Monday, December 31, 2007

Slick Willie Says: "Vote... (For My Wife) Or DIE!!!"

[Vote... Or DIE!!! Week Begins]

Well, Iowa is just around the corner, which means AB.com will hit you with clearly biased fair and balanced analysis all week long. Keep it locked.

The latest polls show Edwards gaining momentum on Hilary and Obama, which is really no surprise. Edwards did well in the Iowa Caucuses back in 04', and given his "middle American Dream" back story, it's somewhat of a surprise that he hasn't polled better to date. Don't call it a comeback, or a surprise if this cat slides in and either wins or knocks someone off as runner up. Stranger things have happened.

Speaking of stranger things, The Original Black President is out shilling for 8 more years of freaky dekey interns his wife and talkin' extra greasy. Since things are tight and that whole "Obama The Dope Man" angle didn't take off, Slick Willie is digging deep into the GOP trick bag and warning poor Iowans that a vote for Obama is a vote for your own impending grizzly death.

No, seriously.
Former president Bill Clinton yesterday delivered in stark terms a version of his wife's central campaign message: that her experience in Washington better prepares her to "deal with the unexpected."

Addressing more than 100 supporters at a VFW hall here Saturday, Clinton used the strongest language he has so far in the campaign to describe the threats facing the nation, making an oblique reference to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and saying that the "most important thing of all" in selecting a nominee is the question of who could best manage unforeseen catastrophes.

"You have to have a leader who is strong and commanding and convincing enough . . . to deal with the unexpected," he said. "There is a better than 50 percent chance that sometime in the first year or 18 months of the next presidency, something will happen that is not being discussed in this campaign. President Bush never talked about Osama bin Laden and didn't foresee Hurricane Katrina. And if you're not ready for that, then everything else you do can be undermined. You need a president that you trust to deal with something that we will not discuss in this campaign. . . . And I think, on this score, she's the best of all."

"How we meet those challenges will determine whether our grandchildren will even be here 50 years from now at a meeting like this listening to the next generation's presidential candidates," Clinton said in Plymouth. He did not elaborate on what he meant by the prospect of the audience members' grandchildren not being there in 50 years.
Hot damn! Dude basically is saying a Vote For Barry (or Edwards) is a death wish for your children's' children.

"We talkin' bout' primaries. Not a general election. Primaries. We talkin' bout' primaries."*

You'll remember a few years back that Dick Chaney played the whole "Bush Or Die!" card to trump up fears of national insecurity under a less-experienced candidate. Never mind the fact that said less-experienced candidate, John Kerry, actually served in Vietnam while Bush Jr. was a football cheerleader and chronic draft dodger. And never mind that fact that Hillary has been in office 7 years vs Obama's 3 and Edwards' 6. Hardly a huge difference in overall experience.

Then again, desperate times call for desperate measures. The Obama love child has yet to surface, and the Edwards love child story did surface, but fizzled.

Either way, Thursday will be interesting to say the least. Stay tuned.

Warning of Threats, Clinton Sells Clinton [WaPost]

* Click here just in case that one went right over your head.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Maybe There's Hope For Stepha Henry After All


I know what you're saying. This odd holiday disappearance from Chicago-land has few parallels with our missing sista, but think bigger.

Family members arranged a meeting at an undisclosed location between investigators and a married woman from Illinois whose disappearance on Christmas Eve prompted a costly search.

Anu Solanki, 24, met with law enforcement officials at an undisclosed location Friday, said Cook County sheriff's police spokesman Steve Mayberry.

"I don't care why she left," her brother, Dhiren Patel, told reporters. "Hey, she's alive. That's the most important thing."

Cell phone records indicated Solanki had left voluntarily with a 23-year-old male friend from California, authorities said earlier Friday. Mayberry did not know whether the friend, Karan C. Jani, had returned with Solanki.

"As far as I'm aware her physical condition is fine," Mayberry said. "At this time she hasn't been charged with anything."

Solanki's husband, who lived with his wife near suburban Des Plaines, was not aware of her friendship with Jani, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart told reporters.

Anu Solanki's car was found Monday in a forest preserve parking lot, triggering the search by police and relatives, who distributed flyers with her picture. A sheriff's department helicopter was also used in the search.

Authorities spent about $250,000 on the search and in investigating Solanki's disappearance, Dart said.
Seriously, how would you like to be this woman's husband right about now? Your wife disappears on Christmas Eve, concocts some story about suspicious folks (wanna guess which race) following her to a park where she is to dispose of a religious statue, and it turns out that she just wanted to creep with her MySpace jumpoff the whole time.

Somebody got some s'plainin' to do.

Outside the completely triflin' nature of this story, I do see a silver lining. This woman's search was immediate, and very costly, darn near to the tune of a cool 1/4 mill, which she may or may not have to pay back based on prior examples (see The Runaway Bride). And lets not overlook the obvious, this is also a woman of color. The fact that law enforcement cared enough to throw those kinds of resources at looking for her (although I'm sure the suburban jurisdiction and timing had lots to do with the sense of urgency) is encouraging on some level.

Maybe there's hope for the recovery of Stepha Henry after all.

Ill. Woman Missing on Christmas Eve Fine [AP]

A Stepha Henry Update: Family Faces Christmas Without Daughter [AP]

Friday, December 28, 2007

AverageBro Rewind: BET Sucks... Or Does It?

[It's the holidays, which probably means you guys aren't working, much less checking blogs. So, in the spirit of Christmas, AB.com is re-gifting some of the posts that took AB from an obscure office worker with a blog to an obscure office worker with an award winning blog in less than 6 months. Plus, you get added DVD Commentary!]

I've been a frequent critic of BET on this blog, but life is seldom all black and black, so I can also acknowledge when they get it right, although this seldom happens.

To that effect, here's just a sprinkling of the many BET-centric posts that put AB.com on the map this year.

Peep The Series:

The 3rd Annual Festival of Negro Nonsense (BET Hip Hop Awards) Recap

Maybe Debra Lee Was Right After All

Better Programming? Don't BET On It: The Sequel

BET Sucks and Enough Is Enough! Protest: Revisited

More Random BET Posts

Thursday, December 27, 2007

AvBro Rewind: Non-Urban Dictates, Tavis, Tom, and Other Tales of Urban Lore


[It's the holidays, which probably means you guys aren't working, much less checking blogs. So, in the spirit of Christmas, AB.com is re-gifting some of the posts that took AB from an obscure office worker with a blog to an obscure office worker with an award winning blog in less than 6 months. Plus, you get added DVD Commentary!]

Blogs can accomplish many goals. Some are here to purely entertain, which is fine of course. Others, educate, which is necessary. I try to swing both angles here at AB.com, because I think balance is always a must.

To that effect, one thing I like doing whenever possible is dispelling commonly held myths, which I refer to sometimes as Grand Hu$tles. There's so much bad information out there, that I never want to add to that problem. When this blog first started, that meant a crapload of links in every post, because I was darn near obsessed with not spreading misinformation. This proved cannibalistic, because it usually moved traffic away from my site, which is never a good thing. So, over time I've wised up and kept links to a minimum.

Still, some of my favorite posts have been those clearing up urban legends and assorted hu$tles. Here's just a few.

Peep The Series:

Non-Urban Dictates, Tavis, Tom, and Other Tales of Urban Lore

Are There Really More Black Men In Jail Than Yale!?!?

Multi-Level Marketing is a Grand Hu$tle

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

AverageBro Rewind: The Welfare Mother In The Mercedes Benz


[It's the holidays, which probably means you guys aren't working, much less checking blogs. So, in the spirit of Christmas, AB.com is re-gifting some of the posts that took AB from an obscure office worker with a blog to an obscure office worker with an award winning blog in less than 6 months. Plus, you get added DVD Commentary!]

A few months back, my wife had a particularly bad incident at a local grocery store, and called to tell me about it. I wasn't in the midst of a great day myself, so this ended up being blog material, in the form of the very controversial post, The Welfare Mother In the Mercedes Benz (aka: F**k Giant Food). The post gained some steam around les Internetes, even landing on a few conservative political sites, uplifted as an example of why the welfare system doesn't work (WTH?). I won't even bother regurgitating the story, I think you just have to read it to understand.

In retrospect, I made some mistakes in the post. I perhaps made it too personal by mentioning too much about my wife, her car, and our home. Some commenters clearly took offense with this, lobbing insults at my wife (for being pampered), me (for being too materialistic and bourgeois), and even the baby (for needing organic food). There was a somewhat surprising pattern to the comments, it seemed to be that men agreed that they'd be equally pissed if their wives were treated like that, while women thought my wife and I were being too snooty.

I think that by focusing too much on my wife's accomplishments and appearance (particularly her looks), I painted what many saw as an elitist portrait of your typical welfare recipient, by implying that my wife should in no way be mistaken for one. I'm pretty sure this is what undermined my overall point, which was that nobody should be assumed to be one. Again, live and learn.

Many of you have asked what happened since then. I simply forgot to provide a followup before now, but long story short, the store manager (a black woman) called and issued an apology, acknowledging that the store policy wasn't being consistently enforced. Instead, some cashiers did so when they chose, and this certainly could be seen as biased. However, it was a store policy, and would not be altered. My wife accepted her apology, but we haven't returned to the store. Turns out another store, just down the street, sells the babyfood for less anyway. Call it even.

I do hope the overall point of 'not just letting stuff slide' got through, but I can understand why it didn't, given how I rolled out the story. Again, rookie mistake, but I still hope you can take that one to heart.

After all, whether you say anything or not, you're still sending a message.

Just in case you have no idea what this is all about, peep the original post and its followup comments.

The Welfare Mother In the Mercedes Benz (aka: F**k Giant Food)

Monday, December 24, 2007

The 11th Annual Judge Joe Brown "Well Done" Awards

[Editor's Note: Ok, so AB.com has only been in existence 9 months. But admit it, 11th annual sounds a lot better than first.]

Last week, I dropped the The 11th Annual Judge Joe Brown "Do Better" Awards (aka: Things AB Could Do Without In 08'), and promised a more positive followup in the name of being fair and balanced. Well, lo and behold, Blogger.com ended up losing my post, so I had to redo it, with a few additions.

So, before this blog self-destructs again, here's The 11th Annual Judge Joe Brown "Well Done" Awards (aka: Things AB Would Like To See More Of In 08') in no particular order:

Yo Gabba Gabba/Hip Hop Harry - It's about time the folks in Hollyweird realized that when done properly, hip-hop can be a valuable learning tool for kids. And while I think YGG's DJ Lance Rock looks a little fruity, any show that keeps Biz Markie gainfully employed is alright by me.

The Spears Family - For proving that severe family dysfunction ain't just a black thang. I'm still waiting for Jamie Lynn's 19 year old babydaddy to get hit with that statutory rape charge, a la Genarlow Wilson. But I ain't holdin' my breath.

Barack Obama - For giving me real hope that a Black(ish) President might happen in my lifetime. That massive $5 $500 campaign donation I shelled out is looking smarter by the day.

Mike Huckabee - For giving me a semi-digestable alternative should America not prove ready for a Black President as I secretly fear.

Lebron James - I'll be the first to admit that I used to hate on King James, mainly because he routinely kicked my team out of the playoffs each year. But the more I watch the guy, the more I realize he is the true embodiment of all things good about professional sports. He doesn't lash out a teammates in the media. He doesn't disagree with coaches in the media. He (appears to) actively raise his two sons, although that topless pool incident in Miami a few years ago was pretty triflin'. He has one baby mama and (appears) to be sticking with her. He is self deprecating in a genuinely modest way. He makes mildly entertaining commercials. He doesn't use his modest upbringing as an excuse to hang on to old friends that hold him down. He hires black agents and PR reps. He speaks good English. He respects the game. He is darn near averaging a triple double for the season. If he knocks the Wizards out in round one again this Spring, I might revert a bit, but for now, Bron Bron is ok in my book.

Michael Baisden - For providing consistent blogging fodder and really good 80's R&B music when he isn't busy with his latest DriveBy Activism cause or Nigga Nonsense line of discussion (pimpin' preachers, threesomes). I guess I'd be better off just finding a station that plays the music and cuts out the middle man. Any suggestions?

Jimmy Rollins and C.C. Sebathia - By winning the MVP and Cy Young Awards, these two American born and Bay-Area raised brothers proved that baseball ain't just a white man's sport. Rube Foster is smilin' inside.

Sylvester Croom and Romeo Crennel - For proving once and for all that black men can coach football just as well as we play it. These two bought their floundering programs back from the ruins.

BET - Yeah, BET, I said it. For all the criticism I throw their way, I can also acknowledge their halfway decent programming in hopes that they provide more of it. Meet The Faith is consistently solid, Sunday Best was pretty entertaining, and Exalted was a winner. This station will never be all things to all people, but then again, maybe we should stop expecting so much from a TV station. After all, it IS called Black Entertainment Television, not Black Educational Television. Library cards are free. Use em', and stop expecting Debra Lee to show you and your kids every facet of black culture. And don't complain about the video and reality shows if you don't bother tuning in for the good ones.

Ok, this list's shorter, but if you've got some to add, you know where to do it.

AverageBro Rewind: The Jena 6 Chronicles


[It's the holidays, which probably means you guys aren't working, much less checking blogs. So, in the spirit of Christmas, AB.com is re-gifting some of the posts that took AB from an obscure office worker with a blog to an obscure office worker with an award winning blog in less than 6 months. Plus, you get added DVD Commentary!]

When the Jena Six story began gaining momentum around the blogosphere earlier this year, something about the whole thing just rubbed me the wrong way. While I certainly agreed that the sentence levied against the six young men was unfair (murder? c'mon.), something also said it was a little silly to have thousands marching for an incident so trivial in the grand scheme of things.

My AverageBro Blogs Live! From Jena, LA post was a ground breaker, because it amounted to a career best day of hits (2,500!) and also marked the first time my blog was being picked up by bigger sites. At the time, it also accounted for a record number of comments, and it also is when I coined the now much-copied phrase DriveBy Activism. If there's any single post that "put me on the map", this would be the one.

The next day, I followed up with Jena Six: The Day After, which in retrospect was a mistake. I made a rookie blogger faux pas by taking comments too personally and launched into a defensive "you don't know me" stance that probably undermined my point, as AverageSibling told me repeatedly. I guess I also realized that if I was going to keep lobbing criticism out there, I'd better be willing to take the hit. Lesson learned.

I still stand by everything said that day: Yes, Jena was indeed a travesty of justice, but so are the 8,000 black men killed each year, mostly by other brothers. While this is indeed protested, it's always on a small scale, and only temporary at best. And of course, the media doesn't cover these things.

But if the only way we can come together and rally is when white people commit a crime against blacks, while ignoring our own self-imposed ills, it's no wonder we stay losin'.

Peep the Jena Series:


AverageBro Blogs Live! From Jena, LA

Jena Six: The Day After

Those Jena Six Kids Are Starting To Get On My Last Damn Nerve

The Suffolk 5? Black Man Defends His Family From Lynch Mob, Going To Jail


No, this didn't happen in Mississippi, and it didn't happen 30 years ago. This story has echoes of the Deep South, and should be somewhat of a wake up call for anyone living in a predominately white suburb.

A Suffolk County jury on Saturday night found a black man guilty of manslaughter for shooting of an unarmed white teenager outside the man’s house last year, ending a racially charged trial.

Saturday night, it delivered its verdict: The man, John H. White, 54, was guilty of the second-degree manslaughter charge that prosecutors had sought, and of criminal possession of a weapon. Mr. White was allowed to remain free until sentencing, when he will face a maximum term of 5 to 15 years in prison.

Mr. White was convicted of shooting Daniel Cicciaro, 17, point-blank in the face on Aug. 9, 2006. Daniel and several friends had left a party and showed up Mr. White’s house just after 11 p.m. to challenge his son Aaron, then 19, to a fight, and had used threats, profanities and racial epithets. Mr. White awoke and grabbed a loaded Beretta pistol he kept in the garage of his house in Miller Place, a predominantly white hamlet on Long Island.
There are many fingers to point here, but reality is, had White just called 911 and stayed inside the house, maybe this whole thing might have turned out quite differently. And to think, a simple MySpace prank started the whole fatal ordeal. Sad.

Protecting one's family is the biggest concern for any man, and the situation that White was faced with is something I hope to never encounter. I can't personally tell you how I'd react if my family was being threatened in such a manner, but I do know that I can do my family more good being with them than being locked up. White didn't do himself any favors by brandishing an unlicensed pistol, and turning down a favorable plea deal last week. Now, he'll be upstate for awhile. One family is without a son, another is minus a father, and as much as some of us would like to think race relations have improved in America, this is just another reminder of how far we still have to go.

That said, it's hard to imagine that this man would have been convicted had the race roles been reversed. If you don't believe me, just peep the recent case in Texas where a white man was not charged after killing two black men who had just broken into his neighbor's home, even though he called 911 first and was advised to let it slide.

But Joe Horn is considered a hero, lauded by the NRA. John White is about to become some Skinhead's bitch.

Hard? Yes. Fair? Not so much.

Black Man Convicted for Shooting White Teenager [NY Times]

White Texas Man Kills Black Burglars as 911 Operator Listens [AJC]

Friday, December 21, 2007

The 11th Annual Judge Joe Brown "Well Done" Awards are Postponed!!!!


Well, to be more exact, I toiled long and hard [||] on this post last night, and when I tried to deploy my Patented Blogger Time Release Formula™ to put that bad boy out, somehow the whole thing got erased in the process. Sorry, but it beez like that sometimes.

So, I'll try and put this back together over the weekend. Meanwhile, if you missed the 11th Annual JJB "Do Better" Awards, just page down a little bit and catch that.

In the meanwhile, here's a clip from the real life show to keep you entertained.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

300!!!


Well, technically this is Post #299, but other than Blogger Dashboard, who's counting?

In a mere 9 months, this site's grown from some truly awful initial posts into some truly awful recent posts. In this season of giving thanks, I want to let you guys know how much I appreciate you peepin' AB.com, and hope you'll keep ridin' shotgun with ya' boy for the next 300 drops.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The 11th Annual Judge Joe Brown "Do Better" Awards


[Editor's Note: Ok, so AB.com has only been in existence 9 months. But admit it, 11th annual sounds a lot better than first.]

It's late December, which means lots of things. A week off the Day Job. Crappy "End of Year" recaps. Fistfights in shopping mall parking lots. As we prepare to ring in the new year, I figured I'd get a few things off my chest that I'd prefer to not see in "The Ocho".

I'm sure many of you will read this list and assume I'm some bitter old man, and you'd be mostly correct except for the fact that I'm in my mid-30's, so technically I'm not old, yet anyway. Anyways, in the name of balance, I'll be rolling out my JJB "Well Done" list later this week. Keep it locked.

I now present to you, The 11th Annual Judge Joe Brown "Do Better" Awards (aka: Things AB Could Do Without In 08') in no particular order:

Pencil Jeans - Or more specifically, dudes wearing pencil jeans. I don't really understand this whole "skater" look that kids are aiming for these days, but watching 18 year old men in jeans so tight they might catch a yeast infection is not a good look. I never thought I'd long for the days of baggy jeans, but dag ya'll, c'mon. And those sparkly, mulitcolored hoodies look equally stupid. Grown men should not be dressed like Hello Kitty.

Illegal Immigrants Working In Customer Service Positions - As frequently stated, AB is all for illegal immigrants getting their hustle on. Hell, if I can get four bathrooms remodeled for $3,000, and help feed a generation of Guatemalans in the process, I'm all for it. But there are definitely some jobs you just shouldn't get if you can't speak the language. When I couldn't find any batteries at my local Target store today, I cornered an "associate" who had no idea what I was talking about, and darn near had a Radio Raheem Moment. "D, Mutha*******!!! D!!!"

Celebrity "Reality" Shows - I admittedly don't watch these things, so I'm probably not the guy to be critiquing them, but enough already. "Run's House" was palatable, but do we really need shows to Salt N' Pepa, Snoop Dogg, and Irv Gotti? And while I'm sure these shows are effected by the writer's strike, how badly scripted are they? Note to HollyWeird: reality is called reality for a reason: because real life is boring. Mixing in poor writing and contrived plots don't help much either.

Michael Jordan - MJ, looking like he's been hitting up Queen City-area Bojangles pretty often, popped in an Charlotte Bobcats practice the other day to "motivate the team". The last time he stepped in to "motivate the team", I got stuck with 4 years of Kwame Brown. Note to MJ: Stay retired.

Ringtone Rap Dances - In 07' alone, you had "Score a 10 On The Degree of Difficulty" dances like The Aunt Jackie, Spiderman that Ho, The Soulja Boy, Pop Lock and Drop It, The Ratchet, Move My Feet (or whatever it's called), Batman that Ho', and whatever the hell Chris Brown is doing. Whatever happened to simple dances like The Reebok, and The Pee Wee Herman? Middle School Dances must be hell on a young dude nowadays.

Those Red Gap Inspi[RED] Shirts - T-shirt activism personified. Drop $45 on a wringer T, and feel less sh*tty about the starvin' chil'rens in Ak-a-Fra. Sally Strothers is cryin' inside.

DriveBy Activism - 2007 was The Year Of Misplaced Sympathy. Given the number of YouTube/MySpace embarrassments suffered this year, let's all try and be a bit more discriminate in choosing who we rally around in 08'.

Karrine "SuperHead" Steffans - So, her latest book bombed and now this chick is supposedly trying her hand at the rap game. Considering the fact that she's already literally given a hand (and a few other body parts) to half the rap game already, maybe this will work out for her, but considering the quality of fem-cees out right about now, I don't see her adding much to an already bleak situation. Note to Karrine: get a real day job. It ain't that hard.

Vocoders - As if Akon wasn't annoying enough, T-Pain jumped on the bandwagon, Sean Kingston had a hit, and now Snoop is doin' it. Note to all A&R's: sangin' isn't all that hard. Find someone who can actually do it. Roger Troutman is cryin' inside.

Dumb Voters - Maybe we should bring back poll taxes or something, because if I hear one more person say they "don't know enough about Candidate X", or "don't know what Candidate X's position on Issue X is", I am going to knock a Negro out. Seriously, do you expect politicians to come and sit down at your dinner table? Do a little work for a change. Google something. Read a newspaper. Use the Internet for something other than MySpace and pRon illegal downloading. Whatever the case, if you haven't paid enough attention by now to know who you're voting for, please do me a favor and don't vote. I don't need your dumb vote cancelling out mine.

Triflin' Black Men/Self-Loathing Black Women - Here's a hint: if you're always in bad relationships, check the common denominator and stop blaming the opposite sex for all your problems.

Bill Clinton - Please sit down and STHU.

Gilbert Arenas - Please make up with your baby mama, rehab that knee, and STHU.

Coca Cola - I realize the soft drink game is pretty lucrative when you can sell quarter waters for $2 (Vitamin Water for those who are slow), but how many darn flavors of Coke do we really need? There's Coke II, New Coke, Coke Plus, Coke Zero, Coke Blak, Kosher Coke, Kwanzaa Coke, Chitlin' Coke, and now, the new and improved Plain' Ass Coke. I don't drink any of this stuff since I did that "effects of cola on ground beef" experiment for my 7th grade science fair, but c'mon, enough already.

Black Awards Shows - Or more specifically, hip-hop Awards shows like the BET Awards, The Source Awards, The Vibe Awards, and my new ig'nant favorite, The Ozone Awards. I guess it's okay to reward mediocrity (I mean, even AB.com won an award), but at what point does enough become enough? And for the record, if "Little Duffle Bag Boy" was your song of the year, just kill yourself already. Life isn't getting any easier.

Michael Baisden - Yeah, I know I stay on this dude, but for real, I just wish he'd stay in his lane. When he's talking greasy about his usual Negro Nonsense (pimpin' preachers, threesomes, triflin' baby mamas) and playing that 80's R&B music (aka: the best decade of music evar) his show is harmless, brainless fun. But when he tries to become an "activist" and uses his show to summarily discredit reputable organizations like Color of Change, well, that's borderline dangerous.

Dumb Athletes - Not a day goes by without another paternity suit, botched robbery, or roid' rage incident. Play your games and go home afterward. Please.

Feel free to add your own awards you know where.

Monday, December 17, 2007

AverageBro Goes To The Movies: I Am Legend


[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.]

Say what you want about Will Smith as a rapper, but if you're hatin' on the man's Hollywood game, well, lets just say you must be related to Andrew Young. Smith is about as close to guaranteed money as you can get in Tinseltown, and judging by the record setting first weekend numbers of I Am Legend, it looks like his track record is safe.

That said, leave the kids at home, because I Am Legend is not your typical Happy Negro Saves The World movie, even though that's the premise.

In this umpteenth film adaptation of the Robert Matheson novel "The Last Man On Earth", Smith plays scientist Dr. Robert Neville. When an incurable manmade virus wipes out the entire population of (where else?) New York City, Neville and his trusty canine companion Sam search the city for survivors by day, while holing themselves in at night, as virus infected, nocturnal, carnivorous mutants come out in search of their blood. It's a far more complicated premise than I just described, but for real, if I gave away much more, I'd be probably spoiling it for someone.

Speaking of spoiling it, I think the movie's advertising is a bit misleading. While the trailers for Legend make it look like another Independence Day, or Men In Black, make no mistake: this is a horror movie. AB likes being scared to death, loves it in fact, but judging by the response of much of the rest of the audience (quite a few of whom had small children and got up and left), maybe the movie could have been more truthfully advertised. I'm just sayin', you've been forewarned.

Anyways, if you're into large scale explosions, dogfights, creepy CGI generated creatures, deer beeing eaten alive, high speed car crashes, eerie ghoulish sounds, and ridonculously blatant product placement, this is the movie for you. And if you like being scared s*****ss, you might wanna leave work right now and go peep the matinee.

I know sci-fi/horror movies, especially ones with $250M budgets are never seriously considered for awards, but Smith's role as Robert Neville is probably even better than his work in The Pursuit of Happyness. Seriously. Smith spends about 90% of the movie as the only person onscreen, and as he goes through the range of numbness, optimism, fear, dementia, and hope, you realize that few other actors could have pulled this off as skillfully. The role is race-neutral: Brad Pitt could have played it, but not nearly as well. There's no way a big budget flick like this will get an Oscar nomination. And that shows why the Academy Awards, intent on always elevating marginal indies nobody's ever seen or heard of, stays losing. But for the record, Smith is in career best form here.

If you couldn't already tell, I really liked this movie. It's the kinda flick that home theaters and 50 inch plasma TV's were made for so it will be on my must-buy DVD list in about 3 months. Do youself a favor and good peep it, but beware of my disclaimers if you aren't into horror flicks. This ain't no typical Will Smith movie.

Final Verdict: I would give this movie a perfect 5 stars, but I try to reserve that rating for more serious movies. That's the only reason why. 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

I Am Legend [Yahoo! Movies]

Friday, December 14, 2007

Doping: America's Real Pastime


[Racial Disparities Week Concludes at AB.com]

I really didn't wanna end the week like this, seriously. In case you haven't noticed, this week's posts all have a central theme: racial disparities in how certain individuals are depicted by the media. We've been all over the place this week, from the Black Runaway Bride, to Obama, to the Baltimore 9, and Crack vs Coke sentencing. I didn't plan the series, but midway through the week, the theme kicked. Our fine folks at Racialicious have been riding shotgun, and I thank everyone new who's dropped by and weighed in.

That said, it's Friday! Break out the Capri Suns!Today was supposed to be lighter, maybe a few YouTube clips, etc. But lo and behold, Major League Baseball's long awaited Mitchell Report on performance enhancing drugs finally dropped yesterday, and I couldn't resist pointing out some of the inherent media bias surrounding it.
A 21-month investigation into use of performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball concluded Thursday a culture of secrecy and permissiveness gave rise to a "steroids era" in the game that included some of its biggest names, most prominent among them superstar pitcher Roger Clemens.

The long-awaited report by George J. Mitchell gave a detailed account provided by a onetime team trainer who told the panel that he injected Clemens -- a seven-time Cy Young Award winner regarded as the greatest pitcher of the last half-century -- with steroids and human growth hormone while he was with the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees. Clemens was one of 91 players named in the report, a list that included 33 all-stars, 10 most valuable players, and two Cy Young winners.

Among the most prominent current and former players fingered in the report were Barry Bonds, Miguel Tejada, Gary Sheffield, Andy Pettitte, Rafael Palmeiro and Mark McGwire.
While I'm a big sports fan, I will admit I don't follow baseball that closely. The game's too slow, too boring, and too long to watch on TV. On the other hand, the ballpark experience itself is pretty exciting depending on where you see a game. And with a young son, I'm trying to make myself a fan of our local Washington Nationals, although they suck like an Oreck [||]. Am I trying to recapture some childhood memories here? Sure. But I could be doing far worse things, so hey.

Anyways, considering the many big-name players mentioned here, it's no wonder that baseball is probably in some serious jeopardy moving forward. Yes, the NBA had it's minor referee scandal last fall, and the NFL's players seem to spend more time in court than on the field, but none of those issues is nearly as widespread as those alleged in this report.

Perhaps most damning is that some of the players who have long been compared and contrasted with The Most Hated Man In America: Barry Lamar Bonds, were named in the report as well. Namely one Roger "The Rocket" Clemens, who has remained a media favorite despite the oh-so-obvious enlargement of his head [||] over the past decade. So while Bonds has been booed mercilessly in stadiums nationwide for a good 7-8 years now, Clemens has been able to hold teams hostage annually by demanding ridonculously high salaries to pitch when he feels like it. Nobody ever raised much of a stink over the fact that he's still a solid pitcher in his mid-40's, just as Bonds is a solid slugger in his mid-40's.

Clemens didn't have his records and enshrinement in Cooperstown threatened with asterisks. He didn't receive death threats. He didn't have his marriage picked apart in front of the world. He wasn't pegged as a terrible role model for kids. He wasn't the subject of a media witch hunt that included an embedded ESPN reporter who followed him 24-7. He wasn't pelted with batteries and urine. He didn't have his weekend jumpoff mistress outed to the world. He didn't have dozens of books written about his alleged drug use. He wasn't just plain reviled.

Perhaps he will be now, but I seriously doubt it.

I'm sure pundits will say much of this disparity has much to do with the perception that Bonds is an a$$hole who doesn't talk to the media and Clemens is seen instead as an ultimate professional and generally All-American guy who got the benefit of the doubt. I've always felt that the media had it in for Barry because he didn't smile, shuck and jive, and cowtow like the puppet they wanted him to be. I'm sure that like most things, the real answer lies somewhere in between.

But now that all the facts are on the table, Major League Baseball and the media need to treat Clemens, Rick Ankiel, Mark McGuire, Andy Pettite, and company just like they've long treated Bonds.

There should be plenty of asterisks to go around.

Rube Foster is crying inside.

Steroid Report Names Star Players [WashPost]

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Hey Hilary, What's That Smell? The Scent Of Desperation.


[Racial Disparities Week Continues at AB.com]

As you guys know, a few months ago I threw in the towel on the Barry 4 Prez tag, partly out of the sad feeling that America wasn't ready for a qualified Black(ish) President, and partly because I was disappointed at the non-assertive campaign Obama was running. I mean, damn bruh, we're warriors: that lay back in the cut, non-threatening Negro role won't cut it.

Fast-forward a few weeks: Scrutiny of frontrunner Hilary Clinton is heightening, Obama is on the offensive for a change, he pulled the Oprah card early, and now Iowa and New Hampshire both look winnable. Well, on paper at least, you know how reliable those polls are. Just ask Howard Dean.

Quick, cue the Tired Smear Campaign.
A top adviser to Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign said Wednesday that Democrats should give more thought to Sen. Barack Obama's admissions of illegal drug use before they pick a presidential candidate.

Obama's campaign said the Clinton people were getting desperate. Clinton's campaign tried to distance itself from the remarks, and the adviser said later he regretted making them.

Bill Shaheen, a national co-chairman of Clinton's front-runner campaign, raised the issue during an interview with The Washington Post, posted on washingtonpost.com.

Shaheen, an attorney and veteran organizer, said much of Obama's background is unknown and could be a problem in November 2008 if he is the Democratic nominee. He said Republicans would work hard to discover new aspects of Obama's admittedly spotty youth.

"It'll be, 'When was the last time? Did you ever give drugs to anyone? Did you sell them to anyone?"' said Shaheen, whose wife, Jeanne, is the state's former governor and is running for the U.S. Senate next year.

"There are so many openings for Republican dirty tricks. It's hard to overcome," Shaheen said.

New polling shows Clinton and Obama basically tied in New Hampshire. A CNN-WMUR-TV poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire shows Clinton at 31 percent support, Obama at 30. The same poll had Obama trailing by 20 points in September.
This wouldn't be the first time the Clinton campaign tossed a low blow at Obama, nor is it the first time his one time drug use has been raised. Let's not forget the allegations of terrorist training Islamic influence while living in Indonesia. And then there was that very odd "we've got some info, but we ain't tellin' what it is (yet)" incident a few weeks back. But given the fact that this race is seemingly tightening by the day, I'd say recycling old news is a harbinger of things to come.

This "allegation" is odd for a couple of reasons. One, the story broke earlier in the year and barely registered a blip on the radar. Two, Obama admitted the drug use himself in his well written but excessively wordy biography Dreams From My Father, a book he wrote while Editor of the Harvard Law Review, and ostensibly before he had formed any real political aspirations. Having read all 4,000cough...dry...cough exciting pages of the book, I can tell you that the blurb being picked apart is completely out of context.

This admission was hardly a paragraph in the 38,200 page tome, as Obama admitted to experimenting with marijuana and a "lil' blow" as an identity confused high school senior in Hawaii. I could be forgetting something, but the ensuing 167,000 pages didn't mention this "drug habit" any further, so I think it's fair to assume that Young Barry was no different that any other teen, yours truly included, who tried things and decided they weren't for him as he matured into an adult. Regardless, Obama is in his mid-40's now, so that was nearly 25+ years ago. Unless someone can dredge up more recent evidence of substance abuse, I'd say this is a non-issue. How often do you hear George Bush's drinking problem dredged up? Rudy Guiliani married his cousin once, but you don't hear him being pegged as a serial incestor. Why the double standard for Barry?

I guess what really pisses me off is the oft repeated allegation that if Obama used drugs, then he must have sold them too, because hey, that's what black men do. When the story broke earlier this year, I heard scores of talk radio hosts and callers echo this sentiment. I can't help but notice that Bill Shaheen. Clinton's co-chair dropped the same subliminal. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not.

[Editor's Note: Shaheen just stepped down. Hilary made the right call.]

I've made no bones about my support of Obama for President, heck I even gave him his own tag, an honor only previously bestowed upon the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and that legendary arbiter of jurisprudence, Judge Joe Brown, so clearly the guy has something going for him. No, he isn't perfect, but what candidate is? If you dig in everyone's past you'll find a bone or two in the closet, and I mean everyone, not just politicians. I give him credit for proactively admitting his flaws as opposed to denying they exist even after all other involved parties have gone upstate. Then again, that's just my opinion.

Anyways, keep an eye open in coming weeks for more pithy allegations. As I've always said; if the man had an illegitimate kid in Hawaii, some well hidden youth charges, or a white chick on the side, this would be the time for such a skeleton to emerge.

But by reaching for straws and recycling old news, I can only assume Hilary hears footsteps.

Speaking of white chicks on the side, here's a mildly controversial skit from MadTV, since I think it's always good to end on a lighter note. Hey, I thought it was funny.



Clinton Aide Evokes Obama's Past Drug Use [CBS]

Clinton adviser out after Obama comment [AP]

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Convicted Crack Dealers: Returning Soon To A Hood Near You


[Racial Disparities Week Continues at AB.com]

Anyone with an eye on the news yesterday saw that the US Supreme Court ruled that Monday's dramatic reduction in the mandatory minimum sentencing for crack cocaine could be applied retroactively. What's perhaps more interesting is the little devils in the details.
The Supreme Court gave federal judges latitude yesterday to impose shorter prison terms for crack cocaine-related crimes, part of a pair of decisions that allow judges, who were once tightly controlled by mandatory guidelines, to exercise broad discretion in sentencing.

The high court's decision arrived ahead of a vote today by the U.S. Sentencing Commission, which will decide whether such sentences should be reconsidered. If so, it could mean reduced federal prison time for up to 19,500 inmates nationwide, according to the commission.

Under the rules, a federal sentence for possession of a gram of crack is roughly equal to that for possession about 100 grams of powder cocaine. But the disparity extends to laws in 13 states, including Maryland, which mandates a five-year minimum penalty for trafficking 448 grams of powder cocaine, and the same for only 50 grams or more of crack cocaine.
The disparity in sentencing between crack dealers and powder cocaine dealers has long been considered racially motivated, and I happen to agree. Crack, generally speaking, is most often manufactured and sold in poor, largely minority communities. Thus, those getting busted for possession and other related crimes are generally going to be minorities, specifically black men. Of course, let's not forget that these men being released are usually far from innocent victims. They did crimes, and while their sentences were inordinate, they deserved to do some time. So while you could in theory look at this as a civil rights victory of sorts, let's not get carried away with the political prisoner rhetoric.

But reality is, this is nothing more than an effort to reduce overcrowding in federal prisons, as this ruling could slash the rolls as much as 10%. Housing prisoners costs taxpayers millions yearly, and setting many of these people free can go a long way towards restoring some level of fiscal fitness in a time of war. Also, in a pre-election year where Republicans need everything they can get to lure black voters, you could see the timing of this as bit ominous. Don't believe me? Check El Presidente's pardon list from yesterday. Not so cleverly hidden: a DC area crack dealer. Conspicuously absent, although he's free anyway: my old' friend Scooter Libby.

I'll take "Things That Make You Say, Hmmmmmmmmmmm" for 400, Alex.

Also, neither of these Supreme Court rulings actually repeal mandatory minimum sentences (thanks a lot President Reagan), they simply give judges the ability to selectively impose sentences below the limit. So, to repeat: mandatory minimum sentences are still in effect. Better work on perfecting that wicked jumpshot, because slangin' crack rock is still not a legitimate come up.

[Editor's Note: That last line was an attempt at lightheartedness, courtesy of a Notorious B.I.G. lyric, not a swipe at black America. Hell, I coach youth basketball. So please, miss me with the "elitist" comments.]

Interestingly, from a political standpoint, Hilary Clinton (whose husband might have pardoned Kemba Smith as a parting gift to black America, but didn't do jack sh*t about this disparity during 8 years in office) is the only Democratic candidate on record who opposed retroactivity. If it sounds like I've been gathering a mountain of evidence against this woman in recent weeks, it's because I am.

One more tidbit, which is not surprising at all.
Both rulings came down by a vote of 7-2, with Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. dissenting.
Some things never change. Never mind the fact that Thomas has a nephew in jail right now for a similar offense. Self hatred is never pretty, ya'll.

That said, 20,000+ former drug offenders will possibly be returning home in the coming months as their individual cases are reviewed. And this poses a quandary: what the hell will all these people be doing for work?

Recidivism rates are lowest when prisoners have been truly rehabilitated, return home to a supportive community, and a strong economy in which they can find gainful employment, thus avoiding the temptations that got them in trouble in the first place. I haven't read anything about comprehensive plans for ensuring a safe return to society for these ex-felons. So while I agree with the quasi-remedy for these draconian laws, I can't help but wonder if these guys will find themselves right back there in the future.

Time will tell.

Till then, get the PatrĂ³n, Tyrone's comin' home.

Sentencing Discretion Increased [B'More Sun]

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Black Runaway Bride?


[Racial Disparities Week Continues at AB.com]

I'm sure conservative talking heads are going to have a field day with this story of false abduction from Ohio.
A pregnant attorney who vanished for four days last week now says her tale of being kidnapped at gunpoint and taken to Georgia was fabricated, police said Tuesday. Her husband said she had "a meltdown."

Karyn McConnell Hancock, a former Toledo city councilwoman, had disappeared Wednesday and was found Saturday near Atlanta. Her husband said Monday that his 35-year-old wife, six months pregnant with her second child, claimed she was kidnapped.

Cobb County police say she claimed two white men and a black woman abducted her.

Police said at a news conference that she recanted Monday after eight hours of questioning. Hancock will likely be charged with making a false police report, said Police Chief Mike Navarre. Police would not discuss a motive, but Hancock's husband, Lawrence Hancock, said his wife has been having psychological problems for several years.
I can't help but notice the parallels and contrasts between this story and the ludicrous Jennifer Wilbanks: Runaway Bride, a few years back. In that story, a white Georgia woman disappeared days before her wedding, and called from the road with a Susan Smith-like story about being abducted by a Hispanic man and white woman. A media circus ensued, and Wilbanks' disappearance was the lead news story for days.

Once Wilbanks was "found" in New Mexico, the house of cards unraveled, and it turned out that she was simply having a case of cold feet. Wilbanks was charged with felony indictment of giving false information to police, but the charges were eventually dropped. This being America and all, Wilbanks of course got a lucrative book and movie deal outta this whole debacle, and ended up suing her ex-fiance for half the cost of a home he bought with the proceeds in a very odd turn of events. And they say love is unconditional. P'shaw.

By contrast, I didn't hear jack squat about Hancock's disappearance until her story also unraveled. This is of course no real surprise, given the media's "who the f**k cares?" attitude toward missing black women, and heck, missing black people in general. But it is interesting that both Wilbanks and Hancock blamed their disappearances on someone of the opposite race. Anyone care to offer an opinion on this rationale? I'm fresh outta PoV's on that one. You know where to weigh in.

Hancock's family seems to indicate that she's been having some emotional problems in addition to being in the 2nd trimester of pregnancy. Those are classic signs of "crying out", and I wish her the best. I just pray nobody was unnecessarily detained for her false allegations, as in the case of Smith and Wilbanks.

That said, I'm pretty sure this will be both the first and last we hear of Hancock. She will probably get a similar sentence to that of Wilbanks, but there will absolutely be no WifeTime™ Movie of the Week.

Cause Hollywood doesn't give a crap about missing black women either.

[Editor's Note: Just in case you were wondering, no new news on Stepha Henry. Pray for the family. I would imagine the holidays are going to be especially rough.]

Ohio Attorney Recants Abduction Story [AP]

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Baltimore 9 - Hate Crime Or Simple Beatdown!?!?


[Racial Disparities Week Begins at AB.com]

There's another Jena 6 brewing in Charm City, and as more details emerge, this one's bound to get alot uglier.
As the 26-year-old Baltimore woman beaten on a public bus by nine middle school students was put into witness protection yesterday, conflicting accounts raised questions about whether the attack was racially motivated.

One of the girls charged in the assault told The Sun yesterday that there were no racial overtones in Tuesday's after-school incident on West 33rd Street, insisting that no racial slurs were exchanged.

The victim, Sarah Kreager, told The Sun in a telephone interview last night that she feels race might have played a part in the attack, but she said the events spiraled out of control because the adolescents became caught up in actions of their peers.

MTA police said Kreager, who is white, was punched, kicked and dragged off the bus during the melee, which started about 3 p.m. Tuesday on the No. 27 bus in the 800 block of West 33rd Street.

The nine youths, who are African-American, are all 14 or 15 years old and attend Robert Poole Middle School in Hampden. They were released to their parents and charged as juveniles with aggravated assault and destruction of property.

Maryland Transit Administration officials stood by their earlier statement that they are investigating the attack as a possible hate crime - though they did not release any specifics.
Before I go any deeper on this one, let me go on record: I in no way ever have, nor ever would condone a 9-on-1 attack, and regardless of the motivation here, just like in Jena, LA, there is no justification whatsoever for what these children did. Period. The fact that the victims were both homeless only makes these allegations more heinous.

However, just as in Jena (where there was no hate crime charged), I'm not sure if this one qualifies as a hate crime either. To me, this was just a bunch of very poorly raised kids who would have likely jumped anyone on that bus, regardless of their race.

This ultimately boils down to Kreager's word vs those of the kids. Neither side seems to be particularly credible, when you consider all the facts.
According to a police report, one of the boys kept jumping in front of Kreager and claiming that the open seats on the bus were reserved.

When Kreager finally found a seat, the teens began throwing punches at her and her boyfriend, according the report. The beating continued, police said, even as the eastbound bus lurched to a stop and the driver radioed for help about 3 p.m.

At one point in the Tuesday afternoon attack, police said the teens punched and kicked Kreager, broke down the rear door of the bus and dragged her into the street. The report says she suffered two broken bones in her left eye socket, two deep cuts on the top of her head and other cuts on her neck and back. Her face was bruised and her left eye was swollen shut.

Kreager was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Her companion, Troy Ennis, also was beaten, police said, but did not require hospital treatment.

But the mother of one of the suspects says the victim, for an unknown reason, provoked the attack by spitting in the face of one of the girls. Beverly Bell, whose son is an eighth-grader at Robert Poole, said the victim's boyfriend then pulled out a knife and threatened the girls, which prompted the boys to attack the man.

Police said the suspects are also believed to have menaced an elderly passenger, who is white, and to have assaulted the bus operator, an African-American male who defended his passenger.

Police said no evidence had been found to back up the claims of suspects' parents that Kreager or Ellis had provoked the incident by spitting or displaying a knife.
Kreager's black eye (seen in the photo) is not the result of the attack, but rather seems to be the reason the kids were picking on her in the first place. The kids say Kraeger spat on her, which escalated into the "fight" in the first place. No racial epithets were apparently uttered. The bus driver (who is black) came to Kraeger's defense and was also beaten. Kraeger is iffy on whether she thinks the attack was racially motivated.

Overall, this is a mess. But one thing seems quite evident: just as in Jena, these kids are indeed guilty of extremely poor judgement and should be held accountable for their actions. I think this case also highlights the sometimes sketchy environment on public transportation, and the quandary many adults face when confronting kids that are acting unruly.

Often when I ride the Metro (DC's subway system), I'm confronted with a train full of rowdy and cursing teens. I don't usually say anything when I get on the Metro and hear schoolkids wildin' out. Does it irk the hell outta me? Sure. But does it irk the heck outta me enough to confront these kids and potentially catch a beatdown? Not so much. Reality is, kids who talk like that can't be corrected, that's a problem that started at home and isn't going to be solved by a rebuke from a stranger on the Green Line. The few instances in which I have actually seen an adult nicely ask the kids the "calm down, please", I've watched these folks serenaded with 4 letter words and taunts. It just ain't worth it. There's an issue of public safety I'd like to see addressed.

Kreager by all accounts was just minding her business, and when confronted about a seat, caught a beatdown. Spin it any way you like, but if those are indeed the facts, these 9 kids don't deserve your support, hate crime or not.

Let's all learn a lesson from Jena, and stop condoning foolishness.

Here's some news footage of the story. And if you've got a strong stomach, go over to the YouTube page and peep some of the outlandish comments on this video.



Interviews raise questions about race's role in bus attack [B'More Sun]

MTA looks at racial role in city bus attack [B'More Sun]

Friday, December 7, 2007

Andrew Young Should Lay Off The Hater-Ade.


Talk about cross-generational hatin'. This week former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young was asked for his comments about Barack Obama's prospects for The Number One Spot, and he just couldn't withhold his venom.

Former Atlanta Mayor and Ambassador Andrew Young explained why he does not support Sen. Barack Obama to win the Democratic nomination for president - until "2016."

He made the remarks after being asked by a crowd member about the Illinois Democrat at a "Newsmakers" event held in Atlanta.

"I want Barack to be president," he responded with a long pause, "....in 2016."
"Barack Obama does not have the support network yet to get to be president...," he said. He reflected on his days serving as one of many lieutenants to Martin Luther King Jr. He also said that while Obama's rival Sen. Hillary Clinton is surrounded by quite a few black advisers Obama has very few.

"To put a brother in there by himself is to set him up for crucifixion," he said.
But of course, it gets worse as the geriatric Young couldn't resist taking one last, completely uncalled for stab at the youngster.
He also joked that author Toni Morrison may have been on to something when she referred to former President Bill Clinton as the "first black president."

"Bill is every bit as black as Barack," he said. "He has probably gone out with more black women than Barack."
WTF!?!

Can we please clear up a few things about The First Black President? Under Bill Clinton, the number of blacks in prison exploded. He did nothing for repealing the Reagan era construct of mandatory minimum sentences. The prison industrial complex exploded during his time in office. He did jack squat for Rwanda. He emptied the welfare rolls, under the misinformed expectation that the economy would hold up (it didn't). He presided over the corporate corruption that was the dotcom boom (and subsequent bust). He threw Lani Guinier under a bus. I could care less about his premarital indiscretions, but they clearly fueled to the Christian conservative movement that pimpslapped us with 8 years of George W. Bush.

And what exactly did he do that was so great for blacks? Oh yeah, that's right, he perfected The Art of Tactful Pandering. His wife is running plays from the same book right about now. Black President my ass. [||]

Wake up, Black America. Please.

Seriously, I know Andrew Young and his civil rights era generation of politicians feel disconnected from today's new Ivy League upstarts (Cory Booker, Obama, Duval Patrick, etc.) but how necessary was it to go there?

Obviously there's some level of jealousy at play here, thus the unnecessary low blow. And obviously, Young supports the Clintons, which he's certainly entitled to.

What's sad is that if Young would step back a bit, he'd appreciate the fact that Obama is part of his legacy. Had it not been for the groundbreaking efforts of him generation, there wouldn't even be a Barack Obama. In short, he should be proud, not jealous. You don't see Bill Russell hatin' on Lebron do you?

Watch the video of this nonsense.



Somebody call Shady Acres.

MLK is cryin' inside.

Andrew Young explains why he is not supporting Obama [Redding News Review]

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Almost Famous (aka: Remain Anonymous Part III)

Any of you peeping this site for any period of time now know that despite the witty banter AvBro kicks on the daily, I'm pretty private, at least when compared to some of my blogging peers. The reasons for my desire to remain anonymous are many, but just in case you were wondering:

1) I don't need to screw up my future employment prospects. And believe me, as a hiring manager, I know firsthand that corporations give every serious applicant a thorough WWW sweep. Anything even potentially questionable (ie: the entire content of this site) can land a promising prospect in the shred pile. Note to my undergraduate friends: get rid of that Facebook account before you start looking for gigs.

2) No mixing hobbies with home. Simply put, this blog is a good creative outlet, but I'm not here to Win Friends. Influence People? Sure. But that's about it. And besides, the last thing I need is a cyberstalker showing up on my doorstep. It happens.

3) I just don't think it's necessary. I mean, you guys come here for my witty and irreverent spin on politricks, pop culture, and general Negro Nonsense. I don't think your lives would be any better off knowing what I did last weekend (it involved AverageToddler, and it wouldn't be incredibly exciting to you). I could be wrong, but I believe folks can be interested in the message without needing to know the messenger.

That said, when I started this blog, I didn't expect much. I sure didn't expect to win a coveted Blog To Watch Award. I didn't expect to see my blog jacked referenced in print media. I didn't expect to agitate some very well known people who've contacted me offline. I didn't expect the pleas for other black men to join me in the mentor program I'm a part of to be taken seriously. And I sure didn't expect what's happened the past couple of weeks to happen, which has be re-examining the whole anonymous blogger thing once more.

Long story short, in the past couple of weeks, I've gotten at least a half dozen invitations from widely circulated newspapers, national radio shows, and even a cable news station asking me to either make an appearance or give a quote on some odd issue. For a guy from a small four stoplight Southern town, this is pretty flattering stuff, but it also presents a quandary. Do I ditch the vow of anonymity for what could be great national exposure for this blog, or do I stick to my guns knowing the risks involved?

AverageSis says play it by ear, and to that effect, I will more than likely be making an appearance on a national radio show in a few weeks, albeit using a pseudonym, and hopefully one of those voice alteration machines that they use on the 6 o'clock news when they interview the witness of a grizzly murder who doesn't want to be identified for fear of retribution, but still wants to floss on TV anyway.

Ok, so maybe I won't have the voicebox or dim lighting, but I will have to choose a pseudonym.

That said, I'm open to suggestions from you guys about exactly what kinda name I should make up choose. Should I go with something super-urban (read: black), like Tyrone, Leon, or Hakim (I've always wanted to be called Rasheed)? Something ethno-neutral like Chris, James, or Steve (I've always wanted to be called Steve too.)? Do I flip the script and toy around with some remixed variation of my government name? The choices are many, but once I decide on one, I have to stick with it moving forward.

Drop your best pseudonym for AB in the comments, of if you're anonymous like that, just email me.

[Editor's Note: Learn even less about AB by reading prior installments of the Remain Anonymous Saga. Links below.]

Remain Anonymous - Part I
Remain Anonymous - Part II(The Sequel)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

AverageBro NewsBriefs - Frivolous Lawsuits Edition


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

Well, it's Q4, which means the Day Job is cracking the massas's whip having us chase that paper double-time to reach those EOY targets. This of course means I'm gonna have to keep the blog entries short and sweet for awhile, since my wife wants that new iPod for Christmas, and you know where money doesn't grow.

Anyways, some stuff that caught my eye.

Jena Six Slapped With Lawsuit

Hmmm, just when you thought Mychal Bell was out of trouble after taking that guilty plea the other day, the bad news just keeps on comin'.
The family of the victim in the "Jena Six" case has sued the adults accused of beating him, the families of the juveniles allegedly involved and the board of the school where the attack occurred.

Justin Barker and his parents, David and Kelli, also accuse a seventh, uncharged student of being part of the group that attacked Justin on Dec. 4, 2006, as he walked out of Jena High School's gym headed to another class.

Barker spent several hours in the emergency room after the attack but was discharged and attended a school event the night after the attack.

The lawsuit was filed Nov. 29 in state district court. It alleges that the LaSalle Parish School Board is liable because school employees were not adequately supervising students and failed to maintain discipline.
Let's be honest here, the Barker family is not suing the Jena 6. Lord knows, even beyond the money some of these idiots are flossin' on MySpace and BET, these kids and their families don't have two nickels to rub together. This is all about trying to extort the county school board, which I think is pretty darned heinous when you think about it.

Still, I can't help but wonder how much that MySpace fiasco might have agitated the Barkers to the point that they wanted their own money. If we see Justin Barker on Facebook covered in dollar bills, or on the CMT Awards next year, we really shouldn't be all that surprised.

Sperm Donor Sued For Back Child Support

Boy, talk about ungrateful recipients. This one takes the cake.

A sperm donor may have to pay child support after the mother's lawyer argued that the man has sent birthday cards and otherwise acted like a father to the teenage child, the donor's lawyer said.

A Nassau County Family Court judge recently blocked the man from seeking a paternity test. The man's lawyer, Deborah Kelly, says the Nov. 16 ruling sets the stage for a magistrate to determine how much her client may owe in support. The parties in the case are listed anonymously.

The man, a doctor, donated sperm to a hospital resident and her female partner in the late 1980s. The child was born in July 1989.

The donor and the women agreed verbally that he wouldn't have any rights in the child's upbringing, according to court documents. But he allowed his name to appear on the child's birth certificate because he felt it was in the child's best interests to have "an identity," court documents say.

But Kelly said her client's gestures of goodwill were being unfairly used against him.

"What's the saying? No good deed goes unpunished," she said.
I know I usually side with men when it comes to issues of child support, so you could already color me biased, but this is just friggin' ridiculous. Granted, the donor probably didn't do the right thing by continually showering the kid with money, gifts, and letters all marked "Dad". He also probably shouldn't have maintained a relationship with the kid by phone. I guess the guy just couldn't help himself.

Still, how gully is it for the chicks to now ask this poor guy for years and years of back child support? I mean, really, he helped these women obtain the ultimate gift: life. I am guessing this is probably more of a personal beef because the women just wanted this guy to give his specimen and get lost, while he's probably had second thoughts and tried to maintain a distant relationship with the kid.

That said, if these women can take him to court for child support, couldn't he also sue for custody? Perhaps I'm way off after just shoveling a crapload of snow off my driveway, but that seems pretty fair to me.

I invite my resident attorneys to weigh in on both of these seemingly frivolous lawsuits in the comments.

Hot Links:

Victim in Jena 6 Case Sues Over Beating [ABC News]

Mychal Bell Of Jena Six To Remain In Jail As Part Of Plea Deal: Report [MTV]

Sperm Donor 'Dad' Must Pay Child Support [ABC News]

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Robbing Banks To Pay Tuition?!? Negro Please.


There are dumb criminal stories, dumber criminal stories, dumberer criminal stories, then stories like this that really, really make you scratch your head.

Andrew Butler should be a junior at the University of Toledo, where the theater major would be starring in school plays, maybe one day headed to Hollywood or Broadway. Christopher Avery should be a sophomore at the University of Cincinnati, an engineering major with a lucrative career ahead.

Instead, the men are going to prison for at least 20 years because they tried to raise tuition money with two armed holdups last summer.

Avery, 22, of College Hill, and Butler, 20, of Milford, pleaded guilty Monday in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court to two charges of aggravated robbery and six charges of kidnapping.

Butler pleaded guilty to an additional charge of vandalism stemming from damage done to the Hamilton County Justice Center after his arrest.

"Why?" Judge Steve Martin asked the men, who had no criminal records. "You're in college, I don't understand."

Both men cited tuition.

Butler said tuition went up so his scholarships and financial aid were not enough.

"I was stressed out," he said. "I needed more money for college."

Avery said an internship at Kroger fell through, leaving no money for summer classes.

"I was strapped for cash," he said. "I thought I had nothing to lose."

The men said they faced two options: steal the money or drop out.
I'm on the fence about this one. Neither of these guys has prior run-ins with the law, yet they felt so strapped for tuition, they (unsuccessfully) tried to rob a check cashing joint, then ripped off a bank for $130K.

Part of me says I understand the plight here. Back in the day (we're talking decades ago) when I was in college, tuition at my HBCU was only about $800/semester. You could knock that out by pushing carts at Target every weekend, and still cop yourself an off-campus bachelor pad with money to spare for late night runs to Citgo for greasy chicken wings and 40's liquid refreshment. Of course, I was an in-state resident at this public college, and I stayed off campus. For my out of state friends, the financial situation was far more dire. They were literally paying 4-5 times more per semester, especially if you lived off the yard. Still, the quality of education was excellent, I graduated with 9 job offers, and I've gone on to do well enough in my career that I can carve out a spare 15 mins a day to blog on the job. I'd say my college experience was pretty good.

That said, times have changed. By the time AverageToddler matriculates to higher ed, we'll probably be looking at $50k+ a year if he goes to his mother's preferred destination (UPenn) or significantly less if he goes to my HBCU. But what's clear is that the days of being able to work and pay for school are long over. Higher education costs are far outpacing the rate of inflation. Note to all new parents, or parents period: Don't mess around, start that 529 today.

We'd all like to think our kid will either be a Über Scholar or have a wicked "J" to offset these tuition costs, but reality is, if you aren't putting away something for their education today, you're gonna pay big time tomorrow.

On the flipside, I really wish these guys had considered other options before going and "settin' it off". Couldn't they have applied for more financial aid, or gotten work study programs, or begged an NBA player for help? It's really a shame when it has to come down to that.

Then again, it's also entirely possible that these cats just hit that lick because they wanted some money for 24-inch rims and Red Monkey jeans, and their public defendant is just drumming up the "pay for tuition" excuse for sympathy. Robbing banks for tuition sounds about as logical and realistic as "stripping for tuition". Not that I know personally, of course. I'm just sayin'.

What do ya'll think? Did these brothers really pull a caper to pay for room and board or were they just trying to come up? Holler back in the comments.

[Editor's Note: If nothing else, I think this story underscores the relative bargain of HBCU's. These cats probably wouldn't have had to rob a bank had they gone to Central State U. HBCU's make college affordable for everyone, and while some of you may argue about the quality of education, I'd counter by saying that just like all majority institutions aren't equal, neither are all HBCU's. Some are crappy, some are great. But as a whole, they continue to provide a valuable service and a learning environment that is supportive for their core constituents. Oh, and Homecomings are the idd'ish too.]

Robbers: Tuition was motive [Cincy Enquirer]

Monday, December 3, 2007

NBC News To Black Women: "Never Let A Stripper Refinance Your Home"


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

Ok, so I promised after last week's skewering of NBC News' godawful African American Women: Where They Stand series that I'd stop watching the final segments, and wouldn't waste anymore bandwidth on this issue. Two problems however: 1) Hits were through the roof last week. 2) You guys asked me to. Who am I disappoint my loyal readers?

[Editor's Side Note: if you're a fellow blogger and have stolen my "black women, it sucks to be you" tagline, be sure to give me credit at least. Respect the architect.]

The final couple of segments were by-the-numbers and hardly enlightening. There was the bland and non insightful look into the power of the black female vote in South Carolina Friday. Apparently, NBC knows no better source of black intelligentsia than the beauty shop, so many of the viewpoints on this segment were shown from customers there. Note to Mainstream Media: despite whatever message Hollywood has given you about the importance of the black barber/beauty shop as the epicenter of black thought, I can reassure you, no substantive discussion has EVAR occurred there. Period. Unless you count T-Mac vs Kobe, and "how good was that bootleg" as serious critical examinations of the state of black America. Heck, I was there yesterday getting my Ceasar, so I can vouch for this. Conspiracy theories about the death of Sean Taylor? Check. The new Jay-Z album? Check. "The State of Black America"? Uhhm, not so much.

So, can we please kill the "beauty shop soundbytes tell the heart of Black America B.S." for the last time?

Anyways, they figuratively saved the best for last and ran a tired assed story about interracial dating, specifically how many black women are now turning to white guys because they're ostensibly so tired of black men not being about idd'ish. Cue the Something New clip, and more sobering statistics. Interestingly enough, the story centered around a black woman who had admittedly always dated white guys, which I thought more or less killed the alleged premise of the episode, since she probably never exactly "crossed over". But then again, it was the expected ending for a week of lazy assed reporting.

Love breaking racial barriers
Love breaking racial barriers [NBC News Video]


If you're really a glutton for punishment, there's some additional segments on NBC's series website, including an unintentionally hilarious bit about Black women in hip hop, starring Irv Gotti and Melyssa Ford.

My lasting impression of this series is that it was half-assed journalism at its worst. The stories were one-sided, sensationalized, and worst of all, classcist. All the segments seemed to conveniently focus on the professional black female perspective, but when men where critiqued, is was us as a whole. Why not explore some of the issues that lower classed black women have with dating, healthcare, politricks, and the workplace? I guess NBC was more interested in putting its best foot forward. It should have put its best foot somewhere else. But I'm sure last week's rating were through the roof with all the added notoriety, so let's not forget the obvious here: TV is all about ratings. Not objectivity. Not correctly reporting the facts. Not presenting all facets of a story. Nope.

It's all about the Nielsens baby.

I sure hope Raheema Ellis enjoys that Christmas bonus.

Curiously enough, since I left the Tivo Season Pass on for NBC Nightly News, I saw that there was yet another episode recording last night. And lo and behold, even though the Where They Stand Series is technically over, NBC couldn't resist throwing one more lick of salt in the proverbial black woman's wound by running a somewhat old story about a stripper turned CEO here in DC who bilked thousands out of their homes in an elaborate refinancing scheme.

Vulnerable homeowners target of scams
Vulnerable homeowners target of scams [NBC News Video]


NBC's story was decent, but I liked the story the first time I heard it, months ago in the Washington Post.
Joy Jenise Jackson glided down the aisle of the Mayflower Hotel ballroom wearing her handmade oriental silk wedding gown and tiara with Swarovski crystal rhinestones. Trailing her was a 42-foot train, it, too, adorned with bling.

The June 2006 reception was equally glitzy, captured, like the wedding, on video. Patti LaBelle serenaded Jackson, 39, a former exotic dancer turned mortgage broker, and her groom, Kurt Fordham, 38. Later, the video shows the couple and their 360 guests sipping Moet and Cristal champagne and dining on lobster and shrimp fried rice, followed by four wedding cakes. As gifts, the couple gave one of their attendants a Porsche, another a house, and a third a $10,000 check, wedding guests said.

The price tag for the nuptials, Jackson told friends, was nearly $800,000.

It was a fairy tale wedding born of a booming real estate market. But even as Jackson was basking in her platinum wedding, her dreams and those of hundreds of homeowners in the Washington area were crumbling around them -- just like the market.

Investigators and attorneys say it appears that Jackson paid for her wedding and her lavish lifestyle, in part, with money from an elaborate foreclosure rescue business she operated out of her Lanham-based Metropolitan Money Store Corp.

Last month, a class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of homeowners who say they have collectively lost as much as $60 million in home equity through her business.
While NBC's story really couldn't capture the Ghetto-Fabulousness that is Joy Jackson and the Metropolitan Money Store quite like the August story in the Post (a must-read), I couldn't help but notice the strange juxtaposition of the stories.

After a week of stories that mostly reflected well on the black woman (albeit at the expense of black men), I couldn't help but wonder just who thought it was a good idea to run this completely negative story to cap things off? I mean, this story isn't by any means new, there haven't been any new developments since it broke last Summer. There's a really good chance that the segment NBC News aired was actually old. So, again, I ask, what's up with the timing?

Black women, if you had any doubt, whatsoever, NBC really didn't give an idd'ish about where you stand.

Prince George's Fairy Tale Unravels For Woman at Center of Fraud Probe [WaPost]