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Commentary

President Bush Deserves A Standing Ovation - As He Exits

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Richard O. Jones
Most people, except for those with divine prophesy, fail to see Gods’ hand in a developing event. For instance, God’s blueprint for an Obama presidency might have begun in 1991, when President George H.W. Bush nominated Clarence Thomas, a conservative Black man, to the Supreme Court, which fueled the anger of many Blacks. Nevertheless, nine years later when the Bush/Gore presidential election had to be decided by the Supreme Court, Bush
won a 5-4 decision. Public records confirm that Clarence Thomas voted for Bush, which sealed the presidency. History now tells us that the George W. Bush presidency paved the path for a Barack Obama presidency.

Another example of God at work is the fact that under Bush’s Administration, the Continent of Africa has received more money to battle AIDS than under any other American president. Bush has more than doubled U.S. development assistance to Africa from about $10 billion in 2000 to
$23 billion in 2006 and urges Congress to double aid again before he leaves office. \

Without Bush, although many Blacks are against him, perhaps, millions of more Africans would have died of various health issues.

The Iraq War cost Bush a great deal of public resentment. However, let’s put things in proper perspective. If it hadn’t been the attack on America on September 11, 2001, Bush would not have sent our troops to Afghanistan in search of Osama Bin Laden. However, it was President Bill Clinton who allowed America’s enemy Bin Laden to slip through his fingers, which led to 3,000 plus people being killed in New York on 9/11. Therefore, theoretically, former soul brother, Clintons’ inadvertent goof-up cost Bush a plummeting popularity, which further squeaked the door open for Obama.

In 2004, Bush selected, a Black man, Colin Powell, as Secretary of State. Colin eventually resigned, which caused Bush to select Condoleezza Rice as the first Black female to the position of Secretary of State.

By 2008, the American people were so angry with President Bush for the economy, the war, and Hurricane Katrina, which the news media slanted against his administration, that it paved a clear path for Obama, who was later endorsed by Colin Powell, to become president of the United States.

Today, the three most popular and trusted public servants in the United States are Barack Obama, Colin Powell, and Condolezza Rice all of which were made possible by God’s use of President Bush.

Let us give Bush a standing ovation – as he exits. By the way, let’s give Justice Clarence Thomas a nod too.

Too Many Bowls, Too Few Black Coaches

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George E. Curry
Basketball’s “March Madness” has nothing on the college football bowl frenzy – 34 games over a 19-day period spanning the last month of the old year and the first month of the new one. Let’s face it, not all 68 teams deserve to be in a bowl.

Some -- including North Carolina State, Kentucky, Bowling Green, Southern Mississippi, Northern Illinois, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt – got invitations after winning only 50 percent of their games.

Even worse, nine teams – including Florida Atlantic and Memphis – are going to bowls after accumulating losing records. Unfortunately, bowl games are no longer rewards for an excellent season.

Now, it’s all about the money. And the more bowls, the more money. An oversaturation of bowl games is not my No.1 complaint against college football. Rather, it’s the fact that approximately
half of the players are African-Americans yet only 3.4 percent of the college football coaches are Black. That’s four among the 119 major division coaches.

According to the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports at Central Florida University, that’s the fewest Black coaches in 15 years. As recently as 1997, there were twice as many African-American coaches as there are now.

Evidently, the football sidelines suffer from the same on-field racial stereotypes of the past. For years, they said Blacks were excellent players but didn’t have the intellect to play the so-called “thinking positions” – quarterback and middle linebacker. Of course, that was pure hogwash.

For years, Grambling, Florida A&M and Tennessee State were football powerhouses and it wasn’t because they played 10 men on each side of the ball – or without a coach on the sideline.

And if there were any lingering doubts about the Black gridiron intellect, they were removed by Washington Redskins quarterback Doug Williams’ MVP performance in Super Bowl XXII and when two Black head coaches, Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith, paced the sidelines in Super
Bowl XLI.

Of the 32 NFL coaches, seven are Black, largely because the league adopted the Rooney Rule requiring teams to interview at least one person of color for all head coach vacancies. If African-
Americans can coach in the pros, they certainly can succeed at the college level.

In addition to the failure to interview an ample number of top-flight Black assistant coaches for openings, many universities are still more willing to recycle failed White coaches than take a chance on a promising African-American. Two examples immediately come to mind.

Auburn University hired Gene Chizik as its new head coach after he went 5-19 over two seasons at Iowa State, including 10 straight losses. Meanwhile, the University of Tennessee, eager to get back  on the winning track after forcing out Phillip Fulmer, hired another losing coach, Lane Kiffin, formerly of the Oakland Raiders. Kiffin was fired by the NFL team after compiling a record of 5-15.

These two losers were hired while promising African-American coaches were ignored, some of whom had turned around losing programs. For example, Turner Gill took over a program at Buffalo that had not won five games in a season for nearly a decade. Within three years he
turned it into Mid-American Conference champion and this year had a record of 8-5.

When Auburn selected Gene Chizik over Gill, one of its most famous alums, Charles Barkley, was livid.

“I think race was the No. 1 factor,” said Barkley. “You can say it’s not about race, but you can’t compare the two resumes and say [Chizik] deserved the job. Out of all the coaches they interviewed, Chizik probably had the worst resume.”

How do we put an end to this nonsense? One approach would be to adopt a college version of the Rooney Rule. Some have suggested calling it the Robinson Rule, in honor Doug Williams’ former coach, Eddie Robinson of Grambling. For that to work, however, penalties must be
assessed against universities that fail to cooperate.

A sure-fire way of forcing change would be for star high school players and their parents to spurn athletic programs that spurn Black leadership. If players refuse to enroll in universities that have never hired a Black head coach in any sport or an African-American athletic director at any time, universities would finally get the message. What I like about this approach is that it empowers the athlete and does not rely on the so-called good will of schools eager to exploit Black athletes.

Five bowls – the Rose, Orange, Fiesta, Sugar, and BCS championship game – will each generate $17 million for schools and their respective conferences. If Blacks stop playing for schools that refuse to hire African Americans in leadership positions, that would lessen the chances of universities getting a share of that lucrative pie.

With so much money in jeopardy, universities will be forced to do the right thing.

George E. Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine and the NNPA News Service, is a keynote speaker, moderator, and media coach. He can be reached through his Web site,
www.georgecurry.com.


Eyes & Ears of Moreno Valley

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Juanita Barnes
“My Wish For You In 2009,” May peace break into your house and may thieves come to steal your debts. May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet for money. May love stick to
your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips. May your clothes smell of success like smoking pipes, and may happiness slap you across the face and your tears be that of joy. May the problems you had, forget your home address! In simple words. May 2009 be the best year of your life!


HELLO MORENO VALLEY
Where Dreams Soar

Moreno Valley this has been a very, very strange year. We have seen a lot of things change. It has been frightening to us if we did not know who we were, and even knowing that God would
make a way for us out of no way it still made some of us uneasy. But in 2009 God will change things for the best. So do not fret God is still in control, and he is working on our behalf.

While going through my book of prayers I came upon this New Year’s Prayer, and I would like to share this with you. “Dear Lord, As we conclude another year and prepare to begin a new one, we pause to spend a few moments with you. We are grateful for this past year and all that you have allowed us to experience. We have enjoyed much, and for that we give thanks. We thank
you for the accomplishments, the victories, and special moments of 2008. As we look back over the year, Father we also are aware of failures, shortcomings, and sin. We ask for forgiveness in
this connection and for the wisdom to learn from our mistakes. Help us to not allow these things of the past weigh us down in the future. As we look to the future and this new year we have mixed feelings. We are excited about the opportunities and possibilities before us, but we are also a little afraid of the uncertainty and unknown. Strengthen and encourage us as we face the challenges before us. Help us to know that you will be with us. Most importantly, Father, help us to be mindful of you as we enter this new year. Instill within us a desire to know you better, to serve you more faithfully. Help us to live our lives so that we may bring glory and honor and praise to you. Thank you for 2008, and thank you for 2009. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen”

To the readers thank you so much for your kindness, and I pray that next year will be just what you ask for. I’m very grateful for you and my wish for you is the best.

If you would like to attend Watch Night Service come join me at my house at Cathedral Of Praise International Ministries. The address is 1519 South Riverside Avenue Rialto, California.

Contact (909) 874–8676.

Service begins at 10:00 p.m. The dress is casual. Please come expecting to experience his glory.

Be Blessed
JB

New Year’s Resolution: Help Someone Else Overcome a Bad Habit

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Richard O. Jones
This is the time of year when many Americans pledge New Year Resolutions.

Among the more common are to: quit smoking, lose weight, become more spiritual, and/or spend more time with family.

However, before the beginning of spring, most of the pledges have been abandoned.

However, this year, I suggest that more people pledge to encourage and help others through their personal bump in the road.

For years, I have watched a lot of gospel programs on television and visited many churches. I have noticed that many noted men and women of the cloth have a “from pain to gain” testimony. These ministers speak openly from the pulpit about their former bumps in the road such as: drug addiction, prison terms, alcoholism, habitual gambling, promiscuity, overeating, etc.
They use their past to inspire others to overcome their vices. Their message seems to be, “If God did it for me - He will do it for you!”

Many successful businesspeople, celebrities, and single mothers have written books and/or speak openly about their “from pain to gain” experiences. They speak of their experiences with homelessness, being a welfare recipient, joblessness, hunger, and low self-esteem. Their message to others is not to give-up on themselves.

It occurs to me that nearly everyone has been through some tragedy or near tragic situations. There is a hero in each of us that has overcome something that could have been a tragic ending. Cancer survivors, sexual molestation survivors, and survivors of various diseases and/or crippling disabilities can become an inspiration to someone in need of a hero. Each can help guide
another into the right path of behavior or attitude.

As for myself, I feel qualified and energized to help any individual struggling with an alcohol and/or marijuana habit. My experience with alcohol and marijuana began when I was 17 years old and ended 20 years later. Today it has been over 24 years since I have had a drink of alcohol or smoked marijuana.

My New Year’s Resolution is to be available to encourage an individual in his or her New Year’s Resolution to obtain long-term marijuana and/or alcohol free living. I urge everyone that want to see their New Year’s Resolution last longer that a few weeks, pledge to use their past experience, of at least five years of being free ofa particular vice, to help someone else.

Email: richardojones1@verizon.net

College Student Awaits Arraignment On Attempted Murder Charges

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By Glynis Mason -- 

Jakeem Morgan believed that the justice system would investigate, find the truth and the nightmare he is living would be over.  But today, still he sits at the West Valley Detention Center in San Bernardino awaiting a mid-January arraignment on attempted murder charges.  How could this young, hard-working college student who spends a good part of his time working for his church end up in such a situation?   Jakeem, an 18-year old, African-American college student and active member of his local church, was headed to his summer job at a national hotel chain—a job he enjoyed while home for the summer from college.  By all accounts, he was doing all of the right things—attending college, working, actively involved in his church and being a big proud part of his two-parent, God-fearing family. 

But on August 5th, 2008 things suddenly and abruptly changed.  Jakeem became an unexpected statistic of what troubles so many families, particularly those of young African-American males.  What had been a bright future for a young, hardworking college student who spends much of his time at church functions, became derailed.  On that day, as Jakeem arrived at his job, two police officers approached him (they had followed him from his home) and said they wanted to ask him some questions regarding a local shooting.  Jakeem insisted that he knew nothing about the incident.  The police told him that an unidentified witness had seen him at the incident and based solely on the word of this one witness, the police arrested this young college student and took him to jail.

Ironically, on the night that the shooting occurred, Jakeem had an alibi, however it was not even considered or investigated by police.

Another witness has stated that Jakeem was not at the scene of the crime.  Nonetheless, the police took Jakeem into custody and since then, he has been charged with attempted murder and is being held on $800,000 bail.  Jakeem has been in custody since August 5th, attended several hearings and to date no credible evidence has been presented.  Although he has no criminal record or affiliation with gangs, the District Attorney has alleged and insists that Jakeem is a gang member.  Jakeem has offered to take a lie detector test, however, the authorities have not provided one.  He was not involved in the shooting and was not at the scene of the incident.  What in this young man’s background would cause authorities to believe he is involved in any crime?

While Jakeem sits at the West Valley Detention awaiting arraignment, his family tries to understand how this could have happened.  His family is doing all the right things.  Nearly twenty years ago, his parents moved to the Inland Empire area to provide Jakeem and his sister with good schools and a safe environment.  The family later settled in Fontana and shortly after moving became involved with the Life Church of God in Christ in Riverside.  Jakeem has been active in the church’s teen ministry, youth department, drama and dance departments and represented the church at the state level as their role model for young men.  A recent graduate of the local Etiwanda High School, Jakeem was active in a number of school activities, including Virtual Enterprise, a business planning organization.  Last year, when he headed off to Central State University, his family was extremely proud and Jakeem was focused on doing well and earning good grades.  When he arrived home this summer for his break, his parents reminded him that he was still a big part of his local church family and that he would need to split time between his hotel job and working at the church.  Typical for Jakeem, he got a summer job, but made sure that his schedule allowed time for him to do church work.   His father, a retired postal worker spends much of his time at the church working in the men’s organization, while his mother, employed by a local health organization is active in the women’s group.  His younger sister is also quite active in the youth church, the choir and the praise dance group.

Is this the portrait of a young man who would be involved in an incident like this?  How can someone who is a role model for his church be arrested and charge with such a serious crime without any credible evidence?   One has to wonder the reason authorities would have to arrest and charge this bright, hard-working young man.  Many believe the answer is simple.  It is because Jakeem is a young African American male.  Here is a young man that has consistently done all of the right things—being active in his community, pursuing a college education and working to help fund his studies.  Unfortunately, the fact that he is a young African American male seems to outweigh all of the positives about him.  Despite all of the evidence to the contrary, it has resulted in him being arrested and unbelievably charged with this crime.  Meanwhile, his bright future has been put on hold—his first day of college classes has come and gone—and still he sits at West Valley Detention Center waiting for the ever-so-slow wheels of justice to begin turning.

 

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