A Window into the Future? Record number of car buyers ‘upside down’ on trade-ins

Image result for sacramento car dealerships

Record number of car buyers ‘upside down’ on trade-ins

BY:Greg Gardiner/Detroit Free Press

The wave of easy credit and longer auto loans has left a record percentage of consumers trading in vehicles that are worth less than what they owe on their loans.

In auto finance parlance, these folks are underwater, or upside down. They already are affecting the market as automakers boost incentives and subprime lenders monitor their delinquency rates more closely.

So far this year, a record 32%, or nearly one-third, of all vehicles offered for trade-ins at U.S. dealerships are in this category, according to research by Edmunds.com. When these people go to buy a new vehicle they must add the difference between their loan balance and the vehicle’s value to the price of the one they want to buy.

For perspective, the lowest the underwater percentage has been was 13.9% in 2009, the depths of the Great Recession when credit was tight. The previous high was 29.2% in 2006, about when the housing market was near its frothiest point.

“There’s been a lot of water building behind this dam for some time because of higher transaction prices, lower down payments and long-term loans,” said Greg McBride, chief analyst with Bankrate.com, a consumer finance information service.

The average new car loan is for 68 months, according to Experian Automotive, which tracks the auto finance market. But subprime borrowers, generally those with FICO credit scores in the low 600s or lower, are borrowing over an average of 72 months, or six years.

While those loans reduce monthly payments, they also mean that the buyer’s equity, or the portion of the loan principal paid off,grows more slowly than the vehicle depreciates.

“It’s problematic for the consumer because there’s no foolproof way to eliminate his financial exposure,” McBride said. “If the car gets stolen, is totaled or you get new car envy while you’re upside down then it’s a big problem.”

This is happening as the average selling price of a new vehicle is near a historic high of about $34,000. Some of that increase is driven by consumers’ preference for larger, fully equipped pickups, SUVs and crossovers.

The result is consumers borrow more to get the vehicle they want. The average new auto loan was $29,880 in the second quarter of this year, according to Experian Automotive. That’s 4.8% higher than a year earlier.

Moreover, leasing, which has reached record levels of more than 30% of all vehicle sales, has grown more popular for several years.

Already, especially in segments such as subcompact, compact and midsize cars, used car values are falling as a wave of 3-year-old models are returned by lessees. This increased supply is pushing down the price dealers are willing to pay for them at auctions.

Just last week, Ford Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks told analysts that the company’s finance arm, Ford Credit, cut its forecast for 2017 pretax profits because of declining auction values for used cars.

Credit agencies, such as Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch, so far, have expressed mild concern about the trend. Their focus is on the $38-billion market for securities backed by auto loans. These are bundles of auto loans, similar to the tranches of mortgages that collapsed in the 2008 crash of the housing bubble.

But they are also different. History shows borrowers are more likely to stay current on their car loans than on their house payments if the economy weakens. Lenders can

repossess automobiles more quickly than it takes for mortgage holders to foreclose on a house.

Fitch reported that 60-days-plus delinquencies on subprime auto loans rose to 5.05% in September, the second highest level since 2001, and 13.2% higher than a year earlier.

“When you look at recessionary levels where unemployment was near 10% in 2009 and late 2008, we touched 5.04%,” said Hylton Heard, senior director at Fitch Ratings. “Today you’re pretty much at that peak.”

Fortunately, unemployment is down to 4.9% nationally. Prime borrowers have a 60-day delinquency rate of only 0.44%. Those factors tend to offset the higher risk in the subprime market.

New vehicle sales are expected to continue slightly below their record year-ago levels in November, according to J.D. Power and LMC Automotive.

Yet even their forecast flags some warning signs.

Incentive spending in early November rose to $3,886 per vehicle, up 15% from $3,374 from November 2015 and the second-highest level ever behind the record $3,939 set in September.

“People’s monthly payments are being kept very low by low interest rates that most manufacturers are willing to subsidize,” said Ivan Drury, senior analyst at Edmunds.com. “But if we see those rates go up a bit, some of these people won’t be able to afford their cars.”


Will the next President of France be a Conservative? Eight things to know about Fillon – ‘The French Thatcher’

Eight things to know about Fillon - 'The French Thatcher'


After winning the rightwing presidential primary, François Fillon will now be installed as the favorite to win next year’s presidential election. Here’s what you need to know about the open admirer of Margaret Thatcher.

He’s a big fan of Margaret Thatcher

Openly saying you are an admirer of the former Conservative British Prime Minister is normally risky business for a Frenchman.

She and Ronald Reagan are often seen as the bad parents of the neoliberal economic revolution in the 1980s that France has never really adjusted to.

But Fillon, who was Prime Minister under ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy for five years, likes the Iron Lady because according to him she got her country back on track.

“She is the symbol of an inflexible political determination to stop a situation of decline,” said Fillon back in 2014.

And in the run up to last Sunday’s first round vote Fillon hit back at his rivals who compared him to Thatcher in a bid to turn French voters against him.

“Some candidates wanted to be unkind by calling me Thatcherite, but it pleased me,” Fillon said. “At least she left her mark as someone who straightened out her country.”

“She’s a woman who has been elected three times. There is not a single president of the French Republic who has been elected three times, so she had the confidence of the British.”

Franois is the only candidate to deeply admire Margaret Thatcher and say it out loud. Quite unusual in France, to say the least.

The word “Thatcher” was trending in France the day after the first round  in a sign the French public were trying to find out just how much Fillon was a fan.

Left leaning newspaper Liberation made it clear on their front cover exactly what Fillon means for France.

He loves Thatcher because…

Fillon’s love for all things Thatcher is linked to his desire for a “total rupture” as a means to pull France’s struggling economy into the 21st century.

Like Thatcher Fillon wants to cut back state spending, or more to the point completely shred it and impose liberal economic policies.

He says he wants to make €100 billion of savings in five years. To do that he wants to cut 500,000 jobs in the French civil service, raise the retirement age to 65, scrap the 35-hour week for the private sector and raise the legal working week to 39 hours for civil servants.

In terms of the working week, he would simply set a maximum of 48 hours in line with EU law.

Some 20 percent of the €110 billion worth of cuts will be made by local authorities. Fillon also wants to put a lower cap on unemployment benefits.

He’s also a friend of business and wants to cut levies on firms to the tune of €40 billion and implement €10 billion of tax cuts for households. He also wants to scrap France’s wealth tax on the richest residents, called ISF.

To cover for these cuts, he wants to raise VAT by two percentage points.

Fillon also wants to scrap most of France’s labor laws, and leave disputes to be sorted out at sector or company level, to try and break the power of the unions.

Last month French right wing magazine Le Point made it clear it too was in favor of a dose of Thatcherism to turn the country around.

Fillon’s a follower of Trump when it comes to Russia

Not many mainstream French politicians have anything in common with Donald Trump but François Fillon does. He too is a fan of Russian leader Vladimir Putin and favors an alliance with Moscow to battle Isis in the Middle East, which the current French administration under François Hollande has avoided, due to Russia’s support for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

“It’s clear Russia has its own interests in the region, but who in the Middle East doesn’t? Fillon wrote in Marianne magazine recently.

Fillon saluted Putin’s “cold and effective pragmatism” in the region.

For Fillon Islam is ‘a big problem’

The former prime minister might not be as obsessed by identity and the role of Islam in France as his former boss Nicolas Sarkozy, but Fillon still has fairly strong views that will not make the country’s Muslim population feel at ease.

“There are no problems with religion in France. There is a problem linked to Islam,” said Fillon.

In his essay “Conquering Islamic Totalitarianism” Fillon says the “bloody invasion of Islamism in our daily lives could provoke a third world war.”

However Fillon is not in favor of banning religious symbols like the Muslim headscarf in public, as Sarkozy suggested he was.

Earlier this year he provoked ire and ridicule dismissed the idea that France should feel guilty about its colonization of North Africa, saying “there was nothing to be ashamed about France just wanting to share its culture.”

“For Fillon, colonialisation was just like Erasmus,” read one sarcastic reaction on Twittter.

He’s anti-gay marriage and a conservative at heart

Fillon was the preferred candidate of the once influential “Manif Pour Tous” anti-gay marriage movement in France because he closely reflected their views.

Although Fillon says he will not try to overturn the legalization of gay marriage that was brought in in 2012, he does want a change of the law to prevent gay couples from being able to adopt children.

Fillon is also against surrogacy and medically assisted births for lesbian couples. On Monday feminists were reminding France that Fillon has said he regrets saying abortion was a “fundamental right of a woman”.

But he does want to boost family allowances and make the payments universal rather than linked to salary as they are now.

He does not believe France is multicultural

Fillon has insisted his vision of France was not as a multicultural country.

When asked whether he saw the future of French society as multicultural he said: “the answer is no”.

France has a history, a language, a culture, of course this culture and language have been enriched by the contributions of foreign populations, but it remains the foundation of our identity,” he said.

When asked during Thursday night’s debate if France was already a multicultural country Fillon said “No, in any case it’s not the choice we made, we did not make the choice of communitarianism and multiculturalism.”

“When we go to somebody’s house, we don’t try to take power,” said Fillon adding that immigrants must respect France’s cultural heritage.

He thinks colonization was just “sharing culture”

Fillon provoked anger and ridicule in equal measure earlier this year when, in a speech to supporters, he said that Franec should not be guilty of its colonial part in North Africa, because it was all just about “sharing culture”.

He also said he would change the history curriculum so pupils would “not be taught to be ashamed of their country”.

Australia: Gay couples can’t get married. But they can adopt. Huh?

Image result for gay AUstralia

Oliver Jacques/ News Corp Australia Network

There was once a time in this country when people got married, then had kids.

But if you’re gay in Australia today, you’re allowed to adopt children, but forbidden from marrying the one you love. This makes no sense at all, especially since our prime minister once lectured us that families are stronger when the parents are “formerly, legally married”.

In November, the Queensland and South Australian parliaments voted in favor of allowing gay couples to adopt children. If passed by the South Australian upper house, same-sex adoption will be legal in every Australian state.

Adoption is very rare in Australia, for both gay and straight couples alike. (Pic: Getty Images)

It’s hard to argue against permitting gays to adopt. Even if you believe that a child is better off with a loving mother and father, the fact is there are thousands of kids who have neither. There are 30,000 Australian children — removed from their birth parents due to abuse or neglect — who have been living away from home for more than two years. Many are drifting in and out of unstable single-parent foster homes. Few are likely to return to their birth families.

Adoption is very rare in Australia, for both gay and straight couples alike. Stifling bureaucracy and restrictive eligibility  means the process takes on average four years. It seems sensible to make adoption easier and more accessible to non-traditional families. Kids who can’t return home would be provided with permanency and stability from an early age, rather than remaining in the child protection system.

Indeed, kids are being so damaged by constant instability, we’re having to institutionalize them again. You might think of orphanages as a relic of the 1950s, but the number of Australian children living in facilities staffed by paid workers has gone up 150 per cent over the past decade.

If you’re gay in Australia today you’re allowed to adopt children, but forbidden from marrying the one you love. (Pic: iStock)

As a recent ABC Four Corners episode revealed, many of these kids are sexually abused or neglected again while in these institutions. Could a properly vetted, stable, loving pair of gay adoptive parents possibly be any worse for them than that?

Malcolm Turnbull has said that families are more likely to remain stable when the parents are married. It’s therefore crazy to allow gay couples to make a lifelong commitment to look after vulnerable children (in desperate need of stability), but prevent them from making a lifelong commitment to each other.

Same-sex adoption has been legalized throughout Australia, without the need for any plebiscites. The federal government must therefore move quickly to allow same-sex marriage.

Even if they don’t care about gay rights, won’t somebody please think of the children?

The Muslims of Cuba

There are believed to be only a few thousand Muslims in Cuba, an officially secular, but largely Catholic country. The majority are foreign students or workers. Hajji Isa, formerly Jorge Elias Gil Viant, a Cuban convert and artist, and former librarian with the Arab-Cuba Union, a cultural organisation based in Havana, estimates that there are about 1,000 Cuban Muslims, both converts and descendants of Muslim immigrants.

“It’s a young community,” he says. “Muslims from abroad have been and still are a determining factor in the creation and development of the Cuban communities … Muslim students from African, Western Saharan, Yemen, Palestine and other Arab countries were a big influence in the 1990s, then later many from Pakistan.”

This, according to Isa, has meant that the small Muslim communities across the island have different characteristics, shaped by those who originally influenced them and local circumstances. As the number of Muslim converts grows, however, people are becoming more aware of Islam as a religion that’s also practised by Cubans. Small businesses, such as Hassan’s, help to bring more Cubans into contact with Muslims and also support the growth of the community.

“This has been a new field for Muslims and has helped them economically and to be able to support Muslim brothers,” Isa says.

Hassan Jan, 43, a Cuban Muslim convert runs a small printing business from his home [Sylvia Hines/Al Jazeera]
The front of Hassan Jan’s house where he prints documents in Santa Clara [Sylvia Hines/Al Jazeera]

Discovering Islam

Hassan’s path to Islam was an unexpected one.

Born Froilan Reyes, he had no religious leanings while growing up.

“I was brought up in the Cuban system,” he says. “I’d never even been in a church.”

A fun-loving party-goer, he worked as an audio technician at the University of Medical Sciences in Santa Clara and also did regular evening stints as a DJ.

This all changed in 2010 during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan when he was required to work with a group of Pakistani medical students studying at the university.

In 2005, an earthquake in Pakistan-administered Kashmir killed more than 86,000 people and left an estimated 2.5 million homeless.

Within a week, Cuba sent more than 2,000 doctors and other medical specialists to help the earthquake affected areas. The following year, it offered 1,000 scholarships for young people from across Pakistan.

Nearly 300 of them were placed at the university where Hassan was working.

Initially, Hassan avoided them.

“People spoke badly of the Muslims, called them terrorists, that sort of thing,” he says.

Then he was assigned to look after the audio requirements for the students’ prayers during Ramadan, and was with them from 2pm until 2am every day.

“At first I was very uncomfortable,” he admits. “I was angry with them because I was afraid. They would invite me to break fast with them, but I refused because I didn’t want to eat with them.” He smiles, shaking his head at the memory.

I remember the third day. They were all praying and I said to myself, ‘What on earth am I doing here?’ I was completely out of my comfort zone. And so it went on until one day I agreed to eat with them and began to talk with them. I saw they had sacrificed a lot to continue with their faith in Cuba,” he says.

“I asked myself, ‘Well, if they’re so bad, how come they’re being so good with me?’ And so I began to talk with them more and realised Islam was something different to how the Cubans talked about it.”

Once Ramadan ended, he resumed his regular job, but continued to see the students and began to read the Quran and to discuss it with them.

Seven months later, he converted and changed his name.

“Allah showed me through the way they behaved that Islam was something else: Islam is peace, it’s the will of God. Allah gave me the opportunity to understand that. It was a gift for me,” he says with a broad smile.

Hassan’s decision to convert initially created problems with his extended family.

“My family at first were against it. Because, like I said, it has a bad reputation. Thats all people know. And it was difficult. There are still people in my family who dont accept that Ive accepted Islam.”

His wife was also hesitant at first.

“I didn’t want to convert because of the things people said – that they abused the women. But I read, I read a lot, I looked for books so that I could understand better,” she says. She converted five months after her husband and changed her name to Shabana.

“At first I didn’t wear the hijab because of people, because I was afraid of what people would say. But then after a year, it entered my heart and now I wear it and even here in the house I forget that I have it on.”

Their children, Aina,16, and Ismael,12, also wear a headscarf and dishdasha.

“It’s quite hard for my daughter at her age,” Shabana says. “She’s 16 and it’s difficult for her at school. I just hope she meets a boyfriend, a man who is Muslim and who can help her. We’ll see. As God wills.”

Shabana Jan, left, who is photographed with her daughter Aina in their Santa Clara home, converted to Islam shortly after her husband embraced the religion [Carlo Bevilacqua/Parallelozero]

Being Muslim in Cuba

Links between the cultures of the Middle East and Cuba go back centuries.

Moors from Andalusia were brought as slaves by Spanish conquerors, with records of this dating back as early as 1593. Over the following centuries, both Muslim and Christian traders from the Middle East were drawn to Cuba by the wealth the sugar trade was generating. Many stayed, mostly in Havana or around Santiago de Cuba, the second-largest city at the far east of the island. Most Arab immigrants, both Muslim and Christian, gave up their religion once in Cuba.

Cuban culture today invariably poses challenges for the country’s practising Muslims. Rum is one of the main items sold at cafes. It’s a popular drink, not least because it costs significantly less than a soft drink. Pork features heavily in Cuban diets – it is the meat of choice for every celebration. Supermarkets have recently started importing halal chicken from Brazil, which is unaffordable for most Cubans. Clothes, such as the dishdasha or head-covering, have to be brought into the country or are left behind as gifts by Muslims from other countries.

“Many brothers from other countries have said to me that we Cuban Muslims are the real Muslims, because it is so much harder to observe here than in a country where many people share the same beliefs and practices,” Isa says.

Hassan struggled in the beginning.

“Food is difficult because everything’s forbidden. The meat we eat most is pork, which is forbidden … And really there are a lot of temptations in the street. To be honest, it is a bit difficult, but Allah gives you the strength to go on,” he says.

Since converting to Islam, Hassan and Shabana’s lifestyle has changed completely, and is now centred on time spent at home.

“Im very happy in my house, Im quiet. I dont go out much,” Shabana says.

“I go out if I need to get something, or to go to the doctors, but not because I want to be in the street,” she says.

Home-run enterprises help bring locals in contact with members of Cuba’s nascent Muslim community [Sylvia Hines/Al Jazeera]

Perceptions about Islam

Cuba’s converts also face challenges stemming from the lack of understanding that many Cubans have about Islam.

Media reports about terrorist attacks and conflict in the Middle East have shaped many Cubans’ perception of the religion.

This is something Hajji Jamal is keen to change.

He makes his living as a taxi driver in Santiago. Like many Cuban converts, he was raised Christian.

“I was a member of the Baptist church. I knew a lot about Christianity, but I could never really understand the Holy Trinity. Then I met a Cuban Muslim who’d been Muslim for many years, and started to talk with him about Islam. He gave me a Quran and said, ‘Read this’. It took me a while, but then eventually I did read it and I could see a logic there, it seemed very sincere, very real and it was this which attracted me to Islam.”

Jamal converted in 2009.

His mother, however, was appalled with his decision. Initially, she wanted him to leave the family home, but relented soon afterwards, allowing him to stay so long as none of his Muslim friends came into the house. When she saw Jamal and his friends standing outside in the sun she softened a little. She now invites them in for a meal.

“She still doesn’t accept Islam, but the Muslims she knows yes, she welcomes them, prepares them food, everything,” he says.

Jamal is an informal representative of Santiago’s Muslim community of about 30 Cubans and 90 foreign students. He works with the authorities, whose presence is widespread with over 70 percent of the population working for the state, to increase their knowledge and understanding about Islam.

“Were trying to give the best possible example of Islam, for at the moment theres a lot of negative messages in the media. People generalise, thinking, ‘If youre Muslim, you must be a terrorist.”

He says: “Many are perverting the image of Islam. Islam is peace. So that is the message we are taking. Not because we expect people to convert, but so they can live comfortably together with Muslims.”

Jamal says freedom of religion is respected under Cuban law.

“[Problems come] usually from authorities in small places who are interpreting the law in their own way. Because the law itself is clear – people can’t be discriminated against by race, religion or colour,” he says.

Some of the Cuban women converts who wear a headscarf have faced objections and discrimination from the authorities in their workplace or universities. According to Isa, such situations are usually resolved through discussion and explanations of what Islam is about. Shabana, however, says that for her “it got complicated” and she left her job. She now provides childcare at home for the son of a Muslim student.

She is reticent to talk about what happened at her former job. “It was just ignorance,” is all she wants to say.

Shabana, like a number of Cuban converts, feels there’s an active role for Muslims to play in increasing understanding among other Cubans about what Islam is.

“When I go out it’s also good, people always ask about the headscarf and in answering their questions they learn something about Islam and that way people begin to adapt. So that they know what Islam is, that it isn’t what people say,” she says.

With no mosque in Santa Clara, Hassan and Shabana Jan have created a small prayer room in their home where Muslims in the area can come and pray [Sylvia Hines/Al Jazeera]

Sport Café: Vegetarian pizzas and conversations about religion

Small businesses serving local communities play a role in generating conversations about Islam in Cuba.

Jorge Miguel Garcia, whose Muslim name is Khaled, is a part owner of a café in Santiago which is both an informal meeting place for the Muslim community and popular with non-Muslim Cubans.

Khaled converted to Islam from Baptism, and his wife of 20 years remains a Baptist.

He used to work in forensic medicine, but when the government enabled Cubans to start setting up small businesses he jumped at the opportunity.

His initial idea was to import motorcycle parts, but with importing businesses not currently on the list of enterprises allowed in Cuba, he instead set up Sport Café with a non-Muslim friend.

They sell dishes which include pork, but Khaled hopes one day to run the cafe completely in accordance with Islamic precepts. He believes it can still be a viable business.

“It’s true that Cubans are very attached to pork products,” he says, “but things are changing and people are more willing to try new dishes. Already I sell vegetarian pizzas, which you don’t see elsewhere, and unlike other cafes, we don’t serve alcohol and that’s never been a problem.”

For him, the café is a valuable, albeit unintentional, way of increasing Cubans’ understanding of Islam.

“People who come for the first time always ask me about Islam and I like that, that they are interested. Many come back specifically because they see it as a healthy place where everyone is treated with respect. Those are the principles of Islam: peace, love and submission to Allah.”

Jorge Miguel Garcia, whose Muslim name is Khaled, runs a cafe with a non-Muslim friend. The cafe is a space where Muslims can get together. He says many non-Muslim customers often end up asking questions about Islam, curious to know more about the religion [Sylvia Hines/Al Jazeera]

A community in the making

In 2015, a museum in Calle Oficios in Old Havana was turned into a prayer house with the support of the Office of the Historian, the body responsible for the restoration of central Havana.

It is the closest thing to a mosque that Cuba currently has and is where Muslims in Havana can go for Friday prayers.

In other towns, the solutions are informal, with people setting up prayer rooms in their own homes.

Hassan and Shabana have a small, rug-filled space in their house where other Santa Clara Muslims come to pray.

“We don’t have much to offer them,” Shabana says, “but brothers and sisters are always welcome.”

Jamal says a community prayer space for Muslims in Santiago is a priority.

As yet there is no approval, or funding, for a mosque.

“We’re building a small space, about 12 square metres, to pray in. Hopefully in the future – God willing – they’ll let us build a proper mosque. That way we’ll be able to interact as a community, learn from each other – it’s always good to meet and learn from people in other countries.”

Some support comes from outside. Saudi Arabia has funded language labs in both Havana and Santiago and in 2014 had a stand at the Havana Book Fair where literature about Islam and copies of the Quran in Spanish were distributed. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who died in January last year, sponsored five Cubans to make the Hajj pilgrimage in 2014. It’s a near-impossible dream for most Cuban Muslims, with state employees earning around $20 a month.

Jamal and Isa were fortunate to be among the five.

“I never expected to go on Hajj so early,” Jamal says.

“When I arrived at Jeddah, at the airport, the first thing I heard was the sound of prayer, and I began to cry,” he recalls.

“Cuba has changed for sure,” Jamal says. “But for me things will really have changed when we’re allowed to build our own mosque, our own centre of studies – to have the same privileges that other religions have. When women can wear the veil without any problems. Those will be the real changes.”

This story is part of the My Cuba series. More stories from the series can be read here.

Sport Cafe owned by a Muslim and a non-Muslim, currently serves no alcohol, but it does make dishes featuring pork, which is widely eaten in Cuba [Sylvia Hines/Al Jazeera]

The Real Housewives of Atlanta S9 Ep4 “BLOCK a Stereotypical Dead Beat Dad”

Image result for russell block spencer net worth

There are two things that’s clear this season. 1.The silly bickering between Kenya and Sheree has bored everyone to tears.  2. Bob Whitfield is very funny and a welcome addition. He’s one of the few husbands on the show (ex) who has a real sense of humor. .   As you ponder that, were gonna move on to Cynthia.

 Ms Cynthia Bailey, is quite the enterprising lady.   She expanding, in addition  to the Cynthia Bailey Eyewear line, she is introducing Cargo an accessory line.   Understanding her product and wanting to reach a younger demographic, she choose her teenage daughter Noelle ,to be the official face of Cargo.  The new line is introduced in L.A where Ms Bailey was slick and professional. Sheree and Kenya should take notes. She is slick and professional .

In La, she meets with Noelle’s father Leon Robinson, and tells him of her plans to Divorce Peter. Leon, said he thought Cynthia and Peter moved too fast,something Cynthia had heard from others.   She breaks down, admitting there were problems from the start but she wanted to prove everyone wrong.

Is Cynthia done with Atlanta? She say’s she loves L.A and her daughter wants to go to school on the west coast and of course Leon’s there.   Stay Tuned.

Condo Sheree

A rare visit into Condo Sheree with her near grown kids.  She announces that the Chateau is finally almost ready to move into.  Why Sheree, Y?  your kids seem just as tired as we are about this damm house.   Her oldest is planning to get his own apartment an her daughter is a couple of ticks from collage.  Sheree’s daughter asks if her father was going to move in?    In one way, this makes sense as we all see some spark between the couple,but Sheree is cautions, there is some unfinished business. The big one for her is Bob left his family homeless, he didn’t pay the mortgage on the family home forcing his family to downside into a much smaller condo.

Bob and Sheree meet for dinner.  Sheree is Sheree, dressed to kill. Flawless hair. Bob arrives in chinos, sneakers and a Wal Mart tee shirt without benefit of a bra.  The site for dinner isn’t Sheree at all.  Its in a strip mall.  Bob says its vegan, then  He gave her an all purpose, I apologies. Sheree wasn’t buying!  Sorry for what Bob?   There is years of pain and betrayal.  “I’m sorry if I ever made you feel that I put someone else ahead of you,” he began. She said it was “disrespectful” that he’d brought other women into the house, which he didn’t deny. “I’m sorry for the extramarital affairs. I did do some mean stuff and I’m sorry for subjecting you to an immature man, not ready to be a father for the children, but this is just a starting point,” he said.  Stay tuned.

Moore Fakery

Phaedra and Kenya agree to meet for lunch, without Security!  The shade is immediate! with Kenya on full tilt and Phaedra on medium??????   When it comes to Porsha, Kenya is clear, she doesn’t believe her anger management is working,which is odd when we know her Man not only throws tantrums, he throws furniture and they are as strong as ever.  Phaedra appeals to Kenya ego (Miss Michigan and Miss America) an offer her a spot on her charity board to help with the water crises in Michigan.  Well played,Ms Parks

Another odd pairing, was the sight of Malorie (Cynthia sister) and Kenya in the same car.  Mal has NEVER liked Kenya and looks odd as Kenya is all smiles.


Phaedra (bless her heart) decides to bring everyone together for some laser tag. She’s been there before with her kids and they had a grand old time.   A lot of the women are excited, but no one is Moore as excited as Sheree.  Who only had one target.

With every step she made, every move she made, every corner, there was Ninja Sheree was there blasting Kenya’s ass.  This wasn’t lost on any of the ladies.

The ladies have a sit down.  Phaedra wants others to participate in her charity event in Michigan. The ladies could sell their products at the event.   She also wants to squash the never ending house beef between Sheree and Kenya.   The ladies still pre heated from the Laser tag, immediately started insulting each other.  From the looks on the faces of the other ladies, they were OVER it.  Kandi  who likes her food, started eating bread, this for some reason annoys Kenya who is sitting next to her who then lost her mine.                         She calls  Shereé’s wig “a Mama Joyce wig.”

You don’t tug on Supermans Cape, you don’t spin it into the wind. You don’t tear the mask off the old lone Ranger and you don’t talk about any of Kandi’s family!

 Kandi (with a full mouth a bread)  didn’t missed a beat. Phaedra quickly changed the conversation and just possibly saved Kenya life.

Dead Beat

Kandi stop by Mama Joyce’s house to share the news of Block trying to get back into Riley’s life.  Mama J is not feeling it.  Like Kandi, she doesn’t understand why he wants to get to get together with Riley’s and where is her child support!   After 13 years of disappointments , Riley seems to be over the sperm donor and while they are protective of Riley, they agree it’s up to Riley to decide if she wants to pursue anything further with her dad.

Driving with Mama Joyce, Kandi get a surprise call for Block.   He says he want to co-parent Riley. Something tells me, she’s heard this before.  Her rage is instant, and so is the pain she feels for her child.  Looking at Mama Joyce, she seems to be in pain because her daughter is in pain.  She knows the feeling as Kandi’s father wasn’t around.

Kandi rage explodes when Block say’s its Rileys  responsibility to keep in touch. He’s not going to chase his daughter!

SIDEBAR:   Blocks statement of not chasing his daughter is a defense often used by  many deadbeat dads.    I’m not sure what’s Russell “Block” Spencer motivation for being on this show seen by million is.  His words, his history will not serve him well.

To her credit, Kandi has not mentioned his name on the show and from what I can see in the press.

Some news sources say Russell Block Spencer net worth is somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million .  He has produced many artist and may be the president of President of Suave House Records, a record label based in Houston.

There are always two sides and its difficult and unfair to make a judgement based on one source. Mr Spencer relationship with his daughter could have remained private.  The Door had been open by his surrogate and kicked open by him.   Further damaging the relationship he has with his thirteen year old daughter as her deeply private personal life that was protected  by her mother is now on display due to her fathers actions.

So again I ask, what is his motivation? What does he win?

Hoping for a happy ending!





Image result for russell block spencer net worth

Last Week

Old Boyfriends



All the single mamas raising kids isn’t always easier with a partner

Here’s a secret some of us don’t talk about — doing it all ourselves is often much easier than being married

By,Dena Landon/Salon

When I tell people that I’m a single mom, with 60 percent custody, the typical response is a combination of pity and comments like, “you’re so strong” or “what a tough job.” If I’m not in the mood to engage with the person commenting, I’ll just smile and say, “thanks.” But sometimes I’ll respond with the truth: “Actually, it’s easier than being married.”

There’s a narrative that has taken root in society of the hardworking, tired and overwhelmed single mom. And I am all of those things — often. But this narrative is sometimes subtly used to support the retro notion that a two-parent family is still best, with its implication that it would be easier if I had someone to help me. But my ex-husband Mike (not his real name) did anything but help.

“This house is always a mess,” he’d say when I flopped down on the couch after making dinner, clearing the dining room table, doing the dishes, wiping down the counters and sweeping the kitchen.

“You could help,” I’d point out.

“Sure, Dena, ask your handicapped husband, who spent all day at work, to clean the house.” He’d snap his laptop close and get up in a huff, legs buckling twice, before stalking into his study and leaving me to watch our son. Mike had relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, which meant that his physical capabilities fluctuated daily. What didn’t fluctuate was his willingness to help.


The default was always that the house was my responsibility. The house, the grocery shopping, the laundry, our child — all mine.  I worked full time, too, but that didn’t matter.

“You know that the laundry chute is literally three steps away, right?” I’d ask, picking up his dirty socks from the bedroom floor.

He’d roll his eyes and turn on his side in the bed. “God, you’re so passive aggressive.”

But there was no way to win. If I asked him directly to help out — to do the dishes after I cooked or to fold the laundry I washed — he’d rant about how hard it was to balance his multiple sclerosis and work. At first early on in our marriage, I was sympathetic. Until he admitted to me once that he could have helped clean the bathroom, a chore we had agreed that he would tackle that week. He had plenty of energy. He had just wanted to play video games instead.

“You mean, you lied? You used your MS as an excuse not to do what you’d said you’d do?” I asked.

He shrugged, unrepentantly acknowledging his lie. After that it was hard for me to trust any time he used his disease to avoid doing something unpleasant. On one memorable occasion he walked into the house, past the mop, to where I sat on the living room couch and announced, “The kitchen floor’s really dirty, Dena. It needs to be mopped.”

Women are working full time in higher numbers than ever before. Seventy percent of women with children in the U.S. participate in the workforce and are the sole or primary breadwinner for 40 percent of households, versus 11 percent in 1962. But the vast majority of the housework and activities that support daily life still falls on our shoulders. We spend twice as much time, on average, cooking and cleaning.

While men do pick up more of the yard work, women still spend over an hour more than men daily on household activities and caring for household members. Society’s norms may have shifted so that women have more opportunities in the workforce, but they haven’t shifted nearly enough at home.

And I’m hardly the only woman who feels this way. One single mom told me it became obvious when her ex moved out that she had been giving him credit for doing more around the house than he really did. Now that he’s gone, her kids, 15 and 17, have taken on more of the household work and are learning to take joint responsibility for tasks. Because it’s just her, “they don’t see any gender split around things like cooking and stacking wood.”

Other single moms have noted that even if their exes had cooked or helped out with the kids, it’s still easier for these women to go it alone now than to deal with the constant negotiating, tension and passive aggressive behavior around household chores that they experienced during their marriages.

Even with a 3-year-old, Ani X. says that it’s easier to take on all the housework herself rather than “wasting emotional and physical energy wondering why I was always the one doing everything.” There are no internal struggles: Should I leave the mess and see if he cleans it up? Do I have the energy for another argument about housework? If there’s a mess, it’s hers.

With the societal shifts in the workforce and at home in the last century, the struggle to define gender roles has become pointed and divisive: One side argues for gender-neutral toys and girls in the STEM fields and the other holds up “man and woman” and “tradition.”

Not only are we still clinging to binary gender categories but we still haven’t reached the point of dividing the work of living between partners not on the basis of gender but time, inclination and ability. We’re not striving for balance. And women have been raised to gaslight ourselves, to worry about being called a nag, a shrew or a bitch if we complain, as if that would worse than being a freeloading slob — to the point where we don’t open our mouth and demand help. We just take care of it. Is it any wonder that it’s often easier to do it on our own?

We have got to do a better job as a society in raising men to take accountability for their homes and to strive for true equality in relationships. Being a “real man” isn’t about bringing home the bacon or tossing a football around in the backyard. Our focus should be more on teaching children respect and consideration for all facets of their lives, rather than teaching limited concepts of teamwork that stop when they step off the field. The single moms I interviewed all mentioned how their children have learned more about responsibility, teamwork and helping others after their divorce than they ever did in a two-parent household.

When my son upends his bucket of toys on the living room floor and responds to my request that he clean them up with “You can do it, Mommy,” he knows what I’ll say, “I’m not the one who made the mess.” While I will often help him clean up, I’m always clear that he shouldn’t expect it from the other person: It’s his or her choice to pitch in. He already knows how to sort laundry between dark and white clothes and he clears his plate after dinner. Yes, I have to remind him, but that’s OK. He’s 5, not 35.

It’s a lot easier to keep my house clean now that I get time off every other weekend and don’t have to pick up after a grown man, too. I’ll admit to taking a perverse pleasure when I can see, in the background of FaceTime calls with our son, that my ex’s house is a mess.

So, yes, I’ll say it: Being a single mom is easier than being married to someone who didn’t pull his weight at home. But that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t have preferred a partner who, upon seeing that the kitchen floor was dirty, would have picked up the mop and pitched in.


Dena Landon is a single mom who eats raw cookie dough, passionately debates intersectional feminism and frequently tangles herself in yarn. Her work has appeared on The Washington Post, Narrative.ly, bust.com, and in Dance Teacher and Dance Spirit magazines. Her first novel was published by Dutton Children’s Publishing in 2005. She blogs at femmefeminism.com, and can be found on Instagram and Facebook.