Sunday, September 30, 2012

Join Us for Our Weekly Radio Hour on "That's What's UP"






Join us today at 5PM (Eastern) for our weekly radio hour on "That's What's UP."  On this week's show we will discuss the upcoming October 3rd Presidential Debate and the state of the presidential election, the upcoming Affirmative Action case Fisher v. University of Texas, and record low SAT scores for the High School class of 2012.


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Movie Reviews-The Cabin In The Woods, Beowulf, Blue Collar, Secretary

The Cabin in the Woods
directed by Drew Goddard and written by Joss Whedon
This horror movie was an intelligent update on the whole "college kids go into the woods, have sex and get stalked by incestuous cannibals" or "geeky loser who everyone thought was dead is out for bloody revenge" or "undead entity brought back to life by someone who does something incredibly stupid" type of film genres.

It's the equivalent of a really smart person slumming in a GED class. One minute the person is pretending to be dumb and the next minute they're giving you detailed explanations of Maxwell's Equations, the Copenhagen Interpretation and superconductivity, right before they remember they're supposed to be dumb. You might say what was that and they're like who me, I'm just a dummy.

Of course if you really really don't like horror films regardless of their twists or differences then yeah, this movie won't be pretending to be dumb, it really will be dumb. So different strokes for different folks. If that is you I salute you but think you're missing out. This film is similar to Tucker and Dale... in that it messes with your initial expectations.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Free Speech, Mona Eltahawy, Pamela Geller and Censorship

As we've discussed before there are people who make money, get media attention, and have fun baiting Arabs and Muslims with speech that is either deliberately insulting or could be inferred to be insulting. This is wrong BUT it is something which they have every right to do. There are plenty of things to be critical of in the Arab or Muslim world. Some critics want to see a form of modernity and rationality emerge in some areas to improve people's lives. Other critics just like irritating people. And thin-skinned people of any creed are usually irresistible targets for trolls, whether it be online or elsewhere. If I know that you're going to go berserk every time I say the word "Rosebud" I just might, were I so inclined, amuse myself by saying that word and watching the world burn.

Sometimes though, criticism originates from a place of hatred and racial/religious superiority rather than love, from a place of contempt rather than attempted understanding. The criticism may be stated in blunt ugly antagonistic terms. This is usually the case with the noted conservative racist birther blogger Pamela Geller, who has built her career in part by saying nasty things about Muslims, Arabs and occasionally blacks or President Obama as well. Evidently, Geller has paid for ads to run in NYC (and other) subway systems which read "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad"

Obviously I don't agree with the ad's implication that anyone who is opposed to the current Israeli government's policies is a "savage" or in support of jihad. And it is ironic beyond words that Geller, who was vehemently opposed to Muslim Americans building a mosque in New York City that she felt was "too close" to ground zero, and sought to limit other people's property rights and rights to practice their religion has wrapped herself in the same First Amendment that she seeks to ban for others.

Samuel Jackson "Wake the F*@# Up" Political Ad

Disclaimer: this is not an official endorsement of Obama by the Urban Politico; this ad is just too hilarious not to share.  Samuel Jackson fans, enjoy:


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Daily Show Takes on NFL Labor Dispute re Botched Call @ Green Bay Packers Game

Despite all of the things we disagree on as Americans there is one thing that we can all agree on: we never ever ever ever do anything that would jeopardize the sanctity of Football.  Granted, some of you may not be fans of the NFL but even if you're not there's almost no way you can grow up in America and at least not attend one football game at somewhere throughout your respective lives.  At any rate, there was a crazy call this past weekend during the Green Bay Packers/Seattle Seahawks game that has caused quite a stir.  For more on this, we go to the pro's over at the Daily Show:
 

Your thoughts on the Union Refs?
Your thoughts on what happened in the Green Bay/Seattle game?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Heritage not Hate Dodge


South East Michigan has many people (both black and white) who have parents, grandparents or great grandparents that came from the South. This was because of the 20th century automotive industrial boom. So many Southerners migrated here that certain Detroit suburbs or neighborhoods got the pejorative suffix "tucky" as in "Kentucky". The southern (white) migrants also brought a virulent racism which would be a causal element for riots in 1943 and 1967, not that Michigan was a sauna of racial tolerance before they arrived. I haven't been down South in a while but I always thought it was odd that I've seen more Confederate Battle flags in Michigan than I ever did down South. Usually that flag is attached to a pickup truck bumper or displayed in a gun shop or military surplus goods store.

My earliest memory of the city where I now work was two white men in a pickup truck with a Confederate Battle flag attached, slowing down to spit and hurl racial slurs at my then babysitter as she drove me and another child home. Such brave men, yes? So I usually associate that flag with racial hatred, white supremacy and above all, losing. The South lost the Civil War. I'm glad they lost because that meant that my great-great-great-grandfathers/mothers no longer had to live in slavery. So this was an unambiguously good thing as far as I was concerned.
Not everyone feels that way.
Some think that slavery was a good thing or at the very least not all that bad and black people should stop whining talking about it and find the positives. Others will, at least in public, not defend slavery or white supremacy but nonetheless will try to find some good things about the antebellum South and connect this to a pride in (white) Southern heritage. One such person would be Gary Rossington, famed guitarist of the reconstituted Southern Rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Boy Fights To Stay On High School Girls Volleyball Team

I saw this local story in New York last evening and figured I would share with you. 

From CBS News New York: 

Jensen Daniel loves volleyball, but there is no boys team at Yonkers High School. So last year the girls team invited him to join them, CBS 2′s Lou Young reported, and he got the dispensation to play. This year, the state is changing its mind – ordering the 17-year-old sidelined from the game because they say he is too strong. 


Monday, September 24, 2012

Did the Romney Campaign Misjudge the Electorate?


*hat tip to Fed_Up for posing this idea on Sunday's episode of "That's What's Up" - The Urban Politico Radio Hour.

It's been an interesting week in politics. We are approaching the final stretch of the election. The first Presidential Debate will take place on October 3rd in Denver, Colorado and will focus on domestic policy, and two more Presidential Debates and one Vice Presidential Debate will take place prior to our November 6th election. We have two clearly defined candidates seeking our vote. One guy has told us that he is not concerned about 47% of the nation because they support his opponent, and we have the incumbent who tells us that he cares for all Americans and is willing to govern in the best interest of all. That's nice of the incumbent to say he cares, but according to the news cycle and various talking heads - he should be toast. Mitt Romney should be sitting in his yacht on cruise control deciding which designers will decorate the White House when he and Ann move in. Plain simple english - Mitt Romney should be kicking President Obama's ass! So why is Romney struggling?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

That's What's UP - The Urban Politico Radio Hour (LIVE NOW)






Join us for our weekly radio hour on "That's What's UP."  On this week's show we will discuss the Voter Suppression and Romney's Candidacy for President as it stands.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Music Reviews-Bo Diddley, Alicia Svigals, 100 Proof(Aged in Soul), Sweet Honey In The Rock

Bo Diddley
Along with fellow Chess Records label mate Chuck Berry, and men like Ike Turner, Louis Jordan, Little Richard and Fats Domino, Bo Diddley could (and often did) make a claim to be a Founding Father of Rock-n-Roll. His music was slightly different than Chuck Berry's. Both men were influenced by previous jazz, blues and R&B musicians but whereas Chuck Berry added a little more country and jump blues to his music, Bo Diddley's works, much like John Lee Hooker's, provided an obvious link back to Africa through his more open use of clave. I understand clave as a 3-2 call and response pattern. Clave is of course found all over the music of the African Diaspora from people as seemingly disparate as Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Mongo Santamaria, Fela Kuti, James Brown, Chuck Berry, Bobby Bland, Duke Ellington and many others but in the US is most closely associated with music from the Caribbean: especially Afro-Cuban compositions. The simplified popular version of clave often can be expressed by the "shave-and-a-haircut-two-bits" rhythm but it can get much more complicated than that. I am neither a musician nor a musicologist so I'll just stop there and just say clave is an important element of African and Diasporic music.

Diddley played up this seemingly exotic sound by having a maracas player (Jerome Green) take a prominent role both in studio and on stage. Many Bo Diddley songs didn't change chords. This was similar to people like John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters and Howlin Wolf. But Diddley was playing faster than they were with more "drive" for lack of a better word. He tended to use straight eighth rhythms instead of triplets. He once claimed he couldn't really play blues.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Father Daughter Dances: Gender Discrimination??

I am for the most part on the progressive side of the spectrum. But there are a few places, often involving what are referred to as "social" issues, where I am not. In fact there are some areas where I think self-styled progressives are full of it. This story out of Rhode Island is one such instance.

Father-daughter dances and mother-son ballgames -- those cherished hallmarks of Americana -- have been banned in a Rhode Island school district after they were targeted by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU, the self-proclaimed guardian of the nation's liberty, says such events violate the state's gender-discrimination law. The organization challenged their existence following a complaint from a single mom who said her daughter was prevented from attending a father-daughter dance in the Cranston Public Schools district.
The story has created a furor both online as well as in Cranston, a community located south of Providence and considered one of the safest places in America.
"[Parent-teacher organizations] remain free to hold family dances and other events, but the time has long since passed for public school resources to encourage stereotyping from the days of Ozzie and Harriet. Not every girl today is interested in growing up to be Cinderella -- not even in Cranston. In fact, one of them might make a great major league baseball player someday.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Urban Beat: PA Supreme Court Remands Voter ID Case, Chicago Teacher's Union Ends Strike, AG Eric Holder Cleared on Fast & Furious


Meanwhile, outside of the 2012 Presidential election...

PENNSYLVANIA SUPREME COURT RULES ON VOTER ID CASE:
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court cast doubt Tuesday on whether that state can enforce its new photo ID law for the November election, as it told a trial judge to take a skeptical look at whether registered voters will be denied the right to cast a ballot.
The judge must assure "there will be no voter disenfranchisement arising out of the ID requirement," the state justices said.
The 4-2 decision is a tentative victory for voting rights advocates who have asserted the new requirement will keep tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians from voting this year.The two dissenting justices said they would have gone further and struck down the law immediately.

- L.A. Times 

CHICAGO TEACHER'S UNION STRIKE ENDS - KIDS GO BACK TO SCHOOL

Chicago Public Schools teachers returned to their classrooms Wednesday with pay raises on the horizon after a seven-day strike, but details on how the cash-strapped district would pay for them remained scarce.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he would not rule out a property tax increase to pay for the double-digit raises laid out in a tentative agreement with the Chicago Teachers Union, but he chose to focus on unidentified cost-saving measures that he said would pay for the deal.
- Chicago Tribune
ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER IS EXONERATED IN FAST & FURIOUS SCANDAL

A long-awaited report on the U.S. government’s controversial gun-trafficking operation known as “Fast and Furious” released Wednesday found no evidence that Attorney General Eric Holder knew of the botched effort to trace the flow of guns to Mexico’s drug cartels prior to its public unraveling in January 2011. 
The report by the Justice Department’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz said there is "no evidence that ... Holder was informed about Operation Fast and Furious, or learned about the tactics employed by ATF in the investigation" before Congress began pressing him for information about it in early 2011.
- NBC News

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Recession - How Did We Get Here?

*hat tip to Molly for asking this question*

I find the nature of the economy and the dynamics of the free market fascinating.  Perhaps one of the most interesting parts about the financial world is that once you look beyond the arithmetic of dollars and cents, our economy actually has a HUGE psychological component.  Confidence can quite literally cause markets to climb, while panic can cause markets to fall.  Another very interesting aspect about our economy -- and about people in general -- is that we can't seem to help ourselves when it comes to greed; in order to get that extra buck we will consistently keep putting our collective hands back on the stove even though we know that it's hot.  About a year ago I wrote a piece about the historic nature of this greed phenominon (which actually goes all the way back to the first big market crash in the 1600's) and how human beings can't seem to escape the cycle of repeating history when it comes to deregulating the free market.  Against this backdrop, the events which ultimately led to our current recession should come as no surprise.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mitt Romney Secret "Victims" Video Blows Up

In our recent radio show we raised the issue of why, with voters faced with massive income declines and stubbornly high unemployment, Mitt Romney has so far been unable to surpass President Obama's poll numbers. Not only is Romney staying ever so slightly behind President Obama but recent swing state polling data would seem to indicate that Romney might even be headed for an electoral college beatdown were the election to be held today.

Of course the election is not going to be held today but in November after the presidential and vice presidential debates and one more jobs report. So although Mitt Romney hasn't made tingles run up the legs of likely American voters the night isn't over and Mitt still might get lucky. This is despite the fact that some conservatives and Republicans are essentially edging away from him BEFORE the election while some normally Republican voters who hate President Obama are nonetheless resigned to voting for the President instead of Mitt Romney.

Sheryl Harris, a voluble 52-year-old with a Virginia drawl, voted twice for George W. Bush. Raised Baptist, she is convinced -- despite all evidence to the contrary -- that President Barack Obama, a practicing Christian, is Muslim.
So in this year's presidential election, will she support Mitt Romney? Not a chance.
"Romney's going to help the upper class," said Harris, who earns $28,000 a year as activities director of a Lynchburg senior center. "He doesn't know everyday people, except maybe the person who cleans his house."

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ben Bernanke: Fed Launches New QE3 Plan to Buy Mortgage Bonds and Stimulate Economy

How the economy has reacted each time the Fed announces a new QE effort
Ben Bernanke announced Friday that the Fed, beginning this month, is going to buy $40 Billion worth of mortgage bonds each month until the job market improves substantially.  This is the "QE3" program, which is short for "Quantitative Easing."  The number "3" comes from the fact that this is the third round of Quantitative Easing by the Fed.  (see pic above)

All of the articles out there on this topic assume that you received an MBA from Harvard School of Business, so we're going to break down how the Fed works and how buying mortgage bonds (ie. "mortgage-backed securities") can lower interest rates for home buyers and affect the overall economy.  So the goal of this post is to give you, the reader, all of the facts on this latest move by the Fed and then to let you make the call as to whether it is a good idea or not.

That's What's Up - The Urban Politico Radio Hour






Join us for our weekly radio hour on "That's What's UP."  On this week's show we will discuss the recent deaths of American Diplomats in Libya.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Movie Reviews-Breaking Bad (Season Four), Which Way is Up, Battleship

Breaking Bad (Season Four)
Growing up I played Dungeons and Dragons. D&D had a system to describe your character's morals, ethics and general world view. This was called alignment. It's hopelessly inadequate to describe real world people since we're mixes of good and evil. We're simultaneously fierce individualists and herd animals. But nonetheless alignment made the game work and was useful in describing fictional motivations. Good is mostly defined by caring about and trying not to hurt other people. Evil is usually either caring solely about yourself and/or being indifferent to or even enjoying the suffering of others. Of course there were other extremes of worldview besides good and evil.  A lawful person often sees the utility in externally imposed standards of conduct and group cohesion while a chaotic person sees no benefit to living by other people's rules, following laws or allowing other people to impose their will on him. And neutral positions can be found between both good and evil and law and chaos. Some people are just trying to live their lives and don't make special efforts to help or hurt people. Others have ethics and values that vary depending on the situation. So you could be good, neutral or evil and also lawful, neutral or chaotic, for a total of nine different alignments. 
There were three major different types of evil. Some evil people are capricious, won't keep promises, go out of their way to hurt people, don't like joining groups and break laws and violate mores just because. Imagine the Joker or your average street thug. Other evil people are methodical. They prefer organizations and enjoy defined hierarchies. They stay within the law (or at least their law) when possible, though they twist it to their own benefit every chance they get. They often have a perverse or malicious sense of honor, order and loyalty. Imagine Vito Corleone or Darth Vader or a corrupt police officer or judge. And finally there are those evil people that lack a strong philosophical connection to either groups and law or radical individualism; their primary motivation is selfishness. They can only be counted upon to do whatever is best for them. They couldn't care less who gets it in the neck. This is Neutral Evil. This is Walter White. In Season Four of Breaking Bad, Walter White's moral decline is complete. He's an evil SOB. Walter is neither cartoonishly evil nor is he an antihero. Walter simply lacks human feeling for anyone outside of his immediate family. 


Friday, September 14, 2012

Are You And Your Partner A Good Match Or Are You Settling?



By Kim Hodges

I was determined to get to this wedding. There was something in me that really wanted to celebrate the loving union of my friend from childhood, Rebecca, and her husband she had met while was studying abroad in Spain, Miguel.  Rebecca and I were close friends in middle school, together, we were cheerleaders in high school. We rode the same bus to school and, too often, I would get on the bus to see that she and I were wearing the same shirt.  "Kim! Stop calling my mom in the mornings to see what I'm wearing." "Rebecca!  Stop going to the mall and buying the clothes that you’ve seen me in!"

After my move back to Philadelphia from Los Angeles, it wasn’t long before I reconnected with Rebecca.  Over the years we had lost touch, but as soon as I saw her again it was as if we had never left each other after high school.  She still had the same vibrant firecracker personality I remembered from when we were younger, but there was something else to her now.  She had always been hilarious, always fun and great to be around, but, Rebecca seemed more kind, more compassionate and more loving.  She told me, it was her future husband who helped her to become a better version of herself.  It wasn’t just that she was in love. She was living from the field of love and it showed in her glow.

Federal Judge in NYC Blocks Obama's Indefinite Detention Law (NDAA)


What?  Obama has an indefinite detention law?  Word?  Yes, word.  Bet you didn't know that, did you?  We wrote about it HERE in case you missed it.  To give you a brief recap, the indefinite detention law's official title is the National Defense Authorization Act, or the "NDAA" for short.  So what does (or did) the NDAA do exactly?  Well, before this week's recent decision from Federal Judge Katherine B. Forrest in the case Hedges v. Obama, the NDAA primarily did 3 things:
  1. The NDAA Codified into law the indefinite detention practices started under the Bush Administration
  2. The NDAA did not exclude American citizens from indefinite detention
  3. The NDAA expanded the scope of the 2001 terrorism law passed by Congress

Now most Americans don't have a problem with laws that allow for the indefinite detention of terrorists because most Americans assume that such laws don't apply to them.  After all, we're Americans right?  That means we have rights, doesn't it?  Well, that used to be true but as you can see, item #2 above throws that theory out the window.  The NDAA does not care if you are born in Kuwait or born in Kansas; either way you can be detained indefinitely without a lawyer and without trial.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Violence in Egypt and Libya: Free Speech and Muslims

I woke up yesterday to news that American embassies in Libya and Egypt had been stormed. In Libya, the American ambassador and at least three other Americans had been killed. Wow. What could have caused this? Were we at war? What set it off? Did we need to put our button men on the street?

I was not surprised to learn that this unbelievably awful film, allegedly by a right-wing American-Israeli filmmaker that no one seems to have heard of, had somehow popped up on some people's radar screens. There is a large mostly American and European neo-conservative cottage industry of print and visual media that likes to sell the idea of a clash of civilizations between the Judeo-Christian West and the Islamic East. In this view Muslims are irretrievably backwards, violent, women-hating, cousin-banging religious nuts who can't process that it's no longer the 7th century. Of course from this mindset it is essential that we stand with the State of Israel and support them in their desperate attempt to steal the rest of Palestine for Jewish only settlement struggle against these fanatics. It is also rather important for these ideologues to emphasize the vile, violent, expansionary and reactionary aspects of Islam while glossing over the fact that historically, European Christians weren't exactly known for tolerance of Jews.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, Represent Unfortunate Shift In Hip-Hop Values



Super rapper Jay-Z and his recent comments regarding the Occupy movement are a great example of the unfortunate shift within the Hip-Hop culture from representing the poor and disenfranchised to essentially shunning them. In a New York Times Magazine  profile the Jiggaman had this to say about the Occupy movement.
"What's the thing on the wall, what are you fighting for? I'm not going to a park and picnic, I have no idea what to do, I don't know what the fight is about. What do we want, do you know?"
Clearly Jay-Z is intelligent enough to know that the basic premise behind the Occupy movement is the disproportionate distribution of wealth in America and the excessive greed by Wall Street bankers, which is the primary catalyst for this country's economic woes, particularly the growing poor class, both working and not. Not to mention that Jay-Z's Rockafella clothing line began producing 'Occupy Wall Street' shirts and refused to donate any of the profits to the movement he was stealing from. The king of Hip-Hop is also the king of what's wrong with Hip-Hop.

U.S. Ambassador to Libya Killed Over Anti-Islamic Video


Per LA Times:

The U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans were reported killed as a mob sacked the U.S. Consulate in eastern Libya in a rage over an anti-Muslim video produced in the United States, according the State Department.
Early Wednesday morning, President Obama released a statement: "I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America's commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives."
Obama concluded his statement saying, "The brave Americans we lost represent the extraordinary service and sacrifices that our civilians make every day around the globe. As we stand united with their families, let us now redouble our own efforts to carry their work forward."
Wanis al-Sharif, Libya's deputy minister of the interior, told the Associated Press that Stevens and three others had died as the crowd torched the consulate in Benghazi hours after demonstrators scaled the wall of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo in protest over the anti-Muslim video. A Twitter message from Libya's deputy prime minister, Mustafa Abu Shagur, condemned the death of Stevens and the other American personnel killed in the attack.
The protesters in Benghazi set fire to the consulate and fired guns into the air in protest over the film, according to Reuters reporters on the scene. Looters reportedly grabbed desks, chairs and even washing machines from the empty compound.
Egyptian protesters had earlier gathered at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo in protest over a video that they said mocked the prophet Muhammad, claiming it had been made by Egyptian Coptic immigrants in the U.S.
The Cairo protesters pulled down the U.S. flag, and in its place raised a black flag that read: "There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet" before Egyptian security forces sought to tame the crowd.
As night fell, protesters continued to gather outside the embassy in one of the biggest demonstrations in the city since the fall of Hosni Mubarak's government early last year. Security forces surrounded the embassy compound to prevent protesters from again storming it, though some demonstrators remained on the wall, waving black flags.
As many as 2,000 demonstrators rallied outside the embassy in a gathering called by the conservative Islamic Salafist movement.
Before the rally, the private Al Nas television channel, run by Salafists, played some of the video posted on YouTube, which a host and a commentator said insulted Islam. The video shown on the channel refers to Muhammad and his followers as "child lovers." It also shows the prophet speaking to a supposed Muslim donkey, asking him whether he loves women.
The channel's enraged host and a commentator then demanded to know how Islam could be treated in such a debasing way.
The video has been promoted online by Florida preacher Terry Jones, whose 2011 burning of a Koran triggered riots in Afghanistan. In a statement, Jones called the assault on the embassy in Egypt proof that Muslims "have no tolerance for anything outside of Muhammad."


QUESTION:
Does Terry Jones have a point?
Would the world be better off without Terry Jones?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

We Remember 9/11

Shot by GrandCentral looking down on Ground Zero to the east

It almost seems surreal to think that over a decade has passed since the tragedy of 9/11 changed America forever. 2,983 innocent men, women and children died that day as the world helplessly looked on in disbelief.  It was one of those moments in life where everybody remembers where they were and what they were doing.  11 years later, we still remember it like it was yesterday.

To bring you guys up to speed as to what has been going on with Ground Zero here in New York City, Freedom Tower (the 1,776 foot tall skyscraper) has been making good progress and appears to be reaching its tallest height at 104 floors.  This wasn't easy though.  The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (the quasi-governmental entity which governs all of the bridges and tunnels between NY and NJ) argued for years with Larry Silverstein who acquired the lease to the World Trade Center in July 2001 when the Port Authority decided to sell it.  The debate focused on whether Silverstein, who under the terms of the lease had the right to rebuild the WTC if it was ever destroyed, could secure the financing from the many numerous insurance companies that had written policies to cover the WTC.  The legal issue turned on whether 9/11 counted as "one" terrorist attack or "two" for insurance claim purposes. 

In the end, the answer to that question depended on the language used by the respective insurance companies: some were required to make 1 payout while others were required to make 2 payouts.  All told, Silverstein got about $4 Billion and change to rebuild the WTC and construction finally began years after the debris had been cleared from the site. However, the Port Authority (which may have illegally jacked up bridge and tunnel costs to pay for the site) wanted more control over the new site which brings us to today's dispute.

Today, the 9/11 memorial has been open to the public for a year but in the middle of the memorial is a proposed museum.  The museum could not open along with the rest of the memorial last September because, once again, the Port Authority is arguing with New York and New Jersey about financing and who is going to pay what.  New York Governor Cuomo, along with the assistance of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, has apparently brokered a deal that the Port Authority can live with...for now.  As a result, construction has just recently resumed on the museum.  It should be open sometime next year.

All of that aside, here are some picks taken by the Urban Politico team at the 9/11 memorial.  Enjoy:

This tree survived from the original site


SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON 9/11 AND THE WTC MEMORIAL SITE


   

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mitt Romney on Meet The Press - (VIDEO)

Mitt Romney on Meet The Press with David Gregory


In case you missed the interview, here is the full episode. We are starting to see a different Mitt Romney and I am starting to have a few questions about his campaign, and a potential Romney Administration.

Is Mitt Romney trying to tell us something?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

That's What's UP: The RNC and DNC Recap





Join us for our weekly radio hour on "That's What's UP."  On this week's show we will discuss the recent Republican and Democratic National Conventions and where the two campaigns go from here.

To join in click HERE.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Book Reviews-Requiem for a Glass Heart, The Cleanup, Legends of Light

Requiem for a Glass Heart
By David Lindsey
Requiem For a Glass Heart is a book I took to read at the barbershop, anticipating a long wait. Fortunately, however the wait wasn't that long and even more fortuitously Requiem For a Glass Heart was actually a pretty entertaining book. It kept me eagerly turning pages to see what happened next. Now that I have finished I suppose I could look back and say I should have seen certain things coming but then again there is a reason that authors often rely on certain tropes. They work. David Lindsey puts his own twist on a La Femme Nikita type story. He also uses two primary female protagonists. This is a little unusual for the thriller genre. The men are not the heroes. Not being a woman I can't say the leads were perfectly written but they didn't strike me as cartoon cutouts either. There are a few male characters who are a bit over the top, including an updated Fu Manchu stereotype, but if you can look past some of that it's not a bad little story.

I think some of it will seem familiar to you but again the author obviously did his research and was talented enough to breathe new life into a thriller/suspense novel format. It's set in the mid nineties, shortly after the chaos of the Soviet Union's disintegration. It's very descriptive of the cities and hotels in which the action takes place.

Friday, September 7, 2012

ICYMI: Obama DNC Full Speech (VIDEO)







We decided that President Obama's speech could speak for itself, but tune in this Sunday to That's What's UP Radio Show as we discuss both the Democratic and Republican conventions. Meanwhile view the entire Obama DNC 2012 acceptance speech below.




Democrats and Choice

Occasionally people on the progressive end of the political spectrum, which tends to be where I am most comfortable, like to point out what they see as the hypocrisy of the Republican pro-life and religious conservative contingent, some of whom, despite mouthing platitudes to small government and rugged American individualism, spend an awful lot of time worrying about such things as how to use government to discourage or prevent things like gay marriage, sex education, teaching that homosexuals are no better or worse than anyone else, and of course abortion. Many progressives triumphantly say that these inconsistencies (as they see them) show that the Republicans and/or pro-life advocates or defenders of traditional marriage really aren't about small government at all and should evidently just go sit down and shut up. Or something. =) It's always fun to point out that people that you don't like anyway are also wrong factually and logically.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Interview-20 questions with Steve Barnes and Tananarive Due

Steve Barnes and Tananarive Due are two of the more interesting and successful writers of speculative fiction, horror, fantasy and sci-fi working today. They also happen to be married to each other. Barnes and Due occasionally write together, which sounds as if it must be the coolest thing since sliced bread. One of their latest joint creations is the just released Devil's Wake  which is a zombie novel, primarily but not exclusively aimed at the young adult market.

Barnes in particular has been an influence on my own blogging style. Barnes can be a very inspirational and uplifting writer. He seems to almost practice a relentless positivity. Due has written one of the freshest and most imaginative adaptations of vampirism and immortality this side of True Blood or Brian Lumley. If you haven't read Due's My Soul to Keep, you are missing out.  I've written before of my enjoyment of both Barnes' Lion's Blood series and the Barnes/Due Tennyson Hardwick series. Due has received an NAACP image award as well as an American Book Award. Barnes has written screenplays for works as diverse as Stargate SG-1 and The Outer Limits. One of these days I need to get around to reviewing Barnes' Blood Brothers, one of his earlier and darker novels. Barnes and Due are not only authors but each have numerous other skills, talents and interests including but not limited to martial arts, yoga, civil rights, journalism, teaching, life coaching and personal development. They each inspire you to kick things up a notch in your life and let go of your fears. A great thing about blogging is that you get to interact with quite talented people that you would otherwise never meet.

I thought you might be interested in reading an Urban Politico interview with the nation's hardest working husband and wife writing team. They were gracious enough to take time out of some extremely busy schedules to answer some questions for our readers. Thanks to Steve and Tananarive for their time. And now without further ado here's the interview with Steve Barnes and Tananarive Due. I hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

One Generation: My American Dream



This past May my little sister graduated from college with her Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice. I attended the ceremony with my aunt and my grandmother. As the pomp and circumstance processional began to play, the tears just ran down my face in an uncontrollable manner. The momentum of the occasion had built up, and I believe sitting between my grandmother and aunt, I fully realized the significance of their journey to The United States and what the many sacrifices of my family meant for both me, and my sister. My sister and I have had numerous discussions over the course of our lives about success and what it meant to us. I've alway known that we were both capable of exceeding the expectations of our parents, and going a step further than their circumstances permitted them to go. On that May morning it hit me, my sister and I dramatically changed the paradigm for our family. We did this in one generation. All because we had the opportunity to get an education. 

DNC Recap: The Face of "ObamaCare" - (VIDEO)

"You know there is something wrong with the kind of job he has done as president when the best feeling you had was the day you voted for him." - Republican Candidate for President of The United States of America, Mitt Romney
Last week Mitt Romney posed this question to the American People and this evening he got his answer from Stacy Lihn.



"Governor Romney says people like me were the most excited about President Obama the day we voted for him, but that’s not true. Not even close. For me, that was the day the Affordable Care Act passed and I no longer had to worry about Zoe getting the care she needed.There was the day the letter arrived from the insurance company, saying that our daughter’s lifetime cap had been lifted. There was the day the Supreme Court upheld ObamaCare." - Stacy Lihn

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Rise of a Third Party?

A while back I came to the realization that basically anything that comes out of the mouth of she who will not be named is better left undignified lest one be sucked into her fantasy land where logic and reason have no meaning.  That being said, she did somehow manage to raise an interesting point the other day on Fox News about the rise of a third party - the Tea Party.

Now this sparked some interesting dialogue amongst my fellow bloggers as to whether the Tea Party -- or any party for that matter -- can be sustained in this two party country of ours.  America has had Democrats vs. Republicans for about a century and a half now and that's pretty much all we've known.  Sure, a small third party might pop up here or there, and to be sure, some are still around as we speak.  But we're talking about the rise of a third party that could actually give the Dems and Republicans a run for their money.

Now, logistics aside, I find the prospect of the Tea Party stepping out from behind the shadow of the Republican party rather interesting.  The Republican party has, after all, nursed the Tea Party through its infancy stage but it has become more and more clear that "establishment" Republicans have the same type of awkward relationship with the Tea Party that the "establishment" Democrats had with the southern "Dixiecrats" during the 1960's just prior to the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Once that law was signed into place by President Lyndon B. Johnson, Johnson famously said that the Democrats had lost the south for a generation.  He was right.  Without knowing it, he was actually talking about was the Tea Party, only back then they obviously weren't known by that name.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Breaking News: Actor Michael Clark Duncan Dead at Age 54


Michael Clark Duncan Dead at Age 54



LOS ANGELES (AP) — Michael Clarke Duncan, the hulking, prolific character actor whose dozens of films included an Oscar-nominated performance as a death row inmate in "The Green Mile" and such other box office hits as "Armageddon,"Planet of the Apes" and "Kung Fu Panda" is dead at age 54.

Happy Labor Day from The Urban Politico


Summer is officially over! The kids will head back to school this week and the evenings of extended daylight will shorten even more. While all of us here at The Urban Politico use today to get a little extra sleep or spend one last day surrounded by family and friends around a grill and yummy cocktails, let's take a moment to really honor the true meaning of Labor Day. 





Saturday, September 1, 2012

Live From The National Football Classic (Howard Vs. Morehouse)




Today is a big day for HBCU students, alumni and sports fans. For the second year in a row, the AT&T Nation's Football Classic has brought together Howard University and Morehouse College, two of the nation's top historically black colleges, for a battle that only scratches the surface of the two schools' classic rivalry.

The atmosphere was electric.  Young ladies wore their shortest short shorts.  Guys bore muscles in Tank tops and slim fit tees.  Even celebrities braved the sweltering heat.  Alumni that had graduated as much as ten years ago clearly had hit the gym to fit into summer clothes for the last time this year.  In short, the scene was set for a memorable game.

Godson and Old Guru manned the press box for Urban Politico and had a full day of fun, sun, and football.  They even got to meet a few celebrities.   Stay tuned for in-depth commentary and analysis of not only the game and its history but the politics behind it. Meanwhile enjoy these photos of the days events as well as video from a special appearance by Slick Rick and Doug E Fresh.

Movie Reviews-Breaking Bad (Season 3), Lockout, A Clockwork Orange

Breaking Bad (Season Three)
created by Vince Gilligan
The hits just keep on coming in this AMC series. Walter White's (Bryan Cranston) cancer is in remission but his personal life is in a shambles. He made a simple mistake which dismantled the web of lies that he spun to keep his wife Skyler (Anna Gunn) ignorant of his work. As Walter was sedated and readied for surgery he accidentally confirmed having a second cell phone.That was all it took to change a previously supportive, if rather pushy wife, into an alternately raging harridan and cold as ice enemy. One wouldn't think that such a small slip-up could cause such havoc but then again there is that saying about women, fury and hell. Skyler is insanely angry at Walter's lies. She thinks he made a fool out of her. She checks on Walter's stories and doesn't like what she finds. At first I was a bit sympathetic to her but shortly thereafter my sympathy dissipated.

Walter might be feeling his oats in the criminal world but as far as Skyler is concerned he's just a lying no good drug dealing s.o.b. And Walter doesn't have the cojones of a Michael Corleone to tell Skyler "Don't ask me about my business!!!!". And Skyler wouldn't accept such dismissal even if Walter tried it. She kicks him out of their house and starts considering divorce. Skyler also does something which will hurt Walter much more than he's hurt her. I mean it's like using a nuclear bomb in response to a minor border dispute. As I mentioned earlier this show is greatly different from Weeds in that events have consequences. Nobody who interacts with drugs or crime gets away clean. There are always costs, great or small. Walter Jr. (RJ Mitte) is confused by his parents' fights and sides with his father.
In Season Two Walter and a drugged out Jesse (Aaron Paul) had a business dispute that spun out of control and through a six degrees of separation sort of causality cost Jesse the life of his girlfriend, Jane. It also caused Jane's air traffic controller father to lose focus with equally tragic results and made Walter construct even more elaborate internal justifications and lies about his responsibility for his actions.