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Commentary

Eyes & Ears of Moreno Valley

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Bishop E. Earl Jenkins says, "Caring Means Confronting." An honest answer is a sign of true friendship. Proverbs 24:26 (TEV). It's much easier to remain silent when others around us are messing up, but it's not the loving thing to do. Paul writes, "If someone in your group does something wrong, you who are spiritual, should go to that person and gently make him right again." (Gal. 6:1 NCV). That's  what spiritual people do! The trouble is when an issue pops up that might cause tension, it's immediately glossed over in order to preserve peace. Now frankness is not a license to be rude and say anything you please. Remember to speak to someone as you would have them speak to you.


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Juanita Barnes
HELLO MORENO VALLEY

Where Dreams Soar


Moreno Valley we are about to see history being made in our lifetime. For some of us, we have been waiting for this time to come. We have stood and prayed alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and many others. We have marched, we have had dogs put on us, water hoses turned on us, rocks thrown at us, bullets singing around our heads, and some have died so that everyone would have the right to VOTE. There is no excuse not to vote and whatever you do encourage everyone you know to vote.


Moreno Valley and the Inland Empire, the Moreno Valley Section of the National Council Of Negro Women, Inc. cordially invites you to their 34th Annual Bethune Recognition Program themed United To Serve on Saturday, November 1, 2008. Social Hour begins at 11:30 a.m. Lunch will be served at 12:15 p.m. Hap Arnold Club March Air Reserve Base, California. Donation: Adults are $30.00 Youth $18.00. Make checks payable to Bethune Recognition. Please RSVP as soon as possible. Remember you must have a valid driver's license, registration and insurance to enter the base. For more information, contact (951) 247-8193 or (951) 242-6952. I hope to see you there.


Hello Inland Empire there is a place here that is ready to care for the elderly, The Magic Touch a residential care facility for the elderly. I visited this beautiful place a few weeks ago. It was such a loving warm place for your loved ones if they ever had the need to live there. Lou Jeana Villa, Incorporated was founded in 2003 by two hospice nurses each with over twenty five years of specialty experience in geriatic nursing. The goal is and always will be to provide a safe, enriching and comfortable environment. This elegant home is located in the city of Perris at 20378 Warren Road (951) 657-3787 or (951) 956-0182 visit their website at www.loujeanavilla.org .


This past week, I attended my Daughter in Christ Annual Church Banquet. What a wonderful time. The praise dancers were off the hook and what can I say about the food. To Pastor Sarah Benson, what a great success, the house was full. Greater Power, a job well done. If you live in the San Bernardino area, join Greater Power Full Gospel Church. They would love to have you at 1255 E. Highland Ave Suite 212 San Bernardino.


Be Blessed

JB

What You Wear Can Prevent You From Voting?

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INLAND EMPIRE

By Chris Levister

Historic election puts new focus on voting rights

With less than two weeks before the historic presidential election Gwendolyn Fields is a nervous wreak. It's past midnight and the San Bernardino nurse is circulating e-mail chains warning friends and relatives not to wear Obama T-shirts to the polls November 4.

"African-Americans in particular have a lot at stake. We can't afford to lose a single vote," she insists.

Outside a Riverside strip mall Monday, 93-year-old Eunice Cole spotted a young Black male wearing an Obama cap.

"Son, are you registered to vote," she asks "Yes ma'am," the young man proudly responds. "What ever you do, don't wear that cap to the polls, you won't be allowed to vote. If you wear an Obama T-shirt to the polls, you'll be turned away," explained Cole. Fact or Fiction?

Newly registered Florida voter Blair Truman is adamant: "I'm going to wear my Obama jersey, hat and Obama Nike's. There's no law in Florida on what you can or can't wear. It's free speech there's a lot of fear mongering and conspiracy to keeps Black's and other minorities from voting," insisted Truman. Fact or fiction?

ImageMillions of newly registered voters are expected to turn out for the November 4 presidential election. Misinformation about voting is running wild says California Secretary of State Debra Bowen. Bowen and election officials across the state have taken the unprecedented step of linking a rumor watch page to official websites to address some of the most common misconceptions.

Bowen says one of the areas causing the most concern is whether voters can wear campaign clothes and buttons when going to vote. The answer in California is No.

In Florida the answer is Yes.

In California: Don't wear campaign materials within 100 feet of a polling place. Electioneering or promoting any particular candidate in the immediate area around polling places is illegal. Vehicles displaying excessive political advertising (excluding bumper stickers) are not allowed within 100 feet of a polling station. 

In other states, including Florida, voters can wear such gear. Pennsylvania, a battleground state, still hasn't resolved what voters can wear to the polls. New York and Vermont have banned political items outright. Some California counties will solve the problem by handing out paper smocks. Voters can remove the articles and return to the end of the line.  Kentucky says people can wear whatever they want at the polls, as long as they're not a walking billboard.

There's an awful lot of latitude for the states to interpret what is free speech within a polling station, says Gracia Hillman a Commissioner with the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission. She says there's a heightened awareness of these laws this election.

"I think there's an emotional partisanship to this, with respect to the dampening effect such a law may have," she says.  "It may be intimidating to new voters who may want to be wearing a shirt proudly for a candidate, then be told they can't do so and vote," says Hillman.

Bowen says as the November 4 General Election fast approaches it's a perfect time to encourage friends and family to get involved in shaping America's democracy by knowing their voting rights. Here are some dos and don'ts:

Do: Choose whether to vote at a polling place or vote by mail and vote by 8 p.m. local time on Election Day.  Any California voter can vote by mail (formally known as absentee voting) beginning October 6.  The deadline to request a vote-by-mail ballot from your county elections office is October 26.  If you prefer the person-to-person experience at your neighborhood polling place, polls will be open between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on November 4.  If you would rather vote-by-mail at your convenience, just remember that vote-by-mail ballots also must be turned in by 8 p.m. on Election Day at the polling place in your county or at your county elections office. Postmarks do not count.

Don't:  Offer incentives to voters for agreeing to vote a certain way. This is illegal under state and federal law.

Do: Read up on the issues and candidates before voting. Information about the 12 statewide propositions is available in the Official Voter Information Guide mailed to voters or at your local elections office. Information on presidential and legislative candidates can be found online at www.voterguide.sos.ca.gov.  Sample ballot booklets sent out to voters offer more information about local candidates and measures.

Do: Know your polling place and your voting rights. If you don't know where your polling place is, call the California Voter Hotline at (800) 345-VOTE.  If for any reason, your name is not on the list at your polling place, you have the right to cast a "provisional  ballot". The provisional ballot will be counted after election officials have confirmed that you are a registered voter and you did not already vote somewhere else in that election.

Ask a poll worker to give you information on how to find out if your provisional ballot was counted and, if it was not, why not.

Do: Get involved and help make Election Day run smoother for everyone. Host a ballot study group with your neighbors and family members.

For more information, or questions about voting call (800) 345-VOTE or call the Election Protection Hotline (866)-OUR-VOTE 1-866-687-8683 or go online to www.866ourvote.org.   


Obama Does Great in Polls – But Don’t Believe Them

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By George E Curry

NNPA Columnist


According to the polls, Barack Obama is steadily widening his lead over Republican rival John McCain to become the next president of the United States. A Washington Post-ABC News poll released Monday shows Obama with a 53 percent to 43 percent lead among likely voters.

There is only one problem - don't believe the polls.

As the Washington Post noted in a story on its poll, at this stage in 1992, Bill Clinton held a 14-point lead over President George H.W. Bush yet he won by only 6 percent. In mid-October 1976, Jimmy Carter held a 13-point lead over incumbent Gerald Ford but won by only two points.  

When the issue of race is added to the mix, conventional wisdom - which is often neither conventional nor wise - goes out of the window.

Uppermost in the minds of African-Americans is the Bradley effect, named after former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, who sought to become governor of California in 1982. Even last-minute polls showed him leading by a wide margin of victory. Yet, Bradley narrowly lost the election to Republican George Deukmejian. Many say it was because White voters lied to pollsters about their willingness to vote for an African-American.

But it wasn't just, as John McCain would say, that one.

Pre-election poll also overstated the margin of victory for Harold Washington in Chicago, David Dinkins in New York City and Doug Wilder in Virginia.

But Bradley's race predated the Internet and cell phones and before Black music did more to erase racial barriers than any presidential speech. In fact, there are an increasing number of people questioning the premise of the Bradley effect.

In a story headlined, "Do Polls Lie About Race?" New York Times reporter Kate Zernike wrote: "But pollsters and political scientists say concern about a Bradley effect - some call it a Wilder effect or a Dinkins effect, and plenty call it a theory in search of data - is misplaced. It obscures what they argue is the more important point: there are plenty of ways that race complicates polling.

"Considered alone or in combination, these factors could produce an unforeseen Obama landslide with surprise victories in the South, a stunningly large Obama loss, or a recount-thin margin. In a year that has already turned expectations upside down, it is hard to completely reassure the fretters."

Looking back, some observers say pollsters got it wrong with Bradley not because White voters lied to pollsters, but because they failed to factor in the absentee ballots. Whatever the reason, some researchers think that's less likely to happen today.

According to the New York Times: "In a new study, Daniel J. Hopkins, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard, considered 133 elections between 1989 and 2006 and found that Blacks running for office before 1996 suffered a median Bradley effect of 3 percentage points. Blacks running after 1996, however, performed about 3 percentage points better than their polls predicted."

As the debate continues about whether the Bradley effect is valid, the McCain camp continues to exploit the issue of race.

When Obama's name has been mentioned at McCain-Palin rallies, there have been cries of "Kill him!" and "Off with his head!"

It has gotten so bad that McCain has urged his followers to tone down the rhetoric. Away from rallies, however, his attack ads use code words to argue, as Palin put it, that Obama is "not one of us."

But observers have been able to see past the code words.

"From the start, there have always been two separate but equal questions about race in this election," Frank Rich wrote in the New York Times. "Is there still enough racism in America to prevent a Black man from being elected president no matter what? And, will Republicans play the race card? The jury is still out on the first question until Nov. 4. But we now have the unambiguous answer to the second: Yes."

Rich explained, "McCain, who is no racist, turned to this desperate strategy only as Obama started to pull ahead."

He isn't the only person who feels McCain is playing to racial fears.

"Obama has been running as a post-racial candidate from the start, and he has been doing it very well," David Brinkley, a noted presidential historian told the New York Times. "But the fact of the matter is that some voters - we can't know yet how many - will not get past his race. And I very much believe that the McCain-Palin ticket is tapping into that."

And there is plenty to tap into. In that same New York Times article, John Schuster, a Republican from Wheeling, W.Va., said,"What you hear around here is, would you rather have a black friend in the White House, or a white enemy?" He explained, "Most guys I know are for McCain, and a lot of it's because of race."

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.  

No Voter Meltdown on Election Day

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By Marc H. Morial



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Marc H. Morial
In recent years, the American people have endured all manner of natural and man-made disasters, including hurricanes, tornados, floods, droughts, fires and now an economic meltdown of epic proportions.  

While some damage from these events is inevitable, the lack of government and citizen preparedness has increased the devastation caused by these calamities.

The $700 billion bail-out package that was signed into law last week will hopefully fix some of the damage caused by Wall Street greed and lax government oversight.  That bill was better than the Administration's original plan, but it is far from perfect and still does not do enough in our view to protect homeowners who are facing foreclosure.  With the presidential election of 2008 less than a month away, voters must ask themselves two important questions:   First, which candidate has the best long-term solution for fixing our economy and helping American families and homeowners get back on their feet.  And second, are we prepared as citizens on November 4 to make our voices heard, stand up for our rights and make sure every vote is counted.

With foreclosures continuing to pile up and the loss of another 159,000 jobs in September, our country is facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.  

Wall Street may be breathing a sigh of relief because of the bailout package, but Main Street is still waiting to exhale.  We will to have our say on November 4th.  

That's why the National Urban League is launching an unprecedented ''Vote to Empower'' campaign focusing on the urgent need for voter education, increased participation and the prevention of the kind of vote suppression that has occurred in the last two presidential elections.  

We are demanding that all election officials uphold their duties and do what is necessary now and all the way to Election Day to prevent any infringements on voting rights.  

We are calling on governors to verify that they have contingency plans for all foreseeable problems associated with the predicted massive turnout.   And we are urging the President and both political campaigns to announce a zero-tolerance for voter suppression.  

The National Urban League is ready to do its part.  As a start, we are spotlighting areas of concern and issuing our first in a series of alerts and recommendations for citizen action.  For example, in Michigan allegations have been made that foreclosure lists will be used to prevent citizens from voting.  If true, this means that victims of foreclosure will lose their voting rights.  A lawsuit has been filed to prevent this from happening and we will continue to monitor the situation.  Other potential suppression efforts across the nation are also being investigated.

Finally, it is important that you educate yourself about the voting rules in your state and report any potential problems such as lack of voting machines or voter intimidation.  

Go to http://www.votetoempower.com/  or ncbcp@ncbcp.org  for details on how to report voting problems.

The swift action taken to address the growing panic in the financial markets reminds us of the government's fundamental responsibility to take action to avert national catastrophes. On November 4, voters will have the last word. Preventing a voter meltdown in 2008 is just as important as preventing an economic meltdown.  

Breast Cancer: Black Women Less Likely to Get It, More Likely to Die from It

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By Julianne Malveaux

NNPA Columnist


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Millions of women are sporting pink ribbon pins in support of a month when organizations like the Susan G. Komen Foundation fundraise and galvanize people around the quest for a cure for breast cancer.  They are right to raise awareness - more than 184,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States in 2008, and more than 40,000 will die from breast cancer.

While African-American women are less likely than White women to get breast cancer, we are more likely to die from it. The morbidity rate for White women is 9.4 per 100,000, compared to 15.4 per 100,000 for African-American women. 

Additionally, African-American women often are diagnosed with breast cancer when they are younger, and when African-American women under 55 are diagnosed with breast cancer; it is more likely to have deadlier effects.  Researchers are studying the reasons why African-American women are so much more vulnerable than other women are to breast cancer. But the findings make it important for African-American women to get regular mammograms and to deal with other aspects of our health.

Whenever there are health awareness weeks or months, whether they are for breast cancer, muscular dystrophy, diabetes, or another cause, I crave attention to the broader issue of health care and health access. We can take a slice out of the health care challenge by focusing, in October, on breast cancer, but the fact is that part of African-American women's increased vulnerability to breast cancer is a result of differential access to health care and health services. 

Too many African-Americans lack health insurance. Too many wear the stress of racism in poor eating and living habits, and it shows up with obesity, high blood pressure, and the higher incidence of other diseases in our community. 

African-American women are more likely than any other population, in 2008, to be diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. When another population was most likely to be diagnosed, HIV/AIDS awareness garnered headlines. Now, too many are silent about this disease, unless they are talking about the international incidence of HIV/AIDS.

It is not clear why our nation has not galvanized around the health care issue. To be sure, both presidential candidates have ideas about health insurance and health care; their plans are divergent. In my humble opinion, Hillary Rodham Clinton had one of the best health care plans we've seen in a long time, reflective of the work she has spent on health care since she worked on it as First Lady in the Clinton Administration. 

Senators Obama and McCain would be advised to review her plan and incorporate aspects of it into their own work. Somehow, every American must have access to preventive health care, and protection from bankruptcy when they are diagnosed with expensive diseases. And somehow, as we raise awareness bout breast cancer, we must also raise awareness about the ways breast cancer incidence is intertwined with the status of our health care system.

Breast cancer awareness has an international dimension. Hala Moddelmog, President of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, indicates that 10 million people will die in the next 25 years absent intervention around breast cancer. Last year, the Komen organization held a global advocacy summit in Hungary, and announced pilot programs in Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East.  This month, they sent delegations to Ghana and Tanzania. 

It is important to note that for all the challenges women face with breast cancer in the United States, health care access is even more limited in developing countries.  The Komen organization is to be commended for their work in taking breast cancer global.

Back at home, though, the health care disparities that riddle our system are as present in the realm of breast cancer and in other areas.  Sisters must be among those sporting pink ribbons, but beyond the pink ribbons, we must all be passionate advocates for increased health care access, especially in the African-American community.


Julianne Malveaux is President of Bennett College for Women. She can be reached at presoffice@bennett.edu.


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