The Essence of Politics

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Weekly Address: Milestones on the Economy and the Recovery Act

While there is nothing to celebrate until job numbers turn around, the President cites the recent dramatic turnaround in gross domestic product as a sign of better things to come. He also applauds the fact that the Recovery Act has now created or saved more than a million jobs. October 31, 2009.

House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) Delivers Weekly Republican Address

GOP Leader: Only Republicans have offered solutions to lower health care costs and make it easier to obtain quality, affordable coverage without imposing a massive burden on the American people.

Washington, Oct 30 - Delivering the weekly Republican address, House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) outlined Republicans plan to make health care more accessible and affordable for American families at a price our nation can afford. The address highlights the differences between Republicans smart, fiscally responsible reforms and Speaker Nancy Pelosis (D-CA) 1,990-page government takeover of health care. More on Republicans common-sense health care solutions is available at Audio of the address is available here; video of the address will be available here once the embargo is lifted.

Im House Republican Leader John Boehner. At the beginning of this year, I told President Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi that Republicans would be ready to work with them whenever possible to address the nations biggest challenges. I also said that where there are differences, it was our obligation as a party to explain to the American people how we would do things better. And on the stimulus, the budget, the energy bill, and health care, we have done exactly that.

As a matter of fact, only Republicans have offered solutions to lower health care costs and make it easier to obtain quality, affordable coverage without imposing a massive burden on the American people.

We first released our health care plan in June, and over the last six months, we have introduced at least eight bills that, taken together, would implement this blueprint. You can go right now to and get all the details, but for now, I just want to share with you four ideas Republicans have proposed:

· Number one: let families and businesses buy health insurance across state lines;

· Number two: allow individuals, small businesses, and trade associations to pool together and acquire health insurance at lower prices, the same way large corporations and labor unions do today;

· Number three: give states the tools to create their own innovative reforms that lower health care costs; and

· Number four: end junk lawsuits that contribute to higher health care costs by increasing the number of tests and procedures that physicians sometimes order not because they think it's good medicine, but because they are afraid of being sued.

These are four smart, fiscally-responsible reforms that we can implement today to lower costs and expand access at a price our nation can afford. Again, you can learn more about these and all the health care initiatives Republicans have supported by visiting

The best way to get a sense of what Speaker Pelosis takeover of health care looks like is to actually look at it. Just shy of 2,000 pages, it runs more than 620 pages longer than the government-run plan Hillary Clinton proposed in 1993.

This 1,990 pages of bureaucracy will centralize health care decision making in Washington, DC. Itll require thousands of new federal employees. Itll put unelected boards, bureaus, and commissions in charge of who gets access to what drug and what potentially life-saving treatment.

And it wont come cheap. Speaker Pelosis health care bill will raise the cost of Americans health insurance premiums; it will kill jobs with tax hikes and new mandates; and it will cut seniors Medicare benefits.

We now have a choice: we can come together to implement smart, fiscally responsible reforms to improve Americans health care or we can recklessly pursue this government takeover that creates far more problems than it solves.

Its clear where the American people stand on this issue. Theyre frustrated and fed up. The stimulus bill isnt working. Unemployment is rising. The debt to be paid by our kids and grandkids is exploding. And now, Speaker Pelosis 1,990-page government takeover of health care.

Enough is enough. Breaking the bank and taking away the freedoms Americans cherish is not the answer to the challenges we face.

This coming week, Republicans will continue to stand on principle, defend freedom, and fight for our better solutions to make health care more affordable and accessible for American families.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The War On Our Youth: College Grads and High-Tech Cities

According to some early U.S. Census data projections, it seems as if there have been some brain gain for high-tech cities. Many college graduates are passing up industrial centers and former hotspots in the Southwest, which have been hit hard by the recession, in favor of life in urban, high-tech meccas. Their moves are fueling a resurgence of brainiacs in parts of California, North Carolina and Texas. Census data released Tuesday offer the first detailed look at U.S. migration data, broken down by education and income, since the recession began in late 2007.

The data covering 2006-2008 show that Austin, Texas, Portland, Ore., Charlotte and Raleigh, both in North Carolina, and Seattle saw large jumps in residents with at least a college degree. Each offers the promise of specialized tech jobs and hip lifestyles. San Francisco, with its burgeoning biotech industry, saw significant increases in residents with advanced-level graduate degrees. Houston, home to NASA and several medical centers, saw gains in more educated residents but also those with only a high-school degree.

In contrast, metropolitan areas with high rates of foreclosures, less tech-based economies or increasing unemployment saw declines or slower rates of growth in residents with a college degree or higher. They included Los Angeles, Atlanta, Orlando, Fla., as well as New Orleans, Detroit and Cleveland. "During this economic downturn, young, educated professionals are heading for the high-tech 'cool' metros rather than the fast growing upstarts of the mid-decade," said William Frey, a demographer at Brookings Institution, who analyzed the data. "The investment in knowledge industries and young professional amenities in places like Austin, Raleigh and Seattle is now paying off."

The United States is becoming increasingly educated. More than one in four U.S. residents now has a college degree, with many recent graduates looking for jobs in a depressed economy. States and cities are also striving to boost their tax bases and stay competitive by attracting highly educated and higher income residents. According to the data, cities with higher levels of education did not always translate to the highest incomes.

Austin, Seattle and Charlotte all saw large gains in the number of residents who earned an income of $65,000 a year or more. But they were outpaced by places such as Bakersfield, Calif., and Sun Belt regions such as Phoenix and Las Vegas, which had larger jumps in richer residents. Frey attributed the differences to younger college graduates in the high-tech areas who are moving up the career ladder and have not yet reached their peak levels of income.

Among other findings: The top five metro areas with the largest gains in residents earning $65,000 and more were Phoenix, Riverside, Calif., Dallas, Las Vegas and Houston. Median home values ranged from $68,200 in Odessa, Texas, to $739,700 in San Jose, Calif., the only metro area with a median home value above $700,000. Six other areas, all in California, have median home values in excess of $600,000: Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Salinas, Napa, Santa Barbara and Oxnard. The percent of foreign-born residents ranged from 0.9 percent in Altoona, Pa., to 36.9 percent in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metro area. The data comes from the American Community Survey. The information was collected over three years, from 2006 through 2008, providing a snapshot of every U.S. community with at least 20,000 residents.

So it is clear that in some ways, the war on our youth is making many of our youth more aware of just where the jobs are and what industry they should be looking into for future employment opportunities. Thus this is a snapshot but one that should be encouraging to youth with high-tech majors.

The Talented Tenth and What It Means Today?

I received an email a couple of weeks ago regarding the Detroit elections but within the email, it spoke about the Talented Tenth and Black Greek Life. Just read the email below:

Dear Greekdom in Detroit,

These are members of Black Greek-Lettered Organizations seeking the offices of the Detroit City Council and the Detroit Charter Commission. Please render your support to encourage the Talented 10th and their representation into Detroit politics.
1. Alberta Tinsley-Talabi (Detroit City Council) Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
2. Andre Spivey – (Detroit City Council) Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
3. David Cross – (Detroit City Council) Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
4. Elliott Hall – (Detroit City Council) Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
5. Freeman Hendrix – (Detroit Charter Commission) Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
6. Janice Mitchell Ford (Detroit Charter Commission) Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
7. John Johnson – (Detroit Charter Commission) Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
8. Ken Harris – (Detroit Charter Commission) Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
9. Sara Lile (Detroit Charter Commission) Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
10.Teola Hunter (Detroit Charter Commission) Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Please support the following men and woman of Historically Black-Greek Lettered Organizations by voting on Tuesday, November 3, 2009 at the polls and/or through absentee ballots.

Now this isn’t the first time, I have heard someone refer to the Talented 10th and Black Greek Lettered Organizations as one or at least imply it to a certain degree. Therefore it made me wonderful what the talented tenth really is. So here is what I found out about the talented tenth because originally it was an argument between Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois over what would be the best way for blacks to lead themselves into the future.

Booker T. Washington, educator, reformer and the most influential black leader of his time (1856-1915) preached a philosophy of self-help, racial solidarity and accommodation. He urged blacks to accept discrimination for the time being and concentrate on elevating themselves through hard work and material prosperity. He believed in education in the crafts, industrial and farming skills and the cultivation of the virtues of patience, enterprise and thrift. This, he said, would win the respect of whites and lead to African Americans being fully accepted as citizens and integrated into all strata of society.

W.E.B. Du Bois, a towering black intellectual, scholar and political thinker (1868-1963) said no--Washington's strategy would serve only to perpetuate white oppression. Du Bois advocated political action and a civil rights agenda (he helped found the NAACP). In addition, he argued that social change could be accomplished by developing the small group of college-educated blacks he called "the Talented Tenth:"

At the time, the Washington/Du Bois dispute polarized African American leaders into two wings--the 'conservative' supporters of Washington and his 'radical' critics. The Du Bois philosophy of agitation and protest for civil rights flowed directly into the Civil Rights movement which began to develop in the 1950's and exploded in the 1960's. Booker T. today is associated, perhaps unfairly, with the self-help/colorblind/Republican/Clarence Thomas/Thomas Sowell wing of the black community and its leaders. The Nation of Islam and Maulana Karenga's Afrocentrism derive too from this strand out of Booker T.'s philosophy. However, the latter advocated withdrawal from the mainstream in the name of economic advancement.

So if we look any further the real question is has the talented tenth already arrived with Obama or is it still a dream deferred? Michele Battle Fisher said, “I, along with many citizens, listened with great anticipation to hear President Obama’s speech to the combined Congressional assembly on February 24, 2009. His eloquence was apparent, but I had another issue in mind. How can others in the black community find venues to voice concerns to such a captive audience as he? Perhaps if WEB Dubois were still with us today, he would shout to the rafters “the talented tenth has arisen!” The idea of the “Talented Tenth” espouses that there will be a select number of leaders of color who will serve as the rhetors of the black nation.”

They will be articulate.
They will have the best education offered and the capacity to think and express.
They will be given the credibility by others to assume such a position.
Historic election- check.

Still today’s discussion of the Talented 10th and DuBois’ writing, “Conservation of Races” was a very interesting one. Dubois offered a response to the previous philosophers’ belief’s that blacks had not made a significant contribution to society, as well as the history of humankind. DuBois’ response to this belief was that the future would be based on the forth coming contribution of blacks. DuBois’ arguments were based on the idea that in order for blacks to make this contribution, it is important that African Americans not assimilate but rather develop black owned, operated, and separate institutions. This idea supports his stance that it is on the shoulders of blacks alone to advance the race and make a contribution. This I feel has been a common stance for African American leaders throughout history and today, an idea that I fully support.

I don’t think that it is necessary to be completely separate as a race, but I do think that in order to make any real changes, that race must be at the forefront of the movement. This is true for all other movements whether based on race, class, gender, or sexual orientation; that group has to lead the movement. Unlike DuBois, I think that all members of the group should have a voice and can actively participate in the movement. DuBois deemed the blacks in America as the ‘Talented Tenth’ that would be responsible for the advancement and contribution of the Black Diaspora. While the times and nature of society has changed since DuBois published this article, I feel that some still share his belief. I have been commonly taught that DuBois meant the Talented Tenth to be the upper echelon, elite Blacks. This interpretation is what I continue to see today. The most educated, the wealthiest, and the most “advanced” of any group are looked up to and deemed responsible for the entire group. Some would see this as meaning members of Black Letter Greek Organizations.

However the contributions of African Americans are range widely; traffic lights, automatic gear shift, the electric trolley, and air conditioner! But other contributions have shaped the arts, music, and culture of not only black America but America as a whole. The sources of these contributions are not limited to what we consider the “Talented Tenth” of African Americans; they include uneducated and poor African Americans. What we consider to be important in our society has determined what we consider to be valuable contributions, and who we consider to be productive members of our society. The talented tenth idea perpetuates the idea that those uneducated and poor members of our society are not making valuable contributions to society but history in itself proves otherwise.

There is even a bigger problem that makes this talented tenth discussion even more interesting and relevant today considering the conditions of the black community. Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Cornel West wrote an article for the Black Collegian entitled “Racism, poverty and the ‘talented tenth.’” In the article, they write that …the size of the Black middle class. . . has quadrupled… Simultaneously--and paradoxically--the size of the Black underclass has grown disproportionately as well… 45 percent of all Black children [were] born at, or beneath, the poverty line. Economists have shown that fully one-third of the members of the African-American community are worse off economically today than they were the day that King was killed in 1968. If it is the best of times for the Black middle class--the heirs of Du Bois's "Talented Tenth" it is the worst of times for an equally large segment of our community.... Now if you read this than you would probably think it was written just this year but the reality is that it was written in 1996, however it still implies today.

Even with the election of President Obama, that alone will not solve the many issues plaguing Black America and as shown by President Obama’s ascension to the top, the talented tenth is not just those who are apart of Black Lettered Greek Organizations but as previously mentioned it is those who are college educated who are the best of the best of the black community. Some may call the talented tenth the black middle class and above but as we can see from data that if the talented tenth is suppose to lead us as a people than it is huge gap between the talented tenth and the rest of the black community much like the same way it is a huge gap between the rich and poor in America as well as the rich and middle class.

Gates and West say, “Race differences and class differentials have been ground together in this country in a crucible of misery and squalor, in such a way that few of us know where one stops and the other begins. But we do know that the causes of poverty within the Black community are both structural and behavioral, as the sociological studies of William J. Wilson have amply demonstrated, and we would be foolish to deny this. A household in which its occupants cannot sustain themselves economically cannot possibly harbor hope or optimism, or stimulate eager participation in the full prerogatives of citizenship. One of our tasks, it seems to us, is to lobby for those social programs that have made a demonstrable difference in the lives of those sufficiently motivated to seize these expanded opportunities and to reinforce those programs that reignite motivation in the face of despair.”

More important, however, we have to demand a structural change in this country, the equivalent of a Marshall Plan for our cities, as the National Urban League has called for repeatedly. We have to take people off welfare, train them for occupations relevant to the highly technological economy of the twenty-first century, and put them to work. Joblessness, as Wilson has shown, is the central cause of our country's so-called racial crisis. The figure in the carpet of America's racial crisis, we are arguing, is economic scarcity and unequal opportunity.... To think this was written a decade ago but this is what the stimulus package and Obama’s urban plan wants to do.

Gates and West go on to say, “It is only by confronting the twin realities of White racism, on the one hand, and our own failures to seize initiative and break the cycle of poverty, on the other, that we, the remnants of the Talented Tenth, will be able to assume a renewed leadership role for, and with, the Black community. We must stand boldly against any manifestation of anti-Black racism, whatever form it might take. On this matter, there can be no compromise. But to continue to repeat the same old stale formulas, to blame "the man" for oppressing us all, in exactly the same ways; to scapegoat Koreans, Jews, women, or even Black immigrants for the failure of African Americans to seize local entrepreneurial opportunities, is to neglect our duty as leaders of our own community.”

Clearly Gates and West lay out marching order for the quote unquote talented 10th of the black community and as I look at it today, it seems as if those marching orders still apply but so few of the quote unquote talented tenth have taken these orders and implied to moving the black community forward. We can just look at how this is playing out in cities like Detroit where candidates running for public office have this I versus them mentality and the, I are blacks and them are whites and others. This is the 21st century and this is not the mentality that is going to make the black community any better or further long in society than it is right now. As President Obama has shown, it takes everyone blacks, whites, Hispanics and other ethnic groups to rebuild America and that is the same mentality that it will take to rebuild or build up black communities.

Don’t get me wrong blacks have to accept responsibility for taking care of their own communities and that is no different than what other leaders have said when it comes to responsibility that everyone has to accept. West and Gates say, “Not to demand that each member of the Black community accept individual responsibility for her or his behavior --whether that behavior assumes the form of Black-on-Black homicide, violations by gang members against the sanctity of the church, unprotected sexual activity, gangster rap lyrics, misogyny and homophobia -- is to function merely as ethnic cheerleaders selling wolf tickets from the campus or the suburbs, rather than saying the difficult things that may be unpopular with our fellows. Being a leader does not necessarily mean being loved; loving one's community means daring to risk estrangement and alienation from that very community, in the short run, in order to break the cycle of poverty, despair, and hopelessness that we are in, over the long run. For what is at stake is nothing less than the survival of our country, and the African-American people. “

Now this to some degree is the problem that many black communities face and why the quote unquote Talented 10th message sometimes go on death ears because so few of the Talented 10th stay in black communities that are suffering from the poverty, despair and hopeless that plague blacks like never before. Still Gates and West are not the only ones who make pleas to the Talented Tenth to do more for the overall state of Black America and black communities. Langston X. Thomas (Baba Adubiifa) wrote, “Harvard University recently concluded a five-year study that found that race is deeply embedded in our cultural landscape and most Americans are in a state of denial. The 50 researchers concluded, "Race continues to play a powerful role in the chances for success in America and black Americans continue to lose jobs to recent immigrants." Andrew Hacker, a white college professor says, "The fact that slavery existed for so long and was so taken for granted cannot be erased from American minds." And says Hacker, "that is why white people, although they won’t openly admit it, find it not improper that blacks still serve as maids and janitors, occupations seen as involving physical skills rather than mental aptitudes."”

Thomas went on to write, “Psychologist Na’im Akbar says black Americans are also in a state of denial about the lingering effects of slavery on our thinking. Akbar and Hacker agree that the American psyche remains traumatized by slavery and is in need of mental healing (psychotherapy). And Dr. Akbar says in psychotherapy, "a confrontation of the original trauma and a restructuring of the mind’s faulty adaptations to the assault can serve to correct these disturbed patterns of responding." Under this view, if we are to eliminate the "ghost of the plantation" from our cultural landscape, there must be honest and continuous dialogue within as well as between the races.”

So Thomas asked, “What about the "Talented Tenth"? W.E.B. Dubois envisioned that the 10% of Black Americans who acquired the skills and/or education that enabled us to succeed in the larger society would eventually "come home" and use our tools and talents to build a bridge between the Black "haves" and the Black "have-nots."” Thomas goes on to write, “Unfortunately many of the "talented tenth" (and I speak from personal experience) used our tools and talents to build personal bridges between the so-called races and then used these bridges as private access roads from the ghetto to the suburbs. In the process, of course, we left our less fortunate sisters and brothers behind.”

Hebrew scholar Ben Ammi, wrote in his book, God the Black Man and Truth, "Education today is based upon class, aimed at attaining power and fulfilling materialistic desires rather than providing a service to our fellow man." Thus Thomas goes on to say, “I remember how my college classmates and I laughed at the African brothers who said they were going to get an education and then go back home to help their people. In retrospect I now know, an immigrant wants to help his people while a slave wants to help himself. Many of us are now confessing we made a bad deal. We voluntarily sacrificed our spiritual health for the pursuit of material wealth. We now remember that when we had less, we shared more. And we also remember when a "good home" meant something more than a "well-built house" in the suburbs.”

Thomas wrote his opinions before the 21st century and in concluding, Thomas writes, “As we enter the 21st century, we must accept the responsibility for our own destiny as a people. Perhaps racial profiling and the attacks on affirmative action are blessings in disguise. As Professor Hacker so diplomatically reminds us, "America is inherently a ‘white‘ country: in character, in structure, in culture." And in America’s version of apartheid writes Hacker, "White Americans show little inclination toward giving full nationality to the descendants of African slaves." We must therefore struggle to understand the words of the late scholar/researcher Chancellor Williams when he said, "Now it is just here within the race where integration is not only needed but it is mandatory." And most of all, we must rededicate ourselves to God. In her appropriately named book, Volunteer Slavery, Sister Jill Nelson uses the term "spiritual materialism" to describe our misguided, dollar driven approach to God. "Spiritual materialism" has infiltrated all religions, however, since we are predominantly a Christian people, I’ll define it as talking about Jesus when we really want to live like Caesar. Can the true spirit of Christ dwell in such an atmosphere? We’re sending mixed messages to our children and then wondering why they are in such a state of confusion. One sure way of praising and honoring our Creator is by using our unique qualities and abilities to better the human condition. GOD IS, LET’S GET BUSY!!”

Thus Thomas views are views that many Blacks and others have shared about the conditions of the black community and the reality is that some today feel that perhaps the black community is better off without waiting on the quote unquote talented tenth to lead them but instead lead themselves out of the communities of despair and hopeless that exists. Dr. Anthony Asadullah Samad, Ph.D. wrote an article entitled “Moving Past Black America's "Talented Tenth": Can The Black "Bourgeoisie" Do More?.” In it, Dr. Samad said, “This is the season for cotillions and now botillions, scholarships, luncheons and banquets, opportunities for those who have, and for those who work for companies who have, to send as many students to college as they can -- or so they say. Or do they send as many students to college as they can?”

Dr. Samad goes on to say, “College has become more competitive as higher education has become a more prized commodity in the global workforce. Even the once "self-made" man and woman, whose entrepreneurial spirit once shunned education, had better have an MBA from some top tier "B-school" (business school), or have someone working for them who has one, in order to compete. And it is in this season that Black professionals and socialites call their scholarship rolls of “their children,” who are often second and third generation college attendees (with a few first generation college attendees mixed in), and who replicate the legacy tradition of America’s elite democracy practices.”

Still Dr. Samad writes, “This, from a people who were 99% illiterate at the point of slavery’s abolition in 1865 and yet 30 years later, in 1895, were arguing the best way to achieve social acceptance, labor proficiency (Booker T. Washington) or intellectual proficiency (W.E.B. DuBois). Forty years after slavery, after the turn of the 20 Century, Black folk had stratified into "social classes" and the appearance of “Black elites” emerged with DuBois’ new “talented tenth” ideology that the top ten percent would lead the other 90% of the race into social acceptance. Well, 100 years later we’re still waiting for that ideology to take hold, and what we’ve witnessed, instead, is the perpetuation of Black elitism and the formation of a Black "bourgeoisie," who would just as soon save themselves and leave the masses behind.”

Dr. Samad warns that, “This is a dangerous mindset, as our children need more help now than at any time in our history since the turn of the 20th Century. The talented ten percent have shrunken to a more exclusive "five-percent," as college bound Black students in the "A" or "B+" range (3.5 grade point average and above) represent just five percent of all Black students. Today, a 4.0 (what used to be an A average) will not get a student into some of the top tier universities and colleges in America. Yet, many of our best and brightest go to college, many with multiple scholarships offers, while the rest end up in community colleges or out of college, just because their grades aren’t good enough. Moreover, college is not an affordable endeavor for students not part of the elite tier of scholars.”

Does that mean those who can, should not try to help the rest get into college, or live the "bourgeoisie" experience? Have the Black elites lost sight of what they could do, and should do, to change the plight of Black America? Some think so. Some think the Black bourgeoisie can do more. Dr. Samad wrote, “This is a controversial topic for Black America, as the race grapples with economic classism within. The wealth gap is greater than ever within the race, and we see a bifurcation like never before, within the Black community. We live in a "chic society," where exclusivity separates the best from the rest, as VIP rooms, velvet ropes, private clubs and personal bankers insure clique-ish exclusive access to "the good life." There are benefits to accomplishment and success. However, exclusivity doesn’t have to translate to elitism. Elite opinion directs how his country rolls, while mass opinion keeps it from rolling out of control.”

“It is the same in the Black community. Success is defined by where you live, what you drive, what you wear, and the groups to which you belong. Being considered part of the "Black elite" is centered on whether you are on enough "A list" invitations to be considered "in" or whether you can hang in the most exotic (and decadent) of social affairs. When it comes to community service, charity in some of these groups (I’m not talking about all of them), borders on tokenism. The awarding of scholarships is just one of these areas,” said Dr. Samad.

Dr. Samad went on to write, “In the 20th Century, it was the Black fraternities and sororities, along with prominent social groups, that put up the money for the Brown cases, cases that endowed Black colleges, that opened private schools for Black children, that built Black hospitals. Much of this is, today, only fractionally done by Blacks. The talented tenth, 100 years ago, did more with less money and fewer numbers than the so-called Black elite today. There’s something to be said for that. Today, we give less even though college costs more, and fewer give at all beyond their own children’s need. We need to do better.”

“Many professional Black men’s monthly "green fees" or "pu**y bills" (lavish expenditures entertaining women who entertain them) are greater than what they give in annual scholarships. Professional Black woman’s monthly "pamper" bill (hair, nails, and massage upkeeps) are more than what they give in annual scholarships. I haven’t even factored in "bling" (jewelry) and clothing expenses, or semi-annual trips. Many Black folks are doing well, but could learn to do good at the same time,” said Dr. Samad.

Clearly, the Black bourgeoisie could do more. And just to clarify, all Black professionals aren’t bourgeoisie, but many do engage in elitist behaviors that could be considered "bourgsie" acts. Dr. Samad goes on to write, “One well-known socialite group held a cotillion for foster girls. It received rave reviews in the community, even though the members were deeply divided on it. Their fear was that it would make them appear "common" by dealing with "common girls." The Black elite’s biggest fear is that of being perceived as common — not doing something good for the community. Another group bought prom dresses for foster girls and girls from poor families. Another gave $100,000 in scholarships. The 100 Black Men of Los Angeles and its affiliated supporters, through its Young Black Scholars Program, gave over $200,000 in scholarships for this coming academic year. These are significant commitments, but dare I say it — more can be done. For to whom much is given, much is expected.”

Therefore Dr. Samad concluded by writing, “I am appealing to other exclusive organizations to expand their reach beyond the A and B student, a position I’ve held for 20 years, to help others students see their future by helping them to fulfill their academic potential. If we can’t see it, they’ll never be able to see it. We can all do that. We can encourage others to give more and reach out to more than just their own children. All our children deserve the same opportunities as the "well to do." It is time those who have, make an effort far beyond what they have already done to make a difference. Otherwise, the grassroots community and the generation we, by and large, perceive as disconnected from the struggle and from us, will see us as just a bunch of bourgsie ni**as who made no sacrifices for them. They’re all talented. We just have to move past the ten (or five) percent, and reach the masses.

I agree with what Dr. Anthony Asadullah Samad, Ph.D. wrote and his conclusion that we all can do more and it would be wise for us as a people to move past the ten or five percent. In fact even DuBois changed his mind regarding the talented tenth and felt the best way to achieve social acceptance was to have labor proficiency (Booker T. Washington) and intellectual proficiency (W.E.B. DuBois). Thus DuBois the creators of the Talented Tenth rejected his own notion that the Talented Tenth alone is the way for Blacks to gain acceptance in society. DuBois is largely misunderstood in the present day because people choose to forget that he abandoned his original idea of the “talented tenth.” He ultimately believed that the working classes would be the agents of social change for blacks in America. Many assume that the “talented tenth” are still the key to social change, and they rely on DuBois’s seminal essay to bolster this point of view. However, they refuse to see how undemocratic and elitist this view of social change is.

DuBois’s gradual change in thought occurred because of the events in DuBois life that led to the reshaping of his philosophy. The context for misunderstanding DuBois now may be this idea of “selective memory”—people interpret DuBois in a way that best supports their own social position now rather than realizing that DuBois shortly before leaving the NAACP adopted a view that both the elites and labor are needed for blacks to gain acceptance. Many people don’t want to accept the fact that DuBois changed his reality because the consequence may be that people will rethink the way they view the idea of the black elite as leaders of social change, or at the very least that this group of elite reviews the desire to serve.

It is clear that W.E.B. DuBois gradually changed his perspective on “The Talented Tenth” because he first believed that an elite class of blacks would lead the race out of oppression, that it would be a cure for both white racism and black poverty. However as time grew DuBois later admitted that he assumed that this group of elites would have the sense of responsibility required of such agents of social change, and that this could no longer be assumed. DuBois grew more and more critical of the idea of an elite group of agents of change, and ultimately came to believe that the working classes would be the real agents of change in the black race, because they are the ones who suffer most and have the more real and unselfish desire to change things.

Although DuBois himself ultimately rejected the idea of the talented tenth’s elitism, many people still hold on to the idea of the “black vanguard,” e.g. The Black Panthers. Some black scholars like Henry Louis Gates and Cornel West believe themselves to be the remnants of the talented tenth: they advocate that blacks must both confront white racism and their own failures to seize initiative and break the cycle of poverty in order to become leaders for the race. They say that blacks must not continue to make the same complaints about “the man” or other races taking away all the opportunities.

However, does this mean that black intellectuals must never criticize any of the systems of power that have historically disenfranchised them? Some people argue that blacks must look critically at the middle-class ideology that has slowed progress for them in order to rework a new concept of social progress for the entire race. While others who are inspired by Karl Marx ideology, see racial conflict as a conflict of class oppression. In this conflict, they have dissented against middle-class blacks, but realized that they are dependent on them for the education and freedom of the unemployed poor.

Ultimately, the notion that the Talented Tenth of the Black Community will be the creators of social change or will improve the black community is just not true. In fact DuBois while abandoning his own idea in favor of Washington’s still missed the fact that social change occurs when all blacks no matter if they are the educated or the work class work together to create it. In fact the fact that DuBois himself abandoned the idea of black elites leading change in favor of the more democraticized idea that the working class would be the true agents of change shows just how DuBois saw that the black elites cared more so for themselves than actually implementing change that would raise all Blacks to that elitist status. Thus if it is to be real change in Black America than it will have to occur with working and educating blacks working together to create the type of social change necessary to improve the conditions of black communities. Poverty and despair will not go away with simply teaching new skills and having blacks use their hands to create new things but it will go away with that as well as with blacks pursuing high educational avenues.

The Talented Tenth notion still exists today but the reality is that the Talented Tenth are not the leaders of social change and will not be the leaders. No social movement or social change that has occurred in America was led by one social class of people, not the civil rights movement, the women’s suffrage movement, abolitionist movement, etc. It was a combination of the educated and the working class who led all these movements of social change it will take that same combination o rebuild and create black communities that are filled with poverty, illiteracy, and unemployment. This is the only way that we can create better communities that blacks can achieve success because it is clear that if we are waiting on the Talented 10th to do it than far too many blacks will be left behind waiting for such a select group to save the other 90% of African Americans. This is simply way DuBois abandoned his own idea because the Talented Tenth had forgotten about the rest of the race to some degree or another and even today, it seems as if that is the case to a degree.

This is why a combination of DuBois and Washington’s ideology is the only way for real social change to occur not only in Black America but throughout America. The election of President Obama was an example of how both ideologies came together to elect someone who the elite and the working class could agree on and do it in such a peaceful way. This is why now more than ever such a combination must be adopted immediately in the likes of cities like Detroit, Memphis, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Birmingham, Atlanta and others if our urban communities are to grow and prosper where blacks can achieve success by working and by getting educated. This is what the talented tenth means today and the direction we need to as a society.

The Talented Tenth

Frontline: The Two Nations of Black America—Booker T. & W.E.B.

New or Remodeled Schools Don’t Educate Our Youth

Education is the key to the future and that seems to be the saying going around everywhere especially in Detroit. However if that is the case than why are people in Detroit ignoring the numbers that show that our youth in the city need more than just new or remodeled schools. This summer the ACT and SAT testing boards released their data based off of the class of 2009 and it showed that less than 25% of our nation’s youth are college ready. What was even more interesting is that the 2009 class overall numbers were 5 or more points lower than the class of 2005 and even 4 or more points lower than the class of 2008.

Then if we just look at Detroit Public Schools numbers in regards to the MEAP than we see that our students are performing badly all across the board when compared with the averages for the state. Thus, the problem that plagues the students of DPS is not being in new or remodeled schools but it seems that the district lacks academic consistency. This is the problem that we as citizens of Detroit should be talking about. The fact that as a district we only graduate 70% or less of our students compared to the state average which is 85% or above. This clearly shows that DPS problems is not simply building new, more modernized schools when as a district our students are not learning despite what they don’t have. Therefore what insurances can our students get that they will learn properly once they have the proper resources?

While it is no denying that some of our schools do need to be torn down and rebuilt but the notion that doing this must be tied to taxpayers homes is ridiculous. Also the notion that once this is done, than our youth will be able to learn better is even more false because there is no correlation between new or remodeled schools educating youth more than any other school. Just look at the fact that less than ¼ of nation’s youth are college ready as an example as to why our district needs to get serious about educating our youth rather than just trying to build new schools or remodel others.

Until DPS shows some academic consistency and get serious about education reform by showing that they have the teachers as well as administrators in place for our students to academically succeed than the results will continue to be the status quo. DPS students deserve better than they are receiving and we the taxpayers deserve better on our return to invest in our district than what we are getting. Continuing to tax the homes of the residents of Detroit while not showing any academic consistency from DPS, is not a good investment for Detroiters.

Right now, Detroiters especially students and parents should not be asking for new or remodeled schools from the District or from the taxpayers but instead should be demanding better and adequate teachers to teach them year round. What should be demanded from DPS now more than ever is that our youth have qualified teachers teaching core subject areas from day one of the school year rather than some students getting that teacher 6 or 8 weeks into the school year? While everyone wants new or remodeled schools for their child with state of the art technology but the reality is that, what good is that technology if our students aren’t learning without it right now?

Therefore it is clear that the best thing DPS can do to educate our youth today is not by building new schools or remodeling others but is to show some proven academic consistency when it comes to the districts GPA average, attendance average, MEAP scores, ACT/SAT scores, graduation rate and most of all schools making AYP. No longer can DPS expect the citizens of Detroit to help out a failing an investment when the investment is not shown any proven academic consistentcy worthy of continued rewards and perks such as taxpayers taxing their homes for 30 plus years.

With that said Detroiters would be wise to vote “No” on Proposal S. And should ask Robert Bobb and the district to seek a plan B to build new schools and remodel others that doesn’t involve taxing Detroiters homes when the district has not shown that they deserve any more rewarding when it doesn’t have a successful academic or financial track record. Until DPS gets serious about educating our youth than and only than should we the citizens of Detroit invest financially in the district again because money alone doesn’t educate our youth and clear DPS doesn’t understand that. Vote “No” On Proposal S Detroit.

Proposal S lacks Clarity

As emergency financial manager Robert Bobb and the Vote Yes on Proposal S Committee which consists of Detroit’s Mayor, City Council, Detroit Parent Network, Detroit Urban League and the NAACP to just name a few go around the city telling voters why they should vote yes on another bond proposal, there are still too many unknowns. While no one in the City of Detroit will deny that many of Detroit Public Schools need to be modernized or torn down and rebuilt. The reality is that many questions linger about the original bond proposal of 1994 where money was misspent, inappropriately used and in some cases wasted.

Thus as Bobb and the Vote Yes on Proposal S Committee go around talking about stimulus dollars will be used to pay for 8 new news and 10 modernizations to others. What is unclear is if stimulus dollars will be used why do they have to be paid to taxpayers in the City of Detroit houses? Yes Detroiters will be required to continue to pay on the original bond proposal of 1994 way past 2010 when the 15 year payment was suppose to end but instead will end now in 2033 and by passing Proposal S won’t end until 2039 unless the district borrows from the state. Secondly there are no insurances that the district will not borrow from the state to make any payments when even right now the City of Detroit had withheld part of the 1994 bond proposal money just last year to pay off city finances. Thus that situation was not spoken on again as to if the city ever gave the school district its money.

Also to add more uncertainty to Proposal S is the fact that DPS have already overspent by $21 million in the first 3 months of the school year. Therefore why should Detroiters expect anything differently once the bond proposal is passed since the district is continuing to have a spending problem which is why it has an emergency financial manager in the first place. Nonetheless the Vote Yes on Proposal S Committee and Robert Bobb are now trying to tell voters that voting yes for proposal means that 3,725 direct jobs and 7,000 indirect jobs will be created for the city. However there are not any insurers whatsoever that all those jobs will go to Detroiters who need it.

Still Detroiters are asked to pass this bond proposal that is tied to people paying the taxes on their homes in a time when many Detroiters homes have been foreclosed on the City of Detroit has no repopulation plan to increase its population. Now while it is no doubt many DPS schools do need modernizing or need to be rebuilt, what is unclear is why is Bobb and other key officials asking Detroiters who can barely pay their mortgages to pay for such modernizations or new building creations. In fact no one is offering up a plan B to what DPS can do if proposal S doesn’t pass.

Bobb and others have not even thought about any other plan to get 8 new schools built and 10 others modernized. The fact that no way is presenting a plan B for how DPS can get buildings built and others torn down, is the type of problem that plagues the district. DPS needs to get innovative and should be trying to seek the type of public-private partnership that helped to build a new Cass Tech which not built with just taxpayers dollars. Bobb and the Vote Yes for Proposal S committee never thought that because if they did, they would know that the Skillman Foundation has invested millions into the district yearly but what has Skillman seen in terms of results.

With Skillman, United Way, the Kressege Foundation, the Knight Foundation and other entities involved with many DPS schools and students, it is clear that such private and public partnerships can be the gateway to how the district builds new buildings and remodels others without asking the taxpayers to vote on any building bonds. However Bobb and others have not thought about this. DPS already has nearly 100 plus vendors along with many other community partnerships that do hundreds of programs in DPS schools that are suppose to help with student achievement but the results are just not there academically. Imagine if Bobb, the Council of Baptist Pastors, Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick, Congressman John Conyers and all the others who sit on the Vote Yes for Proposal S Committee would get together to raise funds for the newly reestablished DPS Foundation, how many new schools could be built and how many could be remodeled without taxpayers having to vote for anything.

This is the type of clarity that Detroiters need that Proposal S doesn’t answer even if Bobb stays or goes. If Bobb stays, it should not just be to watch over Proposal S and to make sure it is implemented properly but it should be to make sure the district flourishes financially and academically by seeking a public-private partnership to create the 21st school district needed to serve the students of Detroit academically and safety wise. Proposal S should be voted down immediately and DPS needs to create a plan B that doesn’t add any more debt to Detroiters homes.

Rebuttal: Voters should approve Detroit school bond, if Bobb stays

Rebuttal: Voters should approve Detroit school bond, if Bobb stays

The fact that the Detroit News thinks we the voters should approve the bond if Bobb stays is yet another reason why the bond is not right for Detroit. Bobb staying another year will not ensure us that the bond proposal money will be spent correctly but instead perhaps Bobb staying until the completion of all the projects is insurance that all Detroiters can trust that Bobb is truly in.

Nonetheless the bond proposal is not good for Detroit not because of just how the previous bond proposal was misspent and misused but because Detroiters can’t afford it. Look around our communities; we see more abandoned houses and vacant homes than any other point in our city’s history.

So if the bond proposal is passed who will pay for it when perhaps more than half of Detroit’s population rents meaning only a select few of Detroiters own. However the bond proposal will affect everyone including renters because their rent will continue to go up and the price of goods they buy will see increases as a result of passing this mileage.

Bobb staying for another year and getting academic control will not change this. Still instead of the Detroit News telling Detroiters to vote no, you all want to play in “if” scenarios that are hypothetical. Instead let’s do real life scenarios like the incident at Cobo that shows just how tough economic times are for Detroiters. Then let’s look at the fact that DPS under Bobb’s leadership has already over spent by $21 million three (3) months into the school year.

If Bobb was sent here to fix DPS’s budget but the district is overspending under his watch than why should we as voters think it won’t happen with the passage of the bond.

Detroiters should vote no on Proposal S because there are too many if’s and we can’t afford it.

Hodari P.T. Brown
Graduate of John J. Pershing H.S. Class of 2003
Tennessee University Graduate 2008

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Truth About Proposal S

Below is a message that I received entitled the truth about Proposal S where the individual defines many of the definitions contained in Proposal S which is set to be the ballot for Detroiters to vote on Tuesday, November 3, 2009. I have to admit that person does a great job defining what the bond proposal really means and he even gives his own analysis of what Robert Bobb is really saying to voters. Everyone knows that I am against proposal S but when you read what this means and what the words bond, borrow, debt, defray, levy, tax, and a host of other words mean, how or why would you support such a proposal that is aimed at adding more debt to the homes of Detroiters that are already financially strapped as its. It is already bad enough that the City of Detroit has to take out $94 million dollars worth of bonds to pay its bills at a rate that is unheard of since the city’s bond rating has been at junk for almost all this year. Therefore it is clear that Detroiters are being asked to pay for a bond to build new schools or modernize others for Detroit Public Schools when DPS has shown no type of consistent track record of academic success.

So Detroiters read the message below and I hope that everyone votes “NO” on Proposal S because it is the right thing to do in a time when our youth need to be educated better rather than simply being given new or modernized schools that don’t guarantee that our youth will be educated any better than they are already being educated. Detroit wake up and realize what Proposal S really means.

Proposal S

Shall the School District of the City of Detroit, County of Wayne, Michigan borrow the principal sum of not to exceed Five Hundred Million Five Hundred Forty Thousand Dollars ($500,540,000) and issue its unlimited tax defraying cost of:

Constructing new replacement buildings and or additions to existing buildings.

Remodeling existing buildings, including energy conservation, safety and security improvements.

Acquiring, improving and developing sites, including playgrounds, playfields and outdoor athletic facilities in the School District.

Furnishing, refurnishing, equipping and requipping School District buildings; and

Acquiring and installing instructional technology equipment in and connecting School District buildings?

The estimated millage to be levied in 2010 to service this issue of bonds is 3.82 mils ($3.82 per $1,000 of taxable value) and the estimate simple average annual millage rate required to retire the bonds of this issue is 2.56 mils ($2.56 per $1000 of taxable value).

The debt millage levy required to retire all bonds of the School District currently outstanding and proposed by this ballot proposal is currently estimated to remain at or below 13.0 mils.

The bonds may be issued in multiple series, payable in the case of each series in not to exceed thirty (30) years from the date of issue of each series. If the School District borrows from the State to pay debt service on the bonds of this issue, the School District may be required to continue to levy mils beyond the term of the bonds to repay the State.

(Under State law, bond proceeds may not be used to pay teacher or administrator salaries, routine maintenance or repair
costs or other School District operating expenses )



Bond – A certificate of debt issued by a government or corporation of the original payment of the
original investment plus interest by a specified future date.

Bondage - The condition of a slave or serf; servitude.

Borrow – To obtain or receive (something) on loan with the intent to return it.

Debt – The condition of owing (indebtedness – obligated to another beholden).

Defray – To undertake the payment of pay.

Levy – To impose or collect (a tax). To confiscate property.

Principal – The (capital-wealth in the form of money or property) of a financial holding as distinguished from the revenue
from it. A sum of money owed as a debt, upon which interest is calculated.
* Five Hundred Million Five Hundred And Forty Thousand Dollars ($500,540,000)*

Tax – A contribution for the support of a government required of persons, groups, or businesses, within the domain of the
government. An excessive demand; strain.

Friday night October 23, 2009 on The Jay Leno Show with special guest Michelle Obama. Jay did a skit with Arsenio Hall entitled “ This Is What They Said This Is What They Meant ” We all have heard what Rob Bobb has been saying about the benefits of Proposal S. But do we know what he means and who is really going to benefit from this proposal us or him.
Upon carefully reading, repeatedly reviewing and defining words to make sure I understand exactly what’s being presented.
It sounds to me like he is saying;

I want you dumb ass illiterate Detroiters to borrow a half billion dollars from the State of Michigan, give me the authority to do whatever I want to do with your money. Like giving no bid contracts to my associates and friends, which you have already seen me do. Leave town with Jennifer (I mean leave town when Jennifer’s term as Governor is over.) And we have spent up all of the money you borrowed for me. Keeping you, your children and possibly your children’s children in bondage/debt for the next 30 years or longer to the State Of Michigan.


Staying for Proposal S is not a Good Reason to Stay

Why aren’t Detroiters asking themselves why is emergency financial manager Robert Bobb talking about staying now since Proposal S was put on the ballot and polls showed that many voters were skeptical of voting yes for it because of how they previous 1994 bond was mishandled. Thus here comes Bobb talking about he is staying to ensure that Proposal S is not mismanaged. However the fact that Bobb is staying for Proposal S and not because he wants to turn around a failing school year makes me wonder who really cares about our youth.

All those who are on the Vote Yes for Proposal S committee seem to not mind that Bobb only said he is staying to make sure Proposal S if passed is done correctly. This is the type of question that newspapers should be asking but instead people are not so I have to. Secondly another question that should bother Detroiters is why did other cities get millions in stimulus dollars to for projects that aren’t tied to citizens paying taxes on their homes but the City of Detroit residents is being asked to continue to tax their homes way into the future with perhaps no end in sight of when the taxes will end since we already borrowed from the state to pay some of the interest on the 1994 bond mileage.

Right now, Robert Bobb should be staying in Detroit because he has fallen in love with our city and with our school district. Bobb should be staying because he believes he has not done enough o improve the districts academic success and he doesn’t expect that success to be seen in just one year. However it seems as if Bobb and others are only concerned with passing the mileage but are forgetting that district doesn’t just have financial problems but it has academic problems. Nearly half the district’s schools did not meet AYP which is Adequate Yearly Progress meaning that our schools are not even sufficiently educating our youth.

No one is denying that some of Detroit’s schools need to be torn down and rebuilt but the facts are this, new or modernized schools don’t educate our youth. Until Bobb and his academic czar Barbara Byrd-Bennett show some academic success in the district than why should Detroiters invest even more of their tax dollars in this district especially putting their homes on the lines once again. And what’s even more disturbing is that no one knows how for sure how long Detroiters will be paying on this bond mileage with earlier estimates saying until 2039 unless the district borrows from the state to pay any of the interest which means it could be for even longer if the state decides.

Then to make matter worse is that the district hasn’t thought of a Plan B for how to build or remodel schools. Well plan b for the district should be to build a create a public-private partnerships with organizations like the NAACP, the Detroit Urban League, the Skillman Foundation, the Council of Baptist Pastors, the Detroit Federation of Teachers, and other politicians to raise funds for DPS’s newly reopened DPS Foundation that should be aimed at raising the money necessary to modernize the school district. This is the type of plan which shows that the district is not simply looking for government or taxpayer handouts but instead is doing what it can to raise the funds necessary to invest in a new and better DPS.

However the district and Bobb as well as others have not figured this out and want to continue to place the burden of paying for a less than sufficient educational system on the backs of Detroit taxpayers yet alone their homes. So staying for proposal S is not good enough for the district or the citizens of Detroit. If Bobb wants to show he is serious about saving and repairing DPS than he will stay because he wants to improve the districts academics and finances but he can only do that by staying for at least 5 years to see the fruits of his labor. No one seems to demand this and this is why DPS will not see a rebirth until such a commitment from leadership is made.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Proposal S is bad for Detroiters

It seems as if the news media especially the Detroit News don’t understand why the timing of Proposal S is just not right for the type of economic conditions that Detroiters are facing right now. In Sunday’s edition of the Detroit News, an editorial read, “Voters should approve Detroit school bond, if Bobb stays.” However the fact that Proposal S is dependent upon if Robert Bobb just goes to show how the timing of the proposal is not right because voters should be considering a bond proposal because the timing of it would be benefit our children. The fact the passage of the bond proposal is dependent upon Robert Bobb who has done some good things is just how flawed the proposal really is.

Nonetheless even when the Detroit News wrote its editorial, it seems as if it didn’t take into the consideration the incident that took place at Cobo Hall just a few weeks ago that showed how bad economic times are in Detroit. The long lines and the hundreds as well as thousands of people who crowded into Cobo and nearly pushed and shoved each other to death just to get government assistance to help many from being homeless and others with their utility bills. The scene was broadcasted all across America and wrote about in nearly every major news paper in the state and nationally but it seems as if the Detroit News has forgotten that. Well I haven’t. I was already against Proposal S before then but the reality is that while the bond proposal won’t care any new taxes on us as residents already, if you look around the city now compared to 1994 when the original proposal was passed, much has changed in Detroit.

One of the major changes that have occurred in Detroit is the fact that most Detroiters are no longer homeowners because the Great Recession and the housing crisis that continues to plague most of Southeast Michigan. In fact many Detroiters are walking away from their homes that they own and we can see this all across Detroit where we see vacant lots and homes bordered up. Simply having Robert Bobb here to stay will not solve this problem but what the Detroit News and others don’t want to recognize is that the 1994 bond proposal was suppose to be for 15 years meaning it would expire next year since the money didn’t go until affect until 1995. However now it seems as the bond proposal doesn’t expire until 2033 and if Proposal S is passed than Detroiters won’t be done paying on it until 2039.

Still there is the fact that a part of the bond proposal reads “The bonds may be issued in multiple series, payable in the case of each series in not to exceed thirty (30) years from the date of issue of each series. If the School District borrows from the State to pay debt service on the bonds of this issue, the School District may be required to continue to levy mills beyond the term of the bonds to repay the State.” Thus if you are reading this correctly the whole notion that the state would be done paying on this bond proposal until 2039 is not true because if DPS borrows from the state than we could be paying on this until 2069 or longer. When reading that, I believe that with the current conditions Detroiters are facing, it is virtually impossible to believe that DPS will be able to pay for the bond proposal without borrowing if in 1994 we had a population of nearly 900,000 and had to borrow from the state than which made the original bond proposal expire in 2033 in the first place than, what’s to say it won’t happen again and another 30 or more years isn’t added.

Simply Robert Bobb staying won’t solve Detroit’s population problem and the fact that we don’t have a tax base who can afford to stay in their homes during this housing foreclosure which hasn’t ended in Detroit by any stretch of the imagination. Therefore with all the economic problems facing our city and DPS as a school district, the timing of the bond proposal is not good business for a city still trying to recover and pull itself up by the bootstraps. Passing Proposal S right now would be just foolish and insane for us a city especially considering that just a few weeks ago we were being portrayed as a desperate city under chaos where poverty and despair had hit its all time high in the nation’s eyes. While Detroit unemployment is nearly 30% and this bond proposal will create some jobs, what type of insurance is there that Detroiters will get these the 3,000 plus direct jobs that this will create. What insurances are there that the 7000 plus indirect jobs will be given to Detroiters and how will the bond proposal as well as the math by the state agency that created these numbers created considering that the state just reported that state revenue isn’t coming in as fast as it predicted and thus another $127 must be cut from the K-12 budget.

So how can we as Detroiters depend on the state’s numbers right now when they are wrong about other estimates they made as the budget negotiations come to an end. Detroit we can’t afford proposal S no matter how much we would like to build new schools for youth, the reality is that we can’t afford to build these buildings right now when we can’t afford it. There are several reasons why Proposal S is bad but timing is just the main reason why we can’t afford it considering the fact that our economy in the city is more dicer than it has ever been and Robert Bobb staying won’t fix that. While the Detroit News avoids this, we as Detroiters can’t avoid the fact that in these tough economic times, we are being asked to add a long term burden on future Detroiters when our city doesn’t have a plan to how to repopulate the city and Detroit Public Schools doesn’t have an academic plan for how to educate our youth yet alone a plan to ensure that an investment in new or remodeled school buildings will lead to our youth taking care of those buildings unlike they have done with the paint jobs done this summer where graffiti can be seen on many walls.

These are the things that should be mentioned but are not and this is why Proposal S is bad for Detroit and we should vote on it come Tuesday, November 3, 2009.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Weekly Address: Working with Small Business to Drive Recovery

The President restates his commitment to small business as key to economic recovery -- from the Recovery Act to Financial Stability to Health Reform -- and pledges more to come. October 24, 2009.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Why Health Insurance Reform Matters to Women

In some states, maternity care is not covered because pregnancy can be seen as a pre-existing condition. Its even legal in some states to deny a woman coverage because shes been a victim of domestic violence. First Lady Michelle Obama looks at where health care policy and people's lives intersect. Two-time cancer survivor Roxi Griffin and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius join her to discuss how the current system doesn't work for women and their families and why health insurance reform is so needed.

10/24/09 - Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) Delivers Weekly GOP Address On Health Care

Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) delivers the weekly Republican address on health care reform.

Sen. Johanns explains that Republicans have a simple test for reforming health care: "Will this legislation improve your life?"

Unfortunately, Sen. Johanns says, the Democrats' health care reform proposals fall short because they will "negatively impact pocketbooks and paychecks across America."

Wall Street Needs Stronger Regulations

One of America's wealthiest men was among six hedge fund managers and corporate executives arrested in a hedge fund insider trading case that authorities say generated more than $25 million in illegal profits and was a wake-up call for Wall Street. Raj Rajaratnam, a portfolio manager for Galleon Group, a hedge fund with up to $7 billion in assets under management, was accused of conspiring with others to use insider information to trade securities in several publicly traded companies, including Google Inc. U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas F. Eaton set bail at $100 million to be secured by $20 million in collateral despite a request by prosecutors to deny bail. He also ordered Rajaratnam, who has both U.S. and Sri Lankan citizenship, to stay within 110 miles of New York City.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara told a news conference it was the largest hedge fund case ever prosecuted and marked the first use of court-authorized wiretaps to capture conversations by suspects in an insider trading case. He said the case should cause financial professionals considering insider trades in the future to wonder whether law enforcement is listening. "Greed is not good," Bharara said. "This case should be a wake-up call for Wall Street." Joseph Demarest Jr., the head of the New York FBI office, said it was clear that "the $20 million in illicit profits come at the expense of the average public investor."

The Securities and Exchange Commission, which brought separate civil charges, said the scheme generated more than $25 million in illegal profits. Robert Khuzami, director of enforcement at the SEC, said the charges show Rajaratnam's "secret of success was not genius trading strategies." "He is not the master of the universe. He is a master of the Rolodex," Khuzami said. Galleon Group LLP said in a statement it was shocked to learn of Rajaratnam's arrest at his apartment. "We had no knowledge of the investigation before it was made public and we intend to cooperate fully with the relevant authorities," the statement said.

The firm added that Galleon "continues to operate and is highly liquid." Rajaratnam, 52, was ranked No. 559 by Forbes magazine this year among the world's wealthiest billionaires, with a $1.3 billion net worth. According to the Federal Election Commission, he is a generous contributor to Democratic candidates and causes. The FEC said he made over $87,000 in contributions to President Barack Obama's campaign, the Democratic National Committee and various campaigns on behalf of Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer and New Jersey U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez in the past five years. The Center for Responsive Politics, a watchdog group, said he has given a total of $118,000 since 2004 -- all but one contribution, for $5,000, to Democrats.

The Associated Press has learned that even before his arrest, Rajaratnam was under scrutiny for helping bankroll Sri Lankan militants notorious for suicide bombings. Papers filed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn allege that Rajaratnam worked closely with a phony charity that channeled funds to the Tamil Tiger terrorist organization. Those papers refer to him only as "Individual B." But U.S. law enforcement and government officials familiar with the case have confirmed that the individual is Rajaratnam. At an initial court appearance in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Assistant U.S. Attorney Josh Klein sought detention for Rajaratnam, saying there was "a grave concern about flight risk" given Rajaratnam's wealth and his frequent travels around the world.

His lawyer, Jim Walden, called his client a "citizen of the world," who has made more than $20 million in charitable donations in the last five years and had risen from humble beginnings in the finance profession to oversee hedge funds responsible for nearly $8 billion. Walden promised "there's a lot more to this case" and his client was ready to prepare for it from home. Rajaratnam lives in a $10 million condominium with his wife of 20 years, their three children and two elderly parents. Walden noted that many of his employees were in court ready to sign a bail package on his behalf.

Rajaratnam -- born in Sri Lanka and a graduate of University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business -- has been described as a savvy manager of billions of dollars in technology and health care hedge funds at Galleon, which he started in 1996. The firm is based in New York City with offices in California, China, Taiwan and India. He lives in New York. According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Rajaratnam obtained insider information and then caused the Galleon Technology Funds to execute trades that earned a profit of more than $12.7 million between January 2006 and July 2007. Other schemes garnered millions more and continued into this year, authorities said.

Bharara said the defendants benefited from tips about the earnings, earnings guidance and acquisition plans of various companies. Sometimes, those who provided tips received financial benefits and sometimes they just traded tips for more inside information, he added. The timing of the arrests might be explained by a footnote in the complaint against Rajaratnam. In it, an FBI agent said he had learned that Rajaratnam had been warned to be careful and that Rajaratnam, in response, had said that a former employee of the Galleon Group was likely to be wearing a "wire." The agent said he learned from federal authorities that Rajaratnam had a ticket to fly from Kennedy International Airport to London on Friday and to return to New York from Geneva, Switzerland next Thursday.

Also charged in the scheme are Rajiv Goel, 51, of Los Altos, Calif., a director of strategic investments at Intel Capital, the investment arm of Intel Corp., Anil Kumar, 51, of Santa Clara, Calif., a director at McKinsey & Co. Inc., a global management consulting firm, and Robert Moffat, 53, of Ridgefield, Conn., senior vice president and group executive at International Business Machines Corp.'s Systems and Technology Group. The others charged in the case were identified as Danielle Chiesi, 43, of New York City, and Mark Kurland, 60, also of New York City. According to court papers, Chiesi worked for New Castle, the equity hedge fund group of Bear Stearns Asset Management Inc. that had assets worth about $1 billion under management. Kurland is a top executive at New Castle.

Kumar's lawyer, Isabelle Kirshner, said of her client: "He's distraught." He was freed on $5 million bail, secured in part by his $2.5 million California home. Kerry Lawrence, an attorney representing Moffat, said: "He's shocked by the charges." Bail for Kurland was set at $3 million while bail for Moffat and Chiesi was set at $2 million each. Lawyers for Moffat and Chiesi said their clients will plead not guilty. The law firm representing Kurland did not immediately return a phone call for comment. A message left at Goel's residence was not immediately returned. He was released on bail after an appearance in California.

A criminal complaint filed in the case shows that an unidentified person involved in the insider trading scheme began cooperating and authorities obtained wiretaps of conversations between the defendants. In one conversation about a pending deal that was described in a criminal complaint, Chiesi is quoted as saying: "I'm dead if this leaks. I really am. ... and my career is over. I'll be like Martha (expletive) Stewart." Stewart, the homemaking maven, was convicted in 2004 of lying to the government about the sale of her shares in a friend's company whose stock plummeted after a negative public announcement. She served five months in prison and five months of home confinement.

Prosecutors charged those arrested with conspiracy and securities fraud. A separate criminal complaint in the case said Chiesi and Moffat conspired to engage in insider trading in the securities of International Business Machines Corp. According to another criminal complaint in the case, Chiesi and Rajaratnam were heard on a government wiretap of a Sept. 26, 2008, phone conversation discussing whether Chiesi's friend Moffat should move from IBM to a different technology company to aid the scheme. "Put him in some company where we can trade well," Rajaratnam was quoted in the court papers as saying.

The complaint said Chiesi replied: "I know, I know. I'm thinking that too. Or just keep him at IBM, you know, because this guy is giving me more information. ... I'd like to keep him at IBM right now because that's a very powerful place for him. For us, too." According to the court papers, Rajaratnam replied: "Only if he becomes CEO." And Chiesi was quoted as replying: "Well, not really. I mean, come on. ... you know, we nailed it." The criminal complaints in the case also captured what authorities said were efforts by the defendants to hide their conversations from authorities. In one conversation, Chiesi was heard telling Rajaratnam that she was "glad that we talk on a secure line, I appreciate that," to which Rajaratnam replied: "I never call you on my cell phone," the complaint said. It added that Chiesi said she was "nervous" about being investigated.

In the wake of this, this is why the Obama administration is pushing back at bank lobbying on regulations. White House officials say they are growing frustrated that the banking industry is fighting President Barack Obama’s plan to overhaul financial regulations after taxpayer bailouts helped firms restore profits and near- record compensation for executives. Their anger is directed even at firms such as New York’s JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. that have paid back their government assistance and reported a surge in third- quarter earnings this week. The issue, according to administration officials, is the industry is generally on sound footing because of government help and lobbying against Obama’s regulatory plans goes against the nation’s long-term interest. “We are disappointed by the lobbying of anyone in the financial industry against regulatory reform, considering the obvious need for change on that front,” Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to Obama, said.

Wall Street regulation is scheduled to be among the topics when Jarrett, Obama adviser David Axelrod and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel appear on Sunday news talk shows Oct. 18. The administration is mounting a counteroffensive by pointing to a disconnect between Wall Street and the rest of the country: while some big banks report compensation plans and profits at pre-crisis levels, the unemployment rate rose to 9.8 percent last month and home foreclosures jumped 29.2 percent from a year earlier. The tougher message is being repeated from the president on down. Now is the time for “firm rules of the road so that banks can’t game the system and the financial crisis on Wall Street doesn’t end up hurting folks on Main Street,” Obama said last night at a Democratic Party fundraiser in San Francisco.

Lawrence Summers, director of Obama’s National Economic Council, was giving voice to it today in New York. “There is no financial institution that exists today that is not the direct or indirect beneficiary of massive taxpayer support for the financial system,” Summers said in remarks to a conference sponsored by the Economist newspaper. Obama is renewing his push to redo financial industry regulations by the end of the year, and many of his proposals, including a Consumer Financial Protection Agency, are facing stiff industry opposition. Groups led by the Financial Services Roundtable and American Bankers Association, both based in Washington, urged Congress in July to scrap the consumer agency, saying creation of a new regulator would cut consumer access to credit.

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein said he didn’t expect a “backlash” when he accepted the government funds. “Had I know it was as pregnant with this kind of potential for backlash then of course I would not have liked it,” Blankfein said today at a Fortune magazine breakfast in New York. “We are firm believers in effective regulation and believe that it is systemically important to have a regulatory framework which ensures stability of the financial system,” Goldman Sachs spokesman Lucas van Praag said. Joseph Evangelisti, spokesman for JPMorgan, referred to comments Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon made in his letter to shareholders in which he said that the extent of the problems made it clear that “rules and regulations must be completely overhauled.” Dimon also said that new policies should be “grounded in a thorough analysis of what happened” and that “political agendas or simplistic views will not serve us well.”

Citigroup didn’t immediately respond for comment. The mounting frustration about pushback from the industry comes the same week that the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed above 10,000 for the first time in a year and firms including JPMorgan and New York-based Citigroup Inc. reported third-quarter earnings that beat analyst estimates. Administration officials say they recognize a healthy banking sector is critical to the economic recovery and that they’re limited in their ability to penalize the firms, particularly those that no longer owe the government money. The most politically volatile issue is executive compensation. Obama has said he believes some of the resistance to his agenda stems from resentment about expanding government involvement in the private sector, including bank bailouts. Reports about rising profits, executive salaries and bonuses following on the government rescue, may add to voter dissatisfaction.

Earlier last week, Citigroup reported a $101 million third-quarter profit as it slowed the pace of building reserves for future loan defaults. On a per-share basis, the bank had a loss of 27 cents because of a charge related to the exchange of preferred shares into common stock. Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co. also asked regulators for a reprieve from meeting higher capital requirements taking effect next year, arguing that lending and the economic recovery would be harmed. Goldman Sachs, which repaid $10 billion it received from the U.S. Treasury last year, also reported a surge in third- quarter profit. The company has set aside $16.7 billion to pay employees so far this year, enough to pay each worker $527,192 for the period. JPMorgan, which repaid $25 billion of U.S. rescue funds in June, said this week that its profit surged sevenfold in the quarter, to $3.59 billion, on higher investment-banking revenue. The company, which is the second biggest bank by assets, set aside $8.79 billion for compensation and benefits for its investment-bank employees in the first nine months of 2009, enough to pay $353,834 to each.

Administration officials have pointed to the appointment of Kenneth Feinberg to oversee compensation plans at the top firms that haven’t repaid assistance funds. They also cite Obama’s support for giving shareholders a non-binding say on compensation. Feinberg’s compensation reviews for companies including Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup, each of which got $45 billion in government aid, are expected as early as next week. He’s already advised Bank of America Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Lewis to forego his 2009 salary and bonus. Bank of America, the biggest U.S. lender, posted a $1 billion third- quarter loss. Citigroup announced last week that it would sell its Phibro LLC energy-trading unit, a decision made to avoid a potential showdown with Feinberg over the unit’s CEO, Andrew Hall’s $100 million pay package.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The War on Our Youth—The American Dream Gets More Costly Each Year

If a key component to the American Dream is education than it seems as if the dream is getting more costly each especially with college tuition costs rising again this fall. The average tuition prices rose sharply again this fall as colleges passed much of the burden of their own financial problems on to recession-battered students and parents. Average tuition at four-year public colleges rose 6.5 percent, or $429, to $7,020 this fall, according to the College Board's annual "Trends in College Pricing" report, released Tuesday. At private colleges, the average list price for a year of coursework rose 4.4 percent to $26,273.

Those figures hide wide variations — public college students in California, Florida, New York and Washington have seen double-digit percentage increases, while the University of Maryland used federal stimulus funds to freeze tuition this year. More importantly, the estimated net price — what the average student actually pays after accounting for financial aid — was much lower, at about $1,620 at public four-year colleges, and under $12,000 at private ones. Both figures are higher than last year but still lower than five years ago, thanks to recent increases in financial aid both from the government and from colleges themselves. The figures do not include room, board and other living expenses.

Still, this year's increases were bad news for students who pay full price, and confirm that despite cost-cutting on everything from faculty to cafeterias and sports travel, higher education once again failed to keep its own price increases anywhere near the overall inflation rate. In fact, during the period covered by the College Board report, consumer prices declined by 2.1 percent. So accounting for inflation, the latest increase at public colleges felt closer to a 9-percent jump. "Every sector of the American economy is under stress and higher education is no exception," said Terry Hartle, senior vice president of the American Council on Education. "It's regrettable, and it's yet another piece of disappointing economic news that affects families."

Hartle said the report showed some good news: a companion report on financial aid documented substantial increases in aid, especially from the government, that ease the price increases for low-income students. And community colleges, home to about 40 percent of college students, remain essentially free to the average student after factoring in financial aid. The reports come as many colleges face their most challenging economic climate in memory. On the public side, state appropriations to public colleges declined nearly $4 billion in 2008-2009 from the previous year, even as enrollment grew, and state dollars are falling further this year. Private colleges had fewer students who could afford to pay full freight, forcing schools to offer more financial aid even as their endowments fell by record amounts in the stock market crash.

Worst hit is California, whose giant public university and community college systems educate about one in six American college students. Facing unprecedented state funding cuts, public colleges have boosted fees, raised class sizes, furloughed faculty and turned away students. On top of the current year's 9-percent fee increase, the University of California system is considering increases of more than 30 percent by next year.

The reports also offer a glimpse of what has become a significant expansion of the federal government's role in trying to help students pay for college. In 2008-2009, 65 percent of the $180 billion spent on higher education expenses came via the federal government in the form of grants, loans and work-study programs, up from 58 percent the year before. Overall, the report estimated federal grant aid rose almost 11 percent last year. That trend will likely continue because the maximum Pell Grant — the government's main college aid program for low-income students — rose by over $600 this year to $5,350.

Students also borrowed more to pay for college — but much more from the government and much less from nonfederal lenders such as banks. Estimated private borrowing collapsed from around $24 billion in 2007-2008 to under $12 billion last year, the aid report estimates. That sharp decrease came after years of rapid expansion in student borrowing from the private sector — a trend that worried some experts because private loans generally have higher interest rates and fewer borrower protections than federal ones.

But a range of factors have quickly turned the tide: students can get larger Pell Grants and borrow more from the government, and private lenders have become much more selective in making student loans. On average, about two-thirds of bachelor's degree recipients borrow money, and their median debt is about $20,000 by graduation. Therefore it is clear that if education is the key to the future and higher education is a part of the American Dream than the dream is getting more costly each year resulting in more and more students not being able to afford it to some degree.

Something has to be done about this problem but for now it is yet another battle that we have to monitor in this war on our youth if we are to save our youth so they can have a better future than their present. We must give our youth a quality education and we must make education more affordable than currently is, otherwise the American Dream will slowly but surely be just that a dream that is unattainable for so many because the cost of a higher education yet alone a post-bachelor degree is getting higher and higher each and every year. So something needs to be done because we need to make higher education more affordable to more of our nation’s youth because a high school diploma just won’t cut it anymore.



Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The War on Our Youth: Forgiveness

As we continue to fight this war on our youth, it is clear that one thing our youth need to understand in order to move forward is forgiving. I bring this up because a couple of weeks ago some Columbine parents praised the essay by a mom of a shooter of the Columbine incident. Parents and survivors of the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School said good things about an essay released by the mother of shooter Dylan Klebold. Susan Klebold made the most detailed public remarks by any parent of the two Columbine killers in an essay published in O, The Oprah Magazine. She said in the essay she had "no inkling" her son was suicidal or depressed.

The essay sparked strong emotions for Connie Michalik, whose son, Richard Castaldo, was shot and partially paralyzed in the rampage. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 23 others before killing themselves. The shooters' parents have said little in public since the massacre. They gave depositions in a lawsuit filed by victims' families, but a judge in 2007 ordered those depositions sealed for 20 years after the case was settled out of court.

Survivors and their families have been left wondering about the boys' parents in the decade since the shootings. "You know, I always wondered how she felt and what she went through. 'Cause I know I went through a living hell, and I was always sure she did, too," Michalik told The Associated Press. Michalik, who has never met Susan Klebold, said reading the essay answered some of her questions about the Klebold family. "I applaud her for the courage to talk about this," Michalik said Tuesday.

In the essay, Susan Klebold described the day of the shooting. She at first feared Dylan had been shot at school, not that he was one of the perpetrators. Susan Klebold said the family was evacuated from their home the afternoon of the massacre because authorities feared even Dylan's residence may have been rigged to explode. Still, she said, it took months for relatives to accept that the quiet boy who loved origami and Legos was to blame for the violence. "We didn't know that he and Eric had assembled an arsenal of explosives and guns," Susan Klebold wrote. "We believed his participation in the massacre was accidental or that he had been coerced. We believed that he did not intend to hurt anyone."

A magazine spokeswoman said Susan Klebold has turned down several interview requests over the years but agreed several months ago to share an essay. There were no plans for her to appear on the show. In an introduction to the essay, Oprah Winfrey told readers, "Since the day her son participated in the most devastating high school shooting America has ever seen, I have wanted to sit down with Susan Klebold to ask her the questions we've all wanted to ask — starting with, 'How did you not see it coming?' and ending with 'How did you survive?'"

A spokeswoman for Susan Klebold has said there would be no further comment. One of the shooting's survivors, Krystal Miller, said she has long had questions for the Klebolds but understood their silence. "Over the years I would've loved to hear something," said Miller, whose maiden name was Krystal Woodman. "But it sounds like she is still just reeling from it and processing it. So how is someone supposed to come out and give answers when they're still trying to figure it out themselves?"

Therefore, in the wake of the Columbine incident and the essay that was recently written, it made me realize that many people but particularly our youth don’t understand the meaning of forgiveness. Our youth today need to understand that is comes a point in their lives when they have to forgive those who have mistreated them, abused them and lied to them. I know sometimes it is hard but the word forgiveness is a word that many of our youth today don’t understand yet alone want to recognize which is why so many of them are bitter, angry and mad at life. Also the fact that many of our youth don’t understand forgiveness leads to many of our youth having truth issues with the rest of society because of the way others in their past treated them yet alone lied to them.

So when reading the essay written by one of the parent’s of the shooters and as I read about the responses from parents of victims and survivors as well as survivors, it seemed as if many of those people were forgiving of the Columbine parents shooters. In fact it seemed as if many of the victims’ parents and the survivors were concerned and worried about how the Columbine shooters parents were dealing with the aftermath all these years later. So it is clear that if even in some of the hardest situations imaginable that people find a way to forgive which is why I feel that our youth need to forgive others now more than ever.

Our youth need to learn what forgiveness means and how they can forgive in order to move forward in life to achieve success. Holding on to angry, being mad at the world and hating others will only continue to create a culture of youth who rebel against society and those are the youth who usually end up hurting the innocent. Therefore we have to understand that our youth today need forgiveness in their life like never before. Our youth can’t forgive until they understand what forgiveness means and how when you forgive you are able to move forward in life to achieve success.

Think about it, our youth don’t understand that while they are going around being angry at the world, being bitter toward others and mad at everyone, those who hurt them, abused them, mistreated them or lied to them are going forward with their lives, living their lives happy and with no remorse or afterthought for the hurt they caused that youth. So why should our youth walk around angry, bitter and mad when those who created that angry, bitterness and madness don’t even care if our youth are mad. Therefore our youth need to be taught this so that they can move forward in life not being bitter, angry and mad when those who mistreated them, abused them and lied to them are not angry, bitter and mad so why should our youth. Therefore it is time we taught our youth to forgive.

It is time we teach our youth forgiveness so they can move forward and be prosperous in life. Our youth need to realize that forgiving others is the only way for them to move forward without thinking back. Our youth need to direct their angry and bitterness in way that motivates them to achieve success by using those who said they can’t do something or those who hurt them, abused them, mistreated them or lied to them as motivation to overcome their bearers. It is time for our youth to move forward and realize that they must forgive in order to do that. Teaching forgiveness is the only way we can change a part of our youth culture that allows angry to fester. Our youth need to realize that forgiveness is the key to changing their life and moving forward with a positive outlook on things rather than the bitter, angry and mad mentality that our youth today takes out on the rest of the world and even those that truly want to help them overcome what they are dealing with.

So if we are to win this war on our youth than one thing our youth need to learn is forgiveness. Learning forgiveness can help change the type of culture that creates the violence that plagues many of our communities through youth who rebel against society because they are angry, mad and bitter. We must save our youth by teaching them forgiveness so they can save themselves from being bitter toward the world and becoming part of a society that is cruel and mean more than kind and warm. This is just one component that can help us change the type of culture that is festering in our communities in regards to youth but make no mistake about it, the war on our youth won’t be won on forgiveness alone but it is a start in the right direction.


Jay-Z - History

(Jay-Z - History)Jay-Z - History with Lyrics

LYRICS : [Chorus: Cee-lo]
Now that all the smoke is gone
And the battle's finally won
(Gimme a lighter)
Victory (Lighters up) is finally ours
(Lighters up)
History, so long, so long
So long, so long

[Verse 1: Jay-Z]
In search of victory, she keeps eluding me
If only we could be together momentarily
We can make love and make history
Why won't you visit me? until she visit me
I'll be stuck with her sister, her name is defeat
She gives me agony, so much agony
She brings me so much pain, so much misery
Like missing your last shot and falling to your knees
As the crowd screams for the other team
I practice so hard for this moment, victory don't leave
I know what this means, I'm stuck in this routine
Whole new different day, same old thing
All I got is dreams, nobody else can see
Nobody else believes, nobody else but me
Where are you victory? I need you desperately
Not just for the moment, to make history

[Chorus: Cee-lo]
Now that all the smoke is gone
And the battle's finally won
Victory is finally ours
History (yeah), so long, so long
So long, so long

[Verse 2: Jay-Z]
So now I'm flirting with death, hustling like a G
While victory wasn't watching took chances repeatedly
As a teenage boy before acne, before I got proactiv I couldn't face she
I just threw on my hoodie and headed to the street
That's where I met success, we'd live together shortly
Now success is like lust, she's good to the touch
She's good for the moment but she's never enough
Everybody's had her, she's nothing like V
But success is all I got unfortunately
But I'm burning down the block hoppin' in and out of V
But something tells me that there's much more to see
Before I get killed because I can't get robbed
So before me success and death ménage
I gotta get lost, I gotta find V
We gotta be together to make history

[Chorus: Cee-lo]
Now that all the smoke is gone
(Lighters. Up.)
And the battle's finally won
(Lighter. Up.)
Victory is finally ours
(Lighters. Up.)
History, so long, so long
So long, so long

[Verse 3: Jay-Z]
Now victory is mine, it tastes so sweet
She's my trophy wife, you're coming with me
We'll have a baby who stutters repeatedly
We'll name him history, he'll repeat after me
He's my legacy, son of my hard work
Future of my past, he'll explain who I be
Rank me amongst the greats, either 1, 2, or 3
If I ain't number one then I failed you victory
Ain't in it for the fame that dies within weeks
Ain't in it for the money, can't take it when you leave
I wanna be remembered long after you grieve
Long after I'm gone, long after I breathe
I leave all I am in the hands of history
That's my last will and testimony
This is much more than a song, it's a baby shower
I've been waiting for this hour, history you ours

[Chorus: Cee-lo (2x)]
Now that all the smoke is gone
And the battle's finally won
Victory is finally ours
History, so long, so long
So long, so long

Man in the Mirror--By Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson - Man in the mirror

I'm gonna make a change,
for once im my life
It's gonna feel real good,
gonna make a diference
Gonna make it right...

As I, turn up the collar on
my favorite winter coat
This wind is blowing my mind
I see the kids in the streets,
with not enought to eat
Who am I to be blind?
Pretending not to see their needs

A summer disregard,a broken bottle top
And a one man soul
They follow each other on the wind ya' know
'Cause they got nowhere to go
That's why I want you to know

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)
(Na na na, na na na, na na, na nah)

I've been a victim of a selfish kind of love
It's time that I realize
That there are some with no home, not a nickel to loan
Could it be really me, pretending that they're not alone?

A willow deeply scarred, somebody's broken heart
And a washed-out dream
(Washed-out dream)
They follow the pattern of the wind ya' see
'Cause they got no place to be
That's why I'm starting with me
(Starting with me!)

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
(Change his ways - ooh!)
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make that..
(Take a look at yourself and then make that..)

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
(Man in the mirror - Oh yeah!)
I'm asking him to change his ways
(Better change!)
No message could have been any clearer
(If you wanna make the world a better place)

Michael Jackson - Man in the mirror

A Change is Gonna Come by Sam Cook

It's been a long time coming but a change is surely going to come in America and the World! I am the Future of America and the World and that is the message that each of us must carry with us each and every day that we wake up on Earth! I am the Future! You are the Future! We are the Future of America and the World! That is way every election is important--primaries, special elections and general! So vote every year and hold our politicians accountable. Hold our political officials accountable by writing them, calling them and making sure they attend meetings that we the people have. "The Time for Change is not Now but Right Now!"

"EmPOWERment By Any Means Necessary" should be our anthem and should be our creed as we make the positive differences in America and the world that so many people beg for and hungry for year after year! A Change is Gonna Come, A Change is Gonna Come, that's what we must say as we say "God grants us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, Courge to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference" each morning before we go about the task of making a positive change in America and the world a reality.

Born In The U.S.A. - Bruce Springsteen

“When will people realize that we are Americans first and foremost, not Democrats or Liberals, not Republicans or Conservatives, not Independents or moderates. We are Americans. Stop putting a political party above America and stop putting any politican above America. America succeeds because of us the people holding our government responsible no matter the political party because the main two political parties are to blame for the condition America is in."—Hodari P.T. Brown

America with its flaws and all is a country I am proud to have been born in. America is not perfect but my love for it is perfect. That’s why all Americans must realize that we are all Americans. In fact we are Americans first and foremost. We are not Democrats or Republicans. We are Americans.

We are not Muslims, Christians or Jews. We are Americans. Too many times we recognize our differences with others rather than appreciating our similarities which are, we are Americans. We are Americans first and foremost, no matter if we were born here or moved here legally. We are all Americans, here in this country to make not only our lives better but the lives of other Americans better so future Americans can enjoy the rights and freedoms that make us all Americans.

We are all Americans. We are one party united under God. We are Americans and this is the only political party that matters. We are Americans and this is our country so let’s make sure that we make America better than how we found it so future Americans can live prosperous and joyous lives. We are Americans and must not ever forget that.

America will prosper as long we make sure we are doing our part to make it prosper and that means we can’t put any political party or politician above America. Long live America forever and long live America’s service to the world. Together, America and the world will prosper for future generations to enjoy America and the world we live in.

Lift Every Voice and Sing

This video of the ' Negro National Anthem' was originally screened at the historic African-American Church Inaugural Ball in Washington, DC on January 18th, 2009. Many of the esteemed individuals featured in this video in attendance and we presented with the ' Keepers of the Flame' award for the monumental contributions to social justice.

This version of the song was performed by the Grace Baptist Church Cathedral Choir, conducted by Derrick James. The video was produced and donated by Ascender Communications, LLC ( at the request of The Balm In Gilead, Inc.

If I Was President--Wyclef Jean

If I was President that is the people's anthem. We all have ideas of what we can do as President and through this website, we will fulfill our deam as a people!

Somethings Gotta Give--Big Boi ft Mary J Blige

Somethings Gotta Give people and it begins today for all us to make sure that something is us. We the people are sick and tired of suffering. Where is our piece of the Dream that so many people dead for so that we all could see today. This is our time people to change America and the world so that the Next Generation has a better future than the past we inherited.

This is our call to service. This isn't about one political candidate or one political figure. This is about us as people coming together to finally leave up to our potential and achieving the great feats that those before us have achieved. This is our moment to lead our nation and our world to greater heights.

Somethings gotta give people and it starts with us the people making it happen. We have to improve our education system in America. We have to rid the world of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. We have to go to the streets and lift a hand to another in order to decrease poverty in this world. We have to take a stand today and make sure that the future of America and the world is brighter than it has ever been.

Somethings Gotta Give and that is why we must "Remember Each One, Reach One and Teach One so America's future and the World's future continues to prosper."

John Legend - "If You're Out There"

If you're out there than you need to get started in helping to change America and the world. The world and America won't change until you get involved in making the changes you want to see in this world. If you're out there, than you must know that tomorrow started now and today started yesterday so you are behind in helping to the change. If you are tired of hatred, racism, poverty, war, and violence than the time to change it is now. If you want universal health care, world peace, democracy for every nation, equal rights, and happiness for all than you must get involved now to help the save world.

You must believe in the change that you want to see and you must act on making that change a reality. If you're out there than say it aloud and show the rest of America and the world that you're out here to make a real positive change in the communities we stay in. If you're out there than get involved now. I'm calling every women and men to join me as we take back our country right here, right now. If you're out there than the future started yersterday and we are already late so we have lots of work to do but I know we can do it together as one.


Yes We Can accomplish anything that we set out to do! We don't need charismatic or inspirational leaders to believe in ourselves and to take responsiblity for our own faith, we just need each other. Yes We Can build a new America and a new world if each of us would take action now to make the changes that we want to see in the world. Yes We Can control government by holding our political officials accountable for their actions by calling them out when they don't pass legislation that supports the common good of all man and by voting in every election to ensure that we have people representing the people locally, state wide, nationally and in the world.

Yes We Can be great! Yes We Can be what we want to be! Yes We Can be glorious in not only America but the world! Yes We can put action behind our worlds and change the world starting right here, right now! Yes We Can as Republicans, Democrats and Independents become one as we freely think about our fellow men and women and make decisions that will be in the best interest of all people and not one single group.

Yes We Can be the change that we want to see in the world! Yes We Can show the world that the youth are ready to lead! Yes We Can put our egos, our social economic statuses, our religions, our educational statuses and our skin color to the side for the better good of the world! Yes We Can be Greater than we have ever been and help others be Greater than they have ever be!

YES WE CAN and YES WE WILL BE VICTORIOUS IN ALL THAT WE DO! YES WE CAN, no matter what others may say, we will be glorious! YES WE WILL and YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN!

YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN is what will be sung from every mountaintop, every riverbank, every household, every school yard, every factory, every sporting event, every college campus and even every place you can imagine in the world is where YES WE CAN, will be said and heard!


Keep On Pushing - Curtis Mayfield & the Impressions

Wake Up People! No matter who is elected to any public office, we have to “Keep On Pushing” as a people to make sure they don’t leave us in a worst state than what they inherited. We as a people have to “Keep On Pushing” to make a difference in the lives of others. We have to have an “EmPOWERment By Any Means Necessary” attitude as we continue to push our agenda that we the people deserve and want better. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to bring about change in a positive way that will benefit all Americans no matter their age, their religion or skin color. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to bring about change that will improve our education system, improve our military, improve our national security, improve our healthcare system and improve our economy. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to bring about change that will leave America’s future in a better than how we found it and that will leave the world’s future in a better state than we imagined we could live it. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to make life better for our neighborhoods, our families and even our quote on quote enemies. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to inspire, to uplift and to guide those who need help spiritually, physically and mentally. We have to “Keep On Pushing ” so that our lives, our future generation’s lives and the lives of those who came before us does not die in vein.

“Keep on Pushing”

A War For Your Soul

A War For Your Soul-regular version from Erisai Films on Vimeo.

The moment has come for us as a nation of people to finally wake up and realize that our destiny and fate in society has rests on our shoulders. We cannot allow the forces of evil and darkness to drain us out. We have to continue to overcome all odds in order to make the future of our nation better and the future of future generations of Americans better. We have to continue to pray to our Lord and we have to continue to uplift each other in prayer as well as take action against those things that are trying to destroy us. We have to stand up once and for all and be the future that we want to be. Now is our time and we shall do together by any means necessary.

This video was created to inspire young African-Americans not to fall prey to some of the problems they face in society. The use of the voice "Master of Darkness" represents evil, which is where the blame of all problems should be placed, and not on any one group of people. This video should not to be used to divide people (Black & White), there are images of heroes that are white in this video, and there are images of Black & White coming together with the words of Dr. King in the background. Some of the images from the past can be unsettling, but they are used to show all Americans how far we have come, and how far we still have to go. This film is being strategically placed in school systems, churches and youth orgs around the country, in hope of helping a lost generation of kids that we as Americans have forgotten. As fellow Americans we must continue to love each other, and take that love and spread it to the rest of the world. **THIS VIDEO IS NOT FOR SALE & I AM NOT ACCEPTING DONATIONS FOR THE FILM, I ONLY WANT THE MESSAGE TO REACH AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE WITHOUT ANY HIDDEN POLITICAL OR FINANCIAL AGENDA.
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Sitting On the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding

"The time for sitting is over! The time for action is now! The time for hope without action is hopeless! The time for change without a positive attitude is a change that we can't believe in! We need change that is positive of helping all people! Our time for action is now, our time for hope is now, our time for change is now and our time to believe that we can do whatever we set our minds to is not now but right now!"


The Star-Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key

O say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming;
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream;
'Tis the star-spangled banner; O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave,
From the terror of flight and the gloom of the grave;
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land,
Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just.
And this be our motto— "In God is our trust; "
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

Black President

Our Time is not now but Right Now! Our Time has finally come to change the world not now but Right Now! If you don't believe that we can change the world than watch as we do it by changing your mind into believing in us and what we can do! This is OUR TIME RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW!


We got to FIGHT THE POWER! We can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch injustices take place. We can no longer sit by and allow our right to vote to become unexercised. We must FIGHT THE POWER for our past, present and future! We can no longer allow our rights to be oppressed and our voice to become drained by the powers at be. We must FIGHT THE POWER and show that we have a lot to say that needs to be heard by the mainstream media. We must FIGHT THE POWER and live up to our potential as dynamic, unbelievable and phenomenal people.

We must not believe the hype but we must become the hype. We are not Harriett Tubman, Marcus Garvey, MLK, Malcolm X, Booker T. Washington, Carter G. Woodson, W.E.B. DuBois, the Black Panther Party, SNCC, or any other activists but we are the fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, uncles, aunties, and relatives of those who came before us to pave the way for us to FIGHT THE POWER! We are not next Generation of leaders who will not be honored and praised until they die but that’s the fight we accept. We are not fighting the power for glory or fame but we are fighting the power for just causes that most men and women will not understand until years or decades later.

We are fighting for our sisters and brothers in Darfur, Georgia, Iraq, Iran, China and Mexico. We are speaking for those who are poor and have no food or water. We are fighting for those who are sick and dying. We are fighting for universal healthcare across the world and human rights for all people. We are fighting for rich and poor! We must FIGHT THE POWER no matter how hard and tough the road may be. We must FIGHT THE POWER for a better today and an even greater tomorrow!



“People Get Ready” our time is coming! We have come too far to turn back now. Our train is coming and it is coming in waves. “People Get Ready”, we don’t need a ticket but we need faith and the Lord will help guide us as we take back America and the world. “People Get Ready” our moment is now and we are ready to see the change we want in America and the world. All we got to do is have faith, hope and prosperity. “People Get Ready” to face your fears. “People Get Ready” to face your demons and the challenges of yesterday because today and tomorrow we will conquer & be victorious. “People Get Ready” a change is coming and our actions will make sure that change is a real positive change that lasts forever.

“People Get Ready” because we have had enough of just talking but now is our time to show action. “People Get Ready” to take back America and the world. “People Get Ready” to take back our communities and to make our streets safer and schools better. “People Get Ready” to make all our dreams come true. “People Get Ready” to see a better present for everyone and a better future for future generations. “People Get Ready” to live up to your potential and to help others live up to their own potential. “People Get Ready” to move past hatred, bigotry, racism and sexism. “People Get Ready” to fulfill the dreams of those who came before us and those who will come after us.

“People Get Ready” as we make our actions speak louder than our words. “People Get Ready” to make words mean something again as we put action to back up our rhetoric. “People Get Ready” as we embark on a new journey that will re-write America’s history as well as the world’s history. “People Get Ready” as we make the lives of others better and the lives of future generations better. “People Get Ready” because all we need is faith, hope and action to make this world a better place. “People Get Ready” to make a difference. “People Get Ready” to fulfill the American dream. “People Get Ready" to live out the American Dream as our founding fathers wanted us to live it. “People Get Ready” because our time is now, our moment is now and our moment in time to change America & the world is not now but right now. “People Get Ready” because a change is coming!

(Let me tell you now)
People get ready, there's a train comin'
You don't need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin'
You don't need no ticket, you just thank the lord

People get ready, for a train to Jordan
Picking up passengers coast to coast
Faith is the key, open the doors and board them
There's hope for all among those loved the most

There ain't no room for the hopeless sinner
Who would hurt all man kind just to save his own (believe me now)
Have pity on those whose chances grow thinner
For there's no hiding place against the kingdoms throne

[Alicia & Lyfe]
So people get ready there's a train coming
You don't need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels humming,
You don't need no ticket, you just thank the lord


God Bless the U.S.A. by Lee Greenwood

Lee Greenwood-god bless the U.S.A