Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Book of The Month: "No Excuses" By Dr. Jack Washington

No one is more eminently qualified with authority, exceptional talent, intellectual courage and experience as an inner city educator to tackle the challenges and demands placed upon urban education in this new millennium than Dr. Jack Washington in his No Excuses: The Crises in Urban Education in the New Millennium. He confronts the crises in America's urban schools in an all encompassing way with no compromises, no nonsense and "No excuses". The book is a paradigm shift from old millennium to a new millennium that is engrossing, compelling, pragmatic, at times disturbing, but always authentic.

This book should be required reading for everyone involved in making educational decisions at all levels of government, as well as those majoring in education in institutions of higher learning , school administrators, local boards of education, teachers at all grade levels, and parents.

Jack Washington is a gifted, perceptive writer. His book is an academic masterpiece whose time has surely come.

Dr. Jeanette J. Purdy, Professor Emeriti
Mercer County College, New Jersey

I thoroughly enjoyed Jack Washington'sNo Excuses: The Crises in Urban Education in the New Millennium. He moves from the "back of the bus" to the "head of the class", calling for an academic transformation in urban education by challenging black students to higher achievement levels, acade4mic rigor, creative ideas, ne attitudes and greater expectations to be competitive and to survive in the new global marketplace for the 21st century. It takes courage to write a book like this one: and Jack pulls no punches, excludes nothing a no one, makes no compromises, talks no nonsense, and accepts No Excuses. This book is enslaving , liberating, commanding, engrossing, thought-provoking, profound, challenging, pragmatic, at times disturbing, but always authentic. No Excuses is an educational masterpiece that "must-read" for everyone involved in education at any level.

Dr. Jeanette J. Purdy
Professor Emeriti
Mercer County College

The Empty Obama Ploy

By Bill Wilson
Left-wing pundits and their cronies in Congress delivered a well-timed second punch to the Obama news conference on the continuing fight over an increase in the US debt limit today. While Obama tried to show he was “involved” in the negotiations, his henchmen announced that it might not matter; that Congress really had no saying in the debt limit.
The thrust of their argument is that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution requires the President to do whatever he wants in order to ensure, “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law … shall not be questioned.” Overlooking the entire context of the section of the Amendment – ensuring debts incurred to battle the Confederacy were honored and barring the government or any state from assuming the debts of the rebel government – the apologists for the Administration assert that it is a universal mandate. From this they claim the President has the power to ignore Congress and issue as much new debt as he deems appropriate.
As with so many conflicts with this gang, they are trying to divert attention from the reality of the situation and present one of Obama’s “false choices.”

Were Congress to truly represent the People who by large margins oppose an increase in the debt limit, the government would not immediately go into default. Default is a political choice. Money still flows to the Treasury every day. As interest payments came due, the money would be there to pay them. As old debt was retired, new debt could be issued up to the current limit.

What the Administration could not do is incur new debt, additional debt. They could not spend trillions of dollars more than they take in. An instant balanced budget would result. So, there is no legal right or claim of the President to overturn Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution which gives the House of Representatives the sole power to originate “the raising of revenue.” And let’s be clear, adding new debt is new revenue. The President has no role.
Get full story here.

Team Obama Spotlight: Ron Sims

Video by Frank McCaffrey
Get permalink here.

Americans for Limited Government calls for independent investigation of Obama official’s spending

By Mark Wohlschlegel
Recently, the Daily Caller broke a story that was originally uncovered by Americans for Limited Government that brought into question the possible misuse of taxpayer funds to subsidize personal travels while in office by one Obama’s political appointees.

Ron Sims, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) became a frequent traveler to his hometown of Seattle after only being two months in office. During a 15 month period, Sims spent 128 days on the road, making 64 trips in his official capacity as a HUD representative. What is astounding is that during all that traveling time, Sims went to Seattle 13 times, spending 45 days there (and that’s only what we are aware of). In doing the math, it equates to an average of 3.5 days per visit, and totals 35% of his travel time.

Sims has strong ties to Seattle. Prior to his appointment Sims served as King County Executive, where he has a track record riddled with controversy – mismanagement, lying, refusing to cooperate, and (surprise) mishandling taxpayer funds.

While we can’t say for certain that Sims did anything illegal, his actions and past record raise suspicion. For all the time he spent out of the office traveling on “official” business (spending taxpayer dollars), 35% of that time was spent in Seattle. Given the significant amount of time one cannot help but ask if these trips were legitimate government business, or thinly disguised personal excursions on the taxpayers’ dollars to carry on some “business as usual” in his old stomping grounds? When his office was questioned about this the answer given the Daily Caller was weak at best. They claimed all his trips were in response to a “formal speech or forum request”. However, when pressed further, they stated it was a “little late to count” how many requests from other cities were denied.

What we have here is a moral disconnect with where government money actually comes from. It doesn’t just appear out of nowhere to subsidize their personal desires, but is labored for, fought for, and sweated for by the manual laborer, the restaurant worker, the grocery cashier, the small business entrepreneur – the hardworking American taxpayer. A government official’s sense of entitlement flies in the face of the taxpayer who entrusts their hard earned money to one who is supposed to be working for them!
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'No Child Left Inside’ Should be Left Outside

By Victor Morawski
Should students be required to demonstrate their ideological purity on issues like “Climate Change” and “Global Warming” to receive their high school diplomas? My home state of Maryland thinks so and if John Sarbanes and Jack Reed have their way, students across the nation may soon have this burden thrust upon them.

A recent press release observes that “Maryland became the first state in the country to require its high school seniors be environmentally literate in order to graduate.” Now, “each child must receive a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary environmental education ….”
Maryland Rep. Sarbanes has just succeeded in getting a bill he sponsored called “The No Child Left Inside Act” past the House, which would provide the funds nationally for similar programs. Sen. Jack Reed has introduced the Senate’s version, slated to come up for a vote in July.

By “comprehensive and multi-disciplinary” they wish for environmentalist issues to be woven into every subject, not just covered as a unit in a science class.

According to the Coalition backing the bill: “The No Child Left Inside Act (NCLI) would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) to require states, as a prerequisite to receiving implementation grants, to develop environmental literacy plans, for children in pre-kindergarten through grade 12.”

There are at least three reasons for defeating this bill and leaving it out of ESEA—also known as “No Child Left Behind”(NCLB)—when it comes up for renewal in the near future.
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Secret Service Probes Hacking Into Fox Website Saying Obama Was Assassinated

Pres. Obama at press conference/white house photo
By Allan Lengel

These Tweets  got the Secret Service’s attention.

CBS News reports that the Secret Service said Monday it will investigate and try to figure out who hacked into Fox’s political Twitter account and posted multiple Tweets claiming President Obama had been assassinated in Iowa and the shooter was unknown.

CBS reported that Secret Service spokesman George Ogilvie said the agency will conduct the probe.
In a statement posted on its website, Fox News called the tweets “malicious” and “false”, CBS reported.
“We will be requesting a detailed investigation from Twitter about how this occurred, and measures to prevent future unauthorized access into FoxNews.com accounts,” said Jeff Misenti, vice president and general manager of Fox News Digital.

Ex-FBI Agent Denies Klan Leader Had Mole Inside FBI

Early Days of KKK ./ fbi via national archive
By Allan Lengel

An ex-FBI agent is dismissing allegations by an informant that former  Mississippi Ku Klux Klan leader Sam Bowers said he had a tipster inside the FBI during the civil rights movement, who disclosed which Klansmen were talking to the bureau, according to Jackson Clarion-Ledger.

The paper reported that, according to FBI documents, an informant told the FBI in the fall of 1964 of the allegations.

But the paper reported that former FBI agent Jay Cochran, who was there at time laughed and said: “That’s a new one on me. I don’t think there’s even a remote possibility of that.”

But the paper reported that the Klan may have gotten help from state troopers. A Jan. 5, 1965, FBI memo stated that a highway patrolman told a Klansman there was an FBI informant in Lincoln County getting paid $500 a month.

The paper reported that statements were included in 40,000 pages of FBI documents related to the investigation of the Klan’s June 21, 1964, killings of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner.

Michael Jackson’s Brother Allegedly Shot by Tina Turner

by Ayvaunn Penn, Your Black World
There is a brief yet shocking report circulating on the internet stating that Randy Jackson, Michael Jackson’s brother and former member of Jackson 5, was shot by Tina Turner. Randy recently made the announcement unexpectedly via Twitter. His tweet read:
“I went to Tina’s house to see my girlfriend. I guess I caught them off guard. Hmmm…. Next question.”
NewsOne reports Randy as saying “that Tina Turner shot him when he walked in on her and his wife in what he alleged was a lesbian encounter in the 1980s.” According to reports from TMZ, “Tina’s old assistant once wrote about the incident in a book, saying Tina fired a shot through the ceiling and one through the doorway before Randy leapt through a window.” Attempts made by TMZ to reach a representative for Turner were unsuccessful.

Dr. Boyce: Tom Joyner’s Tasteless Assault on Tavis Smiley and Cornel West

I love Tom Joyner.  In case you’re wondering, in “black political speak,” when a commentator mentions that they love someone, that means that they are about to crack a walnut over their forehead.  I remember Tavis Smiley telling Al Sharpton that he loved him right before he proceeded to attack him with the ferocity of an angry baby’s mama looking for additional child support.
My mouth hit the floor this week as Joyner (aka “The Fly Jock”), the man whose work ethic I respect like no other, somehow had the audacity (in a recent article) to compare Tavis Smiley and Cornel West to Mark Halperin, the MSNBC commentator who referred to President Barack Obama as a d*ck on national television.   You no longer need to speculate as to whether or not Tom has a personal issue with Tavis Smiley, the cat fighting is now out of the bag.

While there is certainly room for Tom to disagree with Tavis and Cornel’s critiques of President Obama (it’s ok to criticize the criticizer), Tom’s comparison of Cornel and Tavis with Halperin is entirely off-base.  Smiley and West have never, at any point, used such distasteful language and the kind of one-syllable thinking that Halperin used during his insult of President Obama.  In fact, even Smiley’s critiques have grown more diplomatic and thoughtful through time, and I still look forward to any of the president’s senior advisors taking the time to explain why Smiley and West are wrong (note: when people can’t debate the facts, they avoid the issues and simply try to discredit you).

But it is Tom Joyner himself who has joined Halperin in the ideological basement by making comments that would be better suited for a high school locker room:

“I said I’d wait until something pissed me off so bad that I would have the words harsh enough to express what I was really feeling about him and his side piece – I mean side kick – Cornel West,” said Joyner.

Now, I don’t know what hood you’re from, but in my city, referring to a man’s friend as his “side piece” is usually a reference to his sexuality.  Whether Tom is trying to imply that the relationship between West and Smiley is more than meets the eye, I have no idea.  But this kind of remark has no place in print during such a critical point in the history of black American political discourse.

Joyner goes further on his peculiar tirade by claiming that somehow, Halperin’s vulgar remarks about President Obama were encouraged by the decision of West and Smiley to critique Obama Administration policies:

“These two have done much worse than what Halperin has done because they set the tone for it, opened the door to it, and must take much of the blame for creating a climate that would make a white, professional journalist feel comfortable verbally and vulgarly attacking the first black president of the United States.”

OK.  So there you have it.  If you disagree with Obama Administration policies on dealing with the black unemployment or mass incarceration crisis, you have now given permission to any white man in America to refer to President Obama as a d*ck. So, the only logical solution would be for all black Americans to mute their Democratic voice and remain silent about any policy with which they disagree.

Tom goes deeper in expressing his personal issues with Tavis by taking us on a trip down memory lane.  He explains how Tavis went from being an empowered advocate for black people to becoming the selfish, jealous, tortured soul who was determined to destroy black America by disagreeing with President Obama.
“I had so much respect for him before his primary goal became selling books, and, later, selling out,” said Joyner.  He also says that, “I’ve already fired Tavis and Cornel. There’s nothing either can ever do for me or with me again.”

Joyner’s remark about selling books and selling out seems a bit odd from a man who’s earned millions with his “black activism brought to you by Walmart.”  I also remember Tom’s defense of Walmart when we fought on the case of Heather Ellis, a black college student who was facing 15-years in prison for cutting in line at one of their stores (Walmart mysteriously “lost” the videotape that showed Heather being slammed to the ground by police).  During my appearance on the Tom Joyner Morning Show to discuss the case, I was disappointed to see Tom standing in defense of Walmart like the slave holding the broom on massa’s front porch.   As a Business School Professor, I can appreciate Tom’s ability to work capitalism to his advantage, but he is the last millionaire who should be challenging Smiley’s decision to sell products.

Perhaps Tom might consider the possibility that the reason Tavis and Cornel have endured the criticism they’ve received for speaking out is because they care for black people so much.  In spite of their imperfections, Cornel and Tavis have an undeniable and storied track record when it comes to advocating for African American issues.  The same can be said for Tom Joyner, Al Sharpton and others who disagree with them.  The reality is that they simply have different approaches to solving the same problem, but their advocacy is no less genuine than those who embrace a different set of tactics.

By debasing the conversation into such a nasty personal attack, Tom has engaged in the very same dastardly behavior that many felt Tavis displayed back in 2008.  If Tom is indeed attempting to imply that Tavis or Cornel is gay or bi-sexual, then he is simply using homophobia in black America to get people distracted from the core issue.  I expect more from Tom Joyner, and I sincerely hope he has the maturity to issue an apology.  Most significantly, his efforts to terrorize dissenting voices in the black community by demanding that they remain silent is nothing short of ruthless, un-American and ultimately oppressive – I encourage anyone listening to this foolishness to reach for their own facts and form individual opinions without allowing prominent black folks to shape their thinking.  A man who truly loves black people doesn’t act this way, and Tom Joyner might need to grow up.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

NBA Star Gilbert Arenas Pushing to Shut Down New Basketball Wives Show

Your Black World reports.
Gilbert Arenas doesn’t like the idea that his ex-fiance, Laura Govan, will be on TV spilling out all of his business.   Arenas is demanding that the new show, “Basketball Wives: L.A.” be shut down.  He claims that Govan’s appearance on the show will do irreparable harm to his reputation.   Despite the fact that they’ve promised not to mention his name on the show, Arenas insists that Govan’s appearance will be enough for people to read between the lines of her comments.
Arenas expressed his frustrations via Twitter:

“for everybody talkin about my BM on that tv show..i dont care what she does..if she gets a job I [pay] less money to her(SMART THINKER HERE).”

“1 they cant lie about u on tv u can sue the show 2 if they hav a job it lowers ur pay..so let them work,” he reasoned.

Arenas and other players have pushed to deal with their wives or ex-girlfriends who’ve gone on the show, including Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat.  The show has also been criticized for promoting degrading images of black women in media.  Shaunie O’neal, the show’s executive producer (and former ex-wife of NBA star Shaquille O’neal) has argued that the show is “uplifting.”  Psychology expert Erin Harper, however, considers the show to present images of black women that are ultimately destructive to the African American community.