Friday, April 30, 2010 Guest Post - Lonely Reality TV Sistas: The New Grand Hu$tle.

[Editor's Note: I'm not just a blogger, I'm also a fan of blogs, and one of my favorite is the brilliant TheFreshExpress, an urban blog aggregator on which my posts frequently appear. If you ain't up on game, you should get familiar. Fellow FX'er, Miss Blurbette from Sable Verity goes in on the recent cable TV explosion of single black women shows. Sure, this topic's been covered here before, but never this properly. Enjoy.]

There’s something in the red kool-aid and the B-Listers on down are drinking gallons of it. It’s making them do things they once thought beneath them, things I thought once beneath them. It’s forcing them to all seem so common. It’s setting them up with a half hour of cable prime time starring in their very own reality TV shows.

With a burst of lace fronts, VH-1, Style, BET and the lot are all welcoming the sistas to the reality TV game.

It’s like the Latin invasion, only with surgically engineered solid C-cups and more melanin.

I call them “The One-timers”.

There’s Chilli, one time singer for the group TLC; Shaunie O’Neal, one time wife to basketball player, Shaq; Pep, one time rapper from the group Salt N Pepa,; Lisa Raye, one time actress; and Brandi, one time teen star, actress and singer. The recurrent theme amongst the One-Timers’ shows is “I can’t get a man.”

In the first episode of “What Chilli wants”, Chilli shares her list of requirements and in addition to no scrubs, she doesn’t want a man that smokes, drinks or eats pork. (Cue the BowTie choir singing, “There’s a place for us”).

Matchmaker Tionna Smalls recruits potentials for Chilli at a Braves game. After corralling several gents into a room and tossing out such deeply meaningful questions like “Are you a freak”, and asks to see their abs as a 6 pack is another requirement of Chilli’s, Tionna finally presents one hopeful- a good looking personal trainer- to Chilli…and a room full of other women for their consensus of approval. He was denied. (awwww…)

As for the latest in Brandy’s world, she was invited to attend the Grammy’s with Flo-Rida, then uninvited because neither of them wanted the media to think they were “together”.

Brandy, how you gon’ get fired on your day off?? And Flo got invited to the Grammy’s and you didn’t? Girl, get back in the studio NOW. And fire your hairstylist. I’ve never seen a weave go all the way to the bridge of someone’s nose like that. I say this with love.

Pep and Basketball Wives are essentially the very same show with different women portraying the role of scorned ex. Out of the entourage of supposed Basketball Wives, only ONE has been wifed, another divorced and the rest appear to be baller groupies that lucked into child support. They spend their days shopping and their nights at the club, then meet for cocktails to complain about how good they used to have it when they were with the men that cheated on them.

Lisa Raye says she was driven to the new show by a desire to “come back to her brand”, but outside of portraying a stripper in the film Player’s Club, I’m not aware of her having a brand. In a recent interview when confronted with the perception many have of her as a gold digger, Lisa Raye said, “I dug for gold in high school. I’m a platinum girl now. I’m an international person.” Well, yes, she is an international something. Now, she insists upon only dating men with money because she believes in moving forward after the much publicized split from husband Michael Misick, Turks and Caicos Premier. She’s been romantically linked to Nelly, Ocho Cinco and even Al Sharpton. I understand that it may be difficult to find someone with the same level of success you have, but come on, isn’t Gerardo still available? Sisquo?

She did a spread in the April edition of Black Men magazine scantily clad in a bikini, although she admits it was 23 degrees in the desert where they filmed. She is taking issue with the magazine’s publishing of several photos she deemed inappropriate claiming she was unprepared for the shots even though she is looking right into the camera lens. If I were trying to avoid the publication of provocative and embarrassing pictures of my assets, I would probably put on some damn clothes before the photographer showed up, but that’s just me.

Ladies, did you get jealous of Flava Flav and Ray J? Is that really how you want to be remembered? Is this all black women are because between Stella, Steve Harvey and these shows, they’re giving the other folk that impression.

I don’t consider any of these shows a benign form of entertainment. All of them are a continued perpetration of the myth that black men are nearly extinct or chock full o’problems and black women regardless of level of success just can’t find a man; a myth disproven by statistics and happy relationships around the globe.

[Editor's Note: I DO consider all of these shows a benign form of entertainment, but I agree with most everything else Sable's saying.]

If Lisa Raye can’t find a man, it’s probably because she is a gold-digger and men with sense can read any one of her 200 interviews stating as much. If Chilli can’t find a man, it might be because she has a list taller than she is of male requirements but none for herself. If Brandy can’t find a man, it’s probably because as evidenced by the show, she can’t seem to cut the apron strings from her family, and her family can’t cut ties with scandal and trifling. And as for the basketball “wives”, well, honestly what man is going to waste his time when he knows a date with you will cost him half plus alimony. So what I’m saying is, Ladies, you’re probably the reason why you’re single. Michelle Obama didn’t seem to have a problem.

If there is any good to come from this new direction in reality TV I guess it’s that it took our minds away from Tiny and Toya and Keyshia Cole’s crazy ass family for a few episodes.

My advice to the entire cast of reality world newbies is this: When you’re DOING YOU, it appeals to others and they’re more apt to want to do you too. Remember your talents and what made you famous in the first place. So Pep, Brandy and Chilli, go make a record. Lisa Raye, find a pole.

I’m just saying.

Question: Are these "Single Black Women" shows simple mindless humor, or a dangerous perpetuation of the very stereotypes responsible for the destruction of the black family? Which ones do you watch? Don't lie, I know you want this stuff.

More from Sable Verity...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sandra Bullock's Black Baby Speaks.

This is SO wrong, but it's still funny.

What A Jerk.

C'mon Lebron, you're better than this.

The Great Immigration Debate.

Yesterday's discussion on illegal immigration got me to searching around for some facts about Arizona's recently passed legislation. The more I read about this, the more I dislike it, and am convinced it's not only not going to solve the immigration issue, but simply inflame racial animus at a point in time when this country really needs anything but. Consider the following.
"The bill requires local law-enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration law to the fullest extent permitted by federal law. It says that officers must make a reasonable attempt to determine an individual's legal status "when practicable" if there is "reasonable suspicion" that he or she is in the U.S. illegally."
Sorry, but "reasonably suspicion" is such a green term. It could literally mean any number of things, based on who you ask. If things like "drunk driving", "erratic driving", and "loitering" are being used as examples of such "reasonable suspicion", we've already got a problem. Such actions are already illegal, and have long been used by cops to pull folks over and as for ID. This apparently hasn't helped Arizona's immigration problem one bit. Now, by simply doing the very same thing, this is going to fix the problem? I think not. Reality is, that "reasonable suspicion" is going to be extended to far more activities, many of which won't even remotely be illegal. "Walking down the street in a group of 3 or more" will probably be reason enough to pull folks over and demand papers.
"The bill also would allow Arizonans to sue agencies if they don't believe an agency is complying with the law. Police chiefs who oppose the bill have said these requirements will mean officers will have to make immigration enforcement their first priority over every other type of crime."
This is quite problematic. It's essentially saying that a police department could be liable if any "citizen" doesn't think they're enforcing the law. I can only assume that to prove they are indeed enforcing a law, these agencies will be forced to publish some sort of metrics showing a number of people detained, questioned, or transferred to ICE. Essentially, a monthly quota. Now tell me there won't be even more pressure on already overworked, well meaning cops to make undue arrests just to help the department stave off a potential lawsuit.
They may have to wait around for federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement to verify a suspect's immigration status and possibly transport a suspect to jail to be held until that status can be determined. The chiefs also say the bill offers no additional funding to train officers in how to judge reasonable suspicion or otherwise enforce federal laws.
Depending on what you read, a driver's license may, or may not (because creating knockoffs is easy) be enough identification to prove residency. I'm guessing that a birth certificate, or some other legalization document will be what's needed. Does anyone think carrying around such documents 24/7 is reasonable? If you're simply walking your kids to the park, and prefer to not carry a wallet (something I do all the time), and end up getting questioned, you could easily spend a pointless weekend in the clink before someone's able to verify your status on Monday morning. How, again, is this protecting taxpaying Arizonans, 30% of whom are Hispanic?
If the officer can put together enough factors to establish reasonable suspicion that the person is in the country illegally, police can detain the person long enough to get in touch with federal officials, who will determine whether the suspect is in the country legally. The law isn't expected to change much for ICE, which has a program in place that has agents respond when local law-enforcement agencies ask for help determining someone's immigration status, a process that is frequently handled over the phone.

In the federal fiscal year ending Sept. 30, ICE responded to more than 1,500 calls from law enforcement and took nearly 5,500 people into custody. But if SB 1070 becomes law, the volume of calls will increase, and the agency may have to revert to enforcement priorities that federal authorities outlined last year.
The very same Feds who have failed miserably, even once they've detained actual illegals, are now being asked to move swiftly and verify the status of thousands more suspects, without additional funding. Uhhhm, yeah, that one's gonna work out splendidly, I'm sure.

Look, I'd be the last one to tell you that we don't have an issue with illegal immigrants in this country. We do, and from crime, to drains on local resources, these issues have been talked about ad nauseum. They are real, and they are legitimate.

But until the real issue of fines and punishments for those who profit from the cheap labor of illegal workers (including farmers, who get gov't subsidies to stay afloat) is discussed, nothing of substance is going to change. If you remove the incentive to stay here people, like the 100,000 who've departed the state since the economy went downhill, will leave and will not return. Building a bigger fence, or worse, legalizing racial profiling like they are in Arizona is little more than a clever sleight of hand that admonishes one offending party while pretending the other doesn't even exist.

The sooner Obama and this douchebag Governor in Arizona are able at admit that, the sooner this problem can honestly be addressed.

Don't hold your breath.

Question: What's the "cure" for this country's illegal immigration issue? Is Arizona's bill going to open Pandora's box, or could it actually work?

Police weighing Arizona's immigration bill's impact [AZRepublic]

3 Play Thursday - Jam It Or Slam It?!?

It's 3 Play Thursday. Today: Jam or Slam 3 new hip-hop tracks.

Ya'll know I'm a musical nerd and consummate hip-hop head. One of these days, someone will pay me to break down the relative artistic merits of DJ Premier vis-a-vis Pete Rock, but until that day comes you'll have to endure posts like this. For those of you who ain't into "underground rap", this might be a "skip me" post cause it's prolly a little too "inside baseball" for everyone. But if the shoe fits, here's a trio of new jawns in steady rotation on my iPod. But are they good (Jam) or janky (Slam)? That is the question. Here's my verdict, show me yours.

Today, I'm peeping a handful of lead singles from a trio of artists about to drop their debut solo albums. Cop them headphones and go in.

Nicki Minaj Feat. Sean Garrett - "Massive Attack"

Like the typical mixtape rapper, Nicki Minaj aimed for the fences with her first official single, and boy, did she ever strike out. Since I don't get out much, I'm gonna assume this is one of those songs that "only sounds good in the club". It sounds like a botched musical abortion to my ears, with all the shrieking synths, messy congos, annoying a$$ed Sean Garrett's nonsensical hook, and Nicki's Lil Kim circa 98' flow. Pass. - Slam It.

Big Boi - "Shutterbug"

Boi Boi's always been OutKast's version of Phife Dawg/Pras/Rapper Big Pooh. You know, that other guy who's routinely outdone by his partner to the point that you wonder if he could have even gotten a rap deal if he wasn't a member of a successful group. That said, it's hard for me to not like this song, cause damn, what's not to like? The beat's amazing, the autotuned hook is an 80's throwback, and Big Boi's usually pimptastic boasting is actually tolerable for once. And if you'll excuse me, I'll now brace myself for the onslaught of outraged OutKast stan emails. - Jam It.

J.Cole - "Who Dat?"

Jay-Z's handpicked successor to the Roc Nation throne finally stopped dropping mixtapes and rolled out his first legitimate single earlier this week. I'm from NC, so of course I'm rooting for J. Cole to be this year's Drake, minus the vocoders and those annoying limpwristed hand motions. Sadly, while I like this song, it's not going to do much to dispell the notion that Cole's just another lyricist without any concept of how to make songs that girls like. Cause face it, girls buy albums, and if you can't make something they like, you aren't getting airplay, and you are going to be washing dishes at a Sizzler in Fayetteville very soon. Then again, Jay-Z is this guy's mentor, so this is probably one of those "street singles" that will be followed soon by a "radio single" featuring Trey Songz or some such nonsense. Which naturally, will turn off a rap purist like me, and a month from now, I'll be here complaining about how "I don't like the direction J. Cole's headed in". Anyways, for channelling "Takeover"-era Jigga, and making something that thumps in the headphones, I'll leave the future where it is and just enjoy this song for what it is. - Jam It.

Question: Jam or Slam? Which of these tracks do you like, and which ones are wack?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010 NewsBriefs

I gotta actually do some real work today. You know the usual drill...

Immigration Reform - While I was away over the weekend (H-Town stand up!), the great state of Arizona essentially legalized racial profiling, under the guise of immigration reform. There's a million things wrong with this approach, but the biggest issue with illegal immigrants isn't the immigrants, it's the system that makes them coming to the US so attractive in the first place. If any lawmaker was really serious about curbing the influx of illegal immigrants, he'd simply institute and reinforce strict and heavy fines for any company or individual that hires them. Period.

These folks come here because there's a dollar to be made, and companies use them because they're dirt cheap and don't require benefits or any of the other standard protections afforded your typical worker. It's no wonder that more than 1M immigrants have already left Arizona since the recession began. I can't be mad at a random Mexican gaming a willing system to make a better way of life for his family. I can be mad at Arizona's dimwit, bleached blonde Governor for avoiding the real issue, and infringing upon the civil rights of real, hardworking Americans.

Financial Regulatory Reform - I think most people can agree that something needs to be done to ensure there's not another Wall Street collapse like the one that left us with double digit unemployment. Well, everyone but the GOP, which seems to be riding this "Party of No!" thing till the wheels fall off, or election day, whichever comes first. It's truly sad that these idiots think obstruction and sitting on your hands like a 5-year old is a sound strategy. It's even sadder that some polls show this strategy just might pay off in the form of the GOP regaining the Senate and/or House this Fall.

NBA Playoffs - Well, can I reinstate my long-held "Spurs will win the NBA title" prediction again? And what's up with the Lakers? As of today, I got the Cavs coming out of the East, hands down. As for the West, well, no more predictions here.

Question: What's your read on the immigration situation in AZ? What (if anything) needs to be done to ensure Wall Street doesn't take more penetentiary chances with your money? Who you got in the playoffs?

Name That Sample - "Shape Of My Heart".

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 tune by Sting has been sampled numerous times. But who can name the most songs that have used these delightful bars?

Difficulty Level: Difficult. Think hard.

Question: How many songs can you name that used the "Shape Of My Heart" sample? 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, April 27, 2010

Either/Or: Brains Or Beauty?!?

On the last edition of Either/Or, I asked a pretty simple question: is forced to make a choice, would you rather "date" someone with a slammin' body or a beautiful face. Today's topic is sorta similar, but sorta not, so pay attention.

Brains and beauty are a lethal combination. Attractive, smart people seem to rise to the top of their professions, gain the trust and admiration of others, and generally run the world. Tomes have been written about the advantages that "good looking" politicians generally enjoy when facing off with aesthetically challenged competitors.

In an idea world, every potential mate would be a "ten" with the IQ of Einstein. Of course, is not an ideal world, so I'm forcing you to choose.

Question: Would you rather "date" someone who is beautiful/handsome, but dumb as a bag of Funyuns, or smart and resourceful, but ugly as Flavor Flav and Susan Boyle's love child? There is no in-between answer here. Pick ONE and explain why.

Monday, April 26, 2010

When Keepin' It Traaap Goes Wrong.

It's nothing new to see cRappers spending their community service hours speaking to kids. Whether or not a convicted felon telling kids to make wise choices is a good idea or not is clearly something that could be debated ad nauseum, but one thing everyone can agree upon is that folks in places of power need to conduct themselves with a level of professionalism befitting their titles. Witness the strange confluence of these seemingly unrelated trains of thought.
A Henry County (GA) parent is complaining he wasn’t notified when Atlanta rapper T.I. was invited to speak to his children’s school. And he was shocked by the response the school’s principal gave him.

Tom Myers declined to talk to an AJC reporter about his concerns, but told WSB that he wanted to know ahead of the March 5 anti-bullying assembly that the rapper would be appearing at the school. Myers was upset that T.I., a convicted felon also known as Clifford Harris, was speaking to students at Woodland Middle School.

“Had I had the opportunity to not let them [my children] go, I would have had them sit out,” he told WSB.

T.I. served a year-long prison sentence last year on federal gun charges for trying to purchase a machine gun. As part of the condition of his release, T.I. was required to serve more than 400 hours of community service, including speaking engagements at schools.

In an e-mail to principal Terry Oatts, Myers said he told Oatts to give parents a choice of whether to “allow our children to be exposed to these questionable individuals.”

Oatts’ reply, according to e-mails provided to WSB: “I thought about asking a guy who snorted cocaine and got arrested for DUI when he was 30 to come and speak to our kids, but President George W. Bush was not available.”

[Editor's Note: Dang, now that was ice cold! Completely unprofessional for a principal, but still, ice cold!]

Myers said he was floored.

“I could not believe that he would put that in an e-mail,” the parent told WSB.

But Oatts continued in his e-mails with Myers, reportedly pointing out that even the president had made mistakes as a young man, and that T.I. was trying to encourage students was ‘to take their education seriously, put forth their best effort, pursue their dreams and not engage in bullying.'

Henry County Schools spokeswoman Connie Rutherford said school officials are aware of Myers' complaints and "consider all allegations and concerns seriously." Rutherford would not, however, say what action, if any, would be taken against Oatts.
I'm assuming Principal Oatts is so pissed cause he's one of the 12 people alive that actually likes Tip's horrendous new single with The Black Eyes Peas. That song is so turrible, I don't even have a snappy one-liner to describe it.

There's no other reason to explain why the principal snapped on the parent like that.

I know it's sorta (un)related, but I can't help but recall a story from my youth when I read this. My Freshman year of high school, my French class for some odd reason ended up going to our county's courthouse for a tour.[1] I, being the only black kid in class, was naturally a little uncomfortable with this. I mean, the likelihood of running into someone I personally knew, with embarrassing results, was far higher for a kid like me than my silver spooned classmates.

Anyhow, the tour of the courtrooms and lecture from some judges, bailiffs, and lawyers goes off without a hitch. I don't recognize a single person, and breathe a sigh of relief. Then, for some odd reason, my teacher decides to ask the tour guide to take us through the "detention center", where petty criminals are held prior to processing. Sweat beads start to roll from my forehead.

We go down a dark corridor of stairs, and the iron gates open to lead us to the cells. And no sooner than our class enters the holding area do I hear my name.

"AB! AB!"

Damn! Damn! Damn! It is my cousin Glenward, sitting in his typical post-weekend home away from home. I can't help but acknowledge him, because at this point, the teacher, tour guide, and all 15 of my classmates are looking at me. I'm the only "AB" in the class after all.

"Yeah, Glenwood" I reply, embarrassed as hell.

"AB! Cuz! Tell yo' Daddy to come down here and get me out!" he replies, desperately grasping his only lifeline.

"Uh, ok." I respond, lowering my head and walking out of the retaining area as swiftly as possible.

After the tour was over, and we all got back to the bus, some of my classmates came up and asked me the inevitable.

"AB, was that your cousin?"


"Man, that was so cool!!! Wow!" they replied in amazement. I was for some reason a relieved to hear they were actually impressed that my 3rd cousin 8 times removed was a predicate felon. Perhaps they'd also be equally impressed with my 4th aunt 6 times removed who has 11 children all living on EBT cards and section 8, yet still has more disposable income every month than I do because she sells steamed crabs by the bushel out of her kitchen. Off the books, of course.

So, I get home and tell my Dad about the teacher's embarrassing decision to change the tour and take us to the cellblock. Surely my old man would be enraged and go up to the school looking to bust some heads.

"Just be happy it wasn't your Aunt Delores," the old man replied.

I say all this to say, parents do have a right to be upset at things shown to their kids in school, without prior notice. Whether or not my Dad did.

You guys already know where I stand on TI, and the silly stuff he's done to actually turn his incarceration into a career advancement vehicle. I didn't like that MTV reality show, and I don't like this nonsense. Apparently Myers wasn't the only parent who had a problem with this.

Seriously, folks, sometimes going the boring and safe route (ie: bringing in a cop to explain why bullying is bad), rather than the glamorous (ie: a millionaire who just finished doing a bid for amassing a stockpile of military grade firearms because he didn't feel "safe" on the streets) one is better. Mr. Oattes shouldn't lose his job for this, but he definitely deserves a "do better!" for this nonsense.

I wish someone would have told my French teacher the same thing.

Question: Was inviting TI to speak to a classroom of middle schoolers about the fine nuances of bullying a good idea, or does Mr. Oattes need a bit more balance and a bit less Grand Hustle in his iPod? Should the principal be reprimanded for responding to the parent in that manner?

Henry principal faces backlash over T.I. visit [AJC]

[1] No, I still can't remember why a French class was touring the courthouse.

A Sista Named Notre Dame Valedictorian!

I know, much like this world as a whole, sometimes can become a cauldron of hatin' and reckless talk. I can't help myself, although sometimes I do slip in the obligatory good news story to balance it all out. And boy, is this good news...
Katie Washington, a biological sciences major from Gary, Ind., has been named valedictorian of the 2010 University of Notre Dame graduating class and will present the valedictory address at the May 16 commencement. Washington is believed to be the first black valedictorian at Notre Dame.

The university doesn’t keep records by race of valedictorians, but employees in the campus news office and the University Archives said they don’t know of any previous black valedictorian. An officer of the Black Alumni of Notre Dame group said that group is unaware of any previous black valedictorian.

Washington, who earned a 4.0 grade-point average, has a minor in Catholic social teaching. She has conducted research on lung cancer at Cold Spring Harbor (N.Y.) Laboratory and performed genetic studies in Notre Dame’s Eck Institute for Global Health on the mosquito that carries dengue and yellow fever. She is the co-author of a research paper with David Severson, a professor of biological sciences.

Washington directs the Voices of Faith Gospel Choir at Notre Dame, is a mentor/tutor for the Sister-to-Sister program at Washington High School in South Bend and serves as student coordinator of the Center for Social Concerns’ "Lives in the Balance: Youth Violence and Society Seminar."

After graduation, Washington plans to pursue a joint M.D./Ph.D program at Johns Hopkins University.
I would normally insert some pithy comment about Basketball Wives/Nicki Minaj/Kat Stacks[1] here, but why ruin this sista's shine?

Well done, Katie. Well done.

Question: I'm sure an enterprising young lady like Katie knows how to Google her own name, so please, please leave a nice comment/well wish below. If you got more Good News stories, send em' my way. I'm trying to make this a regular weekly feature.

Gary woman named ND’s 2010 valedictorian [SouthBendTrib]

[1] If you're late for the party, Google "Kat Stacks". I'm not sure if you'll be entertained or repulsed. I think I'm a bit of both.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Follow Me.

I'm on Twitter. I'm on Facebook. I'm on Google Friends (link on right sidebar).

What ya'll waitin' on? Follow me.

The TeaBagger Manifesto.

Three simple questions:

1) Why doesn't this kid have his own TV show yet?

2) Don't these people recognize this kid by now, and realize the joke's on them?

3) How come a teenager with a flipcam is doing a better job of reporting what's happening on the ground of these protests than 98% of the mainstream media?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Def TeaBagger Comedy Jam.

Yeah, I know, I know. Conservatives are generally about as funny as a root canal, but Frazier Crane needs to buy a new yacht, and somebody's gotta pay for it. So, witness the TeaBagger version of Def Comedy Jam, coming soon to a basic cable channel near you.

You may have missed it, but there's actually a 24 Hour TeaBagger Cable Channel hitting Comcast this summer. Insert your own punchline here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ladies, Wanna Find A Man?!? Let AB Tell You How.

I'm now convinced: the mainstream media's obsession with the travails of single sistas is some form of anthropological pRon. There's no other way to explain away the veritable orgy of A1 newspaper stories, magazine articles, and TV shows related to this supposedly new phenomenon. Now, knowing that it's ratings gold, ABC News takes its swing.

First of all, why does this have to be introduced as a "faceoff"? I don't watch ABC News, so maybe this is simply the name of a recurring segment, but anytime you introduce a story about relationships as a "faceoff", you're already pitting both sexes against each other, and ensuring there's no resolution coming. Seriously, the men and women are even seated on opposite sides of the stage. Why? What is this, 300?

Come on now: there is no way Jacque Reid has any problem getting a man!!! That's some bullsh*t, plain and simple. If nothing else, Jacque Reid needs to perhaps stop looking for another Boris Kodjoe, quit being so damn picky, and relax her standards just a wee bit.

If you've got an hour to burn, there's far more of this groundbreaking exercise in Black community healing to be seen here. If you don't, don't worry, I'm sure you aren't missing anything you haven't already heard somewhere else. Sure, it's sorta entertaining, but ultimately it's pointless.

Ladies, if you're taking relationship advice from a bunch of guys who've been married multiple times (Harvey and Izrael) or never even married once (Hill Harper), you're going to stay losing. Period. These guys are here to sell books, not actually help you. Not that there's anything wrong with selling books.

I'll save ya'll some time and money. I've been happily married to a beautiful black woman for nearly a decade now. I am no genius, but I have a Masters degree in common sense, and I know that of which I speak.

Here's all the advice you'll ever need to know to get yourself ringed up...

Keep Your Cookies! - Don't give it up so easily. Even better, make the man wait and don't give it up at all. Sounds crazy I bet, but where has giving it up ever gotten you? If the answer to that last question is pumped and dumped, then you need to strongly consider shutting it down. Pursuit is good.

Take Care Of Your Body - Men are visual. This is an indisputable fact. No, every woman isn't a size 2, but do the best you can. A woman who works out, no matter what size she is, is always attractive.

Keep It Movin' - Any man you've been with for more than two years that hasn't yet committed is not going to. He still thinks he can do better than you. Period. Cut bait and move on with your life.

Take Care Of Your Money - Just like you want a man who "brings something to the table", no man wants a broke or deep-in-debt woman.

Be Realistic - There aren't enough Denzels to go around, and dudes like that are usually man whores anyway. That sorta boring, sorta okay-looking dude in accounting might just be the one, but you wouldn't know it if you never give him the time of day.

Take Care Of Your Mind - No man worth having wants a dumb chick. Be able to talk about something other than your hair and clothes. Read a real book, a magazine other than Essence, and any blog not named SandraRose. Might I recommend a fine site called

Be Open To Other Types Of Men - Brothers from Africa, the Caribbean etc. might not fit your desired stylistic check-list, but don't rule them out. If you wanna get your swirl-on, and are are secure enough to deal with the occasional side-eye, go for it. Just be aware that white men are still men too. Crossing the aisle isn't going to solve all your problems, merely give you a bigger pool of potential solutions.

Stop Being So Thirsty - A man can smell a desperate woman a mile away. Don't be that chick.

Stop Being Captain-Save-A-Bro - Ladies, you can't "make" a man be worth sh*t. A thug is gonna stay thuggin'. A lazy dude is gonna stay lazy. You can't "upgrade" or "fix" a man. Relationships tools aren't found at Home Depot. If you can't accept a man for who he is right now, not what you think you can eventually make him, you probably should keep it movin'.

Make Yourself Available - If you live in Montana and work 7 days a week, you prolly aren't going to find a black man. Move somewhere where the numbers are more in your favor. And you also won't find one sitting at home every Friday night with a pint of Ben & Jerry's. Get out the house. Find places where men are, and go there.

Never Say Never - Sure, the guy might be a few inches shorter than you'd prefer, and a few pounds more than you'd like. But open your 3rd eye and quit focusing entirely on outward appearance. That sort of superficiality is ok for men, but if you're a woman, not so much.

Stop Chasin' Ballers - There's nothing the average working stiff hates more than some girl who knows every Redskin on a first name basis. Newsflash! - These sorta guys don't exactly make for the best mates longterm. And no future suitor wants to know about that time you hooked up with Lebron.

Stop Sharing - That "any part of a man is better than no part" bullsh*t is why our parents' generation was so jacked up. Have some standards. You are too good to be some man's jumpoff. Learn to be content being alone.

Be Content - Reality is, if you've still gotta have a black man, at some point, you're might could end up losing. This is just based on sheer numbers alone. Accept this. Being alone is not a death sentence.

In meantime, quit watching shows like this that only make you feel more and more like its impossible to find love. Instead, spend some time around successful black couples. Talk to them and figure out how they make it happen. If you don't know anybody in a successful relationship, might I recommend the excellent documentary You Saved Me.

Question: Assuming you're married, do you have any advice for single ladies looking for a man? If you're single, tell me where my advice falls flat. Ladies, if I'm completely sexist and full of sh*t, feel free to tell me why.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dear Birthers: Get Over It, Already!!!

While the rest of us grown-ups are busy worrying about grown-up stuff like bills, raising kids, and whether or not the Redskins should sign TO[1], there's still a very sizable portion of the US population stuck on November 4th, 2008. In case you forget, that's the day post-racialism came to America, in the form of our Beige Savior, Barack Hussein Obama.

Given Obama's exotic last name and unorthodox upbringing, the whole "show me te birth certificate" controversy has dogged him since he initially threw his hat in the ring[2]. You'd think folks would have long since gotten over this nonsensical conspiracy theory, given the fact that, ohh, I dunno, the freakin' birth certificate issue has long since been resolved. But a colored man in the White House makes people do some strange things. A recent CBS/NYTimes poll found that 59% of Tea Partiers still either thought President Obama was born in another country, or "didn't know" what country he was born in.

But of course, this has nothing whatsoever to do with race. Nah, no way.

Naturally, since ignorance is contagious, and ignorance can also be exploited for political and monetary gain, this "birther" conspiracy lives on. And on. And on.
The Arizona state House has voted in favor of a birther bill requiring presidential candidates to show their birth certificates in order to qualify on the state’s presidential ballot. The Republican-dominated legislature voted 31-22 to tack the requirement onto another bill, which still faces approval.

The legislation, aimed at President Barack Obama, has been criticized by Arizona’s secretary of state, who noted that the qualifications for the presidency are set forth in the U.S. Constitution and not subject to amendments by states.

Both Obama’s campaign and the state of Hawaii have provided documents showing that the president was born in the United States and therefore constitutionally qualified to serve as president.

The language requiring that candidate demonstrate that they are a “natural born citizen” was added by GOP state Rep. Judy Burges. If Arizona were to make the language law, it would be the first state to do so though legislators in other states – including Florida and Oklahoma – have tried to pass similar laws.

It is not clear how the state senate will vote on the provision and GOP Gov. Jan Brewer has not said whether she will sign the bill.
Folks, for the 4,080th time, here is the birth certificate, as issued by Obama himself, on his own campaign website.

Got it? Good.

Of course, since people are entitled to both their own opinions and facts, I'm sure many will complain that they've yet to see a paper copy of the actual document. Of course, if you placed the actual, notarized copy in these same peoples hands, they'd swear it was a facsimile. You simply cannot win with some people.

Oddly, for a guy who faced his own questions about citizenship in 2000, Arizona Senator John McCain sure has been quiet about this one.

The silence is deafening.

Question: Should the White House bother addressing this pointless conspiracy theory yet again, and if so, what's the potential downside of legitimizing such nonsense? Should John McCain take a stand?

Arizona House pushes birther bill [Politico]

[1] Yes, they should. Absolutely.

[2] Don't forget: this was an issue during the Democratic primary also.

3 Play Thursday - MC Hammer's WeedCarriers.

It's 3 Play Thursday. Today: The Many Random Hangers-On of MC Hammer.

It's fun to pick on failed 80's entertainer MC Hammer after the fact. Sure, dude's now reduced to self-deprecating commercials, and dancin' and sangin' for evangelicals. Even KFC won't give him a return call. But once, long, long ago, Stanley Kirk Burrell was actually a respected entertainer who had the cajones to challenge Michael Jackson to a dance-off, not merely a walking Negro trivia card answer. And like most rappers, he had an entourage of 100+ weedcarriers, a few of whom got album deals of their very own. Some of em' were listenable, some of them made the ears bleed. Lets take a trip down memory lane, shall we?

Oaktown 357 - "Juicy Gotcha Krazy (Cold Goin' Mad)"

What these one-time Hammer backup dancers lacked in pure mic skills and overall talent they more than made up for with booty. The telltale sign that a female entertainer realizes her best assets are, well, behind her, is how much time she spends with her back to the camera. This isn't strictly an Oaktown thang neither. Peep any ghetto gossip blog and checkout the typical pose when your favorite singer/actress appears on the red carpet. Tell me ya'll ain't notice this trend before now. Now, respect the architects, cause Terrible T and Sweet LD been had booty shots! Bend over and touch yer' toes, ladies!

B Angie B - "So Much Love"

B Angie B was Hammer's backup singer, and appears on many of his other hits. Laugh all you want at the corny moniker, but this chick could actually sang, and scored a handful (okay, more like 2 or 3) of hits. Her gospel-meets-hood'-meets-Stephanie Mills style worked for awhile at least. I don't really care to know what's going on in this video with that guy swimming, but no need to fake: I liked this song, and every now and then you'll hear it on one of those quiet storm shows they play around 10pm at night. I wonder which East Bay Area Sizzler she's working the cash register at nowadays. Prolly Richmond. Pittsburg. Nah, Vallejo. Definitely Vallejo.

Too Big MC - "They Put Me In The Mix"

Hammer's Ace WeedCarrier, Too Big MC, enjoyed a rap career so fruitless that not only can't I recall his one "hit", but there's no record of it on the Youtubes. Instead, enjoy Too Big's groundbreaking guest appearance on this seminal Hammer track. He makes his cameo around the 4:00 mark. Who says fat dudes ain't got bars? Too Big been had bars, mane! Take that Rick Ro$$!!! Bawse Fail!!!

Whatever His All-Guy Sangin' Group Was Called - "Have You Seen Her"

Sorry, but no, I do not recall the names of the poor saps who harmonized "Have You Seen Her" on this musical atrocity, not am I consulting the WikiPedia. They were that insignificant. But for the love of Black Jesus, what was Hammer's obsession with showing his private parts in videos? Between the unnecessary mooning around the :50 mark, and that infamous sock-stuffing "Pumps N A Bump" vid, dude clearly was on some extra sh*t. These singers? Well, they're probably cleaning off B Angie B's tables.

Others Not Notable Enough To Merit An Embeddable YouTube: Ace Juice, that little boy with the tornado haircut, that grown-assed man with the tornado haircut, Deion Sanders, that white guy.

Question: Who was your favorite Hammer weedcarrier? All jokes aside, did you ever see this guy in concert? Seriously, not need to fake, dude was an entertainer. I mean, when you got like 70-some people onstage, it's hard not to be.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Big Ben Gets A 6-Game Staycation.

After months of deliberation, and charges of racial double standards, the NFL finally got off its a$$ and dropped the other shoe on Steeler's QB "Big" Ben Roethlisberger.
The NFL has suspended Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for six games following a rape accusation against him by a college student earlier this year in a case where the prosecutor declined to press charges.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell elected to go for the maximum punishment since reports were that a suspension could just be four weeks for Roethlisberger violating the league's personal behavior rules.
Its difficult to claim this somehow isn't "fair". Big Ben's the QB of one of the league's marquee franchises, and these allegations mark the second time he's been caught up in questionable zipper-related behavior. Doing nothing wouldn't have been a good look for the NFL's continual push to make the game more appealing to female fans.[1] You can't exactly try and get chicks interested in your sport when one of your biggest stars is going Mystikal on broads in the offseason. So, I guess this is the right decision.

Still, I'm sure some will complain that the NFL gave Big Ben too much rope and didn't suspend him more proactively like they did Pacman Jones and Michael Vick. What do you think?

Question: Is Big Ben's suspension too much, too little, or just right?!?

[1] Google the term "NFL Her" for evidence. Guest Post - Is Rebb'n Al Obama's Ace Boon Coon?!?

[Editor's Note: My main man RiPPa goes in on recent media reports that The Reverend Al Sharpton and Obama are in cahoots to push Obama's "Black Agenda". Show our guest some love on his blog, and you-know-where.]

People laughed at Rev. Al Sharpton when he announced his bid to become President several years ago. But today is a new day, and it's safe to say that Sharpton is the one laughing. No he didn't become president of the United States. But today one has to be blind not to see just how he has positioned himself at the feet of Barack Obama as one piece puts it: Sharpton is Obama's link to the streets. Yes, Barack Obama, just like every successful hip hop label before him has put together a street team via Al Sharpton and his National Action Network. A street team, son; a damn street team with Al Sharpton as the man!

The zeitgeist that is post-racial America could not have created any stranger bed fellows, folks. It actually begs the question: will, and can this pairing actually work for Black America? More specifically, did Sharpton sell out to achieve political power, or did he buy in to what Obama is selling as an approach? That last question is essentially the center piece of concern and the arousal of skepticism. One only has to read a recent Washington Post article on the subject if interested in beginning to connect the dots. An interesting and revealing piece which states this about the Obama-Sharpton relationship:
"The relationship solidified in 2008, according to Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe. Sharpton, who ran a long-shot campaign for president in 2004, had planned to go to the Iowa caucuses, but Obama sent a message urging him to stay away or risk "injecting race into the campaign," Plouffe wrote in his book "The Audacity to Win."

The relationship continued after the election. At Obama's celebratory signing of the health-care bill, Sharpton was given a spot in the front row.

Last year, at a large holiday party the first couple threw feting their liberal supporters, Obama singled out Sharpton in his remarks, saying, "I know if I'm doing it right, Reverend Sharpton will be right here to let me know," according to Harvard Law professor Charles Ogletree, a friend of the Obamas, who was in attendance."
And what did Sharpton get in return other than an invitation to the White House to talk about a not so black agenda for Black America? Well for starters, he had a letter sent to him from Obama, praising his National Action Network, that was read at the beginning of the last day of his annual conference - ironically, it was the only portion of his convention that was aired live in the media on TVOne . Professor Charles Ogletree, well known friend of Obama, and law professor at Harvard, had this to say to the Associated Press while in attendance at Sharpton's conference:
"Al Sharpton has become the lightning rod in moving Obama's agenda forward," Ogletree told the AP, describing Sharpton as a conduit between the disadvantaged and powerful leaders. "And he has access to both the streets and the suites, to make sure that the people who are voiceless, faceless and powerless finally have some say."
I find it ironic that Sharpton was picked as the guy to move Obama's agenda forward in the black community. Especially when Obama, and then Sharpton, upon meeting the president at the White House, have both expressed the president's inability to produce a race-specific agenda. Or as Sharpton told the Associated Press, to do so "would only organize the right against him." Well, that being the case, why then announce Sharpton of all people in the eyes of those on the right-wing as "the guy". Didn't we learn anything from the Van Jones debacle as promoted by Glenn Beck? Hello! Reverend Jeremiah Wright anyone? Hell, the republicans already raised hell and asked Michael Steele to withdraw from speaking at the National Action Network Conference this year. Steele ignored them, and attended the event anyway; somehow I can't help but to think that they got Sharpton confused for Louis Farrakhan; you know all Negroes look alike, right?

[Editor's Note: It's neither here nor there, but for the record, Al Sharpton's daily radio show is freakin' hilarious. He lets callers dial in and spout random Negro Nonsense while he pretends to be paying attention, but is clearly in studio finishing off a rib platter from Sylvia's. You can even hear him smacking if you listen closely enough. When he does actually participate, the show is pretty interesting, funny, and chock full of informative guests. I wish folks with preconceived notions of Rebb'n Al would give the show a listen. Chances are, they'd walk away with a far better impression.]

Black America without a doubt has embraced Obama as the second coming of a pre-vitiligo Michael Jackson (oh you thought I was gonna say Jesus?). But as far as Al Sharpton? There are many among us who have been more than a bit suspicious of his motives as he appears to be a bit self-aggrandizing. Me personally, I see him as necessary on the battlefield that is social and racial justice; something that he is obviously proven as an activist and agitator. However, this time around, considering his recent highly publicized spat with Tavis Smiley for the jug of the Obama Kool Aid? I really don't know what to think.

Hell, Sharpton even went as far as to criticize Smiley's "We Count! The Black Agenda is the American Agenda" by saying, "They keep saying, 'Let's hold Obama's feet to the fire,' but did they do that with Bush or Bill Clinton? When were they marching? Let's hold to the same standard." Sharpton also went on to say, "There is no tension between black leaders of organizations. Tavis Smiley is a commentator. He does not have a constituency. We can't mix apples and oranges." Which is hard to believe considering all the shots he took at Tavis before and after he held his summit. Only to tun around and try to "out-do" the very summit he criticized using it as an opportunity to showcase his White House connections as he sat at the right arm of Congressman Jim Clyburn.

I have to say that much of what I saw on the live airing at the conference yesterday, was a careful and well crafted attempt to distance himself from the likes of the Tavis Smiley's of America; and anyone else in so-called black leadership.. Plainly speaking, his conference deliberately took care so as to not make the president or the White House accountable, as he focused on what we can be doing on our own to affect change. Which is fine and good when it comes to motivating the troops with a from the ground up approach. But how exactly does one do that to affect change in the political process if one fails to hold our elected officials accountable from the top down?

Clearly it can be said that Sharpton has won the battle with Tavis Smiley for the seat at Obama's feet. The question is, however, can he advance a black agenda that is in our interest? Or is this the same old same opportunistic advancement of personal interest shrouded in the same politics and bullshit that has dominated our landscape? Above all, when the next black person gets shot fifty times by over zealous cops in any-town US of A, who are we gonna call, Al Sharpton, or Barack Obama? I leave it up to you to answer that one.

Question: Is using Rebb'n Al as an undercover agent to carry out Obama's "Black Agenda" a good idea, or does Obama run the risk of getting accused of racial politricks should this backfire? Is Rebb'n Al the right man for the job, or should Obama have chosen someone more mainstream and less controversial?

More From RiPPa [RiPPDemUp Blog]

Name That Sample - "I Forgot To Be Your Lover".

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 William Bell has been sampled numerous times. But who can name the most songs that have used these delightful bars?

Difficulty Level: Moderate. Think hard.

Question: How many songs can you name that used the "I Forgot To Be Your Lover" sample? 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, April 20, 2010

An MultiMedia Exposé - Lloyd Marcus And Other "Woe-Is-Me" Negro Conservatives.

I couldn't blame you if you've ignored these Tea Party protests as if they're Yung Berg's Greatest Hits, but personally I find them waay too much of a train wreck to avoid. I just cannot stop watching, and seemingly every time I tune in, I see this Lloyd Marcus guy. If you're clueless (and I hope you are), he's some sort of patriotic singer who opens lots of these events (he's officially on the Tea Party Express bus) with a stirring rendition of the either the Star Spangled Banner, or some parody of a well known song refashioned as a TeaBagger Anthem. Witness him butcher "New York, New York". The Sinatra version, not the one with Ja Rule and Fat Joe.

Peep this mockery of Hall And Oates' "Sarah Smile", paying homage to you-know-who.

TeaBaggers love this guy so much, then even gave him his own "show", complete with canned applause and a green screen.

The problem here is obvious if you managed to endure that last clip. This guy is textbook "Negro Conservative", playing up his upbringing in a poor and desolate Black community, only to be rescued by White guys in nice suits. Sound familiar?

Of course it does...

...and oh yeah, this woman's running for Congress too. Good luck with that, sista!

If you need more examples, look here.

Folks, I know a damn Grand Hu$tle when I see one. And that's all this is for these folks, an easy way to get paid and advance yourself professionally by leveraging your race and downtalking a majority of black America. All you need to do is state some BS about how poorly you were raised in the ghetto, how voting for the GOP saved your life, and how the Democratic party's policies are holding Negroes back. As if ShawwQyuanzza With 6 Kids And 8 Baby Daddies' lack of personal motivation to get off her a$$ is directly coorelated to her love and admiration for Nancy Pelosi. Black folks are, and have been effed' the eff' up! Period. Putting Newt Gingrich in the White House is not going to peel back the complex layers of sh*t we've been covered in for centuries. Sorry. And if voting reliably for the GOP is such a cure-all, how come it hasn't done much to help poor whites like those in the community I was raised around?


I'd be much less critical of these folks if they just admitted they've turned to the GOP for acceptance and approval they don't receive in their own communities. If you think I'm kidding, when's the last time you've seen one of these folks talk about something other than how Black folks are held back by continually voting for Democrats? People like this, and their willy nilly sob stories make Black folks who are just genuinely Conservative[1] look bad, and give the GOP an excuse to say "see, we tolerate Black people too! We've got a few on payroll!", rather than doing the hard work of changing both their arrogant tone, and their policies that are a roadblock to making inroads with black voters.

I'm all for gaming the system and getting paid in the process, but I wish these folks would see a shrink and work out their childhood issues, rather than project them onto Black America as a whole and the Democratic Party by association.

Question: Is "Woe Is Me" Black Conservatism merely a profitable hustle or do folks like Lloyd Marcus, Kevin Jackson, and Star Parker really believe what they're saying? Does it seem like these folks' issues with Black America and the Democratic Party are somewhat more than skin-deep?

Tea Party marches to tunes of a conservative black singer [GuardianUK]

[1] I personally know many principled Black Conservatives. They don't resort to this sort of "put down lazy Negroes" rhetoric to make the point that they prefer lower taxes and less government intrusion. It IS possible. But these folks on TV... not so much. I know a Grand Hu$tle when I see one.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Caption This Photo.

In case you're wondering, yes, they are indeed a couple. Now caption the photo already!

The RoundTable Is Paging...

Many are called, but the chosen... well, you know the rest.

AB is paging the following members of AverageNation™ to participate in the next edition of The RoundTable.
The Janitor
If your name is on this list, hit me via ABMail pronto, and let me know if you're in.

Did Black Folks Miss The Boat With Obama?!?

Much was debated about whether or not there needed to be a "Black Agenda" presented to President Obama before he took office. The Black Intelligentsia convened for what would be one of the final editions of Tavis Smiley's Annual Negro Soundbyte Olympics©, which turned into a hot mess when candidate Obama decided to focus on Super Tuesday instead. And thus, Black folks (mostly by virtue of Obama being a Democrat) threw their votes behind him blindly, without getting any negligible promises in return.

Some say the notion of Black folks having a collective agenda is stoopid, given how diverse a race of people we are in many ways. I'm still not so sure where I stand, but as I watch other "interest groups" get theirs in return for what they delivered in 08', I can't help but wonder if we just mighta missed the boat.

"Young voters"[1] got clemency from ObamaCare (staying on their parents' policies till age 27), as well as a redone student loan system which will eliminate the middleman and make college more affordable. While it's unlikely any level of immigration reform will happen this year, Hispanic voters got the lifetime gift of a Wise Latina on the Supreme Court. And LGBT voters[2] just received equal hospital visitation rights[3], hate crimes legislation, and sooner or later, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" will be a thing of the past.
President Obama mandated Thursday that nearly all hospitals extend visitation rights to the partners of gay men and lesbians and respect patients' choices about who may make critical health-care decisions for them, perhaps the most significant step so far in his efforts to expand the rights of gay Americans.

Administration officials and gay activists, who have been quietly working together on the issue, said the new rule will affect any hospital that receives Medicare or Medicaid funding, a move that covers the vast majority of the nation's health-care institutions. Obama's order will start a rule-making process at HHS that could take several months, officials said.

Hospitals often bar visitors who are not related to an incapacitated patient by blood or marriage, and gay rights activists say many do not respect same-sex couples' efforts to designate a partner to make medical decisions for them if they are seriously ill or injured. Obama's mandate is the latest attempt by his administration to advance the agenda of a constituency that strongly supported his presidential campaign.

In his first 15 months in office, he has hailed the passage of hate crime legislation and held the first Gay Pride Day celebration at the White House. Last month, Obama's top military and defense officials testified before Congress in favor of repealing of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy for gays in the armed forces. But the moves have been too slow for some gay rights activists, who have urged the president to be more vocal and active in championing their causes.
That, my friends, is how you get sh*t done. They had an agenda, they supported their candidate of choice, and they held his feet to the fire until he rewarded their support.

So what exactly did Black folks get for all our grunt work and hours standing in line for early voting? A public squabble between Obama and the CBC that resulted in a measly $1B for greening housing projects, jobs which prolly use illegal labor from outside the very communities they're supposed to benefit. And a year after having HBCU funding dramatically reduced, we got a dog and pony show in the East Wing trumpeting a restoration of funds. And, well, that's about it, unless I'm missing something.[4]

Some say it's unfair for Black folks to expect anything special of Obama, "just cause he Black", being that he's The President Of The Entire United States, not The Kaing Of North Memphis. I'm still not so sure how to feel about that one either, but something tells me that the first LGBT President would have done a bit more for his community than Obama has for his. And I can't help but think that much like a girl who gives it up on the first date for some Boone's Farm Scrawburry, a warm couch, and a few Blockbuster movies[5], maybe we Black folks collectively sold ourselves a bit short.

Of course, without "leaders" and a "vision", it's impossible to even have an "agenda", let alone have it delivered upon. I can't tell you who the leaders of the LGBT movement are, but they were sure as hell effective in scaring Obama into pushing their agenda, as were college students and other young voters who took to Facebook and other forms of social media complaining about the ObamaCare coverage mandate. Obama made promises on the campaign trail and in the name of re-election, he's taken action. Good for them. As for what Obama could do, considering a bro/sista for SCOTUS would be a good start. But I can't help but feel like Leah Ward Sears and Deval Patrick are only on that short list of nominees for window dressing. We shall see.

In the grand scheme of things, Black people's problems are so complex that passing a couple of laws isn't going to fix us. I'm not sure what, short of Jesus, can make a Negro get off the corner, and get a young black woman off the pole.[6] For now, I suppose I too will buy into the "rising tide lifts all boats theory", and just hope Obama continues to do a great job for all Americans.

Question: Not to beat an already dead horse, but should Black America have had some sort of agenda to hold President Obama to in return for the record number of votes we delivered? How are other "interest groups" able to push their agendas, and what could "Black leadership" learn from their examples?

Obama extends hospital visitation rights to same-sex partners of gays [WashPost]

[1] Yes, I know, many young voters are Black.

[2] Yes, I know, many who will benefit from this legislation are also Black.

[3] This is smart, and fair legislation, BTW. However, I do wonder if a similar step will be taken to allow opposite sex partners equal visitation rights. Namely, what if someone's just your Girlfriend, "Boo", Wifey, or Slow Weekend JumpOff? These folks don't qualify as life partners or common law marriage partners either, but shouldn't they too be allowed in the room? Note: I'm not talking about power-of-attorney, just visitation.

[4] If I'm missing something, tell me you-know-where.

[5] Don't front, ladies. It happens.

[6] I should note: I'm very happy with the White House's youth mentoring initiative, and think this sort of "do it yourself" activism is going to improve Black communities far more than any beaurocrat on the Hill ever could.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ashy Larry's "Window Seat".

I see those Chappelle's Show residual checks stopped appearing in the mailbox.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Enough Reality Dating Shows, Already!!!

Now Gary Coleman, that's a child star whose reality show I'd watch. Lil' Romeo, not so much.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Grand Hu$tle?!? - Buckets For The Cure.

I'm a naturally skeptical person. Sorry, I just am. I don't know what it is about my upbringing that has me wired this way, but sometimes my internal BS Meter just can't turn itself off, and my 3rd eye starts twitching when I see something suspect. I didn't invent the term Grand Hu$tle, but I think in this blog's context, it's more or less an unwritten mission statement. Namely, if I see something that don't look right, I'm gonna point it out.

Which brings me to KFC's Buckets For The Cure campaign. Surely you've seen the commercials by now.

Look, on the surface, this is admirable. Breast cancer is a killer. Aside from non-melanoma skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women. Breast cancer is the number one cause of cancer death in Hispanic women. It is the second most common cause of cancer death in white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native women. And that's from the CDC. Again, cancer ain't no joke, and I'd be the last person to marginalize its effects. Anyone doing anything to proactively find a cure should be applauded.

Still, come the f*ck on! This is KFC we're talkin' bout. The same KFC that sells the infamous Double Down sandwich, and other food laden with fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Deadly as breast cancer is, its nothing compared to the millions of folks who suffer from various forms of coronary artery disease, which drops folks dead, or worse, subjects them to debilitating strokes and heart attacks on the daily. All from eating a very different kind of breast, usually topped with hot sauce.

Part of me wonders if KFC is pulling a nice PR-related sleight of hand here to perhaps neutralize some of the bad pub they've gotten for that Double-Bypass, urrh, Double Down sammich. My third eye just can't look away from the dubious timing of this campaign, not when the commercials are literally running back to back. The fact that you can get this pink bucket full of either grilled or "original recipe" chicken speaks volumes. KFC advocating any sort of health initiative is sorta like Evander Holyfield holding a fireside chat about adult literacy, financial savvy, and early retirement the joys of protected sex. This sh*t just don't add up.

Verdict: Much like the NBA's silly "Green Week" which was little more than a nice PR ploy to sell some awesome 100%[1] organic cotton t-shirts[2] with the cool NBA Green logo, KFC's Buckets For Cancer sounds like little more than a Grand Hu$tle disguised as philanthropy.

Or maybe that's just me being cynical as usual.

Question: What do you think? Is this a Grand Hu$tle, or is KFC merely being a concerned corporate citizen?

[1] Silly question here. How come "100%" is pronounced "One Hundred Percent", and "$100" is pronounced "One Hundred Dollars", although the correct syntax is putting the percent sign behind the number, and the dollar sign in front? Shouldn't the placement of the "$" sign indicate that you'd say "Dollar One Hundred"? Who determined these rules?

[2] Before you ask, no. I didn't buy one. Yet.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Are Taxes Inherently Evil?!?

"There are only two guarantees in life: Death and Taxes."

I think everyone's heard that saying before, and quite honestly, it's something that you learn to live with whether you like it or not. But never at any time in my recent life have I heard such a rancor over "excessive taxation". Personally, I don't recall taxes being such a big problem under the previous administration, but once Barack Obama took office, suddenly you'd think we were being "taxed into oblivion".

Cue the hyperbole-drunk peanut gallery.
The Tea Party movement, with its passion for fiscal conservatism that has rallied a predominantly Libertarian and Republican base around events that symbolize government spending, has its chants and anti-government protest signs set for a day that symbolizes what it hates most: taxes.

While last year's April 15 gathering, which saw 300 protests across 50 states, was a "coming out" for the movement, this year, organizers believe, will be a force that government leaders on both sides will have to reckon with. From strategy meetings, presentations to representatives on Capitol Hill, and protests on the National Mall, tens of thousands of Tea Party activists are expected to descend on the nation's capital for tax day.

Leading up to April 15, the Tea Party Express -- a bus tour of activists -- took off from Nevada March 28 and is driving across country, making stops to visit with other activists along the way, to be in Washington, DC, for the protests. There is also a Tea Party-sponsored essay writing contest and a list of 10 pillars, voted on online, to promote demands the Tea Party Patriots will hold politicians accountable to in the 2010 and 2012 elections.

As for the big day, they have scheduled strategy-sessions and meetings with representatives all day, culminating in a 6pm protest at the Washington Monument, says Tom Whitmore, a retired C.E.O. in Virginia and activist for the Tea Party Nation, another leading movement faction. He was at last month's tense health care debate and admits, "That day there was a lot of trouble, people started getting mouthy, pushing."
The irony here is obvious. To date, there hasn't been a tax increase on anyone. 95% of all Americans have gotten some sort of tax relief under Obama, but you sure wouldn't know that if you've been paying any sort of attention to these "Tea Parties".

To help pay for ObamaCare, President Obama will soon allow a decade-old tax cut enacted during Bush's first year to expire for singles making over $200k or couples making over $250k annually.[1] He's also raising the rate of capital gains taxation on these same folks by 5%. Sure, I suppose this technically does indeed count as a tax hike on the rich. But guess what: they're rich. Something tells me they'll be alright, whether or not some misguided idiot from Wheeling wastes a tankload of gas headed to DC today.

Look, I hate paying taxes too. I'd prefer to keep all of my money. I'd also prefer a world where the weather is 68 degrees year-round, where every woman looks like Naomi Bennett my wife, and where eating cheeseburgers helps you get a six-pack. But that's not reality. I doubt any "liberal" likes paying more taxes. Nobody likes taxes. But truth is, without taxes, it's hard for the government to pay for stuff. When you cut taxes, which seems to be the Conservative answer for everything, you have to get rid of some stuff. Not all "stuff" is an entitlement, nor is all stuff expendable. State governments nationwide are putting workers on furlow, and firing teachers and cops just to maintain some semblance of a balanced budget.

In the midst of an economic downturn if you can't bring in enough revenue (ie: taxes) to pay for all the stuff you need to, you are gonna be in trouble. Just because the economy's bad doesn't mean stuff costs less. This isn't "anti-American", nor is it "anti-Constitution". It's just plain ole' common sense.

And this is why anytime I hear some douche talk about the "tyranny of taxation" or "eliminating the IRS altogether", I wonder what planet these folks live on. I mean, seriously, if you don't want to pay taxes, what's the alternative?

Would you like to provide your own personal military (35% of all annual spending)?

Would you like senior citizens to have to work till they drop, rather than fund Social Security and other such entitlements for the elderly (35% of all annual spending)?

Would you like to pave your own streets?

Would you like to educate your own children?

Would you like to create your own fire, rescue, and police services?

Would you like no government safety net (ie: unemployment and COBRA benefits) whatsoever in the event that you lose your Day Job for no reason?

Would you like no government intervention (ie: regulation) whatsoever to protect your financial assets when some Wall Street fat cat takes an unnecessary risk that results in your bank being on the verge of extinction?

Would you like to build and maintain your own parks? Grow and raise your own food (farmers are gov't subsidized)? Deliver your own mail?

The answers to each, and every question above are of course "No". Why pretend otherwise?

Instead of burning gas and polluting the air further by driving to DC today, I wish these TeaBaggers would put some action behind their hollow posturing. If you don't like taxes (funny how everyone was just fine with taxes 16 months ago), stop paying them and stop suckin' the gubb'ment teet. Don't talk about it, be about it!

If the government is so bad, quit it.

Return any refund you might receive this year to the IRS you so hate. You don't need no stinkin' gubb'ment handout! Purchase a plot of land outright and move to somewhere in Montana where you don't need any gov't help. The further away from those pantywaisted tree-huggers the better. Birth and educate your own kids. Find a legal hustle (I'd recommend the clergy) that doesn't require taxes to be paid. Don't drive on public roads. Defend your own home. Return any monies you've received in unemployment. Tell the gubb'ment to keep its stinkin' Social Security, and Medicare, and Medicaid, and ObamaCare. You don't need no stinkin' gubb'ment! Eff' the gubb'ment!

When your little experiment fails after a week (you'll need electricity, which the government also regulates), come back and join the rest of us in the real world.

Question: Considering the fact that most of them have actually gotten a tax cut since Obama took office, what exactly are these nimrods protesting? Do you worry about taxes being increased for the rich?

[1] And by the way, in case you were wondering, only 3% of Americans make more than $200k annually. I seriously doubt most of the folks you'll see at these rallies fall in that category.