7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make

Spending money on expensive things you don’t need is a surefire way to deplete your bank account and lower your net worth. Yet many big-ticket purchases are made on impulse or otherwise represent poor judgment.

If you truly can afford to buy a costly status symbol, go right ahead. However, if you want to get the most out of your money, there are many expensive items that you can and should live without.

Here are several examples of big expenditures you shouldn’t make:

1. Timeshares

Unless you know exactly what you’re getting into, you should avoid the complications of buying into a timeshare vacation home.

A timeshare property has divided ownership or rights of use. Nowadays, timeshares commonly take the form of not deeded real estate but vacation interval plans. These arrangements entitle “owners” to points they can redeem for stays at various properties — but generally still require owners to pay ongoing property maintenance fees that can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars annually.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it tends to be much harder to sell a timeshare than it is to buy into one. As Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson notes in “Is Buying a Timeshare Ever a Good Idea?“:

“I’d bet timeshares are the source of more questions I’ve gotten over the years than any other. I can’t count the number of emails I’ve received from desperate owners looking to unload.”

2. Recreational vehicles

The idea of taking a vacation in a home on wheels may sound enticing, but consider what you’ll do with an RV once the trip is over. How often will you be using it?

Some communities have laws against parking RVs on streets or in driveways for prolonged periods. If you have to rent storage space for your RV when you’re not using it, you’ll have an ongoing expense — on top of unavoidable ongoing costs like gas and maintenance.

Prices for new RVs can range from about $6,000 to $500,000, depending on size and amenities, according to the RV Industry Association. Unless you plan to do a lot of traveling on the highway, renting an RV is probably more practical.

Services like RVshare enable you to rent an RV directly from its owner. And it’s possible to rent one from an RV company for as little as $1 a day if you have enough flexibility in your vacation plans to take advantage of what are known as relocation deals.

3. New cars

New cars start losing value the moment you drive them off a dealership lot. Typically, they depreciate by 20% during the first 12 months of ownership, according to Carfax, which records automobile histories.

In fact, some new car models lose more than half their value after just three years, as we recently reported.

If you buy a used car, you let someone else absorb the loss from the initial depreciation.

Related: 13 Things We Buy and Then Almost Never Use

4. Designer clothing

When you spend big bucks on designer clothing, you’re paying for the brand name and the bragging rights that go along with wearing something exclusive. You’re probably also trying to impress others.

When fashions change, your designer clothing probably will gather dust in your closet.

It makes more sense to buy quality clothing at reasonable prices and invest the money you save.

As Stacy notes in “The 10 Golden Rules of Becoming a Millionaire“:

“Diverting your investable cash into things like cars, clothing, vacations and houses you can’t afford will make you look rich now, but prevent you from actually becoming rich later.”

5. Cutting-edge technology

Technology companies depend on the public’s appetite for new devices to fuel their sales. It’s fun to have the latest gadget, but if you wait a while, you usually can buy the same item for a reduced price.

So, before you make a purchase you should ask yourself if your smartphone, tablet or laptop is obsolete simply because there’s a new model available.

It doesn’t make sense to buy a new version of a gadget you already own, unless there is improved functionality, says Eric Tyson, author of “Personal Finance for Dummies.”

“People who get caught up in cutting-edge technology get it in their head that they the need a specific model,” he tells Money Talks News. “Are you really getting extra value for your money?”

6. Toys for grown-ups

You can spend a bundle on grown-up toys that end up sitting in your garage for long periods. Snowmobiles, Jet Skis and all-terrain vehicles can be fun, but they require big cash outlays. They also may require periodic servicing by a mechanic.

If you rarely use them, your money will be wasted. So, before you make a purchase, be honest with yourself about how much use you’ll get out of items, suggests Tyson.

“It’s important for people to think through how often they are going to use such things,” he says.

7. Watches that cost a bundle

a person posing for the camera: shutterstock_1351379456

© Alex Volot / Shutterstock.com shutterstock_1351379456

Because you can buy a reliable timepiece cheaply, there’s no need to purchase an expensive wristwatch.

“For well under $50 you can get a watch that keeps time perfectly well,” Tyson says.

If you decide to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars on a high-end watch, you likely will be buying it for prestige.

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by Love Dr. Rob

Will you become stuck with stupid?

She started off saying she didn’t know how much longer she could keep doing this. At the same time, she also said she did not want to start over. ”How many times does a woman have to keep starting over before a man gets it right”? She asked. And I replied she doesn’t have to start over at all, she can stay stuck with stupid. Is anyone in your relationship stuck with stupid?

We all have things we need and want in and from a relationship. The problem is we believe we are supposed to be in a relationship with someone before we know if they can give it to us. That’s like hiring somebody for a job before you know if they are even qualified for the position. Few of us if any complete the interview process before saying you’re hired. 

As this happens in so many cases you end up with someone who just can’t get right. It doesn’t matter how many times you show them, they just don’t get it. Here you keep investing time and energy into training and retraining and they still don’t get it. Despite all your efforts, they seem incapable of learning what you need from them, yet you refuse to let them go. So they have no incentive to learn it because they still have the position and all the benefits that come with it. 

Relationships Require Maturity

Hopefully, a light bulb just went off, but just in case you missed it. If a man or woman is receiving everything they want without having to give anything in return, most will never give anything. When you find yourself in this situation you have to make a decision. Do I continue to invest in my time and my love in someone who can’t give me what I need? Or do I cut my losses and start over?

In most cases, it feels like a lose-lose situation. At least you know what you have in them, and if you leave the next one might be worse. But the most important question you can ask yourself is how long can you stay without getting what you need?  Because now neither one of you is making sure your needs are met. 

Don’t be Stuck with Stupid

Now I’m not telling you that you should leave. If you like it, I love it. For some people, it is better to be unhappy in a relationship than be happy alone. Remember some times even a good person can be unable to love you, even though you love the hell out of them. Once you realize that it is up to you, you have to choose your happiness. If you choose to stay in a relationship where you’re not getting what you need, there will be a day when someone will see y’all together and say look they are still with stupid and you won’t be able to tell which one of you they are talking about

How to do it

by Troy Henry

BACKGROUND

Upon arrival in America, Black Americans were enslaved for several hundred years.  And the impact of this systematic and institutional practice still has a multi-generational impact on many Black Americans today.  The enslavement and de-humanization of the Africans brought to America for economic and white lifestyle purposes is truly the original sin of this country.  Our government made numerous promises of reparation (40 acres and a mule). Yet real efforts to compensate African Americans have been paltry to non-existent.  Black communities today continue to reflect inhumane conditions that are the repercussion of approximately 400 years of pain and suffering. 

A nation of people does not just snap out of this type of institutional racism.  It takes time and proactive efforts to truly attempt to right the wrongs of this sin.  Historically, oppressors have compensated their victims.  The people of Germany compensated the Jews for the Holocaust.  America compensated the Japanese people as a result of the WWII internment.  However, the White American community has never fully addressed the most heinous of all punishments inflicted on a people that are largely responsible for building this great country.

Reparations For Slavery

PERSPECTIVES

There has been much written recently about the need for reparations for Black Americans, and most of these articles have been thoughtful and “on point”. I would like for you to reference several outstanding articles that prompted me to write this body of work.  Each has a unique perspective and discussion regarding the need and benefits of reparations.

The link below is a CNBC article profiling the need and growing support for reparations.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/12/slavery-reparations-cost-us-government-10-to-12-trillion.html

The link below provides the perspective of the wealthiest Black American (Robert Smith Jr) regarding reparations.

The link below  gives you the perspective of one of America’s great entrepreneurs (Bob Johnson) regarding reparations.

https://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/politics/item/35888-black-billionaire-johnson-every-black-american-should-get-a-350k-reparations-check#disqus_thread

The article below attempts to establish the value necessary to properly compensate Black Americans reparations.

While each of these articles and many more do an outstanding job of justifying the necessity for Black American reparations, none of them fully address the high-level implementation of such a program.  The remainder of this article will discuss a practical approach to funding the program and the benefits associated with it.

RELATED: WE NEED MORE THAN SYMBOLIC CHANGE

FUNDING SOURCE

Today, the current US stock market including NYSE, NASDAQ and OTC markets have a value of approximately $37 Trillion.  This figure captures the current market value for all publicly traded enterprises.  The Federal Government has approximately $300T in assets under management in the form of property and other assets.  While it is impossible to trace each asset and company to the act of slavery or any derivative activities, many of these enterprises (public and private) were directly or indirectly the beneficiaries of this heinous systemic sin of slavery.

My approach for reparations for each individual Black American, would target any individual with a gross income of $500,000 annual income or less based on your most recent tax return.  Neither I (small business owner), Rob Smith (Vista Equity CEO), LeBron James (NBA great) or many others Black Americans would participate in this program, because they have successfully and permanently overcome the scars of slavery.  Also, individuals who immigrated to the US after 1990 would also be excluded from the program even though their ancestors may have experienced slavery, it was not in the USA and therefore would not qualify.  Based on the above qualifiers approximately 5 million out of the 45 million Black Americans would not qualify.  Based on the numbers above, a reparations payment of $10Trillion would pay to create a one-time payment of $250,000 to every Black American born before 1/1/2021 or whatever date is appropriate.

Reparations Now or No?

Is Money Available?

So how do we generate $10T without crippling the entire US economy?   Answer: Every publicly traded company would pay a 15% one-time tax on the market value of their company.  Since most companies would not have that amount of funds on hand, its payment could be made in the form of additional shares of contributed stock to the fund.  While this would cause an immediate dilution of share value, it does not put any company at a competitive disadvantage since their competitor would be subject to the exact same tax and repercussions.  As a result, over time the market will respond to this tax much like it has done to the Corona Virus.  This would generate approximately $6T for the reparations fund.

The 2nd source of funds would be the federal government.  The Federal government has the ability to issue one-time payment funds like what was done for the Corona Virus.  In addition, the federal government has un-used and under-utilized property that could be contributed to the reparations fund.  While some of this land may be less desirable, it would represent value to the fund and could be monetized if necessary.  This federal contribution would represent an approximately $4T contribution to the fund.

The reparations funds would be managed on the behalf of the Black American recipients by 10 Black-owned securities firms ($1T each), thereby making them significant players in the financial community with the power and ability to train future financial leaders of America.  The financial management firms would commit to a minimum 6% annual rate of return to remain in the program.

PARTICIPATION

Each of the 40 Million Black American qualified recipients would have the option to take the cash as a non-taxable lump sum of money or as a cash dividend (non-taxable) from the fund.  Any recipient of the funds must agree not to receive any other federal government subsidies such as: food stamps, Section 8 housing voucher, etc.  Also, this would assist the federal government in reducing its entitlements budget.  For Black Americans stuck in the entitlement system, these funds represent access to self-sufficiency and self-determination.

The impact on the Black community would be immediate and extremely positive.  Allow me to give you an example of the fund’s effect.

Example 1:

Assumption: family of 4, husband and wife with 2 kids (3 & 5years old)

Recipient qualifies for $250,000 times 4 family members equals $1M

Recipient chooses to leave the funds with the fund manager and receives a 6% annual dividend equal to $60,000.

In addition to their normal income, the family has $60K non-taxable income to pay for a better school, home, or new business

Example 2

Assumption:  Single individual (age 25)

Recipient qualifies for $250,000

Recipient chooses to payoff $50,000 in debt and purchases a home without a mortgage for $200,000.

The recipient can now continue their life debt free.

Use of the proceeds can have a myriad of potential positive and negative examples, One essential element to this program will be that anyone choosing to take their funds out of the program must enroll in a financial management course to aid them in the best course of action for using these funds. Only after a person successfully completes the course will funds be distributed.

BENEFITS of REPARATIONS

There are a significant number of benefits to this reparation program that can transform our country and attempt to make up for the nations original sin.  The US budget would be less burdened with entitlement programs due to the program, thereby allowing the government to increase funding for roads, public education, and other priorities.  America would be a more educated nation since more and better educational opportunities will emerge.  There will be more innovation due to an increase in entrepreneurship because lack of capital cripples many small businesses.  Crime will be reduced since the economic conditions for many of our fellow Black Americans will have improved significantly. 

SUMMARY

Reparations will benefit all of America and truly compensate our most deserving citizens.  Also, reparations will diminish numerous social ills that plague portions of America today.  Most Importantly, reparations will fairly compensate Black Americas while evenly distributing this one-time economic pain.  This reparation program will help balance our nation’s budget.  Reparations will begin to truly level the playing field for all Americans.

by Kenneth Cooper

Governor and Mayor Differ on best practices

Thursday 9/10

Governor John Bel Edwards has just concluded an unnecessary and premature press conference where he announced that the state will be moving to Phase 3 on Friday. When pressed for details on how that would be implemented, the governor offers no relevant response. Oh I don’t have any details, he basically says. I’m just here to throw the mayor of New Orleans under the bus. Details, he says, will be available tomorrow.

Later that same day, Mayor Cantrell steps to the podium to address a Phase 3 hungry press and population. She does so aware businesses are failing, and citizens are becoming restless. Despite the governor’s vaguely announced path forward, there’s hope that this time the Mayor won’t have the city lag behind in moving from one phase to the next. There’s hope that this time the city and state will proceed in lock-step. Yet, as the mayor begins to speak into the microphone, she deflects.

Mayor Cantrell Says “Phase Twooo!”

A huge, win-win, monumental, all important step forward for Orleans Parish schools is announced. Pre-K – 4th grade students are returning to in-person classes. Boom! Hallelujah! Drop the confetti. Hand out the party hats. DJ, cue the Casanova. Waiter, pass the drinks around.  Not so fast. This huge, win-win, monumental, all important step forward is met with a total of zero questions. No follow ups on when will middle school and high school students return to in person classes, no questions on any protocols put in place, no questions on the data that led to this decision, nothing. Instead, the press asks the mayor a different question: Is New Orleans moving to Phase 3 or what? Answer: No.

RELATED: Should We Really Be Sending Our Kids to School

Mayor Cantrell is not happy

New Orleans is not moving to Phase 3 yet. The city won’t consider moving out of Phase 2 until there’s more information from the governor. Next question: Well what about high school football then? The LHSSA says we can go hut-hut, so will the lights be turned on at Pan-Am and Tad Gormley stadiums? Shall we polish up the pig skin? Exasperated, the mayor calls a timeout. Again, she says, New Orleans is not moving to Phase 3 yet. We will remain in Phase 2. Phase 2 means Phase 2 and all the restrictions that fall under it (under Phase 2 there are no contact sports in Orleans Parish. This is widely understood).  

It was then that Travers Mackel, famed local reporter, realizes that he hasn’t obtained his quota of gotcha quotes. He feigns confusion. So to be clear, he says, yes or no, are we not playing football in Orleans Parish? The mayor turns ten shades of purple, steps closer to the mic, then address him directly. Afterwards, the cleanup crew arrives as the place is emptying. They only have one question for Mr. Mackel, what do you want us to do with your old a$$hole?

Friday 9/11

The knives come out. They come out in the form of a resolution. Hey, if Orleans Parish won’t provide high school athletes with a space to run around, tackle each other, exchange spit, and sweat, while possibly exposing themselves to a contagious and potentially deadly virus, then Jefferson Parish sure will. Later, Mayor Cantrell stands at the podium again, fresh from crawling under one bus only to find herself thrown under another. First question: Mayor Cantrell, this resolution to allow Orleans Parish schools to play football in Jefferson Parish, what are you going to do about it? Obvious answer: prayer. The mayor restrains all fury and provides a proper southern response: for those schools that decide to go that route, God bless’em.

St. Augustine’s Leonard Fournette was an unstoppable force against John Curtis

The resolution was a clear slap in the face, a move to undermine the mayor while allowing Jefferson Parish to collect some extra side money via rental fees the schools will have to pay to use the facilities.

An addendum: Is the mayor being overly cautious? Probably. Do we need her to be? Yes. New Orleans is different from other cities or parishes in the state. There’s nobody sitting around talking about, Man I can’t wait to book my next flight to Ruston or Alexandria. But for New Orleans, there are lots of tourists just waiting to invade the Quarter, the city’s progression from one phase to the next being the determining factor whether their tickets get booked or not. And with that comes more exposure to the Coronavirus, and potentially more setbacks for business, schools, and our general way of life. So the mayor’s like, Pardon me if I’m not in a rush to put our progress in jeopardy. But if you run a business you don’t want to hear that.

You’re dying out here. There’s only so many employees you can lay off or fire before you have to put up the going out of business sign. It’s a tightrope, an unprecedented one we’re all walking. Stay tuned for the next update. Until then, just so you know, New Orleans is not moving to Phase 3 yet, and Phase 2 means Phase 2. Get it? No more questions asked.  

From our Friends at Safety.com

by Mary Blowers

Teens, we know you might be struggling during this pandemic. Your social lives and your education have been upended, and we know that coping with those changes can be difficult. If you’re staying up to date on COVID-19 news, you know that certain groups are more at risk during this pandemic than others. You may not personally be high risk, but you likely know or love someone who is over the age of 60 and/or has preexisting conditions.  Surveys have shown that many adolescents have rising anxiety over the health of your family members, which can make any of your normal stressors even worse. 

In this strange time of social distancing, your anxiety is at an all time high, while your level of support may be at an all time low. We know you are stuck at home without your usual social groups and routines, so we want to offer some non-traditional support options so that you and your family can feel safe from the outside world. Luckily, there are considerable online resources on everything from home security to emotional support to addiction management that can help you to feel more at ease. Take a look at the list of mental health resources that we’ve compiled below, and then keep scrolling for support on issues related to cyberbullying, substance abuse, smartphone addiction, and more.

Mental health resources

Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying has become so wide-spread that you likely know someone who has been a victim – maybe you personally have had to face those online attacks. Unfortunately, now that everyone is online so much more, there may be even more instances of cyberbullying. Dr. Sameer Hinduja said that certain groups may be more prone to fall victim to online bullying during this pandemic: “It is also very possible that xenophobic or racist cyberbullying may go up,” she said, referencing parent complaints that their Asian children are being targeted. With this increased potential for harassment and without teachers and school staff to intervene, you may need to take advantage of online resources to keep your friends and yourself safe from cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying resources

Substance Abuse Addiction

Among teens, abusing substances as a way to cope with your isolation and anxiety is not uncommon. Since there are no legal recreational substances for teenagers, those who are utilizing illicit substances are doing it in secret, which is even more dangerous. Due to your age, you are already at a higher risk for mental illness and depression, and social isolation and pandemic worries make those concerns even worse. It’s understandable that you are looking for distraction or comfort during this time, but misused substances pose serious dangers to your health. If you or a friend have found yourself in this situation, please seek out one of these resources.

Substance abuse resources

Smartphone and Device Addiction

Drugs and alcohol are the first things that come to mind when you think of addiction, but your phones and devices can also be extremely habit-forming. As you find yourself at home and alone more now than ever, you are likely to become even more wrapped up in your phones and devices. While it may seem like a harmless outlet, there is actually considerable evidence that smartphone addiction and social media are negatively affecting mental health, making device-addicted teens more likely to struggle with depression and anxiety, as well as sleeplessness and impulsive behavior. In fact, between the years of between 2011 and 2015, there was a spike of major depressive episodes among teens increasing by 50 percent within those few years. San Diego State University Professor Jean Twenge says that smartphone use has replaced time that teens would normally spend socializing in person or sleeping. 

While you are stuck at home, you are likely increasing your screen time, and since school is remote and online for many of you, you may find yourself using devices over 7 hours a day. Teens are becoming hyper-connected to their devices even though many realize that they are online too often. Smartphone and device addiction can cause chemical disruptions in the brain, meaning that this type of addiction could be associated with damaged cognitive and emotional processing. If you or your friends are finding it impossible to disconnect, look into the resources below.

Smartphone addiction resources

RELATED : BACK TO SCHOOL AFTER THE SHUTDOWN

Social Distance Activities

Alright, we’ve talked about how this pandemic is causing increases in mental health issues, cyberbullying and addictions, but now we want to share some alternative outlets to keep your mind off all the stressors. Exercise can be a major help when it comes to staying physically and mentally healthy. In fact, research suggests that elevated levels of aerobic activity and strength training can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Of course, exercising is more difficult to do in isolation with limited equipment, so you may need some additional resources to help you get started. If workout programs aren’t your favorite pastime, check out our list of other game and activity resources below.

Work-out resources

Games or activity resources

RELATED: THE WHINY LITTLE RICH KIDS

Meditation and Disconnecting

In addition to physical activity, meditation and self-reflection can be essential for keeping your mind healthy. The National Center for Complementary and Integrated Health says that studies have investigated meditation benefits for different conditions. Taking time to meditate may be exactly what you need to disconnect from social media and find peace in your mind and home. If you are interested in meditation, but don’t know where to start, we have a list of resources to help you get started.

Meditation resources

Conclusion

There are a myriad of mental and emotional obstacles that you as teenagers must navigate in near isolation during the pandemic. You may feel lonely without your usual school and social environments, which can make it especially difficult to cope with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Since you are spending more time online than ever, you are at greater risk of cyberbullying and developing smartphone addiction. You may also be more sedentary than usual, not exercising or taking care of your physical health. Luckily, there are online resources, apps, communities and people out there that can help. Use our safety guide and reference links above to find the specific support you need, and most importantly, please remember that you are not alone in your struggles with the pandemic.

THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AT SAFETY.COM

STFU: If You Don’t Answer the Census

by CC Campbell Rock

It’s that time again. Once in a decade, U.S. residents are asked to answer the Census. It’s common knowledge, particularly in the African-American community, that there is a matrix of fear about answering the federal head count. In 2020, however red flags are popping up that indicate it’s more important than ever to stand up and be counted and answer the Census.

One red flag was last week’s ruling by a federal judge that put a temporary halt to the Trump Administration’s effort to end the Census count prematurely on September 30, instead of October 31, 2020.

 U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in the Northern District of California issued the restraining order in favor of challengers led by the National Urban League, who filed an emergency request as part of a federal lawsuit. The order is expected to remain in effect until a court hearing is held on Sept. 17 for the plaintiffs’ request for a court order that would require counting to continue through the end of October.

This is not the first time the Trump Administration tried to finagle with the Census count. Last July, a New York judge permanently blocked Trump’s effort to target immigrants by putting a citizenship question on the Census form.

Trump Effect

RELATED: How the President is Suppressing the 2020 Census

It is abundantly clear, that Trump’s maneuvers are designed to stop the flow of federal funding to the states, which fund programs that help all of us.

Billions of federal dollars are allocated each year for programs and services based on Census-derived .  Here are a few:

Maternal and child health programs, Medicaid, Medicare, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),WIC, Social Service Block Grant, Foster Care (Title IV-E),Head Start/Early Head Start, Federal Pell Grants. School Nutrition, State Children’s Health Insurance Program (LA-CHIP), Homeland Security , FEMA, Highway Planning & Construction, Crime Victim Assistance. Community Facilities Loans/Grants. Section 8 Housing Program, Special Education (IDEA funds), after school programs, classroom technology, free and reduced-price school lunches, affordable housing, etc.

Those critical programs get less funding when citizens are not counted. And police, firefighters, infrastructure improvements, and essential city services are also underfunded. Without proper funding, a city can’t increase the quality of life for its residents.

Additionally, redistricting is also based on Census data. Not answering the Census opens the door to structural racism in elective offices.

In Louisiana, legislators used Census data to  gerrymander state and federal districts to keep themselves in power and to suppress the vote of people of color. This is the primary reason why out of Louisiana’s six U.S. congressional seats only one is held by an African-American- New Orleans’ U.S. Congressman Cedric Richmond.

Related: Trump and Fake Facts About Black Unemployment

Effect on New Orleans

New Orleans lost one Congressional seat due to an under-count in the 2000 Census. East Baton Rouge Parish, which is predominately African-American, has been gerrymandered such that they can’t elect a person of color to represent them, even if they wanted to. Conservative Republicans dominate the Louisiana legislature because of the census under-count.

After assessing the current Census count in New Orleans, Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s Administration issued an Emergency Update. The city of New Orleans is behind in its Census Count. To date, only 56.6 percent of residents have answered the Census.

“This is an emergency now,” says Arthur Walton, the director of Intergovernmental Relations and chair of the Mayor’s Complete Count Committee, who explained that COVID-19 has made getting an accurate count difficult. “The city had a slate of cultural activities planned,” to inspire citizens to answer the Census but the events were cancelled in lieu of the state’s safer at home program that was designed to contain the virus.

The City of New Orleans’ NOLA Counts: Be in That Number Campaign enlisted the help of celebrities, elected officials, and others to encourage citizens to stand up and be counted including:

Watch these important videos

 Big Freedia

Demario Davis New Orleans Saints Linebacker

Oliver Thomas

Mayor Cantrell with Head Start Kids Census PSA

Elroy James

Mama Jamilah (Ashe’ Cultural Center)

ONLINE ACCESS

People are still going door to door as Census workers did in the past. But Walton, the “Census quarterback,” says “For the first time people can do the Census online using their home computers, cell phones, or house phones. It only takes 10 minutes to answer the nine-question form.

Regarding people’s aversion to answering the Census, Walton says, “The president is not going to have your address.” Records are sealed for 77 years. And Census workers take an oath not to disclose personal information.  “Amazon asks for more information than the Census,” he says jokingly.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem because Joseph, his father and his mother, Mary, had to journey to Bethlehem to answer the Census. Joseph was going to his father’s house to be counted. “The Census is in the Bible, Luke, Chapter 2,”  Walton continues.

Most importantly, New Orleans needs an accurate count to receive its fair share. The feds will disperse $1.8 trillion to states based on Census data. Answering the Census is more important than ever. As a result of COVID-19, cities and states have had to spend money they didn’t anticipate. City budgets now have gaping holes with the possibility of layoffs in the near future.

Department of Labor Statistics

FUNDS DIRECTLY HELP LOCALS

“During this pandemic, we need every dollar we’re entitled to,” Walton affirms. Offering an example of how the feds distributes taxpayer dollars, Walton adds, “For the CARES ACT, if you were a city of 500,000 or more you received between $1.5 and $1.8 billion directly. If you aren’t, you’re getting your money from the state. In our case, the majority red legislature appropriated money to New Orleans.”

You know the importance of each one of us standing up and being counted. Census funds provide better streets and essential services. Your descendants benefit too. The Census documents your existence. This becomes a primary source of data for descendants who want to trace their roots and family tree. African-Americans can trace their ancestry back to at least 1890, when the first American Census was taken.

The Census is a tool for Blacks to assert their constitutional rights. Intentional under-counts continues to deny Black representation in public office, Answering Census in 2020 is the remedy.

The three-fifths clause (Article I, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution of 1787 declared that for purposes of representation in Congress, enslaved blacks in a state would be counted as three-fifths of the number of white inhabitants of that state. The three-fifths clause remained in force until the post-Civil War 13th Amendment freed all enslaved people in the United States, the 14th amendment gave them full citizenship, and the 15th Amendment granted black men the right to vote.

“I’m encouraging the community to share cell phones, tablets, and laptops with their neighbors, friends, and family members to help them fill out the Census,” Walton says. “You might be sitting on your couch right now and you can fill the Census out while you’re sitting there.  Do it now.”

by Love Dr. Rob

In the beginning neither one of them wanted anything. The agreement was it was just going to be sex nothing else. They both knew what they were signing up for from the start. I mean what could possibly go wrong?

Over time just sex turned into pillow talk. From simple conversation after to spending time and doing things together what was supposed to be casual sex had become something different. At least that was the case in one person’s eyes. For they were past the just sex – it’s looking more like a relationship. 

One day she asked the question, “what are we?” He replied, “we are friends”. She felt a way about that, because at that point that were doing way more than friend stuff. Time had past, and she thought they were growing into more. She was pissed to say the least. 

If It Ain’t His Fault, Then Whose is It?

The next thing she asked was, “when do you think it was going to be more”?  He simply answered, “you already know what it was.”  They ended up falling out, and let her tell it he played her. He had wasted her time and used her up. The truth is he hadn’t done anything wrong. 

The moral to the story is be real with yourself about what you want. Don’t settle for one thing knowing you want more. Or if you feel as though your needs and wants are changing, let the other person know. If they aren’t where you are, then it is up to you whether you stay or you leave. Just remember if that person is honest with you, they are no longer responsible for what you accept or expect. If you sign up for it and end up disappointed it ain’t his fault. 

We talked to a top doctor to get his strategies.

by Kelly Glass

Darrell Gray II, MD, MPH

Colorectal cancer is the third-most-common cancer in American men, and Black men have a more than 20 percent higher risk than white men. And there’s recently been a spike in colon cancer in young men. Fortunately, there is plenty all of us can do to try to prevent it. This is what gastroenterologist Darrell M. Gray II, M.D., M.P.H., deputy director of the Center for Cancer Health Equity at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center does to reduce his risk.

Go easy on alcohol

When I’m at a social function, I carry a carbonated beverage with me. Alcohol, especially for men, is linked with a higher risk of colon cancer. People who have two drinks a day or more raise their risk as much as one and a half times that of people who don’t drink at all. The occasional glass of red wine is enough for me.

Watch the red meat

I generally aim to avoid red meat, since it’s been linked to an increased risk of colon cancer. While, if we’re being honest, nothing exactly matches the taste and texture of a nice steak, a fresh, well-seasoned, cooked-just-right piece of fish takes up as much space on the plate and can be just as, if not more, satisfying to me.

Get moving to reduce colon cancer risk

Between meetings, procedures, patients, and research, you might catch me doing pushups in my office. Maintaining a consistent workout routine is challenging with my schedule, but I fit it in between appointments or by cycling or walking with my wife and three kids. Even adding moderate activity to a sedentary life can reduce colon-cancer risk by up to 24 percent.

Know your family history

I have a friend who says that “family secrets kill families.” Find out about your family’s medical history. With colorectal cancer, knowing if someone had it—and when—can change when you should get screened. Usually we recommend starting at age 45. But if an immediate family member was diagnosed, you might need a colonoscopy at age 40 or earlier.

Manage your stress

Stress can make everything else I do harder. So when I’m moving through my many commitments, I’m also focusing on my breathing. If stress arises, I acknowledge the cause and then I slowly and thoughtfully inhale and exhale. It helps me recenter. I’ve seen stress cause people to smoke, drink alcohol, eat excessively, or be sedentary—and all those things can increase the risk of colon cancer.

A version of this story originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of Men’s Health, with the title “Doctor’s Guide to Colon Cancer.”

Coping with mixed feelings about returning to school.

Getty Images

Source: Getty Images

by Elissa R. Gross, Psy.D.

Kids have mixed feelings about returning to school this fall; both excited and apprehensive. While most look forward to seeing their friends, being less “cooped up” and enjoying more social interaction, many also feel scared, nervous and reluctant. And it’s important for parents to be aware of this.

There is still so much uncertainty surrounding what to expect with changing schedules, including rotating in and out of school and having a “hybrid” of in-person classes and online work.  For many, returning to school may be especially hard after getting comfortable being at home. Others worry about having to wear masks all day and being physically distanced from friends and teachers.

In order to best help our kids and teens prepare for the return to the classroom, we must first understand both our own and our children’s feelings about the transition back to school.  With this awareness, we as parents can do several things to support our kids during this difficult time.

The following are some recommendations to help parents understand and better cope with their own feelings about their children’s return to school. 

1. Accept that there is no “right” answer.

2. Acknowledge that we cannot control what will happen once our kids go back to school.

3. Some of the worries children and teens may be experiencing:

4. Once parents understand their own, and their children’s, concerns about returning to school this fall, the following are some ways that parents can support their kids and teens with the transition:

BLACK AMERICANS’ KICK THE 21ST CENTURY CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT INTO HIGH GEAR

by CC Campbell-Rock


Pictured: (Standing l. to r.) Matthew Ahmann, Director of the National Catholic Conference for Interracial Justice; Rabbi Joachim Prinz; John Lewis, leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); Protestant minister Eugene Carson Blake; Floyd McKissick, leader of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE); and labor union leader Walter Reuther; (Sitting l. to r.) Whitney Young, Executive Director of the National Urban League; Cleveland Robinson, Chairman of the Demonstration Committee; A. Philip Randolph, labor union leader who conceptualized the march; Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.; and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) leader Roy Wilkins. Photo Courtesy of U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.


Thousands converged on the U.S. Capitol on August 28, 2020 to recommit to the calls for justice made on August 28, 1963. In 1963 was  the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.  Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his legendary “I Have A Dream” speech.

More than a half-century later, the demands are the same with an added caveat: Speakers called for an end to the killing of unarmed black men, women, and children. Remember the 1955 mob lynching murder of Emmitt Till. That horror galvanized the modern civil rights movement.

The theme of the 2020 Commitment March was “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks.” The protest to the killing of George Floyd by police, who knelt on his neck for eight minutes and forty-seconds. Floyd’s family demanded justice at the Lincoln Memorial. Representatives of more than 20 unarmed blacks killed by police were present.

Victims of Police Violence and Systemic Racism

Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, Elijah McClain,  Botham Jean, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Antwon Rose, Terrence Crutcher, Atatiana Jefferson, Jemel Roberson, Joel Acevedo, Dontre Hamilton, Michael Brown, David Jones, Emanuel Lee, Sandra Bland, and more.

Also present was the family of Jacob Blake, the unarmed black man who was shot seven times in the back at point blank range by a Milwaukee cop. 

Organized by Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, and Martin Luther King, III, the son of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., elected officials, union leaders, church leaders, civil rights leaders and families of slain victims demanded justice but also legislation to protect black lives and to finally deliver equality.

From Protest to Legislation

The move from protest marching and demonstrations to a focus on legislation signals the beginning of a new strategy in the 21st Century Justice Movement. Black leaders have always brought political pressure on whites, who at one point, held all the elected offices. What is different today is that more black and brown people are holding elective positions. And now multigeneration, multicultural groups are in the streets protesting. Now people of color and whites know that the only way to secure justice is at the ballot box. Only then can lobbying for change at local, state, and federal legislators be successful.

Speakers at the Commitment March made several demands-

Martin Luther King III Speaks

We’re marching to overcome the triple evils of poverty, racism, and violence. COVID-19  has laid bare the economic inequality. And voter purges, discriminatory practices, felons not able to vote. Now we have to risk our lives to cast our votes in lines during a pandemic. We need to be able to do what President Trump does, vote by mail.  We need to vote like our lives, liberty, and future depends on it because they do. There is a knee on the neck of democracy…the simple challenge before us is that everyone can cast a ballot,” Martin Luther King, III told the crowd.

The Reverend Martin Luther King, III

Dad said, ‘Everyone can be great because everyone can serve.’ He challenged us to become drum majors for justice. If you’re looking for a savior, get up and find a mirror. We must demand the U.S. Senate stop blocking the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Act…Raise the minimum wage, demilitarize the police, get into good trouble, Non-violence doesn’t mean passivity.”

Rev Al Sharpton

According to Reverend Al Sharpton, “We want this country to know, your brutality and bigotry can’t rob us of our dreams, we are the dream keepers, which is why we come today, black, white, all religions and sexual orientations, you may have killed the dreamer but you can’t kill the dream, we are going to make this dream come true.

“We all should leave her committed to keeping this dream alive. Everyone who wants to help on election day, be poll watchers, sign up, early voting starts in two weeks. We have to have foot soldiers to protect our vote, but we are not going to submit anymore, you’re going to get your knee off of our necks. Enough is enough….no justice, no peace,”

Talib McMillan

Talib McMillan, a policy advisor for the National Action Network, said, “We find ourselves here in the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. We’re not here to negotiate or ask for justice, we are here to demand justice…it’s time for legislation to invest in education, mental health services, in communities and in HBCUS. We don’t just deserve a quarter of the dollar but the whole dollar…we’ve come to let the teller at the bank know this check better not bounce…we come to cash a check to demand justice.”

“We’ve come back to say today that our fight for racial justice is not negotiable. Purging our system of systemic racism and our right to vote is not negotiable, defending our right to a living wage, not negotiable; equitable funding for our school children, supplying rural areas with broadband is not negotiable, a fair Census, eliminating the structural shameful disparate impact of COVID-19, not negotiable; police reform, mental health services, homeless services, deaths of our black people are not negotiable. We’re here to make demands, George Floyd Justice in Policing Act must be passed, pass the Heroes Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, and HR 40,” advised Marc H. Morial, NUL President and former mayor of New Orleans.

“Yes, it is possible to write budgets that address the needs of black lives,” Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley told the gathering.  

Two days before the Commitment March, the Milwaukee Bucks walked out of the NBA playoffs, determined to demonstrate against the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, their home base.

Professional Sports Teams Protest

They were followed by the rest of the NBA teams, the WNBA, MLB, MLS, NHL, and several NFL teams cancelled practices. The athletes did more than just walk away from their scheduled games. The Milwaukee Bucks team managers and coaches called the state’s Governor Tony Evers and the Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes and issued a demand for police reform legislation.

After several meetings, the NBA and the NBAPA (National Basketball Players Association) followed announced an “action” agenda and a slate of demands. The NBA and NBAPA agreed to form a social justice coalition to interface with governors and elected officials in their respective states. Hey plan to come up with legislation that leads to meaningful police and criminal justice reform. Players want to  convert facilities owned by the teams into polling places for the 2020 general election.  The NBA will work with networks to run an ad campaign in each playoff game to promote voting.

In an interview on AM Joy Show on MSNBC , Martin L. King, III said “We’ve got to change the direction of the U.S. Senate and the presidency. We have to vote but there is another strategy we can use, economic withdrawal.” King reminded us his father and the other civil rights leaders used economic boycott against the Montgomery Bus Company.

“Blacks spend $1.4 trillion annually. If black people used that power, politicians would come talk to us. And, instead of just marching, we need young people to run and get elected to offices at the local, state, and federal levels.”