Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Guest Post: For Colored Girls...And Boys (Video)

Today's guest post comes from Dr. Bella GBella is a medical doctor from the lone star state of Texas who is finishing her residency in Virginia.  Her topic concerns an upcoming documentary that started to make a little buzz before the Memorial Day weekend when the preview clip below (see video after the jump) started to circulate the internet.  The topic of the documentary: the dark skinned/light skinned color complex within the Black community.  So please engage our guest in the comments below as we explore the Dark Skin/Light Skin debate.


***
I recently watched a viral video that is a preview for a documentary about “Dark Girls.” With the initial viewing I presumed it would be more of the same: “No one is attracted to dark women,” “my life was harder because I’m dark,” “I was taught to hate myself,” etc. While almost all of the themes I assumed would be mentioned were included, at the conclusion of the Nine minute clip I did have to reflect. Yes, indeed, this is more of the same. But why is this a regular conversation within the Black community? Why do we still hate what is authentically Black? 

Who Shouldn't Run for Office

It's Tuesday, for most people it's just another day closer to Friday. For those a little more politically minded Tuesday may most often be associated with "election day." Recently we've seen the election of a Democrat to New York's conservative 26th district; no doubt a referendum on the Ryan budget. In my neck of the woods, in Jacksonville, Florida, a Tuesday election a few weeks ago made history as the city elected it's first Black mayor ever in Alvin Brown. But this Tuesday it's not about a special or historic election. It's about speculating on what could become an historic election and possibly why making history in 2012 could be really bad for the country.

Allow me to explain.

As early as tomorrow, former Democratic golden child John Edwards could be indicted on Federal charges on accusations of misusing campaign money to cover up his love child with Rielle Hunter during his 2008 bid for Presidency. Edwards' fall from grace in the matter of three short years shows just how vicious and volatile the political arena is -- especially when you're doing wrong -- and further underscores how reputation and not issues matter more in the early days of stumping.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gil Scott Heron: A Legend is Gone


Gil Scott Heron, the Godfather of Rap Music as died at age 62. Heron was a social and creative revolutionary, who founded what we commonly refer to as spoken word poetry. He was the original "conscious rapper." He was the embodiment of his own influences such as, Langston Hughes, Malcolm X and Nina Simone. He has been sampled by various rappers such as Common, Mos Def and Brand Nubian and performed regularly until his death on Friday.

I would encourage anyone interested to check out his biography and his music if you aren't familiar, as he was a remarkable musician, definitely ahead of his time. At the height of his popularity music, particularly black music was changing sporadically, and there was no signature form of music that black folks were collectively endorsing. You had the rockers, the doo whoppers, the R&B heads, the disco heads, the jazz and blues junkies, etc. Heron was able to fuse some of these styles together mixed with some spoken word poetry to create something that would be the beginning of a new form of music, now referred to as hip-hop.

Artists like Gil Scott Heron only come along once in a lifetime and they are usually never given the credit they deserve. For those of you that may not know who he was and for those of us who do you will undoubtedly have heard this song.


Music Reviews-Aretha Franklin, Richard & Linda Thompson, Parliament

Aretha Franklin and King Curtis
Live at the Filmore West
Aretha Franklin needs no introduction. Many people have probably heard these songs or heard shortened versions of them. But this release is the full six set four CD recording of the Queen of Soul's three night stand at the Filmore West in San Francisco in 1971. On the third night's performance there were some audio difficulties and studio overdubs had to be done but outside of that this is completely live. King Curtis acts as Aretha's bandleader and also has sets of his own. Famously, Ray Charles drops in to guest on Spirit in the Dark.
I mean no disrespect to any modern singers but Franklin set a standard here that has yet to be reached and certainly not surpassed. If you like soul or gospel, you probably should have these recordings. No doubt to give the new audience some familiar hits, Franklin and Curtis do versions of Eleanor Rigby, Love the One You're With, Signed Sealed Delivered (I'm Yours), Ode to Billy Joe, Whole Lotta Love, and many more as well as songs like You're all I need to get by, Dr. Feelgood, Don't Play that Song. Great stuff and if you don't have this already you're really missing out.


The band included such luminaries as Billy Preston, Cornell Dupree (who just passed away RIP), Bernard Purdie, The Memphis Horns and Jerry Jemmot.
A Whiter Shade of Pale

Bridge over Troubled Water

Memphis Soul Stew

You're All I Need To Get By

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Oprah No More: The End of an Era


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The ladies of The Urban Politico share their reflections after the jump.

Guest Post: Dems Need Not Read Too Deeply Into NY Win

Today's Guest Post comes from a long time reader, first time blogger, Old Guru, who is an attorney in our Nation's Capitol.  His views are populist and central but, by his own admission, can be mavericky at anytime and propose a radical theory.  He's warned us to "Watch out!"  So please engage our guest in the comments below.

***


“Not so fast.” Any Democrat feeling giddy about the victory in New York’s 26th Congressional District on May 26, 2011 should internalize these words. Although the 26th District is solidly Republican – John McCain won the District with 52% of the vote – Dems should not console themselves in the victory with the mistaken belief that the 2012 elections will be the same way. If the Democratic party is to effectively analyze its win in NY’s 26th Congressional District, it must recognize the wild cards that affected the race. Dems need to consider the following wild cards:


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

New Blogger on The Urban Politico



Oyez Oyez Oyez!!!


Yup, we've done it again!  The team of 5 is now the team of 6 as The Urban Politico adds its own financial expert to the roster (which is good to have during these bad economic times), and she goes by the name GrandCentral.

GrandCentral is a first-time blogger coming to us with an Empire State of Mind. Born and raised in Upstate New York, she has an appreciation for the hustle and bustle of Wall Street, but a strong sense of community and advocacy. In 2008, she left her cushy, Investment Banking gig to pursue a career in the non-profit sector and has never looked back.

A first-generation American and transitioning Vegan, you will find her viewpoints sometimes odd, very passionate and at times eclectic. For those of you playing along at home, you've seen that she has dropped a few guest posts for us from time to time under the alias Ms. Chan.  She is a self-proclaimed risk taker and thrives on sporadic life decisions.

Even though her goals of a career in non-profit didn't quite work out, it led her to to an even better path - the road to Law School. She is an aspiring Attorney, currently awaiting an admissions decision to law school. An allie of the the LGBT Community, upon passing the New York State Bar, GrandCentral plans to start her career as a public interest lawyer, delivering liberty and justice to all Americans.

So keep your eye out for a new voice on the blog and be sure to give a warm welcome to our newest team member.

GOP Loses NY's Conservative 26th Congressional District Due to Paul Ryan Budget

Hot off the Press:

Democrats scored an upset in one of New York’s most conservative congressional districts on Tuesday, dealing a blow to the national Republican Party in a race that largely turned on the party’s plan to overhaul Medicare.
The results set off elation among Democrats and soul-searching among Republicans, who questioned whether the party should rethink its commitment to the Medicare plan, which appears to have become a liability as 2012 elections loom.
Two months ago, the Democrat, Kathy Hochul [pictured middle above], was considered an all-but-certain loser. But Ms. Hochul seized on her Republican rival’s embrace of the proposal from Representative Paul Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, to overhaul Medicare, and she never let up.
With 66 percent of the precincts reporting, Ms. Hochul led with 48 percent of the vote, to 43 percent for the Republican candidate, Jane L. Corwin [pictured above left]; [Tea Party candidate Jack Davis (pictured above right) had 9 % of the vote].

QUESTIONS:
Is it premature to draw any lessons from this particular election?
Will the Republicans go back to the drawing board on the Ryan Budget or will they double down on the plan to end Medicare?
Assuming the Republicans continue to endorse the Ryan Budget, will the Democrats take control of the narrative like Hochul?
Will we see more interference for the Republican Party by the Tea Party in 2012?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Trying to Make a Dollar Out of 15 Cents

If something unexpected happened to you today that required you to come up with $2,000 within 30 days could you do it?

If you answered "no" then don't feel bad because you're among the majority of Americans who say that they simply do not have the means to come up with that kind of money within a month's time.    Per the Wall Street Journal:

The survey asked a simple question, “If you were to face a $2,000 unexpected expense in the next month, how would you get the funds you need?” In the U.S., 24.9% of respondents reported being certainly able, 25.1% probably able, 22.2% probably unable and 27.9% certainly unable. The $2,000 figure “reflects the order of magnitude of the cost of an unanticipated major car repair, a large copayment on a medical expense, legal expenses, or a home repair,” the authors write.
For many Americans who are living check to check, it is not difficult to see how an unexpected car repair or medical bill can literally make the difference between making ends meet and not being able to make your monthly rent payment - especially in this economy.   This study tends to confirm the most important yet often unspoken issue facing our country and its elected officials: our proud capitalist society is designed to keep the rich rich and to keep the poor poor.
 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Stop Asking Why Black Women Are Single


It is only right that my first post as an official member of The Urban Politico start where I left off in the comments on the post Is the Black Church Keeping Black Women Single? It was brought to my attention that maybe I went a little too hard in trying to defend black women who’ve been subjected to attacks on their womanhood, singlehood, baby mama-ness, ratio of beauty, and body image over the last few years. But let me explain why.

Thursday night I googled the words “black women” and the first post was the B.S. study from Satoshi Kanazawa on Why Black Women are the Least Attractive out of all other women in the world. The third post on the page was The Nightline special from nearly three years ago asking “Why Are 42% of Black Successful Women Single?” That was Thursday. I checked it again on Saturday and the Nightline post still held the number three spot although the entry on Black women being less attractive moved down to the fifth entry position. Today is Monday and the Nightline special remains in the number three spot -- mind you the special ran in December 2009 -- behind Black Female Interracial Marriage Ezine, and the Black Voices website. Immediately after the Nightline entry is an entry about Black Strippers in Las Vegas. Big Booty, Dime Pieces, Urban Women, and rounding out the top five is a link to a youtube video titled Beautiful Fit Black Women.

Seeing these results maybe now you can understand why I was in attack mode towards Godson. It wasn’t that the issue he raised about the Black church or even non church going Black men contributing to the single condition of Black women weren’t legitimate; it’s just that since 2009 this conversation about “Why Are Black Women Single” has been raging on with no end in sight. Seeing another post asking that exact same question set my black and female soul aflame.


Friends Don't Let Friends Fly Spirit Airlines

We interrupt our normally scheduled political commentary to bring you this special public service announcement.  This past week I attended the wedding of a close friend in the Dominican Republic.  The wedding was beautiful.  The island was beautiful. The people were beautiful.  My flight, on the other hand, was anything but beautiful.  In fact, I had such a horrible experience with this airline that it has become nothing short of my duty to inform all of you of the shenanigans perpetrated by an outfit that fancies itself an airline company.  Two words: Spirit Airlines. Two more words:  Never Again.

Prior to booking my flight to DR, I had never heard of Spirit Airlines.  So as far as I knew they were as reputable as any of the 100's of other airlines around the world that I've never heard of before.  As I've come to find out, they're one of the relatively smaller carriers that provide flights primarily to the Caribbean islands (Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, etc.) as well as to Latin America.

Admittedly, had I performed my due diligence I'm sure that at some point I would have come across the many consumer articles that have lambasted Spirit Airlines for their lousy customer service, one-sided agreements and spur-of-the-moment canceled flights.  But then again, how well do you really know the people who write those kind of reviews?  For all I knew, it could have been the reviewer's first flight anywhere and they decided to complain simply because they had to wait in line.

So for any who are reading this, please know that my complaint against Spirit Airlines is a complaint as an experienced traveler; I've flown to several countries around the world and over half of the states in the U.S.  (33 to be exact but who's counting?)  I have experienced: on-time flights, delayed flights, and cancelled flights; lost luggage, found luggage, and sent-to-a-difference-continent-and-then-returned-to-me luggage; nice pilots, jerk pilots, and just plain overworked and fell asleep at the wheel pilots; happy stewardesses, sad stewardesses, and down right pissed off stewardesses; 1st in line for take off, 10th in line for take off, and "oh you thought this flight was going to leave today?" in line for take off; made connections, missed connections, and "my computer doesn't show that you have a connection" connections; an entire section of seats to myself, had an entire row of seats to myself, and rode bitch between two 200+ pound individuals for 6 hours with two babies crying both in front of me and behind me and a 5 year old kid kicking the back of my seat with impunity from his model parent-of-the-year mother.  So when I say that Spirit Airlines will NEVER get my business ever again even if they were the last airline on Earth, then that should tell you something.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Film Reviews-Harry Brown, Centurion, Dinner for Schmucks, The Killer Inside Me, Supernatural Season One


Harry Brown
One might consider this a British "Death Wish". Michael Caine plays the title character. I recognized some of the other actors/actresses but this is Caine's movie. It could have just as easily been a good movie about the inevitability of death and how we deal with increasing infirmity. I don't know that that movie would have gained the interest this film did.

Brown is a Royal Marines pensioner who lives with his wife in what looks like the UK version of US projects. They call them "estates" or "council estates". Brown's wife dies as the movie opens. Len, Brown's chess/drinking partner and his only living friend, is frightened of the young punks who infest the estate. The police won't help Len. Len comes to Brown for assistance. Len thinks that a Royal Marine who served in Northern Ireland might have some ideas but Brown is numb with grief over his wife’s death and just wants to be left alone. Of course Len meets with a nasty end and the police may not be able to catch and/or convict those who did it. At that point, Brown decides enough is enough and we see that a Retired Bada$$ is still a bada$$. 
Caine looked and acted every minute of his 77 years. The movie was much the better for that. At various times he's dealing with back problems, shock or breathing issues. His enemies are some of the worst and most wicked teens ever depicted on screen. It is rather manipulative filmmaking perhaps but very entertaining.

Friday, May 20, 2011

New Voice on The Urban Politico


Oyez Oyez Oyez!!!

Our staff of four young men at The Urban Politico are pleased to be able to finally announce today that we have, yet again, diversified our portfolio with the addition of a fifth blogger to the family and she goes by the name The Storyteller.

The Storyteller is a news producer currently living in Jacksonville, Florida but hails from the South Side of Chicago.  And if you've seen her guest posts on the blog from time to time then you know that she has a unique perspective as a member of the media.

Before blogging she spent her time questioning the current President in daily letters. When that one on one dialogue ended she decided to open up the discussion to the world, and what better place to do that than at The Urban Politico. 

You can expect The Storyteller to offer a feminine voice and a news perspective on political, social, or absolutely random issues. You could say her blog persona is Janet Jackson circa 1989 - 1998.

So please show your love and give a warm welcome to our newest blogger and keep an eye out over the days and weeks to come for a new voice on The Urban Politico.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Supreme Court: Cops Can Come in Your House if they Smell Weed

The home is one of the most cherished places in our society.  Accordingly, it is one of the most legally protected places you can be.  So much, in fact, that the Founding Fathers wrote it into the 4th Amendment, which states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.  (emphasis supplied)

What this means is that as an American, you have the right to remain secure inside your house against any unwanted local, state or federal government intrusion.  The police can knock on your door and ask to come in, but if they don't have a warrant then you have a Constitutional right to say "No" and simply close the door in their face.  Many people are under the mistaken impression that you must allow the police to come into your house whenever they ask, but, thanks to the 4th Amendment, this is not true. And because it is the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution, that means it is the universal law throughout all 50 states.

Of course, no American law would be complete with a short list of exceptions.  Before we look at the exceptions to the 4th Amendment, it bears repeating that the general rule is that the police (aka the government) cannot come into your house without a warrant.  That is the law.  However, as mentioned, there are a few exceptions that have been recognized by the Supreme Court:

Cornel West v. Obama

Once again the political conflict among the Black Community has come to a head over whether President Obama has done "enough" for Blacks or the poor in America.  Anybody who has read this blog for a while knows that we have blogged on this topic time and time again.  So this isn't the first time we've had this discussion about whether President Obama is doing "enough" for the Black or Poor Communities, and we're quite certain it will not be the last.  This time the debate has been sparked by comments that the legendary Princeton professor Cornel West has leveled against President Obama.

According to Professor West, the betrayal of Obama is three-fold; (1) on a personal level and (2) on a racial level, and (3) on a politcal/ideological level.  Per Truthdig.com:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Donald Trump calls it quits

As you have probably heard by now, our country's most famous importer of Eastern European wives vulgarian has decided not to run for President. Of course he had to make this announcement all about how wonderful he is and how unfortunate we all are that he won't be running.

After considerable deliberation and reflection, I have decided not to pursue the office of the Presidency. This decision does not come easily or without regret; especially when my potential candidacy continues to be validated by ranking at the top of the Republican contenders in polls across the country. I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election. I have spent the past several months unofficially campaigning and recognize that running for public office cannot be done half heartedly. Ultimately, however, business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector.
Yeah, right whatever, Donald. Far be it from me to disagree with such an obviously talented real estate mogul. But no he wouldn't win if he officially entered the race. The guy was tied for fifth place in a currently lackluster field of Republican candidates. I never thought he would run because of the financial disclosure requirements and what looks like a pretty thin skin as far as criticism goes.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Is the Black Church Keeping Black Women Single?



As a reasonably well traveled individual and student of my race, it is my observation that overall black folks are an extremely spiritual people, always keeping at the forefront of our minds the spiritual foundation upon which our infant culture was built. The African American experience involved a gradual, deep rooted bond with what is today known as the black church. During times of great distress, during the darkest moments in our fight for equality the black church was the glue that kept us in place, together. It was where we obtained our community information, education, spiritual guidance and in many cases kept us peaceful, when violent revolt was imminent. Of course that was not always successful. It is no secret that Sunday in America is the most segregated day there is in this country and it is where discussions of race over the pulpit is expected and embraced. It is no surprise, that even the President himself came under scrutiny during the 2008 campaign because of the way the country viewed the church he attended and the Pastor he sat under. 

A persons religious affiliation and spiritual leadership is what defines the individual in many important ways. It holds them to a particular standard, creates specific expectations and in most cases invokes stereotypes. It is the foundation by which many of us live our lives and affects the decisions we make from the extremely minuscule to the infinitely pressing. Just look at how Islam and the Vatican have altered the course of world affairs in amazing ways. It is no surprise that the black church influences marriages, career moves and of course individual conduct and overall morals.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Book Reviews-47th Street Black, The Blade Itself, Armed America, The Scourge of God

47th Street Black
by Bayo Ojikutu
This was a debut novel that I impulsively purchased and read. It won the Washington Prize for Fiction and the Great American Book Contest. I see why it got some acclaim, though in truth it left me wanting a little more. It is a crime novel but it's just as much if not more a literary novel with all the baggage that word implies. It's very quiet and extremely well written but lacks a little emotion in my opinion.

Ojikutu tells the story of two black teens, J.C and Mookie, small time hustlers and would be criminals in 1960's era Chicago. They discover the tortured corpse of the local black crime boss who was not only stupid enough to have had an affair with a Mafia hoodlum's very blonde and very white girlfriend, but also stole money from the gangster as well. Seeing an opportunity to take his place, J.C. and Mookie decide that this is their chance to make the big time. They wheedle/bluff their way into working for the Chicago Outfit.
As time passes they both figuratively and literally get their hands dirty as Mob associates. With social changes the black criminal underworld becomes more assertive and powerful. Mookie and J.C are in an excellent position to play the Outfit and its black subsidiaries against each other for their own benefit. Everything seems to be going well until J.C., by far the more violent of the two, is convicted of a murder that the two men did together and sent to prison for a decade and a half. Mookie rises in power dramatically while J.C. is behind bars. This sets up some unpleasantness upon J.C.'s release.

Although the setting is criminal, this story investigates almost everything except organized crime. Well maybe that's an overstatement but in truth this book is just as much about race relations, male friendships, whether age makes you wiser or just more bitter, missed opportunities, the exploitative nature of capitalism,  the nature of life and death, the pointlessness of revenge, and how to be a man as it is about organized crime. Good stuff and much deeper than I expected.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Still No RIP for Gary Coleman


Nearly one year after the tragic death of Gary Coleman, the actor's remains have still not been buried or cremated, according to his former manager. Apparently burial plans have been put on hold because of a legal battle between Coleman's parents and his estranged wife.

As we all remember Coleman died on May 28th of last year from a brain hemmorage and since then, as his manager, Vic Perillo stated his image and legacy have been riddled with information focusing on the negative aspects of his life and career.

"This was not the proper and dignified manner to show respect for the magnificent talent the world TV and film audience knew in Gary Coleman," Perillo said, according to WENN.com. "This was not the send-off he deserved."

I tend to agree with Mr. Perillo. Too many times when a talent like Gary Coleman is taken from us, we forget the wonderful accomplishments a man like him had made, despite overwhelmingly disproportionate odds. As a child of the 80's I remember movies like "On the Right Track" and "The Kid With the 200 IQ" and of course Different Strokes. Gary Coleman was a talented and adorable kid. He did what many aspire to, but few have been unable to accomplish and for that he deserves our respect and a proper burial/tribute. No doubt the man was as far from perfect as they come but aren't we all? Don't we all at the end of the day require little beyond the love of family members and other loved ones? Coleman's parents should be ashamed that they are so obsessed with the love of money, they exploited there own son his entire life and so far even in his death.

But I digress.

Why not take a few moments to remember the talented kid, that coined the simple, but hilarious phrase, "whatchutalkinbout?" His combed in afro part was the inspiration behind my most embarrassing childhood portraits. Despite is controversial, some may say troubled life, Coleman gave us gifts that we will enjoy for many years to come and deserved the kind of proper closer that comes with being a human being. We hope that you will enjoy this short tribute to our fallen brother and remember that deep down, in our own self-righteousness are the same contradictions we enjoy everyday, without the limelight following us, judging us and scrutinizing our every move.

RIP Gary Coleman
From The Urban Politico


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Invitation: Is the Right Wing Using Common Sense?

Imma use self control instead of birth control 'cause 315 dollars ain't worth your soul...

Sounds like part of a "life story" speech you would hear at a 'Pro-Life' Tea Party rally huh?  Nope, it is from a song called Retrospective for Life by Common, who the right wing, and their most recent faux outrage, would have you believe is a "vile," "cop killing," "radical extremist," "gangsta rapper!" 

Common, a socially conscious, Chi-town rapper/actor, was invited to the White House to participate in their annual poetry nights.  Normally this is a non-issue.  However, this year, the right wing spin machine decided to turn Common into a "gangster" and this non-issue into a full blown controversy.  Complete with dedicated time on both Hannity's and O'Rielly's show, right wing radio, and of course, a tweet from Sarah Palin - because no right wing conspiracy is complete without a tweet from Sarah Palin. 

What did Common do to draw the ire of the right wing?

Guest Post: So You Want to Work in News

Today's Guest Post once again comes to us from our friend in News Media, The Storyteller, who has chosen to share with us her first-person perspective of being a part of the Media.  So please engage our guest in the comments below.

***
Welcome to the newsroom where everyone has an opinion, everyone thinks they’re right, and under the bus is a place you should get comfortable being thrown. Welcome to the newsroom where there are people who just want to be on TV, people who only want to tell good stories, people that only care about accuracy, people that only want to be recognized as local celebrities, people that pull the strings behind the faces you see, and people who do all of the above because they really care. Welcome to the newsroom.
I’ve been out of college for three years. I initially wanted to be a reporter, but I remember my teacher who was the anchor/Executive Producer (and is now the News Director) at the local CBS affiliate in Tallahassee said it’s easier to get a job as a producer than it is as a reporter. I applied for both types of jobs and the first one I got was as a producer. I’ve been producing ever since. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Impossibility of Black Achievement

Back when I was applying to law school I used to be a regular on some of the chat sites where other newly admitted law students would go and talk with each other about the admissions process, which schools they were going to, and all of that jazz.  At some point during these many discussions, I'll never forget that there was this one young lady who had received a 171 on the LSAT (out of a possible 180), was accepted at Columbia, Harvard, NYU, Georgetown and several other top ranked law schools, and was constantly admired for the sound advice she gave to other first-year hopefuls based on her own experiences.  And then it happened.  One day it came out that this particular commentator was Black.  All of a sudden the attitudes towards her achievements changed overnight.  Her acceptances were either completely attributed to affirmative action or disbelieved altogether.  Her LSAT score was immediately called into question.  One individual even went so far as to create an entire post dedicated to disproving that anybody who "spoke" like she did could not possibly have earned a 171 on the LSAT because, according to this individual, people who score that high do not talk as informally as she did.  In other words, no Black person is capable of such a feat.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Film Reviews-The Fighter, I Spit on Your Grave, A Shock to the System


The Fighter
This is a good biopic of Lowell MA based welterweight boxer Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his boisterously dysfunctional and occasionally violent family. Micky's mother (and manager) Alice (Melissa Leo), a chain smoking tough lady, presides over this group.
Alice evidently prefers her older son, Dickie Eklund (Christian Bale) to Micky. Dickie is a washed up former boxer who for years has boasted to anyone within earshot of once knocking down Sugar Ray Leonard. Dickie, when he is not busy smoking crack or hanging with streetwalkers, is his half-brother's trainer and mentor. George Ward (Jack McGee), Micky's father, runs a roofing/road repair business and tries to avoid setting off his wife's quick temper. Ward's half-sisters, a coven of loud mouthed hard-bitten bleached blondes, often instigate and support their mother's tantrums and guilt trips. 
Wahlberg portrays a passive, almost gentle, Ward. He's got a huge heart inside the ring but not elsewhere. He knows that his career is offtrack. He's getting the wrong fights for low pay and losing too many of them. Enter Charlene (Amy Adams), a woman whose barfly demeanor, prickly attitude and revealing attire mask a sharp intelligence. Charlene is not a woman to back down from anyone, including Micky's fierce female relatives.

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Word on Interviewing Etiquette

Even before she became the first Black female Secretary of State, I've always had a level of respect for Condoleezza Rice.  Not because I agree with anything she says - in fact, just so we're clear, I vehemently disagree with just about everything she says, her conservative ideology, her decision to serve under the Bush Administration, and her entire premise for being a Black Republican in the first place (she was motivated to became a Republican because Dixiecrats in the South - which constituted a minor % of the Democratic party up until the 1960's - openly discrimintaed against Black people).  Nevertheless, my aforementioned issues notwithstanding, I must admit that I still maintain a great level of resepect for Ms. Rice's many professional and academic achievements and, above all else, I respect how she carries herself.  And last night, while sitting down for an interview with MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, she did not disappoint in that regard. 

Rice did not allow O'Donnell to talk over her and she respectfully yet firmly set the tone early on by telling him that if his intention was to continue cutting her off and talking over her throughtout the interview that they could simply "end the interview right now if you don't want me to finish my point."  At one point O'Donnell reverted back to cutting her off and she again firmly yet respectfully reminded him of his inappropriateness by saying "Lawrence, we can either do this with your words or with mine."  I can appreciate that.  In this highly overcharged, highly partisan 24/7 news media where respect for our elected officials is a mere afterthought for most media figures, it was refreshing to see a former Secretary of State command the respect that is due to anybody who has served our country in that position.  In fact, I submit that more elected officials need to take a page from Rice's book on interview etiquette.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Guest Post: Will the South Ever Catch a Break?

Today's guest post comes from a fellow blogger by the name of The Storyteller.  She originally hails from Chicago and is currently a news producer at an NBC/ABC affiliate in the sunshine state of Florida.  So please engage our guest in the comments as we discuss the natural disaster in Alabama and the South.

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Yesterday marked one week since the worst tornadoes in 40 years swept through the South leaving trails of destruction, hundreds of people dead, hundreds more injured, and some already struggling communities more desperate and destitute than they were before. The killer tornadoes continue a long line of natural and manmade disasters that have devastated the South in recent years and have left entire states and industries broken, ravaged, and destroyed.

Last week’s tornadoes received top news billing for all of two days, Wednesday night as they happened and Thursday morning in the aftermath, until the world focused in on a wedding a continent away and then the killing of the Most Wanted Terrorist in the world. With the destruction of the South put on the back burner yet again it seems to me the states affected will never receive the attention due to help people reclaim their lives and livelihoods. With the destruction of the South put on the back burner yet again, I have to wonder, “In America is the South seen as some sort of second rate place that doesn’t deserve the time and attention of its northern half?”

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

To Release or Not To Release, That is the Question

In the wake of Osama bin Laden's death, a debate has emerged regarding whether the United States should release the photos of bin Laden.  After several days of deliberation, President Obama has decided not to release the photos of bin Laden's corpse to the public.  When speaking with CBS's 60 Minutes, he provided the following explanation:

"I think that given the graphic nature of these photos, it would create some national security risk.  It is important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence. As a propaganda tool.  There's no doubt that Bin Laden is dead.  And so we don't think that a photograph in and of itself is going to make any difference. There are going be some folks who deny it. The fact of the matter is, you will not see bin Laden walking on this earth again."

Personally, I'm conflicted on this issue and could really see it going either way, so I came up with a list of reasons on why the photos should be released and the corresponding reasons why they shouldn't be released.  My list after the jump:

Good and Evil in Art


Let's go beyond that. Let's include all human creativity-music, writing, film, sculpture, painting, dance-everything. I am no hip-hop devotee. I can't discuss rap's current state. Rap music gets blamed for many issues: out of wedlock births, tattoos, "rape culture", acceptance of public profanity, etc.
But rap isn't the first art form to be condemned for vulgarity or anti-social behavior. The people who gleefully sang "I love to play the piano so baby let me bang your box" or "Big Ten Inch" or "That big long sliding thing" weren't rappers. What do people think of "bad thoughts/actions" in other art forms?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Guest Post: - The Most Gutsiest President

Today's guest post comes to us from fellow blogger, political commentator and avid tweeter, Ms. Chan.  So please engage our guest in the comments below.

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"One of the most gutsiest calls of any president in recent memory." This was John Brennan, Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and Assistant to the President, describing President Obama's decision to launch the raid which resulted in the capture and death of Osama Bin Laden.

I want to rewind to the evening of November 4, 2008; President Obama used a line in his acceptance speech which represented the events of the evening and its certainly applicable today. 

"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.” 

For all the people on both sides of the political spectrum who doubted the strength of this President or questioned his leadership or courage; May 1, 2011 was your answer. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama bin Laden Killed by U.S. Military; Obama: Justice Has Been Done

Osama bin Laden is Dead.

Late last night, nearly 10 years after the events of 9/11, President Obama addressed the nation to announce those five words to a shocked yet jubilant American public that finally received the justice that we've all been waiting for since that horrific day.  Upon receiving actionable intelligence as to the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, President Obama ordered U.S. military forces to move in on bin Laden in a compound in Pakistan and take him out.  U.S. special forces entered the compound and engaged in a fire fight with bin Laden and his allies that culminated in the death of Osama bin Laden who was fatally shot in the head.  Not a single U.S. military member was harmed during the attack, which speaks volumes to the skill and expertise of our military forces.  The special forces unit then took the body of Osama bin Laden into custody and confirmed that it was, in fact, Osama bin Laden who had been killed.

With all of the distractions that have occupied the media's attention recently, one can't help but become painfully aware of just how embarrassing the juxtaposition of today's news truly is when compared to those side show antics.  Here is a President who just days ago had to address baseless rumors about his citizenship, take it on the chin and joke about it at a correspondents' dinner, all the while knowing in the back of his mind that he was about to bring the world's most wanted criminal mastermind to justice.  Perhaps he's a better poker player than we thought.




Questions:
1. What is your reaction to this news?
2. Did you believe we would ever find Osama bin Laden prior to this day?
3. Will this finally return the sense of unity to this country that was felt on 9/11?
4. Do Obama's critics finally have to give him his due credit on National Security?
5. Will the GOP dare to attempt to spin this achievement in a negative light?
6. How does this impact the 2012 election?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Obama goes IN on Trump @ White House Correspondents' Dinner

In case you missed it, Obama basically went IN on Trump and the entire birther movement at the annual White House Correspondents' dinner.

Donald Trump is here tonight. Now, I know that he's taken some flak lately, but no one is prouder to put this birth certificate to rest than The Donald. Now he can get to focusing on the issues that matter. Like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened at Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?

Check out more after the jump: