Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dr Boyce Education: Our Kids are Not Ready for the Future

I have some questions I'd like to ask all of us in an open and strictly rhetorical kind of way:

1) Is it normal for our kids to sit and watch TV for 10 hours a day on a Saturday?

2) How normal is it for a child to sit around and do almost nothing all summer long, when it wouldn't take much effort to pick up a book for a couple of hours a day?

3) Why are many of our kids willing to work at McDonald's for 8 hours a day, but not willing to study for 3 hours a day to build a financially rewarding future?

4) Why does it seem that we are more likely to get excited over a boy who plays basketball than one who can do Calculus?

We need to have that conversation.

In the video below, I discuss some facts that may alarm you. The laziness of our kids in America is not just something that affects African American youth, it is something that plagues our nation. The economic consequences are expected to be very real, as the education level of a nation's young workforce defines that nation's productivity and economic growth.

Not only are our young people less qualified than they should be, they are also fewer in number. The baby boomers changed our society, but they certainly did not boom out a lot of babies. In a nation where there were once 16 young people to support every senior citizen, there are now only 3.3 for every 1. Also, all indicators show that American children go to school for fewer days in the year, for fewer hours in the day and get less homework than children in Asian countries and other OECD nations. An aging population, mixed with a reduction in per capita productivity is a recipe for economic disaster.

It's time for a revolution in education. We need to make our kids get serious. You hear that BET?

In the conversation below, I speak with my buddy, Dr. Marc Lamont Hill. Marc is a professor at Columbia University and one of the leading educational experts in the world. We talk about our kids, our economy and America's future. Most importantly, we discuss ways in which your children can be sucked out of the intellectual gluttony which may end up undermining our nation's progress. Click below to listen!

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University and author of "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About College.

Man's Debit Card Charged $23 Quadrillion, $15 Overdraft Fee

Mysterious Bank Debit Leaves Josh Muszynski Bewildered

When Josh Muszynski checked his bank account online, he didn't expect to find a $23 quadrillion debit.

"If it were to be true that someone actually compromised that money and got that money, they could do some severe damage with that amount of money," he said.

Muszynski expected to see a couple hundred dollars in his account, but a 17-digit number that rivals even the national debt confronted him instead. The mistake alarmed Muszynski, who has downsized to an apartment in efforts to save money to buy a house.

"I thought my card had been compromised. I thought somebody had bought Europe with my credit card," Muszynski said. "It was very concerning."

What Did He Buy?

"I thought somebody had bought Europe with my credit card."
- Josh Muszynski

Muszynski swiped his debit card at a local Mobil gas station to buy a pack of cigarettes for a few bucks, Instead, his Bank of America account indicated he spent $23,148,855,308,184,500 at the gas station -- an amount for which he probably could have used to buy the entire company.

Muszynski may never know what went wrong. He also wondered what he would've done if he actually had money like that to spend.

What Would You Do With $23 Quadrillion? Click To Comment

If he had $23 quadrillion, Muszynski said he would give it all away, and maybe also bail out General Motors a few more times.

No One Could Answer Mysterious Charge

Hours later, after checking his account, Muszynski rushed back to the store but it appeared no one knew what to tell him. He wondered whether to call a debt relief company or how he'd pay it all off.

"The cashier says she couldn't help me at all. She didn't know anything about it," Muszynski said. "It's a lot of money in the negative, something I could never ever afford to pay back -- my children couldn't afford, grandchildren, nothing like that."

Muszynski called the bank about the string of numbers on the screen and a $15 overdraft fee the bank tacked on to his mysterious debt. After two hours on the phone, Muszynski said, the representative on the line had no idea what to say.

"She just tried to assure me that everything would be fixed, and I couldn't see something like that being fixed," Muszynski said.

Nearly 24 hours after the hole formed in his bank account, Muszynski checked his statement again. The bank corrected his statement a day later.

"It was back to normal. They reversed the negative balance fee, which was nice," Muszynski said.

WMUR News 9 contacted Bank of America about the statement mishap, but representatives said the card issuer, Visa, could only answer questions. Visa, in turn, recommended that WMUR News 9 contact the bank.

Richard Jefferson Calls Off Wedding to Kesha Ni’Cole Nichols

Richard Jefferson and Kesha Ni’Cole Nichols

NBA player Richard Jefferson called off his wedding to dancer Kesha Ni’Cole Nichols, but apparently forgot to inform some of the guests.

Jefferson — former New Jersey Net star who was traded to the San Antonio Spurs in June — dumped Nichols days before they were to exchange wedding vows - a $2 million affair at the Mandarin Oriental in Columbus Circle.

Nichols, artistic director for the Sugar and Spice Dance Company, immediately informed her family and friends that the nuptials were off.

Jefferson, however, called people about two hours before the wedding ceremony was scheduled. Some of his friends had already shown up at the Mandarin Oriental.

Jefferson didn’t show up at the hotel, but he did give his best friend his American Express card for the night, which his friends used to party on his dime. “All his boys were there,” a friend said.

Nichols also showed up at the hotel, checking in on what was to have been her wedding day, and was upgraded to a suite on the 45th floor with a view of Central Park.

According to a family friend, Nichols was stunned, but “not entirely caught off-guard.”

“She just wants to keep this as quiet as possible and move on. She’s doing just fine.”

Whitney Houston: Ready to Take Over the Music World

Looking quite lovely, Whitney Houston was all glammed up as she arrived at a London hotel on Tuesday evening (July 14).

Having flown out from the States a little over a week ago, the “I Will Always Love You” singer is readying to make a comeback with the release of her highly-anticipated new album in September.

Talking about the new disc, producer Clive Davis said that Miss Houston “still stands for the best of song writing, the best of singing—and we know the public wants it.”

“You won’t forget it after you hear it,” Davis added. “There is a song on this album which is called ‘I Didn’t Know My Own Strength’ and it really speaks for Whitney. She tumbled but she didn’t crumble.”

A radiant looking Whitney Houston was joined by mentor Clive Davis last night here in London at the Madarin Hotel to preview her 'comeback' album 'I Look To You' to select media and VIP's. Ms. Houston received a standing ovation from the audience upon her entrance, as well as after the album's R.Kelly penned title track was played.

Word has it a song called 'Calling You Tonight' is almost set in stone as the album's first single. Check out the Johnta Austin penned, Stargate produced demo by clicking here. I see they are going for that Jennifer Hudson 'Spotlight' feel with this one. I like. Other producers set to feature on the record include Swizz Beats and Akon.

'I Look To You' drops August 31st here in the UK (Europe) and September 1st in the US.

LAPD Treating Michael Jackson Death as a Homicide, Ramping Up Investigation of Dr. Conrad Murray

Was Michael Jackson murdered?

La Toya Jackson's inflammatory statement from earlier in the week may not be all that far-fetched. Multiple law enforcement sources say the LAPD is already treating the superstar's death as a homicide, and are focusing on Dr. Conrad Murray.

The evidence points to the anesthesia Propofol as the primary cause of his death. As TMZ reported, vials of Propofol were found in Michael Jackson's home.

Law enforcement sources say there is already "plenty of powerful evidence" linking Dr. Conrad Murray as the person who administered the drug to Jackson.

That evidence includes items found in Jackson's house, including Propofol, an IV stand and oxygen tank. Murray was Michael Jackson's personal physician.

The LAPD has had "multiple conversations" with the L.A. County District Attorney's office, even though the case has not been formally presented to the D.A.

Dr. Murray's lawyer, Ed Chernoff, has neither confirmed nor denied if his client gave Propofol to Jackson. Dr. Conrad Murray has not been charged with a crime.

Several pharmaceutical companies have been contacted by the DEA in the case as authorities close in on how the Propofol got into the body of the late singer.

The vials of Propofol found in Jackson's home all have lot numbers. The DEA contacted Teva Pharmaceuticals - which manufactured one of the vials found there.

Teva sells Propofol to medical distributors, who then turn around and sell the vials to hospitals and doctors. The DEA hopes a trail will lead to some answers.

Dr. Arnold Klein, a friend of the singer who treated him over the years, is also under investigation. It is not believed he ever administered Propofol, but the L.A. Coroner's Office has subpoenaed Jackson's medical records from Klein.

Randy Moss: The New Face of NASCAR Diversity

While NASCAR has had it share of issues on its many failed attempts to diversify the sport, Randy Moss, the New England Patriots All-Pro wide receiver, is hoping to help the sport turn the tide.

According to a recent interview in Black Enterprise magazine, Moss acquired a 50 percent share in Morgan-Dollar Motorsports in 2008.

Like any high-profile superstar, after taking a sizable stake in the company, he named the company Randy Moss Motorsports. Go figure? It's all about branding and using your best asset. Isn't this why Oprah and Magic always tie their names (brand) behind the business ventures they're invested in. ...

Moss, who is also a savvy businessman, too, hopes to use his franchise winning name to colorize the sport and foremost create another stream of income off the field. George Fraiser, who is a networking guru and the author of several business books, says we should always have several streams of income. And Moss is taking Fraiser's philosophy to heart with one of his latest ventures.

Before Moss, who is a native of West Virginia, made a large financial investment last year in NASCAR, he had always mentored young folks interested in the sport. In fact, he served as an ambassador for the Urban Youth Racing School, which serves as a free program catering to over 200 inner city youths. Unlike his playmates, who are just sponsoring football camps, this playmaker also sponsors a dirt track in his hometown, too. So he was destined to do this.

While Moss contends he doesn't want his football celebrity to interfere with his NASCAR venture, it doesn't hurt this has allowed him to slowly gain corporate sponsorships, which has been an uphill battle for most blacks in the sport. Will Moss be the latest face of diversity for the sport? Can he influence people of color to join him in this journey?

Tinseltown Talk: Nia Long Lashes Out At Music Stars Who Act

"If you're a singer not an actress, you should sing. If you're a rapper, you should rap," is what actress Nia Long told the U.K. magazine Pride.

In the July issue cover story written by Jessica Huie, the 'Are We There Yet?' star was also asked what she thought about Beyonce Knowles' performance in 'Obsessed.'

"I didn't see 'Obsessed,' so I can't comment, but it's just not about how talented you are anymore. It's about, 'How much box-office revenue will this person generate?' When you see certain people – we won't name names – they just don't have the skill, and no one in their team has said, 'You need acting classes,'" Long replied.

The 38-year-old actress, who last starred on the ABC series 'Big Shots,' does believe there have been some exceptions in Hollywood.

"If you take time to develop your craft, God bless you. Jamie Foxx is an example of both [actor and singer]," she added.

Long also vented to the glossy about the quality of roles Hollywood offers Black actresses.

"If you were able to take all the Black actresses and the choices we've made collectively, it's a pure reflection of what you see on film. People need to work. But the content? The opportunities for Black actresses are more widespread today, but the quality has suffered," she offered.

Sotomayor – The New “Conservative” Justice?

Move over Clarence Thomas and Sam Alito, here comes Sonia Sotomayor.

I’m not sure who that was appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the woman everyone expected. As Sen. Lindsey Graham said:

“I listen to you today, I think I’m listening to [Chief Justice John] Roberts.”

She talked about “settled law”, precedent, how a justice must set aside their emotions, even to the point of saying she disagreed with Obama’s declaration that in judicial decisons, “the critical ingredient is supplied by what is in the judge’s heart.”

Perhaps the most unconvincing portion of her testimony, however, was her defense of the “wise Latina woman” comment. She began by declaring that Justice Sandra Day O’Connor couldn’t have meant what she said when she said “a wise old man and wise old woman would agree on a judicial case’s outcome”. Surely, Sotomayor reasoned, if one of them came to a different conclusion, that wouldn’t mean they were unwise.

She claims her statement was a “rhetorical flourish which fell flat”. She pointed out that she was trying to inspire mostly Latino audiences when she included her “flourish” in a speech. A reminder of that so-called “rhetorical flourish” that was supposedly aimed at the O’Connor maxim:

“I would hope that a wise Latina woman, with the richness of her experiences, would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

Yeah, I’m having difficulty with the connection as well. She went on to say:

“What I was talking about was the obligation of judges to examine what they’re feeling as they’re adjudicating a case and to ensure that that’s not influencing the outcome,” Sotomayor told Sessions. “We have to recognize those feelings and put them aside.”

Really? That’s what Sotomayor was talking about? Then I agree that it was indeed a rhetorical flourish which fell flat because I got precisely the opposite meaning from what she originally said.

Apparently she figured it was time to declare that whatever she said it should make no difference, because you see –

“To give everyone assurances, I want to state upfront, unequivocally and without doubt, I do not believe that any ethnic, racial or gender group has an advantage in sound judging. I do believe that every person has equal opportunity to become a good and wise judge, regardless of their background or life experiences.”

Maybe it was just me, but I felt that Ms. Sotomayor was saying pretty much whatever the task demanded yesterday. I’m not at all assured that she believes anything she said in her “assurance” above. I thought her explanation about the “wise Latina” remark was poor at best.

That’s not to say she won’t be confirmed for the SCOTUS. She most likely will. In fact, I’d bet on it. However, that doesn’t mean she’s fooled anyone with the show she’s putting on during her confirmation hearings.

Mark Cavendish wins Tour de France stage 11

Another day in the Tour de France, another win to star sprinter Mark Cavendish. His eighth career win and fourth this year, in yet another bunch sprint after an early breakaway failed in stage 11, equals the British record for Tour wins by Barry Hoban.

The Belgian Johan Van Summeren of the Silence Lotto team and Polishman Marcin Sapa of Lampre-NGC were the two riders who tried to stretch a long breakaway started 165km into the 192km from Vatan to Saint-Fargeau, but as with most other such attempts in the 2009 race the peloton reeled them in before the finish to allow the sprinters to fight for the green jersey for the best sprinter.

Cavendish will be wearing that green jersey again tomorrow after consigning former wearer Thor Hushovd of Cervelo Test Team to fifth in stage 10.

As with all stages this week, the general classifications did not change, leaving Rinaldo Nocentini wearing yellow but with Team Astana rivals Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong in second and third, still vying for leadership of the dominant team in the race through both racing and the media.

Barack Obama Throws Out First Pitch at MLB All-Star Game

Last night in St. Louis, Mo., the President of the United States kicked off the MLB All-Star Game by delivering a strike (or at least a ball over the plate) to Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols. The Prez donned a White Sox jacket in honor of his favorite team ...

Barack Obama takes the hill at Busch Stadium.

Before delivering the first pitch, Obama met with stars such as Derek Jeter, Josh Beckett and "homeboy" Shane Victorino, and took a moment to reflect on his upcoming task. Looks like his "No-Drama Obama" nickname also applies to sports.