Dr. Rob

 Yes, You Can Believe The Hype.

by Kenneth Cooper

Flashback, early 2020: we should’ve known something was wrong. It was like the universe was trying to tell us something. Identical freak accidents killed two people at two different parades. As strong favorites, the Saints lost in the first round of a playoff game — in the Dome no less. But while the Coronavirus cases were building around the country, we partied on, defiantly declaring ourselves untouchable.

You know how we roll.  We teach our children how to suck the intestines out of dead crawfish heads. The indigestible flames with 190 octane, flavored syrup, and cheap food coloring – aka a daiquiri? Make it a large to go please. We have bodies built to dilute the grease and cholesterol from cold Popeye’s fried chicken at 8 o’clock the next morning to recuperate. Southern immunity, we said. The Coronavirus ain’t got nothing on us.

Fast forward. Here we are 9 months later. 200,000 cases statewide, about 15,000 here in the city, and Mardi Gras cancelled in New Orleans. Contrary to popular opinion, the Coronavirus definitely has something on us.

Since there isn’t going to be a Mardi Gras in New Orleans, the Saints and the Mayor have to guarantee us a Super Bowl, then deliver one. It’s the least they can do. We’ve suffered enough. But then we’d have to have a parade, and then that’d be cancelled. People all around are searching for alternatives.

Word from the suggestion box:

“Maybe we can have community parades.”

“Community parades? What the hell is that? Mini super spreaders?”

“No, kids can parade up the block while people watch from their porches.”

“That’s just called sending your kids outside to play.”

“Yeah, but during Mardi Gras we can call it a parade.”


All is not lost though. Canceling Mardi Gras is actually very good for some people. For example…

The biggest winner of Mardi Gras being canceled in New Orleans

The Mystic Krewe of Nyx

You know the story — Black Lives don’t Matter and allegedly how neither did the one that was killed by a float during last year’s parade. How when pressed for an apology (about the black lives) the krewe captain/founder offered a basic response of, “I’m all out of you-know-whats-to give.” The mass departures of krewe members and marching bands that followed. The final result -Nyx, in all of its All Lives Matter glory, was set to roll down St. Charles with the flair of a Metairie parade. The biggest question would’ve been would black people still beg for cups and beads, kneel in protest, turn their backs, or simply pack up their chairs and ladders and go home. Now that Mardi Gras in New Orleans is canceled, Nyx gets a year to let this blow over. They can hope of time turning the controversy into a matter of bygones being bygones.

The next biggest winner of Mardi Gras being canceled in New Orleans


The last time Mardi Gras was cancelled was 1979. And it was because the NOPD was on strike. This year due to budget cuts and furloughs there might not have even been enough police on duty to actually police a parade. You know how that story would’ve went. Any robbery, murder, or fight that broke out over ladders or beads would’ve been blamed on a lack of police presence and the mayor cutting the department funding by not re-opening the city up fast enough after the Coronavirus numbers went down. Like Nyx, that potential controversy is something the mayor and NOPD won’t have to worry about.

There are plenty of losers though

Some people are suffering serious economic losses though — like all those specialty bead shops that justify their existence during Mardi Gras season. Gone will be the revenue from riders dumping hundreds or even thousands of dollars on stuff to throw off of floats. Some may go the route of those permanently closed restaurants that went out of business because of the Coronavirus.  Bars and restaurants who are already struggling will not get the huge boost from crowds along parade routes.  Even the street vendors who sell water and beer along the parade routes will lose income. 

But the real winners are all of us. The mayor made the right call. And she made it early enough for the krewes to adapt. If they want to parade on the Northshore, then so be it. They have that option. But  the promised 2nd wave of the virus is in full effect. There’s no responsible way to encourage tourists from all over to come cram themselves on our city streets. That is literally inviting or importing the virus to town.  

Still, a few questions remain: are we going to get the day off come Fat Tuesday? Will our bosses actually require us to work? Or will they pay us to stay home, eat king cake, and watch our kids parade up the street in a procession. No word yet. Maybe we should check the FAQ section of the mayor’s website for direction.


By C.C. Campbell-Rock

New Orleans voters go to the polls on December 5, 2020 to select a district attorney, school board members, and judges. They will also have the opportunity to vote on the City of New Orleans’ millage package. Funding for early childhood education and library services, dedicated revenues for infrastructure, affordable housing, and economic development are included.

 “It’s very important for people to continue to vote,” Mayor Cantrell said during a conference call with the black press.

“The package will come to the voters as a tax decrease. We know there will be a reduction in turnout. But our millage proposal is aligned to civic and social unrest we’ve seen and offers a tax decrease and budget renewal plan that supports the initiatives and priorities from the grassroots.”

Early voting will be held Nov. 20-28 (excluding Sunday, Nov. 22, Thursday, Nov. 26 and Friday, Nov. 27) from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The current millage ends in 2021. The mayor is seeking to renew it and redistribute some funds to include grassroots’ community’s needs. “This rededication gives us the flexibility to redirect funding to priorities that are important to residents,” Mayor Cantrell explains.

Three propositions are on the ballot:  1) Infrastructure & Maintenance; (2) Early Childhood Education & Libraries and (3) Housing & Economic Development.

“This proposal would reduce taxpayers’ property tax bill in 2021. The millage proposal is a redistribution of current tax revenue so it will not raise taxes. This is a historic opportunity to create long-term funding for early care and education and the New Orleans Public Library,” she adds.

The city has never had a dedicated fund for infrastructure and  maintenance. We invested $1.5 billion since Katrina. But there is no source of funds that will help the city maintain the investment we’ve already made.

The tax revenue will be used for maintenance and repair of roads, the drainage system, street repairs, and vehicle replacements and repairs. “Our capital budget can’t provide funds for operations and  routine maintenance,” Cantrell says of the necessity for a dedicated infrastructure fund.  

The city expects the infrastructure and maintenance millage to generate $10.5 million in its first year and $375 million over the 20 year life span of the millage.  

The Mayor’s proposal redistributes a portion of the Library’s existing millage to the other programs. Approximately $4.5 million will be generated annually for the library and early childhood education.  $1.5 million to early childhood and $3 million for the Library, for a total of over $30 million. “Our children and families need this right now.”

The funds generated from the early childhood education millage will fund 100 additional seats at childcare centers for young children. Currently, there are 7,000 at-risk, low income children who do not have access to early childhood education.

However, there is fierce opposition to the City’s millage package.

“We’re getting pushback from folk who don’t have any issues taking care of their children,” Cantrell comments.

“The biggest issue and challenge on this one (childhood education and library millage) is coming from the library itself, internal,  some of our employees and I think one of our board members,” Cantrell acknowledged.

 “We do anticipate some level of opposition. But at the same time understand that our library system is healthy, will remain healthy, will not see any reduction in library services or programs. It will actually see more effective programming. And increased programming that will be more aligned with the needs of the communities and the people the library system serves.  We’ve looked at the library’s expenses and we know they are running a surplus.”

Andrea Neighbours, a New Orleans Public Library board member, went on record opposing the childhood education and library millage. ‘I hope the voters kill it,’ “ Neighbours told a reporter with The Lens.

 “Our millage doesn’t expire until next year,” she said. “We have time to work on a better solution. So, I can’t support this proposal. I hope we come back in the coming year and come up with a better solution that works for the kids and the families of this city. So, I just want to be on record as a board member who loves this library deeply that I just can’t support it.”

Are Libraries in NOLA under attack

“The library typically has an annual 10-13% attrition rate, which will allow the library to right-size its budget while they supplement the budget with the fund balance. The fund balance has increased to $14.5 million,” Cantrell adds. 

“The library can withstand some cuts but if the entire millage goes away, which is what will happen without an extension, it will make it much harder for the library to develop a sustainable path forward. Our proposal lowers the millage, but it also buys some time for the library to come up with a sustainability plan while it can rely on its large reserve to make up the difference between existing expenses and new revenue.”

“New Orleans Public Library Executive Director Gabriel Morley has been supportive of Cantrell’s plan. He’s repeatedly said that if the ballot measure fails, the library would lose the entire value of the expiring property tax — roughly $11 million a year — instead of just part of it,” according to the non-profit news site.

The Affordable Housing and Economic Development millage will generate about 4.25 million for affordable housing. And another 4.6 million for economic development in its first year. Over 20 years, the millage will provide upwards of $317 million.

Housing Matters

“We have put in place a pipeline to affordable housing and we want to leverage additional resources that we get from HUD, and the state, with the millage.

  • The Affordable Housing millage will fund Affordable Housing Units, Rental Assistance. New Housing Construction. Down Payment Assistance, and Home Repairs for Seniors.

Regarding the Economic Development millage, Cantrell explains, “In this COVID environment, we have an obligation to pivot toward the more diverse economy and helping our people pivot to this growth sectors. We need to bring workforce readiness opportunities to residents in ways we have not done before. We have restructured our Economic Development Plan as a generational plan to build our people up.”

The Mayor’s office says 44,000 New Orleanians are unemployed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Another 4,000 have been denied unemployment benefits. Cantrell’s plan is to create an equitable and diversified economy that focuses on  green, blue, and gray infrastructure jobs.  

BGR Opposition

The Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR) opposes all three propositions. The BGR is a nonprofit governmental watchdog, wrote in a recent report.

In its report it cited a lack of spending plans for the tax dedications. And it seemed to think a 10-year millage period was better than the 20-year proposal. 

“The overall plan is to rededicate a group of property taxes that generate approximately $25 million a year. The new dedication would take roughly $6.5 million from the New Orleans Public Library system and distribute the funds to economic development, housing initiatives and infrastructure maintenance. The mayor’s plan would also carve $1.5 million from the Library budget to pay for an existing early childhood education program,”

“Voters are asked to approve a nearly 40% revenue cut for public libraries without a strategic plan or a clear roadmap for right-sizing their budget before their reserves run out. The proposal further asks voters to increase taxes for infrastructure, housing, and economic development without any spending plans. As a result, all propositions have significant flaws, despite the compelling needs they might address,” the BGR report concludes.

Mayor Responds

“While we have plenty of plans, what we don’t have are the resources to accomplish them. We are talking about maintaining city services in the face of a health and financial crisis. These funds will be crucial in helping us keep up with what the city does already. All while dealing with crippling cuts to our other revenue streams. If these dollars are not renewed, the effect will most certainly be felt by our citizens.” the mayor explains.

“This assertion that there isn’t a plan also disregards the work my administration is doing on a generational economic development plan,” says Cantrell.

Cantrell reiterated the fact that the millage package will reduce taxes not increase them. “The current millage in place generates about 41 million, so in the renewal package for 2021, if passed, we will garner 23 to 25 million a year, which is a reflection of the tax reduction.”

For more information on the millage package visit:


Check out the BGR Report here: https://www.bgr.org/report-index/bgr-examines-december-5-new-orleans-property-tax-propositions/

Finally a Starting Line
A sigh of relief by Jordan Rock

As the curtain falls on election season, what’s in store for those on the left in the wake of Trump’s eviction notice?

The election is closing and America’s voice has made the results clear. Joe Biden is our next president. According to CBS, Joe Biden has set a historical record by winning over  79,658,000 votes in this election, which is more than any other presidential candidate that has ever received. It is a staggering victory for stable-minded folks across America that have witnessed the horror of Trump’s America.

US President Donald Trump uses his cellphone as he holds a roundtable discussion with Governors about the economic reopening of closures due to COVID-19, known as coronavirus, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, June 18, 2020. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Trump Continues

Trump in the meantime has done his usual caterwauling on Twitter about how he should be able to decide when to stop counting votes.  His tweets increasingly spurious claims about voter fraud this and mail-in ballots that . Makes a man wonder; you spent all this time railing against mail-in ballots, and you’re surprised that your supporters didn’t send any in?

Trump has made it apparent that he’s going to have to be dragged kicking and screaming from the White House as he tearfully shoves campaign support dollars into his pockets. That’s to the tune of 2.3 million dollars, according to Forbes. As usual, Trump is running on stolen money and borrowed time, but the writing is on the wall now more than ever.

It’s over for Trump. You know it and I know it, but the real question is; What’s Next? The answer, as is often the case with democratic nominees, is damage control.

Damage Control

The fact of the matter is, Trump did unspeakable damage to our country’s infrastructure. He set a precedent that people in power can do whatever they want and hurt thousands of people while doing it without any repercussions. His regime is a stain on our recent history, and undoing that damage is going to be the main focus of Joe Biden’s presidency.

But what about the justice-seeking youth of America? Those of us out here fighting for our rights and demanding change? The fight is going to continue. If Obama’s presidency was any indication, simply getting a favorable looking representative in the White House is not the same thing as progress.

It’s Hot in America

Trump lit a fire in America, igniting racial tensions and giving a voice and platform to the bigoted dregs of our society. They aren’t just going to go away. On the other side, the protests aren’t going to stop until the change that we demand is put into practice.

The left will pressure Biden to make moves in the White House that will benefit the American people. The race is on for him to address Covid-19, something that Trump refused to do even as the virus asserted itself by latching on to his very lungs. Biden will have to denounce white supremacy. He will have to stand with the American people and fix our busted medical care system. And he’s going to have to dismantle the horror show that is ICE.

I expect his cabinet to expose the ghoulish feats of cruelty that Trump enacted while in the White House as he goes about the task of damage control. Over the next four years, expect to keep getting buzz on your social media about the awful deeds coming to light in relation to Trump’s stay in office. It seems at this point that an avalanche of litigation is inevitable, but then again, we’ve seen what happens when presidents get caught red handed before.

Don’t expect miracle, is what I’m saying, America.

Don’t expect normalcy to come back either; there is no “normal” anymore.
After all the sludge that we’ve had to wade through, we’re finally hitting the starting line that lies before progress.

The fight isn’t over; it’s just beginning.

From Our Friends at La Belle Negresse

Black woman in bed

I recently wrote about women so accustomed to less than, that they accept any old behavior and cannot differentiate between a man who goes above and beyond, with that of a basic dude. Those same women know little about relationships and dating. Some,  although married, have never had a healthy dating life and have never experienced courtship. They go from meeting a man at a club, through friends, school … to being boyfriend and girlfriend, without ever going on a proper date(s). Boy meets girl ( hopefully boy made initial contact), they talk for a few days, “hang out” for a bit and BAAM they are now “sex mates.”

Sex mates are “couples” who have little to no interactions outside of the bedroom. The man never initiates or plan activities outside of the home, and the woman, not knowing any better and lack self-worth, accept this as normal behavior. The guy will come over to “hang” or ask the woman to stop by (sometimes asking her to bring something to eat) and spend the day indoors doing what he does best… or so he thinks.

Sex Mates or Couple?

This behavior is seldom seen or accepted by women of other races. Black women will make excuses for why this behavior is no big deal  and should be accepted. Some will use the economy, citing times are hard and “we” must understand the difficulties faced by men, who may not have the means to afford them a proper date. If a man is so stress for money that he can’t afford a proper date, he clearly needs to take a break from dating until his finances are in order. Black women must understand, “Hanging out” is not a date and should only be done with girlfriends.

A proper date is planned, done OUTSIDE of the home and payed for by the man. Under no circumstances should a woman accept an invitation to “hang out” with a man she just met. If the bulk of you time together is spent indoors “hanging out” or “messing around”, you do not have a relationship, you are sex mates.

What is a proper date?

A proper date does not have to end with sex. No woman should feel obligated to sleep with a man over a meal. While premarital sex may work for women of other races, judging by the high rate of out of wedlock pregnancies and women in their 40s with babies, but have never been proposed to, nonetheless married, premarital sex does not work for black women.

The bottom line is simple: know your worth, the importance of your time and boundaries in dating. Learning to put boundaries in place and enforcing them can help you weed out undesirables. Even the most ill-informed woman has a long list of requirements, and “must haves” in a relationship. But, having well defined boundaries is NOT the same as having a checklist of relationship requirements. Boundaries have more to do with the kind of behavior and treatment you expect in a relationship or courtship.

Set Boundaries

When considering what they should be, start with what your values are. Think about how you want to be treated in a relationship. What your expectations are, and make them known. Never assume he should know better or will change eventually, and you’ll manage until then. Unless he knows of your requirements he has no reason to change. Look at your past relationships and think about what made you unhappy. If you see yourself accepting the same behaviors and habits, you already know how it will end.

You don’t have to state your boundaries loudly on the roof top. Your actions should do the screaming for you. If he has a habit of texting you, but never initiate a call, stop responding to his text. If his idea of spending quality time, is “hanging out” at his place, don’t go…. Know your boundaries and expectations and stick to them.  Don’t waste time hoping for change and trying to change grown men. The first few dates are set up to impress you and convince you he is worth your time. If he doesn’t see the importance of wooing you and keeping your attention in the early stages, move on.  Time wasted is never retrieved.

“You live longer once you realize that any time spent being unhappy is wasted.” ~Ruth E. Renkl

By Taylor Davies

Tips for getting the conversation started — and making sure it remains for their eyes only.

Image: young woman using a smartphone in bed

Research shows that those in a committed relationship who sent sexual pictures to their partners reported positive sexual and emotional outcomes.

What was the last text you sent your spouse? “Have a good day.” “Can you grab milk on your way home?” “I’ll pick up the kids today.”

It may be time to get your mind out of your to-do list and into the gutter.

As an out-and-proud sexter, I was curious whether others in my circle had the same penchant for swapping sexy texts with their partners. An informal poll of my own friends and Twitter followers revealed that I’m not alone: about 85 percent of them have sent or received a sexually explicit message. A much more formal study, published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, found that 75 percent of young adults claimed to have engaged in sexting in general, while 62 percent said they had sent or received a sexually-explicit picture message.

Half of sexters report that it positively influences their sexual and emotional relationships with a partner.

While sexting may seem like a flirty form of communication mostly used by people looking for a fling, it turns out that those who benefit the most from sending steamy messages are actually in long-term, committed relationships. The study revealed that both men and women reported greater “positive consequences” from sexting in committed relationships than in casual ones. Further, about half of sexters reported that it “positively influenced their sexual and emotional relationships with a partner.” Research also shows that those in a committed relationship who sent sexual pictures to their partners reported more positive sexual and emotional outcomes than those in casual relationships.

The data may be intriguing, but in reality, the act of sexting is much easier said than done. We’re human: We fear rejection, we’re protective of our reputations, and let’s be real — talking and typing about sex (or sexy things) can make even the most confident among us blush. So, how do you know if it’s right for you?When Your Relationship Might Benefit From Sexting

While any couple can reap the benefits of spicing up their text messages, some may be more likely to feel it’s positive effects than others. Studies show that while the majority of men can experience positive feelings as a result of sexting in both casual and committed relationships, most females need a higher level of emotional commitment to feel comfortable partaking. Experts hypothesize that women use sexting as a way to achieve emotional closeness, which explains why they feel most comfortable doing it in committed relationships — and why married couples may just be prime candidates for experimenting with some explicit messages.

Don’t Be Boring

“Just because you see your partner every day doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be sexting,” notes Gigi Engle, a feminist writer, educator and speaker, who teaches a Sexting 101 class in New York City. “It’s a great way to get your partner jazzed up for when he or she gets home, and set the mood for a great night. The brain is our biggest sexual organ, and to get aroused in the body, you have to start in the mind!”

If you travel often for work, feel like the chemistry in your marriage has dulled, or feel disconnected as a couple, your relationship may also benefit from the emotional and sexual gratification of sexting. Kelley Kitley, LCSW, owner of Serendipitous Psychotherapy and author of “MY Self,” always recommends sexting as a method for increasing closeness with many of her struggling couple clients. “It helps them to stay connected throughout the day and increases lust for one another,” she says.

There’s science to support the use of sexting as a tool to help mend marital issues, too. One study conducted on married couples found that sexting led to higher relationship satisfaction among those with high levels of avoidance in their relationships, and sending sexually explicit pictures improved satisfaction for men and women with attachment anxiety. Sexting may also be a gateway to a more open line of dialogue about your sex life, which a study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships showed can improve your sexual and overall satisfaction in the relationship, especially for couples who had been together longer.

Convinced it’s time to give sexting a try? Here are some expert tips for breaching the subject.

Want More Sex? Try Using Emojis

Pro Tips for Easing into Sexting with Your Partner

The first and most important step towards starting a sexting conversation with your partner is making sure you’re both comfortable with it. Like any act of intimacy, sexting should only be brought into the mix if both of you are not only willing, but legitimately excited by the idea. If you are, then it’s time to have a little fun and ignite some serious IRL fire using purely digital sparks.

  • Start with something flirty. Engle suggests testing the waters with a message like, “I’m wearing a new dress and I’m really feeling myself in it. I feel pretty sexy actually…” Which will serve to gently test the waters with your partner, and move the conversation to a flirty place. She also suggests that you could describe a dream. “Something like, ‘You were in my dream last night, we were making out in my bed. Wish you were here,’ is flirty and pretty innocent,” says Engle. Your partner’s response will let you know if they’re in same mood or not, and a message like this is a fun and low-risk way to introduce some sexy energy into your texting. Again, start by thinking of sexting as a bit of virtual foreplay to the in-person fun.
  • Find a specific source of inspiration. Once you’re comfortable, start to move the conversation from suggestive to explicit. Inspiration for your sexting can really come from anywhere: It could be a past experience or memory that really turned you on, a scene from a TV show, an erotic passage from a book or a fantasy you’ve always had. What that idea inspires is up to you. It could be a photo or it could be a text. “It really depends on what you feel comfortable doing,” says Engle. “There is absolutely no right or wrong way. For some people photos are easier because you don’t have to think of the words to say. But since sending nude or suggestive photos can make someone feel especially vulnerable, texting words often is the easiest way to start.”
  • Make sure it’s a two-way street. Even if you’re the one that first initiates a sexting conversation with your partner, keep in mind that the more engaged you both are, the better it will be. If you’re both new to it, your partner may be unsure of how to respond, and that’s okay. But Engle says to be on the lookout for partners who respond with just emojis or one-word answers to your sexts. You want to be receiving as much as you’re giving. To get them engaged, she suggests using positive affirmations to build up your partners confidence. (This can come from describing a past experience or a fantasy, or a body part of theirs that you love.) Finally, Engle recommends trying her favorite, go-to question to get your partner involved, “What would you do to me if you were here right now?”

Emojis are often a key part of sexting for couples, since they can so easily take the place of words that don’t necessarily need to be written explicitly.

  • Get creative with adjectives, emojis, voice memos and even gifs. At the end of Engle’s sexting 101 class, she hands out a take-home worksheet to help her students get inspired. With lists of adjectives, nouns and verbs, the worksheet functions like a sexy version of Mad Libs. She notes that adjectives are especially key — the more you use, the steamier the sext will be. Emojis are often a key part of sexting for couples, since they can so easily take the place of words that don’t necessarily need to be written explicitly. But think beyond the expected eggplant and peach. Hands, faces, fireworks, the bathtub, the volcano … You get the idea. They’re all open to your creative interpretation. In fact, you and your partner will probably invent your own emoji sexting shorthand once you get into the groove of communicating this way.

Tech-savvy tips for safer sexting

If you’re feeling hesitant to sext based on the risk of other people seeing what you and your partner are sending, there are a few steps you can take to protect your illicit content from prying eyes.

  • Switch off the “Show Subject Field” toggle on your phone. Normally, a clip of content of your messages (including photos) will show on the lock screen of your iPhone when it arrives. In the case of sexts, this is not ideal, especially if you or your lover happen to be in a meeting or say, at lunch with your family. To ensure that these private messages stay that way, go into your iPhone’s settings, scroll to “Messages” and make sure the toggle that reads “Show Subject Field” is grey, not green. For Samsung phones, you’ll want to go into “Notification Settings” and turn off “Preview Messages.”
  • Put an actual privacy screen on your phone. For your eyes only, literally. You never know who is looking over your shoulder on the subway, in a meeting or in line at Starbucks. To keep nearby eyes from seeing what’s on your phone, tablet or computer screen, try applying a screen protector that obscures and darkens what’s on your phone except when viewed straight on.
  • Protect your photos with an app like Private Photo Vault. There are a lot of apps out there which serve the same purpose, but we like Private Photo Vault because while it uses a 4-digit PIN code to lock photos and videos, it also has a private camera within the app, so you can safely record and snap without anyone seeing your content unless you deliberately share it outside the app.
  • Use a private app designed for couples. Between is a self-contained space where you and your partner can “chat, track anniversaries, share photos and video, and plan your schedules together all in one private space.” Perfect for sexting if you ask us. For example, you could establish that you’ll always know if a message/picture is suggestive or NSFW if it arrives via the app, so there’s no risk of accidentally exposing a private conversation or photo when you go to check your texts. Waiting for a notification to pop up in the app may even add another element of excitement to your new mode of communication.

By Arlette Saenz, CNN

US President-elect Joe Biden delivers remarks at The Queen in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 10, 2020. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP)US President-elect Joe Biden delivers remarks at The Queen in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 10, 2020. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP)

(CNN)As President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office in January, nearly half of the transition team laying the groundwork for his administration is made up of people of color, and women are in the majority.Forty-six percent of the transition staff are people of color, according to new diversity data of the transition team provided to CNN, and 41% of the senior staff are people of color. The majority of transition staff — 52% — are women, and 53% of the senior staff are women.The new diversity figures come as Biden is set to announce his Cabinet picks and senior staff for the White House in the coming weeks — one of the first tests of his campaign pledge to build an administration that will “look like America.”Biden’s first major step toward diversity in his administration came when he selected Kamala Harris, a Black and South Asian woman, as his vice president. In his first staffing announcement, Biden chose a White man and longtime adviser — Ron Klain — as his chief of staff for the White House.The transition team’s diversity also extends to its advisory board — where 43% are people of color and 52% are women. Nine of the 13 members of Biden’s Covid-19 advisory board are people of color and five of the members are women, according to the data.Biden Transition

Last week, the transition team announced its agency review teams despite the General Services Administration not yet recognizing Biden as the winner of the election. The teams consist of roughly 500 people, more than half of whom are women. About 40% of the team “represent communities historically underrepresented in the federal government,” a transition official said, which includes people of color, individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ and people with disabilities.

Biden to take characteristically deliberative approach to filling Cabinet

Biden to take characteristically deliberative approach to filling Cabinet“For months, the Biden-Harris transition has laid the groundwork for a Biden-Harris administration, and at the core of that work is an unrelenting commitment to diversity,” said Ted Kaufman, co-chair of the Biden-Harris transition. “As we continue working full-speed ahead to Inauguration, our diverse group of leaders and staff are reflective of America — upholding President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris’ belief that through diverse voices we can develop and implement a policy vision to tackle our nation’s toughest challenges.”MAP: See 2020 election resultsThe diversity figures mirror that of Biden’s presidential campaign, which in September said 46% of its full-time staff and 40% of its senior staff were people of color. Women made up a greater share of Biden’s campaign — 59% — than the current makeup of the transition team, according to the transition.A transition official said the team provides weekly updates to its leadership to track the progress made in its diversity.Biden has repeatedly promised that ensuring diversity in his administration and his Cabinet will be a top priority.”My administration’s going to look like America, not just my staff, the administration from the vice president straight down through Cabinet members to major players within the White House, and the court,” Biden said during a June townhall focusing on issues tied to the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. “It’s going to be a reflection of who we are as a nation.”

Honest Communication is the Key

by Love Dr. Rob

Her first words to me were, “I don’t know what happened. We were the best of friends.” She said that they talked about everything. That’s why him just up and leaving was so confusing. She had never even known that he was unhappy. All she wanted was her friend back. 

It didn’t feel good explain to her that she had lost a friend but he didn’t.  If he was the friend she thought he was, not only would she have know what was wrong he would have given her a chance to fix it. The mere fact that there was something so off between them that he would simply walk away says so much. The question is what else didn’t she hear?

You Have to Listen to Hear

She was in a relationship with a man who allowed his actions to speak for him. While her communication was verbal, his was non-verbal. She thought they had the perfect marriage. Although, she had to tell him coming in at four and five o’clock in the morning was unacceptable. At the same time she would go hours without talking to him, because he didn’t answer his phone when she called. If this wasn’t him saying something was wrong, I don’t know what is. 

The more we talked, the more she realized she missed so much. She would do most of the talking, so she felt as they were connecting. What she didn’t see was he wasn’t opening up. He listened enough for her to feel close to him, and at the same time stayed quiet enough to remain distant. This is why he was able to leave like it was nothing. She was his friend, but he wasn’t hers. 

Be Still

The key is to quiet down and listen. See if your partner is sharing as much as you, or if any at all. Ask questions if you feel they are too quiet. And make sure if nothing else, you pay extra attention to their actions. Remember actions will speak even when your mouth is shut. Keep in mind most of us share more as we feel closer and safer with someone. If you’re not receiving that from your mate there is definitely a problem. 

Most men are taught not to share. It takes a special woman to get us to open up and even then there are moments when we still shut down. As men, we need security. Something as simple as you telling a friend or family member something he said in private can rob him of that safety. Ultimately he completely shuts down and becomes a distant stranger. 

The thing to remember is honest communication is key. It is the foundation of any relationship, and without it you have nothing. Take time to make sure Y’ALL are friends and it’s not just one-sided. If y’all aren’t friends be prepared for someone to find a friend somewhere else.  

By Sarah Mucha, Gregory Krieg, Dan Merica and Kate Sullivan, CNN

Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., votes to approve the second article of impeachment  as the House Judiciary Committee holds a public hearing to vote on the two articles of impeachment against U.S. President Donald Trump.Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., votes to approve the second article of impeachment as the House Judiciary Committee holds a public hearing to vote on the two articles of impeachment against U.S. President Donald Trump.

Washington (CNN)Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond will join President-elect Joe Biden’s White House, departing the New Orleans-area House of Representatives seat he has held since 2011. Richmond will serve as senior adviser to the President and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. The 47-year-old former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus was a co-chair of Biden’s presidential campaign and a close ally during the 2020 race. He is now set to become the highest-ranking Black aide to the President-elect.Richmond spoke about his new role Tuesday at the same time the transition team announced other top White House roles. The congressman said he would resign from his seat before January 20, the day of Biden’s inauguration.”And so this new role will allow me to offer advice to the President when he wants it, maybe sometimes when he doesn’t want it,” he said.A confidant, early supporter and loyal surrogate during the campaign, Richmond provides a direct line to House Democratic leadership, which has come under fire from its own caucus after an election that saw its majority thinned and set off recriminations between moderate members and outspoken progressives. Democrats have been anxious about the prospect of House members leaving to join the administration and potentially losing those seats to Republicans, but Richmond’s district is deep blue and news of his departure has already set off a scramble among state Democrats eager to fill it.Calling it “one of the hardest decisions” of his life, Richmond said, “I am not leaving the people of Louisiana. I am not leaving the people of the second Congressional District. I am New Orleans through and through. I bleed black and gold.” Biden Transition

CNN previously reported Richmond was thought to be under consideration for several roles in the West Wing.South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn, the influential congressman whose endorsement helped Biden win the South Carolina primary and revive his campaign, said last month he would like to see Biden pick Richmond for a Cabinet position. “If not in the Cabinet, certainly in the administration somewhere. I think Cedric has one of the best political minds that I’ve ever encountered. …There are a lot of young people like that that need to be involved,” Clyburn told Washington Post Live. Richmond is currently the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and serves on the House Ways and Means Committee. He is a member of the New Democrat Coalition and serves as the House Democratic assistant to the majority whip. Biden is expected to announce who will serve in top roles in his administration in the coming days and weeks. His first personnel decision was to tap Ron Klain to be his incoming chief of staff last week. The Biden campaign announced several other White House senior staff members on Tuesday, including: Mike Donilon, chief strategist for the Biden campaign; Steve Ricchetti, chairman of the Biden campaign; Jen O’Malley Dillon, Biden’s presidential campaign manager; Dana Remus, general counsel to the Biden campaign; Julie Rodriguez, deputy campaign manager on the Biden campaign; and Annie Tomasini, Biden’s traveling chief of staff. Members of soon-to-be first lady Jill Biden’s office were also announced.This story has been updated with the official announcement on Tuesday.

CNN’s Eric Bradner contributed to this report.

In a nightmare year, Victor Glover is on the verge of living his dream

“My heart is low, my head is level, and my faith is high.”


A man in a NASA jumpsuit strikes a victorious pose in front of a US flag.
Enlarge / NASA announced in August 2018 that Victor Glover would be flying aboard the first operational Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station.NASA

Victor Glover says he does not want the attention. Not for this, at least. And I believe him.

“I wish that there wasn’t anything to talk about, but that’s not the world that we live in,” the NASA astronaut acknowledged during a recent interview.

The time we live in is the year 2020, an age that finds the United States riven yet again by racial tensions, sparked to life by the killing of George Floyd in May and exacerbated by an extraordinarily tense presidential election.

In the midst of all this, Glover is on the cusp of living his dream. Selected to become an astronaut in 2013, after training like hell for seven years, he’s landed a coveted spot on the first operational Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station. As one of four astronauts on the Crew-1 mission, launching Saturday evening, Glover is helping to lead America back into space.

Also, Vic Glover is Black.

So with his flight, Glover is not only making history as the US gets back into the business of human spaceflight, he will become the first Black person to live on the space station. This seems like a shocking fact. The space station has now been inhabited for more than 20 years, after all, and 126 humans have lived there during that time. But none were Black. Six African-American astronauts visited the space station during shuttle missions, but none stayed aboard as long-term crew members.

When asked about this, Glover tends to deflect. The four members of the Crew-1 mission have adopted the “all for one” motto, he explains. “Our crew very intentionally decided to do certain things in certain ways, so that we can tell that message about teamwork, and commitment to excellence, in working together with differences,” he said.

It’s not that Glover has not thought about America’s racial problems.

But astronauts are strongly encouraged to share only positive messages with the public. Going against this suggestion can have negative consequences for flight opportunities. And yet in the wake of Floyd’s killing, Glover was clearly struggling with these issues.

“My heart is low, my head is level, and my faith is high. So much to process, if you’re struggling, that’s OK. I see you, I am you,” he wrote on Twitter in early June. One follower suggested, perhaps, that Glover should stick to space on his Twitter account. “Actually no,” Glover replied. “Remember who is doing space. People are. As we address extreme weather and pandemic disease, we will understand and overcome racism and bigotry so we can safely and together do space. Thanks for asking.”

Pressed a little more during the interview, Glover said one reason he has not spoken more about these issues publicly—beyond a few Twitter comments—is that he has not actually gone to space yet. He’d prefer to talk about things that he’s achieved rather than things he has yet to achieve.

Let’s talk in 6 months

“I would love to have another conversation with you six months from now, because I try to stay away from the bittersweet discussion of being the first Black astronaut assigned to a long-duration mission on the space station,” he said. “I want to go do it first, I want to go do my job, and so I think the best thing that I can do, better than anything I could say, is to go do my job and do it well, and then come back and tell people about it. And I think this job, by its very nature, is inspirational and hopefully gives people something to unify around and celebrate together. And if we can do that, when we get back we have a lot of amazing things to talk about.”

All for one, Crew-1 for all: Shannon Walker, pilot Victor Glover, and Crew Dragon commander Michael Hopkins, all NASA astronauts, and mission specialist Soichi Noguchi, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut.
All for one, Crew-1 for all: Shannon Walker, pilot Victor Glover, and Crew Dragon commander Michael Hopkins, all NASA astronauts, and mission specialist Soichi Noguchi, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut.NASA

It’s not about the “Black Astronaut”

So the Crew-1 mission is not about Glover. But if it’s a success, and Glover’s story of going from the inner city to Test Pilot School to space helps raise up America, he’s good with that.

Glover will also become the first Black astronaut to go into space in nearly a decade. Alvin Drew is the last Black flier—having served as a mission specialist on STS-133 in 2011. He does not believe racism contributed to the nearly decade-long gulf drought. Rather, Drew said, it mostly reflects the fact that the Black astronauts who remained in the corps after the space shuttle program ended were junior and, due to limited seats on Soyuz vehicles, had to wait a long time.

All the same, he eagerly anticipates Glover’s flight to the space station. It’s important for Black boys and girls to see people like them flying into space, living there, and contributing to exploration of the cosmos. “You want them to see there is still that opportunity,” Drew said. “That’s what I’m looking forward to.”

The next gap will not be so long. NASA has already announced that another Black astronaut, Jeannette Epps, will fly to the International Space Station aboard the first operational mission of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft. That flight could occur in 2021 but will more likely slip into 2022 due to ongoing software problems with the Boeing capsule.


By C.C. Campbell-Rock

After accepting The Source Award in 1998, Andre 3000 of the Atlanta-based musical duo, Outkast, uttered prophet words. “The South has something to say,” he quipped about the growing number of southern based hip hop artists wending their way up the musical charts.  

Even before hip-hop, Georgia’s black community spoke out against injustice, structural racism, and voter suppression. Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his father MLK, Sr. preached at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church and MLK, Jr. gathered together those who would launch the modern Civil Rights Movement.

In 2020, the South has spoken loud and clear, again. Protesters in Atlanta and other parts of Georgia took to the streets to assert that Black Lives Matter in the wake of the senseless murder of Ahmaud Marquez Arbery. Unarmed, Aubrey was fatally shot while jogging near Brunswick, Georgia on February 23, 2020. Father and son white supremacists killed him.  Arbery was only 25 years old.

The subsequent police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor brought Georgia protesters back to the streets.

Black Voter Turnout Historic

On November 3, 2020, Georgia’s black voters turned out in massive numbers and chose former Vice-President Joe Biden and U.S. Senator Kamala Harris to become the next President and Vice-President of the United States. In doing so, they flipped the once reliably southern state blue. Black voters and other communities of color and progressive whites are credited with electing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

The fate of the U.S. Senate and President-Elect Biden’s agenda is now in the hands of Georgia’s voters. On January 5, 2021, Georgia voters will decide which two candidates will represent them in the U.S. Senate.

On the January 5 ballot are Democrat Reverend Raphael Warnock and Senator Kelly Loeffler(R-GA). Warnock is current pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church. He recieved 32.9% of the vote so far (the recount is on in Georgia). Loeffler was appointed to the seat by Republican Governor Brian Kemp and received 25.9 percent.

Incumbent Senator David Perdue (R-GA) received 49.7 percent of the vote. Democrat Jon Ossoff was at 48.0 percent (Libertarian Shane Hazel took the remaining 2.3 percent.) They will also face off on January 5.

To say that the Georgia election results shocked the GOP into reality, is putting it mildly. Obviously, they are oblivious to the changing demographics in the United States.

Black voters made up 11% of the national electorate. 9 in 10 of them supported Biden, according to AP VoteCast, an expansive survey of more than 110,000 voters nationwide.

“By overwhelmingly backing Biden and showing up in strong numbers, Black voters not only helped deliver familiar battleground states to the Democrat, but they also created a new one in the longtime GOP bastion of Georgia — potentially remaking presidential politics for years to come,” according to the Associated Press.

Shifting Demographics

In 2019, Georgia’s population was 57.8% White (51.8% Non-Hispanic White and 5.9% Hispanic White). 52.0 percent white (alone) 32.6% Black or African American. Hispanic or Latino, 4.4%, Asian, 3.0% Some Other Race, 0.4% Native American and Alaskan Native, 0.5%. Pacific Islander, 0.1%, and 2.2% from two or more races.

However, Georgia’s blue hue is the result of a 10-year long voting rights campaign. Former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is the driving force. She founded the voting rights organizations, Fair Fight and The New Georgia Project. They helped to register at least 800,000 Georgians and helped them to get to the polls.

Abrams said on ABC’s “The View” last Thursday that her work fighting voter suppression was key to getting Georgia to turn blue in the presidential race.

“That fight is what I think helped make the difference because voters who wanted to be heard had the ability this time to actually make it through the gauntlet, get to the ballot box and cast their votes,” she said. “But this work did not happen overnight.”

Abrams said of the Secretary of State’s recount, “We know that Joe Biden is going to be, not only the president of the United States, but the first president in 30 years from the Democratic party to carry Georgia.”

“We need to reconsider this election not as a past runoff for Georgia Senate, but as the Doug Jones of 2020, where we know that the essential nature of this election changes the future of our country, protects health care, protects access to jobs and protects access to justice,” Abrams said.

Jones narrowly won his 2017 Alabama bid to replace former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. However, the lone democratic senator from the Deep South lost his 2020 election to Republican Tommy Tuberville, the popular former Auburn University football coach, who was endorsed by Trump.

Loeffler and Perdue didn’t hesitate to eat their own, though, just as Tuberville did with Sessions, during the 2020 Republican primary, when Session lost in his bid to return to the Senate. They both pounced on Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, demanding that he resign while citing “mismanagement and lack of transparency” as the reason for their demand, but they did not produce evidence for either, according to CNBC. 

Blacks in Georgia are not very fond of Loeffler, a co-owner of an W.N.B.A. team, the Atlanta Dream. In July 2020, the W.N.B.A. announced that its season would be “dedicated to social justice with games honoring the Black Lives Matter Movement and the #SAYHERNAME campaign. Loeffler accused the BLM of harboring “anti-Semitic views” and promoting “violence and destruction across the country.”

Candidate Information

Natasha Cloud, a Washington Mystics player who opted out of the 2020 season to focus on issues of social justice, tweeted about Loffler, “Get her weak ass out of our league…For her to come out and say that we’re divisive and that the Black Lives Matter Movement is a divisive organization, I call her BS on that.”

Loeffler grew up on a farm in Illinois and is married to Jeffrey Sprecher, the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange. But her status as one of the richest senators in Washington and her ride or die loyalty to Donald J. Trump Sr. didn’t seem to impress a majority of Georgia voters. Loeffler denied knowing about Trump’s Access Hollywood tape and she recently donated to his recount fundraiser.

“She gleefully accepts the endorsement of a candidate who traffics in the QAnon conspiracy theory that is rife with hatred and bigotry,” said Warnock about his opponent. “It is shameful.”

Perdue and Ossoff

Candidates differences are dramatic

Ossoff is an investigative journalist and politician. The Atlanta native interned for Georgia Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis, while in high school. After college, Ossoff worked as a national security staffer and aide Congressman Hank Johnson (GA) for five years.

Perdue has served in the Senate since 2015. Before entering politics, he served as CEO of Reebok, Pillowtex, and Dollar General. However, black people will remember Perdue and his racist parody of Kamala Harris’s first name. “Kama-lama-lama, whatever her name is,” he said at a Trump rally.

During a debate, Ossoff took Republican Senator David Perdue to task for his failure to support The Heroes Act. “It’s that you’re attacking the health of the people that you represent.” Purdue opted out of their last scheduled debate, opting instead to attend a rally with Trump. However, the news media say Perdue cancelled after Ossoff’s  comments about him went viral. Ossoff slammed his opponent for attacking Ossoff’s Jewish heritage and called him a ‘crook’ who downplayed the coronavirus pandemic.

The fate of the nation is in the hands of Georgia’s voters. Will they defy current polls which have both Republicans in the lead? Will the U.S. Senate remain red? 

The South has something to say, indeed.