Driving While Black


I saw the premiere showing the other day and would recommend viewing.

https://player.pbs.org/viralplayer/3046823870/

Traveling inside Cuba


The country of Cuba has a better handle on the Covid-19 outbreak than most countries. However as of this posting one of the primary interstate bus systems is still not operating. Viazul operates across the country and is similar to Greyhound. I will need to verify if local buses are operating as Cuba will a little more than 11 million people only approximately one and one-half percent own a car. For the vast majority of people their primary mode of getting around is public transportation, taxis, hitching a ride, motorbikes, bicycles and walking.

Here is the official correspondence I received from Viazul headquarters.

viazul  < viazul@eon.cu >To:‘Fred Thomas’Thu, Oct 8 at 3:46 PM

Dear Customer:

Currently all services are suspended as a security measure against Covid-19. The restart of our service is subject to the epidemiological situation of the country, this process will be done in phases and our operations must begin in the third stage. When the ticket sales opening date is defined, you will be informed through social networks, the website and the press. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

attentively

       VIAZUL Reservation Center     

NATIONAL BUS COMPANY – CUBA

                   Email: viazul@eon.cu

2020 General Election EC Tracker – President


The above cartoon courtesy of Gary Carvel

The chart below list Electoral College votes per state. Of course in the United States, the winner is declared by securing a total of 270 votes or above. In 2016 Donald Trump scored over 300 votes while securing a win. Noteworthy was him winning battleground states by a total of less than 100,000 votes. Remarkably, Hillary Clinton secured the most total votes but fell short in the determining tally which was the Electoral College.

Getting to 270 seems like a basic equation. For Trump supporters they are licking their chops thinking they will see a repeat of 2016, if not better. Some have been heard stating “we are in for a landslide.” On the other hand, Biden supporters claim no way! They point to the battleground states claiming Trump won by a fluke, emphasizing there is no way he will run a “Boston” this time around. Interesting for Trump as his first term is nearing the end is very few can point to any significant increases to his base of supporters. That might come back to bite him because based on elections following his win in 2016, more voters have switched to the other side, than staying put with him.

Another huge assumption is it is very unlikely Trump will win any states Clinton secured in 2016. Joe Biden on the other hand is assured of those states. At the same time, it is reasonable to assume he will win a few battleground states which Clinton lost? Therein lays the trouble for Trump, unless he cheats or pulls some maneuver to manipulate the votes? If Biden were to win just two battleground states such as Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, he would eke out a victory!

We encourage you to play around with the electoral tool we created to define your own assumptions.

Eastcoast Trek 2020


A word about the above photos. The head photo was taken at Black Lives Matter Plaza showing a lady who was doing a “power salute.” The second photo is a Frederick Douglas bust located in Fell’s point. It is a tremendous piece of art as it showcases Douglas’ time spent in the inner-harbor.

The worldwide novel corona virus pandemic added a new dimension to this year’s trek. From hotel’s to restaurants and other places we visited were very sensitive to safety and other precautions.

This trek started years ago as it was simple gesture of paying respect to the March on Washington. This year was the 57th Anniversary and Rev. Al Sharpton through his National Action Network partnered with Martin Luther King, III as well as many other social-action groups to host the event. They did an outstanding job in organizing as well as adhered to safety guidelines.

One more thing about trekkers.  They have an adventurous personality.  We did everything we could to make sure we were protected.  Our flight was dirt cheap.  The jet was approximately 65% full as most of the middle seats were vacant.  The hat-trick was both going and coming back were nonstop.  Another important note is we DO NOT rent a car.  Instead we use the MARC, METRO and/or other public accommodations.  On rare occasions we opt for Uber/Lyft but part of the journey is experiencing people at a basic level, and that is found when you use public transportation.  Plus, with all of the food we consume walking and moving about is a great way to keep a check on those calories!

Click here for some of our photo gallery>>> 57th MOW


Everyone loves photos!!!


Traveling offers many adventures. One being experiencing the variety of foods offered as you go from region to region. Here is a list of places we visited during this trek.

FOODIE EXCURSION

Supanos – Baltimore, MD

Supanos is located near the Inner Harbor or adjacent downtown, next to the Marriott Residence Inn located on Light Street.

The Rat Story

You enter from an alley-like walkway. Covid 19 has added a new dimension to restaurants which are open. Fresco or outdoor dining is the most popular way customers are served. Outdoor dining is great, however the issue you must be aware of, especially at night is nocturnal animals such as rats, which is common around the globe. We arrived a little after 11 pm and were happy to be quickly seated. In the alley there are many other businesses/buildings squeezed together. As we were seated outside I could look over approximately 30 yards and noticed trash overflowing from bins (my wife later informed me it was from the Burger King). Something caught my eye and I noticed a nice size rat scurrying in the alley and headed to the restaurant which was next to Supanos.

I degres. I ordered what I thought was a soup and salad combo but it was basically two bowls of soup. Both were tasty but appeared loaded with a bit too much salt. My wife ordered to chicken fettuccine. The server was overwhelmed as actually even though it was nearing midnight there were quite a few guest, like us looking for a meal.

During our treks we visit the Inner Harbor quite a bit, however that was our first and last time going to Supanos.

Barley’s Backyard – Baltimore, MD

We visited Fell’s Point and stumbled into Barley’s Backyard. We were looking for something light and this place was perfect. Service was great and the food was very tasty.

Ceasar salad

Cream of crab soup

Ethel’s Creole Kitchen – Baltimore, MD

Judith & Fred hosted two dear friends, Renie Hale & Dr. Wilmer Leon

I found Ethel’s approximately five years ago. When I am in Baltimore it has become a must-stop. It is in a very quaint part of Baltimore called Friendship Heights. The great news for us is it is right off of the Marc Light rail. The food is very tasty, however as you might imagine when you bring folk with Louisiana tradition there is a new level of critique. The crab dip was amazing. The red beans and rice dishes could have used a bit more juice and the gumbo seemed a bit too thick. On the other hand, the fried Oysters were perfect. Of course with Covid, we were relegated to outdoor seating and the servers made adjustments to make sure our visit was pleasant.

Crab dip appetizer

Red Beans & Rice w/grilled chicken

Red Beans & Rice w/sausage

Fried Oysters

Gumbo

Side of collard greens

Phillip’s Seafood – Inner Harbor – Baltimore, MD

Phillip’s is well-known in Baltimore. Unfortunately many locals have come to define it as a “tourist trap.” We learned the hard way. Looking for something light I opted for a crab sandwich and Judith wanted her basic ceasar salad. It was only about 7pm and we both were surprised when the waiter came back to inform us there were no more ceasar salads!!!! How does a large restaurant in a popular spot run out of romaine lettuce?

Anyway, our first and last time at Phillip’s.

Phillip’s famous crab cake sandwich

Popeye’s – Baltimore, MD

After a visit to Morgan State University and Memorial stadium we headed to Penn Station to pick up MARC tickets to DC. On the way, we decided to swing by Popeye’s for a their popular chicken sandwiches. I know there is a lot of buzz throughout cities about chicken sandwiches, For the money, Popeye’s is a steal. Tasty and under $5 bucks while just about everywhere else people gladly pay $8 to $12

Lot 38 Espresso Bar, Washington, DC

Located in the Navy Yard section of DC. Not a bad option for espresso, a bagel sandwich or pastry.

Chipolte, Washington, DC

Located in the Navy Yard, a reliable option when you are looking for a quick meal to take back to your room.

Florida Grill – Washington, DC

With our dear friend Renie Hale who is Foodie extraordinare

A DC establishment but Covid has a way of humbling even the best of them. They just started serving breakfast from 9am – 2pm – takeout ONLY. However, if you are lucky there are tables adjacent the window where you pick up your food. You order from one side of the building and around the corner is the pick-up spot. BE SURE TO CHECK YOUR ORDER. Even though it is take-out you want to make sure you have all of your condiments, utensils, etc. We had to ask for the syrup (pancakes) and the muffins were missing, which we found out they had run out but did not inform us at time of order? As we waited for our order, a peculiar thing occurred in all of my years I had never experienced. Some ladies had ordered and upon looking in their bag they discovered the grits were missing! The person manning the take-out window belted it, “there are no more grits and the cook said she isn’t making anymore!!!!” What??? An African-American restaurant running out of grits and it was only about 11:30 AM so they had a good 2 and one-half hours to go!!! Wow. Anyway, since Florida is an institution I’m a bit more forgiven and will chalk up this experience to a rarity. I have been before and the food and service is usually on the money.

Po Boy Jim – Washington, DC

NoMA District

Located in the NoMA district of DC, Po-Boy Jim offers a Louisiana themed menu. Service was good and the food was very tasty. Upstairs is a nicely appointed bar.

Po Boy Jim on H

Gumbo

Busboy’s & Poets / Anacostia – Washington, DC

Busboy’s & Poet’s has transitioned to a DC institution due to it’s good basic food, combined with literature and a great theme paying homage to African-American literary giants. This was our second visit to the newest location which is in the Anacostia community.

Chicken Nachos

Vegan Stir-Fry

Due South – Washington, DC

Due South located in the Yard neighborhood

Due South was this year’s new find. Located in the Navy Yard district, the area has been transformed to one of the more trendier neighborhoods in DC. Nationals Park is the main attraction but many new restaurants have popped up. Due South offers a southern theme and a nice variety of food options.

Southern Fried Chicken w/Mac & Cheese and Collard Greens

Appetizer special – smoked wings & collard greens

Ben’s Chili Bowl – Washington, DC

Iconic building which is anchor of historic “U” District

Ben’s Chili Bowl is a DC institution. Hungry or not, it’s a place you must stop by. Half-Smokes are an Eastcoast thing and Ben’s has mastered it. Seating is available in the alley.

Outdoor seating in alley with spectacular mural on each side of wall

G & M Crabcakes – Lincicum, MD

G & M is a Baltimore institution. I should have listened to my brain and ditched the notion of ordering from Grubhub! I was a bit pooped from the train ride from DC to Baltimore so I decided to give Grubhub a shot. Advocates of Grubhub stress the convenience but for what I received I should have simply gone to the restaurant. In addition to the service fee, delivery fee and tip there is also the hidden hustle of them surcharging each item for yet more of your money in their pocket. This was revealed once I returned home and was reviewing my receipts. Interestingly G & M had placed my receipt in the bag and my total came to $42. However, by the time I reviewed my Grubhub bill the total had jumped to $77!!!!!! I should have known better. Anyway, G & M has a nice menu and they are worth visiting in person, unless you have an extra $35 to throw away.

Roger Stone and the Donald Trump criminal enterprise


“The Russia investigation was of paramount importance. Stone was prosecuted and convicted because he committed federal crimes. He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so,” Robert Mueller, Special Counsel

Plenty of people have been found guilty of crimes they swear were never committed by them.  Some complain about injustice or other measures to justify their claim.  Then there is Donald Trump.  Any and every allegation against him or those who are part of his “crew” are false, fake or just plain untrue. His strategy in upholding his innocence is to create a vicious assault on the accusers. He takes the media microphone and attempts to blast his critics into submission or feels enough people have adopted his position. This attempt to nullify is laughable because it makes you wonder why he spends so much time doing this when as president, certainly there are more important things he could be doing in leading the nation?

As for Trump’s connection with Stone most people with their background of criminal dealings have an insatiable appetite to keep business dealings tied up in the court system. People like Trump who tout their “success” and “celebrity” are very careful to construct a web to keep their affairs private, which is why very few seek public life.  Then again, they have been transformed into such large personalities their ego can’t help from being in charge.  The presidency is known as the most powerful person in the free-world and the perfect motivation why Donald Trump licked his chops at the notion of gaining such a crown.

Your past is your past but even that can be dangerous in a world where more disclosure than you previously would have wanted must come to light.    Why are so many people out to get Trump?  Why does he have so many relationships with those who have a propensity for being involved in criminal activities?   On and on!  But to Trump’s credit he was able to convince enough people who actually voted that he was a self-made billionaire, let alone the world’s greatest entrepreneur and possessed the skills to not only improve their lives but could transform the United States of America into prominence nobody could imagine.  A good majority of those who supported him as the President figured why not give the lad a chance?  After all, many had forgotten about the near financial collapse of 2008 and fast forward they were feeling pretty good that our worse was behind us.

Trump didn’t start acting like a criminal akin to a crime boss once he was sworn in.  That behavior had been embedded into him for years and defined who he really is.  Roger Stone’s antics were well known when he worshiped Richard Nixon.  He was a known “dirty trickster” who would do anything for those needing the ploys that defined who he was. His tactic was basic, do enough activity that borders on the line of honesty/criminal but do not get caught.

Whether Donald Trump will be rewarded with a second term is anybody’s guess.  What is worth pondering is why do many people close to him and his White House administration have been caught up in the web of criminal malfeasance?  They skirt the law at every turn while proclaiming they have done nothing wrong while attacking critics and authorities “out to get them” fueled by being jealous of the 2016 election results. Jay Sekulow and other Trump attorney’s had convinced him he has absolute immunity and can do anything he wishes as if he were a Monarch, King or some other absolute political leader. That is until the other day when the Supreme Court ruled otherwise.

As president Trump has the authority to commute, pardon or otherwise minimize the crimes of Manafort, Flynn, Stone, et. Al.  The head scratcher for most is when can we remember a president having so many criminal calamities during his first term in office?

Roger Stone has been granted a reprieve by Donald Trump. So the question is will Donald Trump pay a political price for badgering anyone and everyone from members of the Supreme Court, to politicians he does not like, to the myriad of authors who have written tell-all books about his childlike behavior, while granting favors to those with a criminal past such as Stone or those he deems loyal, while using the office of the presidency to invoke such privileges?

Robert Mueller, Special Counsel – Full Op-Ed in response

to Stone’s sentence being commuted by Donald Trump

CLICK HERE

John Lewis – “Good Trouble”


Our nation has not experienced the type of environment we are living through. Millions have hit the street and that many and more can’t wait until November 3rd, at least those in the United States who are eligible to vote.

Congressman John Lewis’ doc – “Good Trouble” was debuted this weekend. It chronicles Lewis’ iconic career including battling for the right to vote and fighting back voter suppression. Through his career you have a front seat to the battles, the victories and some of the defeats. Political buffs will love the doc. Those who are new to the scene may be inspired how a simple-minded lad from Troy, AL got involved and embraced public service. There is so much to his life you almost forgot how he pulled the cous de gras to defeat his longtime friend Julian Bond to represent Altanta’s fifth district.

The 90 minute doc is available on demand and most streaming services.

My hood score – 9+

Visions with a leader………”I can’t breathe!”


Stevie Wonder & Hurricane Dave

Shortly after George Floyd was murdered and folk took to the streets many used the airwaves to voice their response.

One leader, you will recognize when you hear the song spoke poignantly about how African-Americans have historically dealt with the consequences of having a “knee on their neck.”

Through Hurricane Dave’s genius and the gift of Stevie Wonder who owns KJLH (Kindness, Joy Love & Happiness) radio station in Los Angeles (102.3FM), part of the leader’s speech “I can’t breathe” is woven into Wonder’s “Vision” song which is from his 1973 Innervisions album.

Enjoy!!!

If the song does not load – try this link

George Floyd Protests – Scenes from Los Angeles…..continues


[Los Angeles, CA – Day 18]  It has been eighteen days since George Floyd was murdered.  Depending on one’s perspective or life’s experiences, sides have been drawn.  Just about everyone agrees ex-officer Chauvin as well as the other three arresting ex-officers used excessive and unnecessary force.

The Floyd incident has morphed from a moment to a movement based on what we are witnessing in cities around the globe.  As expected, there are those who proclaim the reaction is over-blown.  They go further to suggest it is some type of Democratic funded operation to smear our system.   I guess they feel because Floyd was African-American and the majority of them vote in favor of Democratic candidates, surely the party must be behind their antics?  They quietly dismiss the notion that deciding which political party to support boils down to which one MOSTLY  supports your issues?  It appears to be a sound-bite that some accept based on which media they consume? 

One side sees a need for justice.  The other side sees a need to stop disrespecting civility.  Another critical analysis those in opposition can’t explain, as history may be the final arbiter is why folk from various ethnicities, age groups and other demographics have joined the movement?   To further justify their belief the reaction is fueled by a political party, they voice opposition via social media suggesting those who support the reaction to Floyd are ill-informed or have they been induced into some cult?  

Most have forgotten the Black Lives Matter has been around.  Just in 2016, through media it was vilified as a revolutionary group you should be scared to associate with.  That’s why this time is different.  As mentioned, folk from all walks of life have changed their social consciousness and now proudly proclaim the Black Lives Matter moniker.

 

There is one more critical point about protesting which those in opposition somehow find difficult to accept or understand.  Protesting is a public gesture to create awareness of the issue.  Following must be a series of actions which make the reason for protesting a serious action.  As an example most people never heard or knew of Emmett Till, Jimmie Lee Jackson or more contemporary examples such as Alton Sterling,  Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner or even George Floyd.  It was the type of tragic death they suffered which made them household names.  Therein lays a prime reason for the public outrage we are experiencing.  It is bigger than any specific named person.  It has to do with a system that minimizes their life merely because they were black. It has very little to do with their past as a seed of racism makes it okay to marginalize those who are deemed less than.  Unfortunately, many buy into this paradigm while defining themselves as wholesome american folk.  


Protest is a basic right.  How long people take to the streets is anybody’s guess?  What we are hearing by documenting daily events is it will continue until November 3rd!  While Black Lives Matter is the main organization leading the protest, many splinter groups have joined and that has helped fuel the energy to sustain the reaction.

Revolutionary Communist Party known as RevCom was one group which led the Los Angeles Protest – Day 18.   Just like when Black Lives Matter hit the scene, their name probably scares the hell out of people.  The long and short, they are a social-action group.  One of their main tenets is trying to unite “Brown & Black.”  Speakers did a very good job in communicating how racism has been used to divide the groups.  Unfortunately many in the affected groups have bought into the notion of distrusting the other.  As an example one of the passionate Latina leaders expressed how many from Mexico and other Latin American countries have been raised to feel African-Americans are lazy, untrustworthy, criminal and otherwise the type of people you need to stay away from.


Like many rallies, the participation builds as it weaves through the streets to their final destination.  They started across the street from City Hall, facing Grant Park.  Headed south on Spring street, the spirited group marched to 7th Street and headed west until they reached Mac Arthur Park which is several miles away in the Westlake community.  There were no incidents or negative reaction.  As a matter of fact, many who were driving stopped their cars to show support.  A few actually joined the marchers.  Folk came out of restaurants and bars to show support.  The Los Angeles Police picked up the rear to undergird the marchers progress as they went through the streets.


HERE IS OUR PHOTO ESSAY FROM 

LOS ANGELES PROTEST RALLY – DAY 18