Thank you, Gwen Ifill!

Gwen ifill

Reading the headline announcing the death of iconic, trailblazing journalist Gwen Ifill made me nauseous. Although I’ve never met her, I felt as though I’d lost another family member. I loved watching her on television. Whether she was delivering the news, on moderating a debate or commenting as a panelist, Gwen Ifill was the consummate professional. Ifill was the journalist I wish other journalists modeled nowadays. I would be less than honest if I didn’t share that I was proud when I saw her on television. She was a rarity as black and female in nationally televised news dominated by white males. Cool. Calm. Collected. Prepared. Thank you, Gwen Ifill. Job well done.

 

Related Links:


American Political Leadership: Jesus, Take the Wheel

Jesustakethewheel

It’s still very disturbing and shameful that it is reported that election polls predict the presidential race is too close to call and in some battleground states, including my home state Florida, Donald Trump is winning. Jesus, take the wheel.

Donald Trump is dangerous for America. He lies way more than what he has accused Hillary Clinton of doing and, if elected, he will continue the Republican Party’s practice of obstructionism and anarchy.

Regardless the presidential election result on the evening of Tuesday, November 8, 2016, the racism, sexism and class warfare will not go away. Jesus, take the wheel. 

 

 

Even after such a disdainful, hyperbolically nasty election season, I want to think America is better than the actions we have witnessed but is it? Jesus, take the wheel.

 


If you are surprised Bobby Bowden is on the Trump Train you haven't been paying attention

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Retired FSU football coach Bobby Bowden endorses Donald Trump for President of the United States.

So, at a rally in Tampa, Florida last Monday evening, legendary Florida State University football coach Bobby Bowden formally endorsed Donald J. Trump for President of the United States of America. Greeted by the crowd with the FSU tomahawk chop, it was both sad and disappointing but not at all surprising. It was a surprise that so many people, particularly Blacks, are surprised that Bowden endorsed a narcissistic, racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, emotionally unstable, sexual predator to lead this nation.

Just add Bowden's name to the list of famous athletic coaches that are on the Trump train including Bobby Knight, Mike Ditka, Rex Ryan, Mike Leach, and Lou Holtz. These coaches can be pleasant, even charming when recruiting young black men to play sports for them. They sometimes refer to young black men as "son," but the athletes are never seen as more than tools to win championships. Thus, the low prioritization of academic achievement and personal development of the athletes beyond the football field. The athletic championships can translate to obscene amounts of money for everyone else except the athlete unless he manages to make it to the professional level.

Rumors of Bowden being racist have persisted for years. His endorsement of Donald Trump, even under the guise of religiosity appears to confirm those rumors and gives rise to more concerns about how he views women also. One would be shortsighted not to wonder about the current culture at Florida State and its football program. These negative perceptions didn't develop overnight and won't change quickly either.

Florida's capital city, Tallahassee, is also the home of Florida State. It would also be prudent to believe that elected and business leaders in Florida who endorse Trump share his perspectives on ethnic minorities, women, and immigrants. It is what it is, let's not kid ourselves.

Sadly, at the end of the day, for the love of money and dreams of fame and fortune, many Black parents will still entrust (pimp out) their young sons to the likes of Bowden and other coaches who share his white supremacist and misogynistic perspectives. Are the majority of American voters with Bowden on the Trump Train? I don't think so. We will find out November 8.

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Second Presidential Debate: Clinton Still Winning, Trump Still Lacks Substance and Self-Control

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Second presidential debate, Sunday, October 9, 2016, Washington University, St. Louis, MO.

You know the old saying that politics is never personal? Well, that was not the case last night at the second 2016 presidential debate. When presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, did not shake hands at the beginning of the debate last night, it was crystal clear that the atmosphere would be contentious. ABC’s Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper did a decent job in keeping the candidates on task and the audience quiet. It appears to be difficult to get Trump to answer questions directed to him. He typically relies on deflecting, rambling and providing incoherent responses. 

The pre-event hype probably resulted in a let-down for viewers who tuned in expecting a volley of salacious attacks. It could have gone in that direction but Clinton wisely didn’t take the bait. She was cool, calm, confident and in control of herself. She allowed Trump to hurt himself. Trump performed much better than in the first debate but that wouldn’t take much because he performed so horribly in that one. Clinton was presidential and Trump was uncouth. Her answers addressed policy and specifics. Trump was arrogant. He knows the Tax Code better than any other candidate and he knows more than any General. He should have known his disgusting conversation was being recorded by Access Hollywood in 2005 but let me not digress. It appeared that Trump’s debate strategy was to personally attack the Clintons at every opportunity and to give superficial answers to policy questions. 

Donald Trump’s candidacy continues to be a major scam portrayed on the American public. The Republican Party and mainstream media are complicit in his being so close to becoming the President of the United States. So the Republican Party and mainstream media can kick rocks and suck it up. You created this monster, so deal with it. Donald Trump has been who he is for decades. The incredulity of folks who are so surprised by documented revelations of Donald Trump’s sexual assault of women is nauseating. 

In spite of claims by Trump supporters, Clinton clearly won last night’s debate. Trump stalked Clinton on the stage. He also whined, interrupted and didn’t answer questions. He also threw Mike Pence under the bus, backed the bus up and ran over Pence again. Donald Trump should never become President of the United States.  

Well, there is one more debate scheduled for October 19. Surely more political bombs will drop by then. Stay tuned.

 

 

Photo: ABC News

 


Dash cam video proves Keith Lamont Scott was murdered [VIDEO]

Keith Lamont Scott with wife and son
Keith Lamont Scott with wife and son.
Source: GoFundMe

 

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department finally released video of the CMPD confrontation with Keith Lamont Scott. The gut-wrenching video of a portion of the incident filmed by Scott’s wife, Rakeyia, was released by the family two days ago. Rakeyia Scott warned police her husband had a TBI (traumatic brain injury). 

In the police dash cam video, Keith Lamont Scott can be seen exiting his vehicle and walking backwards following police commands. A few seconds later, as Scott is walking backwards, he is shot multiple times. Why? He was not threatening anyone. He was not reaching for anything. Keith Lamont Scott was compliant. That was cold-blooded murder by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police. 

The officer(s) who fired shots at Scott need to be fired and arrested. Whoever fires them needs to fire the Police Chief Kerr Putney also. There needs to be an investigation of how a weapon Scott was supposed to have, was introduced into this situation. It’s now crystal clear why Chief Putney didn’t want to release that damning video earlier. 

May peaceful protests continue in Charlotte-Mecklenburg and grow throughout the United States until the family of Keith Lamont Sott gets justice for his death.

 

 

 

 


Ryan Lochte's Non-Apology and What Really Happened in Rio?

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The Ryan Lochte Rio Olympics scandal continues to be prominently featured in the media with the latest news of two of his major sponsors, Speedo and Ralph Lauren, severing ties with the athlete because of his shenanigans in Rio.

Gunnar Bent Jack Conger Rio
US swimmers Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger leave Rio.

For sure Lochte, his teammates - Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, Jimmy Feigen and the local people involved know what really happened during the athletes' night out in Rio even if the rest of the world can only speculate. What we do know for sure is that Ryan Lochte’s recounting of what happened changed a few times. We also know that the guys out on the town with Lochte disputed key elements of Lochte’s story. Yet there was also agreement that guns were drawn on them during the encounter with men who may or may not have been security guards who were also robbers. 

So, it is entirely possible that Lochte and Rio locals both embellished…over-exaggerated…lied about what actually happened. That $11,000 donation to charity that Feigen had to make before he was allowed to leave Brazil, seems an awful lot like a shakedown. I’m just saying. 

Jimmy Feigen
US swimmer Jimmy Feigen leaves court after his passport was returned. He had to pay a fine of almost $11,000.

Even if it is proven that Ryan Lochte is not the only person that lied regarding this incident, he will be remembered for not owning up to his lies and other mistakes. He will be remembered for his apology that was actually a non-apology. He will be remembered for leaving his teammates in Rio while he hurriedly returned to the United States. He is already the brunt of jokes and subject of social media memes. 

 

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US swimmer Ryan Lochte's non-apology apology.

Many in the mainstream media will be remembered for providing cover for Lochte by trying to convince the world that the incident was just a juvenile act. I see you Billy Bush. Many in the mainstream media seem to have forgotten that Ryan Lochte is 32-years-old. Far too old for the foolishness and lies about what happened in Rio.

 

As far as the end of his endorsement deals with Speedo and Ralph Lauren, it is not likely the deals would have been renewed anyway. Lochte performed admirably during the games but his individual performance was not spectacular.  The endorsement deals would likely go to other athletes a la Michael Phelps….Simone Biles…Katie Ledecky…etcetera. 

I don’t know Ryan Lochte personally but I'm willing to bet that the worse part of this horrible situation is the fact that he lied to his mother. Sure, he was the center of an international incident but disappointing and embarrassing his mom is a probably a much bigger deal. 

While the incident in Rio overshadowed the magnificent athletic accomplishments of Team USA at this year's Summer Olympics, as time passes and Ryan Lochte completes his punishment and attempts to redeem himself with gold medal winning individual performances in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, America will salute his story of perseverance and redemption. 

 

Related Links:

Sports investigation raises questions about Rio cops, Lochte incident

U.S. swimmer Gunnar Bentz apologizes for gas station incident, says video footage missing

Lochte’s Teammates Say This Is What Actually Happened That Night In Rio

#LochteGate: Best Ryan Lochte Robbery in Rio Memes & Tweets

 

 


President Obama's Speech at the 2016 DNC [VIDEO]

Here is video of President Barack Obama's speech from last night's Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. The President is inarguably an awesome speaker/communicator but this speech made me sad. Has it hit you yet? The thought that this man will no longer be President of the United States in a few months really saddens me. Now don't get it twisted, I'm not one of those people who agrees with every decision he's made. I do know that he is absolutely the best president during my lifetime and I want him to stay in office. Let's just change the constitution, why don't we? 

 

 


One Year Ago Today: Remembering the Mother Emanuel Nine

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A year ago, today, America mourned the massacre of nine worshippers at the historic Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. Not much has changed regarding gun control laws since the day when Dylan Roof wanted to start a race war by murdering: Cynthia Hurd, 54; Susie Jackson, 87; Ethel Lance, 70; Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49; Hon. Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74; Rev. Sharonda Singleton, 45; and Myra Thompson, 59. 

Even after The Honorable Clementa Pinkckney, South Carolina State Senator, was gunned down, Congress still has not passed a law requiring background checks, banning the sale of assault weapons and other common sense measures. Should we be surprised based on their actions or lack thereof after the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in January 2011 in which six people were killed?

To this day, congressmen shamelessly offer ridiculous rationale for holding fast to their position regarding gun control. Some even blame President Obama as if they have no role in the legislative process in the United States. 

After the most recent massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, again, we mourn the loss of 49 victims of senseless gun violence.  More than 50 people were also wounded in that incident. 

At what point do we, as Americans, care enough to elect representatives who will put American citizens first? Enough is enough. If we don't care enough after the Massacre at Mother Emanuel or Orlando or San Bernardino or Sandy Hook or Aurora or any weekend in some cities in America, then shame on us. 

Miss me with the hashtags, catchy slogans and creative graphics expressing unity, outrage and sympathy to yourself if you are not going to do anything more than lip service or be a keyboard commando. 

Sleep in Paradise, Emmanuel Nine, you are not forgotten. Disarm hate.

 

 

 

 

 


Donovan Livingston's Spoken Word Convocation Speech at Harvard is a Classic

Enjoy this speech, in video and text, by Donovan Livingston, Ed.M.'16, student speaker at Harvard Graduate School of Education’s 2016 Convocation exercises. Instead of a traditional speech, he chose to communicate via spoken word and he is awesome. 

Donovan Lingston

 

Lift Off

 

“Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin,

is a great equalizer of the conditions of men.” – Horace Mann, 1848.

At the time of his remarks I couldn’t read — I couldn’t write.

Any attempt to do so, punishable by death.

For generations we have known of knowledge’s infinite power.

Yet somehow, we have never questioned the keeper of the keys —

The guardians of information.

 

Unfortunately, I’ve seen more dividing and conquering

In this order of operations — a heinous miscalculation of reality.

For some, the only difference between a classroom and a plantation is time.

How many times must we be made to feel like quotas —

Like tokens in coined phrases? —

“Diversity. Inclusion.”

There are days I feel like one, like only —

A lonely blossom in a briar patch of broken promises.

But, hey, I’ve always been a thorn in the side of injustice.

 

Disruptive. Talkative. A distraction.

With a passion that transcends the confines of my own consciousness —

Beyond your curriculum, beyond your standards.

I stand here, a manifestation of love and pain,

With veins pumping revolution.

I am the strange fruit that grew too ripe for the poplar tree.

I am a DREAM Act, Dream Deferred incarnate.

And a movement – an amalgam of memories America would care to forget

My past, alone won’t allow me to sit still.

So my body, like my mind

Cannot be contained.

 

As educators, rather than raising your voices

Over the rustling of our chains,

Take them off. Un-cuff us.

Unencumbered by the lumbering weight

Of poverty and privilege,

Policy and ignorance.

 

I was in the 7th grade, when Ms. Parker told me,

“Donovan, we can put all of  your excess energy to good use!”

And she introduced me to the sound of my own voice.

She gave me a stage. A platform.

She told me that our stories are the ladders

That make it easier for us to touch the stars.

So climb and grab them.

Keep climbing. Grab them.

Spill your emotions in the big dipper and pour out your soul.

Light up the world with your luminous allure.

 

To educate requires Galileo-like patience.

Today, when I look my students in the eyes, all I see are constellations.

If you take the time to connect the dots,

You can plot the true shape of their genius —

Shining in their darkest hour.

 

I look each of my students in the eyes,

And see the same light that aligned Orion’s Belt

And the pyramids of Giza.

I see the same twinkle

That guided Harriet to freedom.

I see them. Beneath their masks and their mischief,

Exists an authentic frustration;

An enslavement to your standardized assessments.

 

At the core, none of us were meant to be common.

We were born to be comets,

Darting across space and time —

Leaving our mark as we crash into everything.

A crater is a reminder that something amazing happened right here —

An indelible impact that shook up the world.

Are we not astronomers — searching for the next shooting star?

I teach in hopes of turning content, into rocket ships —

Tribulations into telescopes,

So a child can see their true potential from right where they stand.

An injustice is telling them they are stars

Without acknowledging the night that surrounds them.

Injustice is telling them education is the key

While you continue to change the locks.

 

Education is no equalizer —

Rather, it is the sleep that precedes the American Dream.

So wake up — wake up! Lift your voices

Until you’ve patched every hole in a child’s broken sky.

Wake up every child so they know of their celestial potential.

I’ve been the Black hole in a classroom for far too long;

Absorbing everything, without allowing my light to escape.

But those days are done. I belong among the stars.

And so do you. And so do they.

Together, we can inspire galaxies of greatness

For generations to come.

So no — no, sky is not the limit. It is only the beginning.

Lift off.

 

~ Donovan Livingston

 

 

 

 


May Day: On My Grind

May 1

Today is May 1st. We are starting the fifth month of the year. I don’t know where the time has gone with all of the items remaining on my open items list. But today is the day that I designated to get on my grind and make myself a priority. 

There are a number of things that I still need to get done so I am rearranging, delegating and eliminating some current projects and tasks from my life. I am focusing on my health, my businesses, my relationships and my community. 

Some of you might think that I have changed but not really. I'm just the 'me' that many of you do not know. Anyhow…Happy May Day!  

On my grind. Deuces! Vanessa Out!