Thursday, October 20, 2005

Jail Bird

From the AP:

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A man got a prison term longer than prosecutors and defense attorneys had agreed to -- all because of Larry Bird.

The lawyers reached a plea agreement Tuesday for a 30-year term for a man accused of shooting with an intent to kill and robbery. But Eric James Torpy wanted his prison term to match Bird's jersey number 33.

``He said if he was going to go down, he was going to go down in Larry Bird's jersey,'' Oklahoma County District Judge Ray Elliott said Wednesday. ``We accommodated his request and he was just as happy as he could be.

``I've never seen anything like this in 26 years in the courthouse. But, I know the DA is happy about it.''

Affirmative Action Gone Haywire

The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports, whatever that is, released a study examining "the front office, support staff, playing and coaching opportunities for women and minorities in professional football, basketball, baseball and soccer, along with colleges." Not suprisingly, the WNBA won. They hire a lot of WOMEN because they are a WOMEN'S basketball league. Many of the coaches and staff are former WOMEN'S BASKETBALL PLAYERS, just as many NFL coaches are both male and former football players at some level.

Not every job can be done equally by men and women, and this is such a case. A man who has played NFL or college football is inherently better equiped to understand the game and the players. Additionally, football is a very testoterone driven sport. The players would not respond well to a female coach, in my opinion. Read more about this story here.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Millions Less

Here is a great article by Steve Malzberg from Newsmax. I had the misfortune of watching some to the "Millions More Movement" myself. It was a total disgrace. No constructive answers were offered or debated. It was all about race-baiting and hate speech. We should be passed this by now. The elected officials that attended this event should be challenged on whether or not they believe the racist garbage spewed by many speakers.

They billed it as the "Millions More Movement." I guess when you are celebrating the ten-year anniversary of an event dubbed "The Million Man March," an event that never really drew a million people, then you can call last Saturday's celebration "Millions More," even though it drew less of a crowd than the event that never hit one million ten years ago. Are you with me so far?

For hour after hour, speaker after speaker took to the podium at the Mall in Washington, D.C., to speak to a very faithful, peaceful and overwhelmingly African-American audience. This gathering, called by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, was supposed to be a lot more inclusive than the event in 1995.

For one thing, women were encouraged to attend this time around. And although one gay group has complained that it was not allowed to speak as planned, a guy representing the Black Man's Exchange did speak. He referred to himself as a "same-gender loving black man." That's inclusive, I must say.

There were congressmen from Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Texas and Illinois. All are members of the Congressional Black Caucus, of course. Former D.C. mayor Marion Barry and Former New Orleans chief executive Marc Morial were there, as was the current mayor of Detroit, Kuame Kilpatrick.

Most major African-American groups were represented, as were most black religious groups. Tavis Smiley was there and so was Jesse Jackson. They both spoke, although I must say that the good reverend did not have one of the "prime-time" slots and seemed to be reading his piece from a sheet of paper. It was quite unusual, but still nice and inclusive.

Unfortunately, Farrakhan's idea of inclusive also includes the following folks:

Michael Muhammad, who happens to be the National Youth Minister for the Nation of Islam, wanted to stress a need to stop the violence as it now exists. Or maybe change the direction of the violence. I'll report, you decide.

The Minister said: "We want to send out a message to our young brothers and sisters to stop the killing. We want to say to our young brothers of the Crips and Bloods that we are one family. The real enemy doesn't wear red nor necessarily blue but white, even when he's butt naked."

That's beautiful, isn't it? And speaking of the "youth," Ayende Baptiste was identified as a youth speaker from the '95 party. Well, little Ayende has obviously grown up. Just look at what he had to say:

"It's the role of the elders to give council and the role of the young to make war. We are at war here in America and across the world. We need nation soldiers to come out of the armed forces and into ours. We need soldiers now. We need new black male soldiers, we need black feminist soldiers, we need Crips and Bloods soldiers ... soldiers in the prisons, in the streets."

Well, hasn't he grown into a fine young man – and so inclusive!

Malik Shabazz, the head of the New Black Panther Party and an organizer of the event, also spoke. He started by naming a bunch of prisoners that he wanted to see freed. "Free Mumia. Is Mumia Abu Jamal the real criminal or is the real criminal the president of the United States? ... On the charge of drowning our people in New Orleans and sabotaging the levees, how do you find George Bush? How do you find him on racism, on terrorism? Impeach George Bush."

And then Shabazz got more inclusive himself. "The real gangsters are in the White House, in the Pentagon, in CIA headquarters. How do you have a war on terrorists and Mr. Bush ain't been arrested?

Al Sharpton continued the Bush-bashing fest, saying that it is wickedness that made the president send us to war in Iraq. He called broken levees weapons of mass destruction and claimed, "All you had to do was look in New Orleans and stop bringing down and cutting the budget that brought the weapons of mass destruction down on our people."

Princeton Professor Cornel West pointed to the Capitol building behind him and said that "legalized bribery and normalized corruption is what goes on in there."

Nation of Islam Southwest Regional Minister Robert Muhammad claimed that the rescue helicopters in New Orleans passed over black people on rooftops to save white people.

Chokwe Lumumba of the New Afrikan People's Organization claimed that "our slave masters" controlled all the rescue equipment.

Singer Wyclef Jean performed a little ditty that went something like this: "Please stand up if you're not scared of George Bush. ... If I were president I'd be elected on Friday, assassinated on Saturday, buried on Sunday and they'd go back to work on Monday."

The message here is that this scenario would play out because he's a black man.

Some woman named Viola Plummer was part of the inclusiveness of Farrakhan. She's the National Chairman of the Millions (there's that number again) for Reparations campaign. Nice lady. "We must force the lying, bloodsucking administration of this country to lift the sanctions against Zimbabwe."

She then praised the ruthless, murderous thug-dictator Robert Mugabee for taking farms from white farmers. I guess she's pleased that it's resulted in mass starvation of the people of Zimbabwe.

There was also plenty of praise for Fidel Castro, some of it from Ricardo Alacorn of the Cuban National Assembly, who addressed the crowd on tape.

Let me not forget the fundraising that went on from the stage. The much fewer than one million black men and women who had come to be inspired to better themselves were hit up for outright donations and urged to buy T-shirts, caps and even "the official" bottled water of the event.

Farrakhan's inclusiveness extended to one of the MCs of the event. Economist Julianne Malveaux was there from start to finish making introductions. She of course once reportedly said that she hoped Clarence Thomas' wife would feed him lots of bacon and eggs and fatty food, so he'd get sick.

And a mere ten hours or so after it all began it was time for the man who had to have put his stamp of approval on every one of the speakers who preceded him. The man, the myth, the minister who I consider to be a legendary anti-Semitic bigot, Louis Farrakhan finally addressed the crowd.

He talked about starting a new political party, POP, the Party of the People, or of the poor. He wants to link U.S. blacks and other minorities to what he calls the United States of Africa and Central and South America. He said he wants to see a class action suit against the Department of Homeland Security for criminal negligence during Katrina. He said that he firmly believes that if those in need of rescue in New Orleans had had blond hair and blue eyes, they would have gotten better service.

Farrakhan trashed President Bush and the Catholic Church and praised Castro and even Mao. He solicited money from the faithful too, asking that they each give a dollar per week to something called the Millions More Movement relief fund. I'm sure it's legit – Malik Shabazz is one of those on the oversight committee!

In a typically bizarre lesson from Farrakhan involving numerology, he told us that "Katrina grew to a number twelve tropical storm and then grew into a category one hurricane." I am no meteorologist, but as far as I can tell, there is no such thing as a category twelve tropical storm. A tropical depression has winds up to 38 miles per hour. When the winds reach 39 miles per hour, it becomes classified as a tropical storm. Seventy-four miles per hour and it's a category one hurricane.

Those who expected more of the bigotry and anti-Semitism that have marked so many of Louis Farrakhan's earlier appearances were left disappointed. No "white devil" reference or gutter religion remarks. Not this time. Farrakhan is older and wiser. He now lets his inclusive list of speakers do most of his dirty work in a more subtle manner than we used to get from Farrakhan.

But make no mistake: One minus one is zero, one plus one is two, and one times one divided by one is one. By my math, that means Farrakhan hasn't really changed.
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