Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Banks and Loan Sharks: Payday Loans and Online Lending

When you think of a "loan shark" you might stereotypically think of a hard nosed man who will advance you some cash when you're in a bind but is rumored to hurt or even murder people who don't pay him back on time. He might be affiliated with the regional office of a national organization of similar businessmen. He probably employs people the size of small refrigerators who collect for him. He may tool around town in a late model Cadillac or older Town Car with an expansive albeit suspiciously stained trunk. If you are late on your payments or if he suspects you might be thinking about being late on your payments, he might suddenly appear at your home and politely ask for his money. Or he may follow you to your anniversary celebration and throw you a beating in front of your spouse and kids. It all depends on his mood and how late you are. 

Hey, all he wants is his money. Since he can't rely on the courts to enforce a technically valid but completely illegal contract, you can understand why he would need to have some, well, unorthodox methods of securing his capital. Since many of his clients are themselves violent lowlifes, criminals and other trash, stern dunning letters and threats to report late payers to credit bureaus won't have the desired effect. Generally speaking baseball bats and tire irons are more effective than plaintive phone calls at getting people's undivided attention.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Do Black Folks Need N-Word Therapy?




Abena Afreeka, is a Philadelphia-based social worker and family therapist. She has worked for over ten years on an especially interesting project that she is now offering to the public called the ‘Nigger Recovery Program.”

The program, she says is particularly necessary in the wake of the popular song ‘Niggas In Paris,’ by Kanye West and Jay-Z, which was nominated this year for two Grammy Awards, showing the awkward progression of society to the acceptance of a historically hurtful and racist description of black people. 


“I have put together a program of recovery that is uniquely designed with the African in mind," Afreeka told PhillyMag, based on the unique experience of early and ongoing adversity. The Nigga Recovery Program is uniquely designed with the rap artist in mind, specifically the rap artist of African descent, those addicted to the use of the word ‘nigger.’”

It was Tupac who first made the distinction between the words ‘Nigger’ and ‘Nigga.’ “Niggers,” Pac said, are the ones ‘on the rope hangin out to bake.’ “Niggaz,” he explained before his death, are the ones with “gold rope hangin out at clubs.”

HBO Game of Thrones Season 3 Trailer

Well it looks like some people (and some dragons) have grown up a bit. 
As far as the Game is concerned some people are still in it and they are in it to win it.

Recap of the 2013 Oscars

It's Oscar time once again.  This year's Academy Awards were hosted by Seth MacFarlane (creator of Family Guy, American Dad, The Cleveland Show and the movie Ted) who took his critics head on in his opening skit by having Captain Kirk (William Shatner) come back in time to tell MacFarlane how bad the people in the future thought he did as a host.  Kirk then proceeded to tell MacFarlane what he needed to do in order to get it together which, of course, allowed MacFarlane a chance to showcase his talents at singing and dancing.    

There were a number of highlights (50 year anniversary clip of James Bond films) and then some not-so-high moments (some of the presenters, like the Avengers case, seemed lost and disorganized).  Speaking of low moments, a couple of the winners got cut off by the "Jaws" theme music in mid-acceptance speech which just made the Academy seem like a bunch of assholes.  I mean seriously.  You have time to show us a pointless montage of every movie musical known to man -- complete with a live performance for each friggin' movie -- but you can't let this artist speak for 30 more seconds about something they've been working their entire lives to achieve?  Really?

So who won and who lost the big categories?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

That's What's UP - The Urban Politico Radio Hour: Sunday, February 24th @ 5PM EST



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

Join us Sunday, February 24th at 5pm (ET) as we talk about the Politics of the United States and beyond.


This week's discussion:
  • Sequestration 
  • Ted Cruz
  • DOMA
  • Voting Rights Act
Listen Live Online HERE or 
Call in to join our discussion (424) 675-6844

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Book Reviews-Changes, The Mafia's Greatest Hits, The Norse Myths

Changes
by Jim Butcher
Usually I don't like reading the later books in a series without reading the first. In the case of The Dresden Files series I made an exception. I had read one of the books before but had not read the first. I liked what I read so when I saw Changes on deep discount I picked it up without worrying about where it was in sequence. It's closer to the end, maybe firmly so, judging by some events. But like many such books in long running series if you are interested in the themes, you can buy this book and enjoy it without having read all of the other books-though that probably helps.

Ok, what's it about? It's similar to the Mike Carey book I reviewed earlier  though I think that Butcher was published first. It's a mystery book with supernatural elements. Or maybe it's a supernatural book with mystery elements. Basically not only is magic real but also everything you ever worried about that goes bump in the night, every crazy myth, every religion, is all real as well. 
Vampires, ghosts, goblins, elves, demons, angels, gods, everything. They're all out there.
Smack dab in the middle of this is one Harry Dresden, who is a Chicago based practicing wizard and private detective. Dresden is more public than most of his magic using brethren prefer. Dresden is something of a maverick who is known to stretch if not outright break rules if he thinks he has a good reason. Wizards are not allowed to kill humans using magic and Dresden does his best to follow that rule. It's a pretty serious rule and breaking it can get a wizard killed himself. But Dresden also carries a few sidearms. Although Dresden is not the most powerful wizard, he may have the most natural talent and is part of the White Council, an organization tasked to protect normal humans from abuses of magic.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

MSNBC Goes ALL THE WAY IN THE TANK for Democrats

Per HuffPo:
"With the hiring of former White House officials Robert Gibbs and David Axelrod, MSNBC finds itself once again battling the perception that it is a staunchly "pro-Obama" network. On Thursday, Gibbs and Axelrod told CNN's Howard Kurtz that, though they spent many years fighting for and defending Obama, they will be independent-minded analysts." 
Independent-minded analysts?  Yeah.  Right. I'm sorry, but I've lost major respect for MSNBC on this one. At least before it hired Obama Administration officials it had some semblance of a claim of impartiality.  But now? It is ALL THE WAY IN THE TANK for the Democrats. This is the type of crap we have grown accustomed to seeing on Fox News which lost its credibility years ago when it rushed to put elected GOP officials on the payroll.  Now MSNBC is no better than Fox News (was it ever?).  

Don't get me wrong, MSNBC has always been "Left-Leaning," but there is a significant difference between being "Left-Leaning" and flat out hiring the political advisers of the current sitting Democratic President.  They might as well put Obama himself on the payroll and keep a seat ready for him on standby during all of their primetime line-ups.  I'm only half joking here.

Look, folks, we live in an age where the reality of our reported news is continuously and increasingly subverted by the political persuasion of the so-called "news" organization doing the reporting. We no longer hear facts, we only hear opinions.  If your job is to report the news, then your focus should be on doing everything possible to avoid even the APPEARANCE of impropriety with respect to your ability to do your job.  

The news is supposed to be impartial.  By hiring people who are known to be partial, you call into question any ability that your news organization had to report the news factually and accurately without any partiality or bias.  I don't need to know what Robert Gibbs or David Axelrod think about the issues of the day.  I already know what they are about to say before they even open their mouths the same way I knew what Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee were going to say on Fox News before they opened their mouths.  

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the point.



Game of Thrones at Office


Sometimes people can take a show a bit too seriously..


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Total Domination: How the Wealthy will come to rule

Graphic from CBS News
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that could potential remove the current limitations placed on individual donors during an election cycle.

Now, I know many of you are saying to yourself, "wait, didn't we already have this discussion with Citizens United?"  Yes, we did; however, that issue removed limits on how much a corporation, unions and individuals could contribute to groups that are 'unaffiliated' with candidates and political parties.  Which, if you were paying attention, lead to the proliferation of domination of Super PACs during the 2012 elections.  Over $4 BILLION was spent during this last election cycle on races for the White House and Congress.   

Michigan: Old School Racism in Hospitals and Child Support

It's impossible to tell without performing or acquiring some deeper research which I can't do at the present moment but I wonder if President's Obama's election and especially his re-election has just caused some bigots to completely lose their minds. Not only do we have drunk white men slapping black toddlers and telling the child's mother to shut that n****** baby up but in Michigan some old school 1950s style racism recently came to my attention.

There was an old joke about the difference between southern white racists and northern white racists being that in the south, bigots didn't care how close a black person got s/he just better not get too high and successful. But in the the north, bigots didn't care all that much about how successful a black person became, they just didn't want to get too close to blacks.

I was reminded of that joke when a white man in Flint, Michigan, in a hospital to attend the birth of his new baby, allegedly requested that no black nurse touch his precious newborn child. According to the black nurse who filed a lawsuit, the hospital temporarily agreed to the white man's request. The hospital denies this allegation and states that it remains committed to non-discrimination. It's hard to believe that in this day and age a hospital would open itself up like that but you never can tell. Let's see what the facts show.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Should We Raise Minimum Wage to $9 an Hour?

If you missed our radio show on Sunday then you missed a spirited discussion among my fellow bloggers here at The Urban Politico and our guest, Rippa, about the ramifications of raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25/hour to $9.00/hour.  Now whenever this debate comes up in America, folks usually fall into one of two camps: (A) folks who take the position that raising the minimum wage will help the little guy; and (B) folks who take the position that raising the minimum wage will hurt the big guy.  But who is right?  As usual, let's turn to the facts.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Movie Reviews-End of Watch, Looper, Irreversible

End of Watch
directed by David Ayer
End of Watch is a big sloppy wet French kiss to the L.A.P.D., tongue swirl and all. Depending on how you feel about the L.A.P.D. and/or how effectively or whether you are able to put those feelings aside for a movie, you may really enjoy this movie as a neo-western or you may be a bit put off by yet another mainstream film in which most of the dying is done by the racialized other. Just once, I would like to see a modern film in which whites sacrifice for non-whites and die doing so. Those films tend to be pretty rare, Django Unchained notwithstanding. Ok, my particular racial hangups aside, what's this film about and how well does it work?

Well it's directed by the same fellow who wrote Training Day and S.W.A.T. and directed Street Kings and Harsh Times. So if you liked the plot or characterization in those films, you probably will appreciate the storyline here. It's not all that different. Two L.A.P.D. officers Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Miguel Zavala (Michael Pena) are close friends and partners who share a rough camaraderie as they patrol the streets. Brian is a former Marine. Nothing is off limits for them. They tease each other a lot in ways that might be considered inappropriate were it not for their tight bond. Brian playfully mimics the singsong patois of Mexican-American women (Zavala is married to his high school sweetheart Gabby (Natalie Martinez) ) while Miguel cheerfully mocks the nasal Caucasian valley girl vocal rhythms of the Anglo girls Brian pumps and dumps. Brian is starting to get serious about one such woman in particular, Janet (Anna Kendrick). Neither Martinez not Kendrick have a lot to do here since their roles are decidedly secondary but they do very well with what they have. Martinez's big moment comes when she gleefully and graphically describes to a young couple exactly how a newly married wife should ensure that her husband doesn't cheat.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Senator Elizabeth Warren Makes Her Debut at Senate Banking Committee (VIDEO)

Senate Banking Committee Hearing - Senator Elizabeth Warren vs. the Regulators

I am somewhat torn on this. I love Senator Warren's passion and want to see her continue to kick ass. This was who "We the People" needed on our side. However, I am a bit concerned that she might get burned out a little too early, on the wrong people. 


Take a look at her exchange with regulators of the Federal Reserve, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Securities Exchange Commission, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Commodities Futures Trading Commission,  and the US  Treasury.



Just Say "No."

We've talked several times about the glaring coincidence of the LARGE number of unprecedented actions occurring just after the election of the first African American President of the United States.

I really hate to use race as reason, but I’m hard pressed to find “real” reasons for the historic actions of congressional Republicans. Taking the opposite position of President Obama has gotten so bad that Republicans are LITERALLY disputing with themselves.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

February Book of The Month: The Black Count


The Black Count
By Tom Reiss

Alexandre Dumas is best known today for his swashbuckling adventure/revenge stories such as The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Corsican Brothers and several others. What's not widely known is that details of and inspiration for Alexandre Dumas' bestsellers often were drawn from stories and memories of his own father, General Thomas-Alexandre Dumas.

Thomas-Alexandre, who generally preferred to be known as Alexandre, was the son of a dissolute French nobleman (who sold his own children into slavery) and a black Haitian slave. He rose to claim aristocratic status and worked his way thru army ranks to become a General (and rival of Napoleon). He died when his son was only four. Once you become familiar with the General's story, his feats of derring-do, his struggles against racism, the intrigues of nefarious aristocrats and bigoted bureaucrats, great battles in the Alps, fortunes won and lost, it becomes very apparent that his son the novelist loved him dearly and put bits and pieces of him in just about everything he wrote.


It is amazing how the more things change the more things stay the same. The accounts of police harassment that the elder Alexandre had to deal with in France, especially if he were in the company of a Frenchwoman, as he often was, read like something out of 1930s Mississippi. There were French laws requiring the registering of anyone with African blood and petty apartheid rules were occasionally enforced (No black person could be called "Sir" or "Madame".)

On the other hand, like Britain, France had a tradition of not tolerating slavery within its borders, regardless of what it was doing in Haiti or elsewhere, and of rewarding talent regardless of race. It was between these clashing interests that people like General Dumas and Chevalier St. Georges made their way..

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

2013 State of the Union Recap

In case you missed it, we did a live chat last night followed by a live radio show hosted by our very own J. "Fed Up" Edwards where we recapped our own personal take on the state of the union.  Again, we appreciate everybody who joined in on both the chat during the state of the union and the radio show afterwards.

To recap, the President laid out a broad range of topics before Congress (and the Supreme Court which was noticeably missing one Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito) and urged them to take action.  Some of the areas he covered were as follows:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Are Republicans the party of White People?

As we discussed previously and on multiple occasions the re-election of Barack Hussein Obama as President of the United States, sent some conservative whites into paroxysms of rage or valleys of despair. Now obviously not all of this was racially based but a great deal of it was, with the comments and snarks by people like Sununu, Palin, Nugent, and more recently South Carolina GOP Executive Director Todd Kincannon.

The main issue that some people seem to have is that despite the fact that overall Romney won a majority of the white vote of both genders (59% overall, 62% of white men and 56% of white women) that simply wasn't enough to give Romney a victory, let alone a decisive one. Some folks just can't wrap their heads around why that happened. The reasons will still be debated and discussed for quite some time but they include at least three salient points:
  • The country has become more diverse. The white vote in 2012 was just not as large a portion of the electorate as it was in 2004 or in 2008, let alone 1996 or 1992.
  • Many white voters who came out for Republicans in 2008 did not show up in 2012.
  • The Republican party has become overly identified with a particular form of social conservatism and radical free market theory that remains quite popular in the South but is not easy to sell in the Northeast or to a lesser extent in the Midwest, and is virtually impossible to win with in California.
Recently, The New Republic magazine produced a cover story by New York Times Book Review Editor Sam Tanenhaus (he's also an author) that basically argued that Republicans (since at least the sixties) explicitly became the "party of white people" and have worked that particular mojo for about all it's worth. You can read the whole article here.

Monday, February 11, 2013

State of the Union Chat and Post Wrap Up

Join The Urban Politico staff as we live chat during President Obama's State of the Union Address.  After, we invite you to join us on our live internet show as we follow the chat with a live discussion. Please join us.  Call in and talk with the staff as we cover the good, the bad, and the ugly from President Obama's address.  Take this time to tell us what you liked and didn't like about the address or the Republican response, by Sen. Rubio.


Live Chat and Internet Show

State of the Union
February 12, 2013
9:00pm

Internet Support For Christopher Dorner Shows Desperate Need For End To Police Misconduct



As the manhunt continues for alleged cop killer and former LAPD officer Christopher Dorner a larger debate seems to be in order--a debate beyond the normal write off of a supposed psycho, who simply deserves to be put down.

Dorner, who posted a chilling manifesto online last week, highlighting his grievances with the LAPD has recently been garnering online support, most recently from Rapper Ab-Soul. Ab-Soul posted a picture of Dorner on his instagram page with a caption quoting the fugitive, “This was a necessary evil.” - Christopher Dorner. “God Bless you sir,” Ab-Soul wrote.

Judging by the number of likes and comments on the photo, as well as the displays of solidarity visible all over the internet, there are clearly many who are in agreement with the rapper, that Dorner’s murder spree is not only justified, but necessary.

Pope Benedict XVI to Resign on February 28th

Early Monday morning, several reports confirmed that Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger) planned to resign at the end of February, citing "old age and his ailing health." Just short of eight-years of service, Benedict startled most with this announcement  because as we all know Pope's don't resign, especially not for the reasons that Benedict is citing. Pope's are called to serve and die on the papacy. The Pope is not only the head of the Roman Catholic Church, but he also serves as Head of State, over Vatican City. Taking all of this into consideration, this is a pretty big deal. The election of the next Pope can either rejuvenate the church (the way Pope John Paul II was leading prior to his death) or take the church down a path of further alienation and condemnation of non-Catholics, and Catholics who don't abide by the archaic philosophy of the church, that Benedict seemed to be so stuck on. 


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Music Reviews-New Prince Music, The Ohio Players

Prince
As you may know Prince has not exactly been a fan of online music, either for free or for pay. He once sued youtube to force removal of all uploads of his music. His music, his rules. Well that may be changing somewhat as Prince or apparently (hopefully) someone with his permission recently placed numerous uploads of new Prince music online for free and for purchase. Maybe this signals a permanent thaw in the Purple One's often frosty relationship with online music consumers. I was first hipped to this on a different board by a younger friend who is likely the biggest Prince fanatic I've encountered in quite a while. And that's saying something, I think. The rumor is that there is a new album that will be released later this year. I hope that's the case. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

HBO Game of Thrones: The Night's Watch

This is from the HBO's Game of Thrones Season Two Blu-Ray extras. The Blu-Ray and DVD sets will be released on February 19. As in one of the previous extras I posted, Rose Leslie as Ygritte provides a quick explanation of an important element in George R.R. Martin's world. In this case she discusses The Night's Watch, that legion of men who have volunteered or more likely been sentenced or exiled to the far north to keep out the Wildlings (or Free Folk as Ygritte would prefer) and provide early warning/defense against any invasion by less natural creatures.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Reaction to Chris Kyle's Murder

Chris Kyle, a former US Navy SEAL, was the most dangerous sniper in the history of the US military. He had over 150 confirmed kills and multiple Bronze and Silver Stars. Kyle was wounded in combat. He completed four tours of Iraq and once killed a rocket launcher bearing insurgent from a little over a mile away. In short he was the best at what he did. When he left the military to be with his family he wrote a best selling autobiography, American Sniper, detailing his story. He didn't take any of the royalties from this book but instead donated them to the families of SEALS killed in combat.  He also gave away the money he made from appearances or book signings. Kyle started a non-profit foundation, FITCO, to work with veterans suffering from disabilities, whether physical or emotional/mental like PTSD. Kyle did a lot of hands-on volunteer work with veterans. He was pretty dedicated towards raising awareness of the challenges that veterans face reintegrating into society and doing what he could to help veterans meet those challenges.

Kyle was supposed to help work security at the Super Bowl but evidently decided to decline that opportunity in order to volunteer with a veteran he didn't know, Eddie Ray Routh, who was suffering from PTSD. The men went to a shooting range. Apparently, at some time on Saturday, Eddie Ray Routh murdered both Chris Kyle as well as a friend of Kyle's, Chad Littlefield. So a man who survived four tours of Iraq and an Iraqi bounty being placed on his head was murdered in the US. Kyle leaves a wife and two small children behind.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

NBC Gets Hands on U.S. Drone Strike Memo Which Defends Killing American Citizens

A year ago we had a debate here on the blog about the Obama Administration's decision to kill suspected terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki.  Emphasis is placed on the word "suspected" because we will never know if he did, in fact, commit any terrorist acts against us.  Why won't we know, you may ask?  Because we never got a chance to ask him.  We never took him to court.  Indeed, he was never even so much as formally charged with a crime. We just suspected that he was up to no good, and then we killed him.  No judge.  No jury.  Just straight execution by drone.  Normally we wouldn't care whether or not terrorists are charged with any crime.  After all, they're terrorists, and as such they are the scum of the Earth.  They're less than scum.  They're whatever substance is beneath scum.  In this situation, however, there was one small problem:  Anwar al-Awlaki was a United States citizen.

Oh crap.

What does that mean?

Well, ladies and gentlemen, that means that Anwar had every right that you and I have under the United States Constitution.  That includes the 5th Amendment right to Due Process of law, and a 6th Amendment right to be formally charged with a crime, to have the opportunity to confront your accusers (the government) and the right to have an attorney help you in your defense.  These are the rules that we all agreed upon by proxy way back in 1791.  They haven't changed.  If you don't like 'em, then amend 'em.  But until you do, they are the law of the land.

During our debate on this topic, a few of us took the position that this was an unconstitutional execution in clear violation of Due Process of law.  Some of us, however, took the position that in extreme circumstances (ie. where we know that the U.S. is facing an imminent threat by somebody who is about to attack us) then we have the right to protect ourselves and our fellow countrymen.  In support of this position, an analogy was made to the situation where a bank robber engages in a shoot out with the police in a crowded bank.  In that situation, few would disagree that the police have an obligation to kill the bank robber if it becomes clear that said bank robber is intent on doing harm to others.

However, NBC news recently discovered a legal memo from the Obama Administration which tosses the whole "imminent threat" argument out the window:

A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” -- even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.

Monday, February 4, 2013

SuperBowl Game and Commercials Recap - Give Your 2 Cents

27 minutes.  That's how long the lights were out in the New Orleans Superdome during the Superbowl yesterday between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens (Baltimore ended up winning it 34 to 31).  As we tweeted last night, the Buffalo Wild Wings guy went too far this time!  But seriously, $8 million dollars a minute for TV commercials and nobody could pay the light bill?  What gives? 

Speaking of commercials, there were a few good ones and a few not-so-good ones.  A few that stand out in memory:

THE GOOD ONES:
The VW commercial where dude had the Jamaican accent:


The Doritos Goat 4 Sale:


The Hyundai "Team":


Taco Bell old folks home:


The Audi prom commercial:


THE BAD ONES (which we will spare you from viewing):
Go Daddy make-out commercial
Any of the Stevie Wonder Bud Light commercials
The Calvin Klein (really?  You realize this is the Superbowl right?)
All of the Budweiser Black Crown commercials
All of the millions and millions of CBS network commercials (we know it's CBW ok?)



What were some of your favorite Superbowl moments or commercials?

 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

No Radio Show Today: We're watching the Super Bowl!!!

No Show Today!

That's What's UP: Join us at 5PM (ET) for Our Weekly Radio Show

We will be back February 10, 2013
The entire staff at The Urban Politico would like to congratulate the San Fransisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens.  We will be enjoying wings, drinks, and fellowship.  So, enjoy the game.  Be safe!  And join us next week as we get back to talking politics!

Thank you all.
The Urban Politico.    

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Book Reviews-The Book of Joby, Beyond The Black River, Black Science Fiction, One Shot

The Book of Joby
by Mark J. Ferrari
This was Ferrari's first novel. It's impressive. The book is longer than 600 pages. I don't think that Ferrari needed quite that much room to detail everything that happened. But the story hardly ever drags. 

The Book of Joby is as you might expect from the title, an epic, humorous and magical retelling of the The Book of Job from The Bible. It also nods to some other popular religious conspiracy books but that doesn't become apparent until later. As usual Lucifer is trying to find a way to destroy all creation. Lucifer remains convinced that man is God's biggest mistake. Due to his pride (he was the Morning Star after all) Lucifer thinks that God is simply too stubborn to admit that Lucifer is right. God remains an engaging being who has seemingly infinite patience for Lucifer's shenanigans. God reminds Lucifer that Lucifer has only won bets with God twice (Adam and Eve and Judas) and that both times Lucifer's victories rebounded to God's and humanity's glory. Eager to prove his creator wrong, Lucifer claims that God cheated in the Jesus situation. God responds that He never said Jesus would stay dead. Lucifer just assumed.

The two immortal beings make another bet. Lucifer still insists that given time and resources he can make even the most righteous human despair and curse God. God says he can't. If Lucifer wins the bet, God agrees to wipe creation and start over using Lucifer's ideas, which primarily involve getting rid of that nasty little free will feature that humans have. Free will drives Lucifer crazy. God will pick the human whom Lucifer will get to test for about 30 years. Neither God nor any of His angels will interfere. Lucifer and his hellish subordinates can't kill the human or threaten to kill him but can do anything else.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Former Mayor of New York City Ed Koch Dead at Age 88



Ed Koch, Former Mayor of New York City  - Dead at Age 88

Many will remember Ed Koch for his brash, at times offensive, and very combative demeanor. However, most will remember him as the original "three-term mayor" who seem to eat, breathe and sleep everything New York City. Anytime a cheerleader for New York City was needed, Ed Koch was always there at the drop of a dime. We even named a bridge after him in 2011!

I don't know all of the details about his role in the MTA strike of 1980, but I recall this picture resurfacing in 2005 when the MTA went on strike once again. Present day Mayor Bloomberg took cues from this photo and walked across the bridge in solidarity with New Yorker's as well. Ed Koch served as Mayor of New York City from 1978 - 1989. New York City was a bad place during that time. The New York City that we all know today, was not that city in the 80's. Depending on who you talk to, Ed Koch saved New York City from financial ruin or he stood by and watched four innocent teens known as the Central Park 5, be wrongfully arrested and convicted for a crime they never committed.