Sunday, January 30, 2011

AB.com Hot Topics - 1.31.11

It's Monday. Time to get that paper again. In the meantime, here's today's Hot Topics.

Duel Of The Nile - No need to lie. I'm no expert in foreign relations, and I can't even feign interest in what's going on in Egypt right now. If you just lost an iota of respect for me, so be it. I'm sure some of your Armchair Heads Of State have opinions on whether Obama should fall back or start planning a preemptive strike. Weigh in below.

Williams-Bolar Is NOT A Political Prisoner - My AOL post is still going strong 3 days later. Go over there and weigh in on this controversial topic.

Real Housewives Of Atlanta Season Finale - Don't act like you didn't watch it.

SyFy's Mega Python Vs Gatoroid - Don't act like you didn't watch it.

Question: What's on your mind today?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Kelley Williams-Bolar Is NOT A Political Prisoner!!!

My controversial opinion on the controversial story of the Ohio mom jailed for illegally registering her kids in a better school district is up on AOL BlackVoices right now. You prolly won't like it, but I needed to present a slightly contrary take. If I must say so, it's my best work yet. Go in.

Sorry I didn't run this here, but a brother needed to get paid for this one. Head over there right now and join the convo. Please leave all comments over there. Registration is simple and easy.

The Single Files™ Episode 2 - CH555X.

[Editor's Note: The Single Files™ continues with some real talk from AverageNation™ regular CH555X. With all this talk about how hard it is for black women to find a good mate, I figured he should get an AverageBro's side of the story. Show our guest some love you-know-where.]

Why are you still single?

My area of eastern TN isn't known for a robust African-American population (just outside the so-called black belt). This means the pool of available black females is small. I have no problems with other racial groups, but as I mentioned, this is eastern TN, so that pool is even smaller. I work at a local university that's been known as a commuter school, so this place clears out like it's summer on the weekend. This also means that whatever females go to the university are from out of town or state (even country) and once graduation hits...poof!

The area is also lacking in extracurricular activities that I find interesting. Not into hiking, hunting, or bar-hopping. That means road trip and that's not in the budget. To put this in perspective, I went to Vegas a few years ago, browsed the numerous casinos (and catching some views of the ladies), and a thought came across: the lowest, off-the-radar, so that leaves me with being one of three things: an up-and-coming professional on the move (not there yet), a "stepfather" (not wanting to deal with any ex-spouses or children) or a player of young/older females (didn't work when I arrived and age is catching up). This is not to say I've never encountered women (handful), but I theorize that had I been living in western TN (Memphis), I'd be married or would have a lot more options by now. Online dating for this area is a J-O-K-E! See the reasons above.

Was there ever "one that got away"?

There really wasn't that many to begin with, but there was one girl I encountered during my community college days. We had a class together and just so happened to be placed in a group for an assignment. The trouble was I was young and had the "hit-it & quit it" mentality mixed in with "being responsible". I think she was also a little quick herself as evident with her interest within a span of a few days, but that's another story...;)

Of course, the parents coming home early the particular day I brought her home "to study" didn't help matters, so the "hit-it & quit it" mentality got tossed. Placed some distance between her and I, then decided to just call it quits (trying to be a gentleman at that age). That's one I really regret since that was around near graduation and we were going our separate ways. Ironically, I said to myself that I'd run into plenty more where that came from after transferring to a bigger school (current workplace)...o_O

What's it really like out there for a single black man?

To me in general, it's not too bad. You're on your own schedule and can make free choices without asking. There's also the issue of finances, where you're not concerned about extra mouths running around to feed. Honestly, I prefer to have a lady to come home to, but if it doesn't happen, there's always the Vegas desert!

Question: Does where you live have a profound effect on your dating life? What cities are the best for black singles? Does CH555X need to move to Memphis?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

AB.com Open Mic - 1.27.11

I'm somewhere in the Metro Detroit right now, hopefully not being carjacked or shot at. The blog's all yours today. Drop links, shoot the breeze, keep the convo going without me. I'll be back soon.

Question: What's on your mind today?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

AB (Finally) Goes To The Motor City.

Today, I am realizing the fulfillment of a lifetime dream. In my 37 years on this planet, I've worked my fingers to the bone to reach my goal. It took blood. It took sweat. It took tears. It took lots of Cyber CapriSuns™, but I finally did it Mama.

That's right folks, I finally made it to Detroit.

Okay, Detroit itself isn't exactly the end game, but it is a landmark of sorts, as it was the only major US city I had yet to visit. After 15 years on the road with The Day Job, I've been lots of places, big and small, but The Motor City is the last "big" place I hadn't been. I'll be here for a couple of days doing some Day Job-related stuff, so the blog might be a little light in my absence. If you're in Motown and wanna shoot me some "must sees", do so you-know-where.

- Jay

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The AB.com State Of The Union Open Thread.

Believe it or not, political junkie that I am, I won't be watching tonight's State Of The Union Address. Nope, I'll actually be watching a different sporting event in DC tonight, as my hapless Wizards host the Denver Nuggets who may or may not have Carmelo Anthony by the time you read this post.[1]

I'm just prioritized like that.

Anyways, I'm sure plenty of ya'll will be watching the SOTU. Will there be another Joe Wilson "You Lie Mother******!" moment? Will forcing members of Congress to sit amongst each other like a desegregated lunch room make them seem more mature and sensible? Will Obama call out the GOP for their pointless efforts to "repeal" ObamaCare? Will Paul Ryan's GOP rebuttal be the launching pad to his Presidential campaign in 2016, or another Bobby "Mr. Rogers" Jindal moment of awkward public embarrassment?

I won't be watching, so ya'll will need to tell me. Chime in with your comments below.

Go Wizards! Go Obama!

Question: What did you think of Obama's SOTU address?

[1] Sorry, I just think this guy's waaay overrated. I have no idea why Knicks fans think he'll make their team better.

AB.com Is Now A Palin-Free Zone™.

Anyone who has followed this blog from time to time knows that I sometimes go on "fasts", during which I'll refrain from writing new posts about a given person or topic. I've momentarily "quit" Barack Obama's presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton, The Washington Wizards, and yes, Sarah Palin, only to resume covering them later on. I'm just fickle like that.

This whole "moratorium" concept came to mind this weekend when I read an opinion piece in The Washington Post in which columnist Dana Milbank promised a "Palin-Free February" during which he'd completely refrain from covering her. The reasons were many, and the story itself is a pretty fascinating read. It also made me think about my own tendency to overblog about Palin, and whether or not it's such a good idea anymore.

Let's face it, Palin is an interesting person, mainly by virtue of being so polarizing. She says dumb sh*t. She's annoying as the pack of gnats circling around that big piece of watermelon at your family reunion. She spouts deliberate untruths (Death Panels!) that overshadow legitimate political debates. She's a big ball of deception, bad hair, and lies. And she's unavoidable if you're a blogger, for all of the reasons I just listed. In short, she's great fodder because she's such an un-great person. Since 2008, she's been the gift that keeps on giving to this blog, but sadly this must come to an end.



As Milbank posits, the fact that Palin is so frequently covered is what makes her relevant, not her (laughable) political acumen, or even her (equally laughable) presidential chances. We pick fun at her, she plays the victim role, and everyone gets paid in the end, whether in the form of web clicks, or in her case, book sales. It's a symbiotic relationship, but it's not one that's particularly good for political discourse, and it definitely isn't good for our country.

So, as simple as that, I'm going to follow Dana Milbank's lead and indefinitely declare AB.com a Palin-Free Zone™. If you need your fix of craziness, just consult The Google News, and I'm sure you'll find plenty. Just don't expect anything more here.[1]

Happy Trails, Miss Sarah. It's been unReal.

Question: How long will AB's Palin-ban last? Would she actually go away if the media as a whole quit covering her?

[1] Unless, of course, she officially declares she's running for President. That's actually blogworthy.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Rest In Peace WorldStarHipHop

Depending on where you stand, WorldStarHipHop.com is either the embodiment of everything that's wrong with Black America, or merely a nice corner of the internets in which to burn a spare 30 minutes. Personally, I've always considered it a little bit of both. No, videos of crackheads fighting, Brian Pumper's "reality show", WSHH "Bunnies", and MySpace cRapper homemade music videos aren't exactly advancing the cause. But the rap battle videos are usually pretty interesting, and it's not like WSHH is doing anything you can't find elsewhere.

Uhhh, make that was doing anything.
According to several sources, federal authorities have shut down the popular urban website, WorldStarHipHop.com. WorldStar is known for showing rap videos, footage of rappers engaging in ignorant behavior, fights, news clips and the occasional sex tape.

Federal authorities have already shut down the sites, OnSmash and Rap Godfathers, last year as well as several torrent sites. Rapper 50 Cent has claimed that he is responsible on Twitter:

I put worldstar to bed, you don’t believe try me I will shut your sh*t down. Lol

I don’t know why people underestimate me. I just shut down WORLDSTAR for future advertising contact thisis50.com suckers lol
If anyone actually believes 50 Cent made hundreds of millions off VitaminWater has enough pull at the Department Of Homeland Security to shut down a website that 99.9% of America doesn't even know exists, then I've got a great piece of beachfront property in Topeka that might interest you. Reality is, much like some other hip hop music sites (OnSmash and Rap Godfathers come to mind) recently shut down by the Feds, WSHH probably just fell victim to some sort of copyright infringement. Maybe it'll be back, maybe not. I doubt it'll be missed, since there's a million other places on the internet for the same trash, so folks (as usual) will just keep it movin'. Personally, I hope the far more scandalous MediaTakeOut is next, but that's just me.

I just hope black folks don't turn this into the next Jena Six-type of internet activism, and start passing around e-petitions to bring the site back. What Obama giveth, Obama taketh away. It ain't that deep, folks.

Pour out a lil' liquor, read a book, and get over it already.

Question: Is DHS' decision to shut down WorldStar an example of the gubb'ment wasting time and taxpayer dollars on pointless BS? If you were a regular WSHH reader, where's the best place for me the get my NegroNonsense fix now? Do you even know what the heck WSHH is?

AB.com Hot Topics - 1.24.11

You know the drill. Busy day. Here's the rundown.

State Of Union - Early transcripts of tomorrow's speech have Obama exclusively talking about jobs and the economy. What does he need to do to "knock it out the park" in your opinion?

Keith Olbermann Canned - Smart money says he'll end up on CNN as soon as his no-compete clause expires. Here's hoping MSNBC thinks outside the box and at least considers someone of color as his replacement.

Rick Santorum - I'm not getting too upset over his comment about Obama. Yeah, it was a racist and stupid statement, but this guy's polling at less than 1%. Who cares?

Super Bowl - Okay, so my bold prediction that Da' Bears would win it all went up in smoke. With two small market teams in the Steelers/Packers matchup, this is shaping up to be the least watched Super Bowl evar. Who ya'll got?!?

Question: What's on your mind today?

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Single Files™ Episode 1 - OneChele.

[Editor's Note: The Single Files™ begins with some 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 societal pressures a woman faces when everyone asks the silly question "So, Why Aren't You Married Yet?". Show our guest some love you-know-where.]

I’m Single Cuz I’m not Married. Period?

According to the mainstream media, assorted pundits and blogosphere, as an unmarried African-American woman of a certain age, with a certain lifestyle, income and education – I should just buy Snuggies in a rainbow array of colors and invest in a lifelong subscription to Cat Fancy magazine.

I respectfully decline. I feel like I should form a new group called Singles Anonymous. Hi, I’m Michele. I’m chronically single. My cyber-homie AB asked me to write a post on why I’m still single… and just because I love him so… I did not hop a flight to the DMV burbs and toilet-paper his domicile.

It’s my least favorite question in the world. The real thing people want to know when they ask you this question is – What happened to you, does nobody want you and are you okay with it? It automatically puts you in a defensive position. You have to get across that you are desirable, you’re good being alone and you need to project the right amount confidence (not arrogance) and acceptance (not resignation).

Personally, I have a set number of answers for this question ranging from the ubiquitous “I haven’t met the right person yet” to a lengthy historical diatribe of dating woes reaching back to the mid-90s.

The truth lies somewhere in between. Honestly, I probably have met the right person. More than once. Timing, circumstances, missteps and poor judgment (by both parties) spelled ultimate doom for those relationships. I’ve definitely met a lot of Mr. Wrongs as well.

An ex-S/O called out of the blue last week (as they are known to do) to catch up for the new year. [Sidebar: Folks, this is unnecessary. If I wanted to catch up, I would have done so in the preceding eleven months. Chances are if you haven’t heard from me in that time frame – I’m good with that. Moving on.] After a minute or so of small talk, he confided that he had “done something crazy” over New Year’s weekend. He had gone to Vegas with his current girlfriend and decided “what the heck, let’s get married.” He paused to get my reaction.

**crickets**

This is the same dude that said he just couldn’t “do right” to maintain a “grown-up relationship” for a few months at a time. And he got married? This floored me on a number of levels. One of them, yes, being the petty “why her and not me?” level. Not that I wanted to marry him, it was the principal of the thing. But before I could work up a good pity party, he started talking again.

“Well, you know – she’s put in the time. She looks good enough. And I figured it’s time for a ball and chain. I mean, if it doesn’t work out we can just go to Mexico, right?”

What was he planning a major relationship shift for every vacation? It’s at times like these when it all becomes as clear as a desperate starlet’s blouse on the red carpet. There are far worse things than being single… I could be married to that guy.

So long story short: I’m still single because when (if) I do get married, I want to feel like it’s going to be forever (not just because my frequent flier miles are about to expire).

Question: If you're single, how often are you asked this question? Does it annoy you?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

AB.com Presents... The Single Files™

As a blogger, one thing I don't really do a lot of is "relationship posts". There's not really any particular reason for this, other than the fact that I've been married nearly a decade, and there's not much blogworthy material about marriage. Unless, of course, we're talking about how come black women just can't seem to get hitched. While I had lots of fun with my The Lonely Black Woman Industrial Complex™ series, reality is, I just can't really relate to being single anymore, and thus, I really can't write much about it. It is what it is.

That said, relationship posts = pixels, and if AB.com's about anything, we're about generating pixels. Pixels rool.

On that note, I thought it would be interesting to go beyond the morbid stats and sensationalized nature of the mainstream media and get the real life stories of a handful of real life single black folks. Our new series The Single Files™, will do just that.

A few of my blogging buddies and some members of AverageNation™ (both male and female) will weigh in with their experiences in the dating pool, their worst dates evar, thoughts about the institution of marriage, and general hilarity.

This won't be a series for everyone, but I hope you tune in anyway, even if it's just to swap war stories.

The first in this sure-to-be-groundbreaking series runs here tomorrow, and The Single Files™ will be a regularly recurring feature. Tune in.

- Jay

The Reign Of The Tea Party Begins...

While it's easy to downplay the effect made by the many freshman Tea Partiers just settling into office here in DC, reality is the actual "change" that these folks are bringing is already showing up in some not-so-subtle ways at the local level. A couple of under-reported stories from the world of education got buried in Giffords Gate last week, but I'd be wrong to overlook them here on AB.com.

The first, curiously, takes place in my hometown, although I should note that I went to school in a neighboring district whose schools were pretty diverse even waaay back when I was a youngster.
The sprawling Wake County School District has long been a rarity. Some of its best, most diverse schools are in the poorest sections of this capital city. And its suburban schools, rather than being exclusive enclaves, include children whose parents cannot afford a house in the neighborhood.

But over the past year, a new majority-Republican school board backed by national tea party conservatives has set the district on a strikingly different course. Pledging to "say no to the social engineers!" it has abolished the policy behind one of the nation's most celebrated integration efforts.

And as the board moves toward a system in which students attend neighborhood schools, some members are embracing the provocative idea that concentrating poor children, who are usually minorities, in a few schools could have merits - logic that critics are blasting as a 21st-century case for segregation.

The new school board has won applause from parents who blame the old policy - which sought to avoid high-poverty, racially isolated schools - for an array of problems in the district and who say that promoting diversity is no longer a proper or necessary goal for public schools.

"This is Raleigh in 2010, not Selma, Alabama, in the 1960s - my life is integrated," said John Tedesco, a new board member. "We need new paradigms."

But critics accuse the new board of pursuing an ideological agenda aimed at nothing less than sounding the official death knell of government-sponsored integration in one of the last places to promote it. Without a diversity policy in place, they say, the county will inevitably slip into the pattern that defines most districts across the country, where schools in well-off neighborhoods are decent and those in poor, usually minority neighborhoods struggle.

The NAACP has filed a civil rights complaint arguing that 700 initial student transfers the new board approved have already increased racial segregation, violating laws that prohibit the use of federal funding for discriminatory purposes. In recent weeks, federal education officials visited the county, the first step toward a possible investigation.
Say what you want, but I can't help but read this as an extreme example of NIMBY-ism. Namely, these folks don't want their kids bussed over to Chavis Heights, and they don't want kids from the hood coming out Crabtree Valley. It's a darn shame that re-segregation is seen as progress by some folks into 2011, and I hope the NAACP and the Feds stop this nonsense before it goes too far. Then again, once these folks realize how sh*tty their basketball and football teams are gonna be as a result, maybe they'll reconsider.

I'm just sayin'.

Elsewhere, in a staggering example of When Keepin' It Revisionist Goes Wrong, Tea Baggers in the volunteer state want to literally whitewash the history books.
Members of Tennessee tea parties presented state legislators with five priorities for action Wednesday, including “rejecting” the federal health reform act, establishing an elected “chief litigator” for the state and “educating students the truth about America.”

Regarding education, the material they distributed said, “Neglect and outright ill will have distorted the teaching of the history and character of the United States. We seek to compel the teaching of students in Tennessee the truth regarding the history of our nation and the nature of its government.”

That would include, the documents say, that “the Constitution created a Republic, not a Democracy.”

The material calls for lawmakers to amend state laws governing school curriculums, and for textbook selection criteria to say that “No portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers, or the majority of citizens, including those who reached positions of leadership.”

Fayette County attorney Hal Rounds, the group’s lead spokesman during the news conference, said the group wants to address “an awful lot of made-up criticism about, for instance, the founders intruding on the Indians or having slaves or being hypocrites in one way or another.

“The thing we need to focus on about the founders is that, given the social structure of their time, they were revolutionaries who brought liberty into a world where it hadn’t existed, to everybody — not all equally instantly — and it was their progress that we need to look at,” said Rounds.
So, in short, these folks want to paint the Founding Fathers as idealistic visionaries who had nothing whatsoever to do with the raping and pillaging of people of color.

Hmmmm, no wonder these folks want to "abolish" the department of education.

Sing sing, celebrate. I'm sure Dr. King would be so proud.

Question: Is it possible I'm misreading these stories? Could re-segregation and (further) whitewashing history books actually be good for America? What will the Tea Party do next? What would America look like with a Tea Party President, House, and Senate?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Nobody Puts Baby On The Corner!!!

I get forwarded a lot (and I do mean, LOT) of wacky videos, usually courtesy of such outstanding manifestations of Dr. King's Dream like MediaTakeout, WorldStarHipHop, and SandraRose.com. Most of them are worthy of a chuckle and a quick press of the Delete button, but a few of them are so appalling that I can't help but share the wealth and post them here under the banner of Negro Nonsense.

This would be one such video. And unlike most posts of this nature, I'm simply going to shut up and let the talking pictures speak for themselves.



Okay, since I'm remaining silent about this one, I figured I'll turn this into a contest of sorts, with the winner getting an infamous prize to be determined. The rules are simple, the person who can submit the longest numbered list of things wrong with this video wins. You can cheat/build off your fellow denizens of AverageNation's lists. We're just liberal like that here on AB.com.

[Extra Credit: Name the comedian who did an entire routine about this very topic. Drop the Youtube link to said routine for double extra credit.]

So, break out your list of what's wrong with this infamous moment in Negro History. I'll chime in later to tally the results and crown the winner.

Question: How many wrong things can you count in this 12 second video?!?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

10 Random Observations From Sarah Palin's Pointless Hannity Interview.

Misunderstood in the wake of last week's tragedy in Arizona, Miss Sarah took to the airwaves to defend her right to be a blathering idiot the other night. The results were somewhat less than awe inspiring.

Part I



Part II



Part III



Jesus, this chick could clearly learn to take herself a bit less seriously. Of course I have no such issue, so here's a few of my random observations from this trainwreck.
1. She clearly seems disturbed by this whole thing. Not the shooting (seriously, she obviously doesn't give a f*ck) but the fact that she was (unfairly) blamed for all of this.

2. "Palin Tucson Shooting" does indeed show up 10,000 times on The Google. Wanna know what shows up 45,000 times, also on The Google? "obama paling around with terrorists". Lovely.

3. I love how she's still being listed as "Former Alaska Governor". That's like me being listed as "Former HBCU Student". Equally irrelevant.

4. Jesus, does the victimhood ever stop? How hard would it be to just say "I was wrong for the crosshairs and I feel sorta bad given all the strange coincidences here"?

5. So, the "surveyor symbols" are now "crosshairs" yet again, but it's cool since that's been going on for decades, although none of those other graphics just so happened to coincide with an assassination attempt on an elected official? Keep your stories straight, lady.

6. Boy, could Hannity ask this woman any easier questions?

7. Nice fireplace mantle, BTW. Good to see all that book/speech money is going to good use.

8. Random note, but remember how in 2008 after the election, folks were saying Palin needed to brush up on her bonafides if she wanted to run for President come 2012? In retrospect, she's done the exact polar opposite since then.

9. B*tch please don't quote Dr. Martin Luther King to justify your BS (8:30 mark). And what the hell is she saying afterward? Does she even know?

10. Did this moron just say that silencing her would result in "The republic being destroyed"? Does she think before she speaks? Maybe she'd be better off using one of those dreaded teleprompters a bit more frequently. Too bad she dogged Obama for using one.
Did anyone notice the words "Gabrielle" and "Giffords" never came out of her mouth a single time? Nor were the words "I'm sorry", or "I was wrong".

I've convinced now moreso than ever before: not only is she not running for President, she also seems to finally understand she has no shot. No. Shot.

No pun intended, BTW.

Question: What did you gather from this video?

LightSkinned vs DarkSkinned DeathMatch: Club Edition.

So much for all that post-racial sh*t. Even the tears of sweet baby Obama can't fix the random f*ckery that still exists in some dark (no pun intended) corners of Black America. Yep, we got a Black President, a sista running a Fortune 500 company[1], Weezy is finally Free, and we still dealin' with this sh*t in 2011.
Party promoters in Ohio are under fire for the controversial theme of their next event; “Light Skin V.S. Dark Skin.”

The party first caught national attention after being posted on Twitter, sparking debate with the hash tag #LightskinVsDarkskin.

A flyer for the party shows eye candy model Keyshia Dior for #TeamLightSkin alongside a darker skinned model for #TeamDarkSkin and is advertised as the “Most Anticipated Party Of The Year.”

The event is set to take place January 21 in downtown Columbus.
Here's the whole flyer. Personally, I'm not too impressed with either of these chicks. Remove all the yaki, fake lashes, boob implants, airbrushing, and assorted enhancements and tell me what you got left? How about a Real vs Fake Party? I might even leave my house for that one.

Of course isn't isn't the first time such a party took place. I remember a similar fete a year or so ago in Detroit. I wonder if the people who plan these events do so mostly for shock value/extra pub, or if they really just think this nonsense is perfectly permissible. After watching that turrible Ice Cube/Mike Epps movie Janky Promoters the other night on Skinemax, I think it's entirely possible some Negroes think this is actually a good idea. And that's a shame. With all the other problems (unemployment, bad education, hypertension, autotune) do we really need something this divisive only making things worse? I thought a night at the club was posed' to be fun. Who'd wanna pay good money to watch something like this break out?



On a related note, anyone promoting something as the “Most Anticipated Party Of The Year” when the sh*t takes place on January 21st clearly is lacking even basic business acumen. BTW, you're currently reading the “Most Anticipated Post Of The Week". Sounds pretty effin' stupid, don't it?

Lets get beyond this, black folks. Please. And if you're in C-Bus, please, please, please don't drop good money on this idiocy.

Question: Is this merely a lazy example of shock promotion, or is there some larger social issue here that needs to be addressed?

[1] It's not Oprah. Google it.

Hollywood/Hip-Hop Nepotism Must Stop!!!

Since everyone gives me a hard time about criticizing the rappin' offspring of assorted black entertainers, here's one for the sake of color balance. I'm just post-racial like that.

Chet Haze prolly isn't someone you've heard of, but you definitely know his dad. In case you don't, here's a hint: "Run Forrest, Run!!!"



I'll be honest, this isn't all that turrible. Yeah, remaking Wiz Khalifa's "Black And Yellow" for the 18 millionth time by subbing in your colors of choice is the pinnacle of creative laziness, but Tom Hanks' kid isn't turrible on the mic. I'm too lazy to Google this, but I'm not sure if this is his attempt to parlay his family connection into a record deal, or just another rich suburban white kid having fun. Either way, I'm assuming he's reppin' Northwestern because he actually goes there (how random would this otherwise be?) so the standard "he needs to quit trying to rap and just go to college" retort doesn't apply. He is in college, and a pretty good one at that.

Alright, Lauren, fire away. I know it's coming.

Question: Should Tom Hanks' kid just stick to his studies, or could he have an Eminem-sans-the-youth-angst career on his hands?

Monday, January 17, 2011

The AB.com MLK Day Open Thread

Happy MLK Day. I know most of ya'll are off today. I'm not. In fact, I'm extra busy with The Day Job today. Just as Dr. King would have wanted it.

{sarcasm}

Anyways, since this day seems to have basically dissolved into yet another "day off" (for some of us. not me.) of tasteless department store sales and NBA matinees (more about that later), I wonder how many of us even know this man was a complex intellectual whose gravitas goes way beyond one memorable line in one memorable speech. Here's some of my favorite MLK quotes. The words "I" "Have" and "Dream" are nowhere to be found. Okay, maybe "I" and "Have". But definitely not "Dream".
A man can't ride your back unless it's bent.

Discrimination is a hellhound that gnaws at Negroes in every waking moment of their lives to remind them that the lie of their inferiority is accepted as truth in the society dominating them.

A right delayed is a right denied.

The Negro needs the white man to free him from his fears. The white man needs the Negro to free him from his guilt.

If physical death is the price that I must pay to free my white brothers and sisters from a permanent death of the spirit, then nothing can be more redemptive.

It is incontestable and deplorable that Negroes have committed crimes; but they are derivative crimes. They are born of the greater crimes of the white society.

A riot is at bottom the language of the unheard.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important.

The sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality.
Amen, amen, and amen. I wonder how many people who love bringing up MLK's name and that one line of that one speech to marginalize the man as some colorblind hippie feel about all that.

Anyways, the entire point of this post is to trick urge you folks to support the MLK Memorial which is already under contruction on the Mall in DC. Despite what you might have heard, the project is not paid for yet, and donations are still needed. The project is slotted to open in about a year, but is still about $12M short of its projected $120M price tag. Of course none of us has that kinda paper, but every dollar counts. Chip in what you can to ensure that Dr. King takes his rightful place among the other American Icons in our nation's backyard.

Whatever you do, hurry up and give so I don't get tacky solicitations from the memorial foundation offering me reduced price tickets to today's Wizards/Jazz MLK Day matinee. Cause I'm sure Dr. King's Dream didn't include watching two lousy NBA teams playing a pointless 1pm game. Am I a little salty that I had to miss today's game because I have to work? Maybe. But on the same note, there's no reason why the foundation needed to resort to hawking basketball tickets. Do your part, please. Give just $5 and you get a cool blue MLK Memorial bracelet. I've got mines, get yours.

Anyways, since today is supposed to be a day of reflection (not basketball), I'd like your thoughts on the questions that follow.

Question: If MLK were alive today, how would we he treated/received? If MLK were alive today, what would he think of the state of black America? What's your favorite MLK quote?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Pour Out A Lil' Liquor...

No, this post isn't about the recently deceased. It's a Friday. I ain't got the proverbial stomach for anything heavy today, but since the homie CJames mentioned it yesterday, I'm strangely thinking about cheap liquor right now.



I'll make a wild assumption here and say that (based on the comments) my readers are generally well educated, and in many cases upwardly mobile. I'm also going to assume that most of us didn't necessarily grow up this way. Some of us (I ain't namin' no names) prolly grew up in the hood, and a large portion of my readers did some time at a Negro College.

All that said, I'm willing to bet that most of us have tried a 40 ounce a malt liquor, well before Four Loko made it all trendy and whatnot.

Since this is a Friday, and this post is already pointless, I've got a sorta weird question to pose. I've always heard that what a (wo)man drinks says a lot about what sort of (wo)man (s)he is. So I figured I'd ask ya'll what your favorite cheap libation of choice back in the days used to be, and what your preferred poison is today, now that you've got a more sophisticated palette. And if you don't drink at all, tell us why you choose not to.

Back in college, I sampled pretty much every variation of gutrot imaginable, thanks to The College Pantry, a bodega near our campus that was, lets say, very liberal when it came to asking for ID's. I looked every bit of 14 as a college freshman, but I could cop with ease. And cop I did. MD 20/20. Cisco (the original liquid crack!). Richards' Wild Irish Rose. And of course every possible flavor of malt liquor, provided the 40 ounce bottle cost $1.25 or less. When you're in college, basic economics dictate your drinking habits (and eating habits for that matter). Sometimes I look back and wonder how I even graduated, let alone got a Day Job.

Thanks, Negro College!

Nowadays, I'm not a heavy drinker by any means. I like a nice cold Blue Moon (don't forget the oranges slice), and Bud Light Lime isn't too bad either. I'll drink whatever fruity Ciroc/Patron concoction my wife mixes up. But I definitely don't fux with brown/dark liquor anymore though. A bizarre mix of Easy Jesus, a fight with the Duke football team, and an ensuing blackout that makes the whole night hazy pretty much closed the door on that one waaaay back in my HBCU days.[1] Dark liquor is the Devil's Vitamin Water.

Question: Open Bar. What's your favorite libation now, and what was your drink of choice when you had to be a bit more fiscally conservative (aka: broke)?!? Is there anything you won't drink?

[1] CJames, you are officially prohibited from sharing any details of this incident.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Is Michelle Malkin The Dumbest Anti-Obama Rebutter Evar?!?

Yup, political discourse is already changing for the better, courtesy of Fox News' resident shrew, Michelle Malkin. She's in rare hateristic form and so irrational in her Obama Derangement Syndrome that even the Fox & Friends hosts can't co-sign this ignorant bullsh*t.



Question: If Obama said the sky was blue, what color would Michelle Malkin say it was? Perriwinkle? Mauve? Grey? Colorblind?

The Obama Tucson Memorial Speech Open Thread.

I'm sure most of ya'll watched last night's memorial event, if not, here it is, in its entirety.



I'm sure ya'll have some opinions. Here are mine, show me yours below.

Presidential - From a strictly leadership standpoint, this was Obama's finest hour as a President. The country needed to be told everything would be okay, and Obama delivered. He could have easily sidestepped the issue of political rhetoric, instead he dove in head first and chastised those who exploited this tragedy for political gain, in a classy, non-partisan fashion. And of course, the mini-eulogies for the departed were tastefully done. Unless you're a complete hater, it's impossible to walk away from this without thinking Obama was all of America's President tonight. Well done, sir.[1]

Weird Crowd - Like most of you, I was also a bit confused by the reaction of the crowd, and for that matter, the tenor of virtually every non-politician who spoke. From the student body president, to the native American who gave the invocation, to the college kids in the audience who shouted random things ("I love your husband!") at inappropriate times, something just didn't feel right. The official explanation of many in attendance was that the university (and apparently the families of the injured/deceased) didn't want a somber memorial service, but rather a celebration of life. Things got so jovial at one point, I wondered if there was an Arizona/UCLA game taking place on the other end of the gym. Of course, none of this is the President's fault, but I've already heard lots of Conservatives chiding him for the way the crowd reacted. Haters.

"Gabby Opened Her Eyes" - Admit it, you teared up a lil' bit. I did.

The Palin/Obama Contrast - I can't believe I'm even dignifying this thought, but many (even on the right) are saying that in contrast with Palin's me-me-me screed, Obama's speech looks MLK-ish by comparison. I think that's silly. One guy's the leader of the free world. That chick is just a self-serving nitwit. They don't belong in the same paragraph, let alone the same sentence. And yeah, that was a self-contradiction. Yeah, and I meant to do that.

Political Discourse - Will change... for about a week. Then the usual suspects (who haven't already) will be right back to calling Obama a Socialist, and essentially spitting in Giffords' face. It's the nature of Washington, these people simply can't help themselves.

Question: What did you think of last night's speech?!?

[1] As a sidebar, Obama's approval rating is now back up to 53%, and that was prior to this tragedy.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sarah Palin's "I Have An Excuse" Speech.

I've seen lots of disgusting political maneuvers in my 4 years of running this blog, but this one might top em' all.



Seriously, is this really the time to point fingers and essentially tell folks to get off your d*ck? I get it, Palin feels bad that folks are piling on her. But most folks with some level of common sense aren't blaming Palin for this massacre, merely pointing out that given all the odd coincidences (the crosshairs, Giffords' complaints, her Tea Party opponent's use of guns in fundraising activities) it would make some sense for Palin to admit that she's contributed to the current political climate. Nobody's blaming her for pulling a trigger, merely noting that she should probably be a bit more gracious.

Instead, she pulls this bullsh*t, which smacks entirely of political CYA. And nary a mention of her bullsh*t "surveyor symbol" excuse. No taking responsibility for anything she's ever done, merely transferring blame to others. It's always somebody else's fault. Always.

How can you pretend to care about a woman who's in a coma when you put that very same woman behind a set of crosshairs just a few weeks ago?

I'm so sick of this b*tch. Yeah, I said it. B*tch.

If that's only adding to the explosive political rhetoric that's poisoned our country, so be it. It needs to be said.

Question: Does Palin care about anything other than hawking books? Is blaming everyone else for your own f*ckups, and never taking responsibility for anything really a quality we want for a student body President, let alone POTUS?!?

Hip Hop Nepotism Must. Be. Stopped.

Just because your father was moderately successful at something doesn't mean you need to try it yourself. Case in point: Master P's kids, Romeo and Cymphonique (?!?) who obviously grew up in Malibu, but feel some weird preoccupation with pretending to be from the 5th Ward. (Whoadie!)

Seriously, Lil' Romeo couldn't bust a grape, let alone a solid 16. Why is he channelling a Young Money weedcarrier, and what's up with his little sister's name, WTF?!? dimestore Willow Smith routine? Originality, please. Even their Pops understood that much, or at least I thought so.

Jesus, is there something wrong with using your parents money to go to college and becoming a dentist, or an actuary, or something that doesn't involve the entertainment business? I'm not hatin' on these kids, but damn, much like Ice Cube's untalented spawn, you gotta take a full inventory of your talents, recognize your limitations, and know your limits.

No Limit. Get it?!?[1]

There's all kinds of things wrong with this video, but the wrongest-est comes around the 3:00 mark.



I'll be honest, the Lil' P-Nut phenomenon was cool the first 4-5 times, but shouldn't this kid be somewhere learning multiplication tables?

Question: Am I being too hard on these kids (as usual), or should they really just pack it up and enroll at Everest College?!?

[1] UNNNNGHHHHHHH!!!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What Would You Do?!? - Speeding With A Pregnant Wife.

[Editor's Note: This story originally ran yesterday and was pulled for the Giffords open thread.]

Having experienced the joy of childbirth twice now, I'm familiar with the mad scramble that occurs when you finally realize "it's time". Thankfully in both cases, we were well prepared, the hospital was a short drive away, and weather wasn't an issue (my kids were both in August and October). Still, the stereotype of the man rushing his in-labor wife through traffic to make it to the delivery room persists, probably because it's so often portrayed that way on TV. Sure, you hear about the occasional "baby born on the side of the road" story, but more often than not, the journey to the hospital is a routine, mundane experience.

Not so much for a New Hampshire Couple.
A New Hampshire man says he's going to fight a speeding ticket he received after rushing his wife to the hospital when she was in labor.

State Police say John Coughlin hit a speed of 102 mph on Interstate 293 on Sept. 18 as he rushed to Catholic Medical Center in Manchester with his wife Angela.

The Coughlins called 911 after a trooper tried to stop them and said the baby was about to be born. The trooper turned the pursuit into an escort to the hospital.

WMUR-TV says baby Kyle was born six minutes after the Coughlins reached the hospital.

John Coughlin says the trooper congratulated him on the birth of his son and then gave him a ticket.
I've seen this guy making the rounds on morning news shows talking about the case, and to be quite honest, he sorta sounds like a tool. Maybe that's why I could be less than sympathetic in saying this, but he's dead wrong.

Driving 102 miles an hour under any circumstances warrants a ticket. Period. Sure, he was trying to get his wife to the hospital, but doing that speed puts his family, as well as other families on the highway at risk. He's lucky he caught the right cop on the right day (and apparently in the right state), cause I'm sorry, but I don't see it going down like this for all of us. Again, this could have turned out far worse for all involved parties.

In this situation, I prolly would have either called an ambulance, or called 911 prior to leaving the house and requested a police escort. Even if I'd managed to pull off what Coughlin did, I'd also probably just let the ticket slide. I mean, seriously, the baby arrived and is apparently healthy. Why overshadow that beautiful moment by griping about a ticket? Sometimes, standing on general principle is just generally stupid.

Pay the fine, kiss your newborn, and move on. But that's just me.

Question: What would you do if placed in a similar situation. Go all NASCAR, or call an ambulance?!?

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Gabby Giffords Shooting Open Thread.

An atrocity occurred in Arizona this past weekend. I'm sure everyone has their opinions on what happened, and I'd like this to serve as an open forum for voicing your thoughts.

Rather than share my opinion on this, I'm simply going to provide some questions to set the tone. Chime in below.

Question: How did the media bungle the announcement of Giffords' death? Did people rush to point ideological fingers in this story? Would we be better served to wait until some motive becomes clearer? Are mentally unstable people able to be influenced by political rhetoric? Does this mark a turning point in terms of what's acceptable political discourse? How should the President address this situation?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Day "The Dougie" Jumped The Shark.

Rule of cultural thumb: when the mainstream media finally discovers something that's allegedly cool, it's no longer cool. Witness this nonsense.



It's 2011. If you don't know how to do the Dougie yet, you should prolly just stick with the two-step. On the bright side, at least Terry Moran wasn't tasked with delivering this pointless expose. That mighta been even worse than the sista doing this story. Her wooden dance steps make Wolf Blitzer look like Shabba Doo.

Yep, ABC News, specializing in defining what was cool 6 months ago to Suburban America.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Internal Parental Conflict Of Princess Boy.

Look, I've got two sons. I'd like to think that I'm open-minded enough to accept whatever path my boys might take in life, as long as that path doesn't involve becoming Republicans.

Still, something about this story is just a wee bit cringe-worthy.



My first thought when I saw this story in my RSS Reader was "Where the hell is the father?" Of course, the Dad's actually in the picture here, which I suppose is good. And that's one strong brother, cause I can't tell you with certainty that this would sit as easily with me. Maybe over time, but initially, prolly not.

Sorry, but I'm just as guilty as the next brother when it comes to traditional notions of masculinity. I'd have some hurdles to overcome. Shoot me.

Part of me says that putting a child this young on blast can go either way. If it turns out he's either gay, or merely prefers womens clothes, this level of support can help him down the line. But if this is just a phase, imagine the ribbing this kid's gonna get in middle school. Maybe Mom should have passed on the opportunity to turn this into some social crusade and simply focused on rearing her son. Turning this into a literary career seems a little self-serving.

Is it the responsibility of a parent to allow the kid to guide himself into what he likes, or should parents be facilitators? Note that the boy was just 2 years old when he started asking to dress up in tutus. If the kid wanted to walk outdoors naked, that wouldn't be socially acceptable. Nor would skipping school and watching Ni Hao Kai Lan all day. Same for eating Utz potato chips for every meal, as my kids are sometimes prone to request. Don't get me wrong, I'm not equating these things with crossdressing, I'm merely noting that parents need to be parents sometimes. You can't let a kid do everything they want. That's not parenting, that's grandparenting. So the Dad in me is somewhat conflicted here. Isn't there a fine line between being a parent and letting a kid choose their path in life?

Part of me wants to say this is simply a kid going through a phase, nothing more. But regardless of where all this leads, the kid's journey is going to be much smoother because he has two parents who love him, apparently unconditionally. That can only help.

Question: What would you do? If "Princess Boy" was your child, how accepting would you be of this sort of behavior?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Epic Tale Of Epic Voice Man.

This is proof that every now and then, the internets in general, and viral videos specifically can be used for good. I'm happy that this guy's getting a second chance. I also hope all the people pimping him for publicity are able to help him secure a real job once this media firestorm subsides.



This almost atones for an entire year of Antoine Dodson. Almost.

Don't Let The Doorknob Hit You, Robert Gibbs.

Not long after President Obama took office, I started harping on just how turrible a job his press secretary Robert Gibbs was doing, but most of you thought I was just being a hater. Seriously, such a visible, important job, this guy just seemed so in over his head. He has no tact, is woefully misinformed, and doesn't have the presence or savvy to handle an increasingly hostile press corps. I've considered his inadequacies among the biggest of the President's "messaging" problems.

In short, he sucks. Freddie Gibbs could prolly do a better job.[1]

Now, finally, he's kickin' rocks. Thank you Jesus!!!
Press Secretary Robert Gibbs gives his first White House briefing in two weeks today, and some of the questions will probably be about him. Gibbs' departure from the podium -- and perhaps the White House itself -- may be imminent.

The long-time aide to President Obama is "now seriously considering an exit from the West Wing -- a move that would allow him to work on Obama's 2012 reelection campaign and act as a media surrogate for the president," reports Politico, citing anonymous sources.

The Washington Post, citing "Democrats with White House knowledge," reported that Gibbs may "set up his own consulting shop and play a leading role in the 2012 campaign."

It's also possibility that Gibbs could take another senior level position in the White House.

Among the contenders to replace Gibbs: Bill Burton, now deputy press secretary, and Jay Carney, communications director for Vice President Joe Biden.
I'm less than impressed with the possible contenders to replace Gibbs. Bill Burton strikes me as more of the same, and I wouldn't know Jay Carney if he walked in my office right now, but if he can't keep a muzzle on Crazy Joe Biden, he clearly isn't cut out for this job.

Seriously, would it kill Obama to think outside the Chicago/Ivy League box for once? Here's some thoughts on who should get the gig, not that it matters or anything:

Donna Brazille - Savvy, shoots from the hip, well regarded and respected party spokesperson who won't take no jive. Probably wouldn't want the job.

Jamaal Simmons - Remember him from CNN's campaign coverage? Remember how CNN dumped all their black analysts (except Roland Martin) once Obama beat Hillary? This guy was always well composed, and well informed. He's also working at Sizzler right now, so you could prolly get him for cheap. Do that.

Diddy - What better hypeman/pitchman is there on the planet? This man's turned Ciroc from a non-entity to the hottest ultra premium vodka on the planet. He could literally sell ice to an Eskimo.[2] Are you telling me he couldn't sell cap & trade? I think he could.[3]

Karen Finney - This DNC spokeswoman and ex-Clintonite is probably a safe political choice, is well connected with the White House, and has actually shown up on a few short lists I've seen so far. She's already well versed in handling Q&A in high profile settings (she's a regular on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC), and effectively conveying the administration's message. Looking like a distant cousin of Toni Braxton is probably going to win her a few sympathy points/less rigorous questioning than a male press secretary, which can't hurt. I wouldn't be shocked (or disappointed) if this actually happens.

Rachel Maddow - Bush hired Tony Snow directly from Fox News to be his press secretary, so this isn't such a stretch. Her penchant to presenting facts and debunking BS would be refreshing. Then again, why would she want this job?

Oprah Winfrey - I'm just sayin'. Imagine the possibilities.

Don Lemon - If you want to go with a seasoned professional, yet a "safe" guy with few skeletons in the closet, why not steal CNN's best news reader?

Of course, all of these choices make too much sense, so they're not likely to even show up on the radar. Obama likes people he's familiar with, whether it makes logical sense or not, so expect some insider to assume the mantle shortly.

Then again, anyone buy Gibbs would be an improvement.

Question: Was Robert Gibbs as terrible a press scty as I'm making him out to be, or was he truly part of the Obama Administration's messaging problem? Who should replace him?

[1] Google it.

[2] Take That! Take That!

[3] He'd probably also screw up and say "Take That! Take That!" or "R.I.P. Biggie Smalls" during a press briefing at least once a week.

What Would You Do?!? - Winning MegaMillions!!!

The country (yours truly included) was bonkers over the $355M MegaMillions cash prize earlier this week. I don't even mess with the lottery, but $355M will get your attention. Needless to say, since you're reading this right now, I didn't win. Two lucky people, however, just had their lives changed forever.
Two winning tickets, from Idaho and Washington, will share a $355 million Mega Millions jackpot.

Mega Millions has yet to announce the identity of Tuesday night's drawing winners, who beat the odds of one in 176 million by selecting the winning numbers: 4, 8, 15, 25, 47 and the mega ball number 42.

Gamblers lined up Tuesday at newsstands and gas stations in 41 states and Washington, D.C., hoping to overcome astronomical odds and win one of the largest jackpots in U.S. lottery history.

"The odds are 1 in 176 million," said Carolyn Hapeman, a spokeswoman for New York State's lottery division. "But plenty of people have done it before."

In order to win, players have to hit the first five numbers plus the so-called mega ball. Sixty-seven players who hit the first five numbers without the mega ball won $250,000 each.

The largest U.S. jackpot ever, $390 million in Mega Millions, was won on March 6, 2007, split by two people from Georgia and New Jersey. The second-largest jackpot -- and the largest ever in the other big multi-state lottery, Powerball -- was $365 million won by ConAgra Foods co-workers in Nebraska on Feb. 18, 2006.

Many of the winners, including the ones from New York, are required to make a public appearance after they win, but after that they can fade from public view, according to Hapeman.
I'm just curious here, what would you guys do if you hit the big numbers, and suddenly found yourself $355M richer? Would you take the cash payout of $225M, or the 26 annual payments to keep the entire amount? Would you quit your Day Job immediately? How would you suddenly manage family and friends (and long lost 5th cousins) who now all have a "bid'ness idea" or just want a handout? Would the money eventually come between you and your spouse? Would you eventually curse the day you won, just as many one-time winners infamously have, or would this be a blessing? Tell me below.

Question: What would you do? How would your life change if you hit the lottery?

Super Bowl XLV Halftime Will Feature The Black Eyed Peas

If you’ve been part of the younger generation of football fans, that has been coincidentally timing your bathroom breaks or purposely planning something else to avoid the Super Bowl halftime shows, you no longer have to.

To the surprise of the odds makers who handle the Superbowl betting found at BetUs, we’ll see an act that will cater to a younger crowd.

According to NFL.com, the Black Eyed Peas have been picked for the Super Bowl XLV halftime show, which will end a streak of classic rock acts.

Since Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction back in 2004, the Super Bowl organizers have been far more conservative with their halftime play-calls. We’ve seen The Who, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Prince, Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band, The Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney.

This year, the Black Eyed Peas have been tabbed and they should cater to a much younger crowd. Previously, they performed at the pre-game show for the 2009 Super Bowl but this year they’ll take center stage at halftime.

For their careers, the Black Eyed Peas have sold over 28 million albums worldwide. Expect to hear a number of their current including some of their recent Billboard smashes, like The Time, and Imma Be.

Super Bowl XLV will take place at Cowboys Stadium on February 6th, 2011.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

AB.com's Solution To The NCAA's Rampant Hypocrisy: Pay The Athletes!!!

Last night's Sugar Bowl was the physical embodiment of the NCAA's hypocrisy. Ohio State's Terrell Pryor and Co. took the field, despite having broken an NCAA rule by reselling team memorabilia. Never mind the fact that the team regularly auctions off Pryor's game used equipment to fund the booster club, and sells replicas with his #2 (sans last name) for about $150. This all adds up. The Ohio State University pulled in an astounding $65 million in football related revenue alone last year, and a whopping $118 million for the athletic department as a whole.

Pryor, the star quarterback, sees none of this money.



You could argue that he's using The Ohio State as an internship for an NFL job, and that's mostly true. The exposure of playing in front of millions of people each week gives him an invaluable platform on which to display his skills to NFL scouts. He's (allegedly) getting a free education, room, board, a small cost of living stipend, and a nominal per diem when travelling. Nobody is making him play football. If he wanted to quit tomorrow and enroll at the school as a paying student, he could.

Still, all best laid plans can implode with one errant tackle. Pryor could blow out a knee during practice and never play a day in the NFL. All the years of two-a-days, weight training, and drinking protein shakes would be for naught. And that's a best case scenario. There are thousands of other NCAA athletes who work just as hard yet have no chance of going pro, and given the demands of the sport, have little time to focus on their studies. Many of these kids never graduate, and end up back home with few employment prospects, and nothing to show for their effort other than a perpetually achy back. Meanwhile, the schools just recruit more kids, make more money, rinse, and repeat.

Sorry, but something's really wrong with this picture.

I think these schools should pay their athletes, and here's how: Profit Sharing.

In the corporate world, many companies "share" their profits with employees at years end, either in the form of bonuses, stock shares, or direct payments into interest-bearing accounts. Employees feel a level of engagement in the company's success that goes beyond the 1st and the 15th, since they have an extra incentive to work hard. The company gets even more dedicated employees, and shares just enough with them to reward their efforts without breaking the bank. It's a classic win-win.

In the NCAA's current setup, only the schools win. Most NCAA scholarships are renewable each year, not the 4-year ride you'd assume they are. This is a rule so egregiously slanted in favor of the schools that the US Department of Justice is currently examining whether or not it's legal. So, in short, if you don't perform on the field or court, you can get cut. This seldom happens to star players, but it's an annual occurrence for guys on the fringe who are quietly dismissed. Next time you read about a player who "decided to leave the University", you should probably consider this the reason.

I propose a level of reasonable profit sharing wherein the athletic departments of the schools establish 401k's or IRAs for each player upon enrollment. At the end of each year, the schools should open the books for each individual sport, determine what that sport's revenue and expenses were for the season, and give each scholarship player a uniform percentage (ie: 0.5-1% tops), deposited directly into their accounts. Players can invest the money in any number of available vehicles but the money is not fully vested, and thus cannot be touched, until the player actually graduates. Players who drop out forfeit their money, as do players who go pro early. Failure to graduate in 5 years results in a forfeiture. Money forfeited goes directly back to the athletic department. Walk-ons get nothing, nor do incoming transfers.

Since the money is divvied up based on the profitability of a given sport, athletes in the non-revenue generating sports (ie: swimming and softball) that football and basketball usually fund would get virtually nothing. As for Title IX, womens programs (ie: basketball) which turn a profit share that with the players. This probably would be a huge point of contention, but I'm not sure why. Again, mens programs that don't make money don't pay either. Generally, scholarships for non-revenue generating sports are not full rides, merely a nominal stipend provided each semester to offset tuition. It's not like there's a level playing field right now amongst sports or genders. So this is pretty reasonable, and fair across the board. It rewards those who make the school money. When the women's golf team gets a $6 Billion TV deal, they'll deserve a cut of that money too.

Big name schools that generate millions would naturally be more attractive to recruits since they potential could pay more, but that's really no different that how things operate now, sans the money. It's not like Ohio State and Ohio University are competing for the same caliber of player anyway. This is simply extending that same "big school" benefit by adding a legal financial payout. It wouldn't totally curb the influence of boosters and shady agents, but it does recognize the players' contributions to the University.

In the end, players in sports that make money could leave college with $15-$20,000 that they could use to further their education, start a family, or buy a home. While that's a nominal amount and would vary widely by school and sport, at least it's a good start, and shows the schools are looking out for the general welfare of the kids.

Question: Is this Profit Sharing concept a good idea, or should college athletes simply not be paid?!?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

AB.com Hot Topics - 1.4.11

You know the drill. Busy day. Here's the rundown.

Republican Repeals - Now that the GOP's regained a modicum of power, they're going to revisit ObamaCare by attempting to repeal the legislation by defunding it piece-by-piece. I can predict with no uncertainty that this exercise in futility will backfire. After harping on the jobless number for two years, why would the GOP now want to have healthcare legislation dominate the new cycles yet again? How does that help you politically? Every exit poll showed the GOP won last Fall because of disillusionment with the economy. Most polls showed healthcare reform (along with deficit reduction) was waay down the list. So what's the point in this pointless grandstanding? If it's to show the Tea Party they are living up to their promises, then fine. But someone might want to remind Republicans that the Tea Party is a very small segment of the American populace. The rest of us don't want to see time and taxpayer money wasted when the White House and Senate are still controlled by Dems. Mark my words, this obsession with repealing what a large number of Americans see as solid legislation (witness the positive reaction to closing the donut hole) is going to backfire and backfire badly.

The Debt Ceiling - I've said it before and will say it again. When you're in times of financial strife, eff' a deficit. Period. Bush and Co. believed it in. So did Reagan. So why the heck is the GOP threatening to shut down the entire gubb'ment instead of raising the debt ceiling slightly? This high stakes game of chicken will be playing out in coming weeks, and we'll see if Obama blinks first. Staging this sort of whimsical protest, just to please the Tea Party (notice a pattern here) is exactly the sort of situation that calls for a public chin-check. As much heat as Obama took for caving in during the tax negotiations, unemployment benefits pale in comparison to a total government shutdown. He should call this lunacy (as well as the healthcare repeal) out during the upcoming SOTU address. Whether he does, or spouts his usual bipartisan pablum will go a long way towards proving to me that he's learned the true lessons of his first two years in office.

Sugar Bowl Controversy - Yes, Terrelle Prior and his fellow Ohio State Buckeyes were wrong for violating NCAA rules by selling team memorabilia for personal profit. The rules are the rules, they knew the rules, and knowingly broke them. Still, how hypocritical is it for the NCAA to suspend these guys next season, all in the name of good TV ratings for tonight's big game. No Prior = no interest. So, it's perfectly fine to break the rules, so long as you don't cost the University a bowl payout. It's also perfectly fine for the same university to auction off the very same memorabilia (ie: game worn jerseys) to fund the booster club. Bullsh*t. If this isn't proof enough that players need some form of payment (ie: profit sharing) in exchange for participating in collegiate athletics, I don't know what is.

Question: What's on your mind today?

Monday, January 3, 2011

AB.com's 2011 Predictions.

New Year's Resolutions are for punks. Let's face it, if you need wait until January 1st and announce to the world you intentions to finally join Gold's Gyms and lose that gut, you probably aren't gonna make it. I would really like to permanently remove the word "resolution" from the English language.

I'm more about predictions anyway. They're more fun to make, and if you're wrong, who cares? If you're right, you look like a genius, and I need not remind you, in 2010 and 2009, I looked like a genius. Thus, I'm once again staring into the AB Crystal Ball and giving you a boatload of various predictions for the new year.

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Politricks
President Obama will find Year 3 of his Presidency the easiest thus far. The bipartisan wins of the lame duck session will miraculously roll over in the the new year, as the President and GOP-controlled Congress will come together to tackle issues of tax code reform, deficit reduction, and the economy at large. Obama will finally figure out how to take credit for what he does, and a White House shakeup in early 2011 will result in better messaging as a whole. His approval ratings will resurface to the mid 50's, setting the table for 2012.

The economy will finally rebound. With new job numbers improving month by month, the Obama administration will be able to claim they solved the unemployment issue. By year's end, unemployment will drop to an even 9.0%, which won't be earth shattering, but will be a good enough trend for the Administration to prove things are on the right track.

The Dow will briefly eclipse the 14,000 mark during the course of the year, then level back off.

The GOP will find itself continually at-odds within their newly controlled Congress. While party leadership will be more apt to work with the President, the Tea Partiers will be eager to make a name for themselves and will prove to be a thorn in the side of progress. In an odd turn of events, the Tea Party and Congressional Black Caucus will find themselves on the same side when the President and GOP leadership strike a deal that neither group agrees with.

By year's end, Tea Party newbies will find themselves unable to get anything of substance done and will simply fall in line with GOP leadership on some very controversial votes, which will set the tone for a difficult 2012 re-election campaign for many TP candidates.

The usual GOP suspects will declare their 2012 intentions by March. Sarah Palin, however, will string the party along for months until announcing that she won't run sometime in the Summer. Tea Partiers and bloggers alike will fall into a deep depression. Imagine all of the lost post fodder.
Entertainment
Tyler Perry will finally make a movie (of his own) that's actually good enough to get bourgeois Negroes like myself off his back. Yes, the movie (which won't include Madea) will actually be that decent.

J. Cole will finally blow up, as his debut album sells close to 200,000 copies the first week.

A new white rapper will become the biggest thing in the rap game at some point in the year.

A high profile rap groupie will get her own reality show on VH1.
Sports
The LA Lakers will lose in an early round matchup. The Miami Heat will implode in the Eastern Conference Finals vs the Boston Celtics, effectively blowing the homecourt advantage they worked all season to get. The San Antonio Spurs will in the NBA championship.

The Chicago Bears will win the Super Bowl. Yeah, really.

The UConn Huskies will win both the men's and women's' NCAA basketball titles.

The Pittsburgh Penguins will win the Stanley Cup (again).

Blake Griffin will win the NBA's Rookie Of The Year award.
Question: Okay, these are my predictions, show me yours.