An Open Letter To Barack Obama

Dear President Obama:

 

I perhaps have been a bit too understanding. I understood because you were always caught in the middle. You woke up each day remembering you were the President for the whole country and not just one segment. You continued to the end to reach out to those who openly conspired against you. And I understood.

You carried the burden of being the first Black President. As such, you rarely did anything to overtly benefit only Black people; perhaps because of the optics, or the “Whitelash” which would invariably come. And I understood.

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Photo: TheNewsNow

You withstood their slurs with grace. Absorbed their attacks on your character, your person and your family. Never returning them with anger because to do so would raise the specter of the “Angry Black Man.” And I understood.

You saved the economy. Made healthcare available to an additional twenty million people. Oversaw advances on behalf for women, gays, dreamers and more despite the resistance of those on the other side of history. At the same time you deported more Hispanics than anyone else in history, perhaps needing to appear tough on Immigration. And I mostly understood.

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Photo: lookpractice.net

You started to make efforts to address hyper mass incarceration. You began reducing use of private prisons to house Federal prisoners. You began addressing sentencing for nonviolent crimes and looked the other way when States began passing laws to legalize marijuana. I knew that in the early moments of your first term. Lost in the pages of your stimulus plan were funding for cities to buy tanks and military equipment and pay for arrests of drug users which added to mass incarceration. I knew you didn’t write the stimulus plan. It may have been a compromise to get votes. A necessary evil that I tried to understand. You later tried to fix those efforts which helped me set that aside. So I ultimately understood.

You made some comments disparaging HBCUs. Perhaps your Columbia and Harvard background didn’t enable you to fully appreciate the significance past, present and future of these institutions. I didn’t understand but in the overall picture it was a small thing. I remain hopeful that enlightenment in this area will reach you.

Since the election of Donald J Trump as your replacement. You’ve more than fulfilled your obligation to the peaceful transition of power which is a hallmark of Democracy. You handled yourself with grace and honor despite the feelings you must have towards the dishonorable, vile man who harassed you for years. You put Country above Party above Self. And I understood.

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Photo: Bostonhehald.com

I speculate now… I think you still engage with President-Elect Trump in false hope you can influence his behavior. He leaves a meeting with you and talks about the good parts of Obamacare he’d like to preserve. Then he appoints a man in charge of HHS who wrote bills to repeal it over sixty times. You encouraged him to be a President for the whole country. Then he appoints Jeff Sessions. You take his calls and offer guidance. When your call concludes, Steve Bannon White Supremacist sweet nothings in his ear.

Mr. President, your efforts are having no effect. Worse still, you are helping to normalize him and make him more acceptable by those who should never accept him. You are giving him the cover of normalcy while every action he takes highlights the abnormal and his desire to make America something again that was never great. This I do not understand.

Respectfully I ask you to draw a red-line and say, “This Must Not Stand!” You should tell the nation what you’ve seen up close and make clear that the conspiracy theory spouting, racist meme tweeting, tax evading liar-in-chief is exactly who we thought he was. Speak without anger. But clearly articulate the clear and present danger that is Trump. Don’t speak as a Democrat in partisan ways but as an American because he endangers us all. Don’t go softly into the night. Use the bully pulpit one last time to make the record clear. Make us all understand.

Feature Photo: youtube.com

10 Things To Like About A Trump Presidency

 

 

Many people I know are still apoplectic about the pending Trump Presidency and all the damage he can do in four years. He is undeniably the most ill-prepared person to ever attain the office and he’s currently filling out his Cabinet with a Who’s Who of Deplorables.

People have good reason to fear a Trump Presidency but I submit we actually have some things to look forward to while hoping he doesn’t start a nuclear war because someone insulted him. Here’s my top ten:

 

  1. Assuming he actually holds a press conference. How fun will it be when he tells his usual lies and someone finally calls him out on it. His face will turn red, he’ll call for the Secret Service to arrest the reporter and then storm out to begin a Tweet Storm.                                                                                                                                                   a-a-trump-mad
  2. How long will it take before a sitting President (or First Lady) sues someone for what they call slander. Others might call it telling the truth.
  3. What a ruckus there will be when the Russians hack Mark Burnett’s unreleased footage from The Apprentice and we see Trump hugging and kissing women against their will. Trump will tweet afterwards, “Et Tu Putin?” a-a-a-touch
  4. Wait until Trump’s first International Presidential Trip when he insists the entire entourage stay at a Trump owned hotel. Conflict of interest much? a-a-donald-hotel
  5. Can’t wait to see Trump’s renovation of the Oval Office? He’ll get rid of that tacky Presidential Seal in the carpet and replace it with the Trump Log0 a-donals-presidential-seal
  6. With Melania staying in New York. Whose p***y will Donald be grabbing in the meantime. If he couldn’t keep it in his pants while she was pregnant. How can he manage with her not in the White House with him? Poor Little Rich Girl
  7. When will Camp David become Camp Donald?
  8. When giving speeches around the country. In addition to the normal recognition of local elected officials, will Trump point out his business partners as well?
  9. Will Pastor’s Darrell Scott and Mark Burns ever come out of hiding. Will Ben Carson actually go to work for Trump in a job (any of them available) which he’s already announced he’s unqualified for.
  10. Will Steve Bannon have little swastika’s on his desk nameplate? Will Republican’s care?

Steve Bannon

There will be a morbid humor in watching Trump at the helm of the country. There’s work to be done to minimize the harm and ensure he doesn’t get a second term. All Republicans that turn a blind eye to all things Trump must be turned out of elected office as well. In the meantime… laugh. Not with him but at him. Make him the biggest loser as he certainly is a joke.

 

My Daughter-In-Law Tried To Kill Me!

My Daughter-In-Law tried to kill me! In the event she is successful on another occasion, I’ll name my killer. Jessica Thompson Spivey. The murder weapon… cookies.

I can now see clearly, she’s been planning this for years. She’s been operating a business; Jessica’s Cookie Jar and she often got me to volunteer as a taster. She had me sample various recipe’s and give input as to which was best. I often babysit at the home she shares with my son and two granddaughters. I inadvertently thwarted previous attempts by limiting my intake to one cookie per visit. This year as Thanksgiving approached. She saw an opportunity and took it.

She asked my son to invite me over for Thanksgiving dinner. She had him inquire if I wanted anything special. Not wanting to be a bother, I simply said “cookies” knowing they’d be on hand already. On Thanksgiving Day, she had delivered to me my personal batch of kryptonite. A dozen Oatmeal Raisin cookies, laced with cinnamon and other unknown ingredients. She’d learned over time these were my biggest weakness. I’d be unable to resist. You might think cookies to be a strange way to try to kill someone but that’s what made her plan so insidious.

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If you’ve ever had one of her cookies, you’ll know of their addictive qualities. Depending on height and weight I calculate one would overdose somewhere between 3-5 cookies. She sent me twelve. I had a little help because my son snuck one cookie before delivering them as the aroma got to him along the way. I had one myself to tide me over until Thanksgiving Dinner. At dinner, I was temporarily distracted from the cookies by smoked turkey, ham, greens, macaroni and cheese and cornbread. But then she primed the pump with Seven-Up Cake and Red Velvet Cake. She never directly handled those items and gave them to me. She slyly relied on the fact that as I watched others eat the cake, moaning and licking their lips. I too would succumb.

Carbohydrates cause cravings for additional carbohydrates. Once having had two pieces of cake. It was only a matter of time before I sought out additional carbs. The memory of all those cookies awaiting me when I returned home suddenly overcame me. I played with grandchildren, engaged in conversation. All the while thinking about the cookies that were calling my name. It was almost certain I would unable to keep from eating the remaining ten cookies leading first to euphoria, and then certain death. Fortunately, I was full enough from the regular dinner that I simply couldn’t eat more than a few cookies and thus lived to see another day.

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Should anyone reading this wish to try some of these cookies. I issue the following warnings:

  1. They make excellent party treats. Should you order a dozen or more. Do not open them until ready to serve. If you sample one alone, it will be all you can do to keep from stashing them for yourself and eating the whole batch.
  2. Give them all away after serving them. Do not allow any leftovers to remain. They’ll be the end of you.
  3. Order limited types at a time. If you have a wide variety to choose from. The Oatmeal Cinnamon Raisin will lead to the Double Chocolate Chip will lead to the Snickerdoodle will lead to the Sugar Cookies and so on and so on.
  4. If you value your life. Don’t even try her brownies and cupcakes.

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Maybe I’ve exaggerated the detrimental effects of the cookies. Not the euphoria part, that’s certain. I’m unaware of anyone that actually died from the cookies and in fact the website for Jessica’s Cookie Jar has excellent reviews. It’s possible I’ve written one myself. The addictive qualities are real. Even now I’m making known my availability to babysit again although I do plan to go back to one cookie per session. And of course, there’s Christmas! I wonder if there’s a Twelve-Step Program for cookies? I’ve included a few reviews, see how many times they refer to dying I’m just saying. They can be shipped anywhere so there’s nowhere to hide!

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“Ordered Macadamia Nut and Oatmeal Cinnamon Raisin, they only lasted a few days! My boyfriend loved both and he normally not a Macadamia fan. Also, tried the Red Velvet previously which are to die for. Love that they come all individually wrapped. Great idea for ordering for the holidays!”

“Ordered the red velvet cookies and just about died. I love the presentation and how they were individually wrapped for optimum freshness. I literally inhaled the whole box over a week. Putting in my next order soon. Love love LOVE!!!!”

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“I have had the pleasure of tasting a variety of Jessica’s cookies. I would have to say that my all time favorite is either the Peanut Butter Cookie that made my taste buds jump for joy or her Double Chocolate Chip that was also to die for. I am a baker myself and Jessica’s cookies exceed my cookie expectations. They are not greasy or dry they are the perfect blend of Yumminess!”

“These cookies were WONDERFUL!! I ordered the red velvet cookies as a part of a valentines gift for my guy (red velvet is his favorite) and he LOVED them. I also ordered the brownie stuffed chocolate chip cookies and they were like heaven on earth. The cookies were so soft and moist, tasted fresh like she just baked them (you would’ve never thought they were shipped). I will definitely recommend Jessica’s Cookie Jar to anyone looking for a quality dessert. I can’t wait to try more of her cookies. Thanks Jessica…you rock :)”

“That’s Another Piece Of Trash Off The Streets!”

“The way I look at it, that’s another piece of trash off the streets. I’m sorry but I’m 62 years old. I’m not going to take a bunch of punks beating me up.”

“The way I look at it, that’s another piece of trash off the streets.”

 

On Monday November 21st, 62 year old William Pullman shot and killed a 15 year old Black youth James Means. He shot him twice in the abdomen, went home and had dinner, then hung out at a friend’s home.

Pullman didn’t know James Means. The two accidentally bumped into each other outside a Dollar General store in Charleston, West Virginia and had words. After Pullman left the store, the two had words again and Pullman shot Means dead. Pullman claimed James “flashed a gun at him.” There was no gun. He said, “I felt my life was in danger.” There was no physical confrontation. He later told investigators, “The way I look at it, that’s another piece of trash off the streets. I’m sorry but I’m 62 years old. I’m not going to take a bunch of punks beating me up.”

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William Pullman wasn’t supposed to have a gun. An earlier Domestic Violence convection barred him from owning one. On another occasion, he’d had a verbal altercation with a Hispanic youth. Police told the youth to avoid Pullman.

James Means family said he’d, “light up a room, even on the darkest of days.” It’s now a dark day because James is gone. James was in a group for at risk children called Dream Chasers. He wanted to be a mechanic. His dream is permanently deferred.

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Federal investigators are looking to see if there is evidence Pullman can be charged with a hate crime. At his arraignment when he heard he’d be held without bail until trial. Pullman said, “I’m going to lose my job and everything.” Just for taking out the trash…

Nothing Has Changed!

The Media is working overtime to justify Donald Trump. During the General Election campaign, Trump was praised for every instance where he appeared calm for more than two days in a row. He was rewarded for reading someone else’s words from a teleprompter instead of revealing his own.

Now he’s the President-Elect and making real decisions. One of his first was Steve Bannon; White Nationalist, Anti-Semite, racist. One of his next was Jeff Sessions; Segregationist, White Supremacist, vote suppressor.

 

With each new Cabinet pick or candidate. They tell us how normal these choices are which show he’s not so bad after all. He picks an Indian-American female Governor for Ambassador to the UN and look… diversity. She’s uniquely unqualified for the position and Trump’s friend the South Carolina Lt. Governor gets a promotion. Dr. Ben Carson is his alleged choice to run the Dept. Of Housing & Urban Development. Of all the things (and there are few) that Ben Carson might be able to do well in a Government position. Running a bureaucracy is not one of them. In his own defense he said, “I grew up in the inner-city.”

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For all the distractions that surround Trump including those he generates. He can never get past Bannon & Sessions no matter who else he appoints or whatever he does. Ever! Without even considering his own racist history. He’s brought on a White Nationalist to be his personal Trump Whisperer and put the man most likely to dismantle Civil Rights in charge of the Justice Department.

He is not nor will he be a “President for all Americans.” We can be thankful at least that he’s left no doubt. While he goes about his business of “Making America Great Again.” It will be at the expense of those Americans who don’t look like him. Despite the media’s desire to curry Presidential favor, the people know who Trump is. He’s made it quite clear.

Coach Ed

In titling this piece, “Coach Ed.” I was mildly uncomfortable as it never occurred to me to call him Ed while one of his players. He was always “Mr. Prohofsky” or “Coach Prohofsky”… never “Ed.” Coach Prohofsky didn’t demand respect. He absolutely earned it.

I was blessed to have spent a significant amount of time under his tutelage both on the Track team where he was head coach and on the basketball team where he became head coach during my Senior year.

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When I left Marshall-University High. I thought my athletic career was over. I attended Fisk University where my expectations were to apply myself as a student and watch college athletics when I could. I started playing in pick-up games in the gym and was soon convinced by the coaches to try out for the team. I made the team, started some games as a Freshman and went on to have a solid college career. I found it was the preparation I received and fundamentals drilled by Coach Ed that made me ready for the next level.

If Coach Prohofsky had an ego I never saw it. One characteristic that made him a great coach was that he knew what he didn’t know. In Track I threw the discus. I’ll always own the school record (mainly because the school closed). The discus is not a thing that comes naturally. You have to be taught. Mr. Prohofsky didn’t know himself how to make me better but he got me some slides so that I could work thru “the spin” and achieve more than I could on my own.

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In Basketball, I was 6’6″ and played center. Coach was considerably shorter and would have more in common with a point guard. He brought back a former center to work with me. I learned to protect my shooting hand with my off hand when going up in traffic. I got tips on blocking out and rebounding. At Marshall-U my defense was initially a step ahead of my offense. I first excelled at blocking shots. I once knocked a shot far out of bounds in practice and was feeling quite smug. Coach stopped play, walked up to me and said, “You know if you’d caught that instead of knocking it out of bounds, your side would have the ball instead of the other team.”

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When I knew he didn’t have an ego was during gym class when we were playing softball. Coach Prohofsky played fast-pitch softball in a league and after being encouraged; pitched to a few of the students. I caught a fastball and took it over the fence for a home run. Instead of being upset he was happy for me, offering encouragement.

I knew Coach Prohofsky as a Football coach, Track coach and Basketball coach. He was good at the coaching part as demonstrated by the State Championship he won in his third year as head coach. He was better at helping boys become men.

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I think of the personalities and issues he dealt with. During my time students were dealing with issues of race, politics, the Vietnam War. Our lives were in turmoil but through all that, Coach Prohofsky was a constant. He led by example. He gave us respect even when we didn’t deserve it. He cared! Thank you Ed!

America’s Caste System

America has a Caste System. Not formalized like that of India past. Discrimination based on Caste there has been illegal for over sixty years. It doesn’t present itself there in all the ways it used to. It has found new ways, particularly in elections where Caste is still the determining factor in choosing who to vote for. It was once true that when born into a Caste it was virtually impossible to change. Now there are Inter-Caste marriages, primarily among the upper-level. It may seem what I’m describing still sounds a lot like America. There is a big difference.

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In America, Caste is more informal and everyone has created a hierarchy based on their own experience. Of course there are general external classifications based on education level or career. When you meet someone among the first questions; “Where did you go to school? And “What do you do?” We rate each other based on education, career income… and race.

Throughout American history, race has always been one of the ways people placed themselves into context. The poorest white person could be relieved that at least they weren’t Black or Native American. Then Obama happened. America had a Black President who oozed intelligence whenever he spoke. They spent eight years with their equilibrium out of whack. They could no longer make an honest intellectual case for superiority while there was a Black President, Black Attorney General, a Black First Lady that went high when they went low. In a way President Obama was as they say, “the most divisive President of all time.” Not because of his words or actions. It was his existence that divided the nation, the Caste system had been overturned.

The final straw that changed the campaign allowing Trump to win wasn’t Hillary’s private server. It wasn’t leaked E-mails. Not even the Comey letter in a late October surprise. It was the multiple appearances of Barack and Michelle Obama on the campaign trail that motivated white people from every crack and crevice to vote against Obama thru Hillary Clinton. It wasn’t a strictly male reaction. White women ignored all the misogyny, multiple women coming forward to report sexual harassment and Trump’s admission on tape to being a sexual predator. They ignored his extramarital affairs. Looked the other way at the rape charge that was working through the courts before death threats caused it to be withdrawn. They left their sisters of color in the lurch as they have throughout American history with their ultimate decision being to support their whiteness above their gender. Loyal to their Caste.

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I’ve watched the glee in some Republican faces as they attempt to dismantle everything President  Obama accomplished in the past eight years. They may be successful in undoing the first thing he accomplished which was salvaging the economy. To undo all things Obama they’re willing to take healthcare from twenty-three million Americans and remove most restrictions regulating big banks and Wall Street which almost destroyed the nation before.

When the Senate meets to confirm Trump’s cabinet choices. They may mention the racist or xenophobic past that afflicts most of his early picks. But they’ll ignore what they’ve said and done in favor of who they are. Caste uber alles.

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When you watch the news in the future. Look thru the prism of a Caste based society. You’ll understand the limited and biased coverage of Standing Rock with its modern day Bull Connor. You’ll know why a Bannon or Sessions will be acceptable to those making decisions because those are their people.  You’ll see why attacks on voter rights are so successful in becoming law despite their clear unconstitutionality and obvious racist intent. It’s because when it’s all said and done. Caste wins out.