Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Celebrities are overrated

Tuesday's alleged rumor of Will and Jada Smith breaking up set Twitter timelines ablazed and across Facebook pages.

Many people, including those who follow me on Twitter (@ubathediplomat, by the way) practically spazzed out at the possibility of the 13 year marriage would cease to exist. One follower mentioned she "shed a tear" of the apparent rumor. Yeah ok.

It has become apparent that some Black Americans look up to the Smiths as one of the few celebrity marriages with some longevity. Albeit both parties have issued a statement saying that the allegations were false and the marriage is intact gave a sigh of relief to many of the distressed who catch their news via social media.

However, I must ask two questions.

First, WHO died and said Will and Jada were the blueprint to a successful black marriage? Majority of celebrity marriages don't last with the exception of a few (Rodney & Holly Peete, Rev Run & Justine Simmons, etc.) Most celebs get married to boost their own individual careers.

I thought the Huxtables already established that foundation back in the 80s and the Obamas reaffirmed it back in 2008.

One of my Twitter followers tweeted yesterday that people put way too much faith in celebrities. Frankly, I agree 100%. They are human just like us regular folk. The difference is in the dollar amount.

Secondly, do people REALLY want to be in an open marriage? I'm sorry that is not a marriage. That's an orgy. If I were truly married and committed to my wife WHY on Earth would I allow her to sleep with other men and vice versa? If this is what you prefer then so be it. I love God too much to violate his law.

We have to stop basing our relationships on a celebrity's love life. It is NOT the same.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Kardashian sisters to pen novel

Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian will take their talents from TV to book writing.

The trio will make their fiction debut with a book entitled, "Dollhouse."

The work will center around their glamorous daily happenings as a family in the spotlight. The sisters reached out to their fans in May to come up with a title and the winner, fan Courtney Powell is featured in the novel.

The book is slated for release on November 1.

Author of "The Help" faces potential lawsuit

Author Kathryn Stockett asked for a judge to dismiss a lawsuit that accuses her of basing a book on a real-life woman who worked for her brother.

The best-selling book and movie which opens soon in theaters is based on relationships between black and white families and their African-American maids during the 1960s. The driving force of the book centers around a character named Aibileen.

Abilene Cooper, who the character is derived from, filed a lawsuit in February that accuses Stockett of using her name and likeness without permission. The suit asks for $75,000 in damages.

A hearing is set for August 16 will deal with a motion that Stockett's lawyers filed to have the suit dismissed.

Tyler TV?? It may be a reality....sort of.

Tyler Perry may be following in the footsteps of Oprah Winfrey and launch his own cable channel.

The filmmaker who turns plays into movies and has two sitcoms on TBS may be forming Tyler TV. According to the NY Times, Tyler TV is in name only and is intended to be a foundation for Perry.

The proposed network will show reruns of his sitcoms, movies plus third party content.

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey launched OWN prior to her departure from daytime TV on May 25.

OWN has worked out well for Oprah.....perhaps it could do the same for Tyler Perry. We'll see.

Yao recieves HOF nod as contributor

Former Houston Rockets C Yao Ming may become a 2012 HOF recipient as a special contributor.

NBA Hall of Fame President John Doleva said Tuesday that Yao was nominated by a member of the Chinese media and his efforts will be reviewed by an international panel.  Yao will be able to surpass the common five year waiting period for retired players.

Yao being nominated as a contributor eliminates the debate that might have followed his nomination as a player hampered by injuries. He would have not been eligible until 2017.

This unusual approach puts Yao on the ballot which is submitted at the end of the year. The ballot then goes through two rounds of voting before the finalists are announced at the 2012 Final Four in New Orleans. The actual ceremony will take place in August at the NBA Hall of Fame site in Springfield, MA.

The Hall defines the category as one who made "significant contributions to the game of basketball."

Yao helped to popularize the game of basketball in his native China and moved the NBA's lucrative business ventures towards his homeland.

He averaged 19 points and 9.2 rebounds per game in his eight seasons with the Rockets.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

NFL players ratify new CBA; league officially begins

NFL players voted Thursday to ratify the new collective bargaining agreement thus officially ending the nearly five month lockout.

Sources close to ESPN's Adam Schefter say the 10 year CBA includes for the first time blood testing for human growth hormone (HGH) with the goal to implement the testing as early as week 1 of the 2011 season.

The exact HGH testing methods will come at future talks with the league and NFLPA. The NFL will be the first  U.S. professional sport league to test for HGH.

Players who signed new contracts are now free to practice as a result of the CBA ratification.

Furthermore, commissioner Roger Goodell will retain power to hand out disciplinary actions under the personal conduct policy detailed in the new agreement.

Sources also say players are likely to appeal suspensions under the drug policy to an independent arbitrator.

NBA, NBAPA take lockout to the courts

The NBA on Tuesday filed lawsuits against the NBA Players Association (NBAPA) in an effort to thwart an antitrust lawsuit filed by the players.

The two claims are an unfair labor practice with the National Labor Relations Board and a lawsuit with New York federal district court.

The players are accused of being uncooperative in negotiations towards a new collective barganing agreement (CBA) by making various threats to dissolve the union and file an antitrust suit against the league.

Players' attorney Jeffery Kessler says that they are frustrated because they believe the owners are negotiating in bad faith.

The current CBA expired June 30 and the union has made no decision to decertify.

Shell faces payout amid Nigeria oil spills

Royal Dutch Shell may have to pay $410 million in compensation after admitting fault for two oil spills in Nigeria via a claim filed in the UK.

It comes after a lawsuit was brought in the High Court by the Bodo Community in the Niger Delta against Shell and its subsidiaries. The compensation is to be paid to the 69,000 Nigerians who were affected by the damage caused by leaks in the pipelines.

Majority of the claims were made by fishermen who make about $5,000 to $8,000 on average.

The award is for loss of livelihood over the past three years and it could take up to two years for a full clean up.

The case stems from oil spills in 2008-09 that damaged the waterways in particular the fishing community of the Bodo people.

According to CNN, Shell says the spills aren't the result of operational failures but third party intereference such as theft and sabotage. In 2011, Shell claimed 13 spills in the Bodo area were a result of illegal activity.

The company recorded 32 operational spills in the Niger Delta, down from 37 in 2009.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Welcome to Texas Southern University

Dear freshmen,

Congratulations on being accepted to Texas Southern University! You have chosen an institution that will instill the core values needed to become a productive citizen upon graduation. I can relate to stepping into a new world filled with new experiences both good and bad. I was a freshman once. I made my share of mistakes. 

I take this time as a newly alumnus to share with you some tips on surviving your freshman year of college and establishing a solid foundation on your journey towards getting the degree.

  • Realize that everyone is NOT your friend. Yes college is a time where you make new friends, but associate with people who are going places, who will inspire and encourage you to reach your full potential.  (Proverbs 18:24)

  • Ask for help if you're unfamiliar with the campus layout and where certain buildings are on campus.

  • When the refund check comes please spend the money wisely. Buy all necessary books first. Secondly, buy any secondary school items (backpack, notebooks, paper/pens).

  • Get to know your professors and staff within your department. It will come in handy when you become an upperclassman. Also join organizations that relates to your major.

  • Study, study, study. Remember that you came to college to get a DEGREE. Also, do all necessary work for your professors. It will score major points during Finals Week. Balance your social life and your classwork. Strive to get all A's and B's. Your freshman year determines how you graduate.

  • Try to NOT have any work due during Homecoming Week. If so, you'll live to regret it.

  • Attend church regularly and Bible study on Wednesday. You will need God a lot more during this part of your life. Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church will be your home away from home. Founded by TSU students.

  • Last but not least, NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK. It's not always what you know but WHO you know.
Well, it has been a blessing to share this knowledge with you. I hope to see you at the H&PE Arena at Commencement. God Bless and Go Tigers!!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Congress passes debt deal

 The Senate passed with a 74-26 vote Tuesday to pass the debt deal after it zipped through the GOP-controlled House on Monday.

The passage of the deal will raise the debt ceiling by $2.1 trillion and avoid a loan default for the first time in the nation's history. Obama praised the bill moments after it passed the Senate saying that the measure 'is the first step that as a nation we live within our means' but later said that the American economy 'didn't need Washington to come along with a manufactured crisis.'

The federal government could still see a credit downgrade although Fitch reported that for now the U.S has a AAA credit rating. The S&P 500 and Moody's are still undecided.

Details of the debt deal

The agreement reached Sunday calls for savings of $2.4 T over the next decade and raise the debt ceiling to at least the end of 2012 and creates a special committee to recommend long-term entitlement and tax reforms.

The final agreement comes in two phases:

Phase 1: Cut spending by $917 B and raise debt ceiling by $900 B

Phase 2: A special joint-Congress committee to recommend further deficit reductions. The panel's recommendations would be due by November 23 and a vote would take place by December 23. If the recommendations are enacted, the ceiling will go up by $1.5 T otherwise the ceiling will still be raised by $1.2 T but mandatory cuts across the board will be triggered.

Higher education took a hit as a result of this deal. Congress would scrap subsidized federal loans for graduate students beginning July 1, 2012.  Congress will also eliminate a credit for those who make 12 consecutive on-time loan repayments.

For taxpayers, the savings will total $21.6 billion over the next 10 years. Students who qualify for the maximum amount of subsidized loans could tack thousands into the cost of school.

The idea for these cuts came from the GOP-controlled House. however Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid proposed of talks last week. Of the $22 billion saved, $17 billion will go towards funding Pell Grants. The remainder will go towards paying down debt.

Another cut Congress is targeting would be a credit students get for the government to process their loans. In other words, a student who wishes to take out a $5,000 loan for college would pay the federal government a process fee of $25. According to the Congressional Budget Office, this would cost students $3.6 billion over the next decade.

According to a recent survey, 17% of Americans believe Congress are behaving like responsible adults while 77% believe they are acting like spoiled children.

Congress will be in recess until early September.