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Commentary

Qualities that shouldn’t be overlooked in the Pursuit of Love -- Part 1 of 2

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Richard O. Jones
The lack of pursuing the proper qualities in intimate relationships leads to temporal marriages and affairs. Many solo seniors while choosing mates use standards set forth in high school. I am astounded when I read the prerequisites men and women put into their profiles for future mates on online dating sites. It seems that most are holding out for someone with financial wherewithal, good looks and physically fit. Love seekers often dismiss the qualities about a person that truly makes them a good investment. Without certain higher-level qualities the size of your bank account, or length of your hair do not matter. The quintessential qualities most overlooked are character, intelligence, and values in lieu of physical and material attributes.

These qualities must be present in order for a couple to experience longevity. Too much difference in intelligence is the beginning of being unevenly yoked. Intelligence has to do with reasoning, logic, and behaving age appropriate. A friend told me that he was in a supermarket and an attractive older woman smiled at him for a third time. As he was about to approach, she suddenly stretched to reach something from a shelf and her blouse drifted up exposing a tattoo protruding above her waistline.  He knew immediately that they were incompatible because he didn’t believe an intelligent woman her age would tattoo herself.

Intelligence is not limited to academic knowledge but also how well you can envision, solve, create, and comprehend. An illiterate person can be more intelligent that a scholar. Therefore educational level is not as much a glue of your intelligence as smoking, drug use, promiscuity, obesity, and other hazardous lifestyles are glues to a lack thereof. However, according to a documentary on Mensa (an

exclusive club for people with high IQs), it is highly unlikely that two people would have a compatible long-term relationship if their IQs are separated by 15 points or more because higher IQ person would have the view life of an eagle in flight while the other will foster the view of a duck crossing the road.

Website: www.richardojoneslive.com

Partial to Public or Private?

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By Gary L. Flowers, NNPA Columnist –

Today’s debate over legislative issues such as health care, education, and energy boil down to whether public interests or private interests will benefit. I am partial to public.The word public is an adjective pertaining to, or affecting the people of a community, state, or nation.

Many believe the Latin phrase res publica is the origin of the word republic, for example, Democratic Republic, under which the United States of America is governed. Historically, Roman authors used the word to describe the period of time (epoch) between the Roman Kingdom and the Roman Empire. Later, the Greeks translated the term into politeia - the organization process of a city-state.  Of course, the word public is found in the name of the political party known as Republican. In 1854, when the Republican Party was established the legislative agenda was centered on the public good. For example, Abraham Lincoln campaigned for the Presidency on, in part, an anti-slavery political platform. By 1960, following the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling, the people and priorities of Republican Party moved to private interest.

Rather than comply with the law of the land to racially desegregate schools, many southerners established private educational academies in churches to maintain all-White classrooms.

For example, the Commonwealth of Virginia closed entire school districts rather than have Black and White students learn together.

When President Richard Nixon was elected in 1968, he ushered in the concept of private health insurance through his relationship with Edward Kaiser who founded Kaiser Permanente. The idea was for private health insurance companies to profit by denying—not providing—health insurance to the public. Since then, privatized health insurance providers have bazillions of dollars on the broken backs of pubic. Recent research provided by Amy Goodman on the Pacifica Radio Network show “Democracy Now” reveals that California health insurance companies’ denial rate for health insurance claims ranges between 25 percent and 39 percent. Each denial of the policyholders represents more profit for the private company.

Therefore, when President Obama stated his preference for the “public option” in health insurance the Republicans held public rallies to preserve private profits. Does such make any sense? Some argued that the President’s plan was the beginning of socialized medicine in a capitalist economy.

Actually, my studies of capitalism bear out that two of the primary tenets of capitalism are choice and competition.  Duh? If the public has the option to choose health providers which include a government-run health insurance, it seems to me to be consistent with free market capitalism. Like Michael Moore, I believe capitalism is inherently unGodly and unAmerican.  Greed should not trump need.

Predictably, I believe in public access, public broadcasting, public domain, public Internet, public safety, public education, public interest, and most of all, public good. Politics can be defined as who gets what, and how much. American policy should benefit the masses. Power to the people!

Gary L. Flowers is executive director and CEO of the Black Leadership Forum.

Feeding The Hungry Should Be a SNAP

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By Joyce Payne, NNPA Columnist --

AARP believes that no one – of any age – should go hungry. Yet many older people must make the devastating choice to either pay for their medications or their groceries.

The struggling economy has resulted in an increasing number of families left to wonder where their next meal will come from. One result is a dramatic rise in the number of individuals and families visiting food banks each week—and the associated stress on food banks to meet the new demand.  The need for convenient and meaningful food assistance programs is critical.  Of particular interest to the AARP Foundation is the impact this has on older Americans. There are an estimated 3.6 million people aged 65+ who live in poverty in the United States, according to a 2007 Census Bureau report, and millions of others who may qualify for Federal assistance programs like SNAP (formerly knows as the Food Stamp Program), which can alleviate much of the worry and anxiety associated with how to pay for groceries each month.

For older adults with limited incomes, especially those who live alone; food assistance programs can help improve overall health. The healthier people are, the more likely they will be able to take care of their daily needs and live independently.  Unfortunately, only 34 percent of eligible older Americans receive food assistance—leaving millions of dollars untouched.

The most common reason people do not receive SNAP benefits is that they don’t realize they may be eligible. But recent program enhancements mean that more people may be eligible to apply.

The old routine of standing in the grocery store line while people watch recipients tear food stamp coupons from a book is no more. Once a person’s application is approved, benefits automatically get loaded on a debit-style card which is accepted at most grocery stores and there are no hidden fees. The average monthly benefit for older Americans is $72 for individuals and $90 per household.  In addition to supporting healthier food options, SNAP also contributes economically to communities. The USDA says that every $5 in new SNAP benefits generates nearly twice as much ($9.20) in total community spending.

SNAP can be a life changing value for individuals, families and communities, but only if the millions of qualified individuals apply for the benefit.  Currently, only 9 percent of SNAP recipients are age 60+, however, a much larger number of the elderly population is potentially eligible.

And though SNAP is the federal name for the program, state programs may use SNAP or another program name to refer to this food assistance benefit. Individuals can find more information about how to apply for SNAP and receive information about other public benefits via AARP’s Benefits QuickLINK Web site at www.aarp.org/snap.

In these tough economic times, AARP remains staunchly committed to connecting those in need with information and access to programs, which offer real relief and assistance in navigating their basic life needs. We encourage all older Americans and those who care for them to learn more about SNAP and apply if they’re eligible.

N. Joyce Payne, Ed.D. , of Washington, DC, is a member of the AARP Board of Directors, and is chair of the board of the AARP Foundation.

The Churches Won't Be Threatened

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Pastor Joshua Beckley
The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

“Or prohibiting the free exercise thereof .” Either San Bernardino City Councilwoman Wendy McCammack has forgotten these words or has chosen to ignore them, when she initiated the passing of an ultimatum to the First Church of the Nazarene, telling them, in essence, who they can and cannot minister to. Her statement, “If they think it is unconstitutional let them sue us, I’m not afraid of a lawsuit,” is to me the epitome of arrogance.  The fact that Ms. McCammack and City Attorney James F. Penman think they have the right or even the authority to issue such an ultimatum to a church is unconscionable. Especially when the church in question has done nothing to warrant such action.

The chief of police, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and Child Protection Services all gave the church their approval that at no time is any child in danger on the church grounds with the presence of the individual who is registered as a sex offender, and the church itself has had 90 years of experience providing service to the community with ministries and outreach programs geared primarily to children.

Currently, with the charter school that is renting space from the church and the community center that is housed on the church grounds, the church is and has complied with all the safety regulations required by the San Bernardino Unified School District and with the San Bernardino park district.  The “fear campaign” started by Mr.  Penman and Ms. McCammack has resulted in the present mood of our city which has fostered discussions about getting rid of churches because we provided services to individuals such as the sex offender, the poor, the homeless, the marginalized and the disenfranchised.

Could you imagine a city without churches?

Ms. McCammack states that the city has a responsibility to protect the participants of Operation Phoenix programs. Did she or Mr. Penman think about the protection of the families in the charter school whom they scared by passing out fliers with the man’s picture on them when they arrived at school? Or when Mr. Penman attended a parent-teacher meeting that school held to address the concerns about the information on the flier and Mr. Penman summarily threatened them? Whom were they protecting then? How about the members of the Nazarene Church who will have to deal with the fallout from Ms. McCammack and Mr. Penman’s actions? Are they not participants of the city?

Did they bother to get their facts straight before they launched this fear campaign? Did they bother to let the people know that the offense happened when the gentlemen in question was 19 and now he’s 40, and since then has not had a similar conviction?  Did they bother to let the people know that he has not lived in the community for over a month and that he never worked on the church staff, but as an independent contractor doing work on the weekends and never was a threat to any of the children? Did they bother to let the people know that this man did not try to hide his past but notified the pastor of his conviction the moment he began working and attending the church?

Someone once said “Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.” Listen, we all live in glass houses, we all have things in our past that we would not want to be judged for today, and the message of the church and the gospel we preach is that you don’t have to live in your past, that if you genuinely want to change your life for the better that you have a savior who is Christ the Lord who died for the forgiveness of your sins and for the redemption of your soul.

Jesus says if you will come to me I will in no wise cast you out. Now, if God says we all are redeemable who I am to say one among us is not?

In effect, that is exactly what Ms.  McCammack and Mr. Penman would say with this ultimatum. That the city has the right to determine, based on a partnership with a church, who is redeemable and who is not.

If this is the price that a church will have to pay for wanting to work with the city to help it become a more safe and peaceable place to live, as a pastor who has served this city for the past 18 years in partnership, I say the price is too high and I will not stand by and be threatened with ultimatums about who I can and cannot minister to, and I’m sure my parishioners - their constituents – will be glad to hear that the posture of their city attorney and 7th Ward councilwoman is one of antagonism and not cooperation.

I’m also sure Mr. Penman and Ms.  McCammack would say to me that this is not directed at any church but the First Church of the Nazarene. But I say to threaten one of us is to threaten all of us. We as churches in this community cannot let this precedent be set, for surely this will create more problems for us in the future. Therefore, I will be contacting the churches in the city that we have come to work with about plans to address the City Council regarding this issue very soon!

Pastor Joshua Beckley is senior pastor of Ecclesia Christian Fellowship in San Bernardino.

People With Multiple Failed Relationships Shouldn't Give Advice

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Richard O. Jones
It is my long-standing belief that lovelorn women with a history of shack-ups, breakups, and a divorce or two in between are too eager to offer relationship advice to other women. I believe that the axiom ‘all men are dogs’ originated by a frustrated divorcee after her fifth dissolution of marriage or a single mother with four children with four different last names.

These are the women that write relationship books and dominate TV talk shows with bigoted advice. In my lifetime, I never offered my advice about marriage or any romantic relationship though I am full of opinions. I have discovered that many men discuss their serious marital problems with the proper authority –their bartender. Nevertheless, I recently found myself in the uncomfortable position of giving love affair advice to my 23-yearold son.

Last month, I drove my son on the 500 miles trip from Southern California to Northern California to enroll in the University of San Francisco. He had just graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Georgia and was now headed for his Masters. On the trip he spoke openly about a great concern. His dilemma was whether or not to send for his girlfriend to share an apartment with him as she did in Georgia. To send for her meant that he would lose his eligibility to live on campus. To rent an apartment or room for the two of them off campus would cost much more money. As he asked for my advice, I actually wondered if we should stop for a drink and talk to a bartender.  However, to fast forward, he and his girlfriend are now living happily together, with my blessings, in their small-overpriced room in downtown San Francisco.  Although my son knew my relationship choices, including the one with his mother, has not served me well he nevertheless sought and heeded my advice. If I were an honorable man I would have recused myself on the grounds of incompetence.  I don’t believe that people with several failed serious relationships are qualified to advise. Being a relative or an elder should not exempt you from the proper requirement of having a good track record.

As fate would have it, my 34-year-old schoolteacher daughter recently emailed me with a two page list of questions concerning her pending decision to accept her boyfriends’ marriage proposal.

Again with a little uneasiness, I rose to the occasion and thoughtfully answered approximately twenty no nonsense questions.

After I emailed my completed questionnaire, she called me and we spoke nearly two hours on the subject. Since those two experiences, I have concluded that children trust their parents’ wisdom regardless of their track record.  However, I stand firm and draw the line at advising friends on their marital and relationship situations.  The way I look at it, if you have totaled two or more cars, whether or not it was your fault, you shouldn’t give driver lessons.

Website: www.richardojoneslive.com

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