D.C. Madam Phone Records Rise Again

For those that don’t recall. In 2007, a Madam in our nation’s capitol got busted and threatened to release all her phone records if she didn’t get a good deal. A couple names did come out including that of Sen. David Vitter R-LA who just lost the Governor’s race in Louisiana with his use of prostitutes being a major campaign issue.

The Madam was ultimately convicted however her records were never released because the judge placed a gag order on the records. Now a lawyer who allegedly has had possession of the records all this time want’s to release them because they contain information relevant to the 2016 Presidential Election.

His request to the original judge was denied. An appeals court has yet to respond and now he has made an emergency request to the Supreme Court because of the urgency of the situation. The lawyer has threatened that if the courts do not act within two weeks, he will release them anyway because “the People” deserve to be informed.

There was no indication as to who the alleged hooker patron is, but we’re down to just a few possibilities. We can assume because of the supposed urgency that the person is still in the race with a chance to become President. On the Republican side that would most likely be limited to Donald Trump, Ted Cruz or John Kasich. The visual of any of them getting busy is churning my stomach but I’d definitely want to know. On the Democratic side were limited to Bernie Sanders although it’s possible the lawyer with the records would consider Bill Clinton’s activities critical enough to the election that he’s willing to risk jail by releasing the records.

It’s very possible that one of the candidates is sweating bullets trying to figure out how to handle this news when it ultimately breaks.

My Friend Donald Part 1 (2012)

 

I’ve met Donald Trump on two occasions, in the way that when you’re in the same room with a celebrity you feel like you’ve met them even though you never got within more than a few feet. The first was in 1992 at the Super Bowl in Minneapolis. I remember the event far more for Doug Williams and the Redskins decisive victory over Denver than for having been in the presence of “The Donald”. He was with a mini entourage, one of his wives I think Ivana was with him. He was in a suit and a Kojak looking overcoat and she was in a full-length mink coat. The game in Minnesota was played inside in 75 degree weather in the Metrodome but I suppose one had to get from the limo inside and he had people to hand all his stuff. I thought how uncomfortable it must be to watch a game in that attire but I guess when you’re Donald Trump you have an image to maintain.

The second time was maybe 10 years later in New York on the grounds of the US Open Tennis Tournament. For anyone that’s attended that event. Inevitably during the first week the temperature reaches approximately 100 degrees every day, and at some time during the second week the temperature breaks and then it gets cold, catching the uninitiated unawares who then have to buy one of the fleece items sold on the grounds or go home. There is a lot of open space on the grounds of the Open and there is no way to get around and avoid the elements. Donald Trump was there when the temperatures were hot, yet he still wore a suit and was accompanied by a new wife who looked considerably like the first. His hair had acquired a new tint that I couldn’t really attach any color to that I knew by name. He was a bit larger, not larger than life simply larger and he had the feeling this time of having become a caricature of himself that got up each day trying to maintain the image he imagined.

As Donald and I (now having met twice and on a first name basis) don’t really run in the same circles we haven’t had occasion to get together again. Of course, he is on TV from time to time and I might stop to watch my friend but it was during this election season with his myriad appearances that I began to see him as if for the first time.

Donald had become shrill in voice and was constantly calling out for attention. I was now finally able to understand the phrase concerning Don Quixote tilting at windmills. His obsession about the President’s Birth Certificate was clearly much more about his vanity and desire to stay in the spotlight than anything else. It was at the White House Correspondents ‘Dinner that he reached rock bottom I thought. When the President of the United States on national television having released his long form birth certificate days earlier, took the time to publicly humiliate my friend Donald with the camera’s pointing at him slinking in his chair. And when it became known that he did so while Donald occupied only a minor portion of his thoughts as he was involved at that moment with the raid to get Bin Laden. I wondered who near him would step in with an intervention.

Donald disappeared for a time, but obviously his crack like addiction for attention still needed to be fed so he got back up off the mat and inserted himself back into the public eye. He took credit for having been the one that “got the President” to release his birth certificate while at the same time doubting its authenticity. He stood by Mitt Romney and endorsed him in his own hotel which has more to do with the shamelessness of Mitt than the significance of Donald. And as the election wound down and his name seldom mentioned, Donald knew he had to do one last thing to throw himself into the spotlight making his big “announcement” less than two weeks before the election.

Being his friend I don’t even want to talk about the aftermath. I can usually associate life scenes from old or obscure movies and this time, two came to mind. The first was from “Sunset Boulevard” at the end where the aging Gloria Swanson let Mr. DeMille know she was ready for her close-up when the only interest in her was for her car. The second was from “Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte” again at the end when Betty Davis was being driven away from a crowd and reporters, smiling when all around her just thought her sad. For those who haven’t seen those movies, just understand that Donald has become what he would have least desired… the joke. Fortunate is he that he has been spared the shame of the depths of his fall. I don’t want to watch this story’s conclusion when he’ll inevitably start approaching strangers and asking “Don’t you know who I am?” I brushed away a tear while writing this because the Donald I once knew is alas no more!

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Most Of Us Need A Love Sounding Board!

Most of us Need a Love Sounding Board
Love is hard to get right under the best of circumstances. Unless you’re one of the ones that meet the love of your life on the first try and you somehow manage to grow at relatively the same pace and communicate well enough to overcome the obstacles of life. You’re likely to fail at least once and in some cases often before getting it right if ever.

One thing women are somewhat better than men at is having a sounding board to share some of their trials and tribulations and get advice to consider besides their own counsel. I’m going to attempt to walk a thin line here and generalize about both men and women by saying women often seek counsel from the wrong sources while men often choose to go it alone. Neither method has a good track record of success.

The optimum solution is to find your love sounding board that helps you work through your situation and is looking for the best resolution for you as opposed to them. With that in mind, I have a few tips for choosing your love sounding board. They may be someone you already know well. The rationale for that is that hopefully they know you pretty well also and can make suggestions based on a working knowledge of your likes and dislikes and as important your history which if left to your own devices you are likely to repeat.

In a seeming contradiction, your sounding board may be almost a complete stranger or someone you only know through social media. Your sounding board to be effective must ask some deeply personal questions and it’s sometimes easier to communicate openly with someone you’ve never met as opposed to someone you have to look in the eye every day.

They should ask you questions and lead you to examine and making your own choices as opposed to only telling you what you should do. Some sounding boards have their own agenda and/or strong beliefs and end up not helping you to determine what’s best for you but instead, tell you what they would do in a similar situation.

They should be able to keep a confidence. If it’s someone you already know well they have already demonstrated whether they have that ability. They have told you who they are… believe them. A stranger that has no contact with your circle of friends may seem safe but in these days of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook it still pays to be discerning.

Start slow. You don’t need to reveal your deepest secrets or fears in your first discussion although if you never reveal them you may be blocking the benefits you hoped to achieve. Ultimately there will come a time for truth telling if you want real help with your relationship concerns.

It might seem with all that I’ve mentioned that it might be best to forego a sounding board altogether and work things out yourself. You could start by asking yourself how well keeping everything to yourself has worked for you in the past? People both men and women like what they like and without an intervention are likely to repeat the same patterns over and over. My weakness was cheerleader types and I found myself attracted to pretty but relatively self-centered women that put their own interests and needs far above my own. Until someone pointed that out to me I never realized it and I submit that each of you have some pattern you are following that might not be in your best interest.

My sounding board asks me tough questions which I sometimes avoid initially but it is in discovering the answers where growth and change occur. While I have great male friends the best advice I get comes from the opposite sex which may or may not work for each of you. She asks me what I want, what is my plan, is it likely to succeed? Sometimes I go down a different path which results in the same questions put in different ways; is that what you want, is this part of your plan, will this choice make you happy?

I was (past tense) the type to go it totally on my own in love matters. I kept choosing the same type of woman which initially may have fed my ego but ultimately didn’t make me happy. Left to my own devices I’d be seeking the next cheerleader that ultimately wasn’t the best match for my personality. If going it alone hasn’t gotten you where you want to be. Seek out a sounding board that can help you redirect yourself by asking the pertinent questions that allow you to examine your own patterns and hopefully make the changes that will lead you to your relationship goal.

William Spivey happily lives in Orlando, Florida and can be found on Facebook or emailed at wspiv001@aol.com

Note: This was first published on Lovebabz:A Life In Transition, as a guest blogger.

I Didn’t Know ’till I Knew

(excerpt from “Letters to Amber”)

 

 I always thought I had a clue…

I had experienced love and all that came with it.

Joy, laughter, sometimes pain, a wonderful glow and the empty feeling that lingers once love leaves.

Turns out I’d only scratched the surface…

I didn’t know ‘till I knew!

 

I thought I was so experienced…

That which I did I was very good at.

I could be affectionate, I can kiss, and I know I gave good lovin’!

I was an outstanding listener and could make a woman just know she had my undivided attention.

I thought when I was in love that I loved hard!

Truthfully, I loved hard when I was doing that which came easy.

I did easy often and hard seldom if at all.

I didn’t know until I knew.

 

I could be romantic, attentive, caring, giving, supportive…

All of that was easy.

Did I mention I was a good lover?

Shiiiiiiiiiiiitttttt. That’s all I need to say about that!

I didn’t know until I knew.

 

And then I met… HER!

In one instant, I realized all that there was that I didn’t know.

That last statement could be confused as meaning I now knew everything I previously did not.

What it really means is that I instantly became aware of all that I did not know, and had to learn, if I was to make HER… mine!

I didn’t know ‘till I knew.

 

This leaves me with a mission.

Learn what is required because that’s what it takes.

If I still don’t know then I better ask somebody.

Can’t ask HER because I might appear unworthy.

Can’t ask HER because I’ll look weak.

Can’t ask HER because… because… because…

 

Another moment of clarity…

 

That’s what you used to do before you knew.

You didn’t ask because you were too proud.

You didn’t ask because you were worried about what she might think.

You didn’t ask because… because… because…

I didn’t know ‘till I knew.

 

So now I learned at least one new thing!

In addition to all the things that came easy.

Do the things that come hard.

Ask HER…

Love HER…

Share with HER, even when you’re scared.

I didn’t know until I knew

Even a Strong Black Woman Gets Tired Sometimes

If we are lucky we currently know or have known strong Black women who can always be counted on when things get tough. What we fail to realize is that always is an awfully long time and that depending on that strong Black woman can be draining because it so often results in them putting others before herself. It would be nice to think she “don’t get no ways tired” but even the best of them have their days.

Strong Black women are under assault, they are exempt from none of the forces systemically aligned against Black people and have the also assumed the responsibility of standing up for their children, their mates, their brothers and sisters whether family or not and have even extended themselves to other causes where the absence of justice and equality and rights threatens not just some but all.

It is easy sometimes to sit back and rely on the strong Black woman to fight the good fight, reaping the windfall of their efforts while doing little of the work. We roar at the slaughter of Black men but with Black women somehow not so much. We participate in judging and body shaming and trying to control what we ought not. Our own images sometimes depend on the woman being somewhere beneath us rather than at our side. It is no wonder that she gets tired sometimes.

To the strong Black woman, I would ask her to remember the good she has done and the lives that have benefitted from her presence. I would also ask her to deploy her own airbag first before attempting to help others because if you lose consciousness you’re of no more help. Feed yourself also if not first and look within and to your faith for strength because people are somewhat unreliable. Know your worth and use some of that strength to insist others respect it as well. Know when to cut your losses because all situations and relationships and causes may not be intended for more than a season.

To those who know a strong Black woman, support her, assist her, make her welfare a concern because she may be so busy being strong she doesn’t take the care of herself that she should. Most of all appreciate her. It will go a long way toward giving her the strength to keep doing what we all need her to do. Love her unselfishly recognizing that she is not only supporting you but a whole universe of people who have needs as well. If she has chosen you your time together will be cherished because she’s that kind of woman. And when she needs it, let her rest because even she gets tired sometimes.

An Open Letter to 100 Black Pastors

 

 

I understand according to some sources that the actual number may be 106 of you that met with Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump but it seems verification regarding any aspect of your meeting is lacking I’ll just go with the round number of 100.I should say that I have no concerns about pastors taking an activist role in politics and in fact encourage it as pastors have traditionally been advocates for their communities and found that politicians and elected officials often were the key to making meaningful change. I don’t object to your having met with a Republican candidate although I question the timing in that I might have personally waited until they had an actual nominee and not injected myself this soon. Republicans have total control of the State legislatures in dozens of states and they need to be included in any meaningful discussions of change and there is always the possibility of a Republican President in the White House in the not too distant future so relationships are not necessarily a bad thing.

I wish to be clear that I have a great respect for the institution of the Black church and feel it has a contemporary role as well as a historical one in many aspects of our lives. As a disclaimer I note that my pastor was on the list that was originally announced to be meeting with Mr. Trump although I have not ascertained if she was included in the number that rejected meeting with Donald Trump after his campaign categorized their meeting as an endorsement or whether she did meet with them. I also am unaware of their intended purpose in meeting with Trump, what transpired in the meeting and what if any result was achieved in their minds. In my pastor’s case after listening to many sermons I’m aware that we have slightly differing views on a number of subjects but I don’t expect total agreement with anyone and despite any differences she remains my pastor. I scoured her Facebook pages for some insight as to her rationale or any feedback regarding the meeting and have yet to see any. I’ve watched news coverage and scoured the Internet regarding the meetings and except for the press releases from the Trump campaign (and postings from Omarosa) there is nothing to help explain not only your actions but your collective silence.

As previously stated I know not your intentions. While God acts in mysterious ways, pastors really should not. There was a time when pastors spoke to the people, often for the people but now it is time for you to speak with the people. I’m fairly clear on what Donald Trump got from your meeting which was cover from all the charges of his clearly racist comments and behavior on the campaign trail. He can now repeat his claims of getting along well with “the Blacks” and remind all of the love you all had for him expressed in the meeting you won’t talk about. He has found a few of you to tell us that they have discerned his nature, he is not a racist and we should disbelieve our own lying eyes and ears while the great majority of you remain silent. I won’t say this meeting has enhanced Trump’s credibility but has given him a tool to deflect criticism and continue the tone which has led him to the top of the polls.

The meeting has diminished your credibility not only individually and collectively as your group of 100. You have damaged the black church entire by creating at least the appearance of being pawns, sellouts and weak. In these times, almost every leader that takes a stand on something is subject to criticism and condemnation, even from those on whose behalf they serve. It may well be that there is no consensus among your group which probably should have been considered sooner than later and there may be no statement that represents you all. If not then you individually have the responsibility to speak out and express your views as opposed to allowing them to be defined by others. It is time to speak out because your silence is deafening.

A Good Son

I wrote this almost five years ago. It is important in times like these to remember the things we’re thankful for. As opposed to those that anger us or cause fear. In the four years since I wrote this. The sentiment has only grown stronger. A few words about my son:

I spent a little time with my son the other day helping one of my daughters move some things. We did some of the things we usually do; talked about sports. I enquired if there was any scenario by which his favorite college football team FSU, could win the national title? He then gave me a complicated list of the several things that would have to happen involving multiple teams he’d obviously previously calculated. Sports can be a metaphor for life between men and his eternal optimism was justified during one Ryder Cup where he “proved” that positivity can be rewarded. It’s a significant factor in the way he lives his life.

a-a-good-sonnn

I mentioned to him something I’d written on Facebook where I’d confessed to a lax approach to academics during high school. He immediately demanded reparations for all of the punishment he’d received for failing to turn in homework as obviously it was unfair for me to have administered it. He remembered the years during which it seemed he was in perpetual lockdown. I conceded there was a point at which his mother and I had to give him back privileges in order to have something to take away.

Because I thought it might come up while moving things, I mentioned some shoulder pain I was having when I raised my left arm over my head. He responded, “Don’t do it!” He reminded me of every time he came forward with a complaint of pain my inevitable response was to tell him not to do whatever was causing it. One notable exception was one Saturday morning when he came to our bedroom having broken out in Chickenpox. I couldn’t readily identify it and we rushed to a 24-hour clinic to seek remedy.

a-a-good-sonn

We all hope that our children will have better lives than we have and that they will grow up to be responsible people. For a father, there is a special relationship where he lives vicariously through a son and those hopes are heightened. I have been blessed to have a son who has turned out to be the most responsible person I know. He’s a good father, husband, person, and friend. Happy Birthday, Alan!

The Republican Nomination Process

A friend of mine asked me my opinion on the state of the Republican Presidential nomination process. I’ve been relatively silent thus far, not because I had no opinions but because I thought I’d wait until the feeding frenzy ended and they whittled themselves down to one.

Of course the entire process has been dominated by Donald Trump and his naked appeal to racism, xenophobia and those who feel better about themselves by finding others to feel superior to. Oddly I am less distraught about Trump than the hordes that blindly follow him no matter what. He wants ban all Muslims and they don’t care. His supporters include every manner of right wing hate group and they don’t care (neither does he). He laughs while he lies and they still don’t care. He has no policies and they don’t care because “he’s not politically correct”. Trump has tapped into an anger among a certain segment of the populace, but what they’re really angry about, what they’ve been angry about since Barack Obama was elected President, most of them won’t admit although several will.

By comparison we’re offered Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and John Kasich. Cruz and Rubio aren’t as buffoonish as Trump but cling to a set of extreme values that they had to adopt to get a Republican nomination. Cruz is a true believer that would impose his values on the rest of us and has no interest in compromising with those who disagree. Rubio has no personal values and is constantly contorting his views to accommodate the latest poll or think tank. He’s a puppet of others who know they will manipulate him to their needs and he hasn’t the will or set of values to resist them.

John Kasich appears reasonable when compared to the others but is he a man of the people as opposed to only some of the people. In 2012 he stood in the way of reforms that would have alleviated the voter suppression his state was pilloried for in 2008 when pictures of the long lines in “urban” districts made national news. He may have grudgingly agreed to expand Medicaid in his state yet he also wants to “repeal Obamacare” taking back all the gains Americans have experienced. He wants to deny background checks to purchase guns, take away a woman’s right to choose, and take us to a ground war in Syria. If this is the reasonable alternative, I’ll pass.

So I’ll wait and see who they choose. If they truly go off the deep end and choose Trump they will deserve the destruction of the party they may richly deserve after their steady race to the right and attempts to maintain power through gerrymandering and voter suppression. Perhaps from the ashes something better will arise although I’d have to see it to believe it. It they somehow supplant Trump at the convention the party blows up anyway. I’m content to have a ringside seat.

 

 

A Boy and a Gun

 

I grew up in a household with 4 boys and no girls. Without meaning to suggest that girls are not, I can definitively say that boys are curious by nature. There came a time when my parents brought home some Christmas presents early in December and it became our life’s mission to find out where those presents were hidden, what they were, guess who they belonged to and ultimately play with them long before Santa brought them down our non-existent chimney.

I was the second oldest of the 4 boys, the first three approximately two years apart. We were all quite different in personality. The oldest was quieter and had some nerdish traits preferring chess and airplanes to sports. I was perhaps the most reckless and got into far more trouble than my older brother. The one two years below me was able to learn from his two older brothers and got into less trouble while being slightly more devious and the youngest was but a baby at this time and not a participant in this particular story.

Because both our parents worked, we were home alone for at least brief periods most days. We had chores we were responsible for which should have taken up much of that time but there was always time to get into something and the mission to discover those presents was a top priority. The detached garage was eliminated early on, most everything was clearly visible and while there was an attic, a quick search utilizing the pull down ladder eliminated that as a possibility. Because we’d glimpsed the sizes of some of the boxes, many potential locations in our house were eliminated because they didn’t have the capacity to hold the items in question. We’d settled on my parent’s bedroom as the only remaining possibility which we’d pretty much saved for last as that was known to be forbidden territory. I don’t recall which of my brothers went with me but we eventually gathered up the courage and began the search. It didn’t take long to focus on the closet and we discovered bags containing yet to be wrapped presents including the ultimate prize a remote control Jaguar XKE. We were not deterred by the need for batteries as we were able to strip them from discarded toys from earlier times and we played with that car until we thought it no longer safe and then boxed it back up until the next opportunity.

Christmas finally came, the Jaguar went to my older brother who would never appreciate it as much as I would have. I got a model airplane which within hours of being put together, was destroyed by my younger brother who “wanted to see if it could fly”. The story could have ended there but another item discovered during the search of the closet was a gun.

We had no knowledge there was a gun in the house or for what purpose. Until Christmas passed it was sufficient to play with the toys and revel in our secret time but the knowledge of the gun was always there. My brothers and I didn’t discuss it ever and I have no idea if they harbored the curiosity that I did. It was fairly rare that I found myself home alone but on one such occasion, I was determined to satisfy my curiosity about the gun. I slinked back to the closet; it was still there on an upper shelf behind some other items. It was unloaded but there were some bullets of different sizes in a box and I took one I believed would fit. I was dying to fire a gun and searched my brain for the best way to do it. I went down to the basement, where there was an approximately 3 foot x 3 foot closet containing the water heater which was the only spot in the home with a dirt floor. The plan that shaped in my then 11 year old brain, was to fire the gun into the dirt where it would no doubt go straight down leaving little evidence that I could easily cover up. I hadn’t calculated for the noise which would likely be heard at least a few houses away as there were windows from the basement to the outside.

I loaded the gun; aimed and pulled the trigger… and nothing happened. They say God protects fools and little children and he got two for one that day. The “dirt floor” was packed so hard that there would have been no possibility for the bullet not to ricochet. At best I could have killed a water heater, at worst me. I thought at the time it may have been the wrong size bullet. Later I wondered if there was a safety that kept me from accomplishing something very foolish. A warning to those that keep guns, whatever safety measures you employ, a determined child may have the means to overcome them. Others may not be as lucky as I was that day.

An Open Letter to Joe Scarborough

 

I watched the roundtable discussion on your show regarding the Voting Rights Act. I’ll first give you credit for recognizing that efforts to disenfranchise voters are not limited to the states that were required to undergo preclearance due to their past. Pennsylvania and Ohio were just as capable of coming up with laws that ultimately impact minorities more than white voters and also other voting groups like students who are more likely to vote Democratic. I’ll give you a pass on not wanting the states you grew up in to forever be tainted by their racist past although in my opinion they are still less enlightened than you would like to believe.

Where we differ is your refusal to acknowledge that Republican efforts to pass new laws are politically motivated in an attempt to restrict minority voting, giving Republicans a better chance to win elections. This not by convincing voters of the value of your policies but by disenfranchising those who would vote against you.

You talked about the reasonableness of showing a voter ID while ignoring all the restrictions associated with them. You didn’t mention in many states that a gun registration would be acceptable whereas a state issued student ID might not. You say it isn’t a poll tax however if in some cases an out of state original birth certificate is required or extensive travel or time is involved to get these ID’s. It is exactly that for those who don’t already have those ID’s that happen to be overwhelmingly minority.

You ignored all the other aspects of the laws being passed. Limiting early and weekend voting, restricting the ability to register voters, allocation of polling places designed to create long lines and discourage voting. You insist to be against making the Voting Rights Act impotent is to insist that Southern Republicans are bigots and racist while no one was making that claim. Let’s just call those Republicans pragmatic in that they recognize it will become their only way to win elections. If not now then soon as their percentage of the population continues to shrink.

Where your logic was the most faulty, was your insistence that the majority of middle America and average voters will agree with the practicality of presenting a photo ID (presuming they ignore all the other related laws being passed). I promise you that close to 100% of the minorities being affected that care enough to vote,recognize both the intent of these laws and their effect. Even if not racist in intent it is definitely racist in their result. Your party may convince themselves how innocuous these laws are, unfortunately, you aren’t likely to convince those who you (your Party, not you personally) are allegedly trying to attract.

BTW, it was not just “one lunatic” in Pennsylvania admitting the true intent to give Mitt Romney the election. Dozens of Republicans across the country have said as much in many ways. Texas is currently implementing redistricting that a Federal court has already found unconstitutional because they now can. Just saying!