Walmart one of the biggest recipients of food stamps

foodstampwalmart-400American shoppers spend about 18 percent of all food stamp dollars at Walmart, one of the nation's most profitable companies, the Huffington Post reports.

That adds up to an estimated $14 billion of the $80 billion Congress set aside for food stamps last year, the site says. The company's total profits for 2013 were $17 billion.

The estimates come as 47 million Americans are slated to lose their food stamp benefits as funding for the program expires. Indeed, the former recipients are likely to become even more dependent on the low-cost retailer.


Koch brothers fire back at Harry Belafonte after KKK comments

harry-belafonte-400WASHINGTON – In a rare move, a spokesman for the Koch brothers made a statement defending the Republican super donors after Harry Belafonte likened the billionaire chemical tycoons to the Ku Klux Klan.

"Mr. Belafonte's comments are false and reprehensible," said Rob Tappan, a spokesman for the brothers. "His comments are divisive and destructive and are indicative of the type of hateful rhetoric that leads to the breakdown of a civil and respectful society."

Tappan added that the brothers "have devoted their lives to advancing tolerance and a free society, where every individual is judged on his or her individual merits and they are free to make decisions about their lives.



Fired: Mom behind Trayvon Martin Halloween costume

costume-400A Massachusetts woman was reportedly fired after racially insensitive images surfaced online of her sons dressed as Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman for Halloween.

Caitlin Cimeno reportedly posted photos of her sons, William Filene and Greg Cimeno, with the caption: "Happy Halloween from Zimmerman & trayvon (insert smiley face emoji here)," according to a piece by Myeisha Essex at BlackAmericaWeb.

Following the outrageous post, members of the social media world not only tracked her down, but eventually also her employer, who told a caller that she no longer worked there, reports show.


Cory Booker is officially a U.S. senator.

booker senator sworn-in-400(The Root) – Vice President Joe Biden swore in the former Newark, N.J., mayor, known for his boots-to-the-ground approach to governing, at noon Thursday in the Old Senate Chamber of the U.S. Capitol.

While the event was technically open to the public, viewers were not allowed in to watch the proceedings but instead were taken to another room to view the live happenings on television sets. That didn't deter some 400 people who packed the Kennedy Caucus Room in the Russell Senate Office Building to get a glimpse of the man who is equally well known for his commitment to the community as he is for governing.

As the mayor of Newark, Booker saved a freezing dog, invited people who lost power during Hurricane Sandy to come over to his house, suffered second-degree burns on his hand while saving a woman from a burning building and helped shovel out trapped vehicles during a snowstorm.


Are you paying more than your parents?

payingmore-600NEW YORK – It seems like the price of things goes in one direction only: up.

It's true that sticker prices usually rise. But in relative terms, you could actually be paying a lot less than your parents did a generation ago.

For example, the price of milk has increased at a pace that's 9 percent slower than the overall level of inflation since 1983, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Meanwhile, some other things will cost you a lot more than the previous generation paid. Since 1983, a gallon of gas has risen 30 percent relative to everything else.



Conrad Murray completes jail time for Michael Jackson’s death

Conrad Murray-600LOS ANGELES – Dr. Conrad Murray left the Los Angeles County jail under sheriff's escort, avoiding reporters and Michael Jackson fans waiting for his release early Monday.

Murray, who served two years of a four-year sentence for causing Michael Jackson's death, was driven away in a sheriff's car for the "safety and security" of the jail, sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said.

The handful of Jackson fans gathered outside the jail accused the Los Angeles County sheriff of showing favoritism to Murray by slipping him out of the jail through a back exit, instead of the door where freed prisoners normally leave.


Chris Brown jailed on felony assault charge

chrisbrown-350Chris Brown and a bodyguard were arrested Sunday morning and charged with felony assault, the Washington Metropolitan Police Department said.

The singer and bodyguard Christopher Hollosy were allegedly involved in an altercation with another man outside the W Hotel at 4:25 a.m., police said.

The two were taken into custody and were being held at the 2nd District police station, police said.

The alleged victim was taken to a hospital for treatment of injuries, police spokesman Anthony Clay told CNN.


Tags of pain



A man walks past a display of nametags placed on a chain link fence at the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago (Oct. 11). The tags, written with the names of people who are victims of violence, was started by the museum’s curator, Charles Bethea, and became an addition to another exhibit at the museum on gangs and gun violence. (Photo: REUTERS/Jim Young)

Family caregivers live longer than their peers

caregiver-400NEW YORK – Caring for a disabled family member can be overwhelmingly hard. But caregivers may live longer than those who don't bear such responsibilities, new research suggests.

In a nationwide study, adults who provided care for a chronically ill or disabled family member had a lower death rate than a similar group of non-caregivers.

The finding is something of a surprise.

In the past, researchers have found just the opposite - an increased risk of death as well as poorer mental and physical health among caregivers. Such detrimental health effects have been found among people caring for a disabled spouse or a person with dementia, for example.



CeeLo faces criminal charges

Cee-lo-500Does that make me crazy?

That is the question that CeeLo Green asked in his mega-hit song "Crazy."

Now we don't know if this criminal case will answer that question. But the details are making us crazy.

The singer and "Voice" coach is accused of slipping a woman Ecstasy before taking her to a hotel. The claims are serious. He could've faced rape and drug charges. With that hanging over his head, he was in an L.A. court Monday, where he learned that he will not face a rape charge.


Black farmers finally collect in $1.2 Billion discrimination case

John-Boyd-400WASHINGTON – For decades, black farmers fought the United States Department of Agriculture over racial discrimination. The farmers, mostly in the south, lost crops, their farms and their homes. Some farmers grew old and died waiting for the slow hands of justice to turn in their favor, but those that still toil in the fields can proclaim victory, the government has finally started cutting checks in the $1.2 billion settlement case known as "Pigford II."

Tim Pigford, a corn and soybean farmer from southeastern North Carolina, said that USDA officials denied his loan application because he was Black. He even testified before Congress in 1984. By 1998, what became known as the Pigford's case evolved into a class action racial discrimination lawsuit that included black farmers who were denied loans and other federal aid from the government from 1981 to 1996. The government settled the case in 1999.

Pigford, eventually backed out of the landmark case that bears his name and was awarded a separated individual payout.


Professor Cornel West vs. President Barack Obama


I am no longer surprised that Professor West is at it again, attacking the president. An article titled, “Cornel West and the Fight to Save the Black Prophetic Tradition,” lays out a blistering list of charges against the president. My intent is to examine the charges, then challenge Dr. West on both his assumptions and his conclusions.

  • The main charge is that there is an unseen effort by the White House to silence those who would continue the fight to save the black prophetic tradition. Chief among those to be silenced are Cornel West and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
  • Supporting the main charge is another that the White House uses surrogates such as Al Sharpton and Steve Harvey to attack Dr. West, who describes himself as the most prominent of those under attack.
  • The silencing effort is intended to hide the fact that the president is the ideological heir of Booker T. Washington, an accomodationist who counseled blacks to adjust and submit to white tyranny.
  • He accuses the president of being the face of an empire that is responsible for heinous crimes, even crimes against humanity. He describes how Obama has overseen the eradication of civil liberties, the expansion of imperial wars and the mass incarceration of people of color.
  • Although he does not accuse the president of being directly responsible for it, Dr. West implies that the “emaciation” of the black press, the consolidation of the media, the exclusion of Dr. West from the broadcast media and the absence of the subject of the black prophetic tradition in public schools all occurred on the president's watch and thus, by implication, is a charge against the president.

Dr. West describes the black prophetic tradition as the major roadblock to American fascism. Again, by implication, the president supports both imperialism and white supremacy by his unseen efforts to suppress those who would carry on the tradition.

Now, that is a heavy load to lay on the president. One of the problems we have is that the main charge is “unseen.” Consequently, we have to take Dr. West's word for the fact that the White House is, in fact, orchestrating the effort to silence Dr. West and others.

One way to go at judging the validity and ultimate value of his message is by examining the underlying premises of his position; that the black prophetic tradition does act as a block to fascism, that president Obama knows this to be true, does attempt to suppress its practitioners, does act as the face of imperialism with all of the abhorrent outcomes that this entails and does, in fact, act as heir to Booker T. Washington in admonishing black people to adjust and submit.

I can agree that the leaders and martyrs of the black prophetic tradition named were certainly effective at drawing attention to the tyranny of the white majority. At a propitious time in history and with the proven strategy of non-violence, Dr. King was astoundingly successful at awakening the sleeping conscience of the nation and the world. The fascism practiced daily by the most ordinary white citizen against the completely helpless black people was too much for the nation to see without reacting in horror. But, notice that the practices were open, violent and wanton. At the same time, there was no effort to make the practices visible until the television cameras saw Dr. King. This revealed to the whole world the stark difference between what the US wanted to present to the world and the reality that the world could see. By contrast, I have seen no such impact from Dr. West's efforts.

I would think that President Obama is quite well aware of the black prophetic tradition and most certainly with Dr. West's loudly proclaimed assertion that Dr. West is the most prominent of the current practitioners. But, the president does not have to waste his time or concern on "suppressing" them. The networks have no problem choosing those to whom they give air time. The people who are on network shows are overwhelmingly, even nauseatingly Republican, imperialist, white supremacy sympathizers.

Is the president an imperialist? If he were not, he would not be president. The US has been on an imperialist path since WWII. No candidate for the office would have the necessary support to make the run if that person did not show by enthusiastic word and deed that the imperialist path was acceptable and necessary. By the way, one does not have to agree to understand the nature of political reality. Lastly, to accuse the president of being an heir to Booker T. Washington, accomodationist, is an ad hominem attack, the lazy way of attacking and most unworthy of a renowned scholar.

Now, we are left with the question, "Why does Dr. West spend so much energy and personal capital attacking the president?" Even though he says it is not personal, there is evidence that it is. An article, again written by Chris Hedges, that makes the personal hurt painfully clear is available at the following link, The article tells us that Dr. West, at the time a true believer, worked 65 campaign events for the candidate. In the words of the author, Dr. West, "now nurses, like many others who placed their faith in Obama, the anguish of the deceived, the manipulated and the betrayed." The only surprise is that the scholar allowed himself to be devastated by a politician. After all, if the president were not a politician, he would not have been elected...twice.

Dr. West's "anguish" likely intensified to the point of fury when the president did not invite him to the inauguration. The fury has been too evident ever since.

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Biggie Smalls called too violent and fat to have street named after him

biggie-smalls-500According to DNAInfo, some Brooklyn community board members think the late rapper Biggie Smalls was nothing but a criminal, a misogynist, and apparently was too overweight to receive a street named in his honor.

Lucy Koteen, a CB2 member, did some independent research on the rap legend and claims the man born Christopher Wallace isn't worthy of having any association with his native New York borough.

"He started selling drugs at 12, he was a school dropout at 17, he was arrested for drugs and weapons charge, he was arrested for parole violations, he was arrested in North Carolina for crack cocaine, in 1996 he was again arrested for assault, he had a violent death and physically the man is not exactly a role model for youth," Koteen said in board meeting this past Tuesday. "I don't see how this guy was a role model and frankly it offends me."