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“Bossy” Women?

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by Charles M. Blow

The same week that Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, helped start a campaign to ban the word “bossy,” so as not to discourage women from being assertive, the “Princeton Mom,” Susan Patton, who penned a widely condemned letter about why young women should focus on marriage in The Daily Princetonian, went on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to flog her new book. This is what she told a group of young women working in the studio’s newsroom:

“You’re going to start looking for a husband in your mid-30’s? You’re going to be competing with girls who are 10 years younger than you. And not only can you not compete for men with women 10 years younger than you, because they are 10 years younger than you: they’re dewy-eyed, they’re fresh, they’re adorable.”

Dewy-eyed, fresh and adorable? What an anachronistic message to send to young working women — that desirable men, who presumably have their druthers, are so superficial and libido-driven that professional women can’t hold a candle to perky ones, that a woman who wishes to marry must submit herself to being chosen by the most superficial of men before the wick of her beauty burns low. This, according to Patton, apparently happens in her 30s, which could be only the first third of a woman’s life. This reinforces the most destructive gender stereotype.

Undoubtedly there’s some evolutionary-biological drive among many men and women to choose mates who are fertile and capable of protecting and caring for children, but those are only base instincts. Much of the youth-fetishizing, particularly as it relates to women, is culturally constructed and reinforced. We hyper-sexualize little girls and juvenilize grown women. Both genuine youth and seasoned maturity are sacrificed to that altar.

This is a societal disease.

And it’s no better for little boys, who are constantly admonished to suck it up, toughen up, don’t cry, be a man, and don’t run, hit or kick like a girl. We plant seeds of misogyny, often without being aware of it, while our boys are still sprouts. And then we wonder why so many men are emotionally suppressed and stunted. It’s because we’ve been telling them all their lives that emotions were effeminate and femininity was a curse.

We build zombie men and lament the dearth of “real” ones.

Yet some still bemoan our current atmosphere as “feminized” — a rhetorical construction that in and of itself is misogynistic because it establishes femininity as a lesser, undesirable expression — rather than understanding that femininity and masculinity aren’t strictly gendered and their expressions not rigidly conveyed.

Our current turn toward tolerance for sexual identities and gender expressions isn’t about more people being less of a man or woman, but about more people feeling safe to be more wholly human. And it’s about freedom — freedom of expression, freedom of self-determination and freedom of fluidity.

And still some see any acknowledgment of and respect for sexual and gender differences as an attack on nature and culture at the expense of procreative couples and traditional families.

Let’s be very clear about something: There is no shortage of hetero-normative behavior in this country, or heterosexual pairings and heterosexual sex, or pregnancies or births.

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“Girls must be given safe space to be assertive…”

If there is an issue on which we can mostly agree it is that there are too many children born to single mothers. But there is a smart way to address this problem: increase comprehensive sex education, teach young people to better value their bodies and protect their futures, hold male behavior more fully accountable, make contraception readily available and easily affordable and make sure that all women have a full range of reproduction options, including access to abortion.

But on some of these we are just treading water and on others we’re backpedaling.

As the Guttmacher Institute has pointed out, “more abortion restrictions were enacted in 2011-2013 than in the entire previous decade.”

Instead of seriously addressing this issue from a policy perspective, people like Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly would rather harp on pop culture and blame Beyoncé. O’Reilly, slammed her for her song “Partition,” in which she sings about having sex with her husband, and father of her child, calling it “exploitive garbage” that did harm to the teenage girls, “particularly girls of color,” when she knows “the devastation” of unwanted pregnancies and fractured families.

First, some facts: the phenomenon of single motherhood is becoming much more an adult issue than a teen one. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teenage pregnancy rates have declined to historic lows, and the rate of decline in birthrates for women age 15 to 19 since 1990 was even greater among blacks than among whites and Hispanics. The numbers are still too high among teenagers, but the dimensions of the problem are contracting, not growing.

That said, whether one likes or agrees with the message of a music video is irrelevant here. Condemning artists for being provocative when politicians have proven either impotent or regressive is a tired sleight of hand. Instead of protesting a song in which Beyoncé asks her driver to close the partition, O’Reilly would be better served protesting the Republican laws forcing the closings of abortion clinics.

And in O’Reilly’s chastising, there is an undercurrent of shaming women for being too sexually expressive and not sufficiently chaste. Women shouldn’t be sexually liberated beings. Women and girls, particularly those of lesser means, must be taught to demur, resist and abstain lest they entice a wily man and suffer an unwanted pregnancy. As Ann Coulter told a crowd at CPAC last week, poor people should be told to “keep your knees together before you’re married.”

We have to see our girls and boys as more than skirts and pants, damsels and squires, child-bearers and breadwinners. We must see them as — and encourage them to express themselves as — fully realized beings. Girls must be given safe space to be assertive and boys to be vulnerable without feeling that they have failed a test of gender normativity. We must teach everyone to honor themselves fully — including their sexual selves — so that unwanted pregnancies fall in proportion to a rising sense of self.

We must allow girls and boys, men and women, to be fully free.

(This column originally appeared in the New York Times March. 12, 2014 , 2014 under the title “Bossy Pants?”)

Charles M. Blow is a New York Times Columnist and nationally-known commentator: “I invite you to visit my blog By The Numbers, join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter, or e-mail me at chblow@nytimes.com.”

Written by cs

March 23rd, 2014 at 8:38 pm

17th Rainbow Push Wall Street Initiative Celebrates 50 years after the Civil Rights Act

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and the 30th Anniversary of Jesse Jackson’s run for the Presidency: Where are we now?

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by Gloria Dulan-Wilson

I know, many of you are looking at your calendars and saying, “February 11th? But isn’t the Wall Street Project held in January?” And you would be correct. I queried the reason for this month’s delay myself and found it coincided with Black History Month and the Commemoration of the Civil Rights Bill signed into law by President Lyndon Baynes Johnson (LBJ). So, Tuesday, February 11th through Thursday, February 13th, the focus on where we are and where we need to be, and how to get there.

The actual title of this year’s Wall Street Project Economic Summit is “50 Years after The Civil Rights Act: The Unfinished Agenda for Economic Justice” THE NEED TO CONTINUE THE FIGHT FOR ECONOMIC JUSTICE & PARITY.

And for those of you who were not aware of it, there is still a “need to continue the fight for economic justice – a fight which Rev. Jackson actually started nearly 25 years ago, long before he formalized it into the Wall Street Project. While Dr. King also recognized the fact that there was a need for economic justice, Rev. Jackson the first to put together a formalized civil rights program to focus on eradicating economic disadvantages as a form of racism.

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Rev. Jesse Jackson Founder of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Wall Street Project Economic Summit

Rev. Jackson founded the Rainbow PUSH Coalition to be a progressive organization protecting, defending and expanding civil rights to improve economic and educational opportunity. Seventeen years ago he likewise established the Wall Street Project Economic Summit, which was originally held at the World Trade Center, and in the various centers of Wall Street. However, subsequent to the devastating attack on 9/11, the Conference has been held in Mid-Town Manhattan.

In a recent interview with Rev. Jackson, he touched on the point that, while we’re politically more aware than ever, we have not parlayed that into economic advantages. And, under the present circumstances, “the right wing never really went away, so we have to be firmer in our resolve to realize our piece of the economic pie.”

I will admit to being an unabashed “fan” of Rev. Jackson. By “fan” I mean admirer, supporter, respecter. I’ve watched the wisdom, insight, courage he has displayed consistently over the past fifty-plus years, and recognize that within the current realm of those who have stood for us as people – good times, bad times, thick or thin; always seeking innovative ways to bring the truth to us, and bring us to the economic just we deserve, there is absolutely no one else. We as a people owe him a huge debt of gratitude for staying the course for more than fifty years.

It was 30 years ago that Rev. Jackson ran for the office of President of the United States. The year was 1984, and he came third on the balloting in the Democratic National Convention. He ran again in 1988, and again came very close to capturing the nomination to run for President. Today, his focus is on ensuring that, to the extent possible, Black people, regardless of their economic level, are full participants in the bounty this country consistently realizes. Moving us from the margins to the middle. Moving us from poverty to parity and prosperity. His message was compelling thirty years ago, and is even more relevant in today’s world and economy.

That said, you can look for him to uptick his intensity. This is 2014 and we have so much at stake – this is a pivotal election year. We not only have to defeat the repuglycons who have been instrumental in decimating the voting rights act; but we also have to make decisive moves in the realm of regaining what was “lost” (actually stolen) during the Bush era.

According to Rev. Jackson,”For more than 50 years, Black Americans have increased their buying power from $37 Billion to over a Trillion dollars. But, our consumerism has not translated into a fair share of contracts and jobs with corporate America” {or anywhere else for that matter} He stated: “The assault on African American Businesses has been devastating. While the general economy is enjoying a steady boost, we are losing record numbers of businesses. Income inequality is a growing concern and the financial crisis didn’t help. In the U. S., the wealthiest 1% grabbed 95% of the post 2009 growth and the bottom 90% became poorer. While financial transactions are of particular interest to the Wall Street Project there is increasing concern generally about lack of opportunity.

While the focus is on Black businesses and economic parity in America, Rev. Jackson is cognizant that Black people are suffering and being short changed throughout the world. So he is binging together leaders in political, corporate, entrepreneurial, and tangential industries to the ECONOMIC SUMMIT, to discuss and work out solutions to the economic incongruity, that particularly impact men and women of African heritage.

Of particular interest will be the summit involving US Agriculture secretary and the various agricultural secretaries from several African countries, who will be discussing the opportunities of investment, ending hunger, the threat of GMO’s etc.

Key issues to be focused on are the decline in Black businesses:

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Black-owned auto dealerships took a pounding during the recent recession, dropping from over 500 in 2008 to 200 today.
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The number of Black auto suppliers has dropped from 60 to less than 20.
(Rev. Jackson will bring Toyota and GM to the Economic Summit to discuss these problems and what they will do to help reestablish these opportunities)
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Media and Telecommunications represent 1/6th of the U. S. economy, yet too few own too much. African Americans are 13% of the population but minority TV station ownership has dropped from 22 to 4 today. For full power radio stations, that number has dropped to 240 or only 1.6% of US radio stations. The tax certificate policy quintupled the number of minority owned stations from 1978 to 1995 but the Gingrich “Contract on America killed it and Congress has repeatedly failed to restore and update the tax certificate policy.
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No ethnic group watches more television than African Americans, yet of $75 billion spent on TV, magazine, Internet and radio advertising, only 2.4 billion of it was spent with Black audience focused media.

Home Foreclosures

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For Black homeowners, the picture since the recession has been particularly grim. There have been 4.6 million foreclosures since 2008 and a disproportionate number of the homes, 1.6 million, were black owned.

Unemployment

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The economic recession in America led to high unemployment for ALL Americans but the labor market continues its steady recovery. Lost in the positive news, though, is the fact that the unemployment rate for African-Americans continues to be double that of whites and that hasn’t changed in 50 years.

Now that the repuglycons have refused to expand unemployment insurance to 1.6 million Americans, what new strategies can be brought to bear to weather this setback? Additionally, what should be done from a corporate level to ensure that job opportunities are made available for those who need and want to work?

Rev. Jackson will release a Study and Scorecard on 160 major corporation’s use of minority broker dealer firms and the implications of the findings. One of the most salient points, according to Rev. Jackson is that, “33% of all African Americans own smart phones; use double the mobile phone minutes as whites; however, when Verizon did the largest corporate bond offering in history last September there were ZERO minority banks or broker dealers used! Fees of $265 million went to a handful of majority owned banks. Additionally, 24M African Americans use the Internet & 76% visit social media sites; however Twitters recent IPO had ONLY 1 minority investment banking firm. FACEBOOK used a handful of minority firms in its IPO but combined, those minority firms earned less than 1% of the fee.”

I teasingly asked Rev. Jackson about his recent foray into Facebook, having just recently gotten his own account. His response was interesting: The {meanstream} media refuse to give adequate and appropriate coverage of issues that are important to Black people, so I decided to go direct and go on Facebook myself.” When I asked how it was working out for him, he responded, “so far so good, but I’ve got a lot to learn about social media.”

Among the many information rich seminars that will be held over the next three days, I’m singling out “Shared Thoughts of Titans: A compelling discussion with some of the most powerful business leaders in the World” as one of the key workshops to attend, because so many consistently miss this pivotal workshop, and it is precisely here that the major prognostications for the future are revealed. It was at this summit that it was first announced that Inner City Broadcasting was going bankrupt. A fact that had been held behind closed doors.

Other hightpoints of the three day conference include:

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The World of Toyota: A session on business opportunities with the auto manufacturer for asset managers, broker dealers and IT firms.
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The Business of Hip-Hop: celebrates 40 years of global impact, and unconventional economic development, using non-traditional techniques and methods.
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The Business of Sports: Role, Economic Impact and Future of the African American Sports Agent. The economic impact of African Americans on the $470 Billion US Sports Sector Industry.
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Wall Street Project Career Symposium: A three-part career management session geared to strengthen professional employees with empowering tools, resources, skill sets and insights on new realities for creating, and managing employment and career opportunities in today’s highly technical work environment.
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Student Loan Debt: Learn how to managing it and paying it off
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Opportunities for Minorities on Corporate and Non-Profit Boards: This session is for senior level execs. who are looking to advance their professional portfolios and demonstrate their leadership acumen through service on corp. and governing boards. Panelists will cover the strategic career choices, skill sets, personal traits and resources necessary for the executive’s service on corporate boards.
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What Will Jobs Look Like in 5 Years, 10 Years?

A special forum focusing on Blacks in the digital divide will be held on Thursday, February 13 – while Blacks own cell phones, are more than represented on FaceBook and other social media, it has not translated into the economic parity. The workshop on the Digital Divide will be most enlightening, as you realize that there is more to those pretty new products than just owning the latest whatever to come off the assembly line.

New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio & Family

The 2014 honorary co-chairs are Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, D-NY 9th District, Terry Lundgren, Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer, Macy’s, Inc., General Motors will host a Media Day focusing on opportunities for minority media with the automaker and Houston Style Magazine will serve as a promotional media sponsor. New York Mayor, the Hon. Bill de Blasio, Hon. Thomas Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, John W. Rogers, Jr., Chrm, CEO, Ariel Investments, Cathy Hughes, Chairperson & Founder, Radio One., Inc., Latondra Newton, Chief Diversity Officer, Toyota Motor North America, Inc. Isiah Thomas, NBA Hall of Famer among others.

Former New York Knick Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas

Honorary Chair Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, Brooklyn 8th CD

Entertainment will include Boys Choir of Harlem, a special performance by Broadway Musical, “After Midnight” and & SWV (Sisters with Voices).

The three day event culminates with their Annual Scholarship Gala: “Wall Street Goes Uptown To Harlem,” and will feature entertainment from the cast of the current Broadway hit musical” After Midnight” and a taste of Harlem from several popular Harlem restaurants.

My last words to you is that you should be taking every opportunity to learn as much as you possibly can in the real world of economics, investments, entrepreneurial opportunities. Rev. Jackson’s Wall Street Project is the only Black run, oriented program that I know of that provides you with the information AND the tools, to make it happen.

Those interested in the full agenda, can log onto www.rainbowpushwallstreetproject.org. or call 646)-569-5889

Don’t miss this pivotal even and integral part of Black history and future.

Stay Blessed &
ECLECTICALLY BLACK

bullet Columnist Gloria Dulan-Wilson Is a veteran New York City Journalist. Her experiences, perspective & sense of history are an invaluable combination. “check out my blog:” www.gloria-dulan-wilson.blogspot.com

Obama Prevails over the Rep-ugly-cans

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Ends Attempted Overthrow of Government

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by Gloria Dulan-Wilson

Hello All:

As we all are all to painfully aware, the US government has been under seige – and nearly literally with a gun at the head of the President via the rep-ugh-blicans (new name for them – rep-ugly-cans) who thought so little of their constituents and the American public, that they shut down the government in an insipid attempt to derail the Affordable Care Act, affectionately known as ObamaCare (because he does “care” that is).

It’s unconsciounable to think that this is the end of the kind of lunacy these individuals are capable of; and, had they not pulled the same kind of b.s. when President Bill Clinton was in office, I would probably couch it as racist in its scope. However, as bad as that is, this is even more insidious, because this the kind of evil that the rep-ugly-cans are. And it’s gone on far too long, and much too often to be allowed to continue unchallenged on the part of We, the People.

While the 800,000 who were furloughed breathe a sigh of relief as they go back to their jobs, we have to take a much more critical eye about this, and say: do we want these kinds of people in charge of the well being of our nation?

My answer, and hope yours, is HELL NO!!

While the newspapers tout the fact that the rep-ugly-cans have really shot themselves in the foot this time, I am cautiously optimistic that this is true. However, I don’t totally have faith in that, because this is the America that elected two of the worst ( well actually three, if you count Reagan) presidents into office, despite the obvious facts that neither of them were competent or intelligent – I’m of course talking about Bush I and Bush II.

There was a hint that they could possibly steal the mid-term election because of the deep pockets of their backers, whose interests are not in our best interest at all. So I want to say several things here:

1) Thank you President Obama for standing up to bullies and not allowing yourself or the Democratic party to be intimidated by this crap. We The People love your cool, calm, intelligent, large and in charge demeanor in the face of insanity. You are our hero.
 
2) Kudos to the brothers and sisters on FaceBook who remained steadfast and loyal to the President and kept the information flowing, despite the detractors who tried to horn in with their lies. We should be so proud of each other.
 
3) Likewise, kudos and respect to the members of the Congressional Black Caucus who participated in the demonstration, which got you arrested; but showed you were neither distracted, nor impressed or distressed by the rep-ugly-cans’ b.s. You were still working in behalf of other constituents and taking care of important matters, while at the same time being up to your eyebrows in alligators.
 
4) Americans should launch a class-action suit against the rep-ugly-can party and the tea baggers for crimes against society; and for treason – the attempt to overthrow the government is treason, you know.
 
5) Those states whose representatives participated in this debacle should have immediate recall procedures to rid themselves of them, and replace them with people who really represent their well being. And they should be docked for their salaries for each day they did not work as a result of shutting down the government. (start with Ted Cruz, and work your way up). We should not have to wait until the mid-term elections in 2014 to get them out. One year – one day – is too long to allow them to continue mis-representing their constituents. Time to take out the trash NOW!
 
6) The rep-ugly-cans should immediately replace Boehner as speaker, because he doesn’t speak for them – or at least that’s what they say.
 
7) Obama has to veto any bill that would cut funds to food stamps, or to social security. Normal cost of living increases to Social Security must be restored immediately, if not sooner.
 
8) In any and all upcoming elections, vote Democrat, no matter what the position is, even in heavily rep-ugly-can states. If there is no Democratic candidate, select one and back him or her; or run yourself. We cannot go forward with the weight of their ignorance and depraved indifference dragging us backwards.
 
9) Everybody write President a letter of praise and gratitude for his clarity and his courage; and write the House and Senate rep-ugly-cans letters of consternation and condemnation about their ignorance and insipid behavior.
 
10) Make sure you are all registered to vote, no matter where you live, no matter what kinds of obstacles they try to throw in front of you to thwart you. And remember, dollars don’t vote, people do, so that if the Koch boys or the others try to buy your vote to keep these creeps in, take the money, and vote Democratic any way.

Stay Blessed &

ECLECTICALLY BLACK

bullet Columnist Gloria Dulan-Wilson Is a veteran New York City Journalist. Her experiences, perspective & sense of history are an invaluable combination. “check out my blog:” www.gloria-dulan-wilson.blogspot.com

Using Social Media Networking To Build A Successful Business

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by Alberta Parish

As we continuously advance in this age of modern technology, we need social media networking skills now more than ever before to effectively compete in today’s job market and to generate additional streams of income. Many business owners from Corporate America to mom and pop stores use social media marketing as an important source of business advertisement. Because social media advertisement is far less expensive than prime time television ads, many businesses utilize web content to advertise their services and products. For startup businesses, it is far more cost effective and economically sensible to use social media networking sites to generate buzz for your business.

One minute of prime time television ads could cost thousands of dollars, which many small business owners may not be able to afford. But posting a Youtube video featuring your business will cost you absolutely nothing. To effectively maximize your customer base, you must connect with potential customers online. Never underestimate the power of social media networking when it comes to gaining new customers and retaining existing customers. If you are serious about building your online reputation as a business owner, you must have quality business profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Dailymotion, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Myspace, WordPress, Blogger, Digg, HootSuite, StumbleUpon, Delicious, Ning and more. As a legitimate business owner, it is no longer enough to have your business listed in the Yellow Pages. You must operate and maintain quality social networking sites featuring your business and the services/products you offer. This is where my expertise as a web content writer and social media manager comes into play.

I perform the skills that many entrepreneurs either do not possess the time or skill set for, which is manage the company’s online presence. Most business owners prefer to hire social media experts to maintain and update web content for their business, and utilize social networking sites to engage the public about the products and services they offer.

Through Internet marketing, you must be able to optimize your online presence and build your company portfolio one click at a time. When it comes to building your customer base, make sure you provide a product that your customers actually want and can afford. In today’s economy, if your prices are not competitive, consumers will quickly move on to the next competitor who has affordable pricing. Once you know your company’s niche, it is easy to identify what products or services you’re offering that caters specifically to your customer base.

Most smart business owners know that a great company reputation is very important in maintaining a financially healthy and successful business. One bad review on Facebook or Twitter can reduce your customer base, jeopardize your profits, and threaten the future of your business. Most successful companies utilize social media experts to manage and build the company’s online reputation, because they know negative reviews are bad for business. Your company’s reputation means everything. A great reputation makes customers feel comfortable in trusting a company’s services and products.

To be a financially successful business owner, one must utilize every online marketing tool to effectively build the company’s brand. This can be achieved through search engine optimization, generating traffic to the company website, and online marketing campaigns through networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest, etc. With very little traffic to your website, your customer base will be small.

As social media continues to advance with increasing technology in video streaming, web conferencing and instant messaging, companies are finding cheap and cost effective ways to utilize contractors for jobs that do not require them to commute to the office, punch a clock, and be on the company payroll permanently. The contractor can be utilized for a specific period of time and for cheaper wages than someone who is a permanent employee. The contractor can work from the comfort of his/her own home and/or report less to the work location. Many companies are now hiring contractors to handle all of their Information Technology needs. Contractors replace company workers for whom corporate owners spend millions of dollars on health insurance coverage and pensions. Many companies have grown richer by outsourcing labor and cutting employee costs. The cheaper the labor, the more a business can maximize profits. Business owners constantly look for ways to cut expenditures. After all, what’s the point of being in business when expenditures exceed profits? The economically responsible action for any business owner whose expenditures exceed his or her profits is to slash company costs by laying off employees, renegotiating pension contracts, providing cheaper health insurance group coverage to employees, and outsourcing labor to contractors.

Information Technology is continually changing with new web infrastructures and technological advances. Today, I am able to connect with someone on the other side of the world through Skype and other instant messaging services. Who knows how far this technology will take us?

Social media has shaped the very ideas that produced the newly invented networking sites like Pinterest and HootSuite. Businesses should never overlook less popular sites for the more favorable ones. If a business does not have a strong customer base, it is possibly due to poor advertising, lack of a strong online presence and negative reviews. Internet marketing is far more effective than television ads. So beware of your company’s online reputation, because this could mean the difference between a thriving business and a business that is barely surviving.

bullet columnist Alberta Parish is best known as a take-no-prisoners Youtube commentator, you can also follow her writings on Freedom TribuneMyspace and Twitter.

Written by cs

September 3rd, 2013 at 8:12 pm

Teaching Me About Teaching

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by CHARLES M. BLOW

This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week, and, as far as I’m concerned, they don’t get nearly enough.

On Tuesday, the United States Department of Education is hoping that people will take to Facebook and Twitter to thank a teacher who has made a difference in their lives. I want to contribute to that effort. And I plan to thank a teacher who never taught me in a classroom but taught me what it meant to be an educator: my mother.

She worked in her local school system for 34 years before retiring. Then she volunteered at a school in her district until, at age 67, she won a seat on her local school board. Education is in her blood.

Through her I saw up close that teaching is one of those jobs you do with the whole of you — trying to break through to a young mind can break your heart. My mother cared about her students like they were her own children. I guess that’s why so many of them dispensed with “Mrs. Blow” and just called her Mama.

She wasn’t just teaching school lessons but life lessons. For her, it was about more than facts and figures. It was about the love of learning and the love of self. It was the great entangle, education in the grandest frame, what sticks with you when all else falls away. As Albert Einstein once said: “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”

She showed me what a great teacher looked like: proud, exhausted, underpaid and overjoyed. For great teachers, the job is less a career than a calling. You don’t become a teacher to make a world of money. You become a teacher to make a world of difference. But hard work deserves a fair wage.

That’s why I have a hard time tolerating people who disproportionately blame teachers for our poor educational outcomes. I understand that not every teacher is a great one. But neither is every plumber, or every banker or every soldier. Why then should teachers be demonized so much?

I won’t pretend to have all the policy prescriptions to address our country’s educational crisis, but beating up teachers isn’t the solution. We must be honest brokers in our efforts to fix a broken system.

Do we need teacher accountability? Yes.

Must unions be flexible? Yes.

Must new approaches be tried? Yes.

But is it just as important to address the poverty, stress and hopelessness that some children bring into the classroom, before the bell rings and the chalk screeches across a blackboard? Yes.

Do we need to take a closer look at pay and incentives for teachers? Yes.

Do we need to lift them up a bit more than we tear them down? A thousand times, yes!

A big part of the problem is that teachers have been so maligned in the national debate that it’s hard to attract our best and brightest to see it as a viable and rewarding career choice, even if they have a high aptitude and natural gift for it.

A 2010 McKinsey & Company report entitled “Closing the Talent Gap: Attracting and Retaining Top-Third Graduates to Careers in Teaching” found that top-performing nations like Singapore, Finland and South Korea recruit all of their teachers from the top third of graduates and then even screen from that group for “other important qualities.” By contrast, in the United States, “23 percent of new teachers come from the top third, and just 14 percent in high poverty schools, which find it especially difficult to attract and retain talented teachers. It is a remarkably large difference in approach, and in results.”

According to the report, starting teacher salaries in 2010 averaged $39,000 a year. Let’s assume that federal, state and local taxes eat up a third. That would leave a take-home pay as low as $26,000. However, according to the Project on Student Debt by the Institute for College Access and Success, a college senior graduating that year carried an average of $25,250 in student loans. The math just doesn’t work out.

Furthermore, jobs in education were slashed substantially from August 2008 to August 2011. According to an October White House report: “Nearly 300,000 educator jobs have been lost since 2008, 54 percent of all job losses in local government.”

If we want better educational outcomes, we need to attract better teachers — and work to retain them. A good place to start is with respect and paychecks. And a little social media appreciation once a year wouldn’t hurt either.

So, on Tuesday, I plan to send this message on Twitter: To the teacher who taught me what it means to be a teacher: My mama. Everybody’s mama.

What will you tweet?

Charles M. Blow is a New York Times Columnist and nationally-known commentator: “I invite you to visit my blog By The Numbers, join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter, or e-mail me at chblow@nytimes.com.”

Beware the Race-Dialogue Police

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They hear no racism, see no racism

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Chris Stevenson

There’s a growing number of people today who are taking up the challenge to prove the opposite of what has already plainly been proven. They seem to lie in wait for news of a racist attack on generally blacks only, just so they can broadcast their suggestion that it wasn’t a race issue. These people sadly know they’re in the wrong, but could care less, the goal for them is more of a racially selfish nature. If left up only to the Sanford police, the Trayvon Martin shooting wouldn’t even be known. Credit black media and the internet for exposing the efforts of the Sanford FL Police Department’s racist cover-up of suburban-commando George Zimmerman. This week represents roughly a month after the shooting, and news of it has been common knowledge only a couple weeks now.

I mean how in the Hell is it “not about race” when the Dispatcher asks “what was he wearing?” And Zimmerman’s answer was “He looks Black.” But it’s not about race? Really? To Zimmerman he was wearing black skin, which in his mind was illegal and reason enough to call the police. Since racism is devoid of logic, it didn’t matter to him that he knows there are other blacks living in that community. Zimmerman went to a lot of trouble and work to prove it’s about race, so let’s not re-interpret his efforts just because it’s your race that’s in the hot-seat. I think that’s what this is all about when you hear that. Much of this column is really bits and pieces of a Facebook post (in response to a column I wrote) and comments on various pages that I have pasted together regarding my feelings on these mostly self-appointed Race Dialogue Police (RDP).

As an African American with 54 years of experience in this country, I do NOT need and never have needed anyone white or black to tell me what constitutes a race or racist incident, and what doesn’t. But apparently some of you will try your hand with this anyway. Fine. When I write an article, you are fully within your rights, and are in fact invited to disagree with me. But you cannot regulate me or my readers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Geraldo (Jerry Rivers) says blame the hoodie, Hannity claims it could have been an accident, Beck says Trayvon was a threat, Newt implies Barack’s speculative son is dividing the country (because Barack said he would look like him).

This is what I been noticing on some pages and posts over the last 2-or-3 days now. I’m also wise to those of you who are trying to be slick with it; on my recent column on btweetz.com about the sub-human George Zimmerman one of you made a statement (no need to name names) claiming to support Trayvon but you pretty much made it sound like your support was conditional by stating you don’t want people to view it as a race thing. Here is the exact words:

“I am a resident of [blah blah blah], California and I am forming a day of honoring a day for Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, and RaMarley Graham, I need to say this isn’t a color or race thing it is a human rights thing, this could have easily been one of your babies being use as a target, if they I say they (whoever it may concern) want to practice go to the firing range and practice, our babies are human beings, not targets!! This situation could have been one of mines, yours, or someone you knew who live was losted due to gun battle! So Monday March 26, 2012 all day I will do all that I can to get the word out to have everyone to wear their hoodies in honor of all the families. Let them know that they did not die in vain. I’m asking for your help also please post on your site that I [Ms. blah blah blah] is doing whatever I can do help, last but not least change your facebook profile picture, take a picture with your hoodie on and show your support, the internet is a tool just for reasons like this to help.”

Did any one of you out there understand any of this shit? 1st she expresses a desire to represent Trayvon, Ramarley, and Oscar as if she’s doing them and maybe us poor blacks a favor (after all she lives in Cali, she could be out hanging with the Kar-Assians), hell she’ll even toss a hood over her scalp for good measure, tells us to do the same, even on our profiles. It completely passes her by that the hoodie is pretty much half the reason it’s about race. I feel like I’m talking to either Miss Ann or Wendy Williams. You’ll notice she implies “it’s not a color or race thing it is a human rights thing.” This obviously will shock some of you out there. It doesn’t have to be either/or as she is selling, it can be both color AND human rights, as it has been in many cases.

She is one of those types of whites who must frame a black person or situation to her liking, get you to do it (provided you are gullible enough to accept the slop she is dishing on your plate), before she feels comfortable marching side-by-side with you. People like this will even create false delusional scenario’s implying that it could have been her white son in a hood that Zimmerman was stalking, and eventually shot, only to have the police arrive and take his body away (without contacting his family for several days? Yeah right). It could have been her white son in a hood that ran up in Ramarley’s grandmother’s house with several cops in hot pursuit banging in his door and breaking through without a warrant to blast him in his own bathroom, and detain his grandmother or 6 or 7 hours in order to cook up a plausible story. Miss Ann, I missed the wave of headlines and stories of police shooting white male youths in hoodies. Enlighten us Please!

Listen closely. If you have to verbally or in writing tell people ‘it’s not about race,’ then it’s PROBABLY ABOUT RACE. We’re all adults here, give us the benefit of the doubt, I mean really. And it’s really nothing new, pretty much talk-radio-induced. But it’s some of the dumbest, stupidest, most obtuse thinking that is becoming a by-product in the aftermath of an obvious racial tragedy. It’s becoming too common, and it smacks of a selfish people who want to divert dialogue away from black-specific issues onto a more generalized way of interpreting the incident in order to make white would-be supporters feel more comfortable. There are blacks who push this kind of agenda too. You’ll notice they’ll go from being ghetto to hippy instantly, when they feel they are being called-upon to join some black movement, because they fear offending their white best-friend, work-mate, lover, next-door neighbor etc., who may view them differently. So suddenly you’ll notice them talk about love, peace, forgiveness. Most of them don’t believe in those things at all, they just worry that they’ll become useful on the merits of their own skin color to only their own people. Where’s the thrill in that?

Whites who engage in this RDP nonsense are not going to change the way they look at us. They may be accepting us in NBA and NCAA Basketball, TV sit-comms, and relationships with the opposite sex, these have done nothing but lull us to sleep. When it comes to fear of their personal safety all those other things like March Madness becomes anti-black madness and their selfish relationships get tossed-out the window. You will notice these race-discussion regulators have one glaring weakness, they have no record of confronting or correcting racists, or hard-bitten bigots. They are the only thing that’s worse than the so-called “good people” who stand by and do nothing. The prime reason for this is what you pretty much have guessed the point I’m trying to make; many of them are racist themselves. When they look at situations like the Trayvon shooting and listen to the 911 voice of Zimmerman, coupled with the final result, and the far worse treatment of the Sanford police in the handling and attempted cover-up, they see themselves and the commonality in how they probably would have handled it. They “understand.” Social networks are doing a good job of smoking out racists in some of the simplest situations, and RDP; who only prove to be a weak faction of undercover racists. More information is coming out all the time regarding the comparatively uneducated nature of right wing White America. Only blacks can change this conversation, and the New Black Panthers are the only ones offering a different solution than those that no longer work.

The same people who criticize the NBPP for posting wanted posters and conducting their own independent search for Zimmerman know little or nothing about a group of rich white panthers calling themselves ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) that pushed an adjustable model of the Castle doctrine, i.e. “Stand Your Ground,” “Shoot First,” “Make my Day,” across the country, and 16 states have adopted their own version of this measure. Members of ALEC include representatives of ExxonMobile, Johnson & Johnson, Wal-Mart, NRA, and and the Koch brothers. In my opinion this is a law that took blacks completely by surprise, until it virtually pulled the trigger on a 17-year-old, and inspired inaction on the part of Sanford law enforcement. No rational humans dream up ideas like this, but it proves how tireless and scheming the white right can be. In my opinion “Stand Your Ground” seems to be a law based on the late President Ronald Reagan’s fictional white “rugged individualism;” the right to use deadly force when in imminent danger, as an alternative to, or option to “duty to retreat.” For one thing retreating, just like fighting, are personal choices, human nature, but I digress.

Race could be the only factor in a homicide, or there may be other elements added to it. In this case the more information is leaked, the more racist it looks. The RDP took on quite a challenge when they decided to whitewash the Trayvon incident in the first place. This episode has racism from different classes of whites; 1-Poor burned-out white male loser (Zimmerman), 2-Corrupt Obstructionist Police Chief (Bill Lee), 3-Retired high-powered Judge no-doubt calling in a whole slew of favors on the night of Feb. 26/27 and writing a letter that attempts to declare his son as the victim, to the daily paper (Zimmerman’s father–> } ).

Even though that redneck gun law is the going excuse by Lee, the Seminole County State Attorney Norman Wolfinger, and the City Manager Norton Bonaparte as to why they can’t arrest Zimmerman, I don’t buy it. Activist Dick Gregory recently aired a great idea for some legislation that blacks need to look into with all the tireless energy that the group ALEC did to push their “make my Day” law into reality in 16 states. 1-Push for police to have to require a license to be a cop, subject to be taken away by community if he is proven to have engaged in conduct where he misused it 2-A national Anti-profiling law that also holds cops accountable and punishable if they step out of line.

Recently there have been reports of Trayvon’s girlfriend having been admitted to the hospital. Shortness of breath and fear of police-harassment due to her co-operating with investigators (it’s not as if she didn’t give the police a chance to hear her out). We keep dying, they keep living. We keep going to the hospital, they keep staying healthy. We keep going to funerals, they keep hiding out. Non-violence in the long-run didn’t change a thing about too many white people, either we got to push Gregory’s ideas into law (Obama of course wrote and signed an anti-profiling law years ago as a Senator), or we have got to get in the habit of reversing some of these conditions ourselves.

Chris Stevenson is a regular columnist for blackcommentator, Political Affairs Magazine, and a syndicated columnist. Follow him on Twitter, and Facebook, you don’t have to join any of them. Watch his video commentary Policy & Prejudice and The Network for clbTV. Sign his Petition to permanently Abolish the Death Penalty @ Change.org. Respond to him on the link below.

Written by cs

March 24th, 2012 at 12:30 am