DrMyers’s Blog

April 9, 2015

AARON MYERS voted “Best Singer” in the Washington City Paper’s “Best Of DC” Readers Poll

Aaron Myers taken by photographer Darwyn Dave.

Aaron Myers taken by photographer Darwyn Dave.

AARON MYERS voted “Best Singer” in the Washington City Paper’s “Best Of DC” Readers Poll

Washington, DC. ; April 9, 2015 ;  Jazz Vocalist/Entertainer Aaron Myers was voted “Best Singer” in the Washington City Paper’s “Best of DC” Readers Poll on April 9th. Myers was voted runner-up in the poll taken last year by the same paper, making this his first win in that category. Myers served as the Resident Artist at the Black Fox Lounge in Washington DC boasting 5 years and 147 headliner shows at the venue before its closing December 31, 2014.

“This was a great way to start my morning” said Myers. “A good friend of mine had tagged me on Facebook wishing me congratulations. Not thinking I would win, I didn’t even buy a ticket to the Best of DC gala.” Washington City Paper was founded in 1981 and is a weekly alternative news paper with a circulation of over 60,000 (as of 2011). “It is an honor to have your fans, friends and family speak up for you like this and help spread the word of your art.”

Myers moved to Washington in 2008 after working as a Field Organizer on the Barack Obama Campaign to become the National Director of the Global Family Program that was then headed by the late author Linda Grover. Not abandoning his itch for entertainment, Myers is currently not only working in music, but directing the documentary “Cab Fare” profiling the lives of DC Cab Drivers who have been driving in the city more than 40 years. Gearing up for the release of his second album “The Lion’s Den“, Myers has also just completed his second feature script “Paths at Sunset” with writing partner Scott Sedar.

You can find Aaron Myers performing at both traditional and non traditional Jazz Venues in the Washington DC area. More information about his upcoming performances can be found at http://www.aaron2.me.

March 16, 2015

AARON MYERS & CO. DEBUT AT TOUCHE SUPPER CLUB

Aaron Myers taken by photographer Darwyn Dave.

Aaron Myers taken by photographer Darwyn Dave.

Jazz Returns to the U Street Corridor

Jazz Vocalist/Pianist Aaron Myers debuts at Touche Supper Club, continuing his Jazz quest here in the DMV. Myers served as the Resident Artist at the Black Fox Lounge in Washington DC boasting 5 years and 147 headliner shows at the venue before its closing December 31, 2014. Now, he debuts at a new venue in DC, reintroducing JAZZ to the U Street Corridor while also preparing to release his new album “The Lions Den.”

“Anytime a new venue opens in Washington (DC) and provides an artist space to express their art, I’m game!” said Myers. Touche Supper Club is located in the H Street Corridor, an area steeped in the history of supporting the arts in Washington DC. Since opening, it has created a great deal of buzz in the arts community, not catering to only one form or genre of art, but to many different forms and genres. “Washingtonians should do their best to support any venue that is providing space to artists. The artists of Washington DC are often on the forefront of change and often time provide a voice for the disenfranchised!”

This will not be the first show played by Aaron Myers in the H Street Corridor. “I played a show a few years ago with a singer at HR-57 and was shocked with all the passers by who heard the music and came in. I do hope that energy will continue in that area” HR-57 served the Jazz community for 21 years and was named after H.Con.Res 57 which designated Jazz as “a rare and valuable national American treasure”.

Aaron Myers & Co will play Saturday March 28th at 7pm (doors open at 6pm) with a $20 cover. Touche Supper Club is located at 1123 H Street NE.

March 3, 2015

In Production: Jazz Artist and the Screenwriter

Aaron Myers

Aaron Myers

Aaron Myers has performed to audiences in Washington DC for the last six years.  Voted runner up for “Best Singer” & “Best Performance Artist” in the Washington City Paper’s “Best Of DC” readers poll, Myers has been heard in Embassies, Night Clubs, Festivals, and Fundraisers.  Myers became a DC Staple as the Resident Artist at the Black Fox Lounge (a total of 147 headliner shows) and is now showing the public his other artistic side.  A native Texan, Myers decided to make Washington DC his home 6 years ago.

“I love screenwriting” stated Myers.  “I wrote my first pilot TV show when I was 13 years old.  It was was a situation comedy that I wanted to star three couples.  Jack Lemmon married to Shirley MacLaine, Walter Matthau married to Betty White, and Ossie Davis married to Ruby Dee.  I wish that it could have been produced, I’m sure it would have been an awesome show!”
Now, Myers is currently filming a new feature documentary with emerging cinematographer Jazmine Kiante called “Cab Fare” profiling Taxi Drivers in Washington DC who have been driving more than forty years.  Filming began in January and is already crating buzz in the city with appearances from national lawmakers, city officials and people on the street.
Friday, it was announced that the script for his second feature film “Paths at Sunset” with writing partner Scott Sedar has now been completed and is now ramping up for production.  “This film tells an unorthodox love story of a couple who is approaching the sunset of their lives.  Let me just say, life isn’t over after 60…at all!”
Below, find more information about this DC artist and his upcoming productions.
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“THE LION’S DEN” ALBUM – PRE-PRODUCTION

This is the Sophomore Album of Aaron Myers slated to be released in June of 2015. This album is a combination of Jazz & Neo Soul while paying homage to Jazz legends and contemporary innovations.

“CAB FARE” 2015 – FILMING

Follow the stories of Washington DC Taxi Cab Drivers as they tell the story of an evolving city through the eyes of the ones who know it best. Hear touching stories from DC Cab Drivers, Riders, Politicians & Celebrities while seeing the evolution of a city from behind the wheel of a DC Taxi Cab.

“PATHS AT SUNSET” – SCRIPT COMPLETED

Helen Ware has just been given shocking news that changes her outlook on Love, Life and relationship forever. See how she’s forced to accept her new reality and how she embarks on a journey of love that is quite unorthodox.

“UPON A RIVERS END” – SCRIPT COMPLETED

Life in the Antebellum South is filled with heroic tales of freedom. See the tale of a freedman as he travels to one of the most brutal plantations in Louisiana to bring its slaves to freedom.

“HALF NOTE” – TV PILOT – SCRIPT COMPLETED

Ready for Pitch Aaron Brass is an Entertainer who is on the brink of greatness…so he thinks. With the help of his colleagues, friends and girlfriend, Aaron experiences the pains of making art while trying to “B” in Show Business. Sit back and watch the crazy situations he endures to express his art!

February 5, 2015

Mutual Friends

photo (1)Don’t you just love Facebook?  A place where you can connect with your friends, share articles about issues you feel are important, vent about people or situations, Facebook has become integrated in the American culture just as talking pictures or color television.  Whereas birth announcements, engagements, and weddings were first announced in the paper, instantly we can scroll through our timelines and be updated on the latest news within our communities and the lives of our friends.  An even wider spectrum is uncovered as we can also see how we are connected to others.  New acquaintances can be vetted by seeing what friends are shared mutually.  As articles, statements or events are shared, comments are posted and it is that time one is able to see, at least to a degree, who your friends…call friend.

The latter possesses an interesting question to all people: How well do you know your friends?  For years, relationships are built upon shared experiences, shared secrets, shared conversations, shared ideologies, and shared interests.  Through the passage of time, the bond between individuals strengthens as the strands of these relationships are tested and tried.  However, through Facebook (and other social media networks) one can see what happens after these shared experiences are over and individuals begin the same process with other individuals.  Thus, one can see the thoughts, ideas, experiences and at times secrets shared by your “Friends of Friends.”

Have you ever had the experience of scrolling through your timeline and seeing a shared post, article, or video you did not expect to see posted from a friend?  Perhaps, you shared a post yourself and was shocked by the reaction you received from your friends or “Friends of Friends.”  Facebook has exposed the differences within relationships, whether religious, political, racial, ideological, or what have you, that had previously been hidden or politely ignored for the sake of pleasant company or conversation.  What happens when you discover that your “Friend of a Friend” is a racist?

I’ve been faced with this many times.  I am a proud Southerner (5th generation Texan), I’m a proud African American Man (My Great-Great Grand Parents were slaves), I am a proud Veteran (September 11th happened while I was in Basic Training) and I am a proud Progressive (Registered Democrat).

My upbringing has allowed me to have interface with people who believe, worship and vote differently from the way I do.  Thinking back to my days in Kerens Elementary, I am often reminded of the words spoken daily by my kindergarten teacher, “Play nice and keep your hands and feet to yourselves.”  I try daily to adopt this principle in my adult life, succeeding better some days rather than others, but for the most part, we all are forced to work with, interact with, and at times live with people who share opposing views.  Everyday the art of compromise is seen on the bus, train, in traffic, on elevators, in work spaces, in church pews, in classrooms, in restaurants, in every place but congress it seems.  The tension has become less evident in urban centers where a heavily populated group of diverse people are forced to interact with each other.  The expansion of social media and the internet has made tensions less apparent in rural areas where diversity and necessary interaction between divers people may not be as frequent or optional.

What do you do when a difference of opinion crosses over to apparent hatred, bigotry or racism…by the “Friend of a Friend?”  When is the relationship of the “Friend” taken into account?  Where do you begin when analyzing the strength of the shared strands within your relationship?  How do you resolve the inner turmoil, resentment and dissatisfaction?  The What, When, Where and How have been presented to me on many occasions.  Minorities and members of the majority are faced with these instances, and forced to self consciously react…often times reluctantly because of friendship.  Who wants to lose a friend right?

The 21st century demands that we answer these questions out right.

Understanding what racism is, whether fueled by either hatred or bigotry, and acknowledging it when seen is a start.  Black’s Law Dictionary defines racism as,  “A set of policies that is exhibited by a person or persons toward a group of people of a different race. Often antagonistic and confronting. The assumption of lower intelligence and importance given to a person because of their racial characteristics.”  Regardless of how “close” you may be with a friend, when you have been left feeling you have experienced racism, the safe space lies within yourself to express your discomfort and to know a racist does not own the right to feel “comfortable” when this mindset goes against the constitutional rights of the whole.  One can even view it as utilitarianism…the greatest good for the greatest number.  In this case, that good is equality, and that number is America.

When is the relationship of the friend taken into account?  Immediately.  As the strands within a relationship are tested, one must meet each test head on.  One strand does not have to end a relationship, but it can certainly define a relationship.  Relationships, friendships, are based upon boundaries.  These boundaries are also where you can test the strength of these strands.   If you make your boundaries known, the way those boundaries are respected then can define the future of that relationship.

The hardest part of these interactions come when one is faced with the inner turmoil of experiencing racism through a different medium, from a person with a reference.  We choose our music, jobs, food, health regiments often times at the recommendation of a friend.  Friends have introduced friends that resulted in marriage while others often ask for a reference when applying for a job.  Social media and the connections of mutual friends have played an important role in making the world smaller, more connected, and in many ways more enlightened.  Understanding no two relationships are alike, one often expects that the bond and strands shared between an individual would be commonly shared with others, and although different, never crossing the line of racism, bigotry or hate.  Unfortunately, this age old dilemma has plagued mankind for ages.

No one wants to lose a friend, but in the course of friendship, one must never lose oneself.   Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best I believe,  “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”

Above was an example of a statement made to me by a “Friend of a Friend” that was followed by many other hateful attacks.  I stated my discomfort, set my boundaries, my Friend removed those attacking racist posts, and reaffirmed my belief that friends do not have to agree on everything (especially politics) but can definitely agree racism and hatred have no place within our boundaries of friendship.

January 12, 2015

Aaron Myers and his Second Act

10818473_10152941630802033_26185113107098685_oJust weeks after closing down the Black Fox Lounge in Washington DC, Jazz Vocalist/Pianist Aaron Myers debuts at Bethesda Blues & Jazz with his new touring band continuing his jazz quest here in the DMV. Myers served as the Resident Artist at the Black Fox Lounge in Washington boasting 5 years and 147 headliner shows at the venue before its closing December 31, 2014. Now, he starts off the new chapter in his career with this upcoming show and work on his new album “The Lions Den”.

“I am excited to display my art in a beautiful venue where so many have played before” said Myers. Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club is housed in the beautifully restored Art Deco Bethesda Theater built in 1938. Since opening, it has become the regions #1 Live Supper Club. “I’m now writing a new chapter in my career, and believe me, this is only the beginning!”.

This will be the first show played by Aaron Myers since the end of his residency. “Expect some great Jazz, soulful Blues and a touch of Comedy. I plan on doing some old favorites, and to also give a tribute to Andrae Crouch during the show. He was and is one of my biggest influences.” Andrae Crouch, a gospel singer/songwriter/producer, responsible for revolutionizing the way Gospel Music is interpreted passed away January 8th. 

Aaron Myers & Co will play Thursday January 15th at 7:30pm with a $10 cover. Doors open at 5:30pm. Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club is located at 7719 Wisconsin Avenue NW. Walking distance from Bethesda Metro stop.

October 20, 2014

Aaron Myers ranked #1 Jazz Artist Globally on Reverbnation

10339544_10152644126902033_418074803278710753_nWashington, DC, October 20, 2014 – Local Jazz artist Aaron Myers has garnered attention from independent music professionals across the Globe.  It was announced Wednesday October 15th, Myers is ranked Number One on the Reverbnation Jazz Charts for Washington DC, the United States and World Wide.  He has maintained this rank since that time.

“Growing up in a town of about 300 people in Texas, being ranked Number One is indeed a dream come true”, Myers said Friday night at his show at the Black Fox Lounge in Washington, DC.  Myers is the Resident artist at the Black Fox Lounge completing over 138 shows since 2009.
Reverbnation is comprised of over 10.6 million music and entertainment professionals globally.  Ranking systems are based upon several factors ranging from downloads, song plays, profile views, etc.  Since 2006, Reverbnation has helped millions of emerging artists build their careers by connecting artists to venues, festivals, brands, publishers, labels and fans themselves.  Reverbnation offers emerging artists from around the world access to the global music industry.
Myers released his debut album “Leo Rising” in 2013 during the DC Jazz Festival to critical acclaim.  He was invited to perform at Blues Alley, the nations finest Jazz and Supper Club as reported by the New York Times, on September 3rd playing to a sold out audience.
“I am just grateful to make my living doing what I’ve dreamed of doing my entire life.  Washington DC has been very good to me, and I am glad the World has been given the opportunity to take notice!” said Myers.
Aaron Myers performs a live Jazz show at the Black Fox Lounge every first and third Friday of the month from 9:30pm to 12:30am.  Learn more about his work at http://www.aaron2.me.

September 16, 2014

Homeless AIDS and Cancer Patients Get Support from Youth Dance Company

Filed under: Uncategorized — drmyers @ 11:55 am

BACKWashington, DC— Oasis Dance Company holds its fourth annual gala on Sunday, September 21, with
proceeds going to support homeless suffering with terminal diseases in the District.
The event, “El Passaporte” will feature a cocktail hour, dancers from all over the east coast, a runway
fashion event and an award show, with a portion of the proceeds going to Joseph’s House, a welcoming
community providing comprehensive nursing and support services to homeless men and women dying
of cancer or AIDS.

Opened in 1990 in response to the AIDS crisis in Washington, DC, Joseph’s House is home to clinical staff
and trained caregivers who work to create a place where the values of unreserved love and friendship
are practiced. With tenderness and exquisite care, the staff accompanies men and women who, without
Joseph’s House, would die a lonely, isolated death.

According to Oasis Executive Director and Founder Steven Wilson, few people stop to consider the plight
of cancer and AIDS patients who have access to neither medicine nor a bed. “It’s impossible to ignore
that in DC there are homeless people suffering tremendously with painful and devastating conditions
and diseases,” Wilson said. “We want to nurture far more than the dance talents of youth. We want to
instill in them the knowledge that they can use dance to improve the world around them.”
In addition, the OASIS Dance Company will recognize community leaders for their distinguished service
to LGBTQIA youth in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. This year OASIS will acknowledge the
contributions of the following honorees:
Bishop Rainier Cheeks – Clergy Earl Fowlkes, Jr. – Lifetime Achievement
Whitney Garcon – Ballroom AJ King – Outreach
Dr. Ron Simmons – Activist McGregory Williams – Entertainment
Earline Budd – Running Water Service Award

In 2012, Oasis worked with DC Mayor Vincent C. Gray on an official proclamation to bring awareness to
the many issues facing the LGBT community in the District. Past Gala fundraising efforts have benefitted
the Trevor Project, the Wanda Alston House, and the It Gets Better Project.
In addition to raising thousands of dollars for charitable organizations, the dance company fosters a
sense of community and supports aspiring dancers through invaluable scholarships. This year’s gala will
support Joseph’s House as well as the young performer scholarship fund.101 16th St NW Washington DC, 20009

Oasis Dance Company’s “El Passaporte” is Sunday, September 21, starting at 6:00 p.m. at The Lang
Theater; 1333 H Street NE. Tickets are $25 or $50 for VIP. Visit the Atlas Theater website for tickets.

August 26, 2014

Aaron Myers at Blues Alley, an Unforgettable Experience

Filed under: Uncategorized — drmyers @ 4:42 pm

 

 

Washington, DC August 26, 2014 –  Jazz Recording artist and local DC Musician Aaron Myers will be headlining at Blues Alley September 3rd for two sets 8pm and 10pm. This appearance will be his first performance at the nation’s finest Jazz and Supper Club.

 

“I am beyond excited about the engagement.  It is indeed an honor to perform where so many greats have performed before me” said Aaron Myers. “I do not take  for granted the opportunity that has been afforded me.  It is my sincere prayer to give it my all while on stage”

 

Myers, who began his musical career in Texas, has been a mainstay on the local jazz scene.  In 2013 he released his debut album “Leo Rising” nationally, being reviewed nationally and locally.  Currently, Myers is the Resident Artist at the Black Fox Lounge, where he has performed over 130 shows, and plans on doing many more.

 

“To those who come out to the show, they will be in for a great treat!  Music, Comedy, and the works!” , said Myers. “I will be backed up by Mark Meadows, Herb Scott, Paul Jung, and my dear friend Percy White!  We are all good friends who respect each others talents…we’re just ready to have a good time on stage.  I am sure the people will feel that energy!”

 

For concert and ticket information, contact Blues Alley at (202) 337-4141 or at the website http://www.bluesalley.com.

 

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– See more at: http://www.aaron2.me

 

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August 12, 2014

Depression is Real

Robin-WilliamsDepression is real.  As an artist, I live with it every day, and the operative word is “live.”  It is not easy, and at times it seems as if I have no problems with the  struggle.  There are times when I feel on top of the world…for a moment.  Then a tunnel surrounds me blocking out any affection or caring word I’ve ever heard from anyone else in my life.  It becomes me at my most isolated, not selfish, state where although people are surrounding me, they have been blocked from my vision.  

 

I remember hitting the bottom.  It was during lunch hour on a Thursday.  Homesick, pressured by the feeling of being inadequate, financial pressures and an overwhelming sense of anxiety had pushed me to my breaking point.  As I wondered on foot in downtown LA, I walked across an overpass and stopped at its peak.  I walked to the edge and grabbed the rail with my hands and watched hundreds of cars pass below.  I stood their frozen.

 

A short period of discomfort followed by an eternal rest seemed more appealing than the inner turmoil I was experiencing, moreover it was becoming like the right answer.  The sound of each car that passed below seemed to lull me deeper and deeper into a dark inner tunnel where death appeared to be the only solution.

 

 Hearing people passing behind me did not distract me and no one seemed to stop.  Maybe to them I did not appear to pose any danger, which as an entertainer, I was, and am, use to.  Making people smile and feel at ease while one is dying inside becomes a habit, and even a type of medication.  When I, and other artists, am on stage everything is ok.  There is no drug on the market that can compare to the gratifying feeling of a loving audience.  The show ends, people leave, they cut off the lights, and the artist is left alone.

 

As I became conscious of my breath, I felt the wind and began to smell the exhaust of the cars and slowly backed away from the edge.  I was lucky, but there are others who are not.
The death of Robin Williams, just as the death of others also involved in the arts, resonates with me in a personal way.  It takes a special person to channel all of the good in oneself to cheer or brighten someone else’s day while inside it seems like things are crumbling.  He was an inspiration to me and will continue to inspire many more to come.
Depression is not a “state of mind’ or a temporary “feeling”, it is an ever present disease.  If you, or someone you know, are coping with depression, seek help, encourage them to seek help, and do all you can to send as much positive energy  and prayers their way.
Again, I was lucky that time.  I am aware that there maybe a time in the future where I may not be so lucky.  That awareness is the daily burden I, and others in my position, carry.  Depression is real.

 

August 9, 2014

Jazz is Here to Stay

This blog was written in response to the opinion editorial “All that jazz isn’t all that great” written by Justin Moyer.

 

Jazz is (not) boring.

Jazz is (not) overrated.

Jazz is (not) washed up.

Anytime I see these words, without the added parentheses, starting off an opinion editorial, immediately I am reminded that our forefathers/mothers fought for the freedom of speech.  It is also my opinion that in there fighting, they would hope the generations that followed them would strive with even more ferver to have responsibility with this right.  Alas, I read the words chosen by Mr. Moyers as he begins a diatribe against a genre of music drenched in self expression…and I drop my head in shame.

The first Jazz album I heard came by accident.  While rummaging through some records at the home of my Grandparents, I stumbled upon a record that seemed different from the others.  It was thicker, visibly older, worn, and on one side simply read, “Gut Bucket Blues”  Little did I know, the sounds that I heard would evoke such emotion 70 years after it was first recorded, and leave such an impression on a 12 year old boy.

Since then my love of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton, Eubie Blake, Jack Teagrden has not only evolved, but aided me in my appreciation of musicians like Wynton Marsalis, Esperanza Spalding, Kris Bowers and Allyn Johnson.  Each person represents a snapshot of an era, and through their individual expression, a timeless, ageless story is told that transcends words and in some moments, demands change.

  1.  Jazz allows a story to be told in different forms

As a southerner, I appreciate a good story.  Some of the greatest stories I remember hearing were told over the Sunday dinner table.  Waiting in anticipation of a punch-line or a climax in a tale I had heard countless times from my Grandparents is still one of my fondest memories.  With that said, some of my soberest memories come from hearing the same tales, told by a family friend, my mother, or even when passing on the tale to other family members and friends for the first time.  Humans are unique, and even reading stories from a printed text, our voices, inflections, and tones differ adding a different flavor to the text.  Thus is Jazz.

How awesome it is to have heard Louis Armstrong’s version of “Stardust”!   You hear as he takes his trumpet and paints a picture for you with only tones from his instrument.  How equally touching is it to hear Mel Torme sing the lyrics of Stardust, in his twilight years, written by Hoagy Carmichael, some 60 years earlier.  Jazz gave freedom to artists of all genres to not be afraid to add their “flavor” to a song, not taking away any substance or meaning from the composer/lyricist.  If you don’t believe me, ask Aretha Franklin about her cover of “Respect” or Nikki Minaj about the work she put into her mixtapes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhLdBFGCkl4

         2. Improvisation encourages musicians to evolve

I am so thankful that the history of man did not stop with the discovery of fire.  With each generation, this concept was built upon.  Likewise it is with music.  When improvisation is captured, it allows other musicians to take one persons’ improvised expression, and to build upon it.

With improvisation, a new voice is given to the musician/composer to share his/her expression.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecyHa_lktnI

        3. Jazz Continues to Evolve

In the legal definition of “evolve” one finds that it also includes “preserving the good characteristics” and that change can be “random, generationally slow, good, bad or deadly.”  Evolution takes on different tones, in different times, to different people.

The expression of Jazz at one time was only regulated to speakeasies, gin joints, and back rooms.  Then, only in Dance Halls.  Festivals captured Jazz for a while, and then it stayed in school auditoriums or during special performances by Jazz originators.  Now you find Jazz, again, in small clubs and intimate venues, but this time with the invention of new instruments and tools to, again, express Jazz in a different or an “evolved” manor.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_o2RS8WfcbY

        4.  Jazz is Radical

There were 8 recorded lynchings, not sure if there were others undocumented, in 1937 when the poem “Strange Fruit” was written.  When Billie Holiday recorded this with added music to the poem, the number of lynches had decreased to 3, but this terrible act was now introduced through the expression of Jazz to the world.  The honesty of the pain, disappointment and fear Holiday felt towards her country due to its lack of inaction and the continuation of the practice of lynching was, and is, overwhelming.  Her 1939 recording of this, in time, became her biggest selling record.

This courage has been adopted by other artists to use Jazz to speak up, out, and against injustice of people throughout the world.  “Mushy” is not the first or last word that comes to mind when I, and many others, try to describe Jazz.

 

       5.  Jazz is Re-emerging and Local

 

When I moved to Washington DC in 2008 I was surprised at the classic venues located here in the district that offered Jazz.  More venues have now opened their doors to Jazz.  The Capitol Jazz Festival now offers “Jazz in the Hood” showcasing the hundreds of local Jazz musicians in the District of Columbia.  You will find new festivals starting up every year across the country, and globe, to also showcase the growing number of jazz musicians, that bring with them the influence of their time along with new technology.

 

Trends  have been adopted and thrown away.  In the future we will view the fads and technology of today as we now view leisure suits, hoop-skirts, and the “View-Master”.  Jazz has not and shows no sign of being dead or on life support.  To borrow from Mark Twain, Rumors of its demise has been greatly exaggerated!

 

If you do not believe me, walk into a local restaurant or small venue and ask for their live music schedule.   You will be surprised just how “alive” Jazz is, and will continue to be!

 

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~Aaron Myers

Resident Artist

Black Fox Lounge

Washington DC

http://www.aaron2.me

@aaronmyers

June 10, 2014

1 year married 2 years Divorced, By Anttoni Lopez

Image

Anttoni Lopez

It is not often I run across a post on Facebook, or other social networks, that really captures my attention.  Today was a much different story!  As I scrolled through my newsfeed, I came across a post that not only captured my attention, but held my attention.  The story of self truth realized through a tough experience.  Letting his friends and followers into a personal journey that may be embarrassing for some to discuss, Actor, Best Selling Auther and founder of Natoni Cosmetics Anttoni Lopez shares the story of his personal relationship…and its end.

1 year married 2 years Divorced

By Anttoni Lopez

1 year married 2 years Divorced Written by Anttoni Lopez As I held the divorce papers in my hand all I could say was Did I fail? Did I try enough? Was it me? What happen? These are the questions I ask myself still till this day. This pain is a pain I never felt before. A feeling like your locked in a room and there is no way out. We started off dating March of 2011 I remember that day because that was the day you made your self known. You looked so handsome in your outfit and everytime I looked over my shoulder you was there. We didn’t exchange numbers that night, but I knew I would see you again.

Two weeks later we met at a mutual friends gathering and we hit it off. We talked for hours and forget everyone was there. We didn’t care because at that point we knew it was gonna be us. Before I left you that night you said to me “You know I’m going to marry you?” I laughed and said yea ok. By the 3rd week of March 2011 we officially became a couple. For the next 6 months everything was good and then we were selected to get married on the day the Same-Sex marriage bill was passed here in New York 7-24-11.

That day changed my life forever. All I ever dreamed about was being married, having a great career, and having my very own family. That changed! We would argue about anything and everything. At times it was just to much. Then 1 year later we had a big fall out and he packed his bags and moved out of our apartment. I was stuck and lost. I mean there was no cheating or lies on my part so why leave? For the next 4 months I tried everything and anything to win him back. I went to counseling and even tried to get marriage counseling for the both of us and it didn’t work. We went to one session and you told me I can’t do this no more.

I cried for so long because my life was falling apart. My career wasn’t going anywhere, my money was running low, my marriage was over, I lost friends I mean I didn’t have anyone. All I could do was turn to GOD and pray. What made it worst was that he was doing interviews and writing about me and our marriage calling it toxic and poisonous and I never mentioned anything about our marriage until now. I had to read all this from the man I say I do to and that made me feel like shit. It took me until March of 2014 to file for the divorce. I had to make the choice for me and my life.

The email I got from you after you got summoned for court was priceless. The part that hit me was this “THANK YOU for finally taking an initiative to resolve this broken union. I will be handling expeditiously. I am happy to be able to finally move on with my personal life and dedicate time to the person who has been by my side through this meandering transition of severing ties with you. If not for you, I would not have found my new relationship and real anchor in this journey of life.” Damn so you are still married and in a committed relationship? Sounds to me like adultery! Doesn’t it?

“I am very happy for you and your new found love” was what I said and it will be easier now for you to sign the divorce papers and for us to move on. In the past 2 years I have launched my own cosmetics line called Na~Toni cosmetics, I am working on my second book, and have been cast for some upcoming new films and projects, booking more photo shoots and fashion shows. Life couldn’t be better and I thank you for leaving me because I found a new me. All it took was 1 year of marriage and 2 years divorce for me to open my eyes.

 

What an amazing admission of self truth!  I do hope you too will find strength in this personal story shared with us.  It goes to prove that time stops for no person, and you determine what will be made of the time we all have left.

To learn more about Anttoni Lopez find him on Instagram @Anttoni_lopez / Twitter @Anttonilopez / Facebook Anttoni Lopez –  Www.natonicosmetics.com

 

 

 

May 13, 2014

Yevvo, Jazz & Radio

For Immediate Release

 

 

Yevvo, Jazz & Radio

 

(Jazz Artist Aaron Myers introduces technology to the DC Jazz Community)

 

logo-yevvo

Washington, DC, May 13, 2014 – Jazz/Neo Soul Recording Artist Aaron Myers will perform his live Jazz show Friday, May 16th, 2014 at the Black Fox Lounge in the Dupont area of Washington DC from 9:30pm – 12:30am.  For the last 4 years, he has given over 100 performances as Resident Artist, singing familiar Jazz standards and originals songs from his last album “Leo Rising” to a full audience; it is this full audience that adds to the feel of the days of old when people flocked to an intimate venue to experience the spontaneous creativity of live jazz.  This week, he will introduce new technology to the old standards!

“We experimented with this technology at my last show as a practice round”, said Myers;  “…this week I believe the viewing audience will experience the same feeling of intimacy the actual patrons feel in the room”.  This technology is a new app called YEVVO.

 

YEVVO is an iPhone platform (which is also available for android users) app that works much like a social network; you get followers and you follow your friends. At the slide of a finger you can “go live” and your followers get notified to tune into this one of-a-kind live broadcast.  The broadcasts are not saved, so much like seeing a live Jazz show, the audience gets the once in a lifetime experience with what they see and hear.

“I’ve found this platform to be a great way to expand ones fan base, but also a great way to introduce Jazz to a brand new audience all over the world.” Myers stated.  Experimenting with the app at his last show, he performed to a live audience of 80 people at the Black Fox Lounge, while also live streaming his music and performance to 977 active viewers, who were also able to interact with him during the show.

 

The 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.  This is not the first time technology has entered the realm of the Black Fox Lounge.  Myers held its first live recording there in 2010, testing to see if the venue would support a good marketable product and was successful.  “It is my hope that people across the world will be able to experience the Jazz Scene in real time, and see all the talent that is right here within the District of Columbia!”

 

In addition to his shows at the Black Fox Lounge every first and third Friday of the month (No Cover), you can also catch Mr. Myers on WPFW 89.3 “Live @ 5”, Wednesday, May 14th at 5pm EST.

 

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

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

March 23, 2015

AARON MYERS RELEASES NEW JAZZ SINGLE “Stand Right” an ode to DC Metro System

Jazz Vocalist/Pianist Aaron Myers released the new single “Stand Right” March 23rd, an ode to the DC Metro system. A native Texan, Myers served as the Resident Artist at the Black Fox Lounge in Washington DC boasting 5 years and 147 headliner shows at the venue before its closing December 31, 2014. Releasing this single, he will debut the song at To1237176_4679927815781_244853502_nuche Supper Club this Saturday, a new venue in the H Street Corridor in DC.

“When Oren Levine brought the song to me I jumped at it” said Myers. Oren Levine is a jazz pianist/composer who also played with Myers at the Black Fox Lounge. Over the years they developed a musical appreciation for each others style, going on to record together. “As a Jazz Singer, it is nice to have someone write music with your style in mind. It reminds me of the musical partnerships of old.” The new single speaks of the turmoil local DC residents go through when in a rush doing their daily routines but slowed by visitors who have not yet learned the DC Metro Etiquette. A common occurrence, the story is told with a jazz flare.

This is not be the only collaboration between Myers & Levine. A series of songs have been recorded and will be released at a later date. “I am looking forward to the jazz community hearing more of our work!” Myers will debut the song live for an audience this Saturday during his debut performance at Touche Supper Club.

Stand Right” can be downloaded on iTunes, GooglePlay Store, CD Baby, and other online streaming services.

Aaron Myers & Co will play Saturday March 28th at 7pm (doors open at 6pm) with a $20 cover. Touche Supper Club is located at 1123 H Street NE.

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