Thursday, November 24, 2016

Standing Rock - North Dakota Pipeline Issue

When is enough, enough?  Haven’t Native American tribes been through enough turmoil, treachery, deceit and abuse since European Americans first came to their land?  The North Dakota pipeline issue is the latest incident and continuance of mistreatment.  Allegedly the plans for the North Dakota pipeline were coordinated with and approved by impacted Native American parties.  If that was the case then why are Native Americans now protesting the path of the pipeline?  Is the situation just a continuance of European American  beliefs in “manifest destiny” the belief that God approves their efforts to expand across the land of others?

European Americans took  land and resources from Native Americans hundreds of years ago to establish the United States of America.  Would it be too much to divert the pipeline around the area in question?  When is enough, enough?  Is it not enough that an entire civilization and culture was dismantled by European American self interests and greed? Haven’t Native Americans paid enough for the progress of others?

Sometimes decisions that seem economically sensible need to be weighed against other factors.  If  Native Americans have valid concerns about the impacts of the pipeline why not change the plans, despite any increased costs?  Do European Americans have to win at every dispute?  If so why?  “Experts” state that the pipeline will never leak.  More self assurance in European American technology.  Just check history to see how many times we’ve been surprised by events we thought would never happen.  Things that man builds do not last forever.  Deterioration happens.  If you don’t believe so look at the infrastructure in most cities in the United States and the maintenance/repair needed on water lines, gas lines, bridges etc.

Just because the US Army Corps originally met with Native American tribes on plans for the pipeline does not mean they listened and responded to their concerns.  Obviously Native Americans have enough concerns to attempt to physically block continuance of the construction.  Thankfully protests have brought attention to the situation.  Now we will see if the same approach used hundreds of years ago will be used to respond to concerns of Native Americans.  Or will the government of the United States barter a compromise agreement that results in changes to the pipeline plans?  If a compromise occurs it would offer hope for the future direction of the United States.  It would mean this country actually understands the impact it had on the demise of the Native American culture.  It would mean the United States can actually react humbly to the needs of all citizens in this country to include Native Americans, the original citizens.

After the hate filled Presidential election campaign, a positive decision in favor of Native Americans would be a breath of fresh air.  It would be a compassionate decision not based only on economics and faith in technology.  It would be a compassionate decision based on respect for human feelings and maybe even an attempt to correct some sins of the past.  If you have not followed the issue, spend some time learning about the facts of the situation.  Then express your views on what should be done to bring the situation to a close.

Friday, November 18, 2016

New Age NBA Players Resting on Your Money for Tickets

It happened again.  But, I learned two years ago.  NBA fans who purchase tickets in advance should be forewarned that the star player you are paying $150 plus per ticket to see may not play in the game.  That's what I discovered two years ago when I paid big bucks to see Lebron James play for Cleveland against the home town Indiana Pacers.  Well unfortunately on game night, Lebron was no where to be found.  It was announced that he was resting.  He was no where to be seen on the bench so I assumed he was back home in Cleveland watching the game from the comfort of his home.

So my wife and I were entertained by the rest of Lebron's teammates.  With the absence of James I think our team won, but it didn't sooth the hurt in my wallet from paying premium cash for the honor of seeing Lebron and his team.  NBA tickets are now priced based on the marque value of the opposition.  So tickets to Cleveland and Golden State are higher than a ticket to let's say Charlotte or Memphis.  Unfortunately NBA fans don't get a refund if the marque player or players for the opposition decides he wants to rest that day.  Or if the coach decides to rest the player.

Back in the 1960s, 70's and 80s, there was no thought of a player taking a rest day.  The players and owners understood that fans were coming out to games to see the star players play.  That viewpoint no longer seems to be in place.  The NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, apparently is on the players side rather than the fans side.  So, why can't we the fans get a refund if a star player wants to rest?  We overpaid so we could see the player and now you tell me, "Oh, he needs to rest that night."  That's okay with me as long as you give me a refund if I don't want to see just his teammates play.

Fans now might as well wait until game night to decide if you will purchase a ticket, yet alone pay the high price for a parking spot near the arena.  The other night, Cleveland came to town to play the Pacers.  Again as before, Lebron did not play.  The reason given was, rest.  So all those fans who came out were treated to Lebron on the bench, while Mr. Love and Mr. Irving tried to give the fans their money's worth.  What a rip off to jack up prices for some teams but then not refund the money when the team's star player rests instead of playing.

Maybe most of the fans, at least season ticket holders, can afford to drop $300 plus to see bench players.  But those hard working fans who sacrificed to take a son or daughter to the game typically can't do so.  Come on NBA!  Honor your ticket contract with the fans and ensure your star players play!  Otherwise do like me.  Don't even bother getting tickets in advance for early season and late season games.  Those are prime games when aging stars will be rested.  Instead invest that money in yourself.  A nice expensive meal.  A trip somewhere.  Or even better just put the money into your savings account until you find a better use for it.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Thank You America - Affirmation of Who You Are

Thank you America!  The 2016 Presidential election results was affirmation of the mentality of millions of the citizens of these United States of America.  Over 47% of those who took the time to vote, supported a person who throughout the campaign spoke in a hateful, racist, bully tone.  Thank you America for reaffirming how you feel about minorities.  Thank you for sharing your views on how only European American immigrants are entitled to receive the best that this land offers.  Some say they voted for “change” and a non politician to lead that change.  But, did you listen carefully to what your non politician was saying about various groups?  Or is it that as long as he didn’t mention your category of human being, you didn’t care what he said?

For me as a black man life moves on.  I calmly went to bed election night before the final results were in.  My view was God is in control, no matter who became President.  When I heard the results the next morning, I nodded my head and told myself, “okay, affirmation has been received.”  Even before the results of the election it was clear to me that neither candidate would improve my life or the life of black people.  No, instead it was up to me to make my life better and to assist in helping other black people improve their lives.  Investing my money in black businesses and our youth is something I have always tried to do.  I will simply increase those efforts and strengthen my resolve to have a positive impact on as many black people as I can.  The only thing I expect from the government is to use my tax money wisely.  I’m not waiting for the government to come to my rescue or to rescue struggling black families or individuals.  Those days are gone and never really existed.  These days if you want something you go and get it or make it happen yourself.

The answer in overcoming generational impacts of slavery lies within each of us as black people.  Within my own generational family there are members who made bad choices.  My success is due to making fewer bad decisions, not because I was smarter.  Maybe we as black people went too far in absorbing the values of European Americans, who let’s face it stole this country from a native population that was already here when European American’s “settled” in this country.  We can’t get away from that basic foundation.  These United States of America are based on a group of invaders feeling they were entitled to land that was already inhabited by a burgeoning population of indigenous people.  The formula for success was to take someone else’s  land then forcefully enslave people from another continent to do the hard labor work that was needed to make the “new” country flourish.  Then hundreds of years later, preach the doctrine of building of a wall to keep immigrants from coming into the country.  It’s a great strategy.  A strategy of lessons learned from what the original settlers did to take over the country.  Self interest.  An attempt to keep what you stole.

So again.  Thank you America for the wake up call.  But, I already had received my wake up call many years ago.  Your decision only serves to motivate me to do what has to be done, by any means necessary.