Afternoon Open Thread

8 Feb 2011

The President speaks before the Chamber of Commerce.

Good Afternoon.

As you go through the rest of your day, don’t forget JJP.

Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.

And continue to have a peaceful day.


Obama BFF and White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett remembered National Black HIV/AIDS Day yesterday. I’m proud of her for doing so — it’s a recognition of the special needs of our community. Here’s some facts on how hard we’re getting hit:

To date, over 230,000 African Americans have died of AIDS – nearly 40% of total deaths – and of the more than 1 million people living with HIV in the United States of America today, around half are black.1 And yet, as a racial group, African Americans represent just 13% of the US population.2 The estimated lifetime risk of becoming infected with HIV is 1 in 16 for black males, and 1 in 30 for black females, a far higher risk than for white males (1 in 104) and white females (1 in 588).3 In Washington D.C, which has the nation’s highest district HIV prevalence (3%), three-quarters of those infected with HIV are African American. 4

Why us? It’s not clear but part of the problem in undoubtedly lower access to quality healthcare, education and means of prevention in black communities, particularly for the poor. This rough sitch is one of the reasons that healthcare reform has been so desperately needed in the U.S. and why we should fight hard to block efforts to dismantle it.

HIV and AIDS is also a pandemic in many African countries. The Obamas heroically led in having an HIV test to de-stigmatize testing in Kenya while visiting Africa. That was back when he was still a Senator. Sub-Saharan Africa has 10% of the world’s population and 60% of the world’s HIV carriers. Southern Africa has been hit the worst with adult prevalence rates exceeding 20% in most countries in the region.

I’d like to give a special shoutout to Michael Blake of the White House Office of Public Engagement. He’s a theGrio 100 honoree this year and is one of the “stars” of the must-see documentary By The People: The Election of Barack Obama.

Not long after joining the White House team, Michael generously wrote a post for National HIV testing day here at JJP as one of our first guest bloggers. Much thanks to the White House for their leadership. It may just save lives.

What Ms Jarrett (if you’re nasty) wants you to know:

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness is not just a day to increase awareness, but a day to act on your own health.

  • Do you know your status? If not, text your zipcode to 566948 (“KNOWIT”) to find and HIV testing site near you or go to HIVtest.org.
  • You can also call 1-800-CDC-INFORMATION for more information and testing sites in your area.
  • Visit www.aids.gov for Federal resources, events in your area and tools to commemorate National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

Share this info at church or post it up on the bulletin board at church. Tweet it, Facebook it, email it, blog it. It just might save someone’s life somewhere.

Below is a collection of some nice offerings from the interwebs, Twitternets and our very own comments section backed by the musical stylings of the Song Du Jour. Go ahead, get some get right.

Breakin’ Off Somethin’ Proper: South Sudan Votes to Secede [Al Jazeera]

In Good Order: Carlene Firmin Youngest Black Woman to Receive MBE Honor [The Guardian]

So…What Happens If Mubarak Hangs Tough? [The Atlantic]

VIDEO: John Conn–err…President Obama Addresses Chamber of Commerce on Winning the Future [YouTube]

VIDEO: Prince Kicks Kim Kardashian Off Stage at Show, Does Not Ask Her To Purify Herself in Lake Minnetonka [Gawker]

At HuffPo/AOL and Writing for Free? Kind of A Sucker Move [Media Strut]

And on That Pale Horse Rode Death…: Waka Flaka Flame to Be New Face of PETA Campaign [XXL]

Glenn Reynolds Attacks NAACP In An Adorably Desperate Sort of Way [Oliver Willis]

Dave Bing Inviting Big Ideas In The Motor City [WaPo]

Hang in there, faithful JJPers. Success is, and will forever be, the best payback.

Play Again

8 Feb 2011

What are the consequences of a childhood removed from nature?

One generation from now most people in the U.S. will have spent more time in the virtual world than in nature.

I had the good fortune of screening the eye opening PLAY AGAIN locally with my own kids, and meet the passionate filmmaker Meg Merrill. Her film makes a case, against a backdrop of contemporary teen life, about how more time in front of screens than in natural spaces bodes troubling outcomes individually and for our society. Here is more:

Teens Learning to Play Again


Read the rest of this entry »

Tuesday Open Thread

8 Feb 2011

hat tip – a JJP reader.

Without Sanctuary

Searching through America’s past for the last 25 years, collector James Allen uncovered an extraordinary visual legacy: photographs and postcards taken as souvenirs at lynchings throughout America. With essays by Hilton Als, Leon Litwack, Congressman John Lewis and James Allen, these photographs have been published as a book “Without Sanctuary” by Twin Palms Publishers . Features will be added to this site over time and it will evolve into an educational tool. Please be aware before entering the site that much of the material is very disturbing. We welcome your comments and input through the forum section.

Experience the images as a flash movie with narrative comments by James Allen, or as a gallery of photos which will grow to over 100 photos in coming weeks. Participate in a forum about the images, and contact us if you know of other similar postcards and photographs.

The photos are very graphic, and you should see them for yourself.

Billie Holiday sang about this in Strange Fruit:

Good Morning.

As you go through your day, don’t forget JJP.

Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.

And always, have a peaceful day.

Afternoon Open Thread

7 Feb 2011

President Obama travels to Penn State University and speaks about encouraging and investing in innovation and clean energy technologies to create new jobs, grow the economy, and win the future. February 3, 2011.

Good Afternoon.

As you go through the rest of your day, don’t forget JJP.

Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.

And continue to have a peaceful day.

from TPM.com:

New GOP Bill Would Allow Hospitals To Let Women Die Instead Of Having An Abortion

The controversy over “forcible rape” may be over, but now there’s a new Republican-sponsored abortion bill in the House that pro-choice folks say may be worse: this time around, the new language would allow hospitals to let a pregnant woman die rather than perform the abortion that would save her life.

The bill, known currently as H.R. 358 or the “Protect Life Act,” would amend the 2010 health care reform law that would modify the way Obamacare deals with abortion coverage. Much of its language is modeled on the so-called Stupak Amendment, an anti-abortion provision pro-life Democrats attempted to insert into the reform law during the health care debate last year. But critics say a new language inserted into the bill just this week would go far beyond Stupak, allowing hospitals that receive federal funds but are opposed to abortions to turn away women in need of emergency pregnancy termination to save their lives.

The sponsor of H.R. 358, Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) is a vocal member of the House’s anti-abortion wing. A member of the bipartisan Pro-Life Caucus and a co-sponsor of H.R 3 — the bill that added “forcible rape” to the lexicon this week — Pitts is no stranger to the abortion debate. But pro-choice advocates say his new law goes farther than any other bill has in encroaching on the rights of women to obtain an abortion when their health is at stake. They say the bill is giant leap away from accepted law, and one they haven’t heard many in the pro-life community openly discuss before.

In the case of an anti-abortion hospital with a patient requiring an emergency abortion, ETMALA would require that hospital to perform it or transfer the patient to someone who can. (The nature of how that procedure works exactly is up in the air, with the ACLU calling on the federal government to state clearly that unwillingness to perform an abortion doesn’t qualify as inability under EMTALA. That argument is ongoing, and the government has yet to weigh in.)
…………………………

Pitts’ new bill would free hospitals from any abortion requirement under EMTALA, meaning that medical providers who aren’t willing to terminate pregnancies wouldn’t have to — nor would they have to facilitate a transfer.

The hospital could literally do nothing at all, pro-choice critics of Pitts’ bill say.

“This is really out there,” Donna Crane, policy director at NARAL Pro-Choice America told TPM. “I haven’t seen this before.”

Crane said she’s been a pro-choice advocate “for a long time,” yet she’s never seen anti-abortion bill as brazenly attacking the health of the mother exemption as Pitts’ bill has. NARAL has fired up its lobbying machinery and intends to make the emergency abortion language a key part of its fight against the Pitts bill when it goes before subcommittee in the House next week.

So, did you wrap your mind around that?

Read the rest of this entry »

Originally posted on The Grio

Dear Friends:

Where is the asthma rate higher: Colorado Springs or Atlanta?

I’m sure you guessed right—Atlanta.

Why did you guess that? Probably because the majority of Atlanta is black, and our community is three times more likely to die from asthma than the white population.

Our chances of living near hazardous industrial pollution sites are 80 percent greater than white Americans, according to 2005 data from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Our children are breathing in dirtier air on the way to school.  Our grandparents are more likely to drink contaminated tap water from their faucets.  Our community is disproportionately exposed to toxic conditions.

But, let me ask another question: Is the asthma rate higher in Detroit or Knoxville?

Surprisingly to some, it’s Knoxville, which mostly white.

The environmental struggle isn’t a black issue; it’s an economic issue, devastating low-income communities of all races and backgrounds.

Put simply: If you’re poor, you are at greater risk because pollution and poverty are intricately linked. The sad truth is that living in underserved communities has come to mean accepting exposure to potentially deadly environmental hazards.

So while others define the climate crisis by the melting glaciers and desert droughts abroad, we must focus on the crisis that has impacted generations of families living in poverty here at home.

It would take a once-in-a-generation opportunity to break this vicious cycle.  Thankfully, we have such an opportunity right now: the green economy.

The world’s exploitation of finite natural resources makes America’s transition to a clean energy economy inevitable: as oil and coal reserves drop, prices will skyrocket, until, eventually, they’re depleted entirely.

The question Americans must ask themselves is do we want to establish ourselves as leaders of this exciting new sector by getting involved right now, or do we want to drag our feet and fall behind the rest of the world?

We at Green For All believe that we should take meaningful action now, and do it right so that this new wave of growth and innovation involves all Americans.

What does this mean for the underserved? It means they will finally have a path to the middle class.  Think about all the opportunities.

Repairing America’s water infrastructure; retrofitting homes to make them more energy efficient; and manufacturing green products are just some of the new initiatives that will create millions of new, good-paying jobs.

Green For All wants these jobs to be available to all communities.  To accomplish this goal, we are guided by the three E’s — engagement, education and empowerment.

We engage with a variety of partners across the country to identify areas where we can enhance environmental conditions, while creating jobs for all who want them.

We educate stakeholders — from workers to entrepreneurs — so that they have the tools they need to succeed in the 21st century economy.

And, through various initiatives, we empower talented local leaders with the resources they need to shape a green future for their neighborhoods.

Obviously, this is just a quick snapshot into Green For All.  I look forward to sharing more about the organization, its work and the talented team behind it in future blogs.

I also encourage you to get involved in our effort to finally address the great challenges facing our economy and environment.

Together, we can demand that our children have quality air to breathe in on their way to school.

Together, we can create jobs that lift people out of poverty.

Together, we can ensure that the long march toward environmental and economic equality continues.

To achieve these goals for tomorrow, we must get started today.

Let’s get to work.

Below is a collection of some nice offerings from the interwebs, Twitternets and our very own comments section backed by the musical stylings of the Song Du Jour. Go ahead, get some get right.

VIDEO: Obama Has Sit Down with Bill O’Reilly, Discusses Presidential-Type Things [YouTube]

A Gallery of Super Bowl Ads That Were Of Varying Effectiveness But Not Terribly Creative [THR]

Aguilera’s Live Anthem Further Proof That Lip-Syncing Isn’t Always a Bad Thing [Examiner]

AOL Buys HuffPo for $315 Million; HuffPo Contributors Await Reparations [THR]

“So This One Time, Mubarak Walks Into a Bar…: Saudi Comics Poke Fun at Arab World [NPR]

Southern Sudan No Longer Into North, Seeks Separation [CNN]

Dog Daze: Two Arrested After Deadly Shoot At Youngstown Omega Psi Phi House [The AP]

Jury Selection Begins For Pa. Judge Who Sent Kids Up In Return For Money [Philly Burbs]

Happy Monday, JJP Readers. Don’t let your lives pass you by.

hat tip-The Reid Report:

FLORIDA ALERT: Please help find 11 YO Octavius, RT and blog!

Police in Miami (Miami-Dade County) are asking for the public’s help finding a missing child. If you’re in South Florida and have seen him, please contact police. His name is Octavius Howell and he’s just 11 years old. A little national media exposure wouldn’t be a bad thing, either.
From the Herald:

Octavius Howell, just shy of 5-foot tall and 80 pounds, was last seen Friday at the Madison Middle School at NW 10th Avenue and NW 90th Street.

He was wearing a red polo shirt and khaki pants.

People with information are asked to contacted Miami Detective Javier Soto at the Miami-Dade Police Special Victims Bureau’s Missing Persons Unit, 305-418-7201 or 305-476-5423.

The bureau issued a photo of the boy to accompany its plea.

This case has so far gotten the attention of HelpFindTheMissing.org and a Justice for Cayleee (Caylee Anthony) web-board, but I’ve heard nothing else. I have an 11 year old, and I know if this were my son, I’d want all the help I could get.

It’s almost axiomatic that black missing children get far less media attention than those who are white, and while all of these cases are important and urgent, I think we all can do more to make sure that media exposure, which is so helpful in solving these cases, gets shared equally.

Any bloggers who can pick this up, that would be greatly appreciated, I’m sure, by the police and by this child’s family.

SPREAD THE WORD.

Monday Open Thread

7 Feb 2011

The President speaks at the National Prayer Breakfast.

Good Morning.

As you begin a new week, don’t forget JJP.

Drop those links. Engage in debate.

Give us trivia and gossip too.

And always, have a peaceful day.

THE GREEN BAY PACKERS VS. THE PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Read the rest of this entry »

Sunday Open Thread

6 Feb 2011

Good Morning.

As you spend this weekend with family and friends, don’t forget JJP.

Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.

President discusses “mutual responsibilities” between government and business ahead of visit to U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The President welcomed Friday’s dip in the unemployment rate (now down to 9.0%) as he continued his “Winning the Future” message in this week’s address. And, though the President remains focused on ways to incentivize job growth and innovation, he also made it clear that America’s relationship with business should be a two way street. It’s a message he plans to deliver to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce this week:

“If we make America the best place to do business, businesses should make their mark here in America. They should set up shop here, and hire our workers, and pay decent wages, and invest in the future of this nation. That’s their obligation. And that’s the message I’ll be bringing to American business leaders at the Chamber of Commerce on Monday – that government and businesses have mutual responsibilities; and that if we fulfill these obligations together, it benefits us all. Our workers will succeed. Our nation will prosper. And America will win the future in this century just like we did in the last.”

President Obama’s Weekly Address:

Saturday Open Thread

5 Feb 2011

Ok, this was too funny for words.

From PostBourgie:

Know Your History: Alex Castellanos.

Brokey McPoverty on February 1st, 2011
It’s Black History Month again, which means the return of our super-educational series “Know Your History.” First up: Alex Castellanos.

Alejandro “Alex” Castellanos is a member of the Republican party, political media consultant, and a former top media adviser for George W. Bush. Born in 1954, Castellanos believed that he was fully Cuban, having fled from Cuba with whom he thought to be his parents in 1961. He discovered the truth, however, when he ran into Al Sharpton at Tawana’s Crimp n’ Curl, where both men get their hair pressed and styled. Unable to deny the uncanny resemblance, Castellanos asked his parents if there was any chance he may be related to Sharpton, and then learned that he and Sharpton shared the same father. Castellanos has never gone public with this information, knowing that it will probably lead to him being kicked out of the Republican party, but he has made it his mission to surreptitiously integrate the GOP.

Know your history.

Good Morning.

As you spend this weekend with family and friends, don’t forget JJP.

Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.


Who We Are

Cheryl Contee aka "Jill Tubman", Baratunde Thurston aka "Jack Turner", rikyrah, Leutisha Stills aka "The Christian Progressive Liberal", B-Serious, Casey Gane-McCalla, Jonathan Pitts-Wiley aka "Marcus Toussaint," Fredric Mitchell

Special Contributors: James Rucker, Rinku Sen, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Adam Luna, Kamala Harris

Technical Contributor: Brandon Sheats




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