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Monday, August 22, 2016

The Rio Recap #1 For 8/22/16: The Top 11 Endearing Figures of The 2016 Olympics


Here are from me, the eleven top figures of the hundreds of remarkable athletes that we had the pleasure to see in Rio, helping make a corrupt IOC and slimy process of the games going to Rio be pushed to the side for some.  

11. Four years ago, Michael Phelps said that he would be done. He was already by far the most decorated Olympian ever and didn't need another games to further cement that mantle. But something in him made him want to comeback and exhibit why he is the greatest swimmer ever. And he did just that, with the fierce determination and drive to overcome a new rival in Chad Le Clos pretending that he could psyche him out and provide the latest iconic image of Phelps attitude in an extraordinary career filled with them. Four years later, he is this time, truly done.

10. Along with soccer and golf, the tennis competition at the Olympics isn't the biggest competition in its sport (for Rio 2016, no ranking points were given to ATP or WTA players). But it is still optically and emotionally important for many once the competition begins, and it indeed meant everything to Monica Puig. To become Puerto Rico's first gold medalist in any Olympic games, the 22-year-old displayed the tennis of her life in winning just her second career title (and just a whee, whee bit bigger than her first title in Strasbourg in 2014). To defeat world number two Angelique Kerber in the final after conquering Petra Kvitova and crushing Garbine Muguruza to get there (all three Grand Slam champions still either early in their prime or in the middle of it) encapsulated how special a moment it was for Boricua nation.        

9. Whenever something is a foregone conclusion for someone who has never been at an Olympic games, the mental strength to still live up to those massive expectations enlarges their specialness. For Simone Biles, Rio 2016 had all the potential to make her America's newest sweetheart for all races. Instead, it made her the world's sweetheart. From the moment her historic, dominate victory in the women's all-around gymnastics was official, Biles exhibited inner fortitude that matched her staggering dexterity. Winning three straight world championships should have already confirmed Biles as the best ever, as many had done. But something could always go easily wrong in an event held once every four years, and for Biles to be able to bring her elite form on the biggest stage in front of the largest audience made the 19-year-old an eternal figure. The treacherous, capricious balance beam, always an issue for anyone, may have been the only thing to deny her five Olympic gold medals. But no one will ever have any question as to how much a superstar Biles will forever be.

8. Wayde van Niekerk 400 meter run was arguably the individual performance of these entire Olympics, especially for the track meet where Almaz Ayana's extraordinary 10,000 meter world record run could only rival it. In an athletic competition dominated by the legend of Usain Bolt, the 24-year-old South African temporarily made the mercurial Jamaican share the track spotlight by doing something that would only allow for that to occur: shattering Michael Johnson's seemingly invisible 400 meter world record. It would have been an extraordinary accomplishment if van Niekerk ran in the always preferred middle lanes of the track. But for him to break one of sport's most remarkable records in a lane that no person has ever won a 400 meter Olympic or world championship in augments the already extraordinary feat. It was a real shame, as well as a relief from Bolt, that van Niekerk did not run in the 200 meters.

7. Both Abbey D’Agostino and Nikki Hamblin provided the sportsmanship moment of the Rio Olympics with the two helping each other to finish their 5,000 meter race. Their benevolence in the wave of their fall was certainly extraordinary, and it was more than deserving for them to win the Fair Play Award. You can certainly guarantee their moment will be played in Olympic commercials for many years to come.

6. Simone Manuel wasn’t a name that received big commercials and massive medal attention before these games. The past two and a half weeks have changed that, as the Houston, Texas native became a viral sensation for becoming the first black woman of any country to take individual gold at an Olympic swimming meet. Manuel’s remarkable and unexpected gold medalist tie with Canada’s 16-yr-old sensation Penny Oleksiak in the 100 meter freestyle race is already an extraordinary thing in itself. But for her to make that history and become a second Simone-named American darling to not only the black community, but to the rest of the world, was a moment everyone will savor forever.

5. Marta, the greatest women's soccer player ever, still is a star figure in the collage of these games, despite the dejection of not winning her first major women’s soccer title on her home soil. For the amount of pressure on her shoulders, Marta and her teammates stormed out the gate brilliantly. Unlike their men's counterparts who couldn't find the back of the net in the first two matches, Marta was the playmaking catalyst in reducing negative vibes felt in the Samba nation on their beloved sport with sensational routs of China and Sweden. Her impact was so great that you saw some people place a cross on Neymar's name on his #10 jersey and write in Marta's as the replacement. Cruelly in the end however, the 30-year-old was unlucky for another major tournament and received the biggest heartbreak of her career. As Sweden found an impervious defense out of nowhere in the rematch semifinal, Brazil's soccer women completed the eerily reversal they had in comparison to their men's team from the third group stage game on. There was no gold medal for their remarkable talent and organization to be rewarded, but instead a dejected fourth place finish coming a day prior to their countrymen's emotional title. It served as the men once again outshining the women in a country that has the most skilled women's players on the planet get a percentage of attention the men always get. But nevertheless, in the face of the biggest pressure in her career, Marta gave even more reasons as to why she is beloved, not only in Brazil but throughout the world.

4. Triple-triple is all you need to say about Usain Bolt and the historic aura he has created for himself. Just six weeks after major doubt was being thrown into whether he would participate in Rio with his hamstring injury, Bolt may not have ran faster than he did in Beijing and London but was arguably more impressive than his world record form. It was "Greatest Olympian" form he instead displayed to his endless array of admirers, as he overcame all of those pre-Olympic injury fears by looking as dominate as always. The endless "Bolt vs Phelps" debate for greatest modern Olympian will forever go on long past their final Olympiad. But Bolt's perfect 9 for 9 in Olympic finals is something we are unlikely to see ever again. It's hard to sustain that level of greatness for three Olympics. But for everything to go your way, including Jamaica being flawless in their 4 x 100 meter relay three straight times, is the staggering accomplishment that only he may ever have.

3. No other person at these Rio Olympic games has felt the type of pressure that Neymar da Silva Jr has felt. Because unlike any other athlete in these entire games, it was the second time that the former Santos prodigy has felt the nation on his shoulders. Other athletes from recent host countries China and Great Britain, along with next host country Japan, will face the home country pressure on them. But Neymar has now had to endure that twice in the last three years that no one else will ever endure, and has simply handled them in a way that makes him a developing legend in our time. He captained the Brazilian men in the face of major criticism after the first two games, hearing calls from some to have his armband taken away. Instead of succumbing to the negativity, the jovial star once again exceeded the massive expectations he faces by leading his country to that elusive first gold medal in the cherished Maracana. It was just destiny for him to be the one to make the final penalty and make it a perfect spot kicks session for his team against the country he couldn't play against in their infamous 2014 World Cup semifinal thrashing. And it was just fitting for the lachrymose moments to follow once his penalty beat Timo Horn, ensuring that the 31st Summer Olympiad in Rio had its biggest moment.      

2. He may have done it in front of a camera, but Taoufik Makloufi's gesture to give one of his two track silver medals in Rio up to his countryman and teammate Larbi Bourrada was a class moment that would be all over NBC's airwaves had the middle distance star been American.  Choosing to offer up one of his prized assets on the final day of the games serves as a move that will make the already benevolent Makloufi even more beloved (and so what if it wasn't his gold medal from the 2012 Olympics).

1. In a move that took true coverage to do, Ethiopia's Feyisa Lilesa protested his government's killing of the Oromo people, as he crossed the finish line for second place in the men's marathon. He later revealed that he, his wife and their children were going to be in danger because of his temerity. Lilesa could have simply focused on his event like his fellow Ethiopian running stars and not bring up anything as contentious as that issue. Instead, the 32-year-old made the political move of these entire games and will have global support for the potential trouble he and his family may face back home.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Real Perspective From 7/12/16: No, Bernie Did As Well as He Could With Black Voters


Note: This was originally suppose to be a piece for Jacobin, but strangely after they showed interest in it, they didn't want. It was originally a response to The New Republic's mostly dreadful mix of opinions from "notable" media center-liberals on the Democratic primary, specifically the expected asinine views on Bernie Sanders. 

Now, it's also a response to good colleague & friend Terrell Starr's diligent piece in Fusion, where he feels again that Bernie Sanders didn't do enough for black people in this election. I firmly feel that even if Sanders had started campaigning back in 2014 and exclusively in black areas that it would not have made any significant difference. The media blackout on him along with this always being Hillary's time on the Democratic side, since the 2008 primary ended, was always going to make this a nearly impossible task for a 74-year-old not known in mainstream black circles. Just like every other race in America, most black people, particularly older black people, don't follow liberal/left politics online a daily and simply didn't have enough time to truly know Bernie Sanders on a deep, memorable level. A few months experience with knowing a white male politician for the first time in your life isn't enough for any black person to trust them, particularly when you have an older voter seeing Hillary be long determined as the Democratic nominee. The "Who the hell is this old white guy" response is very understandable. 

Anyway, that section in particular is in the middle of this piece as a response to Terrell's long held perspective on that, since it is a sentiment I have LONG repeated as the reason Hillary crushed Bernie expectedly with black older voters and with black voters in general despite young black voters going for him in the end. 

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Among the many dishonest smears directed at Bernie Sanders and his supporters from visible liberal news personalities, even after all of the Democratic primaries have ended, is the continued belief that the Vermont Senator’s whole candidacy has alienated black people. This thought has unfortunately augmented rather than diminished not only from dubious black figures long antagonist towards Sanders or not halting in any chance to criticize him, but in non-black liberal notables who somehow think they can speak for all black Democratic voters.

The latest galling paradigm of this urge to talk about black voters while not being black came from former Cosmopolitan writer and now latest Guardian US anti-Sanders critic Jill Filipovic in a New Republic piece discussing why the Democratic Party is so divided after its unexpectedly competitive primary season. Titled "The Split," Filipovic didn’t have the only atrocious thought of that TNR amalgamation of opinions (and hot takes). Elaine Kamarck provided a fine display of lazy “both sides are wrong” centrism by being the latest to conveniently lump Sanders in with Donald Trump as “selling snake oil to the voters” and comparing Sanders’ public paid-for college tuition plan to Trump’s “stupid f—king wall.”

New book author Mychal Denzel Smith, who is black, breathlessly showed how not to do identity politics by claiming Democrats as being too fixated on white voters instead of the party’s “strongest voters”, black women. Smith question the “value” of doing that, figuring the fact that there are still a larger number of white people than any single demographic in this country and seemingly engulfing all white working class voters and Democrats trying to talk to them as trying to “win back the racists.”      

The Wire’s David Simon was the owner of the worst, tired narrative of stupidity in that New Republic collection when he claimed Sanders supporters of “drinking the Kool-Aid and not even speaking in the vernacular of reality.” It truly has been an amazing phenomenon how the most privilege anti-Bernie white people like Simon, whose “fame” wouldn’t exist without the black people in Baltimore acting in the roles of the tragic ghetto tales that his white self thought fitting to be a “voice” for, think they are more sophisticated and more racially deeper than white people who support Sanders, but that is another discussion for another piece.

Filipovic is sadly among those people and still thought it was in her place to speak collectively for an entire range of black people despite being as “black” as a Carrie Underwood song. In her latest hackish defense of Hillary Clinton from legitimate and justified criticism, Filipovic claimed that the Sanders contingent of the Democratic Party’s focused primarily on the “concerns of the white working class and they aren’t bringing a lot of race analysis into it.” Filipovic then provided her latest race bait comments by saying that those supposed class focuses “have alienated African-Americans and, to a lesser extent, the Hispanic vote.”

Clearly Filipovic not only has wanted to pay little to no serious attention to Sanders’ entire campaign, but she again marches on with her own beat of bizarre generalizations that make no sense compared to concrete, substantive analysis on black voters. There really isn’t any legitimate sign of black voters being alienated by Sanders’ economic talk, especially young black voters (as well as younger Hispanic voters too). Instead, those are the things we demand as crucial to us finding the equality we have long requested in America, as many studies have shown how black Americans have urged for more public/government egalitarian action to dramatically lessen the gaps caused by white supremacy.

Once again, as a young black journalist and citizen of this country, it is important for me to tell the accurate, full picture instead of cliché’, asinine narratives about black voters from people who aren’t black. In general, black voters, especially older ones in the South, denied to cast their ballots for Sanders not because he alienated them with any economic talk (Sanders by the way has NEVER claimed that class issues are more important than race issues and has made racial inequality a major focus of his campaign repeatedly). Instead, it was mainly because of two simple reasons.
First, most black older voters who made up the majority of the demographics’ voters in the Southern primaries and throughout the country simply weren’t aware of who Sanders was or knew anything about him until election season came. This is just the firm truth, where those trying to deny this are being wildly dishonest to this salient fact that is legitimized with a full black perspective not focused solely on identity politics.

Abetting in that lack of familiarity with Sanders is the second reason for why Clinton owned the older black vote and overall black vote: the constant drumbeats of an inevitable Hillary candidacy if she chose to run after losing to Barack Obama in 2008, complimenting her already massive fame/familiarity. Along with the endless array of cable devotion to the Trump clown show campaign and Hillary’s visibility, Sanders didn’t have the echo chamber of big media coverage raise his profile with black voters to even half the swift rate it did for Obama, who obviously had optical advantages that Sanders never would have had with black voters.   
 
Just look at these accounts from this Los Angeles Times piece from older black voters as the Democratic primary went to South Carolina, the state setting the dominos in place for the rest of the Southern region to go clearly for Clinton as expected and really not even need all of her black Congressional friends long in the tank for her (and in 2008 as well over Obama, least anyone else forgets). 


“Who is Bernie Sanders,” one 59-year-old black voter asked in bemusement.
“I'm not up on all of them,” a 77-year-old black woman said. “I'm just up on the one I want” – meaning Clinton – “and the one I don't,” referring to her preference for Clinton and not Trump, despite that being about her primary voting preference and not the general election.
“I got nothing against him, but I don’t know anything about him,” a 76-year-old black man.
These accounts in South Carolina could be heard and seen in every other state from other older black voters who did participate in the Democratic primary, including even in the states with a diverse population that Sanders won in.
 
Instead of it being black voters not “feeling the bern,” it was black voters, particularly older black voters, not knowing the bern. And for those who were interested in hearing his beliefs for the first time while knowing little about him, older black voters weren’t alienated by Sanders’ economic talk, but just incredulous to if he was going to be able to actually have them occur.
 
“I know Bernie wants to do a lot. But are those things going to get accomplished?” said a 52-year-old black corrections officer in South Carolina. “I don’t want to say he’s a snake oil salesman, but he’s telling people what they want to hear.”

Whether on improved wages, demanding that the wealth gap significantly diminish and having public education schools that are only good in affluent, mostly white areas, anyone saying that black voters were alienated by Bernie’s economic talk is being an unfortunate charlatan. It is even more galling when people claiming that has been the case are people who are as black as a carton of eggs.
It willingly ignores the fact that Bernie has made both economic and social (race and gender) matters prime in his candidacy and is further offensive to black voters by thinking that we aren’t able to focus on both simultaneously with equal fervor.

Even after the Affordable Care Act has existed for a few years, black Americans continue to be uninsured and underinsured at higher rates than white Americans. We, just like any other rational person in America, would certainly love having a sane health care system, with expanded Medicaid for Aid single payer, strong public option and/or massive regulation to force private insurers to finally place people over profits instead of the other way around. You couldn’t find any black voter being alienated at Sanders for mentioning the onerous, high monthly premiums from Aetnas and Wellpoints we, just like other people, have to pay.

There is no alienation with hearing a candidate advocate for affordable public health care, or affordable public college tuition or an affordable $15 minimum wage from most black middle to lower case people. And with how black (and Hispanic) Americans as a whole have been at the bottom of America’s white supremacist structural racism, there is no large majority alienated by a candidate urging for years about our society needing to help the most disadvantaged and impoverished.  Those are things that Sanders has stood for years for, yet Filipovic and her kind continue to parrot incongruous statements about how black voters feel.

Unfortunately, with the platforms they are continuously given and the dishonesty they enthusiastically espoused despite being called out on it right on Twitter, more wrong-headed minority takes from non-minorities like Filipovic on Sanders will only continue to fester well beyond the primary election season.

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Flashback Fridays #2 For 7/8/16: Yung Joc - It's Goin Down (2006)


As always, Viewer Discretion is Advised, especially if you aren't black or haven't grown up in an American hood. 

For the first of the Flashback Friday video choices this week, we take it back 10 yrs ago at this time with the start & peak of Yung Joc's career before the total irrelevance that it has fully become.

It's of course time to get your Motorcycle Lean on, with "It's Goin' Down," your first of two Flashback Friday throwbacks.



This is The Whole Delivery. 

Friday, July 1, 2016

The Flashback Fridays #2 For 7/1/16: Kardinal Offishall - BaKardi Slang (2001)











And the second Flashback Friday on this 149th B-day for my Canadian connects, it's the original Toronto most famous rapper. From all the way back in 2001, it's Kardinal Offishall's T.Dot banger, "BaKardi Slang."



This is The Whole Delivery.


The Flashback Fridays #1 For 7/1/16: Nelly Furtado - Say it Right (2006)


For my Canadian connects on their Happy Canada Day, will have a few Flashbacks from standout Canadian artists not named Aubrey Graham.

The first being from the one and only Nelly Furtado, at peak of popularity 10 years ago with this classic off her Timbaland backed album "Loose." She had many hits on that album, with this one being the biggest and her best song of her career after "Fly Like a Bird."

It's "Say It Right", your first Flashback Friday choice this week, especially for my Canadian connects.


This is The Whole Delivery.


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Andrew Jones' Media Portfolio



(Updated June 1, 2016)

Notable Writing Clips 



What everyone is getting wrong about Serena Williams’ return to Indian Wells, at The Guardian

Serena Williams aside, American tennis’ love affair with grass has soured, at The Guardian 

Lisa De Vanna is the rebel to lead Australia’s revolution, at Fusion Network 

Who will stand up to the NCAA? .... at Ebony Magazine 

Glen Johnson & Steven Gerrard's changing roles in their final seasons at Liverpool, for STATS INC and formally BSports

Andrew Jones’ World Soccer Talk File

First Look Media's The Intercept Reporting Clips

Full Portfolio at The Intercept

The Raw Story Reporting Clips

 Romney Campaign Meets Equal Pay With Silence (article featured on news network MSNBC's coverage of the RNC)

 Sanders Skewers The Class Warfare of America's ‘economic royalists’

 House Dems introduce bill recognizing low income mothers raising their kids as work

Scahill: Obama has ‘murdered’ people with drone strikes

Bush: ‘I wish they weren’t called the Bush tax cuts’

Washington state to legalize same sex marriage

Rep. Walsh: Obama 'Like a teenage boy who had a big party'

Dallas teenager found after being mistakenly deported to Colombia

Employers discriminate against long-term unemployed: reports

Private prison company offers to buy 48 states’ prisons

Talking Points Memo clips

Rumsfeld: Still No Apologies For Iraq 

California GOPer On Wisconsin Senate Dems: ‘Fire Them!’

Huckabee: Poverty Will Fall If Single Parents Just Get Married

Karl Rove: Birtherism Is A ‘White House Strategy’

Appearances on HuffPost Live: 






Anchor Broadcast Reel:



 




Friday, May 13, 2016

The Flashback Fridays For 5/13/16: Janet Jackson - All For You (2001)


With news of her possibly having her first child, only fitting that another Flashback Friday celebrates Janet Jackson and in particular, her "All For You" terrific release from 15 years ago.

For many, her best album in the 2000s and arguably the top single that she has had in the 21st century. She, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis really produced a wonderful track and showed how her creative force was vastly underrated.

It was the biggest hit of a big year in music in 2001, and although she hasn't produced a song as big since, it certified her career greatness.

Today's Flashback Friday choice, it's Janet Jackson with "All For You."



This is The Whole Delivery. 

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