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OCTOBER 25 - OCTOBER 31, 2013
VOLUME 21 NO. 43
TAKING HEAT The Obama administration budgets $684 million in advertising – with none to Black-owned newspapers – to drive traffic to a website that doesn’t work. And even his friends aren’t happy about the botched ‘Obamacare’ launch.
COMPILED FROM WIRE REPORTS
WASHINGTON – Republicans have always been harsh critics of Obamacare. Now President Obama’s signature health care law is taking heat from Democrats, too. More than three weeks after the problem-plagued rollout of the federal marketplace where consumers can sign up for health insurance, support for major provisions of the Affordable Care Act is weakening among some Democrats, who want to see someone
fired over the botched debut. Another issue that has not received much attention is the fact that the Obama administration budgeted $684 million for advertising, publicity, and marketing, according to the Associated Press (AP).
Spending millions now Much of the money is scheduled to be spent in October, November and December of this year and targets the working poor, young people who are or
those who gave up their insurance because of the cost. Approximately 25 percent of this target audience is non-White. Eighty-six percent have a high school education or less. Market research has shown that young adults say it’s often a parent, a girlfriend or a sibling who will push them to sign up for something like health insurance, said Julie Bataille, who is helping lead the outreach for the Obama administration, so the campaign will “make sure moms are aware.”
OLIVIER DOULIERY/ABACA PRESS/MCT
President Obama speaks about the Affordable Care Act in the Rose Garden of the White House on Monday, Oct. 21. In a telephone meeting last month, members of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the trade group representing some 150 Black-owned newspapers, were told that
the Obama administration To the rescue had not made Black newsA team of African-Amerpapers and their affiliatican preachers sent a leted websites and social media platforms part of their ter to President Obama afObamacare media adver- firming their “commitment tising blitz. See OBAMA, Page A2
GRAMBLING STATE UNIVERSITY / TIGER FOOTBALL
United in their defiance
Florida Courier ‘survivor’ dies New Orleans resident succumbs to colon cancer FROM THE FLORIDA COURIER STAFF
Sheila Hightower St. Etienne, a former Jacksonville resident who moved to New Orleans, was displaced by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and wrote about the experience for the Florida Courier over a number of years, died Oct. 22 in New Orleans of colon cancer. She was 57.
Post-Katrina life From May through October 2006, she wrote a six-part series of stories in the Florida Courier’s “First Person Survivor Story” series describing the storm, how she survived by evacuating to Jacksonville with her two elementary school-aged children and three cats, and her eventual return to New Orleans to begin rebuilding. Her last 2006 installment ends with See ST. ETIENNE, Page A2
MAX FAULKNER/FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM/MCT
Former Grambling State Head Coach Doug Williams, shown here last year, helped convince Grambling football players to return to the field. The players refused to play a game last week against Jackson State University, protesting unsafe locker room conditions and other issues. See a related No Chaser column on Page A4.
Girl’s suicide could hasten cyber-bullying crackdown BY MARGIE MENZEL THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA
MIKE FUENTES/CHICAGO TRIBUNE/MCT
Assistant Principal Jennifer Young holds cell phones at Arlington High School in Arlington, Texas. Due to textmessage bullying, the school confiscates cell phones and students have to pay a $15 fine to get them back.
Polk County (Lakeland-area) Sheriff Grady Judd, who last week arrested two middleschool girls for their alleged roles in the suicide of a third girl, says there’s a message for bullies and their parents. “When are we going to stand up, as a society, and say, ‘Bullying is unacceptable and there are consequences?’” he said. Judd’s department arrested 14-year-old Guadalupe Shaw and 12-year-old Katelyn Roman on charges of felony aggravated stalking in the suicide of Rebecca Sedwick, who jumped to her death last
month at an abandoned cement plant in Lakeland. The case has drawn national attention because it is alleged to have included cyber-bullying, with Sedwick facing online messages such as, “You’re ugly,” “Why are you still alive?” and “Go kill yourself.”
Additional penalties Now, Judd, who is president of the Florida Sheriffs Association, is calling for other types of penalties for cyber-bullying. That includes counseling and anti-bullying classes, angermanagement classes through the Florida Department of JuSee CRACKDOWN, Page A2
COURTESY OF THE ST. ETIENNE FAMILY
Sheila St. Etienne survived and thrived for more than six years after being diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer – the most advanced form of the disease.
SNAPSHOTS FLORIDA | A3
State cashing in on Crist not welcome gambling money at Young’s funeral NATION | A6
FINEST | B5
Obama wants Morehouse Man for security post
FOOD | B4
Halloween treats for goblins of all ages
COMMENTARY: CHARLES W. CHERRY II: RANDOM THOUGHTS OF A FREE BLACK MIND | A4 COMMENTARY: JIM CLINGMAN: BLACK ELECTORATE NEEDS MOST, GETS LEAST FROM POLITICiaNS | A5
OCTOBER 25 – OCTOBER 31, 2013
Has Barack Obama silenced Black voices? The president of the United States is sometimes called “the leader of the free world,” but what has he done to the AfricanAmerican world? Ever since Obama’s election as the country’s 44th president, his voice has been escalated and Black community voices have been somewhat silenced. There is no better time for Black American voices than now!
In hiding It’s Halloween time, and far too many AfricanAmericans are extremely scared! Organizations like the NAACP, the SCLC, the Urban League, the Rainbow Coalition, Black churches, Black Masonic groups, Black fraternities and Black sororities have gone into
Lucius Gantt THE GANTT REPORT
hiding, so to speak. Where are the strong voices that speak out on murders in the Black community? Which group is talking about foreclosures and gentrification in the Black community? What Black organization is standing up and speaking out about Black unemployment? Who is fighting for Black businesses to get more opportunities in public, government and private company purchasing transactions? Is racism over since a man of African descent was elected president of
the United States? Are we no longer victims of law enforcement misconduct and brutality? Do Africans worldwide have a sense of security regarding the assassinations of the leaders and Predator drone strikes on their women and children? Do Black people enjoy equal rights and justice anywhere on the globe as a result of Obama’s election and re-election? I think not!
Proud and glad Don’t get it Chubby Checkered and twist the facts. All Blacks, including me, are proud of President Obama and we are glad he is in office. However, some others and I are concerned that the president’s election has been deemed as “all we
ST. ETIENNE St. Etienne and her son Jordan and daughter Dionne attending the first post-Katrina New Orleans Saints Monday night pro football game (against the archrival Atlanta Falcons) in the New Orleans Superdome. She updated the life of her family again in the Florida Courier to memorialize Katrina anniversaries in 2010 and 2011.After writing the stories, a conversation at lunch with two friends inspired St. Etienne to write about her life experience in a book. In 2009, she published “Surviving The Storms – Divorce, Katrina and Cancer –Through Faith, Family and Friends,” ($15.95, Di-Jor Press, ISBN# 978-0-615-32486-9).
She was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer after feeling a dull ache in her lower abdomen during a trip with her kids to tour pro football stadiums around the country and attend the 2007 NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio. Her im-
OBAMA from A1 to the Affordable Care Act” even as the president has ordered the website overhauled. The letter was released only hours after President Obama held a Rose Garden press conference deploring the embarrassing glitches on the enrollment website, HealthCare.gov, while praising the benefits of the new plans for those who have successfully enrolled. “We believe that access to quality health care is a fundamental civil and human right in America. Historically, over seven million African-Americans have been uninsured and denied access to care with devastating consequences. The Affordable Care Act provides African-Americans, along with Americans of all nationalities, access to desperately needed quality health care,” states the letter, signed by 14 preachers, all of whom lead major clerical or civic organizations. “We affirm our support for the Affordable Care Act. We understand that over time aspects of the Act will be revised as government learns more and to-be-ex-
I don’t expect President Obama to do everything. I’m smart enough to know
Clothes didn’t fit
President of all
gery and began chemotherapy treatments in January 2008. She described the “deep fog” of the aftermath of the treatment, the impact on her kids, and the effect of the various medications. She also described the good times: celebrating her father’s 90th birthday party in Jacksonville; enjoying Mardi Gras and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival; and throwing an “end of chemo” party and having undetectable levels of cancer in her body for years.
“Once upon a time, Jacksonville, FL native Sheila St. Etienne’s life was ideal,” reads a press release for the book. “She married the love of her life, a prominent New Orleans banker. They had two beautiful children, sending them to a well-known private school, and built their dream house in the Crescent City. She established a family rhythm in her household with her husband and kids, and expected to live happily ever after. “It took only a few years for her life to come crashing down. First came divorce – ‘just like that,’ she says, after her husband succumbed to ‘greener grass,’ moved out, filed for divorce, and remarried. Then came Hurricane Katrina. Then advanced colon cancer. All accompanied by financial challenges.” Despite the setbacks, St. Etienne describes in the book how she and her ex-husband, Gregory St. Etienne, were able to continue to effectively parent their two young children without the emotional trauma and open personal warfare usually associated with divorce. She wrote that “unexpected Katrina blessings” allowed her to rebuild her life and the lives of her children.
need.” Weak, frightened and timid African-Americans believe that just because the president won’t stand up and speak out strongly on issues of extreme importance to African-Americans all African-Americans should be silent about injustice, quiet about mistreatment, and zippedlipped about continued exploitation of our communities. The Black organizations, groups and individuals that we expect to stand up for us are scared to protest, scared to oppose, scared to disagree, scared to confront and scared to respond and be responsible!
mediate family members are all rabid Saints fans and season ticket holders; the Saints played in the Hall of Fame game that year. “I did not let it stop anything because I felt it would be temporary, although I worried if the discomfort would impact our trip…I noticed that many of my clothes did not fit the way they had a few weeks before. Still not alarmed because I was eating constantly while vacationing, I figured I had added back some pounds. I didn’t know what was really going on,” she wrote. When she discovered she had advanced colon cancer, she described how she, friends and family advocated for her within the health care system so that she could wage the toe-totoe battle against her illness. “God surrounds you with armor before you go into battle,” she explained. “My armor is faith, family and friends. “New Orleans could be hit by another major hurricane. My disease could come back. There could be some other storm to blow through my life. “Knowing that there is no certainty in the future, I try to plan for the unknown without worrying about it. I find it easier these days to do that because I am blessed with the knowledge that I am fully equipped with faith, family and friends to survive any storm that comes my way.”
Rigorous treatments She was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer in October 2007 after sur-
pected administrative glitches will be appropriately addressed but it is essential that we work aggressively with what we have right now. We cannot afford to put this off any longer. Any further delay will have catastrophic effects on the nation’s uninsured.”
Complete with scriptures The three-page letter, complete with supporting scriptures, and starting with “Dear Mr. President,” was released to the media Monday evening. The 14 names on the letter are the Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr. chair, Faith Partnerships; Inc.; the Rev. Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, co-chair, National African American Clergy Network, who is heading the effort; the Reverend Dr. T. DeWitt Smith, Jr., co-chair, National African American Clergy Network; and the Rev. Dr. Carroll A. Baltimore, president, Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. Also included are Bishop George E. Battle, Jr., senior bishop, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church; Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr., presiding Bishop and Chief Apostle, Church of God In Christ, Inc.; Bishop John R. Bryant, senior bishop, African Methodist Episcopal Church; the
An entrepreneur, St. Etienne was a licensed real estate agent and the owner of Care At Home, which provided nursing care for the elderly and disabled in their homes. Her small businesses, which earned six figures before Katrina, never recovered after the storm. But she was healthy enough to eventually return to working full time as the executive director of Liberty House of Greater New Orleans, a shelter for young homeless mothers. She served there until her death.
‘Parental units’ Born Sheila Hightower in Philadelphia, Pa., she was raised in Jacksonville by three aunts and her father, Johnnie Davis – she called them “loving parental units” – with her brother, Brian J. Davis of Jacksonville. She attended public schools in Jacksonville, graduated from Ribault High, then went on to Tennessee State University before moving to New Orleans in 1981. She was active in Bethany United Methodist Church and affiliated with Grace Chapel, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and held membership in the 100 Black Women of New Orleans and Jack and Jill organizations. Immediate survivors include her son Jordan, 17; daughter Dionne, 15; the children’s father, Gregory St. Etienne (Denise); brother, the Hon. Brian J. Davis (Tanya); godsister Edgaranna Barnwell; and a host of relatives and friends. Homegoing service will be Oct. 26 in New Orleans. Boyd Family Funeral Home, New Orleans, is in charge of arrangements.
Go to www.flcourier.com to read some of her Florida Courier stories and an excerpt of “Surviving the Storms.”
Rev. Dr. Ambassador Suzan Johnson Cook, founding president, Women In Ministry International; Bishop Paul A. G. Stewart, Sr., acting senior bishop, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church; and Bishop Paul S. Morton, international presiding bishop, Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International. The group is rounded out by the Rev. Dr. Julius R. Scruggs, president, National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.; the Rev. Al Sharpton, president, National Action Network; the Rev. Dr. Stephen Thurston, president, National Baptist Convention of America, Inc., and the Rev. Dr. C. T. Vivian, president, Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
‘Collaborative efforts’ “We, leaders of predominantly African-American denominations and other faith leaders, who lead millions of AfricanAmerican people of faith, believe that our devotion to God requires us to be actively involved in promoting the well-being of all people,” states the letter. “In some cases, we can best accomplish that objective by executing clearly defined, focused collaborative efforts amongst denominations and other faith
he is not the president for Blacks. He is the president for every citizen in the United States. It is that reason we need action and activity for all Black community members. I can see why modernday Uncle Toms and Aunt Jemimas are afraid to do what needs to be done, but I wish we would understand we need help from everybody. There’s no problem with loving President Obama AND loving Minister Louis Farrakhan. You can like the National Action Network AND the New Black Panther Party. Black people should love the people, the leaders and the organizations that love Black people. We need scholars and we need statesmen like
the president. But we also need militants, radicals and modern-day revolutionaries to stand up and speak out when the president cannot discuss certain topics. President Obama may be leader of the free world, but the leader of the streets will come from the streets, in all probability. Even Jesus Christ was born in a manger!
Buy Gantt’s latest book, “Beast Too: Dead Man Writing” on Amazon.com and from bookstores everywhere. Contact Lucius at www.allworldconsultants.net. “Like” The Gantt Report page on Facebook. Click on this story at www.flcourier.com to write your own response.
CRACKDOWN from A1 venile Justice and – perhaps most daunting for youths – the loss of access to cell phones. Sedwick’s suicide came just weeks after a new law went into effect, adding cyber-bullying to the public school system’s list of prohibited behavior. As of July 1, students and school employees are protected from harassment via technological and electronic communications – even beyond the school grounds. State Sen. Dwight Bullard, a Miami Democrat and sponsor of the new law (SB 626), said its implementation is moving forward, but not fast enough for many parents and educators. The law defines bullying as “teasing, social exclusion, threat, intimidation, physical violence, or emotional pain or discomfort.” The bullying doesn’t have to take place at the school if it “substantially interferes with or limits the victim’s ability to participate or benefit from the services, activities, or opportunities offered by a school or substantially disrupts the education process or interferes with the orderly operation of a school.” State Sen. Bill Montford, a Tallahassee Democrat and chief executive officer of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents, said the implementation varies by district but overall is going well. “Most of the superintendents welcomed this law, because they knew it was a problem, and they needed the legal authority to reach out and do something about it,” Montford said.
Years of torture Judd said students at Lakeland’s Crystal Lake Middle School corroborated stories about Shaw and Roman bullying Sedwick via name-calling, intimidation, threats to beat her up and at least one physical fight. According to Judd, Shaw led as many as 15 girls in bullying Sedwick in person, and nasty messages continued online after Sedwick switched schools. “When we looked at the totality of circumstances, this went far beyond bullying,” he said. “This was stalking. This was aggravated stalking of a child.” Judd said he made the decision to arrest the 14-year-old Shaw after she posted an online response to the suicide. “Guadalupe sends this message: ‘Yes, I bullied Rebecca, and she killed herself, and I don’t give a ‘bleep,’ “ Judd said. “And that was the last straw.” “Guadalupe had a history of bullying people back to elementary school,” Judd explained.
based groups. We believe in those cases we can accomplish more together than we can separately. The issue of providing all Americans with access to quality health care is one of those issues.” The letter lists their specific commitments, including to “Facilitate the critical enrollment numbers necessary to ensure the success of the Affordable Care Act” and “Seek other opportunities to work towards improving the health status of our constituencies” such as “Health and Wellness Sundays which will include thematic preaching on specified Sundays along with other related activities.”
Congress weighs in Wednesday was the first full day the House of Representatives had met since controversy erupted over the insurance marketplaces, and the political fallout was everywhere. Republicans paraded one by one onto the House floor offering one-minute speeches blasting the law. House Democrats met and expressed frustration. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire broke with fellow Democrats and called on Obama to extend the open enrollment period beyond March 31, 2014.
In a letter to Obama, Shaheen said the website problems were “incredibly frustrating and disappointing.”
‘Extremely unfortunate’ White House press secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday that it was too soon to extend the enrollment period, saying the sixmonth signup period was still in the early stages. He said that consumer struggles with the website were “extremely unfortunate” and that the Obama administration takes responsibility for the problems. But he said those problems “pale in comparison” to the uncertainty facing sick people who would be unable to get health insurance without the law. While support for Obamacare among Democrats has never been unanimous, Wednesday’s developments show a growing unease among the president’s supporters with the law’s implementation.
Tony Pugh and David Lightman of the McClatchy Washington Bureau (MCT) and information from the Trice Edney Newswire and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
OCTOBER 25 – OCTOBER 31, 2013
Florida cashing in on Seminole gambling money Indians pay extra millions to state under revenuesharing agreement BY DARA KAM THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA
TALLAHASSEE – With the expiration of a gambling deal with the Seminole Indians on the horizon, the tribe for the first time has raked in so much money that it sent an extra $4.3 million to the state. The 2010 deal, known as a compact, guarantees the tribe will make minimum annual payments, totaling $1 billion over five years, to the state. Revenues were high enough during the fiscal year that ended June 30 to trigger the additional payments. But the annual payments will be cut nearly in half when the compact sunsets in less than two years unless lawmakers and the governor reauthorize it, according to projections by state economists who met on Tuesday.
The agreement Under the current deal with the Seminoles, the tribe makes the payments to the state in exchange for having the exclusive right to offer banked table games, such as blackjack, along with a monopoly on all slot locations outside of Broward and MiamiDade counties. The Seminoles agreed to pay a minimum of $150 million in each of the first two years, $233 million in the third and fourth years and $234 million in 2015. But as part of a complicated revenue sharing agreement, the tribe has to pay additional money if revenues exceed certain thresholds. The tribe’s nearly $1.98 million net win in the year ending on June 30 prompted the additional $4.3 million payment, a portion of which goes to local governments. Next year, the extra money is expected to more than triple, bringing the Seminole’s total payment to nearly $248 million, with another $20 million on top of that in the following year.
Can’t be forced The compact requires the Seminoles to pay 12 percent on up to $2 billion in earnings from slot machines and table games, including blackjack. The payments are part of a revenue sharing agreement because, as a sovereign nation, the Seminoles cannot be forced to pay taxes. The Seminoles also must pay a
HECTOR GABINO/EL NUEVO HERALD/MCT
Survivors of the Chilean mine disaster play blackjack at the Seminole Casino in Coconut Creek on Feb. 11, 2011. higher return to the state as their earnings increase, beginning with 15 percent on net revenue between $2 billion and $3 billion and up to 25 percent of a net win over $4.5 billion. The Seminoles’ net win is expected to exceed $2 billion next year and continue to grow, according to the revenue estimators.
Attracted more gamblers At the same time tribal revenues are growing, slot machine revenue – about $142.2 million this year – from the pari-mutuels in Miami-Dade and Broward counties is also projected to climb at a rate of about 2 percent per year once Hialeah Park Casino, which began running slots in August, and Dania Jai Alai are fully operational. And the introduction of slots at Hialeah did not result in an anticipated “cannibalization” effect at nearby racinos, the economists found. That could mean that more Floridians are placing their bets on slots at the eight pari-mutuels in South Florida. “They’ve attracted some additional people to gambling than what we thought they would have. We thought there would be more shuffling and in fact they attracted a few more people,” state economist Amy Baker said.
Thriving in South Florida The all-around growth is an indicator that the gambling market in South Florida is thriving but could be even more lucrative for the state if lawmakers restrict any expansion to South Florida and reject the idea of destination resorts, said Dan Adkins, CEO of Hartman & Tyner, which owns Mardi Gras Gaming in Hallandale Beach. Allowing slots outside MiamiDade and Broward or any new facilities with slot machines – such as destination resorts – in those two counties would invalidate the Seminole compact. Adkins and other racino operators want their 35 percent sales tax on slot machines lowered and are angling for banked table games to better compete with the nearby Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood. Slot machines anywhere but the existing pari-mutuels in Broward and Miami-Dade counties or on other tribal lands would invalidate the compact and lose the state big bucks. But giving the Broward and Miami-Dade racinos blackjack or other banked table games would only cost the state a portion of the revenues the Seminoles pay on their Broward operations, and only if their net win in Hollywood drops as a result.
Higher payments? Even with the additional games in South Florida, the state could negotiate higher payments with the Seminoles to keep its Tampa casino, one of the most profitable gambling operations in the world, safe from slots competition. “(Lawmakers) could take advantage of positive growth by putting just these facilities on a level playing field. Don’t create any new facilities in Broward and Miami-Dade, but add more product at the existing facilities,” Adkins said. “You’re not having a geographic expansion of gaming, you’re just getting more bang for your buck.” Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, helped craft the 2010 compact with the Seminoles when he was in the state House. He said the deal was crafted to give the state “leverage” to quickly cash in on the tribe’s success. “The whole idea of the fiveyear card authorization was so that there was an incentive to come back and revisit that issue with the Seminole tribe and to create leverage with the tribe so there is an opportunity to negotiate additional terms or modify existing terms,” he said.
‘Lot of moving parts’ Senate Gaming Committee Chairman Garrett Richter is play-
ing his cards close to the vest. Like other lawmakers, he’s awaiting a final report from Spectrum Gaming Group, a consulting firm, on the economic impacts of a variety of gambling scenarios. The final two portions of the report were due Oct. 1, but Spectrum asked for another month to complete the analysis after Baker and others questioned some of the economic modeling. Lowering the tax rate on slot machines could spur the parimutuels to spend more money on their facilities, Richter said. “What I’d like to see is the investment and the increase of capital investment in Florida. There’s a lot of moving parts here,” he said. Tuesday’s revenue projections show that Florida’s economy is on the upswing in general, perhaps “camouflaging” the cannibalization effect of more slots in Miami-Dade County, he said. “These numbers are changing all the time,” Richter, R-Naples, said of the revenue estimates. “At some point, as we consider a direction that we’re going, we’ll have to do an evaluation of what all the numbers are. As we go forward, we’ll have to consider all of a lot of different scenarios as we discuss the landscape of what gaming in the state of Florida is going to look like.”
Crist told to stay away from Young’s funeral
Then Florida Gov.-elect Charlie Crist (center) is shown with Florida Rep. Bill Young (right), Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) and members of the Florida delegation on Capitol Hill in Washington on Dec. 8, 2006.
NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA
The widow of Congressman C.W. Bill Young, who died Oct. 17 at age 82 told former Gov. Charlie Crist not to attend last Thursday’s funeral, according to the Tampa Bay Times. The paper reported that Beverly Young sent the warning in an email to Crist, a former Republican who is considering running for his old job as a Democrat. “I have watched over the years, as Bill had, your transparent attempts to manipulate the politi-
CHUCK KENNEDY/ MCT
cal arena,” Beverly Young wrote. “I don’t want my husband’s memorial service to be another opportunity for that and I will not tolerate anyone turning this into a platform for political gain.” The Times also reported that Jessica Ehrlich and Pinellas County Commissioner Charlie Justice, two Democrats who ran against Young in recent years, were told not to come to the funeral. It was scheduld for Thursday, Oct. 24 at First Baptist Indian Rocks in Largo.
DOT removing ‘antiquated’ call boxes from highways Amazon will BY JIM TURNER THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA
TALLAHASSEE – Other than along the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, Florida’s highways will no longer have the telephone call boxes by the end of January. The state Department of Transportation is removing all but a few of the 2,752 push button call boxes from along its highways as personal cell phones have reduced the need for the roadside phones. “With cell phone use it was decided to save the department some money,” said DOT spokesman John O’Brien. The removal, estimated to cost around $200,000, has already started.
Saving $1 mil a year By not having to maintain the system, including the interconnecting consoles at Florida Department of Highway dispatch offices and base stations, the state is expected to save $1 million a year.
The boxes along the Sunshine Skyway Bridge will remain – they are connected to a crisis counseling system, and the bridge in the past has been a common place for suicidal people to contemplate jumping. The boxes were installed in the early 1970s, back at a time when those seeking police, medical or automotive aide would have otherwise had to hoof it or hitch a ride to the closest businesses or residence with a pay phone.
Dramatic decline in usage However, for more than a decade the use of the boxes has been on a steady decline, falling from 56,674 calls in 1998 to 22,051 in 2004 and 7,807 in 2012. “There’s been a dramatic decline in usage over the years,” O’Brien said. “The technology is antiquated and we’re doing a lot of stuff with ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems programs) and the Road Rangers.” ITS is a fiber optic system of traffic cameras, overhead message signs,
microwave vehicle detectors, travel time sensors, road and weather information sensors, and highway advisory radios that is in place along 1,259 miles of interstate and turnpike. Work began this week putting the system in place in the northwest, along a section of I-10 and U.S. 231, at a cost of $24 million.
No calls on I-4 Last year, the call boxes were used 3,301 times along Interstate 75, which runs from the Georgia state line down the middle and west coast of Florida. In 2004, the call boxes were used 8,932 times on I-75. Calls made along Florida’s Turnpike have dropped from 4,926 in 2004 to 2,095 last year, while the use declined from 4,039 to 1,212 along Interstate 95 in the same period. No calls were recorded on Interstate 4 across Central Florida last year. Nine years earlier there were 428 calls for service made from the I-4 phones.
build centers in Hillsborough, Lakeland Internet retail giant Amazon.com. confirmed Tuesday that it will build distribution centers in Hillsborough County and in Lakeland, with the expectation of creating more than 1,000 fulltime jobs. “We appreciate the state, city and county officials who have worked with us to bring these fulfillment centers to Florida,” said Mike Roth, Amazon’s vice president of North America operations for the Seattle-based company. “We’re excited to join the community, bringing great jobs and investment to the area.” Both centers are expected to be more than 1 million square feet.
The Lakeland facility will concentrate on packing and shipping large items, such as kayaks and televisions. The Hillsborough County center along I-75 in Ruskin will handle smaller items, ranging from books to electronics and consumer goods.
No opening date An Amazon news release did not mention when the facilities could be operational or the potential for other centers. When Gov. Rick Scott’s office announced in June that Amazon intended to expand into Florida, the announcement noted plans for more than 3,000 full-time jobs that would pump more than $300 million in investments into Florida by the end of 2016. In the Amazon release, Secretary of Commerce Gray Swoope called Tuesday’s announcement “another vote of confidence in the state’s business climate.”
OCTOBER 25 – OCTOBER 31, 2013
Food stamps and corporate greed The federal and state governments operate under a system which is of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations. Ordinary governmental functions which could easily be carried out with public money are instead privatized, depriving the public sector of revenue and jobs and making the neediest citizens unnecessarily dependent on the private sector. Governmental largesse on behalf of big business is focused primarily on poor people, the group most at the mercy of the system. Corporations collect child support payments and then imprison the poor people who can’t pay. While imprisoned, another corporation provides what passes for medical care. The crime is a perfect one. When the Republicans demanded cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), better known as food stamps, the debate revolved
Profit centers MARGARET KIMBERLEY BLACK AGENDA REPORT
around human need versus the call for fiscal austerity. Scarcely anyone mentioned that JPMorgan Chase, Xerox and eFunds Corporation make millions of dollars off of this system meant to help the poor. It all came to light on Oct. 12 when many SNAP recipients in the states of Alabama, California, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia were unable to make purchases with their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards because of a computer system malfunction at Xerox.
It may at first have seemed odd for a Fortune 500 corporation to have anything to do with the SNAP program, but Xerox, JPMorgan Chase and eFunds Corporation have all successfully turned poverty into a profit center. Food stamps were once literally stamps until the 1996 welfare reform act required all state SNAP benefits to be digitized. At that point JPMorgan, Xerox and eFunds were quite literally in the money. Only the state of Montana administers its own SNAP program. Every other state pays one of these three corporations millions of dollars in fees to do what they could do themselves. Since 2007, Florida has paid JP Morgan $90 million, Pennsylvania’s sevenyear contract totaled $112 million and New York’s seven-year contract totaled $126 million. Food stamps are not the only government program that is ad-
VISUAL VIEWPOINT: FIXING GLITCHES
ERIC ALLIE, CAGLECARTOONS.COM
Random thoughts of a free Black mind, v. 191 Dr. Mack King Carter – Thanks to many of you who read my “review” last week of the three memorial services of my friend and former pastor. Telling a writer “when I read it, it was like I was there,” is “Vitamin A to the ego,” as MLK so accurately said. The story was easy to write because I admired Doc as a man and respected him as an intellectual giant. I’ll tell you why in a future commentary… Grambling football – I’m extremely proud of those young brothers for standing up for what they believed is right. College sports, especially big-time football, is the last plantation in America. Damn, even illegal Mexican workers get paid for picking beans, even if it’s less than minimum wage. College jocks get nada. Note that the Grambling players decided to strike during Jackson State’s homecoming. What would happen if the Florida Gators refused to play Florida State to protest the NCAA’s refusal to allow college athletes to share in the billions of dollars generated by the collective sweat of their brows? The television networks would immediately sue for breach of the TV contracts and the NCAA would cave in less than a week. Athletes, are you paying attention?
quick takes from #2: straight, no chaser
Charles W. Cherry II, Esq. PUBLISHER
Obamacare ads – Some powerful Black preachers talk about “collaboration” to help Black church folks sign up for Obamacare. How about “collaborating” with Black newspaper owners to tell Bro. Prez “thus sayeth the Lord,” and force the administration to buy ads in the most trusted advertising medium in Black America – the Black press? The papers are already in your churches. And most newspaper owners do tithe…
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ministered by private corporations. WIC payments and child support collections are also moneymakers for Xerox and the rest of the financial services industry. Like so many other debates in America, discussions about government spending are inherently bogus because the elephant in the room, big business, is absent. Millions of Americans are angry because food stamp recipients can use their benefits to buy junk food but don’t realize that they are able to do so because corporate America wouldn’t have it any other way.
SNAP use Coca Cola, Kroger, Walmart, Kelloggs and other corporations have all lobbied the United States Department of Agriculture and congress to prevent any measures being put in place that would restrict SNAP use to healthy food choices. The recent congressional fracas about food stamp expenditures was like the shutdown debate, all for show. The Republican right wing advocates the most extreme anti-government positions in or-
der to satisfy their base. Democrats rightly complain about cruelty to the poor but while the drama goes on the real welfare cheats keep cashing in, unlikely to be disadvantaged by either side after the dust settles. It is no exaggeration to say that every policy decision in state capitols and Washington D.C. is made with the needs of big business in mind. Wars against drugs and dead beat dads may resonate with the public, but the end result always includes a means of increasing corporate profits. No matter what happens after the shut down kabuki theater ends, Walmart will not lose one penny of its food stamp revenues. No one on Capitol Hill will mess with the 1 percent. The business of America is still business.
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in Black Agenda Report. Kimberly can be reached via email at Margaret.Kimberley@ BlackAgendaReport.com. Click on this story at www.flcourier. com to write your own response.
Washington football team should drop the ‘R’ word “At a moment when President Obama and Republican leaders remain deeply divided, this week saw them come to a bipartisan agreement on one thing: It is time for Washington’s NFL team to stop using a racial slur and to finally change its name.” – Oneida Indian Nation radio ad This past Sunday, as Dallas and Washington revived their annual NFL football rivalry, they also found themselves in the middle of an escalating fight over the name of the Washington football team. In fact, as part of its “Change the Mascot” campaign; the Oneida Indian Nation is running radio ads in Dallas and the other cities where the Washington football team is playing this year calling for D.C.’s team to drop the “R” word from its name.
A racial slur This is all part of a larger movement among civil rights organizations and political leaders from both the left and right who correctly point out that the term “Redskins” is a racial slur. Suzan Shown Harjo, a Native American woman who lives in Washington and directs the Morning Star Institute, has been leading this fight and others like it since the 1960s. President Obama recently weighed in, saying, “If I were the owner of the team and I knew that there was a name of my team – even if it had a storied his-
MARC H. MORIAL TRICE EDNEY WIRE
tory – that was offending a sizable group of people, I’d think about changing it.” He added that he did not believe “attachment to a particular name should override the real, legitimate concerns that people have.”
Badge of honor Team owner, Dan Snyder disagrees. He has vowed to never change the name and in a letter to season ticket holders last week he called the team name, “a badge of honor.” Obviously not everyone agrees. The controversy has now gotten the attention of top NFL officials. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently said, “If we are offending one person, we need to be listening and making sure that we’re doing the right things to try to address that,” and officials of the Oneida Indian Nation and the NFL are scheduled to meet next month to discuss the issue. Consistent with our commitment to equality and the dignity of every human being, the National Urban League stands with all those demanding the Washington football team stop using the R word. Ray Halbritter, leader of the Oneida Indian Nation, recently stated his opposition this way: “Let’s be clear,
the R word is defined in the dictionary as an offensive term. It was the name that was used against our people when we were forced off our lands at gunpoint. So it is has a sordid history and it’s time for a change.” He added, “History is littered with people who have vowed never to change something – slavery, immigration, women’s rights – so we think one thing that’s really great about this country is when many people speak out, change can happen.”
Legacy of discrimination The Dallas vs. Washington football game this year was played on the eve of Columbus Day, another reminder of the legacy of discrimination and oppression inflicted on Native Americans. Demanding the Washington football team remove the “R” word from its name is a simple request for respect. As the Oneida Indian Nation radio ad states, “This country may be politically divided…but we should all be able to agree that racial slurs are unacceptable and they shouldn’t be used to market this country’s capital city. We deserve to be treated simply as what we are: Americans.”
Marc Morial is president/CEO of the National Urban League. Click on this story at www.flcourier.com to write your own response.
Time to stop abusing America’s public employees The government shutdown engineered by the Republican tea party zealots in the House of Representatives has finally ended after nearly three weeks. The damage was done. Infants went without nutrition. Children were locked out of pre-school programs. Scientists lost support and locked up labs. The people who took the biggest hit, of course, were public employees — the workers who serve the American people. Some 800,000 of them were initially furloughed without pay. Ironically, those deemed the most essential paid the highest price.
Indentured servants “Essential” government employees were, as Jeffrey David Cox, the president of the American Federation of Government Employees, told me on my radio show, essentially “indentured servants.” They were forced to work without pay. About half of AFGE’s 670,000 members are deemed “essential.” They are required to work, and face disciplinary action if they don’t. But they weren’t getting paid and
on our debts threatened a
Rev. global financial meltdown. Jesse L. The time for these games Jackson, has long past. Scorn for bureaucracy Sr. TRICEEDNEYWIRE.COM
didn’t until the shutdown ended Oct. 17. These employees included nurses, food inspectors, janitors, firefighters and more. Most are not big earners. They have to buy food and gas, pay rent or mortgages, keep electricity and heat on. Most have to pay to get to work and back — in gas, in mass transit fees, in parking. They were forced to draw down savings or go into debt just to keep going. This is unacceptable. We all benefit from dedicated and skilled public servants. They work for us. When private employers forced people to work without pay, it was called slavery.
Reputation undermined Despite the fact that it has ended, it is clear that shutting down the government has undermined America’s reputation across the world. The threat of defaulting
and government is a longstanding American tradition. But perhaps the now ended shutdown will help people realize that we have a huge stake in an effective and efficient government. We should show far more respect for those we employ with our tax dollars. They are like all workers. They struggle to support their families. They go to work every day. Many live paycheck to paycheck, while laboring to put aside a little money to pay for their children’s education. Few can afford to work without pay and none should ever again be forced to do so. Shutting down the government and punishing the people who work for us should be unacceptable to all those who care about this country.
Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. is president/CEO of the Rainbow-PUSH Coalition. Click on this story at www.flcourier.com to write your own response.
OCTOBER 25 – OCTOBER 31, 2013
Black electorate needs the most, gets the least from politicians “It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.” Thomas Sowell Why do we keep electing the same people to the same office year after year, putting them in charge of our lives, despite having the absolute proof that they have not, are not, and will not work in our best interests? The debt ceiling Kabuki Theater is yet another in a long line of what we have seen before - just a few months ago - in our so-called “government of, by, and for the people”
Stuck on stupid We, the electorate, are just stuck on stupid. We have elected what has literally become an aristocracy to rule over us. They play games with our lives by trying to trump one another with their pompous speeches and protestations. All the while they are steadily piling up the dollars and becoming millionaires and, to add insult to injury, they are not subject to the rules they make for us. As the above quote suggests, they pay no price and feel no pain from their ridiculous wrangling, debating, and decision-making. They stroll out every now and then to give us their “insights” on what is going on in the “hallowed” halls of Congress, but then return
JAMES CLINGMAN NNPA COLUMNIST
to do nothing for us. For themselves, however, they continue to draw their pay checks, play golf, laugh and joke, and live off the public coffers by working for a government many of them say is the problem. What does that scenario say about those of us in the proletariat class? “When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson
Fear or tyranny? So what do we have, folks? Fear or tyranny? I know one thing we do have is anger. In some cases we have hopelessness, despair, and desperation as well. People are out of work, children are out of food, and families are out of time, while the boys and girls on Capitol Hill make decisions affecting our lives but exempting themselves and their children from the consequences of those decisions. Have we come to the point where the inmates are running the asylum? Many U.S. citizens are in fear for their very survival right now, and our Washington elites are conducting political business as usual,
“You know Obamacare is really I think the worst thing that has happened in this nation since DR. WILMER slavery…it is slavery in a way, beJ. LEON III cause it is making all of us subservient to the government, and TRICEEDNEYWIRE.COM it was never about health care. It was about control.” - Dr. Ben Carson, Oct. 11 of syphilis, 100 were dead of related complications, 40 of their Dr. Ben Carson is a world-re- wives had been infected and 19 nowned American neurosur- of their children had been born geon. He is a brilliant physician with congenital syphilis. with an incredibly compelling Would Dr. Carson have us beand motivational story. Born in- lieve that the ACA is worse than to poverty in Detroit in 1951 and the government sanctioned, raraised by a single mother with a cially motivated attack on the third-grade education, Carson Greenwood district of Tulsa became the first surgeon to sepOklahoma in 1921? The Greenarate conjoined twins and the wood district of Tulsa, also youngest to head a surgical deknown as Black Wall Street, was partment. His focus, work ethic the wealthiest African-American and commitment to excellence community in America. should be emulated by as many During a 16-hour period from as possible. May 31 and June 1, 1921 Whites Over the past year Dr. Carson has emerged on the political rioted, attacked the communiscene as a spokesperson for con- ty and burned it to the ground servative interests. Most recent- based upon the rumor that an ly he addressed the 2013 Values African-American shoe shiner Voter Summit in Washington, named Dick Roland touched a D.C., making the remarks refer- White female elevator operator named Sarah Page. enced above. An estimated 10,000 Afri“Obamacare” or more accucan-American residents were rately the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the worst thing in this left homeless and 35 city blocks nation since slavery? Really? I composed of 1,256 residences understand political diatribes were destroyed by fire. The offiand hyperbole but the worst cial death count by the Oklahothing in America since slavery? ma Department of Vital Statistics How can reducing the number was 39, but other estimates of Afof uninsured Americans through rican-American fatalities have an expansion of Medicaid and been up to about 300. the creation of new health insurance exchange marketplaces be Forcibly sterilized worse than slavery? From 1920 – 1970 the state of North Carolina forcibly sterilized Historically inaccurate more than 7,600 women. Most The 13th Amendment abol- of these women were poor and ished slavery in America except African American. This eugenas punishment for a crime in ics program began as a means 1865. Since then, African-Amer- to control the birth rates of poor icans have been lynched, had white woman and quickly extheir farms confiscated, been panded as an attack on Africandenied the right to vote and have American woman. Woman were had limited or no access to pub- being sterilized like cats and dogs are spayed and neutered. lic and private facilities. For an African-American of Dr. Dr. Carson wants us to believe Carson’s intellect and stature to that the ACA is worse than this? As Carson is being promoted publically make such assertions is historically inaccurate, irre- in conservative political circles sponsible and promotes many as an informed spokesman on of the racist stereotypes that are the talk circuit he has quickly bebeing used to garner support to come a political minstrel show. He’s jumping Jim Crow. overturn the law. “Jump Jim Crow’’ is a song and dance that was performed Syphilis experiment in Blackface by a White comeDoes Dr. Carson really believe dian named Thomas Dartmouth that the ACA is worse than the around 1830, the early minstrel Tuskegee syphilis experiment era of American entertainment. of 1932? This infamous clinical study was conducted by the U.S. It made a mockery of AfricanPublic Health Service on 399 Af- Americans; lampooning them as rican-American men from 1932 dim-witted, lazy, and buffoonto 1972 to trace the natural pro- ish. The expression to Jump Jim gression of untreated syphilis. Crow came to mean “to act like a These human “laboratory ani- stereotyped stage caricature of a mals” thought they were receiv- Black person” usually by a White ing free health care from the U.S. person. government. By the end of the experiment, Denigrating stereotypes Dr. Carson has once again put 28 of the men had died directly
VISUAL VIEWPOINT: GRAND REOPENING
which means merely moving from one crisis to the next and asking us to vote for them the next time around. Why should we? The shenanigans we see on a national level also take place locally. The “Bi-Polar Electorate” continues to put people in office who have demonstrated incompetence, a lack of business acumen, and a total disregard for “the people” who elected them. They only come around when they want our votes, and many of them have absolutely nothing of substance to show for their previous stint of ruler-ship over us. Yet we will allow ourselves to be swooned and swayed to vote for them again, for the simplest of reasons, knowing they have failed us in the past.
CHRISTOPHER WEYANT, THE HILL
We keep listening to and believing political hacks that are only in the game for their own self-enrichThe ridiculousness of political ment, as they lead us to the cliff engagement must stop, especially and then step aside to allow us to among Black people. We must be plummet to the rocks below. informed to the degree that no one can simply hand us a flyer with a Do-nothing politicians list of candidates for whom we The Black electorate needs the should blindly vote. We suffer the most from politi- most from politicians but obtains cal incompetence and disregard, the least; our families are at the yet we are so loyal to those who do highest risk from do-nothing polius wrong; we keep coming back to ticians; and we are the ones most them the way an abused spouse affected by cuts, layoffs, pension keeps returning for more abuse. fund reductions, and all the other We keep electing folks who make negative aspects of political conempty promises and lay out neb- trol. Don’t you want local and naulous solutions that, in the end, tional politicians who are compenever benefit us. tent, solution-oriented, and have
Dr. Ben Carson ‘jumps Jim Crow’ his Black face on political ideology that is contrary to the interests of the African-American community and validates denigrating stereotypes perpetuated by its enemies. Earlier this year Carson told a CPAC audience that “Nobody is starving on the streets (of America). We have always taken care of them. We have churches which actually are much better mechanisms for taking care of the poor because they are right there with them. This is one of the reasons we give tax breaks to churches...” He is lending his voice and using his personal narrative to validate the conservative “blame the poor” political agenda and undermine the social safety net in America. The ACA is far from perfect. The flaws in the legislation will be flushed out and addressed over time or it will die a natural death. How the Obama administration allowed the government web site to go live without beta testing, anticipating the problems and without immediate fixes for them is at least irresponsible. These issues should not invalidate the reality that providing access to health care coverage for more Americans is a good thing.
Reckless disregard As a physician Dr. Ben Carson should know better. If he has problems with the ACA he should present his issues using accurate data and facts; not baseless political ideology and foolish hyperbole. Dr Carson’s stature in the medical community makes his comments even more reckless. Even reasonable but uninformed people might try to find truth in his words. He is allowing the reputation that he has earned based upon his stellar professional accomplishments, focus, work ethic, and commitment to excellence as a surgeon to be used as a front by White ultra-conservatives. He is attempting to undermine greater access to health care and other social programs; the social safety net that is needed now more than ever before. He’s a pitiful one-man minstrel show. He’s Jumpin’ Jim Crow.
Dr. Wilmer Leon is the producer/host of the Sirisu/XM Satellite radio channel 110 call-in talk radio program “Inside the Issues with Wilmer Leon” Go to www.wilmerleon.com or email:email@example.com. Click on this story at www.flcourier.com to write your own response.
the “audacity” to buck the status quo to get things done? Ultimately, despite politics as usual, our caveat is clear: We must “seek for ourselves,” as Richard Allen told Black folks back in the 1700’s. Because, as someone said, “A government big enough to give you everything you need is a government big enough to take everything you have.” Wake up! Vote intelligently.
Jim Clingman is an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati and can be reached through his website, Blackonomics.com. Click on this story at www.flcourier.com to write your own response.
Who sounds unpatriotic? Since President Barack Obama has been President, we’ve seen the best and the worst of behavior from some of our leaders. When the President was elected, many of us felt America was at her best. For one brief moment, we thought we’d at least come close to overcoming America’s racist past. Well, that didn’t last long. We began hearing the questioning of the legitimacy of our President. It was done in several ways. His birth certificate was challenged over and over and over! Insults have been yelled at him from the floor of Congress. There is frequent talk of “taking back our country” — as if Black people don’t belong here. Some questioned his education. After criticizing his Christian faith, he was arbitrarily assigned the Muslim faith! He was mocked as a chimpanzee. He’s been called the “Kenyan.” He’s had to endure unfair criticism of the First Lady and listen to silly rhetoric about her efforts to help America’s children realize a healthier lifestyle. He’s been called a dictator, arrogant, lazy — you name it!
Patriotic critics? All the time, these over the top critics claim to be patriotic. This led me to my dictionary to reaffirm the meaning of patriotism. I came up with, “A patriot is one who loves his country and zealously supports its authority and interests”. Surely the President fits that bill. He’s endured the insults with grace. He has worked hard to reduce the nation’s debt –and succeeded in a big way. He’s promoted job growth in an effort to put the American people to work. He’s built positive relations with numerous leaders of other nations. He’s worked to get immigration reform. He’s championed an affordable health care plan for all in need of health care. He’s supported a non-discrimination clause based upon preexisting conditions. He’s promoted women’s rights, signed the Violence Against Women’s Act, supported fair pay for women, named two women judges to the Supreme Court and the list goes on. As for his critics, they caused the government to shut down, voted more than 40 times to take affordable health care away from the most vulnerable, blocked the Jobs Bill, defeated the Farm Bill, threatened to take away basic subsistence from women, infants and children who’ve got no other means of support.
Twisted behavior They’ve tried to obliterate a woman’s right to choose health care and crash the economy. They blocked tax on companies that shipped jobs overseas, opened the floodgates for cam-
Dr. E. Faye Williams, Esq. TRICE EDNEY WIRE
‘A patriot is one who loves his country and zealously supports its authority and interests.’ Surely the President fits that bill. He’s endured the insults with grace. paign donations that suppress human rights, blocked immigration reform that would’ve added over 1 trillion dollars to our economy in a decade, blocked benefits to homeless veterans, blocked health care benefits for 911 first responders who became ill from being at Ground Zero, blocked improvements to domestic violence programs, attempted to block the Unemployment Extension bill and more. As soon as the president was in office, a team of critics met to figure out how to make him fail. More reasonable people have begun to say, “This was all about trying to bring-down the president, and block any success for which he might get credit”. All of this blocking is twisted behavior that goes beyond politics. These actions are the essence of unpatriotic behavior.
Unpatriotic acts The critics are the ones who shut down the government - an unpatriotic act - for over two weeks. This was an attempt to block the President’s efforts for the good of our nation, but they made life miserable for many. Just in case I’m not clear on who the unpatriotic ones are, here’s what Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) said when midway through his opening remarks at a recent hearing. He held up a small blue- edged mirror facing across the room and said, “If Republican colleagues will look at me, I will show you who is responsible.”
Dr. E. Faye Williams is National Chair of the National Congress of Black Women Inc. She can be reached at www.nationalcongressbw.org. Click on this story at www.flcourier.com to write your own response.
OCTOBER 25 – OCTOBER 31, 2013
Morehouse Man tapped to head Homeland Security If confirmed by Senate, Obama’s nominee, Jeh Johson, would be first Black in post
governor of Arizona, Napolitano came to Washington with strong border-security credentials and practiced political instincts.
Praise from Bush officials
BY BRIAN BENNETT AND CHRISTI PARSONS TRIBUNE WASHINGTON BUREAU (MCT)
WASHINGTON — When Jeh Johnson, Obama’s pick to run the Department of Homeland Security, moved to Washington to be the top lawyer at the Pentagon in 2009, he launched a charm offensive. He hosted regular dinners with former Bush administration lawyers and Republican congressional staff. Some were held at an expensive organic restaurant called Nora in downtown D.C., recalls John B. Bellinger III, who served as legal adviser for the State Department and the National Security Council during the George W. Bush administration. “He was a good listener,” Bellinger said, adding that Johnson was an important voice in maintaining continuity in military and counterterrorism policy from the Bush years to Obama’s administration. “He knew that it’s good to have friends on both sides of the aisle,” he said.
Must tackle terrorism, immigration Johnson, whose nomination was announced by President Barack Obama on Oct. 18, will need that political touch if he is confirmed to manage one of the largest, most besieged departments in the federal government. Homeland Security has struggled to streamline how it shares information on domestic terrorism threats and helps protect critical American businesses from cyber attacks. He will be under pressure from immigration advocates to slow down the rate of deportations,
OLIVIER DOULIERY/ABACA PRESS/MCT
Jeh Johnson, center, stands in the Rose Garden of the White House with President Barack Obama, right, and Vice President Joe Biden as he is nominated to be the new head of the Department of Homeland Security on Oct. 18. which have increased every year that Obama has been in office. Unions representing immigration officers are in open revolt over the Obama administration’s orders that agents focus on removing immigrants with criminal records before others. Though the job requires a deft understanding of how to prevent terrorists from launching attacks inside the U.S., Johnson also will be front and center in helping Obama achieve one of his top goals for his second term: persuading Congress to overhaul the country’s immigration system.
Morehouse, Columbia grad Johnson has been in the White House situation room “in moments of decision,” and has a “deep understanding of the threats and challenges facing the United States,” Obama said at a
news conference. At the same time, Obama said, Johnson knows “that keeping America safe requires us also upholding the values and civil liberties that make America great.” Johnson was raised in Wappingers Falls, N.Y. He completed his undergraduate studies at Morehouse College, a historically Black college in Atlanta, and graduated from Columbia Law School. In his 30s, Johnson was made a partner in the New York law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. Johnson left the firm to work in public service several times, including trying corruption cases as a federal prosecutor in New York and later, during the Clinton administration, working as general counsel to the Air Force. In 2008, he was an early fundraiser and adviser to Obama’s
presidential campaign. If confirmed by the Senate he would be the fourth homeland security secretary and the first AfricanAmerican to serve in the post.
Replacement for Napolitano Republicans are questioning whether he has the experience needed to take the reins of an agency with 240,000 employees or whether he was simply chosen because he is a crony of the president’s. Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama said Johnson will have to demonstrate to the Senate a “commitment to achieving management control of this sprawling department and its law enforcement duties.” Johnson would replace Janet Napolitano, who resigned in September to run the University of California system. As the former
Johnson doesn’t have a long public record on immigration, which could blunt objections to his nomination from opponents of the White House’s immigration policy. Because Johnson helped to establish the legal framework for lethal drone strokes, his nomination could step up the pressure on the Obama administration to reveal more about those secret operations. Former Bush administration officials praised Johnson for pushing to keep in place the military commissions court system for trying terrorists established after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Some of the reforms to the commissions under Obama’s watch were designed by Johnson, including limiting the use of hearsay evidence.
‘Sharp analytic mind’ Sandy Hodgkinson, who had high-level positions in the Pentagon under both Bush and Obama, said “there were sharp contrasts in the proposed national security policies between the two administrations. He was the person who helped bridge them.” “He certainly will bring a sharp analytic mind and a questioning style to an agency that really needs good leadership right now,” Hodgkinson said. While at the Pentagon, Johnson helped lead a high-level working group that advised Obama that repealing the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy would pose little risk to the effectiveness of the force. He has described this work to friends as one of his proudest moments in public service.
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October 25 - October 31, 2013
Poor using cigarettes to kill hunger See page B3
SHARING BLACK LIFE, STATEWIDE
Haddon shocked by Jakes’ reaction to ‘Preachers’ See page B5
SHARING BLACK LIFE, STATEWIDE
Shown above is Radcliffe Bailey’s “Returnal,” amixed-media medicine cabinet collage. It is part of the exhibit now at the University of Florida.
The “Memory Jar’’ is made of hand-built clay with encrusted shards and found objects.
The Ndunga mask is from the Woyo, early 20thcentury wood.
Introducing Kongo across the Waters The traveling art exhibit, which explores the legacy of West Central Africa, will be housed at the University of Florida for the next five months BY PENNY DICKERSON SPECIAL TO THE FLORIDA COURIER
n Oct. 22, the University of Florida’s Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art and the Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA) in Tervuren, Belgium opened a groundbreaking exhibit in Gainesville. “Kongo across the Waters’’ is comprised of 162 selections ranging from sculptures, drawings, engravings, baskets, and contemporary mixed-media which “reveal new cultural connections across multiple centuries and continents.” Admission is free. An accompanying same-titled book accompanies the exhibit authored by three of the leading inspirations: Susan Cooksey, Harn Museum’s curator of African Art; Dr. Robin Poynor, professor of Art History (University of Florida); and Hein Vanhee, curator of Belgium’s RMCA.
The Florida connection Most Floridians are abundantly aware of the peninsula’s namesake founder: Spanish conquistador Ponce de Leon who proclaimed his discovery La Florida 500 years ago in April 1513. The aforementioned curators and scholar assert that “his crew comprised two free Africans who had adopted the Spanish names of Juan Garrido and Juan Gonzalez Ponce de Leon.” The latter al-
The anthropormorphic power figure, Nkisi Nkondi, is of shell, vegetal fiber, metal, pigment and glass.
Renee Stout (African-American)
Steve Bandoma (Congolese)
Radcliffe Bailey (African-American)
Edouard Duval-Carrié (Haitian)
ludes, “with the first Europeans came also the first Africans to the North American continent.” They are believed to have Kongo origins and this historical corrective is among many revelations that Kongo across the Waters seeks to present. Through this exhibit, broad audiences can experience a visual manifestation that magnifies artistic and cultural African heritage contributions and how descendents preserved it.
Kongo vs. Congo The Congo River has earned geographic familiarity that rivals Egypt’s Nile; however, Kongo specifically refers to “a vast kingdom mostly south of the Congo in West Central Africa.” The kingdom was established by the Bakongo people prior to 1483 and early encounters with Portuguese sailors. According to Vanhee, curator of RMCA, “One of the reasons to focus on the Kongos is the Belgium museum has all these bodies of (art) work, and a growing body of scholarly literature exists that puts emphasis on the Kongo contributions. Kongo with a “K” refers to historical people speaking the language Kikongo (in a specific region) now north of Angola…not the current modern states.” Please see EXHIBIT, Page B2
José Bedia (Cuban, American resident)
OCTOBER 25 – OCTOBER 31, 2013
Grambling players end boycott ASSOCIATED PRESS
GRAMBLING, La. — Naquan Smith and his Grambling football teammates have no regrets about a nearly weeklong boycott
FLORIDA COMMUNITY CALENDAR
Williams, who advised them to “go out there and play football.” Players refused to travel to Saturday’s game at Jackson State, a forfeit, because of issues with university leaders and complaints about travel and poorly cleaned facilities. Grambling (0-8) hosts Texas Southern on Saturday.
The African Children’s Choir will perform in Lakeland, Orlando, DeLand, Ocala and Jacksonville this weekend and next week. Their appearances help to raise awareness of the need of destitute and orphaned children in Africa. More information: http:// africanchildrenschoir.com/seethe-choir/.
St. Petersburg: “The Chocolate Nutcracker’’ is now “The Nutcracker Twist.’’ The performance is Dec. 31 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at The Mahaffey Theater. Jacksonville: The Second Annual Youth Justice Awareness Month event is Oct. 26 at 1 p.m. at Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum, 101 W 1st St.
Orlando: The 10th annual Onyx Awards, hosted by Stephon Vann, takes place Oct. 26 at the Rosen Centre Hotel,
Eddie G. Robinson Museum on campus. Smith said that the entire team was present and that the vote to return to the field was “100 percent.” “The football team took a
stance on what we thought was right,” Smith said. “We did not quit on our university. There are many problems that exist, and if no one says anything, nothing will become of our institution.” Smith said players decided to end the boycott after reaching out to several Grambling greats, including the former coach Doug
AFRICAN CHILDREN’S CHOIR
Tampa: Kanye West’s The Yeezus Tour with Kendrick Lamar makes a stop at the Tampa Bay Times forum on Nov. 30.
Orlando: Author James McBride, whose newest book is “The Good Lord Bird,” will do a reading on Oct. 30 at Valencia College’s Performing Arts Center at 1 p.m. The center is on Valencia’s East Campus, 701 N. Econlockhatchee Trail. For more information, visit http://valenciacollege. edu/east/humanities/SpeakerSeries.cfm. Jacksonville: SaltyLight Productions will present the Jacksonville Community Unity Festival, a family reunion-style atmosphere, on Nov. 16 at Brewster’s MegaPlex from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. Sponsors, volunteers and vendors are needed. For more information, visit www.theCOREtour.org or call 904-610-5426.
that forced the university to forfeit its game against Jackson State on Saturday. Grambling players stood behind Smith on Monday during a news conference outside the
MIAMI MASS CHOIR
The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation will present John P. Kee and New Life Community Choir on Oct. 27 at 4 p.m. for Free Gospel Sundays. The free concert will be at the Knight Concert Hall. The resident choir is the Miami Mass Choir. PHOTO BY MANNY HERNANDEZ 9840 International Drive. Honorees include Congresswoman Corrine Brown. More information: www.onyxawards.com. Jacksonville: The Kinfolks’ Seventh Annual Soul Food
Festival in Jacksonville on Nov. 30 at Metropolitan Park. Visit ilovesoulfood.com for more information or call 888695-0888. St. Petersburg: Cedric the Entertainer will be at The
Mahaffey on Nov. 8 for an 8 p.m. show. Clearwater: John Legend and Tamar Braxton are scheduled at Ruth Eckerd Hall on Nov. 4. St. Petersburg: Tickets are
BY BARBARA ORTUTAY ASSOCIATED PRESS
Popular for 25-34 group As Americans shop, socialize and entertain themselves online, a growing number are turning to the Internet to find dates. Some 11 percent of people who started a long-term relationship in the past decade say they met their partner online. Even so, only 10 percent of Americans say they’ve tried online dating. Online dating is most popular among men and women ages 25 to 34. Nearly a quarter of them have used online dating sites, compared with just 10 percent of people in the 18 to 24 age group. For ages 35 to 44, it’s 17 percent and then the numbers fall to the single digits. Three percent of those over 65 have dabbled in online dating.
7 percent Black usership Whites are slightly more likely to use dating sites than other ethnicities – 11 percent compared with 7 percent for Blacks and 5 percent of Hispanics, according to the survey. People without a high school diploma were the least likely to use the Internet to find a date, while those who have completed “some college’’ were the most likely. While a relatively small fraction of people use online dating sites, 42 percent of Americans say they know someone who has, up from 31 in 2005. Among those 65 or older, the number grew to 24 percent from 13 percent. Once upon a time, couples who found each other online felt compelled to spin alternate “how we met’’ tales, but that’s no longer the
Orlando: The monthly meeting of the Central Florida Chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical
Views about online dating have evolved NEW YORK – Online dating is shedding its stigma as a refuge for the desperate, but people who use sites such as Match.com and eHarmony are still in the minority. Thirty-eight percent of Americans who are “single and looking’’ say they’ve used an online dating site or mobile dating app, according to a new study. The report out Monday from the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project suggests that attitudes toward online dating “have progressed in a clearly positive direction.’’ In fact, 59 percent of Internet users agree that online dating is a good way to meet people. That’s up from 44 percent in 2005.
on sale now for Rick Ross at The Mahaffey Theater on Nov. 22.
Above is a photo from BlackPeopleMeet. com, an online Black dating service. case. Perhaps it’s the result of changing attitudes. In 2005, 29 percent of Internet users agreed that people on online dating sites were “desperate.’’ In Pew’s most recent study, that number fell to 21 percent. But online dating isn’t all chocolate hearts and red roses. More than half of online daters say they believe someone else “seriously misrepresented themselves’’ in an online dating profile. More than a quarter have felt uncomfortable or harassed by someone who contacted them. The results of Pew’s recent study aren’t directly comparable to its 2005 report because the way surveyors count the “online dating population’’ has changed. There were no dating apps eight years ago. That said, the percentage of Americans who say they have used an online dating website grew from 3 percent in 2008 to 6 percent in 2009, and 9 percent this year.
Other findings of study Match.com is the most popular dating site, according to the 2013 survey, just as it was in 2005. No. 2 this year is eHarmony. Yahoo Personals was in second place in 2005, but it no longer exists. Searching for it online will take you to Match.com. Twenty-nine percent of respondents say they know someone who has been in a long-term relationship or married someone they met online, compared with 15 percent in 2005. Forty-six percent of people who use online dating sites say finding someone long-term is a major reason they use the sites. The 2013 telephone survey was conducted from April 17 to May 19 among a sample of 2,252 U.S. adults, including people who don’t own a landline. It has a margin of error of 2.3 percentage points.
Barbara Ortutay is a technology writer for AP.
In addition to the Portuguese being impressed with the Kingdom’s “political organization,” people from Kongolese were excellent self-taught artisans and intellectual traders who both presented and exchanged exquisite handmade gifts ranging from carved ivory tusks to finely woven raffia textiles. “At its height, the Kongo kingdom occupied a pivotal position – geographically, geopolitically, and culturally – in the continent’s early interactions with Western colonial powers, creating a legacy that can still be felt today in the Diaspora communities of the American Southeast,” said Cooksey. “We’re especially pleased to include in this exhibition several artifacts from the Kongo Diaspora that have rarely been seen in a museum setting.”
Viva Florida influence Kongo across the Waters serves as an apt complement to the “Viva Florida 500 years of European presence in 2013” commemoration, but it is crucial to emphasize – “the project’s focus is on the historical and cultural connections between the United States and Kongo.” The exhibit embodies five separate sections, each offering thematic tributes to the Kongo kingdom. Section I begins with 1598 Congo maps and the recognition of Kongolese elite’s Christianity conversion following teachings by European priests. An array of Crucifix symbols carved from wood, copper alloy, brass, ivory, and metal are on display along St. Anthony images and staff finials.
Crossing the Water The exhibit makes no attempt to mute the voluminous occurrence of Trans-Atlantic slave trade and its role in North America’s economic growth. Over one-third of enslaved Africans came from Central Africa, which included Kongo peoples. Section II of the exhibit explores how culture traveled to America and formed communities as proven by various archaeological excavations. A “Replica St. Christopher medal” made of silver alloy from Fort Mose, St. Augustine and “Conjurer’s cache” from the Charles Carroll house exca-
Society is Nov. 9, 10 a.m., at the downtown Orlando Public Library, 101 E. Central Blvd., Orlando. Topic: Blended Families: Native Americans in African-American Families. More information: 407527-2109 or 386-253-1516.
vation in Annapolis, Md. – believed to be the hidings of an enslaved woman – are evidentiary proof is that culture successfully crossed the waters and slaves longed to preserve cultural roots.
Kongo in the 19th century Section’s III and IV of the exhibit celebrate the fusion of African traditions including folk art, music, ritual, trade, and funerary, all of which remain an abundant part of AfricanAmerican life today. “Bells with three clappers, drums, whistles, and horns” exemplify how adoration for music evolved from early melodic instruments. The laying of textiles on graves to honor the dead along with rites and voudou (voodoo) ritual is also exposed. The “Ndunga mask “ and commemorative “Memory Jar,” further advance how the Harn’s exhibit upholds historical relevance previously overlooked by scholars, but currently gains respect by both academics and emerging artists.
Contemporary artists and interactive media Five contemporary artists from diverse cultural backgrounds offer works to Kongo across the Waters that “represent ways in which Kongo influence is manifested in contemporary art.” They are: Renee Stout (AfricanAmerican), Steve Bandoma (Congolese), José Bedia (Cuban, American resident), Radcliffe Bailey (AfricanAmerican), and Edouard Duval-Carrié (Haitian). Stunning is Bailey’s “Returnal,” which is a framed medicine cabinetcollage tracing his own roots from DNA sequence to slave ships and Marcus Garvey. An interactive music platform will allow guests to listen to authentic Kongo music via sound sticks and earphones and a commissioned video will demonstrate the roots of hambone, juba, jazz, and gospel. Closing the final section is a photographic mural depicting 21st-century Kongo lifestyles including step shows and the influence of “iconography to create new art.” According to University of Florida Professor Dr. Robin Poyner, “an underlying foundation of African-American culture is Kongo culture.” For more information on the traveling exhibition, visit kongoacrossthewaters.net.
OCTOBER 25 – OCTOBER 31, 2013
Poor rely on cigarettes when food is low Smoking a way to deal with hunger for those short on groceries BY ALFRED LUBRANO PHILADELPHIIA INQUIRER (MCT)
PHILADELPHIA — Many people smoke after they’ve eaten. Lindell Harvey smokes because he hasn’t. “You smoke out of anxiety because you don’t have the food you need,” said Harvey, 54, who lives alone in Crum Lynne, Pa. He receives disability checks from the Navy that keep him $2,000 below the poverty line. Harvey relies on his Newports to see him through his hard days. “In my mind, the smoking becomes a comfort as I try to create ways to get food.” In lives where people endure a dearth of nearly everything important — food, jobs, medical care, a safe place to live — the poor suffer an abundance of one thing: Nicotine. The poor are more likely to smoke than those above the poverty line. In Philadelphia, there’s a 50 percent higher prevalence of smoking among the poor than among the non-poor, according to Giridhar Mallya, director of policy and planning for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. The poorest of the 10 largest U.S. cities, Philadelphia also has one of the highest rates of smoking of any big city, according to a health department report.
Complex link The poor smoke to manage high levels of stress and depression, Mallya said, as much a part of poverty as empty pockets. Then, too, the poor are
more likely to be exposed to nearly ubiquitous cigarette advertising at corner stores, which exacerbates smoking, Mallya said. It’s also harder for the poor to get smoking-cessation counseling and nicotine patches than others who may receive help through insurance, experts said. Even as health insurance comes to the poor through the Affordable Care Act, smoking remains a problem: Smokers may be charged a premium of up to 50 percent, according to Frank Leone, director of the Comprehensive Smoking Treatment Program at the University of Pennsylvania. Mariana Chilton, a professor at Drexel University’s School of Public Health, noted the complex link between smoking and poverty: “When you’re deprived, it creates enormous mental anguish,” said Chilton, an expert on hunger. “One of the fastest, most convenient ways to help is a cigarette. It’ll keep you sane, and keep you from hurting yourself or others.”
‘Loosie’ instead of lunch Smoking is also a way to deal with hunger, Chilton said. Families without enough to eat are more likely to smoke than foodsecure families, she said. “Smoking treats hunger pangs,” Chilton said. “Instead of having lunch, mothers will feed their children, then smoke.” That’s how it works in Camden, said Elaine Styles, 51, a laid-off day care worker. “I smoke so I don’t have to eat,” she said. “I make sure my family eats, then I have a loosie (a cigarette sold singly for 50 cents or
Lindell Harvey, photographed on Oct. 11 at his home in Crum Lynne, Pa., smokes two packs a day. He had just finished his last cigarette and said he couldn’t afford any more until next month. APRIL SAUL/ PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER/MCT
so) and go to bed.” Because smoking is costly, people ask, aren’t the poor being irresponsible for misallocating money better spent on food? Low-income smokers nationally spend 14 percent of household income on cigarettes, Mallya said. In Philadelphia, the average smoker spends about $1,000 a year on cigarettes, he added.
Don’t ‘blame the victim’ Mallya laments the fact that cigarettes in Philadelphia are relatively cheap — $5 to $6 a pack — compared to other cities where added taxes make them more dear. The more cigarettes cost, the fewer are smoked, he said. The morality of buying cigarettes when you’re poor is complicated. Most poor
people want to quit smoking, surveys show. But poverty itself, combined with the overwhelming power of nicotine, make stopping hard. “People smoke knowing is not good for them,” said Leone of Penn, who is also a pulmonologist. “Nicotine gets into the part of the brain stem that creates a sense of safety, comfort, warmth. If you have to decide between buying bread or cigarettes, not buying cigarettes creates a disease and agitation in the brain that says there’s only one way to fix this situation: Just smoke.” Yale University sociologist Elijah Anderson said people shouldn’t “blame the victim” by denigrating smoking behavior without understanding poverty, its underlying causes, and a poor person’s “limited sense of having a future.”
Among the poor, especially low-income AfricanAmericans, menthol worsens smoking. A flavor added to cigarettes, menthol makes the cigarette taste less harsh, which causes the smoker to take deeper, more frequent drags, Mallya said. That, in turn, increases the harm of cigarettes. For 50 years, menthol cigarettes were promoted in Black neighborhoods; now, 90 percent of African-American smokers in Philadelphia smoke menthol cigarettes, Mallya said. “There may be something biological at work,” Leone said, adding that science is studying whether race makes a difference. “But that doesn’t cloud the intense effort by cigarette marketers.”
Some good news While still high, rates of
secondhand smoke exposure in the city have decreased by nearly 7 percentage points between 2004 and 2012, health department research shows. And teen smoking is down from nearly 16 percent to over 9 percent in the same time frame, while there are slightly fewer adults lighting up these days. Mallya attributes that to an intensive public education program and his department’s efforts to help get many poor people smoking-cessation help. But that doesn’t mean the air will clean up any time soon. As Amy Hillier, a professor in Penn’s School of Design, who helped study cigarette advertising, said, “Sometimes a pack of Marlboros will save someone’s life in terms of stress.”
Tips can help save money on your holiday flights reasonable fare — book it fast, Hobica said. You’re not likely to get anything better by holding out, and you could lose your seat. “If you look on Kayak and you see United is charging $300 and everyone else is charging $500, I’d definitely book,” Hobica said. “If you see something that looks good or reasonable, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy it.” Seaney said you can figure on adding $5 to the price of your flight for each day you wait to book between now and November.
BY ELY PORTILLO CHARLOTTE OBSERVER (MCT)
Planes are more crowded and fees seem to keep rising, but travel experts say ticket prices aren’t shooting up this year, and with a little planning, you can fly affordably this holiday season. “Our data shows ticket prices for Thanksgiving up about 1 percent compared to last year, which is less than inflation,” Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare.com, wrote in an email. But cheaper air travel might mean taking flights at odd times or off-peak days, and even choosing flights to and from outlying cities instead of your final destination. Don’t bank on getting a guaranteed overhead bin. While planes are usually full around Thanksgiving and Christmas, federal data show how dramatically “load factors” — the percentage of seats full — have grown in recent years as carriers keep a lid on capacity. In 2003, for example, domestic US Airways flights originating from Charlotte, N.C., were 71 percent full in November and 70 percent full in December. Last year, US Airways planes from Charlotte were 87 and 86 percent full in November and December, respectively. Here’s advice from two airfare experts on how to fly affordably:
Pick unpopular days and times Airlines price every seat as a function of supply and demand, and there’s a lot less demand on some days than others. For example, most people want to leave Wednesday night before Thanksgiving and fly home the Sunday after, making these the most expensive days to fly. If you’re willing to give
Wait if you must
JOE CAVARETTA/SOUTH FLORIDA SUN SENTINEL/MCT
Passengers wait in line at the Spirit Airlines check-in counter at Fort. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Nov. 24, 2010. The Mirimar-based airline had a computer system malfunction and was checking in passengers by hand on the busiest travel day of the year at aiports in Fort. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. up some family time, flying on Thanksgiving Day and returning Saturday, you can possibly save hundreds of dollars. If you can tolerate a longer dose of your family and fly on the Monday before Thanksgiving with a return trip the Tuesday after, you also can save big. “Usually Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday are the cheapest days to travel,” said George Hobica, founder of AirfareWatchdog.com.
Look at nearby airports “Everybody suggests that, but people forget,” Hobica said of the old trick of flying from a nearby, smaller air-
port instead of a closer hub. The differences in flying from nearby airports were apparent on some fares last week. For example, a nonstop round-trip flight from Denver to Charlotte Douglas International Airport came in at $529 on US Airways. But from Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, N.C., Frontier Airlines was selling nonstop flights to Denver for $357. And if you’re flying to Washington, a flight to Baltimore-Washington International is almost certainly hundreds of dollars less than a flight to Washington Reagan National. Of course, you trade time for money: Greensboro is a 90-minute drive
from Charlotte, and BWI is at least a few Metro transfers from downtown Washington.
Check airline websites often “The main advice is to look constantly,” Hobica said. He tells people to keep windows open on their browser, and hit “refresh” often throughout the day to see whether the price of a flight changes. Undeclared sales can last for only a few hours on each route. One seat at a lower fare class could open up due to a canceled reservation. Hobica also advises people to look on the airlines’
websites, not just flight aggregators such as Kayak and Orbitz. Some airlines, such as Southwest, offer bookings only on their own sites. And an airline’s website will always have the most up-to-date information, Hobica said, because the travel websites have to crawl the airline’s websites to get their data. There’s no perfect time to book before a flight, Hobica said. “To presume there’s a magic time, like 60 days ahead, that’s ridiculous,” he said.
Don’t hesitate to grab a deal If you spot a deal — or even what you think is a
On the other hand, if every flight you can find is too expensive for you to afford — or if the prices are so high you’re considering driving instead — don’t give up. Instead, consider waiting a bit, Hobica said. “Sometimes, two weeks before the holidays the airlines relent and lower fares,” he said. “If you simply couldn’t afford an $800 fare, you have nothing to lose if you wait and look a couple weeks before. “That said, you’ll be leaving on the 6 a.m. flight.”
Be persistent Airline pricing is a phenomenally complicated business, with millions of seats priced and re-priced constantly based on availability, demand and competition. “They’re changing constantly,” Hobica said of airfares, which might be parceled out in 20 price classes for different blocks of seats on every plane. “They adjust the number of seats available in all fare classes throughout the day.” In the end, Hobica said, there’s no way to game the system. The best advice he has is dogged persistence. “There’s no magic bullet,” Hobica said. “You can’t second-guess these people.”
FROM Family Features
his Halloween, throw a wickedly wonderful fete for family and friends. With help from the Wilton entertaining experts, you’ll have all the tricks to treat your guests to a spooky celebration that will leave them howling with delight. Halloween’s not just for the kids anymore, so before you put on your costume, grab your baking and decorating supplies and get ready to let the creepy crawlers loose. “Halloween is the one time of the year that you can take your decorating skills to the dark side,” said Nancy Siler, vice president of consumer affairs at Wilton. “From finishing pumpkin cookies with ghastly grins to creating creepy cakes decorated like graveyard skulls, it’s the perfect holiday to have some fun in the kitchen.” Try these tips from the Wilton test kitchen for tasty and terrifying treats: • Creepy cupcakes: Transform traditional cupcakes into other worldly creations by decorating with eyeballs, spider webs or candy corn. Set up a decorating table during your Halloween party and let kids make their own creepy creations. • Trick the treat: Swap out the standard packaged treats for homemade sweets. Wrap cookies, pumpkin cake pops and lollipops in decorative party bags for a fearfully fun take-home treat. • Mummy wrap: Dress up your Halloween treats with themed baking cups. Pumpkins, mummies and ghosts are an instant way to give your party extra personality. • Stack the skulls: Turn the crouque-en-bouche, a popular French dessert, on its head by replacing cream puffs with miniskeleton skulls. To increase the scare factor, mix in bone-shaped cookies and antique the treats with Candy Melts candy and Color Mist food color spray. Try these recipes for Pumpkin Cake Pops and Graveyard Crouque-en-Bouche for a spooktacular Halloween party. For more unique decorating ideas and recipes visit www.wilton.com.
OCTOBER 25 – OCTOBER 31, 2013
Skull Cakes: Makes 8 skulls 4 cups all-purpose flour 2 2/3 cups granulated sugar 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves Pinch ground nutmeg 1-1/3 cups vegetable oil 4 eggs 2 cups applesauce Buttercream icing Preheat oven to 325ºF. Prepare Dimensions Mini Skull Pan with vegetable pan spray. In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cloves and nutmeg. In small bowl, whisk together oil, eggs and applesauce. Add to dry ingredients, stirring until well combined. Fill each cavity about 2/3 full with 1/3 cup batter. Reserve remaining batter. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Remove to cooling grid and cool completely. Bake remaining batter as above. To assemble, cut the domes off of fronts and backs of skulls and sandwich with buttercream icing.
Jolly Jack-o-Lantern Cookies Makes about 2 dozen cookies 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar 1 egg 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional) 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt Light Green, Black, Red and Orange Sparkle Gel Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray Easy Decorate Pumpkin Cookie Pan with vegetable pan spray. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar with electric mixer at medium speed until well blended. Beat in egg and extracts; mix well. Combine flour and salt; add to butter mixture. Beat until well blended. Press dough into cavities, filling 2/3 full. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown around edges. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Turn pan over; lightly tap pan to remove cookies. Cool completely on cooling grid. Decorate cooled cookies with Sparkle Gel, using light green for stem; black for eyes, mouths and mustaches; red for tongue; and orange for remaining pumpkin areas. Let set, about 1/2 hour.
Cookie Bones Makes about 3 dozen cookies 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar 1 egg 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional) 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray Bones Cookie Pan cavities with vegetable pan spray. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar with electric mixer at medium speed until well blended. Beat in egg and extracts; mix well. Combine flour and salt; add to butter mixture. Beat until well blended. Press dough into prepared pan cavities, filling 2/3 full. Bake 9 to 10 minutes or until light brown around edges. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Turn pan over; lightly tap pan to remove cookies. Cool completely on cooling grid. To decorate and assemble: Yellow candy color from Primary Candy Color Set, optional 3 (12-ounce) bags White Candy Melts Candy, melted
Happily Haunted Lollipops Each lollipop serves 1 White, Light and Dark Cocoa, Yellow, Black and Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice or Orange Candy Melts Candy 11.75 inch lollipop sticks Melt Candy Melts candy as needed following package instructions. Pipe or brush details of Candy Corn/Pumpkin Lollipop Mold with melted candy; chill in refrigerator 5 to 10 minutes or until set. Fill candy mold cavities with contrasting melted candy. Place lollipop stick into mold, rotating the stick so it is completely covered with melted candy. Chill in refrigerator 10 to 15 minutes or until set. Remove from candy mold. NOTE: For simpler preparation, lollipops can be molded using a single candy variety.
1 (12-ounce) bag Black Candy Melts Candy, melted Large Candy Eyeballs Brown Color Dust, optional Place assembled cakes and cookies on cooling grid positioned over cookie sheet. If desired, add yellow candy color to melted white candy; pour over cakes and cookies until well coated. Chill 10 to 15 minutes or until set. Repeat if needed. Using disposable decorating bag, pipe melted black candy face details on skull cakes; chill 5 to 10 minutes or until set. Attach candy eyeballs to skulls with dots of melted candy. If desired, brush Color Dust highlights on candy-covered bones and skulls. Using melted white candy, secure four decorated skull cakes to cake base or serving platter, hold until set; insert decorated bone cookies between cakes. Add second row of skulls, positioning between the skulls below and securing with melted candy; hold until set. Add bone cookies between skulls. Secure final skull to top of tower with melted candy; hold until set. Arrange remaining bone cookies around base of cake tower.
Spirited Pumpkin Cake Pops Each pop serves 1 1 package (15.5 to 18.25 ounces) yellow cake mix Water, eggs and oil to prepare mix Orange, Black and White Candy Melts Candy Black/White Colored Lollipop Sticks Candy Eyeballs Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare 12-cavity Silicone Petite Pumpkin Mold with vegetable pan spray. Prepare cake mix following package instructions; fill silicone mold cavities 2/3 full with cake batter. Bake 8 to 12 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from mold and cool completely. Melt orange Candy Melts candy following package instructions. Dip lollipop sticks in melted candy; insert into bottom of cakes. Using spatula or butter knife, spread melted candy onto backs of cakes; chill in refrigerator 5 to 10 minutes or until set. Place cooled cakes on cooling grid positioned over cookie sheet, candy side down; spoon or pipe melted candy over cakes until well coated. Chill in refrigerator 10 to 15 minutes or until set. Repeat if desired. Melt black Candy Melts candy in disposable decorating bag; cut small hole in tip of bag and pipe mouth, nose and eyebrows on pumpkins. If desired, pipe melted white candy teeth. Attach candy eyeballs with dots of melted candy.
OCTOBER 25 – OCTOBER 31, 2013
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Brian Sleepy, 28, is a global analyst in the United States Navy. Brian is an avid gym rat who loves traveling and staying in shape to look and feel good. His ambitions are to earn a college degree, remain positive, become successful, and to congregate with motivated and thriving individuals. Contact Brian at briansleepy619@ gmail.com Credit: T I Photography by Phil.
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South Floridian Lynn describes herself as very cool and down to earth, loves to laugh, and is very passionate about singing, dancing, and modeling. Most of all she lives life to the fullest. Contact Lynn at twitter.com/_LynnAllen_.
Haddon shocked by Jakes’ reaction to ‘Preachers’ EURWEB.COM
After Bishop T.D. Jakes spoke out against Oxygen’s new hit reality series “Preachers of LA,” Pastor Deitrick Haddon says he is shocked by the harsh criticism. The Bishop addressed his congregation earlier this month during a sermon and rebuked the reality show while denouncing the ministers for showcasing such materialistic lifestyles on television. “Now, I know you been watching that junk on TV. I want to tell you right now, not one dime of what you’re sowing right now will buy my suit. I want you to know my car is paid for. I want you to know I got my house on my own. I want you to know I’m not blingblinging. I am not shake and bake. I had money when I came to Dallas and I plan to have some Deitrick when I leave,” Jakes said.
More to reveal? Haddon responded to Jake’s criticism on Praise 102.5 in Atlanta. “I have the absolute utmost respect for Bishop T.D. Jakes and what he represents. I considered him one of our genT.D. erals in this generation,” Jakes he said. “I was a bit taken back and shocked when I saw his view on the show, being that he’s a forefather in unorthodox, unconventional methods of sharing the Gospel, whether it be through MegaFest or partnering with comedians or Oprah,’’ Haddon said. Now what Haddon didn’t take time to address were the rumors that a former jump off released pictures of his private parts to celebrity blogger Funky Dineva. Needless to say, the pics are blazing a trail throughout social media and another blogger even went on to call Haddon’s package “impressive.”
More to come for ‘This Is It’ singer Judith Hill, contestant on ‘The Voice’ and subject of ‘20 Feet,’ performing on tour, working on album BY JON BREAM STAR TRIBUNE (MCT)
MINNEAPOLIS — If Judith Hill’s life were a movie, it might be titled “20 Feet From This Is It.” Yes, that Judith Hill. The one who was in the late Michael Jackson’s rehearsal movie “This Is It” because she was going to be the featured backup singer on his 2009 tour. The one who is the youngest subject profiled in the terrific 2013 documentary about backup singers, “20 Feet From Stardom.” The one who garnered raves on NBC’s “The Voice” last spring before she was unexpectedly voted off. Hill is finally coming to an arena — not a screen — near you. She’s the opening act for Josh Groban’s tour. It’s her first shot at the spotlight in U.S. arenas with her own band, but Hill, 29, has sung in arenas before.
Debut in the works She performed at Jackson’s funeral service at Staples Center in Los Angeles and as a backup vocalist for Stevie Wonder and in Europe with 1970s French pop star Michel Polnareff. “I’ll do some of my original music,” she said from her Los Angeles home before the tour started this month. “And later some duets with Josh.” She’ll do “The Prayer,” of course, and “Remember When It Rains.” She sang on three tracks on his new album, “All That Echoes.” Hill’s own full-length debut is in the works for 2014. Earlier this month, she signed with Sony Music. The big catalyst for all this activity was the impression she made on “The Voice.” She sounds surprisingly nonchalant about the experience. “Those types of shows, it’s what you make of it,” she said. “The exposure is great. I was happy to be on it.” Although she was an early favorite to win, she wasn’t surprised to be voted off by viewers. She’d expected it two weeks earlier, in fact.
Praise for Levine The person most startled by Hill’s exit was her coach, Adam Levine of Maroon 5 fame. “I hate this country,” Levine muttered off-camera that night last May. Maybe he meant country music because Blake Shelton’s country-leaning singers have dominated the show.
Judith Hill is touring with Josh Groban, which includes several Florida shows. The tour stops at the BB&T Center in Sunrise on Nov. 6, Tampa Bay Times Forum on Nov. 6, and Orlando’s Amway Center on Nov. 9. “I don’t think Adam meant it literally,” Hill said. “It was sweet that he was so passionate. He was a great coach.” Maybe so. But Hill hasn’t heard from him since she was eliminated. Hill grew up in the music business. Her father, Robert “Pee Wee” Hill, is a bassist and her mother, Michiko, plays keyboards. The couple, who have a recording studio at their Pasadena home, met while playing in Chester Thompson’s funk group in the 1970s. They also performed with Rufus and Sly Stone.
‘20 Feet’ tour? As a result, Hill has long known some of the other background singers featured in “20 Feet From Stardom,” including Tata Vega, Rose Stone and Merry Clayton, best known as Mick Jagger’s wailing partner on “Gimme Shelter.” “Merry worked with my dad when he was Billy Preston’s bass player,” Hill said. There is talk of a tour by “20 Feet” singers, including Darlene Love, Claudia Lennear, Lisa Fischer, Clayton and others, Hill said. “It’s a matter of when.” Even though Hill has a degree in mu-
sic composition from Biola University in Southern California, she says rehearsing with Jackson for the This Is It Tour was “the best schooling ever.” He taught her what it means to be an artist. “He commanded everything — the staging, lighting, music. He was such a hard worker. He did his homework. You could see why he’s Michael Jackson.”
Serious hair As a background singer, Hill says her job is “to make the artist look good. Being an artist, there’s so much responsibility. It takes a good team.” Whether she’s singing backup or out front, Hill always sports some serious hair. Which takes longer before each show: doing her ‘do or performing vocal warmups? Hill chuckled. “I do them at the same time,” she said. “It takes about an hour. “I’ve always loved the crazy ideas on the (fashion) runway. So I check it out. I like to play with shapes, and my hair is flexible. I want to create something epic each night.” With both her hair and her voice.
OCTOBER 25 – OCTOBER 31, 2013