Gone home to Lovetron

One of my all-time favorite NBA players has passed away today.  Darryl Dawkins, aka Chocolate Thunder, died today of a heart attack.

I honestly remember him playing like it was just a few years ago.  It doesn’t seem like it’s been 30 plus years since he helped the NBA bring breakaway rims as standard equipment.  Known for naming his dunks, it was the “The Chocolate-Thunder-Flying, Robinzine-Crying, Teeth-Shaking, Glass-Breaking, Rump-Roasting, Bun-Toasting, Wham-Bam, Glass-Breaker-I-Am-Jam” that brought the end to a glass backboard in Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri on the night of November 13, 1979.  As a kid, I was blown away looking at the replays of that dunk on the news.  Before that happened, you would not have been able to convince me that such a thing was possible.  Just to prove it wasn’t a one time thing, Dawkins shattered another backboard a few weeks later.

Some of the other notable names of his dunks include the Rim Wrecker, the Go-Rilla, the Look Out Below, the In-Your-Face Disgrace, the Cover Your Head, the Yo-Mama, the Spine-Chiller Supreme, and the Greyhound Special (for the rare occasions when he went coast to coast) h/t to Wikipedia.

If I were the NBA commissioner, I’d have to order all backboards to be lowered to half height to honor Chocolate Thunder.  That about the best tribute I could think of to honor him.  While not the greatest player stat wise, he left an impression and a long list of named dunks that will keep him in the memories of NBA fans long after today.

When writing, I have a list of tags that are automatically chosen that I can use.  For this one, Backboard shattering and breakaway rim came up.  Just shows how much of an impact Dawkins had.  Dunk on in Lovetron, brother.  Dunk on.

Our political system is severely damaged

Deez Nuts??? Seriously at almost double digits…

I haven’t written for a while as life has been busy, but that has not kept me from keeping up with things.

First thing to tackle is the message from that image above.  Our political system is in disarray.  It is damaged goods.  Seriously.

I know it’s a long running joke since Dr. Dre’s debut solo release The Chronic was unleashed on the world on December 12, 1992.  Since that date, track #6 Deeez Nuuuts has become part of the urban slang in America and crossed over into the general lexicon.

While a good running joke, it makes for a good laugh during this campaign season.  At the same time, it shows the absurdity of a 2-3 year campaign season and how the fickle mind will easily tire of the incessant droning of campaigns.

When I have to seriously contemplate voting for Deez Nuts, it shows that I have very little to no confidence in either party or their current crop of candidates.  I don’t really trust politicians much, and this election is no exception.

I guess this could also be a good thing depending on how you look at it.  I may be able to finally write in Deez Nuts for an office and it may actually count as a legitimate vote.

RIP Bobbi Kristina Brown

I never met you, but I did have the pleasure of speaking with your mother years ago.  If your spirit was anything like hers, I know you were an angel in spite of your fights with inner demons.  I don’t like to see prolonged suffering, so I hope your family can find peace with your passing.

Hopefully, you and your mother can reunite and be happy together away from the evils of this world.

My condolences go out to the Houston and Brown families.

Preach it brother!!

I came across this video earlier today, and I think Pastor Dewey Smith is speaking an uncomfortable truth that many in the church will not acknowledge.  His message is directed towards the Black church, but the message is one that I think applies to us all.

Over the course of just under 5 minutes, he swats down the “Get out of Leviticus Free” card that many use to talk down about the sin of homosexuality while ignoring the mote in their own eye.  My favorite line is where he talked about others sinning by changing their wives like some people change their underwear.  I don’t ever recall any Christian-based business refusing service to anyone who has divorced and remarried even though that is considered a sin.

One of the most thought-provoking sermons I ever had the pleasure of listening to at church was when the preacher described the function of the church itself.  He told us to not think of it as a place for the saved.  Instead, think of the church as a hospital for sinners who need to be healed.  I think that is a very good way of looking at the purpose of the church.

We all have or will commit sins.  We should always seek forgiveness of those sins as well.  At the same time, we are not the arbiters of anyone’s judgment day, so there’s no reason for us to treat any sinner worse than the others.  If you’re going to treat one sin as though it’s worse than the plague, then be consistent and treat them all that way.  If you’re going to act as though some sins are nothing to blink at, then treat them all the same way as well.  Just be consistent.

Thank you Pastor Dewey Smith for this message.  I hope those of you reading this enjoyed it as much as I did.  I’d love to hear the entire sermon, so if anyone knows where I can find it, please let me know.

If you want to know more about the preacher, then the church’s website is:  http://www.houseofhopeatl.org/

Thank you SCOTUS

What happens when politicians are allowed to draw their own voting district maps.

 

What is, in my opinion, the most important ruling to come from this year’s Supreme Court session has barely registered a blip on the media radar.  Since it involves a rather mundane topic, it doesn’t garner the headlines like the PPACA or same-sex marriage does.  However, the ruling in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, No. 13-1314 can and should have a far-reaching and long-term impact on the political process in America.

This case ruled affirmatively that commissions voted on by the people are constitutional when it comes to drawing up redistricting maps.  Given how politicians are laser-like focused on protecting their own asses and their party’s rule, this is a step towards returning this country to a representative democracy.  What we have now is an absurd joke.  I remember reading a post from Nate Silver’s 538 Blog years ago how we’ve gone from more than 100 competitive House districts in the 1992 election to around 30 twenty years later.  That’s the long-term effect of gerrymandering.

This is the best explanation of gerrymandering you will ever see

I’m both surprised and appalled that nobody’s really been celebrating this ruling.  I’m surprised because this topic isn’t as glamorous as health care or same-sex marriage.  There hasn’t been the constant drumbeat in the media over the redistricting process, unlike the two aforementioned issues.  Redistricting is something that’s usually done behind closed doors and out of the public eye, and that has to change if we’re going to return to a government that works for the people instead of against the people.

I’m appalled for the very same reasons.  People should give a damn about how their voting districts are carved up.  They should be concerned when politicians move the maps around to concentrate a particular voting bloc to one district.  It may very well help “your team” this time, but it may be your ox being gored on the next go around.  I personally don’t think any politician should have a “comfortable seat” because that removes the incentive for them to represent ALL voters in their districts.  When a politician sits in a district filled with more of his own voters, he will tend to ignore or neglect those who wouldn’t vote for him anyway.  That’s wrong because whether a person votes for you or not, you are still their elected representative in Washington D.C.

I tip my hat to the SCOTUS on this decision.  I think this will decision will go a long way towards giving people a true voice in D.C. now.  At the same time, I expect this to be swept under the rug as quickly as possible.  If the voters in all states jumped on this bandwagon, it would be an effective countermeasure to the financial arms race going on to elect people beholden to monied partisan interest groups and individuals.  These types of commissions should be the law of the land to give American voters confidence that their elected representatives will better represent the people who elected them as opposed to those who lined their campaign coffers.  The party apparatus will undoubtedly loathe this decision because it takes power from them and gives it to the voters instead.