Tuesday, January 31, 2012

AB.com Open Mic Tuesday.

I'm in NYC today. Entertain yourselves.

Here's your open mic. Speak on it.

Question: What's on your mind today?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Ashy Or Classy?!? - Burger King Delivery.

Although I do a pretty good job of balancing good eating/working out, I still can't resist the occasional stop at a fast food joint. Specifically, I love myself some Burger Kaing sausage biscuits. I stop at BK at least 1-2 times each week after dropping off my son on the way to work and mutter my order of "One sausage biscuit and a cup of water" into the speaker. It's sorta comical that the (prolly not 100% legal) woman who is always working the window seems to be annoyed that I always order the same thing.

"One oh seex, please. Sec-ohnd Ween-doh."

Sorry, I didn't realize asking people to do their job was such an inconvenience. If I keep getting those eye rolls every morning, I'm calling La Migra your district manager, "Patty".

Anyways, if I could avoid this evil woman and still get my sausage biscuit fix, I definitely would. And thanks to the suits at BK, I just might get my chance. Take that, "Patty".
Forget the hassles of drive-thru service. Believe it or not, Burger King is giving customers an even more convenient way to get their fast-food fix—home delivery.

The Home of the Whopper has been testing delivery service at several of its restaurants in the Washington, D.C. area and plans to expand the trial to include more locations over the next week, according to a company statement. The fast-food chain has been providing this service internationally for years in Mexico, Turkey, Brazil, Colombia and Peru.

The company didn’t release a timeline as to when (or if) the service will be available nationwide. The four stores currently offering the option deliver within a 10-minute radius. Customers pay a $2 delivery fee, and all orders must meet an $8 to $10 minimum, the statement said.

For those concerned about the quality of the food suffering during the delivery process, Burger King said it has developed new packaging technology, including thermal bags to keep food "hot and fresh." The service will be available to any home or office, so long as there is a physical address, and orders can be placed by phone or online.

Several McDonald's restaurants deliver to businesses-only throughout Manhattan, but the company has no plans to expand the service further at this time, a company spokesperson said. Wendy's restaurants do not offer delivery at the time, according to a spokesperson.
Predictably, the food police are assailing this idea as just another example of how fast food restaurants contribute to this country's obesity problem, and claim that Burger King Delivery will just make it even easier for fatties to indulge.

BS.

Let's face it, it's not like getting yourself in a car and driving to Burger King is gonna burn many more calories that walking to your door to meet the delivery guy. In fact, I'm willing to bet people are likely to consume less food via home delivery because they're far less likely to make an emotionally fueled decision on what to eat by avoiding all those colorful signs on the restaurant menu.

Likewise, it's not like BK is doing anything new here. Pizza and Chinese joints have been delivering for years. And need I remind you, pizza and Chinese food are hardly the dinner of champions. Burger King is simply seeing an opportunity and providing it. If you were gonna eat BK anyhow, this just makes it a bit easier to do so.

I'm gonna say that this is not only Classy, but it's something I'm prolly gonna try our sometime soon. What say ye'?!?

Question: Ashy or Classy?!? Is Burger King's Delivery service promoting obesity or simply providing a much needed service to hungry couch potatoes?!?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Newt Wants To Take You To The Moon, Baby!!!

Lemme go on record: I officially want Newt to win the GOP nomination, because it's going to raise the possibility of an Obama reelection from roughly 65% (if he faces Mitt) to 99.999% (it Newt wins).

Why, because Gingrich's latest grandiose brainfart is literally pie in the sky.
Newt Gingrich wants to colonize the moon.

He loves to talk space exploration and a campaign stop on Florida’s space coast provided the perfect opportunity.

It’s just the kind of Gingrich big-think for which he has been ridiculed by others in the GOP field, including Mitt Romney. But Wednesday’s speech — which Gingrich himself called “grandiose” — could actually resonate politically in Florida, where space exploration is good politics 14 miles away from Cape Canaveral. The space coast, home to many NASA employees, has been struggling lately as the space agency launched its last shuttle in July, and President Barack Obama canceled the lunar landing program in 2010.

In his remarks, Gingrich dismissed the notion that his ideas are over the top, pointing to previous presidents and inventors who fueled changes in technology.

By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American,” Gingrich said, drawing applause from the crowd. “I will, as president, encourage the introduction of the northwest ordinance for space to put a marker down that we want Americans to think boldly about the future and we want Americans to go out and study hard and work hard and together, we’re going to unleash the American people to build the country we love.”
Space age, pimpin', folks. Newt knows all about that.



So, a guy who's against giving the 600,000 residents of The District Of Columbia statehood would gladly grant such a right to the citizens of Newtlandia. Yeah, that sh*t makes sense to me too. I can already see the general election anti-Newt campaign ad.

Come on, GOP, seriously? Do I need to write a term paper to convince you how bad an idea this is? Click here for essays if you really need a better understanding of why this guy's a terrible idea.

Make history in 2012: Re-elect the black guy.

Question: Should such an out of this world comment disqualify Gingrich from running? Is this MF out of his mind?

"I Might Have Tacos..."

Okay, I know this isn't supposed to be funny. This is a story about police brutality, profiling, and other serious, real life sh*t.[1]



But come on, this is effin' hilarious. This dude just can't shut up and quit while he's (somewhat) ahead. He just keeps talking and talking, and digging and digging.



Way to marginalize a serious issue, Mayor Maturo.[2]

100 Cyber CapriSuns™ says this guy becomes a hero on the Conservative talk/cable news circuit by Monday morning.

And with that, I'm off to Taco Bell myself. Yo quiero.

Question: Does this comment really deserve the scrutiny it is receiving.

[1] Sonnnnn!

[2] And me.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Caption This Photo.

Barack Obama in testy tarmac exchange with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer [UK Telegraph]

AB.com Open Mic Thursday.

Busy today. Entertain yourselves.

Here's your open mic. Speak on it.

Question: What's on your mind today?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mitt Romney Pays (Much!) Less In Taxes Than You Do. Don't Hate The Player!!!

We all knew Mittens was gettin' paper, but even I didn't know he was bringin' in this kinda cake.
Mitt Romney’s campaign released details of his federal tax returns on Tuesday morning, showing that he is likely to pay a total of $6.2 million in taxes on $45 million in income over the two tax years of 2010 and 2011.

The details of the returns, confirmed by a senior campaign official, provide the most detailed view yet of his wealthy family’s finances. The disclosure comes after a barrage of pressure to release his returns — which Mr. Romney has never done, even when he was elected governor of Massachusetts.

The disclosure — reported early Tuesday by The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News — showed a vast array of investments, from a recently closed Swiss bank account to holdings in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, all underscoring the breadth and depth of his wealth, which has become a central issue in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

Mr. Romney said last week that his effective tax rate was “about 15 percent,” a figure lower than that of many affluent Americans. But his returns suggested that he paid an effective tax rate of nearly 14 percent.

In addition to his 2010 taxes, Mr. Romney is set to release estimates for his 2011 taxes, which he will file in April. The campaign will report that he will pay $3.2 million in taxes for 2011, for an effective tax rate of 15.4 percent. That is a slightly higher effective rate than he paid the year before, when he paid about $3 million to the Internal Revenue Service.

Mr. Romney also said that there were “no surprises” in his tax returns. Referring to the fact that nearly all of his income is taxed as capital gains at a 15 percent rate, rather than as earned income at rates of up to 35 percent, Mr. Romney questioned a proposal by Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, to reduce capital gains taxes to zero.
Let's be clear here: there's nothing wrong, or even remotely immoral about the percentage of taxes Romney is paying. It's the law. Money gained from investments (as well as money gained from investing someone else's money!) is taxed at a much lower clip than earned income. Always has been, always will be. It is what it is, and you can't hate the player here. Nor the game for that matter.



What does piss me off is Mitt's perpetual assertion that people are somehow envious of his success. This line of reasoning comes up in every debate, as well as Mitt's assertion that he is a self-made millionaire who didn't inherit anything. The inference seems to be that practically anyone can pull this off, if they just happen to be smart and resourceful enough. This is obvious bullsh*t.

Romney's Dad was the one-time Governor of Michigan, and CEO of American Motors Corporation. It's fair to say that Mitt's upbringing wasn't that of a typical American, and it's equally fair to say that his father's wealth and influence opened doors that many other Americans aren't privy to.

So, coming from a rich family and becoming rich isn't really all that impressive to me. Sorry. Bragging on your success when you Dad's a millionaire is like starting on third base and bragging about scoring a run. Most of us start at home plate. Hell, some of us start in the dugout.

We don't hate you because of your success, Mitt. We dislike you because you're a jerk.

Question: Is is fair to tax earned income at a far higher rate than investment income? Should Mitt stop running with that "don't hate my success" line, or is it a tailor-made Obama campaign ad just waiting to get made?!?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

GOPer Calls Obama A Muslim. Santorum Fails To Correct Her.

You hate giving people credit for sh*t they're supposed to do[1] but many will recall John McCain's admonition of a woman who referred to President Obama as a Muslim back in 08'. During a campaign in which McCain's running mate was delivering daily stump speeches about Obama "paling around with terrorists", this stuck out as a particularly classy moment, even though it really shouldn't have been.

So when I watched GOP back-runner Rick Santorum come face to face with his very one "Crash" moment yesterday, I expected the same. Cause, you know, Santorum actually worked alongside Obama in the Senate, and he's supposedly Mr. Family Values and whatnot.

Wrong.



Asked about this incident later, Santorum basically said it wasn't his job to correct birthers (although he's notably done so before) and that the President could do that himself because he's "a big boy". Really.

Come one, Rick, would it really have hurt you to do the right thing here? What Would Jesus Do?

And by "Jesus", I mean Ronald Reagan.

On second thought, since correcting this woman prolly woulda done more harm than good, "Jesus" prolly wouldn't have done sh*t either.

Nice job, Santorum. Classy!

Question: Does it disturb you that GOP candidates continue to play this game of cat & mouse with racial politricks?

[1] "Supposed to do" meaning, that's what decent people do.

Could Newt Gingrich Become America's First A$$hole President?!?

Watching his "acceptance" speech with my wife the other night, it finally occurred to me that a Newt Gingrich Presidency would be in many ways even more historic than Barack Obama's.

Yeah, we've had a black President. So what, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Gingrich's ascent to 1600 Penn Ave would be far more historic.

Because Newt could officially become, The First A$$hole President.

Think about it, there's a tailor made campaign theme song already made for him, courtesy of an Obama supporter, sure, but it's still very appropriate.
Let's have a toast for the douchebags,
Let's have a toast for the assholes,
Let's have a toast for the scumbags,
Every one of them that I know,
Let's have a toast to the jerkoffs...
America should heed Yeezy's advice and run away fast as we can, but that's clearly not what's happening in the GOP primaries thus far. Newt is running on a platform of populism, media/elite/establishment hatred, and greasy talk. And it's working, precisely because he does all of these things so much better than his opponents. And quite honestly, he also does them better than the current President.
Still, it's hard for me to believe that GOP primary voters are actually getting behind this guy. Policy-wise, he's anything but a "hardcore Conservative". His Family Values would make Carl Winslow blush. He flip flops even worse than Mitt.



And of yeah, did I mention he's an a$$hole?!?







Make history, America. Re-elect the black guy.

Question: How do you explain Newt's appeal and success? Can he maintain this momentum going into Florida? Does it alarm you that a guy with his temperament is actually doing well in the polls?

Monday, January 23, 2012

AB.com Open Mic Monday.

Busy today. Be back soon, but till then, entertain yourselves. Here's your open mic. Speak on it.

A few topics of interest...
Newt Wins South Carolina - Dang, I thought this thing woulda been over by now. WTF, Mittens?!?

Super Sunday Is Set - Who ya'll got?

Rest In Peace - Etta James & Joe Paterno.
Question: What's on your mind today?

Friday, January 20, 2012

AB.com Hot Topics - 1.20.12

Here's the daily rundown.

Obama Sangs!!! - No need to lie, my wife made me hit the rewind button on the DVR about 50 times when we saw this on the news last night.



Let's be real. Yes, this was planned. Yes, this was pandering. Yes, this was a silly ploy to reel black folks back in. And yes, it worked. Sorry, but much like the infamous "brush your shoulders off" and "hoodwinked and bamboozled" moments on the stump in 08', Obama always knows when to inject a little bit of cool to hypnotize black voters. You have to give him credit, because it's not like Newt or Mittens can match this level of swaggg exuberance. Voters, fairly or unfairly, respond to this sorta stuff. Kudos to Barry Green for pulling it off without sounding or looking like a total cornball. Top that one, Santorum!!!

Of course, you just know this clip is gonna be used against Obama at some point. I can already hear them juxtaposing the image of a singing Obama with ominous music and economic stats. It'll be like "Obama. 'So In Love With' himself that he sings while the country goes to sh*t!" You know that's gonna happen, right? I'll bet a case of Cyber CapriSuns™ on that.

Newt Tells John King He Can Swing If He Wants To, Damnit! - I can't really imagine Newt Gingrich winning the GOP nomination, and if he did, displays of arrogance like this certainly aren't going to go over well in a general election. I do agree with him that leading off a debate with this question might not have been a good idea, but it was fair game.



John King basically got bodied here, as Newt played the tried and true "blame the media" Jedi Mind Trick, and flipped a legitimate character question about whether or not he asked his 2nd wife if he could openly cheat on her into a winning victim narrative. Dude is prolly gonna win South Carolina now, which tells you everything you need to know about the Republican Party. Eff' Family Values! "The Media" and beating Obama are all that matters.

R.I.P. MegaUpLoad - Although the Feds have momentarily pulled back on that whole SOPA thing, yesterday was a watershed moment of sorts, as file hosting site MegaUpLoad was seized and shut down for good. I'd expect the dominoes to fall rather swiftly as other sites like RapidShare, FileServ, and ZShare are probably all gonna become casualties of this push to end internet piracy. While I totally agree with that from a business standpoint, as a much fan I'm dismayed. I mean, seriously, if HulkShare Records closes, where am I gonna get my musical fix?

Haywire Is In Theaters Today - No need to lie, I wanna figure out a way to ditch work and go see this. Gina Carano looks like she's got the acting chops of a bag of Funyuns, but she does all her own stunts and this seems to be one kick a$$ action flick. Putting a non-actress in a lead role is usually the telltale sign of a straight-to-DVD flick, but this is a fullblown revenge/spy caper with A-List contributors like Steven Soderbergh, Michael Douglas, and Ewan McGregor. Reviews so far have been favorable.



Provided nobody ever casts Cris Cyborg as a villian, I could see Carano making the transition to action flick chick with ease. Anyone else geeked to check this out?

Question: What do you think about these issues?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Stuff DC People Say.

No need to lie, I'm just as sick of ya'll are of these "Sh*t People Say" viral videos, but this one sounds like the convos I hear everyday here in The Urreah. It's slickly shot, and if you remove a lot of the hipster references, sounds a lot like "Sh*t AB Says".



* h/t to VLatte

Should Jay-Z Stop Using The Word B*tch?!?

Over the weekend, a (supposedly) erroneous news story circulated around the web and Black Folks' Twitter. Jay-Z supposedly penned a poem about how having a daughter changed his opinion on his almost Tourette's-like use of the word "b*tch", and he'd decided to stop using it in the future. It was supposed to be Jay-Z's equivalent of Richard Pryor's N-Word epiphany, and would be a watershed moment in hip-hop history (their words, not mind) that might forever change the genre's long-insulting misogynistic undertones.
Jay-Z will purge the word “bitch” from his future lyrics, if a poem dedicated to his week-old daughter Blue Ivy Carter (and scooped by the British music site NME) is to be believed.

"Before I got in the game, made a change, and got rich/I didn’t think hard about using the word bitch/I rapped, I flipped it, I sold it, I lived it/Now with my daughter in this world I curse those that give it," the rapper allegedly wrote.

The verse continues, “I never realized while on the fast track that I'd give riddance to the word bitch/To leave her innocence intact/No man will degrade her, or call her name/Forever young you may pass/Blue Ivy Carter, my angel."
Being the cynical father of a daughter-on-the-way[1] I am, I couldn't help but poke holes in the the Jigga Man's revelation. As a guy with a mom, probably a sister (I could be wrong on that one), and who'd been involved/secretly married to Beyonce for damn near a decade, you'd like he'd have understood referring to grown a$$ed women as female dogs all these years wasn't all that kosher. I mean, seriously, my dude, that's some faulty logic, it's damn near jailhouse k-nowledge level faulty logic. He was essentially saying that it's fine to make millions referring to other men's daughters as b*tches for decades, yet not-so-much when it comes to his own child.

I went on one of my infamous Twitter tirades about this, and while some folks predictably called me a hater, an overwhelming majority agreed. Besides, it's not like subbing something other than b*tch makes the overall sentiment any better.
Does "I got 99 problems, but a young lady ain't one!" really change the overall message? Ionno.

Of course, the supposed poem (allegedly) turned out to be a hoax, which depending on how you look at it, either makes Shawn Carter look better or worse. Personally, since I'm not a fan, I say it's a push.

I will, however, concur that having a child makes a man re-evaluate the world around him as well as his contributions to that world. A man who approaches fatherhood without having a single introspective thought about his actions and the adjustments he'll need to make is probably going to make some seriously bad parenting decisions down the line. Kids change us in ways we're both aware of, and subliminal ways we only catch when someone else hips us to them. Jay made a terribly superficial song about what he'd tell his future son on that godawful album he made with Kanye West, so it's perfectly natural to expect him to give far more thought to the far more frightening prospect of having a rear a daughter. As a guy going through the exact same thing right about now, I both respect and appreciate this, in principle.

In reality, I just wish he hadn't (allegedly) made such a clumsy, self-serving public spectacle of this, an instead just changed the overall content of his music and let that proverbially speak for itself.[2] I suspect that's why so many people were up in arms about his epiphany, and why he subsequently pretended there was no such epiphany in the first place.[3] You know, image, pride, and whatnot. I get it.

I realize if this post has been much ado about nothing (a rapper and a word), but in an odd way, it actually does speak to a much bigger issue. Or two. Or three. Chime in with your thoughts below.

Question: What changes (blatant or otherwise) did you make to prepare for the arrival of your child? Were your concerns different based on the child's gender? Does omitting one word from a song change the overall message? Would Jay-Z's discontinued usage of the word b*tch influence his peers to do the same? What other words would you like to see omitted from Jay-Z's vocabulary?

[1] Yup, she'll be here in May.

[2] B*tch is a good start. How about you kill the shameless product placement ("Hublot!") and use of n*gga as an all-purpose noun while you're at it, tho?

[3] I'm sure someone will mention my hypocrisy, given the B-Bomb I lobbed at Sarah Palin here after her disgraceful self-defense in wake of the Gabby Giffords shooting. I was wrong. Period. End of story.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Eff' Yo' Pipeline!

Score one for Obama.
The Obama administration is expected to reject TransCanada's controversial $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline later Wednesday, a source familiar with the decision told CBS News Monday, adding that a formal announcement is expected from the State Department. Multiple media outlets have reported that the decision is imminent, citing unnamed sources, but the White House and the State Department have not confirmed the announcement.

As part of deal last December extending the payroll tax cut for two months, Congress imposed a Feb. 21 decision on President Obama to issue or reject the permit. Language in the deal mandates that only the president can block the Keystone Pipeline project, and the impact of an expected State Department announcement is not clear. Shares in TransCanada Corp fell following initial reports about a decision.

According to one source, the administration plans to cite the environmental dangers posed by the pipeline's proposed route through Nebraska. While the administration plans to reject a permit for TransCanada to build the pipeline under the current proposal, the company could pitch an alternate route for the planned 1,700 mile underground oil pipeline linking the tar sands fields of northern Alberta to oil refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast.
Personally, I'm gonna hand Obama a couple of points for this one. Sure, he could have just as easily said "no" months ago before it became a political football the GOP (momentarily) used to hold up a payroll tax extension they were gonna agree to anyway. But hey, better late than never, right?

In the grander scheme of things, I'm just happy to see the President make a decisive move, even though his opponents will certainly use it against him. The actual number of jobs this line could potentially create has been so inflated and riddled with fuzzy math, it's almost comical. And yeah, lots of those permanent jobs are going to go to Canada. Don't be fooled, folks. I'm hardly a NIMBY, tree hugging conservationist myself, but if the energy output doesn't outweigh the possible environmental impact, then the point is moot.

Kudos to the President for stating the obvious here, even though he will likely face some scrutiny from the left because of the union jobs lost.

Question: Was this the right move by the Obama administration?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

AB.com Open Mic Tuesday.

I'm West Coastin' right now. Be back home soon, but till then, entertain yourselves.

Here's your open mic. Speak on it.

Question: What's on your mind today?

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Non-Homogenized MLK.

It's MLK Day today, which prolly means most of you are off (I'm not), and prolly means you'll hear 3,128 mentions of MLK's "I Have A Dream" speech today. While few will argue that the crowning moment of the March On Washington was a seminal moment in American history, it often disturbs me that this brilliant, complex man is often boiled down to the non-threatening caricature of a single line ("content of character") of a single speech. There was so much more to MLK, and I'd challenge each of you to find something off the beaten (to death!) path today and share it in this space.

Or, you could just watch an NBA matinee today and say eff' it. Personally, I hope each of you contributes your own links, videos, and miscellany. Here's mine.







Question: Got anything to contribute?

The AB.com Royal Pains & White Collar Sweepstakes Winners Are...

Wow, do my readers love free stuff or what? I mean, seriously, I got almost 200 entries for this contest, so I just decided to save myself the trouble and end it early. Sorry, clogged inbox and whatnot. Anyways, the winners are...
Royal Pains Gift Bag - MelLuv - Gardena, CA

White Collar Gift Bag - MRG1967 - Staunton, VA
The gift bags are in the mail, folks. Thanks for entering, and thanks to 360i and USA Networks for the hookup.

White Collar returns on Tuesday, January 17th at 10pm EST. The Royal Pains season premiere is Wednesday, January 18th also at 10pm Eastern on USA Network.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Day The Tebowing (Finally) Stopped.

I could be wrong, but I don't think a guy who barely completes 46% of his pass attempts is gonna win at Gillette Stadium. What say ye'?

Consider this your NFL playoffs open forum.

Question: Will all the Tebowing stop? Can B'More hold off the Texans? Will New Orleans' awesome offense squash the 49ers? Can Big Blue prevail on the frozen tundra?

Friday, January 13, 2012

When Rappers Do Local Commercials.

Look, I'm not hatin' on Trina for this one. I mean, seriously, if you're a female emcee and your name isn't Nicki Minaj, you prolly aren't eating right now. It's also been about a decade and change since "N'aan", and getting wifed up by a professional baller isn't really a solid career path. Still, didn't Trina have some financial issues awhile ago? Do you really wanna take tax advice from The Baddest B*tch? Ionno.



T-Pain doesn't actually appear in this lame ad for a SoCal casino, but his song appears to be butchered by someone, since his fee was probably too high. Personally, I blame AutoTune for this foolishness.



Not to be outdone, real life pimp and sometime rapper Suga Free delivered this local gem. I don't know if this is real or not, but it seems like it is. Not that that's a good thing.



Question: Did that bama ask her for $5? Who thought these commercials were a good idea?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

AB.com Open Mic Thursday

Back on the road again. Be back soon, but till then, entertain yourselves.

Here's your open mic. Speak on it.

Question: What's on your mind today?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Did You Miss Herman Cain? Don't Worry, He's Back.

Funny, I was just musing with a friend the other day about how much I missed Herman Cain on the campaign trail. As a blogger, the remaining cast of characters lacks any "Fun" factor. It's not fun, or even interesting, to talk about Ron Paul's nuttiness, Romney's sterility, Santorum's idiocy, or Newt's arrogance. Cain, say what you will about him, was fun to read about and follow. Sadly, nagging things like mistresses and sexual harassment allegations caused the fun to end.

But wait, he's back.
Herman Cain’s not a candidate anymore, but he’s launching a new bus tour anyway.

The former Godfather’s Pizza CEO announced plans to tour the country to raise support for the “9-9-9” plan that was the star of his aborted presidential run, hoping to rally congressional sponsors for his plan to replace the federal Tax Code with a 9 percent corporate tax, 9 percent personal income tax and a 9 percent national sales tax.

The one-time Republican front-runner announced his “Cain’s Solutions Revolution” during a Fox News interview with Sean Hannity on Wednesday night.

The Atlanta businessman said he plans to “get commitments from members of Congress in 2012 before Election Day” and that the legislation is currently being drafted.

Cain’s made clear his hopes to stay a part of public life despite departing the presidential race, and as he does, he’ll be pursuing the same outsider, simplifying government themes he pursued while in the GOP race.

“They think we are stupid. You know what comes after a tea party? A revolution. It’s time for history to repeat itself,” Cain says in an introductory video posted on the new website. “We the people are coming and we want our power back. Welcome to the solutions revolution.”

Cain bowed out of the presidential race in early December, saying he did so because of his family. Even then, he vowed not to “shut up, drop out and go away.”

Since ending his presidential campaign, Cain has appeared repeatedly on Fox to provide analysis of the GOP presidential race.
Here's the downright cringe inducing web video.



Laugh all you want, but his aborted Presidential campaign was ultimately a success for Cain. There's really no other way to spin it. He obviously got in to raise his name recognition, and despite the circumstances under which he bowed out, he did accomplish his initial goal. This bus trip will keep him in the news during the upcoming South Carolina primary, and he's already making the rounds on cable news.

Ultimately, he's either going to get a cushy job on Fox News, or (brace yourself!) a cabinet level position, should by some magical circumstance, a Republican wins the Presidency. His extramarital dalliances aren't nearly as much of a concern if he's in charge of the Department of Commerce. Even if that doesn't happen, he's going to get a nice book deal, his speaking fees are going to go up bigtime, and assuming he goes back to doing talk radio, he'll likely have a national platform instead of a local one.

That, my friends, is a come up. I wouldn't even label it a Grand Hu$tle, because the hustle was pretty obvious all along, to everyone other than GOP voters, of course.

Get money, Daddy Green.

Question: What's up with that weird video? Did Herman Cain pimp the game, or did he really think he was headed to the White House?!?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Slavery Math Homework: Racist Or Merely Misguided?!?

Okay, so by now, you've all surely heard about the controversy in Georgia where 3rd graders were given a math homework assignment with some not-so politically correct word problems. Black Folks Twitter is abuzz, and the NAACP is already on the case.
State NAACP president Ed DuBose is calling for the termination of all Gwinnett teachers and staff involved in producing a worksheet for third graders that contained math word problems on slavery.

He said he would be calling Gwinnett School Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks today to ask that he deal with the issue at Beaver Ridge Elementary School in Norcross.

The group responsible for allowing it to go forward should be fired not just reprimanded, but fired," DuBose said. "I refuse to believe the teacher or teachers responsible for allowing it to go forward did not understand fully what they were doing. We need to understand how deep this is. Who all knew? What did they know?’’

Last Friday, in what has become a national story, several parents complained about a math assignment their children had gotten that contained questions about beatings and slavery.

One of the math problems read, "Each tree has 56 oranges. If eight slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?"

Another question was, "If Frederick got two beatings each day, how many beatings did he get in one week?"

School officials said that the math questions stemmed from an effort to incorporate history into their third-grade math lessons.

Sloan Roach, a school spokesperson, said last week that the questions were, "poorly written." School officials are investigating the matter.

DuBose said that competent teachers would not have allowed it to be distributed. He also said that sensitivity training is needed for teachers in the future, so “that they don’t follow suit.”
Well, let's state the obvious here: giving a math assignment to 3rd graders with slave imagery is dead assed wrong. Period. No point of contention here. They could have chosen a million and one other topics for such as assignment, but of course, they just had to play the slave card. I'd also be remiss to not insert the oh-so-obvious "they'd never do this for the Holocaust" and I'd be about 1,000% correct.

That said, does such an assignment automatically make the person who wrote it racist? I promise I'm going to do a piece on "can anyone actually be called racist anymore" very soon, but for today, lets work with some facts, which I derived entirely from a 5 minute scan of the school's official website, so they may not be all that factual.
1) The school in question, Beaver Ridge Elementary School in Norcross, seems to be a majority black/Hispanic school.

2) The principle is Hispanic.

3) A cursory glance at the faculty seems to also indicate a very diverse collection of teachers and support staff.
Here's the local news report...



I certainly can't prove it, nor will be ever likely know the identity of the person who wrote this assignment, but it's entirely within the realm of possibility that this person was indeed black.[1] On the racism front, I find it really, really hard to believe that someone who hates black people with every fiber of their being would want to teach at a school teeming with black & brown kids.

If that's the case, is this actually "racism" or just a teacher who tried to be a little too slick and crossed the line? Again, I'm by no means excusing the person who did this, I'm simply playing Devil's advocate, and examining our tendency to label something as racist, based purely on the assumption of the potential offender's race. Hell, this could probably qualify as a Black, White, Or Other, but again, union rules will probably prevent us from ever knowing the teacher's identity.

I wonder what ya'll think.

Question: If this teacher is indeed black, does it change your opinion on whether or not this assignment (while totally boneheaded) was racist?

[1] I don't know enough about Norcross' demographics to make any other grand assumptions here. Someone from the "A" care to fill us in?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Enter The AB.com Royal Pains & White Collar Sweepstakes!!!

Update: This contest is now closed.

USA Network is America's #1 rated cable network for a reason, as anyone who's seen Royal Pains or White Collar will attest. And if you love these hit shows as much as AverageSis and I do, you'll love our latest AB.com giveaway.

White Collar returns on Tuesday, January 17th at 10pm EST. The Royal Pains season premiere is Wednesday, January 18th also at 10pm Eastern on USA Network.





With new seasons premiering next week, the fine folks at USA Network and 360i are giving away two awesome prize packs to two special AB.com readers. The prize packs include:
White Collar Leisure Pack ($250 value)
- Custom Waxwear Shoe Bag
- Shoe Brush
- Jet Black Playing Cards
- Custom Reporter’s Notebook
- Black long sleeved Shirt
- Cashmere Scarf
- Season 1 DVD

Royal Pains Prize Pack ($115 value)
- Season 1 DVD
- Season 2 DVD
- Season 3 Vol. 1 DVD
- Royal Pains Bag
All you have to do to enter is shoot me an email telling me why you're either White Collar or Royal Pain's biggest fan. You can enter contests for both prize packs in the same email.

No entries in the comments section, please! Email only!

The two winners will be announced here next week.

Online Casino Legalisation Battles Are Taking A Toll On Canadian Gamblers.

The increasing frequency of legalisation dialogues in the US Senate may be giving American players something to celebrate, but the onset of 2012 is, unfortunately, somewhat less thrilling for the millions of Canadian gamblers who are stuck playing in a stagnant market with very little governmental protection. Poker players have been effectively shut out from healthy competition in North America, and it’s become increasingly difficult to see the light at the end of the federal legalisation tunnel.

Despite the fact that a number of provinces have already adopted more progressive online gambling regulations, the practice remains federally illegal in Canada as well as the US. As lawmakers and advocacy groups carry on the seemingly endless legalisation battle, players are largely left to their own devices to deal with personal and financial losses incurred as part of the fallout from Black Friday and the F.B.I.’s April 2011 decision to bring the North American gambling industry to a screeching halt.

US lawmakers seem set on convincing the public that the Department of Justice’s moves to crack down on illegal Internet gambling were protective measures aimed at shielding North American consumers from an unregulated – and therefore dangerous – practice. The facts behind the lawsuits filed against popular online poker sites such as Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars, and Absolute Poker, however, tell a very different story. Poker providers have been forced to fork over some $3 billion of their revenue to the government as reimbursement for “illegal gambling profits,” but millions of innocent poker fans have been told by the government officials working on the cases that they’ll just have to wait indefinitely for reimbursement of their frozen player accounts.

The fees imposed by the DOJ are hardly the end of gambling sites’ legal woes, however, and players have seen plenty of evidence to support the theory that Canadian and US governments are dead set on bleeding poker providers dry. In addition to wildly inconsistent financial penalties (Wachovia Bank’s alleged involvement in a drug smuggling ring, for example, cost the bank $160 million in government reimbursement fees seems inconsequential when compared to the standard $3 billion owed to the government by the providers in question), gaming advocacy groups have been forced to spend their dwindling funds on lobbying costs.

Though it is true that Canada’s provincially regulated gaming provides some players with a legal – and thus protected – way to enjoy online gambling, the rush to set up governmentally owned Internet casinos is leaving a sour taste in many gamblers’ mouths. It’s impossible to deny that federal, provincial and state budgets in the US and Canada are stretched incredibly thin at the moment, but monopolizing the online casino market through force can hardly be described as an intelligent or worthwhile course of action.

Is It Time For The GOP To Retire "The Southern Strategy"?!?

Growing up in the (not so deep) South with two politically astute parents, I know The Southern Strategy when I see it. Sure, it's typically associated with Presidential and state-level politics, but it's often best observed at the micro level. Small town mayors, town councilmen, sheriffs, and even some judges in my home state would routinely appeal to white voters' worst fears (some blatant, some subliminal) about black folks, all in an effort to win office. And it usually worked.

The Southern Strategy is still used today, mostly because, well, it still works. There are still people naive enough to be manipulated into voting for you if you:
1) Convince them that inherently violent black boys will gang rape your daughter if you allow their children to attend your neighborhood school. (DANGER!)

2) Convince them that shiftless, lazy black people will use your hardearned taxes to buy crack, Magnums, 45-inch plasma TV's, and T-Bone steaks. (ENTITLEMENTS!)

3) Convince them that black people, because of some mythical force known as reverse racism, have an unfair leg up in the work force and college admissions. (UNEARNED ADVANTAGE!)

4) Convince them that black people want to fundamentally change everything you love about this country. The country your forefathers worked so tirelessly to create. (CULTURE WAR!)
There are a million and one variations of these four basic themes, but if you play them right, you can probably guarantee yourself votes. The 2008 election saw all of them lobbed at the country's first serious African American Presidential contender. He was painted as a guy who "palled around with terrorists" (DANGER!), went to Ivy League schools without really having good grades (UNEARNED ADVANTAGE!), and was raised by a nomadic mother who seldom held down a steady day job (ENTITLEMENTS!), and would use his office to exact revenge on Whitey (CULTURE WAR!).

Of course, Barack Obama went on to win the Presidency, but the GOP has continued to play the Southern Strategy against him, which resulted in some serious gains for them in 2010. Who can forget the ObamaCare debate (ENTITLEMENTS!), the insane assertion that he somehow was gonna indoctrinate children by merely delivering a videotaped address during school hours (CULTURE WAR!), that he seemed to show waaay too much favoritism to Muslims (DANGER!), and that he didn't bother prosecuting the very same Black Panthers that the Bush Administration also decided hadn't really suppressed any votes on election day (UNEARNED ADVANTAGE!). I could add more to this list of course, but you get the basic premise here.

With the 2012 GOP Primaries now in full swing, with the notable exception of Romney, pretty much every GOP contender has run some variation of the Southern Strategy to appeal to impressionable white voters yet again. Michelle Bachmann question Obama's "socialist" agenda (CULTURE WAR!). Rick Perry tells you Obama's out to end Christmas (DANGER!). Ron Paul basically thinks any government benefit is unfair (ENTITLEMENTS!). Even Herman Cain dibbled and dabbled in a bit of Muslim-bashing, before realizing the idiocy of this and apologizing (DANGER!). And now, the only two guys who can allegedly give Romney a run for his money are going all in to appeal to white fears.

Last week, Rick Santorum got caught between words when trying to explain that he didn't want to use the money of hardworking white Iowans to reward lazy inner city Negroes.



Whether he said the word "black" or not is immaterial. There isn't really any other word you can plug in there that changes the basic sentiment. We totally get what he was trying to say, whether he said it or not. Even if you gave him a pass on this, there's still his ignorant remarks about black people and abortion to chew on.

Not to be outdone, a few days later, Newt Gingrich delivers this beauty...



Come on, son, there's no way to spin this one. Not when you've made a habit of referring to Obama as The Food Stamp President©. So just shut up already.

I'm not going to label Gingrich or Santorum as racist. I don't know that they hate black people, and besides, you could never prove it anyway. If they were actually caught on tape saying "Damn, I hate N*ggers!", they'd both just spin it as a soundbyte taken out of context, and they'd have more than enough people (including some misguided black folks) giving them a pass.

In fact, I think we should just retire the word "racist".[1]

Before anyone questions why two guys who are within earshot of the GOP nomination would bother playing such a card, simply look at history. The Southern Strategy will keep being deployed until it no longer works, and I'm thinking 2012 is prolly not the year it dies. Still, it begs the question, even if it does actually work, isn't it eventually going to reach the point of diminishing returns?

Few people (except for Fox Nation commenters) actually revel in having a disdain for black people. Those who still do so nowadays, do it in the cloak of internet anonymity. Seriously, when's the last time you even heard of a KKK rally? So with that said, I think it's fair to say that the further we get from the the 1960's, the less comfortable people are going to be with being labeled a racist. It's really a tag nobody wants to wear, you know, sorta like a Washington Wizards fan.

So while these sorts of racist dog whistles do indeed appeal to a certain segment of the population, the amateur social scientist in me says that number is dwindling, and likely aging. At some point, these people will be such a small percentage of the populace, that there won't be any real gain in appealing to them. Heck, we might just be there right now.

In the meantime the millions of well meaning, decent white folks who don't want to even be associated with such racist tactics for fear of being somewhat guilty by association is probably growing. And while it's clear the GOP has no interest whatsoever in luring black voters (you wouldn't keep insulting us if you did), as the country becomes browner, they're probably going to alienate generations of Hispanics with their similar stances on undocumented workers and immigration.

Sometime in the future (perhaps in my lifetime, perhaps not), the country's voting populace will be majority minority. In addition to alienating well meaning whites, you're pretty much pissing on those votes as well. Does anyone on the GOP side ever sit down and seriously think about the longterm viability of the party, given these dynamics, or do they simply care about the next election? I'm just sayin'.

Of course, that date is far, far in the future. Today, and tomorrow, we can probably expect a whole lot more of The Southern Strategy.[2]

Because hey, it if ain't broke...

Question: Why doesn't GOP party leadership denounce these sorts of tactics? Do they simply not care about the longterm viability of a party that insults huge swaths of the voting populace, or are they only concerned about the next election cycle?

[1] Put a pin in that one. It's a concept I want to re-examine sometime in the future.

[2] I know some of you are saying "well hey, it's not like the Democrats" are innocent bystanders here either. And you'd be correct. But that's a different blog post for a different day.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Unemployment Rate Falls To 3 Year Low. Why Even Bother With The Election?!?

Okay, the December 2011 jobs numbers are out.
A burst of hiring in December pushed the unemployment rate to its lowest level in nearly three years, giving the economy a boost at the end of 2011.

The Labor Department said Friday that employers added a net 200,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent, the lowest since February 2009. The rate has dropped for four straight months.

The hiring gains cap a six-month stretch in which the economy generated 100,000 jobs or more in each month. That hasn't happened since April 2006. For all of 2011, the economy added 1.6 million jobs, better than the 940,000 added in 2010. The unemployment rate averaged 8.9 percent last year, down from 9.6 percent the previous year. Economists forecast that the job gains will top 2.1 million this year.

The December report painted a picture of a broadly improving job market. Average hourly pay rose, providing consumers with more income to spend. The average work week lengthened, a sign that business is picking up and companies may soon need more workers. And hiring was strong across almost all major industries.

Manufacturing added 23,000 jobs, as did the health care industry. Transportation and warehousing added 50,000 jobs. Retailers added 28,000 jobs. Even the beleaguered construction industry added 17,000 workers.

More jobs and higher pay are crucial to helping the economy grow. They could enable shoppers to increase spending, which fuels 70 percent of economic activity.

The economy likely grew at an annual rate of above 3 percent, a healthy pace.
Sure, you could pick these numbers apart, as those running against Obama surely will. But hey, any time more Americans are working, it should be applauded. Some of these jobs were obviously seasonal, but many of them were in sectors like manufacturing & construction where we've needed to see growth. All signs point upward.

Also, the trend is headed in the right direction here. We went from losing 800,000 jobs in December 2008, to gaining 200,000 last month. No, the economy is hardly "fixed", but considering where we came from, only a Republican true hater can say this is bad.

Question: Is this good news for President Obama? How will his GOP adversaries paint this as a bad development?

The NBA. I Hate This Game.

As much as I hated the NBA lockout, I have probably enjoyed the NBA season to-date even less.

I guess this is what happens when you're the fan of the league's only (still) winless squad. This was supposed to be the year Washington Wizards fans saw the light at the end of the tunnel. The teal and bronze uniforms are gone. John Wall was supposed to take a Derrick Rose-ian leap forward. The rookies were all supposed to be immediate contributors. Blah, blah, blah.

2 weeks into the season, the team is currently the league's laughingstock with a 0-6 record. They typically dig themselves a huge hole in the first quarter and spend the rest of the game playing catchup. They've trailed by 30+ points in most of their games. Some of the games haven't even been competitive at any point. It's pathetic, sad, and borderline depressing.

The funny thing for me personally is that when my team is losing, I lose the desire to watch any NBA games, period. It would be like a guy who just totalled his car being forced to ride the bus, and watching all sorts of nice cars drive by. Hope that analogy makes sense. If it doesn't, well, who cares.

I've had to watch this all season, I deserve a pass.



Actually, I don't deserve a pass, I deserve an actual NBA team to cheer for.

Cause so far, this is some bullsh*t.

Question: Do you find it hard to be very interested in sports when your team of choice is struggling?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Rick Santorum Took A Dead Baby Home From The Hospital.

[Editor's Note: Today's post is about an extremely sensitive topic. I'd ask that everyone be respectful with their responses and not turn this into some political/cultural thread. It's about basic human nature and how people handle death and grieving. Let's stay mature, and on-topic. I'll police the threads if I have to, but I'd like to think my readers are better than that. Ok, let's go.]

Real talk here: before my wife and I experienced the joy of parenthood (twice), we experienced the crushing pain of a miscarriage. Being on the road and getting that call from my wife still ranks as one of the most difficult moments in my life. I wouldn't wish it on anyone, and I certainly wouldn't tell anyone who has lost a child how to grieve. We all handle this differently, as we should.

With that said, the whole "take the dead fetus home" thing Santorum and his wife did? I'll admit, wasn't aware of this until recently, when comments from a Fox News contributor resulting a minor controversy.
Fox News contributor Alan Colmes apologized Monday night for making "hurtful" comments about the events following the 1996 death of Rick Santorum's infant son.

Earlier in the day, Colmes claimed Santorum took the baby home, after living for only two hours, and "played with it for a couple of hours so his other children would know that the child was real."

But Colmes' comments provoked an emotional response from the Republican presidential candidate and his wife earlier Monday.

Santorum choked up when asked to respond to the comments at a campaign event in Iowa. He described Colmes, who also hosts a show on Fox News Radio, as insensitive and gave a much different picture of the loss.

"We kept little Gabriel with us that night and we brought him home the next day," Santorum said at a campaign stop in Newton, Iowa. "We brought him home so our children could see him."

Santorum went on to tell the story about burying the child the following day, growing emotional as he spoke about the death and talked about Colmes' remarks.

"To some who don't recognize the dignity of all human life, who see it as a blob of tissue that should be discarded and disposed of, this is somehow weird. Recognizing the humanity of your son is somehow weird, somehow odd, and should be subject to ridicule," Santorum said.
Here's the Alan Colmes comment that started the whole thing.



I like Colmes a lot, and listen to his Fox News Radio show whenever I happen to be awake late enough to catch it. He's usually a straight shooter, but he was dead wrong here. To his credit, he did apologize almost immediately to the family, as well as on-air, and I think he was genuine. So there's that.

That said, it's clearly beyond the pale for me to tell someone how to grieve, but taking a dead 20 week old baby home, letting your kids play with it, sleeping in the bed with it, and taking Polaroids just seems jive weird. And creepy.

Thoughts? Not trying to start sh*t or anything, and I'm not even making this political or even about Santorum. But I was wondering what ya'll thought. Tell me.

Question: Is this a wee bit odd, or is everyone entitled to grieve in their own way? Assuming you've experienced a similar loss, how did you handle it?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I Wish I Could Turn This Into A Ringtone...

Awesome song. Awesome video. Awesome message.

Shout out to my friend Lamar Tyler of Black & Married With Kids, doin' his thing behind the camera.

The Santorum Surge Comes Up Just A Bit Short.

So, it took until late, late in the night, but it looks like Mitt Romney edged out Rick Santorum by a handful of votes to take the contest in Iowa, and all 25 of its delegates. Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich filled out the top 4. Bachmann and Perry have "suspended" their campaigns. Even Herman Cain got a handful of votes, which says so much about our electoral process, yet so little at the same time.

And with that, it's pretty clear to anyone with a working set of eyes that Mittens is going to be the guy that loses to Obama come November. Congrats GOP!

Question: Can you draw any conclusions from last night's results?

The Slow, Gruesome Death Of Black Radio.

I've long complained about the total f*ckery that is the state of black radio in 2012. I personally abandoned the Kiss/Hot/Power/Where Hip Hop and R&B Lives format over a decade ago. The advent of MP3's helped, and since I'm a SirusXM subscriber, I only find myself listening to terrestrial radio when I'm in a rental car with no other options.

The reasons are myriad. The Hip Hop and R&B playlist driven format basically ensures you're gonna hear the exact same 10 songs every hour, regardless of where in the country you are. Only songs that fit a specific radio-friendly sound are gonna get played. The repetitive "money/b*tches/drugs" messages are annoying and dumb. And when most radio personalities are actually allowed to talk, they're typical devoid of substance, talkin' (very!) loud and saying nothing. Whose life is really enhanced by listening to 4 Trey Songz songs in a 30 minute span? I'll pass.

Adding kids to the equation only makes this worse. My children are young, but they're also smart, so we try and shield them from as much of this nonsense as possible because, well, they're still kids. At some point in time they'll be grown enough to pick their own music. Till then, that Thomas And Friends soundtrack gets a bunch of play.

I don't typically like quoting other opinion pieces (for obvious reasons) but The Washington Post's Natalie Hopkinson recently penned something along these same lines that basically summarizes my thoughts on black radio.
I recently added D.C.’s two FM hip-hop radio stations--WPGC and WKYS--to the list of items banned in my house. I’ve long been tired of having to explain the latest raunchy R&B and hip-hop lyrics to my kids, and when I heard the radio ad for The Stadium (yeah, that strip club) for the umpteenth time, I realized that black radio is beyond redemption.

I clearly have nothing against strip clubs, but I’m bringing back the ghost of C. Delores Tucker because, bottom line, my children need to be allowed to be what they are: children. Because at the tender ages of 8 and 11, they have a whole lifetime of gutter street talk, cursing and unsubtle sexual innuendo ahead of them. Because, if they keep getting exposed to this stuff now, going away to college will be anticlimactic.

But they are allowed to listen to the local Top-40 (white) pop station. For a hip-hop fan and certified race woman such as myself, that is the saddest thing to admit. Given the plethora of other choices, Pandora, to iTunes, or satellite radio, I shouldn’t be so bothered by black radio’s descent into the gutter.

But for generations, black radio has been a driving force of black culture and politics, the modern day drum for communities of African descent as William Barlow explains in “Voice Over: The Making of Black Radio.”

Giving up on black radio, which was so critical for giving an immigrant like me a window into race in America, feels like losing a friend.

So where did our love go wrong? Paul Porter of the media think tank Industry Ears, recently explained in his essay “Why Black Radio is So Damn Bad” on RapRehab.com that the community connection to black radio slowly began to unravel with the 1996 passage of the Telecommunications Act, which turned formerly black-owned stations into publicly traded commodities. The rise of syndication, which expanded the reach and influence of personalities such as Tom Joyner, Steve Harvey, but muted local voices and news.

So this is how you have black radio being used to peddle kiddie malt liquor aimed at black communities. That is how it became the site of Cathy Hughes own personal grudge match against Congress. Black music and radio industry execs act more like tabloid editors, leaving nothing to the imagination.

White pop stations are not perfect either, but they offer a less grim view of reality. Those songs can be cheesy, corny. They are not nearly as soulful, catchy or stupid-funny as, say, the Ying Yang twins. But I can safely allow my son to listen to it in his room, with the door closed, without worrying about him losing his innocence.
I disagree with Hopkinson about "Pop" stations. They're probably even more mind numbingly repetitive, and the content of the music isn't really any safer for kids. When in doubt, tune in to Radio Disney.

As far as black radio goes, for me, it's a lost cause. I don't look to black raduo for my news/commentary, but when shows like Michael Baisden and Steve Harvey are actually considered serious conversation, count me out. When I can flip between DC's three Hip-Hop/R&B themed stations and simultaneously hear the very same Drake song on all three, there's obviously a problem. When a DJ promises one hour of uninterrupted music, then proceeds to plug some event at a club between every song, I'm changing the station for good.[1]

At least SiriusXM offers a far more expansive playlist, and that alone is worth paying $12 a month for.

Question: Do you listen to "black radio"? How do you manage the whole music situation with your kids?

[1] One Notable Exception: Power 105.1's The Breakfast Club with Angela Yee is the rare show worth listening to. The interviews are great, skip the music.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Iowa Caucuses Are (Finally) Here.

While it might seem like just yesterday when Senator Barack Obama made history by becoming America's first black President, reality is, it's been 3 looong years. Likewise, it's been 3 looong years since a 20 or so GOP contenders first started running against him. That number's been whittled down to 9 or so, and finally, the process of determining who gets to lose to Obama in a landslide later this year begins today, as Iowans go to "caucus".

I've been the Iowa (once, many years ago). While I found Des Moines to be a very pleasant place, for the life of me, I couldn't (and still can't) understand what is was about this state that made it worthy of the privilege of setting the tone for Presidential campaigns. While the country continues to brown, Iowa is roughly 91% white.[1] There ain't many AverageBros (around 2%) there other than Harrison Barnes, and thankfully he left.[2]

So why is this state, which is overwhelming evangelical, and not exactly demographically representative of the USA as a whole, given the right to essentially knock candidates out of the running? Well, then candidates who haven't ethered themselves already. How ya' doin', Hermanator?!?

The answer is mostly traditional, but partly fiscal as well, as a political cycle can dump more than $100M into the state's economy. In short, it's just the way it is, and attempts to reshuffle the order of primaries in the past has come up short. Iowa is first, mostly because, well, it's just first. It is what it is.

The ironic/strange thing about Tuesday's caucuses is that after 3,021 debates, 3 years of lobbying, and millions of dollars in ads, a puzzling number of Iowans still don't know who they'll vote for tomorrow.
Underscoring the unpredictability of the race, a new poll by The Des Moines Register showed that a remarkable 41 percent of likely caucus-goers say they were undecided or still might change their minds.

Romney had 24 percent support among likely voters while Paul had 22 percent, meaning they were statistically even at the front of the pack. Santorum was third with 15 percent, followed by Newt Gingrich, with 12 percent, and Rick Perry, with 11 percent. Michele Bachmann, a one-time Iowa favorite, brought up the rear with 7 percent.

However, in a sign of how quickly things can change, the last two days of the poll — taken Tuesday through Friday — found Santorum with momentum and Paul losing his. Heading into the weekend, Romney held a narrow lead, but Santorum was right behind him with 21 percent while Paul had fallen to 18 percent.
So, lemme see if I've got this right. After all that campaigning, having candidates go from one diner to another[3], and knock on every door in the state 7 times, these numbnuts still have no clue who they'll vote for? I thought Real Americans were supposed to be politically astute. Piss or get off the pot, Iowa!

An idea advanced by several states (and defeated) a few years back would have rotated the order of primaries. That woulda made sense, because given that I live in a "middle" state like Maryland, things are usually somewhat decided by the time I get to vote. Suppose I was a Michelle Bachmannite? I'd be basically screwed, since we all know she isn't making it past South Carolina. Ditto for "Santorum", a dude whose last name alone should disqualify him from running.

Personally, I think Mitt Romney will shock the world and win Iowa in a landslide tonight. Despite their flirtations with every Tom, Dick, and Newt, Republicans aren't dumb. They hate Obama more than they love a "principled Conservative". Romney's gonna be the guy when all's said and done, we all know this.

Question: Should a single state like Iowa have so much power? What do you think will happen tonight? Who's going to be the first candidate to "drop out to spend more time with my family"?!?

[1] How's this for irony? Utah, generally assumed to be one of the whitest states period, is just 86% white. Been there too. Beautiful state.

[2] Just Google it, already.

[3] Uhhh, seriously, what's up with that? Who hangs out in diners at 11am on a weekday? Don't these people have jobs to go to, or is that one more thing to blame on Obama?

Monday, January 2, 2012

AB.com's 2011 Predictions, Revisited.

Rather than some super-lame "the year that was" review like a lot of sites run, AB.com has a tradition of making "predictions" at the beginning of the year, dropping them in a time capsule (aka: the archives) and dredging them up at the year ends to see just how far off I was. 2012's Predictions are on the way later this week. Here's some of what I predicted for 2011, and what actually happened.

--- Politrickal Predictions ---

My Prediction - "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."

See, What Had Happened Was... - Well, this year was his easiest, by far, mostly because he didn't do sh*t. This wasn't entirely his fault, since he was fighting a stubborn Congress with the approval rating lower than Porn, Polygamy, BP Oil Spill, the 'U.S. Going Communist'. On the plus side, he handled several crises with aplomb, figured out how to frame/critique his opposition (see: Trump, Donald), and finally got rid of that smug buffoon Robert Gibbs. His approval rating is roughly 50% right now, so I'll give myself credit on a sliding scale for that one.

Net Result - 33% Accurate

---

My Prediction - "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."

See, What Had Happened Was... - The economy, despite some backwards jobs numbers mid-year, is definitely on the uptick. The unemployment rate, thanks to some dubious math, is at 8.6% right now, which is lower than anyone (including Obama) probably expected. First time jobless claims are way down. Housing numbers are up. The Dow was mostly flat for the year, which counts as a win. Gas prices are down slightly. Things could obviously fall apart this year, but I could very easily see 200k new jobs a month on average in 2012, which would spell low 8%'s in unemployment. Which spells reelection.

Net Result - 85% Accurate

---

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


See, What Had Happened Was... - The Dow hit the mid 12's, fell waaaay down, and rebounded to the low 12's, finishing the year up 5.5%. Not terrible, not great, and certainly not what I predicted

Net Result - 0% Accurate

---

My Prediction - "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."

See, What Had Happened Was... - The CBC and Tea Party both (briefly) opposed the debt ceiling agreement, albeit for radically different reasons. Could someone just hand me my Crystal Ball Legacy Award now?

Net Result - 150% Accurate

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My Prediction - "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."

See, What Had Happened Was... - This is mostly true. Congress was in a stalemate the entire year, mostly because Tea Partiers wouldn't fall in lock step with Speaker Boehner. On the flipside, there's no substantive proof that they'll be held accountable by their constituents. Which is sorta strange, because these folks were sent to DC to help slash the deficit, and proved to be the biggest obstacles to a substantive deficit reduction plan. And yeah, the deficit will indeed increase in 2012. Someone please explain to me why Tea Party constituents aren't running up to the Capitol with pitchforks right now?!?

Net Result - 33% Accurate

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My Prediction - "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."

See, What Had Happened Was... - Call 1-888-AB-PREDICTS for my free psychic reading. Operators are standing by. Call me now!!! Thankfully, we did have Herman Cain to make up for some of the lost Palin fodder.

Net Result - 3,500% Accurate

--- Pop Culture Predictions ---

My Prediction - "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.."

See, What Had Happened Was... - Dead wrong. With the exception of the hideous Madea's Big Happy Family, Perry was notably quiet this year on-screen. But hey, the Kim Kardashian-lead The Marriage Counselor is coming this year. I smell Oscar. And by "Oscar", I mean, Oscar The Grouch.

Net Result - 0% Accurate

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

See, What Had Happened Was... - While Cole World was an epic disappointment of LA Clippers-sian proportions, Cole did indeed get close to the 200k mark his first week and the album's since gone gold. You also can't turn on he radio without hearing "Can't Get Enough" or "Workout", which I don't necessarily consider a good thing. Not convinced this guy has "superstar" in him, but he did move units, which counts for something in today's rap game. Well done, Jermaine. But I'mma need a much better sophomore effort.

Net Result - 95% Accurate

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

See, What Had Happened Was... - Mac Miller's Blue Slide Park made history of sorts, even though it wasn't all that great. YelaWolf had Eminem's co-sign, but his album bricked hard. I'm gonna pretty much assume Machine Gun Kelly catches a brick this year. None of these guys will ever become a superstar. Most of you reading this post probably don't know a single one of them. So, not quite accurate.

Net Result - 25% Accurate

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My Prediction - "A high profile rap groupie will get her own reality show on VH1."

See, What Had Happened Was... - Personally, I'm sorta lazy at this point, and don't even know if this actually happened, nor do I have the energy to consult The Google. Does Marginally Good Looking Chicks Who've Slept With D-List New York cRappers Love & Hip Hop count? If not, I probably get some credit for this at least.



#HoesBeWinnin

Net Result - 50% Accurate

--- Sports Predictions ---

My Prediction - "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."

See, What Had Happened Was... - Mixed bag here. I got the implosions correct, but the order of implosion wrong. The Lakers (and Spurs) bowed out early. Miami waited until the NBA Finals for Lebron James to suddenly morph into James Jones. Props to the Mavs. Enjoy that title, it'll be awhile.

Net Result - 25% Accurate

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My Prediction - "The Chicago Bears will win the Super Bowl. Yeah, really."

See, What Had Happened Was... - Uh, no, not really

Net Result - 0% Accurate

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

See, What Had Happened Was... - You gotta give me props here. Who coulda predicted Kemba Walker's incredible run, which culminated in the absolute worst championship game evar? The Lady Huskies made the Final Four, but sadly lost. Rats.

Net Result - 50% Accurate

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My Prediction - "The Pittsburgh Penguins will win the Stanley Cup (again).."

See, What Had Happened Was... - Unless the Penguins magically relocated to Boston, I missed this one like a Graham Gano field goal attempt.

Net Result - 0% Accurate

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My Prediction - "Blake Griffin will win the NBA's Rookie Of The Year award."

See, What Had Happened Was... - This wasn't exactly a reach at the time, but I still don't think Griffin deserved to win this, on a strictly technical basis. He missed his rookie year, but did have a whole season to absorb the NBA life, travel, see opponents up close, and practice with the team. Not exactly a "rookie", so John Wall should have won this. But anyways...

Net Result - 100% Accurate, but with a serious asterisk

Overall Verdict On AB's 2011 Predictions: %45 Accurate

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