Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Today, we conclude my look back at the Top 10 albums that helped make 2008 bearable. Remember, my list includes anything I acquired during the year, regardless of when it was originally released. If I rocked it in '08 and it was new to me, it was fair game.

Again, I'm joined by the wifey.

Here are the top 5 picks:

#5. Lupe Fiasco's The Cool
Lupe Fiasco, 2007

Edward - Although it was released late in '07, this was easily my favorite rap album through most of '08. Lupe's creativity and lyrical prowess is outstanding. If not for some head-scratching concept songs, this would have been much higher on the list.

Javacia - Lupe's one of the few reasons I haven't totally given up on rap.

E- Well, according to him, he's only releasing one more album.

J - Sigh. So I heard. LUPEnd.

E- Have hope. You have at least one more album full of Matthew Santos songs to look forward to.

J - Don't be hating on Matthew Santos. The boy can sing!

E - You're such a sucker for those sad-sack folk singers.

#4. What's The 411
Mary J. Blige, 1992

E - Yeah, yeah, yeah, this came out way back in '92 and I foolishly waited over 15 years to purchase it. Regardless, it's easy to see why this is heralded as a classic. Every single track has influenced dozens of artists.

J - I never bought this album either. Though I was a Mary fan I didn't worship her like all the other black girls my age seemed to back then. Ladies, what was up with that?

E- From what I was always told, sistas could relate. Although I appreciated her talent I couldn't stand her attitude back then. She always looked like she had to use the bathroom during her interviews.

#3. Just Me
Keith Sweat, 2008

E - Now before you give me grief about ranking Keith this high, just know that it's justified. Keith's last studio album wasn't much to write home about, so my hopes weren't terribly high for this release. And boy, did he prove me wrong - combining old-school songwriting with current production was a thing of beauty.

J - You and your Keith. I heard this album a few times while trapped in your car and it wasn't too bad. There's this one song about his girl cheating on him that I actually like. But it's no "I Want Her."

E- Why must we live in the past? Keith has many, many, MANY more hits than "I Want Her."

J - Yes, but they're all in the past too.

E - It would serve today's young'ns well if they studied the past and built upon that.

J - You sound like you need that Geritol right about now.

#2. Because I Love It (import)
Amerie, 2007

E - It's a crying shame that this album didn't make it stateside. What Amerie lacks in vocals she makes up with the most infectious beats and lyrics you've ever heard. This album has a little something for everyone.

J - Amerie's voice isn't all that great, but this album really grew on me and now I love it. It helped me through many a road trip this fall.

E - One of my resolutions for the new year should be to start a campaign to get this album in the U.S. Don't make me e-mail my congressman!

J - While you're at it see if you can get auto-tune banned.

#1. Untitled
Nas, 2008

E- Everyone said Nas' best days were behind him. Including me, and I'm a huge fan. His last couple of albums were good, but nothing earth-shattering like his 90s cataloge. Untitled brings him back up to form. Strong concept tracks, a great message and a venomous tounge makes this required listening. Without a doubt it's the best album of 2008.

J - I couldn't agree more. This is easily the best album of the year. You many have an abnormal obsession with Keith Sweat, but you do have a good ear for hip hop.

E - It'll be a crime if this album doesn't take home a Grammy, but I'm sure it already has Lil Wayne's name on it. Ugh.

J - Of course it does. These young'ns don't know anything about good music. We are old, huh?

E - Speak for yourself. I'm young and hip. Now where's my Patti LaBelle Christmas cassette?

It's your turn. Tell us your Top 10 of 2008
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Posted by in ,  on 10:10 AM 3 comments
A defiant Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Tuesday appointed former state attorney general Roland Burris to Barack Obama's former Senate seat, a surprise move that put his opponents in the uncomfortable position of trying to block a veteran political trailblazer from becoming the Senate's only black member. AP President-elect Barack Obama has released a statement saying he agrees with the decision by Democratic leaders not to approve the appointment of former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to fill his Senate seat. Obama stated: “Roland Burris is a good man and a fine public servant, but the Senate Democrats made it clear weeks ago they cannot accept an appointment made by a governor who is accused of selling this very Senate seat.”

Israel rejected mounting international pressure to suspend its air offensive against Gaza militants and has sent warplanes to demolish the smuggling tunnels that are Islamic Hamas' lifeline. The call for the cease-fire was prompted by the scale of destruction in Gaza since Israel unleashed its campaign on Saturday and a death toll that Gaza officials now put at 374. MSNBC

This March, high school juniors taking the SAT will have the option of choosing which scores to send to colleges while hiding those they do not want admissions officials to see under a new policy called Score Choice. The College Board hopes the policy will reduce student stress around the SAT and college admissions, but some argue it's really a marketing tool, intended to encourage students to take the test more often. Furthermore, some highly selective colleges have already said that they will not go along with Score Choice. NY Times

Teenagers who take virginity pledges are no less sexually active than other teens, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics. The findings also suggest that teens who take these virginity pledges are less likely to protect themselves against pregnancy or disease when they do have sex. WebMD via
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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

image via

Enough is enough. I've held my tongue all year, but I must, nay, it's my DUTY, to address this.

Soulja Boy, the walking minstrel show that just won't go away, has been running his mouth all year. Here are a few lowlights:

- He got into a war of words with rap pioneer Ice-T, calling him "old as f***" and dissed him for being born "three centuries ago."

- Totally dismissed Wu-Tang's GZA aka The Genius, saying "he's got like 50 years on me. I wouldn't even associate with the Genius....he said 'F*** Soulja Boy' 'cause he needed a buzz."

- And the little sun-dried turd even had the nerve to give props to the slave trade! "Shout out to the slave masters! Without them we'd still be in Africa. We wouldn't be here to get this ice and tattoos."

Sure, these comments made my blood boil, but they were made by a guy who's obviously mentally challenged. No one with a fully functioning brain could come up with that "Crank Dat" song and dance.

But today, the gloves come off. Look what I ran across at

In a video that recently hit the net, teen rap sensation Soulja Boy accused Queensbridge vet Nas of killing hip-hop. "Real talk, the n**** that killed hip-hop for real is Nas, dawg," he said. "He came out publicly and said hip-hop is dead, and then after that everybody start saying [it]. Cause think about it, if Nas woulda never said hip-hop is dead then mof****** woulda never thought it died. They woulda never had that terminology."

You can diss veterans like Ice T and GZA, you can even make yourself look like a total idiot by supporting the slave trade, but to diss Nas!? He thinks Nas, one of the few decent guys left, is killing hip hop? Does he want Nas to get pissed and drop another "Ether" track on him? Is he stupid!?

Well, obviously.

For those who don't remember, Nas' 2006 album was entitled Hip Hop is Dead, and it triggered lots of discussion about the direction of the genre. So, I guess Soulja Boy's theory is that if no one ever said "hip hop is dead" that people wouldn't realize how crappy songs are these days.

Uh huh.

A better question would be why he would bring up this up nearly three years later.

From xxlmag again:

"He came out with that s*** and f***** up everybody’s money. He killed his own career with that s***. He shoulda thought about it."

So he's worried that Nas has damaged his own career? Yeah Nas' latest album has sold around 400,000 copies so far, much less than Hip Hop Is Dead's 764,000. But I'm sure he doesn't give a crap about Nas. No, Soulja Boy's mad because people finally recognize that HE sucks.

Soulja Boy's new album, iSouljaBoyTellEm, (UGH, even his titles suck) has sold a paltry 46,000. That's nowhere near the success of his last album, which sold 117,000 in its first WEEK. He currently has THREE singles out now - "Bird Walk," "Gucci Bandana" and "Kiss Me Through The Phone" - and I've only heard the bandana song once. Remember when they were playing "Soulja Girl" nonstop? Times are a changin'.

And you know what's funny? He realizes how wack he is! From

"I started hopping on songs with like Juelz Santana and Gucci (Mane) and all these different artists and you know they on the verses just killing me. I'm like, 'Oh I gotta come wit it.'"

Juelz I can sorta understand, but he can't keep up with the freaking Gucci Mane?

Check out Gucci's verse from his one "hit," "Icy":

My pockets so heavy that I can't walk steady N***** copping ice we done done it already

Maya Angelou, it ain't.

Soulja Boy dissing Nas is like the chumps who did "Who Let The Dogs Out" dissing Biggie. His career won't make it into the new year. He'd better hope VH1 decides to create "Celebrity Rehab - Juvenile Edition." Call Yung Berg and the scraps of B2K while you're at it.

You can fool some of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

You suck, playa. Go away now.

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Posted by in ,  on 1:40 PM 1 comment
2008 is just days away from wrapping up and I, for one, am glad to see it go. Besides all the personal drama I endured, the one thing that really hurt my soul is that music was flat out WACK this year.

There were a few gems, however. I'm going to share with you the top 10 albums that helped me survive 2008. The eligible albums include any I picked up during the year, despite when they were originally released. Why? Cuz I said so.

And for this extra special column, I'll be joined by the head Webmistress herself, Javacia. She'll be adding her two cents. Think of it as GeorgiaMae's own mix of E&J Brandy.

Here we go:

Honorable mention:
The N***** Tape
Nas, 2008

Edward - One of the best mixtapes I've ever heard. The perfect compliment to Nas' Untitled.

Javacia - I must agree. To be honest, I rarely listen to rap, but I have nearly every track from the mixtape and album on my iPod. I can't get enough of it.

E - And you scoffed when Nas and Kelis wore those shirts emblazoned with the N word.

J - No I didn't.

E- Sure you did. You said it was a publicity stunt.

J - Oh yeah. It was. But the mixtape is still hot.

E- They can wear Snuggies for all I care as long as Nas keeps dropping heat. As long as they aren't wearing white Klan Snuggies, that is.

#10. Fearless
Jazmine Sullivan, 2008

E - In a year of mediocrity, Jazmine stood head and shoulders above her young peers. At just 21 she gives me hope that all young musicians won't suck.

J- Jazmine Sullivan's album is awesome. I thought I would like her when I first heard "Need You Bad." But then she dropped "Bust Your Windows" and I was in love.

E - Yeah, you ladies love those "destroy your man's property" songs. Stop Waiting to Exhale and move on!

J - Don't worry, I won't bust up your Scion. I know you'd have me arrested.

E - But you'd burn my Biggie poster. And that would be the deepest cut of all.

J - I bought you that poster! And to thank me I think you should take me to the Jazmine concert next month.

E - Man, you just called me out on cyberspace. I'm down with that, though.

#9. E=MC2
Mariah Carey, 2008

E - This is pretty much a clone of 2005's The Emancipation of Mimi. It doesn't quite measure up to those standards but it's good for what it is - mindless R&B fun.

J- "It doesn't quite measure up" is an understatement. This album had like three good songs while Emancipation had plenty. And what's up with her crap-tastic videos?

E- I didn't say she was Cicely Tyson. She wouldn't know good acting if it hit her in her forehead. Look who she married, for goodness sakes.

J - Yeah I guess I shouldn't expect good movies from the woman who starred in "Glitter."

E- Bad movies aside, you're tripping if you didn't think "Touch My Body" was cute, in a dumb way.

J - It was just dumb in a dumb way.

#8. Free At Last
Freeway, 2007

E- I always respected Freeway as an above-average MC, but I must admit to sleeping on his albums. Free At Last is just what an "old man rap" lover like me needs - hard beats and an even harder delivery.

J - As I said earlier I rarely listen to rap, but I heard this a couple of times while riding in your car and I remember actually enjoying it. I guess I'm an old (wo)man rap lover too.

#7. Lyfe Change
Lyfe Jennings, 2008

E - I'm a huge Lyfe fan, but I admit I was originally slightly disappointed with this. It didn't grab me as quickly as his first albums, but it didn't take me long to enjoy this one. I love how he consistently makes positive music without being preachy.

J - I should've spent more time with this one because I typically like Lyfe too but I can't remember much about this album - just a song or two about wrapping it up when you have a one night stand so you don't get AIDS and a ballad about how he wants to fall in love, which might be easier if he stopped having one-night stands. Oh yeah, and if he wasn't in jail.

E- And don't forget the song where he compares his car to soul food, but he flips it to talk about how tough it is for poor folks to make ends meet - genius!

J - Oh yeah! I remember that song. It was pretty witty.

E - Which is why it depresses me that he's locked up. Again.

#6. Undeniable
AZ, 2008

E - AZ might just be the most underrated rapper of all time. He's oozing with talent, but he just wasn't in the right place at the right time to become a megastar. This album has everything going for it - crazy beats, great cameos (minus a very odd Ray J appearance) and an impeccable flow.

J - Hey, it's AZ. My daddy's favorite rapper. Oh wait, did that just sound like I was calling you old?

E- Your DADDY'S favorite rapper?! Way to make me sound old. Can you pick up some peanut brittle and some Polident from the drug store for me?

J - I'm just playin'. I mean he is my daddy's favorite rapper but I like AZ too and I'm not old.

E - Well, if I'm old for liking AZ pass the Geritol so we can make a toast.

Join us tomorrow for the top five!
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Posted by in ,  on 10:40 AM 1 comment
Jennifer Ellis Seitz, the woman who went missing from a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico, might have jumped overboard, her family believes. Seitz, a Florida journalist, was reported missing by her husband about eight hours after a surveillance camera captured a person falling overboard on Christmas night. Authorities are still investigating whether someone could have pushed her. The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search Monday for Seitz, but Mexican authorities said they planned to search until tomorrow. AP

The publication of a holocaust memoir called "Angel at the Fence" has been canceled after its author, Herman Rosenblat, admitted the story was false. Rosenblat, a holocaust survivor, claimed that when he was a prisoner at a concentration camp at age 12 a little girl helped him survive by throwing apples to him over a fence. He said he later met the same girl on a blind date and the two married. The story inspired a children's book, two appearances on the Oprah Winfrey show, a movie deal and memoir in the works and countless interviews. But one historian recently raised red flags and in a statement Rosenbalt admitted his version of history was fiction.

Bristol Palin, the 18-year-old daughter of former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, gave birth on Saturday to a healthy 7 lb., 7 oz., baby boy in Palmer, Alaska. The baby's name is Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston.
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Monday, December 29, 2008

In 2009 I want to be a bonafide book worm. I want to be the girl who saw the movie and read the book. I want to be that person who starts off conversations with the sentence, "That reminds me of this book I'm reading right now." And I want to actually need one of those adorable book totes sold at Borders.

Don't get me wrong, I read all the time. Because I'm a journalist I'm constantly browsing newspapers, magazines and blogs to stay up on current events and to get ideas for future stories and columns. But with only a few exceptions, each book that I completed this year I read to prepare for an interview with the author, not just because I wanted to read it. And that's no way for a true book worm to behave.

But this will change in 2009. My plan is to compile a list of 12 books to read next year and I need your help coming up with some ideas.

Before you start suggesting I read War and Peace, let me give you an idea of what I like and I hope these examples will give you some titles to add to your own reading list.

Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and World Without Rape -- Edited by Jaclyn Friedman and founder Jessica Valenti, this book is a collection of insightful essays by feminists from all over the country. And I have an announcement -- there's one essay in the book written by yours truly! But I'd be excited about reading this book even if it didn't contain my byline. Promise.

The Prisoner's Wife -- This memoir by poet Asha Bandele tells of her falling in love with a man in prison, marrying him in prison and later conceiving a child with him during a conjugal visit. If this book is even half as good as her poetry it will definitely be worth a read.

Are You There, Vodka? It's me, Chelsea and/or My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands -- I have a thing for memoirs, especially those that make me laugh out loud. The reviews I've read about these essay collections by Chelsea Handler have convinced me they'll deliver the funny.

Girl Meets God -- The child of a Jewish father and a lapsed Southern Baptist mother, Lauren F. Winner chose to become an Orthodox Jew, but found herself increasingly drawn to Christianity. She eventually converted and this book takes us through a year in her life as a Christian.

My list is missing fiction and erotica. I need some works by bell hooks and other feminist thinkers in the mix and I can never have enough David Sedaris-esque memoirs.

Any suggestions?

What did you read this year?

What's on your reading agenda for 2009?

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Posted by in  on 10:30 AM 4 comments
A couple of weeks ago we had a discussion here at Georgia Mae on actress Jennifer Aniston's nude photo spread and cover in GQ magazine.

I thought you all might like to know, since it did come up in the comments, that last week Aniston admitted on The View that her image was Photoshopped.

According to the New York Daily News, when The View host Barbara Walters held up the cover asking, "What happened to the girl next door from 'Friends'?," Aniston replied, "She's there! Photoshopped!"

This was no shock since I'm certain nearly all photos in magazines are retouched, but I still give her kudos for being honest. However, I'll be a lot happier when magazines stop peddling these unrealistic beauty ideals and celebrities stop playing along.

What do you think?
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Posted by in  on 8:30 AM 1 comment
As Israeli warplanes carry out a third day of strikes on the Palestinian territory, Defense Minister Ehud Barak has said that Israel is now in "all-out war" with Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that rules Gaza. The Palestinian death toll from the campaign has topped 300, most of them Hamas militants. Israel says its aim is to stop rockets fired from Gaza. CNN

Sure, we've all wanted to shoot the noisy person in front of us at the theater, but we don't actually do it. On Christmas Day in a Philadelphia movie theater, James Joseph Cialella, 29, got angry that a family in front of him was talking during "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." He told them to be quiet, an argument ensued and Cialella threw popcorn at the son and then shot the father in the arm. CNN

Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan has said he was "appalled" by a song called "Barack the Magic Negro" on a CD distributed by Chip Saltsman.
Saltsman sent RNC members the parody CD "We Hate the USA" for Christmas, which includes the controversial tune. He defended his decision Friday, telling CNN the song was clearly intended as a joke.
"I think most people recognize political satire when they see it," Saltsman told CNN. "I think RNC members understand that." CNN

What do you think? Is the song a harmless joke or offensive and divisive?
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Friday, December 26, 2008

Keyshia Cole

A Different Me (released December 16, 2008)

I'll go ahead and say this now - I'm not a fan of Keyshia Cole's oddly popular reality show "The Way It Is." I watched the first season a few years back - apparently, before the ghettoness got out of hand - and it was pretty boring. But Keith Sweat was featured on one of those early episodes so it was all good.

No, I'm more of a fan of Keyshia's music than her crazy family. Her first two albums, 2005's The Way It Is and last year's Just Like You, were extremely strong, minus the occasional vocal histrionics. I'm sure you remember that LUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUV song. Ugh.

Anyway, A Different Me promises to reveal a new, sexier side of Keyshia. I don't know, it sounds like the same ol' Keyshia to me.

Keyshia's at her best when she tackles the slower or mid-tempo tracks. You heard it here first - "Thought You Should Know" will be the ladies' club anthem of '09. Not because it's a club banger - its laid-back vibe is more suited for an evening at the crib than shaking it on the floor. The track warns a guy that it'll take more than a few drinks for him to score with KC. The track is boosted by the fact that Keyshia doesn't go all insane with her trademark screaming. By using subtlety she speaks volumes.

Same goes for the Nas-assisted "Oh-Oh, Yeah-Yea," "Brand New" and "Trust," a duet with Monica. Keyshia glides across each track, careful not to overshadow the mellow vibe.

Unfortunately, none of those tracks have the lasting impact on the listener as her songs from previous albums. Say what you want about the annoying "Love" song from The Way It Is, but it certainly wasn't forgettable.

KC's single, "Playa Cards Right" just sounds like pretty much every Keyshia Cole song you've ever heard, complete with the ghost of 2pac rapping about the same tired stuff (his en-e-MIES). And nearly all the uptempo tracks - which take up the first third of the album - sound like retreads, especially "No Other", which sound EXACTLY like last year's "Shoulda Let You Go," down to Keyshia's female rapper friend and that annoying violin-scratchy noise.

While it's not a bad album, once the CD stops spinning it's instantly forgettable. It took me over a week to write this review because I had to keep relistening to tracks.

KC's clearly still got the goods, but next time I hope she focuses more on her music and less on family drama.

Best tracks: "Thought You Should Know," "Oh-Oh, Yeah-Yea," "Brand New"

3.5 stars out of 5
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Posted by in  on 6:30 AM No comments

Thursday, December 25, 2008

I hope everyone had a Happy Christmas. In case you didn't, hope this cheers you up.


Edd and Jai, the Georgia Mae crew

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

How did you spend your holiday?

Tell us about some of your favorite Christmas memories.
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Posted by on 8:04 PM 1 comment

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sunday marked the first day of winter and therefore the end of my Fall of Firsts project. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, here's a recap: You see, I despise cold weather and therefore fall is a rather depressing time for me. I basically see it as nothing but a welcome mat for winter. So I planned to do one new thing each day of autumn as a way to teach myself to live in the moment and enjoy each day, even the cold ones.

The bad news is my plan failed. I wasn't able to do much of the stuff I planned because I got hit by a freaking car and couldn't do things like take new dance classes and go rock wall climbing. And while the new things I did do were great, the bottom line is I still hate fall, I still hate winter and most likely I always will.

There are, however, plenty of things I love, things that kept my autumn from sucking completely (even though I was run down by a car) and here is my salute to them.

This fall I learned that I heart ...

The group thing. I don't mean that kind of group thing. I mean I enjoy being part organizations that are seeking to do good. This fall I helped to revive the Louisville Association of Black Journalists, a local organization that will work to empower journalists of color, encourage students of color interested in journalism and help communities of color better understand the media.

Women who rock. My autumn may have been crap-tastic, but at least it had an awesome soundtrack. I spent this fall listening to albums like Janelle Monae's "Metropolis," Jazmine Sullivan's "Fearless," Ani DiFranco's "Red Letter Year" and Nikka Costa's "Pebble to a Pearl."

Pure romance parties. Ladies if you don't know what these are, get in the know now. Not only are they ridiculously fun but if you get the right consultant you might even learn something new about your body.

Vampire Bill. The HBO series "True Blood" has had me glamoured since I saw the first episode.

You. Running this new blog and watching it grow was certainly the highlight of my autumn. I can't thank you all enough for reading and commenting on posts and I promise to make the site bigger and better in 2009.

Happy Holidays!
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Posted by in  on 3:56 PM 2 comments
*The Georgia Mae Morning News report will return Monday, Dec. 29. But be sure to stop by over the holidays for other great posts!

Cycling legend and testicular cancer survivor Lance Armstrong and girlfriend Anna Hansen are expecting a baby. Armstrong was diagnosed in 1996 with testicular cancer that had spread to his brain, lungs and abdomen. The harsh chemotherapy he underwent during treatment of the cancer left him unable to have children, although he and then-wife Kristin Richards had three children using sperm the cyclist had donated before the treatment. Armstrong and Hansen, however, are expecting without the use of any artificial fertilization process. CNN

A Saudi judge recently refused to annul a marriage between an 8-year-old girl and a 47-year-old man -- a union that was arranged by the girl's father to settle his debts. CNN

New claims for unemployment benefits increased much more than expected last week as layoffs spread throughout the economy. The Labor Department says initial requests for jobless benefits rose to a seasonally adjusted 586,000 in the week ending Dec. 20, from an upwardly revised figure of 556,000 the previous week. That's much more than the 560,000 economists had expected.

A water main broke yesterday flooding a commuter road just outside of Washington, D.C. and leaving several motorists stranded. The video below shows a driver and a child being rescued.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A friend just e-mailed me about this and I had to share it with my Georgia Mae readers.

Keith Slater Jr., a 22-year-old college student in a Kansas City neighborhood, discovered that an employee at Journey's shoe store had printed "dumb ni**er" on his receipt after he returned a pair of shoes. The matter was reported to the store and a local TV news station. Store officials refuse to say how the matter was handled.

Click here for more on the story.

Cross-posted on my Velocity Weekly blog.
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Posted by in  on 8:58 AM 4 comments
Though she has yet to officially take office as Secretary of State, Hilllary Clinton is already seeking to build a more powerful state department. She wants a bigger budget, high-profile special envoys to trouble spots and an expanded role in dealing with global economic issues at a time of crisis. NY Times

A manhunt continues today for a gunman in a pickup who is suspected of killing two people and injuring another in a series of rush hour shootings on Dallas-area roads.

The United Kingdom's Sun newspaper yesterday quoted the author of an upcoming book about Michael Jackson saying the King of Pop was battling a potentially fatal disease that required a life-saving lung transplant. As you might imagine, the news spread quickly through the Internet rumor mill, but Jackson's publicist insists that the 50-year-old singer "is in fine health." CNN

Yesterday the Internet was also buzzing about new shirtless photographs of President-elect Barack Obama, who is in Hawaii on vacation with his family. It was a hot topic on CNN's American Morning today (see the video below). Personally, I think it's pretty scary that paparazzi were able to get this close to Obama and his family. I also feel really guilty for thinking my future president is hot. It's almost as bad as lusting after Jim Caviezel when he played Jesus in "The Passion of the Christ," for which I've also asked for forgiveness.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

The Isley Brothers
I"ll Be Home For Christmas (released October 9, 2007)

A friend passed this along late last year, but I only recently had the opportunity to give it a full listen. Knowing what a R&B junkie I am, he figured it would be right up might alley.

He was right - sorta.

The Isleys are a timeless group, with hits stretching way back to the early 70s. To put that into perspective for our younger readers, that was nearly 10 years before T-Pain was brought into the world. What a wonderful world that must have been.

Anyway, after years of seducing the ladies, Ron and Ernie Isley have turned their attention to the yuletide season, covering nearly all your favorite tunes.

The problem is, something just seems wrong with Mr. Biggs caroling. Vocally, he sounds up to par on famous songs like "Winter Wonderland" and "I'll Be Home For Christmas" but it just doesn't put you in the holiday spirit. Imagine his trademark "La da da da da daaaaaas" and "look-a here, bay-bays" scattered throughout "Santa Claus is Coming To Town" and you'll see what I mean. It makes him sound like a broke lounge singer.

But Ron is in his element when he reverts back to his creepy old sugar daddy persona. "I'm In Love" has absolutely NOTHING to do with Christmas (except an ad-lib about wanting to be some lady's Santa at the end of the song) but it's classic Isley, and that's cool with me. Same goes for "What Can I Buy You" - they might as well have released that song on Arbor Day. It has no link to the holiday at all, but you won't care once Ernie starts going nuts on the guitar.

Isley fans definitely should download those two tracks. As far as I know, Ron is still in the slammer for tax evasion - I'm sure he'll appreciate the 99 cent purchases. Maybe he can get a couple boxes of those Keith Sweat McNuggets when he gets out.

Maybe years of listening to Donny Hathaway and Nat King Cole has tainted our ears, but the Isleys can't even come close to the Christmas classics. Sorry, Mr. Biggs, "Silent Night" is the sole property of the Temptations.

Best tracks: "What Can I Buy You," "I'm In Love," "I'll Be Home For Christmas"
3 stars out of 5
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Posted by in  on 3:36 PM 2 comments
Investigators are planning to interview crew members and review data and voice recorders to help determine what caused a passenger plane to veer off a Denver International Airport runway and catch fire this weekend. Fire fighters have said it was a "miracle" that all 115 people aboard the Continental Airlines jet escaped. CNN

The Japanese auto giant Toyota announced today that it expected the first loss in 70 years in its core vehicle-making business. Analysts say that Toyota’s downward revision, its second in two months, shows that the worst financial crisis since the Depression is threatening not just the Big Three but even relatively healthy automakers in Japan, South Korea and Europe. NY Times

Check out this story from Newsweek on the fight to decriminalize prostitution. Advocates of legal prostitution say this will help make conditions safer for sex workers. What do you think?
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Friday, December 19, 2008

I'll admit that I don't watch much TV these days - I'm too busy bloggin' n' complain' - so pardon me if I'm a few months behind.

While I was relaxing in Virginia during vacation, I had plenty of time to get my couch potato on. And at least once an hour I bore witness to the strangest commercial I had ever seen.

What IS this thing called a Snuggie?

For those who haven't been privileged with seeing the ad, a woman is annoyed that she can't answer the phone and still be covered up with her blanket at the same time. Keep in mind that said blanket is the size of a washcloth. And she is APPALLED that she had to leave the comfort of her blanket to pick up the phone.

That's where the Snuggie comes in. The ads describe it as a revolutionary "blanket with sleeves."

In the hood, we call that a shirt.

Anyway, the commercial talks about how warm the Snuggie is and how cool college kids will look as they roam the halls of their dorm dressed like a monk.

I know it's Christmas, the time of year when people spend money to buy crap that will just sit in the closest, but who in their right mind thought that buying a grown man a moo-moo was a good idea? It worked for Tyler Perry, but it ain't working for me.

And here's the funniest thing - the Snuggie has been around for years! I know plenty of dorks who sported 'em. Don't believe me? Check this out:

Orko, He-Man's mentally-challenged buddy has been rocking one since the 80s. He's not exactly a fashion icon. He can't even bear to show his face because of his shame.

And what about those floaty ghost guys from Mortal Kombat 2?

There's a reason people remember Sub-Zero and not those dudes.

And I KNOW you don't want your kids dressing like these guys:

So, just say no to the Snuggie this year.

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Posted by in  on 10:10 AM 5 comments
The federal government will provide $13.4 billion in loans to Detroit automakers, the White House announced today, and an additional $4 billion may be available in February. The loans are meant to stabilize U.S. automakers through March 2009, at which time the automakers must show they are financially viable. The money will come from the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program. CNN

W. Mark Felt, who was the No. 2 official at the F.B.I. when he helped bring down President Richard Nixon by resisting the Watergate cover-up and becoming Deep Throat, the most famous anonymous source in American history has died. He was 95. NY Times

Ever wonder what President-elect Barack Obama was like as a freshman in college? Check this out:

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Last week while Gov. Rod Blagojevich was gettting arrested and Oprah was announcing she now weighs 200 pounds, actress Jennifer Aniston was also making headlines.

Aniston posed for the January issue of GQ magazine wearing nothing but a neck tie and you better believe that got some people's attention.

image via

Pop culture pundits say Aniston is not only hoping to promote her new movie "Marley & Me," but that she also wants the world to know she's not sitting home getting fat and sulking about "Brangelina."

(If you're not familiar with all of this, the video below will get you up to date, but beware that Extra correspondent Carlos Diaz is so excited about Aniston's photos I half expect him to need to excuse himself before the segment is over.)

Aniston was quoted saying, in regards to the photo shoot, "It felt really good to be that comfortable with myself..." and this comment echoes the sentiments of many women who have posed nude for magazines.

While I'm thrilled that these women love their bodies, it frustrates me that posing nude is the supposed self-confidence booster that seems to be celebrated most in the media. Sure, a woman should have a right to pose nude if she wants to, but aren't there other ways, better ways, to feel sexy and confident and celebrate our bodies? And is having folks lust over your photo real sexual power?

What do you think?
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Posted by in  on 11:00 AM 6 comments
Alaska officials are investigating racist jokes about President-elect Barack Obama that have been circulating on state government e-mail accounts. One of the five e-mails obtained by The Associated Press asks about the outcome of the Democrat's victory after all the time and money invested and concludes: "Another black family living in government housing!" AP

All three major U.S. automakers announced plans yesterday to shut down manufacturing plants due to the slumping domestic auto market. Operations at Chrysler's 30 plants will be halted at the end of business on Dec. 19 and are not scheduled to return back online until Jan. 19, 2009, or later. Ford announced it plans to shut down 10 of its North American assembly plants for an additional week in January instead of its normal two-week holiday stoppage. And General Motors Corp., said it will halt construction of a factory in Flint, Mich., designed to make engines for the Chevrolet Cruze and the electric plug-in Chevy Volt, which is expected to travel up to 40 miles on electricity alone.

Many prominent liberal groups and gay rights proponents have expressed outrage at President-elect Barack Obama's selection of evangelical pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the presidential inauguration next month. Warren, one of the most influential religious leaders in the nation and author of the wildly popular book "Purpose Driven Life," has adhered to socially conservative stances -- including his opposition to gay marriage and abortion rights that puts him at odds with many in the Democratic Party, especially the party's most liberal wing. CNN

Col. Theoneste Bagosora, a senior Rwandan military officer charged with being one of the masterminds behind the 1994 slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda, has been convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes and sentenced to life in prison. NY Times
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hollywood, Fla., police have named Ottis Toole as the man responsible for the 1981 abduction and murder of Adam Walsh, bringing one of the country's most famous cold cases to an end. The six-year-old son of "America's Most Wanted" host John Walsh went missing from a Hollywood, Fla., mall more than 27 years ago. His head was discovered two weeks later, though his body was never found. Toole, a convicted killer long suspected in the murder, died 12 years ago in prison.

A woman so horribly disfigured she was willing to risk her life to do something about it has undergone the nation's first near-total face transplant, the Cleveland Clinic announced yesterday. Reconstructive surgeon Dr. Maria Siemionow and a team of other specialists replaced 80 percent of the woman's face with that of a female cadaver. Seattle Times

The government commission tasked with protecting investors has launched an internal investigation into how what may have been the largest Ponzi scheme in history was able to continue unchecked for at least 10 years. The federal Securities and Exchange Commission said Tuesday that allegations against Bernard Madoff and his securities firm had "repeatedly" been brought to the attention of SEC staff as early as 1999 but were not recommended to the commission for action. Madoff was arrested last week for allegedly running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme that may have cost some of the largest financial firms in the world hundreds of millions of dollars apiece. (A Ponzi scheme is a swindle offering unusually high returns, with early investors paid off with money from later investors.) CNN
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

image via

If you're searching for a new hobby for 2009, try taking roller derby for a spin.

The sport dates back as far as the 1920s, but has seen a resurgence in the past several years with leagues popping up in cities coast to coast. And it doesn't seem like roller derby mania is going anywhere anytime soon.

Since most roller derby leagues are all-female, grassroots organizations, in my eyes it's got feminism all over it. And if I could actually get half-way around a rink without falling on my ass I'd be on somebody's team.

But before you sign-up take note that roller derby is not for punks. It's a full-contact form of sports entertainment that takes no prisoners.

I recently had a brief chat with roller derby diva Jackie Clay. First, let me say that her skating alias is "belle Right hooks" -- feminist, southern and badasss. I love it!

Formerly a part of the Tragic City Rollers of Birmingham, Ala., the 28-year-old recently relocated to Oakland, Calif., and is putting in work to move up from a "rinky dink" and become an official member of the Bay Area Derby Girls, a.ka. the B.A.D. Girls.

Jackie told me why she loves roller derby and why you should too:

What is it that you love about roller derby?

I love that it is real, hard-hitting and all about the ladies. There is positive energy connected to women-centered activities. It is strengthening.

I enjoy bouts (that's what their public matches are called) but appreciate practices. I love seeing everyone improve and work as a collective. As you get older, we have fewer opportunities to work together for pleasure.

Have you had any nasty injuries?

No. Knock on wood.

For people who aren’t familiar with it, can you briefly explain the basic rules of roller derby and how a bout normally goes?

Whoa, this is easier said than done. I have two suggestions. One, support you local Derby Ladies and attend a bout. Two, check out this sweet website

Since we’re all about girl power here at Georgia Mae, I have to ask if you think roller derby can be empowering for young women?

Roller Derby is empowering to women in every way! It's all about strong women -- physically and mentally -- coming together to kick butts! There's nothing better.

Got a hobby you want to tell Georgia Mae readers about? Send your story to

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Posted by in , ,  on 11:00 AM No comments
French police neutralized five sticks of explosives discovered today in the restrooms of the prestigious department store Printemps in Paris. The Afghan Revolutionary Front has claimed responsibility and is calling for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Afghanistan by February next year. France has about 2,600 troops serving with NATO in Afghanistan and President Nicolas Sarkozy has said more will be sent.

Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of slain President John F. Kennedy, wants the Senate seat of Sen. Hillary Clinton, who has been nominated Secretary of State, and she has civil rights activist Al Sharpton on her side. Sharpton has said in a statement, "I unequivocally disagree with those that say she is not qualified and could not bring needed leadership to this state and country."

President-elect Barack Obama is set to announce Arne Duncan, the head of Chicago public schools, as his choice for education secretary at a news conference Tuesday, a Democratic source said. CNN
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Monday, December 15, 2008

image via

As most of you know, your boy has been on a much needed vacation for the past week and a half. And I while I watching reruns of Voltron, y'all certainly took the chance to misbehave:

- DMX was arrested AGAIN, and this time he was hiding out at penniless producer Scott Storch's house. Now, that's a reality show waiting to happen.

- Remember when Rihanna allegedly was messing around with Jay-Z? Rihanna's publicist admitted that she started those rumors to further her client's career. No shock there - now someone needs to admit that Rihanna and Chris Brown aren't really dating. Those two look so fake.

- And Kanye's horrible 808s & Heartbreak sold 400,000+ copies, landing at No. 1 on the Billboard charts in its first week. Did you people not read my review? I tried listening to that album again the other day and it's even worse than I remember.

But there was one bit of good news I couldn't wait to share.

My man Keith Sweat has recorded a tune to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the chicken McNugget!

Don't believe me? Click here to check out the song, courtesy of TMZ.

Now that's classy!

Some people might have a problem with a grown man singing about chicken nuggets, like a 10-year-old in the school cafeteria. But those people are haters. In these harsh economic times, when corporations are doing all they can to pull in hesitant customers, they need a spokesman that Americans can trust. And if you can't trust the man who sang "Make It Last Forever," then the terrorists truly have won.

And I don't want to hear about how McDonald's should have picked someone more "hip" that the kids can relate to. Screw the kids, they don't know anything. Think about it, would you buy anything from this guy:

Didn't think so. So next time you're chomping on a McNugget, know that somewhere, Keith is smiling.

Won't be me, though. I hate McNuggets.

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Posted by in  on 10:00 AM 5 comments
*New York Governor David A. Paterson's office has criticized a skit on this weekend’s Saturday Night Live in which Paterson, who is legally blind, was portrayed as disoriented and buffoon-like.

The governor's communications director, Risa B. Heller, issued a statement Sunday saying:

"The governor engages in humor all the time, and he can certainly take a joke. However, this particular 'Saturday Night Live' skit unfortunately chose to ridicule people with physical disabilities and imply that disabled people are incapable of having jobs with serious responsibilities." NY Times

Do you think SNL went to far?

*The Illinois legislature meets today for the first time since Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested and as you might have guessed the top item for discussion will be the question of whether to begin impeachment proceedings against Blagojevich, who still refuses to resign.

In case you missed this:

I must say, our outgoing president has some quick reflexes.
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Friday, December 12, 2008

Contributed by: Karie

As Christmas approaches and items are crossed off on everyone’s list, it’s imperative that singles prepare a list for themselves -- a wish list of qualities they want in a mate. This “wish list” is a necessity for singles because it helps them realize exactly what they’re looking for in a mate and it will help us recognize those characteristics when Mr. or Ms. Right comes along.

My wish list is up to 123 qualities. No. Seriously. It is. And, believe it or not, I managed to exclude all superficial things. (Ironically, many of the chosen qualities were embodied by some ex-boyfriends or arose from lessons learned when dealing with their unsavory behavior.)

Here is a snippet of the 123:

  1. Loves his mommy.

  2. Loves reading the newspaper in bed on Sunday.

  3. Isn’t afraid to love—and love hard.

  4. Loves eating al fresco on nice summer nights, evenings, and mornings.

  5. Uses lotion.

  6. Loves a southern fish-fry.

  7. Appreciates my curviness.

  8. Loves to tell me his dreams.

  9. Proudly kills spiders, bugs, and all other insects.

  10. Is happy.

  11. Is extroverted.

  12. Wears a signature cologne.

  13. Wants to be married.

  14. Loves my cheese and eggs.

  15. Appreciates a good sermon.

  16. Knows how to find motivation (for self and others).

  17. Has a great sense of humor.

  18. Is patient with my flaws.

  19. Is respected by his peers and liked by his friends.

  20. Enjoys hosting family and friends.

My list reflects those things I can’t live without. I understand that I may not get 100%, but I’ll settle for 51%. Readers (both singles and couples), tell me what you think. Is my list realistic or too superficial?

About the contributor: Karie (pronounced like Marie with a “K) is a single, 20-something living in the DC Metropolitan area. Professionally, she is a technical writer. Outside of the office, she enjoys graphic design, creative writing, reading, and tennis. Please contact her at

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Bailout blues
The future of the U.S. auto industry is in doubt this morning after a bailout proposal for $14 billion in federal loans died in a Senate vote late last night.

Saying goodbye to the "Notorious Bettie Page"

Legendary pinup queen Bettie Page died of pneumonia at the age of 85 in a Los Angeles, California, hospital Thursday, a week after suffering a heart attack, according to her agent. CNN

Video of the day:

On Sunday CNN will air an exclusive interview with General Colin Powell in which Powell discusses the problems he sees within the Republican Party. Watch the video below for a snippet of the interview.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Jackson 5
Officials now believe that Rep. Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. is “Senate Candidate 5” described in an affidavit filed in Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s arrest.

Blagojevich was arrested on charges that he attempted to sell or trade President-elect Barack Obama's former Senate seat in exchange for financial benefits . Jackson is believed to be one of at least six people being considered by the governor to fill the seat in exchange for money or a new job.

Specifically, federal authorities said, Mr. Jackson is “Senate Candidate 5,” associates of whom, the governor said in a wire-tapped conversation, were willing to raise money for Blagojevich in exchange for the seat. NY Times

Finally, the Little Guy Wins
After six days of protesting, the sit-in at the Chicago window and door factory Republic Windows & Door has ended after workers approved a $1.75 million agreement.

Bank of America spokeswoman Julie Westermann says the company loaned $1.35 million. U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez says JPMorgan Chase & Co. added $400,000.

Each former Republic Windows & Door employee will get eight weeks' salary, all accrued vacation pay and two months' paid health care. AP

Stop the Michelle Obama Drama
Check out this commentary Essence editor-in-chief Angela Burt-Murray wrote for CNN on incoming First Lady Michelle Obama. She says we should just let Ms. Obama's real self shine.
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

For some reason we bloggers always feel like we need to do something special for our 100th post. A few weeks ago I was visiting one of the many blogs I read and saw that the blogger had posted a list of 100 things that make her happy.

I got this grand idea -- I would make a list of my own for my 100th Georgia Mae post.

Then I realized that not only could I not think of 100 things that make me happy, but I'm sure you would probably stop reading around item #10. So, instead I give you a list of 10 things that make me happy.

To give myself a challenge, when making this list I set the rule that the items had to be little, seemingly insignificant things so I couldn't get off easy and just list my 10 favorite people in the world. So here we go...

1. Yellow cake cupcakes with vanilla frosting. What can I say? Sometimes I'm a plain Jane kind of girl.

2. The blue of a cloudless sky. Unfortunately, I'm not seeing this much these days.

3. The fact that this is on You Tube:

(I know I'm not 14, but I love me some Jesse McCartney.)

4. Oh, and this too.

(Don't front. You know you liked 'N Sync back in the day.)

5. A text message from my husband in the middle of the day that just says, "Hi."

6. Buying a new notebook.

7. Doing a pirouette in my socks in the middle of my kitchen.

8. Anne Taintor snarkiness.

9. The fact that LIFE magazine has digitized its photo archive, so I can look at great photos like this one:

The beautiful Dorothy Dandridge posing in costume for the motion picture "Tarzan's Peril."

10. Seeing that you left a new comment on Georgia Mae!

Now it's your turn. Tell me about the little things that make you smile.
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Posted by in  on 11:00 PM 5 comments
A couple of weeks ago, long-lost Fugees hanger-on John Forte was pardoned by President Bush.

Who knew Bush was a Fugees fan?

That got me thinking - there are a bunch of hip-hop stars currently doing time. Who else should Bush give a second chance? Let's see:

You might remember him as: The loud-mouthed rapper with tarantula-like braids. He made his mark as one of Master P's cronies in the late 90s before dropping hits like "Danger" and "Shake It Fast." He used to rap like he had Tourette syndrome.

What he did: In 2004 he was sentenced to six years for forcing his stylist to perform sex acts with him and his boys after he accused her of stealing his money. Although he initially denied the charges, the moron had recorded the acts and the tape was found in his home.

Should he be free?: Playa, please. He's lucky he didn't get thrown in "Oz" with Adebisi and Schillinger. It's bad enough to sexually assault a woman - he should have gotten 10 extra years for being dumb enough to record the thing.

Remy Ma
You might remember her as: "The next big female rapper" back in 2004, making her mark on "Lean Back" with Fat Joe. Her debut album was released a couple of years later. Although it was a pretty good album, it didn't sell much. And as we all know, sales are more important than talent.

What she did: Earlier this year, she was sentenced to eight years in prison in connection with a shooting '07 shooting outside a nightclub.

Should she be free?: Nope. Wanna know why? While serving her term, she planned to marry her finance, down-on-his-luck mixtape rapper Papoose, in jail. I had no problem with that, until I heard he got busted for trying to smuggle handcuff keys into the prison. Good lord, give BOTH of them the chair for that stupid stunt. What were they going to do after he uncuffed her? Run into a locked cell?

Black Rob
You might remember him as: The so-called "savior"of Bad Boy Records after Biggie's death and Mase's call to ministry (cough). He had that one song, "Whoa." That's about it.

What he did: Caught seven years for skipping a court date after being charged with stealing a thousands of dollars worth of jewelry from a hotel room.

Should he be free?: Not really. What's he going to do, make a "Whoa" remix? He already did that, like three times.

You might remember him as: Yet another Diddy protege and Biggie sound-alike who did all those songs with "Mr. Diddly-whoa" Barrington Levy. I never really got the Biggie comparisons - they rap at the same pitch but that's it. It's like saying I look like Plies because we have the same haircut.

And I'll seriously hurt anyone who says I look like Plies.

What he did: Convicted of first-degree assault and reckless endangerment after a 1999 shooting at a club. Why do all these incidents occur at clubs? Anyway, Diddy and his bodyguard were acquitted but Shyne got 10 years.

Should he be free?: I think so, he has served nearly all his time anyway and I bet he's learned his lesson - stay away from Puffy!

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Posted by in  on 2:25 PM No comments
The Ill in Illinois
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris were arrested yesterday on charges that the governor attempted to sell or trade President-elect Barack Obama's former Senate seat in exchange for financial benefits for the governor and his wife, Patti.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said the government had bugged the governor's campaign office, placed a tap on his home phone and listened to the governor talk about wanting possible deals. Blagojevich was recorded saying things like this of the Senate seat: "I've got this thing and it's f---ing golden and uh, uh, I'm not just giving it up for f---ing nothing."

So far Blagojevich refuses to resign and, out on bail, says he's even going to work today. CNN

Day without a Gay

While Blagojevich may be going to work today, many of America's gay and lesbian workers won't. Today is national Day Without a Gay, a loosely organized protest intended as a statement against California's ban on same-sex marriage and other political developments considered anti-gay. Gay and lesbian workers are being asked to "call in gay" today and stay home from work. Some are also calling for a boycott of all economic activity to highlight the gay community's financial power. Others want gays and lesbians to spend the day volunteering for worthy causes to demonstrate their compassion, which could win new sympathy to their cause.

Queen of Talk tells all

Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey has always been frank about her struggle with weight and in the January issue of "O" magazine Winfrey confesses she now weighs 200 pounds and has “fallen off the wagon” when it comes to healthy living. The cover of the magazine shows an image of a thin Winfrey from 2005 and a present day picture of her with the quote "How did I let this happen again?" MSNBC

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Auto bailout update:
Congressional Democrats has sent the White House an emergency $15 billion plan to help bailout America's auto industry. The plan includes a provision of a "car czar" to oversee the industry's reinvention of itself. The Bush administration said there had been progress toward agreement but negotiations continue. AP

More bad news:
The Japanese electronics maker Sony is slashing 8,000 jobs to cut costs by $1.1 billion a year as a global downturn continues to strain profits.

News from Gitmo:
The five Guantánamo detainees charged with coordinating the Sept. 11 attacks told a military judge on Monday that they wanted to confess in full. These confessions could challenge the government to put the detainees to death and could undercut any hopes of a high-profile trial. NY Times

Obama's agenda for today:
President-elect Barack Obama has plans to meet with former Vice President Al Gore today, a meeting that has led to speculation that Obama is eyeing Gore for a slot in his administration. The Obama transition office, however, has said the meeting will focus on climate change and enery issues and on how the new administration's environmental policies can spur job creation. Democratic officials say Obama is not looking to tap Gore for a Cabinet-level post or any other position in the administration. CNN
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Monday, December 8, 2008

On Nov. 18 at Haverstraw Middle School in New York a teacher by the name of Eileen Bernstein and her class were discussing the conditions under which African captives were taken to America in slave ships. To simulate the experience she bound the hands and feet of two students and had them crawl under a desk.

One of the students, Gabrielle Shand, broke into tears when she got home and her mother, Christine Shand, issued a complaint against the teacher to the school and has gotten the local chapter of the NAACP on her side. She's also considering taking legal action.

The Associated Press reported Friday that the teacher has apologized for the incident and Superintendent Brian Monahan of the North Rockland School District in New York City's northern suburbs has said, "If a student was upset, then it was a bad idea."

Neither Bernstein nor Monahan, however, have said that what happened was wrong.

I know it's very hard being a teacher and that they must constantly struggle with coming up with innovative ways to capture their students' attention. But, seriously, nothing in my mind would tell me it would be a good idea to tie up my students during a discussion of slavery or anything else.

But what do you think? Was this wrong or is the student's mother overreacting?

Shout out to Lynielle for asking me to blog about this issue and sending me the AP story. Good lookin' out!

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Posted by in  on 6:33 PM 6 comments
According to a study published in last month's issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, 40 percent of women have some type of sexual dysfunction, such as low desire and problems reaching orgasm. But here's the kicker -- only 12 percent are distressed about it.

Uh, what? I'm not sure who the researchers surveyed for this study, but clearly my friends were not in the bunch.

The ladies on The View discussed the study (click here to read more about the research) on Friday and editor Tracie Egan wrote a post about it in which she brought up the issue of talking to your pals about your sex life.

She wrote:

"... hearing about others' experiences is helpful in gauging our sexual health. This isn't to say that we should automatically think something is wrong if our sex lives don't measure up to that of our peers. But many sexual health problems stem from a discomfort with the topic, and the more we talk about sex and masturbation, the more comfortable we will be with the issue. Familiarity breeds orgasms!"

She went on to say that this isn't much of an issue for younger women because we tend to be more comfortable talking about sex, seeing as how we grew up in an age of Sex and the City, fancy vibrators and the like.

But I started to wonder just how much our generation does discuss sex with friends.

I'm very comfortable talking about sex in a general sense. I even hosted a Pure Romance party at my house this weekend. But these days I very rarely discuss any nitty, gritty details -- even with my closest friends.

But what about you? Do you talk about your sex life with your friends?

Do you think these discussions can encourage women to strive for happier, healthier and more satisfying sex lives?

What do you think about 40 percent of women having sexual dysfunction and the fact that only 12 percent of them seemed to care?
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Posted by in ,  on 8:15 AM 1 comment
Laid-off workers at a Chicago window factory staged a sit-in over the weekend and captured the attention and support of President-elect Barack Obama. About 200 workers from the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America have conducted what they call a "peaceful occupation" of the Republic Windows and Doors plant since Friday, when their abruptly announced layoffs were supposed to take effect. The workers said Republic told them Bank of America had cut off credit to the company and gave them three days' notice that they were losing their jobs. Federal law requires either 60 days' notice or 60 days' pay for the laid-off workers and the workers are demanding their severance pay. CNN

President-elect Barack Obama has nominated Gen. Eric Shinseki (Ret.) to become Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Shinseki, the first Army four-star general of Japanese-American ancestry, is a former Army chief of staff once vilified by the Bush administration for questioning its Iraq war strategy. AP

A Ford Escape, Chevy Tahoe from GM and a Chrysler Aspen were parked at the altar at Detroit's Greater Grace Temple Sunday as the Rev. Charles Ellis prayed for divine intervention. With autoworkers in the pews, Rev. Ellis told several thousand congregants that he and other Detroit ministers would pray and fast until Congress voted on a bailout for Detroit's embattled automakers, and asked them to do the same.
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Friday, December 5, 2008

You know, once you move away from home, start working for a living and realize how much life can suck, Christmas just isn't as fun anymore.

Can't you tell that I'm full of holiday cheer? Reminiscing about past holidays I spent with my brother put me in a foul mood.

Oh, I remember the good times - after Thanksgiving we'd make a calendar that counted down the days till Christmas, we'd spend Christmas Eve begging our mom to open at least one gift each (she'd usually cave in and do it) and you know we got NO sleep the night before - which meant on the big day we were dozing off in a pile of wrapping paper by 2 p.m.

I realize now that Christmas is really about spending quality time with family and celebrating the passing of another year, but I want my toys!

Since I'm in a mood to complain, let me share a few gifts that I always wanted but never received:

A leather Africa pendant

Y'all remember those late 80s pendants, don't you? In the days before bling (do rappers even wear bling anymore?), you'd find those pendants swinging from your favorite rapper's neck. And being an impressionable kid, I wanted one in the worst way. I remember a classmate in the fourth grade saying that she would ask her boyfriend Ronnie from New Edition to buy me one. For some odd reason that never worked out.

I never got it because: We could never find them in stores. Whenever I asked classmates where they got theirs, they could never remember. It was like some kind of secret society. I couldn't even find a real picture of one for the blog! What was up with those things?


Oh, man. Transformers were to 80s kids what Lil Wayne is to kids these days (and how sad is that?). And I always wanted Galvatron, the head bad guy after Megatron got KO'd. The dude transformed into a space cannon, how could you not love that?

I never got it because: Did you not get a good look at the photo? Man, that thing looks like crap. I'm glad my mom had the foresight to refrain from spending $50 on a Thermos with legs. I guess young eyes see crap as art. Which explains Lil Wayne's popularity.

A telescope

As a youth I was really into astronomy. I could not only name every planet, I could name all their moons (even the planets with like 20 of 'em), I could roughly tell you how far they are from the sun and I could name most constellations. Today I can't even remember my brother's middle name. Anyway, I thought a telescope would help me achieve my goal of becoming the Barack Obama of astronomy - or whoever would be Obama's 80s equivalent.

I never got it because: I'm not sure. My parents certainly supported my science nerdom. Maybe telescopes were too expensive. Children never understand the concept of money - that's why I contend that anyone who's too young to have a W2 is too young for an iPhone.

Back to the telescope - now that I think of it, I probably wouldn't be able to see much from my backyard except domestic violence and drug deals. So maybe it was for the best.

What gifts were on your Christmas list but were never under your tree?
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Posted by in  on 5:00 PM 4 comments
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