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Opinion

Drink water, you dummy

jomi-400We're all thirsty and we don't even know it.

But an Estonian start-up called Jomi Interactive aims to solve this problem.

Although they're only in a developmental stage right now (Read: Give us your money!), the company managed to turn more than a few heads online (last) week when prototypes of their new products were featured on TechCrunch and several other websites.

The product is a Jomi band (or sleeve). You attach it around your water bottle and it monitors your fluid intake, reminding you, with sounds and LED indicators, that, perhaps, its time to drink more water.

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Stress relief? Eat healthy and smile more

Chef Timothy Moore-160CHEF TIMOTHY: Have you ever been jarred awake by a migraine that keeps pounding in your head like you've been scrapping with the young Mike Tyson?

If this has happened to you, your arms might've felt extremely sore and your body might've felt like it was badly bruised by the pounding. So what happened overnight? How can a person go to sleep comfortably and wake up miserable?

What causes the body to react to different demands and pressure situations? That bruising feeling could be stress, which is "the body's physical, mental or chemical reaction when we get excited or confused or when we otherwise feel unsafe or threatened."

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It can happen anywhere!

SuspiciousActivity-600September 11, 2001, was the day everything changed, then April 15, 2013, serves as another reminder of that change, of our frailties and of a new reality in which "it can't happen here" has been replaced by "it can happen anywhere."

When initial reports came out of Boston about two explosions occurring near the finish line of the 116th marathon – a marathon that began with 26 seconds of silence in honor of the 26 victims of the Newtown massacre – we held our collective breaths and hoped it was a freak infrastructure accident.

Or compromised electrical wiring.

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Jackie Robinson: ‘Too bad he’s the wrong color’

42-OneSht-400You could say "42," the film about the life of Brooklyn Dodgers great Jackie Robinson, is a gripping baseball tale, and your assessment would be correct – but woefully incomplete.

"42" is not just a baseball story. It's a compelling history lesson as well. It tells the story of not just baseball, but of a central facet of 20th Century American life – the suffocating reach of racism – in the decades before the 1960s.

It conveys the grievous wrong African Americans endured and signals what it cost them, and America as a whole. And it indicates how the barrier of racism was cracked by blacks and whites who worked – many over the course of decades – to destroy it.

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Madonna and Africa’s ‘celebrity saviors’

andrew mwenda-160So finally, Madonna's honeymoon with Malawi has ended with a spat. Malawi's minister of education accused Madonna of "bullying officials" and exaggerating the extent of her charity in the country.

Trouble started when the government withdrew her VIP status and she therefore had to wait in line like everyone else to go through immigration. President Joyce Banda said that Madonna felt her charitable work meant that Malawi should "be forever chained to the obligation of gratitude."

For her part, Madonna described the reports as inaccurate, and says they are the result of a spat with the president's sister, Anjimile Mtila Oponyo, who was fired as president of Madonna's charity Raising Malawi and is suing for wrongful termination.

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‘Obamaphone?’ Give me a break

Julianne-malveaux-160The right wing seems determined to associate President Obama with any government program that helps people on the bottom. Thus, the term Obamacare was used to attack the health care program that President Obama fashioned and worked with Congress to approve. While Obamacare is not perfect, it brings more people into the health care system, and further solidifies the safety net that many have attempted to fray.

Now these folks are running with the term "Obamaphone," which speaks to the fact that President Obama has simply extended a Lifeline plan that was authorized by Republican President Ronald Reagan when it was clear that those who were either isolated by poverty or by their rural status needed telephones to connect themselves to the world.

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Retire the myth: black men, jail and college

black-man-college-400"There are more black men in jail than in college" is a line that has transfigured our understanding of persistent problems among black men in the United States. Many activists and scholars recite it to invoke urgency to fight unjust social structures, while culture critics say it to condemn the social failings of black men.

The line is memorable, immutable, provocative and piercing, but as I revealed last week, it is not true.

This realization creates a sense of reprieve and ambivalence among many black people. Since the first article was released, many have argued that the rate of graduation among black males is still too low, and the rate of incarceration is too high – assertions I will not dispute. However, the natures of these issues are different and should not be contorted to produce a pedestrian soundbite.

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Jay-Z, Beyoncé Embarrass White House – again

jayzbeyonceopenletter-500Having previously shared my thoughts on the first couple's close association with hip-hop's first couple, Jay-Z and Beyoncé, I vowed not to address the issue again, since I'm not a fan of treading over the same territory in my writing. But I relented at the behest of a TV producer.

While I didn't have a lot to say about Jay-Z and Beyoncé's vacation itinerary, I do have an opinion about the rap legend's newly released rap on the matter.

On Thursday, the gossip site TMZ posted a clip from Jay-Z's new song, "Open Letter," in which the rapper rails against the lies of politicians and waxes poetically about Havana, where he and his missus vacationed recently, despite a U.S. travel embargo against the country. (Full disclosure: I've also been to Cuba, on a student visa when I was in college, as part of a conference.) Then the world's greatest rapper drops the boom, saying the following: "Obama said, 'Chill, you gonna get me impeached ... We don't need this s--t anyway, chill with me on the beach.'"

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Don’t be offended by ‘Accidental Racist’

LZ granderson-160In 2009, Brad Paisley released the song "Welcome to the Future" from his album "American Saturday Night."

In it, he sings about all the cultural changes he's witnessed in his life, including the evolving demographics of the country. He includes glowing references to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. The election of Barack Obama inspired him to write it.

It's important to keep all of that in mind because for some, Paisley's latest song, "Accidental Racist," is making him look like an intentional one. I am reminded of an adage (but with a twist): No good ditty goes unpunished.

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African leaders avoid African Americans

obama african leaders-400Two weeks ago, President Obama met with three African presidents – Koroma (Sierra Leone), Sall (Senegal), Banda (Malawi), and Prime Minister of Cape Verde Jose Maria Pereira Neves. This was the White House's way of rewarding these leaders for their examples of good governance. Receiving an invitation to the White House is one of the most sought after invitations in the world, especially for foreign leaders.

African leaders constantly complain about how they are negatively portrayed in the U.S. media, about how African Americans don't invest in Africa, and about how there seems to be a disconnect between Africans and African Americans.

My response has always been quite simple – It's your fault!

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Healthy eating – a guard against unhealthy drugs

Chef Timothy Moore-160CHEF TIMOTHY We can put a man on the moon, elect an African American as president, legalize same-sex marriage and smoke pot in some states without breaking the law. But we have not reined in the high cost of healthcare, even though President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law.

Tens of millions of Americans have some type of medical ailment – such as stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes or cancer. We continue to get sicker and fatter as a nation because of unhealthy diets, dehydration and a lack of physical exercise.

The skyrocketing healthcare prices we are paying each year are mind-boggling. We're spending over $2.6 trillion annually on healthcare, and that amount is increasing daily.

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Unemployment and the economics of Dr. King’s agenda

Ben Jealous-600Coming the day after the 45th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the new unemployment numbers show that unemployment is still high – and remains much higher for African Americans.

One thing hasn't changed in the last half century: if you're a person of color, you're more likely to be unemployed. Even though the black unemployment rate fell by .05 percent this month, it still sits at nearly 13.3 percent, nearly double the overall rate.

This gap in employment has led to an economic divide between the richest and the poorest in America that is about as bad as in the divide in Rwanda and Serbia. The top 20 percent of Americans earn 50.2 percent of income, while the bottom 20 percent earns just 3.3 percent. Yet Congress continues to do nothing to directly address unemployment.

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Rick Ross needs to learn lesson from Steubenville rape case

rick ross-500William Leonard Roberts II is a clown.

He's a clown who has made a very good living pretending to be a notorious international drug dealer surrounded by guns, henchmen, champagne and women. He is the prime example of just how unreal hip hop has become.

The stories Roberts tells under his rap moniker Rick Ross are likely true stories about Rick Ross. They are not, however, stories about William Leonard Roberts. Roberts is a fake, a phony, an imposter. He began his career rapping in the first person about hustling, murder and a multi-million dollar, crime-fueled lifestyle that he saw on television.

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