Tuesday, July 31, 2012

5 Things You Won't See Prosecuted By a Romney Justice Department

Every 4 years we have a nation-wide general election in this country to decide who the next President will be.  Ironically, when we only focus on the individuals running for office we lose sight of the most important aspect of any presidential election: presidential appointments.  In the wake of Citizens United and the recent Obamacare ruling, even the most uninformed American voter finally began to see how important it is for a president to appoint the "right" people to the Supreme Court.  But there's another appointment that is just as critical:  the Attorney General.

The U.S. Attorney General heads our nation's Department of Justice.  The Justice Department is effectively the "long arm of the law" for the federal government and is comprised of agencies like the FBI, the ATF, the DEA and the U.S. Marshals in addition to the federal prosecutors who work in the agency known as the U.S. Attorneys Office.  In past years, the Justice Department has concentrated its broad power on problems ranging from the Jim Crow South to meaningless political exploits. Whether the Justice Department uses its power to affect positive social change in America or merely to aggravate the political opponents of a sitting President all depends entirely on which administration appoints the Attorney General.

If a Democrat makes the appointment, chances are the Justice Department will tend to focus on social issues of inequality, racism, sexism, hate crimes, consumer fraud, voter protection, etc.  This stems from a progressive philosophy that the big power structures in our country (state/local governments, corporations, banks, etc.) tend to perpetrate crimes against minorities, women and the poor. Conversely, if a Republican makes the appointment, the Justice Department will tend to focus on imposing harsher sentences for drug or gang-related crimes as well as national security issues like wiretaps and the detention of terrorist suspects.  This stems from a conservative philosophy that the big power structures in our country tend to be on the right side of things and anybody who threatens them must be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

Having established this context, we can safely predict that the following 5 types of cases would likely never see the light of day under a Romney Justice Department:

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Gun Control Debate: Honest Conversations Just Aren't Honest

I was once told to never discuss race, sex, money or politics in public because discussions and debates get to impassioned and at the end of it all, all parties involved walk away with hurt feelings, bruised egos, and maybe even a negative view of a person they once called friend. But here at The Urban Politico all we do is talk about that which we aren't supposed to. Just the other day we fellow bloggers were deciding when to re-insert ourselves into the man woman battle of the sexes debate. It's coming. But that's not the point of today's post.

The last post to inspire passion tackled guns in America and the right to bear arms. The discussion in the comments led itself to a heated discussion on our radio show Sunday. Listen Below
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The debate left us with a few conclusions. Fed_Up surmised gun control won't become a real topic in our political discourse until we hit bottom. Old Guru countered gun control and regulation is not necessarily needed but instead a discussion. (Guru forgive me if i've misunderstood your point) I, The Storyteller have this opinion: honest conversations and discussions rarely happen and when they do they are rarely honest. And to Fed_Up's point of hitting the bottom the only bottom I see to make gun control a real issue is the assassination of the President.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Movie Reviews-(500) Days of Summer, The Woman in Black, Breaking Bad(Season One)

(500) Days of Summer
directed by Marc Webb
He came from somewhere back in her long ago The sentimental fool don't see, tryin' hard to recreateWhat had yet to be created once in her lifeShe musters a smile for his nostalgic taleNever coming near what he wanted to sayOnly to realize it never really wasShe had a place in his lifeHe never made her think twiceAs he rises to her apologyAnybody else would surely knowHe's watching her go"What a Fool Believes"-The Doobie Brothers
In romantic comedies and fiction it's often the woman who wants a long term exclusive relationship leading to marriage while it's the man who is intent on keeping his options open as long as humanly possible. This stereotype is enjoyed and promulgated by men and women for different reasons at different times. Both genders can seek out long-term and short-term relationships. In real life there are women who want to play the field for a while and men who walk around with their heart on their sleeve and fall in love quickly and permanently. We are all equally capable of such feelings. Much blues music is after all, a man singing about all the wonderful things he did for the love of his life and how she did him wrong. What happens when it's the man who's the incurable romantic and the woman who's the cynical realist who wants to keep her relationships casual? What if it's the man who overlooks red flags and thinks that he can change a woman? (500) Days of Summer is perhaps a romantic comedy but more of a coming of age story about love. Love is something which can't be bought, sold, required or demanded. It's a choice, not an obligation. You can't guilt trip someone into loving you. No matter how much you might love someone, you can't have a relationship with them if they don't feel the same way about you. 

Unusually the story is told from the man's pov. This is not Judd Apatow lowbrow material though. (500) Days of Summer is influenced by a true story. The film features the standard disclaimer that nothing is based on actual persons living or dead and that any resemblance is purely coincidental. However at the end of the boilerplate there is a line that reads 
"Especially you, Jenny Beckman. B****!."

Friday, July 27, 2012

Chick-fil-A, Boycotts, Gay marriage and Common Sense

The President of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy, made statements that expressed his opposition to gay marriage for religious reasons. He is a conservative Christian.
'I think we’re inviting God’s judgment when we shake our fist at him, you know, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage." And I pray on God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we would have the audacity to try and redefine what marriage is all about,' he said. 
This immediately started requests for retraction and calls for boycotts, accusations of discrimination and most ominously government officials telling him to stay out of their vicinity.
This really touches on something that I've noticed for a while now and I don't think it's healthy. Both right and left do it.
  1. The turning of honest difference of opinion into heresy that must be zealously stamped out.
  2. The attempt to hurt someone's business for political reasons.
  3. The attempt to get around free speech protections by recasting ideas as hate speech or discrimination.
  4. The attempt to use government to achieve the first three points.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Obama to Urban League: Turn Off Video Games/Real Houswives & Hit the Books (VIDEO)

In a recent speech to the National Urban League, President Obama articulated his vision for universal access to higher education for everybody who wants to go to school and not just for those who can afford it.  Obama further drove home the notion that government should play a role in providing access to higher education for students without schools loading them up with mountains of debt (a topic we have discussed here before).  This drew one of the biggest applause lines of the day from the mostly Black audience.  Sensing the crowd's approval, Obama departed from his prepared remarks and gave some fatherly advice to the youth in the crowd.   See the exchange after the jump at the 3:45 mark.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Jackson Family Drama

Who could forget this scene? Paris had just given an emotional recollection of her father and her aunt Janet sought to comfort her. The family appeared so united and strong on this day, while the world mourned the loss of our beloved Michael. Well long gone are the days of Jackson unity. 

Over the last three-years we've seen more of Michael's children in the spotlight than we all know Michael would have approved of. The kids have Twitter accounts, have done talk show interviews, and even have acting gigs in the works. To say that Michael is spinning in his grave is an understatement, especially when an incident has drawn the attention of "Good Morning America," because it allegedly involved a family scuffle with Paris Jackson. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Should the Right to Bear "Arms" Include Military Assault Weapons?

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." - 2nd Amendment, U.S. Constitution.

Ever since the founding fathers came up with the above-referenced comma-riddled phrase in 1791, America has debated its meaning with little success.  The Supreme Court, which is the final referee on the meaning of all things Constitutional, made two landmark rulings recently which define the 2nd Amendment.  In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled in D.C. v. Heller that the 2nd Amendment grants each citizen the right to own a gun for self-defense purposes regardless of whether or not they are associated with a state militia.  In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled in McDonald v. Chicago that the Heller rule -- which only applied to the federal District of Columbia -- also applies to all 50 states.  So that debate is settled; now we know once and for all that we can ALL own a gun without being in a state militia.  Great.  But the real question is this: when you say that we can all own a gun...what exactly do you mean by the word "gun"?  After all, one woman's gun is another woman's hand cannon.
Samus Aran from the Nintendo game "Metroid" is known for her hand cannon

Monday, July 23, 2012

Urban Beat - Breaking News: Penn State Hit with Sanctions

The NCAA has announced that Penn State University will escape suspension from play, but will receive imposed sanctions.  

The National Collegiate Athletic Association on Monday banned Penn State University from post-season bowl games for four years, fined the university $60 million and imposed other sanctions in an unprecedented punishment for its inaction when officials were alerted to child sex abuse by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Urban Politico Radio Hour: Thats WSUP - Favorite Past Episodes

We're taking a break this week but will return again next week.  In the meanwhile, please take a listen to a few of our favorite episodes from previous weeks:

JULY 15, 2012 - The General Election Speeches at NAACP & Racial Class Action Suits:

Listen to internet radio with The Urban Politico on Blog Talk Radio

JULY 1, 2012 - ObamaCare Upheld By SCOTUS:

Listen to internet radio with The Urban Politico on Blog Talk Radio

MAY 20, 2012 - Ladies Night - Discussion on Women's Issues:

Listen to internet radio with The Urban Politico on Blog Talk Radio

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Movie Reviews-The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises
directed by Christopher Nolan
Ok this is the end of the trilogy and something I've been waiting a while to see. Unfortunately I could not do like some people and leave work early or even skip work completely to see this movie. My boss believes in a full day's work for a full day's pay-even on Fridays. I had to do like all the other schmucks and see it after work. Such is life. Somebody has to be responsible and work until the very end of the day instead of sneaking out early. And that somebody is usually me.

Well what was it like? The obvious comparison is to the summer's other big box office comic book extravaganza, The Avengers, but besides being based on a comic book the two films have virtually nothing in common. The Dark Knight Rises makes use of a different set of tropes and despite being a PG-13 movie is, if you forgive the term, a much darker movie than The Avengers in both cinematography and tone. It is also among the best movies I've seen so far this year though in truth it does not hold up to The Dark Knight. But it does complete the arc of Batman, for good or ill.

The Dark Knight Rises is a film that is about pain, not just the physical pain of combat but the emotional pain of processing loss and lying about it. Batman, is after all a lie, a curse, a construct created by Bruce Wayne (Christopher Bale) to deal with with his fear of caves, bats, darkness and the loss of his parents all those years ago. Well it is often said that if you're not living honestly then everything else you do will be wasted effort. The Dark Knight Rises asks if that is true, not in an obvious sense but in a blink and you'll miss it manner. The Dark Knight Rises also closes the circle on the origins of Batman and reveals the link between Batman and his most physically intimidating rival, Bane (Tom Hardy)

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Police vs. Your Rights: One Constitution and Two Different Results for Blacks and Whites-Video

How One Constitution Can Have Two Different Results for Blacks and Whites.

Earlier this week we did a post informing people about their Constitutional Rights under the 4th Amendment whenever they are pulled over by the police while driving.  In that piece, we examined how the Jay-Z song "99 Problems" is instructive in knowing what the police can and, more importantly, cannot do when it comes to searching you and your vehicle during a routine traffic stop.  In our conclusion of that post we encouraged our readers to respectfully exercise their rights when talking with the police, which is our way of intimating that people -- especially Black people -- should be careful whenever they exercise their Constitutional rights with the police.  This goes without saying for many within the Black community so we didn't feel the need to elaborate much further.  Indeed, experience has taught us that the civil rights of all people can be violated by the police at any given time for any given reason without any legal justification.  This is especially true if you happen to be Black.
When it comes to knowing your rights, you may be surprised to learn that many police officers actually do not know the law.  In fact, most do not.  They know their training, and they know certain of their actions are prohibited, but you will rarely find a police officer who can tell you what is contained in the 4th, 5th, or 6th Amendments to the Constitution or the corresponding criminal procedure laws enacted by their own state.  After all, their job is to protect and serve which does not require a law degree.  It is important to keep this in mind because when you demonstrate that you know more about the law than the police officer you're talking to it can have varying results.  And you should know that these results largely depend on the individual prejudices harbored by the police officer.

HBO Game of Thrones: Comic-Con Cast Interviews and Discussion

In case you hadn't seen this already here are George R.R. Martin and selected cast members from HBO's Game of Thrones at Comic-Con 2012 in San Diego discussing season 2 and possibly a few teasers from season 3. It is always interesting to listen to actors to learn how they interpret their characters. It's fun to see the delight on Martin's face as he talks to and listens to the people who brought his creations to life.
This is in three parts. Each is between 15-17 minutes long.

Part One

Thursday, July 19, 2012

It's the Electoral Map, Stupid!

As all the pundits, newspapers, blogs and know-it-all hyper-opinionated cable TV "political strategists" continue to argue for the next 4 months about tax returns, birth certificates, private equity firms, the unemployment rate, Iran, the war in Afghanistan, same-sex marriage, racial overtones, Mormonism, Islam, Shariah Law, immigration, abortion, "ObamaCare," voter ID laws, offshore bank accounts, Super PACs, the Supreme Court, tax cuts for the rich, tax cuts for the middle-class, the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, VP selections, women's issues, Latino issues, Black issues, White issues, white-collar, blue-collar, 99%-ers, 1%-ers, swing states, and all derivative arguments associated with all of the above, they are missing the one thing that makes all of these discussions irrelevant: the electoral map.

In short: it's the electoral map, stupid!

According to several respectable analysts including Moody's (which has been accurately predicting the electoral map down to the state since 2000) and statistician Nate "Nostradamus" Silver of the Blog 538.com (who correctly predicted the electoral map down to the COUNTY in 2008 with the exception of a few counties in Indiana (the state went for Obama by 1%); he also correctly predicted the winners of all 35 Senate races in 2008), there is an extremely HIGH probability that the map that you are about to see after the jump is what we will all see on Tuesday, November 6, 2012:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Preglimony: A Really Bad Idea??

If a child is born and its parents do not live together the state may intervene to determine which parent should get custody (usually this is the woman) and which parent must pay child support (usually this is the man). There is a lot of bias in the above two determinations. Additionally if a child is born and the man and woman are married, but the husband later discovers his wife was letting another mule kick in her stall, so to speak, and the child is not his it doesn't really matter. Generally speaking a child born within marriage is presumed to be the husband's child and he is responsible for the child's support. So the man pays. Again this seems really unfair and certainly isn't how I would have designed our society's culture and laws but hey I just got here. The overriding rule seems to be that the man pays.

Until relatively recently one could at least say that a man would be paying to support an actual child-that is a human being that was born and had actually exited his mother's body. Because it was only then that science could safely perform the paternity tests and the mother and any number of men could go on The Maury Povich Show and make fools of themselves.

But science is always expanding the realm of what is possible and has advanced to the point that we can learn quite a lot of things, including paternity, about the child before it is born.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Guest Post: Dishonest Attorneys Swindling Money from Vulnerable Immigrant Communites

Our guest post today comes from guest author Marcela DeVivo.  Marcela is a freelance writer focusing on technology and politics.  Writing for Oltarsh.com, she expounds upon topics such as immigration, environmentalism, as well as SEO and Social Media.  Please engage our guest in the comments below.

*** *** ***

Charging those in need of guidance a fee for consultations regarding matters that technically do not exist can be termed as nothing but a con. President Obama’s announcement of his initiative to grant deferred action to certain undocumented peoples who were brought into the country as minors not only created much furor on both fronts of the argument, but it also created an opportunity for fraudulence amongst a handful of questionable attorneys and scammers.

After receiving an outpouring number of calls from attorneys who claimed that they would be able to help immigrants file for deferred action, five college students in Tulsa, members of DREAM Act Oklahoma, decided to call a list of attorneys who specialized in immigration law in the area. What they encountered in a number of calls was astounding.

In one call to an attorney’s office who advertised largely in immigrant communities, claiming to deal only with the DREAM Act and immigration, a quote was given for fees: $500 for consultation and $1,500 to submit an application.

The DREAM Act is not in existence yet and the application for the deferred action directive will not be available until August.

What then, is the attorney giving a quote for? The same day, the students discovered two disbarred attorneys, one “notario” (a person offering unauthorized immigration consultations and services) and a handful of attorneys who were oblivious to the President’s new initiative.

While the students did encounter attorneys who are practicing legitimately and offering accurate and helpful information, the number of sources of dishonest and inaccurate information, providing bogus services is baffling and quite alarming. These questionable attorneys and “notarios” are readily available to immigrant communities and are taking advantage of those who are most vulnerable for monetary gains. They offer advice that is not incorrect, and in many cases charge fees that are not only outrageously high but will achieve nothing.

Various groups that cater to serving the immigrant communities, i.e. National Immigrant Youth Alliance, the national DREAM Act organization, Catholic Charities, and the YWCA Multicultural Center, are encouraging those seeking advice to undergo thorough research when selecting a primary source of guidance. Checking the attorney’s status, getting references from outside sources, and comparing the fees amongst various attorneys are necessary steps to finding a valid and legitimate professional.

In regard to the reasoning behind embarking on this amateur investigation, one of the students who made several calls explained: “this was something we had to do. The public depends on the information being put out there, and Spanish-language resources are limited. We take this as our responsibility for the public – to put knowledge out there to help.”

Monday, July 16, 2012

Knowing Your Rights: The Law Behind Getting Pulled Over (Jay-Z's "99 Problems")

Law school is three years of complex legal theories and academic debates about a bunch of stuff that has very little application to common everyday life, however one of the most useful classes that law school actually does offer -- and one that every American should take -- is Criminal Procedure ("Crim Pro").  Crim Pro is the intersection of where the Constitution meets with law enforcement.  In short, it tells us what the cops can and can't do to you when they try to come into your house, stop you on the street, or pull you over in your car, etc.  You can see how that might be important information.

Saint Louis University School of Law recently published an article in its law review by Southwestern Law School professor Caleb Mason titled "JAY-Z’S 99 PROBLEMS, VERSE 2: A CLOSE READING WITH FOURTH AMENDMENT GUIDANCE FOR COPS AND PERPS." It's a quick 20 page read that breaks down the 2nd verse of "99 Problems" where Jay-Z talks about getting pulled over by a cop while running drugs on the I-95 corridor.  Definitely worth checking out.

The highlights of what you need to know after the jump:  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

That's WSUP: The Urban Politico Radio Hour Today 5PM EDT

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    Saturday, July 14, 2012

    Movie Reviews-2 Days In New York, Flypaper, Conspiracy

    2 Days in New York
    written and directed by Julie Delpy
    This film is a sequel to 2 Days In Paris which was also directed by Delpy. I hadn't seen the previous film but it didn't really matter. This is also a romantic comedy but instead of being about the travails of two crazy kids and whether or not they can wind up together this is about the travails of two very grown people and whether or not they can or should stay together.

    Marion (Delpy) is a French artist who has dumped her previous love interest Jack and moved in with the quite bohemian Mingus, (Rock) a writer for the Village Voice and radio show host. In flashback it's revealed that Mingus was the friend on whose shoulder Marion went to cry when her previous relationship started going south. Mingus made a move and evidently successfully jumped ladders. Marion and Jack each have children by prior relationships but do not have a child together as of yet. Both Marion and Rock love each other but it's not necessarily true that they're in love with one another. Their relationship will be suddenly put to the test.

    Marion's father, Jeannott (Delpy's real life father Albert Delpy), her sister Rose (Alexia Landeau) and Rose's boyfriend Manu (Alex Nahon), who is also Marion's ex, all come to visit Mingus and Marion rather unexpectedly.

    Friday, July 13, 2012

    The Supreme Court, ObamaCare and Moral Claims of Freedom

    The Supreme Court has spoken. The constitutional battle over ObamaCare is over. The President and his much derided solicitor general won on most of the legal merits and the policy implementation. Even as the Supreme Court (rightly in my view) rejected the Administration's argument that the Commerce Clause allowed a mandate to purchase health care coverage, it (wrongly in my view) allowed the individual mandate to stand by wrongly characterizing it as a tax. Very few people besides Lauryn Hill, Wesley Snipes or Irwin Schiff question the government's ability to tax and spend so the Supreme Court called the mandate a tax and allowed it to stand.

    So that is that. Short of a (currently unlikely) Romney victory and (quite unlikely) total Republican November sweep of the House and Senate, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a settled issue. There are some Republican governors who are threatening, as is their right, to refuse to set up exchanges or expand Medicaid while for the 33rd time the House voted to repeal the law but those are die-hard responses that won't "pull up ObamaCare by its roots" as some desired.

    One thing that I've noticed is that partisans on either side make the mistake of personalizing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (hence the name ObamaCare). This explains the insane "I will break him" attitude of many Republicans and the joy of some PPACA supporters who didn't really look at the fine print.

    Thursday, July 12, 2012

    Romney and the NAACP

    Say what you will about the NAACP; I know they bring about various feelings within the African American community.  But, for better or for worse, they still remain the leading civil rights organization in the nation. The NAACP is an organization with enough clout to have presidents and presidential candidates answer their requests to speak at their national conference.  I’d say that the NAACP is a good barometer - not perfect, but good – on how folks feel within the Black community and politics.  This year is no different.  Mitt Romney spoke to the majority African American group, with his own posse of twenty conservative African Americans in tow. 

    Wednesday, July 11, 2012

    Romney, NAACP & The Black Church Organ

    For those who have never worshipped at a black church, Mitt Romney's speech today at the NAACP convention in Atlanta would be a great example of what goes down at one. Although he has a better chance of going broke than winning the black vote, there were brief points during the former Governor's speech where the all black audience seemed to be in agreement. The organ playing in the background was a good indicator as to when that in fact occurred.

    In the black church the organ is not just for musical entertainment, it is that voice in the background telling whoever is speaking at that point, whether it be the preacher or the singer that they are doing a good job, that they "rockin the mic." However the organ's silence usually means that "we ain't feelin it." The black church organ is the cheering section behind the preacher, so no matter how many Amens or hallelujah's the preacher gets during his sermon it doesn't matter because the organ is always on the preacher's side. In fact, visiting pastor's will often bring their own organist along to play while they are speaking. Generally the preacher/organist relationship helps the sermon move along smoothly and effectively.

    To get a better idea of how the organ worked for Romney check out this video courtesy of TPM.

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

    Chris Rock, Melissa Harris-Perry, Conservatives, Racism and Patriotism

    You may have missed it but Chris Rock had a tweet on the Fourth of July that sent some easily and perpetually outraged conservatives off the deep end.

    Happy white peoples Independence Day the slaves weren’t free but I’m sure they enjoyed fireworks.

    Additionally Professor Melissa Harris-Perry had a piece about what the Fourth of July meant to her. 

    This also sent many of the same (mostly white) conservatives into fits of rage. Actually the points made by Chris Rock and Professor Melissa Harris-Perry weren't really all that different from the points made by our very own Janitor in his Independence Day post.

    Monday, July 9, 2012

    Voter ID Laws = Voter Suppression

    As a former Field Organizer for the Obama 2008 Presidential Campaign, the greatest voter mobilization effort the country has ever seen, I can see first hand the diabolical plot of the GOP in enacting the controversial voter ID laws that have sprung up all over the country.

    Take a city like Philadelphia where I was an Obama organizer. Philadelphia has also become ground zero for the voter ID debate. The Obama campaign knew in 2008 that if it wanted to win the state of Pennsylvania, an important swing state, it would have to win Philadelphia. It would need to win the state’s most urban city by an overwhelming margin, in order to essentially offset the rest of the mostly rural state. For that to occur Philadelphia organizers had to awaken a vote that had never been tapped into. The campaign began conducting massive voter outreach in ways that had not been done previously. Informing convicted felons that they did in fact have the right to vote in PA, despite many believing they could not and making it as easy as possible for individuals to register to vote by circulating forms in the streets and mailing them on behalf of voters became successful tactics. It was not just in our best interest to ensure voters were registered so that we could win an election, but in order to fully live up to this country's promise as a democracy. This is particularly important as the US imposes democracy on countries throughout the world.

    Congratulations: Barney Frank Ties the Knot!

    From the New York Times:

    Mr. Frank, 72, and Mr. Ready, 42, were married in Newton, Mass., part of Mr. Frank’s district, on Saturday in a low-key ceremony on the banks of the Charles River. Gov. Deval L. Patrick of Massachusetts officiated. The guests included Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, as well as Senator John Kerry and Representatives Dennis J. Kucinich and Steny H. Hoyer.

    Mr. Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, became, in 1987, the first sitting member of Congress to volunteer that he was gay. He is now the first to be married to a partner of the same sex. Both bridegrooms said they recognized the historical significance of the ceremony, which lasted less than five minutes. Governor Patrick told the guests that Mr. Frank had requested that the service “be short and to the point.”

    Sunday, July 8, 2012

    The Ivy-in-Chief: Is the Political Establishment Too Elitist?

    George Washington had no formal education of any kind.  No PhD's, no Master's degrees, no Bachelor's degree; not even so much as a high school diploma.  Yet, after proving his military leadership on the battlefield for a young nation during its time of need, he was unanimously elected its first President.  By contrast, the man who succeeded him as our second President, John Adams, had absolutely zero military experience; what he had, instead, was an Ivy League education from Harvard and a license to practice law.  And so a precedent was established early on that has persisted to this day; those 2 characteristics ((i) military experience and/or (ii) an Ivy League education) formed an unspoken "check list" for the resumes of all presidents who followed Washington and Adams (with very few exceptions).

    To be sure, not every U.S. president has had an Ivy League education or, for that matter, even a college degree.  Of the 44 U.S. presidents, 10 of them (including our friend George Washington mentioned above) never graduated from college.  But upon closer inspection of those 10 presidents without college degrees, 8 of the 10 (George Washington, Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, Zach Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson and Harry Truman) all had military experience.  So if you had military experience then you had a pretty good shot at the title during the 18th and 19th centuries regardless of whether you had any education or not. 

    But those were the days of old when we were fighting a different war every 5 minutes.  So, naturally, any presidential candidate who had picked up a rifle was in like Flynn. However, as America cooled its jets going into the 20th century, the college educated crowd quickly regained their lead within the Presidency. And whenever you have the college educated crowd you, of course, have the Ivy Leaguers giving hook ups to each other from one class to the next.

    Saturday, July 7, 2012

    Book Reviews-For the Sins of My Father, Powernomics, The Warlord Chronicles, Battles that Changed History

    For the Sins of My Father
    by Albert DeMeo
    I had a pretty idyllic childhood. I hope you did as well. Most children go through a growth stage in which they are convinced that their parent (and I can only speak of sons and fathers here) is the greatest, smartest, toughest, coolest most wonderful person that ever did exist. It is part of the bittersweet maturation process when children become older and start to substitute their own judgment for that of their parents that the child's perception shifts. Eventually the child will get more knowledge and learn some things that their parent did that might not have been completely kosher. 

    Maybe there are some aspects to the parent's life with which the child can't agree. Perhaps the child decides that the parent did everything wrong and gets trapped in bitterness. Maybe he spends the next two decades feuding with the parent. Maybe. For most of us who grew up with, at the very least non-abusive parents, if you are fortunate enough to have an adult relationship with your parent(s), you will probably judge them lightly and just enjoy the time you have left with them. After all no one's perfect, they did the best they could and guess what there's no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny either. Get over your issues. 

    Albert DeMeo didn't get to have an adult relationship with his father. His father was the feared Mafia soldier Roy DeMeo, top dog of the Gemini Crew and primary executioner and torturer for the Gambino Crime Family. We earlier reviewed the book Murder Machine here. The elder DeMeo was murdered just around the time of Albert's seventeenth birthday. Albert had to identify his father's body, (Roy had been shot seven times, three in the head) make all the funeral arrangements and deal with arrogant suspicious law enforcement agents (The NYPD made fun of his father's death while the FBI tried to put microphones and camera in the casket) as well as the deadly members of his father's crew who had murdered Roy and were ominously watching to see if they needed to kill Albert as well. That's a lot for a teen to deal with but we all have crosses to bear. As an adult Albert DeMeo looks back to tell the story.

    Friday, July 6, 2012

    It may be time to rethink spanking our children

    Prior to the nineteenth century, it was permissible and expected for a husband to “physically correct” his wife.  Men were the head of the household, and many beliefs (including some interpretations of Christianity) believed it okay for a man to lay his hands on his spouse.  As with other despicable acts, many supporters of “domestic discipline” used the Bible to justify their actions, specifically those verses that focus in on the various roles between a man and a woman. Ephesians 5:22-24 says:

    "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands."

    Many Christian scholars and representatives say that men who use Ephesians 5:22 to justify their behavior are taking the Bible out of context and should love their wives as they love themselves.  However, there are some out there who still believe that it is the man’s duty and right to correct their spouse, like the Christian Domestic Discipline (CDD).  The CDD even goes so far as to explain when and how to “correct” the Christian woman:

    Rebuke and Lash.  This is the harshest discipline a husband should administer, and it should always be done privately and with Godly, Biblical love.  Usually, exhortation will have already taken place before this method is used, but there may come situations where this is the first step.  The rebuke and lashing should be administered with a calm heart.  Talk to your wife, let her know you are serious, and tell her why she is to be disciplined physically.

    The website goes on to explain how to “administer physical discipline” explaining how to place the woman, where to strike, and what to use (i.e. hand or strap).  

    Thursday, July 5, 2012

    WATCH: Lauryn Hill, July 4th Surprise Performance

    As beautiful a voice as Lauryn Hill has, what some people often forget about the four time Grammy Award winner is that she is a ferociously dope and captivating lyricist. Lauryn is one of those rappers that you generally will not be able to comprehend with just one listen. Her music makes a mockery of the English language by how seemingly effortlessly she manipulates words. She not only held her own against two above average lyricists in Wyclef and Pras, she sort of blew the two of them out of the box.

    When Lauryn released 'Lost Ones' in 1998 it dropped harder than the economy did in 2008 a decade later. It didn't matter if you were into the "conscious hip-hop," the more commercial, hip-hop, old school hip-hop or "gangsta rap," if you were a hip-hop listener or a listener of virtually any form of popular music, chances are you were a fan of that song. Lauryn's thoughtful, intelligent and sometimes venomous lyrics in the song not only displayed her massive knowledge and overall intelligence, it was essentially a battle record, which some say was directed at her former, fellow group member and boyfriend, Wyclef.

    There were many fans who were actually disappointed when the album was first released because it did not contain more songs that resembled 'Lost Ones' and actually took a more soulful, melodic direction and because her voice is so amazingly beautiful, even the disappointed fans eventually came around.

    Despite what has recently been said about Lauryn, such as bad performances, or being late for concerts or not showing up at all, she rocked the house in Philly last night; and judging from this video it was definitely one to be remembered.

    Don't Mess With Texas: Prisons and Air Conditioning

    If through an unfortunate series of events, I was unlucky enough to be convicted of a crime and sent to prison, I would have many concerns that I would want to address. Things like avoiding becoming someone's sexual surrogate, learning all the correct rituals around which tables to sit at, exactly when you should curse out the guards just to make people know you're not soft, how to make dangerous weaponry from plastic utensils, when it is permissible to talk to or befriend a prisoner of a different race, which territory belongs to which prison gang, staying alive, and above all getting OUT as soon as possible would be foremost on my mind.

    Something that probably wouldn't be on the immediate concern list would be air conditioning. Of course I am not in prison and (knock on wood) not in a Texas prison so the issue lacks a little, shall we say, urgency for me.

    Wednesday, July 4, 2012

    Happy Independence Day from The Urban Politico!!!

    236 years ago, a group of well educated slave owners living on the east coast of the United States decided that they had had just about enough of their ruler King George III of England.  So they formed their own Congress among the 13 British colonies in America (Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia) and voted on July 2, 1776 to break away from the Kingdom of Britain.  2 days later, on July 4, 1776, they made this "Declaration of Independence" to the world, stating, among other things:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
    13 years and 1 American Revolutionary War later, these same group of men formed our U.S. Constitution in 1789 and the rest, as they say, is history.  So while you're out enjoying the fireworks today just remember, if the United States hadn't declared Independence from England all those many years ago, you could be looking at a city, state, federal AND a British tax all coming out of your paycheck today! That's something worth celebrating right?

    Happy Independence Day!!!

    Monday, July 2, 2012

    Go Ahead and Vote for Romney, You Know You Want To

    Fact: Come January 22, 2013 the real economy will not be any better than it already is. If unemployment is at an even seven percent I'll say we have overcome.

    Fact: Come January 22, 2013 we will still be in the war in Afghanistan.

    Fact: Come January 22, 2013 the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act as Constitutional will still stand as will its predecessor in Massachusetts.

    Fact: Come January 22, 2013 the United States will still have to struggle with its evolving position in the world from World Leader to one of many as our economy lags and potentially suffers from a snowballing economic crisis in Europe.

    Fact: Come January 22, 2013:

    "... it won't matter much for the economy whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney wins... people are especially pessimistic about the future president's influence over jobs. 
    Years of disappointing economic news have deflated American optimism."
    The last fact is courtesy of an Associated Press-GFK poll finding two thirds of Americans describe the economy as poor and 31percent believe unemployment will grow worse over the next year. (source)

    Lack of Health Insurance is NOT the Problem (VIDEO)

    Repeal and Replace? With What?

    Yes, we are still talking about the Affordable Care Act and the US Supreme Court Ruling. 

    Sunday, July 1, 2012

    That's Wsup: The Urban Politico Radio Hour - The Affordable Care Act

    Join The Urban Politico Team Live

    That's Right! 
    Join Us for a special 90-minute discussion on the Landmark United States Supreme Court Decision  
    National Federation of Independent Business v. Secretary of Health and Human Services
    Live on Sunday, July 1st @ 5.00pm - 6.30pm EDT 
    Blogtalk Radio

    Click Here for our Live Stream
    Join the Discussion @ 424-675-6844

    leave your questions in the comments below

    Our Discussion:
    • The Affordable Care Act - What's That?
    • Provisions and why exactly did 26 states decide to sue
    • Federal Court decisions prior to SCOTUS decision
    • Chief Justice Roberts Majority Opinion/Dissenting Opinion
    • It's The Constitution Stupid! - Why this decision is constitutional?
    • The Republican response to the SCOTUS decision
    • Moving Forward - How will this play out in the November election

    Listen to internet radio with The Urban Politico on Blog Talk Radio