Archives for January 2010
It was a fun ride for the Milwaukee Bucks while it lasted. The roller coaster stopped dead in its tracks, and the team came back down to earth. The win at home last week over the Chicago Bulls was overshadowed by two recent road losses to Washington and Detroit.
Entering the Dec. 6 home game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Bucks sported a 9-9 record. They were 9-10 after the 101-86 loss at the Bradley Center. They were 7-3 before Thanksgiving week.
Milwaukee scored the first 11 points against the Cavaliers. Cleveland outscored the Bucks 21-6 to take a 21-17 first quarter advantage. Milwaukee’s last score in the quarter came at the 4 minute 36 second mark by forward Ersan Ilyasova, which was the start of a long scoreless period between the first and second quarters.
Forward Carlos Delfino scored with 5:13 left in the second quarter. It ended a scoring drought of 11:25. The Cavs had a 52-33 lead in the first half. Shooting 33 percent in the half (15-46) didn’t help the Bucks, who’s a jump shooting team. Milwaukee shot 37.6 percent (35-93) for the game.
“We’ve been living and dying by the three (point shot) anyway,” head coach Scott Skiles said after the game. “None of them went in. And when (Cleveland) was pulling away, we needed to make some plays.”
That long scoring drought allowed the Cavaliers to score 29 straight points in the second. They had a 75-57 lead after three quarters. “I got to check the archives for that,” Cleveland guard Mo Williams said.”
Williams was impressed with rookie guard Brandon Jennings, who guarded him most of the game. “He’s a young player,” Williams said. “He’s definitely getting his attempts. (Bucks) are letting him go, which is going to make him better. And I think if they’re going to hand the ball over to him, they gotta let him go.
“(Jennings) is going to make mistakes, but he’s gonna make plays, too.”
Their only road trip this week was at Boston, which they lost 98-89 Tuesday, making their record 9-11. Milwaukee’s second of three home games this week was against the Toronto Raptors Dec. 9.
Milwaukee led 29-22 at the end of the first quarter. They held a 57-45 halftime lead. The Bucks won 117-95 behind Jennings’ 22 points, one of seven players in double figures for the Bucks (10-11).
Black Christian News (BCNN1.com)
William Doherty wasn’t among the throngs in the shopping malls on Black Friday. He was in church.
Doherty, a professor in the Family Social Science Department at the University of Minnesota, is part of a growing backlash against the commercialization of Christmas.
Last year, he helped his church, Unity Church Unitarian in St. Paul, Minnesota, hold a worship service on what has become known as Black Friday, the official kickoff of the holiday gift-buying bonanza and biggest retail-shopping day of the year.
This year, he is helping launch a similar “Black Friday at Church” event at New Hope Baptist Church in St. Paul.
The protest against Christmas consumption, organized by the Advent Conspiracy, has become an international phenomenon.
”We don’t know exactly how many churches are using it, because we’re not in this to make money,” said one of the founders, the Rev. Greg Holder from the Crossing Community Church in suburban St. Louis. “The program is out there for anyone who wants to download it (off the Internet).”
by Mikel Kwaku Osei Holt
The older you get, the more patience you’ll acquire. You won’t get as upset at asinine statements, ignorant folks and stupid people. If you’re honest, you’ll see yourself in them and recognize before you woke up to reality, you said and did some stupid things yourself.
Age forces you to accept the fact that life isn’t fair. But you add the caveat that you probably wouldn’t want it to be. If life were truly fair, the IRS probably would have audited you by now.
Your spouse would have found out what you were really doing that night you were out with the fellas, or on that business trip.
If life was fair, your parents would have thrown you out of the house when you were 17, and chances are you would have a police record for the crime you didn’t think was so significant at the time. It was, however, a crime.
Thank God life isn’t fair.
During the process of getting older, I learned that nobody is perfect, and we have to accept people’s imperfections along with their contributions. It also taught me that sometimes good people do positive things for the wrong reason, and bad things for reasons that seemed like a good ideal at the time.
It’s taught me that not all men who claim to be ‘called’ by God had unlisted numbers. That you are indeed lucky if you have one lifelong friend, and that if we wake up every morning thinking that this could possibly be your last, you’ll experience the most important lesson God offers mankind.
Life’s most important lessons are learned from mistakes. But you’ll learn only if you recognize your error. The real lesson is that you’ll never know, or appreciate the heat unless you’ve suffered from long exposure to the cold.
The years have taught me not to take criticism personally (depending on the source, of course), and to keep personalities out of debates, particularly political ones. Equally important, I’ve learned to respect, if not accept people’s opinions, even if they are diametrically opposite my own.
I’ve learned to agree to disagree and to state my position with conviction in the hopes that logic will prevail. At the same time, only a fool listens with his mouth in motion.
That said, I don’t get mad at conservatism, nor do I expel Black conservatives from the African American family because their ideology may be opposite mine, particularly if they are sincere.
If that perspective, age has cured my myopia.
Many folks have questioned why I don’t lambaste Black conservative James T. Harris during our debates on television, or why I have frequently defended Sheriff David Clarke from the Black status quo. The obvious answer is that they are African American and age and experience has taught me only weak trees have a single branch.
But I’ll be more succinct.
Fact of the matter is I like both James and David, and even if I didn’t, I’m not in the habit of dissing Black folks to appease missionaries.
And, if truth be told, there is substance to the assumption that African Americans (at least those over 40) are socially conservative, but politically liberal.
My mother, sister, brother and uncle are ministers. Many of their views may be considered conservative, as are some of mine. I believe the nuclear family is the foundation of Black America, and I don’t have a problem with prayer in the public schools. Prayer has never been the problem of Black America; lack of prayer however is another subject. In other words, I rather see our children praying, than be preyed upon.
I don’t want the government in my bedroom, or bathroom for that matter. And I support most of what Bill Cosby espouses.
Conversely, I support affirmative action–with quotas– reparations and the fundamental principles of Black Nationalism.
What does that make me? A moderate? Or someone who is open minded, pragmatic and wise enough not to lump everything into one political or ideological box.
Age has certainly taught me that if you learn to use your eyes and ears more than your mouth, life will teach you many valuable lessons.
You learn not to hold grudges, and never to spit into a strong wind. You come to the conclusion that Heaven is not a crowded place and it really doesn’t matter if the chicken or the egg came first.
Skies get bluer as you get older, and the moonlight is more omnipotent. You also learn to appreciate seasonal changes, even if I still can’t appreciate snow.
I’m not among those who say midlife is the best time of my life, but it does signal a new beginning, one of greater understanding and appreciation of things you took for granted in your earlier years.
If you’re among that group who pays attention during life classes, you’ll find getting older often means you have very little (if any) tolerance for intolerance, prejudice and stupidity. I’ve lived by the adage that knowledge is power, the absence of knowledge is ignorance, and the abuse of knowledge is stupidity.
I’ve been forced over the years to accept the wisdom of the serenity prayer, although I also find truth in the poem about how a tiny footprint in the sand can change the course of the mighty ocean.
I admit it used to frustrate me when Black people didn’t vote, participate in civil rights activities, or referred to each other as niggers. And it still frustrates the hell out of me.
But age has taught me that freedom isn’t free, most Black people are still brainwashed, and progress is a long time coming when people move in slow motion.
But a change is coming, because there’s the universal order, and life’s only constant.
Unfortunately for Black Americans, God is doing unto us what he did to the Hebrews, and for the same reason. The only difference is instead of wandering 40 years in the wilderness, our penalty is 400 years in stagnation.
How else to explain it?
Five decades on this earth, travels to more countries than I can remember, and participation in a war across the ocean and one on these shores (the Civil Rights Movement) has enabled me to see life through a prism of experiences that few are privy to. I’ve come to the conclusion that people are intrinsically different, but essentially the same. People of all races and nationalities share similar wants, needs and desires. The lifelong quest of most people is for power, followed by security and finally affection/respect.
Often, those elements are transversed, depending on your upbringing and social status.
Maturity has taught me that politics was never intended to solve the world’s problems, but instead to advance agendas.
Thus, no political party really has the answer (and isn’t really looking for one). As a result, little of what they do will affect the man on the bottom.
One of the most impactful lessons I learned about politics came before I discovered that the Democrats and Republicans are different wings on the same bird, before I voted for the first time or tried to influence the political order.
I met a poor farmer in Vietnam who told me that he had a son fighting for the North Vietnamese, and another who fought for the South Vietnamese. It was not because of their political views, but more a matter of pragmatism; whichever side won, he would be on the right side.
But that wasn’t really the lesson. As he surmised, it didn’t matter which side won, his condition wouldn’t change.
He was poor before the war, and would be poor after. His life of bare-boned survival would continue.
It took many years and a thousand examples for that lesson to sink in. But with age comes acceptance.
The poor mother of four, with little hope and fewer options has not fared any better under Democratic Governor Jim Doyle than she did under Republican Governor Tommy Thompson.
Political promises aside, how has Black America, at least those on the bottom, fared under the promises of Clinton, the Bushes, Carter or Reagan?
When President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the historic Civil Rights legislation in the 1960s, the Black poverty rate was 40%. When Barack Obama signed the $1 trillion dollar stimulus (American Recovery Act) Black poverty was 40%.
Johnson’s policies earmarked over $5 trillion in poverty programs (most of which benefited the poverty pimps), and the poverty rate a half-century later remained consistent.
Civil rights laws, affirmative action and desegregation and where are we today? Eight out of every ten children born out of wedlock, 70% of Black households headed by women, and a 50% Black high school drop out rate. So much for social programming. Or maybe the joke’s on us, again.
Maybe Michael Jackson, who ran from being Black, was right: we should look in the mirror.
Age teaches you to take life with a grain of salt, and to use the rest of the shaker on hidden agendas, political promises, and quick fixes to long-standing social problems. And you’ll need a bucket of sea salt when a missionary group champions a Black cause.
Lastly, age has comforted me with the reality of Rev. John McVicker’s favorite sayings: “The only way to get through it is to go through it.”
Or, as Winston Churchill once scribed, if you find yourself walking through hell, keep walking.
Heaven, I sincerely hope, is at the other end of Hades.
A colonoscopy is a procedure that enables an examiner (usually a gastroenterologist) to evaluate the appearance of the inside of the colon (large bowel).
This is accomplished by inserting a flexible tube that is about the thickness of a finger into the anus, and then advancing it slowly, under visual control, into the rectum and through the colon.
It is performed with the visual control of either looking through the instrument or with viewing a TV monitor.
The exam is recommended for men and women once they reach the age of 50 and/or because individuals may have a previous history of polyps or colon cancer.
Excuse the medical lesson, but we felt it was important to tell you (we admit in somewhat graphic detail) what the exam entails and why it is important to get one once you reach the half-century mark.
We congratulate our colleague for being proactive and getting the procedure done.
Fortunately the staffer received a “clean” bill of health.
During this year long focus, we want all our readers—and non-readers—of the Community Journal to be proactive and take control of their health and the health of their loved ones by getting or encouraging someone to get the necessary yearly check-up and recommended medical procedures that will help them maintain their health.
To those individuals reading this editorial who can’t afford regular medical check-ups and other exams like a colonoscopy, there are clinics in our community for low-income individuals or individuals who can’t afford medical insurance like Milwaukee Health Services, which provides quality medical care and will work with you as it relates to payment.
In the coming months, we will have articles and a weekly section specifically dedicated to health issues of importance to our community.
We welcome any input or suggestions you might have that will make this year’s focus the most successful one this newspaper has had, because–quite frankly and at the risk of sounding morbid–it’s a matter of life or death.
The MCJ staff will continue to share individual commitments to be healthier people in 2010. Hope you will join us! Feel free to also share.
The heartbreaking and pathetic scene I and a group of other American visitors witnessed at the small beach town in Northern Haiti still haunt me. We had no sooner arrived at the beach when a contingent of Haitian police and local officials frantically waved away a throng of the town’s residents who had poured onto to the beach to hawk food, trinkets, and carvings, and tattered clothing items, but mostly to beg. Their torn tee shirts and ragged shorts, and emaciated, hollow eyed looks bespoke of more than Haiti’s legendary, world leading poverty. It spoke of the sheer, utter desperation to get anything from those they regarded as rich foreign tourists.
The tormenting scene that I and thousands of other visitors to Haiti have routinely witnessed routinely during the past decade has become the national emblem of Haiti.
Yet, it took a murderous earthquake, clips of bodies sprawled in the streets, a collapsed palace and shanties, torn streets, and the shocked expressions on children’s faces for the US and legions of public agencies and private donors to leap over themselves to promise to send an armada of food, medical supplies, clothing, building materials, construction teams, security forces and cash to Haiti.
Why did it take a natural tragedy for this? Haiti’s sorry history of American occupation, brutal dictatorial and military rule, the flood of refugees trying to escape the nation’s destitution, the perennial food crisis’s, the wave of devastating hurricanes that tore through the country in one month in 2008, the US, Canada and France’s meddling in the nation’s internal politics , and the grinding poverty is well known.
Haiti’s corrupt, repressive military rulers and government officials get standard blame for the country’s chronic poverty and bankruptcy. There’s much truth to that.
But Haiti is also a relentless victim of crushing and never ending debt servitude to the IMF and foreign banks, vicious labor exploitation, and the blind eye US aid policies that stunt Haiti’s farm and manufacturing growth.
The nation’s debt burden would sink virtually any developing nation. Haiti is compelled to shell out nearly $1 million a week to pay off its debt to the World Bank and the IMF; debt incurred by the Papa and Baby Doc Duvalier regimes and their successor military governments in the early 1990s propped up by the US. Half of the loans were given to the Duvaliers and the other dictatorships. They squandered the cash on presidential luxuries with barely a cent going to development programs for the poor.
In 2008, World Bank President Robert Zoellick in reaction to massive outcry from government officials and Haitian activist groups publicly pledged to forgive part of the nation’s the debt totaling a half billion dollars. The Bank reneged on the promise. The money could have bankrolled a vast expansion of healthcare, nutrition and feeding programs, supplies of clean water, and rebuilding the country’s badly frayed infrastructure.
The United Nations has hardly been a benevolent force to aid the country’s development and Democratic rule. The UN yearly shells out $600 million to maintain its 8000 peace keepers.
Yet when the hurricanes ravaged the country the UN force did not dispatch amphibious units, build temporary bridges, or provide trucks or equipment to provide emergency help to Haitians in distress.
US AID has come under intense fire for turning a blind eye to corporations and contractors who ignore basic Haitian labor, human rights, minimum wage and environmental laws, shun service providers, and invest only a relative pittance of profit back into Haitian small businesses, manufacturing, and food production. This is a particular sore point given Haiti’s near total reliance on foreign food imports has resulted in famine, near starvation, and food riots.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report that with proper investment in food production the country is more than capable of feeding its 8.5 million population.
In 2008, a coalition of US and Haitian human rights groups flatly accused the US of aiding and abetting corruption in the country. It demanded that then President Bush and Congress determine which US corporations and Haitian officials pocketed and benefited from the more than $4 billion USAID and their sub-contractors spent from 1994 to 1998. They demanded to know who profited and enriched themselves from the over $8 billion dollars spent following the US engineered overthrown of democratically elected President Jean Aristide. The groups charged that the systematic looting of the country’s treasury did not end with his ouster. Their demands fell on deaf ears.
A colossal earthquake brought the world to Haiti’s doorstep. The questions though are why did it take that? And what will it take for the world to stick around after the rubble is cleared and help transform Haiti into the democratic, self-supporting nation it can be?
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His forthcoming book, How Obama Governed: The Year of Crisis and Challenge (Middle Passage Press) will be released in January 2010.