Archive for October, 2013

The Government Shutdown – Blacks Depend on Government

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Guest Columnists with tags , on October 28, 2013 by Gary Johnson

William Reed

Business Exchange by William Reed

Rather than gloat over the Republicans getting their clocks cleaned in the government shutdown fiasco, it’s worth Blacks taking time to note our dependency on government. In some form, more than half of Americans rely on the government; 165 million out of 308 million. Of these, 107 million Americans rely on government welfare, 46 million seniors benefit from Medicare and there are 22 million government employees. Americans’ ethics regarding self-reliance has dwindled as eligibility for Medicaid, food stamps, earned income tax credit, work pay tax credit and unemployment benefits have increased  since 2009. In 2010, more than 70 percent of federal spending went to such programs. This dependency on government sets too many Americans up for low aspirations and generations of welfare and poverty. And, the problem for Blacks is that we often rely too much on government.

Washington, D.C. is home to the “wealthiest concentration of Blacks in America.” In D.C., and around the world, more than 800,000 federal workers were furloughed during the shutdown. A disproportionate number of furloughed federal workers happened to be African Americans. Because government jobs have always been more available to Blacks than private sector employment, Blacks comprise 17.7 percent of the federal workforce. Overall, people of color represent 34 percent of the federal workforce. Latinos are 8 percent, Asians are 5.8 percent and Native Americans are 2.1 percent. People of color comprise 37 percent of the U.S. population, a figure projected to grow to 57 percent by 2060.

Since the 2007 Recession, federal, state and local government agencies have pared down payrolls and eliminated positions that sustained millions of Black middle-class workers for decades. Since the beginning of 2007, some 375,000 government jobs have been eliminated. Nearly 21 percent of the nation’s working Black adults have government jobs. Public agencies are the single largest employer for Black men, and the second most common for Black women. During the shutdown many recipients of Head Start, HUD Section 8 and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, commonly known as WIC, lost funding.

It’s important for Blacks to know and understand the difference between the private and public sectors. Black workers have fared so much worse than other segments of the population since the recession’s end. In May, the unemployment rate among Black Americans reached 16.2 percent, up from 15.5 percent a year earlier. By contrast, White unemployment was 8 percent, an improvement from the 8.8 percent level of the previous year.

But now, with the broader economy stuck in a deep rut and working opportunities chronically lean, those government jobs are diminishing, too. From the Post Office to the White House, a government job has long offered African Americans pathways to middle-class lifestyles. The loss of government paychecks erodes one of what Blacks considered during the past century as an equalizing force.

It’s as if Blacks can’t see beyond the proponents of “big government socialism” and attitudes of dependency. Blacks would do well to limit the amount of government dependence in their lives. Without meaningful private-sector endeavors, the Black middle-class cannot sustain itself. Some would say today’s Black middle-class is no more than an illusion. Terms such as “job creation” and “economic engines” must become more commonplace in Blacks’ vernacular.

As stunted as their economics have been under Democratic governments, the mindset among African Americans remains Democratic and “big government inclined.” A 2011 report by Globescan showed the number of U.S. citizens who believe in the strength of a free market economy dropped to 59 percent. When Globescan first conducted this survey 10 years ago, 80 percent of Americans favored a free market economic system. Those people with the lowest annual incomes were found to be more likely to oppose a free market economy. Heritage Foundation findings report that on average, Americans who depend on federal assistance received $32,748 in annual benefits, which is more than an average American worker makes in a year. In 2011, the median annual salary was reported as being $26,364.

William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via the BaileyGroup.org.

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Report: One In Three Black Males Will Go To Prison

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Politics, Racism with tags , , , , on October 19, 2013 by Gary Johnson

Black Men Chained
By Black Men In America.com
The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world, dwarfing the rate of nearly every other nation.  One in every three black males born today can expect to go to prison at some point in their life, compared with one in every six Latino males, and one in every seventeen white males, if current incarceration trends continue.These are among a stack of facts cited by The Sentencing Project, a Washington, D.C.-based group that advocates for prison reform, in a report on the staggering racial disparities that permeate the American criminal justice system.

The report was submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Committee this week in advance of the U.N.’s review of American compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights later this month.  It argues that racial disparity pervades “every stage of the United States criminal justice system, from arrest to trial to sentencing.

“Racial minorities are more likely than white Americans to be arrested,” the report explains.  “Once arrested, they are more likely to be convicted; and once convicted, they are more likely to face stiff sentences.”

Roughly 12% of the United States population is black.  Yet in 2011, black Americans constituted 30% of persons arrested for a property offense and 38% of persons arrested for a violent offense.  7 Black youths account for 16% of all children in America yet make up 28% of juvenile arrests.
The report concludes that the U. S. has employed mass incarceration as a convenient answer to inconvenient questions for decades.

In doing so, the U.S. government has glossed over the glaring racial inequalities that permeate every aspect of its criminal
justice system.  The government has both fostered and perpetuated those inequalities in clear violation of its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as other international agreements.   The overall report is worth reading even if you disagree with the group’s conclusion and findings.  Click here to download the report.

Will Jolene Ivey Become Maryland’s First Black Female Lt. Governor?

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Politics with tags , , , on October 19, 2013 by Gary Johnson

Jolene Ivey Campaign

Jolene Ivey wants to become the first Black female lieutenant governor in Maryland. Currently, Ivey is a Maryland State Delegate, handpicked by Democrat Douglas F. Gansler as his running mate for 2014.  In past years some have made an issue of Ivey’s racial identity.  This is nothing new for the seasoned politician.  Ivey, the daughter of a white mother and black father, says she is fair skinned and very much aware that her racial identity is often called into question.  She says when she began her career in politics, her race was a central issue so she’s aware that her race may become an issue in this campaign as well.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Ivey says she is a black mother of five boys.  “I am Trayvon Martin’s mom” she said.

In a short speech, earlier this week, Gansler noted that Jolene Ivey as someone with a history of fighting discrimination who would make a difference in real people’s lives as Maryland’s next lieutenant governor.  In response Ivey said she was honored to join Gansler’s ticket to give “voice to the voiceless.” Ivey pledged that she would help Gansler press to raise the minimum wage and close a persistent minority achievement gap in the state’s schools.  “I understand what it takes to fight for the issues and ideas you believe in and get the legislature to act, and I look forward to working with Doug to pass an agenda that will put middle-class and working families front and center,” Ivey said.

Jolene Ivey is married to Glenn Ivey, former State’s Attorney of Prince George’s County, Maryland.  They have 5 sons.

Jolene Ivey is married to Glenn Ivey, former State’s Attorney of Prince George’s County, and they have five beautiful boys. They live in Cheverly. – See more at: http://douggansler.com/jolene/#sthash.wZM1iQDs.dpuf

Jolene Ivey 

Click here to learn more about Delegate Jolene Ivey and her campaign to be Maryland’s next Lt. Governor.

Delegate Jolene Ivey has been a member of Maryland’s House of Delegates since January 2007. She is a member of the Ways and Means Committee and is the Chair of the Prince George’s County Delegation. She is the House Chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Youth and Families. Delegate Ivey is a member of the Legislative Black Caucus, the Women’s Caucus, and the Democratic Caucus. She had the honor of being elected to the Maryland Delegation for the Democratic National Convention in 2008, and nominated Barack Obama for President of the United States of America. – See more at: http://douggansler.com/jolene/#sthash.oiEmUQdr.dpuf
Delegate Jolene Ivey has been a member of Maryland’s House of Delegates since January 2007. She is a member of the Ways and Means Committee and is the Chair of the Prince George’s County Delegation. She is the House Chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Youth and Families. Delegate Ivey is a member of the Legislative Black Caucus, the Women’s Caucus, and the Democratic Caucus. She had the honor of being elected to the Maryland Delegation for the Democratic National Convention in 2008, and nominated Barack Obama for President of the United States of America. – See more at: http://douggansler.com/jolene/#sthash.oiEmUQdr.dpuf
Delegate Jolene Ivey has been a member of Maryland’s House of Delegates since January 2007. She is a member of the Ways and Means Committee and is the Chair of the Prince George’s County Delegation. She is the House Chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Youth and Families. Delegate Ivey is a member of the Legislative Black Caucus, the Women’s Caucus, and the Democratic Caucus. She had the honor of being elected to the Maryland Delegation for the Democratic National Convention in 2008, and nominated Barack Obama for President of the United States of America. – See more at: http://douggansler.com/jolene/#sthash.oiEmUQdr.dpuf
Delegate Jolene Ivey has been a member of Maryland’s House of Delegates since January 2007. She is a member of the Ways and Means Committee and is the Chair of the Prince George’s County Delegation. She is the House Chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Youth and Families. Delegate Ivey is a member of the Legislative Black Caucus, the Women’s Caucus, and the Democratic Caucus. She had the honor of being elected to the Maryland Delegation for the Democratic National Convention in 2008, and nominated Barack Obama for President of the United States of America. – See more at: http://douggansler.com/jolene/#sthash.oiEmUQdr.dpuf

Tavis Smiley: Black People Are Not Better Off Under Obama

Posted in African Americans, Barack Obama, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Money/Economics, Politics, President Barack Obama with tags , , , on October 16, 2013 by Gary Johnson

TavisSmiley

By Black Men In America.com Staff Writer

Last week Tavis Smiley, who seems to show up more frequently on the FOX News Channel appeared on the Sean Hannity Show.  While discussing the government shutdown the conversation shifted near the end of the interview.

Host Hannity“Are black Americans better off five years into the Obama presidency?”

Smiley“Let me answer your question very forthrightly: No, they are not,” Smiley said. “The data is going to indicate, sadly, that when the Obama administration is over, black people will have lost ground in every single leading economic indicator category.”

Smiley:  “On that regard,” he added, “the president ought to be held responsible.”

Smiley:  “I respect the president. I will protect the president. And I will correct the president. He’s right on this government shutdown. Republicans are thwarting the rule of law with the Constitution. If they let this debt go into default, they’re trampling again on the Constitution.”

You can click here to watch the entire interview Of course, not everyone agrees with Tavis.  James E. Causey, of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says Tavis is wrong. Causey writes:  “Things are bad, but blacks are better off than we were before Obama took office.  Click here to read Mr. Causey’s article.
What do you think?

Kwame Kilpatrick Gets 28 Years In Prison

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Men, Black Men In America, Politics with tags , , , on October 10, 2013 by Gary Johnson

kwame

By Black Men In America.com Staff Writer

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick aka the “Hip Hop Mayor” was sentenced to 28 years in prison today.  This sentencing is reportedly the longest sentence for corruption ever handed down to a public official.  Kilpatrick has already been jailed three times.

This marks the end of a long series of convictions, trials and appeals.  It also marks the end of a sad chapter in politics of a man who had such political promise when elected at the age of 31 years old.  Now 43, Kilpatrick should look in the mirror if he is looking for someone to blame.  Remember the thousands of sexually explicit text messages using city owned cell phones?  Some of those text messages contradicted testimony he had previously given during a whistle-blower’s trial resulting in a perjury charge.  Then there was the extra-marital affair with his former Chief of Staff, one of several affairs discovered during his tenure as mayor.  The Detroit Free Press reporters who broke that story earned a Pulitzer Prize.  There were other mayoral scandals that weren’t addressed in the trial, like Kilpatrick’s leasing of a Lincoln Navigator for his wife using city funds, as well as other recent violations.

Talk about violating the public’s trust.  Kwame Kilpatrick got full of himself and thought that the laws did not apply to him.  This was one corrupt dude who robbed the city of Detroit of millions of dollars through a series of criminal enterprises where crimes were committed during his entire six-year tenure as Detroit mayor.  34 other people have been convicted for crimes pertaining to the former mayor.

Kwame Sentencing Poster

Kilpatrick was found guilty on 24 counts related to bid-rigging, extortion and bribery in his latest trial, which ended in March.  Government officials say Kilpatrick and his partner Bobby Ferguson ran a “criminal enterprise” out of Detroit’s City Hall, with Ferguson obtaining at least $76 million in contracts through extortion.  Prosecutors say Kilpatrick used the mayor’s office to steer $127 million in contracts to Ferguson, a contractor and head of Ferguson Enterprises.

In court on Thursday, Kilpatrick said, “I respectfully ask or a fair sentence, based on what happened here.  I respect the jury’s verdict … I think your honor knows that I disagree with it.”

After originally serving only 99 days but violating his probation, Kilpatrick served about a year in prison, and was required to pay the city $1 million in restitution. He still owes more than $850,000 from his original restitution requirement.

The mayor was accused in 2012 of violating his probation several times by not performing required community service and missing his restitution payments.  In January of this year, he was caught on video cashing a $2,000 check at a Chicago Walmart.  The monies hadn’t been reported to his parole officers.

As expected the former mayor had supporters at the courthouse who believe he is getting a raw deal and treated unfairly.  It should be noted that some of the mayors wrongdoings have impacted his father.  That’s right, Kilpatrick’s father, Bernard Kilpatrick, who was convicted on a single tax charge, will be sentenced Oct. 17th.  His ass faces up to three years in prison.  (Thanks son).

First Jesse Jackson, Jr. now Kwame Kilpatrick.  Two young black politicians with promise who succumbed to greed are going to jail.

Kilpatrick has remained optimistic throughout the scandals.  In his resignation speech in 2011, Kilpatrick told the city that he’d be back.  “Detroit, you done set me up for a comeback,” he said.

After today’s sentencing it will be a while before the former mayor makes any kind of a come back.  He would be 71 years old when released, if he serves his entire sentence.

Sources:  The Detroit Free Press, Huffington Post.com, Associated Press, Freep.com.

New Reality Show: Preachers of L. A. Premieres October 9th (Really?)

Posted in African Americans, Black Interests, Black Links, Black Men, Black Men In America with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2013 by Gary Johnson

By Gary A. Johnson, Black Men In America.com

preachers-of-LA-3-e1378819577216

I have a feeling that after this show airs tomorrow night, people will refer to this show as “Pastors Gone Wild.”  There is a lot about this show that makes me uncomfortable, and I mean very uncomfortable.  That probably says a lot about me and the way I was raised and the churches that I attended growing up in Washington, DC.

The pastors featured on this reality show are charismatic and very different from the preachers that I grew up with.  Do I know preachers that I believe are “shady?”  You bet.  I have run across some preachers that if their lips are moving they’re telling a lie about something.

The cast of “Preachers of L.A.” is composed of L.A. based pastors Bishop Noel Jones, Bishop Clarence McClendon, Pastor Wayne Chaney, Bishop Ron Gibson, Pastor Jay Haizlip and Pastor/Gospel singer Deitrick Haddon. The show offers viewers an inside look of these preachers’ lives beyond the pulpit.

Check out a couple of soundbites from the “Preachers of L.A.” trailer:

  • “P. Diddy, Jay-Z, they’re not the only ones who should be driving Ferraris and living in large houses.” (Gibson)
  • “The Bible says that those of us who sow among us should reap from us, that’s implying that preachers should be taken care of.” (Haizlip)

Haizlip, upset by suggestions that he and his cast mates were somehow more style than substance, maintained that the public need only give “Preachers of L.A.” a chance to see what the ministers are truly about.

Preachers of LA

Some Christian leaders asked by Christianity Today for their thoughts on “Preachers of L.A.,” were convinced the docu-series, would “(shine) a spotlight on some of the shameful abuses of those who claim to be evangelical Christians” and that it “epitomizes what is wrong with reality TV.” But others asked for their views were cautiously optimistic that the docu-series had the potential to “shine the light of Christ.”  Time will tell. 

Who are the people behind this show?  “Preachers of L.A.,” conceived by Lemuel Plummer (“Vindicated” and “The Sheards”) and Holly Carter (“106 & Gospel” and “The Sheards”).  Check out the Question and Answer interview with Plummer and Carter at the following link:  http://preachers-of-la.oxygen.com/blogs/qa-producers-holly-carter-lemuel-plummer#fbid=SZU0t-YLnsu.

You can watch a preview of the show below to hear Minister Deitrick Haddon, Pastor Wayne Chaney and Bishop Ron Gibson talk about the show:

You can also watch the first episode of “Preachers of L.A.” online in its entirety right now.  Here is the description of Episode 1 provided by the Oxygen Network:

Meet Pastor Jay HaizlipMinister Deitrick HaddonPastor Wayne ChaneyBishop Ron GibsonNoel Jones, and Bishop Clarence McClendon, six pastors with fascinating backgrounds, strong faiths, and of course, beautiful women. In Episode 1, the pastors attend Deitrick Haddon’s gospel show, Deitrick faces his controversial past, Ron Gibson intervenes in a gang fight, and all the pastors hang out in their brand new man cave…and the results are explosive. 

Click on the link below to watch the first full episode.  (Note: video may not be viewable on smartphones & tablets.)

http://features.oxygen.com/videos/vid:26810511/#fbid=SZU0t-YLnsu

“Preachers of L.A.” premieres Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 10 p.m. ET on the Oxygen network. Find out more on the show online: http://preachers-of-la.oxygen.com.

Will you watch the show?  If so, tell us what you think?

JODY WATLEY BRINGS BACK FUN AND GLAMOUR ON NEW SINGLE, ‘NIGHTLIFE’

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Music with tags , , on October 5, 2013 by Gary Johnson

JODYWATLEY_OFFICIAL_ruiz-3

(Los Angeles, CA – September 23, 2013): Grammy-winning singer, songwriter and producer, Jody Watley, one of  Pop/R&B and dance music’s most enduring and stylish trailblazers, returns with her new single “Nightlife.”

https://soundcloud.com/jodywatley/jody-watley-nightlife-single

Ms. Watley, who has mastered a career in keeping a career in Dance and R&B music going, continues her legacy on the shimmering dance floor classic, inspired by her well documented roots in funk and soul music. The veteran song stylist has created an energetic dance floor anthem that is innovative, while also paying homage to her many influences. “Nightlife” is available on iTunes and select digital outlets and limited edition 12″ vinyl. The single also features fellow original Shalamar lead singer Gerald Brown. Jody’s soulfully spirited, up-tempo album  Paradise is scheduled for release in early 2014 on her longtime imprint Avitone http://jodywatley.net/avitone/

“People love to dance to feel the groove,” says Jody. “I wanted ‘Nightlife’ to capture the spirit of vintage soul and deliver a song that people could play at either a house party, getting ready for a night on the town, at clubs, to get the dancers on the floor, or simply make people feel inspired to be fabulous. Everyone feels better dressed up, especially in difficult times.  From the song’s intro, to the energy on the track, we worked to make the music come alive,” adds Jody. Serving again as both performer, co-writer and co-producer on “Nightlife,” she collaborated with the emerging production duo Count de Money from the UK. “I’ve always been about the style of music. I wanted to paint a picture with the music and evoke an uplifting emotion. I find this missing in a lot of music today. Soul music is not just ballads; it has also always been about a quality rhythm with a message as well.

Jody’s career as a chart-topping hit maker has surpassed more than three decades in her successful career. Her last album The Makeover  was a #1 Top Electronic Albums on iTunes and produced three Top Ten Dance Singles.  Jody has achieved thirteen #1 singles in Dance and R&B, six Top Ten Hot 100 Singles, (including the influential and ground-breaking “Friends” featuring Eric B. & Rakim)  and fifteen R&B Top 40 records. Jody’s diversity in her music and continued embrace of being on the cutting edge is apparent on her collaborations with the young electro duo French Horn Rebellion and on their summer 2013 song “Dancing Out.Additionally, Jody has collaborated with Stone Throw Records’ Boogie Funk Ambassador Dam-Funk, the UK’s Mercury Prize winners 4Hero, DJ Spinna and other cream of the crop soulful dance music producer/musicians.

Ms. Watley, who continues to groove on stages and clubs all over the globe, including an appearance at the 2013 Essence Festival, is no stranger to the world of dance music.  In 1987 she released her groundbreaking self-titled album which featured the hit single “Looking For A New Love.” The song became a pop/soul sensation that garnered her the coveted Grammy Award for Best New Artist and pioneered her career into fame to become an international star. Jody’s dose of  her own distinct sense of style, fashion and individuality in her music and video from the song captured the attention of fans around the world. She became a trendsetting sensation, gracing the covers of some of the most prominent magazines, fashion layouts and early celebrity ad campaigns throughout the United States, Asia, Latin America and Europe. Her influence can still be seen and heard in younger female artists today.

Jody Watley continues to put genuine artistry and quality into everything she does, making each musical moment into a wonderful experience. There is no better way to wait for Paradise than to dance and enjoy the “Nightlife.”

Official Website and Style Blog: www.jodywatley.net

Twitter: twitter.com/jodywatley

Facebook: facebook.com/JodyWatleyOfficial

Instagram: Jody Watley

For Media Relations and Publicity Inquiries Please Contact:

Juanita Stephens, JS Media Relations

Jsmediarelationspr@gmail.com

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