Monday, January 15, 2018

Two Sportscasters Who Did It Well

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

I start this post with this quote because it is the eighty-ninth birthday of Rev. Dr. King, Jr. and because over the last couple of weeks we lost two sportscasters who we can all say "Here lived two great sportscasters who did their jobs well." I am speaking of Dick Enberg and Keith Jackson. The two stand out for me because throughout my childhood, teen years and adulthood, those two were the voices of so many sporting events that I watched over the years. They were both legendary and had distinctive voices, cadences, and catchphrases. Both delivered play-by-play of major American sports, memorable games and events. Their voices were known just as Howard Cosell's was in any house where a sports fan resided.

It's funny how you can see or listen to someone who you have never met personally, yet hear or see them so much that you feel as if you have met them and they are a close friend. That's the way it is with me with the voices of both Mr. Enberg and Mr. Jackson. I remember in 1973 when ABC-TV debuted The Superstars, a two-hour special featuring ten top athletes from ten different sports competing in events that were not their own and if memory serves me correctly, Keith Jackson was the host voice. I've watched countless football games called by Dick Enberg who was the voice of baseball, football, tennis and more. They did their jobs well and will be missed.

One never knows the impact on the life of others when he/she is following his or her calling. I believe Mr. Enberg and Mr. Jackson followed their calling and because it was their calling and they did it so well, many lives were made a little brighter when they were on the air during the weekends or whenever they were on.  The two embodied Dr. King's quote as they called sporting events like Michelangelo painted, Beethoven composed music and as Shakespeare wrote poetry. Like others who have passed before them and came into our homes on a weekly basis, their voices will be missed. My condolences go out to the Enberg and Jackson families.

Whatever it is you are called to do, do it well. Something to critically think about on this eighty-ninth birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther, King. Jr. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

We Can Indeed Lose Love By Abusing Love

Posts to The Critical Thinker are based on my observations of things going on around me, my personal experiences or both hence this post.  In my line of work, I see on a daily basis children who do not receive love or at least not the love a child ought to receive based on the fact that they are children who did not ask to be created or born in the first place. None of us asked to be here (be born). At the same time, I see children who receive an abundance of love and virtually abuse it. Love is shown to them in multiple ways and the response or lack thereof from the child is worse than the child who is not receiving an adequate amount of love and affection.

I see children who are given gifts and not utter the words "Thank You" or even acknowledge that the gift was given. I see children who talk a whole lot of big talk, who do know anything about life nor can support themselves act as if they know it all and have the world by the tail when in reality they cannot perform basic life tasks. It amazes me how a young child can talk back (yell) to his/her parent(s) in a way that would lead one to believe that he/she has had the same experiences and has the same knowledge base as the parent(s) who are seeking to teach and discipline him/her in order to prepare him/her to function successfully in society when they are an adult.  I share with children all of the time that any parent who allows you as a child to do whatever you want to do does not really care about you. Any parent worth his/her salt will correct and chastise his/her child when needed in order to avoid larger problems in the future.

Child yelling back an adult
I am well aware that each generation claims that the following generations are much worse than the previous generations; however, based on the observations and experiences that I have both at work and at home, this is not just empty rhetoric. We are raising a generation of children who seem to know no bounds in terms of how they interact with adults whether it is with their parents or any other adults who make an effort to instruct them. These children actually believe that they have either come up to the adult's level or the adult has come down to theirs. I am quick to remind children that neither has occurred and that each needs to know their place. I am not saying that children do not have a voice or experience emotional challenges as well, but I am saying that there is a way to conduct one's self. A child being disrespectful to an adult is not cute or ought to be tolerated.  I've literally witnessed children hollering at the top of their lungs (as in the photo) back at a parent or an adult who is paying the bills. It's ludicrous! I've witnessed children attempt to justify and rationalize their aberrant behavior when a parent or adult is trying to show them the error of their ways. It is utterly ridiculous and certainly was not tolerated by my parents in the 60's, 70's and early 80's when I and my sister were children.  In fact, when my sister and I were in school, teachers were able to physically discipline us if need be and they were supported by the student's parents. This "Capital punishment" nonsense did not exist back then (I am fully aware of the difference between discipline and abuse).  My teachers had all kinds of methods to keep us in line. Some put us in the coat closet in the back of the room, others popped our outstretched hands with a ruler, some twisted ears, and some placed us in the corner among other things. Ironically enough, we survived and were the better for it.  Between home and school, most children learned how to respect authority and adults. Sadly, we no longer seem to be able to help children understand that when they are being disciplined that they are actually being loved as there is a difference between discipline and punishment. While the two words [discipline/punishment] are used interchangeably, the objectives are starkly different.

Many of our children and adults for that matter who is being loved and continuously abuse it are losing a lot of love and then they don't understand why it is happening. When one constantly gives his/her posterior to kiss to the one who is attempting to show him/her love, at some point the one attempting to show the love stops, this being my premise of this post. Oh yes my friends, we can indeed lose love by abusing love. So if you are reading this post, feel free to reflect and share it with others. Retweet and reshare it on all of your social media sites. Use it as a discussion starter with family, friends and other loved ones. We are going down a wrong path and in the end, we all are going to pay a heavy price. Something to critically think about.






Monday, December 25, 2017

IT'S CHRISTMAS DAY!!!

Merry Christmas to all reading this post. It's Christmas morning in the United States and I awoke around my usual time without the alarm clock. The house is quiet and the Christmas tree lights are on with some presents under the tree.

As I make my coffee and toast, I listen to Dave Grusin's soothing and meditative jazz version of SOME CHILDREN SEE HIM over and over again and reflect on all of my Christmases past all the way through today, Christmas 2017. I reflected on how excited I would get as a child awaiting Christmas Day. I reflected on the anticipation of the toys that I would receive on that morning; the cold that I would catch from the last Saturday of November until that magical Christmas morning when it went away right on cue. My mind saw the dinners my mother would cook and my father playing on the floor with me and my sister. It saw my father's childhood friend Ernest stopping by at 10:00 a.m. already toasty from celebrating Christmas early in the morning or perhaps never stopping from Christmas Eve.

My mind moved as if it were watching a film or traveling through a time machine. I saw the various celebrations throughout the years with family members who we laughed and shared time with who have transitioned and are no longer with us. I saw my own children's first Christmases and their response to waking up on Christmas morning and seeing all of the presents under the tree. I also remembered the Christmases following some of life's rough spots and zoomed right up until today, December 25, 2017.

As I did in my Marc Medley Show podcast Christmas episode (below), I encourage everyone to spend quality time with their family and friends today and every day for that matter as we do not know when we will be spending our last Christmas together. I remember countless friends and family members who have passed away who were at gatherings similar to the ones that we are having today.  I read a social media post that said: "Stop falling out with ya family and friends...stop holding grudges..fix the issues because when they in that ground it's too late."  The post may be grammatically incorrect but it makes a very good point. The time is out for family and friends to not be speaking to one another. The time is out for being bitter and mean towards each other. As cliche as it may sound, life really is too short.

So let there be peace on earth and let it begin with you and me. If you are reading this post, I hope you are having or had a blessed and peaceful Christmas. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.





Sunday, December 3, 2017

Stevie Wonder Said It Best In Terms of The Trump Administration - YOU HAVEN'T DONE NOTHIN'


We are amazed but not amused
By all the things you say that you'll do
Though much concerned but not involved
With decisions that are made by you
But we are sick and tired of hearing your song
Telling how you are gonna change right from wrong
'Cause if you really want to hear our views
You haven't done nothing
It's not too cool to be ridiculed
But you brought this upon yourself
The world is tired of pacifiers
We want the truth and nothing else, yeah
And we are sick and tired of hearing your song
Telling how you are gonna change right from wrong
'Cause if you really want to hear our views
You haven't done nothing
Jackson 5 join along with me say doo doo wop
Hey hey hey, doo doo wop
Wow wow wow, doo doo wop
Hm hm hm, doo doo wop
Co co co, doo doo wop
Bum bum…

ENOUGH SAID. Stevie Wonder said it best. While written for the Nixon Administration, the words were prophetic for today. Something to critically think about.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Yes Mr. Ball A "Thank You" Was In Order


While I can be very critical of the actions of our current president, in this instance I happen to side with him. Not that I am condoning his childish responses on Twitter concerning the matter; however, I can understand where he is coming from. Truth be told, I would hope that Mr. Trump did not make the effort to free the young men from the Chinese prison just for praise, but out of truly being concerned for their well being as U.S.Citizens.

I have traveled outside of the U.S. on multiple occasions throughout the years and I am always mindful to do a little bit of research about the customs and cultures of where I'm about to travel.  I do this because the last thing that I would want to happen on my trip is to do something that is considered offensive or against that country's laws. The last I checked, stealing is wrong regardless of where you travel and shoplifting is a form of stealing.  I don't care how valuable or valueless the article(s) may be, stealing is wrong and illegal no matter what country you are in. At the end of the day, those boys had absolutely no business whatsoever of even attempting to take anything without paying for it whether they were in the U.S. or abroad. Ironically, I was just in China in July.

One would think history would have deterred those young men from even attempting to do anything out of line in a foreign country. Clearly, the names Michael Fay or Otto Warmbier meant nothing to LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley because if they did, I doubt very seriously if they would have committed their act.  The fact that we do not know our history, pay attention to, or learn from it is a topic for another blog post so let me not digress. Back to Elder Ball saying "Thank You." In Luke 17:11-19 we read the story of how Jesus heals ten lepers and only one of them came back after he was healed to give thanks. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Now unlike Trump, Jesus did not go on a rant or throw a Twitter fit; however, he did ask about the other nine. If you were to read the story, you would see that all ten asked to be healed in loud voices and yet only one said thank you when their request was answered in their favor.

This is the problem I have with Mr. Ball not saying thank you to the president for whatever role he played in getting the boys out of that Chinese prison and back home. Whether it was a phone call, a text, a tweet or just the relationship that Trump has with the president of China if it played a part in getting those boys home than a thank you was indeed in order. The bottom line is, those boys could have still been sitting in that Chinese prison.  In the Michael Fay case then-president, Bill Clinton was able to get the Singaporean government to lower Fay's penalty to four lashes from six; the caning was administered on May 5, 1994.  Otto Warmbier passed away shrouded in mystery shortly after his return to the U.S. from North Korea.

Think about it, is vandalizing property in Singapore, attempted theft of a poster from a hotel in North Korea, and taking items from three stores in China without paying for them worth the price these individuals had to pay? They all acted abroad as if they were on U.S. soil and did not expect the swift and harsh consequences. Presidents had to step in to get them back, so yes Mr. Ball a thank you was in order and no it ought not to be predicated on flying on Air Force One. Your son, as well as those other two boys, could still be sitting in that prison in China. There’s a Chinese expression, “Kill the chicken to scare the monkey.” Other countries do not tolerate or take the posture that we take in the U.S. of being innocent until proven guilty. So the fact that the boys were able to come home is certainly worthy of a thank you. How big of a deal is it to say "Thank You?"


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Need To Impeach



Dear Elected Official,

This is not a time for “patience” — Donald Trump is not fit for office. It is evident that there is zero reason to believe “he can be a good president.”

Whether by the nature of Mr. Trump’s relationship with Vladimir Putin and Russia, his willingness to exploit the office of the Presidency for his personal gain and treat the government like a family enterprise, his conduct during Charlottesville, his decision to pull out of the Paris climate accords, or his seeming determination to take the nation to war, he has violated the Constitution, the office of the Presidency, and the trust of the public. He is a clear and present danger to the United States of America.

Republican Senator Bob Corker, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, referred to the Trump White House as a daycare center, and observed that this president has put us “on the path to World War III.” This comes following reports that Trump’s own Secretary of State referred to him as a “moron” and that Chief of Staff John Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis have an agreement not to leave Trump home alone for fear of what he could do. And we have seen other Republican Senators, including Senators Sasse and Flake, express their own profound concerns.

If Trump has lost the trust of the members of his own administration and leading members of his own party, surely it is time to act.

An accounting of his record to date leads to the same conclusion. He is turning his back on Lady Liberty by holding immigrant children hostage. He is actively sabotaging the Affordable Care Act — a law he is constitutionally obligated to faithfully execute — while seeking to strip away health care coverage that will leave millions of Americans to choose between life and bankruptcy. He is repealing clean air protections and unleashing polluters, even as increasingly catastrophic natural disasters supercharged by our warming planet ravaged the country throughout the summer — from hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, to the wildfires that have raged across California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana. He has threatened to reduce aid for millions of American citizens in Puerto Rico who are struggling to survive without drinkable water or electricity — a move that would be a total dereliction of his duty. And every day, Americans are left bracing for a Twitter screed that could set off a nuclear war. These actions represent systemic attacks on our nation’s future. They endanger every single one of your constituents. That’s why you have a duty to speak out.

There is no moral reason to remain silent about this. Constitutional experts like Noah Feldman have already laid out clear legal and historical foundations for impeachment.  Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, a co-author of the Federalist Papers — and an immigrant himself — argued that “high crimes and misdemeanors” could be defined as “abuse or violation of some public trust.” This president has clearly already exceeded these standards. Congress has impeached past presidents for far less.

While we know that Republicans do not seem prepared to pursue impeachment even as members in their own ranks openly question Trump’s fitness for office, we are all working hard to ensure Democrats will take back the House and Senate in 2018. 

Given Trump’s total lack of fitness for office, the question of impeachment becomes a very real issue should we succeed in our midterm goal. That makes it imperative for every Governor of every state, and every mayor of every city, to acknowledge where they stand. This question affects the lives of every single American. They deserve to hear whether or not our party is willing to do what is necessary to protect them and their families. This is not an academic exercise. The very stability of the Republic is at stake.

So, by way of this letter, I am asking you today to make public your position on the impeachment of Donald Trump and to urge your federal representatives to remove him from office at once. Every day he remains in reach of the nuclear codes is another day for him to menace the citizens you serve and protect. Your constituents deserve to know they are represented by people in every level of government who have the patriotism and political courage to stand up and take action when it is so desperately needed.  This is not a time to give in to an establishment that insists on acting the way the establishment always does, with “patience” or “caution.” It is an unprecedented moment, and it calls for extraordinary measures. We cannot remain fixated on what is politically smart. We have to do what is morally right.

Sincerely,

Tom Steyer

https://www.needtoimpeach.com/