Monday, June 30, 2014

Arizona State Profressor Catches Beatdown For Jaywalking While Black.

Just watch the video, and then answer the question below.

Question: What's your read on this story? Were the cops justified in their actions? Should the professor have just shut up and complied? What would you do?

ASU professor assaulted officer, arrested in Tempe [AZ Central]

Thursday, June 26, 2014 Thursday Open Mic.

Busy week here. Ya'll talk amongst yourselves. I'll be back soon.

Question: What's on your mind today? Drop some links, start a convo.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Should The Washington Redskins Change Their Name?!?

I'm a "bandwagon Redskins fan", which is a nice way of saying "I only care if they're having a .500 or better season which won't ever happen again as long as Robert Griffin III only has one good knee". Seriously, football is just a break between the NBA offseason and an annual respite from baseball.

That said, I'm quite neutral when it comes to the "change it/don't change it" debate over the team's name. The drive to change the name really gained public consciousness a couple of season ago when RGIII took the league by storm, but reality is people here in the DC area has waged that discussion for decades, before it was a trendy liberal pet issue.

Forgive me if I find the sudden self-righteousness of guys like Chris Hayes who probably don't even watch football (either) a bit self-serving. I mean, local broadcasters like Marc Gray have been calling them "The Washington Football Team" since the mid 90's. Kick rocks, Peter King. If the team had gone 3-13 instead of winning the division that year, none of these folks would care.

Anyways, the team's trademarking of the phrase "Washington Redskins" has waged in court for as long as I can remember, and a development this morning has anti-Skins advocates claiming what will surely be a short-lived victory.
Unprecedented pressure on the Washington NFL team to change its name reached a crescendo today when the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board canceled six federal trademark registrations owned by the team, ruling that the term "Redskins" was disparaging to "a substantial composite" of American Indians when the marks were granted between 1967 and 1990.

The 2-1 decision by the board does not mean the Washington team must stop using the name but gives opponents of the name another opening to hammer home their contention that the term is a despicable racial slur. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the Senate floor that "the handwriting is on the wall" and the team's name will change some day.

The team's attorneys said the team will appeal. The team prevailed on appeal in an earlier iteration of the case.

The Washington team retains its federal trademark rights pending appeal. And even if the club loses on appeal, it can continue to use the name, as it has for more than 80 years. But without federal trademark protection, others could potentially use the team's name and logos to sell merchandise with impunity, although owners of unregistered marks can still try to protect them through state statutes or common law. The team has two months to file the appeal.
So yeah, about that appeal. Skins owner Daniel Snyder will most certainly lawyer up and probably win the rights back, something that happened about a decade ago. This means very little in the grand scheme of things. Congress cannot pressure a private entity to rebrand/rename itself, nor can fans, especially when said team makes money hand over fist even while enduring 2-14 seasons. Skins fans are an odd bunch like that. I've lived here for 19 years and I still don't understand the unrequited love for this bungling franchise.

The oddest thing here is that Snyder (a guy who once essentially charged fans to walk to his stadium!) is all about money and is missing the forest for the trees. He could simply change the team's name to the "Washington Pigskins", forcing fans to spend millions of dollars on new merchandise and making those offended by the team's name happy in one fell swoop. "Pigskin" is a football term that offends nobody, ties nicely to the team's 1980's "Hogs", and probably allows them to make only minor modifications to their uniform (replace the Indian on the helmet with a "W") while keeping their burgundy and gold color scheme.

It's an idea that makes so much sense I should prolly trademark it myself.

Seriously, Mr. Snyder. Just change the damn name already.[1]

BTW, this anti-Redskins ad... just awesome!

Question: Should the Reskins change their name or do these whiny Native Americans need to be concerned with far more pressing issues on The Rez?!?

[1] Yes, I realize it's a little weird for me to advocate the Skins changing their name to something more PC while dreaming about my beloved Wizards reverting to the Washington Bullets. #WalkingContradiction

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Texas Teens Could Get 1,300 YEARS For Gang Rape Of 15 Year Old.

I have a daughter now, as anyone who's read this blog the past couple of years already knows. While I don't love my daughter any more than I do my sons, I do love her differently. My concerns about her future, and what/how I as her father do to influence that future are somewhat different in nature than those I have for my sons.

I want to teach my sons to respect women, even when those women don't respect themselves. I'll need to teach my daughter to not seek attention and validation from boys, because if I do my job she won't need to. Still, when all else fails, I'm going to have to teach myself how to respond (not react) as a parent.

When I read tragic stories like the following, I can't help but wonder what lessons the kids involved did and didn't get at home, and what I as a parent might personally take away.
A McLennan County grand jury Wednesday indicted six men on a total of 91 counts that could bring them prison terms of more than 1,300 years in the alleged gang rape of a 15-year-old girl.

Five of the men were indicted on 13 counts of first-degree felony aggravated sexual assault of a child and two counts of sexual assault of a child, a second-degree felony.

The men are Devoric Javon Evans, 20; Lamont Tray Davis, 19; Day’tron Derrell Smith, 18; Da’Juan Oshea Degrate, 18; and Cory Darnell Hall, 18.

A sixth man, Douglas Demond Canada, 19, was indicted on 13 counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and three counts of sexual assault of a child.

The girl told police she planned to skip school with fellow Waco High School students Canada and Degrate that day, and they drove her to a home in the 800 block of North Fourth Street.

When they got there, four other men were at the house, she told police.

“She went with a couple of boys she thought she knew, and then a bad situation became much worse,” Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said after the men were arrested.

The indictments allege the men “acted in concert” with each other, making each responsible for the actions of the others. That is why the indictments allege so many counts against each man, court officials said.

According to records filed in the case, the men asked the girl if she was “freaky.”

The victim said she started having sex with Canada in a bathroom. Hall reportedly heard the victim telling Canada to stop while they were in the bathroom, and Hall said he told Canada “to chill,” according to arrest warrant affidavits.

“I told him to stop, but he wouldn’t,” the girl told police. “Then he walked me out to the bedroom and the other boys were there. They all had sex with me one at a time.”

After the assaults, Degrate gave Davis $5 to drive the girl back to school before 4 p.m., records indicate.

The girl reported the incident and she was taken to a hospital.

If the men are convicted on each count and a judge stacks the counts, or orders them to serve the sentences consecutively, Canada faces a maximum sentence of 1,360 years in prison, while the other five face 1,340 years, court officials said.
Much of the media attention surrounding this story has been about the stiff prison sentences the alleged rapists are facing. I suppose I get the point here. Judicial systems across the country have been plagued with double standards in sentencing for as long as judicial systems have existed. If these men are being given a stiffer than normal sentence because of the race (which we don't know) of the girl, then that would obviously be an area of concern. If the "acting in concert" aspect of this law hasn't been equally applied to other similar crimes, that's something the court will have to answer for.

That said, the alleged crime here is indefensible and reprehensible. This isn't a question of whether these men should go to prison, it's how long.

As a father, this is a nightmarish situation. I wonder what it was about the boys that made this girl think skipping school was a good idea. She obviously had no idea what they had planned, but what made her put herself in that situation in the first place? What, as a parent, can one take away from this?

As a father of boys, I think you have to teach your kids that they have to pick their friends wisely. Show me your friends and I'll show you your future. If those friends are filling out college applications and studying for the SAT, your future might include a full ride. If those friends are guys who run bustos on underaged girls, your future is prolly gonna include some jail time. And when your friends are doing something that doesn't square with your moral compass (as seemingly happened to Mr. Hall here) don't tell your friend to "chill", remove yourself from the environment and call the cops. Snitching after the fact doesn't make you noble, it makes your dumb ass an accomplice.

Send your prayers to the family of this girl. And please don't talk about how "she had it coming" in the comments section, or I will drop the ban hammer with authority!

Question: Is this crime worth the 13 centuries (!!!) these men will likely serve if convicted?

Monday, June 16, 2014 Monday Open Mic.

I'm taking requests this week. Drop the link and I'll write it. I'm serious. And also starved for blog fodder. Feed the beast!

Question: What's on your mind today? Drop some links, start a convo.

Spurs Win! Spurs Win! Spurs Win!

I'm not a San Antonio Spurs fan, but I'm definitely a "Miami Heat Fan" hater, so naturally I was happy to see Tim Duncan and Co. raise the trophy last night. In a 5 game series that wasn't even as close as the final tally indicated, the "Built" Spurs throttled the "Bought" Heat, restoring my trust in the sport I love more than any other.

I wonder what team "Miami Heat fans" will be cheering for next season when Lebron opts out, leaving a decrepit Wade and perennial 3rd banana Chris Bosh? Prolly whatever team Lebron lands with, because there's no way he's staying there. I could easily see Chicago, Cleveland (don't laugh) or the Lakers. It won't be Miami, not if he's concerned about winning more championships, because that window is closed.

We all knew Miami's championship window was about 4 seasons tops, so the fact that they got two rings out of this arrangement sorta validates that kind of team building strategy as viable. And truth be known, the Spurs model is a helluva lot more difficult to replicate. They just lucked into drafting the best PF/C of all time, which is much harder than drafting one good guy (Wade) and surrounding him with another good player (Bosh) and an All-World one (Lebron).

Anyways, hats off to San Antonio, a true team in every sense of the word.

Question: Who did you have picked to win? Where does Lebron (and his bandwagon fans) land next?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Halle Berry Owes $16K/Month In Child Support. Stevie J Is $1M In Arrears.

As a guy married for nearly 13 years, I can tell you marriage is work. Mix in kids, and it damn near becomes a 2nd day job, albeit one with great benefits. The adage goes "it's cheaper to keep her", which is a nice way of telling men they're better off staying married than getting divorced and being forced to live in a van down by the river. Not that I need reminding, because I have plenty of family and friends who have had their futures wrecked by the dreaded combination of divorce and spousal support. Of course, you should contribute to the financial wellbeing of your kids, but what's a reasonable price?

Two celebrities are on separate ends of a dreaded court order, and I'm wondering if how people are judging both is due to the gender of the person involved.
Halle Berry has a hefty new expense. The Oscar-winning actress has to pay over $16,000 in child support each month to her ex, Gabriel Aubry, to provide for their 6-year-old daughter Nahla, the Los Angeles Superior Court ordered.

Berry's monthly bill will remain in effect until Nahla turns 19 or graduates high school, whichever occurs first, according to court documents obtained by CNN. The settlement came on May 30, at the end of lengthy child support legal battle.

The court also ordered Berry to pay $115,000 retroactively in child support, as well as to cover her ex-boyfriend's legal fees, which amount to $300,000. The "X-Men: Days of Future Past" star is fully responsible for Nahla's tuition, while both parents will divide health care costs.
In the words of that sage American hero Jax Teller, JESUS CHRIST!!!!

Not to be outdone, "reality TV star" Steebie Stevie J just got arrested for something quite heinous. Yes, even more heinous than acting like a moron on TV and marrying Joseline.
Reality-TV star and onetime hit producer Stevie J has been arrested after racking up what TMZ reports is a "million-dollar child support debt." According to the gossip site, the Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta star is currently in jail after he allegedly stopped paying a court-ordered $8,500 monthly child support payment in 2001.

According to a criminal complaint seen by TMZ, Stevie J fathered two children with his then live-in girlfriend in 1997 and 1998 and was initially ordered to pay $6,500 in child support in 1999. That amount was raised to $8,500 a few years later.

TMZ reports that Stevie J hasn't paid child support in some 13 years, bringing his estimated total back child support owed to $1,107,412!
Breh, how can you not pay child support for 13 years? How is that even possible, and why exactly is the children's mother (how old are these kids by now, 25?) just now trying to collect?

My theory is pretty simple: this guy probably had an agreement with the child's mother to give her whatever he could, off the grid, and she agreed. Years later, he's on reality to flossin' like he's a millionaire and she decides she wants a chunk. Turns out that chunk is well over a million dollars for two damn kids. Amazing.

I've heard it said before, and it bears repeating: if you've ever in such a position, establish child support via the courts immediately and pay. Under the table support doesn't count in the system, and should the recipient decide your under the table arrangement isn't sufficient, she can file and recieve money retroactively, which wouldn't take into account any of what you've already paid. Or if you're in Stevie's case and suddenly go from making Bad Boy money to No Money Mo Problems money, lawyer up, go to court and get your monthly obligation modified downward. Any black man who has spent hours of his formative years in a black barbershop would know this, as well as a million and one other legal tidbits. Life hacks, my arse.

As for Berry, well damn. $16k a month to a guy we weren't ever married to is bad enough, but I'm also wondering how she managed to lose custody in the first place. 9 times out of 10, the courts will deem the mother the optimal parent for a child unless she has some serious mental/substance abuse issues. I don't know much about Berry, but jeez, with the money she has, she must be really screwed up if the courts gave her daughter to the kid's father.

Either way, let this be a lesson for everyone: pull out!

Question: Thoughts? Opinions? Got a gruesome child support story of your own you wanna share?

Down Goes Cantor!!!

While everyone else was busy watching the Spurs beat the tracks off the Heat last night, a similar a$$whipping was taking place in the world of politics.
It's the earthquake that rocked the GOP. In a year when mainstream Republicans have mostly bested tea party-backed challengers, a little-known and little-funded tea party challenger in Virginia's 7th Congressional District pulled the upset of the year, defeating House Majority Leader Eric Cantor by 10 percentage points.

The victory by economics professor Dave Brat gives the tea party an instant jolt of energy, sends shock waves through Capitol Hill, shakes up the GOP House hierarchy -- as Cantor was seen by many as the next speaker -- and effectively kills any chance of immigration reform passing through the House any time soon.

Cantor becomes only the second member of Congress running for re-election this year to go down in defeat in the primaries, following 91-year-old Republican Rep. Ralph Hall of Texas. Longtime Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi may soon become the third. He's fighting for his political life as he faces a primary runoff election in two weeks against a tea party-backed state senator who narrowly edged him in last week's primary but not by enough to win outright.

In the primary's closing days, aides close to Cantor said they expected the majority leader to win around 60% of the vote in his primary. He didn't come close.

"Obviously, we came up short," the seven-term congressman told supporters as he conceded the race.

Cantor apparently didn't read the pulse of conservatives in his Republican-dominated district, which is anchored in the Richmond area but stretches some 100 miles from the Tidewater to the outer reaches of the Washington exurbs.
As a guy who lives in the DC Area, I had no idea Cantor's district was so ridiculously draw. Yaaaay, gerrymandering!!!

The talking heads are having a field day dissecting this, and by all means, it's a political upset of Tyson/Douglas proportions[1]. Still, I don't see how this is a harbinger of things to come for the Tea Party, let alone proof that establishment types are falling out of favor in the GOP. This is, quite simply, an aberration. Cantor outspent Brat 26-1, and Brat got no money whatsoever from national Tea Party groups. Most of his support came via talk radio, and I'm assuming his constituents were prolly just sick of seing his smarmy face on TV all the time. The dude had a 4% approval rating after all, which is only slightly better than mine. So people clearly wanted him out. Brat, a college economics professor with no electoral experience to speak of, just happened to be the guy to fill that void.

Either way, I don't see how this changes the calculus of nationwide races this Fall, but I guess we'll see.

Question: Is this colossal upset a sign of things to come for the GOP? For the Democrats?

[1] But we all know that fight was rigged, right?

Monday, June 9, 2014 Monday NewsBriefs.

A lot to cover today, here's the rundown...

Michelle Obama's Maya Angelou Speech - Seriously, why weren't we lucky enough to have this woman as POTUS instead of her increasingly disappointing husband? Powerful stuff here, and real talk, prolly the blackest moment we've witness during the Obama Presidency. If you haven't seen this, watch it, watch it, watch it!

Two Right Wingers Go On Cop Killing Spree In Vegas - I'm a bit puzzled about why a startling aspect of yesterday's rampage that left 3 killed is going virtually unreported. The two wackos that shot a couple of innocent cops and a bystander then offed themselves in a Walmart draped a "Don't Tread On Me" flag on top of the policemen. You know, those ubiquitous yellow Tea Party flags. And it's hardly being discussed at all, as the media instead focuses on their ties to a White Supremacy group. What's up with that?

Tracy Morgan Progessing - Comedian was seriously injured in a party bus accident Saturday morning, after being rear-ended by a Walmart truck driver who had fallen asleep at the wheel. This wasn't a good weekend for Walmart, to put it lightly. Send out your best wishes to Morgan and his also injured colleagues.

Cramp-free Lebron Scores 35 As Heat Tie NBA Finals - Meh. The Spurs missed 4 crucial crunch time FT's. Hit those and the narrative's a lot different this morning.

California Chrome Owner Channels His Inner Richard Sherman - Man, was that awesome, or was that awesome? A agree with this guy 1,000%, just as I agreed with Sherman.

Oklahoma Gun Range To Serve Alcohol - What could possibly go wrong?!?

Question: What's on your mind today? Drop some links, start a convo.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Apparently Whites-Only Water Fountains (And Microwaves) Still Exist In Tennessee.

In what is shaping up to be a banner year for race relations, two Memphis ara cotton gin employees (who knew?) are alleging racial discrimination, and thankfully have the evidence to prove it.
The recording sounds like something from Jim Crow days: a white supervisor threatening to hang an African-American employee for drinking water from a "white people" fountain.

But it's 2014, in Memphis, Tennessee.

Untonia Harris, who worked at Atkinson Cotton Warehouse, said he used his phone to record his supervisor after feeling discriminated against for months.

In the audio, Harris asks if he could use a microwave.

"Hell no!" a man he describes as the supervisor responds.

When he asks why, the purported voice from the supervisor says it's because Harris is not white.

In another attempt to use the water fountain, the supervisor has the same reaction.

"I need to put a sign here that says, 'White people only,'" the voice says.

Harris asks what will happen if he is caught drinking from the fountain.

The voice replies, "That's when we hang you."
Here's the story.

Update: The boss in question was just fired.

Honestly, I find it damn hard to believe that the supervisor was able to work at this company for years without anyone complaining before. And who the hell outsources supervisory management to oversee their own employees? Sounds like some serious passing of the buck to me.

Merica', folks. Merica!

So forgive me for not getting worked up over some meth-head stripper that berates a man in a parking lot. As I said, there are levels to this sh*t. This is about a Level Nine.

Question: Would anyone have believed these guys has they not produced evidence of discrimination? Are there indeed "levels" to racism?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Janelle Ambrosia And The Slut Shaming Of Internet Racists.

I prefer my racism blatant, not disguised or covert. I'm 40 years old now, so it's a lot easier to have someone make it quite clear where they stand as opposed to me having to guess. I'm just black lazy like that. Because blackness.

With that said, there are varying degrees of racism. An idiot telling me I'm must be hot because I'm a black man driving a black car on a summer day ranks around a .05 on the 10 point racism scale. An idiot realtor telling me he's not going to show me and my wife homes in a certain neighborhood because he "doesn't think it would be a good cultural fit" ranks about a 3. Police pulling me over in broad daylight with all 4 windows down because my "tint was sorta dark", although said window tint is factory issued ranks around a 6.

It's levels to this sh*t.

A video that is lighting up the internets (namely Black Twitter) right now, displays some seriously wanton use of the N-word by a deplorable woman, but in the grand scheme of things, it's still only about a 2.
Janelle Ambrosia, the woman captured in a YouTube video going on a racist tirade in western New York this weekend, told WBLK host Big Rob Wednesday morning that her comments had been prompted when the man she was yelling at had almost hit her child with his car. Ambrosia swore she was not a racist, but was bipolar, and that her ex was attempting to use the video to obtain custody of her children.

“I’m not a racist, I have a black cousin,” Ambrosia said, adding that the man had called her a “Crackheaded cracker” before the video.

Big Rob asked how the word “nigger” entered the equation.

“Quite frankly, if you look it up, nigger means an ignorant person,” she replied. “It has nothing to do with race. But it’s okay for him to call me a racist or honky. That’s racist.”

“I’m really not a racist, I was just pissed off,” she said. “If he didn’t try to almost hit my kids, none of this would have happened.” She declined a chance to apologize.

There’s still a chance this is some crazy improv group, but it’s diminishing.
Here's the original video that has landed the woman in serious trouble.

Here's her appearance on a local radio show, after which she undermined herself by going on Twitter and acting a complete ass.

I'm sure I'm gonna piss a lot of ya'll off here, but I'm gonna play the blame the victim card. Yes, this woman is a racist jackass. Yes, she was out of line for calling this man a n*gger for merely having the nerve to start his car. Yes, it's deeply concerning that a woman with some very obvious drug problems is responsible for rearing kids. Yes to all of that.

But come on, what's with the brother filming this sh*t? You're at a Dollar General store. The lady's an asshole. What's the point in filming this, putting the video on Youtube, and now putting the woman in danger of losing her job as a stripper and custody of her kids? What does that actually accomplish? Does it make her less racist (judging by her Twitter stream, no)? Does it free the kids of this sort of malicious influence (unlikely, given the fact that their Dad's prolly worse)? Does it mean she won't be able to give lapdances to drunken patrons while "Thunderstruck" plays in the background (also unlikely. Because strippers)?

No, it just means the internets gets to slut shame another dumb person into a slightly more depressing state of being, while patting itself on the back for "calling out racism". It's a lot easier to point the fingers at an ignorant, powerless woman than it is to call out politicians, media personalities, law enforcement officers, and business owners who are bit more artful with their ignorance, yet have far more power to impact the damage on the lives of those whom they harbor racial bias against.

So yeah, let's all just gang up on the N-word spouting, meth addicted, bipolar stripper. Because that's low hanging fruit, and it tastes so much better.

Question: Assuming you're familiar with this story, what's your read on it? Is all racism equal, or are there indeed levels to this sh*t?