Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Get Off My TeeVee: Sharron Angle Edition

So according to Nevada Senate candidate Sharon Angle paying into unemployment and then using it once you lose your job is "entitlement."  What?

Rachel Maddow explains why this is ridiculous thinking after the jump:

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Guns, Religion & the Supreme Court

Yesterday, the Supreme Court handed down 4 decisions; two of them sexy and two of them not-so-sexy.  We'll stick to the sexy:
We'll take each one in turn after the jump:

Monday, June 28, 2010

Why I Still Don't Forgive Chris Brown

Okay so apparently everyone in "Black America" has to make a decision as to whether it's time to forgive Chris Brown (really? I didn't get that memo? but I digress...).  Personally, I am stating unequivocally that I DO NOT AND WILL NOT FORGIVE CHRIS BROWN...for now.  I mean why are you rushing me?  It's only been a year and change since he made her face look like she went 8 rounds with Floyd Mayweather!

And furthermore, why do I have to at all?  Is it a requirement for me to say, oh look, the guy looks sorry.  He cried.  He dances good too, look at those MJ moves! (see below) And so now I'm supposed to be like oh well, bygones, it's been over a year that's plenty of time, and he looks really sad, I forgive him.

HELL NO!!  This is so wrong I don't even know where to begin.

First of all, Chris doesn't need OUR forgiveness. He needs to make peace with the God of his understanding, Rihanna (the victim of his CRIME which some (albeit far too few) men who can't afford Mark Geragos actually go to jail for), and his family.  He will have to forgive himself eventually but this will only happen after hard work and intense psychological therapy.   And to be fair, I don't know for a fact that it's not occurring as I write this post.

What I do know, is that it's probably difficult to get the kind of help necessary to heal the kind of wounds and emotional scarring associated with being a child in an abusive home who grew up to be an abuser, all while prepping a new album with a batch of music videos for release only a few months after the reported incident.   And this goes for Rihanna as well with regards to being a victim.  You have to DEAL with your issues, you can't just push through be strong and move on to the next.  (See: Ron Artest).

All of this Chris Brown stuff just looks too contrived for me.  It feels well...for lack of a better word...STAGED.  And of course it is.  Everything is these days.  We live in a 24-hour cable news faux reality television twitter trending topic of the hour obsessed culture which is largely made up of fantastic half truths.  We live in a world where only one cast member (Jennifer Williams) on a show titled "Basketball Wives" is actually a basketball player...and he's retired.  Huh?

Second, and to get back to the seriousness of this particular situation, it is VERY important to note that domestic violence is a cycle.  Um HELLOOOOOO!  Why has no one mentioned the fact that this whole coming back and begging for forgiveness and yes, crying, is all part of the textbook cycle of domestic violence?  Please someone out there tell me I'm not the only one who is thinking this!

Am I the only person familiar with this diagram?

LIVE: Elena Kagan Confirmation Hearings and Senator Byrd Dies at 92

Watch live video of the Elena Kagan confirmation hearings which begin at 12:30PM eastern time below:

The 5 funniest moments from Tuesday's hearings:

Breaking News: At 92 years of age, Democratic Senator Robert Byrd dies and possibly leaves Democrats ONE VOTE short of financial reform.

Senator Byrd's impassioned speech against the Iraq war after the jump:

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The "Why Save? Spend!" Mentality

The other day while listening to one of the local Black radio stations in NYC I heard something that pissed me off so bad that I actually called into the radio station to give everybody involved a piece of my mind.  The topic of the day, whether to spend or save one's money, was played out vicariously through a young soon-to-be-married Black couple whom the radio host and crew had invited onto their morning show in order to determine who was right and who was wrong within the relationship.  A morning show equivalent of a Judge Judy, if you will.  The man made the case for saving their money in hopes of one day having something for their wedding and for their unborn children.  The female, however, made a rather impassioned case that, since they didn't have any children yet, she should be able to shop and spend as much money as she wants.  From where she sat, so long as she paid the minimum balance on her credit cards each month, it was of no consequence that they were maxed out or that she and her fiance were living from check to check.  She argued that once kids come into the equation, then they should worry about saving.  Until that day comes, however, she was going to stay in the fliest Gucci, Prada, and [insert label here] gear that she could get her hands on. At the conclusion of these two arguments, the radio show opened up the phone lines for comments as to who was right, and who was wrong.  I thought to myself, surely this is a no-brainer - especially in this economy where folks are losing jobs left and right.  Surely the deepest recession since the Great Depression, not to mention an unemployment rate in the Black Community nearly double that of the national average, has seized the attention of Black people everywhere and awakened us from our financially illiterate slumber like Laurence Fishburne screaming "Wake Up!" all over campus at the end of School Daze. What I heard next left my jaw open.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Urban Politico Remembers Michael Jackson: The Best

One year ago today, this country lost Michael Jospeh Jackson, the greatest performer to ever walk the face of the earth. No matter how you felt about Michael Jackson as a man and the scandals and controversy that surrounded his life and career, his tremendous gifts to the industry and to the world cannot be denied.

Over the years, Michael Jackson's legacy evolved into something out of this world. Children that were born in the last 5 years, are still confounded by the moonwalk and the glittery glove. Decades from now MJ's music will still be played around the globe and his timeless gifts will continue to give.  Michael Jackson was our Beethoven.

On behalf of The Urban Politico we are excited to pay homage to the undisputed King of Pop.  MJ, we miss you!!! Rest in Peace!!!!

A collection of some (because of course you can't include them all!) of our favorite MJ videos and live performances after the jump:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Unmasking the Prison Industrial Complex Part 2: Social Engineering & Strict Prison Sentences

If you missed the first installment of the Prison Industrial Complex, we discussed the huge profits that corporations are raking in, with the use of prison labor. We were able to delve into the corporate structure and the Capitalist mentality that has led to the mass incarceration of blacks and latinos and we were able to see how corporate America relies on prison labor as much as many companies rely on overseas sweatshops. We concluded that prison is the new slavery.


This next installment of our three part investigative series focuses on the social engineering and the conditions that have bred a widespread mentality which has not only perpetuated, but drastically worsened the generational trends of self-defeating behavior. The story begins in California, sometime during the mid to late 1970's, during an era where black folks were competing with each other about who had the best vocabulary and who had read the most prominent black authors. An era when black was beautiful. Throughout the nation the black power structure, led by positive movements such as the Black Panther Party, were garnering in a new era of social change. These movements had drawn in thousands of faithful supporters from many different socio-economic backgrounds. From an entity birthed out of the greatest attributes of Malcolm X and Dr. King, began the era of Black Power. With echoes of James Brown's "I'm black and I'm proud" being chanted in every black neighborhood in the country, the black power movement was about education, self-reliance and sustainability. Finally it seemed that the clutches of Willie Lynch were beginning to fade and black people were finally realizing their full potential.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

**Updated** World Cup: U.S.A. Advances to Round of 16

For the first time in nearly 80 years, the U.S.A. won the opening round and advanced to the Round of 16 at the World Cup, and they did so in the most dramatic fashion. After going scoreless for the entire game against Algeria, the U.S.A. finally scored in the first minute of stoppage time to advance. Had they not scored they would have been eliminated from the World Cup entirely.


Best reaction videos from yesterday (my favorite is Nebraska):

They are set to play Ghana this Saturday at 2pm. Find a local sports bar in your area to go check it out. Should be a good one.

Check out some great photos of the madness after the jump:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

**Updated** General Stanley McChrystal RELIEVED OF COMMAND

President Obama relieved General McChrystal of his command earlier today and replaced him with General David Petraeus. Check it out his remarks on this decision below:

Af-Pak General Stanley McChrystal is in hot water after a Rolling Stone article was released today where he and his aids are quoted bashing President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and others.  It's ugly. 

Here's one gem about Vice President Joe Biden who clashed with McChrystal on the surge:

Now, flipping through printout cards of his speech in Paris, McChrystal wonders aloud what Biden question he might get today, and how he should respond. "I never know what's going to pop out until I'm up there, that's the problem," he says. Then, unable to help themselves, he and his staff imagine the general dismissing the vice president with a good one-liner. "Are you asking about Vice President Biden?" McChrystal says with a laugh. "Who's that?"

"Biden?" suggests a top adviser. "Did you say: Bite Me?"
Wow. Mature. Definitely the guy I want running a war. Ironically, McChystal's team nicknamed themselves, "Team America" after these guys:

Andrew Sullivan makes the case for why McChrystal was the wrong choice for Afghanistan from the beginning:

The trouble with appointing Stanley McChrystal to run the Af-Pak war was always his temperament and his history. He is a driven man, strong-headed, amazingly disciplined, extremely able in a limited fashion - and clearly unused to compromise or getting along with people as powerful as he is. Diplomat he is not. As head of JSOC, moreover, he has always regarded himself as above political management, running a part of the military that seems at times to answer to no-one, and that, under Bush and Cheney was unleashed to do whatever it wanted, including, of course, brutal torture in the field, condoned from the very top.
These qualities might have seemed appealing at first for Afghanistan. Here you had a former torturer/badass who had learned by brutal experience that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cannot be won that way. Converted to counter-insurgency as a philosophy, he was an apostate from the Bush-Cheney approach of "kill, bomb and torture until they embrace human rights" school.
And more on the jabs at Biden:
It doesn't take a genius to see this contempt as rooted in the growing recognition among many and the growing fear among the McChrystal clique that Biden has been right all along, that the McChrystal strategy was a product of hope over experience, and that the arrogance that drove it was part of what had long been wrong with the conduct of both tragically flawed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Sullivan continues:

It's a shock, isn't it? Obama essentially gave McChrystal everything he asked for, and backed the full counter-insurgency strategy. He has, in my view, foolishly thrown more resources and more ambition at this hopeless task than his predecessor ever did. And yet, McChrystal and his flunkies still feel the need to bad-mouth and mock those who lost the argument. This is news, no? It's important news. It reflects on the character and integrity of the man tasked to lead America's longest ever war. So why, one wonders, have we not heard a peep of this from all the official MSM Pentagon reporters and analysts with their deep sources and long experience?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Could The Republicans Really Impeach Obama?

*Sigh* So here we are in a midterm election year and the Democratic electorate is angry and unsatisfied with President Obama and the congressional Democrats (and many justifiably so on some issues).  Change doesn't come overnight apparently.

That said, we must not take our eye off the ball.  If the Republicans take back the House of Representatives in November they get SUBPOENA POWER. That means that they can investigate anything they want, including some fun stuff like whether President Obama was really born in Hawaii (he was) and anything else people like Rep. Michele Bachmann can come up with in their pea brains.  And remember the House of Representatives is the body of Congress with the power to impeach the President as they did under Clinton.

Am I the only one who is terrified that Democrats, who forgot just how bad life was under the GOP, will stay home in November and basically guarantee a government stalemate for the rest of Obama's first term?  Does anyone remember what life was like under President Clinton?!  This is just to serve as a helpful reminder to stop lumping all Democrats together, because all of them are not bad or weak.  Pop quiz:  Under which party to we have a better chance of advancing a progressive agenda: The Democrats or the Party of Rand Paul and Sarah Palin?

I'll leave you with this via OpenLeft:

The plan is to bankrupt everyone in the government with lawyer fees and tie up the administration so they can't get anything done. The accusations, lies and smears will dwarf the Clinton-era and the slime will destroy people's faith in government and democracy. That works for them. It helps put the big corporations in charge.

Imagine what this country will be like if this new breed of teabagger Republicans gets back in power in even one House of the Congress!

We can complain that Democrats didn't legitimately investigate Bush-era corruption, war crimes, torture... We can complain that they held no one accountable after Bush left office for the corruption, lies, war crimes, even torture. We can complain that some - even many - Democrats have not stood up for us against the wealthy and powerful.

BUT when you complain about "the Democrats" you are misinterpreting the problem in a way that misdirects you from the necessary action to solve the problem. The problem is SOME Democrats, not THE Democrats.
I'll let that marinate a bit.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Get Off My TeeVee: Rep. Joe Barton Edition

This dude can't really be serious!  So a British oil conglomerate poisons our earth and he apologizes not to the fisherman that are now unemployed for the foreseeable future or to the dead birds who are now covered in muck, nope, he apologizes to BP!

Republicans can't really be THIS stupid can they?

This clip should be included in every single attack ad for Democrats this Fall.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Rebuttal to The Root re "Black-on-Black Violence"

Earlier today, The Root did a piece entitled "The Myth of Black-on-Black Violence" wherein the author cited to our blog, The Urban Politico, to help make the argument that the term "Black-on-Black Violence" is problematic because it unjustifiably plays the race card with respect to the general issue of violent crime in America that occurs between Blacks. Rather than focusing on the racial component of Blacks killing other Blacks, the author suggests that we should instead view Black-on-Black crime just as we would view White-on-White crime. In other words, "Black-on-Black" crime should not be the burden of the Black Community. To quote the author's commentary:
I am not rooting for the knucklehead. Actually just the opposite. I refuse to be responsible for his actions. I refuse to be expected to explain his/her actions. It is not my responsibility more than anyone else in this country who is a citizen. This is the definition of agency--to exercise your full rights as citizens. If we were in some black nation within a nation that might make sense to "self-police." Then we'd have a "black tax" to pay "black officers" etc. I pay U.S. tax and local tax and that is who is responsible for police work. The sooner everyone, black white, yellow red, whatever realizes this the better. It's NOT an academic debate. Non-black people don't get to look the other way. It's their country---and their problem too. Just like its ours.
Well, since we were, after all, called out by name in this article, far be it for us not to respond with our own rebuttal to The Root, after the jump:

Monday, June 14, 2010

Dr. Rand Paul Is Not A Real Doctor?

So Dr. Rand Paul might not really be a board certified doctor!? America's favorite Libertarian looks to have made up his own board of ophthalmology and then installed his wife as Vice President of said board, meaning he might not actually be an AMA certified physician. (HA!)

How libertarian of him! Why go to fancy liberal schools and then bother to get the required certification when you can just create it out of thin air like Sarah Palin's new boobs! Like I've said before, Rand Paul is my new favorite. He is so not ready for primetime which only benefits those of us who find entertainment from political malpractice in the national spotlight. So thank you Rand Paul for being you and keep it up! Let's hope his Democratic opponent Jack Conway will reap the benefits of your ineptitude.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Arizona's Greatest Hits: Anchor Babies

Arizona is like the gift that keeps on giving.  I mean, are these guys on a roll or are they on a roll?  Never before has one U.S. state enacted so much suspect legislation all in the same year...and all of it aimed at the same group of people: Mexicans.  First, there was the legendary "show me your papers or else" bill that was signed into law by Republican Governor, Jan Brewer a few months ago.  Then, before that issue could even get cold, Arizona's majority Republican legislature and Governor Brewer pass yet another law banning any "Ethnic Studies" classes such as Latino Studies courses.  And now, the creators of "F#ck You, Pablo!" and its sequel, "F#ck You, Pablo! Part II: The Mexican Book Burning" now bring you the third installment "F#ck You, Pablo! Part III: And Take Your Anchor Baby With You!"  That's right folks, it's the trifecta: (1) We don't want you here, (2) We don't want anybody learning about you; and (3) We hate you so much, even if your baby is born here it doesn't count as a citizen.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The End of the Big 12

I'm mad and I gotta get this off my chest.

After 103 years, the schools of The Big 12 conference (formerly known as the Big 8) are getting a divorce and those of us who graduated from these schools are like the proverbial kids caught up in our parents' inconsiderate mess.   Now it's true that the Big 12 conference itself is only 14 years old, but the Big 8 dates back to the early 1900's.  It is basically made up of the MidWest states of Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa and Oklahoma.  In 1996, they added Texas to the conference, which geographically made sense since it borders Oklahoma to the south.

This conference is was home to the second oldest rivalry in NCAA history - the Kansas-Missouri Rivalry.  For those of you who don't know, the KU-MU rivalry is an extension of the historical rivalry between these two states since the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 which brought Kansas in as a Free State right next to its neighbor, Missouri, which was a Slavery State.  The two states have have been fighting ever since.  That rich tradition, along with the other rich traditions of the Big 12, have now been abandoned for the sake of money and greed.

Get Off My TeeVee: Senator Mary Landrieu Edition

Did Senator Landrieu really just say she wants to end the moratorium on deepwater drilling when we are in the middle of the biggest oil disaster in the history of America?! It's not possible that she really just said that mess on my teevee with a straight face and no apparent sense of irony right?!

Get off my teevee with this nonsense Senator.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Election Day Primer: End of the Road for Senator Blanche Lincoln?

It's election day (again)!

Key Races to Watch:

Runoff in Arkansas Senate Primary - Incumbent Senator Blanche Lincoln vs. Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter

Take Away: The White House has shown signs of ambivalence with regards to whether Lincoln can hold on to her seat and a Halter win would be a huge win for progressives.


Here is the origin of the primary challenge to Senator Lincoln (read: it was her lack of support for a more progressive health reform bill remember!?)

Monday, June 7, 2010

June Book of the Month - The Other Wes Moore

The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates


Wes Moore

The AngryBlackMan-In-Chief

As you are hopefully aware, over a month ago, oil company BP had one of the biggest screw ups in recent American history that is still polluting the Gulf Coast with millions of gallons of oil as we speak.  Like clockwork, the political hacks on both sides of the aisle have been busy at work criticizing the Obama Administration's response from not enough to too much.  One thing seems to be certain: as long as the problem continues to exist, the Obama Administration remains vulnerable to a host of criticisms from news pundits and politicians alike.  Among these criticisms, there seems to be some sort of agreement from both sides that Obama himself is not showing enough emotion with respect to outrage surrounding the tragedy.  In other words, the country is once again looking for Obama to become the "Angry Black Man" that some were looking for during the 2008 campaign.  As we have seen time and time again since 2008, Obama is the personification of cool, calm and collected, even in the face of controversies that would make the best of us scream from the top of our lungs and throw a shoe or two at somebody.  Due to this persona, Obama often receives the same 2 comments: (i) he is complimented on his ability to remain calm during crisis, and (ii) he is criticized as seeming too "detached" from the common man.  To be sure, we've consistently seen the calm-during-crisis guy, but does this sophisticated persona come at the expense of blocking any emotional connection with the American people?  In other words, does America need to see emotion from its leaders?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Get Off My TeeVee: Bill O'Reilly Edition

Bill thinks gay people are just like Al Qaeda because you know...he's a douche.

It must be hard for him always trying to out crazy Glenn Beck.

*Updated* On Israel and the Flotilla...

So I'm sure everyone's heard that over the weekend, Israel attacked a Flotilla delivering aid to the Gaza strip and among the nine killed, was a 19 year old American citizen who was shot four times in the head.  I honestly think both sides of this debate have valid pointsThere is an excellent Kristof editorial in the NYT today on the topic.  And below is one of the best debates I've seen in the past week.  You normally don't ever get to hear the argument against Israel on U.S. television.  I'm proud of MSNBC for allowing both sides to make their arguments heard.

So what do you think?  Should America join the rest of the world in condeming the attack or is Israel in the right to be able to enforce the blockade?

P.S.  Here is the list of items that are banned from reaching Gaza:

Real Americans?

One term that emerged from the 2008 election more times than we cared to hear it was the phrase "Real American."  We've blogged about this term before. If you are confused as to what does or does not constitute a "Real American", be advised that "Real Americans" are effectively anybody who lives in a small town, believes that America is infallible, and is filled with such joy every time that Sarah Palin gives a stump speech that they begin to glow with a golden aura like Bruce Lee Roy.  Given all of this American pride, one would naturally assume that the citizens of this country have a deep understanding of America and its history.  OK maybe "deep understanding" is a bit about "basic understanding?"  No?  Still asking for too much?  Well according to the latest Yahoo News story, we may have to just settle for whatever we can get:
• Two-thirds of the 1,000 American adults polled couldn't name a single current justice, and just 1 percent were able to name all nine sitting justices.
• More Americans could identify Michael Jackson as the composer of "Beat It" and "Billie Jean" than could identify the Bill of Rights as a body of amendments to the Constitution.
• More than 50 percent of respondents attributed the quote "From each according to his ability to each according to his needs" to either Thomas Paine, George Washington or President Obama. The quote is from Karl Marx, author of "The Communist Manifesto."
• More than a third did not know the century in which the American Revolution took place, and half of respondents believed that either the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation or the War of 1812 occurred before the American Revolution.
• With a political movement now claiming the mantle of the Revolutionary-era Tea Party, more than half of respondents misidentified the outcome of the 18th-century agitation as a repeal of taxes, rather than as a key mobilization of popular resistance to British colonial rule.
• A third mistakenly believed that the Bill of Rights does not guarantee a right to a trial by jury, while 40 percent mistakenly thought that it did secure the right to vote.
• More than half misidentified the system of government established in the Constitution as a direct democracy, rather than a republic-a question that must be answered correctly by immigrants qualifying for U.S. citizenship.
In a country where our national laws are crafted to give deference to whatever "the majority" of Americans want, given the fact that "the majority" of Americans do not know the basics about America, what does that say about the entire notion of "majority rule" in this country?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Get Off My TeeVee: BP CEO Tony Hayward Edition

BP's CEO Tony Hayward needs to STFU and get off my teevee! No one has sympathy for you sir. You destroyed our coastline. You'll get your life back as soon as the pelican is no longer an endangered species. Or maybe when the 11 people on the Deep Water Horizon who died come back to life.