Famed Negro League Baseball player Dennis ‘Bose’ Biddle signed an autographed copy of his new book for Togo Coles of the Selma Toros Baseball Club during Milwaukee Brewers On Deck program Sunday. Brewers on Deck is an annual Fan Fest that bridges the gap between winter and spring training. Over 30 Brewers were on hand to greet fans and provide autographs. (photo by Yvonne Kemp)
Archives for January 2013
NAACP President Benjamin Jealous has a bold suggestion for President Barack Obama: Appoint an African American woman to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“He still has several more appointments, and we expect that we’ll see at least the same diversity that we saw the first time around,” Jealous told POLITICO. “What we’re hoping to see is a black woman on the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Perhaps Jealous is devising a plan to get Obama out of hot water with some Democrats who have accused the president of appointing too many white men to his inner circle and not enough women and people of color.
When Obama named Jack Lew as his Treasury secretary two weeks ago — the fourth white male he has named to Cabinet-level posts in recent weeks – Democrats quickly took Obama to the woodshed for not assembling a more racially-diverse and gender-diverse Cabinet.
But Jealous didn’t just toss out an idea – he also tossed out a name: California Attorney General Kamala Harris – the state’s first African American and Indian American attorney general.
“Kamala Harris would be a brilliant pick,” Jealous said. “I personally would like to see somebody young who could stay on there for decades,” he said. “If you look at what they did with [Justices] Antonin Scalia and with have these guys for decades,” he added. “It’s time for us to [have that]. So yeah, she would be top. But there are several women who could do this job and do it well.”
The outspoken NAACP leader is also reading the political tea leaves: He knows Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg could be considering retirement. She’s 79 years old. Jealous may be on to something: Harris, 48, is a rising star in the Democratic Party who has been called “the female Barack Obama” in some political circles.
Harris, who was born in Oakland, has focused on combating gangs that are trafficking guns, drugs, and human beings throughout California.
She also secured an estimated $18 billion from the nation’s banks as part of the recent National Mortgage Settlement.
he also attended Howard University, where she pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. Meanwhile, some prominent Democrats have been turning up the heat on Obama and criticizing his recent appointments.
“It’s embarrassing as hell,” said New York Democrat Charles Rangel, one of the most senior black members of Congress. But Jealous said it’s still too early to beat up on Obama.
“At the end of the day — this president has been committed to diversity. He showed that in his first term and we owe it to him to let him finish making his appointments before we pass judgment,” Jealous said. “We want to see a Cabinet that represents the country.” The president was forced to defend his record on diversity last week and said his critics should not rush to judgment.
“I’m very proud that in the first four years, we had as diverse, if not a more diverse, White House and a Cabinet than any in history,” Obama said. “I intended to continue that, because it turns out when you look for the very best people, given the incredible diversity of this country, you’re going to end up with a diverse staff.”
Meanwhile, POLITICO listed Harris as one of its 13 top people to watch in politics in 2013. “…Many Democrats sense her catapulting up the ranks in the party — and soon,” according to POLITICO.
Harris has a bright political future. We’ll see if she catapults all the way to the Supreme Court.
Wisconsin’s charter school law ranks 37th among the 43 states that have approved charter school laws, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools’ (NAPCS) annual ranking of state charter school laws.
Minnesota’s law ranked first and Mississippi’s charter school law remained last. Now in its fourth year, Measuring Up to the Model: A Ranking of State Public Charter School Laws ranks each of the country’s 43 state charter school laws. Each state receives a score on its law’s strength based on the 20 essential components from the NAPCS model law, which include measuring quality and accountability, equitable access to funding and facilities and limited caps on charter school growth.
“Wisconsin law needs a major overhaul in several areas, including providing additional authorizing options, ensuring authorizer accountability, providing adequate authorizer funding, beefing up the law in relation to the model law’s four quality control components, increasing operational autonomy, and ensuring equitable operational funding and equitable access to capital funding and facilities,” said Todd Ziebarth, vice president, state advocacy and support, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Ziebarth is the lead author of the report.
“Wisconsin’s ranking demonstrates the need for substantive changes to our 20-year old charter school law,” said Carrie Bonk, executive director, Wisconsin Charter Schools Association. “Governor Scott Walker said in his recent State-of-the-State address that he believes every child should have access to a great education and indicated that he would be making changes to the charter school law. We look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature to move Wisconsin from the bottom of the list to the top of the list.”
“Milwaukee’s independent charter schools are the highest-performing sector of public schools in our city. This report shows that we can’t rest and need to do so much more to ensure these schools are funded and autonomous at a level that allows them to expand quality options for students,” said Sean Roberts, deputy director, Milwaukee Charter School Advocates.
by Mikel Kwaku Osei Holt
For the past decade or so, about 30 to 40 local Black families have traveled to a small, nondescript little town outside Green Bay for a weekend of ‘Play, Praise and Partying.’ Unless natives of the exclusively White city happen to travel by the corner section of the resort where we congregate, they probably would never know we’ve invaded their segregated township. But if they get within a few hundred feet of our lodge they would immediately realize the music blaring isn’t the Polka and the floor isn’t shaking from folks engaged in a square dance. That, however, would probably be the only encounter they would have with us, as most of us rarely venture outside the confines of the resort. Not because we’re inhospitable, but more so because our days and nights are filled with activities.
For three days, a largely isolated section of the resort is converted to 1970 Black Milwaukee, complete with that era’s music and sense of community. It’s a special event, generally held, appropriately, the weekend before the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.
Usually there’s snow on the ground, covering the resort golf course, and limiting outside activities. But that’s not a handicap, since most of rarely venture outside anyway.
We assemble to party and play in limited space indoors, and even if the heat were off I suspect we’d warm of the housing unit just the same.
There’s generally about four to six ‘party suites,’ each with its own flavor, but essentially overlapping theme. There’s always concurrent bid whist and other games, DJs blasting their interpretation of 70s and 80s music and enough food to feed a small church after a two-hour sermon.
The adjoining rooms allow for movement from event to event, and since we’re all clustered together—separate bed rooms of course—we’re always just a stone’s throw of a different experience with a host of assorted friends. You gotta’ participate to fully appreciate the experience. It’s a full weekend of rejuvenation, reminiscence and old-fashioned fellowship. By the time you leave on Sunday morning, your jaws are tight from laughter, you mind is reeling from memories renewed and your stomach is swollen from a feast of fine foods covering the soul food spectrum.
OK, most of us will drink a little here and there. That too is part of the social structure. But no drugs are allowed, and in fact, don’t bring the cheap bottom shelf stuff.
In fact, there’s no store brought food allowed either. Every couple brings their signature dish, which this year ranged from my super hot and spicy hot wings, to Curt’s 24-inch crab legs, Harper’s Midwest clam chowder, and Sara’s Monkey Bread. Chances are you can’t fully partake of all of the various dishes, although many of us try.
Before the first of several meals, we always gather for a cycle of friendship, which also provides the foundation for our praise reports and prayer. The circle may not be uniquely African, but it is the essence of our culture; for the circle means there is no beginning and no end. It means we are all an equal part of the whole; linked by a higher being and a grand purpose. It is during this libation that we give praise for our good health; for our commonality. For our friendship. For allowing us to meet again. For the president and world peace. For unity of purpose and prosperity, amid all that is happening—and not happening— 80 miles south.
Each year the circle grows as others are admitted to join; adding and enriching those who share the common cultural thread that bends us all. After our libation, we party. Hearty. Bid whist at several tables. Board games command other tables. Loud talk and smackin’ fill the room. Stories morph into imaginable tales (that’s not lying). Reminiscing about the good ole days. Current politics. Community happenings. What’s wrong with today’s generation? What’s right with them? How we survived, and the foundation we laid.
All of this to the beat…. the drum beat…the trumpet, the guitar, a tenor sax and the piano—sweet soul music, the harmony that connects our people, the descendents of the Motherland. The music, played by alternating DJs has a common cord, even if the rhythms are as unique as the performers. Mostly oldies, message music, classic Soul and R&B, some jazz and a little blues…down home and some of that ‘does my ring hurt your finger when you go out at night’ stuff. Not my cup of tea, but everybody gets into it, because we share a common history and overlapping memories of the good ole days.
As they do when Marvin Gaye is asking ‘What’s Going on? Or James Brown reminding us to “Be Black and Proud.” Can’t help but tap your feet and collect yourself when Curtis Mayfield declares “We’re a Winner,” or proclaims, “We’re Moving on Up.” Of course we get off on a little Usher and Beyonce, but the DJs always find their way back to the oldies that spark vivid memories. Some may not appreciate our ‘old timers’ weekend.’ But most of us are over 50 and the world we grew up in is vastly different from the Black community most of us left on Thursday or Friday. We grew up in segregated schools and neighborhoods. Discrimination was legal during my youth and there were never any doubt that the wall of apartheid was there even if you couldn’t see it.
But there were many positives. Neighbors actually knew it other. Our teachers, ministers, lawyers and doctors were our neighbors, because in the Milwaukee we grew up in, the walls of apartheid were highly visible.
Nonetheless, we survived in part because we were a community; we shared and cared. We didn’t lock our doors, and nobody ever went hungry. When someone on the block couldn’t pay the rent, we held rent parties. And as in African and Indian cultures, everybody was your mother, and didn’t hesitate to beat your behind if you strayed off the path.
Back in the day, the majority of girls were virgins entering adulthood (or at least we thought). Boys made it through high school without ‘getting any,’ at least from the ‘good girls.’ If a sister got pregnant, she disappeared for five months and came back home with a niece.
That may sound strange to people today, but we grew up Christian; morality was important and Black nuclear families—however poor—were the foundation, following by extended family and then community.
Back in the day, civil rights activities empowered us, and we watched our parents chaining themselves to bulldozers to force the public school system to allow us to attend ‘desegregated’ schools. We were expected to continue the fight, and most of us did.
We fought for each other–for our race–and there was no jealousy if a child down the street made it out, went to college. Education wasn’t only for nerds or White people as some youth feel today. Hell, we contributed our nickels and dimes for the neighborhood kids to go to school, because his or her educational growth, it was a source of pride for all of us.
Think about that reality and you might better understand the people who attend our annual retreat and the mindset we share. Our history is part of us, as was the beat, the bush and the battle.
So between bites of good food, slamming down that trump card or singing along to the Temptations or Smokey, we talked about the good ole days and how we can bring a sense of that unity and purpose to today’s society. We take pride in our battle scars, whether they came from a Southside kid who hit us in the head with a brick during the open housing marches, or from bumping our head against the lamp during a ‘blue or red light’ party in somebody’s basement.
Yeah, it was an enriching, entertaining and reinvigorating weekend. Each year we bring someone new, someone younger into the mix. That’s something we should really focus on because ours are stories, not just bout civil rights and survival, but of the music, our mission and our muse.
For several hours on Wednesday morning, there was no acrimony, competition or animosity. Representatives from public, private and charter schools gathered at Milwaukee’s Grain Exchange, not to debate, but to celebrate diversity and educational options.
As part of the National School Choice Week Whistle Stop tour, over 300 students were on hand to display their respective talents and to thank their parents for making informed educational choices, whether that meant enrollment in public or private schools.
The event drew Republicans, Democrats and independents. On hand to share the podium were the governor, county executive, mayor and superintendent of Milwaukee public schools. There were as many Democrats in the audience as there were Republicans and given the make up of the audience, as many public school children as private school students.
Asked by a reporter why he was in attendance, MPS Superintendent Greg Thornton said it wasn’t about competition, but diversity. The public schools offer unique opportunities and services that few private or charter schools can match, he said. “We think we have an excellent product, one that is improving each day. I’m here to tout what I consider to be the best choice.”
The National School Choice Week Whistle Stop tour runs from January 27 to February 2 and will make stops in 14 states. Over 3,5000 events will be held during the week.
Coordinated by a diverse, non-partisan committee, the event highlights the benefits of parental choice in cities around the country.
“Milwaukee demonstrates to America that when students, parents, teachers and community leaders work together and put the interests of children first, anything is possible,” said Andrew Campanella, president of National School Choice Week. “Our whistle-stop event will celebrate effective choices from all sectors of education: traditional public schools, public charter schools, magnet schools, private schools, virtual academies and homeschooling.”
National School Choice Week planned the event in cooperation with Great Schools, the Black Alliance For Educational Options, Democrats For Education Reform, Hispanics For School Choice, Milwaukee Charter School Advocates, Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, Milwaukee Public Schools, School Choice Wisconsin, Schools That Can, the Wisconsin Charter Schools Association, K12, and the Association of American Educators.
Question of the Week: “It’s still early, but what is your prediction for the Brewers in 2013?”
Photos and questions by Yvonne Kemp
Erica Johnson: “I believe they are taking it all….go Brewers.
Nathan Coe: “I’m very excited for this season. I think the Brewers will ‘CRUST IT!’”
Naomi Coe: “I think the Milwaukee Brewers will have an amazing season.
Patrick Coe: “The Brewers have an amazing fan base and they will have my support, world series or not.
The oldest of 14 children, Bonner ran away as a young teen from his hometown of Hamilton, Ohio to seek fame and fortune. As a way to survive, the young musician played the harmonica for change on street corners. Bonner managed to team up with former members of a group called The Ohio Untouchables to launch the R&B funk band, the Ohio Players in 1964.
As a founding member of the chart-topping group, Bonner was a familiar face, always front and center amongst the band members. The Ohio Players with their flamboyant costumes, brow-raising album cover art and heavy brass section had seven Top 40 hits, “Skin Tight,” “Love Rollercoaster” and “Fire,” which are classics that still manage to move a crowd.
It may not come as a surprise that coming into contact with cold & flu culprits are amazingly easy. Why? Because there are many common surfaces that we all touch, but that very few really stop to think about.
For example, did you know that the warm, wet inside of a sponge is prime habitat for bacteria to grow?
The National Sanitation Foundation at the University of Michigan suggests microwaving your sponge for two minutes every day to kill germs growing inside, as well as replacing your sponges once every two weeks.
We know what you’re thinking…what other areas do you touch every single day without even suspecting of being potential germ factories?
Your Desk. Desktops have actually been found to have higher levels of bacteria than toilet seats! Which actually makes sense – people spend several hours a day touching, eating on, and even coughing/sneezing on and around their desks. In addition, many desks aren’t cleaned at night because they are considered private areas.
An easy fix? Clean your desk regularly with an antibacterial wipe.
Your Purse/Bag. When not on a shoulder, most purses are resting on the desks (see above) or floors of restaurants, restrooms, movie theaters, cars, buses and sidewalks. A joint ABC News and University of Arizona investigation of 50 women’s handbags found that the outside bottom of the purses were teeming with bacteria, including fecal germs and those that can cause skin infections. The researchers found 6.7 million bacteria on one purse alone.
An easy fix? Wipe purses down from time to time with antibacterial cloths.
Your Everyday Public Buttons. The Kimberly-Clark study found that 41 percent of ATMs, 40 percent of parking meters and 35 percent of vending machines contained dangerous levels of bacteria. Debit card touch screens, elevator buttons and grocery shopping carts also have alarmingly high germ counts.
An easy fix? Whenever possible, try to use a tissue, glove, etc. when touching a commonly-used surface. Ideally, use an antibacterial cloth to wipe down a surface, such as a grocery cart, before using it.
Your Toothbrush. Germs thrive in moist environments – such as your toothbrush. Add that to the fact that research in the 1970s discovered toilets spew fecal bacteria into the air every time they are flushed, so chances are, your toothbrush is teeming with microbes.
An easy fix? Replace your toothbrush every three to four months and close the toilet lid when flushing. If you want to be extra safe, the Philips Sonicare FlexCare electric toothbrush has a UV sanitizer that kills germs.
Your Pillow. Chances are, you wash your sheets and pillowcases frequently, but when was the last time you threw your actual pillow in the laundry machine? Pillows contain mold, bacteria and dust mites, which can cause allergies. And several studies have demonstrated that they are one of the biggest sources of infection in hospitals.
An easy fix? Wash your pillows. Often.
Your Jewelry. There is a reason that doctors and nurses are required to remove jewelry in the operating room. A 1997 study found that health care professionals wearing rings carry significantly more germs even after hand washing than those who don’t. Those nooks and crannies in our favorite pieces can harbor germs.
An easy fix? Clean your jewelry as often as possible. Also, consider that silver is antimicrobial, so smooth jewelry made from this metal stays relatively germ-free.
Your Gas Pump. A 2011 study by Gerba and Kimberly-Clark Professional, the makers of products such as Kleenex and Scott, found that 71 percent of gas pump handles hosted bacteria in high enough concentrations to cause illness.
An easy fix? After pumping gas, wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer.
Life is difficult. People let us down, circumstances go against us, even our own minds attack us with doubts, self-criticism, and worries. But, what if we could transform our pain into power, and become psychologically invincible? What if we could live with the fullest excellence–the most ecstatic joy, riches, love, and creativity–we could ever imagine?
Now, you can live to your fullest potential by developing The Invincible Mind: a mind that is fearless, brilliant, compassionate, peaceful, and loving. For over 20 years I have integrated Eastern mind/body wisdom with modern Positive Psychology to create a new science of ecstatic living–The Invincible Mind. This new approach to human mind and spirit is the middle path that integrates both our positive and negative natures and activates our hidden powers so we can achieve unsurpassed excellence in our relationships, finances, health, and personal happiness.
To master The Invincible Mind you need to learn three laws, or immutable principles. The first one is known as Emotional Transmutation: Turning pain into power.
All of us suffer from emotional pain from time to time. It is inevitable that we will sometimes feel sadness, disappointment, worry, and regretfulness, as well as other hurtful emotions. The key is what we do with that pain.
Normally, there are two common ways that people deal with their emotional pain.
One, we suffer from it. We have a relationship break up, for example, and we mope around the house and withdraw from our friends. It hurts, and we just feel down.
Two, we try to distract ourselves from the pain. We eat some chocolate chip ice cream, watch television, have a drink. Unfortunately, this momentary respite doesn’t last very long, and we’re soon back to our sadness.
The third way to deal with pain–a much less common, but infinitely more effective approach–is to transmute, or change, the pain into something more beneficial, meaningful, and life-affirming. Instead of labeling the sensation as “pain,” we call it something else: an energy, force, or power that we can use for our own good, growth, and talent. Used rightly, pain can be a “genius,” because it helps us break old unworkable patterns, develop our creativity, and become truly authentic and powerful human beings.
Say, for instance, that your lover has left you. At that very moment, you can decide to fully and consciously experience the sensation (without the pain label). You can describe what it looks and feels like: dark, heavy, sharp and so forth. But, most importantly, you see it as a power you can use for your own benefit and growth: To turn you into a more caring person, to help you better identify a compatible mate, to give you skills for overcoming adversity. With this new mindset, the pain–which may have been at a 95 intensity level (out of 100)–has now come down a notch, maybe to 75 or 80. The more you do this, the more the pain will diminish, and the more you will be able to transform the previously feared pain sensations into your own personal power.
Here’s a pain change technique that can work wonders: Fast-Forward Time Travel.
It works like this: Let’s say you just had a fight with your boss–you can’t stand this overbearing tyrant, and you really dislike the job you’re doing. You’re feeling angry, disappointed, and defeated.
Now, visualize the way you will be in five years–with a new job you love and surrounded by people you respect and admire. From this future perspective, come back and look at yourself the way you are now. You realize that you may be suffering now, but you will soon change your situation: you will develop skills, resources, and allies that will move you toward your ideal, happy work destination. Suddenly, the pain you are feeling in the present will start to diminish, and you will feel lighter, freer, and more hopeful. You have seen the future, and the future is now.
Remember, this is just a small taste of The Invincible Mindset, and all of the great things you can accomplish when you harness the power of “pain” into a immensely strong emotional workhorse that will take you anywhere you want to go.
1) Even though poetess, author, and your mentor-mother-sisterfriend Maya Angelou wrote “Phenomenal Woman” before she entered your life, when she recites it, we are so sure she is speaking to you. Oprah, you embody the very soul of the poem and to us you are and will forever be a “phenomenally, phenomenal woman.”
2) You are a living legend. Whenever you enter our homes via the TV, our spaces seem to almost vibrate with power and energy, because you are a force to be reckoned with. Your influence and teachings have spread far and wide, and you’ve used your wisdom to inspire, empower, and educate the masses. We pray that you continue along life’s journey, empowering yourself with newfound knowledge that you can then impart to us.
3) You continuously strive to help us want to shake up our lives in a way that is satisfying to the soul. You have taught us that we should make every effort to strive for markers of accomplishment and lead fully involved existences. We need for you to continue to infuse us with life lessons, so that we can morph into that person whom we know, we need to be.
4) Named one of the world’s most-generous philanthropists, we wish that for each and every noble goal and selfless endeavor you set, may all of your future efforts be equally successful and rewarding.
5) Spirituality seems to fuel and nourish your soul. Over the years, you have presented an a la carte blend of religious concepts and have preached that we should be accepting of the millions of ways to please God. You even professed to talk show host Piers Morgan that you consider yourself to be a spiritual leader and that you are the messenger to deliver the message of redemption, forgiveness, and gratitude, so people can be their best selves. We wish you unwavering peace and joy in your personal journey to fulfill the highest expression of yourself as a human being.
6) Your love of reading has spurred thousands upon thousands of people to pick up a book. You have spread the idea and invigorated the concept of reading a book as a shared community. You are passionate about the written word and we wish that your enthusiasm for encouraging us to read never ceases.
7) Finally, you who have been a true trailblazer, glass ceiling shatterer, media maven extraordinaire, and best friend to the masses, we truly wish that you continue to inspire “Ah-Ha” moments and help us to ‘live our best lives.’