WE ARE: 5 women navigating our twenties in search of peace, happiness and love (or not). WE WRITE: about everything and nothing. From the insane to the mundane- you will find different paths taken, lessons learned and lives lived. WE THINK: you’ll enjoy it...Warning: Consumption of these views may leave you enlightened while intoxicated.


The View From Here will conclude on Friday, October 1, our third year anniversary. We would like to spend this month thanking all of our readers, followers, haters, visitors, family, friends, and fans for your continued support, encouragement, and comments over these past few years. Thanks y'all!
-The Five Spot

Friday, August 28, 2009

The White Stuff

So earlier this week I attended a community meeting with the local police. Now I am not one to usually attend my community meetings – I mean if you saw the kinda emails that go around the list serv about missing turtles and how they have tried to “rescue” raccoons seen in the daytime, you would understand why. But this meeting was called by some relatively newcomers to the neighborhood whose car had been broken into recently and then to add insult to injury, broken into again the morning of said community meeting. And they were pretty upset with what they deemed as the police’s lackadaisical response. And since my car had been broken into last November, my mom was all, “you gotta come and be counted.” Argg!

So anyway. We get there and it’s nothing but white folks which is not surprising considering our neighborhood. But what happened next was what I like to call an exercise in white people. Now even though I live in the whitest of whitest counties, well actually it’s getting browner by the day, I don’t really interact with them in what I consider ‘Rum Punch space’. I have written lots on my say it loud I’m Black and I’m proud upbringing. And I kinda continue to live my life that way. Not because I have something against white people, it’s just the way it be for me. And so because I’m content in being ignorant, I really only rock with white people at work and while I’m chilling on U Street and they’re steadily taking over DC one block at a time.

So back to the meeting. These white people were hopping mad. Getting all indignant with the police. Being all “elitist” and prefacing statements with, “I’m a lawyer and I get what you’re saying, but…” Not wanting to wait for these crimes to register as a trend and demanding for more police patrolling NOW! Ready to start a neighborhood watch immediately following the meeting. Holding the police’s feet to the fire and not letting them try to b.s. their way out of a single answer. It was totally amazing to watch cause I had kinda forgotten that white people don’t be bullshytin. Like at all. And I mean debate this all you want, but that’s one of the reasons they rule the world. Invading people’s homeland, then subsequently killing, enslaving and colonizing them, are other reasons. But let’s not go there today.

And so in all of this, I couldn’t help but think that we, i.e., black folk, really need to take note on how they get ‘er done. I know recently there's been a whole Stop Snitching movement. And I know that for obvious reasons, we are a people who don’t trust the police, the system, the man. But I also know that there is power in standing up as a community. Power in using the rights we've finally been granted. Power in going to the polls and electing judges who won’t just continue to put these car thieves back out on the streets without penalty because the victims aren’t coming to court to express their anger. Power in calling your state representative repeatedly about a broken streetlight until it is finally fixed, as a man from the meeting explained he did. Power in holding all people, your tax dollars pay, accountable – from the garbage collector to the President of the United States.

That’s my time y’all! Happy Rum Punch Friday!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

notes from the road

first i must apologize cause i left the 5 spot hanging last week. on my way out of town for a much needed extended vacay, i intended to write enough posts to keep my seat warm on all the thursdays until i came back. but then i hit the deck of the cruise ship, poured myself a glass of firefly and let all my cares float away.

i felt a lil bad but my homegirl reminded me that it's all about me! not about the many clients i left behind, the piles of files that are sitting on my desk, or the hundreds of messages in my voicemail. and so in honor of much needed vacays, i leave you with that. no worries, i'll be back next week.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bellinis breakin' it down, vol ii.

I reserve such posts for topics in need of sincere thought and robust discussion. It's been almost 2 years since my last breakdown whoa, time flies. And now ladies and gentlemen, a second installment is long overdue.

The impetus to write this post, was urged by this e-mail I received from a friend.
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FYI... old but still INTERESTING... whole foods boycott..
Basic Info
Name: Boycott Whole Foods
Type: Common Interest - Politics
Description: John Mackey, CEO and co-founder of Whole Foods wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on August 12, 2009 quoting Margaret Thatcher and suggesting that healthcare is a commodity that only the rich, like him, deserve.
i beg to differ with this synopsis
Whole Foods has built its brand with the dollars of deceived progressives. Let them know your money will no longer go to support Whole Foods' anti-union, anti-health insurance reform, right-wing activities.
Please contact BRAVO to ask them to drop Whole Foods as the official supermarket of the show.


To read more about why we are calling for a boycott and why a boycott will work, visit our blog: http://wholeboycott.com

Media: http://wholeboycott.com/media-relations/
Schedule Event: http://wholeboycott.com/schedule-boycott-events/
Arts for the Boycott: http://wholeboycott.com/arts-for-the-boycott/

Contact Info
Website: http:///wholeboycott.com
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Although, I decided to share, I must protect the innocent. This e-mail was sent to 3 groups, 2 of the groups are black students/alumni from an ivy league university and the other group is a coalition of black professionals whom have ties to a southern state. Can I say, black folks are CRAAAAZZZZZYYYYY.

All this hoopla, stems from the Obama administration's efforts to revamp the US healthcare system. The demagouges on the right desire to bring the plan down along with the presidency. Your girl, Sarah Palin done lost her mind talking about the plan requires euthanasia of the elderly. fcking nonsense Anytime, disgraced Republicans are creating PACS (political action committees) to fund these town hall protests, folks have got to take notice. Now, what kicked this issue to third gear was a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece by the CEO of Whole Foods, John Mackey. "The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare" is semi-brillant. Remeber, I stated semi-.

Now, folks want to boycott and such and urge the Bravo network to dissolve of its relationship with Whole Foods. And upwardly mobile black folks, think they're progressive and shit and are a mobilizing a campaign?!?


time for Bellini's Breakdown

Mackey's lists 8 tenets.
6 out of 8 of those tenets are absolutely on point. Indisputable.
For expediency, I will list the 75% he got right:

1. Remove the legal obstacles that slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts (HSAs).

2. Equalize the tax laws so that that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits.

3. Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines.

4. Make costs transparent so that consumers understand what health-care treatments cost.

5. Enact Medicare reform.

6. Finally, revise tax forms to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren’t covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

You have got to give it to Mackey, he's right. I for one have a high-deductible health insurance plan. It's excellent. Do I feel my plan is in jeopardy if the President succeeds in revamping healthcare? Absolutely not. Now, don't get me wrong an HDHP is not for everyone. If you tend to be ill or require multiple prescription drugs -- this plan will burn a hole in you a$$ literally and figuratively. But if your health is up to snuff, explore the plan. HDHP tend to be slighltly cheaper than your standard PPOs because they siphon some of your healthcare premium into a health savings account (HSA) where you have access to your money to pay for co-pays, prescription drugs, etc. And Uncle Sam won't take it after the calendar year expires, it will rollover and can earn you interest. My employer offers 10 various PPO (preferred provider organizations)plans, in addition to 6 HMO (health maintenace organizations) plans and would you believe only 1 of the PPO providers offers this HDHP. I could be wrong, but I do not believe HMOs offer HDHPs. When I initially enrolled in this plan and I peppered the customer service rep with questions, she informed me the healthcare provider didn't offer that specific option to its own employees. You want to know why, because you are empowered with your own money as you should be.

This was the hook that put "progressives" in a tizzy:
"With a projected $1.8 trillion deficit for 2009, several trillions more in deficits projected over the next decade, and with both Medicare and Social Security entitlement spending about to ratchet up several notches over the next 15 years as Baby Boomers become eligible for both, we are rapidly running out of other people’s money. These deficits are simply not sustainable. They are either going to result in unprecedented new taxes and inflation, or they will bankrupt us."

Oh, boy. Little did Mackey know or did he, that this paragraph rubbed "progressives" the wrong damn way.
Politricking 101 -- In a debate, you will seize the momentum if you phrase the argument to your advantage by utilizing key words.

How many keywords can you identify in Mackey's opening paragraph? In the first sentence Mackey utilizes 2 words: deficits and entitlement. First, of all those two words are polar opposites providing an ill-effect on the reader. As you continue with the paragraph, everything he stated was pure fact. progressives, he didn't lie.

Yet, Mackey's op-ed will go downhill due to his sentiments in the second paragraph:
"While we clearly need health-care reform, the last thing our country needs is a massive new health-care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of our health-care system. Instead, we should be trying to achieve reforms by moving in the opposite direction—toward less government control and more individual empowerment."

Mackey, Mackey, Mackey...
FYI: poor people, shit-- middle class people have a hard time getting by. And by the time, they cover their basic necessities (food, shelter, etc.) ain't shit left. And when they catch a cold, they hold off until it's pneumonia and they find themselves in the emergency room--where costs are going to exponentially skyrocket.

Now, Mackey, clearly you're a strict constructionist when it comes to the US Constitution. You basically assert several times in you op-ed that healthcare is not an intrinsic right. But commonsense will tell you Mackey, citizens need some type of basic coverage. What it is, has yet to be determined. Folks, can not go on being sickly and ill and you think minute tax write-offs from more affluent members of society will be the panacea. Have we not learned anything from the 80s? Reagan economics does not work, wealthy people will horde more of their money versus trickling it down to the point it makes a significant impact on those at the lower economic strata. So, you got it wrong on your other 2 tenets:

7. Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover.

8. Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors to pay insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

The private sector has a poor track record of covering the basics, unless Uncle Sam coerces their hand. So, unless he could specifically identify what coverage are luxuries -- it's a vacuous statement. Now, I'm torn on tort reform. Tort reform evolved as we know it because juries realized when health care providers fcucked up one's life, all they would do is give him them an extra hard kick in the ass. And that ain't right.

Folks, you gotta give it up to the Wall Street Journal for sensationalizing the op-ed with the manufacture of a clever headline. Classic case of divide and conquer. Hate to keep it straight with the progressives out there, but it would behoove you to have Mackey have a seat at the healthcare table. And Mackey, you're not off the hook. You are entitled to your opinion and clearly you knew your audience when you were reaching out to the business cachet of the WSJ, however didn't your media team remind you of the pros and cons of publishing your opinion and the potential impact to your customer base??? Now, don't worry Bellini will continue to purchase her catfish from Whole Foods. i was just there 2 days ago and I reckon I'm going back tonight!



P.S. Folks, I'm sorry this was a lil' long. But if I don't break it down-- who will?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Real World

I am of the opinion that everyone lives in their own world. Not saying that everyone is sitting in a corner, staring off in space, drooling and having sharp objects kept away from them. But I as continue to get my adult on, I realize that perception is reality, and sometimes what is perceived is false!

For a long time I thought that I was a very understanding person. I thought I was the type of person who tried to understand where someone else was coming from. Or what it was like to walk a mile in another person’s shoes. But as you can see from this, where I was more than sure that he was being a racist and nothing else, maybe I am not “very” understanding at all. My perception of his actions became my reality. I doubt that I was wrong (tee hee)…but maybe I was. The fact that in my world, what I perceived was right has now shaped a whole different opinion of this man. From now on, he will be defined by this one conversation that he’s probably forgot about. Meanwhile, I’m in my cube wondering why people still can’t see me as a person and not just a young Black woman.

And my perception of things has affected relationships with friends and family. A friend of mine was once afraid to tell me that they had accidently broken something of mine because they were afraid of my reaction, they perceived that I would not be understanding. For years I thought my dad was a certain type of person because of something he did, not knowing (until 8 years later) the reason why he did it. If only I had known sooner, or at least been aware of what was really going on, then things could totally be different in our relationship now. Yet for years I threw a pity party for myself. For years I harbored anger and resentment, that now I view as just wasted time, wasted emotions.

And how easy it is for us (especially women folk) to get tied up in our world of emotion because of what we think we see. If your boss doesn’t call on you in a meeting then it must mean you are getting fired. If your significant other doesn’t call you at the same time for two days, then they must be seeing someone else. If you don’t get invited to the party then no one in the world likes you. Not saying anything against women’s intuition, but at times all these thoughts and emotions seem just as silly as thinking the coat rack at night is a monster lurking in corner. The reality is the world is not always how you perceive it to be.

See You In Seven

Monday, August 24, 2009

Mother-Daughter, Daughter-Girlfriend

When there are two strong personalities in a room… it is really hard for them not to clash. Someone has to take a back seat. Ever since, I was a child my mother always made it known that she IS the Queen B so that was my cue to take the backseat. Well when tall glass C is in the room, little C takes a back seat.

On this recent visit, my mother comments that I don’t seem like I am happy to see her. I am sitting here thinking and “what would that look like?” Not to be facetious but serious, “what would that look like?” Before every visit, I make plans (that you are aware of) to do something… GREAT plans… Mother-daughter bonding, new experiences plans but they never come to fruition because you intercept my first attempt. And determined as I am to try again, you always seem to shut it down. Can’t you see I am just trying to avoid answering the same exact question when you leave “How come we don’t do those things when I come to visit?”

There is no room for me to be me. The room is only but so big.

My friends and I, act as equals… we consult. Some personalities might be larger than others but we never over power. I don’t know what to tell you mother, other than I treasure the times we have together the best that I can. I apologize if you don’t see the same smiles on my face in person that you see in photos but after twenty plus odd years of training me to be the way that I am in your presence, I am NOT sure I even know how to be different around you. This is the same smile you saw when I was 6, 12 and 18.

For those of you who don’t know, I have two personas… no Sasha and b, but C and daughter A. Neither one of them is fake or unreal but daughter A is who my mother knows, who tall C is used to. C is not one to be ashamed of but believe me tall C could never handle C. So when tall C goes off on a tangent talking adult type conversations, i.e. divorce, baby making, etc. daughter A lets her rant and says nothing. Why? Because daughter A hardly EVER agrees but is respectful enough to not voice it. Tall C seems to think that because I come from her, that to disagree is to be disrespectful and we should on the same level. You can’t look for me to be your girlfriend now mother that was never nurtured from the beginning.

Now do I try and explain this to Tall C? Hell to the NO! What would be the point, so I smile and I say, of course I had a good time and it was great to see you; which is true. I treasure this relationship for what it is… I don’t expect to be anything else than what it is. Embrace the good aspects that we do share, the grass always looks greener on the other side. It is okay to hear a little something new about me when you talk to others that interact with me in a different setting. I am sure I would hear the same of you.

Much luv until next week… peace :)