Election 2018: The Midterms

It’s time to Break It Down!


Consider this post a classic illustration of the aphorism “Less is more.”

The Election is next Tuesday, November 6th. Elections have consequences, VOTE…“Election 2018: The Midterms!”

That’s it, 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 inbox.



Quoth Donald Trump: “I’m A Nationalist!”

It’s time to Break It Down!

As we all know, Donald Trump is many things to many people. To those who think most highly of him, nothing that others say about him, especially those with whom they disagree, matters. That’s why for this brief post; I choose to employ his own words to impeach him.

At a campaign rally Monday in Houston, Mr. Trump declared:

“You know what I am? I’m a nationalist, OK — I’m a nationalist. Use that word.”

Undoubtedly, Trump advocates and sympathizers will endeavor to paint their hero’s remarks as patriotic. However, the term nationalist is not new to the geopolitical lexicon; nor should it ever be confused as a synonym with patriot. Charles De Gaulle (1890-1970), the French general and statesman said, long before Trump ever entered politics:

“Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first.”

I could write pages on this topic. But really, what else is there to say? Trump asked that we use that word. So I, for one, will use that word. Quoth Donald Trump: I’m A Nationalist!”

 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 inbox.





Addressing Women: A Recurring Theme

It’s time to Break It Down!

These are curious times. Nationally, we operate under the arc of a man who burnished his reputation by promising to “Make America Great Again (MAGA). He has fashioned, indelibly, his own style of doing so. The people who support him credit him with reviving the economy, making better trade deals, and of course, cutting taxes. Never mind that the economy has been steadily rebounding for at least six years, a large part of the new trade deals are revisions of the pacts that preceded them, and the tax breaks preponderantly benefited the wealthiest Americans, and contributed to a 17% increase in the Deficit, due to the resulting decrease in revenues.

But none of those things are the crux of this post. I want to briefly note the propensity of Donald to Trump to publicly denigrate women. That is not to say that all women dislike him. In fact, there are at least a couple, Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Sanders, who defend him mightily, and frequently.

Nevertheless, despite their boundlessly exuberant protestations, Mr. Trump often tends to make statements that, at the very least, lead to questioning their credulity. Here are 12 examples of his “special” way of addressing women. This list is not a top twelve, and is not in the order of occurrence. It’s just a dozen of many more:

  1. Stephanie Clifford, A.K.A. Stormy Daniels:

“Great, now I can go after Horseface and her 3rd rate lawyer in the great state of Texas,” Trump taunted in a tweet yesterday in the wake of the decision he won. “She will confirm the letter she signed! She knows nothing about me, a total con!”

  1. Alicia Machado:

He accused her of gaining too much weight after the Miss Universe competition and referred to her as “Miss Housekeeping” — a seemingly racist dig at her Venezuela roots — and “Miss Piggy.”

  1. Rosie O’Donnell:

“She announced last week that she suffers from depression,” he said during a 2007 speech. “They call me for comment and rather than saying ‘I have no comment’ or ‘isn’t that too bad, oh that’s so bad,’ I said, ‘I think I can cure her depression,’ — most of you heard of this. ‘If she stopped looking in the mirror, I think she’d stop being so depressed.”

  1. Arianna Huffington:

Trump has also targeted media executive Arianna Huffington for her outward appearance — in 2012 he called her “unattractive both inside and out.”

“I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man,” he continued. “He made a good choice.”

  1. Hillary Clinton:

Trump also seized on Clinton’s looks throughout the 2016 election and similarly claimed she did not have the right look to be president.

“I just don’t think she has a presidential look, and you need a presidential look,” he said during a Sept. 6 interview with Lester Holt. “She also doesn’t have the stamina.”

A month later at a rally in North Carolina, Trump said he “wasn’t impressed” when the former secretary of state walked in front of him during one of their debates.

  1. Heidi Cruz:

Amid the 2016 elections, Trump shared an unflattering photo of Ted Cruz’s wife alongside a photo of Melania Trump.

“A picture’s worth a thousand words,” the meme was captioned.

The insulting tweet came on the heels of an anti-Trump ad commissioned by a super PAC — not affiliated with the Cruz campaign — which shows the first lady posing nude in a shoot for GQ magazine.

  1. California Representative Maxine Waters:

“Low I.Q.”

  1. Mika Brzezinski:

“Dumb as a rock”,“Crazy”,“low I.Q.”,“bleeding badly from a face-lift”, “had a mental breakdown while talking about me”, “crazy and very dumb”, “very insecure”,“not very bright”, “neurotic”and “wild with hate”.

  1. NY Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand:

“Someone who would come to my office ‘begging’ for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them)”.

10. Then Fox News host Megan Kelly:

“Blood coming out of her wherever.”

11. Omarosa Manigault Newman:

“When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General (John) Kelly for quickly firing that dog!,” Trump wrote on Twitter, referring to his chief of staff.

12. The Billy Bush tapes:

“You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” He went on to say, “Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”

We have had 45 Presidents. Suffice it to say, we have never had one that built this kind of public record regarding his views toward women. While my inclination is to pray we never have another, I understand that not everyone will agree. And that’s OK. For now, I encourage you to reflect upon Trump…Addressing Women: A Recurring Theme!

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 inbox.



Anthony Foxx: Why I’m Joining Lyft

It’s time to Break It Down!

Yesterday, Anthony Foxx, former Charlotte Mayor, and former U.S. Secretary of Transportation, issued a statement through the online publishing platform Medium, about his reason for joining Lyft, an on-demand transportation company. Foxx, a Charlotte native, discussed how his experiences growing up in Charlotte, as well as his time as Mayor and as Secretary of Transportation, affected his decision to affiliate with the company.

Lyft, based in San Francisco, California, is a competitor to the larger Uber. It develops markets and operates the Lyft car transportation and mobile app. The entity launched June 2012, and operates is approximately 300 U.S. cities, including New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. The company provides over 1 million rides per day, and was valued at $15.1 billion in June 2018. It has raised over $5.1 billion, and in December 2017, moved into Canada to challenge Uber.

Foxx will serve as Lyft’s chief policy officer and advisor to its co-founders. He is expected to focus on developing more partnerships with governments and with reshaping mass transit systems in cities. This move speaks to the increasingly central role tech companies play in transportation. He is the first former transportation secretary to join a Silicon Valley startup, and the second prominent Obama official to join Lyft. Former senior adviser Valerie Jarrett was named to the company’s board last year.

Mr. Foxx said in his statement that the company’s mission and values drew him to the enterprise. His entire statement appears below:

“Transformations can happen quickly. Some take time. With so much talk about the growth of cities, the internet of things, the role of regulation in an era of rapid technological change, rising congestion and the need to open the doors of opportunity wider to all segments of the population, change is needed. I have spent much of my public life putting the building blocks in place for that transformation to occur. I see a future in which we get places safer, faster, smarter, cleaner and more connected to opportunity — and each other — than ever before. This future is within our grasp but it will not happen on its own. It will be the product of business and government working together. Because I believe the team at Lyft is best positioned to drive us in the right direction, I am proud to announce that I am joining their team today as Chief Policy Officer and Senior Advisor to the President and CEO.

More on that in a second.

Let me get back to transformations.

There is a transformation underway across the world and in the United States. People are increasingly flocking into cities, seeking better opportunities and quality of life. This growth is compounding the challenges of moving ever larger numbers of people within the relatively tight footprint of our urban regions. If we’re not careful, sheer population growth and slow adaptation of technologies that might otherwise relieve congestion, create more connections and increase economic access will limit our potential as a nation. There will be some trial and error. There will be some transition challenges. But the direction — safer, faster, smarter, cleaner and more connected to opportunity — and to each other — will be worth it. My belief is woven into my life experience.

Growing up in Charlotte, I rode with my grandparents on weekend trips to the grocery store. They were retired school teachers and cared for me throughout my childhood. We routinely passed by the stores closest to us because they offered moldy meats and seafood. These stores would never have attempted to open in more well-to-do parts of my hometown. So, every Saturday morning, my grandparents traveled to three grocery stores across town, one for staple foods, another for meats, fruits and vegetables and still another for fish. It does not get any more fundamental than food.

My grandfather bought used cars. He put enough gasoline in them to make the trips he needed but rarely filled the tank. The car was a necessity but it was also a cost center. We were lucky to have a car. I saw so many nearby families who did not. How much more discretionary money might my family have had if we never owned a car — if there had been a way to pay for the trips they needed instead of the car itself? How about those families I saw growing up who had no choices — not for food, not for work, not for school, not for health care? Lyft is, at its core, a transportation company. It wants to offer solutions we did not see back in those days.

As a mayor and, later, as the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, I have a unique perspective. I have made decisions on issues affecting mobility — everything from zoning and land use, to capital budgeting, to street resurfacing, to transit. As U.S. Transportation Secretary, I carried my local government experience to Washington, putting forth the Department’s first Smart City Challenge and issuing the most comprehensive national autonomous vehicle policy framework in the world. I traveled to all 50 states and lobbied for passage of the FAST Act, the first long-term transportation funding bill in a decade. These efforts required strong relationships, creativity, grit and vision. These are qualities that I also see in Logan and John — and the incredible platform they have built.

Lyft has built its brand on getting you there and caring about how you get there. The company remains at the forefront of meeting our nation’s comprehensive mobility needs, but works hard to do so in partnership with key stakeholders. They recognize the extent to which the Lyft platform can bring people together while connecting us to the places we go. They have built an amazing team, and they believe, as I do, that this work, if done well, can lead to a better world. I so look forward to working with this incredible team. Lyft is the future, and I cannot wait to get started.” The foregoing statement reflected, in his own words, “Anthony Foxx: Why I’m Joining Lyft!”

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 inbox.








Las Vegas Shooting One Year Later: Opportunity Lost!

It’s time to Break It Down!

Monday was October 1st. One year earlier, 64 year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada, opened fire on an outdoor festival in Las Vegas from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino across Las Vegas Boulevard during the closing performance by singer Jason Aldean. By the time the shooting stopped eleven minutes later, Paddock had unleashed what is considered the deadliest firearms assault in American history. Incidentally, it displaced the previous record of 49, attributed to the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting at the Pulse Night Club. The toll: 58 fatalities (including Paddock) and 527 injuries.

Paddock had spent three days in his suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Using that location as his operations center, he assembled a cache of weaponry that included at least 23 firearms (22 rifles and one handgun) inside the hotel. Some of the rifles were altered from semi-automatic to automatic, using devices known as bump stocks. Once altered, the rifles functioned with the rapid-fire action of machine guns. As police continued investigating the case, they discovered Paddock had at least 47 guns, explosives, and several thousand rounds of ammunition. Let’s not delude ourselves, or others, by saying he snapped. And…if you are an NRA member, or a hard core Republican, then by all means, let’s not even think of introducing the subject of access to firearms, or improved gun legislation into the discourse matrix, because as they have told us for decades, guns don’t kill people; (mentally disturbed) people do.

Paddock used a hammer-like object to break two windows in the suite, from which he launched repeated barrages of gunfire on unsuspecting fans at the concert. The rapidity with which the bullets rained down on the venue created a level of confusion that made it impossible for those taking fire to discern from whence the attack was emanating. If ever there was one, this is an American made tale of woe.

As I noted in this space a year ago, it may surprise some to know, I am an NRA member, a life member, in fact. I maintain an up-to-date CCP…or Concealed Carry Permit, and have qualified for, and held a permit to provide security services. I am not your prototypical “anti-gun” guy. However, I do believe easy access to firearms contributes to the health crisis that is gun violence in America.

Which more or less brings me to my point. After the Vegas tragedy, there was an audacious hue and cry for some kind of action on the gun legislation front. As is frequently the case, in the immediate wake of rampant gun violence, such as in Aurora, or Newtown, or Orlando, the national conversation is so robust, until there is a temptation to believe the discourse might lead to a change in gun laws. In the case of Las Vegas, the chief target was bump stocks.

Following the incident, Donald Trump, several members of Congress, and even the NRA mouthed support for banning bump stocks. They have one purpose; to elevate the degree of carnage that it’s possible to unleash on human beings. Yet, 367 days later, they are still legal instruments of pain and suffering. Meanwhile, we find ourselves immersed in a nationwide discussion about the fate of Brett Kavanagh, as the trio of Trump, Graham, and McConnell endeavor to explain to us how Judge Kavanagh has had his life ruined — because a Clinton conspiracy — to hold him accountable for his actions. Contemporaneously, Don, Jr. has exclaimed that in this environment, he is more concerned about the fate of his young boys, than that of his young girls…presumably because he fears it’s more likely that some woman will falsely accuse his sons, than it is that a man might attack or abuse his daughters. Just for the record, statistics belie his perception, but that’s an e conversation for another time. Conspiracy theories and alternative facts are definitely a thing (or two things) that resonate(s) repeatedly when discussing the Trumps.

The Kavanagh imbroglio is certainly worth its own space. It’s a weighty matter in its own right, and the outcome could alter the trajectory of SCOTUS decisions for decades. I hope it is resolved in an appropriate way. In a way that renders the least onerous outcome on all of us. But in terms of today’s subject, it is another distraction.

I am fond of noting, elections have consequences. And they do. Enormous consequences. The Las Vegas shooting created a dynamic that could have led to altering the landscape of the acquisition of some of the most dangerous and destruction-causing firearms accessories available to man. There are many considerations worth being mindful of as we approach November 6TH, Election Day. I submit to you, few are more important than electing people who exhibit the courage to take on the gun lobby. Let me be clear, gun legislation is not a magic bullet. In a land with way more than 300 million firearms, more guns than people by most estimates, new legislation will not make the carnage disappear. Howsumever, It could very well be a step in the right direction. In a logic-driven world, Rule #1 is, if you find yourself in a hole, cease and desist digging! Post haste.

Banning bump stocks won’t take a single existing device out of circulation. What it will do is stop adding to the plethora of mechanical accelerants for semi-automatic rifles. That will not be the end of the story. But it could be step 1 in curbing mass violence. That one act could stand as a poignant memorial to the 58 lives lost, and the 527 men and women wounded by Stephen Paddock. On this day, a year ago, it looked as though that was not too much to ask. However, as we turn to the arbiter of hindsight, we are left with the stark and challenging realityLas Vegas Shooting One Year Later: Opportunity Lost!” Can we engage and change that narrative?

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 inbox.