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Open the Door...and Let them In

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Recently, NY Yankee pitching great, Mariano Rivera unveiled a street named in his honor near Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. These honorific streets are all the rage in New York City where more than 1,500 streets have been renamed or co-named after a broad range of New Yorkers. There has been a particular surge since 1998, and this should continue for some time.

  • 30% of honorific streets are named after people that died on 9-11…438 civilian victims and first responders.
  • 8% of honorific streets are named after NYC police and firefighters (not all killed in the line of duty).
  • 6% of honorific streets are named after civilians who have died from violence, illness, or accidents.
  • 7% of honorific streets are named after those who served in the military, although none are women- yet.
  • 27% of honorific streets are named for people “active in the community” like charity workers, education advocates, or little league coaches.

Unfortunately, Brother John, a community organizer I knew well, does not have a street named after him, but I carry his name in my heart and hope the notion of being “active in the community” is not considered a bad thing in the future.

Open the Door…

Sister Suzie, Brother John
Martin Luther, Phil and Don
Brother Michael, Auntie Gin
Open the door, let 'em in

Sister Suzie, Brother John
Martin Luther, Phil and Don
Uncle Ernie, Auntie Gin
Open the door, let 'em in

-Paul McCartney

I interviewed former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who thinks President Obama handled Ferguson just right. I disagree. In fact, I cannot think of any recent trip that was more important than hitting the ground, rolling up his sleeves, and showing the people of Ferguson and America that he has skin in the game. Perhaps, he is worried about the “community organizer” label, which is a shame since the community he would have organized would be America.


When I was growing up in Harlem, there was a community organizer named Brother John. He was a presence in the neighborhood- someone that kids could talk to, someone that would help with disputes, and someone with words of encouragement. He was always there and had a profound and positive impact on my life. His organization was a refuge from the violence of the street where learning and understanding were encouraged and taught.

Brother John was killed breaking up a fight, the ultimate sacrifice for someone with real skin in the game. He was quite the community organizer when I was growing up.

A Capital Idea

The discussion about capital, and how to stem the flow of all the money going to the top, is all the rage these days, and will only dominate our daily conversations more as we move toward the next presidential election.

Thomas Piketty's book: Capital in the 21st Century took liberals and progressives by storm like a modern-day booster shot as the French author was deemed the second coming of Karl Marx. This time, armed with reams of data going back to the 18th and 19th century, Piketty picked up on the notion of patrimonial capitalism, which Paul Krugman says, is the "dominance of income from capital, which can be inherited, over wages or the dominance of wealth over work."

So, the solution is a giant global wealth tax that is supposed to make sure each generation starts at Go with the same amount of money and presumably opportunities.


A Piece of the Action

The one percent own larger percentages of the wealth pie than they did in the past, but the one per-centers are not the same people, and the pie is significantly larger, too.

In some ways, this debate could be called the greed of the 99%.

Yes, most of us want more and wish it were easier. Getting ahead in life should not be this hard, but it is in part because of remedies to so-called income inequality. Higher taxes, more regulations, more social welfare programs, watered -down education were promised elixirs of the problem...check anywhere in the world where they have been implemented and you will see amazing gulfs between the haves and the have-nots. The solution is capital...but not just the one form that comes to mind.

But what is capital?

Social- the networks of people we surround ourselves with including our family, friends, and community that can enhance or detract our ability to take advantage of opportunities.

Human- natural ability, skills, and education acquired through life, plus personal traits known as "character."

Financial- this form of capital is the one progressives are railing against, but can be gathered through savings and borrowing.

There are so many facts missing from this last-ditched effort to take from the rich and fill the coffers of the elites, while sprinkling a few crumbs on the poorer masses. Perhaps, it is no fun to read and see the adventures of the rich and famous, but you can be there too...although it takes longer if you have not invented a killer app.


Surround yourself with like-minded people determined to look at the person in the mirror for change, not the mailman or some fast-talking (or slow-talking) politician. Learn, learn, and learn some more, and become a weapon of knowledge. Then begin to invest in these things and control your own destiny.

Here are three key facts progressives never want you to know:

  • Most of the 1% are self-made.
  • Rewarding people for being poor more often than not keeps them poor.
  • All this crap has been tried before and has failed mankind miserably.

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