Wednesday, July 1, 2009

To Michael Jackson's Kids: Don't Go 'Stuntin' Like Your Daddy'

"Stuntin like my daddy" was the first song on the album, "Like Father, Like Son," issued by Lil Wayne and Birdman in 2006. "Stuntin" is a hip hop term synonymous with "flossing," blinging," and "balling." It means that you've engaged in excessive spending to ensure that you have the finest of everything and are even willing to live at the edge of your means in order to present appropriate status symbols to the world. Anyone who follows hip hop knows that you should never take financial advice from a rapper. In light of the recent passing of their father, I sincerely hope that the children of Michael Jackson didn't hear the Lil Wayne song, since their daddy's financial "stuntin" before his death has left the children with a conflicted economic legacy.

On one hand, we shouldn't feel sorry for Michael Jackson's kids, at least not financially. Their father's amazing talent gives them a brand that is literally worth well over a billion dollars in future royalties and licensing fees. Michael Jackson may have died physically. But financially, he is still a viable and overwhelmingly powerful corporate entity.

One the other hand, Michael's financial excess is the stuff of legend. On his Neverland Estate, Jackson had a 50 seat cinema, a personal fairground and a zoo. He lived like royalty, for he and his entourage truly considered him to be a King. In some ways Jackson was a more socially commanding figure than a monarch, but spending $20 million per year more than you earn is a great way to end up in bankruptcy court.

The first call the Jackson family should make is to Yolanda, the wife of Muhammad Ali, and here's the reason why:

Yolanda, unlike Muhammad Ali's other wives, didn't marry the boxer when he was still young enough to jump into the ring and make money. She married him when he was 45 years old, nearly broke and falling ill to brain damage resulting from years of being pounded in the skull. As a fighter, the Muhammad Ali we knew was gone. But Yolanda had something that neither Don King, nor anyone else seemed to possess: a genuine concern for Muhammad and the ability to help him manage and liquidate his financial brand.

Since his marriage to Yolanda in 1986, Muhammad Ali has gained wealth and universal admiration that he never possessed as a young, lightning quick fighter. Yolanda put her MBA to use and negotiated deals that were sound and fair for her husband. She made sure that money was not spent with extravagance. Thanks to her being able to make something out of what appeared to be nothing, the Ali family now has major dough in the bank, all of which was created without her husband laying out a single punch.

Any financial advisor for Michael Jackson's children must possess qualities similar to Yolanda Ali: The advisors must be savvy, prudent, stern and must genuinely care about Jackson's kids. Most importantly, this person has the great challenge of learning how to make money from the Michael Jackson brand without doing a single moonwalk or concert. That's going to take some hard work, planning and intense discipline.

The bottom line is this: I sincerely hope that the Jackson kids don't grow up "stuntin like their daddy." Instead, they should be "SCRUPULOUSLY stuntin BECAUSE of their daddy": Their advisors should be trustworthy individuals who can delicately realize the value of Michael Jackson's legacy and grow it into the financial empire it was meant to become. They also need to tell some of their original financial managers to "Beat it" (sorry, I just had to say that). Yes, the Jackson children have certainly been left with a challenging situation (half a billion dollars in debt is no joke), but the truth is that their father left them quite a bit to work with.

Without question, Michael Jackson has had a very interesting life. But in some ways, the most interesting part of Michael Jackson's existence has actually just begun.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University and author of "Financial Lovemaking 101: Merging Assets With Your Partner in Ways that Feel Good." For more information, please visit To get Dr. Boyce commentary delivered directly to your email box, please click here.

New Michael Jackson 2009 Single

Unreleased MJ song recorded in '08 but will debut in '09 album

Cynthia McKinney Captured By Israeli Navy

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The Israeli navy intercepted a ship carrying foreign peace activists this week, including former U.S. lawmaker and Green Party leader Cynthia McKinney.

APThe ship was reportedly trying to break a blockade of Gaza on Tuesday and forced it to sail to an Israeli port, the military said.

McKinney, a longtime activist for the Palestinians, says her boat, the Spirit of Humanity, was carrying medical supplies, cement, olive trees and children's toys to Gaza when it was seized by an Israeli navy ship.

"This is an outrageous violation of international law against us," McKinney said. "Our boat was not in Israeli waters and we were on a human rights mission to the Gaza Strip. President Obama just told Israel to let in humanitarian and reconstruction supplies, and that's exactly what we tried to do. We're asking the international community to demand our release so we can resume our journey."

A statement said the Greek-registered freighter Arion ignored a radio message from the Israeli military saying it would not be allowed to enter Gaza waters and ordering it to turn back.

The statement said naval personnel boarded the small vessel without any shots being fired.

The military said those on board would be handed over to immigration authorities on arrival in the southern port of Ashdod, and humanitarian cargo would be trucked into the Gaza Strip after a security check. The ship arrived at Ashdod port after nightfall.

The ship was flying a Greek flag, but no Greek citizens were aboard. The Greek government issued a statement saying it sent a message to Israel demanding that it release the ship, crew and passengers.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Israel was planning to free the crew and passengers. "Nobody wants to keep them here," he said. "They will be released as soon as they are checked."

The Free Gaza Movement has organized five boat trips to Gaza since August 2008, defying a blockade imposed by Israel when the militant group Hamas seized control of the territory from its Palestinian rivals in June 2007.

Two other attempts were stopped by Israeli warships during Israel's three-week war in the territory in December and January. Nobody on board was harmed.

Chris Brown: What Does Felony Conviction Mean for His Future?

Chris Brown is now a convicted felon.

After striking a plea agreement that keeps him from doing jail time, the popular R&B crooner must perform 180 hours of community labor, attend a domestic-abuse program and serve five years prChris Brown Run Itobation.

The felony assault and criminal threat charges stem from an incident between Brown and then-girlfriend Rihanna, which left the Barbados-born singer battered and bruised on the eve of the Grammy Awards in February.

It might seem as if Brown is getting a slap on the wrist, but the Virginia resident isn't quite getting off easy. The charges against the 20-year-old are felony, not misdemeanor. And though, a felon status and Brown's admission of guilt could serve to restrict some of his civil liberties, in the near future, it looks like not going to jail will keep him from having to comply with the tough parolee restrictions.

Although his case was heard in California, Brown is a resident of Virginia, a state that revokes a felon's right to vote.

Most felons in the commonwealth can apply to have their voting rights restored three years after completing their sentence. However, parolees with violent felonies, drug sales and electoral offenses must wait five years before seeking restoration. In Brown's case, he won't be a parolee since he does not have a jail sentence, however, his offense was violent, making it unclear how long he'll have to wait.

"In many respects, his legal outcome is more fitting as a celebrity over that of thousands of black men in their twenties who have to face similar punishment," says David Troutt, a law professor at Rutgers Law School in Newark, N.J.

Troutt, a Harvard-educated author of several publications involving race and justice, including 'The Importance of Being Dangerous,' believes that Brown won't face felony disenfranchisement.

"A lot of felons in a lot of states cannot get a driver's license, and most employers don't want to hire a felon," Troutt said. "So if you come from a poor neighborhood, having experienced little opportunities and go to jail, serve real time and come back into that same community that is bereft of resources, chances are, as a result of your status as an ex-con, you are facing financial circumstances you cannot overcome."

According to Troutt , Brown's probation status will still allow him voting rights, the ability to serve on juries, hold public office or "if he wanted to start a foundation, becoming the recipient of a public grant."

Ultimately, Brown's criminal conduct could work to increase his popularity and notoriety. Already, a previously unreleased single, 'Not My Fault,' hit the Web shortly after his plea deal was announced. N.E.R.D.'s Pharrell Williams has said that the material he has produced for Brown's upcoming album, 'Graffiti,' so far is impressive.

"The fact that he is essentially self-employed, what's available to him are privately made and held opportunities, and he can go outside the system of public scrutiny and punishment and parlay these sorts of things into greater opportunities," Trout added.

Other conditions of Brown's sentence require him to stay at least 50 yards away from Rihanna unless the estranged couple are at the same industry event, in which case, Brown is required to keep a distance of 10 feet.

Brown cannot contact the Covergirl spokesmodel at any time during his five-year probationary period.

Only time will tell whether Brown can overcome his trouble with the law and make a career comeback.

SC gov gambles to 'lay it all out' about affair

After days of assuring the public he was firmly in control after admitting a scandalous affair, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford detailed other encounters with his Argentine "soul mate," dalliances with women before her, and his struggle to salvage his 20-year marriage.

Sanford, who last week used a televised news conference to throw himself on the mercy of the public, state leaders and his wife, chronicled his affair and tortured emotions in interviews with The Associated Press Monday and Tuesday. This time, he said, he wanted to "lay it all out."

But as more details of his private life spill out, what Sanford has done in the name of love is too much even for some of his friends in state government.

"He's lost the moral authority to lead our state, so he needs to step down for the good of our state," said state Sen. Larry Grooms, who said he called the governor and asked him to resign.

Others in Sanford's party predict his departure from public life is just a matter of time, and several state newspapers urged him to go.

"There's just no way he'll be able to continue as governor," said Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler, a Gaffney Republican who said he's concerned about inconsistencies in Sanford's accounts. "I'm really concerned about his mental well being."

In all, 10 of 27 state GOP senators as of Tuesday have called for him to step down. Republicans control the state legislature.

At least six South Carolina newspapers called on Sanford to resign. The Greenville News said Sanford "has destroyed any shred of credibility with his lies unnecessarily added on top of other lies."

Sanford, the once-promising presidential prospect, agreed to first sit down with the AP hours after attending a state budget meeting Monday and giving television interviews about the need to stay in office. Over the course of two days, he said he was fit to lead and ready to fix a broken marriage.

"I don't want to blow up my time in politics," he told the AP. "I don't want to blow up future earning power, I don't want to blow up the kids' lives. I don't want to blow up 20 years that we've invested. But if I'm completely honest, there are still feelings in the way. If we keep pushing it this way, we get those to die off, but they're still there and they're still real."

He has trouble, he said, shutting down the love he feels for Maria Belen Chapur, the Argentine woman he first met in 2001.

Sanford also said he's "crossed the lines" with a handful of other women during 20 years of marriage, but not as far as he did with Chapur and not since the two met.

"Without wandering into that field we'll just say that I let my guard down in all senses of the word without ever crossing the line that I crossed with this situation," he said, referring to his affair with Chapur.

He insists he can fall back in love with his wife, Jenny, even as he witnesses his "own political funeral."

Sanford detailed more encounters with his mistress than he had disclosed during a rambling, emotional news conference last week. The new revelations Tuesday led the state attorney general to launch an investigation of Sanford's travels to check on taxpayer money.

Sanford delivered a personal check late Tuesday for nearly $3,000 to reimburse the state for a 2008 state-funded trip to Argentina where he visited Chapur, and he insists no public money was used for any other meetings.

House Speaker Bobby Harrell, a Charleston Republican who would chair any forced ouster of the governor by the GOP-controlled Legislature, said calls to remove Sanford should await the results of the state investigation.

Among the additional visits with Chapur that Sanford detailed was an encounter that he described as a failed attempt at a farewell meeting in New York this past winter, chaperoned by a spiritual adviser and sanctioned by his wife soon after she found out about the affair.

Sanford said he saw Chapur five times over the past year, including two romantic, multi-night stays with her in New York — one in Manhattan, one in the Hamptons, both paid for in cash so no one would know — before they met in the city again with the intention of breaking up.

Four months later, he got on a plane to Argentina for another rendezvous with Chapur when he made an important discovery. "I will be able to die knowing that I had met my soul mate," he said.

Associated Press Writer Evan Berland contributed to this report.

Al Sharpton Grinds On Fan During Michael Jackson Public Memorial at the Apollo

The Reverend Al Sharpton and a female fan got a little carried away during a public memorial for Michael Jackson held at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem last night.

Thousands of fans from all over the country lined up in the pouring rain along West 125th Street near the historic Apollo Theater waiting for their chance to celebrate the life and music of Michael Jackson, who died of heart failure last week at his rented home in Los Angeles.

The memorial began at 2pm with Sharpton calling for a moment of silence at 5:26pm — the time on the east coast when doctors pronounced Jackson dead at the UCLA Medical Center.

Then Sharpton shocked revelers when he and an unidentified woman got up close and personal with each other onstage as director Spike Lee snapped photos of the spectacle.

MORE pics from the memorial after the break

Jackson’s Former Nanny Speaks Out

Michael Jackson’s former nanny lashed out at reports that she routinely pumped out Michael Jackson’s stomach when he OD’d on massive quantities of painkillers.

In a statement posted on, Rwaramba said:

“Michael Jackson was an exceptional Human Being. He was gifted, deeply compassionate and brought joy to the lives of so many. He loved his family dearly, and above all, his beautiful children.

“In addition to being my employer over the past 17 years and entrusting the care of his beloved children to me, he was my dear friend. While our friendship had challenges, as do all friendships, he was loyal to the end. I cherish and honor his memory.

“I am shocked, hurt and deeply saddened by recent statements the press has attributed to me, in particular, the outrageous and patently false claim that I ‘routinely pumped his stomach after he had ingested a dangerous combination of drugs.’ I don’t even know how to pump a stomach!! In addition, I have never spoken to the Times Online, the original source of the story that has now been picked up worldwide. The statements attributed to me confirm the worst in human tendencies to sensationalize tragedy and smear reputations for profit.

“I convey my heartfelt and deepest condolences to Prince, Paris, Blanket and the entire Jackson family. The pain and sorrow I feel over the loss of Michael pales in comparison to what has been taken from them forever.”

Hopefully Katherine will have a heart and allow Rwaramba to see the kids that she helped raise from birth.

TMZ: Debbie Rowe & Michael Jackson Are Not The Biological Parents

Y’all going to learn to listen to your auntie when I tell you something.

According to, the three children raised by Michael Jackson as his own are not his biologicals. It should have been obvious just by looking at them, but I guess some people need a lot more convincing.

Surprisingly, Debbie Rowe is not the biological mother of the children either. All three children were conceived in vitro — outside the womb.


Michael Jackson was not the biological father of any of his children. And Debbie Rowe is not the biological mother of the two kids she bore for Michael. All three children were conceived in vitro — outside the womb.

Multiple sources deeply connected to the births tell us Michael was not the sperm donor for any of his kids. Debbie’s eggs were not used. She was merely the surrogate, and paid well for her services in the births of Michael Jr. and Paris.

In the case of Prince Michael II (the youngest), we’re told the surrogate was never told of the identity of the “receiving parent” — Michael Jackson. Three days after Prince was born at Grossmont Hospital in San Diego County, Jackson’s lawyer came to the hospital to pick the baby up and deliver him to Michael.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 11:59 am and filed under Birth and babies, Celeb news, Celebrity Justice, Dearly departed, Michael Jackson, Money & Finances, Relationships, Rumor Control . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed or Trackback from your own site. This site is Gravatar enabled. Sign up to upload your own avatar.

Report: NFL star Donte' Stallworth tested positive for marijuana after crash

MIAMI - Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte' Stallworth not only had a high blood alcohol level after he fatally hit a pedestrian on the MacArthur Causeway in March, he also tested positive for marijuana use, law enforcement sources tell The Miami Herald.

Stallworth, 28, is serving one month in jail after pleading guilty to DUI manslaughter last month.

Miami-Dade prosecutors say his blood alcohol level was .126, well above the legal limit, when his Bentley hit and killed Mario Reyes, 59, on the morning of March 14.

Stallworth's test results, which have not been released, showed traces of marijuana, according to sources with knowledge of the results.

Stallworth's attorney, Christopher Lyons, could not be reached Tuesday.

Michael Jackson albums to dominate US Billboard chart

Late singer set to feature in top nine-selling album slots

Michael Jackson is set to dominate the Billboard Top Pop Catalog Albums Chart in the USA, with Jackson-related releases currently occupying the top nine album sales positions in the chart run-down.

The official chart is set to be announced later today (July 1), with eight Jackson albums and a compilation set to make up the top nine places.

The singer's compilation album 'Number Ones' is expected to bag the top spot, having sold around 108,000 copies since his death on Thursday (June 25). 'The Essential Michael Jackson' compilation and his seminal 1982 album 'Thriller' are expected to make up the second and third chart places respectively.

The only non-Jackson related release expected to make the Top Ten in the chart is a reissue of the 'Woodstock' film soundtrack.

Jackson's solo albums have sold a collective total in excess of 415,000 copies in the USA since the singer's death.

Political Allies Don’t Always Sing in Tune

By Richard A. Lee

In a symphony orchestra, each musician has a specific role, but as a group they work in unison toward a common goal – to make beautiful music. If just one member of the orchestra decides to do things differently, the results can be disastrous.

The dynamics of symphony orchestras come to mind because of two recent events in which political allies appear to be singing from different song sheets.

The first of these took place on Thursday at a Congressional hearing on deferred prosecution agreements. For New Jersey Democrats, the session conducted by the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law provided an opportunity to score political points because the star witness was GOP gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie and the agenda included questions regarding deferred prosecution agreements that took place while he was the state’s U.S. Attorney.

Not surprisingly, Republicans charged that the hearing was politically motivated (Christie labeled the session a political circus after he finished his testimony). Meanwhile, Democrats argued that the hearing was needed to determine whether deferred prosecution agreements require additional oversight, as proposed in legislation co-authored by two Democratic New Jersey congressmen. That’s not a bad argument – unless someone from your own party starts singing from a different song sheet.

And that’s more or less what happened when a member of the Obama Administration testified that deferred prosecution agreements – in their current form -- have been an effective part of the federal government’s efforts to combat corporate fraud. He also warned that the proposed legislation would weaken those efforts. “The bill would impede the government’s enforcement efforts against corporate and financial frauds by limiting our discretion in appropriately prosecuting cases,” Gary Grindler, a deputy assistant attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice, told the committee.

Grindler is a seasoned attorney who supervises the Justice Department’s enforcement of anti-fraud laws, so his comments should not be taken lightly. But in the context of New Jersey’s gubernatorial election, his testimony was ill-timed for Democrats, and Christie seized the opportunity quickly. “I agree with the Obama Administration, who think that what we did was completely appropriate,” he told politickernj after the hearing. “You heard the official from the Obama Justice Department say that they wouldn’t change a thing about what we did.”

Could the situation have been avoided? In this case, if the White House knew that Grindler’s testimony was going to undercut an effort to tarnish Christie’s reputation, the administration could have warned New Jersey Democrats that the hearing might not be such a good idea and urged that they cancel or postpone the session. Or perhaps the White House could have had Grindler take a little more time to review the proposed legislation, so that he could tell the committee the Justice Department was still studying the proposal, instead of trashing it.

Closer to home, there was another disconnect – this one involving the election of a lieutenant governor for the first time in New Jersey history. According to the state Constitution, gubernatorial candidates have 30 days from the date they are nominated to select a lieutenant governor running mate. This generally was interpreted – by the candidates, the media and political experts – as 30 days from New Jersey’s June 2 primary election, which would have placed the deadline at July 2. But it turns out that candidates do not officially become nominees until the primary election results are certified by the Secretary of State, and Nina Mitchell Wells, who serves as Secretary of State in Governor Corzine’s cabinet, did not certify the results until June 26, giving candidates until July 27 to select their running mates.

In the grand scheme of things, the extra 25 days may matter little in November, but it is puzzling that Wells did not clarify the deadline sooner. As far back as April, news reports were indicating that the deadline was July 2, and it appears that both major candidates were operating under the same timetable. Why not set the record straight sooner?

What these two episodes illustrate is just how difficult it is for a chief executive to keep tabs on every agency and every employee in his or her administration – something that President Obama discovered quickly when a passenger jet and an F-16 fighter plane were authorized -- apparently without his knowledge -- to fly over New York City for an unannounced photo op that rekindled fears of the 9/11 attacks.

Political campaigns face similar challenges. They must keep large numbers of people on message when the stakes are high, time is short, and egos are gigantic. No campaign is perfect. For all of its historic accomplishments, the Obama campaign still made its share of mistakes.

Successful campaigns manage to move past their missteps so they become mere blips on the radar screen. For unsuccessful campaigns, missteps can become emblematic of flawed and failed efforts -- as in images of Michael Dukakis at the controls of a tank in his 1988 bid for the presidency. Here in New Jersey, it is unlikely that any of this year’s candidates for governor will run perfect campaigns immune from mistakes. But come November, how they handled those missteps could be what makes the difference between winning and losing.

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Richard A. Lee is Communications Director of the Hall Institute of Public Policy – New Jersey. A former journalist and Deputy Communications Director for the Governor, he also teaches courses in media and government at Rutgers University, where he is completing work on a Ph.D. in media studies.