Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Hidden Concern In Unemployment Numbers: Black Elderly

During this current recession, certain groups are being affected by job losses to a greater degree than others. The unemployment rate now stands at 7.2%, a 15-year high, and several analysts predict it could reach 9% or higher before the end of the year.

A report from the U.S. Department of Labor last week confirmed that Blacks are at the top of list of the most adversely affected, with an unemployment rate of 12.6%. The unemployment rate for Hispanics was 9.7% and the rate for whites was 6.9%.

The report also said adult men are losing jobs faster than women. The unemployment rate for adult men is 7.6% and the rate for adult women is 6.2%.

Older Americans are also among the hardest hit by unemployment. The labor department report said that the unemployment rate for workers over 55 years of age was a whopping 12.8%. The trend during this downturn has been for employers to lay off older workers who earn higher salaries in favor of younger workers that they can pay less. Also, since the baby boomers, who are approaching retirement, make up a very large portion of the workforce, they have suffered a larger share of the job cuts across all industries.

Taking those stats into consideration, it may turn out that older Black men may be the group at greatest risk during this recession. How Black men seem to have a tougher time when times are bad is a long-discussed topic in the Black community. But the greater hidden concern in these unemployment numbers is that the entire community of elderly Black Americans is at signifcant risk. Having a significant number of older Black Americans unemployed and unable to support themselves less than 10 years from retirement raises major challenges for the Black community.

Older Black Americans are already providing major support for younger struggling relatives, as many children have had to move in with parents or grandparents as the economy has faultered. If they lose their jobs, that support ends and a major crisis in the community looms. Many of these older Black Americans are also homeowners, and if they lose their jobs they will be at greater risk of losing their property, thus taking a significant amount of wealth out of the Black community.

The prospect of having many of the oldest surviving members of the civil rights movement approaching retirement with no jobs, heavily depleted 401(K)s, escalating health care costs, and a social security system that is nearly bankrupt, is chilling. And to have this happen just as a Black man ascends to the office of president of the United States -- something many of them thought they would never live to see -- would be an unfortunate development, to say the least. The financial health of elderly Americans will be a major issue for the country to deal with as the baby boomers reach retirement age.

DNA Clears Man Who Died in Prison

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A man who died in prison while serving time for a rape he didn't commit was cleared Friday by a judge who called the state's first posthumous DNA exoneration "the saddest case" he'd ever seen.

State District Judge Charles Baird ordered Timothy Cole's record expunged.

Cole was convicted of raping a Texas Tech University student in Lubbock in 1985 and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. He died in 1999 at age 39 from asthma complications.

DNA tests in 2008 connected the crime to Jerry Wayne Johnson, who is serving life in prison for separate rapes. Johnson testified in court Friday that he was the rapist in Cole's case and asked the victim and Cole's family to forgive him.

"I'm responsible for all this. I'm truly sorry for my pathetic behavior and selfishness. I hope and pray you will forgive me," Johnson said.

The Innocence Project of Texas said Cole's case was the first posthumous DNA exoneration in state history.

"I have his name," Cole's mother, Ruby Cole Session, said after the hearing. "That's what I wanted."

Cole and his relatives for years claimed he was innocent, but no one believed them until evidence from the original rape kit was tested for DNA. Cole had refused to plead guilty before trial in exchange for probation, and while in prison, he refused to admit to the crime when it could have earned him release on parole.

The Innocence Project pressed for a hearing to start the process of clearing Cole's name. Cole's family now wants Gov. Rick Perry to issue a formal pardon.

Michele Mallin, the rape victim in the case who originally identified Cole as her attacker, said she felt guilty that the wrong man went to prison. The Associated Press does not typically identify rape victims but Mallin, now 44, has come forward publicly to help clear Cole's name.

Confronting Johnson after his testimony, Mallin told him she was "going to try to forgive you, but it's going to take a long hard time. ... No woman deserves it. No person deserves what that man got. He could have been a father, he could have been a grandfather right now."

Mallin picked Cole out of a photo lineup that included at least six other pictures. All were standard jail mug shots except for Cole's photo, which was a Polaroid. Mallin later identified Cole in a live lineup and again at trial.

She said Lubbock officials had portrayed Cole as a violent criminal and a thug while investigating her case. The Lubbock County district attorney's office did not participate in the hearing.

Gary Wells, an Iowa State University professor and expert in witness testimony, said Friday that improperly conducted lineups could be manipulated and that witnesses tend to select the person who looks most like the perpetrator.

"If the real perpetrator is not in the lineup, it's a horrible strategy," Wells said.

Clinical Trials: Are They Right for You?

Have you or a family member ever discussed clinical trials – what they are and whether one may be right for you? Have you or a family member been treated for cancer and wondered if a clinical trial would have expanded your treatment options?

If so, you may not have gotten too far past the talking or thinking stage because you simply did not know enough about clinical trials to make a decision. Or, maybe you had very limited knowledge about clinical trials, but it was mostly based on “street talk” and “urban legend” whispers about what happens to people who take part in these medical studies – probably just enough information to frighten you away from taking action to learn more from reliable sources. Clinical trials, quite simply, are defined as research studies that involve people. Misinformation sometimes gives clinical trials a bad name.

Clearly, when making such personal choices about medical care, whether it is cancer or some other disease, you want to consume a lot of information and hold a vigorous discussion with your doctor to know what you are getting into. Not every procedure or test or pharmaceutical miracle drug is for everybody, but by the same token, if you do not take time to learn about the medical landscape, you may miss out on medical discoveries that could enhance your treatment and improve your chances of recovery.

Given the impact that cancer has on the African American community, it is so important to take the time to at least learn about cancer clinical trials and what benefits they may offer, even if you ultimately decide it is not for you or for your family member.

As with any aspect of cancer, from prevention to detection to treatment, the more you know the better you can make decisions – with your provider – about what course of action to take to fight cancer. This is one of the reasons that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has created and packaged a set of educational materials to help you learn about clinical trials. These materials are easy to read and understand, accessible and answer many of the questions that might come to mind when you hear the term, “clinical trials,” or wonder what such an experience might encompass.

Clinical trials are a subject of great sensitivity. Hesitation about medical testing of any kind is understood, especially in minority communities long disappointed by violations of trust related to health care and cultural appropriateness in the delivery of health care.

Yet, it is critical when facing a disease as challenging as cancer that every patient know the full range of treatment options that may be available to them. With that said, you owe it to yourself and to any relative or friend you may be assisting after a cancer diagnosis to at least absorb the available information on clinical trials in case the provider mentions it or in case you want to take the initiative and get a professional opinion on whether a clinical trial would be a viable treatment option.

A good place to begin looking for information is on the Web at, the primary Web site for the NCI. Here, you can uncover a wealth of consumer-oriented information about clinical trials: what types of trials exist, how to access these trials, what happens during a clinical trial, what questions to ask, and what the benefits and risks are for clinical trials. Especially helpful is NCI’s Clinical Trials Education Series, which is a neatly packaged collection of resources designed to educate cancer patients, health care professionals, and the general public about cancer clinical trials. You can order a DVD with the information or download materials from ( Quite simply, you can learn at your pace and in the format that you find most comfortable.

Remember, when it comes to your health, knowing the facts and the options about treatment – not what trickles through the “urban legend” pipeline or what we know from hearsay –is critical. In the fight against cancer, clinical trials can offer hope and promise, but clinical trials are not for everyone and not every clinical trial is for everybody. The only way of knowing whether or not a clinical trial is right for you or a relative is to educate yourself and get the facts.

White House Unveils Stimulus Package Impact on Blacks

ST. LOUIS (NNPA) – Responding to an inquiry by the editor of The St. Louis American newspaper, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood last week outlined portions of the $827 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan that he says will specifically impact the Black community.

The White House response came after a telephone press conference with Midwest reporters during which NNPA award-winning editor Alvin A. Reed asked LaHood about the minority participation aspects of the act, which President Obama has implored Congress to pass this week.

Initially, LaHood hedged, responding, “That’s a point I have really not considered. We’ll have to get back to (him,) rather than give an answer I don’t really know.”

Only hours after a story reporting the inquiry and response was posted on Feb. 5, LaHood issued the following detailed strategy, titled, “African Americans and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan” (The response has been lightly edited for style and clarity by the NNPA News Service):

• General: The majority of the provisions in this recovery and reinvestment plan will assist African-Americans, who have been dramatically impacted during these tough times, in making it through this period with tax cuts for 95 percent of families, programs including extension of unemployment benefits, COBRA healthcare benefits, and food stamps and temporary assistance for needy families (TANF), while also preparing them for new opportunities with training for new jobs in existing and emerging industries.

• Tax Cuts: This plan seeks to put money in the hands of consumers as quickly as possible through tax cuts for 95 percent of families. This is especially important for African-Americans who have experienced a reversal of fortune in the gains in wages and salary reached during the 1990s compared to others in the workforce. This immediate infusion of resources will not only allow them to purchase the items they need for their families, but also help rebuild our economy.

• Job Creation: The unemployment rate for African-Americans was 12.1 percent and had risen to 12.6 percent when new job numbers were announced Feb. 6. This plan will create jobs with its investments in rebuilding roads and bridges and retrofitting government buildings while also working to help prepare job seekers for the 21st Century economy with training for new “green jobs” and other emerging industries. The key is ensuring that African-Americans have access to information about all of these opportunities.

• Education: Right now 95 percent of African-American children rely on public schools in America yet a great number of these systems lack the funding they need to deliver the education that our children deserve and the facilities themselves are generally inadequate. This plan makes a historic investment in school modernization sufficient to renovate and modernize 10,000 schools, which also saves or creates jobs.

The plan also invests in our children’s future by doubling the Early Head Start program which will provide additional pre-k services to more than 350,000 children and create at least 15,000 new teaching and teaching assistant jobs. Efforts are also being made to increase the Pell Grant maximum award to $500 making college affordable for 7 million students.

Finally, understanding that we are living during a time when tough choices have to be made, state and local governments should not have to cut education to make their budgets work. This plan provides resources so that potential education cuts can be bypassed in the immediate future.

• Healthcare: African-Americans suffer from higher percentages of chronic diseases such as heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes while also suffering from a lack of access to quality care. Therefore during a time when many who rely on receiving healthcare through their employers are losing jobs, access to quality healthcare is an even greater concern.

This plan offers a new tax credit to help families keep their health insurance through COBRA as well as a new option in Medicaid for low-income people who lack access to COBRA. Adjustments will also be made in funding formulas for state Medicaid programs so that Medicaid and SCHIP are not impacted by state budget shortfalls, protecting 20 million people whose eligibility might be at risk.
• Public Services:

Local governments are threatened with budget cuts that could impair services, including support from police and fire departments. No community that relies on these services to protect them should have to endure cuts in these areas. This plan invests $4 billion for state and local law enforcement funding.

In the Feb. 5 call, LaHood said the Recovery Act would save or create millions of jobs each year, with many coming in building and repairing roads, bridges and transit lines. More than 90 percent of the jobs would be in the private sector, he said.

It remains unknown whether there will be any specific inclusion plan through the state and federal levels. However, days before inauguration Obama told the NNPA News Service that many such infrastructure projects are slated specifically for urban areas where a majority of African-Americans live and work.

LaHood said, “The idea is getting money out of the door for projects, this spring, summer and fall.”

Inside The Congressional Peanut Butter Hearing: Shocking E Mails From PCA Prez Stewart Parnell Read Into Record

Pic above is panel of House members on subcomittee for peanut butter salmonella hearing; Rep. Bart Stupak, in center, is chair. Opening statements are read in to record, then multiple emails from Stewart Parnell, prez of Peanut Corporation of America are projected on video screens & read into record. In emails, Parnell begs FDA to allow him to stay in business even after positive salmonella results, and says he needs to make money from his peanuts.

Family members of poisoning victims speak...there's a general sense of moral outrage in room, and discussions of Parnell's "criminal mind."

Parnell shows up, pleads the fifth multiple times. He declines to eat any of the contaminated peanut butter products committee members have gathered. Parnell exits hearing room to screams of media in hallway.

Dr. Stephen Sundlof is now on witness stand...tune in later for full report...we're still tweeting in the sidebar.

Zippy Livni; nearly Netanyahu

Voters in Israel give Kadima a surprise boost, but haggling over the next government must now begin

KADIMA, the centrist party led by Tzipi Livni, appears to have won the first battle of the Israeli election, over Likud, led by Binyamin Netanyahu. Projected results on Wednesday February 11th, with soldiers’ votes still to be counted, showed that Kadima would claim 28 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, just pipping Mr Netanyahu’s Likud with 27. The final result will not be known for some days.

But Mr Netanyahu may yet win the political war, as he has a strong claim to the prime ministership. A long and tortuous process of coalition haggling is now set to begin. Ms Livni, despite her party’s surprisingly strong showing, will find it hard to form a government, as the leftist block managed to pull together just 54 or 55 seats. The Labour Party, in particular, scored badly, crashing from 19 to 13 seats.

It will not be easy for Mr Netanyahu either, despite the right-leaning block, led by Likud, gathering 65-66 seats. The rightists are divided among themselves over domestic issues and Mr Netanyahu, in any case, does not want a government comprising only rightists, preferring a more moderate-looking coalition. Some of the religious parties could conceivable team up with Ms Livni. And Avidgor Lieberman of the far-right Yisrael Beitenu (Israel Our Home) who was the elections' biggest gainer, winning 15 or 16 seats, up from 11 last time, has previously teamed up with Kadima and could just possibly do so again.

Mr Netanyahu would have preferred to bring in Labour, under the present defence minister, Ehud Barak, but that party’s poor showing will mean he would be hard put to offer Mr Barak the defence portfolio again. And many key Labourites insist their party must now go into opposition, to try and rebuild its shrunken constituency.

Instead, if Mr Netanyahu is able to consolidate his rightist block, he will presumably turn to Kadima and try, by persuasion and blandishments, to convince Ms Livni to set aside her dreams of becoming prime minister and join with him instead in a broad-based centre-right government. He will cite the looming threat of Iranian nuclear ambitions, and the more immediate challenges of Hamas and Hizbullah, plus the economic slump, as reasons enough for Kadima to put aside its reservations and share in the responsibility of government.

To sweeten the package, Mr Netanyahu might offer Kadima two tempting jobs: the foreign ministry for Ms Livni and the defence ministry for her deputy, Shaul Mofaz. Mr Mofaz is a former chief of staff who served as minister of defence under Ariel Sharon in 2003-05.

Both Mr Netanyahu and Ms Livni held televised victory ceremonies on Tuesday night, replete with piped music and much hugging and handshakes. Each assured cheering loyalists that he (or she) would be the one to lead the new government. Mr Netanyahu said the victory of the “national camp” had been unequivocal. Ms Livni claimed that talk of camps was anachronistic. She argued that the important contest had been “Tzipi or Bibi”—and “the voter” had chosen her over him.

Despite the leaders’ exhortations, there seemed something hollow in the orchestrated gaiety at both headquarters. Behind their determined smiles, Kadima members knew the arithmetic was against them. The Likudniks too, off-camera, admitted that coming in second was a serious blow to Mr Netanyahu’s prestige.

The person with most to smile about was Yisrael Beitenu's Mr Lieberman, who held his victory celebration earlier in Jerusalem. There the rejoicing was authentic for, as Mr Lieberman noted, the party’s tally had shot up. That, he said, meant that “the key is in our hands”.

He said his heart was “with the right”, but the choice would be “not simple at all”. He wanted an uncompromising stand against Hamas, he said. “The first priority is to eliminate Hamas.” But Mr Lieberman, like Ms Livni and Kadima, also accepts the notion of two states, one for Israel, one for Palestine.He repeated, too, his campaign demand for a test of loyalty for all citizens of Israel, including Arab ones. He has demanded that Orthodox Jews as well as Arabs be required to do national service. He wants to break the Orthodox stranglehold over marriage laws. He also advocates radical reform of the electoral system. None of this civil agenda endears him to the religious parties that are Mr Netanyahu’s natural allies in the “national camp”. Mr Lieberman recalled that Shas, the largest Orthodox party with 11 seats, had cursed him during the campaign. “There’s a morning after…there are things we won’t forget,” he warned.

Hence the prospect of long and difficult bargaining to come. The process will begin formally once the results are published officially. President Shimon Peres must consult with all the 12 parties that have crossed the 2% threshold and made it into the new Knesset, and then decide whom to invest with the mandate to form a government. The candidate has up to six weeks to get the job done.

Stimulus deal: Price tag set at $790 billion

The hours of negotiations about the stimulus I wrote about in my last post appeared to have borne at least some fruit: Members of Congress and the administration have agreed on one major point, and set their goal for the total cost of the package at $790 billion.

This number appears to be an effort to split the difference between Democrats' goals and the position of Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.). The negotiators were originally shooting for a total of roughly $800 billion, while Specter said on MSNBC Tuesday night that he wanted a bill to cost about $780 billion.

There are still some details to be worked out, but the Associated Press says a few elements have been agreed to:

Democratic aides said that Obama's negotiating team had prevailed in restoring some lost funding for school construction projects during talks Tuesday, and had also increased aid to state governments above the $39 billion approved in a compromise with a handful of Senate GOP moderates.

Obama's "Making Work Pay" tax credit would be reduced from $500 per worker to $400, with couples eligible for an $800 credit, instead of $1,000.

A final deal may be close -- Politico's Glenn Thrush reports that the Democratic caucus has been notified to expect an emergency meeting to discuss the package sometime Wednesday.

Paris Hilton To Blame For Chris Brown & Rihanna’s Fight?

Maybe the whole fight really did start with Paris Hilton? Who knew?

When Chris Brown and Rihanna arrived in Los Angeles on February 5th, they were said to have been in a “non-stop argument.” The insider added, “He wanted to drive to the Grammys in a sports car; Rihanna wanted a bigger car so she could bring friends. They fought but she gave in. Chris drove and got lost. They were late for rehearsals and she was infuriated.”

When the (former?) couple arrived at the Verizon & Blackberry Storm Grammy party, Chris started talking to Paris Hilton while Rihanna was performing.

A fellow partygoer says, “He and Paris went outside together. Paris was all over him. Rihanna caught wind of it and spent the rest of the night glued to him.”

On February 7th, the night of Clive Davis’ pre-Grammy bash, Chris arrived without Rihanna. The couple managed to fake it for the cameras, but when they left in Chris’ rented Lamborghini, things started to get heated. Rihanna found the number of an ex-girlfriend in his cell phone.

That’s what started the fight, according to numerous sources.

Lawsuit Reveals Roberto Alomar Has Aids; Had Unprotected Sex With Girlfriend Ilya Dall

Former Mets baseball player Roberto Alomar has been slapped upside the head with a lawsuit alleging he engaged in sexual activity while afflicted with AIDS. Alomar’s ex-girlfriend, Ilya Dall, is behind the lawsuit.

Dall, 31, says she lived with Alomar for three years, watching his health worsen until he finally got tested in 2006 after suffering from severe cough, fatigue and shingles. Dall says he knew of his condition since February 6, 2006 but had been advised by doctors to get an HIV test since 2004 due to his rapidly declining health. The suit claims that he was diagnosed with the blood disorder thrombocytopenia purpura in 2005, an affliction sometimes linked to HIV. He refused to get tested, saying he had already done so in the past and was free of AIDS.

Then, in April of 2005, Dall says that Alomar confided that he had erectile dysfunction and had been “raped by two Mexican men” after a game when he was 17. She says that he then developed a persistent cough and fatigue. Later, he developed a yeast infection (?!) and was again advised to get tested. Again, he refused.

Dall is now demanding $15 million in punitive damages, alleging that Alomar “jeopardized the health, well-being and life of the plaintiff, which caused her to have a fear of contracting AIDS, often referred to as AIDS phobia.”

See, here’s the thing: If you suspect, to any degree, that your sexual partner has HIV - or any STD - and he or she refuses to get tested, you dump that person or at least stop engaging in sexual activity until they get tested. You do not, however, wait it out with fingers crossed and idly sit by as that person develops sores, fatigue, a blood disorder and a g-d yeast. Infection.

Sirius XM Preparing for Possible Bankruptcy Filing

The New York Times is reporting that satellite radio company Sirius XM has hired analysts to prepare for a possible bankruptcy filing. The company has been in financial trouble since the jump, essentially, since the cost of launching satellites is astronomical, and the uphill climb of trying to convince people to pay for radio. But after Sirius and XM merged, it was thought that both would be more financially sound. That hasn't happened, as stock prices have plummeted (along with just about every other stock).

What impact the bankruptcy will have on users isn't known--but it's likely the company will have to look at downsizing, and ending contracts with the likes of Martha Stewart and Howard Stern. In other words, the main reasons anyone would have satellite radio would be gone.

First Lady Michelle Obama Does ‘Vogue’ Magazine

Hail to the Chieftess
First Lady Michelle Obama is featured on the cover and in the pages of the new issue of Vogue magazine, becoming only the second First Lady (after Hillary Clinton) to grace the cover. Here is Michelle’s very lovely magazine cover where she is rockin’ a hawt PINK dress designed by Jason Wu, the same designer who created her fabulous Inauguration dress:

Michelle Obama is in Vogue. Literally. As President Obama deals with crises on various fronts, the first lady follows tradition and steps into the March issue of Vogue, on stands in New York and Los Angeles Feb. 17. The magazine has photographed nearly every new first lady since Lou Hoover in 1929. Bess Truman is the only first lady since that has not appeared in Vogue, and Jackie Kennedy opted for a drawing by RenĂ© Bouche. Only Hillary Clinton and Obama have made the cover. Wearing a magenta silk dress by inaugural gown designer Jason Wu on the cover, Michelle Obama’s image is captured by celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz, who also shot inside photographs for the article by Andre Leon Talley, who discloses that he is a “passionate supporter” and “volunteered in the campaign trenches.” And while other friends and supporters emphasize Obama’s priorities as far as daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, and her desire to make the White House more inclusive, the first lady talks about those ideals when it comes to fashion. “First and foremost, I wear what I love,” she says. “That’s what women have to focus on: what makes them happy and what makes them feel comfortable and beautiful. If I can have any impact, I want women to feel good about themselves and have fun with fashion.” Vogue notes that Obama’s “lithe frame — an uncommon figure for an American First Lady” and her leanings toward new names in American design, such as Wu and Isabel Toledo, who created the lemongrass ensemble she wore at the swearing-in, have prompted some to dub her the “new Jackie Kennedy.” Vogue insists that Obama’s style is more “pragmatism, not glamour.” When she wore the black cardigan over the Narciso Rodriguez dress during the president’s Nov. 4 acceptance speech in Chicago’s Grant Park, she received some harsh criticism. “I’m not going to pretend that I don’t care about it,” she says. “But I also have to be very practical. In the end, someone will always not like what you wear. … I was cold; I needed that sweater!”

OMG, I love her. She deffo has the right kind of style and altho some of her outfits have drawn criticism, I think that she generally gets it right. While I contend that a woman as intelligent and as accomplished as Michelle Obama should FIRST be lauded for her talents, I absolutely understand why so many people are to taken with her sense of style as well. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a faboo First Lady in the White House like Michelle :) After the jump, check out a couple other photos of Michelle Obama from this new issue of Vogue magazine …

The black outfit was designed by her fave designer Narciso Rodriguez (natch) and the salmon colored outfit is from J. Crew. She looks amazing in both … which really goes to show that style knows no cost. If you got it, you got it … and Michelle Obama has deffo got it. I hope we get to see her on the cover of more magazines … we shouldn’t let President Obama enjoy all the limelight.

Brett Favre Has Told The Jets He’s Retiring…Again

We’ve been robbed this morning, America (hey, I’m Bernie Mac). I know that like me, you were hoping to spend your whole spring and summer listening to all the latest reports from an ESPN reporter embedded in his shower on what Brett Favre was going to do. Would he retire? Come back? Force the Jets to trade or release him so he could go to the Vikings? All of that suspense we needed to get us through another long NFL offseason, it’s gone.

Brett Favre is retiring. Again. He may even mean it this time.

From ESPN:

In an e-mail to ESPN’s Ed Werder, Favre indicated he had no regrets about finishing his career with the Jets rather than with the Green Bay Packers franchise he represented for his previous 16 NFL seasons. He specifically praised Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum, team owner Woody Johnson and fired coach Eric Mangini — and even mentioned Thomas Jones and Kerry Rhodes, both of whom were publicly critical of Favre after the team’s collapse in the final month of the season prevented the Jets from making the playoffs.

“Mike and Woody, as well as the entire organization, have been nothing short of outstanding,” Favre said in the e-mail. “My teammates — Thomas and Kerry included — were a pleasure to play with. Eric [Mangini] could not have been any better. I enjoyed playing for him. My time with the Jets was short, but I’m honored to be given that chance.”

Now obviously this is Brett Favre we’re talking about. Just because he says he’s retiring that doesn’t mean we should assume he means it this time. In fact, I’m setting the over/under at May 15th for when he “gets the itch” to play again. Then after the Jets have signed or drafted a quarterback and have no place for him on the team, it’ll be a lot easier for him to force them to release him so he can go to Minnesota.

And he’ll do all of it while wearing Wrangler jeans.