Friday, December 31, 2010

AB.com's 2010 Predictions, Revisited.

Rather than doing a lame "the year that was" review like a lot of sites, AB.com has a tradition of making "predictions" at the beginning of the year, dropping them in a time capsule (aka: the archives) and dredging them up at the year ends to see just how far off I was. 2011's Predictions are on the way Monday morning. Here's some of what I predicted for 2010, and what actually happened.

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My Prediction - "Barack Obama will finally wake up to the reality that the GOP is just a bunch of obstructionists... He'll finally find ways of controlling the message, paint these guys as the jacka$$es they are, and help the Dems hold their majority in the Senate, and a narrow lead in the House next Fall."

See, What Had Happened Was... - Obama STILL didn't get the message about messaging until it was way too late and the TeaBagger rebellion took over the House again. I was right about the Senate, but that's mostly due to the TeaBagger rebellion too if you think about it.

Net Result - 75% Accurate

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My Prediction - "The Healthcare bill will finally pass in March with the Public Option included."

See, What Had Happened Was... - The bill did pass in March, but sans a public option, which was never even an option at all.

Net Result - 75% Accurate

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My Prediction - "Cap and Trade legislation will die a swift, definitive, and necessary death."

See, What Had Happened Was... - DOA.

Net Result - 110% Accurate

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My Prediction - "Unemployment will unexpectedly stabilize under 10% for much of the year, but it won't inch down toward 8% at any point. This will continue to be a thorn in the President's side, even as other sectors of the economy rebound as expected."

See, What Had Happened Was... - Call 1-888-AB-PREDICTS for my free psychic reading.

Net Result - 150% Accurate

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My Prediction - "A high profile Democrat facing re-election will have a notable sex scandal erupt, and this will end his bid."

See, What Had Happened Was... - To my knowledge this didn't actually happen. The Democrats lost the old fashioned way... at the polls.

Net Result - 0% Accurate

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My Prediction - "The GOP/TeaBagger friction will cost the party a couple of seats as its infighting for ideological purity leads to wasted resources, split votes, and an unexpected Democratic win."

See, What Had Happened Was... - Call 1-888-AB-PREDICTS for my free psychic reading. Operators are standing by. Call me now!!!

Net Result - 3,500% Accurate

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My Prediction - "The Kentucky Wildcats will win the NCAA Basketball Championship in Indianapolis. John Wall will leave school early, as expected, and become the #1 overall draft pick of the New York Knicks."

See, What Had Happened Was... - Mostly wrong. The Cats lost early in the tourney, Wall did go pro, but he didn't become a Knick. You know where he ended up if you read this blog. This is one of the rare times when I'm very happy I was dead wrong.

Net Result - 33% Accurate

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My Prediction - "The Minnesota Vikings will win the Super Bowl, and Brett Favre will sign a two-year contract extension."

See, What Had Happened Was... - Mostly wrong (again). The Vikes lost the NFC title game in OT, Favre came back for one final go round, and the whole thing just totally went to sh*t. On the bright side, two AverageBros named Leslie Frasier and Joe Webb came up as a result. So, again, I'm happy I was wrong. And happy trails Brett. You and your sext messages won't be missed. Enjoy retirement.

Net Result - 25% Accurate

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My Prediction - "The San Antonio Spurs will shock the world (and the Lakers) and capture the NBA title."

See, What Had Happened Was... - The Spurs shocked nobody but their season ticket holders, losing to the Dallas Mavs in the first round. However, this year, they're retooled have the NBA's best record. I day late and a season early.

Net Result - Dead Wrong.

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My Prediction - "Tiger Woods will return to golf by the Summer, win a major tournament, and announce his intention to marry one of his longtime jumpoffs."

See, What Had Happened Was... - El Tigre didn't even wait that long to come back, but his return was more Jordan #23 Wizards than Jordan #45 Bulls, and that's saying white a bit. Still, Tiger made about $100M last year, despite playing like Evan Turner and losing most of his endorsements. If that's an off year, imagine what this guy's gonna be like when he's back? Take that, Phil Mickelson.

Net Result - 95.

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My Prediction - "Although rap music sales will continue to plummet, a new star will be born with Nicki Minaj becomes the first female rapper in years to actually move units."

See, What Had Happened Was... - Like her or not (I currently find her annoying and a waste of decent in-the-booth talent), she moved units, becoming the first femmecee in years to go gold. Yeah, Pink Friday was about as interesting as an NPR pledge drive, but numbers don't lie.

Net Result - 3,000% Accurate

Question: Am I pretty good at this predictions stuff or what?

Monday, December 27, 2010

AB.com Hot Topics - 12.27.10

I know, it's about 5 days late, but I hope everyone had a great holiday. I've never played with so many Thomas The Tank Engines or Disney Pixar Cars toys (there's a new DVD of shorts that just came out, thus more Cars), and my kids have me running day and night. I'll be back to our regularly scheduled blog sometime later in the week.

The Obama Comeback - Say what you will, but Obama's ability to get the GOP to work along with him and pass DADT, START, tax cuts, etc. makes his first 2 years a win. His approval rating was back in the mid-50's just before the holiday break. And finally, he showed some modicum of leadership, rather than delegating to Pelosi and Reid. It's about time. How this bodes for the next two years of a GOP-lead Congress remains to be seen, but give him credit for coming back from the proverbial dead to score some solid wins.

Rest In Peace Teena Marie - God took the beloved songstress home this past weekend. I could only imagine the songs she will make with Rick James in East Heaven.

Hugh Hefner Getting Married To 24-Year Old Ex-Playmate - Insert your own punchline here.

McNabb Wants Release - Can't say I didn't see this one coming. I think his failed one year experiment with the Skins should spell the end of his career, but given the number of teams (Cardinals, 49ers, Browns) without a starting caliber QB, chances are he'll be back. Best of luck, #5.

Wizards Teammates' Get Into Fist-Fight At DC Nightclub - You couldn't make this sh*t up. Boy, that decision to throw good money away on season tickets looks worse by the moment.

Question: What's on your mind today?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

AB.com Guest Post - To Catch a Predator: Making Molesters Funny.

[Editor's Note: I'll admit, I like watching NBC's To Catch a Predator for all the wrong reasons. The homie Slimm Jackon of one my my favorite blogs 3 Ways To Take It, wonders if we're all missing the point. Show our guest some love, you-know-where.]

Have you ever watched NBC's To Catch a Predator? If not, you’re missing out. For those unfamiliar with it, it’s a show where child molesters are lured from chat rooms to a house full of cameras and the witty genius known as Chris Hansen. Over the last few months, it’s become one of the most popular shows amongst Black folks on Twitter and other social media platforms. It’s quite humorous actually. You see child molesters walk in, get naked, and put whipped cream around their genitals. You see guys walk in with beer and other influencing substances expecting to meet underage teens and end up seeing Chris Hansen emerge from a hallway, bathroom, closet, and other semi-predictable locations followed by a witty line that usually catches the molester off-guard and sometimes while eating cookies.



(Check Chris chilling on a beach chair at like 4:05 and dude trying to offer pizza to get away from his inevitable fate.)

When I watch TCAP, I think of shows like Cheaters. It’s amusing to listen to someone that is clearly in the wrong try to explain their actions. It’s even more amusing to see the potential offender walk out, only to be arrested as soon as they leave the house by an officer covered in leaves like Swamp Thing or an extra aggressive team from the local police force. I’ve watched no less than 6 episodes and I find myself falling over in laughter each time Chris catches someone and proceeds to grill them with an assortment of witty punchlines and one liners like “You can keep the towel” and “You’re moving pretty quickly there.” TCAP makes me feel better about life despite the fact that what’s going on is horrendous, immoral, and just plain wrong.

Most of the offenders on the show are white and/or something other than Black. I’ve come to realize that’s what makes the show so funny to many of us. One of the reasons that Black folks enjoy the show so much is that it’s one of the few criminal shows out there that doesn’t depict us at the criminals. If you’ve watched The First 48, you know what I’m talking about. TCAP allows us to let our proverbial hair down and poke fun at people other than ourselves. Chris Hansen’s indirect humor doesn’t help either. And as I’ve continued to watch, I can’t help but notice the message that’s getting lost. The show is about child molesters. These are the people that prey upon our children and younger siblings. These are the people that are viewed as some of the most vile and disgusting individuals in society. Yet and still, we continue to laugh because it isn’t about us—at least that’s what we think.

The purpose of the show is supposed to be to deter sexual predators from reaching out to children via the internet. But as episodes continue to air and predators admit to having seen the show or recognizing Chris upon entering the set-up house, it’s becoming more obvious that the show isn’t achieving its goal. It’s a great laugh to see a molester have to nervously use his inhaler or find his clothes as cameras circle him, but what about the real issues on the table? I say issues because there is something else that isn’t really considered.

What about the families of the individuals caught on camera trying to touch and have sex with kids? Many of these men have wives and families. I can’t imagine getting a call from my mother, Dateline NBC, or the local police station telling me that a family member or someone I knew was caught in the process of committing one of the most egregious acts in society today. What about these families? What about the wife that didn’t know she married a monster? What about the son or daughter that has to walk into elementary school, high school, or college knowing that thousands and maybe millions saw their father, uncle, or grandfather get caught trying to quell an uncontrollable urge?

I don’t say this to be a downer. I say this because as we’re letting our hair down, we’re also letting our guards down to something that very well could be going on in our communities. Just something to think about. Will I continue to watch and laugh? Yes. Will I send out tweets and Facebook messages making fun of the criminals? Yes. But in the process of all of this, I’ll try my best to take away the message that seems to be failing for the masses. Child molestation isn’t a white thing. It’s an unfortunate human thing that doesn’t discriminate. Try to keep that in mind. You never know when the man pulling up to the set-up house could be the one pulling up to your own.

Question: What do you think of the To Catch a Predator show? Should we just be having fun with it or taking it more serious? Do you think it’s deterring sick individuals like the ones it features? Is it right to put the families of the molesters on blast indirectly? Striking a balance between humor and protecting the kids?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ashy Or Classy?!? - 7 Year Old Gangsta cRappers.

Eff' a Lil P-Nutt. Lil' P-Nutt ain't gangsta. These kids are gangsta.



Before everyone starts jumping down my throat, let's step back a second and look at the brighter side here. These kids clearly have some talent. The second boy sounds like he's actually freestyling. They're better than Soulja Boy Tell em' already, which I suppose counts for something.

As for the subject matter, well, sure it's terrible. But reality is, these kids prolly aren't growing up in the best of places anyway, so this sort of language is at least understandable. I mean, if their uncle/big brother/Mom's baby Daddy is triflin' enough to record this and send it to WorldStar, they prolly don't have the best influences in the first place. These kids don't have Princeton in their futures. It's either Def Jam or Pen State bust. At least they've got some talent to fall forward on. It could be worse I suppose.

So, I have to give this one the obligatory Ashy on language alone, but talent-wise, these kids are Classy.

Question: Ashy or Classy?!? Assuming you're able to separate the message from the delivery, are these baby gangstas onto something or just inevitably headed for 25-Life?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ashy Or Classy?!? - Pajama Jeans.

[Editor's Apologetic, But Not Really Apologetic Note: Sorry folks, it's a lightweight week. I'm outta this piece Thursday. Enjoy the break from seriousness and whatnot.]

I'm not quite sure how this genius of Pajama Jeans somehow managed to escape me for this long, but I peeped this commercial the other morning. Jesus, is this what it's come to? We as a nation are so fat and lazy that we can't even manage to bend over and pull on a proper pair of jeans? F'real?



"Fits Every Figure Perfectly!"

I'mma call fraud on this commercial. They know good & damn well these cheesy pants ain't gon' make the average woman's butt look that nice. Shame! Shame! Shame! $40 for some skintight sweat pants. Shame!

Showing women who probably look good in regular jeans as representative of how good these Garanimals would make the average woman look is just plain ole' deceptive marketing. Sorta like how those Shakeweight and Bowflex commercials show people who've had 6-pack abs since the cradle in an attempt to make the average working stiff believe he too can get buff in just 20 minutes a day.

The average Lifetime Movies For Women watcher wearing these Pajama Jeans isn't gonna look nothing like that. Au contraire, they'll probably just look pathetic and out of shape. Sorta like this woman.



Get that lady some d*ck True Religion jeans and a gym membership, please.

I've got a new slogan...

Pajama Jeans: For The Chick Who's Officially "Let Herself Go"

Sorry ladies, but these are undeniably Ashy.

Question: Ladies, would you rock a pair of Pajama Jeans? Fellas, would you rock a pair if they made em' for men?

Monday, December 20, 2010

AB.com Hot Topics - 12.20.10

It's a holiday week and I'm bailin' out early, so expect things to be a lil' light around here for a minute. On to today's headlines...

Happy Trails, Agent Zero - It's not every day your favorite athlete of all time (OF ALL TIME!!!) gets traded away, but it happened this weekend as my Washington Wizards finally parted ways with former all-star Gilbert Arenas. Oddly, the homie Ed The Sportsfan asked me to write a lil' something about Gilbert's standing in DC, just before the trade happened (although I didn't know about the trade when I wrote it). You can peep that here. As for the trade itself, well, lets just say the Wizards are rebuilding and leave it at that. Personally, I hate the trade and don't think we got fair value in return. But that's DC sports for you in a nutshell.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell - Well, at least that's finally over.

Mike Vick's Amazing Comeback - Jesus, was that a freakin' game or what? Well, the final 6 minutes of it at least. I'm sure this one'll be on Instant Classics by Tuesday if it ain't already. And BTW, Desean Jackson is a real douche. A talented douche, but a douche nonetheless.



And while we're at it, what's this nonsense about PETA not wanting Vick to buy a puppy for his daughter this Christmas? Seriously? Folks, when will this guy have paid his debt to society and be allowed to move on? As is, he's the NFL's MVP. He went to jail. He talks to chill'rens. He should probably be Time Magazine's Man Of The Year (eff' a Mark Zuckerberg) if we lived in a less PC society. Let the man buy his child a baby Rott collie and be done.

Question: What's on your mind today?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Heeey Boo Boo.

File this one under: Things You'll Feel Very Remorseful About Laughing At In Retrospect. What happens at the 1:45 mark is both turrible and hilarious.



[Editor's Note: Sorry to any animal lovers that this might offend. I also apologize in advance to Vanilla Latte, because I still want you to occasionally hook me up with those free sports tickets. So forgive me. And laugh. It is just a freakin' CGI cartoon after all.]

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Weave, The Weave, The Weave Is On Fire!!!

We don't need no water, let the video vixen burn!!!

[Warning: Unsavory language ahead. There are also women in bathing suits, so exercise caution on The Day Job.]



Yeah, I know. This shouldn't be funny. The girl could have gotten Michael Jacksoned for crissakes. And even though it prolly was fake hair, she's probably going to be traumatized anytime she sees a candle for the rest of her life.

That said, she's apparently okay, and this clip (especially the reactions of everyone in it) is unintentional comedic gold. So go ahead and laugh already. And hit the replay button a few dozen times.

AB.com Guest Post - Is Detroit The Dumbest City In America?!?

[Editor's Note: I'm busy digging myself out of DC's winter tundra working today, Shady Grady has the reigns. Witness the latest in hijinx from the Motor City.]

Are you an intelligent person? Well chances are if you're reading this you're at least somewhat intellectually curious and probably smarter than average. But how sharp are you really? Are you smarter than a fifth grader? I would think so. Are you as smart as a Wayne State University (WSU) graduating senior? Well that remains to be seen.

Some of you may remember the sordid tale of Otis Mathis, the former head of the Detroit Public School Board who became something of a local and national laughing stock and embarrassment when it was revealed that reading and writing were not exactly his strong points. Mathis resigned shortly afterwards because of a sexual harassment charge but that's not important right now. =)



The relevance is that Mr. Mathis was a graduate of WSU. Mathis took a long time to graduate because he could not pass an English Language proficiency exam. He sued and lost. The school dropped the requirement. Mathis got his degree and the rest as they say, is history.

Now WSU is back in the news again for a similar requirement only this one involves a Math proficiency exam. In order to pass this exam all you have to do is get 56% of the answers correct. Unfortunately a rather sizable number of would be graduates did not pass this test and they are somewhat …peeved.
Two years after Mishelle Kennedy finished her classes at Wayne State University, she still can't get her degree.

The Royal Oak Township resident is being held up because she can't pass a math test — a requirement that administrators say is at the level of high school math. While 1,970 students graduated last weekend from WSU, an estimated 1,500 others couldn't because they are in the same bind as Kennedy.

The situation is the result of math placement policies that changed five years ago, but are still impacting students today as WSU works to help these students graduate.
For Kennedy, 43, the lack of a degree means she can't further her career as a state social worker and possibly earn up to $10,000 more annually to support her four children.

"I can count my money; I can take 33 percent off of a dress on sale at Macy's. Why do I need algebra?" said Kennedy, who is taking the test again in January.
"Give me math that I would use as a social worker. It is so unfair."

Some students have wondered if WSU dropped the English proficiency test because of a growing number of foreign students who struggled with it. But Shapiro called that theory "nonsense."

It is unclear how many students cannot graduate because they must pass the math test. That is a closely guarded number, said Frank Koscielski, a WSU academic adviser and recruiter. Shapiro was unaware of the exact figure but said "it could be" 1,500. He expected the backlog to be cleared up within a year or two.

The test, which is offered regularly at WSU, includes 25 questions. Students must get 14 correct to pass, Shapiro said. An online practice test included math problems using basic skills in percentages, algebra and trigonometry.

Before a recent test, many students expressed anxiety because they had taken the test before. Kaitlyn Kowalewski, a photography major, was taking the test for the third time. "I tried to go to tutoring and one kid that helped me had to look up things online," said Kowalewski, 21, of Mount Clemens. "I want to be done. I am on track to graduate."

This test is one of the biggest frustrations for nontraditional students who have been out of school for years, said Beverly Hand, 49, who was taking the test for the fourth time. She has written to the president, Board of Governors and other university officials.
Now although WSU is smack dab in the middle of Detroit it is not a Black majority school. Black enrollment is just under 1/3. Caucasians make up around 50% of the student body. The news article features a picture of a Black woman but the other names and home cities of aggrieved students are most definitely stereotypically non-Black. I have no idea (yet) what the racial make up is of the people who failed the test. That might raise other questions. But to me it’s not a race question.

Here are some sample questions and a link to a sample test.
Carlos made $162 this week for 12 hours of work. How much did Carlos make per hour?

A piece of elastic is 28.5 inches long. It is stretched until it is 39 inches long. How many inches did the elastic stretch?

Mike bought a shirt and a package of socks. The shirt cost $17.50 more than the socks. Mike paid $30 total.
How much did each cost?

Solve: 3(2 − y) − 4 = 4 − 5(y + 1)

The area of a certain shape is given by the formula A = 4lw + w2 . Find the area when l = 3 and w = 2 .
This is not exactly calculus or university level physics. I can see that this might on some level be intimidating to an older non- traditional student but then again if they've made it this far, what's a little math test? And to younger students (20-24) this should be easy because it's really 8th- 9th -10th grade level algebra/trig/geometry. It shouldn't be that far in their past.

Some people may not, as the article states, make much day to day use of mathematics in their chosen career path. But if this test prevents a BIG DUMMY like Otis Mathis from escaping into society I'm all for heading them off at the pass. I mean if someone can't figure out percentages, even if they wish to be a social worker do we really need them working in that position?

Question: So, what do you think? Would YOU pass this sort of test with flying colors? Would you at least pass? Do the people complaining have a point or should they just shut their mouth and study harder? Is WSU just trying to make some extra money off of the backs of students? If you have some form of work related certification (Legal, Real estate license, PmP, Six Sigma Black Belt, Financial Advisor, etc) would you find this test laughably simplistic? Would you change your mind if you found out that the students failing the test were disproportionately of a single race?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Racist C-Span Callers: Take Two.

Man, poor Michael Steele just can't catch a break.



I love the whole "I'm not a racist" disclaimer that folks always throw out there before they turn around and inevitably say something racist. That's like folks who say "no disrespect" as a prologue to saying something, well, disrespectful.

For once, I wish people would quit punking out and just own their racism. Is that too much to ask? How can you say "diversity is killing America", and not be racist?

Own Your Racism.

That's a nice slogan. Hmmmm, I might need to holler at CafePress about some t-shirts.

AB.Com Guest Post - Michael Steele Stays In the Picture.

[Editor's Note: Everyone's favorite (only?) black Republican leader announced earlier this week that he's seeking re-election, party haters be damned. My cyber homegirl and budding media maven, The Black Snob, goes in on Steele's strange political calculus. As usual, show our guest some love, you-know-where.]

Rather than slinking off stage and going quietly into the night, embattled Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has decided to run for reelection to his post as the GOP's No. 1 excuse for all things that are wrong. Steele, who managed to run the RNC into as much as a possible $25 million in debt, while still pulling out wins in Congress (although many argue this happened in spite of Steele), has announced he's not going anywhere. This despite Republican heavyweights like Mississippi Gov. Hayley Barbour and Sen. Jim DeMint saying "Thanks, but no thanks" to a return of the Man of Steele.

But since when did Uncle Mike care what anyone else thought? Screw the haters! Sweet delusion, don't fail him now!
He announced Monday night that he will seek a second two-year term heading an energized Republican Party. But the competition for the top job will be fierce leading up to the vote in January, and his rivals include several RNC veterans.

Steele made the announcement in a private conference call to party officials, laying out a case for his retention, which was first reported by Politico. "We elected 63 new members to take control of the House and 13 new senators, setting the stage for Senate control in 2012 and more than 690 new state legislators -- more than ever before. . . . Our goal is clear: 270 electoral votes in 2012."
With all the writing that was on the wall for Steele to go, he just painted right over it and kept it moving. Complaints, what complaints? He's awesome. And everything he does is awesome. And all he does is win. He just goes through life from success to success on a cloud of cotton candy and sassiness. And if you don't like that, you just don't get his "street" style.

Haters.
On Fox News Monday night, he said was taking heat because of his style. "I am much more of a street guy," said Steele, who, in answer to a question, declared that "the job is fun. I think we have a chance to move forward."
Steele also seems to think that if you don't like him, or his tendency to have no filter between his brain and mouth, you're just hating. Haters do that, you know? They just hate you for being wonderful, incompetent you. But I don't want Mike to change. I love him for just the guy he is. That guy who refuses to leave the club even after the house lights have come up and the janitor is mopping up the vomit. Nope. He's still jamming to the Lil Wayne playing in his head. You can't stop his sunshine!

But the very best part of him staying is I get to play this clip one. More. Time.



You're gonna LOVE him, dammit!

Question: Is Michael Steele delusional, or does he really have a shot at re-election? Does race play a subtle factor in how those in the GOP have taken shots at Steele, or did he bring all this on himself?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WorkPlace 101: The Heckling Boss.

I've been blessed with the fortune of pretty reasonable bosses for most of my professional life. I don't say that because my current boss is a sometime-y reader of this blog, I say this because it's true. With all the other difficulties that come along with my line of business (yeah, right), it's nice to know that having spme jerkwad giving me orders isn't one of them.

Sadly, that's not the case for everyone. Study after study has indicated that for most employees, their relationship with their direct manager is the biggest issue when assessing workplace happiness. Yes, even more so than money or nature of the work itself. In short, if your boss is a jackass, you'll prolly be miserable.

I'm sure LA Clippers guard Baron Davis can concur with this sentiment.
It’s not uncommon to hear Los Angeles Clippers fans heckle Baron Davis. Of late, however, the jeers directed at the team’s struggling point guard are coming from a far more surprising source: The man paying Davis, Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

Sterling has expressed his displeasure about Davis’ play by taunting him from his court side seat at Clippers’ home games, several sources told Yahoo! Sports. Among Sterling’s verbal barbs:

– “Why are you in the game?”

– “Why did you take that shot?”

– “You’re out of shape!”

While Sterling has also taunted other Clippers players since the middle of last season, none have received it worse than Davis, the sources said. Davis has missed 14 of the team’s 25 games this season and is averaging 7.4 points while making a team-high $13 million. Including this season, Davis has three years and nearly $42 million left on his contract.

“There’s nothing I can say,” Davis said of Sterling’s taunts. “I have no comment on that. You just get to this point where it’s a fight every day. It’s a fight. You’re fighting unnecessary battles. I’m fighting unnecessary battles.

While Davis wouldn’t confirm Sterling’s criticism, those close to the point guard said it’s taking a strong toll on him. One member of the organization who wished to remain anonymous expressed disappointment in Sterling’s lack of support for Davis and the players.

Sources said Sterling is upset with Davis for not living up to the five-year, $65 million contract he signed with the Clippers in the summer of 2008. Clippers center Chris Kaman and former Clippers Bobby Brown and Mardy Collins have also been berated by Sterling during games, a source said. The players typically heard Sterling during free throws or when they were within earshot during a stoppage in play.

While taunting players during games is somewhat new for Sterling, the owner has previously criticized his team. Two seasons ago, he made a rare visit to the locker room and launched into a tirade, calling former Clippers forward Al Thornton(notes) selfish. Sterling also said during the much-publicized incident that he was willing to trade every player on the team.
The blame sorta goes both ways here. Davis did indeed sign a mammoth contract to join the Clippers a few years back, and he's been chronically out of shape ever since. The rare pro basketball player with the physique of a 50-year old gubb'ment worker, Davis has been susceptible to injury as a result, and the team has underachieved. His massive contract and deplorable conditioning have lead to to huge falloff in his own level of play, and he couldn't be traded for an equally toxic contract like Gilbert Arenas' a bag of Funyuns.

Still, if you're the owner of a team, it only makes sense to protect your investment. By heckling (arguably) his best, and (definitely) highest paid player, Sterling sure isn't helping matters. Then again, he's always been known as a total jerkwad, the kind of owner players only sign with when there's no other option. The Clippers are the biggest running joke in pro sports, and it's no wonder Sterling's years of mismanagement and tightwad spending habits have made the franchise a perennial loser.

I wonder how different this is from the typical worker/manager dynamic in most workplaces. Again, I can't relate because my boss is pretty cool, but if your boss is the type to loudmouth workers in front of others, shame and ridicule employees, and generally be a well-paid douchebag, I wonder what the residual effect is. Do you work hard just on GP (and because there's a paycheck), or does this sort of misery make you look elsewhere, even in a down economy?

Question: Have you ever had a boss who's a total jerk? How do you handle such people? Do you work hard just to get that check, or does the tyranny of working for people like this drive you elsewhere?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Merciful Ending To The Eddie Long Saga.

That's right folks. Just as I predicted, this one's quietly going to settlement.
Controversial anti-gay bishop Eddie Long is seeking to mediate a settlement over charges he coerced four young men into having sexual relations with him, a CNN report said. Many observers see the megachurch pastor's move as an effort to avoid a potentially nasty, public trial.

The decision to seek a settlement runs contrary to Eddie Long's earlier pronouncements. He had earlier vowed to fight the allegations in court.

Anthony Flagg, 21, Maurice Robinson, 20, Jamal Parris, 23, and Spencer LeGrande, 22, earlier filed separate charges against the megachurch pastor for using his influence to lure them into homosexual relationships with him. The plaintiffs alleged the anti-gay bishop took them on trips abroad, shared rooms with them and lavished them with gifts including a car, cash and jewelry – in exchange for sex.

All four young men, who are former members of Long's Atlanta-based New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, said they were in their teens when the bishop sexually coerced them. The young males said Eddie Long had "a pattern and practice of singling out a select group of young male church members and using his authority as bishop over them to ultimately bring them to engage in sexual relationships."

In his legal response to the suits the anti-gay bishop said each of the allegations "are not true."

Bishop Eddie Long rose to prominence when he transformed a small congregation in Atlanta into a megachurch with 25,000 followers; among them high-profile celebrities and politicians.

The married pastor, a father of four, is an outspoken critic of gays and lesbians. The Southern Poverty Law Center published an article in 2007 calling Bishop Eddie Long as "one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the religiously based anti-gay movement."

In his first public address since the megachurch scandal was exposed, Eddie Long faced his congregation and said "I have never in my life portrayed myself as a perfect man. But I am not the man that's being portrayed on the television. That's not me. That is not me."
Okay, seriously, who didn't see this one coming? Pardon the pun. And [pause].

I could add some in-depth analysis on what the implications of this are for Long's church, why settling when you claim you're innocent is dead wrong, and how Long's actions only further tarnish the reputation of the black church, but it's a Tuesday. Who's got energy for all that?

So how about a YouTube instead?!?



That clip never, ever, ever gets old. Ever.

Seriously, now that I think about it, Long and his attorneys played this one perfectly, which just goes to show that I had no idea what I was doign when I gave him my Completely Unsolicited Advice. He said just enough to get people off his back (ie: playing the Clay Davis victim role to a tee). Then he went on about his business, pretending the sh*t never happened, knowing how Negroes' attention spans last about as long as an episode of Basketball Wives[1]. Eventually something else would become "the story", Long would pay the boys (hopefully not from the building fund!) to go away and shut up, and in 6 months nobody would even remember this ever happened.

Yup, worked like a charm.

Cross it up, New Birth!!!

Question: What's your postmortem on the Eddie Long saga?

[1] The season premiere was turrible and boring. I don't see this lasting much longer on my Tivo Season Pass.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Racist Soap Bars?!? Really, Indiana? Really?

Honestly, I'm more shocked that this story ran on Fox News, a channel that's running this, than the actual racism itself.

The First Nail In The Coffin For ObamaCare?!?

Breaking news from The Commonwealth...
A federal judge in Virginia has struck down the Obama administration’s requirement that all Americans buy health insurance, a key provision in the landmark health care bill that the president signed in March.

Today’s ruling could gut the entire health care plan, though U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson wrote that his decision will undoubtedly be appealed — probably all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

While upholding other provisions of the new health care law, Hudson ruled that the individual mandate “exceeds the constitutional boundaries of congressional power,” He added that he won’t stop implementation of the law as various challenges wind their way through the courts, noting that many provisions won’t take effect until at least 2014.
I don't have any time to discuss this, I'm sure ya'll can do your own in depth analysis below.

Question: What does this ruling mean for the future of ObamaCare? Do you find the mandate fair?

Dear Tea Party. Feelin' Duped Yet?!?

For a group of folks who allegedly won the political equivalent of The Super Bowl last month, the Tea Partiers sure have been eerily silent lately.

November's midterm elections were supposed to be an indictment of Obama's Socialist, anti-Real American reign of terror. The Tea Party would elect a new breed of Real American politricians who'd restore our once-great country to its former glory, guided by the principles of our founding fathers. Out of control spending would be reigned in, pork would be fried, the deficit would be slashed. The force of Real America would be felt, and that Obama guy would be put back in this rightful place.

So, one month into the reign of the Baggers, what exactly has happened?

Republicans agree with Obama to extend the deficit nearly one trillion dollars (!), in the form of tax cuts for the wealthy, unemployment benefits for the lazy, and lots of wasteful spending for all.



Despite pledges to "change Washington", hordes of incoming Tea Party candidates are hiring lobbyists as staff advisers.

Tea Party Causus members ask for a startling $1B (!) in earmarks.

Congressional Republicans appoint the so-called King Of Pork to head the Appropriations Committee, which is almost like making Lindsay Lohan head of the DEA.

So, I ask, Tea Party Nation, what more do you need to see before you figure out you've been duped all along? The folks you sent to DC were in most cases failed career politicians, already millionaires, or worst of all, RINOs. That can't feel good.

Where is the outrage? Where are the marches and comically misspelled signs? Where are the witch hunts for birth certificates and hidden religious preferences?

{crickets}

Strangely, the only Tea Partier to keep it real was one who didn't even win her election.

That's right, Christine O'Donnell, tell em' why you mad, ma'.
At a speech Tuesday night in Virginia, Christine O'Donnell, the Tea Party darling and one-time sorceress called Obama's tax cut deal that included the extension of unemployment benefits a "tragedy" comparable to the attack on Pearl Harbor and the death of Elizabeth Edwards, The Hill reported.

"Tragedy comes in threes," O'Donnell told the audience. "Pearl Harbor, Elizabeth Edwards's passing and Barack Obama's announcement of extending the tax cuts, which is good, but also extending the unemployment benefits."
Too bad the folks of Delaware weren't patriotic enough to send this Real American to DC.

Question: Were the Tea Partiers duped, or is it too soon to tell whether or not the Real Americans they sent to DC will live up to their promises?

Friday, December 10, 2010

AB.com Open Mic - 12.10.10

Hey, did ya'll realize tomorrow is 12.11.10? Weird, huh?

Anyways, you know the drill by now. I have a real Day Job, and right now it's Q4 so I'm out here in Chicago trying to close deals and stay unfrozen. Sales quotas don't care about blogs, so ya'll are on your own. I'll be back soon.

Anyways, ya'll throw some topics at each other and see what sticks. In the meantime, if you wanna peep what I've been up to on my Night Job, head over on AOL BlackVoices. I got some good stuff over there. Drop a comment. Engage with a totally different readership.

Question: What's on your mind today?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

What Would You Do?!? - Could You Survive Off $300 A Week?!?

Among the silliest excuses made against extending unemployment benefits is the assertion that giving folks this money serves as a deterrent to getting a real job. This talking point, that giving unemployment keeps the unemployment rate down, has been repeated ad nauseum by Conservatives all year long to essentially demonize those who accept such benefits. Even the usually level-headed Juan Williams recently got in on the act.



Williams, of course, just got a multi-million dollar contract extension with Fox News. Clearly, he can relate to the subject at hand.

No need to lie, I actually can't relate. I've been blessed (thank you Jesus!) to be gainfully employed my entire adult life. I make much more than the average unemployment payout of $300/week, and can't even begin to fathom having to suddenly feed my family of four with such a small sum. Even when I was back at my HBCU and sharing an apartment with CJames, my workstudy stipend (When I actually got paid. You know how some black colleges can be) was more than $300/week. And this was waaay back in the early 90's when a gallon of gas was less than a Miss Winners Iced Tea dollar.

All that said, I simply don't see how anyone who was once gainfully employed in anything better than a minimum wage gig could suddenly make ends meet with the typical unemployment payout. If you had a decent gig paying $45,000/year or so, and suddenly lost it, chances are your monthly expenses far exceed what the gubb'ment pays you. Even if you slash all non-essential household expenses (cable, lawn care, internet access), chances are you're going to barely make it most months. Rent alone (even if you live in the Deep South) is probably going to take most of this. You still gotta eat, pay utilities, put gas in the car and have an operable phone to look for a new job. You probably can't afford the luxury of healthcare, even with COBRA. Chances are you'd probably have to start tapping into your savings/401k assuming you even had one to cover any overages, and likely incur some serious penalties for pulling your money out early. If you have no cash reserves, you're probably maxing out the credit card. I'm obviously assuming there are no kids to feed, which would throw this whole equation out of whack.



Yeah, that sounds pretty spoiled to me too, Sharron. BTW, how's that unemployment thing working out for you?

Again, I'm trying my very best to walk in shoes I haven't been in for some time, but it's very difficult for me to imagine anyone in this scenario not wanting a job back.[1] The GOP also often asserts that people in this scenario wouldn't take the first job available, even if it pays worse or roughly the same as their unemployment benefits. Trifling as this may seem to some of you, I'm wondering "why would I?"

If I could get $1,200 a month to sit on the sidelines and actively hunt for a well- paying job, or make $1,100 a month working staggered, unpredictable hours at K-Mart, why the hell would I?

Yes, on principle alone, actively going out and working a real job makes sense. But logically speaking, money is money. The 40 hours a week I'm spending stocking shelves are either preventing me from looking for a job comparable to the one I lost, or preventing me from retraining myself to find another good job. Yes, in principle working makes more sense, but principle doesn't pay Pepco.

Personally, I'd prolly sit at home watching Judge Mathis just collect unemployment while looking for another job rather than taking the first thing that comes up if that pays worse. If that makes me, or the millions of other Americans doing the same thing right now lazy gubb'ment moochers, then so be it. Again, I can't pay my mortgage with GP. GP is severely overrated.

I pray I'm never in that predicament, but the last thing I'd do is cast aspersions of laziness on the very people who are. Too bad those in the GOP are too heartless to look at this from another person's perspective.

Need I remind you, not everyone unemployed is a Democrat.

Question: If faced with working for $1,100 a month or collecting $1,200 in unemployment, What Would You Do? How would suddenly having to live off $300/week effect your lifestyle? Do you think the demonization of people collecting unemployment benefits is going to have a backlash on the GOP?

[1] Wanting a job, and actually getting one are two completely different things. There are currently 5 unemployed applicants for every new job opening. It ain't that easy.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

AB.com Guest Post - Tough Decisions For President Obama.

[Editor's Note: I'm in Chi-Town all week freezing my butt off and closing Q4 bid'ness. The do's of the chuuch are open. Shady Grady's in the pulpit. What's next for Obama is the sermon. Show our guest a lil' somethin' in the love offering.]

I will say upfront that although I did not vote for him in 2008 I considered him a better choice for the country than the hapless McCain and the proudly pugnacious and totally clueless Palin. And I still believe that today. Some of the criticism around candidate Obama was that he had never run anything. Since much of this was coming from the Clinton camp, where the candidate apparently believed that being married to the President was relevant job experience, this criticism was rightly considered self-serving and mostly ignored. Even former President Clinton said that one could honestly say that no one really has experience relevant to being President of the United States. The job really is that big.

As we know now the President has decided to allow the Bush era tax cuts to continue as part of a larger deal to secure extended unemployment benefits for 13 months. Unlike the other things he's done to upset his base this one may really be the straw that breaks the camel's back, a bridge too far. It will be if the economist Robert Kuttner has anything to say about it.
…Gestures like freezing federal pay levels and cutting the government workforce only play into the rightwing mantra that the government is the problem. Politically, they signal weakness.

This move makes no significant impact on the deficit, reduces employment and purchasing power; and, characteristically, Obama got nothing in return. The Democratic National Committee, disgracefully, even used the Organizing for America email list to try to drum up support for a Democratic president freezing worker pay during a deep recession.

The Bush tax cuts expire on December 31. Most Democrats are beating on the Republicans for refusing to spare 98 percent of Americans a tax hike, so that the top 2 percent can continue to get lower rates. Most Democrats are whacking the Republicans for letting unemployment insurance expire at a time of increased joblessness. But the message gets blurred because of Obama's mixed signals.

Let's stop pretending. Barack Obama is a disaster as a crisis president. He has taken an economic collapse that was the result of Republican ideology and Republican policies, and made it the Democrats' fault. And the more that he is pummeled, the more he bends over.

The labor movement is just disgusted with Obama. Young people who rallied to him are turned off. Progressives in Congress are seething. Obama could well head into 2012 with little of his base intact, save the African American community. A serious primary challenger could easily win Iowa, where it all began. And a primary fight is a terrific organizing tool. It could force the media to take note of a progressive message about the economy.

Yet if we are to be spared an awful decade, both economically and politically, either Obama needs to grow a backbone; or some other Democrat could well challenge him in 2012. Either course will require the progressive community to stop crying in our beer and to get out and organize.
The question of the President's "yarbles" (thanks A Clockwork Orange) or lack thereof has been discussed time and again and will certainly be raised in the future. (Probably tonight on The Ed Show) That's not really what I want to discuss here today. My question is assuming that you either voted for or supported the President in 2008 are you happy so far with what's been accomplished in the first two years? Not resigned or accepting but HAPPY?

If you're happy with what he's done so far then God bless you. I would ask you though, what are the red lines at which Obama would lose your support? How closely can he hew to Bush policies before you say "Wait a minute…".

If you're not happy with what's been accomplished so far then pray tell, what are you prepared to DO about it? What can you do about it?
Part of the problem with what's broadly been defined as the left these days in America is that we've let much of the passion, the fire, all of the righteous anger and energy be expressed by right-of-center or even far right candidates and movements. It seems sometimes that too many of us on the left are too invested in cynicism and snarkiness. Obviously this is not the President's fault.

Yes it is true that Palin is an idiot, Steve King is a racist, and Rand Paul wouldn't lose sleep if white-only housing covenants started making a comeback. But whether we like it or not each of those people are where they are because they have the rabid and vocal support of a sizable number of our fellow citizens. Some have their positions not because of the Republican elite but rather in spite of the Republican elite. I don't agree with very much that the Tea Parties or their Republican elected representatives stand for but I can't help but admire their passion, organizing skills, and general disdain for compromise-whether it's realistic or not. For example Bachmann thinks that 13 months of extended unemployment benefits is too generous and is saying she might not vote for this deal. She's bats*** crazy of course.

Why is there not any sort of equivalent mass movement on the left? I can't help but think that President Obama and other Democrats might not have made some of the decisions they have made if either were really concerned about being held to account by an organized and energetic base. With the possible exception of Senator Sanders and maybe a few others in the House (Conyers, Welch) I expect the Democrats to fall in line on this latest decision. After all they may be more afraid of crossing Pelosi…

Question: What is the progressive and/or Black agenda? Are these things necessarily related? Where is the progressive mass movement to bring about change? Have liberals become captured by political parties? Are people on the left simply unrealistic about the requirements for governance or what a President can accomplish? If this deal dies in Congress will you blame the President for agreeing to it or Congress for not going along?

Your Tax Dollars At Work...

And you thought bipartisanship was dead. Ha, take that Sean Hannity!
The House on Thursday gave final congressional approval to a bill that would prevent advertisers from abruptly raising the volume to catch the attention of viewers wandering off when regular programming is interrupted.

The bill's House sponsor, Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., said it was her own "earsplitting experiences" that got her involved, recalling how the ads "blew us out of the house" when she watched television, already set at a high volume, with her parents.

Under the legislation, now heading to President Barack Obama for his signature, the Federal Communications Commission would be required within one year to adopt industry standards that coordinate ad decibel levels to those of the regular program. The new regulations, applying to all broadcast providers, including cable and satellite, would go into effect a year after that.

Eshoo said there will be a "noticeable difference" in noise levels once the law goes into effect. It's a small bill in the greater scheme of things, she said, but "it will bring relief to millions of television viewers."
Call me silly, but this is common sense legislation that all "Real Americans" can appreciate.

Change We Can Believe In.

Question: Is this trivial, or do you consider this a good change? Does the volume of commercials bug you as much as it does me?

Ear relief: Congress acts to stifle loud TV ads [WashPost]

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Not Exactly The Change I Voted For.

[Editor's Note: I'm sure some of you knew this day was coming. I hoped it wouldn't, but well, it's here.]

Real Talk: Two years in, I'm wondering if Obama is cut out for this job. Seriously.

I'm not the biggest Bill Maher fan for a host of reasons, nor do I like the incessant Obama-bashing I'm hearing lately from lots of uber-liberals. But d*mn if I didn't find myself agreeing with about 75% of what dude was saying this weekend when I just so happened to flip by Fareed Zacharia GPS.[1]



For a supposedly free-thinking liberal who's bedded his share of sistas, Maher's racial stereotyping of Obama as "gangsta" is basackwards and Fox News-level ignant. But if you can look past that, he's sorta kinda got a point.[2]

I've been waiting for Obama's testicles to descend [PAUSE!] and for him to put some fools in their place for awhile now. I'm still waiting. Even when he's confrontational (something that happens so infrequently it's notable) he's still so nice and cordial. It seems like he's obsessed with being liked. He just cares too much about what people think of him. And that need to appease shows, as he vacillates from one end of the spectrum on a given issue to another. From healthcare, to Bush tax cuts, to civilian terror trials. You seldom, if ever, get a sense of what this guy believes in.

I understand the need to pay attention to polls, election results, and the thoughts and wishes of "Real Americans". I get it. But damn bruh, how about simply standing for something, anything, for once? Why didn't he lead the healthcare reform discussion with the public option, then compromise? Why is he offering unemployment benefit extensions in return for extending the Bush tax cuts? Doesn't he realize he still has a majority in both the House and Senate. It's not January 2011 yet, bruh. Why can't he pick a side, definitively state that side, and defend that freakin' side to the death?

I've long asserted that while I agree with much of what Obama's gone legislatively, I found his lack of leadership and resistance to doing the dirty work of the Presidency troubling. Stepping back and looking at it objectively, reality is his legislative victories (if that's what you want to call them) were mostly a result of circumstance (ie: majorities in the House and Senate) rather than his own doing. It's almost like he won just by virtue of being on the winning team, not because he actually contributed in any substantive way.

He's like the Adam Morrison of Presidents.

Yeah d*mnit, I said it.

There's really no point in revisiting 2008. I chose Obama over Hillary and don't regret that decision. I also chose him over McCain/Palin. I don't need to reiterate the wisdom of that selection.

Still, I can't help but look at this Presidency as a lost opportunity. Obama, again by virtue of being in the right place at the right time, will probably win re-election in a couple of years.

But there's no real reason to think that he'll suddenly shed the annoying habits he's displayed thus far, turn the corner, and become the Great President we all hoped for.

Instead, he's merely going to be Average.

Question: Two years in, has Obama lived up to your expectations as President? If you had it to do over, how would you have voted?

[1] What a lame title for a show. And yeah, I know this guy's a serious journalist, but would it hurt him to mix in a smile every now and then? This show is literally painful to watch. And you wonder why CNN stay losing.

[2] On a somewhat related note, wouldn't a "serious" journalism correct a guest like Maher for continually using a pejorative like "TeaBagger"? That's fair game for an obviously biased hack with a Blogger account (ie: me), but seriously tacky for a supposedly unbiased professional journalist. And you wonder why CNN stay losing.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Are "Black Student Unions" Racist?!?

One of the many perks of attending an HBCU was the momentary escape from institutional racism. After going to a rural high school that had its own closet full of racial skeletons, the last thing I wanted to do was pay (handsomely) to be discriminated against. My college experience wasn't perfect (ie: W. Kerr Scott Hall... Google it) but at least that was one less thing to worry about.

Apparently, the knife cuts both ways. Sorta kinda.
Controversial fliers announcing the formation of a White Student Union on West Chester University's campus were allegedly part of an effort to connect those are who against racism and are not the seeds of a racist organization, according to school officials.

The flier states:

Feeling under represented on campus?

Looking for a place to share YOUR views?

Uncomfortable in other "special interest" groups?

Then this is the place for you!

The flier invites interested students to the club's first meeting. It also includes a photo of seven fists in the air.

At least one student posted the fliers throughout campus over a 48-hour period this week, which officials then removed, according to Pam Sheridan, university spokeswoman.

At least one student posted the fliers throughout campus over a 48-hour period this week, which officials then removed, according to Pam Sheridan, university spokeswoman.

"There is absolutely no White Student Union here," Sheridan said. "There absolutely isn't going to be a meeting."

Seeing the fliers, students and others raised concerns over the possibility of a racist organization on campus, Sheridan said. The Campus Client Intervention Team, which addresses acts of intolerance or bigotry, conducted an investigation. The examination revealed that the fliers were actually posted to promote anti-racism, Sheridan said.

"It wasn't meant to be harmful," Sheridan said. "It was designed to draw anti-racists together, to get a sort of reaction."

West Chester University has roughly 14,000 students. About 15 percent of WCU students are minorities.

Some students are open to a comparable version of the Black Student Union for white students — if the group allows anyone to join and serves a non-racist purpose.
Around the time I was attending my HBCU, I also recall a statewide incident at the University of North Carolina. Black students there were fed up with what they saw as second class treatment on campus, and when trying to establish their own black student union, met lots of resistance from both administration and fellow students. In a show of solidarity, the black student group even tried to get NBA All-Star Michael Jordan to come back to campus on their behalf (I'll let you guess how that ended).

In my infinite 19 year old wisdom, I was thinking "That's what they seditty, lookin'-down-on-black colleges a$$es get for going to Carolina. What did they expect?" Ultimately, the black folks prevailed, and got a permanent place on campus for stepshows and 2-6's cultural enlightenment and advancement of the cause. Still, I can't quite say I ever understood the point of a BSU. I mean, you sorta know what you to expect going in. Why get all demanding after the fact?[1]

All that said, I can sorta kinda understand why some white folks on the West Chester campus might see a BSU as unnecessarily exclusionary. That would obviously be a shortsighted sentiment, because I'm sure minority students at such schools establish these clubs to create a place/feeling of belonging. I sorta get it, and I also sorta get why someone in the majority on campus might not get it.

Watching "minorities" purposely self-segregate makes some people nervous, even in postracial America. But that doesn't mean these black folks are in there plotting ways to overthrow the school and convert it into Lincoln University. They're prolly just talking about Phaedra's alien baby, or comparing notes on that new Kanye album. Nothing earth-shattering, and certainly (despite what others might thing) nothing exclusionary.

I'm not sure what the unknown "activists" at West Chester were trying to get at, but I doubt it was anything remotely close to "promoting anti-racism".

Of course, I went to an HBCU, so this is all foreign language to me. What ya'll think?

Question: Are Black Student Unions "racist"? What was the point of the fliers at West Chester?

[1] Granted, not the most progressive train of thought. But I was just a teenager. I had an excuse at least.

Merry KKKristmas.

Note To Self: Remove Hayden, Idaho from the "Must Visit" section of my bucket list.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Definitive Proof That (Some) Republicans Are Probably Racist.

I'm sure many of you have recently heard about the Pigford II settlement, which (finally) repaid black farmers after decades of government discrimination. Payout of this class action lawsuit had been languishing for about a decade, as these farmers lost their property and livelihoods in the interim. The government admitted wrongdoing in denying these black farmers the very same financial support they provide white farmers. It was systematic racism at its very worst, and as a guy who has family members that actually still own farms, I was personally relieved to see this travesty of justice finally resolved.

Of course, not everyone's so happy about this. Enter douche of all douches, Iowa Congressman Steve King, who thinks that repaying these folks for decades of misery is Obama's way of paying backdoor reparations.
Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who's been one of the most vocal opponents of the Pigford settlement for black farmers, has taken to cable news and the floor of the House to speak against the settlement. King's argument is that the bulk of the Pigford II claims are fraudulent because there are fewer black farmers than claimants -- a flimsy argument when you consider that many African-Americans lost their farms over the past few decades due, in part, to USDA discrimination that denied them loans -- which is the point of the settlement program.

On Monday night, he suggested that President Obama, as a senator, may have been prejudiced to help the black farmers.

"Figure this out, Madame Speaker: We have a very, very urban Senator, Barack Obama, who has decided he's going to run for president, and what does he do?" King said. "He introduces legislation to create a whole new Pigford claim."

He then said the claims -- which stem from discrimination against black farmers in the 1980s and 1990s -- are "slavery reparations."

"We've got to stand up at some point and say, 'We are not gonna pay slavery reparations in the United States Congress,'" he said. "That war's been fought. That was over a century ago. That debt was paid for in blood and it was paid for in the blood of a lot of Yankees, especially. And there's no reparations for the blood that paid for the sin of slavery. No one's filing that claim.
Sorry, but reading this statement doesn't truly do it justice. Watch.



Wowzers. That was simply the tip of the iceberg of King's rambling hour long missive, as he also asserted that the children of black farmers are prolly drug addicts. No, seriously.



Shut the **** up, jacka$$. Seriously.

Never one to miss out on a chance at favorable Fox News coverage, Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann joined the fray with her own brand of ear-shattering ignorance.



The irony, of course, is that Bachmann has personally benefited from the very same government subsidies that she wants to once again deny these farmers.
Michele Bachmann, whose family has willingly accepted federal farm payments, wants to make sure that some black farmers don't get theirs, because they don't deserve it.

In a settlement known as Pigford II, blacks denied federal loans and assistance from the Department of Agriculture in the 80s and 90s will receive $50,000 each.

Bachmann's family farm received $251,973 in federal subsidies between 1995 and 2006. The farm had been managed by Bachmann's recently deceased father-in-law and took in roughly $20,000 in 2006 and $28,000 in 2005, with the bulk of the subsidies going to dairy and corn. Both dairy and corn are heavily subsidized--or "socialized"--businesses in America (in 2005 alone, Washington spent $4.8 billion propping up corn prices) and are subject to strict government price controls.
So for those keeping score at home, when it adds to your personal wealth, SOCIALISM GOOD!!!!

When you feel it unfairly benefits someone else that you don't think worked nearly as hard as you did, SOCIALISM BAD!!!! BAD SOCIALISM, GGGGGRRRRRRR!!!!

You couldn't make this sh*t up. Seriously.

If you're a Conservative, especially a black one, who might happen to be reading this, I want your opinion on this. Please, please, please justify how equating farmers with drug addicts, government moochers, corrupt cheaters, and slothful ne'er do wells who want a check for doing no work is somehow not racist. Please don't resort to the same "logic" employed by these a$$clowns in the comments section over at TownHall.com. I will delete that comment quicker than you can type it.

I'm waiting for some justification on this. Enlighten me.

Question: What (if anything) does this little episode prove about the Republican Party?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ashy Or Classy?!? - That New Keri Hilson Video.

Contrary to popular belief, I don't watch a lot of music videos, other than those sent to me and recommended by readers of this blog. I also don't listen to much R&B music, so the whole Keri Hilson phenomenon is a bit of a foreign concept to me.

She really can't sing that well, can't dance, and has about as much charisma/personality as a bag of Funyuns. Nonetheless, she's managed to carve out a pretty decent career for herself from what I can tell. Many folks[1] suggested she essentially ethered Ciara's career by doing basically the same thing in a far classier manner. I couldn't name one of either of their songs if you held me at gunpoint, but even I know the two of them had some weird R&B battle a few months back.

Anyways, records aren't exactly selling anymore in today's MegaUpload culture, which has lead to lots of female (and male) artists resorting to some serious hoe sh*t just to make rent payments.[2] Erykah Badu's pointless and unnecessary "Window Seat" video was a shock gag that overshadowed what was a pretty decent last album. Ciara's "Ride" video was just one clothing item removed from being 2am SkineMax-worthy. And now, Hilson herself does a dumpster dive to remain relevant with a video for what I assume is her latest single "The Way You **** Me".



Wow. What in the name of Adina Howard was that?

While I'm a straight, warmblooded American male, I just hate watching a (presumably classy) sista go out like this. Hate it. All R&B chicks need to ask themselves one simple question before going in the booth: What Would Beyonce Do?

I doubt Bey would be in a video licking a doorknob, laying spread eagle on the ground flashing her crotch, or griding on Rick Ro$$.[3] And that's why The Knowles Clan stays winning, and chicks like Keri Hilson will be working at Sizzler by the time I finish this post.[4]

So I'mma have to call this sh*t what it is: Thirsty, Desperate, Awkward, and very, very Ashy. What ya'll think?

Question: Ashy or Classy? Does this new trend of soft pRon R&B videos disturb you, or is it just a sign of the times?

[1] And by "many folks", I mean the comments section at MediaTakeOut, which is the basis of all of my Keri Hilson expertise.

[2] Yes, Raheem DeVaughn, you too, buddy.

[3] BAWSE!!!

[4] Then again, this video tricked me into writing an entire post of free pub, so who's really the loser in this equation?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Laugh Break : Bill Burr.

A short set from another one of my favorite comedians about the Hollywood staple of "evil White folks" movies.

The Double-Standards Of Terroristic Stereotyping.

Despite what many of you might think, I really, really, really hate being a racism-chaser. There are too many other things of importance in this world to dwell on. But sometimes you just have to call em' like you see em'.

I'm sure you guys are intimately familiar with the ghastly mugshot of Mohamed Osman Mohamud, the Somali-born teen who was accused of trying to detonate a car bomb last week during a public Christmas celebration in Portland. His story's been all over the news for the past week, and for many of those that equate terrorism with Islam, this case is yet another in a series of incidents that supposedly make the case for profiling.



On the heels of last month's completely irrational TSA protests[1], Mohamud's arrest seemed to provide even more fodder for morons like Michelle Malkin to typecast all Muslims as terrorists. Go to her site and peep this lovely collection of mugshots. Read the comments (assuming you can stomach that level of ignorance) while you're there.

Lest anyone get it confused, I'm emphatically not defending the alleged actions of Mohamud. This ingrate clearly was intentional in his desire to blow up children and women. Had he actually been able to carry out his plot, a disaster of unfathomable proportions would occurred. I don't buy his entrapment defense one bit. His alleged actions are undeniably those of a terrorist, Muslim or not.

On the flipside, I can't help but contrast the way his story was covered with another incident that also occurred last week on the West Coast. By show of hands, how many of you even heard about this?
Authorities are trying to piece together how — and why — a 54-year-old Serbian emigre acquired large quantities of explosive ingredients that could be used to make the kind of bombs favored by terrorists, including insurgents trying to kill U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The work of a squad of local, state and federal explosives experts is being made more difficult because the one-story, stucco house in a leafy Escondido-area neighborhood where the material was found is considered too dangerous to reenter.

Investigators carted off several computers and numerous written documents in hopes of finding a motive for the alleged actions of George Djura Jakubec, a naturalized U.S. citizen, who faces 26 bomb-making charges and two counts of bank robbery, all felonies.

The list of items seized from Jakubec's rental house in the 1900 block of Via Scott and his backyard represents a virtual shopping list for bomb-makers, investigators said. Among the items are several kinds of acid, as well as hexamethylene triperoxide diamine (HMTD) and pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN).

PETN is a plastic explosive that was used by so-called shoe-bomber Richard Reid and is considered by terrorism experts as the weapon of choice of Al Qaeda bombers. It also is one of the main ingredients that the Transportation Security Administration is looking for with its new full-body screening and pat-down procedures for airline passengers.

Also seized at the house just outside the Escondido city limits were homemade grenades, blasting caps, firearms and 50 pounds of hexamine, a bomb-making material, according to court documents.

The bomb investigation began when a gardener was injured Nov. 18 in an explosion when he stepped on something in the backyard. As the gardener was taken to the hospital, sheriff's deputies rushed to the scene of the explosion, which had frightened neighbors.
So, let me see if I've got this right.

This guy has what appears to be the largest stash of bomb-making materials ever seized by the Feds. He had a criminal record. He wasn't an American-born citizen.



Why the hell isn't this guy being referred to as a terrorist, and why can't I even find as much as a mugshot of him on the web? Why is his face being blurred out in the arrest video above?

Most news accounts seem to humanize Jakubec by including quotes from his estranged wife. Some suggest that hoarding the bomb-making materials might have just been a hobby of sorts. I've yet to hear any mention of Jakubec's religion.

Folks, I can't help but think that this story is being downplayed, or perhaps just isn't being sensationalized because Jakubec doesn't fit the typical terrorist "profile" or perpetuate a convenient narrative. Namely because he's white.

The irony here is that the sole reason why Jakubec was busted in the first place is because his gardener, who probably would be profiled as an illegal alien, got blown up by one of Jakubec's bombs.

Am I offbase here, or does anyone else get a bad vibe from this story? If both incidents are terrorist in nature, why is one being reported so much differently than the other.

Question: Does there seem to be a double standard in how these two incidents of terrorism were reported?

[1] Boy, did that controversy evaporate overnight or what?

Five Reasons Why Michael Steele Should Remain RNC Chair.

Not that ya'll care, but current buzz around the politrical world has RNC Chair Michael Steele getting dangerously close to being shown the door in embarrassing fashion, or in a best case scenario, simply losing his re-election bid in January. Very few GOP power brokers seem to be giving him a co-sign.

Since we're both Black, and live in Maryland, I obviously think Magic Mike deserves another two years at the helm of The Party I'll Never Vote For. Here's why...

1) He's Great Blog Fodder - Do you even know who preceded Steele as RNC Chair? Me neither. Quite honestly, I didn't even know such a thing existed before Steele's outdated slang and Steve Harvey "Fancy Deacon" Collection™ suits fell on the scene. They say all exposure is good exposure, or something like that. Either way, switching gears to a less media starved savvy chairman is gonna lose the party a lot of web buzz. I doubt the can who replaces Steele will show up on your RSS reader with anything approaching his current frequency.

2) Cause He's Black - Duh. Given his many flubs and gaffes, it's unlikely that Steele's presence at the top of the party paved the way for Congressional wins by two Black Republicans last month, but it's also impossible to prove it didn't help at all. Like it or not, for a party often accused of being less than inclusive, Steele at least provided a "look, see, we got one of our own!" counterpoint. Norm Coleman, Gentry Collins, and all the other average white guys lining up to replace Steele? Not so much.

3) He Won! - Again, it's impossible to say whether Steele actually helped engineer the GOP's takeover of Congress, but since he's very blatant in taking credit for it, I'm gonna take the man at his word. This could be one of those "Phil Jackson" situations where the guy at the top wins on the basis of sheer "right place, right time"-ism. Then again, it's possible Steer actually was instrumental in the gains. One thing's certain: had the GOP failed to make progress on election day, Steele definitely would have been canned. So why fire the guy when the team actually won? That's kinda counterproductive, no?

4) It Wasn't All His Fault - While many of Steele's mistakes were of his own making, some of what's being attributed to him definitely was beyond his control. The whole "strip club" thing wasn't on him. Ditto for the party's excessive spending for conventions and retreats. Nor were the primary wins and general election losses of loons like Christine O'Donnell. Don't blame the brother for everything.

5) He's Great Blog Fodder - Seriously, isn't that what it's all about anyway? Where else am I gonna get stuff like this?



Question: Does Steele deserve another 2 years as RNC Chairman?

Steele on thin ice at helm of Republican Party [AP]