Monday, February 28, 2011

What Kind Of Sports Fan Are You?!?

For the first time in my adult life, I actually bought season tickets to a professional sports team last Fall. As most of you know, I'm a Washington Wizards fan, which makes me about a low on the fandom totem pole as possible. In the first season of what will undoubtedly be a long rebuilding effort, the team's record is currently 15-40something. They have been out of the playoff race for all intents and purposes since Thanksgiving. Most nights at the Verizon Center are like going to a cemetery, littered with empty seats and ambivalent fans who often cheer for the opposing team. The Wizards win about half of their home games, and they absolutely get obliterated the other half. They have won just one road game all season. Outside of rookie John Wall, there aren't any other players who absolutely look like building blocks for the future. There have been many times when I've sat on the Metro on my way home wondering "Why in the hell did I do this?" Rooting for this team literally makes you feel like a loser.

The answer to "why I do this" is actually sorta simple. To hang out with my buddies and drink not-so-cheap beer. To heckle players. To watch young players slowly, but surely develop. To get out of the house.[1] To momentarily escape life. But mostly, because I'm a real fan of the team. I've been a fan when they sucked, I was a fan when they were (briefly) respectable, and now I'm still a fan although they suck again. It's not easy cheering for a perennial loser, but somebody's gotta do it, and that somebody's me.

That said, I've also learned a lot about other "fans" as a result of my experience.[2] Not all fans are created equal, but they're all easily categorized.

The Bandwagoneer - You know him, and you hate him. He's the guy who was a Cleveland Cavaliers fan, and now, is miraculously a Miami Heat fan. The Bandwagoneer jumps on whatever team's hot at the moment, then jumps off as soon as he sees they're headed back to the lottery. BTW, is it just me, or are there suddenly a lot more Clippers fans popping up? Hmmmmm.

The Drunk Smartass - This guy gets loaded on not-so-cheap brews, and probably practices one liners in his car before heading to the game itself. Once there, he tries to shout witty nonsense while the game goes on, presumably to heckle the players, but mostly to elicit laughter and co-signs from the other people in his section. This schtick is usually entertaining in the first half, but by the time the 3rd quarter rolls around, you just wanna call security on this moron.

The Fanatic/Lunatic - There's a thin line between being a Fan and being a Stan. This guy's often clueless about where that line resides. He gets married wearing his favorite team's colors. He names his child after his favorite player. He knows the career statistics, birthdates, and probably the blood type of every player on his team. His level of obsession is scary, but for some reason, perfectly acceptable social behavior. Until it crosses the line and is suddenly just creepy. BTW, if you've never seen this movie, please, go rent it now! It it freakin' awesome.

The Chronic Complainer - This sportsfan simply cannot say anything nice about the team he presumably roots for. Every comment is about how sh*tty the offensive line is, the unpredictability of the coach's substitution patterns, or how unimpressive a win is because the opponent was so bad. This dude is basically like the Republican Party. The team could be winning 50-0, and this dude would still find something to hate on. It's just in his blood, he can't help himself. He's the sporting equivalent of Debbie Downer.

The "Dallas Cowboy Fan" - This "fan" isn't too far removed from The Bandwagoneer, but the bigger point is that this fan has no personal point of reference to the team they root for. Lots of Cowboys fans couldn't find Texas on a map, let alone explain why they like the team so much. This sort of fan usually just roots for said team to piss off the legions of fans who happen to root for the hometown squad.

The Armchair GM - Everyone's got an opinion on their favorite team's players, and everyone's entitled to their opinions about who should stay and who should go. But Armchair GM goes one step further by going to ESPN Trade Machine and seeing if a particular deal would work out numbers-wise. Then Armchair GM proceeds to run off at the mouth about said trades, even if they're completely irrational and will never happen in real life. Armchair GM always thinks "we just need a point guard and big man. We should trade Tyronn Lue for Chris Paul. The numbers work! I checked it out." A frequent caller to post-game shows, this dude never fails to annoy.

The Armchair Coach - Watching a young team flounder and lose game after game, it's human nature for fans to question a coach's substitution patterns, or to wonder why Anonymous 15th Man isn't playing more. But Armchair Coach is always drawing up plays in the huddle (despite sitting in the 400-level) and shouting them out loud, as if the coach can hear, or cares. Armchair Coach also tries to impress his girlfriend by talking about the intricacies of the pick and roll, but mostly just annoys everyone sitting around him.

The "See And Be Seen" Fan - This fan isn't even a fan of the sport, and just goes because someone gave him/her good tickers. This is in many cases an attractive woman, but is usually a stuffy business suit type. He shows up at the game fashionably late, sits in pricey seats near the floor, and spends entire game either on his phone (talking business), or talking business with the person sitting next to him. The game is merely a backdrop for closing the next deal. SABS Fan usually only pays attention to the game when there's a break in the action and he might end up on the JumboTron. He also usually leaves the game early. I hate SABS fan with a passion.

The Real Fan - Depending on the day of the week, the team's record, or the weather; a combination of all the above fans.

Question: Who are your "teams"? What kind of fan are you? Did I miss any "fan types"?

[1] For anyone wondering, yes, my wife has her own outlet. And yes, sometimes she comes to games with me.

[2] No, I don't go to all 41 home games. No married man with kids has this sorta time on his hands. A friend and I "split" the season tickets with two other guys, so basically we get about 20 games, or roughly 3-4 per month. That's more than enough.

Friday, February 25, 2011 Guest Post - Halle Berry, Interracial Marriage, And The "One Drop Rule".

[Editor's Note: Cyber homeboy and AverageNation™ regular Shady Grady goes in on a controversial NY Times article about the dreaded "one drop rule". And in case you were wondering, yes, is on the way (I hope!). Till then, as usual, show our guest some love you-know-where.]

When I was growing up in SE Michigan during the Antediluvian Era, there weren't a whole lot of self-identified "biracial" or "multiracial" people. You were Black or White. There was a very small population of East/South Asians and a few people of Hispanic or Middle Eastern heritage (primarily Lebanese or Chaldeans who infrequently identified as "White")

Black/White mixed kids identified as the race they most looked like or lived next to-which given housing patterns usually meant they declared themselves "Black" about 95% of the time. Those were the rules then. Pick a team!!!

However now that those unenlightened times have passed, the rules have changed. America is no longer 84%+ Caucasian. Immigration has dramatically altered the demographic landscape. And many people (with the possible exception of Halle Berry) no longer automatically feel the need or desire to identify just as one race. A fascinating recent NYT article (login required) discussed the growing number of young Americans who don’t identify as just one race but as biracial or multiracial.
One in seven new marriages is between spouses of different races or ethnicities, according to data from 2008 and 2009 that was analyzed by the Pew Research Center. Multiracial and multiethnic Americans (usually grouped together as “mixed race”) are one of the country’s fastest-growing demographic groups. And experts expect the racial results of the 2010 census, which will start to be released next month, to show the trend continuing or accelerating.

Many young adults of mixed backgrounds are rejecting the color lines that have defined Americans for generations in favor of a much more fluid sense of identity. Ask Michelle López-Mullins, a 20-year-old junior and the president of the Multiracial and Biracial Student Association, how she marks her race on forms like the census, and she says, “It depends on the day, and it depends on the options.”

They are also using the strength in their growing numbers to affirm roots that were once portrayed as tragic or pitiable.
“I think it’s really important to acknowledge who you are and everything that makes you that,” said Ms. Wood, the 19-year-old vice president of the group. “If someone tries to call me black I say, ‘yes — and white.’ People have the right not to acknowledge everything, but don’t do it because society tells you that you can’t.”
This is all quite fascinating to an Oldie McOldster such as myself. However the data also shows something else which gives pause to the congratulatory “Aren’t we so past race?” tone of the article. This new mixing bowl is primarily between Whites and Asians or Whites and Hispanics. Blacks are still the fly in the buttermilk-though the buttermilk might have a slightly different tinge.

Black and White Americans simply do not marry each other at very high rates. In fact the rates are low-extremely low.*

According to this study:
• Out of every 1000 married black men, 76 are married to a white woman. That’s 7.6%.
• Out of every 1000 married black women, 35 are married to a white man. That’s 3.5%.
• Out of every 1000 married white men, 3 are married to a black woman. That’s 0.3%.
• Out of every 1000 married white women, 7 are married to a black man. That’s 0.7%.
• Overall Whites (especially White women) had the lowest rate of intermarriage while American Indians had the highest.
Check out this graphic.

Of course you would never know this if you stuck to reading some of the more negative black blogs. A number of black men and black women evidently hate each other. Many bloggers routinely insult the opposite gender as being damaged beyond repair, ugly, incompetent or unfeminine, lazy or b***hy and downright undesirable. Some bloggers seem to think that black men or black women are the alpha and omega of all evil in the world. What is their solution? Get a white spouse.

I can’t gainsay whatever preferences any individual may have. Life is short.
But do you need to badmouth your own? Probably not. And is marrying someone white a realistic option for most black people? The numbers say definitely not.

Generally speaking, D’eAndre is not marrying Becky. Kaitlyn is not stepping down the aisle with Malik. Chad is not marrying Jasmine. It’s time for people to be realistic. Whatever issues you may have in your romantic life, chances are quite good they start with you. Changing the color of the person you sleep with without changing yourself won’t solve your issues. And if you can’t get who you want, it’s not the fault of the other racial group or your same race/opposite gender counterpart. This unseemly paranoia and rage that some people have about “Those dirty (insert group here) are stealing all of our (insert group here)” must end. It serves no useful purpose other than scapegoating and guilt tripping –no matter who does it.

Question: Why are so many people obsessed with Black/White intermarriage despite its rarity? Why do some Black people think a white spouse will be a better deal? What do you think about people with a black parent identifying as multiracial? Will “whiteness” ever include people with black parents? Is Halle just in denial about her daughter’s race? Has the One Drop Rule outlived whatever usefulness it might have had?

*The study counted Hispanics separately as either white Hispanics or black Hispanics which I thought was sort of problematic as I know some people of Hispanic origin who reject American style racial classifications. The numbers for whites and blacks are for people of non-Hispanic origin.

Thursday, February 24, 2011 Guest Post: Is Embarrassing Your Kid For A 1.22 GPA Good Parenting Or Child Abuse?!?

[Editor's Note: My cyber homie RiPPA goes in on a strange case of a Florida mother using unconventional methods to get her son to do better in school. As usual, show our guest some love you-know-where.]

What do you do when your 15-year-old has a 1.22 grade point average, doesn't give a damn about school, and is dangerously on the verge of becoming yet another Black man caught up in an already overcrowded prison population should he continue his behavior? Aside from asking if his ass even goes to school, or is he mentally capable, what do you do? I tell you what you don't do; you don't sit around "Waiting for Superman". Like 33-year-old, Ronda Holder, you take matters into your own hands and send a message, like this:
Head hanging low, he stood near an East Tampa street corner for nearly four hours Wednesday afternoon.

James Mond III, 15, wore a sign around his neck with a message:

"I did 4 questions on my FCAT and said I wasn't going to do it … GPA 1.22 … honk if I need (an) education."

People honked. Lots of people.

This was his mother's idea. Ronda Holder, 33, a Tampa hair stylist, said she wanted James to realize the importance of an education, afraid he will otherwise wind up on the street.

"I don't want any of my kids to stand by the side of the road asking for change," said Holder, the niece of a former Tampa police chief.

By Thursday, her plan had a life of its own. A local TV crew turned James' punishment into evening news. Franklin Middle School enrolled the teen in after-school tutoring. The Department of Children and Families came to Holder's home to interview James.

DCF spokesman Terry Field said the punishment might legally be considered bizarre, a form of maltreatment.

Experts cautioned that the punishment was extreme and likely ineffective.
Oh yeah, there's always some expert willing to talk out of his or her ass about "effective parenting". And there's always some prick suddenly concerned about the actions of single black mothers enough so to call the man on them. Yep, these are the same idiots who wouldn't have said jack if this kid was white. Or who would be quick to question the whereabouts of his parents had his black ass gotten arrested doing dumb shit as some do? Oh how judgmental, are we?
It was the mother's latest attempt to get her son to take his schoolwork seriously. Neither she nor the boy's father, James Mond Jr., finished high school.

She said they have offered James help, asked to see his homework, grounded him, lectured him and taken away his cell phone — all to no avail.

"He'd tell us, 'That school doesn't give homework' or 'That teacher has a problem with me,' " Mond Jr. said.

James did poorly in math, poorly in history.

But when his latest report card showed an F in physical education — James says he's "not an outdoor person" — things had gone too far.

Mond Jr. said he had a meeting Tuesday at Franklin Middle School with James, a teacher, the guidance counselor and the vice principal.

In that meeting, the eighth-grader offered none of the excuses he'd given his parents, Mond Jr. said.

"He just sat there looking up at the roof like he wasn't listening," his dad said.

Holder decided that was it. Using white poster board and a marker, she made the sign at home Wednesday, took it to Franklin and called her son out of class. She made him wear it as they exited the campus and then took him to the corner of E Hills?borough Avenue and N 22nd Street.
Oh wow, and his dad is involved? Holy shit! You mean this kid actually knows his father, and his father cared anough about his well being to attend the parent-teacher conference? Um, yeah, he must be a white man. And the father and mother never finished high school, but yet they want their son to do better? Un-friggin-real! You mean they're not just gonna accept mediocrity and failure as all poor black folks do? They actually want the best for their child?
Child care experts said this may not be the way to reach him.

"It definitely would fall within the category of emotional abuse. It's shame, embarrassment and humiliation. This will be a lifelong memory for him," said Arlinda Amos, a licensed clinical psychologist and ombudsman for the Hillsborough Children's Board.

"It's such an unfortunate strategy, and of course it's ineffective," said Dr. Peter Gorski, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician at the Hillsborough Children's Board and the University of South Florida.

"The key to motivating children is to balance responsibility with support, and balance is the important part."
Whatever expert; tell that to the judge who ordered a convicted shoplifter to stand on the street corner wearing a sign that said, "I stole from Wal-Mart". But I understand; poor black folks don't know any better.
The father feels he's done that.

"I talk to my son," said Mond Jr., 33, a landscaper from Tampa. "I told him he needs to go to the teachers and request extra homework for the weekends to try and pull his grades up."

The mother defends her actions.

She has six kids, all in school. The others get good grades, she said. Who's to say her idea won't work?

"They can't judge all children on just one thing," she said.

"If it doesn't work on one child, they don't know if it's going to work on this child. We'll see if it works."
Oh so now this kid is gonna grow up to be emotionally fucked up because of what his mother did, right? So what if his GPA improves. What's important is his emotional stability when he gets older. I mean the last thing we'd like to see happen is this poor kid become a raging alcoholic strung out on crack all because his parents cared about his education just a tad bit too much.
James understands where his mother is coming from.

Still, if he had kids, he wouldn't use the tactic on them, he said.

"She was trying to teach me a lesson," he said. "I should have been working harder than I was in school."

He pledged to improve his grades if it freed him from the sign.

The principal said "he is a really sweet boy," said Linda Cobbe, a spokeswoman for the Hillsborough County School District.

People might wonder if James has a learning disability. He has never been tested, his mother said. Until the middle of seventh grade, his grades were fine.

On Thursday, amid attention over the sign, she got a letter from her son's history teacher claiming his grades are improving. He got a D on his last report card, she said.

Holder was glad the school offered him tutoring this week but couldn't hide her contempt that someone reported her to the DCF.

She said she fails to see how her fighting for her child's education falls into the category of child abuse.

"You can't resort to spanking," she said. "I want my child to have an education and have his children be able to look at him and say I can get an education, too."

People can criticize her all they like.

"This is one child who won't be lost to the streets."
I think the best thing that could have happened to this kid was that the news crew caught him out there. Nothing like being ridiculed or reminded by your friends for having to stand in public telling the world that you're a failure.

I'm guessing standing on the corner for four hours with a sign soliciting your embarrassment at 15-years-old, is much better than the embarrassment of picking up trash in public while wearing prison gear when you're older.

Personally the tragicomedy of this woman's actions should be appreciated and not condemned. Bet hey, that's just me; and I damn sure ain't no clinical expert. I'm just a parent. And like Ronda Holder, I care about the education of my kids.

Question: What do you think about this mother's method of getting her kid on the right track? Is embarassing a child into doing better is school going to work, or is he only going to rebel? What would you suggest if this were your nephew?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What Would You Do?!? - Wrasslin' A Girl.

I don't hit women. Period. It's just how I was raised, and since I've been conditioned this way for so long, it's unlikely I could change my stance on this. Now, shaking a woman, that's a whole nother' story altogether.[1]

Skip to the 2:00 mark, just in case you've never seen this.

That said, since I never wrestled, I can't say how I'd handle the prospect of having to faceoff against a girl in the squared circle.
A standout Iowa high school wrestler refused to compete against a girl at the state tournament on Thursday, relinquishing any chance of becoming a champion because he says wrestling a girl would conflict with his religious beliefs.

Joel Northrup, a home-schooled sophomore who was 35-4 wrestling for Linn-Mar High School this season, praised his first-round opponent, Cedar Falls freshman Cassy Herkelman, and Ottumwa sophomore Megan Black, who became the first two girls to make the state wrestling tournament in its 85-year history.

But in a news release, he said he defaulted on his match with Herkelman because he doesn't think boys and girls should compete in the sport.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Cassy and Megan and their accomplishments. However, wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times," said Northrup. "As a matter of conscience and my faith I do not believe that it is appropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner. It is unfortunate that I have been placed in a situation not seen in most other high school sports in Iowa."

Tournament organizers declined to make Herkelman available for questions. She entered the tournament with a 20-13 record and will wrestle Friday in the quarterfinals of the 112-pound weight class.

Northrup's father, Jamie Northrup, is a minister in the Believers in Grace Fellowship, an independent Pentecostal church in Marion that believes young men and women shouldn't touch in a "familiar way," said Bill Randles, the church's pastor.
Wrestling is apparently a really, really big deal in the state of Iowa, something I'm sure Molly can fill us in on. But since this story broke, it's been all over the place, and I can't help but wonder what ya'll think about it.

Question: What Would You Do?!? Should this kid have fought the girl, or did he who the right thing my standing on his principles?

[1] It's a joke, folks. If you're clueless, just watch the whole clip.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fox News' Michelle Obama Obsession Reaches A New Low.

No, your eyes do not deceive you. An allegedly reputable news organization actually put a story with that headline on their website. Boy, I wonder how the guy who had to write that headline is feeling about the thousands of dollars he wasted on loans for J School.

Since this is Fox, you know the intent here isn't to merely highlight the First Lady's culinary choices. Nope, the sole purpose of such a headline is to give the green light to the racist, ignorant morons who traffic the sites comment boards. And boy, did they ever go in on Michelle-O.

If you're feelin' kinda post-racial, you may wanna go take a gander.

We have a long way to go, people. A very long way.

Between this and Rush Limbaugh's equally deplorable tangent about Michelle-O having the nerve to actually eat a RIB[1] I can't help but wonder if there's some weird fetish thing going on here. People seem so overly obsessed with her physique, maybe they're actually attracted to her, and for whatever reason use these insults to cover admitting something that wouldn't be socially acceptable in their circles.

Cause sorry, but I don't look at these photos and see an unattractive woman. Not by a longshot.

Hmmm, so maybe there's something to that.

Question: What (if anything) will ever change the way that people who leave these sorts of comments view the world around them? Do those who critique Michelle-O's physique do so because they're secretly covering up their lust for her?

[1] Anyone else think that this obsession over ribs plays into stereotypes far better than a steak, or a burger? What a coincidence.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Will Melo Stay, Or Will Melo Go?!? Who Cares? UPDATED!

[UPDATE: Man, am I glad I ran this post Monday afternoon. Melo was traded to New York for darn near half the Knicks roster Monday night. In the end, unless the Knicks make some more moves quickly, they're basically gonna have two "stars" with the same strengths and weaknesses, surrounded by an aging Chauncey Billups and a lot of D-League level role players. This is still a .500 team at best, but man, are those Melo Knicks jerseys gonna fly off the shelves or what?]

If you aren't an NBA fan, you probably only know Carmelo Anthony as that tall, sorta goofy guy on all those Jordan Brand commercials. If you happen to be even moderately familiar with The Association, you probably know Anthony as the character behind the league's most unnecessary ongoing soap opera. For the uninitiated, Melo is one of the league's most prolific scorers, and a pretty entertaining player to watch because of his multiple ways to put the rock in the hole.

He can hurt you from outside, beat you down in the post, take you off the dribble, sink free throws, and just so happens to be one of the NBA's most clutch players. He also just happens to be a free agent at years end, and with his Denver Nuggets team on the ropes, there's a great chance he'll take his talents back to the Eastern Conference this offseason, since he theoretically would have a better chance at landing on a championship contender there. Much like last year's Where's Lebron Going?!? subplot, Anthony has fueled speculation that he wants to go to the the New York area. The Knicks and Nets have been waging a very public trade battle all season long, to see which team Melo will bless with his talents. Should the Nuggets not trade him, he'll probably walk for nothing, which would be a Cleveland Cavaliereque #fail. With the looming NBA lockout, Melo will probably lose some money if he doesn't sign an extension with some team immediately. Mix in an unsavory cast of supporting characters like Jay-Z, Melo's wife LaLa, the Nets' billionaire owner, and player father figure turned agent William "Worldwide" Wesley, and this whole thing takes on a life of its own. It has been the most over discussed item all season. Well, other than the total awesomeness of Blake Griffin, who totally, and completely ripped off my boy Javale McGee in this weekend's dunk contest.[1]

And that's why the NBA is the only sport that's more fun to talk about than actually watch.

Most people think Anthony, whether by trade or free agency will end up a Knick. The Nets are a terrible team playing in Newark, and present no easy trip to the playoffs, let alone the Finals. The Knicks are an overachieving .500 team that would need to give up a ton of its young talent to get Anthony. Other teams like the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks have been mentioned as darkhorses. The trade deadline is Thursday, so something (or nothing) will probably happen before then.

Personally, I don't think Anthony helps the Knicks at all. The proposed offer has half the Knicks team (and all their young talent) going to Denver for Anthony, a rapidly aging Chauncey Billups, and a bunch of throw-ins. Sorry, I just don't see how Anthony and Amare Stoudemire make the Knicks any better. Both are high usage[2] players who need the ball. Neither could defend my mother in the post. Both are so-so rebounders. They're essentially the same player. In return, the Knicks would give up draft picks, the vastly underrated Wilson Chandler, the slightly overrated (but still good) Danilo Galinari, the overachieving (and lately slumping) Raymond Felton, and virtually all of their cap space. You'd basically have Stat and Melo surrounded by a bunch of role players. The next CBA will probably limit their ability to add a 3rd player like Chris Paul. For all intents and purposes, you're trading a .500 team with youth and upside for a .500 team with vets who are at/near their career primes. Yeah, you'd sell a sh*tload of blue and orange #15 jerseys, but you still won't have homecourt advantage in a playoff series anytime soon.

Is that really worth it? I don't know. I'm sure the bandwagon Knicks fans reading this will chime in below.

Dallas (assuming they can put together an offer) would be the better fit. They've got young talent (Roddy Buckets!) and a boatload of late round draft picks they can pawn off. Assuming they keep the bulk of their nucleus, Melo adds an element of edge and mental toughness that this team (I'm lookin' at you Dirk!) sorely lacks. He would probably make them the odds on favorite to win it all. Get this done, now, Mark Cuban! This must happen!

But Melo, a Knick? Meh.

Question: Assuming you do care and do follow the NBA, what's the best fit for Melo? If you're going to drop a comment about how irrelevant the NBA is, and how lazy and thugged out the players are, and how you haven't watched since Jordan retired, please save the energy and take your keystrokes over to my latest post on AOL instead, please.

[1] Seriously, it was all rigged. From the Kia product placement, to the internet "voting". McGee never had a chance. But he won on originality alone. That's what the contest should be about, not popularity. Not saying Griffin isn't good (he's great actually), but he didn't deserve to win. Period.

[2] "High Usage" meaning the number of possessions that end with a certain player. It could be via turnover, shot attempt, or foul. Basically, it's a gauge of who's the biggest ball hog. Both of these guys are among the league leaders. Neither averages more than 2.8 assists/game. That's a surefire recipe for on-court disaster.

Blacks Have Suffered The Most Under Obama. So Why Are We Still Down?!?

I'm not gonna waste any time regurgitating the same ole' same ole' when it comes to questioning President Obama's thus far negligible effect on the black community. If you want this sort of analysis, you might wanna go elsewhere. When black unemployment is darn near 20% nationally, I think it's fair to say we've hardly reached the mountaintop. I think it's equally unfair to place all of the blame for this at the feet of the President when there are so many other factors that have contributed to our present state. In short, there's no simple, easy answer.

All that said, with Non-Oprah/Lebron/Tyler Perry Black America struggling mightily, at what point we are collectively gonna start giving Obama the side-eye? Most reputable polls still have Obama's approval rating among blacks in the 90%'s, and even my poll (which I'm running now!) routinely gives him a favorable grade. Is there any breaking point here? The Washington Post, in its typically lazy fashion, hinted at this strange dichotomy.
Despite severe losses during the recession, the majority of African Americans see the economy improving and are confident that their financial prospects will improve soon.

That optimism, shared to a lesser degree by Hispanics, stands in stark contrast to the deeper pessimism expressed by a majority of whites. In general, whites are more satisfied with their personal financial situations but also more sour about the nation's economic prospects.

Those are among the findings of a new Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation-Harvard University poll that probed attitudes in the wake of a downturn that more than doubled unemployment and wiped away nearly a fifth of Americans' net worth.

African Americans and Hispanics were more likely to be left broke, jobless and concerned that they lack the skills needed to shape their economic futures. But they also remained the most hopeful that the economy would soon right itself and allow them to prosper.

Whites, also buffeted by the long recession, are the most resentful of government action and far less optimistic about what is ahead financially, both for their own families and for the country as whole.

Whites are also far less likely than blacks or Hispanics to think their children will be better off than they themselves are now. Whites also are most likely to say, "It will be a long time before the economy recovers."

Nearly four in 10 African Americans said they adjusted their housing situations in the past three years to cope with the crisis. Nearly one in three borrowed money from friends or relatives to get by. More than a quarter lost their health insurance coverage or other benefits in the past year.

While the stated stress level among African Americans is lower, some data show a heavier toll. The downturn obliterated years of African American economic progress- strides that were on shaky ground even before the recession. The share of black adults who were working slid to 52 percent, nearly seven points behind whites and Hispanics. In 2001, nearly 65 percent of white adults and just over 60 percent of blacks were employed.
Strange findings indeed. The people most damaged by the recession (black folks) are the most optimistic that things will get better, while those generally least effected are the most pessimistic.

I've got my theories on what all this means, but I figure I'll ask ya'll instead.

Question: What does this study tell you about race in America? Are black folks giving Obama a free pass? Are white people being tougher on him than they would a white President?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Defund Obama's Teleprompter!!!

As if you needed more proof that the wingnuts have taken over the asylum formerly known as Congress...
The House formally began debate, which is expected to last three days, Tuesday afternoon following some wrangling over the hundreds of amendments lawmakers want to attach to the package. More than 400 amendments were filed Monday night. Among them were a proposal from Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., to eliminate funding for the president's Teleprompter and one from Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, to strip funding for the alteration, repair or improvement of the executive residence of the White House and instead divert that amount to deficit reduction.

Womack told Fox News Tuesday afternoon that he pulled his amendment because he wasn't able to get an estimate on how much it would save.

"I think we made our point," Womack said. "We're asking people to do more with less. And I think the president ought to lead by example. He is already a very gifted speaker. And I think that's one platform he could do without."
So, you got one moron who wants to eliminate funding for the teleprompter, as if that's gonna save much money. Call me nuts, but I always assumed that electrical devices don't need much other than electricity to work. But hey, I don't work for Pepco, so what do I know? This could actually be the thing that saves our country from financial ruin, and our children's children's children from being China's b*tch. Sorry Kenyan Dictator, you're gonna need use index cards like the rest of us Real Americans.

On the other hand, you've got an equally moronic proposal to basically stop paying for the upkeep and maintenance of The White House. Does this ingrate have any idea what happens when even a modest house falls into disrepair? If he needs a point of reference, maybe he should just drive around his home district and look at all the foreclosures littering block after block. Who cares though? Let the Obamas mow their own damn lawn since they're so darn incredible. Never mind the fact that restoring the White House to its former glory when a Republican (thankfully!) regains power would be far less cost effective. Nope, we're in a recession! Anything goes. Call that undocumented landscaper and tell him his services are no longer needed. If he shows up, call ICE! We mean bid'ness!

I've got a cost-cutting suggestion. Before the GOP lead Congress proposes cutting anything else, how about they slash their own salaries, forgo medical benefits and pensions, and do more with fewer staffers? You know, like the rest of us. That would probably shave far more off the deficit than the occasional changed lightbulb at 1600 Penn Ave.

Lord help us.

Question: If you're a Conservative, be honest for once. Doesn't this sort of irrational anti-Obama animus embarrass you just a wee bit? Guest Post - Facebook, Twitter & Texting: The Miseducation of The Young Money Generation.

[Editor's Note: My main man The Janitor from the excellent blog The Urban Politico weighs in with an interesting observation on kids nowadays. As usual, show our guest some love you-know-where.]

In my family, I happen to be the oldest of all my siblings.  On the opposite end of the spectrum from me is my kid brother who just recently graduated from high school.  Let me tell you about this character.  As a star athlete, my little brother was one of the most popular kids in his high school.  And the fact that he can dance like Chris Brown and Usher all but secured his permanent status among the "cool kids" and guaranteed his inclusion at all the parties where "anybody who's anybody" was sure to be in attendance.  In short, he was your quintessential teenager living the American dream.  Similarly, his entourage of young men and young women were equally as popular and successful in the high school universe. 

All of them, including my brother, can recite the lyrics of the latest Drake or Nicki Minaj song at the drop of a dime and will argue with you to no end as to why they are the greatest rappers of all time.  In addition to music, all of them, including my brother, have all the latest gadgetry when it comes to electronic communication tools.  Blackberries and iPhones come standard issue with this group, and each device is, of course, equipped with the most current software applications for Facebook, Twitter, Blackberry messenger, AOL instant messenger, text messaging, etc.  You name it, they've got it.  If a kid so much as picked his nose in the back of Mr. Wilson's math class at 10:16am, by 10:17am 1500 other kids all over the school had status updates and live stream video of the same event.

This generation's rapid adaptation and instant utilization of state of the art communication devices and electronic media is arguably unparalleled by any prior generation in American history.  There's just one minor problem for my kid brother and his generation of IDK LOL OMG bandits: these kids can't f***ing read!!!

Don't get me wrong, of course they can literally "read," but it's more like "reading" in the sense that somebody who can type the letters "IDK my BFF Jill" can "read."  If you tried to push them for actual coherent sentences with a noun and verb then Houston, we've got a problem.  At first I thought it was only my kid brother who had trouble with reading and writing at a high school graduate level, but then I started looking at his facebook wall and I quickly saw that he was not alone:
  • Kid A: "That sho was wacc foo."  [she's trying to say "That show was wack, fool."  I can let the "foo" slide but how do you misspell "Wack"???  That means you can't even get your insults right.]

  • Kid B: "Ha ha, sho was what u up to?" [this kid's trying to respond to Kid A with "Haha, it sure was.  What are you up to?" Notice there is no period at the end of the first thought.  Just one run-on stream of communication. Very common.]

  • Kid A: "Jus chillin tell i go to the mall." ["Just chillin' until I go to the mall."]

  • Kid C: "U2 don't no nothin about the mall." ["You two don't know anything about the mall."]

  • Kid A: "No U don't no nothing about the mall!" ["No, you don't know anything about the mall!"  Sometimes you can have a brain fart and use the word "no" when you meant to type "know" but this kid particularly bothered me because she used the incorrect usage immediately after she used the correct usage, indicating that in all likelihood she is probably unaware of when to use the word "know" at all]

  • Kid B: "haha, ur both wacc." ["Haha, you're both wack." Again, they're killing me with this "wacc" business.]
For fear of sounding like a "back in my day we walked uphill to school both ways" speech, I'll refrain from the condescending generational comparisons.  Besides, knowing how to speak the King's English has less to do with one's generation and more to do with proper parenting and schooling.  From that standpoint, I have to place a majority of the blame for my brother's shortcomings squarely on myself;  I've been away from home for some time but there's no reason why I should have a bachelor's degree and a law degree and my own kid brother is struggling to read at a junior high/middle school level after having graduated from high school.  (I would go in on the school system but that's another post for another day)

I will say, however, that one thing I've noticed about my brother's class is that they're all about the instant messaging.  Their communications with each other are limited to 140 characters or less.  That's cool if you already know how to read and write on an adult level, but if that's ALL that you know then that kind of limited interaction doesn't exactly develop critical thinking, let alone the ability to form complete sentences.  And for many of the young Black youth who are already at a disadvantage from under resourced schools and lack of educational encouragement in the home, it is particularly damaging.

This isn't to say that Facebook, Blackberry messenger, Twitter, etc. don't have their purpose.  Of course they do.  But keep in mind, when all these quick communication tools were developed, they were originally aimed at helping to provide a quick means of communication for those of us who were already educated with regard to formal communication.  Naturally, we would never use shorthand "IDK's" or "NVM"s in our professional communications with clients or bosses or in our final exams to our professors.  We know when to turn it off.  These kids don't.  And the more technology advances, the easier it is for them to fall into this trap.

Fortunately, my kid brother has a family who actually gives a damn about whether or not he is reading and writing at an adult level, but I know that there are plenty of families out there who don't.  That's why it is incumbent upon us, as a community, to really start taking an active role in making sure that our youth are being educated properly, especially in something as fundamental as knowing how to read and write.  In this new era, we can no longer sit back and assume that the schools will take care of everything.  They can not and they are not.   These new millennium kids are going to require the whole village.  I'm not saying that you have to quit your day job and go volunteer full time down at the Y, but certainly we can all make a conscious effort to do our own part:  talk to the youngsters in your family more often; make them write you on a regular basis; when they do write, make them write out actual e-mail messages as opposed to short text messages; don't allow them to use shorthand with you; ask them what they're learning in school.

Encourage them to aim higher and do better...because, contrary to popular belief, there is no app for that.

Question: What's up with kids nowadays? Has greater technology resulted in dumber kids?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

WorkPlace 101: Fired For Having A Beer On Facebook.

Teaching. It's probably the most important job one can take on, yet at the same time, one of the most taken-for-granted professions there is. Between unruly kids, disrespectful parents, and bullying overweight governors, teachers just get no respect, in addition to not really making much money. Still, as maligned as they are, they provide a service which keeps communities afloat.

That said, as much as a admire teachers, much like soldiers, theirs is a job I could never do. Why? Because you have to deal with nonsense like this.
With a pint of beer in one hand and a glass of wine in the other, the worst thing you could accuse Ashley Payne of is mixing her drink. But this happy holiday picture has cost the high school teacher her job after a parent spotted it on Facebook - and complained. The picture was taken while travelling around Europe in the summer of 2009.

But Miss Payne, 24, was shocked when she was summoned to the principal's office at Apalachee High School, in Winder, Georgia, and offered an ultimatum. She told CBS News: 'He just asked me, "Do you have a Facebook page?" 'And you know, I'm confused as to why I am being asked this, but I said, "Yes", and he said, "Do you have any pictures of yourself up there with alcohol?"' School officials also took offence to the use of the B-word on the page.

He then offered her an option: resign or be suspended. She chose to resign.

Miss Payne is now in a bitter legal battle with the school to get her job back.

The English teacher later found out it was one anonymous emailer who shopped her to the school board after seeing the picture on the social networking site.

But she is baffled how a parent could gain access to her page when she has all her privacy settings on 'high', meaning only her closest friends have permission to see her pictures.

She admits putting the 'offensive' pictures on Facebook but says she now feels as if she had stashed them in a shoebox at home for them to be stolen and showed to the principal.

Court documents reveal that officials warned teachers about 'unacceptable online activities'. They claimed her page 'promoted alcohol use' and 'contained profanity'.

She now wants to clear her name and claim back her job.
BTW, there's a great story from CBS News about this on YouTube, but since they're being total d*cks (as usual), I can't embed it here.

Lets not be be naive here. Yes, people get fired all the time for "objectionable behavior" over social media. That's not really anything new. Still, just how objectionable is holding two alcoholic beverages? And it's not like Mrs. Payne had the photos in full view. She supposedly had her privacy settings on "high", whatever the heck that means. As you can tell, I'm hardly Mr. Facebook. I am, however, Mr. Common Sense. And common sense would dictate that there's more to this story. Mrs. Payne was on The Alan Colmes Show the other night and indicated that this is a very conservative school district. Seems like an influential parent with an axe to grind was out to get her, and get her they did.

I suppose if there's any lesson here, it's to be really, really careful who you Friend.

Question: Does this teacher have a legitimate lawsuit, or is this simply frivolous? Does your employer have a policy on social media use? Are there some things you simply wont post online for fear of losing your Day Job? Does this infringe on your right to free speech, or does your employer have a reputation to protect at all costs?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Real Housewives Of Civil Rights.

Okay, I'm calling plagiarism on this one. Anyone who follows me on Twitter remembers my rant on what it would have been like if MediaTakeOut and WorldStarHipHop were around during the civil rights era. This Youtube clip from the Elite Delta Force 3 comedy troupe takes my concept and mixes it with a sendup of The Real Housewives Of Atlanta. Regrettably, hilarity does not ensue.

The problem here, is, well, the sh*t just ain't that funny. And whoever cast Wayne Brady as MLK needs to be forced to watch Eyes On The Prize for 4 days straight. That's just wrong, wrong, wrong.

Sorry, this was just weak. Great concept, unfunny execution.

Question: What did you think about The Real Housewives Of Civil Rights? Should this sort of exploitation of black history be considered off limits, or is the real offense the fact that it just wasn't funny enough?

Armchair Obama™: You Fix The Deficit.

[Editor's Note: Since everyone (yours truly included) thinks they know how to do the job of the President far better than the President himself, I figured why not turn this into a new recurring feature. Introducing Armchair Obama™, a pretty self-explanatory concept if there ever was one.]

The deficit is a problem. I don't think many people would disagree with this, although there are plenty of differing explanations as to how we went from a record surplus a decade ago to swimming in red ink now. Since it's pretty much universally agreed upon that we've got a problem, the natural inclination is to suggest a solution. The President and the GOP (not surprisingly) have some very contrasting views on how to get America back in the black, and thus prevent our children's children's children from being China's b*tch in everything not called Olympic basketball.[1]

The President, in his typical pragmatic fashion prefers to wield a scalpel and dissect our annual obligations one by one. His preliminary plan is to slash 200+ gubb'ment programs that don't work. Call me nuts, but if the programs aren't working, why the hell didn't this occur to someone well before now? Additionally, the President will raise taxes on the rich next year, although history might show that he wasn't exactly successful in a similar endeavor, oh, say, about 8 weeks ago. In somewhat of a contradiction, Obama also plans to offset these new taxes and program cuts with strategic investments (read: spending) in areas like high speed rail and high speed internet. No, that's not a skipping record. Yes, we heard those very same promises a few years back as part of the justification for the $800B Stimulus Package. Both are shortsighted notions that will ultimately be epic fails. Seriously, America ain't Europe. As much as we complain about TSA and airlines, nobody is gonna revert to taking some newfangled Amtrak just to "see the countryside". Ditto for the internet nonsense. WiFi's been around for nearly a decade now. If some private company didn't see a profit in extending FiOS to yokels in rural Idaho, why the heck does Obama think the gubb'ments going to have a better value prop for such a service. If you read between the talking point lines of "cutting waste" and "strategic investments", it's pretty clear Obama's punting on 3rd down here. Deficit Schmeficit. This is America, and damnit, we know debt. Just max out another ChinaCard™. Worked for Bush, works for us.

On the other end of the idiot, excuse me, ideological spectrum is the Republican Party. In an irrational effort to prove their mettle to the approximately 7-8% of Real Americans of Tea Party Persuasion, the GOP is saying damn the scalpel, lets pull out a chainsaw. I guess I should give Boehner and Co. some credit for living up to their starry eyed campaign promise to cut $100B in spending this year. But that's about the extent of the props they'll get here. Seriously, have you taken a look at what these ingrates are proposing? Cuts to school funding. Cuts to police officers. Cuts to food safety. Cuts to NIH research. Cuts to services for children and mothers. Cuts to the military. Populists, but ultimately fruitless cuts to PBS, NPR, and the NEA. Cuts to public transit and public works projects. Eliminating AmeriCorps and Teaching For America. Cuts in healthcare. More tax cuts for oil companies. Curiously absent: pay cuts for themselves. Also absent, despite months of selling wolf tickets: entitlement reform. These guys can talk all the trash they want, but they're too chicksh*t to touch a TeaBagger's Social Security benefits. It's a lot easier to just slash some welfare Mom's WIC check. Nobody gives a sh*t about welfare Moms or their welfare kids anyway.

If given the choice between the lesser of these two evils, I'd prolly ride with Obama. Making rash decisions without thinking about the longterm implications seems to be the basic gist of the GOP plan. Seriously, I understand repaying those who put you in office, but the sheer magnitude and thoughtlessness with which their cuts are implemented tells me we'd be simply trading one problem for about 50 others. Obama's plan makes some modest cuts, but offsets them with some plain ole' stupid spending that won't do anything to boost the economy. His plans to raise corporate taxes and (supposedly) hit the rich up come 2012 seems reasonable, but there's far too much uncertainty about the ripple effects of those two concepts. Basically, this is like #fail vs $FAIL. Take your pick, either way it's a loss.

What do ya'll think? Armchair Obamas™, you are on the clock.

Question: How would you get the deficit under control? What would you cut, and what would absolutely be off the table? Whose plan do you prefer?

[1] As long as there's a brother with a ball and an unsavory agent willing to pay him under the table, we'll never, ever, ever lose to Team China. Beleedat.

Shirley Sherrod's Revenge.

Since The Shirley Sherrod Media Redemption Tour™ Sponored By Luster's Pink Oil Moisturizer© ended months ago, everyone's favorite ex-USDA worker has been pretty silent. But wouldn't you know it, after months of silence (and probably receiving unemployment checks) Mrs. Sherrod's back with a vengance, hitting the man who caused this whole travershamockery where it hurts.
A former Department of Agriculture employee who was forced to resign last year after the posting of a misleading video has filed suit against Andrew Breitbart, the conservative blogger who posted it.

Shirley Sherrod's suit was filed in District of Columbia Superior Court on Friday. The civil suit accuses Breitbart of "defamation, false light and infliction of emotional distress," according to a statement issued by the law firm representing her.

"This lawsuit is not about politics or race," Sherrod said in the statement. "It is not about right versus left, the NAACP or the Tea Party. It is about how quickly, in today's internet media environment, a person's good name can become 'collateral damage' in an overheated political debate.

"I strongly believe in a free press and a full discussion of public issues, but not in deliberate distortions of the truth," Sherrod said. "Mr. Breitbart has never apologized for what he did to me and continues -- to this day -- to make the same slurs about my character."

Breitbart, meanwhile, said in a statement, "I find it extremely telling that this lawsuit was brought almost seven months after the alleged incidents that caused a national media frenzy occurred." He said he believes it is "no coincidence" that the suit was filed the day after he held a news conference calling for a congressional investigation into the settlement of a case -- Pigford v. Glickman -- reached more than a decade ago between the USDA and minority farmers.
Get that money, Mrs. Sherrod! Breitbart deserves to be put out of business for this bullcrap.

Question: Does Shirley Sherrod have a legitimate lawsuit on her hands?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Racist Or Harmless?!? - Fat Michelle.

Much of the criticism of first lady Michelle Obama on cable news and talk radio is typically levied at her supposed "nanny state" approach to children's nutrition and alleged Marie Antoinette sensibility. But if you're willing (or able) to stomach reading comments on blogs like The Fox Nation, you'll see that many people really, really, really hate Michelle-O. She's routinely assailed for supposedly being fat, looking like an ape, and being a racist, socialist, America-hating scumbag. If you had any doubts about just how post-racial our country really is, I'd suggest you have a gander at bullsh*t like this. Hopefully you had a light breakfast.

That said, I'm not so sure if I wanna brand Conservative douchebag Andrew Breitbart's latest assault on the first lady as pure unadulterated racism. I'm just postracial like that.
First lady Michelle Obama is often praised for her taut arms and athletic physique. So why is a cartoon depicting her with fat cheeks, a double-chin and chowing down a platter full of hamburgers?

The cartoon appears on The man behind the site is blogger and conservative firebrand Andrew Breitbart.

In the cartoon, the first lady is shown saying: "I've stepped up my efforts to control America?s eating habits by telling restaurants to lower portion sizes and fat content." The drawing shows a plump Mrs. Obama working her way through a plate full of hamburgers and fries.

In contrast, President Obama thinly drawn at her side- is shown eating what appears to be light vegetables from a near-empty plate.

"Michelle, I want to get re-elected. What you're doing is only going to annoy a lot of people," the cartoon depicts the president as saying.

"Shut up and pass the bacon!" the first lady shoots back in the drawing.
Here's the full toon. Check it out and make the call.
Aww, who the heck am I kidding? That sh*t is racist!

Question: What do you think? Is this merely a harmless cartoon making a political statement or some ole racist BS?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Basketball Wives: cRap Music Edition

I know, I know. The last thing the world needs is yet another mostly scripted "reality show". But no need to lie, I'll probably check this one out.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Random AB-ness.

I'm still pretty busy today with The Day Job, and yes, I realize the blog's been pretty slow this week. I'll be back on my grizzly Monday. But here's some stuff you might wanna go check out in the meantime...

I wrote a piece over at AOL called Cheap Valentine's Day: The Working Man's Guide to a Recession-Friendly Valentine's Day. It's pretty much what it sounds like.

I contributed a piece to my homegirl OneChele's theme week.

Got a new piece on The Loop 21 about the Congressman Chris Lee scandal dropping sometime this morning.

Thursday, February 10, 2011 Guest Post - Did The Black Eyed Peas Kill Hip Hop?!?

[Editor's Note: my homie and fellow North Carolinian Da' Smoking Ace goes in on the strange phenomenon of the Black Eyed Peas, and whether they're actually good for hip hop. As usual, show our guest some love you-know-where.]

Like everybody was doing Sunday, I was watching the Super Bowl, loving the commercials (s/o to Em for his Chrysler commercial showing Detroit, it is much needed in this day in America), and eating lots of food. Unlike many of the Super Bowl fanatics, I just could not stand watching Bill O’Reilly giving his no-spin zone to Barack Obama because Bill O’Reilly loves going after people he knows he can control and get away with it (try that with those protesters in Egypt then I will give you some type of credit.), nor did I watch the Super Bowl halftime show with the Black Eyed Peas because I have a disdain for people who sold out on hip-hop. Here is my gripe on “The Black-Eyed Peas.”

Me and my blogger brother in the N.C, Citizen Ojo, were having a nice conversation about this during the Chicago Bears-Seattle Seahawks NFC Divisional Playoff Game. Decades ago, I really thought that the Black-Eyed Peas were going to be the West Coast version of my favorite group “A Tribe Called Quest.” Not because the elements that were similar,(Will.I.Am being the next Q-Tip, Taboo and being the next Ali Muhammed and Phife Dog) but because they were different in their own way of race (one black, one Filipino, and one Hispanic). I remember the first album called Behind The Front due to their hit “Joints & Jam” with artist Kim Hill.

It is still to me a bonafide hip-hop classic in many cases. In 2000, they collabed with singer Macy Gray on “Request Line”. It was a pretty nice song that hit #2 on the Rap Singles chart. Yes the same time the Hot Boyz (Juvenile, B.G., Turk, and some lil knucklehead name Lil Wayne) was blazing the whole U.S. The same year Bad Boy was at their peak. So the question to me from 2000 to 2001 what happened?

[Editor's Note: I also liked Behind The Front. A lot. Sure, the Peas were a little deficient on the mic. Okay, a lot deficient. But their style of eclectic and diverse hip hop was refreshing. I'll also note that their sophomore album, on which they tried to go more "hip hop" with production by DJ Premier, caught a serious brick sales-wise. That pretty much explains all you need to know about their subsequent shift in musical focus. I can't hate the players, or the game. I do, however, hate the music.]

Well development at Interscope came. Dumped Kim Hill because she wasn’t black enough and got a singer that was not black at all to coincide with the Rainbow Coalition that was already happening. Fergie did so much up and down to this group. She gave them international appeal and killed the group once coined “one of the last few rap crews in the game.” What happened is that they became more pop than hip-hop.

Sometimes I really think the Black-Eyed Peas played a part of the “Who killed the hip-hop group?” theory. It was a big….and quick decision to either get back into hip-hop or go pop. Well, three double platinum LPs, a song (and parody thanks to Aaron MacGruder) for our nation’s president, and many tours around the world, we see where this group went.

Now I am sitting here thinking three things. “Was it worth it?” “Would I still think of "Joints & Jam" the same way I think of "I'mma Be? “Are they the expanded version of A Tribe Called Quest?”

….Well I don’t know, but I tell you my friends. That playing College Football 2010 on PS3 was worth playing than the halftime show.

Question: What do you think about the Black Eyed Peas? Did they sell out, or cash in? Is there a way to maintain your artistic integrity and still move units?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011 Open Mic - 2.9.11

As you can probably surmise, I'm having a hard time keeping the blog up and going right now. It's not just The Day Job and my side hustles keeping me busy, I also just happen to be a bit low on bloggable material and creativity. It happens.

On that note, I'm turning the blog (back) over to you guys. Drop links, start your own convos, keep it poppin'. I'll be back on the wagon soon.

Question: What's on your mind today?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Laugh Break - Deon Cole.

A quick set from one of my favorite comedians, Chi-Town's own, Deon Cole.

Monday, February 7, 2011 Hot Topics - 2.7.11

Yep. I'm late. Reaaaaal late. It's Monday. Time to get that paper again. In the meantime, here's today's Hot Topics.

Super Bowl - Gotta be honest here. Mike Tomlin is a fella Kappa Man, so I can't talk too bad about him. But d*mn if his Steelers didn't look unprepared and overmatched. If you didn't know better, you'd assume they'd never been there before. I'm not saying he should be on the hot seat, but that was one lousy showing yesterday.

The Black Eyed Peas - Am I wrong for admitting that I sorta enjoyed this?

Obama vs O'Reilly - Honestly, this was the rare Fox News interview that didn't tick me off. Obama was pretty elusive, and Bill-O really asked some softball/open ended questions at him.

The Super Bowl Commercials - Mostly blah. That Pepsi Maxx ad has
all the sistas up in arms, but come on, there's some truth to every joke.

The Roseanne Snickers commercial caught a brick. The Kim K Sketchers spot was pretty lame. I liked Eminem's Nestea ad. The Chrsyler ad, not so much.

AOL Buys The Huffington Post Season Finale - Considering the fact that I sorta work (freelance) for AOL, you'd think I'd have an opinion. I don't.

BUY THIS STOCK NOW!!!- I'm not trying to pull a 50 Cent on ya'll, but if you wanna invest some money in an individual stock that's on the rise, go check out Sirius XM Radio. The symbol's SIRI. Do you own research, and invest wisely.

Question: What's on your mind today?

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Single Files™ Episode 3 - OneChele Returns.

[Editor's Note: The Single Files™ continues with more real talk from my homegirl OneChele who runs the outlandishly successful blog Black -N- Bougie. She's also a published author with a couple of relationship-related novels that you'd probably enjoy. Today, she weighs in on the silly power struggle over who's supposed to call who, and when. Damn, I'm happy I'm married and don't have to deal with that sh*t no more. Show our guest some love you-know-where.]

Someone please cue up Prince’s version of "How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore" and hum along with me, won’t you? No? Okay, I’ll get to my point.

Over in BougieLand, we have frequent (far too many probably) discussions about relationships. Recently we had a girl write in and ask for advice. No I’m not a relationship advisor, I sometimes play one on the blogosphere. This young lady met a guy, they vibed, exchanged phone numbers. He texted and called for four days straight and then… nothing. It was a few days later and she had heard nada. She asked what she should do.

A seemingly innocent question erupted into chaos in the comment section. A majority of the females said for her to forget about him and move on. If he wanted her, he would call. Since he hadn’t, he didn’t. They further went on to caution her not to call or initiate anything so that she wouldn’t be stuck in the role of aggressor. The men overwhelming thought she should at least call and say “Hey”. They said sometimes if a man has done all the initiating, he would like some sort of a sign (like a phone call) that he’s not the only one with some stake in the game.

I wrote a post called Who’s the Rabbit? in which I shared my thoughts that men should be the hunters. Women shake a tailfeather, men chase – basically. If a rabbit jumps in a man’s lap begging to be stew meat, that’s one desperate rabbit. It was a metaphor. Please don’t come at me y'all – where’s your feminism?

But a phone call? That seemed a simple enough request. But then I recall the lifelong drama over phone calls. It was bad enough “back in the day” when a man said “I’ll call you” and didn’t. One of my all time pet peeves. Don’t even put it out there if you don’t plan on calling. Just say, “It was nice seeing you” “Had a great time” or even “Drop dead” – all of that is better than “I’ll call you later” followed by silence.

But now with the advent of texting and tweeting and emailing and whatnot… you have to conclude that if you don’t hear from somebody – they are just not that into you. Other red flags? If you leave a message for someone and they return it with a text. And now you have the young ‘uns that say they “don’t talk on the phone” at all. They only text. What part of the game is that? You can’t get the same inflections, tones and nuances from 140 characters that you can infuse into a five minute conversation.

But I’m old school.

Question: Does the balance of power in a relationship really hinge on who initiates the most phone calls? Ladies, if a guy suddenly stops calling, do you call him? Fellas, how long do you typically wait to call/text a lady after you meet her for the first time?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Remakes We REALLY Didn't Need: Omarion's "Come And Talk To Me".

I'm gonna reserve my opinion on this, not because I don't have one, but because I'm hoping to get paid for it. In the meantime, here's former B2K lead singer, and general annoyance Omarion, ruining the Spring of 1992 for all of us.

Question: What did you think of Omarion's "Come And Talk To Me" remake?!? Guest Post - Stuff Black People Need To Let Go Of.

[Editor's Note: My homie Wu Young of the brilliant and like-minded blog Up Here On Cloud Nine goes in on some stuff black folks just need to leave behind this year. In the spirit of Black History Month, maybe we all need to collectively stop "keeping score" of this stuff, and just move on. As usual, show our guest some love you-know-where.]

February is the month of the year set aside to school the country on the contribution of blacks. This is usually done by pandering to black audience via shoddy documentaries that repeat the same black history fact over and over again, showing “black” movies that are about black historical figures, and there is usually a gospel choir or four involved too. So it’s Wu Young to the rescue. I’m going to try to hip the world, meaning the Thirteen of you who read this to some new black facts and issues facing us. So throughout this month most of my posts are going to be extra black. Blacker than the middle of your eye. Blacker than Crunchy Black, Flavor Flav, and Yaphet Kotto floating on old tires in the middle of the ocean at 2:32 a.m. with heavy cloud cover and a slight northeasterly breeze. I hope y’all enjoy the next 20-some days.

A few weeks ago the nation, along with Toronto, Canada and Hiroshima, Japan celebrated Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday. It goes without saying but MLK was a peace loving cat. During the days following MLK day I thought about a few issues that MLK would stand behind and all I could come up with was keeping score. MLK obviously had to know how to endure things and let things go while he was striving to carve out a place for minorities, and the nations poor. Dude honestly turned the other cheek like no other. He simply didn’t keep score; he just played the game in front of him to ensure victory.

You see I'm the type of guy that holds a grudge. This is quite the character flaw but I'm working on it. In my quest to amend my little character quirk I began to realized that keeping score and holding grudges just takes too much damn energy. Energy that I can ill afford to misplace or squander of bulls*ta** things that I cannot do anything about.

On another blog that I read often I made the comment the we, members of the Legion of Those Who Are Darker-Hued [1] have a penchant for keeping score on issues, people, and things that we feel that have slighted us in the past. This due to our troubled history in the Diaspora, specifically these United States of America. The bulk of our time here has been one tiring up hill struggle after another. These struggles have shaped our racial persona in every way possible. It is the basis of the way we walk, talk, eat, pray and treat our fellow Americans who aren't members of the Legion of Those Who Are Darker-Hued and our fellow Legionnaires.

So anyhow, like I said MLK was all about peace and part of being at peace deals with letting things go. So after some thought, I decided to jot a few things down that I, as a member of the Legion think that my fellow legionnaires should stop keeping score on.

Black men ain't.../Black women ain't...

As far as counterproductive conversations go this one may be the absolute pointless.[2] Guess what? This conversation, no matter how it starts, only leads to hours of mindless disappointment with no clear resolution. (Kind of like playing Metroid or watching one of those Tavis Smiley style town hall meetings that they have on C-SPAN with all of the self-appointed so called black leaders that no black people that I know ever voted on.) No matter the outcome we have to stop going on about what black men and women do or don't do. (We should try doing it together sometimes. That could be a step in the right direction.) The same goes for what both sides in the debate are or aren't.

Light-skin/Dark-skin Issues.


You’re in the skin you’re in.

I'm not even sure why this even matters anymore. It's insane to me. My inherent yellowness does not make me any better or worse than any one else. I’ve known this for about 27 of my 31 years. Black folks are the Crayola 64 pack of people. Our aforementioned history has allowed us to run the complexion gamut like very few races. (Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and Dominicans are other very colorful people.)

Many however, seek to use our complexions as a point of contention as to how we are treated by one another. This has come up as an issue in various arenas from being a news anchor to a video vixen. This doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. Colorism among blacks is just another hindrance that we should leave behind us and stop keeping track of if we want to get ahead. I think we should look at this particular issue as a vestigial remain like our wisdom teeth. When they/it aren’t bothering us things are fine but when the issue/teeth arises or acts up bad times will be had by all. We don’t need them for anything whatsoever.

Besides when I look at Q-Tip, he says "Black is black!"

The Confederate Flag Issue

This one is mainly for my folks at the bottom of the map. This flag, the one that you see on bumper stickers and the General Lee IS NOT THE FLAG OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA. It’s actually this one right here. I still don’t understand how symbols of treason can remain flying but this blog ain’t about that.

I really wish the NAACP would forego their head-long arguments against those who wish to keep this rag flying and fight a fight with a better prize. Fight for the improvement of schools along the Corridor of Shame. Work with local chambers of commerce to get jobs and job training to those you need. These two things are worth screaming and yelling about. How about trying to keep Alvin Greene out of office. That may be cool too.

Racial Slights/Who Hates Me

Remember when I said keeping score takes too much energy? Well keeping track of how may hate you for whatever reason is more tiring is even more tiring. Let it go. Yeah it’s cool to tell them to eff off occasionally but keep it moving. You’ve got your life to live so please do it.

These are just a few things that I thought of right off bat. I know there are more things that we as individuals can stand to get the hell over and stop keeping score/track/tally on but what are yours? Give me some more issues that we need to move past so that we can get our lives on track? Remember these are just things I think, so feel free to agree, disagree, or issue a fatwa against me if I upset you that much.

Vaya con Dios.

Question: What are some other "resolutions" that black folks as a whole need to adopt this black history month?

More from Wu Young [UpHereOnCloud9]

[1] This is my cutesy name for black folks. Forgive me, I don’t do cutesy well.

[2] By "counterproductive conversations" I mean "pointless screaming matches".

Wednesday, February 2, 2011 Makes It To The Big Leagues (Again) !!!

About six months ago, I told ya'll about my new (for pay) side-gig over at AOL BlackVoices. In the time since, I've gone on to pen several stories for the site, and it's been a great opportunity for exposure to a very different audience of readers.

As the adage goes, when it rains it pours. I'm truly blessed to announce that I've now got yet another (paying) side gig, this time as a columnist at TheLoop21!!!

You probably already noticed the site's icon on the left sidebar, which I discreetly dropped over there last week. While I typically write opinion pieces with a financial bent over at BlackVoices, my stories for TheLoop21 will mostly be political in nature. There's not really much of an overlap between the two opportunities, so I can basically do them both. I'd like to thank my cybercousin Danielle Belton (aka: The Black Snob), who is now the fulltime Money & Politics Editor at TheLoop21, for giving me this great opportunity.

I know what you're wondering: What does this mean for!?

Well, I'd like to tell you that this blog will be continually updated, but reality is, now with two (paying!!!) side-gigs in addition to a real Day Job and a family, something is finally gonna have to give, and it will probably be this blog. It's sad, but it's true. You've probably already seen a slowdown in the frequency and length of posts in recent weeks. It's not the end of this blog by any means, I'm simply shifting much of the content that would typically show up here to my other (paying!) opportunities.

I hope everyone understands, and most importantly, follows my work on the other sites. I'll try and make a habit of dropping links to new stories here once they're published, but you can always just follow me at BlackVoices here, and on TheLoop21 here.

- Jay

Black History In The Making: Ursula Burns.

Black History Month officially began yesterday, and I celebrated the occasion by posting a video of a black man inadvertently pimpslapping his child while playing a game of XBox Kinect. Yep, I'm just progressive like that.

To atone for this oversight, I'm presenting the first of a new series called Black History In The Making. Sure, we all know about female trailblazers like Mary McLeod Bethune, Madame CJ Walker, and Shirley Chisolm. But black history is being made today by women other than Oprah Winfrey and Nicki Minaj Michelle Obama. A year or so ago, a black woman became the CEO of a Fortune 500 company for the first time ever. In postracial America, I'm a bit surprised that this accomplishment didn't get the attention it deserved, and I'd like to correct that today.

At age 51, Ursula Burns leads the iconic corporation Xerox, and in 2009, Forbes rated her the 14th most powerful woman in the world. Not the country, the whole effin' world!!! Her bio, which was very well detailed in a 2010 New York Times piece, is a story of determination, hard work, loyalty, and keepin' it real. I know stories of success in the corporate world aren't nearly as sexy or exciting as talking about Lebron or even, God forbid, Gucci Mane, but reality is by the time she retires, Mrs. Burns (who makes about $12M a year in total compensation) will have probably outearned both of them.

Even better, her story is one that virtually anyone can replicate. She went to school, educated herself, and worked her ass off to rise to the top of her profession. It's attainable example of success that doesn't depend on singing well or standing 7 feet tall.

If you'd like to read an inspiring story of an amazing woman who's making black history everyday that doesn't include a single mention of the words "stripper pole", read this piece in its entirety, and print it out for every one of your nieces, and nephews for that matter.

Well done, Mrs. Burns.

Xerox’s New Chief Tries to Redefine Its Culture [NYTimes]