Allen West: Women in combat are threat to ‘American warrior culture’

allen-west-400In a recent Facebook post, former Republican congressman Allen West explained why he believes women do not belong in military units.

West expressed his disapproval towards President Obama and the Defense Department for approving a policy allowing women to fill thousands of combat jobs in the military.

The news was announced on the heels of the Congressional hearings on the increasing number of sexual assault cases in the military.


Juneteenth is worth celebrating

William Reed-160Did you know that the official African-American holidays are: Kwanzaa, Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Juneteenth? What do you, and your family, do to celebrate Juneteenth? Also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, the Juneteenth holiday is an abbreviated form of "June Nineteenth." It marks the day Blacks in Texas belatedly received word that President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation had freed the nation's slaves.

Black Americans should commemorate Juneteenth as the date in 1865 when Union Gen. Gordon Granger arrived with his troops at Galveston Island and read President Lincoln's proclamation freeing the state's 200,000 slaves. The proclamation had originally taken effect on Jan. 1, 1863, but word didn't reach Texas until two months after Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, and more than two years after the proclamation was issued. Explanations for the holdup vary. Depending on who's doing the explaining, the delay could have been attributed to anything from bureaucratic delays to a slow mule. Once freed, several self-sustaining Black farming communities grew up in Texas, and across the land, as freed men tilled their own soil.


Obama rejects Bush comparison on NSA programs

ObamaBush-600President Barack Obama, in his first extended remarks since the disclosure of two National Security Agency programs that critics say invade the privacy of Americans, strongly defended his anti-terrorism policies and rejected comparisons to President George W. Bush.

"The whole point of my concern, before I was president — because some people say, "Well, you know, Obama was this raving liberal before. Now he's, you know, Dick Cheney." Dick Cheney sometimes says, "Yeah, you know? He took it all, lock, stock, and barrel," the president said in an interview with PBS.

"My concern has always been not that we shouldn't do intelligence gathering to prevent terrorism, but rather are we setting up a system of checks and balances? So, on this telephone program, you've got a federal court with independent federal judges overseeing the entire program. And you've got Congress overseeing the program, not just the intelligence committee and not just the judiciary committee — but all of Congress had available to it before the last re-authorization exactly how this program works."


Turning ‘baby daddies’ into fathers

babydaddy-400Last week, grateful sons and daughters were hitting retailers around the country in search of that perfect gift for dad – a tie, some socks, a Hallmark card, or maybe just a hug. But for a growing number of youth Father's Day can be tough, bringing up memories of hard times with dad, or other times when he just wasn't around at all.

The number of children in the U.S. living apart from their fathers has more than doubled over the last 50 years, from 11 percent to 27 percent, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center.

While there are certainly a number of reasons for the increase, it is also certain that when the pressures and responsibilities of fatherhood get to be too much, some men simply choose to leave, to dip in and out of their children's lives like a recurring dream or nightmare. We even have a special name for the guys who skip out on their fatherly duties – sometimes, "father" is just too personal a title.


The ‘Colored entrance’ to White-owned businesses

Harry-Alford-160For the most part, corporate America employees are satisfied with their careers. There is usually a chart to review in terms of responsibility. Is the employee moving up the "ladder" and heading towards more executive responsibility? That is correlated with salary. The greater the responsibility, the greater the pay and the less tolerance for any era or bad judgment. If one reaches as far up the ladder as he or she can, then they will ultimately seek new employment that offers more opportunity or capitulate to the end of their improvement and sit there until retirement.

There are many divisions within a major corporation. Engineering, Manufacturing, Logistics, Marketing, Sales, Legal, IT, Human Resources, Procurement, Research/Development, Security and Maintenance are some of the major divisions. Each of these divisions is usually managed by a vice president, director, chairman or president. They report to the President/CEO or Chairman/CEO.


Gambling on gambling

William Reed-160Gambling and gambling-related problems are common among all racial and ethnic groups, but there's evidence that African Americans are more likely to experience more serious gambling-related troubles than White Americans. At the forefront of gambling's rise across America have been Black politicians. Recently Florida's first African-American lieutenant governor resigned her position because of a scandal involving a purported veterans' charity that authorities said was a front for a $300 million gambling operation. Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, a 53-year-old Republican was not among those charged.

But Carroll will hardy be the sole Black politician with a role in gambling in America. As gambling remains legally restricted in the United States, its availability and method of expansion is often based on actions by Black politicians. In 2007, U.S. gambling activities generated gross revenues (the difference between the total amounts wagered minus the funds or "winnings" returned to players) of $92.27 billion.


Are Blacks Concerned About Government Spying?

FBI J Edgar Hoover-600The current spying controversy at the National Security Agency has caught many Americans off guard and has conjured up images of Big Brother. The NSA has secretly collected the private phone calls and internet data of its citizens, allowing the federal agency to monitor people who were not suspected of any unlawful activity.

Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who leaked information on the secret surveillance programs, is now a fugitive in hiding in Hong Kong.

And yet, while civil liberties advocates may find this type of surveillance illegal, an unconstitutional invasion of privacy and even grounds to sue the government, African-Americans may not necessarily react with as much outrage.


There aren’t happy endings for teachers in the trenches

teacherInTrenches-400Walking around a high school campus at this time of year you will notice the air floats a little lighter and the sun reflects off smiles a little brighter. Everyone is looking forward to the last day, and the mood can aptly be described as celebratory. Seniors can't wait for graduation, teachers can't wait to sleep in, and even the students with straight Fs are showing up again just to tighten up their game for the summer.

You also cannot help but notice all of the end-of-year celebrations. Senior Awards Night, Hispanic Awards Night, Grad Night, AVID Banquets, Band and Choir concerts, Dance Shows, Leadership Rallies, and to top it all off Graduation. Everyone is getting awards and being recognized. Students are getting scholarships and teachers and counselors are being lauded for their work with these amazing students. The only people you don't see celebrating are, well, the students who aren't amazing and the teachers who teach those kids.


Could a tax credit fix the black jobs crisis?

Tax Credit Blacks-400The May jobs report didn't bring worse news than the April jobs report. But it was still bad news for African Americans, for whom unemployment remains in the double digits.

Although unemployment among whites is 6.7 percent, 13.5 percent of African Americans are unemployed. As America slowly recovers from the recession, Black America appears to be getting left behind. A 2005 study found that race plays a role in hiring decisions, noting that white applicants with criminal records were still statistically more likely to get callbacks for jobs than black applicants without one.

After a Senate roundtable on Thursday about the issue, The Root interviewed three senators about the effects of racial discrimination in the black unemployment crisis and whether or not drastic measures, such as tax incentives for diverse hiring, are needed to address the issue.


Strolling down the beauty aisles

cherylp mcneil-160When it comes to looking good, staying on top of your game, and making sure your pursuit of beauty is on point, you know the African-American community has that covered. Nielsen's latest insights highlight hair and skin beauty purchases and behavior, by the numbers among African-Americans and other ethnic groups in the U.S. and Canada in a recent NielsenWire Post titled, " Looking Good: Appealing to Ethnic Consumers in the Beauty Aisle."

Ladies, I'm talking to all of us here. Whether we wear our lovely tresses straight, in locks, curled or rock a natural, cute afro-puff – God-given or store-bought – we all want to make sure we look presentable and feel good about ourselves, and will spend our last dime to do so. And, no, even though we usually think of women when we talk about hair care and beauty, women don't corner the market on giving attention to good looks.


Drinking coconut water has its overall benefits

Chef Timothy Moore-160CHEF TIMOTHY: Coconut water is one of the most popular beverages available on tropical islands and resorts. It has been for hundreds of years. It is an all-natural, hydrating, nutrient-filled, clear fluid that is found on the inside of the fruit, which is encased in a hard brown shell. You'd need the proper tools to crack the shell and extract the liquid.

I'm often asked about the benefits of drinking coconut water and why it seems to be the drink of choice for a lot of people. Coconut water has been traditionally used to treat a variety of health problems, such heat strokes, digestive complications, constipation, dehydration, diarrhea, fatigue, hives, low libido, and urinary tract infections. It has been shown to improve one's overall health.


Is ‘Big Brother’ racially biased?

Julianne-malveaux-160When George Orwell wrote the novel "1984," he envisioned a character, real or imagined "Big Brother" who was a know-all, see-all, omnipotent and elusive presence that intruded into lives because he could. Those who knew about "him" were told that they did not exist, but in many ways, Big Brother may not have existed, either. The omnipotence had taken on a life of its own.

Orwell's book was a book ahead of its time. At a different time, his book could have been dismissed as psychedelic fantasy. Today, he is just a step behind the reality in which we live. Verizon is sharing telephone records. The Department of Justice is monitoring journalists, and the IRS is playing games with those who seek nonprofit status. People pulled over for a minor traffic violation will have to submit fingerprints to find out if they have broken other laws. Big Brother is alive and well in too many layers of our lives,


Touch my hair? That will never be cool

youcantouchmyhair-400I'm still not entirely sure what to make of "You Can Touch My Hair," an interactive public art exhibit put together by Un'ruly, which actually encouraged people to touch the hair of black women and ask questions about it.

Basically, three black women with fabulous hair – a poofy 'fro, long locks and what appeared to be a lengthy straight weave – stood in New York City's Union Square Park over the weekend and held signs that announced, "You Can Touch My Hair" to perfect strangers. It was an attempt to create a teachable moment from a very offensive aspect of black girl life, especially for ladies who are natural.

The model with the poofy hair, Malliha Ahmad, ultimately described the experience of allowing strangers to fondle her mane as "amazing" and "empowering."