Tag Archives: long awaited sequel

The Godfather Of Rock and Roll

It is a great joy to share with you the glorious past of the ghost of the greats whose shoulders we stand that are dear to my heart. I am proud to share this article because I love the story of the crossroads. It is a story about the great Delta Blues-man Robert Johnson. The history of music is littered with tragic figures, and none was more tragic than Robert Johnson’s story.

This amazing, ultimate star-crossed musical genius laid the early framework of rock and roll decades before that term was even imagined. Robert Leroy Johnson is among the most famous of all the Delta Blues musicians whose landmark recordings from 1936-37 display a remarkable combination of singing, guitar skills, and tremendous songwriting talent that have influenced generations of musicians. Johnson’s shadowy, poorly documented life, and violent death at age 27 have given rise to much speculation adding to his legend.

He is considered by some to be the “Grandfather of Rock-and-Roll,” his vocal phrasing, original songs, and guitar style influenced a range of musicians, including Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, The Allman Brothers Band, The Rolling Stones, The White Stripes, The Black Keys, Peter Gabriel, Neil Young, and Warren Zevon. Eric Clapton called Johnson “the most important blues musician who ever lived.

Johnson was conceived in an extramarital affair and born in Hazelhurst, Miss., in 1911. Most of his biographical details have been lost to history, but what’s known is that he learned guitar in his teens, got married, and had a girl who died in childbirth. The death led Johnson to throw himself even deeper into his music. He fled to Robinsonville, Miss., where he was influenced by early blues legends Son House and Willie Brown.

By 1933, Johnson remarried and began playing the guitar professionally. He once related the tale of selling his soul to the devil at a crossroads in exchange for his talent. Johnson tells the story in his song “Crossroads Blues.” Playing for tips up and down the Delta, Johnson gained in popularity. But as he grew in fame, he became a noted philanderer. He would also walk off in the middle of performances and not be seen or heard from for weeks at a time.

In 1936, he was put in contact with Columbia Records talent scout Ernie Oertle, who took him to San Antonio, Tex., where Johnson recorded classics including “Sweet Home Chicago,” “There’s A Hell Hound On My Trail,” and his signature “Terraplane Blues.”

Johnson began to tour nationally and became known for his unique voice and halting guitar rifts. But in 1938, as the legend goes, the devil caught up with him. While playing at a juke joint, he flirted with a woman whose husband became jealous, and the man laced Johnson’s whiskey with strychnine. Although he became violently ill, Johnson played until he collapsed. He died four days later at age 27, although conflicting stories say he survived the poisoning and died later of pneumonia.

There are at least two Mississippi gravesites that bear his name leaving questions about his passing and burial. “The reason that it’s so powerful a story is because it is the outline of the tragic side of the music that followed,” said music journalist Alan Light. “Some knew him as a musician, others by legend, but his shadow touches everyone who came out of that time and place.” I will say that Robert Johnson is truly a legend whose legacy will last forever. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

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Last Days In Time

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I came across this thought provoking video, thank to a FaceBook page, and was compelled to share the message. America as great as it is faces a multitude of concerns that are imperative to the nation’s survival. Many of which, but not limited to, the most serious concerns are structural and coming from within.

If compared to America’s relation to time, about two and a half centuries, this system of government is relatively new and a very young experiment in democracy. The rise and fall of nations is a common as the change of seasons. With greed and division among the people; does the Universal God need to intervene and correct the situations but our so-called leaders cannot. 

The government is neglecting its citizens in every area that pertains to living and has forgotten that we are first human. Second, we are the engine of this system that makes up the American society. We the people fund the government that benefits the plutocrats and oligarchs. We have become a nation of “haves and have not’s”!

Could we be living in the “Last Days In Time”. We get caught up in a multitude of issues that really have nothing to do with critical issues facing the citizenry. Listen to the speaker who voices a compelling assessment and in his view there is a real possibility that THE END IS NEAR!

What do you think?

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The Gathering

2Did you get your invitation from James Crow Esq. to attend the 21st Century Citizens Counsel gathering the Good Ol’ Boys call CPAC? No, I didn’t get one either, but I heard it was a “Yee Ha” kinda weekend!

I will be upfront and say that I have called the Good Ol Boys (GOP), like most, many things and coming from a time where I have seen this movie before; I think my assertion is fair. I will try to capture the essence of what the rightwing nuts and the frightening Republican candidates represented as they continued clinging to a version of reality unique to a world alien to sane people.

Last weekend the conservatives paraded their best spokespeople to advance their cause, and if they were trying to make a good impression on each other and observant voters, they failed miserably because it was nothing but the same. No, actually it was worse! I saw racism and bigotry that went back to the days of segregation, if not the Civil War.

The show or ignominy hosted the usual daily recapitulation of crazy to comprehend the conservative conclave’s purpose was to put on a torrid display of groundless anti-Obama rhetoric based on the roster of speakers. One by one, their so-called best and brightest fired up the crowds preaching that America’s salvation is steeped in religion, austerity, guns, and voiding the federal government. The speakers each reiterated that Republicans lose elections because the GOP failed to articulate conservative’s values and not that voters rejected conservative extremism.

22In essence, what they said was “We don’t need new ideas. The idea is called America, and it still works” and it revealed to Republicans, extremism defines America, and voters are out of touch with America. The list of characters represented fanaticism at its finest with the same cast of character; Donald Trump, Rand Paul, Sara Palin, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan rambling on about America’s demise stemming from voter’s rejecting conservative ideas. Many of the gang, marquee spokespersons, came to lay the nation’s woes at the feet of President Obama.

It seemed to me that these so-called patriots favored the Russia President of the American President. Another highlight of the event was “Obama-Care”. Only this time, they did not accuse president Obama of killing grandma but did not hold back on anything else. I would be remised if I did not mention the only Negro in the room – the doctor. It is amazing that every year the find “one” and let me just say for the record black people did not clear him!

The only thing I did not hear from this group that I heard in the past years was – how grateful we should be to have been dragged onto the shores of this great land and given food and shelter to cheers and applause from the crowd.

CPAC was an extremists’ dream, and they brought out the cream of the conservative crop to parrot extremist rhetoric. I still say, because I have a memory of history where we saw the extreme lynch, murder through the use of terror, African Americans could not drink from the same water fountain, trampled and beaten by people of this ilk. In fact, Rand Paul is on record say if he were a Senator he would not have voted for the Civil Rights Act. This sounds to me a lot like what this mean when they say they “want their country back”.

The most memorable, however, was Caribou Barbie’s rendition of a twisted fairytale rendition of a Dr. Seuss like story.  If I could make a comparison to this the 2014 gathering, it was more like a Star Wars bar scene gone wrong. People the 2014 elections are not far away and dare I say – Be afraid, Be very afraid. If any of these people are elected God Bless America! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…


Tis’ The Season

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I have re-posted this piece every year for the past ten years to share my pain for the loss of my son. I know we are born to die but as each Christmas comes and goes I miss his presence. During this season, we rejoice with great celebration for Christmas is the day Christ our savior was born. Rarely do I share much of my personal being but in this post I want to pour my heart out because this is neither my favorite season nor one that I look forward to anymore. It is not due to a lack of faith or my strong conviction and belief in someone greater than I; whom I call chose to call God. Rather, it is due to this event that will forever pain my heart.

Every year as the holiday season comes upon us I have to relive a dreadful horror. So I ask that you please forgive any tears that may stain the pages as I write. If you have experienced the greatest love of all and lost it. I know you feel my pain. Therefore, I will use this writing to express my feelings and pay homage to my late son – who I miss very much. I am blessed in that he left me a wonderful grandson who I cherish more than life itself.

It’s been some time since God called my only son home to be with him, and the pain of his absence does not go away. No parent should have to bury a child, let alone the only child they’ve been blessed to have. It just doesn’t seem right for a child to go before a parent, but this is not something that is unique to me. I know from scripture that others have endured such pain since time began. Able died before Adam and Eve and John the Baptist died preceding his parents. We also know for certain that Jesus died before Mary because she witnessed his crucifixion, and how painful that must have been.

It was a dreadful dreary cold day about ten years ago, early in the morning, when I lost my Rashad due to a tragic automobile accident. It was without question the worst thing imaginable and most certainly my darkest hour. This pain never seems to subside, and I will tell you during each Christmas season it is still painful. Adding to the sadness of this situation his death occurred on New Year’s Eve and on the morning of his son’s first birthday as we were preparing a birthday party for my grandson.

This brings to mind words from scripture. Actually, it is a question I was asked a long time ago. “Why Jesus wept?” As the story goes, Jesus was so moved as he witnessed the pain of Mary and Martha weeping for the loss of his dear friend, Lazarus, that he also wept. Today, I understand that emotion because I have felt such pain. I wrote a few books which might very well explain why I was chosen as the vehicle to share such a powerful story within those pages that will surely live far beyond the season I’ve been given.

From this nightmare, I have come to understand that adversity can either destroy or develop you. Unless and until you have suffered enough pain, then and only then, will you reach deep inside and feel the breath that God has breathed into your soul coming eye to eye with your destiny. Now, having said that, my salvation was to take this lemon (for lack of a better word) and make lemonade. What I have learned from this tragedy is that there is a definition of service that is not written in Webster’s Dictionary that says “I can heal by giving of myself to the benefit of others.”

In spite of this never before known pain that resides permanently within my soul I am very grateful God saw fit to bless me with a wonderful grandson whose name is Elijah. So as each year passes and Elijah resembles my son more and more the pain eases and the season becomes more bearable. I pray that my son is rejoicing in the bosom of our Lord knowing that I am here for his son in his stead. I am looking forward to the day when I see him again so we can walk around haven all day reveling in wonders of God’s kingdom.

The tears are flowing uncontrollably now. So I will close by saying to anyone experiencing adversity whether it is from health, financial issues or the pain of missing a loved one. I offer my deepest sympathy to you, particularly those who have joined this unwelcomed fraternity of losing a child. The Christmas holiday season and welcoming the New Year will never be the same.

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever… believes in me will never die.” John 11:25-26

And that is my Thought Provoking Perspective…

 R.I.P.

“RASHAD ALI WILLS”

Make these books the gift that keeps on giving.

Legacy – A New Season 

AMAZON

Just a Season


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


Justice Finally

th (5)Can you imagine being accused of rape? Ok, maybe you can because it still happens. Race, Gender, and Lies are usually at the foundation of such accusation but if you are a white woman the result is guilty. There have been countless cases but none more infamous than the case of the Alabama teens that came to be known as the Scottsboro Boys.

The Scottsboro case crystallized black support in the 1930s, more than any other event, in spite of the countless lynchings of black men for amusement. This is what happened; nine black teens were accused of raping two white women, Ruby Bates and Victoria Price, on a freight train near Paint Rock, Alabama basically because they said so, which was a lie.

The nine young black men were Charlie Weems, Ozie Powell, Clarence Norris, Olen Montgomery, Willie Roberson, Haywood Patterson, Andy and Roy Wright, Eugene Williams, ages thirteen to twenty-one, were arrested on March 25, 1931, tried without adequate counsel, and hastily convicted on the basis of shallow evidence. All but Roy Wright were sentenced to death.

Already in the midst of a mass anti-lynching campaign begun a year earlier, the International Labor Defense (ILD) gained the confidence of the defendants and their parents, initiated a legal and political campaign for their freedom, and in the process waged a vicious battle for control over the case with the NAACP, who accused the Communists of using the young men for propaganda purposes.

The Scottsboro case was not simply an isolated instance of injustice. Rather a common manifestation of national oppression and class rule in the South. Maintaining that a fair and impartial trial was impossible, the defense, such as it was, and its auxiliaries publicized the case widely in order to apply mass pressure on the Alabama justice system. Protests erupted throughout the country and as far away as Paris, Moscow, and South Africa, and the governor of Alabama was bombarded with telegrams, postcards and letters demanding the immediate release of the “Scottsboro Boys.”

More shocking, as the southern racist would cry freedom and liberty, the “Scottsboro Boys” were denied the right of counsel. Because of public pressure the teens got a new trial, which opened on March 27, 1933. In this case the ILD had retained renowned criminal lawyer Samuel Leibowitz.

More significant, a month before the trial date Ruby Bates repudiated the rape charge. Yet, despite new evidence and a brilliant defense, the all-white jury still found the Scottsboro defendants guilty; a verdict that seemed to buttress the Communists’ interpretation of justice under capitalism and how it applies to the black community.

In fact, pressure from black militants and some sympathetic clergy and middle-class spokesmen compelled the virulently anticommunist NAACP secretary, Walter White, to develop a working relationship with the ILD in the spring of 1933. Several months later, however, in an unprecedented decision, Alabama circuit Judge James E. Horton overturned the March 1933 verdict and ordered a new trial.

Following a number of incredibly foolish legal and ethical mistakes, including an attempt to bribe Victoria Price, star lawyer Samuel Leibowitz separated from the ILD. With support of conservative black leaders, white liberals, and clergymen, Leibowitz founded the American Scottsboro Committee (ASC) in 1934.

In a tenuous alliance the ILD, ASC, NAACP, and ACLU, formed the Scottsboro Defense Committee, which opted for a more reformist, legally oriented campaign in lieu of mass tactics. After failing to win the defendants’ release in a 1936 trial, the SDC agreed to a strange plea bargain in 1937 whereby four defendants were released and the remaining five endured lengthy prison sentences. The last defendant was not freed until 1950.

Although the ILD did not win the defendants’ unconditional release, its campaign to “Free the Scottsboro Boys” had tremendous legal and political implications during the early 1930s. For example, in one of the ILD’s many appeals, a 1935 U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the defendant’s constitutional rights were violated because blacks were systematically excluded from the jury. Moreover, the realization that limited mass interracial action was possible challenged traditional liberalism and the politics of racial accommodation; the often scorned tactics of “mass pressure” would eventually be a precedent for civil rights activity two decades later.

Like Mississippi who 150 years after the Civil War came to terms with the reality that it was fought and won, and they lost.  A resolution labels the Scottsboro Boys as “victims of a series of gross injustice” and declares them exonerated. A companion bill gives the state parole board the power to issue posthumous pardons. Alabama is trying to exonerate them for the in justice of this famous case from the segregated South that some consider the beginning of the modern civil rights movement.

Long overdue but this is still the American South and this attempt may well be a smoke screen or justice denied. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…


Grandma, How Do You Know God Is Real?

About the Book   

61y-DXejdmL._AA160_Grandma, how do you know God is real? is about a six-and-a-half-year-old girl named Kendra, who spends a few weeks of her summer vacation with her Grandma.

She awakens one bright and sunny morning and asks her Grandma how does she know God is real? Grandma, takes Kendra on an adventure to show her all the reasons as to why she knows God is real.

About The Author

lorita-childressLorita Kelsey Childress lives with her husband David, in Northern CA.  She has three daughters and a granddaughter. Lorita’s first novel The Turning Point of Lila Louise was published in May 2010. December 2012, she published her first children’s book titled, Grandma, how do you know God is real? She is a member of Sistahs on the Reading Edge book club. Lorita’s work is featured in Gumbo for the Soul; The Recipe for Literacy in the Black Community and Gumbo for the Soul; Women of Honor Special Pink Edition.

Her latest work is featured in Suspect; A Confessional Anthology.  Her poem Our History is Rich was featured in the January/March 2010 edition of Kontagious Magazine.  She is currently working on her second novel.

Visit the Author on line at:

Author website:   www.loritawrites4u.com

Email Address: loritachildress@yahoo.com

Connect with Lorita

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/lkchildress?ref=ts&fref=ts

Purchase the book on line at:

Amazon ordering:  http://www.amazon.com/Grandma-how-you-know-real/dp/0615677975/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1357369092&sr=1-4&keywords=lorita+childress

Author website:   www.loritawrites4u.com

Visit the blog tour schedule at: http://wnlbooktours.com/

Twitter @ John T. Wills

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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