Sunday, February 28, 2010

The First Nominee For A-Hole Of The Decade.

For millions of Americans who have been out of work, and are awaiting the slow, but gradual turnaround of the economy, unemployment and healthcare benefits are one of the few things keeping them afloat. The Feds have extended unemployment benefits multiple times, using entitlement set asides that were a large, but seldom discuss part of last year's oft-criticized Stimulus Package. While many look at the negligible effect on the unemployment rate (some economists say we'd be closer to %13 without it), it's hard to deny the fact that entitlements have prevented this recessions effects from being more devastating. People who might not otherwise be able to are still paying their bills, still feeding their kids, and still contributing to the economy without having to totally deplete their life savings. For any a$$hole that thinks "the government should just get out of our way", I'd kindly ask that you return any and all entitlements you've received as a result of the Stimulus.

Of course, this sort of common sense legislation doesn't make any sense to the GOP, because, hey, they're against any and all gubb'ment spending that doesn't apply to the military. Witness this latest example of extreme douchery, courtesy of Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning.
The Senate will pass an unemployment benefits extension this week, Sen. Jon Kyl said Sunday, but said it was right of Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., to hold up the legislation last week because the money to pay for it hasn't been found.

Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," Kyl said Bunning's decision to block a $10 billion temporary extension of jobless aid was to point out the hypocrisy of the Senate exempting the legislation from a just-passed bill requiring Congress to pay for legislation as it comes up, commonly referred to as PAYGO.

"All Senator Bunning was saying is that it should be paid for," Kyl said. "It will pass, though, because it's a temporary extension."

Unemployment insurance and COBRA benefits are set to expire at the end of the day on Sunday for about 1 million out-of-work Americans.

The failure to pass an extension reflects partly the partisan gridlock that has stalled the Democratic legislative agenda and partly the power of one senator to use their privilege to object to votes that don't require a roll call.

Bunning's move may have only delayed legislation for a few days, but it has brought out the worst in some. So far this weekend, police have checked out two of Bunning's offices for bomb threats.
Essentially, this guy is holding up the extension of benefits for millions of Americans, just because he can. The fact that Jon Kyl essentially co-signs this right, and no fellow GOPer has stepped up and called this idiot out for pulling such a prank speaks volumes.

I saw comedian Mike Epps over the weekend here in DC. Day Day ain't as funny in person, but he had one very good point. He said Obama basically needs to just walk over the the Hill, line up all his detractors in one room, and serenade them all with one great big "F*ck You!"

Considering how the GOP seems hellbent on opposing anything that could help Americans in this time of need, I couldn't agree more.

Question: Is there any excuse for Bunning pulling this sorta stunt? If you receive unemployment benefits, do you feel like you're mooching off the gubb'ment, or is it indeed the duty of the Feds to help out when people are in need?

Jobless Benefits to End, But Likely Only For a Couple Days [FoxNews]

The Video Vixen Color Complex.

I admit, the premise of this is interesting, but the quality... man, did they just grab a camcorder one weekend and decide "let's shoot a documentary"? Still, worth a look.

Some things about this video sorta disturbed me...

Cassidy - Is this Nig... errr, "African American" serious? Unless I'm hearing him wrong, he's saying they don't put darker skinned models in videos because it's harder for them to show up on camera due to lighting constraints. WTF? Negro Please.

Rick Ross - Uhhh, did this chick think she was gonna get some serious psychosomaticonlogical answer to the issue of colorism from an overweight guy who can't go 5 seconds without yelling out "BAWSE!"?!? I sure hope not.

Dr. Norment - How come the allegedly "educated" experts in all these docs seem to be the least provocative people? Give this guy the trophy for Mr. Obvious.

Pusha T - "Good chocolate skin... with a good, good perm!" I suppose I get what he was trying to say, but that sh*t just came out really, really wrong.

Angela Yee - Man, I love me some Angela Yee. Nothing bad to say here.

Bonus: The same lightskinned black chick who did this doc complains about the lack of brownskinned black women in that Wale video.

I don't really know how to read this one, but homegirl lost me when she uttered the phrase "being as though". Sorry, when you drop a "being as though" or "I feel as though", any shred of of intelligence or credibility you might have had evaporates immediately. Sorry, it's a DC Thang.

What do ya'll think?

Question: Do video vixens really set standards for Black beauty, or is this influence completely overrated? What (if anything) can be done to bring more equity to the popular conceptions of black beauty? Does anything need to be done?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Things To Do When You're Snowed In An Airport Overnight.

Uhhhh, where the heck is TSA?!?

Friday, February 26, 2010

So Much For PostRacial America. The AKA's Actually Won The Step-Off.

Hmmm, seems like the internet rabble rousing has caused the folks that gave the white chicks of ZTA the Sprite Step Off title to reconsider their final results.
Five days after taking first place in the Sprite Step Off finals in Atlanta this past weekend, the women of Zeta Tau Alpha's Epsilon Chapter from the University of Arkansas learned they would be sharing the spotlight.

Early today, Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Company which sponsors the college step dancing competition announced that due to a scoring discrepancy in the sorority results, the second place winners, the Tau Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc. from Indiana University, would be recognized as co-winners and awarded the same $100,000 prize as Zeta Tau Alpha.

The change was revealed in a short Facebook statement linked from the Sprite Step-Off homepage but the statement did not offer insight into the exact problem with the scoring or how it was discovered. Coke representatives said this afternoon they were working to provide additional information.

The announcement comes after four days of blog posts and YouTube comments alternating between support for Zeta Tau Alpha's win and those doubting the competition results. At the heart of the debate is race.

Zeta Tau Alpha is a predominantly white organization which took first place in a tradition that has historically been dominated by African-American fraternities and sororities. Their winning routine, an eight minute Matrix themed production, got more than 200,000 views on YouTube, more than twice as many as the second or third place winners.

In a statement, national representatives for Zeta Tau Alpha said, "We are proud of our nine-member team that earned a co-championship in the event finals held February 20, in Atlanta, Ga. They represented our Fraternity well and exhibited great sisterhood and dedication throughout their preparation over the past five months. Alpha Kappa Alpha and its Tau Chapter at Indiana University have a longstanding tradition of excellent stepping and we are pleased to share the title with their organization."
Judge for yourself. Here's the AKA's who are now officially the winners.

Here's the Zeta Tau Alpha's routine.

I can't call it, and personally don't care either way. But I really don't like the corporate sponsors of this contest changing the final result without providing any real justification. If the white chicks won, let the white chicks win. Why go back and mess around with the final verdict? If I'm the AKA's, sure, I'm enjoying that $100k check, but this can't feel like a legit victory.

As for the ladies of ZTA, I guess this is a call to step their games up for next year. Well done either way.

Question: Who won, the ZTA's or the AKA's?!? Was changing the final score hella suspect, or is it just me?

Scoring discrepancy changes results of Sprite Step Off [AJC]

The Poor Negro Savagely Beaten By Epic Beard Man Finally Speaks.

Fast forward to the 55 second mark to hear homeboy discuss this beatdown. Personally, if I caught this sorta L, and it got YouTubed, I'd prolly be somewhere hiding my face in shame for the rest of the year.

Things I learned from this episode of When Negro Nonsense Meets Caucasian Craziness:
1) Don't mess with anybody on the bus.

2) Don't ride the bus.

3) Walking is really not that tiresome, and it beats riding the bus, cause folks on
the bus are crazy.

4) Cornrows are really, really, really played out.

5) We need Universal Healthcare, cause I'd hate to see this brother's medical bills.

6) YouTube is the Devil's Playground.
Too bad this fella didn't think before he spoke. Sometimes, it pays to just sit down and shut the f*ck up.

Question: What did you learn from this?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Latarian Milton Is Back!

Looks like he's been eatin' good. I sure hope the folks at Comedy Central paid him and his Grandma for this rank exploitation.

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The HealthCare Summit Live Blog/Open Discussion.

I'm sure many of ya'll have better things to do like, uhhmm, actual work today, so most of you can't tune into this epic HC Summit doing on today here in DC. I'm obviously working myself, but thanks to the miracle of modern technology (aka: AM radio), I have the proceedings going on in the background while I slave away writing code. I'll chime in at various points with a semi-live blog when/if I hear anything of interest. If you're also taking score at home, feel free to leave your own observations below.

Just if case you need moving pictures, C-Span has a live streaming video feed going. Tune in and get familiar.

The live-ish blog reads in reverse chronological order, which means newest comments first, for those of us who went to Everest College. I'm not spellchecking, and I will probably take several lengthy breaks during the day (cause duh, I am working!), but if you want a true recap, rather than watching some news organization trim 6 hours of discussion down to a 30 second soundbyte, keep it locked here.


Epilogue (4:25pm) - It's pretty clear this whole exercise was a waste of time, because neither side showed up willing to work with the other. Having listened to this for a good portion of the day, I can only conclude that the GOP really wants to scrap this plan (period) and not do anything. The Dems could be more accomodating, but reality is, they've already included much of the GOP's plans anyway. Reconciliation is the only way to go here, and I hope that's how this ends.

4:02pm - Obama completely obliterates some fool who suggests he's okay with only having "catastrophic insurance" by asking this guy if he'd feel the same if he made $40k/year. BAM! {crickets}

4:01pm - Not only can't Congress start anything on time, they also can't end on time.

3:59pm - The official 1 millionth mention of the term "The American People". My head explodes again. I need a drink.

3:48pm - Dick Durbin goes for the jugular and tells any Republican so angry about the concept of "public healthcare corrupting American values" to drop their Congressional healthcare coverage right now. {crickets}

2:37am - I've been asked to do "real work" by my employer. The nerve of some people. Abandoning ship for awhile.

1:59pm - Uh, so much for that 45 minute break. In a scene indicative of just how inefficiently things get done in this city, half the participants are still at Olde Ebbitt Grille, and Obama is finishing off his final Kool in the side-alley.

1:01pm - Obama is seen leaving the building, and walking around to the side alley, and pulling a package of menthol cigarettes is from his coat pocket. The camera suddenly shuts off.

1:00pm - The meeting takes a 45 minute break for "lunch", as well as a quick vote over on the Hill. Some douchebag (I think he's a Democrat) walks up and asks Obama for his autograph. What do these people think this is, halftime of a Redkins game?

12:45am - The Dems and Cons are sitting on opposite sides (Left and Right respectively) of the President. How freakin' predictable.

12:40pm - Eric Cantor uses the 2,400 page bill as a prop. Obama ridicules him for such pettiness. Cantor states that "The American People don't care for the bill" for the 9,231st time. My head officially explodes.

12:28pm - I wonder how SNL is going to play this one. Oh, that's right. SNL is on Olympics break. And lame.

12:18pm - If I hear the freakin' term "The American People" one more time... As if these guys have talked to everyone in America. "The American People" is actually a nice way of saying "the Conservative think-tank that we paid for favorable polling".

11:46am - The GOP is already whining about the amount of time each party has had to speak, apparently forgetting that the President's opening remarks shouldn't really count cause, well, he's the President. It's becoming more and more clear that this day is going nowhere.

11:40am - GOP Congressman John Kline essentially says that it's okay for insurance companies to send a woman home immediatley after giving birth to a baby to keep HC costs low, even when that woman's had a C-Section. What an asshole.

11:37am - Obama cuts off some d-bag who is speaking out of turn. The guy keeps right on speaking anyway. Is Barry gon' have to pull this fool's mic?

11:35am - Boehner has a copy of the full 2,500 page House bill sitting on the table in front of him. If you're resorting to props to make up for your lack of ideas, why not just bring Joe the Plumber and have him sit on the floor behind you?

11:32am - I wonder is these folks are going to break for lunch, or order some Armand's and do a working lunch like the average Day Jobber. We'll see.

11:30am - One thing that pissed me off continually about the buildup to this summit was Conservatives somehow suggesting that meeting Obama on "his own turf" was going to be part of this grand "set up". The meeting is at the historic Blair House, not the White House itself. Yet this wood paneled, well heated room is somehow supposed to be "enemy territory"? Really? Where do they want him to debate them, Flo's Diner? You just can't win with these guys. You cannot win.

11:28am - Senator Max Baucus (correctly) mentions the fact that a large number of the GOP's recommendations are already in the House version of the bill. {crickets}

11:24am - Rep. John Cline drops the 924th mention of "small businesses" already today. I mean, come on, when the "small businesses" become this populist euphemism. Enough already. Not everyone works at effin' Flo's Diner, or is a plumber. What about us Corporate Negroes? Where's the Corporate Negro pandering? I want to be pandered to too!

11:02am - Obama tries to explain the whole "insurance exchange" concept, which is relatively simple (pooling resources to demand cheaper rates) at it's base, but his chorus of "uhmmms", "ahhhs", and awkward pauses pretty much renders his point moot. The GOP pounces, responding with more falsehoods and trickery. Ain't sh*t gettin' accomplished today.

10:50am - Both Obama and Harry Reid absolutely ethered TN Senator Lamar Alexander's opening remarks, which were full of talking point falsehoods and typical GOP trickery. This isn't starting on the best of terms.

Question: What are your observations/comments on the HC Summit thus far?!?

"Diamond" Gets A Reality Show. ZZZZZZzzzz.

For some reason, folks who promote "urban" TV shows and movies always love sending me stuff for sneak preview/review, apparently not realizing that I don't pull any punches when I really don't like something. Word to Tim Alexander.

So what am I to make of The Real McCoy, "model"/"actress" LisaRaye's upcoming reality show on TV One? Personally, I'd rather watch grass grow than spend 30 minutes of my life watching this annoying, thirsty broad, but that's just me. Let's face it, if you're most famous for strippin' in a B-movie and getting your a$$ whipped by the King of some Caribbean nation most people prolly couldn't find on a map, reality is, you ain't that doggone famous.

I'm wondering, when do these reality shows reach the point of diminishing returns? Everyone who's famous, has been famous, has been semi-memorable, or just has a name that's vaguely familiar is getting a show. Now that they're reaching down for E-List celebs, who's next? Do you start giving shows to people who are merely famous by association? Is there a The Spinderella Show, or a Keepin' Up With The Kardashian's Hydrogel Specialist in the works? I know these shows are cheap, and producers love em', but come on. When a nobody like Terry Crews has his own show, it's time to mix in some new ideas.

And I guess that's the problem. Whereas in the past (ie: Being Bobby Brown) a reality show might have been an inside look into the life of someone remotely intriguing, there's little mystery left nowadays. With gossip blogs, Twitter, and the like, the distance between supposedly "famous" people and common peasants like you and me is shorter than ever. These people aren't nearly as inaccessible as they might have once been, and thus, there's not really much special about them that you'd don't already know. There really isn't much left to see, nor anyone interesting enough left to watch.

I'm glad to see LisaRaye earning an honest living that doesn't involve her removing her top, but I think the "celebreality" genre officially just jumped the shark.

Question: Is there anyone remaining who is interesting enough to make you tune in for 30 minutes/week to watch their loosely scripted "life"? At what point do these "celebreality" shows jump the shark? Would you willingly watch The Real McCoy?!? If not, how much would I have to pay you?

3 Play Thursday - Doug E. Fresh

It's 3 Play Thursday. Today: Human Beatbox Pioneer and Rap Legend Doug E. Fresh.

Anyone who came of age during the 80's is surely familiar with the vocal stylings of Douglas E. Davis, the artist better known as Doug E. Fresh. An originator of the spit flying artform known as the Human Beatbox, Doug E. and Slick Rick combined for the epic Teddy Riley production "The Show" and the equally historic "La Di Da Di". Any black person who rode a public school bus during the Greatest Decade Evar should known both of these songs backwards and in pig latin by heart. That, to me, is the standard Negro Litmus Test.

While Fresh's career predictably tailed off in later years, he's one of the few 80's rap artists who is still visible, often opening for comedians like Chris Rock and Mike Epps, and he's a noted member of the Church of Scientology. Bet you didn't know that.

Here's a few of my favorite Doug E. Fresh tunes.

"The Show" ft. The Get Fresh Crew

Okay, sing along. Tell me how much of this song you can recite from memory without consulting The Google. If you're not batting at a 90% clip, I am going to need that Ghetto Pass back, pronto.

"La Di Da Di"

Same story here. If you can't get 95% of these right, you better be a 90's Baby.

"Keep Rising To The Top"

As much as my cousins and I clowned Doug E. for these very suspect biker shorts, I think everyone remembers this edition of Showtime At The Apollo.

Question: How much of "La Di Da Di" and "The Show" can you recite without help? What's your favorite Doug E. Fresh tune?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

White Chicks Winning A Step Show? Welcome To Post-Racial America.

I'm a proud Kappa Man, and I can do a lil' cane twirling, but never really dug the whole steppin' thing. Regardless, I give props to anyone willing to put up with weeks and weeks of training for hours a day, all for a phony competition that could be completely blown if someone happens to slip and fall. Step shows are no joke, the dedication and discipline necessary to pull one off aren't to be underestimated.

Which is why I was a little miffed when I heard something called "Zeta Tau Alpha" won the big Sprite Step-Off last weekend in ATL. Don't they mean "Zeta Phi Beta", or "Alpha Phi Alpha"? Surely this had to be a misprint.

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Turns out, not only wasn't it a misprint, but "Zeta Tau Alpha" is a sorority. Full of white chicks. And yeah, they're actually pretty good. Scratch that, they're actually very good.

I know, there have been white folks pledging the Elite Eight since the beginning of time, but this one's still a little mind blowing to say the least.

Post-racial America, indeed.

Question: Is this yet another indication of the post-racial America we live in? Did these chicks actually win on merit alone, or did the "awww sh*t, them white girls is bad" factor help them, in a reverse-discrimination sorta way?

Wait, Who Won The Sprite Step Off?!? [TheSmokingSection]

Name That Sample - "You Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else"

[Editor's Note: Name That Sample is now a weekly staple with its own tag, and will run every Wednesday.]

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

This classic soul tune by The Jones Girls has been remade and sampled numerous of times. But who can name the most songs that have used these delightful bars?

Difficulty Level: Extreme

Question: How many songs can you name that used the "You Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else" for sample, or better yet, what other artists have done covers or remakes of it? Don't be fooled into just listening to the opening bars, or you'll prolly miss half the possible answers. Feel free to cheat and use other commenters' work, but do NOT Google! Google is for losers.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Enter To Win The Fight Night Contest!!!

As I've said several times here in the past, there are few more entertaining live sports than boxing. Sure, fight parties are fun, and 50-inch HD plasma TV has made the sporting experience better, there is simply no substitute for experiencing the sweet science live and in person. From the flashy ring introductions, to the people-watching, to the curvy (and sorta skanky) ring girls, to the resounding thud of some poor tomato can getting his mouthpiece knocked into the 10th row, nothing beats live boxing.

The fine folks at ICE Promotions, who had me and my AverageBros as a guests during last September's card, are bringing boxing back to the DMV with a huge card Saturday, March 6 at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, VA. Up and coming boxer Jimmy Lange (who starred on the first season of The Contender) will continue his climb towards a world title shot as he defends his World Boxing Council U.S. National Boxing Championship 154-pound title against Chase “The White Tiger” Shields. Lange/Shields headlines what is certain to a yet another full and exciting night of fights. And yes, I'll be in the house.

Best of all, ICE Promotions is giving away a pair of premium seats (a $400 value!) to a member of AverageNation™! Yes, free stuff! Free stuff!

If you wanna win the tickets, just leave a comment below telling us how much you love boxing, how much you want to see it live, and why you need that pair of $200 tickets!

[Note: this contest is limited to those in the DC Metro Area, only, so please, unless you plan on flying from Oakland, do not enter!]

Best plea gets the tix, so enter soon. Ladies, this would be a great gift for your man, so beg on his behalf. Tell a friend to tell a friend. The more entries, the merrier. Contest runs thru next week, and the winner will be announced here on

Good luck, and may the begging commence.

See ya'll at the fights.

Fight Info [ICE Promotions]

D-Week For HealthCare Reform.

Later this week, the President and members of Congress will meet in DC for a live televised healthcare summit. Some (like me) speculate that this is little more than political theater, and a veritable setup to make Republicans look as dishonest as they really are on a national stage. If last month's Obama/GOP showdown in Charm City was any indication, this will be as one-sided as Lakers vs Clippers.
The White House has invited 37 lawmakers from both parties to a Feb. 25 meeting on health care reform with Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and other administration officials. The meeting will be televised live.

Both sides have responded by digging in. Republicans have called for a brand new start on health care legislation, while Democrats have refused to back away from the bills passed by the House and Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid signaled Friday that the public option could be back on the table.

The White House will offer its first proposal Monday, in an attempt to frame the agenda for the summit. Its version will reportedly take elements from the bills passed by the House and the Senate, and hold out the possibility of using reconciliation, a process that would let the bill reach his desk with a simple vote in both chambers.

Obama said that he has accepted Republican ideas "from the beginning," including letting people purchase health insurance across state lines.

"I don’t want to see this meeting turn into political theater, with each side simply reciting talking points and trying to score political points," he Obama said. "Instead, I ask members of both parties to seek common ground in an effort to solve a problem that’s been with us for generations."

He called on Congress to "move forward together," and reform health care.
It's clear that the GOP is coming is looking to obstruct, as many members have already called on Obama to scrap the plan, and any thought of using reconciliation, and start over. Personally, I see no way Obama could possibly do that. Whether or not choosing to take on healthcare reform with the economy still in shambles was a good idea or not is irrelevant. What's certain is that this horse is the signature initiative he's staked himself on, and he can't possibly abandon ship now.

What I'll enjoy best about this show is watching GOPers pop sh*t about Obama ignoring their great ideas, when reality is, most of what they've been clamoring for is already in the House version of the bill that none of them bothered to vote on. Likewise, their claims for "transparency" are being trumped by Obama putting his version of the bill on the internet today (72 hours ahead of the meeting, as they asked) and the meeting itself is being played on C-Span (as he promised). Seriously, when folks consider how many concessions Obama and Co. (for better or for worse) have already given to the Republicans, it'll be hard for any sensible person to see their lack of participation as anything other than obstruction. Obama knows this, they know this. It'll all surely make for excellent political theater.

Whether it will result in enough GOP votes to get something done to help average, everyday working Americans who are sick and tired of being sick and tired remains to be seen.

We'll see on Thursday.

Question: What do you expect to happen at this week's Healthcare summit in DC? Will Obama reveal the GOP for being the a$$holes they actually are, or will incompetent boobs like Pelosi and Reid somehow find a way to screw up even this chip shot?

President Obama: Summit 'our chance' [Politico]

Why Justin Combs' Life Is Great, And Why Your Dad Is Really Lame.

I have no idea why, maybe it's the need for a brain dead release after chasing two toddlers around all day, but lately my wife has been adding lots of MTV/BET fare to the Tivo Season Pass. This means watching crap like MTV Cribs, The Mike Vick Experiment, and my personal favorite, Teen Mom, a show so mind-numbingly stoopid it leaves me at a loss for words. Even NeNe Leakes wouldn't sign up for this train wreck. However, the cultural navel gazing reached a new low the other night when we watched some show called My Royal Sweet 16, starring one of the many fruits of P. Diddy's loins, a really obnoxious kid named Justin Combs.[1]

In case you're clueless, Justin is the child whom Diddy's (defunct?) chain of overrated restaurants (were?) are named after. It's little shock that this kid would have an exaggerated sense of self worth and entitlement, and My Royal Sweet 16 put this teen ego on full display, courtesy of a million dollar birthday party for the self-proclaimed Prince Of New York, featuring the likes of Lil' Kim, Nicki Minaj, Trey Songz, The Dipset, and Fabolous. To say this was a bit extravagant for a kid who can't even drive is an understatement. Take a few minutes from your boring, menial existence and witness this for yourself.

The proverbial icing on the cake, however, is when Diddy presents his child with a $400,000 car, then just for the sake of good PR, a $10,000 check to donate to Yele Haiti to give Pro Keds and Vitamin Water to the poor chill'rens of Port Au Prince.

Perhaps most puzzling of all is that Justin looks nothing, I repeat, nothing like his famous father. In fact, he looks more like Al B. Sure, but maybe that's just me.

All hatin' aside, man, what teenager wouldn't want to have a party like this? I mean, sure, blowing a cool mill for a child's birthday party, and having the whole thing chronicled by MTV is sorta tacky, and at worst, extra, but if you got the loot (I don't think Diddy has any cashflow problems, and wouldn't be shocked to find out this whole thing was "sponsored") why wouldn't you? Reality is, any kid who grows up seeing his Dad on TV pouring champagne on models of undermined ethnicity is likely going to be a bit detached from reality in the first place. That said, the kid seems reasonably well adjusted, or at least much better adjusted that I would have been if this were me. So, kudos to Diddy for at least doing something right. And yeah, your Dad, with his lousy 9-to-5, non-Jordans buying a$$ is officially L.A.M.E. Father Fail!

As far as this party being "too much", I guess it's all about context. We dropped a lot of money on both my kids' first birthdays, with a professional photographer, DJ, MoonBounce, BBQ, and special appearances by characters (Hip Hop Harry and DJ Lance from Yo! Gabba! Gabba!) from their "favorite" shows, as if a 1-year-old actually has a "favorite" anything. Yes, this party was just as much for us and our guests as it was for the kids, much as I suspect Diddy's was. Some folks looked at us sideways, but hey, we can afford it, and both kids had college funds established (thank you very much!) they day after they were born so, whatever whatever. My $125 HHH suit rental is Diddy's $1,200 cage dancer, so it's all a wash in the end. Would I buy my son a car that costs more than our house? Of course not, but hey, I'm not Diddy, and neither are you.

If you got it (and can keep gettin' it), why not flaunt it? It's all about the kids, mane, it's all about the kids.

Question: Is there such a thing as spending too much darn money on a child's birthday party, or should you ball out if you can afford it?

[1] Yeah, this is the same one who was in that disturbing preteen "lap dance" photo I showed here last week.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Are These Really The Folks Republicans Want Representing Them?!?

Every year, the GOP establishment and assorted weedcarriers descend on the city they all so viciously hate, yet are so desperate to relocate to. Thousands of TeaBaggers and garden variety d-bags were here in DC this weekend for their annual CPAC conference. I don't know what "CPAC" stands for, but I got a good idea what the "A" is for.

Ann "That's A Maaannn, Baby" Coulter, spewing her usual brand of misinformation and venom, and laughing all the way to the bank.

Human Douchebag In-The-Flesh, Glenn Beck.

Some Negro named Herman Cain. I'll admit, I actually happened to flip by and watch this one, and I was actually somewhat impressed. Sure, this guy's just a walking talking point, and has no original ideas, but at least he's polished and somewhat interesting to listen to. He's both a Morehouse man, and was once former chairman and CEO of Godfather's Pizza. While he seems like a sensible guy for the GOP to push for national office, he's already a has-been, losing a Georgia GOP Senatoral primary a few years ago.

CPAC made a big deal of allowing a contingent of Gay Conservatives at the convention this year. This Ryan Sorba a$$hole apparently didn't get the memo in time. Way to widen that tent, buddy.

Chris Collinsworth's chicken-chested long-lost twin, Tim Pawlenty tries to equate Tiger Woods with Obama for comedic effect, and the predictable epic fail ensues. This guy's so dry he gotta put his lotion on in the rain, even his wife couldn't stay awake for this whole speech. I still consider T-Paw the most formidable contender to Obama come 2012, mostly because he's so non-controversial and safe compared to his roster of fatally flawed GOP opponents. Still, dude needs some Charisma Training and a haircut before I can take him seriously? If America won't give a guy with a perm a serious look for Prez, we shouldn't give a guy with a mullet a shot either.

Some tool named Marco Rubio chides Obama for using a teleprompter. I suppose it's insane to assume that someone who has to gives dozens of speeches a week on a variety of topics to a variety of audiences might need some visual help, but hey, don't tell that to the GOP.

Ah, what's that? Why, a freakin' teleprompter! Even though you and I both know telepromoters are evil technology only employed by empty Kenyan suits who won't cough up college transcipts or birth certificates. Never mind that fact that The Great Ronald Reagan himself was a teleprompter addict, nor the fact that a certain pitbul in lipstick used one for her rambling "Take This Job And Shove It, I'm Gettin' Paid B*tches!" resignation speech.

Watching a spectacle like this from afar, I wonder if the GOP knows, or even cares what sort of message this sends to unaffiliated voters. Speaker after speaker takes the podium, bashing the President with open-mic caliber one-liners and zingers better suited for an audience down the block at the DC Improv. Plenty of crytic talking points ("Less Government" "Real American Values" "Taxing Our Children's Children") and nary a solution beyond tax cuts. No recognition at all of their prior administration's defecit spending and lack of regulatory control that lead to our current fiscal situation. Plenty of underhanded sexist (Pelosi), homophobic (Barney Frank), and racist (Obama) cracks in front of a 99.9% white audience.

If you're a self-identified "Conservative", let alone an Independent, I wonder what your'e thinking of this hate-fest.

Question: Are gatherings like CPAC and The Tea Party Convention good for America, or simply more rabble rousing and hatin' for the sake of political gain? If you're a "Conservative", do you personally identify with the messages above, or would you prefer your party be more forward looking and solution-oriented? Do any of these speakers have a future in comedy, or do they simply have somewhat funny ghostwriters?

Ashy Or Classy?!? - Spanx For Men.

I'm on that gradual slide toward the Big 4-0, and like most middle aged dudes with real jobs and families, find getting to the gym and eating good harder and harder by the day. Before one of you young, single dudes says "just do some sit ups and push ups", save the jibber jabber. It ain't that easy, not when you have a full deck. Trust me, one day, you'll see.

So yeah, I'd like to drop a few pounds around the midsection, but I think this latest ploy for men's money is just a wee bit over the top.
Women aren’t the only ones concerned about their figures these days.

At least that’s what the creators of the new “Spanx For Men” hope.

The company that created “Power Panties” and “Slim Cognito” to “contain” and shape women’s bodies has come up with similar products for males. The new mini-collection includes tank tops, v-necks and crewneck undershirts, perfect for pressing down beer bellies and bulking up arms and chests.

Constructed of Egyptian cotton, the shirts are 19% spandex and appear just like regular t-shirts. They’re priced much higher, however - between $55 and $58.

“We wanted it to be a shirt for guys who wouldn’t normally wear shape wear, so they would try it and think ‘Oh, this is designed better’” than regular T-shirts, Spanx founder Sara Blakely told the Wall Street Journal.

Blakely said when she first got requests for such items several years ago she thought it was a joke, but soon acknowledged that demand for male shapewear had become "a movement." She got to work testing out prototypes on male members of her family. They rejected one style that had a seam across the chest and a central compression panel because they felt its intent was too obvious.

“I kept hearing, ‘We just want it to look normal,’” she told the Journal.

The experimental products are already generating strong interest on the company’s e-commerce site, The line hits Neiman Marcus stores March 15.

Blakely claims the response has been so strong so far, she’s already cooking up her next product for men: underwear that compresses the bottom.
Lemme just say this: any dude rockin' a Male Spanx needs to get off the couch and go ride a bike. This sh*t is just stupid.

Men getting eyebrows arched, hairlines penciled in, and Botox is just too damn much. As a Kappa Man, I'd be the last to suggest that a guy shouldn't be somewhat concerned with his appearance, but at what point is too much too much? Methinks Male Spanx is officially too much.

Do some sit ups and push ups, and lay off the drive thru window.

Yeah, that one was for me. Dude Spanx? Uhh, not so much.

Question: Ashy or Classy?!? Are Spanx For Dudes too damn much, or should a man do whatever it takes to maintain his manly physique, even if it means wearing an excessively tight Under Armor shirt to hide his paunch? Ladies, what do you think? When is too much too much?

Spanx for Men is here: Inventor of 'power panties' launches shapewear line for guys [NY Daily News]

Sunday, February 21, 2010

See, THIS Is Why I Went To An HBCU.

Memo To White America: Blackface Is Not Cool. Yes, even if, you voted for Obama. Enough.

Epic Beard Man Speaks.

Don't never mess with folks who ride the bus. Never.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Infamous Racial Bus Fight.

Man, you hate seein' a brotha go out like this. He got stomped!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Open Thread - Eldrick's Redemption.

Step One in the meticulously choreographed Tiger Woods "Please Gimme My Endorsements Back!" Redemption Tour begins today with a "press conference" in Florida. Why anyone considers a sterile PR flack-written apology, and no followup questions from media a "press conference" is beyond me, but obviously Tiger's image makers know what they're doing. By the time he wins his first major, all this will be a distant memory.

Since I'm still OOTO, consider this an open forum. I know ya'll will be tuning in and clogging company networks nationwide, so be sure to drop by here and give your two cents on the "presser", how Tiger came across, and what's next for everyone's favorite Cabinasian.

Question: How did Tiger do? Was he honest and humbled, or just very well choreographed? What's next? Rewind - Make It Last Forever.

[Editor's Note: Nearly a year after I ran this story initially, the couple of note are still together and still alive. They just celebrated their 85th anniversary, and made news recently for giving relationship advice on Twitter. Follow em' while they're still around. And enjoy this stroll down memory lane.]

I've been married nearly 8 9 years now. Beautiful wife who gets prettier with age. Two great sons who look just like me. It's lovely.

By all accounts AverageSis and I shouldn't have made it this far. The typical American marriage lasts barely long enough to send out thank you cards for the wedding gifts. The National Center for Health Statistics says nearly half of all marital unions end in divorce at some point. So, by making it as long as we have, we're beating the odds already.

Marriage is certainly no walk in the park. It's continual compromise. It's continual growth. It's continually coming out of your comfort zone. In short, it's a whole lot of work, and given the baggage many people bring into it, it's a wonder that the 50% success rate is as high as it is.

Before I got married, I made it a habit to ask folks who'd either been married or divorced[1] for their advice.[2] When I talked to folks who'd made it last a long time, I'd seldom get a consistent "secret" for why. Some would say communication is the key. Others would say good sex is a must. I heard the word "forgiveness" quite a bit also. But I guess what ultimately makes a marriage work is the mutual desire for it to succeed. I'm convinced that if both people are simply in agreement that they just will not fail, then you've already figured out about 95% of the trick. If you've got that much down, the rest is a piece of cake.

All that said, I'd love to pick this couple's brains. Seriously.
A Craven County couple are in the Guinness World Records book. The two did nothing outlandish such as sky-diving upside down, dancing for days, taking the longest lawn mower ride or having the most tattoos.

No, Herbert and Zelmyra Fisher of the Brownsville community have been married for more than 84 years. That is a feat in itself. They have the world record of the longest marriage for a living couple.

They can thank their granddaughter Iris Godette for getting the recognition. She submitted the information to the Guinness Book of Records. The information was apparently checked by Guinness and a certificate was given to the couple.

However, when you ask Herbert about the Guinness recognition, he just says, "Oh, Yeah?" The recognition has not changed their life. He still looks at her with love and concern, as she looks toward him as if he will give her strength and guidance.

They have lived for more than 50 years in a house near the Coastal Carolina Regional Airport. They lived in James City before that but the land was purchased for apartments and the two moved.

Herbert was born June 10, 1905. His hearing is going but his mind is sharp. Zelmyra was born Dec. 10, 1907. She uses a walker to get around the house and yard. The two of them can still give their reasons for marrying on May 13, 1924.

"He was not mean; he was not a fighter," Zelmrya said. "He was quiet and kind. He was not much to look at but he was sweet."

Herbert said Zelmyra never gave him any trouble. "No, no trouble at all. We never argued, but we might have disagreed," he said.

Norma Godette, one of the couple's five children. said her parents have gotten along well through the years.

"One time, mama wanted to work. Daddy told her she could not work, that he could take care of the family. She slipped down to Cherry Point and got a job as a caretaker there," Godette said.

"Well, it was done; she got the job. I had to let it be," Herbert said.

They have no secret or sage advice as to why their marriage has lasted so long.

"I didn't know I would be married this long," Herbert said. "But I lived a nice holy life and go to church every Sunday.

"Yes sir, anything for her."

Zelmyra said Herbert was the only boyfriend she ever had. "We got along good," she said. "There was no trouble."

She said she is not tired of seeing him. "I didn't think I'd be married this long. He is quiet," she said.

Zelmyra said her husband had no annoying habits. They both said they shared the title of "boss."

The two sit on the porch and as a train goes by they count the cars. They also watch the neighbors who walk by.

"They were excellent parents," said Norma Godette. "We were poor, but we didn't do without a thing. If he had two cents he saved one cent."Herbert worked as a mechanic at the Coca-Cola Bottling Company in New Bern for 35 years.

He took a bicycle, caught a cab or had a neighbor drive him to work. That hard work and savings put all five of the children through college. Inside the house are plaques, letters of recognition, and awards that both the Fishers and their children received for accomplishments in civic duties and church.

The house where they raised their children has two sitting rooms and three bedrooms. Now that the children are grown, the Fishers enjoy having a bedroom for each. Herbert Fisher can stay up until the last ball is thrown in the ballgame he is watching. And he does. Herbert makes his bed each day and sweeps his floor. He also checks on his wife as she rests.

Between the rests, they enjoy their children, ten grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and nieces and nephews.

Both say that if they had it to do over, they would not change their life.
You can be a cynical bastard all you want, but tell me reading this story did not make you smile just a bit.

Some will say that times have changes, and marriages are less about economic necessity, and about love nowadays. Many will say they "don't make men like they used to".[3] Still more will say divorce is more socially acceptable nowadays. These things may all be true to some degree, but they have nothing to do with the two people in the marriage. I repeat, if both people wanna make it work, it will work. Period.

Eff' Mike. I wanna be like Herb.

Question: If you're married, what's your "secret" to making it last? If you're divorced, what would you have done differently, other than not marrying that cheating bastard in the first place?

Married 84 years, and still loving [New Bern Sun-Journal]

[1] You can learn so much from someone who's failed miserably at something and is transparent and honest enough to share what they did that contributed to that failure, rather than just blame the other person. Seriously.

[2] You'll notice how I didn't ask anyone who'd never been married for advice. Seriously, ladies, your single girlfriend whose longest standing relationship is with Häagen-Dazs® has no business offering you marital advice. Would you ask Bernie Madoff for stock tips? I think not.

[3] However, if you ask around at your family reunion, you might learn some things you don't really wanna know. The dirty little secret is that lots of men back in the days (I'm talkin' the 40's and 50's) had two families. One they lived with, and another on the other side of the tracks that they provided for, but only saw when they could. Let's not be deluded into revisionist history here. Staying married, yet having a "side family" isn't too far removed from just having 3 baby mamas? Am I right, or am I right?

Name That Sample - "Nights Over Egypt"

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

This classic soul tune by The Jones Girls has been remade and sampled numerous of times. But who can name the most songs that have used these delightful bars?

Difficulty Level: Extreme

Question: How many songs can you name that used the "Nights Over Egypt" for sample, or better yet, what other artists have done covers or remakes of it? Don't be fooled into just listening to the opening bars, or you'll prolly miss half the possible answers. Feel free to cheat and use other commenters' work, but do NOT Google! Google is for losers.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ashy Or Classy?!? - LapDances For Haiti.

Yes, I know the $10 cover charge is gonna buy a poor kid in Port Au Prince a pair of Pro Keds and some Vitamin Water, but somethin' bout' this just don't feel right.[1]

I dunno. Mixing skeet juice and philanthropy just seems a wee bit wrong. What's next? Blow jobs for Bosnia?

Question: Ashy Or Classy? Is Lapdancin' for Haiti a goodhearted way of helping those in dire need, or a really skeezy way to get the club packed?

[1] I apologize to anyone who got a call from IT for this post's accompanying photo, but darnit, that pic of pre-teen Justin Combs getting his lapdance on never gets old. It's both disturbing and hilarious at the same time. Diddy >>>>> Your Worthless, Uncool Dad.

3 Play Thursday - Keith Sweat.

It's 3 Play Thursday. Today: Legendary Crier/Crooner Keith Sweat.

Keith Sweat is one of those love/hate singers. Folks either think he recorded some of the best babymaking music this side of Luther, or find his incessant begging and whiny voice akin to fingernails on a chalkboard. Personally, "Keef" is one of my favorites, and occupies a nice chunk of my iPod.

Here's a few of my favorite Keith Sweat tunes.

"How Deep Is Your Love?"

Damnit, now that's the prototypical slow jam. The 808's. The autotune. The crashing symbols.

"Make It Last Forever"

I have no idea who Jackie McGhee is, nor why this is seemingly the only song she ever recorded, but her + Keith = PB&J on this quiet storm classic. Unfortunately, the Gods of YouTube litigation won't allow me to run the real version here, so enjoy this instrumental instead. Or don't.

"Don't Stop Your Love"

Keith wasn't a one-trick pony. He could rock the uptempo joints too.

Question: What's your favorite Keith Sweat tune?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Thanks For The Memories, Fellas...'s been real. No, The "Big Three" never won a playoff series (thanks Lebron), but with one glaring exception, they were always classy, always professionals, and always played hard. You can't really ask for much more.

Here's to Happy Trails for both Caron and Antawn, I hope you guys meet in the NBA Finals.

As for that other guy, well, don't drop the soap.

Let the rebuilding begin.

If you'll excuse me, I'm going to cry in my cereal now.

Question: Does Jamison put the Cavs over the top? Does Caron help the Mavs? Any other big trades that need to go down? What's the best way for the Wiz to rebuild?

Jamison to the Cavaliers? It's a dream of a deal [PlainDealer] Guest Post - A Memo to Men About Their Cellular Sensibilities.

[Editor's Note: My main man Mason Jamal got called up to the big leagues (he's killin' em over at AOL BlackVoices) awhile back, and continues to ply his trade at a high level. I obviously had nothing to do with this, but since he keeps telling me I'm the first guy who gave him a podium, I'll take a little credit. Today, Mason chimes in on cell phone etiquette for gentlemen. As usual, show our guest some love you-know-where.]

I'm bothered by things the average man doesn't pay attention to. In a way, I feel it's my job to be bothered and to blog about it. This is what I do. I observe and report. With that said, I'm growing extra weary of men and their cellular sensibilities or the lack thereof. Something must be said. The respectability of millions of men is at stake. To remain silent, makes me complicit to the problem. I can't continue to have this on my conscience. So consider today's post an intervention of sorts. Men, if any of the following applies to you, take note. If it doesn't apply, take heart that you are making good decisions when it comes to your sense of technological style.

On that note, there are five things that all metro-savvy men need to know about carrying a cell phone:

1.) Men, with any sense of self-respect, don't carry Blackberry Pearls. For those offenders, today would be a good day to stop. It's one of the un-manliest things a guy can do - right up there with going to aerobics class and getting excited about the season finale of Grey's Anatomy. Another way to look at it is men simply shouldn’t carry phones that have ever been described as cute. Ever wonder why the good folks over at Research In Motion (RIM), the makers of the Blackberry, branded it something as effeminate sounding as the “Pearl”? Think about it: they got other phones named the Blackberry "Storm" (crap device by the way) and the Blackberry "Bold" - both very strong, if not aggressive, names. And you got the nerve to pull out of your purse pants something called the Pearl. It's not your defining moment as a man. More importantly, it’s 2010. If you are going to carry a smart phone, man the f#*k up and get a full keyboard.

2) There are only three colors to choose from when it comes to a man’s cell phone: black, blacker, and blackest. Minus some chrome or metallic trim, your phone should be militantly black. It should be so black that they throw in two sides of macaroni and cheese and collard greens (with packets of hot sauce). Any other color is simply not respectable. Show me a man carrying a primary colored phone and I'll show you a man women would never throw their panties on stage for. The choice in color, even if it's sub-conscious, is indicative of how he sees himself and runs his life. This is what I'm saying.

3) Look, I know you’re trying to take extra precaution, but stop placing your phone in those hideous protective cases that look combat-ready for overseas duty. While you're at it, lose the rubbery case. It looks and feels like a phone wrapped in a heavy duty impenetrable condom. Personally, I’m all about the unprotected conversations. Get a grip you candy-asses and stop being afraid you might drop your phone. It's comparable, in tackiness, to having expensive post-contemporary furniture only to be covered in those 70’s plastic “slip covers".

[Ed Note: I call BS on this one. OtterBox, FTW!]

4) For the love of God, stop carrying your cell phone in a holster. Unless you work in the IT Department or you want to look like you work in the IT Department, I strongly advise against it. Holsters are for guns, not cell phones. And I strongly advise that you don’t walk around in the public domain wearing a holster carrying either one.

5) And finally - cease and desist with the ringtones. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, I’m guessing you’re north of 30 years of age. No one needs to hear the newest obnoxious ringtone that a grown ass man just downloaded because he wants everyone to think he keeps up with the latest music. It’s the epitome of trying too hard.

Question: Got any additional cell phone faux pas? Ladies, what are your rules?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

WorkPlace 101: Quit Your Day Job.

I'm sure this sounds incredibly lame and probably a bit patronizing, but it just hit me today: I really, really, really enjoy my Day Job.

The other day we were watching some show about folks who hit the lottery, and AverageSis asks me what I'd do if we somehow managed to hit the numbers. Contrary to what most people say, I wouldn't quit my job, at least not immediately. I think it's part of a man's DNA to need to be "good" at something. Sure, every man should ideally be a great husband, parent, and friend, but beyond that, there's a natural instinct to have something you do well and can take pride in. It's no wonder that many men who win the Lotto end up going back to work at some point. You can call this sad if you'd like, but hey, it's just how some of us are wired.

Since I sorta like my Day Job, I might wait awhile before I gave 2 week's notice. I mean, seriously, what's not to like? I'm well compensated. I'm really good at what I do. I like the folks I work with. And yeah, I'm writing this post sitting in a very expensive hotel on Ocean Drive. I could find far worse things to do with my 40+ hours a week. Sure, I'd eventually quit and find a way to coach or otherwise work with kids at some point, but I'm an engineer. It's just who I am. No escaping that. No need to escape it.

I realize this sounds dangerously close to a couple of other editions of WorkPlace 101, but I'm wondering what ya'll think.

Question: If money were no option, what would you rather be doing for a living? Are you actually doing what you planned all along on doing, or did your plans change at some point?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Open Topics Day.

I am out of pocket today, and I really have nothing to talk about anyway. So, I am going to toss out a handful of recommended topics for y'all to go in on. If you got better stuff to shoot the breeze on, have at it.

1. NBA All Star Game - Pulls record crowd in Dallas, but except for halftime show, was boring as heck, even with close finish. Is it time for the NBA to mix it up a bit?

2. Alicia Keys vs Shakira - Who was less boring?

3. The Michael Vick Experiment - I actualy liked the one episode I saw. Can this help rehab his image?

4. Valentines Day - How was yours? Is VDay overrated?

5. Miami - Tell me some "must visit" spots.

Question: Got anything you wanna talk about?

A Few Notes From The Management Of

I'm away this week on a "working vacation" in South Florida.[1] No, really, I am working. I can't promise I'll have the time (or interest) for dropping fresh posts here this week, so don't be shocked if you see a gang of Guest Posts, or Rewinds this week. Sorry, it beez like that sometimes. Ride with me anyway.

On a few unrelated, but related notes...

1) This is officially another NoBama Week. I did a Barry overdose the last couple of weeks, so it's time to fall back. I don't care if The Beige One finds the cure for Cancer and bipartisanship this week, I am not talking about him. Period. It's good for my health and yours.

2) The Palin Ban is back in effect. I now realize I've been feeding the Beastess a bit too much lately. I'm sure she'll do just fine at keeping her name in the news without my paltry contribution. This is indefinite. Unless she makes some real news (which is highly unlikely), don't expect to see that word on this website anytime soon.

3) The Michael Steele Ban is also back in effect. This is mostly out of pity for poor Magic Mike, who had the nerve to actually play the race card last week. Since I don't really like piling on another black man (pause) I am going to give this cat a rest for now. This, also, is indefinite.

That is all.

- Jay

[1] After the snowstorm I just suffered through, this is a welcome getaway.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Too Much Pretty Ricky, Too Little Vacation Bible School.

How else do you explain this Negro Nonsense. The kid is 6.

Question: Where Is Obama?!?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Special Saturday Edition Of 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 The Uppity Negro, Spool32, The EbonyGentleman, Ezra, and my homegirl OneChele. Enjoy this Special Saturday Edition. And by "Special Saturday Edition", I mean "I forgot to schedule this to run Friday."]

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: President Obama is inviting his political opponents on the right to a Healthcare "workshop" later this month. Is there any such thing as "bipartisanship" in today's politics? What will Obama have to do to get his signature Healthcare legislation passed?
Ezra - When your favorite team is playing its most hated rival do you want the rival to win? No. You want your guys to crush the opposition. Obama's problem is- it's such a liberal value to all work together and be nice and cooperative. That's downright Communist! But, when GOP shame outweighs their cynicism... he'll pass it... with about 2 GOP votes. The GOP will still hate it- even though it's filled with their ideas. And then they'll keep their jobs by blaming the Dems for socialism and bloated government.

OneChele - I think the Republicans have adopted a c*ck-block philosophy. They can't have any so NO one gets satisfaction. They've decided it's worth it to them to fall as long as they take everybody down with them. So to answer your question - no there is no bipartisanship. The Healthcare legislation will get passed if the Dems can find one or two Repubs to come towards the light. I suggest sending out operatives to dig up dirt on Cornyn or McConnell, somebody has a spicy mistress aspiring model personal friend stashed somewhere. If that doesn't work, hide the hair products. That will befuddle those side-part-combover-loving fellas long enough to zip the bill though.

EbonyGent - Bipartisanship hasn't really been seen since this century began. It's all about majority power now. It's sad really, because many middle and lower class Americans haven't had any true benefit from the inner workings of Congress. If you have power, money and influence you get the crumbs. It doesn't surprise me really.

Spool - Pelosi aides are reporting they have reconciliation worked out, so he may have to do nothing but convince the GOP to show up, then hope the public is too confused by this whole "how a bill becomes law" thing to understand what happened. One thing Obama could have done is not write his bill in haiku form and mail it to the Speaker for translation into legislative language. I think Also, arguing that up is down, hot is cold, and spending billions more saves money would be a good plan. My wife uses this logic to justify spending money on the 2-for-1 sale at DSW, but it doesn't work on me. Usually.
Question Two: Sarah Palin recently addressed the Tea Party Nation convention to rave reviews, and announced that she would consider running for President if the climate is right. Do you understand Palin's appeal? Do you think she is serious about running, or is this simply a grand hu$tle to string along her followers so she can continue to cash in?
Spool - Grand Hu$tle. Palin won't be quiet about a run in 2012 because she's like a bug zapper for the progressive left... every time she steps out, some idiot columnist explodes his career attacking her. Look at Andrew Sullivan... before the 2008 GOP Convention, people took him seriously. Remember that? Next up: Robert Gibbs. He should have written "Bread, Milk, Don't Be an Idiot" on his hand. So she's got appeal, if in no other way than drawing the liberal moths to her flame. When the time comes for her to lose gracefully, who will still have enough credibility to attack Obama's real challenger?

Uppity - Sarah Palin should start a comedy tour. I mean this is a one woman show full of hilarity. The funny thing is that she's serious! But just watching her is comedy. Her in the White House would give bloggers and new commentators new life. Move over Gerald Ford!

OneChele - Please don't get me started on Say-Pay. I dislike her with an intensity usually reserved for roaches and the stomach flu. I get it. She's a white woman with a folksy "I'm just like you!" vibe. The fact that people can't see through it to the scheming, scamming, get-money chick underneath it all is amazing to me. No, she's not serious about running. There are skeletons in that Alaskan closet (right next to Russia doncha know?) that will come flying out full-force if she ever does more than provide a coiffed talking head for a movement as full of moose droppings as she is. Did I mention that I dislike her?

Ezra - No, she's not serious about running because once you're the HEAD of said bloated government you so despise then you're just part of the problem. She's too idealistic, she loves America (the real parts) too much to be part of the problem. Plus, the Presidency doesn't pay as well as the "teabagging" gig she has at the ole' boys club (ladies get in free before 11).

EbonyGent - Sarah's appeal? Palin's a MILF. MILF's get far in this world. Even at her age, Palin can get some vaginal labia reconstruction and some WD40 for the inner walls. Not much different from a trip to Jiffy Lube.
Question Three: One year into the Obama Administration, Michelle Obama has graced the covers of nearly every major magazine, even many magazines that don't typically celebrate black women. Has there been a tangible Michelle Obama Effect on modern-day standards of black beauty?
Uppity - Hell no. AB, you've been on those conservative websites and over the last year we've seen people criticize her for wearing her arms out and when she had worn shorts on the family vacation. They just mad cause they can't do it.

Ezra - Yeah, every black woman in the country is jealous of that perfect, silky, straight hair, the flawless shoulders, and the heiress persona, with the legs-that-go-all-the-way-down-to-the-floor. Thanks, Michelle, for raising the standard. Thanks a lot. At least she's just a trophy wife with no education whatsoever. (How could the GOP ever compete with this couple. No wonder they're pissed.)

OneChele - Amen, yes, and can I say Amen again? Not only has she had an impact on standards of black beauty, she has raised the profile of the educated, accomplished black female as well. In a society where half-naked celebutantes are idolized by young girls, it's noteworthy and satisfying to have a sister doing us proud. I did a roundtable with some kids for Black History Month kick-off a few weeks ago. We probed their ideals about beauty and asked which females they most admired for style and beauty the votes were split evenly between Rihanna and Michelle Obama. Now that tells me something.

EbonyGent - Michelle is an Anomaly. She lies in the bed next to the POTUS, and doesn't have to softshoe or cook pancakes with a red do-rag on. That's a powerful black female. The Majority isn't used to seeing that.
Question Four: Apple recently unveiled the new iPad, which hits stores in the Spring. Will you cop one, or is there too little difference between it and the iPhone/iPod Touch to justify the price tag?
OneChele - As much as I respect Apple for keeping it iPimpin' - no. It's a netbook without the lid. It's a 10-inch iTouch without the portability. It's a... hustle.

Ezra - I have a challenge with my brother- first one to buy an iPad gets a bottle of bourbon from the loser. Let's face it- there's absolutely no need to have an iPad. But, I believe it will change my life for the better. Just like my Macbook and my iPhone. (Still, I'd rather buy the bottle of bourbon and wait for the second generation iPad. Don't tell my brother.)

Spool - No iPad for me. I use the Droid, because I believe in Open Source. I'd rather spend my money on a netbook with ubuntu, and live on the actual Cutting Edge, rather than the Marketing Edge.

Uppity - MAYBE if Apple debut's the MaxiPad I may buy it. Otherwise, the iPad is either a glorified iPhone without talking capabilities or a bootleg MacBook without a DVD slot. #ontothenextone
Question Five: A mishmash lineup of Singers, Rappers, and Random Entertainers recently gathered to record a remake of the seminal 80's hit, "We Are The World" to raise money for Haitian Earthquake relief. Are "benefit songs" like WATW genuine philanthropy, or merely an exercise in superficial celebrity vanity?
EbonyGent - Singing a song doesn't feed hungry people. It just makes hungry people's ears bleed. It didn't work in Africa, nor will it work in Haiti. You want to help? Sell some of that bling and buy stacks of supplies, then get in that private jet and fly it YOURSELF to Haiti. Then put it in the people's hands YOURSELVES.

Ezra - When I was eleven, that song was awesome. I was like, It's soooo true, we ARE the world. But when I gredw up and realized that Lionel Richie not only made the song, but also made Nicole Richie, you start to wonder whether you want his values instilled in your children. Change begins at home, Lionel.

Spool - The day of the benefit song has passed. In an age of pandora, mp3 sharing, and 4gb usb drives for $15, there's no way to actually raise any money for a worthy cause by selling a song. Stop massaging celebrity egos and just text 90999.

OneChele - Let's be real, this is a photo-op set to music. Sometimes good music but mostly not. If it pours some dollars Haiti's way - I'm all for it but let's not pretend it's more than it is. If these celebs really wanted to help, they could each show up with a check for $1 million and a pledge for a percentage of future profits to go for the cause. Who’s with me?! **crickets** Or not… let’s see that video again.
Question: Got any answers for our questions? Wanna be on the next edition of The RoundTable?