Then Came the Last Days of May

A big winner on the field and a big loser off it.

As the last few hours of May 31 tick away, my assessment is it was a rough month for a lot of folks.

Rough for Ohio State University head football coach Jim Tressel.  He was forced to quit under a cloud of scandal and lies.   Shed no tears for him as this is a mess he put himself in trying to clean up after star quarterback Terrelle Pryor.  The NCAA is now turning their investigation toward Pryor as they look into whether he got the hook-up from a local car dealer.

The NFL announced they will hold a supplemental draft in July before the first training camp opens (IF any training camps open) giving Pryor a potential escape route provided he can find a team willing to take a chance on a college QB with a rough skill set, tremendous potential and character issues.

Rough for the folks of Joplin, Missouri where tornadoes ripped through the city killing 139 and leaving hundreds more injured.

Rough for President Obama who had an uncomfortable meeting with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  over the president’s call for Israel to return to the 1967 borders, a request Netanyahu flatly rejected.

Rough for the ex-Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger as it was revealed he had fathered a “love child” with a housekeeper some 14 years ago and the child was born less than a week after Schwarzenegger’s son Christopher was born to his wife, Maria Shirver.   Shriver and Schwarzengger have separated ending their 25-year marriage.

"Remember when I said I'd impregnate you last? I LIED!"

Rough for the GOP who lost a special election in New York in a district which had been drawn to be a stronghold rejected the Republican candidate and sent a Democrat to Washington instead.   The key issue was Medicare where Kathy Hochul pounded Jane Corwin for her support of House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan’s plan to privatize the program.

Rough for Cornel West who gave an interview where he ripped President Obama as having a problem with “free Black men” and a “mascot for Wall Street.”  West also came off as a clueless and entitled elitist when he whined how his “dear brother Barack” hadn’t thanked him personally for working for his election and how he hadn’t been invited to the inauguration but a hotel bellhop had.

Rough for my family as my wife Vanessa lost her dear mother Delores who passed away at the age of 81.

But Osama bin Laden had it roughest.   He finally lost his world champion Hide and Seek title. His hiding place was besieged by a Navy SEALs  team who shot him in the head, dragged his corpse away and dumped his corpse in the ocean.   That was both rough and well-deserved.

Wonder what June will be like?  Guess we’ll know in 30 days.


Reparations for the Soul of Gil Scott-Heron

Live long enough and you’ll either be disappointed by your heroes or you’ll bury them.

Did I say “heroes?”  Sorry.  I meant to say Gil Scott-Heron wasn’t my hero.  He was an innovator, a trailblazer, a pioneer and an inspiration, but he wasn’t my hero.

He was just one of the coolest Black men I ever heard in my life.

Without Gil Scott-Heron would rap music ever been born? Probably, but without the social consciousness of a Scott-Heron, The Last Poets and others the Black pride and positivity that was once standard in rap and now seems merely quaint.

When Scott-Heron dropped “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” he showed poets could do more than drop rhymes.  That song was the soundtrack for Black pride in the Seventies.

Scott-Heron personified the cliché of the “tortured artist” and it’s sad a brother who spoke with such eloquence about the downward spiral alcohol and drug addiction leads to was pretty much wrecked due to his crack habit.

In 2009, Scott-Heron gave an interview to The Washington Post where he declared the revolution had occurred with the election of Barack Obama.

Q. In the early 1970s, you came out with “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” about the erosion of democracy in America. You all but predicted that there would be a revolution in which a brainwashed nation would come to its senses. What do you think now? Did we have a revolution?

A. Yes, the election of President Obama was the revolution.

But that was televised. You said in the poem, “NBC will not be able to predict . . . or report from 29 districts. The revolution will not be televised.” But NBC and every other TV network station did just that.

The revolution was a change in thinking, people changing their hearts and minds. This country was at a crossroads and could have gone either way. But the people stopped taking whatever was being handed to them at face value; they stopped putting up with the status quo and started thinking for themselves. The revolution is a mental thing. You did not see it televised.

So what do you think of Obama so far? Already, some on the political left are accusing him of bending over so far to please the political right that he’s coming awful close to kissing his own behind, so to speak.

Give him time to make his mark. He’s like a young rapper working to find his voice. Don’t judge him by his first CD. Remember, Obama did not get us into this mess. You might not agree with his solutions, but there were no solutions before he took office.

You were paroled in May 2007 after serving 10 months for violating a plea agreement in a cocaine possession case. Before that, in 2002, you got caught with some cocaine and did time in prison. Songs like “Angel Dust” and “Home Is Where the Hatred Is” seem to have foreshadowed a drug problem, as well as health problems caused by drugs. For instance, “Home is where I live inside my white powder dreams/Home was once an empty vacuum that’s now filled with my silent screams.” Is that true?

If you meet somebody who never made a mistake, you help them start a religion. I make mistakes. I got caught with $25 worth of cocaine on an airplane in 2003 and did time for that. But I don’t see that making me out to be some Pablo Escobar. Until everybody who has a drink and drives gets their names on a list made up by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, I think they ought to leave people alone for possessing cocaine and marijuana. I’m not the guy who hit-and-runs while drunk or sneaks in your window and takes a television to feed a habit.

Scott-Heron sang on many on his albums and though he was more than adequate at that task, his Master’s degree was in his flow as a poet.  Let someone else write about flowers and trees and the birds and the bees.  Scott-Heron was busy trying to wake the sleepers up with gritty truths such as he laid out in “The New Deal.”

I have believed in my convictions
And have been convicted for my beliefs
Conned by the constitution
And harassed by the police.
I’ve been billed for the bill of rights
And been treated like I was wrong.
I have become a special amendment
For what included me all along.
Like “All men are created equal.”
(No amendment needed here)
I’ve contributed in every field including cotton
From Sunset Strip to Washington Square.
Back during the non-violent era.
I was the only non-violent one.
As a matter of fact there was no non-violence
’cause too many rednecks had guns.
There seems to have been this pattern
That a lot of folks failed to pick up on.
But all black leaders who dared stand up
Wuz in jail, in the courtroom or gone.
Picked up indiscriminately
By the shock troops of discrimination
To end up in jails or tied up in trails
While dirty tricks soured the nation.
I’ve been hoodwinked by professional hoods.
My ego has happened to me.
It’ll be alright, just keep things cool!”
“And take the people off the street.
We’ll settle all this at the conference table.
You just leave everything to me.”
Which gets me back to my convictions
And being convicted for my belief
’cause I believe these smiles
in three-piece suits
with gracious, liberal demeanor
took our movement off of the streets
and took us to the cleaners
In other words, we let up the pressure
And that was all part of their plan
And every day we allow to slip through our fingers
Is playing right into their hands

Oh, I know for all the young brothers and sisters, Gil Scott-Heron is one of those, “Who he?” questions and once you see the man you’ll just shake your head at that big Afro and beard and think, “Homey needs a shave and a haircut.”

But you show me a rapper today that’s worth a damn and they know they owe a debt of gratitude to Gil.   He was not a rapper, but he was one of those who laid the groundwork that took spoken word and jazz singing to the beats, rhymes and flow of today’s young prophets.  Does Scott-Heron deserve all the credit?  Of course not.  But he sure deserves his fair share of the credit.

Drugs and brushes with the law brought Scott-Heron down.  He had lost most of his teeth, infected with HIV and saddled with an addiction to crack cocaine.  He was unapologetic about his drug usage as he explained in a New Yorker article,  “Ten to fifteen minutes of this, I don’t have pain,” he said. “I could have had an operation a few years ago, but there was an 8 percent chance of paralysis. I tried the painkillers, but after a couple of weeks I felt like a piece of furniture. It makes you feel like you don’t want to do anything. This I can quit anytime I’m ready.”

Famous last words and ones many a junkie has said before.  Yet, who am I to question how another man handles his pain?   Who is anyone to do so?

In 2010 he released I’m New Here and the ravages of the years and the toll they had taken on him were clear for the ear to hear and the eye to see.   “Me and the Devil” is a dark video a dark song  and shot without Scott-Heron appearing until the end reading his poem, “The Vulture.”   He looks like hell, but the power and the passion in his voice is undiminished.

There is a lot of years and regrets between “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” and “Me and the Devil,” but they are all the pieces of a man, as Scott-Heron’s breakthrough second album was entitled.  I used to love his music back in the day, but like most of us I outgrew that kind of politically conscious and Black pride music.  It seemed to hit its peak with Public Enemy and since then it’s fallen off hard.

I doubt the passage of Gil Scott-Heron will herald a new renaissance of socially conscious rappers and poets, but who knows?   Every mighty oak starts off as a small sapling.   Every future icon stars off scribbling in a note pad or talking to themselves in the mirror.

Godspeed, Gil Scott-Heron.  Requiescat in peace.

A Man On A Mission

Like it or not, nothing can stop LeBron now.

The NBA Playoffs don’t take forever.  It just feels like they do.  Truth be told, there have been some halfway decent basketball played.   Problem is, it’s almost all been in the Western Conference where teams get out and run the ball instead of grinding it out in the half court and lockdown defense. 

Between the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat, I can’t guess which team David Stern would like less handing over the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy to.   It’s a choice between his nemesis among team owners, Mark Cuban, or the most despised team in the NBA, the Miami Heat, led by two superstars in LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and an occasional one in Chris Bosh.

These may not be the two best teams in the NBA, but they’re the only two who made it all the way. Sorry for all you Celtics, Lakers, Magic and Spurs fans.  Now it’s just a matter of who gets to hoist the championship banner when it’s over.

If I were a betting man I’d put it on the Heat.   The Mavericks have the talent to get the job done, but LeBron is on a mission.  He’s not going to let Dirk Nowitzki stand between him and the chance to finally shake off the rap that’s dogged him for eight seasons now:  LeBron is the greatest player since Michael Jordan, but Jordan won six.  Lebron hasn’t won anything.

That’s all going to change within a week or so.. Sure, D-Wade and Bosh want to win a championship too and Nowitzki would like to shake that “soft” label he’s been saddled with once and for all, but nobody wants this like Lebron.  He needs this is a way they don’t.  

Despite Jordan’s former caddy, Scottie Pippen having a senior moment and saying LeBron is greater than M.J. nobody will ever take that assessment seriously until James starts putting together a string of championships like Jordan did.   It’s possible he could, but it’s just as possible some other team like the Knicks or the Lakers will bring in a Dwight Howard or a Chris Paul and upset the balance of power all over again.  The Heat have demonstrated you can put together an instant contender with three stars in their prime and a bunch of role players along for the ride.  

The Mavericks are the last obstacle standing between LeBron’s long-awaited glory and they aren’t going to have enough to stop him from getting it.   The Heat take in it six games.  But I wouldn’t be surprised if Lebron put the rest of the team on his back and tried to sweep the Mavs even if he personally has to play one-on-five to do it.

LeBron and the Heat know they’re the bad guys here and more people want them to lose than to win.  They know everybody hates them and it hasn’t killed them.  It just made them stronger. They feed off of  it.  That hate will give them the motivation that’s going to lead them to the title.   

You can’t stop an idea whose time has come and it’s Lebron James time. 

They know you hate them. They just don't care.

Ed Schultz is a Big, Fat, Idiot (with apologies to Al Franken).

Big Eddie and his brother from another mother.

Ed Schultz is a sexist jack-ass for calling Laura Ingraham a “slut.”   Let’s establish that first and let’s get ready for the half-assed “apology” he’s certain to make sometime in the near future (oops…looks like Schultz got put into the time-out corner for a week by the MSNBC brass after they suspended him without pay).

The second thing that needs to be established is if anyone qualifies as a “media slut” it’s Big Eddie.

Schultz was just another in a long line of Rush Limbaugh wannabees who flipped his political perspective when he saw there was no room on the Right for yet another clone of Limbaugh and pivoted to the Left.

How does a former jock turned sportscaster turned talk show host go from a radio station in Fargo to a nationally broadcast show on MSNBC?   Why, by whoring out whatever principles he had to become a born again Lefty.

After two decades of sports reporting, Schultz launched a 2 1/2-hour regional talk show in 1996.

The show, which he continues to host, blends interviews with local officials and sharp-edged banter with callers, spiced up with Big Eddie’s rants about national affairs. He might report on a local school board meeting, break for the latest on pork belly futures, then swerve into acid commentary on the presidential primaries. The broadcast area reaches into South Dakota and Minnesota; on any given morning, nearly 30% of radio listeners in the region are tuned in to his show.

For years, Schultz’s patter on the regional show was conservative. He scoffed at the homeless for complaining about the cold. “How about getting a job?” he’d ask. He sneered at the three Democrats who represent him in Congress, nicknaming them the Three Stooges.

“I lined up with the Republicans because they were antitax, and I wanted to make a lot of money,” Schultz said.

About two years ago, listeners began to hear a softer tone.  Schultz had once derided farmers for relying on government subsidies. Now he was pounding Bush for not offering extra aid during a drought. He was calling for universal health insurance. And more services for homeless veterans.

Some dismayed fans suspected a cynical motive. “My own opinion is, he knew he would never go national if he stayed on the right or in the middle. I truly believe he moved to the left because he thought that’s where his career would get the biggest boost,” said Ron Gilmore, 42, who runs a cleaning business in Fargo. “You don’t change your politics overnight like he did without a goal in mind.”

Schultz has all the scruples of Arnold Schwarzenegger and John Edwards in a strip club and is about as big a sell-out for whatever the Far Left is shoveling as a Sean Hannity is for the Far Right. The difference being Hannity has always been a shill for the Right while Schultz cynically decided switching allegiances was the smart career path.

Schultz’s switch may have convinced the suits at MSNBC, but there are those that caught his act back in the day are skeptical. 

Ryan Bakken, a columnist at North Dakota’s Grand Forks Herald and a longtime Schultz skeptic, tells me Ed’s ideological shift was drastic. “Ed was about as conservative as you could come. He may not have switched 180 degrees, but he switched 179,” Bakken says.

“Ed saw an opening,” says Bakken, the Grand Forks Herald columnist. “He’s always been smart and able to take advantage of opportunities.” Bakken says that earlier in Schultz’s career, when he was a sportscaster covering football, he switched his allegiance from North Dakota State University to rival University of North Dakota after changing stations.

In an ’03 column, Bakken speculated that Schultz’s transformation was a response to competition from another right-wing talker:

The reason for his shift is that Scott Hennen moved next door in Fargo and took a foothold on the right side of the political spectrum. You can’t get to the right of Hennen without falling off the edge of the world. So that left the left as the only ground available to occupy. You can’t live in the thoughtful, open-minded middle and keep your job in talk radio.

After Keith Olbermann’s firing, there were of pleas made by minority journalists for MSNBC to consider hiring or promoting someone of color to the supposedly “liberal’ network’s evening lineup.  Instead, MSNBC got even  Whiter by eliminating the 10:00 pm reruns of “Countdown” and moving Schultz’s early evening show into primetime.

MSNBC’s motto may be “lean forward” but their commitment to diversity falls back into the bad old days when only White men were providing the news.

What does Ed Schultz really believe?   Yeah, he can bluster and bellow with the worst of them and make his colleagues Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’ Donnell look like Tea Party Patriots, but how much of Schultz’s song and dance just for show or sincerely what he believes in?

Switching rather than fighting paid off handsomely for Big Eddie the Blowhard, but there’s something about him that screams “opportunist.”   If he’s changed his beliefs before will he change them again if someone offers him enough cash to do it?  For years liberals have cried foul when Limbaugh and others on the Right have coarsened political debates with nasty personal slams to dirty up the opposition.   If it’s wrong when conservatives do it, it’s equally wrong when liberals start making mud pies too.

As far as it goes him calling Ingraham a “slut” that’s the wrong slur to use. Sluts give it away for nothing. Whores get paid and a man can be a whore too.

Don’t know about Ingraham’s private life, but Ed knows all about whoring himself for cash money, honey.  Maybe a little time off will remind him he’s no better than any of the right-wingers he rips.

Herman Cain: Alan Keyes With Pizza Sauce

White guy congratulates the Herminator on his nice hat.

This year’s model of the token Negro conservative is Herman Cain, the 65-year-old former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and supposed Tea Party “favorite.”  Meaning:   Another House Negro who tells White folks exactly what they want to hear; an echo of what they already believe.

“It’s time to get real, folks. Hope and change ain’t working,” Cain said during his announcement  he was making a run to replace President Obama. “Hope and change is not a solution. Hope and change is not a job.

The Associated Press summed up Cain’s positions as follows:

Cain supports a strong national defense, opposes abortion, backs replacing the federal income tax with a national sales tax and favors a return to the gold standard. He said President Barack Obama “threw Israel under the bus” because he sought to base Mideast border talks partly on the pre-1967 war lines, and criticized the Justice Department for challenging Arizona’s tough crackdown on illegal immigration.

The problem with rookies like Cain is they have their rhetoric down cold.  It’s their policies that don’t show any thought  put behind them at all.   It’s predictable a right-wing Republican would have nothing good to say about President Obama’s call for Israel to move back to the 1967 borders, but watch Cain’s stumbling response in a Fox News interview and his foreign policy toward Israel can be summed up as Israel gets anything they want and the Palestinians get “nothing.”

This year’s Alan Keyes is just like the previous year’s model.  A rank amateur who has never held any elected office (he ran for the U.S. Senate in Georgia and lost in a three-way race) and while he doesn’t have any solutions, could he interest you in some nice slogans?

But unlike Keyes there is much to admire about “the Herminator.”  He’s an entrepreneur from Atlanta who when he worked for Pillsbury turned around a number of Burger King franchises and took on the challenge as CEO of raising the status of Godfather Pizza to third behind the Pizza Hut and Domino’s chains.  He’s also a right-wing radio host who survived Stage 4 colon and liver cancer.   The Herminator ain’t no wimp.

Which isn’t to say he’s not above sinking to the most tired of right-wing themes like President Obama not being an American citizen (“I respect people that believe he should prove his citizenship … He should prove he was born in the United States of America”) or how liberals aren’t simply wrong, but evil (“The objective of the liberals is to destroy this country. The objective of the liberals is to make America mediocre. … That’s their objective. Well, let me tell you something about mediocrity. It’s not in an American’s DNA to be mediocre.”)

Cain will be an entertaining figure at the Republican presidential debates, but if he really thinks the Tea Party or the Republican establishment is really going to conclude, “the best way to beat a Black liberal is with a Black conservative” he’s slammed one pizza too many.   Obama painted the White House black and the GOP desperately wants it back.  If Cain is lucky, he’d be considered for Secretary of Commerce in a President Romney or Pawlenty’s Cabinet.  His more likely fate is to be just another afterthought in the lower strata of the Republican also-rans.

Can Cain turn his long-shot bid into a serious contender based upon his ability to send a tingle up the leg for the White right (as this love note from Michael Medved illustrates)?  Unlikely in 2012 because outside of that narrow base, he barely merits a “Who he?” nationally. But in what is a pretty dull group of White guys running against him, Cain adds diversity and possesses a booming baritone that can reach the back of the room sans microphone.  At the very least he will raise his national profile.  That’s probably as good as its going to get because with only $13 in his campaign’s war chest the pizza man doesn’t have the dough to be much more than the bused-in entertainment at Republican debates.

"And when I'm elected there will be coupons for Godfather's Pizza for everyone. Except Muslims."

The problems of this country and this world are too big, too complex and too much for Cain who is short of policy and long on rhetoric.  If talking tough fixed anything Donald Trump would still be the GOP front-runner instead of just another guy who quit even before he started.   There are some whom believe we need a businessman elected president since we’ve tried politicians and that hasn’t worked out.

The reality is we just had a president with a M.B.A. and spent the surplus, slashed taxes in a time of war, created a massive new entitlement program for the elderly without funding it, ran up huge deficits and led the nation into near economic ruin.   Now Cain wants to the latest non-professional politician to advance the absurd notion that America can be turned around like an underperforming pizza joint?

Forget it.  Herman Cain can’t deliver.

Sade’s “Ultimate Collection” Isn’t.

"I'm very excited by this album.. Can't you tell?"

Did the world really need a new Sade “best of” album? Possibly, since it has been 17 years since The Best of Sade (Epic,1994), even if there has only been two albums worth of new material since then. But actually it’s Sade who needed to put out this double disc. The timing of The Ultimate Collection is in no small part related to the fact Sade is off on her first world tour in a decade and since Soldier of Love (Epic, 2010) is a year old now she needed to some “new” product to whet the appetite of the fans.

Despite there being twice as many songs on The Ulitmate Collection than the The Best of Sade, there is still some noticeable padding included with three unreleased (and mostly unremarkable) tracks and two remixes, including Sade’s first collaboration with another artist other than her typical bandmates. Unfortunately, she chose the rapper, Jay-Z and the result of this duet that really isn’t a duet at all is a train wreck of two totally incompatible styles colliding headlong (yes, it is THAT bad).

All the expected hits are here (“Smooth Operator,” “Hang On to Your Love,” “Never As Good As the First Time” “No Ordinary Love”) while dropping “Like A Tattoo” and “Please Send Me Someone to Love ” to be replaced with the new additions “Feel No Pain” and “Bullet Proof Soul” from Love Deluxe, five tracks from Lovers Rock and three from Soldier of Love.

The inclusion of five selections from the leaden Lovers Rockis a small mystery, but a bigger one is why three of the album best songs, (“Lovers Rock,” “Somebody Already Broke My Heart,” and “Every Word”) aren’t here while three of the most sparse tracks, (“Flow,” “King of Sorrow” and “The Sweetest Gift”) are.

The three “new” songs are likely leftovers from the Solider of Love and Lovers Rock sessions. It’s hard to tell as the track information doesn’t make it clear. “Still In Love” is a ballad by the late Phil Lynott, the frontman of the rock band Tthin Lizzy. It’s okay, if not particularly dazzling. “Love is Found” has a bit more energy along the lines of “Soldier of Love” though Sade still delivers it with her customary world-weariness, but it’s far superior to “I Would Never Have Guessed,” a trite trifle which should have stayed locked in whatever vault it was left in.

A "duet" nobody asked for and nobody wanted.

WhySade decided her first collaboration with another artist should be Jay-Z is anyone’s guess (was Beyonce busy?) , but it is obvious at no time were they even in the same time zone when he added his pointless contribution to the remix of “The Moon and the Sky.” Sade has never cared before about trends and the “rent-a-rapper” gimmick has become commonplace. If she really wanted to create a buzz for she should have whistled up a true peer like Prince or Maxwell for a guest appearance.

All things considered there’s not much “ultimate” about this collection. There’s no liner notes detailing anything more than musicians, producers and studios, no observations from The Lady herself or even a hired essayists to muse of the larger meaning to Sade’s music. There’s only two photos of Sade in the eight page booklet and none of her bandmates. So much for the “Sade is a band” line The Ultimate Collection could have lived up to title with less skimpy packaging and if it had finally collected one of Sade’s few genuine “jazz” performances, “Killer Blow” from the 1986 film Absolute Beginners.

No such luck. As things stand, a more accurate title would be “The Adequate Collection” because there’s little ultimate about this bare bones piece of product.

Cornel “the Crab” West Pulls Barack Back in the Barrel.

Hey, Barack, where's my invitation?

There is a tug-of-war between the Black Elites and the rest of Black America for the soul of Barack Obama. The issue is most Black folks believe Obama has one. The Elitists like Cornel West don’t think he does. I’ve talked about Princeton professor Cornel West going one from an admirer of the president to one of his most embittered critics.

In an interview West called Obama, “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats. And now he has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it.”

Sympathy for Osama bin Laden?  That’s bad, but West made it worse.

“I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men. It’s understandable. As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, he’s always had to fear being a white man with black skin. All he has known culturally is white. He is just as human as I am, but that is his cultural formation. When he meets an independent black brother, it is frightening. And that’s true for a white brother. When you get a white brother who meets a free, independent black man, they got to be mature to really embrace fully what the brother is saying to them. It’s a tension, given the history. It can be overcome. Obama, coming out of Kansas influence, white, loving grandparents, coming out of Hawaii and Indonesia, when he meets these independent black folk who have a history of slavery, Jim Crow, Jane Crow and so on, he is very apprehensive. He has a certain rootlessness, a deracination. It is understandable.”

“He feels most comfortable with upper middle-class white and Jewish men who consider themselves very smart, very savvy and very effective in getting what they want,” he says. “He’s got two homes. He has got his family and whatever challenges go on there, and this other home. Larry Summers blows his mind because he’s so smart. He’s got Establishment connections. He’s embracing me. It is this smartness, this truncated brilliance, that titillates and stimulates brother Barack and makes him feel at home. That is very sad for me,”

West’s amateur psychoanalysis provoked sharp responses from Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart denouncing West as part of the “Blacker than thou” crowd and his slam of Obama making him “no better than a Birther.” 

But the epic smack down came from a Princeton colleague,  Melissa Harris-Perry, who wrote of West’s remarks,  “This comment is utter hilarity coming from Cornel West who has spent the bulk of his adulthood living in those deeply rooted, culturally rich, historically important black communities of Cambridge, MA and Princeton, NJ. And it is hard to see his claim that Obama is “most comfortable with upper middle-class white and Jewish men who consider themselves very smart, very savvy and very effective in getting what they” as anything other than a classic projection of his own comfortably ensconced life at Harvard and Princeton Universities. Harvard and Princeton are not places that are particularly noted for their liberating history for black men.

Princeton vs. Princeton: Let's get ready to rumble!

West is setting himself up as the arbiter of another man’s Blackness and some folks are just as full of spite applauding it like trained seals.

West is rapidly transitioning from being petty to being stupid.   Perhaps the most annoying thing about him is how he calls everyone a “dear brother” just before he tries to rip them a new asshole.   And West isn’t above being petty.  He’s still raw over not getting an invitation to the inauguration.

His questioning of the president’s Blackness got the most attention.  But it is his reaction to how he perceives Obama snubbed him during his inauguration that tells you best what playground West is on.

“I used to call my dear brother [Obama] every two weeks. I said a prayer on the phone for him, especially before a debate. And I never got a call back. And when I ran into him in the state Capitol in South Carolina when I was down there campaigning for him he was very kind. The first thing he told me was, ‘Brother West, I feel so bad. I haven’t called you back. You been calling me so much. You been giving me so much love, so much support and what have you.’ And I said, ‘I know you’re busy.’ But then a month and half later I would run into other people on the campaign and he’s calling them all the time. I said, wow, this is kind of strange. He doesn’t have time, even two seconds, to say thank you or I’m glad you’re pulling for me and praying for me, but he’s calling these other people. I said, this is very interesting. And then as it turns out with the inauguration I couldn’t get a ticket with my mother and my brother. I said this is very strange. We drive into the hotel and the guy who picks up my bags from the hotel has a ticket to the inauguration. My mom says, ‘That’s something that this dear brother can get a ticket and you can’t get one, honey, all the work you did for him from Iowa.’ Beginning in Iowa to Ohio. We had to watch the thing in the hotel.

“What it said to me on a personal level,” he goes on, “was that brother Barack Obama had no sense of gratitude, no sense of loyalty, no sense of even courtesy, [no] sense of decency, just to say thank you. Is this the kind of manipulative, Machiavellian orientation we ought to get used to? That was on a personal level.”

What that says to ME is Cornel West has a sense of entitlement a mile wide, an over-sized (and easily bruised) ego a mountain high and a personal shallowness that is a mud puddle deep.

There’s nothing remotely “intellectual” about such petulant, infantile whining.    West is acting like a spurned lover mad because Obama hasn’t called him on Friday night, not like a critically thinking intellectual..

Somehow the professional crybabies like West and his booty boy, Tavis “Subprime” Smiley and their amen corner think Obama can propose a jobs program or an education program or a free bucket of chicken program that benefits ONLY Black folks.   Yeah, let’s see how long it takes Faux News to lose their minds over that.   Then let’s see how fast John Boehner and the rest of the Republican controlled House (where ever dime of the federal budget comes from) bust their humps to help Obama galvanize the Black vote for 2012.

Anybody see Cornel West's Afro in this barrel?

You can climb up to the top of the Empire State Building, jump off singing “I Believe I Can Fly” and the last thought that goes through your brain before its turned into mushy street pizza along with the rest of your dumb ass will be, “Damn, I Believe I CAN’T Fly.”

Gravity doesn’t care what lie you tell yourself.  Gravity always wins.   Well, the same principle applies to politics.  Politics doesn’t care what West or Smiley and their amen corner wants.  Politics only cares what is possible and it is IMPOSSIBLE for this president or any of his 43 predecessors to push through legislation for a job program that ONLY benefits 12 percent of the population.

West and Smiley can jump off the Empire State Building if they want to.  I hope there’s enough of their amen corner looking up to break their fall when they come crashing down.

This is not a conversation most people enjoy having and conversations people don’t enjoy having are precisely the kind true intellectuals should compel us to hold. But not the way West did running from one White man (Chris Hedges) to another (Ed Schultz) to denounce Obama as not being authentically Black enough. That’s NOT his call to make and he damn sure doesn’t need to be pandering to White liberals who enjoy watching the Negroes play “crabs in a barrel.”

I’m sorry, Dear Brother West, but you’re thinking emotionally, not strategically. Starting this kind of drama does nothing but get people irate. It sure won’t nudge them around to the perspective you’d like them to get to.

Maybe it’s time for Dear Brother West to bust out the Afro.  It seems to be cutting off the fresh air circulating to his brain.

"How come you don't call me anymore, Barack?"

Fox News: If It’s Black, We Attack!

Common: threat or menace? Both, according to Fox News.

Last week The White House invited several rappers and hip-hop artists, including Common and Jill Scott to a poetry performance.

And Fox News went on the attack.  The target of their wrath?  Common, the so-called “conscious rapper.”

Bill O’Reilly:

First lady Michelle Obama invited a number of poets to read their works at the White House Wednesday night. Among them is a rapper named Common, who is controversial to say the least.

This guy has sympathized with convicted cop killers. He also does the usual rap stuff, touting guns and other anti-social behavior. In addition, he is a friend of Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

So why on earth would the president and first lady invite this man to the White House?

The answer, I believe, is that the Obamas do not understand the sensibilities of many Americans. We saw that during the campaign with the president’s comments on guns and religion.

The real issue that Jay Carney dodged is about appropriate behavior. Murdered police officers is not something you rap about lightly. Common has no idea what happened, yet he has taken an irresponsible position.

The president and first lady have made a major mistake in inviting this man to the White House. He surely does not deserve that honor.

Sarah Palin:

“You know, the White House’s judgment on inviting someone who would glorify cop killing during Police Memorial Week, of all times, you know, the judgment–it’s just so lacking of class and decency and all that’s good about America with an invite like this.”

Sean Hannity:

It seems this administration will never learn its lesson. Tomorrow, Michelle Obama is set to host an evening of poetry and will welcome a slew of poets, musicians, students from all across the country to the White House. Among them is a controversial rapper and poet, Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr., better known as Common. Now, he’s a staunch supporter of the president and has a running list of controversial comments.

Two thousand and seven, during an HBO’s “Def Poetry” appearance, Common called for the burning of President George W. Bush. Now the poem reads — I’m not the best at this — “Burn a Bush cos’ for peace he no push no button, killing over oil and grease, no weapons of mass destruction, how can we follow a leader when this is a corrupt one?”

Common, not surprisingly, is also associated with Obama’s pastor more than 20 years, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Look at this video of Common performing at Trinity United Church of Christ on New Year’s Eve 2007.

Fox News: The most dishonest name in news

As far as rappers go, Common is about as dangerous as a Cosby kid and all these prissy, tight-ass White folks tut-tut-tutting President Obama and the First Lady is nothing more than Fox going back into attack mode against the successful capturing and killing of Osama bin Laden.  Now it’s time to knock the prez back down a few pegs and who better to do it than the lying liars of Fox News?\

Others also saw through Fox’s faked outrage directed at Common.

Common is about the least controversial rapper in the business. He’s roughly as edgy as LeVar Burton. He’s the rap version of Wayne Brady. He’s a friendly, easy-going, cross-cultural musician and actor who stars in easygoing rom-coms with Queen Latifah, only appears menacing to Tina Fey and Steve Carrell on celluloid, and is typically the first person mentioned whenever anybody brings up the concept of a “conscious” MC.

But don’t tell that to FOX News and Sarah Palin.

~ Entertainment Weekly

Conservatives on Fox News are spending this week attacking the White House for inviting the rapper-poet Common to the White House for a poetry reading last night. They are upset with Common for poetry he recited on the TV show Def Poetry Jam, targeting President Bush for taking us to war in Iraq and not finding weapons of mass destruction. Karl Rove called him a thug for standing onstage reciting poetry in a wig. Really? The congressional staffers the GOP sent to disrupt the vote counting outside of a government office in Miami during the 2000 presidential-election recount were more thuggish.

Artists tend to reflect most immediately on their surroundings and interpret them for the world to see and hear. Common is by far one of the most community-focused rappers, with lyrics that try to educate and stimulate thinking and positive behavior. In fact, he once wrote a song called “Retrospect for Life” about the struggle over whether or not to abort his unborn child. Many would consider the song “pro-life” because he and the mother decide to keep the baby, proclaiming, “$315 ain’t worth your soul.” The conservatives chose to ignore that in their critiques.

~ The

Anti-racism activist Tim Wise called out Fox for their race-baiting and Jon Stewart went off on a monumental blast to blister the network for their hysterical whipping on anti-rap resentments of their conservative audience.

What is UP with Fox News? Why do they lose their shit about rappers like Common stopping by the White House. Why do they think there’s so mileage in attacking rap when its White kids who are the primary purchasers of rap?

This is simply another Fox News manufactured “controversy.” There IS NO STORY here. Just another “scary Black folks” con-job “controversy” manufactured by the scare mongers of Fox to whip up White conservatives into a mouth-foaming fury.

The real hypocrisy is how Fox wags its finger in its own self-righteousness at Common, a rapper that’s about as hardcore as Stevie Wonder while not saying jack shit about Mike Huckabee announcing he’s not running for  president on his show with Terrible Ted Nugent, the Motor City Madman, by his side.

Fox is fine with Mr. “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang’ calling Hillary Clinton “a worthless bitch” or saying Barack Obama should suck on his shotgun because Nugent’s politics mirror their own.  Which is why they can raise hell over Common’s lyrics while ignoring these:

I´ve got no inhibitions
So keep your keys out of your ignition
I steal a car like I got the curse
I can´t resist the old lady’s purse

Jailbait you look so good to me
Jailbait won´t you set me free
Jailbait you look fine fine fine
I know I´ve got to have you in a matter of time

Well I don´t care if you´re just thirteen
You look too good to be true
I just know that you´re probably clean
There´s one lil’ thing I got do to you

Jailbait you look so good to me
Jailbait won´t you set me free
Jailbait you look fine fine fine
I know I´ve got to have you in a matter of time

So tell your mama that I´m back in town
She likes us boys when it´s time to get down
She´s got this craving for the underage
I just might be your mama’s brand new rage

Jailbait you look so good to me
Jailbait won´t you set me free
Jailbait you look fine fine fine
I know I got to have you in a matter of time

Honey you you you look so nice
She´s young she´s tender
Won´t you please surrender
She’s so fine she´s mine
All the time, all mine mine
It´s all right baby
It´s quite all right I asked your mama
Wait a minute officer
Don´t put those handcuffs on me
Put them on her and I´ll share her with you

Jailbait, jailbait

The Nuge and the Huck crooning for poon.

The message from Fox is Black rappers expressing doubts of a cop killer’s guilt is wrong, but old White rockers singing about fucking underage girls?  That’s cool because they don’t really mean it.

Got it. Hypocrites.

Fox’s right-wing, race-baiting bullshit is so obvious it’s not even mildly amusing to point it out anymore.