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Mr. David Ruffin

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I’ve been blessed to have lived during a time when the music of our culture reached center stage and changed the world. I have heard the voices of many great singers, but none has ever been greater the David Eli Ruffin. I know the Temptation story and not just from the movie.

To tell you the truth I’ve blessed to have had my life enhanced by their music sung by Mr. Ruffin. I have also been blessed to have met several of the group’s members over the years, and one of its lead singers was a good friend, whom I admired and miss dearly. I hear his voice almost daily in song. I wish that friend was Mr. Ruffin, but I am too young to have had that good fortune.

I simply want to pay homage to this man whose music was a huge influence upon my life, particularly my young life, to which I am grateful. I once watched a documentary where his son was interviewed and something he said struck in a profound way. He said, “My daddy wanted love, but he got fame”. We know from the many talented artists who have left us of late that there is a line between triumph and tragedy. That line is often thin and frequently ends sadly.

David Ruffin walked that line with tragic consequences. Ruffin will always be remembered as the mightiest of all the Temptations lead singers. He was one of “the voices” that made the Temptations a legacy and will live on in the depths of our souls. We will always remember that sexy, gritty voice, those trademark glasses, and that stage charisma that sums up the one and only David Ruffin, and even that little crack in his voice was ok, well it wasn’t ok, but that was David Ruffin.

His songs were like windows into his soul, exposing his greatest fears as a lover and a man. Even “happy” songs like “My Girl” brought out vulnerability in his voice. His relationship with the Temptations was a stormy one, but the marriage produced defining moments in 1960’s soul music explosion. His voice inspired just about every singer who sung to include the likes of Rod Stewart, George Michael, Daryl Hall, and Bruce Springsteen, just to name a few – his influence is everlasting. We’ll never know how good he might have been, but we can rejoice in what he left behind.

Born Davis Eli Ruffin, on January 18, 1941 in Whynot, Mississippi. A sickly child, inflicted with both rheumatic fever and asthma. His mother died in childbirth, and he was raised by his father, a Baptist Minister. He was a complex man and master vocalist with a gospel trained voice that would gain him the affection of several generations of listeners, but Ruffin had more than a voice – he had a persona.

In the best of his music, there was a dark, terrible, tragic, and a personal beauty. A good example would be in his self-penned composition “Statue of a Fool”, written when he was just 18 years old, in which he sees himself as a “man who lets love slip through his hands.”

My favorite line in that tune was “On his face, a gold tear should be placed to honor every tear he shed. And I think it would show, and everyone would know, concealed inside is a broken heart.” This was a powerful statement that spoke to the depth of his soul. However, as history would record he would share his most private pain in the Temptations’ biggest hits. Songs like “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” and “Since I Lost My Baby”, and the chilling “I Wish It Would Rain.

All of these songs were rooted in gospel where David first began singing in The Ruffin Family and The Spiritual Trying Four with his father, his sister Rita Mae, older brothers Jimmy and Quincy. David left home at 13 following his father’s footsteps to practice the ministry, but was sidetracked, singing in Memphis talent shows where he met a young Elvis Presley. He later sang with the gospel group The Dixie Nightingales out of Memphis, Tennessee, and toured with likes of The Womack Brothers, The Swan Silvertones, The Staple Singers, and the Dixie Hummingbirds.

It was with these gospel groups that Ruffin would develop his stage personality, dropping to his knees and doing splits, just like the late Jackie Wilson before him, and David’s show stopping performances within the group would be enough to get him noticed on the secular side.

Then in 1964, when problems arose between the Temptations and group member Elbridge Bryant, David would be invited to join the group. Shortly after David’s arrival, the group would record “The Way You Do The Things You Do”, a Smokey Robinson number with Eddie Kendricks on lead. Gone for a three-week gig in Saginaw, Michigan, the group would return home to find themselves with their first hit. It is said that when David saw the chart standings, he sat down on the long chaise lounge in the Motown lobby, took off his glasses, and cried like a baby.

Ruffin would turn out be an electrifying and dynamic force, when soon after he would bring them their first universal #1 hit, “My Girl”, recorded just before Christmas in 1964, a tune that would turn the group into a household word and legends. The group began turning out one hit after another, and when David took such up-tempo hits as “(I know), I’m Losing You”, to the stage, he became a magnetic field of charisma. His greatness would then shine, and his permanent mark on the pages of history was sealed.

It is reported that Pop Star Michael Jackson paid for his funeral, and numerous celebrities were in attendance at his home going service, including Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Martha Reeves, Mary Wilson, members of the Temptations, the Four Tops, and the Miracles. At the service, Stevie Wonder told the audience: “We’re confronted with a problem that touches every one of us. We’re confronted with the most devastating slave owner of all times.” Minister Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam, who spoke told the mournful audience, “In David there is a lesson. We should not clap our hands and mourn, for he is out of trouble now. You are still in it.”

It is not my intent to rewrite history or to re-tell a story that we all know. Rather to simply say, thank you Mr. Ruffin and to say you are gone – but not forgotten? And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

 DAVID RUFFIN GETS PERSONAL


                                           

“Just a Season”

http://johntwills.com


Enemy of the Truth: Myths, Forensics, and the Kennedy Assassination

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Some say America lost its innocence that fateful day in November 1963 in Dallas, Texas when the shocking news of the assassination of President Kennedy. One thing for sure there has been no shortage of conspiracies, theories, or doubt as to what actually happened on that fateful afternoon. Sherry merges modern CSI knowledge to examine the JFK Assassination in her new book – Enemy of the Truth: Myths, Forensics, and the Kennedy Assassination.

The Kennedy assassination is a particularly timely topic since November 2013 will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the shooting death of the 35th President of the United States. While the most studied murder investigation of the 21st century, it remains plagued by questions and a variety of theories. However, applying modern forensic investigative techniques to this high profile homicide can reveal new information—some of which is startling.

Sherry Fiester has applied current forensic disciplines to eight different aspects of the assassination providing scientific answers to some of the Kennedy assassination’s most puzzling questions. Fiester details how today’s trajectory techniques used to reconstruct shootings when applied to the assassination prove the shooters location for the fatal head shot eliminates both the sixth floor sniper’s lair and the Grassy Knoll. Fiester also addresses the abbreviated forward movement of Kennedy’s head followed by the familiar “back and to the left” movement observed in the Zapruder film, debunking the idea of two almost simultaneous gun shots to the head.

Fiester is a court certified expert in Louisiana State Federal Court and 30 Judicial Districts in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida in Crime Scene Investigation, Crime Scene Reconstruction and Blood Spatter Analysis and Reconstruction. She is published and recognized as an instructor at state and national levels. In 1995, Fiester began to apply her expertise to the Kennedy assassination. Later that year she spoke at the 1995 Coalition on Political Assassinations (COPA) Conference in Washington, DC. Fiester was the featured speaker at the Dealey Plaza Echo Kennedy Assassination Conference in the United Kingdom in 1996.

A regular presenter at JFK Lancer November in Dallas Conferences since 1996, she is a recipient of the prestigious JFK Lancer-Mary Ferrell New Pioneer Award given in recognition of her contribution of new evidence and advancing the study of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Now retired from police work, Fiester is utilizing various forensic fields to promote a better understanding of the Kennedy assassination. The results have been a variety of speaking presentations and more recently, completion of the book, “Enemy of Truth: Myths, Forensics, and the JFK Assassination.”

Image3Why I wrote the book: I believe the historical narrative of our country concerning the Kennedy assassination is distorted with biased and unverified information. Many people still believe in a single shooter, regardless of the scientific facts that prove otherwise. Sadly, the majority of the conclusions and purported facts concerning the death of President Kennedy are anecdotal, unrealistic, and incorrect statements kept alive by those who would prefer fabrications that promote sensationalism as opposed to the quiet reality of fact. I want to fight the unsubstantiated allegations that continue to rear their head, summoning the naive to join forces in a “truth is stranger than fiction” campaign.

Although imaginative and sometimes thought provoking, these theories rely upon the suspension of common sense and fly in the face of forensic research. I want to correct those misconceptions. Polls have consistently shown that the American public’s confidence in their government has steadily declined since the Warren Report was issued in 1964, and now over 80% of the people refuse to believe Kennedy was killed by a lone, deranged gunman.

The American people are convinced they have never been told the truth about the tragedy of November 22, 1963 and many will not stop in their search for the truth concerning his death and the subsequent cover-up. This book is part of my fight to bring the truth to light and restore accuracy to our history.

Sherry Fiester Interview

Buy It At AMAZON.COM

Knowledge is the gift that keeps on giving.

Legacy – A New Season 

AMAZON

Just a Season


Affirm Section 5 Of The Voting Rights Act

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The Supreme Court will hear a challenge to a key provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was enacted to ensure that African Americans had a right that has almost always been denied since they arrived here in chains. The opposing parties are asking the Court to end a requirement forcing Alabama and other southern states to get Department of Justice approval to change its voting procedures and electoral maps.

The Voting Rights Act already allows governments that have changed their ways to get out from under this humbling need to get permission through a “bailout provision.” Nearly 250 counties and local jurisdictions have done so; thousands more could be eligible based on the absence of recent discriminatory efforts in voting. My question and it should be of every African American is why Section 5 should be removed?

History tells us that after the Civil War when slavery ended, wink, there were very clever measures designed to deny African Americans the supposed most sacred right to vote. There were Amendments to the Constitution that should have been sufficient. However, those Anti-Americans who preached liberty and justice for all found ways to circumvent the law. They used such things as Poll Taxes, Literacy Tests, and when all else failed Terror.

Then there came an era called Reconstruction which resulted in what they called “Separate but Equal” which was nothing more than American Apartheid. Of course that worked out well for the racial extremist. It took one hundred years for America to pass a law that was meaningful to work to some degree, the Voting Rights Act, and now was to dismantle.

Let’s take a look at some very recent history, like last year and last month, to see why this provision should not be removed. In the last election, Republican went to many extremes to suppress minority votes through a myriad of state laws making it a mission to deny their right to vote.  The consequences of those desperate maneuvers, along with the accompanying vitriolic rhetoric, restrictive voter ID laws, encouraged Electoral College gimmickry and professed themselves unconcerned about long wait times at polling places tells us why this act is needed.

The viability of the bailout option could play an outsized role in the Supreme Court’s consideration of the voting rights law’s prior approval provision, although four years ago, conservative Justice Clarence Thomas said the prospect of bailing out had been “no more than a mirage.”

I can vividly remember “Bloody Sunday,” nearly 50 years ago, when 600 peaceful, nonviolent protesters attempting to march from Selma to Montgomery to dramatize the need for voting rights protection in Alabama. As they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge, state troopers under orders from the Governor attacked with tear-gassed, clubbed, whipped, and trampled them with horses. Seventeen marchers were hospitalized that day.

In response, President Lyndon Johnson introduced the Voting Rights Act and later signed it into law. It is very clear that America has come a great distance since then, in large part thanks to the act, but efforts to undermine the voting power of minorities did not end after 1965. They still persist today. Just because a man of color is the president does not mean the battle is won.

John Lewis, a Democrat, represents Georgia’s 5th District in the U.S. Housel

Voting rights is still and danger. So let’s not tamper with one of the few laws that have been a beacon to this thing called Democracy. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…


The Second Amendment

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With all that talk about the Second Amendment I wonder if you knew the real reason for the Second Amendment. Did you know why it says “State” instead of “Country”? Well, much like most early laws it was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia’s vote. What was called militias initially; it was a reference to “slave patrols” regulated by the states.

Laws were passed in Georgia, for example, that required all plantation owners or their male white employees to be members of the Georgia Militia, and for those armed militia members to make monthly inspections of the quarters of all slaves in the state. The Georgia statutes required patrols, under the direction of commissioned militia officers, to examine every plantation each month and authorized them to search ‘all Negro Houses for offensive Weapons and Ammunition’ and to apprehend and give twenty lashes to any slave found outside plantation grounds.

Let me add that this was not germane to Georgia alone but most southern slave holding states!

Before and up to the signing of the Constitution hundreds of substantial slave uprisings had occurred across the South.  Blacks outnumbered whites in many areas, and the state militias were used to both prevent and to put down slave uprisings. The fact is that slavery could only exist in the context of a police state, and the enforcement of that police state was the explicit job of the militias.

Think about it, if slaves had guns then they could be emancipated, which would collapse the institution of slavery, and the southern economic and social systems.

I am not going to expound upon this debate further because when black people, i.e., the Black Panthers, tried to exercise their right under the Second Amendment am going to agree with the profound actor Danny Glover who made this comment on the Second Amendment something called CONITEL was developed and the California Governor sign a bill to deny that right.

The fact is that the Second Amendment was conceived largely to preserve the institution of slavery and to suppress Native Americans. Actor and Activist Danny Glover said this recently: “I don’t know if you know the genesis of the right to bear arms,” Glover said. “The Second Amendment comes from the right to protect themselves from slave revolts, and from uprisings by Native Americans. So, a revolt from people who were stolen from their land, or revolt from people whose land was stolen from, that’s what the genesis of the Second Amendment is.”

Anyone who has read the Constitution knows that it says nothing about the rights of people of color or women. Therefore to think that the Second Amendment had anything to do with the rights of all people are simply wrong.

I am a veteran, served this country, and love it but something there is a huge void between fact and fiction. I would suggest that all of us be careful when those on the right and others connect the word of a Dr. Martin Luther King to this debate, as again it is fiction far from fact. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…


13 Ways to Stop Stealing From Yourself

28959_426173968522_7887579_nAre you a thief? If you are in debt and have no savings or retirement you are a thief and are stealing from yourself.  According to a new report by the Consumer Federation of America and the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, 38% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.  One out of every 7 Americans has 10 credit cards.  According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, more Americans owe money on student loans than on credit cards. 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) estimates that 30 million Americans have debt with collection agencies. 43% of Americans spend more than they earn.   According to a new University of Michigan report 1 out of 5 families owes more on credit cards, medical bills, student loans and other unsecured debt than they have in savings.

Many Americans have no emergency fund and little or no retirement savings. According to EBRI’s 2012 Retirement Confidence Survey 60% of employees state that the value of their savings and investments is less than $25,000.  Due to the recession and its after-effects many Americans were unemployed for long periods of time and exhausted their savings and retirement accounts and racked up mounds of debt.

Each time you swipe your credit card interest is accruing on the credit card balance.  If you don’t pay the balance off at the end of the month your credit card balance will continue to grow.  Paying for an item with a credit card on average costs 110% more than the original cost of the item.  Owing credit card debt makes the credit card companies rich and makes you poor.

Many Americans are so focused on paying down debt they forget about saving money.  No matter how much debt you owe you should also contribute to a savings account. Invest in yourself by contributing to a savings account.  You should have enough in an emergency savings account that covers your total monthly expenses and bills for 9-12 months.  You should put yourself first and follow the “Pay Yourself First” principle by putting money aside towards a savings account even if it is $1 a week then pay everyone else.

If you are living paycheck to paycheck find a way to reduce your spending such as bring your lunch to work, skip the Starbucks and bring your own coffee from home, shop at discount grocery stores and discount stores such as Aldi’s, Save-a-Lot, Wal-Mart, Target, Bottom Dollar Food, Grocery Outlet and buy store brands, use coupons. You may prefer to buy meat, dairy products and fruits and vegetables at a local farmers market or a regular grocery store.

Buying items you cannot afford it simply stealing from yourself.  Buying a car that costs more than your annual salary, owning a home that is upside down, owing student loans with a balance of $50,000 or more is not practical and causes extreme financial hardship.  If you make sacrifices earlier in life and do research to find the best offer for a loan or credit card, contribute regularly to a savings account and educate yourself about interest rates, credit card and personal finance you will be in a better financial position.  You will have to make hard sacrifices to get yourself out of debt.  Here are 13 ways to stop stealing from your yourself.

  1. Pay in full. Pay balance in full each month to avoid paying finance charges.
  2. Pay bi-monthly. Pay half of the balance with 1st paycheck of the month then pay the remaining balance with 2nd paycheck of the month.
  3. Pay weekly. Pay the minimum monthly payment the 1st week after you get the bill, and then each week pay as much as you can toward the monthly balance. Repeat this every month.
  4. Pay extra. Pay as much as you can when you get the bill, and then pay more towards the bill when you get extra money.
  5. Automate. Set up automatic payments from your checking account the day you receive your paycheck or the day after you receive your paycheck to pay down debt.
  6. Use unexpected income. Use your income tax refund, economic stimulus check, bonus check or sell new or used items on eBay.
  7. Negotiate. Negotiate for a lower interest rate, get fees waived or request a settlement to help reduce the balance owed to make it easier to pay down debt.
  8. Create a budget.  Balance your checkbook and create a budget to identify what you owe, what you earn and what you spend to find areas where you can reduce spending. Pay no more than 35% of your total monthly income towards housing, pay no more than 15% towards transportation, pay no more than 10% towards debt excluding mortgage, pay 10% towards savings and pay no more than 25% towards remaining expenses to create a balanced budget.
  9. Live Below Your Means.  Buy needs vs. wants; buy only the things you need, delay the things you want until you have the money to purchase the item.
  10. Pay with cash. Use credit cards for emergencies only and purchase items with cash.
  11. Purchases. Avoid making bad decisions such as buying rent-to-own furniture or buying a big screen television and other items that have no value.
  12. Pay on time. Avoid paying late fees whenever possible. If you know you will pay a bill late contact the company to setup payment arrangements.
  13. Keep balances low. Keep credit card balances at 20% or less of the credit limit.
By Harrine Freeman, Speaker, Financial Trainer
202-251-2503
One of Black Enterprises’ TOP 12 FINANCIAL MINDS (2010)
Winner of the 2011 New York Book Festival
Author How to Get Out of Debt: Get an “A” Credit Rating for Free

http://www.hefreemanenterprises.com/

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CONGRATULATION POTUS

Today is a great day that will never be surpassed by the passage of time; rather it will be permanently etched in the pages of history forever more. What we are witnessing today is something that was beyond the imagination of anyone living or dead. From that day in the summer of 1619 when the first slave was dragged onto the shores of this place called “merica” to begin a journey of degradation and suffering as chattel. The wretchedness and evil placed upon a people of African descent in the name of God to remain the least of thee.

Matthew 20:16
So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many are called, but few chosen.

From this day: Happy King Day

To this day: God Bless POTUS and Family

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Let us march ahead and never turn back! And that is my Thought Provoking Perspective…

http://johntwills.com


Granddaddy’s Lesson

grace 1My grandfather is always on my mind and in my novel “Just a Season” I featured him endearingly. I chose to do so because he was a huge influence upon who I am today. In that novel I devote a chapter to one of his more profound teachings, or as he would say “learn me”. If you have not read this epic novel – I would only suggest that you do because you will see the world through new eyes. What follows is an excerpt that I call Granddaddy’s Lesson.

Today we live in a world where there is no more Granddaddy to share that precious wisdom necessary to guide our young men and women into adulthood. I was very fortunate or maybe blessed, to have had a loving grandfather who shared many valuable lessons with me. These lessons formed the foundation of my very being…

“Granddaddy would say if you really hear me, not just listen to me, you will inherit life’s goodness. I would hear him talk about things like “God bless the child that’s got his own.” He constantly reminded me that everything that ever existed came from a just-single thought, and if you can think it, you can figure out how to do it just put your mind to it. I would also constantly hear that a man must be able to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done regardless of the circumstances. “I raised you to be a man and as a man, you don’t know what you will have to do, but when the time comes, do it.” Granddaddy drove home the point, the difference between a man and a boy is the lessons he’s learned.

Granddaddy would also say you will always have an enemy. Your enemy is anyone who attempts to sabotage the assignment God has for your life. Your enemy is anybody who may resent you doing positive things and will be unhappy because of your success. These people will attempt to kill the faith that God has breathed within you. They would rather discuss your past than your future because they don’t want you to have one. Your enemy should not be feared. He would say it is important to understand that this person usually will be close to you. He would tell me to use them as bridges, not barricades. Therefore, it is wise to make peace with your enemy.

“Just remember these things I say to you.” I certainly could not count all of these things, as it seemed like a million or more that I was supposed to remember. However, he asked me to remember above all else that there is no such thing as luck. The harder you work at something the luckier you get. I would tell him that I was lucky, maybe because I had won a ballgame or something. He would smile and tell me luck is only preparation meeting opportunity. Life is all about survival and if you are to survive – never bring a knife to a gunfight. This would be just as foolish as using a shotgun to kill a mosquito. Then he asked me to remember that it is not the size of the dog in the fight; it is the size of the fight in the dog.

Granddaddy’s words had so much power, although it would often require some thinking on my part to figure out what he was talking about, or what the moral of the story was supposed to be. It may have taken awhile but I usually figured it out. For example, always take the road less traveled, make your own path, but be sure to leave a trail for others to follow. Life’s road is often hard; just make sure you travel it wisely. If you have a thousand miles to go, you must start the journey with the first step. During many of these lessons, he would remind me not to let your worries get the best of you.

Sometimes he would use humor. For example, he would say something like “Moses started out as a basket case.” Although most often he assured me that hard times will come and when they come, do not drown in your tears; always swim in your blessings. He would tell me he had seen so much and heard even more, in particular those stories from his early life when dreadful atrocities were done to Negroes. Some of the stories included acts of violence such as lynchings, burnings, and beatings. He would make a point to explain that the people who did these things believed they were acting in the best interest of society.

He would tell me about things he witnessed over time, that many of these atrocities were erased from the memory of society regardless how horrible the event was. Society’s reasoning would make you think their action was right, fair, and justified. Granddaddy would add, if history could erase that which he had witnessed and known to be true, how can you trust anything history told as truth? He would emphasize that I should never, never believe it, because nothing is as it seems.

I would marvel at his wisdom. He would tell me to always set my aim higher than the ground. Shoot for the stars because if you miss you will only land on the ground and that will be where everybody else will be. When he would tell me this, he would always add, please remember you are not finished because you are defeated. You are only finished if you give up. He would usually include a reminder. Always remember who you are and where you came from. Never think you are too big because you can be on top of the world today and the world can be on top of you tomorrow.

I think Granddaddy had the foresight to see that I could do common things in life in an uncommon way, that I could command the attention of the world around me. Granddaddy impressed upon me that change is a strange thing. Everyone talks about it but no one ever tries to affect it. It will take courage and perseverance to reach your place of success. Just remember that life -is not a rehearsal. It is real and it is you who will create your destiny don’t wait for it to come to you. He would say, can’t is not a word. Never use it because it implies failure. It is also smart to stay away from those who do use it.

He would tell me that I was an important creation, that God gave a special gift to me for the purpose of changing the world around me. It may be hard sometimes, you may not understand, you may have self-doubt or hesitation, but never quit. God gave it to you so use it wisely. He would add often times something biblical during his teaching, or so I thought, like to whom much is given, much is expected. It is because we needed you that God sent you. That statement profoundly gave me a sense of responsibility that I was duty-bound to carry throughout my life.

Granddaddy’s inspiration, courage, and motivation still humble me, and I’m filled with gratitude that his example profoundly enriched my soul. So much so that in those times of trouble, when the bridges are hard to cross and the road gets rough, I hear Granddaddy’s gentle voice reciting words once spoken by the Prophet Isaiah: “Fear not for I am with you.”

Excerpt from “Just a Season”
All Rights Reserved
(c) 2008

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