Flint, the flowing poisonous water is a perfect metaphor for educationalcide

The access to clean water, the ability to live in a clean, healthy and safe environment; as well as having an access to a rigorous, inspiring, meaningful and purposeful education; is a right that should not be denied any of our children…

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“But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”

The poison of Flint Michigan is flowing everywhere the poor, and people of color live in our nation. This is the result of a national acceptance that we live in a top and bottom citizenship status based on race and class. The governor of Michigan essentially said that the poor, and the people of color in Flint are neither citizens of Michigan or the United States, and therefore we should not extend any rights and protections that they would naturally earn as members of a state and national family. It’s the abandonment and discarding of an entire city of people.

For sure Flint is one part of our entire national conversation that is poisoned by the most vile and hateful voices (the news media works hard at obscuring, and wrongly labeling it: “angry at the establishment voters”), this religious, racial, and reactionary rhetoric, eventually in places like Flint, turns into harmful and hurtful actions (or non-actions!) It speaks to, and for many who believe, that what happens to the children of the disenfranchised and politically disconnected does not matter. These evil people have made sure to build a wall of protection around their own children; insuring that no societal poisons enter their minds or bodies, or interferes with their children’s positive life possibilities and dreams. “Our children are safe”, they say. It’s the kind of cynicism that could only emerge from a fake “Christian” governor asking for fake prayer for Flint; he and his collaborators are the ultimate militant non-believers; not only do they renounce any concept of an ultimate divine system of universal justice and accountability; they even dare God to try to save the children of Flint from the life-long pain they have so callously inflicted on them.

It is a necessary death by many means that the poor and people of color must suffer. Death by civilian gun violence, or delivered officially by those who allegedly swore to serve and protect them. It is the death of poverty, housing that serves as the breeding ground for despair. It’s the economic recovery that never stopped by your block in Flint (Brooklyn, Birmingham, Atlanta, Chicago…). The chronic and long joblessness that leads to a hopeless sense of hope. It is the slow grade by grade death, stretch over many years of the criminal justice system incubators called public schools; “schools” designed to allow others to pay their children’s college tuition, while the students that earn them that money are filled with the poison of low expectations, with a toxic mix of disinterest and disregard for the necessity of nurturing human dreams and intellectual potential.

Those of us who are professional educators (and medical professionals) know that the destructive lead poison that was purposely distributed to the children of Flint, will have long-term, and in many cases irreversible negative effects on their ability to learn. If those Flint children also attend schools that are culturally poisoned by poor educational practices and low expectations; let’s be honest, those children don’t have a chance to realize their full academic potential.

Nothing short of a massive (billions) federal and state initiative that combines medical and educational interventions, can save the educational chances of these children. And their parents and community would not be wrong to take their case to the United Nations and the World Court of Justice; for they are truly victims of a state-sponsored governmental (and a national government that did not stop the state) crimes against their humanity, for this is a form of educationalcide, a crime against the children’s health, and educational future.

Without Visionary Leaders the People (particularly the children) Suffer…

I have faced many different challenges and opportunities over the years from my encounters with those in the “professional political” arena. Some of these experiences have been positive and supportive; and others have been of the opposite character. And I have often felt sad that the communities who were in the greatest need of smart, principled, knowledgeable, skilled and visionary political leaders; were in fact cursed with the opposite type.

And then there was Norman McConney. When I first met him (by way of Sandra Townsend) on a visit to Albany, and explained my STEM vision for children of color; I honestly thought he would just go through the motions like so many other politicians, and just blow-me-off. It has been a very hard and life long struggle to get Black leadership (appointed and elected) to see education in general, and STEM education in particular, in the context of enrichment and enhancement of the talents, skills and abilities already present in their constituent children (and don’t get me started with my disappoint with the Black church’s (with a few exceptions) tepid, or total inaction on the education front). STEM education, I still believe to this day, can serve as a tool of community empowerment and liberation. But with Norman the opposite happen, he got it! He said that he thought my idea of an advanced and enhanced community based STEM program, that did not take the traditional “remedial” (fix the broken Black kids) approach that is so often given to children of color was revolutionary. Our plan was not to “close the achievement gap”; but rather, we were going to create a STEM achievement gap between those students in our program, and any of their peers, regardless of color! He went on to set up a one-on-one meeting with the then Deputy Speaker, so that I could get support for my program. “Bring your best 30 minute presentation!”, he said. I did, and as they say: Well, The rest, is (Science Skills Center) history!

And so it was nice to read this tribute about a man, who did (rather than just talk) a great deal for all New York State students, and in particular for the children of the disenfranchised and disadvantaged citizens of the state. The good you do for children, will live, and live, and live, long after you are gone…

Norman McConney Jr., champion for minority students, dies at 68— By Wayne Barrett | Jan 04, 2016

“In an era when the leaders of both the Assembly and Senate Democrats are black, it’s hard to remember what Norman McConney Jr. found when he arrived at the Capitol in the mid-1970s as a young black aide to Buffalo Assemblyman Arthur Eve, the most influential of what was then a small number of minority legislators. McConney, 68, died on Jan. 1 of congestive heart failure after a lifetime in the corridors of Albany power, a sage and principled operative, a tactical tribune for his people, a master of budgets and bargains. His penetrating eye saw through every Albany contrivance, even when he tactfully kept his wisdom to himself.
McConney’s highest title was executive director for the office of deputy speaker, when Eve rose to that position under Speaker Stanley Fink in 1979. He was a force behind the emergence of what was then called the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, and once won its Man of the Year Award. He developed the People’s Budget and the New York State Budget Equity Document, annual fiscal analyses that emphasized social justice expenditures.
He made higher education his niche, drafting legislation for the Regents Professional Opportunity Scholarship program, which aids students seeking professional licenses, and the state Science & Technology Entry Program, which targeted minority high school students pursuing science careers. He was the lead negotiator for the bill that created nurse practitioners in New York.
His friend and fellow Albany wise man David Langdon said McConney was “recognized as one of the great political minds of Albany” and that governors and speakers “would seek him out when trying to resolve some of the thorny issues they were facing.” Minority students, Langdon said, “can thank Norman for many higher education programs he devised and helped bring to life.”

Teach for America Is a Glorified Temp Agency

Teach for America Is a Glorified Temp Agency

Julian Vasquez Heilig… NY Times

(In all fairness, and in full honest disclosure, I have hired and worked with some of the best teachers I have ever met in my life, and they were TFA graduates; I should add that they are all in for teaching as a (more than 3 years) profession. And on the other hand, some of the worse teachers I have ever encountered in my professional life, came through a standard 4 year university school of education program. A great deal of time, support, mentoring, attention and professional development must be given to any first year teacher (actually the critical 1st-3rd year); and that would include graduates of traditional professional education programs. I have been saying for years that as a profession; we need a well-organized teacher-internship-transition program; not even a 1st year apprentice electrician is allowed to wire a house by themselves; and they definitely don’t get the most challenging wiring assignments!

Unfortunately (in this case) a lot of people in America attended a school; and as a result, like our misguided “reformers”, they think that teaching is easy. This author’s critique of the central TFA role in the faux “education reform” movement is totally on point, as it destroys the “education is easy” myth-narrative. The TFA teacher-participants are innocent in that sense. The guilty parties are the TFA leadership, and those “reformers” who look down, disregard and have little respect for experience and formal professional training. The other problem is their particular disrespect for educators and communities of color (oddly, during segregation, Black students were exposed to very talented, skilled and efficacious practicing Black teachers; even as these teachers were terribly underpaid and under resourced. This modern patronizing “reformers” belief that Black and Latino people don’t know how (or care) to educate Black and Latino children is really driven by a bad economy (lack of jobs for White college graduates), and the discovery of the huge amounts of money from private and public sources that could be had for the taking in public education; and specifically to be made in struggling communities of color; whose leadership is unclear and unaware, and/or could be easily bought off or compromised. This colonial educational approach devastates the students who are in the greatest need of the best educational practitioners. Its theme: “we will save the ignorant savages from themselves” attitude, is the height of arrogance. And sadly it is the school children of color in this nation who must pay the price for this philosophy of racial and cultural condescension.—MAJ)

Teach for America Is a Glorified Temp Agency

Julian Vasquez Heilig

To a casual observer, Teach for America’s narrative is compelling: an array of feel-good stories profile fresh-faced college graduates choosing to teach. However, as hundreds of millions of public and private dollars flow into the program, a growing chorus of criticism surrounds it.
The program should start requiring longer commitments and certification if it wants to become more than a résumé builder.

It is telling that the intellectual elites that expound the virtues of Teach for America do not accept them in the communities that serve their own children. Recruits with five weeks of training are good enough for poor whites and students of color, but they are glaringly absent from affluent schools in places like Scarsdale, N.Y., or Westlake, Texas, districts seeking well-qualified career teachers for advantaged children.

Indeed, Teach for America is essentially a glorified temp agency. According to my calculations, more than 80 percent of the recruits leave for graduate school or another career before their fourth year, taking with them all the training and recruitment dollars taxpayers and universities have invested in them — as much as $70,000 a year. As I discuss in a 2010 National Education Policy Center research brief, the debate about whether these teachers produce gains or losses in their students’ test scores rages on in academia. The high turnover among these temporary teachers undermines students’ achievement at the schools where they are placed — a concern that civil rights and parent groups have raised repeatedly as Teach for America lobbies to have its teachers hired in the districts the critics’ children attend, even when there are no shortages.
Sadly, Teach for America is a revolving door of inexperienced teachers for the students who most need a highly qualified one. As applications to the program at Harvard and other highly selective institutions of higher education are burgeoning, now is the time for the organization to start require corps members to make at least a five- to seven-year commitment and to become certified. Then Teach for America (and the districts that hire the group) would know which individuals are serious about making a difference in the classroom and which see a teaching stint with Teach for America as simply a résumé builder.

A Special Hope Message Delivery From God…

“Though trials come on every hand, I feel like going on…”

I was feeling a little down yesterday, even wondering how much does all of “this effort” really matter; we can’t seem to be able to protect Black children, in schools or in the streets. There is something so unnatural about burying your child; and I am reminded of how freighting it is to be a Black parent in America; and then quite unexpectedly, I received this:

“Your articles are inspiring to me; and at times I have asked myself: “why do you care so much about these children?” But you know I look at it this way, if I don’t who will. Our young children of color need to see people of color pushing them to care and to love themselves for who they are, and what they represent for us. Being a person of color and family from the West Indies, it only makes me want to push our children to stand up for the right reason and make a positive difference in their lives. Under your leadership, I learned a great deal about myself and you gave me an opportunity to show myself what I was capable of doing. You inspired me to stand up for children and for myself. I just want to say thank you and I will always speak about the person who saw something in me when I did not.”

When I was much, much younger I always imagined that if God ever spoke to me it would probably be when I was engaged in one of my favorite adolescent arts: kite flying; since those were the moments that I, with kite high in sky, and string in hands, thought I was reaching very close to Him. I also imagined (in both fear and anticipation) that He would speak in some kind of booming Black minister’s baritone voice (Dr. Gardner Taylor?), accompanied by the background vocals of thunder and lightning; preferably on a “mountain top”, via a burning bush, somewhere in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. (Later in high school I imagined that God sounded something like Martin Luther King!)

These days I don’t sit around waiting for some voice version combination of James Earl Jones and Morgan Freeman to speak peace and purpose into my life. I have come to accept that God will come and speak to us in a way we don’t expect (from people we don’t suspect to be carriers of God’s message); from a person without a resonating baritone voice; and definitely not out of a burning Bush, or on a Brooklyn park mountain top. He would speak in a way and time that was least expected, and yet at a time when we are most in expectant need. I have heard God in the weakened, almost inaudible voice of the extremely ill and dying; and many times in the past from the voices of young people.

And as I wondered if I have done any real good in the world. Yesterday, God shows up in the written-voice of a former great young teacher, who is now a great (and still young) principal. The wonderful encouraging feeling her note gave me; lifted my spirits and caused me to think: We have done many good things (often forgotten) that continue to be a source of goodness in the world; we can never know the end of our acts, the end of the service we render! Good acts have the potential of expressing themselves over many generations; and evil no matter how loudly amplified, will one day be silenced.

And, how much value and care would we place in our communications, if we knew that we could possibly be carrying an important life-lifting message from God; telling someone to keep going on to the end of the race…

A THOUSAND WAYS TO KILL A BLACK KID…

This is so painful because Tamir looks like so many wonderful young men I have worked with in the past, who are now doing great things in the world; he looks like members of my family; he looks like so many of my childhood friends; he reminds me of me, and the hopes and dreams I had at that age for the future; but where are his hopes and dreams now…

When you think of America’s tremendous response (“severely punish and hurt Mike Vick!”) to the harm and murder inflicted on a lion, and or a group of dogs; it’s very clear that those animals are able to generate more sympathy and protection than Black children in America.

Now, Tamir Rice, another exonerated (even as it is poorly explained in a press conference) murder, the list just goes on… and on… and on… and on… and on… It would seem that all we need now is a blank space on the national murder certificate list, waiting to be just filled in with the next officially state sanctioned murder victim…. Again, Mr. Obama will express sympathy and concern over the incident; and the standard and steadfast true race haters will protest his sympathy and concern as hate… (places everyone, roll camera…)

One thought every Black person must have this morning; even if they don’t share it with a White friend or co-worker: “I could call the police out of civic duty, for a very simple matter, and someone could end up dead, perhaps a neighbor, maybe a family member, or maybe even me!” This could be one of the reasons that national crime statistics are dropping; perhaps large segments of the Black citizenry are afraid to call the police; so as not to create an additional official crime by the police that will surely go unpunished. And I don’t want to hear about the “most good cops” narrative; clearly there are not enough good cops to change the behavior of the “bad cops”; and surely not enough “good cops” in positions of leadership to change a deeply embedded culture of: “Its them (the entire Black community, not the criminals operating in the Black community), versus us!”

What the next whatever number Justice Department investigation won’t find (or disclose); is that there is a difference between a police force, whose ultimate objective is to serve and protect the citizens; and a military occupation force managing what is perceived as the “enemy”, in enemy territory. The thought never entered the minds of those police officers who confronted Tamir that he was part of their human family; let alone a citizen deserving of every right to surrender peacefully; that neighborhood was a foreign land to them, not their land, not America; the people who live there, are not their people, not Americans deserving of rights protection.

A thousand ways to kill a Black kid…..There are just so many ways that this society kills Black children; through poverty, poor healthcare, terrible housing and living conditions; an early and long engagement with the lucrative (for others, not them) criminal justice system, no job opportunity, the tolerated and encouraged illegal drug system that enables mass and horrific fratricide, an educational system that breaks their spirits, destroys their imagination; ignores their genius and creativity, and eliminates any hope of a life-dream coming true…
And if by some strange chance they survive all of that… the people who are sworn to protect them shoot, choke, “rough ride” them to death; and then get together with elected officials and agencies that call themselves: “mayors” and “public defenders”. But these people don’t consider Black people as part of the public to defend; they always seem to come up with a creative way that will allow their co-murderers to go free (and in places like NYC even give them a promotion to sargent!) Black people are not these public officials constituents; rather young Black America is the raw material of our economic system; their suffering sends other kids to college and promising careers, even as they head off to jail, or death, in schools, or on the streets.

I still say history is the great teacher here. For as we learned from the Civil Rights movement; when business can’t go on as usual, the usually accepted evil stops. (That moment when evil is bad for business!) Perhaps when the parents and communities that are supposed to protect these children have had enough, it will stop. When the thousand ways to kill Black children gets in the way of the financial bottom line; it will stop… Or it will stop when Black people decide it is time for it to stop. I don’t want to go James Baldwin here (“The Fire Next Time”); but the later solution could get very ugly…

Past lives and present lies: Why the study of history is so important…

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It is not uncommon for students to ask: “Why are we studying about things that already happen; about people who are dead?” My answer was always: “Because we cannot fully and clearly understand the present, or minimize our mistakes in the future, unless we study the events and people of the past… The past-present-future are incapable of being separated!” And then I would go on to explain how without historical knowledge we cannot comprehend the present state of affairs in the Middle East, Africa. Asia, Europe, South or Central America, the Caribbean, or bringing it closer to home, the presence and state of Black America in the present US.

Now I love STEM, but one can never undervalue the critical need to study and know history. And for some of us who are old enough; our memories are our own personal history books. For we can hear the same dismissive arguments used against the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, word for word, that were used by those who condemned the Civil Rights Movement (CRM) protest of an earlier era: “disrupting business”, “interrupting the holiday celebration”, “inconveniencing ordinary people”. And yet for a lot of people in this nation, their daily lives are disrupted, permanently interrupted, inconvenienced beyond repair by physical, educational or economic violence against their humanity and personhood. When your life is painfully abnormal, why then should life just go on as “normal”?

CNN’s Sunny Hostin beautifully and historically links the CRM and the BLM here:

http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/23/us/black-lives-matter-protests/index.html

Why I am not making public fun of Steve Harvey!

Colman Domingo David Oyelowo André Holland Stephan James

Why I am not making public fun of Steve Harvey.

(Hint: I came of age in the heat and light of the Civil Rights movement)

First, as a professional educator you spend a lot of time, correcting a lot of mistakes (including your own!) And it is interesting to see how the anonymity of social media provides a powerful cover for a type of collective calloused cruelty. It is also interesting to see some folks who profess a Christian religious affiliation in so many of their postings, are now so eager to be the first to grab and throw the first stone. People who have read my past post on President Obama; also know that I have a problem jumping onto any anti-Obama commentary bandwagon seat, next to those whose comments I suspect are driven by racism. There are some terrible and nasty racist comments about Mr. Harvey that are being circulated concerning an error that could have (and has been in the past) been made by anyone regardless of race. I guess I am too hopelessly old-school race consciousness to join in, and enjoy a public laugh about a Black man.

I did not see the Ms. Universe contest (although I did see the video of the particular problem segment); and I am not really a personal fan of these types of “competitions”. But just because I feel a certain way about these kind of activities; does not mean that others are not emotionally, intellectually and physically invested in having them turn out right. I am reading that no one feels any worse about this then Steve Harvey; further he has properly taken full responsibility.

Finally, I am willing to give Mr. Harvey a break, first because the incident was not based on any malicious intent (and also because we live in a nation where legitimate US presidential candidates want to discriminate against Latino, Black and Muslim-Americans; as well as those who want to “carpet bomb” innocent Arab civilians) Alas, Mr. Harvey in no way makes my villains list. But also it is my sense that Mr. Harvey (unlike many of his celebrated colleagues) has made a great effort to use his celebrity in the service of a larger community good. A whole lot of Black folks make the daily mistake of sending their children to schools, that destroy them spiritually, emotionally and intellectually; now put that on Facebook!

And further, being a Black man on any stage in American life, is a brutal exercise; and you can be ridiculed and destroyed even if you somehow manage the impossible of not making one single mistake. Finally, at this point in my life, I personally have too many mistakes on my ledger to even look at a rock to throw at somebody….

Giant Missteps…

2015 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships

Perhaps I should channel Yogi Berra here; because it seems to me that 90% of getting over the hurdle is… getting over the hurdle! My takeaways from the Giants-Panthers game. Where under very stressful and challenging conditions; both teams sought out to display their most comfortable and naturally inclined personalities. And I call them: The 10 Giant ways to make sure you lose a game; this list can be easily transferred to school team-leadership work.

#1: Lose your sense of mission and purpose; or not having a sense of mission and purpose, and you have already lost the game!

#2: Act like you don’t have any sense; like you have no idea of: “Why we are here!”

#3: And even after you realize that your loss of sense is harming you and the team, don’t (“why should I”) stop!

#4: How many creative and unique ways can we muster, not to win the game; but to lose the game!

#5: No matter how wonderful your individual talents; a “team game” means: it’s a team game!

#6: An important part of “losing” is to believe that you will lose; and an important part of winning is believing that you will win!

#7: There is something to this “Jedi Mind Trick” thing; control the mind, and control the actions and behavior of your opponent!

#8: The team is only as good as the most untimely and unfortunate and unforced error by one single team member!

#9: Leadership is having to deliver a tough and unpopular word; even to the wrong behaving but enormously popular; as well as to the tremendously talented, but recklessly undisciplined members of the team!

#10: In times of great stress, challenge, setbacks and/or disappointment a person, team, or a school will revert to its most natural and true personality!

Oh please stop it news media, Trump is not anywhere near being off of the Republican main message board!

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“Let’s not fool ourselves, Republican candidates condemn Trump’s remarks, and then adopt his racist policies as their own: This sort of racism has been prevalent in Republican politics for decades. Trump is just saying out loud what other Republicans merely suggest. Political leaders must condemn these hateful, un-American statements with their words and their actions. Silence only empowers the bigots.”— Sen. Harry Reid

For some reason (and maybe because of comments like this), I have always had a serious affection and appreciation for Sen. Harry Reid. If we ever get pass, what Eric Holder correctly defined as “Our cowardice”; and have an authentic conversation about race in this nation; Harry Reid should be one of the people leading it.

Timing is, if not everything, can at least be something important. For just as a bigoted “Republican” supreme court justice (no not Clarence Thomas, the other bigoted justice, Scalia); instructs Black students to stay in their segregated academic underachieving lane; is the same time that I am not buying the Trump as “outliner” narrative.
The news media’s clever “getting eyes to screen” focus on Trump’s latest comments (offensive and ugly as they may be; represent a continuum, not a start of his proto-fascist rants). Neither am I going for the fake and insincere “Establishment Republicans” weak and obligatory repudiation exercises; design to keep Trump from recklessly releasing publicly, what amounts to be, an internal position memo, and thus hurt the party’s electoral chances in 2016. The position of Sen. Cruz in particular, and the other Republican presidential candidates are matters of vocabulary and tone; after all they all vehemently rejected Mr. Obama’s call for tolerance toward Muslims, in America and worldwide. They have all, independent of Mr. Trump, done everything possible to enrage the feelings, and stoke the fears of Non-Muslim Americans against those who practice Islam.

The truth is that the Republican party have laid a fertile ground work for Trumps obscenities, with their never-ending non-recognition of Mr. Obama as the legitimate POTUS; a never-ending effort to diminish , denigrate and destroy his presidency, even at the cost of hurting the nation in general, and their own White constituents in particular. You can’t get less-then-adequately educated White citizens all hyped up; and then say: “Just kidding!” (See the tragic results of this approach with the recent Planned Parenthood shooting)

The GOP has further set the table for Mr. Trumps malicious and malevolent meal; by transforming the question of emigration into some type of enemy invasion scenario; designating our struggling Latino brothers and sisters as enemy invaders! And it was Republican governors, not Trump, who led the charge for denying en masse the acceptance of Syrian refuges. And then it was the Republican presidential candidates, reading from their own playbooks, not Trump’s (i.e. Jeb Bush) who first suggested a “Christian religious test” for accepting Syrian refuges.
This is also the party that is actively seeking to restrict and deny the voting rights of Black American citizens; they have also made it very clear that no Black Lives, at any age or situation matter to them.

Mr. Trump in all of his reactionary glory, is nothing than a reaction and a response to the right-wing “mess” the Republicans have built on for years; and have constantly refused to flush down the toilet; and continuing in that toilet metaphor, he is in every sense, and in every way, moving and flowing inside of the Republican mainstream.

After the Wiz, I saw the Wizard at work…

To: N’kuimah Schloss-Allen: My take away notes (yes I take notes while watching TV, I approach TV like reading literature) from the last 12 mins. of last night’s Lions-Packers game. Powerful Lesson #1: This is what happens when one side is determined to lose, and the other side is determined to win!”

And so some further life lessons from last night:

(2) “Life is not fair!” For some people in society (the politically-economically disenfranchised) you should enter “the game” with the understanding that society’s referees (economic, political, educational, criminal justice—systems, etc.) are more than likely not going to rule in your favor; if you don’t have that understanding, from the start, then you have already lost, from the start!

(3) Manufacture your own “luck”! You should enter the game with the idea that you will win based on your own efforts; not based on the mistakes of your opponent, “a lucky break”, or depending on the rulings (or kindness) of the referees. But always be ready to take advantage, of any advantage that comes your way. Or as Sun-Ra says: “Space is the Place!” And so, put yourself in the right space, place and time; and something good will happen!

(4) The joy and pain reward of being on a team. A team is only as good as the serious mental lapse, at the worst possible moment, of a single team member(s)… And a team is as great as that team member(s) (Rogers-Rogers) who performs in an extraordinary way, at the best possible moment.

(5) Time is not neutral, it does not work in favor of the inefficient, the incompetent, the un-rehearsed, the ill-prepared and the chronically unaware and ill-informed. However, Over-Time: Time favors the efficient, the competent, the well-prepared, the well-practiced; and more importantly, those equipped with the necessary prerequisite knowledge and skills.

(6) The “bad sign” rule: When the only person (other than Peyton Manning) in the NFL, who I (at 64) could compete with in a 40 yard dash, runs for an untouched 14 yard touchdown run…It’s a sure sign that things are probably not going to end well. (We are not talking Cam Newton or Russell Wilson here!)

(7) The more determined, persistent, hardworking, proficient and excellent people are, the more “luck” seems to flow their way (they conspire and cooperate with the universe to create their own “luck”!) Message:

Be your own Wizard!