cover photo courtesy of Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images
[Washington, DC] Federal District Judith Randolph D. Moss admonished George Papadopoulos for lying to the F.B.I. in his sentence hearing this afternoon. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team had suggested a sentence of up to six months. Some thought a thirty-day sentence was more likely but Moss spared Papadopoulos with his 14-day sentence. He also made the point in his sentencing that “the gravity of the investigation and the need to send a message to the public as the reason for the imprisonment.”
The March 31st Apprentice Try-Out
Papadopoulos may very well have been remorseful but it was his antics as he admitted of “trying to impress Donald Trump” which led to today’s decision. In was that March 31st meeting that had the trappings of an Apprentice try-out that Papadopoulos has come to regret.
Papadopoulos has already served what could be defined as house-arrest or supervision for the past year as he awaited the decision from the Mueller team to move the case to the sentencing phase. In addition to 14 days, Papadopoulos was fined $9.500, ordered to complete 200 hours of community service and one-year probation, following serving his sentence.
George was loyal to the Trump campaign and his political candidate which is the reason we are here today, Thomas Breen, Attorney for George Papadopoulos
Papadopoulos claims Session was not truthful
After the hearing Papadopoulos and his wife hurried away in a black SUV. His attorney, Thomas Breen took time to take questions. One comment that caught some by surprise was the intimation that Papadopoulos was confident Attorney General Jeff Sessions was not truthful regarding Russian contacts in his testimony during his confirmation hearings.
President Trump has done more to impede the Russian investigation than my client George Papadopoulos. If he doesn’t know it by now, there should be no mystery that Russia interfered in our 2016 elections, Thomas Breen, Attorney for George Papadopoulos.
noun -informal -a person with a particular interest in food; a gourmet.
Any trip takes lots of preparation and planning. An added bonus of going to different places is experiencing foods each region has to offer. Here is a summary of some of the places visited during our 2018 trek.
Busboy’s & Poet’s are well-known throughout the DMV (DC, Maryland & Virginia) area. One of their newest locations is on 5th Street, NW & K in the District of Columbia. They are known as a cultural enclave which combines bookstore with great food and inspiring art showing social consciousness.
Oohh’s & Aahh’s is located in the District of Columbia and part of the “U” street corridor directly across the street from the African-American Civil War monument. Their specialty is soul food. The venue is tight but there is limited seating upstairs, however be prepared to wait for seating. The other option is take-out but be patient as the line can be long. Pricing is affordable.
Sweet Home Cafe is part of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture located in the national mall at the District of Columbia. They give you a glimpse of African-American cuisine based on regions. It is a remarkable presentation. The food is fresh and there is a nice variety. Pricing may appear on the high side but it is worth it based on the venue and convenience.
[Washington, D.C.] On Wednesday, August 22nd Ben’s Chili Bowl celebrated its 60th anniversary. Starting by selling half-smokes, Ben’s has morphed into an institution. Locals understand the lore and many who visit the District of Columbia always make room in their schedule to stop by the iconic restaurant, if nothing more than to pay respect.
On Friday we were treated to be in the company of Ben’s grand dame and family matriarch Mrs. Virginia Ali. She was her usual radiant self and took time to chat with my dear friend Renie Hale (Laurel, MD) and myself. As an added treat she invited me outside to showcase the new murals. In between she expressed views of how Ben’s must continue to meet the needs of a changing community to insure it remains a mainstay on U and the broader DC business community.
Another unexpected surprise was meeting Ben’s historian, Dr. Bernie Demczuk. We were presented with one of his great compilations.
(please accept our apologies for the soiled document)
I’ve been fortunate to hear “The Queen of Soul” – Mrs. Aretha Franklin perform in person a couple of times. The last time was the most memorable.
It was that majestic Tuesday morning on January 20, 2009 as millions were on hand for the inauguration of president Barack Obama. As the “Queen” made her way to the podium you knew you were witnessing history. Her rendition of My Country Tis of Thee was precious. Her impeccable precision and the way she performed the song lifted your spirit. The special hat she donned added to the regalness of the event.
As a matter of fact, many will remember the weather was brisk as the D.C. winter chill hovered around 15 degrees. Days after the great event, Aretha mentioned the chill affected her voice and in her great fashion she re-recorded the song in a more professional setting. It became a huge success and this tidbit added to the lore of why Aretha proudly wore the crown as the “Queen.”
Following another meeting to engage the African-American community, last week on August 1st, the Trump administration hosted a “briefing” session which included approximately twenty ministers allegedly representing the community. Those in attendance thought the discussion was about prison reform, recidivism and other social issues and programs to uplift the community? As the case with many of these types of events, the discussion was one-sided. Adding insult to injury it is being reported the administration selected two ministers who were told to make comments. The primary role for others in attendance was to take part of the photo-op.
One minister who was selected to speak was the slack-jawed Pastor Darryl Scott who heads up the New Spirit Revival Center in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. He proudly professes his support for Trump, yet his comments are a stark contradiction of Trump’s track-record in dealing with African-Americans.
As predicted Scott’s comments drew the ire of African-American ministers across the globe
“The Black ministers who met with Donald Trump denigrated the divine and ancestral legacy of the Black churches in America and they dishonored the ministries of Jesus Christ, the prophets, and those sent by God,” Rev. Dr, William Lamar of Metropolitan African-American Episcopal church
The consensus from those who attended was disappointment as while Trump did get his coveted photo-op, the ministers did not walk away with any substance or policies or programs to deal with the issues that were purported to be discussed.
While several in attendance were happy to be in the White House with Trump, some must be reminded of the history and focus of the church, “These ministers are just a little worse than Black preachers who sit with Democrats and refuse to demand justice. We sit with emperors, not to take pictures, but to demand the God’s people be free. These preachers know the church, they know Black respectability, they know American civil religion, but they do not know the prophetic tradition of the Black church and they do not know the liberating gospel of Jesus Christ,” Rev. Lamar, Metropolitan AME
Even though this issue occurred a little over a week ago, it is being blown up on social media. Two videos are listed below to help provide a better perspective on this issue.
From the perennial Alfred Street Baptist Church which is just minutes from the White House and located in Alexandria, VA – Senior Pastor, Rev. Dr. Howard John Wesley delivers his August 5th sermon.
CNN reporter Don Lemon interviews Pastor John Gray following his participation in the meeting
Here is the open letter to 45 from members of the clergy
Shawn Carter (affectionately known by the world as Jay-Z) and Cinemart have given reason to tear open the scab that was created from a painful wound of the Trayvon Martin verdict. Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story aired the first of its six part docuseries this past Monday, July 30th. The tally is unofficial but at least 1.2 million viewers tuned it and were taken back five years when George Zimmerman was found not guilty in killing Trayvon Martin.
Whatever your feelings regarding the tragic incident which cut down the young life of Trayvon, the opening airing was riveting and offered some powerful scenes, some never shown before.
For me the February 2012 incident was personal. Our son was in his final semester at Bethune-Cookman University which is located in Daytona Beach. We were preparing to see him at graduation in May. When news of the incident fanned outside of Sanford I called my son to ask if he had heard of the news? Indeed he had and reminded me when we visited, Sanford was only thirty miles from Orlando was right off I-4. His graduation was slated for May in 2012 so we agreed to visit the site and research the incident, including Martin’s movement to the 7-11 and back to the site were he was gunned down.
Some may dismiss the docuseries but from the first showing I would encourage people to tune in. All along, from carefully following the incident including the subsequent trial, I concluded the prosecutor’s simply did a poor job in presenting the facts of the case. Notwithstanding while the prosecution blew the case in holding Zimmerman guilty of the killing, Martin’s parents; Tracey Martin and Sybrina Fulton did win several civil legal settlements including the homeowner’s association who was guilty by having Zimmerman associate with them as their pseudo neighborhood watchman.
Next airing: Aug. 6, 10pm (est)
**REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM THE URBAN BLOGG, ORIGINALLY POSTED JULY 13, 2013**
Whether it was the State who didn’t get their message or evidence across, or the Defense who put up road blocks that verified doubt, the bottom line is the 6 women Jurors found George Zimmerman not guilty. Or, could it be they just couldn’t find sufficient evidence to find him guilty?
While the news is surprising, as in my mind I have no doubt George Zimmerman was guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin and should have been found guilty…..I was not a juror, so the struggle must go forward. Your thoughts???????
For Zimmerman supporters, the news brings joy and their voice will recant this case never should have been tried. For supporters of Trayvon Martin and his family, including me this is a travesty of justice.
Now that Major League Baseball (MLB) just completed its 89th All Star Game (#ASG) and players have a day or two off before the second half of the season resumes, we thought it would be a good opportunity to update those players who are from Cuba and play on one of the thirty MLB teams (active roster).
Why the interest?
Baseball is the national sport of CUBA. Their players have been known for their talent which is why it was remarkable to see defections. Now that MLB has solid policies and agreements are in place, teams have shown a healthy appetite in adding those players to their roster.
Currently there are 20 Cuban players on the MLB rosters. That number represents about three percent of the total 750 players as each active roster is comprised of twenty-five players. The number is down by one, as last year there were twenty-one. However, one must keep in mind there are many more Cuban players making their way through the rigorous process of making the active twenty-five player roster (there is single A, double A, triple A, etc.)
Here is a peek of this years crop of Cuban born players in MLB.
[Washington, DC] After cleverly knocking out the multitude of Republican candidates for president of the United States, Donald Trump sharpened his tools and surgically dissected the Democrat nominee, Hillary Clinton to win what many considered a huge upset victory.
The president is a coveted role in the United States. However, the obvious question so many today are asking is why is Donald Trump so upset?
Could it be traced to his first slip-up by showcasing sheer ignorance of governing within our democratic values? This became crystal clear early in his administration as career political staff tried their best to help him navigate the role. He misunderstood it and instead behaved as if he was sworn in as the head a monarch, not one whose system was established with three branches of co-equal powers.
Also, it was bad enough he disrespected the role of basic protocol, particularly with his overt violation of the emoluments clause; insisting he did not have to follow behavior that most presidents accepted with enthusiasm.
A Pig in a Poke
Once Trump threw his name in the hat for the presidency he knew winning would be based on messaging. Surely, he had no tenure as a public official and he could use that to his advantage. He persuaded those with any doubt about his brilliance as a businessperson and one who empathized with all who felt the government had turned on them. It didn’t seem to matter his “success” was built on a false deck of cards as he focused his communication on what he would do for all those who pulled the lever in his favor. Interestingly, there were millions of folk across the united states who were looking for that very message. The fact he had ethical challenges or other character flaws was not as important if he could just peel a slice of benefit for those who subscribed to his promises.
Why is Donald Trump so upset? Could it be the American public are on to his three-card monte scheme? Could it be he is so frustrated he could bite a hole in a steel pole? After all, once he proudly assumed the office, for all he knew the party he was able to commandeer was in control of three critical sectors of governance; the presidency, the house of representatives and the senate. Life appeared great for him, his family and those who supported what he represented!
It’s not my fault
Vilifying others was a winning formula in getting people to support him. In the science of professional sales, I am reminded of the great Dr. Donald S.S. Greene who happened to be my professor in marketing. He helped me understand the psychological nuances of how marketers are able to “sell” products to consumers. He also helped me understand those who consider themselves professional but are really slick-talkers. Their success is hinged on being able to sell the proverbial “Pig in a Poke.” As the case with Trump, folk line up for miles to buy it!
Even though he still hasn’t overcome the notion we do not operate a monarch, he allowed his trusted aide Steven Miller to lead him down the primrose path with the roll-out of the travel ban. They somehow forgot technology has allowed us to live in a digital world and things we said in the past can easily be recalled. It was laughable to see his crew claim he was not against Muslims, when in fact there was overwhelming evidence which the judicial system used to deny the ban.
His latest debacle
No doubt despite his constant blame of others, the Trump administration has enjoyed success. You would think that would be enough for them to let bygones be bygones, but not in the world of Trump. There must be total revenge or vindication.
His latest bonehead which has him seething is once again accepting Miller’s assertion that embracing a “Zero Tolerance” immigration position would result in another winning ticket. You would think with all he has going for him why does he continue to be so upset? The answer is really simple. He has bought into a zero-sum game where he must destroy or otherwise cast into oblivion those who are in his radar – – even the two-year-old child which captured this weeks’ Time Magazine cover. Then again, all he would have to do is realize the United States despite its shortcoming is governed with democratic values where the people yield the power; at least those who chose to use it.
His current debacle is much more than blocking those who illegally come into the United States. The core principle of what makes America different is the attitude of basic humanity, despite whatever laws or rules they may have violated.
[Exposition Park – Los Angeles, CA] This past Thursday the California African-American Museum (CAAM) hosted L.A. Commons and Mrs. Karen Mack in a community symposium titled the “Evolution of View Park.” This was the second of a three-part series focusing on “Making Sense of Gentrification,” highlighting the community of View Park (Los Angeles), CA.
A standing room crowd came out to hear and discuss what is one of the hottest topics in the past twenty years. Gentrification is not an easy topic to discuss. The word evokes emotion and for many has a negative meaning. Although from my lens those in attendance were predominately African-American, homeowners and female, for the most part there was a good degree of diversity from other ethnic groups. What also made for a good discussion was the span of age groups. In addition to the focus on View Park, some who have called the community home represented multi-generational families. You also had representation from neighboring communities such as Baldwin Hills, Leimert Park, West Adams and Venice, just to name a few. Additionally, there was representation from cities such as District of Columbia, Baltimore and other cities on the east coast. Sprinkled in the audience were a few millenniums who were courageous to share their perspectives.
Mrs. Mack brought quite a team to inform those in attendance but to also motivate dialogue which is essential in fostering honesty about the subject matter. She was joined by economist Dr. Devin Bunten who has researched the effects of gentrification throughout communities in the United States. The data he was able to cull together to add to his presentation was unapologetic as it was supported by solid documentation. This helped the audience frame a better understanding in answering the What and the Why, as well as the How of Gentrification.
View Park and neighboring Windsor Hills are just two enclaves where today African-Americans maintain over 70% occupancy. They are treasured communities due to property type and proximity.
Also, joining Mrs. Mack was local community historian Mr. Robert Lee Johnson. The grassroots work he has done was well received because he was able to dig back to the evolution of various communities and discuss how they have come to define themselves in 2018.
Lee pointed out how African-Americans migrated from the south. For housing they were relegated to Central Avenue or the “eastside.” Legal segregation was a reality. However, as legal victories were achieved in the 60’s and racial property covenants were ruled unenforceable, African-Americans were afforded housing opportunities that those before them could not enjoy. Many find it hard to believe that Compton, CA was once all white!
Those who were stacked in the Central Avenue corridor took advantage of the legal victories and moved in all directions. Some went west to West Adams, Leimert Park as well as View Park and Baldwin Hills.
Gentrification primarily occurs in the urban core and surrounding communities. Communities such as View Park are desirable for a variety of reasons. As beautiful are these areas are, for those looking to move closer to the urban core they must contemplate life in a more multi-cultural environment versus an area they may have grown up in, such as the Westside or other bedroom communities in the suburbs.
By selecting to relocate patient buyers are rewarded with savings in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The biggest issue they face in coming to the new community is the realty of instead of being in the majority, they find themselves in the minority. Also, part of their acceptance in relocating is understanding services they have come to accept, might be lacking in the new neighborhood, however they can be transformed. Blending those needs into their new community is one of the biggest challenges of gentrification. That is, making sure the new services are appreciated by the current residents so they don’t feel like outsiders.
After the presentations those in attendance came prepared to ask questions and provide their anecdotal realities. The discussion was very candid and became quite emotional. Some felt the current gentrifi’ers are more like invaders.
“THEY WALK THE NEIGHBORHOODS WITH THEIR DOGS AND TARGET PROPERTIES WHICH ARE VUNERABLE, PARTICULARLY WHERE SENIORS MAY BE LIVING ALONE”
“THEY COME TO THE COMMUNITY WITH A HAPPY FACE AND BRING COOKIES AS A RUSE TO DEVELOP FRIENDSHIPS BUT THE REAL MOTIVATION IS TO GET THE HOMEOWNER TO FEEL COMFORTABLE IN DISCUSSING PURCHASING THEIR HOME.”
“THEY WORK WITH LOCAL CODE ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES WHO SCOUR COMMUNITIES LOOKING FOR VARIOUS VIOLATIONS WHICH RESULT IN THE CURRENT OWNERS FEEL THEY ARE HARRASSED. OR THEY RECEIVE FINANCIAL PENALTIES WHICH JEOPARDIZE THE CURRENT OCCUPANTS ABILITY TO PAY.”
“WHILE EVERYONE WANTS A POSITIVE COMMUNITY, THOSE WHO ARE ABLE TO MOVE IN HAVE THE FINANCIAL RESOURCES AND POLITICAL VOICE TO MAKE IMPROVEMENTS THAT CURRENT OCCUPANTS MAY HAVE LACKED. CONSEQUENTLY, AS COMMUNITIES ARE ENHANCED AND DEVELOPED THE RESULT IS HIGHER TAXES WHICH THREATENED CURRENT OCCUPANTS BASED ON THEIR INABILITY TO HAVE THE INCREASE IN INCOME NEEDED TO REMAIN IN THEIR PROPERTIES.”
“THERE IS GREAT CONCERN CURRENT FAMILY’S WILL NOT BE ABLE TO SUSTAIN A LEGACY FOR THEIR CHILDREN AS BASED ON THEIR FINANCIAL PLIGHT, BATTLING RACISM AND OTHER SYSTEMIC ISSUES MAKES IT VERY HARD FOR THEM TO BE ABLE TO AFFORD THE WAY THEIR PARENTS DID.”
The majority of issues raised by the audience was well received as you could see many heads nodding in approval. At the same time, some issues were like self-inflicted wounds as some claimed to be unfairly targeted or harassed. Based on what they were representing their behavior is the type that falls prey to being targeted. Illegal add-ons or other enhancements which might have made the property more livable, in fact are out of code. The result may lead to financial penalties or decrease in value based on what they represent their properties to be. The key, and most homeowners understand this, is to make sure their property is within code or not a target from any scrutiny, let alone a gentrifier who may feel their property is a potential purchase.
The bottom line is Mrs. Mack provided an opportunity for folk to gain information, network and become more empowered. Gentrification may have a negative connotation but understanding how it works is essential so that one has a workable answer why and how groups are reclaiming parts of the city. In the meantime, while people continue to move or relocate for a variety of reasons, much of it justified, those who remain are encouraged to take a page from the 1960’s which saw one of the early migrations of folk leaving the city for what they perceived as “greener pastures.” Don’t Move! Improve!!!
A Historical Perspective:
Racism, White Flight, Gentrification
As mentioned Racism, White Flight and Gentrification are words many have a difficult time discussing.
Racism is not a new clothing line! White Flight is not a new dance step! Gentrification is not a new gelato flavor!
Racism is a by-product of white supremacy. Gentrification is the reverse of White Flight but still a by-product
Racism was most attributed to those who identify as “white” and whose ancestry is primarily European. A construct or a system was created where their race was used to dominate other races and otherwise maintain superiority over others through oppressive tactics, hence the birth of white supremacy.
“IF YOU’RE WHITE, IT’S ALRIGHT……IF YOU’RE BROWN STICK AROUND….IF YOU’RE BLACK GET BACK!!”
Racism became a world phenomenon as whites used their domination to conquer many ethnic groups. The result was colonization. Over the years some may have thought racism was eliminated by groups reclaiming their cultures, however EVEN in 2018 it still festers in our overall society and is quite prevalent.
Many voting age African-Americans had accepting the notion in their lifetime a fellow African-American would never ascend to the office of President. That is why in 2008 they were happily stunned when Barack Obama was elected the 45th president. Likewise, as long as racism has been around many feel it will not be eliminated in their lifetime.
“When we discuss the word integration, what we are stating is the sharing of: Resources, Power & Responsibility” Rev. Dr., Martin Luther King, Jr.
Racism is often confused with prejudice and other biases. Disliking something or someone for whatever reason is much different from using race to oppress other groups. Most people have prejudices but not everyone is a racist. Therefore, many whites are not racist, per se. However, the legacy they inherited shows up in many forms of behavior as other groups attempt to migrate into the larger society.
In the 1940’s, 1950’s, the 1960’s and beyond another phenomenon was created which has it roots in racism. White Flight was the result of primarily African-Americans and other groups moving into areas once primarily occupied by whites. While there are many reasons why whites fled communities and neighborhoods they once proudly called home, the common denominator was their dislike or being uncomfortable sharing space with those such as African-Americans or those who were not like them. In other words, on the periphery they may have had friendly relationships with them, but living next could not be tolerated, thus they fled and established new communities, commonly known as suburbs.
A vital element of White Flight is acknowledging Whites or no group wants to be confined to neighborhoods were property values are decimated, or where there are inferior stores, shops or business opportunities, or where their children suffer the blow of an inadequate educational system. Most important feeling fearful because of the lack of basic services.
A critical element of disparity
Racism has a specific pecking order or domination over others. From economics, employment, housing, education and other factors necessary to fulfill the ideal of living, whites receive higher pay, better employment opportunities, more access to lending as well as better educational opportunities than non-whites. That pattern still exists today as while many groups appear to enjoy a positive lifestyle, typically the person who is white is in a much better economic position, much of it the result of racism or white supremacy. However, one must be careful to not assume whites do not make sacrifices in achieving a better lifestyle. They too work very hard and are dealt some of the same blows as anyone else. In our society they just do not have the burden of being considered “less-than” or other pitfalls which systematically stymies their growth.
“All things being equal if one could insure steady employment, thus steady compensation they too would be in a position to pay their debts in a timely manner resulting in stellar credit”
White Flight does not mean every white person left their community as soon as a non-white showed up. However, as the dominant group shifted, communities across the United States, particularly those in major cities or those known as large urban Cities started a slow process of deterioration. As whites left, they rightfully took their resources, especially in the form of a thriving tax base.
Compounded with the reality of a disparate economic condition, non-whites simply had an inferior economic standard based on the pecking order of racism and discrimination, so living standards were directly compromised.
Those urban areas once occupied by whites were always technically called ghettos. However, the connotation drastically changed once non-whites claimed the space. As resources necessary to maintain those areas took on a slow stream of deprivation, the result was the creation of blight and other negative consequences as well as social forces such as crime and a variety of factors which rendered those areas unattractive.
Gentrification is a subtle, yet specific process. Communities which were defined as deplorable are stimulated with resources as they are redefined. People who are part of the reclamation are for the most part white, and interestingly the off-spring of the very families who fled during White Flight. Through the systemic reality of racism, they are in a better economic and educational position than those who will greet them as neighbors. Thus, rebuilding the communities becomes strategic and transformational. So instead of day-to-day survival, due to their economic standing they are able to execute a more sustainable lifestyle.
The core reality of gentrification is many who remain in those areas which are being reclaimed or who have paltry resources eventually are dealt the blow of being dislocated. This is created from the basic notion of being priced out due to higher taxes or not fully comprehending the windfall they might receive for their property is never enough, thus communities are broken up; literally one house, one block at a time until it is transformed into an oasis for the current occupants.