President Barack Obama

Recent Articles

Young entrepreneur works to close the ‘access gap’

By Dwight Hobbes
Contributing Writer

 

In a day and age when the Civil Rights Era clarion “We Shall Overcome” increasingly has changed for many Black people to “I have overcome,” Ernest Comer III’s sense of commitment to community is a refreshing rarity. “In all the work that I do,” he states, “my purpose lies in building pipelines to success through making connections and empowering others.” An already experienced community relations professional at 27, with a degree in communication studies from the University of Minnesota with an emphasis on African and African American studies, he has been employed at organizations where his desire to do for others was a perfect fit. For instance, in 2010, at Pillsbury United Communities, Comer was Public Allies program manager and recruitment director in a capacity that to this day reflects his ambition to effectively help bridge the gap between haves and have-nots, seeking to empower the disenfranchised. “The Measure,” he says, “is a Black male youth initiative that I’ve been working on with a couple of good friends who are also dedicated to this work. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Maya Angelou April 4, 1928 — May 28, 2014

How does one pay adequate tribute to the legacy of Maya Angelou, the beloved historic icon and cultural treasure who passed away on May 28? Her enduring presence as an enlightening, empowering beacon to which the hearts and minds of Black women faithfully were drawn, after all, marked her as an individual of inestimable consequence whose like we quite probably will never see again. Dr. Angelou, nee Marguerite Annie Johnson, advanced from an auspicious literary debut, publishing her first autobiography I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings with the aid of James Baldwin, who would become a lifelong friend, to a titanic career that spanned more than a half century. Her accomplishments included, in far from a complete listing, a film rendition of the book starring Diahann Carroll and Ruby Dee; six more autobiographies; acting turns in The Richard Pryor Special?, Poetic Justice with Janet Jackson, and Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion; as well as stints directing (Down In The Delta, starring Alfre Woodward, featuring Al Freeman, Jr), producing (Sister, Sister with Rosalind Cash, Diahann Carroll and Paul Winfield), and scoring film soundtracks (For Love of Ivy, starring Sidney Poitier). She is best known for her vast volume of poetry, most notably “On the Pulse of Morning,” which she recited at President Bill Clinton’s 1994 inauguration. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Blacks will suffer a ‘great hangover’ after Obama

Activist predicts a steep price to pay for the ‘catastrophe of mis-leadership’
 
By Mel Reeves 

Contributing Writer

 

Glen Ford, executive editor and chief of Black Agenda Report, will be speaking at Minneapolis North High School this Saturday as part of the first effort on the part of people of the Twin Cities to honor and educate people about the life and legacy of Malcolm X.

Ford is no stranger to the stage, having become in high demand in leftist and progressive circles. He was in Seattle last month supporting that city’s effort and the national movement for a $15 minimum wage, the $15 NOW movement. He will speak at a $15 NOW rally/meeting on Sunday in Minneapolis, and he will also speak Saturday evening at Minneapolis North High to Twin City educators about the attempt to privatize public education, on “the legacy of Brown vs. Board of Education 60 years later.”

Ford has been trying to reach people through radio and through his writing for years. “I used to use the slogan early in my career ‘merging the media, the masses and the movement.’” Ford was the Washington Bureau chief of one of the largest Black radio outlets in the country in the early ‘70s. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Reverend Al Sharpton: The Rejected Stone

Activist reveals how he became ‘a force of consequence in America’
 
 
A Book Review

By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer

 

One does well to take the endorsements on the dust jacket of Reverend Al Sharpton: The Rejected Stone with a grain of salt. Most glaringly, a tribute from no less suspect a source than former President George W. Bush proclaims, “Al cares just as much as I care about making sure every child learns to read, write, add and subtract.” Bush demonstrated beyond a doubt that he never wasted a moment’s thought on the wellbeing of children of color. President Barack Obama states, “Reverend Sharpton is the voice of the voiceless and a champion for the downtrodden.” Yet President Obama has proven himself deaf to the dire needs of the voiceless, if not with the fiasco of his Obamacare debacle, inarguably by his steadfast refusal to take any sort of impassioned stand on issues impacting the powerless, most conspicuously the Stand Your Ground Law, which has given gun-happy racists license to open fire on Black Americans. Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes extols, “Sharpton is the go-to Black leader today.” Why is this White woman dictating who qualifies as the number-one guiding African American light — of either gender? It’s best to simply set those comments aside and see for yourself, deciding on your own whether the book is worthwhile reading. (Odds are you’ve already made up your mind by now as to how great an individual Sharpton is or isn’t.) The fact, of course, that it’s about one of America’s most prominent figures alone is enough to warrant a look-see if out of nothing more than curiosity. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Basics of the nation’s new healthcare law

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Dr. Dionne Hart, MD

What is the law known as “Obamacare” or the Affordable Care Act (ACA)? In March 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 that collectively reform healthcare access.  

What is the mandatory insurance provision? By 2014, most U.S. citizens and legal residents are required to obtain minimal essential health insurance coverage or pay a penalty or $95 per year or one percent of income, whichever is greater. The penalty will increase to $325 per year or two percent by 2015 and $695 or 2.5 percent by 2016. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Cutting food assistance is not just morally wrong — it’s bad economics

 

By William Spriggs

Guest Commentator

 

The U.S. Gross Domestic Product (the value of all goods and services in the economy) figures show GDP per person is $53,211. That’s per person, not per family. Those figures also show we annually spend $2,797 per person on food — that’s $233 per person a month. After netting out imports, we sell nearly $14 billion in food overseas. Clearly America is a wealthy nation that is fully food secure. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Black clergy push ‘Obamacare’ enrollment as glitches get fixed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Hazel Trice Edney

Guest Commentator

 

A team of African American preachers has sent a letter to President Barack Obama affirming their ”commitment to the Affordable Care Act” even as the president has ordered the website overhauled. ”We believe that access to quality health care is a fundamental civil and human right in America. Historically, over seven million African-Americans have been uninsured and denied access to care with devastating consequences. The Affordable Care Act provides African-Americans, along with Americans of all nationalities, access to desperately needed quality health care,” states the letter, signed by 14 Black preachers, all of whom lead major clerical or civic organizations. Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner and Rev. Dr. C. T. Vivian are among 14 leading Black preachers who sent a letter to the President this week assuring they will organize and push to get African Americans signed up for the Affordable Care Act. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Obama’s African trip showed U.S. ‘commitment’ to the region — Bishop Tutu’s welcome: ‘Your victory is our victory’

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

In spite of criticism and skepticism, President Barack Obama’s recent Africa trip has the potential to reap benefits for both this country and the African continent. Prior to the trip, U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, during a June 21 conference call in which the MSR participated, briefly addressed the criticism that the trip was too costly. “The costs for these types of trips, as well as any presidential trip” is determined by the Secret Service and the White House Military Office, explained Rhodes. “That’s been the case no matter who is president. “We take this [African] region very seriously,” added Rhodes. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

No surprise! Racism unhealthy for Black males!

Access to good health care essential for Black men and boys regardless of social class
 
 By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer

 

Racism historically has proven very unhealthy to Black males, says a Morehouse College School of Medicine community health professor. Dr. Henrie Treadwell’s new book, Beyond Stereotypes in Black and White (Praeger), examines among other things how racism impacts life opportunities for Black men and boys. “I think that is a real [important] question,” she said in a recent phone interview with the MSR.

Treadwell devotes the book’s fourth chapter to the actual impact of racism, which she states is too often at the center of many societal ills that face Black young men and follow them all through adulthood. “Racism really impacted the hiring practices and policies in this nation, and then…we add to that the criminal justice system that has incarcerated disproportionately African American boys and men and, when they are released, [they] still have the issues of employment,” she points out. Black males, regardless of income status, who find themselves in stressful environments produced by racism “still exist, and we need to come to grips with it,” says Treadwell. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Twins’ diversity talk seems mostly for show

 

 

 

A new movie on the life of Jackie Robinson premieres Friday. It has support from people in high places. “We think that everybody in this country needs to watch this movie,” advises First Lady Michelle Obama on the movie 42 after she and her husband, President Barack Obama viewed a private screening last week at the White House. The first of several Minnesota Twins “Diversity Days” will be Monday April 15, the day Major League Baseball (MLB) annually honors Robinson’s major league debut in 1947. “It was an important and powerful moment in baseball when Jackie Robinson broke in with the Brooklyn Dodgers,” recalls Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,