How social are you?

cherylp mcneil-400Channel surfing over the weekend, I stopped on a favorite old romantic comedy that was centered on a relationship that blossomed over emails. The movie isn't even all that old, yet its premise now seems almost ancient. Because as we all know, in today's world there is a plethora of ways other than email to connect socially.

Social media has exploded over the last 20 years. There is simply no way to avoid it; no matter how bah-humbug you may be over all this "new-fangled" connecting. (Mmm-hmm. You know who you are, Mr. and Ms. "You Can Call Me if You Want to Talk to Me").


What about Kasandra?


By now, it's old news that Kasandra Perkins was murdered by Kansas City Chiefs football player Jovan Belcher, who was her boyfriend and the father of her daughter.

By now we've read about how great a teammate Belcher was, how dedicated to his girlfriend and daughter. We've read his hardscrabble story of moving from the University of Maine, hardly a football powerhouse, to a coveted slot in the NFL. Belcher has been humanized, even enshrined, as his friends have talked about him not having a violent bone in his body.

What about Kasandra?


Healthy living and moments of choice

Do your days sometime feel like a blur?

Are you just racing against the clock to keep up with all the daily chores or projects before you each day: taking and picking up the kids before and after school, grocery shopping, answering emails and postal mail, paying those dreaded bills, and meeting all those deadline at work and at home as placed before you each day?


Republicans driving in the wrong direction

I am constantly amazed by the lack of any meaningful, insightful post-election analysis on the various media outlets (radio, TV, newspapers). You would think that everyone is hanging out at the same places because all the analysis seems to be the same: "Republicans have to find a way to garner more of the Hispanic vote."

So, if I am to believe these so-called analysts, the black vote is irrelevant and non-existent. The black vote is rarely mentioned as being important to either party. Democratic analysts treat the black vote as just a given – blacks will vote Democratic. Therefore, there is no need to discuss them. In other words, they are taken for granted. On the Republican side, the black vote is simply ignored and considered a waste of time as I was told in no uncertain terms by some in the Mitt Romney camp.


Should this man be in the Senate?

tim_scott.jpgby David A. Love
The Grio

With Sen. Jim DeMint announcing his retirement in order to head the conservative Heritage Foundation, Rep. Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) – the only black Republican in the new Congress in January – is the favorite to replace him.

If South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley appoints him to the seat to serve the remainder of DeMint's term, the move would be good for diversity in the Senate, which currently has no African-Americans. Roland Burris, the last black senator, left office in 2010. Further, the decision to pick Scott would help to rehabilitate the image of the Republican Party, which receives little black support and whose policies have alienated black voters in recent years.


Preparing babies to become future leaders

Often when we're facing an enormous challenge or working to overcome an obstacle, the first words of advice offered are to take baby steps.

It's good advice: Breaking down a seemingly insurmountable task into smaller pieces makes it easier to complete and moves us closer to accomplishing our goal.


A doctor’s grim report is an avoidable bushwhack

This is a story that's all too common.

Before leaving her doctor's office, Jane was bushwhacked with news that was unbelievable and disturbing. A puzzled look on her face, she questioned how the doctor's diagnosis was possible and how it could to happen to her.

As Jane pondered the news, she reflected on how hard she had exercised and worked out every day. She assumed her diet was in tact because she ate the right types of food to the best of her knowledge. So to be informed that she was a diabetic was not something she wanted to hear, or believe – ever in her life.


Poll Watcher Brigade, Inc.

Kathryn-Bowers-200The Poll Watcher Brigade, Inc. on Monday (Dec. 3) held a reception at the Benjamin L. Hooks Main Library to honor the poll watchers that worked at the polling locations for the November 6 General Election.

As the founder of the group, I was very excited about the response and the effectiveness of each volunteer poll watcher. Each exemplified being a citizen of our volunteer state.


Whitehaven High’s multiple victories

While Whitehaven High Optional School's driving force is academics, its purpose-driven culture has resulted in numerous victories to celebrate.

Recently, the school's band, the "Sounds of Perfection," won its third national high stepping contest in North Carolina; both the cheerleader and pompon squads won berths into national competitions – and to top it off – the school's football team won its first Division 1 state championship by defeating Maryville High School in overtime by one point on December 1.


It’s time to free Rosa Parks from the bus

rosa-parks-600In 2011, Rosa Parks was in the news, six years after her death. An excerpt from a breathtaking essay she wrote in the 1950s about a "near rape" by a white man in Alabama was released to the public. The handwritten narrative detailed Parks' steely resistance to a white man, "Mr. Charlie," who attempted to assault her in 1931 while she was working as a domestic for a white family.

It was late evening when "Mr. Charlie" pushed his way into the house and tried to have sex with her. Having grown up in the segregated South, she knew all too well the special vulnerabilities black women faced. She recalled, for example, how her great-grandmother, a slave, had been "mistreated and abused" by her white master.


Mighty Mississippi engulfed in another crisis

mississippi-river-600The area along the northern end of the Mississippi river is facing a drought that rivals the drought of 1989 and is threatening commerce along the river.

The reduced depth of the river is making shipping somewhat prohibitive. Companies in the navigation industry along these rivers are now shipping less material by "light loading" fleets, which make each load less profitable. In addition to the low levels of water, rocks known as pinnacles are emerging through the shallow levels and risking serious damage to the vessels.


‘Lincoln,’ the movie: ‘We’ are what’s missing

Carter G. Woodson was right when he essentially said that black history is the missing pages of world history. Never was such so true than in the movie, "Lincoln."

While I, as a "weekend historian," was impressed by Daniel Day Lewis' portrayal of the 16th president of the United States, my knowledge of history begged questions:


Not all public policy is created equal

Discussions of the fiscal cliff also include discussions about ways to change Social Security and Medicare benefits in order to save money. One of the proposals is to raise the Social Security retirement age to 70. After all, some argue, there is nothing magic about 65 or 67, so why not push the rate up to 70?

The difference is the kind of work we do.