Heading to Panama in the midst of COVID? What you need to know!


I just returned from one of my treks and had a layover in Panama.  You will appreciate the newly remodeled airport, among the many updated restaurants, stores and services it has several COVID testing stations. If you are traveling through Panama on your way to your final destination and you have documentation of NEGATIVE testing results from within 48 hours, and you do not plan on exiting the terminal testing in Panama IS NOT REQUIRED.


This article will cover COVID testing as well as information should you desire to go to Panama City.

If you wish to exit the terminal and perhaps take the 20-minute metro ride to Panama City YOU ARE REQUIRED TO TAKE A TEST AND THE RESULTS MUST BE NEGATIVE.

The process at Panama’s Tocumen airport is fairly simple.

  1.  Once you disembark from your air carrier you will notice COVID stations.
  2.  Staff will greet you and take your temperature.
  3. You will be directed to the station where they will inspect your passport, complete their paperwork and ask how you wish to handle the $50 payment (credit card).
  4. You will be directed to the other station where the technician will administer the PCR test through your nasal.
  5. You will be directed to the waiting area immediately adjacent the Covid station.
  6. In approximately 30, no more than 45 minutes staff will come out, call your name and hand your test results in a letter form.
  7. Assuming you are negative you are free to go through customs and exit the terminal.  also once you return back to the airport the same day there is no need for retesting.

Should you have any question or need tips please contact me separately because as simple as the process is you must prepare yourself with accurate information so that your ultimate trip meets your expectations and is successful.

Bienvenida a PANAMA!!!!     

For those wishing to head to PANAMA CITY using the Metro Rail.

Getting to Panama City is pretty easy. It is approximately 20-30 minutes from the airport. For some a taxi works so expect about $25. For trekkers like me on a budget, the Metro rail is perfect. You can pay for rides each way or simply get a Metro Day Pass for $5. You will see kiosk inside the terminal and staff will gladly assist you.

Next once you go through immigration simply exit the terminal and head RIGHT that leads you to the curb where you will see traffic. LOOK FOR ZONA 2 as that is the pick-up point for the Metro Bus.

The bus runs fairly quick but be sure to hop on the correct one. Look for the bus where the sign reads CORREDOR SUR – It is about 3-5 minutes from the terminal and is a transfer point where you can take local buses or hop on the metro rail. GO UPSTAIRS to the Metro Rail and take Panama City Metro Line 2.

The trains are clean and efficient. Enjoy your trek to Panama City. Please note, upon arrival back to the airport YOU WILL NEED TO GO THROUGH CUSTOMS, so give yourself enough time to catch your connecting flight.

History is made – MLB adds Negro League Records


[This is a breaking story….more to follow]

You’ve heard it stated before…..”better late than never!!!!!” The Negro Leagues are celebrating their 100th Anniversary and there has been great interest from those who only read about them or saw limited footage. Today Major League Baseball (MLB) announced the records from the Negro Leagues will be consolidated into the officials records.

READ THE MLB RELEASE HERE

Review: With Drawn Arms


For many of us 2020 will be a year we were sheltered in place due to Covid. Since most of us have reduced going out we have watched a lot of TV.

“With Drawn Arms” was recently released and I saw the preview today. IT IS A MUST SEE. Not because you are a documentary nerd, a track and field affectionado or some type of revolutionary. The doc is about the great Tommie Smith and his world record breaking performance at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. Smith was an exceptional athlete but many remember his powerful gesture along with teammate John Carlos as they stood on the victory stand in what has become international folklore.

Produced by Glenn Kaino it is moving and inspirational as you are invited to get to know Tommie through his narration of many personal moments.

The doc is a solid 10 and available on the STARZ network.

Review:  Michael Eric Dyson Lecture – “United States of Amnesia”


[Dominquez Hills, CA ]   On May 8, 2019 close to 200 came out to hear prophetic words delivered by lecturer and sociologist Dr. Michael Eric Dyson.  Urban Issues Forum through their Mervyn Dymally Institute hosted the event as part of their distinguished lecture series.  The event was held at California State University Dominguez Hills.


The video (AUDIO ONLY) clip has been divided into 2 clips.

CLIP 1 (I hour 38 min.)

 

Clip 2 (13 min)


Dyson is a gifted orator who weaves through the experiences of African-American culture.   He is unapologetic in his retort and covered the spectrum from politics to Hip-Hop, through the founding of the United States as well as the presidency of Barack Obama and the disgraceful performance of Donald Trump as president.

“President Obama hosted a meeting at the White House were ten African-American leaders had assembled.  Tom Joyner voiced concern that I was writing a book on the president and belted out his displeasure fearful the book would be too critical.  The book had not even been released so I remarked……are you Nostradamus?”  Michael Eric Dyson

The lecture titled, “American States of Amnesia” was two hours and those in attendance were not disappointed as Dyson offered a wide range of analysis.  He spoke about the genius of Nipsey Hussle and the cross-country plane ride they shared, which allowed him to appreciate his gift.  He ventured into territory that many avoid due; to its complexity; such as explaining Thomas Jefferson’s contradiction and his subsequent love-interest; Sally Hemmings.  He shared his experiences and friendship with Michelle and Barack Obama, knowing them since 1998.  Like many African-Americans he shared the pride of seeing them become America’s first family.  As proud as he was, he had to admit frustration regarding various policy issues.  In doing so, he emphasized with the predicament Obama was in as while his achievement was historic, he was shackled with an environment that crippled many of the projects he truly wanted to initiate.

I was somewhat disappointed when I read Michelle Obama’s book, “Becoming” by the way she mentioned her relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright.  It was sad.  I applaud her for being able to sell 10 million books but to through Rev. Wright under the bus?  Michael Eric Dyson.

Dyson was his usual spirited self and left the audience with thoughts to ponder.  His critique of Donald Trump was scathing.  Here is a sampling:

  • In speaking about our founding fathers, specifically Thomas Jefferson in comparing intelligence with Donald Trump Dyson stated, “He (Trump) is proud to be unmolested by enlightenment!”
  • “He (Trump) is allergic to intelligence!”
  • “He (Trump) sees a book and runs…….event his own!”
  • “He (Trump) refuses to read the briefings his advisor’s give him!”
  • “He (Trump) is mad that the dude who had the job before him was just smoother with it!”

“All of us are proud of Michele and Barack but I’ll be honest with you, we thought Michele would help Barack be blacker…..instead it appears Barack has made her whiter by the way she interacts with the black community.”  Michael Eric Dyson

“Donald Trump can never get over Obama’s genius.  As sad as it is he is nothing more than an ignorant Neanderthal” Michael Eric Dyson

More on Obama

Some folk (those who opposed him) were just mad that a brother had that type of intelligence and was in control and Obama “wasn’t apologizing for it.”

“He walked out of Air-Force One like Fifty Cents was playing in the background!”

“I wish I could have been Obama’s anger-translator…..just for a day!  I wish Obama would have come out of the White House with a skullcap, flashing a gold-grill and some Magic Johnson socks on his way to pick up his paper.”  


Dr. Anthony Samaad is managing director of Urban Issues Forum.  They operate the Mervyn M. Dymally African-American Political & Economic Institute at California State University Dominquez Hills.

Obama Boulevard now open


[Baldwin Village, CA]  Baldwin Village is a small community in South Los Angeles (south of the Santa Monica Freeway).  It is known by many Angelenos as the “Jungle,” which was the name given as it was made up of intricate apartment complexes featuring tropical landscapes.  Like many parts of Los Angeles the area has changed, some good some not so good.  It is currently a working-class community that is surrounded in all directions by some of the area’s most iconic neighborhoods such as:  Baldwin Hills, Leimert-Park, Baldwin Vista, View Park and West Adams.

Feb. 2007 to May 2019

A little over twelve years ago, then Senator Barack Obama made a pit-stop to the community pleading for support and cash to support and fuel what turned into a historic campaign.

President’s row

Today thousands of Angelenos got a chance to pull out their Obama gear and once again show their support for the 44th president of the United States. The occasion was Rodeo Road (Ro-D-Oh), which has the same spelling as Rodeo Drive which is in Beverly Hills, was transformed and is now President Barack Obama Boulevard.  The street stretches from just east of Arlington Avenue and goes west where it ends in Culver City. The significance of the street is because it is now part of Los Angeles’ president’s row.

Many Angelenos, even natives do not know about this factoid.  Quite simply, president’s row starts from Washington (George Washington) Blvd. which is immediately north of the Santa Monica freeway so now the next four intersections going south are part of the row.  Washington Blvd., Adams Blvd. (John Adams), Jefferson Blvd. (Thomas Jefferson) and now Obama Blvd.  You can find this iconic part of the city by going south on any of the following thoroughfares; Arlington, Crenshaw and La Brea.


13 min. event highlight clip


23,000+ in attendance

The naming ceremony was one of those occasions where you just knew something special was going to happen.  The city of Los Angeles estimated the enthusiastic crowd to be around 23,000.  The bottom-line strategy of city officials was to recognize the community’s pride in Barack Obama with hope that it stimulates the community and triggers much-needed rebuilding.

To read more of why this celebration is important read HERE.

A huge thank you to the more than 23,000 people who came out and made our dedication such a special event today.


Here are some photos from the event.


Review:  Soul of a Nation Exhibit


Lorraine Motel. Site of where Dr. King was assassinated. April 4, 1968. photo courtesy of Fred Thomas, III collection

Today many across the nation and throughout the world pay respect to Rev., Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  It was this day, fifty-one years ago when he was slain by an assassin’s bullet.  The result was a public outcry not seen before, as over 100 cities erupted in riots and demonstrations.

1963-1983

Several weeks ago, the Broad museum opened Soul of a Nation chronicling twenty years; 1963-1983.  It is a powerful exhibit showcasing African-American artist who used their talent to communicate the movement and the struggle during that era.  Interestingly, several of the artist used Dr. King’s death in 1968 as a backdrop for their artistic talent.


The exhibit is a “special presentation” so the cost is $18 per person, however The Broad is offering free admission to Soul of a Nation every Thursday from 5-8 p.m. (last entry at 7 p.m.) during the exhibition’s run.  A tip is to arrive early and stand in the “free general admission line” AND GET INSIDE THE MUSEUM.  Once you are inside, you are good because at 5 p.m., the exhibit opens for general admission viewing.  The exhibit runs through September and then moves to San Francisco at the De Young museum, which opens in October 2019.


From Negroes to African-Americans

I had a chance to visit the exhibit.  Some of the artwork brought back vivid memories.  There was an abundance of material I had never seen but it reflected the interpretive period.  Sometimes we live in historic times and do not realize it as it seems like life as usual.  The Harlem Renaissance was a benchmark period for African-American music and art.  Years followed and the civil rights era brought back similar expressions as artist appeared in droves to interpret that era.  It was a new time, a new level of consciousness as Negroes morphed into African-Americans and created a new dynamic.  The exhibit does a great job of showcasing that period featuring very good diversity among the art work presented.


Listed below is a small sample of some photos from the exhibit

 


 

The Broad Museum - 221 S. Grand Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90012

Mid-Term Postscript: Trump v “Low-IQ” Waters


Now that the much talked-about mid-term elections have come and gone, many who took time to engage can get back to their daily routine.

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

 

A part of Donald Trump’s political ascendance was his ability to target his opponents and mock them in a way to make them irrelevant or plucking away any political favorability they had.

 

It’s the House fool

 

As the mid-terms came many political pontificator’s were nervous in wiping Trump’s success off the table or declaring many of his missteps were self-inflicted.  After all his rallies were huge hits, packed to the brim with supporters?  Many assumed his magic would last forever and that he was untouchable?  A good many more bought into the notion of his celebrity and the new-found Republican party he had developed.  The economy was booming.  Tax cuts were rolling in.  The wall would be built, absent of any money from Mexico.   Ending his second year as president, Trump was feeling a bit giddy.  His tone was who in their right mind would vote against what was achieved?

 

The IQ Factor

From “low-energy Jeb” to “lyin’ Ted Cruz” to “dishonest Hillary” on and on, Trump had created a line that many supporters came to adore which was about the House of Representative from the 43rd district of California named Maxine Waters.  He declaredly labeled her as “Low IQ” Maxine.”  The name stuck with his supporters and he took glee and great pleasure in admonishing her.  The fact he has created a history of marginalizing or mocking those who are non-white, intimating them as lazy, stupid, criminalistic or other negative attributes was not seen as racist behavior.  To his supporters he was simply telling it like it is!!! And, after all he was making their lives better, not to mention giving them their country back?

 

The result of losing the house

 

For two years Trump and his administration has held the wild card of controlling all three branches of the government.  Yesterday, they received a public rebuke as they lost the House of Representatives.  While some will dismiss this fact, it is critical and may provide a glimpse of what Trump and his supporters must deal with.  The win provides the Democratic party with the coveted power of being transformed into chairs of the many committees.  It also provides them with power of the subpoena.

Attendees react as election results are displayed on a screen during an election night rally for State Senator Jennifer Wexton, a Democrat from Virginia and U.S. Representative candidate, in Dulles, Virginia, U.S., on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. Wexton defeated two-term Republican incumbent Barbara Comstock, ousting a Republican in a northern Virginia district that was arguably the top target for Democrats in their effort to take back the House majority, according to projections from NBC and CNN. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

 

One chair swap that will take place in January 2019 is the Financial Services Committee.  Despite Trump labeling her as a “low IQ” individual, Maxine Waters is in line to be selected as chair.  Those who know her define her not by an IQ issue but brilliant in being an advocate against the powerful, specifically personalities such as Trump.  They applaud her resilience and track record of getting the job done.  Whatever motivated Trump from creating the moniker he assigned her, he may come to regret it as she becomes laser focused on all of his alleged corruption and mis-dealings, including releasing to the public his long-promised tax returns.

Photographer: Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Some will dismiss her strategy as “what’s the big deal?”  They may be blind of not understanding what transparency is all about?  Or, perhaps like some have stated, they may fear the exposure of his financial entanglements which perhaps could be a reason of his behavior, not necessarily just the Mueller special investigation?   In the meantime, yes, the economy is moving and consumer confidence is up but the core reality is many view the president as untrustworthy and the likes of Waters and others in the house now have the ability to put a spotlight of what they have been prevented from uncovering or at least obtaining an honest answer for the people they represent.

 

The Trump and Waters soliloquy will be an interesting dance.  One might assume Trump felt he would never lose the house to allow Waters to be unleashed?  The voters decided that reality.


BEFORE WE GO…..ICYMI

Many of you recall the tragic murder of Trayvon Martin?  The again, some of you are aware of the Women’s Movement which mushroomed the day after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president?  But how many remember the killing of Jordan Davis who was gunned down by Michael Dunn in Jacksonville, FL?  Unlike George Zimmerman the killer of Martin who was found not guilty, Michael Dunn was found guilty of Davis’ death and is now in prison.  Like the parents of so many who have been found their plight by the end of a gun, Davis’ mother found the energy to raise her voice and become a political voice.  

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Yesterday, Lucy McBath was one of those women who threw their hat in the political ring and won their election (although the results are within the range of an automatic  recount).  If she is ultimately successful, her victory is a sign of how democracy works – at the local level.

Lucy McBath declares victory in Georgia’s 6th District race  

The race was too close to call Tuesday night