Nov 28, 2008

NY State of Mind 2.0

Sir Charles Barkley on LBJ:
"If I was LeBron James, I would shut the hell up. I'm a big LeBron fan. He's a stud. You gotta give him his props. I'm getting so annoyed he's talking about what he's going to do in two years. I think it's disrespectful to the game. I think it's disrespectful to the Cavaliers."

Nov 27, 2008

Medea Gets a Union Card




It appears as though modern day chitlin' circuit proprietor and resident handkerchief head Tyler Perry--the creative force behind such high end cinematic fare as Sapphire's Family Reunion and Meet the Clowns--has decided to boldly move into the 20th century by agreeing to allow the writers who work on his film and television productions to unionize. How generous of you, Mr. Perry. You are such a kind man and forward thinker. I'm sure your idol, Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry, aka Stephin' Fetchit, would be so proud of you. Keep up the good work, Mr Perry. Who knows, maybe one day your writers might even get their very own sharpeners for those number 2 pencils that they've been writing with? Anything is possible, right? Well, on second thought, maybe we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves.

Nov 25, 2008

NY State of Mind

"New York/New York/big city of dreams/but everything in New York ain't always what it seems."
Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five, New York, New York



Am I the only one annoyed by the incessant talk about the possibility of LeBron James signing with the New York Knicks or the New Jersey Nets in two years when he is a free agent? Why are we talking about this two years out? Why, because New York has a way of creating it's own hype, however unnecessary.

In the modern age, where with a cell phone and a computer you can be practically anywhere and still get love, where the media will find you no matter how much you try to hide out, what's the big deal about going to NY? I mean, don't get me wrong, I dig NY, but the days of needing to be in a major media market like NY to maximize one's marketing potential has long passed. Not to mention that this whole "mecca of basketball" idea, as it pertains to NY, is severely outdated. The woeful Knicks organization and the NY media market broke Isiah and Larry Brown recently, not to mention, the Knicks haven't won a title since the 70s. As for King James and his friendship with Jay-Z, great, but let's stop there for now. If LeBron chooses to go to the Nets because of his friendship with Jay, that's not about business, that's about friendship.

We are only in the first month of this season and then we have a full season after this before the outstanding free agent class of 2010 will be able to parlay. To talk about 2010 now ignores the reality of this season and the next. It makes it seem like LeBron is just biding his time. What about winning now, in Cleveland? Does that even matter?

All this NY talk is premature. LBJ is fortunate to be able to put on for his city, that being, of course, the aforementioned "Mistake by the Lake," Cleveland. It's rare that you get the chance to rep your hometown in the NBA. King James needs to keep his mind focused on what Flip Wilson in Uptown Saturday Night called the "church of what's happenin' now."

Drive slow, homie and deal with 2010 in 2010. I really don't want to hear about all this speculation for the next two years, but I'm sure this will only get worst.


Rolle Model



One of the most inspiring sports stories to come out in some time involves Florida State defensive back Myron Rolle recently being awarded the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. Rolle missed the first quarter of Florida State's game against Maryland on Saturday, while interviewing for the scholarship. He would arrive in Maryland later via private plane, eventually making a dramatic entrance during the second quarter. Rolle, who will graduate from FSU early and is interested in becoming a neurosurgeon one day, might delay his entrance into the NFL to study at Oxford next year.

How cool it is to read a story about a true scholar-athlete. Normally news out of the Florida State football offices has to do with an athlete having encountered some form of trouble; thus the moniker, the "Criminoles." But this time the news is about a promising young man who excels in the classroom and on the field. In an age where some people find a way to mistakenly praise basketball player Brandon Jennings--who decided to go to Italy to play ball because he couldn't pass the SAT--for subverting NCAA hegemony, Rolle demonstrates that the terms "student" and "athlete" are not mutually exclusive.

Big ups to Myron Rolle! As the diabolical Biz Markie would say, "damn it feels good to see people up on it!"


Nov 20, 2008

Doin' Too Much

In all the continuing hoopla surrounding Obama's election victory, I knew that there would come a time when we went from the sublime to the ridiculous, but I had hoped that it might take a while before things got out of hand. But no, the shenanigans have started already.

Erin Aubrey Kaplan's recent Salon piece "First Lady Got Back" is just the type of unnecessary rhetorical nonsense we don't need.

I'm sorry Erin, but the fact that you feel a connection to Michelle Obama because of the size of her ass is a personal matter, not something worthy of public discussion. This is not only an inappropriate topic of conversation, but it is especially silly to boot. You are doin' way too much!

Save conversations like this for lunch with your girlfriends, please. Or at least publish it in Essence so this way I won't be in danger of accidentally running across the article while searching for something more meaningful to read.

I know people are all excited about the election and rightly so, but this ain't Real Housewives of Atlanta! So let's try and avoid the dumb "shiznit" going forward, if at all possibly.

Cuban Linx 2.0




There now seems to be much more to the story of Mark Cuban being charged with insider trading than was initially suspected. A lawyer for the SEC, Jeffrey Norris, located in Fort Worth, Texas, had an ongoing email exchange last year with Cuban where he is especially critical of Cuban's financial support of the 9/11 conspiracy film Loose Change. Cuban's company, Magnolia, ended up not distributing the film. Norris defends Bush 43 and calls Cuban unpatriotic, amongst other things, in this series of seemingly threatening emails.

Could the insider trading charge be related to Cuban's one time support for a film which suggests that the U.S. government was involved in 9/11?

Nov 17, 2008

Cuban Linx




Well, it seems that colorful Dallas Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban has been accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of insider trading. The SEC has filed a civil lawsuit against Cuban for allegedly using insider information on a stock sale.

So, where's all the condemnation that normally accompanies the announcement of some infraction, however minor, by an NBA player? I'm not saying that Cuban is guilty, not at all. How would I know? I guess we'll find out if he's guilty, but it never seems to matter whether due process has been carried out when it comes to players. They are often thought to be guilty even after they have been proven innocent. Hell, many of them are assumed guilty before they have ever been accused of anything. Players can be victims of armed robbery and many believe that somehow the robbery was their own fault.

But I'm sure Cuban will get the benefit of the doubt. Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, has been sued by the Justice Department for housing discrimination--that's so last century--and most people don't even know about this.

Imagine if we took these accusations against Cuban and used them to paint all the NBA owners as white collar criminals? How ridiculous, right? An owner is accused of something that has yet to be proven and we turn around and dismiss all NBA owners as crooks based on an accusation against one of them.

Guilt by association is wrong whether it applies to players or owners. Nonetheless, I expect that the court of public opinion will treat Cuban much better than it does the players who find themselves among the accused.

Nov 16, 2008

Barbershop




Now that Barack Obama is planning his move to Washington, word on the street is that his long time barber, Zariff, is possibly planning a move to D.C. himself to serve as "first barber," if you will. Reading about the residual effects that the President-Elect's recent victory has on an otherwise unknown cat like Zarriff, who is all over the media lately enjoying his Warholian 15 minutes, brings a smile to my face.

But, while I can ignore the fact that Dude goes by one name, I don't mean no harm, really, but I would like to offer a bit of advice. Slow down, Dog. Pump your brakes. Stay in your lane, Bruh. If Obama asks you to accompany him to D.C. so as to keep his hair cut game tight, that's great. Before you start signing leases and changing your address my man, keep in mind what Jean Carne once said, "don't let it go to your head."

Oh How the Mighty Have Fallen




The trouble is far more fundamental than that. The G.O.P. ran out of steam and ideas well before George W. Bush took office and Tom DeLay ran amok, and it is now more representative of 20th-century South Africa during apartheid than 21st-century America. The proof is in the vanilla pudding.
Frank Rich, "The Moose Stops Here"

As usual, Frank Rich comes correct. The GOP postmortem continues. R.I.P.

Nov 13, 2008

Doin' Dirt

There is something to be said for knowing your enemy.



To this end, the late Lee Atwater and his "politics of resentment" resonate in Washington political circles, though Atwater has been dead for some time. Atwater, whose biggest success was running the campaign that made George H.W. Bush the nation's Forty-First President, was a compelling, if not completely despicable figure. His life is the subject of the documentary Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story currently running on the PBS program Frontline.

Atwater got his start interning for another late South Carolina racist, Storm Thurmond. The Boogie Man's career spans from Thurmond to Ronald Reagan, the aforementioned Bush through to the soon-to-be-departed Bush 43. Karl Rove was an Atwater protege.

Perhaps Atwater's most controversial political move was the infamously racist Willie Horton ad that he ran against Michael Dukakis in 1988.



Atwater's willingness to do any and everything to win an election bought him a lot of glory, though the tactics that he choose were beyond reprehensible. Karl Rove, the prized pupil of the Atwater school, used all the lessons on how to do dirt that he learned from Atwater in his work for 43. Thus Atwater's evil political style outlasted him.

In the ultimate of all ironies, Atwater lived out the last few years of his life suffering from a debilitating bout with cancer. Boogie Man documents this rise and fall which is indeed fascinating, while at the same time infuriating.

One can only hope that days of people like Lee Atwater dominating our politics have passed and that Obama's election, and his refusal to go engage in such disgusting low ball antics, may have indeed started a new trend.

Nov 10, 2008

A Damn Fool




As indicated by the alarmingly incorrect subtitle, it now appears that Shelby Steele's book of hateration is destined for the .99 bin, right along side those discarded caps and tee shirts from the losing team in the Super Bowl that had been made up before the outcome of the game was known. This reminds me of a scene from the documentary Straight, No Chaser (1990), on my man pianist Thelonious Sphere Monk, where Charlie Rouse describes how Monk liked to do only one take of each song that they were recording. As Rouse said, if you made a mistake, it was going on the record and you would have to live with it the rest of your life.

Steele is a holdover from the days of the Reagan/Bush era when America first discovered this new breed known as the black neo-coons; excuse the typo. Steele and his brethren, people like Thomas Sowell, Armstrong Williams, and later on Ward Connerly, found a ready made niche for themselves as obstinate critics of everything black. Each of these jive cats, along with their main man on the inside, Clarence Thomas, would eventually turn the notion of playa hatin' into a highly formidable art form.

One wonders what is the fate of such haters in a new environment of 'change' as it regards the President-Elect of the United States? While we can't do anything about Clarence Thomas (he laughs), perhaps the others will be sent to re-education camp along with the counterrevolutionary Tavis Smiley (see previous post "Hi Hater")?

Nov 9, 2008

"Our Long National Nightmare is Over"


What up?/what's happ'nin'?/all you haters/should get at me/'cause I hear ya/ and I'm watchin'/but I'm serious/haters/so all I gotta say is what up?
T.I., "What Up?"



There are so many levels upon which Obama's recent victory signals change, not the lest of which is a profound change to the political direction of this nation. For me, Obama's ascendancy represents the potential end to the Reagan Revolution. As the faltering economy tells us daily, the exploits of casino capitalism have failed miserably. The John Wayne style gung ho militarism has run its course as well.

Right-wing Republican politics were dealt a death blow this past Tuesday night. Obama is the first Democrat since JFK to be elected President who isn't a southerner. While the euphoria of this historic election still swirls in the air, the full evidence of this dramatic change will reveal itself over time to be more profound than even the obvious racial difference that President-Elect Obama brings to the White House. Sam Cooke said that it would be a "long time comin'" and we've only scratched the surface.

All this means that "The Comedian" Rush Limbaugh, "Billo the Clown," and the rest of their lot really have something to hate about now. They better get use to the bitter taste that the name Obama will have ever time they utter it because they will be saying it a lot over these next four years.

Nov 8, 2008

Rappin' Fram-a-Lama

Remember that corny--no pun intended--hip hop group from the early 90s, The Afros?




Are they missing a member?

Hi Hater



Now that the election is over and much needed regime change is coming to the White House, will haters like Tavis Smiley be sent to re-education camp?

The Country Preacher



Tears of Joy? Tears of Hate? or The Tears of a Clown?

AI Reps The D!



The newest Piston, Allen Iverson, and the man I call "the best mind in basketball," Joe Dumars, talk about, guess what, "practice."

Obamania




Dig this or should I say, "all around the world, same song"....

Nov 6, 2008

Introducing "The Wasilla Hillibillies"




Now that the McCain campaign has officially been "run out of the gym," as it were, the blame game begins. Like proverbial rats fleeing a sunken ship, the crushing defeat that McCain suffered Tuesday night is being compounded by the acrimonious leaks starting to emerge from inside the campaign locker room. This line from an anonymous McCain staffer, letting loose on Sarah P. and the "laconic" First Dude by calling them "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast,"is particularly hilarious and like MasterCard, especially priceless.

Sounds pretty elitist to me. I guess it's true, when the grass is cut the snakes will show!

Thus Spoke Obama


To those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright: Tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.

Barack Hussein Obama, President-Elect of the United States, Chicago Illinois, November 4, 2008

Nov 5, 2008

The New H.N.I.C.




Words cannot quite do justice to the multiple thoughts running through my head at this moment. The unthinkable is suddenly thinkable. The unbelievable is now something you can believe in. When black parents tell their children that they can be anything they want to be, it's no longer simply a motivational ploy. It's real. Ain't no stoppin' us now. Like KG said, "Anything is Possible!!!!!"

As time moves forward I'll be posting more thoughts. But for now, I, like so many others, simply want to enjoy this moment for all that it is.

Barack, you made it do what it do. You did your thing, Playboy. It's your world, Daddy, we're just livin' in it! You're the man!

Nov 4, 2008

Black President



On this day of reckoning images of "The Black President" abound.


The Richard Pryor Show (1977)



James Earl Jones, The Man (1972)

How You Like Me Now?

Should Barack Obama win today's election, might we see more celebrations like Kevin Garnett's rush of emotions when his Celtics won the title back in June?

The Day of Reckoning



A Hot Comb in the White House?


Check out my guest blog "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back" on BET.com

The World is a Ghetto


Voting lines in Zimbabwe



Voting lines in the Dominican Republic


I recently got hip to Shazam, one of the many cool applications that you can now use on the iPhone. Shazam is called a "music discovery engine." The technology allows you to identify any music that is playing, even under really noisy conditions, with your cell phone. Amazing.

But why am I talking about Shazam on election day? It's simple really. How is it possible that I can use my phone to identify music--among many, many other things that would have seemed to defy logic some short time ago--but the states in this country can't figure out how to properly stage an election? In a society as technologically sophisticated as ours is supposed to be, why do our polling places look like relics from the 18th century on election day?

When the 2000 election revealed all the flaws in the Florida voting system, it was a shock for most people. Yet even though eight long years have passed, things seem not to have changed much at all. Why is this? Why do our polling places resemble those in 3rd world countries like Zimbabwe? More importantly, why are people not outraged by this?

Rachel Maddow calls this a "new poll tax."

Nov 3, 2008

The Answer


AI Steps Over a Humiliated Tyron Lue During Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals

I'm trying to contain myself after hearing the news early this morning that Allen Iverson has been traded to my squad, the almighty Detroit Pistons. If ever there was a man who embodied the spirit of Detroit it's AI. Though AI has no formal ties to The D, in a way this feels like he's coming home; back for the first time.

Now AI will team up with his cats like 'Sheed, Rip, Tay, and the emerging Rodney Stuckey to form one of the coldest lineups in the league. We can go toe to toe with Boston and those butter soft teams in the Western Conference don't stand a chance. This is as real as it gets.

AI in The D! You already know what it is!

Check out vintage AI as he crosses over Jordan back in the day. I call this play "The Changing of the Guard."

Nov 2, 2008

Will the Real American Please Stand Up


Rashid Khalidi, Professor, Columbia University





Joe Wurzelbacher, Unlicensed Plumber, Toledo Ohio




Why is it that no one seems to challenge these ridiculous assertions about anti-Americanism that have come from the McCain campaign? In a society supposedly defined as a democracy, it should be understood that free expression might indeed involve a critique of one's own government and/or other positions not deemed necessarily popular or mainstream. It is anti-American to suggest otherwise.

Which brings me to Rashid Khalidi. As the McCain camp grasps at the few remaining straws left to them, they have most recently attempted to use Barack Obama's relationship with Khalidi, the Columbia professor, as another example of the kind of unsavory people that Obama supposedly "pals" around with. Guilt by association has been a dominant theme throughout this campaign. Though a lot has changed now, I think that it's still important to point out that it was the Clinton campaign who initiated this Richard Nixon-style of politicking back during the primaries.

Rashid Khalidi is an esteemed professor at a prominent university, not some radical terrorist lurking in our midst. I have often found his work to be quite interesting. His book Resurrecting Empire is an excellent history of the Middle East and his appearances on Charlie Rose are always very engaging. Though he may not be a convicted felon like McCain's buddies G. Gordon Liddy or Charles Keating, he is an American who just so happens to have a different point of view than that of McCain and Palin. The last time I checked holding a different view than McCain, Palin, and their cronies was not a crime.

Further, Khalidi had this to say about Obama back in May, "I’m unhappy about the positions he’s taken, but I can’t say I’m terribly disappointed...People think he’s a saint. He’s not. He’s a politician.” This less than enthusiastic comment about Obama should clearly indicate that though the two do have a relationship it's far from one where they automatically co-sign each others ideas.

Hopefully Tuesday's election will put an end to this fear mongering, anti-intellectual, style of politics. Have we not progressed from those days some 20 years ago when Bush 41, fueled by Lee Atwater, started crying about Michael Dukakis being a "card-carrying member of the ACLU"? I'm much more concerned about the damage done to this country by card-carrying members of the Federalist Society myself.

All these recent attempts to separate the "real" America and Americans from the supposedly fake America and its fake citizens is nothing more than old style McCarthyism dressed up for a digital age. Joe the Plumber is no more a "real" American than is Rashid the Professor.

Nov 1, 2008

Keep My Name Out Your Mouth




"Why they let the Terminator win the election?"
Why, Jadakiss


I was disappointed to read Arnold's comments about Barack Obama at a recent McCain rally. The man made famous for playing a robot has the nerve to criticize Obama's ideas? What?!

I have long had a problem with accepting Arnold as a legitimate politician. I'm sorry. Here's a man who came into this country as a body builder and later became a movie star appearing in some of the most asinine movies of the 80s and 90s, yet I'm now supposed to regard him as a leader with substance? We have gone down this road before with Reagan, a man known for playing second to a monkey in his Hollywood days, now onto Arnold, a man embraced for his accented mispronunciation of the state where he is governor and for calling his critics "girly men"? (Now if a Latino mispronounces an English word while attempting to speak their second language or if a rapper calls someone a "bitch," it's the end of western civilization as we know it, but with Arnold it's all in good fun?)

The GOP needs to stop. Reagan, Arnold, Sarah P., Harriet Myers, Alberto Gonzales, and last but not least, Four-Trey, among countless others. Stop trying to fill these these empty suits with ideas. It's tired and true, you can't put ten pounds of worth of ideas into a five pound bag of intellectual depravity.

Arnold, check yourself before you wreck yourself, Daddy. One of Obama's ideas would explode your lil' pea brain.