Saturday, February 11, 2012

Whitney Houston August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012: RIP

Many of us prayed for Whitney's recovery. We prayed for her to emerge demon-free as a woman of wisdom. We prayed that a truly sober Whitney could embark on a new chapter in her life.

Now we pray that the tormented soul of Ms. Houston rests in peace. And we extend our heartfelt prayers to her friends and family. Thank you Ms. Houston, you have blessed and left us with artistic treasures.

Drug Addiction is a Disease

Many people do not understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. It can be wrongfully assumed that drug abusers lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop using drugs simply by choosing to change their behavior. In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting takes more than good intentions. In fact, because drugs change the brain in ways that foster compulsive drug abuse, quitting is difficult, even for those who are ready to do so. Through scientific advances, we know more about how drugs work in the brain than ever, and we also know that drug addiction can be successfully treated to help people stop abusing drugs and lead productive lives.

What Is Drug Addiction?

Addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences to the addicted individual and to those around him or her. Although the initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, the brain changes that occur over time challenge a person’s self control and ability to resist intense impulses urging them to take drugs.
Fortunately, treatments are available to help people counter addiction’s powerful disruptive effects. Research shows that combining addiction treatment medications with behavioral therapy is the best way to ensure success for most patients. Treatment approaches that are tailored to each patient’s drug abuse patterns and any co-occurring medical, psychiatric, and social problems can lead to sustained recovery and a life without drug abuse.
Similar to other chronic, relapsing diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, or heart disease, drug addiction can be managed successfully. And as with other chronic diseases, it is not uncommon for a person to relapse and begin abusing drugs again. Relapse, however, does not signal treatment failure—rather, it indicates that treatment should be reinstated, adjusted, or that an alternative treatment is needed to help the individual regain control and recover.  source

Friday, February 10, 2012

50 Cent Visits Famine Victims In Somalia, Kenya

We are so quick to condemn when a rapper falls from grace (so may even cynically say a rapper can not fall from grace because they lack grace).

We all know the bling-bling look at me and what I got Hip-Hop cliche. However, when they get it right, we have to be just as quick to shine that positive spot-light on their acts.

Now I must confess, I am no fan of 50 Cent AKA Curtis Jackson - my personal taste - but I want to give him mega-props for the following:

NAIROBI, Kenya — Rapper 50 Cent is teaming up with the World Food Program to see firsthand the effects of hunger in Somalia and Kenya.
The rap star flew to Dolo, Somalia, on Wednesday. Tens of thousands of women and children have fled there over the last year to flee a devastating famine that killed tens of thousands of people across Somalia.
WFP said the rapper, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, has committed to provide 1 billion meals for the hungry, and is donating to WFP 10 cents from every sale of a new energy drink called Street King that he is promoting.
The U.N. last week declared an end to Somalia's six-month famine, though it said tens of thousands of people still need food aid to survive. The British government estimates that between 50,000 and 100,000 people died from the famine's effects. source

Well done Fiddy!

Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld: Adele too fat for fashion

Fashion Icon Karl Lagerfeld on singing sensation Adele:

“No one wants to see curvy women. You’ve got fat mothers with their bags of chips sitting in front of the television and saying that thin models are ugly.” But this time, the Chanel designer seems to have believed he was paying a compliment. While declaring the British chanteuse “a little too fat,” he helpfully acknowledged that “she has a beautiful face and a divine voice” and called her “the thing at the moment.” source

How wrong can he be?

 Not everyone buys into the Euro/American definition of beauty - the razor thin, slightly anorexic and heroin addict looking model.  Speaking for most ethnic brothers, curves are not only in, curves are beautiful. Curves are a celebrated feature of a woman. And Adele is one beautiful young lady who can sing her curves off. 

It is baffling to understand how a model - collarbone showing - deemed heroin chic  became the image of beauty in the first place. I guess it's above my pay grade. Anyway, for the sake of Roberta Flack, Angie Stone, Aretha, Jill Scott, Queen Latifah, I am glad sisters of soul never had to conform to such a misguided version of feminine beauty.

And like I said, home-girl got chops. Check out a couple of my favorites:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Brown University student finds lost Malcolm X speech

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The recording was forgotten, and so, too, was the odd twist of history that brought together Malcolm X and a bespectacled Ivy Leaguer fated to become one of America's top diplomats. 

The audiotape of Malcolm X's 1961 address in Providence might never have surfaced at all if 22-year-old Brown University student Malcolm Burnley hadn't stumbled across a reference to it in an old student newspaper. He found the recording of the little-remembered visit gathering dust in the university archives. 

"No one had listened to this in 50 years," Burnley told The Associated Press. "There aren't many recordings of him before 1962. And this is a unique speech - it's not like others he had given before." 

 In the May 11, 1961, speech delivered to a mostly white audience of students and some residents, Malcolm X combines blistering humor and reason to argue that blacks should not look to integrate into white society but instead must forge their own identities and culture. 

At the time, Malcolm X, 35, was a loyal supporter of the black separatist movement Nation of Islam, now based in Chicago. He would be assassinated four years later after leaving the group and crafting his own more global, spiritual ideology. 

The legacy of slavery and racism, he told the crowd of 800, "has made the 20 million black people in this country a dead people. Dead economically, dead mentally, dead spiritually. Dead morally and otherwise. Integration will not bring a man back from the grave." 

The rediscovery of the speech could be the whole story. But Burnley found the young students in the crowd that night proved to be just as fascinating. read more

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

1980s Showtime Lakers: The Real McCoy by Gregory Gee

My friends, my friends, my friends...HGP sports editor Gregory Gee - die hard Laker fan - has taken exception to the title-less/ring-less LA Clippers being called the New Showtime in La-La land.

In his own words:

The LA Clippers are not the new Showtime. Granted, Blake Griffin and co. make great ESPN highlights, but the comparisons to the famed 1980's Showtime Lakers ends there. Let me explain.

There was Showtime and now we have A Time To Show. Showtime had substance, it was more than a highlight. The LA Lakers won 3 NBA championships between 1980-1985 - while entertaining us along the way. They educated the basketball world that a well rounded, fundamental sound team could win and look good doing it.

They gave us the  "glitz and glam" of the no look Magic Johnson passes; the Michael "Cooper De Loop"  dunks; James Worthy streaking on the wings and finishing with the "snow cone" slams; and to seal the deal, the Kareem Abdul Jabber sky hook - the most unstoppable shot in NBA history.

These plays wowed us but take away the "glitz and glam" and what is revealed: solid coaching of superstars by Pat Riley, stellar leadership by Magic/Kareem - they led by example on and off the court. Next, this team played great defense or should I say great team defense. Lastly, General Manager and Laker great Jerry West provided the team with quality support players - who knew their roles - and star players responded by tossing aside their egos in the name of winning. The result: on any given night, anyone from Jabbar to Magic to Worthy to Byron Scott and even 6th man Michael Cooper could be the star.

The San Diego Slippers LA Clippers are nothing but a glitzy and glam guest in the Staples Center. Lob City tandem of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are talented--and to reiterate, the duo are producing some great ESPN and Youtube highlights. Former champion Chauncy Billups' leadership has helped stablize a young team but once again, the comparsions end there. They have moments in a game or a week of "oohs and ahhhs" whereas the sustainable Showtime was symbiotic with basketball talent and fundamentals: SUBSTANCE FOLKS! Where can you find this on the, uh..., uh...Clippers?

Oh, by the way, the Shaq/Kolbe teams were the closest to the 1980's Showtime - that is until egos  prematurely ended the show.

Related Story: Are the Clippers the best team in LA?

Monday, February 6, 2012

GOP: The Politics of Hate

Tis the Season to be Hateful...

The language is unmistakable: You lie, chimed out Congressman Joe Wilson during President Obama's joint house appearance; Newt Gingrich routinely calls Obama the food stamp president; Arizona governor Jan Brewer disrespectfully wags her finger in the president's face (and then has the audacity to claim she felt threaten by him); Kansas House Speaker, Michael O'Neal emails a prayer calling for the death of the president  - two weeks after he apologized for sending an email referring to First Lady Michelle Obama as Michelle YoMama..

And let's not forget - thanks to the Tea Party and Donald Trump - this delusional Birther BS.

The election of Barack Obama was supposed to usher in a new era of post-racism. Fat chance, because like a crack fiend craving that next hit, folks on the far right need that next racially charged outburst - can do without it. To help us better understand this twisted addiction, Arthur Goldwag, author of the new book “The New Hate: A History of Fear and Loathing on the Populist Right,” in an interview with states:

Why is this resurgence of the “old hate” happening now? 

We’re going through a historic shift in this country.  We were on an incredible run of prosperity in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, thanks to the New Deal social compact, thanks to big unions, thanks to very strong regulation – thanks to all the things that Glenn Beck’s followers think are the most evil things in the world.  Fairly unskilled, uneducated people were able to earn a good living, and send their children to college.  And that’s changed.  Income inequality is growing.  If you look at American history, the bottom has dropped out of rural people’s lives every five years, but there used to also be a manufacturing class that made a decent living.  There used to be a route for people that weren’t well educated to make a decent living.  There isn’t anymore.  There’s a lot of anxiety about our individual positions in our society, and our country’s position in the world. If you’re not educated to be able to understand it, and you’re trapped in a disadvantaged life, you might become really, really angry. 
So these resurgences of hatred, and conspiratorial narratives, are related to a basic type of class-consciousness – a stripped-down awareness of unfairness.
Yes.  It’s an old stereotype (it’s also a true stereotype) that rich Southerners drove wedges between poor whites and poor blacks so that they wouldn’t see that they were all in the same place.  That’s very connected to the anger people have today. One of the most infuriating things about Obama to people is that he walks into the White House like he belongs there. But their anger is not really about him.  It’s about them: their place in the world. Because he does belong there.  But their kids will never go there, because they’re poor and feel they’re without open avenues. read entire article

For more on this subject watch video posted on Progressive Soup (thanks Malcolm)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Patriots Cut Player on Eve of Super Bowl

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick has never been on my list of classy guys. How the Patriots continue to be promoted by the NFL and sportswriters as a story book, All-American team is bewildering? Remember spygate of 2007:

The 2007 New England Patriots videotaping controversy, widely dubbed "Spygate," refers to an incident in the2007 National Football League season when the New England Patriots were disciplined by the National Football League (NFL) for videotaping New York Jets' defensive coaches' signals during a September 9, 2007 game from a sideline location, an act deemed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to be in violation of league rules. After an investigation, the NFL fined Patriots head coach Bill Belichick $500,000 (the maximum allowed by the league) for his role in the incident, fined the Patriots $250,000, and docked the team their original first-round selection in the 2008 NFL Draft.
As part of their probe into the allegations, the NFL required the Patriots to turn over all notes and tapes relating to the taping of opponents' defensive signals; the Patriots complied with the order and the NFL reviewed and then destroyed the materials. This action was criticized on February 1, 2008 — two days before Super Bowl XLII — by U.S. SenatorArlen Specter, who requested to meet with Goodell. Specter requested the meeting despite the fact that Belichick had admitted to taping signals dating back to 2000 was reported by ESPN on September 14, 2007.[5] After meeting with Goodell on February 13, 2008, Specter said that Goodell told him that Belichick had been engaged in the practice since he became head coach of the Patriots in 2000. Belichick said he believed he was operating within the rules as long as the tape was not used during the same game.
Nearly six months after the incident, the Boston Herald reported, citing an unnamed source, that the Patriots had also videotaped the St. Louis Rams' walkthrough practice prior to Super Bowl XXXVI in February 2002, an allegation denied by Belichick and later retracted by the Herald. Meanwhile, Matt Walsh , a Patriots video assistant in 2001 who was fired after the team's 2002 season, told the media the same week that he had information and materials regarding the Patriots' videotaping practices, but demanded an indemnity agreement before speaking with the NFL. source

Belichick, never one to ponder ethics in the pursuit of winning, now adds a new chapter to his callous and ruthless Modus Operandi:

Tiquan Underwood, the guy who loved being a Patriot so much that he did that to his hair, was released by the team on Saturday,  just hours before the Super Bowl.
It's callous and it's cold-blooded, but that's football, and that's Bill Belichick. I'm sure that Underwood is emotionally devastated, but that's a head coach's job. If he feels like another player might help a little more on Sunday, even if it's just for one play, then it's the coach's job to make that decision. Feelings aren't a part of it.
According to the Boston Herald, the move has no disciplinary motive behind it. The Patriots simply wanted another defensive lineman on the roster. Alex Silvestro (ironically, like Underwood, a Rutgers product) is the guy who will take his place. He's been on the Patriots practice squad all season.
Belichick recently spoke glowingly of the Rutgers players on the Patriots roster, Underwood, Silvestro, Nate Jones and Devin McCourty. source
I guess there is no secret on who I am rooting for today - even as a die hard Eagle fan - Go Big Blue!