Category Archives: Op-Ed

Black History Month: 8 Books To Share With Your Kids

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By June Gilead

It’s an exciting time for me! I am honored to read and learn about all of the great leaders and authors of African decent, people like Dr. Martin Luther King, Coretta Scott King, Nelson Mandela, Kadir Nelson, Jackie Robinson, Rosa Parks, and President Barack Obama! Here are my book selections for Black History Month! Enjoy these with your children at dinner or make it a full family night activity.

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Medical Breakthrough: Miracle Woman Saves Lives But Remains Unknown

Dometi Pongo

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A poor, black female tobacco farmer, now known to the medical world as Henrietta Lacks, has her story told by Rebecca Skloot in her book, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.”

If you’re not familiar with Henrietta Lacks, you may not be alone. Though not widely known to the public at large, her DNA become one of the most important contributions to modern medicine.

Lacks, born in 1920, sought medical attention at Johns Hopkins when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer at age 30. Scientists noticed that her cells behaved differently than people they’ve treated before. Though the rapid reproduction of cells caused her cancer to spread, resulting in multiple tumors, researcher George Gey saw an opportunity.

Lacks’ cells could be multiplied at unbelievable rates and preserved. In English, they can be used to find cures for a multitude of diseases. Doctors call them HeLa cells, the first…

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Olivia A. Cole

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Today I’m wondering what it takes for a black man to be regarded as human in America.

Today Richard Sherman is being lambasted for his animated post-game interview in which he dared to express emotion outside of the cubic centimeter men of color are allotted. A cornerback in one of the most physically demanding sports in the country—after a game in which bodies were injured and crushed; after a game that required players to be helped off the field—wins a critical game and has a microphone stuck in his face. He says what he says, and suddenly the nation is clutching its pearls, tutting and making pretend-concerned remarks about sportsmanship and graciousness. Today, Tom Brady criticizes Richard Sherman for his lack of “graciousness.” Today, Richard Sherman is being called a thug, and I’m wondering what that word really means.

Does it mean foul-mouthed? After all, Tom Brady was never called…

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Beyonce’s On Top….Literally

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by Toyin Alaka

I admire her business savvy to drop an entire album complete with music videos without even a hint of when it would be released.  She as eschewed the typical publicity buzz that’s generated when you drop a few singles first before completing the album to see how people would react to it.  Instead she dropped it and said here it all is, giving people an all or nothing.   With the way the music industry is this bold move made a statement and created a different type of buzz.  This move is definitely applauded, it’s become difficult for artists to find different ways to promote albums.  It’s set a bar that has earned appreciation from most.

What about the music itself? Does it matter if you only like some songs and not all? Perhaps the goal is if you listen to all of it (because you have no choice), it will all grow on you.

She is a lot more sexually explicit than normal and the beehive might clamor for that because they think she’s being more open.  I’m not convinced.  The song Runway Part II on Jay Z’s Magna Carta album reveals more.

I can appreciate that she is feeling expressive, however I’m not moved by all of it.

Is it hypocritical of me to want an artist to switch things up from their normal formula and then not embrace it when they do?  I don’t know, I guess we do accept certain things from certain artists.  Some can be blatantly sexy and get away with it while others you just think that might be too much coming from them.

Bey has always hinted at her sexy side and I got it and loved it when she said “my guilty pleasure I ain’t going no where”.  On this album the blatant references to sex, “Yonce all on his mouth like liqueur”, “riding that with my surfboard, grinding on that wood with my surfboard” has me doing double takes, did she just say that.  I’m simply not used to it.   Why did she decide to reveal this side now? A new sense of freedom, perhaps?  I’m a woman, I can say and do anything?

Not all of it is about sex: Pretty Hurts (classic Beyonce and expected), Haunted (a little different), Flawless (A female anthem with a demand for respect again expected), Superpower, Heaven, Blue (about a mother’s love for her child).  The album is a little disjointed for me however the music videos add the extra.  She says the music and the videos go together.  Perhaps a better move would have been to just release the videos……

Not many artists can pull that move and get away with it.  She has definitely reached that height in her career and has enough of a following to make it work.  So, yes if you are Beyonce you can drop your album in the middle of the night without a peep that it was coming making your fans and non-fans admire this genius move.

10 Cars You Want To Drive In 2014

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As the end of the year approaches, two things happen in the automotive industry. The current year cars become more affordable and next years models make you forget about what is already available. Next years set of vehicles promises not to disappoint. Here is some of the highlights from 2014 class:

Chevrolet Camaro

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Starting price: $24,450

Availability: On sale now

Chevrolet has restyled the 2014 Camaro to have a wider and lower appearance while adding a bit more refinement. The big news from Camaro is the return of the Z/28 to the lineup. With a focus on track performance, the Z/28 brings in carbon-ceramic brakes with Brembo monoblock calipers, specially tuned aerodynamic trim and a racing-inspired flat-bottom steering wheel. Add in the 500-horsepower LS7 V8 engine and you find yourself at the helm of an extremely potent track toy.

Infiniti Q50

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Starting price: $36,700
Availability: On sale now

To celebrate the new Infiniti “Q” nomenclature, the Japanese automaker felt a replacement was in order for its popular G37 sedan. Taking design cues from some of Infiniti’s recent concept cars, the 2014 Infiniti Q50, debuts with an aggressive yet refined look. An impressive list of new technology, such as moving-object detection and a forward-collision warning system, place the Q50 at the forefront of its segment for gadgetry. The 3.7-liter 328-horsepower V6 engine returns for another cycle, and you’ll still be able to buy a hybrid powerplant, which is good for a combined 354 horsepower from an electric motor paired with a 3.5-liter V6. All-wheel drive will still be available.

Maserati Ghibli

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Starting price: About $65,000
Availability: Fall 2013

Maserati needs help with sales, and it’s banking on the all-new 2014 Ghibli as the answer. The attractive exterior of the Ghibli draws from its big sibling, the Quattroporte. Competitive power comes from two twin-turbocharged V6 engine options that both feed their power through a new ZF 8-speed automatic transmission to either the rear wheels, in the Ghibli and Ghibli S models, or all four wheels in the Ghibli S Q4. The highly customizable interior is certainly up to task as well, especially with the optional 1,280-watt 15-speaker sound system designed in collaboration with Bowers & Wilkins.

Mercedes-Benz CLA

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Starting price: $29,990
Availability: On sale now

In 2014, Mercedes-Benz hopes to bring a bit of its famed luxury to the masses with the entry-level CLA. Looking like a scaled down CLS, the CLA is actually a little wider and a little longer than the current C-Class, so don’t expect a cramped interior. Inside you’ll find familiar Mercedes-Benz touches, such as a central controller and Bluetooth. The base CLA is front-wheel drive, while all-wheel drive is an option — a questionable departure from the norm for the brand. A fire-breathing all-wheel-drive CLA45 AMG is also on the way.

Lexus IS

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Starting price: $35,950

Availability: On sale now

With a front grille that plays hard to forget, Lexus has revamped its 2014 Lexus IS to take on rivals from Europe. Apart from the bold styling, the new IS 250 and IS 350 are built on a larger GS-based chassis that has helped open up what had previously been a cramped passenger compartment. The standard equipment list isn’t shy, offering things such as xenon headlights, a 7-inch infotainment display and Bluetooth connectivity. Don’t overlook the F Sport package if more performance bells and whistles are what you are looking for; it borrows from the Lexus LFA performance-division parts bin.

Ford Mustang Convertible

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Starting Price: $27,200

Availability: On sale now

This muscle car mainstay from Ford is the ideal car for summer driving. Its 3.7 L engine produces 305 hp and has an attractive base price for the convertible model. As for fuel economy, the Mustang doesn’t boast much with 29 hwy mpg for a coupe, but that’s not the point when taking this powerhouse on the road.

Dodge Charger SE Sedan

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Starting Price: $27,200

Availability: On sale now

Dodge is bringing out a new version of its legendary Charger, which first appeared in the 1960s and has always been big on style. The SE Sedan features the same 3.6 L engine as the 2013 model. It generates 292 hp and checks in at 18 city/27 hwy mpg. It’s not an economical choice as far as fuel is concerned, but it’s heavy on brawn and looks great in any driveway. The 2014 Charger will be available later this year.

Mazda6 I Touring Sedan

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Starting Price: $24,495

Availability: On sale now

For a car whose styling has been compared (favorably) to a Tesla, the Mazda6 has a lot going for it at a starting price just under $25,000. The 2.5 L engine produces 184 hp for a car that weighs less than 3,200 pounds, and has gotten excellent reviews for its handling and fuel economy (38 highway mpg with a 6-speed automatic transmission). It’s a pleasure to look at, and you can get the middle line Touring Sedan loaded for under $30,000.

Kia Cadenza

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Starting price: $35,100

Availability: On sale now

Filling the gap at the top of the Kia range, the 2014 Cadenza arrives as the new flagship for the Korean brand. Based on its cousin from Hyundai, the Azera, the Cadenza has a long list of features that are sure to set the standard for the entry-luxury market. On board, you’ll find standard navigation with Sirius XM Traffic and UVO eServices, an impressive Infinity audio system and a backup camera and warning system. The optional luxury and technology trim levels bring in amenities such as a full-length panoramic roof and a water-repellant driver window.

Porsche 918 Spyder

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Starting price: $845,000

Availability: To be announced

This car is not for the faint of heart, this is for those collectors and people who want or need the status symbol. The hypercar wars are heating up again, and we couldn’t be happier. McLaren fired the first salvo with its P1, and now it’s Porsche’s turn with its new 2014 918 Spyder, which is laden with bleeding-edge tech. Drawing on lessons learned from its racing programs, Porsche assembled a worthy competitor for the battle against McLaren and Ferrari. Electric motors, both front and rear, work in concert with a 4.6-liter V8 engine to develop 887 horsepower and zero-to-60-mph times of less than three seconds.

To see some or all of these cars and more, be sure to check out the upcoming auto shows throughout the U.S.

North American International Auto Show- COBO Center. Detroit, Michigan: January 13-26, 2014

Chicago Auto Show 2014- McCormick Place, Chicago, Illinois: February 8-17,2014

New York International Auto Show 2014- Jacob Javits Center, NYC ·April 18–27, 2014 

 

#Know1Knows….Cars

 

 

 

Race Profiling Hit New Low In Florida

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Earl Sampson works for 207 Quickstop in Miami Gardens, Florida, in fact he has worked there for the last four years, but apparently police don’t seems to care. You see, over the same four year span, Sampson has been stopped and questioned 258 times, searched more than 100 times, and jailed 56 times. The crime he’s being accused of, trespassing at the 207 Quickstop, the very same place he works.

Racial profiling is a rising problem in major US cities, and the cases have become more high profile recently  because of social media. Between the travesty and injustice from the Trayvon Martin murder and trial, the inexplicable killing of Renisha McBride who was murdered while asking for help after a car accident, and the latest reprehensible police action in San Francisco where the appear to assault several people after arresting and assaulting a young black man for no apparent reason, something has to change. That is where Earl’s boss comes in.

Alex Saleh, the 207 Quickstop’s owner, was so troubled by seeing Sampson and other black men being stopped, frisked and cited for apparently minor infractions (or for no reason at all) that he installed video cameras to capture the activity. He has also told police on multiple occasions that Sampson works for him. Saleh is planning on filing a federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of Sampson and others he believes have been racially profiled.

“I never felt they had any probable cause,” Sampson told the Miami Herald. “They hop out of the car and search me before they even ask me for my name. … We have people shooting, killing, robberies. This is really ridiculous that they spend so much time arresting people for trespassing.” Ridiculous, yes, illegal, possibly, unethical, there’s no doubt. [Source]

#Know1knows….Social Issues