Daily Archive: October 29, 2009


Metro Beat

Firefighters get tested City of Pittsburgh and union officials have agreed that as a part of a new five-year contract, city firefighters will now be randomly drug tested and if they fail, they could be fired. The contract also gives the more than 600 city firefighters a substantial bonus next year, a 2 percent raise in their salary each year through 2014 and a raise in their pension. The contract was signed earlier this week by Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.


Former nurse’s aide in Harrisburg becomes Ugandan king

by Tom Maliti KASESE, Uganda (AP)—For years, Charles Wesley Mumbere worked as a nurse’s aide in the United States, caring for the elderly and sick. No one there suspected that he had inherited a royal title in his African homeland when he was just 13. On Oct. 19, after years of political upheaval and financial struggle, Mumbere, 56, was finally crowned king of his people to the sound of drumbeats and thousands of cheering supporters wearing cloth printed with his portraits. Charles Wesley Mumbere during an interview at his house in Kasese, Oct. 18, hours before he was crowned king of the ethnic group the Bakonjo people in the Rwenzururu district of western Uganda.


Slain UConn player mourned

MIAMI (AP)—A University of Connecticut football player who was fatally stabbed outside a campus dance was looking forward to being a father and wanted to be a part of his daughter’s life, the grandfather of the unborn child said Oct. 25. Family and friends of Jasper Howard filed through a small South Florida mortuary Sunday to pay their respects to the 20-year-old cornerback from Miami. Among them was David Nadal, the father of 18-year-old Daneisha Freeman, who is pregnant with Howard’s child. JASPER HOWARD


Text messages in McNair shooting released

(NNPA)—Text messages between slain NFL star Steve McNair and his girlfriend show that he had affection for the woman and was not planning to end their affair, while she was distressed about money issues in the 24 hours leading up to their July 4 murder-suicide. Nashville, Tenn., police on Oct. 20 released approximately 50 text messages between former Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans quarterback McNair and Sahel Kazemi as part of the McNair case file. The file, which includes notes from police interviews and crime scene observations, was made public shortly after results of the police investigation were questioned in a CBS News report. TRAGIC MURDER–SUICIDE —These photos show Steve McNair, left, in a 2003 file photo and Sahel Kazemi in this undated booking file photo from the Davidson County Sheriff.


Carrots and sticks: Obama’s split media strategy

by Ben Feller WASHINGTON (AP)—The same president who aggressively harnesses the power of the press to promote his agenda has taken to lacing his comments with criticisms of the media, with no bigger target than the gabby culture of cable television. President Barack Obama’s critique is biting: The media prefer conflict over cooperation, encourage bad behavior and weaken the ability of leaders to help the nation. MAXIMUM EXPOSURE—In this Oct. 2 photo, President Barack Obama pauses while speaking to members of the media in the Rose Garden of the White House.


This Week in Black History

October 29 1929—The Stock Market collapses, ushering in the Great Depression, bringing about Black unemployment rates ranging from 25 to 40 percent. The effects of the Great Depression would last until the start of World War II which created massive war industry jobs and a second mass migration of Blacks from the South to the industrial North. 1994—Famed dancer Pearl Primus dies. She blended African and Caribbean dance and music with Black American traditions of blues, jazz and the jitterbug to form a new vibrant dance form. She formed a dance troupe and she personally appeared in such early Broadway hits as “Showboat” and “Emperor Jones.” Primus was known for her amazingly high leaps. In 1991, the first President Bush awarded her the National Medal of Arts. PEARL PRIMUS



What neighborhood is this?

This column is the result of a conversation in the barber shop with two out-of-town young Black men. They were from Philadelphia and Chicago, and the one from Philadelphia upon getting ready to leave asked what neighborhood is this. I pretended to be shocked and said, “You really don’t know this is the internationally-known Hill District?” All of the customers laughed, but then the conversation took a serious turn. I began to relate the history of the Hill with emphasis on the fact that he was standing on the legendary Wylie Avenue, once the business hub of the bustling Hill District. We explained that the street originated at Herron Avenue to Downtown and once included every kind of business you could imagine and the last business at the end of Wylie Avenue was a parking garage owned by one of a great number of Black businessmen, Mr. Nelson.



It’s time to end the war

(NNPA)—The words of the late singer Edwin Starr never said it more direct, “War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing!” The beautiful diva Freda Payne also chimed into this anti-Vietnam War movement with her song “Bring the Boys Home.” Songs, poems, public protests and 500 body bags a week coming home made this ugly conflict intolerable. Today, Vietnam is a prime business partner of the United States with its “favorite nation” status. Somehow the ugly communist nation has become one of our best friends. I guess this shows how ridiculous that war was. The fact was we couldn’t win in Vietnam. One thing I learned during my tenure at the Infantry Officers Candidate School in Ft. Benning, Ga. is that you don’t risk your men in a war you cannot possibly win. So why did we enter into Vietnam? One of our Tacks (tactical officers) clearly told us one day, “War is now a business and right now business is damn good.” It was chilling to realize that this Vietnam War which all of us were drafted into was not about national security or democracy. It was about sales for the military industrial complex. That is a group of businesses that make money from its products, technology and services needed during armed conflict. Many of those profiting directly or indirectly were members of Congress and even a president here and there were benefiting from the deaths of our troops and the needless involvement in a serious armed conflict. It is just amazing how elected officials can make millions from their portfolios as a result of the policy that they make. It is disgusting how the net worth of senators, congresspersons and others in the Executive Branch skyrockets from this violent pro-war policy making. Why do we let it happen? The term military industrial complex was coined by our great general and president, Dwight D. Eisenhower. He lamented that we should no longer be caught by surprise as in World War II when we had to turn our industries into war machines and play “catch up” during World War II for the first couple of years. He said we should have enough industry to keep our war capability strong but that we should not get so far out there that we become so prepared for a war we may help create one. His farewell speech, January, 1961, was so prophetic. There was no way we could win in Vietnam. All of North Vietnam loved its leaders, especially Ho Chi Minh, and more than half of South Vietnam considered him their hero and sought his leadership. What was left in South Vietnam was a very corrupt regime that we spent an ungodly amount of troops on. We came into Vietnam after they ran out the Japanese and then the imperialist French. Sound familiar? Before you knew it we were making weaponry by the billions, importing drugs into the United States and “spending” about 500 troops per week. It was absolutely tragic. Thus, here we are repeating it in Afghanistan. We followed the Soviet Union who was terribly defeated. We are fighting the Taliban who we previously armed and trained. There wasn’t an opium poppy growing in Afghanistan before we got there. Now they are shipping it out by the billions of dollars. This is déjà vu. We can keep throwing troops at Afghanistan but sooner or later we are going to figure out that the Taliban aren’t leaving and we are spending good people for a cause that won’t materialize. It’s time to get out and let the military industrial complex find another game to play Oh yes, then there is Iraq. This war was certainly started for no-bid contracts and big bucks. There is just no other way to look at it.


Time to press forward on the public option

(NNPA)—This is a defining week for Democrats who must decide whether to press for the public option in health care and risk losing the support of a lonely Republican senator or press for the measure to avoid offending an increasingly vocal segment of its base. The Senate is expected to come up with a bill this week, after much wrangling, and send it to the Congressional Budget Office for an official pricing. After being declared dead in the Senate, the public option—a government plan to compete with insurance companies to lower prices—saw a strong revival on the heels of public opinion polls showing more than half of all Americans favor such a plan. In order to win over some reluctant Democrats, states will be allowed to opt out of the program. “My guess is that the public option level playing field with the state opt out will be in the bill,” Sen. Charles Schumer of New York said on “Meet the Press.”