Advertising: Whoop Dat Trick Exercise Video

⊆ 2:58 PM by James Manning | ˜ 32 comments »

The following is a paid advertisement for the Whoop Dat Trick Exercise Video and is brought to you by West Mothafuckin' Side Publishing, and does not reflect the thoughts and attitudes of this blog and its commentors.

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Lets hear from a female client.

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Disclaimer: Please recognize that no matter how much training you've had, there are some people in the world that will fuck you up with the quickness. So if you step to some Ving Rhames type mothafucka and he goes Medieval on yo ass - then you just picked the wrong mothafucka to fuck with. West Mothafuckin Side Publishing is not responsible for any injuries acquired from any attempt to whoop a trick. By purchasing this video, you assume all risk to getting yo ass whooped when applying the techniques demonstrated in this video. We're not trying to pay because you decided to do some dumb shit. Fuck that!!!

Don't forget to check out our Cuss Out Kit now available.

And the folks at West Mothafuckin' Side Publishing welcomes you to 2006!!!

 

A Look Back At 2005

⊆ 8:59 AM by James Manning | ˜ 26 comments »

Top Events in my personal life
1. Moving to Los Angeles to be with Jaimie
2. Starting this blog
3. Professionally diagnosed with Adult ADD
4. Flying to Philadelphia to be the best man in my brother's wedding

My Favorite Post of 2005
1.
The Cuss Out Kit
This is by far one of the funniest things I have ever written. The response was great and I am almost certain it will continue to be ranked as some of my best writing.
2. Killing My Cats: Would I Be Wrong
I've had this ongoing battle with my girlfriend's cats and you seem to get a kick out of it. This post started the battle and it has raged on ever since.
3. A Non-PC Discussion on Homophobia
There are two topics that generate in-depth comments. This was the first to do so. It came in the shadows of a post I called, Not Ready For the Gay Leading MAN.
4. Intelligent Design
I have an entire series of post on this topic and it never fails to generate a lot of comments. For anyone that is interested in the topic, I think this is as good of a starting point than any I've seen. It is full of references and insightful commentary by some very smart people.
5. Skin We In
I wrote this essay several years ago and it is still my favorite. It speaks of the color-struck war that still rages in the black community. It was written in 2005, but it was posted here and I think it is worthy of review.

Favorite Movies of 2005
1. Crash
2. Rent
3. Chronicles of Narnia
4. Hustle & Flow

Worst Movies of 2005
1. A History of Violence
2. Constantine
3. War of the Worlds

Favorite Album of 2005
1. Common - Be
2. John Legend - Get Lifted

Best Sports Moments of 2005
1. White Sox winning game four of the World Series to end an 88 year curse.
2. The Fighting Illini erasing a 24 point deficit to beat Arizona and advance to the NCAA Finals
3. Podesdnik hist a homerun in the bottom of the ninth to win game 2 of the World Series.

Favorite Famous People I Said Good-bye to in 2005
1. Richard Pryor, comedian and actor, died December 10 at the age of 65.
2. Rosa Parks, civil rights icon, died October 24 at the age of 92.
3. Nipsey Russell, the poet laureate of television, died October 2 at the age of 80.
4. Luther Vandross, musician, died July 1 at the age of 54.
5. Johnnie Cochran, lawyer best known for his work on the O.J. defense, died March 29 at the age of 67.
6. Sandra Dee, actress best known as Gidget, died February 20 at the age of 63.
7. Ossie Davis, actor, died February 4 at the age of 87.

Most Famous Person I Personally Saw in 2005
Countess Vaughn: I saw her at a Citi Bank ATM in Culver City, CA. I would have thought after 8 months in Los Angeles I would have seen Halle Berry by now. As of yet, no such luck.

The People I Hated the Most in 2005
1. George Bush (No surprise there, huh?)
2. Dick Cheney
3. Jesse Lee Peterson
4. Pat Robertson
5. Terrell Owens (The guy completely destroyed my Fantasy Football team)

Best Quote of 2005
"George Bush does not care about black people." - Kanye West

Funniest Quote of 2005
"George Bush does not care about black people." - Kanye West

Best Ghetto Phrase of 2005



Whoop Dat Trick!!!




HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!!

 

Conversing with the Christian Right... Good Luck

⊆ 7:00 AM by James Manning | ˜ 19 comments »

Classic Repost (first posted on August 2, 3005):

This question was posed to me by Mak Oba from http://duns.thatbitch.com:

…why it is that some of the people claiming conservative views and Christian values would routinely contradict those by "bearing false witness" and not manning (or womanning) up and facing those with disagreeing viewpoints with the confidence that being on the Lord's side "should" bring.


The source of this question comes from a topic on LaShawnBarber.com, which called Islam a cult and terrorist organization. During the course of this discussion, many so-called Christians called for the US to ban the practice of Islam, deport all Muslims who were not citizens and threaten Saudi Arabia with nuclear war if a terrorist attack took place on American soil. The commentors considered such an action a pragmatic approach to the "War on Terror." I and several others say that it is lunacy and in general, racist. During this discussion there were several opposing views that were deleted or amended by La Shawn. It is her blog so she can do what she wants but whenever challenged, many Christians will deflect the criticism by posing questions with loaded catch phrases or resort to name-calling.

It is my opinion that the Christian Right speaking with confidence is not the issue. In fact, they are quite confident in what they say. The problem is that debating is no longer a point, counter-point dialogue but a “stand on conviction”, spewing of talking points, yelling festival. The discourse in American politics is one where tolerance is seen as weakness and intolerance is seen as principled. When polled, Americans said that they admired President Bush’s conviction and that fact that he does not waiver on what he believes (even when clearly shown that he should). Kerry was labeled a flip-flopper because he embraced the nuances creating legislation.

One thing we have to realize is that Christian conservative is at war with American culture. Men like James Dobson of Focus on the Family and Pat Robertson makes this clear every chance they get. To many on the Right, the very principles that make us a great country also represent the source of our inevitable demise. Tolerance, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, a free press and judicial equality is principles the Christian Right say they support but there is a caveat in that support. They support it only when it does not contradict their strict interpretation of the Christian faith or strikes their patriotic cord. The calls for Constitutional amendments to ban flag burning, gay marriage, a return to prayer in schools and an end to abortion as well as the indifference to the problems with the Iraq war shows that the Christian Right is not interested in the principles on which America was founded. They are interested in total domination of American culture and politics.

It is no surprise when debating them that they will ignore the facts so long as they are moving forward on their agenda. When people like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter and Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson are as popular as they are, it is clear evidence that many on the Right are embracing a fire and brimstone, scorched earth policy with regards to political discourse. Common sense or compromise is not a part of their vocabulary. Their language is loaded and framed by talking points and rarely do they stray away from them. The world of politics have changed and those on the Left must face the reality that they see us as an enemy just as much as they see the detainees in Guantonimo Bay.

So my brother, it is not that they are not confident in what they are saying. It is just they are not caring to hear what you have to say.

 

Never Become A Metrosexual: Reasons 312 & 313

⊆ 12:06 PM by James Manning | ˜ 13 comments »

Reason #312: There is a likelihood you will lose your damn mind and end up making a fool of yourself on Oprah. This is not cool.



Reason #313: You could find yourself on a secluded beach, wearing speedos and the only other person in sight is another metrosexual wearing speedos. Somebody should tell Ricky Martin that this is not gangsta.
Photos provided by Socialitelife.com

 

My Take On The Iraq War

⊆ 11:13 AM by James Manning | ˜ 6 comments »

As many of you know I have always been against the Iraq War. I also recognize that there is a large segment of Americans that support the war. Many of them do so because of political philosophy or because in some way they believe that not supporting the war is tad amount to undermining troop morale. I don’t believe that is the case but this post is not for that discussion. One reason why the anti-war movement has never elevated above minor protest and editorials is because by in large the cost of the war is abstract to most Americans.

Let's face it, $6 billion per month means nothing to most of us. It is a number that is as important as the increase in GDP or Fed interest rate hikes. All those numbers impact our lives, but they aren’t as striking as receiving a 10% wage reduction losing a job.

President Bush made a political calculation that the American people would support the Iraq effort as long as they were not asked to make any sacrifices. Therefore, the burden of our foreign policy is squarely on the shoulders of a few hundred thousand soldiers and their families. A draft to lessen that burden or a tax increase to fund the cost of the war would have raised the intensity of the anti-war movement. President Bush knew this and here we are.

I don’t think most Americans respect the complexity of Iraq. I don’t believe the Bush administration respected the complexity of Iraq. When told of the difficulties they would face and the required troop level needed for success, the Bush team balked and silenced the dissenters. This is especially true for
General Shenseki who estimated that it would take several hundred thousand troops to secure Iraq. The Bush Administration didn’t appreciate that and instead opted for General Tommy Franks estimates.

After Saddam’s fall, the occupation began and Paul Bremer went on to make serious mistakes in Iraq. The first was not containing the lawlessness that ensued after the fall of Saddam. The second was the De-Baathification of Iraq’s political structure. This eliminated the most experienced bureaucrats from the political and reconstruction process. There are a host of mistakes that Bremer made that led to the situation we have now. You can read a detailed report
here.

The war started on March 20, 2003 and since then we have endured over 2100 American casualties and countless Iraqi casualties. The President has set the course for dramatic changes in 2006. Based on news reports, it looks as though the Pentagon will start troop reduction early next year and by the time the mid-term elections roll around, I suspect we will have less than 90,000 troops in Iraq. I believe it is safe to say that 2006 will be the most important year that determines the outlook for Iraq’s future.

Contrary to what most right-wingers say, the level of American involvement in Iraq will be determined by the realities of American politics and not the reality of what is taking place on the ground in Iraq. Most right-wingers ignore the complexity of the situation instead opting for powder puff facts noting how many schools were built or how many new businesses were created. Although there are many good things happening in Iraq, it is happening under precarious conditions and with a destabilizing political undercurrent. It is the undercurrent that will determine the future of Iraq and if it is able to prosper as a country or divide itself into ethnic regions.


The sectarian violence and the security forces dominated by militias do not bode well for the country. I believe the violence would be greater if not for the presence of American troops. The reconstruction is still slow going do to the violence and the Shiites and Kurds are positioning themselves for Civil War and some form of independence from whatever central government the Iraqi Parliament forms.

This is the reality of Iraq as we speak. It is far more complicated than what the media presents and Bush has been very successful with keeping Iraq in the abstract with most Americans. This is sad because there is more to this story than the number of troop casualties, how many provinces are safe and number of good news stories shown on cable news. But that doesn't seem to resonate with most.

 

Kwanzaa - To Celebrate or Not

⊆ 9:04 AM by James Manning | ˜ 25 comments »

Jaimie asked my why is it that I don't celebrate Kwanzaa. She figured that I being Afrocentric and all that I would naturally want to celebrate a tradition that highlight African tradition. Well, I actually didn't have a decent answer for her. I guess the main reason I don't celebrate Kwanzaa is because I've never celebrated Kwanzaa. I know the principles or at least I am familiar with them. I have nothing particular against it but I've never made it a point to make it a part of my holiday celebration.

What I am wondering is that it seems as though I should have some guiding principle to my not celebrating it. I don't because I never did doesn't seem to hold much weight in an intellectual discourse on celebrating Kwanzaa. If someone were to ask for the reason I don't celebrate Hanukkah then my answer is because I am not Jewish. However, with Kwanzaa being a celebration of black heritage - and I am black - then is there really a reason not to celebrate it.

Why Some Oppose Kwanzaa

According to those that oppose the celebration it is because it is not biblically based and removes the focus from God to self-worth. They feel that it is wrong to celebrate the triumphs of people of African decent rather than honoring God. They also note that the man that invented Kwanzaa is an ex-con, Ron Karenga, who was very anti-Christian in the beginning.

I won't begrudge them for their opposition. However, I find these arguments odd when we tell our Children that a fat white man from the North Pole knows if they are being naughty or nice and will arrive in the middle of the night being pulled by a red nose reindeer and leave presents under a tree. These same folks also believe in a religion that was introduced to them by slave masters. I could go deeper but I'll just stop here for the sake of time.

Anyway, neither of those reasons mentioned has anything to do with my reasoning for not celebrating Kwanzaa. In fact, I don't have any reason except for the fact that I just don't. There will be a lot said about Kwanzaa this week and I am of the mindset to live and let live. For those of you that celebrate it... Happy Kwanzaa. For those of you that don't - happy after Christmas sale shopping ;)

The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa

Umoja (Unity)To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.

Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.

Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)To build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together.

Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.

Nia (Purpose)To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Kuumba (Creativity)To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

Imani (Faith)To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.


Discussion Starters:

1. Do you celebrate Kwanzaa? Why - Why not?
2. Should Black folk feel obligated to celebrate Kwanzaa?
3. Do you think Kwanzaa in contradictory towards Christian principles?
4. Should the background of the man that invented Kwanzaa be a determining factor in whether to celebrate Kwanzaa?

UPDATE:

LaShawn Barber and Cobb have opposing views on the celebrating of Kwanzaa. Check them out and let me know what you think.

 

Friday's Top Ten: Christmas Gifts of My Youth

⊆ 9:10 AM by James Manning | ˜ 55 comments »

Classic Repost for Christmas

With this being the Christmas season, what better way to start it off than with a Christmas Gift Top Ten. Now, I know there are a lot of folks that will feel me on this list because many of will recall these gifts with fondness. There is nothing better than waking up Christmas morning to find at least one great gift under the tree. We didn't have a lot of money, but my grandmother made Christmas special and these are the greatest gifts I've ever received.

10. GI Joe w/Kung-fu Grip: If you didn't have one of these action figures then you weren't really trying to play war. My brother and I built dirt mountains in the field to play. The best part was trying to resuce my sister's Barbie from the enemy. But she was always killed by a fire cracker and smoke bomb. This is how I found out that Barbie dolls don't burn as easily as you would think. We'll bypass the punishments I received for destroying my sister's dolls.

9. Tonka Trucks: The perfect gift for boys that enjoy seeing how destructive they could be with their toys. I never broke a Tonka truck and it certainly wasn't for lack of trying. They make the perfect gift. It really got fun if you got the tractor, dump truck and crane. I loved my trucks and kept them for years.

8. Six Million Dollar Man Action Figure: This was such a cool toy. I loved how he came apart and had the little robotic arms and legs. He had his own space ship as well. It was the eye that made him special. He had a hole in his head to let the light shine through one of his eyes. When you covered the hole with a finger, it looked as though is eye was flashing. Mine dated Barbie until she was killed in the war.

7. Electric Train Set: For those of you with sons, buy them an electric train set. It is one of the best gifts you can give to a kid. My grandmother purchased the train set for Christmas and then picked up buildings and other items for the town as the year went on. My train set connected with the race set so we would race the cars and run the trains and see which car would get smashed by the train. It's a great gift and could lead to a nice hobby to enjoy for years to come. My son will definitely have one.

6. Race tracks: This went right along with the train set. They aren't as fun as you would think they should be but for some reason I still love them. The more expensive the track the faster the cars can go before falling off of the track. The good ones had a lap counter as well. They didn't last long but for the time that we had them, it was the best thing going.

5. Atari 5200: It is a sorry game by today's standard, but in those days it was the most advanced thing we had ever seen. My cousin was the first in the nieghborhood to get one and we would play for hours. Football was our favorite game. He ran the same pattern on me... #1 - #5. That combination killed me. It was a quick slant pattern and I could never stop it. He'd let me stay close for three quarters then blow me out in the forth. Boy, he was cruel.

4. Green Machine: The greatest big wheel ever invented. Oh, the red and yellow big wheels were all right. But the ballers rolled with the Green Machines. Riding them is different since you guide them from the back. The weren't faster, but they just looked way cooler than anything on the play ground. If not for my size... and shame, I'd buy one for myself.

3. Electric Football: To this day I don't understand how these doggone things work, but they were a must have for any Christmas list. My best friend and I would play but for some reason my quarterback would always spin in circles. There was no way to pass the ball so you just had to hope the running back broke down the sidelines. My best friend tried to melt one of the players and his mother walked in on us. Boy, she tore his but up. I left. But she called my grandmother and she sent me back down the treat to get my butt spanked. Bad memory - great gift. I just might purchase one for myself.

2. Hand Held Football: So they were on dashes and dots. It was a great game. You could always tell if the person was in the midst of a big gain by the way they hit the buttons. All you would see is the game shaking and their thumb moving up and down on the buttons. It made different sound depending on what happened. We played in class - just open your desk, turn the sound offf and go at it. It's a game that we could play for hours.

1. Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots: Hours and hours of fun. A little violent consider that the goal was to knock the opposing robot's head off. But this is by far the best game ever invented. It is one of the few games that lasted well into the summer. We took it on every trip and we even had tournaments. Frankly, every boy should have one. I might go purchase one for the house. Maybe I can battle Jaimie over who will clean the litter box.

Ok, those are mine. What's yours?

 

Pigskin Challenge: Week 16

⊆ 9:51 AM by James Manning | ˜ 17 comments »

Update: Man oh man the Bears played a nice game yesterday. I think the defense needs to tighten up a bit. Maybe they are relaxed because they know that they have an offense now. But they still need to dominate but I'll give them a pass.

I'll deal with the games that had playoff implications.

Vikings vs. Baltimore: The one game they had to win and they blew it. But Baltimore has been playing better as of late. The Vikings will need to retool their offense if they want to move to the next level.

Cincinnati vs. Buffalo: The Bengals had a chance for a first round bye and blew it. This should give them a nice wakeup call that they are are not THERE. It looks like they will have to play the Steelers in the first round. I don't think they will win that game.

Carolina vs. Dallas: The Cowboys still have a chance but I don't think they'll make it. Neither of these teams will compete for the NFC Championship.

Washington vs. NY Giants: I don't know how good either of these two teams are. They look like championship caliber one week then suck the next. But I do believe that either is capable of pulling off an upset in the playoffs so I'd be worried if I had to play one of them.

Kansas City vs. San Diego: I'm not sure what happened to the Chargers. They lost four games in the final two minutes. That is no consolation to the fact that they won't make the playoffs. The Chiefs have a chance but they will need some help.

Preseason Prediction Recap

What was I thinking on week one? Lets see. The follow were my preseason picks.

1. Indianapolis Colts
2. New England Patriots
3. Philadelphia Eagles
4. Pittsburgh Steelers
5. Baltimore Ravens
6. Carolina Panthers
7. Atlanta Falcons
8. San Deigo Chargers
9. Minnesota Vikings
10. Kansas City Chiefs

In Week 4 I revised the list to:

1. Indianapolis Colts (1)
2. Philadelphia Eagles (3)
3. Atlanta Falcons (7)
4. Cincinnati Bengals (-)
5. San Diego Chargers (8)
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (4)
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-)
8. Denver Broncos (-)
9. New England Patriots (2)
10. NY Giants (-)

Only 4 teams made it to the playoffs from the first list and 7 from the week 4 recap. Next week I'll do my playoff predictions.



This will probably be my last post before Christmas so I would like to take the time out to wish all of you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Feliz Navidad, Happy Kwanza and Happy Holidays for those of you that don't celebrate anything or celebrate everything.

Ya'll be safe, visit the family, hug somebody, and try to be good to a stranger.

On a sad note. It looks as though Tony Dungy's son took his own life. I know that must hurt. The man was having a great season and I'm sure nothing can be said to ease their pain. A very sad thing. So ya'll say a prayer for Tony Dungy and his family. And while your at it, say a prayer for everyone because we know not everyone is as blesses as we are.

Here are the picks.

MIAMI vs. Tennessee
NEW ORLEANS vs. Detroit
TAMPA BAY vs. Atlanta
CINCINNATI vs. Buffalo
WASHINGTON vs. New York (NYG)
Pittsburgh vs. CLEVELAND
CAROLINA vs. Dallas
Jacksonville vs. HOUSTON
KANSAS CITY vs. San Diego
ST. LOUIS vs. San Francisco
ARIZONA vs. Philadelphia
SEATTLE vs. Indianapolis
DENVER
vs. Oakland
Chicago vs. GREEN BAY
BALTIMORE vs. Minnesota
New England vs. NEW YORK (NYJ)

 

Friday's Top Ten: Best Rap Albums

⊆ 7:10 AM by James Manning | ˜ 8 comments »

My Top Ten Worst Rappers has brought much grief to the lovers of west coast and southern rap. So with that in mind, I know that this list will irk the new school cats because some of their most popular albums will not make the list. The most glaring omission from the list will be Tupac. There is a reason for that. Tupac was a great MC but his albums moved only the most die hard fans. He had great singles, for sure, but I couldn't label any of his albums a classic. UPDATE: I have to mention All Eyez on Me. That album is a classic.

For you west coast cats, you will note that Dre and NWA are representing with Ice T making it on the notables list. Please refrain from mentioning E40, DJ Quick or MC Eight in you comments. It will only render your opinion meaningless.

I was going to divide the list by a timeline like I did the Top Ten Best Black Movies. Knowing the history of hip hop, I could have create a divide at 1994. That is the year Biggie and Nas dropped their debut albums. It would have marked a distinguishable period in hip hop with two rising stars. That would have made room for Whodini, Blackstar, Snoop Dog, The Roots and others to make it in the top ten on their perspective list. However, I didn't feel like doing all of that so you get the compact version. Maybe one day I will break it down.

Next week, I'm doing the pinnacle of rap list. The Top Ten Greatest MC's of all time. In the meantime, check the list.

THE LIST

#10 -The Chronic - Dr. Dre: Dre really surprised me with this one. I didn't expect it to be as hard as it was but it became an instant classic. Teaming up with Snoop was pure genius if you ask me. It could rank higher than 10 but I probably couldn't move it higher than 7.

#9 - Bigger and Deffer - LL Cool J: This is a personal favorite. It probably wouldn't make the list on with a lot of other rap fans but I think it is one of the best rap albums ever made. No one was sure what LL would do after "Radio" went platinum, but he came hard with "I'm Bad" and "I Need Love" was the bomb. But my favorite track is ".357 Breakdown".

#8 - A Tribe Called Quest - The Low End Theory: Ya'll know the Tribe had to make the list. Again, probably would rank lower on other folks list, but I bump this album too often for it not to make the list.


#7 - Illmatic - Nas: Nas has yet to surpass this classic. I hadn't heard anything about him until this album dropped. But when it did, he instantly became one of the greatest MC's ever. Over the years he has proven himself to be a great MC but until recently, his albums have been suspect.


#6 - Reasonable Doubt - Jay Z: I have to admit, I was behind the curve ball when it came to Jay Z. It wasn't until he dropped Vol II that I even got around to listening to this album. After I did, I found out what the hype was all about. Jay put it down and we know what the results of his effort to change the game are.


#5 - Fear of a Black Planet - Public Enemy: What more could be said about this album. "Black Steal in the Hour of Chaos", "Welcome to the Terrordome" and "Fight the Power" made a brother want to pull out his African medallion and march on the White House.


#4 - Ready to Die - Notorious B.I.G: His first single, "Juicy" did nothing for me but my guy played the entire album for me and it was da bomb. I still had no idea who the guy was but I thought the music was great. Biggie went on to become one of the greatest MC's ever and it is sad that he was taken down in his prime.


#3 - Strait Outta Compton - NWA: The creme de la creme of gangsta music. This album siphoned 400 years of black angst, packed it into 17 tracks and pounded America in the face with it. It ushered in a new genre of rap and no rap group as come close to matching its fire and creativity while immersing us into the pit of black rage. Classic.

#2 - Paid In Full - Eric B & Rakim: Definitely one of the greatest albums ever. Rakim came with a new style of rap that enabled him to claim the crown as the greatest MC ever. It is one of the few albums that you can drop the needle on and let it ride. There are no flaws on this album and I am sure there will be some that say that this is the number one album of all time.

#1 - Raising Hell - Run DMC: But I'm giving the number 1 spot to Run DMC. Rap is what it is today because of what Run DMC accomplished with this album. The album went triple platinum but its influence on mainstream music dwarfed its sells. Oh, and ever song on the album is great.



Notable Albums: Outkast - Aquemini, Gang Starr - Daily Operation, Ice Cube - Death Certificate, Wu Tang Clan - Enter the 36 Chambers, LL Cool J - Mama Said Knock You Out, De La Soul - 3 Feet High and Rising, Jay Z - The Blueprint, Boogie Down Production - By All Means Necessary, Ice T - Power, Kenya West - College Dropout, Common - Be, Ghetto Boys - We Can't Be Stopped, Redman - Whut? Thee Album. Tupac - All Eyez on Me, D.O.C. - No One Can Do It Better.

Images provided by Amazon.com

 

Insight to Bush's Spy Scam

⊆ 8:53 AM by James Manning | ˜ 22 comments »



The revelation that Bush approved spying by the NSA on Americans is an important issue but I am afraid that it is being framed in partisan political rhetoric. That limits any discussion among the populous. So I will attempt to flesh out template responses by the whacks on the right and the zealots on the left and provide a true assessment of the issue.

First, we have to look at the actions of the President. It is quite simple. President Bush allowed the NSA to monitor the phone calls of Americans placing calls overseas that they suspected of having ties to terrorist organizations. The President claimed that this action is legal and necessary to protect American lives. The power to do this, he claims, is derived from the Constitution and the Authorization to Use Military Force law passed by Congress after the September 11 attack. The Bush Administration has interpreted that law in way that allows them to skirt the provisions of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

This where the waters get muddy. The template response from the right is that during a time of war the President has the power to do this and they give him a pass because they would rather the President approve this measure rather than deal with another attack. What is lost on them is the broader implications of allowing the Executive branch unlimited powers with no oversight.

Did President Bush break the law? In short, yes. The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Acts states:


The President may authorize, through the Attorney General, the surveillance without a court order for the period of one year provided it is only for foreign intelligence information and there is no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party.
Again, we are dealing with muddy waters so maybe a more important question to ask is why did President Bush choose to not work within the framework of the law? I've heard several excuses from Righties but the following are two most responses that I've read:

Defense #1) Acting outside of FISA allows the President to be more nimble.

FACT: FISA has issued over 19,000 warrants since 1979 and has denied only five requests. So it is highly unlikely that Bush would have found any pushback from the courts. The President can get a warrant any time of day and the court has a maximum of 72 hours to respond the request. But when the President calls for a request that is in regards to national security, no judge is going to wait that long to issue a warrant.

Defense #2) We can't wait months for the courts to act.

FACT: The FISA allows the judge to issue a warrant that is retroactive. Meaning, the President could start the surveillance in March and obtain a warrant in June and still be within the confines of the law. The gives the President ample leeway to act on any information.

Defense #3) The President has this power in wartime.

FACT: The President war powers come after a declaration of war by the Congress. These powers did not come into play during the Cold War, the War on Drugs and it certainly shouldn't apply to an open-ended war which what the War on Terror is. The Authorization to Use Military Force passed by Congress was for the purpose of military action in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I believe this subject is more important that what is being portrayed in the media. President Bush has pushed the envelope for five years and I wonder will Congress finally have the nerve to start acting like they are more than a rubber stamp for the Oval Office and act more like a part of the government with actual responsibilities to the American people. We will see.

Sources:

Where’s the Outrage? (Newsweek Article)

Bush's Snoopgate (Newsweek Article)

Cheney Defends Bush

FISA (Wikipedia)

 

Will BET Change

⊆ 10:28 PM by James Manning | ˜ 15 comments »

Now that Reginald Hudlin, who directed "The Bernie Mac Show" and "Everybody Hates Chris" is the president. He stated that he was brought on board to create more original programming. Currently, the network's programming boils down to rehashing the same 20 videos on nine different video shows with reruns of black sitcoms and low budget reality shows sprinkled about in an attempt to pretend that they are on the same level as MTV and VH1.

I have long given up on BET. There was a time when the network was worth something. "Our Voices", "Lead Story", "Teen Summit", "The Tavis Smiley Show" and even "106 & Park" were worth watching. I'm not sure what happened, but they soon began to cater to the lowest common denominator and eliminated quality programming for a continuous run of videos and "get rich quick" infomercial.

To be fair, I believe Bob Johnson was always looking for BET to become the black version of MTV. It was the black viewers that had higher expectations for the network. Many of us were looking for a vehicle to cultivate the images of black people in way that didn't interest mainstream media. We looked to BET to provide news coverage on events overlooked by major cable news channels. We expected BET to provide a platform for black intellectual discourse and be a stepping stone for rising young talent. The major networks never warmed to the idea of a drama focusing on black families - BET was to lead the way in that genre. It never came to pass.

BET became a dumping ground for misogynist's videos and celebrating materialism and self-absorbed ego-maniacs. What we had to learn is that BET wasn't OUR network, it was Bob Johnson's and he was driven by capitalism. I can't begrudge him for that. He became a billionaire and the first black owner of an NBA franchise. Why should we be mad at that? Maybe the only thing we could say is that BET has the potential to be more than what it is but Bob Johnson wasn't the man to make it so.

Now we have Reginald Hudlin at the helm and just maybe things will change. Just based on his creative style with directing Bernie Mac Show and Everybody Hates Chris, maybe a higher level of creativity will find a home at BET. It can't get much worse... at least I don't think it could.

Topic Starters:

1. What is the best show BET every created? (I vote for Teen Summit)
2. Is it wrong to expect more from BET than what the mainstream expect from MTV?
3. If you were president of BET, what would be the first change made?

 

Why Can't They Just Play Ball?

⊆ 9:49 PM by James Manning | ˜ 5 comments »

I drafted Terrel Owens on my fantasy football team. Somehow the jerk got himself kicked off of the team. It ruined my chances for the playoffs and it looks as though I'm going to end the season in 5th place. That is not cool.

Now basketball season is upon us and I draft a decent team - good enough to make the playoffs. But wouldn't you know I end up with another jerk.

What the hell is wrong with Ron Artest? I know the cat is bi-polar and in need of medication, but I thought he took care of that last year. Now here he is screaming for a trade for what reason I have no idea. The Pacers will compete for the NBA championship and he's making millions of dollars. What more could you ask for? I think some of these cats need to be reminded that they are rich because the PLAY a freaken' GAME.

Folks, think how lovely your life would be if your work day consisted of going to the gym to shoot a couple of baskets. Oh yeah, you have to travel and deal with hotels, groupies, first class service and your performance judged on what takes place in 82 60-minute segments. But to compensate for such a gruelling life you're given $70,000 a week. Boy that seems so unfair.

I'm one that believe these cats deserve what they make because they operate in a unique market. But there is a serious disconnect happening when these dudes let their mouths mess with their money. Play the game and handle your business... please. And stop messing up my fantasy teams!!!

 

I'm Losing My Passion

⊆ 6:46 AM by James Manning | ˜ 22 comments »

I've come to the conclusion that it doesn't matter. No one cares. At least not anyone that could actually make a difference. You see, I've been going on and on about Bush for a couple of years now and no matter how many flaws, mistakes, misstatements I reveal, those that support Bush continue to support him as though he is a god. The man can do no wrong in their eyes.

No matter how many Republicans and GOP lobbyist are indicted, the masses gloss over it with a smile and just blame it on Liberals who have no clue. It is an exhausting exercise and I've grown weary of involving myself in the process. So, I'm retiring from Bush politics for a while. The fact is that the Republicans run the House, the Senate and the White House. So those of us on the left have no means of pushing an agenda. We can only oppose their agenda or sit on the sidelines and let them have their way. I've made it a point to oppose them, but that has been an exercise in futility. So now I'm going to sit on the sidelines.

There are a lot of social issues that I could be dealing with and that is where I am going place my energies. Bush's series of speeches and the spying thing irked me, but it is the response from the Right that has made me realize that if Bush wanted to spy on every American in the country, no one on the Right would oppose him. They have no respect for our opinions and basically think that those of us on the left are stupid. So in this environment, my dialogue becomes a board for their target practice and not an opportunity for political discourse. So I am done. Bush will be gone in three years and maybe I'll get back into it before then. But in the meantime, there will be no more postings of Presidential politics on this blog.

So for those of you who love Bush - you wont' get an argument from me.

 

Quick Take On Bush Speech... Spying

⊆ 12:41 PM by James Manning | ˜ 9 comments »

I wasn't going to waste my time with the latest Bush speech. One, I didn't see his address because it came on while the Bears were thrashing the Falcons. I figured I've heard the speech a thousand times before and I wouldn't miss anything. However, a fellow blogger, Miss Chatterbox, has taken me to task on the speech and requested that I give my input on it. So, rather than burden her readers with my leftist opinion, I'll post it on my blog and send her a link.

I read the speech a couple of times because I just wanted to be sure I would do the man's text some justice with a fair assessment. The first part of the speech was basically the same thing we've been hearing since the war started and there was nothing new. He invoked 9/11, which he always does, so there is not story there.

A new twist was the fact that he admitted that the intelligence was faulty. I will give him credit here because he has met me half way on my criticism. What is left to answer is what happened to the intelligence that contradicted the faulty intelligence that he used to justify the war? It would seem to me that if the intelligence he used was faulty then the intelligence he didn't use was accurate. So how did he come to use the intelligence that he used? But I won't labor this point.

Another thing he did in the speech was site a poll that showed that 70% of the Iraqis believe that things are going well in Iraq. Well, lets look at the results of the entire poll and I'll let you judge for yourself:

Preference for a democratic political structure has advanced, to 57 percent of Iraqis, while support for an Islamic state has lost ground, to 14 percent (the rest, 26 percent, chiefly in Sunni Arab areas, favor a "single strong leader.")



Fewer than half, 46 percent, say the country is better off now than it was before the war. And half of Iraqis now say it was wrong for U.S.-led forces to invade in spring 2003, up from 39 percent in 2004.

The number of Iraqis who say things are going well in their country overall is just 44 percent, far fewer than the 71 percent who say their own lives are going well. Fifty-two percent instead say the country is doing badly. Fewer than half, 46 percent, say the country is better off now than it was before the war. And half of Iraqis now say it was wrong for U.S.-led forces to invade in spring 2003, up from 39 percent in 2004.

The number of Iraqis who say things are going well in their country overall is just 44 percent, far fewer than the 71 percent who say their own lives are going well. Fifty-two percent instead say the country is doing badly. (source)


There is a lot of cherry picking available in those poll results so Bush simply decided to showcase the positive and discard the negative (he has a habit of doing that.)

Overall, the speech was standard Administrative rhetoric package in the glow of the Oval Office and in the shadow of the Iraqi election. I think the assessment of the speech is the same as the one I made on December 1, when he spoke in front of the Cadets. As a matter of fact, since Bush is using a template for his speeches, I can be confidence that my assessment of that speech will hold true for upcoming speeches and that is what I will refer to from now on - unless things change.

Bush Allows Spying on US Citizens:

To make this post more interesting and to spark some debate. Why don't we interject the spying of the NSA on Americans. From what I've read, the government has the power to do this but it is something that is normally carried out by the FBI and a warrant is required. So, the question is not whether the government can do this - the larger question is does the Executive branch have the power to order this without a means for oversight? The next part of this discussion is what was Congress thinking? They were informed that this was happening so why didn't they object? I think this is bigger than Bush and the war on terror. It is about the extent of Executive power.

Topic Starters:
1. Does the President have the right to allow spying on US citizens without obtaining a warrant first?

2. Current law states that spying on US citizens is carried out by the FBI. Does the President have the right to involve NSA in such operations even when the law forbids it?

3. Are there any limits on the Executive branch to order operations that involve national security?

 

Pigskin Challenge: Week 15

⊆ 6:22 AM by James Manning | ˜ 14 comments »

It was a blood bath last weekend. Well... at least for Rell and Nikki. I on the other hand didn't do all that bad, and that is all that matters. It is coming down to the wire. We'll have a playoff prediction post next week. Anyway, get your picks in folks. I'm taking some chances this week with picking 4 underdogs. We'll see what happens.

Update: It was a good weekend of football. The Colts loss a game. Now, on to the Bears. Lovie pulled Orton in the second half and the Bears went from a one tune band to an orchestra with Grossman at the helm. They actually had a scoring drive longer than 30 yards. I think the Bears have just made themselves the most dangerous team in the NFC behind Seattle.

Atlanta can forget the playoffs but I think Washington just might have a chance to slip in.

Houston actually won a game - I should have picked them for the upset but oh well. They won't win another one until this time next year.

I think San Diego will be the biggest surprise in the playoffs. They gave away four games in the final two minutes of the game. Their only problem is that Denver and the Colts will have home field advantage. But I'd bet money on them to make it to the AFC championship game if they don't have to go through Indy to get there.

Now on to the standings:

James: 11-4 (not bad kid)
Rell: 11-4
Dell: 11-4
Dan E: 10-5

Dell
NEW ENGLAND vs. Tampa Bay
NEW YORK (NYG) vs. Kansas City
Denver vs. BUFFALO
JACKSONVILLE vs. San Francisco
Arizona vs. HOUSTON
Seattle vs. TENNESSEE
INDIANAPOLIS vs. San Diego
ST. LOUIS vs. Philadelphia
MIAMI vs. New York (NYJ)
Pittsburgh vs. MINNESOTA
Carolina vs. NEW ORLEANS
Cincinnati vs. DETROIT
OAKLAND vs. Cleveland
WASHINGTON vs. Dallas
CHICAGO
vs. Atlanta
BALTIMORE vs. Green Bay

 

Making The Band

⊆ 9:27 AM by James Manning | ˜ 8 comments »

Welcome to the first installment of Jimmy's Making The Band. I assembled a team of talent scouts, A&R's, bootleggers and hasbeens and conducted a nationwide search to create the baddest band every heard in human history.

After six months of sleepless nights, 4 tons of rib tips, 400 cases of Pepsi, 42 gallons of barbecue sauce and the smashing of every Clay Aikens CD we could get our hands on, we came up with a roster.

There were several disagreements as some thought Boys II Men should have been hired. They were great when they auditioned but something about the jeans, shirt and tie with matching baseball caps rang of... well, um... punks. John Legend tried out for keyboards but he lost it when he popped his hips after playing. We all agreed that have Patti Labelle and a metrosexual would cause too much confusion.

Aretha Franklin and Patti Labelle couldn't get along plus Aretha ate all of the collard greens - that killed her chances. Finally, Brian McKnight made an excellent showing but he smiled too damn much so we had to cut him.

Anyway, we are pleased to present to you the greatest band ever assembled. Ladies & Gentlemen without further ado, I present to you...

DA BAND!!!!


Horns: Every great band needs a brass section and I would pull the horn players from Earth Wind & Fire. They killed it in the 70’s and I’m not sure if I’ve every heard a group play any better.

Bass: Mark Adams of Slave. For those that don’t know him, just pull out the single, “Slide” and “Watching You” then check out Aurra’s “Are You Single” and you will understand why he made the band.

Guitarist: This is hard because there are two that I’d like to have: Ernie Isley and Curtis Mayfield. They have distinct sounds and since it is my band, they both make it.

Lead Guitarist: Jimi Hendrix, hands down.

Keyboard: I’d hand the duty over to Alicia Keys. There are better piano players out there, but she brings youthful energy to the band – and every great band needs a hottie.

Drums: I’ll add some additional female flavor to the band by handing the sticks to Shelia E. Her skills are undeniable and again, nothing like a hottie on board to liven up the show.

Backup singers: I need some folks that can really do the damn thang. So, I’m picking Stephanie Mills, Luther Vandross & Patti Labelle for backup duties and the occasional lead singers.

Lead Singer: This is a soul, funk and classic R&B band so I need someone that can pull off all genres without missing a beat. So Marvin Gaye gets the job. This allows me to go funk, social and kill a slow jam. I can always pull one of my backup singers to change the mood.

Well, there’s the band but a band is only as good as the songs they put out so I have to put together a production team.

Songwriters: Prince & Stevie Wonder.
Producers: Ashford & Simpson

 

Poetry: Kill My Kitties

⊆ 8:43 AM by James Manning | ˜ 23 comments »

I wake in the morning, there’s poop all around
I put up the Christmas tree, they knock it down
Kill my kitties, kill my kitties

They throw up on the floor after their fed,
I try to walk by them, they scratch up my leg
Kill my kitties, kill my kitties

In the middle of the night they sleep on my throat
I see evidence in clawing on my favorite coat
Cat litter everywhere
It reeks of their piss
My girlfriend gets purring
But me, I get a hiss

They must know its coming
They try to be my friend
But I bet they are plotting
On how to do me in

But I won’t let it happen
I’m much too slick for that
To be murdered in my own home
By two plotting cats

In the middle of the night I plan to creep
Up on the critters as they slumber in sleep
Kill my kitties, kill my kitties

With the plot devised, all is set
I’ll slip my hands around their little necks
My girl will be mad but what the heck
Kill my kitties, kill my kitties

C-I-L my kitties.

- by James Manning

This poem is inspired by Eddie Murphy’s “Kill My Landlord”

Dark and lonely on a summer's night.
Kill my landlord. Kill my landlord.
Watchdog barking. Do he bite?
Kill my landlord. Kill my landlord.
Slip in his window. Break his neck.
Then his house I start to wreck.
Got no reason. What the heck?
Kill my landlord. Kill my landlord.
C-I-L my land lord!

 

The Iraqi Vote

⊆ 5:49 AM by James Manning | ˜ 4 comments »

I have vented for years about my distaste for Bush. I did not and still do not support the Iraq war, but I am of the thought that now since we are there, we have to finish the job. Today, I hope, we are one step closer to bringing our troops home. But the political process is one vital part to the success of Iraq. So, rather than bash Bush over the head, which I will have ample time to do over the next three years, lets take a look as what we can expect from today's vote.

The Sunni population is participating in greater numbers which should get them more seats in government. This is a good thing because up until now, the Shiite and Kurd majority have dominated the process and are the leaving the Sunnis scraps. The Constitution as it is currently written has gaping holes in it and it is possible with more Sunni participation they can close the gap on vital issues like sharing oil revenue and the power of the central government.

It is impossible to say what will happen now but I would like to know what you all think will happen now that the Iraqis have a permanent government. I think we are a couple of years away from knowing what today means but today there is good news coming from Iraq. And it didn't cost the Pentagon a dime - if you don't count the $250 billion, the lives of over 2100 soldiers and the lives of at least 30,0000 Iraqis.

 

Bush... You Freakin' Idiot

⊆ 10:13 AM by James Manning | ˜ 11 comments »

There just seems to not be a way with getting through a week without having to deal with the idiocy of this man. The last time I gave an assessment of one of Bush's speech on the Iraq war, I noted the glaring omissions from his 35-Page "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq" (PDF) document. Here's an excerpt from that post.

The document lists a host of challenges but does not mention any strategy for dealing with those challenges. Again, the lack of metrics. What the American people want is to know how far along in the process are we to a defined goal. Is success Iraq producing 10 billion barrels a day or 5 billion barrels? How much electricity is required to note that the electrical grid is up to par to support economic growth?


Bush did a speech on the intelligence that got us into the war. I've had to point out the doublespeak of this Administration before, but this one almost takes the cake. First he says:

"It is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong. As president I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq,"
Then he goes on to say:

"We are in Iraq today because our goal has always been more than the removal of brutal dictator," Bush said. "It is to leave a free and democratic Iraq in his place."
Then he says:

"Saddam was a threat and the American people and the world is better off because he is no longer in power,"
Where to begin with this? He admits that we went to war with faulty intelligence. Americans should have a real problem with this. The decision to go to war is one that should be made with the most clear and accurate information and its necessity should be just as clear. There was no ambiguity on the part of the American people to take military action in Afghanistan. Why? Because it was clear that Al Queda was the organization behind the 9/11 attacks and Afghanistan were unwilling to hand Osama Bin Laden over the US authorities.

Iraq, after a decade of sanctions posed no threat to the United States. And the only reason we thought that he did is because the Bush Administration touted faulty intelligence. My girlfriend got upset with me because I didn't ask the follow up question to find what steps are required to prepare condensed soup. So, for the Bush Administration to fail to delve deeper into the intelligence and certify that it was good intelligence, is absolutely negligent.

Let's move on to the second quote. It is an absolute lie. The only reason Americans supported this war because Iraq was presented as an imminent threat to the United States. The question to this is simple: Would Americans support the preemptive invasion of a country for the sole purpose of removing a dictator and establishing a democracy? The answer to that is absolutely not.

The statement, "The world is better off without Saddam Hussein," is the default talking point for Conservatives to absolve themselves of anything that goes wrong in Iraq allowing them the freedom of mind to ignore everything else? However, note the difference in how Bush phrased it. "Saddam was a threat..." Gone are the days when Cheney, Rice and Rumsfeld defined Saddam as a grave and gathering threat to the security of the United States. Those two statements are not equivalent.

But the reason that the talking point is so effective is because a lot of Conservatives are very insecure about this war. That is the reason they grasp on to anything that allows them to say, "Hey, things are going good. I told you so." In fact, a lot of Conservatives are insecure about their political standings and they have come to believe that they are being persecuted for their beliefs. It is why when challenged, they declare Liberals to be trolls, moonbats, say we hate America and declare that because of our opposition, we are aiding and abetting the enemy.

I believe the Bush Administration cherry picked the intelligence to support their agenda. Period. But his constant campaigning to gain support for the war is sickening. Let the results speak for themselves. Don't spend $300 million pushing propaganda to the Iraqi media. They are in the midst of what is happening. They live the good and bad and will judge for themselves.

Nuff Said.... Tomorrow, I'm going to bash my Liberal friends over the head for their BS.

Discussion Starters:

1. Is establishing a democracy a justification for war?
2. The Bush doctrine is to strike them before they strike us. Do you support this doctrine?
3. If yes. Is Iran a grave enough threat to the US to justify war? North Korea?
4. Would you have supported invading Iraq without the WMD charge?

 

Play: Me, Mommy & Mini-Mom...

⊆ 8:01 AM by James Manning | ˜ 16 comments »

The Tale of the Condensed Soup

The Characters

Me (played by James): There is me, the Jurassic man from Chicago that has spent the last 10 years living with male cousins and eating four-day-old pizza and ribs. I’m not much of a shopper. I think watching 30 hours of football over the weekend is absolutely normal behavior. And I could care less about kicking the cats out of the house in the middle of the night. I’m not particularly neat, and I can never remember where I put my keys if I don’t place them on the hook by the door. And I will eat red meat three times a day, but I have noticed there is far less meat in the grocery bags.

Mommy (Played by Jaimie): The self-proclaimed high maintenance, California princess who is a tad bit on the obsessive-compulsive behavior side of the mental spectrum. She likes things a certain way and is very particular about not having dirty socks on the bed. She wants everything to go in their set place – every time. She will throw perfectly good food away and will scream bloody murder at the sight of an insect. If she sees the cats throw up, it automatically becomes my job to clean it. Any poop that falls out of the litter box is my job to clean as well.

Mini-Mom (played by Stella): The fiesty, sensative three year old that is developing into her mother every day. When Jaimie has a headache – Stella has a headache. When Jaimie gave up meat – Stella Gave up meat (except for chicken nuggets, hotdogs, sausage, hamburgers, turkey, ham and bacon). She will change an entire outfit if a drop of juice lands on her clothing and will never use a napkin more than once. She loves cheese as long as it doesn’t touch anything else on the plate. And when she wants wear lip gloss or have her hair in a ponytail, you better damn well put the lip gloss on and place her hair in a ponytail or all hell with break lose. (What I like to refer to as a "meltdown".)

The Setting:


Now that you know the characters, here is the scene. Jaimie is hungry but not feeling well so me, being the nice guy that I am, venture to the store to purchase some soup. I notice the Campbell soup and it says “condensed” on the front. I find that curious, but my ADD kicked in and I didn’t ask the follow up question: What does condensed mean? Whatever.

I take the soup home and proceed to fix my Doll a nice hot bowl. She doesn’t say anything at that moment, but the next day we have this conversation.


Act I - Scene I


Jaimie: Did you put water in the soup when you cooked it?

Me: No

Jaimie: Why not? It said it was condensed soup. Do you know what that means?

Me: No.

Jaimie: It means that you have to add water to it. (Irk level rising) How is it that you don’t know what condensed soup is?

Me: It’s soup. You open the can, pour in the pot and boil it. I've never heard of condensed soup.

Jaimie: But you saw that it was condensed soup. Why wouldn't you take time to read it?

Me: Because it’s soup. What’s to read? You can’t mess up soup.

Jaimie: But you did.

(A gotcha moment. I raise my eyebrows and concede the fact that yes, I messed up soup. I leave the bedroom and sit on the sofa. Jaimie and Mini-Mom proceed to follow)

Jaimie: I don’t understand why you didn’t read the can.

Stella: (In full blown Mini-mom mode) You’re supposed to read it.

Me: Hey, I never heard of condensed soup.

Jaimie: Didn’t you notice how thick it was? Didn’t that make you think you should add water?

Stella: (Jumping up and down on the adjacent couch) You're supposed to add water… huh Mommy?

Jaimie: I can’t believe you’ve never heard of condensed soup.

Me: (shrugging shoulders) I haven’t. What purpose is there for condensed vegetable soup?

Stella: Jimmy messed the soup up, huh Mommy?

Jaimie: Have you been living under a rock for the last 36 years?

Me: Well…. Yeah.

Jaimie: If you didn’t know what it was, you should have read the can.

Stella: You’re supposed to read for ten minutes.

(At this point we start laughing at Stella’s insightfulness)

Stella: (Turning into the sensitive 3 year old) Stop laughing at me.

(My head is in my hands as I am trying to hide my laughter.)

Jaimie: Ask your co-workers about condensed soup. I’m sure they’ll know.

Stella: (Obviously bored now) Can I have vitamin?

Me: I’ll do that.


Closing Narrative:

And I did. The result is that there is not a single guy I asked who knew what condensed soup was, but most of the women did. However, they stated that they wouldn't expect someone to know what it was unless they cooked or had purchased it before. A few even said they wouldn’t expect their men to know what it was. Jaimie apologized and promised to be more patient of my Jurassic ways. Heck, it was only in May that I found out that guacamole was made from avocados. Don’t trip. What black man from the Westside of Chicago eats avocados when there is Coleman’s Barbecue House, Harold’s Chicken Shack and the Dixie Kitchen to provide exquisite dining of impeccable quality and taste?


 

Movie Recommendation: The Chronicles of Narnia

⊆ 8:22 PM by James Manning | ˜ 4 comments »



I forgot to do a review of this movie. So I will just say that I highly recommend The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It is truly inspired by the Bible. All I will say is that there is a reason that the movie is rated PG and not G. Depending on their maturity and if they are easily frightened, it may be too much for children under 7 or 8.

The special effects are great and the war scene is graphic but tame in comparison to Lord of the Rings. It moves slow at times and you may understand the characters better if you've read the books because in the movie version they are formulaic and two dimensional. Almost to the point of being "Cut & Paste" personalities. But that doesn't take away from the movie and in the end, if you enjoy fantasy movies,you will like this one.

 

For Tookie, I Won't Shed A Tear But...

⊆ 8:28 AM by James Manning | ˜ 20 comments »

I am not a supported of the death penalty. I have commented on several blogs so rather than reinvent the wheel, let me give you my rants:

On Dell Gines I ranted:

I am totally against the death penalty but I did not understand why so many backed Tookie - Living in Los Angeles, I read and see his legacy up close. Although his is not the founder of the Crips as been reported. He started a sect of the Crips in West Los Angeles but that was two after the initial founding of the Crip - which were originally called the Cribs - but you know how some brothers can mangle the English language. Anyway, I found that information out from a guy that has studied the gangs of LA for 25 years.

I do think that there are crimes that are so heinous that a person does forfeit their right to live - but that is a principle belief. In application, I do not believe the state has the right to take a life. I won’t shed a tear for Tookie because those were the consequences of his actions. But morally, I am against CP and I would like California to do what Illinois did and place a moratorium on CP and sentence everyone to life in prison without the possibility of parole.


If we are going to have the death penalty it should work like this.

1. The defendants are allowed unlimited resources for their defense in the form of expert witness and hiring a team of lawyers and investigators.
2. Only capitol cases should only be brought if their is DNA evidence.

3. The use of jail house informants is discontinued.

4. Every aspect of the trial is open to the public. Pictures of the victim, DNA test results and the trial is televised.
5. If convicted, the execution is televised.

6. Citizens should carry out the execution, determined by the same process that we use to pick a jury.

7. The convicted should die by either stoning on firing squad in a public arena and televised.

If we are going to do this, then everyone should have the opportunity to get blood on their hands. Lets not make it pretty and secret where we talk about the death of humans in the abstract. I’m sure there are some people that would love the opportunity to stone someone to death, but I will bet that most Americans would want no part of the process. But this is the price we should pay for supported state sponsored murder.

Bloviating Zeppelin has a discussion on his blog. He approaches the topic from a political persepective. At some point in the discussion, I presented my thoughts on televising the executions and Eddie posted this question to me:

Eddie said... James, I was wondering if you thought if abortion should be televised, since it is equally, if not more barbaric, than the death penalty? Of course, with over a million a year, we would need to have at least on channel on the tube dedicated to this brutality and violence.

This was my response:

That is a good question, and I do think that abortion is a barbaric act, but we are talking two different sets of circumstances.

The question with capitol punishment is what right do we give the state to take a life - and should they have that right?

With abortion, the question is what right to will give the individual to take the life of an unborn? But then we must define when life begins. Should a woman that finds herself pregnant be allowed to abort the child,

2 weeks, 4 weeks, 3 months, 6 months - where do we draw the line. In case of rape or incest - should the woman be forced to bring the baby to term? What if the woman's life is in danger - should we allow the mother to die in order to save the child?

Who has the right to tell a woman what she can do with her body? Does society have that right? We do on some instances - we don't allow the terminally ill patients the right to kill themselves, we don't condone suicide - we don't allow child abuse. So it is possible that we have the right to say when and under what circumstances a woman should be allowed to abort a baby.

Abortion is much more complicated than capitol punishment. CP is easy, the state should not have the right under any circumstances to take a life. Period.


Later in this same conversation on Bloviating Zeppelin blog, Texasfred made the following comments towards me. I assume they towards me since I was the only Liberal on the blog.

(edited version)
Folks that don't agree with Capital Punishment need to NOT call the cops next time they get victimized, hell, ya *might* cause the cop to have to shoot a bad guy...

If you are against the death penalty, and you happen to have your house broken into in the middle of the night, whatever you do, don't try and stop the poor misunderstood criminal from raping your wife or killing you and your family, he MAY have *issues*...

Bleeding heart liberals make me sick to my stomach, I hate every one of the bastards... Any man or woman that is too gutless to stand and defend what is theirs is beneath respect... And I mean that from the bottom of my calloused heart...

My reply to this was (edited version):

Texas Fred, you are so off point I'm not sure if it is worth commenting. There is a big difference in opposing CP because for philosophical reasons on justice and defending yourself. I bust a cap in a fool in a second to protect my family or myself. Who's arguing against that? How is not believing in CP an avocation for criminal behavior? Your points aren't even within context of the debate...

Your problem is that you confuse an opposition to a judicial process for advocating violence. Please explain how my opposition to CP translates to the fact that I should not call the police when a crime is perpetrated against me? How do you intellectually make that connection?

Are you saying that to disagree with a particular sentence to a crime equates to not supporting justice and supporting lawlessness? Please... your points have no merit.

As you can see, the debate rages on and I'll continue to fall on the side of not supporting the Death Penalty. For those of you that do, I leave you to your opinion. Tookie Williams is gone and we'll all move on with our lives. We'll soon forget about him and concetrate on more important issues like Christmas, kids, jobs and the NFL playoffs. That's a fact of life.

 

Series: Debate on Intelligent Design

⊆ 9:46 AM by James Manning | ˜ 1 comments »

A series of post on the Intelligent design debate.

1. Intelligent Design
2. Intelligent Design Debate Revisited
3. Intelligent Design Debate revisited Pt. II
4. Intelligent Design: A Validation Of Faith
5. Guest Post By Malik: Intelligent Design

 

The Packaging of the Conservative Message

⊆ 7:44 AM by James Manning | ˜ 35 comments »

Little Miss Chatterbox (LMC), the author of the Chatterbox Chronicles has a post on the popularity of Conservative blogs in comparison to Liberal blogs. Her take is that Conservatives beat Liberals in a free market of ideas. This is based on the belief that Conservatives hold that the Mainstream Media (MSM) is biased against Conservatives. I think there is some validity to that thinking but not as much as they claim. My belief is that the MSM is complicit to politicians and the powers that be no matter what the party affiliation of the rulers.

She has a point about Conservatives being more popular. Fox News dominates the cable news, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity dominate the talk radio scene and no one can deny the impact of Conservative bloggers such as Drudge, Michelle Malkin and others. Why is this the case? Why are Conservatives dominating the political and media landscape? I have a theory that I break down into three parts: Concentrated Passion, Fire & Brimstone and Neglect of Nuances.

Concentrated Passion:

God, guns and gays is a political jargon many Liberals use to describe the political campaigns of Conservatives. Liberals like to showcase their understanding of the issues by talking about the details of policy and how it will impact people lives. That’s all well and dandy, but it's hard to derive passion from it. Conservatives talk in simple terms and they speak to the heart of their followers. They may not be on issues that delve into complicated policy, but they will generate a response. Family values, protecting the institute of marriage, defending the right to bear arms, protecting the lives of the unborn. These are issues that generate passion and Conservatives don’t stray away from them. Their message is simple and it resonates with average Americans.

Liberals, on the other hand, are all over the place when it comes to their political passions. There are the environmentalist that couldn’t care less about the black activist wing of the party, who are really not interested in the gay rights movement within the party structure. Then we have the anti-war wing that ignores the business and union sect of the party. All of these sides make up the Liberal movement and each looks to pursue its own agenda and politicians have no choice but to try and accommodate each. That leads to a smorgasbord of political jargon that no one can wrap their heart around.

Fire & Brimstone:

What is the best means to fire up the masses? Have them listen to the Billy Graham or a Harvard theologian professor? Simple speak. This is why people like George Bush and it is also something Bill Clinton had. They were able to talk and bring out the passion in people. Why do you think it is that Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reily are so popular? It’s not that they know more, they just say what they believe in a very controversial manner and they really do to take it to the Liberals. It is their willingness to battle and promote rhetorical war that generates the passion in Conservatives. The idea that they are not afraid to be politically incorrect in an admirable quality that Conservatives embrace. I believe there is a lot of misinformation presented in many Conservative talking points, but most people don’t get into the details of politics to pick up on it.

On the Liberal side, there is no one to counter the Conservative fire and brimstone rhetoric. We are left to our understanding of the issues and recognizing the misspeak of the talking heads on the right. That is not a good thing because most people on both sides of the aisle do not have the time to get into the intricate details of policy and are left to rely of 30 second sound bites and rhetorical editorials. Air America is a small counter to this and whenever Phil Donahue makes an appearance, he is able to go toe to toe with the rightie behemoths. But there aren’t many others around that have the media access of the personality to do what the right is able to do.

Neglect of Nuances:

This is something that happens whenever passion is driven to the point of fanaticism. George Bush and the war in Iraq is a prime example of this. The war on terror and the war in Iraq are far more complicated than Bush and his Administration communicates. However, the rule of Conservatism is the keep the message simple of mass consumption. So we get talking points and 35-page memos rather than a detailed and complicated assessment of what is happening.

I believe that John Kerry would have made better president than George Bush but John Kerry was all over the place and his Senate speak didn't resonate with a lot of people - even those that supported him. Having a better grasp of the issues and embracing the nuances of policy is something every politician should have, but in order to win elections, the message must be simple and concise. I don't mean simple as in Simple Simon, but simple in terms of clarity. Americans are not interested in voting for administrators, they are interested in leadership and entrust those leaders to deal with sausage making grunt work of policy making - and they want to sausage presented to them in pretty packages.

The social security and Medicare bills are complicated entitlement programs but what they present is a slogan: The Ownership Society. Tax issues boils down to who would you rather have spent your money, you or the government. School choice has its own slogan. Affirmative Action has its own bullet point. Granted, there are times when Liberals make the issue too complicated for average Americans to grasp, but Conservatives have a way of making even the most complicated issue seems elementary. This is a good strategy for winning elections but it is not good for making policy. That is why the GOP is having trouble with the deficit, the war, and corruption in their midst. The simplification of issues has led to an unwillingness to take a pragmatic approach to policy.

Conclusion:

The Conservatives have a winning message and will always have the upper hand when it comes to elections. They will always dominate the blogosphere and talk radio. However, America will eventually seek a deeper understanding what is happening around them and the Conservatives will be left to their base. This is happening in the war in Iraq and it is the reason the President’s Social Security initiative is dead. It is the reason the Prescription Drug plan is having problems. Because when America is faced with complicated issues, they look for details – no rhetoric.