Friday, December 12, 2008

The Plot Thickens!

While "Candidate 5" has steadfastly stated that he wants no part of "pay for play" political schemes, it appears that some of his close allies including his brother Jonathan have recently been maintaining pretty close contact with embattled Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich according to the Chicago Tribune. The following is a snippet from the article:

Blagojevich made an appearance at an Oct. 31 luncheon meeting at the India House restaurant in Schaumburg sponsored by Oak Brook businessman Raghuveer Nayak, a major Blagojevich supporter who also has fundraising and business ties to the Jackson family, according to several attendees and public records.

Two businessmen who attended the meeting and spoke to the Tribune on the condition of anonymity said that Nayak and Blagojevich aide Rajinder Bedi privately told many of the more than two dozen attendees the fundraising effort was aimed at supporting Jackson's bid for the Senate. Among the attendees was a Blagojevich fundraiser already under scrutiny by federal investigators, Joliet pharmacist Harish Bhatt.

That meeting led to a Blagojevich fundraiser Saturday in Elmhurst, co-sponsored by Nayak and attended by Jesse Jackson Jr.'s brother, Jonathan, as well as Blagojevich, according to several people who were there. Nayak and Jonathan Jackson go back years and the two even went into business together years ago as part of a land purchase on the South Side.

Interesting article on the back room deals being made in Chicago political circles. It really looks like Jackson Jr. was going to be appointed by the governor, and federal authorities brought the hammer down on Blagokevich to prevent that from happening. Jesse Jackson Jr. may not have known what was happening behind the scenes, but obviously some close friends of his were working diligently on his behalf. All of the hard work may have been for nothing, and possibly ended Jackson Jr.'s chance at a very coveted seat in the United States Senate.

Mayor Dixon Decides To Give Raise To Charity

In a follow up to a story posted yesterday, Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon has now decided to give her raise to charity according to the Baltimore Sun. Dixon stated yesterday:

"I woke up this morning and said, 'You know what? It is not worth it,'" Dixon said. She said she hopes the decision will help "get things moving forward and stay focused on the bigger plan."

Smart move, Mayor Dixon!

Jam Says Yes To "Time" Reunion and Possibly Janet

James Harris III, better know as Jimmy Jam of the famed music production duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis gave an interview with and Lee Bailey, disclosing that he's presently working with his old group the Time on a new album. Jam says the following:

“We’re in the studio right now putting the final touches on a brand new Time album – all the original members,” Jam said. “We’re having a great time. We’re getting along, which is amazing.”
“[That] led us to ‘We’re all still getting along, why don’t we put an album together?’” Jam continued. “So we’re having a great time and hopefully at the beginning of the year, you’ll hear some brand new Time music.”

It's been 18 years since the Time has released an album with it's original members, so the wait is long overdue. During the interview, Jimmy Jam also hinted that the duo may reunite with their "go to person" Janet Jackson in the future, stating:

“We’re not perfect,” he said of the Jam & Lewis team. “We don’t always make the right decisions. We’ve done records in our time, luckily not many, but we’ve done some that weren’t the best records to do. We went into all the records with good intentions though. You don’t go into it saying, ‘Ooh, I’m going to make a bad record.’ You go in to make a great record. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. We had mad records together for 20 years and she decided to go a different direction and I applaud her for it. I want to see her successful in whatever she does.”

“I think she’s anxious to do some work. And [The Time] is back together because we want to be together, not because we need to be together,” he said. “If we collaborate with Janet again, and by the way, I never thought that we wouldn’t collaborate again. Just because you work with another producer or decide to go the other way, that that closes the door of the possibility. We want to work with her and I think she wants to work with us and if that all happens, then that’s what we’re going to do.”

Jimmy Jam's, who is also chairman of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, honesty is refreshing. Here's hoping that both reunions have successful endings.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Baltimore Mayor Keeping Raise

According to the Baltimore Sun, Mayor Sheila Dixon has maintained that she will keep her $3,700 pay increase, which raises her salary to $151,700 per year. When asked yesterday at a news conference whether she would donate her raise to charity, Dixon made the following statement, "To be honest with you, no, 2 1/2 percent, based on what I do seven days a week, 24 hours [a day], trying to raise a family, a daughter in college."

This has to be the ultimate act of selfishness for a public official. Especially with the city facing a budget shortfall and reductions in overtime for police and firemen. If she truly decides to keep the raise, I hope that Mayor Dixon enjoys her additional $71.15 per week in salary.

Can "Candidate 5" Still Become Senator?

As the Gov. Rod Blagojevich's scandal in Illinois continues to gain steam, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has been identified in the complaint as being "Candidate 5" who according to the complaint through an emissary was willing to participate in a "pay to play" deal for the now vacant Senate seat once held by President-elect Barack Obama. Jackson Jr. who reportedly still wants the seat, has admitted to meeting with Blagojevich on this past Monday, and has hired an attorney for a scheduled meeting with federal officials on Friday.

Jackson Jr. held a news conference in Washington, D.C yesterday, but didn't answer questions. This revelation will throw a wrench in Jackson Jr.'s goal of being appointed to the Senate seat. It's expected that Blagojevich's power to appoint a successor to the position will be removed, and perhaps a special election will be held to fill the position. Jackson Jr. has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, but as they say in most cases perception is reality. The Chicago Tribune has additional information on the interesting happenings in the Windy City.

MJ Auctioning Off Personal Items

I guess the "King of Pop" has finally realized that if you're a famous singer, who hasn't released a hit record in a while and refuse to tour to generate income, the final option is probably going to be selling off personal items. That's what Michael Jackson has decided to do on April 21, 2009 according to

Jackson has agreed to auction more than 2,00o personal items including the gloves that he wore in his "Billie Jean" video and gates from his Neverland Ranch. He plans to donate a portion of the proceeds to MusiCares, a charitable organization founded by the Recording Academy to help musicians in need. Rumors have circulated for years that Jackson has been having a rough time financially.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Timing Is Everything!

By now everyone has heard, and read that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested yesterday along with his chief of staff in a what U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald is describing as a political corruption crime spree. There are many charges being thrown at the governor, however, the juiciest and most damning is related to him attempting to sell President-elect Barack Obama's now vacant Senate seat "to the highest bidder." Obama for his part is not named in the complaint, but it's another Chicago association for which he'll undoubtedly have to answer questions. questions "Can Obama Escape The Taint of Blagojevich?" Federal wiretaps were placed at Blagojevich's office and recorded the following regarding the Senate seat:

In a discussion with his deputy governor Nov. 5, Blagojevich talks about getting an ambassadorship or a cabinet position (such as Secretary of Health and Human Services) in exchange for the Senate seat. The same day he said, "I've got this thing and it's f------ golden and, uh, uh, I'm just not giving it up for f------ nothing. I'm not gonna do it."
Things don't appear to have gone well over the following days, however. On Nov. 10, Blagojevich allegedly held a conference call with his wife, close aides and a handful of Washington-based advisers in which he complains that the advisers are telling him he has to "suck it up" and give this "motherf----- [Obama] his senator. F--- him. For nothing? F--- him."

The discussion intimates that Blagojevich would be willing to give Obama his choice for the Senate seat at a price. None of this at this point appears to be sticking to Obama, but it's obvious that discussions had taken place between Blagovevich and people in Obama's camp. reports that Obama advisor David Axelrod now states that he was "mistaken" when he said in November that his boss had talked to Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich about Obama's Senate seat.

The Axelrod backtrack is really "not a good look" for the president-elect who was able to navigate through the Ayers, Wright, and Rezko associations out of Chicago. The Chicago political machine is infamous for it's corruption, and Obama rose to the presidency out of that machine. He's obviously has people in high paces watching his back, because if this arrest had taken place just 2 months ago, he may not have become the president-elect, and I'm pretty sure if it had occurred during the Democratic primaries, that he wouldn't have beaten Hillary Clinton.

Los Angeles School Superintendent Accepts Buyout

The Los Angeles Times reports that the contentious battle between the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education and Supt. David Brewer has ended with the board agreeing to buyout Brewers contract for a reported $500,000. Brewer did his best to downplay the racial divisiveness that had developed with the following statement:

"As an African American, I've experienced my share of discrimination," he told reporters, school board members and district employees Monday. "I know what it looks like, smells like, and the consequences.""Although this debate is disconcerting and troubling, it must not become an ethnic issue. When adults fight, it can manifest itself in our children," said Brewer, the district's second African American superintendent. "This must not become an ethnic or racial battle that infests our schools, our campuses, our playgrounds. This is not about settling an old score; this must be about what is best for every LAUSD student."

Brewer, who wasn't any more than a figurehead in recent months did the right thing in accepting the buyout, and now the board can name his successor who can continue to do what's really important, continuing the business of educating the children of Los Angeles.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Oprah Admits That She Now Weighs 200 Pounds

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey has always been brutally honest about her battle with weight control, and admits in the latest issue of "O" Magazine that she's now carrying 200 pounds on her 5 ft. 6in. frame. She also admits that she's gained 40 pounds in the last two years. She attributes the weight gain to a thyroid condition that made her develop a "fear of working out."

Oprah will discuss her weight gain on her show during the week of January 5th. Thanks to the Atlanta Journal Constitution for the article. Oprah's still a tremendous role model for all of us who are trying to live healthier lives.

Detroit Mother Accused Of Using 16 Year Old Daughter In Sex Party

Things continue to get creeper and creepier in our society, as a Detroit area mother is accused of using her 16 year-old daughter as a lure in a sex party that featured another 16 year old and 19 prostitutes according to the Detroit Free Press. The daughter was taken into protective custody, and the other minor released to her parents. Officers also confiscated three handguns and quantities of marijuana, ecstasy pills and heroin, along with several hundred dollars in cash. Approximately 10 vehicles also were impounded.

Baltimore Teen Shot Dead While Taking Fruit To A Neighbor

Ronald Jackson's mother never thought that by asking her son to carry grapefruit across the street to a neighbor on a Sunday night that it would be the last errand that he'd be able to do for her. Well unfortunately, that was the case as Ronald was shot 3 times and killed Sunday evening. He became Baltimore's 221st homicide victim, and the seventh in seven days, according to figures compiled by The Baltimore Sun. He is also the city's 25th juvenile homicide victim and the fifth 14-year-old slain this year, the figures show.

Another senseless killing on our city streets.

Jamie Foxx Back With "Intuition"

R&B Singer/Actor/Comedian Jamie Foxx releases his latest album next Tuesday titled "Intuition." According to Foxx enlisted such guests and producers as Kanye West, the-Dream and Tricky Stewart, Ne-Yo, Fabolous, Timbaland, Floetry's Marsha Ambrosius, T.I. and Lil Wayne. The first single "Just Like Me" features T.I..

Foxx's last album "Unpredictable" was released in 2005, and went double platinum. The music landscape has changed for the worse since then, and the single is presently resting at #22 on the Radio & Records Urban Airplay Charts after 3 weeks. Foxx essentially has 3 careers going at once, so his continuing to hustle at the music game is a testament to his drive to succeed.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Rev. Wright: "Obama Made A Bad Choice"

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that during a sermon yesterday that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright stated that President-elect Barack Obama made a "bad decision" in distancing himself from Wright and his church Trinity United Church of Christ, but that "He's still my child." Wright also took a few jabs at Elizabeth Hasselbeck of The View, whom — while not saying her name — twice referred to as a "broad," including once as "that dumb broad."

Rev. Wright knows that the president-elect did the only thing that he could do to keep his presidential hopes alive. He's famous because of the association to Obama, and I'm sure from time to time he'll continue to remind us that he's back from his long vacation.

"In Prison My Whole Life"

The Sundance Channel will be broadcasting a 2007 documentary regarding Mumia Abul-Jamal titled "In Prison My Whole Life" at 9 p.m. tonight. Abu-Jamal is presently facing life in prison for killing police officer William Faulkner on Dec. 9, 1981 in Philadelphia. Jamal, who was a member of the Black Panther Party and a local journalist, has consistently maintained his innocence, and continues to appeal the verdict some 27 years later.

Ellen Gray of the Philadelphia Daily News profiles the documentary and actually worked for the newspaper at the time of the killing, walking nightly by the scene of the killing at 13th and Locust street.

Obama: "It's Going To Get Worse"

President-elect Barack Obama appeared yesterday on "Meet The Press" and made a couple of statements about our economic situation that were about as honest as a leader can be in tough times. Obama stated the obvious in that the economy will probably get worse before it gets better, and issued a warning to the executives of "the big three" automakers by stating "If this management team that's currently in place doesn't understand the urgency of the situation and is not willing to make the tough choices and adapt to these new circumstances, then they should go."

The executives of "the big three" will probably not be running those companies if they're able to rebound leaner and meaner. If the government is loaning billions of dollars to a company it should have a say in who runs it. Thanks to the New York Post for the related article.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Jesse Meeting With Laid Off Workers

Rev. Jesse Jackson is back to doing what he does best, helping those in need. Today he met with laid off workers of the Republic Windows and Doors plant in Chicago, who have refused to leave until they are guaranteed that they'll receive their severance package and vacation pay. The plant closed down on Friday after Bank of America pulled it's line of credit due to a downturn in business at the plant. 300 workers have been affected, and Jackson is trying to get Bank of America to reinstate the line of credit in an effort to save the jobs.

This is a perfect example of the three pronged effect of this economic downturn. Bank of America pulls the line of credit, the plant closes, and 300 people lose their jobs. This is too scary! Thanks to the Chicago Tribune for the update.

Barack's Diet

By now we all know the President-elect Barack Obama loves his daily basketball game, and that he has a very slight frame. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Obama eats a range of items from chicken wings and barbecue and ribs to grilled fish and steamed broccoli. He also has an affinity for MET-Rx chocolate roasted-peanut protein bars and bottles of a hard-to-find organic brew -- Black Forest Berry Honest Tea. According to the article, the president-elect prefers water over soft drinks, and also doesn't like ice cream.

It will be interesting to see how Obama's food menu expands once he has the White House chef at his disposal.

William Balfour: A Troubled Soul

William Balfour, who last week was charged with the slayings of 3 of Jennifer Hudson's family members, lived a life of instability, and as early as age 14 was arrested for heroin possession and possessing a stolen vehicle according to a report by the Chicago Tribune. Balfour entered this world with a family history of drug use, and violence. His grandmother was sent to prison in 1969 for manslaughter, and he had an aunt and uncle who were drug users.

Balfour's mother was rarely in his life as a teen, and his father was incarcerated. However, regardless of his tough upbringing and feelings of isolation, if Balfour is indeed guilty of the crimes that he's been charged with, an erratic upbringing isn't a license to kill.

How To Go Through $18.2 Million In 2 Years

If you think $18.2 million is a lot of money, and that it should last for a reasonable amount of time, Michael Vick has showed us that you can go through a small fortune while sitting in jail, and over a 2 year period. This is the amount of money that Vick reportedly went through between 2006 to 2008 according to documents filed recently in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Norfolk, Va. The day that he went to jail, Vick spent a total of $201,840, including the following payments: $99,000 for a Mercedes, $28,000 to the mother of his oldest child, and $16,000 to a friend.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution has provided a detailed article on Vick's expenditures. I had the audacity to write a post about not dumping on the ex Atlanta Falcon, but after seeing how he went through a small fortune, Michael Vick really needs to have his head examined and should have used an insanity defense in his dog fighting case.