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14 political issues in ’14
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JANUARY 10 – JANUARY 16, 2014
VOLUME 22 NO. 2
President Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery during a ceremony at the White House in August 2009.
Georgia’s political and civil rights leaders say a deal President Obama cut with the GOP to appoint White conservative federal judges will hurt Black Georgians long after he leaves the presidency. COMPILED FROM WIRE REPORTS
ATLANTA – A trio of Georgia Democrats joined prominent civil rights leaders last month in escalating their fight with the White House over judicial nominees, charging that a slate of six nominees for federal court vacancies is not diverse enough. The unusually heated rhetoric underscored the pushback President Obama faces from one of his core constituencies as he walks a delicate line trying to jumpstart long-stalled judicial appointments.
OLIVIER DOULIERY/ABACA PRESS/MCT
nation’s first Black president: “We’ve not come to attack the president. Somebody did this for him and we’ve said that he must undo it. “We have come too far, marched too long, prayed too hard, wept too bitterly and (some have) died too young in our struggle to let anybody turn us around and turn back the clock on our gains toward justice and equality,” proclaimed Lowery, who at age 92, is ‘Undo it’ convenor/chairman of the Added the Rev. Joseph Georgia Coalition for the Lowery, who like Lewis People’s Agenda. has received a Presidential See OBAMA, Page A2 Medal of Freedom from the “We question whether this is the kind of legacy you want to leave in the state of Georgia,” said Rep. John Lewis, an Atlanta Democrat, at the gathering at Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church on Dec. 23. “It’s not too late to turn this train around. We are asking you to reconsider these nominations, to do what is fair, what is right and what is just.”
‘Warning shot’ bill heads toward passage
POLAR VORTEX 2014
BY MARGIE MENZEL THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA
OLIVIER DOULIERY/ABACA PRESS/MCT
Deep freeze A homeless man braved the cold on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. A deadly blast of arctic air shattered decades-old records as it gripped most of the country, including Florida. Thousands of flights were cancelled and up North, roads were paralyzed; schools and businesses were closed.
TALLAHASSEE – A bill that would grant immunity to Floridians who show guns or fire warning shots in self-defense could be poised to pass this year after failing to get a hearing in 2013. The so-called “warningshot” bill (SB 448), which would amend the state’s controversial “stand your ground” self-defense law, cleared its first Senate panel on Wednesday. After listening to descriptions of Floridians serving 20-year sentences for firing warning shots to defend themselves or others, the Senate Criminal Justice Committee unanimously passed the bill by committee Chairman Greg Evers, R-Baker. One member of the panel, Sen. Charlie Dean, a former Citrus County sheriff, even asked House sponsor Neil Combee to consider adding an amendment that would expunge the criminal records of people charged in this way; See BILL, Page A2
SNAPSHOTS FLORIDA | A3
Lottery continues to be big winner for state NATION | A6
Scott sued for failing to replace Carroll
temic fraud, including 14 felonies, leading to a historic $1.7 billion fine) resigns amid scandal like his lieutenant or dies, there is no lieutenant governor to fulfill the heavy responsibilities of the office,” the suit claims. If Scott were unable to fulfill his duties before a lieutenant governor is named, Attorney General Pam Bondi would take over as governor.
Taking his time
NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA
Expect lots of Obamacare attacks from legislators ENTERTAINMENT | B5
Romney weighs in on mocking of family photo
A lobbyist for the Florida National Organization for Women wants the state’s top court to order Gov. Rick Scott to name a new lieutenant governor – a position unoccupied since March 2013 – within 30 days. As the 10-month anniversary approaches of Jennifer Carroll’s resignation from the post, Tallahassee lobbyist Barbara DeVane filed a lawsuit on Monday at the Florida Supreme Court that contends Scott is breaking state law by failing to appoint a successor. DeVane also claims Scott’s decision to leave the post unoccupied upsets the order of succession and that
WALTER MICHOT/MIAMI HERALD/MCT
Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, left, and Gov. Rick Scott celebrated their victory in November 2010. the “state would be powerless to respond” if a crisis occurs and Scott is for some reason unavailable. “If the Governor (who resigned his previous position as chief executive officer of a company that pled guilty to massive amounts of sys-
In an email response to the suit, Scott spokeswoman Melissa Sellers said, “The Governor is going to take the right time to find the right person.” DeVane doesn’t offer who should be selected, noting she isn’t “seeking to compel the Governor to choose any particular individual.” Despite a variety of rumored picks, Scott has given few clear indications about when he will fill the post. Carroll stepped down March 12, after lawenforcement officials raided Internet cafes across the state. Carroll previously had done consulting work for Allied Veterans of the World, a key target of the investigation.
COMMENTARY: CHARLES W. CHERRY II: RANDOM THOUGHTS OF A FREE BLACK MIND | A4 COMMENTARY: HARRY ALFORD: CHARTER SCHOOLS IN WISCONSIN ARE A GREAT ALTERNATIVE | A5
JANUARY 10 – JANUARY 16, 2014
Barack Obama is ‘The Great Dis-equalizer’ President Obama, the Grand Facilitator of the greatest consolidation of financial wealth in human history, began his sixth year in office declaring that income inequality is “the defining challenge of our time.” Obama is the Grand Bargainer who saved George Bush’s bank bailout and presided over the (ongoing) infusion of tens of trillions of dollars into Wall Street accounts. Two years ago, he bragged that “Since I’ve been president, federal spending has actually risen at the lowest pace in nearly 60 years.” Now he calls for government action to reverse the momentum of his own policies. The Great Pretender, who in 2008 called for an increase in the federal minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2011, and then did absolutely nothing to effectuate it when Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress, now proposes to raise the bar to $10 an hour to embarrass Republicans in an election year.
GLEN FORD BLACK AGENDA REPORT
Frozen wages The Daring Debt Buster who, on his own initiative, has frozen federal workers’ wages since 2010, and worked hand-in-glove with Republicans to gut social programs in the name of fiscal restraint, laments “growing inequality and lack of upward mobility” among the masses. The chief executive who lifted not a finger to pass the Employee Free Choice Act of 2009, that might have given organized labor a fighting chance to survive, now pretends to be a bornagain champion of collective bargaining and yearns for the days when “you knew that a blue-collar job would let you buy a home, and a car, maybe a vacation once in a while, healthcare, a reliable pension.” Meanwhile, Obama’s Justice Department sided
with the Republican-appointed emergency financial manager of Detroit, who was seeking to impose bankruptcy on the mostly Black city and raid retiree’s pensions – revealing the administration’s true colors. The nation’s First Black President admits that “African-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans are far more likely to suffer from a lack of opportunity – higher unemployment, higher poverty rates,” and claims he’ll push for “targeted initiatives” to combat this “legacy of discrimination” (although all the proposed targeting is in the form of tax incentives for business). Yet, nearly five years ago, in a press conference marking his first hundred days in office, Obama categorically rejected targeted aid for Black communities, thus ensuring that the cascading effects of the Great Meltdown would plunge African-Americans deeper into the abyss.
Wealth disparity By 2009, according to
economist Pamela Brown, White household wealth was 19 times that of Black households, “and is probably even greater now” – compared to a ratio of 12 to 1 in 1984 and down to 7 to 1 in 1995. The collapse of Black economic fortunes has been catastrophic, yet Obama offers only tax cuts for corporations, streamlined business regulations, undoing of sequestration, more rhetoric about ending off-shoring of jobs, and stronger application of antidiscrimination laws. The president wants us to forget that he was the one who proposed sequestration in the first place, in an effort to force a Grand Bargain with Republicans; that his economic advisors are secretly meeting with hundreds of corporate lobbyists to shape a jobs-destroying Trans Pacific Partnership that is “like NAFTA on steroids,” and then fasttrack it through Congress. Obama wants us to forget that he has nominated two Republican prospective judges from Georgia to federal courts, one of
whom fought to keep the Confederate banner in the state flag, while the other was the lead lawyer in defense of Georgia’s voter ID law. The Obama administration has many priorities, but nondiscrimination is not one of them. Whatever Obama means when he says “targeted assistance,” it seldom translates as actual money for non-corporate persons. Back in April of 2012, his administration was cited for failing to spend almost all of $7.6 billion that Congress set aside to help communities and homeowners hardest hit by the housing crisis – a cohort that is disproportionately Black and Brown.
Nothing to say Obama’s Treasury Department offered no explanation other than they had not put together a proper spending plan. However, it is obvious that Obama’s people wanted to avoid doing anything that might interfere with the banks’ foreclosure processes, so as not to disturb Wall Street’s
manifold schemes to further rig the market. The growing crisis of income and wealth inequality is a result of the internal logic of capitalism under the hegemony of Wall Street. Obama’s fix for the vast social carnage the banksters leave in their wake, is to forge a State that is even more dutiful in propping up “the markets” and stripping down the public sector. There is no room in that presidential mission for even modest amelioration of the public’s pain. The president’s rhetoric is nothing more than noise, totally disconnected from actual policy. The Lords of Capital – for whom Obama is a servant – have nothing to offer but more austerity and war.
Glen Ford is executive editor of BlackAgendaReport.com. E-mail him at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com. Click on this story at www.flcourier.com to write your own response.
Combee said he would. “What part of ‘innocence’ do we not understand?” Dean demanded.
Prosecutors seek to put Alexander back in jail for running errands
FROM STAFF REPORTS
Combee, a Polk City Republican, first sponsored the bill after hearing about Marissa Alexander, a Jacksonville woman who was sentenced to 20 years in prison under the 10-20-Life sentencing law for firing a gun into a wall during Neil a dispute with Combe her husband. Combee described Alexander’s sentence as an example of the “negative unintended consequences” of 10-20-Life, which requires mandatoryminimum prison terms for gun-related crimes. Under the 10-20-Life law, possessing a gun while committing certain crimes is punishable by at least 10 years in prison, discharging a gun while committing those crimes is punishable by at least 20 years in prison, and hurting or killing someone during those crimes is punishable by 25 years to life in prison.
Second version The 2013 version of Combee’s bill sought to amend 10-20-Life rather than “stand your ground,” and it was opposed by the Florida Sheriffs Association and many prosecutors and law enforcement officers who argued that the sentencing bill was working too well to be altered. So the 2014 bills by Combee and Evers would amend “stand your ground” instead. The bills, which are identical, would permit people who are being attacked and fear for their lives to display guns, threaten to use the weapons or fire warning shots under the same circum-
OBAMA from A1 The nominees’ foes also include Democratic Reps. Hank Johnson and David Scott, and the Rev. C.T. Vivian, another Medal of Freedom honoree. Their anger centers on Obama’s decision to formally nominate several judges.
Numerous vacancies U.S. District Court Judge Julie Carnes was the pick to serve on the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, joining pending 11th Circuit nominee Jill Pryor, an Atlanta attorney. To fill four Northern District of Georgia slots, Obama nominated Atlanta attorney Leigh Martin May,
Protesters show their support for Marissa Alexander during a rally hosted at Hemming Park in Jacksonville on July 13, 2012. stances by which they could legally shoot to kill. That switch sped the bill to passage in the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee in November.
Clarifies law It also gained allies for the bill who did not support it last year, such as the Florida Public Defender Association. “We think it’s an important clarification to the existing self-defense laws, that someone could be justified in threatening to use force and not have to actually use force to enjoy the protections of the self-defense laws and ‘stand your ground,’ “ Stacy Scott, the public defender for the 8th Judicial Circuit, told the Senate panel on Wednesday. “The statutes aren’t clear on that.” National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer, who has worked with Combee on the bill since last year, said it was needed to curb prosecutorial abuses under 10-20-Life. “Prosecutors are using it wrongly to prosecute people
DeKalb County State Court Judge Eleanor Ross, Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Michael Boggs and Atlanta attorney Mark Cohen. “The president has made a terrible and tragic mistake” with these selections, Rep. Scott exclaimed during the press conference/ church rally.
GOP stalwarts As a Georgia state senator in 1997, Boggs fought to keep the Confederate flag on the Georgia state capital and on the Georgia flag. He also cast votes against same-sex marriage and abortion rights. Cohen advocated for stricter voting ID laws that activists believe undercut minority voter turnout and participation. Cohen was also chief of staff to former Georgia Governor and later U.S. Senator Zell Miller, a
who, in an act of self-defense or defense of a loved one, threaten to use force because they really don’t want to shoot somebody,” Hammer said. “If you actually shoot an attacker, the law protects you. But if you merely threaten to shoot an attacker and the attacker runs away, some prosecutors will still try to put you in prison for 10 to 20 years. Some, not all, but any is too many.” The committee seemed ready to move to a vote, but Gainesville-based state attorney Bill Cervone of the 8th Judicial Circuit asked to speak.
Past cases questioned “I personally feel a little bit pilloried sitting here and listening to some of this,” Cervone told lawmakers. “And something that’s not being said is that there are two sides to every one of these cases. If somebody is in prison for one of these situations, it’s because a judge and a jury rejected his version claiming self-defense.” Evers said he knew of local cases in which people had
Republican. Backers of the nominees point out that Cohen, former chief of staff to Democratic Gov. Zell Miller, defended the voter-ID law at the request of Democratic Attorney General Thurbert Baker, who is Black. Also, they note, Ross was a Republican choice, while Democrats fought for Pryor and May, who are White. The selections were based on a deal struck among White House officials and Georgia Republican U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss. The Senate confirms presidential nominees, and home-state senators can block judicial nominees from committee consideration. Chambliss and Isakson had held up Obama nominees for years, until a deal struck several months ago
been wrongly charged for defending themselves, including a 74-year-old retiree who displayed a shotgun to protect his daughter. “Senator, I have no idea what that case is about,” Cervone began. “But I do,” Evers broke in. “That’s the reason for this bill.” “Senator, if the Legislature is concerned about these (aggravated) assaults, take them out of 10-20-Life,” Cervone said. “Well, I think this bill does that,” Evers replied. The panel then passed the measure unanimously. But the bill’s best omen for success this year may be that the Florida Sheriffs Association will remain neutral. On Wednesday, association spokeswoman Sarrah Carroll confirmed that the group would not oppose the measure. Now called the Threatened Use of Force Act, the bill faces two more House committees and two more Senate committees.
finally broke the impasse.
Change ‘unusual’ University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias, who studies the federal judicial nomination process, said a reversal by Obama would be “unusual.” “I don’t know how you have a happy resolution at this point, because it’s a package deal: It’s all or nothing,” Tobias said. Georgia’s U.S. House Democrats had been consulted on past appointments but were shut out of this process, and they were displeased with the result. In particular, they were upset that only one of the six nominees Ross – is not White. Scott, who represents parts of west Atlanta, questioned why the White House was unable to find more Black nominees in a
A hearing was scheduled on Friday to determine if Marissa Alexander should be sent back to jail for violating conditions of her home detention. Alexander, 33, is out on bond while awaiting a new trial on charges of firing a gun at her estranged husband and his two children. She is required to stay in her home except for court appearances, medical emergencies and anything for her pretrial services program, like a drug test. Attorneys for Alexander said she got permission from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to run the errands. However, Florida State Attorney Angela Corey’s office filed a motion to see Alexander put back behind bars, alleging she “repeatedly flouted” her home detention Marissa bond conditions on by Alexander running various errands including shopping for clothes, visiting a bank, and driving family members to various destinations. “She continues to demonstrate her utter disregard for conforming her behavior to the rules of others (including other defendants granted bond by the courts) must abide by,” the motion filed by Assistant State Attorney Richard Mantei read. She was released on bond before Thanksgiving while she awaits a retrial. No one was injured in the incident, but a jury found Alexander of multiple counts of aggravated assault with a firearm in 2012, which came with a mandatory minimum 20-year sentence. Her conviction was overturned in September when a judge ordered a retrial after he found that the jury instructions in her original trial were erroneous, unfairly forcing Alexander to prove that she had fired her shot in self-defense.
A report from the Jacksonville Times-Union was used in this report.
city like Atlanta. “We Democrats were completely shut out,” said Scott, who added: “We love the president, and that’s why this hurts so. There’s no hurt like being hurt by the one you love.” The Senate Judiciary Committee will now vet the six nominees, as Isakson and Chambliss will allow that process to proceed, but it’s unclear how long it will take. All nominees hit snags in December after Democrats infuriated Senate Republicans by changing the chamber’s rules so they could overcome a filibuster against an administration nominee with 51 votes instead of 60.
“Got it wrong” “This is not a pretty picture with this issue,” Lewis said. “It’s not easy to
stand up to your president and say you got it wrong, but we’ve got to look beyond the next three years (of Obama’s presidency). These appointees are getting lifetime appointments on the court.” “What has been done needs to be undone,” Lowery said. “Long after Barack Obama has gone back to Chicago or wherever he decides to go … the judges that he seats on our courts will still be there. They will still be engaged in whatever mischief they can engage.”
David Stokes of the Atlanta Inquirer, Daniel Malloy And Greg Bluestein of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (MCT), and Channel 2 Action News (Atlanta) reporter Lori Geary all contributed to this report.
JANUARY 10 – JANUARY 16, 2014
Bill would revamp juvenile sentences NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA
With Florida’s courts facing questions about how to comply with two U.S. Supreme Court decisions, a Senate committee Wednesday approved a bill that would revamp sentencing for juveniles who commit murders or serious felonies. The bill (SB 384), sponsored by Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, stems from Supreme Court decisions that restricted the imposition of life sentences on juveniles. Part of the bill would address juveniles who commit murders and would only allow life sentences to be imposed after judges hold hearings that consider 10 factors about the defendants. If a judge determines that a life sentence is not appropriate in a murder case, the judge would have to impose a minimum 35-year sentence. For non-murder cases, the bill would require judicial hearings to review any sentences of more than 25 years. Such reviews would occur after juvenile offenders have served 25 years and would take into account issues such as whether they have been rehabilitated and whether they pose risks to society. The Senate Criminal Justice Committee voted 4-1 on Wednesday to approve the measure, which still must go through three other committees.
TAIMY ALVAREZ/SUN SENTINEL/MCT
A group of workers at Keller Williams Partners Realty in Plantation cheer with joy after they matched five Powerball numbers and won $1 million in March 2013.
Lottery continues to be big winner for state Another record year expected in 2014 for ticket sales BY JIM TURNER THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA
TALLAHASSEE – Florida Lottery officials are boasting about record increases in sales as the Legislature debates if and how gambling should expand in the state. The 25-year-old Florida Lottery announced last week that the pace of sales in scratch-off and terminal games like Powerball is running ahead of last fiscal
year’s record-setting $5 billion sales mark. With sales at $2.6 billion from July through December, the agency projects sales will top $5.1 billion for the current fiscal year ending June 30, 2014. The estimated sales would rake in $1.43 billion for education, according to the Florida Lottery. “The Lottery’s sole mission is to sell tickets to generate additional funding for education. We are extremely proud that this unprecedented sales record will assist in furthering that goal,” Lottery Secretary Cynthia O’Connell said in a release.
Billion in sales The sales numbers were released as lawmakers weigh the direction of gaming in Florida and consider opening the doors to Las Vegas-style casinos. The voter-approved Lottery has steadily grown from $1.8 billion in sales in its first full year in 1989. Scratch-off tickets, which range in price from $1 to $25, are now available at more than 13,000 locations throughout the state. From July through December last year, scratchoff games accounted for $1.57 billion in sales, up nearly 14 percent from the same period the previous year. The more expensive
tickets, which offer the potential for large payouts and instant results, are top sellers, according to Lottery spokeswoman Meagan Dougherty. The $25 per-ticket Millionaire scratch-off game, introduced in September 2012, has 25 top prizes between $1 million and $5 million. The odds of buying one of those tickets range from one in 5 million to one in 6 million.
Mega Millions boost Games such as Powerball and Florida Lotto – called lucky number drawings or terminal games – have accounted for just over $994,000 in sales from
July through December, up 1.5 percent from the same period year earlier. Powerball play dropped this year because a $587.5 million “monster jackpot” in November 2012 swelled the prior year’s totals, Dougherty said. But the terminal game total was boosted by $89 million in sales of Mega Millions, introduced in Florida in May. The Mega Million’s minimum jackpot was raised in October from $12 million to $15 million. The multi-state game helped bolster sales after a series of rollovers peaked with a $636 million jackpot on Dec. 17.
ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE FOR BLACK STUDENTS. NO EXCUSES. The classic guide from Florida Courier publisher, lawyer and broadcaster CHARLES W. CHERRY II PRAISE FOR ‘EXCELLENCE WITHOUT EXCUSE’: “This guide for African-American college-bound students is packed with practical and insightful information for achieving academic success...The primary focus here is to equip students with the savvy and networking skills to maneuver themselves through the academic maze of higher education.” – Book review, School Library Journal • How low expectations of Black students’ achievements can get them higher grades; • Want a great grade? Prepare to cheat! • How Black students can program their minds for success; • Setting goals – When to tell everybody, and when to keep your mouth shut; • Black English, and why Black students must be ‘bilingual.’ …AND MUCH MORE!
www.excellencewithoutexcuse.com Download immediately as an eBook or a pdf Order softcover online, from Amazon, or your local bookstore ISBN#978-1-56385-500-9 Published by International Scholastic Press, LLC Contact Charles at firstname.lastname@example.org
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for info on speeches, workshops, seminars, book signings, panel discussions.
Trey Radel is a first-term Congressman from Fort Myers.
Congressman returns to work for first time since drug charge plea BY MICHAEL A. MEMOLI TRIBUNE WASHINGTON BUREAU/MCT
struggle with alcoholism that “led to an extremely irresponsible choice.”
WASHINGTON — Rep. Trey Radel returned to Congress for the first time since pleading guilty to drug possession charges and vowed to focus on the nation’s challenges even as he continues to deal with his own. “In front of a U.S. representative’s name they often put the word ‘honorable,’” the Florida Republican said during a brief news conference in his office Tuesday evening, before casting his first vote in months. “I will work hard every single day to restore that honor, rebuilding trust and making amends with our country, my constituents, my colleagues, my wife and my 2-year-old.” Radel, from Southwest Florida, has been absent from the Capitol since a November court appearance where he acknowledged attempting to purchase cocaine from an undercover police officer. He was sentenced to one year’s probation and announced he was taking a leave of absence to begin undergoing treatment for what he said was a
Urged to resign Radel said Tuesday that he would meet with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, this week and was eager to begin working with colleagues from both parties to “do what the people elected me to do.” “I’ve built a support system for the rest of my life to carry me through this,” he said. “And now I’m hoping to deal with the issues that face the country. And in doing so I will do it one day at a time.” Prominent Florida Republicans have urged Radel to resign. The first-term lawmaker also faces an investigation by the House Ethics Committee into whether any of his actions violated House rules. But he said his political future was “the absolute last thing on my mind.” “The most important thing right now is my health, my family and getting back to finding solutions and getting something done,” he said.
Panel backs keeping e-cigarettes from kids A Senate committee Wednesday quickly approved a proposal that would bar the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors. The measure (SB 224), sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, has now been approved by two committees in preparation for this spring’s legislative session. The proposal would add “nicotine dispensing devices,’’ which include electronic cigarettes, to the state’s prohibition on the sale of tobacco products to people under age 18. The bill also would make it illegal for minors to possess such electronic ciga-
rettes and products. “The use of electronic cigarettes is becoming increasingly popular among Florida’s youth, and yet there are still no age restrictions at both the state and federal level on the purchase of these harmful products,’’ Benacquisto said in a prepared statement after the Criminal Justice Committee unanimously approved the bill. “By regulating electronic cigarettes like other tobacco products, Florida will be one step closer to preventing a new generation of nicotine addicts.”
JANUARY 10 – JANUARY 16, 2014
Black leaders – past and present – on Black economic empowerment
It is absolutely critical that we, as Black folks, get serious in 2014 about maximizing our economic potential in this country. We often swear that we revere the guidance of illustrious ancestors and present day wise persons who strive to give us direction on how to best promote and protect our individual and group interests in a society that is at best a lukewarm environment for us. The following observations from men and women who were/are committed to our empowerment must become guide-
A. Peter Bailey TRICEEDNEYWIRE.COM
lines for action in 2014 and beyond: Carter G. Woodson-Educator/Historian/ Activist “In the schools of business administration Negroes are trained excessively in the psychology and economics of Wall Street and are, therefore, made to despise the opportunities to run ice
wagons, push banana carts, and sell peanuts among their own people. Foreigners, who have not studied economics, but have studied Negroes, take up this business and grow rich.” Mary McLeod BethuneEducator/ Activist “I leave you the challenge of developing confidence in one another. This kind of confidence will aid the economic rise of the race by bringing together the pennies and dollars of our people and ploughing them into useful channels.” Martin Luther King, Jr.-
VISUAL VIEWPOINT: COLD WEATHER SCREAM
DARYL CAGLE, CAGLECARTOONS.COM
Random thoughts of a free Black mind, v. 198 Happy New Year! Glad to be on this side of ’14 for a number of reasons. Let’s get at it… Florida State football – Congrats to the ‘Noles on winning the last official Bowl Championship Series crown during an exciting game against Auburn. (‘Real’ playoffs begin next year.) Some folks complained that FSU quarterback Jameis Winston and many of the Black players from both teams sounded “country as hell” during post-game interviews. Anybody who’s ever heard me speak knows I’m Black, male, and from Florida. What’s wrong with that? I’m cool with dialects and regional accents, and the fact that a person doesn’t sound like he or she is from Iowa doesn’t mean that person is dumb or stupid. It’s the subject-verb disagreement, the mispronunciation of words, and grammatical errors that grate on my ears. That’s what these brothers – and especially people who get paid to speak like NFL talking heads Shannon Sharpe and Hines Ward – need to improve. Jameis, walk down the street to FAMU’s School of Journalism, and get with some of the young sisters majoring in broadcasting to tutor you. Maybe that’ll help you stay away from young
quick takes from #2: straight, no chaser
Charles W. Cherry II, Esq. PUBLISHER
drunk White women… Africa – Took a quick trip to Sierra Leone in December, and Africa has been on my mind since. There’s always conflict on the continent. This week, you’ll be hearing about the fighting in the Central African Republic and South Sudan. Just remember there are more than 50 nations and territories in Africa that are as different as Florida is from Alaska… Georgia judges – Bro. Prez cuts a deal with the GOP and puts Southern neocons in lifetime jobs. No Black women are among the judicial nominees. Black ‘leaders’ softly criticize him, but don’t hold him accountable. No surprise there… Contact me at email@example.com; holler at me at www.facebook.com/ ccherry2.
Opinions expressed on this editorial page are those of the writers, and do not necessarily reflect the editorial stance of the newspaper or the publisher.
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Charles W. Cherry, Sr. (1928-2004), Founder Julia T. Cherry, Senior Managing Member, Central Florida Communicators Group, LLC Dr. Glenn W. Cherry, Cassandra CherryKittles, Charles W. Cherry II, Managing Members Dr. Glenn W. Cherry, Chief Executive Officer Charles W. Cherry II, Esq., Publisher Dr. Valerie Rawls-Cherry, Human Resources Jenise Morgan, Senior Editor Linda Fructuoso, Marketing Consultant/Sales, Circulation Angela VanEmmerik, Creative Director Chicago Jones, Eugene Leach, Louis Muhammad, Lisa Rogers-Cherry, Circulation Andreas Butler, Ashley Thomas, Staff Writers Delroy Cole, Kim Gibson, Photojournalists MEMBER National Newspaper Publishers Association Society of Professional Journalists Florida Press Association Associated Press National Newspaper Association
Leader/ Activist “….Black Power is also a call for the pooling of black financial resources to achieve economic security. While the ultimate answer to the Negroes’ economic dilemma will be found in a massive federal program for all the poor along the lines of A. Philip Randolph’s Freedom Budget, a kind of Marshall Plan for the disadvantaged, there is something that the Negro himself can do to throw off the shackles of poverty. Although the Negro is still at the bottom of the economic ladder, his collective annual income is upward $30 billion. This gives him a considerable buying power that can make the difference between profit and loss in many business. Through the pooling of such resources and the development of habits of thrift and techniques of wise investment, the Negro will be do-
ing his share to grapple with his problem of economic deprivation. If Black Power means the development of this kind of strength within the Negro community, then it is a quest for basic, necessary, legitimate power.” Marcus Garvey-Leader/ Activist “The most important area for the exercise of independent effort is economic. After a people have established successfully a firm industrial foundation they naturally turn to politics and society, but not first to society and politics, because the two latter cannot exist without the former.” Rev. Earl Trent-Pastor/ Activist “An economic agenda is the central agenda of all politics, for it determines who gets a slice of the pie, who gets the crumbs and who gets nothing. The new agenda for Black America must
consciously replace the social agenda with an economic agenda whose central focus is how we can improve the state of the Black economy.” In response to the guidance offered by these wise leaders every Black church, civic organization, fraternity, sorority, school, college etc. should host workshops focusing on achieving economic empowerment. Otherwise most of us will continue to be the kind of person/people who, to paraphrase legendary educator, Dr. Kelly Miller, pay for what we want and beg for what we need.
Journalist/ Lecturer A. Peter Bailey is the author of the recently published book, Witnessing Brother Malcolm X, The Master Teacher. Write your own response at www.flcourier.com.
Conservatives embrace selective stupidity A virus has been sweeping through the ranks of the conservative movement in recent years – and it seems to be getting worse with each passing week. By that I mean that in a number of areas conservatives have been deliberately rejecting widely-accepted facts in order to cling to old, or embrace new, bizarre notions that further their political agenda. In other words, their behavior doesn’t stem from the kind of “ignorance” that is simply not knowing something. Rather, they willfully reject a particular knowledge because they just don’t want to believe it. For example, last week’s snowstorm that slashed across the northern Midwest and the northeast and, half a world away, the trapping in ice in the Antarctic of a research ship on a mission to investigate climate change provoked some conservatives to claim they represented damning evidence against assertions of global warming. “‘Global warming’ isn’t so warm these days,” Louisiana Republican Rep. John Fleming felt compelled to tweet. Erick Erickson, the widely-read conservative blogger, waxed theological: “The difference between people who believe in the 2d coming of Jesus and those who believe in global warming is that Jesus will return.” Donald Trump, with his usual carnival-barker gusto, tweeted, “This very expen-
LEE A. DANIELS NNPA COLUMNIST
sive GLOBAL WARMING (his emphasis) [expletive] has got to stop.” All three ignored the obvious: that both incidents are the kind of things that usually happen in the winter in the northern United States, and in the frozen expanses of the Antarctic and thus aren’t likely to indicate anything, one way or the other, about decades- and centuries-long climatic patterns.
A tad bit wonky Last year Paul Krugman, the Princeton professor and New York Times columnist, attributed such behavior to what he calls a “widening ‘wonk gap’ – the G.O.P.’s near-complete lack of expertise on anything substantive.” But Krugman and other political analysts have also noted something else behind this seeming selective stupidity – that the conservative movement’s political actions are being grounded more and more in religious belief. That development was underscored by the Pew Research Center’s late December release of their new survey of the “Public’s Views on Human Evolution.” What their research showed was
that while Americans’ views on evolution as a whole are about the same as four years ago, the proportion of Republicans who reject the theory of evolution and say human beings have always existed in their present form has sharply increased. A key answer to the striking movement of Republicans on evolution lies in the fact that nearly two-thirds of White evangelical Protestants – a group that overwhelmingly votes Republican – believes in creationism. Just 27 percent express a belief in evolution. That un-American development – the injection of an explicit religious creed into the political mainstream – is the opposite of how the 50 percent of Black Protestants who also believe in creationism have behaved. In sharp contrast, they’ve not tried to push their particular theological beliefs into the political realm. Instead, they have hewed to one of the pillars of the American political tradition: the separation of church and state. That’s a conservative principle today’s conservative movement would do well to follow.
Lee A. Daniels is a longtime journalist based in New York City. His latest book is Last Chance: The Political Threat to Black America. Write your own response at www.flcourier.com.
Scott’s first official act in 2014: Signing a death warrant “Six states in the last six years have gotten rid of the death penalty. The numbers of executions are down, and the numbers of death sentences are down in the world,” says Mark Elliot of Floridians for Alternatives to Death Penalty. In America, there are 18 states that have outlawed death sentences, but not in Florida. There is something wrong in Florida, when the leader of the state wants to go down in Florida’s history as the governor who put the most citizens to death. Even though, all around the nation there is a movement to lower executions, our governor is determined to increase the pace. In a sadistic and confusing manner, the governor believes he is doing the right thing, and saving Floridians money. Shortly, Florida will become the third most populous state in the nation, and our governor is determined to make a name for the state, for sending the most people to the death chamber. In 2013, Governor Scott had seven executions, and in 2014, it appears that he wants to break Ex-Governor Bob Graham’s record of eight. At the present time in Florida, there are 403 prisoners on death row. This
ROGER CALDWELL GUEST COLUMNIST
year 14 people were added to death row, and Ex-Governor Graham says the backlog continues to grow. ExGovernor Graham’s philosophy is “Justice delayed is justice denied.”
Percent of Blacks on death row shows disparities
the death penalty, and Florida is going in the wrong direction. It’s a sad state of affairs and it bodes very ominously for 2014,” says Mark Elliot. Just recently, Darius Kimbrough was executed in Florida on November 12, 2013, and there is speculation from the family that he was innocent. Mr. Kimbrough was related to Rev. Michael Kimbrough, the executive director of the Pine Hills Performing Arts Center, and based on his last discussion before he was executed; the pastor thought Mr. Kimbrough had been unfairly treated. Mostly all the prisoners on death row are poor and received inferior representation from a public defender. “It is both tragic and ironic that the state that sends the highest number of wrongfully convicted people to death now is speeding up executions. Speeding up execution virtually guarantees that innocent people will be executed,” says Mark Elliot. There is something inhumane and perverted, when the governor makes his first official act for 2014, signing a death warrant.
There is a large disparity based on race and socio-economic background, in the nation with prisoners on death row. Based on the national statistics on race, there are 1,341 (43%) white, 1307 (41%) Black, 389 (12%) Latino, and the additional 4% other. Blacks only make up 13% of the population in the country, but on death row they make up 41% of the population. In Florida, Blacks make up 36% of the death row population, and Scott is letting the country know with his first official act in 2014, that Florida will be focused on executions. “The entire naWrite your own response tion and the civilized world is moving away from using at www.flcourier.com.
JANUARY 10 – JANUARY 16, 2014
'Smells like opportunity to me'
Editor’s note: Here are excerpts from the keynote speech delivered on December 28, 2013 by Florida Courier Publisher Charles W. Cherry II at the 24th Annual Mary Williams Woodard Legacy Kwanzaa Celebration in Miami. I came to Fort Lauderdale in 1984 as a young lawyer. One day, on the way to the Broward County main courthouse to my job as an assistant state attorney, I stopped at the traffic light at the intersection of Broward Blvd. and the I-95 overpass when I smelled something familiar. It was poop. Right in front of me was a 3,000-gallon tanker truck filled with raw human waste – urine and feces. It was stinking to high heaven. Written on the back of the tanker were these words I will always remember: “Smells like opportunity to me.” Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, entitle my short reflections, “Smells like opportunity to me.”
Traveled to Africa Fast forward a few years. I started making trips to Africa beginning in 1992. Every country in Africa has at least one large city. They range in size from Lagos, Nigeria, which has 12 million people. That’s almost 6 times larger than MiamiDade County’s 2.5 million population. There’s Dakar, Senegal; Accra, Ghana; Freetown, Sierra Leone. Each of these cities is about
Charles W. Cherry II, Esq. PUBLISHER
litical system, and will always be a racial minority here. (And if you think you own your home or car and you pay a mortgage or car payment, stop paying and see what happens.) When you are in Africa, almost everyone, including the president or prime minister of the country, the Supreme Court justices, the legislators, the military generals, and even the billionaire businesswomen and men – and there are some – look like you, your grandmomma, your auntie, your cousin, or that thug that lives around the corner from you. There’s something that changes in your mind when you go to a place and everyone looks just like you.
the same size as Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and St. Petersburg, respectively. Only a handful of large African cities have the complex underground sewer systems, universal indoor plumbing, and sitdown toilets we take for granted in America. So when you arrive at an African airport and get into a central city, often you see open sewers and drainage ditches. And in some places the smell is so strong ‘Black tax’ I feel like I’m back behind that Don’t get me wrong. I love truck in 1984. America. I was born here and educated here. My family has lived Not so pleasant here and died here. I’ve been Some are saying, “Bro. Cherry, blessed to become a third-generyou don’t make Africa seem so ation entrepreneur here. But Barack Obama’s election pleasant. If it smells so bad, why should I go visit? What’s in it for notwithstanding, Black people me? Why should I be interested? continue to struggle here. We continue to pay a “Black What do Africans have that Black Americans don’t have? Don’t we tax” in America from cradle to grave, from disproportionate inhave it pretty good over here?” First and foremost, Native Afri- fant mortality, to disproportioncans own their own land, control ate discipline of our Black boys their own political systems, and in elementary schools, to disproare in the racial majority. Black portionate Black incarceration, Americans own little or noth- to making 77 cents for every $1 a ing other than the money that’s White man in the same career and in our pockets right now, cannot with the same experience makes, and will not control America’s po- to disproportionate sickness via
Charter schools in Wisconsin are a great alternative There is so much attention given to improving our public schools, but the successes are far and too few. According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, American literacy rates have not changed in over ten years. With all the attention we are giving to public education, there is just no improvement by using the traditional methods. Just reading alone is a factor in national security, economic attainment, access to health care and the chance of full participation as a first-class citizen. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, “The link between academic failure and delinquency, violence, and crime is welded to reading failure.” Yes, 85 percent of all juveniles in our juvenile court system are functionally illiterate. Over 70 percent of inmates in our prisons cannot read above a fourth-grade level.
Failing methods As the great Booker T. Washington stated, “We cannot be truly free without an education.” We as a nation must come up with new direction. The same old methods are failing us, while education levels and literacy in many rival nations are improving and pulling away from the achievement of U.S. schools. The state of Wisconsin has stepped up and created an alternative – a comprehensive charter school program. The state has
HARRY C. ALFORD NNPA COLUMNIST
three types of charter schools. The first is a basic charter school. Here is the definition: “Charter schools are public, nonsectarian schools created through a businesslike contract or ‘charter’ between the charter governance board and the sponsoring school board or other chartering authority. The Wisconsin charter school law gives charter schools freedom from most state rules and regulations in exchange for greater accountability for results. The charter defines the missions and methods of the charter school. The chartering authority holds the school accountable to its charter. The charter school motto is ‘Autonomy for Accountability.’”
Innovation, choice Here’s the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s explanation: “Wisconsin established charter schools to foster an environment for innovation and parental choice. They can exist as living laboratories that influence the larger public school system and introduce an element of competition within that system. Charter schools are created with the best elements of regular pub-
lic schools in mind. Their leaders may experiment with different instructional theories, site-based management techniques, and other innovations. “They learn, sometimes by trial and error, what works best for their student population. Regular schools can observe and learn from what happens in the charter school and make similar improvements. Through this process, the entire public school system is continually challenged to improve itself.” They also demand parental involvement. Parents can participate in choosing upcoming curriculum changes, technology methods and encouraging the entire community to stay involved with all school programs and give input for new direction. It must be working! The greater Milwaukee area has 37 charter schools running with many more on the books. As typical public schools are closing and/or consolidating, charter school expansion is there to fill the void.
Another version Now the state has come up with another version of a charter school. That is a 2R Charter School. They are identical to a regular charter school, except their authorizers can be the city of Milwaukee, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, University of Wisconsin-Parkside, or the Milwaukee area technical college district board.
diabetes, heart disease, cancer and strokes, to early death. Black Americans continue to live “on tiptoe stance,” as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail, still “…seeing the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society, never quite knowing what to expect next…plagued with inner fears and outer resentments.” You may say, “Brother Cherry, you are right. Black people are still struggling in America. But what has Africa got that America doesn’t have?” 1. Africa has thousands of years of culture and history. Maulana Karenga, the founder of Kwanzaa, looked to African culture and history, not to America, Great Britain, China, Japan or India, for help in solving the problems of Black America. As he wrote in his 2013 Message from the Founder, “Kwanzaa begins with a celebration of ourselves as African people, our families, communities and culture… it is also a celebration of life and all the good in the world – fruit and flower, beast and bird, field and forest, star and stone, water, mountains and the mysteries and magnificence of the earth and the heavens. Kwanzaa also was conceived and constructed in the midst of the Black Freedom Movement and thus reflects the Movement’s emphasis on cultural grounding, self-determination, social justice, liberation and struggle.” 2. Africa has natural resources. Hold up your cell phones. Cassiterite, coltan, tungsten, tin, gold, copper, platinum, silver, and other rare earths are all in your phones, coming primarily from two sources: China and Africa. More importantly, Africa has human resources. Africa is the second-largest and second most populous continent on earth, more than a billion people spread out over 54 sovereign countries. In Africa, if you CAN work and you DON’T work, you don’t eat and you are disrespected by everyone around you. That’s the kind of motivated workforce I want working for my company. 3. Africa has possibilities and opportunities. Young people, the South Beach you know now didn’t exist 20 years ago. Then, it was called “God’s waiting room,” where old people, mostly Jews from up North, would come to die. Those art deco hotels were a minute from getting demolished until some young gay European men visited Miami and saw the potential in South Beach that even we native Floridians didn’t see. The Orlando you see now didn’t exist 30 years ago. It was a small town surrounded by acres and acres of orange groves, flatlands, cattle pastures and swamps until
a man named Walt Disney picked up a map, saw that Orlando was strategically located and the land was cheap to buy, and built a world-class amusement park internationally known now as Walt Disney World. The Jacksonville you see now didn’t exist 30 years ago. Then, it was dominated by paper mills that put out a stink worse than any city, large or small, that I’ve visited in Africa. You could smell Jacksonville before you could see it. By cleaning up its environment, Jacksonville pulled itself up to the point where it has its own National Football League team – even though it was bad this year – and the city hosted a Super Bowl. The old Jacksonville smelled like opportunity to somebody; and they got paid millions of dollars to improve it.
We can do it In many places in Africa, roads are bad or nonexistent. Electricity is inconsistent. Malaria that’s spread by mosquitos kills one African every two minutes. Africa smells like opportunity to me, because as Americans, we already know how to build roads, keep electricity on, stop mosquitoborne diseases, keep water clean – and haul away human waste. It all smells like opportunity to me. Not just that. Somebody’s gotta introduce many parts of Africa to soul food, to Krispy Kreme donuts, to red velvet cakes, to jambalaya. Somebody’s got to open a Waffle House or an International House of Pancakes that stays open 24 hours a day. Somebody’s gotta start a heavy equipment rental company for African gold and diamond miners who are digging for precious minerals with shovels and hoes. Some of y’all now say, “I’m sold, Bro. Cherry. How do I take advantage of the opportunity?” First, do your own research about the continent. Go there, and once you do, you can learn to love the people, the cultures and the land for yourself. Figure out what you can do, and get to doing it. Why not you? Why not me? Why not us? Many years ago, right here in Miami, Winnie Mandela told us that “Mother Africa has enough resources to nourish all her children throughout the world.” Let us use the knowledge, skills, educations, experiences, and our understanding of Eurocentric culture to assist our folks “back home” where we can all gain the money, the power, the respect the children of Africa deserve worldwide. Thank you, God bless you, I love you all. HARAMBEE! “Let’s pull together!”
Click on this story at www.flcourier.com to write your own response.
VISUAL VIEWPOINT: SOUTH AFRICA’S CHALLENGES
PARESH NATH, THE KHALEEJ TIMES, UAE
They also have one more version of a charter school: the virtual charter school. Virtual charter schools are publicly funded, nonsectarian schools that are exempt from many regulations that apply to traditional public schools and that offer some of their classes online. They began operating in Wisconsin during the 2002-3 school year. Pupils typically attend from their homes and communicate with teachers using email, by telephone, or in online discussions. During the 201011 school year, 17 virtual charter schools enrolled 4,110 pupils. Most were high schools. Currently there are 25 virtual charter schools. Wisconsin has developed a model program for many other states that have urban centers
that could use improvement and innovation through their school systems. One thing is clear – there is no room for street gangs, drugs and general violence in a charter school system. It makes a school a place for learning and achievement, plus preparation for the future. Oh, if Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago and many other cities with challenging school systems would try to emulate this successful program. It could make a wonderful change. What are we waiting for?
Harry C. Alford is the cofounder and president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Contact him via www.nationalbcc.org. Click on this story at www.flcourier.com to write your own response.
JANUARY 10 – JANUARY 16, 2014
Expect lots of Obamacare attacks from legislators Health care, jobless benefits debates resume as Congress heads toward midterm election
en some signals that he will try to push immigration bills later this spring, after most of his members are no longer at risk of losing a primary to an opponent who might use the issue against them. There’s also a chance both chambers could come to agreement on a long-disputed farm bill. For Boehner, a major challenge in 2014 will be to persuade tea party members on the right to stick to the GOP’s preferred themes and avoid the flashier brinkmanship that led the party into dangerous waters in the fall. If they avoid unpopular moves such as another shutdown, the GOP could capitalize on the vacuum left by Obama’s high disapproval ratings, party strategists hope.
BY LISA MASCARO TRIBUNE WASHINGTON BUREAU/MCT
WASHINGTON — Congress came back to session this week with leaders of both parties planning a war of words in 2014 — dueling agendas that promise little substantive legislation, but lots of messages aimed at establishing clear contrasts for voters heading toward the midterm election. After they dispatch a few mustpass fiscal measures early in the year, legislators seem unlikely to put together major accomplishments. Rather, the Republicanled House and the Democraticcontrolled Senate will essentially become something like sound stages for the advertising wars that will unfold in the handful of states and districts that could decide partisan control of the next Congress. The agendas reflect a basic reality of the modern Congress — much of what lawmakers do does not include actually making laws. “They are going to start off with some fairly consequential actions, but after that they probably are going to end up with arguments that fit into 30-second attack ads,” said Jim Manley, a former top aide in the Senate who is now a Democratic strategist.
Obamacare themes For Republicans the focus will be a singular one: attacking President Barack Obama’s health care law. Their campaign aims to convince voters, especially soughtafter independents, that the law’s troubled launch proves Democrats cannot be trusted to run the government. “Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare,” said Andrea Bozek, communications director for the House GOP’s campaign arm. “That theme really works in the
GOP private retreat
OLIVIER DOULIERY/ABACA PRESS/MCT
Protesters express their disappointment at a rally sponsored by the Congressional Progressive Caucus outside the U.S. Capitol Oct. 4, 2013 in Washington, DC. It marked the fourth day of the government shutdown as Republicans and Democrats remain gridlocked over funding the federal government. races — from the Northeast to the South to the Midwest to the West.” Democrats will counter by trying to turn attention to pocketbook issues. They planned a test vote in the Senate on a measure to extend unemployment insurance. Some 1.3 million jobless Americans lost their benefits Dec. 28 because Congress declined to continue the federal aid. After that, Democrats plan to vote on raising the minimum wage. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., laid out the Democrats’ theme last Sunday in a television interview. “Let’s start focusing on helping the middle class,” he said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “I have nothing against rich people. But the rich are getting richer; the poor are getting poorer; the middle class is being squeezed out of existence.”
Pending legislation Neither of the Democratic proposals has much support so far in the Republican-controlled House. To be sure, Congress cannot simply do nothing. Several pieces of legislation must be approved to maintain basic operations of government. Congress has a Jan. 15 deadline to pass a money bill to fund government agencies. Conservative groups are rallying opposition to the bill, which stems from the year-end budget accord struck by Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. But it seems likely to pass because GOP leaders are wary of igniting another government shutdown like the 16-day one in October that sent congressional approval ratings into free fall. In February, lawmakers will need to consider extending the
nation’s borrowing limit. Borrowing authority expires Feb. 7, but the Treasury Department has said it has enough money to pay the bills for a few additional weeks, shifting the deadline until early March. Republicans are expected to again use the threat of a federal debt default to try to extract political concessions from the Obama administration. But as with the budget bill, GOP leaders don’t seem inclined to force a major confrontation.
Immigration, farm bill After that, the appetite for bipartisan cooperation is likely to fade. The possible exception would be if House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, decides to take up legislation to overhaul immigration laws, as the Senate has already done. Boehner has giv-
Republicans are divided over whether they should chart an ambitious agenda or simply try to make the election a referendum on Democratic policies. House Republicans will huddle in a private retreat this month to try to decide what issues to push. Among the possibilities under discussion are efforts to increase trade and to make online colleges more affordable. Democrats are unlikely to accept any of those GOP proposals, just as the Republicans have shown little interest in extended unemployment benefits or raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, as Democrats propose. GOP aides acknowledge, however, that voting against either proposal could be politically difficult in at least parts of the country, and one GOP senator, Dean Heller of Nevada, has co-sponsored an extension of unemployment benefits. Other Republicans have said they might support an extension of benefits for the long-term unemployed if certain conditions are met. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said Sunday he could support a three-month extension if Democrats agreed to cuts in other programs to offset the $6 billion cost.
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JANUARY 10 – JANUARY 16, 2014
Dominican salons spark race debate See page B4
SHARING BLACK LIFE, STATEWIDE
Stewart addresses Underground Movement goof See page B5
SHARING BLACK LIFE, STATEWIDE www.flcourier.com
14 political issues in ’14 Governor’s race and voting purge among Florida stories to watch this year
WALTER MICHOT/MIAMI HERALD/MCT
Florida’s newly elected Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, from left, and Gov. Rick Scott celebrate their victory on Nov. 3, 2010, in Fort Lauderdale. Scott will now face former Gov. Charlie Crist. Carroll resigned her position in March 2013.
BY BRANDON LARRABEE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA
TALLAHASSEE – As 2014 kicks off, here’s a look at some of the key issues that could dominate the political landscape in Florida in the year ahead.
Governor vs. Governor The most closely-watched race in Florida this year will be the battle between Gov. Rick Scott and his immediate predecessor, former Gov. Charlie Crist, for the state’s top job. The psychodrama in the race adds a dimension to what would already be a tough contest for commander-in-chief of a critical swing state. Crist is a Republican-turnedindependent-turned-Democrat running against his old party, at times taking shots at policies he once supported while accusing the GOP of wandering too far to the right. Scott, meanwhile, has plans to spend up to $100 million to trash Crist and tout an economic record that he says has earned him a second term. Crist is also up against the troubled record of his new party, which hasn’t won a gubernatorial election in Florida in 20 years. And he still has to fight off a primary challenge from former Senate Minority Leader Nan Rich, D-Weston.
SCOTT KEELER/TAMPA BAY TIMES/MCT
Residents in St. Petersburg wait in line to vote at the Campbell Park Recreation Center on Nov. 6, 2012. Voting purge will continue to be an issue in 2014.
The economy Providing a backdrop for the gubernatorial contest will be the state of the economy, which has continued to slowly emerge from the shadow of the recession. Already, Florida’s unemployment rate shrank to 6.4 percent in November, down from 6.7 percent in October, according to the state Department of Economic Opportunity. That marks the lowest rate in Florida since July 2008 – during Crist’s tenure. Scott already has begun touting the fact that jobs lost under Crist has been replaced while he was in office. At the same time, the good economic news has provided additional tax revenue for Scott to use to boost spending on public education and to propose tax cuts – two things he’ll be certain to remind voters about in the fall, especially if things continue to improve as expected.
U.S. House seat The nation’s capital also will be focused on Florida. With Democrats heavy underdogs to retake control of the U.S. House, the biggest swing state in the country will be one of the places they look to cut into the GOP majority. Former Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink is already running in the special election to replace the late Republican Congressman C.W. Bill Young; her GOP opponent is yet to be decided. Gwen Graham, the daughter of former governor and U.S. Sen. Bill Graham, is mounting a Democratic campaign against incumbent GOP Congressman Steve Southerland in a Northwest Florida seat. Southwest Florida Congressman Trey Radel, also a Republican, was arrested for purchasing $250 of cocaine during an undercover sting in October in Washington, D.C. But Radel’s district is heavily Republican, and his biggest threats might come from within the party.
Senate presidency There’s no real drama in the race for control of the Legislature this year. Democrats are hoping instead to diminish the GOP’s hefty majority in both
plan. But Weatherford continues to send signs that he’s not abandoning the issue. “The time for pension reform has come. RT if you agree!” Weatherford tweeted on Friday.
Voting purge JOE BURBANK/ORLANDO SENTINEL/MCT
JOE BURBANK/ORLANDO SENTINEL/MCT
Onaney Hernandez, right, a “navigator,” presents information during a session at Orlando Public Library on the process for individuals to get health insurance, during the first day of the federal Health Care Exchange on Oct. 1, 2013. More technical problems with the rollout could pose political problems for supporters, mostly Democrats.
Alex Sink, who lost to Rick Scott in the last governor’s race, is seeking the late C.W. Bill Young’s congressional seat.
chambers. The more intriguing fight might be in the Senate, where the presidency following the 2016 elections is still very much in play. On one side is Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, a wonkish legislator who serves as the chamber’s budget chief. On the other side is Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, a gruff Senate veteran on his second stint in the chamber. Much of the battle could be decided during the primaries but general election contests could shape the fight as well.
through the Legislature. There’s already talk of a sweeping bill that could include a rewrite of the state’s gambling laws and regulations, the creation of a gambling commission and, possibly, a kitchen-sink of elements sought after by existing race tracks and frontons as well as destination resorts coveted by out-of-state casino operators. But other proposals are also emerging, including the idea of a constitutional amendment to decide issues such as whether the state opens the door to Las Vegas-style casinos, an idea floated by House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel.
Replacement for Carroll Florida is nearing the end of its 10th month without a formal No. 2 for Scott since Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll resigned in March. Carroll co-owned a company that provided consulting services to St. Augustine-based Allied Veterans of the World while she was a member of the House, which became problematic when Allied Veterans became ensnared in a racketeering investigation. Carroll was never charged with a crime. Since then, Scott hasn’t rushed to fill the position. The governor could wait until after the legislative session and then name a running mate who could strengthen his hand in
the general election. Until then, Attorney General Pam Bondi would take over for Scott if he was unable to carry out his duties.
Car registration fees Scott’s signature legislative issue is his promise to reduce taxes and fees by $500 million, most of which – $401 million – would come from a proposed cut in vehicle-registration fees. Scott has endorsed doing away with an increase approved during tough budget times in 2009. But Scott and Negron – who first pitched the idea of a decrease – say the conditions that led to the increase have receded. The fee decrease carries the added political bonus for Scott of blaming Crist, who was governor when the fees went into effect, for the price hike. The former governor has already taken steps to inoculate himself, arguing that he never intended the increase to be permanent and that it has been in place longer under Scott than it was under Crist.
Gambling laws Undeterred by the long odds facing any hot-button legislation in an election year, gambling supporters are expected to ante up and try to get something
Pension plans Weatherford is also expected to make another run at overhauling the pension plan for public workers. Ideas range from the speaker’s proposal last year, which would require new employees to enter a 401(k)style retirement plan, to offering a “cash balance” plan, which allows employees to take their pension either as a lump sum or as an annuity. An overhaul of state pensions died last year in the Senate, when a maverick group of Republicans teamed with Democrats to block Weatherford’s
Secretary of State Ken Detzner’s office is expected to soon begin forwarding the names of suspected non-citizens on the voter rolls to local elections officials. The state has been working to finalize a procedure for using a federal list to vet registered voters since 2012, when it first struck a deal with the Department of Homeland Security over the use of the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements, or SAVE, database. That would replace a process using a state database that ran into resistance from county elections chiefs because of problematic scrub lists. The renewed program could still face legal challenges from voting-rights organizations, who have argued that it amounts to an attempt to purge minority voters – who tend to support Democratic candidates – from the rolls.
Redistricting lawsuits The legal fight is expected to continue over the districts that lawmakers approved in 2012 for Florida’s congressional delegation and the state Senate, dragging it into a third year. Critics of the maps contend that they were drawn to aid Republicans and incumbents in violation of the anti-gerrymandering “Fair District” amendments that voters added to the constitution in 2010. The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that the state Senate maps can be the subject of a civil lawsuit, despite receiving preliminary approval from the high court in 2012. And Supreme Court decided that See 2014, Page B2
Butts to speak at Tampa MLK breakfast FROM STAFF REPORTS
Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III will be the speaker at the 34th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Breakfast on Jan. 20 hosted by the Tampa Organization of Black Affairs., Butts is pastor of the in-
ternationally renowned Abyssinian Baptist Church in the City of New York, and president of the State University of New York (SUNY) College at Old WestDr. Calvin bury. The breakfast, Butts III which begins at 6:45 a.m., will be held at the Hilton Hotel Downtown Tampa, 211 N. Tampa St. The annual event by the Tampa Organization of Black Affairs (TOBA) brings together thousands of attendees, including corporate sponsors, politicians, members of grassroots organizations as well
JANUARY 10 – JANUARY 16, 2014 as the community-at-large. The mission is to honor the principles espoused by Dr. King and to foster positive community relations. The program includes a keynote address by a nationally recognized speaker with a non-partisan message that will invigorate the cross section of citizenry in Tampa Bay and offer positive solutions to the problems and concerns of the Tampa Bay community. Corporations and individuals also are honored for their positive contributions to the community.
Preacher, professor Dr. Butts is a native New Yorker who spent a few years in the
lawmakers can be forced to testify about the redistricting process even though legislators generally enjoy a privilege shielding them from speaking in court about their official duties.
Health care fights
LYNN WHITFIELD AND AVERY BROOKS
Actors Lynn Whitfield and Avery Brooks will give dramatic readings during an event titled “An Evening with Zora” at the University of Central Florida Rosen Center of Hospitality Management on Jan. 31 at 8 p.m. The performance is part of the 2014 Zora! Festival. More information: www.zorafestival.org.
Ponte Vedra Beach: Blues musician Keb’ Mo’ is scheduled at 8 p.m. on Jan. 29 at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall. Jacksonville: The Jacksonville African American Genealogy Society is presenting
its sixth annual Black History Month essay competiton. For more details, send an email to email@example.com. Orlando: Rapper Nipsey Hussle has an 8 p.m. show scheduled Feb. 3 at Firestone Live. Daytona Beach: Wayne Brady takes the stage at the Peabody Auditorium on Feb. 19 for a 7:30 p.m. show. Tampa: Charlie Wilson is scheduled Feb. 21 at the University of Sun Dome and the James L. Knight Center
ganization dedicated to improving quality of life in rural Africa; president of the Council of Churches of the City of New York; vice chair of the Board of Directors of United Way of New York City; chairman of North General Hospital in Harlem; and chairman of the Board of the Harlem Branch YMCA. He also has spearheaded numerous boycotts against institutions practicing racist policies and employment discrimination. Individual tickets to the TOBA breakfast are $35; no tickets will be sold at the door. Corporate tables are $500. For more information about the breakfast and tickets, visit www. toba.org.
New presiding officers
The 14th Annual Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival takes place Jan. 16-25. A free concert with the Ohio Players is Jan. 18. Pieces of a Dream and Nick Colionne will perform Jan. 19 during another free show. More information: www. tampablackheritage.org.
Satellite Beach: The rapper Afroman is scheduled Jan. 16 at Sports Page Live for a 9 p.m. show.
South, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from Morehouse College in Atlanta. He returned to New York and earned his Master of Divinity Degree in Church History from Union Theological Seminary and a Doctorate of Ministry Degree in Church and Public Policy from Drew University. He has been an Urban Affairs instructor and was an adjunct professor in the African Studies Department at City College, New York. He also taught Black Church History at Fordham University, and continues to give lectures and speeches. In addition to many professional and religious positions, he has been president of Africare, an or-
FLORIDA COMMUNITY CALENDAR
Florida’s participation in the federally backed expansion of Medicaid, a key part of the Affordable Care Act approved by Congress in 2010, appears to be off the table for good. Scott had thrown his support behind it last year, but the idea was ultimately rejected by legislative leaders, who offered their own plans but which all failed to pass. GOP lawmakers are unlikely to reconsider the issue again in 2014, but Democrats will push it anyway. Candidates could keep an eye on the once-troubled rollout of the federal exchange where some consumers are signing up for and buying insurance. A resurgence of technical flaws could pose political problems for the law’s supporters, mostly Democrats.
After the November elections, new leaders will take the helm in both the House and the Senate. If Republicans hold onto the House as expected, Rep. Steve Crisafulli would become speaker. Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, was something of an enigma in the Capitol when he was quickly chosen to take over for former Rep. Chris Dorworth, R-Lake Mary, who lost his 2012 bid for re-election. Sen. Andy Gardiner, ROrlando, has been on track for his chamber’s presidency for years despite an attempted palace coup in 2012. Both will bring their own issues to the table, and could begin exerting their influence in the 2014 session as they get ready to assume their new roles.
Troubles at DCF The embattled Department of Children and Families could also face continuing changes. Scott could choose a long-term replacement for agency Secretary David Wilkins, who resigned in July. Interim Secretary Esther Jacobo announced she will stay on the job until 2014 legislative session ends in May. Meanwhile, Jacobo has
asked Scott and the Legislature for funding to slash caseloads for frontline staff and other proposals aimed at keeping children more safe. Lawmakers are also determined to strengthen laws dealing with sexual predators in the wake of reports by the South Florida Sun Sentinel that found that nearly 600 sexual predators had been released only to be convicted of new sex offenses – including more than 460 child molestations, 121 rapes and 14 murders.
Common Core controversy State education officials are also expected to make a series of key decisions about Florida’s educational guidelines, currently based on the Common Core standards. Those benchmarks, which were developed by officials from Florida and other states, have drawn anger from conservative critics who say they could increase federal involvement in the state’s public schools. Education Commissioner Pam Stewart has said changes to the standards could go before the State Board of Education as early as February.
on Feb. 22 in Miami. Miami Gardens: The ninth annual Jazz in the Gardens is March 15-16. More information and lineup of artists: www.jazzinthegardens.com. West Palm Beach: NAACP President Benjamin Jealous will be the keynote speaker at the Palm Beach State College 15th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Breakfast on Jan. 16. The event is free and open to the public. More information: www.palmbeachstate.edu/ MLK.
UNIVERSAL PICTURES PRESENTS IN ASSOCIATION WITH RELATIVIT Y MEDIA A CUBEVISION/RAINFOREST FILMS PRODUCTION A TIM STORY FILM “RIDE ALONG” ICE CUBE KEVIN HART JOHN LEGUIZAMO BRUCE MCGILL TIKA SUMPTER AND LAURENCE FISHBURNE MUSICBY CHRISTOPHER LENNERTZ
NICOLAS STERN RON MUHAMMAD CHRIS BENDER JC SPINK PRODUCEDBY WILL PACKER ICE CUBE DIRECTED MATT ALVAREZ LARRY BREZNER STORYBY GREG COOLIDGE SCREENPLAY A UNIVERSAL PICTURE BY GREG COOLIDGE AND JASON MANTZOUKAS AND PHIL HAY & MATT MANFREDI BY TIM STORY THIS FILM CONTAINS DEPICTIONS OF TOBACCO CONSUMPTION SOUNDTRACK ON BACK LOT MUSIC AND VARÈSE SARABANDE
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Is it a cold or something more? Lab researchers seek snappy answers BY JEREMY THOMAS SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS/ MCT
ROBERT WILLETT/RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER/MCT
Keith Ward, left, helps Cindy Murray navigate the Affordable Care Act and choose the right plan at Urban Ministries in Raleigh, N.C., on Oct. 30, 2013.
Are there enough doctors for the newly insured? Nearly 20 percent of Americans live in areas with an insufficient number of primary care doctors BY MICHAEL OLLOVE STATELINE.ORG
WASHINGTON — Signing up for health insurance on the new state and federal exchanges was supposed to be the easy part of the Affordable Care Act. But the really dicey part, according to many health policy experts, is just beginning. With the law fully in effect as of Jan. 1, they fear Americans who have enrolled in health insurance for the first time under the ACA are likely to discover that having coverage doesn’t guarantee them easy access to a primary care doctor, dentist or mental health professional. Some changes in the works, such as the use of new technologies and allowing mid-level medical providers to perform some functions usually reserved for doctors and dentists, should improve health care access in the long run. “In the meantime,” said Linda Rosenberg, president of the National Council for Behavioral Health, “people are going to suffer.”
Too few dentists According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, the federal agency charged with improving access to health care, nearly 20 percent of Americans live in areas with an insufficient number of primary care doctors. Sixteen percent live in areas with too few dentists, and a whopping 30 percent are in areas that are short of mental health providers. Under federal guidelines, there should be no more than 3,500 people for each primary care provider; no more than 5,000 people for each dental provider; and no more than 30,000 people for each mental health provider. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), unless something changes rapidly, there will be a shortage of 45,000 primary care doctors in the United States (as well as a shortfall of 46,000 specialists) by 2020. In some ways, the shortage of providers is worse
than the numbers indicate. Many primary care doctors and dentists do not accept Medicaid patients because of low reimbursement rates, and many of the newly insured will be covered through Medicaid. Many psychiatrists refuse to accept insurance at all.
Long waits Christiane Mitchell, director of federal affairs for the AAMC, predicted that many of the estimated 36 million Americans expected to gain coverage under Obamacare will endure long waits to see medical providers in their communities or have to travel far from home for appointments elsewhere. During the debate over the ACA, Mitchell said the AAMC pushed for the federal government to fund additional slots for the training of doctors, but that provision was trimmed to keep the ACA from costing more than a trillion dollars over 10 years. There are various reasons for the shortages. Certainly a big contributor is the aging of the baby boomers, who may still love rock ‘n roll but increasingly need hearing aids to enjoy it. The growing medical needs of that large age group are creating a huge burden for the existing health care workforce. The retirement of many doctors in the boomer cohort is compounding the problem. The federal government estimates the physician supply will increase by 7 percent in the next 10 years. But the number of Americans over 65 will grow by about 36 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Money also is a factor in the shortages. During the course of their careers, primary care physicians earn around $3 million less than their colleagues in specialty fields, which makes primary care a less appealing path for many medical students.
Work-life balance In mental health, the problem is that much of the work is in the public sector, where the pay is far less than it is for providers in other medical specialties, who tend to work in the private sector. As an example, according to the National Council for Behavioral Health, a registered nurse working in mental health earns $42,987 as compared
A shortage of doctors
PCR isn’t new
Percentage of residents of each state who live in areas that lack a sufficient number of health practictioners: 0.0
Ala. Alaska Ariz. Ark. Calif. Col. Conn. D.C. Del. Fla. Ga. Hawaii Idaho Ill. Ind. Iowa Kan. Ky. La. Maine Md. Mass. Mich. Minn. Miss. Mo. Mont. Neb. Nev. N.H. N.J. N.M. N.Y. N.C. N.D. Ohio Okla. Ore. Pa. R.I. S.C. S.D. Tenn. Texas Utah Vt. Va. Wash. W.Va. Wis. Wyo.
Primary doctor Dentist Mental health practitioner
The technique — polymerase chain reaction (PCR) — isn’t a recent phenomenon. Discovered in 1983 by Nobel Prize winner and University of California, Berkeley, alum Kary Mullis, it’s been used for identifying human remains, food safety, and bacterial detection. Just as you learned in science class, DNA has two strands. Using PCR, a special enzyme is added and the DNA is heated up to 94 degrees Celsius (202 degrees Fahrenheit). The strands break apart and the enzyme “fills in” the opposite strand. By alternately heating and cooling the sample in a device the size of two toasters stacked on top of each other, the technique doubles the amount of genetic material with each cycle. It takes about three minutes to run the 30 cycles needed to amplify the DNA to a size where it can be identified.
Source: Health Resources and Services Administration Graphic: Stateline.org
to the national average for nurses of $66,530. But financial factors are not the leading reason that medical students are avoiding primary care, Mitchell said. In surveys of medical students conducted by AAMC, students valued “work-life balance” more than money when they were choosing their specialties. Because primary care often involves long hours and night and weekend calls, it is far less desirable to this generation of students. “Half of the physicians in training are women,” Mitchell said. “You find more of them are looking for a career that might be compatible with part-time hours, that don’t involve being on call. Men are
LIVERMORE, Calif. — Your head aches, you’re congested and simply getting out of bed is a chore. You pay a visit to your doctor, and within minutes — using a simple cheek swab placed in a tiny box — he knows precisely which virus or bacteria is causing the symptoms and prescribes the right treatment. While this scene would be right at home in the “Star Trek” sick bay, it may become a staple in real-world clinics within the decade, according to Lawrence Livermore Laboratory chemical engineer Elizabeth Wheeler. Wheeler’s team of engineers, biologists and chemists, headed by principal investigator Reginald Beer, is developing a method to recognize disease-causing pathogens quicker than ever before. The key: obtaining the bacteria or virus DNA and rapidly copying it so there’s enough to identify what’s causing your illness. “It’s basically like you’re Xeroxing it,” Wheeler said. “Once you’ve got enough of it, you can detect it.”
© 2014 MCT
more engaged in child care today, and they have similar concerns as they consider their career choices.” A steady stream of negative attention has made medicine in general a far less attractive career choice than it once was, according to Rosenberg of the National Council for Behavioral Health. Insurance headaches, pricey technologies, long hours and the risk of liability have convinced many talented students to eschew medicine as a career choice. “Nowadays,” Rosenberg said, “the best and the brightest are talking about becoming investment bankers or going off to Silicon Valley.”
Wheeler, whose husband is a San Ramon physician, said the project’s goal is to have Fast PCR devices in every clinician’s office, allowing patients to submit a sample and have it processed while the doctor goes through his checkup routine. Before the exam is over — in about the time it takes to cook a bag of microwave popcorn — the physician could make a decision on appropriate treatment.
“Everyone’s been frustrated when you go in and it’s like, ‘is it a virus or a bacteria?’ You could run this and they can say, ‘Yep, you have a bacterial infection, here’s the antibiotic,’ or ‘it’s a virus, go home and rest.’ ” Elizabeth Wheeler
Lawrence Livermore Laboratory “Everyone’s been frustrated when you go in and it’s like, ‘is it a virus or a bacteria?’ ” Wheeler said. “You could run this and they can say, ‘Yep, you have a bacterial infection, here’s the antibiotic,’ or ‘it’s a virus, go home and rest.’ ” Dr. Stephen Bustin, a British scientist and former professor of molecular sciences, literally wrote the book on the PCR technique. While reactions once took hours, Bustin said via email, they’re now routinely done in tens of minutes. The amplification now takes only three minutes but other preparations make the whole process longer. Within a year or two, he adds, getting results in less than 10 minutes will become commonplace. “This opens up all kinds of diagnostic possibilities,” Bustin wrote, including “carrying out PCR evaluations of a patient’s sample whilst talking to the doctor.”
Even faster Working on Fast PCR since 2010, Beer’s team was responsible for speeding up the amplification part to less than three minutes. In that technique, cold water is passed over a porous copper platform holding the microscopic samples, rapidly dropping the temperature to 55 degrees Celsius (131 degrees Fahrenheit). The platform is heated back up, the cycle repeats 30 times, and the results are matched to a known genetic signature. As speedy as the procedure is now, Wheeler thinks the team can go even faster. The Livermore researchers’ next step is integrating optics into the device to detect the DNA even earlier, and finding more practical options to time-consuming sample preparation. Wheeler said the pieces are already in place to allow the entire process to be done in less than 10 minutes.
A faster diagnosis In the near future, your doctor will know what bug is making you sick within minutes, thanks to the Fast PCR (polymerase chain reaction) machine.
1 The cheek of a patient is swabbed to collect the DNA of the virus or bacteria causing a sickness; enough copies of the DNA are made to determine the DNA’s identity
2 The DNA is prepared with enzymes and placed in a Fast PCR machine
3 What once took hours will take a few minutes; the Fast PCR machine makes exact copies of the DNA and analyzes them, identifying the virus or bacteria for the doctor Source: Lawrence Livermore Labs Graphic: Bay Area News Group © 2014 MCT
JANUARY 10 – JANUARY 16, 2014
Dominican salons, blow-dry bars turning heads Observers argue that the beauty shops speak to racial divide in US BY JOHN-JOHN WILLIAMS IV BALTIMORE SUN/MCT
BALTIMORE — Michelle Pearce and her twin sister, Sandie Pearce Reardon, wanted to try something new when they walked into Haute Blow Dry Bar in Baltimore. They were so pleased with the results — long chestnut locks — that they posted photos that afternoon of their new hairdos to Facebook. “We love it,” Pearce, who lives in Baltimore’s Federal Hill neighborhood, said about the new salon. “It took (the stylist) about 20 minutes.” So-called “blow-dry bars” have been popping up in Baltimore and around the country. For about $50, clients can walk in and get a quick wash and styling. They’re being marketed and hailed as a new concept. The appeal of a hair salon that focuses on fast service at low prices is self-evident. What’s less evident, observers say, is that this concept has been put into practice for more than a decade by Dominican hair salons that cater to Black women.
Little crossover appeal The fact that such salons can be marketed as a new idea — and that their owners view them that way — speaks to the racial divides that persist in U.S. society, such observers say. Some critics go so far as to accuse the blow-dry bar owners of cultural misappropriation. “Dominican hair salons have been a staple in less affluent communities — frequented by AfricanAmerican and Hispanics,” said Azizi Figueroa, vice president at Nene’s Secret, a New York-based hair care company. “Not a lot of Caucasians are frequenting those communities. That’s why there hasn’t been a crossover appeal.” Case in point: When Abigail Frederick moved to Baltimore three years ago from San Francisco, she said she noticed the city lacked blow-dry bars. “I was pretty surprised that it wasn’t here yet,” said Frederick, a White woman who opened the Haute Blow Dry Bar this past summer in Towson, Md., and another one more recently in Baltimore’s Harbor East neighborhood. “We think Baltimore is such a great city. But it was missing some of the growth.”
Shared heritage Blow-dry bars, also known as “blow-out salons,” started cropping up in New York and Los Angeles in the past decade and began surfacing last year around Baltimore. Dominican hair salons started popping up in areas such as New York about 25 years ago, according to Figueroa, who is Black and Puerto Rican. Because of a shared heritage, African-Americans found a hair ally among some Dominicans who specialize in naturally straightening coarse or curly hair. Black women typically go to Dominican salons for the hot-air blow-outs that leave their hair stick-straight and cost about $30 to $50. The stylists are able to soften and elongate thicker, tightly curled hair with brushes and extreme-heat dryers. Dominican salons have succeeded because of their prices and quality work, according to Figueroa. “They are a best-kept secret,” she said. “They are loved and favored by the African-American community. You are in and out.”
Significant success The low price is key — as is the high potential for revenue. The $48.1 billion
KENNETH K. LAM/BALTIMORE SUN/MCT
Samantha Silberman, 3, takes a picture of her mother Ezella Mc Daniel, as the two get their hair dried at Latino American Salon Dominican Hair Design by Jossy in Pikesville, Md., on Dec. 4, 2013. hair and nail industry has grown only 2 percent annually since 2008, according to an IBISWorld industry report. Seen as a new service to offset the sluggish pace, blow-dry bars over the past five years “have enjoyed significant success as an affordable indulgence,” according to the report. Women who have cut back on the frequency of cuts and colorings may still stop in weekly or just before big events, such as job interviews, parties or dates. Yet the growth opportunity that blow-dry bars have seized upon also represents a form of cultural misappropriation, according to Lori L. Tharps, an assistant professor of journalism at Temple University and co-author of the book “Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America.” Tharps, who is Black, likens the phenomenon to Bo Derek’s cornrows of the late ‘70s or Miley Cyrus’ “twerking” at last year’s MTV Video Music Awards. She sees parallels to such phenomena as White chefs adopting “soul food” and renaming it “Southern” cooking, or the name “Harlem Shake” being applied to an Internet meme that has scant relationship to the term’s hiphop roots. “It wasn’t like this wasn’t available to white people,” she said in reference to the Dominican salons. “There is nothing to suggest that they were race-specific — because Dominicans are a mixed race of people. To say that the blow-dry bars of today, which are primarily European-centered, consider this a new thing is just incorrect. Just because you didn’t know it existed doesn’t make it new.”
Social aspect In practice, Frederick said, there are differences between blow-dry bars and Dominican salons. She said that, according to her stylists, the extreme heat Dominican stylists use to loosen the tighter-curled strands of Black women can damage finer hair. Frederick also said the social aspect of blow-dry bars — birthday parties, champagne sipping and movie-watching — sets them apart from Dominican salons. “Particularly what is being missed by the Dominican salon is that blow dry bars are very social. You can come in and hang with your friends. It is a big social element,” she said. “I know that the Dominican (salons) are social, but it is in and out. We add a lot of fun to it.” At Santiago’s salon, a flatscreen television plays a Spanish-language station. Stylists are laughing with customers. That’s typical, according to the owner.
KENNETH K. LAM/BALTIMORE SUN/MCT
Yosayda Santiago, left, owner of Latino American Salon Dominican Hair Design by Jossy straightens Malaysia Howell’s curly hair in Pikesville, Md., on Dec. 4, 2013. “My customers are my family,” she said. “We play. We talk about everything. It’s friendly.” Pearce and her twin, Pearce Reardon, said they had never heard of Dominican salons. “I get caught up in my own bubble,” said Pearce, who is White and Mexican. “I’ll have to check them out.” The divide also works in the opposite direction. As with most Dominican salons, most of Santiago’s customers are Black. “Once in a while, we do have a couple White customers,” said Santiago, who said White women are more than welcome in her salon.
Comfort level Since their hair is generally finer than Black women’s, she said, it would take her less time to complete the styling and blow-drying. Singer said that her salon differs from Dominican salons because hers caters to “all hair types.” She estimates that 10 percent of her customers are Black. Frederick says that one-fourth of her customers are Black women. Some Black women said they were leery about going to a non-Black hair stylist. Mosley, who has been going to Santiago’s salon for the past six years, doubts she would give the blowdry bars a chance. “I wouldn’t think that they would know how to work with my type of hair,” she said. “I’m so used to going where I go. There would be no point for me to go. Maybe if they were charging a lot less I would go, but there is no way to know that they could do my hair.” Frederick hopes that Black women will give her salon a shot. “We are as inexpensive as the Dominicans,” she said. Her customers “get a really great blow-out without the chemicals. … It is a business based on volume. And there are a lot of women … who want to have great-looking hair.”
BARBARA HADDOCK TAYLOR/BALTIMORE SUN/MCT
Kristin Abernathy, from left, has her hair styled by Hannah Childs; Wendy Abboud styles the hair of Kate Powell at Haute Blow Dry Bar in Towson, Md., on Nov. 19, 2013.
“A POWERHOUSE. ‘Lone Survivor’ laces action with moral questions that haunt and provoke. Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch and Taylor Kitsch add to the impact.” Peter Travers
“UNFORGETTABLE, TENSE AND INSPIRING.
A singular true story of incredible courage when it counts the most. Brilliantly acted and directed.” Pete Hammond, MOVIELINE
EXTRAORDINARY “THE MOST EXTRAORDINARY WAR
FILM SINCE ‘SAVING PRIVATE RYAN.’” Bill Simmons, GRANTLAND
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ONE OF THE BEST FILMS OF THE YEAR
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Hairstylist Jas Royale of Marietta, Ga., has been modeling for the past two years while completing her certification for Paul Mitchell schools. She enjoys fashion photography as well as bathing suit and lingerie. She currently does promo and print work for many companies as well. Jas can be reached at Jnicole135@gmail.com or www. facebook.com/jasroyale. Credit: Kerwin Davis Photograpy
cristopher Born in Jamaica, Cristopher Rhoden, 21, has been living in America for 12 years in the St. Petersburg area. He plans on attending the U.S. Air Force. Contact Christopher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Romney weighs in on mocking of family photo EURWEB.COM
Mitt Romney finally commented on the segment during Melissa Harris-Perry’s MSNBC show where panelists joked about a photo of his family and their adopted African-American infant grandson. The former Republican presidential nominee was interviewed on Fox News Sunday a day after Harris-Perry offered an extended televised apology for her show’s Dec. 29 segment, which was titled “What’s So Funny About 2013” and included comments on multiple photos from the past year. In a segment labeled “Romney Reacts to MSNBC for Mocking Family Photo,” the former Massachusetts governor accepted the apology and reiterated that he wanted to move on. “I recognize that people make mistakes and the folks at MSNBC made a big mistake and they’ve
apologized for it and that’s all you can ask for,” he said. “I’m going to move on from that, I’m sure they want to move on from that. Look, I’ve made plenty of mistakes myself and they’ve apologized for this and, you know, I think we can go on from there.”
Accepts apology The Dec. 29 MSNBC segment was widely circulated on social media and became a cable news controversy where pundits and partisan media weighed in throughout the holiday week. Fox News’ Chris Wallace followed up with Romney by playing a clip of Harris-Perry’s apology in which she stated, “My intention was not malicious, but I broke the ground rule that families are off-limits and for that I am sorry.” “I think her apology was clearly heartfelt and we accept that,” Romney said after viewing the MSNBC clip.
Mitt Romney holds his adopted Black grandson in a family photo.
Another nomination for Nyong’o
Stewart calls Underground Railroad embarrassment a ‘Porsha Moment’
‘12 Years A Slave’ actress recognized by British academy “12 Years a Slave” actress Lupita Nyong’o takes her place among the five actors nominated for the BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Rising Star Award. The honor recognizes actors and actresses who have “demonstrated exceptional talent” and are “destined to be bright stars in the future of cinema,” the British Academy says. Joining Nyong’o in this year’s crop of five are Dane DeHaan, George MacKay, Will Poulter and Léa Seydoux. Nyong’o is also up for a Golden Globe and an Indie Spirit as well as having taken numerous critics’ prizes for her supporting turn in “12 Years a Slave.” The winner of the Rising Star prize will be selected by a public vote (www. ee.co.uk/bafta) and announced at the BAFTA film awards ceremony on Feb. Lupita Nyong’o stars as “Patsey” in “12 Years a Slave.” 16.
On a recent broadcast of Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live,” “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Porsha Stewart finally got a chance to comment on her Underground Railroad embarrassment. “When I watched that, I realized that was another ‘Porsha moment”…a little airy, there, just a brain lapse,” she told host Andy Cohen. The granddaughter of civil rights leader Hosea Williams said she Porsha didn’t feel the need to address her Stewart other “Porsha moment” — referring to the number of days in a year as “265.” But in believing the Underground Railroad was an actual train, she said, “I felt like I definitely needed to correct that.” Porsha said it’s “a very sensitive topic for me,” and that she “went back and read up on the Underground Railroad…because I do want to represent that part of my life and legacy better than I did.” Later in the broadcast, Porsha answered a fantweeted question regarding rumors that her ex Kordell Stewart is now dating “Braxton Family Values” star Towanda Braxton. “I think that’s great, I love Towanda,” Porsha said. “I’ve watched her show and if that works for him then I’m happy.
JANUARY 10 – JANUARY 16, 2014
FROM FAMILY FEATURES
Sports nutrition isn’t just the domain of professional athletes – for a good workout and quick recovery, everyday athletes need the right diet, too. “A good workout is draining and can lead to fatigue and sore muscles,” said Michele Macedonio, R.D., C.S.S.D., L.D. a veteran sports nutritionist and team dietitian for the Cincinnati Reds. “The right combination of foods helps restore energy and nutrients used during exercise, and prepares your body for the next workout.” Dishes such as these from CanolaInfo provide complex carbohydrates, fiber and protein with nutrition-packed ingredients including whole grains, beans, nuts, fruits and plenty of vegetables. Each delicious recipe contains less than 300 calories per serving and is prepared with heart-smart canola oil to supply healthy unsaturated fats, including monoun satu rated and omega-3 fats. For more great recipes, visit www.canolainfo.org.
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Skillet Quinoa with Black Beans, Cilantro and Feta Yield: 6 servings Serving size: 1 cup 1 tablespoon canola oil 1 cup onions, diced 2 cups red bell pepper, diced 1 1/2 cups water 3/4 cup quinoa, uncooked 1 can (15 ounces) reduced sodium black beans, rinsed and drained 1/4 cup chopped walnuts 2 teaspoons chili powder 1/3 cup crumbled, reduced-fat feta cheese* 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped 1 medium garlic clove, minced 1/2 teaspoon salt In large, non-stick skillet, heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and pepper. Sauté 5 minutes or until onions begin to brown on edges, stirring occasionally. Add water and quinoa. Bring to boil over mediumhigh heat, reduce heat, cover and cook on medium-low for 12 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat, stir in beans, walnuts, chili powder, feta, cilantro, garlic and salt. Cover and let stand 2 minutes to heat through and absorb flavors. *Vegetarian option: Replace feta with vegan cheese or tofu. Nutritional analysis per serving: 230 calories; 8 g total fat (1.5 g saturated fat); 10 mg cholesterol; 31 g carbohydrates; 7 g fiber; 3 g sugars; 10 g protein; 360 mg sodium; 445 mg potassium Chunky Chicken, Vegetable and Rosemary Stew Yield: 6 servings Serving size: 1 cup 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided 12 ounces boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces 1 medium onion, cut in 8 wedges 3 medium carrots, quartered lengthwise and cut into thirds 1 medium celery stalk, cut into 1-inch pieces 2 cups water 2 dried bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 1 can (15 ounces) reduced-sodium navy beans, rinsed and drained 1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary 3/4 teaspoon salt In Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook about 3 minutes per side or until it begins to brown (center will still be slightly pink). Remove from oven and set aside. Add remaining canola oil, onion, carrot and celery. Sauté, stirring frequently, for
Make friends with fat: Fat is an important energy source for athletes, but it’s important to choose healthy fats. Canola oil, for example, provides a valuable source of unsaturated fats, including monounsaturated and omega-3 fats. Pump up protein: Maximize muscle growth with a snack that contains carbohydrates plus 10 to 20 grams of protein consumed within 15 to 30 minutes after a workout, when muscle is most receptive to growing. Don’t ignore complex carbs: Athletes need healthy carbohydrates, the preferred source of energy for active muscles. Whole grains, beans, vegetables and fruit are good sources. Feed the furnace: Running on empty? Your body needs consistent fuel to function. A small pre-workout snack may improve your workout performance. Liquid foods such as smoothies digest more quickly than solids, which makes them ideal pre- or post-workout for energy, hydration and restoring nutrients. 5 minutes or until vegetables just begin to lightly brown on edges. Add water, bay leaves and pepper flakes. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer covered for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in chicken, beans, tomatoes, Italian parsley, rosemary and salt. Cover and cook 5 minutes or until tomatoes are tender and chicken is cooked. Serve immediately or let stew stand 30 minutes to develop flavors and texture. Nutritional analysis per serving: 220 calories; 7 g total fat (1 g saturated fat); 50 mg cholesterol; 17 g carbohydrates; 6 g fiber; 3 g sugars; 22 g protein; 380 mg sodium; 532 mg potassium
Powerhouse Green Smoothie Yield: 1 serving Serving size: 1 2/3 cups 3/4 cup seedless green grapes 1/2 cup ripe banana slices 1/4 cup chopped kale 2/3 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt 1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil 1/2 cup ice cubes In blender, combine all ingredients. Blend for about 30 seconds to 1 minute or until desired smoothness is achieved. Nutritional analysis per serving: 290 calories; 7 g total fat (0.5 g saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 42 g carbohy drates; 3 g fiber; 31 g sugars; 17 g protein; 75 mg sodium; 502 mg potassium
Published on Jan 9, 2014