Caribbean economist examines link between poor economy and well-being


Zhivargo Laing, economist

Zhivargo Laing, economist

NEW YORK (September 17, 2013) – Economist Zhivargo Laing, former finance minister of the Bahamas, has been promoting a recipe for financial security after observing the link between the poor economy and people’s well-being. Under the theme, “The Power to Be Better in Good Times and Bad” the economist urges people devastated by the recession to be hopeful and. “not feel bad because these have been momentous times with shifting fortunes leaving legions in states of anxiety, hopelessness and despair.”

An extended period of economic turbulence has shattered the American dream for millions of residents and with it, Zhivargo said, “The fortunes of many outside the United Sates whose well-being is tied to the advancement of that dream.” He plans to embark on a speaking tour on the theme “Released!” later this year. Zhivargo said that “Unemployed millions, underemployed millions and fully employed but over-leveraged millions now share a common fate – the democratization of pessimism.”

Those at the economic margins in fragile communities, especially those heavily populated by minorities, said Laing, “face the additional burdens of the dissolution of social support systems and widespread despair.” With material security in doubt and economic prospects obscure, he added, “the times have raised the central question of human existence: Why are you here and what are you about?” The changing circumstances call for an awakening, he said, “to an untapped, limitless power within, one which when discovered provides the means to be and do better in good times and bad.”

This power within, the author declared, “first works its miracle on the person, providing inner peace, clarity of perspective and renewed personal purpose. The power then works itself outward, providing the means to produce, provide and prosper.” Laing describes it as a liberating power which “frees from the shackles of regret, the chains of pessimism and the burdens of dis-contentment. It releases us to be free to be now, to do now and to excel now.”

Laing  also said that “Physically, emotionally, socially, financially and spiritually … the released soul is centered, at peace and joy, and an excellent candidate for family and community building and development. Released is a pocket of wisdom that gives life and riches in full measure, whatever the times.”

For further information about Zhivargo Laing, visit





Unfit to serve, Ohio educator bans Toni Morrison’s book, compares President Obama to Hitler

Pulitzer-Prize winning author/educator Toni Morrison, author of a plethora of literary works.

Pulitzer-Prize winning author/educator Toni Morrison, author of a plethora of literary works.

Ohio Board of Education President Debe Terher needs to be removed from office without delay. Terher, who shared a picture on her Facebook page comparing President Obama to Adolf Hitler, has allowed her personal feelings to cloud her judgment again. In the recent episode that demonstrates her lack of fitness to hold her post, she banned Pulitzer-prize winning author Toni Morrison’s literary tome, The Bluest Eye, from the Ohio public school system. This decision is wrong and represents an assault on the learning and literary rights of Ohio’s children.

Brandishing a sense of self-righteousness that has no place in the educational system, Terher describes the book as “pornographic” and justifies her action by stating: “I don’t want my grand-daughter reading it and I don’t want anyone else’s children reading it. It should not be used in any school for any K-12 child.” Speak for yourself Ms Terher. Mind you, this is the same person who, in a campaign to “encourage reading” surrounds herself with an exclusive group of white children, effectively sending a message to black, Asian and Latino children that what if they choose to read it is unimportant to her as long as they don’t read about black people. This is nothing short of disgraceful and Terher should be removed immediately.

bluest eye

Morrison’s classic book, set in Ohio, tells the tale of Pecola, a girl who grows up in poverty and is exposed to unimaginable childhood trauma. It recounts incest, abuse and other social ills, dovetailing with the plight of a dark-skinned black girl yearning to have blue eyes so that she can feel beautiful and loved. In this country with its horrific history of slavery and profound injustice, dark-skinned back children are often teased while white, blue-eyed children are treated as special. How dare Ms Terher deprive children of the opportunity to honestly examine those serious issues under the guidance of responsible and presumably multiculturally competent educators?

Her actions represent an outrage that must not stand. Parents, guardians and educators need to quell this ill-conceived edict before it has a chance to take root. The book needs to be immediately placed on the must-read book list for children. Educators need to be vigilant in examining the textures and messages of this important literary offering and explore its relevance to children, which are the central theme of the book.  Morrison was not amused by the Terher’s actions, stating ” I resent it,” in response to what Terher has done.

Debe Terher bans Morrison's book, post picture on social media comparing President Obama to Adolf Hitler.

Debe Terher bans Morrison’s book, post picture on social media comparing President Obama to Adolf Hitler.

If the populace fails to roll back this high-handed maneuver then is should not come as a surprise if the sanctimonious Terher goes after other literary icons under the guise of protecting children. Who will be her next targets? Will it be Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings?” or Richard Wright’s “Black Boy or Native Son?” Will it be James’ Baldwin’s books or will she decide that Langston Hughes’ poems are too strong?

Terher must not be allowed to single-handedly deprive children of the opportunity to learn about social issues. The issues described in the book will educate children about the importance of protecting their well-being. It is not Terher’s role to censor the literary offerings of children who are entitled to as comprehensive an education as possible. She is certainly misguided in her assessment of a book that should be required reading for all children. Not only should the citizens of Ohio rise up and protest this presumptuous act on Terher’s part, they should take their action a bit further and boot her from her position because it is clear that she does not understand that it is not her place to censor literature. She needs to restore the book to the required reading list and be removed from office immediately.–


Birmingham Association of Black Journalists spotlights the city’s legacy

CNN Anchor Don Lemon poses with the scholarship winners at the BABJ event.

CNN Anchor Don Lemon poses with the scholarship winners at the BABJ’s Mountaintop Awards Gala where $3.000 was awarded in scholarships.

Birmingham, AL, Sept 15, 2013: Today the city of Birmingham honors the memories of four black girls who were killed by white supremacists in a bombing at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. The city of Birmingham has been commemorating its “50 Years Forward” campaign with various events that highlight the city’s painful history and the current state of the city as efforts continue towards meaningful change.

Emory Jackson's brothers accepted his award, which was made posthumously.

Emory Jackson’s brothers accepted his award, which was made posthumously.

One group that has taken the lead in the commemorative events is the Birmingham Association of Black Journalists (BABJ). The BABJ held a two–day conference on the weekend of September 6 and 7, honoring members of the media who played a vital role in the civil rights era. Scholarships were awarded to deserving students at the event. “We gave out $3,000 in scholarships to students,” said President of the Birmingham Association of Black Journalists Linda White.

Dr Jesse Lewis

Honoree, Dr Jesse Lewis, publisher of the Birmingham Times, speaks with a guest.

The event began with the Mountaintop Awards Ceremony, which was held on Friday, September 6, 2013 at 6:00 pm in the Harbert Center. CNN’ Anchor Don Lemon, a former Birmingham anchor, was the featured speaker. The honorees included Emory O. Jackson, crusading editor of the Birmingham World newspaper, Shelley Stewart, entrepreneur and radio personality and Dr. Jessie Lewis, Sr., publisher of The Birmingham Times. The three received special recognition for their courage in covering events that affected the black community during a period when other media outlets did not.

Audience members listen to the presenters.

Audience members listen to the presenters, who covered various topics at the conference.

On Saturday, September 7, 2013, the “Standing on their Shoulders” Conference was held from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm at The Birmingham News. The conference featured  Pulitzer Prize-winning author Hank Klibanoff, whose book, “The Race Beat,” chronicles how the media covered the civil rights movement from Brown vs. the Board of Education to the Selma-to-Montgomery march.  Also, former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones discussed the role the media played in bringing the 16th Street Baptist Church bombers to justice.

To learn more about the BABJ and its’ upcoming events, contact BABJ Chapter President Linda White at, Tel: (205) 410-3406 or Event Committee Chair Willie Chriesman at, Tel: (205)



Limited support for black quarterbacks to succeed

Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting quarterback Josh Freeman.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting quarterback Josh Freeman.

By Charles Glover Jr.

There appears to be a change in the struggle for equal opportunities for the black quarterback at the top-level of football. A record of nine starting African-American quarterbacks were in the NFL this opening weekend. While there are clearly more chances given to black quarterbacks so far this season, the struggle for true equality seems elusive. Black quarterbacks face an uphill climb trying to prove themselves as long-term solutions that organizations believe can help them win the ultimate goal:a Super Bowl championship.

l. Robert Griffin III, c. Colin Kaepernick, r. Russell Wilson

l. Robert Griffin III, c. Colin Kaepernick, r. Russell Wilson.

Now that there are more black quarterbacks  being signed to teams, a more uniform evaluation of the quarterback position itself, if implemented, would signal a new, equitable approach. Each young quarterback wants to be viewed by their organization as a franchise quarterback, a quarterback that organizations can feel comfortable with. NFL teams want to be able to believe that their quarterbacks will ultimately lead them to the Super Bowl prize over a period of several years. Currently, there are only three out of 32 teams that have black quarterbacks who definitively fit that criteria: Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III. Cam Newton and Michael Vick can also join that franchise quarterback list with stellar plays this season. That would bring the total to five black quarterbacks out of 32 NFL teams.

Michael Vick, Josh Freeman. Current starting quarterbacks fighting for future security.

Michael Vick and Josh Freeman, current starting quarterbacks who are fighting for future security.

The new struggle for black quarterbacks is to be able to convince franchises that their success is something that the organization should invest in long-term. So far that struggle is still not being won on a consistent basis. The criteria that organizations use to determine which quarterback they will invest in long term vary. What is clear, however, is that the criteria have yet to favor a black quarterback in recent memory.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo

This past off-season Carson Palmer took his miserable starting record for the Oakland Raiders and parlayed that into a starting job with the Cardinals in Arizona.
Not to be outdone, Tony Romo cashed in on his goodwill with the Cowboys and signed a contract worth more than current Super Bowl defending champion quarterback Joe Flacco, despite Romo under-performing in consecutive seasons. It remains to be seen if Josh Freeman, current Buccaneers quarterback, or Michael Vick, current Eagles quarterback, will be so fortunate in landing future starting positions if their teams both fail to reach the playoffs this season. It seems unlikely, given past trends, that Vick and Freeman could imagine any scenario in which they would get salary increases if they underachieve in consecutive seasons like Romo and Palmer did.

Do the Carolina Panthers believe Cam Newton is their quarterback of the future?

Do the Carolina Panthers believe Cam Newton is their quarterback of the future?

While it is positive to see black quarterbacks anchoring teams, the jury is still out as to the extent of those chances being offered to them. It is up for discussion whether they are going to be judged the same way as their white counterparts. It appears as if black quarterbacks are held to a higher standard to perform while being given a shorter window and less support to excel. Black quarterbacks are pressured excessively to perform immediately.They are expected to produce stellar results with minimum time to grow and thrive. They must not only win games, but look good doing so, and display superior character in the process.

One can only hope that white quarterbacks will be judged by this same high standard going forward. However, if the current pattern is a guide, such equal expectation of accountabilty for white quarterbacks seems to be a long shot. Somehow, it seems as if black quarterbacks are expected to produce and excel right away while white quarterback are nurtured, coddled, supported and then rewarded with exorbitant contracts, even when they fail to produce. The dichotomy sets a troubling precedent for the sport and should be addressed, for the integrity of the game, before this season ends.

Change underway on NYC’s political landscape

By Carmen Glover

Former Controller Bill Thompson and Public Advocate Bill deBlasio on Primary Day.

Former Controller Bill Thompson and Public Advocate Bill deBlasio on Primary Day. The battle of the two Bills continues and a runoff might take place.

The results of New York City’s Primary Election is a mixed bag but sends a clear message: voters are ready for candidates whose message resonates with regular citizens; candidates who articulate a passion to fight for the rights, livelihood and well-being of people who are often perceived as being voiceless. After 23 years as Brooklyn’s district attorney, Charles Hynes was trounced in compelling fashion by African-American attorney Kenneth Thompson, a former federal prosecutor who represented Haitian immigrant Abner Louima years ago in his police brutality lawsuit against the city.  Lashing out against Hynes for corruption and endorsement of stop and frisk policies, Thompson waged an intelligent and consistent campaign that resulted in him securing 55% of the votes to Hynes’ 45%. Meanwhile, running unopposed, former state senator and police captain Eric Adams cruised to victory as the next borough president in Brooklyn.

State Senator Daniel Squadron and City Councilwoman Leticia James

Brooklyn State Senator Daniel Squadron and  Brooklyn City Councilwoman Letitia James seem destined for a runoff race.

Vito Lopez, who previously ran the Brooklyn Democratic machine with an iron fist, failed in his bid to become a city council member after being forced to resign in disgrace from the state assembly for a range of issues, mainly for crass, lewd, inappropriate incidents of sexual misconduct towards staffers. Demonstrating what can be described as political savvy, voters resoundingly said “No Thanks” to both Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer, career politicians who have consistently shown an inability to contain their sexual proclivities and put their constituents’ needs above their personal desires. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer successfully triumphed over Spitzer in the race for controller, obtaining 52% of the votes, versus Spitzer’s 48%.

State Senator Eric Adams

State Senator Eric Adams ran unopposed to become Brooklyn’s next borough president.

The status quo remained intact in the Bronx, with Ruben Diaz Jr. holding on to his seat as borough president. However, many residents expressed pride that an African-American candidate ran against Diaz in a bid to add diversity to the borough which typically features predominantly Hispanic and Jewish politicians, with a smattering of African-American faces.

Former Federal Prosecutor Kenneth Thompson beats Charles Hynes decisively in race for Brooklyn District Attorney.

Former Federal Prosecutor Kenneth Thompson beats Charles Hynes decisively in race for Brooklyn District Attorney.

The battle of the Bills continues in the race for mayor, with former Controller William “Bill” Thompson, declining to concede defeat to Public Advocate Bill deBlasio, despite deBlasio garnering 40% of the votes, to Thompson’s 26%. If a candidate gets fewer than 40% of the votes, a runoff is needed. Thompson said he prefers to wait “until all the votes are tallied,” to determine if a runoff election is necessary. Likewise, Brooklyn Councilwoman Letitia James and State Senator Daniel Squadron have no resolution in their bid to become the new public advocate, because their contest has been deemed “too close to call.” Regardless of the final outcome of these races, voters have made their preferences known, rejecting City Council Speaker Christine Quinn for being too closely aligned to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his policies, while also denying Spitzer and Weiner the opportunity to rehabilitate their tarnished images on New Yorkers’ time and dime. 

Protecting children with “Push Across Memphis: A Fragile Child’s Cry” Campaign

Memphis, Tennessee: September 10, 2013: Child advocates in Memphis, Tennessee are working diligently to prevent further incidents of child abuse with the ambitious “Push Across Memphis” campaign as part of their overall theme, “A Fragile Child’s Cry.” The campaign will culminate in a 22-mile walk on October 12, 2013.

According to organizers Terry Boykins, executive of business affairs for Street Positive and H. L. Stampley, author and child advocate, action is needed urgently. The duo cites statistics from the U.S General Accounting Office (GAO), which spent $124 billion annually on child abuse. The data seems daunting. According to the report, more than five children per day die as a direct result of child abuse; 80% of children who die from child abuse are under four years old and ninety percent of children sexually abused know their perpetrators.

In an effort to end the scourge of child abuse, the duo is implementing a nationwide community and social media awareness campaign focused on child abuse prevention and early intervention. The drive consists of increasing both media exposure and distribution of literature within affected communities. The material distributed address sexual and physical abuse, sex trafficking, mental health and anger management issues. The effort also aims to increase awareness of shaking baby syndrome in order to end the occurrence.

The “Push Across Memphis: A Fragile Child’s Cry” initiative consists of 22 four-member teams, each walking one mile from North Memphis to Germantown. Team members will decide if they will walk to represent their organizations while holding banners, wearing t-shirts of showcasing other promotional props.

A $15 minimum pledge is suggested for the “Push Across Memphis: A Fragile Child’s Cry” initiative, with proceeds benefiting child abuse prevention and intervention programs.

For more information, Contact: Terry Boykins, executive of business affairs, Street Positive at or H. L. Stampley, author and child advocate via email:–OnPointPress.Net.




Irie Jamboree excited Barclays Center crowd with solid return

Damian "Jr. Gong and Stephen Marley share the stage.

Brothers Damian “Jr. Gong” and Stephen Marley share the stage.

By Robert “Bobby” Clarke

The Caribbean Fever Irie Jamboree Music Festival returned over the recent Labor Day Weekend in exciting style. Revamping the Irie Jamboree brand after a four-year hiatus and hosting the show at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn was a major change. The concept for the musical event was expanded into a three-day festival featuring a different theme each night. The difference reflected bold steps, but with the support of our dedicated Irie Jam Radio listeners, music fans, and business, civic, and community partners we were able to pull it off. I sincerely thank everyone who helped make the 2013 Caribbean Fever Irie Jamboree Music Festival a success.

Dancehall legend Shabba Ranks with the ever lively Capleton.

Dancehall legend Shabba Ranks with the ever lively Capleton thrill the crowd.


I-Octane delivers an impressive performance, delighting the crowd.

I-Octane delivers an impressive performance, delighting the crowd.

First and foremost, I’d like to thank everyone who came out to enjoy the festival. It was your patronage that made this event successful. Thank you for being patient, courteous, orderly, and lively. We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming events as we continue to celebrate Irie Jam Radio’s 20th year on the air. Thank you to Caribbean Fever Inc., Irie Jamboree Inc., and all of our business partners that helped put together an incredible show. This festival was an ambitious undertaking and the result was historic.

Alison Hinds rocks the stage with her toned dancers.

Alison Hinds rocks the stage with her toned dancers.


Wyclef Jean gives the show his all.

Wyclef Jean gives the show his all.

Thank you to Kassav, Tabou Combo, Djakout #1, Wyclef Jean, Tallpree, Skinny Fabulous, Ricky T, Edwin Yearwood, Iwer George, Alison Hinds, Bunji Garlin, Fay-Ann Lyons, Mr. Easy, I-Octane, Damian Marley and the Ghetto Youth camp, Lady Saw, Shabba Ranks, and Capleton for delivering unbelievably amazing performances. And thank you to surprise guest performers Spragga Benz and Beenie Man.

Iwer George performs.

Iwer George performs.


Busta Rhymes enjoys the event.

Busta Rhymes enjoys the event.

Thank you to all of the media houses, stations and outlets that helped publicize, promote, and document the festival. Please keep sharing your articles, photos, and videos. We appreciate your hard work and coverage.

Bobby Clarke proposes publicly to his lady love, Syn Dawkins.

Bobby Clarke proposes publicly to his lady love, Syn Dawkins.

And last, but never least, thank you to the production crew, staff, volunteers, interns, friends, and family who worked tirelessly, around-the-clock, behind the scenes to make this festival a huge success. I don’t know what we would have done without you. You all made this show what it was. I can’t thank you enough.

Robert “Bobby” Clarke is the president of Irie Jam Radio.