Nov 24, 2008

President Bush pardons rapper John Forte, 10 others.




Well I have to admit this is a shock. I figured Bush would throw out a buncha pardons for his cronies and whatnot, but to pardon a rapper was a bit out of anyone's estimation.

John Forte who has worked with the Fugees and other hip hop artists, was convicted of drug trafficking because he had agreed to take a couple briefcases of liquid cocaine through an airport, and he got arrested. Despite this being his first offense, the mandatory minimum sentencing for drug offenses, put him in prison for 14 years.

That ended today. Good to see the man is coming home to his family. And I never thought I'd say this, but Good job President Bush. You did a good thing today.

To be sure, I am not in any way, shape or form approving of what he did. I do not like drugs, and have no sympathy for drug dealers. However, this man was not a drug dealer. He made a mistake and he's paid with seven years of his life. The crime in the situation that is not being talked about (and allegedly one of the main reasons that he got the pardon) was the unjustness of the Mandatory Minimum sentencing when it comes to 1st time offenders.

courtesy of MSNBC.COM

Bush also commuted the prison sentences of John Edward Forte of North Brunswick, N.J., and James Russell Harris of Detroit, Mich. Both were convicted of cocaine offenses.
Forte, a well-known hip hop artist, worked with the Fugees, Wyclef Jean and Herbie Hancock.
Pardon orders never give a reason, but NBC News' Pete Williams reported that in Forte's case, it is likely the mandatory minimum sentences required in drug cases. Here's how fans of Forte's put it on a Web site dedicated to him:
"John Forte's life was forever changed in July of 2000. He agreed to transport a package, and in turn was arrested on a drug trafficking charge. He did not accept the plea bargain offered him, as he maintained that he was innocent of the charges against him.
"In 2001, John Forté stood trial in a Texas court and was convicted of this non-violent crime. It was his first offense. Due to the outdated mandatory minimum sentencing laws currently in place, he received the only prison term available for the judge to hand down — 14 years in a federal penitentiary. John is not eligible to be released until he is at least 38 years old."
Under the Constitution, the president’s power to issue pardons is absolute and cannot be overruled.

The Mythical "War on Christmas"




Every year around this time, Fox News starts up their "War on Christmas" campaign. This is where they lash out at corporations, and stores that have the audacity to say "Happy Holidays" to the customers.

You see, by saying "Happy Holidays" instead of Merry Christmas, you are attempting to systematically remove God and Jesus from the very day that bears His name.

Now I know some of you out there might be saying, "Wait...Happy Holidays covers the time when stores are attracting customers between Thanksgiving and New Years, right? A time that encompasses three holidays."

And you would be correct. And that would discount you from working at Fox News, because apparantly a certain level of common sense that is seriously lacking in people like Bill O'Reilly and John Gibson who have padded their pockets on the back of this fake "war on Christmas".

I came across a great article from 2005 by MJ Rosenberg, in which he points out the Anti-Semitic undertones that lie inside the so called "War on Christmas":

OF COURSE, the "war on Christmas" it is totally manufactured. There is no Jewish, or other non-Christian group, that campaigns to ban the term "Merry Christmas."

I suppose there are individual Jews (or Muslims, or others) who prefer to be wished "happy holidays," but that is simply neither here nor there. As for the secular liberal groups making war on the term, they don't exist either.

The whole issue was invented to divide Americans from one another, at Christmas time no less. As the Christmas warriors probably know, the reason businesses have adopted the term "the holidays" in place of Christmas is that Christmas is one day, December 25th. "The holidays" suggests a period that runs from Thanksgiving through New Year's, more time for shopping and exchanging.

Anti-Christmas animus is a myth.

But that does not mean that the "war on Christmas" brouhaha is not threatening to Jews. Long before there was awareness that Muslims or Hindus lived in the United States, there was an awareness that Jews did. And, in the wake of World War II, Americans did, to their credit, begin acknowledging Jews and their traditions as part of the American fabric. That is why schoolchildren in states where few Jews live sing "I Had a Little Dreidel" along with "The Christmas Song."

Bill O'Reilly knows that and doesn't like it one bit, as evidenced by his response to a Jewish caller last December who said that he found O'Reilly's views on Christmas objectionable. O'Reilly told him to "move to Israel."


Common sense will never prevail though, and this will continue to flood the airwaves and the TV landscape, as the Religious Right continue to try to force their way of thinking on everyone around them, and if you don't bow to their will, if you don't kneel before their demands, well they will just use their unfortunately large influence to boycott your store.

All because of a made up situation.

Incredible.

As a Christian, I don't particularly care if someone says Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings or Merry Christmas. It doesn't change my faith one bit. It doesn't change how I view Christmas, or Jesus in the slightest. Everyone is not going to believe what I do.

I DO consider myself a Christian, however I am also for the separation of Church and State, and I'm kinda tired of people forcing their faiths on others. Witnessing, which is a main tenant to my faith is one thing, but when you start lashing out and angrily attacking those who do not accept your witnessing, then you're crossing the line into violating what Jesus was all about.

But some people have a "Do as I say, Not as I Do" mentality, unfortunately.

Oh and Bill O'Reilly apparantly is the world's biggest hypocrite, because while he's boycotting stores that advertise Happy Holidays, guess what the big guy has on his own website?

Nov 23, 2008

Wayman Tisdale doing great after surgery to remove part of his leg.



EDIT: fixed link below that goes to the updated post about Wayman. Sorry for the inconvenience.

UPDATE: 10:41, May 15th 2009: Wayman Tisdale has passed away. Click here for new post:

Former NBA player and current Jazz Musician Wayman Tisdale was diagnosed with bone cancer after he fell and broke his leg at his house a couple years ago. A month ago he had surgery to remove the lower part of his leg to make sure they got all the cancer and it didn't spread.

Now, just a month after his surgery he's already up walking around on his new prosthetic leg, emblazoned with Oklahoma Sooners colors, for the University that he starred at playing Basketball.

courtesy of NewsOk:

Diagnosed early last year with bone cancer in his leg, Tisdale fought the disease for a year and a half before doctors determined the treatment hadn’t eliminated it. His leg was amputated just above his knee on Aug. 25 in hopes of eradicating the cancer.

Less than two months later, Tisdale is walking with a prosthetic using only a cane for balance.

He is doing after a month with his prosthetic what it takes most people six to nine months to achieve.

"He’s a fighter,” said Scott Sabolich, owner of Scott Sabolich Prosthetics & Research. "That’s got a lot to do with it.”

But as an athlete, Tisdale battled with his body, not against it.

The athletic big man was long defined by what his body could do. Run. Jump. Dunk. Those physical gifts made him a star first at Tulsa Washington High School, then at OU, then in the NBA.




Nov 18, 2008

"Christian" nutjobs are losing their mind over Obama



I think this is just crazy. I realize that there are those Christians out there who are upset over Barack Obama's election win, due to their opinions on Abortion and Gay Rights, however some of these so called "Christian" leaders are taking this to a whole new level of opposition.

First we had the "Rev" Sebastian Meyer who humilated a woman from the pulpit because she drove a car to church that had pro-Obama signs on it.

Caster said the Rev. Sebastian Meyer humiliated her in front of the congregation, saying from the pulpit, "We cannot have a car with Obama signs written on it on these premises. And I don't care who Obama is."
He continued, "I want this car off the premises in 10 minutes or it will be towed. Whoever's vehicle this is, I want it removed. I don't want to see that car anywhere around here," she said.
The Rev. Meyer did not return calls. An attempt to speak to him face to face ended abruptly Wednesday morning when he announced, "No, we're not writing that," and attempted to snatch a reporter's notebook away.
Caster said the priest followed her and her 10-year-old son out of the church and refused to let her park anywhere in the parking lot. She had to come back after the service to pick up her parents, who were visiting from Kenya.

Then we had the Catholic leader who sent out a letter to all parishoners saying that they needed to repent if they voted for Obama, and that until they repented for their "sin", that they should not receive Holy Communion:

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A South Carolina Roman Catholic priest has told his parishioners that they should refrain from receiving Holy Communion if they voted for Barack Obama because the Democratic president-elect supports abortion, and supporting him "constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil."
The Rev. Jay Scott Newman said in a letter distributed Sunday to parishioners at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Greenville that they are putting their souls at risk if they take Holy Communion before doing penance for their vote.
"Our nation has chosen for its chief executive the most radical pro-abortion politician ever to serve in the United States Senate or to run for president," Newman wrote, referring to Obama by his full name, including his middle name of Hussein.
"Voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exits constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil, and those Catholics who do so place themselves outside of the full communion of Christ's Church and under the judgment of divine law. Persons in this condition should not receive Holy Communion until and unless they are reconciled to God in the Sacrament of Penance, lest they eat and drink their own condemnation."
 And now less than a week later, we have the newest entry into the "Who can embarrass their Faith more" sweepstakes.
Mark Holick, "pastor" of The Spirit One Christian Center in Wichita, Kansas has put a sign outside his center that reads "America we have a Muslim president. This is a sin against the Lord."

Holick told KSNW, "The main point of the marquee is to cause the Christians to understand he is not a Christian, Again, they will call me and they will tell me that he's not a Muslim because he is a Christian. That's not the point. The point is he's not a Christian."


When are these nutjobs going to get it through their head that Obama is not a Muslim? And why is it that suddenly in a Post 9/11 world it's perfectly okay to attribute someone being Muslim as something to be avoided at all cost? At what point did we decide that it's okay to discriminate against people based on their faith?

Considering that historically Christians have been persecuted and even KILLED because of their faith, I find it a bit hypocritical that Christians would then turn around and attack someone for an alleged religious affiliation. One that is uncategorically FALSE. HE'S NOT A MUSLIM PEOPLE.

Is this what we have to look forward to over the next four to eight years? Are the same Republican Right Wing Evangelicals that would rip any and everyone who DARED to say something negative about Bush, saying that we needed to honor and respect our President, going to be leading the charge against President elect Obama?

And will the hypocrisy be evident to them, or will they just play the Ostrich with his head in the sand?

These men are an embarrassment to their Faith and a danger to people who are susceptible to believing anything that a so-called Man of God says. People need to know that these idiots do not speak for God, they sure don't speak for me as a Christian, and they don't speak for anything good. They speak only for their own inherent flawed logic and unfounded paranoia. And they need to be removed from their positions IMMEDIATELY.

Nov 17, 2008

Albert Pujols wins NL MVP......Should he Reject it?




St. Louis Cardinals Albert Pujols won the NL MVP award today, beating out the man who beat him for the same award last year, Philadelphia Phillies 1st baseman Ryan Howard.

NEW YORK (AP) — St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols won his second NL MVP award, powering past Philadelphia star Ryan Howard by a comfortable margin Monday. Pujols hit .357 with 37 home runs and 116 RBIs while playing with a sore right elbow. He was rewarded despite the Cardinals' fourth-place finish in the NL Central.

"I wasn't surprised at all," Pujols said. "You have to consider everything. You have to put all the numbers together."

Los Angeles outfielder Manny Ramirez and Milwaukee pitcher CC Sabathia also drew strong support after being traded by AL teams in July.

Pujols got 18 of the 32 first-place votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America and had 369 points. The first baseman added to the MVP award he won in 2005.

Howard, who led the majors with 48 homers and 146 RBIs for the World Series champion Phillies, drew 12 first-place votes and 308 points.


But should he reject it? If you remember, last year when Ryan Howard won the award despite his team not going to the playoffs, Albert Pujols (who's team won the World Series) felt that he was snubbed, saying:

"I see it this way: Someone who doesn't take his team to the playoffs doesn't deserve to win the MVP," Pujols said in Spanish at a news conference organized by the Dominican Republic's sports ministry.


So, last year when Albert Pujols came in second place, he felt that the MVP should be on a playoff team, and if your team did not get to the playoffs you should not receive the award.

Now THIS year, his team did not go to the playoffs, and yet he won the MVP.

Do you think he should give the award back? I think at the very least he should mention his comments from last year.

Nov 16, 2008

The World's Passing Me By




Sometimes I feel like this world is passing me by. Now if you heard your grandfather say that, you wouldn't think anything of it probably. Just chalk it up to someone realizing that technology and society is just so advanced past anything they grew up with.

However I'm not a grandfather. I'm only 33 and yet I look at this world sometimes and just think "I don't get it"

And I'm not "Behind the times" or anything like that. I'm fairly technologically savvy, Although I've never used a Mac and wouldn't know where to begin, I've been using computers since I was in the 5th grade, can type around a hundred words a minute, and I'm fairly up on the music/movies/pop culture awareness chart.

But there's always something that lets me know that I'm being left behind. And maybe that's not a TERRIBLe thing, but it's definitely something that's got me wondering.

Before I explain what got me thinking this way, let me explain something else.

Growing up, I don't know about where you were, but where I grew up, there were certain rules that kids went by. Particularly when it came to fighting one another. Fights were often, and it was just something that seemed normal. No one thought otherwise, it was just something that happened, and eventually you would be in one too. Nothing big, just you get into a fight and then you may or may not be cool with that dude afterwards.

And when you DID fight there were certain unwritten rules that you went by. No weapons, no beating on kids smaller than you or those perceived to be weaker than you. And no jumping in. If you and I were fighting, and someone tried to jump in and help me or you, they could count on getting beat good for that by the others watching the fight. You just don't do that.

And one thing that was never really addressed but most people just realized it wasn't done, is you don't hold someone down, pin their arms where they cannot move and just start beating their face in. You just don't do it.

Basically all those "unwritten" rules were in place because the fights were supposed to be fair. No cheap shots, no sucker punches nothing like that, you just fight. And the better man won. And afterwards, it was over. No coming after him at school, no following him around trying to jump him, or anything like that. You fight, you're done, and you move on. You may be friends, or maybe not.

That may not be how EVERYONE everywhere did things, but growing up in Virginia where I was, that's essentially the way it was.

Now, somewhere between THEN and NOW shit has changed DRASTICALLY. Now people can't fight without having at least three or four of their friends with them, knives and guns in hand. That's not fighting, man. That's ....I'm not sure what the hell that is, but that's not fighting. At least not in the sense of what it used to be.

It seems like all the "unwritten" rules are just gone. Cheapshotting someone is just accepted now. Jumping someone when they aren't looking, you and your boys just stomping some dude out because they looked at you wrong, and weapons and shit, man....that's not fighting.

What happened to using your hands, and the worst thing you had to worry about was your dad being disappointed in you for getting beat? Nobody had to worry about whether their house would get shot up, no one had to worry about whether they would get jumped the next day walking home from school, or their brother would get dragged into this.

I just see this gradual decline of our values that we held as a kid. The world is changing right before our eyes and we just kinda accept that and move along with it.



What brought this all on was I was watching some of that MMA fight card this past weekend featuring Randy Coutoure and Brock Lesnar. Now I didn't see THAT fight, but I saw a couple fights of the undercard, and it just reinforced why I don't like MMA. Because no matter WHAT they say, that's not a sport. That's basically cockfighting with human beings.

In the first fight, Gabriel Gonzaga just nailed this other guy with a beautiful punch that dropped him. And this guy was absolutely GONE. The opponent was NOT going to get up and if he was even conscious I doubt he would have been able to do much.

So you would think the fight is over at that point? Well...if you were a boxing fan you'd probably think so, but no. The guy just dropped and nailed the guy in the face again. Then he looks at the ref as if to say "should I hit him again?" and the Ref is like "sure, why not" and Gonzaga nails him AGAIN!

And then the Ref stops it. What the hell is that shit? How is that something that is even remotely manly? How is that cool to be in a fight where your GOAL is to pin the dude down so he can't move and can't hit you back and just start pounding him in the face until the Ref decides to stop it?

Now as a Boxing fan, you can say I'm biased, and I'm not going to disagree with you there. I 100% do not like this MMA/UFC bullshit, because I don't see that as a sport. That's legitimized cockfighting. That's it. I don't buy into all the pro-UFC/MMA crap. Besides, why would I subscribe to a "sport" where (I believe it was the Kimbo fight BEFORE this last one) they put a show on CBS and the entire night's worth of fights was about five minutes. FIVE MINUTES OUT OF TWO HOURS??!?!


And that's why I think this world is passing me by because I just don't understand it. I just don't. I'm not immune to the pull of violence in sports. I'm a big Boxing fan, and some of my favorite boxing matches have been just bloody and violent as you could imagine. Battles like Arturo Gatti vs. Mickey Ward, or Marco Antonio Barrera vs. Erik Morales it's extremely exciting and exhilarating.

But there are rules there. If a man gets knocked down, and you hit him while he's down, the fight's over and you're disqualified. That's the rules of Boxing. In MMA you win if you do that. In fact, that's the point to your strategy.

Someday in the future, this will be the norm. On Fox Sports Radio, there's a radio host named Andrew Siciliano who shares my distaste for this kinda thing, and he's said on numerous occasions that it's just one more step in the process towards the world presented in the Mike Judge film "Idiocracy". And it's weird because until he said that, I would never have made that connection, but once I heard him mention it it just clicked.

It's ABSOLUTELY true. Watch the film "Idiocracy" and tell me that's not where we are headed.

For better or worse, that's where we're at folks. Enjoy it.

CHECK OUT THE IDIOCRACY TRAILER BELOW:

Nov 9, 2008

DVD RECOMMENDATION: HECKLER




I just finished watching a documentary put out by Jamie Kennedy (Malibu's Most Wanted, Three Kings, Scream) focusing on the aspect of heckling. There's a slew of actors, actresses, comedians and others being interviewed about various topics concerning the act of heckling, such as how to deal with heckling, and more importantly, the whole mindset behind it.



There's a lot of clips of comics dealing with hecklers, and of course the infamous Bill Hicks clip is featured in there. I really enjoyed this documentary, because it focused on something that I've mentioned on my blog before HERE. And that's the way our society has evolved and become just so hate filled and negative.

The internet provides anonymity to everyone. Want to make fun of someone? No problem. Want to mock and ridicule someone, and trash them and hopefully make them feel like shit? Easy! Just log on, create a username, and have at it. No checks and balances, often, and you're able to say whatever you want, no matter how vile or evil.

Jamie Kennedy along with Carrot Top (featured in the documentary) are probably the two most reviled comics online that I can imagine. I mean Carlos Mencia gets a lot of shit (which he kinda brought on himself) and Dane Cook takes an unbelievable beating from a lot of people who don't dig his style of comedy, but I think that Jamie and Carrot Top get raked over the coals more than most.

And I've never understood it. I like Carrot Top, personally. I'm not going to go out of my way to see him perform, or anything. Same with Kennedy, but I like them both. Not every comedian has to appeal to the same audience. And I've always found it interesting that there are those out there who want everything to fit inside the box that they've created for the entertainer.

Jim Carrey made an absolute boat load of money as Ace Ventura and The Mask, and comedies like that. Then he decided to branch out and try something new. He went and did The Cable Guy, and The Man in the Moon, and you see people online just ripping him apart for it.

Adam Sandler does a buncha goofy comedy movies like Billy Madison and the such, and is very successful at it. Then he goes and does a brilliant film like Punch Drunk Love, and people just lash out at him for it.

Everyone wants you to do what they want you to do. Fans are fickle that way. They couldn't see Carrey doing serious work. Same with Sandler. When if they'd actually stop and look at it, (at least in my opinion) both Carrey and Sandler's STRONGEST work is in the dramatic genre.

Jamie Kennedy, I think, is the same. While he's done well in the comedy genre, I always thought his strongest performances have been in things like Three Kings, Enemy of the State and Boiler Room. Where he's able to act and isn't perhaps performing towards what people want him to be. Or rather what he thinks that others want him to be.

And even if he doesn't ever do what I think he should do, who gives a shit? Why does any entertainer have to do what I want?

I think that some people are so unhappy with who they are and what they've accomplished, that they can't stand to see someone else get any satisfaction or accolades without trying to tear that person down.

Quite sad, to be honest.

So go get this documentary, it's available at your local video store and surely on Netflix.