Iggy Azalea and Nick Young: the day sports met gossip, and it was awful

I was contemplating wrapping up this week by discussing the sex scandal that’s emerged in Alabama revolving around the state’s governor, Robert Bentley. But then I realized no one really wants to hear about the illicit affairs of a 73-year-old man, even if it could result in his impeachment.

So let’s talk about sex scandals that involve younger people!

Yes folks, I do address many critical social and political issues on this blog, but I am not afraid to dive deep down into the gutter and become Maury 2.0, and I’m taking you all with me. Or, you can just hit the X button in the top right corner. But please don’t.

Anyway, sports fans who watched SportsCenter yesterday may have been dismayed by the fact that the show, which, back in the day actually used to show sports highlights, instead became indistinguishable from Access Hollywood.

Nick Young Iggy Azalea.JPGAnd that’s because the hot topic of the day in the sports world had nothing to with actual … sports.

As the NBA season winds down, the Los Angeles Lakers are a team that should be dedicating all their time and energy towards honoring Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest players of our generation who is retiring at the end of the season.

But instead, they decided to say, “screw Kobe, let’s start a controversy that’s barely a step above high school gossip!”

Nick Young, who is engaged to Australian rapper and Wayans Brothers White Chicks lookalike Iggy Azalea, now finds himself in serious trouble after his rookie teammate, D’Angelo Russell, secretly filmed him talking about what sounded like his adulterous affairs.

The video found its way online, and Iggy Azalea even acknowledged it with a Tweet, saying, “hmmm i see D Angelo Russell is trending… I actually liked his film. Thanks bro.”

Even if I could go back in time to my high school self, I still probably wouldn’t care about this. But nonetheless, it’s pretty egregious behavior on Russell’s part, to not only entrap his teammate in such a way, but to film it, and then be careless enough to let it find its way D'Angelo Russellonto the Internet.

I mean, that’s some insidious backstabbing if I ever saw it.

But it’s still not what I turn on ESPN to watch. I don’t care if it was a slow sports day. Show me European soccer highlights then. Heck, I’ll gladly take a recap of an international curling match for all I care.

Stephen A. Smith, an NBA analyst on ESPN known for his ability to draw attention simply by screaming nonsense into a television camera, actually said on live TV that this presents a serious “violation of man code.”

An actual sports reporter analyzed the merits of man code on a sports highlights show.

It’s always a beautiful thing when sports and tabloid gossip coincide. And by “beautiful thing,” I mean god awful. But at least baseball season starts on Sunday and maybe ESPN will have real sports news to talk about. But probably not.

And on the bright side, Gov. Robert Bentley and Nick Young may be able to hang out soon and talk about all the things they have in common.

Which, before this week, was very, very, very little.

We were all deprived of the mega FBI/Apple showdown we’ve been waiting for

Ever since the news erupted that Apple CEO Tim Cook had refused a federal judge’s court order to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters, it set in motion one of the more highly anticipated clashes in recent memory.

It was a debate of national security versus civil liberties. The government versus the tech companies. Washington versus Silicon Valley.

People from all over chimed in on the conversation. CEOs of other major tech companies. Presidential candidates. The infamous whistleblower Edward Snowden. And of course — me.

It wasn’t so much that people were dying to know what was on the San Bernardino shooter’s phone — for all we know there may have been nothing there that would have even helped the feds with their investigation.

But it was set to become a landmark case that would set a precedent of how far the U.S. government can legally intrude into into its own citizens’ personal data for investigative purposes.

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Tim Cook was the one taking a moral stand. He was going against the most powerful organization in the world in the United States government, and he was doing it to prevent us, the consumer, from being exploited by the very same bureaucracy that exists to protect us.

It’s drama at its finest. The stuff movies are made of. It’s the Batman vs. Superman we really wanted, one without Ben Affleck.

And then, today, the government dropped the case because they found a way to open it without Apple’s help. The end.

Talk about anticlimactic! Geez.

It’s like going to the movies, ordering your ridiculously overbuttered popcorn, smoking a doobie in the bathroom, and then taking your seat, rearing to go, only to have an usher come up to you and tell you in one sentence how the movie ends rather then allowing you to actually watch it.

We were deprived of what would have been some world-class drama.

The irony, of course, is that now Apple is the one that is demanding the government to let them know how in the world they managed to open it, so they can continue to improve their own security moving forward.

And the government has absolutely zero obligation to tell them. And just like that, Tim Cook transforms from a martyr into a fool.

The battle is still far from over. Another instance will surely pop up, most likely sooner than later, where the government will request a company like Apple to unlock a device for what they claim are for national security purposes.

But it still won’t be the same. Sequels are never as good as the original.

Especially when the original didn’t live up to the hype.

I blame Ben Affleck for everything.

At the end of the day, does it really matter which attacks get more coverage?

People like to compare global tragedies and wonder why some get more attention than others.

Take last week for example. The world collectively mourned for Brussels after 32 people were killed in two separate terrorist attacks. Major news networks featured breaking coverage of the incident immediately and didn’t relent throughout the day.

The New York Times gave it a full page spread on their website.

On Sunday, a terrorist attack in Lahore, Pakistan resulted in 70 deaths — 29 of them children. As soon as I heard this happened, I turned to every major news hub. They were all talking about the U.S. presidential election. No story broke.

It wasn’t even breaking news on the New York Times.

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So what gives? One simple conclusion to make is that the media is biased towards the West, possibly even towards white people.

In a country where distrust of Muslims increases by the day, thanks in large part to scathing rhetoric by some presidential candidates (I won’t say which one), it’s no shocker that people didn’t exactly drop what they’re doing to suddenly shed tears for Pakistan, the world’s second most populous Muslim-majority country.

Ditto for Turkey, too, a nation of which more than 90 percent of its citizens are Muslim. A March 13 bombing in Ankara killed 37 people. But nobody seemed to really care.

Is it unfair to pick and choose which tragedies we should mourn? Of course. Race and religion shouldn’t be a factor when we’re talking about the murder of innocents.

But the bottom line is people harbor greater fear and sympathy for something that more closely relates to them. A lot of people have visited Brussels. Many Americans probably have Belgian ancestors.

Additionally, the attack was committed by ISIS — that radical Islamic group we hear about every single day. Whose sympathizers have committed an attack in the U.S. in the last six months.

It goes without saying that the Brussels attack feels more like a direct threat to the United


States than the ones in Pakistan and Turkey, which, while committed by terrorists, had more to do with a regional conflict in both areas that has little do with the West.

The last thing we need to remember is that while NBC, FOX and CNN are big news networks, they’re not the predominant news channels of the world. The Pakistan bombing surely got significant coverage in Asia and the Middle East. Just because something is not covered in America doesn’t mean it’s not covered.

Wondering why our American media is too biased to cover all parts of the world is a form of bias in of itself.

Again, I’m not trying to say what’s right and what’s wrong. All worldwide acts of terror suck and should be mourned accordingly. But I do think it is important to try and think about why certain tragedies get more coverage than others. Or why people on Facebook don’t react to all world events the same.

When news happens, for good or for bad, you can learn as much about is as you want by conducting your own research. And maybe we should stop caring so much about the amount of coverage something gets.

Not only is it an unproductive waste of your time, but it dehumanizes the entire significance of the ordeal and its victims.

The only coverage that should matter to any of us is the amount of time we devote to caring about it.

Or more importantly, the amount of coverage the Weinblog™ gives it.

Pakistan and Turkey, I see you.

North Carolina, paving the way for discrimination

Things had been going too well for the LGBT community lately.

A few weeks ago it was the South Dakota Republican governor who vetoed legislation that would have prevented transgendered people from using the public bathroom of the gender that they align with. A similar bill in Tennessee died in committee just last week.

At the time of the South Dakota veto, I pondered what would have happened if the bill was passed into law, and what the public backlash would be? Since it never happened, it never really made it to mainstream news. Remember, it takes anger for most people to really become aroused enough to start caring about a particular topic.

Well, this week we found out what that backlash would look like.

On one hand, Georgia’s Republican Governor Nathan Deal pledged to veto a bill that would have threatened the civil rights of the LGBT community and likely would have opened the door for discrimination.

But there always has to be one state that just doesn’t get the memo. And this time, it was North Carolina. In a week that should have been headlined by the state’s predominant college basketball team making the Final Four, the nation’s focus was instead pointed towards the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature and governor, Pat McCrory.

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In a hastily called session that cost taxpayers $42,000, the Senate approved a bill that not only disallows transgenders from using the bathroom of the gender they align with, but which also, for good measure, overturned all local non-discrimination ordinances.

There’s so many despicable things that happened here. The first thing was the rapid, secretive method in which it was passed without public input. The state’s Democratic legislators were so against this bill that they actually walked out of the Senate chamber while it was being voted on.

But worst of all, it was done in response to a law recently passed in Charlotte that would have protected transgender rights. This new law was essentially created to undo the Charlotte one.

Oh boy. It’s been a rough few days for North Carolina since this law was passed last Thursday. Not only have major corporations and sports leagues like the NBA spoken out against it, but there was this amazing Tweet, as well as this equally amazing video North Carolina law2.jpgproduced by the comic website Funny or Die.

Finally, a coalition of individuals and organizations filed a federal lawsuit against the law, arguing that it violates the Constitution and federal anti-discrimination laws.

It just boggled my mind because, most of all, it just makes North Carolina seem like a hateful place. By virtue of one law, they’re obstructing social progress and advocating discrimination.

Supporters of the law say that women are in danger because they’ll be in the same bathroom as men (as in, people who have transgendered from man to woman).

First of all, this implies that all transgenders are sexual predators.

Second of all, sexual assault is illegal in all circumstances, regardless of what local laws there are.

Transgendered individuals are among the most vulnerable and discriminated people in our society. They deal with prejudice and inequality on a daily basis.

So yeah, North Carolina, go ahead and make their lives even worse. Good job. And Governor McCrory, good luck in your reelection this November. 

You know this is especially sad when, after spending time on this topic, I have to think about the presidential race in order to cheer myself up.

What a time we’re living in.

The hottest woman in the world right now

It’s been a while since I’ve been shallow and superficial. So let me go ahead and do that.

Every few years there always seems to be a consensus “hottest woman in the world.” Of course, it’s a completely subjective opinion and not everyone will always agree, but I’ve  always felt that at any given point in time, one girl has stood above the rest.

The “it girl,” if you will.

Whether it was Britney Spears, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jessica Simpson, Jessica Alba, Adriana Lima, Mila Kunis, Kate Upton, there’s always someone.

But that doesn’t feel like the case right now. I don’t know — maybe it’s because we’re kind of in an odd state of anxiety worrying about terror in the Middle East and Europe, as well as what the hell will happen here in America with the uninspiring cast of characters running for president right now.

The combination of those two things have made it a very turbulent and divisive time right now in America.

We need a beautiful woman to save us. But who?

Well, lucky for you, I’m going to give you my top three choices to fill that void of the most beautiful woman in the world. It’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do it.

3. Alicia Vikander

Alicia VikanderNot only is she beautiful, but she is a recent Oscar winner, and she’s from Scandinavia — which is basically the utopia of the world.

The Swedish actress, at 27, is just entering the prime of her career, and is awfully talented. She burst on the scene in foreign films first (well, at least foreign to us Americans), most notably in The Royal Affair (2012) before gaining recognition across the pond as a cyborg in Ex Machina and her award-winning role in The Danish Girl, both released in 2015.

There’s just some understated elegance there that is very intoxicating. She has that type of look that you need to study, and examine and really try to figure out why it is she’s so gorgeous. That, to me, is the mark of true, organic beauty.

Plus it’s really fun to say her name. Alicia Vikander. It rolls right off the tongue.

2. Olivia Jordan
Olivia Jordan2

The reigning Miss USA. One glance at her really is all it takes. She’s a blonde bombshell with extraordinary physique, and she bared it all during the most recent Miss Universe competition.

She came in third place in that event, meaning she was not exposed to Steve Harvey’s tomfoolery. But I follow her on Instagram (username missusa), and she just seems like a fun girl with a zest for life.

She’s also 27 and a native of Oklahoma, and even though she’s already hit such an apex as Miss USA, I think there’s still plenty of success left in this one.

Although, she is 5’11”, so if you ever do score a date with her, tell her to avoid wearing heels.

1. Elizabeth Turner

Elizabeth TurnerThis 24-year-old Duke Blue Devil and Georgia native was featured in the most recent Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, and, by gosh, there is really no words to describe how beautiful she is.

There’s not much really to analyze here — she’s got the body and the curves, but what really strikes me is her face.

Like, I don’t think you can imagine a prettier face if you tried. It’s perfection. I’m not entirely sure why the whole world doesn’t know about her yet, but I have a feeling they soon will.

Or I’d have no problem with her remaining a hidden gem. Follow her on Instagram (elizabethcturner) and you won’t really question why she may arguably be the most beautiful woman in the world.

And there you go, folks.

Since I can’t possibly conduct an official poll to obtain worldwide consensus, I’m just going to go ahead and say that my choices are hereby official.

It’s literally the one advantage of having your own blog.

And now that this is settled, we can return to a state of normalcy in America.

I just solved world peace! Yay!

Who’s joining me for a cruise on Boaty McBoatface?

Asking someone what they would name their hypothetical boat is probably the second dumbest question in the world.

The only one more more mind-numbing and pointless is asking someone what they would do if they owned a time machine.

Like, seriously man? You’re really asking me that?

Hypothetical questions in general are annoying to begin with. You’re asking me, on the spot, to suddenly think of how I would react to a scenario that’s never happened, and in all likelihood, will never happen.

Why even waste the time? It’s more productive to think about practically anything else. Like what time it is. Or what I am going to eat for dinner later.

At least the answer to those questions actually have an impact on my life. A small impact, but an impact nonetheless.

It won’t give me any satisfaction to pretend for a minute that I am rich and own a boat. Because it’s not true. If anything, it reminds me how unlikely I am to ever be wealthy enough to own a boat, which will then make me sad.

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So how can we go about making the question more fun? After all, it would be kinda cool to actually be able to name a real-life boat, right?

Well guess what! A research agency in the United Kingdom has given the public that very opportunity, and it’s gone exactly how you hoped it might. 

What we’ve seen in recent years is that when you open something up for the Internet to decide, the result will likely be hilarious. Ask anyone who has ever hosted a Twitter Q&A. Or look at the most recent NHL ALL-Star game, when fans elected journeyman John Scott, who in his career has scored a measly five goals, as a captain.

In this instance, the National Environment Research Council asked the Internet to select the name of a polar research vessel that is targeted to set sail in 2019.

Although a press release for the initiative recommended such names as Falcon, Shackleton and Endeavour, Internet users had a very different idea — RRS Boaty McBoatface.

Imagine one day this boat is involved in a major news story. Say it sinks. A newscaster will have to deliver a straight-faced account of what happened to Boaty McBoatface.

But if the idea for NERC was to gain public acknowledgement and attention surrounding their polar voyage, then they hit the jackpot — and all in the name of fun.

Unfortunately, the agency said they will have the final say. But something tells me that if Boaty McBoatface wins — which it will — and doesn’t get chosen, there will be public outrage. Internet users are very powerful people. Yes, their attention spans rarely last more than a day or two, but I predict you will see a full revolt if you deny them of this name.

I haven’t been on many boats in my life. The occasional motorboat, rowboat and canoe. And I love a good kayak ride every now and then.

But never a big boat. And now I think it’s time to change that.

Because it would be an honor and privilege to voyage into the polar darkness on RRS Boaty McBoatface.

Who’s coming with me?!

Mourn and be angry after Brussels, but don’t forget who the real enemy is

In the Caribbean Sea some 200 miles off the coast of Miami, on an island that’s roughly the size of the state of Kentucky, two world leaders met to begin the process of normalizing a global relationship that has been nothing short of toxic for more than six decades.

On Monday, President Barack Obama and President Raul Castro joined hands — albeit very awkwardly — and expressed optimism that one day the long-isolated nation of Cuba can be reintegrated back into the international community.

It’s something that many presidents before Obama tried to accomplish, dating back to John F. Kennedy — just months after the Cuban Missile Crisis, the closest America has ever come to nuclear war — to no avail.

Yes, Cuba still has a lot to overcome, namely the restriction of free speech through persistent jailing of government dissidents, but to see two world leaders make the effort to establish peace in an increasingly hostile world is nonetheless encouraging.

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And then, less than 24 hours later, bombs exploded in Belgium.

It’s the nightmare authorities have for months been dreading ever since they learned of an extensive terrorist network that resides within the northwestern European country following last November’s Paris attacks.

Already this week, we’ve seen hope and terror at its finest. And it’s only Tuesday.

There’s no question we’re starting to become a bit desensitized to these tragedies. It’s also easy to compare today’s death toll — at least 30 — to the 130 who died in Paris four months ago and internalize that it’s not that bad.

But let’s not forget these are 30 innocent lives, and 30 families that are gravely affected. It usually takes names and faces, and personal life stories, to make the victims resonate with most people. Maybe this time, though, until those identities do come out, let’s just grieve and take a moment to acknowledge these 30 nameless people.

Typical cliches run rampant after such incidences. Phrases urging you to not give into fear,Brussels.jpg to not let anxiety over terrorism dictate your life, and to support love over hate. You know, the usual.

Here’s another one for you: don’t be stupid.

Fear-mongers relish these situations to pedal intolerance and manipulate others in their most vulnerable states. Don’t let them.

Instead of listening to an emphatic sound byte, maybe do a little bit of research on your own to better understand who the real enemy is. And that enemy is a small fraction of disillusioned people called ISIS who long ago traded away their humanity. Nothing more, nothing less.

Don’t condemn Islam. Don’t blame all Muslims. Don’t hate someone because they’re not like you.

It’s so easy to do — I know. I understand that. But it’s also incredibly ignorant, and doesn’t do you justice as a human being. You’re better than that.

I certainly can’t tell you what to think. But if you feel like you need to point blame at some one, then I hope you’ll block out the outside noise and form your own opinion.

Because we can’t move forward unless we all understand who we’re against. And even more important, who our allies are.

I know where I stand.

Do you?