Cultural Commentary

Don’t Allow Distractions to Stop You

Haters

(Photo Credit: Adam Dunlap)

Rise above the distractions.  You will always have people who will attempt to hinder your progress and/or cause you to mess up when you’re using your talents.  My most recent experience with someone trying to hinder my progress and cause me to make mistakes while using one of my gifts happened on yesterday.  While I was interacting with a group of people, there was an intentional effort by one person to drown out my voice with background noise and music.  There was no purpose for this noise and music and this never occurs at the same time, same place, and same date each month.  Nothing new was going on at this location and no new problems were occurring.  This person always wants to be the center of attention, has a deeply hates me, and is envious.  Some other people in this same setting are envious of me, but they never resort to the malevolent tactics of this particular person.  He tries to fool people that he has great character, but he constantly does devious things to me—in an effort to try to undermine me.

I’m going to expose him. I want him to know that I know what he’s doing.  I kept using my gift, despite his distractions; he needed to see that background noise and music will not stop me.  Try again, partna’! Lol!  This is one way you can stop people from trying to distract and undermine you: expose them! I’m a very powerful individual.  I have powerful connections, valuable resources, enough money, prominent platforms, including Revolutionary Paideia with its large readership, prestige and much more.  I’m a mastermind.  I can always outlast you.  Cross me at your own peril!  Now, somebody give God some praise.  Lol!

It’s becoming increasingly popular to assert that adults shouldn’t say they have “haters.”  Some have even constructed what they perceive to be sophisticated arguments about why adults shouldn’t say they have haters.  The reality is many adults do have real haters they cannot avoid, especially when you have to work with these haters.  It’s not always easy to avoid them or get away from them.  I would greatly encourage you to not allow your haters to consume too much of your time.  When you permit your haters to consume too much of your time, they’ve scored a tremendous victory against you: they’ve distracted you in a significant way.

While it’s okay for you to vent from time to time about those who would like to distract and undermine you—this can be a good thing—just be mindful about how much time you’re devoting to venting about the things they do.  This is time you can be investing in progressing.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Lessons from Two Very Different Criminals

Criminals

Numerous stories in the news can shake us to our core.  Every so often, however, there comes a story that brings a smile to your face.  Not because it’s uplifting, but because it involves a criminal so guileful or so stupid that it seems too strange to be true.

Facebook and the Fugitive

BBC News reported that Maxi Sopo moved to the U.S. from Cameroon in 2003.  Initially, he made his living selling roses in Seattle until he found a far more lucrative occupation: bank fraud.  According to The Guardian, Sopo collected over $200,000 in credit from various banks while employing various false identities.  This new career allowed him to leave Seattle to resettle in Cancun, where he spent his days enjoying the sun and his nights enjoying the clubs.

Like most people in their twenties, Mr. Sopo was an avid Facebook user and eager to share updates and photos from the pristine beaches and posh nightclubs for which the city is famous. He was clearly enjoying himself and made sure to insist subtly that he wasn’t being supercilious in his posts.  As reported in The Guardian, this was revealed by frequently using all capital letters to express himself.  He was enjoying himself so much he began to be less than hesitant to make new friends on the social networking site.  One of his newer Facebook friends was a former Justice Department official Mr. Sopo had met in Cancun.

Social networking, Mr. Sopo soon found out, is one of the first things any successful fugitive should abandon.  Not long after the Justice Department official and some of his associates put two and two together, the Mexican authorities promptly arrested Mr. Sopo, and sent him back to Seattle.  The Seattle Times discloses that he could receive up to 30 years in prison.

We do, of course, have ways to be vigilant against such people.  You can guard yourself from becoming a victim of bank fraud through services like LifeLock protection or you can check your bank accounts daily and make sure that all transactions are ones you’ve made.

Hermit, Interrupted

Now, there are less greedy bandits; people who pilfer more than steal.  Such is the case with the “North Pond Hermit,” Christopher Knight.  According to Salon, Mr. Knight had lived alone in the woods for 27 years.  During this time, he had managed to survive in the rugged wilderness of central Maine by committing over 1,000 burglaries until he was finally arrested on April 4, 2013.  He was caught in the act after Sgt. Terry Hughes of the Maine Warden Service set up surveillance equipment in the dining area of Pine Tree Camp.  The Morning Sentinel explains that Sgt. Hughes apprehended Mr. Knight as he was carrying supplies from the camp at around 1:15a.m.

Mr. Knight was not stealing much, just the food, clothing and equipment from cottages and campsites that he needed to sustain himself.  He was also fond of stealing books The Morning Sentinel, disclosed.

Mr. Knight’s actions were discrete—unlike Mr. Sopo’s.  No one arms the security system at night out of fear of someone like him will raid the pantry.  Rather, we worry about car and computer thieves, and protecting ourselves with identity theft protection services.

In a way, Mr. Knight’s actions are quaint because robbers are rarely after the contents of your refrigerator and bookshelves.  Had he been stealing larger items, his victims would’ve felt far more violated.

To safeguard your home from being broken into and learn how you can protect your finances, Follow LifeLock on Twitter.  You will find tips on how you can protect yourself from identity theft, bank fraud, tax fraud and home invasion.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Cornel West’s Courage Should Make You Proud

Dr. Cornel West

(Photo Credit: MTV)

Too many milquetoast Americans, especially Blacks, lack the courage to offer a substantive critique of President Obama.  With the national unemployment rate for Black people being 13.5%, one would think that more Blacks would be propounding their criticisms of President Obama’s poor record of creating jobs.  In many predominantly Black cities across the country, Black unemployment is twice as high as it is nationally.  Although one may not always agree with Dr. Cornel West, former distinguished professor of African American Studies at Princeton University and now Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary, one has to be proud of the courage he shows in his passionate criticisms of President Obama and his policies.

Dr. West’s accomplishments, brilliance, and academic work will forever make him one of the most important persons in American history.  He’s one of the greatest minds in world history.  Dr. West is one of the leading public intellectuals of our time.  As a responsible and effective public intellectual, Dr. Cornel West understands that he has a duty to speak truth to power.  He’s never been afraid to say and do things that might unsettle, unnerve, and unhouse people.

While many question the motivations of his vehement criticisms of Obama, the focus should be more on engaging in a discourse about the criticisms he proffers.  People who don’t want to enter into a conversation about his potent critiques of Obama simply desire to dismiss him as being bitter because Obama didn’t invite him to his first inauguration or first inaugural ball.  Well, after sponsoring and attending over 75 campaign events—many were located in brutally cold places—for President Obama, one would like to think that Dr. West would’ve received an invitation.  Dr. West has repeatedly stated that he’s not bothered by such an inane matter as not receiving an invitation.

One has to be proud of him for mustering the courage to take on some of the prominent liberals that have been given platforms by MSNBC to advocate for President Obama.  Dr. West asserts that MSNBC is a “rent-a-negro” network; that is, a liberal network that gives Black faces (e.g. Al Sharpton and Dr. Melissa Harris Perry) their own shows and/or allows them to make frequent appearances on other people’s shows in exchange for their puppy-dog loyalty to President Obama.  One person who is a stanch liberal and who has been friends with Dr. Cornel West is Dr. Michael Eric Dyson.  Dr. Dyson appears regularly on MSNBC and is a strong supporter and defender of Obama.  Dr. West contends that Dr. Dyson has “sold his soul for a mess of Obama pottage.”  Before Dr. Dyson became a frequent contributor on MSNBC, he was willing to critique Obama.  Now, he cannot find enough ways to praise Obama.

Dr. Cornel West’s record reflects a serious commitment to racial minorities, working people, and the poor.  He will not allow himself to be placed on the market for sale, as others have done for Obama.  West hasn’t let his black skin prevent him from criticizing President Obama appropriately.  Dr. West gives President Obama credit when he deserves it, but he’s never afraid to hold him accountable for horrible policy choices and his inattentiveness to the needs of poor and working people.

Dr. West has been on a “Poverty Tour” across the nation raising attention and support for the needs of the poor.  The poor is the only group in America without lobbyists in Washington, D.C.  West hopes to make the poor visible to President Obama and America.  His work to ameliorate the lives of poor people in America should be applauded and supported.

It’s not popular to be Black and say things in opposition to President Obama, but Dr. Cornel West isn’t willing to submit to the pressure of staying popular.  He’s working to hold President Obama, a man who has tremendous power, accountable to all Americans, especially the most vulnerable people in America: the poor.  For this, he should make us all proud.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Helping Students and Young Professionals Succeed: The Why You? Initiative

Renaldo C. Blocker Foundation

(Photo Credit: Thinking Sociology)

Dr. Renaldo C. Blocker, Research Associate at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and University of Wisconsin-Madison Ph.D. graduate in Industrial and Systems Engineering, has founded, in consultation with a distinguished Executive Committee (Strategy Team) that includes doctors, lawyers, social scientists, educators, researchers, community leaders and others, the Renaldo C. Blocker Foundation.  One the primary purposes of the Renaldo C. Blocker Foundation is embodied in the Foundation’s establishment of The Why You? Initiative.  The Why You? Initiative strives to help ameliorate the academic, social, professional, and personal evolution of high school, undergraduate, graduate, post-graduates and young professionals who may come from low-income, marginalized, disadvantaged and/or at-risk backgrounds.

The Why You? Initiative is committed to offering practical and creative solutions and inspiration to the aforementioned individuals to empower them to unleash their maximum potential.  Many leaders of this initiative come from challenging backgrounds and have had to endure difficult experiences, and those backgrounds and experiences lend themselves useful to this organization being able to equip diverse people with the knowledge, motivation, prowess, experiences, and opportunities to excel in sundry fields.

It’s the core belief of The Why You? Initiative that education is one of the most powerful vehicles for leading people to success.

The Why You? Initiative takes a comprehensive approach to offering longitudinal support to each member of its target population.  Students and young professionals receive services tailored to their specific needs.  At the core of what makes its services successful is the individualized mentoring technique.  Each student and young professional is partnered with his or her own personal mentor.  An extensive body of professional literature has revealed that the absence of mentoring is what leads to academic, professional and personal failure.  This Initiative features programs and services that are based on data-driven research.  The Why You? Initiative takes special care to engender a belief in its targeted students and young professionals that they have the capacity to accomplish all of their aspirations.

Some of the free services The Why You? Initiative will offer to students and young professionals across the nation are as follows: mentoring, self-esteem development, academic preparation, career placement, writing and mathematics workshops, research and internship experiences, life skills training and image/branding management.

Revolutionary Paideia announces that it will be one of the first sponsors of The Why You? Initiative and the future work of the Renaldo C. Blocker Foundation.  Revolutionary Paideia endorses The Why You? Initiative and the Renaldo C. Blocker Foundation as a whole.

Help Dr. Renaldo C. Blocker and his distinguished Executive Committee (Strategy Team) to help deserving students and young professionals across the nation to be equipped to succeed academically, professionally, and personally.  Click on the following address to donate today: http://www.whyyou.org/.  Give as often as you can and as much as you can.  Any amount you give will be greatly appreciated.  No amount is too small and no amount is too large.  Help a person in need today by making your donation and sharing this article and information about The Why You? Initiative with others.

Thank you for your support.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Use of Social Media in School

The Use of Social Media in School
(Source: Best Masters in Education)

The use of various social media platforms consumes a considerable amount of many people’s time.  At every level of education, especially higher education, several social media platforms are integral to how students learn and how teachers teach.  The above infographic offers an excellent understanding of this.

Do you believe the use of social media in the classroom is beneficial?  Outside of the classroom, have you been able to learn from various social media platforms, including blogging, Twitter, Facebook, and/or YouTube?  Share your thoughts.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison 

Only Stupid People Will Vote for Anthony Weiner

Anthony Weiner

(Photo Credit: ABC News)

New Yorkers considering or planning to vote for Anthony Weiner are simply stupid.  Weiner cannot be trusted.  He lies and lies.  Imagine if Weiner was elected mayor of New York: One of America’s most beloved cities would turn into a circus.  This man has demonstrated that he’s not committed to being a serious policymaker and leader.  He’s been far too focused on cheating on his wife and sexting with multiple women.  Weiner cannot even be sure how many women he’s engaged in sexting with and other inappropriate discourses.  His sexual corruption would be a tremendous distraction for the city, a city that has some important and pressing issues and problems that need addressing.  The people of New York don’t need to have attention taken off essential issues pertaining to education, crime, unemployment, and etc.  The massive national media focus on Anthony Weiner and his sexting is certainly not helpful to the genuine issues and problems New Yorkers need addressing.

The Democratic National Committee should call for Weiner to terminate his candidacy for mayor of New York immediately.

Democrats are always challenging Republicans to take a strong and principled stand against those in the Republican Party who say and do foolish things.  It’s time for them to do the same in the Weiner case.

Anthony Weiner admitted that he continued to be involved in sexting and inappropriate conversations with women other than his wife for an entire year after he had to resign for doing these things.  The public humiliation, the disappointment of his constituents and colleagues, and pain he caused his wife were not enough to stop him from showing off his emaciated body and diminutive penis to multiple women online.

Weiner’s candidacy for mayor of New York is a public spectacle.

In his recent promulgation that he has been involved in more sex scandals, a perspicuous message has emerged: Weiner is attempting to get ahead of those scandals before they’re disclosed by the mainstream media.  He hopes people will not view these scandals as important because he was the first one to announce them.  The people of New York and the American people see clearly what Weiner is trying to do and it’s not working.

If Weiner had any shred of decency, he wouldn’t continue to put his wife and family through the unremitting torture and pain of having to hear about his sexting with a number of women online.  Although his wife has publicly expressed that she supports her husband and has forgiven him, this doesn’t mean she’s not continuing to relive the horror of her husband’s indiscretions each day he stays in the race. 

Weiner is a man without any scruples; therefore, we cannot expect him to drop out of the race on his own.  The Democratic National Committee, Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other powerful Democrats must put pressure on him to discontinue his candidacy.  The people of New York deserve a race for mayor that’s substantive, and Weiner’s presence in the race makes this impossible.  At some point, more Democrats are going to have to do the responsible thing and urge Anthony Weiner (a.k.a. “Carlos Danger”) to end his candidacy for mayor.    

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

An Introduction to American Life and Culture in 2013

American Life and Culture

(Photo Credit: Neighborhood Love)

America is the most exceptional nation in the world.  This country continues to become more diverse: people across the world live in this nation.  From its inception, America has been a nation of immigrants and that tradition continues.  This is the only county where you can be the son of a former slave and become the President of the United States.  The diverse people from all parts of the world who live in America are responsible for diverse nature of American life and culture.

Making money seems to consume the thoughts, practices, and activities of most Americans in 2013.  Even when people are attempting to engage in activities that are creative, most of them strive to connect their innovative acts to ways to make a profit.  Any effort to introduce American life and culture in 2013, therefore, has to offer an understanding of the increasing power and importance of capitalism.

A close examination of American popular culture helps to illuminate what American life and culture is like in 2013.  When we examine television during this particular time, one finds a significant amount of variety.  One has an opportunity to witness things that are crass, such as Love & Hip Hop Atlanta and The Real Housewives of Atlanta, to valuable shows, such as Mad Men and Scandal.

Unfortunately, the federal government has not increased support for the arts, but average Americans have found innovative ways to keep engagement in the arts alive and well.  At higher education institutions across the nation, one can see how we have some of the greatest people involved in the arts than at any period of time in American history.

We have grown too divided as a nation.  We think in terms of “red states” and “blue states” and not simply the United States.  Our state and national elected officials have caused too many Americans to have a next election mindset, and this has led to numerous things not getting done.

One tremendously positive aspect about American life and culture in 2013 is there’s a burgeoning longing for innovation.  Although this longing for innovation is heavily centered on the profit motive, there’s hope that we can start thinking more about innovation outside of a capitalistic logic.  At this time, it’s becoming more difficult to differentiate creativity and capitalism.  There was a time in America when there were more artists who created things for the pure love of their craft.  Too many artists now are concerned about producing commodities—not art.  When we look at some current films, we see how they play into the profit motive by being imitations of events and people, such as White House Down, instead of striving to develop novel alternatives to the current way people behave and think in 2013.

While America is the most exceptional nation on the planet, American life and culture needs to discontinue being so self-indulgent and money focused.  With such diverse people in America, one has to remain hopeful about the potential innovations that can emerge.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison