Friday, December 20, 2013
I know people joke about Kanye a lot, but this is pretty darn brilliant, and it's got a pretty obvious double meaning that anyone who listens closely will pick up on. It's not (just) about MJ, it's about West's very public aspirations (and assorted pains) with trying to break into a fashion industry that won't allow him a genuine level of "ownership". Or maybe that's just me reading waaay too deeply into this.
Of course, there are a couple of factual inaccuracies here. Jordan didn't "own" the Wizards any more than Magic "owned" the Lakers, or Jay-Z "owned" the Nets. They were all equity partners, but hey, why let that ruin a good rant?
One thing he's 100% correct about. He did indeed "have to put on a motherf*ckin' Wizards jersey!!!!" and he never, ever should have.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
[Editor's Note: This piece likely has a million and one grammatic and spelling errors. I'm not proofreading it, nor fixing them. Mostly because I'm lazy. And also, because #science. Don't let that deter you.]
The point of this was to see if my opinions would be responded to more readily if people weren't initially forming their rebuttal with my race in mind. It was a social experiment of sorts, but it was also an acknowledgement that I get tired of being accused of being an unemployed welfare moocher with 6 illegitimate kids by people who don't know me when I'm merely trying to debate the finer points of the Afforable Care Act with some stranger on Mediaite.
There's no denying that people are more apt to repond in a different manner online that when in person. And there's likewise no doubt that people are going to form opinions of you based on ther sole appearance related item (an avatar) that you typically present online. Heck, people respond based on their (perceived) level of safety.
Tell em, Louis CK.
After doing this for a month, I changed my avatar and screen name back today. I wish I could present you guys a more scientific analysis of what I learned via this little experiement, but it's close to the holidays, and I'm lazy and whatnot, so this will have to suffice.
People (Initially) Treated Me Much Better And Didn't Just (Initially) Outright Dismiss My Opinion - To be certain, I didn't change the nature of my typical comment on any of the sites I typically weigh in on. I don't usually identify myself as black when I comment either, unless the subject calls for that, and I never did so during this month. Not once in my generic avi experiment was I accused of being on The Welfare or getting SNAP benefits. Being a "liberal" and an ObamaBot, sure. But nothing racial. Ever. And I found fellow commenters far more likely to engage in debate, rather than just dismissing me. Hmmmmmm.All in all, this results of this experiment weren't really suprising. I long assumed people lobbed racist comments at me because I was black, and that was essentially confirmed. And I don't really know if my life's any better for wear with that bit of information.
I Never Got "Outed" - You'd think people would just click on my profile, see the link to my site, and figure out I was a black guy. Didn't happen. I'm not shocked either, because most people don't have that kinda time.
I'm Not Surprised By Any Of This, Nor Do I Really Think It's A Problem. - There is racism in America. That's a fact, despite whatever Fox News might suggest. It just is what it is, and I don't think it's going away anytime soon. To police their comment boards, a lot of news sites are now requiring comments to be posted via Facebook accounts, in an attempt to limiting trolls and anonymous comments. The thought is that if people have to put their real name and face beside what they're saying they'll likely be more considerate and thus more civil. As a guy who has made his name via a largely anonymous online persona, you might guess where I fall on this topic.
Question: What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you also find people online respond to you based on assumptions formed via your avatar/screen name?
 Speaking of appearance-based stereotypes, I slept on this guy for the longest because I assumed I wouldn't find his style of comedy very relatable. I was completely wrong. I don't know if I agree with the "genius" label many people fling at him, but seriously, this dude is absolutely hilarious.
 See the comedy clip again, just for reinforcement of this concept.
But seriously, given all the recent debates about who should be able to use the word (and considering who still purchases 75% of rap music), shouldn't there be at least one white kid in this video? Isn't that at least some small part of the problem?
For the record, I don't use the word nigger. I do love ignorant assed rap music though, and I take every possible safeguard to ensure my kids don't even know such music exists. My 5 year old couldn't pick Beyonce out of a police lineup, but he loves Laurie Berkner and the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack. #parenting
My point is, I don't think this video is effective beyond the initial shock of hearing a little girl say "I love bad bitches that's my fuckin problem". Would the sort of parent who lets their kid listen to non-radio cuts of 2 Chainz re-evaluate their place in life after watching this? Prolly not.
And again, where the hell the white kids at!?!?
Question: What do you think? As a parent, how (if at all) do you monitor what your kids listen to?
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
George W. Bush isn’t the only famous person named George developing a brand new career as a painter. That’s right, the first-ever painting by George Zimmerman appeared on eBay this week and it’s really something. With the subject listed as “America,” Zimmerman’s moody depiction of the flag comes complete with the words “One Nation” literally under the word “God”:For those keeping score at home, when I last checked, a black woman whose heroism singlehandedly spared the lives of hundreds of children raised roughly the same amount after 3 months. Zimmerman's "work of art" has 98 bids since yesterday. Yesterday.
Zimmerman included his own description of the piece, for which the bidding is currently up to a whopping $99,966.00 and rising, with all proceeds going directly to the pocket of the man who was acquitted after shooting and killing unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin. He writes:
First hand painted artwork by me, George Zimmerman. Everyone has been asking what I have been doing with myself. I found a creative, way to express myself, my emotions and the symbols that represent my experiences. My art work allows me to reflect, providing a therapeutic outlet and allows me to remain indoors :-) I hope you enjoy owning this piece as much as I enjoyed creating it. Your friend, George Zimmerman
Lest you think this is some hilariously bizarre hoax, the new painter’s brother, Robert Zimmerman, Jr. confirmed that the auction is real and that “therealgeorgez,” as the eBay username reads is actually George Zimmerman.
I'm not disparaging Zimmerman's need to make a living. It is what it is. The guy's life (for reasons he entirely bought upon himself) will never be the same, and short of working
But I can't help but wonder what is says about our country when a man who kills a black child is valued more than a woman who saves them.
Question: What's your thought on this? Who buys a George Zimmerman oil painting anyway?
Friday, December 13, 2013
"Saturday Night Live" plans to add one or two black female performers to its cast as soon as January.I sorta hope they hire two black women. Mostly because two would be awesome. Also, because if there's only one, that sista is gonna have to be the Jackie Robinson of sketch comedy to overcome the scrutiny of being labelled an "Affirmative Action Hire". Funny how the critics alleged that SNL couldn't find any funny black women because there simply weren't any, then the show easily found a few dozen to audition. Whatever.
A representative for the NBC sketch-comedy show on Thursday confirmed reports it's answering complaints about its lack of diversity by staging showcases to choose at least one black female cast member and to hire her within weeks.
In recent weeks, the show has seen two dozen candidates in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.
The New York Times reported that a special audition for seven or eight finalists will be held Monday on the "SNL" stage in Manhattan. It's "100 percent good for the show to have an African-American woman" in its ranks, executive producer Lorne Michaels told the Times.
Criticism for the show's lack of diversity was spurred this fall by its only black cast members, Jay Pharoah and Kenan Thompson. Thompson voiced weariness at being obliged to play black female characters in drag. Pharoah lobbied for the addition of a specific comic, Darmirra Brunson, of the OWN sitcom "Love Thy Neighbor."
"SNL" has had just four black women in its regular troupe since premiering in 1975, with the last one, biracial Maya Rudolph, leaving in 2007.
Days later, the show poked fun at itself for having no black women among its 16 regular cast members, with Kerry Washington, the star of "Scandal," as guest host.
At the top of the show, an "SNL" producer apologized for the number of black female characters Washington would need to play that night.
This being America and all, I hope this will end well but predict it won't. While SNL is pretty good about quickly identifying and elevating their preferred "stars" (Cecily Strong and Taran Killam are clearly being groomed from this current cast), it's also very blatant and downright cruel about burying those whom it deems replaceable (see Jerry Minor and Dean Edwards for notable black male examples).
Whatever. I'm just glad the show can now acknowledge the existence of a black FLOTUS. Sure, it's only about 5 years late, but hey...
Question: Do you even watch SNL? If so, what do you think about the show's lack of diversity? Will this black woman have a hard time from the jump?
‘Affluenza’: Rich Teen Gets Light Sentence for Murder After Claiming He’s Not Used to Consequences [Mediaite] - Seriously, if this isn't evidence that there are truly two Americas, I don't know what is.Question: What's on your mind today? Drop some links, start a convo.
Firm that employed fake interpreter at Mandela service has ‘vanished’ [WashPost] - How in the heck does something like this happen? How does a fake interpreter (who was once charged with MURDER!) get within arms length of the President? What the heck was the Secret Service doing?
As House passes budget deal, Boehner criticizes tea party [WashPost] - So TanMan and Co finally decide to put their boots down and tell the Tea Party where to take their tyrannical asses. Personally, I think this is about 4 years too late, but whatever. What's hilarious is that the GOP seems to think this will help their case in 2014. It won't.
U.S. considers cellphones on flights but no calls [WashPost] - I'm glad some common sense prevailed. So you won't have to worry with some moron sitting next to you jabbering on the cell phone your whole flight. You will have to watch that moron Skype, which is another issue altogether.
Insisting Jesus Was White Is Bad History and Bad Theology [TheAtlantic] - I couldn't have said this better myself.
Mega Millions Jackpot Hits $400 Million [Time] - Yeah, I played. You?
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Eff' a Santa Claus. We know that was based on St. Nick and whatnot. I'm not nearly as concerned about that.
Whatever, why try to make sense of nonsense. "Jesus JUST IS WHITE", says Megyn Kelly. And Megyn Kelly has a law degree and sits in a leg chair. Take her word as the proverbial gospel. Or don't. Whatever.
Question: What are your thoughts on this? Amateur theologians, here's your time to shine. Go for it.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
So yeah, add two incidents from the President's overnight trip to South Africa to that seemingly neverending list.
US President Barack Obama may have moved the masses attending Nelson Mandela's memorial service with his stirring eulogy, but it was his grinning "selfie" with the Danish and British premiers that set social networks abuzz.Let's admit a couple of things first off: no, the optics of taking a selfie at a funeral aren't great. And no, the President wasn't the one actually taking the selfie. He seemed to be asked by the Danish Premier who sat next to him. So whatever, if you wanna turn this into something bigger than just that, go right ahead.
In a candid moment captured by AFP photographer Roberto Schmidt, Denmark's Helle Thorning-Schmidt can be seen holding up her smartphone, with Obama lending a helping hand, as they pose for a picture with David Cameron, all three of them smiling broadly in their seats at Soweto's World Cup stadium.
First Lady Michelle Obama, sitting to the left of her husband, does not join in with the lightheartedness, keeping her eyes firmly trained on the podium where world leaders were paying tribute to South Africa's anti-apartheid hero Mandela, who died Thursday aged 95. The so-called selfie -- short for self-portrait -- was quickly picked up by major international news outlets and went viral on social media sites, with many questioning whether the moment of mirth was appropriate for the occasion.
"There should be a moratorium on 'selfies' during memorials and funerals, no?" tweeted @JeffryHalverson.
"Is This The Most Important Selfie Of 2013?" headlined the US-based social news website Buzzfeed, noting that Michelle Obama seemed "not amused" by the impromptu photoshoot.
A photo of the leaders photographing themselves was featured on the front pages of British media such as The Times, The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mirror.
In the United States, the Washington Post also ran the photo of the trio on its website in a story on that incident and Obama shaking hands at the service with Cuban leader Raul Castro. It was not on the front page but rather in the Politics section. It noted the viral trajectory of the photo.
"All of it serves as a reminder ? as if we needed one ? that even the best-laid plans of politicians tend to veer wildly off course in this age of social media," the Post story said.
Cameron's Downing Street office said it had "no comment" on the photo, while the White House also made no comment. There was no immediate reaction from Copenhagen. The act of taking selfies has become increasingly popular in recent years. The word itself was named word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries.
A selfie is defined as "a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website". The AFP photographer who captured the leaders in their group shot said his picture showed the dignitaries in a rare unscripted moment.
"It was interesting to see politicians in a human light because usually when we see them it is in such a controlled environment. Maybe this would not be such an issue if we, as the press, would have more access to dignitaries and be able to show they are human as the rest of us," he said.
But Schmidt said he feared the photo's global impact could overshadow what was "a celebration for an obviously exceptional person".
"The AFP team worked hard to display the reaction that South African people had for the passing of someone they consider as a father. We moved about 500 pictures, trying to portray their true feelings, and this seemingly trivial image overshadowed everything else," he said. "I think it's a sad reflection on how sometimes we focus, as a society, on trivial everyday happenings."
One issue with all of this is that this wasn't your typical funeral. Not even remotely.
That's not a soccer game. That's a memorial service. Those people weren't exactly mourning. Those people were turnt the f*ck up.
So yeah, context sorta kinda matters here. This was a joyous occasion, one that seemingly everyone got into.
Of course, everyone's not Obama, but whatever.
Question: Is this more random Obama Outrage?
 What's up with Michelle tho?!?
The photographer who snapped the picture of President Barack Obama taking a “selfie” at the memorial for former South African President Nelson Mandela said Wednesday that there was nothing wrong with what the president did, and it seemed “perfectly natural” because of the festive atmosphere at the service.More pics, along with some commentary that I largely agree with.
“For me, the behavior of these leaders in snapping a selfie seems perfectly natural,” AFP photographer Roberto Schmidt wrote in a blog post.
Obama, who was photographed grinning for the selfie with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt during the memorial service Tuesday, has been slammed by some on the right for what they consider inappropriate behavior during a memorial service. Rush Limbaugh, for instance, said Tuesday that Obama was “thinking about himself.”
But Schmidt dismissed these attacks and said he didn’t think about the impact his own photo would have.
“At the time, I thought the world leaders were simply acting like human beings, like me and you,” the photographer wrote, describing the huge crowd as celebratory, rather than mournful. “I see nothing to complain about and probably would have done the same in their place.”
He also sought to dispel social media commentary that first lady Michelle Obama “seemed to be rather peeved” with Thorning-Schmidt because of her expression and glaring eyes in the photo.
“Photos can lie,” the photographer wrote, who noted first lady Michelle Obama was joking herself moments earlier with the leaders and others around her. “Her stern look was captured by chance.”
Cameron also addressed the selfie on Wednesday, saying it was initiated by Thorning-Schmidt.
“When a member of the Kinnock family asked me for a photograph, I thought it was only polite to say yes,” Cameron said, as quoted by Huffington Post, which notes the Danish prime minister is the daughter-in-law of former U.K. Labour leader, Neil Kinnock.
So yeah, move right along. Nothing to see here. Actually...
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz walked out of the memorial service for Nelson Mandela during Cuban President Raul Castro’s speech, according to reports.Staging a "walkout" in advance, and having your staff send out a press release explaing that "walkout". Classy. Gotta hand it to Ted Cruz. The man can never resist an opportunity to make everything (even a memorial service!) about himself.
“Sen. Cruz very much hopes that Castro learns the lessons of Nelson Mandela,” said a Cruz spokeswoman, as quoted by ABC News. “For decades, Castro has wrongly imprisoned and tortured countless innocents. Just as Mandela was released after 27 years in prison, Castro should finally release his political prisoners. He should hold free elections, and once and for all, set the Cuban people free.”
The Texas senator, who is of Cuban descent, was part of a congressional delegation that traveled to South Africa for the memorial service on Tuesday.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Anyways, here's your blank slate. Fill it with something.
Question: What's on your mind today? Drop some links, start a convo.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Anyways, here's your blank slate. Fill it with something.
Question: What's on your mind today? Drop some links, start a convo.
With a 2nd deadline apparently just reached, you'd assume the problems of Healthcare.gov are over. Nope.
The enrollment records for a significant portion of the Americans who have chosen health plans through the online federal insurance marketplace contain errors — generated by the computer system — that mean they might not get the coverage they’re expecting next month.As a guy who (sorta) does this kinda stuff for a living, it's rather infuriating to watch the level of incompetence and excuse-making here. Either the site works, or it doesn't. And it should have been fully tested well before it was made public. That didn't happen, and it's casting a huge shadow over the many legitimate ACA success stories thus far.
The errors cumulatively have affected roughly one-third of the people who have signed up for health plans since Oct. 1, according to two government and health-care industry officials. The White House disputed the figure but declined to provide its own.
The mistakes include failure to notify insurers about new customers, duplicate enrollments or cancellation notices for the same person, incorrect information about family members, and mistakes involving federal subsidies. The errors have been accumulating since HealthCare.gov opened two months ago, even as the Obama administration has been working to make it easier for consumers to sign up for coverage, the government and industry officials said.
Figuring out how to clean up the backlog of errors and prevent similar ones in the future is emerging as the new imperative if the federal insurance exchange is to work as intended. The problems were the subject of a meeting Monday between administration officials and a new “Payer Exchange Performance Team” made up of insurance industry leaders.
Some of the errors in the past forms were generated by the way people were using the system, another senior official on the project said, such as clicking twice on the confirmation button or moving backward and forward on the site.
Through more than a dozen bug fixes over the past week, the team has managed to reduce the instances of when data was not generated on 834 forms from 3 percent last week to 0.5 percent now, according to senior officials.
The heightened attention to enrollment errors follows a five-week technical blitz to improve consumers’ ability to use the site.
Federal health officials announced Sunday that they had met that goal. By 6 p.m. Monday, the Web site had had close to 800,000 unique visitors — one of the administration’s targets for the site’s performance — and was set to pass that mark by the end of the day, according to administration officials. And the site processed 18,000 enrollments in the most recent 24-hour period, nearly double the previous record.
Still, not all was smooth. By mid-morning Monday, some Americans trying to use the Web site were running into a logjam. And by late morning, when the number of people on the site was roughly 35,000 — or 15,000 fewer than administration officials had said it could handle — some consumers encountered a “queue,” a new feature intended for times when the site was too crowded. The feature limits the number of people on the site and notifies others by e-mail when it’s a better time to log in.
Question: Which product had the worst rollout? ObamaCare of The New Coke?
If nothing else, the Republican National Committee has gotten people thinking about Rosa Parks.Thank you GOP (and Rosa Parks, I suppose) for ending racism with a Tweet, and thus making this nation truly post-racial!
Of course, the RNC also gave its political opponents a chance to mock the GOP with its poorly worded tweet Saturday marking the 58th anniversary of the African-American civil rights activist's refusal to give up her bus seat to a white person, an event that sparked the Montgomery bus boycott.
"Today we remember Rosa Parks' bold stand and her role in ending racism," read the tweet that caused Twitter rage, triggering a snark avalanche on the RNC's alleged cluelessness about racism's continued existence.
The RNC acknowledged the problem hours later: "Previous tweet should have read 'Today we remember Rosa Parks' bold stand and her role in fighting to end racism.'"
In other words, we get it, was the RNC's message.
Orlando Watson, RNC communications director for black media, told me that the flawed tweet was preceded by a longer statement. That statement accurately reflected the reality of race relations since 1955.
While the gaffe was relatively minor, it plays into the damaging narrative about the Republican Party — that it only pays lip service to the notion of increasing its appeal to minority voters. Indeed, from voter ID to immigration, the party is widely viewed as hostile to minority voters. So the tweet fit a stereotype about the party.
It's the same weakness the GOP's "Growth and Opportunity Project" — also known as its post-2012 general election "autopsy" — spoke to. Even some high-profile African-Americans like J.C. Watts, the former congressman from Oklahoma, have conceded that the party's efforts, including the GOP project on the minority outreach front, have so far been more rhetoric than reality.
It may be a long time, if ever, before the GOP reaches the point where a misstep like the Rosa Parks tweet isn't read by the left like a Freudian slip. But it's probably more doable than, say, ending racism.
Question: Which RNC intern is responsible for this, and has he/she been fired yet? If Rosa Parks were alive today, would she be a Conservative like MLK (in the deluded minds of some) would?
Three high school teens in Rochester, N.Y., were arrested while they waited for a bus, but authorities claimed the trio was obstructing the flow of other pedestrians on the sidewalk.Seriously... I... just....
On Wednesday morning, Raliek Redd, 16, Wan'Tauhjs Weathers 17, and Daequon Carelock, 16, said they were cuffed before they could board a school bus to a basketball game, according to WHEC.
"We tried to tell them that we were waiting for the bus," Weathers told the station. "We weren't catching a city bus, we were catching a yellow bus. He didn't care. He arrested us anyways."
The Rochester Police did not immediately return a call for comment from The Huffington Post. But a police report obtained by Rochester Homepage said the teens, who attend Edison Tech, were obstructing "pedestrian traffic while standing on a public sidewalk...preventing free passage of citizens walking by and attempting to enter and exit a store."
The report also said the officer who arrested the teens made "clear and concise orders for the group to disperse and leave the area without compliance."
The teens were apprehended in a part of downtown Rochester where business owners have complained about teens loitering and fighting near their stores.
The boys' coach, Jacob Scott unsuccessfully tried to convince the officers to let the players off the hook.
He said an officer told him, "If you don't disperse, you're going to get booked as well,'" Scott said. "I said, 'Sir, I'm the adult. I'm their varsity basketball coach. How can you book me? What am I doing wrong? Matter of fact, what are these guys doing wrong?'"
The teens face disorderly conduct charges, according to a previous report by Rochester Homepage.
Question: Is there any justification for the actions of the policemen in this story?!?