Man Up Already Democrats

Monday, August 17, 2009

I am having a hard time concentrating on my work today. I am trying to stop reading this stuff, by I can't pull away.

The war on healthcare is still well under way. But, surprisingly, my soldiers in the fight appear to be backing down and waffling.

And that has had me pretty much pissed off all damn morning.

I just am not understanding the Democrats at all. You fought so hard for a majority. Now, you have it and instead of pushing through the agenda, you are waffling at every damn term. Nothing illustrates this more than the current healthcare debacle....i mean debate.

First off, whose absurd idea was it to run these Town Hall meetings anyway? Especially the ones not being conducted by Obama. It is painfully obvious that most of the senators just are not equipped to handle this topic. Beyond that, the entire concept of a town hall for this subject matter was a bad idea from the beginning. You are practically being for these people to come out of the woodwork and yell at the top of their lungs about things that are not true. Mission accomplished.

And I am extremely disappointed by the handling of this by the administration. I questioned Obama's team a bit when he put it together, and now I am even more so. The hallmark of Obama's campaign was always knowing what to do and when to do it. The administration appears to be completely on its heels right now. Even if it really isn't, the media is doing a fantastic job of making it appear that way.

Then, this morning I get the final stab in the gut. They are considering doing away with a public option in favor of co-ops. I am trying to find out more information on co-ops, but right now I am firmly with Howard Dean. I don't see how you can have meaningful health care reform without a public option.

Even bigger than that, you would be letting them win. They have completed twisted around what is and is not in the bill, whipped people up into a frenzy, and dominated the health care debate from moment one. By removing the public option, you send the clear signal that those tactics can be used to attack anything you do.

This just doesn't make any sense.

The democrats are trying to play the middle. Most are doing so in fear of losing their next election. Again, this makes zero sense.

Why are you catering to people WHO MORE THAN LIKELY WILL NOT VOTE FOR YOU ANY WAY?

The instant someone yells out WE WANT OUR COUNTRY BACK, your mind should instantly see the underlying meaning of that statement and understand that they did not and will not vote for you.


For the love of everything, democrats, please grow a pair and get this damn thing done. Stop whining and fight back. Where are your counter-arguments? Where are you guys pointing out all the benefits and plusses of this?

How can you lose an image war with INSURANCE COMPANIES? There are literally hundreds of thousands of people getting ripped by the current system every day. Why I am not being flooded with sob stories every time I turn on my television? I have thought of about 6 while I have been typing this.

Also, how could you let them run away with all this death panel crap? How many people have already died in this country, regardless of age, because the insurance that they were paying for denied them coverage for a surgery or procedure they needed? Again, why aren’t we being overwhelmed with these stories on our TV?

If not now, WAIT! I actually agree with some conservatives on this. Better to wait even another year to get this right, than to push through some bullshit now. If you, for some unexplained reason, can not fight this war now, then circle the wagons and come back later, full force. This is just too important to punt the ball and far to important for the current half assed strategy being enforced.

And, please, PLEASE, do not hold any more freaking town halls unless it will be hosted by Obama.

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Crime and Punishment Part 2

Friday, August 14, 2009

As I write this the talking heads are going crazy discussing Vick's signing by the Eagles. My personal take is that I think its a good spot for Vick. Good organization and McNabb seems to be in his corner. There's also very little pressure for him to contribute immediately. If he and McNabb click and with Dungy already in his corner, I honestly think this could be a great thing for Vick. There's also the angle that Andy Reid has gone through quite a bit with his children. But, I'll have more on all this later on after the official press conference. For now, the callers on Mike and Mike are presenting pretty much the same drivel about him never getting another shot in the pros, blah blah blah. Whatever. Again, Vick has paid a stiff penalty for his crimes. He deserves this second shot.

For now, I'm taking a step back to discuss the other two high profile NFL cases, Donte Stallworth and Plaxico Burress.

Stallworth is actually brief. Although I still am not 100% on Commissioner Goddell, I can't argue with his punishment of Stallworth. If the average person does this, they're still in jail right now and it would be very tough for them to get back working afterward. Hell, for a doctor or lawyer the punishment could be even more severe. This is the case where everyone in America should have been outraged. Drunk driving is a much larger problem in our country than dog fighting both in terms of occurrence and impact.

Then there's Plaxico.

Its tough for me to say anything in his favor because I think what he did (if he actually did shoot himself and there is something else more serious going on) was just so dumb.

Loaded gun in the club.
Safety not on.
Shoot yourself in the leg?

Come on.

But, I have to speak out against the way the NY mayor and DA office has treated this.

Declaring guilt before trial? Check.
Trying case in media? Check.
Ruining jury pool? Check.
Overblown reaction to a crime that only hurt the person involved? I gotta check here too.

I completely understand taking a tough position on crimes and guns. Far too many black men are killed due to gun violence.

But I think that's my problem with this whole thing.

A real thug probably would have been on the streets with this after a few days. I have had a hard time getting stats on this specifically for New York, but I have a hard time seeing someone with no priors getting two years for this.

Plaxico's attorney's tried to get him in for a year for this. That sounds like more than enough here. The push for more time in this case reeks of grandstanding and I think the trial will be a massive waste of public resources.

Meanwhile, real thugs will still be on the streets shooting people and dealing drugs. It just doesn't make sense.

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The Fives

I have been keeping track of my iTunes play counts for a while, and as I figured, the songs I think I like and the songs I actually end up listening to are not always the same.

Anyways, in between ranting about the world I'm going to plug in posts about my top five songs from artists based on the number of times I play them. I'll start out with a handful of the past and present kings of rap and work from there.

My recent posts on Jay-Z and arguments with others has created the thought that I don't like him. That's not true at all. But, I have to be honest and say that he's not been bringing it like he used to. No one would like to hear a return to glory from Jay-Z as much as me and I'm hoping the Blueprint 3 is that (even though I found D.O.A. to be alright at best).

5. Tie - Hard Knock Life - the one that made him a star / Song Cry - About as real as a song gets for a rap artist. If this list wasn't based on play count, I might have put this one Number One. Everything from the lyrics to the sample are on point.
4. What More Can I Say - title speaks for itself.
3. Girls, Girls, Girls - this is one of my favorite beats and I just felt the whole vibe of this song. The video, while not groundbreaking, really threw it over the top for me.
2. Bring It On - Probably my favorite track on Reasonable Doubt. The beat by Premier was on point and everytime I hear this, I wonder what would have happened if Jay, Jaz, and Sauce Money had kept on rhyming together. The chemistry between the three was incredible. Oh well, time and money have destroyed even the strongest of friendships.
1. Public Service Announcement - The White Albulum Remix - "Well, allow me to reintroduce myself....My name is HOV...Oh, H to the O V.." Not sure if its actually the best song, but its the one I listen to the most. The White Albulum by DJ Kno seemed pretty slept on, but I thought it was the best of the Black Album remix projects.

I go back and forth over Nas' place in the rap Hall of Fame. His ability is unquestioned, but his inability to truly follow up Illmatic shadowed his whole career in my opinion. But, he’s managed to create plenty of hits over the years. If this was purely on my favorite songs, there's no way The World Is Yours and One Mic wouldn't be on here.

5. Life's A Bitch - Nas and AZ at their best.
4. Ether - If Jay'z Takeover was the Empire Strikes Back then this was the Return of the Jedi. Not many people thought Nas could answer Jay-Z in that battle (even Jigga himself I would imagine). I thought Nas was being underestimated and he more than proved it on this track. Takeover was a good track, but I thought Jay-Z wasted the first verse and delivered a much stronger shot at Prodigy than Nas. "Put it together, I rock ho's, ya'll rock fellas." It was also the first time Jay-Z was called out for his....liberal...use of Biggie's lyrics.
3. Made You Look - Probably my favorite of Nas' more commerical songs
2. NY State of Mind Part 2 - The Premier beat seals the deal on this one.
1. It Ain't Hard to Tell - "Nas' raps should be locked in a cell, It ain't hard to tell." The first song I ever heard from Nas is still the one I listen to the most.

50 Cent
Like Nas, I think 50 also released his best cd first. More known now for beefs, I'm also kind of hoping his next cd is a return to just the music. There is no middle ground on him though. Either you like him or you hate him. But I still think 50 is a better artist than most give him credit for and him and the G-Unit are definitely in constant rotation while I workout. I can't dispute that the beats on most of the songs really take them over the top. I could probably listen to instrumentals of all of them except number one.

5. Ski Mask Way - overlooked song on 50's second cd. I go back and forth over whether the Massacre was really not a good cd or just not nearly as good as Get Rich or Die Trying. It definitely sold a lot, and I guess that's all the mattered to 50 in the end.
4. What Up Gangsta - When this song comes up, my intensity instantly goes up in the gym.
3. If I Can't - Dre just gave 50 some great beats on this one. I really hope Detox comes out before I die.
2. Back Down - Once again, 50 at his best + Dre beat = hit. Probably the final nail in Ja Rule's coffin.
1. G-Unit Anthem - Like Nas, the first song that I heard from G-Unit is still my favorite. Definitely not for the kids, this song is about as violent as it comes...and yeah, i love it.

Next time - Tribe Called Quest, Outkast and Wu-Tang

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Crime and Punishment, Part One

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Over the past few weeks, we have been literally bombarded with news and updates on notorious felons Michael Vick and Plaxico Burress. Vick and Burress have been responsible for numerous crimes against the entire world that have resulted in the collapse of society as we know it and there can be no punishment great enough to keep these two guys off the streets and certainly, far away from a football field.

Yes, I am being sarcastic. But if you were a child who couldn't read between the lines and see past what people were telling you, you could easily come to that conclusion.

With Michael Vick, we have a guy who has done more than his fair share of time in jail for what he was convicted of. Yet, when you hear some people talk (particularly about him playing again), you get the feeling that he really hasn't done anything up to this point. There's this prevailing notion that some way, some how, Vick must now now do "something" else to prove he is worthy of being in society.

That is absurd.

First, I just don't think these people really understand the realities of jail. Or at the very least, they don't understand Leavenworth. Nickname the "Hot House" because of poor ventilation, Leavenworth is not the country club prisons that most stars enjoyed.
No, Vick was in the pen. The real pen. For 18 months. With people who did things a lot worse than what he did. The place where they are currently considering sending Gitmo detainees.

People seem to question if Vick has done enough.

What exactly do they think Vick was doing in there for the last year and a half?

No, going to Leavenworth and losing about 150 million is more than enough punishment for damn near anything. The continued anger against him is just over the top. One local radio show questioned when he should be allowed to have a pet again (I'm serious). Some people said never. Others, 5 or 10 years. I could only shake my head.

So we're okay with drunk drivers getting their licenses back and operating automobiles, but Vick getting a dog again at some point is outrageous? As someone who has lost a couple of friends to drunk drivers who presently own vehicles and drive around freely, I just can't understand how people are so lax toward an issue with true impact on humanity but yell from the top of their lungs about another issue that is pretty much only practiced by a small percentage of the population.

Then there's PETA. For an organization so bent on keeping Vick punished, they sure aren't doing a very good job of protesting animals themselves. PETA itself has killed over 17000 animals it "rescued" since 1998 (Newsweek) 95% of the animals it took in 2008 (Center for Consumer Freedom). In 2008, PETA killed 2,124 dogs and only found homes for 7 despite a 32 million dollar budget. You can read more about this and find more documentation at So, the next time someone wants to roll out PETA you've got more than enough facts to combat them with. The Humane Society is no better.

Looking at some of those stats, I can't help but wonder if PETA spent more time and resources coming after Vick than on trying to actually find homes for those animals.

Also, consider that in what is being called the largest dogfighting bust in US history, about 400 dogs were seized. (LA Times) That's still about 1700 short of the amount of dogs PETA killed. No matter what side of the fence you are currently on, it is pretty hard to believe than an organization with the resources of PETA could only save 7 of over 2000 animals.

On the other hand, a whopping 13000 people die every year from drunk driving. ( CBS News ) Keep in mind, that's just the amount of people that actually die. It does not include those who are hurt.

Naturally, this isn't to condone dogfighting. But it is to shed light on the actual problem and some perspective on one of Vick's main attackers. So while there is crusade to keep Vick off NFL sidelines, the 18 players who have been charged with DUI's over the past three years ( Yahoo Sports ), with the notable exception of Donte Stallworth, are flying under the radar. And Stallworth's big punishment? A whopping 24 days in jail.

Stallworth met with the league today so we'll see how his punishment goes. But what about all those other guys? A couple games here and there and they are right back on the field with lil to no fanfare.

I bring all this up to illustrate another point. Goddell is often lauded as some kind of enforcer who is looking to "crack down" on people in the league.


Goddell simply goes after whoever the villain of the week is. There is little punishment toward certain people because there is little media attention surrounding them. When the media rolls on a player (Vick, Pacman, Tank Johnson, Plaxico, etc) Goddell swoops in with a heavy hammer. When there is no media fanfare, there is little punishment from Goddell.

Which all brings me back to Vick.

With Vick, no matter how you fell about him, you have a guy who actually faced a stiff penalty for his actions. He has suffered plenty. He deserves a chance to rehabilitate himself and play football again.

I'll give my thoughts on Plaxico in Part II.

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Excuses, Excuses

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Realizing that I am quickly squandering all the wonderful weight loss and health improvements I've made over the last year (why oh why does it take a month to lose 10 pounds but only a couple of trips to McDonalds to gain it? It's just not fair God!), I finally returned to the gym the other day to continue my quest to get back down to my undergrad college weight.

The scale told me that instead of being 20 pounds from that goal I am now 29 pounds from that goal (just...not....fair), so I laced up the gym shoes and proceeded to the instruments of doom (treadmill, stairmaster, elliptical, bike, etc...).

Although I hadn't worked in about 3 weeks, I only kinda sucked and did not totally sucked. I'm pretty sure I can wipe off that pouns I've gained pretty quickly and be back on track before the middle of next week. So naturally, I felt pretty decent about myself.

Until, of course, THAT GUY, came along.

You know THAT GUY. The one who knows everything but actually knows nothing at all. The one who doesn't do _______(fill in activity) because of _________(fill in excuse). And best of all, he loves to freaking tell you about it.

Normally, THAT GUY doesn't bother me much. He's basically been telling me stupid shit since I was a kid. But every now and then he catches you off guard and you have to stop and put him in his place.

So what happened?

Well, I'm exiting the gym and THAT GUY sees my workout bag and asks me if I work out at the gym. I guess that fact that he just saw me walking out of the gym was not good enough confirmation so he needed to ask me to be sure. Then he says something that just set me off at that particular moment.

"Yeah, I used to workout but, you know, I don't have all those self esteem problems. I'm happy with how i look so I don't worry about it. Its just not worth it."

Normally I'm able to catch myself before I go into complete nigga mode on someone but today, maybe because I was tired, my first thought got through.

"Well, its great you have high self esteem, but you should be working out because you're getting pretty fat."

He looked back at me like what. I thought about cleaning that up, but decided to just go for broke. I told him, no offense, but working out isn't just about having low self esteem. Ask anyone and they'll tell you I am a pretty cocky son of a bitch when I wanna be. But that doesn't stop me from recognizing that I've gained a lot of weight over the last few years and I need to go ahead and lose it before it gets any worse. It also doesn't stop me from recognizing that obseity is growing problem in the black community that needs to be addressed now. That gut bulging over your pants is not a good thing at all man.

Naturally, he was on the defensive and began to rattle on about how he has been big all his life and he doesn't think that spending all the time in the gym is worth it.

I fired back that I know people who have been alcoholics for years who have decided to quit. Should they just keep going on too? Also, what is it and if taking care of yourself and preserving your own life isn't worth "it" then just what the hell is?

Then, in full retreat, he says I didn't expect you to go all "lawyer" on me. I just think all that working out is bullshit and you're not going to lose any more weight anyway.

I smiled and said well we'll see how much weight I lose, but luckily I've still got my handsome face to fall back on. Then I walked off.

I've seen him a couple more times, but he hasn't spoken to me. Think the "friendship" is over.

But seriously, two things here.

First off, enough with the nonsense that someone who works out or wants to be in shape has some kind of problem. Give me a break. Unless they are anorexic, taking steroids, etc, please don't come to me with that garbage. This is a ridiculous thought and is really just another way to escape the very real possibility that you might not need to skip McDonald's and hit the treadmill. The reality is that black people die at exhorbitant rates from diseases that are highly preventable and most of that is because we are obese. Happy or not, if you are overweight, you would be wise to try and do something about it. Even if you don't end up looking like a fitness model, even a relatively small weight loss like 10 to 15 pounds and daily exercise can have enormous health benefits.

Second, if you see someone trying to workout, how about you just shut up and leave them alone if you don't have anything positive to say? Seriously, save the excuses and dime store psychology.

End rant.

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What the Game's Been Missing

Saturday, July 25, 2009

During a stroll down memory lane with BlackInk we touched on the current crop of new rappers and the relative absence of NY from the hip hop scene. But, I think my thoughts are a bit different from where it seemed like I was going in my comments.

Seems like every time you look up someone is declaring hip hop dead or on life support and going on & on about how good hip hop used to be. While I do miss the variety hip hop used to offer, I'm not sold that it is dead or dieing.

Nah, I don't think the popularity of "Stanky Leg" or "Ice Cream Paint Job" has as much to do with people wanting dumbed down music as it does something way simpler.

I think the kids just want to listen something new.

I thought about that while listening to the radio the other day. Everyone was going on and on about Jay-Z's new album and the apparent "Death of Autotune". The death of autotune came as a shock to me as at least 5 of the previously played songs all featured autotune.

And to be perfectly honest, I'd much rather listen to some of those autotune songs than D.O.A. The track just didn't really move me at all nor has much of the other stuff I've heard pumping from the East Coast these days. Then the DJS hit us with some Drake and Kid Cudi and I was back in a riding mood.

And that's when the thought really hit me. I think I'm just tired of some of these dudes and the kids probably are too.

To the average 15 or 16 year old, D.O.A. is probably the equivalent of some old man on his porch shaking his cane and telling them to knock off all the racket.

I heard a new track by Nas the other day and I couldn't help but think about the fact that I was in high school when I first started bumping Nas. That was like 3 degrees and a bar exam ago. Nothing against him or Jigga or any of the East Coast vets, but the next time one of them decides to jump in there soapbox and complain about the fall of hip hop, maybe they should look in the mirror.

I mean, where are all the new east coast artists? What happened to Saigon, Papoose, Red Cafe, Joel Ortiz, Tru Life, etc, etc, etc. Why did we not get an real album from ANY of those rappers?

Sure, its easy to just jump up and declare that something is wrong with hip hop, but the reality is that there are artists pushing the envelope like Drake, Cudi, Kanye, Wayne, etc. They may not be from NY, but they're cd's have delivered the goods.

If you want to "fix" hip hop, how about you do something really crazy like...I don't know...make really good music? You know like you guys all used to do.

NY had an incredible stretch back in days with everyone from Nas to Biggie to the Wu-Tang dropping cds. Now, promising artists pop up on mixtapes then fade away before they can even release a cd.

That's got to change.

Stop hogging the spotlight and complaining about the state of the music and start developing some of the talent you have out there.

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Twice as Good

Friday, July 24, 2009

So, Bush gets 8 years to run the world in the shitter and Obama gets not even 8 months to fix it? Yeah, that sounds about right.

As a kid my grandparents always told me that familiar saying that to be successful as a black person you had to be at least twice as good.

For Obama, that's more like 100 times as good.

I won't lie, the numbers being run up by the current administration are eye popping and I haven't exactly been thrilled with how we have handled a lot of the banks.

But, I'm still not ready to shovel dirt on Obama. From minute one, I think most of us knew this wasn't going to be an easy fix. We're in deep folks and its going to take time to turn this thing around. I'm willing to give Obama that time to get things done, but it doesn't look like the rest of the country will.

That's why I think its important for Obama to get as much of his agenda accomplished in his first four years as possible. Its going to be very difficult for him to get reelected. Yes, I know it was tough for him to get the job to begin with, but the short memories of the talking heads out there is mind boggling. Obama is taking a lot of heat for problems he inherited. I'm not sure if he will be able to shake that off enough to win again if the Republicans get their heads out of their asses and pick a more moderate candidate instead of someone from the looney bin (see Sarah Palin).

That opinion quickly changes if we start to see a lot more positive ticks in the economy and on the health care front, but for now I think Obama and the Democrats need to just push full steam ahead with their goals.

That's why I am upset with the current waffling with health care. Enough catering to the Republicans on this. They simply will not support it. Let's not forget that Reagan was very much against Medicare calling it.....socialist medicine. Can anyone imagine what things would be like without Medicare?

As someone with a spouse fighting a daily battle against lupus, I'm definitely biased on this issue. We are extremely blessed to have good income and even better insurance. But even for us, the monthly bills are large and definitely have an impact on our daily life. We're pretty much stuck having to go with an employer provided plan, because with anything private we would either a) not be covered because of prior illness or have to wait at least six months for her to be covered and/or b) have to pay a huge amount for coverage.

It's just wrong.

I'm all for other opinions on this issue but so far all we've gotten is the typical Republican BS. It will raise your taxes. It's socialist medicine. Blah Blah Blah.

Ok, fine. You don't think its the best plan. How about you come up with something more reasonable?

The problem the conservatives don't seem to be getting is that so many Americans are struggling to pay their bills right now that the typical person really does give a rat's ass that someone making over 250K is going to have pay more taxes. The only way for them to get back into the game is to come up with sound policies and solutions to problems.

Or borderline racist attacks and rhetoric. Whichever works you know.

In the meantime, the Democrats need to take full advantage of their position and stop being so wishy washy. Unless a Republican idea is truly sound and advances their goals, its time to stop letting them slow down progress.

You wanted the majority. You got it. Now use it.

Obama really seems to be intent on helping people. That's a bigger deal than most think.

One of the greatest problems for the average politician, at least from the view on my couch, is that most of them simply can't understand the problems of the average person. They really have no clue what its like to not be able to afford medicine, pay bills on time or worry about how to put food on the table.

Obama seems to get that and its part of what pushed him into office.

Now, its time to see a bit more anger and a lil less smooth. I have liked his current media blitz and hope he continues to push Congress to get health care reform passed. I'm still not sold on his "team of rivals," but he picked them so its time to get them on the ball.

Obama should be a man on a mission and as I said above, I think he would benefit from an approach that he only has four years to get things done.

4 less years to get ten times as much accomplished as his predecessor? Yeah, that sounds about right.

After all, isn't that pretty much the same situation we all face when we head to work everyday?

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Black People Are Never the Victims Part II

Thursday, July 23, 2009

So a man gets arrested in his own for looking "suspicious" to some random white lady and he has no right to be angry about it?

Also, if he thinks, maybe, possibly, that the only reason anyone called the cops on him is because he was black then he is of course needlessly playing the "race card" and should just move on.

Yeah.... How 'bout no on both of those.

First off, once Prof. Gates showed the officer that he did indeed live there, that should have been the end of the whole thing. The officer had no right (repeat NO RIGHT) to remain on his property once it was proven that it was Gates residence. In the police report, the officer clearly states that he believed it was Gates' home. So why did he stick around?

According to the average commenter on the Boston Globe, he wanted to fulfill his duties as a police officer.

As convincing as their comments are, I'm going to roll with my initial thought and that was to "put the uppity nigger in his place."

Back to the police report for a sec, so we're supposed to believe that a Harvard scholar really yelled to the police officer "Yeh, I'll speak to your mama..." Because you know, no matter how much education we get, we can't resist an opportunity to drop a "yo mama" reference into the conversation. Come on folks, if you're going to make stuff up at least get with some current slang. That's as bad as the hey whitey crap with the Obamas.

I would love to link to the report itself, but, for some strange reason, the boston globe has taken the original one down and replaced it with another one! Wonder why?

Also, yelling at an officer who should not be in your house to begin with, is not a crime. So he should not have been arrested.

Beyond those glaring issues, thoughts remain on the woman who called the police and all the wonderful commenters out there accusing Gates of playing the race card.

On the woman, isn't great how someone who doesn't live in a neighborhood can call the cops and get someone who does live in the neighborhood arrested?

On the commenters, is anything racist guys? Anything? Is there something that someone could do that would qualify as being racist and not a misunderstanding or somehow thrown back at the victim. Once upon a time, I would have said that hanging a noose would clearly be racist, but the Jena 6 incident proved that wrong.


So to all the people who keep insisting that they would have called the police regardless of who it was at the door, I simply say

These were two middle-aged men with luggage sprawled about! Why would a criminal try to get in the front door when he could go around the back? What criminal on earth would just sit there banging on a door IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY! What criminal would go around the back, unlock the door, take inside HIS LUGGAGE, and then come out front and again try to get the door open. What criminal stands outside in broad daylight with glasses on, slacks and a polo shirt....

You know what, I could go on for days.

No, you wouldn't have called the damn police on anyone. You see black guy, young or old, big or small, educated or thug, and you see criminal. Period.

It reminds me of my criminal law class when we discussed racial profiling. One of my classmates couldn't understand why people didn't just let it go. I asked him how many times he had been stopped, questioned, ticketed, etc by the police. He said twice. I said, you know, the first two times I was questioned by the police, once while riding my bike at age 5 and the other playing basketball at age 8, I let it go too. By the time I was 18 and the number was well into the double digits, I was a lot less hospitable. Having people stop you anytime they feel like, not because you have actually done anything, but to ask you questions about things you haven't done and people you don't know kind of wears on you over the years.

At the very least, I am still relatively young and really expect nothing less out of cops. I can only imagine what it felt like for Gates.

While he has not lost his connection to the community, you have to think the brother felt like he was beyond this sort of thing at this point in his life. Unfortunately, he wasn't and neither are any of the rest of us.

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Time to Start Speaking Up

Sunday, July 12, 2009

As I've been watching TV the last few weeks, I've again find myself both saddened and appalled by the behavior of a lot of men in power and influence.

Its not just greed. Its a pretty much wreckless disregard for the feelings and lives of others.

Its also based off a feeling that they could all get away with these things and there would be no consequences.

Nothing is worse than Governor Mark Sanford and Senator John Ensign. Having affairs is bad enough, but these two really take the cake.

Sanford with his trips to Argentina while he was supposed to be governing. Ensign giving hush money to the family to cover up his infidelity. Both incidents are just horrid.

Yes, this stance is tougher than my stance on McNair, but I'm getting back to him in a sec.

However, the standard for elected officials is higher than that for athletes. Society slaps higher standards on celebrities and athletes because they make more money, even though we all know full well most of those people are not good role models.

With elected officials, you hold yourself out to be someone of higher character and take on the responsibility of representing groups of people. You are accountable for not just yourself but for an entire state. If you are not ready for that burden, you should not run.

But I can't turn a blind eye to our stars either. As Dwil and the 2 Guys and A Mic discussed a couple of days ago, it seems like guy code rules the day when it comes to athlete behavior. Athletes at times do whatever they want and unfortunately, the results can be tragic.

Its time for this stuff to end.

At the heart of it all, at least to me, is just that men (me included) often feel like we can handle anything. That there is no jam we can't get out of and that we have everything under control.

This is worsened by two other things. First is the fact that we generally don't communicate well. Second is that when we do hear of something, guy code prevails instead of common sense.

While I try to speak up when I feel like a friend is doing something reckless, I generally say my piece and leave it alone. Only with relatives and extremely close friends will I really push the envelope on bad behavior. Beyond that, I know plenty of doctors, lawyers, etc who are quite out in the open about their vices whether it be drugs, alcohol, women or domestic abuse. I would imagine that quite a few of us are in the same boat.

Yet, when these situations inevitably boil over, everyone is stunned.

While the incidents are different, another common thread between Sanford, Ensign, and McNair is that there were people around them who knew what was going on. I can't help but wonder what would have happened if all of them had taken strong stands against their behavior.

I'm not saying that everyone should become a self righteous blowhard, harping on people everytime they sip a beer. But, at the same time, we do need to step up to the plate more often and let people know we find their behavior unacceptable and warn them of the dangers of their conduct.

I can't say you won't lose a friend. But you might just save a life.

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Black People Are Never Victims

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Isn't it great how we are never the victims in crimes.

Sleeping around is wrong. Hey, I can even roll with the people who say it tarnishes your rep and makes you a bad person.

It doesn't mean you should be killed.

Steve McNair was murdered folks.

That's wrong, oh, I don't know... 100% of the time.

Just a thought.

I've read a lot of posts attacking McNair and "keeping it real" about his mistakes. The worst was probably written by Jason Whitlock (I wont link to it, but hell, if you found my blog you can definitely find his article). I'm still wrapping my mind around everything that is wrong with the current direction of Whitlock and his writings, but several more capable bloggers have completely ripped him to shreds on both his McNair take and his equally awful rip on Serena Williams.

Sports on my Mind
The Starting Five
The Black Snob
And The Valley Shook

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