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Monday, December 29, 2008

Check Out Comic Shoppe Radio, Tues at 7pm-Time To Do Our Year-end Wrap Up Show

Well we would be remiss if we didn't do a year-end synopsis broadcast-so that's exactly what we aim to do! Join Daryll, Max and I (tomorrow, 7pm eastern) as we discuss the good, the bad and the ugly as it pertains to pulp fiction, circa 2008. Of course, we will discuss the death of Eartha Kitt who was the precursor to Halle Berry's portrayal of Selina Kyle; last weekend's release of Frank Miller's The Spirit, our favorite reads of last week (and the year) and much, much more. So again, feel free to join us with your comments, thoughts and questions at 646-200-0104 or via email/IM-thecomicshoppe@yahoo. And remember our motto-Make Mine The Comic Shoppe!

The Comic Shoppe's Year End Wrap Up Show

Oh and check out one of the recommendations from the first IFanboy clip:

Graphic Audio-DC Comics

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Afronerd Radio Returns....Tonight at 7pm eastern! Topics on the Table: Is Gay The New Black?, The Increase in Intact Black Families & Much More!

Time to get back on track-especially at the close of a decade. So let's do it-you know the drill! Call in with your thoughts, comments and questions at-646-915-9620 or via email/IM via afronerdradio@yahoo.com, today at 7pm eastern. We may be a tad bit late on this subject matter but they beg for analysis nonetheless. Check with Mr. Starks and I as we discuss the following: Conversing about California's Proposition 8 and the Black/Brown support for it; and dovetailing on Prop 8....is gay really the new Black?; our thoughts on new stats that indicate that there is an alleged increase of Black children coming out of two parent homes; and the RNC's marketing of the Obama is a Magic Negro song. And as always-Imperius Rex, brethren!

Afronerd Radio's Week in Review

Saturday, December 27, 2008

What Better Way To Close Out The Holidays With A Dose OF Religious Doubt Courtesy of Libertarian, Bill Maher!

Hey...it's the gift that we need in these economic times-logic with a dab of pragmatism. Seasons Greetings!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Damn....Another Icon Passes.......Earth Kitt Dies at 81!

Courtesy of People.com:

'Santa Baby' Singer Eartha Kitt Dies
Originally posted Thursday December 25, 2008 06:00 PM EST
Photo by: Scott Gries / Getty

Actress and "Santa Baby" singer Eartha Kitt has died.

Kitt, 81, died Thursday in New York City, her publicist confirmed to CNN, after being treated there for colon cancer. Her daughter Kitt Shapiro was by her side.

Known primarily for singing in her distinctively raspy voice and purring like a cat as Catwoman on the television series Batman, Kitt was a star of stage, film, television and music, who was nominated for three Tony awards, two Grammy awards and two Emmy awards, according to her official Web site.

A performer to the very end, CNN reports that Kitt taped a PBS special six weeks ago in Chicago, which is set to air in February.

Kitt left the cotton fields of South Carolina as a young girl to live with an aunt in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, according to a biography on her site.

Her career began after she auditioned for the Katherine Dunham Dance Troupe on a dare and landed a spot as a featured dancer and vocalist.

Kitt was honored with a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame in 1960.

She performed at the White House on more than one occasion and is the author of three autobiographies. Most recently, CNN reports, her sassy Christmas song, "Santa Baby," was certified gold last week.

According to her bio, Kitt lived in Connecticut near her daughter and four grandchildren.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Stupid Batman 3 Casting Rumors, M. Night Shyamalan Vs. Asian Actors? And Battlestar G Webisodes-Comic Shoppe Radio-Tues at 7pm eastern!

Well we were snowed in for the last few days and we couldn't air Afronerd Radio or the Comic Shoppe.....that's our story and we're sticking to it! But on a serious note, the Comic Shoppe and Afronerd Radio return this Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. Everyone gets a Marvel (oops...Afronerd) No-prize for stopping by tomorrow at 7pm eastern to hear Max, Daryll and Dburt discuss the following: M. Night appears to be replacing Asian actors for their White counterparts in the Asian themed Avatar cartoon to movie adaptation (isn't Night, Asian?); Riddle me this-is Eddie Murphy the next Eddie Nigma?; And what about those BSG webisodes? So stop by our little Shoppe, dial up (646-200-0104 or via email/IM-thecomicshoppe@yahoo.com) and feel free to ask a question or make a comment. Oh and we'll talk about our favorite comic reads from the last few weeks. And you know our motto-Be There, Be Square....Imperius Rex!

The Comic Shoppe's Week in Review

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Surely You Jest Batman! Eddie Murphy as The Joker in Bats 3? Don't You Believe it!

What can I say? My editorial coming up in a minute.

Courtesy of MTV.com:

Batman 3 Casting Rumors: Eddie Murphy As Riddler, Shia LaBeouf As Robin, Flying Pig As Mr. Freeze

Published by Casey Seijas on Thursday, December 18, 2008 at 10:30 am.

So remember earlier this week when we reported that Rachel Weisz was being considered for the role of Catwoman in the follow-up to this year’s absurdly successful summer hit, “The Dark Knight,” and how we said that it was the crazy (but kinda good) “Batman 3” rumor of the week?

Well, we clearly spoke way too soon…

In a rumor that will most likely be debunked in 3…2…1…, this morning, the ever-reliable (/s) UK tabloid The Sun reports that Eddie Murphy has landed the role of The Riddler, and if that wasn’t enough crazy to start your day, they report that Shia LaBeouf has also landed the role of Robin. Once again, we advise all readers to have their salt-shakers handy when it comes to “Batman 3″ rumors, since Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros. execs have gone on record saying there’s been no movement on the upcoming film – but hey, far be it from us to not join in on the fun of Bat-Crap insane casting speculation!

And The Sun article doesn’t stop there — their “insiders” also claim that Nolan has been tipped that Heath Ledger will not only be nominated for an Academy Award, but will receive a posthumous statuette for his role as the Joker, and fans could expect to see “Batman 3″ (”working title ‘Gotham,’” according to The Sun) in theaters sometime in 2010.

We now return you to the real world.

A very rare and unusual medical anamoly: brain tumor in a newborn contained a foot

OLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – A pediatric neurosurgeon says a tumor he removed from the brain of a Colorado Springs infant contained a tiny foot and other partially formed body parts.

Dr. Paul Grabb said he operated on Sam Esquibel at Memorial Hospital for Children after an MRI showed a microscopic tumor on the newborn's brain. Sam was 3 days old and otherwise healthy.

Grabb said that while removing the growth, he discovered it contained a nearly perfect foot and the formation of another foot, a hand and a thigh.

"It looked like the breach delivery of a baby, coming out of the brain," Grabb said. "To find a perfectly formed structure (like this) is extremely unique, unusual, borderline unheard of."

Grabb isn't sure what caused the growth but says it may have been a type of congenital brain tumor. However, such tumors usually are less complex than a foot or hand, he said.

The growth may also have been a case of "fetus in fetu" — in which a fetal twin begins to form within another — but such cases very rarely occur in the brain, Grabb said.

Sam's parents, Tiffnie and Manuel Esquibel, said their son is at home now but faces monthly blood tests to check for signs of cancer or regrowth, along with physical therapy to improve the use of his neck. But they say he has mostly recovered from the Oct. 3 surgery.

"You'd never know if he didn't have a scar there," Tiffnie Esquibel said.

Posted by Mr. Starks

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More "Alleged " News on the Pop Culture Front! MTV Discovers Black Rock Music & Busta Rhymes Offends the Islamic Community!

I know you guys are probably sick of us constantly lamenting the demise of Black music and the corporate structure's disregard for exploring Black Rock music as an alternative. Here at Afronerd, we have been sounding the trumpet for a Black Alternative Soul label to coincide with a burgeoning African-American (and just African Rock as well....check out D-Fe) Rock scene since this blog's inception. Now MTV appears to have just discovered this phenomenon. But will this amount to exposure? Again, if we can see a Black POTUS, surely we can tolerate a Black person (let Prince and Lenny not be the only ones...) with guitar in his (or her) hands. Here's an excerpt from MTV.com on their "Blacks can Rock" discovery:

"I was in this tiny desert town that was pretty much all white, and the punk scene was very racist," he recalled. "You would go to shows and it was blatantly white power, swastikas, all of that."

But when he moved to New York during high school, Spooner found "a gang of black kids" just like him. For the first time in his life, "I could be who I wanted to be," he said. "[They] made it OK for me, you know?"

The fundamental contradiction of black kids feeling left out of rock — which from its very beginning was based on black music — has played a large role in the creation of Afro-Punk. And while there have been many black artists who have been embraced by white rock fans, from Little Richard to Sly and the Family Stone to the Bad Brains, the Afro-Punk movement has found fans bonding and creating communities, organizing shows and shooting films in a whole new way.

Afro-Punk has gone from the name of a message board to a movement in less than five years — and the scene just keeps growing.

Before the 2000s, Spooner said, "there were no black bands in the mainstream doing anything alternative." Sure, bands like the Bad Brains, Fishbone and Living Colour had set an example for the younger generation — and the Black Rock Coalition was formed during the 1980s — but the success of the mostly black group TV on the Radio has crashed the door open for the movement.

Now, British rockers the Noisettes and singers Santogold and Janelle MonĂ¡e are poster children for the movement, even though the artists in the scene sound completely different.

For the remainder of the MTV.com piece, click on the link below:

Afro-Punk Scene, Inspired By Santogold, TV On The Radio And More, Explodes Into A Multi-Genre Movement

And for more discussion on Black folks attempting to debunk music stereotypes, check out this piece from SFWeekly.com pertaining to people of color performing electronica:

Black electronic acts break beats and assumptions

Next up...Busta Rhymes offends the "A-rabs." Doesn't commercial (I'm excluding the classic and progressive rap...you know the music we promote and play on Afronerd radio) offend everyone-especially Black folk?

Fellow blogger, Average Bro delves into this latest controversy on his site, so take a gander:

"Arab Money": Racist Tripe Or Bangin' Track?!?

The issue gets deeper as a few hip hop artists from the Islamic community speak out against Busta Rhymes during a recent NY Hot 97 (colloquially called Shot 97....but's that's a different story) radio broadcast:

Oh and one more interesting tidbit....the U.K. rock/pop artist, Ebony Bones is also a comic book head. Funny how that works out. Perhaps this will be another interview for the future. But check out Ms. Bones' admission for her pulp love in her own words:

MySpace Phenom Ebony Bones Borrows Name From DC Universe

Monday, December 15, 2008

And As We Tap Into Our Mutant Geek Genes.....Check Out Wolverine: Origins Trailer & Mike Tyson vs Ali on Playstation!

And you thought '08 was the year depicting the Revenge of the Nerds...think again.

And check out the footage for EA's Fight Night Round Four:

Angry? Our Governor Paterson Is! SNL Skit May Have Gone Too far!

Courtesy of MarketWatch.com:

NEW YORK, Dec 15, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Statement from the American Foundation for the Blind
Saturday Night Live (SNL) cast member Fred Armisen spent more than four minutes mocking Governor David Paterson for his blindness on Saturday night -- a skit that is being criticized by Governor Paterson himself, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), and blindness organizations across the country. Using elementary, offensive humor, the skit derides Governor Paterson for his vision loss and portrays him as a bumbling leader. It also suggests that people with disabilities are from the "freak bin."
Governor Paterson, who has had an impressive academic and political career, is known as a witty politician who brings people together. He has accomplished many firsts in his life, becoming the first non-white New York State Senate legislative leader in 2003, the first visually impaired person to address the Democratic National Convention, and the first African American Governor of New York. As a legally blind public figure, Governor Paterson has challenged public perceptions about what it means to have a disability and shown the world that people with vision loss can be great political leaders.
"Governor Paterson, who was unexpectedly called on to fill the role of Governor last spring, has proven to be an accomplished political leader who is respected and liked by New Yorkers," said Carl R. Augusto, President & CEO of AFB.
It is difficult to understand why SNL, a show known for its clever, political satire, would take cheap shots at people with disabilities instead of coming up with better material -- especially when mimicking a politician known for his sense of humor. Next time, we hope SNL judges Governor Paterson the way we do all politicians, based on his political record and not his disability.
The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a national nonprofit that expands possibilities for people with vision loss. AFB's priorities include broadening access to technology; elevating the quality of information and tools for the professionals who serve people with vision loss; and promoting independent and healthy living for people with vision loss by providing them and their families with relevant and timely resources. AFB is also proud to house the Helen Keller Archives and honor the over forty years that Helen Keller worked tirelessly with AFB.

Newsflash! Barack Obama is a Black Man! Not Sure? Ask His Secret Service Agents!

I was reluctant to discuss a recent AP piece that put forth the notion that some Obama detractors feel that Obama is not really a Black person because of his bi-racial parentage. Mind you, this is an affront to the President-elect's own admittance and identification with Blackness. Isn't it amazing that this Black authenticity question has only come up when the Oval Office is at stake? Phenotype, lineage, the African-American experience, culture and life do not appear to matter in this instance. Since the inception of the transatlantic slave trade approx. 4 centuries ago, the White power structure has made it very clear as to who was Black-but now when a man of color has ascended to the White House, Blackness must be expunged at all cost. All I can say in response is-good luck. It's too late, the president is Black...so deal with it. Alicia Keys also comes from a bi-racial union-she rightfully acknowledges her mother but she is also comfortable in her Black culture. But, I forgot....she's just a singer. Let's get to more important matters such as the two wars, the economy and Chicago's political machine. Here's the AP article in question:

Obama's true colors: Black, white ... or neither?

Oh and on a different note, check out this excerpt from Stanley Crouch concerning what the Republican Party must do if they are to forge ahead. I also relayed a similar opinion on this matter a few entries ago, hopefully my fellow conservatives and GOP hierarchy will get and spread the message:

Last week we learned that Joe the supposed plumber was appalled by John McCain, who made him feel "dirty." Joe was very, very impressed by Sarah Palin, however, whose sincerity he thinks makes her the real deal. That is what is wrong with the Republicans at this very moment, the idea that feelings are more important than facts.

Since Palin is too young and energetic to be suffering memory loss at this point in her life, the only explanation for not knowing the specifics of the vice president's job is the kind of contempt for knowledge that the Alaskan governor would never accept from a fellow lover of the hunt who didn't know the difference between a moose and a cow.

That would be as outrageous as the bottom half of a presidential ticket not having exact comprehension of what is done by the vice president.

This is a serious indication of something else. For too long the Republican brain has been placed on the dry ice of fear and smear tactics, pontifications and divisive attitudes based in separating the wheat of the good, common and unsophisticated people from the chaff of elite intellectuals who lived not in small towns but in big cities.

Colin Powell's reputation as a sober and honest man of near nobility was almost mortally gored by the bad intelligence that allowed him to tear a gaping hole in his pants before the entire world while arguing for the invasion of Iraq. When he resigned from his position as secretary of state, the general simmered for a while just outside of the limelight that equalizes all, from President to fashion model. But when he spoke and gave his support to the Barack Obama ticket, it came with a calm determination but pointed assessment of the Republican Party that he reiterated just last week.

Click on the link below for more:

Now is a good time for the brain to make a comeback

Another Cultural Observation Or Dare I say Reflection

Words of wisdom from a Youtube commenter:

sakuraXmoto (1 month ago)

"My dad has this whole thing on tape when it came on TV land years ago.I love this part and I'm 15. Sammy Davis is awesome!"

We will get to more serious fare by the next entry but this dovetails off of my sentiments from the previous post-there's a conspiracy to keep our youth culturally ignorant. I'm not one to dump on the new, however I think that there should be free reign when it comes to critiquing the talentless. Doesn't the above comment by the 15 year old speak volumes pertaining to the need for our artistic greats to be exposed to the youth? This belief that the kids will only buy into the disposable is a fallacy! That's my word for the day....until tomorrow, of course.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Let's Take A Musical Break And Open Up The Prince Time Capsule Shall We?

Ah one can never tire of the classics! Check out this December '87 New Years Eve show featuring His Royal Badness and the late great Miles Davis. Damn....what happened to the music? Am I hallucinating or are Rihanna, Lil' Wayne and Young Jeezy supposed to uphold the African-American musical tradition for the 21st century? God help us...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Looks like the real housewives of Atlanta are really FAKING IT in Atlanta

Storytelling at its finest! Shout out to Slick Rick...

Random Thoughts on Black Santa.....

I will provide an analysis in a few. Suffice it to say, my father did spray paint our White Santa Claus door ornament brown during my youth, forever leaving me with an indelible cultural imprint for unforgivable blackness-I'm just sayin.' Check out this excerpt from Desiree Cooper's Inside Blackness series, courtesy of WeekendAmerica.PublicRadio.org:

Richard Bogle (Vancouver, WA):

I was the first black Santa I ever saw. I'm an ex-cop, and two of my former partners were part of the law enforcement training department at Clackamas Community College in Oregon. They decided to have a Christmas party for the children of incarcerated parents. There were more than 600 mostly underprivileged boys and girls there, and I held each and every one of them on my lap and took their requests for gifts. I was hot, drained and flat out exhausted when I finished. But I left with a good feeling. Each kid was given a token gift, perhaps for many, the only gift that Christmas. Santa's race doesn't matter to me because he is a spirit. I think we should have more black Santas. It would reinforce a father-like image for young black kids. It would also enhance the multicultural experience for white youngsters.

Lea Washington (Elk Grove, CA):

I am a parent to two young boys who, at ages five and eight, have never had a sit-down with a mall Santa of any ethnicity. We are all African American. Santa's race doesn't matter to me directly, but I do understand the subtle message that seeing only a white Santa can convey. My eight-year-old son observed, after I pulled out a black Santa Christmas decoration last year, "That's not Santa. Santa is white." I asked why he thought that. He shared that basically all he's ever seen tells him that Santa is white, and no black Santa sitting on our mantle would change his mind. I explained that the mall Santas are helpers to the real Santa, and that they come in all shapes, sizes and colors, including black. Now, does this mean that I need to run out and find a black mall Santa? Nope. It does mean that I need to keep doing what I'm already doing: Teaching my children that we need to know as much about who is presenting the image, information, picture, etc., as we do about the item itself to help us understand the message being sent. Folks like to depict what is familiar and comfortable to them, and a white Santa is that for many.

To read Cooper's article in its entirety, click on the link below:

Inside Blackness: Black Santa

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Well It Was Good While it Lasted.....NPR is Cancelling A Few Shows......News & Notes is Kaput!

I am extremely dissappointed that it appears NPR has succumbed to our nation's financial crunch pretty much like any other corporate entity. This was of course exhibited by the announcement that the politically progressive media outlet is laying off staff and cancelling shows, one of which (News & Notes hosted by the incomparable Farai Chideya) yours truly was fortunate enough to appear on regularly. Although I am not a wholesale believer in leftist politics and policies, I have to give praise to Ms. Chideya and Notes' producer, Devin Robins for giving our Afronerd blog (and radio show) a platform to "pimp" our conservative wares. I guess it's true that all good things must surely come to an end. Here's more on this issue, courtesy of ScienceBlogs.com:

NPR cancels News & Notes, Day to Day; cuts 7% of staff

Posted on: December 10, 2008 10:02 PM, by Abel Pharmboy

Driving home tonight, I learned that NPR is cutting staff and canceling two shows produced at NPR West: News & Notes with Farai Chideya and Day to Day with Madeleine Brand. (Full memo at HuffPo)

Farai put up a blog post late this afternoon entitled, We Love You! (And, Yes, We Are Cancelled). I don't know if I'd have the gut and optimism to be so gracious in the face of having my show terminated effective 20 March 2009. The companion blog post at Day to Day certainly lacked this optimism. But Farai has many, many things going in her favor despite this setback:

Chideya, who was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, and graduated with a B.A. from Harvard University magna cum laude in 1990, is also the founder of PopandPolitics.com, an online journal for younger Americans based at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School of Communications. Chideya and PopandPolitics.com have won awards including a MOBE IT Innovator award, being named one of Alternet's New Media Heroes, and ranking in PoliticsOnline.com's worldwide survey of "25 Who Are Changing the World of Internet and Politics."

Chideya has published three books. Don't Believe the Hype: Fighting Cultural Misinformation About African Americans (Plume Penguin, 1995), is now in its eighth printing. . .

. . .and so on.

As I have returned to an area of academia focused on the recruitment and retention of underrepresented minorities, Ms Chideya and News & Notes gave me great insight into my community and, in particular, was a tremendous resource in the 18 months leading up to the US presidential election. Moreover, Farai routinely featured bloggers and it was on her show that I first learned of the Philadelphia attorney and author of the award-winning Field Negro blog. Farai's interview with Stephen Sterling of Esterlina Vineyards opened my eyes to the Association of African American Vintners and the interest in estate wines produced by Black professionals.

At a time when the US has elected its first African American president, one would hope that NPR could've kept its one program one of its two programs devoted specifically to the African American community. But, like all businesses, money talks and financial support for shows produced at NPR West suffered from the stock market downturn to which News & Notes was not immune.

However, I am certain that Farai Chideya will find a very high-profile position in journalism where her talents will reach an even wider audience at this critical juncture in American history.

Olbermann, Matthews, Maddow: I'm looking at y'all.

At times, I can only come to the conclusion that there is literally a conspiracy to hinder the promulgation of intelligent programming for persons of color. And mind you, this hypothesis is coming from someone who is inherently not a conspiratorial thinker. One can make an salient supposition that there is an anti-intellectual strain throughout many aspects of the media, however minority programming seems to get hit the hardest from a macroeconomic perspective. News & Notes will get cancelled and yet minstrel radio programming will continue to thrive. Case in point (again, excuse the expletives):

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

This is what they Think About You.......Lower Tier Folk Of Color vs. Straight Talking Black People.....

First off, for obvious reasons Mr. Starks and I can easily relate to sports commentator/columnist, Stephen A. Smith, when it comes to frank discussions concerning the pathological behavior that some within the African-American community exhibit toward one another. Perhaps what is most disturbing are the factions within the Black community that believe critiquing this dysfunctionalism (pertaining to sports figures in this instance) is tantamount to treason solely because such a diatribe may be within earshot of the White populace. As soon as a person of color brings analysis to the aberrant behavior in question (in the vein of Juan Williams, Dr. Cosby or Stanley Crouch), one can set his watch as to how quickly he or she will be called an "uncle tom" or some equivalent expletive. Although I was fortunate enough to retrieve the above clip from the WorldStarHipHop.com site, conversely I also became aware of the truly ignorant comments that were in response to Smith's protestations. Here's a few comments to chew on and please excuse the inappropriate language (and bad grammar):

"Man fuck Stephen A. Smith fuckin' self righteous nigga, this nigga is conttrolled by ESPN. Fuck this nigga, I used to respect this dude, but after he demeans our people I hate this dude. Why it gotta be a black person criticzing our own people so bad, I'm not sayin' we don't make mistakes, but we gotta crticize ourselves in a less offensive way in front of white America!"

"Stephen A CHIT. That's all we need a nigga gettin on the Air, cosigning with the Whities, PLAX is getting bashed by white america, we don't need House Niggaz cosigning trying to hang him for clapping himself. Stand UP Man don't follow suite."


In the spirit of fairness and full disclosure, the WorldStar site did possess some (emphasis on some) dissenting comments that showed appreciation for Smith's candor. But it is a bitter pill to swallow when there are still a contigent of lower tier Blacks and Browns that insist on condemning Smith for his words and not the behavior that he is waxing about in the first place. It truly defies logic. Sure, it's equally imperative to point out the lack of discernment amongst those Whites who insist on seeing Plaxico, Pacman Jones or Michael Vick as the prototypical Black standard but there has to be room for a non PC discourse as well. Let's hear from our readerson this matter. Is Smith a traitor? Or has he reached a saturation point (like many of the Afronerdic persuasion) when tribalism must be pushed aside to speak frankly. What say you?

Monday, December 08, 2008

I'm Late on This But......Better late....Well You Know the rest.....Teacher's Slavery Demonstration Goes Too Far!

My editorial forthcoming.....

You know what? Scratch the lengthy proselytzing on this one. Let's keep it simple-why did the teacher only enact this slavery exercise with the two students of color in the classroom? This would have been resolved (and more effective as well as egalitarian) if all the students, irrespective of race were required to participate. Nuff said!

Holy Cao! (okay, it's pronounced "Gow"....roll with it!) Louisiana Votes in America's 1st Vietnamese Congressman!

Ok..it looks like the GOP is off and running as they were able to see Joseph Cao win against indicted Democratic incumbant William Jefferson. The unfortunate part of this tale still centers around Jefferson's '06 win even while his bribery charges were still pending-by and large due to African-American support (the ghost of Marion Barry, anyone?). Here's the latest on Cao's march into history, courtesy of USA Today:

NEW ORLEANS — Anh "Joseph" Cao was taken from war-ravaged Vietnam as an 8-year-old boy, leaving his parents behind for the safety and hope of America.
On Sunday, 33 years later, leaders at Mary Queen of Vietnam Church in east New Orleans introduced Cao (pronounced "gow") as the USA's first Vietnamese American elected to Congress, as the congregation stood and applauded.

"Never in my life did I think I could be a future congressman," Cao, 41, said at a victory party Saturday after he beat out nine-term Democratic incumbent William Jefferson. "The American dream is well and alive."

Cao's victory represents not only a stronger voice for Vietnamese in America but payoff for generations of hard work and sacrifice by Vietnamese immigrants, said the Rev. Luke Nguyen Hungdung, a pastor at the main church in east New Orleans. "The older Vietnamese generation is especially proud to see a Vietnamese enter Congress," he said.

Cao, a Republican newcomer, won the 2nd Congressional District race, 50% to 47%. The win could be the final blow to the political career of Jefferson, who is charged in a 16-count federal bribery and money-laundering indictment. Prosecutors allege Jefferson received more than $500,000 in bribes, including $90,000 that investigators found in his freezer.

"People are innocent until proven guilty," said Faye Leggins, 54, a Democrat who voted for Jefferson on Saturday.

Cao capitalized on low turnout in the predominately black and Democratic district. The vote had been rescheduled because of Hurricane Gustav this summer. Only 66,846 voters visited the polls, compared with 164,000 for the Nov. 4 Democratic runoff, according to state figures.

"I think people just ran out of gas a bit," Jefferson said Saturday.

Cao was born in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City), the fifth of eight children, as the country's civil war was ramping up, according to his website. Shortly after Saigon was overrun by North Vietnamese troops, he came to the USA with two siblings. His father was in a North Vietnamese prison, and his mother stayed behind to raise five children.

Cao earned a bachelor's degree in physics from Baylor University. He also has a master's degree in philosophy and a law degree. He and his wife, Hieu "Kate" Hoang, have two daughters, Sophia, 5, and Betsy, 3. His parents now live in New Orleans.

After Hurricane Katrina, Cao, an immigration lawyer, fought the utility companies and helped return power to and rebuild the Vietnamese community.

His victory is still sinking in, said spokesman John Tobler.

"It's still a major adjustment to his life and what he represents not only to the Vietnamese community here but throughout the country," Tobler said.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Does Obama's Win Really Spell the End of Racism or the end of Blackness? Black Colleges May Be Up for a Merger!

In all fairness, the saga of Black colleges' continued fight to exist after desegregation, has been an ongoing dilemma long before Barack Obama's historic presidential win. But there does seem to be an intensity to call for such institutions to merge with White schools or at the very least, to increase White student enrollment-post Obama. As a graduate of both a historically Black university and a predominantly White college (Hampton and St. John's universities, respectively), I find this subject a precarious one, to say the least. In my estimation, it is imperative that Black colleges are allowed to thrive as they serve a cultural purpose, just as yeshivas exist for the promulgation of Jewish culture and religion. Here's more on this topic, courtesy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Georgia’s three publicly funded historically black colleges are vestiges of a time when state leaders wanted to keep African-American students out of the state’s public colleges and universities. That time has passed, so it’s logical to ask whether the need for those institutions has passed as well.

More specifically, state Sen. Seth Harp, chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee, asks whether the time has come to merge the traditionally African-American campus of Albany State University with majority-white Darton College in southwest Georgia, and traditionally black Savannah State University with majority-white Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah.

“The white schools were begun as segregation schools,” Harp said. “It’s time Georgia closed that ugly chapter.”

However, ending a historic anomaly is not in itself reason to close colleges, even in these financially challenging times. Such a step should be taken only if the result is a stronger system of higher education for the people of Georgia.

While Albany State and Savannah State universities continue to attract largely black students, the student bodies of Armstrong and Darton are no longer all white. Today, Darton College has a minority enrollment of 46 percent. More than a third of Armstrong Atlantic students are minorities, according to Board of Regents data.

In educational terms, there may be valid reasons for maintaining all four campuses. As a community college, for example, Darton opens its doors to students who require more academic support than their peers at Albany State, and thus performs a different mission. According to state data, 58.6 percent of Darton freshmen required remedial courses in 2007, compared with only 7.8 percent at Albany State.

And while Savannah State University is a traditional campus with a long history of residential housing, nearby Armstrong Atlantic was designed as a commuter campus. While Armstrong has added student housing, its student body is still slightly older than that of Savannah State, and many of its students hold jobs and take longer to finish their degrees, Regents spokesman John Millsaps said.

That’s why Savannah State has a six-year graduation rate of 40 percent, while Armstrong’s rate is only 25 percent.

Perhaps the quick answer to the aforementioned issue (as it relates to President-elect Obama) is that his success should be viewed as an extension of Black culture and not its demise. If an Obama presidency lessens racial tensions for future generations then that's a "win-win" situation but an alleged end of racism should not equate to cultural removal.....just cultural acceptance.

For the AJC.com article in its entirety, click on the link below:

ISSUE IN-DEPTH: ENDING THE RACE DIVIDE: College mergers worth look

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Hypocrisy that Commercial Hip Hop Has Wrought.....T.I. Gets Offended With the N-word!

Please accept my apologies for this late posting but from here on out, I promise to be more disciplined. I wanted to get our readers' opinion on this next issue, although on the surface it may amount to minutia. It's no secret to our regular Afronerd Radio listeners and blog readers that we are not supporters of the current commercial hip hop scene. What was once an authentic underground culture has devolved into an internationally recognized minstrel show bereft of any talent or decency. The above audio clip demonstrates just how hypocritical the alleged art form (artist, for the sake of specificity) has become. At approx. 36:00 minutes into the clip, check out T.I.'s indignant reaction to a White person's use (in context) of the word "nigga."

During this particular segment of the Howard Stern Show (Sirius-XM 100), one of Howard's co-hosts (comedian Artie Lange) began to recite a well known Biggie Smalls rhyme (does TI even know the Notorious BIG's lyrics.......hmmm) to T.I.'s chagrin. Anyone familiar with the Stern show or Lange in particular, knows that the New Jersey comedian possess an uncanny memory-hence his ability to memorize the rap and cadence of the song....verbatim. I'm not sure if I'm looking at this wrong, but does it seem insane that a rapper would get uncomfortable with a White person singing the lyrics to a rap song when hip hop culture's (which TI is a part of) core fanbase is comprised of majority White listenership? What do you guys think? Does this phenomenon seem to be rife with hypocrisy?

And if you need more evidence, check this out:

Monday, December 01, 2008

The Talented Mr. Crouch Does It Again.......No Editorial from Yours Truly Required!

The truth is.....well the TRUTH! Some nuggets of wisdom (full article) from the incomparable Stanley Crouch, courtesy of the NY Daily News:

For the future of hip hop, all that glitters is not gold teeth
Monday, December 1st 2008, 4:00 AM

It continues to appear that the cool and highly intelligent Barack Obama is going to have a powerful impact on debilitating black popular culture, particularly hip hop. The signs are everywhere.

In the wake of Byron Hurt's searing documentary "Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes," hip-hop fans have questioned the retarding effect that hip hop has had on young black men through encouraging thuggish violence, misogyny, clownish behavior and crude materialism.

Hurt's documentary is most powerful because the filmmaker himself is a fan of the idiom but, as a grown and responsible man, he felt it was necessary to call out hip hop's many shortcomings because the idiom had moved from clever rhymes and dance beats to advocating personal, social and criminal corruption.

Those who pretend that they do not know what Hurt is investigating because "that is not ALL of hip hop" need to take note of the fact that Russell Simmons, the godfather of hip hop, recently blamed the deep vulgarization of the genre on producers who would do anything for a buck. "Some producers have found that dirt sells," says the godfather. How now, brown cow?

Simmons is nothing if not clever and senses that the arrival of Barack and Michelle Obama could mean things are going to change. One would not at all be smart to defend the "authenticity" of pimps, supposed whores (all women, actually), misogyny, thuggery and the rest. Pimps up, ho's down, as they say.

Before he was elected President, Obama said in an interview with MTV News that there was no need for laws against teenage hip-hop dress but that young black men "should pull up their pants."

A friend of mine who lives in California remarked to his grandson that he did not like the way rappers dressed or carried themselves. His grandson told him that he needs to stop living in the past and catch up before the plane leaves.

My friend noticed, as usual, that his grandson did not dress or carry himself in the style or manner he was defending. So he decided to ask him some questions. Shoot, said the young man, ready to straighten out his grandfather.

If you were on a plane waiting to take off, my friend asked him, and the pilot and the co-pilot came on with their pants sagging to the ground, covered with tattoos, mouths full of gold teeth and wearing braids, what would you do? His grandson told him he would get off the plane as fast as he could. No doubt.

My friend then asked if his grandson's baby daughter had been hurt and she was taken to the emergency room, how would he feel if the doctors on duty looked like the men about to fly the plane. "I would," said the younger man, "get her the hell out of there."

At that point, my friend wondered what would happen to young black men who showed up looking for work but seemed more ready for a hip-hop performance than for a job?

The answer: They probably would not get hired. Case closed.

I believe our next President will elevate many things in our country, top to bottom. On the pop cultural end, Barack and Michelle Obama's worldliness and common sense will greatly diminish the national appetite for and the defense of those who proudly commit intellectual suicide by submitting to anti-intellectual stances and the surface styles that repel across all ethnic lines. We are on the way out of the muck. Ask Russell Simmons. Good hustlers always know when the game is changing.

Is there Nothing this man Couldn't Do? Bruce Lee Playing Ping Pong......with Nunchucks!!!!!!