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Bang! Bang! -The First Fringe

19 Feb

FLOTUSFringeIn a Skype interview for the Rachael Ray Show scheduled to air this Wednesday, Michelle Obama jokingly revealed that her show-stopping fringe banged haircut that was all the rage before, during and after President Obama’s Inauguration for his second term in office, was inspired by a midlife crisis last month at the onset of her 49th birthday…

…Okay, timeout, FLOTUS is 49?????  Clearly she needs to bottle and sell those Robinson genes ASAP!

Mrs. Obama also went on to say that she settled for the bangs because she wouldn’t be allowed to bungee jump or purchase a sports car (side-eyes my balding neighbor with the convertible who shops at Ed Hardy Online).

But seriously, if this is what I have to look forward to in the way of a midlife crisis, then bring on my 49th birthday Jesus!

 

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More Than a Slap On The Wrist

18 Feb

Listen…

When I first heard this story last Friday and since having read up on the most recent developments, Digital Underground has been playing in my head.  Loudly.  On repeat!

Now, I do get it about being flustered at having to share space on a long flight, with a crying child within the confines of a constricting passenger aircraft.  I mean, I’m not proud of it, but I’ve prayed for God to mute a baby a time or too myself, but to go so far as to become so unhinged that spewing a racist tirade and striking a child was the best resulting idea for resolving the matter?  Utterly unacceptable.

To me however, the problem wasn’t so much with Joe Rickey Hundley having these views; as disgusting as they are.  The problem was him feeling justified in articulating his views in an incredibly public and violent matter, and against a defenseless minor no less.  Sure, he and his defense attorney have been siting his distraught sensibilities that day due to him traveling to visit an ailing relative, and his alcohol intake (used to quell those sensibilities) which adversely effected his otherwise “glowing persona”, but the truth remains, in this “post-racial” (loose air quotes used here) American in which we live, he called a 19-month old baby a n*gger and tried to slap the child into submission.  Again, utterly unacceptable.

The story however, does have a silver lining.  Whether yielding to the court of public opinion, or displaying zero-tolerance for offensive and donkey behavior or simply in an effort to distance themselves from a drunkard and troubled individual, Hundley’s bosses effectively pumped the brakes on his employment this past Sunday.  In a released statement, President and CEO of AGC Aerospace and Defense Al Hasse characterized Joe Rickey Hundley’s behavior as disturbing, contradictory to the company’s values and revealed that the unit executive was no longer an employee of the company:

“We have taken this matter very seriously and worked diligently to examine it since learning of the matter on Friday afternoon.  As of Sunday, the executive is no longer employed with the company.  [His behavior is] embarrassing and does not in any way reflect the patriotic character of the men and women of diverse backgrounds who work tirelessly in our business.”

Presently, Hundley has been charged with simple assault, which if convicted, could lead to a maximum term of one year in prison, so he certainly isn’t “off the hook.”  It truly speaks volumes however; that since he likes slapping so much, that he wasn’t just slapped criminally, but also in his wallet!

You’re Welcome.

Election Eve 2012: Public Service Announcement to the Undecided Caucasian Electorate

5 Nov

At this, the eleventh hour just one day before the United States’ official election day;  if you find yourself a member of the still undecided Caucasian electorate population that has basically garnered all of the attention from both major presidential candidates this election season, perhaps this very rudimentary and candid endorsement from Chris Rock will help you to decide for whom to cast your ballot more expeditiously.

You’re Welcome.

Doing Our Part: Support Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts

5 Nov

Hello Pack Faithful!  It seems like ages since real life has afforded me the opportunity to take time to sit and indulge in what has always been for me, the pleasure of sharing my thoughts, concerns and general musings with each of you, but I honestly had to make the time to talk with you guys about Hurricane Sandy.

Let me first say that for any of you who have been affected, I am praying for your peace of mind and that you find swift relief and recovery in your circumstances.  For me, although I can say how blessed I am to have heard from so many of my family and friends up and down the East Coast who survived through Super Storm Sandy last week with only minimal damage and a few days’ inconvenience as it related to power outages, food shortages and the like, I am still wholly mortified by the images that I continue to see from as far south as The Outer Banks to the heavily hit northeast region of the New York/Tri-State area.  It is for that reason that I wanted to use this platform to encourage each of you to do something.

While so many of us don’t have the necessary training or resources to assist in clean-up efforts in areas like Ground Zero or the New Jersey Shore or across the Mid-Atlantic, it is good to know that we are not helpless.  If like me, you find that the daily news stories of damage assessments, the rising death tolls or coverage of images like the ones below tend to leave you in a state of unrest, then please donate to The American Red Cross on behalf of the victims of Sandy.

As a nation, lets prove this November that a contentious election is not the only time we can mobilize in full force for a worthy cause.

The Mighty Dollar: Public Figure, Private Life and Questionable Child Rearing Allegations

11 Jun

Most nights when I climb into bed at the end of the day, I ask God for three things:

  • The addition of 4 more hours to a 24-hour day
  • Forgiveness for the gleeful mental images of pure ruin and nastiness I’ve envisioned for the people who’ve crossed me throughout my day
  • The strength and wisdom to raise my kids in a way that does not jack them up into adulthood.

Now while I’m not very optimistic about the first request and I struggle with the second, I am pretty sure that I have been bestowed with an almost heavenly serenity and awareness when it comes to The Pack Kids because…well, they are still with us, ladies and gentlemen.

I say all that to say that raising children is HARD.  It is not for the faint of heart or for those looking for the latest melanin-enriched rosy cheeked, curly-haired accessory of the week (shots fired, I know).  It requires determination, resilience, patience, discipline (on both parts) and some basic common sense.  There are no “instructions or owner’s manual”, but the basic understanding that for your efforts, there will be occasions when you will be loved and adored and other times (sometimes more frequently) when you will be loathed and have mustaches and horns drawn on your Mother’s Day portraits (that’s just me? Oh…oh, okay then).  Still, as a parent who only wants the best for your child, you have to take the bad with the good and be unafraid of being the proverbial bad guy every now and again because you know that your resistance to negotiate with your kids’ terroristic demands or to acquiesce to their will is for their own good.

Having now stepped down from my soap box, I cannot imagine embodying these ideals for child rearing while being a celebrity.  I mean, as a public figure, people are already critiquing your every move and misstep; to couple that with a public assessment of the way that you interact with your children (God forbid if you believe in spankings and get caught not “sparing the rod” in public) and just like that, you and your family are media fodder and you have regular appointments with Child Protective Services for the next 6 months.

I can’t speak for him personally, but I imagine that is sort of what Dr. Creflo Dollar is going through right about now, especially given his religious celebrity status here in the U.S.   As reported by the NY Daily News:

Megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar took to the pulpit in front of a packed house on Sunday to deny punching and choking his 15-year-old daughter, calling the accusations “an exaggeration and sensationalism.”

Dollar was arrested on Friday after the teen told police that he roughed her up and beat her with a shoe during an argument over whether she was allowed to go to a party, police said.

The Atlanta-based preacher’s other daughter, Alexandria, 19, backed her sister’s story, and cops noted the teen had red marks on her neck, signs of an apparent dust-up.

Dollar was charged with battery and cruelty to children.

He struck down the charges during a sermon at his World Changers Church International, his suburban Atlanta-based church that boasts 30,000 members and a host of satellite ministries across the U.S., according to The Associated Press.

“I will say this emphatically: I should have never been arrested,” he said, after receiving an exuberant welcome from the faithful at his 8,500-seat sanctuary, known as the World Dome.

“I want you all to hear personally from me that all is well in the Dollar household.”

 The 50-year-old televangelist denied choking his daughter, saying the scratches on the girl’s neck were caused by the skin condition eczema, which she’s had for 10 years.

“The truth is, she was not choked, she was not punched,” he said. “Anything else is exaggeration and sensationalism.”

After the incident, Dollar told police that the fight started when he told the teen she couldn’t go to a party on Saturday night because her grades were poor.

On Sunday, he told the church, “The truth is that a family conversation with our youngest daughter got emotional. And emotions got involved and things escalated from there.”

“I would never approach one of my children to intentionally inflict bodily harm. I love her with all my heart,” he said.

The father of five has built a multimillion dollar religious empire since starting the church in an elementary school in his hometown of College Park, Ga., in 1986.

He runs a weekly radio broadcast and has published more than 30 books preaching the “prosperity theology” message, which says God rewards the faithful with vast wealth.

His ministry has drawn criticism from detractors who have raised questions about his lavish lifestyle, including multimillion dollar homes in Atlanta and Manhattan, a private jet, two Rolls Royces other deluxe creature comforts.

On Sunday, he suggested that the media attention following his arrest was part of a plan to undercut his message, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.

“The devil knows that in order to discredit the message, you have to first of all discredit the messenger,” Dollar told his congregation.

To be clear, this post is in no way a means by which to discredit or detract from Creflo Dollar.  With the exception of his gangster lean in Jermaine Dupri’s Welcome to Atlanta video, I have nothing against the man.  I do not know what went on in his home to lead up to these allegations, so you won’t hear me judging him or his family.  Further, I find the online comments that I’ve read following the various articles about Dollar both supporting his alleged actions as well as condemning them to be irresponsible and premature, especially since it is not yet clear what actually transpired at his home last Friday.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t care what a person’s socioeconomic and/or celebrity status is, if punching or choking a child registers as acceptable behavior in their mind, then they deserve to be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  The problem however, is proving this depravity in thinking and behavior.

For me personally, My Honey and I had to deal with an incident years ago where a parent of a teammate of my son basically accused my husband of abuse because said parent saw my kid get popped in the mouth for spitting on another child (the parent told other parents that he was concerned that my son was being abused).  Of course, when the rumor mill had finally made its way full-circle, it turned out that the “accuser” had not actually seen any of the exchange between My Honey and son, only my son crying inconsolably and his father threatening to give him something to cry about if he did not hush, but by then the damage was already done (and while My Honey relished the notion that these group of parents believed that he whooped his kids, I took issue with the whole Angry Black Man label that they tried to affix on him…but I digress).

If nothing else, from this story, it is apparent that wealth and status do not a stable familial relationship necessarily make.  This matter should also serve as a reminder to us as parents (and those of us who one day plan to be parents) of the serious commitment and mental fortitude that needs to be exercised in not only raising children, but ensuring that their core values and expectations in life are realistic and reflective of our own.

Yeah…’Cuz Sorry is for Suckas!

27 Feb

So, in the latest episode of “I Can Do Better Than Obama,” starring the home-schooling, ovary inspecting Republican flavor of the week, presidential candidate Rick Santorum basically called out the POTUS for what he interpreted as being weak when The President apologized to the people of Afghanistan after it was revealed that American soldiers inadvertently burned materials belonging to prisoners at Bagram Air Base, including Qurans.

On NBC’s Meet The Press, Santorum clarified his remarks:

 “I don’t think the president should have apologized for something that was clearly inadvertent, [He should have said] this was inadvertent, this was a mistake. There was no deliberate act. There was no [intention of] disrespect – this is something that occurred that shouldn’t have occurred, but it was an accident.”

So, instead of simply stating “we apologize for accidentally burning your holy books,” Rick Santorum believes that the president should have articulated that sentiment 1) without actually using the words, “sorry” or “apologize” and instead replaced the short and sweet phrase or two with a varying amalgamation of the above 31 words.

Okay…wait.  So, admit to making a mistake, clarify that it was accidental, but by no means; NO WAY, NO HOW apologize for it. Right, because that makes sense.  Mr. Santorum went on to say that it was actually the Afghans that should be doing the apologizing.

 “The response… needs to be apologized for, by Karzai and the Afghan people, of attacking and killing our men and women in uniform, and overreacting to this mistake. That is the real crime, not what our soldiers did.”

 Okay, let try to put Rick’s theory into practice here…

You know what? I did mistakenly back into my neighbor’s car last week, but it wasn’t on purpose.  It was inadvertent – a misjudgment in night-time periphery.  It shouldn’t have occurred, but it was of course, just an accident.

I imagine that explanation will more than satisfy his claims adjuster.

But seriously though, someone cut off Santorum’s poppy supply please!  Westerners have played Occupy Afghanistan for the past several decades, have figuratively and literally pissed on their culture (and their dead) and now have burned their Qurans.  Mistake or not, how exactly did Santorum expect the Afghan people to respond? I’m pretty sure that we all believe in our heart of hearts that the matter of the burned Qurans was a horrible blunder on the part of the United States, but certainly one that was not deliberate.  I think however, at the very least, an apology for such an egregious error coming from the leader of the free world was not only a diplomatic gesture, but it was an opportunity to show that it isn’t global policing, ultimatums and sheer capitalism alone that makes our nation one of the greatest countries in the world, but the ability to display true contrition and humility, even in the face of an unintentional act that does.

Barry’s Best Week (In a Good Long While)

25 Jan

Coming off of a pretty resounding and  motivational State of The Union Address, The Obama Administration couldn’t have planned Tuesday any better, if they had hand-picked the joint sessions attendees themselves (or if they’d had the POTUS to end his speech with an encore rendition of Al’s Let’s Stay Together).

Like the rest of America, I’ve had my fill of talking points, bullet references and recycled stump speeches from both parties.  Last night, I was more interested in knowing where the President believed America really stood socially and economically, and what his plans were to resolve what has ailed us for so long.  And although he couldn’t have possibly given us an in-depth elucidation in the mere hour and change that he addressed the nation, I can say that I was satisfied with the fact that the President did address my big three.

National Security: Although not necessarily what I’d have opened with, right out of the gate, Barack Obama wanted to make sure that while some of America was pointing fingers and blaming him for any and everything, they were also reminded that Bin Laden had gotten “got” while on his watch…something the previous administration had only dreamed of doing (seeing as how they’d been playing a veritable game of Where’s Waldo with the man for the past ten years).  Prez also discussed the unacceptability of Iran constructing or acquiring nuclear weaponry and made clear his ardent stance (with or without peace negotiations or further sanctions) to ensure that Iran knew that although peace was always an option, America was not playing games with them and would respond swiftly and surely to their potential tomfoolery.

J-O-B-S: While the POTUS and his democratic supporters have been singing the same song for the last three years, Obama addressed the fact that like it or not, he had inherited the mess that had ultimately resulted in a not-so-fundamentally-strong economy and the loss of millions of jobs.  He also acknowledged that since in office, the economic rebound wasn’t as swift in coming as we all would have liked, but the Bailout out of companies like GM had in fact worked, resulting in more American jobs and the automaker reclaiming its throne as best in the business.  The President also expressed his willingness to work across party lines to get infrastructure jobs enacted, but challenged Congress to work to get a Bill on his desk that he could pass. Further, he suggested that incentives and tax relief be granted to American Companies that did not outsource American Jobs overseas.

Economic Equity:  Clearly the most divisive of political topics in the past few years (or ever), President Obama re-stressed his position that in order to stimulate the economy and provide opportunities that all Americans could benefit from, the nation’s majority (the 98 percent)who worked hard and did their fair share should be afforded some significant tax relief.  Becoming the poster child for this sentiment, Warren Buffet’s secretary (who notably makes substantially less money than her billionaire boss) was panned to many times during the speech, as Mr. Obama declared how senseless it was that those Americans who made significantly less money than their wealthy counterparts (the 2 percent), ultimately had to pay more in taxes.

Now, what I found so crucial about what the President discussed in The State of The Union Address last night was that so much of what he said could not have come at a better time.  For instance, yesterday’s release of Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s tax returns (in, let’s be honest, more grudging than perfunctory fashion) and the confirmation of SEAL Team 6’s rescue of two hostage aid workers in Somalia had to be a gift horse that the Obama Administration did not even consider looking into the mouth.  In the case of Romney, the situation clearly spoke to the distinct ideological contrast that while the President wants to provide tax breaks for the middle class, there is this potential Republican Presidential candidate who, in paying roughly 15% in Capital Gains Tax (because he is fortunate in the wealth department) believes that he should be paying less than that.  Where the SEALS are concerned, I wouldn’t go so far as to pat The President on the back for another mission accomplished, because let’s be for real for a sec, facilitating from the safety of a highly secure edifice is nothing like risking life and limb in the trenches; but it sure does look good for his presidential resume to be riding the wave of another military success.

As it were, I am not sure what last night’s address did to change the minds of staunch conservatives, or those who currently find themselves in the middle of the political road.  What I do know however is that from the various conversations that I’ve had over the past 24 hours, lots of Democrats seem pleased that the President is showing his aggressiveness; an almost forlorn trait that has now seemed to reenergize the democratic base.  I would be very interested to see what the Administration plans to do to maintain this momentum.

In the words of Rick Santorum (did I just do that??), Game On!

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