Jun 25, 2010

Friday Night Music Post

Haven't done one of these in awhile, but seeing as how it's "Roots Week", with the new release of "How I Got Over", their ninth studio album, I figured I'd post up some Roots related music videos.

Check them out and enjoy!







A few changes to my blog

As you may notice, if you've been visiting my site for awhile, there's been a bit of a change here.  I have been using a custom template for awhile that I really like called Aspire.   It has the parchment like template, and I liked it a lot, however there was one drawback:  Whoever designed it, disabled the header image.  So I could not load up a banner to post above my blog.

This was a problem, because I had someone take the time to create a banner for my blog (which you now can see at the top of this blog) specifically for me and this blog.   This meant a lot to me, because of several reasons.  First and foremost, the man is extremely talented and blessed with creativity and skill.  He makes a living in the graphic design world, and his work is in high demand.  So the fact that he was willing to help me out gratis, meant way more than I could ever express.  And secondly, I'm a huge fan of his work, and was blown away by what he came up with.   I consider him a good friend, and consider myself blessed that he was able to do this.  His name is Miami Kaos, and you can check out an interview I did with him by clicking HERE.

However, with the custom template I was unable to utilize the banner, which kind of made me feel like a dick for the fact that he spent his time to make this for me, and it ended up sitting on my hard drive.  

Now recently, Google introduced some more templates in the blogger dashboard, and finally there was one that not only was similar in color scheme as the one I had (and most importantly the banner), but I liked enough to use.    Plus it enables the  header image, so now you can see the work that my friend did.  Hopefully you enjoy seeing it as much as I am enjoying actually being able to use it.

A few other changes, is I now have only one widget column, so I had to eliminate some widgets that I was using before, however they didn't fit now.  

Hopefully you enjoy the changes, and everything is a little more...neat.   Feel free to leave your thoughts on the changes (and the banner!) in the comments section.

Thanks, once again, for visiting my blog, and I hope you enjoy what I post.

Gary

Jun 23, 2010

Farnell Newton plays "Windowseat" by Erykah Badu

FARNELL WITH BOOTSY COLLINS

My man in Portland, Professor Farnell Newton was fortunate enough to play with Erykah Badu at the Soul Train Awards during a tribute to Chaka Khan.   He just recently decided to apply his inspiration from playing with her, into doing his own rendition of her new track "Window Seat" off of her recent album, "New Amerykah Part Two: The Return of the Ankh", playing his trumpet.


Check it out.


Jun 22, 2010

Review: The Roots: How I Got Over



RATING: 9/10 CHET BAKERS

The Roots Have Returned To Reclaim Their Throne

I've long been of the belief that The Roots are not only the best hip hop group out there, but they are one of the top BANDS period. Of any genre of music. The Roots have long been one of the more intelligent staples in hip hop, always counted on to come correct with meaningful thought provoking lyrics, and live music.

A lot of hip hop is done with computers and whatnot, but make no mistake people: This is a BAND! One only has to tune in to Jimmy Fallon's show week nights to see them play.

This album is a special kind of thing. The lyrics are on point, as always, the guest appearances aren't necessarily the same ol' same ol' that you see on every hip hop album. There's no Drake, no Lil Wayne, none of that. It's real hip hop with real hip hop artists.

No talking about killing people, doing drugs, or sleeping with any girl they can get. This is grown folks hip hop.

This album, "How I Got Over" is unique in that it fits together so cohesively. With the exception of the track "Hustla", there's nothing that feels like filler, here. It's almost like it blends into the next track, kind of like an album by the group "Enigma" does.

Standout tracks include "Now or Never" (featuring Phonte of Little Brother and Dice Raw), which is my personal favorite after three times listening to the album, Dear God 2.0 (featuring Monsters of Folk), the title track "How I Got Over" (featuring Dice Raw) and "Walk Alone" (featuring Truck North, Dice Raw and someone named P.O.R.N.).

Black Thought is solid once again as the frontman of this band, and if you have any semblance of desire to hear true genuine hip hop, then you have to buy this. There's no ifs ands or buts about it. Support true hip hop, and not that lame stuff you hear on the radio.

I've heard a lot of people complain about the album saying it's too short. And clocking in at a bit over 41 minutes, it's short compared to many hip hop album out there. However, for one, there's not a ton of interludes, which tends to pad hip hop albums when the artists have nothing to say, and also, and this is just me personally, but I'd rather have 41 minutes of solid hip hop that has something meaningful and personal to say, than an 80 minute album that's half average at best, and half decent.

But that's just me.

Below are a few tracks off of the new album. You can pick this up at Amazon.com for $7.99 as of this posting. Click HERE for the MP3 Album + Digital Booklet or click HERE to get the physical CD.

Dear God 2.0 (featuring Monsters of Folk)



How I Got Over (feat Phonte and Dice Raw)

Rare Track: The Roots feat. D'Angelo - Break You Off (Original Version)



The Roots just came out with their ninth album, entitled "How I Got Over" and it's a definite winner!  I just bought it last night and it's just great.  Solid guest appearances, and a refreshing breath of fresh air from the stale hip hop that's on the radio right now.

In honor of this release, I thought I'd repost a track I found recently by The Roots feat. D'Angelo. 

The Roots did a song with MusiqSoulChild called "Break You Off" which is one of the Roots bigger hits. The song was great, the video was hot, and Musiq's chorus was crazy!

Just recently I discovered that there was a version of this song featuring D'Angelo instead of Musiq. Now this was labeled "Original Version", but I don't know whether or not this was originally going to be the song, and they decided to go in a different direction (the rapping by Black Thought is identical, so is the music, only the chorus is different), or if this is a track used to give to Musiq to give him an idea of how they wanted the chorus to sound.

Either way, it's kinda cool to hear. It's nowhere CLOSE to being as great as the MusiqSoulChild version, but it's a nice little track to listen to.

Check it out and leave feedback on it in the comments section!

Which version do you prefer?







OFFICIAL VERSION:

Jun 17, 2010

How can anyone defend Albert Haynesworth?



Recently Washington Redskins nose tackle Albert Haynesworth made the news because he's holding out of the voluntary workouts and mini-camps, because he wants to be traded.  This despite just signing a 100 million dollar contract last year.   Now, 9 times out of 10 if a player is holding out of camp over a contract dispute, and he's trying to get paid I'm going to side with the player. The team can cut a player at any time they feel like it. I remember back many years ago a player was in a crash and couldn't play and the team (the Redskins I believe) renegotiated his contract down to zero and cut him.

So there's no loyalty on the team's part, so I don't hold any grudges if a player wants what he feels he's worth, especially if he's out performing his contract.

And then there's this situation with Albert Haynesworth which is so ridiculously egregious on his part that I can not imagine anyone can seriously argue in his defense, although the NFLPA will no doubt defend him.

Here, you have a guy who just signed a 100 million dollar contract last year, becoming the 1st defensive player to get a 100 million dollar contract. Prior to this season's OTA's and whatnot starting, he expressed frustration with how he was used last year, and the fact that the Redskins were shifting to a 3-4 defense and he didn't like how he'd be used.  He claims he was told that he'd be playing in a 4-3 defense, yet now that Mike Shanahan is the new coach, Shanahan is switching things up to a 3-4, where Haynesworth apparantly is not comfortable in.

Okay, at this point I can understand his frustration, although having signed a 100 million dollar contract, I think he should shut up and play how and where his coaches ask him to.

But then the case takes a turn into the egregious direction, when he asked to be traded. the Redskins said "okay, we'll let you go to another team, as long as it's before April 1st when you're due a 21 million dollar bonus. If you take that check, we expect you to be the best nose tackle in the league"

So Haynesworth takes the 21 million dollar check, cashes it and then doesn't show up at OTA's, and is demanding a trade.

Seriously? You're gonna take their bonus check and THEN ask for a trade? Words can't properly describe how much of a dickmove this is.

This makes anything T.O. has done pale in comparison.

How can anyone defend Albert Haynesworth over this?  Well, there are ironically a few people defending Haynesworth's actions, one of which is ESPN's Patrick Hruby.  Now I like Hruby's stuff.  I think he's knowledgeable and for the most part I tend to enjoy reading what he writes.  However, I think he's way off here, and perhaps not looking at this from the proper perspective.

I'm going to highlight a few of his points, and then respond.  You can read his entire piece on why Haynesworth should be supported, rather than criticized by clicking HERE.

Hruby writes the following:

Haynesworth's argument essentially goes like this:

I signed with the Redskins expecting to be a havoc-creating, quarterback-attacking playmaker in a 4-3 defense. That's the role in which I excel; that's the style of play I enjoy; that's what was promised during my free-agent courtship. Only now, the team has shifted to a new coaching staff and a new 3-4 scheme, which basically asks me to eat double-team blocks. Thanks, but no thanks. I'd like a little more excitement. A lot more glory. Please send me somewhere else.

Is that really so awful? So craven?

This is the major thing I take issue with.  Now, as I said above, I understand his being frustrated by  being asked to switch to a different defense.  Switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4 is not easy, I imagine.  However, there are a few things to think about.

1.  HE WAS PAID 100 MILLION DOLLARS!!!!   If you're being paid a hundred million dollars, you play where the team asks you to play.  If they want you to play center, you play center.  If they want you to play quarterback, you do it.

Now you have the right to protest that, and you can hold out if you like, but you're not entitled to be held up as some guy who's fighting for his rights.  Getting paid 100 million dollars negates any possibility of having sympathy on your side.

2.  Haynesworth was promised to be able to play a 4-3.  You know what?  Best case scenario, that might work out.  But things change.  This is a multi-billion dollar business, and sometimes things aren't working out.  so you change.  Playing a 4-3 defense (along with Haynesworth's "stellar" play last year) led to the Redskins going 4-12.   Now they bring in a new coach who has won the Super Bowl before, and the coach wants to switch to a 3-4 defense.  Should Shanahan now kowtow to how Haynesworth wants to do things?   He should say "well I wanted to do this 3-4, but Albert doesn't want it?"  How arrogant do does a player have to expect the team to bypass what they think could help them play better, all for the benefit of ONE player?

Now if the entire defensive side of the team wants a 4-3 over a 3-4, then maybe there's something to it, but for someone to defend Haynesworth by saying he's being slighted here is ridiculous.

The idea that the Redskins should commit to a defense that their new coach is against all for the sake of ONE player feeling comfortable, albeit a player they've heavily invested in, is insane.

Then later Hruby follows that up with:  

Haynesworth wouldn't have so much leverage -- $21 million worth, which last I checked goes a long way, Antoine Walker excluded -- if Washington hadn't been stupid enough to cut such a large check.

Correction: a bonus check. Not a check for playing. A check for agreeing to play. Which Haynesworth did. And now he's a bad guy? For saying yes to a big, fat sack of cash, real-life Monopoly money? 

Really?

Yes, really.   As you said it was a check to "agree to play".  Haynesworth cashed the check and then REFUSED to play.  He's holding out of practices and OTA's and now demanding a trade?  After cashing a check agreeing to play for them?  As Whitney Houston once said, Oh Hell to the No!

The Redskins were in a position where if he was on the roster after April 1st, he was due that bonus.  They made it CLEAR to him beforehand, that if he wanted out, that's fine, but he wouldn't get that check.  Haynesworth decided he wanted that check, but he also wanted out.  So he betrayed the Redskins by agreeing to play, taking that check and then demanding a trade.

The hell is that?   How can ANYONE defend that?   If you want to say the Redskins should have known better, okay.  I can almost see that, even though as I said they were up against it with the deadline of April 1st, but Haynesworth HAS to bear responsibility.



Not for accepting the check, who the hell wouldn't want a 21 million dollar check.  But for how he reacted AFTER accepting the check.  He should have been a man and said "I want out, they're not going to use me as I would like.  So you keep that 21 million and let me go somewhere else" and that would have been fine.

He knew before accepting that check that the Redskins were going to be going to a 3-4 defense.  He knew when he was cashing that check that they would be using him in a way he didn't like.   So why did he take that check knowing he was then going to turn around and stab them in the back?

Finally Hruby concludes with the most ridiculous analogy known to man regarding the bonus check:

Time for another dessert analogy. You're a parent. You make your child dinner. Before dinner is served, you feed your kid a triple-scoop hot fudge sundae. Upon digging in to the main course, your kid refuses to eat.


Too full. Not interested.


Who's to blame, you or the child?

Seriously?  That's not even REMOTELY similar.   For starters, the "triple scoop hot fudge sundae" as a bonus check doesn't compute.   That analogy of getting dessert before dinner, would more aptly apply to getting your yearly salary prior to actually playing.

And if a player got his entire yearly salary for playing, and then decided that he was upset with the team and didn't want to play, he'd be rightly raked over the coals and demonized in the media.

Also you're seemingly saying in this that by the Redskins giving Haynesworth's CONTRACTUALLY OBLIGATED bonus, then they are to blame if he doesn't want to play?

Are you going to defend every NFL player who gets a bonus and then decides not to play that year?

"Oh it's not the player's fault, those teams shouldn't have spoiled their dinner by honoring the contract that they agreed to".

Look, I'm the first to admit, as I said in the beginning, more times than not I side with the player, because while they are expected to live up to the contract, the teams never have to.  So 9 times out of 10 I say "go for it".

This is not that.  This is that 1 time that the player is flat out wrong.  And to defend Albert Haynesworth's actions is indefensible.

Jun 14, 2010

Rachel Maddow exposes the GOP Hypocritical response to BP vs. ACORN

Bradblog puts this better than I could:

Once again, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show demonstrate the best news writing in the business. Hands down. Period. No contest.


Last night, Maddow opened with a shameful side-by-side comparison of the aggressive action taken by Republicans last year to defund ACORN on the basis of secret video tapes which proved to be complete hoaxes, versus their nearly complete silence in regard to the deadly crimes and disasters of BP.
While ACORN received approximately $3.5 million in federal funding over each of the last 15 years, and Republicans were outraged about it, BP receives literally BILLIONS in federal funds each year for what it does, and it has actually killed people in the bargain.

Maddow's report is both stunning and obvious at the same time --- at least to anyone remotely involved in the world of actual fact and reality, which is to say, almost nobody else in the entirety of the corporate media (and, thus, the public.)

This report is what the news media are supposed to be doing --- connecting the dots that matter for the public. This is a MUST-WATCH and a MUST-SHARE (widely)...



Jun 12, 2010

What would you do, to get LeBron James to sign with your team?


With the big LeBron-Stakes going on now in NBA free agency, that's the biggest topic in sports right now.  Where will LeBron end up?  Will he re-sign with the Cavs, who can pay him the most?  Will he jump to the bright lights and big city of New York?  Chicago?  Miami?  The Clippers?

Nobody seems to know for sure where he'll go, but everyone seems to have an opinion on where he should go or where he'll end up.   I was having a discussion with some people on a message board, and the conversation ended up going to "would you allow LeBron to pick his own coach and essentially make the decisions for your team, if it meant getting him?"

This all stemmed from an ESPN.com article in which it was alleged that LeBron had vetoed several trade deals that the Cavs previous GM, Danny Ferry, had tried to make.

Ric Bucher, of ESPN.com writes: (NOTE: ESPN INSIDER ARTICLE. SUBSCRIPTION REQUIRED)

"Do you acquiesce to a superstar?" says one assistant GM. "If you're going to let him choose his coach and decide who the No. 2 player is, that's acquiescing in a way that hurts his franchise."

Multiple league sources say that the Cleveland Cavaliers, in their attempt to keep James since drafting him with the No. 1 pick seven years ago, have done just that. Two opposing GMs, without citing specific examples, said they know James has vetoed deals Ferry would have made over the past few years.

Meanwhile, the acquisitions of Larry Hughes, Mo Williams, Shaquille O'Neal and Antawn Jamison all have been made at James' behest, sources say. 


I posit that when you allow a player to make the decisions, you're in for some rough times.  The player should not be above the coach on ANY team unless he IS the coach, ala Pete Rose for the Cincinnati Reds.

And so I pointed out (when the rumors were going around that LeBron's agent was supposedly shopping him and college coach John Calipari in a package deal.  So if you want LeBron, you take the coach as well), that as a Dallas Mavericks fan, while I'd LOVE to have LeBron in Dallas, I would not accept him coming in if he's calling the shots.

If the rumors are true about him vetoing deals in Cleveland, and him requesting the players that were put around him, such as Shaq, Antawn Jamison and Larry Hughes, then that means the Cavs successes and failures are put at LeBron's feet at least 80%, if not more.

And herein lies the problems of acquiescing to a star athlete.  Yes, the athlete will help you sell merchandise, and sell out the arenas, and will no doubt help you win some more games than you would without him.  However, will he have the knowledge to select the right players to surround himself with? 

There have been numerous examples of players who are lights out superstars. Hall of Fame worthy athletes such as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas, who while on the court were nearly peerless.  In the decision making arena, such as coaching or as GM, they floundered miserably.  That's because it's a different animal.

There are many people who wouldn't make an NBA roster, but they know talent.  They know how to put players together to make the most of their abilities.  And they know which players are not suitable to match up because there are too many similarities to their game.



There are many players out there who are lights out fantastic.  But paired up with LeBron wouldn't be a great fit, because the two players styles are too similar.  That's one of the comments I've heard from those who would know, about putting LeBron in Chicago alongside Derrick Rose, who is said to be a similar type player, only a bit smaller.

So the question becomes, "would you give a star player veto power over trades, over who the coach is, and other decisions, if it meant getting him in your arena?"

I wouldn't.   Not to say he wouldn't improve the Mavericks because he would, however I can't ever side with letting a player make the decisions.  If the rumors were true, and of course everyone is denying that, look at how Cleveland ended up?

A very good team that never won.  They got to the finals and fell short.  They went out in the second round this year to the Celtics, who may or may not win the whole thing this year.  Nothing shameful about losing to the Celtics.

But if the rumors are to be believed about LeBron calling the shots in Cleveland, we've seen how far that will take you, if you have someone who, while incredible on the court, can not make the right decisions in the GM roles. 

I told the other people that I was in this conversation with, that if LeBron went back to Cleveland, and continued to call the shots, they would never win a title.  That sounds crazy to say, I realize.  LeBron is a beast.   But there have been many superstar players who have never won a championship.

And as long as LeBron is allowed to pick his own players and coaches, then you'll always see his teams do just what they've done.  Excel to a point.   Get only so far.

There has to be that separation of powers.   A team needs to bring him in for a visit and say "LeBron, we'd love to have you.  You'll help us out immensely, and provide a financial boon to us all here in this city.  But you play Basketball and let us take care of the rest".

Otherwise, all you'll ever get is very good season records, but ultimately falling short in the playoffs.

For the owner of a team like the Los Angeles Clippers, that might be okay.  As a Dallas Mavericks fan, I would never want a player, no matter how gifted he is, to come here, if he's calling the shots.

But that's just me.

I'll add one last point.  All teams who have superstars, get input from those stars on decisions such as incoming free agents, or coaching changes.   You'd be foolish not to consider how a LeBron James or a Tim Duncan or Dirk Nowitzki thinks about changing up the makeup of the team.

But that's all it should be.  INPUT.   This last little bit from the Bucher article I linked to above, is especially insightful and I think many people don't pay as much attention to this aspect as they should:

Granted, most, if not all, teams consult with their stars on personnel moves. "I doubt if we've done anything in the last 10 years where we didn't get input from our guys," said one of the anonymous GMs.
But it's a matter of degrees. "Input" and "veto power" are different. Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash was unhappy that the Suns traded his good friend, Raja Bell, along with Boris Diaw, to Charlotte for Jason Richardson. The San Antonio Spurs were fully aware Tim Duncan didn't like seeing Antonio Daniels, Malik Rose and Stephen Jackson go. That's input.

That's why, while sources say it's true that mortgage-broker/friend-to-the-stars William Wesley is shopping James to teams in a package with Kentucky coach John Calipari, for a franchise to actually buy that two-fer would be a blatant attempt to acquire James' value-improving quotient without considering the consequences. One report had Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling willing to give James that authority, which fits with Sterling's modus operandi.

It also explains why the Clippers have been a financial bonanza for Sterling but an abject disappointment as a team.


Jun 11, 2010

The Mystery of Mr. Alvin Greene of South Carolina


UPDATE #1: Vic Rawl files to contest the results due to faulty ES&S voting machines


UPDATE #2: BradBlog has an excellent writeup of the history of these faulty voting machines.  


BOTH UPDATES AT BOTTOM OF POST:

I admit, when I first heard this story, I laughed my ass off for quite awhile.  I chalked it up to "South Carolina Politics" which has given us SO many awesomely incredible stories this past few years.  Whether it's Mark Sanford "hiking the Appalachian Trail" which mysteriously leads to Argentina and his mistress, or one Senate candidate referring to another candidate whose father is Sikh, as a "f*cking raghead" and then when called on it, he simply says "I shouldn't have used the "F" word".

The word "DOH!" doesn't even begin to describe South Carolina Politics.

So when I heard that the winner of the Democratic Primary in South Carolina this past week was an unemployed Army and Air Force Veteran who bought no ads, did no campaigning, had no website, raised no funds and essentially paid the 10 grand fee to get on the ballot, and then dropped out of sight, had won, well I was giddy beyond belief.  And the fact that he's facing felony obscenity charges from November for showing  college co-ed some naked pictures on the internet, and then suggesting they go back to her dorm room?  Well that elevated it to "Priceless" status.

I live for crazy ass stories like this, because it helps take the mind off of the  heartbreaking realities such as the massive BP Oil spill, the devastation in Haiti, and things of this nature.

And then I began to learn more about this story and it ceased being "hilarious" to me, and instead started to raise questions that I didn't really like thinking about.  For one, I saw an interview that he did on Keith Olbermann's show in which, Alvin Green, pitched the most softball of softball questions, swung and missed at every single one.   He obviously has no appropriate speaking abilities for someone who's going to be in the political world, and he comes off as, to put it as politely as I can, a bit mentally disabled.

Watch the interview (if you can) below.  I made it about a minute or two before I had to turn it off because I was genuinely distraught and the ideas that began forming were not pleasant.



Now that you've seen that, or as much as you could stand, here's a little update on some of the details of this situation, and then my thoughts on it and my problems with this.

There's a call from the Democratic committee for Greene to step down, due to the felony charge that he's facing.   He's unemployed so he no doubt has a public defender.   There's many people suggesting that he's a "plant" by the Republican Party to sabotage the Democratic Party's chances in South Carolina, although that isn't really borne out by the fact that neither Greene nor the more experienced Vic Rawls was viewed as having much of a chance against Republican incumbent Jim DeMint in November.  So the idea that he was planted as a way of weakening the Dems doesn't make sense.

The other theory is that due to Greene showing up on the ballot FIRST (due to alphabetical order) that voters not familiar with either one would just pick the first one.  However, that doesn't account for the fact that 59% of the voters picked him.   Just checking the 1st box isn't going to give you an 18 point victory.

There are others who suggest that Greene being an African American would help him in a majority African American areas of the state.  However, this doesn't really jibe because of the fact that due to Greene not raising money, not campaigning anywhere (despite him claiming to have "informal" rallies/meetings) and having no ads, buttons, fliers or anything like that, nor showing up at the Democratic convention, I'm not sure how people would even KNOW that he was African American.

So that's pretty much where we are at, and when updates come out giving more details into the situation I'll update this post, so check back throughout the next few weeks and there should be more information.

Now for my thoughts and why this disturbs me.  Listening to Greene speak was difficult for me.  Not just because he obviously is not a public speaker, and he tended to repeat himself and whatnot.   More to the point of what this infers here.

Here's a man who claims to have paid the ten thousand dollar fee to get on the ballot out of his own money, and yet was unemployed since leaving the Military in August of 2009.  He claims he wanted to run of his own volition, and yet when asked in various interviews, he really didn't have a solid reason for running.  For putting up what has to be most if not all of his money for a campaign in which he paid the fee and then did nothing.  No campaigns, no signs, no fund raising, etc.

Even he seems to not have an explanation as to how he won.   Now, when you take all of these things into consideration, something stinks here, and here's where I get to the point that I really wanted to make and what is really bothering me about this.

If someone DID put him up to this, in an effort to sabotage or weaken or ridicule the Democratic Party, this suggests that there are some deep racist reasons behind it.   Here you have an African American man, who does not seem to be well educated, who cannot speak in complete sentences, is unemployed and seems to be not a little bit mentally disabled, and you have him suddenly winning and being put out in the media.



If someone in the Republican party decided to do this, or even someone on the fringe of the Republican Party with no "official" ties to the GOP, then is it that difficult to imagine that he's being used to not only paint the Democratic Party as a laughing stock (not like they need any help there), but also to portray African Americans in a shockingly negative light.

Add in the felony obscenity charge which involves showing pornography to a white college woman, and then suggesting they go back to her dorm room, and this has all the makings of a racist motivated situation.

Now I hope I'm wrong.   I hope that this is just a fluke thing where for no discernible reason this unknown rose up and beat the establishment candidate.   It very well could be a situation where people were tired of the same old same old, and just voted for the guy nobody heard of, figuring "how much worse could he be?"

But there's too many questions here.  Plus, consider that South Carolina has an "open primary" type system where Republicans can vote in the Democratic Primary and vice versa.  So theoretically if Greene is a Republican plant (and he denies this) then the Republicans could flood the polls and vote for Greene overwhelmingly to ensure he wins, and then would get demolished in November against DeMint.

As I said this whole thing stinks and hopefully this gets resolved and it's not what I'm thinking.

UPDATE #1:  Vic Rawl calls for investigation into the S.C. Primary results.

"There is a cloud over Tuesday's election. There is a cloud over South Carolina, that affects all of our people, Democrats and Republicans, white and African-American alike," retired judge Vic Rawl, who was defeated in the primary by Army veteran Alvin Greene, said in a statement posted on his website Monday. "At this point, the people of our state do not have the basic confidence that their vote will be counted."

UPDATE #2:  Excellent writeup by BradBlog over the faulty voting machines.  Read the full piece HERE

The statement points generally to a number of findings being made by the campaign as independent experts have analyzed the results, voting patterns and problems being reported by poll workers and voters on Election Day where the unknown, unemployed candidate Alvin Greene defeated Rawl on the unverifiable ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting systems, performing 11 points better on those machines than he did in the paper-based absentee results. The oft-failed, easily-manipulated ES&S election results reporting system gave Greene a 59% to 41% "victory" over Rawl.

Greene did no campaigning, had no name recognition, had no campaign website, faces felony obscenity charges and managed, somehow, according to the electronic results, to best Rawl, a four-term state legislator to win the nomination to face incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint in this November's general election.





Free Republic, Glenn Beck loves attacking children

UPDATE AT BOTTOM OF POST: 

THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ON JULY 12th 2009


Since Barack Obama was elected President, he's faced his fair share of attackers.  Same goes for his wife, Michelle Obama.  Now you can reasonably say that they knew what they were getting into, and as highly public figures they can expect to have certain people attack them and in some cases have morally repugnant things said about them.

But when does it cross the line?   In my opinion it crosses the line when a site like Free Republic, which is a highly popular conservative website, allows it's readers to comment and post racist slurs and incredibly offensive remarks about the Obama's 11 year old daughter Malia.



Recently Malia was photographed wearing a shirt with a peace symbol on it.   The Free Republic commenters, or as they're known as "Freepers" made all sorts of ugly comments and insults about the 11 year old, including calling her "ghetto street trash" a "typical street whore" and wondered "When will she get her first abortion?".

Beyond the pale?   Yeah, I think so.

And the reaction by the Freepers?  To attack the people who exposed this.   The FR site allowed the comments and threads to be on their site for a full day until it was complained about.  And they reacted by attacking the person who complained, posting their email address encouraging their unhinged and racist readers to flood the person's email box with more of the same.

This is where the Republican movement is right now folks.   There are some very well meaning and very polite and respectful people in the Republican party.   There is also a huge side section of this party that is outraged at the election of the country's first Black president, and have lost their f*cking minds.

You can tell by them releasing the "Obama Waffles" box with the stereotyped black caricature.   Or them sending an email out with the picture of the "Obama Bucks" featuring pictures of Fried Chicken, Watermelon and ribs on it.   You can tell by the conservatives forwarding emails with pictures of Obama with a bone through his nose dressed as an African tribesman.

Or those who constantly put forth the false meme that Obama is a Muslim, as if that's supposed to be some vicious slur about someone.    Ben Affleck had a great point when he was on Bill Maher's show last year during the election.  He pointed out that when that woman stood up at John McCain's rally and said that she thought Obama was "an Arab" that McCain simply said, "No, he's a good guy".  He pointed out (video below) that "Arab" and "Good person" are not antithetical.



But that doesn't matter for the Freepers and their ilk.   They will use any and every disgusting vile racist attack against Obama and think nothing of it.  And not only will they smile while doing it, but they'll also feign outrage that anyone would be offended by it.  And then they'll attack you and post your personal information so you can be attacked as well.

These people are what's wrong with this country.    These people are the bane of good people's existence and they need to be gotten rid of.   Not violently, of course, but they need to just go away.   They need to take their backwards ass thinking and just shut up about it.

Dissent is a wonderful thing.   This President has given us many things to be upset about so far, but attacks on his 11 year old daughter, calling her a whore and "Ghetto street trash" and referring to Michelle Obama as "Mammy" is way out of line.

But you know there is a silver lining to this whole thing.   At least we know how these people think.  We know what they are.   They've exposed their ignorance and their knuckle dragging philosophy for the world to see.

It's like the saying goes, "Better the devil you know than the devil you don't know."

UPDATE: June 11th 2010:

Those on the "Right" still do not get it.  Why is it so hard to leave children out of the political mud slinging?  Attack Obama all you want, and there is ENORMOUS amounts of things to be pissed off at Obama for, but why bring in the kids?

Well, Glenn Beck has a rule that he doesn't attack the kids.  Except when he does.



So not only is he attacking a 13 year old girl who has NOTHING to do with politics, aside from happening to be the daughter of the President of the United States, but he does it in such a nasty vicious racism dripping way.   What's with all the race baiting rhetoric there, Glenn?

Obama "hates black people" because he's "Part white"? Come on now, Beck, your sheet is showing.

I've been on record as saying that it doesn't matter WHAT you're politics are.  Whether it's Obama's children or former President Bush's children or former President Clinton's children or ANYONE's children, you just don't go there.  It puts you in the indefensible position of trying to justify and rationalize attacking kids who have done nothing wrong. It can only make you look bad.

But that's the thing.   People like Michelle Malkin and Glenn Beck and those fine upstanding racists over at Free Republic are just incapable of leaving children alone.  They find a way to justify it and then they just set out to destroy them.   Most will walk back their comments, while simultaneously attacking anyway, much like Beck did in his non-apology apology, and others like Malkin will never apologize and will keep going full steam ahead.

Attack the President on his policies.  On his inaction, on his broken campaign promises.  Go after him for a whole myriad of reasons that are based in reality and not some weird conspiracy theory or chain email.   But leave the kids out of it.  Nobody wins in that situation, least of all the person doing the attacking.

Jun 10, 2010

Evil Eye - Resident Evil (Free Download)


While Kim & Nicki are busy throwing shots at each other, from out of a dark corner straight from the dungeons of rap like a phoenix rising from the ashes comes "Resident Evil". Crown City's first lady doesn't hold anything back on this mixtape.

With assistance from some of the biggest mixtape heavyweights in the game, The Legendary DJ Doo Wop, Queens own Superstar Jay & The Evil Empire there is nothing that can stop this epidemic from spreading.

Get ready to be infected!!!


Follow @MissEvilEye on twitter.







Jun 8, 2010

Stephen Strasburg and The Problem With The Sports Media



I actually feel bad for Washington Nationals prospect Stephen Strasburg. Because due to the media building him up into some unstoppable machine, unless he goes out and throws a perfect game three straight games, he'll be deemed a bust and a "hype job" despite the media labeling him as such.

Those same media people will be trashing him after his decent but not overly awe inspiring performance today. I've even already seen some media people on twitter declaring that he sucks, although that might have been done in jest.   The excuses are already pouring in such as "it was against the Pirates, so it doesn't count" and other garbage like that.

This is a major issue with the way the media covers sports. They crown someone the best ever, and then when the player doesn't live up to those expectations (through no fault of his own) suddenly they can't wait to tear him down. It makes me sick.

Hopefully Strasburg has a good mental makeup and can just go about his business. We've seen this time and time again. Michael Vick is a great example of this, as was Vince Young and I'm afraid Tim Tebow is going to be the same. Guys who were fantastic in college and had that something special, and the media goes out of it's way to hype them up into something they were not.

They build these guys up and tell everyone that they are can't miss draft picks, and that they are sure fire Hall of Famers, when in fact what they are, are extremely God-gifted athletes who can potentially be stars in the professional sports arena. Nothing more, nothing less.

Instead, once they get to the big leagues, and don't perform up to how these media people predicted, then those same media people seemingly get embarrassed by how much they were cheerleaders for these athletes, for no other reason than they needed something to write about, set about tearing tem down.

They pick apart every aspect of their game and show how they weren't really that good. I liken this to Daniel LaRusso's "friends" in the beginning of The Karate Kid. He moves in, he pulls some halfass karate kick to a door, that knocks someone down. They believe he's something he's not, and then suddenly they are embracing him completely. He's the new kid in town. 




Then when he gets his ass kicked by that blonde douchebag on the beach, suddenly the "friends" are like "He told me he knew Karate". And they left him broken and utterly torn down on the beach by himself.




That's essentially what these scumbag media types do. They elevate someone up beyond what they actually are, and then when they don't perform to that standard (which they rarely do) then suddenly it's open season. To be fair, not all of the sports media does this. There are many who are disgusted by how the media does this, but there's also a good number of those media people who while they don't like how some in the media do this, that turns them against the player and then they focus on tearing down the athlete, pointing out every negative aspect as if to say "see, I told you this guy sucks!", when in reality nobody except these scumbag media people were building them up like that.

That nearly destroyed Ricky Williams, and fortunately he was able to recover. Not all athletes are able to recover. How many sure-fire prospects crumbled under the immense pressure that were put on them, and all the attacks they were dealt by the same people that were heralding them?

I wish Strasburg much success. I think he'll be a decent pitcher in this league, and the fact that he's with the Nationals will help because they're not a very good team right now. So it's not like he's being forced to compete for a spot on the Yankees or Red Sox pitching staff.

Hopefully he can just put aside all the nonsense that has been in the news about him, and just play ball.

Jun 5, 2010

In Defense of the Klitschko Brothers



It's become highly fashionable in the media to rag on the Klitschkos brothers, Wladimir and Vitali. Their fight styles are criticized, they are ripped for fighting easy competition, and their status as champs are completely chalked up to a weak division.

While I would agree that the division isn't as good as it could be, I think it's not appropriate to say that they would not succeed against better competition. I think that while their styles could be more interesting, and they could perhaps take more chances and go for the kill, you can only blame them for their competition so much. At a certain point people should realize that it's not the Klitchko’s fault that there's no one out there that can match them right now.

As for their level of competition, I'm not sure what more they can do. They're taking out nearly the entire heavyweight division.

In the last two years alone Wladimir has defeated Eddie Chambers, Ruslan Chagaev, Hasim Rahman, Tony Thompson, Sultan Ibragimov, while Vitali has dispatched Samuel Peter, Juan Carlos Gomez, Chris Arreola, Kevin Johnson and Albert Sosnowski. The remaining top ranked fighters that they have yet to face, for the most part are due to circumstances out of their control.

Looking at ESPN and The Ring's Top 10 Heavyweight Rankings, there's only six fighters between the two lists that they have not faced.

Nikolai Valuev (ESPN #7, RING #8) and his promoter Don King have priced themselves out of a fight with Vitali. David Haye (ESPN #3, Ring #2) has repeatedly backed out of fights with both Wlad and Vitali, and Tomasz Adamek is not ready to face either one, by his own admission.

Alexander Povetkin (ESPN #4, Ring #3) is negotiating with Wlad right now, after being his mandatory since 2008, but many suspect his recent demand for Wlad to take blood tests (which has been rejected) is a ploy to avoid the fight, due to his trainer Teddy Atlas believing he's not ready yet.

That leaves two fighters on either list that neither one has faced, those two being Alexander Dimitrenko (Ring #9) and Denis Boytsov (Ring #7).

Dimitrenko just suffered a loss to Eddie Chambers who got blown out by Wladimir. That only leaves Denis Boytsov, who's biggest name on his resume is Vinny Maddalone.

Outside of those two lists, two other names that I've heard bandied about as potential opponents for the Klitschkos are Odlanier Solis and James Toney.

Toney is washed up and is only good at running his mouth. While he'd no doubt make the press conferences and lead up to the fight entertaining and interesting, the actual fight would be a boring fight ending up as the other Klitschko fights do, with a late KO or a decision.

Solis is suddenly trash talking and saying that Vitali needs to stop fighting "bums" and face him. This is hilarious, considering the biggest name on Solis' resume so far is a win over Monte Barret. If Monte freaking Barret is your biggest win, then you have no business talking about the level of competition of anyone.

Bottom line is this: Yes, the Heavyweight division is lacking a strong challenger to the Klitschko thrones, but that's not their fault. They fight who is there. They've tried to make fights with David Haye (despite Haye being completely unworthy of a shot) and Valuev, but they don't seem to want to make the fights. The only remaining people to fight are washed up former title holders, or up and coming fighters who haven't gotten the experience or the skills to take on either Wlad or Vitali.

The only legitimate criticism of the Brothers Klitschko is that they don't have that killer instinct. That they fight safe, and are content to jab their way to a boring decision. And that's true, although I suspect if Haye ever puts his courage and his pants together, and gets into the ring with him, we will see a more ferocious Wladimir than we've ever seen before.

Haye has gotten under his skin to the point, I honestly believe that Haye will get hurt badly. Which will be good news for boxing fans who want to see the Klitschkos show some emotion and actually go all out, and bad news for Haye who may just have taken on more than he can handle.

Jun 4, 2010

Rare Track: The Roots feat. D'Angelo - Break You Off (Original Version)

I'm a huge fan of D'Angelo, who is my favorite musician. I've been scouring the internet, and the world trying to find any and everything I can of this brilliant artist, and every now and then I find something I didn't know existed.

This is one of those things.

The Roots did a song with MusiqSoulChild called "Break You Off" which is one of the Roots bigger hits. The song was great, the video was hot, and Musiq's chorus was crazy!

Just recently I discovered that there was a version of this song featuring D'Angelo instead of Musiq. Now this was labeled "Original Version", but I don't know whether or not this was originally going to be the song, and they decided to go in a different direction (the rapping by Black Thought is identical, so is the music, only the chorus is different), or if this is a track used to give to Musiq to give him an idea of how they wanted the chorus to sound.

Either way, it's kinda cool to hear. It's nowhere CLOSE to being as great as the MusiqSoulChild version, but it's a nice little track to listen to.

Quality isn't as great as it could be, but it's cool all the same. check it out and leave feedback on it in the comments section!

Which version do you prefer?


***UPDATE: June 22nd 2010: Here's a digital clear copy.



OFFICIAL VERSION:

Jun 3, 2010

ESPN's "Robben Island" World cup Commercial

If anyone can post in the comments and let me know who narrates this, I'd be greatly appreciative! It's not Bono, who's done some of the other commercials, and I recognize the voice but I just can't get it.

Great commercial!

Jun 1, 2010

Can YOUR Weatherman do this?

I gotta say, the weatherman was kinda nice.

Hidden Beach Unwrapped Volume 7 Coming Soon!

Hidden Beach Recordings is about to release it's seventh in the "Unwrapped" series, where they remake hip hop classics with live jazz. It's a truly impressive and very cool series of albums, and I encourage everyone to check out their website and get them yourself! You can get them on CD or MP3 at the Hidden Beach website by clicking HERE.

Below is the preview of Volume 7: Back to Basics. I'm still grooving on that C.R.E.A.M. track...that's gonna get a lot of play in my house, for sure.

Hidden Beach Presents Unwrapped Vol. 7 by hiddenbeach