Monday, November 30, 2009

Separated At Birth?!? - Clyburn & Will.I.Am.

One guy is a respected elder statesman of the House. The other guy makes lousy prepacked pop music that rocks the House.[1] But am I the only one who's noticed the strange, intergenerational likeness of SC Congressman James Clyburn and Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.I.Am? Prolly not.

Mazel Tov!

Question: Do James Clyburn and Will.I.Am look like sage uncle and estranged nephew, or is it just me?

[1] Not my House, but apparently some peoples houses. I still say BEP are one Fergie away from sangin' and dancin' for table scraps on Venice Beach, but what do I know?

Laugh Break - Mike Epps.

New feature alert. And yeah, there's some PG-13 language here, so cop the headphones first.

America In Black, White, And Gray.

I'm a black man living in America. This shouldn't come as any shock to my longtime readers. And being a black man living in America, my personal life experiences are often going to color (pun intended) the way I view and perceive certain situations. I can't help this, my conditioning makes it necessary. Three such stories that made the news cycles over the weekend are really gnawing at me, and I'm wondering if these three situations say something about the way race is perceived in America, or simply I'm personally looking for race where it doesn't exist. Ya'll tell me.

The White House "Party Crashers" - Let's keep it one hunned: these folks are on the verge of inking a six figure deal, rather than fighting off fellow inmates at 1901 D Street because, and simply because, the wife is blond, tall, thin, and what many folks perceived as "cute". I doubt a black couple could have eluded multiple layers of WH security, hammed it up with Barry, Rahmbo, Joe Biden, and Co. without someone asking "uhhhmm, who the hell are those Negroes, and where is their invitation?" Naturally, this couple is about to cash in on their hijinx, which only means the next round of copycats will have the up the stakes even more ("crashing" the upcoming primetime Afghanistan press conference, maybe)? These folks don't deserve to profit from what's likely a felony, they deserve to be made a very public example of. They aren't "party crashers", let's quit being politically correct and call them what they are. Terrorists.

Tiger Woods Done Messed Up - Boy, have you ever thought about just how lovely it is to be rich and famous in America? Tiger Woods has the Orlando PD on lock so much that he can tell them three straight days "he's resting, I'll call you when I feel better", instead of being hauled out of his house for questioning. As for his wife, I'll steal a train of thought from my homegirl The Black Snob and use this opportunity to debunk a myth: white women ain't pushovers either. I don't have any personal experience, but those (ie: me) who seem to paint black women as deranged women scorned need to fall back: I doubt any race of women is any more accepting of alleged extramarital affairs. So, his wife chose a 9 iron as opposed to a whole pot of pipin' hot grits. The effect is the same: dude messed up, and his lady won't havin' it. But I can't help but wonder if the cops would be so hands off if his wife was named Tamika instead of Elin. Would they allow her to make up such an obvious lie to cover for herself when she's essentially committed domestic abuse? You tell me.

Affirmative Action In The NFL - So, I tuned in to the Skins/Eagles game in the 4th quarter yesterday, and lo and behold, the Skins had a lead. Common sense and a basic awareness of recentr history would tell you the Skins would lose the lead, and the game, and of course they did, when QB Jason Campbell's last minute drive ended in a terribly underthrown incompletion. After 5 seasons as the primary starter, one thing is abundantly clear: Campbell is NOT a starting caliber NFL QB. Period. But if you ask fans, they'll make all sorts of excuses for him. He has no offensive line. They keep changing coaches. They keep changing offensive coordinators. The wide receivers are too small. They don't have a running game. All these things may be true on some level, but the two constants all along have been "Campbell", and "losses".

I hate to get all Rush Limbaugh-ish on ya'll, but I gotta call a spade a spade here. This guy just isn't good. Never has been, never will be. It's not a stretch to say that a black QB at the helm of the only sports team that matters in a majority black city is good for marketing, civic pride, and prolly ticket sales. Given the fact that the Skins were the last NFL team to allow black players (which is partly why there are more Dallas Cowboys fans here than anywhere outside Texas), and the way the team unceremoniously dumped Doug Williams after he won a Super Bowl, I think it's fair to say fans black, white, and other want to see the guy succeed. But at what point do they stop making excuses for him and admit the obvious: he sucks.

Question: Should "The WH Party Crashers" be allowed to cash in on their ill-gotten fame, or should they be practicing soap-holding right now? What's up with Tiger Woods telling the cops what to do, and when to do it? Is Jason Campbell getting a free pass "cause he Black"?!?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The 100 Best The Wire Quotes, Evar.

Man, do I miss this show.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Man, Do I Miss College...

This clip never gets old.

Friday, November 27, 2009 Guest Post - Locker Room or Male Nudist Colony?!?

[Editor's Note: Yep, I'm in a turkey and stuffing induced coma. And when I hit the gym Monday, I'll prolly be thinking about this post from my main man Mason Jamal. As usual, show the guest some love you-know-where.]

For the first time in a long time, I found myself at a fitness center the other day. Muscle memory my ass. The day after feels more like muscle amnesia. But the soreness I feel due to a 12 month hiatus from working out is trivial and temporary compared to what's really bothering me. There are things more problematic I'm reminded. Things that never change. I'm talking about the unneeded narcissism of the pre and post workout experience.

Plain talk. I'm not keen on the gratuitous male nudity that I'm exposed to every time I go enter a locker room at one of these fitness facilities. And, if you're a regular reader of this blog, you know that I'm not homophobic in the least. What you may not know, however, is I'm very much bromophobic (broh-moh-phobic). A bromophobe is someone like myself, man or woman, who takes issue with bromances, the non-sexual but unnecessarily close and often juvenile relationship between two or more straight men. They're the ones who are being humorous and honest when they say things like "I love you man" and "bros before hoes". Captain Kirk and Spock, Fred and Barney, the lead characters in any Adam Sandler movie – those guys. It could be you and your best friend or your husband and his.

And therein lies the problem. It's not the actual parade of male nudity that bothers me. It's the pomp and circumstance of it. The bromosexuals, as I call them, want to prove themselves, not only to their workout buddies, but to the other causal bystanders chugging protein shakes and admiring their post-workout physique in the mirror, only to see it deflate 45 minutes later. They will go to great lengths, literal or figurative, to demonstrate that they're part of the imaginary team and that they're totally unaffected by self-consciousness. They're the often unhung heroes who stroll from the showers to the lockers with no towel, as to non-verbally say “it's all good, my man, it’s all good”. But it's not. There is nothing worse than being a witness to casual conversation between nude buddies, well, other than being asked by buddy-less nude guy "how about those Yankees", as he attempts to convert you to bromosexuality.

It’s like hearing that another season of American Idol has record ratings; I find myself asking time and time again, is this really happening? Look, I know glorified karaoke when I see it and I know bromosexuals, even when they’re on the down low. I can spot one a mile away. Wait. This is a good time for me to reiterate that bromosexuals are not gay, just in case there is confusion. They're your decisively straight garden variety boyfriends, husbands, and fathers, plus a few actual homophobes, who turn out to be ironically intolerant once they get dressed and exit the locker room.

I think this all goes back to the fascination with sports and man's need to feel a part of the team. It transcends race, age and size. This is how we're socialized - have balls, play ball, and, when you're done, hit the showers and show balls. Dads have longed admonished their teenagers: "Be a man son. Only a wuss wouldn't drop ‘trou’ and go full monty in front of his brethren, even the black guys. No, it's not a myth but just do it anyway junior. "

Listen, I'm not saying that men should wear flesh tone wet suits when in the locker room. I'm just asking you to recognize that this isn't a sports movie and its requisite locker room scene after a big win. No hot female reporter is about to walk in and become smitten with you, while you say something crass and unoriginal like "sweetie, football is a game of inches". Just recognize where you are and who you are. We're grown men who have crossed over to the other side. We're no longer athletic specimens and many of us never were. So as spectators, we shouldn't subject each other to the unsightly scene of bodies everywhere losing the war of gravity. Shut up, get dressed, and get back to not being creepy. I’d appreciate it. One

The Takeaways:
1.) Again, I’m not suggesting that moving parts aren’t normal and acceptable in a fitness center locker room. What I am suggesting is use a towel liberally and minimize the nude buddy conversations until you at least have your boxers or man panties on.

2.) It’s not the penises that are a problem. It’s the proximity of the penises. There are rules of personal space at play. Respect the them. It's good locker room etiquette.

3.) Fellas, don’t use this post as an excuse to waste time wondering what happens in women’s locker rooms. I’ve already wasted enough time for you. It took everything in me NOT to drop the word “coed” somewhere in this post and, yet, at the very end I failed.

Bonus Takeaway) Wouldn't it be funny as hell to actually hear Captain Kirk say to Spock "bros before hoes"? I'm not a fan of the derogatory terminology, but funny is funny.
Question: Fellas, do you notice this lack of locker room decorum? Ladies, what's it like in the women's locker room?

More from Mason Jamal

They Should Have Never Gave You Negroes Money.

Please, please, please, please tell me this isn't real.

Question: Is "Kush Dog" real?!?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Uhh, you ain't actually think I'd be posting today, did you?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Is Barack Obama A Rapist?!?

Conservatives sure seem to think so.

Question: What's with this rape obsession on the right?

The Cult Of Victimology.

The Conservative interwebs are all up in arms about MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell putting an uninformed Palin supporter on the hot seat last week.

There's also a somewhat similar YouTube going around.

Some are even dredging up this Tea Party CNN clip as further proof of the liberal media bias.

Apparently it's not kosher to clown a clueless 17 year old (and an equally clueless TeaBagger), but it's just fine when it's the other way around.

Or this way...

Or this way...


Seriously, it should be of no surprise to anyone that roughly 90% of the country doesn't follow politics on any level until it's time to vote. Why we pretend that either party has the market cornered on morons is beyond me.

Question: Was the MSNBC reporter wrong for quizzing the young girl?

3 Play Wednesday - Patrice Rushen.

Since I know none of ya'll is gonna be here tomorrow, I'm movin' this up a day. It's 3 Play Wednesday. Today: 80's Songstress Patrice Rushen.

Those of you born after 1985 prolly have no idea who Patrice Rushen is, but there's a good chance you're familiar with her music. In the pre-music video/payola era, artists acutally had to have some musical talent, which often meant being able to play instruments as well as sang. Rushen was the consummate all-around talent, a true musician who played everything from the piano to percussion. If you want a modern point of reference, she was Alicia Keys before there was an Alicia Keys. Her list of career accolades is waaaay to lenghty for this sorta post, so get familiar if you ain't. Rushen is currently a professor at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, in Boston. I'd like to see Ashanti top that one.

Without further adieu, a handful of my favorites. If you wanna name the millions of songs that sampled these originals, flex your knowledge in the comments section.

"You Remind Me"

If "a Sunday afternoon in May" was a song, it would prolly sound like this. Tell me I'm wrong.

"Forget Me Nots"

I seriously hate that this superb song will forever be attached to such a corny movie like MiB, but hey, I'm sure she didn't mind the check.

"Feels So Real (Won't Let Go)"

If "4th of July BBQ" was a song, it would prolly sound like this. Tell me I'm wrong.

Question: How many songs can you name that sampled the original Patrice Rushen tunes above?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

34,000 More Troops To Afghanistan.

I'm pretty busy trying to clear the deck for the holiday break today, but I'd be remiss to not toss this breaking news out there for discussion.
The White House braced for a tough sell of President Barack Obama's long-awaited decision on whether to commit tens of thousands of new U.S. forces to the stalemated war in Afghanistan, even as the president met Monday with top advisers for the last major discussion before an announcement "within days."

Military officials and others expect Obama to settle on a middle-ground option that would deploy an eventual 32,000 to 35,000 U.S. forces to the 8-year-old conflict. That rough figure has stood as the most likely option since before Obama's last large war council meeting earlier this month, when he tasked military planners with rearranging the timing and makeup of some of the deployments.

The president has said with increasing frequency in recent days that a big piece of the rethinking of options that he ordered had to do with building an exit strategy into the announcement -- in other words, revising the options presented to him to clarify when U.S. troops would turn over responsibility to the Afghan government and under what conditions.

As White House press secretary Robert Gibbs put it to reporters on Monday, it's "not just how we get people there, but what's the strategy for getting them out."
There's plenty more detail to the story, so I'd suggest everyone go have a look before discussing.

Question: What should Obama do about Afghanistan? What exactly constitutes "a win"?

Obama's Afghanistan Decision: 34,000 More Troops And An Exit Strategy, Reports Say [AP]

Mama, I'm In The Paper. Again. Yeah, Really. Again.

Wow, two quotes in a one week span. Thanks, Washington Post.

Now if I could just convince them to bring back The Sunday Source... in Washington Post Express Blog Log [Print Edition PDF - p.40] in Washington Post Express Blog Log [HTML]

Should We Ban Constructive Feedback From!? is an equal opportunity soapbox. I don't restrict comments here, and allow folks to post anonymously because I want as many opinions added to the flow as possible. But one thing that I will not tolerate is trolls who hijack the message boards for their own self-serving purposes, who write 20 page dissertations to hear themselves think, and who constantly berate other commenters in an uncouth fashion. In the 2 1/2 years of this blog's existence, I've only had to give a couple of folks their walking papers. And I'm feeling like I might need to do it again.

A few weeks ago, the blog was raided discovered by a person named Constructive Feedback. I honestly don't know this dude's hustle, but apparently he's the resident bully/contrarian at a handful of other blogs. Why he chose mine as the latest to invade is beyond me, but I've noticed a sharp change in the overall tone of the boards of late since he arrived, and I do not like it. I've generally tried to just ignore him, but he still managed to reel others in, get them riled up, and generally undo the civility that I've been very deliberate in establishing in AverageNation™. I've had quite a few of you reach out to me offline noting how he's changed the overall tone here, and I don't take your input lightly.

That said, I figure I'll put this up to a vote. Some of you may find his banter amusing, and if so, I'd like to hear what you think.

Question: Should Constructive Feedback be banned from AverageNation™?!?

Separated At Birth?!? - UPS Dude & John Redcorn.

That annoying guy with the mullet on those UPS commercials always reminded me of someone, but I couldn't place it till the other day. Now tell me that guy doesn't look like token Native American John Redcorn from Fox's now defunct King Of The Hill.

Question: Is it just me, or do they look alike?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Aaron Hall's Dog Rehab?!?

[Editor's Note: I'm already in holiday mode, so after "The Problem With..." Week expect a light week here at Today, my main man RiPPa explores that really, really sad Aaron Hall video. Show our guest some love, as usual.]

It seems like my man Charlie Wilson from the super group The Gap Band never gets old. Every time I'm in the ride cruising to the grown folks radio station, it's like I always hear something new from the brother. Yep, and I'm talking quality music too, and not just some bullshit record either. I'm talking grown folks music. Charlie has come a long way and beating his drug addiction, as well as being able to be relevant in the music industry as he is today, is a testament in itself to talent and will power.

I always thought my man Aaron Hall from the group Guy back in the late 80s sounded a lot like Charlie Wilson. Matter of fact, if it wasn't for the Teddy Riley ad-lib "Yep Yep," every 20 seconds on a track, you probably would have thought it was The Gap Band with a spash of Hip Hop. When Guy covered The Gap Band's classic "Yearning For Your Love" it didn't help either.Thinking back now, I'm sure even Charlie Wilson was proud of that cover.; I thought it was well done.

I loved the group Guy, and I kinda wished they would have stayed around a lot longer than hey did. If not just for people like me who did the Roger Rabbit when "Groove Me" came on, but for Aaron Hall. Have you seen what that brother is up to these days? Yeah, I know you probably caught him on the BET Awards this year during the old school segment like I did. Yeah, I know, dude couldn't even breathe, while he danced and sang. Uh-huh, I thought he was gonna fall out on the stage. It's obvious that he hasn't been singing much lately, just take a look at what he's up to now.

Um, I'm sorry, but did this Negro say he is able to speak to dogs in foreign languages? No seriously, is this Negro that gifted? Yeah I know, this looked like a joke to you as it did me, right? You too huh, I know, I kept waiting for Dave Chappelle to walk into the show at some point in time. But allegedly this is serious, and I'm not sure if this is his pitch to get his own reality show, but this is not where I expected to see Aaron Hall.

Dog rehab? I'm sorry, but I don't know if I would want some guy dressed in a suit looking like Jim Carey in the movie mask coming into my home to teach my dog that pissin' on the carpet is bad. Call me racist but I don't think white folks would be comfortable with a guy in a pimp costume all up in their home? Yeah Aaron, I understand you don't have a use for those 80s suits anymore, but damn, did you really have to be the doggie super-nanny n' shit?

I don't know what the rest of the guys from the group Guy are up to these days. But surely they can come together and talk this brother out of this crap. Yeah I know the image of Black men and dogs are kinda f*cked up right now thanks to Mike Vick so this might be a good idea. But damn, couldn't they get DMX a show like this instead of this guy? Not only does DMX love dogs, but he actually barks and growls on his record.

Aaron Hall?

I guess now we know who was the "dumb b*tch" he was talking about when they sang "Piece Of My Love." Oh well, it could be worse I suppose. He could be singing songs about gettin' little girls pregnant like R. Kelly is doing these days. Aaron Hall needs some money y'all, and I think we should start a telethon for the brother. Or at least have somebody adopt him for Christmas or something.

Please, don't let him embarrass himself this way.

Question: What's up with Aaron Hall? Is this real?


More from RiPPa

Palin Goes Roguer. Gets Booed.

Sarah Palin had a book signing somewhere in "real America", and had the nerve to roll out of these "real Americans" without fulfilling her contractual obligation. Lucky for her, these folks weren't exercising their 2nd amendment rights. Sure, it's okay to pack heat for a townhall meeting, but a chance to meet Miss Sarah up close and personal? Leave the AK in the F-150, hon'.

Funny, but this guy now says he'll no longer support Palin, just cause she had better things to do than sit in a cruddy Walmart parking lot and sign his book. Poor fella. If that's enough to get him off the Palin train, then damn, she ain't got much of a platform. Huckabee, FTW!!!

Man, this coulda gotten real ugly. Folks, I hate to break it to you, but Miss Sarah don't love you. She loves your $24.95.

I'm sure she'll find some way to blame this stiffarm on "the liberal New York media".

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Stupid Virus.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bangs Gets Clowned On The All Out Show.

Man, this is precisely why I have Sirius XM. The All Out Show is the drivetime show on Shade45, and it's also the show I stole the concept for Black, White, or Other from. Sadly, Bangs seems to have no idea that the joke is on him.

Just in case you missed the setup for the joke...

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Problem With... President Obama's Stimulus Package.

[Editor's Note: Yep, it was bound to happen.]

When President Obama announced plans for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (aka: the stimulus package), I was in agreement. By taking a huge amount of gubb'ment money and using it for the purpose of rebuilding crumbling infrastructure, making investments in the future, and extending unemployment and healthcare benefits to those less fortunate, the Act would both save and create jobs, as well as provide a Band-Aid to possibly lessen the financial devastation of those out of work.

As details of the plan rolled out, I was less enthused. The original amount for providing infrastructure upgrades (aka: creating jobs) was far less than originally intended, since the Democrats on the Hill caved in and let the GOP load it up with pointless tax breaks. Ditto for the amount allocated for pre-K programs, also sharply reduced in the name of bipartisanship.

In the end, although a whopping 2/3 of the money allocated for the act ended up being for tax breaks and entitlements which don't create jobs even in the best scenario, I was still down. The remaining $275B would be spent to keep Americans working or put them back to work. Or so I thought.

Nearly a year later, unemployment has soared to 10.2%, with no reversal in sight. Much of the money that should be creating jobs has yet to be rewarded, tied up in the bureaucratic soup of DC politricks. I guess you could see this as a good thing: nobody wants taxpayer money (or more charges on our ChinaOne MasterCard™) to be blown on stuff that doesn't save or create jobs. Going over grant and contract applications with a fine toothed comb is essential to limiting fraud.

Or so I thought.

In recent weeks, stories have trickled out about how initial stimulus money has been spent, and how it's been attributed to jobs created on the gubb'ment watchdog site And my friends, the early returns are not pretty. In fact, they're pretty infuriating, as you'll find if you read a compilation of reports that the local fishwrap, the Washington Examiner just culled together. Here's merely a smattering of what the report mentioned.
More than ten percent of the jobs the Obama administration has claimed were "created or saved" by the $787 billion stimulus package are doubtful or imaginary, according to reports compiled from eleven major newspapers and the Associated Press.

Based only on our analysis of stimulus media coverage in the last two weeks, The Examiner has documented exaggerated stimulus claims. The report, which will be updated as new revelations appear, currently reflects an exaggeration by the Obama administration of about 75,000 jobs, out of the 640,000 jobs supposedly "created or saved."

This reflects reports from The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, the Sacramento Bee, The New York Times, USA Today, the Las Vegas Sun, the Detroit Free Press, the New York Post, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Associated Press, the Chicago Tribune, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It remains a work in progress because relatively few newspapers have scrutinized stimulus spending so far.

The Obama administration has claimed that the $787 billion economic stimulus package "saved or created" some 650,000 jobs. But almost as soon as the White House trotted out this figure, news organizations found huge exaggerations in the reported data. Many of the jobs reportedly created do not exist or cannot be accounted for.

The Southwest Georgia Community Action Council claimed to have saved 935 jobs with the $1.3 million it received, even though only 508 people work there. In fact, the group used most of its grant to give raises and now says it created 9.35 jobs.

“The Bergen County Community Action Program in Hackensack, N.J., noted the nearly $213,000 it received went to cover raises for existing staff only, but it also reported saving 85 jobs.”

The Child Care Association of Brevard County reported creating 129 jobs with $98,669 in stimulus money. In fact, “the cash was used to give her 129 employees a 3.9 percent cost-of-living raise.”

Koring Group in Toledo, Ohio reported hiring 52 people, but it turns out that they double-counted jobs that “only lasted about two months.” The FCC estimates that “actual job count is closer to five.”

The Mid-Willamette Valley (Oregon) Community Action Agency reported 205 jobs created or saved with $397,761. The money was actually used for pay raises.

A Kentucky shoe-store owner claimed he created nine jobs on an $889.60 contract. In fact, he supplied nine pairs of shoes to the Army Corps of Engineers.

Stetson University in DeLand, Fla claimed to have created or saved 483 jobs with a grant of only $193,469.

Officials at East Central Technical College in Douglas, Ga. “said they now know they shouldn't have claimed 280 stimulus jobs linked to more than $200,000 to buy trucks and trailers for commercial driving instruction...The 280 were not jobs, but the number of students who would benefit...”

In DC, $3,500 purchase of paint was credited with saving or creating a job.

The California State University system received $268.5 million in stimulus funds and claimed that the money allowed them to save over 26,000 jobs or half its workforce. But when pressed, the California State University system admitted they weren't really going to lay off half their workforce, and that in fact few or none of these jobs would have been lost without the stimulus. "This is not really a real number of people," a CSU spokesman said. "It's like a budget number."

Of the 34,500 jobs allegedly saved or created by the stimulus in Washington State, 24,000 belong to state teachers already under contract to finish out the school year, whose jobs were never in jeopardy. Rather, stimulus money was shuffled to them and their money went to offset budget cuts elsewhere.

In Arlington, VA $100,000 in stimulus money is being used to start a wine bar.

Two child care centers in central Colorado claimed to have created 292 jobs with $650,000 in grant money. In fact, the money went to pay raises.

The local Head Start program in Greenfield, Mass. claimed 90 new jobs, but actually created no new jobs, and used its $245,000 grant to give pay raises.

The company Teletech claimed to have created 4,300 jobs from a $28.4 million contract, but in fact 3,000 of the jobs lasted only a month.

Bridgewater State (CT) College claimed to have created 160 jobs with a $77,000 grant. The college acknowledged the mistake, and said no new jobs were created.
Before anyone goes off on a tangent about this being some rightwing conspiracy, a majority of these accounts were reported by The Associated Press, which is about as close to a non biased news agency as you'll find. If you think this is all BS, just go read the report and google the stories themselves. Nothing's being made up here.

As I said earlier on, anytime you send this sort of money out the door, the possibility for fraud and waste is pretty much a given. People will game the system. But it's the gubb'ment's job to make sure that those who receive the money are on the up and up, and are being truthful about the money being spent and the jobs saved and/or created. There is simply no excuse for this sort of numeric trickery by states, counties, and cities wasting money to such a degree. Some reports on have stimulus money going to Congressional districts that don't even exist. I should also note that the money being burned is spread evenly across the electoral map, so this ain't a partisan issue. Everyone's gaming the system, and it's a damn shame.

There are plenty of fingers to point here. The folks in DC needed to better scrutinize the grants and contracts they awarded. The state/local authorities needed to be more truthful. shouldn't have reported job claims without substantiation. A gauge of true "jobs saved" is curiously absent.

But ultimately, the real culprit here is Obama himself. Sh*t rolls upstream, and ultimately the buck stops with the guy who introduced the idea in the first place. I suspect Republicans are being eerily silent on all this waste because their hands are also in the cookie jar, but the handful of Governors who refused stimulus funds last Spring are suddenly looking like geniuses, even if in each case they were overruled by their state's legislatures.

This is a textbook example of a great concept with piss-poor execution. And let the record reflect that I still support the President overall, but given the exaggerated job claims, the lack of accountability, and the billions in blown money that could have been better allocated (or simply not allocated at all), I have no choice but to label the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 an Epic (and very Expensive) Fail.

Question: What do you think about this report? Did you originally support the stimulus package? What could have been done to ensure greater accountability and less fraud? How does the country reverse this freefall of lost jobs?

75,343 Bogus jobs 'created or saved' by the Stimulus [Washington Examiner]

Stimulus saves jobs in nonexistent districts [Washington Examiner]

Stimulus Funding For A Wine Bar? [WUSA9]


The Problem With... Hollywood's White Guilt.

A few weeks back, I reviewed the Vince Vaughn movie Couples Retreat, and at the time, I decried the inclusion of two token stereotypical black characters as completely unnecessary.

Although I'm happy to see Big Worm and this young lady working, they added nothing to the movie, and it was so obvious that they were merely there to equalize the cast and expand the potential box office appeal. I don't like this sorta thing, and really, really wish this sort of diversity for the sake of diversity in Hollyweird would just die.

Looks like I got my wish. Sorta.
Universal is facing a potential PR disaster for its decision to digitally remove the names and images of the only black couple in 'Couples Retreat' on the film's UK movie poster.

According to England's The Daily Mail, a Universal spokesman said the updated ad was released "to simplify the poster to actors who are most recognizable in international markets."

But some are calling foul on the complete removal of actors Kali Hawk and Faizon Love from the film's poster. "I think this was an ill-conceived move," Mediawatch-UK director Vivienne Pattison told the Mail. "We celebrate diversity in Britain and we could have coped with seeing the same poster used in America."

In the U.S. version, all eight principal stars, including Hawk and Love, are seen standing knee-deep in water with their names displayed above. For the UK version, a different backdrop is shown with only the six (white) actors and actresses on display.

"Any discrepancy between the posters is cause for alarm because it makes racist assumptions about target markets," says Ann Simonton, founder of the non-profit organization Media Watch. "But this is a somewhat common response to how advertisers target audiences. So much of advertising depends on our ignorance and it's important for the consumer to remain ignorant. When they eliminate diversity, it maintains this false view of our world. It's sickening to think about what the industry's motives are, but it's important that they be called on it."

Daily Mail film critic Jason Solomons weighed in over the weekend, noting, "We don't cater much for the black cinema-going audience in this country, which is a great shame, so it seems strange that when there are black stars in a major feature film, this fact isn't promoted. And, in terms of business decisions, this seems a pretty counter-productive one."

For its part, Universal has acknowledged the omission, saying it regretted offending anyone and is abandoning plans to use the revised poster in other countries.
It "regretted offending anyone, huh"? How about they simply don't put the Negroes in the movie in the first place next time?

Question: Is Universal pictures racist for removing the two black actors from the movie poster, or merely givin' the people what they want?

'Couples Retreat' Poster Causes Controversy in the UK [MovieFone]

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Problem With... Black Conservatives.

[Editor's Note: Some of ya'll wrote in and told me you wanted me off that sports tip and back on my bullsh*t, so I'm back on my bullsh*t. Bear witness to the realist sh*t I ever wrote. Shots fired.]

I make no bones about my political affiliations. I'm a proud liberal who is no longer a registered member of the Democratic Party, partially because of my disdain with how the party as a whole handled the daily underhanded racial assaults on Barack Obama during last year's push for the Democratic nomination. But I'm also unaffiliated because I don't by any means vote in lockstep with Democrats. I have, and will continue to vote for Republicans on the local level.

The recent news that onetime Maryland Republican governor Bob Ehrlich is considering mounting a challenge to incumbent Democrat Martin O'Malley (the real like Tommy Carcetti from HBO's The Wire) means I'll be voting GOP come 2010. The guy is the best person for the job, and you should vote for the best person regardless of whether their name is followed by a D or an R. Living in a relatively moderate state with few of the racial shenanigas associated with the GOP nationally makes this a far more palatable thought.

That said, as disillusioned as I am with the Dems, it still puzzles, and in some ways fascinates me, to hear Black (or as they'd prefer to be called, "African-American") Conservatives explain why they ryde or die with a party that seems to insult their race at every turn. I honestly just don't get it. Sure, voting for the best guy for the job makes sense. But asserting that black folks voting for the Democrats 90% of the time is the cause of all that ails Negro communities just smacks of lazy, shortsighted plantation thinking.

Let's take a look at a recent case study of this strange phenomenon of Negro curiosity, compliments of Fox News Channel, and that noted bridger of racial divides, Mr. Glenn Beck.

Case #1 - The "I'm Conservative Because I Was Ostracized For My Beliefs As A Poor Child Growing Up In The Ghetto" Card Is Played.

Note to Charles Payne, and all Black Conservatives playing the "I was ostracized because I talked White" card: Negroes please! Your pass has been revoked.

The kids clowning you for carrying a briefcase to 3rd grade weren't "liberals", they were children. I seem to hear this whole "liberals don't value education and hard work" line of nonsense aped by Black Conservative after Black Conservative, as if to suggest that the black community's anti-intellectualism is a political thing, rather than symptomatic of an American problem, period. To me, I see this "Black folks won't accept me, so I'll become a Republican and show those broke Negroes a thing or two" rationale as being intellectually lazy and borderline elitist. It seems like a convenient way of announcing to White Conservatives "I'm not like the rest of those lazy Negroes although I grew up in the same neighborhood. I can speak good English and I'm non-threatening. Unclutch your purse, and please, pleeeasse let me date your daughter." Can we please leave childhood scars out of the equation? They are of no relevance to arguements about why the GOP is "better" for blacks, and just make you look like a sucker who's still mad cause Shaniqua passed you over for that football player when you asked her to the prom. Get over it, already.

Case #2 - The Democrats Haven't Done Anything To Help Black People? Well What's The GOP Done?

I also disagree with this assertion. The same party that says time and time again that the gubb'ment should be less involved in peoples lives says that Black folks would be better off if only they'd vote for Republicans? Really?

I hate the "Liberal policies make Negroes eternal victims who suck off Uncle Sam's teet" narrative more than any other Conservative talking point.[1] It seems to suggest that Black people can't do for self, think for self, or rationalize for self, but that the Grand Ole' Party can do all these things and magically rescue Black folks from themselves if only we'd quit voting for the Democrats year in and year out. But what does the GOP present as proof that they'd somehow do better, other than vague arguements for "free market capitalism". "Free market capitalism" isn't keeping Se'Quan off the corner. "Free market capitalism" isn't stopping Jamaal from shooting Ray Ray. "Free market capitalism" isn't stopping Keyshia from opening her legs. And neither is any other "policy" like ending abortions or pushing for marriage preservation that the GOP advocates. Black folks will be saved when Black folks decide we want to save ourselves. Neither political party has the power to do that, but at least the Dems aren't pretending to be paternalistic. And BTW, is it merely a coincidence that black poverty is still largely concentrated in the very Southeastern states where the GOP's base resides, and where Republicans also have a lock on elected positions? Just food for thought.

Case #3 - Black Republicans Just Aren't Generally Very Cool People.

With all due respect to my main main Adinasi (who is a fellow Nupe, and thus the coolest brother on the planet), Black Conservatives have a hard time attracting other Black folks to the party because they just aren't all that likable. The folks on this Glenn Beck special seem to be a room full of dicks who probably don't get much love in the cluuuubbb, or in the barbershop (notice all those weak tapers and shape-ups, these guys definitely go to SuperCuts, not AfrosCut), and cornball chicks whom most brothers wouldn't be bothered with.

If you think I'm kidding, how come 99% of the "Black Female Conservatives" you see on TV have traditionally white surnames? I'm not saying there's a connection here, but I'm not saying there isn't one either. Generally speaking, these folks still seem to be a wee bit ostracized socially as adults, which I wouldn't doubt has some bearing in their political affiliation. Even if Shaniqua don't love you, Michelle still thinks "you be Da' Man!"

That's gotta count for something. I guess.

Case #4 - All Blacks Are Socially Conservative. Not!

And for the 9912th time, could we please, please, please dead this nonsense that "The Black Community" is naturally more socially "Conservative", and thus more in lockstep with the GOP's policies? Alveda King, I'm not telling you to Go. Sit. Down. out of respect for the family name. But you are pushin' it, homegirl. You really are.

Really? If this were true, why do black folks have so many babies out of wedlock, so many abortions, and so many failed marriages? To be more factually correct, the paternalistic institution known as "The Black Church" is socially "Conservative", but you'd be hard pressed to find many ways in which this bleeds over into man-on-the-street black thought. I'd challenge any talking head that continues to spit this fallacy to put down the Bible and take an honest look around. Theory and reality are not the same.

Case #5 - Black Conservatives Seldom Take The Party To Task For It's Racist Nonsense.

Curiously absent from this entire one hour clusterf*ck is the fact that the GOP does a great job of continually offending potential Black voters. Not a week goes by without some GOP operative calling Michelle a monkey, suggesting that crime would go down if we'd just abort black babies, or referring to the President as a "boy". While the Democrats have their fair share of similar nonsense (reread the first paragraph of this post), at least there are some folks within the party (ie: James Clyburn) who know when to step in and say enough is enough. When the same happens on the GOP side, Negroes practically knock themselves over in a Rush to get on TV and apologize for the offender.

Strangely, this entire hour goes by and not a single one of these grinning, "I's just so happy to be on da' TeeVee" Negroes even bothers to take Beck to task for his "Obama is racist" comment. What sort of Ghetto Jedi Mind Trick this is, I have no idea. I do, however, know that until the GOP starts checkin' itself, it is not going to make any significant inroads with Black voters. Is it no surprise that when Conservative candidates (ie: Mike Huckabee in Arkansas) do get large numbers of black votes, they're usually guys who eschew theis sort of "Us vs Them" racial politricks? I'm just sayin', you can't both offend me and expect me to put you in power. That dog don't hunt.

I apologize in advance to any Black Conservative whom I might have offended with this screed. Well, okay, actually I don't apologize. I'd really, really, really be interested in knowing how you can stand idly by and watch (and in some ways pile on) when a party more or less disparages your community for political gain (ie: Tea Party protestors, The Reagan Era "Welfare Queen" stereotype, anything uttered by Rush Limbaugh), yet still defend this party as somehow being honest and genuine in its' pursuit of black votes. What exactly has the GOP done that's so greatly benefitted black voters? Where are the success stories? Kill all the rhetoric and Us vs Them hyperbole and give me concrete examples, not talking points.

Question: If you are a Black Conservative, or even know someone who plays one on TV, please explain to me how you can hold your nose and continually support a party that is so clearly disrespectful of the community from which you come? Please show me and point me to real life examples of where the GOP's policies have affected the black community for the better. Please steer clear of talking points like "school choice", "free market capitolism", "William Jefferson", and talking about what the Democrats aren't doing. Defend your party and it's platform without the hyperbole and senseless emotionalism.

[1] How then, do you explain away the plight of the millions of poor Southern Conservative whites also on welfare and other forms of public assistance? What's the GOP done to reward them for decades of guaranteed votes?

3 Play Thursday - HoodRat Anthems.

3 Play Thursday again. Today: Random cRap Music salutes to Black Women.

cRap music isn't all about misogyny and putting black women down. Nope, sometimes cRappers Channel Their Inner Feminine Side and salute the fine character of those women they douse with Alize in VIP rooms nationwide. Here's just a few examples of what I like to refer to as HoodRat Anthems.

LL Cool J - "Around The Way Girl"

Cyber CapriSuns™ to the first person to name the head "Around The Way Girl", who happened to have her own TV show in the 90's. Speaking of cameos, I still have no idea why Bart Simpson makes a cameo in this video. This is the original HoodRat Anthem from LL's career climax, the classic album Mama Said Knock You Out. Man, it's sad that Marley Marl got hooked on drugs, and LL went Hollywood shortly thereafter. The music these guys could have made...

Ca$h Money Millionaires - "Project Chick"

I don't what's more hilarious: Lil' Wayne's pre-ghostwriters & syrup Fisher Price My First Flow, or the fact that this song has since become a staple of every HBCU Marching Band?

The LOX ft. Eve - "Ryde Or Die Chick"

Let's face it, there's nothing wrong about being a Ryde Or Die Chick. Every man wants a lady who's down for him, no matter what pops off. I thought long and hard about having this part of our wedding soundtrack, but my wife squashed that one quickly.

Apache - "Gangsta B*tch"

In the pre-censorship days of Negro Radio, this song played unedited, which still amazes me to this day. Seriously, I don't even think there was a radio edit for this one. They ain't even try and play with the words to make it "itch-bay", or none of that. Man, the early 90's, those were the days. Cyber CapriSuns™ to the first person to tell me who produced the beat for this classic mixshow staple. Double Cyber CapriSuns™ to the first person to tell me which Tri-State area Sizzler Apache (this was his only hit) is currently bussin' tables at.

Question: Got any other Hoodrat Anthems that I missed?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Problem With... Sarah Heath Palin.

Never let it be said that I'm not a man of my word. Back in July, I wrote what I titled "The Last Sarah Palin Post You'll Ever Read On", citing my exhaustion with the media's pointless love affair with the former Alaska Governor. Why keep talking about someone who isn't even relevant, much less newsworthy? I promised then that I wouldn't utter that woman's name a single time here until she did something of significance. Needless to say, I nearly made it 6 months without a mention.

Today, the ban ends, not so much because Palin has done anything of value, but simply because I can't take it no more. So, here's my 2 cents on the last 1/2 year of Palinism.

This Woman Is Smarter Than The Average Polar Bear. - For all the proclamations that Palin is an airhead who couldn't chew gum and walk simultaneously, she sure has proven to be far wiser than most of us initially tabbed her to be. Think about this, she quits a job halfway in, and some folks think she's a hero. She endorses a losing Conservative candidate, virtually ensuring passage of Obamacare, and some folks think she has political heft. She repeats an internet urban legend about "death panels", and some folks think she has the power to influence legislation. She gets caked up writing a book and making speeches, and some folks still think she's "just like them". Amazing.

The MSM Is Evil. Unless You Need Them To Help Sell Your Books. - In an even more amazing sleight of hand, Palin is using and manipulating the very same mainstream media that she so angrily accused of bias to help peddle her books and ensure that several generations of future Palins will never have to put in an honest day's work. As much as these "elitists" might hate her very essence, reality is, she's such a trainwreck waiting to happen that you can't ignore her. When she ended up on Oprah, I knew that cows had truly jumped the moon.

How then, can she still continue to repeat this "The MSM is against me" nonsense with a straight face? If the MSM was truly against her, they would have simply ignored this book, much like they ignored Joe The Plumber's ghostwritten book of populist nonsense. So enough of the victim narrative, please.

She Has No Chance At Becoming President. - C'mon, as much as folks salivate over the prospect of her facing Obama in 2012, you and I know this will never happen. And the Dems won't have anything to do with it, the bloodbath she'll experience at the hands of fellow GOP'ers will be nauseating (but of course I'll watch every debate). Do you really think folks like Newt Gingrich, Dick Chaney (yeah, he's running, you heard it first), Mitt Romney, and Mike Huckabee will just allow her to prance in off the street and accept the GOP nomination without a fight? Of course not. In their own ways, these guys have paid their dues, and a person who couldn't make it 2 years as Governor of Alaaaaskaaaa will get no pity from them. They are playing nice now, not wanting to alienate the "base" by attacking her, but once she throws her hat in, all that nice crap is out the window.

She Will Never Run For President. - Palin is smart enough to know she'd take a beating 20 levels more brutal than anything she accuses the MSM and the McCain campaign of hitting her with last Fall. Lets not forget, Obama/Biden barely broke a sweat. The GOP, and Palin-herself inflicted all the damage.

She Is Lying Her A$$ Off. Because She Can. - Seriously, how come everytime Sarah Palin goes to explain why something went wrong, she's pointing the finger at others? McCain. Schmidt. Wallace. Couric. The MSM. Her handlers. The Atlantic. Phony "ethics investigators". Jim Zorn. Reality is, a good percentage of the stuff she alleges has been rebutted repeatedly by multiple sources, which means she probably isn't on the up and up. Of course, she doesn't care about fact checkers, because she isn't running for President. Get Money!

I Will Be Reading Her Book. - I no longer have the AB Goes To The Library tag, simply because most of the stuff I read isn't very timely and wouldn't likely be of interest to ya'll. But I will be obtaining a copy of "Going Rogue", because I too enjoy ghostwritten trainwrecks, and also because I've already pre-purchased several hundred copies (think about it) so I almost feel obligated. I don't promise a review, however. I read "Goodnight Moon" to my kids each night, but you don't see a review of that here, do you?

Levi Is An A-Hole. Period. - Guys like Levi Johnston make me glad that I only have sons. As much as folks want to blame Palin for stiff arming this moron, put yourself in her shoes. Sure, your daughter prolly should have kept it in her pants, but young girls make mistakes. Watching this d-bag carry on publicly and look for any way (including posing for something called "PlayGirl") to keep his name in the news just shows you what sorta character you're dealing with. I wouldn't want him around my grandchild either. At least Sarah and I can agree on that much.

Her Next Move?!? The Bank, Of Course. - In a display of just how media savvy and unintentionally brilliant this woman is, she surely won't announce any future plans other than "helping advance Conservative viewpoints" anytime soon. The more some morons think she will actually run (and could actually win) in 2012, the more she can command on the speaker's circuit, again making future generations of Palins richer and richer. I suspect that after the book tour winds down, she'll end up with a weekly infomercial show on Fox News that will be incredibly lousy (think "Huckabee"), but do amazing numbers just by virtue of the trainwreck potential alone. When the economy improves (and trust me, it will), she can pledge to sit out 2012 with a "focus on helping advance Conservative viewpoints", endorse an ultra-Conservative (and losing) candidate of her choice without any negative repercussions, and still whet the appetite of the many who think she'll run in 2016. Or 2020. Or 3023. Because some folks will never admit that she's got no shot, and never had one. And she'll just keep on cashing checks.

Get Money.

Question: Is Sarah Palin an undercover Rhodes scholar who is playing us all and laughing all the way to the bank, or is she as clueless as she seems, and only enabled by people even more cluelesser?!?

The Problem With... Idiots.

How silly is it to keep hearing folks on cable TV, talk radio, and blogs question the intelligence of folks like President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder when it comes to matters of law and the Constitution? Not a day goes by that I don't hear some numbnut talking about how these two men don't understand what the Founding Fathers meant, and how these two guys are literally desecrating on the principles that this country stands for.

Any professional person of color (particularly Negroes) knows that it's like to have your hardearned credentials questioned from the minute you step in the door. It's one thing to question a person's decisions, but questioning their qualifications is yet another altogether. And I think that's where the distinction between criticism of Bush and Obama lies. Sure, it's a fine line, but I remember most of Bush's criticism tied to his iffy decisions. Not about his legitimacy (and I'm not talking about hanging chads) to even be sitting in the Oval Office in the first place. Again, there's a nuance here, and I hope you're following it. If not, sorry.

Which is why folks who question the intelligence of Obama and Holder on such complex issues as the Constitution come off as total imbeciles. Holder went to Columbia Law and served as both a Federal judge and Deputy Attorney General prior to his current gig. Obama went to Harvard Law and was a Constitutional Law Professor prior to becoming a politician. Despite whatever allegations of affirmative action you might want to sling in their direction, it's quite unlikely that being black wrote their dissertations for them. These are not idiots. They didn't go to DeVry, or Everest College, or one of those schools you see advertised during commercials on Judge Joe Brown.[1]

It is fair to say that these men have forgotten far more about the Constitution than numbnuts like Hannity, Beck, Palin, Rush, and a million TeaBaggers with 8th grade educations know about the Constitution, combined. So enough already.

I guess that twice as hard/half as far thing was true, huh?

Question: What do you think?

[1] No shots fired at DeVry, and Everest College grads, or Judge Joe, of course.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 NewsBriefs.

I'm busy today. Here's everything noteworthy, but too short for a post.

Valley Swim Club Drowns. - Remember last summer when that swim club outside Philly unceremoniously revoked the rights to dozens of black and brown kids upon realizing that, omigod, they had opened their gates to dozens of black and brown kids? Well, in the most ironic turn of events, Valley Swim Club is no longer able to stay afloat financially and is closing its doors. I bet that $1,900 check they returned is lookin' mighty good right now. You couldn't make this stuff up.

The Dow Is Streaking Towards 11,000. And That's Not Good. - I'm gonna just toss it out there: this economic rebound on Wall Street is going to blow up in our (and the President's) faces sooner or latest. Share prices and actual earnings are out of whack. Much of what we're seeing is little more than an artificial inflation that's the direct of the Fed's nonexistent interest rates and all the TARP money Bush and Obama threw out there. I'd much rather see the Dow at 11k than 6k, but anyone who thinks this is indicative of a much improved economy is ignoring recent history. I'm not saying we shouldn't be happy that our 401k's look better, but I think we should all prepare ourselves for a massive correction. This simply can't sustain itself. I'd love to be proven wrong, but I've seen this happen too many times to believe otherwise.

Hold The Soap, cRappers!!! - Last week was a banner week of rappers and the judicial system as not one, but two cRappers got sentenced to prison bids for the most ungangsta of acts, probation violation. Lil' Boosie will be asking fellow inmates to "wipe him down" as his efforts to have Jesse Jackson intercede on his behalf failed (Jesse had better things to do) to persuade the judge. His faux pas? Violating house arrest. Sentence: four years. Even worse, Gucci Mane ruined my "biggest rapper alive in 2010" prediction by getting himself sentenced to 1 year in the clink for not completing enough community service hours. This numbnut, who actually killed a man a few years ago, only did 25 of his required community service hours, and now his Traaap House will be a jailhouse. Throw in Lil' Wayne (headed to jail), and TI (headed home soon) with these two fellow Southerners, and you'd have one helluva Don Cannon mixtape. Don't drop the soap, fellas.

Don't Drop The Soap Either, Dolla Bill. - Former Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson, he of the brilliant $90,000 in the freezer wrapped in aluminum foil fame, got sentenced to a staggering 13 year prison bid last week. Let the record reflect that libruls get hard time when they screw up too.

Iverson's A Free Man. - Well, AI and The Grizzlies decided to part ways, making The Answer a free agent yet again. Word is the Knicks are suddenly interested, but as well as Toney Douglas is ballin', I have no idea why. A far better fit is Charlotte, a team with a bunch of non-shooting PG's, where AI could get some major burn immediately. Then again, this is Bob Johnson we're talking about, so you know his cheap a$$ isn't about to pay AI, knowing he too might have to cut bait in a few weeks. My smart money says AI gets a big dollar offer in Europe and is outta here for good. What a sad end to a once certain HoF career.

One Dope Song. - I don't have the YouTube link (it ain't up there yet), but peep this new Phonte jawn (courtest of 2DopeBoyz) and please explain why this guy isn't a megastar yet. I just can't figure it out. Ends Its Longtime Ban On That Woman. - Yep, the ban is over. Tune in here tomorrow, and you'll see what I've wanted to say about you-know-who since July.

Question: Got any news you wanna share?

The RoundTable.

[Editor's Note - is an equal opportunity soapbox, thus the inclusion of frequent Guest Posts to keep things well-rounded, avoiding the echo-chamber effect. The Roundtable tosses out a handful of questions to our AverageContributors™ and runs the best replies. On deck today are Tunde, Ebonie, Greg Dragon, Michelle Huxtable, and my main man Modi from, a guy whom I aspire to be as cool as when I grow up. Show their blogs a lil' love then you get a moment.]

I usually edit the RoundTable responses for the sake of brevity, but all 5 contributors really bought it this time, so I'm running their answers in their entirety.

Question One - A week later, many are saying President Obama is being too light on Ft Hood shooter. Conservative outlets are even suggesting that Obama's hesitance to label this as an act of terrorism, or to call out Islam, is a sign of weakness and political correctness gone awry. Many even use him handling of the Skip Gates incident as proof that America (in this case the Army) is too scared to call a racial/terrorist spade a spade for fear of being labeled racist. Is Obama being as forceful in his handling of this incident as he should be?
Ebonie - Is Obama being as forceful in his handling of this incident as he should be? Even without knowing what was behind the Fort Hood shooter’s actions, some people are already speculating that this occurred because he was Muslim or suggesting that Muslims should go through more intense scrutiny to join the military than everyone else. So at this point with many facts of what led to the rampage unknown, I’m glad that President Obama hasn’t jumped to conclusions and started decrying the rampage an act of terrorism against America or some sort of Islamic threat.

Modi - Maaaaan, you ain't never lie! Did you hear Rush (Limbaugh) going HAM on Rocky? Oh, and quick sidenote: I call Barack Obama "Rocky" because he's the underdog. People always criticizing and chastising, praying for the man's downfall, yet he's still standing. But I digress. Rush was getting on Rocky for not calling the Ft. Hood massacre an act of "terror". I think Barack just doesn't want to say anything crazy before he knows his facts. He runs a freaking country for Christ's sake. He'll call a spade a spade when he has all the facts, but until that happens, he's got to be as diplomatic as possible.

Michelle Hux - Regardless of how he handles it he'll be chastised. If he doesn't call out Islam, the people claiming Obama is a Muslim will have a field day. If he does, he'll be labeled a racist. I think the way he handled it with caution is how he is supposed to handle it.

Greg Dragon - How about we ask, do a lot of us Americans need something to do? I will say yes, can brown Barry breath? Forceful or not, anything that man does will be seen as bad.

Tunde - I can seem some people's concern on Obama not calling this an act of terrorism but what is calling out Islam going to do besides piss of Muslims in American and around the world? If he does that, one thing you can bank on is an increase in terrorism attacks. Yes this was one man, who happened to be Muslim, but how can you condemn a whole religious sect based off the actions of one individual? Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
Question Two - Writing tell-all books seems to be the latest hustle, but how much do we really care? Recent weeks have seen President Obama's half-brother outing Obama Sr. as a wifebeater, and Andre Agassi admitting he was a meth-head.

Are these folks truly "cleansing their souls" or just out to get dough?
Tunde - I really think I'm going to write my own tell all book. Its going to be called, "Scandal, Sex and Halle Berry: The True Story of Our Love Affair". Of course all of it will be exaggerated but if everyone else can make money off selling tell all book then so can I. I wonder what publishing company would buy the writes to my book.

Michelle Hux - I'm not a cynical person but let's be real. As far as Obama's brother, he's doing it for the money. His dad is dead so it won't evoke a sense of shame in him causing him to apologize. His mother is no longer alive so it isn't for her closure. President Obama already revealed that his dad was abusive in his own memoir. So the point... is money.

Ebonie - It’s about the money. All of these “cleansing my soul” tell all’s get a big side-eye from me. Especially President Obama’s half-brother. During a TV interview he gave recently, he kept insisting that the main purpose of the book was to bring light to the issue of domestic abuse and it was bigger than him. Uh huh. Just keep it honest and admit you’re trying to cash in book sales by being a relative of President Obama.

Modi - Well, let's deal with Obama's half-brother real quick. Barack Obama's "Dreams From My Father" was required reading for the class of 2009 coming into Boston College. In fact, he spoke at our convocation, and it was incredibly inspirational. In the book, he never claims his father to be an angel. He was a drinker, and he was abusive. We already knew that. So homeboy doesn't really have much to say beyond what we already figured out through inductive reasoning. Of course that man is BS'ing. Just look at that his picture! Agassi is a completely different story, dude. Nobody just spills every little minute detail to the world for no reason. This is something that every other human in the world has - personal, embarrassing stories. I think that the money is cool, but it wasn't for it. He's lived a lot of his life in the public, and he probably felt guilty that he put up such an act or a front for so long. Lying to his supporters for so long can't sit well on your conscience. It's either that, or he's shitting all over people very discretely. "I was on crystal meth and I was STILL making millions." That kinda stuff. Highly doubt that's the route he's going though

Greg Dragon - Lol it’s the newest hustle going… AB answer me this, it is very obvious that folks don’t like reading and probably a huge reason why the rich stay rich while the poor don’t read and learn…(that’s another discussion). So who the hell are the “readers” buying these books for it to be even seen as lucrative? Wouldn’t a sex tape bring in better money?
Question Three - The DC Sniper was executed late last week. If you're from the DC Metro Area, and remember that terrorizing Fall, what are your feelings about seeing a man put to death?
Modi - The Dc Sniper was probably one of the scariest things that has happened in my lifetime. One of the shootings was right by my house at a place that I frequent, so Lord knows that could have been me. You had to live in fear, not knowing where these bastards would strike. It even stopped our homecoming weekend celebrations at Sidwell that year, and nobody even complained, because they knew how serious the situation was. I don't think I can even answer this question. Taking lives shouldn't be punished by death, but then again, what is a just punishment? Life in prison? You're still living, which is a blessing. I couldn't even give you an answer to this. I just think it's very sadistic to see people get excited over an execution like they were the day the sniper was to be executed.

Tunde - I'm from the DC area and I was a junior in college when the killings took place. I remember it like it was yesterday. I personally don't believe in the death penalty. How can a person decide if another man lives or dies. For all those who are for the capital punishment, how many of you would have the heart to physically pull the lever or inject the needle?

Michelle Hux - I'm from the DC area and I read an article about how execution gives a sense of closure. It doesn't. It doesn't change the fact that our lives were truly changed. My brother's football games were cancelled (as were most outdoor activities at his school). Killing the DC Sniper doesn't change any of that. Seeing a black man be put to death in general just makes me feel some kind of way. I've always been one to think that a shot and a few last breaths is an easy way out so I feel like he hasn't been punished. I feel worse for his teen accomplice who is serving life in prison.

Greg Dragon - I am pro death penalty, and watching the interview with his wife drove home more reality to me of this man, he needed to be put down a long time ago, he was a ticking time-bomb. I think the situation was held down very quietly given the damage this brother did. The abuse (mostly mental) that he did on his black wife, combined with his struggles as a black militant trained to fight under a white president’s lead is a case study in itself. Even his execution was silent, no real coverage on it etc. Is serial killing so normal here that we have become desensitized to it? It freaks me out how no-one cares.
Question Four - Are there double standards in cheating? It was recently revealed that Shaquille O'Neal has been having an ongoing affair with the fiance of fellow NBA player Gilbert Arenas. Most comments in the blogosphere seem to be slamming the young lady for being a tramp, while simply giving Shaq (who was married) a free pass. Do people generally perceive a cheating woman as being less moral than a cheating man? Why?
Greg Dragon - There's a double standard in most things male/female, this can be blamed on the respective roles we have only shed in the last 20 years. Now that everything is nice and even between the sexes, you have to expect that there will be remnants of the past brought to light. Women used to be at home, the trampy ones were in Saloons, Brothels and the like, a man could sew his seed and come home to business as usual. For most of us swapping that scenario makes the man seem weak and the woman immoral. Not our fault we think this way, we have the media, parents and the past to blame. Any cheating is wrong be it man or woman. NBA and NFL players are like Military wives…

Michelle Hux - I guess for other people there is a double standard but when I first heard about this I thought Shaq was just so triflin. First of all not that I condone cheating but out of all the groupies in the world, you have to choose a fellow brotha's fiance? Really, Shaq? Really? I don't see a woman cheating as less moral than a cheating man. They're both ridiculous people who were too cowardice to leave their significant others to engage in sexual activities with someone new.

Modi - To answer your question, yes. People generally perceive a cheating woman as being less moral. Why? There is no explanation for that. It's just nature. Innate, if you will. And I don't think they're giving Shaq a free pass. We just already expect that from Shaq. In high school, I used to babysit for a woman whose baby mother was a player on the 76ers, and who actually got me and my man floor tickets to a Heat game through Shaq. The stories she'd tell about the guy were ridiculous. She paid me so well that you'll never heard those stories, but my point is, Shaq is grimey already. We've been embracing that. His wife has left multiple times, hasn't she? Gil's baby mother isn't even cute to me. She fucked up. Gil was treating her like a queen, he took her from whatever situation she was in and made her life wonderful. But uh, wouldn't it be brilliant if while Shaq was with Gilbert's baby's mother, Gil was kickin' it with Shauntie? That'd be the ultimate twist.

Tunde - First I wonder if Agent Zero will dap Shaq up when the Wizards play the Cavs. I do believe there is a double standard in cheating but in this case it make yougin look like a NBA groupie. The victim here is Arenas although I'm sure he's probably getting his in anyway.
Question Five - What started out as a simple BET Awards Show skit has been greenlit for production. Skank Robbers, starring Jamie Foxx as Wanda and Martin Lawrence as SheNehNeh will be hitting theaters next year.

Meanwhile, a serious drama like Precious struggles to even get shown on enough screens. What, if anything, does this say about the finicky tastes of black moviegoers?
Michelle Hux - I just don't understand why we keep doing this to ourselves. How often do black men have to dress up as black women in order to get laughs (I'm talking to you Tyler Perry.) There's a commercial with Evander Holyfield dressed up as a woman for Taco Bell. Taco Bell! It wasn't even that funny of a commercial. I like comedy as much as the next person but we should really support both.

Greg Dragon - It says that most of us would rather have a laugh than watch some depressing sh-t like Precious. They lost me at the light-skinned teacher consoling the ugly, fat, dark skinned girl right after her monologue of wanting a light skin boyfriend with good hair. As a moviegoer and reviewer, I have noticed a trend with theater audiences – I rarely see black folks unless it is a movie that is 90% black (read Tyler Perry), a horror movie (we come out in droves), or a comedy with an African American lead. Anything else and I am a raisin in a bowl of milk at the theater. So Precious doesn’t surprise me, it will be touted as a powerful black experience – by white people, it will not make record numbers and will be nonexistent in most Blu-Ray collections. For me its just another boring stab at Oscar-Bait and it will win too, just like Amelia… yawn.

Modi - Well, I don't know if it says anything about the taste of black moviegoers. It's pretty monumental to have Martin and Jamie in the same flick. But if we want to make an argument about their finicky tastes, we could make the same one that is made in music. You have artists like Nas and Black Thought / The Roots making progressive music (for the most part), but they won't sell like Soldja Boy. Black people want entertainment. Tyler Perry's movies are so heavily criticized, but they do great work at the box office because they are cathartic (yep, check that dictionary, I'm bringing out the words, baby), while portraying black culture in such an entertaining manner. People deal with enough seriousness in real life, movies (and music for that matter) is for people to get away from reality for a bit. There's a time and place for everything.

Ebonie - Why am I not even surprised that “Skank Robbers” is hitting the big screen? I’d rather see “Precious,” but as long as there’s an audience for movies like “Skank Robbers” they’ll keep getting the green light. If people are willing to pay for bad movies just because there aren’t that many black films on the big screen and they want to see black folks on film, then movies like “Skank Robbers” will keep getting made.

Tunde - Black moviegoers in general like to see ignorance and coonery. This explains why directors like Tyler Perry have a higher career income than Spike Lee. You can say I'm hating but the overall message of Madea Goes To Jail or Daddy's Girl can't be better or more powerful than X or Do The Right Thing. I refuse to believe that. Please go see Precious. I plan to.
Question: Is Obama being too PC? When are you releasing your tell-all? Skank Robbers or Precious? Wanna join the next edition of The RoundTable?