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For movies opening June 6, 2014


 “Edge of Tomorrow” (PG-13 for profanity, intense violence and brief sensuality) Infinite loop sci-fi starring Tom Cruise as the recently-deceased soldier called upon to travel back in time repeatedly to defend the planet against a bloodthirsty race of aliens bent on world domination. With Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton and Brendan Gleeson.

 “The Fault in Our Stars” (PG-13 for sexuality, brief profanity and mature themes)    

Screen adaptation of John Green’s #1 best-seller about the bittersweet romance which blossoms between a terminally-ill teenager (Shailene Woodley) and a patient in remission (Ansel Elgort) she meets at a cancer support group. With Willem Dafoe, Laura Dern, Nat Wolff and Mike Birbiglia.

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Black church group urges African Americans to withhold contributions to NPR

tellme 600The National Black Church Initiative, a faith-based coalition of 34,000 churches, called on all African Americans May 27 to withhold donations to National Public Radio after it cancelled “Tell Me More,” its only program featuring an African-American host, and regularly addressing issues and concerns of the black community.

 NPR announced a week ago that it was canceling “Tell Me More” as part of a series of cuts to address the network’s long-standing budget deficit. The announcement included the elimination of 28 positions throughout NPR.

 NBCI president, Rev. Anthony Evans, conveyed the group’s position in a letter to NPR CEO, Jarl Mohn.

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Unusual poll: Black support for Tea Party

When you normally think of Tea Party supporters, the first image that comes to mind is an anti-Obama mob mixing Confederate flags and old school yellow Gadsden flags, flapping coiled rattlesnakes in the wind. Step outside the Beltway, head mostly south, and you could find a rally or two with a rifle-toting Duck Dynasty lookalike.
tea 600Yet, a recent YouGov poll – while showing a general decline in Tea Party backing – altered that perception when it showed a combined 18 percent African-American support for the tea party. Not black Republican support – overall black support. While only three percent of African Americans indicated “strong support” for the Tea Party, a surprisingly high 15 percent of African Americans said they “somewhat support” the Tea Party, as well as 15 percent who “neither support, nor oppose” the Tea Party.
Added up, that’s 33 percent of black voters who don’t oppose the tea party.
Granted, none of these numbers correlate to any remarkable shift of black voters to the Republican Party. Keeping with tradition, that same YouGov poll shows only five percent of African Americans identify as Republican.

The ‘Auntie Maya’ I knew

julian 600Many people will remember Maya Angelou for her phenomenal career.  She was a true renaissance woman – an author, teacher, dancer, performer, radio personality and a producer.  I will remember her as a sister friend, a wise “auntie” who didn’t mind pulling your coat. She was a generous spirit who made time for virtually any who asked, a gentle and kind spirit.
If you dropped by when a meal was being served, she asked you to sit down and enjoy the assembled company.  If you came and it was not the meal hour, she never hesitated to offer a cup of tea and a snack.  She knew before you did that you needed a hug an encouraging word.  I’ve seen her take the hat off her head and give it to someone who admired it.

The Congressional Black Caucus rift

cbc 600There was troubling news from Washington last week that should probably be put into perspective. The rift is not due to the usual Democrats vs. Republicans hostility, or a fight between rival government agencies. This one is internal and especially troubling for black folks.
The Congressional Black Caucus, the all-Democrat coalition of African-American lawmakers, is undergoing somewhat of a crisis of conscience these days, with members now going after each other in public, much to the delight of Republicans.
At its core, the issue is over the Dodd-Frank Act, the set of banking regulations set forth following the 2008 financial collapse. Wall Street, with the help of Republicans, would like to unravel the legislation, allowing banks and financial institutions to return to the bad old days of the freewheeling excesses that nearly bankrupted the country.