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Showing posts from 2016

Reflections on 2016

At the end of a year, it is a good time to reflect and project forward.  If an individual is blessed to have mental and physical health, then he or she is blessed.  In my case, I lost weight in order to address my blood pressure.  I joined a gym in order to keep up my physical health.  At 53 years of age I feel like I am in good enough shape to be effective in taking care of my family going forward.  George Michael, a renowned performer, died in his sleep on Christmas Day in London.  We lost Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds recently.  Prince died as a result of a drug overdose earlier this year.  It has been a tough year for famous people including David Bowie.

My granddaughter Malayja turned three in November.  It has been such a joy seeing her grow.  She is staying with us this weekend and will celebrate the New Year with us.  We had a nice birthday party at Chuck E Cheese's in Delaware County.  We had our annual Christmas Eve party.  We also had our usual Thanksgiving Day din…

President Netenyahu is in a Foul Mood: Good!

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The United Nations recently passed a resolution condemning Israeli settlements in disputed territory that could be claimed by Palestinians.  The conflicts with Palestinians over territory and national sovereignty go back to the formation of Israel back in 1948.  The history of the Jewish people extends back to Biblical times.  My Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was a Jewish man.  His sacrifice paved the way to heaven for many Christians.  This current conflict has less to do with Biblical times and more to do with greed and power.  Land can only be taken if a country knows that it can do so with minimal oppostion.

It seems as though the relationship between President Obama and President Netanyahu has been pretty tense for the past eight years.  I know that we support Israel financially and have been a loyal military ally.  We have tried to broker peace in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip on numerous occasions.  I wondered why the Palestinians would be seen on television slinging stone…

Why I Cannot Feel Sorry for Chaka Fattah

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Even though he was a United States Congressman from Pennsylvania his conviction did not make national news on CNN.  He had been investigated by the FBI for almost ten years for his misdeeds during and after the 2007 mayoral election in Philadelphia.   Chaka was supposedly legendary for his ground game.  For the political novice, this game includes the ability to motivate teams of people to pass out literature and get loyal voters to the polls on election day.  Chaka had been a sitting Congressman and rarely had to campaign for reelection.  His ascension to Congress was extraordinary.  He served in the House of Representatives from 1983 to 1988.  He then was elected to the State Senate and served until 1994.

He served a district that includes portions of North, South and West Philadelphia.  His district also included Lower Merion Township.  A more diverse juxtaposition of constituents could not have been put together without gerrymandering.  In spite of his impending legal troubles, h…

Christmas in Cuba faded under Political Pressure

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Fidel Castro passed away on November 25th, 2016.  He was reviled by many Cuban expatriates who lived in the United States.  He was mourned by those Cubans still living on the island.  Honest expressions of sympathy were hard to come by for those of us living outside the country as the state controls the press in this communist country.  President Obama offered measured kindness from the U.S. perspective.  President elect Trump said "Castro is Dead".  So much for international diplomacy.

Many of us who celebrate Christmas are in the middle stages of preparing for the birth of Jesus Christ.  I envy families who have decorations up by Thanksgiving.  Shawn and I were cleaning and wiping down walls yesterday.  My goal is to clean windows and hang lights today.  We will get a live tree this year.  I am especially thankful for my job and my health.  The last few years have been tough but I never lost faith that I could be productive and provide for my Family.  We have had a Chris…

Romney interviewing with Trump Administration is a Farce

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Mitt Romney is a very affluent American citizen.  He was the Governor of Massachusetts.  He was a founder of Bain Capital and generated millions of dollars in salary for himself and his family.  He was unsuccessful in the 2008 and 2012 Presidential campaigns.  He withdrew in the Republican primary after it appeared that John McCain would carry his party's mantle in 2008.  He was so sure of  victory in 2012 that he forgot to prepare a concession speech in the unlikely event that President Obama repeated as the leader of our country.  He eventually conceded and has had a lot on angst about losing since then.

I am confused about two recent meetings that Mr. Romney has had with President elect Donald Trump concerning the Secretary of State position.  Mitt Romney made continuous incendiary comments about a potential Trump administration.  Here is a quote "Trumpism has been associated with racism, misogyney, bigotry, xenophobia, vulgarity and, most recently, threats and violence.&…

The Election and Integration!!

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I am beginning my week realizing that Donald Trump will now be the President of the United States in January.  He is criticizing the New York Times on Twitter today for dishonest coverage and declining subscribers.  The New York Times is firing back indicating a rise in digital subscribers and readership.  Mr. Trump had indicated that he was going to restrain himself on social media only to try to intimidate a major media outlet.  I am trying to figure out what is the 'Trump phenomena' that he is referring to.  The media fairly covered his numerous gaffes during the campaign.  I wonder if he will sue the numerous women who came forward to accuse him of groping them without their consent.  His trial for consumer fraud is coming up on November 28th but his tream is calling for a postponement.  Is reporting about the trial unfair also?

I am a Majority Inspector in the 36th Ward of the Democratic Party in Philadelphia.  Donald Trump won the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by amassin…

The NATO Structure should not be Dismantled!!

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There is a candidate in the U.S. Presidential race that spews a ton of rhetoric.  I really don't think that this person is well schooled in the art of diplomacy.  I also do not think that he has studied history in a definitive nature.  Recently, a question was asked about the ongoing crisis in Iraq.  This person has continuously referred to radical Islamic terrorism as though all Muslims are just ready to blow someone up.  Islam is the largest religion in the world.  At this point, the atrocities committed by ISIS as it is being pressured in Mosul are horrendous.  They are summarily executing people and using people as human shields.  They are losing territory at a rapid rate.  The candidate I am referring two did not state that ISIS is currently losing this battle.  The casualties are horrendous and it will not happen overnight.  He stated that Iran will really benefit in this battle and
I knew I had to fact check another statement.

This person says that NATO should be disbanded…

Will the latest email discovery spoil the Election?

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We are less than two weeks away from the Presidential election in the United States.  November 8th will be a pivotal day in the annals of American history.  On one hand we could have the election of the first woman to the office. This could be historic based on the fact that only white male landowners could vote when our constitution was ratified.  The 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, was ratified in 1920.  It will have been 96 years since women could vote that they could elevate one of their own.  We have seen the first African American President serve eight years.  President Obama also represents the growing number of biracial Americans in this country.  He has roots in Kenya also and, as many of us, has DNA that comes from a number of sources.

The Make America Great Again movement is puzzling.  It is led by a very rich man who seems to be mad about everything.  The New York Times published all of his angry tweets recently.  I guess a politician has to belittle t…

The Second Presidential Debate: Interesting!

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We are less than a month away from the 2016 Presidential election.  The second debate between nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was held last night in Saint Louis.  It was a town hall style meeting with some questions posed by the audience and some coming from the moderators.  It was generally perceived by most observers that Hillary Clinton won the first debate.  I am a Democrat so I might be biased.  I concur with the overall assessment of the first debate.  Hillary was well prepared and stayed on topic.  I think she won last night also.

One of the hot topics that is ripping apart the Republican party was the hot mic conversation that Donald Trump had with Billy Bush in 2005 on his was to a cameo appearance on a soap opera.  He waxed eloquently, or not so eloquently, about his aggressive tactics towards women that he was interested in.  He popped a few tic tacs in advance of meeting one of the soap stars.  He said that he usually just starts kissing women because of his st…

The Portrait Donald Trump is Painting is Not Reality!!

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As a political observer I realize that any candidate for political office must espouse viewpoints that will help them to get elected.  When I ran for City Commissioner back in 2011, I advocated for a mobile voting machine and updated voting lists.  Even without the money and the backing of the Democratic Party, I was able to garner over 30,000 votes.  My team got on street corners and grinded.  According to his own proclamations, Donald Trump is super rich.  According to his running mate, Mike Pence, he has donated millions of dollars to charity.  The problem is, he won't submit his tax returns to validate anything that he says.  It is a fact that he has not personally contributed to the Donald Trump Foundation since 2008.  Other than that, his statements are pure conjecture.

Recently, Donald Trump came to the realization that he was going to need African American voters to win the Presidency.  Initially, most of his proclamations about the dire straits of the Black community wer…

Police Lives Matter Also!!

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I am absolutely stunned by the violence directed towards police in Philadelphia this year.  I empathize along with the rest of the country over the innocent people killed by police officers.  Eric Garner, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Alton Sterling, Tamir Rice and Philando Castile all suffered terrible fates at the hands of officers of the law.  The circumstances of the shootings led many neutral observers to wonder what kind of training these officers received before receiving a shield to protect and to serve.  The Black Lives Matter movement was spawned because of the rising rate of innocent civilians of color losing their lives in encounters with men and women in blue.

On January 7th, 2016 a gunman shot police officer Jesse Hartnett while he was sitting in his police cruiser in West Philly.  He was severely wounded but was able to get out of his car and shoot the fleeing suspect.  The suspect was unemployed and supposedly committed the crime in the name of Allah.  On Friday, a police…

Hurricane Hermine Spared Us!!

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Hurricane Hermine will not go down as one of the major hurricanes to have affected the United States in the last few years.  It did affect vacation plans for millions of Americans along the east coast though.  My Family and I had planned to spend some time on the beach in Atlantic City soaking up some rays and barbecuing.  We found a place on Maine and New Hampshire that is the closest thing to a private beach that you will find.  The weather has been spectacular in Philadelphia.  I enjoyed a block party on Manton Street yesterday and today was a perfect day to watch Power and a few episodes of Bond.  I watched Bridge of Spies and was impressed by Tom Hanks in his role as a hostage negotiator.

Hurricane Hermine started out as a Tropical Storm.  It revved up some spectacular waves and caused at least three deaths.  Thankfully, once it got up to New Jersey and New York, it veered west instead of east.  Many merchants bemoaned the fact that Governor Christie had declared a state of emer…

The Enigma of Local 98

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As many people know, Philadelphia has one of the highest rates of poverty of a major city in the country.  Many low income people struggle to just put food on the table.  I have been on the side of the aisle in which I am wondering where resources are coming from in order to feed my family.  It is why I often wonder at the power of some of our local labor unions.  One in particular is Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Unions.  The length and breadth of their financial largesse is astounding.

I first became aware of the power of this union when I was working in the housing arena.  Davis Bacon regulations were intended to have prevailing wages be paid by developers/contractors on publicly funded projects.  Being union was not a requirement if a contractor could pay the wage.  Laborers would get paid approximately $19.00 an hour plus benefits.  On the high end of the scale, Plumbers would get paid approximately $39.00 plus benefits.  The benefits are the key to the…

National Association of Black Storytellers in Philly: Let's Support Them

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Philadelphia has been the home of a number of conventions this year.  The most famous has been the Democratic National Convention.  The Democrat's nominated the first woman ever to lead the party into the general election in November.  The African Methodist Episcopal General Conference was held in Philadelphia in July also.  This was the 50th Session held since the Church was incorporated in 1816 when Richard Allen was elected and consecrated as Bishop.  The Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts was held here in April.  It featured over 60 performances and a wide variety of mediums on which art was expressed.

We are a destination city in many ways.  It came as no surprise then when I found out that the National Association of Black Storytellers was going to convene here in November.  One of my childhood friends is the local Director at the festival.  I received an e-mail from one branch of this group called Keepers of the Culture.  Even though we are a multi-cultural s…