Saturday, December 31, 2011

Time Magazine 2011 Person of the Year

Drum roll please...

Time Magazine, true to year end tradition, has named the 2011 person of the year. And the winner is - YOU!

Yes, in recognition of the growing phenomenon of uprisings around the world, including USA, Time has correctly identified the greatest influence reshaping our world - YOU the protester.

As Time stated:

No one could have known that when a Tunisian fruit vendor set himself on fire in a public square in a town barely on a map, he would spark protests that would bring down dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya and rattle regimes in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain. 

Or that that spirit of dissent would spur Mexicans to rise up against the terror of drug cartels, Greeks to march against unaccountable leaders, Americans to occupy public spaces to protest income inequality, and Russians to marshal themselves against a corrupt autocracy.Protests have now occurred in countries whose populations total at least 3 billion people, and the word protest has appeared in newspapers and online exponentially more this past year than at any other time in history.

Is there a global tipping point for frustration? 

Everywhere, it seems, people said they'd had enough. They dissented; they demanded; they did not despair, even when the answers came back in a cloud of tear gas or a hail of bullets. They literally embodied the idea that individual action can bring collective, colossal change. And although it was understood differently in different places, the idea of democracy was present in every gathering. The root of the word democracy is demos, "the people," and the meaning of democracy is "the people rule." And they did, if not at the ballot box, then in the streets. America is a nation conceived in protest, and protest is in some ways the source code for democracy — and evidence of the lack of it.  read entire story

In simple terms, people collectively got sick and tired of being sick and tired. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr:

A man can't ride your back unless it's bent. 

On the behalf of the HGP family, Happy New Years and god bless! 

Related Story: After Outcry, Verizon Abandons $2 Fee

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Nixon's Darkest Secrets

"You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference".

Richard Nixon famously uttered the above immortal yet unprophetic words almost 50 years ago when he lost the California gubernatorial election. Yes, unfortunately, we still have Richard "Tricky Dick" Nixon to kick around. In a highly sensationalized and explosive book written by Don Fulsom - Nixon's Darkest Secrets - he claims Nixon, our country's 37th President was gay and a drunk wife beater:

A new book by an ex-White House reporter claims that President Richard Nixon was a mobbed-up drunk who beat the First Lady and may have had a decades-long gay affair with a shady Miami-area businessman.
In the shocking new biography "Nixon's Darkest Secrets: The Inside Story of America's Most Troubled President," former United Press International Washington bureau chief Don Fulsom writes that Tricky Dick had mob ties for more than 20 years before he was elected in 1968 and lusted after his best pal, dashing Cuban-American playboy Charles (Bebe) Rebozo.
Nixon and Rebozo, who the feds believe laundered money for mob kingpins in Florida and Cuba, swam, sunbathed and dined together during guys-only vacations in exclusive Key Biscayne, Fla., and were once spotted holding hands under the table during a dinner with K Street power brokers, according to a report on the book in the Daily Mail. read entire story

Just to think, Nixon, who resigned the Presidency in 1974 and who died in 1994, is still being kicked around; and finally, Nixon - who famously believed the press was out to get him - proves correct the old cliche: 
Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.

Ben Breedlove's Christmas Season Video: Do you believe in angels?

I seriously do not have the words to convey the emotions I felt after watching the following video. Just watch.

A Texas teenager who said he cheated death three times despite a dangerous heart condition died Christmas night from a heart attack, but not before posting a two-part video on YouTube telling his story and describing a series of powerful visions.

In the videos that have since gone viral, 18-year-old Ben Breedlove of Austin can be seen silently sitting in a room and using handwritten note cards to tell his story. The teen suffered from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition in which one part of the heart is thicker than the other parts, making it difficult for the heart to pump blood.

He described cheating death three times. source

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Eugene Robinson: We need a brainpower revolution

In today's Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson writes:

Our manufacturing sector is just a shadow of what it once was, and that’s not China’s fault. Because of automation and the globalization of the labor market, rich countries can only excel at high-end manufacturing that requires more brains than brawn. Our future lies in knowledge and information. So let’s go there.

We’ve done it before. After World War II, the G.I. Bill dramatically boosted the percentage of Americans with college degrees. That one piece of farsighted legislation prepared a generation to run the industrial economy that was forged by the war — and helped absorb the excess labor that resulted from mechanization of the agricultural sector. What we need now is transformation on a similarly grand scale.

As a former school teacher, I can honestly say one of the most frustrating realities to absorb was that we were not preparing our students for the modern work force. Day in and day out, we were mandated to essentially teach to the test - passing the state-wide standardized test  was our reason for being. Don't be mistaken, students do need the basic reading and math skills assessed by the test, however, if the curriculum is solely focused on passing one test, we are not adequately preparing our students for the job market that awaits them.

As a good friend of mine (and former teacher as well) often states: We have an antiquated educational system that has not been fundamentally updated since the 1950's - when our society was industrial based. This is glaringly true and as a result, we have been derelict in preparing our students for the modern workforce needs.

As estopher (his spelling) states in Hub Pages:

America has to transform its education system so that children can graduate high school and be competitive in the job market. The education system is no longer providing adequate working skills to American children with a high school education. With the manufacturing jobs shifting to Third World countries the contemporary education system should evaluate how well we are preparing our youth for the job market without continuing on to college.

And Robinson adds:

This is a moment when policymakers should be thinking big, not small. History will little note nor long remember that the payroll tax holiday was extended for two months rather than 12. The complex and difficult questions we’re avoiding, however, may haunt us through the century.

Yes, this is the moment for our business leaders, policy makers and our educators to convene with the purpose of designing a transformative 21st century curriculum; a curriculum that aligns the needs of corporate America with the skills our schools are teaching.

Monday, December 26, 2011

NBA 2012 Preview - Greg Gee with Bharv

It’s almost here and that means it’s prediction time for the 2011-12 NBA season. Last season was one heck of a ride from the MVP ride Derrick Rose took to the drama surrounding the Miami Heat to the Dallas Mavericks finally winning the NBA title, 2010-11 was one crazy season. But after the uncertainty of this season and all of the drama that has ensued before the season has even started promises that this season, albeit shorter then the last, may surpass it in glory.(

Yes, the above statement by Josh Hill is dead-on correct. And I might add, this is a transitional year for the NBA. The next 5 years, the NBA champion will be led by a core of younger players: Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin and company, who are nipping at the heals of  the established NBA elite players.

The older teams (Celtics, Lakers, Mavericks, Spurs) will not be apart of the champagne celebration in June 2012. The past 4 years have seen younger teams getting closer and closer to the finals, only to have a more experienced team deny them the next level. Well, the young guns have caught up - learning from their past mistakes - and this will be key to becoming a champion..

Western Conference
For the last two years, the Oklahoma Thunder was booted by a more experienced Lakers (2010) and Maverick (2011) teams. The Thunder's talented Kevin Durant along with his teammates, Kendrick Perkins and Russell Westbrook, will need to follow this template if they want to represent the Western Conference in the NBA finals:
1. Perkins - bring his defensive toughness and a championship mentality from his Celtic days.
2.Westbrook - accepts his role as a facilitator and shed that reputation as just a scorer.
3. Let Kevin Durant be Kevin Durant.

The returning champions Dallas Mavericks had good chance to repeat but (curiously) they did not resign their defensive presence(Tyson Chandler) who played a major factor in winning it all last season. I'm predicting the absence of Chandler will make them too soft defensively to repeat.

My Los Angeles Lakers (yes guilty, I am a homer) are "old" and Kobe Bryant's great hereoic performances are gone - so barring a blockbuster trade (Dwight Howard) the Lakers will finish as just barely a playoff team.

The LA Clippers' Chris Paul and Blake Griffin will be just Sports Center highlights, not a threat (and folks, the Lakers still own LA). Why? Not enough fiirepower in the low post.The Memphis Grizzlies grew up last year in the playoffs, but they are where the Thunder were two years ago: still learning. The San Antonio Spurs' core of Manu Ginobli, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan are good but  father time is against them.

Eastern Conference
The operative word for the Miami Heat is blend. Nice guy Lebron James will come to terms that he has a flock of haters who do not like him and he will use that as incentive to create the unstoppable Lebron we have been waiting to see for 7 years. After one year together, the dynamic trio of James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh have figured out how to incorporate each other's game into making the Heat Eastern Conference champions.  No one can beat these guys since they will have figured out all of this.

The New York Knicks will be the Heat's biggest challenge. They have a superstar who can take over a game, Carmelo Anthony; a superstar who is comfortable as the second best on the team, Amaire Stoudamire; and the added defensive presence of Tyson Chandler to protect the basket. They will have great team chemistry which is needed to compete for a title.

Chicago Bulls and Derrick Rose will challenge, but he still needs another superstar for help. Boston is old - but I would not bet against them. To make a playoff push, I can see them making a youthful upgrade via a trade (bye Ray Allen).  Finally, the Dwight Howard/Orlando Magic off season trading fiasco was/is too much of a distraction. He may be on another team by season's end (Lakers?) - to be more precise, the magic is gone in Orlando.

The NBA Champion
The Miami Heat made the finals only to have a better defensive and team "minded" Mavericks embarrass them. The Heat pretty much made the finals on talent alone, but now they are one year older and wiser. They have learned how to blend their talents together to begin their first of multiple championships. King James will be crowned.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Liberal Matt Damon Slams Obama Again

Matt Damon, one of Barack Obama's earliest supporters and once one of his most staunch advocates, slammed the President in the new issue of Elle Magazine.
"I've talked to a lot of people who worked for Obama at the grassroots level. One of them said to me, 'Never again. I will never be fooled again by a politician,'" Damon tells the magazine. source
There is little that rankles me more than this type of so called friendly fire. First, I remember the 2000 election year friendly fire from Ralph Nadar that contributed to the defeat of Al Gore. His campaign as an Independent split the progressive vote and net result: 8 disastrous years of Bush/Cheney.
Second, my progressive friends on the left seem to want a Messiah. A Messiah, ala Moses, that can split the Red Sea  or change water to wine. On the other side of the aisle, GOP voters have historically been more realistic about how much and how fast change can come. Ronald Reagan did not deliver most of the conservatives' wish list in three years. They understood that Reagan was installing a conservative system that would pay dividends (for his constituents) for decades to come.
We have conservative courts, supply side economics, conservative think tanks, conservative radio and TV news shows and a country that is solidly right centered. The majority of the aforementioned were inspired by the Reagan Revolution.
Were folks on the right upset with Reagan from time to time? Yes!  Because out of political necessity he had to compromise with the Democrats. However, the vastly more disciplined GOP expressed their frustrations behind closed doors (with a few exceptions of course).
Matt Damon is entitled to his own opinion - but to borrow from a cliche - he is not entitled to his own facts (with all due respects for the great works for humanity he does worldwide). In particular, when he says:
"You know, a one-term president with some balls who actually got stuff done would have been, in the long run of the country, much better."
Obama's Big Accomplishment:
Health Care - many presidents tried but he was the only one that succeeded.
Stimulus Package - many economist believe this (and other rescue efforts) saved our  country world from a Great Depression.
Repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell - allows openly gays to serve their country in the military
Wall Street Reform Act
Issued an executive order to repeal Bus era restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research
Significantly expanded Pell Grants, which help low income students to attend college
Signed a new START Treaty - nuclear arms reduction pact with Russia
For more info follow link Obama's Achievements

Keep slamming away my friends - how does President Newt Gingrich sound?

Dee Dee Patt: The Highs & Lows of my Journey

Today’s prayer goes out to all the members of the military services  their families.  To all those who gave their life protecting our country and our cities we thank you and keep your love ones in our prayer.

My Journey Valley
As my one year journey continues I am faced with obstacles that can knock you down for the count.  It is during this time I realize the importance of a strong support system.  For without them our journey can see long and lonely and  yes, at times helpless.  But I am thankful to my support system that reaches out to me when I have fallen and reminding me that I am not alone.  

Starting with my Brother who can see my achievements long before I can.  I owe so much to his encouraging words and forcing me to look inwards and seeing what he sees - that not only can I get back up, but I can dust myself off and continue stronger than ever.  I also have two fabulous sisters that I love to no end.  They have always had my back, and every other part of me. I can always count on them.
The next part of my network is my extended family, my family away from home.  One thing I learned is that they love me like I was on their own.  I have a core group of girlfriends that if I want to thank from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for extending a hand (and shoulders) for me to hold and lean on.  One day I will repay all the love and kindness they have shown me. 
I bring up the support system because although you may be of the mind set that you can do it all alone, a support system can give you the encouragement you need at the times you are feeling the lowest of lows:  Before you smoke that cigarette, before you have that drink, before you gamble that dollar and so on and so on.  

Sharing your plan with at least one other person can help you along the road to getting your life back together.  This journey can mean many different things to many different people.  Just decide what you want to turn around in your life - your health, your finances, your addictions, or your well being.
I am in a rough time right now and I think I am at the lowest point since I began my Journey, but two small things pointed me to the light of my path.  One is a old high school classmate who simply sent a note checking on me because she had not heard from me in awhile. I know that seems small to you, but to me these words let me know  that I matter and my journey matters.  I thanked her personally and she probably has no idea how just reaching out to me has lifted me up - but it has.
My issues right now are health issues that I have been afraid of going to the doctor .  I am so afraid that the news may not be good but I am now in so much pain that I can’t ignore it anymore. So first thing tomorrow I am calling the doctor. I will keep you all posted.
Oh, in case your are wondering the main part of my support system are my parents.  My parents have always loved us (my two sisters and my brother) unconditionally.  When I felt like the world was against me, my mother and father have always been standing right along  side of me with support. 
My final prayer for you today is a prayer for your network; and if you feel that you have no network look again or build one.  Invite just one to take the Journey with you.
God Bless you, Dee Dee Patt

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Words of Inspiration by Kenneth Wayne Sandy

Editor's note: I would like to welcome the newest blogger, Kenneth Wayne Sandy. His message is consistent with the theme and mission of HGP: Self-empowerment through education, information and introspection. 
In his words:

"Sometimes the brightest light comes from the darkest places”.
As this is my first attempt to touch an audience that is willing to listen, join in and participate; I am choosing to generalize for we all face different struggles. To be clear, the specifics - at the end of the day are truly irrelevant -  share a commonality, no matter what is your struggle. 
Therefore, if you change your view and outlook, the brightest light can shine through in the darkest place and your break-down can TRULY be your break through.  
From one Ragamuffin to the next, I feel compelled by a much higher authority to blog on how our collective experiences - the highs and lows - can help us better our environments.  
Through honesty and “real” conversation, I am amazed of the amount of emotion that comes to the surface as I look back over my life.  If you are like me, the struggle with the need to be “perfect” in order to please someone or something has ruled me (and maybe you) for an indefinite period.  
In reflection, by opting to see the light - that is always present - in my darkest times (and there have been many), I find that I can begin to inherit acceptance, validation, worthiness and “salvation” and not in spite of my imperfections, but because of them. 
Putting things in perspective that have tugged at me since the beginning of my journey has proven to be instrumental in seeking clarity and the ability to navigate very muddy, shark infested waters.  If you have a less than desirable past, I understand your journey all too well.  
Try this, put a sticky note on your mirror that states it's all about grace.
I remind myself of this every day… is not about what I/you do, it is about our higher power, the larger force, and our purpose in the universe.  
I hear it in my head and one day I know I will believe it in my heart.  We all are to reach out and touch one another to contribute to change.  Let’s do that for one another.  As for me, I no longer have debts, I am just working through this maze one day at a time. I am looking forward to you joining me on the journey.  
In parting words, just remember: If you change the way you look at things, you change the things you look at.
Be encouraged.  Kenneth Wayne Sandy 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The lost art of NFL tackling by Gregory Gee with Bharv

Harrison launching head first

James Harrison was not on the field Monday night when the Pittsburgh Steelers played the San Francisco 49ers after the NFL denied his appeal of a one-game suspension for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy.
The NFL cited Harrison’s history of dangerous hits — one that now includes five helmet-to-helmet hits on quarterbacks — in its decision. Harrison will become the first player suspended under the league’s new crack down on hits to the head, which followed another Steelers-Browns game last season during which Harrison had two helmet-to-helmet hits. source

James Harrison responded by stating:

"17 games, 1000+ snaps, 100+ tackles, 12+sacks and 2 forces fumbles since my last incident and I get a suspension for a football play!"

 No, Mr. Harrison, you did not get suspended for a football play, you got suspended for violating the NFL's helmet-to-helmet policy. This rule was implemented to protect players from concussions and long term cognitive damages. Furthermore, you should be made aware, as a flagrant and frequent repeat violator of this rule, helmet-to-helmet hitting is not only dangerous, it is not sound football tackling technique.

You may have your defenders: Some analyst and former players have defended Harrison’s play by pointing out the speed of game that does not allow for the defender to pull up or adjust to avoid from making helmet to helmet contact.

 Oh really? Show me what football camp, school, team or program that teaches to lead with the helmet? Each of Harrison’s fines has been because of leading with the helmet - not because he lowered his shoulder and he accidently hit the offensive player who ducked into his helmet.

 Mike Golic, of ESPN’s Mike and Mike, accuses the NFL of trying to soften the aggressive mentality that is indoctrinated into players at a young age and penalize players for what they are paid to do: deliver bone crunching, head jarring hits.  Somewhat true on the latter statement, but coaches teach techniques, which are tools for the player to incorporate and unleash aggressiveness.

Are not players taught to tackle by lowering the shoulder, make contact/hit with the pads while keeping the head up?  Player can use their aggression to tackle/hit through the player. That is a nice violent, clean hit. We pay, enjoy and watch for that type of hits, not the dirty play of Harrison. Just remember, Hall of Famer, Ronnie Lott consistently delivered some of the most spectacular and brutal hits - all delivered clean and with solid tackling technique.

And Trent Dilfer, who I think is one of ESPN’s best analysts, thought Harrison’s hit was a football hit because the quarterback was ducking on Harrison’s approach. Trent, look at it again: Harrison is leading with the helmet, not shoulder pads. Once again,who teaches leading with helmet?

The irony of this discussion: I have heard many analyst (including Golic) speak of how horrendous tackling has become in the NFL. I agree and cite, hard tackling has been replaced with just trying to deliver a hard hit. Defending this style of play will not restore the art of tackling. But maybe the NFL levying a game suspension against Harrison may lead to some players reincorporating the fundamentals of tackling.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Middle Class Crisis - The Making of the 99%

More often than not, the Main Street Media miserably fails in reporting real news of substantive value.

We are bombarded with Hollywood gossip, sensationalism and political gamesmenship - pitting poor folks on the right against poor folks on the left.

This passes for our evening news.

The biggest story of our generation - What has happened to the American Dream - receives scant and superficial coverage. However, since the 2008 economic collapse, people have been intensely pining for more accurate and investigative news stories.

Folks want to know: how did they lose their house, job, pension, health insurance and middle-class status?

 MSM is safely in the hands of the omnipotent one percent. This is precisely the FOX (yes pun is very much intended) in charge of the hen house.

In efforts to obtain the truth, one must search other sources similar to the following.

Truthdig reports:

The Making of the American 99% and the Collapse of the Middle Class

By Barbara Ehrenreich and John Ehrenreich

This piece was originally published atTomDispatch and The Nation.

“Class happens when some men, as a result of common experiences (inherited or shared), feel and articulate the identity of their interests as between themselves, and as against other men whose interests are different from (and usually opposed to) theirs.”
—E.P. Thompson, “The Making of the English Working Class”

The “other men” (and of course women) in the current American class alignment are those in the top 1% of the wealth distribution—the bankers, hedge-fund managers, and CEOs targeted by the Occupy Wall Street movement. They have been around for a long time in one form or another, but they only began to emerge as a distinct and visible group, informally called the “super-rich,” in recent years.

Extravagant levels of consumption helped draw attention to them: private jets, multiple 50,000 square-foot mansions, $25,000 chocolate desserts embellished with gold dust. But as long as the middle class could still muster the credit for college tuition and occasional home improvements, it seemed churlish to complain. Then came the financial crash of 2007-2008, followed by the Great Recession, and the 1% to whom we had entrusted our pensions, our economy, and our political system stood revealed as a band of feckless, greedy narcissists, and possibly sociopaths.

Still, until a few months ago, the 99% was hardly a group capable of (as Thompson says) articulating “the identity of their interests.” It contained, and still contains, most “ordinary” rich people, along with middle-class professionals, factory workers, truck drivers, and miners, as well as the much poorer people who clean the houses, manicure the fingernails, and maintain the lawns of the affluent.

It was divided not only by these class differences, but most visibly by race and ethnicity—a division that has actually deepened since 2008. African-Americans and Latinos of all income levels disproportionately lost their homes to foreclosure in 2007 and 2008, and then disproportionately lost their jobs in the wave of layoffs that followed.  On the eve of the Occupy movement, the black middle class had been devastated. In fact, the only political movements to have come out of the 99% before Occupy emerged were the Tea Party movement and, on the other side of the political spectrum, the resistance to restrictions on collective bargaining in Wisconsin.

The article goes on to explain how many once affluent Americans discovered they had more in common with the 99% as opposed to the 1% elite:

But Occupy could not have happened if large swaths of the 99% had not begun to discover some common interests, or at least to put aside some of the divisions among themselves. For decades, the most stridently promoted division within the 99% was the one between what the right calls the “liberal elite”—composed of academics, journalists, media figures, etc.—and pretty much everyone else.

Once-affluent people lost their nest eggs as housing prices dropped off cliffs. Laid-off middle-aged managers and professionals were staggered to find that their age made them repulsive to potential employers. Medical debts plunged middle-class households into bankruptcy. The old conservative dictum—that it was unwise to criticize (or tax) the rich because you might yourself be one of them someday—gave way to a new realization that the class you were most likely to migrate into wasn’t the rich, but the poor.

And here was another thing many in the middle class were discovering: the downward plunge into poverty could occur with dizzying speed. One reason the concept of an economic 99% first took root in America rather than, say, Ireland or Spain is that Americans are particularly vulnerable to economic dislocation. We have little in the way of a welfare state to stop a family or an individual in free-fall. Unemployment benefits do not last more than six months or a year, though in a recession they are sometimes extended by Congress. At present, even with such an extension, they reach only about half the jobless. Welfare was all but abolished 15 years ago, and health insurance has traditionally been linked to employment.

To read the entire article follow link - Truthdig

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Plight of the Black Middle-Class - Reader Comments

Often times reader comments of HGP  are so profound and dead-on accurate that they need to be reposted in the body of the blog. In this case, this reader, responding to the post Plight of the Black Middle-Class, offers a perspective that is worthy of review and reflection.

Greetings Brother Ben:

I have marinated on your blog post “Plight of the Black Middle-Class” for a couple of weeks with the intent of posting a comment much sooner, however better late than never. At any rate, kudos to HGP for such a well written and timely article.

Your article touched on some of the major issues that have contributed to the demise of the Black Middle Class as it specifically relates to public sector employment.

How many times can we recall our parents saying to us “Son/Daughter just get a good government job and you’ll be set for life”. Well I got myself a good government job and found my set; Set with no raise in over five years and countless non-paid furlough days, all resulting in a $10,000 decrease in my net income over the past few years; ultimately being downsized from the government workforce, which lead me to the unemployment office. So now what Big Momma?

What our parents didn’t tell us was “Son/Daughter, Be sure not to put all of your eggs in one basket; Be sure that when you make it on your good government job you spend your money in your own community; Be sure you support the struggling Black owned convenience store on the corner; Be sure to develop an entrepreneurial spirit so that you can open up your own business one day and employ others from within your community just in case the good government jobs go away. What our parents didn’t say is that if you don’t stay and provide for the Black community, others will come in and take it over by offering what you should be providing such as Asian owned beauty supply shops that sell all black hair products; Asian owned soul food restaurants (how did they learn to cook soul food?); Asian/Arab owned convenience stores and gas stations).

In all fairness to our parents, who could have ever imagined that teachers, police officers, firefighters, postal workers and other similar careers would experience such a devastating loss of jobs and security. All of which have resulted in the staggering loss of our overall economic status as a Middle Class Community. We’ve lost our homes, automobiles, savings and retirement accounts along with other assets, but importantly, we seem to have lost our since of community that so existed prior to desegregation.

While I personally agree with both you and the Rev. Al Sharpton, our strategy cannot be one dimensional. It has to be multi-faceted from an organizational standpoint. You are absolutely correct, marching alone won’t resolve our crisis; however we need to continue marching for justice and equality just as we did during the Civil Rights Movement. So on that note, I favor organizing marches. However, in addition to marching, we must establish grass roots initiatives geared toward economic empowerment. I believe one reader stated that we should assemble/meet in our living rooms to discuss economic empowerment.

I am total agreement with this approach as well as the need to develop Black Owned Asset Holding Companies and any other common sense approaches that help to empower our community and secure our future.

With every day that passes and with each news report I hear that speaks to the rising number of people in need of government assistance (i.e. Food Stamps, Medicaid, Welfare, etc.), I am convinced now more than ever that our future and our children’s futures rests solely on our shoulders. It’s time we realize that no one is coming to the Black Community’s rescue. If we don’t save ourselves from poverty, no one else will.

Having said that, let’s continue the much needed dialogue on this issue, but let’s also take our community back so that we can provide employment to our own. Let’s establish a think tank and/or working group to develop some concrete strategies toward Black Economic Empowerment.

Continue the great work………

Gregory Allen, MBA, Owner/President
Xtreme Entertainment, Inc.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ben Chavis, Black Clergy and Civil Rights Leaders Join OWS

African American clergy and Civil Rights leaders officially join Occupy Wall Street movements Wednesday morning after they make an official announcement at the National Press Club.

Give me some of that old time religion

This was my initial reaction to reading the above press release. My second reaction was: It's about time for our much revered - and recently much maligned - church to become relevant again.

After enduring 12 months of hearing sordid details regarding Bishop Eddie Long and his mega church debacle, it's about time that our church leaders direct their leadership, energies, resources and congregations to a more righteous mission.

The greedy, avarice and corrupt shenanigans of the one percenters have wrecked havoc on the nation's middle-class and is decimating the black middle-class. For example, just read these three headlining stories of today:

Here's more of the featured story:

Occupy Wall Street has taken on the same political importance the Tea Party did soon after Barack Obama's election. The 99 percenters of the Occupy Movement are pro-employee. And even though the economy has antagonized the American workforce, President Obama may have found staunch supporters in the OWS protesters.

Occupy Wall Street is expanding its base and intensifying its effort by welcoming African American church clergy to join the movement to address income inequality and economic injustice. The new addition of the OWS movement will operate under the banner "Occupy the Dream."

Dr. Jamal Bryant, the new millennium minister known for his no-holds-barred, outspoken styleand Dr. Benjamin Chavis, a civil rights icon with the National Council of Churches will formerly announce "Occupy the Dream" and their roles in the protest on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. Chavis and Bryant will join OWS representatives David DeGraw and Shamar Thomas.

With the addition of black church leaders, Occupy Wall Street gets an added boost from the African American church going Christian community---a largely conservative population in the overall demographics of African American voters. For a while now, media and critics have pondered the shortage of African American participation in the OWS movements. read entire story

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tim Tebow's Hail Marys by Gregory Gee

After engineering a string of impressive come from the behind fourth quarter victories, Tim Tebow supporters think he is on the road to NFL success.

His infant NFL career is currently succeeding, as reflected by his team turn around winning record(7-1 with him starting, 1-4 without), once he became the starting quarterback. Tebow’s current success has surprised and shocked most (I haven’t heard any say they expected this) NFL experts.


He is not your conventional pocket passing, accurate NFL quarterback. His footwork is flawed. His throws are consistently off-target. And he has trouble with the most basic of football plays - the center to quarterback snap - after spending most of his football career playing out of the shotgun.

As a starter, Tebow began 1-1 and unable to grasp the Broncos offense. Now, this erratic passer runs a college type spread option offense that would get most NFL quarterback killed. So, why did Denver’s head coach John Fox install a quarterback suicide offense for his quarterback? But the bigger question, how does Tebow continue to progress and succeed from week to week?

Denver Broncos head coach John Fox did not have a “eureka!” moment to start Tebow, but the circumstances and a boisturous fan base allowed for Tebow to start. Let’s go back to training camp. Fox had an open quarterback competition for a future quarterback because then starting quarterback Kyle Orton was on the trading block. The Broncos tried to trade Orton but negotiations with Miami broke down and Orton outright won the quarterback competition. Orton (no longer a Bronco) started the season 1-4 and Fox was forced to start fan favorite Tebow.

"We haven't gotten it done as a football team,” Fox said. “It's not one guy. It's not all Kyle Orton's fault. But we do have to make adjustments, we have to change and we have to do something to win football games."

Adjustments were made and Tebow is now 7-1 as a starter.

So, who gets the credit for the Tebow’s success? The team, of course, because football is a team sport: the defense has allowed only 16.7 points in Tebow’s victories and have forced game changing turnovers in six of seven Tebow’s victories. Not to be overlooked, Tebow has been Mr. Clutch in the fourth quarter (only Aaron Rogers has a higher fourth quarter rating). The Big D keeps it close while Tebow delivers the fourth quarter and overtime victories.

Next in line, coach (Fox), who is more committed than any other coach to the run, deserves credit as well. Fox admitted Tebow is screwed (his word) running a pro style offense so Fox and staff decided to implement a simplified offense that highlighted Tebow’s talents. The result is a “ho-hum” that does not make mistakes and does just enough to win (think Trent Dilfer during the Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl run).

Some have suggested that Denver’s defense and John Fox deserve the lion's share of the credit for the team’s current success. Maybe, but I’m not assigning the bulk of credit to any one component — only the teammates can do that. I do not believe the Bronco's formula (solid defense for 4 quarters and Tebow great for only fourth quarter) is sustainable for long term success. The current spread offense is seen as gimmick offense on the NFL level. Gimmicks are usually good for one season before coaches, via game film, figure ways to nuetralize them.

Currently, Tebow is good, not great. Great would be to score points almost at will and keep the opponent’s defense on it’s heels (ala Green Bay, New Orleans, and New England teams). Tebow, a work in progress, has temporary success and to get better, he will and has to learn how to be a NFL quarterback.

Finally, a huge factor in Tebow’s success is his faith. I do not believe there is divine intervention to tip the scales in Tebow’s favor but strong faith (and hard work) puts all us in positions of accomplishing great things. These are called blessings. And it is up to us on how we use them - Tebow has definitely used his.

Since his entrance into the NFL, Tebow’s future as a quarterback looked bleak: a sub par, dismal rookie season and he began the season as the third string quarterback. Add to the fact that some NFL experts suggested he change position before he even entered the league.

Tebow's faith didn’t waiver.