Thursday, October 15, 2009

Personal Essay: Confessions of a Cougar's Man

There's something about an older woman that I've always had a taste for. Blame it on Pam Grier. Growing up, 'Friday Foster' and 'Foxy Brown' were fixtures in my parent's movie collection.

All of this led to my infatuation with the term that we all have come to learn (and love): cougar.

Believe it or not, there's a lot to be gained from a cougar's intellect-- her heightened femininity, sophisticated manner, scent and walk. It makes them so desirable and irresistible.

To dismiss any preconceived notions, I don't view cougars to be a women that would've appeared on 'The Golden Girls.' Instead my definition of a cougar is seen as a confident woman over 40 who looks like she's in her late twenties or early thirties and handles her business.

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Racial Profiling or Good Police Work?

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson

Racial profiling or simply good police work is the elephant in the closet question in the eternal debate over whether police color target black and Hispanic men in street stops under the guise of fighting crime. There’s no debate about whether police do stop tens of thousands of black and Hispanic every year on the streets and that they are far more likely to be stopped than white men. The Associated Press is the latest to weigh in on the chronic problem. It found that police stopped a staggering one million plus persons on big city streets in 2008. As usual the overwhelming majority were black and Hispanic males.

The ACLU and civil rights groups again charged that the stops were racially motivated. Police groups and city officials again denied it. They countered that the stops not only were warranted but are the major reason for the plunge in crime to the lowest level in decades.

There may be some validity to the police contention. Crime is way down. Streets are arguably safer. Most citizens and that include a significant number of blacks and Hispanic residents and community groups, silently and in some cases publicly, applaud police efforts to fight crime. They are more likely the victims of black on black and Hispanic on Hispanic crime and violence.

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Vote NO on Ballot Question One For the Children!!!

Lonegan say's Vote "NO" on Ballot Question One

Fact of the Day
New Jersey taxpayers have seen the nation's fastest growing state debt. $17.8 BILLION in 2002 skyrocketing to $44.6 BILLION today. That's more than $6,000.00 for every man, woman and child. This is one of the driving forces behind the state's highest in the nation taxes. In 2007, Governor Corzine raised the state sales tax to 7% in a futile attempt to keep pace with runaway spending and the high cost of a crippling debt.

This is our "legacy" to the next generation. This video tells the story.

Help me Defeat Question one and stop mortgaging our children’s future.

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Hip-hop comes of age

Thirty years after the first mainstream rap song, Rapper's Delight, hit the US charts, what effect has hip-hop had on New York and wider American society?

Joe Conzo gets misty eyed when he recalls his teenage years in the South Bronx.

In those days, taking pictures was his hobby - one which led to him photographing black and Latino youths dancing to a new type of music, with its own distinctive forms of dance and art. The scene would later be christened hip-hop.

More than 30 years on, this New York fire service paramedic is a celebrated photographer best known for his book Born in the Bronx.

Mr Conzo, who the New York Times dubbed "the man who took hip-hop's baby pictures", recalls MCs, DJs, graffiti artists and breakdancers forming a "collective body of different elements that created the culture" of youth in the Bronx in the late 70s.

"The energy during those park jams was unreal. I was dumfounded by the breakbeats - the collective sampling of different kinds of music," he says.

He was "kidnapped" by the nascent culture that germinated at sun-kissed parties in 1977 and 78, he explains.

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'Housewives of Atlanta' Reunion Put on Hold

The reunion show for Bravo's "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" has been put on hold as cast member Kandi Burress deals with the sudden death of her ex-fiancé A.J. Jewell.

The taping was supposed to take place last week for a two-part airdate of Oct. 29 and Nov. 5, CNN reported. There's no word yet if or when the show will be rescheduled.

Jewell, 34, suffered a severe head injury during a fight at an Atlanta nightclub Oct. 2 and later died at the hospital. He was buried on Oct. 9 in Georgia.

Burruss, according to close friend and former Xscape bandmate Tameka "Tiny" Cottle, is holding up OK these days.

"She's doing much better," Cottle told E! Online. "She's a strong girl. …I speak to her every day. I go and visit her. I went to the funeral. Whenever she needs me, I'm there."

Burruss's Atlanta cast member Kim Zolciak also commented on her friend's strength in recent days.

"It's been very difficult," she told Us magazine. "I went to the funeral on Friday, and I don't think I have ever been that sad in my whole life. I don't want to see my friend upset. It's terrible. It's something that will stay with me for life."

Kim added, Burruss "is strong and she will pull through, but she is devastated. I walked out of the funeral thanking God for my blessings and just realizing that in a matter of a minute, your life can be over."

SC board pardons 2 black men executed 94 years ago

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Two great-uncles of syndicated radio host Tom Joyner, sent to the electric chair for the 1913 murder of a Confederate Army veteran, were unanimously pardoned Wednesday by South Carolina.

Officials believe the men are the first in the state to be posthumously pardoned in a capital murder case.

Black landowners Thomas and Meeks Griffin were executed 94 years ago after a jury convicted them of killing 73-year-old John Lewis, a wealthy white veteran living in Blackstock, a Chester County town 40 miles north of Columbia. Two other black men were also put to death for the crime.

"This won't bring them back, but this will bring closure. I hope now that they rest in peace," Joyner said. "This is a good day."

Joyner, who lives in Dallas, and his attorney made a presentation to the state parole and probation board on Wednesday, then left the room while the board voted. Family members who flew in for the hearing included his wife and sons, of Dallas, and brother and his family, from Jackson, Miss.

Though he talks to roughly 8 million listeners on the radio daily, Joyner said facing the seven board members "scared me to death." When he was told how they voted, he said he waved his hands and hugged family members in a flood of relief and joy. He also called in to his radio

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Mississippi teacher gets life for killing lover's pregnant fiancee

CNN) -- A Mississippi schoolteacher was sentenced to life without parole Wednesday for shooting and stabbing to death her lover's pregnant fiancee in 2006.

The same jury that convicted Carla Hughes of two counts of murder Tuesday for the death of Avis Banks spared her life, declining to impose the death penalty.

Mississippi is among the states that consider murdering a pregnant woman to be taking two lives.

Madison County District Attorney Michael Guest asked the panel of nine women and three men to sentence Hughes to death based on the gruesome nature of Banks' murder.

Banks, 27, was found lying in a pool of blood on November 29, 2006, in the garage of the Ridgeland home she shared with Keyon Pittman, the father of her unborn child. She was five months pregnant.

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Is Khamenei Dead?

There are numerous rumors circulating in the Internet which suggest that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei is in a coma. Others say that he is already dead.

These rumors were started by an article in Pajamas Media. Entitled “Khamenei Said to be in Coma”; the article written by Michael Ledeen cites sources in Tehran. According to his sources:

“Yesterday afternoon (Wednesday) at 2.15PM local time, Khamenei collapsed and was taken to his special clinic. Nobody – except his son and the doctors – has since been allowed to get near him.”

Since then a number of Persian language blogs have also talked about Khamenei's death.

For now, this report should be treated as a rumor and nothing else. Mr. Ledeen already pronounced Ayatollah Khamenei dead three years ago in another one of his articles. His sources proved unreliable, something which can happen to anyone. Perhaps his new sources are more reliable. All we can do is wait and see. We have nothing to corroborate it with.

Furthermore, the Iranian blogsphere is a great source for those seeking opinion. But when it comes to news, it's extremely unreliable. Anyone can write a blog in Persian, and he/she could write it from anywhere. A good example is the source used for the story earlier this year by western press that during a visit to the city of Uumiyeh, shoes were thrown at President Ahmadinejad. The source used by the international press was a site in Iran called “Urumiyeh News." At first glance, the name sounds very credible. Many cities in Iran have their own news sites and they are run under a management which adheres to censorship laws. But in this case, when we look closer, we see that “Urumiyeh News” is nothing more than a blog - meaning the story could have been written by anyone.

Should Mr. Ledeen's story turn out to be true, the CIA should seriously consider giving him a senior post. Anyone who has access to sources in Iran who know Khamenei's exact whereabouts and the timing of his movement is to be taken very seriously. They should also ask Mr. Ledeen if his sources have any friends/relatives who work near or at a giant construction site in Qom, which glows at night. And while they are at it, if they manage to find Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's secret Bar Mitzvah pictures at The Western Wall, then they would make a lot of people at The Daily Telegraph very happy.

UN body debates Gaza war report

Members of the UN Human Rights Council are debating whether to endorse a report into the Israeli offensive in Gaza last winter.The report by veteran South African judge Richard Goldstone accuses both Israel and Hamas of war crimes.

Israel rejects the Goldstone report as biased. Its UN envoy says endorsing it would be a setback for peace hopes.

The UN human rights chief has backed the report and called on both sides to investigate the alleged crimes.

"A culture of impunity continues to prevail in the occupied territories and in Israel," Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said at the opening of the special meeting of the UN Human Rights Council.

She called for "impartial, independent, prompt and effective investigations into reported violations of human rights and humanitarian law."

'Setback for peace'

Israel has already come under pressure from its allies - including the US, UK and France - to investigate the UN allegations.

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Why Baseball Is Rooting For A Dodgers-Yankees World Series

By Ryan Corazza

I wouldn’t say any of the MLB divisional series were particularly compelling: the Dodgers swept the Cardinals, the Yankees swept the Twins, the Angels swept the Red Sox. The only series that went past three games was between the Phillies and the Rockies, as the Phillies won in four games.

So, back to my logic from yesterday, if this first round of playoffs featured a bunch of sweeps, not as many people were watching right? I mean, if there was a decisive Game 5 in any of these, they could have seen a bit of a ratings bump, correct?

As it turns out, TBS hit the ratings goldmine for the divisional rounds, turning in their best one-week ratings ever, for any programming. The details:

The first round of the Major League Baseball playoffs helped TBS to its best one-week ratings in its 33-year history.

The Turner Broadcasting Systems network said it averaged almost 4.8 million viewers for each of the 13 division series playoff games, up 11 percent from last year.

Pretty impressive stuff. And as Craig points out over at Circling the Bases, there’s a pretty simple reason for this: five of the six playoff teams — sorry Minnesota! — make up four (two L.A.-based teams) of the top five media markets in America. The bigger the market, the bigger the audience. Doesn’t get any more simple than that.

And that’s why a Yankees vs. Dodgers World Series would be perfect for baseball: not only do you have the Joe-Torre-playing-his-old-team storyline, but you get the two largest media markets in America battling it out against each other, which means more viewers for baseball, which servers to improve the sport’s bottom line.

Rasmussen: Christie, Corzine Dip As Daggett Climbs

A new Rasmussen poll, the second in just over a week, shows that the major party candidates are losing ground to independent Chris Daggett as Election Day nears.

General Election Matchup
Christie 45 (-2 from last poll, 10/5)
Corzine 41 (-3)
Daggett 9 (+3)
Not Sure 5 (+2)

There are more to the numbers, however. When voters are asked their first choice, the race is tied -- Christie 38, Corzine 38, and Daggett 16. Rasmussen finds that 57 percent of Daggett's supporters say they could change their minds before election day, accounting for the final numbers.

Voters tend to favor Christie when asked who they trust more on taxes, government spending and corruption.

Interestingly, only a third of voters correctly identified Daggett as the recipient of the Newark Star-Ledger's endorsement this weekend. That reflects to some degree the lack of overall media coverage of the race beyond newspapers; New Jersey has no major television market of its own, and New York and Philadelphia stations tend to give scant coverage to Garden State politics.

Favorable Ratings
Christie 46 / 51
Corzine 43 / 55
Daggett 45 / 27

President Obama, who comes to New Jersey next Wednesday to rally voters for Corzine, has an approval rating of 57 percent. That's 17 points better than Corzine's; 59 percent disapprove of Corzine's job performance. There might be another reason for Obama's visit, Rasmussen surmises:

While Christie's voters are a bit more certain to actually show up and vote at this point, Democrats have traditionally displayed a stronger get-out-the-vote effort on Election Day. Among voters who are certain they will vote and certain of how they will vote, Christie has an eight-point edge, 49% to 41%. That's one reason President Obama and other leading Democrats will be visiting the state in hopes of driving up turnout among Democratic constituencies.
The automated telephone survey of 750 likely voters was conducted October 14, and has a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.

More Americans Want to Win War in Afghanistan... Except Democrats

There's a surge going on... Just not in Afghanistan.

Support for the War in Afghanistan surged this past month.
Investor's Business Daily reported:

As President Obama mulls the military's request for a big troop build-up in Afghanistan, Americans have swung in favor of such a move, according to a new IBD/TIPP Poll.

The survey of 927 adults found that a plurality of 48% favors sending more troops and resources to Afghanistan. That's a sharp reversal from September, when Americans opposed the idea, 55%-35%.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. and NATO forc es in Afghanistan, has reportedly asked for another 40,000 troops to help control rising violence.

But Obama is in no rush to make a decision, holding a series of high-level meetings with military and political advisers on his next move.

And the upsurge in overall support for more troops in the IBD/TIPP Poll may not sway Obama.

That's because the turnaround comes from a surge in support from Republicans — up 27 points just in October to 72%. A month ago, GOP respondents had leaned against sending more troops, 47%-45%.

Independents narrowly support beefing up America's commitment to Afghanistan, 45%-42%.

But Democrats say no more blood and treasure by 57%-32%. Many congressional leaders have signaled their reluctance to send reinforcements.

Faith leaders call on Obama to make Gulf Coast recovery a priority

President Obama arrives in New Orleans today for his first visit to the Gulf Coast since he won the presidency. In a letter released to coincide with his visit, more than 50 leading religious leaders and faith-based groups call on the Obama administration to take action to address challenges in the region.

Faith and community leaders cite "significant gaps" towards meeting federal promises to Gulf Coast communities, and urge the president to focus on long-term hurricane recovery policy to tackle poverty, coastal erosion and climate change, according to the press statement.

As the Institute for Southern Studies' explored in our 2008 report "Faith in the Gulf" [pdf], following the failed federal response to the 2005 disaster, it was community, nonprofit and faith groups that mounted an unprecedented response that made them the go-to resource for tens of thousands of storm victims in the aftermath of the hurricanes.

The letter was organized by two such Louisiana-based interfaith coalitions -- All Congregations Together (ACT) and Bayou Interfaith Shared Community Organizing (BISCO). Mary Fontenot, executive director of the New Orleans chapter of ACT told Facing South that many faith and community leaders are very optimistic that Obama will hear their calls for action. ACT was one of the groups that helped to coordinate two of Obama's prior visits to storm-ravaged communities like the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans following Katrina.

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ESPN Guest: 'Racist' Rush Would Never Hire Black Coach

When it comes to slurring Rush Limbaugh in his quest to obtain an interest in the NFL's St. Louis Rams, someone's going to have to work hard to top Adrian Wojnarowski. The Yahoo Sports reporter today called Rush a "racist" and a "bigot" and implied he would never hire a black coach.

Wojnarowski spouted his slurs on Jim Rome's "Rome Is Burning" show on ESPN this afternoon.

ADRIAN WOJNAROWSKI: People do not want a bigot as an owner. He's a racist. He's a bigot. He's shown it for years. He's made his career off in a large way off marginalizing black culture and African-Americans, and now he wants to buy into an industry where 70% of the players, the talent, the work-force is African-American and make money off of it? He doesn't get to do that.

In response, Rome didn't exactly leap to Rush's defense, but did pose this question.

JIM ROME: What do you base your base your comment that he's a bigot on? Those two quotes that are floating around right now that he has said do not really exist, or his body of work?

WOJNAROWSKI: His body of work. You go back years, now. He's showed maybe through the years, he has said, been less vociferous as he was early. But he has time after time after time been a polarizing, made racially insensitive remarks. I mean, are you going to allow him to make an NFL, an African-American NFL assistant, with the Rooney rule, who has to sit in his office for what's essentially going to be a token interview and patronize that guy?

The Rooney Rule is an NFL requirement that teams interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operations opportunities. Wojnarowski was clearly claiming that Rush would never hire a black coach. Wo-jo obviously isn't a Rush listener. Else he'd know that for the most sensitive position on his staff—that of call screener—Rush chose the inimitable—and African-American—James Golden, AKA Bo Snerdley, and that Thomas Sowell and Walter E. Williams are regular guest hosts behind the golden EIB microphone.

Turn Left To The Hall Of Fame

The inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame class was elected today.

And I don’t think anyone can argue with the inductees.

Those going in first are Bill France Sr, Bill France Jr, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and Junior Johnson.

Yeah, just five people.

And that stinks.

Left out were David Pearson, Cale Yarborough and Bobby Allison. All three of them deserve to be in on the first ballot.

But they’ll have to wait til next year.

Five is a great number for a standard hall of fame class. However, since this is the first class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, why couldn’t the class have been 10? Sure, that might have meant a two night induction banquet affair, or really short speeches to keep it to one night, but that’s a small price to pay.

Obviously when it opens, the HoF will have more to it than shrines to the five original inductees. But what incentive is there for a fan to go when there are only five inductees?

And what good is a NASCAR Hall of Fame without David Pearson, even if it’s only for a year?