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More self-reliance needed in Africa

More self-reliance needed in Africa

The recent kidnapping of the Nigerian schoolgirls has been all over the news, which is a good thing. We need to take the emotion out of this issue and have a heart-to-heart talk with the leadership of Africa.

I am very aware that Africa is not a country, but a continent made up of 54 countries. I am a big booster of the potential of all things Africa, but have been, and still am, a big critic of Africa.

Everyone touts the potential of Africa as a continent, not just in terms of its vast natural resources (gold, diamonds, oil, gas, bauxite, etc.); but also in terms of its human resources. Well more than half of Africa's population is under 18 years of age. They have a "youth bulge" that can be a great asset or a great liability.

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Wilkins steps out with clergy support

Wilkins steps out with clergy support

On Aug. 7th, the voters of the Ninth Congressional District will get another chance to decide who will represent them for two years. The incumbent, Steve Cohen, again wants that to be him, and – again – the President of the United States is backing him.

So Monday morning when a minister-laden group gathered near the National Civil Rights Museum to show support for attorney Ricky Wilkins, one of the questions was about dealing with President Obama's support for Cohen. The question was fielded by Bishop Edward H. Stephens Jr., pastor of Golden Gate Cathedral.

"As it relates to our president not being on the ground, we are," said Stephens. "And some decisions he has to make because he is the president. I think with the intelligentsia that he has, if he were here (in Memphis), he would be here (supporting Wilkins."

 

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Annual rabies vaccination drive to be held in June

Annual rabies vaccination drive to be held in June

The annual Rabies Drive sponsored by the Shelby County Health Department's (SCHD) Vector Control Program will be held Saturday, June 7, and Saturday, June 14, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Residents are encouraged to bring their dogs and cats to either location listed below to receive rabies vaccinations:

* 9774 (Fire Station #65), Lakeland
* 5469 Raleigh Millington (Fire Station #66), Millington

"The Rabies Vaccination Drive is an excellent time to safely vaccinate your pets without paying additional administrative costs," said Daniel Sprenger, Ph.D., manager of the SCHD Vector Control Program. "The vaccination will protect your pet from an avoidable illness, as well as your family."

 

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The difficult math of inequality

The difficult math of inequality

Thousands of fast food workers took to the streets last week, staging strikes in protest over their low pay. In states where the minimum wage has not been raised above the federal level, if a worker could put together a full-time, full-year schedule, she would earn just $15,080 a year.

Some people scoff at raising the minimum wage for these workers, on the basis that "they only flip burgers." By that logic, what should you get paid if you are the chief burger flipper? Not much, right? Well, the CEOs of fast food restaurants average $11,884,000 in pay annually. That's a lot of hamburgers to flip.

Here is where the math of inequality comes into play. We haven't given minimum wage workers a raise in more than five years, yet inflation has continued. So minimum wage workers' purchasing power has been falling. In 2009, $15,080 a year would place a single mother with a child above the poverty threshold. Today, she and her child would be living in poverty.

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6 lesser-known facts about Brown v. Board

6 lesser-known facts about Brown v. Board

Brown v. Board of Education – the landmark Supreme Court ruling that desegregated public schools – turns 60 this year, and if someone were tasked with identifying the most interesting parts of the case in order to repurpose it for a "Law & Order" special, what would that episode look like?

Who were the major characters? Which one of the nine Supreme Court justices held out on his decision until the last minute, and then eventually changed his mind? What was special about the plaintiff, and why did he make it a credible case?

And since the last five minutes of any legal drama are especially juicy because viewers want to see how the courtroom reacts to the verdict, how did the country respond to the 1954 Supreme Court ruling that made the "separate but equal" doctrine unconstitutional?

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A better way to compensate college athletes

A better way to compensate college athletes

Athletes at Northwestern University shocked the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the governing body of college sports, by taking steps to unionize student-athletes. Surprisingly, NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell, former NFL great Jim Brown and Harry Edwards, who organized a human rights protest at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City that culminated in Tommy Smith and John Carlos giving a clenched fist salute when they mounted the winners platform, do not support the idea.

It's not that Bill Russell, Jim Brown or Harry Edwards have mellowed – they have not. Rather, they think there's a better way to help athletes who generate $500 billion a year to major universities, athletic vendors and others.

"I am totally against the unions in college," Brown said. "I don't like the NCAA. I think it's a greedy organization, a dictatorial organization, an organization that's totally unfair to the players...But on the other hand, I think we have all gotten away from the value of an education."

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African-American leaders divided on whether to view Rand Paul as friend or foe

African-American leaders divided on whether to view Rand Paul as friend or foe

Sen. Rand Paul's (R-Ky.) aggressive outreach to the African-American community over the last several months is dividing African-American leaders, as some are excited that a prominent conservative Republican is embracing their causes, while others argue that working with the Kentucky senator and a likely 2016 presidential candidate is a mistake.

Paul, openly acknowledging the Republican Party's longtime struggles with African-American voters, is giving speeches at African-American colleges and meeting with key African-American pastors and leaders across the country. He is also taking stances, such as urging the restoration of voting rights for convicted felons and reducing the use of mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes, that are unusual for a Republican.

"It's extremely significant and I think quite encouraging for Senator Paul to not just raise these issues but also to be such a passionate advocate," said Jotaka Eaddy, a senior director at the NAACP. She added, "It's always positive when you have unexpected voices that are advocating around these principles."

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