- Created on 22 November 2013
It seemed like just yesterday when Geraldo Rivera put his foot in his mouth in 2012, in regards to Trayvon Martin's untimely death at the hands of George Zimmerman, saying, "If he had taken that damn hood off his head, if he and Zimmerman had only spoken...don't you think that could have avoided this awful tragedy?" And let us not forget this amazing gem he tweeted, "I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin's death as George Zimmerman was."
In the light of Zimmerman's run-ins with the law lately, it seems Geraldo is changing his tune. After broadcasting the live arraignment, following Zimmerman's arrest earlier this week, Geraldo's opinion of Zimmerman shifted. "How much of this acting out now is a function of the trauma he went through in that event, and how much of this person was present the night Trayvon Martin lost his life? "Given the weight of the evidence, the judge was prudent in this case. He was not at all punitive to George Zimmerman. He could have hit him with a much higher bail. He could kept him with no bail because of the risk of violence to this woman."
Geraldo. Sir. Stand up so you can sit back down. You claimed Trayvon was a thug who could have avoided murder if he considered changing his wardrobe, but you think Zimmerman deserves punishment for threatening the woman who was foolish enough to date him? And according to reports, those threats may not even be real!?
Geraldo continues, "My basic reaction is that this man is hanging by a string. I think that he is a borderline psychotic at this point. [Zimmerman is] a person who has so immersed himself in the gun culture...He was lionized by many–by some at least–as a hero, he has no clear direction in his life... I think he's a very, very dangerous person and he could hurt this woman," Rivera then went on to blame the trial and media spectacle for Zimmerman's behavior, speculating that Zimmerman might be traumatized from the events of the past three years. Traumatized?! Seriously. That's why Zimmerman is acting out?
Zimmerman's history of domestic violence isn't new news. Many people, myself included, think that his ridiculous history of domestic abuse as evidence of his attraction to "crime" is similar to OJ Simpson's. OJ also got away with murder, then did everything he could to pay for his crimes without being called a murderer.
Zimmerman's bail was set at $9,000, he was ordered to wear an electronic monitoring device and stay at least 1,500 feet away from the residence where the domestic incident occurred with his girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe. The judge declared he would be denied the use of guns until the issue is resolved. Too bad the judge didn't decide to deny his use of guns after murdering an unarmed teenager who was simply walking home. SMH.
- Created on 21 November 2013
According to American Express Open Forum some experts and supporters of Obamacare have long believed that it could lead to a "mass wave of startup businesses." Partly based on the ability to obtain affordable healthcare without a W-2, new public health exchanges and an insurer's inability to deny everyday people coverage, it may be possible that we will soon see a new wave in American workers leaving behind their 9 to 5 work life for entrepreneurship.
As noted within the article, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently predicted that 1.5 Americans will become self-employed, partly due to the Affordable Care Act. This is an increase of more than 11 percent from current statistics. The author of the paper suggests that "pre-reform job' lock and the inability to get affordable coverage on the individual market prevented many Americans from quitting their job to start a business. Obamacare will give them the freedom to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams."
Though this study and other analysts predict favorable outcomes for new start-ups due to Obamacare, there are others who aren't as optimistic. Scott Shane, an entrepreneurial studies professor at Case Western University, says he is "skeptical of such predictions". His thoughts hinge upon the notion that many people, including those who are already self-employed, will see their health insurance premiums rise under Obamacare, which will in turn deter some from pursuing self-employment and also send those who are currently self-employed back to the workforce to obtain more affordable healthcare coverage.
As reported last Thursday, President Obama announced that his administration will allow health insurers to extend existing health plans on the individual and small-group markets into 2014. This policy will allow insurers to reach out to the millions of Americans who were dropped, or in jeopardy of being dropped, from their plans so that they may renew their insurance for another year while the market adjusts to new Obamacare regulations.
"I completely get how upsetting this could be for a lot of Americans, particularly after assurances they heard from me" President Obama said from the White House briefing room. "To those Americans, I hear you loud and clear."
As it appears many self-employed, and those interested in being self-employed, are now facing difficult decisions regarding stepping out and maintaining affordable healthcare while pursuing entrepreneurial goals, does affordable healthcare play a major role in making that ultimate determination of seeking something as fulfilling as self- employment? I don't believe so. However, I am also a newlywed with no children, my own business and a husband whose job provides health insurance for me.
My husband and I have had conversations about what predicament would I be in if his job did not extend coverage to me as an entrepreneur, and the answer was simple. I would get and pay for health insurance on my own as I have done in the past. Before I got married, Obamacare seemed to be the answer to my once costly predicament of maintaining insurance. I was eager to no longer worry about if I would be able to sustain as a self-employed individual due to increasing insurance costs. Since its inception, I have been privy to other entrepreneurs who are utterly disappointed in the increase in their premiums and also heard others rejoicing because they are no longer "living on the edge" with no health insurance.
Whatever side you are on, be it facing an increase in premiums, being dropped altogether or being ecstatic because you are now covered, I do not believe that the issue of healthcare is the make or break factor in deciding whether or not to pursue a start-up company. Entrepreneurship is undeniable. Once the vision hits to strike out on your own, nothing will keep you from going for it.
Rashida Maples, Esq. is Founder and Managing Partner of J. Maples & Associates (www.jmaplesandassociates.com). She has practiced Entertainment, Real Estate and Small Business Law for 9 years, handling both transactional and litigation matters. Her clients include R&B Artists Bilal and Olivia, NFL Superstar Ray Lewis, Fashion Powerhouse Harlem's Fashion Row and Hirschfeld Properties, LLC.
- Created on 14 November 2013
Dr. Jason Johnson
The Miami Dolphins have managed to put themselves into the national consciousness again, without even so much as making the playoffs. The abuse suffered by offensive lineman Jonathan Martin, at the hands of his teammate Richie Incognitio has managed to jump from the sports pages to regular talk on morning shows and suddenly you've got people who haven't watched a snap in years and didn't realize that there was any professional sports team in Miami that didn't have LeBron James on it are talking about bullying, hazing, racism and NFL locker room culture. While there are a million mini-stories that come out of this Miami debacle there is one that stands out the most to me, especially in the wake of Incognito's recent interview. When you have a good office situation, most problems, racial, or otherwise, usually end getting solved before a crisis happens.
This entire story begins just over a week ago when second year offensive lineman Jonathan Martin simply left his football team after a 'prank' initiated by team leader Richie Incognito and other players. After going AWOL for over 24 hours and the press asking questions and the Miami Dolphins organization getting antsy Martin's representatives spoke. The second year player out of Stanford was sick and tired of being harassed by teammates, in particular Incognito who had send hundreds of abrasive text messages and harassing phone calls to Martin, at one point even calling the young player a "Half-Nigger" and "joking" that he would slap his "Real mother". Incognito is white, Martin is bi-racial. The resulting firestorm over the last two weeks has had the Miami Dolphins organization come out with three different statements, first supporting Incognito, then claiming they were starting and investigation then finally putting him in permanent suspension until they can finally cut him. In the meantime players on the team have been telling every news outlet that will listen that they support Incognitio over Martin, and now Incognito did a 'tell all' interview on Fox Sports to clear his name that would make Anthony Wiener proud. In other words, it's a mess.
The mess isn't because Richie Incognito is a jerk or a racist or a bully or a meathead (as he called himself). There are plenty of jerks and meatheads and worse in the NFL. The problem comes from the top down, with the organization, the Miami Dolphins themselves and their overall ineptitude as an organization. You cannot micromanage every individual relationship in an office place, but if you have a strong management system in place in your organization you can identify and minimize conflicts, save human resources and keep things moving before they become an untenable mess. Look at the Philadelphia Eagles, Wide Receiver Riley Cooper got caught threating a black woman security guard with racial slurs, the team publicly reprimanded him, players publicly agreed with that decision, he was sent to "sensitivity training" and now he's back on the team. Is it all good in that locker room? Probably not, but the bosses handled the situation before it got worse. But you don't have to just stay with football, this applies to any other organization. Why did Paula Deen lose millions of dollars in endorsements and sully her brand? Not because she was a racist who said racist things, it was because she ran a lousy office where she let her brother sexually harass and abuse his employees. Had Deen handled her business as a boss instead of enabling her brother she'd still be spooning out homespun artery clogging recipes on the Food Network right now. City Halls fire employees for racist emails long before the press can ask questions, television networks cut plagiarizers before the other outlets can smell the story, the list goes on and on. The Dolphins brought in Incognito, they knew his history of being kicked off other teams for violent and inappropriate behavior, the coach and general manager had been contacted by Jonathan Martin's agent who told them of Incognito's abuse and why it was a problem. They had a hundred different ways to have diffused this situation before it below up in their faces. But they didn't. And now a Dolphins team that is 4-4 halfway through the season and still in the playoff hunt just lost two offensive linemen and will likely flame out by the season's end.
There are still several cleats left to drop in this story, since we have not heard from Jonathan Martin publicly or seen his full 10 page report on his abuse as a Dolphin. Regardless of how this works out for him however there is no reason to believe that problems like this won't continue with the team. Management, from the coaches to the team president have shown that they can't come up with a coherent message, can't keep their own team in line and worse can barely keep abreast of what is going on between two of their highest paid critical employees. Any organization that sloppy deserves whatever bad press they can get. Mabye Jonathan Martin is better off leaving the Dolphins for good, they clearly don't know how to keep their own house in order.
- Created on 13 November 2013
The controversy surrounding Miami Dolphin Richie Incognito's alleged racist remarks and bullying to teammate Jonathan Martin is still going strong. Is it apart of the sports culture, or is it stepping over the line? Roland Martin spoke with Charles Barkley to get his thoughts on whether racist talk should be allowed in the locker room.
"The locker room is very fun spirited and it's sexist, it's racist, at times," said Barkley. "It's all over the place, and I've got no problem with that. You know, I got white guys and I'm racist towards them in a fun way and they're racist toward me in a fun way."
Listen to the rest of the exchange here.