E. Lynn Harris Dies

July 31, 2009 by  
Filed under Entertainment, Lifestyle

E. Lynn Harris
E. Lynn Harris

Updated | 2:48 p.m. E. Lynn Harris, the best-selling author of novels that addressed questions of identity and sexuality among black men, has died, his publicist told The Associated Press. He was 54.

According to his official biography at his Web site, Mr. Harris was born in Flint, Mich. and raised in Little Rock, Ark. At the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, he was the school’s first black male Razorbacks cheerleader and was a lifelong fan of the team. He sold computers for a living until he self-published his first novel, “Invisible Life,” in 1991; it was picked up by Anchor Books in 1994, spawning a prolific writing career spanning ten more novels, from “Just As I Am” in 1994, to “Basketball Jones,” published in January, as well as a 2004 memoir, “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted.”

In a review of Mr. Harris’s 2006 novel “I Say a Little Prayer” in The New York Times Book Review, Troy Patterson wrote that Mr. Harris “has helped bring taboo topics — like closeted black men indulging their sexuality ‘on the down low’ — into mainstream conversation.” From his debut with “Invisible Life”, Mr. Patterson wrote that Mr. Harris offered a writing style that “was smoothly paced, and the prose occasionally opened up on Fitzgerald-lite moments of sparkling sentiment.”

In a statement, Alison Rich, the executive director of publicity for Doubleday, which published Mr. Harris’s novels, said: “We at Doubleday are deeply shocked and saddened to learn of E. Lynn Harris’ death at too young an age. His pioneering novels and powerful memoir about the black gay experience touched and inspired millions of lives, and he was a gifted storyteller whose books brought delight and encouragement to readers everywhere. Lynn was a warm and generous person, beloved by friends, fans, and booksellers alike, and we mourn his passing.”

A full obituary will follow at nytimes.com.

GOP weapon against health reform

July 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Federal, Lifestyle, World

health reform

In political combat, there are few more potent weapons than a single word or a catchy phrase that can be used to target a proposal and drive it into the ground.

For Republicans, “rationing” could be that poison-tipped arrow for the Democratic-led health care bill, much as “amnesty” was the club with which conservatives beat President Bush’s attempt at immigration reform into a bloody pulp in 2007.

“Governments ration care to control costs, and we’ve got stories from other countries where disabled children wait up to two years for wheelchairs. We’ve got a story that we found: a 76-year-old retiree pulled out their own teeth,” said Rep. Dave Camp, Michigan Republican and the ranking member on the House Ways and Means Committee.

“Government rationing is a scary proposition,” he said.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, echoed this point during a conference call Wednesday, warning that the government could get into the business of rationing health care, deciding how much Americans can get or can spend on it and denying people health care that exceeds some rationed amount.

“The rationing problem is very real in all this and I think that as the American people learn more and more about the proposals as we are now being allowed more time for them to engage on this issue, they are very, very much concerned,” he said.

But Democrats say the insurance companies are already rationing care and that the reforms they want would cover all those who are being denied coverage under the current system, as well as keep down costs through an intensive focus on which medical procedures and products deliver care most effectively.

Republicans say that under a government-run system, which they argue will result from the proposed option to buy insurance from the government, cost will come to be the dominant factor that defines “efficient care,” and thus Americans will be denied care with no recourse.

House Democrats plan to introduce their health care overhaul measure Monday and consider amendments later in the week. On Sunday’s talk shows, there was disagreement on whether Congress will finish work on the bill before adjourning for the August recess.

Sen. Judd Gregg, New Hampshire Republican, said on CNN that meeting the deadline was “highly unlikely” because the Senate Finance Committee had not completed a draft. Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the Senate Republican whip, said flatly there was “no chance.”

Bill Clinton inducted by black fraternity Phi Beta Sigma

July 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Federal, Lifestyle, US

Former President Bill Clinton

Former President Bill Clinton

A historically black fraternity founded at Howard University has voted to induct former President Bill Clinton as an honorary member.

Phi Beta Sigma President Paul Griffin Jr. said Friday that Mr. Clinton is the first U.S. president to be inducted into a historically black fraternity.

The fraternity voted Tuesday for Mr. Clinton’s induction at its 95th Anniversary Conclave in New Orleans.

Stevie Wonder, Al Roker, the Rev. Al Sharpton and jazz musician Ramsey Lewis are also honorary members of Phi Beta Sigma.

The fraternity was founded in 1914.

Obama vows to keep health care promises

July 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Business, Federal, Lifestyle, US

President Obama on health care

President Obama on health care

President Obama said Monday he stands by his pledge not to raise taxes on families making $250,000 or less and lashed out at “Washington thinking” and negative chatter questioning the fate of his health care plan while he was traveling abroad.

“During the campaign, I promised health care reform that would control costs, expand coverage and ensure choice, and I promised that Americans making $250,000 a year or less would not pay more in taxes. These are promises that we’re keeping as reform moves forward,” Mr. Obama said in the Rose Garden ceremony before naming Alabama family physician Dr. Regina Benjamin as his choice for surgeon general.

The White House had been dodging questions on whether Mr. Obama would be able to keep the $250,000 tax pledge from the campaign trail and still pay for the sweeping, expensive health care plan he’s seeking.

The remarks came as Democratic lawmakers were to reveal a new plan to pay for health care — taxing those earning more than $350,000 per year by an additional 1 percent and imposing a higher rate on people earning $500,000 to $1 million.

Mr. Obama challenged those in Washington he said are “scared” to change the health care status quo: “You know, the muscles in this town to bring about big changes are a little atrophied, but we’re whipping folks back into shape.”

Thumping his finger hard on the podium for emphasis, Mr. Obama warned “naysayers” who oppose his health care plan: “Don’t bet against us.” He also said the country is “closer than we have ever been” on passing health reform, even as House and Senate leaders have said they won’t meet his August deadline for drafting bills that could be ready for vote shortly after the August recess.

“So I just want to put everybody on notice, because there was a lot of chatter during the week that I was gone. We are going to get this done. Inaction is not an option,” he said.

The message was the same he’s been pushing all summer, but Mr. Obama struck a stern tone that has been mostly absent since he took office.

“If we step back from this challenge right now, we will leave our children a legacy of debt, a future of crushing costs that bankrupt our families, our businesses and, because we will have done nothing to bring down the costs of Medicare and Medicaid, will crush our government,” he said.

Healthy Hair Tip – Sesame Oil for Sun Protection!

June 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Lifestyle

healthy-hairThe new spring weather means abandoning those thick wool hats and letting our hair blow in the breeze. However, even though the weather is mild and the sun doesn’t seem very intense, UV rays can still damage our fragile tresses.

For light sun protection, try Sesame Oil. It’s perfect for low to moderate sun exposure. Plus, its cheap and easy to find at any grocery store.

Sesame oil has been used for centuries as a natural hair conditioner and sunscreen. It can block up to 30% of the sun’s harmful rays and will act as a protective barrier between the unforgiving wind and our fragile strands.  Apply a dime size amount to dry hair daily, concentrating on the ends, before heading outdoors.

If you need additional sun protection or plan to spend a significant amount of time outdoors, there are dozens of products that can help. L’Oreal, Sunsilk, Phyto, Rene Furterer, Kerastase and Ojon all make a wide range of products that contain SPF.

My personal favorites are Phyto Plage Sun Veil or Rene Furterer Summer Fluid or Summer Oil as they help condition the hair and add a nice long lasting shine.

I hope this helps! For more tips and techniques, you can find me at www.healthytextures.com.

Found – And Lost: 1786 Slaves’ Freedom Site Discovered, Now Doomed by Developer

June 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Lifestyle

Dr. King Memorial

Dr. King Memorial

Yonkers, NY (BlackNews.com) – Black history is again bittersweet in this old Hudson River city.

On May 1, 1786, seventy-six years before the Emancipation Proclamation, the very first liberation law of its kind in America was passed.

It freed a tiny number of slaves in an act of freedom of earth-shattering importance.

Now, a further startling discovery has been made:

The last piece of the long-lost formal lawn and garden where these slaves actually toiled – and then walked in freedom – has been found.

Also discovered have been the names of the slaves themselves.

Slaves Tom, Mary, Betty, Caesar, Wall, and Cato unknowingly blazed the trail of liberty for the millions more of their fellow African-Americans remaining in bondage into the next century.

These Yonkers slaves belonged to the richest man and woman in old New York.

The lawn they walked, both in slavery and in freedom, was trod by George Washington, John Jay, and other founding fathers of America. It was the actual entrance to the Philipse Manor Hall, and was an epicenter of both white and African-American life in the New York City area.

The house in which the slaves slept – in the attic rafters – was named a National Treasure by President Clinton.

And the thirteen old buildings ringing the old “liberation lawn,” now a vacant overgrown lot, were recently landmarked.

The land’s lure to fugitive slaves escaping to freedom, continued in the nineteenth century. It became an island of freedom, surrounded by a sea of slavery. Quakers owned local property, and the Underground Railroad operated here.

Documentation has been discovered that in 1859 – on the very site of Tom and Mary’s legacy – the first Baptist church in Yonkers collected money for “securing the liberation of a brother and two sisters from slavery.”

But as the anniversary of Tom and Mary’s freedom approaches, a developer is on track to obliterate this sacred land. The soil will be hauled away, including its archaeological contents, the pit filled with concrete footings, and a garage and high-rise glass condo will rise. Study of old maps shows numerous parts of the lot have never been built upon, since Indian times.

No other place in the United States has been found combining these documented roles in slavery and freedom spanning three centuries, including slaves freed by this first such law in America, with their names.

Hidden in plain sight, in the fourth-largest city in New York, is this proud legacy of the African-American culture that literally built Yonkers, reaching back over three centuries.

A member of the Historical Society remarked, “It took 223 years to rediscover this ‘ground zero’ of African-American freedom. But the ‘Liberation Lawn’ is once again captive – no longer by a slave master, but by a developer and the City. Tom and Mary’s freedom site – the first of its kind in America – probably will not be here on May 1, 2010, for its 224th birthday.”

Yonkers “planning” officials press ahead for decimation of the small piece of land. Few other places in Yonkers, indeed in America, recognize the presence of African-Americans.

Urgent action is needed now, to again free the Liberation Lawn, this time from the City of Yonkers, for the people of America. In the meantime, happy 223rd birthday.
An article on the discovery of the “Liberation Lawn,” documented with footnotes and illustrations, in the current Yonkers Historical Society Bulletin, gladly furnished upon request. Previous research on the proprietor of a proximate historic property led to his inclusion in a current four-year White House Historical Association – Smithsonian Institution exhibit.

Bernice Odesser

Nortrud Wolfe Spero
Yonkers Historical Society

The Clark Sisters still Riding High on Sucess

June 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Faith


Acclaimed gospel quartet The Clark Sisters are still riding off the success of their latest CD, ‘Live: One Last Time.’

After winning their first three Grammy Awards in 2008 for the Donald Lawrence-produced CD, the singing sisters have apparently decided to record new music for EMI Gospel, including a forthcoming Christmas CD later this year.

Karen Clark Sheard, Dorinda Clark Cole, Jacky Clark Chisholm and Elbertina “Twinkie” Clark will announce later this week that they have inked a new deal with EMI Gospel via a partnership with an upstart label launched by Sheard called Karew Records.

Pronounced KA-RUE, the label is apparently a hybrid of Sheard and her husband, Pastor J. Drew Sheard, Sr.’s names.

Sheard is president of the label and her husband is a partner as well. Their son, producer J. Drew Sheard will work in an A&R capacity for the imprint.

In addition to the upcoming holiday recording by The Clark Sisters, Sheard will also release a long awaited follow-up to her 2006 solo release ‘It’s Not Over’ on the label this fall.

The Clark Sisters will also record a new CD as a collective that is tentatively slated for 2010.

There’s early buzz that the other three sisters will also eventually record and release solo offerings via Karew/EMI Gospel as well.

Sheard’s daughter, Kierra “KiKi” Sheard will continue to record directly for EMI Gospel.

The long-term deal between EMI Gospel and Karew Records will allow the Detroit-bred sisters to own their masters.

Best known for hits like ‘You Brought The Sunshine,’ ‘Miracle’ and ‘Is My Living In Vein,’ The Clark Sisters were recently featured on the TV One series, ‘Unsung,’ which showcases popular recording artists that didn’t meet their full professional potential for various reasons.

The group will perform two songs as the special birthday guests of ‘The View’ co-host Sherri Shepherd during the ABC talk show’s live broadcast on April 22.

A rep for EMI Gospel was unavailable to comment at press time

travel post

April 19, 2009 by  
Filed under Travel

travel post


April 19, 2009 by  
Filed under Horoscopes

Events post

April 19, 2009 by  
Filed under Events

events — subcategory of lifestyle