Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Downtown Trenton- Kimba Gist and Versatile Band 6/10/09

Photo's of Today's News NJ 2nd Annual Trenton Book Festival

Daryl Mikell Brooks, Amiri Baraka and Rich Lee

N Korea draft resolution 'agreed'

Key Security Council members have agreed on the wording of a draft UN resolution to expand sanctions against North Korea, diplomatic sources say.

The move is a response to Pyongyang's recent nuclear and missile testing.

The agreement was reportedly reached by the five permanent council members, along with Japan and South Korea.

The full 15-nation council will discuss the draft later in the day with a vote expected on Friday, unnamed diplomats were reported as saying.

Adoption of the draft resolution is virtually assured once the seven countries have endorsed it, diplomats told AFP news agency.

The US and Japan have been pushing for strong sanctions to punish North Korea for its nuclear test in May, but China and Russia have been wary about provoking Pyongyang's ire.

But two diplomats told Reuters that they believed China had agreed with the US-drafted text within the last 24 hours, but that Russia - which holds veto power - had new concerns.

In recent weeks, North Korea has fired a long-range and several short-range missiles, and tested a nuclear device in defiance of the UN Security Council.

The US has said it has ruled out military action against the North in favour of international diplomatic efforts.

North Korea said on Tuesday that it would use nuclear weapons in a "merciless offensive" if provoked.

Oprah and ‘Newsweek’ at Odds Over June Article

A Newsweek article suggests Oprah Winfrey promotes possibly harmful health remedies on her popular daytime television show. (Courtesy Photo)

An extreme close-up of Oprah Winfrey looking angry graces the cover of Newsweek magazine this week with the headline “Crazy Talk: Oprah, Wacky Cures & You.” The article suggests that Winfrey uses her influence to promote certain health remedies which may be dangerous to viewers, the Associated Press reports.

But Oprah, who was just listed as the second most powerful celebrity by Forbes magazine’s annual listing, insists she is opening up subjects for discussion.

"For 23 years, my show has presented thousands of topics that reflect the human experience, including doctors' medical advice and personal health stories that have prompted conversations between our audience members and their health care providers," Winfrey said in a statement. "I trust the viewers, and I know that they are smart and discerning enough to seek out medical opinions to determine what may be best for them."

Looking for Balance in All the Right Places

By Richard A. Lee

Are New Jersey’s candidates for governor overlooking an important factor as they search for lieutenant governor running mates?

To date, it appears that the candidates have been seeking to balance their tickets by choosing a running mate whose ethnicity, gender, ideology and/or geography brings balance to the ticket.

But one important factor that has been absent from the discussion about balance is age.

Governor Jon Corzine is 62. Chris Christie, his Republican opponent, is 46. But the gap between their ages is not nearly as wide as the gap that separates the two of them from millennial generation voters -- individuals who were born between 1981 and 1990. This is a group that played a critical role in last year’s presidential election, and its members should not be taken for granted in this year’s campaign for governor.

The current crop of lieutenant governor candidates, however, does little to narrow the gap between millennials and the political establishment in New Jersey. Of the names that have surfaced as potential running mates – Democrats Barbara Buono, Doug Palmer, Albio Sires, Bonnie Watson Coleman and Loretta Weinberg and Republicans Jennifer Beck, Kathe Donovan and Diane Allen -- only one (Beck) is under 55. (Two 40-year-olds, Democrat Cory Booker and Republican Thomas Kean Jr., were regarded as possible lieutenant governor candidates until each indicated he was not interested in the post.)

It is easy to argue that age should not be a factor. People are living and working longer than ever today, making productive contributions to society. And there is no substitute for the experience and institutional knowledge that any of these possible lieutenant governor candidates would bring to the job.

But perception often is more important than reality in the world of politics.

The most important responsibility of the lieutenant governor is to assume leadership of the state should the governor leave office – either by choice, or due to illness, accident or even death. With this in mind, a bright and energetic running mate could be perceived as an asset. The lieutenant governor, like the governor, needs to be just 30 years of age, according to the New Jersey State Constitution. To appeal to younger voters, a candidate need not be in his or her early thirties, but he or she must be someone who understands that the issues and priorities of millennials are markedly distinct from older citizens.

Beyond perception, there is a practical reason for selecting a running mate who can appeal to younger voters. The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University found that some 23 million individuals under the age of 30 voted in the 2008 presidential election – an increase of 3.4 million from the 2004 election.

“The 2008 election not only marked the election of America's first African-American president, it also saw the strong and clear political emergence of a new, large and dynamic generation and the realignment of American politics for the next 40 years,” Morley Winograd and Michael Hais wrote in a piece for NDN, a think tank and advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.

For political parties in New Jersey and elsewhere, there is an advantage to reaching out to young voters that may extend far beyond a single political campaign. According to the Century Foundation, a public policy research institution with offices in New York and Washington, D.C., “Studies point out that voting is habit forming, with the odds increasing significantly that, once a person has voted, he or she will vote again, indicating long-term impacts on parties and politics.”

Lastly, there are intangible benefits to bringing young people into the process. They have more at stake in the long-term future as opposed to short-term gains – a factor that can lead to sounder public policy decisions. In addition, what they lack in experience can be offset by the fresh approach they bring to issues that have been unresolved for years.

A few years ago, I went back to school to earn a Ph.D. in media studies. It has been a great experience, and a big part of this positive experience has been what I have learned from professors who are younger than I am and students who are even younger. My generation – Democrats and Republicans alike – has left the State of New Jersey with plenty of problems. As we search for solutions, a good place to find them may be with our next generation of leaders.

# # #

Richard A. Lee is Communications Director of the Hall Institute of Public Policy – New Jersey. A former journalist and Deputy Communications Director for the Governor, he also teaches courses in media and government at Rutgers University, where he is completing work on a Ph.D. in media studies.

The Roots: Still Pushing Hip-Hop Music and Staying Up 'Late' With Jimmy Fallon

The Roots, Philadelphia's greatest hip-hop group, has been known to make an unorthodox career move – or two.

So, when group members decided to take a full-time gig as the house band for 'Late Night With Jimmy Fallon,' a resounding 'WTF?' came from their loyal fans. People wondered whether they would sell out and play catchy show tunes or hold true to the renegade joints that music lovers came to expect.

Although this nightly mainstream gig is giving the guys an opportunity to spend more time with their families, it turns out that this has been their most labor-intensive undertaking. In addition to backing some of their hip-hop friends, such as Ludacris and Rick Ross, the group has crafted 200 new songs to serve as bumpers and intros.

Drummer Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson said that although Fallon initially didn't believe the band wanted the gig, the new job has been a gift and really "enabled the group to survive."

What group member are most grateful for are the upcoming dark weeks – five weeks when they'll return to their normal touring schedule. This summer, they'll hit the road with Nas and Common on the "Rock the Bells" tour. The group also has a monthly residency at New York City's Highline Ballroom and is gearing up for a Friday residency at the Borgata in Atlantic City, along with a summer residency at Sub-Mercer Lounge at the Mercer Hotel in New York City.

But one fact group members are quick to clear up is that they are not the same backup band performing with soul singer Etta James.

"Etta James performs with the Roots band, but it has nothing to do with us," confided Roots' MC Tariq Trotter, who is better known as Black Thought. "It makes for a lot of confusion. I don't know that we can do anything about it, but they sell a lot of tickets off the strength of. They're on tour now, and whenever they are coming to a city, I get a lot of calls like, 'I hear y'all are comin' to town.'"

The group's next Def Jam release 'How I Got Over,' according to Black Thought and ?uestlove, is the closest they've gotten to recording a spiritual album. "Its title is a nod to the famous Mahalia Jackson song and representative of our political transition with the election of President Barack Obama," Thought added.

One thing's for sure, the Roots are crafting their own path and doing what makes them happy. Just look at how ?uestlove was the mastermind behind getting some of his music friends, like Solange Knowles, Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli and one other very big name, on Twitter. "I got Diddy on it," he noted. "I was mad when he was on 'Larry King' and didn't mention me, but he gave me a shout out on 'Ellen.' So even before Twitter, I was that ubiquitous artist doing diaries in '97 and '98 online before it was called a blog."

On June 6, the group will hold its second annual "Roots Picnic," a music festival concept fashioned after the Police's annual Toronto weekend in the '80s. Public Enemy, Asher Roth, Kid Cudi, Santigold, the Black Keys and TV on the Radio are a few of the acts handpicked to take the stage in Philadelphia. "We want to establish a fun festival weekend and make it real diverse, [and] it's our version of what we've learned in the past 17 years," ?uestlove added.

With the Roots latest resurgence, it's evident that the group has a long future in and beyond the music business.

Philly Native and Superbowl Champion Raheem Brock Returns Home to Make a Difference for Children

Raheem Brock, the Starting Defensive Tackle of the Superbowl XLI Champion Indianapolis Colts, and former Temple University and Dobbins High School football standout, along with his foundation, Brock's Kids Foundation (501c3) presents "The Raheem Brock 3rd Annual Celebrity Weekend," June 12-13 in Philadelphia. Brock has invited all of his NFL friends to join him for a weekend of fun and celebration, all proceeds benefit the Brock's Kids Foundation (501c3) and are tax deductible. The goal of the weekend is to provide scholarships for children in underserved communities in Philadelphia.

"I personally feel that by helping a young person fulfill his or her dream of obtaining an education provides hope and encouragement for generations to come," said Brock. "I know that without obtaining an education, it will be difficult for our youth to be prepared for and successful in life. I know that I am fortunate to have had the opportunity that I had to complete my education while simultaneously achieving my dream. Now I can make a young person's dreams come true through my Brock's Kids Foundation (501c3) and community work."

The Foundation's primary focus is on kids living in under privileged and distressed areas by helping them in a variety of social and academic areas and also encouraging them to realize their full potential. The weekend of events kicks off on Raheem Brock's birthday -- June 12 and includes a visit to sick children at Shriners Hospital of Philadelphia, a night of comedy featuring two nationally known comedians who are also Temple grads and Philadelphia area natives. There will also be a bowling tournament and closing Gala to round out the weekend festivities. All events are open to the public with a limited number of tickets available. All proceeds will benefit Brock's Kids Foundation (501c3) and are tax deductible.

For more information on "Raheem Brock's 3rd Annual Celebrity Fundraising Weekend" go to To purchase tickets go to and enter "brock's kids." You can also purchase tickets by calling TicketWeb at 1-866-468-7619. All media inquiries and requests for interviews should be forwarded to Leslie Patterson-Tyler of Tyler-Made Productions at (609) 247-2632 or via email at

About Raheem Brock (for more info go to
Raheem grew up in the Germantown section of Philly and was a stand-out four letter athlete at Dobbins AVT High School. He played football for Temple University where he earned All-Big East Conference Second Team honors. Raheem was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2002 and traded to the Indianapolis Colts. Along with his many charitable contributions to the Philadelphia community, Raheem also owns the WingStop Restaurant at 1600 N. Broad Street, across the Street from Temple University. He also has plans to open another WingStop next month in the Philadelphia area. Raheem truly loves the city of Philadelphia and believes he can make a difference in the lives of others, especially the youth of the Philadelphia.

By providing scholarships and educational opportunities to those in need, others will be motivated to do the same. Brock's Kids Foundation (501c3) is a non-profit whose mission is to support youth who are under privileged, or from the distressed areas, in realizing their full potential by encouraging them in all of their endeavors. Brock's Kids strives to expose children to a variety of programming focused on social, athletic, and most importantly, academic development. These programs teach children the value of education especially literacy, healthy lifestyles, athletics, and giving back to their community. All donations are fully tax-deductible.

Leslie Patterson-Tyler

Award Winning Author Moses Miller's Latest Novel Urges Young African American Males to Unleash Their Inner "Barack"

The appointment of Barack Obama has created hope and newfound optimism within the African American community. However, the change in the highest office in The United States has yet to result in a transformation within African American communities. Many are still ravaged by violence, drugs, illiteracy and high school drop out rates that are steadily increasing to epidemic proportions. Author Moses Miller hopes that his soon to be released book titled, The Barack in Me, will play an immediate role in reversing the tide.

"When I heard President Obama's speeches, the message I received was that we all have to play a role in bringing about the change we so desperately need in our communities and in our country," author Moses Miller stated.

The Barack in Me is an inspirational book that was written specifically for young African American males. However, the themes and subject matter cross any boundaries created by gender and race. By intertwining messages that Barack Obama conveyed during his monumental campaign, with the authors own advice and experiences, the end result is a book that encourages the targeted youth to unleash the greatness that exists within them.

"Whatever you're reading now, add this to your list of books to read. Although The Barack in Me is geared towards young, Black men, it's one of those short novels that pretty much anyone can relate to," states Shamontiel Vaughn, a contributor and book reviewer for the Chicago Defender.

With many children in the African American community growing up in single parent households, Mr. Miller felt a need to convey a message directly from a male who could identify with their issues and understand their plight.

"I conduct speaking engagements all the time with youth that don't have positive male role models in their lives. Even with an African American President, they can't see that they have the same potential for greatness. This book is one small step in an effort to guide and nurture our youth. We can't expect them to do it on their own," explains Moses Miller.

Additional information regarding The Barack in Me can be obtained by visiting or by contacting Robin Benton at 516-318-4433. Book in stores August 18, 2009.

Robin Benton

Swine Flu Pandemic - WHO Preparing To Announce?

The World Health Organization is preparing to declare a swine flu pandemic, officials hinted Tuesday, saying that the goal now is to prevent countries and populations from panicking.

“One of the critical issues is that we do not want people to panic if they hear that we are in a pandemic situation,” Feiji Fukuda, WHO’s acting assistant director-general, said in a media call Tuesday.

“We know the virus is spreading and we are now seeing activity picking up in a number of countries. We know that we are getting closer to probably a pandemic situation,” Fukuda said.

The number of countries reporting lab confirmed cases of human swine flu stood at 73 Tuesday, with 26,563 cases, including 249 deaths.

Fukuda says WHO “has been working extremely hard in terms of preparing countries, preparing populations for what a potential move to Phase 6 would entail.” The virus continues to be sensitive to anti-viral drugs, he says. The majority of infections are occurring in younger people, under age 60, which is different than normal season flu.

WHO is concerned about the “disproportionate number” of serious cases occurring in the outbreak of HIN1 at St. Theresa Point, a remote First Nation in northern Manitoba, where hundreds of people have reported symptoms in the community of 3,200 and at least 20 have been treated in hospital.

These are observations of concern to us,” Fukuda said.

Mike Tyson and Lakiha Spicer: Just Married!

Boxing icon Mike Tyson has married his girlfriend Lakiha Spicer at La Bella Wedding Chapel at the Las Vegas Hilton.

This is the third marriage for Tyson, and comes less than two weeks after his four-year-old daughter Exodus died after an accident in Phoenix.

Tyson and Spicer took out a marriage license Saturday evening. They were alone when they got married around 10 p.m that same night.

(Photo: ABACA)

Behind Great Shooting and Teamwork, the Magic Defeat the Lakers 108-104 In Game 3

(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

The most impressive aspect of this game was the way the Magic held on for the victory. This was a team win personified. After shooting a Finals record 75% in the first half despite Kobe Bryant looking like he was going to go for 82, the Magic were as professional as they have been this entire playoffs and held on for the most important win in franchise history. The Lakers still lead the best of seven series 2-1.

Orlando shot a Finals record 63% for the game. Must have been home cooking. They had an amazing five players with 18 or more points (Showtime Lakers?). Howard and Lewis led with 21, Alston with a measure of redemption, hit for 20, and Mickael Pietrus and Hedo Turkoglu each hit for 18.

Their worse shooter was Lewis who made 8 of 14 shots. Personally, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team shoot this good in the playoffs. The only other teams that come to mind are Chuck’s Suns and Webber’s Kings.

Clutch when they had to be.

Of course, no one expected the Magic to shoot the lights out like they did last night. Howard had a huge weight lifted off his shoulders because of the collective contribution of his entire team.

He didn’t need to go 30/20 as I called for. I guess subconsciously I expected the Lakers to go for the kill. I don’t think either of these teams are what you would call great. The Lakers are 14-7 and Orlando is 13-9 in the postseason. That’s not a slight to either team, it just shows the parity of the NBA. The only other two teams who could have crashed the party were the Nuggets and the Rockets right?

I really thought Kobe would go wild in the fourth. Definitely an aberration when Kobe misses 5-10 free throws. As a team, the Lakers shot 16-26 (62%). The Magic won by 4.

Rafer (huge) stepped up big and so did Pietrus. Both performed as MVP’s in different stages of the game to support the great efforts of the big three.

The most telling stat besides shooting was Dwight Howard making 11-16 free throws. He was clutch in this regard. He was 5-6 from the field and his team actually won. I thought he had to get off to open up the floor for the shooters, but hey, who am I?

There was a stretch in the fourth where Magic passing was less to be desired, but after every Los Angeles big bucket, someone on the Magic came right back.

Pietrus’ steal of Beans and Kobe’s subsequent foul late locked it up.

For Los Angeles, Bryant led with 31 but needed 25 shots (17 pts. in the first on 7-10 shooting). He continued finding his teammates and had his third straight game with 8 assists. Dude came out hot, super hot, but cooled off in the second half with 10 points.

Pau Gasol continues to impress and had 23 on 9-11 shooting. Lamar Odom disappeared again. When he wanted to, he played with great confidence. He needs to come back and play a lot more involved if this team is to win any game in Orlando.

It’s funny, but every Lakers advantage was nullified just because Orlando was home? Huh?

The starters combined for 20 rebounds? Huh?

Trevor Ariza led with 7? Huh?

What is this Andrew Bynum enigma?

This was one game, but I figured the Lakers weren’t as good as advertised defensively. How many games have you seen a team lose when they shot 51%?

Both teams played very well, but it’s not often that Kobe was actually a deciding factor in the loss. After getting off with an 8-11 start, he was 3-14 the rest of the way. He was frustrated with his effort and a little winded. Could he have hit the Great Wall of China?

Have you ever seen a game when a team has 29 rebounds total (because of shooting obviously) and actually wins. This had to be one of the most unique games in recent memory.

To the Lakers credit, most teams almost take Game 3 off after going up 2-0. They fought hard and have nothing to hang their heads over.

The one thing I’ve noticed about the Magic is their resiliency. Whenever they seem like they are down and out, they seem to always respond with great performances (Sixers after Howard’s suspension and Celtics after Glen Davis’ game winner).

If it’s gonna take the Magic to shoot this well to win, they are in trouble.

Kobe has now had two straight sub-par (for him) performances. Another aberration.

Rafer Alston set the tone early and earned big minutes in Game 4.

Their bench was the difference. Each team had 13 turnovers, but the Lakers committed theirs in critical moments.

Gasol has to get the ball more for the Lakers and the Magic have to continue to put pressure on the Lakers defensively.

If the Magic lose in Game 4, this performance will be seen as wasted.

Think about it, the Magic shot 62% and still almost lost.

Orlando was expected to win this game.

One game is out of the way. Two more to get.

Iran Presidential debate - Mousavi - Ahmadinejad

Key section in last 15 minutes of debate - Mousavi accuses Ahmadinejad of creating conditions that lead to dictatorship - Courtesy of Iran