Monthly Archive: January 2010

Opinion

Haiti adoptions and children’s right to name, nation and lineage

Do children have human rights? “Of course!” one might hastily reply. Since 1948, in the wake of the Holocaust, nations across the world spoke in one voice to create international instruments for the protection of citizens and individuals and minorities against capricious behaviors by national governments and strong-willed leaders. Yet the question remains—this time applied to the Haitian natural disaster where scores of children are being swept up in quick adoption by “loving families.” The route, however, is through altered Homeland Security procedures and harried “emergency humanitarian program” rulings.

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Opinion

The curse of the 60th vote

(REAL TIMES MEDIA)—Everyone wants to be the difference maker in Washington, D.C. John McCain made a career out of playing the moderate Republican whose swing vote was up for grabs so long as the other side made a persuasive policy argument. Positioning yourself as the critical vote on national policy issues is a great way to get on “Meet the Press,” increase your stature back home and maybe even launch yourself into the White House. But the health care reform debate has thrown that conventional wisdom out the window. Being the swing vote on health care has been a one-way ticket to political oblivion. The “curse of the 60th vote” has been cast and it just might change Washington for years to come.

Opinion

Shame on Haiti critics

The impoverished nation of Haiti recently suffered a devastating earthquake. The damage and death toll mark this as one of the biggest natural disasters in the last century. In a real show of humanity and brotherhood, the world has come forward, offering prayers and monetary support to Haiti. There are a few, however, who have sunk lower than most of us can imagine, making insensitive and inappropriate comments about Haiti at a time when the country needs and deserves our compassion.

Opinion

Supreme Court decision complicates Black power

(NNPA)—The Supreme Court, in its recent decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, may have complicated the growth of Black elected officials by their 5-4 conservative majority, giving corporations carte blanche authority to directly spend money in elections. By deciding that corporations have First Amendment rights to spend money in elections to voice their preferences, they have been given the right of “persons” in constitutional law. In effect, they now have the same rights to influence elections as individuals, when the differences in power, status and capability is obvious.

Opinion

The wisdom of Massachusetts voters

Following the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy, Democrats in the Massachusetts state legislature rushed to change a procedural rule thus allowing Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick to replace Kennedy with an interim and Democratic senator. During the 2004 presidential election this same august body had taken that power away from Republican Gov. Mitt Romney fearing he would appoint a Republican should their junior senator, John Kerry, become president. The maneuver displays the arrogance of the left. So significant is their agenda that changing the rules in the middle of the game is justified. Arrogance also leads them to dismiss disgruntled Americans as racists and dimwitted “tea baggers.” It is arrogance of the strongest sort that leads them to believe their policy solutions divinely inspired such that they say openly that Americans will take the medicine of the new left and learn to like it.

Opinion

Help Haiti now

(NNPA)—My faith in the essential goodness of the American people and our government has been strengthened as I have witnessed the extraordinary mobilization of relief efforts on behalf of the nation of Haiti following the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake that has taken the lives of perhaps as many as 100,000 or more of its citizens. As I watch the screaming, tear-stained scenes of death and anguish unfolding on the nightly news, I cannot help but recall that only five years ago, my own hometown of New Orleans might have disappeared into the abyss of forgotten history were it not for the compassionate outreach of millions of people in this country and around the world. As President Obama said, it is times like these that remind us of our common humanity.

Entertainment

Havens talks about his music, future

by Kevin AmosFor New Pittsburgh Courier Richie Havens has quietly influenced several generations through his music and community activism. The music of Havens, along with that of others, became the soundtrack for a revolution and many times that revolution was implemented by direct community action. Since the early ’60s, Richie has used his music to bring forth messages of unity and personal freedom. MUSIC GIANT RICHIE HAVENS

Entertainment

Tyrese talks about ‘Legion,’ career

In a diner in the Mojave Desert, a small group of people going about their everyday lives, is unaware of the chaos and destruction going on around the globe. When they lose television and phone services, they realize something is happening but they chalk it up to an earthquake or terrorist attack. Never would they imagine it’s the beginning of the end of the world. The supernatural thriller, “Legion” is the apocalyptic vision of Scott Stewart and David Lancaster’s latest work where mankind’s only survival hope lies in this group of strangers trapped in a diner, ironically named, “Paradise Falls.” As they attempt to figure out what is going on, a seemingly sweet old woman (Jeannette Miller), arrives and orders a meal, and begins a conversation with the diner’s pregnant waitress (Adrianne Palick). The old woman then begins spewing shocking obscenities, and suddenly launches a grisly attack with superhuman abilities. Now the diner group knows something unnatural is happening. ON LOCATION —Tyrese Gibson, far right, with cast from the movie “Legion.”

Entertainment

Mo’Nique proves acting chops with SAG award

All comedian/actress Mo’Nique could say when she won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mary in “Precious” was “wow.” After taking a moment to soak in her win, a poised but emotional Mo’Nique said, “Thank you very much to every member of the Screen Actors Guild. I am honored,” the poised comedienne said during the live telecast of the 16th annual awards ceremony, held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. MO’NIQUE The Screen Actors Guild Award is given to actors by actors. It is unique from other awards ceremony’s because voting is done by other actors who are paid members of the guild.

Entertainment

Step Afrika awes Pittsburgh

Step Afrika stomped into town Jan. 17 with a dynamic and electrifying vibe that left the Bynham Theater audience energized and in awe. Known as the first professional company in the world dedicated to the tradition of stepping, Step Afrika has received critical acclaim for its performances. Founded in 1994 by Brian Williams, a Howard University graduate and Alpha Phi Alpha stepper, he formed the group after an inspirational from a trip to South Africa. STEP AFRIKA DANCERS Based in Washington, D.C., Step Afrika began as a cross-cultural exchange program with the Soweto Dance Theatre of Johannesburg, South Africa. The company attempts to bring an understanding of and appreciation for stepping by using the dance tradition’s that makes stepping an educational tool for young people worldwide. Step Afrika reaches tens of thousands of people around the globe each year and has performed on many stages in North and South America, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean.