Its Time I Weighed In #Racism #Obama #Economy #Women and of course More

Image 89I just noticed how long its been since I have posted on my blog. I’ve been busy looking for a new apartment in Manhattan, which is a full time job on its own. There were some interesting news stories going on that I want to give my opinions on, as usual please feel free to agree or disagree with reasons.

  • Lets start with racism; I guess I am the only person in the Country that didn’t watch or pay attention to the Zimmerman trial. When the news media goes to wall to wall coverage of things I tend to ignore them. So I cant comment on that case. There was an interesting article in today’s Washington Post about about acknowledging white privilege and how that privilege is too often ignored by its beneficiaries.  I don’t agree with this. Being a white man I never really thought of what a black man my age might go through. This is why I think what president Obama said to the Nation was extremely effective and educational. I think his speaking out about his experience opened my eyes to a whole world I hadnt thought about. I dont believe I am more privileged than a black man, I certainly never ignored its benefits since I had no idea what challenges blacks or minorities have. I think president Obama’s message was brilliant. I hope that it starts conversations and opens eyes around this country. When you have the President of the United States say that growing up he could hear doors locking when he crossed the street or see women clutch their purses closer to their bodies when he passed by should be a hard slap in the face to white Americans to alter their behavior and try to find ways, programs, bills passed to help those who are suffering from this.
  • More on race. I firmly believe that the hatred coming from the tea party and the GOP in general is all about race. To quote Bill Maher, I dont think they can stand seeing a black man in the White House. I know the political climate in Washington was pretty ugly when president Bush was in office, but nothing like what Obama has had to endure. I think the GOP has tried to make Obama a failure of a president from his first day in office to today. As I have mentioned I think many members of the GOP should be tried for treason for, in their efforts to make Obama look bad, sabotaging the U.S. economy, keeping millions out of work. I believe when they say ‘lets take our country back’ I think they mean lets take it back from the black man. I think racism is at the root of all of the obstructionism. I think the GOP has only 2 goals, to make president Obama look bad and to keep their jobs. Neither is what they were voted into office for.
  • The economy continues to move sideways. Their has been no drop in the number of longterm unemployed people, GDP is at anemic levels and it looks like no relief in site. Which brings up a few points. One being who will be the new Fed? Janet Yellen should be the new Fed; she has a goal of creating more jobs for the unemployed and is a highly qualified candidate. Larry Summers would be a horrible choice. Not only did he not do enough in the 2008 meltdown, he was mostly responsible for it happening. It should be obvious to everyone now that the $800B stimulus in 2009 was not enough; it was Larry Summers who wouldnt even show the president a larger stimulus package. This has caused pain and suffering for millions of Americans as the economy is not recovering as it should, or as it could have with a much larger stimulus package. Equally as important about Mr. Summers is that when he was advising president Clinton in the 1990s, it was on Summer’s recommendation that many financial policies be deregulated. Now I am not an economist, but I have done enough research and read enough articles to know about this subject. The very policies that Summers advised Clinton to deregulate were what led to the financial crash in 2008. Btw, the policies that were deregulated had been put in place after the Great Depression in the 1930s; they were written back then so their would never be another financial collapse. Larry Summers opened the gateway for the second Depression. Everyone blamed Bush, and he is not blameless, but by no means was the meltdown only his fault. So, elect Janet Yellen.
  • More on the economy; their was an article today, I think in the New York Times about has the power of the bully pulpit vanished? No it hasn’t, as I mentioned above Mr. Obama’s comments on race were brilliant; however when he tries to pivot to jobs and the economy for what is it now, the 7th or 8th time? It seems like empty rhetoric. I am deeply disappointed the Obama did not start his second term coming out swinging about job creation. It was, and still is, the top issue for the majority of Americans. I wish Obama had used all that political capital on job creation. I am confident he could have pushed congress to act since so much of the country agrees job creation is needed. Immigration and guns were not a priority to the American people. Jobs are.
  • Another topic thats been on my mind is women. Its shocking to me in this day and age that a group of men are making decisions about women’s bodies and when they can or cannot make their own decisions. It goes deeper than that. Marissa Meyer, the CEO of Yahoo, gets so much media coverage for anything she does. I think she is unfairly being judged because she is a woman running a large dying company. If a man were in her position I dont think there would be so much coverage, and the coverage is usually questioning her choices. And lastly seeing Prince William and Kate take their baby home, the media was gushing over how normal they seemed, how Wills put the car seat in himself. All the while I kept thinking it was Princess Diana who made this possible. It was Diana who insisted her children go to regular schools. In the past Royals were always educated in isolation at one of the palaces. But Diana changed all that, she wanted to show her boys how other people lived and make them as much a part of the population as possible. To me it was sad thinking Diana will never get to meet this new child, or see how well her 2 boys, excluding the nude pics of Harry, have grown up. It was Diana that forever changed the way heirs to the throne would grow up. I wish someone would have mentioned her name.

One On One with Jesse Jackson #MustRead #Desegregation by Eric Ginsburg

My nephew, Eric Ginsburg, knocks another one out of the park in his professional writing career. Eric spent over an hour interviewing Rev. Jackson, while other newspapers were given 7 minutes. Rev. Jackson also enjoyed talking with Eric so much he took Eric on a tour he going on. Btw, Eric has his own room at Ginsburg #Manor and he is one of the few who has an open invitation to come here! IMG_1540 IMG_1541

Click the link to read the entire article http://www.yesweekly.com/triad/article-16293-jesse-jackson.html

Photos courtesy of Jordan Stowe

A #Jobless Recovery Is a Phony Recovery from @WSJ

IMG_1512Mort Zuckerman: A Jobless Recovery Is a Phony Recovery

More people have left the workforce than got a new job during the recovery—by a factor of nearly three.

 

This is a must read article in todays Wall Street Journal, I urge everyone to read this piece it gives real clarity to a crisis that is being ignored by the Media, President Obama and the Congress. If I was the President I would seek out highly successful people like Mr. Zuckerman or Mayor Bloomberg and ask their opinions as to how to create more jobs. We have a crisis on our hands that is only going to get worse.

I am providing 2 links to the article; if you are not a paid subscriber of WSJ.com I urge you to try their 2 week free option just to read this piece.

http://on.wsj.com/15K01es

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323740804578601472261953366.html?mod=hp_opinion

Some highlights:

The 7.6% unemployment figure so common in headlines these days is utterly misleading. An estimated 22 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed; they are virtually invisible and mostly excluded from unemployment calculations that garner headlines.

That brings us to a stunning fact about the jobless recovery: The measure of those adults who can work and have jobs, known as the civilian workforce-participation rate, is currently 63.5%—a drop of 2.2% since the recession ended. Such a decline amid a supposedly expanding economy has never happened after previous recessions. Another statistic that underscores why this is such a dysfunctional labor market is that the number of people leaving the workforce during this economic recovery has actually outpaced the number of people finding a new job by a factor of nearly three.

It’s Time to Bring Addiction Out of the Closet

IMG_0068Hearing about Corey Monteith being found dead in a hotel room at the age of 31 made me very sad. We have a hidden epidemic in this country that people are ashamed to admit or seek help for, its called Addiction. We know Cory had suffered addiction and sought help a few times over the years; no details of his death have been released, however.

We as a society should deal differently with mental illnesses than we currently do. We see them as something to be ashamed of; when we really should have scientists learning more about why people cant break their addictions. For those who haven’t been addicted to anything they might not understand, but this problem has become such an epidemic that it’s time more research goes into helping to cure addiction. And also to treat addiction like you would a broken arm. No shame in breaking your arm, there is no shame in being addicted to things.

Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, River Phoenix, Heath Ledger, just off the top of my head. How many people have to lose their lives to addiction. We know from Whitney’s mother that she tried rehab many times; what is it inside of people that makes them unable to stop. Even after treatment why is the pull so strong that people cant resist it. You’d think Whitney and Michael had perfect lives so why would they turn to drugs? We dont know what their lives were like so we cant judge them; however we can make the assumption that given the choice either or both of them would have been clean and sober if they could have. And would most likely be alive today. I think most people see addiction as a weakness, its not, its a disease.

So far I have been talking about celebrities, mostly rich who had the means to seek any kind of treatment they wanted. Let’s not forget about everyone else; the people living on the streets, addicted to heroin, the functioning alcoholic who cant stop drinking; the millions who are addicted to prescription medicine like Xanax, Valium, Ambien. Also the millions who are addicted to smoking and eating. This disease affects everyone from the richest of rich to the poorest of poor and everyone in between.

Why dont we know more about this disease. Even for the people that do come out and try to face their addictions many dont succeed. Its almost ironic with the cost of medical care that so many illnesses are caused by addictions that we havent yet found a way to help.

In the 1960s President Richard Nixon waged a “War on Drugs” which has been an incredible failure. It has served to fill prisons with young men of color for small quantities of pot. Not to get off subject, but every single person in prison for possession of marijuana should be released today. But drugs arent the problem; its how people interact with them thats the problem. Its how people deal with drinking, eating, what causes the addictive behavior? I remember watching Oprah years ago, she had a woman on who had that bariatric surgery and lost 250 pounds, but instead of eating she started compulsively having sex with men who were strangers. Again, addiction.

It’s time we devote more funds, attention, support and understanding for those who suffer from addiction. Its not just the people who die from it, many who are living through are suffering tremendously, as are their families. It’s time to look at addiction differently.

#Madonna Changes the World for Women, Inspires a Generation and Gets No Credit for It

madonna-chain-mail-mas-terry-richardson__oPtimagesI remember back in 1992 when Madonna released her Erotica album, at the time she spoke about how much anger she felt. For me being young and trying to start a career (business, not music) I thought to myself, what could she possibly be angry about. Now many years and decades later I am also angry, for her. I understand now what she was talking about back then. Madonna single handedly changed the world and she gets no credit for it. That makes me angry in that it continues my theme of the media not getting it, not reporting and informing people of what really changes the world. Today Madonna is seen as an aging pop star when in reality she broke all the rules and wrote her own; she changed how women are perceived in the business world and was a trailblazer who set the stage for many women to follow. Before Madonna, no other woman had the gall to treat men the way men treat women: disposable. Madonna changed it all, in a good way and she should be celebrated for her accomplishments not only for women but for an entire generation.

Lets start at the beginning, I am old enough to remember the pre-M days. Sure there were lots of other female acts or groups, Donna Summer, Heart, Pat Bennetar, Blondie and many more. But M stood out from the crowd. I remember being introduced to her music at a college bar that played her first album (back in the day of vinyl records) from start to finish, then flipped it over and played the other side. I didnt pay much attention to the music at that time but I do remember in the following years when she became nationally popular realizing I already knew who she was. And I liked her music. I remember her next few albums were fun, ok, and embarrassing. Like a Virgin, True Blue were fun, but back then if you said you were a Madonna fan, in college, it was thought of as lame. Then Madonna went through the Who’s That Girl phase where I thought she was a joke and totally turned me off. It wasnt until 1989 with the release of Like a Prayer that everything changed. She rocked the world with the videos and songs.

And, with Madonna, it wasnt just the music. Her personality came through. The reports of her getting a $500,000 advance and saying Oh good, I can take a cab. Hearing about Madonna putting the nix on her Material Girl video where the “suits” wanted her rolling around on the floor and she wanted the Marilyn Monroe esque video. What that taught people of my generation is that you are in control, and you can buck authority. I think thats one of the reasons she influenced an entire generation of people through empowerment. Yes I Can came from her, not Obama. I remember the Time magazine cover with both M and Cindy Lauper, their view said M would fade away and Lauper would prevail. Quite the opposite happened. People ridiculed M for changing personas with each video or album/CD. What that taught many of my time is experimenting is good. Dont be afraid to try something new. She was a role model for men as well as women. I think she influenced me personally by her telling the world, I can do it, I have confidence in myself, and I can succeed. I took that message to heart. And seeing her succeed just proved she was right in what she was saying.

The way M changed a woman’s role in the business world is one like I have never seen or heard of. She was in charge of her image, songs, videos and performances. No woman before that had been so in control of her business; and I can think of very few men, especially in the music business, that were either. M portrayed, I have a vision, follow me or lose out. Like I mentioned earlier once Like a Prayer came out things skyrocketed. She no longer was a joke, she was ‘on the cover of a magazine’ or more precisely all magazines. She was one of the few brave stars to stand up for AIDS victims, she spoke out for equality for gay people when very few if none did. Elizabeth Taylor was the real pioneer but Madonna made it ok to be gay when she said she was a gay man in a woman’s body. Her Truth or Dare movie was one of the first reality based events in history. Back in 1990 and 1991 she was on top of the world, again setting the stage and being the first to try something different. I’ll never forget when Ted Koppel interviewed her for her banned video Justify My Love, she was the only person I had ever heard of who said “I have to go soon, can we speed this up” Talk about the no can lose attitude she portrayed for women and men and a generation who not only enjoyed her music but loved the confidence and the underlying lessons of ‘yes you can’

In the 90s M had that boring album of soft songs, then came kicking back with a new and untested synthesized music from her Ray of Light, which again was great. In 2000 her Music video rocked. The 2000’s saw some fun songs but also some lame attempts for M to seem young. Singing and dancing in a leotard with people that are your children’s age is not cool. Her latest album I didnt even buy; girl you are too old for a cheerleading outfit. And the songs werent up to par.

But, one should look at the greater picture. I dont see anyone else in the 20th and 21st Century making the impact Madonna has. She should be celebrated as a pioneer and an icon. She should not be compared to current acts. Madonna literally changed the world and should be treated that way. Almost a kin to Mick Jagger, only better. M if you are reading this I hope you know the influence you had on women, leadership, creativity and an entire generation.

@Klout Is Inaccurate and That’s Why I Have Stopped Using It

IMG_1577About a year and a half ago is when I started using social media pretty heavily; mostly through my twitter accounts and this blog but also with Pinterest, Tumblr, and many others. I forgot when I learned about @klout but once I did it was fun seeing my score go up and down. The purpose of Klout is to find out your online influence; they have what they call their secret algorithms that show how influential you are in social media. They have never given specifics on what they actually look at and have been known to drop people’s scores if they call them out on it.

Well, here I am, calling you out @Klout; I think the way you calculate ‘influence’ is completely inaccurate. After watching my score jump around from 60 to 61 to 60 to 59, for no particular reason, I decided to do some research. What I found was a bunch of articles and blog postings about klout scores. What klout does is calculates how often you interact with people who have higher klout scores than you do. Thats what raises your score. What lowers your score is having interactions with people who have lower scores. This to me does not show influence, it shows more of a high school popularity mentality. Influence should be calculated by how you actually influence all people not just higher scored people. If you look at the charts that show your scores klout even says things like “you are doing well today 4 people with a klout score higher than yours retweeted you.”

This would be a very easy game to play and win at; many people do it, I read about many examples of people only talking to people with a higher score and they were able to have their own klout score go up significantly. I will give kudos to @Klout, they certainly have made a name for themselves and they have made themselves the standard bearer of online influence. Even in job interviews people have asked me how I got such a high score of 60? The way klout has branded itself and been taken seriously in this quickly changing environment of social media is quite impressive.

But since the methodology isnt accurate I have very publicly stopped using klout and have disconnected all of my networks from it. I am on twitter and use this blog to express my opinions, inform others of current events, politics, unemployment etc. I like talking to people and hearing differing, and agreeing, points of view. I am not going to look up someone’s score before responding to someone. I have a large following on twitter and many people ask my opinion on things or slam my opinion on things, I like to communicate with people. Since I do have a large following many times people have asked me to tweet out a message for them, to help them find a job; to help raise money for a sick and dying parent; to promote a young persons new ebook. If people are legit I am more than happy to help in any way I can, especially if its just retweeting something. Doing things like this have made my klout score lower than it should have been. Many people say they dont look at their scores but still give klout to each other.

I decided to drop klout and stop thinking about how they score me. Their methodology is incorrect so they are in fact useless. And I for one feel relieved to be klout-less.