Debbie Wasserman Schultz and healthcare — won’t help Democrats find salvation

Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Partisan politics makes many politicians look like strung-out lovers — feeling an inexplicably dumb compulsion to support the lamebrain propositions of their political parties and appearing even dumber when publicly doubling down their support, even when confronted with facts that prove their supported positions make no sense.

Reenter Florida Congressperson and former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz to the dumblight via CNN last week, where she was either blatantly lying about her praise for Obamacare’s level of perfection — despite its family budget-straining costs, or was obviously strung-out over the Party of No Guts’ love juice.

Here’s how the conversation went:

Poppy Harlow (CNN): In your home State of Florida, premiums this year on the Silver Plan, going up 19 percent. Last year, they went up 9.5 percent. You know these families, they write to you, they call you, they say “We simply can’t afford this.” Where was the urgency when you thought —

DWS: No. Actually, that’s not what they’re saying in my state.

PH: You’ve had no constituents say “This is too expensive” (?)”

DWS: Look, People vote with their feet. What that means is when something is too expensive, they walk away. We have the most sign-ups for the Affordable Care Act in the entire country in the state of Florida …

In a University of South Florida study that ranked state health care systems according to access, cost and outcome, Florida’s health system ranked 38th in America. The study found that access and cost are Florida’s main problems.

In addition, higher healthcare costs are seen as a problem shared by families across the country.

So, besides being a sinner who’s hell-bent on remaining a sinner in the face of facts, how can Wasserman Schultz say no one’s complaining?

Lying will not lead her party to redemption.

Besides, that “People vote with their feet” remark makes no sense.

People don’t vote for healthcare — they buy it. Plus, they’re forced to do so via federal mandate. Walking away isn’t necessarily an option.

Wasserman Schultz then fortified her falsehood by weaving in themes people can relate to by mentioning how the proposed Trumpcare that will insure fewer people and place the elderly under considerable strain.

The most perversely intelligent thing Wasserman Schultz did was cut off Harlow’s question at mid-sentence.

If I were Harlow, my complete question would have been “Where was the urgency to revisit and fix Obamacare’s problems when there were more Democrats in both Houses of Congress to do so?”

The Party of No Guts have expressed no more urgency about fixing America’s healthcare problem than The Party of No Brains current level of willingness. Insurance companies contribute to both sides of the aisle for good reason.

More on that in a future post. Let’s get back to Wasserman Schultz and her lying.

She was fully aware of rising costs when she sparred with Rep. Ron Paul in an earlier CNN appearance:

Back to the Harlow conversation. When pressed, Wasserman Schultz offered the half-hearted concession that “people will always complain” about healthcare costs.

As if the complaint is either trivial or an unmovable fact of life.

The admission proves Wasserman Schultz was aware of the lie she previously told Harlow.

It’s true that Obamacare, which became law in 2010, helped to put a dent in the healthcare premium increase curve. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that health insurance premiums rose 20% from 2011 to 2016, compared to 31% 2006-2011. The period between 2001 and 2006 saw a 63% increase between 2001 to 2006. [PDF]

healthcare premiums increases chart
But high-deductible plans have become the new norm. More than half of covered families are paying $1,000 a year or higher, in addition to premiums, before their insurance plans kick in.

Compare that to 2008, where only 18 percent of covered families paid  $1,000+ in deductibles.

Plus, prescription drug costs are higher than ever.

Add in the fact that American wage increases have remained stubbornly low and It’s not hard to see how families can view out-of-pocket healthcare costs as a big problem.

In fact, here’s a chart to help you visualize families’ burden:

healthcare costs chart
But no one’s complaining to Wasserman Schultz?

And this is another reason why I keep saying the Party of No Guts wants redemption, but without salvation.

But Wasserman Schultz may have a point about Floridians voting with their feet. I’ll leave you with this state chart from the 2016 Presidential election…

Florida presidential elections 2016
song currently stuck in my head: “calvary” – radio komolafe

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Donna Brazile’s Failed Attempt at Salvation

Donna Brazile speech

In a related but trending story that dovetails to my insistence that the Democratic Party seeks redemption without salvation, disgraced former CNN analyst and DNC interim head Donna Brazile admits to leaking primary debate questions to partner-in-shadiness Hillary Clinton and calls the act “a mistake I will forever regret.”

(Laughing) But not so fast, Madame Brazile.

She must’ve written the Time piece of her admission while listening to that Jackson 5 “forever come today” song.

Contrary to what you may read in social media headlines, Brazile admitted to “circulating things” back in November when she first tore her backside on the Wikileaks fence that busted her for the debate leak in the first place!

And if Brazil didn’t circulate things, she was — in her own words – “submitting things.”

So, what’s the difference between then and now?

Using Brazile’s November words again:

“My conscience, as an activist, as a strategist, my conscience is very clear.”

Her “conscience is very clear.”

Doesn’t sound like the words of a person seeking salvation.

I see that we need to go over the prerequisites to redemption again, but at a more fundamental level than salvation.

Salvation requires confessing to sins without blaming The Devil for helping you get busted.

But let’s go back even further — there’s still no evidence that the Russians hacked the truth out of the DNC’s emails.

I mean, we know the truth about the DNC’s electoral antics have been exposed to the world — we just don’t know who’s responsible for hacking it.

Nope. No proof. Blaming a party’s implosion on a Russian news agency that executed a winning social media strategy — particularly in the absence of facts that point a specific actor responsible for the hacking — is not evidence.

Besides, what makes everyone so sure that the Party of No Guts’ emails weren’t leaked, as opposed to hacked?

Nonetheless, Brazile can’t even confess with all her soul:

By stealing all the DNC’s emails and then selectively releasing those few, the Russians made it look like I was in the tank for Secretary Clinton.

Uh, yeah. The definition of being “in the tank” is when you supply debate questions to candidate Hillary Clinton in advance and give bupkis to Clinton’s Democratic primary opponent, Bernie Sanders — effectively giving Clinton an advantage.

And how can someone regret an act they committed, and then say the act they regret committing was taken out of context to look bad by the people who initially exposed it?

My guess is that after the Democratic establishment beat down yet another left-wing resurrection that wanted the party to focus on annoying things like mitigating the influence of Wall Street and growing the economy but not at the expense of working families, insiders like Brazile have to offer something that looks like an olive branch.

Except this olive branch arrived in the form of a magazine op-ed story that spends more time demonizing THE RUSSIANS than admitting to sin.

I’ve said a few posts ago that redemption requires salvation, and salvation requires hard work.

Brazile’s not yet ready to roll up her sleaves.

The full quote from November and SoundCloud audio clip are embedded below this post …

song currently stuck in my head: “trinidad” – willie bobo

Donna Brazile’s November 2016 statement on Joe Madison’s XM/Sirius radio show about leaking debate questions to Hillary Clinton’s campaign

“My conscience, as an activist, as a strategist — my conscience is very clear. When I said what I said, I said it and I’m not going back on it. But I also understand that throughout the primary season, whether it was 2008, 2004 and two thousand — whatever, 2016, I was in touch with everybody. Martin O’Malley, Bernie Sanders, who I’ve known for over 30 years, Hillary Clinton, who I’ve known … You’re doggone right I’m gonna talk to everybody. Joe, I will never go out on TV or come on radio without the facts. I will ask, I will submit things, I will circulate things and guess what? I also enjoy the exchange that I have with my colleagues — they work for everybody. My friends are deeply embedded in all of the campaigns. And guess what? Here comes a real shocker. I also talk to Republicans. Before I go to their events, I talk to them. What are the topics, what are we going to be talking about, sometimes I don’t even know the issues myself and I have to ask. I have to call around. So I talked to everybody. And people will tell you that. People are outraged now because we’re in this period of time that everybody has selective outrage. One last thing, had the Republican National Committee been hacked, had the Republican party’s emails and other systems been altered and hacked, the country would be in selective outrage if they found out that this was from a foreign source. Right now, they’re just basically sending around these emails like they’re gossip and not understanding the impact that a foreign country is trying to undermine our democracy by stealing the playbook of one political party.”

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Trump and Russia vs. Political Elites

Trump and Russia

Now that the mainstream press has most of us conditioned to get hysterical about the expanding web of Trump Administration officials who spoke with THE RUSSIANS

… All caps used for dramatic branding purposes …

Can we have a moment to make partial sense out of this?

“Partial” is an important term here since only a proper investigation will sort out everything we need to know about Trump’s relationships.

But Let me first get two of my strong convictions out of the way.

One — I have a Marcel Deiss Engelgarten and flash-fried lobster sammich party reserved for the day Trump appointee Jeff Sessions leaves the Justice Department.

Two — I still think Trump lacks the emotional stability to sit in the Big Chair.

Still, I’m sure the geopolitical elite has problems with #45 because they feel he has too much to learn about how the world really runs, and there are too many global projects waiting in the pipeline for execution to exercise patience with on-the-job trainees with ADHD and a predilection for harvesting domestic violence.

Conversely, Hillary Clinton is one of the best Deep State pupils who isn’t wearing a ring right now.

The original plan was for Clinton to win the election and finish up a few agenda items Team Obama clumsily left behind.

Like executing the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Snatching Crimea from Russia — although I don’t see that happening without directly confronting Russia and paying a heavy price.

Successfully closing out the Middle East regime change project better known as the Syria civil war. Having Crimea as a staging area for an air assault would’ve made the Syria exercise easier to pull off, but projects are rarely perfect, right?

Changing regimes in Iran would be the next step after finishing Syria.

In the case of Syria and Iran, it’s curious how the US saw such a rare and fleeting opportunity to shape the Middle East region for decades to come that they were willing to directly and indirectly support terrorists’ revolutionary aspirations.

Trump may barely understand the Iran portion of the foreign policy elite’s roadmap, but that’s about it.

And that’s why I blew-off the stories about Sessions meeting with THE RUSSIANS.

He reminds me of an errand boy from a sophisticated crime organization who puts his employers at risk each time he hangs out at local nightclubs — full of overpriced bravado — and starts fistfights over some “low-level beef.”

Sure, not “low-level” to many of you or community members potentially affected by Sessions’ abuse and the pumped-in air of hatred that seems to be a marker in Trumpland.

But Sessions’ acts can be distractions from the global mafia’s primary lines of business: free trade looting, damn-near free global labor, currency dominance and emerging superpowers lockdown.

The deployment of violence is typically a means to serve only these four outcomes, although there are times when the needs of local and global thuggery converge.

But Sessions and THE RUSSIANS? C’mon.

Even Vanity Fair isn’t buying that tale!

If you serve in the legislative or executive branches of the US government, there’s a good chance that you’ve met with THE RUSSIANS.

That’s how globally-connected political and commerce systems work.

If you’re an oil company executive, don’t be surprised if you find yourself having dinner with some wealthy Russian business folks.

And if you’re an economic or political advisor to a legislative or presidential candidate, how would you expect to do your job unless you speak with representatives from other global actors as a way to inform your future policies? In other words, you’re likely going to speak with THE RUSSIANS.

If you’re an executive traveling overseas, don’t be surprised if you’re approached by an intelligence operative from your destination country.

Placed in a different way, you may have unwittingly spoken to THE RUSSIANS on your last business trip. If nothing else, the agent wants to make sure that you’re not in the snoop game.

Ambassadors may have intelligence connections — and they don’t carry signs telling you so. Look at departed US Ambassador Chris Stevens as an example.

Therefore, I wasn’t surprised that the same people who accused Trump’s circle of speaking with THE RUSSIANS ended up being exposed by Trump’s team of speaking with THE RUSSIANS.

The content of those conversations would be more important to me than anything else.

But but no one’s even talking about content.

In place of identifying facts, folks are simply losing their collective sugar honey iced tea over any mention of THE RUSSIANS.

Look, I get it. I’d rather have someone else in the White House as well.

I also see the game being played — how about you?

If you were helplessly clueless before, your lifeline of mainstream-sourced enlightenment arrived when the political elite attempted to advance their bipartisan anti-Trump movement by repositioning a mass murderer from the 2000’s as a lovable Republican who also happens to disapprove of Trump.

George W. Bush and Michelle Obama

Nothing against the former First Lady’s halo powers, of course …

I’ve covered Syria and Ukraine in a number of posts so I won’t rehash history this evening.

Instead, I’ll offer some ideas, lightly covered with sarcasm, for how Trump can avoid this boiling sea of scrutiny by the media and political elite.

He could start by supporting the removal of Bashar al-Assad — even if it means supporting Islamic extremists to do it; throwing his support behind the next jobs-slaying trade agreement that looks anything like NAFTA or TPP; affirming the need for NATO’s post-Cold War existence with no conditions attached; taking stronger measures to force Russia into giving up Crimea; vowing to become an enemy of THE RUSSIANS.

Otherwise, the political elite will work towards getting him out of office.

You may still have your problems with Trump, regardless of the policy positions he takes.

But a few changes in Trump’s global outlook will help him find new and powerful friends who don’t care much about what you think.

Unless of course your thoughts directly affect free trade looting, damn-near free labor, currency dominance …

song currently stuck in my head: “moonless midnight” – john surman

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DNC Doesn’t Want to Be Saved

Thomas Perez DNC Chair

In another Democratic National Committee move that didn’t surprise me by any measure, unofficial Obama favorite, Clinton family ally and former Labor Secretary Thomas Perez was elected to serve as the imploded political party’s chairperson yesterday.

Perez’s win over his more more Progressive opponent, Representative Keith Ellison, confirms a thought that’s been droning in my head for the past 110 days.

Democrats want redemption, but without salvation.

And I continue to see two major parties with gradations of common love for Wall Street, lopsided trade agreements and disastrous foreign regime change adventures while working families remain socially marginalized.

You can’t even say the DNC is backslidin’ — unless you want to call its four-decade policy gravitation toward an oligarchs-only society — a sudden change of lifestyle.

Redemption is relatively easy to declare. Almost everyone wants to be free from their personal versions of tyranny.

Salvation, on the other hand, requires work.

Hard work.

And 11 out of 10 preachers will tell you the same axiomatic truth: you can’t experience redemption without salvation.

Salvation requires acknowledging the sins of the past, followed by a commitment to walking the path of global righteousness.

How is voting along with the GOP to militarize state and local police departments without conditions a righteous path?

How is planning who would be the next President of Ukraine, a sovereign nation, a righteous path? And how righteous is angrily cranking up the propaganda machine against the country that caught this regime change planning on tape and then outflanked the US with a regime maneuver of its own?

Can Democrats call lifting what remained of bank regulations in 1997, watching the results of that decision in the form of 2008’s financial markets crash and then attempting to fix the problem with the much weaker Dodd-Frank legislation acts of righteousness?

Was supporting a pro-banksta former Goldwater Girl who championed the invasion of Libya under a false pretense (and read this PDF from UK House of Commons), converted it into a failed state and African terrorist portal, played with the truth about her support for two major anti-middle class trade agreements, demonstrated a willingness to start a potentially bloody war with Russia over a Middle East civil war that presents no imminent threat to the United States and then tried to convince voters that she’s a Progressive Presidential candidate last year, encouragement for righteousness?

How is being a declared Moderate until Presidential primary season righteous?

Can we call the scheduling of Saturday night primary debates righteous?

By the way, is this righteous?

When is knowingly providing support to countries that fund deadly terrorist groups like Islamic State righteous?

Is this chart of middle class wages a righteous direction?

Middle Class wages chart

Does the DNC’s refusal to acknowledge the sins of its past while it continues a campaign strategy that says “Support us because the other guys are worse” look like a step toward righteousness to you?

I only see an tattered political party, desperately seeking redemption, but still refusing salvation.

And the sins continue. Is rumored Presidential hopeful Senator Cory Booker voting against lower-priced medicine — which is effectively a vote against the wallets of working families and for the temptation presented by Big Serpent Pharma — while hiding behind the disingenuous argument that he’s only thinking about protecting drug quality, a sign of more “righteous” acts to come?

There’s no shortcut to salvation.

That means the DNC will need to confront its sins — in front of its congregation — cleanse itself of these transgressions and vow to live a life that shuns the garden of oligarchs and blood money.

Otherwise, a large number of the flock won’t come back …

song currently stuck in my head: “rockin’ you eternally” – jazzanova feat. dwele and leon ware [rest in love and thank you, brother ware … ]

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Wordcraft: Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild

strangers in their own land, book, review

BK’s NOTE: With only two exceptions, I read all the books shortlisted as 2016 National Book Award Finalists prior to the November 16 ceremony, but I never posted my thoughts about them. I intend to do that with a series of posts in the coming days.

Listening to the replay of Tanya Free’s recent radio show reminded me that I should share my thoughts about Arlie Russell Hochschild’s National Book Award-Nominated work, Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right.

(Ahem) I did commit to posting about each NBA shortlisted finalist entry …

During the latter part of Free’s show (around the 92:10 mark), one of her call-in comments came from Steve, a financially-distressed man “saved and washed in the blood of Jesus Christ.”

I couldn’t determine Steve’s skin color, but his words smacked of the White working-class Louisiana residents Hochschild wrote about in her book.

“I am amongst the working poor.”

“I had family members who voted for Trump.”

“I don’t have money to buy health insurance.”

“I will not lie. I will not take something that is not mine” was Steve’s response when a member of Tanya’s panel advised him to look at tax exemptions as a way to get financial relief.

“I don’t trust the government anymore. The government is out to get people who are trying.”

Steve said that he did not vote for Donald Trump.

But many people who think like Steve actively support the Tea Party and GOP, or disengage from politics out of a feeling that they’re Strangers in Their Own Land.

Hochschild, A UC-Berkeley sociologist, documented her visits to Lake Charles, Louisiana and surrounding areas over a five-year period as she observed the residents’ views about the economy, environment, faith, family, money, life, politics, recreation and their government. She often participated in the residents’ activities.

The state where only 11 percent of its residents voted for Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election — compared to 28% among Southern US states — Louisiana provided one of the most intriguing geographies for Hochschild’s study, which she calls the Great Paradox.

If Louisiana were a separate nation, its United Nations Human Development Index would likely label it as a developing country, and some would declare an urgent need for emergency economic development packages.

Louisiana receives among the most dismal scores in America for educational achievement, poverty, health and food insecurity.

In the face of these low quality of life measures in what’s supposed to be the greatest democracy on Earth, Louisiana’s White poor and working class shun the help of “Big Government” to help solve their problems. In fact, many of them believe that government is the enemy and should only exist in the most minute form, if at all.

And the state’s previous Governor, Bobby Jindal, complied with the people’s will. Hochschild notes that during Jindal’s eight-year gubernatorial leadership, he spent $1.6 billion in incentives to attract companies to Louisiana, including 10-year tax exemptions. The one-sided deals created a negative budget gap just as high as the incentive expenditures. Jindal also fired 30,000 state employees while doling out temporary layoffs to others. He cut higher education funding by 44%.

The painful outcome of these cuts are easily seen and felt among Louisianans, making them resent government even more.

This paradox becomes even more pronounced when you consider that Louisiana receives the most federal aid among all US states, save for one.

Ironically, the businesses that benefitted from Jindal’s incentives but haven’t helped the state demonstrably turn its bad fortunes around are viewed by Louisianans — relatively speaking — as heroes of this social tragedy.

It also appears these businesses can do no wrong in Louisiana, regardless of the transgression.

“I wasn’t aware of the extent of a problem until I looked out the window of the helicopter that took me to New Orleans after Katrina,” [US Army General Russel Honoré] says. “The landscape was littered for miles with debris. I remember commenting to the pilot ‘The storm must’ve caused that mess,’ and hearing back, ‘No, those are abandoned oil derricks from years back.’”

In excruciating detail that would make most non-Louisianans angry, Hochschild describes decades of toxic environmental dumping and industry-caused accidents that hurt the state’s seafood and tourism Industries, as well as destroy the lives of many citizens. A stretch of road along the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans is known as Cancer Alley, the home of about 150 production plants and suspected to be a key driver behind the high rate of cancer among men in the area.

But Louisianans save their ire for the government.

You have to admit their anger is justified when you consider how several of Louisiana’s high-profile disasters can be traced to lax government oversight, either driven by the desire to appease industry, or sheer neglect for public safety.

“It’s not in the company’s own interest you have a spill or an accident. They try hard,” one woman told me. “So if there’s [an oil spill], it’s probably the best the company could do.”

Hochschild tries to unpack the anger of the White poverty and working classes through two major approaches: [1] the deep story, or a literary device for capturing a story constructed only by emotions and sensory data; [2] the history of the South’s relationship to the federal government — consider the Civil War, Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement as examples — which effectively feeds the deep story.

For the deep story, Hochschild envisions the American Dream as a destination just over a steep hill with a slow and long line of people waiting for their turn to reach the hilltop. The line sometimes looks as if it’s moving backward.

You’ve suffered long hours, layoffs, and exposure to dangerous chemicals at work, and received reduced pensions. You have shown moral character through trial by fire, and the American Dream of prosperity and security is a reward for all of this, showing who you have been and are — a badge of honor.

But it then appears that immigrants, people of color and even women are unfairly cutting the line.

I won’t describe the Deep story any further. Read the book.

Sure racism is deeply embedded within American society — but so has social and economic inequality which stokes more racial resentment among the White poor and working class.

Hochschild’s conclusion is straightforward: this working class cocktail of oil rig blowouts, chemical-related illnesses, declining wages, environmental disasters, poverty and perceived line-cutters became a fertile environment for the rise of President Donald Trump — or someone like him.

And if these conditions remain unaddressed, we could see a more dangerous President move into the White House someday …

song currently stuck in my head: “the sick rose” – david axelrod

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Charles M. Blow to Trump Cheerleader I’m Not Your Petting Zoo Animal

Charles Blow Kayleigh McEnany "don't touch me"


I love Charles M. Blow. I may not always agree with him, but he’s on point most of the time and is a fiery writing reflects a constant synchronization of signals with the African diasporic struggle.

If you have no idea of what I just said, watch how the NY Times columnist regulated President Trump supporter and Conservative CNN commentator Kayleigh McEnany last night, who thought she could touch Blow during a CNN panel discussion after calling his journalistic intentions sinister:

McEnany then equated Blow’s objection to being touched with Rep. Maxine Water’s refusal to meet with the President — and then labeled both as not being American.

Let me touch on one thing before I Blacksplain what just happened: Rep. Waters SHOULD meet with Trump, even though nothing legally mandates her to do it. Why the hell should she draw from a taxpayer-funded paycheck if she won’t at least TRY to build some consensus with this madman. An attempt at conversation will at least create a record of sorts to say that she tried to exchange viewpoints and work out policies to a point of failure.

But back to Blacksplaining. From the slave auction block to sideshows — and points in-between like sexual assault in slave masters’ cabin — African descendants have been touched by their oppressors. “Petted” is the word I prefer to use.

I’ll head-off anyone who wants to argue about whether or not McEnany’s petting was racist by saying that I’m sure the men who pinched Saartjie Baartman’s nipples for the first time didn’t think they were racists either.

Therefore, don’t touch a Black person you don’t know. It invokes stuff — plus, many of you don’t really want to know what that “stuff” really is.

And for those of you with “stuff curiosities,” I recommend you find a different setting for exploration. Petting is out.

Don’t touch the hair of the only African descendant woman in the office.

Not the Black guy’s bald head. No petting.

But forget about skin color — why would you touch anyone you don’t know?

People never petted Walter Cronkite Bill O’Reilly on-air — even if the latter may not mind at all

McEnany was better off buying the blackest blow-up doll she can find online.

But not Mr. Blow …

song currently stuck in my head: “black, brown and beige, part iv (a.k.a. come Sunday)” – duke ellington and his orchestra featuring mahalia jackson

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Goodbye, Al Jarreau

al jarreau dead jazz

You would think years of false alarms about the death of seven-time grammy-winning singer Al Jarreau would prepare me for hearing about his actual departure today.

But they didn’t.

Jarreau belongs to a very small circle of vocalists who won over Jazz, Pop and R&B audiences during their careers.

But what makes Jarreau a unique performer is the way his vocals easily traverse rhythmic, poetic, and chordal planes — and seamlessly merges them at will. Hearing him sing reminds me of watching a gymnast move — incredible strength but with grace, dexterity and elite athleticism.

With no controversies or testimonials of foul behavior, he leaves this planet as a beautiful human being with a rare aesthetic, and loved by many.

I embedded Jarreau’s 1976 We Got By album below, which I think is trans-genre brilliance.

Rest in Love, Al …

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Sunday Smack: Can Your Personal Medical Data Put You in Jail?

ross compton arrested for arson

Ross Compton — busted for arson with his own heart monitor data.

We could simply praise the brilliant police work that led to the arrest of Middletown resident Ross Compton for allegedly setting his home on fire.

Or we can be alarmed by what appears to be a pillar stripped away from Americans’ Fifth Amendment rights.

The case involves Compton dialing 911 last September to report waking up to a fire in his home. He also told the emergency dispatcher that he has an artificial heart.

According to Cincinnati’s WLWT, Compton told police “he was able to pack his suitcases and throw them out his bedroom window after he broke out the glass with a walking stick” as the fire raged.

Given Compton’s medical condition and evidence that the fire started from multiple areas of the home, investigators found inconsistencies with Compton’s story.

Police busted Compton in a massive lie when they obtained his heart monitor data and found that he was physically active prior to the fire — a time period where he claimed to be asleep.

This week’s Sunday Smack asks:

Can your private, medical data be used against you in a court of law?

song currently stuck in my head: “music is my desire” – pablo moses

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Coons, Trump and Saving Chicago

mental unrest trump chicago crime
I’m going to break an editorial rule for this blog and cover more than one main idea — namely cooning and lowering the City of Chicago’s crime rate

You place the blame Donald Trump’s debut Black History Month event as President of the United States for my exception.

I don’t instantly think every African descendant who meets with #45 is competing for the Stepin Fetchit “Grin Harder” award.

Kwame Toure taught us long ago to pay less attention to the liaisons someone creates and focus on their consciousness.

A woke state of mind will ultimately do what’s right for humanity.

Key operating terms: “woke” and “mind.” 

Should you be reminded that Moses was raised in the Pharoah’s palace … ?

Booker T. Washington appeared to publicly chastise his race to improve their social standing through personal initiative and avoid political action — while happily collecting donations from charmed wealthy folks for Tuskegee University and then quietly channeling support to political action groups.

This is not to say that all Black attendees at Trump’s Black History talk have any respectable level of awareness and compassion for their race. Time will tell. In some cases, it already did.

While the President — who perversely seemed to share his take on African American History more than any of his handpicked Black conference table audience — continued his Chicago fascination by once again hinting at a federal overrun of the city’s Black parts, and Rev. Darrell Scott tearing his backside trying to please #45 by attempting to leap the wall of a tale he concocted from his imaginary “gang thugs” rolodex, we’ve received confirmation of how no one wants to discuss a solution to Chicago’s murder problem that’s less expensive than SWAT teams, fed occupations and Homan Square.

How about professional skills training, jobs and financial literacy?

wrote about this idea before.

The University of Chicago tracked the activities of three teenaged groups from high-risk neighborhoods in 2012, where 20 percent of the youths in the study had prior arrests. Two of the groups were given eight-week summer jobs.

The results were predictable — well, to most of you. The two “jobs groups” experienced a 43 percent reduction in crime up to one year later.

Take a good guess at what happened to the jobless group.

We’re talking about a six-week investment of USD 124-206 per child, per week during one summer to avoid the high cost of year-long police raids and incarceration.

The City of Chicago and the federal government would still see lower social costs if they threw professional skills training, longer term employment opportunities and financial literacy in the blend.

But … Chicago would then see a new kind of dangerous Black person …

song currently stuck in my head: “lalo” – Lalo Schifrin

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Sunday Smack: What Will Trump’s “Deal” for Black Colleges Look Like?

Donald trump hbcus

The President with Omarosa Manigault.

Black college lovers who suffer from Trumpxiety may have plenty to say about this week’s Sunday SmackBuzzFeed News reported that the White House — through its public liaison leader Omarosa Manigault — is drafting an executive order concerning historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

During the same meeting where much of the media talked about how the President reanimated Frederick Douglass to kick off Black History Month, Trump supporter and Thurgood Marshall College Fund communications lead Paris Dennard told #45 about the need to support these institutions, “especially given how HBCUs fared under the [Obama] administration.”

Trump reportedly expressed genuine concern about the state of HBCUs:

“He was shocked and upset to learn what happened under the previous administration,” Dennard said.

Attendees told Trump that while Howard was receiving federal funds and doing fairly well, many others were struggling, with someone in the room linking the state of HBCUs to President Obama.

Trump asked what he needed to do, according to a source in the room. That’s when Manigault said she was working on getting an executive order on HBCUs on Trump’s desk.

The lack of executive order details in this instance didn’t stop me from musing about how the President constantly reminds us that he’s a Master of the Deal.

Deals seem to be his obsession. As if every problem in his lens has negotiable potential to become a better deal.

This may explain why Trump has applied his focused deal hammer to a wide range of nails including NAFTA, TPP, corporate outsourcing, that wall, energy and even Iran’s legal nuclear program.

Do the current challenges facing HBCUs qualify them for a Trump deal?

Debating the Obama approach to HBCUs — which, for example, placed more emphasis on winning federal government grant proposals as opposed to aid packages, but provided relatively limited preparations for HBCUs to compete with institutions like Harvard for these grants — makes for a worthwhile debate.

I’m also sure some of you would want to debate about Obama’s initial funding cuts to HBCUs as well as the observations of other Black politicians about Obama’s apparent failure to understand the value HBCUs deliver to society.

But we’re now living in the Age of Trump, so my Sunday Smack will be different:

What in the world would be in a Trump Executive order for HBCUs?

Yes, referencing Obama’s relationship with HBCUs is fair game as long as you answer the original question …

song currently stuck in my head: “it’s your life” – brigette mcwilliams

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