Trump’s First 100 Days: A Plethora of Activity, A Paucity of Accomplishments (One Man’s View)

It’s time to Break It Down!

While I spent a fair amount of time leading up to the 2016 National Election discussing politics, including the Democratic and Republican fields of candidates, and ultimately the two finalists, I have written less about politics in general, and virtually nothing about the eventual winner, since the Inauguration. That was a conscious decision, of course. Moreover, though I do not presage a permanent shift moving forward, I am making an exception for today.

As we all know, Donald J. Trump is the 45th President of the United States. And, unless you’ve been in a cave, you know Saturday marked 100 days of his Presidency. I will not be attempting to entertain you with some fanciful (and I believe false) narrative that explains how despite all the less than spectacular assessments of his performance, he has somehow exceeded expectations. I’ll leave that to Fox and Friends. So if that’s what you need, or more pointedly, if that’s what you require, I’ve generously provided a heads up on where you can turn.

Having stipulated that, the President did hold on to the SCOTUS balance that existed prior to the death of former Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, with the successful confirmation of Neil Gorsuch. He’s also rolled back some regulations he maintains help business (though a number of ordinary Americans view them as anti-consumer). As a candidate #45 made numerous boasts and promises. Among them was the oft-repeated assertion that we (the people) would win so much we would become tired of winning. Hold that thought.

On Saturday, October 22, 2016, Candidate Trump traveled to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the site of the 16th President’s (Lincoln) most famous speech, to make a pitch of his own. In a facility named for former President Eisenhower, and on land irrevocably tied to Lincoln, Trump extolled his vision for the first hundred days of a Trump Administration. You can click on the final link below to see what he served up.

In this post, I’m going to keep it short, and much simpler. On the real, here’s what you need to know, vis-à-vis #45 and many of his boastful promises. I understand, fully, that by and large his supporters couldn’t care less about the things he claimed he’d do, versus those he hasn’t done, or hasn’t done yet. For you, he’s a jolly good fellow. I get it. For everyone else, there’s this:

  • As noted earlier, he won…yet he has not released his taxes
  • Hillary is not in jail
  • Mexico is not paying for the wall
  • The Muslim ban (or pause, if you insist) has been rebuffed by the federal judiciary
  • Obamacare has not been repealed & replaced
  • China has not been labeled a currency manipulator
  • No plan to destroy ISIS was produced in 30 days
  • NAFTA has not been overturned…or renegotiated
  • The U.S. has not withdrawn from NATO
  • We have not torn up or exited the Iran Nuclear Agreement
  • The Wall Street-to-Washington Swamp has not been drained
  • He has not sued all those female accusers (as far as we know)

I could go on, but hopefully, you get the point. If you don’t, methinks you’re just not trying hard enough. One of Trump’s frequently used phrases, both as a candidate, and since January 20th, is, “People are saying.” If you’ll allow me a “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander” moment, I must note, people are saying the Trump Administration has been characterized by chaos and incompetence.

In assembling an administrative team composed largely of individuals who’ve never served at any level, or in any capacity of government, it is easy to argue that many of his cabinet members are competent, and frankly ill suited for their current roles. This disconnect, has consistently led to dissention, disruption, and disorder. Trump surrogates and supporters push back, insisting that, on one hand, Trump voters wanted someone who would break the status quo, and on the other hand, that his slow-going is due to having been a businessman, and not having governmental experience. As someone who is not guilty of being able to contemplate two distinct, if not opposing thoughts, at once, I concede both of those things may be true. That however, does not mean We The People are well served by both…or either. In fact, our day-to-day experiences, to date, suggest we most certainly are not.

I cited above a list of things Trump has not done. But every coin has a flip side. In that light, a few things he has done include:

  • Claimed his was the largest Inaugural in history. It wasn’t.
  • Promised Ivanka would not serve the country in an official capacity. She does.
  • Insisted President Obama wiretapped him. He didn’t

Suffice it to say, neither of these lists is exhaustive. But both are emblematic of the propensity and frequency with which this President seems to just say things that, to paraphrase David Broder in a New York Times article, “Are not so much an indication that he isn’t well informed; but that he is prodigiously learned in the sort of knowledge that doesn’t accord with the facts of our current dimension.” My Star Trek Translator boils that down to, “That dude lies like a Ferengi.” To be clear, Mr. Broder did not add that translation.

Who knows? Perhaps Team Trump will consider this list and re-double its efforts to make it happen in some cases. I certainly do not expect any of his supporters, surrogates, or voters to abandon him. I know there is nothing any of that lot could have said to make me withdraw my support for President Obama when he was POTUS. I extend kudos to them for their loyalty…even if it is misplaced.

Circling back to Candidate Trump’s boasts about winning until we get tire of winning, no mas! I don’t know about you, but if this is winning, I’m tired. That’s pretty much all I got…”Trump’s First 100 Days: A Plethora of Activity, A Paucity of Accomplishments (One Man’s View)!”

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.

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

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/04/26/gettysburg-speech-trump-made-100-days-promises-did-he-keep-them/100571722/

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2017/04/draft-complete-list-of-president-trumps-accomplishments-in-his-first-100-days/

http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/24/politics/donald-trump-white-house-100-day-accomplishments/index.html

http://video.foxnews.com/v/5414890629001/?#sp=show-clips

https://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2017-04-27/donald-trumps-first-100-days-as-president-setbacks-and-successes

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-100-days-quotes_us_58fe5594e4b00fa7de16c10c

https://www.google.com/amp/www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/05/01/a-hundred-days-of-trump/amp

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/100-days-of-trump-two-lonely-accomplishments/2017/05/01/f5e98920-2ea0-11e7-9534-00e4656c22aa_story.html?utm_term=.a2a8f09065d4&wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=1

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

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

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_100_days_of_Barack_Obama%27s_presidency

https://www.donaldjtrump.com/press-releases/donald-j.-trump-delivers-groundbreaking-contract-for-the-american-vote1

President Obama Returns to Chicago: Revisits Community Organizing and Civic Engagement

It’s time to Break It Down!

This week marked a special occasion in the annals of Presidential observation. No, I do not mean counting the final 72 hours before #45’s one-hundredth day in office. Rather, I am referring to the return of President Barack Obama to the public square. The former POTUS returned to the city where 14 and-a-half weeks earlier, he delivered his farewell address as Commander-in-Chief; that day at McCormick Place, Monday at the University of Chicago.

Mr. Obama’s return was characterized thusly: a “conversation on community organizing and civic engagement,” with the goal to “encourage and support the next generation of leaders.” His design was to create an environment in which he could converse expressly with young people; a group he believes is critical to reviving a flagging, moribund Democratic Party. To be clear, those are my adjectives, not Mr. Obama’s.

The setting incorporated a stage that included Obama and six students, plus an audience of 300 students. The format included brief introductory remarks by the former President, the introduction of the students sharing the stage, the individuals on the stage posing questions of each other, but also taking questions from the 300 students in the audience, who represented colleges and universities throughout Chicagoland.

Spoiler Alert: Despite the imminent proximity of the much bally-hoo’d 100-day mark of the current President, and the torrential stream of blamesplaining targeting Mr. Obama, the previous C-i-C adroitly avoided mentioning #45 or any of his policy prescriptions. There had been rampant speculation about whether the occasion might be used by Mr. Obama to weigh in on his successor and the administration’s first months. This event, however, was not about that. A source from Team Obama said the adopted Chicagoan had no intention of confronting the current administration’s policy, and the often-professorial Obama declined to be drawn down that rabbit hole. In fact, he was so assiduous in giving a wide berth to the topic of the new administration that he neither deigned to defend his own legacy in the office, nor spoke in support of the Affordable care Act, AKA Obamacare, his signature accomplishment, and a program under perennial assault by the GOP.

The occasion certainly could have served as an opening for the former President to beat back unsubstantiated wiretapping allegations made by the current occupant of 1400 Penn Ave., or to take on the often awkward, and occasionally meandering Republican agenda. Never one lacking message discipline, he blithely passed. Alternatively, he opted to lead a seminar on engaging a new generation of youth and prodding them to become active participants in the political discourse and process. Upon reflecting upon how he sees his role in the post-Obama Presidency era, he intoned:

“The single most important thing I can do is to help in any way I can prepare the next generation of leadership to take up the baton and to take their own crack at changing the world.”

Bypassing #45 was clearly the result of Mr. Obama’s own authentic design. He has determined, at least for the time being, that it is prudent to cede criticism of the current administration to those camps that have already elevated doing so to a cottage industry. This appears, in part to be due to reflecting on and appreciating the space his predecessor gave him in the early going. It’s also fair to note that Mr. Obama and his advisors have reasoned that now is simply not the right time to invest time and energy in confronting the newbies.

They realize, after all, that the current administration drew much of its synergy from the mere existence of then President Obama. To that end, they believe that challenging the current administration would make Obama a foil for #45’s efforts to rally his supporters, which in turn, could buttress the efforts of the current administration to enact its policies, which of course, Mr. Obama opposes.

With those predicates, the event at the University of Chicago, where a pre-POTUS Mr. Obama taught constitutional law, transpired absent any tension related to the 45th President. The former President appeared relaxed, casual, and comfortably ensconced in the moment. In other words, he appeared to enjoy himself.

In a moment of reflection, hearkening back to his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in which he introduced the notion of their being no “red” America or “blue” America, he conceded the aspirational nature of the assertion, going on to add, that it’s obviously not true as it pertains to our politics and civic life.

By and large, Mr. and Mrs. Obama have elected to avoid the intense glare of the public spotlight since leaving the White House on January 20th. Both have committed to writing Random House memoirs as they continue to make Washington, DC their home while Sasha, their youngest daughter completes high school. She will graduate in 2019. However, in the intervening three months since the Inauguration, they have spent most of their time on an extended vacation, even as his staff has been establishing an office in Washington. Planning is underway for his Presidential Library, which will be located in Chicago.

It is anticipated that Monday’s event in Chicago was the kickoff of a series of public appearances Mr. Obama will make in the United States and Europe. He is scheduled to appear next in Boston for a speech at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, where he will receive the institution’s Profile in Courage award.

At the Chicago event, he discussed various elements of civic engagement, community organizing, and the importance of actively facing the challenges confronting contemporary society. For over an hour, he served as the resident Commander-in-Chief & Professor of interviews. He posed the questions, and kept the “show” moving. He initiateded a variety of queries, including:

  • Asking Ayanna Watkins, a senior at Kenwood Academy High School in Chicago, about the importance of access to social studies and civic education. She responded, “Awareness is something that holds a lot of youth back from getting involved.”
  • Asking Harish Patel, a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago, why he had chosen to run for the office of state representative last year. His short response was he, “didn’t see many Patels in office and wanted to fix that.”
  • Asking Max Freedman, an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, and the lone Republican on the panel, about issues of political correctness on college campuses. Freedman answered with a personal anecdote from eighth grade, when Mr. Obama was launching his first Presidential Campaign, prompting the former President to note, “I’m old.” “But please continue. Eighth grade!”

Much of Mr. Obama’s conversation Monday echoed themes from his farewell address in January, including a plea not to take democracy for granted. He underscored his continued concern for issues such as economic inequality, climate change, justice, and the spread of violence. He suggested it was a lack of leadership that stopped the country from making the necessary inroads into solving those problems. He said:

“All those problems are serious, they are daunting, but they are not insoluble. What’s preventing us from tackling them and making more progress really has to do with our politics and civic life.”

And so, the venerable former Chicagoan, via Honolulu, came full cycle vis-à-vis his Chi-town roots. He arrived in Chicago as a 31 year-old community organizer, steeped in the ways of civic engagement. During his 2008 Presidential Campaign, his opponents belittled his experience (as a community organizer). Arguably, it served him well, as he went on to win twice, serving two terms in the highest office in the land. And now, as he seeks his next career path, he is reprising the tenets of the career that launched him upon the veil of our collective consciousness. “President Obama Returns to Chicago; Revisits Community Organizing and Civic Engagement!

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.

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

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

https://www.c-span.org/video/?427383-1/former-president-obama-makes-first-public-remarks-since-leaving-office

https://www.nytimes.com/video/us/politics/100000005060852/highlights-of-obamas-first-post-presidency-event.html

http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/obama-in-chicago-on-monday-for-first-post-presidential-appearence/

http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/21/politics/barack-obama-first-public-remarks/index.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/24/us/politics/obama-chicago.html?_r=0

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/in-chicago-obama-tells-young-leaders-that-‘special-interests-dominate-the-debates-in-washington’/ar-BBAha7Y?li=BBnbcA1

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/obama-avoids-trump-1st-public-remarks-leaving-office/story?id=46982106

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-obama-chicago-idUSKBN17Q29F?feedType=RSS&feedName=domesticNews

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/04/24/in-chicago-obama-tells-young-leaders-that-special-interests-dominate-the-debates-in-washington/?utm_term=.9e446aa7c6bc

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

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_of_Barack_Obama#Malia_and_Sasha_Obama

Don’t Be Deceived: The Struggle (of America’s Original Sin) Is Real!

It’s time to Break It Down!

All too often when the subject of slavery, or white privilege is broached in contemporary American society, the reactions range from stoic ambivalence, to angry denial, to a rank disbelief that “you people have not let that go yet,” by white people, and inexplicable uneasiness and misplaced guilt by black people. I cite those reasons as evidence of the readily apparent. In the event you did not know, it’s time you knew, the simple truth is, all of those responses are wrong. In fact, they are not merely inappropriate; they are inordinately misguided.

I’ve written posts in the past that discussed in detail how a number of states have approved textbooks that in effect seek to diminish, if not deny the Atlantic slave trade, characterizing the practice as “immigration,’ and referring to slaves as guest workers. Let me put it in the plainest, most direct way I can. There are alternative facts, and there is bovine defecation. The latter rules in this case.

When such heavily laundered euphemisms are substituted for the most brazenly horrific acts EVER committed by Americans against other human beings in the United States, people who were, arguably, just as American as the recent immigrants themselves, people who were forcibly transplanted to our shores. The blatant hypocrisy and sheer thuggery, cannot, and I must add, will not be swept under the proverbial rug of historical memory. Aitch to the no!

I do not often wax religious, though, as a PK, I do have that skill set in my toolkit. Raising this topic in such close proximity to the observance of Easter, or Resurrection Sunday, as its often familiarly called, however, makes it at least worth noting in a passing reference, the role of Christianity in perpetuating the American slave trade. And, to be clear, I refer to by its proper name, slave trade, because that’s what it was. Boom! Daniel Burke, CNN’s Religion Editor, delved forthrightly into the issue.

In 1845, Frederick Douglass wrote “Life of an American Slave.” The formal title was ”Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.” In this immortal work, Douglass wrote:

There is a wide gulf between Christianity proper and the slaveholding religion of this land. One is good, pure and holy, the other, corrupt and wicked, the climax of all misnomers, and the boldest of all frauds. We have men-stealers for ministers, women-whippers for missionaries and cradle-plunderers for church members.”

It is fair to say, for Mr. Douglass, as was and is the case for many other African Americans, the sin of slavery was intolerable, the complicity of Christians, unforgivable. Without apology, I am compelled to assert that postulate is as true today as it was in 1845, 172 years ago.

I am delighted to live in a world in which despite the ambivalent, the deniers, the disbelieving, the guilty, and all the other misguided souls, including the naysaying bovine defecators, there are others who concur with my sagacious conclusion. The Society of Jesus, or the Jesuit Order, as the group of powerful Catholic priests (including Pope Francis) is more familiarly known, indeed lists the horror of slavery among its immoral transgressions.

In 1838, Jesuits purchased 272 slaves on behalf of Georgetown University, a Jesuit University in Washington, DC. The acquisition of the slaves rescued the then young university, 49 years old at the time, but ruined hundreds of lives, destroyed families, condemning men, women, and children to the horror and cruelty of bondage, subjugation, and servitude.

Yesterday, the Jesuits and Georgetown repented. It took 179 years, but the university’s president and the school’s Jesuit leaders issued a “Liturgy of Remembrance, Contrition and Hope.” The Liturgy included the following statement by Georgetown President, John DeGiola:

“We express our solemn contrition for our participation in slavery, and the benefit our institution received. We cannot hide from this truth, bury this truth, ignore this truth. Slavery remains the original evil in our republic, an evil that our university was complicit in.”

Descendants of over a hundred of the slaves sold by the Maryland Jesuits attended the service. Many of them wore green ribbons, symbolizing hope and new life. Sandra Green Thomas, a participant in the Georgetown service said of her ancestors:

“Their pain is still here. It burns in the soul of every person of African descent in the United States.”

Of course, Hoya Nation is not the only American university community complicit in the slave trade. The entire Ivy League (Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, and Yale), excluding Cornell, was involved in some way, historians say. Religious groups also founded several of those schools. However, some in the American Jesuit community, particularly, view their slaveholding past in an especially painful light. They (understandably I say) see racism as a lingering stain on our contemporary society.

If slavery is too frequently deemed a slippery slope, leading directly to the abyss of a confrontational conversation, the topic of white privilege is a natural complement. Michael Harriott drove that point home in an article in The Root last Friday. As I noted at the outset, it’s frequently difficult to engender a serious and civil, but frank conversation on the subject. White people, in many instances, feel accused, without specific charges. They tend to think of the concept as something nebulous that seems to reduce a complex potpourri of history, racism, and social phenomena to a nonspecific groupthink phrase.

Nonsense, white privilege is real, and Harriott is quite precise in explaining just how, and why. The historical institution of slavery and the contemporary concept of white privilege are related…but they are not the same, and should not be conflated. According to Mr. Harriott’s dispensation, white privilege is a proper noun, a real, definable thing that we can acknowledge, explain and work toward eliminating. While race may be a social construct, white privilege is an economic theory that we should define as such:

“White privilege: n. The quantitative advantage of whiteness”

He went on to list 4 exemplars to explain white privilege in economic terms.

  1. Education – If education is the key to success, then there is no debate that whites have the advantage in America. In 2012, the U. S. Department of Education reported that about 33 percent of all white students attend a low-poverty school, while only 6 percent attend high-poverty schools. In comparison, only 10 percent of black students attend a low-poverty school, while more than 40 percent of black students attend high-poverty schools. This means that black students are more than six times more likely than white students to attend a high-poverty school, while white students are more than three times more likely than black students to attend a low-poverty school. The logical response to this is for whites to explain the disparity away with statistics of black unemployment and the minority wage gap, but that might not be true. In 2015, a research scientist named David Mosenkis examined 500 school districts in Pennsylvania and found that—regardless of the level of income—the more black students, the less money a school received. While this may not be true for every single school, people who study education funding say that they can predict a school’s level of funding by the percentage of minority students it has. Even though this is a complex issue that reveals how redlining and segregation decreased the property tax base in areas where blacks live—therefore decreasing funding—it underscores a simple fact: White children get better educations, and that is a calculable advantage.
  2. Employment – Even when black students manage to overcome the hurdles of unequal education, they still don’t get equal treatment when it comes to jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of Friday, April 7, the unemployment rate for African Americans was nearly double that of whites (8.1 percent for blacks, 4.3 percent for whites). There are some who will say blacks should study harder, but this phenomenon can’t be explained by simple educational disparities. A 2015 study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research shows that whites with the exact same résumés as their black counterparts are hired at double the rate. In fact, a white man with a criminal history is more likely to be hired than an African American with no criminal past. A similarly named, but different, organization—the Economic Policy Institute—examined 2015 data and discovered that at every level of education, whites were twice as likely to have jobs as blacks. If it is statistically easier for whites to get a better education, and better jobs, then being born white must be an advantage in and of itself.
  3. Income – But let’s say a black man somehow gets a great education and finds a job; surely that means the playing field is level, right? Not so fast. Researchers at EPI found that black men with 11-20 years of work experience earned 23.5 percent less than their white counterparts, and black women with 11-20 years of experience were paid 12.6 percent less than white women with the same experience. This disparity is not getting smaller. The wage gap between black and white workers was 18.1 percent in 1979, and steadily increased to 26.7 percent in 2015. When Pew Research controlled for education and just looked at income data, white men still surpassed every other group. These income inequalities persist to create the disparities in wealth between races, manifesting in generational disadvantages. A black person with the same education and experience as a similar Caucasian, over the span of their lives, will earn significantly less.
  4. Spending – It is a little-known fact that the average black person pays more for almost every item he or she purchases. While there is no discount Groupon that comes whit white skin, there might as well be. A John Hopkins study (pdf) showed that supermarkets were less prevalent in poor black neighborhoods than in white neighborhoods with the same average income, leading to increased food costs. News organization ProPublica recently found that car-insurance companies charge people who live in black neighborhoods higher rates than people in predominantly white areas with the same risk. When it comes to credit, it is even worse. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, The Atlantic reports, “even after controlling for general risk considerations, such as credit score, loan-to-value ratio, subordinate liens, and debt-to-income ratios, Hispanic Americans are 78 percent more likely to be given a high-cost mortgage, and black Americans are 105 percent more likely.” Even banks as large as Wells Fargo have lost cases for up-charging minorities. According to the Wall Street Journal, large auto lenders have paid more than $200 million since 2013 to settle lawsuits for charging minorities higher rates, but in November, both Democrats and Republicans voted to reduce regulations on the financial institutions that offer auto loans. The National Consumer Law Center filed a 2007 lawsuit that exposed how “finance companies and banks put in place policies that allowed car dealers to mark up the interest rates on auto loans to minorities based on subjective criteria unrelated to their credit risk.”

Instead of hurling the term “white privilege” around as an imprecise catch-all to describe everything from police brutality to Pepsi commercials, perhaps its use as a definable phrase will make people less resistant. Maybe if they saw the numbers, they could acknowledge its existence. It is neither an insult nor an accusation; it is simply a measurable gap with real-world implications. It is the fiscal and economic disparity of black vs. white. In America’s four-and-a-half-centuries-old relay race, the phrase “white privilege” does not mean that Caucasians can’t run fast; it is just a matter-of-fact acknowledgment that they got a head start.

In summary, whether the topic is slavery and it’s still prevalent consequences, or white privilege and its everyday examples, don’t be bashful, and by all means, don’t fall for the okey-doke. The struggle is not imaginary, and neither are the vestiges of slavery, nor the daily disadvantages (and advantages) of white privilege. Don’t Be Deceived: The Struggle (of America’s Original Sin) Is Real!”

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.

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

http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/18/living/georgetown-slavery-service/index.html

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

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

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

http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/abolitn/abaufda14t.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narrative_of_the_Life_of_Frederick_Douglass,_an_American_Slave

https://www.google.com/amp/www.theroot.com/yes-you-can-measure-white-privilege-1794303451/amp

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/melanie-curtin/the-thing-about-white-pri_b_6350782.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/this-is-what-white-privilege-is/2016/01/22/57166c72-c093-11e5-83d4-42e3bceea902_story.html?utm_term=.45480b1e3358

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

http://www.politicususa.com/2017/05/16/comey-damns-trump-write-memos-obama-obama-truthful.html

Don’t Look Now, but There’s a New Sheriff in Town

It’s time to Break It Down!

There was a period in my lifetime when the phrase, “What’s good for GM is good for America” was thought by many to reflect the operational orthodoxy of our nation. The source of this perceived wisdom, if you would call it that, was said to be the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of General Motors (GM). A little research reveals that, Charles Wilson did not exactly frame the comment the way it.  was interpreted and subsequently communicated for years.

As it turns out, Mr. Wilson, President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s nominee for Defense Secretary, was asked during a 1953 Congressional hearing whether, if he were to serve in the capacity of Defense Secretary, he could make a decision averse to the interests of General Motors? After responding affirmatively, he went on to say that he:

“Could not conceive of such a situation “because for years I thought what was good for the country was good for General Motors and vice versa.”

So rather than a braggadocios assertion about the universality of the GM brand, Wilson’s statement was more like a little homespun humility about the degree to which he had immersed himself in his life’s work. Be that as it may, even had the erstwhile meaning captured the essence of some level of nationalistic fervor about the goodness and pervasiveness of GM, the page turned this week.

GM was founded in 1908, and from 1931 to 2007 held the distinction of having been the largest automaker in the United States. At that point Ford Motor Company surpassed GM in value. By 2009, the Great Recession had taken the ultimate toll on GM (and Chrysler).

The current company, General Motors Company LLC (“new GM”), was formed on June 1, 2009, following the bankruptcy of General Motors Corporation (“old GM”), which became Motors Liquidation Company. At that point GM Stockholders lost all of their investment.

On July 10, 2009, General Motors emerged from government backed Chapter 11 reorganization after an initial filing on June 8, 2009. Through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) the US Treasury invested $49.5 billion in General Motors and recovered $39 billion when it sold its shares on December 9, 2013 resulting in a loss of $10.3 billion. The Treasury invested an additional $17.2 billion into GM’s former financing company, GMAC (now Ally). The shares in Ally were sold on December 18, 2014 for $19.6 billion netting $2.4 billion. A study by the Center for Automotive Research found that the GM bailout saved 1.2 million jobs and preserved $34.9 billion in tax revenue.

With that lengthy preamble about GM, which had reclaimed its perch as America’s most valuable automaker, the breaking news is that in successive weeks, Tesla caught and surpassed the country’s top two automakers, Ford, last week, and GM this week.

What exactly is Tesla? Just in case you’ve been under a rock, or in a Rip Van Winkle state of consciousness, Tesla, Inc. (formerly named Tesla Motors, founded in 2003) is a major American automaker, energy storage company, and solar panel manufacturer based in Palo Alto, California. Martin Eberhard, and Marc Tarpenning initially founded the company in 2003, although it also counts Elon Musk, JB Straubel, and Ian Wright amongst its co-founders. The company specializes in electric cars, Lithium-ion battery energy storage, and, through their SolarCity subsidiary, residential solar panels.

Tesla first gained widespread attention following its production of the Tesla Roadster, the first electric sports car, in 2008. The company’s second vehicle, the Model S, an electric luxury sedan, debuted in 2012 and is built at the Tesla Factory in California. The Model S has been the world’s best-selling plug-in electric car for two years in a row, 2015 and 2016.

While the message stands as important in its own right, it’s imperative to acknowledge exactly what it represents, and what it does not. Tesla is…”a global pioneer at the forefront of new technologies including electric vehicles, assisted driving, shared vehicles, digitizing real-world information, sustainable energy generation and scalable energy storage.” It is not outpacing Ford and GM in vehicle sales.

The company’s stock rose more than 7%, Monday of last week, increasing its market value to $48.69 billion. Ford’s market cap is $45.31 billion. This week, Tesla valuation was placed at $51.5 billion, topping GM’s $50.2 billion. The company has yet to turn a profit, and lost hundreds of millions of dollars just last year. However, a couple of days ago, it became the most valuable American automaker, surpassing GM with almost $10 billion in profit on nearly $10 million vehicles. Tesla for its part sold only 84,000 cars last year (with starting prices of $68,000).

The encouraging first quarter numbers come as Tesla ramps up for production of the new Model 3, its cheapest car to date. The vehicle, a sedan, slated to launch this summer, will have an entry-level price of $35,000, and has already garnered nearly 400,000 pre-orders from people who made payments of $1000 for reservations last year.

It should also be noted that Tesla has a long-running saga of production problems, and it has not come close to filling its ambitious and cleverly marketed goals. It not only sells far fewer cars than its rivals in Detroit, it also employs a fraction of their workforce.

The competition has responded to the dubious nature of some of Tesla’s advantages. GM’s vice chairman Bob Lutz had this to say:

“This is the ultimate bubble, which is doomed to bust. Tesla cars are fine, but the business model is not. The high cost of production is not recovered in the sale price. All legacy car companies will soon have a variety of similar electric vehicles.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, David Cole, an investor in Detroit automakers, and chairman emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research added:

“Its (speaking of Tesla) market cap is based on hype and promises versus substance.”

Of course Musk has heard it all. Not surprisingly, he has formulated what he considers a most apt answer, and framed his response in a tweet Monday afternoon:

“Tesla is absurdly overvalued if based on the past, but that’s irrelevant. A stock price represents risk-adjusted future cash flows.”

At this very moment Tesla and GM are both working on expanding their electric vehicle profile and perfecting autonomous vehicle technology. Navigant Research released a report Monday that says Ford is ahead of Tesla and others in the self-driving car race.

GM and Ford have a near century-long or more  head start on Tesla. But there is no denying Tesla’s assault on the Stock Market is having an effect. It has made Musk one of the richest men in America and given him widespread influence across a number of arenas. Even critics who say Tesla could represent a technology bubble in the stock market acknowledge that the company’s success points to a new reality in the automotive industry that will reshape the experience of driving for most Americans. The story of the company’s rise illuminates the contemporary stratification of the American economy. Eco-friendly government tax credits, a boom in financial backing, and the promise of new school innovation coalesce to deliver, in Tesla, a badge for the drivers who can afford its imposing price point. Don’t Look Now, but There’s a New Sheriff in Town!”

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.

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

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Three_(automobile_manufacturers)

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

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla,_Inc.

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/04/03/tesla-surpasses-ford-in-market-value/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/teslas-crazy-climb-to-americas-most-valuable-car-company/2017/04/10/de05b9ae-1dfd-11e7-be2a-3a1fb24d4671_story.html?utm_term=.4c0492c3d28e&wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=1

http://www.msn.com/en-us/autos/news/tesla-is-now-the-most-valuable-us-automaker/ar-BBzFcjL

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

http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-tesla-surpass-gm-20170410-story.html

Redemption – Carolina Style: An Ugly Win…Is Still A Win

It’s time to Break It Down!

It took 364 days, more than 100 practices, and 40 games, but this past Monday night, when the University of North Carolina Men’s Basketball Team emerged from the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, they emerged with a record of 33-7, and having been crowned the 2017 NCAA National Champions. A year ago, on the Wednesday following the first Monday in April, the annual day of the Men’s National Final, I published a post entitled, “One For The Ages: Hail To The Cats” (https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2016/04/06/one-for-the-ages-hail-to-the-cats/). At that I summarized what was one of the most dramatic and exhilarating, while simultaneously crushing and dispiriting (depending upon for which team one was rooting), abrupt endings in the history of NCAA Basketball Title Games.

As the title suggests, the Cats (Villanova) won (and my beloved Tar Heels left, having had the chance to chase victory in overtime unceremoniously snatched away in the very last second, literally. For Tar Heel hoops fans everywhere it was perhaps the most sudden and devastating of losses.  To make matters extraordinarily worse, the coup de grace was this dreadful termination was executed on the biggest of all stages in the sport. It is a game whose results are validated, with great fanfare by a poignantly edited video accompaniment of Luther Vandross singing One Shining Moment. The best players in college basketball routinely dream of hearing that song, punctuated by a sea of confetti, falling on both the victors and the vanquished.

The story has been dispersed widely by now. The CliffNotes summation is, over the summer, in preparation for the coming season, the Tar Heels adopted “Redemption” as the season’s overarching theme. In doing so, they dedicated themselves to returning to the Final Four and winning the prize they were denied in such an abrupt and disheartening manner during the 2016 Title Game. By approximately 11:35 EDT Monday night, the Heels had accomplished their mission.

To be clear, under no scenario is UNC equated with the Sisters of the Poor of college basketball. However, in the current era many of the most high profile Division-1 colleges and universities target and successfully recruit what are know as one-and-done prospects to augment their quest to attain a Title. The University of Kentucky, Duke University, and Kansas University are among the most successful at adhering to this strategy. Tt’s worth noting Carolina has not attracted a player who spent only one year in college since 2007, or a decade ago. In a sport such as basketball, in which only 5 players per team are permitted in the game at one time, and in a sport in which any and all players are subject to be disqualified as a result of drawing 5 fouls, or two technical fouls, a one-and done-player or two…or more can go a long way in elevating a team’s prospects of “winning it all.”

This year for instance, Duke had several players projected to be one-and–done, as well as a host of McDonald’s All-Americans (10 in all). They were expected to win the Atlantic Coast Conference (the Conference in which Carolina plays), and they were the odds on favorite to win the National Title. During the course of the Regular Season and Conference Tournament, duke did defeat the Tar Heels twice, splitting a pair of games during the season (both teams won on their home court), and besting the Heels during the ACC Tournament.

As it turns out, that was as good as it would get for the Blue Devils. The Tar Heels finished two games ahead of the field in the ACC; duke was seeded 5th. As a result, when the seeding was announced for the NCAA Tournament, a single elimination competition composed of 68 teams from conferences all across the country, Carolina earned one of 4 Number 1 seeds, while Duke garnered a 2 seed. The Blue Devils won once, losing their second game during the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament. Meanwhile Carolina went on to win twice the first weekend, then repeated that feat again the second weekend, then three-peated it during the third weekend, securing the National Title in the process, two nights ago.

In all, Carolina played and won 6 games to win the Championship. During the opening weekend they beat Texas Southern 103-64, the largest margin in the 2017 Tournament. Their Road To The Final Four ultimately included the following:

  • Defeated Texas Southern University 103-64
  • Defeated University of Arkansas 72-65 (Scored the last 12 points)
  • Defeated Butler 92-80
  • Defeated Kentucky 75-73 (Scored winner with .3 of a second left)
  • Defeated Oregon 77-76 (Didn’t score a basket in the last 3 minutes)
  • Defeated Gonzaga 71-65 (Scored the last 8 points)

In the aftermath, it must be said, an instant classic the Title Game was not. It was however an epic battle between two evenly matched teams armed with a bevy of traditional post players. Some called it a battle of the Titans. The big men inside, on both sides, for the most part spent the evening steeped in foul trouble. As a result, guys on the perimeter became the central players and playmakers. Often as not, the focus leaned more to playmaking than shot making. The Heels shot only 14.8% from behind the 3-point line, the lowest percentage by any winning team in the 2017 Tournament, They went four-for-27 and Joel Berry made all four. The Tar Heels were out-rebounded, and shot a lower 3-point percentage, The Heels did shoot a higher percentage overall, though only an anemic 35.6%. Carolina also had more steals, more assists, more blocks, and fewer turnovers.

By most of the media accounts that I’ve seen, the referees were the stars of the game. Most folks with whom I have spoken that are not Tar Heel partisans seem to think that hurt the Zags more than the Heels. I don’t claim to be unbiased on the subject, but I do know there were 44 fouls called and 22 of them were on the Heels, including 4 each on post players Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks, and 3 on Luke Maye, with another 3 on Joel Berry who led the Heels and the game in scoring, and who was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. Unless you are partial to alternative facts, that is not a function of the team I happen to follow and for which I root, but simply a matter of basic arithmetic. Half the fouls called were on North Carolina.

On a macro level the Title Game was big for the North Carolina program, and for its coach Roy Williams. This year’s Final Four run marked North Carolina’s 20th trip (most ever), and Coach Williams’. (fourth most ever). The win was Carolina’s 6th (third most), and Coach Williams’ 3rd (tied for fourth), half of Carolina’s total, and one more than his mentor, Dean Smith, who won twice. On an individual level, the young men who play the game, especially those who played in the 2016 Final Four in Houston, are the real story. Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks are seniors and, as such, have played their last game for Carolina. In all probability, so has Justin Jackson, who elevated his game immensely, earning ACC Player of the Year, and 1st Team All-America honors. There is also a good chance that Joel Berry, who has said he will test the NBA waters, may not return.

Those stories will play out however they do over the next several weeks. Every young man on this team has acquitted himself well, and been a fine representative of the Tar Heel Nation. There is one more however, that I am compelled to mention. In the post on this topic a year ago, I zeroed in on Nate Britt. He is the adopted brother of Kris Jenkins, the young man from Villanova who hit the shot heard around the basketball universe, sending the Tar Heels home broken-hearted, and in tears. This year, ‘Nova was eliminated early, so Jenkins followed Britt after his own team lost. He could be seen behind the Tar Heel bench in the last several games, including Monday night. Last year I wrote the following about these two guys:

So basically, for the rest of their natural lives, Kris and his brother Nate, both juniors in their respective programs, will have the 2016 Title Game as a shared experience…and Kris’ shot as a reminder of one’s transcendent sports moment and the other’s hoops nadir.”

As a result of a collective indomitable team spirit, a great deal of talent, skill, and ability, along with a healthy dose of good old fashioned luck, the Tar Heels not only returned to the Final Four, they won the Title, grabbing the proverbial brass ring. That embellishes the program’s hoops bona fides, elevates Coach Williams’ stock as someone who actually has a clue about what he’s doing on the court, gave this team “One Shining Moment (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfPBQyQkUKI), and finally, it provides Nate Britt with a Championship Trophy and Ring. Now he’ll have his own bling to point to when he and Kris are chilling and reflecting back at the crib.

In conclusion, this years’ Title game will not be memorable for an abundance of graceful plays and athletic moves. What it will forever connote is “Redemption – Carolina Style: An Ugly Win…Is Still A Win!”

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.

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

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2701356-unc-point-guard-joel-berry-ii-has-just-one-last-item-on-his-ncaa-to-do-list?iid=ob_homepage_deskrecommended_pool

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2701660-joel-berry-named-2017-ncaa-final-fours-most-outstanding-player-after-unc-win?utm_source=cnn.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=editorial

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kJHDNisY5u8

https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/colleges/north-carolina-finds-redemption-beats-gonzaga-to-win-ncaa-championship/2017/04/04/18a314e8-18a0-11e7-855e-4824bbb5d748_story.html?utm_term=.b1fa1b0601b8&wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=1

http://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/tournament/bracket

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2697572-ncaa-tournament-2017-get-to-know-all-68-teams-in-the-bracket

http://www.sports-reference.com/cbb/boxscores/2017-04-03-north-carolina.html

http://wncn.com/2017/04/04/welcome-home-celebration-for-tar-heels-to-be-held-tonight-in-dean-dome/

http://www.scout.com/college/north-carolina/story/1768135-ictv-party-time-on-franklin-street

http://www.newsobserver.com/sports/college/acc/unc/article142537274.html#emlnl=morning_newsletter

 

When the Best Man for the Job is a Woman: Silver’s Golden Idea

It’s time to Break It Down!

In a couple of previous posts I’ve written about the NBA and it’s efforts to integrate females into the fabric of its coaching rubric. In 2014, the Spurs hired Rebecca (Becky) Hammon as an Assistant Coach. I first mentioned her in a post on August 6, 2014, entitled, “First The Spurs Won The Title: Now They Are Making History!” That story detailed the Spurs opting to bring her into the organization. Subsequently, I reprised her as a subject July 22, 2015, in a post entitled, “The Spurs and Becky Hammon: Another Chapter Added!”

This story discussed her leading the Spurs to the Championship of the NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League the previous Monday evening. In a more recent footnote, Hammon became the first Female Assistant Coach for an NBA All-Star Team in 2016 (coincidentally, the winning West squad). Clearly, even though she largely flies beneath the radar, she is amassing serious NBA coaching bona fides. However, if one takes a step back, low profile notwithstanding, it should not come as a surprise that the League, which like other professional sports businesses, is exploring staging teams internationally, is also looking for ways to leverage its commitment to this element of coaching diversity.

NBA Commissioners are noted for their heavy involvement with various League protocols. Former Commissioner David Stern, who at one time responded to his concern about the image of NBA Players, actually instituted a dress code to ensure that players comported themselves in an acceptable manner, sartorially speaking, anyway. To that end, it is entirely conceivable that if this Commissioner believes (and it is clear he does) the League will benefit by adding women to its coaching carousel, it almost certainly will do so. Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN discussed the matter with Commissioner Adam Silver and reported that the Commissioner not only believes it could happen, but that it could happen in the near, or at least, not-to-distant future. According to the ESPN reporter, Silver said:

“There definitely will (be a female NBA Coach), and I think it is on me to sort of ensure that it happens sooner rather than later. There’s ‘”absolutely no reason”’ a woman can’t handle an NBA head-coaching role.

He added, the league is “very focused” on making it happen. He mentioned three leading possibilities in the pipeline that might break the proverbial glass ceiling, according to ESPN:

  • Becky Hammon, Assistant Coach, San Antonio Spurs
  • Nancy Lieberman, Assistant Coach, Sacramento Kings
  • Natalie Nakase, Assistant Video Coordinator, Los Angeles Clippers

In an interview to promote both the league and Leanin.org’s new campaign to raise gender-equity awareness, Commissioner Silver indicated that the league also hopes to hire additional female game officials as the referee roster increases by 25 percent over the next three seasons. Lauren Holtkamp is the only woman currently officiating games. Violet Palmer and Dee Kanter have previously officiated league contests.

In a completely different camp than Silver is radio host Mike Francesa. During a recent broadcast, Francesa said a woman has no shot at being a head coach, and if one were to be hired, it would be a publicity stunt. The Commissioner, in responding to Francesa’s suggestion noted that in coaching, there are no physical requirements, unlike with players. He went on to say:

“When it comes to coaching, there is absolutely no physical requirement. When it is not a function of how high you can jump or how strong you are, there is no physical litmus test to being a head coach in the league. There is absolutely no reason why a woman will not ascend to be a head coach in this league. We are very focused in on it.”

Years ago a similar debate centered on whether people who never played in the NBA could coach in the league. Obviously, that concern has long since been vanquished. People with a public forum, such as Francesa can surely escalate the topic as a key point of discussion. One person, in addition to Commissioner Stern, who doesn’t consider Francesa’s point to be pertinent, is Spur’s Coach Gregg Popovich (Hammon’s boss). In fact, the word “Pop” used to describe Francesa’s comment is nonsense. Incidentally, Hammon recently turned down an offer to coach the University of Florida’s Women’s Basketball Team, in order to focus on becoming the first woman coach in the NBA. Popovich added that he views the matter of the first female head coach in the NBA as a societal issue, and that he doesn’t see Hammon as the first female anything. As he went on to put it:

“In America, we are great at sticking our heads in the sand and being behind the rest of the world in a whole lot of areas. We think we are this big democratic, fair place. But you look at our world now, whether it’s gender-wise or racially or religiously, there’s all kinds of stuff that is not the way it’s supposed to be.”

“I think a female coaching a team these days has a lot to do with the people on the teams maturing as individuals, as members of a society understanding that it’s not about any of those things. It’s about talent. It’s about respect. People like Becky over time will gain respect and people will understand that this is possible. It can happen. It’s like women getting the vote. Think about how long that took before change was made.”

“I think since 2000 changes have been pretty damn lacking in a lot of ways. I think people are fed up with it, injustice, and people not respecting other people’s space and who they are. I think it’s a step in the right direction.”

Ultimately, we do not know when a woman will join the ranks of NBA coaches. After all, how many woman coach men’s D-1 college basketball teams? The answer to that question is zero. In fact, there has only been one, and she only coached one game, as a result of a quirky set of circumstances. Teresa Phillips, Athletic Director at Tennessee State University, appointed herself coach for a game during which the incumbent had to sit out due to players fighting during a game. I admire Commissioner Silver’s instincts and intentions. I believe he will, if he stays around long enough, make it happen. But let’s be clear, he’s swimming against the tide. I’m pulling for him though. When the Best Man for the Job is a Woman: Silver’s Golden Idea!”

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.

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

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2700391-adam-silver-wants-a-woman-as-nba-head-coach-sooner-than-later?utm_source=cnn.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=editorial

https://thesphinxofcharlotte.com/2015/07/22/the-spurs-and-becky-hammon-another-chapter-added/

https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=5516202214514810687#editor/target=post;postID=9175551925371279615;onPublishedMenu=template;onClosedMenu=template;postNum=140;src=postname

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

http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/adam-silver-believes-woman-will-be-nba-head-coach-sooner-than-later/vp-BByY9VL

http://www.usatoday.com/videos/sports/2017/03/28/adam-silver-believes-woman-nba-head-coach-‘sooner-than-later’/99724986/

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/basketball/ct-adam-silver-first-female-nba-coach-20170328-story.html

http://www.si.com/nba/video/2017/03/28/adam-silver-woman-nba-head-coach-sooner-later

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTIUOJsEv6M

http://www.espnsa.com/adam-silver-will-female-nba-head-coach-sooner-rather-later/

http://www.tennessean.com/story/sports/college/2014/04/05/teresa-philips-tsu-ncaa-basketball-legendary-lady/7348299/

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

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

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

The 30th White House Press Secretary: When Spinning Spun Out of Control

It’s time to Break It Down!

For much of our history as a nation, the first 140 years to be precise, there was no formal position known as White House Press Secretary (WHPS). However, over the past 88 years, 12 Administrations, and 15 Presidents, we have had 30 people, and counting, serve in that capacity, plus at least two people who served as Acting, or De Facto in the job. Twenty-three of those, twenty-five if you count the interims, served during my lifetime. One, James Hagerty, who held the position during the entire Eisenhower administration, stands out for having had the longest tenure on record (8 years, or two entire Presidential terms).

The WHPS is a senior White House official whose principal job is to serve in the role of spokesperson for the executive branch of the United States government administration, particularly for the President, senior executives, and for policies articulated by the administration. Key responsibilities of the office include collecting information on matters taking place within the administration, and articulating the administration’s reactions to events and developments worldwide. The WHPS regularly interacts with the media, typically including daily briefings with the White House press corps.

The individual occupying the position serves by the appointment and at the pleasure of the President. This position does not require the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate. Despite this distinction, the position is considered a very prominent post.

Chart Listing White House Press Secretaries

# Officeholder Term start Term end President
1 George E. Akerson March 4, 1929 March 16, 1931 Herbert Hoover
2 Theodore Joslin March 16, 1931 March 4, 1933
3 Stephen Early March 4, 1933 March 29, 1945 Franklin D. Roosevelt
4 Jonathan W. Daniels March 29, 1945 May 15, 1945
Harry S. Truman
5 Charlie Ross May 15, 1945 December 5, 1950
Stephen Early

Acting

December 5, 1950 December 18, 1950
6 Joseph Short December 5, 1950 September 18, 1952
7 Roger Tubby September 18, 1952 January 20, 1953
8 James Hagerty January 20, 1953 January 20, 1961 Dwight D. Eisenhower
9 Pierre Salinger January 20, 1961 March 19, 1964 John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
10 George Reedy March 19, 1964 July 8, 1965 Lyndon B. Johnson
11 Bill Moyers July 8, 1965 February 1, 1967
12 George Christian February 1, 1967 January 20, 1969
13 Ron Ziegler January 20, 1969 August 9, 1974 Richard Nixon
14 Jerald terHorst August 9, 1974 September 9, 1974 Gerald Ford
15 Ron Nessen September 9, 1974 January 20, 1977
16 Jody Powell January 20, 1977 January 20, 1981 Jimmy Carter
17 James Brady1 January 20, 1981 March 30, 1981/

January 20, 1989

Ronald Reagan
Larry Speakes1

Acting

March 30, 1981 February 1, 1987
18 Marlin Fitzwater1

Acting: 1987–1989

February 1, 1987 January 20, 1993
George H. W. Bush
George Stephanopoulos2

De facto

January 20, 1993 June 7, 1993 Bill Clinton
19 Dee Dee Myers2, 3 January 20, 1993 December 22, 1994
20 Mike McCurry December 22, 1994 August 4, 1998
21 Joe Lockhart August 4, 1998 September 29, 2000
22 Jake Siewert September 30, 2000 January 20, 2001
23 Ari Fleischer January 20, 2001 July 15, 2003 George W. Bush
24 Scott McClellan July 15, 2003 May 10, 2006
25 Tony Snow May 10, 2006 September 14, 2007
26 Dana Perino September 14, 2007 January 20, 2009
27 Robert Gibbs January 20, 2009 February 11, 2011 Barack Obama
28 Jay Carney February 11, 2011 June 20, 2014
29 Josh Earnest June 20, 2014 January 20, 2017
30 Sean Spicer January 20, 2017 Present Donald Trump

It goes without question, the WHPS is, and has always been, a challenging job. In contemporary parlance, the party in question must be comfortable and adept at spinning. Surely, he or she must do so on a daily basis. Spinning is an art. Dee Dee Myers, Bill Clinton’s first WHPS (he had four), said of the practice:

“Spinning is not lying, but rather marshaling the facts in service of an argument.”

She is not the only practitioner to address the subject. Larry Speakes, who held the position under Ronald Reagan, framed it thusly:

“Spinning aims to minimize the damage by surrounding bad facts with context and good facts.”

That’s all well and good, but at some point, one almost has to resort to using the tactic to describe it effectively. The Late Tony Snow, who performed the function under President George W. Bush, said at one point:

“If it got to the point where I thought it would cost me my credibility, I would have no choice but to walk away.”

That was a decade or more ago; might as well be calculated in light-years. That was pre-Obama. Don’t underestimate the importance of that timeline marker. Virtually everything that highlights the bright line of demarcation between the ideological poles was heightened and super-sensitized after the 2008 Election. The opposition slowly, surely, and systematically turned off all filters over the course of the Obama Administration. Fast forward to today, and we see that fake news is a thing; one that is normalized, no less, and the concept of alternative facts has been invented. Both concepts seem to have permeated the day-to-day communications strategy of the current administration.

That leads us to the here and now. There has been a dizzying song and dance about the propensity, and arguably the wisdom of either taking the leader of this administration and of the free world, literally, but not seriously, or seriously, but not literally. I personally don’t think that nonsense even qualifies as spin. Rather, it is both seriously and literally bullshizzle! But that’s just me. (Or is it?)

Yesterday marked Day 60 of the current President’s first term. In those two months it’s perfectly fair to say, no matter what the WHPSs salary is, he underpaid. He has unquestionably had to clean up more crap than a circus attendant. Laying Mr. Snow’s perspective to the side, I’ve seen no indication the incumbent has given any thought to walking away. Chances are, he’ll be asked to leave before he decides to do so.

Two months have been more than enough time for questions of credibility to arise. In fact, a number of sources have suggested that Mr. Spicer has pushed the envelope hard enough and often enough that reasonable people are within bounds to question whether this WHPS has fractured, ruptured, or flat out obliterated even the thinnest strain of credibility. No doubt some would suggest, and I concur, that he has not one scintilla (of credibility) remaining.

Here is an abbreviated list of (10) assertions Sean Spicer, in his role as Press Secretary, has made that numerous fact checking organizations found to be patently false allegations, including:

  • The 2016 Presidential Inauguration crowd size was the biggest ever
  • 14% of the 2008 Presidential Election voters were non citizens
  • Paul Manafort played a very limited role in the campaign for a very limited time
  • Philip Bilden is 100% committed to becoming Naval Secretary (after CBS reported he would withdraw, which subsequent to Spicer’s comment, he did)
  • Obama used the British to tape Trump (After American Intelligence agencies said there was no evidence American Intelligence Agencies had done so), sparking an international incident. After that claim was also debunked, Spicer said it was silly to equate quoting a news story to support for that story.
  • 45 won more Electoral votes than any Republican since Reagan
  • CNN retracted statements questioning Kellyanne Conway’s Credibility
  • There was no concern expressed about President Obama’s criticism of the Supreme Court
  • The ban (which supposedly is not a ban) was always about specific countries, rather than about Muslims (though throughout the campaign, we were promised a Muslim Ban)
  • The Jobs Reports were fake, but they are real now

Since most of the items above are downright laughable, I will not spend any extra time relating the details or timelines that refute the lunacy. I intentionally omitted the item that kicked off the most recent kerfuffle, though I included a related incident. Saturday before last, Mr. Spicer’s boss rendered a tweet accusing President Obama of wiretapping him (at Trump Tower). While the FBI and the other Intelligence Agencies have dismissed this as something that simply didn’t happen, Mr. Spicer repeatedly indicated that his bossed “believed” it happened. Considering his boss also believed (until mid-September 2016) President Obama was not American, and that he saw thousands of Muslims cheering in Jersey City in the wake of 9/11, there is obviously no accounting for what he “believes.” Having said that, I must pivot back to my opening premise, The 30th White House Press Secretary: When Spinning Spun Out of Control!”

I’m done; holla back!

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

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

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

http://money.cnn.com/2017/03/21/media/sean-spicer-credibility/index.html

http://wwlp.com/2017/03/20/sean-spicers-credibility-in-question-after-defending-trump/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/01/24/sean-spicer-just-keeps-killing-his-credibility/?utm_term=.21b42b18fc43

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2017/01/23/spicer-inauguration-crowds-credibility-editorials-debates/96956320/

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/other/sean-spicers-credibility-called-into-question/vp-BBytWvw

http://www.wjr.com/news/how-sean-spicer-lost-his-credibility/

http://money.cnn.com/2017/02/05/media/melissa-mccarthy-sean-spicer-snl/index.html

http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2017/03/10/white-house-briefing-sean-spicer-jobs-report-nr.cnn

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/46811_Debunking_Sean_Spicers_Lie_That_14_of_2008_Voters_Were_Non-Citizens

https://mediamatters.org/research/2017/01/24/renowned-liar-sean-spicer-lied-about-lying-press/215111

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

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/11/22/donald-trumps-outrageous-claim-that-thousands-of-new-jersey-muslims-celebrated-the-911-attacks/?utm_term=.ec562b5dd77e

http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/09/politics/donald-trump-birther/index.html