Senator Harry Reid Went ‘Nuclear,’ What if ‘Boyz in the Hood’ did the Same?

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Theme:– Operation C.R.U.S.H. Against Gun Violence, Bias and Clouded Vision

Imagine Congress has to make some budget decisions by end of year. These are needed to avoid another government shutdown. It’s not clear if that’s been made easier or harder now that the filibuster has been busted. Senator Harry Reid went ‘nuclear,’ so what if ‘boyz in the hood’ did the same?

The filibuster rule in the Senate has been plaguing the Obama Administration. Many of his executive and judicial appointments have been blocked by a Republican minority. The original purpose of the rule was to provide a courtesy to minority representatives to share their voice of dissent on a policy matter.

One senator has been quoted as saying “The rule change made by Harry Reid is intended to give the majority party the ability to do whatever it wants to do.” That’s not the full story because it’s really meant to curtail the minority party from doing whatever it wants to do to block progress just for blocking sake.

The Washington D.C. climate shows political change is tough stuff. This is equally true for social change on income inequality, jobs, gun violence and mental illness. Sometimes it’s choosing an ‘easy fix, easy sell’ or a ‘hard fix, hard sell.’ And other times change calls for using a weapon of mass disruption (WMD).

Whether in Congress or the community some rather resist than embrace change. It’s easier to block gun reform than embrace sensible fixes. As the country reflects on the legacy of President John F. Kennedy Jr. let’s consider his administration’s shift from ‘pre-historic notions’ closer to a more perfect union.

Footnote: Sometimes change is a natural shift in current trends and other times it happens as a result of taking action to prevent a bad situation from slipping into evil and instead achieving greater good.

Shark Tank’s Daymond John Became Fashion Guru Before Urban Wear Was Cool

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Theme:–The Year of ‘Growmance’
Where Love Beats Fear in Upping Our Game This Year” (Old-School Flava)

The fashionistas are working overtime. Many are studying what sizzles and what fizzles. With a few adjustments, some will draw-up the next season’s designs. Before you know it we’ll be hearing about the new spring look. Well, Daymond John became a fashion guru before urban wear was even cool.

Things started out when John was looking for a certain style hat. He couldn’t find one for a good price. So he used his sewing skills to make one. The hat caught-on in his Queens NY hometown so he decided to launch FUBU with a few friends. He turned a personal need into a product line by creating market value.

His business took-off as word spread. John sized-up the market, going from a startup company to a brand that captured additional market value. He knew he was on to something after doing $800 worth of sales in a few hours. He expanded into other clothing apparel. He even convinced LL Cool J to wear FUBU gear.

Now, John launched an entrepreneur academy to bring branding to the masses. He’s sharing tools of the trade along with lessons learned. By teaching what he knows John is reinvesting his success to circulate market value. It’s like going from 45 to LP to CD. He’s shifted from startup to street corner to superstar.

John can be seen each week on the Reality TV show Shark Tank. The show features a few business moguls and allows entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas to them as potential partner investors. John believes it’s going to take a rush of entrepreneurship ventures to bring about sustained recovery in the economy.

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The Year of ‘Growmance’
Where Love Beats Fear in Upping Our Game This Year” (New-School Flava)

Many Fashionistas working overtime. Checking what sizzles and fizzles on a dime. Next season’s looks giving them fits. A few adjustments could bring new design hits. Before long new spring skirts on the avenue. With magazine ads to boost store revenue. Daymond John made urban wear a cool rendezvous.

Started out by looking for certain style hat. Thought to himself ‘what’s wrong with that.’ Couldn’t find one for a good price. Used his sewing skills making one to entice. Caught-on in his Queens NY hometown. Launching FUBU with friends down. Personal need into a product line. Turning market value into a shine.

Business took-off with more buzz. So he sized-up market value fuzz. Going from startup to company brand. Capturing more clout almost by hand. Doing $800 sales in a pinch. A few hours work felt like a cinch. Expanded into other apparel and gear. Even convinced LL Cool J to promote FUBU urban wear.

Now John launched biz ‘homie-school.’ Teaching others the cash-flow rule. Bringing brand training to the masses. With tools of the trade and expert-led classes. Reinvesting his success to circulate. More market value so others duplicate. Like going from 45 to LP to CD. Startup to street corner to superstar BD.

Seen each week on ABCs Shark Tank. Moguls with wads of cash in the bank. Up-and-comers make a personal pitch. Of a business idea that’s in their niche. Hoping to land partner in the mix. Who brings a real marketplace fix. John sees a rush of new ventures. As the ticket to economic recovery adventures.

Tip: Upping your game means thinking about what you can sow today in order to reap tomorrow.

Talkback: Who’s the Shark on the Reality show that’s got the most to gain or lose?

Janet Yellen Comes Out Swinging at Congress for Being Heartless

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Theme:– Operation J.U.M.P. For Jobs, Justice & Unsung Dreams

Federal Reserves’ Chairman Ben Bernanke announced some time ago that he’ll step down in January at the end of his current term. He took the job during the Bush Administration and was kept on by President Obama. The nominee to replace him, Janet Yellen, came out swinging at Congress for being heartless.

She testified last week at Senate confirmation hearings. Yellen, if confirmed, would become the first woman in that role. While she might have her eyes set on stepping into the job, she’s clearly not backing down on stepping into the fire. Yellen feels the economic recovery has been hampered by the Sequester.

She’s also shining the light on the rise in income inequality. The top one-percent has seen tremendous increases in income while the bottom 20-percent struggle to stay afloat. This might point to social roadblocks and policy decisions akin to the racial inequality that some experienced from cradle to grave.

Back in those days (not long ago) the concern was removing barriers to employment that some groups faced. Our history shows how they received “leftover” jobs or low-grade work assignments. So, the powers-that-be took steps to address the apparent “reoccurring oversight” that was found in the system.

If Yellen becomes the next Feds sheriff in town, it might truly mean we need affirmative action for all on job market inequality. Maybe workers below the C-Suite or High Street need to have some of the same protections and options as those above. This way the game can be played on more transparent terms.

Footnote: Operation J.U.M.P. includes an economic justice component that can bring together the money-changers on High Street and the game-changers on Low Street to exchange notes on embracing equal protections and options for job market progress.

Derek ‘Shotgun’ Brown and Anti-Violence Program Between Rock and Hard Place

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Theme:– Operation C.R.U.S.H. Against Gun Violence, Bias and Clouded Vision

From NYC to Detroit to Chicago there’re reasons to see that anti-violence campaigns are needed. From a skating rink to a barbershop to the ‘hood, it seems when things die down they flare up again. That’s why Derek Brown and the Ceasefire anti-violence program find themselves between a rock and a hard place.

The program was started to deal with the gang problem in Chicago. It provides intervention services to interrupt the potential for retaliations. Many of the organization’s counselors are ex-offenders who turned around their lives. The program allows them to serve the community in a “keeping it real” kind of way.

Aljazeera America reports Ceasefire’s city-funded contract expired over the summer and wasn’t renewed. They had to shrink staff and close locations. One of the program administrators feels it’s like a double punishment. They served their time in prison and are being penalized again for making a difference.

Some police honchos question taxpayer funding of ex-cons. They feel Ceasefire gets in the way of their efforts. Others in the community vouch for the program after seeing a decrease in school suspensions. Isn’t that the whole point of anti-violence? An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

Brown and others hope funding is returned next year. In the meantime, he’s been trying to stay afloat with a food truck on the corner. This way he can have a legal hustle while still being available to share street advice in the community. It’s clearly a better option than having to backslide into delivering street justice.

Footnote: It’s much better to save a life by preventing an unnecessary bullet from flying than by having to stop an emergency room patient from dying.

Sir Richard Branson To Launch an Out-of-World Experience in Space Flight

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Theme:–The Year of ‘Growmance’
Where Love Beats Fear in Upping Our Game This Year” (Old-School Flava)

After winning the X-Prize Spaceflight competition in 2004 with SpaceShipOne, Virgin Galactic upped its game in commercial space travel. That journey began eight years earlier with the vision of British Billionaire Sir Richard Branson and others. In 2014 he plans to launch an out-of-world experience in flight.

NBC Universal and its network of entertainment outlets have announced a partnership to promote the events leading up to the first commercial spaceflight next year. This ‘where were you moment’ will feature Branson and his kids among six other civilians aboard SpaceShipTwo. It’s a dream long in the making.

The journey from vision to reality is what many experience in living their dreams. The American dream is filled with examples of those who pursued greater opportunity. Many left their homeland without much to show. A driving force has been channeling a sense of purpose by turning an idea into an action plan.

In U.S. history we had the gold rush. That was part of the Western migration of people looking to secure land and get natural resources in hand. Then we had the Industrial Revolution where many experienced the home-buying rush. Now we’re in a phase of the business ‘brand rush’ defined by the social revolution.

Many a dream got started by those far less-wealthy than Branson. What exists in passion often matters more than what’s found in money. Branson and others know that a dream starts off with a deep-down rush of inner juices. So, like him, maybe 2014 is the year for an out-of-world experience in dream flight.

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The Year of ‘Growmance’
Where Love Beats Fear in Upping Our Game This Year” (New-School Flava)

Winner of X-Prize for Spaceflight. In 2004 SpaceShipOne reached new height. Then Virgin Galactic upped its game. Commercial space travel would make its name. Journey began eight years before. A glimpse of Sir Richard Branson’s vision score. Plans for out-of-world experience in space allure.

NBC Universal got first right. Entertainment outlets to promote first flight. With outlets from cable to theme park. Covering the feat from morning to dark. Billed as a ‘where were you moment’ in time. Will also feature Reality TV show in prime. Branson, his kids, six others for the taking. A dream long in the making.

Journeying from vision to reality. Sure to bring new-found notoriety. It’s what many experience living their dreams. Whether in biz or on sports teams. Going for greater opportunity out the door. Many leaving homeland for another shore. Channeling purpose as a driving force. Turning idea into action-plan course.

U.S. history had the gold rush. Western migration with the land crush. Natural resources had people looking. Before the Industrial Revolution was cooking. A time many saw rush in home-buying. Heading north with family left crying. Now it’s the ‘brand rush’ biz phase. Defined by social revolution craze.

Many a dream started small. By those with little-or-nothing at all. Found in passion not just for your honey. Matters more than what’s found in money. Branson and others are in the know. A dream makes rush of inner juices flow. Maybe 2014 the year to get it right. With an out-of-world experience in dream flight.

Tip: Upping your game means seeing your dreams for the passion that it is and keeping your eyes on the prize in the world of biz.

Talkback: Will commercial spaceflight become a normal social occurrence like air travel?

Mayor @MikeBloomberg a Good Candidate for ‘Jobs Czar’ When Term Ends

Theme:– Operation J.U.M.P. For Jobs, Justice & Unsung Dreams

The rumors are swirling about Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s next stop after leaving office. It looks like a well-earned vacation is in the works. He probably hasn’t been able to really kick-back over the past 12 years. Some see a return to the company he founded. But Bloomberg’s a good candidate for ‘Jobs Czar.’

With his business background and public service, he could hit the ground running. He’d be a role model for those who’re still dealing with a tough job market. The recent Jobs Report showed a jump in new payroll hires. However, the labor participation rate’s at an all-time low. A major concern is the MIA jobless.

Bloomberg doesn’t have to worry about his next job. He can go from employed to unemployed, then back to being employed in a flash. While the average Jane or Joe has got to hang on for dear life. It’s almost as if there’s a job market jet-stream that benefits some and job market rip currents that pulls-down others.

Operation J.U.M.P. is more like a jet-stream than rip currents. It’s facilitating a job market pipeline and business dream-track for those reinventing themselves. This is not a cake-walk and is seen as a calling. Operation J.U.M.P. stands to be a model for next gen pink-collar workers in the social-change revolution.

Some NY media are reporting that Bloomberg is likely to be less visible. He has lots of options regarding his other philanthropic and social justice interests. There’re even reports that he might carry over some mayoral staff to his new job. Whatever he decides, it’s sure to leave a mark whether people like it or not.

Footnote: Operation J.U.M.P. works more like a jet-stream than rip currents. It’s about providing emotional, financial and social lift for career/business goals to fly again even higher with “jump-stream” force.

Did Carrie Underwood Strain Her Nerves Without a Crack in Her Voice?

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Theme:– Operation C.R.U.S.H. Against Gun Violence, Bias and Clouded Vision

The Country Music Awards was ready for another year of Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley. The duo co-hosted the show the sixth year in a row. They used the show’s monologue to poke fun at celebs like “you know who.” Did Underwood have to strain her nerves without showing a crack in her voice?

She’s a good ol’ OKC country girl who’s come a long way from American Idol. She may not have grown up around the kind violence that’s been popping-up lately from coast to coast. This week saw a NJ Mall shooting that had people on edge. The 20-year old suspect fired-off a few rounds before taking his life.

Police say he made every effort not to harm anyone. With what appears to be some kind of suicide note, authorities believe he wanted to “die by cop.” These kinds of shootings suggest that while everything evil is bad, not everything bad is evil. Sometimes it’s just a matter of people looking for answers.

Underwood might relate when she looks back over her career. At five she was gung-ho about her singing dreams. At 16 she lost-out on a recording contract. At 18 she gave up on her dream to be a recording artist. But her appearance on American Idol helped to elevate a sense of purpose and meaning.

Simon Cowell said Underwood would become the biggest Idol artist. She’s now the top Idol earner with a slew of music industry awards. While public policy efforts on background checks and a review of ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws are important, nothing beats having something to live for before having to die for.

Footnote: Public policy efforts can produce important laws, but a shared sense of purpose offers the kinds of answers to gun violence that give people something to live for before having to die for.

David Ortiz Leads Red Sox as The New ‘Mr. October’ in Baseball

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Theme:–The Year of ‘Growmance’
Where Love Beats Fear in Upping Our Game This Year” (Old-School Flava)

Does David Ortiz remind us of anyone? Well, former NY Yankee Reggie Jackson comes to mind. Back in the day he was the one who often pulled-off big scores during the MLB World Series. Just days ago Ortiz did the same thing for the Boston Red Sox. He led his team as the new ‘Mr. October’ in baseball.

The stage was set in game four with the St. Louis Cardinals being up 2-1 in the series. Ortiz went to bat and got on base with a double. From second base he turned to his dugout and yelled “Let’s go!” with animated hand-clapping. At the end of the inning he gave an impromptu pep talk in the dugout.

The huddle could be seen on TV but not heard. So what might Ortiz have said to the guys to get them fired-up? Well, reports are that he told them to relax and make it happen. But Ortiz might have hinted that cream rises to the top. The next inning Jonny Gomes hit a 3-run homer to put them in the lead.

Some say that was a turning point in the game and probably in the series. The Red Sox went on to win that game. We saw a game-changing turnaround that Ortiz says wasn’t planned. This might be another example of how consciousness rises to the top. The team became more aware of the power within.

‘Big Papi’ Ortiz knows that the end of his playing days is not too far off. At age 37, he’s been in the league for some time and reached the pinnacle once or twice. He’s highly regarded by his teammates as someone who walks the talk. Maybe his example has shown them that ‘class’ also rises to the top.

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The Year of ‘Growmance’
Where Love Beats Fear in Upping Our Game This Year” (New-School Flava)

David Ortiz a flashback to anyone? Well Reggie Jackson could be that someone. Back in the day having the hot bat. Hitting homeruns and big scores down pat. Days ago Ortiz did the same thing. To earn himself another World Series ring. Led his team as new ‘Mr. October.’ With another season to remember.

Stage was set in game four. Cardinals ahead, Red Sox knocking at the door. Ortiz went to bat getting a double. Cardinals Manager knew they were in trouble. Ortiz yelled from second base “Let’s go!” With animated hand-clapping to show. Then giving a dugout pep talk. Time to get on base with hits or a walk.

Huddle could be seen but not heard. Teammates locked-in to his every word. What did he say to get them fired-up? Telling them to relax and suck-it-up. Reports are he kept things cool. Cream rises to the top as a rule. Next inning Jonny Gomes’ 3-run homer. That ball sailed like a goner.

Some say a turning point in the game. A reason for adding MVP to his name. Red Sox went on to win. Pouring champagne and sipping on gin. Ortiz used pep talk as motivating tool. Others say it was like baseball old-school. It’s how consciousness can move you to the top. Whether in MLB, R&B or Hip-Hop.

‘Big Papi’ knows his playing days could soon end. Might not be too far around the bend. At age 37 he’s no spring chicken. Still hoping for a few more tricks with his mitten. Reaching the pinnacle once or twice is steep. Highly regarded as a man who sows and reap. Showing ‘class’ rises to the top of the heap.

Tip: Upping your game is in knowing when to move and when to motivate others to make that move for the betterment of yourself, team, organization, community or country.

Talkback: How does ‘Big Papi’ compare to some of baseball’s best ever?

Edward Snowden and Jon Gosselin Caught Trading Secrets?

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Theme:– Operation J.U.M.P. For Jobs, Justice & Unsung Dreams

Remember the reality show “Jon & Kate Plus 8?” It was about a family with sextuplets and twins. The show lasted for five seasons before being renamed “Kate Plus 8” after Jon and Kate had a falling-out. Remember the name Edward Snowden? What if Snowden and Gosselin were caught trading secrets?

Snowden is accused of leaking classified government information. He’s been out of a job and in search of a country to call home. He was recently granted asylum in Russia. Now, word is that he’s been hired by a tech company. He’s even asked the U.S. government for clemency. The response was “no can do.”

Gosselin who’s a former IT computer professional has been looking for work since the breakup with his wife and being dropped from the show. He’s been seen waiting tables at a restaurant and says he lives in less than ideal circumstances. Gosselin wants to return to a normal life with a normal job.

What can Snowden say to Gosselin or Operation J.U.M.P. say to those like Gosselin who want a normal return in their employment situation? Sure, it takes focus, drive and common sense to hit the pavement in search of opportunity. But it might also take a social-change system, trading career and business secrets.

Some see Snowden as a traitor for leaking sensitive material. Others believe he’s provided a valuable service in civic duty. While that debate rages on he’s gotten a job in a foreign land while others who kept their noses clean can’t hold their breaths much longer. So, what does that say about our focus on jobs?

Footnote: Operation J.U.M.P. keeps the focus on jobs similar to how a magnifying glass focuses the sunlight on paper to help spark more pockets of opportunity for the unemployed, under-employed and emerging self-employed.”

Sabrina Fulton is Standing Her Ground Against The ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law

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Theme:– Operation C.R.U.S.H. Against Gun Violence, Bias and Clouded Vision

The Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings recently to continue the gun reform debate. Even with the shooting of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, there hasn’t been much movement. Sabrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mom, stopped by to say she’s standing her ground against the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law.

This law is a “legal problem step-child” of the Castle Doctrine & Second Amendment. The Castle Doctrine says someone has the right to shoot if they feel their home/life is threatened. Since many of the Founding Fathers were slave owners, the Second Amendment was in part a way to manage/suppress revolts.

This helped to make guns a growing fixture in early American life. As the nation went from one war to the next the fascination for guns grew. Some veterans brought back guns upon returning home. So America’s gun climate has been fueled in part by slavery, wars, gun shows and other societal effects.

We saw more firearm-related activism with groups rallying for gun-rights. There was a spike in purchases by hobbyists, hunters and for ‘hood protection. So maybe reform policies are hard to pass in Congress because some prefer an ideological boxing match rather than dealing with the sociological miss-match.

Fulton believes ‘Stand Your Ground’ is a big reason for her son’s untimely death. She can’t fathom how such a law remains in place across many states. For Fulton it’s personal even though it’s not about taking personal issue with gun owners. That might be the message anti-violence advocates hope is received.

Footnote: To be anti-violence doesn’t make you anti Second Amendment, just like to be for Civil Rights doesn’t mean you hate Government or its leaders.