Earth Day Is 50: We Are Here!

It’s time to Break It Down!

Today is Earth Day. On this, the 50th Anniversary Observance of the occasion, I opted to take a break from politics, coronavirus, and sports, even The Last Dance, the epic ESPN documentary miniseries focusing on Michael Jordan’s last season with the Bulls (1997-98). I can’t promise that I won’t eventually write about the series. But not today.

Earth Day is an annual reminder of our integral connection to nature, plants, the land, the sea, ecology, and our overarching environment. As humans we have an immutable interdependence with the earth, but also a legacy of responsibility to treat it with care and respect, as the condition in which we bequeath it to our descendants is among the greatest of gifts we will leave behind.

If there is one message that defines the essence of Earth Day, it’s we have but one planet; take care of it. There are a number of ways people tend to express their commitment to our collective home on Earth Day, including:

  • Picking up litter
  • Planting trees
  • Recycling
  • Repurposing
  • Taking a walk or jog in a park or along a greenway
  • Buying an electric vehicle
  • Building to green standards

The trend is to identify a specific theme for elevating, each year, on Earth Day. The theme or area of focus for 2020 is Climate Action. The norm has been to execute projects related to the theme, such as, river cleanups, or carrying out adopt-a-highway projects. This year, due to COVID-19, we are presented with an array of special challenges in commemorating Earth Day. Because practicing social distancing is currently in vogue, and many of us are under stay-at-home orders, Earth Day 2020 is primarily a digital enterprise. There will be numerous virtual events today, like environmental lectures. To find a catalogue of local events, visit earthday.org.

To be clear, social distancing does not mean you’re prohibited from going outside and enjoying nature. Just do so, responsibly. Nature has not been canceled.

In the beginning. The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970, with the goal of raising awareness about mankind’s role in protecting our natural world. On this date, 20 million Americans ventured outside and protested in favor of a more eco-conscious society.

While it may be difficult for some people to fathom, at that time many of us were unaware of some serious environmental issues—from air pollution, to toxic waste dumps, to pesticides, to degradation and loss of wilderness lands. Many more people are aware today, but there are also a sizable number of people who deny the significance of human activities in producing negative consequences. That last sentiment deserves a post of its own. Perhaps, another time.

Senator Gaylord Nelson, (D-WI), and activist John McConnell, separately asked Americans to join in the grassroots demonstration. McConnell originally chose the spring equinox (March 21, 1970) and Nelson chose April 22, which ended up becoming the official celebration date. Given that the date of the spring equinox changes over time, it could have made things more complicated to go with that date.

Without question, Earth Day started as a political movement. While it is almost certainly part of a partisan tableau, today, it has gained popularity in many communities as a force to rally folks to gather and clean up litter, plant trees, or to simply reflect on the beauty of nature. As the great poet/balladeer, Marvin Gaye put it…https://youtu.be/uxMRgponxD0

Earth Day is always celebrated on April 22nd. Earth Day Is 50: We Are Here!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the linkhttp://thesphinxofcharlotte.comFind a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribeclick 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.

Consult the links below for more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post:

https://www.almanac.com/content/earth-day-date-activities-history

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_Day

https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/earth-day

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2020/04/22/earth-day-is-50-we-are-here/

 

 

Donald Asked, Where’s Obama: President Obama Responded

It’s time to Break It Down!

For months now, when he has not been otherwise occupied by the morass of impeachment, staggering, stressful, and often controversy-laden episodes of his own making, or the perils of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Trump has been posing inquiries regarding the whereabouts of the 44th President, one Barack Obama. In his own uniquely devilish and condescending way, everything about Trump’s repeated attempts to bait an off the cuff, or elseways unscheduled reaction, or response from #44 was the very antithesis of the reserved nature of both the Obama Doctrine, and the man himself.

President Obama had stated, long before there was a campaign to determine the Democratic nominee for Election 2020, that he would not publicly weigh in until the intraparty battle was resolved. No one knew this better than Donald Trump. But, as we know, needling his perceived adversaries is as much a part of the Trump persona as his penchant for hyperbole, “truthful,” or otherwise. His spinmeisters would probably say it’s a strategy. The truth, more likely is, he can’t help himself. It’s a behavioral pattern rooted in the fabric of his DNA. In either case, it had zero chance of altering the course of how…and when the former President would initiate his engagement in campaign activities.

Actually, check that. To be fair, the how was, undoubtedly, quite a bit different than initially envisioned. Absent the coronavirus pandemic, the rollout, most certainly, would have entailed a huge rally, probably with a number of the former Democratic candidates, including Senator Sanders, and of course, Obama and Biden. But that particular dynamic was changed not due to Trump’s berating, chiding, or impudence, but because the new now, as opposed to new normal, dictated by social distancing practices and stay-at-home orders, required it.

On Monday, Senator Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign activities, and endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden. Pursuant to that action, In an altogether anticipated move, President Obama followed-up yesterday with his Biden endorsement. Mr. Obama spoke warmly of his former VP, and friend, cast him as someone who gets things done, and who helped manage H1N1, and prevent the Ebola epidemic from becoming the kind of pandemic we are seeing now with COVID-19. He did this without mentioning Trump by name, of course. Nevertheless, in view of Trump’s constant badgering and goading, it’s fair to say, we’ve reached the point when the appropriate phraseology is “Game-on!”

Having vanquished Secretary Clinton four years ago, there is probably nothing in the political realm that would energize Mr. Trump more than the chance to take down Biden, armed, as Mrs. Clinton was, with Barack Obama’s imprimatur. A win in November, though not a one-on-one with Obama, would surely suffice, by Trump’s accounting, as having attained the full set. What could be more satisfying?

As Trump hastens to put the pandemic behind him and restart the economy, he longs to regain what he had imagined would be the equivalent of Thor’s Hammer, to bludgeon his way to victory. If there is one thing, he is well aware of, it’s that a hot economy is the elixir that smooths the way for incumbents to secure re-election. He had bragged more about his having rebuilt the economy than almost anything, except, perhaps his robust ratings, Super Bowl-like, he has recently called them.

That’s enough for now. I expect between now and November, there will be plenty of opportunities to reflect on the 2020 race. This post was meant to establish that we now have identified the principals. All of Trump and the GOP/conservatives’ speculating about Bernie, Bloomberg, Cuomo, et.al., can be put to rest now. Trump’s dream match-up appears to have materialized.

Democrats still have to figure out how to solve the challenge of coalescing. Republicans are already solidly lined up to back their heroic (to hear them tell it) champion. The key question at the moment is when and if the campaign will take on a sense of normalcy, complete with rallies, debates, arenas filled with conventioneers, and the other trappings of a Presidential Election Year.

All that remains to be sorted out. What we know is, “Donald Asked, Where’s Obama: President Obama Responded!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the linkhttp://thesphinxofcharlotte.comFind a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribeclick 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.

Consult the links below for more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oniBaMFmBM0

https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/14/politics/obama-endorses-biden/index.html

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2020/04/15/donald-asked-wheres-obama-president-obama-responded/

From Outhouse To Penthouse: ‘Hoos Win – Reprised

It’s time to Break It Down!

Who knows? It’s a couple of days after the previously scheduled Final Four, which was slated for The Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta a couple of nights ago. My wife and I had planned to be there. It may not have lived up to the hype. It could have paled in comparison to last year’s event. But, had it been nearly as exciting and even half as entertaining as last year’s quartet of teams and trio of games, I would almost surely have written about it for today’s post. But, since COVID-19 intervened, and the entire NCAA Tourney was canceled four weeks ago, alas, that option is not available.

So, as the title above confirmed, I am re-posting my recollections and impressions from last year’s festivities. One final coda to acknowledge my affinity for hoops, and to denote how much I missed the staging of the Final Four, and determining the Last Team Standing.

Who Knew? The 2019 rendering of “One Shining Moment,” honoring the Wahoos of UVA will stand another year. One final word to underscore just how unusual the situation is this year. The NCAA began crowning Men’s Division I Tournament Champions in Evanston, IL, in 1939. Since that time, venues across the Continental U.S. from Los Angeles to  New York, to Seattle to Charlotte, and numerous points in between have hosted the Tourney. One thing had remained clockwork consistent. Until this year, never-ever had there been a cancellation. Well, now we can scratch that off the “It Never-Happened” List! For the record, next year’s finale is scheduled for Indianapolis. Enjoy the reprised post.

OK, it’s Wednesday, April 10th and the CIAA, ACC, and NCAA Basketball Tournaments are history. But before I turn the page, I’ve got a few final observations to make about the NCAA Final Four.

First, to the University of Virginia Cavaliers, their students, alumni and fans, Final Four Most Outstanding Player, Kyle Guy, and Coach Tony Bennett, congratulations on winning the 2019 NCAA College Basketball Division-I Championship! All praise coming your way, for this signal achievement is richly deserved. Moreover, your 85-77 victory in the Title Game stands as an Instant Classic.

From the agony of being the first #1 Seed to be ousted by the University of Maryland Baltimore County (affectionately known as UMBC), a lowly #16 Seed last year, Virginia completed the ultimate NCAA college hoops comeback by being the last team standing, triumphantly so, when the confetti settled and the speakers in the makeshift US Bank (Stadium) Arena blared the 2019 edition of “One Shining Moment.”

A year ago at about this time, I decided since I’d never attended a Men’s Final Four, I would enter the ticket lottery and roll the dice. When I received confirmation last June that I’d scored two tickets, my wife and I were set. The only question remaining was whether my beloved Tar Heels would be accompanying us.

Alas, despite the regular season hype, and the early Tournament anticipation of an ACC/Tobacco Road cataclysmic Battle of the Titans between Duke, and North Carolina, the Heels made it only as far as the Sweet 16, where their hopes and dreams were dashed on a Friday Night in Kansas City by a sizzling hot Auburn squad that dismantled and dismissed them handily in what would become their own run to the Final Four.

As it turned out, erstwhile devastating Duke would have its own issues. First, they escaped a last second tip in attempt as Krzyzewski protégé Johnny Dawkins’ University of Central Florida fought valiantly, but lost by a point, as the Blue Devils advanced to the Sweet 16. Then, in an ACC family affair, Duke faced Virginia Tech for the third time, after having split during the regular season. Duke won the rubber match, and advanced, but only after VA Tech missed its own tip in at the buzzer for a chance to send the game into overtime. However, as we know, a win, is a win, is a win.

After having demonstrated Houdini-like resilience in two successive games, I made myself comfortable with the notion that Zion and Company were fated, and poised to claim the Title. However, the Spartans of Michigan State University had other ideas, and ultimately, would have their say in the matter. In their third nail-biter in a row, College Basketball’s 2018-19 version of The Greatest Show on Earth faltered, as MSU prevailed, winning by a single point in their Elite 8 contest. So much for a Duke-Carolina Title tilt!

Moving ahead, this year’s setting for the Final Four was US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The successful quartet included Auburn University (Charles Barkley), Michigan State University (Magic Johnson), Texas Tech University (Patrick Mahomes), and the University of Virginia (Ralph Sampson). Yeah, I know Mahomes is a football player, but here is where I confess I don’t know any prominent Texas Tech alums who made their mark in the NBA. Besides, those four guys were actually at the Final Four.

Speaking of the NBA, while in the Twin Cities, we also took in two Timberwolves games at the Target Center. Saw them play the Miami Heat (Dwayne Wade’s last Minneapolis appearance as an NBA player) Friday night, and the Oklahoma City Thunder Sunday afternoon. The T-wolves bested the Heat, but fell to the Thunder. In total, we saw 5 games ( 3 college and 2 NBA) in 4 days. We did all this, and still managed to escape Minneapolis-St. Paul ahead of a projected snow storm that could deliver up to 12-inches of frozen precipitation to the area.

Back at US Bank, two of the four teams, Auburn and Texas Tech, had never advanced to a Final Four. A third, Virginia, had never made it to the Title Game. Of the four, only the Spartans of Michigan State had previously appeared in and/or won a Title Game. The Spartans claimed the Trophy in 1979, in the famous Magic-Bird match-up, and again in 2000, with a squad lead by Mateen Cleaves.

The first semi-final game featured SEC Champion Auburn’s fast-pasted offensive juggernaut facing off against ACC Regular Season Champion Virginia, buoyed by its stalwart #1 ranked defense and a much improved, but often underrated offense. The game was a back and forth contest with a high drama ending. With Auburn leading 62-60, an Auburn player fouled Kyle Guy with 0.6 seconds remaining. Complicating matters for the Tigers, the shot, even though he missed it, was a three-point attempt.

Undoubtedly, by now, you know what happened next. Despite Bruce Pearl calling a timeout after Guy’s first two free throws, hoping to ice the shooter, Guy swished the third attempt, just as he did the first two shots. For all practical purposes, game over. In fact, the game, 0.6 seconds remaining, notwithstanding, was over. Final score, Virginia 63, Auburn 62.

In a 20/20 hindsight world, Samir Doughty would have assumed a stout hands in the air defensive stance, and made Guy hit or miss a tough shot and trust his teammates to corral the rebound. If he made the shot, congratulate him on hitting an acrobatic game winner. If he missed, celebrate Auburn’s win with his sure to have been exultant teammates. But college basketball isn’t played in hindsight. And in real time, Kyle Guy may have lost the battle (missed the shot), but he won the war (and the game), nailing a trifecta of foul shots to transform a two point Wahoo deficit into a one point lead with less than a second remaining, and Auburn needing to traverse the 93 feet length of the court and score in 0.6 seconds or less. Uh, game over.

In Saturday night’s second semi-final contest, Texas Tech, with its #3 ranked defense squared off against perennial Big 10 Power, Michigan State. It was another game in which the momentum and the lead swung back and forth. With less than 3 minutes remaining and Texas Tech clinging to a 52-51 lead, the young men from Lubbock dug in and leveraged the phase of the game that had kept them relevant all year. Defense!

They held the Spartans scoreless for the remainder of the game, while they went on to add 9 points to their own total. With that 61-51 victory, they launched themselves into Monday night’s Title Game. The combatants were set, Virginia, from the ACC, and Texas Tech, from the Big 12; marking both teams’ first Title Game appearance.

Monday night’s matchup between Texas Tech and Virginia pitted two of the top three defensive teams in the country against one another. Virginia allowed opponents only 55.5 points per game. Texas Tech was not far behind, allowing only 58.8 points per game. Only the Wolverines of the University of Michigan separated the two, barely edging the Red Raiders, allowing opponents 58.3 points per contest.

Here in Minneapolis there was an ever so slight Texas Tech vibe. Largely, I think, it was a root for the underdog kind of thing. Although, as we were taking the Blue Line Train back to our hotel after the Title Game, I did hear one local say he had pulled for Texas Tech “because of the stigma associated with Charlottesville.” The reference, of course, was to the Unite The Right Rally, which featured neo-Nazi and alt-right protests, and which resulted in counter protests on August 11th and 12th, 2017. There were any number of infamously memorable events that weekend in Charlottesville, including white men in Khakis and sports shirts chanting Jews will not replace us, two law enforcement officers killed in a helicopter crash, and the President of the United States asserting, “There are very fine people on both sides.” Even with all that, perhaps the incident that gained the most notoriety was James Alex Fields, Jr. running into a crowd of counter protesters with his car, killing activist Heather Heyer on August 12th.

Of course, I’m not a yahoo fan, but I don’t hold the events of that weekend against UVA students and/or student athletes. That’s a narrative with a host of sources, but the UVA Family is not one of them…in my humble opinion. But I digress.

Back to the Title Game, my own assessment is that while they were both stellar defending teams, Virginia probably had just a little too much offense. As it turned out, for 40 minutes, it was a draw, as the two teams played to a 68-68 tie, and overtime. For those who were rooting for Texas Tech, if you quickly revisit the world of 20/20 hindsight, two plays should standout. The first, with halftime nearing, and the score tied 29-all, Virginia with the ball, Ty Jerome found himself all alone at the 3-point line. Predictably, soon afterward, the ball joined him. In the blink of an eye, shot taken, shot made, halftime, UVA up three. Remember that sequence!

With Texas Tech leading 68-65, with 14 seconds left, the ball found De’Andre Hunter alone in the corner. Déjà vu all over again! With no closeout in sight, Hunter squared up and casually sank a 3, tying the game, and ultimately leading to OT. In hindsight, in both instances, the defense should have forced a contested two, rather than giving up an open 3. In any event, after having witnessed, and survived the halftime dagger, both Texas Tech’s coaches and their players should have insisted on creating a different response (and hopefully a vastly distinct and discernibly dissimilar outcome) at the end of the game. But…that’s the difference between hindsight and real time. After trailing briefly, Virginia took command during the overtime period, and went on to win with minimal stress, and little apparent resistance in the extra period.

As is often the case, some folks will second-guess the officiating. I’ve been known to look askance at a call or two here and there, myself. Others will suggest the Wahoos were simply lucky. Carolina fans, think Dean Smith’s Heels in 1982 when Georgetown’s Fred Brown mistakenly threw the ball to James Worthy instead of a fellow Hoya, and again in 1993 when Michigan’s Chris Webber called a timeout when he and his Wolverine cohorts did not have any. People who default to those “what ifs” fail to take into account a couple of key considerations. In both cases, Carolina was ahead at the moment of the ill-timed miscues. Therefore, both teams would have had to design and execute a play (remember UM had no timeouts), take…and make…a shot, score, and prevent Carolina from doing the same thing. No sure thing in either case.

By the way, next year’s Final Four is in the ATL. I’m just saying. But again, I digress. This is about Virginia…and Texas Tech.

At the end of the day, it is my opinion that the team that was the best team in the country all year long won the tournament. Duke did beat them twice, of course, but as I mentioned earlier, Duke had its own issues. The Cavs were stout on both sides of the ball, refused to fold under pressure, survived, advanced, and withstood whatever their opponents threw at them. They executed a perfect fairytale ending, including making clutch free throws, three on one possession to seal Saturday night’s game, and 14 in a row down the stretch Monday night in the second half and overtime to secure the Title. They also played enough defense to weather the storm both nights. “From Outhouse To Penthouse: ‘Hoos Win – Reprised!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the linkhttp://thesphinxofcharlotte.comFind a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribeclick 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.

Consult the links below for more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaab/2019/04/08/texas-tech-virginia-live-updates-ncaa-tournament-title-game/3404447002/?src=rss

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ncaa-championship-final-2019-virginia-beat-texas-tech-overtime-85-77win-first-ncaa-tournament-national-college-title/

https://sports.yahoo.com/virginia-completes-redemption-story-edges-texas-tech-in-ot-for-national-title-034918062.html

https://www.si.com/college-basketball/2019/04/08/virginia-wins-national-championship-overtime-deandre-hunter-texas-tech-march-madness-recap

http://www.espn.com/espn/wire?section=ncb&id=26472427

https://www.ncaa.com/news/basketball-men/article/2019-04-08/virginia-texas-tech-score-cavaliers-win-ncaa-title-ot

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2019/04/10/from-outhouse-to-penthouse-hoos-win/

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2020/04/08/from-outhouse-to-penthouse-hoos-win-reprised/

 

He’s Lying To You, And You Know It: You May Not care, But You Know!

It’s time to Break It Down!

For several years now, I’ve known, and repeatedly said, we’ve reached a point in this country wherein the chasm separating the left and the right is deep…and wide. It’s been a long time since we were this divided. So long ago, the terms left, and right were not even in vogue as the language that defined our political and ideological differences. It’s been at least half a century since the height of the Civil Rights Movement, and even longer since the Jim Crow era was pervasive, and even longer than that since lynching was the order of the day.

Despite the contentiousness that is subject to jump off at the mere mention of things political in gatherings of mixed ideological leanings, I still delve into those conversations. Undoubtedly, far more frequently than many deem prudent, or rational. There are a number of reasons I could proffer, but the one salient notation I’ll mention is my perplexity arising from what strikes me as the irreconcilable disconnects between what conservatives say and do now, versus what so many of them maintained, right up to the day Trump was elected.

Actually, that single point warrants a dissertation of its own, but that is not the point I am choosing to elucidate today. No, today’s post, the subject of which is prominently etched at the top of the page, is all about the distinction between Donald Trump’s claims and his actions, vis-à-vis COVID-19. My thesis is a segment of the public has been hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray, run amuck, and flat out deceived. Others…don’t care, actually feel they benefit from the discordant direction Trump foments, and a few , flatly revel in it. I fully intend to prove, at least the former, by using a simple tool; Mr. Trump’s own words.

Rising to the top of the political heap in the U.S. brings with it a lot of perks. POTUS is considered by some to be the most powerful position in the world. Technically, that’s probably not true, but the person in that position is by most accounts, the leader of the most powerful nation on earth. In all likelihood, the most powerful person in the world, is some dictator, or autocrat, who singularly controls all or most of a country’s levers of power. But that too, if there is a debate, is an argument for another day. The flip side of all those perks, is being POTUS brings with it an unrelenting spotlight, and good, bad, or indifferent, the capturing for the record of one’s every word, certainly every word on the public record, and as many have learned, quite a few words that were not necessarily intended for public consumption.

Mr. Trump has long been a media maven. For this discussion, I will refer only to his on the record, in front of the media (a far as we can tell, on of his favorite positions), comments.

Earlier this week, CNN’s Jim Acosta asked Trump about some of his previous comments playing down the coronavirus.

In his best Trumpian response, Mr. Trump replied:

“If you look at those individual statements, they’re all true. Stay calm, it will go away. You know it — you know it is going away, and it will go away, and we’re going to have a great victory.”

Chris Cillizza, a CNN Analyst leans into The New York Times’ amazing timeline of Trump’s statements on coronavirus as the framework for comparing and contrasting Trump’s remarks from the beginning of the outbreak until now, which Trump maintains, haven’t changed.

* In late January, Trump, in an interview with CNBC, said this: “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.” The US did not, in fact, have it totally under control. As of Tuesday morning, there were almost 161,000 confirmed cases in the United States and 3,000 deaths.

* In early February, Trump told Sean Hannity this: “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.” He had not, in fact, “shut it down.” Again, almost 161,000 confirmed cases in the United States and 3,000 deaths.

* In late February, Trump said this of the number of coronavirus cases in the US: “We’re going down, not up. We’re going very substantially down, not up.” That was, and is, not true. One week ago, the US had 52,000 confirmed cases. This morning we had almost 161,000.

* In mid-March, Trump said this: “This is a very contagious virus. It’s incredible. But it’s something we have tremendous control of.” We did not have “tremendous control” of the virus. See above.

Now there are of course, many more examples. I won’t insult your intelligence by presuming you fail to get the point. I’m certain you do. To coin a phrase, it trumps ridiculous for Mr. Trump to claim with a straight face that every “individual statement” he made about COVID-19 was (or is) true. One would hope, I know I certainly do, that Trump supporters and non-Trump supporters alike (even though that chasm, as aforementioned, is deep and wide) would find themselves unable to draw that conclusion, based upon the evidence. It is simply, logically impossible.

Now was there a method to his madness? Almost certainly!

In January, in February, and even early in March, he was downplaying the virus because:

  • He wanted it not to be that bad
  • He didn’t want people to freak out, because the economy, on which his campaign is based, would tank

Evidence?

As Trumps said to Acosta:

“The statements I made are I want to keep the country calm; I don’t want panic in the country. I could cause panic much better than even you. I could do much — I would make you look like a minor league player.”

The thing is though, Trump’s attempts to undersell the virus to the public had real-world consequences — including a very slow start to testing for the virus in this country and our current shortages on masks and ventilators. (Doubt it? Read this Times piece: “The Lost Month: How a Failure Test Blinded the U.S. to COVID-19.”)

Now, Trump is being Trump, doing now what he always does about everything: Attempting to rewrite history so that it looks like he was always the smartest guy in the room, the one person who saw this all coming from a mile away.

Evidence? Check out his March 17th about-face:

“I’ve always known this is a real — this is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”

The temptation is to call that what it is, straight up hot bovine excrement. For the purposes of this post, I’ll instead resort to factchecker’s prose. “That statement is, of course, demonstrably untrue.”

Naturally, we all know, Donald Trump doesn’t care. Habit and history have established that if he simply repeats the story, he wants to be true, plenty of people will follow his lead.

He will blame Democrats, or he’ll blame the media, or he’ll blame both…for twisting his words or making thing up. Remember that he is the guy who said this out loud: “Stick with us. Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news. … What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”

Yesterday, Mitch McConnell alleged impeachment diverted Trump’s attention from coronavirus. While I don’t doubt he spent a considerable amount of time and energy ensuring that none of his associates and subordinates testified against him, I do question whether he spent any more time doing that than he did holding rallies and playing golf:

Rally Dates:

January 9th

January 14th

January 28th

January 30th

February 10th

February 19th

February 20th

February 21st

February 28th

 

Golfing Dates:

January 18th

January 19th

February 1st

February 15th

March 7th

March 8th

For the record, impeachment by the way, ended February 5th.

But if the truth still matters, know this. The truth is that Trump repeatedly downplayed the threat coronavirus posed to the country, providing Americans with false hope when they needed candor and transparency most of all.

At the end of the day, He’s Lying to You, And You Know It: You May Not Care, But You Know!”

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.

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

https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/31/politics/donald-trump-coronavirus/index.html

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/mcconnell-says-trump-impeachment-trial-distracted-federal-government-as-coronavirus-entered-us

https://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/mcconnell-impeachment-diverted-attention-coronavirus-69898707

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2020/04/01/hes-lying-to-you-and-you-know-it-you-may-not-care-but-you-know/

 

 

Business As Usual: Is That Really The Way To Go?

It’s time to Break It Down!

So, a certain Senator from Kentucky chose to be tested for COVID-19 last week, reportedly March 16th. After testing, Senator Rand Paul opted not to self-quarantine. He chose not to because, as he said:

“I did not quarantine while awaiting a coronavirus test because I did not meet the criteria for quarantine. In fact, I did not meet the current criteria for even being tested, much less quarantined.

I have not had an encounter with anyone that health officials recommended quarantining or testing.

I took the test because my wife and I had traveled extensively during the weeks prior to COVID-19 social distancing practices, and I am at a higher risk for serious complications from the virus due to having part of my lung removed seven months ago.

I did attend Louisville’s Speed Art Museum charity ball on March 7. Unlike the other Kentucky government officials there, I had zero contact or proximity with either of the two individuals who later announced they were positive for COVID-19. The event was a large affair of hundreds of people spread throughout the museum.”

As a consequence, between the time he was tested, and getting his test result, the Senator continued to cast votes on the Senate floor. He made a speech, met and lunched with other GOP senators, worked out in Senate gym and was spotted in the Senate swimming pool. After learning Paul was infected, two senators self-quarantined, a Virginia golf club cleaned and disinfected its facilities, and fellow members of Congress were furious that Paul didn’t act more responsibly.

Given all the caveats the Senator provided to qualify his actions as standard acceptable behavior, it’s a wonder he even chose to be tested. Moreover, given that he did, and as difficult as tests allegedly were to come by for normal, non-celebrity individuals and officials; with all those reasons not to be concerned, it might even beg the question why he was able to get a test in the first place. But, as a couple of my favorite video comedians are fond of saying, “that’s irrelevant.” I digress.

The point is, this situation highlights the fact that, as I told an ardent Trump supporter, and in this case at least, an avid Rand Paul advocate, either the Senator is disbelieving of the scientific evidence regarding the potential impact of catching and sharing the virus, or he didn’t care. Perhaps both. I don’t know whether either or both apply, but if it’s neither, he opted for an exceptionally peculiar way to demonstrate it during these times, which I think most would agree, are by no means normal.

Earlier in the month, Senator Paul distinguished himself by being the only senator to vote against a bipartisan $8.3 billion bill intended to help fight the outbreak, which included money for states and local communities to fight the virus as well as funds for public agencies to invest in vaccines, tests and treatments. Last week, he was one of eight senators to vote against the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The legislation expanded paid sick leave, provided for free testing, and enabled recipients to receive additional food and unemployment assistance.

The Senator had been a critic of his fellow Senators for leaning on “spending” to combat the spread of the Coronavirus, as he advocated for alternative plans. Of course, Senator Paul is no stranger to going it alone. He is the scion of Ron Paul, long time Republican, 10-year Libertarian, a former Texas Congressman, who was also known to be dogmatic and unyielding, and who has flatly suggested, and I quote:

“People should ask themselves whether this coronavirus “pandemic” could be a big hoax, with the actual danger of the disease massively exaggerated by those who seek to profit – financially or politically – from the ensuing panic.”

Rand Paul is the first Senator to test positive for the virus. There are those who see irony in this, due to the fact he voted twice against Coronavirus relief bills. Senator Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said after Paul’s announcement, he would be self-quarantining, since he sat next to Paul “for extended periods in recent days.”

When the Senator released a statement Monday afternoon, defending his actions, some believed it carried an even greater sense of irony. In addition to the comments noted earlier, after saying he thought it “was highly unlikely” he would test positive, he went on to add:

“Perhaps it is too much to ask that we simply have compassion for our fellow Americans who are sick or fearful of becoming so. “Thousands of people want testing. Many, like David Newman of The Walking Dead, are sick with flu symptoms and are being denied testing. This makes no sense.”

Given his own actions, that statement sounds somewhat devoid of self-awareness. So much so that perhaps we should wonderBusiness As Usual: Is That Really the Way to GO?”

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.

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

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/todaysdebate/2020/03/24/coronavirus-rand-paul-public-leaders-failing-editorials-debates/2901852001/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/todaysdebate/2020/03/24/rand-paul-why-no-quarantine-after-getting-tested-editorials-debates/2912183001/

https://time.com/5807989/senator-rand-paul-coronavirus/

https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/local/2020/03/22/what-to-know-about-rand-pauls-positive-coronavirus-test/2895147001/

http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/march/16/the-coronavirus-hoax/

https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/2020/03/22/reactions-rand-pauls-positive-coronavirus-test/2895113001/

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2020/03/25/business-as-usual-is-that-really-the-way-to-go/

Trump’s 180 Degrees Conversion: And His Total Compulsively Reflexive Denial

It’s time to Break It Down!

Slowly, surely, inexorably! Months ago, I established that three-word sobriquet as my personal working title for the period of history that we will one day deem to have been the Trump era. Yes, it’s a longer title, but it is also inordinately more descriptive. Precisely, of what is it illustrative, you may ask?

I’m glad you inquired. It presents a graphically detailed summation of the stages through which much of the American citizenry must transport itself, before it sees clearly the metaphorical house of cards that is the Trump administration.

According to the Washington Post Fact Checker, by the 1,095th day of Donald Trump’s administration, January 19, 2020, he had uttered 16,241 false or misleading claims. I have previously referenced Mr. Trump’s propensity to deal in non-truths, as cited by a number of fact-checking organizations. Said enterprises explain that they do not simply refer to each and every one of these extraordinary number of falsehoods as lies because they cannot rightfully discern that he intended to mislead, versus he simply doesn’t know any better. Rather than quibble, I’m OK with that. Even if one is described as having uttered false and misleading statements, the bottom line is the statements were other than truthful. I think the point is clear.

Last week I penned a post that I think most would agree was timely, speaking about the serious nature of COVID-19. I characterized it as, among other things, “a serious matter.” The Coronavirus is now in all 50 states.

Since that time, the NBA halted its season, at least temporarily, most D-I athletic conferences scrapped their basketball tournaments, the NCAA cancelled March Madness, the start of Major League Baseball was delayed, along with a host of other sports world cancellations and suspensions. Moreover, a number of state and local governments have issued closures, and the Stock Market lost virtually all the gains made during the 3-plus years of the Trump Administration. But all of that pales in comparison to the tectonic plate shifting news that Donald Trump held a press conference Monday afternoon during which he acknowledged or conceded, with regard to COVID-19:

  • The situation is bad
  • The virus is not under control
  • The country might be heading into a recession
  • America may not get back to normal until mid-summer
  • We need to implement specific guidelines, including social distancing
  • Parents should engage in schooling their children from home when possible
  • We should all avoid discretionary travel & eating in restaurants

In other words, you might say, he characterized the situation as “a serious matter.”

He had never, and I mean n-e-v-e-r, before said any of those things publicly, since the onset of the virus having reached our shores. His most decisive and noteworthy action related to the matter before Monday was the imposing of travel restrictions on China. So, what had he done to convey his lack of conviction that COVID-19 was an issue of critical importance and imminent danger? To tick off a few, from January through last week, he claimed repeatedly:

  • He had the virus under control
  • The number of cases would go down, not up
  • The virus might disappear, through a miracle, or something of the sort
  • The virus might vanish by April, with warmer weather
  • The media and Democrats were overhyping the situation
  • This is their new hoax
  • No, not at all (In response to an inquiry as to whether he was worried about a pandemic)

An old, but wisdom-laden bromide is “never look a gift horse in the mouth.” To wit, I’m happy to report the change in tenor in Trump’s posture. It was late, but it could have been never. Late is hella better than never.

Undoubtedly, there are some, who, at the very least, wonder what on earth could prompt such a fundamental shift in posture and attitude by such a big-brained stable genius of a guy, who knows more than generals, meteorologists, scientists, Popes and Potentates? Combined! Well, through a lot of Trump watching, and a little bit of reading, I have a few ideas. CNN reported that officials and those close to Trump Monday and yesterday pointed to the following:

  1. Plummeting markets
  2. Economic data from China showing a devastating impact on growth
  3. New statistical models showing millions of Americans could die
  4. Private and public urging from his allies to adopt a more serious tone
  5. An about-face and new urgency from Jared Kushner
  6. At least 3 Mar-a-Lago guests having possibly spread the disease
  7. The influence and truth-telling of Dr. Anthony Fauci

On Tuesday Mr. Trump was asked about his change in tone. His response; predictable. He maintained his tone hadn’t changed much at all. In response to a query on the subject, he said:

“I mean, I have seen that, where people actually liked it. But I didn’t feel different. I’ve always known, this is a real — this is a real — this is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic. All you had to do was look at other countries…no, I’ve always viewed it as very serious. It was no difference yesterday from days before. I feel the tone is similar, but some people said it wasn’t.”

OK, now that I’ve stopped LMAOROTFLOL, I can continue. As I remind others all the time, we know who and with what we are dealing. It would be imprudent to expect otherwise. Indeed, this was simply another effort to spin those not paying attention, and, I suppose, to reassure those who’s mantra is, “In Trump We Trust.” Either way, it’s a dense hot mass of bovine excrement. But you already know. “Trump’s 180 Degrees Conversion: And His Total Compulsively Reflexive Denial!”

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.

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

https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/17/politics/fact-check-trump-always-knew-pandemic-coronavirus/index.html

https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/17/politics/donald-trump-coronavirus-response-messaging/index.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/trump-claims-database/


https://www.facebook.com/OccupyDemocrats/videos/635029780374179/

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2020/03/18/trumps-180-degrees-conversion-and-his-total-compulsively-reflexive-denial/

 

Coronavirus: The Next Big Thing

It’s time to Break It Down!

As I start this post it is with the purest intent to keep it brief. First of all because I am not a doctor, and certainly no expert on this or any other strain of virus. Second, because there is probably very little that I will say that you haven’t heard before. Just maybe, you have not heard or seen it all in one place.

Why then, am I writing about it, you might legitimately inquire? I’m writing about it because I think it’s an important topic, and if I can convey that to even one person, it will have been worth the effort.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) is part of a group of viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds. In humans, the viruses typically result in respiratory tract infections. As a group, the viruses were discovered in the 1960’s, and include SARS and MERS, as examples. COVID-19, the currently active strain, was first identified in Wuhan, China on December 31, 2019, after having been cited as the source of a pneumonia outbreak in the area. To that end, basically, COVID-19 is shorthand for Coronavirus Disease, the 2019 version.

Over the past three months, the Coronavirus, as its commonly called, has been identified in a number of countries outside China, including Japan, Italy, and most notably, for most of us, here in America, the United States. Yesterday, CNN medical experts upgraded the description of the virus to the level of pandemic.

Now, before going any further, take a deep breath. Characterizing the way the disease is spreading as a pandemic, does not mean you should expect to die. At least not from the Coronavirus. It does mean you should take appropriate precautions.

Here is a Wikipedia summary description of pandemic:

pandemic (from Greek πᾶν pan “all” and δῆμος demos “people”) is an epidemic of disease that has spread across a large region; for instance multiple continents, or worldwide. A widespread endemicdisease that is stable in terms of how many people are getting sick from it is not a pandemic. Further, flu pandemics generally exclude recurrences of seasonal flu. Throughout history, there have been a number of pandemics, such as smallpox and tuberculosis. One of the most devastating pandemics was the Black Death, which killed an estimated 75–200 million people in the 14th century. The only two current pandemics are HIV/AIDS and Coronavirus disease 2019. Other recent pandemics are the 1918 influenza pandemic (Spanish flu) and the 2009 flu pandemic (H1N1).

Note that pandemics have come and gone, and most of us who were alive at the time survived. Coronavirus should be no exception to that trend. At the outset, it’s important to know a few key elements regarding COVID-19. According to the White House Coronavirus Task Force:

  • Older people and people with chronic diseases are a higher risk
  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus
  • Wash your hands often
  • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick
  • Put distance between yourself and other people
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze, or use the inside of your elbow
  • Throw used tissues in the trash
  • When washing hands do so for at least 20 seconds, preferably with soap and water
  • If you are sick, wear a face mask
  • You do not need a face mask if you are not sick, unless you are caring for someone who is sick
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily
  • The principal symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath

There are people who believe, and others who claim to believe, reaction to Coronavirus is overblown. My first thought in reaction to such bravado is prototypical bromide, straight from mother wit; better safe than sorry.

Case in point:

One day Congressman Matt Gaetz is mocking the hoopla over Coronavirus by wearing a gas mask. The next thing I hear is that one of his constituents died from it. That was followed shortly by news of the Congressman self-quarantining himself, because of…you guessed it, COVID-19. It’s not for me to say whether The Honorable Mr. Gaetz was just too cute for his own good; I’ll let karma speak to that. What I will say is, in all you do, think before you do, act responsibly, proceed sensibly, and use restraint and common sense. It may be hard to do, but more often than not, it will inure to your favor.

Governments and business of all ilks, including airlines, sports franchises, conference planners, schools, universities, houses of worship and of course hospitals and medical practices are devising special circumstance behaviors to deal with the fallout from this pandemic. Last week, Wall Street temporarily halted trading. Even Mr. Trump has formed a task force (referenced previously), so you know it’s got to be, for real, for real! We are at the point where nearly all the market gains for the entire year were wiped out in a matter of days. This virus is real, and it is really serious.

The total number of COVID-19 cases worldwide neared 120,000 by this morning, with more than 80K in China, and more than 10K in Italy. In Iran and South Korea around 8K confirmed cases have been reported, and other nations are suggesting they will reach similar levels soon.

Across the United States, there are now more than 1,000 reported cases of the virus. At least 19 states have declared a state of emergency; yesterday these included Colorado, North Carolina and Michigan, the latter reporting its first two cases.

The COVID-19 virus in the U.S. has spread to at least 35 states, according to the latest reporting from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with more deaths in Washington state and California. As of yesterday, 26 Americans had died from the virus.

To place this in context, by contrast last year, 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. The annual death toll from the Flu in the U.S. ranges from 27,000 to 70,000. As you can see, we are not even in the ball park. Our collective challenge is to make sure we are working proactively to keep it that way!

I started this post by conceding that I am by no means an expert in this field, and/or on this subject. I certainly didn’t become one over the course of a thousand words. So, in conclusion, I invite you to seek the counsel of individuals versed on the matter before you stake out a course of action. Whatever you do, just remember I told you right here in this post”Coronavirus: The Next Big Thing!”

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.

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coronavirus

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coronavirus_disease_2019

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2020/03/11/coronavirus-the-next-big-thing/

 

 

 

CIAA Says Good-bye to Charlotte: For Now, At Least

Yesterday was Super Tuesday 2020, Election Day in NC…and in California, Texas, Virginia, Massachusetts, Colorado, Minnesota, Tennessee, Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Utah, Maine, Vermont, and American Samoa. By the time you’re reading this, most races will have been called. If you are of age, and an eligible voter, I hope you registered and fulfilled your civic duty.

This however, as the title surely revealed, is not a post about politics. I reversed field, and am writing, albeit briefly, about sports. I noted last week that my city was hosting its 15th and final CIAA Tournament. The Tournament was celebrating its 75th year.

Just as I said I would, I, along with my long-suffering spouse attended games every night, Tuesday through Friday, and the Title Games (Men’s and Women’s) Saturday afternoon. There was lots of basketball played from Tuesday morning to early Saturday evening, much of it very exciting, and some of it quite good. My full disclaimer is, I didn’t see a single day game prior to the Title Tilts. But I didn’t miss any evening games, at least not in their entirety. Translation, I missed the start of a few, especially the 7:00 p.m. games.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to regale you with a play-by-play of the games; not any of them. But as an alum and fan of a CIAA affiliated institution, Fayetteville State University, I am going to take a point of personal privilege and share the shout out to my teams, both of which made to the Finals, that I posted on Facebook earlier this week.

I’m sharing because:

  • It was the end of the Tournament’s 15-year run in Charlotte
  • The Men’s & Women’s team from the same school advancing to the Finals is special
  • Fayetteville State University is “my” HBCU
  • Break It Down is “my” blog
  • I Can

Here’s what I wrote:

“Resolute and resilient! That defined the Broncos Men’s and Women’s hoops teams last week here in CLT @ the 75th and CLT Finale) CIAA Tournament.

The Lady Broncos were on a mission. They went undefeated in the Southern Division, which they won for the 3rd year in a row. They met and conquered all challenges. Job well done; Congratulations ladies.

The Bronco men had a more difficult task, but performed admirably, nevertheless. As a 3rd seed, they opened with 7th seeded Shaw, a team they’d defeated just 4 days earlier, then their work really begun. They played four games in four days, and the last 3 were against higher seeds, Number 2 Virginia Union (North), Number 1 Johnson C. Smith (South), also the host and home standing team, and finally, Number 2, Winston-Salem State University (South) in the Title Game.

In the fell clutch of circumstance, the Broncos did not wince, nor did they cry aloud. Under the bludgeoning of chance, they may have been bloodied (figuratively), but their heads remained unbowed. Despite the physical and mental challenges, their grit and determination enabled them to lead until the last 4.6 seconds of the Title game. Alas, Winston-Salem State won; kudos to them.

I extend sincere congratulations to the 2020 CIAA Men’s Basketball Champions, the Winston-Salem State University Rams, and their renown Ramily…and richly deserved mad respect, endless love and congratulations to my forever squads, The Fayetteville State University Broncos, 2020 CIAA Basketball Tournament Men’s Runners-up & Fayetteville State Lady Broncos, 2020 CIAA Basketball Tournament Women’s Champions.

A special shout out to Coaches Luke D’Alessio and Serena King-Coleman, and to my favorite Graduate Assistant Coach in the whole world, C.J. Wiggins, Jr. Love you Cuz!

Attitude Check! Proud To Be; GO BRONCOS!”

As I noted above, 2020 marked the end of the annual CLT CIAA ritual. Next year’s festivities will commence in Baltimore. May the Maryland hosts derive as much pleasure from the event as we did in North Carolina. There are mixed feelings in these parts about the Tourney’s departure. Some folks believed that the tournament grew to be a nuisance. A few of our citizens literally fled the premises during CIAA Week. Others “endured” it grudgingly. And then there were those whom, like me, awaited ticket availability anxiously, and bought tix as soon as they became available. Fans also had mixed experiences. Some faced “CIAA taxes” on meals and beverages at uptown facilities, while others were gouged by hoteliers. And then there was the Conference itself, who moved its headquarters to Charlotte several years ago, after one of the contract extension negotiations. The organization felt entrepreneurs played fast and loose with the CIAA name/brand and fought to get a handle on that matter.

In reflection, through it all, I believe the partnership was mutually beneficial. This year’s event is reported to have garnered more than 150,000 attendees, while last year’s event brought in $43 million. The partnership generated millions of dollars in scholarship money to the member colleges and universities. Still, it was a business arrangement, and few things last forever. The union lasted 15 years, which is longer than the tournament stayed at any other venue. Maryland is a fine state, and Baltimore is a historic city. For the next three years, they will host the CIAA Tournament. To that end, I have no crystal ball, so in bidding the event adieu, I put it this way. “CIAA Says Good-bye to Charlotte: For Now, At least!”

Thank you for allowing me to share. I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the linkhttp://thesphinxofcharlotte.comFind a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribeclick 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.

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

https://theciaa.com/…/fayetteville-state-defeats-bowie-stat…

https://www.wralsportsfan.com/fayetteville-state-falls-t…/…/

https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/ncaabk/charlotte-says-goodbye-to-ciaa-tournament/ar-BB10zW8W

https://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/college/article240799061.html

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaab/2020/02/29/ciaa-tourney-balancing-basketball-partying-for-75-years/111383322/

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2020/03/04/ciaa-says-good-bye-to-charlotte-for-now-at-least/

 

The Biden-Burisma Okie-Doke: What It Means to be Hoodwinked, Bamboozled, Led Astray, Run Amok, and Flat-out Deceived

It’s time to Break It Down!

This week Charlotte is hosting its final CIAA Basketball Tournament. The extravaganza is re-locating to Baltimore in 2021. I was there last night (Tuesday) taking in the first full evening of games. I anticipate feeding my hoops addiction though Saturday, when the 2020 Women’s and Men’s Champions will be crowned. Though I have written about the famed Tourney before, now is not before, and this post is not about basketball.

As the title suggests, I’m coming at you today with a political slant; not one of sports. The CIAA reference was contextual. In other words, it’s late, already after 1:00 a.m., and I’m just starting. The good news is, this will be relatively brief. Having said that, without further ado, let’s do this.

Right out of the gate, what I’m not going to try to do is persuade anyone to vote for Candidate X, Y, or Z. Rather, I’m attempting to make a very simple, and totally logical point.

Mr. Trump allegedly worked furiously to get newly elected Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter. He repeatedly urged Zelensky to work with his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, as well as with the U.S. Attorney General, Bill Barr. At one point, when asked about it, Trump doubled down, and added that China should also investigate the Bidens.

Now there are a plethora of details about this matter, most of which, you probably already know. Therefore, I’m gonna save you and me some time, by not restating them here. The long and short of it is, a Whistle Blower was disturbed by a number of aspects of one of the calls Trump made regarding the matter, and ultimately the House of Representatives, on a strictly Party Line vote, impeached him.

If you allowed yourself to be distracted, and subsequently get lost in the sauce, you may have come away thinking that the House’s impeachment, and the Senate opting not to oust Trump were the highlights of the matter. I’m positing that it wasn’t.

Oh, it was important; historic even. Trump became just the 3rd U.S. President to be impeached, following in the footsteps of Andrew Johnson, and Bill Clinton. Although, it’s always necessary to add the footnote that is Richard Nixon, whom, had he not slinked away in eternal shame, would also have been impeached. But I digress.

My thesis is, Trump and his advisers had one sinister goal in mind, when he set out to engage the agency of another nation(s) in investigating his political rival and prospective opponent. His ultimate objective was so substantial, that even impeachment, which given the composition of the Senate, he was confident of surviving, was worth risking.

As the 2020 Election Year began to unspool, a vast array of Democratic candidates (nearly 25) emerged. As they did, one, seemed to stand out as the most formidable of the lot; Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. Mr. Biden had served as Vice President to Barack Obama, the 44th President. He presented himself as the presumptive heir to Obama’s political legacy, and despite a number of early stumbles, seemed to poll as the Strongest among a number of viable candidates.

Going all the way back to when President Obama was in office, Trump repeatedly expressed a disdain for him. He made Birtherism a key element of his personal brand. The prospect of being challenged by Obama’s number 1 cheerleader, undoubtedly agitated Trump, who consistently demonstrates he is nothing if not prone to distraction by all things Obama, and to put it lightly, thin skinned.

To wit, it’s fairly apparent the Biden-Burisma narrative was designed to smear Biden and render him ineffective as a serious challenger. In retrospect, I am comfortable saying it’s hard to imagine a strategy with that intent being more ferociously on point. So, while it may be too late for Biden, I simply caution all those folks who have repeated the mantra, “anyone but Trump,” or “anyone who can beat Trump,” or any approximation thereof, take a deep breath, and back up a step or two. Trump is using the power vested in him to manipulate the levers of control, incite in-fighting among his opponents, and, in the final analysis, seduce you to take your eyes off the prize.

As someone who watched, with a knowing despondence, as this scenario played itself out in 2016, I’m warning you now, do not go down the road of déjà vu all over again. “The Biden-Burisma Okie-Doke: What it Means to be Hoodwinked, Bamboozled, Led Astray, Run Amok, and Flat-out Deceived!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the linkhttp://thesphinxofcharlotte.comFind a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribeclick 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.

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trump–Ukraine_scandal

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2020/02/26/the-biden-burisma-okie-doke-what-it-means-to-be-hoodwinked-bamboozled-led-astray-run-amok-and-flat-out-deceived/

 

 

Trump’s Economy: Thanks Obama!

It’s time to Break It Down!

Monday marked the 11th anniversary of the signing of a nearly $800 billion stimulus package intended to reverse the effects of the Great Recession. President Obama acknowledged his signing the Recovery Act in the common communications currency of the day, with a tweet. He wrote:

“Eleven years ago today, near the bottom of the worst recession in generations, I signed the Recovery Act, paving the way for more than a decade of economic growth and the longest streak of job creation in American history.”

Anyone who knows Donald Trump is familiar with his anxiety laden fixation with all things Obama. As I have come to learn over the last three years, this is especially true when it comes to anything having to do with the economy. Trump, and many of his supporters argue, and some apparently even believe, the current economic conditions begin and end with Donald Trump. They point to his dismantling regulations, and tax bill as the sole catalysts for today’s economy.

I suppose that sounds good to those who are willing to accept everything Mr. trump says, facts, logic, and reasoning, notwithstanding. There is actually a pretty simple way to examine the TrumpWorld view on this matter. Look at the facts.

For example, Trump frequently claims that the US, under his watch, is enjoying the strongest economic run ever. If, however, one looks at jobs created over the first three years of the Trump Presidency, compared to those created during the last three years of the Obama Presidency, Mr. Trump’s narrative does not add up.

The US economy gained 6.6 million jobs during Trump’s first 36 months in office. However, during the final 36 months of the Obama tenure, employers added 8.1 million jobs.

During Obama’s last 36 months in office, the average monthly gain was 224,000 jobs. Under Trump so far, employers have been adding an average of 182,000 jobs a month.

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures haven’t hit over 4% economic growth on a quarterly basis during Trump’s time in office. Trump’s 2018 yearly growth of 2.9 matched Obama’s 2015 figures, but on both a quarterly and annual basis, the Trump economy has not yet exceeded the best quarters in the Obama years. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis there were four quarters during Obama’s tenure when GDP exceeded 4%:

  • Q4 2009 – 4.4%
  • Q4 2011 – 4.7%
  • Q2 2014 – 5.5%
  • Q3 2014 – 5.0%

The US economy grew at 2.3% in 2019, its slowest pace in three years, according to the Commerce Department. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen by 47% under Trump, through 3:00 p.m. yesterday. During Obama’s second term, the Dow rose 44%. That’s a comparison Trump wins…but not by much. There are other metrics, of course. The unemployment rate has reached record lows under Trump, though for some notable segments (blacks and Hispanics; ones the administration likes to tout), the rate has begun to rise.

On balance, President Obama’s tweet was a simple and unremarkable statement of fact. He did not in any way undermine Trump, nor the level of success of the current economy. He merely stated his actions were a catalyst, a device to stop the hemorrhaging job losses, to the tune of nearly 800,000 per month, and reverse the losses into gains, which his actions help accomplish. In all, Obama’s tenure ended with 75 consecutive months of job growth, or six years, plus a quarter.

For such a tepid comment, on its face, to lead to a contretemps with the current President of the United States would seem unfathomable. But, given Trump’s propensity to be driven to distraction, even by the fact that Obama is an American, one should probably recognize that this is the orbit we are locked in with Mr. Trump.

Like it or not, today’s economic conditions, good as they are (for some), were presaged by policies formulated and put in place by the 44th President. Without the benefit of those policies, the slow recovery Mr. Trump and his supporters like to point reference, would likely have lagged even more, and required a steeper climb for the current President.  “Trump’s Economy: Thanks Obama!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the linkhttp://thesphinxofcharlotte.comFind a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribeclick 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.

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

https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2020/02/18/peter-navarro-debate-job-growth-numbers-nr-harlow-vpx.cnn

https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/18/politics/trump-obama-economy-analysis/index.html

https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/18/politics/trump-v-obama-economy-fact-check/index.html

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2020/02/19/trumps-economy-thanks-obama/