Friday, August 31, 2012

RNC Recap: Meet Mitt Romney - His Road to the White House

Mitt Romney is officially the Republican Candidate who will face off with President Obama on November 6th, for the job of President of The United States of America. All week we've watched several members of the Republican Party make their pitch to the American People, for the family man pictured to the right. Mitt Romney who served as Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007, was touted by his party as a man who embodies "American Exceptionalism," has a vision for our country, executive experience, an unyielding admiration for his country, and a plan to get our country back on a path of greatness. Through this convention Candidate Romney sought to show voters his human side. Romney wants us to believe that he understands the lives of ALL Americans, and will put our best interests at the forefront at all times, if we give him the job. Was Romney successful? I don't know. Let's talk about the convention and last evening's acceptance speech.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

RNC Wednesday Recap: Paul Ryan and Condoleezza Rice

Last night it was "Showtime at the Republican National Convention." They pulled all the stops and gave a subliminal checkmate to President Obama - former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice took the stage to discuss Foreign Policy. Vice Presidential Nominee, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan formerly accepted the party's nomination, giving a very rousing speech that was sure to fire up the conservative base. There were several other speakers including New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and 2008 Republican Presidential Nominee/US Senator from Arizona John McCain. I caught the last two speeches of the evening so let's discuss. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Recap of Tuesday's Republican National Convention

Well the day has finally come. As of Tuesday, former Governor of Massachusetts, Willard "Mitt" Romney is officially the Republican Nominee for President of the United States of America, along with his Vice Presidential running mate Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan. Despite a highly contentious primary season and present day threats of a hurricane and dangerous weather conditions, the Republican Party is doing what they do best - putting their personal interests aside, concentrating on the party, getting in line and throwing their support behind the chosen one. In their first prime-time evening, they gave us a well orchestrated message and told America why Mitt's the guy to lead our nation for the next four years. 

Here is a quick recap of what I caught and my thoughts.......

Zoe Saldana, Nina Simone, Race, Skin Tone and Hollywood

What do you think about supposed plans to have Zoe Saldana play Nina Simone in a movie?

One of the first things that you think about when you think of someone for these projects, is you’re going to try to make it believable in terms of appearance,” Simone Kelly, daughter of the late singer/songwriter, tells The Daily Beast. The married mother of two—an accomplished singer/actress in her own right—is in the midst of a furor over last week’s news that Saldana will play Nina.

The controversy hit a high note, with many crying foul over what some consider a dubious casting choice for the film. There’s even an online petition demanding that Saldana, who has yet to comment, be replaced by an actress “who actually looks like Nina Simone.”

With writing and directing duties going to Will & Grace producer and rumored Jodie Foster gal pal Cynthia Mort, the film, which was first announced in 2005 with Blige attached, is based on the life rights of Cliff Henderson, the openly gay personal assistant to Nina Simone in her final years.
Casting aside, Kelly is strong in her convictions. Since Nina Simone did compose much of her most pivotal music, the estate maintains control over its usage. Mort, who Kelly says she only communicated with once, may have difficulty getting rights and clearances for the songs.

“As long as this script is based on a lie, anything that comes through me will not be approved,” Kelly promises. “I cannot condone a lie. I don’t live my life as a lie. And the truth is stranger than fiction.” 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Apple: 1, Samsung: 0

Meanwhile, outside of the land of politics an important court ruling came down last week that made Apple stock soar through the roof.  In the case of Apple v. Samsung, Apple successfully sued its competitor Samsung for patent infringement.   Per the NY Times:

Apple won a decisive victory on Friday in a lawsuit against Samsung, a verdict that will give Apple ammunition in a far-flung patent war with its global competitors in the smartphone business. 
The nine jurors in the case, who faced the daunting task of answering more than 700 questions on sometimes highly technical matters, returned a verdict after just three days of deliberations at a federal courthouse in San Jose, Calif. They found that Samsung infringed on a series of Apple’s patents on mobile devices, awarding Apple more than $1 billion in damages.
That is not a big financial blow to Samsung, one of the world’s largest electronics companies. But the decision could essentially force it and other smartphone makers to redesign their products to be less Apple-like, or risk further legal defeats.
Consumers could end up with some welcome diversity in phone and tablet design — or they may be stuck with devices that manufacturers have clumsily revamped to avoid crossing Apple.
It didn't take long for Apple to put its ruling to working to its advantage.  Apple has now called for 8 Samsung smartphones and tablets to be BANNED from the U.S.  Per USA Today:

Monday, August 27, 2012

Chris Matthews Give RNC Chairman Reince Priebus THE BUSINESS (VIDEO)

It's about Damn Time!

It's so coincidental that I'd like to believe "Great Minds" think alike or maybe this just stuff is finally starting to reach its boiling point. Just yesterday on our weekly radio show "That's Whats Up," The Janitor, ShadyGrady and myself engaged in a discussion about this idea that Mitt Romney feels the need to throw out elements of racism as red meat to his base. Well finally, we here at The Urban Politico are not the only ones who are seeing it. Finally someone had the guts to call out the Republican Party and Mitt Romney. 

Chris Matthews gives Reince Priebus the Business.......

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Urban Politico Radio Hour: That's What's UP

Join us today, August 26, 2012 at 5:00 PM (Eastern) for another hour of our weekly talk radio show That's What's Up.

This week we discuss:
1. The Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida
2. Rep. Todd Akin and "Legitimate Rape"
3. The recent police shooting in NYC

To tune in click HERE

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Music Reviews-Andre Williams, The Watts Prophets, Melanie, AC/DC: Powerage, Isaac Hayes: Hot Buttered Soul

Andre "Mr. Rhythm" Williams is an Alabama born and formerly Detroit based singer, frontman, producer and songwriter who worked in the fields of blues, doo-wop, rock-n-roll, R&B, soul, country, punk rock, and hard rock. Williams has worked with or written for a who's who of rock-n-roll and R&B including but not limited to The Contours, Ike and Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder, The Chi-Lites, Mary Wells, Edwin Starr, The Five Du-Tones, The Dirt-Bombs, Jon Spencer, The Sadies and Parliament-Funkadelic. He is also one of the dirtiest old men alive. Imagine if Redd Foxx (who was one of Williams' friends) had decided to be a musician instead of a comedian. I mean you have to be careful listening to Andre Williams' music because it might give you some hopelessly depraved ideas about what to do with certain body parts. Williams knows what goes where and why and he will gleefully tell you all about it too. "Jailbait" is something that R.Kelly should be forced to listen to.

For the most part, especially in his older music, Williams accomplished some sleaze by judicious use of metaphors and double entendres but in recent years with various punk-blues or alt-country bands he has been much more direct. I have a mixed feeling about some of his later stuff. The guitars tend to be much louder and more distorted. There's much more use of profanity. His modern bands aren't quite as flexible in their musical approach. But songs like "Everybody Knew" (which has VERY EXPLICIT ADULT ONLY language-I am really not kidding about this) or "Let Me Put It in" are really over the top. They're almost funny. YMMV. Those are the hardest of hard blues/rock. The raunch on "Let me Put It In" matches or exceeds anything ever done by The Rolling Stones or Guns N' Roses or any modern rapper. You may find Williams' later music "offensive", "profane" and any other negative characterization you care to use.  I wouldn't disagree. I do generally find his older music like "Is It True" and "Cadillac Jack"  to be more fun. At the very least you can listen to those songs with children or female relatives in the house. So there's that. "Pass the Biscuits Please!" is funny, clean and true to life.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fear Cuts Deeper Than Swords-A Game of Thrones

If you've been around the blog for a while you know that I am an A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones fanatic.
This post's title is a mantra which Arya Stark was taught by her fencing instructor Syrio Forel. Unfortunately she has reason to take it to heart and live by it as she must endure experiences which might scar a grown man, let alone a nine year old girl. But things are what they are. I really like the phrase "Fear cuts deeper than swords" because it has a meaning which definitely rings true in my life. I bet at least once it may have been true in yours as well.

The Storyteller recently did a great post about fear being used by both sides to influence the upcoming election. Fear is a useful emotion. It tells us that we don't know what's going to happen next and we have to be careful. It may sharpen our senses and make us very alert to our surroundings and events taking place therein. If you happen to work with mobsters or you are followed by hoodlums or you are forced to consider heart surgery or you are stopped in the "wrong neighborhood" by a police officer with a bad attitude or you are trapped on a sinking ship that is surrounded by sharks then fear is a completely rational response. Fear in those situations can help keep you and yours alive. For most of us that's more important than anything else. Someone who claims to be fearless is usually someone who is lying through his teeth, doesn't have much relevant information about the situation he's in, or no longer cares if he lives or dies. So in that aspect a little fear can bring much needed rationality and clarity to a situation. We all have fear. We all need fear. Believe that.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Republican Brand Coming Into Focus in 2012

Before anybody says anything about any alleged liberal media bias in connection with the title of this piece just know that I am not a Democrat.  I am one of those middle-of-the-road Independents that you sometimes hear about between news cycles that are supersaturated with extreme Left or Right-wing talking points.  I decided a while back that having the ability to vote in a primary election just isn't worth being politically pidgeon holed for the next 4 years.  I have supported both Democrats and Republicans throughout my time as a registered voter.  So when I ask the question of "what in THE hell is going on with the Republican Party recently?" you will know that this is a genuine question coming from an Independent.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The National Urban League vs. Nike

Hello everyone. Welcome to T-76 days until the United States makes a very important decision - electing our next President. Today I should be talking to you about the issues at hand, where the candidates stand, or a number of other important things pertaining to this election. Nope! Instead of talking to you about important stuff, I am here to call out The National Urban League for not doing their F*&king job - again. 

Racial Rants-Pot, Kettle and the UK

If you may remember some time back a Caucasian British woman, one Emma West, decided she had had enough of the large numbers of non-Caucasians and/or non-British on the train with her and decided to let everyone know exactly how she felt.  Her trial is coming up in September. Another Caucasian British woman that had a similar rant about previously living in England and now living in the United Nations recently received a five month jail sentence. Not to be outdone a Black British woman riding the bus chose to vent her intensely negative feelings about white people. I don't know what it is about public transportation that makes some people want to get in touch with their ugly side but there you are. There are reasons I haven't taken public transportation in over 25 years and women like this would be one of them. The woman has since been arrested.
She begins the tirade of abuse by shouting: 'I'm so glad. I'm born black and I'll die black. I was born African and I'll f****** die African.'
The foul-mouthed woman then goes on to tell the passengers: 'The only reason I was born in this country is because you f****** people brought my people here.'
'My parents are f****** African, born in Jamaica. And I’m f****** African, born in England and I can’t stand you white people, I tell you.'
Wearing a black leather jacket and grey T-shirt, she continues her rant by saying: 'I don’t care what none of you lot got to say because at the end of the day if you lot would have had a choice you will f****** go with your people and I’ll go with mine.
'The whole lot of you are programmed, f****** puppets. Not this one, I’m black and proud.'  She then spits on the floor and picks up her phone and can be heard describing those around her as “f****** doughnuts and puppets on the bus.' 'I'm black and proud', she added.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

GUEST POST: Smart and Cute is Hard to Find

By Kimberly Hodges
Last summer, I ran into an old acquaintance while out for drinks at the Walnut Room in Philadelphia.  I had recently moved back home from a 5 year stunt in Los Angeles and was eager to relearn my city.  During those 5 years in LA, I dated a gentleman from my college on and off.  By the time I came home to Philadelphia, our relationship had become very deep and heavy.  My Walnut Room acquaintance was everything I was looking for in a friend, a nice guy, fun, and knew how to party.  I’d often see him around town smiling, dancing and lighthearted.  He seemed like he had the best social life of everyone I knew and I wanted in on the good times that seemed to come to him so easily. 
That night, him and I somehow got into a conversation of why he was single and his comment was, “Smart and cute is hard to find.”  Granted, this kid is extremely smart.  I don’t know what boy genius’ standard is for “smart”.  It seemed like he just wanted good conversation.  Not only do the requirements of smart and cute seem like he’s not looking for enough in a woman, it seems like there are millions of women that fit that description.
I'm amazed at how many men I hear complaining about not being able to find a “good” woman. All I know are smart, talented, funny, beautiful women.  These women are diverse, creative, educated, fun, and most importantly single.  I never understand how a man has trouble finding what he is looking for in a romantic partner.
But, that’s really the problem.  The more I probe, “Well, what are you looking for?” the more I realize, most men (woman as well) do not know what they want. True love could be staring them in the face and they would miss out on that opportunity to fulfill their souls relationship desires. Why? Because they aren't in tune with themselves enough to know what they truly want. They haven’t taken the time to reflect on what qualities their partner should have that will bring out the very best in themselves. They haven’t spent time in silence asking themselves what experiences they desire to have in a relationship.
Some of my male friends practice opposite patterns.  It seems like they fall in love with every girl that they meet.  There is a beautiful story about how they met.  They describe their new love as perfection embodied on earth, until a couple months later when they have fallen out of lust/love.  I love these boys, because I know that they really do believe in love and desire that for themselves. But the same principle applies here.  What are you looking for?  When you realize that she is not perfect, she has growing opportunities, and you are not going to live on cloud 9 with her all day every day, who is the woman with whom you want to build a lasting future?
The truth is, you are going to meet a bunch of potential partners that are “smart and cute”.  But you need to go much more in depth in your desired description.  How would you describe your partner’s spiritual life?  How do you feel when you are with your partner?  What activities do you enjoy with your partner?  How do your families get along?  How serious does your partner want to be at this point in your lives?  Your list should have 75 items on there easily. 
There are billions of people in this world, not every one is going to be the one for you.  And that’s ok.  There are billions of people in this world, at least one of them is the one for you.
My challenge to you is to create your list.  Whether you are single and hoping to experience your perfect relationship, or you are in a relationship and you want to improve your experience, write a list.  Read it often and add to it as you get more clear about what you want to experience.  Stay positive and focused on what you want, not what you don’t want.  As your list becomes more refined, stop dating everyone who does not fit the characteristics or description of what you are looking for.  Those people are showing you what you do not want so that you can become very clear about what you do want.
Relax, and let your soul’s partner come to you.  When you find yourself with multiple potentials and are not sure how to move forward, refer back to your list and cut accordingly.  There’s no other way to it.  You cannot find what you are looking for if you don’t know what you are looking for.  It’s time to get clear.

Kimberly Hodges’ life coaching has counseled people in the areas of relationships for many years. Through her ongoing study of personal development and testing various tools and techniques, Kimberly provides a unique perspective that helps individuals improve their relationship with themselves as well as others.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Augusta National Admits Women for the First Time

For the first time in its eighty-year history, Augusta National has admitted women.  This historic, private club and annual site of the Master's Golf Tournament has selected former Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, and business executive, Darla Moore as its first female members.  Augusta National has no comment on its historic admittance of women onto its well-manicured links.

Read more here.

Rep. Todd Akin and The Case for "Legitimate Rape"

Usually I follow the blogging principle of letting foolery stay in the realm of fools. But when foolery is spewed from the mouth of an elected official I feel it is my duty to let that fool don the word laced cuckold he deserves.

That he being Missouri Representative Todd Akin who had the nerve to go on live TV and discuss his hard line anti-abortion stance in relation to women's anatomy.

"If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something. You know I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child."

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Urban Politico Radio Hour: That's What's UP

Join us today, August 19, 2012 at 5:00 PM (Eastern) for another hour of our weekly talk radio show That's What's Up.

This week we discuss
1. Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan and his voting record
2. The Voter ID laws
3. A new political group which claims that President Obama does not get any credit for killing Osama Bin Laden
4. Wall Street Journal's recent article about Black on Black crime

In case you missed it, you can hear this week's show HERE

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Fear Mongering and the Fall Election

At my job us regular employees whisper amongst ourselves that our managers like to lead by fear. Specifically through nasty-grams. Nasty emails CC'd to top level management threatening some disciplinary action such as a write up or suspension if a certain condition is not met. I've received one and have it saved in my inbox as a reminder to trust no one. But that's not the only problem with the nasty-gram; inbox received or spit from managerial mouth to unsuspecting employee face. At my job the problem with the nasty-gram is employees almost welcome such disciplinary action. Flippantly saying amongst ourselves, "Suspend me. I'd love a paid vacation on you."

Disciplinary action rarely takes place at my job. People are fired sure, but that in and of itself is a rare occasion. Yet the culture of fear persists. The threats persists. Managers rule by fearmongering but are not feared because apathy has set in amongst the ranks and optimism is a foreign concept sought after only when moving to another market. 

But in American politics unlike a top 50 news market optimism is expected. Fearmongering is disguised as hope and change no matter which party holds the keys to the White House. 

Fearmongering may be most recently remembered under the Bush administration. The case for the war in Iraq:


Movie Reviews-Breaking Bad (Season 2), White Heat, Intruders

Breaking Bad (Season Two)
created by Vince Gilligan
What would it be like to be a criminal? Have you ever thought about it? What would it be like to live outside the law and have to deal with all the problems that decision would include? How would you change personally? Obviously criminals can't be nice guys, especially if they are working as drug dealers. How could you trust your partners? How you would you hide your ill gotten gains? How would you keep the IRS from sniffing around? Could you be a vicious mean SOB at "work" and still maintain a decent "home" personality? How would you keep your work associates from knowing where you lived or contacting you during off hours? What if one of your associates gets arrested and decides to rat? If you work with killers and other dangerous people do you have to become a killer and get a deadly crew of your own just to keep up with the Joneses? Is it a good idea to let vicious and totally immoral co-workers get the idea that that you're soft? How do you learn the rules of the criminal world? Can you learn how to bribe people and who to bribe? Is the money really worth all the extra bother?

In the second season of Breaking Bad, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) has to confront all these questions and more. He became a murderer in Season One though it was by accident, impulsive and arguably in self-defense. In Season Two White becomes a more calculating and less sympathetic character. He finds it less possible to hide behind the "Hey I just make the stuff, what people do after that is not my business" dodge and occasionally he doesn't want to. He's also, to his partner's annoyance, an arrogant SOB.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Why The Commander in Chief Gets Credit For Combat Operations

As a young Second Lieutenant in the US Army, when I reported to my first assignment as platoon Leader, I met with the company commander.  He looked me over, closely checking my uniform, my shoes, my haircut, and my posture.  He then asked me to sit so we could discuss his expectations for my new platoon, and then he started the discussion.  His first statement to me was, "Lieutenant, you are responsible for everything your platoon does or fails to do."  Those words resonated with me as the framework for how to be a leader.

Of course, my company commander's statement applies to all branches of the military: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coastguard.  Most importantly, it applies to our Commander In Chief - the President of the United States.  In each branch, soldiers are taught to respect the chain of command.  From R.O.T.C. cadets to Generals, military personnel learn that leaders of troops get all the criticism when things go wrong and all the praise when things go well.

Apparently, not everyone got that memo.  Recently, former Special Operations soldiers created a political web video criticizing President Obama.  See the video here.
But before I get into what I feel about this video, let me tell you a bit about the organization that bankrolled the video, the Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund (SOOEF).

Jon Stewart PWNS the Recent Voter ID Laws

Money Quote:

As you know, and you well know this, in person voter fraud is an enormous issue with more than - exactly 10 documented cases of it in the entire country alone!  Just since the beginning of the millennium.  That's .000000284% of all votes. So you can see why Pennsylvania would want to enact a voter ID law which one study claims could potentially disenfranchise over 758,000 registered voters, or around 9% of the entire Pennsylvania electorate.  But that's the price you pay to prevent something that doesn't happen.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Yeah About That Dream Act...

Do you remember all the rhetoric over the Dream Act?
When the President decided to implement via executive decision what he couldn't get passed by Congress there were a lot of stories about how unfair it was that someone who was brought illegally to the United States as a child and had graduated high school or college faced the possibility of deportation and couldn't find work legally. Tears of compassion were shed and calls for change went up throughout the land. It was estimated in think tank studies, media reports and official/unofficial government statements that roughly about 800,000 illegal immigrants would be eligible under the Dream Act. Congress refused to change the law. President Obama, it being an election year, suddenly decided that he had powers that he had previously denied having and ordered the relevant agencies to cease and desist deportations of people that would have fallen under the Dream Act, had it been passed which it wasn't. Now this is a rather unique sort of approach to the law. Order people to act according to a law which doesn't exist. Fascinating.

Anyway yesterday was the first day that illegal immigrants were eligible to apply for work permits and deferred action status under this new "law" which was not passed by Congress and doesn't exist. Of course now that they have what they want the details of the new policy turn out not quite to be what either the President or the advocates for illegal residence in the United States had told everyone they were. Instead of 800,000 people being eligible, the new estimate is 1.7 million!!. That's right, over twice the initial widely reported number. And it's not going to be only high school or college graduates who are all going to build the next Facebook or Microsoft, that is if they didn't have to worry about those pesky ICE agents. Nah. The new policy includes not only the people with degrees or who graduated high school but those people who are working towards a GED, people that aren't working towards a GED but will be at some time in the future or people who aren't even in high school yet but may be eligible for this deferred action status at some distant yet to be determined time.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Republican Judge Upholds Pennsylvania Voter ID Law

A few hours ago, Judge Robert Simpson (above) of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled against the people challenging the state's latest voter ID law in the case Applewhite et al. v. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  Upon first hearing this news, I quickly perused Judge Simpson's bio at the court website to see what he's about.  Nothing really stood out to me so I ran a quick Google search and discovered that Judge Simpson is a Republican.  Interesting.  Normally this wouldn't matter but Pennsylvania is one of several states where judges are actually elected as opposed to being appointed by a Governor.  This means that Judge Simpson could have very well decided a case today which may benefit him at the ballot box among Republican voters who believe that voter ID laws are necessary to crack down on voter fraud (absent any evidence that such fraud exists notwithstanding). 

After reading Judge Simpson's opinion (available HERE) a few things stood out to me legally:

Vice-President Biden, Chains, Wall Street and Black People

If I stood in front of an audience which had a sizable proportion of Jewish Americans and claimed (even tongue in cheek) that my political opponent would have them "back in death camps" some people might consider that a desperate attempt for votes and something of a slanderous low blow. I might even get a verbal brush back from the ADL or AIPAC chiding me for lightly using such metaphors. But Vice-President Joe Biden is not a person who is worried about such things. In Danville, VA , a city that is roughly half black and happens to have been the final capital of the Confederacy, and in front of an audience which NBC News stated was representative of the city, Vice-President Biden spoke dismissively of Republican plans to change Wall Street regulation.
Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday that a Republican-led effort to loosen new regulations on Wall Street would put voters "back in chains." "Romney wants to, he said in the first 100 days, he's gonna let the big banks again write their own rules," Biden said of the GOP nominee's proposals to roll back the Obama administration's financial reforms. "'Unchain Wall Street!'" Lowering his voice, Biden added, "They're going to put you all back in chains."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Guest Post: Paul Ryan: “It’s About Opportunities, Not Outcomes.”

Today's guest post comes from a man who needs no introduction at The Urban Politico.  Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome back to the stage the one and only Rippa.


Last weekend, when Paul Ryan spoke in Virginia after being introduced as Mitt Romney's running mate and said, "It's about opportunities, not outcomes," it really stood out to me. In my opinion, nothing he said before or after that line matters. For me, that very line essentially framed the debate that is who is best served to run this country for the next four years; and, I'm sure the Obama camp would not have it any other way.

In truth, Ryan's vision for America as evidenced by his budget proposal makes it quite clear: neither Ryan, Romney, or the Republican Party is truly concerned with America's already struggling middle class as they purport. In fact, they have obviously missed the fact as pointed out on this blog last year, that a majority of Independent and Republican voters were opposed to Ryan's budget, and supportive of increasing taxes on the wealthy.

And from the looks of it, this favors Obama.
This year, an incumbent even more embattled than George H.W. Bush has his own preferred election theme. He doesn't want to debate his own record, which is pretty dismal. He wants to debate the record of the congressional Republicans elected in 2010, a bunch radically less popular even than the president himself.

You'd imagine that Romney's job was to refuse the Democratic invitation, to choose his own ground for the election, and to keep his distance from the congressional GOP. You'd imagine, but you'd be wrong.

Romney has instead chosen to bolt himself to the House Republicans. He has chosen as his running mate Paul Ryan, the House Republican leader -- not their formal leader, but their intellectual leader, the person who set their agenda. He has effectively adopted Paul Ryan's agenda as his own: big immediate cuts in spending, a dramatic cut in the top rate of income tax to 28% and a bold reform of Medicare for those 55 and under.

Obama's message in 2012: "Forget the economy. It's Medicare, stupid!"

The Romney-Ryan response? "We agree. Medicare it is."

Monday, August 13, 2012

The True Cost of High Gas Prices - A Rant By The Janitor

"Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!"- Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Ghostbusters, 1984.

Normally on this blog we produce well researched pieces which explore both sides of an issue and we include nice little links to our sources and all of that jazz.  This is not one of those posts.  Nope. Today I want to talk to you about an intolerable miscarriage of justice, indeed a cancer if you will, that is eating away at the very fabric of our American way of life and threatening to take that which is sacred and turn it on its head in a most blasphemous and cowardly fashion.  I'm talking about the push for more fuel efficient cars.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Urban Politico Radio Hour - That's What's UP: Is Romney Ready to Lead?

Join us Sunday, August 12, 2012 at 5:00 PM (Eastern) for another hour of our weekly talk radio show That's What's Up.  This week we discuss Mitt Romney, whether he is ready to lead, and his new pick for Vice President.

In case you missed this week's episode, listen here:

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

BREAKING NEWS: Romney Selects Paul Ryan for VP

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan (left) will be Romney's Vice President.
Per Washington Post:

NORFOLK — Mitt Romney has selected Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate in the presidential race and will make the long-awaited announcement here Saturday morning.
Romney’s campaign told supporters at about 7 a.m. via an iPhone app that the seven-term congressman would be the Republican vice presidential nominee.

Two others who were high on Romney’s short list of VP contenders — former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman — were informed in recent days that they would not be on the ticket, according to two Republican sources. Both were scheduled for other events on Saturday.
Among the early clues that Ryan, who chairs the House Budget Committee, was the likeliest pick was the venue chosen for the early morning announcement — the USS Wisconsin in Norfolk. And overnight, the Web site automatically began redirecting readers to the Romney campaign’s home page.
The selection of Ryan would add to the ticket the intellectual architect of the GOP’s approach to slashing deficits and signal a desire to place the nation’s looming fiscal challenges at the center of the campaign’s final months.
Ryan got a strong boost over the past few days from conservatives, with editorials pushing his candidacy in the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard and the National Review.

Book Reviews-The King of Elfland's Daughter, Fearless Jones

The King of Elfland's Daughter
By Lord Dunsany
Lord Dunsany (1878-1957) was a true Renaissance Man (poet, author, playwright, chess champion, nobleman, pistol shooting champion, veteran of three wars, big game hunter, professor, animal rights activist) who had a profound influence on such writers as disparate as J.R.R. Tolkien, Neil Gaiman,(check out Stardust) Michael Moorcock, Evangeline Walton, David Eddings, H.P. Lovecraft, and even Robert E. Howard.

Sadly I had never read Lord Dunsany before and since I have roughly 300(!!) or so books waiting to be read I decided to finally start reading his work and see if it held up to the wonderful things that other writers had said about the author. It did. Man, did it ever. Dunsany possessed a lyrical fluid verbosity with prose which put you in mind of Shakespeare in some ways. It's not enough to say that H.P. Lovecraft bit off of Dunsany. In some places he devoured him whole. Although The King of Elfland's Daughter (TKED) is a short book, it is incredibly dense and will leave you wanting more.

To just digress for a moment in J.R.R Tolkien's legendarium elves and humans do not normally intermarry and when they do there's often tragedy. Elves are virtually immortal and ageless while humans of course deteriorate rapidly from an elvish POV and die like mayflies. The two peoples experience Time differently and have slightly different relationships to their Creator. 

Humans are jealous of elves' immortality and fearful (thanks to the Enemy's lies) of the Gift of Death. Elves do not understand human haste and restlessness and seeming need of change for change's sake. Humans who seek after elvish immortality are dabbling in things they do not understand and generally come to very bad ends indeed. Tolkien just paints this in very broad strokes though and moves on to other things in most of the works published in his lifetime. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Wisconsin Sikh Shooting, Gun Control, Wade Michael Page and Profiling

When the shooting in Aurora occurred a lot of people (especially NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg) ran to the nearest microphone or blog and spoke or wrote with heartfelt indignation of their beliefs that no one needed an "assault rifle" and such things were only good for killing mass numbers of people, only the military or police should have "assault rifles" or large capacity magazines, and that those people who supported the right to own "assault rifles" had blood on their hands and so forth and so on.

These people gingerly ignored the fact that the overwhelming majority of homicides carried out with guns are done with handguns, not rifles of any kind. These people also neglected to notice the inconvenient detail that the Founders did not want an unarmed populace and an armed to the teeth military and police.

Now we just had the neo-nazi nut in Wisconsin who appears to have used a legally acquired handgun with normal capacity magazines to kill six people and wound four. The man was being monitored by certain private groups that keep an eye on noticeable hateful individuals mostly of the right-wing variety.  There is of course a legitimate question, given how the right reacts to mass murders carried out by non-whites, if whiteness as a concept needs to have the same criticism directed at it as other nationalist or racially based identities. As the United States continues to change demographically will there be other such incidents? I don't think so but you never know...

Dear Romney Campaign: Did You Really Just Say That on TV?

Mitt Romney campaign spokesperson Andrea Saul.
Remember when John McCain said "the fundamentals of the economy are strong" during the 2008 presidential election right after America had just entered the deepest recession that this nation has seen since the Great Depression?  Remember that?  Political junkies, pundits and so-called strategists often cite that precise moment as the moment when John McCain lost the election. Hindsight is always 20/20 so we can't know for sure whether the Romney camp has just committed the same fatal error, but if Obama remains in the White House for the next 4 years then it just might have something to do with what the Romney camp said this week.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

"Ugly Black Babies"

Just 7 days ago I had the nerve to question did women win the war on women because seven key provisions of women's health must be covered by insurance companies under the Affordable Care Act. I surmised in the end the provisions did not signal a decisive victory and now there's proof the provisions of the Affordable Care Act may not have even been a victory at all. Especially for Black women. So what did sistas do now? Apparently when we give birth our babies are ugly, a burden on tax payers, and grow up to be killers who walk into movie theaters and kill 12 people and wound 58 others. Watch below.

Is it All About the Benjamins?

The Obama camp has both raised large amounts of money and spent large amounts of money early on setting up campaign offices in key battleground states while the Republican primaries were still taking place.  Now that those primaries are over, the Romney camp has consistently been out-fundraising the Obama camp each month.  With 90 days left in the General Election before November 6, is the Obama camp in trouble?  The Morning Joe crew takes a look after the jump:

Monday, August 6, 2012

Gabby Douglas, Olympic History, and the Priorities of Black Folk

Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas.
I am an African-American male.  Statistically speaking, by this point in my life I should either be dead, in prison, in a gang, mixed up in drugs, trying to become a rapper, unemployed living in my mama's basement and/or have multiple kids that I never see by multiple women.  Yet, none of those things describe my reality.  When I was a kid, instead of hanging with the wrong (if popular) crowd I hit the books and studied.  It didn't exactly make me the most popular Black kid in high school, but it did put me on a certain path that some of my fellow brothers and sisters unfortunately never got the chance to experience.  A few years ago, I was faced with one of the most difficult academic challenges that I have ever experienced in my entire life: passing the bar exam.  And not just any bar exam, the New York bar exam which is widely accepted by the legal community as one of of the most difficult -- if not the most difficult -- in the entire country.  As if that wasn't enough pressure in and of itself, I had secured a 6-figure
My hair during the bar exam.
salary position with a prestigious Manhattan law firm that was completely contingent upon my passing the bar.  No pass, no job.  As you might imagine, faced with these pressures I quickly got into the zone and remained there for the entire summer leading up to the bar exam.  Certain trivial matters in life no longer mattered; chief among them was my hair.  My hair, which I normally keep short and tapered, grew out to a veritable afro.  Maybe not quite an Afro Samurai level afro, but still a respectable afro nonetheless.  Similarly, my facial hair -- which I never allow to progress to much more than a 5 o'clock shadow -- also grew out to unprecedented levels.  In short, I didn't give a damn about my appearance.  I had more important things on my mind, such as passing the biggest closed-book exam in the known universe which, by the way, just so happened to decide whether or not I was going to achieve my goal of becoming a lawyer or, alternatively, whether I had merely wasted $100,000 dollars and 3 years of my life going to law school.  In the end, after focusing like a laser beam every single day for 3 months straight, I passed the bar on my first try.  However, as gratifying as that accomplishment may be, it pales in comparison to the historic victory recently achieved by Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas who became the first African-American and first woman of color in history to win the Gold medal in the Olympic individual-all around gymnastic competition.  Moreover, she also became the first American (period!) to win the Gold medal in both the individual all-around and team competitions at the same Olympics.  Upon hearing this historic news thousands in the Black Community took to twitter to talk about one thing: Gabby's hair.

The Urban Politico Interview - Wayne Powell

The Urban Politico Interview - Wayne Powell of Virginia's 7th Congressional District 

FULL INTERVIEW w/ Wayne Powell after the jump

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Music Reviews-BB King, Tramaine Hawkins

BB King-King of the Blues
Known as the "King of the Blues", Riley "BB" King is the best known, most influential and last living member of the three great Kings of the Blues (Freddie and Albert King being the other two) and is likely even today the single most recognized bluesman of all time. There are many reasons for this. The primary reason is that it is almost but not quite impossible for any guitarist born after BB King and playing guitar in an electric blues, rock, rock-n-roll, or blues rock context not to count him as a primary, secondary or tertiary influence. Lots of things that are electric guitar cliches now weren't cliches when King invented them in his twenties and thirties. The secondary reason is that for multiple decades King has maintained a gruesome and grueling 250-300 night or more tour schedule, one that only in recent years has begun to make allowances for his advanced age and health issues. He was paying the cost to be the boss indeed. There are very few musicians on the planet who are instantly identifiable after you've heard them sing or play just one note. It's a short list and BB King is at the top.

BB King's music is blues but it is blues that successfully synthesizes a number of different influences, especially uptown jazz and down home gospel. King's primary influences on guitar included such jazz guitarists as Lonnie Johnson, Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian, blues guitarists like Blind Lemon Jefferson and Elmore James, jazz horn players like Louis Jordan, Lester Young, and people who like King, walked a fine line between jazz and blues. I am speaking of such people as Lowell Fulson, and of course the incomparable T-Bone Walker, who as much as anyone is BB's most direct influence on guitar. King took Walker's sound, studied it, absorbed it and created his own.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Meet Wayne Powell of Virginia's 7th Congressional District

Wayne Powell for Congress
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has a challenger, and his name is Wayne Powell. Get to know him...

***Hat Tip to Mr. Powell's site for giving The Urban Politico a shout out.***

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Did Women Win the War on Women?

After months of fighting over contraception, abortion, the right to call our parts by their anatomically correct names, several new provisions of the Affordable Care Act affecting women's health are now in effect. They include:
  • Contraception and Sterilization
  • Annual "Well-Woman" Visit
  • Diabetes Screening and Supplies for Pregnant women
  • Domestic Abuse Counseling
  • HPV Testing
  • Testing for STDs and HIV
All of these services are now free of charge under insurance plans. It makes me  believe that after months of fighting, the arguing was all for naught as women's health rights have not been eroded. Despite the push for Personhood to become a major ballot initiative in states across the country women's right to privacy, right to choose, and right to take birth control and control their sexuality and sexual health remains in tact. But is this victory a decisive win or a temporary taste of sexual freedom before being told to put our parts back in the cage of a chastity belt?  

Daily Show Takes Harry Reid to Task Over "Romney Hasn't Paid Taxes in 10 Years" Comment

Does Jon Stewart have a point?
Why do you think Romney has not released his taxes?
Can he win the Presidency without doing so?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Romney in Israel: Palestinian Culture, Occupation, Racism and Providence

*This was going to be a much longer post and one with a slightly different emphasis but as often happens work and other events intervened and required me to abbreviate it greatly. Hopefully that will be a good thing as I am always seeking to write more concisely anyway.

So boring apologia aside you may have heard that Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney made a bit of a gaffe recently when he made remarks that could be construed as insulting  by comparing the Israeli culture to that of the Palestinians and suggesting that not only was the Israeli culture superior but also that the Israelis were blessed by God and that these two things explained the difference in economic success between the two peoples. Needless to say, this did not go over very well with the Palestinians, who blasted the statements as ignorant and racist. 

Mitt Romney told Jewish donors Monday that their culture is part of what has allowed them to be more economically successful than the nearby Palestinians, outraging Palestinian leaders who called his comments racist and out of touch.
"As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000 dollars, and compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality," the Republican presidential candidate told about 40 wealthy donors who breakfasted around a U-shaped table at the luxurious King David Hotel.**
"And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things," Romney said, citing an innovative business climate, the Jewish history of thriving in difficult circumstances and the "hand of providence."