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/

Thursday, August 31, 2017

There Is A Difference Between Stupid and Ignorant

This is another one of my Seinfeld like posts wherein I'm sure no one has taken the time to really think about this. If you recall the show Seinfeld, the show mostly was about things we take for granted and never give much thought to until it is brought to our attention. Well, this post does that.

For the most part, unwittingly we use the terms "stupid" and "ignorant" interchangeably when in reality they do not mean the same thing. When I started doing my research for this post I found myself having to dig a little deeper than I had anticipated once I read the dictionary definitions of each word. You'll see what I am referring to as you keep reading.


"Knowledge" and "intelligence."  leaped at me from the respective definitions as I know these two words are often used interchangeably as well. Hence my having to dig a little deeper. so I followed the same thought process. Let's take a look at the definitions of knowledge and intelligence.




If you notice as I did in reading the definitions, one who acts or is stupid, lacks intelligence, while one who acts or is ignorant lacks knowledge. One who acts or is stupid lacks the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills, while one who acts or is ignorant lacks facts, information, awareness, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education. That's the difference.

When we call someone stupid or when someone is acting in a stupid manner, what we are saying is that he/she does not have the ability to acquire/apply knowledge and skills versus someone who has the ability and is unaware or acts as if he/she is unaware.

Most of us are far more ignorant than we are knowledgeable about many subjects. Most of us are experts in one or two areas. That does not make us stupid. Just because I do not know Astrophysics, does not mean that I am stupid. Most of us probably fall into the category of ignorant than stupid.

We see and experience many stupid acts, stupid thoughts and stupid words said on a daily basis. There are things that many of us see others do that we question ourselves saying, "Now you can't tell me that he/she did not know better than that?"  We say to ourselves, "It seems to me that common sense would have told him/her, not to do or say that." For those who are truly stupid, they never grasped reasoning, comprehension, judgment, and understanding. That's why you could have someone playing music in their backyards at 150 decibels at 11:30 p.m. and not understand why the neighbors are complaining or the police are called. Examples such as this could go on and on.

Lastly, it's one thing to be ignorant and it's another thing to be ignorant and just not care. There are certain areas such as parenting, leadership, and relationships (there are others I am sure) that while we may begin as ignorant, we cannot afford to stay ignorant. Contrary to the old adage that "Ignorance is Bliss," in many areas it is not nor should it be.  Being ignorant about something that you know you need to be aware of, means that action must be taken. Intentional ignorance is costly.  In 2017 with all of the technology and information that is available to us, there really is no excuse for anyone to remain ignorant in anything that really matters in life. I am not talking about a subject like Astrophysics unless you intend to be an astrophysicist. I am talking about everyday life experiences that we cannot afford to be ignorant in. Because of intentional ignorance, our children are running amok. Because of intentional ignorance, our country [U.S.A] is being run off of the rails. Because of intentional ignorance, our world is going to Hell in a handbasket. When do we say enough? Nero is fiddling while Rome burns.

So, we really must take a look at who and what we call stupid compared with who and what we call ignorant as they are two different meanings. One who is ignorant has the ability compared with one who is stupid does not. Something to critically think about........

Hear me live on Saturdays beginning at 6:00 a.m. ET on gobrave.org and FM Radio WP88.7 FM in the northern N.J. areas. You can also hear my podcast, The Marc Medley Show on Apple Podcasts, TuneIn Radio, iHeart Radio, YouTube and Spreaker. I invite you to subscribe to the podcast and my YouTube Channel Marc Medley.

Friday, August 25, 2017

I Think Too Deep

This is going to be one of those posts where I am sure the reader will probably come to the conclusion that I think too deep. I'm often told that I think too deep when I give my thoughts in terms of the subliminal and subconscious messages and signals that are sent in words, photos, advertisements and of course actions. Such is the case with the retweet shown in the photo on the left by President Trump of a meme about the recent eclipse of the sun starring him.

When I shared my thoughts on the roles Denzel Washington and Halle Berry were awarded their Oscar Awards for, I was met with "You think too deep." That was not the only time I was met with that response. Maybe my critics are right. I may indeed think too deep and for me, that's okay because I really do pay particular attention to what is not said or seen. That's why I love autobiographies and memoirs as they reveal the behind the scenes and what's not seen or heard on camera. I'm fascinated by the subconscious and subliminal messaging that occurs that those who do not think so deeply miss. I love the book Subliminal Seduction and still have an old copy on my bookshelf as I write this post. I believe in 2017 the popular term for reaching the subliminal or subconscious is "Dog Whistling," which is a subtly aimed political message which is intended for and can only be understood by a particular group. Donald Trump's theme of Make America Great Again is viewed by many as one such dog whistle.

As stated, allegedly, President Trump retweeted a tweet about his eclipsing President Obama. In my "think too deep" mind, I see plenty of opportunity for deep thinking as the picture says a lot. First the fact that the creator came up with the idea and more importantly the fact that the president retweeted it says volumes. Clearly, it could not mean performance because as much as he may be trying, Trump has not out performed Obama. It cannot be about Trump winning an election over Obama because he did not run against Obama. It certainly could not be about Trump eclipsing Obama with oratory skills class or charisma because he does not beat him in those areas either. And surely it could not be about him eclipsing Obama on Twitter because Obama broke and now holds the record for most Twitter "likes" with his tweet about Charlottesville. So what could this eclipsing be? I know, I think too deep.

Trump won the presidency because there are a lot of "Trumps" (and I don't mean family members) out there who love the fact that Trump says what they feel deep down inside and cannot say or display, particularly about or against people who do not look like them. There are folks out there who have been in torment for the last eight years because an African American male was duly elected President of the United States of  America. Some of those folks did not have a good night's rest from the time Obama was elected until his two terms were completed.

If we look and listen closely to Donald Trump over these past months, it seems as if his agenda has been to outdo or overturn what was done by Barack Obama. It's almost as if he is obsessed with Obama. If you listen carefully, you will notice that Trump finds some way to weave Obama's name into his endeavors, reasoning or excuses every chance he gets. I will go as far as to say that I do not believe that Trump would have run for president if John McCain or Mitt Romney had won their respective elections against Barack Obama. Donald Trump ran for president because I am sure in his mind he felt if that Black man can do it, anybody can. How hard can it be if that Black man could get elected?

Trump connected with that meme above because it speaks to what he believes in his heart of hearts. He is trying to erase the fact that a black man was President of the United States. During the campaign, he called Romney, McCain and Hillary Clinton, losers and said it venom. He thought they were the biggest losers going because not only did they lose, but lost to that Black man. How dare they.....

Sadly, that meme spoke not only to Trump but to the many who think in terms of race such as the overt and covert supremacists, nationalists, and KKK as it was one of them who created the meme. This eclipsing of credit has been done historically with inventions, labor, music, and the list can go on and on.

Thankfully, as we saw in the Charlottesville debacle, in 2017 there are enough people of all races, colors, creeds, ethnic groups, and religions who are not supporting or standing for this hatred. This is not the early Twentieth Century which makes the retweeting of that meme by the President of the United States that much more troubling and sad. He is so starstruck that he can't see what that meme really was saying. He's so hellbent on erasing the Black man's legacy that he doesn't understand what his retweeting of that tweet signaled, or maybe he does.....  I know, I think too deep. The good news is, I don't believe that I am the only one thinking deep in 2017. Vast numbers of people are awakening to the hatred spewed by these hate groups and are not afraid to act and speak out against it.

I find it ironic that the President of the United States can retweet such a meme yet Colin Kaepernick cannot find a job in the National Football League because he chooses to take a knee during the saluting of the flag and singing of the national anthem. I know, I think too deep.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

I Would Rather See Hateful Hearts Toppled Instead of Statues. Toppling a Statue and not Changing Hearts is Meaningless

This is one post that I as the author will probably be considered an outlier in terms of being African American. Depending on your views, one might think that I have lost my mind, however, rest assured I have not.

This whole fracas, debacle, tragedy, foolishness or whatever you would like to call the sad display in Charlottesville, Virginia allegedly began over the proposed removal or taking down of a statue of  Robert  E. Lee, the Confederacy’s top general. I say allegedly because in my mind that was just an excuse for the hatemongers to launch their campaign. They were looking for a reason and found one.

Man wearing Arkansas Engineering Shirt
Now, this is where many will consider my view on this statue issue going south (no pun intended).  As one who is well versed in the history of African Americans and slavery in the U.S. and the Civil Rights movement, this view could be considered odd. I truly understand the symbolism of the statues and Confederate flags and other objects related to that period of time; I get it. I really do. But, what good is ripping down statues and removing flags when hearts are not changing? Whether the statue or flag is displayed or not, the hatred is still there. For me, the issue is not the statue or the flag, but the hatred.  Yes, by all means, the statues and flags are outward symbols of the hatred but they are nowhere near as destructive as the internal hatred that is still in the hearts of too many. In Charlottesville, the Supremacists/Nationalists/KKK or whatever they call themselves did not even bother to cover their faces as in days of yore. They were bold enough to show themselves full frontal to the cameras. Jobs and reputations be damned as they did not care who in the world saw their unabashed exhibition of hate. Some touting organizational logos/slogans such as the man wearing the Arkansas Engineering shirt. As with every atrocious act, i.e. lynching, slavery, etc. in the name of supremacy, Charlottesville was just one more example in our long history of pure unadulterated hatred and no removing of a statue or flag will remedy that. Once we eradicate the hatred, then we will stop building monuments and flying flags that represent hate.

Yes, visually it will satisfy many to not have to see the statues and flags as reminders of a so called day gone by (I say so called because it is not a day gone by, it is still today), but what good is having the visual reminder gone when the hate that caused the events and people who are being memorialized still exists internally within so many? So, ripping down statues and prohibiting flags are nice, but in my view purely symptomatic, symbolic and topical. The root of the issue [hate] is still not addressed.

As always I refer to one of my favorite people who walked the face of the earth, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he said:
It may be true that you can’t legislate integration, but you can legislate desegregation. It may be true that morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. It may be true that the law cannot change the heart, but it can restrain the heartless. It may be true that the law can’t make a man love me, but it can restrain him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important also. So while the law may not change the hearts of men, it does change the habits of men. And when you change the habits of men, pretty soon the attitudes and the hearts will be changed. And so there is a need for strong legislation constantly to grapple with the problems we face.
We must all work to change the habits of men in order for attitudes and hearts to change. It cannot take two or more days for the President of the United States to give a half hearted, forced or "check the box," denouncing of acts that the group's leaders and organizers proudly stated were being done in his name and to fulfill his agenda of making America white, I mean, great again. The various groups had clearly heard, received and understood the dog-whistle(s) during the campaign and since.

So, this view may seem counter to many, but I will continue to care less about a statue or flag and remain more concerned with changing the habits of men in order for attitudes and hearts to change. I will continue to believe that hate will never win and that darkness cannot drive out darkness. I will continue to join others who are looking to be a light in a dark world. I don't give a damn about the labels of "Right" or "Left" or "Liberal" or "Conservative," as they are just labels that were created by man to divide.

I close with words of wisdom from our 35th U.S. President, John F. Kennedy:
Let us examine our attitude toward peace itself. Too many of us think it is impossible. Too many think it unreal. But that is a dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable, that mankind is doomed, that we are gripped by forces we cannot control. We need not accept that view. Our problems are man-made — therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man's reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable — and we believe they can do it again.
Our problems are man-made -- therefore, they can be solved by man.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

#CHARLOTTESVILLE

A few years ago Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright included in one his sermons the notion of God "Damning"  America and folks such as Sean Hannity and others were apoplectic over Rev. Wright's commentary. I listened as Hannity and others maligned Barack Obama for the "crowd he associated himself with"  over and over again. They marveled that the Obamas could sit under this man and listen to such rhetoric. As with most cases, the message was lost as what Rev. Wright said in the message was taken out of context.


One dictionary definition of the word Damn is to be condemned by God to suffer eternal punishment in hell. Well, truth be told, there are times when it seems like America has been condemned by God based on her treatment of too many of her citizens who do not look a certain way or have a certain complexion or ethnic background.  The good news is God gives a way out of the "damning" in 2 Chronicles 7:14 where He says "If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."  We haven't humbled ourselves or turned from our wicked ways, therefore, our land has not been healed.

Interestingly enough,  Many Americans have partnered in this damning. I'm sure many of you are asking, "What do you mean by that?" Let's take a look at this last election, what the results said and how it all connects to what we are witnessing in Charlottesville as I write this post. Upon learning on November 9, 2016, that Donald J. Trump had actually won the presidency, I was literally waiting for Rod Serling to come out and let me know that I had indeed entered the Twilight Zone. If one is honest and forget about "left" and "right," one would have to admit that we have had many Twilight Zone experiences since January 20, 2017.

Donald Trump's election to the presidency immediately reminded me of  1 Samuel, Chapter 8 in the Bible where Israel asks for a King against the advice and wishes of Samuel. In fact, God tells Samuel
"Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them."  I encourage you to look up and read the entire chapter [1 Samuel 8] for yourself as we also see the consequences that God details that will happen as a result of their having this king that they wanted so badly.  Consequences (I'm somewhat paraphrasing), such as the taking of sons and appointing them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen.  The making of instruments of war, while taking daughters [grabbing them by their pussies] to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. The best fields and vineyards will be taken through eminent domain and given to his children along with a tenth of your income to give to his cabinet/administration. He will take the best immigrants who can pass the latest immigration process and put them to his [menial] work which will ultimately exacerbate the economic "Haves" and the "Have Nots."  Go ahead, pick up a Bible (notice I did not say "your Bible," as I do not want to assume) and find 1 Samuel Chapter 8 and read it in its entirety and see if I am making this up. Parallel what is going on then to what is going on now.  In essence, the people of that time damned themselves just as we have damned ourselves.

The cartoon above accurately depicts the seeds that were sown during the election campaign and yet we as a country with our votes said this is what we wanted; sexism, bigotry, fear, vulgarity, hate, division, racism, and violence. Heck, we get that on a daily basis in the White House, so why would we expect anything less outside of it. The one credit I do give and will continue to give Donald J. Trump is the fact that he did not put on an act when he was running for president. The same Donald Trump we witnessed when he was campaigning was the same Donald Trump that he has always been. To get a flavor of what I am saying, I encourage you to read The Truth About Trump by Michael D'Antonio. Trump's playbook has not changed since his childhood. All of what we are seeing has been his Modus operandi (M.O.) since his childhood and yet we elected that. In short, we damned ourselves and thus my premise.

I cannot in this post list all of the foolishness that has gone on since Trump's taking of office as it is too long, however, Charlottesville is the latest in this never ending saga of which this post is about. Sadly, in America, what we are seeing in Charlottesville is not new, it is only rearing its head publicly and boldly because the participants feel empowered by who is at the helm. In fact, according to former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke:
“This represents a turning point for the people of this country,” said Duke in video uploaded to Twitter by Indianapolis Star photojournalist Mykal McEldowney. “We are determined to take our country back. We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in, that’s why we voted for Donald Trump. Because he said he’s going to take our country back. That’s what we gotta do.”
I don't believe Duke is far off base with his thoughts. It would likely be safe to say that this bunch rallying in Charlottesville is a part of the 39 to 40 percent of those making up Trump's current approval rating.

What we are witnessing in Charlottesville is reminiscent of a short sixty-five or so years ago. In my mind, the difference is that the latter Baby Boomers, Millennials, and Gen Zers are not going to subscribe to Gandhi and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s methodology of nonviolence. Personally, I do not believe that this group is going to just sit and take a beat down. This group does not have the discipline or the patience for that. In other words, folks will have a fight on their hands. Sadly, this is exactly what too many are hoping for. The White Nationalists were looking for a reason and the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in their mind was a perfect launch site.

We have not learned yet that hatred cannot and will not win. Evil may have its time, but in the end, good will triumph over evil. Light will always trump (no pun intended) darkness.  Hatred only begets more hatred. The whole notion of supremacy is and has always been rooted in hatred and will not stand. There is only one race and that is the Human Race. We all bleed the same color blood and feel the same emotions. We all want to be loved, recognized and appreciated. We ought to be celebrating what our differences bring to the table instead of using the differences as something to separate us or see them [differences] as something negative or bad. Historically, each group has contributed intellectually and physically to the making of America and to the rest of the world for that matter. But too many would not know that because the contributions of those who do not look a certain way or have a certain complexion have been intentionally left out of the history books.

I could go on and on, but I won't. When do we as human beings wake up? When do we learn that we must indeed work together as brothers or perish together as fools? Charlottesville is taking us back into the foolishness which ultimately will lead to us all perishing.



Thursday, July 13, 2017

A Tale of Two Customer Service Experiences

The impetus for this post occurred nearly two weeks ago, right before I was leaving the country and I did not have an opportunity to write it. Nonetheless, I did not forget the experiences and knew that I would be sharing the stark contrast in customer service with you upon my return. In fact, my thought to write this post was confirmed/affirmed for me today as I was reading The Go-Giver Leader: A Little Story About What Matters Most In Business. by Bob Burg and John David Mann. The excerpt that confirmed for me the need for this post is as follows:

"Do you really take up six floors just for Customer Service?" "Just Service," Augustine corrected. "We don't make a distinction. Customers, employees, employees' families, the community...It's all just Service."
My title is a play on words from Charles Dickens' novel A Tale of Two Cities. I'm sure Ms. DiMartino, my high school language arts teacher will appreciate the fact that I used Dickens' title as an inspiration for this blog post title. 


450 Rochelle Avenue, Rochell Park, NJ
Among other things, I am a cyclist and ride my road bike as a part of my exercise regimen. In fact, when I leave home, my goal is to ride no less than twenty miles before returning. In many instances, I stop to pick up a bottle of water and an energy bar from one of the stores along my selected route. On this particular day, I spotted a 7-Eleven [450 Rochelle Ave, Rochelle Park, NJ 07662] and decided to follow my usual routine, however, as I was about to enter the store, I noticed someone walking along who looked somewhat suspect. Just something in my spirit guided me (you know how you get a feeling when something doesn't feel right?) to take my bicycle inside the store with me opposed to leaving it outside while I made my purchases.  As I was bringing my bicycle inside of the door, the cashier began repeatedly yelling at me. I kept trying to explain to him that I understood his position and policy, however, I did not want my bicycle stolen (it's a relatively expensive road bike). He just kept yelling until ultimately, I said to him "I do not have to buy anything from this store nor do I have to beg anyone in order for me to spend my money" and I left the store. In all likelihood, I probably will not patronize that particular 7-Eleven ever again because of that one experience.

438 Haledon Avenue, Haledon, NJ
Now juxtapose that experience that I had a day later at a Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen [438 Haledon Avenue, Haledon, NJ 07508] fast food restaurant.  If any of you are familiar with Popeye's, you know the signs advertising the specials of the day are huge posters displayed in their windows. I quickly viewed the signs in the window as I went in and ordered the twenty piece leg/thigh promo I saw on the sign. It was a Sunday afternoon. As I waited for my order, the cashier shared with me that the promo that I had just ordered was only good on Mondays through Wednesdays. I looked perplexed and went back and reread the sign and sure enough, it said Mondays-Wednesdays only. I had failed to carefully read the sign. I explained this to her and she said that she placed the order anyway because she wanted to be a "Good Samaritan." I smiled and thanked her and she wished me a good day as I was leaving.

Needless to say, my experience with the 7-Eleven cashier immediately popped into my mind and I thought to myself, "Wow! What a difference!" One experience turned me off to the establishment [7-Eleven in Rochelle Park, NJ] and the other endeared me to it [Popeye's in Haledon, NJ]. I'm sharing the locations for readers and hopefully management of each organization to know. 

Customers on the ground level do not know or could care less about the Chief Executive Officers (CEO's) or presidents of companies when they are transacting business. The representative at the ground level, i.e. cashiers, customer service representatives, salespeople, etc. etc. are the face of their respective companies. They can make or break a company. I realize in many instances, we deal with independently owned/operated and franchised establishments; however, the owners/employees still represent the brand. I don't know who the CEO of 7-Eleven is, but I do remember that nasty cashier. I don't know who the CEO of Popeye's is, but I do remember that compassionate cashier. In each instance, he/she became 7-Eleven and Popeye's respectively.

Interestingly enough before I close, I had another very positive experience last night with a Barnes and Nobles [1156 US-46, Woodland Park, NJ 07424] cashier. I carry the Barnes and Nobles Educator card; however, I do not physically carry the card with me. Depending on which cashier I come across, he/she may or may not be willing to look my information up in their system. I've come across some B&N cashiers who are downright rude when it comes to using the Educator Discount Card. That was not the case last night. The young lady asked if I were a B&N member and I said no but I was eligible for the Educator discount and that my information was in the system. She patiently looked up my information and proceeded to apply the discount. Based on prior experience at this same B&N, I was pleasantly surprised and shared that with her. She went on to share with me that she believed educators deserved that discount and more and that we [educators] did not receive the credit that we deserved based on the job that we do and our role in society. As you can imagine, I walked out of there feeling great and will be shopping there again. 

Moral of the Story: Never ever underestimate the power of a kind word or deed. This is true in life and definitely can be the difference maker when you are representing a brand/company. Folks do not know who the CEO may be, but they do know how they were treated by a cashier, salesperson, customer service representative, operator, secretary, security guard, custodian, etc. etc. 

I close with another quote/excerpt from The Go-Giver Leader: A Little Story About What Matters Most In Business. It is actually by the authors, Bob Burg and John David Mann:

You may not be a CEO, prime minister, or president. You may not be the head of your organization or boss of your company. But even if you don't happen to occupy a traditional "leadership position," that doesn't mean you're not in a position to influence others, to inspire and empower others, to be the catalyst for others' greatness. To champion their success; to hold them up. In other words, to give leadership, and in so doing, to nudge the world in a positive direction. 
Something to critically think about. Join me live each Saturday as I host my book talk radio show The Reading Circle with Marc Medley. It can be heard live around the world on gobrave.org and locally in northern NJ communities on FM Radio WP88.7 FM. You are also invited to follow me on Twitter @thinkcritical01 and @readingcircle01.  

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Nonviolent Resistance And Civil Disobedience Are Still The Most Powerful Methods

Refusal to obey a law considered unjust; civil disobedience. That is the short definition of nonviolent resistance a methodology that was used effectively by both Mahatma Gandhi in an effort to win independence for India from Britain in the early twentieth century and by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as he led The Civil Rights Movement to achieve the most important breakthrough in equal-rights legislation for African Americans since the Reconstruction period.

I had the honor to interview Isaac Newton Farris, Jr., the esteemed nephew of  Dr. King, on my radio show The Reading Circle with Marc Medley and during our discussion, the subject of the use of nonviolent resistance/civil disobedience for our current challenges came up (listen to the interview in it's entirety below).  Both Isaac and I agreed that the strategies, tactics, and techniques used by Gandhi and King became the methodology for so many other major movements such as the continued fight for women's and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) rights.  Protest marches are quite common as disgruntled and dissatisfied citizens exercise their right to have their voices heard. We've seen the creation of Black Lives Matter and other groups who attempt to use nonviolent resistance only to end up actually inciting violence, the very thing the protest was seeking to avoid. Violence only begets violence even in a "non-violent" protest.

During my conversation with Mr. Farris we both agreed that Nonviolent Resistance and the proper execution of it is still the way to go in 2017. I say proper execution because it is in the improper or unorganized implementation of the methodology where we actually do more harm than good. We discussed how all of Dr. King's demonstrations were planned, well thought out, and organized. Nothing was left to chance. The marches and protests were just not a group of angry people getting together to retaliate against the injustice. We also reiterated how nonviolent resistance takes much more strength and discipline than striking back. It's easy to strike back when you have been struck, but it takes a lot more courage to react in a peaceful manner. We must be very clear that reacting in a peaceful manner does not equate to being "soft." As I just mentioned, it is anything but being soft.

Lastly, and this is the reason for this post, we said that we were going to do all that we can to help people understand that nonviolent resistance is still relevant and needed today and how important it is for the methodology to be executed with fidelity. We cannot be running wild, rioting, looting and fighting under the guise of nonviolent resistance. I shared with Mr. Farris that I would be writing this post today and we are going to keep in touch to see how we can keep the "Kingnisian" philosophy on nonviolent resistance alive. Consider this post my first step.

Something to critically think about. Hear me live around the world each Saturday from 6-9 a.m. ET on gobrave.org and locally in northern New Jersey communities on FM Radio WP88.7 FM. You are also invited to follow me on Twitter @thinkcritical01 and @readingcircle01 and visit my website at www.thereadingcircle01.com


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Why African Americans Ought Not Ever Purchase or Wear Ripped and Torn Cl...

Why African Americans Ought Not Ever Purchase or Wear Ripped and Torn Clothing of Any Kind : An Opinion

Now I know many of you before you even get started reading are already turned off by the title. Many of you are already defensive and are asking yourself the question, "Who is he to say what I should or should not buy; wear or not wear?  So, before we get started, I need everyone to understand that this is an opinion piece, an "Op-Ed," if you will and by the time I finish, I hope you'll have a better appreciation and understanding for why my opinion is what it is especially concerning African Americans. 

As African Americans, we ought to intentionally not purchase any clothing that is ripped, torn and tattered based on our history and struggle. Therein lies the issue, as too many of us don't know or don't care about our history because if we did, there is no way in the world we would be rewarding designers and retailers, making them wealthy by purchasing merchandise that is already damaged upon receipt. Yet we do because we have been programmed and brainwashed that we must be in "style." If some artists wear it or some designer designs it and deem it the "style," then we feel that we MUST partake. We want to be "Down."  I hear it all the time from both young and old alike; child and adult alike; professional and non-professional alike, "It's the style" as if that makes it so. We need to understand that all styles that are created are not necessarily in our best interest. Most of the "style" creations are about the "almighty dollar," and we need to be wise as to how, when and where we spend our dollars. 

Most of the ripped clothing that I observe usually falls into the dungaree or denim category. Usually, they are jeans [pants] that have shreds or worn out holes in them. The frayed strings are usually hanging from the holes, looking authentically worn and ragged. The clothing, however,  is not just limited to jeans or denim wear. I've seen shirts, jackets, vests, and even gloves that did not "wear out" from use but were a point of purchase sale with the consumer walking out of the store with clothing merchandise that is literally damaged goods. 

Historically, denim was and still is the traditional fabric for workwear.This is significant especially for African Americans as it was the clothing if any clothing were given or could be afforded that was worn by us as we were tenant farmers who gave a part (in too many instances it was not a part, but the whole) of each crop as rent. It was the clothing worn by us as we built this country virtually wage free. It was clothing worn by many who just as we have those slits in the jeans today were receiving very similar looking slits in their backs from whips cutting into their skin. The breaks in the skin are eerily similar to the breaks in the fabric.

For many of us, when our clothing came to the point of looking torn, tattered and raggedy, it was because we had worn the item so much that it just did not have anything else to give and therefore burst from exhaustion and distress. The material had been worn so much that it did not owe the owner anything else other than to be placed in the garbage, burned or to be used going forward as a rag. The clothing became ripped from being passed down and handed down over and over again. Passed from one child to the next, from one family to the next from one body to the next wherein each case the recipient had nothing else to wear but that item.  It was worn daily and in many instances scrubbed and hand washed each night. The owner in many cases, ashamed and embarrassed to be seen in torn and raggedy clothes. Just thinking about it as I write this piece, makes me want to cry.  The tears are welling up and I am fighting to hold them back at the thought of how we cavalierly parade around with clothing that looks like the clothing described in my brief history lesson above. It's almost like a double rape. We were raped when we had to wear that clothing and now are being voluntarily raped as we purchase these items making some designer wealthy, all in the name of "style." We consciously choose to look raggedy. I don't apologize for my view because that conscious decision to look dirty, torn and tattered when you do not have to, just does not make sense to me. There was a time when our clothes were indeed distressed due to overuse but for most of the folks that I observe flaunting this "style" today, that is not the case. 

As African Americans, when do we say "To hell with style and rise up to a standard of excellence? When do we realize that dressing well, speaking well, and carrying ourselves with pride are all connected and are all in our history as we come from kings and queens?  In my eyes, the conscious choice to wear ripped clothing does not depict pride. In fact, for me, it displays just the opposite. It sends the same sorry message as the sagging of pants; the refusal to become educated; the calling of each other "nigga"; the wearing of the baseball cap to the side or backward; the covering of an entire body with ink; the happiness with being slack or mediocre; the acceptance of living in squalor; the senseless killing of each other, and the list could go on. None of the aforementioned exhibits pride or excellence.  We have an entire movement now known as "Black Lives Matter," and while the hashtag and title are cute and indeed significant, we must begin to act within the African American community like our lives matter. We must stop subscribing to everything that comes down the pike. We must recognize foolishness for what it is. We cannot be shouting and walking around with signs and then acting counter to what we are shouting about and fighting for. 

One of my most favorite people who walked the face of the earth said it thusly, "There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love." I have a deep love for life. I have a deep love for human beings and I have a deep love for African Americans as I am one; it is for this reason that I am able to write this piece with such passion and conviction. As I observe so many of our [African American] behaviors and activities, I become deeply disappointed. The wearing of ripped clothing is just one example of things that we do that deeply disappoint me as a member of the human race and as a member of the African American race. Ironically enough, the person I referenced above came out of his suit and tie and put on blue jeans, but for an entirely different purpose and to send an entirely different message. The following is excerpted from a historical profile written by Oscar Schwartz about him:

The atmosphere was strained. They debated loudly, shouting over one another. “This is not where we belong,” a middle-aged minister shouted. “We belong back with our families, in our churches.” The exception was a young man with gentle almond eyes called Martin, who slouched in an armchair in silent contemplation. While the debate circled endlessly, Martin quietly stood up and walked into his room, closing the door behind him. Moments later, no longer wearing his black suit, Martin walked back into the room and everyone became silent. He was wearing blue jeans and a sweat shirt. These were not clothes to go to Church in. These were clothes to march in; clothes to go to jail in.
For the record, I would like to add that the jeans Martin walked back into the room wearing were not torn or tattered. I hope by now you will have said to yourself that this is indeed something to critically think about as this blog is THE CRITICAL THINKER. I do not care if you agree or disagree with me, but I do ask that you at least give the information provided in the post some thought. I also ask that you share the post and pass it along as a discussion starter. If you choose to spend your money on damaged goods at the point of purchase, then so be it. As for me, I will never purchase a piece of clothing that is already ripped, torn, dirty or tattered and I don't care what the style dictates. 

Hear me live on Saturdays as I interview authors from around the world as I host The Reading Circle with Marc Medley, a book talk radio program. The show kicks off at 6 a.m. Eastern Time on gobrave.org and on FM Radio 88.7 FM in northern NJ communities. You are also invited to follow me on Twitter @thinkcritical01 and @readingcircle01. 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

We Must Not Fail To Connect The Climate and Culture Dots



  • Reporters and activists were outraged that White House press secretary Sean Spicer was curt with American Urban Radio Networks correspondent April Ryan during Tuesday's press briefing, and told her to please stop shaking her head.
  • President Donald Trump on Thursday asked April Ryan, an African-American reporter and longtime White House correspondent, if she would arrange for him a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus. 
  • “The O’Reilly Factor” host Bill O’Reilly said in response to a clip of Maxine Waters that he “didn’t hear a word” she said because he was “looking at the James Brown wig,” referring to her hair. 
  • A white man from Maryland who told police he traveled to New York to kill black men turned himself in on Wednesday, about 24 hours after he fatally stabbed a man he encountered on the street, officials said. Authorities described the suspected attacker as someone who had long harbored feelings of hatred toward black men before violently acting on them this week. Police said he carried out the attack in a way that intended to draw attention. 
  • A woman walking on a sidewalk in Queens was shot in the face with a BB gun by men laughing and yelling an anti-Latino slur from their car, police say. 
  • "This is a new low," he [Michael Flynn] said, retweeting a message that read: "Not anymore, Jews. Not anymore." 

Unfortunately, the list of hatred can go on and on.  SLATE, an online magazine is keeping a running tally of the hate crimes that are occurring in a similar manner to how I started this post in an article Hate in America an updating list.  Let us not be naive in thinking the increase in these types of crimes is not connected to the bullying persona of our current leader and his team. The views, arrogance, chaos and blatant disregard for those who do not share the president's perspectives are indeed fueling what we are experiencing as a part of the culture and climate of the country.

In this current environment, closet racists are seeming to feel empowered and emboldened to come out in the open in myriad ways. They've watched President Trump instruct bouncer-like security/ police officers to remove people from audiences, ("Get'um outta' here") name call, berate entire ethnic groups for the actions of some, degrade women, praise a dictator and demean anything that was done by his predecessor, Barack Obama, an African-American. They watch nightly the arrogance of  White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer as he condescendingly spews "alternative facts" and lies through his lettuce filled teeth.

Some will argue that this began with President Obama and this is partially true as it was driven by the fact that many could not and would not accept the fact that an African-American man became the most powerful man in the world. As a result, racism heightened due to that dissonance for too many. In fact, if you notice, it seems Trump is obsessed with undoing everything Obama did and even most likely ran for office under the notion that if a Black man can be elected president, anybody can. He thought the seat was an easy seat based on a Black man [Obama] holding it.

It's been my observation that followers, subordinates, or whatever term you would like to use to describe those who are being led, take on the characteristics and personality of their leader. I have seen this phenomenon in schools, churches, corporations, fraternities, sororities, the military and even households. Sadly, the U.S. is mimicking the behavior of her leader and the victims are racial groups, gender groups, sexual orientation groups and anyone else who differs from Donald Trump's point of view. I can't even call it a Conservative view because in my mind it is a Donald Trump point of view. At the end of the day, Donald Trump is about Donald Trump and everyone else be damned. It's his way or the highway. Don't believe me, read THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUMP by Michael D'Antonio.  You'll see that Trump has not changed an iota over the years. His tone, words, and body language have stirred up his would-be imitators and wannabees and that's why we are seeing the hate crime numbers increase.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely my own. You can agree or disagree as I really do not share my thoughts for agreement or disagreement for that matter. I share my thoughts to encourage thinking. Come up with your own conclusions based on research and your own observations. If you do this, you will be able to connect the dots for yourself. Something to critically think about........

Hear me live each Saturday at 6 a.m. ET as I host The Reading Circle with Marc Medley. I interview authors from all over the globe discussing a wide variety of topics.  The show is heard around the world on gobrave.org and locally in the New York area on FM Radio WP88.7 FM. I invite you to visit my website at thereadingcircle01.com and to follow me on Twitter @thinkcritical01 and @readingcircle01.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Please Help Me Sponsor a Children's Defense Fund Freedom School for Summer 2017


As an educator and a parent, I know the value of our students not losing instructional time during the summer months away from their respective schools. Many students leave school in May or June and do not participate in anything academic until school starts again in August or September. This is not the case for students who are fortunate enough to attend a Children's Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom School that may be offered in their area.

I can personally attest to the benefits of Freedom School because my children attended the first one sponsored by the St. Luke Community Development Corporation (CDC) some years ago. It is this same CDC who I am a part of who is raising funds to sponsor another Freedom School for the Summer of 2017.

Across all of my social media sites I have nearly twenty five thousand connections and as a part of my fundraising efforts, I am asking that a minimum of five thousand of you donate a minimum of one dollar. For that matter ten thousand of you can donate fifty cents and so on and so on. My goal is to raise and donate five thousand dollars to the school.

The trickiest part in my mind (and it really is not that tricky) is downloading the Givelify app on your mobile device.  It will take a couple of minutes for you to set up the app in order for the dollar to be withdrawn from your account. It will actually probably take you a couple of more minutes to set it up than to actually donate the dollar, but it is for an extremely good cause.

Once you've downloaded the app and created your profile, select "Charities" from the bottom (it looks like a ribbon) and then input into the search box Saint Luke CDC. Tap the "Donate" button at the bottom and determine your donation amount. I am only asking you for a dollar, (of course you can donate more if you'd like) so you would tap "other" input $1.00 and tap "Done."  Once you have done this you will see a choice of where your donation can go.  Select "Freedom School." That's it and you will have helped a child have a summer academic experience of a lifetime.  The CDF Freedom Schools program is outlined below and briefly in the video above. I thank you in advance for helping me to raise funds such a worthy cause.

The CDF Freedom Schools® program seeks to build strong, literate, and empowered children prepared to make a difference in themselves, their families, communities, nation and world today. By providing summer and after-school reading enrichment for children who might otherwise not have access to books, the CDF Freedom Schools program plays a much needed role in helping to curb summer learning loss and close achievement gaps — and is a key part of CDF’s work to ensure a level playing field for all children. In partnership with local congregations, schools, colleges and universities, community organizations, and secure juvenile justice facilities the CDF Freedom Schools program boosts student motivation to read, generates more positive attitudes toward learning, increases self-esteem and connects the needs of children and families to the resources of their communities. Since 1995, more than 137,000 preK-12 children have had a CDF Freedom Schools experience and more than 16,000 college students and young adult staff have been trained by CDF to deliver this empowering model. 
The CDF Freedom Schools model incorporates the totality of the Children's Defense Fund's mission by fostering environments that support children and young adults to excel and believe in their ability to make a difference Site coordinators and project directors are also trained by CDF to provide supervision and administrative oversight.
The program provides an exciting Integrated Reading Curriculum (IRC) including carefully chosen developmentally appropriate and culturally relevant books. The model curriculum supports children and families around five essential components.
Something to critically think about. Hear me live as I broadcast around the world on gobrave.org each Saturday at 6:00 a.m. ET as the host of The Reading Circle with Marc Medley. The show can also be heard locally in northern NJ on FM radio WP88.7 FM. I also invite you to follow me on Twitter @readingcircle01 and @thinkcritical01. Again I thank you for joining me in supporting this worthy endeavor.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

In Their Native Tongues

This is my own personal opinion and not based on any fact. It is pure speculation based on observation of the administration so far. In my comical imagination, I imagine the world leaders who take part in the G20 Summit saying the following in his/her own language when the current President of The United States enters that room. 
Aquí viene este tonto.
Here comes this fool.
Brazil, 
Aí vem ESTA tolo.
Canada, 
Voici esta fou.
China, 
這裡談到ESTA傻瓜。
France, 
Voici esta fou.
Hier kommt esta Narr.
India, 
Here comes this fool.
Di sinilah bodoh esta.
Italy, 
Ecco che arriva ESTA sciocco.
Japan, 
ここでESTA馬鹿が来ます。
여기 ESTA 바보 온다.
Mexico, 
Aquí viene este tonto.
Russia, 
Вот идет Эста дурак.
Here comes this fool.
Hier kom esta dwaas.
Turkey, 
İşte esta aptal geliyor.
Here comes this fool.
Here comes this fool.

I could be wrong and I am writing this tongue and cheek, but I can see it happening. Something to critically think about.