Monthly Archive: July 2011


Highmark purchase of AGH prompts insurance war

When Highmark announced it had agreed to invest $475 million into the struggling West Penn Allegheny Health System, it was cautiously hailed as a boon to the area, as it could maintain a competitive balance with UPMC and offer patients more options as to where they receive care. “For consumers, we want to preserve their choices. For physicians and other health care providers, we want to ensure multiple patient referral options. This affiliation will help preserve those very options,” said Highmark President and CEO Dr. Ken Melani. IS THE DOCTOR IN?—Clients of Highmark insurance who enjoy access to UPMC doctors and hospitals could be forced to change insurance or find new doctors after June 30. “In addition, $75 million that we will be contributing for scholarships for medical school students and other educational programs will go a long way in addressing the shortage of physicians in the region, and help us retain highly trained doctors to serve our community.”


Rev. Peters lays out plan for Theological Center

It has almost been one year since Rev. Ronald E. Peters, Ed.D, left Pittsburgh to begin his appointed position as president of the Interdenominational Theological Center in September 2010 in Atlanta. In his newest role, Rev. Peters is the head of a school with more than 400 students and six seminaries devoted to various denominations of teaching to minister the Word. In a recent interview with the New Pittsburgh Courier, Rev. Peters spoke about his leaving Pittsburgh, the role of the church in the Black community and his plans for the school’s future. ENSTOOLED—Reverend Dr. Ronald Peters is installed into his position as president during the Enstoolment Ceremony of his Presidential Inauguration in April. (Photos by Oscar Petit) He spent 19 years in Pittsburgh and during his time here he was the Henry L. Hillman Professor of Urban Ministry at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and the founding director of the school’s Metro-Urban Institute, an interdisciplinary program devoted to leadership development in urban society. He has also authored several books and taught numerous courses on various topics, such as The Church and the Urban Family; Theology and Urban Violence, and the Church and Economic Development.


Smiley and West take Obama critique on the road

by Jesse Washington (AP)—Black activists Cornel West and Tavis Smiley are planning a 15-city “Poverty Tour” to bring attention to the needy and to what they say are the failings of President Barack Obama. West, a Princeton University professor, and Smiley, host of a PBS talk show, expect to begin the bus trip Aug. 5 at a Native American reservation in Wisconsin. With visits to soup kitchens, housing projects, farms, families and low-wage workers, they say they hope to create momentum for large-scale job creation programs and put poverty on the 2012 election agenda. HITTING THE ROAD—In this Feb. 26, 2005 photo, Princeton University professor Dr. Cornel West, right, talks to television and radio personality Tavis Smiley during the State of Black Union 2005 conference at the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga. (AP Photo/Erik S. Lesser) Smiley said that as budgets are cut in Washington, “poor people are being rendered invisible.” Obama and Congress must pay more attention, he said. “It’s not just about the president,” Smiley said. “Having said this, it would be nice to hear the president say the word ‘poor.’ To say the word ‘poverty.’ We get conversations about the middle class. Well, the new poor are the former middle class. But we can’t get this president or any leaders to say the words ‘poor’ or ‘poverty,’ much less do anything about it.”


McKnight promises an intimate night

Singer Brian McKnight promises Pittsburgh fans a glimpse into his family life when he graces the stage at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall for an intimate night of classic and new music on Saturday, July 30. “It’s going to be completely acoustic. We’re going to give you a night of McKnight music. We go down memory lane. This is an extension of what we do when we get together with family at Easter and during other holidays,” said McKnight, 42. BRIAN MCKNIGHT In addition to McKnight, the show will feature his sons, Brian Jr. and Niko, who are musicians in their own right and members of the group Broken Robotz (BRKN RBTZ) and his brother, Claude, co-founder of the a capella group Take 6. “My sons are on my new album and we have a studio in my house and we produce records together. They are at the point where they can be included in my music,” said McKnight who hails from New York but currently resides in Los Angeles.


Stamp to honor Johnson due in early 2012

The U.S. Postal Service will honor John H. Johnson, founder of preeminent media company Johnson Publishing Co., publisher of EBONY and JET magazines and owner of Fashion Fair Cosmetics, a global prestige cosmetics brand for women of color, by featuring the legendary publisher and distinguished business leader on a 2012 Forever Stamp as part of its Black Heritage stamp series. The announcement comes as the USPS is in the process of reviewing which ad agencies will handle its $100 million advertising account. In addition to contracting with a new general market agency, request for proposals have also been issued to African-American Hispanic and Asian advertising shops. The USPS did not include ethnic marketing agencies in its last review in 2002.


Republicans have a memory deficit

(NNPA)—How did we get into this budget mess? Republican lawmakers want you to believe it was because of the two years President Barack Obama has been in office? But it was Republicans—the professed party of fiscal responsibility—who have presided over the largest splash of red ink. According to Investment Watch blog:



The debt ceiling: Obama, Boehner and Steve Cohen

(REAL TIMES MEDIA)—The poll numbers on who is right and wrong in the Capitol debate on the debt ceiling continue to fluctuate back and forth. Sometimes the public sides with President Obama and the Democrats, sometimes with John Boehner, D-Ohio, and the Republicans. How can public opinion sway so much on an issue that is fairly simple and that politicians have been messaging about for the better half of this year? Because most politicians in Washington don’t understand that how they see debt and how average Americans see debt are further apart than Obama and Boehner were on the debt ceiling last week.


The deficit and what it means to Black Americans

(NNPA)—“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As our leadership in Washington, D.C. seeks common ground over the nation’s debt limit, there are some real consequences at stake for the Black community. The debate on Capitol Hill is no longer philosophical, it’s real and the impact on African-Americans and the poor could be devastating. With significant cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid being discussed, our nation’s social safety net is being shred and the quality of life for many of our friends, family and neighbors will be severely impacted. Cuts to Social Security benefits will increase hardships on already stressed seniors, while $250 billion in proposed Medicare cuts will force retirees to make decisions about their health care that might affect their well-being. The poor, disabled and elderly, already the most vulnerable segment of our population, stand to be further disadvantaged if states are allowed to trim their Medicaid rolls through cutbacks to current levels of eligibility.


Judicial system needs a major overhaul

Dear Editor: There is just no way around it, our police, judges, courts and system of justice are grossly flawed and need a major overhaul. Compare the cases of Casey Anthony, Florida and Kiaira Pollard, Pittsburgh. Casey Anthony accused of killing her little 2-year-old daughter, the papers stated, “The government failed to establish how little Caylee died.” Ask me how I feel: Casey Anthony is guilty as sin of killing her daughter. She is getting away with murder.