget about a dude named Howard Dean who got Chaminaded in Iowa a few years ago, and never recovered. That fateful night provided the springboard for John Kerry to completely screw up what should have been a cakewalk to the White House, dooming us to another 4 years of G-Dubbz.

So, even though I've previously admired, yet counted Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee down and out, reality is, January 3rd, 2008 just might be their December 23rd, 1982.*

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, buoyed by strong support from Christian conservatives, has surged past three of his better-known presidential rivals and is now challenging former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney for the lead in the Iowa Republican caucuses, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News Poll.

Huckabee has tripled his support in Iowa since late July, eclipsing former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, former senator Fred D. Thompson (Tenn.) and Sen. John McCain (Ariz.). Huckabee now runs nearly evenly with Romney, the longtime Iowa front-runner.
Not to be outdone, Barry is mounting his own comeback.
A new Washington Post/ABC News poll of likely Democratic caucus-goers has Barack Obama leading the primary field with 30 percent, compared with Clinton at 26 percent and John Edwards at 22 percent. Obama's lead doesn't amount to much given that it's still within the poll's margin of error. But the horse race numbers, along with the results of other questions asked in the poll, has his campaign smiling. It's the first time in weeks that Obama has held such a lead. (See the full results and Post story here.)

Clinton is still seen as the more experienced Democrat, but caucus-goers surveyed in the poll say they are more interested in change: Fifty-five percent said a "new direction and new ideas" was their top priority, compared with 33 percent who said "strength and experience." Obama is also increasingly the second choice of Iowa voters, the Post reports. That's significant because any candidate who doesn't win 15 percent at a caucus is deemed enviable, and his or her supporters must choose another candidate or go home.
As I've stated before, I wouldn't vote for a Republican on a national or statewide ticket if the alternative were to gouge my eyes out with a Bojangles spork, but I'm pretty impressed by Huckabee. In a sea of extremely sketchy characters on the GOP side, he sticks out as the rare candidate with some level of personal integrity. And as for Barack, no, I'm not unretiring the Barry 4 Prez tag just yet, but it's good to know my hefty campaign contribution of $5 $500 is going to good use.

On a somewhat related note, Obama is still trailing Clinton among black voters nationally. I'm certainly not one to suggest that black people vote for someone just because he's black, that would just be downright stupidity. On the other hand, I believe there are an equal number of black people who aren't even considering voting for him just because he's black. Everywhere I go, from church, to the barbershop, and of course the blogosphere and talk radio, I hear people saying they "don't know him well enough" to vote for him. This of course strikes me as complete lunacy.

The man has written two books. His entire life story can be retraced in any number of newspaper and magazine articles. What the hell do people mean they "don't know him"? Do you expect the brother to come to your Thanksgiving dinner and breakdown his plans for domestic and international policy to you?

Seriously black folks, WTH!!???

Take yourself to the library and cop either of his well-written, yet needlessly wordy books. Google the dude. Checkout his campaign website. Give him some money. Whatever you do, don't open a page in the Book of Negro Excuses and not even give the guy a chance.


* Yeah, I'm pretty heavy on the college bball references today, but what can I say? It's that time of year!

Huckabee Gaining Ground in Iowa [WP]

Obama ahead in new Iowa poll [Boston Globe]

A Coach Who Really Keeps Losing in Perspective

As I'm preparing for another winter coaching my 5th grade county rec league hoops team (Baby Blazers stand up!), like most coaches, I'm always digging for ways to motivate my kids. Sometimes this motivation is as simple as belittling the kids to the point of tears challenging the players' pride. Other times, you have to threaten them with a loss of playing time. And when you inevitably lose games you're supposed to win, every coach has to go deep into a bag of Jedi mind tricks (Like that one time I told the kids to win one for my mother who was terminally ill under the weather. And they lost. Badly.) that can always come back to haunt you.

Alabama football coach Nick Saban knows this first hand.

Alabama's latest loss has coach Nick Saban searching for ways to motivate his team.

Citing the 9-11 terrorist attacks and Pearl Harbor, Saban said Monday his team must rebound like America did from a "catastrophic event." In this case, that would be an embarrassing 21-14 loss Saturday to Louisiana-Monroe, dropping the Tide's record to 6-5.

"Changes in history usually occur after some kind of catastrophic event," Saban said during the opening remarks of his weekly news conference. "It may be 9-11, which sort of changed the spirit of America relative to catastrophic events. Pearl Harbor kind of got us ready for World War II, or whatever, and that was a catastrophic event."

A Saban spokesman said the coach chose the 9-11 and Pearl Harbor references to illustrate the challenges facing his team.
Jiminy Christmas! Is losing a game to a black head coach (Mississippi State 2 weeks ago) and a former D1AA team in consecutive weeks really "catastrophic"? What message are you sending to your players about the importance of winning? Goodness.

Sadly, this cluster isn't YouTubed yet, but if you tune to ESPN or any other news outlet, you could probably see it. It only displays the smug sense of self-importance that has defined Saban, a serial job jumper who has hopscotched from LSU to the Miami Dolphins, and back to college football this year.

Then again, it's easy for me to say I'd never compare a rec league loss to the Gulf War. I don't have anything more than bragging rights with the other coaches at stake, Saban and his ilk of college coaches, literally lose or gain millions each Saturday.

Still, I think it's a little overboard to compare a college football game to war. And in that vein, I present this classic postgame interview with Miami Hurricane great Kellen Winslow. Seems like the "win at all costs" ethos ain't just limited to coaches.

Saban says 'Bama loss a 'catastrophic event' [AP]

Monday, November 19, 2007

Restoring My Faith In The Criminal Justice System

So, Lindsay Lohan does 84 minutes. Ditto for Nicole Richie. Mike Nifong barely a day. Naturally, when I saw Mike Tyson, the shell of a former heavyweight champion, plead guilty to cocaine possession last month, I figured he'd be buried under the jail.

Not so fast.

Mike Tyson was sentenced Monday to 24 hours in jail and three years' probation for drug possession and driving under the influence. The former heavyweight champion had pleaded guilty in September to a single felony count of cocaine possession and a misdemeanor DUI count.

Police pulled Tyson over after the boxer had spent the evening at Scottsdale's Pussycat Lounge. An officer said he saw Tyson wiping a white substance off the dashboard of his black BMW, and that his speech was slurred.

Authorities said they found bags of cocaine in Tyson's pocket and in his car.

Tyson told officers later that he used cocaine "whenever I can get my hands on it," and that he preferred to smoke it in Marlboro cigarettes with the tobacco pulled out, according to court documents. He also told police that he used marijuana that day and was taking the antidepressant Zoloft, the documents state.
Of course substance abuse is no laughing matter, but dag, how high did Iron Mike have to be to drop the "whenever I can get my hands on it" line? That's classic Tyson right there.

I'm surprised he didn't get more time, and I can't really decide whether this is preferential "celebrity" treatment or whether I just expected him to do more time since he's black. Because as you all know (and some of you tell me repeatedly), I'm just obsessed with race like that.

While I was out last week, I didn't get to weigh in on the somewhat related story that the Feds are now shortening new prison sentences for crack cocaine offenders, and considering making this change retroactive for those previously sentenced.
The disparity in sentences for those convicted under the crack and cocaine guidelines is staggering. Federal law sets a mandatory minimum five-year prison sentence for trafficking in 5 grams of crack cocaine, but it would take 500 grams of cocaine powder to warrant the same sentence.
This disparity in minimum mandatory sentencing isn't new of course, and many have seen this dichotomy as racist. I happen to agree, since this sort of inordinate sentencing has devastated communities.

On the flipside however, lets not get it twisted. These brothers were unfairly sentenced, but they ain't exactly saints (sound familiar?). By practically opening the floodgates and sending all these cats back home at once into a faltering economy, aren't you pretty much ensuring an outrageous recidivism rate? And aren't you making hustlin' an even more attractive career path, since cats will inevitably realize you can get off far easier now? This is hardly a win-win. Weigh in below.

On a lighter note, since that Tyson quote was so good, I figured I'd throw in a few more classics. Beware, the language is not safe for work. Grab those headphones first.

Mike Tyson Gets 1 Day In Jail [AP]

U.S. Sentencing Ranges Lowered for Crack Cocaine [NPR]

Note To Self: Cancel That Detroit Vacation

As if the Motor City didn't have enough to worry about between their corrupt mayor, J-Dilla's death, and the god-awful Detroit Lions, here's some more baaad news.

In another blow to the Motor City's tarnished image, Detroit pushed past St. Louis to become the nation's most dangerous city, according to a private research group's controversial analysis, released Sunday, of annual FBI crime statistics.

The report looked at 378 cities with at least 75,000 people based on per-capita rates for homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and auto theft. Each crime category was considered separately and weighted based on its seriousness, CQ Press said.

Last year's crime leader, St. Louis, fell to No. 2. Another Michigan city, Flint, ranked third, followed by Oakland Calif.; Camden, N.J.; Birmingham, Ala.; North Charleston, S.C.; Memphis, Tenn.; Richmond, Calif.; and Cleveland.

The study ranked Mission Viejo, Calif., as the safest U.S. city, followed by Clarkstown, N.Y.; Brick Township, N.J.; Amherst, N.Y.; and Sugar Land, Texas.
As I've stated before, Detroit is one of the few US cities I have yet to visit on my Day Job travels, but since I've got in laws out there, I know enough about it to know I'm not exactly missing anything.

I wonder how much black people's warped "pride" in how "hard" our cities are simply perpetuates such nonsense. I'm grew up in a tiny 4 stoplight southern town, and honestly, except for Summer visits with my aunt in the Bronx (White Plains Road, stand up!), the whole concept of inner cities was foreign to me till I got to college. At my HBCU, I ran into folks from all over the country, and one puzzling thing was how "proud" people were of the hoods they came from.

"Compton ni**a, what?!?"

"South Philly ni**a, what?!?"

"Flint, Michigan ni**a, what?!?"

I'm not saying people shouldn't be proud of where they come from, but damn, at what point does this sort of stuff become shameful to the point that people want to do something about it?

Not surprisingly, the "safest" cities (a few of which I've also been to) are all predominately white suburbs.

A few years ago, pre-AverageBaby, my wife and I were considering buying a home in DC. We would be part of the renaissance of middle class blacks who'd "made it out", and weren't "turning our backs" on our people. We would participate in the schools, making them better. We'd be active in our communities, making them safer. We'd stave off the gentrifiers (never mind the fact that we'd technically be gentifiers ourselves), keeping Chocolate City from becoming Vanilla City.

Of course, this plan never materialized because property values are too high for what you're getting in return (thanks alot gentrifiers), and while my wife grew up in the city, reality is, the burbs ain't all the bad when you think about it. Driving from grocery store to grocery store (all 3 of them) in search of organic baby food (which apparently hasn't made it to the hood' yet) after church yesterday made me realize I'm not cut out for city life. I would either catch a case, or one would catch me. Either way, it wouldn't be pretty.

Is there any hope for these cities? Do you live any any of these cities and have some unique insight? Is this just AverageBro being his usual elitist self? Holla back in the comments.

Motor City named nation's most dangerous [AP]

Friday, November 16, 2007

You Are NOT The Baby's Father... Now Read That Cue Card.

First Santa Claus. Then the Tooth Fairy. Then pro wrestling. Then I Love New York. Now this bombshell.

Is there anything left for an impressionable 30-something to believe in? has learned that The Maury Povich Show is caught in its very own paternity scandal. According to tabloid reports, guests on his popular Paternity Test episodes are frequently acting.

Last year, a guest named Lashana appeared on Mary's show looking to find the father of her son Jeremiah. But Lashana is now claiming her appearance was a complete fraud. According to Lashana, she contacted Maury's producers and asked to give three men paternity tests, but they all declined. The show's producers then reportedly convinced Lashana to find any other man she knew and bring him on the show.

When Lashana found a man Anthony, she told producers that he wasn't the father of her son. But the producers didn't seem to mind. They just drafted up a script for Lashana and Anthony to recite on stage.

According to Lashana's mother, the entire appearance was scripted. She was quoted as saying, "Everything was scripted. Anthony had to call Lashana a whore and swear he wasn't the father. Lashana had to cry and I had to be mad at Anthony ... and when Maury opened the DNA envelope and reveal that Anthony wasn't the father, he had to jump around and do cartwheels."
Well piss on my cornflakes, why don't you?

Damn. Shirley Povich's (who is crying inside) boy Grand Hu$tled us all. Not that I didn't already have some inkling that these shows weren't scripted to some degree, but watching the smoke and mirrors exposed on yet another of my favorite guilty pleasures [||] makes me wonder just what reason there is remaining to watch TV besides sports.

Common sense dictates that no woman could logically be so irresponsible that she'd need to test 12 guys to determine the identity of her child's father. Then again, there are women like Karrine Steffans, so maybe I'm just being naive as usual.

I only get to catch this show when I'm running late for work or home sick, since we all know shows like Maury, Jerry Springer, and that gaggle of "judge shows" ain't nothin' but soap operas for unemployed men. Still, this one hurts. What on earth will AB do for entertainment on those inevitable weekdays off? If you've got some recommendations, please drop a comment, because I'm severely bummed out right about now.

R.I.P. Maury. Sorry, but my conscience just can't let me ride with you anymore now that I know better. Here's some of Maury's Greatest Hits for the unfamiliar. I'm going to cry in my pillow now.*


*Sarcasm, my friends. It's called sarcasm.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Obligatory Stepha Henry Post

Yes, she's still missing. Nope, still nobody gives a crap.

I did a Google search and got nothing new. Google News search: nothing new. Google Blog search: the first returned hit was my last post.


If somebody knows a rapper or self-aggrandizing talk show host who'd love to take the reins and turn this into a legit story, please tell em' to holler at me.

In the meantime, if you'd like to give something to the family, here's the info, courtesy of Crime Scene

If anyone would like to donate to Sylvia Henry, Stepha’s mother there is an address below to send checks. As far as I know, these monies are being used to raise the reward for information and may be used to offset the expenses she encounters traveling back and forth to Florida.

Sylvia Henry
PO Box 5083
Hollywood, Florida, 33083-5083

John Jay College is also taking up a reward. Those wishing to contribute can mail a check payable to the following address:

John Jay College Foundation Inc.
Stepha Henry Reward Fund, at John Jay College Foundation
899 10th Ave., Room 623T
New York, NY 10019
I never thought I'd actually pray for Rebb'n Al and Jesse to come to the rescue, but here's one instance in which they (or at least the publicity that comes along with them) are really needed.

Keep this family, and this young lady in your prayers.

Other Stepha Henry Posts @

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

AB GuestPost - Black Men Can't Run... From Uncle Sam!

[AverageBro isn't the only blog I read, of course. Sometimes I'll come across a post elsewhere that says what I can't say, and far better. So, I now present to you the latest installment of our newest feature: The AverageBro GuestPost. Pinch hitting today, my cousin HotAirBaLogger.]


Greetings to the AverageBro audience. It's a pleasure to fill in for my cousin during his hiatus to the land of 10,000 lakes. Hurry back AB!!!

During my constant surfing of the web for juicy stories to bring to my readers, I found this little nugget:
Actor Wesley Snipes claims a central Florida county is too racist to allow him to get a fair trial on tax evasion charges.

An October 2006 federal indictment charges Snipes with fraudulently claiming refunds totaling nearly $12 million in 1996 and 1997 for income taxes already paid. The 45-year-old star of the "Blade" trilogy and other films also was charged with failure to file returns from 1999 through 2004.

In a motion filed Monday in U.S. District Court, Snipes' lawyer argued that the U.S. Attorney's Office willfully selected the Marion County seat of Ocala because prosecutors "deliberately chose the most racially discriminatory venue available to the government with the best possibility of an all-white Southern jury where Snipes has never resided."

Is that what this amounts to, Bobby Rayburn? The Man is out to getcha???

Correct me if I am wrong, Roemello Skuggs, but YOU were the one that didn't pay your taxes for like 6 years. What does that have to do with race? Nothing.

You owe $12mil, James Wheeler.

I mean, didn't this dude haul ass out of the country when he was indicted?

Its time to face the music, Mark Sheridan. Don't you watch Cops or at least played one, Lt. Webster Smith? Black men are no good at avoiding the legal system and when it comes to taxes you can hang it up.

If you don't believe it, Noxeema Jackson, just ask these well known brothers who decided the gubment had taken enough, but later realized that the long arm of the law is long enough to reach in your pocket and take what they want.

Ron Isley

Redd Foxx

Richard Pryor

Darryl Strawberry

You can't place the race card on this one, Flipper Purify.

We have all heard of the old adage about death and taxes.

You just can't win against Uncle Sam, Mr. Nino Brown.

I guess Shadow Henderson needs to dust off his sax or check the schedule for the Money Train so he can pay that tax bill. Living in America ain't free...just ask Franklin Swift.

Say hi to Adebisi for me, Simon Phoenix.

[The references to Mr. Snipes' characters are an effort to drum up interest in his previous works which could possibly increase his revenue. I want to help John Cutter as much as possible]

Lord, I need help.

Thanks for listening...check me out @ Full of Hot Air.

Wesley Snipes Files to Move Tax Trial From 'Racist' Locale [Fox]

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

AB GuestPost: Michael Baisden Should Be Ashamed

[AverageBro isn't the only blog I read, of course. Sometimes I'll come across a post elsewhere that says what I can't say, and far better. So, I now present to you the latest installment of our newest feature: The AverageBro GuestPost. Pinch hitting today is my homegirl Anne-Marie McReynolds from Backyard Beacon. I've always thought of radio/TV personality Michael Baisden as a used car salesman type hustler, and his involvement in the Jena Six "movement" made me wonder what was really up with this guy. Turns out there's a story behind even his story.]


Why didn’t listeners suspect a ratings ploy when Bad Boy, Michael Baisden, took up the gauntlet for the “Jena 6” instead of “Girl 6?”

In the fashion of Jerry Springer, the radio talk show host of “Love, Lust, and Lies” found ratings in racism. And a post-Katrina black America was his target demographic. The issue at the forefront of the black agenda was obvious: equal justice. With a black candidate campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination, Baisden marched in lockstep with the black netroots – hundreds of interlinked blogs and tens of thousands of followers. lead what Rev. Al Sharpton has called an “underground railroad of information.” This non-profit corporation has since collected and distributed over $200,000 to the Jena 6 legal defense. Conversely, The Michael Baisden Foundation raised $40,000, he said at the start of his Nov. 5 broadcast. Copying another best practice from the netroots (the Ron Paul Money Bomb), Baisden announced a way for listeners to donate online in the form of a “Web-A-Thon.” He challenged his audience to raise $1 million in 1 day - Friday, Nov. 9.

As a precursor to unveiling a his Internet-based strategy for out-fundraising competitors, Baisden offered Marcus Jones, the father of Mychal Bell, an open mic to discredit Jones said that “a lot of these online organizations are unknown to the families.” And Baisden claimed to have a letter signed by all the Jena 6 families that implies that is acting against the wishes of the families.

According to a statement posted on their Web site, “We’ve[] fielded inquiries from CNN, the Tom Joyner Morning Show, Black America Web, and others, based on Marcus Jones’ allegations–they all concluded the claims were without merit and refused to give him a stage to speak.

“The Jena 6 families are all aware of how we raise money and how we distribute it,” said. “We make payments to their attorneys at the families’ sole direction. Within 24 hours of receiving written authorization from the family, along with an invoice from an attorney, we send checks for up to 1/6 of the total amount donated (1/6 for each of the Jena 6 families).” also posted a written authorization by Jones as evidence of their relationship.

The letter supposedly signed by the Jena 6 families is false, they said. “One parent who signed the letter says that it made no mention of ColorOfChange whatsoever. Two families say they did not sign the letter at all. They also posted an e-mail sent to Baisden’s team by one of the parents who did not sign the letter.

Although The Baisden Foundation is inextricably linked to its namesake’s for-profit enterprises, Baisden insists that “any insinuations that were made about me wanting to be the sole fundraiser for legal defense is ridiculous,” he said.

Baisen’s just “too tired after [his] radio gig to take on that responsibility, and furthermore, it is impossible,” he said.

Really? Too tired to host the “Enough Is Enough” reception, fundraiser, and concert benefiting his foundation’s Un-Equal Justice Legal Defense Fund on Friday, Nov. 5 at the Hyatt Regency and Sat., Nov.6 at the Atlantic Civic Center in Atlanta, GA? Worth noting, Marcus Jones spoke at these events.

Baisden’s crusade as an activist proved to be nothing more than a publicity stunt yet again. Take his apology to as case in point. In “A Response to Color of Change” posted in an online forum on Nov.9 at 2:35 p.m. - hours before reception doors opened for his charity fundraiser - Baisden said:

I am relieved to have put this behind us so that both our organizations can get back to the business of helping people. There is nothing wrong with having disagreements, as long as you love people enough to work it out, sooner rather than later.
As activists, black bloggers serve as watchdogs over more traditional community mediums. Perhaps auditing The Michael Baisden Foundation will spotlight his business practices.

Baisden’s Web-A-Thon has raised approximately $19,000 — 1% of its target amount.

Baisden’s Foundation For-Profit [Backyard Beacon]

Monday, November 12, 2007

AverageBro Goes To The Movies: American Gangster

[With an infant, I don't get to go to the movies at all nowadays. Pre-AverageBaby, I didn't miss an opening weekend. Now, Netflix is my best friend. So, I don't see things in a timely manner, but when I do, you get the best review in town right here.]

Watching the previews and pre-release hype of the new Denzel Washington/Russell Crowe drug drama American Gangster had me conflicted from the jump. Like every other person in the world, I'm a big Denzel fan, and I'd like him to succeed. I also don't buy into the stereotype of the only "positive" portrayals of blacks have to be doctor/lawyer or Cosby Show type images. Reality is, any story of any person overcoming great odds to become extraordinarily successful is inspiring on some level, to me at least.

On the flipside, in a year in which "the black image" has been constantly under assault, do I really need to drop $40 of the Gross Domestic Product to support a movie that is essentially Eyes On The Prize for dopeboys? The few times I've seen BET's similarly titled miniseries, I've walked away thinking that the thin line between glorification of abhorrent acts and praising brilliant business savvy has been traipsed over far too many times. Do I really want to give my hard earned duckats to a movie that practically celebrates the very ills that have our communities in the depressed positions they're currently in?

AverageSis and I missed opening weekend for this movie, and decided we'd just wait 60 days till it inevitably hit Netflix. Surprise of all surprises, the movie raked in nearly $50M it's opening weekend and is still going strong, so obviously, not many others were similarly conflicted. Our $40 wasn't missed. This success was somewhat surprising given the near CD quality bootleg floating around the East Coast (and maybe nationwide), which appears to be a stolen screener. We were "lent" a copy of this same bootleg, and thus, I finally got around to seeing the movie this weekend.

American Gangster is the story of a Vietnam-era Harlem drug dealer named Frank Lucas (Washington) who inherits the "family" business when his mentor Bumpy Johnson (a geriatric Clarence Williams IV) meets an untimely demise. Taking Bumpy's dying advice to "cut out the middle man" to heart, Lucas circumvents the usual channels of drug distribution by travelling to Thailand and procuring mass quantities of uncut cocaine with military assistance. With 100% pure and affordably priced product on the street (Blue Magic), Lucas' empire grows exponentially, and he imports his entire family from North Carolina to help run the operation. Such innovation upsets the natural order of things, as Italian mobsters, the corrupt police who assist them, and fellow Harlem dealers all aim to take Frank Lucas down. Further adding to the suspense is NYPD Detective Richie Roberts (Crowe), who leaves the force after discovering its internal corruption and works with the Feds to get to the bottom of the whole thing.

After all the buildup (the Jay-Z soundtrack, the real life Lucas' media rounds, whispers of Oscar nominations for Washington and Crowe), finally watching the movie itself felt like somewhat of a letdown. The movie itself is definitely not awful, it's just underwhelming given what I expected. Washington delivers his typically nuanced performance as Lucas, but you get the feeling you're watching Denzel playing Denzel, not Denzel playing a ruthless crime boss. Crowe's character is more complex, but hardly likable himself. The starpower drops off precipitously from there, as most of the other castmates are underused vets (Roger Guenveur Smith, Idris Elba, Joe Morton, Cuba Gooding Jr) or rappers (Common, The RZA, T.I.) playing inconsequential bit parts. The only other bright spot here is the always entertaining Chiwetel Ejioforn (Kinky Boots, Inside Man, Talk To Me), who plays Frank's dangerously naive younger brother Huey. If there's a guy who deserves his own starring role more, I've yet to discover him. Get this dude his own movie, please.

Like similarly overhyped (and to some, unwatchable) flicks such as The Godfather and Scarface , I suppose this movie will gain some sort of cult following over time. That iconic A.G. poster will be seen on the wall of every MTV Crib a decade from now. This isn't by any means a bad movie. It just doesn't (in my opinion) quite live up to the weeks of relentless hype that proceeded it. All things considered though, I wouldn't be surprised one bit to see Washington nominated for Best Actor. It's odd that the most "positive" roles of his career (Cry Freedom, Malcolm X, Glory, The Hurricane) have been largely ignored, yet he finally won for (what else?) playing a corrupt cop in Training Day. His next movie, The Great Debaters, is about "Professor Melvin Tolson, a brilliant but volatile debate team coach who uses the power of words to shape a group of underdog students from a small African American college in the deep south into a historically elite debate team". That sounds more my speed, but I'm sure the Academy will probably elevate Eyes On The Prize: DopeBoy Edition instead.

Again, don't be surprised.

Final Verdict: If a neighbor has the bootleg, borrow it. If you've gotta see it, at least go to the matinee. 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)

[Editor's Note: does not condone purchasing "bootlegs" or otherwise illegally obtaining copywritten material. But for the record, the bootleg of American Gangster available at your local barber/beauty shop is probably the best quality I've ever seen. I'm just sayin'.]

American Gangster [Yahoo! Movies]

Friday, November 9, 2007

Damon Wayans and DL Hughley Hate Black Women

A few months back, in the wake of the Don Imus/Rutgers fiasco, comedian DL Hughley was on the Tonight Show and asked about his thoughts on the matter, because he's black and that obviously makes him an authority on such issues. I've always thought DL's comedy routines were pretty funny in a crass and non-challenging way, but I haven't been able to look at this chump the same way since.

In the months since, I've gradually watched DL become more and more of a tool for conservative cable news hosts who use him like the house Negro he is invite him on to say things about black folks they can't say themselves for fear of getting Imus-ed. In fact, he was the sole guest on a recent one hour episode of The Glen Beck Show, during which when asked about this Rutgers comments, not only reiterated them, but had the nerve to defend them. This idiot continues to justify his comments by defending his "freedom of speech". Somebody should call his mom, wife, sisters, and daughters "nappy headed ho's" and see just how he feels about "freedom of speech".

Some organized a protest of his moronic statements during a recent comedy concert in Texas, after which a bootleg web show interviewed him about his comments. As expected, he flipped right to Chapter 27 in The Book of Negro Excuses, claiming "there are bigger fish to fry, blah, blah, blah" and wondering why everyone is so damn sensitive.

Cry me a river, Darryl Lynn. King of Comedy, my black ass.

Not to be outdone, the chronically underemployed Damon Wayans, who clearly didn't have anything better to do, more or less repeated the same comments while a guest on The View earlier this week.

I was somewhat upset at the Imus/Rutgers situation, but this pisses me off far more when black men who should know far better, more or less ape the same sentiments.

I'm sure some of you will accuse me of being overly sensitive here, but seriously, is there any need for this kinda B.S.? Just how prideful do these two Negros have to be to not just apologize and be done with it?

Black women have it bad enough as is. Chauvinism is no laughing matter. Do both these gentlemen a favor and don't bother supporting anything they're trying to sell you until they issue some genuine mea culpas.

Bill Cosby, assuming he isn't doing another one of his dope and grope numbers right now, is probably crying inside.

VIDEO: Damon Wayans Stuns the Ladies on The View [People]

A Banner Day For Hip-Hop

If you ever needed an illustration for why rappers stay losing, look no further than the court docket in Manhattan the other day that featured not one, not two, not three, but four rappers being tried on four separate cases.

The docket at New York State Court on Wednesday read like a who's who of the hip-hop world as four major rap artists faced separate charges, highlighting the fine line between image and reality in U.S. rap music.

Grammy-winning rapper Busta Rhymes faced assault charges. Popular female rapper Remy Ma was accused of shooting and critically wounding a Bronx woman. Lil Wayne and Ja Rule made separate appearances on weapons charges.

The cases were unrelated but their timing meant that the dingy, dimly lit corridors of the Manhattan courthouse were brightened by fans pulling out camera phones to snap pictures of the stars.

Remy Ma, a Bronx native, won the highly rated Black Entertainment Television award for best female hip-hop artist in 2005. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of 25 years behind bars for the July 14 shooting of Makeda Barnes-Joseph.

Busta Rhymes, whose real name is Trevor Smith and whose hits include "Dangerous" and "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See," faces four consecutive trials for two assault and two driving violations. He has twice turned down a plea deal that would have jailed him for a year in exchange for a guilty plea to four misdemeanor charges.

Police said Lil Wayne, whose real name is Dwayne Carter, was found smoking marijuana and carrying a weapon. Ja Rule, whose real name is Jeff Atkins, was stopped an hour earlier by police who said he possessed a .40-caliber handgun. They both face charges of illegal gun possession. Trial dates have not yet been set.
Wow, when a routine day in court looks like The Source Awards, it's clearly not a good look. Criminality in rap music isn't a new thing of course, but damn, what a sad, sad coincidence.

Even sadder is the fact that none of these numbskulls will likely do a minute in jail for their various infractions, the worst of which has to be Remy Ma.

You probably wouldn't know Remy if she walked into your office and delivered a pizza (likely her next career), but she's the chick who was that "Lean Back" song a couple of summers ago. Now, she is facing "possible" jail time for shooting her former stylist in a dispute over $2000 that was allegedly stolen from her purse. Obviously, it never occurred to Remy to call the police to help settle this little misunderstanding. Nope, she (allegedly) took matters in her own hands and shot the chick in the stomach at point blank range. The woman survived however, and now Ms. Remy is facing up to 25 years in the clink. She is also alleged to have threatened the witness with further bodily harm if she testifies in court. The Village Voice had a not-too-flattering writeup about this whole thing today, you can peep the link below if you feel like crying inside.

Either way, rap is outta control, and with sales of the genre on a rapid decline, you have to wonder just how long it'll be before it goes the way of disco and we're all back to listening to Will Downing or something similarly corny.

Four rappers share stage in New York courts [Reuters]

Shooting Star: Taking aim at Remy Ma [Village Voice]

A Note From The Management

I will be back in my second home (Twin Cities, stand up!) next week slavin' for Da' Man. This means updates won't be as timely, since I have to actually, well, work for a change. As usual, this means it's AB Guest Post Time!

If you're a fellow blogger and would like to pinch hit for me while I'm incommunicado, shoot me a message ASAP, and we'll make it happen.

On a somewhat related note, if you live in Minneapolis and know where some actual, real, living, breathing black folks can be found, drop me a note too. I only seem to see black folks when I go to Timberwolves games, and I even then, they're usually playing ball. Help a brotha out!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I Blame Michael Richards

Just when you you thought it was safe to trust the gubb'ment (yeah, right?) again...

The Department of Homeland Security will investigate a Halloween costume party hosted by a top immigration official and attended by a man dressed in a striped prison outfit, dreadlocks and darkened skin make-up, a costume some say is offensive, the department's secretary said.

Julie Myers, head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, called the man's costume "offensive." Myers, head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and host of the fundraising party, was on a three-judge panel that originally praised the prisoner costume for "originality."

Myers later apologized for "a few of the costumes," calling them "inappropriate and offensive." She said she and other senior managers "deeply regret that this happened."

A department photographer photographed Myers with the man, but the images were deleted after the costume were deemed offensive, ICE spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said.

Nantel said one employee, whom she declined to identify, was wearing a black-and-white striped prison outfit, dreadlocks and a skin "bronzer" intended "to make him look African-American." But, she said, it was not immediately apparent that he was wearing the make-up.

This has hardly been a banner year for race relations in America. From Imus, to Jena, to the proliferation of nooses, to Megan Williams, to blackface frat parties, to Dog The Bounty Hunter, it seems like hardly a week goes by without some new incidence of outlandish hatred. This is just the latest in a line of sad, sad, sad, stories about the state of our country.

Personally, I blame Michael "KKKramer" Richards. How else do you explain the out of control climate of racism floating around this year? I think he got the ball rolling and the year off to a bad start with his now legendary "when standup comedy goes wrong" ordeal, and it's been all downhill ever since.

I know I have a handful of white readers. Lots of them jumped ship after I stopped talking smack about the Jena Six, but for those of you who do still visit, what's your take on why things are so brazenly out of control right now. When I read comments like these, about the Homeland Security costume debacle on what's supposed to be a "progressive" blog, I wonder if there's any hope for us. In the immortal words of one man with a Hyundai and an S-Curl, "can't we all just get along?"

Dag, would 2008 hurry up and get here or what?

Immigration chief apologizes for 'offensive' costumes at her party [CNN]

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Uh Oh, Reverend Creflo!!!

I'm sure most of you know who the Reverend Creflo Dollar "Dolla Bill, Ya'll" is. For the unaware, he's a TD Jakes (assuming you know who he is too) like pastor of a megachurch in Atlanta. His "prosperity ministry" has a large television presence, airing weekly sermons in most markets, usually early in the morning. And assuming all this has missed you, he was that preacher in that godawful "Welcome To Atlanta" video that Ludacris had a few years ago. Ok, so we're all on the same page now.

Anyways, Creflo, fellow ATLien Bishop Eddie Long, and a few other high profile preachers are now under intense scrutiny from Congress to justify their outlandish expenditures. This is a story that is probably going to get very ugly very soon.

Acting on tips about preachers who ride in Rolls Royces and have purportedly paid $30,000 for a conference table, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee said Tuesday he's investigating the finances of six well-known TV ministers.

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said those under scrutiny include faith healer Benny Hinn, Georgia megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar and one of the nation's best known female preachers, Joyce Meyer.

Grassley sent letters to the half-dozen Christian media ministries earlier this week requesting answers by Dec. 6 about their expenses, executive compensation and amenities, including use of fancy cars and private jets. In a statement, Grassley said he was acting on complaints from the public and news coverage of the organizations. Most of those under investigation preach a variation of the "prosperity gospel," the teaching that God will shower faithful followers with material riches.

Creflo and Taffi Dollar of World Changers Church International and Creflo Dollar Ministries of College Park, Ga. Grassley's letter asks for records on private planes, board makeup, compensation and donations and "love offerings" to visiting ministers.

Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and Bishop Eddie Long Ministries of Lithonia, Ga., was questioned about his salary, a $1.4 million real estate transaction and whether he, and not the board, holds sole authority over the organization.

Because the groups have tax status as churches, they are not required to file tax forms open to public inspection.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out, since we know that alot of times Congress just delves into such things as pure posturing (see past hearings on (c)rap music, violent video games, steroids in baseball, etc.) that don't lead to any real change.

Still, it does raise the question: Is it ethical for these preachers to use what appears to be tithes and offerings on such extravagance?

My opinion might throw you guys for a loop. Personally, I think there's a fine line to be toed here. If a pastor leads a huge congregation (we're talking 25,000+ people in many of these megachurches), literally dedicates his entire life to said congregation, and by sheer virtue of the number of members, said church pulls in millions of dollars a year, who's to say that pastor should live like a pauper?

Like it or not, when you really look at it, a church is a business that provides a service (spiritual guidance) to its customers (congregants). This business needs capital (tithes) for basic operations, and extra money (offerings) to continue to grow and expand (offer more programs and thus attract more members). And just like any other business, I think it's perfectly reasonable for the CEO and Founder (usually the Pastor) to share in the wealth that is generated. It also goes without saying that if that Pastor uses his own intellectual property to create a product (books, audio taped sermons, movies) that in turn generates income, he is entitled to enjoy some of the spoils of this efforts.

The fine line here is obviously just how much these Pastors should be sharing. I don't personally think having a private jet and Bentley GT on the company dime (church tithes and offerings) are a necessity. But reality is, if the congregants at these churches know such things occur and by continuing to attend and give, they are in a sense agreeing that this is okay. If they don't, I trust that these churches have procedures in which these church members can voice their concerns. And of course, this being a free country, those church members can always just pick another church. It's hard, but it's fair.

Of course, the real travesty is when small churches (less than 100 members) in depressed communities find themselves supporting preachers who misuse their funds in a similar fashion. There's no justification whatsoever for a congregation of 200 in the hood' to be buying their preacher a Rolls Royce. Does it happen? Sure. Does that make it right? In my opinion, no, but then again, that's not the sort of church I go to, nor are those the sorts of acts I would personally condone.

I am blessed to go to a medium sized (2,000 members) church that isn't prosperity based. The church is community focused and uses its tithes and offerings on tangible things (programs for kids, feeding the homeless, classes on parenting and marriage) that directly benefit its members. When above and beyond special offerings are requested, they are for specific things like hosting a Halloween Carnival or Funding a Men's retreat. Once the money is raised, it is immediately allocated to the area it was requested for. My pastor isn't ballin' out of control like these guys are, but he isn't struggling to pay his rent either. There's a happy balance.

I'll monitor this story here, assuming it grows legs, but I'd like to know from my readers: Is there a thin line between Preachin' and Pimpin', and if so, exactly what is that line?

Senate Inquiry Targets Televangelists [AP]

A Dog-Gone Sorry Apology

Here's Dog The Bounty Hunter's "apology". I don't even have words for this nonsense.

I've always taken pride to be the white guy that can talk to the black people. That can refer to them truly as a brother from a different mother.
Cry me a river, punk. I didn't really even care about the initial story, but by trying to pass off such a flimsy, half-assed apology to save your job, I think you're actually insulted my intelligence in the process.

Have a look at this spin-job yourself. Sheez, the nerve.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The AverageBro Broken English Hall of Shame

So, I'm watching the local news the other night, and they're reporting from a particularly grizzly murder scene in Southeast DC. Like always, the reporter had to pull the most ignorant, ill-informed person out of a crowd of other folks who were probably more articulate and knowledgeable about what had just gone down. Spit flew. Voices rose. Subjects and verbs were in total disagreement. Conjugation was a foreign concept.

And Carter G. Woodson cried inside.

This isn't anything new of course. This scenario is so common, there have been standup routines and sketch comedy skits about similar instances for years. So, of course, I got to thinking... what commonly butchered terms in the English language would I most like to see retired?

Note, I am NOT talking about slang. Colloquialisms are a subject in and of themselves, and I've already covered that base anyway. Nope, I'm talking about folks who try their darndest to actually speak proper English, but still just don't get it right. Magic Johnson, I'm talkin' to you bruh. I'm sure a handful of you will start shouting words like "elitist" in the comments section, and hey, that's your prerogative. But I'm a grown assed man, and I just call em like I see em'.

Without further adieu, here's the list of Broken English I Wish Would Go Away:

Conversate - This might be a DC thang, as are many of the other items on this list. But for the last time, there is no such word as "conversate". The correct word is "converse". Back when I used to club (man, that was ages ago), I would always overhear some dude trying to holler at a girl, by saying "ay shawty come here, I'm just tryin' to conversate with you". Stupid is as stupid does, so sometimes this would actually work. Hmmmm.

Irregardless - Also commonly used here in DC, and also not an actual word. I think The Russ Parr Morning Show used to have a segement that made fun of this all the time. Either way, "irregardless" is a double negative, which essentially means you're "regarding" something since the "irr" and "less" cancel each other would. It's like saying "incorrectless" or "imcompleteless". How dumb does that sound?

Seen/Seent - This one really irks me, because 90% of the time it's said on a newscast. When somebody is describing an event that they didn't actually witness, but they still want to be on camera, this is the telltale sign. If they drop a couple of "I seent the whole thing", you know they ain't actually "seen" nothin'.

Being as Though - This one is uniquely DC. I'm 99% sure it's not used outside this region because I never heard it until I moved here. This phrase is usually employed when a brother is trying to intellectualize something while he's conversating, and thus wants you to really know his emphatic opinion on a topic. ie: "DC is in really bad shape, being as though, I feel that the mayor needs to do more for the community".

I Feel As Though - See: "Being As Though". Equally silly.

I Might Could - I've heard Kayne West say this one alot. Might and Could are contrasting words, it's the same effect as saying "sorta kinda", but just sounds dumberer.

Sword - For the 999th time, black people, the "W" is silent. Arrghhh!!!!

I'm sure ya'll have your own list to add, and undoubtedly this list will prolly include something I say on the regular. Go head, I'm a grown man, I can take the hit.

Since no post is complete without a photo or video (or so say my Google Analytics reports), I figured I'd leave ya'll with this classic YouTube nonsense. This one's pretty old, and yes, it is indeed a real news story. Please watch and enjoy.

An AverageBro Classic: Let's Retire a Few More Words While We're At It.