Sunday, May 30, 2010

Fox News Strikes Again

Who is Dr. Mark Lamont Hill? 
Hill was a political contributor for Fox News Channel where he appeared as a regular guest on The O'Reilly Factor, Geraldo at Large, and Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld. He was also a regular contributor to and prior to joining Fox News Channel, Hill was a regular commentator on CNN, MSNBC, and Court TV.

Trained as an anthropologist of education, Hill's academic work focuses on the intersections between youth culture, identity, and educational processes. He is the author of Beats, Rhymes, and Classroom Life: Hip-Hop Pedagogy and the Politics of Identity. He holds a Ph.D. with distinction from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.S. from Temple University. From 2005-2009, he was Assistant Professor of Urban Education and American Studies at Temple University.

Recently, Dr. Hill was appearing on the O’Reilly Factor to discuss the president’s plan to send 1200 throops to the Mexican border. Imagine his surprise when in the course of the discussion, Bill O’Reilly said to his guest that he looked like a “cocaine dealer”.  Hill replied to O’Reilly saying that he (O'Reilly) looked like a “cocaine user.” Why did O’Reilly feel the need to make this remark? Who knows, but maybe Dr. Hill should have vowed to keep away from Fox News after he worked for Fox News and they fired him. Dr. Hill didn't find out about his termination until he saw it in the press.

Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. The game on Fox News is always the same...lies, half-truths, distortions and out and out lies.  No surprises there.

Chicago's Police Torture Trial

Jury selection is in progress in the trial of former police Lt. Jon Burge on federal charges of obstruction of justice and perjury.  Accused of lying in a civil lawsuit when he denied torturing suspects, Burge faces a maximum of 45 years in prison.

For decades, black men have described torture at the hand of Burge and his officers, but no one listened.  Suspects landed in jail and even on death row for crimes based on coerced confessions.  Their complaints charge Burge used various methods including suffocation, water boarding and electric shocks.

'Treme'-New Orleans Revisited

I've been watching 'Treme', a HBO drama focusing on the trials and tribulations of New Orleans residents after Katrina. I enjoy the show and the music and highly recommend it. It’s a reminder to us all of how quickly we forget.

The Faubourg Tremé or as it is more frequently referred to, Tremé, is not only America's oldest black neighborhood but was the site of significant economic, cultural, political, social and legal events that have literally shaped the course of events in Black America for the past two centuries. Yet, few outside of New Orleans except for scholars and historians know its enormous importance to Americans of African descent.

'Treme' begins in fall 2005, three months after the devastation of Katrina. In interconnecting stories of several musicians and other locals, the show chronicles the rebuilding of a unique American city. Each episode exposes viewers to the aftermath of the disaster where love ones are missing, homes destroyed, insurance claims yet settled and misery abounds. People are scratching out a meager livelihood while uncertainty and frustration nips at their heels. Jobs are scarce, especially for those who desperately need work. The stories are a testimony to the enduring spirit of the people of New Orleans.

In one of the early episodes, I saw a video clip of then President Bush reassuring the citizens of New Orleans that they would not be forgotten. On the same day I viewed that message, I saw a live broadcast of President Obama reassuring Gulf Coast residents that they would not be forgotten, even after the press had moved on to other news stories. Ironic.

That same day, Chris Matthews took exception to those remarks about the press "moving on". Of course Matthews had expressed his displeasure with President Obama's "inadequate" response to the oil spill all week. He wanted to see some "fire" in the president's manner and tone. He appeared to appreciate Obama's statements that he took responsibility for everything related to the oil spill and that he was fully engaged in efforts to address the situation.

That issue aside, there's little follow up in today’s press about the current state of things in New Orleans or even Haiti for that matter. If history repeats itself, in time, life after the Gulf oil spill will be just another forgotten story. Unfortunately that's the way of the world.

Sources: New Orleans; Wikipedia; HBO 'Treme'

Sunday, May 23, 2010

More About Me-Part 2

My son Kreighton tagged me. Once you've been tagged, you’re supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about yourself. So now I have to think of 25 things about myself. Here it goes. (This should take forever!) Come long for the ride.

1. Fact: For those who know me, they know my husband (Henry) and my children (Kimberly, Krystal and Kreighton) are most important in my life. They are my best friends and confidants. I'm sure people wonder how we spend so much time together, but it works for us.

2. Fact: It makes me happy to help other people. I'm a frustrated teacher at heart and so I try and share everything I know or learn with others. During my 38 years working at the post office, I met so many wonderful people and every job I had allowed me to share information, to teach, and to challenge others. I was a radical union steward in my early days before I entered management. As I moved up the management ladder, my goal was to teach others as I learned and bring them along with me. My motto was "strive to be as good as the best and better than the rest". Everything I was able to accomplish is due to the grace of God and the support of those who worked with me. It showed me that helping people reaps rewards.

3. Fact: I love the Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling. My family had a club, the Sin City Marauders and met monthly to discuss the books and movies. It was fun to challenge one another on the facts about the characters, the spells, the events and other information found in the books. I saw a question in People magazine- "Which fictional character would you like to be?" My first thought was "I want to be Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series." She embodies many of the traits that I admire. She's a book worm, smart, compassionate, caring, and resourceful. The girl figured out the most difficult situations and offered a workable solution. At the end of the series, she got her man, had a family, and lived happily ever after. Who can beat that!

4. Fact: I'm a Barack Obama supporter! I worked in his campaign, attended his rally, cast my vote for him, and watched him become the 44th President. I applaud his determination to bring change to America. As I watch the "party of NO" attack his efforts, withdraw their support and constantly criticize everything he does, I wonder do they have any constructive ideas to offer. I guess not. When you are bankrupt of ideas, you just shoot off your mouth and hope you hit something (maybe an idle, blank mind that you can write your negative thoughts on). We all need to keep the President in our prayers and take the time to make our support of his efforts be known when and wherever we can. By the way, I'm sick of hearing 'transparency". Does the man have to give information on every little thing he does to make up for the sins of the prior administration? I think not!

5. Fact: I'm a writer, unpublished, but a writer nevertheless. Writing Romance novels is my game but, I also write poetry focused on the African-American experience. I completed my first novel before I know anything about writing romance. It was fun and I couldn't wait to get to the computer and write the pages of my story. I read a romance novel each day (yes, a complete novel every day). After joining Romance Writers of America, I started writing book reviews for Rendezvous, a well known publication specializing in the romance genre. I wrote 15 reviews each month and was proud to have my thoughts, words, and opinions published. I'm on my third book, have never sent anything for consideration for publication, and haven't written anything for several years.

6. Fact: I learned too much about how to write. How and why did I stop writing? As with everything I do, I jumped into RWA with a passion. A short while after joining the local chapter, I took over publication of the chapter's newsletter. In my effort to share what I was being exposed to and to teach my fellow chapter members, I spent lots of time on making the newsletter informative. Next thing I knew I was elected chapter president, serving for the next four years. During that time, I found myself filling the duties of chapter president, newsletter editor and program chair. I got so busy educating the membership and attending writing conferences and seminars that I no longer had time to read romance novels or write on my books or poetry. Finally I finished my term(s) in office and quietly withdrew, burnt out, frustrated and bitter. Unfortunately, I haven't read a romance novel since, nor have a returned to writing.

7. Fact: I'm a Red Hatter! I joined the Red Hat Society in 2004 becoming one of thousands of ladies over 50 across the country who banded together to just have fun. After I couldn't find a RHS chapter in Las Vegas that I could join, I started my own chapter and become Queen of the Silver Swans Red Hatters. Before I knew it, the chapter had 60 members and was one of the largest in the city. While I love to have fun taking lunch and attending tea parties, etc., my sense of social responsibility sneaks in from time to time. We've help with the "Coats for Kids" drive, recognition for Police and Firemen, collecting donations for the Boys and Girls Clubs and for Safe Nest (a battered women's shelter). Why not do some good while you have fun? I sponsored an annual Red Hat Society Birthday party for the past several years, hosting 200 senior ladies for an afternoon of fun, games, dancing and prizes. However, this year several other events are planned by other chapters, so, once again, I'll fade off into the sunset, yielding to the offerings they are presenting.

8. Fact: I'm compulsive! I guess you can tell as you learn about me. I'm an all or nothing person. I'm in all the way or not in at all. Maybe it's my sign, Capricorn, and the traits that those born under that sign exhibit. Maybe it's because I'm the oldest child (of eight children) and I exhibit the traits linked to the oldest child. Yes, I'm responsible, demanding, driven, type-A personality, etc. If it needs doing and I'm in it, I don't mind taking on the task of getting it done. That's why I stay away from joining clubs and activities and the like. I always find myself raising my hand saying "I'll do it". But, if I'm not in it, I don't have to worry about volunteering and winding up swamped with work. It's too bad I can't just say no, but my history tells me to back off, back out and I'll be better off.

9. Well, I'm just on number nine and out of things to say. It's a long way to #25. Thanks to that People magazine, I'll answer this question,” What sport do you wish you were good at?" Question to myself-am I team player or do I want to go it alone? Guess I'll rely on just me, myself, and I. Out goes team sports like basketball and volleyball (which I was really good at in the day), no football, soccer, etc.

Golf? Hate walking! I'll keep playing golf on my Play Station. That's as far as I'm willing to go. That leaves tennis and swimming. Unless I get over my dread of putting my face under water, it won't be swimming. That leaves me with tennis. Yes, I'd like to be like the Williams sisters. I'll take the money and fame of being a major tennis star. Add in the trim body and great figure and the mental alertness and game smarts they display...That's a plus. Love using my head to figure thing out. I'll take tennis; it works for me on a variety of levels.

10: Fact: My husband, Henry, and I have been married nearly 40 years. It seems like a much shorter time; time flies when you're having fun. I really won the lottery when we married. I'm a much better person because of his influence. Here’s someone who is genuinely nice, thoughtful, and caring. What you see is what you get! No fancy airs, no funky attitudes...just an outpouring of unconditional love. It wonderful to know you don't have to do anything, say anything or be anything other than who and what you are. It makes a difference to be accepted just as you are. When we first got serious, I thought I'd put my worst foot forward and if he could accept me at my worst, he'd be okay with me at my best. I'd say stupid things like 'I don't do shirts" or I'd keep myself from doing thing that I'd normally do for someone I cared about. Lucky me, he had the insight to see beneath the front I put up. He was right, I am a diamond in the rough and I'm grateful that he takes the time to keep polishing my rough exterior so that my light can begin to shine through.

11. Fact: The day Henry and I married, I was stuck without a way to get to the church. Somehow the plan went astray and I was sitting alone in my beautiful wedding dress waiting for someone to come and take me to the church. Finally one of the groom’s men, Bud Williams, fetched me in Henry's car. It was being waxed so the outside was coved with the white wax. It started to rain and we had no cover so Bud took off his jacket and covered me up until I could get in the car. Then, we had a little nip from the flask to buck us up. Henry and I had wanted to have an African wedding in African garments. I had even designed my head piece and picked out the fruits that would be served at the reception. My mother-in-law had made every effort to be supportive. Finally we decided that we were only having the wedding for her sake and so we had a traditional wedding instead. It was a good decision and we never regretted making the change.

12: Fact: I have a Master's degree, but I can't spell worth a damn! To be a writer that can't, does that slow you down. Most people think it doesn't matter and think the editors or staff will fix the mistakes, but I don't believe that is true. So, I look up thing a lot or I change from one word to another because I can spell one vs. the other. Guess it's not a crime or a sin. So be it.

13. Goal: One of my goals is to find a way to share my Christian beliefs through my writing and/or through public speaking and small group facilitation. My faith is strong and I want to share my message with those who have the need for practical applications. What form it will take, God only knows, but I know He will lead and guide me in His way. Stay tuned and watch my smoke.

14. Goal: Losing Weight.  After I retired, I gained weight.  (Lots of weight!) Losing weight is a struggle, a rough journey and the road is paved with temptation. I’ve decided that I’ll take it a day at a time and give it my best shot every day until I attain my goal. This fight will last until...forever. Changing the way I eat, exercising, making healthy choices, portion control-it all matters and it’s easier said than done. At one point, my family had weekly Fit Club meetings which helped me as much as my participation in Weight Watchers. I’ve joined the gym and am still working hard.

Well, now I'm sixty pounds down and fifty pounds to go. The scale can't measure how many old habits I've broken, or what new healthier habits I've started. It doesn't know how many poor choices I've avoided, even when I wanted them with all your heart. The scale doesn't care how hard I'm trying or how many times I've refused to give up even after I've failed.  I just have to remember that good choices will show up on the scale eventually and that I will reach my goal.

More to come in More About Me-Part 3

Saturday, May 22, 2010

TV's Biggest Money Makers

Ever wondered who's making the big bucks in TV land?  If you base the ranking on revenue per 30 minutes, take a look at the top ten money makers listed below:

1.  American Idol-$8.1 million

2. Two and a Half Men-$3.1 million
    The show is the most watched sitcom at 15 million viewers weekly.

3. 24-$3 million
    Kiefer Sutherland's high intensity drama generated $6 million in revenue for a single
    episode last year.
4. Grey's Anatomy-$2.8 million
     The soapy medical drama garners a viewership of 13.5 million viewers per week.
5.  V-$2.8 million
     The limited run science fiction series started with 14.3 million viewers weekly initially, then lost
     5 million viewers after the first four episodes and currently runs less than 5 million viewers.
6.  Desperate Housewives-$2.7 million
     Advertisers shell out $5 million  per episode for the saga of the ladies of Wisteria Lane.
7.  Dancing With the Stars-$2.56 million
     The dance competition nets 19.6 million viewers each week.
8.  Lost-$2.53 million
     Advertisers shell out $5 million per episode.  The show nets 12 million viewers in an average week.
9.  Survivor-$2.22 million
     The reality genre show cost $4.5 million per average hour.
10. C.S.I.-Crime Scene Investigation-$2.07 million
      The original CSI set in Las Vegas is the granddaddy of them all.  At a cost of $4 million per
       episode, the show  nets 15.8 million viewers weekly.

Lost of viewers, lots of cash.  Imagine, there are five of these ten shows that I've never watched.  Ever.

Source: Forbes

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Forbes' Top Ten Celebrity Chefs

Rachael Ray began winning audiences with catch phrases like "EVOO" (for extra-virgin olive oil) on her first Food Network show, 30 Minute Meals, in 2001. Today, she has four Food Network programs, including Tasty Travels and $40 a Day. Her nationally syndicated, Oprah-backed talk show, Rachael Ray, is averaging 2.6 million viewers this season, and her Every Day With Rachael Ray magazine has 1.5 million readers. She endorses Dunkin' Donuts too--all to the tune of $18 million a year.

More established chefs also know how to play her game. Wolfgang Puck pulls in $16 million a year. The Austrian-born patriarch of celebrity chefdom got his start with the ritzy Los Angeles restaurant Spago in 1982. That hot spot, once frequented by Orson Welles and Sidney Poitier, now counts Brad Pitt and Jamie Foxx among its regulars. Today Puck owns 15 other fine-dining brands, including Chinois, Cut and the Source, and he also sells sandwiches to weary airport travelers at Wolfgang Puck Express. He's got Wolfgang Puck Bistros in suburbia and sells soups in the grocery aisle and cutlery on the Home Shopping Network.

Other top ten celebrity chefs include:

#3-Gordon Ramsay ($7.5 million), #4-Nobuyuke Matsuhisa ($5 million0, #5-Alain Ducasse ($5 million), #6-Paula Deen ($4.5 million), #7-Mario Batali ($3 million), #8-Tom Colicchio ($2 million), #9-Bobby Flay ($1.5 Million) and 310-Anthony Bourdian ($1.5 million).

Ducasse's empire includes 22 restaurants from Tokyo to Paris. The French chef's first New York spot shuttered in 2006 after critics said the food was too fussy; he opened two humbler joints there this year.

Deen, the queen of Southern cuisine, serves up butter-drenched casseroles and motherly charm on two Food Network shows. Her loyal audience laps it up, and her cookbooks, memoir and magazine are all bestsellers.

And Batali, a culinary school dropout, is now a master of Italian cuisine who owns 13 restaurants in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Reservations at his New York spots Babbo and Del Posto are especially hard to get.

Branded television shows play a big role in the success of many of the chefs on the Forbes list.

Anthony Bourdain's Travel Channel show, No Reservations, where he explores delights like roasted warthog rectum, has become the network's top hit. The Food Network's female fans swoon over Bobby Flay's Southwestern cooking. He hosts Throwdown!, Boy Meets Grill and The Next Food Network Star. And Tom Colicchio is a judge on Bravo's Top Chef cooking competition.

But none can beat Ray's network gig. Her 2.6 million viewers undoubtedly think it's Yum-O.

Source: Forbes

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wealthiest Members of Congress

Facing election-year pressure to keep a lid on their salaries, lawmakers in Congress quietly agreed last week not to increase their pay next year. As a result, most members of Congress will earn $174,000 in 2011, the same amount they're getting this year.

But for some members of Congress -- including John Kerry, Dianne Feinstein, Jared Polis and Frank Lautenberg --that $174,000 might seem like chump change. Fourty-four percent of members are millionaires, compared to a much smaller percentage of other Americans. Senators had a median reportable net worth of $1.79 million in 2008, the last year such data were available. House members' median net worth was $645,503.

So, just who are the wealthiest members of Congress? The website, the Capitol Hill newspaper, releases an annual report on this very topic, the most recent released in 2009. Based on 2008 disclosures, here are the 10 wealthiest.

1.  Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass) - $167 Million

2.  Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif)  - $164 Million

3.  Rep. Jane Harmen (D-Calif) - $112 Million

4.  Sen. Jay Rockerfeller (D-W. Va.) - $80 Million

5.  Sen. Mark Warner (D- Va.) - $72 Million

6. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Col) - $71 Million

7. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla) - $49 Million

8.  Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N. J.) - $48 Million

9.  Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) $42 Million

10. Rep. Harry Teague (D-N. M) - $40 Million

To take a look at the 50 wealthiest members of Congress, their assets, liabilities, gains and losses 2007 to 2008, and other financial data, visit Roll Call and CQ Politics at the link below.

Source: MSN; Roll Call; CQ Politics

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lena Horne Dies

Lena Horne, who died on May 9 aged 92, was a singer, actress, civil rights activist and, eventually, a show business phenomenon, after a career spanning more than 70 years.

Lena Mary Calhoun Horne was born in a small Jewish hospital in Brooklyn, New York, on June 30 1917. That summer saw 10,000 blacks marching down Fifth Avenue in protest against lynchings in the South .

Her father, Teddy (said to have connections with the gangster Dutch Schultz), walked out on his wife and child in 1920. Lena’s mother, Edna, moved to Harlem, where she joined the Lafayette Stock Company, a theatrical touring group promoting black artists, among them Paul Robeson.

Lena, meanwhile, was sent to live with her grandmother, Cora, a formidable matriarch and feminist known as “The Tiny Terror”. A disciplinarian, she insisted that her charge spoke “properly” and never used slang. Lena was sent to a private kindergarten, at which she was the only “colored” pupil. She often played with the children of Swedish immigrants, but was strictly forbidden to mix with the tenement Irish, who were frowned upon by middle-class blacks.

Later her mother retrieved her child and moved to Miami, where Lena’s schoolfriends made fun of her accent and her skin color, calling her a “little yellow bastard”.

In 1934 Lena was hired as a dancer at the Cotton Club in Harlem, the most famous speakeasy in New York.

During her long career, she toured internationally, appearing several times at the London Palladium and the London Casino. She also recorded many albums, ranging from jazz and blues to Rodgers and Hart songs such as The Lady is a Tramp. Altogether she appeared in some 15 films, among them I Dood It (1943) and Ziegfeld Follies (1946). The last, Death of a Gunfighter, came out in 1969, after which she retired to Los Angeles to grow cacti.

In 1981 she returned to Broadway in a one-woman show, A Lady and her Music, which ran for two and a half years and for which she won a Tony Award.

Lena Horne had a son and a daughter by her first marriage. Her son predeceased her.

Couple Number One - Wedding

Enjoy the video of my son, Kreighton Green, and his wife, Janel Homes Green, as they take their wedding vows in Negril, Jamaica, West Indies.

Follow Kreighton in his Las Vegas eNVy blog:

Las Vegas eNVy by Kreighton Lamar Green

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Benjamin Hooks Dies

Benjamin Hooks

Benjamin L. Hooks, a civil rights leader who led the NAACP from 1977 to 1992, has died. Hooks was "a vocal campaigner for civil rights in the United States," said the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1925, Hooks grew up in the segregated South.
Hooks served in the U.S. Army during World War II, where he "found himself in the humiliating position of guarding Italian prisoners of war who were allowed to eat in restaurants that were off limits to him. The experience helped to deepen his resolve to do something about bigotry in the South," according to a biography published by the University of Memphis, where he was a professor in the political science department.

Civil Rights Matriarch Dies

Dorothy Height (2002)

Dorothy Height, a leading civil rights pioneer of the 1960s, has died at age 98.

Height, who had been chair and president emerita of the National Council of Negro Women, worked in the 1960s alongside civil rights pioneers, including the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., future U.S. Rep. John Lewis and A. Philip Randolph. She was on the platform when King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech at the 1963 March on Washington.

Friday, May 7, 2010

A "Bit" About Me-Part 1

Life on Chicago's West side prepares you for anything. Couple that with the discipline and regimentation of Catholic elementary and all girls high school and you have all the makings of a driven Type A personality. Born to be "in charge", I spent my work life climbing the corporate ladder and breaking the "glass ceiling". My reward is retirement, living comfortably in Sin City. My partner of four decades keeps me on the right track and makes life worth living. I leave my gifts to the world, my three wonderful children and four promising grandchildren. We all say "Yes, we can!"