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All-Star starters

For the millions of you Major League Baseball fans who did not pass on your patriotic duty to vote for your favorite 2014 All-Stars, the votes have been counted and the starters are:

American League starters: first base, Miguel Cabrera, Detroit; second base, Robinson Cano, Seattle; shortstop, Derek Jeter, New York; third base, Josh Donaldson, Oakland; catcher, Salvador Perez, Kansas City; DH, Nelson Cruz,

Baltimore; outfield Mike Trout, California, Adam Jones, Baltimore, and Jose Bautista, Toronto, who was the number-one vote-getter, receiving 5.6 million votes. National League starters: first base, Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona; second base, Chase Utley, Philadelphia; shortstop, Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado; third base, Aramis Ramirez, Milwaukee; outfield Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh, Carlos Gomez, Milwaukee, and Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles. The Twins had two players selected as reserves — catcher Kurt Suzuki and reliever Glen Perkins. Here’s an interesting symmetry: This year’s mid-summer classic, the 85th All-Star game, is being held in the same city, Minneapolis, as the 1985 All-Star Game. For the most part, all those that have been voted in are very deserving and, as always, many deserving stars were not — at least not yet — selected. Continue Reading →

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The War on Poverty: 50 years later

On January 8, 1964, a mere six weeks after taking office, President Lyndon B. Johnson stood before the nation to deliver his first State of the Union address. In his address President Johnson proclaimed that “This administration declares unconditional war on poverty in America. The richest nation on earth can afford to win it. We cannot afford to lose it. For the war against poverty will not be won here in Washington. Continue Reading →

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Current NBA stars honor their Black Fives predecessors

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we approach the wind-down days of Black History Month 2014, it’s refreshing to see other Black contributors besides the usual few names often presented — such as overlooked Black athletes who labored in virtual obscurity during the Jim Crow era. Thanks to the nonprofit Black Fives Foundation in New York for “tell[ing] the story of the pre-1950 history of African Americans in basketball.” The “Black Fives” name comes from the all-Black basketball teams that played in Brooklyn, Harlem, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Pittsburgh, Newark and Los Angeles. These teams “ushered in the Harlem Renaissance period, smashed the color barrier in pro basketball and helped pave the way for the Civil Rights Movement,” wrote founder Claude Johnson on the foundation’s website (www.blackfives.org). Johnson and director Loren Mendell teamed up with Fox Sports Net, which broadcasts NBA games for 13 teams including the Minnesota Timberwolves, to create a series of 30-second TV vignettes honoring Black Fives era pioneers during Black History Month. They are aired during halftime of the telecasts. Continue Reading →

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The great divide of income inequality: a domestic crisis on the world’s stage

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Marc H. Morial

Guest Commentator

 

“Income inequality” has become the political buzzword of 2014. President Obama, most recently in last week’s State of the Union Address, has made it a central theme of his second term. Both progressive Democrats and conservative Republicans in Congress are making it a focus of this year’s mid-term elections, and leading voices for human rights have called on government and business leaders to take immediate action to close the income gap for the sake of long-term economic and social stability. Two weeks ago, as the world’s elite — leaders from government, business and NGO sectors — gathered in Davos for the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual meeting, the issue of inequality was atop the agenda. WEF’s Global Risks 2014 report recently revealed that the “chronic gap between the incomes of the richest and poorest citizens is seen as the risk that is most likely to cause serious damage globally in the coming decade.”

Another voice was added to the chorus when the British-based anti-poverty organization, Oxfam International, released a report in advance of the Davos gathering, revealing that the richest 85 people in the world control as much wealth as the bottom half of the global population – about 3.5 billion people. Continue Reading →

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Vikings pound Eagles 48-30

First-place Philadelphia, the hottest team in the NFL, winners of five in a row looking to pad their NFC East lead, ran into a frustrated group of Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Playing the next-to-last game in the history of Mall of America Field (the Metro Dome), the Vikings finally put it all together even with starting quarterback Christian Ponder, NFL MVP Adrian Peterson and several others unable to play due to injuries. The Vikings released some frustration by jumping all over the Eagles 48-30. The wrecking ball cranes are all lined up outside the Dome as the countdown has begun to destroy the historic second home of Vikings football since 1982. Reserve running back Matt Asiata, in his first NFL start at running back, scored three touchdowns. Continue Reading →

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Nelson Mandela was both Malcolm and Martin

Nelson Mandela, the icon who led the emancipation of South Africa from White minority rule and became South Africa’s first Black president, was both Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. He was an emblem of dignity and abstention. Imagine being jailed for 27 years, being humiliated and treated like dirt, and having your friends murdered systematically. Yet his incredible sense of purpose and strength is a lesson for a lifetime. I remember years ago meeting a man in flight who is not Black and has since become a friend. He was born in South Africa, finished school, and voted for Mandela for president. Continue Reading →

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Vikings’ latest loss comes at high cost — for the team and fans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This reporter normally people watches at sporting events, and attending my first Minnesota Vikings game in this century Sunday, I caught more than two eyefuls: Nordic flag waving, horn wearing and other pagan-like rituals. One man wore an “I Bleed Purple” shirt, and a very obviously pregnant woman fed her unborn child by guzzling beer as she walked to her seat. Meanwhile, a row of knuckleheads stood pretty much the entire game and blocked my field vision — all except three wore Adrian Peterson jerseys, but mostly all were decked head to toe in purple. The only thing missing was a human or animal sacrifice — but I can’t be 100 percent certain that didn’t take place, especially after the home team’s third

straight defeat of the 2013 season. Before the game, I spent about an hour walking in the dome’s concourse in search of Black fans. Continue Reading →

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History can move in two directions at once

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Benjamin Todd Jealous

Contributing Writer

 

In my time as an organizer, I have been guided by the words of many people, activists and authors, colleagues and friends. But the most powerful lesson I ever received about the struggle for civil and human rights came in 1993, when my grandmother taught me that history could move in two directions at once. I was in college, celebrating a friend’s 21st birthday. A round of toasts went up. One friend raised his glass to honor the memory of all those we knew who had been killed or sent to prison before they reached the age of 21. Continue Reading →

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Lincoln, the movie: What’s missing?

By Gary L. Flowers

Guest Commentator

 

“‘Negro History’ is the missing segment of world history.” — Carter G. Woodson

Carter G. Woodson was right when he essentially said that Black history is the missing pages of world history. Never was such so true than in the movie Lincoln. While I, as a “weekend historian,” was impressed by Daniel Day Lewis’ portrayal of the 16th president of the United States, my knowledge of history begged questions: “Why were Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Tubman not portrayed or mentioned?” or “Why was the ancient Egyptian mathematical formula attributed to the Greek mathematician Euclid?”

The movie Lincoln is politically presidential, yet porous on people who influenced the end of the American Civil War. The holes in the Steven Spielberg’s epic film are rooted in Hollywood’s tendency to omit key historical personalities and events from biopics. History reminds us that Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and Sojourner Truth all played significant roles in the American Civil War, and thus in the decisions of President Lincoln. Continue Reading →

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What happened when we got off the bus?

 

October 16 will mark the 17th anniversary of the Million Man March on Washington, D.C. I remember that day because I stood in support of the beautiful brothers that had sent such a loud message to the world. I remember listening to great speeches, hearing proclamations, and seeing a spark in the eyes of African American men that had been overshadowed with the mask of hard times. Somehow I knew that this march was going to change the direction of the people I had grown to love so dearly — my people! Two years later, on October 25, 1997, I did not even question whether or not attending the Million Woman March was an option. For once in my life I was not doing something because my family or elders encouraged me to do it. Continue Reading →

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