Monthly Archive: February 2011

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Opinion

Labor unions are fighting for survival

(NNPA)—The showdown between public unions and the governor of Wisconsin is drama likely to be replayed in other budget-challenged states during the next few months and may determine whether American unions rebound or become a fading fixture of the past. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 44 states and Puerto Rico have introduced legislation governing labor unions and collective bargaining. Because so much is at stake, both pro- and anti-labor groups around the nation have sent protesters to Wisconsin during the past week to support their cause. Thousands of protesters, including teachers, rallied in Madison, the state capital, to voice their concerns. Anti-labor protesters have also marched in the streets to express their support for a proposed measure to strip public unions of much of their power.

Opinion

‘Lighting a successful spark’

(NNPA)—“On your mark, get set, ready, go!” In the language of childhood, these words are an exciting invitation—and a signal that it’s time to be at the starting line and prepared to take off in order to sprint to success. But what happens when children aren’t ready for the most important race of their lives? Every year, four million children in America enter kindergarten, but as many as one in three won’t be ready for school—and many of them will never catch up. Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids, or SPARK, a national initiative of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, was designed to get children at the starting line and ready to go. Seeking “ready children,” “ready communities,” and “ready schools,” SPARK worked for over five years, in seven states and Washington, D.C., to help communities unite resources to better prepare children for school and smooth the transition between pre-school and elementary school settings. The Children’s Defense Fund’s Southern Regional Office was honored to be the grantee for SPARK Mississippi, a $5 million initiative that has improved school readiness for more than 800 Mississippi children ages three to eight—a concrete example of what’s working to improve children’s chances.

Opinion

Deep enough, far enough, or just too much?

(NNPA)—President Barack Obama has proposed a 2012-2013 budget that is, at best, politically pragmatic. Responding to the Republican sway in congress, he has decided to impose a set of his own cuts, anticipating those his opponents might offer. Their response is predictable. The Obama cuts are not deep enough; they do not go far enough. And, I think they are just too much. In other words, President Obama has been forced to take the knife to programs he supports, and he chooses to do so to hold another set of programs harmless. He would cut community service programs, but he’d hold firm on education. In yielding to the new Republican majority, he has also reminded us that education is a priority for him, and that he will not cut the plethora of educational programs that buttress his vision.

Opinion

Guest editorial… Wisconsin workers fight for union rights

Thousands of workers, students and union supporters rallied at the capitol of Wisconsin Saturday to protest against Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s cynical ploy to use the state’s budget woes as an excuse to eliminate most collective bargaining rights for public employees. Like many governors across the nation Gov. Walker is faced with a budget crisis due to the recession, rising health and pension costs and the upcoming cuts in state aid. Many governors will oppose raising taxes and instead propose mass layoffs and drastic cuts in social services to close gaping budget deficits in their states.

Entertainment

World renown artists perform for Cooper Classic

by Kevin Amos “Synthesis,” a soul and jazz showcase featured Rex Rideout, a four time Grammy-nominated producer, arranger and musician, as well as Dwayne Dolphin and Poogie Bell at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture. Special surprise guests included Bryan Mills of Chuck Brown Fame, Howie Alexander, Neo-Soul and Jazz greats Ledesi and Sean Jones. This spectacular concert honored the legacy of Chuck Cooper; the first African-American drafted into the NBA and was the second annual event. PRODUCER—Thomas Bell, left, with son Don Bell. Don produced the Jazz Showcase. (Photo by Rossano P. Stewart) Cooper’s life after basketball was notable for his level of commitment to the community. Cooper worked for and eventually rose to the position of director in several neighborhood organizations. He was named head of the city’s parks and recreation department in 1970, becoming Pittsburgh’s first Black department director. Later he moved into an urban affairs post at Pittsburgh National Bank, where he spearheaded development and affirmative action programs.

Entertainment

Out & About with Brotha Ash

This week I visited Mosaic Night Club in the Strip District, CJ’s in the Strip District, Montage in Wilkinsburg, Ya Momz House Recording Studio in East Liberty and the Shadow Lounge in East Liberty. My first stop was at Mosaic Night Club in the Strip District, where Jessica Holter’s The Punany Poets presented “The Head Doctor” also featurin’ other local poets. The ladies came out to represent at the Shadow Lounge at Jenesis Magazine’s Valentine’s Day event. My next stop was at CJ’s in the Strip District, where The Variety Band performed R&B hits all night long to a packed house and everyone was on the dance floor.

Entertainment

Arts & Culture Calendar

Thursday 24 Jazz jam CJ’s Restaurant & Lounge presents “The Roger Humphries & RH Factor Jazz Jam Session” at 8 p.m. at 2901-2911 Penn Ave., Strip District. There will be live jazz and fun every Thursday night. Must be 25-years or older and there is a dress code that will be enforced. No tennis shoes, sweats, or athletic gear. For more information, call 412-642-2377.

Business

Chamber talks Shale

Not surprisingly, there was a near full house at the African American Chamber of Commerce for Marcellus Shale Coalition President and Executive Director Kathryn Klaber’s Power Breakfast presentation. Klaber’s PowerPoint broke down the shale gas drilling process into its component parts to show that there are multiple supply chains, and therefore multiple business opportunities for small and minority-owned companies, depending on their expertise. GETTING IN ON THE GOLD RUSH—African American Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Doris Carson Williams joins Marcellus Shale Coalition President and Executive Director Kathryn Klaber and Doug Matthews of U.S. Steel in answering questions about supplying products and services to Marcellus companies. The areas she highlighted were site preparation, production, transportation and logistics, water management and piping. “Actually, if you look at our website, at our 173 members, you can get an overview of the supply chain,” she said.

Business

Not older…better (and more powerful)

According to The Global Impact of an Aging World, a report released recently by The Nielsen Company which analyzed data from more than 50 countries, Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) are redefining what it means to be “old” just as they defined what it meant to be young and middle aged. As of 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2011, the oldest of the group started turning 65! And, because Baby Boomers in this country account for the largest share of sales of any generation throughout most product categories—companies, who have previously largely overlooked seniors in marketing plans, are going to have to sit up and take notice!

Business

Report: Credit card clarity shows that real reform is working

(NNPA)—On May 22, 2009 President Barack Obama signed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act, also known as the CARD Act. At the time, many consumer advocates rejoiced at the enactment that stopped the ability of card issuers to raise annual percentage rates even when customers were current on their existing balances. Moreover, the sum of reforms enacted took a full 15 months for all provisions to take effect. Despite the protections consumers gained from the CARD Act, some industry executives warned that the historic reform would make credit costlier and less available. Further, there were predictions that rules and oversight would bring “unintended consequences” for consumers.