Mr. Austin Poole

Mr. Austin Poole

Mr. Austin Poole

Mr. Austin Poole, age 76, passed Tuesday, March 29, 2016 at Midtown Medical Center, Columbus, Georgia.

The funeral service will be conducted at 11:00 A.M. Monday, April 4, 2016 at Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church, 132 Bumphead Road, Americus, Georgia. Interment will follow in Eastview Cemetery, 500 Block of Ashby Street, Americus, Georgia.

Mr. Austin was born April 23, 1939 in Americus, Sumter County, Georgia to the late Elijah Poole and Savannah Finch Poole Banks. He is preceded in death by three children, Gregory Leon Poole, Austin Poole, Jr. and Shirley Diane Poole; one grandson, James Austin Poole, Jr.; two siblings Arteia Poole Williams and Leonard Poole; and two sisters-in-law Annie Ruth Harvey, Deborah Ann Sims; and one brother-in-law, Charlie Sims.

Austin was educated in the public school system of Sumter County. He was employed with Cooper Lighting for 40 years as an Assembly Line worker. He was joined  in holy matrimony to the late Catherine Sims Poole.

He leaves a legacy of love and memories to his three children, Nathan Poole, Sr. (Brenda), James Poole (Mary Nell), and  Lynwood Poole (Lilly) all of Americus, Georgia; two siblings, Evelyn Raines, Americus, Georgia and Marjorie Walls, Atlanta, Georgia; six grandchildren, Nathan Poole, Joshua Anthony Poole, Tiffany Poole, Reveckeo Hill, Malik Poole, and Monica Poole; great grandchildren, Khiry Thornton, Kyterria Harris, Tamara Johnson, James Nimmions, Anyia Cater; great great grandchildren, Ameir Parson, Kyteria Harris, and  Kendrick Berry; sisters/brothers-in-law, Georgia Sims Mitchell (Wilbert), Minnie Sims Davis (Alton), Martha Kate Sims Seay (Bobby), Ernestine Sims Rogers (Clarence), Bobby Sims (Elaine), Robert Sims (Ashley), Harold Sims, Sr., and MacArthur Edwards;  a host of niece, nephews, other relatives and friends.      ​

LaShawnda Andrenette Clark Kendrick

LaShawnda Clark Kendrick

LaShawnda Clark Kendrick

LaShawnda Andrenette Clark Kendrick, age 46 passed on April 12, 2016 at her residence.

The funeral service will be held at 3:30 P.M., Saturday, April 16, 2016, at Friendship Baptist Church, 411 Cotton Avenue, Americus, Georgia, where Bishop Melvin McCluster is Pastor. The Reverend Robert Angrish will officiate.  Interment will follow in Staley Memorial Gardens, corner of Souther Field Road and Mayo Street, Americus, Georgia.

LaShawnda was born on October 9, 1969 to Overseer Benny Clark and Minister Minnie Barthell Clark in Americus, Georgia. She attended the public school system of Sumter County and was a 1987 graduate of Americus High School, Americus, Georgia. She confessed Christ as her personal Savior at early age. She was a faithful member of Breath of Life Ministries in Americus, Georgia under the leadership of her father Overseer Benny Clark. She was the leader of the Music Ministry and served as the church pianist.

LaShawnda was known as a hard worker. Over the years she worked with Davidson Textron Company as a Painter and at Weyerhaeuser as a Technician.

On, November 6, 2007 LaShawnda was joined in holy matrimony to the love of her life, Jeffrey Kendrick.

She was a beautiful person both inside and out. A wonderful mother, loving devoted companion, dedicated church member, a warm and giving person who shared with us her angelic voice.

She is preceded in death by her grandparents George and Frankie Sheffield and Johnny and Essie Barthell.

She leaves to cherish her memories a devoted husband, Jeffrey Kendrick, New Bern, North Carolina; sons Albert R. Perry Jr, Broderick Perry Sr., both of Valdosta, Georgia, Justin Kendrick of New Bern, NC, Anston Coleman and Tyrus Kendrick of Austin, Texas; daughters Syretta Pitts (Chet) of Detroit, MI, Keyla Holley (Justin) of Washington, D.C., Devi Kendrick of Montezuma, Georgia and Shemetrica Lyles-Jones;  two beautiful grandchildren Broderick Perry Jr. and Skylar Perry; her parents Overseer Benny Clark and Minister Minnie Clark of Americus, Georgia; siblings Angela Cox  (Johnny), Americus, Georgia, Melody Barnhill (Michael) Atlanta, Georgia, Benjamin Clark, Americus, Georgia, Cornelius  Clark, Americus, Georgia, Keneshia Van Cleave (Charles), Valdosta, Georgia, Cedric Clark (Yolanda), Americus, Georgia Jasmine Dice (Marcus), Americus, Georgia, aunts and uncles Johnny Barthell (Beverly), Atlanta, Georgia, Frances Manners (Walters), Athens, Georgia, Clara Robinson (Karzell) Atlanta, Georgia, Gloria English (Willie), Americus, Georgia, Delores Terry, Trellis Barthell, Americus, Georgia, Marsha  Angrish (Rev.Robert), Americus, Georgia, Bobby Barthell (Rhunette), Americus, Georgia, Gregory Barthell, North Carolina, George Clark ( Margaret), Americus, Georgia; devoted great aunt Annie Harris (John), Americus, Georgia, Sis. Mary Walton, Smithville, Georgia; mother-in-law Jeanie Kendrick, Oglethorpe, Georgia; brother-in-law Jerome Kendrick (Yolanda), sister in law Tina Collins, all of Oglethorpe, Georgia and Chrispian Hall (Tyrone), Atlanta, three devoted god children Johnnie English Jr, James and J’Lah Davis; a host of nieces, nephew’s other relatives and friends including her best friend and sister Demetria English.

Carrie Lou Reddick

Carrie Lou Reddick

Carrie Lou Reddick

Carrie Lou Reddick, age 98, passed on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

The funeral service will be held at 11:00 A.M., Friday, April 29, 2016, at Ebenezer Baptist Church, U.S. 19 South, Americus, Georgia. Reverend Jerome Jones, pastor, will officiate.   Interment will follow at Eastview Cemetery, Ashby Street, Americus, Georgia.

Carrie Lou Reddick of Americus, Georgia was born on September 15, 1917 to the late Ollie and Fannie Lou Whitehead in Sumter County, Georgia. Carrie joined Ebenezer Baptist Church in her early years and was a faithful member and devoted Christian. She loved singing, praising and worshipping the Lord. Carrie was educated in the Sumter County Public School System.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Steve Reddick. She loved Steve until she departed this life. Everyone who knew her knew Steve because she loved to talk about him to the end of her time. She was also preceded in death by her four sisters: Leola Terry, Ollie B King, Eunice Jackson, and Mattie Mae Jackson and two brothers: Augusta and Albert Whitehead.

She leaves her sister-in-law, Vera Whitehead, who resides in Port Mount, Virginia to cherish her memories, along with a host of beloved nieces, nephews cousins and friends. She will be missed by all.

Dianne Cooper Myers

image (3)Dianne Cooper Myers, age 52,  64-A Brinson Drive, Americus, Georgia passed on May 2, 2016.

The funeral service will be conducted at 11:00 A.M., Saturday, May 7, 2016 at New St. Paul Baptist Church, Packing House Road, Americus, Georgia. Reverend Walker, pastor, will officiate. Burial will follow in the Eastview Cemetery.

Dianne  was born on June 16, 1963 in Americus, Sumter County, Georgia to Deloris Chambliss and Charles Copper. She was preceded in death by her aunt, Mattie Pearl Clark, and uncle, James Authur Chamliss.  She was educated in the public school system of Sumter County where she completed the eleventh grade at South East High School. She was a Cook at Chevron Food Mart on U.S. 19 Americus, Georgia. She accepted Christ as her personal Savior and join the band of Christian Believers at New Saint Paul Baptist Church in Americus, Georgia. She was joined in holy matrimony to Gene Myers Sr. and to this union four children were born .

She is survived by her husband Gene Myers, Sr., Americus, Georgia; four children, LaKeshia Myers, Gene Myers Jr. (Tiffany), Braxton Cooper(Tiffany Hoggs), and Gregory Myers, all of Americus, Georgia; ten grandchildren, Lakera Myers, Zy Keria Myers, Trikel David, Geneyah Myers, Constance Wooden, Joshua Myers, Shamiyah Cooper, Heavenly Cooper, Neveah Cooper, Generih Myers; parents, Deloris Chambliss and Charles Copper, both of Americus, Georgia;  five siblings, Charles Cooper (Rosa), Alma Jean Cooper, Jacqueline Hall, Sharon Denise Cooper, Lisa Michelle Cooper; stepsisters and stepbrothers, Sammy Mable, Sr., Johnny Waters, Jr., Mary Williams (Gregory), Claude Waters, Sr. (Geneva), Eddie Waters, Sr. (Christina), and Deborah Waters; aunts and uncles, Ora Williams (Otis), Mary Clark, Evelyn Floyd, Authur Clark (Margret), Ann Cooper Pizarro, Evelyn Terry (Randy), Mabel Williams, Doris C. Hightower (James), Oradean Cooper, James Cooper, Alonza Cooper (Helen), Albert Cooper (Josephine), and Vivian Cooper Bridges; a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends, including Ernest Cooper, a devoted friend of over 25 years.

Ms. Mamie Jean Saffi

Ms. Mamie Jean Saffi

Ms. Mamie Jean Saffi

Ms. Mamie Jean Saffi was born in Sodus, New York to the late Willie Mae Jackson Saffo and the late Houston Saffo. She joined the Bethel Primitive Baptist Church in June of 2003 and became Mother of the Church in December of 2015. She was employed for several years at McCleskey Mills in Smithville, Georgia. Ms. Saffi died peacefully on Wednesday, April 20, 2016 at the Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Georgia.

Left to cherish her memories are her children: Charleston Saffi of Albany, Georgia, Angelica Saffi of Smithville, Georgia and Tameka Saffi of Americus, Georgia; a devoted sister, Eva Mae Saffi of Smithville, Georgia; three brothers: Freddie B. Smith of Smithville, Georgia, Jessie James Smith of Americus, Georgia, and Houston Saffo of Valdosta, Georgia; two aunts: Lizzie Mae Jones of Tallahassee, Florida and Hazel Mae Cooper of Albany, Georgia; three devoted nephews: Curtis Saffi of Hampton, Georgia, Marcus Sutton of Smithville, Georgia and Erick McCoy of Americus, Georgia; two devoted Godchildren: Shemekia Vance of Desoto, Georgia and Allen Clarke of Smithville, Georgia; one devoted friend of the family, Deacon James (Erica) Brown of Smithville, Georgia; a devoted cousin, Willie (Gertie) Cooper of Toms River, New Jersey; two other devoted friends: Eddie Dean Lawson of Americus, Georgia and Ms. Betty Austin of Ellaville, Georgia.  Several other relatives and friends also survive.

Brandon Kentrell Douglas

Brandon Kentrell Douglas

Brandon Kentrell Douglas

Mr. Brandon Kentrell Douglas of 6300 Griffith Loop, Killeen, Texas died Monday, April 25, 2016 at the Medical Center of Central  Georgia in Macon, Georgia.

The wake service will be held Sunday, May 1, 2016 from 6:00 – 8:00 p. m. at the Allen Chapel A. M. E. Church, 132 Bumphead Road, Americus, Georgia.

The funeral service will be held Monday, May 2, 2016 at 1:00 p. m. in the sanctuary of the Friendship Baptist Church, 411 Cotton Avenue, Americus, Georgia.  The burial will follow at Staley Memorial Gardens in Americus, Georgia.

The family may be contacted at The Sales Residence, 803 Georgia Avenue, Americus, Georgia.

Brandon Kentrell Douglas was born August 5, 1992 in Sumter County, Georgia. He was born to Hollis Douglas, Jr. and Valecia Sales.

 

Early in life Brandon was introduced to the Lord. He served faithfully as a member of the Allen Chapel A. M. E. Church in Americus, Georgia.

The importance of education was also instilled in him early. He was educated in the public school system. He was a proud 2010 Honor graduate of the Dooly County High School in     Vienna, Georgia. While in high school, he actively participated in sports and other extra         curricular activities. He was also a member of Youth Leadership Georgia, Inc. and Bridge     Ambassadors. Upon the completion of high school he attended Savannah State University in Savannah, Georgia.

Brandon loved life and enjoyed the life he had been given. In addition to spending time with his friends, his greatest joy was the time spent with his family. HE LOVED FAMILY.

On Monday, April 25, 2016, Brandon made his transition from this life to life eternal. While he will be missed, we take comfort in knowing that he now joins his grandparents, Lester and Georgie Broner in that land of rest.

His life, his love, his laughter and his legacy will forever be cherished by his loving and devoted mother, Valecia Sales (Otis) Seay of Americus, Georgia; his beloved and caring father, Hollis (Pam) Douglas, Jr. of Americus, Georgia; his loving sisters, LaKeia Jhanee Sales of Washington, DC, Adrienne Seay of Atlanta, Georgia, Otisia Seay-Harris of Jonesboro, Georgia, and Holli T. Douglas of Norcross, Georgia; his caring brothers, Joseph Quantez Sales, Mikal Douglas, Marcus O’Brian Douglas, Jermaine Seay, and Jarrell Seay all of Americus, Georgia; his loving grandparents, (Ret) Presiding Elder Elijah and Janet Smith, Edmond Thomas, and Hollis and Mary   Douglas all Americus, Georgia; his beloved aunts and uncles, LaShaunda (Kenny) Thomas of Americus, Georgia, D’ete (Bryant) Foster of Killeen, Texas, Melanie Anthony, Arthur B.   Douglas, Tricia M. (Dexter) Cladd all of Americus, Georgia, Yomekia D. (Kevin) Carter of     Atlanta, Georgia, Elijah Smith, Jr. of Fort Valley, Georgia, Sonja Smith of McDonough, Georgia, Audrey (Michael) Diamond of Newnan, Georgia, Reverend Richard (Valencia) Smith of         Augusta, Georgia, (Ret) LTC Johnny (Dorothy) Broner of Jacksonville, Arkansas, Lester (Anna) Broner, Sr. of Kennesaw, Georgia, Rufus (Marchelle) Broner of North Little Rock, Arkansas; his caring godmother, Melvlyn Richmond Little of Fayetteville, Georgia; a god brother, Zavier Carter of Atlanta, Georgia; a god sister, Taquita Jenkins of Americus, Georgia; his nieces and nephew, Jasa Qua’moni Sales and Jayden Jermaine Seay both of Americus, Georgia, and       Belylah B. Dixon of Norcross, Georgia; a host of cousins, to include, Keleia Coley of Jackson, Mississippi, Devyn Coley of Americus, Georgia, Aleyah Minnis of Killeen, Texas, and Quintin Smith of Fort Valley, Georgia; a host other relatives and many sorrowing friends, to include friends whom he regarded as his brothers, Shawn Robinson, Edward Dice, Eric Finch, Jr. and many others.

Mrs. Phyllis Ann Green

image (3)Mrs. Phyllis Ann Green was born in Alamo, Wheeler County, Georgia on June 5, 1962 to the parentage of the late Mr. Richard Allen Given and the late Mrs. Ruby Lee Strange Given. Phyllis was employed with Middle Flint Behavioral Health Care. She is preceded in death by a brother, James Strange.

She leaves to cherish her memories, her son, Mr. Marquiess Green and fiancé Angela Smith, Americus, GA; three sisters, Mrs. Juanita (Elder Edd) Ross, Plains, GA, Ms. Geneva Williams, Americus, GA and Ms. Hazel Judie, Albany, GA; four grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins other relatives and friends also survive.

BILLY McMURRAY, JR.

BILLY McMURRAY, JR.

BILLY McMURRAY, JR.

Mr. Billy McMurray, Jr. was born in Americus, Sumter County, Georgia on August 27, 1991 to the parents of Mr. Billy McMurray and Mrs. Eletherlene James McMurray. She was a member of the Mt. Carmel Baptist Church. He received his education in the public schools of Tri-County, where he played football and was a graduate in the 2009 Class. He also attended South Georgia Technical College  and studied cosmetology. Later, he received a Commercial Truck License. He is preceded in death by his grandparents, Mrs. Johnnie Mae James, Mr. Frank James and Mr. Herschel McMurray.

He leaves to cherish his memories, his loving and devoted parents, Mr. Billy McMurray, sr. and Mrs. Eletherlene James McMurray of Buena Vista, GA; one, Ms. Tonya McMurray, College Park, GA; his grandmother, Ms. Janie McMurray, Buena Vista, GA; his aunts & uncles, Mr. Frank James, Ms. Helen McMurray, Ms. Annie Ree Sanders all of Buena Vista, GA, Mrs. Virginia (Charlie) Walden, Columbus, GA, Ms. Ruby Jean Stewart, Preston, GA, Mr. Archie McMurray and Ms. Ida McMurray both of Miami, FL; his great aunts & uncles, Mr. Isaiah James, Atlanta, GA, Elder John Wesley James, Miami, FL, Ms. Zelma Scott, Mr. Benny Scott, Sr., Detroit, MI, Mr. Lester Ray Scott, Fitzgerald, GA, Mr. Luther James and Mr. Moses James both of Buena Vista, GA; and a host of cousins other relatives and friends also survive.

GENEVA CHILDS SMITH

GENEVA CHILDS SMITH

GENEVA CHILDS SMITH

Mrs. Geneva Childs Smith was born in Sumter County, Georgia on February 1, 1926 to the parentage of the late Mr. Flynn Hill and the late Mrs. Ruthie Childs Asberry. She is preceded in death by a brother, Alton Childs, Sr. and two sisters, Irene Smith and Mattie Little.

She leaves to cherish her memories: five sons, Mr. Samuel Smith, Mr. Jessie L. (Willette) Smith, Jr., Mr. Joseph Smith, Mr. Willie Frank (Liesha) Smith, Sr. and Mr. John E. Smith, Sr. all of Americus, GA; three brothers, Mr. Charlie Hill, Mr. Alf Hill and Mr. Bernard Hill all of Andersonville, GA; five sisters, Mrs. Edna (Jessie) Hayes, Ms. Catherine Hill of Atlanta, GA, Mrs. Irene (Willie) Reddick, Blakely, GA, Ms. Ruby Thomas and Ms. Velma Bateman of Americus, GA; her in-laws, Ms. Georgia Childs, New Brighton, PA, Ms. Annie Ruth Davis and Mr. Jimmy Little both of Americus, GA; twenty one grandchildren, and a host of great & great great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins other relatives and friends also survive.

DEACON VERNON LOCKHART

DEACON VERNON LOCKHART

DEACON VERNON LOCKHART

Deacon Vernon Jerome Lockhart was born in Sumter County, Georgia on March 9, 1966 to the parentage of the late Mr. Andrew Lockhart and the late Mrs. Edna Mae Brooks Lockhart. He received his education in the public schools of Sumter County. He was a member of Shipp Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, where he served on the Board of Deacons and the Senior Choir. On Thursday, April 21, 2016, Vernon departed this earthly life.

“A precious one from us is gone; a voice we loved is still.

A place is vacant in our hearts that can never be filled.”

He leaves to cherish his memories, a loving and devoted wife, Mrs. Mary Austin Lockhart, Americus, GA; his loving children, Cordara Lockhart, Vershard Lockhart, Vonquiesha Lockhart and Vernon Lockhart, Jr. all of Americus, GA; two grandchildren; nine siblings, Ms. Ola Baisden, Ms. Ella Rhea Green, Mr. Leonard Lockhart, Mr. Edward Lockhart, Mr. Sammie Lockhart, Ms. Betty Jean Crudup, Ms. Annie Ruth Taylor, Mr. Robert Lockhart and Mr. Charlie Lockhart all of Americus, GA; his mother-in-law, Ms. Clara Clemons, Desoto, GA; three brothers-in-law, Mr. Johnny Harper, Albany, GA, Mr. Marcellous Austin, and Mr. Melvin Austin of Americus, GA; four sisters-in-law, Mrs. Patricia (Joe) Jones, Minister Gwen Harris, Mrs. Jacklyn (Bonny) Merritt, Mrs. Carol (Phillip) Hartage all of Americus, GA and Mrs. Georgette (Deoarn) Clinton, Acworth, GA; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins other relatives and friends also survive.

Mrs. Yolanda Holmes White

YOLANDA WHITE

YOLANDA WHITE

Mrs. Yolanda Holmes White was born in Americus, Sumter County, Georgia on May 25, 1986 to the parents of Mr. Eddie Mable and Mrs. Fannie Mae Holmes Lowery. She received her education in the public schools of Sumter County. At an early age, she joined Victory Worship Center under the leadership of Warren Alford. She was the wife of Jeremy White and to their union two children were born. She is preceded in death by her sister, Tomeka Mable, her grandparents, Ms. Martha Holmes, Willie B. Holmes, Mrs. Bertha & Mr. Claude Mable and uncles, Jonnie Holmes, John Mable, Eddie Mable and Ed Banks.

She leaves to cherish her memories, her husband, Mr. Jeremy White, Fort Gordon, GA; four children, Jezeriah White, Brooklyn White, Kentravious Holmes, Shyeirria Holmes and Ja’Hivien Hannor all of Americus, GA; her father, Mr. Eddie Mable, Valdosta, GA; her mother & step-father, Mrs. Fannie (Michael) Lowery; her siblings, Mrs. Nicole (Deon) Roberts, Ms. Satrina Holmes, Mr. Eric (Jasmine) Holmes, Ms. Tandriea Boone, Ms. Sakethia Mack, Ms. Alicia Dowdell and a god-sister, Ms. Cierra Nimmons; her grandparents, Mrs. Willie Pearl (Jesse) Bateman, Americus, GA; her aunts, Mrs. Ruby (Frankie) Angry, Mrs. Patricia (David) Bell, Mrs. Dorothy (James) Hamilton, Mrs. Evelyn (Jimmie) Asberry, Ms. Ola Lyles, Ms. Johnnie (Patricia) Mable, Mrs. Mary (Charles) Cooper, Mrs. Georgia (Lawrence) Johnson and; her uncles, Mr. Charles Horne, Mr. Willie Holmes, Mr. Joe Mable and Mr. Arthur (Elizabeth) Mable; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins other relatives and friends also survive.

Yvonne Ingram Thompson

Yvonne Ingram Thompson

Yvonne Ingram Thompson

Yvonne Ingram Thompson was born in Americus on March 11, 1951 to the late Christine Ingram.  At an early age, she joined the Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church in Americus.  Yvonne matriculated through the public schools of Sumter County before making her home in Hartford, CT.  She later moved her membership to Third Baptist Church of Suffield, CT, where she served faithfully as a part of the hospitality and flower ministries under the leadership of the Rev. Kelly Littlejohn.  Yvonne was an avid sports fan as she loved to watch NBA basketball and vehemently rooted for the New England Patriots and the UConn Huskies.  One of her favorite pastimes was crocheting as she eagerly taught anyone who expressed an interest to learn the craft.  For more than 40 years, she worked as a Certified Nurse’s Assistant specializing in convalescent care.  Additionally, she filled the role of Union delegate to 1199 Health Care. Yvonne was preceded in death by:  her twin brother, Edward; mother, Christine; nephew, Edward; seven maternal aunts–Jessie Davis, Mary B. Patterson, Lucy Lundy, Lucille Coleman, Annie Ruth Hopkins, Juanita Wallace; grandparents John T. and Emma Ingram.  She departed this life at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital on April 10, 2016.

Yvonne was a mother, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin and a friend to many.  She leaves to cherish her memories: two loving children, Terri (Darius) Wooden of Americus, GA and Robert Thompson of Hartford, CT: five beautiful grandchildren, Dominique D. Muff and Derenski J. Wooden – Americus, GA; Shardé M. Muff –Atlanta, GA, US Air Force SSGT Cordero T. Cannon – Hampton, VA, Bianca S. Muff – Jacksonville, FL: five great grandchildren, Ranyvia Dodson, Nyhevin Champion, Dominique McKinley Muff, Aubrey Jones, and Dior Dodson: two truly devoted sisters, Rita Ingram – Americus, GA and Sherrand (Bernard) Manigault –Brandywine, MD: eight dearly beloved brothers, Hollis (Mary) Douglas, Sr., Terrell (Edith) Ingram, Carl (Angela) Ingram, Lonnie Munson – all of Americus, GA, Curtis Ingram – Detroit, MI, Horace (Dominique) Munson – Augusta, GA, Joe (Karen) Ingram – Roswell, GA, Andrew Keith (Leslie) Munson – Decatur, GA: an adored aunt, Johnnie Mae Ingram Black – Americus, GA: two goddaughters, Andrea Roux and Felicia Scott: nieces: Ginger Womack, Tricia Cladd, Shemeka Ingram, Kema Mullins, Jhoskesia Manigault, Shardé Ingram Grisom, Sekeithia Ingram, Destiny Ingram, Brittany Ingram, Rani Waymon, Jandi Pope, Ambria Munson: nephews: Hollis Douglas, Jr., Arthur Douglas, Trendric Ingram, Christopher Ingam, Marcedes Pope, Varrick Carter, Alfonzo Manigault, Lonnie Munson, Jr., Olintis Munson, Demetreon Ingram, Jamiel Manigault: and a host of cousins including devoted cousins Dorothy Ingram and Cynthia Lundy; friends, including devoted friends, Betty Brown, Myrtice Bennett, Candy Rice, Ivorine Grant and Gladys Lispome.

LIFE MORE ABUNDANTLY ® Hold Fast to the Word

CHURCH EDITOR Dr. ANDREA OATES

CHURCH EDITOR
Dr. ANDREA OATES

“Now faith is the assurance (confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [cannot be experienced by the physical senses].” {Hebrews 11:1 AMP (paraphrased)}

Have you ever had a promise from God that seemed as if it would never come to pass? Or have you earnestly prayed for something and it seemed as if God would not grant your request? As believers, we understand that the kingdom of God operates by seedtime and harvest. That means that there’s a time to sow prayers and obedience. And then there is a time to reap the benefits of that which was sown. Like nature, between sowing seeds and harvesting, there is a waiting period. But unlike nature, God’s timetable cannot be figured out.

“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” {Psalm 27:14 KJV}

While the Bible doesn’t promise a timeline for the manifestation of God’s promises, it does encourage us to wait it out no matter how long it may take. And to “wait” on God means to actively serve Him. So we don’t sit idle, but we keep pressing forward because our harvest is in front of us and not behind us. Waiting also carries the connotation of keeping your hands off of it while God is working it out.

“And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:” {Matthew 13:7 KJV}

The enemy does not want you to realize that your thoughts are seeds as well. While we are waiting on the promises of God, the enemy will tempt us to sow thorns of unbelief right along with the Word that’s already sown in our hearts. As we progress in life, it’s understandable to have doubts and fears trying to plague your mind. But we have to take authority over our thought life and command doubt and fear to go. They cannot abide in the same place as faith. And it’s through faith and patience that we inherit the promises. So as we wait, choose to meditate on God’s Word and encourage yourself in the Lord. Keep your heart full of faith thoughts and starve your doubts to death.

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us…” {Hebrews 12:1 KJV}

There are numerous examples of God performing His Word when others thought it was impossible. Abraham and Sarah thought they were beyond child bearing years-and they were. But what is impossible with man is possible with God. And they said that Lazarus was too smelly and had been dead too long to be raised from the dead, which was as a fact. But there is nothing too hard for our God. And when it seemed like you couldn’t make it through a test or trial sometime in your past, didn’t God show up for you eventually?

“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” {James 1:4 KJV}

So decide today to remember His promises. Remind yourself of all that He’s done for you. Recall how he saved you, delivered you, and set you free from bondages. And don’t allow double-
mindedness to take root whatsoever. Hold fast to the Word of the Living God. And decide to wait on your promise no matter how long it takes. Because it won’t take too long after all.

Walk in His Blessings…

We Must Unite To Save Our Youth

save-our-youth_05-10-2016In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.

Greetings to you. I am Minister Louis Farrakhan, National Representative of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, that Great Preacher of Freedom, Justice and Equality to the Black man and woman of America and the Western Hemisphere, and the Aboriginal People of the Earth—The Eternal Leader of the Nation of Islam, and a Warner to the government and people of the United States of America, and the nations of the Earth.

Once again it is my great privilege, honor and pleasure to bring to you another installment of this subject given to us by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad titled: “The Time and What Must Be Done.” This subject is taken from the 103rd Chapter of the Holy Qur’an, which reads: “In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful. By the time!—Surely man is in loss, Except those who believe and do good, and enjoin one another to Truth, and enjoin one another to patience.”

“Time” is “the yardstick” of the measurement of our actions, and if our actions are not in accord with “The Time,” then we will suff er “loss.” So it is proper, it is right … And it is just, that The Knowledge of The Time be given to the whole Human Family; that we may measure our actions to see whether we are in accord with The Time! Because right now, surely man is suff ering great loss, and it’s because we either don’t know “The Time” and refuse to believe in The Knowledge of The Time—and act according to that belief. Or, we just don’t care to believe that this is “The Time” of “The End of The World of The Wicked,” and it is “The Time” that The Black Man and Woman of America, who have been in a state of bondage for 450 years in America, and in the Western Hemisphere: That we should go free from our tormentors, and live according to The Way of God in a land of our own.

It is not a “time of integration into that which is doomed.” So the scriptures clearly state in the Book of Revelation, Chapter 18, verses 4-5: “Come out of her, My people, that you may not be partakers of her sins and her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven … .” This is “The Time and What Must Be Done”— and this segment of this subject is titled:

“We Must Unite To Save Our Youth.”

It is an imperative that all of us who are in positions of leadership over organizations or churches: We have to come together as intelligent human beings to save a generation that will be lost unless we take the proper steps to save our youth.

Our youth are suffering. And in truth, it is not their fault.

‘From school to a pipeline to prison’: Our youth, the future of this nation, are in trouble

Brothers and sisters, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And The Civil Rights Movement opened a way for us to go into business establishments that we were denied entry into, or to sleep in motels or hotels, or dine in restaurants that we were not permitted to sleep in or dine in before, we took our money away from spending with our own, and building a future for our own—and we began to spend our wealth with those who had denied us entry, for hundreds of years, into their establishments.

And so the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, in “The Muslim Program” that he put on the back page of the Muhammad Speaks newspaper; and now, on the back page of The Final Call newspaper: In “Point No. 9 of What The Muslims Believe,” he stated: “WE BELIEVE that the off er of integration is hypocritical and is made by those who are trying to deceive the Black peoples into believing that their 400-year-old open enemies of freedom, justice and equality are, all of a sudden, their ‘friends.’ Furthermore, we believe that such deception is intended to prevent Black people from realizing that the time in history has arrived for the separation from the Whites of this nation. …”

As our subject a few broadcasts ago was “What Must Be Done”: America, you must let God’s People go! We have served you faithfully for 450 years as a slave, then as a free slave. We have fought in all of your wars, for your freedom and your independence—but, we are still singing “We Shall Overcome.” You have denied us everything that it takes to make a people free, justified and equal. We pay taxes like every other citizen, but our taxes support a school system that does not feed us, does not educate us, and does not qualify us! We support a political system that has been against us from the very beginning. We fight for a government that has been an open enemy to The Liberation Struggle of our people! It is not that we have been your “enemy,” but a government has been ours.

***

Our youth are in trouble, and it’s going to take all of us, making a united and concerted eff ort, to save our youth. Right now our youth are in gangs across the country, particularly in Chicago, Illinois and in Los Angeles, California—and The Enemy has put the Black and the Brown against each other; and we are fighting each other in these cities, fighting each other in the prisons, when we should be united because we represent “the future” of America, the future of this nation.

Well, The Enemy knows our birth rates are going up, and theirs is going down; so some are saying, “Well, if this continues, in about 20 years the Black and the Brown will be the majority in America.” And if that is the case, just having the right to vote, and exercising that right, will bring us into political power in practically every state where our numbers predominate. White Supremacy does not want that.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Not a ‘dreamer,’ but a man evolving toward a common goal for his people

You know, you may think that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Is a “dreamer.” I beg to diff er with you. “The Dream” that Martin Luther King had in 1963 that he spoke of at the base of the Lincoln Memorial: That man wasn’t “dreaming.” When he made a speech, an analysis of “social disorder” and “a plan of action against poverty, discrimination and racism in America”: This plan was presented by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. To the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Georgia on August 15, 1967—46 years ago. [This speech, titled: “The Crisis in America’s Cities: An Analysis of Social Disorder and a Plan of Action Against Poverty, Discrimination and Racism in Urban America,” is available on The King Center Archives website.]

Look at what Dr. King wrote: “[A million words will be written and spoken to dissect the ghetto outbreaks, but for a perceptive and vivid expression of culpability I would like to submit two sentences written a century ago by Victor Hugo:] ‘If the soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness.’ The policymakers of the White society have caused the darkness; they created discrimination; they created slums; they perpetuate unemployment, ignorance and poverty. It is incontestable and deplorable that Negroes”—he used that term then, but we’ll say “The Black man of America”—“have committed crimes; but they are derivative crimes. …” What did he mean “derivative”? Dr. King goes on to say: “[These crimes] are born of the greater crimes of the White society. [So] when we ask Negroes”—or Black men and women—“to abide by the law, let us also declare that the White man does not abide by law in the ghettos. Day in and day out he violates welfare laws to deprive the poor of their meager allotments; he flagrantly violates building codes and regulations; his police make a mockery of law; he violates laws on equal employment and education and the provisions for civil services. The slums are the handiwork of a vicious system of the White society; Negroes live in them but do not make them any more than a prisoner makes a prison.”

That’s not the talk of a “dreamer.” That’s the talk of a bold preacher who confronted the reality of White racism.

He went on to say: “Let us say boldly that if the total slum violations of law by the White man over the years were calculated and were compared with the law breaking of a few days of riots, the hardened criminal would be the White man.” Dr. King then went on to quote “five reasons why” we are in the condition that we’re in: 1.) “The White backlash”; 2.) “Unemployment”; 3.) “General discriminatory practices”; 4.) “War”; and 5.) “Features peculiar to big cities: crime, family problems, and intensive migration”). Now mind you, brothers and sisters, Dr. King said this approximately 47 years ago; he talked about the White backlash,” and then he talked about “unemployment.” I would like to deal withunemployment, because unemployment is the basis for the criminal activity that abounds in the Black community!

Dr. King said: “The second major cause is unemployment because it furnishes the bulk of the shock troops.”What did he mean by this? The things that our young people are doing are “shocking” to those of us who are their elders, but it is unemployment, mis-education, lack of proper education that is creating the “shock troops” that are now giving us and society a “shock.” Dr. King went on to say: “Government figures reveal that the rate of unemployment for [Black people] runs as high as 15 percent in some cities—and for youth up to 30-40 percent! It is not accidental that the major actors in all the outbreaks were”—and are—“the youth. …” Now, look at the figures used by Dr. King 47 years ago: The Black man’s unemployment rate in the cities, 15 percent; and it’s at that same percent right now, 47 years later. Also, for Black youth the “30-40 percent unemployment” rate that was 47 years ago is the same as today!

Beloved brothers and sisters, for our leaders to say “Oh, we live in a post-racial America because we have put a Black man in the White House, and America has really changed…”—that beautiful image of Dr. King now on The Washington Mall looking out at us, in stone: That expression on his face will not “change” because the condition of Black people in America has not changed. And for us to think and to say that Dr. King would be proud of the strides that America has made, when these statistics have not changed, in fact they have gotten worse; so, I don’t think that any American has the right to use Dr. King to put a “good face” on an ugly situation that is getting more ugly by the moment.

***

Have you noticed every revolution that is taking place on the Earth? Look in the faces of those who are rising against their governments—that’s rightIt is disenfranchised young, jobless people. Not only are young Black people in America unemployed, young people are unemployed all over the world. When you look at the austerity measures going on in Greece, in Spain, in Italy, in France, look at who is rising up: It is the youth! If you look at Libya, if you look at Syria, if you look at Egypt, if you look at Tunisia, if you look in Bahrain—wherever there’s revolution or strife against a constituted authority, it is the young who are rising up!

In America today, “Occupy Wall Street” was young people that are fed up with the government’s misuse of young people; not preparing for young people, not having a future for young people! Over 280,000 college graduates are now working on jobs that they are overly-educated for! And many who have Master and Doctorate degrees are working in soup kitchens. Is this “the promise” of America? And if this “promise” is failing for middle and upper class White people, it never worked for Black people.

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The Enemy’s plans: Institute ‘police measures’ against youth in street organizations

Dr. King also said of government, quote: “The demands in Congress and the administration for police measures as the primary solution are a sick echo of the solutions proposed as long ago as 1919 in the Washington riots. The Herald (Tribune)”—a New York paper—“called for a, ‘larger, better-drilled and more ably commanded police organization.’ [And] The New York Globe anticipated the current Congressional sentiment of, ‘not rewarding the rioters’ in stating on July 23, 1919, ‘There is nothing to be done but to quiet the rioters by force. We make no pretense nowadays of settling the race question; we simply keep it in abeyance.’ ” They have not “settled the race question” to this moment. And right now, there are two congressmen from the state of Illinois who are showing that the mentality of government is the same today as it was then!

According to published reports, Senator Richard “Dick” Durbin (D-Ill.) And Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) Have come up with the idea to “solve the gang problem in Chicago,” that they would like to arrest 18,000 so-called members of the Gangster Disciples, and put them in prison. And they are working feverishly on how to do that. Congressman Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) Has spoken against it, and so has Father Michael Pfleger (pastor of St. Sabina Catholic Church on Chicago’s Southside). … But today, we want to add our voice, and The Voice of The Nation of Islam, to such anhorrendous plan of two senators from Illinois: That you would marshal the forces of the federal government, and come into our community and sweep 18,000 so-called members of the Gangster Disciples—and you’ve already carved out a prison that you could put them in?

How many of you have ever sat down to think of how you can “solve the problem” by creating jobs and employment for the young people in the inner-cities of America, particularly Chicago and Los Angeles?

Your thoughts are the same; “force,” military force: Forty-seven years ago when Dr. King wrote what he wrote, police carried “.38s”; but today, they are armed to the teeth like soldiers on a foreign battlefield. Is this what you plan to do: Come into our community and take our young people? Hell no! We won’t permit it! We’re calling on all Black leaders, all Black organizations— THIS IS AN “S.O.S.”: WE HAVE TO RISE UP NOW, AND COME TOGETHER AS A UNITED FRONT TO STOP THE MADNESS!

***

In Part 21 of “The Time and What Must Be Done” Lecture Series, you heard me talk about “the prison industrial complex”! You heard me say that in the state of Georgia, 58,000 inmates are working for $.23 cents an hour— working for Corporate America! People on “The Forbes 500” list are being serviced by young Black people in the prisons of America, training them to do great work inside prison! But when they come out on the streets as a “felon,” they can’t even get a job. Nor do you want to train them to work and get a decent living wage on the outside; but you put them in prison, under schemes, so that you can misuse them, and use them for slave labor! This is why the calamities are increasing on America! This is the evil that you plan against a people that God wants to deliver from your hands!

We know what to do for our people. But you won’t help us! As I stated last week, in Part 22We proved it by going into dope-infested projects and cleaning up the people, and making it safe for the people, without killing our own brothers and sisters who were dealing with drugs.

We know how to deal with our people! You don’t love them, but we do! We function from The Guidance of God.

We want you to let us have them—and if you want to see what we can do, sit down with us and we’ll show you how this can be done. And let it be a “cooperative effort,” “you and us”: the police and us, the government and us, the leaders and us. It is not “hopeless.”

Make a Student Loan Payment

iStock_000069052959_MediumFurther proof that neglecting retirement savings for student loans isn’t a good thing

Juggling the monthly payments of student loan debt is often the leading factor that causes millennials to put off saving for retirement. While young professionals are always advised to save now rather than later, a recent study from Morningstar shows the impact student loans can have on retirement savings.

According to the new report, which includes data from the Federal Reserve, each additional dollar toward student loan debt decreases your retirement savings by 35 cents. That means, someone with $100,000 in student loans can be set back by $35,000 in retirement funds.

[Related: Should You Ever Borrow From Your 401(k)?]

With the average student loan debt for recent graduates having reached a little more than  $35,000, the likelihood of millennials saving for retirement is slim. According to a Bankrate survey, 18% of adults between the ages of 18 and 29 say they owe too much in student loans to even consider saving for retirement.

While the idea of getting rid of your student loans quickly sounds appealing, putting all of your money toward paying extra on your loan is not exactly the smartest thing to do. Pace yourself with your payments and if your budget doesn’t allow you to give more than the minimum required then don’t force it.

According to a breakdown by Bankrate, a professional who starts saving for retirement at 25, putting away just $2,000 a year for 40 years, will earn around $560,000 in savings, assuming earnings grow 8% annually. If a professional waits until they’re 35 to save, putting away the same $2,000 a year but for 30 years instead, they will end up with less than half the same amount of money at $245,000.

For young professionals who are looking to save on retirement now, be sure to enroll in your company’s 401(k) plan and take advantage of any matching they offer. Also, with more companies helping employees to pay off student loan debt, be sure to ask your employer if this option is included in your benefits package.

New Black business app is on the scene

whereu-app_04-12-2016BY TOURE MUHAMMAD

Are you looking for Blackowned businesses to buy from in your neighborhood or when traveling across the United States? Well, there’s an app for that.

WHEREU Came From is a Black business directory app for Apple and Android devices off ering a local business search with real-time listing of Blackowned businesses across various categories, ranked by people using the app.

Created by Atlanta-based, social entrepreneur and former Final Call newspaper staff writer, Dr. Dionne Mahaffey-Muhammad, the app merges technology with the need to handle poverty, crime and other social ills in the Black community by focusing on economic development and job creation. Her company, The CPAI Group, also launched The Loyalty Stamp, a mobile rewards app, last year.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent survey of business owners there are 2.6 million Black-owned businesses in this country. This app seeks to connect Black businesses with Black consumers using the latest in mobile technology.

“While the growth is encouraging there is still a lot of work to do to increase the profit of these Black businesses. Gross receipts for all minorityowned firms are still well below the average gross receipts for non-minority-owned firms,” Mahaffey-Muhammad said.

A huge problem is that despite a collective buying power of $1.3 trillion dollars, very little of that money stays in Black communities or is spent on Black-owned businesses.

Currently, a dollar circulates in Asian communities for 30 days, in Jewish communities approximately 20 days, White communities 17 days, but in contrast a dollar circulates in the Black community only six hours.

Just two cents of every dollar a Black person spends in this country goes to Black-owned businesses. If higher income Black consumers spent at least $1 out of every $10 with Blackowned businesses it would generate one million jobs for Black people, according to researchers.

“It will take all of us across all socio-economic statuses to build Black wealth. We’ve got to invest in our own community. For us, community can’t be limited to where we are domiciled since many of us live in non-Black neighborhoods. When we start to embrace the diaspora-view that our community is wherever we find our people, then we will be more inclined to support one another, even if it means taking a long drive,” Mahaffey-Muhammad continued.

The WHEREU app is here to help make it easier to buy Black, explained Dr. Mahaffey-Muhammad. Everything from house cleaning, plumbing, catering, lawyers, doctors, graphic designers, restaurants, beauty salons and more, the app’s referral and location-based system helps you start your search among the most trusted Black professionals and businesses.

“Our development team has added several thousand businesses for the app launch. However, we’d love to include as many of the 2.6 million Black businesses in the United States as possible,” she concluded.

Business profiles can be submitted from the web-site or within the actual WHEREU Came From app. The app can also help majority, non-Black corporations meet their diversity objectives by finding minority businesses to support.

Additionally, the website, WhereYouCameFrom.biz will feature entrepreneurs’ stories, off er narratives on wealth building and other topics relevant to Black business owners and consumers. The company also plans to hold conferences and pop-up shops across the country to promote Black entrepreneurship.

Some of the unique app features include:

  • Access the top 10 most referred pros and businesses under a category even without Internet connection
  • Ability to find the pro nearest you through geo-location technology
  • Reliable listings with verified contact numbers
  • Easily refer trusted pros to friends and family through the referral function

Getting Your Kids in the Markets for As Little As $20

(Image: iStock by Getty Images)

(Image: iStock by Getty Images)

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As I’ve been speaking to financial education experts over the past few weeks for Financial Literacy Month. It’s come up over and over again: how hands on experience with money is the best teacher.

When you also consider that one of the keys to successful investing is time – the longer you hold onto stocks, for example, the more time you have to build your investment and ride out the market ups and downs – you can see the benefits of getting your child in the markets as early as possible.

As for how to get your child started, without spending a fortune, consider the following:

1. Investment Accounts: You can open an investment account at TD Ameritrade online in a matter of minutes, for as little as $50. I bought my son shares of Vanguard’s Information Technology Exchange Traded Fund (ETF), which trades under the stock symbol VGY. This allows him to have little pieces of companies like Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), and Facebook (FB).

When you go to the TD Ameritrade site, you’ll need to select the option that allows you to be the custodian of the account for a minor. They are called UTMAs (Uniform Transfer to Act), or UGMAs (Uniform Gift to Minor’s Account).

You’ll also need the minor’s social security number. Invest in something your child can relate to and encourage them to add allowances and financial presents to this account. Exchange traded funds (ETFs) in their area of interest and mutual funds are always a good bet, as they come with professional management. TD Ameritrade’s online chat and easily accessed customer service make the process easy.

2. SparkGift: If you want to give a one-time gift of stock or ETFs, SparkGift is a great option. The site lets you buy fractions of shares and funds in increments starting at $20. They provide recommendations for popular choices, and will send a certificate to the lucky recipient in minutes. SparkGift charges a fee of $2.95, plus 3%. The recipient doesn’t pay anything to redeem their shares or hold their investment.

3. Savings Bonds:  While they don’t have the same potential for investment growth, a tried and true financial gift that is worth more than cash is the savings bond. Click here to go to the U.S. Treasury’s website,TreasuryDirect. As the site states, when you buy savings bonds as gifts, you must hold them in your TreasuryDirect account for at least five business days before you can deliver them to the gift recipient. You must be 18 or older to create a TreasuryDirect account and to buy gift bonds. A child under 18 can get gift deliveries in a Minor linked account, which is established within the TreasuryDirect account of the parent or guardian.

Oprah Winfrey to star in HBO’s ‘Henrietta Lacks’ movie

Oprah Winfrey will star in 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks' on HBO. (Photo: Ben Gabbe, Getty Images)

Oprah Winfrey will star in ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’ on HBO. (Photo: Ben Gabbe, Getty Images)

by Associated Press |

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Oprah Winfrey is expanding her participation in HBO’s “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” to an on-screen role.

The cable channel said Monday that Winfrey will star in the TV movie that she’s been shepherding as an executive producer.

The film is based on Rebecca Skloot’s nonfiction book of the same name. It details the story of Henrietta Lacks, an African – American woman whose cancerous cells became the source of medical breakthroughs.

The story will be told from the perspective of Lacks’ daughter, Deborah, to be played by Winfrey.

Veteran Broadway directorproducer George C. Wolfe will direct the HBO project from his screenplay.

Filming is scheduled to begin this summer, with an air date yet to be announced.

Prince, legendary musician, dead at 57

Prince Rogers Nelson, 1958-2016

Prince Rogers Nelson, 1958-2016

by Nekesa Mumbi Moody, Hillel Italie and Jeff Baenen, Associated Press |

CHANHASSEN, Minn. (AP) — Prince, one of the most inventive and influential musicians of modern times with hits including “Little Red Corvette,” ”Let’s Go Crazy” and “When Doves Cry,” was found dead at his home on Thursday in suburban Minneapolis, according to his publicist. He was 57.

His publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure, told The Associated Press that the superstar “died at his home this morning at Paisley Park.” The local sheriff said deputies found Prince unresponsive in an elevator late Thursday morning after being summoned to his home, but that first-responders couldn’t revive him.

No details about what may have caused his death have been released. Prince postponed a concert in Atlanta on April 7, saying he had fallen ill with the flu, and he apologized to fans during a makeup concert last week.

President Barack Obama, for whom Prince was a White House guest last year, said he and his wife “joined millions of fans from around the world” in mourning Prince’s sudden death.

“Few artists have influenced the sound and trajectory of popular music more distinctly, or touched quite so many people with their talent,” Obama said in a statement. ” ‘A strong spirit transcends rules,’ Prince once said — and nobody’s spirit was stronger, bolder, or more creative.”

The dazzlingly talented and charismatic singer, songwriter, arranger and instrumentalist drew upon musicians ranging from James Brown to Jimi Hendrix to the Beatles, creating a gender- and genre-defying blend of rock, funk and soul.

He broke through in the late 1970s with the hits “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?” and “I Wanna Be Your Lover,” and soared over the following decade with such albums as “1999” and “Purple Rain.” The title song from “1999,” his funky and flippant anthem about an oncoming nuclear holocaust, includes one of the most quoted refrains of popular culture: “Tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999.”

The Minneapolis native, born Prince Rogers Nelson, stood just 5 feet, 2 inches — yet he made a powerful visual impact at the dawn of MTV. Prince was a Little Richard for the ’80s, from his wispy moustache and tall pompadour to his colorful and suggestive outfits, the counterpart to the openly erotic lyrics that made him one of the most sexually daring artists of the era.

But his greatest legacy was as a musician, summoning original and compelling sounds at will, whether playing guitar in a flamboyant style that drew on Jimi Hendrix, switching his vocals from a nasally scream to an erotic falsetto, or turning out album after album of stunningly innovative material. Among his other notable releases: “Sign O’ the Times,” ”Graffiti Bridge” and “The Black Album.”

Rarely lacking in confidence, he effortlessly absorbed the music of others and made it sound like Prince, whether the James Brown guitar riff on “Kiss” or the Beatle-esque, psychedelic pop of “Raspberry Beret.”

Mick Jagger was among numerous musicians, actors and other public figures praising the artist, tweeting: “Prince’s talent was limitless. He was one of the most unique and talented artists of the last 30 years.” Madonna called him a “true visionary,” while Oprah Winfrey tweeted: “Prince the doves really are crying now. Listening to your music. Remembering you.”

Prince was fiercely protective of his independence, battling his record company over control of his material and even his name. Anxious to get out of his contract with Warner Bros., he identified himself by a key-like symbol with an unpronounceable name. (Journalists called him “TAFKAP,” or The Artist Formerly Known as Prince). Prince also once wrote “slave” on his face in protest of not owning his work and famously fought and then departed Warner, before returning a few years ago.

“What’s happening now is the position that I’ve always wanted to be in,” Prince told The Associated Press in 2014. “I was just trying to get here.”

Prince’s records sold more than 100 million copies. He won seven Grammys and received an Academy Award in 1985 for his music from “Purple Rain,” the movie in which he starred as a young musician. In 2004, Prince was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which hailed him as a musical and social trailblazer.

“He rewrote the rulebook, forging a synthesis of black funk and white rock that served as a blueprint for cutting-edge music in the Eighties,” reads the Hall’s dedication. “Prince made dance music that rocked and rock music that had a bristling, funky backbone. From the beginning, Prince and his music were androgynous, sly, sexy and provocative.”

Music was in his blood. Prince’s father played in a jazz band in Minneapolis, under the name “Prince Rogers,” and his mother was the singer. The precocious young Prince taught himself to play the piano at age 7, the guitar at 13 and the drums at 14. But his home life was also troubled. His parents separated when he was 10, and Prince, who ended up with six siblings and half siblings, moved back and forth between the homes of his mother and father.

In 1978, the year he turned 20, Prince debuted with the album “For You.” It was a declaration, if nothing else, that he could do anything: He wrote and sang the material, and served as his own one-man band on guitar, bass, drums, synthesizers, chimes and assorted other instruments.

The album received mixed reviews, but his second album — called “Prince” — sold more than a million copies and launched his run of hit albums and singles over the next few years.

Prince became not just a star in his own right, but a veritable music factory, whether with such side projects as Vanity and Morris Day and The Time or the songs he wrote for others. Sinead O’Connor had a hit with “Nothing Compares 2 U,” while other covers included Cyndi Lauper’s “When You Were Mine” and the Bangles’ “Manic Monday.”

Prince’s influence even extended to politics, well before Obama’s time. In the mid-1980s, Tipper Gore, wife of then-Sen. Al Gore of Tennessee, heard one of her daughters listening to Prince’s “Darling Nikki.” Horrified by the song’s reference to masturbation, she helped launch an organization dedicated to a labeling system for explicit content, the Parents Music Resource Center. A nationwide debate about censorship soon followed, including congressional testimony from Frank Zappa among others, and the refusal by some record sellers to offer releases deemed in need of advisories.

Prince had been touring and recording right up until his death, releasing four albums in the last 18 months, including two on the Tidal streaming service last year. He performed in Atlanta last week as part of his “Piano and a Microphone” tour, a stripped-down show that featured a mix of his hits, like “Purple Rain” or “Little Red Corvette,” and some B-sides from his extensive library.

Prince debuted the intimate format at his Paisley Park studios in January, treating fans to a performance that was personal and both playful and emotional at times.

The musician seemed to be shedding his reclusive reputation. He hosted several late-night jam sessions where he serenaded Madonna, celebrated the Minnesota Lynx’s WNBA championship and showcased his latest protege, singer Judith Hill.

Ever surprising, he announced on stage in New York City last month that he was writing his memoir, “The Beautiful Ones,” which was expected to be released in the fall of 2017 by publishing house Spiegel & Grau. A press release about the memoir said Prince would “take readers on an unconventional and poetic journey through his life and creative work,” and include stories about his music, family and the “people, places and ideas that fired his creative imagination.”

A spokeswoman for Spiegel & Grau, Theresa Zoro, said Thursday the publisher had no immediate comment the status of the book.

About 200 fans had gathered by Thursday afternoon outside Paisley Park, Prince’s home and music studio, where his gold records are on the walls and the purple motorcycle he rode in his 1984 breakout movie, “Purple Rain,” is on display. The sprawling white, stone building is surrounded by a fence in Chanhassen, about 20 miles southwest of Minneapolis.

Steven Scott, 32, of Eden Prairie, said he was at Paisley Park last Saturday for Prince’s dance party. He called Prince “a beautiful person” whose message was that people should love one another.

“He brought people together for the right reasons,” Scott said.

___

Moody and Italie reported from New York. Associated Press writers David Bauder in New York, Paul Newberry in Atlanta and Steve Karnowski in Chanhassen also contributed.

Afeni Shakur Davis, mother of Tupac, dead at 69

Producer Afeni Shakur attends the film premiere of 'Tupac Resurrection' at the Cinerama Dome Theater on November 4, 2003, in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Producer Afeni Shakur attends the film premiere of ‘Tupac Resurrection’ at the Cinerama Dome Theater on November 4, 2003, in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty
Images)

by TheGrio

Afeni Shakur Davis, mother of the late hip-hop legend Tupac, has died at the age of 69. Marin County police arrived at Shakur’s home in Sausalito, California, Monday evening after she suffered what may have been a cardiac arrest. She was taken to a local hospital, where she died just before 10:30pm, according to the sheriff’s office Tuesday morning.

Afeni was born Alice Faye Williams and changed her name when she joined the Black Panther Movement in New York City. She was among Panther members who were arrested in 1969 over a conspiracy to bomb busy city landmarks. She would eventually be acquitted on all charges in 1971 and shortly thereafter give birth to her son Tupac.

Her influence on her son’s life was no secret. His 1995 song “Dear Mama” was a salute to Afeni’s hard work as a single mother through rough times and a drug addiction.

Tupac died a year after the release of that song, and his estate was left to Afeni. She worked continuously to make sure her son’s legacy was remembered. She served as an executive producer on the 2003 Oscar nominated documentary Tupac: Resurrection.

In 2014, she co-produced “Holler If Ya Hear Me,” a Broadway play featuring her son’s work, and in November, “All Eyes on Me” a Tupac biopic she served as an executive producer on, is set to be released.

According to TMZ, Shakur filed for divorce against her husband Gust Davis. The two had been married for 12 years. The two were reportedly in a dispute over her fortune.

Earlier bariatric surgery may improve cardiovascular outcomes

RTEmagicC_d07b5f65098eb62e32_gastric_band_adjustable.jpgBy: SHARON WORCESTER, Family Practice News Digital Network,

CHICAGO – Sooner may be better than later when it comes to the timing of bariatric surgery in patients with morbid obesity.

Of 828 patients with body mass index of at least 35 kg/m2 who underwent laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding performed by a single surgeon and were followed for up to 11 years (mean of 10 years), 423 were aged 45 years or younger, and 405 were over age 45 years at the time of surgery. A comparison of outcomes between the two age groups showed that older age at the time of surgery was an independent predictor of cardiovascular events (hazard ratio, 1.8), Maharaj Singh, Ph.D., a biostatistician at the Aurora Research Institute, Milwaukee, reported in a poster at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology.

Despite a similar reduction in body weight after gastric banding surgery, the older patients experienced more cardiovascular events: myocardial infarction occurred in 0.2% and 1.7% of patients in the younger and older age groups, respectively, pulmonary embolism occurred in 0.7% and 4.3%, congestive heart failure occurred in 2.8% and 7.8%, and stroke occurred in 3.7% and 7.6%, Dr. Singh said.

“Although the older group had more comorbidities, these were accounted for by multivariate analysis and age over 45 years remained an independent predictor of poor cardiovascular outcomes,” senior coauthorDr. Arshad Jahangir, professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, said in an interview.

Other independent predictors of adverse cardiovascular outcomes in the study were sleep apnea (hazard ratio, 4), history of hypertension (HR, 1.9), and depression, (HR, 1.8), Dr. Jahangir said.

“Gender, race, and diabetes mellitus did not independently predict cardiovascular events,” he said.

Weight loss after bariatric surgery has been shown to reduce the risk of adverse cardiovascular events, but it has remained unclear whether the reduction in risk varies based on age at the time of surgery, he said.

The current findings suggest that the effects of laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding–induced weight loss on cardiovascular outcomes are greater in patients who undergo the surgery at a younger age, he said, adding that the findings also “raise important questions about whether better control of sleep apnea, hypertension, and depression could help further reduce cardiovascular events in morbidly obese individuals undergoing bariatric surgery and should be addressed in a prospective study of these patients.”

CDC reports major drop in teen birth rates among minorities

africanamericanwomanpregnant_zps5b4dfbd2By: WHITNEY MCKNIGHT, Family Practice News Digital Network

Pregnancy rates among Hispanic and black teens are at an all-time low, reflecting overall declines in teen birth rates, new data show.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on April 28 that the rate of Hispanic teens giving birth in the United States has dropped by more than half since 2006. During that same time period, there was a 44% drop in the birth rate for black teens.

Although these dramatic declines occurred against the backdrop of an overall decrease of about 40% in teen birth rates during the last decade, the CDC also reported that birth rates among Hispanics and black teens are still twice as high as they are for whites.

“The United States has made remarkable progress in reducing both teen pregnancy and racial and ethnic differences, but the reality is, too many American teens are still having babies,” Dr. Tom Frieden, CDC director, said in a statement. “By better understanding the many factors that contribute to teen pregnancy, we can better design, implement, evaluate, and improve prevention interventions and further reduce disparities.”

Overall, the birth rate among girls aged 15-19 years dropped from 41.1 to 24.2 per 1,000 from 2006 to 2014. The largest decline occurred in Hispanics, going from 77.4 to 38.0 per 1,000. The next biggest rate decline was in black teens, which fell from 61.9 to 34.9 per 1,000. The rate for white teens declined by 35%, falling from 26.7 to 17.3 per 1,000 (MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016 Apr;65:409-14).

The CDC report indicated state- and community-level patterns, including that rates were notably higher among all races and ethnicities where unemployment is also high, but income and education levels are low. In some states with low overall birth rates, certain counties experienced higher rates. The highest rates nationwide tended to be in counties located in southern and
southwestern states.

“These data underscore that the solution to our nation’s teen pregnancy problem is not going to be a one-sizefits-all – teen birth rates vary greatly across state lines and even within states,” Lisa Romero, Dr.P.H., a health scientist in the CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health, and the report’s lead author, said in a statement. “We can ensure the success of teen pregnancy prevention efforts by capitalizing on the expertise of our state and local public health colleagues. Together, we can work to implement proven prevention programs that take into account unique, local needs.”

The study is based on statistics for births to girls aged 15-19 years occurring between 2006 and 2014, taken from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS). County-level NVSS data from 2013 and 2014 was also used, as were data from the American Community Survey between 2010 and 2014.

Smoking linked to many ‘new’ causes of death

By: MARY ANN MOON, Family Practice News Digital Network,

Smoking causes death from many diseases that until now have not been linked officially to tobacco use, including digestive disorders, liver cirrhosis, infections, renal failure, and breast and prostate cancers, according to a report published online Feb. 11 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“Our results suggest that the number of persons in the United States who die each year as a result of smoking cigarettes may be substantially greater than currently estimated,” said Brian D. Carter of the epidemiology research program, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, and his associates.

The 2014 Surgeon General’s report estimated that smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths every year in the United States, based on mortality figures from 21 diseases that have been formally established as caused by smoking: 12 types of cancer, 6 types of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and pneumonia. Mr. Carter and his associates pooled data from five large cohort studies to examine possible associations between smoking and an additional 31 cause-of-death categories. They now estimate that an additional 60,000-120,000 deaths each year can be attributed to smoking.

For their study, the investigators assessed 421,378 men and 532,651 women aged 55 years and older at baseline whose smoking status was carefully recorded and who were followed from 2000 to 2011 in the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort, the Nurses’ Health Study I, the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, the Women’s Health Initiative, and the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study.

As expected, smokers had a twofold to threefold higher mortality from any cause, compared with nonsmokers. Smokers also had a markedly higher risk of death than nonsmokers from all 21 causes already established as attributable to tobacco use, such as lung cancer, oral cancer, ischemic heart disease, atherosclerosis, and stroke. But approximately 17% of smokers’ excess mortality was accounted for by several diseases that previously have not been attributable to tobacco use.

For example, the risk of death due to intestinal ischemia was approximately six times higher among smokers than among nonsmokers, a remarkably strong association that was also reported in the Million Women Study. “Smoking acutely reduces blood flow to the intestines, and evidence suggests that smoking causes risk factors that can often lead to intestinal ischemia, including atherosclerosis, platelet aggregation, and congestive heart failure,” Mr. Carter and his associates said (N. Engl. J. Med. 2015 Feb. 12 [doi:10.1056/NEJMsa140721]).  In this study, smoking also more than doubled the risk of dying from other digestive diseases. Previous studies have suggested a link between smoking and digestive disorders such as Crohn’s disease, peptic ulcers, acute pancreatitis, paralytic ileus, bowel obstruction, choletlithiasis, diverticulitis, and gastrointestinal hemorrhage. “Although these diseases are not common causes of death, they account for millions of hospitalizations each year,” the investigators noted.

The mortality risk from liver cirrhosis, after the data were adjusted to account for alcohol consumption, was more than three times higher in smokers than in nonsmokers. Even smokers who did not drink alcohol were at significantly increased risk of cirrhosis, compared with nonsmokers.

The risk of death due to infection was 2.3 times higher in smokers than in nonsmokers. This strong association was dose-dependent, as infection-related mortality rose with increasing smoking intensity. And among study participants who had quit smoking, infection-related mortality declined as the number of years since cessation increased.

The rate of death due to renal failure was twice as high among smokers as among nonsmokers. And the rate of death due to hypertensive heart disease, the only category of heart disease not already established as smoking related, was 2.4 times higher in smokers. The latter association “is relevant for assessing the public health burden of smoking, since a considerable number of deaths in the United States are attributable to hypertensive heart disease,” according to Mr. Carter and his associates.

Smoking also was strongly associated with “multiple diseases too uncommon to examine individually.” This included all rare cancers combined, rare digestive diseases, and respiratory diseases other than those already known to stem from smoking.

In women, smoking raised breast cancer mortality, with a relative risk of 1.3. This association was strongly dose dependent. In men, smoking raised prostate cancer mortality, with a relative risk of 1.4.

Sickle cell anemia: Stroke screening still underused

RTEmagicC_1f5b53a03a6b4e62c6_Sickle_cell_CDC11694.jpgBy: MARY ANN MOON, Family Practice News Digital Network,

Children and adolescents with sickle cell anemia still are not being screened for stroke risk using transcranial Doppler, despite clinical guidelines that strongly recommend annual screening and despite these patients’ frequent health care encounters, according to a report published online April 11 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Approximately 10% of children and adolescents with sickle cell anemia experience stroke before the age of 20 years, unless those at high risk are identified and treated preemptively with blood transfusions, which reduces stroke risk by 92%. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute clinical practice guideline on treating sickle cell disease calls for patients aged 2-16 years to undergo transcranial Doppler every year to detect any elevated velocity of cerebral blood flow, which indicates high stroke risk, said Sarah L. Reeves, Ph.D., of the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and her associates.

To assess screening rates, the investigators performed a retrospective cross-sectional analysis of administrative claims data for 4,775 affected children and adolescents treated during a 5-year period in Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, South Carolina, and Texas. This yielded 10,787 person-years of data.

Overall, screening rates increased somewhat across all six states during the study period – from 22% to 44% – but “even the highest rates we report are suboptimal,” Dr. Reeves and her associates noted (JAMA Ped. 2016 Apr 11. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.4859).

This is especially true given that the average patient had 20.0 disease-related outpatient visits, 2.1 disease-related hospitalizations, 3.7 emergency department visits, and 1 well-child visit each year – numerous missed opportunities when they could have been referred for screening.

One way to improve screening rates would be to integrate transcranial Doppler exams into comprehensive sickle-cell healthcare, rather than requiring separate scheduled appointments at imaging facilities, they added.

This study was funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Dr. Reeves and her associates reported having no relevant financial disclosures.

Medical errors are third leading cause of death in United States

Heart disease, cancer, and medical errors are the top 3 causes of death in the United States, according to a BMJ study.

Heart disease, cancer, and medical errors are the top 3 causes of death in the United States, according to a BMJ study.

Colby Stong, Editor clinicaladvisor.com,

Medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the United States, trailing only heart disease and cancer, according to a study in BMJ.

Martin Makary, MD, and Michael Daniel from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, found that medical errors accounted for more than 251,000 deaths in the US in 2013, compared with 611,000 deaths from heart disease and 585,000 deaths from cancer.

The CDC has compiled an annual list of the most common causes of death in the United States. However, the list is based on death certificates, which rely on International Classification of Disease (ICD) codes to identify the cause of death, and ICD codes do not take into account human and system factors.

The investigators sought to analyze the scientific literature regarding medical errors that contributed to U.S. deaths and compare those findings with the causes listed by the CDC.

Medical error was defined in the report as an “unintended act (either of omission or commission) or one that does not achieve its intended outcome, the failure of a planned action to be completed as intended (an error of execution), the use of a wrong plan to achieve an aim (an error of planning), or a deviation from the process of care that may or may not cause harm to the patient.”

Using research reported since a 1999 study from the Institute of Medicine found an incidence of 44,000 to 98,000 deaths occurring annually due to medical errors, and extrapolating to the total number of US hospital admissions in 2013, Makary and Daniel found a mean rate of death from medical errors of 251,454 per year. “Comparing our estimate to CDC rankings suggests that medical error is the third most common cause of death in the U.S.,” the researchers stated.

“While many errors are non-consequential, an error can end the life of someone with a long life expectancy or accelerate an imminent death,” the investigators commented. “To achieve more reliable healthcare systems, the science of improving safety should benefit from sharing data nationally and internationalluy, in the same way as clinicians share research and innovation about coronary artery disease, melanoma, and influenza. Sound scientific methods, beginning with an assessment of the problem, are critical to approaching any health threat to patients. The problem of medical error should not be exempt from this scientific approach. More appropriate recognition of the role of medical error in patient death could heighten awareness and guide both collaborations and capital investments in research and prevention.”

Obama speaks of racial progress to Howard University graduating class

President Barack Obama addresses the 2016 commencement ceremony at Howard University May 7, 2016 in Washington, DC (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama addresses the 2016 commencement ceremony at Howard University May 7, 2016 in Washington, DC (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

by Darlene Superville, Associated Press | M

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama said Saturday that the country is “a better place today” than when he graduated from college more than 30 years ago, citing his historic election as “one indicator of how attitudes have changed.”

But gaps persist, he told Howard University’s Class of 2016, citing racism and inequality.

In a commencement speech at one of the nation’s leading historically black schools, Obama said there were no black CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and few black judges when Columbia University awarded him a bachelor’s degree in 1983.

“A lot of folks didn’t even think blacks had the tools to be a quarterback,” Obama said. “When I was a graduate, the main black hero on TV was Mr. T. Rap and hip-hop were counter-culture. Now (“Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy” producer) Shonda Rhimes owns Thursday night and Beyonce runs the world.”

Today, he said, “we’re producers, studio executives. We’re no longer small-business owners, we’re CEOs. We’re mayors, representatives” — and someone in the crowd shouted out, “President.”

“I’m not saying gaps do not persist. Obviously, they do,” Obama said. “Racism persists, inequality persists.”

He called on the university’s 2,300 graduates to step up and take on the work of closing those gaps.

“America needs you to gladly, happily take up that work … so enjoy the party, because you’re going to be busy,” Obama said.

He cited income inequality, an issue in the presidential campaign to choose his successor in November, as well as disparities in unemployment, pay and criminal justice. He also listed disease and conflict worldwide, along with terrorism and climate change as other issues needing attention.

“So make no mistake Class of 2016. You’ve got plenty of work to do,” said Obama, who was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree. “But as complicated and intractable as these challenges may see, the truth is your generation is better position than any before you to meet those challenges.”

“America is a better place today than it was when I graduated from college,” Obama said, adding “by almost every measure.” He said the country “also happens to be better off than when I took office, but that’s a longer story.”

The line drew cheers and applause. “That’s a different discussion for another speech,” Obama said.

Obama told the graduates to be confident and embrace being African-American and all that it entails, including “our particular awareness of injustice and unfairness and struggle. That means we cannot sleepwalk through life. We cannot be ignorant of history. We cannot meet the world with a sense of entitlement.”

He urged them to vote and not to fear opposing voices. Many in the audience of about 15,000 chanted “four more years” as Obama received the honorary degree. He cited low voter turnout in general and among younger voters in particular for control of Congress switching from Democratic to Republican during his presidency.

“You don’t think that made a difference in terms of the Congress I had to deal with,” Obama said. “And then people wonder why Obama didn’t get this done or that done. “Just vote. It’s math.”

Obama, 54, opened by telling the graduates that most of them were just starting high school when he was first elected in 2008.

“I used to joke about being old. Now I realize I’m old. It’s not a joke anymore,” he said.

The address was the first of three commencement speeches Obama has scheduled this spring, his final ones as president.

Obama is set to speak May 15 at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and June 2 at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

R.I.P., GOP: Party of old, disillusioned white people is dying a slow death

(Credit: Reuters/Joshua Lott)

(Credit: Reuters/Joshua Lott)

By SEAN ILLING

No matter who wins the nomination battle, the Republican Party has a much bigger problem: demographics. A new report released by the Center for American Progressanalyzed the demographic advantages for Democrats in 2016 and beyond and the results are overwhelmingly positive.

 And this should surprise no one.

Observers on both sides have long questioned the Republican Party’s viability in an increasingly progressive and less white America. With every national election, it becomes more obvious that the GOP’s “Southern Strategy,” which exploited racial and cultural resentment for votes, has finally backfired.

As The Nation’s William Greider wrote in October: “The GOP finds itself trapped in a marriage that has not only gone bad but is coming apart in full public view. After five decades of shrewd strategy, the Republican coalition Richard Nixon put together in 1968 – welcoming the segregationist white South into the Party of Lincoln – is no devouring itself in ugly, spiteful recriminations.”

Greider was responding to the resignation of House Speaker John Boehner, who left on account of the nihilistic Tea Party caucus. The Tea Party extremists in Congress, like the social conservatives who supported them, are part of a reactionary movement of cultural discontents whose only purpose is to negate and obstruct, and they’ve proven that in office.

This movement, which has consumed the Republican Party, consists primarily of old and disillusioned white people who are rejecting a world that, in many respects, has passed them by. The nativism, the xenophobia, the social hysteria, the religious demagoguery – this is what defines the GOP now, and it stems from the party’s cynical plot to capitalize on cultural angst nearly fifty years ago.

Although it worked in the short and medium-term, the “Southern Strategy” is now the most likely cause of death for the Republican Party. Republicans still hold 31 of 50 state governorships and they control most state legislatures, but that’s not the problem. Today and moving forward, the GOP will find it harder and harder to compete for national elections.

By appealing to the fears of culturally isolated white people, the Republican Party has created an intractable demand-side problem: Gradually, their platform has become dominated by social and religious issues which alienate nearly everyone outside of their base. Given the shifting demographics in this country, this portends doom for the GOP.

At War With The Government? – Armed, angry and White

Ammon Bundy, son of Cliven Bundy.

Ammon Bundy, son of Cliven Bundy.

By Richard B. Muhammad and Brian E. Muhammad -FINAL CALL STAFFERS

A firestorm of anger and death threats was set in motion against federal agents, state and local law enforcement and Oregon Governor Kate Brown after LaVoy Finicum, 54, was shot and killed by state troopers earlier this year. The shooting happened on an interstate highway when federal agents attempted to arrest Mr. Finicum and a group of armed White ranchers, led by Ammon Bundy of the notorious Cliven Bundy family.

The group had led a 41-day armed takeover and occupation of a federal facility at the Malheur National Wildlife refuge in Oregon. Mr. Finicum was a leading figure in the militia group.

Oregon authorities said without a doubt state police shot Mr. Finicum to protect themselves and their fellow officers from imminent harm. Militia sympathizers disagree, arguing Mr. Finicum was murdered in cold blood and some want retaliation.

But the problem is not limited to Oregon nor the incident earlier this year.

A federal magistrate judge in Las Vegas set a Feb. 6, 2017 trial date for rancher Cliven Bundy and 18 other defendants in an armed confrontation with government officers two years ago.

In a written order filed April 27, U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen declared the case “complex” for tracking purposes, and agreed that it will take time to prepare for a trial involving 19 defendants, more than 30 government witnesses and an exceptionally large amount of evidence.

She canceled a May 2 trial date as unrealistic.

Judge Leen’s order came after a scheduled hearing in Las Vegas that put all 19 defendants and their lawyers in one courtroom for the first time. It could mean many months in jail ahead of trial for each man, although several are challenging and appealing detention orders.

The conspiracy, obstruction, weapon, threats and assault charges could get each the equivalent of life in prison for the tense gunpoint standoff in April 2014 near Cliven Bundy’s ranch outside Bunkerville, about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

Judge Leen noted that seven defendants, including Bundy’s sons Ammon Bundy and Ryan Bundy, face trial Sept. 7 in federal court in Portland, Oregon. The seven are among 26 people accused of taking part in the armed occupation of a U.S. wildlife refuge this year.

The Bundy brothers were returned in custody to Oregon, where Ammon Bundy’s attorneys filed documents contesting the authority of the federal government to prosecute him for the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

In an argument echoed by states’ rights advocates, he maintains that the federal government largely lost the right to own land inside Oregon once statehood was achieved.

His father argues in Nevada that the federal government doesn’t have jurisdiction over the public land surrounding the Bundy homestead, where family cattle have grazed for decades.

The federal Bureau of Land Management moved to round up cows on the ranch, obtaining court orders with arguments that the elder Bundy racked up more than $1 million in unpaid grazing fees and fines.

Meanwhile in Portland, lawyers for Ammon Bundy said the leader of the Oregon wildlife refuge occupation offered after his arrest to plead guilty if charges against other defendants were dismissed, but the deal was rejected a day before the last occupiers gave up. The assertion is made in a pre-trial motion filed April 27 in federal court.

Ammon Bundy was arrested by FBI agents and Oregon state troopers on Jan. 26. More than two dozen people have been arrested for the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge that began Jan. 2 and ended with surrender of the last four on Feb. 11.

Angry, White and armed

Watchers of anti-government groups say threats on authorities from angry Whites are connected to a long list of perceived grievances with the federal government.

“I would describe it as a potentially volatile situation where different groups, either like a militia-style group or a sovereign citizen type group believes that the federal government is illegitimate,” said Bill Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations.

NAPO is a coalition of police unions and associations from across the U.S. that supports the interests of police officers through legislative advocacy, political action and education.

Notwithstanding who is right or wrong on the politics and the issues involved, Mr. Johnson said either way it’s a “dangerous situation” for protestors and the federal agents. The blend of “strong feelings on both sides” combined with armed people is a bad arrangement, he added.

A life for a life

Many of the threats aimed at Oregon authorities demanded a life for a life. “You killed an unarmed rancher, so now one of you must die,” an unknown person said in a message left for Oregon Governor Brown, who was critical of federal government handling of the Malheur standoff . She argued that the feds should have enforced the law and there was not a strong enough stance by Washington officials.

“We’re going to shoot to kill,” declared another anonymous caller in Oregon.

The Deschutes County Sherriff Dept.—where officers involved in the shooting worked—made redacted transcripts of the threats available. Much of the language expressed contempt for law enforcement, the U.S. government and called for war and regime change inside America.

One writer invoked the famous words of Patrick Henry, a U.S. Founding Father: “Give me liberty or give me death,” however the writer added, “If it’s going to be death, you’re going to need a lot of bullets.”

In an April 5 exchange on the Oregon governor’s Facebook page, supporters of Mr. Finicum and the militia blasted Gov. Brown for ordering “the murder of a god loving … patriotic, family-oriented man.” The writer said the governor “then ordered the jailing of others who stood for the constitution and truth” and called her a “traitor to the oath she took and to we the people.”

Several “officer safety” memos were issued throughout Oregon warning law enforcement personnel to be aware of their surroundings because of the intense threats. Calls to Gov. Brown’s office and the Deschutes County Sherriff office were not returned by press time.

Nationally police have concerns about such threats because some have proven to be credible, Mr. Johnson told The Final Call in a telephone interview. “There has been violence against officers and officers have been killed even,” he said.

An infamous example was the June 8, 2014 execution style killing of two police officers in Las Vegas by husband and wife shooters Jerad and Amanda Miller. The Millers reportedly yelled “this is a revolution” as they shot the two officers and covered them under a “Don’t Tread On Me” flag from America’s Revolutionary War—then killed themselves in an aftermath melee with cops.

Although serious antagonism with the government and police from angry White groups has been prevalent, Mr. Johnson pointed out there is little media exposure about it. “The threats are out there and they don’t make the news as much,” he said.

Experts concur and say the threat of White right wing, anti-government violence has been underestimated.

Police responses and public perception

Authors of a January, 2016 report from the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security, “The Challenge and Promise of Using Community Policing Strategies to Prevent Violent Extremism,” recommended closing the gap on how domestic terrorism is perceived and handled.

The standard view and focus on violent extremism inspired by the “al Qaeda, ISIS and like-minded groups” must be expanded to include other groups outside that category, the report said. The report said there is a need to “develop methods for engaging with community members who may be targeted for recruitment by anti-government, racist, or sovereign citizen violent extremist groups.”

“Police departments we interviewed are well aware of the threat from anti-government, racist, environmental, or other forms of violent extremism,” said authors Charles Kurzman and David Schanzer, in the report.

Out of 382 law enforcement agencies they surveyed, 74 percent rated anti-government extremism, like “sovereign citizen” movements—that do not recognize the authority of laws or governments—as one of the top three terrorist threats in their jurisdiction. While only 39 percent listed extremism connected to Muslims as a top threat, and 33 percent listed environmental extremism third.

“Despite this threat profile, many of the law enforcement agencies we interviewed had well established outreach and engagement programs with Muslim Americans, but had starkly different practices for addressing the threat from antigovernment, racist, environmental and other types of extremists,” wrote the report authors.

Some police departments said engagement with the communities targeted for recruitment by these groups simply is not possible. According to the report, when one police department was asked what kind of outreach it conducted to antigovernment groups. The answer? “We don’t.” This department noted that “we can talk to them about particular incidents, but … we don’t have meetings with anti-government groups and militia groups.”

Commenting on anti-law enforcement groups, another police department said, “we are not actively bumping heads with them and they are not actively bumping heads with us.”

Extremists in different forms and motivations

The Federal Bureau of Investigation acknowledges “domestic terrorism—Americans attacking Americans because of U.S.-based extremist ideologies— comes in many forms,” motivations and is a growing problem. In Oregon, protestors had land disputes with the federal government while other groups are race-based and desire White power and a separate land base for Whites.

White extremists target racial, ethnic, and religious minorities, the federal government and, in some instances one another. Their tactics include assault, murder, threats and intimidation, and bombings.

Republicans Have Turned God Upside Down With Their So-called “Religious Liberty”

Republicans pulled an intellectual switcharoo with the concept of religious freedom

BY CODY CAIN, SALON.com

God understands the concept of religious freedom.

Republicans, on the other hand, just don’t get it.

The Republican Party is seeking to enact laws all across the country permitting businesses to refuse to serve LGBT people. Approximately 200 discriminatory billshave been proposed in nearly three-dozen state legislatures.

And if you happen to work for a company with pious owners, you may be out of luck. Companies owned by religious families have denied birth control coverage to women employees under the company health insurance plans.

This is all being done in the name of “religious liberty.”

Republicans argue that Christian florists who are opposed to gay marriage should be able to deny service to gay couples seeking to obtain flowers for their wedding. Otherwise, devout florists would be forced to violate their own religious beliefs by condoning gay marriage merely by providing the flowers.

Similarly, Republicans argue that Christian owners of companies should be able to refuse to provide birth control coverage to their female employees, otherwise, these holy owners would be forced to violate their own religious beliefs by facilitating birth control merely by providing a company health insurance plan.

This is all utterly absurd. These Republicans have taken the concept of “religious liberty” and turned it on its head.

The “liberty” part in “religious liberty” is not intended to empower the believers of a dominant religion, such as, say, Christianity, to give them the “liberty” to impose their beliefs upon everyone else. No. This is a perversion of the term “religious liberty.”

Instead, the “liberty” part is intended to protect minority NON-believers to ensure that they have the liberty to maintain their own independent beliefs without suffering any disadvantages imposed upon them by the dominant believers.

So when Republicans start talking about “religious liberty,” just keep your wits about you so you don’t get turned around and fall prey to the old intellectual switcharoo.

One case in point is Indiana Gov.  Mike Pence. Donald Trump recently met with the governor and called him “terrific,” and Pence has now endorsed Donald Trump for president. Pence signed a discriminatory religious liberty law in Indiana that unleashed an avalanche of national scorn that forced him to change the law only a week later.

Another example is North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, who signed a religious freedom law banningn cities from being able to enact local non-discrimination ordinances against LGBT people. This caused another public outcry, including demonstrations, boycotts, and rock stars canceling their concerts in protest, including Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr and Pearl Jam. It even resulted in the U.S. Justice Department declaring the law illegal and demanding that North Carolina repeal the law. But the North Carolina Republicans do not care. They remain obstinate and continue to defy the request from the Justice Department.

Many prominent Republicans have voiced support for these laws, including Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, and the entire Republican National Committee.

To keep your wits about you, just keep in mind our nation’s history because our country was founded upon the accurate version of “religious liberty.” Just think of the Pilgrims who sailed on the Mayflower ship in 1620 from Plymouth, England across the Atlantic Ocean and landed at Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, Massachusetts. These were the folks who put on the first Thanksgiving celebration in 1621 and began the festive tradition that we enjoy to this day.

Religious liberty was the reason the Pilgrims left England for America. They were “separatists” in that their religion did not conform with the official Church of England, and they suffered persecution and discrimination as a result of their religious beliefs. So they came to America where they could be free to practice their own religion without enduring prejudice.

Religious liberty, in fact, was the reason that many people came to America. Pennsylvania and Rhode Island were safe havens for persecuted Quakers. Maryland was a refuge for Catholics. The early American colonies welcomed all sorts, including Dutch Calvinists, English Puritans, English Catholics, Scottish Presbyterians, French Huguenots, German and Swedish Lutherans, as well as Mennonites, Jews, and Amish from various European countries.

 Religious liberty was crucial to our towering founding father, Thomas Jefferson. He was adamant about maintaining a strong separation between church and state to prevent government from favoring any particular religion so that every citizen would feel equally welcome in society regardless of their religious beliefs. This principle is now enshrined in the First Amendment of our Constitution.

Today, the United States has grown to become the most religiously diverse nation in the world with more than 2,000 distinct religious groups.

But the Republican Party is seeking to take us backward with these laws that favor the dominant Christian religion and impose hardships upon people who happen to have different beliefs. This directly violates our nation’s fundamental principle of freedom of religion.

Republicans say that Christianity is under attack and needs to be protected. This is utter nonsense. A recent ABC News poll found that 83% of Americans identify as Christians. If anyone needs protection it would not be the 83% majority.

And Christians are hardly under attack here. No one is taking away their rights. No one is seeking to force them to be gay themselves, or to force birth control upon them. No. They are perfectly free to hold their own religious beliefs and live their lives accordingly.

For religious liberty to work, of course, it must be a two-way street and apply to everyone equally. If Christians are permitted to freely hold their beliefs, then Christians must reciprocate and allow non-Christians to freely hold their own beliefs.

If someone believes that being gay is fine under their own religion, then let them hold these beliefs. If someone else believes that birth control is fine under their own religion, let them hold these beliefs as well. There is no justification for discriminating against people who happen to hold differing beliefs by not serving them as customers.

 Allowing businesses to refuse to serve customers based upon religious beliefs is a horrendous pathway to slide down and we must resist this as a society.

Denying service to people would lead to all sorts of division, antagonism, and conflict throughout our entire society. If various people were not welcome at various businesses, not only would this divide people physically, but it would cause people to resent each other and it would breed an environment of hostility. Shockingly, this would take us back to the dark days of discrimination when black people could not sit at lunch counters in diners or ride in the front of buses. This would be disastrous.

A healthy society does not seek to turn people against each other, but instead seeks to promote harmony and cooperation among its population.

But perhaps the most obvious reason against this course of conduct comes down to simple common sense. Just imagine how this would play out in practice.

People would not know whether to enter a store or a restaurant because they would not know whether they might be denied service based upon their religious beliefs. Maybe businesses should post helpful signs. “No Jews allowed.” “No gays allowed.”

And when a customer walks into a store or a restaurant, how would the employees know what beliefs they hold? Hm. Well, of course they’ll need to find out before they can serve these people. God forbid a non-believer should be served a slice of pizza. But how? Hm.

Well, we’ll need a law that permits businesses to interrogate customers, and another law that requires customers to answer all the questions truthfully.

Good afternoon Mr. & Mrs. Customer. Are you gay? Oh thank goodness. But, do you believe in God? Which God? Did you attend church this past Sunday? Have either of you ever committed adultery? When you have sexual intercourse with each other, do you use birth control? Madam, have you ever had an abortion? Do you as a couple engage in any sexual activity that would be regarded as deviant?

Oh, I’m sorry, we don’t serve your kind.

Africa Launches Largest Trading Block With 620 Million Consumers

africa2016BY BAHER KAMAL AND FAREED MAHDY

In Egypt more than 1,500 public and private business delegates and state leaders agreed on 20-21 February to mobilise massive investments for the implementation of Africa’s largest trading bloc whichwas created last year by 26 African countries with a total of 620 million consumers and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) nearing 1,2 trillion dollars.

The agreement crowned the “Africa 2016” investment forum held in the Egyptian Red Sea resort Sharm El Sheikh with the participation of business leaders together with government officials and heads of international organisations to discuss trade and investment as engines of progress. African heads of state and government from Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria, Sudan and Togo took part in the forum.

No official figures relating to the amount of these investments have been released. “They (the private business sector) are ready to invest. Africa is the continent of the future, this is clear. However, there are huge hurdles that have been ‘scaring’ the big business pundits,” an Egyptian diplomat commented to IPS on condition of anonymity.

Titanic Efforts

“African governments must make titanic efforts to ensure the right atmosphere needed to attract investors; adopt the necessary legislative measures to facilitate business activities; combat rampant corruption and eliminate bureaucratic obstacles; reform their financial systems to facilitate re-exporting capitals and benefits… not to mention democratic governance and preventing and ending so many armed conflicts…”

Corruption comes first on the list of impediments to investment along with instability, the source said. Studies by the World Bank, the UN Development Programme and Transparency International confirm that Africa is still the most corrupt region in the world and that it has failed to solve the problem.

“Without all that there will be meetings and more meetings, but decisions will not find their way to implementation. The volume of trade between African countries does not exceed 10 per cent of the continent’s foreign trade, and will not increase unless tariff barriers are reformed and needed infrastructure is built, such as roads and ports to transport goods, among other,” said the diplomat who was a member of the Egyptian delegation of the the Sharm El Sheikh Africa 2016 forum.

Along with the installation of giant power generation plants, a 7.000-kilometres-long Cairo-Cape Town railways line is among the large projects that attract private investors.

“Development Is No Longer a Dream”

“Times have changed in Africa,” says the Business for Africa Forum‘s concept document which was submitted to the meeting.

With interest in the continent growing exponentially, some of today’s newest business players are originating from non-traditional regions such as South America, Eastern Europe, the Gulf, and Africa itself, it adds.

“While well-established and new partners from Europe, North America, and Asia continue to be valued, it is interesting to note that the private sector’s scope of attention is increasingly widening to include, especially among new-comers, consumer-market industries including food, IT, tourism, finance, and retail.”

According to Business for Africa Forum, those who have been paying attention to Africa have seen these amassing figures: a GDP in excess of 2 trillion dollars; a growing middle class of over 313 million consumers, and consumer spending breaking through the one trillion dollar mark and projected to reach 1.4 trillion dollars by 2020.

Also a labour force estimated at 382 million people and expected to grow to over 500 million by 2020, and the youngest population in the world, which tomorrow will yield the lowest dependents to workers ratio in the world.

Regional integration and favourable trade agreements between African countries continue to be critical to this process.

The landmark tripartite agreement between COMESA (CommonMarket for Eastern and Southern Africa, 19 countries); SADC (Southern African Development Community, 15 countries) and the EAC (East African Community, 5 countries), which was launched in Sharm El Sheikh in June 2015 creating the biggest trading block in Africa, with 26 out of the 54 African Union member countries, and a market of close to 620 million consumers, equivalent to 50 per cent of Africa’s over 1,2 billion inhabitants.

Africa has been registering one of the highest annual economic growth rates, between 2 per cent and 11 per cent, making an average of 7 per cent.

Egypt, which co-organised the forum with the AU, COMESA, SADC and EAC , has a privileged position between Europe, the Gulf, Asia, and Africa, with 8 per cent of global sea-borne trade between the East and the West passing through the Suez Canal, a percentage which is expected to grow with the new Suez Canal Regional Development Project.

“Africa 2016” brought together high-level investment representatives interested in African business opportunities in the sectors of energy, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), financial services, trade, agribusiness, health care, and pharmaceuticals.

”Continental Free Africa Trade“

The Africa 2016 Forum has marked a step further towards the implementation of the the goals adopted during the January 2012 African Union Summit which focused on the theme of “Boosting Intra-Africa Trade”, as part of the heads of state and government decision to establish a Continental Free Trade Area.

The African Union’s Program on Boosting Intra-African Trade is mainly based on these key pillars:

1. Trade is widely accepted as an important engine of economic growth and development. There are many regions and countries of the world that have been able to lift their people from poverty to prosperity through trade.

In Africa, however, trade has not served as a potent instrument for the achievement of rapid and sustainable economic growth and development due mainly to three interrelated basic features: size, structure, and direction. At around 3 per cent the share of Africa in global trade is insignificant.

2. Africa’s trade is its high external orientation and relatively low level of intra-regional trade.

Intra-African trade stands at around 13 per cent compared to approximately 60 per cent, 40 per cent, 30 per cent, intra-regional trade that has been achieved by Europe, North America, and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN, 10 countries) respectively.

Even if allowance is made for Africa’s unrecorded informal cross-border trade, the total level of intra-African trade is not likely to be more than 20 per cent, which is still lower than that of other major regions of the world.

3. That African countries do not trade much with each other has meant that they have been unable to fully harness the synergies and complementarities of their economies and take full advantage of the economies of scale and other benefits (such as income and employment generation) that greater market integration would have provided.

There are cases where products and services could have been sourced competitively from other African countries but were procured from outside the continent.

4. Due to the fact that Africa does the bulk of its trade with the outside world and the exports are heavily concentrated on primary commodities, the continent has been particularly vulnerable to external macroeconomic shocks and protectionist trade policies. This is evident from the recent global economic and financial crisis which, although not of the making of African countries, has had adverse impact on the continents economic performance.

Thus a major lesson to be drawn from the systemic shocks in the global economy is the need for Africa to promote intra-regional trade.

5. Boosting intra-African trade and deepening regional market integration constitute a necessary response to the challenges facing Africa in the multilateral trading system and the global economy. The boosting of intra-African trade and the deepening of Africa’s market integration, by fostering competition among African countries, will assist in enhancing their capacity and prepare them to compete more effectively on the global market.

6. The Action Plan for Boosting Intra-Africa Trade specifically aims at deepening Africans market integration and significantly increasing the volume of trade that African countries undertake among themselves.

To effectively achieve this, the plan is divided into seven clusters namely, Trade Facilitation, Trade Policy, Productive capacities, Trade related Infrastructure, Trade Finance, Trade Information and Factor Market integration.

The African leaders, in their 2012 summit in Addis Ababa, decided to establish a Continental Free Trade Area(CFTA) by an indicative date of 2017.

The CFTA will bring together fifty-four African countries with a combined population of more than 1,2 billion people and a combined gross domestic product of more than 3.4 trillion dollars.