Archives for October 2010
She had great parents! The young lady we’ll call “Sheila” was not being mistreated or abused. In fact, she went to the finest schools, had a beautiful home, was deeply loved and at the end of the day was simply spoiled.
She felt it was unfair that she had to clean her room and do chores. It seemed to her that since her mother had spare time she should take care of the chores. Not only had she seemingly lost her mind, she clearly missed the point.
Sheila shared her thoughts with her parents whenever she felt like it. Sometimes she was respectful, sometimes she wasn’t. She felt that she had a right to voice her opinion like the adults in the house. Wrong! Just because you have the ability to speak does not mean you have the right to speak and often wisdom will tell you not to speak; but she missed the point.
Sheila’s friends were allowed to go wherever they wanted to go and do whatever they wanted to do. Therefore, since her parents had rules and parameters to keep her sane and safe, she felt as though they were unbearably harsh and most certainly uncool. Once again she had missed the point.
The end of the year had come and it was time for me to go to the end of the year shut-in. For those of you who may be unfamiliar, a shut-in is a time of fasting and prayer usually overnight for one or more days inside of a church. As I was leaving to go to the church Sheila’s mother called me to tell me that once again Sheila was out of control.
Just before my arrival Sheila notified her family that she would rather “die and go to hell” than be subjected to their rules. I politely made a U turn, headed over the family’s home and spoke to Sheila.
At this point I was furious. First of all, the issue she was protesting was excruciatingly minor. Secondly, as a teen raised in church, she knew not to be disrespectful and thirdly she knows the gravity of hell and volunteering to go because you don’t want to follow rules was just plain ridiculous!
So there I stood in the kitchen, annoyed, angry, running late and trying to stay off the news. I told her that since she was planning her soul’s destination I thought the best thing that she could do was come shut in with me. She looked as though she wanted to speak but as she looked at the expression on my face “something on the inside” must have told her not to press her luck.
We got to the church and began to pray. Hours passed and she leaned over and said in a whining teenage whisper, “How long are we going to staaaaay here.” I looked at her and whispered through my teeth, “Until you don’t want to go to hell anymore!”
More hours passed and she lay down while we continued to pray and read the Word. About two o’clock I the morning, she sat up and said, (a bit too loudly) “Why are all the lights on and why is she (the woman leading prayer) hollerin’!” She missed the point.
We weren’t there to sleep; we were there to pray. We probably spent as many hours counseling her as we did praying over her during the shut in. We laugh about the shut in now that Sheila’s all grown up with her own child. She loves and appreciates her parents and her God. She will complete her undergraduate degree soon, attends church faithfully and has decided that she definitely does NOT want to go to hell.
Many times we are so focused on what we want and need that we miss the point of what God is really trying to accomplish in us. Sheila’s parents weren’t trying to steal her fun, they were trying to keep her save and impart wisdom until she was old enough to make her own choices in her own house.
We, like Sheila, can be so consumed in our temper tantrums and fault finding that we fail to realize how good the Lord has been to us. Yes, you may have gone through an illness, but if you stay in the valley of despair you missed the point. Through that experience you know firsthand that God is a healer.
Perhaps you’ve been broke and God brought you out. If you are praising your boss then you missed the point! God is your provider and He puts food on your table and clothes on your back!
Maybe you have been incarcerated and are finding life on the outside to be challenging. Don’t miss the point: God will show you that there is life after incarceration and hope for those that others have designated as hopeless!
Nothing that we have suffered or experienced is wasted. All of our experiences lead us to an expected end of victory, an expected end of joy and an expected end of hope. Don’t miss the point looking at the struggle; there’s something bigger and brighter on the other side! Don’t give up and don’t give in and don’t miss the point!
Monday: 2 Corinthians 12:9
Tuesday: Romans 8:28
Wednesday: Philippians 4:13
Thursday: Isaiah 43
Friday: Romans 9
Saturday: Ephesians 3:20
Sunday: Go to church!
by Judy Marker, MCJ Movie Critic
If you like action-packed spy adventures, then “Red” should be on your must see movie list. Combining an innovative script with a first-rate cast, “Red” is definitely entertaining.
Based on a very violent comic series by Warren Ellis, Director Robert Schwentke (“Flightplan”), tones down the story just a bit for its “PG-13” rating but keeps the action flowing.
RED stands for “Retired, Extremely Dangerous” and pertains to a group of retired Central Intelligence Agency operatives now enjoying what is supposed to be their peaceful pension collecting days. That is until a CIA kill team shows up to eliminate one of them,
Frank (Bruce Willis “Cop Out”), a former super-secret black-ops specialist just barely gets away, flying to Kansas City and kidnapping his over the phone love interest Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker “Weeds”), so she can’t be taken or killed by them. Knowing he is on a hit-list he seeks the help of other RED members.
Joining forces with Frank is Joe (Morgan Freeman “Dark Knight”), who is fighting both cancer and confined to a retirement home, Ivan (Brain Cox “The Bourne Identity”) a Russian and his former love Victoria (Helen Mirren “Inkheart”).
Marvin (John Malkovich “Secretariat”) nearly steals the top billing as a former agent burned out by numerous LSD experiments. His antics help move the movie along, including one action scene you may want to see again and again.
Just who or what could be behind the effort to eliminate this unique organization? Can RED come together and survive this threat?
Writers Jon and Erich Hoeber(“Whiteout”) have combined to give us a 1 hour and 50 minute adventure that at times does not seem to know whether it wants to appeal more to adults than teenagers.
Saved by its exceptionally outstanding cast, “Red” is both enjoyable and entertaining to watch. However, be prepared for intense sequences of action violence and brief strong language.
Better than expected, “Red” is a spy-thriller that you just might want to see again. That is why it receives my rating of “3-J’s/Worthy Effort!”
Redbox to offer video game rentals
The addition of video games to the popular redbox kiosks in the Milwaukee area is a test designed to gauge consumer interest in video game rentals. Local redbox consumers now can rent a variety of video games from the top platforms, including: WiiTM, PLAYSTATION® 3, and Xbox 360®, for $2 a night plus tax.
“Video games are growing in popularity, with game enthusiasts across all generations embracing them as part of workout routines, family nights and personal entertainment,” said Mark Achler, senior vice president of new business, redbox.
“Milwaukee consumers will now have convenient, affordable access to the latest games at about 174 redbox locations throughout the market during our test.”
Halo®: Reach (Xbox 360), NBA 2K11 (Xbox 360 and PLAYSTATION 3), New Carnival Games (Wii) and Dead Rising® 2 (Xbox 360 and PLAYSTATION 3) are among the video game titles now available. The number of video game titles and copies will vary by kiosk and location with new games being added each week.
Local residents can visit www.redbox.com/games to see a current list of games offered by redbox. Then, once at the kiosk, users access the touch screen display to determine which titles and platforms are available at that particular location.
Redbox consumers can rent games at approximately 174 convenient locations in the greater Milwaukee-area, including select Pick ‘n Save, Walmart and Walgreens stores, among others.
He said: “How tough a year it’s going to be for the Democrats will very much depend upon their base, and there’s no part of their base that is more important than the African American vote.”
The report, released last week Thursday, said Black voters could have a major impact on the outcome of 20 House races and 14 Senate races, but only…only if Black America reverses a pattern of low turnout in non-presidential election years.
The center study reports there are 20 competitive House contests. Fifteen of those contests are in the South in districts with Black voting populations of 10% or more.
They include three districts in Virginia, three in Ohio, two in Louisiana and two in Arkansas. Another key race the report doesn’t mention is Wisconsin, where incumbent Senator Russ Feingold is in the unusual position of underdog to an upstart, businessman and Tea Party disciple Ron Johnson.
“If Democrats retain half of these seats, it would be difficult for the GOP to gain the 40 seats necessary to regain the majority in the U.S. House,” the report says.
And there lies the rub. The Black vote is the key to turning back the threatening extreme right, Tea Party tsunami that could wash away the gains of the last two years by President Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress who (for now) hold power on Capitol Hill.
That’s right. WE—African Americans—hold the future of our nation (and ourselves) in its collective hands!
But given the extreme lack of enthusiasm in Black Milwaukee and Black America, we very well might squander again a ripe opportunity to turn back the hard right tide.
Not only that, we will again fail to make a definitive statement to Democrats and Republicans that we must be respected and not taken lightly or written off as a predictable loss.
As the aforementioned numbers point out, we are the key to retaining the gains in health care and Wall Street reform, the retention of automobile manufacturing jobs, a stimulus initiative that has helped create thousands of jobs and is holding the recession dragon at bay.
But all of that could be lost if Black America does not come out en masse and vote on November 2. If the Democrats lose control of Congress, we will have no one to blame but ourselves. Not White America, not the Tea Partiers, nor the Republicans who will gain power and dismantle President Obama’s initiatives.
We can’t use this quote enough by SCLC legend Joseph C. Lowry: “In 2009 we changed the guard. In 2010, we must guard the change!”
It’s time for Black America to rise up and guard the change we have been waiting for and now have. Again, if you don’t, who will!
Opponent Ron Johnson Would Repeal the New Health Care Bill, Which Invests in More Access to Better Care in Greater Milwaukee Area
U.S. Senator Russ Feingold recently welcomed an investment of more $2.6 million for a Milwaukee community health center just as a new report details a troubling lack of primary care available in Milwaukee.
On October 8, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius visited Milwaukee to announce that the 16th Street Community Health Center received an award of $2,625,615 paid for through the new health care reform law.
Community health centers are expected to play a larger role in offering care as millions more Americans will be insured following passage of the new health care reform law. The new health care law includes $15,817,799 for Wisconsin’s community health centers to meet the increased demand and the construction of new facilities. In 2008, 200,000 patients sought care at community health centers, most of who fell below the poverty line.
The announcement came shortly before a new study in the Wisconsin Medical Journal reported that only 20 percent of the 234 physicians in Milwaukee are located in areas designated as underserved.
“This is an important investment in the health of our community and I was proud to work with President Obama and fight for health care reform,” said Feingold, “My Republican opponent Ron Johnson has made it his top priority to repeal health care reform and eliminate this funding for the people that need it most.”
Feingold’s opponent, Republican Ron Johnson, has said he wants to completely repeal the new health care law and put insurance companies in charge of people’s health care. He has also said, “If I could wave a magic wand, I would take the entire Obama agenda and reverse it.”
Milwaukee Magazine recently ran a story on the Wisconsin Medical Journal study, and reported that the 46 physician offices in the inner city were largely in three areas and “offices specializing in internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology or pediatrics were even less likely to be located in the inner city.”
Feingold has been a champion of helping health care centers, earning him the title of 2010 Distinguished Community Health Superhero by the National Association of Community Health Centers.
“President Obama and I fought the insurance companies and won,” Feingold said, “Now Ron Johnson want to put them back in control so they can deny coverage when people get sick or change jobs.”
As a result of Feingold work, an estimated 541,000 Wisconsinites who are uninsured and 320,000 Wisconsinites who have individual market insurance will gain access to affordable coverage.
As many as 358,000 Wisconsinites are expected to qualify for premium tax credits to help them purchase health coverage.
As many as 77,400 small businesses throughout the state may be eligible for tax credits starting this year to help purchase health insurance for business owners and their employees.
No longer will Wisconsin small businesses be vulnerable to insurance practices of raising rates on a year-to-year basis due to an employee falling ill
“I don’t know if Ron Johnson has noticed, but Milwaukee is now fourth poorest city in the country,” Feingold said. “These health centers are critical to ensure all people in Wisconsin have access to health care.”
Disintegration of County services proof GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker out of touch with Wisconsinites
by Rommel Brown
After doing some research, it is very evident that Scott Walker does not care for the everyday citizen in Wisconsin. In Milwaukee County, where he is the county executive, Walker has mismanaged the county and has ignored the people of Milwaukee.
If Scott Walker cannot take care of Milwaukee County, what makes anyone believe that he will take care of Wisconsin?
Under Walker, Milwaukee County has been mismanaged and some of Milwaukee’s most vulnerable, like those of low-income families, have been at the highest risk.
Life necessities, like government assistance, public transportation and public assistance programs have tarnished under Walker.
The food stamps, childcare and medical assistance programs to Walker oversaw failed to meet national and state standards. This is even after the fact that Walker was given millions of additional dollars to help assist the deteriorating programs.
The evidence against Walker stretches along a lengthy rope. When it comes to public assistance programs, Walker has failed miserably. Examples include: At the Milwaukee County Call Center, only five percent of the calls were ever answered. Of all the benefit applications submitted, only 70 percent were handled within the period required by law.
Due to programs failing to meet standards, Milwaukee taxpayers are paying $74,500 in fines for Walker’s mismanagement, and lastly, low-income families and pregnant women have been forced to wait a month for the benefit they need.
The above is all taking place because Walker’s mismanagement and lack of communications and knowledge of Milwaukee County, especially those parts of the County that suffer the most. I again ask how can we expect someone who is so out of touch with his own county, to be the next governor of our state?
Further, not only have our programs been at risk, but our pubic transportation is in danger as well.
In my community, the county bus system is the main source of transportation and it is what helps us get from home to work, it is what helps our children get to school safely, it is how we get to the grocery store, and it is how we transport ourselves across the city.
Under Walker, service has been gutted, making it hard for people to get around. Bus miles of service were reduced by 16.7 percent and bus hours of service were reduced by 16.6 percent. Further, bus fares have increased. Where I live, having routes cut and fares raised, the people in my community are disadvantaged and are hurting.
Lastly, under Scott Walker’s leadership, his programs have either had their ownership transferred from the county to the city of Milwaukee or they hav
by Deborah Mathis–BlackAmericaWeb.com
The Republican Party has done us a favor this year by drawing a line in the sand so deep that you can see it from any angle, never having to worry about losing your way.
Nakedly intimidated by the Tea Party movement and its generalized anger at established powers – whether politicians, policies or agencies – the GOP has declared war on individual needs in favor of corporate and institutional privilege. In answer to the questionable cry, “I want my country back,” the Republicans are vowing to give more and more goodies to those who have most of them to begin with.
This would be in direct contrast to the equalization of opportunity that the Obama administration has attempted – the kinds of policies that the president’s opponents falsely, furiously and repeatedly blast as “socialism.”
A Republican takeover on Capitol Hill foretells the corporatization of the country. To please big business and industry, which abhor regulations and laws that won’t let them exploit their customers for the sake of profits, the Republican Tea Party would roll back financial reforms, abolish progressive programs, scuttle environmental protections and hold a sink-or-swim attitude toward anyone who is struggling to reach the American Dream. If you’re not there already – if you need help to get there – oh, well.
They have a conniption over the notion that a former felon who has served his time has his voting rights restored, but they think it’s great that a non-person has a right to swing an election by larding their pet candidates and causes’ coffers with huge amounts of money, for which they expect certain favors.
With even the highest court in the land in on the act, there are no more pretenses. Whether President Obama has a secret agenda may make for hot talk and speculation, but the Republican Tea Party leaves no doubt. There is clearly a plan afoot to give preference to those who already have privilege and power, and to hell with the little guy.
Minority status has not been a deterrent to obstinacy and disrepute among Republicans since Obama took office.
To them, a majority in either chamber will mean air superiority; a majority in both chambers will mean air supremacy, to use 1991 Gulf War terminology.
Should that happen, the casualties will stack up on the domestic front. Community development, student loans, jobs training programs, HBCU funding, public schools, Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, unemployment insurance, the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts will all take a hit.
Usurious interest rates, exorbitant fees and penalties in credit card debt and other loans, defense spending, tax cuts for the rich, loopholes for outsourcers and insurance tyranny will be on the comeback. So will outsourced jobs, bans on class action lawsuits and tax base erosion in the inner cities.
The ordinary American will find the dreams of home ownership, college for the kids, reliable health care and retirement security even harder to attain and more expensive, while their rights to push back against wrongdoing companies will be lessened. If he reaches the dream state, there could be nice rewards. But woe unto he who does not.
For some reason, the president recently declared a strange faith: That, even if the GOP takes over come next January, he believes they will act responsibly and work with him on bipartisan measures to advance the country.
Based on the Republicans’ performance to date, our dear president is either naïve or delusional. Unless, by bipartisan, he means that he intends to cave in.
The choice on November 2 is not a toss-up. It is clear and distinct. The handwriting is on the wall, the ceiling and the floor.
As election-day approaches, many eyes around the nation are focusing on Wisconsin.
With highly competitive midterm gubernatorial and senate races, many believe that Wisconsin is an important battleground state.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker are in a heated race to be the next governor of the great state of Wisconsin.
Recent polls have played a great deal in the momentum of the candidates’ campaigns.
Walker, who has a six-point lead in a recent New York Times projected election forecast and as much as an eleven-point lead in other polls, has drawn national attention for his campaign promises.
Among the more significant promises is his vow to block the proposed light rail system that will stretch through several counties including Madison and Milwaukee and eventually connect Chicago and Minneapolis.
Meanwhile Barrett, who is running on the premise of “Fighting for a Stronger Wisconsin” and has said that he will not bow down easily, has garnered a great deal of support and endorsement from noted Democratic leaders, including President Barack Obama and the First Lady.
When it comes down to the issue of transportation, according to his Web site, Barrett “understands that maintaining Wisconsin’s transportation infrastructure must be a priority in order to get Wisconsin working.” He supports a balanced approach to transportation that invests in the state’s roads and other transportation initiatives that produce long-term economic growth.
Walker and Barrett also vastly differ on health care, which is a major concern for many in the Black community.
Walker is vehemently against federal healthcare reform. He believes in “market-driven solutions” to better control the cost of health care for Wisconsin residents, by eliminating the state tax on health savings accounts and creating greater transparency in health care purchasing.
Walker and Rebecca Kleefisch, Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, joined forces in a recent television ad, accusing Democratic candidate Tom Barrett of supporting a government takeover of healthcare.
While Barrett supports federal healthcare reform, he believes the state should control the implementation of healthcare to Wisconsinites.
By working with all healthcare players, he believes that state can maintain the commitment to provide quality healthcare to working and middle class families, while controlling costs to businesses and families. He would continue to support the BadgerCare and BadgerCare Plus health insurance programs for those who do not qualify for Medicaid benefits.
After a recent report rated Wisconsin lower than the national average for public school funding, education is another hot-button issue.
The “Is School Funding Fair: A National Report Card,” a 50-state evaluation of school funding by researchers at Rutgers University and the Education Law Center, gave Wisconsin a low “C” grade for ensuring that districts with a higher concentration of poor students receive the needed funds to operate additional programs and services.
Walker believes in focusing on fundamentals, reforming failing schools, as well as recruiting, retaining and rewarding great teachers. Additionally, he believes that capitalizing on efficiencies and offering parents more choices are two crucial components to improving Wisconsin’s education system.
According to his Web site, “Wisconsin can again be a leader in educational excellence by refocusing on success in the classroom.” He says that by eliminating outdated and unnecessary rules, schools will be able to set high standards and meet them.
As mayor, Barrett fought for reform to turnaround failing Milwaukee public schools. If chosen as the next governor, he said he would fight to reform schools throughout the state.
He believes in quality K-12 education for the state’s children; making sure that every child has access to superior schools that will prepare them for a brighter future.
Additionally, Barrett believes in high-quality and affordable higher education. “To get Wisconsin working again, we must make a commitment to our community colleges, technical schools, and four-year universities to educate our children and retrain our workforce for the jobs of tomorrow,” his campaign said.
Within the past few weeks, the Community Journal has featured “Shame, Shame” photos of local failed Black businesses. When area businesses fail, area residents lose jobs, thus adding to the already high unemployment rate for Milwaukee Black men and women.
Since launching his campaign, Walker has talked about the “Brown Bag Movement,” a concept in which he focuses on three points: don’t spend more than you have; smaller government is better government; and people create jobs not government.
He has outlined a plan to help the people of Wisconsin create 250,000 jobs. He believes that lowering taxes; eliminating red tape by reevaluating job regulations and permit application processing. Also a part of his job-creation plan: ending frivolous lawsuits that kill jobs; improving the education of tomorrow’s workforce; making healthcare affordable and investing in infrastructure.
Barrett has a comprehensive job creation plan that he says will improve Wisconsin’s business climate, encourage entrepreneurship at the heart of the new global economy, spur new business activity, jump-start needed construction, and develop the workforce talent to attract new businesses to our state quickly.
Under his plan, Barrett will apply targeted tax cuts to help private-sector job creation; jump start job creation with his “Jobs Now” initiative that will provide assistance and incentives that businesses need to create jobs like developing a pro-active rapid response team and creating a business-to-business connector.
Additionally under his plan, he will consolidate and organize economic development by use of an Office of Job Creation position that will be a part of his administration; overhaul and streamline the state’s entire economic development toolkit; and create a state venture capital fund.
True with any candidate, both Barrett and Walker come with pros and cons, which depend on voters’ stance on the issues.
Like the gubernatorial race, the contest for the U.S. Senate seat is highly contentious, in which incumbent Sen. Russ Feingold and businessman Ron Johnson are virtually neck-and-neck.
Next week, the MCJ will look at this race and these candidates, as well as give our endorsement for the Nov. 2 midterm election for governor, U.S. Senator and U.S. House of Representatives.