Saturday, March 30, 2013

Book Reviews-Pardon Me, You're Stepping On My Eyeball, Blood on The Leaves

Pardon Me, You're Stepping on My Eyeball
by Paul Zindel
As I mentioned in the review of Zindel's book The Pigman, Paul Zindel was an author who primarily wrote for young adults, but really didn't write down to them. Although his characters didn't always have mortgages, resentful ex-spouses, demanding bosses, ungrateful kids or more typical adult concerns, the books generally have characters, who despite not being adults do have concerns that adults often have- whether or not they're having sex, if they're normal or not, the relationships they have with their family and friends, and how much they hate their obligations, which instead of being paid work is usually school and doing what their parents tell them.
So you probably shouldn't be put off by the young ages of the main characters. It doesn't really matter. On the surface this has some similarities to The Pigman. There's two teenage misfits, a houseparty that goes drastically wrong and some quirky kids and bullies but that's pretty minor. It's a much darker tale and one that surprised me in some ways. There's very real anger and even some ugly domestic abuse that came out of left field. If this book was being written today that last would almost certainly be handled differently. I hope so at least.

This book tells the tale of two high school weirdos and their encounters with each other, their dysfunctional families and their struggles to move forward in life. It's dramatically not a love story although there are some hints of that. Both the hero and heroine are in a special needs class.

Friday, March 29, 2013

HBO Game of Thrones: Season Two Recap and Season Three Anticipation

HBO Game of Thrones Recap-Season Two
Another year has come and gone. Hopefully you're a little bit wiser, a little bit wealthier and ready to watch the 9 PM Sunday premiere of HBO's Season 3 of Game of ThronesIf you don't watch the show and are curious all I can say is that the show combines a feeling of The Sopranos meets The Wire in Middle Earth with a very strong Shakespearean/Dickensian/Dune overlay. There are scores of characters. The good guys don't always win and your view of who the good guys are may change dramatically over time. There are fantastical elements (walking dead, clairvoyance, ice demons, dragons, scarily intelligent and huge guardian direwolves which reflect and anticipate their human partner's emotions) but the magical elements don't dominate the story though they will become more important later. No this story is really about the ugliness and glory of humanity. 

A war of succession, called the War of Five Kings, has broken out on a continent quite similar to Europe at the Middle Ages and Renaissance level of development. A Lannister King unjustly executed the head of House Stark so Houses Stark and Tully (they're in-laws) have risen in revolt. House Baratheon claims (correctly) that the Lannister king is a product of incest and thus has no right to the throne. It also launched a war against the Lannisters. House Tyrell once supported the younger rebel Renly Baratheon but when the elder Baratheon brother Stannis had his brother Renly murdered, the Tyrells threw in with the Lannisters. The Arryns and Martells are staying out of the war. House Greyjoy spurned an alliance from House Stark and attacked House Stark, for whom it holds a special disdain. Across the sea, House Targaryen, recently deposed and thought virtually powerless is reconstituting itself around the leadership of a teen girl, the last Targaryen. She has dragons. She thinks herself the rightful Queen. Unknown to everyone, powers in the North are stirring. Both the wildling hordes and the more dangerous White Walkers intend to invade the realms of Westeros. They are opposed only by a ragtag bunch of outcasts, criminals and disinherited sons known as the Night Watch.

As of the end of Season Two this is where some of the major characters found themselves.



Thursday, March 28, 2013

Lack of Standing: How Liberal Politicians May Have Shot Themselves in the Foot on Same-Sex Marriage

Earlier this week the Supreme Court heard two different cases on same-sex marriage.  After seeing all the controversy surrounding these two cases, the main issue that we all want to know is whether or not the Supreme Court will rule that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states.  That's the bottom line.  In order to answer that question, the Supreme Court will have to decide for the first time in its history whether or not the Equal Protection Clause in the Constitution requires straight couples and same-sex couples to have the same fundamental right to marriage.  Either they do or they don't.  It's that simple.  As we discussed earlier, these two cases dealt with two different sides to the same coin: (i) state laws that discriminate against same-sex couples; and (ii) federal laws that do the same.  Both cases put the issue of same-sex marriage squarely before the Supreme Court to be decided on the merits.  It appeared, for a moment, that this years-long debate might have finally come to an end this week. There's just one small problem though: both of these cases might get tossed out on a technicality known as "standing."  And if that should happen it would truly be a tragic case of irony because liberal politicians -- the most vocal advocates for marriage equality -- are 100% responsible for creating this technicality in the first place.

How to Become a Wife: Join The Single Wives Club

Two weeks ago I'm browsing through my Facebook feed when I come across a post from a girl I knew from high school. Her caption just said Please Watch. Below was the following video.

 

I watched the entire 4:28 video. My mouth just hit the floor. Like what the hell is a single wife? Still not sure of this new age term to make women feel secure in their relationship status, or lack their of, I headed to the website to clarify. 

The description line for the website is "Getting Right for the Ring." 

Initial reaction: "You've got to be kidding me."

But like a dutiful journalist I did not judge this website by it's cover page. I explored further into what was looking to me to be a hot mess until all my suspicions were confirmed. 

From the About Page:  

"The Mission of The Single Wives Club is to prepare women to become wives, nurture femininity and protect family. Guidance, support, coaching and training are provided to women through our Study program and 'Wives Society mentoring program. Through a myriad of enriching experiences, such as cooking classes, finance workshops, etiquette lessons, and community service, women are equipped with the skills needed to become a wife, the CEO of the home. Our focus is on the fundamentals of relationships, owning your role and becoming the best woman you can be. Membership in our organization is reserved for women who accept the challenge to acquire the skills necessary to become Mrs. Right." 
But wait there's more:


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Guest Post: Adria Richards-The Empress Has No Clothes

It seems like Obsidian was just here before but he had some more to say and since we are all still incredibly busy at paid work we decided to turn the floor over to him for the final segment in our guest post series. Today he discusses the Adria Richards situation and its larger societal implications. Agree or disagree please let him know what you think in the comments. We certainly hope you enjoyed the different voices over the past eight days. Thursday will see a return to regularly scheduled programming.

"Live by the tweet; get fired by the tweet.... if it's offensive, try first to ignore it."
-Stuart Schneiderman

By now the name of one Ms. Adria Richards hardly needs any introduction; over the past week, the Internet has been aflame with her exploits, most notably her actions taken in a moment of #Outrage over two fellow tech conference attendees making what she interpreted to be sexist, even misogynistic jokes while sitting behind her (even though one of the gents - a certain "Mr. Hank" who wound up getting fired - has insisted that nothing he or his bud were joking about was of a sexual nature, and has in fact turned out to be nothing short of a true gentleman in the wake of his fate). Her actions - which included snapping a picture via her camera phone without the consent of the putative offenders and then posting it to her Twitter account along with her own running commentary - has led to at least one of said putative offenders being fired from his job. But by then, the story had not just gone viral - it went pandemic - and before the week would be out, Ms. Richards would also find herself out of a job, as the former "Dev Evangelist" for the tech outfit SendGrid, not just for the way in which she handled the Donglegate affair, but because she has proven to be the very divisive force she was hired to address.

I've been following the events of the Adria Richards story over the past few days. There are many takes on what went down, what it all means and how things will or should "change" moving ahead. For my money, perhaps the most comprehensive take was posted by a tech insider and someone who knows Ms. Richards fairly well, but you can decide for yourselves.


While one can speculate as to why the Adria Richards story has caught virtual fire in the media, for me it seems rather simple - that despite the unnecessarily ugly actions of some online - making rape/death threats to Ms. Richards, "DDOSing" her former employer and so forth, there is a very real reason as to why the backlash against Ms. Richards' actions was so fierce and enormous.


Marriage Equality Comes Before the Supreme Court *UPDATED*

It has been said that there's nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.  Every few generations we see evidence of this phenomenon play out organically in America as the constitutional rights of the people are first questioned, then debated, and finally weighed before our nation's highest Court. Sometimes the Supreme Court tampers America's enthusiasm to expand a constitutional right beyond the status quo.  Other times, however, the Court finds itself making what is later judged by history as a "landmark" ruling which changes the very identity of the nation itself.  When America was founded, the right to vote was limited to White male property owners; today that right is no longer conditioned on race, gender or property ownership.  During America's early years, "separate but equal" was the widely accepted and prevailing view when it came to segregation in our society; generations later that notion was overruled by the Court in Brown v. Board of Topeka Education.  As late as 1967, some states in this country had laws on the books which made it illegal for Blacks and Whites to get married; that idea was thrown out by the Court in Loving v. Virginia. And marriage itself has long been defined in America as a fundamental right between a man and a woman, but this week the Supreme Court is hearing a pair of cases (Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor) that could change that definition to include same-sex couples.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Guest Post: A Libertarian’s View on Economics - The Ghost of Money

Today's guest post is shared with us by regular reader and commenter King's Bishop, a self-described libertarian with a disdain for Keynesian economics and a strong interest in financial and political issues. Whether you agree or disagree King's Bishop brings a fresh perspective and certainly one worth investigating. Please enjoy today's post and give your feedback in the comments.

The Ghost of Money
What is money?  It’s not what you probably think it is.

As civilized societies around the world evolved, market forces moved people to specialize in what they did best and trade the fruits of their labor.  The most skillful shoemaker in town would exchange shoes for tools with the most skillful blacksmith.  The most skillful seamstress would produce clothing for the shoemaker and blacksmith in exchange for shoes and tools respectively.  Specialization led to more efficient production, and more efficient production led to a more prosperous society.  However, this direct exchange of goods and services was cumbersome.  What happened when the blacksmith had all of the shoes he wanted when the shoemaker was in need of tools?  The shoemaker might have had to involve a third party, who produced something the blacksmith wanted, and exchange shoes for the good produced by the third party, then exchange that good for tools.  This was an inefficient process.  As markets continued to evolve, exchange became more efficient with the utilization of money.

The earliest forms of money were certainly not rectangular pieces of paper.  Merchants of the time would have thought it ridiculous to exchange consumer goods for paper that was good for little more than kindling.  Commodities, like salt and cattle, were utilized.  One reason is that these commodities had real, or intrinsic, value.  Another reason was uniformity.  For the most part, one pinch of salt was as good as another.  Utilizing this type of commodity as money was more convenient than the direct exchange of goods and services, but the perishable nature of these commodities was an issue. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Guest Post: Purple Squirrels, Labor Market and the Skills Gap

Today's guest post comes to you courtesy of Reece Chenault, a long time blog reader and commenter, community activist and labor organizer, Charles Mingus fan and criminally unheralded string bassist. With all that going on it's difficult to pin this man down but he graciously agreed to share his thoughts on labor shortages and job searches. Please let him know what you think in the comments.


Purple Squirrels…. All In My Brain…. Job Searches… Just Don’t Seem The Same
I have dinner occasionally with a friend who is a libertarian.  Lately he’s been hanging out a lot on Fox News (Cavuto, I think) and because he’s my friend, I spent some time on the channel for once.  Once my eyes adjusted to colorfully stupid programming, I noticed that there was a huge picture of a squirrel in the background.. but I was worried because that squirrel was the color of a hair dye I know of as “Manic Panic Purple.”  That’s right… a purple squirrel.
Now, I wasn’t worried because I thought they had found this squirrel on some kind of environmental disaster site or he was part of some experiment done by bored kids at George Mason University… I was worried because the concept of the “purple squirrel” is one I’m really familiar with.
“Purple squirrels” are not only rodents that don’t exist… they are people that don’t exist.  Specifically, this is a term that is used by Human Resource departments (particularly those that use software to weed out candidates because they’ve eliminated many of their human positions) as they search for the perfect candidate.  That purple squirrel is the elusive candidate they have been searching for that isn’t just able to do the job but the person that HAS done the job before exactly to the specifications set by the employer.  

Sunday, March 24, 2013

That's What's UP - The Urban Politico Guest Blogger Hour: Sunday, March 24th @ 5PM EST




That's What's UP - The Urban Politico Guest Post Hour
Join us Sunday, March 24th at 5pm (ET) as we talk with a couple of our Guest Bloggers about their post, inspiration, and response to the comment's their posts received.

This week's discussion:
Join us at the end of today's show to hear our conversation about the upcoming Season 3 fo HBO's Game of Thrones!
 
We hope you join us as we take a break from politics and discuss social and relationship issues.
Please call in and discuss with our guests!
 
Listen Live Online HERE 
or 
Call in to join our discussion (424) 675-6844

HBO Game of Thrones: Stark and Lannister

As we countdown to Season 3 of HBO's Game of Thrones I thought it might be fun each Sunday to share some quick reminders/background info on which ruling Houses are involved in war, what power they have or had and how they relate to one another. Obviously I intend to do this without spoiler information and hope that any reader who's familiar with the books will honor that as well. Otherwise I'll just have to cut off their heads. Personally. Because the man that passes the sentence should swing the sword. =) Hopefully, if you watch the show once the new season starts and all the names start to fly back and forth, this might help you recall who's who.

House Stark
The Starks are the first Great House of Westeros introduced in both the HBO show and the books. In the books they get most of the initial POV. This could have the effect of making the reader or viewer identify with the Starks. I certainly did and still do. Although the Starks are unelected nobles they appear, against all modern logic to be the "good" or "nice" nobles. Well as you know, things aren't always as they seem. Legends claim it was a Stark Night Watch commander who married a White Walker woman and then committed various atrocities before being defeated by the combined might of the Starks and Wildlings.
The Starks are rulers of The North, a region which is roughly half of all Westeros and is thus about as big as all the other realms combined. In culture and attitude the North is similar to real life medieval Scotland or Northumbria while in terms of size and weather it is like Canada or Russia. The North often has very long harsh winters. It's not densely populated or super wealthy. Much of The North's economy is based on frantically trying to produce just enough food to survive winter. Men and women are judged less on what they say and more on what they do. Northerners often have the prejudice that they're more plain spoken and virile than Southerners. Oaths are important throughout Westeros but are virtually sacrosanct in The North.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Movie Reviews-The Man with the Iron Fists, Standoff

The Man With The Iron Fists
directed by RZA
Dave Bautista is a HUGE MONSTER of a man. Lucy Liu and Jamie Chung are sexy. RZA is not a skilled actor. Russell Crowe could stand to drop a few pounds. Those are the impressions I got from watching this film. They are pretty much about all I remember. Look, nobody goes to watch a kung-fu/action movie for the great acting or complex plot lines. That's certainly not what I enjoyed watching those Saturday afternoon channel 4 kung-fu movies all those years ago.  So I wasn't really expecting much from this film. And I wasn't disappointed.

RZA directed this film with an assist in production and writing by Quentin Tarantino and Eli Roth ("Hostel"). As a director he's so so but then again most people don't hit a home run at their first at bat. No the major problem here is that RZA can't really act. Or to be more charitable he can't act well enough for you to suspend belief that he's not RZA and instead is the titular character, an emancipated slave, who somehow got shipwrecked halfway across the world in 19th century China, where he works as a blacksmith (and undercover monk) making weapons for various rival gangs who fight each other for, well, they don't really need a reason and you don't either.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Guest Post: I am not this skin. Interracial Dating Fetish

Today's guest post comes to us from LadyT. LadyT is an advice, relationship and dating columnist whose work can be found, among other places in The Ann Magazine. She details her experiences and those of others in the local Ann Arbor dating scene and hopes that her stories can be of use to singles, couples, women, men, everyone. LadyT can also be reached at her facebook page: LadyTDating.


Patiently waiting, sipping on a cool drink, enjoying the sunny sky, I sat on the patio of my favorite restaurant. It was a perfect day for people watching. My date had been running late. His name was Eric, we originally met through mutual friends. He was attractive and tall. His slicked-back, tar-colored hair showcased his olive skin and dark features brilliantly. The thought of us getting to know each other better produced a wildfire of excitement in the pit of my stomach. He had a great career, cheery personality and a confidence that bordered on arrogance. It was sexy. My thoughts became one of an optimistic, adolescent girl. I began to daydream about the unstoppable Power Couple we would be. Him, the focused, driven man that made it a habit of getting what he wanted. Me, his independent, savvy equal. Pulling myself out of this bizarre fantasy, I made it a point to remember that expectations might be the worst thing to place on a person.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Guest Post: Relationship Experts Aren't BORN, They're MADE - By Women



UP on deck today, is Mr. Lincoln Anthony Blades .....

Lincoln Anthony Blades is the founder and head writer of the popular and sometimes controversial blog, ThisIsYourConscience.com. His work has been featured in news papers from St. Vincent [The Guardian] to New York [New York Daily News]. He writes about relationships, politics, current events and anything that is going on in society. After acquiring thousands of daily readers and millions of views, he decided to release a short but well-received ebook called "The Myth Of The Multiple Orgasm", a book that effectively challenges the notion that giving and receiving multiple orgasmic sex is either impossible or rare as hell. It also details the first steps towards even being able to enjoy a multi-orgasmic sex life by helping couples break down the barriers that restrict our true passion from coming out. On the heels of that ebooks success, he decided to release a full book called "You're Not A Victim, You're A Volunteer: How To Stop Letting Love Kick Your Ass", a humorous and insightful look into relationships, break-ups and rebounding. His books, much like his site, are not meant to demean, belittle or condescend, but to offer hilarious opinions and solid introspection. The book will be released April 1st.

Besides writing, he has amassed over 20 thousand listeners of his online radio show, "Let Me Tell You Why You're Wrong", as well as generating a cult following for his podcast "Relationships & Bullsh*t”. He also frequently participates in panel discussions all over North America and the West Indies and his appearances constantly receive critical acclaim for being sharp, witty and incredibly honest.
 

Since I started writing my blog almost three years ago, I've been called MANY things like: Idiot, genius, honest, tactless, insightful and unceremonious douchebag (all of which I love in some strange way). I created my blog because I'm an ideologue who just wanted his damn opinion heard, so I wrote on every topic under the sun from the Lakers, to Obamacare, to pondering if getting a handjob from Khloe Kardashian feels like an old-leather baseball mitt being slapped against your crotch. Topics such as the latter, surprisingly, drove women to my website and introduced me to a NEW title that I absolutely HATED: Relationship Expert.
Call me any insult on urbandictionary.com, but PLEASE do NOT refer to me as a relationship expert, not just because I feel unqualified, but because I don't believe relationship experts truly exist. Many people like to use this title as a method of standing out in their particular field and they enjoy the financial and social benefits of all the connotations that come with the term "expert". See, when you think of an expert, you imagine someone who absolutely KNOWS their field of study and can navigate it so seamlessly that assisting someone else in mastering it is almost effortless. A jump-shot expert will have you shooting in the gym like Kobe, a cooking expert will turn you into Chef Ramsey and a lace front expert will turn you into Keyshia Cole's personal stylist. So that MUST mean that a relationship expert will lead you to the person you love and help you avoid all the pain and pitfalls that come with love and dating right?
 
Wrong.
 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Urban Politico's March Madness Challenge




It's that time of the year again. Time to take a break from politics and have some fun.  Challenge Godson, The Fed, Shady Grady, The Storyteller, Old Guru, Grand Central and last year's champion -- KockyKid -- in The Urban Politico's 3rd annual Tournament  Challenge!  Last year's results:

1 kockykid, kockykid2002 220200 280240 320320 Kentucky 0 1580 99.8
2 The Janitor, burningsands 0180 200240 160320 Kentucky 0 1310 91.8
3 Old Guru, Old Guru2420 190180 16080 160320 Kentucky 0 1090 69.0
4 kuhombre, kuhombre 240140 200160 1600 Kansas 0 900 55.0
5 kuhombre 2, kuhombre 210220 120160 1600 Kansas 0 870 52.1 (you only get one bracket!)
6 The_FED, Black_Rio 200160 120160 1600 Mich St 0 800 44.7
7 Deborah, 2175Deborah 230200 200160 00 Ohio St 0 790 43.5
8 NETHPAD, NETHPAD 200180 200160 00UNC 0 740 37.6
9 HideYoKidsHideYoWife, Digga617 210160 12080 1600 UNC 0 730 36.4
10 MollyAnn, MollyAnn64 240200 16080 00 Mich St 0 680 30.3
11 Shady_Grady, Carmine_Galente 190160 12080 00 UNC 0 550 14.0
12 phillyphotog, phillyphotog 240200 8000 0 Florida St 0 520 10.8
13 Grand_Central, Grand_Central 200140 4080 00 Mich St 0 460 5.9

Do you know your college basketball?  Even if you don't,  come join us! 

You  got a team?  You got a region?  You got a state?  You got a conference?   Let the trash talk and braggin' rights begin!  Put your comments below, support your team or just talk trash about how your bracket is doing (or  how bad other brackets are doing)



Here's the catch - YOU ONLY GET ONE ENTRY!!!!!  None of that 5 to 6 entry stuff.  One shot!  If you win, brag about it!  If you lose, try again next year!

Your brackets MUST be submitted by Tip Off of the 1st Game THURSDAY, MARCH 21, 2013!


Good luck!





(You may need to create a profile/username on ESPN.COM if you haven't done so already - It's Free)

Guest Post: Can Chivalry and Feminism Co-Exist in Peace?

Today's guest post comes from long time reader, regular commenter and accomplished blogger, Diva Bleu CEO. Diva Bleu is a lady with no problem stating what's on her mind. You can read more of her musings at her blog Diva's World. Today she'd like to share with the community some of her thoughts on feminism, chivalry and what do women really want. Please read, enjoy and give her your feedback in the comments.

This picture to the left says it all.
We are women. 
We want some stuff; although we’re not really sure all the time of what that is collectively…
WHATEVER it is, we want it… NOW!!!

OK… I know. Some women won’t like what I just stated, and that being the case you won’t really like what I’m about to say either. And that’s fine; I’m not here for your approval. I just wanted to put that at the forefront of this post because, as a newly minted semi-feminist, this summed up my exact thoughts…
Now, you’re probably asking yourself, “What’s a semi-feminist? Sounds like some kind of weird, hippie sex move…” Well, that could totally be true, but that’s not the context I’m using it in at the moment.  No; I’m referring to being a woman who, in reaching my 30′s, has come into her own and realized that the treatment of women in America and all over the world is sickening. Just this past election cycle here in the great ol’ U. S. of A., we ladies had to deal with so many odd, awkward and downright ludicrous attacks from so many angles, it was blinding… Binders FULL of women, anyone?  And who could forget this little nugget of crazy… “LEGITIMATE RAPE”?

Oh… GOP… you’re so psychotic. The Lilly Ledbetter Act was paraded in front of us like a show horse, trotting and bucking and full of gusto… Oh what an incredible, insane circus it was!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Federal Budget. And what the hell is sequestration? Part I



Okay TUPers, I’ve bored you several times before by writing posts about the federal budget, along with other fiscal knickknacks.  Admittedly, those posts never really garnered too many comments.  So even the thought of writing another means that I'm the living embodiment of “the definition of insanity” or just writing for self-gratification.  Either way, be warned, I’m going to talk about the budget...again.  So the numbness and blurry vision you may be experiencing may have nothing to do with that glass of Chianti you're sipping on.  It may just be in response to the post you stopped reading about three sentences ago.  However, for those of you who’ve made the questionable choice to keep reading – thank you – and know that I actually think there’s purpose behind this post.  Now, I’ve tried to get this all in one post but there is simply too much to say.  So, in an effort to build in suspense (actually, it was just too long to read...), I’ve taken a que from Tarantio and split this up in to two posts.  Sure, I the main culprit could be this long-ass introduction... but...

Whatever… here’s Part I...

As I said, we’ve actually talked about the federal budget and all the craziness that surrounds it before.  We’ve covered many things from the fiscal cliff and continuing resolutions, to democrats not passing a ‘budget’ in an millennia...millennias...?  millennium...? mill.... extremely long time, and yes, even the inflated debt ceiling debacle.  However, every time one of these issues pop up, we usually get several questions.  Most of them revolve around an understanding of the current manufactured crisis.  Recently, it occurred to me that it may help if folks had some level of understanding about the budget.  That way, you can identify where the craziness fits in and what the impact means.  You know, if someone asks, "When I hear folks say that the Democrats haven't passed a budget but the government hasn't shutdown, what does that mean."  I can say, "That means the Democratic lead Senate Budget Committee hasn't sent forth their proposal for the budget resolution process" and folks will know what I mean.  Or not... no promises. 
So, I figure a high-level overview would help to put things in context for many folks.  Or, if nothing else, serve as an excellent sedative if you have trouble sleeping tonight.  Either way, I hope it helps someone understand the ridiculousness that has taken place in our nation’s capital.

With that being said…

Guest Post: War on Rape = War on Drugs

Today's guest post comes to us from the man known as Obsidian, who can and will be found all over the internet slaying sacred cows feeding from the troughs of racism, feminism and unearned self-regard. If you start it, he'll finish it, but will often do so with humor. Agree or disagree he usually has something interesting to bring up. He makes his home base at http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com/

Zerlina Maxwell's recent appearance on Fox News and the events that followed, have seemingly ignited yet another round in what I refer to as the War on Rape - the fullcourt press on the part of the Feminist Lobby and their allies, to eradicate what they deem as "rape culture" - the beliefs, social mores and the like that purportedly enables rape itself - from our midst. To be sure, the actions of Ms. Maxwell and others are to be lauded, for they have done a goodly measure of positive things for our society over the past few decades; but if they are not careful, they run the very real risk of driving themselves into the same ideological ditch that another "war" currently finds itself.

That other "war" is, of course, the War on Drugs - and by all accounts, we are losing it. Badly. While the utter carnage of the Crack Wars of the 80s and 90s have died down - in no small part due to the grisly facts that many of that era's top competitors have taken each other out during tussles over "real estate", or that many crack addicts have smoked themselves to death, etc. - we still are faced with a culture that attempts to demonize the addict and criminalize the dealer (usually almost always small-time to, at best, mid-level "corner boys" who make a mere pittance), which explains the enormous bulge in the prison population, where it has been well documented that a majority of those incarcerated are there for victimless, nonviolent drug offenses. These people are burdened with criminal records on top of either their extant drug addictions or lack of economic prospects, and so the chances of their returning to prison is that much higher. And round and round the cycle of societal dysfunction goes.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Guest Post: Energy, Nutrition and Health

Today's guest post is from legendary long time commenter Molly. Molly has a tremendous wealth of knowledge about nutrition, health and exercise and graciously agreed to share some of her thoughts about healthy living with the blog community. Please enjoy and provide feedback.

One day last December, a lady stopped her cart near mine in the produce department at the grocery store and said “Can I ask you a couple of questions? You look like you know what you are doing.” I was picking out beets for vegetable broth. I smiled and said “Sure.” She told me that she had come out from Washington D.C. about five years ago to take care of her grandmother who has Alzheimer’s. She said she was taking good care of her grandmother, but hadn’t been taking very good care of herself and she was tired of being tired. She was small and thin and did indeed look tired. We talked for a while about picking out and preparing vegetables and making juices and vegetable broth. I wrote down the name and web site for the vitamin and mineral herbal concentrate that I use. She left the conversation looking happy and energetic.

On the drive home, I was thinking about how much of a difference it makes when somebody is willing to take the time to answer our questions. I could answer her questions because I’ve already been through that particular learning curve.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Guest Post Week (March 18th - March 22nd)


It's gUest Post Week!!!
 
 This is the week where we want to know what's on YOUR mind!!!

All this week, The Urban Politico will feature posts from many of our loyal followers and other bloggers from across the blogosphere. 

From March 18th - March 22nd, we will feature a new post every day covering many different topics.  

Then, be sure to listen to our internet show on Sunday, March 24th where we will feature our guest writers.  We will talk about what inspired their post, the reaction, and feedback.  Join the chat.  Call in and talk with the  writers.  

We want to hear from YOU!  If you have something to say, you want to vent, or simply get something off your chest, then we want to hear from you!  

Now's the time!

STAND
BE HEARD!!!

C-PAC: Minority outreach doesn't go according to plan (Video)

From ThinkProgress
If you listened to our show today, you heard us discussing the CPAC's minority outreach event called "Trump the Race Card: Are You Sick and Tired of Being Called a Racist and You Know You're Not One?"  The event was moderated by K.C. Smith and KCarl Smith, two brothers who call themselves "Frederick Douglass Republicans" and believe in cooning for white conservatives that, "[They] are people who champion the LIFE-EMPOWERING values of Douglass: (1) Respect for the Constitution; (2) Respect for Life; (3) Belief in Limited Government; and (4) Belief in Personal Responsibility. A "black, dyed in the wool Republican” Frederick Douglass was the quintessential conservative Republican. Having served as the catalyst within the Abolitionist Movement, which gave birth to the Republican Party and ended slavery, Douglass’ political views align with the beliefs of the Founding Fathers"

HBO Game of Thrones: Tyrell and Baratheon

As we countdown to Season 3 of HBO's Game of Thrones I thought it might be fun each Sunday to share some quick reminders/background info on which ruling Houses are involved in war, what power they have or had and how they relate to one another. Obviously I intend to do this without spoiler information and hope that any reader who's familiar with the books will honor that as well. Otherwise I'll just have to cut off their heads. Personally. Because the man that passes the sentence should swing the sword. =) Hopefully, if you watch the show once the new season starts and all the names start to fly back and forth, this might help you recall who's who.

House Tyrell
House Tyrell rules the south central area of Westeros known as The Reach. The Tyrells maintain order from their capital at Highgarden. The Reach is the most populated, most fertile and perhaps the most beautiful area of Westeros. The Tyrells can usually raise larger armies than anyone else. They also have a strong navy which can be compared to that of the royals and the Iron Isles. The Tyrells are also richer than any other group except the Lannisters. This potent combination of money and muscle makes the Tyrells either a useful ally or a bad enemy to have.

House Tyrell was originally a steward house to The Reach's rulers. When the ruling king perished in dragon fire fighting the Targaryen invaders, House Tyrell decided that further battle would be pointless and promptly surrendered to the Targaryens. For this self-interested practicality (flip-flopping??) House Tyrell was raised to ruling status over The Reach. The fact that House Tyrell was allied to the Targaryens almost certainly delayed the incorporation of Dorne into the realm as the Tyrells and the Martells were bitter and occasionally bloody rivals.

That's What's UP - The Urban Politico Radio Hour: Sunday, March 17th @ 5PM EST




That's What's UP - The Urban Politico Radio Hour
Join us Sunday, March 17th at 5pm (ET) as we talk about the Politics of the United States and beyond.


This week's discussion:
  • Update: Drones/Court of Appeals - Gay Marriage GOP
  • Detroit Emergency Manager
  • Gun Control Bills
  • C-PAC: Minority Outreach goes bad
     
Listen Live Online HERE or 
Call in to join our discussion (424) 675-6844

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Book Reviews-American Conspiracies, World War II: Saving the Reality

American Conspiracies
by Governor Jesse Ventura
I like to look into the hidden nature of things. I'm certain that not everyone on this planet means to do good. And when the same events continue happening (like say political leaders assassinated by lone nuts who conveniently are killed or incarcerated without trial shortly afterwards) I like to look for a pattern. So I am probably among the target audience for this book.

If you think that the federal and local governments and corporations that run this society are too inept, self-interested or selfish to successfully pull off a conspiracy to elect your Aunt Mabel dog catcher, much less start wars and murder Presidents, if you think that anyone who believes that there are evil people in government like there are in any other institution is a "conspiracy nut", if you think that governments and corporations are generally organized and run by altruistic people who honestly have your best interests at heart, then this is most definitely not the book for you. Reading it will raise your blood pressure to dangerous levels. I wouldn't care to be responsible for that. Take the blue pill and go back to sleep.

But if you're ready to look into some strange happenings, if you are an open minded person, then this book might be right up your alley. Take the red pill, start reading and prepare to have your mind blown.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

LEAN IN

The Good Ole Days!
A few years ago, the former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch, got into major trouble for spewing this at the Society for Human Resource Management’s annual conference:

"There's no such thing as work-life balance. There are work-life choices, and you make them, and they have consequences. We'd love to have more women moving up faster, but they've got to make the tough choices and know the consequences of each one. Taking time off for family can offer a nice life,but the chances of going to the top on that path" are smaller. That doesn't mean you can't have a nice career."
Jack comes from the "Good Ole Days" era above. So we can't possibly expect him to do better. However, his comments ignited a rage in women and began that oh so pesky conversation "Can Women Have it All?" 

Four-years later and we are having the conversation again. This time we are not just asking that stupid question, but seeking to identify the root cause, and come up with common sense solutions to move past Jack Welsch's araic way of thinking. However, is the root cause Jack Welch's arcaic way of thinking, or is it the actions and inactions of women?


Facebook's Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg has the answer. However, the sharp truth she reveals has not gone over too well with some folks.



Sheryl has been on a media blitz promoting her new book "LEAN IN," where she makes a mandate to women and forces us to identify our role in the stifling of our progress. It's not Jack Welch and the likes who think like him, who've defined what it means to be a woman climbing the corporate ladder. Actually, its we women who have.

Crowd Screams -- "No Way! What did you say? Can't be so! I'm actually the reason, that I can't achieve the goals I desire. Who does Sheryl thinks she is? She's"


Of course in typical chick hating fashion, instead of taking what Sheryl has said, stopping in our tracks, and reflecting upon it, we've decided to bash her. A handful of folks have decided to take the simplistic road of a coward, to diminish the truth of Sheryl's thoughts, and declare that she can't relate because - "feel free to insert your petty reasoning here."


Sorry folks, Sheryl is right........

Pakistani Muslims Riot Over Blasphemy Charges

Here we go again. Let's just be blunt. There are a lot of things the US Founding Fathers and later judges and politicians got wrong when they created the legal and social standards for our country but refusing to create a state church and generally enforcing a separation of church and state wasn't one of them. I am not religious. The issue with most religions is that many creeds feel that they have a monopoly on "truth". I totally get that. I disagree but as long as they don't bother me I won't bother them. But in some countries, and Pakistan is one of them, there isn't quite a relatively robust separation of church and state. Religion may not run the state but it has entirely too much influence.

In the US or most of what's referred to obliquely as "The West" if I want to make a movie or write a book mocking Jesus or making fun of Moses or criticizing Muhammad I can do so. I may be insulted or mocked in turn but generally speaking no one is going to try to burn my house down. Police won't charge me with blasphemy. No one will try to shoot my wife or children. You can't say the same about Pakistan. In fact you don't even have to have been convicted of committing "blasphemy", just have someone in the majority group (Sunni Muslim) accuse you of having committed blasphemy and the lynch mob is ready to go.


Guest Posts Coming Soon!!!!

From time to time the blog authors here learn from both online and offline feedback that you, our ever faithful readers, might enjoy experiencing some different voices and points of view here at The Urban Politico. And from time to time our bosses on our various day jobs actually expect us, your dutiful blog authors, to work from can't see to can't see with no time off to create, edit or discuss new incisive and detailed blog posts. When those two sets of circumstances coincide then we usually get together and determine that it might be a good time to put up some guest posts.

So starting Monday next week (3/18), please look for a number of insightful and different guest posts on various subjects from long time readers, people that may have just discovered the blog and other veteran bloggers or writers with something interesting to share with you. We're happy that these intelligent people took time out of their busy day to write.  New ideas and new voices keep things fresh. We hope that you enjoy the change of pace and show our guests lots of love in the comments. We'll be discussing some of the topics raised in the guest posts on our Sunday radio show so please tune in and call in. And if you ever have an idea about a guest post of your own that you'd like to share with the community, you can contact us at our email address.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Gun Control and Gun Violence in America


March 11, 2013: A 6-month-old baby is shot five times while her father, also shot due to gang related violence, changed her diaper. The baby succumbed to her injuries and died Tuesday. 

March 9, 2013: A 16-year-old New York boy is shot and killed by two plainclothes NYPD officers. Officers say the boy pointed a gun at them.

February 15, 2013: An 18-year-old Chicago woman is killed hours after her sister stood behind President Obama at Hyde Park Career Academy and watched him speak on the city's rampant gun violence.

February 3 - 12, 2013: An ex-LAPD officer kills four people in a vindictive shooting rampage before being killed in a cabin in the San Bernardino Mountains. 

January 29, 2013: A 15-year-old Chicago girl is killed walking through a park with friends just eight days after she marched in President Obama's second inaugural parade.


December 14, 2012: A gunman killed his mother, 20 children and six teachers before turning his gun on himself. President Obama said this was the darkest day of his presidency.

November 23, 2012: A 17-year-old Jacksonville, Florida boy is shot and killed in an argument over loud music with a man that had just left his son's wedding.

August 5, 2012: A member of a hate group stormed a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin and killed six people before turning the gun on himself.

July 20, 2012: A disturbed gunman stormed the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises; in Aurora, Colorado. He killed 12 people and injured 58.

February 26, 2012: An overzealous neighborhood watch leader followed a 17-year-old boy home. He thought the boy was a suspicious adult, possibly on drugs or something. He approached, they fought, the teen died. 

If you are reading this timeline of prominent shootings that have happened within the last year and are disturbed then congratulations you have a heart. If you are reading this timeline of prominent shootings that have happened within the last year and have come to believe this is just the state of the world we live in, then you like many others I know have become immune to tragedy.

I grew up on the South Side of Chicago. When I tell people exactly where on the South Side they look at me and have one of two reactions: "Wow, you made it out," or "I never would have known."

Just last year, less than two months before I got married, gun violence rocked my family. A boy I had known all of his life, my godbrother, my next door neighbor, was arrested for shooting a Chicago Police Officer. His face was plastered across all Chicago media outlets. My mother harassed by journalists, like me, trying to get an emotional edge on their story. I was not immune.

Monday, March 11, 2013

House of Lies - Racial Profiling

A few episodes into its second season on Showtime, the upbeat and comical House of Lies (staring Don Cheadle) has ventured into new territory as it attempts to take a look at what happens when a young Black business professional experiences racial profiling by the police.  In the March 3rd episode (spoiler alert) Marty Kaan (played by Cheadle) decides to go for a routine jog through his neighborhood.  He puts on the outfit you see in the pic above, puts in his earphones like most joggers do, and goes for a run.  As he's running, a few police officers see him and decide that he "fits the description" of somebody who may have just recently committed a crime and they attempt to stop him but, because he's listening to his iPod, he can't hear the officers.  By the time he sees them and pulls out his earbuds, the cops have already developed a severe case of attitude, which doesn't vibe well with Kaan's Type-A personality, especially considering the bad day (week?) Kaan had been having prior to the run-in with the cops.  So Kaan decides to give a little attitude back towards the cops...and you don't need me to tell you what happens next when a Black man gives attitude to the LAPD.  In the following episode (again, spoiler alert) Kaan's son Roscoe asks him if the police will profile and attack Roscoe too some day.  Kaan tries to reassure Roscoe that such a thing will never happen to him because he's a good kid...but can a Black man in America ever promise such a thing to his son?

Kwame Kilpatrick Convicted in Federal trial

This is not exactly news which ought to surprise anyone but former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was convicted of 24 counts of racketeering and extortion and other crimes.  He could face 20 years in prison. I'm not jubilant nor am I sad. It's just really disappointing because he was someone who could have done a lot of good for the city of Detroit and maybe even the state of Michigan. Unfortunately, in my opinion, he got caught up in the trappings of power and more interested in how he could enrich his friends, family and business partners than how best to serve the citizens of Detroit. Coming on the heels of a soon to be announced emergency financial manager for the city of Detroit, this conviction doesn't bode well for those who argue that the city can get out of the horrible political and financial situation it finds itself facing.

Kilpatrick's hardly the only black politician to get taken down by the feds and he won't be the last. You would think that corrupt black mayors, representatives, and senators would learn that unlike NY banks and financial institutions, the Justice Department and federal prosecutors, do not in fact, consider them to be too big to jail.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

That's What's UP - The Urban Politico Radio Hour: Sunday, March 10th @ 5PM EST




 
That's What's UP - The Urban Politico Radio Hour
Join us Sunday, March 10th at 5pm (ET) as we talk about the Politics of the United States and beyond.


This week's discussion:
  • Rand Paul vs AG Holder and Drones
  • Filibusters and Judges
  • Black Pope?
     
Listen Live Online HERE or 
Call in to join our discussion (424) 675-6844