Thursday, July 31, 2008

Marry Your Baby Daddy Day: Racist Or Laudable?!?


Lost in the shuffle of CNN's cluster, Black In America last week was a quick vignette about a New Yorker who is trying to singlehandedly reverse the sad state of Black marriage.

Maryann Reid, 31 and single, dreams of wedding bells. But not just for herself. She wishes they jangled more for her peers in the African-American community, where the marriage rate is 36 percent and 70 percent of children are born out of wedlock.

Statistics like these are what convinced Reid to take matters into her own hands: She has christened Sept. 27 "Marry Your Baby Daddy Day." An act of grass-roots social engineering, her effort to wed unmarried black couples who have children echoes efforts – by government, churches, and social welfare groups – to strengthen the institution of marriage.

The first Marry Your Baby Daddy Day, in 2005, was marked by an all-expenses-paid wedding at the House of the Lord Church in Brooklyn for 10 black couples with children. Ten more walked down the aisle at Manhattan's Riverside Church last September .

For each ceremony, Reid convinced dozens of local businesses to donate goods and services – such as designer dresses, bouquets, wedding cakes – $90,000 worth for the first mass wedding, and $125,000 for the second.

Reid and a volunteer wedding planner chose 10 couples from the New York area, following an interview process that included home visits in which they looked for evidence of a strong family life: orderly homes with personal space for the children, family photos on the wall, warm interactions between family members.

Reid has an unusual set of criteria for choosing her couples: They must have a proven track record of stability (some relationships go back 15 years) and they must already have children and live together. In short, they must have all the attributes of a good marriage, sans vows.
Some will undoubtedly look at this whole thing and say WTH? I don't personally like the terms BabyDaddy and BabyMama either, so I find that a wee bit tacky.

But on the other hand, isn't this a great idea? Here is a single black woman, who rather than wallow in the sorrow of not being married and chock full of babies by age 30, decides to channel that into some positive energy to try and help out others.

Besides, I've never understood how people can have babies together, co-habitate, and for some odd reason not get married. You've already bought the cow, so to speak. Why not complete the deal? Likewise, people who get engaged, and stay engaged for 5-6 years are equally puzzling. Piss or get off the pot!

Newflash Ladies!!!: If you've been engaged for more than 12 months and there's no wedding date set, guess what? He ain't tryin' to marry you! Cut it off, chalk up your losses and keep it movin'.

Perhaps more than anything else, I like that the program forces the couples to undergo extensive premarital counseling, as opposed to plunging them right into tasting cakes and heading straight to After Hours. As one who has both undergone premarital counseling, and taught premarital awareness classes, I think this initial step is sooo underrated. It doesn't guarantee success, but when properly done, at least it puts some topics on the table the couple might not have otherwise considered, much less discussed. You know, fail to prepare/prepare to fail, and all that good stuff.

Here's Reid discussing her program on Our World With Black Enterprise.



A healthy marriage is the closest thing to heaven on Earth. A bad one is the polar opposite. I applaud Maryann Reid for selflessly attacking this problem head-on and trying to provide healthy solutions for others, as opposed to wallowing in self-pity about what she doesn't have yet.

Question: What do you think of Marry Your Baby Daddy Day? Is this completely unnecessary or do you think it's a good thing?

Marry Your Baby Daddy [Official Website]

Activist Marries Unwed Parents [Christian Science Monitor]

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Now They're Blaming The Beige Negro For The War, Britney's Kids, and Rap Music Too!?!


Well, not exactly, but close enough.

Seriously, I am having a hard time keeping up with all these negative, and purposely distorted ads. Here's the latest in what will surely be many by the time November rolls around.



Obama didn't brush off the troops. The story is complex, but that's definitely not how it went down.

"Why do you think he didn't go?" Larry King asked Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on Monday night, referring to Sen. Barack Obama's scrubbed trip to visited wounded veterans at Landstuhl Hospital in Germany.

"I have no idea except that I know that according to reports that he wanted to bring media people and cameras and his campaign staffers," McCain said.

The part about wanting to bring the media is decidedly not true. There were never any plans for Obama to "bring media people and cameras." Never.

The issue was, according to sources in both the Pentagon and the Obama campaign, whether Obama could bring Air Force Maj. Gen. Scott Gration (Ret.), an adviser to his campaign.

After the Pentagon told Gration he couldn't come, since he was officially seen as a campaign staffer and not as a former military man, that's when Obama scrubbed the trip.
Nor did he brush them off and "make time to go to the gym" as this ad infers. Notice the stereotypical image of a loafing black man shooting a basketball in the background. Because what could be more stereotypically black than shooting basketball?

He actually spoke to troops in a gym in Kuwait, not Berlin as this ad infers, before taking a quick moment to shoot a flatfooted three pointer, which he just happened to make on the first try.

No, really.



I wouldn't exactly call that brushing someone off and "making time to go to the gym".

Furthermore, if McCain cares sooo much about our troops, why did he vote down the GI Bill a few months back, and miss every hearing for the past two years of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Afghanistan? Obama can't hold a hearing on Afghanistan, being that he's on the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Europe.

Afghanistan isn't in Europe, last time I checked.

Maybe McCain should try doing as he says before he blames others for inaction.

Seriously, I knew the attack ads were coming sooner, rather than later. With the Olympics on the horizon, the race for the White House is about to take the backburner, so I guess this is Cotton Hill's awkward grasp at gaining some belated momentum. But is this really the way to go about it?

I thought McCain himself said he'd be beyond this sort of politricks.

Then again, desperation makes people do some truly odd things.

Like this other new ad that links Obama to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. No, seriously.



And they also made Barry throw rapper Ludacris under the bus for this recent freestyle. No, seriously.



Spool32 and Daedalus, please tell me ya'll don't approve of such gutter tactics.

John McCain is thisclose to ending up on a future edition of People I Strongly Dislike.

Question: Do you think the McCain campaign is making a mistake by going negative so early? Attack ads have proven to work in the past, but do you think the America public is truly fed up with them?

McCain Camp Continues Unsubstantiated Inconsistent Attacks on Obama Over Germany Trip [ABCNews]

McCain Ad Links Paris Hilton, Britney Spears To Obama [HuffPost]

Ludacris Obama Video Denounced [HuffPost]

A Jim Crow Apology? Could Reparations Be Next!?!


So, Conservative radio is all in a tizzy today about Congress' apology for slavery. You'd think the sky was falling, and Negroes were about to stage some sorta coup.

The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a resolution apologizing to African-Americans for slavery and the era of Jim Crow.

The nonbinding resolution, which passed on a voice vote, was introduced by Rep. Steve Cohen, a white lawmaker who represents a majority black district in Memphis, Tennessee. While many states have apologized for slavery, it is the first time a branch of the federal government has done so, an aide to Cohen said.

In passing the resolution, the House also acknowledged the "injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow."

"Jim Crow," or Jim Crow laws, were state and local laws enacted mostly in the Southern and border states of the United States between the 1870s and 1965, when African-Americans were denied the right to vote and other civil liberties and were legally segregated from whites.

The resolution does not address the controversial issue of reparations. Some members of the African-American community have called on lawmakers to give cash payments or other financial benefits to descendants of slaves as compensation for the suffering caused by slavery.
Cohen, just in case you're wondering, succeeded Harold Ford in TN, and is up for re-election this year. So, yeah, there's prolly some political trickery going on here. This resolution is little more than a symbolic gesture. But ultimately it's little more than words. It won't change anything.

I can only surmise that much of the fear and controversy here is people assuming that reparations can't be far behind. You and I both know that unless black people controlled every single seat in the House and Senate, plus the White House, that could never happen. And it will never happen. And I'll go one step further and say it should never happen.

Reparations for slavery won't solve any of Black America's real problems. It is the root of many of them (self hatred, disconnected families, deepseated anger), but it won't solve any.

If Congress wanted to put some weight behind this calculated apology, they could do something to rectify the way schools are funded. There's no reason why inner city schools are literally crumbling[1], but those in the burbs (like where I live) are brand spankin' new. That sole inequality (tying school funding to the local tax base) is one huge issue they could tackle if so moved. But this will never happen of course.

Today, America's real racial problem is white privilege, something whites have the privilege of not even knowing it exists. I'd like to see some sorta apology and call to action for this. Of course, I'm not holding my breath.

Question: What do you think of Congress' apology for slavery and Jim Crow? What's your general feeling about reparations?

House apologizes for slavery, 'Jim Crow' injustices [CNN]

[1] And yes, I know, DC has the highest per-pupil funding rate in the country. But you and I both know that money never makes it to the schools themselves.

People I Strongly Dislike: Bluetooth Earpiece D-Bags


I travel a lot with my job, which means I often find myself in the proximity of lots of other "businesspeople". Whether in the airport, a hotel lobby, or restaurant, there's always that one dude who just talks too darned loud on the cell phone.

Sometimes, I wonder if these people talk loud intentionally just to let you know that they've got a really important job and need you to know that by proxy they're important.

I guess these folks never got the memo that talking loud and sharing the intimate details of your business deal with 40 of your closest friends doesn't make you important. Nope, it makes you a total and complete Douchebag.

Even worse is the guy who puts his cellphone on speaker (presumably to free his hands so he can write, tie his Kenneth Coles, or play with himself) while conducting his important, but not really important call. Many an airport catnap has been interrupted by this species of Travelling D-Bag, as he berates his Administrative Assistant for not correctly filing his expense report. The nerve of those minions.

However, as technology has improved, so has the cellphone itself, culminating in the ultimate killer-app for travelling d-bags worldwide. That's right, the Bluetooth Earpiece.


Now, the Travelling D-Bag doesn't even have to hold a phone to his ear and talk loudly to let you know he's more important and more better than you. He can just clip this baby on his ear and floss hands-free.

I won't even fake, I have a Bluetooth earpiece that I sometimes use with my BlackBerry. It does come in handy when you're in the comfort of your own car, but otherwise it's pretty silly. It looks dumb and sounds dumberer to see a grown man channeling some random Star Trek character. Just hold the friggin' phone already.

Of course, this hands-free phenomenon results in some very odd social interactions. Travelling D-Bag will appear to be talking to himself (about expense reports) as if he's some homeless dude until you get up close to him or peep the earpiece in his other ear. And now T D-B thinks it's acceptable to conduct a staff meeting while au toilet, which is just nasty on so many levels. No conversation can be that important. Droppin' a deuce is important. Expense reports are not.

Maybe the fine folks at Bose can come up with D-Bag cancelling headphones.



Question: Do you dislike these BlueTooth Earpiece D-Bags as much as I do? How abou the garden variety Travelling D-Bag?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What Will They Blame The Beige Negro For Next?!?


So, lemme see, McCain is more or less saying Obama is the reason why we're paying $4/gallon for gas. Never mind the fact that Bush didn't raise the restriction on offshore drilling until a few weeks ago. Nope, simply by proxy of being on the other side of the arguement, Obama catches the blame for all things oil related.

{sniff sniff} What's what smell? I think it's desperation.



And here's some context.

Sen. John McCain today dramatized his support for offshore oil drilling by inspecting oil pumps in a brown, dusty field here far from the ocean.

McCain last week was thwarted in his efforts to visit an oil rig off the Louisiana coast by Hurricane Dolly. The chief attribute of the Red Ribbon Ranch oil field, where the senator met with representatives of California oil producers, appeared to be its proximity to the Seven Oaks Country Club, where he held a lunchtime fundraiser.

McCain and his wife Cindy looked at oil pumps that produce about 1,100 barrels a day, and he again criticized Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama as a "Doctor No'' for opposing McCain's agenda of offshore drilling, expansion of nuclear power and a gas tax holiday to help combat the nation's energy woes.

"Offshore drilling is something we have to do. I'm sorry Senator Obama opposes it,'' McCain said. "He is the Doctor No of America's energy future.''
First of all, who in the ham sammich is Doctor No?

I had no idea, so I googled it. Turns out Doctor No is some James Bond movie from the early 60's. No, seriously.

Note to McCain: You might wanna update your insults. Doctor No is verrrrrryyyy 20th century. What are you gonna call him next? A nincompoop? A willy nilly? A rapscallion? Please, mix in some MTV with your Matlock and Golden Girls reruns.

But here's the really messed up thing: I actually agree with the GOP on this issue. I see no reason whatsoever why we shouldn't drill offshore to increase the capacity of American oil. Screw a whale, save my light bill instead. Of course this is a more longterm solution, but it's a solution nonetheless.

And for the record, while Obama is against offshore drilling, he's not against drilling entirely. Not that this ad bothered to explain that nuance.

But in classic GOP fashion, they use a 9 inch nail where a pushpin would have done just fine. How freakin' insane is it to blame Obama for our current gas prices? What massive screwup are you gonna blame him for next? The Hindenburg? New Coke? Meet Dave? The drafting of Kwame Brown?

Hmmmm, I wonder who the GOP will blame when they lose in November.

Question: Do you agree with offshore drilling? Do you think Obama is to blame for oil prices? Can I also blame him for the drafting of Kwame Brown?

McCain Links Obama and High Gas Prices [NYTimes]

At Inland Oil Field, McCain Again Offers Support for Offshore Drilling [WashPost]

Barack Hussein Obama II vs The United States Of America.


Something finally occurred to me this weekend as I was perusing the Sunday morning talk shows.

On Whatever Fox New's Show With Chris Wallace Is Called, they spent 55 minutes talking smack about Barack Obama and how his trip to Europe was arrogant[1], premature, patronizing and a threat to American security. They called his historic speech in Berlin a massive photo-op, and even made a point that the last person to pull those sorts of crowds in Germany was a pretty sinister guy himself. Oh, and they capped the show off by spending 5 minutes grovelling about how John McCain didn't get any press all week and how the media was in the tank for Obama.

Ditto on The Chris Matthews Show, which was one big Obama lovefest. Same for Meet The Press, which actually had Obama as a guest. I didn't even bother watching The McLaughlin Group.

The past couple of months have taught me something about John McCain. Nobody is talking about him, because nobody cares about him. He brings no new ideas to the table. He is not exciting. You'd be hard pressed to convince me that he's going to change my life for the better in any significant fashion.

Besides, the guy flips more than Dominique Dawes. There was affirmative action. The King holiday. FISA. Courting evangelicals. Privatization of Social Security. Bush's tax cuts. Offshore drilling. Abortion. Campaign finance reform. Gay adoption. Torture. Bob Jones University. Ethanol. The Confederate flag. Defense spending. The estate tax.

But this guy's supposed to be a firm, disciplined leader, huh? I dunno, but he sorta kinda seems like an empty-suited opportunist to me.

Dirk Nowitzki is a Maverick. Jerry Stackhouse is a Maverick. Jason Kidd is a Maverick.

John McCain ain't no Maverick.

That said, it's clear from anyone listening to talk radio, watching the news, or simply overhearing any level of Conservative discourse that this year's race isn't about getting their guy into office, it's about keeping that potentially evil Beige Negro out.

That's right folks. Barack Hussein Obama II[2] ain't running against John Sidney McCain III.

Nope, Barack Hussein Obama II is running against the United States Of America.

He's running against Ron Artest. Bobby Brown. Terrell Owens. Sharpe James. Malcolm X. DMX. Louis Farrakhan. Latrell Sprewell. Willie Horton. Eldridge Cleaver. Rae Carruth. John Brown. Nat Turner. Dennis Rodman. Ray Lewis. Bobby Cutts. William Jefferson. John Allen Muhammad. Marion Barry. Ray Nagin. Bill Campbell. Kimbo Slice. Bigger Thomas. Isaiah Thomas. Larry Davis. Wayne Williams. Robert Kelly. Marcus Garvey. Jesse Jackson. Clifford Harris. Stokley Carmichael. Jeremiah Wright. Chad Johnson. OJ Simpson. Al Sharpton. Mike Tyson. Darryl Strawberry. Michael Vick. The random mailroom Negro who stole that iPod. That random Negro suspect on last night's 6 o'clock news.[3]

In short, he's running against America's preconceived notions of what and who a black man should, and should not be.

I firmly do not believe that this is a country full of racists. I just don't. Have I experienced racist treatment in my thirtysome years? Absolutely. But more often than not, I've simply experienced cultural ignorance. The sort of cultural ignorance that makes others skeptical of you the moment they see your face. The sort of cultural ignorance that follows you around the store. The sort of cultural ignorance that makes you have to work twice as hard to get half as far. The sort of cultural ignorance that assumes you got where you did in life simply because you're Black, which as any Black person knows, is the dumbest sh*t ever uttered.

Are some people withholding their support from Obama because they're racist? Sure, but these folks are likely in a very small minority. Many of them simply can't wrap their minds around giving a Black man The Most Important Gig Evar™ because of the same cultural ignorance. The sort of cultural ignorance that assumes a Black man with a funny name must be secretly evil. The sort of cultural ignorance that takes an educated Black man who came from humble beginnings and somehow reduces him to a stereotypical elitist. The sort of cultural ignorance that assumes a Black man can't possibly be smart enough for such a gig. The sort of cultural ignorance that somehow paints this Black man as a racist by proxy because of something his pastor said out of context a decade ago. The sort of cultural ignorance that will emphatically not disappear between now and November 4th.

This is all very true, and all very sad.

I wish Barack Obama the best. I have, and will continue to support him financially, on this blog, and as a volunteer. But until we as a country can be honest and forthright about our history of skepticism towards people of color in general, and Black people specifically, even an Obama victory won't mean anything symbolically.

It will simply mean America made the right choice on November 4th. Not that we're somehow beyond the wrong choices of the past.

Question: Do you agree that Obama is more or less running against the historical stereotypes of Black men? Is there any single thing he can do between now and November to minimize the effect of this?

McCain’s flourishing flip-flop list [CarpetbaggerReport]

McCain Sets a New Record: 10 Flip-Flops in Two Weeks [Crooks and Liars]

Master List of McCain Flip Flops [Mugsy's Rap Sheet]

[1] Could someone please explain to White America the difference between arrogance and swagger?!? Arrogance in smug condescension that screams "I'm better than you!". Swagger is simply the quiet inner belief that you're the sh*t, despite what dem' haters might say. A Black man in America can't survive without some healthy level of swag, and I don't mean the kind that comes wrapped in pink furs and crispy Air Force Ones. Obama isn't arrogant. Obama drips swagger. Arrogance = Bad. Swag = Good. Nuff' said.

[2] I thought the general rules of naming ettiquette said you could only become a II once you had a boy child who was a III. Otherwise, you're just a Jr. for life. At least that's what I was told/read. I didn't formally become a II until AverageToddler (a III) was born. I was a Jr. till that point. What's with Obama just discarding decorum like that? Is this a Kenyan thing? Anyone care to explain?

[3] Did I forget anyone? You tell me and I'll add em'. AverageSis gets props for half of that list.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Affirmative Inaction.


You knew it was coming. The ever effective wedge issue. It worked in 2000 with abortion. It worked in 04' with gay marriage. So when personal slander doesn't work and the polls aren't budging, pull out the big gun and play the ole' reverse racism card.

Funny that this is the same Johnny B. Good who used to support affirmative action.

John McCain's comments on affirmative action led Obama to charge that he "flipped" his position.

Obama accused McCain on Sunday of flip-flopping on affirmative action after McCain said he supports a measure in Arizona that would dismantle race- and gender-based preference programs.

Obama pointed to McCain's past opposition to similar proposals, like one in Arizona in 1998 that McCain called "divisive."

But McCain didn't say at the time that he opposed the measure.

In an interview broadcast Sunday on ABC's "This Week," host George Stephanopoulos asked McCain if he supports a referendum on the ballot in Arizona "that would do away with affirmative action."

McCain said he backed the measure, which is described by supporters as something that will give "the people of Arizona the opportunity to end preferential treatment based on race, sex, ethnicity or national origin by state or local governments."

McCain said he had not seen the details of the proposal, "but I've always opposed quotas."

Obama on Sunday said equal opportunity can't be achieved by quotas alone, but must also factor in other variables.
I've said it here repeatedly, and I'll say it again: affirmative action may not be fair, but it's necessary. Affirmative action is not the same as racial quotas, which aren't even legal. But of course, most people still associate AA with giving an unqualified Black the job that a white person supposedly earned.

The really, really funny thing is that not only are white women the biggest beneficiaries of affirmative action, but Johnny Mac is a well known recipient himself. Don't forget, this cat essentially got into the US Naval Academy on legacy points, which happen to be the oldest form of AA this side of pure unadulterated nepotism. You could argue that he screwed a more qualified candidate out of that slot. And you might be right, considering the fact that dude finished 894th out of his class of 899. That's right, 5th from last.

I wonder if the Conservative judges Johnny Mac hopes to elevate to the Supreme Court plan on getting rid of legacy points too. Unlikely.

None of this matters of course. All that matters is that your wedge issue is out there, giving skeptical whites one more very real reason to not pull the lever for Barry. Because who the hell wants to lose a job to an inadequate Black male in this economy?

They should just go ahead and remix the old Jesse Helms "hands" commercial, already.



Question: Do you think McCain's drive to eliminate affirmative action will be an effective wedge issue in the Fall?

Candidates oppose quotas, but offer no fix for affirmative action [CNN]

Caption This Photo.


Best caption wins something or other. Okay, who am I kidding, my kid is starting daycare next week, so I'm broke. Best caption isn't winning jack but bragging rights.

Anyways, gimme your best captions. We'll see who wins.

Hotel Liberia?!? Does AB Owe Bob Johnson An Apology?


Anyone who's been around this site for any amount of time knows I'm not incredibly fond of BET Founder Bob Johnson. While you could debate the merits (or lack thereof) of BET's content for days, the paradox is that Johnson is also a successful businessman who has perfected the art of "working the system" to the tune of billions. And there's something confusingly good about that.

Then again, just when you think you've got the guy pegged, he turns around and does something head scratching like this.

Monday Bob Johnson plans to unveil it to potential investors and guests the RLJ Kendeja Resorts & Villas. It will be an $8 million, 85-room, four-star resort on the Atlantic coast of northern Africa, near the capital of Liberia. Whatever images the world might have of an impoverished country that is still trying to recover from 13 years of civil war, Johnson wants this project to provide a new one.

"There is no hotel in West Africa like this," he says, sitting straight-backed on the edge of the bed in a crisp blue suit. "This will be a Class-A beachfront property, with great views from the bar and restaurant out to the ocean. This really is going to be something."

Johnson is unreservedly enthusiastic about being the first to take on such a risky, upscale project in a country that has not seen a new hotel room built in 20 years. Slated to open in March, with rates of $150 to $200 a night, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is expected to host the first guests. And, if all goes as planned, she will be followed by ambassadors, multinational corporate executives, foundations and others looking to fuel Liberia's growth.

Ground was broken in March, and with a labor force of 500 Liberian workers, Johnson said, it should be done within 12 months.

Back home, Johnson plans to host energy, airline and mining executives, diplomats and potential investors at the hotel room in Bethesda, to talk about the project and raise their interest in setting up operations in the country.

"This is a philanthropic effort that will make money," he said. Those returns, he said, will help spur reconstruction of the country's schools, roads, hospitals, utilities and businesses.
I'll be the first to admit, I'm incredibly ignorant when it comes to issues of the diaspora, and I don't know a hill of beans about Liberia. Still, it's hard not to see this as a good thing. Johnson is taking a calculated risk and putting his name, money, and reputation on the line to try and address some of the very real economic issues in the motherland. That's to be applauded, right?

I guess if nothing else, this once again goes to show the danger in painting a person in absolutes (ie: a "bad" guy or a "good" guy), something I admittedly do waaay too much on this blog myself. Sure, Johnson is a jerk. Those stereotypical comments about Obama last Winter were so uncalled for. His racial stiffarming of the NBA into giving him a franchise, only to run it into the ground by operating it on a shoestring Mom and Pops budget wasn't a good look either. And let's not even get started on BET.

That network has set Black folks back about as far as that one time Vivica A. Fox was on Celebrity Jeopardy.[1] Seriously.

But, unless I'm totally misreading it, this shows that the guy, in addition to wanting to make money, seems to have some modicum of a heart. Right? Because let's be honest, if this were Denzel, or Magic Johnson, or Jay-Z, or Lebron, or Oprah, or anyone else beloved in Black America, we'd see this as a great thing. So why isn't it also a great thing when we don't particularly care for the person doing it?

I can't believe I'm typing this, but Bob Johnson is actually about to get a JJB Says "Well Done".

Is the world coming to an end? Did I miss that memo?

Question: How do you feel about Bob Johnson's Hotel Liberia? Does it change your perception of him?

Liberia's New Lap of Luxury [WashPost]

[1] Please tell me I'm not the only one that saw this.

Poll Position: Cornell West Is The New King Of All Blacks.


Last week here at AB.com, we talked about the need for the media to find a new mouthpiece for Black America, in light of Jesse Jackson's final, permanent fall from grace. Rather than allowing the MSM to choose this person for us, I suggested that we nominate a new King Of All Blacks here at AB.com, with hopes that some clueless newbie at the New York Times might pick up on our choice instead.

The people of AverageNation™ have spoken. The results are as follows.


What can I say, this poll was fatally flawed from the start. I didn't seriously mean to put my name in there, it was really just a joke. But some of ya'll actually pulled the lever for AB.com and as a result, the final numbers were skewed. So in the interest of serious discourse, I'm effectively tossing any vote tallied for me out. Sorry for the Systematic Disenfranchisement.

That leaves a very perplexing winner, Dr. Cornell West. I'll admit, while West's shtick used to be a pretty cool novelty, somewhere after that Matrix cameo, I started to sour on him. The man sometimes (like many other KOAB nominees) seems to be talking just to hear himself speak. He has a lust for polysyllabic words, which I like when we're talking about rappers, but for the KOAB, this just won't cut it. You need to get what you're saying out succinctly and to the point. This is something Dr. West has seemingly yet to figure out.



Sooooo, town hall talking head? Sure. Author of thought provoking intellectual tomes. You betcha. But KOAB? I'm sorry ya'll, I just don't see it.

But then again, I only had one vote.

Actor Hill Harper and chronic Intellectual Masturbator™ Michael Eric Dyson tied for a distant second. I like Harper a lot, but dude is an actor, so technically, since I wasn't putting any entertainers on the list (you'll notice no Tom Joyner or Michael Baisden either) he shouldn't have been included. Still, he's got some ideas worth hearing. Dyson on the other hand, suffers from a lust of $5 words that often amount to little other than applause.



My personal choice (Roland Martin) didn't show very well, which is a bit surprising considering the fact that dude has really held it down this year on CNN. Others who did well, but not well enough include the always interesting Melissa Harris-Lacewell, rapper Nas, Congressional candidate and reality show alumnus Kevin Powell, and (shocker) rapper David Banner, who proves that some of my readers do indeed have a sense of humor.

So, congrats to Dr. West, I suppose.

This Week's Poll is a lot less weighty, but serious bidness nonetheless. In the pantheon of all time great hood' snacks, there must be one that stands above all others. Vote early and often you-know-where.

Question: Do you agree that Cornell West should be the new KOAB? Are you surprised that Roland Martin didn't do better? Who the heck actually voted for David Banner?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Is The MSM In The Tank For Obama?!?

Cotton Hill McCain and Co. seem to think so...



[Editor's Note: Apparently the McCain Campaign pulled the very ad they put up themselves when there was a backlash. Thanks to the magic of YouTube, it's still out there. For now. Watch this astounding example of whining hateration before it gets completely pulled from the internet.]

John McCain's 'Obama Love' fund-raising video was a hit on the web this week, so it's a surprise to find that it's been zapped from the campaign's YouTube channel.

According to Unruly Media's viral video tracking service, the McCain campaign's 'Obama Love' video was the hottest presidential candidate viral video on the web this week.

Nevertheless, the video has been removed from YouTube. The fund-raising videos also appear to have also been removed from the campaign's web site.

Unruly Media reports that the video has been viewed almost 260,000 times since its release Tuesday.

That makes it one of the McCain campaign's most successful viral videos to date.
The official campaign spin is that this was a copyright issue with the song featured in this video. You and I know better.

Question: We'll discuss this in depth later in the week, but do you think the media is in love with Obama? If so, why?]

McCain Campaign Yanks 'Obama Love' Web Video [Wired]

My New Favorite Commercial Evar...

My New Second Favorite Commerical Evar!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Nasir Jones For VPOTUS!!!


I admittedly spend a lot of time here at AB.com talking smack about dumb rappers. Last week I apologized to Nas, because even though his N-Word manifesto was a dumb ploy to remain relevant, at least he did back it up with an album worthy of all the trouble. Untitled is a hands-down modern day classic.

This week, he kept up the momentum, joining ColorOfChange.org's push for censorship at Fox News. He also managed to stick to his prewritten script and not say anything particularly dumb.

About four hours after the announcement that his controversial, politically charged ninth album was number one in the country, Nas was on a small podium in front of Fox News headquarters in New York City protesting what he sees as racist attacks against Black Americans and presidential candidate Barack Obama.

In a brief prepared statement, the multi-platinum rapper pointed out examples of what he and ColorOfChange see as a long racist smear campaign against the Obama family: The onscreen graphic that referred to Michelle Obama as the Senator's "baby mama"; Bill O'Reilly casually using the phrase "lynching party" to refer to attacks on the Senator's wife; referencing to the couple's infamous fist thump as a "terrorist fist jab." Said Nas, "Fox poisons this country every time they air racist propaganda and try to call it news. This should outrage every American that Fox uses hateful language to talk about the person that may be the first black president."

The rapper stood next to 19 neatly stacked cardboard boxes, with the number 620,127 taped to the side of each one -- over 600,000 signatures gathered by ColorOfChange demanding that network president Roger Ailes "find a solution to address racial stereotyping and hate-mongering before it hits the airwaves." Fox rejected the petitions, but Brave New Films says that Comedy Central's The Colbert Report will accept them instead.
Here's the video of the protest.



Here's his subsequent appearance on The Colbert Report.



And the obligatory, clueless Bill O'Reilly rebuke.



Sure, this is all just another elaborate plot to sell albums, but let's give credit where it's due. As much as we criticize (rightfully might I as) some hip hop artists for being reckless and spreading ignorance, we should highlight them when they actually get something right.

Well done, Nasir Jones.

Rapper Nas Delivers Fox News Petition, Says Network Is "Scared" [HuffPost]

When ChickenHeads Attack!!!

I don't know who's the less annoying of the two, but I'd say Omarosa wins this cockfight by a feather. The scratching and clawing begins around the 4 minute mark.



Question: Who won this obviously orchestrated for ratings catfight?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sista, Where Art Thou? : The Missing Link In Critical Self-Thought About Black America.


[Editor's Note: This one's a doozy! You're probably not going to agree with me, and you're certainly entitled so your opinion. But read with an open mind if nothing else. Then flame me.]

Every month or so, there seems to be some sorta televised "Townhall Discussion on The State Of Black America". BET always is airing something or another about hip-hop's effect on black kids. T(r)avis Smiley's got his annual State Of The Black Union. And now, not to be outdone, CNN is diving headfirst into the sewer of Negro Dysfunction with it's own series, entitled Black In America.



The prelude to this series aired last weekend. It was your typical townhall discussion about how screwed up black folks (particularly men) are, and took place in New Orleans, the new Ground Zero for Negro Intellectualism. On the panel were the usual suspects: an academic (Cornell West in that same damn black suit), a preacher (TD Jakes), an entertainer (Tom Joyner), a journalist (Ed Gordon), and the token woman (the always brilliant Julianne Malveaux, spoken over repeatedly) to round out the bunch. And as expected, the show was little more than a feelgood hour of SoundByte Olympics™. Lots of $5 words were bandied about. Black men were singled out as the Root Of All Negro Evil. White folks and "the system" were blamed. And at the end of the 90 minute discussion, I walked away with no greater insight into exactly what the solutions are.

Like every other panel discussion, this one delved headfirst into everything that's wrong with black men. They don't want to get married. They make babies and don't support them. They get locked up and bring home AIDS. They don't take responsibility for what they create. Blah, blah, blah.

These are all very valid points, and I'd be the last one to catch feelings, given the fact that I more or less advocate the very same thing here daily. There is little doubt that we as black men need to get our collective sh*t together. This is an indisputable fact. No denying it. You won't hear any sorts of denials of that on this site. No siree Bob.

But what about the other side of the equation?

I know I'll probably lose some female readers here, but it needs to be brought (BRING IT!!) so I can't hold my tongue any longer. How about somebody on one of these shows challenges Black Women to make smarter, less emotion-driven decisions about whom they give the nookie to?

Yes, there are, have always been, and shall always be triflin' men (Negroes or otherwise). But blaming them for every societal ill misses the fact that it takes two to tango. Two to lay down and make a baby. Two to get married. Two to maintain a healthy marriage. Two to run a household. Two to make a family, at least as defined by the standard everyone seems to advocate.

By just continually calling out black men, yet treating women as perpetual victims, you're missing a huge chunk of that whole "shared responsibility" thing. Women are on average vastly smarter than men, but they sometimes choose to see what they want to see. Women have a far greater gift of discernment when it comes to relationships. They remember things better. So why let them off the hook if they're so much better equipped when it comes to sniffing out B.S.?

Let's keep it 100, ladies. You know you can tell if the Negro is sorry from the moment you meet him. You know that if he's already got three babies by five women, chances are you're just gonna become another harrowing statistic. You know that if he's got a crime record longer than Manute Bol, he is prolly not gonna be able to hold down a 9-to-5. You know that is he looks like a playa, walks like a playa, and talks like a playa, chances are he's a sorry, triflin' assed Negro. This is all common sense, yet so many women overlook this glaring evidence when it comes to choosing mates.

Yes, I know some men lie. Some of us are exceptionally good at doing so. But women are always smarter. They always know what's up. They just choose to see what they want to see.

Men in general do about 75% of what we do to attract the opposite sex. Wack Niggas do about 110% of what they do to attract the opposite sex. Wack Niggas will not evolve as long as they're rewarded (with cookies) for being Wack Niggas. This isn't too complex an equation, ladies.

In short, stop giving your cookies to Wack Niggas!!![1]

Think about it, Barack Obama got both applauded (by me) and reamed (by others) for challenging Black Men to step up during his recent Father's Day speech. This was completely necessary, and any dude who caught feelings about this needs to seriously check himself. But cunning as Barry is, there's no way in Holy Hades that Beige Negro would even remotely consider pulling such a stunt on Mother's Day. You know this and I know this. Because you just don't talk about nobody's Mama, and most Black women will be somebody's Mama during the course of their lifetimes. But that's a part of the problem that these shows, and black culture in general, seem to ignore for some odd reason.

Here's some real solutions for Black America.

  • Black men need stop being grown 16 year olds to stick around and raise the babies they make. Getting married ain't Kryptonite, so we might wanna try that out too.


  • Black women need get out their feelings and not prevent these men from being fathers, just because the relationship didn't work out.


  • The Black Church needs to quit worrying about building sanctuaries and focus on building families. This means more classes on healthy relationships, marriage, and parenting.


  • Black families need to raise their sons to understand that being a "playa" isn't what being a real man is about. Being a real man means being committed.


  • Black families need to raise their daughters to stop chasing flashy guys and focus on character.


  • Black families need to raise their sons to have character.


  • Black folks in general need to stop "hittin' that raw". Condoms are cheap and easy to find. Use em'.


  • Black men who've "made it" need to give back.


  • Black people without kids need to help someone who has some.


  • Black people with common sense need to help those without.


  • If there's one thing black folks are good for, it's talking. Fixing? Uhhh, not so much. And shows like this, which seem to be little more than Intellectual Masturbation™ really trouble me, because for all the brains and fame these panels usually include, there's seldom, if ever any definitive takeaways for the audiences to implement. There's just lots of good "talkin", lots of applause, and plenty more questions than answers. And as a result, we stay losing.

    Nope, no solutions. Just plenty of pontificators "gettin' off", thus the photo above, in case you were looking for context.

    So, I prolly won't be doing any recaps of CNN's Black In America, because I've frankly got better things to do, like being a husband and father and generally making sure I'm more of the solution than the problem. And who the hell wants to sit around watching more and more bad news about Black folks? Shouldn't any black person with a brain already know most of this stuff by now? Aren't Black people more or less born knowing this stuff? So since we're putting our worst foot forward, I wonder exactly whom this show is for? It's clearly not to educate, inform, or challenge Black America to grow. So it must be for White America to watch, and gawk at, and further ingrain the same negative stereotypes about Negro life in America.

    Sorry, but I can't bother watching any more of this crap until we can be totally honest about the issues that plague Black America, not just pandering to see who can get the loudest applause.

    I hope that Emmy was worth it, Mrs. O'Brien.[2]

    Question: Did I just lose half of female AverageNation™? Were my points about the victimization of Black women anywhere in the ballpark, or is AB.com just a piece of sexist propaganda? Did you watch Black In America? Did it "need to be brought?"

    CNN Presents: Black In America [CNN.com]

    [1] I hate using that word, but sometimes it's the only one that's appropriate. Forgive me if you're as squeamish about this sorta thing as I am.

    [2] BTW, I didn't even watch this crap, but I told ya'll about Soledad "color-me-mine" O'Brien months ago. But you ain't wanna hear me though. Now ya'll mad. Hmmmm.

    Thursday, July 24, 2008

    Can We Just Agree That Both Of These Covers Suck?


    Some will call this turnabout/fairplay, but to me, this new takeoff on the Obama New Yorker cover is just equally silly.

    Is there some truth to this one? Sure. CindyMac had a well-documented drug problem. PapaMac is about 108 years old. That in and of itself separates it from the Obama cover, which was pure fiction.

    But neither is right. I really, really wish that at some point in the future, political discourse could grow beyond this sorta foolishness. For all the talk about change espoused by the Obama camp, reality is American Politricks is a stubborn institution and this sorta nonsense is prolly going nowhere anytime soon.

    And that's a shame. I think Obama has done a good job of staying on topic and not waddling in the muck all year, especially given some of the tactics played against him during the race for the Democratic nomination. PappyMac has also done a good job of staying on course and not "going there". But the fact that he allows his minions to do his dirty work for him, without much correction is troublesome to say the least. Before you say it, I already know. Smear tactics are hardly the sole province of the GOP, but still.

    Peep this latest nonsense outta SC.
    A Republican state senator's Web site portrayal of likely Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden as separated by "just a little B.S." has riled Democrats.

    Sen. Kevin Bryant of Anderson said the intention of his "funny picture" was to trigger a discussion of what he considers Obama's lack of foreign policy experience and soft position on defending Israel against Islamic states and their terrorist clients.

    "And it worked," he said.

    Democratic state senators, through their spokesman Phil Bailey, said the posting is offensive and has no place in politics. Bryant said he doesn't agree, "but if you've looked at the blog, some of the posters seem to think so." Many of the 40 comments on the blog early Tuesday afternoon were sharply critical.

    He plans to take the item down but will leave a link for those who want to view it, Bryant said.
    Here's the offensive photo.


    Shouldn't grown assed men have more important things to do with their time that cobble together lazy PhotoShop smear jobs?

    Ooops. My bad.

    Anyways, as much as I wish juvenile aspect of American politics would go the way of the Betamax, something tells me it's not changing anytime soon, and that's a shame.

    And they wonder why people don't bother voting.

    Question: Do you think it's possible for politics to move beyond politricks as usual? If so, how? Has the Obama campaign done any underhanded grease talkin' of this sort that I've somehow missed?

    Dems not amused by S.C. senator's 'funny' Obama picture [GreenvilleOnline]

    So Much For Obama's Hispanic Problem


    All that overanalysis of Obama's lack of traction with Hispanic voters during the Spring obscured a tiny fact: Hispanics typically vote Democratic, regardless of who's on the ticket.

    Democrat Barack Obama has opened a big lead among Hispanic voters, winning support from the vast majority of those who had voted for rival Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic primaries, according to a poll released Thursday.

    The national survey, conducted by the nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center, showed that 66 percent of Hispanic registered voters supported Obama, compared to 23 percent for Republican John McCain. The other 11 percent were undecided.

    More than three-quarters of Latinos who had voted for Clinton now say they are for Obama. Clinton carried the Hispanic vote, an important Democratic constituency, by about a 2-1 margin in the primaries.
    Can we kill that "Hispanics won't vote for a black guy" nonsense for once and for all? Sheez.

    Question: Do you think these latest polling results will carry over into November's general election or is this just more paralysis by analysis?

    Latinos Show Love for Obama [NewsOne]

    Ask An AverageBro: The Mailbag


    [Editor's Note: Awhile back I introduced a new feature here called Ask An AverageBro. It was posed' to be my version of a "mailbag" feature that would run frequently. I got quite a few questions initially, then totally forgot about the whole thing until recently. So, some of today's AverageNation™ questions may seem slightly outdated. I'll get the hang of this sooner or later, but feel free to drop your question or comment for next time if so moved. Reader questions are in bold. My answers are not.]

    ---
    I love your blog and feel honored, as a "whitey," to be part of your discussion. Many of the topics have inspired me to participate, but I always wonder how you feel about your white audience giving their two cents. I am one of those white guys who has a profound love of Hip Hop and also it's important to me to stay informed about Black culture (because I love its wealth) and also so as not to perpetuate a racial stereotype I might have. I have a theory that no one is 100% non-racist-- by nature of our lack of knowledge of others-- but I'd like to be as close as I can to 100% as a civic duty.

    Anyway, I think part of the problem with whites in America is that they don't just express their naivete and ask honest questions. So, I'm asking, what are topics that when whites chime in on, you roll your eyes, if any?Are you rolling your eyes right now?? For me, when I comment, there's a fine line between wanting to sound like a somewhat enlightened white guy whose spent a lot of time thinking about my place in a racist society, and just sounding like yet another ignorant white guy. I'd appreciate your thoughts- or better yet, a post. What I think I'm doing is inviting you to speak about race (because whites and the MSM are speaking so freely about it) but with whites as the minority for a change.

    Ezra
    Northampton, MA


    Speaking strictly for myself, and myself only, I just like people (and this has nothing to do with being black or white) who are open-minded enough to want to learn another person's perspective. If that sounds overly simplistic, I apologize, but it's really that easy. Just be willing to listen and attempt to put yourself in the other person's shoes. There's not really any more to it than that.

    ---
    Just saw your post of the Black Snob's piece on Juan Williams ...man, does she have Juan Williams, right on!!! But she treats him too kindly. Juan never seems to do anything that questions O'Reilly, Hannity, Limbaugh, or even Bush/Cheney. He acts as if he is scared of O'Riley. Williams pay checks drive him to be more like Armstrong Williams.

    This knee-grow, may have edited Eyes on the Prize, but his stuff is raggedy for the most part, and he seems to be getting sicker as he ages. However, he is not a fault for never understanding how the Average Bro., who grew up in the U.S. might feel. Juan doesn't really know much of this. His youth experience was based in Panama.

    Kojo


    I'm pretty much with you and Snobette on that one. I really used to like Juan Williams on America's Black Forum. He was the consummate professional, and didn't seem to impose his views on the guests, thus derailing the show. On Fox News, he seems like a totally different guy. The pressure of being "the only black guy" seems to have gotten to him. I guess eating lunch with Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity a few times might have that effect. I was unaware of his Panamanian upbringing. On an unrelated note, John McCain was also born in Panama. Hmmmmm.

    ---
    Hi AverageBro,

    I am joining Americorps in October. It's a national community service program (alot of people have never heard of it). I will be staying in Denver and traveling to different states from there. Im not sure which states I will be in. My biggest fear is racism. I have talked to black people in the program and no one has mentioned any really racist things happening to them. Still I can't shake the feeling that things may get ugly. Denver is not the most diverse place in the world and neither is the Americorps program for that matter, not to mention the states I may be traveling to. Im a very conscious black woman so I know that racism exist and I have some very strong views about it, but I have never experienced direct racism. No one has ever called me a nigger to my face or asked any stupid questions about my hair. My question is how do I handle racism if/when I encounter it. I found that cursing people out almost never helps the situation or changes their opinion (not that I'd feel the need to change someone's racist opinions). I could go the WWJD route and call them ignorant and walk away, but I don't know if I would be able to in my anger. I may be too shocked and mad to do or say anything. Anyway, how should I handle that situation should it come up? Thanks for listening.

    Hollat at cha llama.

    I've spent some time in Denver, and overall, it seemed to be relatively progressive. This advice is loaded with disclaimers, but I'd say 9.9 times out of 10, you're not going to run into any overt "nigga this, nigga that" racism unless you're off the beaten path. My general rule of thumb is simple: if it could cost me my job, I usually just suck it up. Dignity doesn't feed children, and it doesn't pay mortgages. Some stuff you just have to let ride. CYIN doesn't always pay, and it ain't usually necessary.

    There was this one time at band camp while on a business trip, I was riding around Utah with a couple of colleagues looking for somewhere to eat lunch quickly. So, we're driving past fast food spot after fast food spot, when suddenly my co-worker says "Hey, AB, what about Kentucky Fried? You like KFC, I know you do!" with lots of sarcasm. He and the other co-worker suddenly bust out laughing like it's some inside joke. It's one of those moments where I'm so dumbfounded I had no idea what to say.

    A few years later, by some miracle of modern science, this very same d-bag became one of my direct reports when I was promoted to manager. I showed his a$$ who liked KFC alright. Promotion, my drumstick.

    Anyways, if you're thoroughly confused by that answer, join the crowd. I guess what I'm saying is overall, just exercise caution and common sense if something jumps off.

    ---
    Discovered your blog in the last two weeks and I’m hooked! While I’m a little older than you (45), I find it uncanny how many of our points of view are aligned. I envy your talent at putting your thoughts on paper. Which brings me to my query. C.Y.I.N.? What’s the acronym? Google didn’t help (linked back to you). Look forward to hearing from you and reading your future insights.

    Ken


    CYIN stands for Channelling Your Inner Nigga. There's only so much a Corporate Negro can take before he just says "eff' it" and goes for broke. There's a million examples here on the website, including the landmark post where I introduced the term itself, as well as plenty of Case Studies of real life situations where notable Black folks CYIN's publicly, and the sometimes disastrous results.

    ---
    What is talking "greasy", please give me an example.

    Steven

    This one isn't technically my term, so I had to go look it up for you. Because I'm dedicated to accuracy like that.

    The Urban Dictionary defines "talkin' greasy" as...

    To speak disparagingly about another person. To say ill words behind someones back.

    There's a photo of Jesse Jackson right beside the definition, oddly enough. No, really.

    There's a million examples of that here on this site as well. Just peep the tag Negro Please for plenty of real life depictions.


    ---
    Can you do a review for Gs to Gents on MTV (if you find the time to watch with AverageToddler and all-I know the feeling too)?

    MissJay


    Although I don't watch MTV or BET, but I'm quite aware of the sorta stuff that goes on over there. MTV lost me after Making The Band, during whatever season that was with Babs and Chopper n'em. That show was so niggerishly over-the-top, I couldn't stop watching it. The only bad part about the show was Mr. Bentley himself.


    Seriously, what self-respecting black man carries umbrellas for another grown man? Weedcarrying? Fine in my book. Umbrellacarrying? Not so much. So sorry, but Derek Watkins Turns Fake-G's To Fake Gents is just not must-see TV in my book. I hope you'll forgive me.


    On a somewhat related note: Is it just me or does anyone else see an odd resemblance between Mr. Bentley and Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas?



    Ok, so maybe it's just me.

    ---
    I heard somewhere that you're actually white. Is this correct?

    JohnJay

    Yes.

    ---

    Got a question for AB? Wanna know what it's like being a white guy named AverageBro? Drop me a line for the next edition of Ask An AverageBro.

    Wednesday, July 23, 2008

    AB Bombs On NPR.


    Well, you know how the saying goes. You can't win em' all.

    How apropos, because on my monthly visit to NPR's News and Notes today, I pretty much struck out.

    I knew something was wrong from the moment I arrived at NPR's Mass Ave. studios (pictured above) and tried to get validated for parking. My Ethiopian brothers weren't tryin' to let a brotha park and validate as instructed. So I ended up blowing lots of energy and time on getting this ironed out, and barely made it to the booth for the start of the show.

    The show's usual host, Farai Chideya, was out on assignment today, so her replacement Tony Cox hosted. Dude's a consummate pro, so this is certainly no knock on him. But Farai and I have a nice little rapport developing. She knows I'm News and Notes' "keepin' it real" guy, and knows how to set me up perfectly for punchlines. Tony's great, but we don't have the chemistry, and it sorta showed.

    Continuing the baseball metaphor, I got to bat leadoff today. The fellow guests were Desmond Burton of Afronerd, and Aimee Laramore of A Work in Progress and Political Season, both great bloggers with sites you should peep.

    Our topics today were good, but didn't really lend themselves to my "shtick". We talked about racial codewords in Corporate America, the kerfuffle over Disney's The Frog Princess, and Ebony magazine's series of "Cool" covers. So as a result, I kinda came off as the goofy guy with poor punchlines surrounded by two very serious bloggers who were far more polished. It was not my finest hour.

    So much for my nomination as the new King Of All Blacks.

    Have a listen and judge for yourself. I'm going somewhere to cry in my cereal, now that Kashi is on sale again.

    Question: Did AB strike out royally or was this merely a base hit?

    Listen to The NPR News and Notes Blogger's Roundtable [NPR]

    Why The WNBA Stays Losing: Exhibits A & B


    Exhibit A: A few weeks ago, I talked about the WNBA's issues with traction and how one Candace Parker might be the league's ponytailed savior.

    Uhhh, yeah, so much for that one.

    Lisa Leslie and Candace Parker are the only players to have dunked in a WNBA game.

    On Tuesday night, they were involved in a skirmish — another occurrence more frequently connected with the men's game — at, of all places, The Palace of Auburn Hills.

    Parker was one of three players ejected, along with Detroit assistant coach Rick Mahorn, after the scuffle with 4.6 seconds left in the Los Angeles Sparks' 84-81 victory over the Shock. The melee started moments after Parker and Detroit's Cheryl Ford had to be separated after Ford fouled Parker.

    On the next possession, Parker got tangled up with Detroit's Plenette Pierson and fell to the ground. As Parker was getting up, Pierson hovered over the Sparks' rookie, who pulled her to the ground.

    Not only was this the site of the ugly Pacers-Pistons brawl in 2004 that involved fans, Mahorn also was involved in that melee. He was then a Detroit broadcaster and went into the crowd to try to pull Indiana's Ron Artest away from fans.

    "I was trying to protect the whole game, the integrity of the game," Mahorn said of Tuesday's ejection. "The WNBA is very special to me ... I would never push a woman. This game, I love this game too much."
    Whether intentional or not, Mahorn was outta line for pushing a woman. No way to spin that one, buddy. In a league obsessed with peddling Girl Power, there's no way video of a woman being shoved to the ground is gonna be taken in context. Period.



    Rick Mahorn, prepare to fall on the sword.

    Exhibit B: On a separate note, the league is so pressed for attention that they not only played a game outdoors the other night, but now they're pulling a 50 year old out of retirement to suit up for the injury ravaged Detroit Shock.

    No, seriously, somebody's grandma is about to (wo)man the post.
    The Detroit Shock have signed Nancy Lieberman to a 7-day contract according to an ESPN report. The 50-year-old Lieberman will break her own record for being the oldest player in the WNBA.

    Lieberman, a Hall of Famer since 1999 and currently an ESPN broadcaster, was 39-years-old when she played with Phoenix during the league's first year in 1997.

    The Shock lost Cheryl Ford when she tore her ACL Tuesday night during the brawl between her team and the Los Angeles Sparks. Later today the other suspensions will be announced for both teams.
    Enough alrady.

    Maybe the NBA should go ahead and end this experiment while they're still ahead.

    Question: For how many games should Mahorn be suspended? Do you think he intended to push Lisa Leslie or was he having a Bad Boys flashback? Is the signing of a 50 year old woman the ultimate "me too" publicity stunt or have you seen worse?

    Mahorn: Peacekeeper or pusher in WNBA fight? [USAToday]

    AverageBro Goes To The Movies: Triple Matinee


    [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.]

    [Editor's Note: This weekend's weather in DC was a bit too hot, so I stayed in and caught up on some Netflix viewing. Here's a brief review of my triple matinee.]

    Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins


    Martin Lawrence's career has been on the skids for some time now. Seriously, Black Knight? What's The Worst That Could Happen? Did we really need Big Momma's House II? He hasn't done anything of value since Bad Boys II, and we all know that was actually a Will Smith movie. So, when Roscoe Jenkins hit theaters last Winter, I resisted because the reviews looked like more coonin'. I haven't seen a trailer this bad since Friday After Next.



    The movie centers around a Dr. Phill-ish talk show host named RJ Stevens (Lawrence, sporting the same haircut since 1992) whose agent recommends that he and his Survivor-winning fiancee (the always-captivating Joy Bryant) go to RJ's family reunion in Georgia to film a reality show. The whole thing is about raising RJ's Q-rating, and while he's hesitant, his young son begs him into going so he can finally meet his grandparents. It seems RJ has gone completely Hollywood and hasn't been home in nearly a decade.

    The typical fish-outta-water stereotypes arise from the moment Roscoe arrives home. As somebody who grew up in the South and still loves it, I'm getting a big tired of these sorts of cliche'd black movies. Between Kingdom Come, The Fighting Temptations, Madea's Family Reunion, and this crap, you'd think all black people below the Mason Dixon eat fried possums and drink outta mayonaise jars. There may be some truth to that, but come on. I'm beginning to think there's some base level self-hatred in Black Hollywood (as it exists), because I know all these Negroes have grandmas in South Carolina.

    Even worse, this has be to the most hate-filled and mean-spirited "comedy" I've ever wasted precious minutes of my life on. The way Roscoe's family speaks to each other is filled with dysfunction and animus. Watching proud actors like James Earl Jones and Margaret Avery (Roscoe's parents) reduced to dishing out such ignorance is bad enough. Adding on the comedic talents of Cedric The Entertainer, Mo'Nique, Michael Clarke Duncan (whose arms look frightening), and Mike Epps just pushes this baby over the cliff. I haven't heard so many black women disrespected and called bitches since The Chronic. Who exactly thought this was a good idea?

    R.I.P. Martin's Career.

    You (was) so crazy.

    Final Verdict: Don't even waste a spot in your Netflix queue for this crap. Peep the bootleg in the barbershop. Or wait for TBS. It'll be there soon enough. 1 Star (out of 5)

    The Bank Job


    The more Jason Statham movies I watch, the more I wonder why this guy isn't a Hollywood action hero megastar. I mean seriously, peep the resume.

    The Transporter. The Transporter II. The Italian Job. Crank. War. Cellular. Collateral. The One. Snatch. Chaos.

    Eff' Ah-nold, this dude is The Last Action Hero.

    The Bank Job is a hiest film (surprise), but with a bit more of a back story than your typical action caper. Based in 1970's London, Statham plays a shady auto mechanic whose mistress presents him with a foolproof get-rich scheme to rob a bank's safety deposit boxes of millions in cash and jewels. Cobbling together a ragtag bunch of specialists, the team goes about digging a 40 foot underground tunnel right into the bank vault.



    The ancillary plot involves a black militant, corrupt cops, and politicians intent on keeping a royal family indiscretion secret. Somehow the plotlines all get confusingly intermingled, and in the end, you're left to wonder who exactly can trust whom?

    I wasn't too crazy about the British accents initially, but you figure them out after awhile. There's goo-gobs of sex and violence in this movie, so put the kids to bed first. But if you're down for an action packed heist flick, I strongly recommend The Bank Job.

    Final Verdict: Put this in your Netflix queue, like yesterday! 4 Stars (out of 5)

    Cloverfield


    I'm a horror movie junkie. Sci-fi? Not so much. So I didn't really know how to size up Cloverfield, an apocolypic monster movie set in modern day Manhattan. It doesn't matter how the movie is categorized, because the special effects are so off the charts, it's hard not to like, regardless of genre.

    Shot in handheld camera mode (think The Blair Witch Project meets Friends), Cloverfield (I still can't figure out the significance of the title) centers around a bunch of twentysomething Manhattan hipsters at a going away party (thus the camera). And you guys know just how much I love twentysomething hipsters. But just when you're ready to throw your BluRay player out the window, along comes the monster, and by golly, what a monster this thing is!!!



    Wowzers!

    The flick then switches to the twentysomething hipsters, as they try and rescue a friend, and escape the destructive wrath of the monster, with the tape rolling all along.

    I'm usually not too crazy about any movie shot on a handheld (even for artistic purposes, because this is no cheap movie), and even I'll admit that the results are sometimes dizzying. But the approach does add to the "what next?" fear factor, and since you're only given fleeting images of the monster, it all magically works. In the end, Cloverfield is more unnerving than it actually is scary, but if that sounds like your thing, you'll prolly like it either way.

    Final Verdict: Rent it and watch it on a really big TV with the volume up high. 3 and 1/2 stars (Out of 5)

    Question: Did you see any of these movies? What did you think? Is Martin's career toast? Why isn't Statham a bigger star? What does Cloverfield mean? Do you dislike twentysomething hipsters just as much as I do?

    Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins [Yahoo! Movies]

    The Bank Job [Yahoo! Movies]

    Cloverfield [Yahoo! Movies]

    Tuesday, July 22, 2008

    NOBITCHASSNESS?!? Anyone Care To Explain?


    I don't get out much, so I prolly missed the memo on these NOBITCHASSNESS shirts. But in the past week alone I have seen these shirts worn by:

  • A preteen standing at the bus stop.

  • A mother walking her three kids in the park.

  • A dude congregating in the parking lot of my church. I'm not sure whether he went in or not. I'm kinda hoping he did.


  • I'm assuming this is Diddy's new line of shirts, right? Seriously, are you telling me dude has gone from those silly, but sorta substantive VOTE OR DIE! shirts to this kinda drivel in just four years?

    Seriously, is this what's hot on the streets right now? Where's the sense of common decency? I'm assuming this shirt doesn't proclaim your inner BITCHASSNESS, but rather your lack thereof. Still, what's the sense in making a public announcement of such a gesture? Aren't there more worthy topics to trumpet to the world? If you're proud enough about something to wear it on a t-shirt, shouldn't it actually be something worth being proud of?

    I've got some ideas of my own. Peep these designs!






    Do better, Diddy. Or whatever you're calling yourself this month. MLK is cryin' inside.

    Question: You care to explain this whole NOBITCHASSNESS nonsense to me? I Googled the image itself, but I'll be darned if I'm chasing some explanation of this. Would you wear one of my shirts or Diddy's?