Saturday, February 23, 2008

Marchin' in again

Hey folks. I'll be taking a brief hiatus from blogging over the next few days. I neglected to mention that I'm heading back to New Orleans for Alternative Spring Break tomorrow. I'm definitely looking forward to having another great experience. I'll be back some time next week.

Continue to keep the folks in the Gulf Region in your prayers.

I'll holla!


Friday, February 22, 2008

Beauty school beatdown

In most cases I try not to advocate violence; especially the black-on-black variety. But this story was too funny not to share. Apparently, a dude tried to rob a beauty salon before the ladies inside gave him the a** whoppin' of his life:

The reporter said it best: I can only imagine how hard it will be to tell the cats in jail that you got beat down by a bunch of women getting relaxers and pedicures.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

In the News

I haven't done a news piece in a while, so I thought this would be a perfect time to do so. So without further ado, here's a roundup of some of the things going on in the world:

Women refs are unholy
St. Mary’s Academy -- a private religious school outside of Topeka, Kansas -- removed a female referee from a boy's basketball game because of the often mistaken interpretation of a Biblical rule forbidding women from "having authority" over males. Though school officials had no comment regarding the affair, their website clearly indicated that they often practice separation between boys and girls in according to "Biblical standards."

Is there any wonder why I have a HUGE issue with organized religion...?

Overinflated economy
If you think you're getting poorer, you're probably right. According to reports, the rate of inflation has risen up 4.3% more than what it was last year. Between that, the ridiculously skyrocketing oil prices, and a weakening dollar, we should all start running for the hills. Pretty soon (with the mortgage crisis on our hands), we'll probably be living in those hills.

Boozed-up pregger
File this story under "Things We Can't Blame On Racism": A Pennsylvania woman seven months pregnant was charged for assaulting a bartender who refused to serve her drinks. The mother-to-be smashed the bartender in the head with a beer bottle. This incident required the bartender to get part of her ear reattached.

After hearing this story, I'm now convinced that some people just should NOT be allowed to procreate. Where's Darwin when you need him?

Funky cold Madea
As if he couldn't leave well enough alone with those insipid plays, Tyler Perry is now turning his horribly stereotypical character Madea into a cartoon. I guess -- on the one hand -- I can't hate on the brotha for his success. But a part of me just can't forgive him for his ministrel-like representation of black folks; particular black women when he performs in drag.

Perhaps I won't be as critical once my play blows up.

Pimp your gun?
Stories like this make you shake your head. Much to the dismay of police (and rightly so), Jim's Gun Supply store in Barbarro, Wisconsin is in the business of custom painting firearms. In doing so, firearms that should be distinctively recognized as dangerous items are starting to look more and more like toys. This supplier even does -- get ready for this -- Hello Kitty themed artwork. If this doesn't open a window for children to become further fascinated with guns...

Conservative joins ACLU for prisoner rights
Hat tip to Malik for this story: David Keene, Chairman of the American Conservative Union, has partnered with the American Civil Liberties Union in challenging laws currently in place to curb prisoners lawsuits. I should also point out that Keene's son is currently incarcerated himself.

I guess I can't blame Keene for wanting to get involved in this case. But he hasn't exactly been a champion for prisoner's rights before now. So that begs the question: Would this conservative hardnose be such a staunch supporter of convicts' rights if his son wasn't a con himself?

No supply of vitamin E(ar)
I thought I was finished with the stories that make you shake your head. But I guess not.

This time the story is about PETA's ridiculous fight to have Christopher McCuin (who was charged with killing and eating his girlfriend), placed on a vegetarian diet while being held by the police. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried. Though there is no evidence showing that McCuin actually ate any parts of his girlfried, police did find what they think is an ear boiling in water and a piece of flesh in a plate on the kitchen table.

I'm in now way downplaying the heinous nature of this crime; but stuff like is the very reason why I despise PETA with all my heart and soul. Only they could somehow compare the killing and eating of a human being with that of an animal.

Jena 6 member in trouble again
This story is a little old, but still worth mentioning. Bryant Purvais, one of the members of the Jena 6, was arrested once again for assaulting a student; this time the student being someone whom he suspected of vandalizing his vehicle. Included in the charges are choking the student and ramming his head into a table.

When the Jena 6 case first went down, I was all for the organizing and protesting done to rectify some of the blantant civil injustice (trying teenagers for attempted murder because of a school fight). But I also get unnerved when Black America uses criminal defendants as the motivation behind different movements. Since (as far as I'm concerned), the civil rights component of the Jena 6 case has been addressed and resolved, our support of this situation should be over and done with. Now's the time to start to smacking some sense into these kids and holding them accountable for their actions.

The NY Times released a stinging article accusing Presidential Candidate John McCain of having an affair with Vicki Iseman, one of his lobbyists. Naturally, Senator McCain is denying the incident.

I honestly can't say that I believe the reports; mostly due to opportunistic timing of it all. On the heels of a Presidential election, the almost sure-shot nominee for the right is being attacked by a newspaper commonly believed to have a liberal slant. Still, if it is true, I have to give Sen. McCain some dap. He did a whole lot better than Bill Clinton back in his day. *Joke*
But more importantly, if this is the kind of "political experience" that Sen. Obama doesn't have, all the better for him.

It's possible that this one may get chalked up to being a simple mistake, but I'm not entirely convinced. An MSNBC employee was recently reprimanded for flashing an image of Osama bin Laden while Chris Matthews was leading in on a story about Barack Obama. This isn't the first time that such associations have been made publicly, though I can't recall it coming from the usually liberal MSNBC. Despite all of that, I'm in favor of the reprimand; especially since I'm always on Fox News for their constant mishaps.

Hillary's concession?
According to sources, some of the folks in the Obama camp are calling for the Hill machine to call it quits. While I'm truly excited that Barack Obama has built considerable momentum over the past few weeks, he really needs to put his surrogates in check. There are still over 1,000 delegates left to earn. This thing is far from over. As I've stressed before, the fat lady hasn't sung yet.

Bill-O's lynch party
In an attempt to give Michelle Obama the "benefit of the doubt" about being an angry militant, conservative pundit Bill O'Reilly recently said that he wouldn't form a "lynching party" against her unless there's evidence supporting that claim. (H/T to Mirror on America for the story).

Now I know that O'Reilly would never personally organize a lynching party for Michelle Obama. So I'm not taking his words directly to heart. Still, you'd think that with all of the uproar about blacks and lynching, a little more caution would be used when linking those two ideas together in a discussion. But I guess that being conscious enough not to make those kind of comments is asking too much.

Bush = Worst president ever
An American Research Group study indicates that -- at 19% -- Dubya's approval rating is the lowest ever. You don't say?! I suppose that next they're going to tell us that Michigan is a cold and miserable state to live in. Sheesh!

Castro resigns
Fidel Castro, the aging leader of Cuba has retired after 49 years. But Cubans who were not necessarily loyal to Castro are not so quick to celebrate; considering that Castro's brother Raul is set to take over. I wonder what this will do to US/Cuba relations -- if anything.

Well, I guess that's it for now. I'm done entertaining you for one day. Until next time: Peace!


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My rich friend

I just got the coolest email from my dear friend Peter Wong. Apparently, it's one of many:


I am Mr. Peter Wong I work with Hang Seng Bank Hong Kong, Executive Director and i have this transaction proposal of $44.5million USD for you. Should you be intarested I will prefer you send me your 1,FULL NAME. 2,COMPLETE HOME ADRESS. 3,OCCUPATION. 4,PHONE NUMBER.

Below is my email account you can reach me with. Your earliest response to this letter will be appreciated. I await your response.

MR Peter Wong.

Yeaaaaah, buddy. I'm finally about to get that payday I've been waiting for all this time! And to think, all I need to do is disclose all my personal information to some fictitious dude in Nigeria.

Anybody else wanna get down?


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A comprehensive celebration

We are officially half way through Black History Month. But for some inexplicable reason, I haven’t had even a remote interest in taking part in any BHM celebrations or commemorations. I suppose that I’m done with the novelty behind the month.

I guess I should’ve prefaced this post by making it clear that I will forever recognize the importance of noting the contributions Black Americans have made – and continue to make – in our society. But – IMO, dedicating one month of the year waters down any significance of that proclamation.

Perhaps what fuels my argument most against the notion of Black History Month is the narrow scope it offers. Every year, we hear about the MLK’s, the Rosa Parks, the Harriet Tubmans, and the Fredrick Douglasses. With enough motivation, folks may even be inclined enough to toss radicals like Nat Turner and Malcolm X into the discussion. But don’t push it too far. Ultimately, Black History Month has been used to comfortably discuss some enslavement, some oppression, and some figures who rose against it. But that’s about it. While those elements certainly shape the way the world has come to be, they certainly don’t exhaustively cover the history of blacks in this country. What’s more: Black History Month is becoming dangerously similar to a bad round of Jeopardy. [This man invented the cotton gin. Who is Eli Whitney? Judges? We'll accept that.]. I’m sorry; but the ability to recall a few names, a few feats, and a few inventions will never replace having an understanding of the historical and modern-day implications associated with these tidbits of knowledge.

Though I’m sure nobody will ever listen to me (when has that ever happened..?), I have a way to deal with my frustration with Black History Month while also truly honoring the past. I don’t presume to have the lone solution, but I think it’s a start. I think the answer starts in the classroom, but can easily spread to just about every public institution. Rather than focusing on random trivia for an entire month, why not integrate Black history into American history? For that matter, we should be able to toss in contributions made by every marginalized group in this country. There are enough of them to go around; trust me. Contrary to how American tends to have a ‘celebration of the month’ philosophy, the struggles and histories of different groups is not somehow separate from the country’s struggles and history.

For the sake of concentrating on the ‘Black’ element of history (it being Black History Month and all), why not focus as much on the thoughts and ideological motivations behind different activities as we do on the activities themselves? We know about the marches, the speeches, the sit-ins and boycotts, but what’s being conveyed about the philosophies regarding those acts? How did the debates between WEB Dubois and Booker T. Washington set the stage for the openly expressed debates between MLK and Malcolm X? How did those public exchanges relate to the today’s systemic racism vs. personal responsibility debates between Michael Eric Dyson and Bill Cosby? How would some of the heroes that we honor from the past feel about the state of Black America today? What would they say about B.E.T., the growing problem of black-on-black violence, the rampant drug use, the explosion of teenage pregnancies, and the rising rate of AIDS?

As my dear blogging friend Sylvia pointed out, Black History is not limited to what has happened in times past. It also addresses present-day events and how those events will undoubtedly shape the future. It’s not just about the suffering and oppression we’ve endured, but it’s also about the strength, resolve, and esteem that arose. BMH is Joslyn, Sylvia, Carmen, Malik. It’s the emergence of the HBCU. It’s Tony Dungy. It’s Barack Obama. It’s Oprah Winfrey. It's the long list of white anti-racism activists in this country. BHM even has its occasional black sheep (pun intended).

Black history is not just as month long celebration. Black history is you. Black history is me.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Stop in the name of love. Or just stop, PERIOD...?

I'm gonna take a brief intermission from the more serious topics that have come to shape this blog; and zero in on something a little more personal and maybe not as serious. Fellas I'm looking for your input particularly. But ladies, feel free to chime in as well. Your feedback is most welcomed.

Have you ever had the nagging feeling that somebody for whom you kinda sorta had a thing was deliberately avoiding you? If so, what (if anything) did you do about it?



Saturday, February 16, 2008

Pop quiz on gun control

In my previous post, I jokingly suggested how safe I feel; given that Congress has so much time to spend on steroids in baseball but not other pressing issues we face. Humor and sarcasm aside, in some instances, I actually don't feel safe at all.

Just in case y'all haven't been following the news, there were two more shootings on college campuses this week. The first shooting -- which you've probably already heard about -- took place at Northern Illinois Univeristy and resulted in the deaths of six people (the gunman included). The second shooting -- not so well covered -- involved a student at Louisiana Technical College who killed two others before turning the gun on herself. Out of respect for all the victims, I won't go into a rant about the level of coverage each story received.

Instead, I'll admit that stories like this make me a little more nervous each day. Working at a university myself, I can appreciate just how easy these kind of attacks are to perpetrate. Sure, we've got a Department of Public Safety; but when you're in open and unsecured areas, you find yourself far more prone to this level of victimization. Frankly you never know when, where, and how these events will occur. Don't get me wrong: I fervently believe in praying to God for His grace and protection. But my faith won't necessarily stop a nutcase with a gun.

I don't presume to have any answers for this one. I doubt that using stories like this will ever be successful at providing a politcially and socially charged impetus to revisit (and possibly overhaul) the 2nd Amendment. Besides that, even if gun ownership is strictly prohibited to you and me, nutcases will still find a way to get their hands on one.

I guess all we can do at this point is pray for the victims, pray for ourselves, and stay alert.


Friday, February 15, 2008

My Beefed Up Sense of Security

This morning while I was getting ready for work, I got a stunning revelation from ESPN's Sportscenter that I'd like to share with you all.

Apparently, America is in the best shape it's ever been in and we can all feel completely safe now.

How did a sports news show help me come to that conclusion? Well, it's simple. In the face of a miserable economy, an endless war, insane oil prices, corruption in high offices, a vast immigration problem, rampant violence, illegal and legal drug epidemics, lousy schools, etc; the 110th Congress has enough time to make steorid usuage in professional baseball a major issue.

I find a certain solice in knowing that with all these Congressional hearings going on, all of the aforementioned problems (and then some) have been taken care of. I mean, when you have time to go on and on with investigations and hearings about cheating in baseball, you must have lots of free time on your hands. Whew! That's a relief. Apparently, I was getting all worked about that other stuff for nothing.

*End of Sarcasm*

OK. I understand that we're talking about some serious anti-trust ramifications affected by millionaire athletes who cheat in sports. But at the end of the day, this really is JUST A GAME! It bothers me that Congress has so much interest in this topic.

Kinda makes those consistently low approval ratings make a little bit of sense, yes?


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

We're #1 (and #3)!

According to sources (hat tip to my sister for the link), Detroit, Michigan is the most miserable U.S. city to live in. Third on the list is my hometown of Flint, Michigan.

Go 'head Detroit/Flint: Way to put the state back on the map! Represent, baby BAY-BAY!


Monday, February 11, 2008

The Presidential Duel

Here's a little in-your-face humor for those of you following the No-Holds Barred, Steel cage match between Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Warning: supporters of either candidate run the risk of being offended by these skits. But, c'mon people: they're just jokes.

Sort of.

Part 1:

Part 2:


Saturday, February 09, 2008

Kryptonite for the Superdelegates

I don't know about you, but I'm a litte bothered by all of this superdelegate nonsense. Though (to be completely honest) I never even heard about the notion of a superdelegate until now, I'm already annoyed by them. What's worse is that these few hundred people will be key to determining who our next Democratic nominee will be.

Just a brief somethin' about how this whole thing works: Certain delegates are assigned specifically to a candidate based on how well that candidate does during caucuses and primaries. Essentially, those delegates are obligated to endorse the candidate who won their state. Superdelegates (elected officials, former Presidents, big wigs, etc.) are significantly different; in that their votes are not limited to the same regulations and they can cast their vote for the candidate of their choosing; even if that candidate is outside of the party. For better insight, the Hippie Conservative wrote an incredible piece on how it works. What can I say: this guy's a walking almanac. But, I digress.

Anyway, superdelegates will be critical during this election year, especially considering that people are speculating that it will be virtually impossible for Clinton or Obama to win the Democratic nomination solely based on the pledged delegates. But if enough of the superdelegates fall in line with the candidate who comes in second, that candidate could easily get moved to the head of the line. So anybody with even an ounce of belief left in our system of democracy should be OUTRAGED by the idea that the interests of few people can (and most likely will) trump the interest of an entire collection of people. Hmm...sounds a little bit like why I hate the Electoral College.

Fortunately for you, I've come up with an answer to this problem. After all, I've always got ya back. That's what I'm here for...

Effective immediately, Congress should require all superdelegates to swear an oath to vote for the candidate who earns the most non-superdelegate votes. Of course, Congress would never make such a move, but I believe it would significantly reform our present situation. Even in the event that this initiative is only supported by one of the Democratic candidates, the other would almost be forced to jump on the bandwagon, at the expense of coming across as being an opponent of democratic voting. As the candidates all catch on, it would only be a matter of time before the DNC and its superdelegates also got the hint. They'd be faced with mounting political pressure to support this initiative by Congress.

In the end, this initiative would cause Senators Clinton and Obama to spend more time trying to earn votes from you and me and not the privileged few. Because of this, the person who eventually receives the nomination would have done so by being represented by the majority.

There you have it. This electoral kryptonite I just proposed is the very thing we need to stop the "Delegates of Steel" from their overpowering grasp.


Thursday, February 07, 2008

Counting the Cost

"Everyone has a plan 'til they get punched in the mouth. "

- Mike Tyson

The other day, I got an email from a friend of mine talking about prosperity through faith. It was from one of those cats who makes it a common practice to pimp the Word for personal gain. Her email annoyed me for a couple of reasons: (1) in a job where I receive and respond to hundreds of emails a week, this was the last thing I needed to see and, more importantly (2) the implied message of the email; suggesting that following Christ translates to prospering financially.

I think that one of most critical mistakes that people in the Body of Christ make is in believing that following Christ will somehow lead to a materially prosperous life; while minimizing the true costs associated with being a follower. Living a life in Christ was never meant to be easy. Let we've allowed for a few ministers wearing flashy clothing and jewelry, driving in expensive cars and jets, and living in beautiful homes to convince us that their material accumulation was the direct result of their devotion to Christ. But I assure you: following Jesus is not the guaranteed get-rich-quick scheme it's often portrayed to be.

As far as I can tell, the only guarantee Jesus gave us concerning our decision to follow Him was that following Him would only lead to more troubles we would face; not less. In Matthew 6:34, He states:

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Paul also chimed in when he offered the following commentary from II Timothy 3:12:

In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

That doesn't sound like a cake walk life in Christ to me. Instead, it sounds like following Christ may require us to take a few of those punches that Mr. Tyson mentioned in the quote above.

Often, many believers (new and experienced) have been inadequately prepped for the punches that are sure to come from being a follower of Christ; whether those hits come from life's conditions, the Devil, or even from other believers. We've been appeased or appease others by chanting a few prosperity catchphrases; mindlessly used to assuage the situation. But little do we realize that God may have indeed allowed certain situations to get ahold of us so that we can shape our character and remind us on how much we need Him to sustain. Most of all, facing difficulties that come with following Christ cause us to reexamine our faith. Can we stay committed to Christ when it becomes unfashionable to do so? Certainly, suffering for Christ is not the same now as it was back in the day (Don't be fooled by the speculated prowess of the religious right. It's not at all fashionable to be a Christian these days). But following Christ does have its share of costs that must be counted.

Are you willing to count those costs or are you just looking for the huge mega-lottery pay day? If it's the latter, you might be pretty disappointed in the end.


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Media Focus

Normally, I don't make it a point to discuss celebrity news. Frankly, I've always thought that celebrity news (mostly in the form of gossip; who's sleeping with whom, who's in rehab, etc.) is a strategically used ploy to distract us from the more important issues that the AVERAGE person has to face. Don't believe me?

Who is this person?

Now, who is this person?

The first is Britney Spears, a spoiled, untalented loon who has as many mental issues as she has stacks of hundred dollar bills at her disposal. The other person is Andrew Olmsted; one of Jared's blogging buddies who was recently killed in Iraq during this nonsensical war. He is joined by the mounting list of U.S. casualties that continues to grow daily.

In everybody's defense (I guess), it's impossible to know the names and stories of each solider who has fought, continue to fight, get hurt, and die in this war and in wars past. Oppositely, celebs are household names; internationally famous for what they do. Still, we should be mindful that while we're glued to the tube to see our favorite stars (or other socially insignificant stuff which, I hate to say includes...gulp...sports), another person has been hurt or killed who will receive little if any fanfare.

Montel Williams was quick to bring the media to task for it in this clip:

(I wonder if it's a coincidence that his show was also cancelled...?)

I don't presume to know how we can adequately honor people who have suffered and died; especially through the media. But after watching this clip, I have to ask myself how often my misguided priorities dishonor their sacrifice. Does my knowing about Heath Ledger's death but not Andrew Olmstead's make me any better that the media who only cover the former? What about you?