Thursday, August 24, 2006

Survivor Tries to Up Ratings Using Race

Chicago Tribune | The Watcher: "Originally posted: August 23, 2006
The next edition of 'Survivor' attracts buzz and brickbats
Reality programs have always courted controversy, but the CBS show �Survivor� is going where even the Fox network has not dared to tread.

When �Survivor: Cook Islands� debuts on Sept. 14, the 20 contestants on the show will be divided into four different teams -- based on race.
For the 13th edition of the show, there will be an Asian-American team (which will include Lake Forest resident Jenny Guzon-Bae), an African-American team, a Hispanic team and a white team. Eventually the team members will unite to form diverse teams.
�The idea for this actually came from the criticism that �Survivor� was not ethnically diverse enough,� host Jeff Probst told Harry Smith of CBS� �Early Show� Wednesday. �I think it fits in perfectly with what �Survivor� does - it is a social experiment. And this is adding another layer to that experiment, which is taking the show to a completely different level.�

�Are the producers utterly clueless about this issue, or are they utterly soulless in that they�re willing to engage this issue for the sake of ratings and buzz?� asked Lisa Navarrete, spokeswoman for the Latino advocacy group the National Council of La Raza. �It is really unconscionable and irresponsible.�
The decision to divide contestants by race may be part of a strategy by CBS to gain renewed notice for the reality show, which debuted in 2000 and has seen its ratings decline in recent years. Most editions of the show have had more than 20 million viewers and �Survivor� has been a fixture in the Nielsen ratings top 10.
However, average ratings have dipped below 20 million for some recent editions of the show, and the finale for its most...."

Home Sales Weak News: "U.S. Economy: Home Sales Drop, Supply Jumps to Record (Update3)

By Shobhana Chandra and Joe Richter
Aug. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Sales of previously owned U.S. homes fell in July to the lowest in more than two years, a slowdown that may lead the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates steady for a second month.
Purchases declined 4.1 percent, more than economists forecast, to an annual rate of 6.33 million, the National Association of Realtors said today in Washington. Sales fell 11.2 percent from a year earlier and the supply of unsold homes climbed to a record.
The report comes a day after Chicago Fed President Michael Moskow said a sharp decline in housing, which by some estimates accounted for more than half of growth over the last three years, would be a risk to the economy. While Moskow also warned of higher interest rates to stem inflation, economists say slackening growth is more likely to stay the Fed's hand.
``This plays into the Fed's hope and forecast that growth is going to stay moderate and that the pressures we are seeing on inflation will be transitory,'' said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at Maria Fiorini Ramirez Inc. in New York. ``If they aren't done yet, they are almost finished.''
Shares of residential construction companies tumbled. The 16-member Standard & Poor's Supercomposite Homebuilding Index dropped 2.3 percent. The S&P 500 lost 0.4 percent to 1293.13 at 12:40 p.m. in New York. "

US Slavery Museum Takes Uncensored Look

US slavery museum takes uncensored look - The Boston Globe: "US slavery museum takes uncensored look
`Heritage tourism' a growing industry
By Heather Gehlert, Los Angeles Times | August 20, 2006
FREDERICKSBURG, Va. -- Inferiority. Servitude. Racism. These are a few of the words that Vonita W. Foster uses when she travels to middle schools and high schools to teach students about slavery -- a subject that, more than 140 years after its end, still makes some black students squirm.

"They're kind of uncomfortable,' she said. ``They're embarrassed that their ancestors were slaves, because they don't know the heritage.'
Foster is on a mission to change that. She has become a driving force in creating the United States' first national museum dedicated to slavery.
With 290,000 square feet of space and a $200 million budget, the US National Slavery Museum, scheduled to open in Fredericksburg in 2008, is a high-end example of a growing market trend, as the tourism industry realizes the popularity and profitability of opening and re examining one of American history's ugliest scars.
Slavery studies has been growing as a field of interest in the past few decades, as people have sought the uncensored, unsanitized story of the trans-Atlantic slave trade -- a topic that Foster, who will be the museum's executive director, says is"

Genes Linked to Health Problems in Blacks

HealthDay: "Genes Linked to 2 Health Problems in Blacks
Findings could lead to new screening for preterm birth, prostate cancer, studies say
By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 23 (HealthDay News) -- New studies have found a genetic component to two health problems in blacks: premature birth and prostate cancer.
The findings buttress previous research linking genetics to health problems in different racial and ethnic groups.
In the case of premature birth and prostate cancer, knowing the increased risk may lead to new treatments, the researchers said. The findings were published in this week's edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
In the first report, researchers pinpointed a gene that appears to be involved in the significantly increased risk of premature birth among black women. The researchers found that a variation in the SERPINH1 gene heightens the risk of an early break in the amniotic sac, resulting in premature delivery.
'We were interested in finding genetic contributors to preterm birth in African-Americans, because they have a substantially higher risk of delivering a preterm baby than non-black individuals,' said lead researcher Dr. Jerome F. Strauss III, dean of Virginia Commonwealth University's School of Medicine.
'There are genetic factors that might predispose the 'bag of waters' to break early and result in a preterm birth,' Strauss said.
In the study, Strauss and his colleagues studied this gene variation, called the minor 'T' allele polymorphism, which is a marker of African ancestry. They found that this polymorphism leads to decreased levels of a protein that stabilizes collagen, which is needed to strengthen the membrane that contains the fluids that surround the fetus"

Friday, August 18, 2006

Overcoming Adoption's Racial Barriers

Overcoming Adoption�s Racial Barriers - New York Times

When Martina Brockway and Mike Timble, a white couple in Chicago, decided to adopt a child, Ms. Brockway went to an adoption agency presentation at a black church to make it clear they wanted an African-American baby.

Their biological daughter, Rumeur, 3, is accumulating black dolls in preparation for her new brother or sister. Black-themed children’s books like “Please, Baby, Please” by the filmmaker Spike Lee and his wife, Tonya Lewis Lee, share shelf space with Elmo and Dr. Seuss.

But the couple’s decision provoked some uneasy responses. One of Mr. Timble’s white friends asked, “Aren’t there any white kids available?”

Ms. Brockway’s black friends were supportive. “But,” she said, “I also sensed that there was maybe something they weren’t saying.”

Mr. Timble cut in. “Like maybe they were thinking, ‘What do these people think they are doing?’ ”

Ms. Brockway and Mr. Timble are among a growing number of white couples pushing past longtime cultural resistance to adopt black children. In 2004, 26 percent of black children adopted from foster care, about 4,200, were adopted transracially, nearly all by whites. That is up from roughly 14 percent, or 2,200, in 1998, according to a New York Times analysis of data from the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect at Cornell University and from the Department of Health and Human Services.

“It is a significant increase,” said Rita Simon, a sociologist at American University, who has written several books on transracial adoption. “It is getting easier, bureaucratically and socially. With so many people going overseas, people are also increasingly saying, Wait a minute, there are children here who need to be adopted, too.”

The CIA-Crack Connection-10 Years Later

The CIA-Contra-Crack Connection, 10 Years Later - Los Angeles Times: "The CIA-Contra-Crack Connection, 10 Years Later
Reporter Gary Webb was the victim of his own hyperbole, but he never got credit for what he got right.
By Nick Schou, NICK SCHOU is an editor for OC Weekly. His book, 'Kill the Messenger: How the CIA's Crack-Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb,' will be published in October.
August 18, 2006

TEN YEARS AGO today, one of the most controversial news articles of the 1990s quietly appeared on the front page of the San Jose Mercury News. Titled 'Dark Alliance,' the headline ran beneath the provocative image of a man smoking crack superimposed on the official seal of the CIA.

The three-part series by reporter Gary Webb linked the CIA and Nicaragua's Contras to the crack cocaine epidemic that ripped through South Los Angeles in the 1980s.

Most of the nation's elite newspapers at first ignored the story. A public uproar, especially among urban African Americans, forced them to respond. What followed was one of the most bizarre, unseemly and ultimately tragic scandals in the annals of American journalism, one in which top news organizations closed ranks to debunk claims Webb never made, ridicule assertions that turned out to be true and ignore corroborating evidence when it came to light. The whole shameful cycle was repeated when Webb committed suicide in December 2004.

Many reporters besides Webb had sought to uncover the rumored connection between the CIA's anti-communism efforts in Central America and drug trafficking. 'Dark Alliance' documented the first solid link between the agency and drug deals inside the U.S. by profiling the relationship between two Nicaraguan Contra sympathizers and narcotics suppliers"

Andy Young Quits Wal-Mart Group After Racial Remark

Young to Quit Wal-Mart Group After Racial Remarks

Andrew Young, the civil rights leader and former U.N. ambassador, said Thursday that he would resign as head of a Wal-Mart advocacy group, acknowledging 'demagogic' remarks about Jewish, Asian and Arab business owners.
Young, 74, has been lobbying minority groups and civic leaders to accept Wal-Mart stores in their neighborhoods, a relationship that has drawn criticism from other African American leaders. In an interview published in Thursday's Los Angeles Sentinel, he was asked about the retailer's role in displacing mom-and-pop stores.

'Well, I think they should; they ran the 'mom-and-pop' stores out of my neighborhood,' he told the Sentinel, the oldest and largest black-owned weekly newspaper in the West.

'But you see those are the people who have been overcharging us - selling us stale bread, and bad meat and wilted vegetables. And they sold out and moved to Florida. I think they've ripped off our communities enough. First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it's Arabs, very few black people own these stores.'

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said that although it did not ask for Young's resignation, it supported his decision to step down.

'We are appalled by these comments,' spokeswoman Mona Williams said. 'We are also dismayed that they would come from someone who has worked so hard for so many years for equal rights in this country.'

Young, in an interview Thursday night from his Atlanta home, expressed regret.

'I understand I've created a whole firestorm out there,' Young said. 'It's unfortunate and I should not have said it, and I apologize for it. It has not been my experience or my meaning.'

Community leaders condemned his remarks.

'Paid Wal-Mart spokesman Andrew Young's racist comments are not only an affront to the religious and ethnic groups he attacked, but to the growing multiracial movement in Los Angeles and other cities that has a starkly different vision than Young and Wal-Mart's 'any job is a good job' mantra,' said Danny Feingold, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy.

The alliance was part of a coalition of activists that two years ago defeated Wal-Mart's bid to build a store in Inglewood.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Bill Cosby Blasts Washington Post

Cos & Effect: Bill Cosby Blasts 'Wash Post,' Downie Responds: "Cos & Effect: Bill Cosby Blasts 'Wash Post,' Downie Responds

By E&P Staff

Published: August 11, 2006 10:55 AM ET

NEW YORK Comedian/actor/author Bill Cosby, in a lengthy letter, has complained about what he calls 'disturbing' coverage by the The Washington Post of recent remarks that he made at Harvard University, and the aftermath. Leonard Downie, Jr., the paper's executive editor, has responded with a a defense.

It all started with Cosby's July 18 remarks, in reference to the Post, 'I don't like media who can't see or can't tell the truth.' Now he asks,
'Is The Washington Post abusing its considerable journalistic power? I think an investigation is warranted in order to find an answer.'

The exchange took place on the Romenesko site at

Cosby wrote in a letter published there today:

'On July 18th, I was a panel member at a forum sponsored by The Kaiser Family Foundation, Harvard University, and The Washington Post. During the discussion, I made reference to The Washington Post and stated: 'I don't like media who can't see or can't tell the truth.'

'The next day, in a Washington Post article by Robert E. Pierre, that specific line was cited. Then, on July 21, the Post carried a column by Michael Eric Dyson which was entitled: The Injustice Bill Cosby Won't See.".....

Black Colleges Recruiting More Hispanics

Black Colleges Recruiting More Hispanics

Faced with stiff competition for their traditional students, historically black colleges are now making a push to recruit Hispanics.

Black colleges that want to shore up enrollment numbers are revising recruitment strategies to include more members of the nation's largest and fastest-growing minority. The campuses are hiring Hispanic recruiters, distributing brochures that feature Hispanic students and establishing special scholarships for Hispanics.

'I tell them 'There's a place for you and a need for Latinos to be present on (historically black) campuses,' said Nelson Santiago, a Puerto Rico native and recruiter for the historically black Howard University in Washington, D.C., which has about 170 Hispanics out of 11,500 students.

Santiago and recruiters from other schools, including the all-male Morehouse College in Atlanta, are visiting predominantly Hispanic high schools and setting up booths at college fairs to recruit Hispanics. Morehouse sends recruiters to high schools in southern Florida, New York, eastern Texas and Los Angeles _ areas with large Hispanic populations.

'Considering Latinos and African-Americans share a lot of history together that they don't realize, I think it's a good idea,' said John Miranda, the 21-year-old son of Brazilian immigrants who is one of 15 Hispanics enrolled at the 2,800-student Morehouse.

Miranda, of Silver Spring, Md., said he picked Morehouse because he was offered a full scholarship funded by an Atlanta foundation that promotes the education of Hispanics....

A Rich History for One Family's Reunion

Family reunion celebrates heritage and endurance:

With $500 Peter Still bought his freedom from slavery in 1850. He then hiked from Alabama to New Jersey where -- after 40 years in captivity -- he was reunited with his family.

In 1872 Still's brother, famed abolitionist William Still, published "The Underground Railroad." Another brother Dr. James Still cared for sick New Jerseyans -- black and white -- and was known as the "black doctor of the Pines

Such a rich family history is something to celebrate, said Clar ence 'Clem' Still.
For 137 years members of the Still clan have done just that in towns around South Jersey.
Each summer they gather to remember their heritage. Yesterday the second of three annual family reunions was held in Lawnside; the other two are held in Mount Laurel and Vineland......

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Downsizing Survival Preparedness

This information was shared with me by a good friend of mine, Willa Edgerton Chisler. Thanks Willa!

Downsizing Survival Preparedness
by Melissa A. Westmoreland

Chances are there are few of us who have not found ourselves out of work at one point. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, "During the January 2001 through December 2003 period, 5.3 million workers were displaced from jobs they held for at least 3 years…" More than one-third of these jobs were within manufacturing. Although there were a number of reasons--call it downsizing, rightsizing or re-engineering--it all equates to the same thing…unemployment. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also says the average number of "spells of unemployment" for late-born boomers (born between 1957 and 1964) from age 18 to 38 is 4.8. Most shocking of all is that within this study a little more than 4 out of 10 people were notified in advance of their being laid off. That means 60 percent were let go without warning.

The statistics indicate that many of us will experience being jobless at more than one point in time and possibly without notice; the best thing to do, then, is to have a plan in place. A plan can reduce the fear, stress, and anxiety of being out of work.

Here are five tips for downsizing survival preparedness:

Know the emergency exit systems for your organization.

Familiarize yourself with your company's policies and benefits for terminated employees.

Know what your company has to offer for an employee assistance program.

Loss is loss. You may need someone to talk to. Counseling can do wonders to help you deal with the stress.

Know what your company has to offer in the way of benefits or COBRA (insurance continuance) and know what to expect in terms of time and cost.

Ask about outsourcing.

Find out if your employer sponsors such programs. This can help you with the task of becoming re-employed quicker. Don't be afraid to take advantage of it.

Prepare an emergency evacuation plan. (Protect your personal assets.)

In the event you are downsized, chances are you will be asked to leave upon a moment's notice. You will most likely be supervised packing and exiting the building. If you take personal items to work, pack just what will fit in your car and make sure your employer knows what belongs to you. Keep a readily accessible list. Make it a habit to label your personal effects with your name. For large items, tape a copy of the receipt to the item. When it comes to paper, keep what is yours at home, as no one will want to spend hours watching you sift through file cabinets.

Prepare an emergency financial plan.

Money is usually the worry that drives all of the other fears. Keep a current list of all your investments and savings plans and think about how you would support yourself for several months. Think about possible ways to make a living until you can find a full-time job or things you own that you can sell. Be creative.

Remember that your organization could eliminate your job at the end of the year or ,worse yet, before the year-end holidays. Be prepared for the worst case financial scenario.

Prepare a career survival plan.

Finding a new job is most often the next fear. By having a financial plan in place, it will allow you more time to find the right position. Keep your resume updated. It is also a good idea to keep your resume actively posted on at least one job site to keep yourself abreast of the job market just in case you need it. Look periodically at job postings and know what they pay, where they are located, and if you would require additional education or certifications. Invest in continuing education to increase your marketability.

Be prepared to say good-bye.

People whom you once thought were your friends might distance themselves from you in the event of your departure. Many people are afraid unemployment is contagious. Remember, these people are coworkers and may not be friends after all.

Work friends will most likely stick by you but remember they still work there. Do not talk about work or they may stop talking to you, as well.

It has been said that when one door closes then another one opens. Remember this if you suddenly find yourself out of a job. If you have your plan in place, it might allow you the opportunity to take some time off and explore many options. If you plan well, perhaps it will give you time to complete your next degree or start your own business. It might also open you to a move into a new career area or a new part of the country. The difference between being a survivor and a victim is all in how well you plan.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Number of Black Lobbyists Remains Low

Number of Black Lobbyists Remains Shockingly Low

Robert G. Drummer has been a lobbyist for a long time. He represents the American Moving and Storage Association and the City of Atlanta. But one thing has not changed since he first left Capitol Hill as an aide in 1995: the number of African American lobbyists like himself has remained remarkably small.

"The number has risen, but it's been a slow growth," he said. As president of the Washington Government Relations Group (WGRG), a trade association of black lobbyists, Drummer should know. The organization has about 100 members and a database of black federal lobbyists that tops 200.

The database probably doesn't capture every African American registered to lobby in the District. But even if it includes only half of the real total -- or even a quarter -- the number is still minuscule. According to the nonpartisan, the total number of currently registered federal lobbyists is 29,702.

How is it possible that any profession -- let alone a profession that deals with the government -- has such a tiny representation of African Americans?

Lobbyists suggest a few reasons. One is that blacks are underrepresented in Congress, especially in the Senate, and the result is that relatively few African Americans get the experience they need to become professional lobbyists. Another explanation is that because black lobbyists have been so rare for so long, the network of predominantly white people who do the hiring for lobby groups doesn't routinely reach out to blacks.

Cape May NJ-A Proud African-American Past

A proud past at the shore

Cape May's gingerbread houses and great restaurants are reason enough to visit the country's first seaside resort.

The city is a National Historic Landmark, a preserved time capsule of Victorian architecture. Its many mansions, summer homes and hotels were built by the affluent after a devastating fire cleared 30 acres of prime real estate in November 1878.

But there is more to its story. The city's population was once 30 percent black. Drawn by job opportunities, African-Americans began settling in the city in the 1800s. They found work in the city and in the local fishing industry. They built a thriving community in the city west of Osborne Street.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Friday, August 04, 2006

For Whites in Prince George's, a Mirror on Race

For Whites in Prince George's, a Mirror on Race:

"County's Black Affluence Reverses Roles
By Lonnae O'Neal Parker
Washington Post Staff Writer

The swimming pool in Abby Hopper's Bowie development was already crowded when Hopper, her husband, their two toddler girls, her sister-in-law and her two young kids arrived in a cloud of plastic buckets, kickboards and Cinderella floaties. Just settling in was a huge production. Then, sitting in her lounger, Hopper finally looked around. There had to be 75 people at the pool.
They were the only whites.

Hopper, 35, felt that stab -- call it acute self-consciousness. She didn't know the people around her, and they didn't know her. What if Madeline made a splashy mess or Ellie took another child's floatie -- because that's what little kids do. What if the other moms thought her girls were some entitled-feeling white kids, with their entitled-feeling white mother looking on?


Okay, what would happen ?

Long pause. "Well, nothing physical," Hopper says slowly. Maybe just a bad scene.

The pang passed as fast as it came. Hopper recognized a mom from the neighborhood toddler play group she helped organize and saw the family from down the street in the baby pool. Everything was back to being all good; just a regular these-are-the-people-in-my-neighborhood kind of thing.

Two years ago, the Hoppers moved from a nearly all-white neighborhood in Baltimore to Prince George's County, where Abby Hopper had grown up around all kinds of people. She says she wants that for her kids. Her husband, Greg, also likes that they got a lot more house for the money