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Showing posts from 2011

The Effects of Child Abuse are Devastating

As if the Jerry Sandusky case that bought Joe Paterno and other Penn State officials to it's knees weren't enough, other prominent public figures are now being ensnared in this horrible crime against humanity.  Bernie Fine, a long time assistant coach at Syracuse University, was fired for allegations bought against him by former ball boys for the team.  The head baseball coach at Neumann-Gorettti here in Philadelphia, was arrested after giving liquor and drugs to a freshman. 

This week, one of my favorite  sportswriters, Bill Conlin, of the Daily News, retired after allegations of child sexual harassment were bought against him by at least six adults.  The crimes allegedly occurred years ago but the victims needed to tell their stories in light of the Jerry Sandusky case.  The Catholic Church is still reeling from the years of sexual abuse perpetrated by its priests.  I read that in Belgium, thousands of children suffered in silence at the hands of child predators.  That the…

The NBA Lockout is Really Not Over

The New Orleans Hornets are owned by the NBA at this point.  The NBA, on paper, traded Chris Paul to the Lakers last night for Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom.  There were some other players from the Houston Rockets involved that would have made it a three team deal.  Some owners, probably from small market teams, decried the fact that the Lakers would be able to acquire one of the best point guards in the league after a protracted strike that included talks about leveling the playing field among teams. 

I know Kobe Bryant, event though he is loyal to Derek Fisher, was salivating over the prospect of playing alongside a point guard that can create his own shot event though he has a pass first mentality. 
Kobe got a belated wish come true when the Lakers acquired Steve Nash in the 2012 off season.
They also got Dwight Howard in a trade.  The rich got richer.

One cannot blame the NBA owned Hornets for wanting to obtain something of value for CP3.  He was not planning on staying in New Orlea…

Appreciating the Holidays

As I approach the 2011 Holiday season, I am content with the fact that I won't have the resources to buy gifts for everyone in my close circle.  I have already informed my wife that we won't be charging anything.  We will have a Christmas Eve get together and enjoy the valued friends and family that make up our foundation.  Otherwise, we will try to make the children appreciate the season.  Our children are 18 and 22 and experienced some of the best that Christmas has to offer.  We would wait for them to go to sleep and we would wrap gifts until the wee hours of the morning.  Now, we share pictures and ideas along with our enjoyment of get togethers.  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Family, food and friends all day.  Shout out to Kevin Wallace and the Wallace Family.  The holidays wouldn't be the same without them..  Also, to my sisters Kia and Leah.  Love U both forever.  The weather is beautiful today and in spite of the economic difficulties facing many of us, I am a…

The Continuing Unrest in Egypt

The overthrow of Hosni Mubarak's long rule in Egypt was met with much joy and celebration in Egypt in February of this year.  Mr. Mubarak, an ally of the United States, had become too entrenched for the masses of Egyptians who wanted him removed.  Luckily, he did not suffer the same fate at Colonel Qaddafi.  He came to power after the assassination of Anwar Sadat and ruled for more than 30 years.  The Muslim Brotherhood, which was outlawed under Mr. Mubarak, had played a key role in some of the protests earlier this year. 

Sadly, the protesters have come back to Tahrir Square.  This square was the scene of violence during the quest for new leadership.  At least 38 people have been killed during the recent protests against the slow turnover of power from the military leaders.  What is occuring now should make those of us living in the United States grateful for the civilliberties that we enjoy.  There have been offers for the present leadership to resign.  Will a change in leader…

The Firing of Joe Paterno

The winningest Division 1 football coach in history was shown the door this week.  It is ironic that he recently passed Eddie Robinson of Grambling the week before the bye week.  It wan't anything that Joe Paterno did.  It was what we didn't do.  At least 8 boys were abused, allegedly, by then defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, during Joe Pa's tenure.  In one instance, he was told about an encounter on Penn State property that should have led to an immediate arrest. 

Instead, the person was supposedly banned from campus and life went on.  I think Joe Pa was blinded by his sungular goal of becoming the winningest coach in division 1 history.  He touted the fact that Penn State was never sanctioned by the NCAA.  I have been to at least two games in Happy Valley.  I was there when he won his 400th game.  What a sight it was.  One hundred five thousand people in a stadium to wintess history.  It is a shame that the abused boys could not enjoy this scene without thinking a…

The Enigma of Vince Fumo

Vince Fumo is currently serving a 55 month sentence in Kentucky.  He was convicted of misusing the public trust.  He used Commonwealth of PA employees for personal errands, to spy on his ex-wives and girlfriends and other tawdry deeds.  He used yachts of boards that he sat on for personal trips.  He also fleeced a community organization that he got an enormous amount of funding for from PECO.  Even though Mr. Fumo was wealthy, he enjoyed using other people's money. 

Many of his colleagues lamented the fact that we had lost a powerful figure who bought millions to Southeastern PA.  Some would assert that what he did was wrong but paled in comparison to his many good deeds.  Currently, prosecutors are seeking a resentencing based on the fact that he was responsible for almost $2.5 million in theft.  The presiding judge was too lenient in his sentencing.  I agree.  Corey Kemp is still in jail.  He was convicted during the John Street administration for abusing the public trust.  He…

The Death of Colonel Qaddafi

In this age of instant communications, the death of Colonel Qafddafi has already been announced.  They have also been accompanied by gruesome photo evidence of his death.  The Arab Spring has culminated in the first death of a sitting leader.  I have no opinion as to the justifications for this man's death.  He had ruled Libya for years.  He seemed to be well regarded by fellow African leaders.  After the downing of the plane in Lockerbie, Scotland he seemed to be persona non grata in the U.S.  Our country did assist in some early bombings in Libya.

I am glad we did not send troops to this country to assist in the overthrow of President Qaddafi.  It was announced weeks ago that the government was not functioning at all.  We have enough problems in Iraq and Afghnaistan trying to either uphold or install new governments.  I hope the country can return to some sort of peace and stability.  A civil war is not pretty and the repercussions will be felt for years.  The people of Egypt a…

Career Transitions in Today's Economy

Today's economy has a number of professionals making career decisions.  A couple of years ago in Philadelphia, some venerable law firms bit the dust.  Not enough people were suing each other.  More cases were being settled with mediators.  Many law firms rolled back hiring plans and closed altogether.  Year ago, the technology bubble burst in Silicon Valley.  Many IT professionals were thrown for a loop.  Merck recently announced that it was laying off a high percentage of its workforce.  Science professionals were thrown for a loop.  Many teachers throughout the Tri-State (DE, PA and NJ) area are now looking for jobs.  The PFT settled on a contract which feature its members paying more for benefits.  Jobs needed to be saved.  Those of us with degrees have to be flexible in today's economy.  Retraining is an option.  Even those of us that are entrpeneurs have to supplement our income.  I will try to enter into a new field in the upcoming months.  I would like to hear how othe…

Occupy Wall Street and Other Cities

There is a movement going on that started on Wall Street.  Wall Street was the scene of some of the biggest bailouts in U.S. history with Bear Stearns being one of the beneficiaries of a government handout.  It seems as though the financial situation must be a little rosier as stimulus money is being repaid.  There was an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer today which referenced the racial diversity of the protesters that are occupying the business districts of various cities. 

In Philadelphia, the movement started with some fanfare but the protesters now need handouts and tents.  I know that there are retirees and seventy somethings that are proud of the current movement.  I am wondering about the intended end result.  Economic change will not come about with just protests.  In a nation of consumers, those that provide services reap the benefits.  Something must be done about the growing wealth gap though.  Some city budgets are beginning to feel the strain of providing extra pol…

The NBA Lockout and Its Effects

Yesterday was the deadline for the players and owners to agree on a new collective bargaining agreement before the first two weeks of the regular season would be cancelled.  The players and owners could not come to an agreement.  Almost 100 games were subsequently cancelled.  The owners want a 50-50 revenue split with the players.  The players received 57% of the revenue under the old agreement.  For the average fan like myself, the split of billions of dollars should occur like their lives depended on it.  Many persons are facing one of the toughest job markets in our lifetimes.  Some say we are in the midst of a double dip recession.  The President is trying to push through a jobs bill that will help people get hired.  The NBA players have jobs and claim that they don't want to sign a bad deal for future players.  If I'm making $22 million, like one NBA player would be under the old contract, I think I could still survive making say $15 million. Wow!!  Even the superstars li…

The 17th District is in Disarray

We have witnessed a week in the 17th Police District that we hope will not be replicated any time soon.  Two quadruple shootings and multiple murders have combined to make our neighborhood look like a war zone.  How different could a real war zone be right now?  In one instance, a group of teenage girls barge into an occupied home to avenge an earlier fight.  The resulting melee left a two year old shot and in the hospital.  This young person will be scarred for life by these actions.  Another incident resulted ina six year old being shot and hospitalized.  Still other shootings left a 21 year old man dead and an 18 year old woman shot in the crossfire. 

When a young man and a woman were beat by Flash mobs in Center City, there was public outcry and a coordinated police response.  I wonder will Mayor Nutter prepare his sermon now to admonsish these youth for their deadly actions?  Not likely.  State Representative Kenyatta Johnson is organizing a press conference today to propose po…

The PA Coalition and the 1st National Policy Summit

On Saturday, September 10th, 2011, the Pennsylvania Coalition held its first National Policy Summit at the School District of Philadelphia Headquarters.  Its goal was to develop a "Policy Bank" to support its members organizations towards social change.  As our society is evolving into a more multi-cultural and increasingly minority entity, we must be prepared to lead in ways that are more of necessity than choice. 

Neighbors in Action was represented by Julius J. Bell and he was working on a policy paper for hunger awareness.  Bilal Qayyum was there and I'm quite sure that he was focused on the violence that is plaguing the African American community.  There is a folow up meeting the September 22nd.  We want to stay involved and be a part of change in the nations 6th most populous state.  I will report back in a future blog on updates in this regard.

Howard University versus Morehouse University

I was able to attend the renewal of the Howard vs. Morehouse Classic this past weekend at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC.  I met some of my Friends from when I entered Howard University in 1981.  I also attended with my wife Shawn whom I also met while at Howard.  It was a beautiful event.  We were able to set up two tents.  We connected with my daughter Alonna who is currently a freshman at Howard. 

One thing that I like about tailgate parties is the fact that I have been enjoying them so much that the game becomes secondary.  Howard won the game but the fact that I hung out with Howard Hamilton, Eddie Reese, Manotti Jenkins, Jay Durrah, Jennifer Long, Jeanne Hoover, Yvette Kinsey Payne, Georgianna Benson, Ada Babino and others made my weekend.  I wish the best of luck to all other future leades that I met.

An Earthquake and A Hurricane in One Week. Hmm.

It has been an eventful week for many of us on the East Coast.  On Tuesday, August 23rd, our region was hit with an earquake that registered 5.8 on the Richter scale.  I was in a training session when it felt like a subway was running under the building.  We were at Front & Hunting Park at the Alternative Education headquarters so the subway or the El was not a possibility.  It lasted about 30 seconds to me.  I was ready to exit the building but the speaker, Ben Wright, just kept on talking.  They were some heavy words :-)  We were lucky that no one died and that there was no serious damage.  The earthquake was centered in Virginia and felt as far away as Canada.

This weekend we were hit by Hurricane Irene.  It started out as a Category 3 storm when it was in the Atlantic Ocean.  By the time it hit land in North Carolina, it was downgraded to a Category 1.  There is flooding in Darby and in Manayunk.  Thank goodness we were spared the brunt of the storm.  It is now a tropical depr…

The Job Market Today

I am a professional with degrees and a stable work history.  Why is it so hard to find a stable job with benefits.  I know that I am not the only individual that feels this way.  There was and will continue to be an uproar over President Obama taking a needed vacation with his Family.  He is never really on vacation with the press and aides everywhere.  The urgency of the situation with jobs and the volatility of the stock market has many people up in arms.  The President is putting designs on a jobs policy.  In Philadelphia, the Commerce Department was supposed to come up with a jobs policy.  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was supposed to spur the economy and encourage job growth.  The question remains: Where are the jobs?

Joe Paterno Should Step Down

I was fortunate enough to attend Penn State's 400th victory under Joe Paterno over Northwestern in Happy Valley.  I had never been to a football stadium which seated over 100,000 people.  The atmosphere was electrifying.  We tailgated and also had a chance to visit the athletes quarters after the game.  The drive in an out of town was slow but I enjoyed the day immensely.  Charlie Mook, Eddie Hamilton, Tony Darden and Charlie's son had a ball. 

Joe Pa recently was hospitalized becasue he was inadvertantly run into by a wide receiver.  In his younger days, he would have brushed this collision off and stayed on the field.  He broke is leg a couple of years ago in a collision on the field.  Joe Pa is 84 years old.  He just had a momentous occasion with his 400th victory.  Take a breath, smell the roses and retire Joe. 

You have plenty of seasoned assistants who can run the program and possible recruit more effectively.  Who knows how long you will be around.  I cringed when I …

The Riots in London

I have been following the news of the riots in London with some interest.  They were apparently sparked when a 29 year old person of color was killed by police officers.  The person apparently had some gang ties and was far from an exemplary citizen.  But it seemed to be an assassination by the police and that was enough to create major damage and destruction that is still going on.  There are numberous hot spots and the police seemed to be overwhelmed. 

I have viewed pictures on the Washington Post website and I notice the racial diversity in London.  Why is it that the people of African/Carribean descent still feel that they are not truly part of society?  When these riots end, what will be the course that London travels?  Will there be more people locked up?  Will the austerity measures that have been imposed to plug budget gaps be eased?  There seems to be class issues at work here also as alll of the looters were not persons of color.  Good Luck rebuilding and Godspeed to perso…

In Support of African American Farmers

Today I was fortunate enough to purchase fresh produce from a group of African American farmers from North Carolina.  My brother Julius and I bought collard greens, cantaloupes, watermelon, okra, squash and tomatoes.  The sale was coordinated by the concerned neighbors of 50th & Kingsessing in Southwest Philadelphia.  Neighbors in Action is going to coordinate a sale in the South Philadelphia area in August.  The principle of Cooperative Economics is one that we need to practice in our community.  Every other race can sell products in our community.  We need to make more of a concerted effort to support our own.  African Americans are losing farm land at a rapid rate.  We can create a winning team with the purchase of fresh produce from people that share our heritage and struggles.  The cantaloupe was sweet.  We will make gumbo with the okra.  Can't wait to cook the rest!!

The Tragedy in Norway

At least 76 people lost their lives in a rampage over the weekend in Norway.  The suspect is claiming an anti-Muslim, anti-immigration stance as part of the reason for this heinous act.  I will have to do research, but I think Norway is a very homogeneous society.  He seemed to be a well adjusted, non-descript individual based on people who knew him.  He set off a bomb and purposefully targeted people for death.  What a horrific scene it must have been.  In the U.S., Muslims suffered retribution and distruct after the 9-11 attacks.  All Muslims should not have been blamed for the terrible acts of a few who proclaimed themselves believers.  We can all be subjects to someone's ire because of our race or religious views.  We need tolerance as we become a more diverse world.  God Bless the Families affected by this gunman and his dubious intentions.

The Dilemma of White Flight

The Dilemma of White Flight
The census is a very important tool for the federal government and for society as a whole.Funding for schools and infrastructure are dependent on the outcome.Also, representation by elected representatives and the drawing up of congressional districts are affected by these numbers.Philadelphia sued after the 2000 Census because of underreporting and a subsequent loss of funding.There was a big push to get adequate reporting this year. The 2010 census has a number of major factors that reflect changes in our society.African Americans are moving back to Southern states in larger numbers.We once had to flee these states because of oppression and Jim Crow Laws.There are more mixed race Americans than ever before.Also, in Philadelphia, those identifying themselves as white Americans have fled the city at an alarming rate. Minorities have begun to move to the Northeast in record numbers.Maybe this trend made the residents of the Northeast uncomfortable.I feel that t…

Birthdays as a Time to Reflect

I am approaching my 48th Birthday on Saturday.  Besides New Years Resolutions, birthdays provide a time for reflection in one's life.  I appreciate life to the fullest.  This year, I witnessed some of the greates natural disasters recorded.  Tornadoes in Alabama and Missouri, flooding in Tennessee and Mississippi, and tsunamis in Japan.  I can imagine having built the dream home, only to have Mother Nature take it all away.  My son just turned 22 and finished a job training program.  My daughter will attending Howard University in the fall.  My wife and I have been married for 23 years.  It has been tough financially.  I share this same condition with millions of Americans.  Perseverance is the name of the game.  I wish a Happy Birthday to anyone sharing my day on July 23rd.  Let's make the next 365 days the best ever.

Concussions and the NFL

I read this morning that there are a group of former NFL players that are suing the league for downplaying the dangers of concussions.  One of them is Otis Anderson.  One of my favorite players, Andre Waters, killed himself as a result of concussions.  The autopsy results showed that he had the mind of a 76 yeard old man.  Dirty Waters, as he was affectionately known, was a hard nosed defensive back who bought the pain to offensive players.  I am feeling guilty as a fan because, at 47 years old, I have watched years of exciting games.  I did not realize that these players are literally putting their lives at risk for my enjoyment.  The retired players, led by Carl Eller, are also looking for an increased share of medical benefits because of their continuing ailments.  The NFL is trying to make the game less violent.  Can the NFL be enjoyed with a sanitized version of its former self?  I wish the players luck in their pursuit of more awareness about concussions and potential cash payme…

Point/Grays Promise Neighborhood Plan

I attended a working group meeting of the Point/Grays Promise Neighborhood Plan last night.  I was invited by Claudia Sherrod of South Philadelphia H.O.M.E.S.  The meeting was conducted by Rahim Islam of Universal Institute.  I was appointed as a member of the Advisory Council last night.  The group is focused on improving educational attainment levels of students from the Point Breeze and Grays Ferry neighborhoods.  At this point, many students are attending public schools that were the last resort for many parents.  The newly built school, Audenrid H.S., has been racked by violence and lowtest scores.  I am a product of this neighborhood but I went to Catholic schools during my formative years.  I will be focused on Community and Economic Development as this is my area of expertise.  As a teacher, I will also be reviewing benchmarks that measure progress in the educational attainment spectrum.  I will report back.

Women's World Cup Final

I thoroughly enjoyed the Women's World Cup Final game between the United States and Japan yesterday.  I have learned to appreciate the nuances of Soccer.  As an American, I am used to scoring and constant action.  The Japanese team, though smaller in stature than the Americans, played a patient passing game and never got flustered.  We had a number of chances to score in the firtst 45 minutes of play and missed a many of those opportunities.  As the announcer indicated at the time, those missed chances, came back to haunt us at the endo of the game.  The Americans were also unusually hesitant during the penalty kick phase.  We seemed all too confident against Brazil.  I feel good for the Japanese women.  Their country is going through a tough time recovering from the Tsunami earlier this year.  The government  is also trying to protect its damaged nuclear reactors from an approaching typhoon.  Hats off to the better team.   We hope to be back in four years.

The Budget Deficit

I have been following the deficit reduction discussions between the Democrats and the Republicans.  Philadelphia will be feeling the results of curtailed State spending in a big way in the upcoming months.  Almost 3000 workers have been laid off from the School District.  All of us will have to deal with the reality that federal spending will have to be curtailed.  We cannot support two wars and neglect infrastructure needs at home.  Housing dollars coming into Philadelphia are down and has resulted in layoffs.  The stimulus seems like a distant memory.  John Boehner is shying away from some of the drastic cuts that the Republicans have proposed.  I wonder why?

Future Prospects

You don't get harmony when everybody sings the same note.  Doug Floyd

In order to differentiate yourself from the crowd, you sometimes have to make bold, innovative decisions.  The consequences could be as you intended or you can work to repair some failures.  You will never know your limits until you take risks though.  I wonder how people are coping with the numerous natural disasters that have affected the world this year.  Tsunamis, devastating tornadoes, floods of epic proportions and earthquakes.  Sometimes, we have no choice but to go in a different direction and rebuild.

Political Interests

I am interested in pursuing a State Represenatative position for the 186th District.  I have contacted my City Councilperson and my State Representative.  Neither one of them have called me back.  I noticed from my run for City Commissioner that deals are made and certain people are not allowed in the process.  I want to change this.  I will keep you posted.

I will get involved in the 36th Ward and then work within the realm of insider politics.  Political People involved will be a decent organization to get acquainted with.  One run does not a political career make.

The Golf Season

I just received my Tee Time book today.  Many of the deals which were in the previous Tee Time book are no longer there.  I will be playing and practicing at least twice a week.  I also will be buying a used car.  Let's get to it.