Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A "Top to Bottom Review of all of the Training"......Really?....Seriously?

Another human being is dead senselessly and the best we can do is say "the NYPD will conduct a 'top to bottom review of all of the training this department provides to its personnel, specifically focusing on force, how do we train our officers for a takedown, how do we train them to use the various levels of force that they're authorized to use?" Seriously? Is that the best we can do? How many more reviews of training will have to be conducted? It's almost as if there is list of politically correct lines to say at these press conferences. Does anyone out there believe that we won't be seeing or hearing about this same type of incident again? Same incident, just change the name of the victim.

I was actually more incensed with Commissioner Bratton's order to conduct a "top to bottom review of all of the training this department provides to its personnel, specifically focusing on force, than I was with the actual brutality, because after all we are used to these types of incidences by now, but to just keep getting that same old politically correct double-speak is galling. Please stop insulting our intelligence because what that really means is we are not going to do anything and nothing is going to change. Next Victim! Same old game, just change the names. A review! What is that going to do?

Mindsets must change. Hearts must change. Spirits must change. Relationships must change. A "Review." You've got to be kidding me.  Words like "review," "commission," and "investigation," almost always mean, we are going to give the public the information that we think they want to hear and then conduct our business as usual. In the meantime, we are holding more and more funerals.  Something to think about. My prayers are with the Garner family.

Monday, July 7, 2014

This Is What I am Talking About When I Say "We're Going The Wrong Way."

My last post was titled "You're Going The Wrong Way," and I used a video clip from the movie Planes,Trains and Automobiles starring Steve Martin and John Candy (see The Critical Thinker posted on July 6, 2014)   to illustrate my point. The recent slaying of this twelve year old is exactly what I am talking about when I say "We're going the wrong way." I don't think I need to say more in this post. Things have got to change; things have got to change.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

"You're Going The Wrong Way!"

Have you ever felt like the couple in this movie clip who were trying their best to let Steve Martin and John Candy in Planes, Trains and Automobiles know that they were headed in the wrong direction? How many times have we like the couple in the movie clip seen the oncoming traffic heading towards the car that was traveling in the wrong direction? Even worse, how many times have the loved one, community, student, congregant, leader, etc. responded the same way that Martin and Candy does only to find out later that they were indeed headed in the wrong direction and that what they were doing was not working. Replay the video clip and see it as an analogy or metaphor for what many of us experience in life whether it be the couple issuing the warning or Martin and Candy receiving it. From the perspective of the couple issuing the warning, it is difficult to see oncoming danger, issue the warning, and then see that the person or people receiving the warning are blatantly disregarding it. Martin and Candy continued to tell themselves that the couple who were trying to save them did not know what they were talking about, in fact, they accused them of being drunk. Why does it take us to be nearly killed (literally and/or figuratively) before we realize that we are going the wrong way? There are oncoming tractor trailers! School systems, governments, societies,politicians, etc. etc. continuously put programs and policies in place that are going the wrong way and when there is an outcry from the people, the response is the same as Martin's and Candy's. Men and boys proudly wearing their pants midway down their thighs showing their underwear barely able to walk; all of these guns on the street;the refusal to make education a priority; all of these senseless murders; the anything goes mentality and on and on and on..........We're going the wrong way! The oncoming tractor trailers (consequences of our going the wrong way) are moving swiftly and if we don't turn things around soon, we will all be crushed. What affects one directly, affects us all indirectly. The unnamed couple in the movie clip knew this and were doing their metaphorical part in looking to head off a disaster. For those of us who are in the position of Martin and Candy, we must understand when we are going the wrong way and make the necessary corrections. Something to critically think about.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

If Ever Given The Opportunity; The Answer is "YES."

Someone asked me if I ever had the chance to be a full time radio talk show host making the same amount or more income than I am making from my current career, would I do it? My answer was, if I could make the same level of income I am currently making, I would most certainly be a full time radio talk show host. I listen to the Sean Hannitys, Mark Levines, Oprah Winfreys, Charlie Roses, Barbara Walters' and Mark Rileys of the world, and I say to myself, "I know I could do that," and I know that I can do it because I have been doing it for the last 13 years on a voluntary basis at WP88.7 FM and I love it. Below is a video slide show of the guests who have appeared at one point or another on The Reading Circle with Marc Medley during my 13 year run on WP88.7 FM/gobrave.org. I truly enjoyed putting this little video together as it made me reflect upon all of the wonderful authors I have had the opportunity to meet and chat with. They range from the "no profile" to the "high profile," from the "famous" to the "not so famous" and yet they have all been just as humble when appearing on my show. I thank each and every guest appearing in the slide show below and to all of my listeners who faithfully rise on Saturdays at 6 a.m. ET to tune in. Don't forget to download The Reading Circle App for your mobile device on Itunes, Google or Amazon. Lastly, if there are any scouts out there for any major networks looking for an experienced radio talk show host, I'm game. Tune in Saturday mornings at 6 a.m. ET on gobrave.org and WP88.7 FM. You are also invited to follow me on Twitter @readingcircle01.

 


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Parents, We Must Do More Than Buy Jordans



  • "Nike released the Air Jordan 10 “Powder Blue” retro sneaker on Saturday, 20 years after the first Jordan 10s hit shelves. Like all the Jordan retro releases, this one was highly anticipated and first-day sales hit $35 million."   Forbes

  •  "Jordan made an estimated $90 million last year thanks to the rich partnership he enjoys with Nike. His 2013 earnings eclipsed those of all other retired or current athletes save boxer Floyd Mayweather. It marked Jordan’s biggest earnings year yet in a career paved with monster paydays, which peaked in Jordan’s last season with the Bulls (1997-98) at $80 million." Forbes 
  • "Retail shoe sales for the Jordan Brand in the U.S. grew 11% last year to $2.7 billion, with basketball making up 84% of that, according to Powell. Roughly 50% to 55% of that goes to Nike."  Forbes  

Read the three bullet points above again. Really let what you have just read sink in. Now think about the number of children, particularly urban children who in some places literally live and die to own/wear a pair of Jordans. Even worse are the parents who feel as if they are obligated to purchase these sneakers, and not just one pair, but multiple pairs throughout the year, in some instances twice a month. I have heard parents who are on governmental assistance tell me that they spent the majority of their monthly check on the latest pair of Jordans for their children. In too many cases, these are the same children who make extremely bad behavioral decisions in school. I've also heard and seen parents who are not on any assistance and are working jobs with competitive wages make this same declaration and feel this same obligation to purchase Jordans for their children. Now don't misunderstand me, I do not have anything against Jordans, while I don't own any, I do not have anything against them either. The problem arises when Jordans are purchased to substitute for the love and attention that the children really need and desire. The problem arises when the children learn to expect stuff over substance and quality time and experiences with their parents.

In many instances the Jordans are used as the carrot for the children to improve their behavior or grades. I will hear parents tell their children, "If you do 'X,' I will buy that new pair of Jordans for you," or "You're not going to get that new pair of Jordans now that you've done 'X." Many children have learned how to manipulate the guilt of their parents to buy them the coveted Jordans. Again, the problem arises when the Jordans take the place of love and other parental support. It's hard to believe that the same child who will be sporting a brand new pair of Jordans is the same child who will tell his/her teacher that he/she can't afford a pencil or pen. Something is wrong. Let be clear again, I do not have anything against Jordans, it's the misuse of the Jordans that I am writing about in this post. For too many of our children, their self esteem is tied to the ability to wear Jordans. A few years ago I actually had a student who was cutting herself in class because one of her classmates had the latest pair of Jordans at that time and she did not. Now mind you, she had a brand new pair of Jordans on her feet, but it was not the ones newly released. She was  literally cutting her fingers with a razor blade over Jordans!!

I remember as a child pestering my parents for Pro Ked and Converse sneakers which at that time cost about $13 a pair, so I have an appreciation for where the children are coming from, but it has been taken to a seriously unhealthy level. There is so much more to parenting than providing Jordans, yet too many parents think that if just give the child Jordans that everything else a parent ought to do does not have to be done. Therein lies the issue. At the end of the day, parents must be parents even if that means saying "no" to purchasing the latest pair of Jordans. Our children must learn values, self esteem, morals, and accountability whether they have a pair of Jordans on their feet or not. It will not matter how many pairs of Jordans a child has in the closet (except to Mr. Jordans and Nike's bottom line), they will not take the place of love, quality time and the teaching of old fashioned values.  Something  to critically think about. I invite you to join me live as I host The Reading Circle each Saturday morning at 6:00 a.m. EDT on gobrave.org. I also invite you to follow me on Twitter @thinkcritical01.





Thursday, June 5, 2014

Right Message - Wrong Delivery

The other morning as I was heading to my car to go to work, I witnessed the impetus for this post. It was a young father walking his young son to either school or day care. The little boy could not have been much older than three or four. I gathered from what the father was chastising his son about was the little boy had picked something up off of the ground and had proceeded to put it or his hands that had touched it in his mouth. The directive of the father was right, but oh boy, was his delivery wrong.

"Don't you ever (expletive beginning with the letter "F") pick up nothin' off the (expletive beginning with the letter "F") ground, ya hear..... You don't know where the (expletive beginning with the letter "F") that has been and you puttin' it in your (expletive beginning with the letter "F") mouth. Don't you ever do that (expletive beginning with the letter "F") (expletive beginning with the letter "S") again." 


I am sure you were able to decode what the letters "F" and "S" stood for and can just imagine what that must have sounded like at 7:30 in the morning. In many instances we wonder where do children learn to speak in the manner in which too many of them speak......well there you have it; they learned it from their parents. I am quite sure that little three or four year old boy did not come out of the womb speaking such language, yet, I will bet that as a youngster, teenager and later on adult, will be addressing his peers and elders in the same manner.

I have had parents come into my school to address the issue of their children cursing at his/her teacher and will turn right around in my office and say to the child "I'm tired of coming to this (expletive beginning with the letter "F") school for your little(expletive beginning with the letter "M and ending in the letter F")(expletive begging with an "A" or another word for donkey). I will literally have to remind the parent that the child is in trouble for using just that language.

People will often argue with me when I say that much of our societal ills start in the home; however, I know this to be true. The children are only imitating or mimicking what they see or hear at home. You can rest assured that if this little three or four year old that I saw walking with his father the other day is not already dropping the "F" bomb, he will be. It's sad, that for many children that is the only type of communication that they are exposed to. It has been said that “Profanity is the effort of a feeble brain to express itself forcibly,” and if you critically think about it, you almost can't help but to agree. The worst part of it all is, these feeble brains are passing it along to their children and the cycle continues.

I felt sad for that little boy after listening to his father chastise him in that manner. The father had the right message but the wrong delivery. Something to critically think about and I invite you to listen to me live each Saturday morning at 6 a.m. on gobrave.org and WP88.7 FM as the host of The Reading Circle. I also invite you to follow me on Twitter @thinkcritical01.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Shopping For Healthy Food Is A Challenge

As I have seriously undertaken my journey to eat healthier and have become more conscious of my food and beverage purchases, I've observed just how much of a challenge it is to eat and drink healthy (maybe that's why so many of us don't).

I find this to be particularly true when in the food markets and restaurants. Either the healthier foods are sparsely available or significantly more expensive than the foods that are not good for us also known as "junk food."  With the exception of the fruit and vegetable aisle, I have to literally hunt for foods that are sugar free or contain low carbohydrates. For example, to replace sodas, I've begun to drink unsweetened tea or water and have replaced any white bread or flour processed foods with wheat products. You would be surprised with the exception of Walmart, the hunt I have to go on to find 100% whole wheat bagels free of High Fructose Corn Syrup or unsweetened tea in a general supermarket. I am using these as an example, but it applies to other foods and beverages as well. It seems that those of us who are looking to eat more healthy either by choice or by force, have little available to us, the products are hidden away or are so deeply embedded in the products that are not the best for us that we cannot even find them. The choices are also usually very limited, i.e. sugar-free ice cream choices, etc. Smoothies have become popular and really are great for digesting fruits and vegetables, however, a small bag of frozen blueberries are actually more expensive than a bag of potato chips or cookies (they are already expensive, so can you imagine?)

As a part of my quest, I have begun researching and comparing the foods that were a part of my diet and the foods that I am now choosing to include in my diet, and boy, what an education I am getting. Foods and ingredients that I thought were okay for me to eat and drink actually had the potential to kill me.


For example, I love corn and corn products including foods and beverages that contain High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). As it turns out, HFCS is a number one killer, and it's in most of the foods and beverages that we consume daily.  I absolutely LOVED (did I say loved?) Pepsi and Coca-Cola and have been drinking it since I was a very young child and learned of its impacts on the body. It is also a killer (see below).

It makes one wonder, (also a reason for this post), if we really want people to be healthy? Is it by design that the foods and beverages that are the worst for us cost the least and are the most readily available? Is it by design that the healthier foods must be found after a treasure/scavenger hunt or not even offered in some restaurants/supermarkets at all? And we wonder why our American people are so sick (heart disease, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc. etc. etc) and or obese?



Well, the job of this blog is to leave you with something to critically think about with the hopes that you will take action. I can't tell you what type of action to take; however, after considering some of the things to think about after reading the post, I would hope that some action is taken, even if it is nothing else than to pass this blog along to someone else who may do something even if you choose not to do so. The availability and costs of our healthier foods is certainly something we need to bring to the attention of store and restaurant owners and our legislators. It is clear to me that the welfare of human beings is not the priority but the making of the almighty dollar is. Let them be obese. Let them be sick as long as we are making a profit. Something to critically think about and as always, I invite you to hear me live each Saturday morning at 6 a.m. EDT on gobrave.org and WP88.7 FM as the host of The Reading Circle and to follow me on Twitter @thinkcritical01.