Christie scandal could cost GOP its great black hope

christie 6002014 is barely a week old, and yet the year has already given us its first political scandal – one that potentially has ramifications for years to come.

A string of emails published Wednesday by the Bergen Country Record suggest that staffers in the office of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie coaxed a Port Authority staffer to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge – crippling traffic and sparking outrage.

The alleged motive was to punish a political foe of Christie, Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, whose residents were those most likely to be affected by the closures. In an emotional news conference on Thursday, Christie announced he had fired longtime aide Bridget Kelly, whose email triggered the chain of events. He also cut ties with his former campaign manager, Bill Stepien, who was forced to forgo his relationship with the Republican Governor's Association, of which Christie is now head.


Swearing toddler in ‘Thug Cycle’ video taken into protective custody

swearingchild 600The Nebraska toddler who was seen in a video swearing at adults egging him on is now in protective custody, CNN reports.

According to Omaha police, while there was nothing illegal going on in the video, the force's Child Victim Unit and the Nebraska Child Protective Services took the toddler in the video, in addition to three other children, into custody on Wednesday due to safety concerns, according to the department's Facebook page.

The investigation started after a union from the area, the Omaha Police Officers Association, posted the video to their site, labeling it the "Thug Cycle." The organization acknowledged in their post that nothing criminal was taking place but still called "flat out immoral and completely unhealthy" for the child involved.


Do employers accommodate religion in the workplace?

workplacereligion 600Consider a typical workplace: meetings, production deadlines, coffee or smoke breaks and casual Fridays all come to mind as part of the routine. But when it comes to prayer breaks, wearing religious garb in the office and other accommodations specific to religion, that's a different story.

A recent national survey released by the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding makes the point. Today, more than one-third of workers report observing or being subjected to religious bias at work. The survey, What American Workers Really Think About Religion: Tanenbaum's 2013 Survey of American Workers and Religion, examines religious bias and discrimination against American workers.

"This survey puts employers on notice," said Tanenbaum CEO Joyce Dubensky. "American workplaces increasingly reflect the makeup of the country; they're more and more diverse. Work is the place where people with extremely different beliefs interact on a regular basis. But where there's more diversity, the survey shows that we can expect to find more conflict."


Why legalized weed is good news for young African-American men

weed 600As the legalization of marijuana promises to join the legalization of gay marriage as part of the unanticipatedly rapid social revolution that will define our times, we will be hearing certain ruminations. And not only from fire-breathing moralists easy to dismiss as "behind the times."

I refer to wiser heads worried that legalization will raise rates of usage and addiction. The New York Times' David Brooks has stated that even though he partook for a spell in his teens, he feels that legalizing marijuana will encourage more young people to smoke pot instead of exploring things more constructive and challenging.

Meanwhile, Ruth Marcus, who also acknowledges having smoked her share of pot in days now associated with "polyester," worries about data showing that the pothead teen often lowers his IQ permanently.


50 years later, it’s time for a new war on poverty

povertyy 600Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon Johnson gave one of the most important State of the Union speeches in American history. Championing the cause of racial and economic equality, he promised, "This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America."

A half-century later, it's time for America to declare a new war on poverty.

Like the best presidential addresses, Johnson's "War on Poverty" speech was enormously ambitious. He argued that a nation as rich and powerful as the United States had a political and moral obligation to lift millions out of poverty, help create jobs for inner-city youth, protect the elderly and provide food for the hungry.


White man who slapped black baby sentenced

babyslapper 600The 60-year-old man who pleaded guilty to slapping a crying baby on a plane has been sentenced to eight months in federal prison, two months longer than prosecutors recommended, the Associated Press reports via USA Today.

Joe Rickey Hundley pleaded guilty in October after reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors and was sentenced Monday.

Prosecutors say in February, Hundley was seated next to Jessica Bennett, who shared a seat with her son Jonah. As the flight began to descend to the Atlanta airport Jonah began to cry. Hundley then told Bennett to "shut that n--ger baby up," before slapping the 19-month-old boy in the face causing a scratch below the toddler's eye.


Family moves brain-dead teen from hospital

jahimoved 600On an empty street and under the cover of night, an ambulance appeared at a secured gate at Children's Hospital Oakland and then quietly pulled away. Inside on a gurney lay, Jahi McMath, the 13-year-old girl declared brain dead nearly a month ago.

Her family had been fighting for this day as they clashed with officials at Children's Hospital who believed Jahi's life ended shortly after what was supposed to be a routine tonsillectomy on December 9th. That surgery took a drastic turn last month leaving the teen brain-dead. Therefore, the hospital wanted to remove her from life support.

The family believed that as long as Jahi was breathing that there was still hope.


Village People frontman will not perform ‘Y.M.C.A.’ for Sochi Olympics protest

village 600Victor Willis, original lead singer for the Village People, said he doesn't mind that their hit "Y.M.C.A." has become a gay anthem, but he will not perform the song in protest of Russia's anti-gay laws at this year's Sochi Olympic games.

Gay rights activists have suggested the "Y.M.C.A." be played when American Olympians are introduced at the opening ceremony.

The song has long since been a gay anthem, but Willis said it was not intended to be.


Top 10 HBCUs by starting average salary

salaries1 600A college education is viewed one of the essential stepping stones to a fulfilling career – but its cost traditionally does not come cheap.

In particular, the tuition of some of the nation's many historically black colleges and universities range across the board but the rewards of a college degree often outweigh the costs.

While tuition costs and school population sizes are strong determining factors when considering which school to attend, one website HBCU Lifestyle, has listed which HBCU graduates would earn the most in salary after earning college degrees.

Here are the top 10 HBCU's by starting average salary:


College Name  |  Average Salary  |  Tuition  |  Location

1. Prairie View A&M University |  $49,300 |  $4,062 |  Prairie View, TX

2. Bowie State University |  $46,400 |  $4,547 |  Bowie, MD

3. Hampton University |  $46,300 |  $16,888 |  Hampton, VA

4. Tuskegee University |  $44,700 |  $17,070 |  Tuskegee, AL

5. Morehouse College |  $44,200 |  $21,616 |  Atlanta, GA

6. Xavier University of Louisiana |  $42,300 |  $16,900 |  New Orleans, LA

7. University of Maryland Eastern Shore |  $41,900 |  $4,362 |  Princess Anne, MD

8. Howard University |  $41,700 |  $19,150 |  Washington, DC

9. Morgan State University |  $41,500 |  $4,540 |  Baltimore, MD

10. Southern University and A&M College |  $41,400 |  $5,074 |  Baton Rouge, LA

Visit HBCU Lifestyle to learn more.

Relationship breaks: Won’t fix the issue, may bring more drama

breakups 600"How do you feel about couples taking a break? My girl suggested it, but I don't know how I feel about people being able to check in and out of a relationship when they feel like it. Does it say something about my self respect if I let her take a break?" — R.Y.

Taking a break isn't an indictment of your self-respect, but it does seem to indicate that there are some glaring issues in your relationship that you may be overlooking. The most obvious concern is poor communication. You and your lady seem to be facing an unnamed conflict that you aren't able to resolve via communication — and I'm sure you've tried — or compromise. The suggestion of a break is the result of ongoing frustration and an attempt to avoid a major issue.

Here's one of the problems with breaks: They don't solve anything — and they often make the problems worse. The idea is that you take some space to clear your head. But if it's a conflict between two people, it will take both of them to resolve it. On break, you're free to do as you please as a single person, including dating and having sex with other people.


Black folks are key to Obamacare’s success

obamacare1 600Over the holidays, first lady Michelle Obama took to the airways to promote the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, on the Rev. Al Sharpton's radio show, Joe Madison's radio broadcast and in other outlets with a large black audience, as well as with a group of mothers who were invited to the White House.

Before that, she had mostly steered clear of policy issues related to the ACA, so why is the first lady now going on the offensive over her husband's controversial health care plan? Well, not only does the public think highly of her — she routinely polls as one of the most popular figures in the country — but African Americans are a key constituency for the Obama administration, whose signature health care legislation has gained ground in recent weeks but still lags in its numerical targets.

Simply put, if Obamacare is going to work, black folks need to be on board. Here's why:



Why Frederick Douglass would support ‘selfies’

selfie 600It's no surprise that 2013 was the year of the selfie, with everyone from Kim Kardashian to President Obama making headlines for taking self portraits on their smart phones.

While pictures featuring shirtless septuagenarian Geraldo Rivera might serve as cautionary tale about taking selfies too freely, the practice marks a huge shift in our relationship with the photograph.

Pictures have been around for over 180 years, but the ability of everyday people to take pictures of themselves with the phones that they carry with them all the time has transformed the process. This is a tremendous change. Just two decades ago, none of this selfie-making was really possible.


The 2014 Black Agenda: 5 things to focus on

5rules 600As we enter into a new year, the black community should remain focused on five key areas that are vital to the promotion of racial justice and economic equality in 2014.

Reducing violence in black communities nationwide

Chicago's violence-plagued communities have received the most national attention, in part because of President Barack Obama's ties to the Windy City, but also due to its prolific number of murders. The latest victim was a 17-year-old pregnant teenager who died of a gunshot wound to the head. The miracle of this tragedy is that her baby survived. Local activists have done heroic work to stave off increased gun violence, efforts that have drawn the participation of national civil rights leaders such as Al Sharpton. Unfortunately, this has not been enough to stanch the bleeding. Obama must prioritize the issue of violence in Chicago and other predominately black, brown and poor communities, as the national crisis that it is.