Mattel on Tuesday launched its first series of black dolls featuring varying skin tones and ethnically authentic looks, with a big sister portrayed as a role model to a little sister.
Mattel describes the dolls as having "fuller lips, a wider nose, more distinctive cheek bones and curlier hair" than their predecessors.
The "So In Style" line includes three sets of sisters: Older sister Grace with younger sister Courtney; Trishelle and Janessa, and Kara and Kianna. Each character has a distinct personality: Grace's style is "girly girl," Trishelle is "smart and sassy," and Kara is "funky and fun," according to Mattel.
The big-and-little sister dolls together cost $19.99; the little doll assortment is $7.99, and the Stylin' Hair doll assortment costs $24.99.
Mattel's design of new dolls isn't child's play. Stacey McBride-Irby, a Barbie designer for 12 years who lives in Gardena, Calif., came up with the line because she wanted authentic and inspirational dolls for her 8- and 6-year-old daughters.
Mattel employs 25 "hair and face designers," including two licensed cosmetologists, according to an article in Allure magazine marking Barbie's 50th birthday this year. The magic still works, since "Holiday Barbie" is on retailers' lists of popular toys for this coming holiday season.
Barbie has had ethnically diverse "friends," both male and female, for many years, including the late 1960s-era Brad, Ken's friend, and the "Nurse Julia" doll depicting the TV character played by Diahann Carroll.
Yet the mentoring role of the older "So In Style" sister is "a way of letting girls see that they can take on a positive leadership role," said Reyne Rice, toy trend specialist for the Toy Industry Association.
"Girls age 14 can mentor girls who are 6 by teaching positive values and what it takes to get along in the world," Rice said. source
Sep 30, 2009
More than 600 people from several organizations throughout North Carolina are expected to march on major financial institutions in Charlotte on Friday, calling for banks to lower the rates it charges most customers to borrow money and maintain credit cards.
Organizers with NC United Power and NC Industrial Area Foundation have pulled together representatives of 215 black, white, Latino, middle class and working class organizations to protest interest rates and charges they say are crippling too many Americans.
"This is the headquarters for a number of major financial institutions. We want to meet with the leaders of these institutions, and we want them to hear and address our concerns," NC United Power's Jerald Taylor said Tuesday during a press call that included BlackAmericaWeb.com.
The organizations are calling for Bank of America and Wells Fargo/Wachovia to suspend all "usurious" activities, including payday lending, rapid refunds of tax returns, sub-prime lending and high cost fees and penalties. They also want to see a voluntary 10 percent cap on interest rates for consumer and small business lending and a 6 percent cap on all current loans and credit products to veterans and active-duty military.
"Ten percent is enough interest for banks to make a profit," Taylor said. "And laws requiring a 6 percent cap on interest rates for active-duty military already are on the books, but no one really is enforcing it."
Some banks have already taken steps to reduce fees on some of their products and services.
Last week, Bank of America announced changes that include not charging for overdraft fees when a customer's account is overdrawn by less than $10.00 and limiting the number of overdraft charges to no more than four items a day. Those changes take effect Oct. 19, according to a prepared statement from Bank of America.
Also last week, Wells Fargo/Wachovia announced it will eliminate overdraft fees for customers when they overdraw their accounts by $5.00 or less and will charge no more than four overdraft fees per day.
Both Bank of America and Wells Fargo/Wachovia customers will allow customers to opt out of overdraft coverage, meaning customers can specify that they don't want their transactions authorized into overdraft if funds aren't available to cover the transaction.
An article published on MarketWatch referenced data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and said that the banking industry earned $39.5 billion from service charges on deposits last year. Fees for everything from ATM usage to balance transfers accounted for about 25 percent of the industry's total revenue, the article stated.
The changes in overdraft policies and fees will make a difference for consumers, but even greater changes are needed on the lending rates and fees, advocates say.
Dear Young Warriors fighting the wrong wars!
Killing each other is definitely played out. Being hurt from the lost of a love one was never cool. Dear Young Warriors fighting the wrong war! I know that feeling , that frustration with life and needing to take it out on someone, any one. But….
We chose the dumbest things to go the hardest for. I remember seeing deaths over 8 ball jackets, fila's , and name plate chains. Deaths over "he say she say"!!!!! "I'm from This block or I'm from that block", or "my moms n pops is f*cked up now the whole world gotta pay"!!!
I remember feeling like I was the hardest "n*gga" breathin. And I couldn't wait to prove it. But let's think. What r we really proving?? And proving what to who?? Everybody knows Chicago breeds the strongest of the strong but I just feel, me, being ya brother from another state feels your pain as if I grew up with you in ya very own household.
You have the ability and mind power to change they way we are looked at. Look who's watching us young warriors, look who's throwin us in jail constantly, look at the ignorance in the world. Look at the racist dogs who love to see us down. Lovin to bury us in the ground or in jail were we continue this worthless war on one another. Young warriors…. We are WASTING more and more time. We gotta get on our jobs and take over the world. Cuz This movie left the theaters years ago, Juice, Menace, boys n the hood , blood n blood out, Belly!
When we see each other why do we see hatred? Why were we born in a storm, born soldiers, WARRIORS….and instead of building each other up we are at war with each other.. May the soul of this young person find peace with the almighty. I'm with you young warriors. You're me and I'm you. But trust me! you are fighting the wrong war.
Sep 29, 2009
What began as a makeshift memorial for brutally slain honor student Derrion Albert teetered toward angry chaos Monday outside Fenger High School.
About 250 neighbors, Fenger graduates and self-proclaimed community activists gathered, with many shouting at each other during the vigil called in response to the Sept. 24 mob beating that took the 16-year-old's life.
One neighborhood activist calling herself "Queen Sister" chanted through a bullhorn and led a group of people to the school's front doors, demanding to be let in. At one point, the group -- apparently angry at a local politician for not doing enough to prevent community violence -- pounded on the doors and began shouting, "You're a killer!" The politician had entered the building moments earlier.
Some people stood nose-to-nose, arguing over whether the gathering should be in memory of Derrion or a protest of the violence that killed him. Chicago Police arrived as the crowd swelled.
"The mayor is out fighting for the Olympics, and our youth are here fighting for their lives!" Queen Sister bellowed.
Others watched the screaming and name-calling with a look of numb disbelief.
Hyneth Davis, a friend of Derrion's and a recent graduate of Fenger, was among those still stunned that a quiet, studious young man could have been so senselessly killed.
"I'm beyond sickened," said Davis, 19. "I can't even explain it. My stomach is feeling weak right now."
Meanwhile, area politicians, pastors and some of Derrion's relatives gathered at the site of the beating to call for an end to community violence and sought help in finding those responsible for Derrion's death.
Earlier Monday, three youths were ordered held without bail in Derrion's fatal beating.
Silvonus Shannon, 19; Eric Carson, 16, and Eugene Riley, 18, allegedly kicked and punched Derrion, a bystander in a fight between two groups of students near the South Side school Thursday afternoon, Cook County prosecutors said in court. All three defendants are charged with first-degree murder.
And late Monday, a fourth person, Eugene Bailey, 17, was charged in connection with the beating. Bailey, also accused of first-degree murder, was expected to appear for a bond hearing today, said Tandra Simonton, speaking for the Cook County state's attorney's office. Police said they are looking for at least three more suspects.
Bailey's mother told reporters gathered at Fenger Monday that her son had nothing to do with the beating and was not one of the people caught on a video of the attack.
"I'm not giving up another one of my children to the system," said Ava Greyer, 38, Bailey's mother. "The policemen don't want to do their homework."
The assault was not gang-related but arose from a disagreement between students who live in Altgeld Gardens and another group who live in a nearby area known as the "Ville," according to assistant Cook County state's attorney Jodi Peterson. "It was a brutal and violent attack in which the victim was merely a bystander," Peterson said.
Actress Essence Atkins, best known for her role on the UPN sitcom "Half and Half," has married her boyfriend Jaime Mendez after meeting him less than two years ago through an online dating site.
According to People.com, the wedding took place Saturday at the Ambassador Mansion and Gardens in Pasadena, Calif, The couple met on Valentine's Day of last year through Match.com.
"I wrote him a quick little note that I had read his profile, and then I signed off, Happy SAD Day – that's Single Awareness Day," says Essence, 37. A week later the couple went on their first date, and they were engaged a year later.
The bride wore a Stephen Yearick gown for the ceremony and an Angel Rivera dress for the reception, according to People. "I felt like a princess," she says.
Her former costar Valerie Pettiford performed original music at the reception. Plus, the bride surprised her husband with a salsa band to celebrate his Puerto Rican heritage.
"We've been taking salsa lessons. It's part of what we've been doing together as a couple," she says.
TV One personality, chef G. Garvin, blended Puerto Rican and traditional soul food dishes, which included mac and cheese, roasted pork, peach cobbler and plantains.
As party favors, guests received match books and travel-sized candles. But singles guests were given six-month memberships to Match.com. source
My heart aches for her. No parent should ever have to bury his/her child and to lose your child this way only compounds the anguish. Stuff like this just pisses you off. I'm trying my best to refrain from cussing, but this s%!t is eating me up. I'm so sick of hearing about children, our children being slaughtered in the streets like cattle and we sit idly by and do nothing. We all play a part in this. You may think this have nothing to do with you because you are living in your comfortable neighborhood and thank God you don't live in Chicago, but trust me stuff like this has a way of seeping into your comfortable neighborhood.
I thought I was living in a very safe world until I had to attend the funeral of one of my best friends in the whole world two days after his 25th birthday. Smart, charismatic young man who was embarking on becoming an electrical engineer and just like that he was gone. They say he was a victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but for me that's nothing but a bunch of B.S. and excuses. Derrion Albert was just trying to walk home from school was he in the wrong place at the wrong time too or was he just trying to get home?
I was over at Jack and Jill Politics when I saw this video from the documentary Brick City that will be appearing on the Sundance Channel. The man giving the speech is Ras Baraka. He is the principal of Central High School in Newark, NJ. He is addressing his students about a near-campus shooting. His speech really touched me because I can understand the brother's frustration as he tried his best to reach the students he had been entrusted with. Here is the video:
He's right this is not normal, but for a lot of our kids this is NORMAL. People don't care about life anymore. This is NORMAL. We don't foster real interpersonal relationships anymore. This is NORMAL. We've allowed the music and images to objectify women because this is NORMAL. We let these fake a$$ gangstas rappers bamboozle our children into believing they are keeping it "Real" because this NORMAL. Children not having parents is NORMAL. These kids are left to fend for themselves because no one is stepping up and saying to them that this is not NORMAL.
How can we expect these parents to teach these children differently if they don't know anything different themselves? For all of them this is NORMAL.
It is up to us as a collective to start changing mindsets. I don't know what the solution is, but I know there has to be one because this isn't NORMAL!!!
I dedicate this post to my fallen brother and friend, Ron Burden. I still can't believe it's been 5 years since you've been gone. Sometimes the pain is so fresh it feels like it just happened yesterday. The world missed out on knowing a wonderful person the day you departed. Gone But Never Forgotten!!!
Sep 28, 2009
Three teenagers were ordered held without bail this afternoon for the vicious beating death of 16-year-old Fenger High School honors student Derrion Albert.
Silvonus Shannon, 19; Eric Carson, 16; and Eugene Riley, 18, kicked and punched Derrion, an innocent bystander in a fight between two groups of students near the South Side school Thursday afternoon, Cook County prosecutors said.The assault, which was caught on videotape, was not gang related but arose from a disagreement between students who live in Altgeld Gardens and another group who live in an area known as the "Ville," according to Assistant Cook County State's Attorney Jodi Peterson.
"It was a brutal and violent attack in which the victim was merely a bystander," Peterson said.
Earlier Thursday morning, the fight between the two factions led to a shooting outside the school, Peterson said.
That led to a brawl near the school after classes finished shortly before 3 p.m., Peterson said.
Derrion had been standing near the fighting at 343 W. 111th Street when Carson and an unknown offender from the "Ville" approached him, Peterson said. Carson struck Derrion in the head with a long wooden railroad tie and the unknown offender punched him in the face, knocking Derrion unconscious, Peterson said.
When Derrion gained consciousness, he moved a few feet away from the mob and tried getting up. But he was attacked again.
Soon, a group of five from the Altgeld Gardens faction descended upon Derrion. He was struck again with a railroad tied wielded by Riley as Shannon stomped on his head repeatedly, Peterson said.
The video, shot by a witness, allegedly shows all three striking, punching and stomping Derrion in the head.
Shannon, a Fenger student, and Riley both gave videotaped confessions to their roles in the beating, Peterson said. Shannon has a job as a landscaper. Riley, a high school graduate, works part time at a health care facility and auto repair shop. The pair do not have criminal backgrounds.
Carson, a Fenger junior, is currently serving a two-year probation for a July 2008 robbery.
At first glance, the forum didn't seem to belong among the weighty discussions of the day, which included surviving the recession, increasing minority businesses, caring for homeless veterans, and decreasing deaths from cancer.
But examining the state of Black marriages and families was as integral to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's 39th Annual Legislative Conference as the other workshops, said its sponsor, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton.
"I'm not having a forum on the kinds of things that as a policy wonk you might expect me to have," the Washington, D.C. Democrat told the overflow crowd gathered for a discussion titled "Single Women, Unmarried Men – What Has Happened to Marriage in the Black Community." "[But] the kind of policies I'm dealing with in Congress... are at least significantly tied to what is happening to the African-American family."
Having a substantive conversation on the matter has been difficult, the longtime lawmaker said.
"Ever since the Moynihan Report, people didn't want to talk about single-parent households," Norton said. "That's because, first of all, the Moynihan Report didn't come out of us. And it came out just after the civil rights bills had passed and it made people angry because White America hadn't taken responsibility for its huge part of what had torn the African-American community apart. So nobody wanted to hear it."
The Moynihan Report, officially called, "The Negro Family: The Case For National Action" was a paper published in 1965 by Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who would go on to become a U.S. senator.
"At the heart of the deterioration of the fabric of Negro society is the deterioration of the Negro family," Moynihan said in the report.
According to Moynihan, an increasing number of single-mother, welfare-dependent homes and the matriarchal design of Black families diminished the male's authority, one sign of a crumbling family structure. He predicted that "so long as this situation persists, the cycle of poverty and disadvantage will continue to repeat itself."
Despite criticism of the report as racist and unfounded, Norton said Moynihan was "prescient."
Rates of incarceration, drug use and trade, high school dropouts, teenage pregnancy, poor health outcomes and other social ills have increased, it seems, with the breakdown of Black families.
Statistics show that in 2008 only 34 percent of Black children lived in homes with two married parents and 3.7 million Black children live in single-mother homes with mothers who have never been married, more than any other demographic.
"If you think the Black nation can survive whole if only Black women are raising their children, I want you to show me how," Norton said.
Additionally, Census figures show nearly half of Blacks 15 years old and older have never been married. Among Black males, the rate is 47.5 percent and for females, 44 percent.
"Someone asked the question what happened to the knight in shining armor for Black women. I said, he rode in, fell off his horse and has been in a coma for years," panelist Audrey Chapman, a relationship expert and therapist said. "Black women were more likely and better off finding a partner for marriage during the slavery period [than now]."
And the higher her level of success—education level, career, homeownership, etc.—the more likely an African-American woman will be going it alone, said Chapman, host of WHUR 96.3 FM's "The Audrey Chapman Show."
The proliferation of incarcerated and unemployed Black men are among the reasons for the paucity of partners.
"There's another big reason—attitude," the radio host said, prompting a loud "Amen" from a man in the audience, which erupted into laughter.
"Part of the problem is how we raise children in the Black community—we coddle the boys and raise the girls to be hard," Jamal Chappelle, 38, an unmarried entrepreneur, offered as an explanation.
Carl Starling, a middle-aged divorcee from Springdale, Md., said "radical feminism" was to blame, as success prompts women to "devalue, depreciate and disrespect" their partners. Such disrespect, especially expressed in the form allegedly demonstrated by his ex-wife—physical abuse—breeds distrust among men, he added. "I'm not hopeful," Starling said of his chances of remarriage.
Part of the problem is that rightful roles have been reversed, said Shane Perrault, a local psychologist and founder of African American Counseling.
Citing his father and his stepmother's relationship, Perrault said, "She let him be the head but she was the neck and where the neck goes, the head follows. If we don't understand our roles better we keep butting heads."
Underlying all these manifestations is a "civil war brewing in our community" between Black men and women, the psychologist said. "We don't respect and love each other."
It would be easy, he said, to blame slavery and "the White Man," but the Black community also bears responsibility for such actions as allowing Black women to be diminished and exploited in hip-hop music.
That comment prompted a firestorm of protest in the room, which eventually propelled Congresswoman Norton out of her seat and up to the microphone where she shouted, "If some White people had put out music calling us 'hos' and 'b's we would have been all over them. I will not hold Black men to a lower standard that I do White men."
Mitrice Richardson is afraid of the dark and always has been, says her mother, Latice Sutton, who remembers that quirk when she thinks about her daughter's release from a jail cell at a Los Angeles County sheriff's substation in Calabasas in the predawn hours of Sept. 17.
Wearing jeans and a dark T-shirt, Richardson, 24, had no car, no cellphone and no purse as she left the station about 1:25 a.m. The nearest Starbucks and fast-food restaurants are about a mile away in a shopping area. Beyond them stretches Las Virgenes Road, which turns into Malibu Canyon Road, winding through Malibu Canyon and emptying onto Pacific Coast Highway near Pepperdine University.
With the exception of a couple of probable sightings later that morning in the canyon, Richardson, a slender, 5-foot-5 black woman, has not been heard from since, her family says. Police have an unconfirmed sighting of her at a restaurant in West Hollywood early last week.
Her vanishing -- hours after her bizarre behavior at the restaurant Geoffrey's Malibu landed her briefly in jail -- prompted a massive but unsuccessful ground and air search Saturday by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and Los Angeles Police Department personnel aided by trained volunteers.
"We're looking for all kinds of clues," said Greg Fry of the California Emergency Mobile Patrol Search and Rescue team.
A strange set of circumstances on the evening of Sept. 16 set the stage for Richardson's disappearance. It began when the management at Geoffrey's called the Sheriff's Department to have Richardson arrested for not paying $89.21 for a dinner of Kobe beef steak and an Ocean Breeze cocktail of rum, vodka and fruit juices.
When sheriff's deputies arrived and found a small amount of marijuana in her car, they impounded it and took her into custody on suspicion of defrauding an innkeeper and possession of the drug.
Richardson was released on her own recognizance.
"She was lucid, she didn't exhibit any mental problems," said Steve Whitmore, a Sheriff's Department spokesman, describing her behavior in custody. He said she had passed a field sobriety test administered to her at the restaurant.
Sutton, who had planned to pick up her daughter in the morning when she thought she would be released, said she believes sheriff's deputies should have realized something was wrong. "If the officer saw her behavior and decided to administer a field sobriety test, he must have realized something was wrong," Sutton said.
Most everyone agrees something was wrong.
It's been a year of excruciating decisions for publishing companies—layoffs, pullbacks, closures. Now it appears Johnson Publishing's chairman and CEO, Linda Johnson Rice, has reached what must have been an agonizing decision: Johnson Publishing is seeking a buyer or investor for its flagship publication, Ebony, in an effort aimed at securing the survival of the nation's oldest magazine devoted to African-American life. It's unclear whether the company's other properties, including Jet, would be part of a possible sale.
According to media and investment executives familiar with the developments, Chicago-based Rice, the daughter of Ebony's legendary founder, the late John H. Johnson, has approached, among others, Time Inc., Viacom, and private investors that include buyout firms. Time Inc., the world's largest periodical publisher, already owns Essence, a monthly lifestyle, beauty, and fashion magazine for African-American women. Viacom, meanwhile, owns BET (Black Entertainment Television).
Nothing has yet resulted from any of Johnson Publishing's overtures, however. And it's unclear whether negotiations are underway between the publishing company and any of the identified parties or other potential rescuers.
Time Inc. declined to comment, as did Viacom. "Your facts are incorrect with respect to Time Inc. and Viacom," a spokeswoman for Johnson Publishing said. Johnson Publishing likely made its overtures through the media giants' properties, NEWSWEEK's sources indicate. They also declined to elaborate much beyond acknowledging, on condition of not being named, that they were aware of Johnson's efforts. According to one top magazine executive, Johnson Publishing is requiring potential bidders to sign a confidentiality agreement to access the company's financial information, a standard practice in the dealmaking world.
One publishing executive familiar with the situation said that Rice, given the magazine's historical significance and its deep roots in her family, hopes to remain an integral part of it. This suggests she prefers to woo a partner rather than sell the magazine outright. In any case, a purchase by a mainstream media company or publisher—a move that would end African-American control—might cause a stir in some quarters of the African-American community, as was the case with Viacom's acquisition of BET. And Ebony's woes would appear to dash hopes that African-American-owned or -oriented media would see a big lift in the marketplace with the election of Barack Obama, the nation's first African-American president. Ebony landed the first post-election print interview with the president-elect and his wife. Rice is a close member of the Obamas' Chicago social circle.
"Derrion has never been in a fight in his life," said Joe Walker, Derrion's grandfather who raised him. "He never raised his voice. Not in 16 years have I had one day of trouble."
Walker broke down several times speaking about his grandson, proudly showing off the awards he received at Christian Fenger Academy High School for excellent attendance and being on the honor roll. Derrion had just started his junior year.
"We were crazy about him," Walker said. "He was the type of grandson everybody wished for."
Monique Bond, Chicago Public Schools spokeswoman, said Derrion "basically was walking along unprovoked, and unbeknownst to him he was about to walk into this conflict. I don't think he even saw them coming."
T-Awannda Piper, a youth worker at the Agape Community Center in the 300 block of West 111th Street, witnessed the brawl. She said the fight started with about a dozen high school students, then quickly escalated to about 100, about 3 p.m. Thursday.
"They had sticks; they were fighting with their hands; they were taking off their shirts and throwing them on the ground," she said. "I saw [Derrion] get hit twice with a stick."
She said Derrion fell to his knees, then was hit again in the head. He was unconscious but alive when she dragged him into the building with the help of a man driving through a nearby alley who abandoned his truck to assist.
Derrion was pronounced dead at 6:17 p.m. at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, the Cook County medical examiner's office said.
He died of cerebral injuries and blunt head trauma from assault, the medical examiner's office said.
While the family did not believe Derrion was involved with a gang, several people have been victims of gang violence in the far South Side neighborhood over the summer.
On Thursday morning, shots were fired outside Fenger. No one was hit, but a teenager was arrested and the incident was believed to be gang-related, said Officer Jo Ann Taylor, a Chicago Police spokeswoman.
Taylor said police are investigating any role gangs might have played in Thursday's fatal melee.
Bond said the school district was told there is possibly a conflict between two "factions," but "it has nothing to do with the school." She also said the fight and the Thursday morning shooting outside Fenger are not believed to be related.
Those in the community said they are tired and scared of the violence.
"It's nuts. It's escalating," said Milton Massie, director of the Agape Community Center, who saw surveillance video of the fight. "This was mob action."
Toya Truitt, who has two sons at Fenger, said tensions between kids living in the Altgeld Gardens housing project and those living near the school have been on the rise.
"A lot of kids don't want to come back" to school, she said. "This boy [Derrion] was innocent. He was a kid going home."
Walker said he and his late wife had raised Derrion since he was a baby. When the boy's mother moved to Downstate Mount Vernon, he chose not to go with her, wanting to stay in Chicago.
When his grandmother was diagnosed with cancer several years ago, Derrion doted on her, Walker said.
"He was 14 years old, and he would come home and take care of her," he said.
After Derrion's grandmother died last September, he lived on and off with Eunice Cross, the grandmother of his 10-year-old half-sister, but when she needed more space for other family members, Derrion moved back in with Walker.
"He was a quiet young man around the house," Cross said. "He didn't talk much."
His grandfather said he spent most evenings doing schoolwork on his computer. On the walls of the computer room, cheerful family photos surrounded a handwritten list of "Affirmations for Living" that Derrion wrote, Walker said.
"I would surround myself with people who bring out the best in me," the list reads. "I would rid myself of the negativity in my life, including friends and significant others. I would do something nice for someone, just because." source
President Barack Obama was edged out by George Clooney (24 percent to 26 percent) among respondents choosing "which man they would most like to trade places with for a week," followed by Tom Brady and Bruce Springsteen.
But among woman, First Lady Michelle Obama was the favorite, chosen by 26 percent, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton picked by 16 percent, actress Angelina Jolie by 13 percent and singer Beyonce selected by 12 percent.
Those are among the findings of a new "60 Minutes"-Vanity Fair Poll released Sunday.
Half the respondents of a new poll say taxing the richest Americans by at least 50 percent is a great idea, while more than a third consider Twitter a fad that will likely fade.
Nearly half of the respondents chose Wal-Mart as the institution that best symbolizes America today, leaving in the dust runners-up Google, Microsoft, the NFL, and the banking and securities firm Goldman Sachs.
Dining out was chosen most often by respondents as a luxury they hate sacrificing in these tough economic times. And 5 percent thought the best way to fight obesity among patrons of fast-food chains is to equip each restaurant with scales for them to weigh themselves.
A politician taking bribes is considered by far the greater sin (chosen by 37 percent of the respondents) when stacked against extramarital affairs (just 2 percent).
Obama has set a time table for a troop pullout in Iraq by 2011. But one-third of poll respondents predicted he won't be setting a time table for removing troops from Afghanistan. Meanwhile, 31 percent said he would time it to the beginning of the next presidential campaign, and 25 percent chose "in about a year."
The poll is based on a random sample of 1,097 respondents nationwide. It was conducted by phone between Aug. 27 and 31 by CBS News. Source
Sep 26, 2009
Adam Rodriguez is so the business in this video. I definitely love me some him...LOL!!!
Britni Elise - Satisfied
I've been digging this song for a while. She puts me in the mind of Laurnea a little bit.
Sep 25, 2009
No one said stop preaching against fornication, lust, lying, stealing or adultery. What I am saying is that we need to stop focusing on people's private lives and sexual orientation and preach the truth of God's salvation. Whatever your faith may be, no one has the right to blatantly disrespect or harass another human being. Beyond that, we have no need to go into people's closets and private matters. Teach the word, and let God handle the rest. His love is much greater than His judgment.
This is the position I am holding: God's love is indeed for everyone. Although that interview is being dubbed my
"coming out," that was the least of what was being conveyed. Healthy, committed, monogamous relationships
on both sides of the spectrum were mentioned, particularly marriage for a man and a woman (even though I have not come to terms about gay marriage). I still feel commitment is much better than promiscuity. Abstinence, of course, is ideal, but in this generation, it's just not a likely reality.
The other reactions are another story. Within no time, every engagement that I had to preach or sing in churches or faith-based concert venues was canceled. I suppose they did not want a demon-possessed homosexual on their stage or pulpit, although I never stopped preaching or teaching the same doctrine and principles that I spoke on before. I'm still the same dude today. I believe that people still have not seen the interview themselves; they are going by what they've heard someone else tell them.
I was the same person back then as I am now, the one that God used to help a lot of people. The phobias that I am witnessing are scary. People who serve this loving God are showing so much hate for one of His beloved children. And I understand where they are coming from, because it's never really been addressed this way. I'm standing out here naked. And, frankly, people are angry.
Some said I should have shown remorse; some say that I'm leading people astray. All I did was tell the truth. It's no wonder why people lie within this system. Not because they believe in everything man says but because they have bills to pay. The hypocrisy of this should have left me quite burnt out with the whole situation. So then I had to shift my focus off of religion and move toward being a pioneer. Charting new territory for an oppressed people that truly love God and have been ostracized beyond belief -- the sheep of another fold.
I speak of them in a song called 'This is All of Me.' I was speaking for all the "kids" around the world. Basically the kids are boys and girls that are LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender), a group that has a 30 percent suicide rate among gay and bisexual youth. And the young men with more "feminine gender-role characteristics" and those who recognized their same-sex orientation at an early age and acted on those sexual feelings seem to face the highest risk of self-destructive behavior.
Because no one is affirming the existence of these young people. No one is showing them love. No one is showing them life or God or beauty. They are only shown hell, death, bigotry and damnation. But even for this community and other social outcasts there is still room at the cross.
From his tattooed and pierced appearance, a short-lived marriage, the death of his father, and early retirement from the gospel industry to being dropped from Verity Records, the life and career of gospel artist Tonex (To-nay) has been marred by pain and controversy.
Throughout all the pressure, the young pastor of Truth Apostolic Community Church in San Diego has taken pride in being transparent.
In 2007, after a foul-mouthed online interview and angry YouTube posts, he issued an open letter apologizing to fans and fellow clergy for his outlandish rants.
Now, during an astonishing testimony in an exclusive interview on Word Network's "The Lexi Show," Tonex (real name Anthony Williams) lays to rest years of speculation about his sexuality and admitted he is attracted to men.
When Lexi attempts to clarify if he is a practicing homosexual, the radical artist declares he is a "free spirit."
Among many candid details, in the following clips, Tonex acknowledges he had a nervous breakdown, says he does not blame his interest in men on being molested, that he believes in "same sex covenants" and that he wants to be a dad someday. source
NEW YORK (AP) — Johnson & Johnson's McNeil unit said Thursday it is voluntarily recalling 57 lots of infants' and children's liquid Tylenol products because of possible bacterial contamination.
The products being recalled were made between April and June and include nearly two dozen varieties, including Children's Tylenol Suspension 4 oz. Grape, Infants' Tylenol Grape Suspension Drops 1/4 oz. and Children's Tylenol Plus Cold/Allergy 4 oz. Bubble Gum.
Johnson & Johnson said it has contacted wholesalers and retailers about the recall. An inactive ingredient didn't meet internal testing requirements, the company said, and B. cepacia bacteria were detected in a portion of raw material that went unused in the finished product.
The company said in a letter that no bacteria were found in the finished product, and that the likelihood of a serious medical event is remote. However, in consultation with the Food and Drug Administration, the company decided to recall the products.
"It was decided, as a precaution, to recall all product that utilized any of the raw material manufactured at the same time as the raw material that tested positive for the bacteria," the company said.
Consumers with questions should call McNeil's consumer call center at 1-800-962-5357. A full list of the 21 recalled products and their lot numbers can be seen here.
Consumers can find lot numbers on the bottom of the product's box and on the sticker that surrounds the product's bottle. source
NEW YORK, The 6th annual "VH1 Hip Hop Honors" shook up Brooklyn, New York last night as some of the biggest names in entertainment gathered to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Def Jam Records -- one of the most celebrated hip hop labels in the music industry. "VH1 Hip Hop Honors" will premiere on Tuesday, October 13 at 9 PM ET/PT*. Visit HipHop.VH1.com now through the on-air premiere for show details, artist interviews and performance sneak peeks.
Taped at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) Howard Gilman Opera House on Wednesday, September 23rd in Brooklyn, New York and hosted by Tracy Morgan ("30 Rock"), talents from across all artistic genres came together to celebrate this significant milestone in American hip hop music. The show paid tribute to the architects of Def Jam Records including Bill Stephney, Chris Lighty, Julie Greenwald, Kevin Liles, L.A. Reid, Lyor Cohen, Michael Kyser, Rick Rubin, Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter and Russell Simmons. Performances by Ashanti, Chrisette Michele, DJ Chuck Chill Out, DJ Clinton Sparks, DMX, Eminem, EPMD, Fabolous, Foxy Brown, Gym Class Heroes, DJ Jaycee, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Ghostface, Ja Rule, Judacamp Choir, Kid Rock, KRS One, Ludacris, Mary J. Blige, Method Man, DJ Nonstop, Onyx, Public Enemy, Redman, The Roots, Rick Ross, DJ Sam Sneak, Scarface, DJ Scratch, The Street Sweeper Social Club, Trey Songz, Wale and Warren G brought down the house celebrating Def Jam Records.
The show kicked off with The Roots, Eminem and DJ Jazzy Jeff performing LL Cool J's classic "Rock the Bells," proving that Brooklyn was "in the house."
The crowd went crazy as Public Enemy were accompanied by S1W, The Street Sweepers Social Club, and The Roots performing "Rebel Without a Pause" - Public Enemy's hit single from "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back," one of the most celebrated and revered albums in hip hop.
The next performance rang true at BAM as Travis McCoy, Wale and KRS One with Gym Class Heroes covered Beastie Boys' iconic "No Sleep Till Brooklyn."
The momentum kept going as Gym Class Heroes joined the chart-topping rap group Onyx with a rendition of Onyx's Billboard chart hit "Slam."
The legacy of Def Jam continued to be celebrated as best-selling artist DMX collaborated with Gym Class Heroes for his 1999 hit single "Party Up."
Tracy Morgan introduced rapper Rick Ross who took the stage to perform "Hustlin" - one of the first songs off his debut album that catapulted him into hip hop fame.
Next, the rap duo that shook the hip hop world reunited as Method Man and Redman took the stage to perform "Da Rockwilder."
The Queen of Hip Hop Soul, Mary J. Blige, took to the stage in front of a hyped audience as she joined Method Man for a rendition of their Grammy award-winning single "I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By."
The legends of hip hop continued to represent as Warren G was joined by Trey Songz to perform "Regulate" in honor of Def Jam Records and Warren G's triple-platinum album that solidified him as hip hop royalty.
Eve introduced Ja Rule and Ashanti as they performed their hits "Down for You" and "Always On Time" in true Def Jam style.
Two of the South's heavy hitters, Ludacris and Scarface, united onstage to perform "Guess Who's Back" and "Southern Hospitality."
Bringing the show to an unforgettable end, The Roots, Kid Rock, Foxy Brown, Fabolous, Ghostface, Chrisette Michele, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Eric Sermon all ripped the stage with an unbelievable medley performing some of Def Jam's most iconic hits.
2009's "Hip Hop Honors" demonstrated how Def Jam Records and its architects Bill Stephney, Chris Lighty, Julie Greenwald, Kevin Liles, L.A. Reid, Lyor Cohen, Michael Kyser, Rick Rubin, Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter and Russell Simmons transformed American pop culture by bringing hip hop to the world.
Recently there has been a flurry of false reports about my relationship with Wells Fargo Bank and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Inc. amidst charges that the company unfairly steered African American customers into costly sub-prime mortgages.
I addressed this issue many months ago with a statement posted on my website during the first quarter of this year when these allegations against Wells Fargo first surfaced.
My statement thoroughly explained that I was no longer conducting any business with the Wells Fargo company. That initial statement has remained accessible on my website homepage since it was first posted, shortly after the State of the Black Union symposium, February 2009.
Those who are now suggesting and reporting that I cut my company's ties to Wells Fargo just days ago are wrong. I have informed those persons who have reported this false information on the Internet of their error and have requested that they make the necessary corrections.
Compelled by my personal experience years ago as a victim of redlining and predatory banking practices in South Central Los Angeles, I remain committed to spreading a message of self-determination through financial literacy to African Americans and to all who will listen.
In this economic climate we continue to be reminded every day that there is no perfect company. Part of the process of accountability is making sure that companies are taking steps to do the right thing, and that includes appropriate outreach to communities of color.
Our relationship with Wells Fargo began in 2005 as part of its commitment to increase financial literacy among African Americans. Those efforts included free wealth-building strategy seminars designed to help prepare attendees for their families' futures through credit management, home ownership, investing and entrepreneurship.
During the last 10 years, The Smiley Group, Inc. (TSG) has had the opportunity to partner with a number of industry leaders to enlighten and educate consumers about programs and opportunities to improve their lives.
The partnership with Wells Fargo focused on building personal wealth, which for most Americans begins with buying a house. We partnered with Microsoft to provide information on access to technology and closing the digital divide. Our partnership with Kaiser Permanente provided consumers with information on living a healthy life. Through a partnership with ExxonMobil, we gave hundreds of high school students information on careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
All of these programs have been free and open to the public. And, at no time has The Smiley Group, Inc. nor yours truly served as a spokesperson or representative for any company.
Regarding our 10-year history of organizing the State of the Black Union (SOBU), Wells Fargo has been one of a number of companies to serve as a sponsor. Given the fact that Wells Fargo has been an industry leader, they have partnered with many African American and Latino national civil rights organizations on various community initiatives.
In addition, countless numbers of community-based and grassroots organizations across the country have been supported by Wells Fargo as well. Wells Fargo currently is not a sponsor of TSG or Tavis Smiley Foundation programs or events and will not be a sponsor for SOBU for 2010.
Finally, our mission at TSG is to empower and speak for the underserved. As such, TSG always will support any official and credible investigation of allegations of any company accused of disrespecting communities of color with discriminatory practices.
It is our hope that in the most multicultural, multiracial, multiethnic America ever, communities of color will get the respect they deserve.
Sep 24, 2009
I am not someone who gets sick, really ever. And this was the sickest I have ever been. I would've much preferred my own bed with all the comforts of home – including a wife who would've taken great pity on me and allowed me lots of rest and relaxation. Still, I am here to blog about it, after taking the requisite few days to stay at home and not spread my gift from Afghanistan to all my colleagues at work. In case you are curious, there wasn't much the doctors could really do for me. Some Tylenol and a sinus decongestant (the same my wife would've given me). We also got IV fluids, given our inability to keep anything down. Within a couple days, I felt a lot better, and a few days after that – I was back to normal. It was a lot like… the flu – with a different name. A lot of people will get the exact symptoms I described above, and for most people, it will simply mean a few miserable days, hopefully spent in your home – and not in a war zone.
Atlanta's former heavyweight boxing champion says he plans to build a solar energy farm on 40 acres of his property in Fayette County. The project, which is in the preliminary stages, would generate solar power for commercial sale, and would take six to nine months to complete, according to Deborah Pointer, who says she helped put the deal together for Holyfield.
"I've never had a problem being lean," Holyfield said, "now I'm the lean, green fighting machine."
Holyfield said his motivation for the project is "to do something right," by helping to combat global warming.
Holyfield, who has faced financial difficulties including foreclosure on his property, said he hopes to make money from the venture. But he said that it is not his main motivation.
"When you do what's right it's going to benefit you," Holyfield said, "but it touches more than financial."
A spokesperson for Georgia Power said the utility company is interested in buying solar power from customers. The likely size of Holyfield's proposed project, however, could make that more complicated. source
Being fat could become the leading cause of cancer in women in Western countries in the coming years, European researchers said Thursday.Being overweight orobese accounts for up to 8 percent of cancers in Europe. Experts said that figure is poised to increase substantially as the obesity epidemic continues, and as major causes of cancer, such as smoking and hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women, drop dramatically.
"Obesity is catching up at a rate that makes it possible it could become the biggest attributable cause of cancer in women within the next decade," said Andrew Renehan, a cancer expert at the University of Manchester. Renehan presented his findings to a joint meeting of the European Cancer Organisation and the European Society for Medical Oncology in Berlin on Thursday.
Renehan and colleagues designed a model to estimate the number of cancers that could be blamed on being fat in 30 European countries. In 2002, they calculated that 70,000 cases of cancer out of about 2 million cancer cases were attributable to being overweight or obese. By 2008, the number had jumped to at least 124,000.
Colorectal cancer, breast cancer in menopausal women and endometrial cancer accounted for 65 percent of all cancers linked to being fat. Renehan said that in the U.S., some studies found obesity was responsible for up to 20 percent of cancers.
Experts said the results should help shape future cancer policies across Europe.
"Being overweight or obese is likely to be one of the biggest single causes of cancer after smoking," said Lucy Boyd, an epidemiologist at Cancer Research United Kingdom who was not linked to the research.
Scientists aren't sure why being fat boosts your cancer risk, but suspect it is connected to hormones. As people become fatter, they produce more hormones like estrogen that help tumors grow. People with big bellies also have more acid in their stomachs, which can lead to stomach, intestinal or esophageal cancer.
The vaccine cut the risk of becoming infected with HIV by more than 31 percent in the world's largest AIDS vaccine trial of more than 16,000 volunteers in Thailand, researchers announced Thursday in Bangkok.
Even though the benefit is modest, "it's the first evidence that we could have a safe and effective preventive vaccine," Col. Jerome Kim said in a telephone interview. He helped lead the study for the U.S. Army, which sponsored it with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
The institute's director, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warned that this is "not the end of the road," but said he was surprised and very pleased by the outcome.
"It gives me cautious optimism about the possibility of improving this result" and developing a more effective AIDS vaccine, Fauci said in a telephone interview. "This is something that we can do."
Even a marginally helpful vaccine could have a big impact. Every day, 7,500 people worldwide are newly infected with HIV; 2 million died of AIDS in 2007, the U.N. agency UNAIDS estimates.
"Today marks an historic milestone," said Mitchell Warren, executive director of the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition, an international group that has worked toward develping a vaccine.
"It will take time and resources to fully analyze and understand the data, but there is little doubt that this finding will energize and redirect the AIDS vaccine field," he said in a statement.
The Thailand Ministry of Public Health conducted the study, which used strains of HIV common in Thailand. Whether such a vaccine would work against other strains in the U.S., Africa or elsewhere in the world is unknown, scientists stressed.
The study actually tested a two-vaccine combo in a "prime-boost" approach, where the first one primes the immune system to attack HIV and the second one strengthens the response.
They are ALVAC, from Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccine division of French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis; and AIDSVAX, originally developed by VaxGen Inc. and now held by Global Solutions for Infectious Diseases, a nonprofit founded by some former VaxGen employees.
ALVAC uses canarypox, a bird virus altered so it can't cause human disease, to ferry synthetic versions of three HIV genes into the body. AIDSVAX contains a genetically engineered version of a protein on HIV's surface. The vaccines are not made from whole virus — dead or alive — and cannot cause HIV.
Plans for a public viewing and funeral were changed to a private service set at an undisclosed location for Tiffany Wright, a pregnant Charlotte, N.C., teenager who was killed and her unborn daughter fatally wounded, after Wright was shot at a bus stop as she headed to school last week.
No one has been charged in the case, although police have expressed interest in 36-year-old Royce Mitchell, her married foster stepbrother, who faces charges of statutory rape and indecent liberties with a child and may be the father of Wright's baby.
The police knew for weeks that Wright may have been a victim of statutory rape, but did not arrest Mitchell until after the teen had been shot.
Mitchell, a felon under federal supervision after doing time on a drug conviction, became Wright's temporary guardian in January after his mother, Alma Wright, who adopted the girl more than a decade ago, died in January of natural causes.
Mitchell later failed a Department of Social Services home study after becoming Wright's foster parent, and she was moved into foster care.
A bond hearing was scheduled for Friday for Mitchell.
Carolinas Medical Center doctors delivered Wright's daughter three hours after the Sept. 14 shooting. The baby, Aaliyan – the name Wright had picked out – remained in critical condition until she died on Sunday. The cause of death has not been released.
According to a statement from Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, "The Homicide Unit will confer with the Medical Examiner's Office and the Mecklenburg County District Attorney's Office to determine if Aaliyan's death can be charged as a murder as it pertains to N.C. State Law," police said in a statement. source
Tiffany Wright, 15, was fatally shot in the head, police said, while waiting on her school bus in the 6700 block of Mallard Creek Road.
The teen was eight months pregnant, according to CMPD. Doctors at Carolinas Medical Center successfully delivered the child several hours after the shooting.
Wright was an eleventh-grader at Hawthorne High School, where Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials said grief counselors had been dispatched. Officials said the teen attended a special program for pregnant students.
Chief Monroe said this morning a relative had just dropped the teen off at her bus stop around 6 a.m. when she heard three or four gunshots. The relative returned to find Wright's body in the street.
Police said Wright was the only person at the bus stop. source
Sep 23, 2009
PHILADELPHIA--— A state panel has found probable cause of racial discrimination at a suburban Philadelphia swim club that asked a day camp group of mostly black and Hispanic children not to return, a ruling the club's lawyer blamed late Tuesday on the "media firestorm" that followed the incident.
The Valley Club in predominantly white Huntingdon Valley, Pa., has denied there was any racial motive behind its actions June 29, when children from Creative Steps Inc. day camp went to the club and their payment for swimming was refunded without explanation. The club has maintained that there were too many children for the number of lifeguards on duty and that many of the children who were at the club couldn't swim.
Brian Mildenberg, a lawyer for a black girl who was part of the day camp group, said at a news conference Tuesday night that the report from the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission was the result of a thorough fact-finding process.
"They looked at all the e-mails that went back and forth," Mildenberg said.
The messages quoted in the report include one from club board member George Whitehill to the rest of the board that said in part, "Race is an issue since every email of complaint mentioned race."
The girl Mildenberg represents says she heard a member of The Valley Club in Huntingdon Valley ask, "What are all these black kids doing here?" and say, "I am scared they might do something to my child."
The state report also noted that other large groups that came to the swim club did not generate the same reaction. For example, a plumbing company has held an annual party at the club that draws about 100 to 125 people each year, about five to 10 of them black, the report said. It found that far more children were in the pool for those parties, yet no club members threatened to quit and guests did not report "inappropriate or rude comments" from club members.
Club lawyer Joe Tucker said Tuesday night that the decision "has nothing to do with the actual facts" and would be appealed.
"The die was cast by the media firestorm. They had no choice but to reach the decision they did," Tucker said.
The summer incident made headlines around the country and led to a U.S. Justice Department review. It also got the attention of actor Tyler Perry, who offered to pay for the children from the day camp to go to Walt Disney World.
Much of the attention focused on an earlier statement by the president of the club's board of directors, John Duesler, voicing concern that so many children would "change the complexion" or atmosphere of the club, which he acknowledged was "a terrible choice of words."
Creative Steps and the majority of the children are represented by attorney Michael Kuldiner, who said Tuesday night that he would address the matter Wednesday morning. source
Sep 22, 2009
Yesterday, the opportunity presented itself. Lights, camera, and no health care action?' Setting the ruffles and caviar dreams aside is but a meager gesture to echo the herculean efforts of a health care reform package long overdue and one which President Obama is introducing for all Americans," Rowell told ESSENCE.com. "I spent 18 years in foster care, enduring inadequate health and dental care and unforgivably turned away more than once at a doctor's office. Nationally, 25,000 foster youth annually emancipate from foster care without health coverage," says Rowell. "I emerged from Washington, D.C. Health and Human Services as a proud American citizen—an advocate not a victim."
Rowell, who has always been politically active in her personal life and career, also addressed Fox News' Glenn Beck's claims that President Obama's health care plan has conspiratorial ulterior motives. "Everything that is getting pushed through Congress, including this health care bill, is transforming America. And they are all driven by President Obama's thinking on one idea: reparations...," Glenn said. "[Obama's ] goal is creating a new America, a new model, a model that will settle old racial scores through new social justice."
"This has nothing to do with reparations, Mr. Beck, and everything to do with all things American," Rowell continued. "Health care shouldn't be divided or thought of as the young and some of us. I have witnessed Black and White foster mothers struggle to raise children, choosing food over medical needs. That does something to a child. At least it affected me most profoundly. And if a frock (on the Emmys red carpet) donned with the President's face sparks dialogue about health care, a life-and-death issue, so be it. I was taught, 'If you don't stand for something you'll lie down for anything.' "
Sep 21, 2009
"I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void but not a lot of mutual understanding,"-President Barack Obama
WASHINGTON — For Reps. Sanford Bishop and David Scott , it hasn't been easy lately being Congress' only black "Blue Dogs."
With the emotional debate raging over revamping the nation's health care system, Scott and Bishop — both Georgia lawmakers and members of the moderate Blue Dog Democrats as well as the liberal Congressional Black Caucus — have gotten earfuls from constituents in their politically mixed, racially diverse, urban-rural districts.
The more conservative, mostly white, residents of their districts complain about the price of President Barack Obama's health care proposals — an estimated $900 billion over 10 years — while the more liberal, mostly black, residents argue that health care can't be fixed without a strong "public option" alternative to private health insurance.
"I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't," Bishop said. "Half my district wants it, half doesn't."
While both men say they're comfortable balancing the fiscal conservatism and strong support for the military that the Blue Dog Coalition advocates with the black caucus's socially progressive platform — which includes pushing for a strong public health option — the health care debate has made it tough for them to walk the moderate fine line that's defined much of their tenure in the House of Representatives .
Scott learned that last month, when he found a swastika spray-painted on a sign outside his Smyrna district office after a contentious town hall meeting on health care.
One letter sent to his office addressed him as "Nigga David Scott."
"The folks are not going to stand for socialized medicine even though negro's (sic) refuse to stand on their own two feet," read another letter, sent from a Michigan address.
Merle Black , a political science professor at Atlanta's Emory University and co-author of "Divided America: The Ferocious Power Struggle in American Politics," said a final vote on health care would be a defining moment for Bishop if he backed a plan with Obama's criteria in it.
"He may lose some of his white supporters," Black said. "He'll basically be seen as an Obama liberal in that district. This could be the most crucial vote he casts."
Bishop represents Georgia's 2nd Congressional District , which is nestled along the state's southwestern border with Alabama . The area is a patchwork of small rural towns, peanut farms and Fort Benning , a sprawling military installation near Columbus that's seen large numbers of its troops deployed in heavy rotations for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan .
Roughly 50 percent of the district's active registered voters are white and 47 percent are African-American. Though some counties in the district voted for Republican John McCain in the 2008 presidential election, Bishop handily defeated his Republican challenger with roughly 69 percent of the vote, according to September figures from the Georgia Secretary of State's Office.
In the 2nd District , the priorities are "God, country, hard work and guns, and not necessarily in that order, and that's for the black and white community," said Bishop, who was one of only four Congressional Black Caucus members to vote in 2002 to authorize the Iraq war.
Bishop deftly navigates his district's political currents because "he can deal with the farmers like he can the soldiers," according to retired Maj. Gen. Jerry White , a former commander of the U.S. Army Infantry Center and Fort Benning .
"He has a sense about him that people truly believe he understands their needs,"said White, who worked with Bishop to help build a multimillion-dollar, state-of-the-art National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center in Columbus .
Still, as Bishop stood facing a crowd of 530 constituents last month at that museum, he was forced to remind the gathering of his moderate bona fides.
"My vote doesn't belong to Nancy Pelosi and it doesn't belong to Barack Obama ," Bishop, a nine-term congressman who co-chaired the president's Georgia campaign efforts, said in response to intense questioning. "It belongs to the people in the 2nd District of Georgia ."
Bishop remains open to the idea of a public option and encourages competition among insurance companies. He's willing to consider alternatives, however, in order to achieve improvement, such as member-owned, nonprofit health cooperatives that negotiate directly with a network of health providers.
By 1802 President Thomas Jefferson led the repeal of most of these acts because they overstepped federal authority and instituted unjust restrictions.
In 1845 the Know Nothing movement in the United States formed a national political party based in nativist sentiment. This "Native American Party" rested on populist fears of Irish immigration. The Irish, they argued, were streaming into the United States. The Know Nothings argued that these Irish were unwelcome labor competition, and that these new immigrants were bringing with them foreign values, specifically Catholicism, which were a threat to American values.
By 1860 this party was extinguished.
In 1882 President Arthur signed into federal law the Chinese Exclusion Act. Chinese immigrant labor was the infrastructure backbone of the 19th century California Gold Rush, but by the 1880s a significant economic downturn increased competition and turned up animosity. Fueled by scarcity-stoked fear, nativists pushed an anti-immigration agenda, culminating in the 1882 Act that excluded Chinese workers from entering the United States.
In 1943 this act was repealed.
In the 1880s Reconstruction ended in the U.S. South. States of the former Confederacy began to enact legislation that stripped black citizens of the right to vote, ejected black office holders from their posts, and forcibly segregated public accommodations and public transportation. Architects of these Jim Crow Laws justified the exclusion of black Americans from the public sphere as a protection of the values and culture of Southern life.
In 1964 the Civil Rights Act ended segregation in public accommodations.
In 1890 the state of Wisconsin passed the Bennett Law and the state of Illinois passed the Edwards law. Both restricted the use of German-language instruction in the state's classrooms. These were antagonist legislative acts meant to cripple the extensive German parochial school system in these states. Many believed German immigrants to be a threat to American values and political interests.
In 1892 both laws were repealed.
In 1942 the United States began the forcible internment of more than 100,000 Japanese nationals, more than half of whom were American citizens. The "War Relocation Camps" were justified as a protective measure for American interests in the wake of Peal Harbor.
In 1945 the internment camps were closed and in 1948 reparations were made to many of the survivors.
In 2008 the United States of America elected its first black president. He is the son of a white woman from Kansas and a black man from Kenya. He was born in an American state with a sizeable Japanese-American population. He went to grade school in Indonesia. He chose a Catholic man as his running mate. In the general election he won Virgina, a state that was once the capital of the Confederacy.
In 2009 he worked with Congress to craft legislation aimed at providing affordable health insurance coverage to all. While addressing a joint session of Congress he was called a liar by a Representative from South Carolina. Those who opposed his policies decried him as a socialist, a Nazi, a bigot and a murderer. They suggested that his ideas were dangerous and threatened the values of the United States.
We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics who will only grow louder and more dissonant in the weeks to come. We've been asked to pause for a reality check. We've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.
But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope. For when we have faced down impossible odds; when we've been told that we're not ready, or that we shouldn't try, or that we can't, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people.
Yes we can.
It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation.
Yes we can.
It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom through the darkest of nights.
Yes we can.
It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.
Yes we can.
It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballot; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.
Yes we can to justice and equality. Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity. Yes we can heal this nation. Yes we can repair this world. Yes we can.