Unemployment numbers dip to 3.7%


 

US President Barack Obama shakes hands as Republican President-elect Donald Trump thanked him for creating a positive economy. JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Publishing numbers not seen since 1969, yesterday the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its October jobs report.  The numbers reflect data compiled for the month of September as unemployment dipped to 3.7%, with new jobs pegged at 134,000.  That is good news for the Trump administration as it validates their message of a strong economy.  The news was expected and comes at a good time for them as even though they inherited the foundation of a good economy from the Obama administration, they have been mired in a string of self-inflicted blunders ever since taking over the reins. 

They view those blunders as attacks from those who are upset they won the 2016 election.  Others view them as leaders who are inexperienced at managing a government, fraught with suspicious characters linked to criminal behavior.

In addition to the Mueller investigation, they are dealing with a majority of the public not in support of their United States Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.  Earlier today Kavanaugh squeaked by with a 50-48 vote.  While there is jubilation from those who support Trump and Kavanaugh, the untold cost may not be realized until the mid-term vote slated for November 6th.   Some fear this and other moves by the administration might cost the GOP control of congress.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D, Mass.) speaks to protestors gathered at the steps of the US Supreme Court as the Nation waits for the expected confirmation Judge Brett Kavanaugh, in Washington, D.C., on October 6, 2018.
(Photo by Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

 

Trump understands the media dynamic

As September numbers are a positive sign, Trump no doubt will use the data to proclaim the numbers reflect the lowest, specifically among African-Americans and other minority groups.  While the numbers are real and give great justification to those who support Trump, it must be noted he is a master manipulator of the spoken-word and you really have to ponder how serious he is about the claim?  Or, is he appeasing to the conscious of those who have very little knowledge of the historic perspective of employment gaps between whites and minority groups?  Oftentimes they view any news spouted from Trump as near-gospel, certainly not worthy of understanding the overall context of such statements. 

 

Understanding media, Trump has woven unemployment data into his rallies and other talking-points.  The issue for some regarding this sentiment is whether Trump is genuine, as his tone appears to mock the point which is a very serious issue for African-American’s who have been systemically unemployed at a rate at least twice that of whites.  This has been lingering problem presidents have been dealing with ever since the notion of race entered the American nomenclature.  It was created to divide people and groups.  While the numbers in fact have declined, the real gap is a constant historical fact; a key metric providing evidence to the wealth gap that highlights the polarization of our nation. 

In attempting to proclaim his support for the African-American community, who can forget this quote Trump made while on the campaign trail?

“Oh look at my African-American over here,” Mr. Trump said. “Are you the greatest? Do you know what I’m talking about?”

 

 

OMAHA, NE – MAY 4:
Isaiah Hall, 21, responds to a question from Crystal Sauser, a public relations manager, during a job interview at AirLite Plastics in North Omaha on Friday, May 4, 2018, in Omaha, NE. “We’re going to offer you the position,” Sauser said, and the stoic face Isaiah began to melt into a smile. Isaiah finally had a job.
Only seven of the overall 13 students (one student started a day after the initial 12 students) would make it through the training and to this morning of job interviews.
Over the past decade, concentrated efforts by various organizations in Omaha have helped drastically drive down the unemployment rate among African Americans, particularly in North Omaha, which is majority Black. While Donald Trump brags about how he has helped lower the national unemployment rate among Blacks, the city of Omaha has shown how a small group doing targeted employment bootcamps and workshops can help boost statistics with minimal help from the local, state, or federal government.
(Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Indeed, unemployment numbers are down but a nagging question remains which is why is there a disparity with white workers versus other ethnic groups?

 

“Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for Whites
(3.3 percent) declined in September.  Blacks (6.0 percent), Asians (3.5 percent), and Hispanics (4.5 percent)stagnation”  Bureau of Labor Statistics (October 2018)


The jobs report will continue to boast consumer confidence.  However, the issue for many is keeping pace with rising consumer cost.  The Fed’s recent rate hike is the reality of a cyclical economy.  Some things go up and others go down.  As an example, housing prices continues to soar resulting in many who are employed to delay buying a home, simply because the percentage needed from their paycheck to handle the monthly payment has increased year over year.

Here is an example of 1969:2018 –   Wages & percentage of income needed for monthly payment.

Monthly Income Home Price Int. Rate P & I Pct. Of Income needed
1969 $492 $24,400 8.42% $186 38%
2018 $4,326 $539,000 4.75% $2,811 65%
Averages based on California

Cuba President headed to the United Nations this Friday


HAVANA, CUBA – APRIL 19: Former Cuban President Raul Castro raises the arm of newly elected Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel during the National Assembly at Convention Palace on April 19, 2018 in Havana, Cuba Diaz-Canel will be the first non-Castro Cuban president since 1976. Raul Castro steps down after 12 years in power. (AFP Adalberto Roque/Pool/Getty Images)

This Friday, September 28th will mark a special day in the international community as Cuban president Miguel Diaz-Canel will make his first appearance at the United Nations Cuban Mission, in New York.

Prior to his historic appearance at the U.N., on Wednesday, September 26th he is the invited speaker at the iconic Riverside Church.  The event is organized by Pastors for Peace.

During his trip it is expected Diaz-Canel will make an appeal for the half-century old embargo against his country imposed by the United States to be lifted.  Also, on his schedule are meetings with U.S. business leaders.

Following a successful transition this past April, Diaz-Canel became president.  This followed years of leadership by Raul Castro and his older brother Fidel Castro.

George Papadopoulos’ Apprentice audition nets him 14 days in federal prison


cover photo courtesy of Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images


Foreign policy advisor to US President Donald Trump’s election campaign, George Papadopoulos and his wife Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos arrive at US District Court for his sentencing in Washington, DC on September 7, 2018. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/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.

EastCoast Trek v2018 – Foodie Excursion


food·ie

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.


Ethel’s

Ethel’s is a quaint restaurant located in the Mount Washington Village of Baltimore.  Their speciality is creole cuisine and pricing is moderate.

 


Dempsey’s

Dempsey’s is located in the Camden Yards complex or home of the Baltimore Orioles.  Their speciality is bar-type food.  Pricing is moderate.


Busboy’s & Poet (K Street)

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

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.

Lunch special – Fried Shrimp – Mac & Cheese and Greens

 


Sweet Home Café

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.

 


Ben’s Chili Bowl

Ben’s Chili Bowl is a DC institution located in the “U” corridor.  Food is tasty and affordable.

Half-Smoke special includes Half-Smoke, Fries & drinks (refills are provided)

 

EastCoast Trek v2018 – Ben’s Chili Bowl Celebrates 60


[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)


 

Random photos featuring great murals

The last time I saw “The Queen of Soul” – Mrs. Aretha Franklin perform


Mrs. Aretha Franklin

March 25, 1942 – August 16, 2009


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.”

ICYMI: Did 45 pull another three-card monte with members of the African-American clergy?


Donald Trump with Darryl Scott photo credit – TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

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

Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story – An analysis


photo credit: Tasos Katopodis / Getty

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???????

cartoon courtesy of www.rippdemup.com
cartoon courtesy of http://www.rippdemup.com

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.

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN TRIAL RECAPS

 

 

MLB Players from CUBA: v2018


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).

This is the legendary Estado Latinoamericano located in Havana. Interestingly it is about as large as Dodger stadium but is located right in the heart of the community

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.


Jose Abreu
Yoan Moncada
Raisel Iglesias
Yandy Diaz
Yonder Alonso
Jose Iglesias
Cionel Perez
Yulieski Gurriel
Jose Fernandez
Yasiel Puig
Yasmani Grandal
Odrisamer Despaigne
Yoenis Cespedes
Aroldis Chapman

 

Roenis Elias
Guillermo Heredia
Adeiny Hechavarria
Aledmys Diaz
Lordes Yuneiklkl
Kendrys Morales

Teams 2018 2017 Change
TOTALS>>> 20 21
Arizona Diamondbacks 0 1 -1
Atlanta Braves 0 2 -2
Baltimore Orioles 0 0 0
Boston Red Sox 0 1 -1
Chicago Cubs 0 0 0
Chicago White Sox 2 2 0
Cincinatti Reds 1 1 0
Cleveland Indians 2 1 1
Colorado Rockies 0 0 0
Detriot Tigers 1 1 0
Houston Astros 2 0 -1
Kansas City Royals 0 1 -1
Los Angeles Angels 1 1 0
Los Angeles Dodgers 2 2 0
Miami Marlins 1 1 0
Milwaukee Brewers 0 0 0
Minnesota Twins 0 0 0
New York Mets 1 1 0
New York Yankees 1 1 0
Oakland Athletics 0 1 -1
Philadelphia Phillies 0 0 0
Pittsburgh Pirates 0 0 0
San Diego Padres 0 0 0
San Francisco Giants 0 0 0
Seattle Mariners 2 2 0
St. Louis Cardinals 0 1 -1
Tampa Bay Devil Rays 1 1 0
Texas Rangers 0 0 0
Toronto Blue Jays 3 0 3
Washington Nationals 0 0 0

Why is Donald Trump so upset?


[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.

courtesy of Time Magazine

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.

Credits

Pig in a Poke – Baloo