Monday, April 30, 2012

HBO Game of Thrones Recap: The Ghost of Harrenhal

Ok. Obviously we left off last week and everyone wants to know what exactly Melisandre birthed. Well it doesn't take long to find out. In the opening scene Catelyn Stark and Renly Barratheon are closing a deal. Renly and Robb Stark will team up to fight the Lannisters. Robb will still get to call himself King in the North and Renly will look the other way provided Robb will swear fealty. Catelyn thinks she can sell that to her son but still wants Renly to negotiate with rather than fight Stannis. Kinslaying is considered a horrible crime. Renly scoffs at that idea and is characteristically primping when the shadow we saw last week appears behind Renly and stabs him through the heart. It seems to have a resemblance to Stannis. Renly dies and the shadow disappears. Renly's other guards appear and immediately blame Brienne. In a quite effective scene Brienne shows she is NOT the woman to be messed with and quickly sends her former comrades on a trip to the afterlife. I am impressed with the actress. Brienne is broken by Renly's death and wants to stay but the practical Catelyn points out that they need to leave like yesterday. And by the way that looked like the Bayeux Tapestry behind Renly. Maybe it wasn't but it looked like it. Nice touch. Littlefinger and Margarey urge Loras to scram as it appears that the majority of the army intends to switch to Stannis. Loras, like Brienne, would rather stay and fight but is convinced otherwise. Margarey reveals to Littlefinger her ambition is to be the queen. 

In King's Landing Tyrion and big sis Cersei share a rare moment of familial happiness as they drink to Renly's death. But that doesn't last long as Cersei is still po'd at lil bro for making a betrothal for her daughter Myrcella. As a result she doesn't tell Tyrion what the plans are for the defense of King's Landing. Tyrion isn't convinced that either Joffrey or Cersei know what they're doing so he browbeats Lancel to find out that Cersei's plans include wildfire (a napalm equivalent -similar to Greek fire in our world.)

White House Correspondents' Dinner 2012

"I also want to thank Mr. Mills my 10th grade high school history teacher who said I'd never amount to anything if I kept screwing around in class.  Mr. Mills, I'm about to high-five the President of the United States."

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Urban Politico Radio Hour: That's Wsup!

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Music Reviews-Musical Theft: Led Zeppelin, Humble Pie and Others

There are (depending on the musical tradition you're using) a somewhat limited number of notes, chord progressions or modes that make sense musically and are pleasing to the ear. Some rhythms and tones just work for humans and others simply don't. So over time, musicians repeat certain patterns and modes. This is unsurprising. The trick to being a successful creative musician seems to be less about discovering something completely new than to come up with your own version of what's worked in the past. There are of course many musicians who do come up with totally revolutionary ideas but those people are truly rare and not who I want to discuss today. 

Just about everyone then, even most of the revolutionaries and visionaries in the musical world, is standing on the shoulders of those who came before them. We all know the Chuck Berry double stop riffs that started rock-n-roll in the fifties but it can be a little shocking to hear those same riffs being played by Pee-Wee Crayton, Goree Carter, Carl Hogan, Freddie Green or T-Bone Walker years before Berry was a known name. As great as Jimi Hendrix or Stevie Ray Vaughn were, each learned a lot from Albert King's work. And so on all the way back. 
But it's one thing for a musician to learn from and be influenced by his peers or previous musicians and something completely different again to steal their work and claim it as his own. One is the normal artist development and maturation. The other is cheating and really, it's criminal. Lots of musicians, artists, writers etc have done it of course but that doesn't make it right. If I were to write a serialized posting on this blog about vampires in a rural Michigan town called Caleb's Plot, featuring a troubled hero named Ken Steers, a vampire named Marlowe, a priest named Father Monaghan, and it got picked up and published, I would expect that a certain Maine writer of some note would send some nasty people to have a short, direct and highly unpleasant talk with me. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Right to Counsel - Even for George Zimmerman

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense

Yesterday, I received what I consider to be quite a disturbing email. Here is what it read........

Subject: Make a Difference

In the wake of the senseless killing of Trayvon Martin ... "The company known as Koch" which manufactures paper products is sponsoring and paying for Zimmerman's legal fees because they feel he had legal right to bare arms and shoot Trayvon we are asking that people everywhere ban together and pass this information on and not purchase any of the following items because your money will be paying for Zimmerman's lawyers and legal fees.

Please do not purchase any of the following items :Angel soft toilet paper, Brawny paper towels, Dixie plates, bowls, napkins and cups, Mardi gras napkins and paper towels, Quilted northern toilet paper, Soft and gentile toilet paper, Sparkle napkins and paper towels, Vanity fair napkins and paper towels, Zero napkins and paper towels.

Please forward this very Important information to All your Family and Friends. Please Let's Help Get "Justice for Trayvon Martin" Thank You.....

Why is this disturbing you ask? 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

By the Time I Get to Arizona: Part IV - The Supreme Court Strikes Back

We wrote about Arizona's controversial "S.B. 1070" immigration law (aka the "Papers Please" law) in April 2010, July 2010, and April 2011.  So you could say that we've been covering this story for a while.  As a recap to those of you following along at home, back in 2010 the Arizona state legislature decided that it would be a good idea to pass a state law that requires police officers to check the immigration status of any person they come across in their day-to-day police activity if those people "look" like immigrants.  You don't need to be Einstein to see that such a requirement can only lead to one result: racial profiling.  In any event, we predicted that it was only a matter of time before this law was brought before the United States Supreme Court.  Alas, that day has finally arrived!

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard oral argument to decide the fate of Arizona's immigration law.  Previously, the federal District Court for the District of Arizona ruled in favor of the federal government and issued an injunction to block the law from taking place.  Arizona appealed this decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals but lost again when the 9th Circuit upheld the District Court.  Arizona appealed once again, which brings us up to yesterday.  Now I bring all of this procedural history up for a reason, but we'll come back to that later.  For now, let's break down what is truly at issue here.

At Ease Soldier!: Free Speech v. Illegal Political Participation

"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."
This is the Oath of Enlistment, which is recited and signed in writing by all soldiers in the United States Armed Forces.  One Marine, Sergeant (SGT) Gary Stein, apparently didn't read this oath in its entirety. Yesterday, SGT Stein was discharged from the Marines.  Worse yet, SGT Stein received an "other-than-honorable" discharged for these actions.  As a solider, any discharge other than an honorable one means trouble in the civilian world.  In this case, SGT Stein will lose most of his military benefits as a result of his discharge.  This means he cannot use military post or medical facilities, he cannot use the VA Loan, he cannot enroll in military insurance.  Now what did he do to deserve this?  Read about it after the break.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

10 Laws That Never Would Have Defined America Under the Tea Party

America.  Home of the free.  Land of the brave.  As we go about our daily affairs, we don’t often think about what makes America the envy of so much of the world.  The reason why America has -- in our completely unbiased American opinion -- become the greatest country on the face of the Earth is because at each critical stage throughout our history, the men and women in charge of shaping our nation made landmark decisions that changed our society for the better. 
200 years ago, Blacks were literally considered the legal property of their slave masters; today, a Black man holds the highest office in the land.  When this country was founded, women could not vote; today, women can be found in the highest levels of government in all 50 states.  A century ago, Americans retired without any savings; today, Americans who lack savings, at the very least, receive financial and medical support in their final years. 
Today, these achievements are so commonplace that it is difficult not to take them for granted.  However, it hasn’t always been this way.  At some point, somebody somewhere in America woke up one day and said “you know, I’ve been thinking…this whole slavery thing is a bad idea.  Let’s get rid of it.”  And then, after some debate, a law was enacted that codifed that exact sentiment about ending slavery...and America was changed forever.  At some point we got tired of being a nation where our elderly retired without any life savings, and so we made Social Security. At some point we got tired of big corporations getting over on the little man, and so we made unions.
But what if none of that had ever happened?  What if the dominant voice during those crucial times was not that of the progressives seeking change, but that of the modern day Tea Party?  How different would America look today if the Tea Party, a party obsessed with shrinking government to the point of anarchy, had been in charge of both houses of Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court since 1789?  We submit to you that the following 10 laws that have shaped America into the country we love today would have never come into existence:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Urban Beat: Arizona v. United States - Part I

Per ScotusBlog:

At 10 a.m....Wednesday, in the final scheduled hearing of the Supreme Court’s current Term, the Justices move to sort out the sometimes conflicting roles of national and state governments in controlling the lives of non-citizens living illegally in the U.S.  In Arizona v. United States (docket 11-182), the state’s tough new immigrant control law will be defended by Paul D. Clement of the Washington law firm of Bancroft PLLC.  Responding, and defending lower court orders that blocked four key parts of the state law, will be U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr.   The case will be decided by eight members of the Court, since Justice Elena Kagan is recused.

After Wednesday's oral argument before the Supreme Court, we plan to have a more in-depth post dealing with both sides of Arizona's now infamous S.B. 1070 law, a.k.a. the "Papers Please" law that requires state police officers to police immigration.  For now we can all place our bets about whether the good old Solicitor General is going to botch this one up like he did with Obamacare.

Come on Ron - Not Again!

Metta World Peace is up to no good and has struck again, but was it intentional?

SJU Alum - Shoutout to the Redstorm Athletics :)

I try to root for Metta World Peace (Ron) and cheer him on as much as I can. However sometimes he makes me scratch my head. He is clearly in a very fortunate position to be playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, considering the house cleaning exercise we recently saw. **Cough, Cough - Lamar Odom**  Honestly, I have not been following Ron and am not sure what to make of the recent ruckus, that he has caused. Before we delve into the issue at hand. Let's take a look at this video of Metta World Peace (Ron) in 2010 when he showed so much promise of a young man who had cleansed his soul, fought back against adversity and seemed like such a changed man. Yes, I know he said F$%K on national television, but we all felt where he was coming from and could see that his therapist had been very instrumental in his growth. 

Now let's take a look at what Metta World Peace (Ron) did Sunday evening.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Respecting the Black Dollar

Last year during holiday shopping season a report was released stating Black buying power would reach $1.1 trillion by 2015. About the finding the chairman of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, Cloves Campbell, said he hoped it would make businesses develop strategies inclusive of Black communities.

One business model rarely inclusive of Black people is Hollywood. Movie studios aren't hostile to the Black community but they aren't very welcoming either.

Enter Steve Harvey and the now number one film in the country Think Like a Man.

Think Like a Man dethroned Hunger Games from the number one spot after four weeks bringing in $33.6 million. Such a feat is a major accomplishment for any film, but a blockbuster for a Black film which is usually opened in fewer theaters than most mainstream movies and are rare in access as traditional Friday, date night, dinner and a movie options.

So the question has been raised as with any other successful "Black" movie, "Will Hollywood now greenlight more Black films since it is clear Black folks do go to the movies and spend their money?"

HBO Game of Thrones Recap: Garden of Bones

One of the key recurring themes in Game of Thrones is that you need to be careful of what you ask for. This is made most evident in the perilous circumstances of the Stark children. Arya Stark didn't want to lead the life traditionally proscribed for girls and ladies. She wanted to do what the boys did. Well in a way she got her wish. She was running for her life with a bunch of male desperadoes and refugees until she was captured. She's seen a ton of violence and had to do some killing. Sansa Stark wanted to be betrothed to a king. Well she is but unfortunately the king is a capricious sadist who delights in causing her emotional pain as much as he does physical. Robb Stark wanted to be a great leader, like his father Ned. Well now he's learning that war is no game and there aren't any easy or good decisions in war, only less bad ones.

This episode opened with two hapless Lannister soldiers meeting the business end of Grey Wind, Robb Stark's direwolf.  It's not really explained well but Grey Wind has found a secret path that allows the Stark forces to flank and surprise the Lannisters. Shortly afterwards Robb has won another battle and killed five Lannister troops for every Northern man lost. Despite this Robb still has a chivalric (and perhaps unrealistic??) idea about war. We get to see the introduction of another Stark bannerman, the enigmatic and ruthless Lord Bolton, who urges Robb to allow torture of captured troops for information, a suggestion Robb angrily dismisses. Bolton is also not happy about using Northern forces to guard prisoners. There is the explicit introduction of some modern ideas about the pointlessness of war, put in the mouth of an attractive nurse. Robb can't debate the right and wrong of war but he likes how the nurse looks.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Movie Reviews- Burke and Hare, Little Deaths, The Phantom of the Paradise

Burke and Hare
Leave it to John Landis to make an accessible and somewhat humorous comedy about an infamous pair of 19th century body-snatchers, who upon finding that the demand for fresh cadavers, exceeds the available supply, decide to meet that demand by murdering people.
Burke (Simon Pegg) and Hare (Andy Serkis) are the down on their luck Irishmen, who have immigrated to Edinburgh, Scotland to seek their fortune. As they aren't very good at swindles and confidence games they are excited (well Hare is, Burke mostly wrings his hands and goes along) to find that they can make a living by supplying Dr. Knox (Tom Wilkinson) with bodies needed for dissection and medical experiments. Knox doesn't ask questions about where the gruesome twosome get the bodies from. Knox views some things as required for the greater good. Both lead actors are extremely well cast here. Serkis just has a disreputable smirking goatish look about him which he uses to great effect in this movie. Pegg can look simple minded and guileless, which he often does here. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Brooklyn False Rape Charges: Darrell Dula

Imagine that you (or a man you love) were wrongly accused of raping someone. You're arrested, fingerprinted and thrown into jail to await formal charges. Now in the 24 hours while you're familiarizing yourself with jailhouse protocol over telephone usage, how to avoid unwanted advances, which gang it would be proper for someone of your race and ethnicity to join, when not to look into another prisoner's eyes, the importance of responding promptly to guard commands and other important orientation action items, the victim admits to the police and prosecutors that she made it all up and actually signs a document stating so. 
Well that's lucky for you yes? You won't have to stay a minute more in jail and perhaps you can see about getting everything expunged from your record. No harm no foul. These things happen and maybe you and the arresting officers can have a beer summit at the White House some day.
But wait, now imagine that the prosecutor decides to go ahead with charges anyway because either they think the supposed victim is lying or because they don't like you very much or maybe they figure they need to keep their conviction rates high and you look like an easy win. And in addition they don't tell you or your attorney that the victim lied. And they keep you in jail for a year...
Such things couldn't happen in this country could they?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fed UP: Motor City MADMAN!

Real Quick: I apologize to my team for being MIA lately.  Between working killing me and the Hatch Act (which limits what federal employees can and can’t do during an election year), I haven’t been carrying my weight on this blog.  Thank you team for holding me up.  While I may not be able to provide in depth postings, I can put some thoughts together covering various subjects in hopes to get a conversation started.  Something I’ll call…. “Fed Up:”  (ahhh… what do you know from funny!!!)


Have you heard Ted Nugent’s latest comments?  I say latest because, if you’re familiar with Nugent then you this isn’t the first time the self proclaimed “Motor city Madman” has said something completely stupid.

However, to bring everyone up to speed, take a look at what this anti-American, faux-patriot said:

I have a couple of issues with this comment.  One dealing with Nugent and is ilk directly, the other dealing with Republicans (and Democrats) and the entire political election process to begin with. 

It AB.SO.LUT.ELY kills me when the Nugents of the world hide their feelings and opinions behind the “patriot” mantra.  To be clear, I FULLY support Nugents (and others) to have their own opinions – even if I disagree with them.  But don’t get it twisted; it is the height of hypocrisy to claim to be a patriot, then piss on the very democracy that the patriots fought for.  Part of being a citizen in this country means you are part of that democracy.  And being part of that democracy means there will be times when the person you want to be president loses.  But guess what, that person is STILL YOUR PRESIDENT!!! 

I NEVER heard this type of rhetoric when Bush won… EVER… Was there name calling?  Yes.  But did anyone ever hear a prominent progressive or left-winger wish death and harm towards President Bush?  I do, however, specifically remember a classmate saying, “[America] was going to Hell in a hand basket” after Clinton took over.  So Nugent, who claims to be a “patriot,” finds it okay to use this type of rhetoric against HIS president?  You see, that’s where this disconnect is.  He claims to be a “patriot” but wishes violence against the DEMOCRATICALLY voted POTUS?  So is the process flawed Ted?  Do you think Americans should vote for President or should we remove that section of the constitution when the person YOU supported loses?
That’s really my issue with the far right wing in general; there is literally a full dismissal of EVERYONE in the country that doesn’t agree with their position.  LITERALLY 50% of the country disagrees with them and, if you didn’t know any better, you would think they would be okay with removing their heads.  Mr. Nugent, should my head be removed?  Again,  I think it is a good thing for those who support the Tea Party/Nugent issues to stand up and be heard.  But seriously, you have ZERO interest in participating in democratic process (which you claim to love), the national dialogue, and JOINING the rest of America’s citizens to find consensus on moving the entire country forward?

We had to listen to the media slobber all over the comments made by Hilary Rosen.  In response, EVERYBODY who is anybody on the right side of the aisle commented about how outraged they were that President Obama would wage this “war on women”.  Yet, there is COMPLETE silence in response to Nugent’s comments.  It is deafening.  To be fair (or to call bullshit since we’ve heard NOTHING from Mitt himself), Mitt Romney’s campaign said:

"Divisive language is offensive no matter what side of the political aisle it comes from. Mitt Romney believes everyone needs to be civil."

That’s it?  That’s all you got?  Sounds like somebody is scared to stand up to the right-wing no matter how idiotic they are.  Is that REALLY the sign of a true leader?  To me, it reeks of cowardness.  I could respect Romney more if he had a backbone and stood up for right and wrong.  But I won’t hold my breath.

The difference?  When Rosen – someone who is NOT connected to the POTUS – made her comments, Obama, his campaign, and the Democratic Party moved quickly to separate themselves.  Even Michelle went out there and made some comments.  No matter what side of the aisle, a true leader calls someone out when they say stupid.  However, unlike Romney, who actually called Nugent and asked for his support and endorsement, has said NOTHING to repudiate what Nugent said.  Other than the Romney campaign’s weak ass comment, nothing from any other prominent Republicans.  Again, they couldn’t WAIT to say something after Rosen opened her mouth… now, apparently, they’ve fallen silent.

We’ve now moved to FULL general election mode and NO ONE… NOT ONE PERSON in the Democratic Party has gone into faux-outrage mode and demanded an apology.  NO ONE!!!!???  COME ON MAN!!!!   I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.  This is the same weak ass Democratic Party scared to fight back.  This was laid out on a platter, and they’ve done NOTHING as a result. 

The elections have dissolved to nothing but hypocrisy and talking points with little to no substance.  But, it would be nice for consistency; I guess, that’s just too much to ask.  Who knows?  Maybe there’s a silver lining.  Maybe this provides coverage for the Obama campaign.   In the future, if one of Obama’s surrogates says something COMPLETELY stupid, then the Democrats can always fall back on Nugent’s comments as a blue print.  Thanks Ted.

What do you think of Nugent’s comments?
Should the Republicans speak out against Nugent?
Should the Democrats make this a bigger issue?
Is this a non-issue or is it similar to Hilary Rosen's comments?

Light Skin is Good, White Skin is Better

From today's what the fuck files: TMZ got a hold of the casting call sheet for the Super Bowl Acura commercial which was very color specific. Read it for yourself.

See what it says next to role details, "Nice looking, friendly. Not to dark."

Seriously dude.


So how did the casting director do?

Man, Woman or Other: Miss Universe Pageant

Girls will be boys and boys will be girls
It's a mixed up muddled up, shook up world
Except for Lola, L-L-Lola

-"Lola" The Kinks
What does it mean to be a man or a woman? For me it's pretty simple. Either you were born with a set of XX chromosomes or a set of XY chromosomes. There are other obvious biological differences and of course a tremendous number of environmental differences which may cause and/or be caused by the biological differences. Other environmental differences may be totally arbitrary. There are some people who don't fit into this basic binary pattern but for the overwhelming majority of humanity, man or woman is a baseline accurate though incomplete description of who they are. I don't believe this is all that fiendishly complicated, really I don't.

So when someone has gone through the time and trouble to set up a beauty pageant specifically to celebrate, enjoy and judge female beauty, I don't think it's too much to ask that the would be contestants, actually, well be FEMALE.  Looking for the male beauty pageant? Take a left at the next light, drive two miles down and on the passenger's side you'll find the gathering for the male beauty pageant right beneath the giant sign marked "Who gives a rat's $$$?". But times change and apparently at least one pageant will now let transgender "women" compete. Imagine that.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Black Greeks - A Mandatory Prescription for the Next 100 Years

Black Greeks.1  On most campuses they are the people that many students love to hate...all up until the moment those same students become members that is.  Hate them or love them, there is no denying that the 9 historically Black Fraternities and Sororities2 of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) are an integral part of the Black community and have played a key role throughout Black history.  During the undergraduate years, Black Fraternities and Sororities are typically the focal points of their respective universities.  On the surface, they throw parties, compete in step shows and literally create the reason each year for thousands of eager young college students to pack 6 or 7 bodies into a car for a weekend road trip to neighboring college campuses.  Upon closer inspection, however, they also manage to provide many 18-19 year-olds and young 20-somethings with the opportunity to take a leadership role -- many for the first time in their lives -- within their communities.   Countless hours of community service initiatives, civil rights events, Supreme Court amicus briefs, food drives, literacy programs, voting rights initiatives, financial literacy seminars, Black health awareness drives (and the list goes on) have been put forth by the national, regional, and city alumni chapters of the Black Fraternities and Sororities and, yes, even by the undergraduate college chapters too.  However, all of the accomplishments of these groups over the past 100 years are in jeopardy.

Monday, April 16, 2012

2012 GOP Primaries: A Knock-Out Season

So, things have been pretty serious around here.  From murders to political mudslinging to government scandals, the bloggers here at TUP have had to cover quite a few gloomy subjects.  Because of the cloud hanging over national politics and the media these days, I decided to do something a little fun.  

Ok, for our 30 and up readers, you  may remember the Nintendo game, "Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!"  For our younger readers, you can find this game at your local retro game store.  Though it started off as a typical boxing game, this game became super popular because of the lovable characters, Little Mac, Bald Bull, and Soda Popinksi, just to name a few.  Additionally, if you mastered your boxing skills, you could get a shot at the then undefeated and undisputed heavyweight boxing champ of the world, Iron Mike Tyson.    
What does this have to do with politics?  Glad you asked.  In my effort to cheer things up just a bit before the general elections roar in full blast, I decided to chart the cast of characters from this years GOP primary leading up to the match-up between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.  Now if you remember the game, you'd remember that each of the characters had certain weaknesses and that once you learned to exploit them, you could easily knock out that opponent.  I noticed some of Punch Out's characters had similar characteristics to this year's GOP crew, so I decided to compare them and see how similar they are. I didn't cover all of the candidates, just my favorites.  Feel free to comment about others in the comment section.  Here we go!

Secret Service Colombia Scandal

As you may have heard the President's recent trip to Cartagena, Colombia for the Summit of the Americas didn't go over so well. Not only did various Latin American leaders snub the US by refusing to attend or leaving early, some of those who did attend made it quite clear that if they had their way this would be the last such summit without a Cuban delegation attending. They took the US to task over the embargo and pointedly refused to issue any joint statement.

However all this was overshadowed by the alleged actions of some of the Secret Service advance security team, who upon arriving in Cartagena and being tasked presumably to scope out the area, determine the safest routes for the President to travel, and ensure the general safety and schedule for the President and his delegation, decided that they had some other things to do as well.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Ladies of The Urban Politico Hour: "The War on Women" featuring Ametia & Rikyrah of 3ChicsPolitico

Join the Ladies of The Urban Politico Hour

Ametia & Rikyrah of 3ChicsPolitico

Discussion: The 2012 Presidential Election and "The War on Women"
Join Us Live - Sunday, April 15th @5pm-6pm EST

Ladies of The Urban Politico Hour: The "War on Women" Discussion

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Interview-20 Questions with Debra Devi

I haven't yet done a music post on blues giants Howling Wolf and Little Milton in part because there's just too much to write about them. I'm not quite ready to write something short enough for a blog post. The Mighty Wolf definitely deserves a post all by himself. He was called "The soul of man" and was he ever. So while I was reading about Howling Wolf's recently deceased guitarist, the famed Hubert Sumlin, I was delighted to discover someone else who not only knew a great deal about Hubert Sumlin but had interviewed him for a book detailing the African-American roots of blues and larger African influences on American language and culture.
Every Saturday I  inflict upon share with you my various impressions on music, film or literature. For a change of pace I thought it would be fun to feature an interview with someone who is already a successful professional musician and published author. That's a somewhat rare combination and one which I thought was interesting.

Debra Devi is a musician and the author of the award winning book The Language of The Blues: From Alcorub to Zuzu. This book is not only a collection of interviews with famous musicians such as Little Milton Campbell, Hubert Sumlin, Robert Jr. Lockwood, Bonnie Raitt, Dr. John, Jimmie Vaughn and others but also an "anecdotal dictionary" of blues terminology. Since most blues terminology comes from African or African-American sources this book discusses more than music but please read the interview with Debra after the break.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Note to Mitt & Ann: STOP Trying to Relate - Because You Don't

Ann Romney Plays Pretend 

Before I begin, I would like to take a moment to tell you about a few mothers that I know....

My own mother worked while she was pregnant with me. She gave birth and returned to work, only to realize that she was contributing a deficit to our household -- the child care bill for me on a weekly basis cost more than the small salary she brought home. For a majority of my childhood, my mother was a semi stay-at- home mom. Not because it was the cool thing to do or because she could, but because it was the most economical option for our family. She didn’t just stay home and watch us or act as the overzealous PTA mom. My mother put her brain power to work, and did what she had to do to bring in any extra income, so my father wouldn’t have the entire burden on his shoulders. 

One of my closest girlfriends was a stay-at-home mother for the first five-years of her daughters life. She had just finished her undergraduate degree and was recently accepted into a graduate program when she gave birth to her daughter. She didn't have a choice in the matter. Childcare, food and shelter just were not compatible. So she stayed home to pursue an option that today has afforded her a better life.

Lastly, another close friend from my inner circle is a single working mother of one. She also attends school and does so -- because she doesn't have a choice. 

What connects these women, is their work ethic, strength, passion and willingness to make personal sacrifice to do whatever is necessary to take care of their children and families. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Urban Beat: ***Update*** George Zimmerman Charged with 2nd Degree Murder for the Death of Trayvon Martin

***Update*** Special Prosecutor Angela Corey has just announced that George Zimmerman will be charged with Second-Degree Murder for the death of Trayvon Martin.  

Prosecutor Corey has also announced that George Zimmerman voluntarily turned himself into authorities this afternoon and is now in custody. 

News sources are reporting that special prosecutor Angela Corey is holding a press conference at 6pm, where she is expected to formally announce charges against George Zimmerman. 

Yesterday Zimmerman's legal team withdrew their counsel, citing Zimmerman's unresponsiveness as the reason. 

We have not confirmed the exact details, but here is what ABC News is reporting. 

A Florida special prosecutor has decided to charge neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman in the shooting death of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin, sources told ABC News.

The decision by Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey is expected to be announced at a 6 p.m. news conference in Jacksonville, Fla.

The prosecutor's ruling is certain to provoke controversy in Sanford, Fla., where shooting took place and across the country.

Zimmerman, 28, a white Hispanic neighborhood watch captain, shot and killed Martin, who was 17 and black, on Feb. 26 after following the teenager for several minutes.

The special prosecutor's ruling came one day after Zimmerman's legal team quit because they had lost contact with him, and suggested that the pressure of the case had "pushed him over the edge."

His lawyers said that Zimmerman was no longer in Florida and ABC News has learned that prosecutors do not know his exact location. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Urban Beat: Let the Games Begin - Santorum Suspends Campaign

Rick Santorum Suspends 2012 Presidential Campaign

Rick Santorum called Mitt Romney Tuesday to say he is ending his presidential campaign, Yahoo News has learned.

Santorum is scheduled to make an announcement at a press conference in Gettysburg, Pa., at 2 p.m. ET.

Calls to several campaign aides from Yahoo News were not returned before the event.

Oh no! I'm not ready! Are you? The general election is about to begin and it's only April 6th! 

Racism: Beauty and The Beast

It is occasionally comforting to imagine that the people of evil spirit all look evil or ugly. That way you can tell who they are ahead of time and avoid them. It is also comforting to imagine that the election of a black President meant that America was finally starting to move past its ugly history of white supremacy and racial hatred towards a "post-racial" era. However, both of those ideas are complete fairy tales. Racial hatreds persist. And it's not just the stereotypical obvious skinheads or toothless inbred Southerners driving pickup trucks who spew racial hatred of the other, especially black people. Nope this stuff is nationwide. It's found in high-class and low-class people. People of great beauty and people of astounding ugliness can agree on how much they hate blacks. People who are living paycheck to paycheck and people who can light Cuban cigars with hundred dollar bills can find camaraderie in their shared disdain for citizens of African descent.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Urban Beat: Special Prosecutor Will NOT Use Florida Grand Jury in Trayvon Martin Case

Special prosecutor Angela Corey says she will not bring the Trayvon Martin shooting death before a grand jury. 

Special prosecutor Angela Corey has decided against using a grand jury in the case involving the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, her office said Monday.

Should Both Parents Have to Consent to a Child's Religious Upbringing?

A Mother Baptizes Her Two Children Against A Father's Wishes

I saw this story a week ago and thought it was worth sharing. This story brings up a few burning questions and forced me to question, at what point should the courts get involved in disagreements between parents regarding the upbringing of a child? I've actually played this scenario out in my head using various scenarios. Some people might want to disregard this fathers request because both parents are Christians. Some may even side with the mother, simply because mothers know best. 

What if the father was a Christian and the mother practiced a religion that society tends to frown upon? This story would probably have gotten more attention and caused a nationwide frenzy about religious freedom and father's rights. Either way, let's talk about this. Which parent is right? Which parent is wrong? Should we even declare a winner in a case like this?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Music Reviews-Curtis Mayfield

Curtis Mayfield
Even among talented creative folks there are people who specialize and know their limitations. There are great singers who couldn't write a song to save their life. There are incredible musicians who can't sing. There are excellent songwriters who are far too shy and retiring to ever perform their own works. There are skilled performers who have zero business sense and defer all financial decisions to their managers, agents, attorneys and promoters. There are talented bandleaders who really shouldn't be trusted to engineer or produce their own recordings. And so on.

But sometimes, along comes a man who is capable of doing just about whatever is necessary to create his music and bring it to the public. Curtis Mayfield was such a man. He was at various times and oft simultaneously, a singer, songwriter, producer, arranger, bandleader, guitarist, A&R man, record company executive/owner, promoter, multi-media tycoon and social activist. So he was a giant among giants.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Meet the New Boss: Obama and Domestic Spying

I'm your new boss. I'm SO happy to see you!!!
One of the most intriguing things about human nature is how we respond to surface changes while the substantive policy remains the same. In short, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.

In New York City for example former Mayor Rudy Giuliani made no pretense of having much use for the black community or so-called black leaders. Under his leadership the NYPD was unleashed to harass and search black and Hispanic citizens, primarily men or boys, who could literally just be walking down the street minding their own business. Occasionally this aggressive attitude would lead to brutal or even deadly uses of force on citizens. People were outraged. They marched, protested and called the snarling churlish lisping Giuliani all sorts of nasty names.

Enter Mayor Bloomberg. Bloomberg is a "feel your pain" kind of guy. He's (usually) articulate, soft spoken, reasonable and can insult you in such a nice way that you'll thank him for doing so. He had no problem meeting with black leaders and making the requisite noises of regret any time there was a questionable NYPD incident. But the underlying policy of stop and frisk, agitate and intimidate wasn't changed. If anything, it expanded. But because Bloomberg's surface persona was much more pleasant than that of the belligerent Giuliani, much of the public controversy over police stops initially subsided. Now, however, thanks to Commissioner Kelly's pugnacity and the aggressiveness of the NYPD in crossing jurisdictional and legal lines, people may finally be starting to resist and fight back.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

It Costs to Be a Snob

Last Friday the Black blogosphere erupted in praise for Chicago Urban Prep for having a 100 percent graduation and college matriculation for the third year in a row. To me the headline was a well deserved highlight in a week dominated by the latest news in the killing of Trayvon Martin, and what seemed like months of doom and gloom headlines on the education front that went little recognized. Some of those headlines included calling higher education the next debt bomb and urged Presidential candidates to make education a focus of their campagins.

One candidate has been vocal about education. The conservative family values candidate. Rick Santorum. But he's been promoting education in terms of home schooling, which may not work for everyone, and in terms of alternatives to college because that of course makes you a snob and indoctrinates you with the most liberal of all liberal ideologies. Not that that happened to Mr. Santorum who has three degrees two of them post-graduate. But who am I to throw stones at his glass house.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Mary J. Blige Partners with Burger King **Update**

Here is my quick two cents and then I want to hear your opinion.......

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Supremes

The Law is whatever WE say it is, b*#@$!
America (well, more of it than usual anyway) actually paid attention to something last week that Americans never pay attention to: the Supreme Court.  As you might have heard, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for "Obamacare" last week and, no matter which side you come down on, only one thing is certain: in June of this year, the Court will decide once and for all whether it was really worth a President depleting his political capital to give health care to 40 million Americans who didn't have it.  And for the first time, our general public -- which seems to pride itself on being politically illiterate -- started to put two and two together as to just how important the Supreme Court is.

Every four years we scream, we shout and we damn near kill each other over the two guys running for the presidency.  For most of us, we think that's the end of the road.  We've been told since grade school that the President is the head honcho. The grand puba.  The leader of the free world.  And for the most part, he (or someday she) is. After all, according to the job description, he is the "commander-in-chief."  But here's the thing about Presidents: they come and go every 4 years.  8 if they're lucky.  The Supreme Court Justices they appoint, on the other hand, remain in power for decades.  Literally.