The greatest of all time calls it quits!
We're finally out of Iraq.
He got 99 problems but Mitt ain't done.
20+ weird things you may or may not have wanted to know about Sarah Palin.
Sunday, July 27, 2014
1:33 AM T1 No comments
Not too long ago I posted a piece of one of my final papers from my first year in college. That paper was about why our current minimum wage is an unfunny joke to millions of hard working Americans. You may or may not know this, but the current wage of $7.25 has been around for 5 years even though the cost of living has gone up and $7.25 really only buys about a gallon and a half of gas. It's so bad that Mary Poppins should legitimately consider a career change. Watch below as she explains why her life and job sucks.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
11:59 PM T1 No comments
If you've been following this site, you may have known about my trip to Netroots Nation a while ago. In the post I mentioned that I had been interviewed by a weirdly high amount of people wanting to know my opinion on things. One of those people/groups/media outlets was the Washington Post. Watch below as a bunch of randoms, and the most random guy in a white shirt at 50 seconds of all, give short answers on who they think the democrats should choose in 2016.
Monday, July 21, 2014
3:48 PM T1 No comments
Something that I haven't talked about a lot on here is the broken prison system here in America. This is pretty awful considering my personal stance against the entire idea of privatizing prisons and the weirdly, purposefully racist ways we enforce and prosecute criminal activity in this country. Case in point: somebody like me will definitely go to prison if I get caught with more than a gram of kush, while the average Livonia resident probably wont go to jail even if he had a brick of coke. At least California is acting like they notice the disparity. Add up the myriad of racial disparities, even when it comes to committing the same offenses, the complete waste of money private prisons are, the high recidivism rates and the rampant abuse and you have a recipe for disaster. Click on the video below to be not surprised by the level of care that we don't put towards our prison system.
Sunday, July 20, 2014
5:25 AM T1 No comments
The other day, I wrote some on my first day at Netroots Nation 2014, and apparently, it was a decent read. With that said, I'm going to use this spout off some more of what I observed during the biggest progressive political convention of the year. Get ready for random pics, observations, analysis and stories in the form of unconnected paragraphs.
Despite being there for 3 days, in my hometown, a few blocks from my current school and in a building that I had actually spent some of my better childhood moments in, I still felt out of my element. It took me a minute to put my finger on why I was so out of my element, and surprisingly, to many people on twitter who don't know me, it's because I was surrounded by nerds. Large herds of nerds and politically wonky people talking about wonky political stuff and splitting hairs on things like proper terminology. Another part of what made it so not my element is that 95% of the people there clearly had the type of money that allows them to take an entire week off, on purpose, and pay for a hotel room and passes to Netroots Nation and spend most of that time hitting local bars, enjoying the food here and occasionally protest the weirdly inconsistent water shutoffs with the guy that plays the Hulk in the Avengers movies. This is a heavy contrast from me actually going to Netroots thanks to a ton of help from some very special people, and in a literal, physical sense, right after applying and interviewing for a second job that'll hopefully become a main job on top of being a full time student.
Being at Netroots, I could tell, that the people there could tell, that I was basically an outsider. I also, think that I looked like an outsider to the members of the media there, either that or I looked like I might make for a good interview because I was interviewed no less than 5 times during my time there. The interviews ranged from the Free Press here in Detroit, who honestly may have reporters who know my face from memory due to their headquarters being across from my school, to the Washington post. When the articles start popping up online, they will be posted on here in an effort to brag about myself.
One thing that I learned about Netroots is that it is fantastic for networking if you're the outgoing type that doesn't mind being annoying enough to just walk up to a random and start handing out business cards and trying to sell yourself as if you're a hot minor league baseball prospect. This isn't a trait that I possess, and I even called it annoying in the last sentence. I don't possess this trait because of the fact that in a general sense, my sheer presence either intimidates, creeps out or makes people uncomfortable. A decade and a half of hard stares, street crossing, weird aggressiveness and purse clutching has basically taught me to not walk up to random white people for any reason whatsoever, and in a room full of mostly random, mostly white people, it becomes pretty tough to just walk up to them and try to sell some of my better qualities.
Speaking of white people; a lot of white people saw a tweet that I sent out during my second day at Netroots. I made a joke about being the only young black guy in the room, and I've been getting weirdly racist and politically partisan responses to it and the responses to it ever since. Seriously, check it out and be amazed. I guess I should also point out, that like America, the convention was pretty white, but not Romney speech white. I actually saw a lot of color once I left the herds of white nerds.
Knowing some people via twitter is a big help as it made the whole networking thing kinda easy and a little fun. As an example, thanks to one person I know via the online microblogging service, I was somehow in a game of political/music/sports trivia with internet radio host and attractive high school science teacher Nicole Sandler, and even weirder I was the guy that knew all of the sports related stuff at the table. One of the questions was such a softball that I had to somewhat explain why I was right about it, and it all came down to my knowledge of the great Alaskan shootout. At least we beat Dave Weigel.
Day 3 of Netroots was filled with meetings, more meetings, discussions, speeches and more discussions. Topics ranged from online harassment to street harassment to building a diverse coalition to an entire hour and a half of speeches and buzzwords and talking points on how to not sound like a total douchenozzle when talking about heavy issues on your website. I may have failed the whole not sounding like a jerk thing, but then again I'm a man with bitchy resting face and this adds to my whole intimidating white women with 0 effort, but this isn't about that. It's about the wealth of info I learned during my 3 day experience.
I guess I'll wrap up this oddly long read for my blog by pointing out the obvious, and the obvious is that the whole thing was one gigantic psychological and sociological experiment. I saw a crowd of insanely smart people with good hearts who are still slightly out of touch with the people that they want to help. I saw groups of young innovators trying to change the way we look at, absorb and even think about politics. I saw obvious political hacks who were clearly just there because other, much more important people were there. I saw adynamic state rep candidate who I should have been working for, while also seeing a gubernatorial candidate who still hasn't honed his public speaking skills. I saw a lot of people who needed a hero, a reason to believe, and someone to believe in but no idea who that person is and what the reason is. But, mainly, I saw that despite the ridiculous infighting within the democratic party, there are some people who still have their eyes on the larger picture of trying to win as many elections as possible, and when it comes down to it, that's the only thing that any political group should be focused on.
Friday, July 18, 2014
12:48 AM T1 2 comments
Stepping in to something like Netroots is like stepping in to a different world for me. This is despite the event taking place in my hometown, in a building that I'm familiar with, which is only a few blocks away from where I go to school, and only about a mile or so from where I work. It's such a weird experience going from my neighborhood, which is marginally famous for having a well known clergyman getting carjacked and beaten in it, to stepping in a building filled with political activists, campaign people, bloggers, podcast hosts, academics and people who I've only ever seen on twitter. To say that this is different from my daily life is an understatement. I guess I'm saying that I was out of my element.
I was surprised at how quickly I was able to get my pass and proceed to the nerd-heavy festivities. I spent maybe the first hour or so just observing people, and one thing became apparent to me: No matter how fancy and connected someone is, they will always grab as many free snacks as possible. I got to sit down and hang out with people representing the Michigan Democratic party and they were surprisingly down to earth for people who have an insiders view on people who could do huge things in not only this state, but the country and world at large. This was followed by me meeting a person that I had followed on twitter for a couple of years. To say that I was nervous is stating the obvious, but not stating it loud enough. Luckily we're both kinda awkward in real life so it worked out and there's a picture of us floating around online somewhere. We would have hung out more if it weren't for the fact that she had to get back to work waiting on the Vice President of this great country to show up for a pep-rally type of speech. Did I mention that I got to see that?
Around 2:00pm, the entire mood changed. You could see police officers, bomb sniffing dogs, uniformed secret service officers and even a few secret service guys in their classic black suits. On top of the crush of law enforcement was a swarm of local, national and international media. You couldn't take a step without seeing someone from channel 4 or NPR trying to interview people waiting in the very long line to get in to the ballroom to see the vice president. Surprisingly, to me at least, the police were courteous and friendly while searching through my bag for dangerous objects like frisbees and apples. I guess not being in the poor areas of Detroit will get you some service with a smile instead of a sarcastic non-response and possible beating for calling them out on it. Where was I? Something about Joe Biden?
After the room was packed to the gills with people, we waited for an hour longer than expected, but with good reason as the Vice President was on the phone with top officials from Ukraine figuring out how they were going to investigate the Malaysian Airlines flight that was shot down over Ukrainian airspace. During this wait, I spent some time going around the room and see if any local officials were there. Surprisingly, I found my old English professor, who would probably give this blog a C, at best, sitting next to a local political consultant. I should point out that she is a former member of city council. I was also interviewed by a reporter from the Detroit Free Press during the wait. After alerting the crowd as to why he was late, what he was doing, what he thinks may happen next and his feelings on the matter at hand, he got down to the meat of a speech which was more pep rally than serious policy debate. He touched on issues ranging from increasing manufacturing in this country to gay rights to the immigration issues in America. And what prompted him to jump in and talk about trying to get something done about the immigration crisis was a group of people demanding that the Obama administration "Stop deporting our families!". I found it reassuring that Joe agreed with them, even when some in the crowd got annoyed at them for having the nerve to heckle the Vice President. After that it was more hyping the crowd up and trying to get everyone in a better mood despite the awful news of the day, and with the closing of that speech, came the closing of my day at Netroots.
To sum up my day, I had fun, I learned a lot and I got to network with some people while getting closer to an elected official than I had been in years and I even got harassed by a white guy who said that I don't care about black people. I'll try to do another one of these tomorrow, and hopefully it wont suck.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
12:30 AM T1 No comments
Netroots Nation 2014 is taking place in Detroit this week and that means that this city is going to be flooded with outsiders. As with any big event, or even just a normal day in the city, there are tons of people eating at tons of places and with the invention of apps that let you review everything, you can let everyone know of your experience. With that said, it looks like Mark had a great time at A&W.
Monday, July 14, 2014
12:56 AM T1 No comments
If you've been following the news out of Detroit lately, you know that the city is getting very aggressive about shutting off delinquent water accounts. This means that anyone that's more than one month overdue faces the threat of randomly having their water shut off regardless of how much they owe. I personally wouldn't have a giant problem with it if the billing system weren't notoriously broken and if it weren't for the fact that the shutoffs seem to be inconsistent. We're spending a lot of time, effort and money going after people for a couple hundred dollars while spending 0 time going after the owners of Shelbourne Square Apartments for their almost $254k in past due water payments. If you think that's bad, just realize that the state of Michigan owes the city much more than that and we're probably never going to see that money. Click the photo below to see how much the state actually owes the city.
Monday, July 7, 2014
1:05 AM T1 No comments
With the controversy surrounding the fact that tens of thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America have made their way to the U.S. during the last few months, there has been an almost predictable amount of ridiculousness, misinformation and think pieces written on the issues at hand. While it's fine for bloggers and randoms to not be totally up on something, it is unacceptable for someone the caliber of David Gregory of "Meet the Press" to be so wrong. For a man with so much influence and with so many connections to power in this country, he comes across extremely incompetent in this clip when he has to talk to the one person who has more info than anyone in the country when it comes to immigration either legal, or illegal. Watch as David Gregory struggles to change the subject every single time DHS Secretary Johnson shoots down one of his false talking points.
This will probably be a weekly series, seeing as how he has a habit of being this stupid on TV.
This will probably be a weekly series, seeing as how he has a habit of being this stupid on TV.
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
1:07 AM T1 No comments
Monday kinda sucked just off of the simple fact that it was Monday. Try not to let that get you down and enjoy a picture that most of you probably wont see. Here's secret WWE fan Jon Stewart and his son backstage with WWE personality Zeb Colter at WWE's "Money in the Bank" pay-per-view, which by the way was pretty awesome. If you're not a fan of WWE, you may know him from the fact that Glenn Beck and Alex Jones personally hate him for being a near exact copy of a tea party politician, or if you live in the great state of Tennessee, you may know that his granddaughter is the inspiration behind Amelia's Law, which goes into effect as of me typing this sentence.