Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dominique Wilkins' touching tribute for former teammate

We know the drill: Each time a former athlete or current professional athlete falls from grace, his/her story is headline material.

Our 24/7 media monster is forever waiting to pounce on the athlete du jour and their hiccups.

Bad news sells good and salacious news sells even better.

Trending against the norm, here is an incredible (and heroic) story of former NBA star Dan Roundfield who died this year during a successful effort to save his drowning wife. Roundfield's story flew under the media radar until former teammate Dominique Wilkins wrote a touching tribute about "Dan the selfless leader, the husband, the father and the fearless teammate and friend.”

Human Highlight
Now to my youngins, Wilkins -- affectionately called Nique the freak -- was the orginal human highlight reel -- sorry Blake Griffen fans, the template was already established by Nique and co. 20 some years ago. Here's the link for proof: Nique the freak.

That being said, this is no doubt one of  Wilkins' best and classiest move. Read on:

When one looks at this image, they instinctively think of Dan the Atlanta Hawks player, the tenacious defender and the NBA All-Star. He was certainly all of those things, but for those of us who knew him, we look at this image and think of Dan the selfless leader, the husband, the father and the fearless teammate and friend. Dan lost his life this year at the age of 59 saving his wife of 37 years from drowning on the beaches of Aruba while on a family vacation. In his last moments, as he himself was fighting for his life, Dan fearlessly lived and died for his family, which is all he ever really wanted.  source

Link: The Lives They Loved

Friday, December 28, 2012

Lincoln or Django?

The two huge cinematic buzzes this holiday season -- Lincoln and Django Unchained -- were movies dealing with race and slavery.

I saw Lincoln and I was utterly in awe of the acting, dialogue and the authenticity of the setting. Steven Spielberg's master piece has Oscars written all over it. His depiction of the 1800s was so detailed that the viewer felt like a time-traveler.

We saw a cagey, warm-hearted, somber and political realist Lincoln portrayed. The main plot centered on how Lincoln -- in the midst of the Civil War -- used all his folksy willing and dealing skills to ratify the 13th Amendment ending de jure American slavery.

I plan to see this film again.

The other movie Django Unchained, I do not plan to see.

Tarantino has created a black superhero in Jamie Foxx’s Django. He’s a freed slave who is good at killing callous white people, exacting vengeance for their specific folly of brutalizing him and his wife, but also living out the fantasy of being the one black man who couldn’t be dehumanized by slavery. source

Director Quentin Taratino is known for his (excuse the pun) pulp fiction like films. His films are usually very gory and lurid. I am not a Spike Lee type Taratino hater, in fact, Pulp Fiction is one of my all time favorite films.

I just believe that slavery and race period films require a certain sensitivity and scholarship that I have yet seen from Taratino. There are too many unhealed wounds to be glib and sensational in presentation.

Being a history buff, I enjoy Hollywood movies that have both entertainment and educational value. We are definitely lacking movies that push us to think on higher levels. Movies with race issues and slavery imagery are far too often shunned in Hollywood.

Taratino and Spielberg have the courage, clout and track record to have their films green lighted. Both directors have a diverse audiences that support their films. But do diverse audiences support black directors who attempt to tackle these same themes. In other words, if Spike Lee makes the exact same film as Taratino would non-blacks support him? Or, would the film be marketed as just a "black movie"?

Apparently, I am not alone in asking the above questions. David Siroto asks and answers the rhetorical question:

Could a black director have made “Django”?

Tarantino's daring film would have been received differently by the media -- or never made -- if he wasn't white.

He reasons:

Film critic Eric Deggans alluded to White Privilege in his terrific Salon piece on “Django Unchained” earlier this week. Noting that ”studios know white audiences will show up for (Tarantino’s) movies,” he concluded that Tarantino is “a white man who gets to do what black artists should also get to do” — but too often do not get the opportunity to do. Why not? Because of the way films by different directors are inevitably portrayed in the media and interpreted by White America.

The best way to illustrate this form of White Privilege is to imagine ”Django Unchained” being released as a production from an African American writer and director. Under those circumstances, in the media and among white audiences, the film most likely would be perceived not merely as a mass-audience entertainment product with some underlying social commentary by a single director, but as a niche political film allegedly from a whole community with an axe to grind. That is, it would probably be met in the media and among potential viewers not in the way it has been met, but instead as a divisive “black movie” — by, and allegedly only for, black people. read entire essay

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Payback! Hundreds of Homeowners Associations Threaten Banks with Foreclosure

In the spirit of the holiday, here's a man bites dog story. Read and relish how the big banks are feeling the pinch from the little guy. This story was reprinted from

In Florida, banks who slack on maintaining their properties are getting a taste of their own medicine.
It’s payback time—literally. In Florida, hundreds of homeowner and neighborhood associations are foreclosing on banks that have failed to upkeep their repossessed properties, according to—of all things— a CNN Money report.
Florida is one of the states hardest hit by foreclosures, and there are nearly a half-million foreclosed houses now standing vacant and often slowly deteriorating. When a bank forecloses on a house, evicts the family and then repossesses the property, it also assumes responsibility for maintaining the home and yard and paying homeowner or condo association fees. Yet, some of the nation’s largest and richest banks have been unable or unwilling to upkeep their properties—prompting neighbors across Florida to declare enough is enough.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Blues Cruise By Joe Hagan

The following article in the New York magazine gives valuable insight into the 2012 conservative mindset of self-entitlement. It's this mindset combined with denial and projection that created the artificial bubble that traps them in a time-warp.

he whole thing was white, and broken, that much was clear. A week after the presidential election, when the dreams of Republicans were dashed with President Barack Obama’s victory over Mitt Romney, we were snorkeling in the blue waters of the Caribbean. In the distance was a shipwreck. “You could make out the pieces of it,” said Ralph Reed, the right-wing political operator who had bolstered the Evangelical Christian vote for Romney. “It was deep and murky.”

Jonah Goldberg, the National Review contributor and author of Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning, also bore witness to the once-great vessel that foundered off the coast of Fantasy Island and was now sunken and covered in white barnacles. “I saw the silhouette of it,” he says.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

NRA: America needs more guns!

This past Friday, while the country held a moment of silence for the Newtown victims, the NRA -- in the person of spokesman Wayne LaPiere -- crawled out of it's fortified bunker to offer their insane solution to senseless American gun violence.

Their solution: more guns.