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Judge Rules Detroit Eligible For Bankruptcy

kevynsynder 600Federal court Judge Steven Rhodes ruled in a historic decision that the city of Detroit is eligible for Bankruptcy.

According to a live blog from Fox 2 News, Rhodes stated:

The City of Detroit is insolvent and bankrupt, and I find that Kevyn Orr and Governor Rick Snyder has successfully filed petition for Bankruptcy.

Several comment and statements are being made on the official judicial ruling.

Mayor Dave Bing made the following statement:

With the crisis we had this was inevitable, I don't think anyone wanted to go in this direction, but now that we are here, we need to work together...It's very important that we respect the fact that the emergency manager has the key to the city at this time. We don't agree on everything, but we do it in a very respectful way.

There will be alot of negotiations yet to come, I don't think we have final conclusion to what all the elements will be in this process. But we have to take care, because there is going to be pain for alot of people.

But in the long run, I think the future of the city will be bright.

Mayor-elect Mike Duggan made the following statement:

This is a day in Detroit's history that none of us wanted to see. Now that Judge Rhodes has ruled the city eligible for bankruptcy, we are about to move into the Plan of Adjustment phase that is likely to define our city government for years to come.

I'm going to do everything I can to advocate on behalf of Detroit's future in this process. We need to make sure the retirees are treated fairly on the pensions they earned and we need to make certain we come out of bankruptcy in a way we can afford to provide the quality of city services the people of Detroit deserve."

Although the 140-page ruling by Judge Rhodes was very detailed, speculation of several appeals from retirees and creditors are expected.

The pitfalls of parenting

parenting 600Hitting your child is bad. (But don't yell at me for writing it. Yell at science. Multiple studies say so.)

Most school districts have moved away from corporal punishment entirely, and even though you will find some very staunch pro-"whoopings" enthusiasts, they remain greatly outnumbered by the multitudes who think that any hitting of a child is abuse.

But you have to do something as a parent to get your kids to behave. Some parents have simply traded one technique (hitting) for another (yelling).



From South Central LA to President Bush’s photographer

draper 600Who'd ever think that a black kid from South-Central Los Angeles could grow up to become the personal photographer of a Republican President of the United States? But that's precisely the unlikely career path enjoyed by Eric Draper, who served as head White House shutterbug from 2001-09.

How did he get the job? Well, after covering the 2000 campaign for the Associated Press, he was invited by George Bush to a Christmas party at the Texas governor's mansion. Taking a page out of the President-elect's own playbook, Eric summoned up the gumption while shaking his hand and looking him straight in the eye to paraphrase one of his popular stump-speech refrains: "I want to be your personal photographer."

Bush took the inquiry seriously, and hired Eric a week later, after closely examining his portfolio. And over the next eight years, Draper would be a constant companion and an eyewitness to history, accompanying the Chief Executive on trips to 70 countries and 49 states.


6 Ways Obamacare can help end America’s HIV/AIDS epidemic

obamaaids 600With politicians, public health experts and epidemiologists announcing that the United States is at the beginning of ending the AIDS epidemic and that we will soon usher in an AIDS-free generation of youths, each World AIDS Day, on Dec. 1, takes on increasingly special significance, especially for African Americans.

Because the nation's HIV/AIDS epidemic is unfolding disproportionately in black communities, black America has the most to gain by ending it. Getting there requires that more HIV-positive people are diagnosed (currently, almost 20 percent of black people with HIV don't know it) and then linked to care, retained in care and prescribed HIV-fighting medications (called anti-retrovirals)—and, ultimately, that they get their virus under control (viral suppression), a sequence called the HIV care continuum, or HIV treatment cascade.

Although African Americans are more likely to get tested than whites, once they do test positive, many don't get the health care they need. And a mere 21 percent of black people who have been diagnosed with HIV have their virus under control, fewer than whites and Latinos. Which is critical, because people whose virus is suppressed both protect their own immune systems and are 96 percent less likely to transmit HIV to others, meaning that treatment is also prevention.

Each step along the HIV care continuum involves going to the doctor. But while black people make up 13 percent of the population, 19 percent of us don't have health insurance, and scores of Americans—of all backgrounds—have health insurance policies that don't offer prescription coverage or aren't worth the paper they're printed on. This remains a serious problem, considering that HIV meds can easily cost upward of $12,000 per year.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," addresses many of these problems, bringing us closer to ending America's HIV/AIDS epidemic. Here's how:

1. Requiring that all Americans have health insurance increases the odds that the roughly 240,000 Americans who don't know that they have the virus will get tested for HIV and diagnosed, receive appropriate care and treatment and reach viral suppression.

2. Young adults under age 26 can already be covered on a parent's health insurance policy, including those who have HIV. Black teens and young adults ages 13 to 24 represent 57 percent of new infections in that age demographic.

3. The ACA prohibits health insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions, including HIV/AIDS, and from kicking people off their plans or raising their rates astronomically if they get sick. Such practices had prevented many people with HIV from accessing both the care and prescription medications they need—meds that help reduce the black community's viral load.

4. The ACA requires that all health insurance be of good quality. So from hospitalization to maternity care to mental-health services, Obamacare establishes a minimum set of 10 essential health benefits that all insurance policies must offer, including prescription benefits that include lifesaving HIV drugs.

5. Obamacare eliminates annual and lifetime caps on health insurance coverage, which is particularly important with HIV, which can be tremendously expensive to treat.

6. Expanding Medicaid to cover people often labeled the "working poor" disproportionately benefits African Americans and other people of color, who are overrepresented among the un- and underinsured (pdf). Unfortunately, many governors have refused to expand Medicaid, and nearly 60 percent of uninsured black people with incomes below the new Medicaid-expansion limit live in states not expanding Medicaid at this time. They are disproportionately located in the South, where the HIV epidemic is worst.

(To learn more about how Obamacare affects people with HIV, visit Greater Than AIDS' Obamacare and You website.)

(Hilary Beard is co-author of Health First! The Black Woman's Wellness Guide and has led the Black AIDS Institute's volunteer journalists to the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., and Vienna. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.)

Selling while black: Racism revealed in online shopping study

Online shopping_racism.jpg.CROP.rtstory-largeAre you black? Considering making some cash by selling unwanted items online this holiday season? You might not want to show any of your skin in the photos of your goods.

The Daily Mail reports that according to the results of a newly released yearlong study tracking the sales of iPods on Craigslist, shoppers are more likely to make a purchase when they think the seller is white.

Not only that, but researchers found that black sellers received lower offers than white sellers, and that buyers' correspondence with them "indicated lower levels of trust."


Obama: People do think I’m trustworthy

30prezobamaWASHINGTON – The hits to President Obama's popularity, prompted by the botched HealthCare.gov rollout, are simply a natural fluctuation every commander-in-chief faces, Obama told interviewer Barbara Walters in an interview aired Friday.

"If you remember, I've gone up and down pretty consistently throughout," Obama said in the ABC interview on Friday. "But the good thing about when you're down is that usually you've got nowhere to go but up."

"I got re-elected in part because people did think I was trustworthy and they knew I was working on their behalf," Obama said in the network's exclusive.


Young men, get a text before sex

text 600"Watch out for the stupid girls," I tell my son. "They are trouble."

You know the type – the party girls, the girls who thrive on attention. The girls who will do anything to get a guy to notice them, as the pop star Pink riffs on one of her best-ever songs: "If I act like that, flipping my blond hair back, push up my bra like that ... that guy will call me back."

The problem is that all the kids in college are smart or they wouldn't be there in the first place, as my dean's list son likes to remind me. Admittedly, it's a tricky conversation to navigate, but I'm not giving up. There's too much at stake.


32 mugshots of black men on cover of Tenn. newspaper cause uproar

mug 600"On Nov. 5, the Times Free Press published a front-page story about the arrests of 32 men charged with gun and drug crimes after a four-year local and federal investigation. Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd called the suspects the 'worst of the worst' in Chattanooga's criminals," Alison Gerber, editor of the Chattanooga Times Free Press in Tennessee, wrote to readers on Sunday.

"We heard no reaction from readers. Not a peep.

"On Nov. 17, the newspaper published a second front-page story about the suspects and their criminal histories. This time, we were barraged with feedback. Some of the words used to describe the report: irresponsible, distasteful, racist.


Giving thanks is healthy and it never gets old

Chef Timothy_Moore-160It's that time of the year again when we look forward to spending time with family and friends, reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the new one. Some may feel that the year has been a total failure and hope and pray that the new year holds more for them. Others will simply feel blessed and fortunate that they have been allowed to see another year.

Everyone should realize that there is always something or someone to be thankful for, no matter how bad life gets them down at times. At Thanksgiving in particular, we should not complain about what we don't have or should have; just be thankful for what we do have, no matter how much or how little.

Don't be concerned about what you didn't accomplish in the past year; be thankful for what you did accomplish and look forward to what you will accomplish in the coming year.


Fake meat is on the menu this Thanksgiving

food 600NEW YORK – As Americans sharpen their knives for Thanksgiving dinner, a new crop of food tech start-ups are carving out their own niche – faux-meat products that replicate the flavor and feel of the real thing without the ethical quandaries.

Forget about the Tofurky you tried at your cousin's vegan wedding. Companies like Beyond Meat and Hampton Creek Farms are using high-tech processes to synthesize meat and egg textures from plant proteins. The goal isn't replacement steak for vegans, says Beth Bloom, a food analyst with research firm Mintel, but to create an entirely new product that's actually full of flavor.

Beyond Meat is one company hoping to take advantage of the $553 million "meat-alternatives market." Founded in 2009 by Ethan Brown, the son of a dairy farmer, the company manufactures low-fat, cholesterol-free, chicken-like strips that come in carnivore-friendly flavors like lightly seasoned and southwest style.

Hoping to "mimic the fiber structure of animal protein as it cuts across your teeth," Brown teamed up with University of Missouri professor Fu-Hung Hsieh, who spent 15 years fine-tuning a process that involves feeding plant-based ingredients into a machine called an extruder. Then, using a precise combination of heating, cooling and pressure, plant proteins are painstakingly realigned to mimic animal muscle or tissue.


Racial wealth gap growing

Charlene-Crowell 160Although most Sunday school children are warned against the "love of money," by adulthood it is the lack of it that becomes the source of many problems. When finances are so fragile that even a small shortfall presents a big problem – a few hundred dollars might as well be a million – you do not have what you need.

Now new research finds that the ability to reach some level of financial security or well-being can be like a chicken and the egg question: Which comes first – the problem or the lack of money?

To determine how family financial assets changed over time, researchers at Brandeis University's Institute on Assets and Social Policy (IASP) interviewed a group of families in 1998 and again 12 years later. The original sample of participants was evenly split between blacks and whites. All were working or middle class, had children ages three to 10 years old, had similar life aspirations and were selected from the same three cities.



What a tale of 2 ‘Johns’ teaches us about the n-word

n.word 600The death of a dear friend last week reminded me of a small incident, a long time ago, that might shed some fresh light on the seemingly endless debate over racial respect and who can and can't use the word "nigger."

The friend was John Egerton, with whom I worked during the early 1970s at the now disbanded Race Relations Reporter in Nashville, Tenn. – a foundation-supported newsletter that covered the dramatic transformation that swept over the South after the passage of the civil rights laws and the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. In addition to being a superb journalist who went on to write acclaimed books on the emergence of the civil rights movement and the roots of the South's multifaceted culture and cuisine, Egerton was one of the most decent men I've ever known.

He also happened to have been white.


Some hopeful signs in the HIV/AIDS war

aids 600WASHINGTON– Rae Lewis Thornton likes to sneak in a tranquil tea time between expanding her brand and the 16 pills she has to take each day. But that's nothing compared to the 21 pills she was taking in her darkest days of battling full-blown AIDS.

Thornton was diagnosed with HIV at 23 years old after attempting to donate blood. The following year she shared her story and made the cover of Essence magazine, instantly becoming the face of HIV/AIDS for young, successful, heterosexual black women, catapulting herself into a life of activism and ministry. Today, she continues to minister, teach, and welcome the world into her life through her award-winning syndicated blog, Diva Living with AIDS.

And she certainly is living. Now 51 years old, Thornton is an Emmy-Award winner, author, life coach and motivational speaker, jewelry designer, and avid reader.