Barack Obama & John Kasich Return to Political Spotlight with More Faith in the People – #HometownChat

Hot Shot (Old-School): “Real Talk with Industry Players and Biz Leaders”
– Jamie Foxx, Actor, Artist & Comedian

Hot Shot (New-School): “Real Talk with Industry Players and Biz Leaders”
– Pharrell Williams, Global Music Superstar & Fashion Designer

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#HometownChat – “Smart Community, Special Service, Civic Dreams”

There’s lots of talk these days around the basketball court and the halls of Congress. Whether it’s looking at the first 100 days or getting ready for the White House Reporters Dinner or enjoying the NBA playoffs. Plus, Barack Obama & John Kasich have returned to the spotlight with more faith in the American people.

Obama has been on a post-presidency honeymoon, spending downtime in scenic locations. He recently met with students in Chicago discussing the importance of civic engagement. While it might feel like he’s walking a tightrope as former President, he’s working on preparing the next generation of service leaders.

In the case of Kasich, his return is largely due to his book tour. He’s concerned about the static nature of today’s public policy with the feeling that more gets said than done. His time as Ohio Governor and as presidential candidate stands-out in the minds of those who see the nation being challenged by divisions.

Sometimes policy arguments are more left versus right, middle-class versus 1%-class, starched-collar versus no collar. Increasingly it seems to be about voices that are softest versus loudest. With social media as an added ingredient for dissent it can be difficult to get a handle on how public policy might:

  1. Improve economic stock value at home and abroad.
  2. Bridge community strength in the city and countryside.
  3. Reduce social divide across the have’s and the haven’ts.
  4. Embrace personal security within the issues and without the threats.

A constant concern for everyday folks is whether their money is well spent. For some there’s more month than money and something might get postponed or dropped from the budget. But if there’s a will there’s a way to make it to the next check. It’s in how households survive based on what’s spent and what’s saved.

With talk of setting aside money for a border wall, it makes some wonder if that’s the right priority. How might that improve our economic stock value at home or abroad? There’re airports that need upgrading and buildings that need repairing. There’re projects that need investing and towns that need boosting.

A few years ago a bridge in Minnesota collapsed, killing some motorists. It’s a popular roadway serving the Twin Cities area in Minneapolis. Further investigation showed a structural design flaw. The bridge has been replaced but government reports show many more structures in cities and countryside need repair.

This bridge is a major thoroughfare used by those in the Twin Cities. Their economies are closely tied to the commerce that moves on the span. The importance of such a bridge shows the value of public policy whether it’s in connecting two cities or linking community strength between the city and the countryside.

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When traveling the highways and byways of America there’s much to see and much that’s not seen. From the rolling hills to the urban skyscrapers, there’s a sense for where resources are plenty and where it’s otherwise few. There’re pockets of ‘McMansion Estates’ and relics of rundown hometown squares.

With this comes a feeling of the have’s and the haven’ts. This might be seen in tax policy or healthcare programs. Some argue that the discussions are presented as a choice between having universal appeal or unrestrained profit. The policy debate will have the most credibility by serving the haven’ts just as well.

More and more we find personal security as an ongoing concern. There’s the issue of financial identity information kept out of the wrong hands. Others worry about getting pulled-over on the road where something minor becomes major. There’re some laws that appear to out-muscle the civil rights of citizens.

Public policy debates are helpful by an approach to the subject around the pros and cons of the issues. Sometimes when it’s a debate around safety the threat is about losing federal funding. But what’s to be gained by projecting a fear of others other than demonizing and dividing groups of people?

In parenting situations there’re different ways for getting the attention of a child. Sometimes it’s a stern look or raised voice for ‘putting the fear’ in them. However, there’s a fine line when crossed that might lead to intimidation or abuse. It’s probably better for a child’s self-esteem by ‘putting the faith’ in them.

Maybe that’s where Obama and Kasich can agree with good public policy working wonders by ‘putting the faith’ in people. As with smart parenting, it takes understanding the issues and the effects on a child. The next generation of Community 3.0 service leaders will make a difference by advancing smart community.

So in the words of Obama, if we are the change we seek, then citizens are agents of change to policy-makers. In the words of Kasich, if politicians are too locked-in to own their shadows, then citizens will have to step-out of the shadow. History shows that when people free their minds, the rest will follow.

Block Talkback: Why should officials who tend to put fear in people be anymore trusted by the public if ‘putting the faith’ in people is better for making a difference in community?

Groove-tracks: En Vogue – Free Your Mind – https://youtu.be/i7iQbBbMAFE

Beyoncé ft Kendrick Lamar – Freedom –  https://youtu.be/dOuZA5ftyJw

Beyoncé & Chrissy Teigen Do Other Things Behind the Scenes To Impact Social Culture – #HometownChat

Hot Shot (Old-School): “Real Talk with Industry Players and Biz Leaders”
– Oprah Winfrey, TV Personality & Media Mogul

Hot Shot (New-School): “Real Talk with Industry Players and Biz Leaders”
– Sergio Garcia – Pro Golfer

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#HometownChat – “Smart Community, Special Service, Civic Dreams”

It’s safe to say that two things driving pop culture are music and fashion. Take a look through any popular magazine and there’s so much to see in style pictures. You’ll find it at Awards Shows too starting with the Red Carpet. But Beyoncé & Chrissy Teigen do other things behind the scenes to impact social culture.

Beyoncé has grown in mainstream relevance since her time in Destiny’s Child. These days as mother and wife she’s preparing for her new twin arrivals. Beyond what she does in studio and on stage, she’s also inspiring a growing list of colleges offering courses with content in the area of ‘Bey Brandalicious.’

Teigen who made a name for herself on the fashion runway is also playing that nurturing family role. Her dude John Legend keeps turning out music that puts him in the Billboard Awards arena. It’s also their acts of civic consciousness that seem to drive topics of conversation in the classroom and on social media.

Lessons from their celebrity-life chapters & verses remind us of how the value of pop culture is more than just hooks and looks. It’s why these college classes might show that when pop culture is at its best, celebrities and other personalities make a difference in ways that are not just trendy but also timeless by:

  1. Sharing information that widens the scope of general understanding.
  2. Spotlighting showbiz moments that bring thrills to everyday enjoyment.
  3. Celebrating stories that give sense to today’s new realities.
  4. Spreading views that provide clarity to free-speech in public spaces.

Remember those times of what’s hot and what’s not? Well it’s been said that you live life forward, but understand it backward. This is true for those who’ve grown-up before our eyes. The things we see from watching them go through growth and change might have true meaning to our personal experiences.

There’s a special feeling in thinking back to the before-and-after times in general understanding. That’s one reason why fans can become die-hard supporters of their fav artists. What they provide as an experience in fun and dance is just a part of why they’re admired and cause others to be so inspired.

Sometimes it’s being able to say ‘I was there when.’ Whether it’s going to a concert or performing in the mirror, there’re moments in pop culture we savor because of a certain thrill it brings to everyday enjoyment. Beyoncé has a way of pulling this off in her appearances, even if it’s just in a snap or gram.

Furthermore, in each decade from the past we find those moments that stick in our cultural memories. Some can point back to the hippies of the 60s, the discos of the 70s, maybe the styles of the 80s and so on. Along with these flashbacks are certain signature events in the life and times of those decades.

These days many look to social media to get the skinny on what’s happening culturally. Teigen who reigns supreme with her posts recently did something for someone whose goal was to finish beauty school. So Teigen paid off the balance of what was needed in tuition to complete the program.

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Celebrating stories like these can help us respond to today’s challenging realities. It’s one way of providing hope when others feel like life’s saying nope. The person receiving this random act of kindness from Teigen might view this gesture as an example of what pop culture has done for her lately.

The U.S. Constitution affords us as citizens the benefit of free speech. This means that people are able to have and hold opinions without fear of reprisal. Now, not everything someone says or believes is necessarily all there is to know on a subject. We have the option to hear and study these ideas further.

Beyoncé and Teigen aren’t the traditional social experts. But they seem to have a way of cutting through the noise and bringing clarity to free-speech in public spaces which can be easier said than done. They know sometimes it’s better to get a point across through art or poetry than through theory or prose.

The cultural dilemma nowadays is balancing the voice of the people and the views of the pundits. It’s getting past the bad news and connecting with the good news. It’s stepping-up our game in order to do the things that bring change, gain a measure of choice and give us the courage to face those challenges.

How pop culture moves us is similar to how the weather shifts. Sometimes the temperature at the start of the day doesn’t change much throughout the day. Other times there can be a huge swing in temperature from daybreak to nightfall. Sometimes we have small shifts and other times huge swings in social culture.

The real story in what we express and enjoy about pop culture is in how love looks good or music makes us go or how we grow and have fun. The benefit from savoring this depends on if we take an approach that’s forward-looking or backward-looking. In the end, these times have helped many reach their best.

Block Talkback: When it comes to taxes, if the storyline of ‘Everyday America vs Enterprise America’ never goes away, how should folks bridge the gap and feel like there’s enough breaks to go around?

Groove-tracks: Janet Jackson – What Have You Done for Me Lately – https://youtu.be/r9uizdKZAGE

Usher – Love Looks Good –  https://youtu.be/AC2t6cjss1E

Kyrie Irving & Susan Rice Show Why We Need Civic Engagement in a Fractured Country – #HometownChat

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#HometownChat – “Smart Community, Special Service, Civic Dreams”

It’s been a wild ride since the Trump Administration rollout. There’ve been Executive Orders flying across his desk, twice as many as days of the week. The theme so far seems to be Make America Constipate Again. So Kyrie Irving and Susan Rice show us why we need civic engagement in a fractured country.

Irving recently spoke out on one of the hot button issues. He told ESPN he wants to be remembered for more than being a pro basketball player. He surprised many in saying he has Native American blood-lines in his upbringing. Meanwhile, Ambassador Rice’s thoughts on current affairs: “This is stone cold crazy.”

During the campaign one of Trump’s sons said running for President was a ‘step down’ for his father. It’s not clear if he meant step down in prestige or difficulty. So far it’s been more like a step down in empathy. Plus, his administration is ‘governing by crowd’ as if still campaigning as opposed to graciously serving. It’s still not clear whether Trump’s governing style is to disrupt even if having to destroy or destroy as a way to eventually disrupt.

One way to understand the rush of Executive Orders is seeing them as ‘love letters’ to his core supporters. But they’ve also been ‘chaos letters’ to the rest of the country. Over the short time in office Trump’s administration created a bond with Russia and a ‘beef’ with a majority of the American people.

So what else might Irving and Rice want to #LetThePeopleKnow about the Presidency and public service as a step up or step down? What’s the difference between governing as a campaign and governing to serve?  We’d like to see service from the White House to the heartland where:

  1. Politicians make policies and solve problems through net impact not just net service.
  2. Leaders make change their friend and purpose something for which they’re a fan.
  3. Communities make Martin Luther King Jr more than a city boulevard but also a social beat.
  4. Societies make people better not just make better things for people.

The term ‘net service’ means the number of years a person has worked for a company. Usually, the larger the net service the bigger the net pension. The general public isn’t as interested in a politician’s net service as they are in their net impact. They’re more concerned about net-value results than net ratings.

Experts wonder out loud if Trump is serious about solving problems. During the campaign and right up to now he’d repeatedly fall back to his old TV habits of ‘drama ratings,’ with a love for all the media attention coming his way. To some policy makers like Rice, his Executive Orders are starting to feel like ‘net crazy.’

Change is usually good for the better. For example the anti-Obama protests of the past opposed change in healthcare that helped people. But the recent days of anti-Trump protests oppose change in immigration that harm people. There’re important clues when campaigns about ‘change’ get a closer look.

Some leaders say ‘we do it this way, that’s how we do it.. period!’ Others say ‘we do it in new ways as a fresh way of doing it.. let’s go!’ If it weren’t for Steve Jobs saying ‘let’s go’ we’d not have iPhones, iTunes & iPads. However there’s bad ‘change’ leadership of letting ignorance look smarter than competence.

In cities all across the country you’ll find a block that surrounds Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard. From Harlem to Atlanta, these streets are significant to the heartbeat of the community. There’s a legacy to uphold and a dream to unfold. These streets are like military stripes in the life of community responders.

But military stripes can be viewed as net service as well as net impact. Kyrie Irving says he’s going to speak up more on issues, thus earning his stripes as an engaged citizen. That should give us reason to step up as well to earn our stripes not only as pop culture trend-setters but also as social change-makers.

There’s that old saying of “we didn’t leave the stone age because we ran out of stones. We left the stone age because we made new things.” The benefit of more ‘bells and whistles’ in our cars and homes is a result of us inventing new things. But it’s not enough to have better things without making people better.

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In a sense that’s what protesters are saying across the country. The actions by high ranking politicians during the Obama years were guided by ‘obstruct.’ The actions by everyday people since the start of Trump’s term are guided by ‘resist.’ The history of Mandela & Martin, Maya & Marley (and others) shows the lasting good in people who protest out of conscientious resistance.

So take a flashback to high school math and those days of trying to find the ‘greatest common factor.’ This is a high multiplying effect between two or more numbers. What we need these days is to find the greatest common formation. This would be a high multiplying effect between net service and net impact.

Sports teams have offense, defense, scorers and role players in formation. We see these same multiplying factors in community as activists, advocates, reformers and commentators. If we add shared purpose and special teams to Community 3.0 we’ll make greater strides together towards more history.

Groove-tracks: Beyoncé – Formation – https://youtu.be/1xVjx_rK0xE

Anderson Paak – Am I Wrong? – https://youtu.be/2dxOpxdp0kI

Cuba Gooding Jr. Cried and Beyoncé Called for Calm After Tragedies that Spark Protests – #HometownChat

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Trivia: Which former big-city mayor had social media buzzing after a media appearance? (Answer below)

There are events in life that we remember how we felt when they happened. For some it was news of Dr. King or John F. Kennedy being shot. The past few days ring equally true. So Cuba Gooding Jr. cried and Beyoncé called for calm as a way to get a grip on things when stuff happening around us says otherwise.

None of us can feel the pain of those affected families. But we all feel the pain of senseless tragedy. Addressing the Dallas events, Hillary Clinton told CNN “This is the kind of call to action, and as president, I would implement the very comprehensive set of proposals that I’ve been making for more than a year.”

There’re those who see Black Lives Matter as a way to voice deeper concerns. Others see Blue Lives Matter as a way to express solidarity to the police fraternity. How we bridge the divide and distrust will determine how we reach higher. King and Kennedy might have us realize that Purposeful Lives Count.

When the events of 9/11 occurred, our elected officials found ways to come together. One of the lessons from those days was in how we connected with the power of shared value and purpose. The public policy proposals, decisions and rhetoric from officials and everyday citizens can help with setting that tone.

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Just think about it, we don’t see motor speedway race cars on our streets and highways. Those cars are restricted to select venues. It makes sense that ‘fun + purpose’ means where race cars play is different from where regular cars drive. So why is it that we can’t take a similar approach with certain weaponry?

During these moments we might feel disgusted, distraught and maybe even disempowered. The natural tendency is to flip the switch in our emotions. The knee-jerk response is to throw logic out the door. But when people use shock value to get their point across it can add more distance between us as citizens.

These days the hardest thing to makes sense of is why some would stir division as opposed to espouse a vision. King gave us a dream. Kennedy gave us a vision. A ‘dream + vision’ helps lessen division. King and Kennedy might remind us that “division seeks the love of power while vision seeks the power of love!”

After 9/11 we re-grouped with a ‘we the people’ kind of spirit. So things can change for the better if public policy proposals protect us from the loss of life with the same fervor as avoiding the perceived loss of rights. Maybe real freedom is in becoming an America with a greater sense of purpose on our plates.

Answer: Rudy Giuliani

 

Groove-tracks: Christina Aguilera – Change –  https://youtu.be/7BRkX9ndqMU


Beyoncé ft Kendrick Lamar
– Freedom – https://youtu.be/mLbbwfCahF8