Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Recession Hits Ebony and Jet

Chicago-based Johnson Publishing Co. decided last week to undergo a reorganization, which will require all current employees, including those working for Ebony and Jet magazines to reapply for their jobs. Many black radio shows are reaching out to the African-American community to renew or become a subscriber of both Ebony and Jet to assist the publishing company during this financial crunch.

When I think of Ebony and Jet I think of lighting bugs, moth balls, and Grandma’s house. Honestly, I rarely read Ebony and Jet, while they make me feel all nostalgic of my childhood I would not actually pay to read either magazine. They feel old to me; nothing about them makes me want to go out a grab the latest issue. Don’t get me wrong I may read a copy if I’m in Wal-Mart and the line is long, but I put them back on the rack when it’s my turn to check out.

Jet actually offends me with its beauty of the week. Really……….. what is the purpose of the beauty of the week? Not to mention the marriage section, they always highlight people with great jobs and degrees. I guess your average Joe Smoe and Suzie Que are just not worthy of getting their wedding picture in the magazine. Fashion Fair cosmetics seem to be the major advertiser in both magazines and who still wears Fashion Fair?

Everything about these magazines seem old and out of touch with Generation X’ers. Sadly, they can not count on me to help them doing their financial crunch. But I will give the magazines a few tips

1. Get rid of beauty of the week…………NOW
2. Scrap the whole marriage section
3. Hire a younger hipper staff
4. Redesign the magazine in a way that is sleek, functional and refreshing
5. Discuss topics that are interesting to people under the age of 40
7. Finally………..REINVENT the entire magazine(s).

Friday, March 20, 2009

Walgreens Taking Ova the Hood

Jesus take the wheel. They are building another muthafreaking Walgreens in my neighborhood (or shall I say my mom’s neighborhood). Man… there is a Walgreens on damn near every corner; as a matter of fact Walgreens is becoming a staple in the black community. Walgreens is joining the ranks of liquor stores, Churches Chicken, payday loan stores, title loan stores, beauty supplies, gas stations and churches.

Seriously, Walgreens stay packed….. it does not matter that there are at least 25 within a fifteen mile radius of each other. I started asking myself why….why is Walgreens becoming so focused on black communities.

Here is my theory…

Blacks account for more HIV and AIDS cases, people estimated to be living with AIDS, and HIV-related deaths than any other racial/ethnic group in the U.S.

Overweight and obesity is even higher among blacks (estimated at over 75 percent) than the national average according to a study led by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute researchers.

Black Americans are at greater risk of developing high blood pressure (hypertension) than Caucasians or other racial groups. Although researchers do not know the exact reason for this finding, they point out that black Americans tend to have an unusually high number of risk factors for high blood pressure. These risk factors include diabetes, high stress levels and increased salt intake and sensitivity.

Cancer rates are still higher among black Americans compared to their white counterparts, according to recent statistics released by the American Cancer Society.

Rates among black men are higher by more than one-third over whites, and the rates for black women are higher by 18 percent. Blacks will represent almost 63,000 of the estimated 560,000 deaths of cancer in 2007, the ACS reports. They also will represent 153,000 of 1.7 million new cancer cases in 2007

Black heart attack patients have worse outcomes than their white counterparts in large part because of preexisting chronic health conditions and socioeconomic factors, according to a study published in the March issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, Reuters Health reports.

Do you see where I am going with this? Walgreens does not make money selling you bath soap, pantyhose, milk and eggs: they make their money selling prescriptions. The black community is a cash cow for this company…we are not a healthy group of people. Our misfortune has become their golden ticket. Until the last 6-8 years you could barely find a Walgreens in the hood. In most cases there would be one Walgreens on each side of the city. But the doctors and pharmaceutical companies has allowed them to board the money train.

It actually pisses me off because instead of helping us and giving us access to proper health care there is an entire industry banking on our people staying sick. Of course there is a class and socioeconomic aspect to our failing health. Most people obtain health insurance through their employer. However, with higher dropout rates, criminal records and lower skilled based training blacks are disproportionally represented in many work places that offer insurance benefits. Not to mention you must be half way dead before the government offer most adults health care. So if you are struggling with getting healthy remember there are people profiting from your illness. Push away from the table, let that salt go, eat more vegetables, take a walk around the block and for petes sake get that damn kids away from the playstation, kids need exercise too. All kidding aside try to focus on living a healthier life… one small step at

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Madoff vs Local Drug Dealer

A drug dealer pushes poison to people in his very own community. Although selling the poison would place in him in a better financial position, it takes away from the families of those using drugs.

The drug dealer has no heart, feeling or consideration has he takes foodstamps in lieu of cash for drugs. Yes he is aware that Lisa’s and her babies will be at the local food pantry tomorrow because there is no food in the house……but he will stack his cabinets full with treats. He feels like he is getting a bargain when Tyrone sells him a 42” flat screen television for 150.00. He is fully aware that Tyrone broke into the neighbor’s house and stole that television….their lost his gain.

The community is being terrorized by the effects of the drug dealer and his poison, yet he seems to have it all. He knows he and his product is the cause of Barbra’s eviction, he shrugs it off has he watches Mrs. Davis go back to work at the ripe age of 65 because she now has to take care of her 3 great-grand babies cuz their mama can’t stay away from the dope long enough to take care of them. But so what……… he can purchase a couple of pair of Jordans… a Gucci bag for his lady friend, 28” rims for his nice ride, make it rain on the strippers, sip on Patron and live a nice life. All at the expense of other people

Compare this scenario to ….

Madoff was best known for being a pioneer in the business of market-making. His firm, which he started five decades ago with money he earned as a lifeguard in Far Rockaway, Queens, was for a long time primarily in the business of acting as a middle man between buyers and sellers of stocks. It is an essential function for a market like the Nasdaq, which doesn't have an actual trading floor where buyers and sellers can meet face-to-face. Madoff's firm was a major driver behind the growth of the Nasdaq, creating a system that courted brokers who had mostly traded stocks on the larger New York Stock Exchange to do more of their business with the Nasdaq.

In the 1990s, Madoff used his success as a market maker to help launch an asset-management firm. Madoff raised money for his fund by exploiting his social network, often courting investors at country clubs where he or family members belonged. At the Palm Beach Country Club, Madoff reportedly found a major investor who helped attract other members for Madoff's fund.

On the surface, Madoff's funds were supposed to be low-risk investments. His largest fund reported steady returns, usually gaining a percentage point or two a month. The funds' stated strategy was to buy large cap stocks and supplement those investments with related stock-option strategies. The combined investments were supposed to generate stable returns and also cap losses.
But sometime in 2005, according to the SEC suit, Madoff's investment-advisory business morphed into a Ponzi scheme, taking new money from investors to pay off existing clients who wanted to cash out. According to a form filed with the SEC, Madoff reported that the business had $17.1 billion under management in January 2008

As the market got worse this year, Madoff continued to report to investors that his funds were up — as much as 5.6% through the end of November. That would have been a remarkable performance. During the same time, the stocks of the Standard & Poor's 500, where Madoff supposedly did most of his trading, had dropped a weighted average of 37.7%.

Despite his gains, a growing number of investors began asking Madoff for their money back. In the first week of December, according to the SEC suit, Madoff told a senior executive that there had been requests from clients for $7 billion in redemptions. On Wednesday, Madoff met with his two sons to tell them the advisory business was a fraud — "a giant Ponzi scheme," he reportedly told them — and was nearly bankrupt. The sons reportedly contacted their lawyer, who then alerted federal authorities to the fraud. Before being caught, Madoff was working on a scheme to dole out his funds' remaining $300 million to the firm's employees and his family members.

Madoff victims included..

Zsa Zsa Gabor: A lawyer for Ms. Gabor says the 91-year-old actress may have lost as much as $10 million invested through a third-party money manager. The lawyer says the loss was noticed in mid January when Ms. Gabor's husband, Frederic von Anhalt, was checking on the couple's finances.

New York University: NYU filed a lawsuit claiming J. Ezra Merkin turned over his investment responsibilities to Madoff's funds and lost $24 million of the school's money.

Carl Shapiro: Mr. Shapiro, a 95-year-old apparel entrepreneur and investor, has personally lost an estimated $400 million from the Madoff fraud

Ira Roth: Is an independent investor and lost about $1 million dollars from the Madoff fraud.

Ian Thiermann: Is an 90 year old independent investor who lost 738.000 in the Madoff scheme. After losing his life savings he was forced to go back to work at his local supermarket. He currently makes $10.00 an hour.

There were many, many more but I did not want to bore you with all the names. Basically this jerk managed to swindle people out of 50 BILLION dollars collectively. There are a unions, colleges, and non profit organizations affected by this scam. Surely we will begin to see the affects of this large loss of money. Organizations will begin to lay off , non profits that invested will be limited in the help the can provide. The colleges may have to cut back on services as well.

Both the drug deal and Madoff will wind up in jail. All for materialist possessions, the seduction of greed and the love of money left them to live out their days amongst rapist and murderers. But they have left many people to deal with the fall out of their destruction. It will take years to purge the effects of these two out the system of the affected families.

Side Note: The black man in the pic abouve is not a real drug dealer... he just played one on TV ( Showtime.. The Wire)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Is Dark Skin Back In?

Well if you read The Root or listen to News and Notes they will lead you to believe that Michelle Obama has single handily made it cool to be a dark skinned sistah. Being a chocolaty sistah myself…I some what find this offensive. Hell I never knew I was an outcast or no longer stylish.

I must admit there were times I struggled with being the darkest person in my family; I never had a problem attracting men.

The root article stated..

Gotta love the brothers who show their affection for the dark-skinned girls, even if they are hollering out the window of a passing car.
Gotta love it even more when the brother is the president, and the object of his affection is front and center for the world to see.
If a black president represents change, a dark-skinned first lady is straight-up revolutionary

News and Notes discussed how having a dark skinned first lady will change the perception of dark skinned African American women…………. To that I say really

I see nothing wrong with people having preferences, because I do. But we as a people have allowed other cultures and influences to tell us what is beautiful. African Americans are dynamic and come in a wide variety to shades to bright yellow to blue ebony. Yet we show the world that closer we get to looking African the uglier we think we are.

I love Michelle Obama and I believe that she can have a positive effect on women and young girls of all colors. While she has broken barriers and accomplished many great things………myself esteem, value and worth as a dark skinned black woman does not rest on her shoulders.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I’ve learned what’s one man piece of shit… is another man’s fertilizer.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Lesson In Black History

Before Rosa Parks, 15-year-old Claudette Colvin refused to give up her seat on the bus.

Rosa Park's name is known round the world, but what about Claudette Colvin? On March 2, 1955, nine months before Parks famously refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Ala., a skinny, 15-year-old schoolgirl was yanked by both wrists and dragged off a very similar bus.
A new book by Phillip Hoose, "Claudette Colvin, Twice Toward Justice," describes how the girl stood her ground, yelling, "It's my constitutional right" as the cops pulled her off the bus, threw her into the back of a cop car, and handcuffed her through the window. In Hoose's telling, a teacher named Geraldine Nesbitt had emboldened her students, teaching them about the 14th Amendment. "It just so happens they picked me at the wrong time—it was Negro History Month, and I was filled up like a computer," Colvin tells NEWSWEEK, "I felt like Sojourner Truth was pushing down on one shoulder and Harriet Tubman was pushing down on the other—saying, 'Sit down girl!' I was glued to my seat."
Today, Colvin is 69 years old and is a retired nursing-home nurse living in New York City—her bold actions largely forgotten and long ago eclipsed by Parks. "I just dropped out of sight," she says of her move to New York in 1958. "The people in Montgomery, they didn't try to find me. I didn't look for them and they didn't look for me."

***** This Article is courtesy of The Root

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Face Of Domestic Violence

Due to all the hoopla surrounding Chris Brown and Rhianna, I’ve decided to talk about my own brush with domestic violence. Blogs and media sources are quick to blame the victim. Today a saw a blurb that said he hit her because she hit him in the head with a high heeled shoe. Whatever!

People are real quick to say things like, “I’ll never let a man hit me”, “I’ll kill a man if he puts his hands on me” or “I would never go back to a man that physically abused me.”

While this may be true for some women…’s not true for all, and it was not true for me. If someone would have told me that I would experience domestic violence in my lifetime I would have thought they were lying or joking.

Domestic violence does not only happen to people in broken homes or witnessed domestic violence growing up or very dependant. My parents never had any physical altercations and I love and embrace my independence…but it happened to me.

I really cared for my assailant … I thought I could make him a better man. He was going though a rough time in his life and I just wanted to be there for him. I felt either I did something that caused him to act violent and many times I would try to keep my mouth shut to “keep peace” in the house. The first time he pushed me, I dismissed it. The second time was a lot of verbal abuse and a hard push in the face. I fell to the ground and bruised up my hands and knees. As crazy as it sounds I blamed my big mouth, cause believe me when I say I was exchanging verbal assaults with him. The third time I picked up a 7” butcher knife and told him if he lays a hand on me again I would kill him…………and enjoy it. We broke up for about 6 weeks but we decided that we loved one another and wanted to get back together. The fourth time happened 3 months later and to make matters worse it happened in public. We starting arguing in the car, I thought it were best not to say anything. But as he kept verbally attacking me and I responded. He told me he was ready to beat my ass.. so I pulled up in front on an emergency room because I knew security and/or cops would be present. Would you know there was no one in sight? We fought like cats and dogs…clothes were ripped, blood was spilled and he ran off into the night.

While standing there wondering how did this happen again…………. I remembered my Granddaddy and how much he loved Grandmother. My Grandma was a firecracker…quick to cuss and good at being mean and ignorant. However, I never heard my grandfather say a negative word about her. I never seen him hit her or get so frustrated that he went outside his character. My Granddaddy has passed on… but standing there all bruised up and pissed off... I felt his presence. It felt like he was saying. “Pooh, this is not love, that mane does not love you the way a mane is suppose to love a woman.” At that moment I felt peace and I knew that it was over. I deserved more and he needed help…help that I could not provide. I took the blame off of me and left it there in front of the emergency room.

The funny part about it was…I wasn’t mad. My window was busted, my elbows were scraped and I had his blood all over my shirt. But for the first time I felt good! Security and the police showed up after it was all over. I told the police I wanted to press charges and if/when they caught him give me a call and I would follow through. The police was surprised I was so calm given the fact it looked like I had been through hell and back.

Thankfully my wake up call came before a murder. Because if I had a knife or a gun I would have killed him or he would have killed me. Domestic violence is real y’all... but so many women are ashamed to admit what they are going through. I never told my family what was going on in my life. I did not what them to take action against my boyfriend. Plus I was living in shame; it was a secret that I did not want to get out. People thought of me as a strong black woman... and what strong, black and independent woman would let a man beat on her? I did not want to be judged and have people feeling sorry for me and looking down on me at the same time. Because of those fears I never told anyone what was going on. It may have been helpful but I could not see past my own embarrassment.

The guy called and texted to say how bad he felt… how he wanted to commit suicide and he loved me more than I ever knew. The best response is no response. I knew he was trying to rope me into a conversation. I finally spoke with him and told him, “This is my first and last time telling you to leave me alone…or I will get a restraining order.” So far this has worked. I also moved to a new location so I don’t have to worry about him stalking my home.

According to the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African-American Community at the University of Minnesota, Black women reported more than 30% more cases of intimate partner violence than their White peers.

In cases of domestic violence interventions are crucial, because Black Women are far more likely to be victims of homicides related to intimate partner violence. As a community, Black Americans account for 33% of such homicides with Black women specifically accounting for 22% of these cases (though they make up only 8% of the national population) and 42% percent of all female homicides related to domestic violence.

Rhianna is still a kid, everyone has their breaking point. I pray she finds hers before someone gets hurt.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Something to Think About

Blacks, whites hear Obama differently

Hey guys I lifted this article from POLITICO…..TELL ME YOUR THOUGHTS

On his pre-inaugural visit to Ben’s Chili Bowl, a landmark for Washington’s African-American community, President Barack Obama was asked by a cashier if he wanted his change back.

“Nah, we straight,” Obama replied.

The phrase was so subtle some listeners missed it. The reporter on pool duty quoted Obama as saying, “No, we’re straight.”

But many other listeners did not miss it. A video of the exchange became an Internet hit, and there was a clear moment of recognition among many blacks, who got a kick out of their Harvard-educated president sounding, as one commenter wrote on a hip-hop site, “mad cool.”

On matters of racial identity, many observers in the African-American community say he benefits from what's known as “dog-whistle politics." His language, mannerisms and symbols resonate deeply with his black supporters, even as the references largely sail over the heads of white audiences.

This is part of the reason that as a candidate, Obama won intense support among African-Americans while never being branded, in the fashion of a Jesse Jackson, as a candidate defined by race.

In January remarks about the economy, Obama made a reference to “American dreams that are being deferred,” a phrase black audiences understood without a citation as black poet Langston Hughes’. First lady Michelle Obama often cites her upbringing in the “South Side of Chicago.” On Election Night, the winner promised that “we as a people will get there,” an echo of Martin Luther King Jr. made more powerful by not expressly invoking King’s name.

Or a year ago in South Carolina, when he tried to swat down the persistent rumors that he is Muslim. “They try to bamboozle you, hoodwink you,” Obama said that night, in what many listeners heard as an unmistakable reference to activist Malcolm X, as portrayed in Spike Lee’s movie.
Black English, especially the cadence, is becoming America’s youth lingua franca, especially since the mainstreaming of hip-hop. Its sound conveys warmth, authenticity and a touch of seductive danger not only to blacks but many whites, especially ones below about 50,” McWhorter said. “Obama’s tapping into that cadence helped win him the election. Imagine John Kerry or Hillary Clinton saying, ‘Yes, we can!’ It would have sounded phony — only in what I call a ‘black-cent’ can it sound prophetic and arousing.”

Beyond speech, blacks have picked up certain of Obama’s mannerisms, particularly his walk, that signal authenticity. Bush had his cowboy strut, and Obama has a swagger — a rhythmic lope that says cool and confident and undeniably black. It was most noticeable on his first post-election trip to the White House, some said.

“The swagger was out of control, dragging the left foot, it was like, ‘Barack, you have got to calm down,’” said Melissa Harris-Lacewell, a Princeton University professor who teaches courses in politics and black studies. “The swagger thing just got worse and worse during the campaign. ... I am sure David Axelrod told him to stop swaggering. ... I can’t imagine that anyone is telling him to do that.”

“The swagger goes a long way for Barack, a long way,” Harris-Lacewell said, adding that the black support will mean a boost in polls. “Black people were strong supporters of Clinton because of race. ... If it works for someone who is just symbolically for the black president, it will be very powerful for the actual black preside

Notably, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has used phrases recently like “bling bling” to describe the stimulus package and “off the hook” to describe the new RNC outreach plans, at a time when he is trying to step up the party’s appeal to African-American voters.

Beyond stylistic gestures, Obama has made several overtures to the black press since winning in November. His first print interview as president-elect was given to Ebony and his first print interview as president was given to Black Enterprise. And at his first press conference, journalists from the black press were given prime seating — yet weren’t called on for questions.

Strategy or not, Obama’s efforts will likely continue, some said, and so far have helped.

“I think that the combination of his style and his swagger and his connection to the various currents of culture make him seem like a man who is much younger than he is,” Cobb said. “But the genius with Obama is that he is fluent in it, so it doesn’t come off as a deliberate kind of doling out of references or points. It winds up to being to his benefit politically.”

The Student Loan Blues

I have just done one of the hardest things I had to do all year. I was trying to avoid this action but there was no way around it. This thing has caused me so much frustration over the years that I sometimes regret that I ever went to college, let alone grad school. Yes I’m talking about the dreaded student loan payments. Seriously I owe over $100,000 .00 dollars worth of student loan debt and I don’t know how or when I can pay these people back.

The original plan was to go to school get a degree (in my case two) and venture into corporate America making the big bucks. I figured by the time the loan payments came due I would be able to afford the extra $540.00 payments a month. Well things did not work out that way. Prior to graduating from grad school 9/11 occurred. During that time many businesses began to lay off and finding a job (any job) was the goal. I found a job I actually loved and was laid off a year after obtaining it.

Since that time I began to work at my present company but I had to start at the bottom. I am slowly (as molasses) working my way up the corporate ladder but these things take time, and time is the one thing I don’t seem to have. I desperately want to pay back SallieMae but I do not have the funds. I think the colleges should not be paid until the student finds adequate employment, instead the student is saddled with debt regardless if they find employment or not. Did you know if you have outstanding student loans you can not get a passport……….. So much for leaving the country and trying my luck in Europe or Dubai!

I am looking for a better paying job within my company…but with they way the economy is going, finding a job…let alone a better job is a job in itself. I’m not saying an education is worthless…because it is not. But depending on your field (mine is business) it can be hard to find employment that pays enough (immediately) to pay back the student loans. So I’ve been approved for another year of deferment. I have one more year to make something happen. I do not want to be in this same position in 2010. I’m not sure what I will do but something will change…..even if I have to change companies or fields CHANGE IS COMING.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Living At Home

I have been on my on for many years and unfortunately due to circumstances beyond my control I've returned back to the nest. Although this arrangement is a great way to save money, I miss my privacy so bad. Don't ask me why but I prefer it be quite when I'm in the restroom... but instead I now hear my cousins play playstation 3 and X-Box in the background. Not to mention my aunt think it is necessary to wake me up everyday and remind me I have to go to work.

Food is pushed on me like dope. I hear, " I made some fried pork chops, mashed potatoes covered in butter and heavy gravy and cheesy buttery macaroni on a daily basis. When I mention in passing I'm trying to lose weight so I am choosing healthier choices, Everyone in the family gives me the side eye.

But hey it was never suppose to be fun.......right? I totally forgot the whole family dynamic. I have picked up so many crazy habits since I left home, I almost forgot what it was like to live with family. But I can't complain too much some people don't have family at all, not to mention this is Veeeeeeeeeeeeery temporary. As a matter of fact I put a deposit down on my apartment Friday. Yes, the end is in sight!