Thursday, March 30, 2006


The online auction of the Academy Awards® Gift Bag received

by George Clooney at this year’s Oscar Awards ceremony has closed.,

The Oscar-winning
actor/producer/director and member of United Way of America’s Board

Trustees generously donated the bag to United Way to support hurricane

and recovery efforts.

The online auction of the transferable contents of Mr.

Clooney’s gift bag was
scheduled to close Tuesday, March 28, 2006 at 11:59 pm ET. The high
volume of bids in the closing minutes triggered a special feature

called “bid
extension” that allowed bidding to continue in five minute

increments until no
more bids were received, resulting in the $45,100 winning amount.
The auction took place at and was powered by
By auctioning the gift bag, United Way and Mr. Clooney hope to continue to focus attention on the long-term needs of the Gulf Coast areas devastated by the 2005
hurricane season as well as raise funds for ongoing rebuilding and recovery
As a member of the Board of Trustees of United Way of America,

Mr.Clooney has been a generous supporter of United Way’s efforts to

rebuild lives and communities devastated by the 2005 hurricanes.


Black tenors fight prejudice ...

I ran across this item on the NABJ Forum. It's worth reading.
Written by Tim Smith, Sun Music Critic.

Family of Notorious B I G wins settlement

B I G's family was awarded a $1.1 million settlement from city of Los Angeles, winning a police negligence suit brought against the department during the slain rapper's civil trial.
click on title link for story...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Film: Inside Man

I have yet to go see Spike's new film, "Inside Man" but I hear it's rather good. Go read the reviews. Mum's here--gotta go.
(Sssppppt: Hey Spike, lemme send you my screenplay, Eighteen Months. Holla back)

Reviews on "Inside Man"

Ebert/Sun Times/Chicago

Stein/San Fran Chronicle/CA

Entertainment Weekly/Schwarsbaum

Medicare Rx Bus

GARY--Amid complaints that the Medicare part-D plan was hard to understand, the
Medicare Rx bus with all of it's bells and whistles, made a stop Tuesday in Gary
at the Genesis Convention Center.
Many senior citizens seemed relieved at the answers they were given.
Mary F. Hayes, 74, of Gary got a shock when she picked up her pricey name brand

hypertension medication last week. She had to pay a co-pay but thought her
secondary insurance would prevent that. She said she never had to make a
co-payment when

she was on the state's Medicare subscription program.
"Saturday I had to pay $30 co-pay for each but the (counselor) said that
was not accurate," Hayes said. The counselor helped her find a better prescription drug plan.

Eddie Gray, 80, a SHIIP volunteer, said although it doesn't sound like much
money, Hayes' insurance coverage has a "gap" in coverage. The money she saves now
will help cover the gap later.
"When they pick up again, it will be with a lower co-payment. It's best to
go ahead and enroll now," Gray said.

According to data released by the Health and Human Services Department in
February, more than 51 percent of Medicare-eligible seniors already have signed up for the program.
"Some who retire find their health insurance plans aren't what they thought
it would be," Fran Wersells, Region V program specialist for Administration on Aging, said.

Medicare Part A, pays for hospitalization, Part B, doctor and
outpatient visits and Part D, prescription coverage. Enrollment for Part D, ends
May 15. Enrollment won't open again until November 2007.
Senior Health Insurance Information Program volunteers (SHIIP) are located at
Methodist Hospital Northlake. Information may be obtained from the desk near the
emergency room entrance. The hours of service are the first and third Tuesday of
the month 10 a.m. to noon. Information about SHIIP, a free counseling service
from the Indiana State Department of Insurance, may be obtained by calling

Some seniors, like Princie Kindred, had no coverage. Sometimes seniors believed
they must pay for medicines out of their monthly social security checks.
Wilma Wilson brought her mother, Barbara Palmer, on the suggestion of a
neighbor, Wilson said. Her mother wasn't signed up for a program.
The counselors and Senior Health Insurance Information Program volunteers,
helped seniors either find an appropriate prescription drug program or explained how they could help save money on their out-of-pocket expenses for medications.
Brenda Delgoto, of the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, warned that
enrollment for Medicare Part D, closes May 15. She said sometimes unfortunate circumstances happen to otherwise healthy seniors, like accidents. Then they may need additional medicines, so it would be good to enroll.

Medicare prescription drug coverage provides protection for people who have very
high drug costs but everyone with Medicare is eligible for coverage, regardless
of income and resources.

Seniors can join a Medicare prescription drug plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan
or other Medicare Health Plans that offer drug coverage.
There is a monthly premium, which varies by plan, and a yearly deductible (no
more than $250 in 2006). Depending on income, seniors may have to pay a part of
the cost of prescriptions, including a co payment or coinsurance. Costs vary.
Some plans may offer more coverage and additional drugs for a higher monthly

Seniors on a limited income and have few resources may qualify for extra help,
where they may not have to pay a premium or deductible.
Almost 1 in 3 people with Medicare will qualify for extra help and Medicare will
pay for almost all of their prescription drug costs, according to information
from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Friday, March 24, 2006

OOOOH burn.

"The crowd was noisy but sparse -- about 200 people in all. I asked a woman in the lobby about the Sun-Times boycott. She said, "The Sun-Times'll be all right until the Defender decides to become a real paper."

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Our Mayor has quit his job!

Citing "competition with family love", Gary Mayor Scott King submitted his resignation Wednesday, during an hour-long press conference aired on the Comcast Government Access Channel.

King's resignation ends a 10-year reign.

King, the city's first white mayor in 28 years, said his resignation will become effective noon Friday.

"I have to do family first," he said.

He said he wanted to quit earlier, after struggling with the decision to enter his third term, when the property tax issue arose, he said.

King, the father of two daughters and a son, said the rigors of balancing family and work were too much, so he felt it best to resign. During reporters questions, he talked about how low mayoral salaries are.

"Right now I'm making more than the governor so it would be hard to get an increase there," he said.
He inferred his "three stair step kids... who don't want to go to local college" put a strain on his household budget. He makes $107,000 a year--$87,000 from city and the balance from the Gary Sanitary District where he serves as special administrator mandated in a federal consent decree. King must serve in that position until another special administrator is named, he said.

However, King just sounded as he was tired of public scrutiny. He jokingly asked reporters to lose his home number and couldn't wait to say, "that's my personal business," in response to a reporter's question.

"The job is never done. It is a living organism. (However) the most rewarding experience is the sincerity the people of this community has accepted and respected and followed me as their mayor. Little kids know my name." King said.

He also answered questions on the airport and extending the runway and the changing face of Northwest Indiana, away from heavy industry.
"Development of the lakefront will get done," he said

He emphasized that a push from the private business sector is in line to cue up the city's economy.
However political pundits take a different view of the issues surrounding King's resignation.

King jokingly mentioned in a response to a reporter's question, that if the state raises the pay of Governor of Indiana, "who knows" he might take a "run at it."

His wife, Irene King, said before the broadcast was abruptly ended while she was still answering questions, told a reporter that, "everything must change."

Newly appointed deputy mayor, Dozier T. Allen will assume the duties of mayor. King's term ends December 2007. Allen's official title is acting mayor, King said.

The position of deputy mayor won't be filled until the Democratic Caucus.

Allen, the former long-standing Calumet Township Trustee, told the audience that he has an understanding of how government works. He also said he has the wisdom of a 75-year-old man and the stamina of a 50-year-old man. He asked the city to pray for him.

"More important is a humble spirit and a kind heart," Allen said.
Economic development and employment will be his major issue projects, Allen said.

"One large employer could solve that problem overnight. I'm interested in looking at every model that could serve this city,"Allen said. He also said he is impressed with the General Assembly's work, thus far.

"I have no fear of the Republican or Democratic party," he said, adding a person's personal philosophy is what it is.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Changes to my home.

I have been creating artwork and hanging existing artwork. It is an arduous labor of love. I majored in Graphic Design long ago at Indiana State University but was discouraged by my advisor at one point due to my lack of talent and inability to successfully complete an art perspectives class.
However, at my own cost, I can fill my home with as much bad art all I want!

Chicago has star power!

Guess what I found out...
Friends television sitcom star, Jennifer Aniston is reportedly moving to Chicago to get away from all of the Hollywood noise.
(And if you are wondering how I can shift gears from the Black People's Convention to showbiz dish--well go figure--I watch "Friend's" reruns too).
One of Aniston's co-stars from "Friend's" is from the Chicago area and once met with Mayor of Chicago, Richard Daley. Guess which co-star! (hee hee heee)

Monday, March 13, 2006

Black Peoples Unity Convention 2006

by Leslie Jones McCloud
Tammi Davis, president of the Gary NAACP chapter, said in a speech
Sunday about Hurricane Katrina victims that the country shouldn't
be fooled by grandstanding. She drew a standing ovation.
Davis made her comments on the last day of the The National Black
Peoples Unity Convention 2006
held all week long at West Side High
School in Gary, IN. It was the site of the first convention in 1972.
"I believe that one of the greatest challenges we face is making
the Katrina relevant to all of us everywhere. The hurricane
, like many of us, are victims of date rape by the same
government that promised liberty and justice for all. Conjugal
visits to New Orleans should not be interpreted as love but rather
for just what it is - a booty call," Davis told the audience.
She said Americans "should not allow ourselves to be prostituted by
the political pimps who seek to exploit and disenfranchise," got a
standing ovation and opened up the door for audience member's
spirited questions.
Davis said the NAACP formed an emergency response team of five
individuals who worked with local agencies to assist 300 evacuees
that were transported to Northwest Indiana.
A progress report about the American Federation of Labor and Congress
of Industrial Organizations
outlined an investment plan to ensure
the hurricane ravaged area is revitalized.
Davis pointed out in her speech that the NAACP formed a call to
action that recommends, among other things, an assurance that
displaced families will have the right to return to the Gulf Coast
region, rebuild and reconnect families and children, establish $100
billion Family Reconstruction fund,
provide mental and physical
health assistance, legal and voting protection, ensure that local
residents get first choice at jobs and contracts in the rebuilding
Her three minute speech wrapped up what some conveners considered
a revision of greatness, however, the National Black Peoples Unity
Convention 2006 was never meant to mimic the 1972 National Black
Political Convention
- and it didn't.
Instead, conveners discussed another way to get ahead in this
country - through economic equity.
West Side High School in Gary, Ind. was met by an array of Black
business, political, civic, labor and economic leaders there to
discuss the plight of African Americans and chart a course to
change the condition of Black communities nationwide.
Among those speaking: Revs. Jesse Jackson Sr. and Al Sharpton,
Minister Louis Farrakhan, NAACP CEO Bruce Gordon, SCLC President
Emeritus Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery
, and others.
During the last 34 years since the last convening of African
American politicians and activists, there has been an increase in
their ranks from 900 in the 1970s to about 16,000 in 2006, the Rev.
Walter Fauntroy
"We should be farther along - all considered," he said.
Fauntroy, a president of the National Black Leadership Roundtable,
was joined Saturday by former Colorado Lt. Gov. George Brown, the
first Black lieutenant governor in the country; former Gary mayor
Richard Hatcher, the country's first Black mayor and former Los
Angeles councilman, David Cunningham
, in the green room behind the
stage inside the school auditorium. He was joined by a few other of
his peers who were either at or influenced by the convention 34
years ago.
The discussions were lively and informative.
"Back then they told the people to go home and run for anything
even if it was for dog catcher," Brown said.
But if there is no economic parity, success is muted.
"If there is no money then where are we now? We are at the point
where economic empowerment is out of the game," Fauntroy said.
He said that between 1965 and 1971 four million new Black voters
were added.
Harking back to the glory days of the Civil Rights
Movement when Blacks were beaten and jailed for the right to vote,
Fauntroy added, "imminent danger fueled the agenda to empower
people to want to vote."
Today, the battlefield is economic. All of the men in the room
agreed blacks need to be as unified in this struggle as he believes
they were in 1972. Brown chimed in, "we need unity without
"We hope to make same kind of progress in our ability to control the billion of dollars that African-Americans spend as consumers every year--to make it more beneficial to African-Americans. One of the things we learned is that it is not enough to win political office and exercise political power. At the base of everything that takes place in this country is money and at this point African-Americans have been systematically excluded from that arena," Hatcher said.
He said the organizers of the convention hope to derive strategies to achieve a fair share of the dollars.
"Blacks have to learn that it's not how much you make but how much you keep," Hatcher said.
As a group, those involved with the beginning of what is known
black power movement, saw the end to apartheid, an increase in
black voters and Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday as a national
"Lots of people came out of here with the capacity and authority to
work," Cunningham said.
But blacks need to have more philanthropy, sharing and empowerment
Brown said.
Conveners liked the ideas discussed.
"I thought it was very thought provoking...this was a great
opportunity for us to come together to talk about the impact globally nationally and locally to our people and to put a plan together which---I think is
important. This is just the first step in us coming together... to talk about where we need to be," J. Allen Johnson of Gary, said.
Conveners also said the thought-provoking discussions inspired them to want to take action on the home front.
"I liked the educational part about out youth. They are going to form a coalition to make sure our children are educated and that there is health care for the poor, blacks and brown in this country. I learned that we are the poorest among us and that we are being left behind and that if we don't do something, we are going to be extinct. They were talking about how to do
it," Georgianna S. Gonzer, a psychiatric nurse from New Jersey, said. She said they drove to Gary for the convention because she heard it was a historical event.
"We heard the convention in 1972 was very great," she said.
Unlike the first convention, there will be no final documents like

the "Black National Political Agenda," Brown said, but there will be meetings and committees formed so that the discussion may continue
on how to further advance black economic power.
"When Harold Washington was mayor, we created Black millionaires
all over the country. Political power without economic power is
meaningless. There are people who are smart enough to run a nation
with what they know," Fauntroy said.


Friday, March 10, 2006

Program expanded for Soldiers to earn $1,000 referral bonus

A $1,000 bonus for referring recruit applicants announced by the
Army in January, expanded recently to include more soldiers who are
eligible to receive this payment.
This latest recruiting incentive will pay soldiers for referring
applicants who enlist, complete basic training, and graduate
advanced individual training. The referral must be made by the
soldier at the U.S. Army web site prior to the new recruit’s first meeting with a recruiter.
The incentive is a pilot program included as one of the provisions
in the Fiscal Year 2006 National Defense Authorization Act. Dates
of eligibility for the referral bonus are Jan. 1, 2006, through
Dec. 31, 2007. The Army is now authorized to pay a bonus to any
Soldier who refers to an Army recruiter a person who has not
previously served in the Armed Forces and enlists in either the
Active Army, Army National Guard or the Army Reserves. The
referral may not be an immediate family member and the soldier
referring may not be serving in a recruiting or retention
"Soldiers continue to play an important role in the recruiting
process and with this program we are able to recognize their
contributions,” Lt. Gen. Franklin L. Hagenbeck, Deputy Chief
of Staff, Army G-1 (Personnel), said.
“We thank Congress for their recent legislation to provide bonuses such as these,” Hagenbeck said.
The Referral Bonus Pilot Program includes Soldiers performing duties in the Hometown Recruiter Assistance Program (HRAP), Special Recruiter Assistance Program (SRAP), and the Active Duty for Special Work (ADSW).
For more information about this pilot incentive program, visit the U.S. Army web site or call 1-800-223-3735, ext. 6-0473.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I wanna hear it.

Jamie Foxx should produce a Christmas CD. I want to hear him this Christmas 2006 singing some Donnie Hathaway and some original Christmas music he arranged and wrote himself. He has such a soulful voice.
I want Kanye West to remake "Hurry Up This Way Again" by the Stylistics on a single. I know he can hit those notes and look good doing it.
Maybe they will both come over to my house to sing to me, instead.
I can cook and I got some yak.
...Let it flow let it flow ohh ohhh ohhhh ohhh...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Iraq's impending civil war

I've been wondering all week about why Iraq is edging towards a civil war. This Detroit Free Press editorial explains it.
Isn't this what this country does? Turmoil is always in the air somewhere in the Middle East. Haven't the people of this world been engaged in some kind of conflict for years?
The U.S. will teach these people to live in relative harmony but first must enhance their culture so that they can accept the American Way.
There are all kinds of checks and balances in our culture so that no one group imposes their will on another--thusly the Melting Pot theory.
Send some psychologists and social workers over there to help before they drain all of the resources from our communities, please.