President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union: Not Your Average Lame Duck

Posted on | January 21, 2015 | 3 Comments


President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

“Do not go gentle into that good night.” – Dylan Thomas

This very well could have been what President Obama had going into his 2015 State of the Union address because he sure didn’t deliver a speech like a lame duck. Obama spoke like someone who is not only still on the job but with purpose and resolve.  It doesn’t sound like he intends to roll over to an opposition controlled Congress regardless if he has no more campaigns to win. He won both of them.

This is a president who spoke of hope in America and of change in moving forward. Wait, that sounds familiar. This Obama sounded like old Obama. This Obama sounds like the candidate that inspired a nation and the world. This is the guy I want running the country. I have no shame in admitting that I was tingly while listening to him speak.

Obama was a leader tonight that painted a possible picture of America that he believes in and is one that led immigrants from around the world to flock to Ellis Island in the previous century. He spoke of an America that could be better than it is and better than it has been. The America Obama described is one that strives to form a more perfect Union. To me these were the words of someone who believes in the idea of America or at least the one that we represent in our marketing.

Obama reaffirmed the commitment to shut down the internationally condemned GTMO prison that he made at the outset of his presidency noting.

“It’s not who we are.” – Barack Obama

In post 9/11 America we have been a lot of not who we are or more accurately no who we claim to strive to be. We have let fear, greed, and power corrupt the idealistic vision was supposed to set America apart. Of course I’m not naive enough to think every act that violates “who we are” will stop with those words, things in motion take time, but it’s good to hear that ideology recognized. It’s encouraging to hear Obama try to appeal to common sense, for whatever it’s worth. It’s good to hear the president address climate change, a move towards less dependency on foreign oil, a shift towards renewables, a need for education for the nation’s future, the responsibility to use military action as a last resort, and a commitment to a free and open Internet. I’m still nervous about that last one. Check out this minute by minute engagement distribution of the SOTU on Twitter and the topics being discussed at the time.

“I believe in a smarter kind of American leadership. We lead best when we combine military power with strong diplomacy; when we leverage our power with coalition building; when we don’t let our fears blind us to the opportunities that this new century presents. That’s exactly what we’re doing right now — and around the globe, it is making a difference.” – Barack Obama

All in all it sounded like an intelligently speaking and thinking adult was in charge of the show even if Obama’s State of the Union clocked in at a 10th grade reading level.


I watched not only to hear what the president had to say but also to see the reactions to what he said; as they speak volumes. Who applauds for what says a lot. When Obama was citing all the positive things happening in the country the majority of Republicans offered no applause. Surely an America doing better is something to praise no matter who or what party is at the helm when it happens. As with any politician’s speech, fact checking Obama’s SOTU is recommended. If who is ushering in the progress is more important to you than the progress itself you have said something very clear to me. When the president spoke of the need for voting rights to not be hindered, noticeably Republicans again didn’t join the cheers. That screams something to me. However several of them were overcome with childish and petty energy when President Obama mentioned he had no more campaigns to run. That too is telling and once again shows a small bit of the type of disrespect he has had to put up with during his tie in office. On the flip side, Obama’s off the cuff reply, that of course set the media on fire and immediately trended #IWonBothOfThem on social media, shows his ability to deal with that disrespect without letting it shake him.

One of the better moments to me in the SOTU, and one that speaks to the above, was Obama describing “a better politics”.

“And I know they expect those of us who serve here to set a better example.

So the question for those of us here tonight is how we, all of us, can better reflect America’s hopes. I’ve served in Congress with many of you. I know many of you well. There are a lot of good people here, on both sides of the aisle. And many of you have told me that this isn’t what you signed up for — arguing past each other on cable shows, the constant fundraising, always looking over your shoulder at how the base will react to every decision.

Imagine if we broke out of these tired old patterns. Imagine if we did something different.

Understand — a better politics isn’t one where Democrats abandon their agenda or Republicans simply embrace mine.

A better politics is one where we appeal to each other’s basic decency instead of our basest fears.

A better politics is one where we debate without demonizing each other; where we talk issues, and values, and principles, and facts, rather than “gotcha” moments, or trivial gaffes, or fake controversies that have nothing to do with people’s daily lives.” – Barack Obama

These representatives of a nation are absolutely there to set a better example. Their position calls for tougher scrutiny, more maturity, greater responsibility, and demand to be above the nonsense. It’s further become a game they are too eager to play and one the people who put their hopes and trust in these servants of the nation don’t deserve. Hopefully Obama’s “better politics” is a message that increases beyond hushed tones between just the President and an individual congress member. If these politicians are tired of it, they should do better.

“That’s a better politics. That’s how we start rebuilding trust. That’s how we move this country forward. That’s what the American people want. That’s what they deserve.” – Barack Obama

That is indeed how you start rebuilding trust Mr. President. The goals and plans Obama spoke on are very ambitious and if his past 6 years in office fighting obstructionism at every turn to get anything done is any indication, it’s going to be a UFC style knocked down drag out octagon brawl going forward with this new congress. Glad to see you haven’t given up.




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Top 5 Twitter Hashtag Fails by Brands of 2014

Posted on | January 12, 2015 | No Comments


Twitter is a wonderful yet harsh world. The benefits are many for people, movements, brands, and marketers. It can expand the potential range of your voice and the message you are trying to deliver. It’s a media where the usual controls of what we see and hear aren’t effective. Brands trying to navigate that sea of online reality can win big or fail miserably. This is about failing miserably because this is the Internet and fails are golden.

A common hashtag on Twitter is #nofilter because the Internet can be brutally honest. A brand trying to capitalize on the potential of Twitter has to first be brutally honest with themselves. You can’t believe your own hype; your PR spin doesn’t necessarily apply to the open conversation on Twitter. Brands need to take a look at now how they want to be perceived but how they might be perceived. You don’t control the message on Twitter. If you are currently in the news for some sort of public criticism, trying to combat that by eliciting positive messages from the Twitter audience might not be a good idea. Hint: it’s not a good idea. You should immediately fire your social media manager/director/expert/marketer/guru proposing such a thing. They should know better or at least know social media enough to know that this could, most likely will, go horribly horribly wrong.

These are campaigns that while they did increase engagement, probably didn’t have the outcome they expected. How many of these do we have to see before this stops being a thing in social media?

Let’s take a look at several Twitter campaigns that should have never been attempted and whose brand’s social media marketer should have their Internet privileges revoked.

Let us know in the comments if we missed any you think should have been included.

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2 Cops Dead – NYPD Declares War on Black People

Posted on | December 22, 2014 | No Comments

Earlier today, a tragedy occurred in Brooklyn, NY.  Two police officers were shot and killed while in their patrol car by a deranged person who earlier in the day had shot is girlfriend in the stomach.

The death of the police officers was not warranted – they did not deserve it.

As soon as we got word of what happened, we immediately began telling everyone to be extra vigilant.  Why? Because we expected right wing media and conservatives to pounce on this and paint a broad stroke across all of us (black people).  In addition to the police being extra trigger happy as a result of this.

The person who shot the cops was black.

As we followed the story, the expected happened: right wing media began to chime in.  Going so far as to say the blood of the cops is on the Mayor’s hands.

What else happened? Oh yeah, the NYPD declared war with this statement:

“Starting IMMEDIATELY- At least two units are to respond to EVERY call, no matter the condition or severity, no matter what type of job is pending, or what the opinion of the patrol supervisor happens to be. IN ADDITION: Absolutely NO enforcement action in the form of arrests and or summonses is to be taken unless absolutely necessary and an individual MUST be placed under arrest. These are precautions that were taken in the 1970’s when Police Officers were ambushed and executed on a regular basis. The mayors hands are literally dripping with our blood because of his words actions and policies and we have, for the first time in a number of years, become a “wartime” police department. We will act accordingly.”

That statement came from the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association of the City of New York—the largest NYPD union. 

Yes, they declared war on black people.  Look at what was said in the statement, they are aiming their anger and hurt at New York’s Mayor for statements he has made and his support of the anti-police brutality protests currently going on around the country.

Protests brought on as a result of the killing of unarmed black men – which occurs all the time (and has occurred since slavery).

Earlier, New York’s Mayor (Bill de Blasio) went to the hospital where the police officers died.  Look at this image:


As the mayor entered, all of the police officers turned their back on him.

Now, keep in mind, the killing of the officers and the protests have absolutely nothing to do with each other.  They are not related.  However, with one swoop, the NYPD (and the right wing) is painting a broad stroke in implementing ALL protestors AND supports of the movement in causing the deaths of the officers.  This is a prime example of how the cops view us. They are connecting the actions of one deranged black male who shot his girlfriend and then shot the cops as being representative of all black folks that they have harassed – and all black people in general. They see the two cops who died as justification of their actions towards blacks and others they abuse. Who spoke out against this abuse? The Mayor. Now look at the reception in the above photo again. Backs turned toward him. With the NYPD’s declaration of war, we advise all NYC civilians, especially black civilians, be extra careful for the foreseeable future.




Only Black people riot

Posted on | November 26, 2014 | No Comments

stanley cup riot

It’s a belief that is most certainly not true yet often believed and repeated.

Mainstream media, social media, talking heads, pundits (indie or otherwise) have been in over drive in the wake of the grand jury’s decision not to indict Police Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of unarmed teenager Mike Brown. The accompanying protests and riots fill timelines, news feeds, streams, and airwaves. The ugly sides of some people are on full display in 140-characters or less. In the discussions, people may and will disagree yet no matter how much they try to justify their point, the words they use in that discourse will highlight their inner beliefs and betray their defense.

Some of the comments that are going around tries to push the idea that these riots are par for the course for Black people. Of course it’s not true but it’s what people believe due to an ongoing fear of Black folks. The way Black people are depicted in the media and entertainment adds fuel to the idea that Black people are all violent criminals and thugs, so of course when something like this happens some will argue against the innocence of the Black victim. To that point, Darren Wilson described Mike Brown as looking like “a demon” in his description of the events. The comments going around perpetuate the idea that Black people are violent; that only Black people riot. Jesse Jess, author, and founder of The Annual Underground Music Awards and The A&R Power Summit, tweeted numerous examples to the contrary showing White people rioting. Others gave similar examples.

Jessie Williams asks “What about black pain is so fun to you?”

Posted on | November 7, 2014 | 1 Comment


The exposure of killings of black people by law enforcement, or wanna be cops, has shown the world a very ugly side of the United States of America. It’s nothing new of course but with a camera in every pocket these incidences see the light of day more often now. Jessie Williams, most known for his role as Dr. Jackson Avery on Grey’s Anatomy, used his platform on Twitter to speak on these realities.

The questions he raises I’ve often asked myself, even more so lately. What is it about blackness that enrages whiteness? Certainly there are some long-standing emotional connections to generational learning and stereotyping. Even then, as Jessie Williams mentions, black people were never a threat to white people. Why is it when a black person is killed, there is a section of the population who go into a defensive white hooded mode. Why is it that a Darren Wilson defense fund raises six figures before he’s even charged with anything. Why was Trayvon Martin’s killer exalted and large amounts of funds raised on his behalf? Trayvon’s killer wasn’t even white, even though he appeared to be, but being that the victim was black that seemed to be enough. The celebrations aren’t done in the reverse. Why do some feel it’s ok to do so, to mock the victims as if they weren’t humans as well?

This is a problem. There is something about black skin that seems to trigger this type of unfeeling hate. Where does it come from? As I mentioned, I’ve asked myself these same questions many times. I even look to other cultures where the white skin is prized while the dark skin is shunned. You could almost pick any country and see the divide. India, Japan, Latin America all have varying shades of their population but white skin is more coveted. I was recently in the Philippines and it was no different, the faces on the advertisements were dominated by the lighter skin Filipinos. I know this is a bit of a digression but perhaps it’s all linked somewhere.

While previously discussing another topic with a friend in law enforcement he said “the

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violent culture of black youth” in a statement. This incorrect belief in black youth being violent is part of the problem as well. This painting of an entire people with the same brush as a few allows people to feel this indifference when this atrocities happen. People feel automatically that the killing of a black person was justified because they are all thugs and violent. It is an obviously dangerous stereotype that is pervasive, cultivated, and encouraged.

One thing is for sure, this behavior and mentality doesn’t demonstrate a problem concocted by people of color but of those that hold that hate. This isn’t Jesse Williams first time speaking on such things. He was outspoken in interviews regarding the trial of Michael Dunn, the killer of 17-year-old Jordan Davis in September, 2012. In that interview he mentions the OJ case but we can go to the Rodney King case as well. There is a gut check that needs to be had.

Jessie Williams had this to say.

what's wrong with you people?


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