Los Angeles Dodgers Opening Day – Kirk Gibson throws out first pitch – George Lopez & Samuel Jackson relive historic moment


courtesy of Getty Images
Noel Vasquez

[Chavez Ravine, Los Angeles]  Opening day is always a special event in major league baseball.  At Dodger stadium or “the ravine” it takes on significance due to the team and their tie to the city.  The fact the Dodgers would be hosting their arch-rival Giants was enough for most fans.  But the treat about opening day is you never know what presentations the host team will unveil.

George Lopez and Samuel Jackson stole the show

Kirk Gibson’s monumental home run in 1988 has its place high atop baseball lore as an unforgettable event.  Comedian George Lopez and Actor Samuel Jackson are unabashedly die-hard Dodger fans.  They recreated the special time in history when Gibson was blessed by the baseball gods.  The seven minute clip was quite a production and done so to introduce Gibson as he threw out the ceremonial first pitch.  The production was amazing!!

As for the game, Dodgers ace and one known as the “best pitcher on the planet,” Clayton Kershaw got snakebit as his two-strike slider to the Giants pesky Joe Panik slipped inside the right field foul pole for a home run, as well as the only run as the Giants handed the Dodgers an opening day loss.  One game down, one hundred and sixty-one to go.

7 MINUTE HISTORIC CLIP, courtesy of Los Angeles Dodgers

 

Federal Reserve pulls the plug – rates move higher


Jerome Powell holding press conference following FOMC meeting. Generated by IJG JPEG Library. Getty Images

After approximately two months since taking over the helm as the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell announced a rate increase.  The move was expected as while rates are cyclical they are based on a variety of economic factors.  Powell and the rest of the board agreed recent unemployment numbers, household confidence and the positive direction of the economy provided justification of moving the rates one-quarter of a percent or to the highest level of the year at 1.750%.

 

The formal announcement via a press conference followed the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting held earlier today.  The vote was unanimous as all members of the FOMC voted to increase the rate.

 

“The Committee expects that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant further gradual increases in the federal funds rate; the federal funds rate is likely to remain, for some time, below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run. However, the actual path of the federal funds rate will depend on the economic outlook as informed by incoming data.”  Federal Reserve.

 

The Federal Reserve is responsible for U. S. monetary policy and when there are positive economic signs, rate increases are a necessary buffer to control inflation or other negative impacts.  During the press conference, Powell mentioned at least two more rate increases are scheduled for 2018.

The fed rate is related to what banks are charged to obtain funds.  

Chasing King’s Killer – The Hunt for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Assassin – My Review


If this book were a novel it would easily earn 5 stars.

Unfortunately, because it deals with history and is one person’s account, I will be generous and rate it 3 stars, simply because there are a couple of critical omissions, so unless the reader is fully informed on the life of Dr. King and the events which led to his assassination, they are left to the narration of others.

The book is masterfully designed and in hardback looks great.  It is designed as part of the Scholastic series or targeted for high school students or young adults.  However, regardless of age, the content is so intriguing it is a great find for your library.

It weaves you through the journey of Dr. King’s life including one of the initial assassination attempts during his inaugural book signing which took place in New York.  Also, there are some great photographs in the book.  It continues and traces Dr. King’s work which eventually took him to Memphis.  Then, it changes course and brings James Earl Ray into focus.  Swanson does a good job in narrating the life and struggles of Ray.  It concludes with his decision to finally pull the trigger firing the deadly blow which allegedly fell Dr. King.

The book covers 373 pages and has a touching forward by civil rights icon, Congressman John Lewis.  Upon reflection I doubt if Congressman Lewis read the entire book?  The contradictions made in Swanson’s representation are basic well-known facts, so either Lewis let it slide, didn’t think it was significant enough to challenge or simply lent his name to the book but didn’t read it?

Dr. King’s life and work is well documented.  Some facts or issues are disputed but I am one who has studied Dr. King for some time and while mistakes or errors do occur from time to time, from my perspective Swanson writes from a viewpoint he feels worthy of directing.  Also, in fairness to Swanson I received a copy for review so perhaps corrections have already been made?  My critique is not to be a knit-picker but facts are facts and any omission raises red flags and as previously mentioned are very important when historic events or figures are the topic.

Two Contradictions

Here are two contradictions on why I reduced my rating from 5 stars to 3 stars.   Fortunately, in addition to studying Dr King’s work, I have been to Memphis.  Been to the Lorraine Hotel, the area where the shot was allegedly fired from.  Additionally, I have been inside the Mason Temple arena where Dr. King gave his last speech, the famous “Mountaintop Speech.”  As Swanson describes the day of April 3, 1968 on page 128 he specifically mentions on the third paragraph Dr. King had spoken for an hour and a half.  That translates into ninety minutes?  Fortunately, many of Dr. King’s speeches and remarks were recorded.  I have listened to the “Mountaintop Speech” well over 50 times and the facts are simple; Dr. King did not speak for ninety minutes but more like 30 minutes from the time Rev. Abernathy introduced him until his last words where he was helped to his seat when finished.

The other issue is accepting the notion that James Earl Ray was the only killer?  Coincidently, in 2008 I met Judge Joe Brown at the Lorraine Motel and he spent over three hours explaining the case federal case  where he was the presiding judge.  The trial is well documented and was brought by the King family to determine if James Earl Ray was the only killer?  Judge Brown is known for his controversy but whether you believe them or not, or whether you believe Swanson’s narrative or not was not the sole criteria for my review.  However, Swanson appears to marginalize the King family’s attempt to get “their” truth as on page 251 he writes, “his lies (Ray) deceived Dr. King’s family and one of King’s sons visited Ray in prison, told him he believed him, and shook his hand.”  The problem for me what Swanson’s represents is the tone of denial or questioning the reality of the King family, at least as how they saw it!   In other words who is it for them to question the narrative which most of the public has accepted?

 

Judge Brown told me directly that based on the trial, James Earl Ray was not the killer.   As shocking as that might sound, it is a critical fact or point of view worth exploring.  The bigger point and the reason I challenge Swanson is the King family accepted the jury decision of the trial, which concluded James Earl Ray was not the lone killer as people had been made to believe.

Nevertheless, Swanson has presented a good book.  It is yet another perspective of Dr. King and his assassination.  I am sure he has an explanation on the issues I have raised regarding the accuracy or narration of the book?  For some the omissions I have pointed out may appear irrelevant but the factual record is clear and if the King family supported granting James Earl Ray a trial to determine if in fact there were other conspirator’s, then who is for Swanson or me to refute their desires or motivation?

Trump finally thanks Obama – Jobs report beats expectations!


President Obama sharing with Trump not to worry because he will be leaving a positive economy and much less drama than we he took office

It may be daylight savings time but it surely isn’t April Fools!  So, the thought that Donald Trump finally thanked Barack Obama for anything is wishful thinking.  Trump has convinced himself and his supporters that any and everything of a positive nature which has occurred since he assumed office on January 20, 2017 is the result of his personal brilliance and superb business acumen.  As painful as it may seem for him to be humbler and demonstrate basic respect or acknowledgment of what he inherited, unfortunately in doing so it might go against the basic premise of his bombastic personality of giving others credit.  Particularly if he considered that person a political opponent!

Economic factors looking good!

On Friday the Bureau of Labor Statistics released their monthly jobs report.  The data reflects activity for February 2018.  The numbers were better than expected as over 313,000 jobs were created.  No doubt those numbers are impressive and highlight the positive direction the overall U.S. economy is headed.  The core issue for Trump and to the chagrin of his supporters is that when you evaluate historic data you can’t pick what you like or dismiss what you don’t like.  Specifically, no doubt the economy has produced some impressive numbers since the Trump administration took over the reins.  What gets lost in his enthusiasm is acknowledging or admitting what he inherited?  As previously stated, some feel in doing so their anti-Obama argument get muddled because they have accepted the notion he is a Muslim, didn’t achieve anything or a person of absolute failure who did nothing to help the American people during his eight years as President.

“The recent tax cuts are a good sign but they don’t get much credit for this report because the synchronized global recovery has been strong since the middle of 2016” said Jonathan Golub, chief United States equity strategist at Credit Suisse.

The jobs report was a welcome change as it reversed the tough week the Trump administration was dealing with.

 

Nine years later some have forgotten or marginalized the condition of our economy when Obama took the oath of office?   It was in a tailspin most had never experienced.  Jobs were being lost to the tune of nearly 800,000 each month.  Yet with some fundamental economic discipline and solid leadership the economy regained it stability and charted month over month  improvement.  Remarkably, many criticized Obama for not achieving a higher level of success!  While those early years in the Obama administration required exceptional focus one thing is certain; positive numbers, even limited are much better than any negative numbers.  The result is as Obama was departing and Trump was coming into office there is little argument things were headed in the right direction.  Therefore, in fairness Trump has earned credit for keeping the economy on track and continue to move in the right direction.  Perhaps the day will come when he communicates gratitude that what he inherited was much better than what Obama inherited.

 

 

50 Years Later – Martin Luther King, Jr. – His Life and Legacy


This past weekend thousands of souls participated in the annual Selma Bridge Crossing May Jubilee.  The event commemorates the historic “Bloody-Sunday” event which occured March 7, 1965.  Sadly when you reflect on what made the event historic you are reminded it was legal segregation maintained in many states across the United States and their refusal to allow African-American (Negroes) to register to vote.  So for those who even today in 2018 sit while dismissing the notion that voting is irrelevant or doesn’t mean anything, I would implore them to study some history and understand why many in power used the law to stop folk from executing their constitutional right.

MLK’s 50th Commemoration

People from around the globe are making plans to journey to Memphis, TN to pay their respect and participate in the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the assassination of Rev, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Many events are planned and some are taking place as your read this.  A special tribute will take place on April 4, 2018.

Time Magazine has released their book, “50 Years Later – Martin Luther King, Jr. – His Life and Legacy.”  I received my copy today and the ninety-six page book will be a good addition to your library.  It is filled with many photos and short essays which provide a perspective of Dr. King’s journey and sets the tone of the historic event.

 

NMAAHC Newsletter released


[Washington, DC]  The Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture continues to be one of top visited sites in the District of Columbia.  Some of you are charter members or other designations and received your recently published newsletter (Vol 4, Issue 1).  For those of you who didn’t receive it we have made it available via .pdf format.  The issue takes a look back from the historic opening until current.


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