Saturday, February 28, 2009

D.T. The Great: Hero Or A-Hole?!?



Question: Is it fair for the school system to ask Mr. Taub to take down the videos, or does this violate his freedom of speech?

Joe The Author?!?

I guess I should lay off Joe "The Plumber" Wurzelbacher. Obama won. The guy's old news, and will be little more than the answer to a trivia question, if anything in the future. He stopped in DC the other day to hawk his book, and wouldn't you know it, nobody gave a sh*t.
Joe the Plumber (no longer a plumber; first name actually Samuel) popped into our town yesterday evening to sell his new book and to remind people that he's still a plain and simple guy. Mission accomplished, on at least one of his missions.

About 11 people wandered into the rows of seats set up hopefully in the basement of a downtown Border's bookstore to hear Joe speak. Joe addressed them from behind a lectern and with a microphone, but that seemed unnecessarily formal.

It's fair to say Joe's appearance at Borders at 18th and L streets wasn't eagerly anticipated. People just kind of shuffled over when Joe strode in with Thomas N. Tabback, the co-author of "Joe the Plumber: Fighting for the American Dream." Annie Hickman, a young woman whom Wurzelbacher called "sweetie" during a brief Q&A, was browsing when the PA announced that Joe was in the house. "I'm missing pottery class for this," she said.

Joe had something to say about hard work and having good values; it's probably in his book, but he said it bluntly and plainly. He has presence; he's solidly built, with a shiny bullet head, and large, workingman's hands. "I'm just your average guy," he said several times.

Joe says he plans to work in construction once his gig doing commentary for a conservative Web site runs out at the end of March. Plumbing? Not happening. "I show up on a plumbing job and the first thing someone's going to say is 'Joe the Plumber didn't do the job right,' " he said. "The next thing you know, it's on the national news. It would be naive to go back to it."

The only heat generated by Joe's appearance last night came when a young man named Jabari Zakiya recounted great moments in American racism (slavery, annihilation of Native Americans, segregation, etc.) and asked Wurzelbacher if the "hegemony" of the white man in America is "doomed" now that five states and the District of Columbia have majority minority populations.

Joe replied that he believes "our American heritage is being torn apart" by flag burners, critics of the military, and those who mock Christian values. He expressed his admiration for patriotic immigrants, and said he dislikes terms like African American and Asian American ("We're all Americans," he said). For some reason, he concluded by saying, "America has always been a kick-butt, take-names kind of country."

Wurzelbacher was scheduled to speak and sign books for three hours, but the Joe Show was over in 55 minutes. Total copies of "Joe the Plumber" sold: five.
To be perfectly fair to Joe, it's easy to see why he might strike out in a town like DC.[1] The weather wasn't good here this week. It's a liberal town. There's too much other stuff going on. Awww hell, who am I kidding? Nobody would buy a book by this moron, period.

The irony here? Since Joe is "planning to work in construction", Obama's Stimulus Package will prolly help him more than anything McCain could have done.

Just lovely.

Question: How ironic is it that Joe is going to benefit more under Obama's Presidency? What would you do with 15 minutes of inexplicable, un-asked-for fame?

Joe the Author, Plumbing New Lows in Interest [WashPost]

[1] Although it should be noted, his booksigning during CPAC was nearly as empty. Chew on that.

Ouch!!! - NBA Style.



Friday, February 27, 2009

AB.com Guest Post: Black History Month Tragedies.

[Editor's Note: Yep, it's Thembi-time.]

Black History Month falls into that category of “things I’d like to re-purpose to fit my selfish needs.” The concept of having a month dedicated to any history at all follows the delusional thinking that the rest of the year is spent celebrating knowledge, something that America rarely does in bulk. Breast Cancer Month is a slightly different type of observance that is more along the lines of what February should be for the black cause - more “doing stuff” and less “thinking about stuff.” Even when you break down the phrase “Black History Month,” you get a bunch of ambiguous terms - “black” has been a troubling definition for the past hundred years or so, as my pop culture quiz demonstrates “history” has no easy start and end point, and the “month” means little more than when the rent is due again.

As sick as it makes me when the racists disguised as “we’re all equal,” freedom-fighters speak out against the notion of a month dedicated to black history while ignoring Women’s History, Hispanic Heritage, or Native American Heritage Months, there is plenty of ridiculousness to be found in Black History Month. Conventional wisdom says that schools and cultural organizations should at least give a nod to the contributions that black people have made to this great country during February (you know I love a good high school assembly), but how do we know when things have gone too far?

What’s the difference between praise and pandering? Thembi is on the case.

The Displays

There is nothing that makes my eyes roll harder than a Black History Month-themed display in a store or even worse, a Black History Month promotion. There is something so grossly opportunistic about having teenage stock-boys across the country simultaneously create displays dedicated to rubbing my slave descendant spending g-spot into buying stuff that “black people like.” Case in point:

Tuck your jaw back in because yes, this is a real drugstore display in Muskegon, Michigan. You know that Afrocentric black folks cannot resist burlap or funky ethnic patterns, black paintings draped in said cloth, Jet Magazine, or relaxer touch-up kits. In fact what better time of year to make sure you have a fresh perm or curl than February? And what better offering is there for the Negro on-the-go than yams and collard greens…in cans …from a drugstore? And then there’s the obvious, knee-jerk type of tragedy:

There’s something about this time of year that makes me think of cotton too…I just don’t know why…

The Very Special Episodes

Y’all know I love it. Nothing panders like a poorly contrived sitcom plot, and I remember this black history episode of Family Matters like it came on yesterday. I actually went to school with a chip on my shoulder for the rest of the month because of the moment at 9:45. Don’t let Steve Urkel and the question of whatever happened to Laura’s lil’ redbone friend Maxine dissuade you from at least a quick skim:



“If you want black history go back to Africa”? No thanks, they don’t have Black History Month there. The rest of the episode with the glorious black history wall and sad speeches about hate from Harriet and Grandma Winslow is on YouTube if you’re interested.

The Advertising

Having worked in consumer product promotions I know that getting shoppers caught up in the rapture of savings is a great short-term sales boosting strategy. If you can attach those savings to a theme it’s all the better, because it just feels so good to participate in something. Of course, Black History Month at a supermarket can only mean three things. Two of them are crude kinte cloth patterns and George Washington Carver. The other?

Frying chickens, pork hocks, and more collard greens! And…

Hot sauce! Grape and orange soda! Cornbread! Lawry’s Seasoning Salt! Obama Memorabilia and . . . more collard greens! Inclusion really, really makes me hungry.

The Products

Black folks are notorious for ending up financially disenfranchised and I’m so sick of it. This is why check cashing spots exist - if you weren’t living check to check and had a checking account like your average white man, you wouldn’t need to pay an exorbitant fee just to get money that is already yours! The same goes for a credit or debit card. Anyone who went to college was force-fed a credit card along with promises of a free t-shirt during the first week of freshman year, so the fact that black folks don’t even have debit cards in this day and age really says a lot. But a Black History Month Pre-Paid Credit Card? Really?



Ohhh . . . so you’re not supposed to spend money that you don’t actually have? Black History Month is a time for learnin’!

Question: Is Black History Month still worth something or has it jumped the shark? Have you run into any notable Black History Month tragedies?

More From Thembi [WWTD Blog]

Black, White, Or Other? : Whoop Dat' Trick!

Stereotypes are a way of life in America. We feed into them so readily that they take on a life of their own. But just how well do you really know your racial stereotypes?



Black, White, Or Other? lists a particularly heinous crime/news story, with incriminating bits of info omitted for the sake of confidentiality. Your job is to guess whether the protagonist is black, white, or the omnipresent "other", and to tell why you guessed how you did. The best guessplanation wins a week's supply of Cyber CapriSuns. And yeah, you could prolly Google the news story to find out the race of the person, but what sorta loser does that? Seriously. And if you already know about the story, and thus the answer, sit this one out. Be a good sport. Don't cheat.

Anyways, here's today's entry.
A man and woman arranged through a prominent Internet site to meet Sunday in {redacted} County, but it apparently did not go well, and the man was allegedly attacked with a high-heeled shoe, county police said. They said a 21-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman were arrested on prostitution-related charges.

Police said they went to a hotel in the 3100 block of {redacted} in the {redacted}area of the county about 6:30 p.m. Sunday after a fight was reported.

They said they determined that a man had responded to an advertisement on Craigslist and arranged to meet a woman at the hotel. However, police said, an argument broke out in a room over what police described as "missing money."

The dispute became physical, a police statement said, and the woman "allegedly assaulted the man with her high-heeled shoe."

Police said {redacted}, 24, of {redacted}, was charged with prostitution and simple assault. They said {redacted}, 21, of {redacted} was charged with solicitation of prostitution.

They said he was issued a summons, released and then taken to a hospital for treatment of injuries that were not life-threatening.

Neither could be reached last night.

On its Web site, Craigslist describes itself as "local classifieds and forums" in more than 500 cities, on which "just about anything" can be found. It says the overwhelming majority of users are trustworthy and well-intentioned.
Question: Are the lady of the evening and the john in this story Black, White, or Other?

Name That Sample - "Between The Sheets".

Name That Sample is simple: I play the original song, you tell me who sampled it. Winner gets a day's supply of Cyber CapriSuns™. As always, no Googling! Google is for losers.



This Isley Brothers quiet storm classic has been sampled prolly more times than any song this side of "Funky Drummer". From gangsta rap to R&B, it's been used more than Paris Hilton's diaphragm. But who can name the most songs that have used these delightful bars?

Question: How many songs can you name that used the "Between The Sheets" sample? Feel free to cheat and use other commenters' work, but do NOT Google! Google is for losers.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Definitive Proof That The GOP Is Full Of Sh*t.

So, just when you think DC is getting voting rights in Congress, the usual salty, hatin' a$$ed bamas rise up and reject that notion, Marcus Camby-style.



Sorry, this is just hateration beyond comprehension.
Opponents of a bill that would award the District its first seat in the House of Representatives fought back yesterday with a blitz of amendments in the Senate, including one to repeal the city's gun-control laws that appeared to have significant support.

The amendments were proposed during a day of fiery speeches about the bill in the Senate and House, where it was approved by a key committee. Supporters and foes disagreed on whether the bill would restore basic democratic rights to D.C. residents or perform an end run around the Constitution.

The voting rights bill could come up for a final vote in the Senate today if both parties agree to quickly move through the five remaining amendments. In case they don't, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) filed a motion last night to end debate. That would probably push a final vote to Monday, officials said.

If approved, the measure would be the first D.C. voting rights bill passed by that body in more than 30 years. "The hope is we can work out an agreement to have votes on a handful of amendments and have final passage" tonight, said Jim Manley, a spokesman for Reid.

That amendment closely resembles a bill passed by the House but not the Senate last year. It alarmed D.C. officials by calling for the removal of almost all locally imposed gun-control rules.

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) said he was introducing the amendment because the D.C. Council "has continued to enact onerous and unconstitutional firearms regulations" despite the Supreme Court decision last year overturning the city's ban on handguns.

He produced a large chart on the Senate floor that showed the city's murder rate over the years.

"Can you honestly tell me that gun control in D.C. has been effective?" Ensign asked.

He said 47 of his Senate colleagues had signed a letter last year supporting a similar version of the amendment. In addition, two new members of the Senate had indicated their support for it when they were in the House last year, he said.

A simple majority is enough to pass an amendment to the D.C. vote bill.

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), the co-sponsor of the D.C. vote measure, called the amendment "shocking." He said it would remove prohibitions on gun ownership for children, chronic alcoholics and people who have been voluntarily committed to psychiatric institutions in the past five years.
Just in case you're unable to read between the obvious lines here, the GOP is just fine with giving DC residents Congressional representation, provided they repeal what remains of DC's gun ban. Yeah, really.

So it seems that all that nonsense about the "Constitutionality" of giving honest taxpayers who die in wars but don't live in what's technically a "state" was just a sham. These guys realize in their guts that it's wrong to not at least give DC residents a Congressperson, so their idea of "compromise" is making some arcane political statement by making sure even kids in DC can legally carry a handgun. Cause, you know, the right to bear arms is a bedrock Republican principle. Never mind the fact that DC is 90% Democratic, and the mayor and city council have been against such a repeal for decades. If they want a vote in Congress, give em' guns while you're at it so we look good also.

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense to me too. Nonsense.

Repealing the DC handgun ban will do nothing to stop murders in DC. Most murders are committed with illegal handguns. And I don't need to remind you, but you can't "legislate" beef. If someone wants to kill somebody, they'll find ways of getting it done. Waiting 3 days for proper registration is hardly a deterrent. Having a good education, and a job that allows you to feed your family is, which is why murders nationwide (and yes, in DC too) are always down when the economy is good.

So clearly, these a-holes aren't standing in the way of giving DC residents the right to vote cause they care about the safety and welfare of some random black kid over on Benning Road. Nope, they're standing in the way for the same reason they always do, because they are some f*ckin' haterz!!![1]

And you wonder why the GOP can't get any black votes.

Wigga please!

Question: How can Republicans sleep at night, after pulling stunts like this?

Foes Fight D.C. Vote Measure In Senate [WashPost]

[1] Do I sound a bit angry? Maybe cause I am.

That's Just Gross.

AB.com is my favorite website, but that doesn't mean it's the only one I frequent. I'm always getting sent links to various websites, and sometimes I come across something to weird, so stunningly awful that I have to pass it along. ThisIsWhyYoureFat.com is such a site.



I'm sure some of ya'll are still trying to knock off those extra holiday pounds. If you needed something to gross and incredibly nasty to serve as a visual aid for why you should hit the treadmill and pick up that arugula smoothie, here's some inspiration.

Witness the massive 7 pound burrito.Sloppy Joe on a Krispy Kreme.Junk Food Pizza, covered with potato skins, mozzarella sticks, mini tacos, jalapeƱo poppers and onion rings.Hot Dog Pie.Gravy Covered Pizza.Deep Fried Coca Cola. Don't ask. I don't know either.Not that you couldn't already tell, but there was no point to this post.

Question: Is this the grossest sh*t you're ever laid eyes on? What's the nastiest thing you've ever eaten? Can you take a wild guess at what that is in the photo at the top of this post?

More Nasty Food @ ThisIsWhyYou'reFat.com

CNBC Presents NEWBOs.



CNBC's oddly named NEWBOs is apparently some Black History Month examination of the "new generation of black millionaires". I'll admit, as intriguing as it looks, the fact that all the guys featured are in sports and entertainment makes me a little bit iffy.



I hate sounding like a hater, but who doesn't already know about Lebron, T.O., Chris Lighty, Diddy, and Baby from Ca$h Money? What about the dozens of cats I see in Black Enterprise every month? And the whole "young guys/next gen" meme clearly isn't a theme here, hence a segment on Bob Johnson.



And why no sistas? Isn't the whole "black men as overbosses" thing sorta played out anyway? I'm just sayin'.

I suppose a documentary about the dozens of black folks I personally know who busted their butts getting degrees, worked their ways up the corporate ladder, networked, then took a major plunge to create a successful business would be boring to some. But what about guys like Aldwyn Lewis, Ronald Williams, Ken Chenault, and John W. Thompson, who are CEO's of Fortune 500 companies? And since you're talking sports, why not show Florida State defensive back Myron Rolle, who is about to skip the NFL to become a Rhodes Scholar? How about Brown University President Ruth Simmons, the first sista to lead an Ivy League school? There are super-achieving black women other than Oprah, ya' know!

I guess I should watch the show, which airs tonight at 9pm, before I speak, but the hater in me expects the worst. What do ya'll think?

[Editor's Update: I finally got around to watching this show, and lemme tell ya'. It was everything I feared and worse. One token woman was sorta featured, but otherwise it was a relentless cavalcade of excess (Ca$h Money), ignorance (T.O.), and superficiality (Bob Johnson). The part about Lebron James handing all his business dealings over to his homeboys was interesting, but that was it. I fast fwd past more of this cause I just couldn't take it. The show does have an ulterior motive. This "NEWBOS" thing is a book that's coming out soon. So, as opposed to some Black History Month celebration, this appeared to be little more than a plug for a book that GE will inevitably make a buck off. I don't know if this makes it any better though.]

Question: What do you think of the NEWBOs trailer? Do you think the Black community as a whole values achievement in sports and entertainment at the expense of other venues like corporate america or academia, or is this just Americas period?

Name That Sample - "Hip Hugger".

Okay, time to test out a new feature. Name That Sample is simple: I play the original song, you tell me who sampled it. Winner gets a day's supply of Cyber CapriSuns™. As always, no Googling! Google is for losers.



This song was used in two early 90's B-side album cuts by two very popular, but very different rappers. One used it in an ultra-clean posse cut, the other went in solo, and delivered perhaps one of the nastiest rhymes ever recorded this side of Dade County.

Question: Can you name the two songs in question?

Separated At Birth? - Jindal And Parcell.

Watching Bobby Jindal's coming out party the other night was as painful as a quintuple root canal. Dude was wooden, boring, and borderline creepy. The speech had all the charisma of a corporate HR instructional video. Hardly the breakout performance the GOP was hoping for. Get Palin on line one. She's needed again!

I'd heard him speak several times before, but until he delivered the Republican Response, it didn't occur to me that he sounds and acts just like whimsical page, Kenneth Parcell from NBC's 30 Rock. Seriously, check this out.[1]

Jindal.



Kenneth.



Seriously, play both videos at the same time, close your eyes, and tell me you can tell one from the other.

[1] BTW, I know Gawker and Co. are all over this one, but AB doesn't swagger jack. In fact, it was AverageSis who pointed it out first.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

BET's Harlem Heights. What Do Ya'll Think?!?



Ya'll know I'm not too keen on reality shows, but I'll admit, this one doesn't look all that bad. I had the opportunity to preview a couple of episodes, and while it's obviously a bit uhmmm, scripted, it's nice to see a different side of young Black America on TeeVee. Finally, a reality show without some random washed-up rapper, few obvious stereotypes, and best of all, no NeNe.

BET's Harlem Heights debuts Monday, March 2nd.

Question: What do ya'll think of the Harlem Heights trailer?

Proof That Americans Aren't That Dumb After All.

If you listen to talk radio, read Conservative blogs, or God forbid, watch Fox News, you'd swear that after just one month on the job, Obama is the anti-Christ and is leading this country down a path to sure destruction.

There was this Rick Santelli a-hole, who clearly didn't pay any attention to the fact that the Obama plan isn't rewarding bad decisions, it's protecting responsible Americans who are most vulnerable right now due to the recession.



Michelle Malkin spreads the wealth animus.



Hater extraordinaire, Sean Hannity. I bet this guy "pleasures himself" to an autographed copy of Dreams of My Father.



And to cap it all off, former Obama ethereee Undercover Brother Antoine Jackson Alan Keyes, who prolly believes in flying saucers and tooth fairies. WTF?!?



I sure hope these folks aren't allowed to run with scissors.

Thankfully, most Americans are smart enough to wade through this crap and trust the new President. A new CBS News/NY Times survey seems to indicate that The Black Prez is doing a fine job in the eyes of most blue blooded true Americans.
One month into his term, President Obama’s overall approval rating remains favorable, with 63 percent of Americans approving of the job he is doing as president. The figure is similar to the approval rating he received earlier this month.

Seventy-six percent of Americans are confident in Mr. Obama’s ability to make the right decisions about the economy, including nearly a third who are very confident.

More than half of Americans also approve of President Obama’s handling of foreign policy (57 percent) and Iraq (54 percent).

And 77 percent are optimistic about the next four years with Mr. Obama as president, including 57 percent of Republicans.

While the percentage of Americans who believe the president is trying for bipartisanship has slipped seven points from earlier this month, 74 percent still think he is trying to be bipartisan.

By contrast, just 45 percent say Congressional Democrats are trying to be bipartisan and 31 percent say Congressional Republicans are trying to do so.

Most of those surveyed say Republican opposition to the stimulus bill - it passed with the support of no House Republicans and just three Senate Democrats - results from politics. Sixty-three percent say GOP opposition was for political reasons, while 29 percent say it was because the stimulus bill would be bad for the economy.

Americans say Mr. Obama should focus more on his positions than reaching across the aisle. Fifty-six percent say he should prioritize sticking to his policies, while just 39 percent say he should put bipartisanship first. Seventy-nine percent, however, say Congressional Republicans should prioritize bipartisanship.

Despite the withdrawal of three of President Obama’s cabinet appointments, 76 percent of Americans are confident that the president has made the right decisions regarding his cabinet appointments.
Interesting numbers indeed. And before anyone starts screaming liberal bias, fall back. The latest Fox News Opinion Poll numbers are virtually the same. Spin that!

So, despite all the charges of "European-style socialism" and "massive pork barrel spending that's putting our children's children in debt", most folks are wise enough to see the truth. Obama is doing what he needs to do, and the GOP is simply disagreeing for the sake of disagreement. This is a purely selfish political jack move designed to help them regain power should Obama's stimulus plan fail, as they so fervently wish and pray for on their ashy knees each night before they go to bed and have wet dreams of Inauguration Day 2013.



Watching a cavalcade of GOP Governors grandstanding on Sunday morning talk shows about not taking Federal stimulus funds when their states are facing massive budget shortfalls had to be the most disgusting circle-jerk I've seen since the last BET Hip Hop Awards. Seriously, don't these ingrates realize we see a political ploy for what it is? Louisiana Governor Kenneth Parcell Bobby Jindal won't accept Obama's handouts, but even if he doesn't, his state's legislature has the final say!!!

[Editor's Note: Is it just me, or was Jindal's Republican response last night the most awkward 10 minutes of TV evar? Talk about stiff. Zzzzzzzzzzzz.... That guy makes Al Gore look like Lebron James. If this is the GOP's young, energetic, charismatic answer to Obama, then give me more Sarah Palin please.]

Jindal can say he "stood up to Washington" when he's on the stump in 2012, but reality is his resistance is merely a pointless token gesture. If the stimulus fails to work (which I hope it doesn't), he looks like a hero with a one way ticket to 1600 Penn Ave. If it does work, it won't matter cause Obama will have the re-election sewn up anyway, and Jindal won't even bother running. Classic GOP Grand Hu$tle.

[Another Editor's Note: SC Congressman James Clyburn was wrong for suggesting that Governor Mark Sanford's opposition to stimulus money in a state with so many blacks is somehow racist. That's just not true. It's a selfish political maneuver of disgusting magnitude sure, but it ain't racist! Plenty of poor whites in SC would theoretically suffer too. Shame on you James! Shame!]

I'll admit, despite my (continuing) qualms about some of his Cabinet choices, one month in I think Obama's done a fine job. He delivered a tax cut (albeit a small one) to 95% of all Americans as promised. He's repealing the Bush tax cuts on the super-wealthy and large corporations that in many cases don't pay a single dollar of corporate income tax. He's trying his best to be bi-partisan, even if the effort is not reciprocated. He's being transparent and forthcoming, not giving us what we need to hear to feel better. He's closing Gitmo. The stimulus package, while hardly perfect, is signed and in action. He's talking to the American people in primetime, and every week via Youtube and the traditional radio address. The plan to ease foreclosures isn't perfect, but it's solid on paper. He'll get around to Iraq sooner or later, mainly because he needs to cuts costs (by bringing troops home) there to balance the budget. Love him or hate him, the guy's doing what he promised so far. The American public seems able to discern this much. Good for us all.

To those who continue to hate, as opposed to getting behind the man a majority of Americans legitimately elected to solve our nations problems, I have but one thing to say.[1]

Question: What do you think of Obama's first month in office? Do you think the GOP is putting up such opposition because they have legitimate concerns about the direction our country is heading, because they want to win office in 2012, or just because they're some salty, hatin' assed bamas? Do you think Barry is getting extra hate because he's Black, or simply because he's a Democrat in power? Does Jindal remind you of Kenneth from 30 Rock or is it just me?

Poll: Public Wary Of More Bailouts [CBS News]

[1] I'm by no means saying all his detractors are white. But dude didn't give me an all-inclusive soundbyte. Sorry.

Ashy Or Classy? : American Classics by Russell Simmons.

As ya'll know, I've made the whole "rapper's vanity clothing line" thing a regular staple here at AB.com. There was Andre 3000's Ghetto Bagger Vance line, Monica's Traaaap Gear for Toddlers™, and who could forget Pharell's Billionaire Boys Club? The general consensus on all these lines was mixed: some people liked em', some people hated em', everybody thought I was old and outta touch.

What. Ever.



Anyways, here's our latest entry in the tax writeoff series, the creatively titled American Classics by Russell Simmons.

Simmons' line differs from the others in that its not high end, overpriced crap destined for your local discount retailer's clearance rack. Nope, Russell knows the true value of his gear, so he's saving us the trouble and embarrassment and releasing it right where it's needed most: Walmart. No, seriously, that Walmart.

I'm a snobbish Target guy, and don't even know where my nearest Walmart is, so it's unlikely I'd ever size this stuff up in person. That said, given the crackhead prices ($12-$29) of the various items, I suppose we should give Blood Diamond Russ some credit. Maybe he's trying to atone for this monstrosity.



And this one.



And this one too.



Man, that's still painful to watch.

Anyways, here's the goods. Try to stay awake as you peruse.








ZZzzzz...

I suppose we should applaud Russ for making a line of affordable gear, as well as staying true to his own personal taste. But c'mon, this sh*t is just boring. Who the heck wants to dress like an accountant on his day off? Break out the Dockers, Chip! Where's the swag, Russ, where's the swag??

I guess this beats dressing like a British lawn jockey, but only by so much.

Nice job Russ. I guess.

Question: What do you think of American Classics by Russell Simmons?!? Would you rock em' or is this gear too plain vanilla for you? Which store do you prefer: Walmart, Target, or God forbid, K-Mart?!?

American Classics by Russell Simmons [WalMart]

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Obama Intangibles?!?

As you guys know, I'm no pie-in-the-sky dreamer. I'm a realist, which is why it's always irked me it hear people talk about Obama's ascent to President as the cure to all that ails American Negroes.



I've heard the phrase "there is no more room for excuses" a million times in the past 6 months, which is just ludicrous. There was never any excuse for Black Americans (wo)manning-up and doing what we are supposed to do in our families, our schools, and our lives in general. Anyone that thinks moving a Black family into 1600 Penn Ave. automatically gets all black boys out The Traaap, all black girls off The Pole, and makes us all Huxtables is delusional. What sorta bassackwards, low-expectations having Negro Logic is that? Real change (the kind Obama is advocating) requires work, selflessness, and dedication. Barry himself has repeatedly told folks to get offa that bullsh*t and Take The AverageBro Challenge™. Naturally, I agree.

That said, there will certainly be a bevvy of intangible effects as a result of the Obama Presidency, whether intentional or not. Here's my best guesses, add you own you-know-where.
DC Is Hip Again - When I moved to The Urreah a decade and change ago, DC was still considered The Mecca for upwardly mobile blacks. In the years since, Atlanta has further established itself as The Buppie Destination, with cheap homes, good jobs, and lots of scrip clubs The Black Hollywood reputation as a media and entertainment capitol. DC, thanks to it's already transitory nature, awful traffic, gentrification, and sky high home prices has lost a little cache. More and more people seem to come here for their first gigs, then leave for less expensive pastures. Perhaps this changes that, now that DC is one of the few comparatively recession-proof areas in the nation. Cause the gubb'ment's always hiring and spending. That'll never change.

Black Kids' Opinions Matter - One amazing development already seen is that since the Obamas have two young daughters, black children are suddenly a hot commodity. From the Ron Clark Kids, to Damon Weaver, and of course Sasha and Malia, Negro children nationwide are now looked at as more than just morbid future statistics. Chew on that one. As a parent who is sick and tired of watching Little Bill reruns, I hope this filters down to some new, hood-friendly children's entertainment, cause if I hear "Get better Mr. Bill, Bill, Billll" one more time... oh boy. And since I'm throwing it out there, how about Disney Pixar Cars II: McQueen Goes To Harlem, starring Chris Tucker as Hot Rod Hunter? I'm just sayin'.

DC Finally Gets Voting Rights - In my travels around the US, it constantly amazes me how few people know about non-Federal DC. When I tell folks I'm from The Urreah, once we get beyond the basic political jibberjabber, one name inevitably comes up: Marion Barry. Some Americans don't even realize DC is a city of nearly 600,000 taxpayers with zero Congressional representation. Folks locally have already seen Mayor Adrian Fenty auditioning as Barack Obama's weedcarrier. Unlike prior Presidents who have seldom ventured outside cocktail-party DC, Obama will probably spend some time beyond Lafayette Square, and at some point in the next 4 years, DC will have its own Congresswoman. Hell, it might even happen this month.

Some Venerable Black Institution Will Die - The downside of a perceived post-racial America is that many will assume venerable black institutions and programs like HBCUs, the UNCF, and various social organizations are no longer needed. Many of these entities are maintained by corporate tax writeoffs donations. In this recession, that money won't flow like it used to, and even if it did, some folks will be convinced that it's no longer needed since we just solved all out problems on January 20th.

Lots Of Kids Named Barack - We've already seen this. Just flip to the birth announcements page in your local fishwrap and you'll see an explosion of kids named Barack, Obama, Michelle, Sasha, and Malia, some of whom (based on the parents' names) appear to be white. Much like the afrocentric name explosion (Jamal, Imani, Ebony) of the 70's, the ghettocentric explosion of the 80's (Quantrecia, Kahlanghee, De'Andre), and the materialist explosion (Alexus, Chanel, Armani, Camry) of the 90's, this represents a new era in Negro Nomenclature.

Light Skindded Dudes Will Come Back In Style - I'm a brownskinned guy, not yellow, and hardly blue-black, so I can't say I really felt the effects of the El Debarge era of the 80's. Many say Michael Jordan, Wesley Snipes, Big Daddy Kane, and Co. made it fashionable to be a darkskinned brother in the 90's. I can't really co-sign on this one either since I'm not a woman. But if some lightskinned dudes said they were treated like Members Only jackets for years, I would only assume a light bright, damn-near half-white Prez can only help advance their cause.

Brown Skindded Women Will Come Back In Style - Awww, who are we kidding? Brown Skindded Women are always beautiful and in-style.

Question: What other Obama Intangibles do you think we'll see over the next 4-8 years? Do you think an Obama Presidency can really change anything by osmosis or is there more work for all of us to do?

The Basketball Diaries : Chapter Seven.

[Editor's Note: This blog has an ulterior motive and that motive is The AverageBro Challenge™. Watch me walk the talk firsthand as I coach a team of 6th graders this Winter in our newest series, The Basketball Diaries. If you need a refresher, backtrack and read prior chapters.]

Sunday (Postgame)

There comes a time in every man's life, when he has to stop dwelling in a world of starry idealism and face reality. I've come to accept the fact that I'll never play in an actual NBA game. I'll never see Michael Jackson live in concert. I'll never... ahem... "hook up" with Halle Berry. And unfortunately, the basketball team I'm coaching this year will never be good.

These are the rules. Live with em'.

I came to this realization today as I watched my young Panthers get walloped, 31-9, in a game that was even worse than its final score indicates. After over 20 practices and 14 games, it is finally sinking in that this particular set of kids simply can't play the game. Period. Today we hit rock bottom, or at least what I fear to be rock bottom. We can't possibly go any lower. I pray not.

We've spent 5 weeks practicing our offense. The kids have yet to execute it properly in a game. Not a single time. Turnovers piled up. Uncontested layups set the scoreboard on fire. We couldn't hit the broadside of a barn on offense. We couldn't rebound with an eHarmony.com account.

I found myself in Stuart Smalley mode after the game. I'm 35 years old. I understand the game. I know how to coach it. I've been successful before. Losing doesn't make me a loser. But it's becoming patently obvious that despite my best intentions, if you have kids who don't listen, aren't disciplined, have no level of talent, no pride, and don't know how to play the game despite hours of instruction, you simply aren't going to win.

I'd be kidding you guys if I said this wasn't souring me on coaching and working with kids in the future, period. Losing takes a toll on you. You think about the sacrifices made, the weekends blown, the time spent away from your own family, and it all feels like a colossal waste of time and energy.

Some of you are probably saying, "But AB, this isn't all about winning, it's about working with the kids!" That would be true, and on that issue, I also have to deem this experiment a failure of sorts. The kids haven't shown any greater level of preparation or professionalism. They still show up 3 mins before the game and mosey into the gym. They haven't shown any greater understanding of the game. If they did, common mistakes wouldn't be repeated so often. They haven't shown any greater respect for authority. We still spend an inordinate amount of time each practice making the kids run because they're not focused on drills and instruction. So, in the end, I'm wondering exactly what good has come of this.

For anyone else considering working with kids in any capacity, consider this a case study. You'll seldom see the fruits of your labor immediately. Sometimes the whole thing will feel like a colossal waste of time. You'll prolly never be told thank you.

But do it anyway.

Season Record: 0 Wins and 6 Losses

Next Opponent: The Rockets

Question: Is it time to throw in the towel? Can the Panthers win either of the two remaining games or is this season a wash?

Monday, February 23, 2009

AB Goes To The Movies: Madea Goes To Jail.

If you've followed this blog for any period of time, you prolly know that I'm not the biggest fan of Tyler Perry. I think his movies are a cinematic exercise in gluttony, rife with the most rank stereotypes of people of color, and riddled with scatological humor, all wrapped up in an unsavory layer of superficial spirituality. After blowing $40 on The Family That Preys, I promised to never see another of his films.

On a loosely related note, I am married.

So, as I'm sitting watching the previews before this movie started, I made a serious mental note to turn my brain all the way off. Just as I incessantly hate on godawful movies here at AB.com, I can seldom retain my venom while in theaters. This inevitably pisses off my wife, which just compounds the blown $40. So, I made the choice to keep my pithy comments locked deep inside, and try to really enjoy Madea Goes To Jail, for the sake of household harmony if little else.



As you might imagine, Madea Goes To Jail finds the eponymous protagonist behind bars for some serious anger control issues. Like most movies, this one takes a somewhat unrelated plotline and clumsily weaves it around the bumbling actions of the crossdressing Perry. This sidescript involves Joshua Hardaway, a career-minded assistant DA (Derek Luke) whose picture perfect engagement to an equally ambitious attorney (Ion Overman of Showtime's The L Word) is interrupted when a past acquaintance shows up in the courtroom. A saucy hooker named Candy (The Cosby Show's Keisha Knight-Pulliam) with a nasty heroin addiction seems to know Josh from a prior life. Guilt-ridden from a past secret he and Candy share, Josh goes into fullblown Captain-Save-A-Hoe mode to help rescue her from her demons.

Just in case you're somehow unfamiliar with the E40 classic I just name dropped, acquaint yourself. Lovely.



Anyways, if you've seen one Tyler Perry movie, you have officially seen them all, so I don't even need to tell you how this baby will end. The oh-so-nice-and-handsome guy will get the girl he really deserves. The snobbish light-skinnded chick will get her comeuppance. Madea will get some laughs. You'll go home snickering and forget the whole ordeal by Monday morning. Rinse and repeat.

I guess I can see why folks enjoy these sorts of movies. I admittedly didn't laugh much, but it shole' did feel good to see all dem' coloreds on de' big screen.

Even with my brain on standby, a couple of things were pretty evident. Some of ya'll have mused that Tyler Perry have some issues with women in the past. Others have noted that the only men of character in TP's films is usually TP. Many even expressed dismay that he spends so much time in a dress. All these patterns hold true, but I noted an added wrinkle in this one: all the evil characters were white. Erry one of em'. The butch jailhouse bully. The snooty K-Mart shopper. The johns who pick up and abuse Candace on the strip. Even Josh's fiancee, who's light-bright, and damn near white herself turns out to be an evil wench.

Perhaps the man has a new issue. Postracial my a$$.

Lets be clear about a couple of things. Tyler Perry's movies will never be considered Oscar quality, and are little more than disposable entertainment that serves as a nice 90 minute diversion from erryday life. There's not really anything wrong with that. Just cause I don't particularly care for this genre of film doesn't mean it's a bad way for someone to blow an afternoon. Reality is, he found a niche (black church-themed comedies) and has perfected a money making formula. For all its detractors, the movie made over $40M this weekend alone. Chew on that.

Final Verdict: Hate on the man all you want, but where I come from, that's called a come-up. You don't have to like it, but you do have to respect it. Not many people could pull $41M with a no-name cast in this economy. Give the man his props, already. 2 Stars (Out Of 5)

Question: Have you seen Madea Goes To Jail? What did you think?

WorkPlace 101: Political Correctness On The Job.

As you guys know, my workplace is full of accidental drama. I say accidental because there are only a handful of folks who work on my sprawling floor on a daily basis, given the nature of our client-facing work. Still, in such a large building, near a Metro stop, with lots of foot traffic outdoors and marginal security, sh*t is bound to get missing from time to time. If you've followed this feature in the past, you know this to be a regular occurrence.



Anyways, there was an incident yesterday, and since I know this stuff is semi-confidential, I'm taking the build management's alert and cleaning it up. The last thing I need to do is get canned over some ole' BS like this.
Notice to Tenants………..Please share with all employees !

We had an incident yesterday in one of our properties, where a young man in a “hoodie” entered a couple of suites where the receptionist(s) had stepped away from their desk. He was seen “wandering” through the suites until noticed and gave excuses such as “looking for a job” or “I’m here for an interview – I must have the wrong suite”.

The police were notified, but the young man was not apprehended.
The email goes on to detail further steps all employees could make to prevent such an incident happening in the future, but omits one very crucial element: a description of the young man beyond his apparel.

All this strikes me as an example of when political correctness goes awry. Sure, it's great to alert folks that they need to pull their suite doors behind them and take their gym bags home at night, but what's otherwise the point? We are given no real physical description of the suspect, although he was clearly seen by more than one person. Beyond the likely stoopid Soulja Boy hoodie, what else do we need to know about this nimrod to ensure he doesn't show up for another "interview" and end up cleaning out my Washington Wizards bobblehead collection in the process?

Personally, I know I've been extra Tresvanty about such stuff in the past, but it wouldn't have hurt to supply a physical description. If it's one of them "skater" white dudes like I typically see out here in the burbs, that's nice to know. If the guy was black, why not say so? Would anyone really be offended? How else are we supposed to use this info for future reference?

[Editor's Note To Self: Quit wearing hoodies to work.]

If my bobbleheads come up missin', I'm squeezin' first and askin' questions last!!![1]

[Editor's Note To Self: Take the Wizards bobblehead collection home.]

I understand white folks are loathe to say certain things for fear of being branded racist, but sometimes a description is essential, otherwise you're just wasting time and further confusing people.

I know one thing, I see a Soulja Boy lookin' kid in the lobby, I'm dialing 911!

Question: Should the building management have identified the race of the suspect? Is this an example of political correctness gone wrong, or would providing a description have likely lead to unnecessary racial profiling? Got any notable examples of workplace political correctness gone wrong?

[1] Yeah, I know, unnecessary and unintentionally comical tough guy talk.

Grand Hu$tle Week Is Coming March 2nd!

Continuing the new trend of "Theme Weeks" that we started with AverageNation Week™, I'm proud to present AB.com's first foray into semi-serious investigative reporting, the aptly named Grand Hu$tle Week. Look, I even created a kewl logo to commemorate the occasion, so you know it's gonna be somethin'.



For those of you slow on the lingo, or who haven't read this site's FAQ, a Grand Hu$tle is basically when someone tries to run game on you by either selling or telling you some ole' BS. Some would refer to this as a scam, some might call it a C-O-N-spiracy. Either way, it's AB.com's mission to put you on the game so you don't get vicked.[1]

Ya'll know the products. You've seen the infomercials. And chances are, you've prolly thrown away hard earned money on some useless crap like The ShamWow!, The Snuggie, or the Grill Daddy. In the interest of keeping your money in your pockets where it belongs in this worsening economy, AB.com is going to extra mile to get the real skinny on whether these products actually do what they say or if they're pure garbage like I suspect.

I've already done extensive research on the following products.
The Snuggie
Loud -N- Clear
Debbie Meyer Green Bags
Cash 4 Gold
Patch Perfect Grass Seed
The Slap Chop
ShamWow!
Extenze (yeah, really)
I'm taking requests if you'd like me to checkout something else while I'm at it. Just hit me up. Either way, brace yourselves for a level of investigative blogging never before seen on these innanets.

Let me show you how not to get got!

Grand Hu$tle Week begins March 2nd.

Question: Got any "as seen on TeeVee" products you want me to check out? Have you bought any of the aforementioned products? If so, would you be willing to provide some feedback for my series? Are you wondering how in the ham sammich I have time to do all this with a real Day Job, wife, and two kids?

[1] And no, this has absolutely nothing to do with TI's similarly named vanity record label.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Paging Juan Williams... "Grow A Pair!"

BulletProof Yaki!

Fun With Obama Soundbytes.


Who has this sorta time on their hands?!?

Okay, who am I kidding? I'll admit it, I'm just jealous.

If I had the time, resources, and well, talent, I'd be doin' the same thing and then some.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Chris vs Rihanna : Street Fighter Style.



Don't worry, it's safe and relatively non-offensive.

BMWK TV Interviews Poot From HBO's The Wire.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Chris, You Might Wanna Practice Soap-Holding...

I'm sure you folks have already seen the photo circulating around the innanets today that is supposedly Rihanna just moments after she suffered an alleged assault at the hands of Chris Brown. If you haven't, you can just go somewhere and Google it. I made the decision to not post it here for lots of reasons I choose not to divulge. If you need to excuse yourself and go find that, knock yourself out and come back.



The photo is a bit fuzzy, it appears to have been taken with a bad camera phone, rather than something that's official police evidence. The LAPD says it wasn't theirs, which could either be true, or a complete lie to save themselves from liability. Either way, the picture doesn't appear to be doctored, and unless Suge Knight delivered this beatdown to redeem himself, it's fair to say young Chris is in some deep trouble.

A week or so ago when this story broke, I said Brown's career should be curtains if this turned out to be true. We've still yet to see an official police report, but Brown's own semi-admission of guilt seems to have removed all doubt re: the final result. Whether, or to what degree, he was provoked to action will likely have some bearing on just how hard the system comes down on him, but something tells me dude might wanna use his final days of freedom to refine the art of soap-holding. Cause you know some dudes in the clink are just waiting for their shot at him.

Gimme That'!

Whether or not this becomes a landmark moment in the fight against domestic violence and an indictment of sexism in hip hop remains to be seen. One odd thing I've heard (not that I'd know, don't listen to terrestrial radio) is that lots of radio stations have pulled CB's music from their playlists. While I certainly think that would be a wise idea once he's convicted, doing so before he's had his day in court is sorta stoopid. I mean, c'mon, how long a grace period did R. Kelly get while he awaited his day in court for his heinous crime? I'm sure TI is getting spins of that godawful Justin Timberlake song somewhere right now as you read this, and his a$$ is getting ready to go to jail for a crime he committed over a year ago. I'm just sayin'.

Many noted that unless male recording artists came out in defense of Rihanna, the culture of violence and misogyny against black women in hip hop would continue unchecked. I disagreed, stating that black women themselves could make the biggest impact with their disgust. So far, we heard some mumbo jumbo from Jay-Z, but otherwise it's been one great big "bash the alleged victim"-fest, with morons like Jadakiss, Terrence Howard, TI, and David Banner all making statements that could be classified as mildly-insulting to say the least. Female artists? Not a friggin' peep? You'd think someone like Beyonce would make some kinda statement, for the good PR if nothing else, but nary a peep. I suppose it's possible I just missed this, so correct me if I'm wrong. But the strong statement that could have been made by the persons closest to the action are practically non-existent. I guess this sorta proves my initial point.

Anyways, if you couldn't already tell, this was my Chrihanna catchup post, I suppose I owed you guys some opinion on the latest transpirings. What's yours?

Question: Did you see the photo in question? What did you think? Should the stations have pulled Brown's song given the precedence set when dealing with R. Kelly? Do you think Chris Brown will have a career should he be found guilty in a court of law?

There's A New Sucker Born Erry Minute.

By now, I'm sure ya'll have been inundated with Obamaphenalia. From the hats, to jackets, to cookies, wristbands, and even condoms ("Yes, We Came!") Obama Swag is about the only thing selling well in this economy. There's a stimulus joke just begging to be written here, but I'm creatively challenged at the moment.

Anyways, the most egregious example of Obamasploitation is this commercial, which seems to show up on various basic cable channels everytime I tune in after 11pm. Try not to laugh too hard as one-time talk show pimp, Montel Williams slangs dem Obama Coins.



I know what you're thinking: what kinda ignoramus would drop a solid $20 for some coins that are clearly painted on? Last time I checked, coins didn't exactly come in 256 colors. Well, a sucker is born every moment, and wouldn't you know it, these coins are selling like hotcakes. The problem: folks are finally realizing they're barely worth the nickels they're printed on.
Jerome Polk was so impressed with the special edition Obama coins he saw television star Montel Williams hawking in an infomercial, he ordered six sets for himself and some of his grandkids.

Instead of coins engraved with Obama's face, as Polk athought he'd orderedt $18 a pop, the Northeast Portland retailer received four actual U.S. coins -- a silver dollar, half dollar and two quarters -- featuring painted-on Obama images.

"This isn't an Obama coin, it's a 50-cent piece with a picture glued on," says Polk, who paid the U.S Coin Network $145.78 for five four-coin and one three-coin sets, including $25.98 in shipping.

The U.S. Mint doesn't mind if companies decorate its coins and sell them -- in this case -- for nine times their worth. However, the federal agency doesn't like it when companies offer authenticity certificates, as the Coin Network did, that may confuse consumers about who issued the coins.

The Coin Network's certificate assures, "This is to certify and authenticate that the coins used in the Barack Obama Inaugural Collection are genuine and made by the United States Mint."

Painted coins, such as Polk's set, which included a Silver Eagle dollar and a JFK half dollar, rarely hold value for collectors, said Paul Rigby, owner of Coin Cottage in Southwest Portland. In fact, he said, altering the otherwise sought-after Silver Eagle dollars detracts from their collectible value. "Even with President Obama's picture, it won't help," he said. "They usually end up sold as junk silver."

Polk's not surprised. "I knew it right away: I got bumped," says Polk, whose mother also bought a few sets. He'll pay for what he's got, but wants his $100 back for the sets he hasn't received. He called up the Coin Network this week and says he asked for a refund on the sets he was told wouldn't ship until Feb. 24. But, he says, the operator told him that wasn't policy -- even though the company's various Web sites -- USCoinNetwork.com, HistoricCoins.com and ObamaCoinReserve.com -- all promise money-back guarantees.

Polk says he plans to complain. But, he'll keep the coins.

With or without Obama, they're still worth $2.
Part of me says folks like Jerome Polk get what they have coming. Seriously, when's the last time you say a coin with that many colors in it? And just a note: with the proliferation of Obama-related crap, as well as the ubiquity of eBay, it's not likely that any of this stuff will be worth anything more than sentimental value 50 years from now. The supply is so great, it's hard to believe there will be any demand. Not in an age when folks can go on Zazzle and create their own stuff in a matter of minutes.

Let's be real, nobody is gonna want this sh*t in the future.



That said, I have a soft spot for this guy cause I've been hustled more than enough times myself, from TeeVee ads just like this one. There was The Grill Daddy, which promised to clean your grates spotless with vaporized water, but was a piece of garbage I only used once. I've bought Billy Mays household cleaner in bulk, only to find out it's no better than 409. And then there's that L. Ron Hubbard's "Dianetics" book. I'd rather not elaborate.

The good thing about the internet is that now you can simply Google anything you see sold on TV and read reviews from real folks who've purchased already. I don't order anything from TV anymore, but I've darn near made it a habit to checkout any product that seems too good to be true. Most of the time, the idiom proves correct.

That said, I'm proud to announce my first official foray into semi-investigative journalism. Grand Hu$tle Week is coming soon. I'll tell you all about those Debbie Meyer Green Bags, The Slap-Chop, The Snuggie, that grass seed that's posed' to grow on top of bricks, Cash-4-Gold, and lots of other scams to steal your hard earned cash.

So stay tuned, and keep your cards in your wallet like Jerome should have.

Question: Have you ever been hustled by some "As Seen On TeeVee" product?!?

Portlander finds 'Obama coins' not all that mint [OregonLive]

Michael Steele Needs To Update His Slang.

Some of ya'll may wonder why I give GOP-related issues so much play here when it's clear I'd gouge my eyes out with a Bojangles spork before I'd vote for a Republican President. That may be true, but one thing's certain: it's a lot more fun picking at The Party Of Lincoln than it is reading 1,100 pages of a stimulus bill. As you can see, I've clearly got my priorities straight.



One guy that intrigues me is GOP Chairman Michael Steele, a local product who is now tasked with making the party relevant to America's changing demographic. We all know the country is trending browner, and Obamania is threatening to indoctrinate a whole new generation of young voters as lifelong Democrats.

This is of course a tall act, but Steele's hardly deterred. Witness his cunning blueprint for winning back Generation Twitter.
Newly elected Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele plans an “off the hook” public relations offensive to attract younger voters, especially blacks and Hispanics, by applying the party's principles to “urban-suburban hip-hop settings.”

The RNC's first black chairman will “surprise everyone” when updating the party's image using the Internet and advertisements on radio, on television and in print, he told The Washington Times.

Having been elected to the job that the Bush White House and its political guru, Karl Rove, once denied him, Mr. Steele is running the show his way. To those who claimed he can't make the trains run on time, he has this message: “Stuff it.”

There was underlying concerns we had become too regionalized and the party needed to reach beyond our comfort” zones, he said, citing defeats in such states as Virginia and North Carolina. “We need messengers to really capture that region - young, Hispanic, black, a cross section ... We want to convey that the modern-day GOP looks like the conservative party that stands on principles. But we want to apply them to urban-suburban hip-hop settings.”

While other former top Bush White House and campaign officials sent congratulations on his election, including former RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman, Karl Rove neither phoned nor wrote his congratulations, Mr. Steele told The Times.

Under Mr. Steele's helm, the “old” may seem inappropriate in the Grand Old Party's affectionate nickname. He said he is putting a new public relations team into place to update the party's image.

“It will be avant garde, technically,” he said. “It will come to table with things that will surprise everyone - off the hook.”
Boy, where do I begin? Among the many things that tick me off are when old guys try to use young guy slang to sound "cool". Obama never really fell into this trap on the campaign trail. Sure, there was that one time he brushed his shoulders off in my homestate, but it was in proper context (Hillary and Bill were hatin'), and subtle enough to go over the heads of those oblivious to the gesture. It was effective, and given some of the folks he's been photographed around (ie: Jay-Z) it came off as genuine.

[Editor's Note: Anyone else find it odd that Rove hasn't called to congratulate Steele on his historic appointment? I'm just sayin'.]

Steele, on the other hand, clearly is trying to tap into some of this same Obama swagger, but like the natural cornball he is, just keeps failing miserably. In the past months alone, he's tried (unsuccessfully) to get a call and response chant going at the lily-white GOP Convention, stated that he wanted to "send a shout out" during his victory speech, used the phrase "bling bling" when addressing a serious press inquiry, and now is actually using the term "off the hook" in the year 2009.

Who the f*ck still says "off the hook" in 2009? Does Mike also say "lemme hit dem' skins" when it's time to get down with the wifey? Does he put on a "jimmy hat"? Does she "get the bozack"?

[||]

Borrow your kid's iPod and update your colloquialisms, Mike!

I guess this comes back to the big problem with the GOP's latest "outreach" effort. It's bound to come off as disingenuous because it's so obvious that it's not genuine in the first place. Steele and his "wannabe hip" vernacular are just indicative of the real issue: the GOP is out-of-touch in the eyes of most voters.

Word is bond, sonn!

Question: What can the GOP do to appeal to younger voters other than spit played-out slangistics? Assuming you agree that "off the hook" is about 5 years beyond it's expiration date, what do you use to describe something of such magnitude nowadays?

Steele: GOP needs 'hip-hop' makeover [WashTimes]

Thursday, February 19, 2009

AB.com Guest Post : I’m Offended That I’m Offended.

[Editor's Note: I'm too busy with the Day Job to give this Obama/monkey thing any thought. Thankfully, my cyber-homegirl Thembi already went in. Show the guest some love as usual.]

There are times that I feel like a poor excuse for a strong black person because I’m not legitimately offended enough to get upset about some things, I’m just offended that I have to spend time being offended! Today’s controversy provides a perfect example: the Sean Delonas political cartoon published in yesterday’s New York Post.

The creator of this cartoon is trying to make light of an incident this week in Connecticut involving an enraged pet chimpanzee that had to be killed by the police after going on a wild rampage. The instant conclusion I’d draw from this weak attempt at humor is that it’s clear that “a monkey could do the job” of creating the Stimulus Bill, maybe even the “monkey” that was shot dead this week, and now that he’s been unexpectedly snuffed out they’ll have to find someone else to do his job. The association between the chimp shooting and Washington is not clear, nor is any association between any human being and the Stimulus Bill. So this cartoon becomes a real knee-slapper for everyone from the owner of the pet monkey dealing with her loss, to animal rights advocates offended that the police shot the chimp, to the Americans depending on the Stimulus, to…black people.

If anyone is really listening, can I make something clear once and for all? Any similarities drawn between a black person and a monkey are just - for lack of a better phrase - played out. That disgusting banana in the tailpipe of stereotypes is older than American history itself and even if it’s not done on purpose it’s something that no black person wants to see. It’s trite, tired, and a surefire way to piss us off. Col Allen, editor-in-chief of The New York Post, a paper that’s not exactly known for its thought-provoking content, is either off of his game or an intentional agitator. It’s not really worth attempting to demonstrate the latter, so I can’t help but accept the former.

[Editor's Note: The New York Post is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who also owns you-know-which cable news station. Just thought I'd throw that out there.]

As an experienced professional seeking to attract as wide an audience as possible, the smart thing to do is to reject any images linking black people to apes, Chinese people with Laundry, Jewish people with skin-flint ways, or Arabs with terrorism. Why not just show a lazy Mexican dude with a sombrero on, dancing around to “La Cucaracha” and drinking tequila? That ugliness is only 50% of the way towards how deeply negative black America’s relationship is with monkeys; in case you haven’t heard, people do find that offensive, in fact consistently so over the past, say, THREE HUNDRED YEARS. Confusion around this concept needs to end.

What America needs to get is that this kind of thing doesn’t actually upset most black folks in the way that many believe. There have been times that I’ve felt emotionally wounded and discouraged by racism but this is not one of those times. Black America should be upset because our sensibilities are not even being considered for one moment when an editor decides to run a cartoon even halfway depicting a black person as a chimpanzee. I doubt that Delonas was aiming for an “Obama is a monkey” joke. He has a history of ignorant cartoons that he defends with a “what, me worry?” shrug, but even a racist would zero in on the joke better by clearly making that chimp Obama-like.

We also all know that Obama didn’t actually write the Stimulus plan, which has many authors, not a single one. These facts considered, Delonas is just corny and we all know that. What I find irritating is the lack of care shown for my participation in political discourse. Knowing that as soon as you draw even the flimsiest parallel between a black person and an ape those inflammatory images strike a deeply repulsive chord and just lock us out. I’m offended that my sensibilities aren’t even being bothered with or considered, especially with such obvious images, and further offended that I have to be bothered. At its mildest, it’s as if I went to an event as a vegetarian and every single dish served had meat in it. By not considering my sensibilities as a black American, it is impossible to reach a common point where issues that are important, like the Stimulus bill itself, can be discussed with cool heads.



Which brings me to how black America should be responding to this type of nonsense: Enough of us have hearts of stone and black pride that takes a deeper cut to slice than this, so a little rag like The Post isn’t going to change much about the continued involvement of black Americans in political life. Thanks to my tendency to eschew political correctness in favor of open discourse and a funny bone that needs more than a crudely drawn, simplistic cartoon to get me giggling, Delonas’ work barely affects me at all. I’m a fan of the cliche “a monkey could do that job,” but when that monkey is being gunned down by a pair of stunned NYPD officers and linked even in passing to our black president, I have to cry foul but remember not to do so too hard. Certain sensitivities are long past their expiration date, and it’s time for black America to get past them and focus on the real problems. There is always going to be some lame underachiever taking digs, some journalist who stinks at his job, or some legitimate racist who twists the discussion.

With a black president in office we can’t afford to suspect foul play at every turn of the river because the people who want us to be voiceless are counting on us to spend the time and energy it takes to be offended and running in circles protesting instead of staying on course. I’m sure most of the same people who are offended by this cartoon today don’t even understand the contents of the Stimulus Bill that was signed yesterday . . . do you? That is what we need to be worried about.

Question: Is Thembi right, or is she right? Are you offended by the cartoon? If so, why?

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