Leadership Reflections by Dr. Lisa Aldisert – Self Help Book

Book Summary

Do you think of yourself as a leader? Leadership starts with a mindset, not a title. Leaders influence. They share keen insight. They command respect without demanding it. Leaders inspire achievement of successful outcomes, whether leading people, projects, or processes. You’ll relate to the real-world vignettes in this book as they represent typical challenges leaders face as they navigate the wilds of the workplace. This book is a collection of short essays on leadership and relationship management written by Dr. Lisa M. Aldisert, a seasoned management consultant. Not only has she advised hundreds of clients on these issues, but she has faced these situations directly in her businesses. This book will provide you with anecdotes and examples that you can apply on the job every day.

Amazon link – http://amzn.to/2ryP7uN

Leadership Reflections: 52 Leadership Practices in the Age of Worry

Gringo By Dan “Tito” Davis

Story Summary:

Dan “Tito” Davis comes from a town in South Dakota that’s so small everyone knows their neighbor’s cat’s name. But once he got out, he made some noise. While at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, he started manufacturing White Crosses, aka speed, and soon had the Banditos Motorcycle Club distributing ten million pills a week. After serving a nickel, he got into the weed game, but just when he got going, he was set up by a childhood friend. Facing thirty years, Davis slipped into Mexico, not knowing a word of Spanish, which began a thirteen-year odyssey that led him to an underground hideout for a MedellIn cartel, through the jungles of the Darien Gap, the middle of Mumbai’s madness, and much more.

Tito has lived a fascinating life, one well worth reading about, and I was enthralled by every page. Tito’s ambition and know-how lead him far past his humble Midwestern beginnings, and his rise and fall made a tale well worth reading, one which I would recommend to anyone.

5 Stars San Francisco Book Review – http://sanfranciscobookreview.com/product/gringo/


Harold Hardscrabble by G.D. Dess

Harold Hardscrabble, by G. D. Dess, captures the feelings of frustration and helplessness that many of us experience in our daily lives. These sentiments are embodied in the contemplative, quietly charming protagonist, Harold, who, like Walter Mitty, lives largely in his own world of thoughts and dreams. We follow Harold’s transformation from a dreamer to a man of action as he struggles to discover how to live a meaningful life in a materialistic world.

Harold copes admirably with the many disasters and injustices that assail him on his life’s journey; but when he is finally overcome by circumstances beyond his control, he is forced to take matters into his own hands to attain justice for the all the misfortunes he has been made to suffer. This is a story of a quest for self-realization that unfolds slowly as it builds to its explosive climax.

Amazon Link – http://amzn.to/2rfIayX

5 Star Review Manhattan Book Review – https://manhattanbookreview.com/product/harold-hardscrabble/

Harold Hardscrabble met the love of his life in college. Her name is Carol, the attraction, of a physical and intellectual nature, is immediate. Harold sees Carol as having a controlling personality, but he also sees an endearing quality to her vulnerability. They leave college and get married, moving to New York City and to cramped surroundings in an apartment. Harold is an artist within, who is looking for an outlet to unleash the art in his soul, but practicality and his bride push him to the corporate world. Harold works a variety of temp jobs, but his brilliant mind leads to offers of a full time job in a analytical position. Harold still feels insecure but pushes on with the prodding of Carol. The birth of their two children, Jake and Sarah, makes a move to the suburbs an eventuality. Harold thinks back to his time growing up, his propensity to daydream being the fondest of memories. As his children grow, Harold’s mind turns to the pitfalls of commercialism, materialism, and the lack of reality that haunts his existence. He attempts to explain his feelings to Carol but is met with indifference. His thoughts start to take a toll on his home and career. His life takes a tilt toward the mortal when he is diagnosed with prostate cancer. His battle and its unpleasant effects take a backseat to Carol’s departure. Harold emerges weakened from the cancer, drinking more and looking to de-clutter his existence. Will he ever find happiness? Will he ever overcome his own questions and doubts?

Harold Hardscrabble is an excellent, philosophical tale that explores the life of a brilliant, troubled man and his ups and downs. The reader can identify with many of the quandaries that tax the mind of Harold. The existential crises that haunt the titular character make him sympathetic and worth rooting for. The story bobs and weaves but never fails to hold the attention of the reader. A fine read.

The Hunter: Awakening by Nicholas Arriaza

Story Summary:
The Hunter: Awakening, is the first of a series of novels that will explore the nature of good and evil and the question of redemption: Is it available to those who have perpetrated great evil? Not long after the theft of a leather-bound book from a hidden hillside tomb in LA, a young hiker inadvertently awakens something fearsome that has been laid to rest some two hundred years ago. Soon after an emaciated, amnesiac man falls from a cliffside trail into the backyard of young, pregnant, neurosurgeon Melisa Castro. The young doctor feels compelled to help the “John Doe” regain his memory. Meanwhile a vampire who no longer has a hunger for blood comes seeking to rectify the awakening only to find himself in the middle of a power struggle within the family Melisa’s fiancé Chris leads. Chris has yet to tell Melisa of his true nature and the fact, she is carrying a werewolf’s baby.

5 Stars San Francisco Book Review

In The Hunter: Awakening, we are introduced to Melisa Castro, a doctor who helps a man who falls onto her property and seems to have amnesia. As she is four months pregnant, she tries to be careful around him, but she finds herself needing to help this mysterious man. Even stranger, when she touches him, she sees visions of things that happened to him in the past, which he can’t even remember. Melisa is slowly drawn into a world of vampires and werewolves and those that hunt them. She discovers that the battle between the Hunter and his prey has been going on for centuries. Melisa begins to realize that the child she carries might not be normal at all and that she might possess some supernatural powers as well. Because of the child she’s carrying, she is in danger from the Hunter. But things aren’t always black and white. The Hunter has been awakened, but he wasn’t supposed to be, and now no one knows how the story will end.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to the next in the series. The plot was great. Who doesn’t love a story about werewolves and vampires? If you don’t, you should. Even though Melisa was the main character, I actually liked Aaron, her future brother-in-law, and Ranald the best. Ranald, the sarcastic vampire, was an enjoyable character to read about. I hope that if I ever become one of the undead, I can still keep it light like he does. Aaron makes his brother, Chris, who is the father of Melisa’s child, just look bad. He’s willing to go as far as needed to protect her and her unborn child.


Amazon Link – http://amzn.to/2poA9Tc

Author Website: https://www.thehuntersaga.com/

Author Bio
Nicholas Arriaza has worked as a pizza maker, an electrician, a carpenter, a luxury home electronics salesman, and an owner operator of a successful luxury custom home theater design company. He is now a stay at home dad and fantasy writer. He lives with his wife, their infant son, and Pit-Bull Basil in Los Angeles, CA. THE HUNTER: AWAKENING is his first published novel. He is currently working on the second novel of the saga.

The hospital errors leaving new parents devastated – BBC News

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Media caption‘Our baby son died due to NHS error’

More than 1,400 mistakes are being recorded by maternity staff in hospitals in England each week on average. For some families, those errors can have life-changing consequences.

“Every single day we have to live with the fact that we’re a victim of the NHS,” Adam Asquith tells the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme.

Adam and his fiancee, Sarah Ellis, were expecting their first child in 2014.

“When I first fell pregnant, everything was amazing. We were over the Moon,” Sarah says.

When she went into labour, the pair headed to Calderdale Royal Hospital, in Halifax.

But once there, Sarah was left waiting on a busy maternity ward – even though she told staff she was concerned she couldn’t feel her baby moving.


“We were left for six hours, we didn’t really know anything, they just told us and reassured us that everything was OK,” she says.

Gino was finally delivered by Caesarean section.

But Sarah and Adam’s joy quickly turned to despair.

Image caption Sarah and Adam can’t understand why so many mistakes were made

“One of the doctors pulled me to one side and just said, ‘He’s not in a good condition, he was born in a really bad condition, and if he does pull through, he’s going to be very badly brain damaged,'” Adam says.

“I was in the corridor with Sarah’s mum and dad and I just said, ‘How am I going to tell Sarah that he’s not all right?'”

Gino was placed on a life-support machine. But just days later, Sarah and Adam were advised to withdraw treatment.

“The words used were that he was ‘unrecoverable’ and that was when we knew he wasn’t going to get any better,” she says. “We had to make a joint decision that we would turn the machines off.”

‘Why us?’

The inquest later showed Sarah should have had an emergency Caesarean section hours before she finally did.

A report found medical staff had failed to act on warning signs and Gino had been severely starved of oxygen.

The coroner said the hospital had missed four opportunities to save Gino’s life.

“Everyone makes mistakes – I do, we all do – but to see so many people make so many different mistakes within six hours is just shocking,” Sarah says.

“People who you put your trust in, your life is in their hands, and Gino’s life was in their hands and they didn’t take care of him.”

Sarah and Adam decided to take legal action against the hospital trust and were paid compensation.

“Every single day I think, ‘Why? Why us?” Adam says.

Image caption Lucas was diagnosed with cerebral palsy after being born

An investigation by the Victoria Derbyshire programme has found an average of more than 1,400 mistakes a week were recorded in England’s NHS maternity units between 2013 and 2016.

Figures from 81 NHS trusts out of the 132 in England – obtained through a Freedom of Information request – showed 305,019 adverse incidents had been recorded in the four-year period.

These incidents are when unexpected harm, injury or death has occurred, and include anything from records being lost to a mother or baby dying.

Figures from 39 trusts, for the same four-year period, showed 259 deaths of mothers or babies had been recorded as avoidable or unexpected.

In April, the BBC revealed that England’s Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt had ordered an investigation into a number of deaths and other maternity errors at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Hospital Trust.

Seven baby deaths, later deemed as avoidable, took place at the trust between September 2014 and May 2016.

Angry for life

Jade Penny, 26, is currently suing her local hospital trust, after her eldest son was left with cerebral palsy.

Lucas, now seven, was born three months prematurely, cannot walk or talk and is partially blind and deaf.

Jade’s lawyers argue that Lucas’s brain damage is due to a lack of oxygen when he had his incubation tube replaced. The NHS trust is defending the claim

“Imagine laying down and not being able to breathe, but you can’t tell someone,” Jade says.

“It must be the most horrible thing to go through ever, and he couldn’t tell anyone.

“I think that’s what upsets me the most.

“He’s still alive, but he doesn’t have the quality of life that other kids have.

“For the rest of my life, I’m going to be angry. And I’ll never ever forgive anyone for that.”

The NHS trust is defending the claim.

The Department of Health said it could not respond to the figures regarding maternity ward mistakes due to the pre-election purdah period.

But it said plans were in place to halve rates of stillbirths, neonatal deaths, maternal deaths and brain injuries in babies by 2030.

As part of that, the government has launched a new 8m maternity safety training scheme.

Writing in October, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the government had invested almost 40m since 2010 to make “tangible physical improvements” to maternity units.

He said: “Dedicated and hardworking NHS staff do an incredible job – 24 hours a day, every day of the year – of bringing new babies into the world and achieving great outcomes for women, newborns and their families.”

The Royal College of Midwives says safety is being compromised by the pressure maternity services are under.

Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the college, said: “The simple truth is we do not have enough midwives working in them right now, we are also seeing more leaving the profession because of stress and a slight reduction in the number of student midwives training.

“We need to reduce the number of mistakes to an absolute minimum,” she added. “We can’t deliver the safest possible care if we don’t have enough midwives and doctors working here.”

Watch the Victoria Derbyshire programme on weekdays between 09:00 and 11:00 on BBC Two and the BBC News channel.

Related Topics

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-39794204

Reform ‘high stakes’ primary tests, MPs urge – BBC News

Image copyright iStock
Image caption High stakes tests at 11, put pupils and teachers under unnecessary stress, says the MPs’ report

Children’s education in England is being skewed by the use of high-stakes tests taken by 11-year-olds as a school league table measure, say MPs.

Annual test results should be replaced in the tables by a three-year rolling average to “lower the stakes”, says the Commons Education Select Committee.

The current system has led to a narrow curriculum and “unnecessary stress” on pupils and teachers, argues the report.

Last year, new tougher tests for 11-year-olds saw passes drop sharply.

Ministers maintain that parents have a right to expect testing in schools to show whether their children are gaining the right skills in maths and literacy.

But the committee says the close link between the tests at 11 and school accountability can “lead to a narrowing of the curriculum and ‘teaching to the test’, as well as affecting teacher and pupil well-being”.

It wants the current system scrapped, with three-year rolling averages for schools published instead of the results of individual year groups.

‘Held to account’

The report also calls for greater emphasis in Ofsted inspections on a broad and balanced curriculum.

Committee chairman Neil Carmichael said too much emphasis on test results had led to too much “focus on English and maths at the expense of other subjects like science, humanities and the arts”.

“It is right that schools are held to account for their performance but the government should act to lower the stakes and help teachers to deliver a broad, balanced and fulfilling curriculum for primary school children.”

The report says poor implementation of the new system last year, with “guidance delayed and test papers leaked online”, caused significant disruption in schools.

The MPs want ministers to reconsider the new writing assessment which emphasises “technical aspects like grammar and spelling, over creativity and composition”.

“The balance of evidence we received did not support the proposition that focusing on specific grammatical techniques improved the overall quality of writing.”

They also want spelling, punctuation and grammar tests for 11-year-olds to become non-statutory.

Ministers recently announced proposals to scrap tests for seven-year-olds, following years of pressure from teachers, parents and educationalists.

The Department for Education is consulting on a new assessment for pupils when they first start school – but the report urges caution when introducing a “baseline” measure.

“It should be designed as a diagnostic tool to help teachers identify pupils’ needs and must avoid shifting negative consequences of high-stakes accountability to early years,” they warn.

Image caption Primary pupils need a broad, balanced and fulfulling curriculum, say the MPs

A Department for Education spokeswoman said the government would consider the report carefully and respond in due course.

Ofsted Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman said inspectors already looked for a broad curriculum in every primary school, adding that she had recently announced new research into “how the accountability system, including Ofsted, can encourage the development of a rich curriculum”.

Russell Hobby, National Association of Head Teachers General Secretary, called last year’s tests “a mess of chaos and confusion”.

“Add into this the high-stakes nature of the system for school leaders, and you get a toxic mix.”

Mr Hobby said the union had contributed to the government’s proposals “to begin creating a primary assessment system that works”.

“This report helpfully sets the agenda for the next stage of this debate,” he added.

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-39745884

Rihanna And Lupita Nyong’o Say They’ll Make The Movie Twitter Made Up

Thank you, Twitter.

Over the weekend, a 2014 photo of Rihanna and Lupita Nyongo sitting next to each other at Paris Fashion Week went viral after user @blaquepink shared it with the caption, a picture for the history books.

Twitter user @1800SADGALresponded and laid the groundwork for the movie you never knew you absolutely needed in life.

From there, the idea spiraled, with more Twitter users adding to the plot, Hollywood insiders chiming in, and a vote of confidence from the stars themselves.

After Rihanna responded, folks on Twitter continued to tweet at Ava DuVernay, asking the award-winning director to get involved.

So maybe this is actually happening?!

Oh, please.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/rihanna-lupita-nyongo-fake-twitter-movie_us_58fd57d9e4b06b9cb917c6e6

Rage and Mercy: Part One by Scott Dresden

Story Summary
“This thrilling book delivers a violent tale that is ultimately as surprising as it is gruesome.” Kirkus Review Sayer didn’t expect his life to go any further than wherever his wealthy clients told him to drive to, until he worked for Diana Westcherry. The young, beautiful, epileptic woman stubbornly imposes her kindness on Sayer, exposing a life that could’ve been, if she’d been his mother. Through Diana, Sayer learns that nothing determines a man’s life more than the mother he was born from. And when drug fiends murder her for purse change, Sayer will slaughter all of them to immortalize her, the mother he was denied. But knowing now that the greatest gift a father could give his child is choosing the mother of his child, he abducts Amanda to create the child he was supposed to be. Rage and Mercy is the story of Amanda and Sayer. Amanda is a born again Christian on a mission to shepherd lost souls to God. Sayer is her black kidnapper, determined to give his future child the white, Christian mother he never had. While there is nothing Sayer wouldn’t do for his future child, Amanda must discover if she can endure impossible horrors to prove that no child of God is beyond redemption.

4.5 Stars San Francisco Book Review – https://sanfranciscobookreview.com/product/rage-and-mercy-part-1/

Scott Dresden’s Rage and Mercy: Part One is an intricate fictional work that will engross a reader’s attention start to finish. The murder of Diana, a young, virtuous woman, triggers Sayer, her former driver to embark on the systematic extermination of an unwanted population of drug addicts, referred to as “fiends.” The novel follows Sayer, Diana, Norris, and Adams, the detectives investigating the murders, Margot, a photographer who stumbles across the story, and Amanda, an entwined acquaintance of Diana. Reflective one-liners pop up throughout the narrative, offering thought-provoking concepts, such as “’Catch the devil before you cuff the suspect’” and “’…the most consequential decision a father can ever make for his child is to choose the mother who bears it, and the best fathers do not ask permission or apologize for what they do for their children. I became wealthier than nearly everyone by yielding to no one but my family.’”

Each chapter incorporates another layer to titillate and enthrall readers. Dresden’s work requires a mature audience to appreciate and comprehend the graphic material woven throughout the novel. Dresden boldly engages the themes of rape and murder in a very candid, up-front manner, while avoiding the tendency of some authors to romanticize the acts. Moreover, he considers these themes through the lens of motherhood in a manner not typically utilized. Readers will have to decide for themselves the character, composition, and impact of a “good” mother. Situations like this arise throughout the narrative, encouraging readers to reconsider self-determined truths, like where the boundary between good and evil truly falls. Readers may find themselves sympathizing with, or even rooting for, the vigilante as he tries to avenge the honorable life stolen before its time.

Rage and Mercy: Part One will leave readers on the each of their seats anxiously awaiting the next installment of Dresden’s premier work. Clearly identified as Part One, the novel leaves many questions unanswered at the close of the first installment. How deep into the story will Margot probe? What will happen to Amanda after she escapes captivity? Will Sayer walk away before his vendetta consumes him? We can only hope Scott Dresden does not delay. Rage and Mercy: Part One weaves an elaborate narrative of deceit, desire, hope, and destruction that many readers will instantaneously begin again. Ideal for sunny days at the beach or stormy nights with some popcorn, this book will prove an excellent addition to any adult’s reading list.

Amazon Link – http://amzn.to/2rOUTG3

Nina Simone and me: An artist and activist revisited

(CNN)I was surfing online when I stumbled upon a mural in Baltimore painted by artist Ernest Shaw. It’s a three-headed portrait of civil rights icons: James Baldwin, Malcolm X and, of course, Nina Simone.

Even within the boundaries of my computer screen, the painting on the side of a building at 401 Lafayette Street was powerful.
Curious that the artist had chosen Simone as part of the trifecta, I dialed Shaw, a 41-year-old teacher at the Maryland Academy of Technology & Health Sciences. He’s taught kids at Baltimore city schools for 14 years and is keen to mentor inner-city youth in some artistic way.
    “I understand why you chose Malcolm and Baldwin. But why Nina?” I asked Shaw.
    The answer was immediate.
    “I have the utmost respect for her because she stood up for her beliefs. She sacrificed her career for her activism,” Shaw said.
    And that kind of activism could not be more relevant today, he said, given all that has transpired since the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in the summer of 2014.
    Shaw and I spoke about Simone as artist and activist.
    He told me he’d been raised by parents who were adamant about exposing him to the history and culture of black America. Simone was part of the learning process.
    “Malcolm X touched me in my 20s; Baldwin in my 30s. Now in my 40s, as I am watching my daughter grow into womanhood, it’s Nina Simone,” he told me. Her biography, he said, “could be a case study for what a lot of black women deal with. And she chose to deal it with it head on.”

    New recognition for singer-activist

    Yet few in America know Simone’s story. In my own circle of friends and colleagues, mention of the singer’s name often gets this reaction: “Nina who?”
    I’m hopeful that will change. Simone, it seems, may finally be getting her due.
    A new documentary by filmmaker Liz Garbus, “What Happened, Miss Simone?” opened in theaters in 2015 and is streaming on Netflix. And though the film has its flaws, it serves as a good introduction to Simone. Sony Music has released “Nina Revisited,” an accompanying all-star tribute album featuring 16 songs. And a Hollywood biopic, albeit troubled, hit theaters in April 2016.
    There is no better time perhaps to enter the stark, stalwart and sensual world of Simone. In the aftermath of nationwide police brutality protests and tragedies like the 2015 slaughter of black lives in a Charleston church, Simone’s music is as relevant as it was when she first turned her music into a vehicle for activism.
    She became known as the voice of the civil rights movement with songs like “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” and “Mississippi Goddam,” a visceral response to the 1963 killings of Medgar Evers in Jackson, Mississippi, and four girls in a church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama.
    For that, Simone paid a price. Garbus’ documentary shows how Simone never gained the kind of celebrity that she deserved. Radio stations refused to play her music; venues were hesitant to book her. They feared she would speak her mind on stage and mince no words in lashing out against injustice and discrimination.
    Had it not been for her outspokenness, her principles, she might have gained the fame of an Aretha Franklin or Diana Ross.
    But as it were, Nina Simone never relished a string of Number 1 hits. But, she changed lives. Like mine. She made me think about race in America in a way I never had before.

    Simone brought me awareness

    I watched the documentary for a fourth time the week it debuted and thought back to a solitary and anguished drive home I made many decades ago from Florida’s death row. The condemned man told me that he found solace in Marvin Gaye’s 1971 anthem “Inner City Blues.”
    But several years before, Simone had recorded a piece that was equally powerful. It was that song that made me, still a teenager, ponder the structure of the lives of people around me in small-town Florida.
    Mr. Backlash, Mr. Backlash/ Just who do you think I am? /You raise my taxes, freeze my wages /And send my son to Vietnam
    I listened to the song again as Florida prepared for that man’s execution. He had just recounted to me a life of growing up poor and black in the American South.
    You give me second class houses /And second class schools /Do you think that all colored folks /Are just second class fools?
    Live oaks shimmied by unnoticed as I lost myself in Simone’s voice. I was a young reporter wrestling with the execution of a man — whether guilty or not — who I believed had not received a fair trial.
    Mr. Backlash /I’m gonna leave you /With the backlash blues
    Simone wrote “Backlash Blues” with the writer Langston Hughes and it stopped me cold the first time I heard it in the late 1970s. Until then, I had been an immigrant girl from India, influenced heavily by the teachings of Mohandas Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore.
    Tagore, India’s only Nobel Prize-winning writer, was brilliant in his artistry. His poetry made me think, too. About freedom and speaking out against wrongs.
    My mother sang his songs and schooled me in their meaning. I admired the way Tagore shunned Western clothes and spoke of how the British betrayed their own Western ideals with colonialism.
    Tagore taught me to stand tall in my short Indian frame.
    But it was Simone who awakened me to my brownness in white America.
    When I try to find a job / To earn a little cash
    All you got to offer / Is your mean old white backlash
    I arrived in north Florida with my family in the mid-1970s. It was a world of black and white, and back then the two rarely met in harmony. In college, a classmate who was a music major introduced me to Nina Simone.
    “She wanted to be the first black classical pianist,” my friend told me.
    She just wanted to glide her fingers over the keys and play Bach. Instead, she gained fame as a singer of jazz standards, blues and fiery protest songs.
    He made me a cassette and that was it. I listened in the car. I listened late at night on my bed.
    But the world is big / Big and bright and round / And it’s full of folks like me / Who are black, yellow, beige and brown
    Mr. Backlash/ I’m gonna leave you /With the backlash blues

    An incredible influence

    I became addicted to Simone’s deep, baritone, almost androgynous sound. I became fascinated with her history, her music, the tough choices she made in her life to stand up against Jim Crow. I even fell in love with the way she looked — the African dresses and jewelry she carried off with more grace than any haute couture model. After Nina, I shed my Levis for long Indian skirts and dangling brass earrings.
    Simone’s music defined me as a journalist — some of the very first people I interviewed were Angela Davis and Maya Angelou.
    If Simone was able to touch an Indian teenager like myself, I can only imagine her influence on African-Americans. The enormous sphere of that influence has resurfaced as academics, artists and cultural critics have weighed in after the release of Liz Garbus’ film.
    Syreeta McFadden, managing editor of the online literary magazine Union Station, wrote:
    “Civil Rights-era music is often associated with a particular soundscape, which is popularly understood as gospel mixed with the pop sensibilities of Motown. This understanding erases Simone’s vital contribution, the full depth of her contribution to secular music consciousness, her role in orienting black and white audiences alike to the liberation struggles of the civil-rights movement.”
    And Salamishah Tillet, an assistant professor of English and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, who is writing a book on Simone, said in a NPR story:
    “Like so many of my generation, I found (Simone) through hip-hop loops and samples. … Simone’s mix of headiness and haunt, lyrical boldness and political bombast makes her the hero of our hip-hop generation. We look to her as our muse; we listen to her because we want to know what freedom sounds like.”
    I thought about Simone’s reach as I spoke with Shaw in Baltimore. As an artist, he drew inspiration from Simone’s convictions, expressed succinctly in one of several interviews included in the documentary.
    “An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times,” Simone said.
    It’s a line that John Legend and Common quoted in their 2015 Oscar acceptance speech when they won for their song from “Selma.”
    “How can you be an artist and not document the times?” Shaw asked.

    ‘The struggle is ongoing’

    Simone died in 2003. I wonder what she would have to say about the “movement” today. She’d like the idea that a tribute album came out on the day the Confederate flag went down in South Carolina. She’d probably like the idea that so many young black people are again taking to the streets to protest injustice. (In 1978, she sang: “Oh, Baltimore. Ain’t it hard just to live.”)
    Filmmaker Garbus told Salon that Simone’s voice is one that is very needed today.
    “We were in our edit room when the events of Ferguson were unfolding,” Garbus said. “It reminds you that the struggle is ongoing and that her music and her words are as necessary and as relevant as they were then. It doesn’t shape the film, but it is certainly a ripe moment for the film to be coming out.”
    To me, Nina Simone remains an embodiment of freedom.
    “I tell you what freedom is to me: no fear,” Simone said in an interview.
    That line is a guiding light.
    As troubled as Simone’s life may have been, she has been a source of strength. It’s why I listen to her songs when I am up and when I am down. When I need a dose of inspiration and when I just need to smile.
    For that, I am ever grateful, Miss Simone.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/11/entertainment/nina-simone-revisited/index.html

    The Salad Oil King–by author M.G. Crisci

    Reviewed by the San Francisco Book Review, getting 5 stars

    From the review:

    The story of Alfonso “Fonso” Gravanese has all the elements needed to be a classic tale of American crime, and it spins out from a master storyteller.

    Based on a true story and plenty of applicable lessons today about greed and corruption.

    You can read more about it here – http://mgcrisci.com/books/salad-oil-king/

    Buy it here – http://amzn.to/2oPX6Sb