Friday, July 31, 2009
Sargent Crowley - Give it to this guy, he really, really, really worked the angles on this one. He was never asked to justify the discrepancies between the 911 call and his police report. Nor was he made to apologize by his employer. He never admitted any wrongdoing of any sort. Then he gets to give this very reasonable, very polished presser, which looks like an audition for an upcoming Fox News pundit gig. It was a great day for the Crowley household.
He will probably get some martyr-style promotion out of this. He will definitely get a book deal. He will absolutely become an icon for the anti-Obama crowd. And he still never apologized, just as he said he wouldn't. Is that a freakin' come-up or what?
Lucia Whalen - I hate that Gates' neighbor had to give that tearful press conference, but you just know she's already got that appearance on Oprah booked, right?
Desire Rodgers - The WH Social Secretary really nailed the imagery on this one. For some reason, at the last moment, Joe Biden was asked to attend. My Negro Radar says this was to balance things out so that the image of two brothers hunkering over a white guy wasn't what folks saw when they turned on the TV. How else do you account for Gates and Biden sitting on one side of the table and the other guys on the other, nicely balanced, all in a completely non-threatening manner?
Professor Gates - Gates went from little known black scholar with well-regarded, but little known PBS documentaries, to a man of international name recognition overnight. Sure, some folks will see him as a race-baiter, but those folks probably would have thought that anyway. Even though money is probably far from his greatest motivation, I'm pretty sure he'll end up with a bigger stage to tell his next story.
Obama - Yeah, he handled it well in the end, but his numbers took a hit, and you know opponents will try and paint him as "anti-police" in the future. Never mind the fact that Obama's "stupidly" comment was correct, Gates should never have been arrested. And that his inferences about "racial profiling" were in regards to the question posed, not directly related to Gates' situation. It's just another example of how this White House lets the media narrative get out of control, rather than "controlling the message", which is something his predecessor was actually quite good at.
Black Folks - Let's face it my peoples, we took an "L" on this one. The next time there's a legitimate story that involves racial profiling, the words "well what about Professor Gates?" are definitely trailing. I'm not saying this is an epic fail of Tawanna Brawley type proportions, but it damn sure ain't help.
Officer Leon Lashley - When Crowley's fellow black officer (seen outside the Gates home as he was hauled off in cuffs) went on CNN to go to bat for his boy, I lauded him as a stand up guy. So please explain to me why Lashley got all emo and ended up sending a letter to the White House along with Crowley, assailing those who called him an Uncle Tom?
Seriously, if you are going to take a bold public stand, you just can't be this mad when others disagree with you. Do you know how many times MLK was called an Uncle Tom and how many black churches effectively blackballed him for this beliefs? You did what you felt was right, people complain, then you write a letter crying about people complaining. That's sort of a b*tch move, man. Now I'm beginning to wonder if you were forced to do this. Get over yourself, brother. This is so not about you.
Joe Biden - I totally, totally, totally understand not drinking for moral/ethical reasons. Biden contends that he's never drank a beer in his life, and yesterday was no reason to start. Agree with that too. But come the hell on, man, why was this bama drinkin' an O'Douhl's? What sorta d-bag drinks non-alcoholic beer anyway? Isn't that sorta like drinking decaffeinated coffee? Uhhh, doesn't that sorta undermine the point of the whole thing? Why not just go ahead and poke hokes in your own condoms while you're at it. Beer without alcohol = L.O.S.E.R.
Race Relations In America - Do you feel any more post-racial? I sure don't.
Question: What do you think? Who won? Who lost? Who cares?
You guys know that I typically go hard on these movie reviews. The reasons are many. It's a recession and nobody should flush $40 down the drain if the movie isn't worth it. I also run into problems when I'm reviewing the work of people I personally know and like. Do you keep it real and potentially ruin a friendship, or do you say nice things and sorta kinda lie to your readers? If it sounds like I'm taking all this a bit too damn seriously (because let's face it, this ain't my Day Job) then you're prolly right.
Thankfully, this film presented no such dilemma. I can with clear conscience give Happily Ever After a very good review because it's a very good movie.
Shot documentary-style, sans narration, the movie is really much more of a celebration of black marriage than an in-depth analysis of why the institution as a whole is in such a lousy state in our communities right now.
Familiar faces like radio personality Joe Madison, filmmaker Janks Morton, author (and friend of AB.com) Denene Milner, and actor Tray Chaney (HBO's The Wire), along with average, everyday married couples from all walks of life tell their stories. For once, all the good things about marriage (financial benefits, living longer, balanced approaches to rearing children) are discussed, rather than wallowing in the muck of why "black women are too independent" and "all the good black men are in jail or on the DL". That's a tired, tired, tired shopworn narrative that seems to plague most examinations of Black marriage (Soledad, I'm lookin' at you). Instead, by presenting real couples (along with the occasional "expert) who talk transparently about the challenges, but also the triumphs of living with a "better half", the movie is inspiring on many levels.
Perhaps most interesting is how the movie challenged one of my personal stances. I've long maintained that The Obama Effect on black marriage is going to be negligible at best, and that black folks won't just be magically pairing up all of a sudden because there's somebody who looks like us in the White House. But as the movie suggests, The Huxtable Effect had a huge influence on changing the perception of what marriage means for millions of black people, and The Cosby Show was pure fiction. Even I'll admit, coming from a loving two parent household, even I observed some of what Claire and Cliff had and carry that sensibility into my own marriage. Who's to say that Barry and Michelle can't do the same for another generation? Not me. Not anymore at least.
Well paced and well structured at just over an hour, Happily will definitely leave you with a feeling that things are getting better for the overall state of black marriage, whether that's reflected in the crude numbers or not. Strangely, for a guy who runs a website called Black And Married With Kids, and is featured on the movie's poster, Tyler doesn't cave in to P. Diddy-Syndrome and appears nowhere in the movie. I can't say this is a good or bad thing, it's merely different. I'm sure he'll stop by to chime in on this probing question.
Final Verdict: As the erstwhile cultural expert Denene Milner asserts in this movie, black folks need to quit jibber jabbering about there not being enough "positive" depictions of us and start supporing each other when we do put out this sort of film. Naturally, I concur, and I applaud Lamar & Ronnie Tyler for putting their money where their
Happily Ever After [Official Movie Website]
Tags Popped: AB Goes To The Movies
AB.com started 2 1/2 years ago as a way for me to vent a little, and over time, it's opened doors for me that wouldn't have otherwise been accessible. 1,500+ posts later (check the stats), AB.com has sorta morphed into a fullblown community of diverse voices, opinions, and walks of life. Thousands visit this site every week for some odd reason or another, which I suppose deems this April Fool's joke (the date of my first post) a success. That said, I always try and strive to make every post discussion worthy. There's enough fluff elsewhere on the web. But this gets draining, and sometimes takes the simple fun out of what I do. No more. Since it seems like ya'll will ride with me no matter what, I have some stylistic announcements to make.
I Will Not Apologize For Being A Rap Nerd - Except for my weekly What's On AB's iPod? features, I don't talk music too much here. I'm a geeky dude who prolly downloads 20+ new mixtapes, podcasts, and free promo stuff a week. I don't spend much time here discussing my love of music cause I assume there aren't too many like minded heads here. Doesn't matter. If you like these posts, chime in. If not, skip.
I Will Not Apologize For Being A Basketball Junkie - Likewise, I preface every sports related post with a bunch of disclaimers, hoping I don't alienate those who don't care about the potency of the Cleveland Cavaliers second unit. Again, if that's for you, chime in. If not...
I Will Not Apologize For Being A Liberal - I'm an unaffiliated voter who really, really, really wants to have two options when it comes to voting for statewide and national politricians. But damnit GOP, ya'll just make it too hard to justify even considering you with all the nonsense you do every week. Announcing that I'm a liberal at heart doesn't mean I drink Kool-Aid or walk in lockstep with the Dems (I don't), or that I don't vote across party lines locally (always have, always will). But why keep fooling myself into thinking I might be ideologically compatible on some level with a-holes like Jeff Sessions? I'm not, and prolly never will be. If you wanna brand me as a librul, go right ahead. Fine.
I Will Not Apologize For Liking Gossip - I usually try and avoid celebrity-related posts here, unless there's a greater context for discussion (ie: child support). But damnit, I like Necole Bitchie and hate Sandra Rose just as much as the next
I Will Not Apologize For Being Mean - Sometimes as a blogger, you're concerned about hurting people's feelings. You never know who is reading, and whom you might effect. But let's face it, anyone who knows me personally (tell em' CJames!) knows I'm a sarcastic, snarky, "downright mean" individual. That's my personality. Sometimes I hold it back in the name of being politically correct, or out of concern for offending folks. Not any more.
I Will Not Apologize For Deleting Comments - There's a new sheriff in town, and his name ain't Reggie Hammonds. Act up and get scratched up.
Question: Do you think you're going to like the new and non-apologetic AB.com? Got anything you're tired of apologizing for?
Anyways, I would do my usual begging and groveling for cash right about now, but that's sorta tacky. However, if you'd like to use the occasion to show your appreciation, The Tip Jar is always open for contributions.
Tags Popped: Bloggy Style
Thursday, July 30, 2009
I love the whole "I'm not racist, I've got black friends!" non-apology. So Gates isn't actually a "jungle monkey", he just acts like one? Alrighty then.
We're gonna all need a beer by the time this thing's over.
Question: Should Barrett keep his job?
Yeah, I know NFL camps are starting this week, and it's darn near sacrilege to be talking about any other sport, but what can I say? I'm not a football fan. Sure, I get my fantasy squad on, but that's more about talkin' smack with friends. Simply put, all the NFL is is a 2 month distraction before NBA training camp opens.
It seems like the Lakers just got their rings last week, but reality is, there hasn't been an NBA offseason with this much player movement in ages. And one trend that seems to be evolving is that the rich (much like in real life) are only getting richer. Welcome to the age of the SuperTeam. Here are your contestants.
Boston - The Celtics prolly would have made it back to the Finals had Kevin Garnett not gotten injured. So, to fortify the team's shaky frontline, they add Rasheed Wallace. Sheed gives them a stacked frontcourt, with Big Baby Davis, and Kendrick Perkins. It seems likely that the team will retain Stephon Marbury, and they're about to trade for Marquis Daniels, a guy who can play both guard positions. AB's Odds of Winning It All - 5 to 1.
Cleveland - The Cavs had the league's best record last year, but their date with destiny (and the ratings bonanza of Bron vs Kobe) was derailed when they were outplayed by a better Orlando team in the conference Finals. So, they remedy this by adding Shaquille O'Neal, with the express purpose of getting Lebron and Co. beyond the Magic. Uhhh, apparently they forgot about those Celtics. Additional pickups like Anthony Parker and Jamario Moon will help, but I just don't see a storybook ending here. On the bright side, no way Bron goes to NY. No way. I wouldn't be shocked to see him sign an extension before the season tips off. Odds - 10 to 1.
Orlando - Tasting the Finals (albeit briefly) was motivation enough for the Magic to go all out and add to their shaky depth in hopes of getting another shot at the title. They traded for Vince Carter, signed free agents Brandon Bass and Matt Barnes to reasonable contracts, and made a fatal error by matching a horrendous offer sheet for knock-kneed big man Marcin Gortat, a guy who makes John Koncak look like Wilt Chamberlain. Oh, and they also let their best crunch time player, Hedo Turkoglu, walk to the Raptors. Bad move. Odds - 11 to 1.
Lakers - Picking up Ron Artest is one of those unnecessary risks that can either ruin a team's season or push them over the edge. Essentially trading him for Trevor Ariza is a step up. However, if the team lets Lamar Odom bolt to the Heat over a lousy $2M pissing match, cancel all bets. Since this is still up in the air, I can't give them a grade. Odds - Incomplete.
Portland - A brief playoff run showed them that they needed a point guard to be the glue guy for their ultra talented squad. Picking up veteran Andre Miller fills a bunch of holes and gives Nate McMillan a quarterback who can get them to the 2nd round. Unfortunately, all their young players are going to need to be paid very soon, which means somebody is getting traded. And that Greg Oden over Kevin Durant picks looks worse and worse in retrospect. Imagine how much further along they'd be if they'd gotten that one right. Odds - 25 to 1.
Mavericks - After surprising a geriatric Spurs team last Spring, Mark Cuban and Co. made some aggressive moves to get back to the Finals. Picking up Shawn Marion, Tim Thomas, and Drew Gooden to join the forward tandem of Dirk Diggler and Josh Howard probably means a lot more small ball is coming. They did nothing to address their guard situation other than resigning Jason Kidd, a guy who still couldn't score if he had a pocketful of roofies. Do they even have a guard that's taller than 6-4 on the roster? That's not gonna cut it. Odds - 15 to 1.
Spurs - With Tim Duncan's window rapidly closing, the Spurs made some daring moves to improve their overall talent base. Getting a scorer like Richard Jefferson for a bag of chips and a soda was a steal. Adding Antonio McDyess, Theo Ratliff, and rookie Dejuan Blair to the frontcourt takes some of the pressure off TD. I still think they need some help at guard, where Manu Ginobili is not getting younger, and Tony Parker often looks like he'd rather be on Wisteria Lane than the AT&T Center. Can you say Iverson? Odds - 7 to 1.
Others Considered - Washington (smart trades and health will determine outcome), Atlanta (stacked with guards), Toronto (not deep, but Turkoglu helps), New Orleans (Okafor trade fortifies the front line), Clippers (look awesome on paper).
Question: Which NBA SuperTeam has the best shot at winning the title?
Tags Popped: NBA = Nuthin' But Africans
Members of Alpha Kappa Alpha, the nation’s oldest sorority for collegiate and professional black women, are asking a D.C. court to remove the group’s national leadership and order its president to return funds allegedly paid in contravention of the organization’s bylaws.Wow. What. A. Freakin'. Mess.
The group’s national president, Barbara McKinzie, has come under fire for a long list of alleged financial misdeeds. The most interesting of those allegations: The plaintiffs claim McKinzie used the organization’s money to commission a $900,000 “living legacy wax figure” of herself. McKinzie could not be reached for comment.
Most Washingtonians recall the organization’s centennial celebration last summer — downtown D.C. was swarmed by thousands of AKA members decked head to toe in pink and green. The event drew nearly 20,000 guests to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, setting a Guinness world record for the largest sit-down dinner in the history of conventions worldwide.
The event itself, though, is part of the controversy. The massive attendance — and a registration fee that was twice as high as it had been in prior years, $500 per person — generated significant surplus funds for the organization, the plaintiffs allege. The plaintiffs claim that McKinzie, with the approval of the group’s directors but without the approval of the overall membership, spent the surplus funds on McKinzie’s “pet projects,” including the wax figure, projects to help Liberian women, the Ford Museum and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History. The statue of McKinzie will be displayed at the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum in Baltimore, said Celeste Moy, an attorney at the firm representing the plaintiffs.
In addition, the plaintiffs took issue with McKinzie’s alleged misuse of a corporate credit card for personal expenses, a $375,000 lump sum payment McKinzie received, and a $4,000 monthly stipend McKinzie is to be paid for four years after she leaves office.
The group’s accounting and investment strategies are also under fire. According to the complaint, several of the deductions on the sorority’s 2006 and 2007 tax returns are “unreasonably large and inappropriate” and may “expose the organization to potential IRS claims and obligations.” The sorority is a non-profit organization incorporated under D.C. law. It also has a non-profit foundation that is incorporated in Illinois.
Under McKinzie’s leadership, AKA also shifted several million dollars of the sorority’s and the foundation’s funds from cash and cash equivalents to stock and bond investments — those investments have since plummeted in value, according to the complaint.
The organization has also allegedly spent more than $500,000 in legal fees in 2008 and 2009 for “actions against whistleblowers.”
Members who have voiced concerns over the alleged financial improprieties have had their membership privileges “withdrawn, suspended and otherwise adversely affected,” according to the complaint.
Question: Why do SOME black folks get a lil' title and lose their doggone minds?
Members of Alpha Kappa Alpha want sorority’s president fired [WashBizJournal]
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Anyways, I polled ya'll on what Obama should serve his guests. The results were predictable. Sorta.
Beer won, and thankfully, enough of ya'll remember Dave Chappelle's classic drank vs juice routine to get the inside joke on those choices. Kudos.
Naturally, I voted for the house favorite, CapriSuns. Let's face it, Obama got slammed for drankin' a beer at an NBA game last Winter cause some said it sent the wrong message to kids. No matter what brand of brew he chooses, folks are gonna overanalyze after the fact, and this pointless chatter will likely overshadow any prewritten speeches that the trio will read from their teleprompters. CapriSuns test well with focus groups, don't offend anyone, and are full of vitamins and high fructose corn syrup to boot. CapriSuns, FTW!
Question: What beverage did you choose and why? Just how awkward is this photo op gonna be?
 Believe it or not, some wingnuts are already questioning Obama's choice of beer because Budweiser is no longer American owned. And you wonder why some Conservatives can't be taken seriously.
Tags Popped: Poll Position
Question: Do you agree with Colin Powell's overall assessment?
Question: Does somebody owe Lucia Whalen an apology?
Tags Popped: That Sh*t Is Racist
I'm not necessarily bringing up this topic in light of the recent Nas/Kelis episode, it's something that's been on my mind for awhile. I think we can all agree that it's right and just for a man to take care of his kids financially when a marriage dissolves. Likewise, it's fair for a man to assist his wife financially in getting back on her feet, especially if she's stopped working to care for children. Being a stay-at-home mom is the toughest job evar. And that's the truth, Ruth.
But c'mon, how much child support is too much child support? Isn't there a limit?
A judge has ordered Nas to pay Kelis nearly $40,000 in monthly support for the near future, a day after the "Milkshake" singer gave birth to the divorcing couple's baby boy. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Louis Meisinger issued the order at a Thursday hearing. Neither Nas, whose full name is Nasir Jones, nor Kelis, whose full name is Kelis Rogers, attended Thursday's hearing.I mean, c'mon, where do you draw the line here? I understand that spousal/child support are supposed to allow a wife and child to maintain a similar standard of living to what they have become accustomed to, but how old is that damn baby? 7-8 days old? What exactly is that child accustomed to already that needs to be "maintained"? 50 Cent, who is far richer than Nas could ever dream of, only pays about $6k in support a month. Russell Simmons pays $40k for 2 kids. Diddy allegedly pays about $100k/month, but he has more kids than
Rogers will receive $30,471 in spousal support per month; the couple's son will receive $9,027, according to the court records. Rogers gave birth to the boy, named Knight, at a New York hospital Wednesday. The 29-year-old filed for divorce from the rapper in April. The couple was married in July 2003.
The two have been sparring over support payments for several months, with Rogers contending that Jones hasn't paid many of the costs of her pregnancy and her expenses. His attorney, Mark Vincent Kaplan, told the judge that the rapper has paid $30,000 in expenses and the former couple's health insurance has been maintained.
Kaplan proposed paying Rogers a one-time payment of $20,000 until the judge could settle on an appropriate spousal and child support amount at a later hearing.
Kaplan said Jones arrived at the hospital about five minutes before his son was born. Nguyen said Rogers' mother and sister were in the hospital room for the birth.
Meisinger rejected that offer, saying more money per month would be needed to accommodate Rogers' lifestyle and was warranted based on income declarations filed with the court. The judge also ordered Jones to pay $45,000 to pay Rogers' attorney fees and for a forensic accountant.
Wasser said Kelis is trying to secure a new record deal and hopes to begin recording new music soon. She said Rogers' income has dipped in recent months.
I'll go ahead and say it, whether it's $40k or $55k (numbers thrown out there have varied widely), it's too damn much for a woman with one freakin' child. Especially a newborn. How many
At what point does the woman need to get another job to maintain her own lifestyle? How many Kelis songs can you name? "MilkShake". "I Hate You So Much Right Now". Uhhmmmm.... "Milkshake". That's about it. Nas, on the other hand, has a nearly 20 year discography. Why should she be entitled to continue to reap the benefits of this man's lyrical prowess? Funny, but I don't recall her listed in the credits for Illmatic. Did she ghostwrite "Ether"? Why is she entitled to such an exorbitant fee?
I don't agree with everything Red & Meth say in this very sexist clip, but I do agree, the money she's been awarded is simply too damn much.
Let's be honest, $500k/year in support is gonna wreck any man financially. And for what reason? There's no way in the world Nas (who clearly has just as bad luck picking lawyers as he does mates) is gonna be able to pay this. The man's best days have long since passed, and in today's ringtone industry, there's no way he can keep up with these payments. This will predictably strain any relationship, including the one he'll have with his child. Who, besides Kelis and her next boyfriend who'll love spending that $40k/month, actually benefits from this?
Sorry ya'll, this is just wrong, wrong, wrong.
Question: How much child support is too damn much child support? Is this case simply indicative of the child support system? How does this get fixed?
Nas ordered to make $40K monthly payments to Kelis [AP]
[Editor's Note: NBC Universal sure knows how to ruin a fine joke. Litigious bastards! Watch this one while you still can.]
Question: Does this nonsensical rambling prove that William Shatner has finally lost it? Does this man need his head checked out? What sorta incoherent babbling is this? Does he really think this is poetic? Could a bunch of monkeys jumping up and down on a keyboard produce something more intelligible? Could I? You betcha'!
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Here's what's hilarious to me: imagine the outcry if the Dems actually had elected officials on The Hill drafting legislation to examine whether or not "Bush knocked down the Towers".
I don't personally think that these Congressmen believe the President isn't a US citizen. I think they're all guilty of pandering to the faaaar right in their party, and scared that they'd lose votes if they called this what it is. I can't figure out which of these is worse.
Uh, BTW, Obama is half-white himself. Raging racist that he is, I could only imagine his family reunions are a chippy affair. Full version.
Uh, and didn't Beck more or less admit that Obama was "very White" himself?
Glenn Beck, please, go somewhere and play in traffic.
Again, I don't have the solution, but there are some things I have to say on the matter.
We DON'T Have The Best Healthcare In The World! - Opponents of Healthcare reform argue that there's no need to overhaul our system because the US already has "the best healthcare in the world". Really? A few years ago, the World Health Organization made the first major effort to rank the health systems of 191 nations. France was first, followed by Italy. The United States finished 37th. In another ranking of advanced nations, we ranked dead last on almost all measures of equity because we have the greatest disparity in the quality of care given to richer and poorer citizens. Americans with below-average incomes are much less likely than their counterparts in other industrialized nations to see a doctor when sick, to fill prescriptions or to get needed tests and follow-up care. We rank near the bottom in infant mortality rates, average life expectancy, and near the bottom in kidney and liver transplants. So what are we #1 in? Obesity, of course.
HealthCare Providers Are Notoriously Wasteful - As a guy who's done consulting for dozens of healthcare providers, inefficiency and waste have been two hallmarks of every customer I've visited. These companies make money hand over fist, over duplicate efforts, and often have little internal accountability. They have no inclination to improve their lousy internal processes because, hell, they're making money. Why would they bother? I don't know how to change this, but perhaps some public option will encourage these companies to change the way they do business. As-is, there is no motivation.
Rationing and Long Waits - Uh, scuse' me, but doesn't this already happen today? Making an appointment for my routine annual physical results in a 2-3 week wait, simply because they're already "busy". Anyone who's had a child knows most hospitals start pushing the Mom to go home the moment the baby drops because beds are a valuable commodity. My sons sometimes are told to wait days (I said "told to", my wife usually just walks them in and demands that they be seen) before their pediatrician can see them for a fever. And I have great healthcare. It's not like our current system is perfect in this regard.
Don't Let The Gubb'ment Run Healthcare - One thing that continually pisses me off is when politicians keep arguing against a public option because they swear that you don't want the gubb'ment ruining something so crucial given their track record of incompetence. Uh, you mean the exact same track record of incompetence that you guys were elected to fix? F'real? Yeah, the gubb'ment isn't perfect, but why throw every public servant (10% of the US workforce) under the bus to make a pointless political point? And BTW, the gubb'ment is pretty good at some things. They mail packages cheaply and on-time. They protect us from terrorists. They collect our taxes, pickup our trash, and attempt to educate our kids. They often do these jobs for far less than they're get in the private sector. But yeah, throw em' under the bus anyway. And as for the private sector being so perfect, I have yet one word: Enron.
Don't Believe The Hype - For every disaster story of failed universal healthcare in other countries (ie: The UK, Canada), I am sure there are dozens of great experiences simply not being shared. If you're in a country that's already got some form of gov't run HC, please chime in below.
Where Are The Uninsured Opinions? - My biggest problem in this debate seems to be that the main folks (ie: me) doing all the jawing about what's wrong with healthcare all seem to have one thing in common: they're insured. Any cable news pundit, politrician, or talkshow host poppin' sh*t is entitled to their opinion, but I'd really like to hear more from those either out of work, or unable to otherwise afford insurance.
The Illegal Issue - One easy way to keep costs of any program under control is to simply not allow non-citizens to receive benefits. This doesn't just include illegal aliens, but also those here to work on H1B visas, exchange students, etc. I don't know how much this cuts into that fluctuating number of ~50M uninsured, but it's gotta help somewhere. Would anyone really have a problem with this?
Again, these are just my thoughts, not necessarily solutions. What are yours?
Question: What are your feelings on the HealthCare Crisis? You got any magic bullets to fix the situation? Any horror stories?
World’s Best Medical Care? [NYTimes]
Monday, July 27, 2009
The movie premiere is Thursday for those of you in the DC Urreah. Tickets are still available, but going fast. Depending on how everything pans out, AverageSis and I might make it down there, so be on the lookout. Not that you know how we look. Anyways, the details...
Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage - DC PremiereFor more information, visit Black And Married With Kids.com. You can preorder the movie at HappilyEverAfterTheMovie.com. Join their FaceBook group here.
Thursday, July 30, 2009 at 8:00 PM (ET)
The Avalon Theatre
5612 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20015
Tags Popped: AB Goes To The Movies
The NFL finally concurred today.
The NFL has conditionally reinstated Michael Vick.Personally, I hope Vick signs with the Redskins, the team closest to his Tidewater Urrreah home. Jason Campbell is a nice, but fragile guy just begging to hand his job over. Whether or not Vick makes the Skins better is a wash. At the bare minimum, he makes one of the boringest teams in one of the boringest sports cities somewhat watchable. That's worth the price of tuning to Channel 7 right there alone.
Vick will not be eligible to play when the regular season but he can play in the final two preseason games. Commissioner Roger Goodell will re-evaluate Vick's status for regular-season games by Week 6 His eligibility will be based on him following the NFL's guidelines that will oversee his off-field life, including his finances and personal relationships.
Former Colts coach Tony Dungy will serve as a mentor to Vick, who last Monday finished a 20-month sentence for a federal dogfighting conviction, during the conditional reinstatement.
Vick is free to sign with any club. Vick is eligible to participate in any team activities other than games before Week 6, although the NFL will develop specific guidelines governing Vick.
In a statement to the AP, Vick thanked commissioner Goodell for the second chance.
"I would like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to commissioner Goodell for allowing me to be readmitted to the National Football League," Vick said. "I fully understand that playing football in the NFL is a privilege, not a right, and I am truly thankful for the opportunity I have been given.
"As you can imagine, the last two years have given me time to re-evaluate my life, mature as an individual and fully understand the terrible mistakes I have made in the past and what type of life I must lead moving forward."
Goodell will reevaluate Vick's status prior to Week 6.
Said the commissioner in a letter to Vick, "My decision at that time will be based on reports from outside professionals, your probation officer, and others charged with supervising your activities, the quality of your work outside football, the absence of any further adverse involvement in law enforcement, and other concrete actions that you take that are consistent with your representations to me."
Where Vick might sign is unknown. No teams have yet said they are considering signing him. In late June, USA TODAY analyzed Vick's potential fit with all 32 teams.
Question: Did Mike Vick deserve to get reinstated? What team do you think he'd fit best on?
NFL conditionally reinstates Michael Vick [USAToday]
So trivial is the coverage of this story that semi-reputable news outlets are busy pontificating about what kinda beer the three men should drink, and what the symbolic message conveyed in that brand of beer might be.
- Samuel Adams Boston Lager - It's the hometown brew for Gates and Crowley. Sam Adams is served at the Harvard Faculty Club and the Boston cop bar J.J. Foleys.No malt liquor, huh? You know someone's gonna mess around and say something silly to this effect. My money is on Fox News. I can already hear the "c'mon, we were just joking, we're not racist, we love John Legend!" apology coming.
- Guinness - The quintessential Irish beer. Crowley is an Irish name, and Gates has some Irish blood. The professor had his DNA traced to learn his lineage and found out he's a descendant of an Irish king.
- Goose Island Honkers Ale - Known as "Chicago's craft beer," it was the President's local brew during his years in Chi-Town.
- Pabst Blue Ribbon - They can't drink Budweiser because it's no longer an American-owned company. They can't drink Coors or Miller, because they're owned by staunch Republicans. PBR is the next best thing for an all-American beer.
- Blue Moon Belgian White - Sgt. Crowley was drinking a Blue Moon when Obama called him on Friday. The President told Crowley that he, too, likes Blue Moon.
- Forget beer - "I think a guy like Prof. Gates would like cognac," said Sam Mitchell, who was drinking a Guinness Saturday at d.b.a., an East Village bar.
Upon further review of the police report, and after watching the two other black cops who were onsite at the arrest give their sides of the story, I'm convinced more than ever that this wasn't about race. I know a Bojangling Negro who's been forced by his employer to make a statement when I see one. This, my friends, is no Bojangling Negro.
This was about two men with egos, both of whom got a bit in over their heads when a crowd assembled outside to observe. Unfortunately for Gates, he didn't have cuffs and arrest power. Now, predictably, the Professor is saying he "wants to move on".
Harvard Prof. Henry Louis Gates says too much attention has been taken away from Pres. Barack Obama's health care initiative and placed on his arrest last week. Gates says he is ready to move on and has accepted the president's invitation to have a beer at the White House with Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley.If you think I'm crazy, ask yourself this question: if you'd been legitimately violated, would you be ready to "move on" so quickly? Wasn't Gates still posturing about a lawsuit just days ago?
Meanwhile, the debate generated by Gtes' arrest, and the president's initial reaction to it, continued Saturday. Signs left anonymously outside Professor Gates' home call him shameful and a racist and reveal just how divisive the incident is.
Gates said in a statement that he'd be happy to oblige President Obama's invitation to share a beer with Sergeant Crowley at the White House, a sign that the president's outreach may be having a calming effect. It's a 180-degree turn from the tensions of just days ago when Gates told Sirius radio that Crowley had mistreated him because he is black.
If anyone's guilty of racial profiling, it's Gates' neighbor, but even so, Gates' home had recently been broken into (thus the jammed door). So what's to say this neighbor wasn't just being concerned, or merely just nosey, rather than racist?
Sadly, when you toss the topic of race out there, you're gonna put white folks on the defense (because some of them think that admitting any other white person is racist makes them racist proxy). You're also gonna put black folks on an angry offense (because, damnit you White Folks, why can't you admit that there just might be some racism? we aint' all paranoid!) which in the end accomplishes little. Were this a legitimate case of racial profiling (and I still contend that it's not), Gates could have handled the situation far better by keeping a cool head in the house, letting Crowley leave, then using his name, clout, connections, and title to make a far better public case for why and how we need to eradicate this issue.
Instead, by essentially crying wolf, he's merely made it difficult for the surviving family of the next Negro that legitimately catches a bullet to the dome to get a fair trial. Not that that helped Nicole Paultre-Bell.
Then again, just like those old ABC After School Specials, this whole uncomfortable episode will conclude shortly with
And somewhere in West Memphis, a black man in a black car will be pulled over for reasons beyond his comprehension. I pray for his wife and kids that he gets home safely.
Thanks a lot, Skip.
Question: Did Skip Gates possibly set back the issue of racial profiling by lumping his trivial case in with the legitimate racial bias that effects people of color everyday in America? What beer should Obama, Gates, and Crowley drink? How happy will you be when this story is dead?
What beer should President Obama with Harvard Prof. Henry Gates and Cambridge cop James Crowley? [NY Daily News]
 Props to the first person to tell me where this post's title was cribbed from.
While we were busy talking about Gates-gate, look at the latest example of Bush Administration corruption that just dropped.
Top Bush administration officials in 2002 debated testing the Constitution by sending American troops into the suburbs of Buffalo to arrest a group of men suspected of plotting with Al Qaeda, according to former administration officials.To every wingnut that swears Obama is "dismantling the Constitution", your silence is deafening. I'm still waiting to see that TeaBagger's Ball. I am not holding my breath.
Some of the advisers to President George W. Bush, including Vice President Dick Cheney, argued that a president had the power to use the military on domestic soil to sweep up the terrorism suspects, who came to be known as the Lackawanna Six, and declare them enemy combatants.
Mr. Bush ultimately decided against the proposal to use military force.
A decision to dispatch troops into the streets to make arrests has few precedents in American history, as both the Constitution and subsequent laws restrict the military from being used to conduct domestic raids and seize property.
The Fourth Amendment bans “unreasonable” searches and seizures without probable cause. And the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 generally prohibits the military from acting in a law enforcement capacity.
In the discussions, Mr. Cheney and others cited an Oct. 23, 2001, memorandum from the Justice Department that, using a broad interpretation of presidential authority, argued that the domestic use of the military against Al Qaeda would be legal because it served a national security, rather than a law enforcement, purpose.
Question: Did the Bush Administration do anything good, or were their few positive gains strictly accidental and in spite of themselves?
Bush Weighed Using Military in U.S. Arrests [NYT]
Sunday, July 26, 2009
This viral video of a wedding in Minnesota is blowin' up. The couple is all over NBC, CNN, and various talk shows, but I gotta ask ya'll what's up.
Question: Ashy or Classy? Is this wedding procession fun, or just jive tacky?
Tags Popped: Mass Appeal
Well, I guess I finally know what "Yaki" actually means.
Question: Is this commercial racial, merely stereotypical, or just not all that funny?
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Let's face it, the only thing notable about this entire exchange was the word "stupidly". I will agree that this wasn't the right choice of words, perhaps, but Obama (for once) was clearly talking off the cuff about something clearly very close to him. I admired the candor, but I knew it wouldn't last long. Barry is the President, and apparently this means not pissing off potential voters.
Cue the quasi-apology.
President Obama said Friday that he “could have calibrated” his words more carefully in the controversy over the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. but added that he believed there was an “overreaction” by both sides in a case that has inflamed racial tensions across the country.I don't know exactly how to feel about this. While I agree that Obama's choice of the word "stupidly" was a little off base, I don't think that it necessarily warranted an apology. I mean, even I, a guy who thinks Gates overreacted, still agree that the cops were in the wrong for arresting him over what essentially amounts to a pissing match between two grown assed men. By not falling back, apologizing (how often has a President had to do such a thing?) to the cop, and bringing him and Gates to the White House for a photo-op, I sorta kinda fear that the real point that was being made ("Negroes get their heads busted by the cops! That sh*t is not fiction, that sh*t is real, sonn! Sh*t is real!") is being diluted to make some folks feel better about themselves, and pull Obama back into the "postracial" candidate mode that made him so acceptable to America in the first place.
Mr. Obama said he hoped the case became “a teachable moment” to be used to improve relations between minorities and police officers.
The president conveyed his sentiment to the police sergeant, James Crowley, in a telephone call earlier Friday. Mr. Obama said he disagreed that he should not have stepped into the issue, saying it is the job of the president “black or white” to contribute to improving relations.
At the end of the call, Mr. Obama said, there was a discussion about the sergeant, Professor Gates and him having a beer at the White House.
“I obviously helped to contribute ratcheting it up, I wanted to make clear that in my choice of words, I think, I unfortunately, I think, gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sergeant Crowley specifically,” Mr. Obama said. “And I could have calibrated those words differently. And I told this to Sergeant Crowley.”
“I continue to believe, based on what I have heard, that there was an overreaction in pulling Professor Gates out of his home to the station,” Mr. Obama added. “I also continue to believe, based on what I heard, that Professor Gates probably overreacted as well. My sense is you’ve got two good people in a circumstance in which neither of them were able to resolve the incident in the way that it should have been resolved and the way they would have liked it to be resolved.”
The five-minute call between Mr. Obama and Mr. Crowley took place Friday afternoon. One hour after calling Sergeant Crowley, Mr. Obama reached Professor Gates by telephone. An administration official said the call was “a positive discussion,” that ended with an invitation for the professor and the police officer to meet at the White House. There was no immediate word on whether Professor Gates accepted the invitation.
And that ain't right.
Then again, given the firestorm of criticism over the final question in a press conference about healthcare, did he have any choice but to put this to bed?
I'm clearly not of Ivy League-calibre intellect, so I'm not saying how Barry could have put this genie back in the bottle, but I gotta think there was a better way than this.
Question: After initially "goin' hard" on Wednesday, is Obama being a bit too apologetic and possibly watering down his initial point? Does the President ever owe a private citizen an apology?
Obama Expresses His Regrets On Gates Incident [NYTimes]
That's why it's incredible to hear that just a few decades ago, men weren't even allowed in the delivery rooms, and why it's even sadder that today, with all the kerfuffle about universal healthcare, the concept of universal paternity leave still hasn't been mentioned by a single politrician. When you consider the fact that the US is one of the few industrialized nations that offers no form of paid paternity leave, then the fact that courts are generally stacked in the favor of mothers when it comes to paternity cases, it's no wonder that there's a fatherhood crisis throughout the socioeconomic spectrum.
And that's why I really, really, really feel bad for Nas right about now.
Hip-Hop star Nas is currently celebrating the birth of his son, although sources close to the rapper told AllHipHop.com that he was not allowed to witness the event.Seriously, how is this possible and why is it permissible? Yes, I am well aware that if the Mom has a restraining order, the Dad can't come within a certain distance of her. But what the hell does a restraining order have to do with a child being delivered? I suppose the letter of the law would dictate that there are no exceptions to that rule (unless you're Chris Brown, and you sorta have to go to awards shows for a living), but c'mon. What harm would/could a man do to a woman delivering his child? I don't recall any note of Nas having been violent with his soon to be ex-wife. So again, why they wanna keep a man from his baby? The sh*t just ain't right, I tell ya'. It aint.
Nas' lawyer Mark Vincent Kaplan stated that Nas rushed to the hospital to witness Kelis deliver his first son today (July 21). A source close to Nas told AllHipHop.com that the Queen's rapper missed the actual child birth.
“Nas is in New York City today, anxiously awaiting the arrival of his son. It was his intention to be there for the birth, but unfortunately he has not been allowed to be present,” a source close to the rapper told AllHipHop.com. “While this is clearly heartbreaking to him, Nas continues to offer his support and love to his new baby boy and his mother.”
Nas and Kelis were due in court today in regards to their pending divorce, specifically child and spousal support.
The date had to be postponed when Kelis, born Kelis Rogers , went into labor, around 10:30 this morning. Nas and Kelis were married in January of 2005 after being engaged for two years. Kelis filed for divorce in April of 2009, citing irreconcilable differences. No further details were available as to why Nas may have been prevented from witnessing the birth of his son.
Nas, born Nasir Jones, also has a 12-year-old daughter with ex-fiancée Carmen Bryan.
But Nas was apparently not too broken up about the whole thing, so hey, no harm, no foul.
I'm not sure he'll be so jolly when he begins paying the astounding $55,000/month (!) in spousal and child support that the courts just ordered today.
Anyways, since the main victim in this whole thing seems to have undermined the premise for my post, I figure I'll ask ya'll the following.
Question: Is it fair to prevent a man from witnessing the birth of his child? Was there some violent confrontation between Nas and his ex that I'm overlooking? What sorta woman prevents a man from seeing his son birthed? Why isn't mandatory paternity leave something that the gubb'ment is discussing?
Nas 'Not Allowed' To Witness Son's Birth [AllHipHop]
 Cyber CapriSuns™ to the first person to tell me what song this post's title was cribbed from.
[Update: Since nobody answered the footnote question, here's the song of note.]
Thursday, July 23, 2009
She's been called a "genius" who's fought for the poor and sick and is known for her work to bring awareness about health issues to minority and poor communities. She's also has a physique more akin to Oprah Winfrey than Michelle Obama. So naturally ... someone was going to say it. Is Dr. Regina M. Benjamin too much of a woman (re: fat!) to fight America's obesity epidemic?
Dr. Regina M. Benjamin, Obama's pick for the next surgeon general, was hailed as a McArthur Grant genius who had championed the poor at a medical clinic she set up in Katrina-ravaged Alabama.I almost gave this an "O RLY" owl because what does her waistline have to do with her ability to do her job? This isn't a beauty contest.
But the full-figured African-American nominee is also under fire for being overweight in a nation where 34 percent of all Americans aged 20 and over are obese.
Critics and supporters across the blogsphere have commented on photos of Benjamin's round cheeks, saying she sends the wrong message as the public face of America's health initiatives.
But others support the 52-year-old founder and CEO of Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic, citing new research that shows you cannot always judge a book by its cover when it comes to obesity.
Even the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance -- whose slogan is "we come in all sizes" -- has jumped to her defense.
"The job of surgeon general is to make health care and policy decisions for the country -- not to look hot in a pair of skinny jeans," said one blogger on Frisky.com. "Perhaps her size could actually be an advantage -- she's in a better position to understand obesity and contemplate out-of-the-box ways to roll back ever-expanding American waistlines."
[Editor's Note: My primary physician is also overweight, but I don't take what he says any less seriously as a result.]
But then, hey, maybe someone can argue why this is an issue and convince me otherwise. Anyone agree with the critics?
Question: Does a surgeon general need to be in tip top shape to get the job done, or do her policy decisions matter more than her appearance? Is Benjamin being picked on because she's black?
Critics Slam Overweight Surgeon General Pick, Regina Benjamin [ABCNews]
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tell em' lady!
She wants her country back, huh? Would it kill these "birthers" to pickup an actual newspaper for Crissakes? Hell, even Fox News has repeatedly admitted that this is a non-issue. It even has its own Snopes entry and the whole nine. What the heck is wrong with these folks?
Question: Why does anyone take "birthers" seriously?
Anyways, Perry ends up as the Inaugural recipient of AB.com's newest Poppin' Tag, the aptly titled Doin' Good, for reaching out to the kids recently denied access to a Philly area swimming pool.
Tyler Perry is paying for 65 children from a Philadelphia day camp to go to Walt Disney World after reading about allegations that a suburban swim club had shunned them because of racism.Kudos to Tyler Perry. This nearly atones for the $40 I wasted on Madea's Family Reunion. Nearly.
The black and Hispanic children who attend the day camp run by Creative Steps Inc. cheered Monday when they learned about the actor's gift.
Creative Steps director Alethea Wright says she's thrilled about the offer, especially because Perry "comes from humble beginnings" like the children in her camp.
The Valley Club in Huntingdon Valley has maintained that refunding the camp's swimming fee was not about race but rather a safety issue, in part because many children couldn't swim.
Perry is best known for his signature character Madea, a big-hearted but foul-tempered grandmother.
Question: Ok, I added a "good news" tag to balance out all the hateration. Ya'll happy, now?
Tyler Perry Treats 65 Swimming Pool Excluded Kids To Disney World [HuffPost]
Tags Popped: Doin' Good
One thing I think we can all agree upon is that none of us knows how we'd respond if placed in an identical situation. A recent poll showed that you guys pretty much agreed with this statement.
Personally, I'm glad that Gates lived to tell his story, and that this situation, regardless of how you view it, shows that this idealistic "post-racial" America many foolishly believed would arrive January 20th is little more than a media-manufactured pipe dream. If folks of all colors were able to speak as openly, and candidly as we do here all the time, something tells me we'd all be far better off. For that, I thank the dozens of members of AverageNation™ who weighed in on this issue today.
BTW, if you happen to decide to catch CNN's Black In America 2 tonight, you can join me and my compadres from The Retort for a live blog/chat, beginning at 9pm. Just click here to join the convo.
Tags Popped: Bloggy Style
The more I listen to the debate over the Henry Louis Gates/Cambridge Police incident, the more I'm thinking we mighta misread this one initially. At first, when I heard the facts, and read the police report, I thought "damn, we're still having to deal with this nonsense in 09'?" But upon further review, I remembered a few of things. 1) I have a family member (AverageMiddleBrother) who was a faculty member at Harvard for about 3 years. 2) I've been to Cambridge and Boston myself more times than I can count. 3) I'm also a black man.
That said, here are my random observations, in no particular order.
The Neighbor Was Right. Sorta. - Let's face it, this entire ordeal could have been short-circuited had the nosey assed neighbor just asked Gates if he needed some help, rather than overreacting and calling the cops. The area where Gates lives is affluent, very close to campus, and many of the homes there are leased to faculty (as Gates' was, he was on the phone with property management when the cop arrived) by the University. It's not a stretch to assume that he, a nearly 60 year old man with a walking cane and sedan service, just might be a faculty member himself. On the flipside, had some random Negro broken in Gates' house and this very same neighbor stood by and said nothing, Gates woulda been extra pissed upon return. As a guy who's had this sh*t broken into while apathetic neighbors more or less stood by and watched, without bothering to call police, I somewhat admire this woman's sense of community. She just went about it the entirely wrong way.
The Policeman Was Right. Sorta. - The cop was simply doing his job, responding to a report of a shady character trying to barge his way into a house. He shows up, sees Gates inside the house, asks for ID, and upon identifying Gates as a member of faculty, "appears" (based on the police report) to have been trying to leave the scene. Did this cop overreact by eventually arresting Gates after he proved residence? Perhaps. But again, is it such a stretch to ask a person for ID? No assault occurred, Gates didn't get his head busted. He was simply asked to verify his residence. What's really so wrong about that?
Gates Was Right. Sorta. - Here's the thing: Every sensible Black man knows by age 21 that there is a proper way to respond when confronted by the cops. Some of us are taught by our fathers, some of us learn by trial and error, but all of us should know that the man with the gun is going to win 99% of the time. I'd never, ever, ever condone not standing up for yourself when accused of something you didn't do, but that's not exactly the point of contention here. Smart money says to comply with what the cops ask of you, get the badge number (or something that can be used to identify the person), and report them after the fact if they were out of pocket. It's better to live and be wronged than be dead right. It's not fair, but life seldom is. Gates, an academic who's made a living of studying race relations, should definitely have known better. You don't hit a cop with the infamous "do you know who I am?" unless your name is Michael Jordan. You certainly don't help the situation by wailing out "This is happening because I'm a Black Man In America!" Duh, that's obviously true, but it means jack squat to the policeman. Gates should be happy he got away with the minor charge (since dropped) he did, rather than a bullet to the dome. That's usually how these things end.
Cambridge Ain't Boston. - I've read a lot of comments lumping Cambridge in with nearby Boston when it comes to general racial climate. Not true. If there's any such thing as a bastion of elitist liberal America (other than San Fran), it's Cambridge. The small city is extremely ethnically diverse, has a large native black population, a large immigrant population, a black female mayor, and has had several black police commissioners in the past. Anyone who's spent any amount of time knows it's just one river, but several worlds separated from Boston, which is legitimately one of the most offputting and hostile places I've ever personally visited. My brother, who did his postdoctoral studies at there, told me Cambridge (not to be confused with the campus of Harvard, which is yet another world of its own) is one of the most welcoming places he's ever lived. On the same note, he can count on one hand the number of times he ventured into Boston while living there.
Gates Isn't THAT Famous. - There's also a general feeling out there that the neighbor, as well as the policeman, should have known who Gates was, a sentiment echoed by Gates himself. This has to be the most ridiculous comment evar. How well do you actually know all the folks on your block? Do you guys realize that Harvard is literally the Pro Bowl of American academia? Every professor at Harvard is likely world renowned in his/her field. Saying Gates should be recognizable and well known to the general populace in Cambridge is like saying a casual basketball fan should easily be able to point out Michael Redd while watching the NBA All-Star game. Michael Redd is a nice player, but he's hardly the only star in his field. To the neighbor, Gates was probably just some guy she's passed once or twice on the quad. To the cop, Gates was little more than a suspect. Sorry, but this just how it is.
What We Can All Learn From This. - Reality is, in 2009, yes, police brutality still exists. Black men get their heads busted (or worse) erryday. But this case clearly isn't police brutality, and had Gates just exercised a bit more constraint, this whole thing might have been totally avoided. Just a note to anyone pulled over, or otherwise confronted by cops: if you ain't do nothin' wrong, you have nothing to worry about. Shut up, comply, get the badge number, and handle it the reasonable way. Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.
The Bottom Line - Everyone here overreacted. The neighbor should have asked questions rather than made assumptions. The policeman should have perhaps been more sensitive to the situation and let cooler heads prevail. And Gates definitely shouldn't have pulled the infamous "Do you know who I am?" card. The obvious problem here is that only one of these overreactors could have lost his/her life as a result of this situation. I'll let you all guess who that might have been.
Question: Am I waaaay outta bounds with this, or did Gates perhaps overplay the situation?