Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Congratulations and Welcome Zerlina


Sorry for being awol but stuff happens. Anyway, welcome Zerlina. Look forward to all you have to say. I've been working on a few things that I plan to post shortly. Again, congratulations on joining the Urban Politico family.

One Love,

Rob Bell

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Michael Steele Gets Pwned by Robert Gibbs

I thought that on my very first day here at The Urban Politico, I would only do one post but alas RNC Chairman Michael Steele has forced my hand.

It's safe to assume that I have little respect for Steele and generally find him to be completely vacuous, devoid of any common sense, and lacking much of the intellect you would think is required to be a party chairman. (Too harsh?...maybe.)

Today, however, he again said something STOOPID only to be completely pwned by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs from the podium.

A little background: President Obama is going to Copenhagen, Denmark to secure Chicago's bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games (which if I honestly think is pretty much guaranteed or else Obama's political staff would never allow him to even go on the trip). Seems pretty benign right? What's wrong with the President, the Commander and Chief and the primary representative of the United States abroad going on an 18 hour trip to Denmark to lock down such a prestigious honor for one the great American cities and his hometown?

According to Chairmen Steele, the President is just not able to successfully multitask.

Steele: "If the priority is the Olympics in seven years, okay, then tell the nation that’s the priority and that’s what we should be focused on because we’ll create jobs then and we won’t worry about it between now and 2016. But if the goal is to create jobs here in America today, then let’s do that."

It's a great time to point out how much of a stupid thing that is to say because it's a fact that hosting the Olympics here in the U.S. actually could generate $22.5 billion (<---that's a "B!") in economic activity which is the equivalent to creating nearly 315,000 full-time jobs. I should also note that the overall impact on the economy would not just be limited to 7 years from now. Preparation to host the Olympics starts years in advance (just ask China).

How dumb do you think Steele sounds now?

Very dumb.

Here is the clip of Press Secretary Gibbs delivering a pretty good zinger from the podium in response to Steele's criticism:

Why is Michael Steele so stupid?

With Friends Like These Who Needs Republicans?

Sen. Jay Rockefeller's (D-WV) Public Option Amendment Fails in the Senate Finance Committee 8-15

I woke up this morning hoping that maybe, just maybe, the Conservadems in the Senate Finance Committee would get a clue. At this point though, they have received far too much money from the insurance industry for that to be possible. I don't know if I'm the only one, but I frequently forget that people like Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ben Nelson (D-NE) are DEMOCRATS! How in the world did it get to the point where the guy from Montana, with a population of 8, gets all the power?
I don't know whether it's still possible for President Obama to sign a healthcare reform bill that includes a public option by the end of the year. There is still a chance that with some fancy budget reconciliation procedures, we might not even end up needing the Kent Conrad's of the world to help us get a public option in a final bill. Basically how that can work is the Senate will pass some version of the horrible crap also known as the Baucus bill without a public option and the House will pass a bill with a strong public option.

One thing that Obama has pointed out repeatedly is that during conference committee a number of folks on the Democratic side are actually
real liberals. Instead of Ben Nelson (D-NE), (who today actually had the nerve to say that he didn't think a healthcare reform bill that passed with less than 65 votes could be considered credible as if to choose a number that was deliberately unattainable. Wonder how much Humana gave him to say that?

But I digress...) deciding what goes in the final bill, are people like Jay Rockefeller (pictured above), Chris Dodd, and Charles Rangel. This is good news if you are a supporter of the public option which I'm assuming you are since it polls above 65%. It is very possible that after all this mess with triggers and co-ops, a public option could get put back in the bill before it goes to the Senate floor and at that point according to the rules the bill cannot be changed, they just have to give it an up or down vote. (I credit Ezra Klein's
blog for the Washington Post with helping me get a handle on these procedural nuances.) At that point Harry Reid (D-NV) can decide if he wants to use budget reconciliation. If he decides not to, the Conservadems will actually have to summon the courage (ha!) to filibuster the bill WITH the Republicans. I'm at least hoping that they are too wimpy to do that since they've proven to be spineless with everything else healthcare reform related up to this point.

So am I stupid to still have any optimism left about healthcare reform and the public option?

Update: Sen. Chuck Schumer's Amendment for a less robust public option, a follow up to the Rockefeller Amendment, has also failed in the Senate Finance Committee with a vote of 10-13. The news there though is that Ben Nelson got a clue and flipped to support it. Also switching to support it was Senator Tom Carper (D-DE). Kent Conrad, Max Baucus, and Blanche Lincoln who continue to behave like Republicans voted against.

Update II: Turns out my optimism re: the public option isn't misplaced.

Note: In the prior version of this post I referred to Senator Ben Nelson of Florida instead of from Nebraska. Bill Nelson who is also on the Finance Committee is a Democrat from Florida. Both voted in favor of the Schumer Public Option Amendment which failed 10-13 (only 2 votes shy of passage).

Secret Service on Facebook

In an environment where a United States Congressman feels free to yell out from his chair and interrupt the President of the United States during a formal address to Congress with accusations of dishonesty, one has to ask how exactly did America allow itself to stoop so low? It has become painfully apparent that any and all vitriol against the President is not only tolerated, but is also encouraged by everybody from the media to "Birthers" to our government's elected officials. At what point do we realize that the further we disrespect the presidency, the further we disrespect America? At what point do we say enough is enough?

Over the weekend, some chickenshit coward anonymous user put a poll up on Facebook that asked the following question "Should President Obama be killed?"


What's worse is about 700 people actually responded to it before Facebook was notified to take it down. The story is now making major buzz around the media from Fox News to CNN. And why is it making major buzz? Not because Facebook pulled the poll within hours of its creation. Nor is it because the poll is over the top because, as we've seen, over the top language against the president has been accepted as a "freedom of speech" non-issue by our friends in the cable news business. This story is finally catching traction because this is the first time that the American people have actually seen the Secret Service officially and publicly launch an investigation to go after somebody who has threatened President Obama since he took office.

Sure, there was that nutty pastor who prayed for Obama's death, but he got off with a mere sit-down interview from the Secret Service where they likely served him tea and crumpets. This time, they're actually launching an investigation that seeks to prosecute an individual for making a threat against the President (which, BTW, is actually against the law contrary to popular right-wing belief).

Many civilizations and empires far older than the United Stats have fallen throughout history (Egypt, Rome, Greece, the Soviet Union, etc.). At some point, the people of each nation stopped respecting their own nation at a fundamental level, and once that happened it was only a matter of time. If we continue this type of blatant disregard for the Presidency, it's not exactly inconceivable that the United States could be next on the list.


As a departure from the political musings, I gotta ask a big "WTF????" on this one. In fact, I gotta ask it two times: WTF???

As you've probably heard by now, 29 tear-old NBA star Lamar Odom of the L.A. Lakers just got married (yes married, sheesh) to 25 year-old Khloe Kardashian, sister to the infamous Ray J sex tape sensation and reality TV star, Kim Kardashian. Now that alone is not exactly controversial, but what is controversial is the fact that they got married without a pre-nuptual agreement after having dated for (wait for it....wait for it....) one month. No that's not a typo. I said one month. As in four weeks. As in 30 days. Married after 30 days with no pre-nup.

This story is fraught with issues: there's the whole WTF were you thinking issue; the how long do you really need to know somebody before you get married issue; the pre-nup issue; oh and lest we not be thorough, there's always the whole famous black athlete marries a white girl issue.

Who dived off the deep end more here - Odoms or Khloe? And to the larger issue, how do you feel about (1) pre-nups and (2) how long do people need to know each other before they get married?

Monday, September 28, 2009

New Blogger on The Urban Politico

Oyez Oyez Oyez!!!

Since we're all living in the Sotomayor era, we figured it was high time to break up the good old boy club around here and bring in a fresh and well needed female perspective to the blog. Therefore, The Urban Politico is proud to announce our newest addition to the family, a fellow political jedi who goes by the name Lady Z.

Even though you will see her around, just to give you a quick resume, Z is a law student who hails from the east coast. Like myself and GodSon, she also worked full time for Obama's 2008 presidential campaign; she was stationed in the battleground state of Virginia. In addition to being an avid writer about politics and world affairs, she's probably one of the biggest Michael Jackson fans known to man.

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

Friday, September 25, 2009

Hey Iran, Whatcha Got Behind Your Back There?

Hours ago at the 2009 Pittsburgh G20 Summit, President Obama (US), President Sarkozy (France) and the Prime Minister Brown (United Kingdom) presented evidence of a covert uranium enrichment facility in Iran. Iran has a right to nuclear power for its people, but the size and scope of this newly discovered facility is not consistent with those required for a mere nuclear power plant. According to international law and the compact between UN nations, those nations without nuclear weapons must forsake them. The 3 world leaders, along with Germany who could not be present this morning, called for Iran to stop what they are doing or else face the consequences.

This could be trouble.

The reason Iran's nuclear development has been so controversial is because (i) this is the third time it has lied about what it is doing with respect to nuclear development and (ii) President Ahmadinejad has made some pretty inflammatory comments about Israel. (something along the lines of wiping Israel off the map or words to that effect). Israel is an ally to the United States, so if it were to go to war, the United States would likely go to war. So an argument could be made that it is in the best interest of the world that Iran not be allowed to develop nuclear arms.

However, are we being hypocrites for having our own nuclear weapons and telling other nations not to develop their own?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Obama Goes on Letterman

As an extension of the Jimmy Carter commentary debate, David Letterman asked Obama last night about the vitriol being spewed by the right and Obama gave a clever response that made the media highlights this morning (see at 2:07).

(sorry in advance for the commercial)


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Brick City

"This is Brick City!
Hear the gunshots, where they hate cops
On every block, there's a weed spot
This is Brick City!
Hear the gun jam, if you don't run fam-i-ly with a suntan
This is Brick City!
Hear the gun spit, niggas jump ship
Where we spit, 'cause we run shit
Play pussy wit' us
And get fucked quick
Who got the duchess?"

- Redman

Brick City (also known as Newark, New Jersey to you good folks at home) holds a special place in my heart as the cradle of my legal education whereby I learned the black letter law out of a book by day, and witnessed its practical application (or lack thereof) on the streets by night. During my three-year tour of duty in the Bricks, I saw everything from crackheads marching through 3 feet of snow just to buy another hit, to hookers at the point, to swat teams on Broad Street armed with enough firepower to occupy a third-world country. I was told by three (3) different police offers on three (3) separate occasions that not only was it was perfectly acceptable to run red lights at night, but in fact it is custom to run them just so long as I looked both ways before doing so. (See New Jersey Drive if you don't understand why this is an issue)

On my block alone in Central Ward, Newark, my roommates and I were involuntary audience members to our own reality TV version of "The Wire" which took place outside of our window every single day. A teenage boy was stabbed to death in front of our apartment - we literally witnessed his last moments. The subsequent chalk outline quickly became integrated into the common landscape; the Shabazz High School students walked over it everyday as if they were stepping over street garbage. We also witnessed several shootings on the block, a few cases of domestic violence, and, of course, the good old standard default daily drug deals from the crack dealers across the street. It got to the point where we weren't even phased by anything anymore. Actually, the most disturbing part of it all was that despite all of the aforementioned activity, we never saw a single person get arrested. Ever. Oh sure, we saw the police cruise up and down the block on the daily. We even saw a few police raids complete with helicopters and police dogs, but we never saw the police actually take anybody to jail.

I also happened to meet the mayor of Newark, Cory Booker, back when he was a mayoral candidate hoping to dethrone the infamous Sharpe James. A classmate and I approached him out in a restaurant one night off the humbug and asked him to speak at a Black Law Student Association banquet at our school that year. He agreed. Over the next few years after he won the election, Mayor Booker became a very visible figure throughout the city. Through my conversations with him, it became clear that Booker was genuinely hopeful that Newark's best days still lay ahead of it, however the tragic murder of the three college students in 2007 served as a reminder that no matter who the mayor is, Brick City will not allow itself to be changed overnight.

Nevertheless, despite everything I've just mentioned, Newark, New Jersey actually has come a long way since the days when it was known as the car-theft capital of the United States. The commercial district is booming with new business professionals, great food can be found in the Portuguese Iron Bound district, new development can be seen popping up all over the city every day, and more and more New Yorkers seeking to avoid the high rents of the City have set up shop in some of the new residential areas of Newark. Hopefully these aspect of Newark will be featured in the new documentary on the Sundance channel.

The Sundance network, along with Oscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker, have filmed a documentary entitled "Brick City" which will begin airing for five consecutive nights at 10:00pm eastern, starting tonight (Monday, September 21, 2009) at 10pm.

Weigh in with your comments, memories, thoughts, experiences, or just anything you want to say about the "Brick City."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Obama in the Middle

This week, there has been much ado about Jimmy Carter's comments that suggested that much of the fringe right-wing attack against President Obama is rooted in racial animus. Many Blacks, familiar with recognizing racial discrimination and having said the same thing for months, applauded the former President for his remarks. However, many political pundits in the media, such as Morning Joe talk show host, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, have made the common logically fallacious leap of broadening Carter's words into the proposition that anybody who criticizes President Obama is a racist. Thus began the week-long debate over whether or not anybody who speaks out against Obama is a racist. Not only is such a proposition incorrect (people can obviously criticize Obama without being racist), but it is also not what former President Carter said. He said:

"I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man."

So unless you are one of the people "intensely demonstrating animosity" then, quite frankly, former President Carter was not talking about you. In other words, pundits like Scarborough and Brzezinski should take the straw man argument elsewhere and stick to what was actually said.

However, everything discussed so far is merely the foundation for the latest controversy over the Carter statements. I have received many e-mails, phone calls and text messages regarding the new and improved controversy that many of you are now having a problem with surrounding Carter-gate, and it actually has less to do with Carter and more to do with Obama.

Yesterday, President Obama's soft-spoken press secretary, Robert Gibbs, said the following:

"The president does not believe that that criticism comes based on the color of his skin."

Jaws across America hit the floor simultaneously. Everybody who applauded Carter's astute observation on Monday struggled on Wednesday to understand how the first Black President could drop the former President's perfectly placed alley-oop pass. So let's get this straight...millions of Americans in the fringe-Right, who have clearly evidenced racial animus towards the President with their proclamations of taking "their country back [from the Black guy]" were finally called out by a credible white political figure, and the Black President comes back and says "no they're not racist." WTF?

We know that political protocol dictates that Obama has to walk a fine line down the middle in order to get re-elected in 2012, but sometimes hanging out in the political "safe zone" is just as damaging as taking a stand on a controversial issue. Sometimes, by walking down the middle, you alienate those who would be your biggest supporters.

The fringe Right has made it clear, they are never going to support Obama. Mr. President, perhaps it is finally time to write them off.

Should Obama take a stand on the issue of race here or should he play it safe?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Open Letter To Congress:

Dear United States House of Representatives,

You suck.

No really.

Would you like to know why your approval rating is always the lowest of all 3 branches of government regardless of who the President is? Contrary to what you might think, it's not because Americans have no clue as to what exactly it is that you do around here. (which is a good question, actually) Rather, it's because you do stupid things like you did today, whereby 179 of you demonstrated that you don't even know how to read your own damn House Rules on conduct. If you did, then you would have known that Joe Wilson's outburst against the President is not a partisan issue, nor a free speech issue, nor is its reprimand something that should be given much pause for debate. No, folks, this one is pretty straight forward. Call me crazy, but when the Rules (that you wrote by the way) say to do XYZ, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that you should probably do XYZ.

In other words, you complicate things that are not complicated. The truth of the matter is, sometimes things are simple. Sometimes life hands you a freebie. Americans would like to think that maybe, just maybe, you people in Congress have the ability to come to a consensus on something. Anything. But alas you can't, because you suck.

When one of your members makes history by becoming the first jackass in 220 years to ever disrespect a sitting United States President during a Presidential address to the United States Congress, and further, when your rules clearly state that this is a violation, the correct answer to the question of "do we sanction this guy?" is an unequivocal "YES." Period.

We are aware that as Congressmen and Congresswomen your natural inclination is to spend countless hours debating making soundbites on the House floor for every media-worthy piece of lobbyist-written legislation that makes its way onto the desks of your respective Elle Woods interns. We are further aware that your prime directive is to put your country first make partisan all things which are not partisan. Your fact-averse approach to the issues that face our nation is astounding. You pride yourselves on putting your party affiliations over the betterment of America as a whole when it needs you most. You are the living embodiment of the phrase "politics-as-usual." These are merely a few of the many contributing factors as to why you suck.

On the bright side, I know that no matter how bad I may suck from time to time, even on my worst day I'll never suck as bad as you do.


The Janitor

P.S. - Be thankful I didn't even go into the Race issue implicit in the fact that the only President that this has ever happened to in the 220-year history of the nation just so happens to be the Black President.

Monday, September 14, 2009

VMA's and Heartbreaks

Kanyeezy? What the fa-cheezy?

In case you were living under a rock this past weekend, MTV hosted it's annual Video Music Awards (VMA's) in New York City last night, during which "the incident" in question took place.

We've seen Kanye West pull a lot of jaw dropping moments in our time: from storming out of the MTV Music Awards in 2004 for losing "Best New Artist" to country singer Gretchen Wilson, to the moment he stormed off stage and declared his "boycott" of the MTV Music Awards over the performance of Britney Spears who was placed before him on the agenda, to the time in 2006 at the MTV Europe Music Awards when he interrupted the acceptance speech of Justice & Simian when his "Touch The Sky" video lost to their "We Are Your Friends" video, to telling America that Bush 43 doesn't like Black people as Michael Meyers looked on like a deer in the headlights. All classic moments in Kanye history.

Thus it should really come at no surprise that Kanye struck again last night at the MTV VMA's with his latest outburst/tantrum. This one, however, took an interesting twist as he commenced the outburst not on his own behalf, but on behalf of a third party: Beyonce. The Best Female Video award went to country singer, Taylor Swift, her first ever MTV award. As Swift took to the mic to accept her award, Kanye rushed to the stage, D-Bo'ed the mic from her, and said:

"Taylor, I'm really happy for you. I'll let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time! One of the best videos of all time!"

Immediately, the cameras turned to Beyonce only to show Beyonce's jaw on the floor.

The audience, realizing by the look on Swift's face that this was probably not a scripted moment, began to boo Kanye West even after he sat down. Swift, who was literally speechless, turned around in defeat and left the stage.

Later that evening, when Beyonce won Best Video, she brought Taylor Swift back to the stage so that she could properly give her acceptance speech uninterrupted.

Kelly Clarkson had this to say about Kanyeezy:

“Dear Kanye, What happened to you as a child?? Did you not get hugged enough?? Something must have happened to make you this way and I think we’re all just curious as to what would make a grown man go on national television and make a talented artist, let alone teenager, feel like shit. I mean, I’ve seen you do some pretty shitty things, but you just keep amazing me with your tactless, asshole ways. It’s absolutely fascinating how much I don’t like you. I like everyone. I even like my asshole ex that cheated on me over you…which is pretty odd since I don’t even personally know you. The best part of this evening is that you weren’t even up for THIS award and yet you still have a problem with the outcome. Is winning a moon man that much of a life goal?? You can have mine if it will shut you up. Is it that important, really??”

“I was actually nominated in the same category that Taylor won and I was excited for her…so why can’t you be?? I’m not even mad at you for being an asshole…I just pity you because you’re a sad human being.”

What is Wrong with Kanye West?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Serena Williams Channels Her Inner McEnroe

Controversy is afoot. For those of you who missed Saturday's U.S. Open, it got a little heated after a line judge made a call that ultimately led to Serena losing the game to Kim Clijsters. Sport's Illustrated reported the following:

Serena slams her racket after losing the first set, gets warned. Serena gets called for a foot fault on a second serve at 4-5, 15-30 in the second set, an unfortunate time but, to use the defending champion's favorite phrase, "It is what it is." If officials are supposed to overlook infractions based on the juncture of the match, we're on slippery terrain. (Aside: Doesn't the technology exist to challenge foot faults?)

Serena loses it and makes profane, vile and, worst of all, threatening remarks. True, she has a track record of getting the short end of some questionable calls, and this call was shaky. But threatening to stick "this [expletive] ball down your [expletive] throat" while berating a line judge is so far beyond the pale that it's not even worth discussing. This was, simply, indefensible. Serena cools down and seems to realize she hasn't crossed the line so much as she's bounded over it. She receives a point penalty and loses the match, the correct ruling. Game, set, match.

There was nothing much to dispute here. One e-mailer intimated that this was a racist conspiracy. Ridiculous. Others wondered if Serena should be suspended. Equally ridiculous.

I agree with Sports Illustrated on the "equally ridiculous" part. Let's keep things in perspective, people. After this asshole, in front of the entire world, publicly heckled the President of the United States during a formal Congressional address (an act which, by the way, had never occurred before ever in U.S. History), I don't wanna hear anybody say jack shit about suspending Serena Williams from Tennis for talking smack to some no-name line judge. Get serious.

Especially when Tennis has established the following precedent:

Did Serena Williams get a fair call here?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Empire State of Mind

For yesterday's tribute to 9/11, Hot 97's Peter Rosenberg and Cipha Sounds took a moment of silence during their morning show to pay their respects. It's always awkward taking a moment of silence. You never really know when to break back in, and when people do it always seems forced and abrupt. Not this time. At the conclusion of this moment of silence, they didn't interrupt it with forced talking or an abrupt "thank you," but instead strategically came back in with the perfect beat, which started off quiet and then gradually grew louder and more complex as it transitioned into the latest song from Jay-Z which aptly fit the occasion: "Empire State of Mind."

This song captured the moment beautifully. It makes me proud to be a New Yorker.

Nevertheless, you don't have to be a New Yorker to appreciate the sounds here. Take a listen for yourself below:

Yeah, yeah, I'm up at Brooklyn,
Now I'm down in Tribeca, right next to DeNiro,
But I’ll be hood forever, I’m the new Sinatra,
and since I made it here, I can make it anywhere,
yeah they love me everywhere, I used to cop in Harlem,
all of my dominicanos right there up on Broadway,
brought me back to that McDonalds, took it to my stash spot,
Five Sixty State street, catch me in the kitchen
like a Simmons whipping pastry,
cruising down 8th street, off white lexus,
driving so slow but BK is from Texas
me I’m up at BedStuy, home of that boy Biggie,
now I live on billboard, and I brought my boys with me,
say what up to Ty Ty, still sipping Malta
sitting courtside Knicks and Nets give me high fives,
Nigga I be spiked out, I can trip a referee,
tell by my attitude that I most definitely from

Chorus : Alicia Keys
In New York,
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There's nothing you can’t do
Now you’re in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
The lights will inspire you
let's here it for New York, New York, New York

Catch me at the X with OG at a Yankee game,
shit I made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can,
you should know I bleed Blue, but I ain't a Crip though,
but I got a gang of niggas walking with my click though,
welcome to the melting pot, corners where we selling rocks,
Afrika Bambaataa shit, home of the hip hop,
yellow cab, gypsy cab, dollar cab, holla back,
for foreigners it ain't fitted act like they forgot how to act,
8 million stories out there and they're naked,
cities is a pity half of y’all won’t make it,
me I gotta plug a special and I got it made,
If Jesus payin LeBron, I’m paying Dwayne Wade,
3 dice Cee-Lo, 3 card Marley,
labor day parade, rest in peace Bob Marley,
Statue of Liberty, long live the World Trade
long live the king yo, I’m from the Empire State that's

Chorus : Alicia Keys
In New York,
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There's nothing you can’t do
Now you’re in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
The lights will inspire you
let's here it for New York, New York, New York

Lights is blinding, girls need blinders
so they can step out of bounds quick,
the side lines is blind with casualties,
who sipping life casually, then gradually become worse,
don’t bite the apple Eve, caught up in the in crowd,
now your in-style, and in the winter gets cold en vogue with your skin out,
the city of sin is a pity on a whim, good girls gone bad
the city's filled with them,
Mommy took a bus trip and now she got her bust out,
everybody ride her, just like a bus route,
Hail Mary to the city you're a Virgin,
and Jesus can’t save you life starts when the church ends,
came here for school, graduated to the high life,
ball players, rap stars, addicted to the limelight,
M.D.M.A got you feeling like a champion,
the city never sleeps better slip you a Ambien

Chorus : Alicia Keys
In New York,
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of,
There's nothing you can’t do,
Now you’re in New York,
these streets will make you feel brand new,
the lights will inspire you,
let's here it for New York, New York, New York

Alicia Keys
One hand in the air for the big city,
Street lights, big dreams all looking pretty,
no place in the World that can compare,
Put your lighters in the air, everybody say yeah yeaaah
come on, come, yeah,

Chorus : Alicia Keys
In New York,
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of,
There's nothing you can’t do,
Now you’re in New York,
these streets will make you feel brand new,
the lights will inspire you,
let's here it for New York, New York, New York

Friday, September 11, 2009

Where Were You on 9/11?

Today, of course, is a very special day for all of America where we take a moment to pay our respects to those who lost family members or loved ones during the horrific terrorist attacks eight years ago on September 11, 2001. For those of us here in New York City, please take a moment to walk outside tonight and look at the two beams of light positioned where the twin towers once stood (which are visible from just about anywhere in the tri-state area) and reflect on where you were and how you felt on that day.

Where were you when 9/11 happened?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Curious Case of the Health Care Heckler

Tonight, President Obama delivered a comprehensive speech on the infamous Health Care debate to a joint session of Congress. Many pundits calculated whether the President would be able to bring the health care debate back from the brink with this speech tonight; some labeled it the most important speech of his career. (see video below)

In what should have been a dignified and civil address by a Nation's President to its representative leaders, an outburst of unprecedented disrespect was hurled at the President mid-speech by one of the elected members of Congress: Representative Joe Wilson, Republican - South Carolina. (pictured right)

Over the years we've tuned into our fair share of Presidential addresses to Congress. You may have done the same. And if you have, then you know that the appropriate form of support or criticism by either side of the aisle in Congress is displayed through the traditional response of applause or the lack thereof. If you agree with the President, then you applaud. If you disagree with the President, then you withhold your applause. It's simple, it's respectful, and it has been that way for as long as the President has been addressing the body of Congress.

What you do not do in the United States of America when the President of the United States of America is formally addressing the Congress of the United States of America is interrupt his or her speech like some kind of town hall meeting.

When the President and other dignitaries in our society walk into a room, people stand up. When addressing the President, people say "Mr. President." It is a sign of respect for the office, regardless of the person who occupies it.

During President Obama's address, he addressed some of the myths and misconceptions that have pervaded the Health Care debate for far too long. One of the urban legends that he laid to rest was that the Health Care Reform proposal will not benefit illegal immigrants. Upon stating this fact, Rep. Joe Wilson shouted from across the room "You Lie!" Everybody heard it; some people even started booing the Congressman.

It is difficult to remember a more disrespectful or non-patriotic act exhibited by an American during such a formal occasion. Yes we live in America where people are free to say whatever they want (within reason, that is) and that includes being critical of the President, but the bottom line is, this was neither the time nor the place for such shenanigans. Mr. Wilson, you dishonor your President, you dishonor yourself, you dishonor the State of South Carolina, and most of all, you dishonor your Country.

Contact Representative Joe Wilson HERE and give him a piece of your mind.

Watch the Full Health Care Reform Speech:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Today the President spoke directly a group of high school students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia and to the millions of other students across the United States who were allowed to tune in via the White House website. During his speech, President Obama introduced radical socialist nazi concepts to our nation's youth such as:

Staying in School is important
Students should listen to their teachers
Students should do their homework
Students should believe in themselves
Having an education is fundamental to success

Clearly, the children of America should be safeguarded from such rhetoric. View this monstrosity for yourself if you dare:

Do you now feel brainwashed by what you have just heard? We thought so. Good job to all those parents who kept their students out of school today to avoid the True Blood vampire-like influence of this pied piper president and his socialist agenda. We're certain that after today your kids will grow up to be just like you!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Parents Just Don't Understand

On Tuesday, September 8, 2009, President Obama will deliver a live speech to every school across the country via the White House website. The topic: the importance of education.

"Great," you say. "Terrific!" How wonderful it is for a President, in the middle of all the turmoil facing the country, to take time out of his busy schedule to address our nation's youth on the importance of staying in school. A truer expression of good old down right wholesome feel good American values could never be found. Certainly, nobody could object to such a noble gesture. Surely, this is one of those Kumbaya moments where everybody can join hands and feel good about taking a moment to collectively invest in our children's education by showing them that nothing else in this world is more important.

OK enough with the build up already; you already know if such were the case I wouldn't be blogging.

Today, the associated press reported the following:

"[S]ome parents and conservatives are blasting the president, calling the speech an excuse to brainwash American children...Secretary of Education Arne Duncan sent a letter to the nation's principals, inviting schools to watch the speech and included suggested classroom activities. But Jim Greer, the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, came out swinging against the planned speech. An excerpt from his statement:

'The address scheduled for September 8, 2009, does not allow for healthy debate on the President's agenda, but rather obligates the youngest children in our public school system to agree with our President's initiatives or be ostracized by their teachers and classmates.'

NBC spoke with Katie Gordon, a spokeswoman for the Florida Republican Party, who said the party's "beef" is with the accompanying lesson plans. The guide for pre-K through grade 6 suggests questions students think about during the speech, such as "What is the President trying to tell me? What is the President asking me to do?"

The plan for grades 7-12 includes a "guided discussion," with suggested topics: "What resonated with you from President Obama's speech? What is President Obama inspiring you to do?"

The Cato Institute, a public-policy research foundation, issued a press release entitled "Hey Obama, Leave Those Kids Alone," criticizing the "troubling buzzwords" in the lesson plans:

"It's one thing for a president to encourage all kids to work hard and stay in school – that's a reasonable use of the bully pulpit. It's another thing entirely, however, to have the U.S. Department of Education send detailed instructions to public schools nationwide on how to glorify the president and the presidency, and push them to drive social change."

A healthy debate on the President's agenda?

Glorify the President?

EDIT: Anderson Cooper and Roland Martin PWN Jim Greer:

Chris Brown on Larry King

If you didn't catch it last night, CNN's Larry King sat down with Chris Brown, his mother, and his attorney to discuss the latest incident involving Brown and his celebrity (ex?) girlfriend Rihanna now that the court has issued its ruling in the matter. Here are the clips:

Is it just me, or did Chris effectively say, "my mama never taught me that it's wrong to hit a woman?"

Overall, Chris didn't appear to do much to help his image by doing the interview given that he refused to talk about the incident, what led up to the incident, what happened after the incident, whether he even remembered the incident, etc. (you're only 20 years old, son, the memory can't be fading yet). He refused to talk about it due to his respect for Rihanna's privacy, which is understandable, but he didn't communicate that very well. He looked as if he were trying to remember the PR talking points during that portion of the conversation; it didn't ring true.

At any rate, I'm going to go easy on Brown here because I'm sure he's caught it enough from all four corners of the Earth already, plus the court has issued its ruling so what's done is done. I am not, however, willing to give mom a pass and here's why: Many times throughout the interview, Chris made reference to the fact that he's "just a kid," in other words meaning that he is still growing up. Ok fine. But if you're still growing up, then somebody needs to be there to guide you during that growing period in your life...somebody who should have been providing guidance from day 1...somebody who should not have repeatedly placed you in an environment where domestic violence is the norm when you were growing up...

No matter how we try to spin it, the actions of the child always come back to who? That's right - The parents. So since everybody always wants to assign blame in these type of situations (was it his fault, was it her fault, etc.) I'm going to step outside the box for a moment, scoop up a nice helping of blame, and pass the peas like we used to do right on over to the mama.