Shaquille O’Neal Endorses Christie in NJ Gov Race

Basketball superstar and Buick spokesperson Shaquille O’Neal just threw his weight behind Chris Christie in the New Jersey governor’s race, creating an endorsement video. O’Neal offered to record a commercial for the governor who took him up on it. The two recently hung out at  at a youth event launching “Just Play,” a new state program designed to combat gang violence. O’Neal, who was raised in Newark, is in partnership with Boraie Development which is behind the development of the city’s first new high rise residential building in decades,

a new 169-unit housing tower…near the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. It will include a pool, a gym and a doorman, with rents starting at $1,400 for a studio.

Boraie, again with Shaq, is behind the $7 million renovation to a movie theater, CityPlex12 Newark, completed in 2012.  The developer and the city of Newark signed a deal in 2009, buying the theater for $400,000, along with 18 neighboring lots of city-owned land for $164,027. There are 31 units of affordable housing in the project. Boraie supposedly transferred the deal over to a new legal entity which included O’Neal as a partner. Originally the building was to have 150 units. The  Boraie/Shaq partnership also got approval to build a

$75 million complex in Atlantic City near the Revel Casino that will include a Shaq Cityplex movie theater, supermarket, residential units and office and retail space.

The Boraie family has donated approximately $312,420 to New Jersey politicians and political committees on the state and federal level, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Shaq and Christie shared a photo op in March of this year at the statehouse in Trenton to discuss the basketball great’s potential involvement in the state’s gun buyback program.

Shaq explained his involvement with Boraie Development:

My job is to say, ‘Hey, make it beautiful.’


Aloe Blacc’s Beautiful New Video Tackles Immigration Reform

Aloe Blacc is an artist with something to say.

His latest video features an acoustic version of the song “Wake Me”.  His vocals are at the heart of Avicii’s electronic version which has been wildly and internationally successful this year.

While the original video features a pair of outcast sisters living in a rural town who ultimately relocate to New York City where they find like-minded companions at a concert– Blacc’s version has a more political bent.

In the build up for the video Blacc tweeted:

Sure enough- the video depicts an immigrant family’s failed attempt to cross the border complete with a police officer confiscating a baby only to find himself face to face with the Dream Activist she grew up to be years later.  The song is hauntingly beautiful. The video’s focused on revealing the humanity behind the “immigration debate” as well as the crass terms that often get tossed around as a substitute for political discourse.  There are no “illegals” or stereotypes in this video.  Just people.

As they go through their struggles the 34 year old artists croons “All this time I was finding myself and I didn’t know that I was lost” and it just make sense. I’m not sure what I even mean by that but it does.  We’re all just people getting lost and found and lost again in a search for some sense of belonging. If you can relate to the words of this wildly successful song that’s on the radio all the time- then it’s not that much of a stretch to imagine relating to that family trying to cross the border.

The video, directed by Alex Rivera, ends by noting that several of the actors in the video are themselves actually causalities of our broken immigration policy.

Head over to Wendy Carillo’s- the host of KPRW Los Angeles, Power 106 – blog for more background on their stories.

Blacc’s seen previous success with songs like “I Need a Dollar” which was featured in the opening credits of the HBO show How to Make it in America. Prior to that he was a member of hip hop group Emanon in the late 90s.

He’s super talented and well worth watching for what he says next.

Government Get Down: Motive’s Burn Down Brooklyn

As I write this there’s actually a countdown clock on CNN and as of right this second now- there’s 13 minutes and 54 seconds left until shit basically hits the fan.

I could rant about how pathetic and stupid this all is or I could present you with some sweet tunes by some great dudes in the interest of making your shut down more musical.

I’m going to do that.

Fresh off a successful Kickstarter for their debut album, their new video finds the boys of Motive literally on fire.

The video for their song Burn Down Brooklyn – features the sort of dirty rock wrapped in a quirky video (sting rays and space!) that’s landed this indie band on MTV2′s 120 Minutes with Matt Pinfeld top ten twice.

Based in Brooklyn– the band doesn’t really want to set the town on fire.  Rather the song tackles feeling suffocated to the point that you want to burn things down and start anew.

Sounds pretty damn relevant and applicable right about now…

I’ve known these guys for a long time. In addition to being super talented, they’re also awesome human beings.

Check them out and keep an eye out for their album set to release in March of 2014.

In the meantime; burn down, get down, the government’s about to shut down.

Update: The Government has shut down and CNN’s count down clock now reflects how much time has passed since the Government has shut down.  As of right this second now it’s been 9 minutes and 28 seconds.

Exclusive Clip: “The Conquest” – Sarkozy Exposed, Explored


This exclusive clip from The Conquest–an official selection at Cannes 2011 which examines and re-images France’s Nicolas Sarkozy’s rise to power and his volatile relationship with his first wife Cécilia, mixing passion, ambition, satire and political machinations in a decidedly Gallic fashion–shows Sarkozy (Denis Podalydes) seducing the French citizens with a speech that promises so much…

The Conquest frames Sarkozy’s personal and political life–very entwined, as his wife was the driving force behind his political career–with his 2007 election victory the same night that Cécilia leaves him for another man in a dramatic, at times farcical romp through French politics.

Late Night: Religions Do the Right thing in Alabama. And Then There’s Michele Bachmann’s Faith

Gods bless the churches in Alabama where leaders of Episcopal, Methodist and Roman Catholic churches, representing 338,000 Alabama residents, filed suit Monday to block enforcement of the state’s new immigration law, claiming it prevents free exercise of religion. The Southern Poverty Law Center has also filed a suit opposing the law.

The law, signed by Governor Robert Bentley on June 9 and set to go into effect September 1, broadens police powers, requiring local authorities to identify illegal immigrants. Alabama is the fifth state to enact legislation which

requires police officers to verify the immigration status of anyone they stop and suspect may be in the U.S. illegally. Businesses must use a federal database called E-Verify to determine whether job applicants are eligible to work. In addition, the measure makes it a crime to rent housing to illegal immigrants.

Bishop Robert J. Baker of the Birmingham Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in Alabama said in a statement that the law:

interferes with the biblical imperative of hospitality which our churches have adopted and encoded in various documents of governance. It aims to shut the doors of our churches and social ministries, against our wills, to a whole class of people, denying them access to such basic human needs as food, clothing, shelter, and, most importantly, worship of God.

It was lack of hospitality which lead to the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah

And in other religion news, lots of Americans are just ignorant, according a poll conducted by Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with Religion News Service.

Most Americans (56 percent) say it’s important for a candidate to have strong beliefs, even if those beliefs differ from their own…Yet the religious groups most firmly behind this point — white evangelicals (73 percent) and ethnic minority Christians (74 percent) — often falter when asked about politicians’ religions.

For instance, 44 percent of white evangelicals know that Romney is a Mormon. At the same time, more than eight in 10 evangelicals say Mormon religious beliefs greatly differ from their own.

And while only one in three Americans can identify President Obama’s sect of Christianity (oh come on that’s splitting hairs, since he is currently an “unaffiliated Christian” and a former member of the United Church of Christ; seriously, what sect did Reagan belong to? Bush 1? Ford?), 18% still think the President is a Muslim!

In other findings:

At a little more than 70 percent, Republicans and Tea Party members are significantly more likely than Democrats (51 percent) to say it’s important for a presidential candidate to have strong religious beliefs. Tea Party members (46 percent) are even more likely than Republicans as a whole (38 percent) to say it is “very” important for a candidate to have strong religious beliefs.

Gary Scott Smith, an expert on presidential religions at Grove City College in Pennsylvania, told Religious News Service that white evangelicals

are going to be more likely to vote Republican, even if the party nominates someone who isn’t known for strong faith commitments. And if they don’t recognize that Romney’s a Mormon by now, then you wonder how attuned they are to politics anyway.

He added that

Americans have traditionally elected presidents who use religious language and seek divine guidance, especially when grappling with the moral conflicts of the day, provided that their beliefs are relatively mainstream and don’t conflict with national security.

And then there’s this–

—White evangelicals are the group most likely to say they don’t know what Bachmann’s beliefs are (51 percent), even though she attends a Baptist church, and only 35 percent say she has similar religious beliefs to them. [Thank gods on the latter!]