Welcome To Donald’s World: A Lot Has Changed

It’s time to Break It Down!

Last nigh #45 gave his first State of the Union (SOTU) address. If you tuned in here to get my take on that, I extend my sincere apologies. Consider this post alternative programming.

Over most of my adult life the Republican Party has campaigned perpetually to distinguish itself via frenzied non-stop marketing, self-labeling, and branding, as the Family Values Party, the Law and Order Party, and the Party undeniably and irrevocably committed to national defense. These standards were hallmarks embraced by evangelicals, fundamentalists, and the Christian Right. You might say it was a match made in Heaven.

A little over two and a half years ago, June 16, 2015, Donald J. Trump entered the fray of campaigning for the Presidency. From that day to this day, he has presented himself, first as the un-candidate, and for the last 53+ weeks, as the un-President; a man whom his supporters insist is not a politician, and whom many of his detractors contend is unworthy of his titles, President, and Commander-in-Chief.

This post is not intended to represent a critique of Mr. Trump. I’ve done that, and in all likelihood, I will do so again at some point in the future. Today, however, I will simply share a few observations about the human pretzels that so many erstwhile stout Republicans have forced themselves into, all in an effort to defend at all costs the words, actions, and policies of the man they say on one hand is not a politicians, but on the other hand, dismiss so many of his behaviors and decisions, as “just politics.”

In keeping with my commitment to brevity, I’ll use just four examples of how the renowned Party of Lincoln transformed itself into the Party of Nixon (and the Southern Strategy), and then pivoted to become the Party  Trump (and Good People on Both Sides). I fully appreciate that virtually no one wants to be called a racist. In contemporary American society, white Americans, in particular, bristle at the notion, the mere suggestion, that anyone might deign to use that appellation to refer to them or one of their own. To each and every person who feels that way, I have one, and only one thing to say. I truly believe the best way to avoid having that pointed verbal hand grenade tossed in one’s direction is to separate oneself from racist behavior, and deeds. A hint to the wise should be sufficient.

I fervently believe that truism holds for and applies to white people in general, and as our country’s titular leader, to #45, specifically. As for the latter, I am frequently bemused whenever I hear Mr. Trump’s most ardent supporters passionately knocking down any suggestion that Mr. Trump is a racist, or that he even says things that are accurately categorized as such.

Upon hearing often angry disavowals, I am reminded of one of Queen Gertrude’s lines from Act III, Scene II of the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare, circa 1600: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” In the event that the stilted language of a 17th Century English poet, penned in Shakespeare’s trademark iambic pentameter, is less than clear, the simplified CliffNotes-like interpretation is, Queen Gertrude was reacting in a fashion that let on that she considered the actor playing the Queen in the play was a stand-in for her, and that in that light, she (the actor) was being overly effusive and insincere.

Translation/relationship to #45 defenders and apologists: Folks who rush to deflect, divert, or deny that #45 is, at least on occasion, being, acting, and/or speaking in racist terms, are insincere, and over the top. If they don’t know better, they should know better.

As we wend our way beyond AD 1 (One Year After Donald), here are four quick observations about things that have changed since the GOP installed #45 as it’s North Star. In keeping with their pact with their now Dear Leader, #45 supporters, surrogates, and spinners, insist that these changes are all positive, or, in classic alternative facts/fake news fashion, that they actually do not reflect changes.

  1. Family Values Party – As I noted in last week’s post, (https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2018/01/24/evangelicals-have-given-trump-a-mulligan-it-must-be-to-infinity/), evangelicals, fundamentalists, and the Christian Right endorse marriage and the family as the foundation of civilization. The synthesis of wedlock, faith, and spirituality was previously ingrained as keystone American values, or at least as GOP talking points. Then along came Mr. Trump with his penchant for swearing, creating less than truthful narratives, and if you believe 20 or more women…and Mr. Trump, in his own words, accosting women, to whom he is not wed. Tony Perking, Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell, Jr., and all the folks who deem themselves true believers (In Trump they trust), gave him a mulligan on all that stuff. If the guardians of the Gates to Heaven feel that way, who am I to argue. Just let me reiterate…a lot has changed.
  2. Law and Order Party – For years, more than I can recall, the GOP has anointed itself as the foremost keeper of the flame of all things related to law enforcement. So, imaging my surprise when I see and hear daily, sometimes hourly, and if I’m watching CNN on a weekday, multiple times per hour, reports that one, several, or a whole host of Republicans is questioning the authority and or the good intentions of the FBI, the CIA, the Justice Department, and/or any other entity comprised in what we Americans refer to loosely as the Intelligence Community. A couple of years ago, that would have been hard to imagine, if not altogether unthinkable. Now, it’s de rigueur. Just let me reiterate…a lot has changed.
  3. National Defense Party – I was a youngster for a significant part of the Cold War. Hazily, I recall Khrushchev pounding his shoe on his Delegate’s desk at the United Nations, the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis. I remember the Berlin Wall, and the fall of the Wall. My memories incorporate the fact that the United Soviet Socialists Republic (USSR), and subsequently Russia, was considered, by members of the GOP, our mortal enemy, global adversary, and geo-political rival…right upend including  2016, in its entirety. Suddenly, circa 2017, #45 has shown a greater propensity to demonstrate faith and confidence in Russia and Vladimir Putin than in our own country’s Intelligence Community. This includes refusing to execute sanctions approved in the U.S. Senate by a vote of 98-2. A Senate in which the GOP owns a majority, by the way. TrumpWorld not only doesn’t think that’s out of character, its inhabitants believe it’s perfectly sane and logical to do so, and they give their guy digital high fives multiple times per day. Just let me reiterate…a lot has changed.
  4. Evangelicals, Fundamentalists, and the Christian Right Party – On occasion, as a PK (Preacher’s Kid), I concede, I find myself out of step with certain elements of religious dogma. Prayerfully, I seek forgiveness. Conversely, when asked whether he has ever asked God for forgiveness for his actions, Mr. Trump said: “I’m not sure that I have. I just go on and try to do a better job from there. I don’t think so. I think if I do something wrong, I think I just try and make it right. I don’t bring God into that.” I don’t even know what to say about that one. I think I’ll just let it speak for itself. Oh yeah, Just let me reiterate…a lot has changed.

I’ve written before about the apparent hypocrisy of conservatives and would-be-saints, in regard to their unbridled support for #45. As we now hear that in addition to harassing folks that he appointed himself, members of his own Party, and a host of people heretofore deemed acceptable to the GOP writ large, and clearing the way to release a partisan GOP penned memo, written without the benefit of having evaluated the source data, while preventing the release of a parallel and explanatory memo from Democrats, all the while ignoring Justice Department warnings that such a release could result in causing irreparable harm, #45 has, through his attorneys, indicated that Mueller has not met the high threshold necessary to interview him in person. For an individual who claims there is neither collusion, nor obstruction, there is an abundance of actions, and yes, evidence, that casts doubt on those claims. In conclusion, Welcome To Donald’s World: A Lot Has Changed!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com. Find a new post each Wednesday.

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Evangelicals Have Given Trump A Mulligan: It Must Be To Infinity

It’s time to Break It Down!

Before laying out the case that is today’s discourse, let us begin by stipulating a working definition for mulligan. According to Merriam-Webster, mulligan is defined as:

“A free shot sometimes given a golfer in informal play when the previous shot was poorly played” If you’re counting, that’s one shot.

If you are a golfer, you are probably already familiar with the term. If not, think of do-over, fresh start, redo, refresh, renew, restart, or start over. The subtle distinction is, in golf, a mulligan is most often a onetime thing. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you Donald Trump is not a “onetime kinda guy.”

Alas, I’m getting ahead of myself. Back to the future…or at least the immediate past. Yesterday, Tony Perkins, a former Republican member of the Louisiana House of Representatives and current President of the Family Research Council, a conservative policy organization based in Washington, D.C., said in an interview on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront:”

“Yes, evangelicals, conservatives, they gave him a mulligan. They let him have a do-over. They said we’ll start afresh with you and we’ll give you a second chance.”

The timing of Mr. Perkins’ comments was important in that it followed a Wall Street Journal report that Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, formed a private LLC to pay a former porn star in exchange for not speaking publicly about an alleged sexual encounter with the then-candidate. For the record, Mr. Cohen, President Trump, and the former porn star, Stormy Daniels, have all denied the alleged sexual encounter.

Family Research Council is best known for promoting socially conservative family values. One of the foundational pillars of the organization, per its website is promoting marriage and family. This is expressly stated as:

“Family Research Council champions marriage and family as the foundation of civilization, the seedbed of virtue, and the wellspring of society. Properly understood, ‘families’ are formed only by ties of blood, marriage, or adoption, and ‘marriage’ is a union of one man and one woman.”

Mr. Perkins, in clarifying his position, and that of evangelicals and conservatives, writ large, who support President Trump (no matter what), said it is the relationship Trump has built with evangelicals, as well as his “constitutionally conservative” policies, including appointing judges who oppose abortion that garners the support.

You know what? I’m not even gonna trip about this incident. In fact, were it just this one instance, while I would still be inclined to deem it hypocritical, I could at least accept the premise of it being a mulligan. But I think we all know that is not how this President rolls.

What do I mean by that, you may ask? That’s a great question; I’m glad you inquired. It means this gentleman, and I use the term loosely, has a long and lurid history of using words and taking actions upon which conservatives in general, and evangelicals in particular, would routinely frown. But even in golf, he is apparently known for his excesses. That Mr. Perkins employed a golf analogy is apt, because the President has certainly indulged frequently in his love of golf during his first year in office, during which time he is said to take “one free mulligan after another” on the links, according to former ESPN columnist Rick Reilly.

The Right and the Evangelicals attacked President Obama day in and day out during the entire 8 years of his presidency. Eight months into the Trump presidency, it is clear comparisons are there, just begging to be made between Trump and Evangelicals’ hypocritical new stances. As I have noted often, conservatives and evangelicals leap to twist themselves into pretzel shapes, all in an effort to defend Trumpspeak and behavior.

Undoubtedly Mr. Perkins and his evangelical and socially conservative friends are schooled in the ways of our President, and they not only know just what he needs, they are committed to giving it to him. So how about these for do-overs, fresh starts, redo’s, refreshes, renewals, restarts, or start-overs?

  • In 2016, President Obama visited flooded areas of Louisiana. At the time of his visit, there had been 13 deaths, 7 trillion gallons of rainfall, 24 inches of measured rainfall, and an estimated $15 billion in damages had accumulated. Evangelicals lambasted President Obama for not visiting earlier.
  • In 2017, President Trump visited a dry airport near flooded areas of Texas. At the time of his visit, there had been 16 deaths, 11 trillion gallons of rainfall, 49 inches of measured rainfall, and an estimated $50 billion in damages had accumulated. President Trump didn’t hug a neck, kiss a cheek, or wipe a tear. He didn’t encounter water falling from the sky or puddling upon the earth. He didn’t mention the loss of a police officer, or the drowning of a family of six. Evangelicals offered no criticism.
  • In 2012, in anticipation of President Obama’s quick response to Hurricane Sandy, Citizen Trump tweeted: “Not only giving out money, but Obama will be seen today standing in water and rain like he is a real President—don’t fall for it.” He went on: “Obama is now standing in a puddle acting like a President-–give me a break.” ~ October 31, 2012. He was damned for getting to NJ to soon and actually getting his feet wet, and damned for waiting for the water to recede in Louisiana, as the Governor asked him to do.
  • In 2011, evangelicals excoriated Obama for leading from behind and not protecting Libyans from being slaughtered by Gaddafi. Then, after getting others to go first with their troops and money, evangelicals eviscerated President Obama for getting involved in Libya. Damned if he did, damned if he didn’t.
  • In 2013, when Syria erupted, President Obama sought a Congressional prescription by asking Congress to direct his actions. They refused. The GOP led Congress opted out because had they taken a position, they wouldn’t be able to change it and be on the opposite side of the President. They wanted to be on the opposite side of whatever action he took.
  • In 2010, after the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, conservatives castigated President Obama for not doing enough. They named the spill, “Obama’s Katrina.” And then…when President Obama met with BP and persuaded them to pay a $20 billion fine to execute the cleanup, a House GOP member, Joe Barton – TX, openly apologized to the CEO for the shakedown of BP by President Obama, and Rand Paul said President Obama’s criticism of the foreign company was “un-American.” Damned if he did, damned if he didn’t. Imagine the crowing Donald J. Trump would have done about his negotiating skills.
  • In 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to support President Obama’s initiative to warn the public about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. McConnell would not sign a bipartisan statement about Russia’s efforts. President Obama felt the lack of a bipartisan action would serve the Kremlin’s interest. Naturally, when the conversation emerged after the election, Republicans, conservatives, and evangelicals blamed Obama for not doing anything to warn the public about the Russian intrusion. Not just damned if he did, but obstructed, and then damned when he didn’t.

So it is with this serial conservative, GOP, and evangelical hypocrisy as a backdrop that I pen today’s post. Team Trump, which includes an amalgamation of all of the above, and then some, has the unmitigated gall and outrageous audacity to whimper, whine, and whinny that the current criticism of President Trump is unprecedented; worst than any previous president has had to endure. I do not hesitate to convey to you that such a claim fails to pass either the reasonable man (or woman) standard, or any version of a truth test. It’s just a fact-free claim; baseless and absurd on it’s face. What is clear is that…Evangelicals Have Given Trump A Mulligan: It Must Be To Infinity!

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com. Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribe, click on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.” Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

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A Distinction Without A Difference: So Not King-like!

It’s time to Break It Down!

This is another holiday week. While many may have moved on, I have chosen not to do so. Instead, I am opting to carve out a moment of reflection on a few of the ideals so appropriately notated as millions across the United States, and around the world memorialize Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. over the course of his birthday/Holiday weekend and beyond.

In reflecting on the many works of Dr. King, I decided to revisit a post I wrote and posted Wednesday, January 19, 2011, and that I reprised last year, January 18, 2017, examining the advent of the King Holiday. It’s been 32 years since the initial observance of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday (MLK DAY), and 35 years since President Reagan signed the MLK, Jr. Holiday bill into law. Now seems an apt time to take a look into the rear view mirror of time.

After over three decades of inculcation into the very fabric of our society, it may be largely forgotten that the conceptualization, submission and continual resubmission of the idea, the enactment, and the gradual national observance, was not the product of universal acceptance of a grand and enlightened concept, but rather, was emblematic of the civil rights struggle itself; steeped in controversy, and the eventual victory of a relentless movement to achieve richly deserved, and long overdue social justice.

Several members of Congress, and a number of states, and even a President, using a host of creative means, sought to undermine, outmaneuver, sabotage, subvert, and otherwise derail the efforts of the measure’s proponents. Ultimately, the movement was consolidated, snowballed, and would simply not be denied.

The effort to create a King Holiday was started by U.S. Representative John Conyers, Michigan, shortly after Dr. King’s death, in the spring of 1968. It was first introduced in the House of Representatives in 1979, but fell 5 votes short of the number for passage in the Lower Chamber.

High profile opponents to the measure included Senator Jesse Helms, NCSenator John McCain, AZ, and President Ronald Reagan. Both Senators voted against the bill, and Senator McCain publicly supported Arizona Governor Evan Mecham for his rescission of MLK Day as a State Holiday in Arizona. The campaign however, reached a critical mass in the early 1980’s. Spurred on by Stevie Wonder penning a song in King’s honor called, “Happy Birthday,” a petition drive to support the campaign would attract over 6 million signatures. It has been called the largest petition in favor of an issue in U.S. History.

Buttressed by what had become a wildly successful public campaign, Congress soon followed suit. The proposal passed in the House by a vote of 338-90, and in the Upper Chamber by a vote of 78-22. Given the dimensions of this overwhelming support, in the form of bicameral veto-proof votes, President Reagan signed the provision November 2, 1983, and it became Federal Law. The first observance under the new law took place January 20, 1986, rather than on January 15th, Dr. King’s birthday. A compromise in the legislation specified that the observance take place on the Third Monday in January, consistent with prior legislation (Uniform Monday Holiday Act).

Of course, that was not the end of the story. It would actually take more than 30 years after Dr. King’s death before the Holiday was fully adopted and observed in all 50 states. Illinois holds the distinction of being the first State to adopt MLK Day as a State Holiday, having done so in 1973. Twenty years later, in 1993, for the first time, some form of MLK Day was held in each of the 50 States. It was not until 2000 that South Carolina Governor Jim Hodges signed a bill to make MLK Day a paid holiday for State employees; giving the Palmetto State the dubious distinction of being the last of the 50 States to do so. However, Mississippi also sets itself apart by designating the Third Monday in January as a shared Holiday that honors the memory of Robert E. Lee and Dr. King…two fine southern gentlemen.

So with that extensive preamble, let’s move to the issue of the day. As you must surely know, on November 8, 2016, Americans voted, and based on Electoral College results, elected Donald J. Trump President of the United States. Three days shy of the observance of the first anniversary of his historic inauguration, one he claims to be the largest ever witnessed (despite the fact it was not), his unverified claims, outrageous tweets, and dubious comments continue to frame him in stark contrast to his recent predecessors. I will not leave that last comment hanging, without noting that while many Americans believe that is a peculiar, and often unfortunate situation, there is a certain element of our country that believes Mr. Trump is not just a good thing, but exactly what they had hoped for, and precisely what our country needs. Suffice it to say, those are individuals with whim I disagree. Vigorously!

Last week, President Trump met with at least eight other people including several Republican and one Democratic Senator, to discuss reaching a deal between Republicans and Democrats to advance legislation on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). In what sounds like a classic case of Trump being Trump, the President is alleged to have used hateful and vulgar language to describe Haiti and the 54 countries on the continent of Africa.

According to Senator Dick Durbin, D-IL, President Trump repeatedly referred to “shitholes” or “shithole countries.” After several reports that after allegedly making the comments, the President spent the evening calling friends and supporters to revel in the media response generated by the comments. The following day, after seeing how it was playing on Fox and Friends, he was prompted to revise his approach, and responded that he had said nothing derogatory about Haiti. No mention of African nations, for the record.

Two Republican Senators, Cotton and Perdue, initially said they had no recollection of the President making any such comments. A couple of days later, by the Sunday new shows, they both experienced miraculous memory recall, and amended their stories to insist they were confident the President said no such thing. Lest we view this and conclude this was just a partisan (Durbin-only) attack on the President, Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the Republicans in the room, also confirmed that Trump made the comments. He said on Monday (unlike Cotton and Perdue) his memory has not evolved.

To add another layer to the lunacy of this entire discussion, a White House official suggested the president said “shithouse” rather than “shithole.” There is a fair amount of speculation that this parsing permits the senators (Cotton and Perdue) to deny use of one word without denying the broader context.

If you thought the banter couldn’t get any wackier, you obviously lost sight of the fact this matter includes Trump. So yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee questioned the Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen. During the course of the interview, Democratic committee member Patrick Leahy asked Secretary Neilsen about her attendance at the aforementioned meeting. Before going any further, let’s stipulate Neilsen was under oath. In addition to the alleged “shithole/shithouse” comments, Trump also said (which has not been debated) we should instead be bringing in more people from Norway.

To that end, Senator Leahy asked Secretary Nielsen whether Norway was a predominantly white country. The question, of course, ties into the narrative that in addition to hateful and vulgar, this President employs a racist modus operandi. Her response, for lack of a better word, was stunning. She said:

“I actually do not know that, sir. But I imagine that is the case.”

Really! Are you serious? Yesterday in general was not Neilsen’s finest moment. She also took incoming from Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris about her claimed amnesia regarding Trump’s offensive remarks. Here’s the bottom line. That we were force-fed this ridiculousness throughout the course of the MLK Holiday Observance is a hugely sad commentary. Dr. King left us many deep and wise things to contemplate. At this moment he GOP, collectively, is elevating one above all others in my mind. It is this:

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

I suffer no illusion that Donald Trump is a friend to the cause of equality, diversity, or inclusion. Whether you label his words and actions racist (they often are) is inconsequential to me. But if you insist that you are not, but cannot find the courage to speak out when he spouts off like he did last week, you display cowardice as best, and quite possibly reveal a picture window into your own racism. I fully and completely understand the R-word is a lightening rod to which many folks instinctively default to describe as “playing the race card” when African Americans are forced to tag specific words or actions with that appellation.

In the final analysis, regardless of whether your President said “shithole,” or “shithouse,” it is but “A Distinction Without A Difference: So Not King-like!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the links: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com or http://thesphinxofcharlotte.blogspot.com. A new post is published each Wednesday. For more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post, consult the links below:

























NC General Assembly Back to the Drawing Board: Déjà Vu All Over Again

It’s time to Break It Down!

Yesterday, a Federal 3-Judge Panel struck down NC’s 13 Congressional districts because they found the map to be unconstitutionally partisan in their application. The Judges said the map violates the Equal Protection Clause, the First Amendment, and Article 1 of the Constitution.

After determining the unconstitutionality of the district map, the panel gave North Carolina roughly 3 weeks (or until January 29th) to redraw the map and file a new plan with the court so that it will be in place before the 2018-midterm elections.

Judge James A. Wynn, of the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals, authored the majority opinion. In it he wrote, “Partisan gerrymandering runs contrary to numerous fundamental democratic principles and individual rights.

North Carolina’s state Senate redistricting chairman, Ralph Hise, told Reutere News that the GOP would appeal.

Meanwhile, Dallas Woodhouse, Executive Director of the NC GOP, focused his ire at Wynn, an appointee of President Obama. As he put it:

“This is a hostile takeover of the #NCGA and legislative bodies across the US. It is incredibly disappointing that activist Judge Jim Wynn is waging a personal, partisan, war on North Carolina Republicans.”

It comes as no surprise that NC Democrats view the ruling with a different lens. To wit, the state’s Democratic Party applauded the decision. Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin issued the following statement:

“Today’s ruling is a major victory for North Carolina and people across the state whose voices were silenced by Republicans’ unconstitutional attempts to rig the system to their partisan advantage.” In addition, he called upon the legislature to draw “fair, nonpartisan maps that give North Carolina voters a voice.”

The NC General Assembly is the bicameral legislative body in the state, consisting of a House and Senate. GOP legislators hold the majority in both houses, and have enough votes to override any vetoes by the state’s Democratic Governor, Roy Cooper.

Voting in the state has been split along Party lines in recent statewide elections, such as for Governor or President. However, Republicans control 10 of the state’s 13 House seats, versus 3 for Democrats. North Carolina is currently home to the 10th largest delegation in Congress.

This is the second time in 18 months that the districts have been found unconstitutional. The panel found that while the current version got rid of racial gerrymandering (the basis for while the map was found lacking in 2016), this iteration gives Republicans decided advantages for most seats. The latest lawsuit – filed by election advocacy groups and Democrats – said the replacement for the racial gerrymander contained unlawful partisan gerrymanders. The litigants argued that GOP legislators went too far when they followed criteria designed to retain the Party’s 10-3 majority.

During the debate, according to the order, House redistricting Chief, GOP Representative David Lewis attempted to justify the criteria by saying, “I think electing Republicans is better than electing Democrats. So I drew the map to help foster what I think is better for the country.” WTH?

Pursuant to questionable nature of Mr. Lewis’ reasoning, the court rendered the following response in it’s ruling:

“We find that the General Assembly drew and enacted the 2016 plan with intent to subordinate the interests of non-Republican voters and entrench Republican control of North Carolina’s Congressional delegation. Judge Wynn, who wrote that, added, the evidence shows “the plan achieved the General Assembly’s discriminatory partisan objective.”

According to Michael Li, a redistricting expert at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice, yesterday’s ruling is the first time a federal court blocked a Congressional map because of partisan gerrymandering. However, that is not a choice the Constitution allows, the court said, in its 191-page ruling. Li went on to say that if the NC case were upheld upon appeal, it would have far-reaching implications, noting:

“The court will have signaled that there are, in fact, limits of how far you can go with partisan gerrymandering.”

It is all but a foregone conclusion that this case will eventually wend its way to the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States). In America, the nature of things political has always been arranged in a partisan order. However, since the election of President Barack Obama, the tension and intensity have been ratcheted up by the nth power. That in itself is an odd thing, given the narrative frequently spun after the November 2008 election is that we had entered something referred to as a post-racial era. Let me make this perfectly clear, we did not transform, mutate, or otherwise change to post-racial. Furthermore, it is not on the horizon. I laud “Me Too,” and the “Time’s Up” addendum that augments the movement. Both are long overdue. May the force be with them.

As for NC and our Congressional district maps, it’s a work in progress. Similar to post-racial, we are not yet there. One day, perhaps! But for now, we are here”NC General Assembly Back to the Drawing Board: Déjà Vu All Over Again!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com. Find a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribe, click on Follow in the bottom right hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.” Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

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Happy New Year: Here’s to Auld Lang Syne Redux – 2017 Edition

It’s time to Break It Down!

During this holiday week, here’s a reprised edition of “Break It Down!”

This Issue has been revised from the Break It Down post I originally conceived, created, and published December 29, 2010, and subsequently re-posted in amended formats December 28, 2011, December 31, 2014, December 30, 2015, and December 28, 1016. This is my first post of 2018, and the 549th Edition of Break It Down, which debuted August 20, 2007 on the BlogSpot platform. I migrated the principal site to WordPress August 3, 2012, approximately three weeks before the Fifth Anniversary of the blog.  You may find this and most other posts at either site.

With this post I wish you a blessed and bountiful Happy New Year.

Now, enjoy today’s blog.

The one-half fortnight between Christmas and New Year’s Day is a unique occurrence in the unfolding of the American version of the Gregorian Calendar.  It is the only instance in which the space of a mere seven days separates two major holidays. Unquestionably, the timing is propitious.  Millions of holiday travelers return home from their Christmas commemoration and revelry, just in time to get a day off to “celebrate” the New Year…and recuperate from the old, most notably their extracurricular activities, including the exploits of New Year’s Eve.

In last week’s post, I presented a re-formatted airing of my personally crafted Christmas Concert (https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2017/12/27/twelve-days-of-christmas-the-e-concert-2017-edition/) from past Noels.  This week, I doubled down and reverted to my trusty time capsule. Once again, this tack permits new readers to catch-up by seeing the piece, it allows long-time readers to reflect upon both the passing year as well as the theme lifted in the post, and finally, it ensures that those busy readers, with no time to invest in checking out a new blog during the holidays, will not have to miss anything. It’s a win, win…win!

With that loosely framed preamble behind us, here’s the déjà vu all over again:

Since we are still in the Sweet Spot of the holidays, I shall practice minimalism. For your purposes, that means the blog should be available, but not intrusive. To that end, I am taking a page from the Christmas e-concert, but going a step further. Instead of a concert, I give you a song…of reflection.

Robert Burns, a Scot, wrote a poem (Auld Lang Syne) in 1788 that has come to symbolize the spirit of mass contemplation that people around the world invoke as the clock strikes midnight, signaling not just the dawn of a new day, but of a new year. Undoubtedly, you have been somewhere, at sometime, when you joined those assembled to sing Auld Lang Syne, which loosely translated means, Times gone by.

Once again, that time is upon us. After thoughtful reflection on my 2017, I have had no choice but to conclude, my travails have been few and small, especially when compared to my blessings, which have been both abundant and vast! All praises to the one true, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient God; a mighty fortress is He.

No need to thank me for my inherent thoughtfulness. But, by all means, “Drink a cup of kindness,” or eggnog, or Champagne, or “name your favorite adult beverage,” for me. And, if you are a teetotaler, water will do nicely, thank-you!

As I complete my first post of 2018, and, prayerfully and faithfully reflect upon 2017, I leave with you this familiar Irish Toast:

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind always be at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

And rains fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

I invite you to click on the links directly below, which lead to an A cappella and a Jazz interpretation of Auld Lang Syne, arranged and performed by the late Lou Rawls (and listen to the remainder of this week’s edition of Break It Down):



It has been my unique honor and privilege to visit with you briefly for each of the 52 weeks this year. I hope you have derived a fraction of the pleasure reading the blog posts that I have experienced from preparing and providing them to you. May 2018 bring you the fulfillment of all your fondest desires. Happy New Year: Here’s to Auld Lang Syne Redux – 2017 Edition!

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the link: http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com. Find a new post each Wednesday.

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For more detailed information on a variety of aspects related to this post, consult the links below: