Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ashy Or Classy?!? - Herman Cain's Weird Campaign Video.

Herman "Daddy Green" Cain declared his intentions to run for The Person Whom Obama Will Soundly Thrash In 2012 last weekend. Subsequent declarations (and mere flirtations) by bigger name candidates have taken some of the luster off Cain's surprising post-Fox News debate bump a few weeks back, so he's asserting his credentials with a new web video.

Look, I'm all for the low budget and grimy approach to getting your name out there. When guys like Romney and Pawlenty are releasing multimillion dollar, Hollywood-style campaign videos, taking the low road might be a good way to stand out. This, however, might be just a wee bit too low budget and waaay too Ashy.

As for Cain, I'm still trying to figure out how to feel about this guy. I admire his humble roots, Morehouse education, and rise to the top of Corporate America by merely working harder than the next man. That's some consummate "Real American" stuff right there.

On the other hand, this dude's straight out of Central Casting For Black Conservatives. He has no original ideas. His whole platform is based on trashing Obama. He plays the self-loathing "the Democratic Party is holding black people back" talking point like he wrote it. And his dalliances with the Tea Party are troubling to say the least. Something tells me Cain, who has been out of Corporate America and running a lousy talk radio show for the past decade, is just using this run for President as a Grand Hu$tle the springboard to a Huckabee-style Fox News comeup. There's no shame in that.

There is shame in this lame video though. Ashy!

Question: Ashy Or Classy?!? What do you think of Herman Cain's chances of winning the GOP nod? What about this video?


A popular Congressman. Twitter. A young black woman. Pictures of "junk". Hacked twitpic accounts? A Conservative hit job?

Man, how'd I miss this one over the weekend?

Personally, I don't trust anything with the word "Breitbart" attached to it, and I sure as heck hope Weiner takes this slimeball to court just like Shirley Sherrod did.

Question: Is Congressman Weiner guilty of sending girls pictures of his ****, or is this yet another Breitbart scam?!?

ArmChair Obama™: How Do You Fix Gas Prices?!?

If you've got a car, chances are you do the same "grin and bear it" routine every time you go to fill your car up. Topping off my family's moderate sized crossover SUV runs me nearly $80. Before someone says "that's what you get for buying an SUV!", I'd like to ask you what the alternatives are. Public transpo isn't feasible if you have a family. It isn't cheap either, since going from one end of a given DC Metro Line to the other can easily run you $6 (per rider) now. Taking the bus would conceivably be cheaper, but that's sorta hustlin' backwards. You can't exactly drop kids off the school on a rickshaw either. Again, grin and bear it.

I wish there was some magic fix for our out of control fuel costs, but there isn't. As much as politricians prattle on and on about "Drill, Baby Drill", reality is the US makes such a small percentage of the world's supply of oil that we clearly can't solve this problem by just relocating a few polar bears in Anwar. We also use waaaay too much oil relative to other nations, and are #1 with a bullet when it comes to gas guzzling. China is #2 and has 3x our population, but for various reasons only uses half the number of barrels a day. Again, when you use waaaay more than you (can possibly ever hope to) make, something's gonna have to change.

President Obama has invested lots and lots of money and political capital into nudging Real Americans towards energy efficient vehicles. The GOP claps back at him at every turn, insisting that Americans don't need to be "forced" to drive a damn Prius. This in the rare political case study in which the two parties are both right and wrong.

Obama is correct in trying to advocate Americans changing their habits, and his Cash For Clunkers program, combined with pressuring Detroit to raise energy standards shows he's got a decent blueprint. But this starry optimism overlooks some basic tenets of American culture: we like driving big and fast cars. People love Suburbans and Camaros. It's what makes us who we are. This isn't Denmark. We aren't gonna start riding Huffys everywhere. That'll never happen. This is Amurricah! USA! USA! USA!

As for the GOP, they're correct that Americans love what they love and don't want to bother with charging a battery when simply going to Sunoco will suffice. Changing cultural attitudes isn't something that happens overnight, and it definitely won't happen at the insistence of a guy who labels himself a "Citizen Of The World" and has a Photoshopped birth certificate. But as usual, this perfectly reasonable argument gets lost in the typical GOP talking points of "indoctrination" and faux patriotism.

If you made it through that entire video without your head exploding, enjoy a Cyber CapriSun™. Drink's on me.

Besides, both arguments ignore a simple facet of capitalism: hybrid cars cost too damn much. Until the entry price point for hybrid vehicles becomes more palatable, people are simply gonna buy what makes the most sense to them. Why buy a puny Ford Fusion Hybrid for $30k when you can get a kickass, loaded Chrysler 300 for the same amount?

This is neither here nor there. Gas will still hover around $4 unless people simply quit driving (and thus stop filling up) as frequently. When demand drops, so do prices. It happened in late 2008, and it'll happen again.

Then again, that's just my view. Play Armchair Obama™ and tell me what you'd do.

Question: What did you think the President can do to lower gas prices?!? What would you do to remedy the situation?

NBA Finals Open Thread.

Among the many things I love about the NBA is the fact that the sport runs virtually year round. Think about it: the preseason begins in early October, the playoffs run till mid-June, there's the draft, then Summer League and the annual free-agency bonanza in July. August and September are like crackhead withdrawal for me, but even then, there's a million and one trade and free agency rumors floating around. It's like the gift that keeps of giving.

The ribbon on that gift is obviously the NBA Finals, and as a Wizards fan, I find this year's matchup sorta weird. There are a grand total of 7 ex-Wizards littering the rosters of the Heat and Mavs.

Miami has Mike Bibby, who was so depressed about being traded to DC this season that he suited up for all of two games before asking for a buyout. Seriously, the dude forked over about $7M to take his talents to South Beach. Mike Miller was on the squad last season, and seems to have taken his hesitant shooting routine South, where he's generally regarded as a terrible free agent decision. Speaking of terrible free agent decisions: ladies and gentlemen... Juwan Howard.

As for the Mavs, they've got a trio of players sent to the Lone Star State in the wake of last year's post-Gilbert GunGate fire sale. Caron Butler is a slightly overrated complimentary player who got injured early in the season, but wears some really cool suits at the end of the bench. Brenda, oops, Brendan Haywood is as stiff as ever, but does well in the limited minutes he plays off the bench. I don't know what DeShawn Stevenson does for the Mavs. He presumably plays defense, so I guess he's draw D-Wade. Brian Cardinal was allegedly on the team during The Jordan Era. Personally, I don't remember him, and I'm a die hard fan.

If you were lulled to sleep by the prior two paragraphs, it's safe to start reading again now.

Calling this series is gonna be tough. Since I have a deep seated disdain for how Miami assembled their SuperTeam™, I'm obviously riding with Dallas here. I also went to a Mavs playoff game when I was in Dallas a few weeks ago, so there's that. I think Dallas has a more diversified offense and Miami has no counterbalance for Dirk. The Heat's defense can be downright stifling, and Lebron and Wade can absolutely emasculate an opposing squad when they go on one of those steal-pass-fastbreak dunk sprees. This is about as evenly matched a pair of teams as you'll see.

In the end though, I'm gonna begrudgingly pick Miami in 6.

Ouch, it hurt to type that.

Question: Who will win it all, and in how many games?!? Why?

Monday, May 30, 2011

AB.com Open Mic - Memorial Day Edition.

There is no blog today. What the heck are you doing here?!?

Go crash a cookout. Go to a baseball game. Hug your children. Make passionate love to your significant other. Plant some flowers. Fly a kite. Reorganize your closet. Go visit a sick and shut in family member. Learn all the words to "Lift Every Voice".


Whatever you do, don't come back here till tomorrow, for crissakes.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Eddie Long Settles Out Of Court.

I hate to say I told you so, but... I told you so.
Some current and former members of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church expressed relief Thursday that sexual misconduct lawsuits against the church and its prominent leader, Bishop Eddie Long, have been resolved.

Attorneys involved in the four lawsuits against Long, the LongFellows Youth Academy and the 25,000-member Lithonia megachurch said the case had been settled but declined to comment further. The case is expected to be dismissed "with prejudice" -- meaning the defendant cannot be sued by the plaintiffs again in the same alleged offense -- by close of business Friday, said Barbara Marschalk, who represents New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and LongFellows Youth Academy.

B.J. Bernstein, who represents the four men who sued Long, New Birth and the academy, also confirmed the lawsuits had been settled. The academy was named in three of the suits.

Without a settlement, the case would have likely gone to trial this summer or fall.
Word on the streets (aka: Black Folks Twitter) is that Long settled for a cool $15 Million dollars!!!


I wonder where that money's coming from? If I'm a member of New Birth I'd prolly want some assurance that my tithes and offerings aren't going towards this. Nah, bump assurance, I want proof that my money isn't being spent to protect what remains of Eddie Long's reputation.

Sorry to get all preachy, because I absolutely hate it when people stereotype all preachers with the same "shady" umbrella. But I'd be giving Long a serious side eye if I was a member of New Birth right about now. If you did nothing wrong, you fight this tooth and nail in court. Even if you exhumed the body of Johnnie Cochran to defend you, you wouldn't run up a $15M legal bill, so saying "it was cheaper to avoid a trial" is pure bullsh*t. Since he chose not to fight that most scurrilous allegation someone can levy against a man, I'm gonna have to assume that much of that his accusers said is true. What other conclusion would a sensible person come to?

Since this is all a done deal, there's no need to remain silent anymore. Daddy Eddie LongStroke owes his congregation a serious explanation for this one.

Question: Does this settlement surprise you? Did Long play this one perfectly or what? Will these allegations follow him for life or will they be a mere footnote in his epitaph?

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Plight Of The Non-Light Skinned Black Woman.

Press Play. Then discuss.

Talking Heads Behaving Badly.

I watch a lot of cable news opinion shows and listen to a lot of talk radio. Unlike traditional news programs, these programs rely almost entirely on sensationalism to keep viewers/listeners engaged at the expense of nuance and in-depth analysis. They're purely for entertainment purposes only, no person with a functional brain would actually gather real information about politricks from these shows. They're the political equivalent of TMZ: empty calorie junk food. And of course, flaws and all, I love them.

Two notable talking heads suddenly find themselves in a lot of hot water for some very silly comment each recently made regarding President Obama being in Europe while the US is being walloped by tornadoes.
Fox Business host Eric Bolling really stepped in it Monday when, in the middle of a rant about a lack of leadership, he said that President Obama was busy “chugging forties” in Ireland, instead of going to tornado-ravaged Missouri. “Forty” is slang for a 40 oz. bottle of malt liquor (or beer), a mainstay of ghetto iconography. Bolling later tweeted defiantly, “For the liberals offended by my “forty” comment, please read this….,” linking to a slang dictionary. According to pool reports, the President drank most of a pint glass, which, in Ireland, is about 20 oz.

Earlier in Bolling’s rant, he also made a reference to the President “entertaining rappers” in the White House, a reference to the feigned outrage over rapper Common’s invitation to a poetry reading.
Here's Bolling, running off a the mouth. The money quote comes around the 0:40 mark.

Sorry for the awful quality of that video, I didn't upload it.

I'm sure Bolling would say he isn't racist because his occasional weed man is from Queens, and he loves Tiger Woods, but there's no other way to interpret this. It was a clearly race-driven comment that has no place on any semi-reputable news network. Of course, who would be stupid enough to consider Fox Business a semi-reputable news network?

Not to be outdone, MSNBC's resident blowhard Ed Schultz made some very sexist remarks about the equally deplorable Laura Ingraham of Fox News and talk radio fame.
MSNBC’s Ed Schultz, suspended by MSNBC Wednesday evening for calling conservative radio host Laura Ingraham a “right-wing slut” on his nationally syndicated radio show, addressed his comments on the final Ed Show episode before beginning what was to be week-long suspension. In a remarkably fulsome and sincere apology, though, Schultz announced that he was taking himself off the air for an “indefinite” period.
Here's Schultz's comment.

I'd be the last one to defend Ingraham, a woman who doesn't have an original idea in her empty bleached blond head, and who's taken more than her fair share of racist/sexist jabs at both the President and First Lady. But if progressives are supposed to be the grownups in the room (something the bombastic Schultz is seldom confused with) then maybe they should lead by example and not wallow in typical Conservative tactics. That sorta defeats the whole "fly above" mantra espoused by the very President Schultz is supposedly defending.

To his credit, Schultz issued a heartfelt and genuine apology almost immediately. I can't say the same for Bolling, who is openly auditioning for that coveted 5pm Glenn Beck replacement slot by upping his douchebag bonafides. While MSNBC at least has the decency the censure (Schultz is suspended indefinitely without pay, the network's done the same to Keith Olbermann and Joe Scarborough), Fox Business made no such effort to reel in Bolling. Hell, the guy's doubled down on the comment. Now that's gangsta!

Question: Do left-wing commentators commit just as many racist/sexist flubs as those on the right? Was Bolling's comment racist or merely tongue in cheek? Was Schultz's comment sexist or just in very poor taste?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The South Shall Rise Again. Maybe.

Growing up in the South, I'm pretty familiar with some of the less savory aspects of our country's racial history. The Ku Klux Klan had a regional chapter that frequently marches in my small hometown's Christmas parades. Seeing dozens of trucks adorned in Confederate flag regalia parked outside the Piggly Wiggly was an everyday occurrence. Statues of people who fought (and died!) in the name of preserving slavery are scattered across the landscape of rural North Carolina. I'm quite honestly so desensitized to this sorta stuff that it barely phases me. It just sorta is what it is.

That said, I can equally comprehend the motives of those who would rather see such relics of the past preserved and done away with. One man's symbol of oppression is another man's symbol of heritage and patriotism. Again, it just sorta is what it is. And that's why I'm a bit conflicted about a controversy brewing in another small rural town, not unlike the one I was raised in.
An unlikely traffic accident Monday morning has rekindled an ongoing debate that underlies generations-old racial tensions in Reidsville (NC). A van driven by Mark Anthony Vincent slammed head-on into the Confederate Soldiers Monument at the traffic circle at Scales and Morehead streets in downtown Reidsville about 4:30 a.m. Vincent, 40, of Greensboro, told police he fell asleep at the wheel.

The van hit the 100-year-old monument’s pillar, sending the stone soldier tumbling. The statue’s body broke into about 15 pieces, Mayor James Festerman said. And the head wound up embedded in the van.

“I’m glad he knocked the sucker down,” said James Monte, a black man and lifelong resident of Reidsville. “They ought to knock all that stuff down.”

Monte had been in the library Monday morning when he noticed the commotion around the statue. Tim Martin, another lifelong Reidsville resident, sat on a bench just feet away as Monte talked about his disgust over the statue. Martin, a white man, chimed in. “It’s part of my heritage,” Martin said. “I hate to see it go, and they better put it back up.”

Their sentiments were shared by many who walked through downtown on Monday. Festerman said he’d already received several phone calls demanding that the city repair the statue and he expected more calls in support and opposition.

“There’ll be some controversy around it,” Festerman said. “I’m not naive enough to think differently.”

Festerman said he’ll suggest that the City Council form a public committee to make a recommendation about how to move forward.

But the issue of repairing the statue appears to be out of the city’s hands. The monument, erected in 1910, is owned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Johnsie Hayes, an officer with the local chapter, said members will look to the state office to decide how to proceed.

In recent decades the monument has drawn criticism for being insensitive to the blight of slavery. Last year city officials backed out of a 100-year anniversary celebration of the monument planned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The city cited scheduling problems, although many felt it was because of the controversy around the monument.
You can look at this two ways, and quite honestly, I don't think either's totally invalid. To folks who see Confederate symbols as a reminder of a shameful time in our nation's history, toppling that statue is a welcome change. Still, it's not like there was a public forum about the future of the statue that resulted in it being removed. It was involved in a freak traffic accident, and accidentally destroyed. Making this accident the impetus for the permanent removal of the statue smacks of a wee bit of opportunism. And it's not like the city can claim financial hardship as the reason for not rebuilding it.

As disdainful as I personally find such monuments, reality is the United Daughters of the Confederacy has every right to rebuild it if they see fit. Any public ultimatum on the future of this statue, or statues like it, should be conducted independently of this incident. Using this misfortune to seize the moment and make your point seems a bit misguided, and dare I say it, unfair.

I'm sure plenty of ya'll will roast me for this.

But it is what it is.

Question: Should the city be allowed to re-build the statue or is this a great time to do away with the past?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

AB.com Hot Topics - 5.25.11

Blogger's been having some more maintenance issues, so you might see some delays on new posts in the interim. Anyways, here's the daily rundown.

Tornados - While the world got off easy on last weekend's nutbag rapture threat, it seems like we're still dealing with natural disasters left and right. The city of Joplin, MO was basically leveled, and suburban OKC was also hit. Today the storms are headed to St. Louis. Lord, help these folks. Cause you know who won't be helping them? The GOP. Congressman Eric Cantor did let this disaster go to waste, threatening to withhold any relief funds from the victims unless there were accompanying cuts to the Federal budget. No, really. Compassionate Conservatism, huh?

Up Yours, Paul Ryan! - The GOP took a serious L in last night's special election in New York's 26th Congressional district. Given how overwhelmingly Conservative this district is, it seems like the Democratic candidate's insistence on making the election a referendum on the GOP's hamhanded Medicare reform legislation did the trick. I'm not sure how this plays out nationally next year, but if the Democrats have enough balls to make it a central point in their campaign messages, it could equal another swing in momentum in the House. If this all sounds despicable to you, remember the GOP essentially pulled the same sh*t last year by vilifying ObamaCare with BS terms like "death panels". Turnabout is fair play, and politricks ain't about fairness. So there. I will, however, give Ryan credit for recognizing that there is a problem and being courageous enough to confront the solvency of entitlements. Unfortunately, his plan is simply too far out there and will probably hurt his party in the end.

John Edwards Headed To The Clink?!? - If you follow me on Twitter, you'll know I went on another patented Epic Twitter rant last night when I ended up on a flight from RDU to BWI seated behind John Edwards. I also wondered why dude was headed to DC, and why in the hell he was flying an $89 FunSaver when he's still a multimillionaire. Well, it turns out he's finna get indicted by the Feds for using a campaign donation to bride his personal assistant so dude wouldn't go public with details about his affair and subsequent love chile. Man, that's some serious drama, but you wouldn't have known it by looking at Johnny $400 Haircut last night. He was the nicest politrician I've ever personally met, and while he should definitely pay the piper for what he did, I wish(ed) him the best. It's a shame a man who had it all threw it all away for some jumpoff.

Newt's $500K Tiffany Bill! - Lemme say, in the pantheon of petty political stories, this one is right up there with Obama wearing those American flag lapel pins. Newt is rich. Rich men have wives who like nice stuff. Wives love credit cards. This isn't exactly rocket science. What I do find funny is how Newt's being systematically ethered by the Conservative media (not the left) and has no real recourse for fighting back. Stick at fork in this guy, but let's not make such a big deal over something so trivial as jewelry.

NBA Finals - Go ahead and book that Dallas vs Miami rematch. Man, this is gonna be one for the ages. As much as it pains me to say this, Miami is jelling at just the right time, and Wade/Bron look unstoppable. So while I clearly want Dirk and Co. to win, I just think the Boys From Southbeach are lookin' unfadeable right now.

Lakers Hire Mike Brown As Head Coach - Uhhhmmm, I don't know how to feel about this one. Mike Brown did a good job coaching Lebron and Co. while in Cleveland, but sometimes was woefully outcoached and failed to make proper in-series adjustments. He does have experience with handling superstar egos and coaching sound defense, but something about having the second coming of James Evans on the Staples Center sideline just looks wrong. And man, if you're Brian Shaw, how pissed are you right about now and putting in all those years beside Phil Jackson, only to have the team go outside to find his replacement? I'm thinkin' plenty pissed.

Question: What do you think about these issues?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Are Black Women Genetically Predisposed To Being Ugly?!?

I know, already. I know I'm using a purposely infuriating title for this post. I know that photo doesn't seem to make any sense. And I know I'm also a day late and a few nickles short on this one. Bear with me anyway.

I suppose I'm obligated to address this latest racial internet outrage. I've only had the Color of Change petition emailed to me by, ohhh, about 1,235 of you in the past week alone. So here goes.
Readers of popular magazine Psychology Today were in for a grim surprise when they stumbled across the latest post by London School of Economics' evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa, titled “Why Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?”

The article, based on data from a separate study on subjective ratings of physical attractiveness, made the following points (among others):

It is very interesting to note that, even though black women are objectively less physically attractive than other women, black women (and men) subjectively consider themselves to be far more physically attractive than others… Nor can the race difference in intelligence [...] account for the race difference in physical attractiveness among women.

The reaction to the piece was widespread outrage. Academics questioned the dubious method by which Kanazawa drew his conclusions from the data: PZ Myers, Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota, noted that the article "looks at such shaky subjective evaluations ... without even considering the biases of these self-appointed judges". And the blogosphere was even more aghast: The Root commented that the post "struck us as so outrageous that we almost thought it was a hoax of some sort.

Psychology Today ended up pulling the post from its website altogether, reported Adweek. (It is still available here.) But the controversy is far from over. Kanazawa has been known for presenting controversial theories in the past, but this time he may have gone too far. Guardian reports that students at LSE are calling for his dismissal. The University of London Union Senate, which represents more than 120,000 students, voted unanimously for Kanazawa to lose his job.
I guess I'm supposed to be outraged about this one, given the fact that I'm married to a black woman and was birthed by one. But seriously, this guy's "science" is so full of bunk and devoid of objectivity that going after him is like shooting fish in a barrel.[1] Kanazawa probably deserves to lose his day job for espousing personal biases and passing them along as scientific research. This sort of "study" is probably more of an affront to science than it is to black women. He'd just better hope the person signing him up for benefits at the unemployment office isn't a sista. That could get ugly.

Besides, it's hard to get too worked up about this sorta nonsense when you've got plenty of black men doing a number of the black female image themselves.

"Beautiful Black Woman, I Bet That B*tch Look Better Red", anybody?

I'm just sayin'. Let's not be so selective in our outrage. If some anonymous d-bag professor deserves criticism, then so should rapidly impregnating gremlins.

No matter how much you liked "Right Above It".

Question: What do you think about this controversy? Is it much ado about nothing, or do people like Kanazawa need to be shut down? How about that Lil' Wayne lyric?

[1] Speaking of which, is that the stupidest cliche or what? Why would you shoot a fish once you've already caught him?

Monday, May 23, 2011

AB.com Open Mic - 5.23.11

Yup, I'm busy. Again. Bills gotta get paid. I'll be in NC all week so who knows how much the blog'll get updated. I'll be back to regular business soon. Till then, keep yourselves entertained with these choice topics.
Mitch Daniels isn't running. What's the impact on the 2012 GOP race?
Herman "Daddy Green" Cain is Running. How much of a snowball's chance does the brotha have?
Obama's pro-Israel speech.
Thunder in a 2-1 hole. Can they come back?
Question: What's on your mind today?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Soooo, N*ggas Is Rappin' Bout' Walmart Now?!?

Seriously? I hope Katrina comes back, specifically to take these shiftless Negroes.[1]

Question: What would MLK say about this bullsh*t?!?

[1] All that said, yes, I could easily see this song becoming a hit. Seriously.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

AB.com Open Mic - 5.19.11

Yup, I'm busy. The blog'll be back to regular business soon. Till then, keep yourselves entertained with these choice topics.
Arnold's Love Child
Obama's Syrian Smackdown
Newt Imploding Already
IMF Head Steps Down
Bulls Lose To Heat
Question: What's on your mind today?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How Exactly Did We Get In This Deficit In The First Place?!?

I toyed with the idea of calling this post "If Barack Obama Doesn't Get Re-Elected, His Inability To Explain This Sh*t In Plain English Is Prolly Why" but that was a little too wordy for your RSS readers I'm sure. In any event, since The Beige One took office, there's been a bunch of sabre rattling about the deficit. Depending on which side of the political aisle you reside on, the blame's either been Bush's unnecessary wars or Obama's stimulus spending spree. Of course, as is always the case in politricks, the actual truth lies somewhere in the middle.

In master stroke of "A Decade Late, And $14 Trillion Dollars Short" journalism, The Washington Post finally dug a bit deeper into why we're in the hole we're in.
The nation’s unnerving descent into debt began a decade ago with a choice, not a crisis.

In January 2001, with the budget balanced and clear sailing ahead, the Congressional Budget Office forecast ever-larger annual surpluses indefinitely. The outlook was so rosy, the CBO said, that Washington would have enough money by the end of the decade to pay off everything it owed.

Voices of caution were swept aside in the rush to take advantage of the apparent bounty. Political leaders chose to cut taxes, jack up spending and, for the first time in U.S. history, wage two wars solely with borrowed funds. “In the end, the floodgates opened,” said former senator Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), who chaired the Senate Budget Committee when the first tax-cut bill hit Capitol Hill in early 2001.

Now, instead of tending a nest egg of more than $2 trillion, the federal government expects to owe more than $10 trillion to outside investors by the end of this year. The national debt is larger, as a percentage of the economy, than at any time in U.S. history except for the period shortly after World War II.

Polls show that a large majority of Americans blame wasteful or unnecessary federal programs for the nation’s budget problems. But routine increases in defense and domestic spending account for only about 15 percent of the financial deterioration, according to a new analysis of CBO data.

The biggest culprit, by far, has been an erosion of tax revenue triggered largely by two recessions and multiple rounds of tax cuts. Together, the economy and the tax bills enacted under former president George W. Bush, and to a lesser extent by President Obama, wiped out $6.3 trillion in anticipated revenue. That’s nearly half of the $12.7 trillion swing from projected surpluses to real debt. Federal tax collections now stand at their lowest level as a percentage of the economy in 60 years.

Big-ticket spending initiated by the Bush administration accounts for 12 percent of the shift. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have added $1.3 trillion in new borrowing. A new prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients contributed another $272 billion. The Troubled Assets Relief Program bank bailout, which infuriated voters and led to the defeat of several legislators in 2010, added just $16 billion — and TARP may eventually cost nothing as financial institutions repay the Treasury.

Obama’s 2009 economic stimulus, a favorite target of Republicans who blame Democrats for the mounting debt, has added $719 billion — 6 percent of the total shift, according to the new analysis of CBO data by the nonprofit Pew Fiscal Analysis Initiative. All told, Obama-era choices account for about $1.7 trillion in new debt, according to a separate Washington Post analysis of CBO data over the past decade. Bush-era policies, meanwhile, account for more than $7 trillion and are a major contributor to the trillion-dollar annual budget deficits that are dominating the political debate.

In the end, Bush cut taxes and spent more money. Good times masked the impact, as surging tax revenues reduced the size of year-to-year deficits during the first three years of his second term. But after the economy collapsed during Bush’s final year in office, deficits — and therefore the debt — began to explode as Obama sought to revive economic activity with more tax cuts and federal spending.
I meant to talk about this last-last Sunday when the story actually dropped, but, well, there was obviously some slightly more important breaking news later that day.

Anyways, this article is long, and chock full of details. I'm doing it a disservice by pulling out choice selections, so I'd suggest anyone who cares about this topic (and why wouldn't you?) take the 10-15 minutes to fully digest it. Seriously, your comments aren't going to make much sense if you don't.

My analysis is basically the same as it's always been: Raise taxes on everyone, not just the rich! I don't think this country would immediately go in the crapper if everyone was asked to carry a bit more of the burden for the lost revenue of years of tax cuts that haven't done much to stimulate the economy anyway. Roll everything back to the Clinton-era rates and that deficit would be gone before you know it.

Of course, no politician is ballsy enough to suggest such a thing. The GOP has been particularly clever at convincing Real Americans that their taxes are so oppressive we should all grab our muskets and storm the Capitol. The Democrats are so embarassingly cowardly that they punted on raising taxes on the rich (something most polls show overwhelming support for) when they still had control of the House. Instead, we'll probably get around to raiding Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, effectively crippling the very people who need help the most. Good luck to Grandma with getting that Walmart greeter job to pay for her meds. She'll need it.

I bring this back to Obama because here's where his professorial "take 8 minutes to answer an 8 word question" style of leadership really, really kills him. The GOP has been vey effective in fooling Real Americans into thinking their taxes are at all time highs when the opposite is actually the case. Real Americans also erroneously attribute the entire deficit to ObamaCare (which isn't even really on the books yet!), bank & auto bailouts (which have mostly been paid back with interest!)
, and the stimulus program (which was 1/3 tax cuts and 1/3 direct entitlements for those effected by the recession). The Obama White House's inability to control the narrative on these issues makes them seem far more responsible for the hole we're in than they actually are. It's an area the White House is woefully inept in, and might end up costing them re-election.

Unless, of course, Real Americans start reading newspapers again.

Question: Were you aware of the real reason for our massive deficits? What's the easiest solution for this cluster?!?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

AverageBro Does The Hip Hop Digest

As ya'll know, one of my favorite shows is The Hip Hop Digest, which I've plugged mercilessly here on the blog. It's an entertaining weekly show where relevant topics in the world of hip hop are discussed in a roundtable "Crossfire"-like format. It's also a great way to get turned on to new artists you might have never heard before.

Hosts E Green, King Killa B, and Curt G invited me on this weekend to discuss the Common vs Conservatives kerfuffle, why Jay-Z and Kanye's mega-album probably won't ever see the light of day, and whether or not Prodigy's manufactured persona is actually par for the course in hip-hop.

If you've never listened to this show, or had the pleasure of listening to my geeky voice, download this episode here. Be forewarned if you've got sensitive ears or work in a cubicle, you might wanna cop the headphones first. You're about to hear some grown men using unsavory language.

Awful Moments In Negro History #12,821 - Cam'ron's Fox News Appearance.

With the Common vs Fox News story officially dead, I thought it'd be a good time to revisit another notable Fox News vs cRapper incident. Man, this clip never, ever, ever gets old. Ever.

Lemme count all the things wrong with this clip...

0:15 - When O'Reilly says "pimping and b*tches", what's up with Cam's neck swirl?!?

0:20 - Come on Dame, you grew up going to elite private schools. Do better.

0:30 - Get out your feelings, doggie.

1:14 - "Conversate", for the 83,293rd time, is not a real word. Jesus, and this guy is a principal? #educationfail

2:12 - Ah, that "throwback jersey" phase. Seems like eons ago.

2:57 - Knee-grow pleez.

3:30 - Double knee-grow pleez.

4:02 - Valid point, actually.

5:12 - More valid points, but a Negro in a suit is never gonna trump a rapper. Never.

6:01 - "You mad, you maaaaaaddd!" "I got dirt on you doggie." #epic

6:35 - "Bill. Billlllll." #moreepic

6:43 - That's the facial expression of a man who is probably thinking "I shoulda stayed my a$$ at IBM and collected those good checks. Eff' the kids!" I feel pretty bad for the principal. He thought he'd be engaging in an elightening convo about the effect of hip hop on impressionable youth. He didn't think he'd be walking into a Youtube Classic with three magpies on the other end of the satellite feed.

7:10 - "Homeboy.... You need to have parent-teacher conferences with your students!"

7:30 - Salome Thomas-El looks like he wants to open a can of whoop-azz. Badly. But he needs the medical/dental benefits. I know your pain, bruh. I know your pain.

7:45 - Valid point. Ignorantly stated, but valid nonetheless.

8:12 - "You mad!" Look at the expression on that brotha's face.

10:45 - What a jackass. Seriously.

11:25 - Triple knee-grow pleez.

Question: How many years did this clip set back hip-hop and black people in general?!?

Monday, May 16, 2011

AB.com Open Mic - 5.16.11

Yup, I'm busy. I'll be in Dallas all week so who knows how much the blog'll get updated. I'll be back to regular business soon. Till then, keep yourselves entertained with these choice topics.
Mike Hucakbee ain't running. What's the impact on the 2012 GOP race?
Newt Is Running. How much of a snowball's chance does he have?
Obama Approval Rating back over 60%. Is 2012 a wrap?
International Monetary Fund head catches a rape charge. WTF?
Mississippi River floodgates opened. Was it worth it?
NBA Playoffs. OKC Advances. Chicago & Miami go at it!
Question: What's on your mind today?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Ohhhhhhh... It Ain't My Fault!!!

Did I do that? No.

Just in case you were wondering...
Google said this morning it was working to get Blogger back online as a result of what appeared to be a glitch following some mid-week maintenance.

"Users have been unable to publish to Blogger for approximately the last 19 hours, Google spokesman Andrew Kovacs said in an e-mail. "Recovery is underway and we expect things to be back to normal soon," he said. "We're very sorry for the inconvenience this is causing."

On a Blogger help forum, the company gave a bit more detail. "We have rolled back the maintenance release from last night and as a result, posts and comments from all users made after 7:37 am PDT on May 11, 2011 have been removed."

Kovacs did not immediately respond to an e-mail asking for more details.

The publishing site has millions of active blogs, he said.
Stay tuned. I had an epic post scheduled to run today. I will probably pull it and hold till Monday.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Fox News Has No Common Sense.

Yes, the "Fair And Balanced" news network dedicated its entire primetime lineup to their faux Common controversy last night. A lifetime supply of Cyber CapriSuns™ goes to the first person who can watch all of these clips in full without their head exploding because of the overabundance of idiocy.

I'm not going to mention that woman's name. Just press play. Then throw your laptop out the window.


Bucknell Professor James Peterson is my main man, but he makes the mistake of trying to engage in a Fox News debate with actual facts and nuance. And he gets murked. Badly.

Props to my fellow (former?) Loop21'er Kelli Goff for not reaching over the table and smacking the sh*t out of this Stepford Wives Greta Van Facelift stand-in.

I love how only black people are bought on to try and discuss this. But nah, we don't see race, do we? Oddly, Master P appeared on Fox News last night to weigh in with his opinion on the story. I don't have the video to prove it, but trust me, it was not a Top 10 Moment In Negro History. It was pretty embarrassing, actually.

I don't know how anyone can look at Common, a guy in Gap ads, who makes movies with Steve Carell, and has already been to the White House maybe a dozen times already as a cop killer. Then again, this is post-racial America, where guilt by Negro association is a legitimate political tactic. So what do I know?!?

It's hard for me to understand why Conservatives co-sign on this sort of BS. I went on one of my patented Epic Twitter Rants™ about this last night. The GOP says it wants to sincerely engage black people and have them consider the party when they hit the voting booth. They assert that the GOP's policies are compatible with the black community, from both a social and economic standpoint. Yet time after time, we see ordinary black people paraded out as sinister agents of the White House. From Ludacris, to Skip Gates, to Shirley Sherrod, to Jill Scott. Each person became the embodiment of some Obama scheme to undermine everything the Founding Fathers planned. Is this really the best recruitment tool? Do they think Negroes just forget about this stuff come election season?

This isn't really not about Common, a rapper I don't even like much anymore. Nope, it's much bigger when you stop and think about. If a "positive" rapper who went to college, is the son of a jazz musician and a teacher, has won Grammys, and is now a legitimate Hollywood B-lister is seen as "threatening", then is there any hope for the rest of us? Seriously?

Yep, welcome to post-racial, post-common sense America.

Question: Do Republicans realize how stupid this sh*t sounds to the average Black person? Do they even care or does the "gain" of white voters outweigh the loss of potential black voters?!? Are these frequent "guilt by association" tactics a coordinated effort to appeal to the "base" of the GOP by making Obama seem dishonest and un-American by proxy?

We Owned The 80's: Classic R&B Music.

It's likely no shocker to anyone who reads this blog that I have a peculiar fondness of 1980's era R&B music. It was the last decade when actual musical instruments were still used, songs were routinely about 8 minutes in length, albums only had 6-7 tracks tops, and best of all, there was no such thing as Lil' Wayne "feature". It was just plain ole' good, syrupy soul music, the way it was intended to be. It's little wonder that so many of these songs have been sampled to death.

I recently ran across a mixtape you'll probably like if you share this odd musical fetish. None of the songs on Statik Selektah & Lord Sear Present Open Bar Classics Vol. 1: The 80′s will be new to you if you came of age during The Greatest Decade Evar, but putting all them in the same well-paced 60 minute mix is a #win in and of itself. I mean, seriously, check the track listing.
Jocelyn Brown “Somebody Else’s Guy”
Fatback “I Found Lovin”
Rene & Angela “I Love You More”
The Whatnauts “Help Is On The Way”
Womack & Womack “Baby Im Scared Of You”
Fonda Ray “Over Like a Fat Rat”
Junior “Mama Used to Say”
Central Line “Walking Into Sunshine”
The Jones Girls “Nights Over Egypt”
Patty Austin & Quincy Jones “Betcha Wouldnt Hurt Me”
Donald Byrd “Love Has Come Around”
Gwen Guthrie "Seventh Heaven”
Stevie Wonder “Love Light In Flight”
Slave “Watching You”
Odyssey “Inside Out”
Sylvia Striplin “Give Me Your Love”
Alicia Myers “I Want To Thank You”
Chaka Khan “I Know You, I Live You”
Unlimited Touch “Searching To Find The One”
Jeanette Lady Day “Come Let Me Love You”
Atlantic Star “When Love Calls”
Shalamar “Night to Remember”
Change “The Glow Of Love”
Michael Jackson “Rock With You"
With no filler and minimal shoutouts/random DJ obnoxiousness, this is a tailor made soundtrack for your Memorial Day cookout, breezy Sunday ride, or smoking session obligatory trip down memory lane. And as always, the price it right: It's free.

Stop reading and go download it already.

Question: What's your favorite random 80's R&B song?!?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Never Judge A Dunn By Its Cover...

Wow, this guy's great-grandfather founded Morehouse College, his grandpops was a jazz musician, and he went to performing arts school to study ballet? Who woulda ever guess this is the same man behind the most riot inducing rap song ever?[1]

Maybe he shoulda been invited to the White House.

Question: What does the dichotomy between Prodigy's personal life and what he raps about tell you about the state of cRap music?!?

[1] Just in case the word "dunn" completely puzzles you...

Do Asian Women Only Date White Guys?!?

I just so happened to run across this (not even remotely new) video the other day on Les Youtubes (don't ask). While I can't say I'm totally ignorant to some of the issues Asian guys have with dating (one of my co-workers gripes about this all the time), I don't think I realized the sh*t was this deep? If you closed your eyes, you'd swear this sounds an awful lot like some of the ignant sh*t some brothers say about not wanting to date black women. The parallels are kinda scary actually.

Supposedly, Asian dudes have an equal amount of stress when it comes to attracting white women. I'd run a Youtube of this, but a lot of the stuff out there wasn't safe for work.

I guess all this has me thinking: Damn, what's it gotta be like for a dude when the very women who look just like you want no part of you? That's gotta hurt. Seriously.

Question: Were you aware of this odd intra-racial issue? Does it sound eerily similar to the excuses some black men give for not dating black women?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Today In White House Navel-Gazing: Common's A Thug Rapper?!? Really?!?

Wow, it's official: all of black America is under attack. No, seriously.
Here’s an opportunity to relive your high-school poetry classes.

First Lady Michelle Obama has scheduled a poetry evening for Wednesday, and she’s invited several poets, including a successful Chicago poet and rapper, Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr., AKA “Common.” However, Lynn is quite controversial, in part because his poetry includes threats to shoot police and at least one passage calling for the “burn[ing]” of then-President George W. Bush.

Back in 2003, First Lady Laura Bush held a poetry evening, and she invited several poets to reprise the work of Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes and Walt Whitman. Although none of those poets had urged violence against a president, Bush canceled the event after left-of-center poets protested and threatened to disrupt the event.

The First Lady’s office did not return a call from TheDC.
Here's the appearance on Def Poetry Jam that has everyone's knickers in a bunch. Clearly the "social commentary" here went right over these ingrates' heads.

So, apparently conservative website The Daily Caller has some issue with Starbucks rapper Common going to the White House. If these folks heads weren't so far up their asses, they'd probably realize that Common's about as nonthreatening and uncontroversial rapper as they come. In the world of rap, he is about as scary as Carlton from The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air.

The man hasn't made a song of consequence since Like Water For Chocolate. He does commercials for computers and went to college for crissakes. He dates (or dated) Serena Williams. He's in movies. He's not exactly a cop killer. He's about as far from it as you'll find in the rap world, but hey, he's a rapper, and that's enough to scare Middle America sh*tless I suppose.

Middle America might not wanna check their kids' iPods, BTW. Common would be the least of their problems.

I mean, really. Is everything and everyone invited to the White House going to be a subject of scrutiny now? Because this is just getting outrageous.

Besides, Common's not the first rapper to go to the White House, and hardly the most controversial. Anyone else remember when Bush Sr. invited Eazy E?!?

Question: How stupid and out of touch does lint picking like this make Conservatives look?

h/t to RiPPa

Ashy Or Classy?!? - The New Wizards Jerseys.

I just need a second opinion on this. What do ya'll think about these new unis, which were just unveiled?

Here's more looks...

Question: Are the new Washington Wizards jerseys Ashy or Classy?!?

AB.com Hot Topics - 5.10.11

Here's the daily rundown.

NBA Instant Classic - If you stayed up until 1:30am, you witnessed one of the greatest NBA games of all time last night, as the Thunder defeated the Grizzlies in triple overtime. This game was the NBA at its best, with lots of miracle shots, unlikely heroes (Harden), and a bunch of "what the **** is he thinking?" decisions by Russell Westbrook. That series is going 7, and I'mma watch every minute of it.

Debt Ceiling - Ignore Boehner's theatrics. The GOP is quietly backing away from the Paul Ryan plan and suddenly is mute on repealing ObamaCare. I think they see the writing on the wall, and know they can't possibly get any of that stuff passed, despite how much Tea Party a$$-kissing they did last year. I think they also realize that possibly shutting down the government by demanding unpopular cuts in services is a lose-lose. I don't think we'll see the same game of chicken on this debt ceiling as we saw a few weeks ago when the gov't shutdown was averted. Cooler heads will prevail and this will get done sooner rather than later.

Microsoft Buys Skype - I don't really get this acquisition. Spending $8.5 Billion (!) on Skype? Really? I'd be the last one to question Bill Gates' business acumen, but this one has me puzzled.

Mayor As He Wants To Be - How come nobody told me Uncle Luke from the Too Live Crew was running for mayor of Miami? Imagine the campaign theme songs!

Question: What do you think about these issues?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Herman Cain: The GOP's (Latest) Anti-Obama.

In 2008, the GOP dug up and wheeled out sacrificial Negro lamb Alan Keyes to run in the name of promoting "diversity". Keyes, of course, was perhaps best known as the sacrificial Negro lamb wheeled out in a failed attempt to stop then state Senator Barack Obama from ascending to the US Senate in 2004. Clearly, the man knows his role, and has no shame in his game. Don't hate the player.

This year's sacrificial Negro lamb is a guy named Herman Cain. I prefer to call him Daddy Green[1], but the GOP prefers to refer to him as a "Real American". Despite not having any experience as an elected official, apparently merely having run a pizza franchise that barely exists anymore for a few years makes Cain a serious contender for the GOP nomination. Of so they say.

So impressed with Cain's talking points recitation the other night in the Fox News GOP debate, South Carolinians went ahead and practically handed him the key to the White House.

"He answers the question most direct!"

"Clear and concise!"

"He'll give us a clearcut plan!"

Uh, seriously, is that all it takes to impress these folks? A Negro who can string together a few coherent soundbyte laden sentences of red meat? When's the last time you saw (or God forbid, ate at) a Godfather's Pizza? It's been a few decades for me, personally. Strangely, the host glossed right over the one comment that stuck out most to me.

"The Godfather of business sense, and he can attack Obama well!"

"He can attack Obama well!" Yep, that's what it's all about. And by "well", she clearly means "because he's black, they can't accuse him of racism!" The same thing that summed up the batsh*t crazy Alan Keyes' sole appeal.

Heck, I even like Cain myself. He looks just like my grandfather. He sounds like Samuel L. Jackson. How could I not like this guy.

Let's not make this a one way street. At the root of Barack Obama's appeal to a lot of white voters in 08' was the silly notion that voting for him would somehow "fix" all of America's racial sins. The crazy notion of postracialism was echoed in cringe-inducing chants of "race doesn't matter!" on lots of campaign stops. Democratic voters also fall for the okey doke of racial politricks. It happens.

I wish Daddy Green the best, and hope this momentary (and pointless) straw poll victory doesn't go to his head. These folks don't love you because you were a pizza magnate, Herman, they love you cause you're black, and loving you makes them feel a bit better about themselves, even if there's no way in Sam Hell they'll be pulling that lever for you.

Question: What do you make of the "anti-Obama" appeal of black Republicans like Herman Cain, Alan Keyes, and Allen West? How much of Obama's support among white voters back in 08' was related to feelings of expunging white guilt?

[1] Cyber CapriSuns™ to the first person who can explain this one.

The Death Of A Few Dynasties.

Two down, one to go.

Over the past decade, only a handful of NBA teams have made it to the proverbial mountaintop known as a world championship. And slowly, but surely, those teams are falling by the wayside. Yesterday's victim was the LA Lakers, who found themselves swept at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks.

The Lakers follow the San Antonio Spurs' first round ouster. Both teams have aging cores and very little in the way of foundational pieces for their inevitable rebuilds. Unless Boston can oust the Heat, there's a good chance all three of these former championship squads will have to do a bunch of retooling this summer to remain relevant.

Personally, I think the Spurs have the longer road back to respectability. Tim Duncan is toast, and Manu and Tony P have contracts that will be difficult to move. But hey, after 4 titles, I think San Antonio should be happy.

The Lakers probably just need to trim some fat (aka: Ron Artest, who really needs to stay on his meds) and add another impact player on the wing. I'm gonna excuse Pau Gasol's godawful playoff performance as an aberration. But ultimately, they were simply out coached by the Mavs and never made the necessary defensive adjustments. Plug in Brian Shaw for Phil Jackson, retool the bench, and keep it movin'. No need to overreact.

As for Boston, sorry, I don't have them beating the Heat. Not with Rondo ailing, Shaq pushing 400 pounds (!) and their Big Three suddenly looking their age. If there's any team that needs to be detonated, it would be Boston. Sell off Garnett and Allen while there's some return on investment to still be had.

I'm personally not the type to bet on the NBA, but if I had to, I'd put money on Dallas winning it all right now. Chicago and Miami aren't playoff tested enough as a full unit, and the OKC/Memphis winner will find their Cinderella story ending soon. What do you think?

Question: What do you think these three former dynasties need to do to retool? of the remaining teams, who has the best chance of winning it all?

Friday, May 6, 2011

AB.com Open Mic - 5.6.11

Yup, I'm busy. The blog'll be back to regular business soon. Till then, keep yourselves entertained with these choice topics.
Obama Goes To Ground Zero. Bush Stays Home.
The GOP Debate That No Candidates Showed Up For.
CNN Poll Says 1/4 Of Real Americans Still Think Obama Wasn't Born Here. WTF?!?
Cinco De Mayo: Cultural Expression Or Excuse To Get Hammered And Holler At Hispanic Chicks On A Weeknight?!?
NBA Playoffs!
Question: What's on your mind today?

Name That Sample - "Hangin'".

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

This obscure tune by Stylus has been sampled numerous times. But who can name the most songs that have used these delightful bars? I can only name one myself.

Difficulty Level: Extreme. Only the biggest rap nerd will get this one, because the "song" doesn't even actually have a title.

Question: How many songs can you name that used the "Hangin'" sample? Don't be fooled into just listening to the opening bars, or you'll prolly miss half the possible answers. Feel free to cheat and use other commenters' work, but do NOT Google! Google is for losers.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Michelle Obama Does The Dougie.

What more can you say about this woman? If Barack is cool, then she's dry ice cold. It was about 85 degrees here in DC when this happened, yet she doesn't break a sweat, nor have strand of a misplaced hair. Amazing.

She's like that cool auntie everyone wishes they had.

I'm sure any moment now, some Conservative is gonna get wind of this video and accuse the First Lady of "dancing sexually" in front of preteens. Or this'll be branded as some sort of indoctrination via music ploy to make these kids lifetime servants of the Democratic party (okay, that one already happened). Or they'll attach her to Beyonce, because of Jay-Z's Illuminati connection[1]. You know it's coming. You just know.

Question: Is Michelle-O the most dazzling First Lady of all time, or is it just me?

[1] Talk about silly sh*t. Jesus, black folks, some of ya'll are worse than the Birthers when it comes to this.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Show Me The Death Certificate, President Obama!!!

Since Osama (or Usama, depending on which cable news network you watch) bin Laden was killed Sunday, debate has brewed about whether or not Real Americans need to see his grizzly autopsy photos as proof. I've been all over the place on this one, but was actually convinced by an interview with a GOP congressman (the horror!) this morning that it's in our best interest to not release them. Doing so would only inflame anger of those who sympathize with Osama and put our troops in more harm. Seriously, what's the point? The man is dead.

Either way, I was waiting to see how Obama and Co. would play this one, given the BS "birther" conspiracy they just weathered. Well, I guess we've got our answer...
President Obama has decided not to release photos of Osama bin Laden’s body, CBS News reported Wednesday. The network said Obama told “60 Minutes” reporter Steve Kroft of his decision in an interview scheduled to air Sunday.

Bin Laden was shot in the head and chest in a U.S. commando raid on his compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad early Monday local time. The al-Qaeda leader’s body was then buried at sea.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (Md.), the No. 2 Democrat in the House, said he agreed with Obama’s decision. “There is no end served by releasing the picture of someone who has been killed,” Hoyer said, adding that he had not seen the picture.
And there you have it.

I can see the flipside of this argument. People are going to believe what they want about this mission, and not providing proof is only going to stoke more conspiracy theories about whether or not Osama is really swimming with Spongebob SquarePants. There's also the political reality that some of Obama's GOP opponents will probably use this to score cheap points (they already are!) and attempt to paint him as a Muslim sympathizer (they already are!) with something to hide.

What would make the most sense is letting every member of Congress see the photos, then asking Speaker Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Reid adress the press. Both men should say that they've seen the pics, can vouch for their authenticity, and do not want any Real Americans (or their elected officials in Washington) to engage conspiracy theories. Real Americans should take their word that they've seen what they've seen, and that there's no need to polticize this.

As if.

Anyways, what do ya'll think?

Question: Should Obama have released Osama's autopsy pics or not?

AB.com Open Mic - 5.4.11

Yup, I'm busy. The blog'll be back to regular business soon. Till then, keep yourselves entertained with these choice topics.
Where's The Osama Pics?
What's Up With Pakistan?
Will Obama's Approval Bounce Sustain Itself?
First GOP 2012 Debate.
NBA Playoff Upsets!
Question: What's on your mind today?

Don't Ask Questions, Just Press Play...

...and prepare to be entertained.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

AB Goes To the Movies: Fast Five.

It's hard to believe it's been a decade since The Fast And The Furious dropped. In the 3 subsequent films, the venerable drag racing franchise has witnessed the agony of diminishing returns (the deplorable Toyko Drift), and a surprising revival (Fast & Furious) a couple of years ago. Naturally, this resurrection from the dead meant they'd have to make more of these movies, because Hollywood isn't exactly known for creativity and originality. And oh yeah, it's not like Vin Diesel's got that Oscar-worthy role in the hopper. Rev up, it's time for Fast Five.

FF finds the usual suspects (minus Michelle Rodriguez, who got murked in the last movie) destitute and down on their luck in the slums of Brazil. When a routine (yeah, routine. Just suspend all common sense if you wanna make it through 5 minutes of this one) heist of exotic cars from a high speed train (yeah, a train) goes awry, Toretto (Diesel), O'Conner (Paul Walker, wooden as ever) and Mia (Jordanna Brewster) find themselves at odds with a ruthless drug kingpin (how original!) who wants them dead. Quicker than you can say "unrealistic plot machination", the crew recruits a gang of "experts" (Tyrese, Ludacris, and Tego Calderon, but oddly, no Lil' Bow Wow.) from prior movies in the series to help pull off a $100M robbery of the drug lord's drug money. And oh yeah, just to up the testosterone ante, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson shows up as a federal agent on Torreto and Co's tail.

I'm actually amazed I was able to regurgitate the "plot" of this movie, given how flimsy and completely unrealistic most of it is. Mia is supposedly pregnant, yet she's able to jump 300 feet from a rooftop and doesn't even lose the scrunchie on her ponytail, let alone the precious child. Ludacris was a bit character in 2F2F who did little more than tinker with cars, but now he's a computer whiz who can crack industrial grade cast iron safes with a Macbook pro and some Saran Wrap. Torreto goes all Incredible Hulk on us, and literally bursts through a brick wall. The Rock survives the impact of a two grenade SUV explosion, and barely has a speck of dust on his Under Armor muscle shirt. Stock Dodge Chargers can tow 500 ton projectiles (at high speed!) down the streets of a city of a heavily populated urban city without encountering so much as a single traffic light. Paul Walker and Vin Diesel both actually deliver a dramatic line that doesn't make you double over with laughter.

Okay, so I made up that last one. Some things are actually impossible, even in movies.

Reality is, nobody goes to movies like this for the compelling, heart-felt dialogue or carefully crafted, action scenes that stay within the bounds of physics and human reason. Nope, you plunk down money to see F&F movies because there are lots of cars, lots of crashes, and lots of tomfoolery. It is quintessential American "turn off your entire brain" cinematic junk food, and damn does it taste great.

Just when you thought you'd seen the epitome of "wait, they aren't really gonna try that, are they?" moviedom, F5 reinvents the proverbial wheel with some stuff you couldn't even fathom. Sure, lots of what's going on here is CGI, but it's so cleverly pulled off that you don't ever feel cheated. From trains, to humvees, to Volkswagen Touaregs (no, really) no vehicle is left unturned, or unflipped. It's a veritable orgy of smash crash, smash crash that's so patently absurd at times you'd swear a 5-year old thought this stuff up. And of course, that's what makes this franchise among Hollywood's best. I'm already anticipating Fast And Freakin' Un-Freakin' Realistic Six. And you will too.

If there's one thing slightly odd here, it's the deliberate decision to deemphasize the drag racing scenes that served as the hallmark for the prior movies. This one's more of a heist/revenge flick than anything else. Street races are alluded to but not shown, and only serve as plot devices to provide the team with vehicles. It's an odd change, but it guess it shows the direction this franchise is evolving. And besides, you won't miss the street races anyway. The rest of the action is just that good.

The Verdict: Turn your brain all the way off. Or don't. Fast Five is enjoyable either way.

Rating: 4 Stars (Out Of 5)

Question: Did you see Fast Five?!?

Monday, May 2, 2011

The #OBLIsDead Open Thread.

Okay, I know what's on everyone's minds today. I've got some thoughts of my own, but I'd rather hear yours first. Please leave your comments here.

Question: What do you make of all this?