DrMyers’s Blog

June 12, 2012

Michael Silas sweeps through DC!

Filed under: Uncategorized — drmyers @ 7:46 pm

ATTENTION DANCERS:

Thursday 6/14! One (1) Night Only… The OASIS Dance Company presents a Master Class with “MICHAEL SILAS”, an accomplished Dancer/ Choreographer/ Teacher who has performed & worked with Kelly Rowland, Hilary Duff, Christina Aguilera, The Braxtons and is currently on tour with Lady GaGa! Join him as he makes a stop in Washington, DC for an exhilarating, energy packed class!

THIS Thursday, June 14, 2012

TIME: 8:30pm – 10:30pm

COST: $25 per dancer

LOCATION: Golds Gym Capitol Center – 403 3rd Street SW WDC
(On top of the Federal Center SW Metro Blue – Orange Line)

Conatact: aaronmyers@aaron2.me for more information.

January 27, 2012

Maureen Mullaney and Aaron Myers: Together at Last!

It was confirmed this morning that Aaron Myers will be sharing the stage with Singer/Songwriter Maureen Mullaney at the Black Fox Lounge Friday night January 27th.  Both, while being long time staples at the venue, have always dropped by and teased audiences at each others shows with their energy, playfulness and talent.  For a rare treat, they will finally join their musical efforts in a single performance that will no doubt electrify their audience.

Check out the Black Fox Lounge (1723 Connecticut Ave NW) Friday January 27 from 9:30pm – 12:30am for a Free Live Jazz Concert given by two staples in the DC Jazz Scene, Maureen Mullaney and Aaron Myers!

November 18, 2011

Radio Host Aaron Myers Hosts Major Interview On The New Jimi Hendrix Single Set To Be Released On November 27,2011


Who: Radio Host Aaron Myers, Host of The Exchange

 

What: Interview With Principals On New Jimi Hendrix Release

 

When: Friday, November 18, 2011 at 11am EST

 

Where: The Exchange www.blogtalkradio.com/thexchange

 

 

Washington, D.C.~ Aaron Myers is set to kick off the official countdown to  Jimi Hendrix’ Birthday, November 27,2011, and  the official launch of the  most unprecedented music release of the year involving legendary guitarist, Jimi Hendrix. Myers is set to interview the Principals involved tomorrow, Friday, November 18th on his popular radio show, The Exchange.

 

After almost 40 years in the vault, a new single is set to be released of rock legend, Jimi Hendrix and the Ghetto Fighters™  entitled MOJO MAN. The single was produced by Jimi Hendrix, Arthur and Albert Allen (aka The Aleems – TaharQa and Tunde Ra Aleem), the 3 principals of Jimi Hendrix and the Ghetto Fighters.  The music with an accompanying video will be made available globally on www.urbanstreettales.com, formed by the Aleem Brothers to bring this project to market.

 

The Aleems first met and began working with Jimi Hendrix in the mid 1960s and recorded, with Jimi, three of Hendrix’ albums: “Cry of Love,” “Rainbow Bridge” and “War Heroes” as The Ghetto Fighters.

 

“The Aleems are truly excited about their interview with Aaron on this sure to be historical release.”, says Belinda Foster, Publicist for the Aleems.

 

Aaron Myers is the host of The Exchange an on-line radio show that is designed to provide updates, inside scoops & information about the Entertainment Industry, where the political scene is dissected and examined, while discussion about life issues and matters of self-improvement take place.

 

Aaron Myers

Host of THE EXCHANGE

www.blogtalkradio.com/thexchange

www.aaron2.me

aaronmyers@aaron2.me

www.twitter.com/aaronmyers

facebook.com/docmyers

 

June 29, 2011

July Jazz Night with Aaron Myers at the Black Fox Lounge FREE

To start off the July 4th holiday weekend, Jazz Enthusiasts are flocking to The Black Fox Lounge in DuPont Circle on Friday July1 to hear Aaron Myers (recently featured in the DC Jazz Festival) and his Black Fox Ensemble. Recently named the Artist in Residency at the Black Fox Lounge, attendees can enjoy his jazz styling which ranges from Louis Armstrong to Lauryn Hill. The most outstanding part of this offer is that The Black Fox Lounge has managed to keep this event free. So, on Friday July1 from 9:30pm to 12:30am, kick off the July 4th holiday celebrating Americas own original music…..JAZZ!

For more information please contact:

Black Fox Lounge

1723 Connecticut Ave NW WDC 20009

www.blackfoxlounge.com


February 18, 2011

Live Jazz AND Spoken Word…all for Free!!

The Black Fox Lounge is a contemporary lounge in the Dupont Circle area of Washington DC offering live music 7 days a week to its patrons.  Reviewed by several blogs and the Washington Post, the Black Fox Lounge will be adding a new twist to it’s Friday Night Music Lineup!!

Friday February 18th (and every 1st and 3rd Friday of the Month) Aaron Myers accompanied by a Jazz Trio will team up with local Spoken Word Artists to offer a night of Jazz and Spoken Word.  “It’s all about self-expression” said singer Aaron Myers, “When I think of Jazz almost immediately my next thought goes out to the poets who helped define the Harlem Renaissance”.

Myers will be joined by, Bettina Judd, Yorri J. Berry, and Michael Van Wood who will “Grace the Mic” and invite the audience to expand their horizons of thought.

The show starts at 9:30pm and runs to 12:30am, however the shows have been running clear into the 1am hour due to the popularity of the Jazz Show!  A patron commented to the Washington Post that, “My parents were native Washingtonians, and they tell me about going to cocktail lounges with live music in the ’40s and ’50s. You don’t have that anymore. But this place is bringing it back.”

See you there!!  Below is Aaron Myers in an impromptu composing session!

February 9, 2011

Are you a Professional? Are you Single? Are you in the DMV? Check this out!

If there’s anything the Beltway is not short of, it is the amount of Single Professionals (some have even mastered the art of being Professional Singles).  In 2009, Forbes rated Washington DC #5 on its list of Best Cities for Singles and if you just wait till 5:00pm in Metro Center (The subway transfer point for 3 major lines) you will see the hoards of “Professionals” equipped with Ipods, Blackberry’s and books to read while enduring the commute to and from the workplace.

With Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, Professional Singles are asked to put down the books and embrace  an alternative that has been offered.  On Friday February 11th,  Sauciety an American Grill is offering a Professional Singles Mixer.  This is not like your every day networking events, that we all hate and dread going to!  This event is targeting a specific group of people, and could possibly change the lives of a few singles in the future!

For $40 patrons can enjoy; Signature Drinks, the Debut of their new menu, a Dessert Dipping Station, and to top this all off live music by CaShandra J.  a performing artist who is singing all over Washington DC.

But most of all…these Single Professionals will get an opportunity network, lay foundations with, and potentially meet other Single Professionals that might lead to future long lasting relationships.

Doors open at  7pm and by using the promotional code AMyers you will receive an extra $5 off and if you purchase more than 5 tickets, the price drops by $9 dollars! For reservations call 240-766-3640.

PUT DOWN THE BOOK and join us at this event!!!

January 31, 2011

Dupont Circle JAZZ SCENE!! Friday Feb. 4th at the Black Fox Lounge

Every town has a local business that is known for its quality service and atmosphere; many of these places are known as treats or “secrets” by residents, because when you first visit them you wonder who’s been keeping this great place from you and from your family!!  The Going out Guide

The Black Fox Lounge is one of the best kept secrets in DuPont Circle!  The Washington Post Going Out Guide Stated,

“From the heavy barstools to the fixtures, the colors throughout are neutral: glossy brown wood, beige marble floors, butterscotch walls. It screams “adult,” not “happy hour,” which is rare in Dupont” quoting one patron saying, “”My parents were native Washingtonians, and they tell me about going to cocktail lounges with live music in the ’40s and ’50s. You don’t have that anymore. But this place is bringing it back.”

Not only is it a chill atmosphere, but its retro style gives you the ability to enjoy drinks with friends and also affords you the opportunity to hear Great Live Jazz Music by local Jazz Artists.  This Friday from 9:30pm – 12:30am Aaron Myers will be singing with the Black Fox Ensemble (House band for the Black Fox) and it plans to be a night of Gershwin, Allen, Davis, Monk, and many more!  Management encourages guests to get there a little early to ensure good seats; it works off of a first come first serve basis!

Warm up on Friday with some great drinks, great friends, and great JAZZ!

January 28, 2011

Truck Driving Company stiffing Truckers during recession. R. D. Miller Trucking.

This blog just received news of a horrible occurrence.  Troy Nance, a 15 year truck driving veteran, was overjoyed when he learned in January he could finally join the workforce again after being unemployed over 6 months.  He was looking forward to driving with R. D. Miller Trucking in Blooming Grove, Texas, located in a Rural Community.  In a county where the median income is $31,268 and 18.20% of the population below the poverty level, Mr. Nance was eager to start driving again, unaware of what was to come.

After hitting the road, R.D. Miller Trucking instructed Nance to start delivering his loads, which took him to North Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Chicago, Louisiana, and Houston Texas.  All of this between January 1st and 25th.  His employer even validated that all the loads arrived on time.

When Mr. Nance went to get his paycheck, he was undoubtedly shocked to find his check $1800 short, only receiving $150, and was asked, by the company, not to file a wage claim.  He was even given the excuse that the owners wife ran away with the money, lastly being told not to call the offices again.

Truck driving is one of the most respected professions, and is the backbone of our country.  Beware of trucking companies, such as R.D. Miller Trucking in Blooming Grove, Texas who has opted not to pay for an honest days work. Please  report any other companies that you know of who have burdened hard-working Americans during a hard long recession.

January 26, 2011

DuPont Circle Snow Ball Fight and the Black Fox Lounge

Tonight at 8pm, Washington DC will be awaiting the start of what has grown to become a tradition in the District.  With the snow still falling, members of the community will gather in the historic Dupont Circle, and kick off a massive Snow Ball Fight!  Many can remember the hoards of people who joined in with the fun last year with the massive amount of snow that was available.  Come ready to rumble! There is also rumored to be scores to settle from last year between Georgetown and St. Johns!  Regardless of, it promises to be a FUN TIME!

After the Snowball Fight, many people will be heading over to the Black Fox Lounge for Complimentary Chicken Soup to warm up after what will promise to be a fun but chilling experience.  Warming up at the Black Fox Lounge (1723 Connecticut Ave NW www.blackfoxlounge.com) serves two purposes.  1st – To warm up after being covered in snow and 2nd – to dodge the massive wait for the metro!  Plus…it’s Complimentary *Free!  Things you should remember: Socks CAN substitute as gloves, but make sure they’re clean; Don’t trust anyone…it’s anyone’s ball game out there; If you get too cold, beat everyone else to the chicken soup at the Black Fox Lounge!

 

January 20, 2011

Warming up with Jazz in Washington DC Friday Jan. 21st

Filed under: Uncategorized — drmyers @ 3:37 pm

The weather this year has so far proven to give Jack Frost free rein, especially in Washington DC.  This approaching Friday will be no different except for an option offered by the Black Fox Lounge www.blackfoxlounge.com located in Washington DC’s famous DuPont Circle community.

Friday, January 21st, the Black Fox Lounge is offering Free Live Jazz to its customers featuring Aaron Myers and the Black Fox Ensemble starting at 9:30pm.  Myers has been a staple at the Black Fox Lounge for over a year now, with a faithful following, guaranteeing a great show to those in attendance.

Featured in the Washington Post’s “Going out Guide” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/gog/profile/black-fox-lounge,1160191/critic-review.html) one reviewer wrote “You can’t go wrong with an evening at Black Fox. It’s just the thing to do!”.

So if you find yourself a little bit chilly, warm up at the Black Fox Lounge with a glass of wine and an ear full of wonderful Jazz! (Come early and make sure you get a seat!)

December 29, 2010

Let’s Get Ready To Rumble…on Twitter! Raz B Vs Chris Brown

Twitter users got a Tuesday evening ring side view of a live Twitter Rumble between R&B Artists Chris Brown and Raz B.   As Chris Brown was commenting on the children who would undoubtedly get a laugh at seeing him ice skate, Raz B was sending out some love to Rihanna (former girlfriend of Chris Brown).  One tweet merged their two timelines that undoubtedly got the rumble started!

Skype me RazB2K 

@razb2kSkype me RazB2K
Im just sittin here Thinking how can niggas like @ebenet & @ChrisBrowndisrespect women as Intelligent as @HalleBerry11 @Rihanna
After this tweet, the Rumble was on!!  Raz B apparently was commenting not on the ladies break up from Eric Benet and Chris Brown, but the reasons motivating the break-ups, which sparked retaliation from the Chris Brown Camp!
Chris Brown  

@chrisbrownChris Brown
@razb2k nigga you want attention! Grow up nigga!!! Dick in da booty ass lil boy
In Chris Brown’s tweet, he decided not only to retaliate, but decided to comment on an ongoing situation between Raz B, and former manager/band mates regarding homosexual activities, all of which has been in the urban media and has even involved the police.  These two tweets have sparked the following remarks from both artists, such as: To quote Raz B –  “yo @chrisbrown i heard about all yo BoyFriends & tell yo cheerleader @1omarion 2 shut the fuck up b4 i send J BOOG 2 fuck HIS MaMa again” – and a remark from Chris Brown: – “@razb2k… you didnt get raped??? so that means you liked it..#EPICFAIL“.
Both young men have “entertained” many twitter users with their banter, but both have displayed the lack of maturity that comes along with a public platform.  With millions of  people suffering the long term effects of Domestic Violence and with some reports indicaticating that 30% of all teen suicides are those who are members of the LGBT Communities, today’s “Twitter Rumble” has done nothing but shed negative light upon the issues of Domestic Violence and Homosexuality.   Has twitter offered a social platform that can at times shed light into the inner thinking of an account holder, and if so, are the tweets we read today by both artists, how they really feel about members of the LGBT Community or those who have sufferd with the aftermath of Domestic Violence? 

One person mentioned in the original Tweet by Raz B has not entered this rumble, and one would think that age and maturity may be the reason why.  While these to young artists were going at it, Eric Benet had only this to say

Eric Benet 

@ebenetEric Benet
Sold out theater in DC lst night..bout to give ‘em the same love in Cleveland 2nite ! God is Good.and I am grateful ! Thnx to all of you!
Maybe, it’s best to say nothing…when you have nothing productive to say!

December 24, 2010

Karrine Steffans – McCrary battles Facebook Impostor!

For the last five years, the public has had an inside look at the world of Hip-Hop through the eyes of the beautiful women who model in Print Magazines and Music Videos.  Karrine Steffans- McCrary opened up to the world not only her expereince of being a “Video Vixen” but she capitolized on the very industry that she exposd for shaming, abusing and also exploiting women who, in many cases, were looking for their “Break” in the entertainment industry. Despite critisicm from some members of the Hip-Hop Community, Steffans has excelled as a best-selling author, host, producer, and creative director, taking what could have destroyed most, and using it to inspire other women of her generation.

Having displayed the strength of a Prize Fighter, she might be up for a very interesting fight that has plagued many others in the entertainment community.  Today she is reaching out to her Facebook Fan Base and requesting that they go through her website http://www.karrine.com to access her facebook page and NOT an Imposters Page (Listed under Karrine Steffans only, not her full name).

“ALERT: if any of you are following another account, claiming to be mine, it is not. Please stop following fake accounts and let everyone know the account is not real, which should be obvious since this is the only account linked from my website. Thanks.”

Hopefully all of this will pass over pretty soon, but this would be a great time for all of us to double check out Facebook Friends, and to perhaps hope no one is posing as us too!

December 15, 2010

Live Jazz Recording in DC! Jazz Lives On!

On December 17th, people will be gathering at the Black Fox Lounge at 9:30 to be apart of an exciting part of History.  After birthing such Jazz Greats as Duke Ellington over one hundred years ago, and providing the inspiration for people such as Roberta Flack, DC has opened its doors to another young musician who loves and embraces what has grown to be called “America’s Music”…Jazz.

Aaron Myers, along with a Jazz Trio, will record in front of a live audience at the Black Fox Lounge in DuPont Circle.  Whereas many people might have thought that Jazz was on the decline, these young people have fully embraced the music as their own, even adding new original compositions to the genre.  This live recording will debut two new singles “Partisan” and “What’s a Man to Do”.

Admission is free to this event, and an overflow of people is expected.  Jazz is alive and well in DC, come witness it in action!

July 27, 2010

Another Year & Another Endorsement

Waking up this morning felt quite awkward!  For years I have been plagued by 5 simple words…”You have an old soul”!  Being raised in the south (East Texas by the Trinity River) and having been influenced by my grandparents (both in their late 90′ s and have been married for 70 years) one could say that I’ve picked up some old habits, traits, mannerisms, and a love for “The Golden Girls!”.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have worked in many different capacities, in many different states, doing many different jobs.  One thing that I learned early on though, was that it was hard for many people to take a young man so seriously, especially someone who has crammed what some would consider 20 years worth of work into my short lifespan.  So, I made a decision!  If anyone were to ask how old I was…I would state that I was 27 years old.  I was okay with this, and it seemed to put some people at ease.  Once we created a successful working relationship with each other, I would usually tell them how old I was…and they would be amazed.  This was 5 years ago.

This Morning I woke up…and finally figured out what 27 years old felt like;  and it feels pretty damn good!  Scary…but good. 

There are some things that I have learned in these 27 years, but one thing that I have learned for sure, and am learning more and more each day, is to trust my GUT!  For years I second guessed what I felt would be right, or a proper choice, but for the last few years, I have made great personal strides by learning to trust my intuition…and I am a better person for it.

It is because of this experience that I make the following announcement:

I, Aaron L. Myers, II, former Mayoral Candidate, Obama Field Organizer, and Global Family Day National Director, formally announce my endorsement in support of Adrian Fenty for Mayor of Washington DC.  Not only do I believe he has done a superb job during his tenure as mayor, but I am convinced that if given the opportunity, he will be able to see his initiative through to completion; and it is these initiatives that I believe will best serve the citizens in the District of Columbia.

Last night I had the privilege of attending a WIN (Washington Interfaith Network) candidate forum, where I had a chance to hear what each candidate had to say.  It was at this forum last night, where Vincent Gray convinced me that he was not the man for the Job.  Last night Vince Gray mentioned that he had stood before the organization many times, he also mentioned what he thought was going wrong in the District of Columbia.  He even offered support for the initiatives for WIN.  What he did NOT do, was show how his verbal support translated in tangible cooperation with the organization in the past.  A gifted wordsmith, I am convinced that Vince Gray is a verbal candidate only, and that Adrian Fenty has a track record of proving that his actions match his rhetoric!

So as I celebrate my special day on today, and prepare for the Aaron L. Myers, II Gala on Saturday July 31st, where we will raise money for the Human Rights Campaign, I offer this endorsement to a good man, a proven leader, and the next Mayor of the District of Columbia, Adrian Fenty.

“I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.” ~ Fredrick Douglass

July 22, 2010

Flying Cars are HERE!! Terrafugia is leading the way…with spinners!

I remember growing up and watching cartoons in the mornings, and my whole family knew I liked 3 cartoons in particular!  The first was “The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show” with the character “Foghorn-Leghorn” as my favorite character (he ran a close second to Yosimite Sam!).  Second was “The Flinstones”…and Fred Flinstone was the prime reason I experineced my first “Time-Out” in Kindergarden.  But my ultimate favorite was “The Jetsons”!  Not only did I have a crush on Judy Jetson…but I just new that when I grew up…I would have a flying car and a boss that was short and mean (the latter has already happened!)

Today, my childhood dream is becoming a reality, and in 20 years the work Terrafugia is doing today will dominate the flyways all across the world.  Terrafugia, based in Massetustses, has developed a car that can also spread wings and fly in the air.  While you can’t buy one immediately…start saving your money now; because in 2011, around $200,000 could buy you a brand spanking new car that can either get you up down the highway, or the flyway! 

Founded by award-winning MIT-trained aeronautical engineers and MBA’s – who also happen to be passionate private pilots  in 2006; the company’s mission is to provide innovative solutions to the challenges facing personal aviation.

What many may not realize is that Terrafugia is not all “Techie” and no “Style”.  If you notice around second 19

 or 20 of the video, in their test flight 1146, as the car takes to the air…the rims start to do this funky move.  Now it takes a trained eye to understand what’s really happening here!  What you have is the FIRST COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE CAR…THAT CAN FLY…has SPINNERS!!!! 

What are spinners?  A spinner is a type of hubcapthat spins independently inside of a wheel itself when the vehicle is in motion, and continues to spin once the vehicle has come to a stop. Being an attachment to the car’s wheel, spinners operate by using one or more roller bearings to isolate the spinner from the wheel, allowing it to turn while the wheel is at rest. The spinner’s own momentum helps it overcome what little fricton iis transmitted through the bearing. When the car is in motion, the small amount of friction transmitted through the bearing sets the spinner in motion.

As we really move into the 21st century, and flying cars become a reality…who would have thought that spinners would play a role in our advancement!  Who knows…maybe they can throw in some “Hydraulics” and make it a package deal!

George Jetson ~ “We wouldn’t last on unemployment checks, a 1000 a week doesn’t stretch very far these days.”

July 11, 2010

A Gospel Legend Passes Away! Goodbye Bishop Walter Hawkins

It is with a heavy heart that I pass along information regarding one of Gospel Music’s most influential people. Dove Award and Grammy Award winning Gospel Artist Bishop Walter Hawkins died today at the age of 61 of cancer. 

As more information arrives, I will update the blog.

The music of Walter Hawkins played an influential role in my life, and the life of many others.  Thank GOD his music will continue to live on and inspire generations to come!

To the Fans here is a song he did many years ago!  ===>>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YMF86irxeM

June 3, 2010

We’ve Lost a Golden Girl! Goodbye Rue McClanahan!

Rue McClanahan

At 1am this morning, Rue McClanahan, who was recovering from a stroke she had earlier this year, suffered a massive stroke and passed away at the age of 76.

A Oklahoma native, Rue moved quite often due to her fathers job (road builder).  Rue was the classic example of staying the course.  Success was not immediate for this Golden Girl, but she sacrificed, tried to be the best mother she could, and eventually…notariety followed!

Many remember Rue’s appearance on the show “All in the Family” as a wife of a “swinger” couple, but many in the 70′s remember her from her character portrayal of Vivian Harmon, a naive but lovable next door neighbor of Maude (played by Bea Arthur and later future costar of the Golden Girls).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGgeK1TzQZA

However, much of her cult following comes from her portrayal of Blanche Devereaux in the hit 80′s sitcom “The Golden Girls”.  With her sass, southern accent, and love for the opposite sex (or just sex period!), she spiced up our TV Sets and reminded America that you could be Sexy and over 50!

All who knew her, rather it through the TV or by working with her, respected her, loved her, and are truly at a loss for words on this day. 

We’ve lost a Golden Girl today…and we are so thankful that she shared her Golden Light with us for a time.  Rest in Peace.

May 10, 2010

BLACK MONDAY = TWITTER FALLS: Following 0 = 0 Followers

0 followers

The Twitter world is rolling right now!  At once, all time linesl asked the same question….where are my followers????  Heartwrenched twitter maniacs, some already in tears, are scurying trying to see if they will have to start all over again.

CNN, FOX NEWS, ASHTON KUTCHER, and many many others have all been dropped down to ZERO!  0 followers = o following

Over the last few months the twitter world has become use to 3rd party applications not being able to update, over-capacity, and the constant hacking of their profiles (including vicious imposters).  Recently Twitter has been toying with the idea of verifying accounts, and other meausres to ensure user protectivity.  BUT will the twitter world recover from today’s actions???

There has been no update from twitter as of yet to keep calm or not to  worry, other than we now know that it has to do with hackers, but I have no clue if this is a sign of things to come.  Do you remember the constant updates from TOM at myspace that simply stated: MYSPACE IS NOT GOING TO CHARGE OR SHUT DOWN?  How re-assuring!  Well Twitter…we could sure use a statement to calm the fears of your many faithful users who are all headed staring at their computers in amazement!

Perhaps Twitter is adopting the mantra of Thomas Edison:

Hell, there are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something.

August 21, 2009

One Person – One Vote…Or Is It?


VOTEBOX_FR_C_^_FRIDAYYou step into your designated polling place with the proud determination to perform your civic duty and exercise that greatest of American rights – casting your ballot in an election. You are confident that your vote, and the multitude of others cast, will fairly elect a representative to be your voice in the county district in which you reside.

You might be wrong if you live in Lee County, FL.

Decades ago, around the time the civil and voting rights acts were made law, it was determined that Lee County Commissioner elections would be changed from “Single-Member-Districts” to the “Voting-at-Large” system. In simple terms, what this meant is that someone voting in another district, miles away, could cast the determining vote on whom would represent your district. This was made possible since a ballot allowed a vote to be cast in every (5) district, not just the voter’s district of residence. I’m sure you’re sitting there shaking your head saying, “That’s just not possible.” Unfortunately, in the case of Lee County, it is.

According to Lee County Charter Review studies this is in fact what has occurred in 13 of 30 elections studied. Voting-at-Large allowed the district’s choice to be changed by the overflow vote of another district. Picture this – John Doe and Jane Smith are running in the election for District A Commissioner. Jane Smith has 200 more votes cast by the district’s residents. She’s the new Commissioner for District A! Not necessarily. John Doe has garnered 500 votes from outside the district (combined votes from districts B,C, D and E) as compared to the 100 Jane received. Now John wins. Is this truly representative of what the voters have decided in their district? When it comes time to vote on issues that affect his district, do you think John Doe will remain accountable to the people of the district or to the folks that live miles away but cast a vote for him? In a perfect world you would hope that John does the right thing. However, we know that politics is far from perfect…and involves a lot of money.

Let’s talk about the money. If John Doe and Jane Smith were able to limit their campaigns to a single district, the costs would run approximately $35,000. This includes media, printing, office supplies, yard signs, mailings, gas etc. Since they must run a county-widecampaign the current estimated costs now escalate close to $200,000. Either John and Jane have to have very deep pockets or know quite a few friends county-wide that do! (Note: remember those votes from outside the district) This is the reason Tom Jones, without a doubt the best candidate for the job, never made it to the ballot. The cost was too high.

It’s time Lee County changed back from the flawed “Voting-at-Large” system to Five (5) Single-Member Districts. In 2008, this change was recommended by the Lee County Charter Review Commission by a 9-6 vote. Single-Member Districts were vastly supported at public hearings and by the ACLU, NAACP and LWV.

Justice and fairness are not being served by the current system. While we vote, we do not necessarily elect. If the value of one vote is somehow discounted, democracy is lost.

Only Single-Member District voting insures that every vote will count!

June 5, 2009

An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away

apple
apple

 

Today, there is much more separating a doctor and his patient than a red delicious or granny smith apple. The high cost of health care can be the determining factor in your decision to seek out necessary help from the medical profession for yourself or a family member. Even with insurance coverage (forget including pre-existing conditions), the high cost of premiums, deductibles and co-pays along with prescriptions and any follow-up treatment or testing, have relegated health care to a “luxury item.” Many that have enjoyed employer provided coverage in the past are having it reduced or, in the case of job loss, completely extinguished..

 

Why an I concerned about this? Call it selfishness. I have no health care insurance and suffered a major stroke a few years ago. The residual effects of the stroke are minimal – to me, more annoying than debilitating since I’ve had to make time-consuming adjustments to the routines of daily life. I find climbing stairs difficult but suffer vertigo on escalators so elevators are the mode of choice. I lose my balance easily when the ground isn’t level and still have some difficulty finding the “right” word when I speak. My stroke affected the right side and, being right-handed, I have had to train my left hand to take up the slack. I was not eligible for government assistance because I was not deemed to be disabled. I was told to get a job in Walmarts.

 

I already have a full-time job. I’m the primary caregiver for my 90 year old home-bound father, who has suffered TIA’s and cancer, and my son, who has been diagnosed with bi-polar schizo effective disorder.  The monthly health care costs, even with insurance coverage, are astronomical and I’m worried about what will happen when the money runs out.

 

I tell you all of this not to get sympathy but to give you an understanding why the subject is so imporatnt to me.

 

I have spent many hours researching the subject of healthcare reform and have talked with numerous friends and healthcare professionals about what they perceive their needs to be. I have heard phrases like “choice”, “cost-cutting measures”, “deluge of administation and billing requirements” and “emergency room crowding”. One physician I spoke with talked about his current financial situation. After many, many years of persuing his dream at a costly medical school, he is then saddled with the cost of opening a practice (and all it entails), purchasing medical malpractice insurance at a very high premium and then the fun of hiring a staff to fight insurance companies for what ends up to be a reduced payment for his services. He said the days of “afternoons on the golf course” are long gone. He must work 12 -14 hours a day to keep his practice afloat.

 

So, here’s the dilemma as I see it. We need to come up with a healthcare plan that will reward the hard work and dedication of healthcare professionals while addressing the need for affordable healthcare for all. I haven’t forgotten insurance companies – I just no longer see a need for another middle-man. Cutting costs already…

 

 

~  Michelle

June 2, 2009

Are you Sirius?? One Stock that will Shock you!

span>sirius-xm_mergerAfter the serious upset on Wall Street, questions began to be asked by many Americans! Just as his two predecessors did before him, President Hoover went to the Secretary of the Treasury Andrew W. Mellon (who would be considered a modern day Warren Buffet) to no avail. It had been speculated that “Short Selling” (the anticipation of making a profit from declining prices…expecting a drop in price. Selling the stock and buying it back later at a lower price leaves the difference as the profit). On November 23, 1929, The Economist asked: “Can a very serious Stock Exchange collapse produce a serious setback to industry when industrial production is for the most part in a healthy and balanced condition? … Experts are agreed that there must be some setback, but there is not yet sufficient evidence to prove that it will be long or that it need go to the length of producing a general industrial depression.” History later revealed that the experts were wrong, and it would only be World War II that would bring us out of the depression caused to the improprieties of those on Wall Street.


 


Just as the Economist was misguided, or shall we say wrong, in its publication almost eighty years ago, on Feb. 10th, the New York Times Reported that Sirius XM was in danger of filing for bankruptcy (implying a dire situation). Coming from such a trusted source (with its own stock dropping at the time, and the next month laying off 100 employees, cutting the salaries for the rest of the year by 5 percent) many share holders were surprised to hear that the company they had bought stock (NASDAQ: SIRI) at inviting rates, were decreasing while the company itself could boast in growth with a successful merger and an increase in subscribers. Something just was not adding up!


While the New York Times was letting go of employee’s, a press release came from the Sirius XM, with this quote from its president, “In the fourth quarter 2008, the company’s first full quarter of combined operations, SIRIUS XM made remarkable financial progress…For the first time in company history, we reached positive pro forma adjusted income from operations of $32 million, as compared with a loss of $224 million one year ago. Fourth quarter 2008 revenue of $644 million grew 16% over the year ago quarter while total cash operating expenses declined by 22%, a clear demonstration of our focus on improving profitability. Despite challenges in the overall economy and in the auto sector, we look forward to continuing to deliver on the synergies of the merger.” Can anyone remember what was happening around the last quarter of 2008? I can tell you! 1. GM, Chrysler, and Ford stood before Congress requesting a “Bail Out” 2. Bernie Madoff caused Billions of Dollars worth of damage to the pockets of investors due to his Ponzie Scheme and 3. Lehman Brothers was liquidated! What FACT would cause The New York Times, MSNBC, and other news channels to predict the demise (or bankruptcy filing) of their “Competition”, resulting in apparent stock fluctuations in the market?

With GM and Chrysler both declaring bankruptcy, common shareholders within Sirius XM Radio are asking questions, demanding answers, and not allowing other media outlets determine their fate, and why would they? With subscription rates second only to Comcast, Sirius XM appears to be a “Leader” in the industry, with no signs of letting up and neither is Liberty Media. Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei stated, “We are excited to be investing in Sirius XM. We have been impressed with the company, its operations and management team…Sirius XM’s ability to grow subscribers and revenue in a difficult financial and auto market is indicative of how listeners view this as a ‘must have’ service.”


This “Must Have” service is being defended in the new documentary “STOCK SHOCK: The Short Selling of the American Dream” http://stockshockmovie.com/ . Directed by Sandra Mohr and Narrated by Richard Keane, it appears as if they are taking pieces of the puzzle from Stock holders, industry professionals, pages of history, a glimpse of the future, and are carefully putting them all together. This documentary expounds upon how easily the public can be, and has been fooled by propaganda initiated through the NYSE, profiting only a few while causing millions of others to lose countless hours of sleep and money!


This documentary reveals the not so obvious future that many, who are in competition with this service, would rather the people overlook; Sirius XM Radio will be around as long as the United States Government is backing automobile warranties and IPhones are giving subscribers the option to listen to this service outside of the car. It is the observation of this blogger that Sirius XM will be taken much more Seriously within the upcoming months. With both Michael Moor (Untitled production and currently filming) and Oliver Stone (“Money Never Sleeps” in Pre-Production) preparing to come out with films, also dealing with the American Financial system in some aspect, “Stock Shock” appears to be a precursor to many untold truths finally revealed this year!

Perhaps a President who silently guided America through the “Roaring 20′s” could share some basic truth upon our situation:

Former US President Calvin Coolidge

Former US President Calvin Coolidge

“After all, the chief business of the American people is business. They are profoundly concerned with producing, buying, selling, investing and prospering in the world.”

May 21, 2009

No-No to Gitmo!

gitmoWhen President Woodrow Wilson went to Paris in 1918, he had one goal in mind. This goal was restoration and peace. Restoration to those oppressed nations that had suffered horribly during the Great War, and peace among all nations. As he introduced his 14 point plan, he spent 6 months in Paris negotiating, compromising, and holding true to the values revered so much by his American convictions! Once an agreement was made, all parties went home and frankly were happy the whole negotiation process was over. With negotiations quite strenuous to many parties, especially to Wilson, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Wilson convinced Europe to join the League of Nations but was unsuccessful in convincing the United States Congress…especially those within the Senate. It is said that the stress behind not having the Senate’s support, brought on the severe stroke that left him paralyzed on one side and in bad shape during the final years of his administration.

Barak Obama got a taste of “making promises assuming that he has the support”, but when coming down to the vote, the Senate takes another direction. He had vowed on his second day in office to close the prison within a year as part of his effort to repair America’s tarnished image abroad. This vow will now be coupled with his game plan when he speaks at the National Archives; ironically former Vice-President Cheney will be speaking at the same time.

My question is: Why did the Senate turn their support from the President. A poll done at “The Escapist” (http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/18.90564?page=3) showed that 63.7 percent of those surveyed approved of the President’s move to close down the facility while 19.6 percent were against it. A CNN poll showed after asking the question, “Do you think the policies being proposed by Barack Obama will move the country in the right direction or the wrong direction?” Those who believed his proposed policies were in the right direction 63%, those who thought they were the wrong direction 35%. If these polls are the true voice of the American public, should not the representatives who represent these constituents also reflect these results?

The major concern spouted by Senate members stated that they were opposed to the prisoners being transported to prisons on American soil. Michele Flournoy, Pentagon policy chief, says it’s unrealistic to think that no detainees will come to the U.S., and that the U.S. can’t ask allies to take detainees while refusing to take on the same burden. Senator Harry Reid stated, “We will never allow terrorists to be released in the United States…Part of what we don’t want is for them to be put in prisons in the United States. We don’t want them around in the United States.” Where do you place the POW’s?

For members of congress to question the ability and strength of the American Prison System is walking a tight rope, and it also sends signals to our enemies that our domestic security is weak, and can be penetrated…which couldn’t be further from the truth. The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the entire world. As of the year 2000, our facilities include: 3,365 local jails, 1,558 state facilities, 146 federal facilities. As of January 17th 2007, 245 prisoners remained at Gitmo equaling to 1.67 persons going to each one of our Federal Facilities.

There is one member of the Senate that stood in support of the Presidents efforts. Dianne Feinstein, who not only gained in wealth during the war (by 2005 her net worth had increased to between $43 million and $99 million), had pretty good reason to stand behind her statements to bring the prisoners to US prisons. Stating, “I believe that American justice is what makes this country strong in the eyes of the world. American justice is what people believe separates the United States from other countries. And American justice has to be applied to everyone, because if it isn’t, we then become hypocrites in the eyes of the world.”, the Senator just stated what she was vested in emotionally and financially. Feinstein holds stock in the URS Corporation, which as a major U.S. federal contractor, URS provides critical support to the Departments of Defense (DoD), Homeland Security (DHS) and Energy (DOE), as well as to National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other federal agencies. (No wonder she’s on the Senate Intelligence Committee!)

Obama’s showdown today will tell whether or not Congress will stand behind the promise he made to the American People. Perhaps, he could use a little advice from a former President who has approached this similar problem:

Former President Woodrow Wilson

Former President Woodrow Wilson

“I would rather lose in a cause that will someday win, than win in a cause that will someday lose.”

~Former President Woodrow Wilson

May 20, 2009

Is Michael Steele as tough as steel? GOP’s New Direction!

 

Round 1

Round 1

 

American politics has been full of “battles” between the President and the Opposition. In 1912, Democrats jumped at the chance to take hold of the White House when the Republican Party split between former Presidents Taft and Roosevelt. In 1920, Warren G Harding took “Silent Cal” along with him to Washington, and although the Roaring Twenties swept though America, once the party was over a Great Depression set in on the country, and another Democrat knocked on the tents of “Hoovervillians” thrusting Democrats back into power…but no one thought it would last for 20 years!

Barack Obama ran on the platform of Change and Transparency, and rallied supporters not to accept the outcome and residue left by the Bush Administration as final, but to join forces with him and he would bring Change to Washington. After the inauguration, Obama set out on the path of: Undoing, Re-doing, and just plain doing whatever he could to put the pieces he was left by the Bush Administration in some sort of order. He set out to do this with only one set of weights on his shoulders…the safety, well being, and advancement of the American People.


Is there an apology in order? Not in the opinion of RNC Chairman Michael Steele; “The first turning point is this: Today we are declaring an end to the era of Republicans looking backward.” In his speech, the chairman tried to “rally the troops” using his oratory skills and declaring the Republican Party can expect a comeback! Even in his statements, he did not totally admit defeat, as he touted the strength held by local parties in different cities and states around the country (as I predicted in yesterday’s blog).



There is only one thing the RNC Chairman failed to articulate, and that is: What is a Republican? One must have a direction, if one plans to “Come Back” from anywhere. Within his speech, he managed to accuse the president of being discouraging, weakening citizens, pulling down employers, encouraging class hatred, destroying the rich, and much more. His outlined attack against the president, which he made clear would go directly at the White House and not at the House Speaker or Senate majority Leader, told of his unwillingness to back down from taking the President head- on, and encouraged other Republicans to, “As conservatives, we must stop acting like we don’t really believe in our principles. Too often, we act as if we are scared to apply our timeless principles to today’s problems and challenges. Our path and our challenge are to apply our principles not to the past, but to the future.” And it is within this statement I have the problem.

Scholar R. J. White wrote: “To put conservatism in a bottle with a label is like trying to liquefy the atmosphere […] the difficulty arises from the nature of the thing. Conservatism is less a political doctrine than a habit of mind, a mode of feeling, a way of living.” The word Conservative can mean different things to different people. It is a principle that is displayed by the “mindset” of an individual, and is almost impossible to be crafted to define the ideology or motivations held by the “masses”. History has also shown us that, when conservatism is coupled with strong “Right Winged” ideology, the results usually create or promote a form of social hierarchy. This can be seen with the surge of support for Republican Party Nominee Barry Goldwater in 1964. It was during this time, his supporters did not support and separated their selves from; civil rights for African Americans, Women and Latino Farm Workers (although he did, in his later years, come out in support of Gay Rights after he discovered he grandson was a homosexual).


If it is these “Traditionalistic” principles the RNC Chairman plans tore- package in “New Idea’s” he is far off base, and the American people will display that fact during the election of 2010. I believe the best course of action is for the Republican Party to learn from its mascot, the elephant, and not forget what happened Nov. 4th 2008. Or in the words of their fearless former leader:

 

Former Presidnet George W. Bush

Former Presidnet George W. Bush

 

“There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”

Former President George W Bush

May 19, 2009

Guest Blogger Steve Sherman – “The Personality of America”

bald_eagle_head_and_american_flagPolitics ought to be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the right and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage.
President Dwight David Eisenhower

During his address to congress, our president brought up an important point that has been largely lost in the debates that have followed. Barack Obama touched on the personality of America that has defined so much of our history and threatens our future.

Our president pointed out that we talk about lots of important issues but do little in our rush to the future. As President Obama pointed out we have talked about health care issues for almost 40 years but have done little. We have talked about reducing dependence on foreign oil for over 25 years. We have talked about improving our educational system for over 50 years.

The problems we are facing today are not new. They are the same problems we talked about yesterday and last year and the year before. The current economic situation is a great example.

There are no surprises with our current economic problems. Every 3 or 4 years since the inception of trickle down, or Reganonmics, we have had a financial crisis. Every 3 or 4 years since the beginning of deregulation and mega mergers there has been a financial situation that cost tax payers billions of dollars. Remember Black Monday. Or how about the Savings & Loan melt down with Silverado and the Keating Five. And Enron, and Worldcom, and the dotcom bust. Our recent history is strewn with economic disasters. Brought about by the economic philosophy that has dominated for the last 25 years.

Our president has a new vision for America. A vision that sees caring for our infrastructure instead of watching 70 year old technology crumble in the face of Hurricane Katrina. Earthen levees and aging pumps left as the Maginot line of defense for a major American city. Following Katrina many pictures appeared showing modern systems in European and even African countries of updated systems that efficiently controlled water and produced beneficial results like electric production and irrigation. President Obama is suggesting we care for and upgrade our infrastructure so there are no more bridge collapses ( a recent article suggested that up to 60% of bridges in the United States are deficient from lack of maintenance). Invest in America first.

For all of our talk about ending dependence on foreign oil, we have stood by and witnessed the rape of the planet we call home. We have watched her resources plundered at increasingly alarming rates. We stand idly by as the planet is destroyed in the name of progress. Clear mountain streams are turning into fetid flows of polluted waters that no longer cool and refresh. Our lust for the earth’s treasures that are then burned creating a second destructive force of released carbon gases that alter the atmosphere, is unquenchable. One spill of the plundered resources can destroy an entire ecological system that took millions of years to develop and balance. The current administration wants to stop talking about dependence on foreign oil by advancing renewable energy sources. Solar systems, wind power, wave power, hydrogen cells. Jobs for Americans using technology developed by Americans. Germany, France and Japan are leading the world in renewable energy usage, all with technology developed in the United States.

The second major issue our president is addressing is health care. We lead the world with medical technology, but we lag the world in the area of efficient health care administration. Untold hours of unproductive time are spent completing insurance forms because every company has a unique form. Access to medical records is time consuming because they are not computerized and transmittable. The cost of maintaining antiquated billing and record keeping systems adds millions to our health care costs. We have the best health care system in the world. We ought to listen to our president and find ways to deliver it as efficiently as possible.

Education was the single greatest factor in building a middle class America that was the envy of the world. Our education system is based on the early 1900’s idea of identifying and nurturing future managers and supervisors. The system allowed all others to struggle along until they either gave up in frustration or completed required courses at a minimal level. The administration envisions an updating of educational objectives and approaches to meet the needs of today. Modernizing education is the first step to a rebirth of the middle class. Ubder the present structure there is a declining middle class that comes closer and loser to the national poverty level.

Eliminating the economic uncertainty of tomorrow by creating new jobs to lower our dependence on fossil fuels, improving our quality of life by renewing our infrastructure with an attention to environmental issues; updating and modernizing the administration of healthcare to match the quality of available care; and insuring our future by improving education. Huge but obtainable goals that can lead us out of the morass that we face today and into a future where the American dream and the reality of America come closer together. It is not about the dollars or how much we pay in taxes. Countries that have tax rates over 50% currently have some of the highest living standards in the world. Look at Sweden and Iceland and Denmark. Like everything else it is about what you get for your investment. We can get the best by investing wisely in the programs President Obama has advocated.

The missing piece is us, the American public. Our hands off approach to government must come to an end. Our chosen form of government requires citizen intervention. Some of the most famous words of President Dwight Eisenhower and President John Kennedy encourage us to be involved. It is acceptance of lesser standards that allow the abuses of government functions. As citizens we have a higher calling than to just show up to vote, we have a patriotic duty to be aware, and be involved. We have a responsibility to future generations to pass on the best that we can do.

May 18, 2009

Dr. Obama…I Mean…Mr. President!

notre dameWith a cool breeze coming from the St. Joseph River, excitement filled the air in South Bend, Indiana.  South Bend has come a long way since its “Fur Trading” days and now supports a population of over 300,000, with steep economic ties to its main draw…The University of Notre Dame.  Not surprisingly, the “Fighting Irish” was first an all male institution, just like many in its’ day, but today its founders would not have imagined, that an intelligent young lady would be giving the valedictorian address and representing the class of 2009.  I am quite sure that there was another player in today’s ceremonies that the founders did not have in mind; a pro life, African-American, United States President, receiving a honorary doctorate from a university shrouded in Catholic Tradition.  As the crowd descended upon the campus, all were there for different reasons, but all could not deny that one common thread tied their purposes together…Dr. Obama.

The act of awarding Honoarary Doctorate’s is a tradition that has been in practice since the Middle Ages.  Within the United States, we can see the practice affecting even our forefathers (Ben Franklin received an honorary doctorate from the University of St. Andrews in 1759 and the University of Oxford in 1762 for his scientific accomplishments.) Controversies surrounding these awards have been also become somewhat of a custom, especially in America.  

Students seemed to be up in arms when the Southampton College decided to bestow an honorary doctorate to a figure that had reshaped the lives of children across the world…Kermit the Frog. Although some students objected to awarding a degree to a Muppet, Kermit delivered an enjoyable commencement address and the small college received considerable press coverage.  On the 300th commencement ceremony at Yale University, it was thought only fitting that the sitting President and also former Yale graduate George W. Bush, be awarded an honorary doctorate;  walking out of the ceremonies, some students and teachers did not agree with the University.

 

The year’s old debate of pro-choice and pro-life fueled the fire of some protestors who protested outside of Notre Dame University as the President received his Honorary Doctorate.  Being fully aware of their concern, Barack Obama stated “head on” his stance and feelings regarding the matter, “Maybe we won’t agree on abortion, but we can still agree that this is a heart-wrenching decision for any woman to make, with both moral and spiritual dimensions.  So let’s work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies, and making adoption more available, and providing care and support for women who do carry their child to term. Let’s honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded in clear ethics and sound science, as well as respect for the equality of women.”

Although disrupted twice by hecklers, his message was received by those in which the message was intended to reach…the graduates.  Little was said regarding the demeanor kept by the graduating class, when protests began around the campus this past week.  Although interviewed by pundits and news anchors, the students approached this matter in a very mature manner…by welcoming the voice of a person that, although not always in agreement with, they were willing to pull out the nuggets of truth and wisdom from the advice he was willing to share with them on this, their historic moment.  

One may ask; Are the students that took part in the ceremony today, examples of the kind of diplomacy that we can expect to see in our future?  If so, can peace at home be a tangible reality as well as peace in the Middle East?

Perhaps Dr. Kermit the Frog stated this situation best, and how we can approach it:

 kermit

“…you are no longer tadpoles. The time has come for you to drop your tails and leave this swamp. But I am sure that wherever I go as I travel around the world, I will find each and every one of you working your tails off to save other swamps and give those of us who live there a chance to survive. We love you for it.”

Dr. Kermit the Frog

May 15, 2009

Friday’s Reflection: Advice from the Past!

 

John F Kennedy

John F Kennedy

When thinking of today’s blog, I was perplexed on exactly what to expand on for today. Perhaps, this blog could have been dedicated to Mr. Cheney’s denial from the CIA to release memo’s that would support his views on the results that can be gained from torture. On the other hand, I could have written on the highly debated statements made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in her efforts to clear her name, when trying to convince the press of her “un-involvement” with briefings concerning the torture tactics being used by the CIA. My keyboard just could not re-hash the “Miss California” controversy…Larry King handled that just fine all by himself, while the issue of Gay Marriage is being re-strategized by the Human Rights Campaign’s alignment with a faith based campaign on the west coast. Chrysler’s misfortunes(which served as a precursor to what GM will be forced to do as well) just can not be properly articulated, while the Banks and Bail-Outs lost their allurement while writing this blog…perhaps I have just grown tired.

President’s Obama descisoin to block the release of torture photo’s holds solid arguments from both sides, while another Democrat is stating that he too was misguided by CIA Briefings. Former President Bush has been very quiet in the mainstream media, but I suppose one would have to be quiet in order to raise 100 million dollars since leaving office (from who… we do not yet know). Joe Biden ate his burger and kept quiet this week, while Defense Secretary Gates made a little commotion, firing a General, and ensuring that the president’s agenda is carried out in the war abroad.

No, today, after seeing the shape of the economy, the rise in unemployment, and the repairs being made to marriages and a space telescope, I believe a time of reflection was needed for today. A time that we listen to a little advice, from a man who represented then a “new generation”, who faced similar problems as we face today. From this speech, I hope you can be inspired…as Americans, to see that regardless of how long ago this winter January speech was made, how similar his rhetoric speaks to the problems, intentions, and solutions we are currently faced with today.

Perhaps, through reflection, we can move forward into the next week with a clear head, a clearer direction, and hopefully the clearest conscious.

 

Aaron L Myers, II

Aaron L Myers, II

 

 

“It takes Courage to begin, but the art is finishing”
~Aaron L Myers, II

May 14, 2009

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words!: Truth Commission?

tortureIraq7.16831244_stdWhen trying a murder trial, evidence can make or break the decision which could determine one’s  freedom. It is for this cause, prosecuters try their very best to have as much evidence as possible when pushing a jury for conviction. This evidence is important because no one in the courtroom were present at the time of the incident, no one but the defendant; and his/her integrity is in question.  Proving his/her guilt or innocence would be much easier if there were some type of evidence that could paint a clearer picture of what happened during the incident. In many cases, a picture of the crime being commited “in the act” would easily acquit or convict, but having that picture is a rare find to a prosecutor…except for those prosecuting against the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Some (but not all) pictures were released before, giving insight to the treatment of prisoners at the detention facility, but this month the rest of the pictures were scheduled to be released…until The White House told the press that Obama would fight the release of dozens of photographs showing the abuse of terrorism suspects. What’s in the photo’s?

Barack Obama received some unexpected praise today from Republican Senator Graham regarding his decision. Harshly criticizing the President’s stimulus package during the beginning of the administration, and questioning the “Change” Obama touted during his campaign, the Senator praised Obama for choosing to act as Commander in Chief without letting politics sway his decision. In another surprising move, the Senator admitted defeat in challenging the Stimulus Package, and encouraged South Carolina Governor to accept the stimulus money.

The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU and advocating for the photos’ release, expressed outrage and said the decision “makes a mockery” of Obama’s campaign promise of transparency. “It’s absolutely essential that these photos be released so the public can examine for itself the torture and abuse that was conducted in its name, and so that high-level officials who authorized or permitted that abuse can be held accountable,” ACLU attorney Amrit Singh said.

A poll done by the Los Angeles Times Indicated:

Should President Obama release the photos showing alleged abuse of detainees by U.S. personnel?

36.1 %
Yes, release all the photos. We need to know the full extent of detainee abuse under the Bush administration.

6.5 %
Yes, but with caveats. The administration should be careful about which photos it releases.

57.4 %
No. Obama is correct: Releasing the photos would put our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq in more danger.

2005 total responses

The President has defended his actions by stating that releasing the photo’s “would not add any additional benefit to our understanding of what was carried out in the past by a small number of individuals…In fact, the most direct consequence of releasing them, I believe, would be to further inflame anti-American opinion and to put our troops in greater danger,” Obama told reporters. “Moreover, I fear the publication of these photos may only have a chilling effect on future investigations of detainee abuse.” With a future trip to Egypt planned later this month, Obama is clinging to National Security as his main reason for blocking the release of the photo’s; while also discouraging a truth commission from being formed, which is supported by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

One must wonder, what actions are depicted in these photo’s that would reignite anti-American feelings? It has been hinted that these pictures are not as vulgar as the pictures released before hand. If this is the case, why drag out this painful part of America’s past and get these photo’s out and into the hands of American people.

Witholding  these photo’s only further ignite conspiracy theorists, and clouds the transparency of this new administration with dirt from it’s predecessors. Would these pictures further sway public opinion towards influencing their representatives to prosecute members of the former Administration. A bigger question is; if the previous administration broke the law, why are we hesitant to prosecute? Could it mean that many more representatives(other than the republicans associated with the Bush Administration) were fully aware of the going on’s within the prison, and did not stand up for right?

It has been argued that the descisions made by the former administration, was made swiftly with only the concern of preventing the death of more American lives.  Did this protection warrant us to break our treaty signed with the United Nations; and if this treaty endangers America’s National Security…why do we honor it?

Perhaps that fine General could shed some light within our current plight:

 

General Douglas MacArthur

General Douglas MacArthur

 

 

I am concerned for the security of our great Nation; not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within.

General Douglas MacArthur

May 13, 2009

Infidelity: To Home, To Party, To Country!

 

Elizabeth Edwards

Elizabeth Edwards

Being born in a part of the country where a man’s word was/is his bond, after growing up, the world doesn’t appear nor tend to operate under the same mantra. I can still remember going to “Mr.Franklin’s Hardware Store”, and at this store, or in my opinion a resale shop, a group of men all in their 70′s and 80′s sat around, told stories, swapped antidotes, and made small business deals,all without paper. My grand-father (who’s 96 years old) has taught me that a man’s word and his name will be permanently attached at the hip. We have seen many great men and women fall from their guilded towers, because the public had lost faith in their (the public figure’s) integrity. Infidelity to ones family, political party, and country has been at the center of news subjects over the last few days. It is these topics I shall address today.

 

Perhaps, we should examine the word Infidelity. One would think that the word “Infidel” would be the root word of infidelity, but it is not. Only within it’s loose definition ( a person who disbelieves or doubts a particular theory, belief, creed, etc.; skeptic.,) can we find a correlation between Infidel “a noun/adjective ” and Infidelity “a verb”; and that is the correlation of disbelieves-creed. Infidelity is a breach of trust or a disloyal act/transgression. It is within this definition that we will continue on within this discussion.

Over the course of the last year, John Edwards (once a celebrated young Senator and Vice Presidential Contender) has been ridiculed by the press and by many Americans due to his infidelity to his wife. Married over 30 years, Former Senator Edwards made the rounds of states announcing his candidacy for president. With a full staff of old and young people who believed in him, he used his charming smile to captivate the hearts of potential voters, before having to convince one last person of his competence. Elizabeth Edwards, who is suffering with terminal cancer, has been promoting her book, “Dilligence”, and speaking out about how this tower of a man is still fighting back to win trust not only with the American People, but with her.

Labeling his infidelity as a “frailty”, she explained in interviews about how this major indiscretion threatened to ruin all of the good that had been wrought within their 3 decades together. Just think, with the country in an economic down-turn, job loss at a record high, and a war still being fought abroad; what would have happened if a then elected John Edwards would have to combat these infidelities to the country, our allies and enemies that are both domestic and abroad. His party and his country would have been dealt a great in justice, at a true time of crisis…a time that should be spent caring for his wife and his family.

Speaking of infidelity to ones party, Vice President Dick Cheney has come to mind recently. Since leaving the Naval Observatory, Mr. Cheney has been a very vocal soundbite, defending the actions of the Bush Administration and staunchly criticizing the actions of the Obama Administration. But out of all things, with an approval rating teetering under 30%, he stated on television that, “I thought Collin Powell had already left the party.” One must ask; at a time when the Republican Party is drifting further and further apart, why would a former VP, who could be using this time/influence to unite his part, re-organize, and get back in touch with the American People, would he make odds with one of the most respected people within his party. After supporting then Candidate Obama, Colin Powell indicated that he believed that the Republican Party had moved away from fundamental values…these principles enacted and supported by the Bush/Cheney Administration, an administration Mr. Powell left in 2004.

Regardless if Cheney feels as if by Mr. Powell slighted him in some way, putting one’s personal agenda ahead of one’s party, will end in horror; just as putting one’s personal agenda in front of one’s country.

Infidelity of one’s country by the members of Congress who have been neglecting the public interest of their districts by playing childish partisan politics, has left this country in shambles. The government revised estimates for the long-term solvency of Medicare and Social Security on Tuesday, moving up the date when trust funds for the entitlement programs will run out of money. The Medicare fund for hospital care will be depleted in 2017, two years earlier than government actuaries estimated a year ago. This will be negatively effecting a host of democrats and republicans who live all over the country. The Social Security trust fund wouldn’t be exhausted until 2037, but that is four years earlier than last year’s report predicted. In turn, the neglectful eye of the members of congress, has left the future problems of this country almost impossible to be solved by a future generation, who (judging by the current track record of both Republicans and Democrats) may not have ample resources to offer a solution to these inevitable catastrophe’s.

Arlen Specter switched parties because he didn’t think he could win an election as a Republican. John McCain doesn’t use email and doesn’t know how to use a blackberry. Joe Barton is ready to start using “Clean Coal Technology” right now, and the Speaker of the House of Representative can’t remember what she was told…while serving on an “intelligence committee”! The oldest member of Congress is 91 years old (I bet he won’t be twittering any time soon), and the longest serving member of congress, has been in office longer than the President has been alive. In my opinion…both Democrats and Republicans are “out of touch” with reality, and at this point… and unless the American People stand up and pay attention, we will be creating problems that my grand children might not be able to solve.

Infidelity is a hard reality that we are facing at home, within our political parties, and within our country, but maybe this forefather could shed some light on how we can approach our future:

 

James Madison

James Madison

 

 

“Each generation should be made to bear the burden of its own wars, instead of carrying them on, at the expense of other generations.”

~James Madison  

May 12, 2009

He’s Just Doing His Thing!: Miss California Retains Her Crown

 

Carrie Prejean - Miss California USA

Carrie Prejean - Miss California USA

Contests typically draw controversy.  At the present moment, Al Franken and Norm Coleman are currently winding down a very closely run contest for the Minnesota Senate seat.  Some controversies can last for decades, while others can last for days.  There are even instances where the public will never be aware of the controversies surrounding some contests whose results are made public.  

 

The latest Controversy, was in part brought to an end today, but raises some very interesting questions, and could affect the progress related to the agenda of Human/Civil Rights Campaigns.  

Today in a Press Conference, Donald Trump (Owner of the Miss USA/Universe Contest) announced that regardless of the public comments made by Miss California and Miss USA Runner up, Carrie Prejean, that she would retain her crown.  This decision came not 24 hours after the administrators of the Miss California Contest “fired” Ms Prejean, due to “Violation of Contract”.

During the Miss USA Pageant, blogger Perez Hilton , who was described as “doing his thing” by Donald Trump, asked a question regarding her support of Gay Marriage.  She responded, predicated with her intent not to offend anyone,  that in “My America” marriage is defined between a man and a woman.  Today, she was encouraged to reiterate her belief, aligning herself with the current belief of the President and Secretary of State (who was also a Presidential Candidate).  Supported by Mr. Trump (who refused to answer questions regarding his own personal belief on the subject) , Ms Prejean proudly encouraged others to use her experience as inspiration when standing up for their beliefs, regardless of the negative backlash that might accompany it.

A very serious question must now be posed:  When does one’s opinion regarding the Definition of Marriage infringe on the obstruction of civil liberties?  And; will the denial of Same-Sex marriage be looked at in the same manner as we look at inter-racial marriage today (which is still looked upon negatively in certain parts of the country).

One must remember that it was a little over 40 years ago, that it was still illegal for interracial couples to be married.  Leon Brazile (who was a trial judge in the case) echoed the rhetoric of German Physician Johann Frierich Blumenbach who stated, “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”  The pivotal vote taken by the DC City Council to recognized such marriages, sparked the legislation that was seen before the Supreme Court, which in turn descended that, “Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival…. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.

 

During the Press Conference, the President’s view of marriage was touted by both Mr. Trump and Ms Prejean.  Another important question must be posed:  Will President Obama support legislation to legalize Gay Marriage?  If he does not, does this make him as bigoted as those who did not support his candidacy because of his color?

Today, the celebrated “opinion” of Miss California, has placed the Human Rights Campaign in an awkward position.  They could use this decision to press the Gay Marriage Debate to the forefront to gain definite results, or they could regroup and reanalyze their stance on the subject, which could result in the whole subject to be dropped all together.  What do you think?

Perhaps a voice from the past could help shed light on this subject:

 

 

 

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

 

 

All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression. 

~Thomas Jefferson

Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk: Rush is a Big Boy, he can take it!

1963-streisand-jfk-90For 89 years, the White House Correspondents Association has been hosting a dinner at the Washington Hilton. Some of the biggest names our time have played this event, singing, dancing, and roasting the President of the United States. Jimmy Durante (and his nose) made the crowds laugh, while Bob Hope’s criticism was always taken in stride…he usually golfed with the President. Yakov Smirnoff had a unique play on words that tickled the funny bones of correspondents, while Al Franken was busy making as many friends with the core as possible (he would need their assistance in the future). None of these legendary performances were talked about in the media on Monday, it was the comments of Wanda Sykes and President Obama that took the show.

 

Wanda Sykes made comments during her big night, that some considered a step too far, about one of the most outspoken conservative radio talk show hosts in America, Rush Limbaugh.  A reference to a remark made by Limbaugh at the beginning of the President’s term, caused Sykes to weight in on what sounded like a personal opinion of Rush Limbaugh.  While in a statement Limbaugh stated that he hoped the President fails, Sykes gave her remedy in the hopes that the radio host’s kidney’s would fail.  This joke received mixed reactions, but no one from the correspondence dinner left the event in protest, or even disgust.  Sykes was congratulated for giving a “stellar” performance, and the night went on.  

When does a joke go too far??  One may ask, if the word “joke” is replaced in that question, perhaps we could get to the bottom of a lot of problems.  For instance:

When does policy go too far?

When does bigatry go too far?

When does war go too far?

When does torture go too far?

There are many questions, once again I reiterate, that must be answered long before we question the seriousness of “Jokes” told about a man who is accused weekly of offending at least 1,000 people.  For an example;

On the October 23, 2006 edition of his radio show, Limbaugh imitated on the “Ditto Cam” (the webcam for website subscribers to see him on the air) the physical symptoms of actor Michael J. Fox, who has Parkinson’s disease. He said “(Fox) is exaggerating the effects of the disease. He’s moving all around and shaking and it’s purely an act … This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn’t take his medication or he’s acting.”

 With the boldness to criticize the disabled, I think Rush Limbaugh does not need the press to “stand-up” for him…he’s a big boy!

While journalists today debated whether or not Wanda Sykes took her jokes to far; U.S.-born journalist Roxana Saberi was set free today after an Iranian appeal court cut her eight-year jail sentence for spying to a suspended two-year term. Saberi, a former Miss North Dakota, looked thin and tired at Sunday’s hearing. Last week, her father said she had ended a two-week hunger strike and was “very weak.” The judiciary denied she had refused food, and said she was in good health.  

Althought correspondents had the chance today to reflect on a “risque” joke they heard while enjoying some fantasic food and being surrounded by celebrities, Saberi was in prison, refusing food, and listening to the daunting noise of imprisonment…my how our priorities have fallen.

Priorities in the media vary, but regardless of how far the envelope is pushed, comedy will still be comedy.  Perhaps that great comedian could shed some light on how to view the status of this situation:

Lenny Bruce

Lenny Bruce

 

 

 

“Satire is tragedy plus time. You give it enough time, the public, the reviewers will allow you to satirize it. Which is rather ridiculous, when you think about it”       ~Lenny Bruce

 

May 11, 2009

Where do we go from here: A Night of Laughs!

corrOnce again, Washington DC received many west coast visitors.  On Saturday Night, President Obama was given the opportunity to do give remarks in front of most of Hollywood’s A-list talent and correspondents from every network.  Followed by Wanda Sykes, both have been given very high marks in the media for their performances.  While the world took a breather from the whirlwind of H1N1 and torture talk, we sat back and heard a few good one-liners, and for a second, the sheer amusement of our government was remedy enough to calm the minds of few, and strike the funny bone of many.

In America, we have used the arts to mask, cope, and address problems that plague and threaten our way of life.  The surge of the movie industry occurred as people needed an escape from the everyday reality of the depression.  Rock & Roll articulated the “new & improved” outlook of the 1950′s youth in comparison to the conservative upbringing of their parents.  During the late 60′s R & B began to articulate the displeased views of America’s youth regarding Vietnam, and that administration’s handling of the conflict.   Studio 54 flourished in the 1970′s, as the old guard once again was cast aside, and many minorities were finding their place and voice in that disco filled society.  The Rock Music of the 1980′s described Generation X, and how society misread and/or misunderstood their wants, desires, and motivations.  With rap music making a significant imprint on the 90′s, teens and young adults alike began to describe their emotions through poetry spoken in sync to different rhythms of music.  As we have entered the new millennium, youtube and itunes being blasted from iphones and ipods.  The current trend of headphones coming from pocket sized devices are seen regularly,  as today’s modern man/woman can pick and choose what trend in music, movies, and comedy they would personally like to identify themselves with.

Although, the President and many others were able to, for just a night, look at the lighter sides of the current situation, one harsh reality will be facing Americans as Monday Morning rises in the distance.  The unemployment rate rose to 8.9 percent from 8.5 percent in March, the highest in more than a quarter-century.  President Obama has recognized that this financial problem was indeed years in the making, and he is predicting that it could take months (even years) to come out of the current recession. 

Stress tests given to the 19 largest banking institutions, which the reports were less severe than some experts had been preparing for, revealed: (see link below)

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124182311010302297.html#project%3DSTRESSTESTDOCS0905%26articleTabs%3Dinteractive

 The test results showed that the 19 banks faced a total of $599 billion in losses over the next two years under the government’s worst-case, Depression-like scenario. 

These tests has also brought about deadlines for banks, in which consequences for deadlines not met have not been laid out by congress as of yet.  Congress has directed the banks as follows:  Any tested bank needing to boost its capital buffer will have until June 8 to develop a detailed capital-raising plan and until November 9 to implement that plan.  Some banks have already begun this task, with Wells Fargo raising 7.5 billion dollars in stock through a public offering. Other banks have made plans to fill their capital holes by tapping public markets. 

One must keep in mind, that the banks have not been the only dire, important factor negatively impacted by the current turn of economic affairs.  The Baby Boomer Generation is chomping at the bit for ways to keep their homes, cars, and ways of life somewhat intact during the dreadful time.  Since December 2007, the number of Americans over 55′s in work has risen more than 800,000.  Many baby-boomers have been forced to re-enter the workforce after losing their retirement and/or pension funds.  One may ask, how has age discrimination played out in the competition for work since the start of this recession, and if Affirmative action will survive the backlash of this recession.

Nonetheless, in this American Culture, we have coined the phrase, “Laughter is the Best Medicine”; but will Laughter be enough to treat the American Economy and the effects it is having on its citizens…only time will tell.

I have always learned that it’s best to learn from people who have lived through situations such as this before, and a little wisdom just may share a little light to us from our Allies across the Atlantic.

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.    

Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt

 


 

 

May 8, 2009

“Let Me Make Myself Perfectly Clear”: I’ll never tell!

 

Nancy Pelosi - Speaker of the United States House of Representatives

Nancy Pelosi - Speaker of the United States House of Representatives

The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives is a coveted position by many politicians. Landmarks around Washington and the United States have been built to honor these great politicians of old. Hailed for their abilities to turn ideas into law, to craft and implement policies, to keep their party’s in check and voting along the proper lines; this role is an important and influential role that can influence the laws that are passed, and the policies that are implemented. Third in line for the presidency if anything unfortunate happens, one must be careful of who fills this position, and parties select as carefully as possible when electing the Speaker to articulate their voices.

 

In years past, we have had some Mice (Howell Cobb, who led the secessionist movement, and is considered to be one of the founders of the Confederacy) and Titans (Joseph Cannon, who was on the first cover of Time Magazine on his last day in office) who have banged that powerful gavel. A little unknown fact about this position is that one does not have to be serving in the House of Representatives to be elected to this position (which I at times believe would be a commodity). Also, it is not often seen, that one is elected to this position within his/her first session; but this has happened before in the past, and the gentleman who filled this position partly crafted the role as Speaker into what it is known to be today. Henry Clay laid the framework to this the role as Speaker of the House as we know it. Followed by Joseph Cannon and Sam Rayburn, the Capitol now boasts a speaker who is a first for this generation, and regardless of politics or party; The First Female Speaker of the House will open doors for many others to follow through.

Nancy Pelosi, D-California, is serving as the Speaker for the 111th Congress of the United States, and as of late, her integrity (along with many others) has been in question. On April 23, Ms. Pelosi told reporters “we were not, and I repeat, were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation techniques were used.” Rather, she said, she recalled being told by the CIA that the techniques “could be used, but not that they would.” With the growing public’s distaste towards the government’s use of “Water boarding”, fingers have been pointed towards, who knew what, when, and why they not spoke up against it. When asked if they were informed, some members of congress (including Speaker Pelosi) stated that they knew about it, but did no know it was in

use.http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/WSJ_JusticeMemo_090507.pdf

In a report released by the CIA, Congressional leaders were briefed in detail about techniques used in the Central Intelligence Agency’s interrogation program. This report displays the most thorough
information the CIA has on dates, locations, and names of all Members of Congress who were briefed by the CIA on enhanced interrogation techniques. According to these documents, Speaker Pelosi (who was, at that time, the highest ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee) was one of the first to know about the techniques.

One question that should be asked now, is if this “Change” and “Transparency” heralded by these representatives towards President Obama, will spill over to the Capitol Building, and into the halls of congress. Regardless of party, the American People, in my mind, are tired of the finger pointing which only covers the truth behind the misdeeds performed by those sent to represent us. When and where will this be stopped.

 
 While, in this case, Republican members of congress have taken this opportunity to pounce on the Speaker, and stated last month that congress was informed early on about these techniques; these same Republicans were unable to go further on and state that these techniques were not procedures that adequately or respectively represent the United States of America…all except one (and it wasn’t Arlen Specter).

John McCain and Barack Obama DO agree on this statement….Torture (in any form) is Wrong! As he stated in Newsweek, “Our commitment to basic humanitarian values affects–in part–the willingness of other nations to do the same. Mistreatment of enemy prisoners endangers our own troops who might someday be held captive. “Barack Obama has deemed Water boarding as an unacceptable form of interrogation (or in other words Torture). It is for the safety of our soldiers, currently engaged in battle on foreign soils, and it is to uphold our agreement with the UN, that we do not torture. Regardless of how we feel the “enemy” would deal with Americans as captives; The American Government gave its word to the United Nations and to its people that it would not engage in torture. To utilize these vile techniques, will further ruin the integrity of this country…in which faith is currently being restored day by day.

Still waiting for the Republican Party to find its voice, and waiting for the Democrats in Congress to show bi-partisanship; The American People need a CLEAR answer from both parties, and these answers should be congruent with the agreement we signed with the United Nations.

Nonetheless, we as a nation can make it through this period, and the words from a former Speaker of the House might just help us see the way:

 

Our country–whether bounded by the St. John’s and the Sabine, or however otherwise bounded or described, and be the measurements more or less;–still our country, to be cherished in all our hearts, and to be defended by all our hands. 

Robert Charles Winthrop

Robert Charles Winthrop

May 7, 2009

Bad Advice to the President: Will Lawyers Pay the Piper?

 

Velma Sanders (My Grandmother) b.1917

Velma Sanders (My Grandmother) b.1917

I can remember running and playing with friends in the country.  Growing up in a small town (Goodlow, Texas; population 312) neighbors and family were plenty, and dirt roads were vast.  Sometimes I can remember climbing down in the creek bed, and following it all the way out by my Aunt Emma’s house (1912- 2002), after which the journey home would began, and there was always a tough decision to make.  We could go straight home or we could go home…but with detours.  Now this individual decision was made with deep thought and consultations with the guys, which eventually lead to mischief, causing something memorable to happen and we would then go home.

 

 

On one occasion, I was with my cousin, and we planned to do the usual, but Aunt Emma instructed us differently.  I will never forget it; Aunt Emma was from the “old-school” and she was about 5’0 (if she was an inch), and always wore an apron.  She made it perfectly clear, that if we were to go away from the house that we wouldn’t stop by Uncle Jay’s her brother (1908-2000).   See, Uncle Jay and Aunt Carrie (Married 1935) were great cooks from the good old days!  Typically, when us kids would stop by there, we would fill up on fresh cake and a big glass of milk, which consequently would ruin us for dinner.   Well, my cousin and I set out, and as we were headed back, we decided (after much deliberation) to just pay a little visit to Uncle Jay and Aunt Carrie.  Sure enough, we ate to our hearts content, and then walked back to Aunt Emma’s.  On the way home, I told him to make sure that he didn’t mention the whole “dropping by Uncle Jay’s” and he stated with a grin, “You know I won’t say nothing!”.  Now, little did we know, Trey had left an article of clothing there at Uncle Jay’s, and Aunt Carrie thought it would be responsible to call Aunt Emma, and let her know!  Aunt Carrie told Aunt Emma, “ not to scold Trey for losing the article of clothing, that it was safe with her.”

This reminds me of the current status in which the Bush Administration and their lawyers are in.  Being aware of torture as a means of interrogation used by governments to attain information from Prisoners, the US signed an agreement with the United Nations stating that we would not engage in torture; after consulting with their lawyers, the Bush Administration used a technique called Water boarding ( which was used during WWII on our soldiers, and a technique we deemed as torture at that time) and, according to Condaleeza Rice, if the President approved…it wasn’t breaking the Law (just like Nixon).  When asked by the American Public, we were told the truth…but not the whole truth.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, at the center of the frenzy are four detailed legal analyses, “The memos, written by Justice Department lawyers in 2002 and 2005 and recently declassified and released, read as you would expect them to. The individuals writing them were reflecting their own interpretation of the law, their own policy views, and quite possibly the policy preferences of their bosses.”  

This problem is a clear representation of what happens when one branch of government, tries to act without proper checks and balances.  Clearly, this method of interrogation was not to be decided upon by just lawyers who were advising the president, or interpreting the law (which is the job of the Supreme Court).  As a result, being that the Executive Branch took it upon their selves to act independently, our reputation was tarnished both at home and abroad.  The question which is now being asked by many, is if the lawyers who gave this advice to the administration, will be prosecuted; or will anyone else from the Bush Administration pay some sort of price if they are found to have broken the law.  

Well, to answer that question, I should finish my story from earlier. .. 

As we walked into the 6 room house, the questions began, and we played it cool.  We told her everything that we did, save the whole Uncle Jay thing.  As I began to walk out, Aunt Emma grabbed me, and said a simple phrase (after giving me a good pop)…,”I’m going to call Velma (my grandmother b.1917) and tell her what you did.”  Now I knew Granny (as I called her) did not want me going over to Uncle Jay’s, and at this point, I was simply scared to walk home.

When I stepped onto the porch, my Grandmother met me there, and she didn’t just talk to me.  She whooped my behind, and told me that “grown folk” make rules for good reasons.  And if I decided to break those rules, I’d have to “Pay the Piper”, just as I did by taking the spanking.

The UN made rules, we broke them knowingly (especially sine we hired lawyers to help us go around the agreement) and those responsible must pay the consequences.  

 

As stated by a great American General:

 

 

 

“A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.”

~ Dwight D Eisenhower  

May 6, 2009

Capital Hill Acknowedges Gay Mariage: Will the Country?

 

One single voice rang out over the sound system, while the DC City Council prepared to vote in the Wilson Building on Tuesday.  Stating that he had always supported homosexuals, but did not support this bill, Marian Barry was the lone voice in opposition against recognizing Gay Marriage in DC.  Voiceterous crowds outside and inside the building, spoke in favor for and against this campaign, and as the members voted, the room stood still.  With four States supporting Gay Marriage (Iowa, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut) DC will be among many state legislatures discussing the passage of Gay Marriage.  San Francisco started handing out same sex marriage certificates in 2004 and since then, campaigns have been launched for gay marriage to be recognized in states across America.

One would ask, what is the controversy?  But, before we tackle that can of beans, we should familiarize ourselves with the current definition of Homosexuality. *As defined by US Legal Definitions:

“Gays and lesbians are homosexuals who are sexually attracted to members of the same sex. Typically, gay refers to a man whose sexual orientation is to men and lesbian refers to a woman whose sexual orientation is to women. Bisexuals are sexually attracted to members of both sexes.”  During the 20th century, homosexuality was a “taboo” subject, causing some of our most notable figures to stay “closeted” or to suffer ridicule and/or discrimination because of their sexuality;  Montgomery Clift, Jack Cassidy, Barbara Jordan, Thornton Wilder, Gene Robinson, Rock Hudson, etc.

The definition of marriage is not that simple.  Law dictionaries recognize eight different styles of marriage:

Common Law Marriage

Marriage Licenses

Covenant Marriage

Open Marriage

De Facto Marriage

Personal Relationships Common Law Marriage

Marriage Counseling

Sham Marriage

The type of marriage mostly associated with religious organization is Covenant Marriage which is defined as:

“A covenant marriage is a marriage entered into by one male and one female who understand and agree that the marriage between them is a lifelong relationship. Parties to a covenant marriage have received counseling emphasizing the nature and purposes of marriage and the responsibilities thereto. Only when there has been a complete and total breach of the marital covenant commitment may the non-breaching party seek a declaration that the marriage is no longer legally recognized.” (Although this was traditionally used by religious fundamentalist, most churches recognize the individual’s right to seek a divorce.  This divorce is typically recognized in most protestant churches).

To make things even more complicated (as far as religion is concerned); according to the CIA, the following is the order of religious preferences in the United States:

§  Christian: (78.5%)

§  Protestant (51.3%)

§  Roman Catholic (23.9%)

§  Mormon (1.7%)

§  other Christian (1.6%)

§  unaffiliated (12.1%)

§  none (4%)

§  other or unspecified (2.5%)

§  Jewish (1.7%)

§  Buddhist (0.7%)

§  Muslim (0.6%

 Within each one of these religious sects, marriage customs are different, and hold different requirements for the parties involved.

Religious circles here in the US (predominately Muslim, Jewish & Christian) view gay marriage as a non-issue because their religious convictions prohibit same sex marriages to be recognized by the Church, Synagogue, or Masque; while non-religious citizens view this also as a “non-issue” stating that due to the separation of church and state, marriage is not legitimatized by a religious sect, to be recognized by the state.  Since the turn of the 21st century, tolerance to same sex marriage has increased, and if continued at the same rate, 10 states will recognize same sex marriage by 2020.  

Sexual Reorientation was a widely used practiced in the United States during the 20th century, and was designed to keep humans from practicing Homosexuality.  Although varied, treatments have included biological, behavioral, cognitive, psychodynamic, and religious modalities. In recent years, treatments intended to alter sexual orientation have involved religious and psychodynamic counseling.  In recent history, intolerant attitudes and views regarding same-sex marriage and/or homosexuality have been compared to the bigotry attitudes suffered by women in the 1910′s and African American’s in the 1960′s.  In the United States, 45 states and the District of Columbia have statutes criminalizing various types of bias-motivated violence or intimidation (the exceptions are AZGAINSC, and WY).  

Christianity, which most American’s identify with, has varying views on homosexuality and its acceptance by the church.  Most churches do not accept the act of homosexuality, and views it as a sin.  With this view, the idea of marriage between homosexual is not an accepted practice within their religious sect.  Being that this arrangement is not recognized by the sight of GOD, they also believe that it should not be recognized by the state.  Practicing homosexuality, in the eyes of the church, is a moral and mental decision made by an individual. 

My opinion:  Until Religious Leaders step up to the plate, dialog with politicians, and define the line of separation, that properly checks both church and state, this argument will continue.  Homosexuals seek to have marriage recognized by the state, so they can be afforded the same rights as heterosexual couples have (such as insurance, medical decision power, property, etc).  This judgment cannot and should not be clouded by the church’s non-congruent attitude towards marriage, divorce, and/or homosexuality.

Both those in favor have created videos:  Some more satirical, others more serious.  How long this debate will last, one may never know, but James Baldwin did have incredible insight that might just tell us the answer:

Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them. 

James Baldwin


May 5, 2009

Dallas Texas and the Penal System – What do they have in Common?!

 

Big Tex

Big Tex

Dallas Texas can boast about many, many things.  It is the ninth largest city in the United States, and the third largest city in Texas.  Dallas is the core, of the largest inland metropolitan area in the United States that lacks any navigable link to the sea, and is the home base for retail store Neiman Marcus.  In terms of voting patterns, the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is the third most liberal of the Texas metropolitan areas (outside of Austin and El Paso).  The Super Bowl winning Cowboys call Dallas their home, as well as many other sports teams.  

 

Approximately 1.3 million people call Dallas home, and I must ask; what else could you do with 1.3 million people.  The country of Trinidad and Tobago has a population of about 1.3 million.  The truth is, with 1.3 million people, Dallas has a larger population than 68 other countries in the World.  It is quite impressive to see 1.3 million people, building sky scrapers, growing businesses, creating parks, and contributing to art.  With these facts, it is hard to imagine that there is another population, right here in America that is larger than the population of Dallas Texas, and shows no signs of diminishing.

As of June 30, 2007, a population of 2,299,116 would call a prison or jail home.  This number has tripled since the early eighties, bringing money to the pockets of contractors and those who have interests or equity in the existence of prisons. While failing to upgrade and re-evaluate the effectiveness of our rehabilitation process, approximately 500,000 youth are taken to detention centers, and the door appears to be revolving.  This number can continue to decrease, or increase, dependent upon how congress and this administration choose to deal with:  Same-Sex Marriage (with currently 55.7% of American’s 18 and older married, marriage between heterosexuals is on a continual downward spiral.  Affording marriage rights to Same Sex Couples could give displaced children, who are at high statistical risk for entering the penal system, a potential home, which may help decrease the number of juvenile crimes and arrests), Revamping No Child Left Behind ( A 2008 study from the Department of Education, “Reading First Impact Study: Interim Report,” concluded that the Reading First Program, a major billion dollar a year No Child Left Behind effort, had proven “ineffective.”), Medicaid (Medicaid provides health coverage and services to approximately 49 million low-income children, pregnant women, elderly persons, and disabled individuals.  Under the new federal rule, states are now allowed to charge premiums and higher co-payments to Medicaid participants.  At this time, there is no way to determine how juveniles will be impacted by this rule, thus no way to predict how this will impact the number of juvenile arrests.)

A more disturbing figure, impacts the minority sector of the United States.  The lack of male role models is often depicted in mainstream media outlets, when trying to replicate a typical minority family setting, function, or event.  This reflection is accurate within the African American Community. About 10.4% of all black males in the United States between the ages of 25 and 29 were sentenced and in prison in 2002.  If these men were arrested as a part of a “non-violent related” crime, they will be introduced to gang-violence (usually for protection) while incarcerated, and will have a higher rate of returning for a more aggressive charge.

Where and when does this stop?

Reformation of the current penal system has not been addressed by this current administration.  As stated on the White House Website concerning Criminal Justice Reform:

“The President will lead the fight to build a more fair and equitable criminal justice system. He will seek to strengthen federal hate crime legislation and will work to ensure that federal law enforcement agencies do not resort to racial profiling. He supports funding for drug courts, giving first-time, non-violent offenders a chance to serve their sentence, if appropriate, in drug rehabilitation programs that have proven to work better than prison terms in changing behavior. President Obama will also improve ex-offender employment and job retention strategies, substance abuse treatment, and mental health counseling so ex-offenders can successfully re-join society.”

The administration has not addressed a plan or the need, for procedural techniques in regards to how the rehabilitation process can be more effective to prisoners while incarcerated.  The lack of proper rehabilitation results from detention centers can be attributed to over crowdedness.  For an example (as reported by Don Thompson in his book “Prison Attacks Calling Attention to Overcrowding”) California’s 33 prisons have a total capacity of 100,000, but they hold 170,000 inmates.  Overcrowding can also be found in another place some juvenile prisoners may find familiar…the schools system (which could be another reason why Fort Worth had to take major precautions with the Swine Flu Outbreak).  

Regardless of politics, the next 4 years must produce solutions for the youth of this country.  With the Republican Party trying to “re-invent themselves” instead of going to their districts and observing the needs of their constituents, and with the Democratic Party brainstorming ways to hold on to a slim majority in the Senate and State Houses; One in every 31 American adults find themselves in the penal system, whether it is in prison, on parole or serving probation.  Something has to change!

Perhaps these words from Sitting Bull, could give insight to what we are dealing with even now:

 

Sitting Bull

Sitting Bull

 

 

Each man is good in His sight. It is not necessary for eagles to be crows. 

Sitting Bull

May 4, 2009

Will the Mysteries go Unanswered: Political or Public?

 

childThe word that resonated with the 2008 Election was that of change and transparency.  For years, Washington has hid, quite well, the inner workings of the political machine, and one could argue that this is the most transparency we’ve seen in Washington in a long time…at least the last 100 days or so.  The banner of transparency was used as a battle cry for many American’s who expected that the whole truth had not yet been told.   Day after day, as pundits argue opinions and speculations on news programs, even these answers seemed too simple for the immense problems faced by the country over the last few months.  

Below, I choose a question format (a system of writing I normally do not use often).  I do not offer my suspicions or speculations, but simply ask the questions someone, if not everyone, has wanted answered by elected officials at some point and time.

~Does the Democratic Party think it will hold on to this lead in the House and Senate longer than two years?  If so…how?

~Surely, is the Republican Party not aware, that it is being painted as a racist and bigoted party?  

~Was Obama’s transition team not aware of all the ethical problem’s the nominees presented to the American people were going to present?  Were we not expected to question their integrity?

~Does Michael Steele understand that, no one knows his job description?  

~Does Rush Limbaugh understand that he has probably encouraged those with smaller mindsets and bigoted spirits, to give conservatism a bad name?  Does he know that he has extended the timeline for “Justified Racism” for another 40 years?

~Does anyone in the Administration “REALLY” think that with the recent passing of the stimulus package and budget, things here in America will began to get better?

~If not Iraq, why Afghanistan?  Are we too chicken shit to go into Iran?

~ Who the hell killed Kennedy 63’?  Who the hell killed King? Who the hell killed Kennedy 68’?

~Was Collin Powell an escape-goat?

~Are they’re Aliens?  If so, will the American People find out too late?

~Do you mean, No One knew about September 11th in enough time to prevent it?

~Was Vice-President Cheney running the White House or was President Bush?  Will either of them take responsibility for any misdeeds done by that administration?  Are we too chicken shit to prosecute if wrong doing is found?

~Does Washington really think Main Street has faith in what’s being done there?

~ Does anyone else find Rep. Joe Barton condescending?

~ If the Republican Party is so much for “Conservatism”, what’s with all the sexual harassment accusations by its representatives?

~ If the Democratic Party is about inclusiveness, why doesn’t it reach out to the democrats outside of urban centers?

~ Was the Moon Landing Real?  

~ When will faith leaders and politicians sit down and define the “Separating Line”?

~ Does Joe Biden know how hard his Communication’s Director works?

~ Why can boys/girls leave their families, learn to kill, come home, and then can’t buy a drink?

~ When will Veterans get the proper treatment/attention they deserve?

~Does the US Army/Navy/Marine/Air force really believe that just because they don’t ask; soldiers won’t tell SOMEONE?

~What is “Bi-Partisan?”

~When will Al Franken get into office?

~ Why can’t America develop a cure for AIDS, but developed the Hydrogen Bomb over 60 years ago?

~ Did the US Government develop AIDS?

~ Where is the cure for Cancer?

~ If a woman shouldn’t have the right to abort…who gives her the right to keep?

~ What is Socialism….I thought President Obama was a Democrat, and why are Republican’s calling him a Socialist?

Well…these are just a few questions that I have had; but I know there are many more!  The real question is, will we see some, if not all of these questions answered?  The amount of trust that has been lost by the American citizen and his/her representative is absolutely horrid; to know, that many American’s were energized by this election and have maintained the enthusiasm is fantastic; to know that one cover-up or lie will eliminate the bridge of trust between Main street and Washington is frightening.

Perhaps Benjamin Franklin summed it up best by stating,

 

Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin

 

“There is no kind of dishonesty into which otherwise good people more easily and frequently fall than that of defrauding the government.”

~Benjamin Franklin

May 3, 2009

Political Match Game = Stress in America!

 

Uncle Sam Stressed!

Uncle Sam Stressed!

Sunday morning, I woke up singing a little song under my breath.  Rolling out of bed, and into the bathroom, this song kept resonating with me, as my mood grew more inquisitive to knowing, “What’s the Name of that Song”.  With a few things I needed to get done on the computer, I sat down, and started to surf the net.  Researching, as usual, I began to bob my head, to the nameless tune, where by this time, I narrowed down I heard Frank Sinatra sing.  Reaching for the spoon as I ate my yogurt, I began to audibly attempt to put some variation of words together, to complete the mystery composition…this was becoming an irritant: What’s That Song?

Suddenly I remember, “Something…Knife”, is in it somewhere.  Whimsically laughing, how absurd, of course my mind would equate a nice sounding song to violence.  By this time, my research effort was becoming pathetic, and I finally gave in, starting a search for the song.  Unlike when I woke up, I had found myself stressed because I could not remember the stupid song (it is amazing how a refreshing song just became stupid because I could not remember its name).

When thinking of stress, I usually think of GAS (General Adaptation Syndrome) which is a human’s response to the “stressor”.  In my opinion, over the last week, the political machine in America is dealing with a tell -tell sign of stress…GAS!

The first stage of “GAS” is Alarm.  This alarm comes once the potential stressor is identified or recognized.  With the public’s rejuvenated interest in “policy”, politicians have become more forthright with “WHY” they are not the blame for some of the nation’s problems.  When questioned if his involvement with the automaker “Chrysler” this past week, and his public call for the GM Chief to step aside, was too close for comfort, President Obama defended his actions by reminding the press/public that things were not “perfect” when he came into office.  The errors of his predecessors are quickly stated when introducing solutions and new policies to the American people.  This is a classic sign of Alarm; seeing the American people’s reaction to the policies and procedures set forth by the Bush Administration, and his desire not entice the same reaction towards his own policies and procedures.

Resistance is the second stage of GAS.  If the stressor persists, it becomes necessary to attempt some means of coping with the stress. Although the body begins a sequence that attempts to adapt to the strains or demands of the environment, the body cannot keep this up indefinitely, so its resources are gradually depleted.  The Republican party this week, has shown definite signs of resistance, so much so, it lost one of its members to the other side and is poorly contesting the race in Minnesota, which is expected to go in favor of Democratic candidate Al Franken.  Rush Limbaugh and Michael Steele have been in a public struggle, competing for the megaphone to speak on behalf of the Republican Party, accusing Specter of flipping his former party the bird, to bidding him good riddance!  The Democratic Party has been using a strategy, labeling the Republican Party as the “Party of No”, painting an ever more unlikable picture of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell while a likable picture of the President is being portrayed to the people.  The effectiveness of this strategy is shown in the recent polls which reflect a high approval rating for the President, although not all that approve support his policies.   

A very visible sign of stress lies in the spirit of the American People which is Exhaustion.  As in relation to the body, when dealing with stress under exhaustion, all the body’s resources are eventually depleted and the body is unable to maintain normal function.  With the Economic system in shambles, and the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics reporting that 9% of the population as of March 2009 is unemployed, I would say that the American people are in the most dangerous position when it comes to GAS.  Being in the last stage, if extended, long term damage may become a result; and with the H1n1 present now, I think that an immediate remedy is needed to rid the US of GAS.  It will take the American People holding their representatives up for scrutiny and accountability if we plan on implementing some form of “Stress Management” that can be effective enough, to start focusing on problems facing the American People that are currently jeopardizing the health and well being of the nation.

As for the song, it finally came to me.  Frank Sinatra sang a great song called, “Mack the Knife”, which although is a fun moving song, tells the tale of many who fell victim to Macheath!  If you ask me, there have been many victims to what some call the “Political Match Game” here in America, and when trying to figure out exactly what it is that is causing more problems than solutions, it closely resembles the art of trying to remember the name of a tune, to which you know no words, but only melody.

Regardless, I am reminded of the words stated by that great American writer that sums up our current political positions:

Mark Twain - American Author

Mark Twain - American Author

“Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities.” 

~Mark Twain

May 1, 2009

Day 102 – Robert Gibbs Interupted: Appointments, Appointments, Appointments!

 

The job of the White House Press Secretary is not an easy one.  Every statement made by this individual reflects directly as the viewpoint of the Administration and even the President.  George Akerson, the first appointed press secretary under President Herbert Hoover, felt the blunt-end of criticism by both the President and Press Corps, consequently being blamed for the Republican president’s deteriorating relations with the Washington Press Corps. Unfortunately, he received his appointment right after the 1929 Stock Market Crash, which subsequently was the beginning of the Great Depression.  Press Secretaries over the last 10 years, usually stay in office (or can only undertake the stress that comes along with job) for only two or four years.  Stephen Early, press secretary under President Roosevelt, stayed in his position for 12 years, which could be attributed to the America’s entrance into the Second World War.  

The Whitehouse Press Secretary becomes the “messenger” that usually fields questions from the members of the Press Corps.  Depending on the recent actions coming from the White House, the daily press conference can be either very lively and intense, or dull and overlooked; but the Press Conference held today will be one that will make history and mark the beginning for a major milestone within the life of a young administration.

 

Justice David Souter

Justice David Souter

 

Today, President Obama interrupted the daily White House Press Brief, to tell reporters that he had just got off of the phone with David Souter, and that Souter would be leaving the US Supreme Court at the end of this session.  The President stated that, “I am extremely thankful for his extraordinary service” speaking admirably of Souter and his service to the Court, also stating that he is looking to make sure the new Justice will be “Seated by the 1st Monday of October”.  

Leaving the briefing room, Robert Gibbs again took the stage, and began the task many of his predecessors had grown to master…the task and skill of “Playing by Ear”!

The power vested to the President in Article 2 of the Constitution, giving him the authority to appoint a Justice to the Supreme Court is considered to be the most important task of the President, and it is a task that has not been taken lightly or for granted by the former Presidents.  The art of choosing the right candidate can have a long lasting effect on how our justice system interprets the Law.  Being that Justices are confirmed to Life Long terms, the appointment of a Justice could affect the way laws are interpreted long after the President has left office (Such as John Paul Stevens who was appointed by Late President Ford).  

A great example of the long lasting effects of a court starts within the court under Chief Justice John Jay.  John Jay was the first Chief Justice of the five members Supreme Court, appointed in 1791 during the presidency of George Washington.  The case was Chisholm v. Georgia, and the Plaintiff Alexander Chisholm, the executor of the estate of Robert Farquhar, attempted to sue the state of Georgia in the Supreme Court over payments due him for goods that Farquhar had supplied Georgia during the American Revolutionary War.   The defendant, Georgia, refused to appear, claiming that as a “sovereign”, a state did not have to appear in court to hear a suit against it to which it did not consent.  This resulted in the Court 4–1 decision, found in favor of the plaintiff.  The constitutional interpretation handed down by that court argued that Article 3, Section 2, of the Constitution abrogated the States’ sovereign immunity and granted federal courts the affirmative power to hear disputes between private citizens and States.  As a result of this decision, Congress proposed the Eleventh Amendment, which granted states immunity from certain types of lawsuits in federal courts. This Amendment was ratified in 1795.

Only on day 102 of his presidency, Barack Obama now has the opportunity to start his “Justice Search”.  The eyes of America are pointed directly upon the 9 member court, knowing that President Obama’s choice could lean the court in a liberal direction.  The nine-member court has often split in 5-4 votes between conservative and liberal factions on a range of issues. 

Many are concerned upon the racial/gender representation in the Supreme Court, with Justice Clarence Thomas serving as the only African American on the court and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg serving as the only woman.   

Regardless of the choice, The president has made clear that he is looking for someone who is ”Dedicated to the Rule of law…” and someone with a “Sharp independent mind”, with the latter giving insight towards a more conservative Justice that I anticipate will be disputed by the left.  The one thing we know, is that whoever President Obama nominates, if confirmed by the Senate, the issues of; Separation of Church and State, Same Sex Marriage, and Patriot Act, might lie within the vote of this future Justice! 

Perhaps, John Jay did have an interpretation we all should remember in times like this, and keep this statement close when choosing a representative of the people, to properly interpret the laws that  the people will have to abide by:

 

Chief Justice John Jay

Chief Justice John Jay

 

“The people who own the country, ought to govern it”

Chief Justice John Jay

“Miss Nancy” and “Aunt Fancy”: The Secret Lives of Politicians on Display!

 

Charlie Crist

Charlie Crist

Growing up in a small town, one grows accustomed to certain “facts”.  The school district could all sit on one parcel of land, and if you are from the south, there is only one place to be on Friday night…the High School football game!  Neighboring families share history and when discussing family history, the family church must be also mentioned.  Dating can be awfully dreadful in a small town due to the fact that “blood relationships” are common among members of the opposite sex.  Feuds and Fights can last for generations, with no need for an explanation of why; that’s just how it’s always been.  

No small town can be a “true” small town, without a little taste of Gossip.  Some of the best Gossip takes place ironically after church, and typically about the people who attended church that Sunday.  “How could she show her face in service after what SHE’S done” or “it’s a wonder he could even stay awake during service, he was out all night!”.  Fashion critics, Music critic, Oratory Critics, show their expertise over the dinner table with always a disclaimer coming from the person with the juiciest person.  This disclaimer came as a warning that simply stated, “If I hear this again, I’ll know EXACTLY where it came from”!  With this staunch warning, one would not dare repeat the information shared over that dinner table;  because if he/her did, they would be nothing more than an idle gossiper, and heaven forbid anyone view them as nothing more than a “Gossiper”.

Believe it or not, there is an old adage about the origin of the word Gossip.  As it was told to me, “Early politicians required feedback from the public to determine what was considered important to the people.  Since there were no telephones, TVs or radios, the politicians sent their assistants to local taverns, pubs, and bars, instructing them to ‘go sip some ale’ and listen to people’s conversations and political concerns. When assistants were dispatched, they were told, ‘You go sip here’ and ‘You go sip there.’  The two words ‘go sip’ were eventually combined when referring to the local opinion and thus we have the term ‘gossip.”  Now whether or not this adage is really how the word Gossip was formed, you’ll have to keep reading to find out.

Although the adage has been questioned in years past, the irony lies, in that the lives of Politicians have been notoriously the root of much gossip.  This is most evident during campaign season, as we just experienced with this last election.  The number houses held by one politician and “Who’s the Mama” from his running mate, ran a hard race against a man who we were not sure was born in America, and with a running mate who was going to drop out of the race at any minute.  The gossip surrounding the last election is child’s play if we take a look back in history.

During the presidential campaign of 1800, the Federalists attacked Jefferson as an infidel and a Deist, claiming that Jefferson’s intoxication with the religious and political extremism of the French Revolution disqualified him from public office.  President Andrew Jackson dealt with much sorrow, when his wife was viciously attacked by his opposition after it was discovered that she was not divorced from her first husband when she married Jackson.  Although he won the election, his wife died of a heart attack after shopping for an inaugural dress; for the rest of his life he blamed the opposition’s attacks on his wife for her death.  But NONE of these compare with the gossip surrounding the “Bachelor President”…James Buchanan.

Not much now is discussed about James Buchanan, but when he was in office, scandalous rumors circulated about Buchanan, his “bachelorhood”…and his roommate Senator William R King, who would go on to be the shortest serving Vice-President in our nation’s history, due to his death only 45 days after taking office.  Buchanan and King were inseparable while in Washington.   President Andrew Jackson, known for speaking his mind, would begin referring to King as “Miss Nancy” and “Aunt Fancy”, while Aaron V. Brown (Governor of Tennessee) spoke of the two as “Buchanan and his wife”.  Below is an excerpt of a letter from Buchanan to King:

“I am now ‘solitary and alone,’ having no companion in the house with me. I have gone a wooing to several gentlemen, but have not succeeded with any one of them. I feel that it is not good for man to be alone; and should not be astonished to find myself married to some old maid who can nurse me when I am sick, provide good dinners for me when I am well, and not expect from me any very ardent or romantic affection.”

In hindsight, we must remember that men spoke in very classical and endearing ways at that time.  It is very possible that this letter was just a simple letter to a friend he missed while he was away.  Nonetheless, with all the other correspondents between the two gentlemen burned by their descendents, we will never know; but there is a video documentary that will is threatening to “Out” some modern day politicians who have advocated against gay rights in their respective offices.

Directed by Kirby Dick, “Outrage” premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival this week.  One of the politicians targeted by this film is Charlie Crist, Florida Governor, and a viable candidate for the 2012 election on the Republican Ticket.  As summed up by the director, he views this film a way to expose those politicians who live outwardly as straight men for political gain, advocating against issues that would help advance the Gay Community in achieving equal rights; while secretly living as homosexual men.  He hopes by making this film, these politicians will be bold enough to see that this is a bad decision both personally and politically.  Rallying around the fact that this is the 21st century, he hopes that this film will encourage politicians to know that they can run in their districts and win by honestly portraying their sexuality, whether on the Republican or Democratic ticket.

Now in regards to if the adage I told earlier is true…it too is mere Gossip.  The word “Gossip” spans far before our political system was in place, deriving from the old English word godsibb, a combination of god and sib, the term which was used for what we call Godparent.  In the 16th century, the word assumed the meaning of a person, mostly a woman, one who delights in idle talk and chatter.  The verb to gossip, meaning “to be a gossip”, first appears in the classical work of William Shakespeare.

In regards the reaction the documentary “Outrage” might receive, it’s almost certain to make friends and enemies; this I am sure of.  But maybe this will finally open an honest dialog that will address whether the American people should be more concerned with whom a politician takes to his/her bedroom, or the policies they are introducing in the Halls of Congress, which directly affects their lives.   Maybe James Buchanan had some feedback about the inner thought of a man, who might feel less of a man, because of his/her sexuality and how others view him or her.

James Buchanan 15th President of the United States

James Buchanan 15th President of the United States

“The test of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.

~James Buchanan

April 30, 2009

Day 101: Bankrupt or A New Lease on Life?

 

 

chrysler_logo1

Yesterday news stations around the country dug through their stock piles, and played everything from Obama’s inauguration speech, to seeing the Commander in Chief running alongside the new family addition.  Conservative stations rallied around many missteps made by the young administration, while more liberal stations cracked open the Champaign, and heralded the President as the “New Deal” of the 21st Century.  Report cards were given in an interactive report between news pundits and watchers.  Finally, the President gave a speech, being very honest about his opinion of the work accomplished by his administration, but far from content or satisfied.  The milestone of 100 days seemed to scoot by, only with the shadow of the flu lingering steadily over head…that was until today!

Day 101 marked a loss of profits for Exxon Mobil, which sent economic advisers into an analytical frenzy, while Wall Street took comfort in a lower jobless claim.  Then, shareholders at Chrysler were offered a deal that they had to refuse.

Shareholders were offered over a 60% loss, which the minority overwhelmingly weighed their distaste, causing Chrysler to file for bankruptcy.  For months, Chrysler maneuvered around bankruptcy, grasping with the fact that as of November 2008, their sales had fallen over 34%.  Speaking with its competitors, Chrysler was included in the “Big 3″ auto bailout, where American Taxpayer Dollars were pumped into the auto makers, with hopes that it would stimulate faith in their product, and faith in their leadership.  

The American Government stepped in even more, and from the White House, newly elected President Barack Obama, obligated the Government to stand behind the warranties given by Chrysler.  A very bold move, but a move that gave the appearance that the recent actions could work, as the long going negotiations with Fiat continued, and a deal seemed to be eminent.  With the President issuing his statement today, how does this bode for GM, Ford and the trust within the American people?  When first mentioned, approval ratings for the Auto Bailout under Former President Bush, waned at best, while Americans who had been forced into bankruptcy within their own lives, were forced to watch the government step in, and as of today, not save Chrysler from going down the same route.  Why did Chrysler not want bankruptcy, and how will this affect our already shaky economy, and our pocket books?

Maybe we should ask, “What is Bankruptcy?”  Bankruptcy is a legally declared inability or impairment of ability of an individual or organization to pay its creditors.  Plain and Simple!  You owe it, you can’t pay it, you now declare to the government that you are unable to meet your obligation.  One would ask, why on earth Chrysler would, or any other of the auto makers, be hesitant to simply tell the truth.  As the “Big Three” sat on Capitol Hill, they asked for tax payer dollars because of their inability to pay their debts, while the tax payers were struggling to pay their own debts.  The only reason, one could imagine that a company would avoid bankruptcy could be found in the following statement.  In Chapter 7, a debtor surrenders his or her non-exempt property to a bankruptcy trustee who then liquidates the property and distributes the proceeds to the debtor’s unsecured creditors. In exchange, the debtor is entitled to a discharge of some debt; however, the debtor will not be granted a discharge if he or she is guilty of certain types of inappropriate behavior(e.g. concealing records relating to financial condition).  In Chapter 11, unless appointed for cause, the debtor acts as trustee of the business.   This means, if within the bankruptcy investigation, Chrysler if found to have varying types of inappropriate behavior, the Federal Government would have been enablers, by using American Taxpayer Dollars, to keep the improprieties of auto leaders covered, by keeping their business running without an outside examination of their practices and books.

One may ask, “Who else will admit their problems were too great for the American Taxpayer to save”, and one may wonder if conservatives were right, if the American Government put taxpayers at risk by interfering within the free market economy.  What is evident is that this decision will likely set the tone for similar discussions with bondholders of General Motors Corp — which is now on the clock to restructure its operations by the end of May, which taxpayers also have a vested interest in.

 

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama

 

Today, President Obama ensured that he is confident that his auto taskforce will be able to work with GM in restructuring their operations and making it a more viable company.   The President also reassured America that he agreed with Chrysler’s decision to file for bankruptcy, and that it would reemerge stronger because of it.  

It is unmistakable that the number 100 can mark monumental success in grade and age, but when dealing with the tax payer dollars and a shaky free market society, Barack Obama just took a course in “Challenges in Negations 101″ taught by the American People.  Perhaps Alexander Hamilton said it best:

In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men the great difficulty lies in this: You must first enable the government to control the governed, and in the next place, oblige it to control itself. 
~Alexander Hamilton


Board Decides Fate: Shuffle – Step – Money – Entertainment!

 

 

 

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis

Wednesday night, I had the privilege of meeting with friends I have not seen together since the Inauguration.  After working closely with each other in Southwest Florida, a bond had developed that can be shared with no one else; through our collective experience, we shared something that can only be relived in memories, and we did just that!  Sitting around a small table, we relived our time in Robert E Lee County Florida, and of the many people that we met.  Our time spent together was not by happenstance, but it was destiny.  Where else could people from across the globe meet each other, fall in love with each other’s personality, and keep genuine concern about the each other’s well being.  

Our time together was ended after the country made its decision.  The bond we had built, pushing toward a common goal, was then cemented in posterity, and we then went on our separate ways.  I drove back to Texas, while another boarded a plane for Switzerland.  One decided to stay around an extra week to get some rest, while the last person drove back to the DC Metropolitan Area.  It is a weird feeling when ones future, at times, lye in the hands of a majority vote or when a group decides to go in a different direction.  Many of our lives are dependent upon the consensus of others, and we are not even aware of it.

This realization came abruptly to Kenneth Lewis, CEO at Bank of America, during a board meeting Wednesday.  Mr. Lewis was removed by a majority vote from his position as Chairman of the Board, but was unanimously supported, by the board, in being kept on as CEO.  With the recent downturn in the economy, his steady hand and judgment was examined by the way he handled the acquisition of Merrill Lynch.  Several shareholders stood to their feet, and freely expressed their anger, disappointment, and personal loss due to the banks mismanagement by Lewis.

It appeared that the root of his alleged bad judgment call, came from his willingness to support and push for the acquisition of Merrill Lynch, after becoming aware of its current losses.   Shareholders expressed, with good reason, the disclosure of this information would have weighed heavily against their support of the deal: which cost one shareholder $27,000.  Mr. Lewis defended himself by stating, “It [the acquisition] was “good value” and that abandoning the deal would have caused “serious harm” to Bank of America and other banks.”  According to Lewis, “as a legal matter, there was no duty” to disclose the bank’s talks with the government.”  Undoubtedly, the decision is viewed as a precursor of a similar decision regarding his current position at B of A.  

In this case, one can not overlook the amount of trust placed upon an Executive, System, Administrator, or Liaison to the People/Members/Boards.  Time and time again, history shows that once these players lose faith in their leaders, all that was certain, in respect and protocol, becomes uncertain and shaky at best.  In 1867, congress enacted the Tenure of Office act, because they suspected the President would misuse the power of his office.  As predicted, he (in their eyes) abused that said power, and they proceeded with the Impeachment of President Andrew Johnson.  The same thing happened when TV Evangelist Jim Baker was accused with the mismanagement of funds and infidelity while overseeing the PTL Club.  Jerry Falwell took over as Executive Director of the operations, and publically denounced his fellow brother in the ministry, thus ending the credibility of Jim Baker and his family.

Although the people hold their leaders accountable to certain standards, and when violated, take measures to oust them: What happens when the leaders decide that “They” must go a different direction from their employer?  

You can currently watch this being played out in the interesting merger of William Morris and Endeavor.  These two “Hollywood Rivals” decided on Monday to merge, creating the quintessential Hollywood Powerhouse that is already speculated to dominate the industry, while other smaller agencies cope with the Recession.  With William Morris signing Grammy Award Winner Mary J Blige on Wednesday, one would think this upcoming merger would be viewed positively by all players involved.  Not So!

 

Literary Agent Richard Abate

Literary Agent Richard Abate

 

Representing Endeavor on the other coast, Richard Abate boasts a loyal and faithful clientele, while having a clear track record of scoring his clients healthy deals.  After fighting his way in court to work at Endeavor, it became apparent that the literary focus of these two powerhouse agencies was waning…at best.  But, with a 114 year history, William Morris’s literary department has stronger roots and is much bigger than that of Endeavor, leaving an obvious decision for Mr. Abate to make, which was to not join his employer in the final merge as William Morris Endeavor.

Parting ways, under any circumstance, isn’t a sought after component to any relationship.  When choosing professions, one weighs his options by choosing what he can see himself doing for the rest of his life.  When choosing a place to live, one envisions himself content and happy there until his dying days.  When reciting marriage vows, we end each solemn oath by stating “Till Death Do Us Part”.  Unfortunately, with a bad economy forcing people out of their jobs, homes, and marriages, one can only hope that recovery is sweet and swift.

Perhaps, the great playwright understood all the more when he penned these famous lines:

“Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, That I shall say good night till it be morrow.” 

~William Shakespear

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

April 29, 2009

Personal or Political: Specter Jumps Ship!

 

Democratic Senator: Arlen Specter

Democratic Senator: Arlen Specter

It was an exciting time as the crowd grew at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago.  A steady stream of loyal followers flowed from the Chicago Coliseum to the Auditorium Theatre, waiting for their leader and former President to take the stage.  Republican Primaries have posed challenges for Republican Candidates since its inception in 1912.  Theodore Roosevelt, feeling like the more qualified candidate and best spokesperson for the party, beat both of his challengers 9-2 out right in the primaries of 1912, and naturally felt as if he would be undergoing the best exercise of his life; Running For Office!

Amazingly Roosevelt’s run for office did not go as he originally planned, and as he dawned the stage to address those delegates he found so faithful, these precious words articulated the true task he felt was forgotten by the Republican Party, “To destroy this invisible Government, to dissolve the unholy alliances between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.”  After this platform was adopted, he went out on the campaign trail, and even after a “would be” assassin’s bullet, struck and lodged in his chest, Teddy Roosevelt stated, “I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.” 

As Arlen Specter stood addressing the cameras, the 29year Senator spoke with the same vigor as a wounded politician of old.   “Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.” Specter stated, and not a moment too soon!  As he left his office to dawn the capitol, constituents met the Republican Senator not with torches and pitchforks outside his office, but with warm greetings, cheers and applause.  Specter had found his audience…the people he was sent to represent!

Changing parties in the United States Senate is not a new phenomenon, nor is it an explainable action.  One must believe, that the Senator who’s made his choice, has spent long hours in deep deliberation with his own being, before jumping off of the Titanic and onto the Carpathia

If you watched any news station today, you would have thought that this was the first time a Senator left the Republican Party.  Playing it down, most Republican Pundits and Strategists stated, “They saw it coming” and that “He was doing this to save his own political career”.  Regardless of his reasoning, the Republican Party has had a strong history of its elected members parting ways.  Below is a list of Senators who have taken the same leap of faith that Arlen Specter took today:

  • Miles Poindexter of Washington. Republican to Progressive in 1913 and back to Republican in 1915.
  • Robert M. La Follette, Sr. of Wisconsin. Republican, ran as Progressive for President in 1924.
  • Robert M. La Follette, Jr. of Wisconsin. Republican to Progressive in 1935.
  • George W. Norris of Nebraska. Republican to Independent in 1937.
  • Henrik Shipstead of Minnesota. Farmer-Labor to Republican in 1941.
  • Wayne Morse of Oregon. Republican to Independent in 1953 and to Democrat in 1955.
  • Strom Thurmond of South Carolina. Independent Democrat to Democrat in 1956 and then to Republican in 1964.
  • Harry F. Byrd, Jr. of Virginia. Democrat to Independent in 1971.
  • Richard Shelby of Alabama. Democrat to Republican in 1994.
  • Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado. Democrat to Republican in 1995.
  • Bob Smith of New Hampshire. Republican to Independent in 1999, and back to Republican in 1999.
  • James Jeffords of Vermont. Republican to Independent in 2001.

Out of 12 Senators that have switched parties within the last 100 years, 7 of them (at some point) left the Republican Party.  This pattern points toward two factors that both Republicans and Democrats should be aware of.  

a. The Republican Party is capable of driving away its members and delegates!

Since 1938, only 10 identifiable years could Republican’s (versus 27 years for Democrats) boast that they controlled a majority of the States Legislatures in the US.  This is a clear reflection of the Republican Party’s inability to articulate its strengths and/or beliefs to the constituents back home in their states and districts.  Because of this weakness, former Representatives (in both the House and the Senate) have had to switch their party affiliations to correlate with the mindset of the people they represent.  One must remember, Washingtonians do not elect Senators, only states and districts have that power; and an elected official is only a reflection of those he represents in those districts and states.  

b. Republicans have a way of bouncing back!

We must remember that the last time Democrats were in a position to have a “Filibuster Proof” Senate; the political atmosphere was very similar to the one we are living in now.  Ford had just lost the election to the Fresh, Un-Tarnished, Governor who had not been corrupted by Washington Politics…Jimmy Carter!  Over those next few years, bipartisan efforts ceased to exist, inflaming the Right!  It was during this period the “Moral Majority” saw its emergence on the scene, and Reagan Democrats were born, costing Democrats the Majority.  

Regardless of whether Specter just wanted to secure, in his mind, a viable race for the Senate seat he’s held for 29 years, or if the Republican party has moved so far right, it pushed Specter off the boat, the fact remains that partisan politics distracted the American people and its leaders from tackling problems such as:  Affordable Health Care, Lowering Poverty Levels, Equal Rights for Women in the Workplace, and lastly…pushing legislation through that would properly fund research to cure AIDS and Cancer.  

Maybe our Founding Father had an accurate foresight of political parties, a warning that we might want to heed:

“However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

George Washington: No Party Affiliation

George Washington: No Party Affiliation

GEORGE WASHINGTON, Farewell Address, Sep. 17, 1796

April 28, 2009

“This Little Piggie Went to the Market: This Little Piggy Might be in Your Home!

 

 

Will They Catch Me?

Will They Catch Me?

On June 5th 1981, doctors and 5 men in Los Angeles were confused, bewildered, and scared.  A clammy feeling turned into fatigue, which led to respiratory problems and a fever.  All tests were inconclusive, and were pointing to something more than they had ever seen.  One by one, doctors examined books, their patients, and each other; totally unaware that these 5 men would be the first of millions to die with a little known disease called AIDS.  Unaware of where it came from, although it is suspected that it either came from the result of the pursuit of a vaccine for poliomyelitis disease or it arrived here in 1969 from Haiti, 27 years later doctors still examine books and patients,  searching for a cure to this disease before millions of other people die as well.

A true oddity lies in the fact that in 1945 we developed the hydrogen bomb and killed millions.  Consequently, we have been watchful of all countries who have developed this same technology, fighting conflicts just to have more control of an unpleasant outcome from the misuse of this technology; while with faster computers and many advancements in science and medicine, we still have not produced a vaccine or antidote that strongly combats and/or cures AIDS and HIV, leaving millions of children and adults alike across the globe helpless.

Another strange occurrence has developed over the last 72 hours.  A week after President Obama’s visit to Mexico, a combination of swine flu, bird flu, and human flu viruses sprouted in Mexico, and has swept across the America’s, killing 149 people…so far.  While viruses with this genetic makeup had not previously been found circulating in humans or pigs, there is no formal national surveillance system to determine what viruses are circulating in pigs in the U.S.  “The word ‘containment’ is really inappropriate or … unneeded at this time. It’s too late. The swine flu is here,” said Dr. Bonnie Sorensen, chief deputy director of the California Department of Public Health.

I have one simple question:  Is there a formal surveillance system to detect WHERE and HOW this strand of flu developed, or will we be left with as many unanswered questions that we still have with AIDS/HIV?

Some reporters found it very strange that this strain of “Swine Flu” cannot be protected against by the human seasonal H1N1 flu or “Flu Shot” so commonly taken here in America.  Others have found it strange that, as stated by World Health Organization officials, it could take 4-6 months before the first batch of vaccines is available to fight the virus.  When White House Press Secretary Gibbs was questioned by reporters in regards of a possible Bio Terrorism attack that might have targeted the President, Gibbs would only reassure reporters that he had spoken to the doctors who treat the President, and they were confident in the good health and safety of the Commander in Chief. 

Will WHO, World Health Organization, move the current alert from 4 to 6 if more cases are found here in the US and overseas?  If this “Swine Flu” evolves into a pandemic, will America be properly prepared financially to handle the situation?  According to Dave Obbey D-WI, “We have been trying to get adequate funding to prepare the nation for a pandemic outbreak since 2005. We tried again as recently as January in the economic recovery package. Whether or not this influenza strain turns out to have pandemic potential, sooner or later some strain will.”  In January, as the stimulus package and budget was being hashed over party lines, “Pandemic Diseases” were considered “Left-Wing Agenda” and demonized in the media…along with Volcano Monitoring.

Pandemic Diseases were not the only thing halted, and/or ignored as this new administration has been coming together.  Because of suspected funds given to Gov. Sebelius of Kansas by a doctor who has performed abortions, Republicans had stalled her confirmation as the Head of the Department of Health and Human Services.  This agency is also waiting for 20 more positions to be confirmed by the Senate.  In the mean time, DHHS will still be working, although not fully staffed, closely with the CDC in preventing and treating Swine Flu.  It is apparent that partisan politics has again, jeopardized the health and well being of the American Citizens, while nightly news pundits reiterate that, “This may only be the beginning”.

One would think that on Monday, all of our Representatives were in Washington, searching for ways to make sure their states and districts were prepared for this “Swine Flu”.  Amazingly, some congressmen/women found time to focus their attention on other matters:  Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts), Donna Edwards (D-Maryland), Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota), Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia), and Lynn Woolsey (D-California) were arrested Monday April 27th.  While each one of them showed their passion about the blocking of aid to victims in Darfur, they were not arrested for that.  The Representatives were arrested for ignoring warnings issued by police maintaining a police line to protect the Sudan Embassy in Washington D.C.  The same orders that are given to anyone protesting in front of any of the congressional office buildings to protect the representatives inside were ignored by these congressmen/women.  The irony of it all is that Cong. Jim McGovern is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Rules and the Organization of the House.  

The priorities of a government will never have unison interpretation.  Healthcare, Homelessness, Economics, and Peace will all be matters argued in the Halls of Congress, and their priorities will be determined by those who hold the majority.  Maybe the statement of a man who served both as President and then died while serving in Congress could sum up the sentiments of the current predicament:

6th President of the United States

6th President of the United States

 

“Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people.”

~John Quincy Adams  

April 27, 2009

Reaching 100 is an Impressive Milestone: Even for a President!

 

 

Leading A Nation

Barack Obama

As the chatter in the room began to settle, all eyes focused on the beautiful birthday

William Henry Harrison

William Henry Harrison

 cake that came out of the kitchen.  One hundred years is a long time for anything to be around, but this lady sat there with every bit of confidence in knowing…she made it.  Voices sprang up from all corners of the small dining room, as “Happy Birthday” in various harmonies were sang to the small but yet powerful figure sitting at the head of the table.  With anticipation, all the guests wondered the same thing, “Could she do it?  Could she blow out the candles?”  We all know that people drive from miles around to give presents, convey their well wishes, but the high point of the evening is to see all the candles blown out.  The small frame stood grasping the table.  As everyone watched, a beautiful lace fringed fan came into site, and a rapid motion began.  A perfume scented breeze filled the room, and simultaneously blew out the light of every candle.  With a big, beautiful grin she said in a sly but commanding voice, ” With all the love in this room, I’ll conserve the little bit of air I got left in these lungs, and let the air on the outside do all the work”.  The room bursts in to laughter and grins all because she did it!  She blew out 100 candles, and she did it her way.  This confirmed to everyone that she was very much still in control, and that control was not to be underestimated by anybody!

I don’t believe one could compare the wisdom of one hundred years to a mere one hundred days, but some could argue that Barack Obama has seen and experienced more in his one hundred days in office, than most will ever experience in a lifetime.

It seems like a year ago, crowds stood in the cold inside and outside different gates, malls, and subway tunnel; just to experience the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States.  The American people knew that there were many problems that needed to be solved, but for those precious moments, those problems halted their voices long enough to hear that sacred oath be taken at the Capitol.  Those precious moments, would be the last moments Barack Obama would be void of responsibility for the most powerful country on the planet.  Within a moment, meetings were scheduled, and this man went right to work…and he continues to work on his own terms!  With strict direction to “Cut what doesn’t work”, his cabinet members left that meeting knowing that President Obama has a mission, and he intends on seeing this mission through to the end.

On April 8th, President Obama established a White House Office of Healthcare Reform that provides leadership to the executive branch in establishing policies, priorities, and objectives for the Federal Government’s comprehensive effort to improve access to health care, the quality of such care, and the sustainability of the health care system.  Although overshadowed by the budget, Obama’s attention to the need of upgrade within our healthcare system is imperative.  Healthcare in the United States ranks last in the quality of health care among developed countries, with 16% of the population (in 2006) without health insurance.  The argument among pundits, with heavy influence from the economy, is whether a public healthcare system would add to our national debt now, and take away from America’s financial independence in the future, or be a step towards sound investment in America’s future that protects employers and current/future employees.  Nonetheless, within his first 100 days, Obama has begun to address this issue.

On February 6th, President Obama created the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.  As read in the document, this Advisory Board is to: 

(a) solicit information and ideas from across the country and from all sectors of our economy about the functioning of the economy, the condition of the financial and banking system, and the prosperity of the American people and of American industry that can serve to inform the decisionmaking of the President, and, with respect to matters deemed appropriate by the President, provide information and recommendations to any other agency with responsibilities related to the economy or financial markets or to the National Economic Council;

(b) report directly to the President on the design, implementation, and evaluation of policies to promote the growth of the American economy, establish a stable and sound financial and banking system, create jobs, and improve the long-term prosperity of the American people; and

(c) provide analysis and information with respect to the operation, regulation, and healthy functioning of the economy and of the financial and banking system. As deemed appropriate by the President, this analysis and information shall be provided to the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, to any other agency with responsibilities related to the economy or financial markets, or to the National Economic Council. 

This action shows that President Obama is not following the lead of his predecessors by waiting for the financial system to fix its self, or by creating programs that might hinder the sustainability of a future government.  President Obama has had 100 days of a fun fact finding mission, showing that even after the recession ends, the pain is likely to persist and the economy could continue to struggle as it strives to find a firm footing.  Fingers have been pointed on both sides of the isle, with the American public convinced that not only did someone fall asleep at the wheel, but there was no one in the car to nudge and wake the driver.  At this time not many are optimistic about seeing a quick turnaround in conditions.  As late as this week, stress tests were given to United States banks, and with the results being released in May, most sectors central to economic growth is still found languishing.   

What I have mentioned so far is only TWO Presidential Actions, leaving out countless other bills signed into law that positively affect and protect; Equal Pay in the Workplace for women as well as the health and well being of children.  

The mustard of a President isn’t tested within his/her first 100 days in office, but its true test lies in posterity.  The glimpse we have seen within these few months will not accurately or adequately discern the lasting imprint his actions, while in office, will have upon the framework and fabric of this nation.

When asked the secret to a long happy life, Ida simply looked around the room and stated, “The secret I have learned was never up to me, but was put inside of me, and there’s nothing I can do about it.”  Perhaps in regards to the office of president and what we the people can hope the office holder would like to attain while serving, might just be summed up by a man who only spent 45 days there.

 He simply stated, “Sir, I wish to understand the true principles of the Government. I wish them carried out. I ask nothing more.”

 - William Henry Harrison 9th President of the United States of America

 

 

April 26, 2009

“Hey! We Looked You Over” and were inspired. Thanks Bea!

 

I was 10 years old when I came up with, what I thought at the time, a brilliant idea!  My sister and I had absolutely fallen in love with Lucille Ball, and we decided that if we loved her so much, why not meet her.  Running through the kitchen, I startled my mother; and with much excitement, I expressed my desire to meet Lucille Ball.  As I rambled on and on, mother simply took her seat and uttered those ill fated words that we all hate to hear,” I’m sorry hun, but Lucy has passed away.  She passed away a few years ago!”  What else could she do?  Those words, being so final, dashed the one desire that I had…to simply say thank you for making my day a little brighter.  

The years kept going by, any I began to write T.V. pilots for fun, and I developed a property called “The Good Life”.  Oh what a line up I had:  Shirley McClain married to Jack Lemmon, Ozzie Davis married to Ruby Dee (not too hard to picture), and Betty White married to Walter Mathau.  Three neighbors, who found themselves in many unthinkable situations, the classic “situation comedy” that was mainly character driven.  But, as the years went on, we lost Walter…and then Jack…and finally Ozzie.  Half the cast gone like that, without even a chance to meet them, learn from them, to express to them how they inspired and touched my life.  I simply tucked the pilot away, and soldiered on.  

Today as I went up the escalator at Union Station, a Reuter’s message alerted my phone that another great star had gone on to join the many players that had taken their final bows before…Bea Arthur.  Immediately, stunned & Jarred, I called friends and family alerting them that Bea had passed away.  Several people, who like me had never met Bea in person, stopped in their tracks, displayed their grief, and without much of a choice were forced to face a harsh reality…it’s final, and she’s gone.

Being a little older and more acquainted with death, I found myself earlier thinking of the “Maude” and “Mame”.  The out spoken characters she played that poked fun at the traditionalistic society we lived in and empowered women to speak out, appreciating their voices that had been muted and/or ignored for so long.  I thought…who else would have shaken the barrel, and displayed a character that contemplated abortion, and equal right for women?  Who else would have spoken proudly about divorce, and the insensitivity men of all races shared?  Who else but Bea, could embrace her sexuality, and demand we embrace it as well…and we did.  

She slipped away from us, ending a battle with cancer Saturday morning.  A part of me was upset, because in my mind no disease could lick Bea…no sir; there was no doubt in my mind that she could lick anything that came her way.  I was reminded of the strength her character Dorothy portrayed when being diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in “The Golden Girls”.  Relentlessly her character went from doctor to doctor, demanding a diagnosis and not settling for less.  Lighting the fire under her girlfriends, telling them that sexual harassment would not be tolerated, and that just because of their age, life did not nor would it stop.  No, Bea portrayed a character that had strength and spoke up for us in ways we were not yet prepared to articulate.  Thank you dear!

I wish I could have thanked her in person for one thing in particular that touched my heart so dearly.  

When Lucille Ball was honored by the Kennedy Center, Bea got the opportunity to say thank you and pay tribute in person to Lucy, and she did it well.  Although I was too young to understand what was going on, or that it even happened…I like to think, Bea kind of knew that there were many people out there who were speaking, dancing, and singing through her, to say thank you to another great entertainer.  Now, as she joins Lucy, I hope Bea can see just what impact she had on America, The World, and even Me.

See, I would have never persevered with my career, until I saw one of her interviews.  She spoke of how different and how her voice being low, height being tall did not fit the typical blueprint for women in show business at that time…but she kept going.  Having a strong southern accent, a love of more classical styles of music, and playing the piano, left me feeling out of place growing up, but she changed all of that, and for that I want to say thank you.

Thank you Bea, for being a Friend!

She Tugged Our Hearts

She Tugged Our Hearts

April 24, 2009

Torture, Pirates & Beauty: Just Another Week!

Picture it:  A rather cool April in Massachusetts and the town is filled with gossip.  Your neighbor and Pastor have just been convicted of things you would have never imagined, and now you are going to see for yourself if these accusations are true!  Things and people around you have changed drastically in the last month, and a watchful eye is given to the detail of your every action.  For you might be the next accused of the horrible crime that has plagued everything you knew to be right!  

You might ask, what on earth could be happening around me that could cause such suspicion.  Well, if you were living in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692, you might wake up to what appeared to be a normal day, and go to bed in shackles, because you are suspected for being a Witch.

Torture is not foreign to the foundation of America.  Even in its Colonial days, if coupled with eye-witnessed accounts, persons would be tortured to death, if the right answer was not forthcoming or if the “truth” was not derived from proper questioning.  In the 18th and 19th century, slaves were tortured to release information regarding other runaways or to reveal the names of those who might have taught them the vile act of reading.  Wives of many men in the 19th, 20th and even 21st centuries have suffered physical and mental torture, as their quests for equal rights and equal pay are still being fought in the workplace.

Even within our schools, torture has been translated in the form of bullying on students and teachers alike.  In the 1970′s, Gay teachers were targeted in many schools across the nation as the cause of pedophilia, leading to the end of many careers and many lives.  The bullying of more effeminate boys and masculine girls have mentally tortured and effected the lives of many students, driving a young man to suicide even as late as this week.  Shepeherd Smith declared that “THIS IS AMERICA AND WE DO NOT TORTURE”, which is what many American’s would like to believe and according to our agreement with the United Nations we have vowed to uphold.

In 1987 the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) was adopted.  In Article 2, it explicitly outlines torture and/or one’s motivations behind such treatment: 

Article 2
1. Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.
2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.
3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.

The United States of America have no excuse for torture of any kind, whether intended or implied; not when on behalf of the American Citizens, an agreement with other nations has been signed stating that we will take measures to Prevent acts of torture.  Franklin Pierce stated, “We have nothing in our history or position to invite aggression; we have everything to beckon us to the cultivation of relations of peace and amity with all nations.”  One can see how although time continues pass, the quest for peace an amity with all nations is still present by some in this country.

Now there are those who have been glorified in years past for not honoring agreements, treaties, or promises of humane treatment to prisoners.  Jack Sparrow, a fictional character, has been heroined and even idolized by some.  He had sparked a new interest in Pirates, that took the country and world by storm just has Captain Hook in Peter Pan stole the hearts of children and parents alike.  Unfortunately, the world got a look at a true pirate.  Smiling as he is paraded in front of the cameras, this teenager was a real gun and hostage holding pirate, who lived…unlike many of his colleagues.  

One might wonder, what drives a person to the brink of being a “pirate”?  It could be assumed that a Pirate is a product of one’s environment.  In the 14th and 15th centuries, as most of Europe were expanding their empires by killing natives in foreign lands, tearing down huts, and raising royal flags; many destitute individuals learned from their magistrates, and commanded vessels taking land and gold stolen from empires that stole it from natives, who lived peacefully before their arrivals.  The pirates that made headlines this past week, were not as grand as “Blackbeard” but were simply a reflection of a country that has a large Diaspora community, ravaged by the effects of civil war.  The flash bulbs that captured the image of the “smiling boy pirate”, mirrored the flashes of gunfire that undoubtedly influenced he and his comrades to commandeer vessels and commit the acts of old, which bear no reflection of Peter Pan!

If one were to ask Miss California, she may attest to being tortured on every television show this week for her comments.  When asked her Opinion by Perez Hilton, she stated clearly that in “Her” America marriage was between a Man and a Woman.  This view, although now risqué, at one time was the not so far from normal.  With a Moral Majority still present here in America, one can only conclude, she too is a product of her community.  And with her statements, apparitions appeared before men, and upon the torture block she stood, with the magistrates waiting for the proper answer to be given:  Do you believe in Same Sex Marriage.  

This debate, in my mind, will not be ended within the next 20 years.  Pastors of many faiths have banned the act of same sex relationships and relations within the lives of their parishioners.  Although, many of these same pastors have been demonized by their contemporaries for succumbing to their own “vile” temptations, and being literally “caught” in the act, the view homosexuality for some in America is still “curable”, and it is this view that must be debated!

 Fredrick Douglass stated “I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.”   A statement that has been lived by both Perez Hilton and Miss California within the last week has played out right in front of the American people.  Both seem to be proud of their beliefs, and both have courageously stood before the masses and taken the bitter tongue lashing of ridicule by media pundits and internet rumors alike.  What has not happened is a conversation or a work session between these two people, who could use this opportunity to really find a common ground, or an answer to this growing popular question!

What I do know, is that only in America could torture tactics, smiling pirates, and dueling queens be normality in…just another week!

December 2, 2008

Your Last Impression: To My Dear Friend

It was my plan to take a few days off to observe the Thanksgiving Holidays, and instead of blogging, spend some much needed time with my friends and family.  Wednesday Night, I met up with some of my closest friends at the local watering hole, and had the best time of my life.  On Thanksgiving Morning, my family poured in, and again I was reminded that no one tells taller tales than Texans!  We laughed, ate, slept, and ate again…truly an American Experience was enjoyed down in the Texas back country.  Friday morning, I carried on the tradition of “left-overs”, and caught up on some much needed “me time”.  I took for granted the lack of phone calls, due to “Black Friday” and the first official day that marks the beginning of the Christmas Holidays.  Saturday morning changed my feelings about the whole holiday.

As I had neglected to do on Thanksgiving, I decided to read the local news paper and catch up on “local news”.  Last Sunday, I was asked by my Pastor to give an overview of my experience while working on the Obama Campaign, and I thought that by tying in local news, and how the election had already effected the way some things are done here at home, my message would be better received.  I was not expecting to read a piece of devastating news.  One of my dear friends I met with Wednesday Night, died in a fatal car accident as he left our meeting.  Because my new number was not published, and I was trying to keep away from communication from people other than family, I was left grasping the fact that I lost a great friend through an impersonal source…the newspaper.  Not typically startled, I was totally taken aback, remembering the conversation I just had with him, inviting him to spend Thanksgiving with my family, if he would’ve been lonely or without family.  I recalled our “dance moves” in the corner of the packed bar, while waiting for more ladies to grace the smoke filled room.  There was no doubt in my mind that he loved me as a dear friend, and that he knew I felt the same way.  Sadly, there was no doubt in my mind that I would see him the next day, or the following weekend, alive, well, and waiting for the next big laugh that we both could stand.  The latter did not happen. 

Adam left a lasting impression on me, that made me glad to consider myself his friend.  I wonder, can this feeling be translated into government.  Are our representatives truly “Honored” or “Happy” to serve us, and be our Representatives in Washington.  

Right now in the State of Georgia, a Senate race is being fought with as much vigor as they had in the “Good Ole’ Days” when the Bull Moose Party was alive and well.  This race could determine, whether or not the Democrats efforts to become “Filibuster Proof”, will end a theory held by Republicans.  That if Democrats control both houses, and the white house, that America will became a Liberal Hell to live in.  But what is Conservative, and what is Liberal.  Lately, the lines have been blurred so, that one might be confused, who, or where in the fight you stand.  

Abraham Lincoln wrote, that conservatism is “adherence to the old and tried, against the new and untried.”  Something odd coming from the man who wrote the Emancipation Proclamation!  Liberalism is a broad class of political philosophies that consider individual liberty to be the most important political goal. When reminded of these two principles, one can see a battle between the two methods of thought, that will be an ever endless battle for right…within these two methods.  The last election demonstrated these concepts whole heartily.  But my question still remains, are our Representatives, who are to represent our places within these schools of thought, thankful, and or appreciative, to have the honor of working for us…the people.

Today in headlines across America, President Bush was reported as stating that he was “unprepared” for war.  While at the same time admitting the people voted for Barack Obama mainly because of his communication skills, which apparently is a change from what he has been capable of doing.  He stated,  “And I’m sure some people voted for Barack Obama because of me. I think most people voted for Barack Obama because they decided they wanted him to be in their living room for the next four years explaining policy.”

North of us, an Alaskan Senator made a statement that truly spoke to the heart of this conversation.  “If she wants to be president, I don’t think the way to the presidency is a short stop in the United States Senate,”  Senator Murkowski stated in regards of Gov. Palin.  I agree wholly.  The stop that should be made to any seat whether as dog catcher or the national pooper scooper, is through the hearts and minds of the American People.  I feel that Barack Obama did speak to the hearts of the American People, properly articulating his desire to represent us honorably.  Sadly, I do not feel as if that “Concept” has “Trickled Down” as of yet.  Who knows…maybe I’m wrong.

This week I was introduced to Linda Grover.  A writer, battling cancer, and working on a wonderful project called Global Family Day.  From the website you can garner exactly what impression we should be having towards one another; ” On January 1, at the start of the United Nations Year of the Planet, let’s all gather at our electronic hearth and celebrate life on earth together. Lets replace hate and hunger with peace and sharing, and begin to unite our global family”.  I encourage all of you do visit this website:  www.gfday.org, and speak to your representatives whether they serve on a local or national level, and have them adopt the philosophy of this project.  

As for Adam, he is in a much better place right now, surrounded by people who loved him and have gone on before him .  As for his friends, we are left with fun memories filled with laughter and smiles.  The impression he left on us, I would not trade for the world.  I feel blessed to know that I was able to play a small part in his Big Life during the 26 years he spent with us.  Let us hope that our Representatives can leave us with a similar impression…for they never know, the work that they do today, could be their last impression!

November 25, 2008

I Beg Your Pardon: Mainstreet?

Yesterday, I was re-acquainted with the “convenience” of living in a smaller community or as some have coined it…main street.  After being apart of the military, and living in Los Angeles, coming back to a quaint community can in itself be a culture shock.  During the weekend we received word of an old friend of mine, who had moved to California, had gotten into a bind.  His mother had recently been diagnosed with some medical problems, and with the normal reaction of most…he wanted to come home!  Due to the downturn in the economy, he had not found adequate work, so he did not have the disposable income to just dash thousands of miles.  To those who were his friends at home, they too wanted to see him come to the aid of his mother, but like he was in California, things did not look good on the home front and there was no way to get him home.  So with a common goal of getting this friend home, people chipped in five dollars here and ten dollars there, until the amount needed was reached, and he is on a bus now headed home to be with his mother.  This was a perfect example of the social contract that we all share with each other, being upheld and carried out.  Something that had not been displayed on Wall Street.

With all of the talk about “Wall Street” and “Main Street”, one would wonder if these are just terms of endearment, or terms that define real, tangible people and places.  Perhaps I can explain.  There is a distinct difference between Wall Street (which is a physical place), and Main Street (Which is a term that has been used to describe a broader element of America).

Wall Street, the first permanent home of the Stock Exchange, is a street in lower Manhattan, NY, that runs East from Broadway.  Its’ name was derived from the fact that in the 17th century,  Wall Street was actually the northern boundary of the New Amsterdam settlement.  The NYSE, NASDAQ, AMEX, NYMEX, and NYBOT all call this street home.  When referring to “Wall Street”, the term is usually used to describe those working in this financial district.  So, when watching television, and hearing reporter after reporter talk about bailing out “Wall Street”, they really mean the people who work and are effected by those within some corporations and/or institution, that have some dealing with the financial district on this Street.  We know which businesses and institutions are represented on this street, and by who.  

This is one of the only streets in America, who’s dealings effect the actions and trade on every Main Street across this nation.  Mainstreet is the metonym for a generic street name (and often the official name) of the primary retail street of a village or town in many parts of the world. It is usually a focal point for shops and retailers in the central business district, and is most often used in reference to retailing and socialising.  This term is very vague, and can basically be described as every street but Wall Street.

What is even more vague, is the distinct plan that has been promised by politicians in Washington to save Main Street.  Main Street, for some reason, has been on the lips of speakers at every news conference since September.  Paulson has now said that all of the programs initiated by the government, is to support lending, which has been down and is important to the survival of this economy.  A pair of plans that equal up to $800 billion dollars has been introduced to do just that.  This money will help unfreeze the market for consumer debt which Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is stressing again to be a vital part of this economy.

Here is my question?  We are basing the success of our economy, on lending, to people who have nothing, and can only offer a promise, based on the future which now looks bleak.  Not actual cold cash, but a “Promise”.  Lets not forget that on every dollar that we have, there are two words that simply state that its “legal tender”, and it’s also a “Promissory Note”.  To say the least, some answers should be given, and given quickly on how Wall Street got Main Street in the mess altogether.

This time during the political transition, we will also begin to hear a great deal about Pardons by the exiting President.  A pardon is the forgiveness of a crime and the penalty associated with it.  Ford pardoned Nixon, and Johnson Pardoned the Confederacy.  However, I do not believe that it is the wish or desire for Main street to pardon Wall Street.   A debt to Main street is now owed, and can not be pardoned until it is repaid!

November 24, 2008

Another Day, Another Dollar…Maybe!

An apartment filled with college students made for a sentimental scene last night.  None of them having a lot of money, all chipped in, and made a meal together.  With term papers being written in one corner, while the game Halo was being played in the other, seeing the camaraderie was simply amazing.  In the kitchen, the “master chef” was making sure the enchiladas were being prepared with the utmost care, for some it was their last dime going into that meal, and he was not going to screw it up.  Outside, a girl expresses her hate for hot dogs.  When questioned about her hatred for the American classic snack, she informed the group of her upbringing, and after being poor, only having that to eat, she detests the food altogether.  A young friend dropped by, which they expected, and his hunger was not ignored.  Last night, I was invited to a meal made from love, made by young people, made from the last some of them had, made to be shared with everyone.  

If you think that the economic downfall has effected only Wall Street, which is all that we hear about on T.V., then you have not even thought about the young professionals, gearing up to hopefully start their careers.  School loans are not paying for enough, more students are working full-time while going to school full time, many students are not returning for the next semester, and the holidays are not looking good for retailers.

Some news you might not have been expecting, will be effecting those young professionals, who’s profession in good times is not always consistent.  The “glamorous” SAG Members  in Los Angeles, may be on the brink of a strike.  “We will now launch a full-scale education campaign in support of a strike-authorization referendum,” SAG said.  If with 75% support from its members, more young and old people who “were” working, will be on strike…and not working.  Someone must ask, where does it stop?

That’s not it!  Hollywood is being impacted in another way as well at the Weinstein Company.  The Weinstein Company is an independent American Film Company founded by Harvey and Bob Weinstein in 2005 after the pair left Miromax Films, which they had co-founded in 1979.  The Weinstein Co. has announced that they are laying off 11% of its staff.  This is not a sign of good things to come for Tinsel Town.  With the homeless on the street growing and visible, many young entertainment professionals are leaving Tinsel Town for Main Street, while others are literally living on the street.

With the Holidays approaching, most young professionals usually pick up seasonal work, that is needed by retailers due to an increase of sales for Christmas.  U.S. sales of apparel, shoes and appliances fell dramatically in the first two weeks of November, as consumers worried about a recession and job losses further cut spending, MasterCard Advisers said in a report.  Not only that, Analysts are predicting the worst holiday sales season in two decades.  As a result, many seasonal jobs have been cut, and are not needed.  Again, the young professional is forced to fall back upon his or her parents, a last resort for some and not a resort for others.

While entering this week of Thanksgiving, I have a feeling that America will be forced to focus on the things in life we have always taken for granted.  Good health for some, family for others, and the gratitude to live in a country, that is not limited by this financial crisis, but gives hope that we can someway pull ourselves out of this situation, and create better opportunities for the future generations.  Lets hope that during future times of Thanksgiving, we will not forget this time we spent together during this crises, and not look at it as just another day off, but look at it with the same appreciation for the little things, that money cannot take a way or replace!

November 21, 2008

Guys & Dolls or Freddie & Fannie: A Captive Audience

Last night at the Palace Theatre, located in Corsicana, Texas, I decided to treat myself to a show.  Remembering that this was “Community Theatre”, I paid my cash for a balcony seat, and got ready to enjoy the production.  For anyone who’s ever seen “Community Theatre” knows that there is no such thing as a bad show, you can have a great time no matter what.  Although ready for the fumbled lines, misinterpreted script, or green actor, last night was a pleasantly different experience.  I truly enjoyed the show, just as the people sitting around me.   Last night, the players at the palace theatre had a good show.  What is a good show?  A good show is the ability a theatre company has in keeping an audience engaged, and keeping an audience captivated by what appears spontaneous action on stage. 

I believe that it would be safe to say that since September 2008, Freddie Mac & Fannie Mae’s opening act to “Bail Out Blues” has kept the American People both captive and engaged.  We’ve seen the American People oohhed and awwed by, debates halted and the first draft failing, with special appearances by Ford, GM, and Chrysler.  Secretary Paulson has played a relatively good lead in this production while I believe the most entertaining of them all are the home grown actors:  Congress!  Maxine Waters put her best foot forward, and Barney Frank has been nominated from my understanding as Best Supporting Actor in a financial crises.

The problem is, the American People, numb from the spirited campaigns, do watch CNN and Fox News with anticipation as if it were a production.  Sadly, Capital Hill is producing.  With meeting after meeting, and no relief to be in sight, the American People I am sure would rather enjoy an ending at this point, rather or not if it is happy or sad.  

Yesterday, some good news did come from the original players.  Mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are suspending foreclosures for about 16,000 households during the holiday season.  In case you were not aware of what these companies actually do, they buy mortgages on the secondary market, pool them, and sell them as mortgage backed-securities to investors on the open market.  As of September 7th, Both players were seized by the American Government, and with their CEO’s tossed out, the institutions are now run by the Government.  

The fall of these companies, aided Washington in its ability to tell the difference between Main Street and Wall Street.  Everyone on Main Street was screaming for a “Bail Out” long before Wall Street took notice.  Now understanding the relationship between the two, lawmakers are acting as if they are fighting for “Main Street” again, when they should have been fighting for Main Street in the first place.  

Main Street, as we’ve learned, not only effects Wall Street.   Japan’s stock market plunged 4 percent Tuesday, its biggest one-day loss in two years, and even with precautions, the uncertainty of “Main Street”, shows the uncertainty of the stability in markets all over the globe.  

Who knows, this production could be only a shortlived hit, and one of those award winning shows no one ever remembers;  but at this time, we are not sure if the Inauguration will be our lead into intermission, or the closing of a very “Mind & Money” stimulating all star production.

April 14, 2014

125 SHOWS & COUNTING

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 14, 2014

125 Shows & Counting

(Jazz Recording Artist Aaron Myers will perform his 125th Show as Resident Artist at the Black Fox Lounge in Washington DC. )

Washington, DC, April 14, 2014 – Jazz/Neo Soul Recording Artist Aaron Myers will hit a milestone this week.  Friday, April 18th at 9:30pm when he dawns the stage, it will be his 125th show as Resident Artist at the Black Fox Lounge in Washington DC.  

Myers, originally from Texas, moved to Washington DC in 2008 following his nine month stint on the Barack Obama Campaign.  After working as the National Director for the Global Family Program, he returned to his first love of Entertainment, and made Washington DC his home.  “I believe DC has a live music scene that can compete with NYC, Chicago, or LA any day of the week!  I love the music community here, and I feel privileged to be at a venue that appreciates its artists!” he said when asked about the upcoming show.

In 2013, Myers released “Leo Rising” a Jazz/Neo Soul Album, and was recognized locally with 3 Wammie Nominations (Washington Area Music Association) and was voted Runner Up in two categories, Best Singer & Best Performance Artist, in the recent 2014 “Best Of Poll” sponsored by the Washington City Paper.

Black Fox Lounge is a well-thought-out repose located two blocks north of Dupont Circle, in the Northwest section of Washington DC.  Opened in 2009, the Black Fox Lounge now offers live entertainment 7 days a week.  Mr. Myers started with the Black Fox Lounge at the very beginning.  “My relationship with the Black Fox Lounge has grown over the years.  I started there every Saturday night which wore me out; now I’m there every first and third Friday of the month” he said.  When asked what has kept him there for so long he stated, “The Black Fox has been so supportive of me, especially as I have hit major milestones.  From the loss of my father, to the release of my first album, they’ve been right there with me!”

Mr. Myers is currently working on his sophomore album “The Lions Den” and his fall tour that will launch at Blues Alley September 2nd.  Be sure to check out the 125th Show of Black Fox Lounge’s Resident Artist Friday, April 18 from 9:30pm to 12:30am.  There is no cover for this event.

Contact Information:
Black Fox Lounge

1723 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington DC 20009

(202) 483-1723

www.blackfoxlounge.com

Information about Aaron Myers

www.aaron2.me

info@aaron2.me

202.907.9236

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February 21, 2014

Jazz Artist Aaron Myers Endorses DC Mayoral Candidate Andy Shallal

ImageDear Friends,
 

Washington DC is now moving towards a Democratic Primary which will determine who the Democratic Party will put forward to stand in the DC Mayoral Race.  After carefully listening and observing all of the candidates, I today offer my full endorsement to Andy Shallal.

 
The passion he has in working to offer affordable housing to those citizens who depend on it for their survival, a fair living wage, and addressing the plight of returning citizens, are just a few serious conversations coupled with action Washington DC needs right now.  
 
Seeing how he has moved his businesses into undeserved neighborhoods, listening to the residents in the neighborhood and offering his establishments as meeting places for those residents to express concerns, rally support for their causes and needs, and even being a hub for the entrepreneurs has helped revitalize these neighborhoods.       
 
Andy Shallal is offering renewed hope in the integrity we can expect from our elected officials, and I look forward to calling him the next Mayor of Washington DC.  
 
I ask all of you to consider Andy Shallal when casting your ballot.

If you are in DC, and would like to know more about Andy Shallal, I ask that you watch this VIDEO.

Join me as I host a “Meet the Candidate” fundraiser for Andy Sunday March 2nd @ 7:30pm at my home, 2101 16th Street NW, Washington DC.  

Thank You,
 
Aaron Myers    

February 3, 2014

Aaron Myers Announces Upcoming Fall Tour, New Album Release, And WAMMIES Nominations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Aaron Myers Announces Upcoming Fall Tour, New Album Release, And WAMMIES Nominations

 

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Jazz aficionado, Aaron Myers, II has announced that in celebration of the successful release of  his debut album “Leo Rising”, upcoming release of his sophomore album “Lion’s Den”, and recent award nominations by the Washington Area Music Association; he will be embarking on a Northeastern tour.

Aaron Myers is a native Texan who began playing the piano at the age of 3.  A veteran of the United States Army, where he also Played, Sang, Directed & Composed music; Aaron went on to Navarro College, majoring in Theatre and Business, where he was the musical director with the College Gospel Choir. In May of 2013, Aaron Myers released the Video “What’s a Man to Do” from his Debut Jazz/Neo Soul Album “Leo Rising” (released nationwide July 4th 2013) to critical acclaim.  In July of 2013, Aaron Myers opened the musical, “My Civil War” for the Capital Fringe Festival.  Currently, Aaron Myers is the Resident Artist at the Black Fox Lounge in Washington, DC and Minister of Music at Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ.

Congratulations are in order as singer/songwriter Aaron Myers, II has garnered three prestigious Washington Area Music Awards (“WAMMIE”) nominations in the following categories:

  • Best Jazz Vocalist
  • Best Jazz Recording – Leo Rising
  • Best Debut Recording – Leo Rising

Aaron’s sophomore album “Lion’s Den” is set to release on July 4, 2014 and he will be touring this coming fall. The following tour dates are as follows:

September:

Washington, DC (Blues Alley)

Baltimore, Maryland

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania  

Wilmington, Delaware

New York, City New York

Uncasville, Connecticut

MORE INFORMATION:

www.aaron2.me

October 22, 2013

Aaron Myers Considered for GRAMMY!

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October 22, 2013  (Washington DC)  -  DC Jazz/NeoSoul Artist Aaron Myers, Resident Artist at the Black Fox Lounge and Minister of Music at Covenant Baptist UCC, has recently been considered in five categories by the Recording Academy for the 56th   Annual Grammy Awards.  Entries are recordings submitted for GRAMMY consideration. Entries that meet all eligibility requirements are then voted on by The Academy’s voting members and the results of that vote are the nominations.

A native Texan, Myers moved to Washington after working as a field organizer on the campaign of then Senator (now President) Barack Obama.  After working with the late writer Linda Grover at the Global Family Program, Myers made a pivot becoming a full time musician.  Within a year’s time, he found himself playing weekend shows at then newly opened Black Fox Lounge and using his musical talents within his new found church.  Four years later, he’s the Resident Artist at the Black Fox Lounge, and you can find him every Sunday at Covenant Baptist UCC serving as Minister of Music.

In April of this year, Myers recorded the Album “Leo Rising” at the legendary Avatar Studios in New York City, releasing it on July 4th.  “Some people told me that I was brave to release my Album, which is primarily Jazz/Neo Soul, the same day as Jay Z released his, but I figured …if he didn’t mind neither did I” chuckled Myers.  “I’m just happy knowing that more people will now have a chance to hear my music!”

“Lockett Consulting sends a special congratulations to our client Aaron L. Myers II for being selected for consideration for the 56th Annual Grammy Awards!” states Lockett Consulting and, “We’re so proud of you” is posted proudly on the website of the Black Fox Lounge.  These are two of many congratulatory announcements recognizing this achievement, with Covenant Baptist UCC alerting its members during a worship service.

The recording industry’s most prestigious award, the GRAMMY, is presented annually by The Recording Academy. A GRAMMY is awarded by The Recording Academy’s voting membership to honor excellence in the recording arts and sciences.   Myers summed up his experience so far by saying, “Just making it on the Grammy Ballot is awesome…and taking home the Gold would be awesome as well!”

Updates about Myers’ GRAMMY considerations and his album Leo Rising can be found on his website www.aaron2.me.

May 2, 2013

D.C. Jazz Artist Aaron Myers Announces Engagement of New Management and Video Director

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Michael Silas

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WeSupportMusic.com

PRLog (Press Release) - May 2, 2013 - WASHINGTON, D.C. – [Washington D.C.]  This Friday evening, May 3rd, at the Black Fox Lounge in downtown D.C., Aaron Myers is expected to announce the recent hiring of two new members to his promotion and production team.  In an effort to fully ensure that his upcoming album release“Leo Rising” due for release on June 7th, is all that it can be.  Details of the new record will also be presented at this performance.

Aaron will announce that he has brought on famed choreographer/dancer Michael Silas as the director for his official video “My Funny Valentine.”  Currently residing in Los Angeles, this is Michael’s debut at directing although he has quite an impressive history in the business.  Chosen as one of Lady Gaga’s original male dancers; gaining the Haus name “Mikey Mugler” –  Michael accompanied her on a rise to superstardom.  Silas also performed in both her jaw dropping “Paparazzi” MTV Music Awards performance, Fame Ball, the Fame Monster and Emmy Award winning Monster Ball world tours.  Some of Mr. Silas’s other achievements include the X Factor & The Braxton’s, Kelly Rowland, Chris Brown, Christina Aguilera, and more. Michael is also known for his favorite quote by Martha Graham; “Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion.”

And what is Aaron Myers feeling on the engagement of Mr. Silas; “Michael is a friend, and believed enough in “Leo Rising” to take this step of faith with me!  I am honored, humbled, and super excited about what’s to come!”

 Aaron will further announce the engagement of the independent music industry executive Lafond Wright, the CEO of the social media/online radio giant, and artist management firm WeSupportMusic.com.  Mr. Wright and his company will oversee the personal management of Aaron’s career and assist with the marketing of his social media and Internet radio initiatives. Wesupportmusic.com features internet radio shows, videos and articles covering all genres of popular music, and the cultures that surround them.  Aaron will be the featured artist on the management company’s roster.  To quote Mr. Wright; “We believe that independent artists are the very lifeblood of music, and artists should be celebrated for their creativity and their talents and not judged by their age, their looks, their gender, or their beliefs.”

This Friday night May 3rd will most assuredly be a very exciting performance for Aaron.  As the resident artist at The Black Fox Lounge, his performances always fill the house to the max.  But with the official announcement of his debut record release “Leo Rising” on June 7th, and the additions to his production and promotion team, this is one you must attend.

The Black Fox Lounge is located at 1723 Connecticut Ave NW Washington, DC 20009
PH: (202) 483-1723 – 
Web: http://www.blackfoxlounge.com
Aaron’s performance begins at 9:30pm. 

For more on Aaron Myers visit his official website at www.aaron2.me

April 18, 2013

Washington D.C. Jazz Artist Aaron Myers Dedicates Show to the Victims of the Boston Marathon Tragedy

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Aaron Myers

Apr. 17, 2013 - WASHINGTON, D.C. – [Washington DC]  It’s one of Aaron Myers regular shows at the Black Fox Lounge in Washington DC.   But on this Friday evening, April 19th, at 9:30 PM, Aaron will take the stage of the Black Fox with a theme; “Music Still Heals.”  

He will be dedicating the show to the victims of Tuesday’s tragic bombing in Boston that took the lives of 3 innocent bystanders at the Boston Marathon, and injured countless others.

Aaron recalls Boston’s Motto; “As God was with Our Fathers, So May He be with Us”

The show attendees, along with Aaron in its dedication will be sending well wishes and cards to the city of Boston.  Stop by the Black Fox Lounge on Friday evening to show your support for the victims and the devastated city of Boston.

Aaron Myers is currently the resident artist at the “Black Fox Lounge” in Washington DC, on the first and third Fridays of each month.   Look for Aaron on NBC channel 4 in DC, where he will be the featured accompanist for the show, “Be a Voice VIP” contest’.  The show airs on June 1st. 

Aaron Myers website can be found at http://www.aaron2.me

January 10, 2013

An Inauguration Celebration at the Black Fox – With Resident Artist Aaron Myers

ImageWashington, DC – January 18, 2013 – As the inauguration festivities commence, The Black Fox Lounge will continue to host Friday Nights of Live Jazz and Entertainment with DC’s favorite Jazz Artist: Aaron Myers. As Resident Artist of The Black Fox for three years, Aaron Myers has continued to bring an amazing show to the public every first and third Friday of each month and this inauguration weekend, he will make it even more special with the Unveiling of a Portrait by Curtis Williams.
 
The Black Fox is a safe space to meet new friends, have a good time, and leave a hectic work week to start an exciting weekend celebrating the inauguration of our President’s second term in office. If one is looking for a night of laughter, fun, and a night they will never forget, head over to the Black Fox Lounge on 1723 Connecticut Ave NW Washington, DC. Admission is Free, drinks are strong, at the show starts promptly at 9:30PM.

September 5, 2012

Politics & Entertainment: A Personal Note from Aaron Myers!

To My Supporters,

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Aaron Myers

I come to you today as you have probably been flooded with remarks, articles, concerns and opinions about the political conventions that have been taking place over the last two weeks.  As many of you, I too have questions and have watched, listened, and still look forward to what will play out on November 6.  As an entertainer who has run for office, I view these events with amusement on many fronts and have come to this conclusion: The integrity of each party will be defined by their ability to compromise.    

 
At this moment, I am preparing to remind the American People to smile and find unity through entertainment.  On Friday September 7th, I will be hosting a Free Live Jazz Show at the Black Fox Lounge in Washington DC from 9:30pm – 12:30am.    This week I will be also joined by spoken word artist/poet Kavon Ward.
 
People who attend will have the opportunity to also donate to my new project Leo Rising , which will allow me the opportunity to record at Avatar Studios in New York City, New York.  The team that I have assembled has put together a project that will be Grammy Worthy, and with your support we can complete it!  Please take a look at Leo Rising on KickStarter.com, donate, and tell all of your contacts about it!  Reaching our goal is the only way we will be able to secure the funds to make this happen…I am depending on you!
 
As always, I am appreciative of your support, and would not be able to inspire others through my expression of art without it.  Please know, my love for all of you runs deeper than words will allow me to articulate.  Your continued support has been and will be a continued dream come true.
 
So remember, if no one today told you that they loved you, I love you and there is nothing you can do about it.
 
Yours Truly,
 
Aaron Myers
Leo Rising
 
 

 

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