Ms. Adriane Walton

Ms. Adriane Walton

Ms. Adriane Walton

Ms. Adriane Walton age 36 of Americus, Georgia died on Thursday, October 27, 2016 at the Phoebe-Sumter Medical Center in Americus, Georgia. Funeral services will be held on Friday, November 4, 2016 at 11:00 A.M. at Welcome Baptist Church with Rev. Freddie Mann officiating. Burial will follow at the Eastview Cemetery.

Ms. Adriane Walton was born August 9, 1980 in Americus, Georgia to Mrs. Janet Jackson and Mr. Kenyetta Jackson. She was educated in the Americus-Sumter County System.

Adriane leaves to cherish her memory her parents Janet and Kenyetta Jackson of Americus, Georgia; three siblings: Yakeisha (Timothy) Peterson of Americus, Georgia, Antonio Brown of Miami, Florida and Cadare Bonner of Americus, Georgia; her grandmother, Annie Mae Bass of Americus, Georgia and a very special caregiver Linda James of Americus, Georgia. Several other relatives and friends also survive.

Mr. Dennis Owens

Mr. Dennis Owens

Mr. Dennis Owens

Mr. Dennis Owens of 102 Blue Bell Lane, Americus, Georgia died Tuesday, November 8, 2016 at the Magnolia Manor Nursing Center in Americus, Georgia.

The funeral service will be held Sunday, November 13, 2016 at 2:00 p. m. in the sanctuary of the Saint John Baptist Church in Leslie, Georgia.  The burial will follow at the Saint John Church Cemetery.

Mr. Dennis Owens was born October 15, 1957 in Desoto, Sumter County, Georgia. He was born to the late Mr. Johnny Owens and the late Ms. Ada Mae Hubbard. He is also preceded in death by his beloved grandparents, Mr. Willie Hubbard, Mrs. Mildred Louise Hubbard, Mr. Ned Owens and Mrs. Ella Owens.

Dennis was educated in the public school system of Sumter County. He was a quiet, soft-spoken, witty, friendly person, who loved to laugh. He adored his family and was greatly admired by children. He showed great compassion, by giving to others; sometimes even giving his last.

One of his greatest fulfillments was serving as caregiver to his grandmother. Dennis took great pride in caring for others. His remedy for most problems was drinking “hot tea.” He would constantly ask, “you alright?”

Dennis was very charming. He had the ability to make a person feel special. Kierro, Angela, and Chelsey were all “baby-girl.”

He was a man with great insight and wisdom. Often, he used parables when counseling people. He was a very wise man with a very special gift. God used him to improve the lives of many others.

Most importantly, Dennis loved God, his church and his pastor. Before his health declined, he was in attendance at Saint John every third Sunday.

Dennis fought a good fight, he never complained or asked, “why me?” He maintained great dignity. Frequently, he expressed his gratitude by always saying, “thank you” and “I appreciate you.” This a valuable lesson that we all can learn from my husband, my best friend, my soul mate, Dennis Owens.

He leaves to cherish his life, his loving and dedicated wife, Mrs. Carolyn Kimbrough Owens of Americus, Georgia; his loving children, Ms. Angela Sharonda Daniels of Warner Robins, Georgia, Ms. Kierro Emiko Owens of Cordele, Georgia, and Mr. Reginald Bernard Dice of Americus, Georgia; his devoted stepdaughters, Ms. Whitney LaCole Kimbrough and Ms. Chelsey Ellayna Kimbrough both of Americus, Georgia; five grandchildren; his loving sisters, Mrs. Gwendolyn (Johnny) Davis of Leslie, Georgia, Ms. Delores Baker and Ms. Bessie Williams both of   Jacksonville, Florida; his beloved brothers, Mr. Cornelius Hubbard of Leslie, Georgia, Mr. Terry Hubbard of Little Rock, Arkansas, Mr. Michael Hubbard of Leslie, Georgia, Mr. Arthur Owens and Mr. Willie Owens both of Jacksonville, Florida; his aunts, Ms. Mary Emma Cameron of Summerville, South Carolina, Mrs. Beulah (James) Jackson of Americus, Georgia, Mrs. Mildred (Jimmy) Hooks of Columbus, Georgia, and Ms. Emma Jean Hubbard of Leslie, Georgia; his goddaughter, Ms. Ty’Kerra Billups of Americus, Georgia, a host of nieces and nephews, to include a great niece, Ms. Eryn Brown of Americus, Georgia, a host of cousins, to include, Tacara Hubbard of Americus, Georgia; a host of other relatives and many sorrowing friends, to include, Mr. Quentin Hamilton of Leslie, Georgia, Mr. Gregory Hubbard of Albany, Georgia, Turaus Hubbard of Leslie, Georgia, Ms. Almita Dowdell and Ms. Tierra Floyd both of  Americus, Georgia.

Ms. Patricia Ann Fuller

Ms. Patricia Ann Fuller

Ms. Patricia Ann Fuller

Ms. Patricia Ann Fuller was born December 3, 1956 in Desoto, Sumter County, Georgia. She was born to Mrs. Susie Lee Davis Fuller and the late Mr. Isiah “Honey” Fuller.

Patricia was educated in the public system of Sumter County. Early in her life she accepted Christ as her personal Savior and united with the Friendship Baptist Church. She was a devoted member of the church and served as a member of the choir.

For over 30 years she was employed by Caravelle Marine Boats in Americus, Georgia. Working in the Upholstery Department, she was an exceptionally skilled Supervisor. She also employed by the Sumter County School System.

Patricia had a “SMILE” that would brighten up the darkest of days. She was known as the “best” fried chicken, pork chop, and turnips cooker. Aside for her love for her family and cooking, she had a passion for playing softball. She played for the Desoto A’ETTS. Shooting pool, playing Candy Crush, Super Mario Bros. and MLB Baseball were amongst the many other things she enjoyed.

On Sunday, November 6, 2016, she heard a voice that we could not hear and peacefully answered the call. Along with her father, she is preceded in death by her sister, Ms. Mamie D. Dice and her nephew, Mr. Kenneth R. Fuller.

Reflecting upon her life, she leaves wonderful memories to her loving and devoted sons, Mr. Arthur Bernard (Teresa) Fuller of Leesburg, Georgia and Mr. Christopher Leon (Shabreka) Fuller, Sr. of Americus, Georgia; her beloved grandchildren, Kadrian Brown, Rontae Angry, Montavious Angry, Naquajah Davis, A’Den Fuller, Christina Fuller, and Christopher Fuller, Jr.; her loving and devoted mother, Mrs. Susie Lee Fuller of Desoto, Georgia; her loving sisters, Mrs. Everrine Roberson and Ms. Dessa Fuller both of Desoto, Georgia, and Evangelist Sarah Dice of Americus, Georgia; her caring brothers, Mr. Roosevelt (Lena) Fuller, Mr. Elmore (Jessie Mae) Fuller, Mr. Isiah Fuller, Jr., and Mr. Walter (Dorothy) Fuller all of Desoto, Georgia; her aunt, Mrs. Nancy Evans of Jacksonville, Florida; a host of nieces and nephews, to include her devoted niece and nephews, Ms. Cramesia Dice, Mr. Frederick Fuller, Mr. Keith Fuller, Mr. Tony Fuller, Sr., Mr. DeMarcus Fuller, Mr. Tony Fuller, Jr. and Mr. Michael Fuller all of Desoto, Georgia; a host of cousins, other relatives and many sorrowing friends, to include her devoted friends, Ms. Sylvia Ann Jones of Americus, Georgia, and Ms. Ramona Ellis of Desoto, Georgia.




Deacon John Junior Cherry was born in Lee County, Georgia on June 30, 1929, to the parentage of the late Mr.  Thomas “Buddy” Cherry and the late Mrs. Rena “Tubby” Cherry.  They moved to Brooklyn, NY in 1934, where he attended school until the 8th grade. At an early age, he joined Bethlehem Baptist Church in Brooklyn, NY, where he made Jesus his Lord and Savior in 1975.  There he served as a Deacon and Trustee.  He went into the United States Army in 1947 and served approximately six months and was released due to illness.

John had and raised five children with his first wife until her death on February 23, 1990.  From their union were John Cherry, Jr. (deceased), Thomas Cherry, Michael Cherry, Christopher Cherry, and Peter Cherry.

In August 1962, he was employed by the United States Postal Office. John worked for USPS for over 30 years, retiring on January 30, 1991.

When he relocated to Georgia in 1992, he attended Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church and became a Deacon. He relocated to Smithville, GA, where he met and later married Geraldine Kearse Cherry on August 29, 1992. They were joined together in Holy Matrimony until his death on November 6, 2016.

He had one brother, the late Nathaniel Cherry and one son, the late John Cherry, Jr. to precede him in death.

He is survived by his wife of 24 years, Mrs. Geraldine Kearse Cherry; his sister, Ms. Lucille Cherry Hunter of New York; his aunt, Ms.  Lonnie Mae Lewis of Pennsylvania; eleven children: Thomas Cherry, Michael Cherry, Christopher Cherry, and Peter Cherry, all of New York,  Yvonne (Alvin) Lowe of Maryland, Cheryl Berryhill of North Carolina, Sandra (Leroy) Greene of Georgia, Jehovah (Susie) Kearse, Jr. of Maryland, Lawrence (Monica) Kearse of Georgia, Almeta (Lyndon) Keys of South Carolina, and Mattie Smith, also of Georgia; 29 grandchildren, 32 great grandchildren, and 14 great-great grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends, including two devoted friends, Deacon Frank Latimore and Deacon Dwight Harris also survive.




Mr. Bruce Tyrone Harris was born and reared in Sumter County, Georgia, he was the second child of the late Mr. Oliver Harris and the late Mrs. Lois Foster Harris. Being raised and nurtured in a Christian home, Bruce attended Sunday School during his early age. He accepted Christ and joined the Big Bethel Baptist Church, where he worked on the Usher Board until he left Americus.

He was educated in the Public School System of Americus graduating from Americus High School in 1977. After graduation, he furthered his education at Georgia Southwestern College (now University) obtaining a B. S. degree in accounting. He was in security at Georgia Tech for 37 years until he retired.

On Sunday, October 30, 2016, Bruce transitioned to his eternal home, free of all suffering and pain.

His legacy of love and caring will forever be cherished by his family: brothers, Elder Timothy Oliver (Sylvia) Harris, Atlanta, GA, Mr. John Harold Harris, and Mr. Daron Foster (Doreatha) Harris, Americus, GA; a sister, Mrs. Sharon Denise (John) Leverette, Americus, GA; seven uncles, Mr. Alfred (Elizabeth) Harris. Mr.  William (Mattie) Harris, Mr. John (Annie Maude) Harris, Rev. Norris Harris, Rev. Gerald (Martha) Harris, Mr. Abraham (Helen) Foster and Mr. Jessie (Betty) Foster: eight  aunts, Ms. Fannie H. Butler, Ms. Kathleen H.  Monts, Ms. Janice  M. Harris, Rev. Sherryl H. Sneed, all of Americus, GA and Mrs. Ruby H. (Clyde) Maddox, Riverside, Calif., Mrs. Eva (Ray) Colson, Ms. Elizabeth Dendy and Ms. Jeanette Moore all of Wilmington, Delaware; a devoted cousin, Mr. Jessie Clark of Wilmington, Delaware: numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends survive.

Mrs. Lucy Bell Holcomb



Mrs. Lucy Bell Holcomb Sneed was born in Sumter County, Georgia on May 15, 1930 to the parentage of the late Mr. Lee Holcomb and the late Mrs. Sallie Tolbert Holcomb. She worked for 20 years with the Americus Sumter Hospital, she also sat with the sick, delivered the Albany Herald and she loved to baked cakes. She is preceded in death by three brothers, Mr. Otis Holcomb, Mr. Henry Lee Holcomb and Mr. George Allen Holcomb.

She is survived by her husband, Mr. Charles Sneed, Desoto, GA; three sons, Mr. Otis (Shirley) Holcomb, Columbus, GA, Rev. Arthur Clayton, Jr., Atlanta, GA and Mr. Vincent (Tosha) Clayton, Miami, FL; two step-daughters, Ms. Sheila Christi, Jacksonville, FL and Ms. Renee of Dallas, TX; three grandchildren, Rena´ (Artie) Camon, Otis Holcomb, Jr., Columbus, GA and Katrina Holcomb, Atlanta, GA; six great grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins other relatives and friends also survive.




Mrs. Eddie Mae Hooks Wise was born in Sumter County, Georgia on January 1, 1923 to the parentage of the late Mr. James Hooks and the late Mrs. Georgiana Waters Hooks. She received her education from the Nunn Institute. She was married to the late Mr. Willie Wise and to their union six children were born.  Mrs. Wise was a homemaker. During her lifetime, she enjoyed sewing, making garments for her family, as well as other people, including her former pastor, Apostle I. Revills and his wife, Mother Ullainee Revills. She was dearly loved by her children and grandchildren, many other children and adults who affectionately called her “Ma Wise”. She loved people and was known to take in children who did not have anywhere to stay.

During the 1960’s civil rights movement, she housed, cooked for and fed many people in her home with her own children and family. Throughout the years they still called and came to see her. She was truly a Proverbs 31 woman, a woman of wisdom and mighty strength, a teacher at heart, and the best story-teller. She loved to travel and has visited various places across the nation. During her travel she, loved to gather with other saints loved to praise the Lord and promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

She is preceded in death by two children who passed away during infancy. Also preceding her in death, a daughter, Ms. Gloria Wise Bowerman and two sons, Mr. Major Willie Wise and Sgt. Charlie Wise; two brothers, Mr. Jimmy Hooks and Mr. Raymond Hooks and five sisters, Ms. Emma L. Bowens, Ms. Annie B. Wilbern, Ms. Rosa L. Girven, Ms. Peggy Hampton and Ms. Mary Madgeline Hooks.

She leaves to cherish her memories, a loving and devoted daughter, Ms. Minnie Jewel Wise Alaman, Americus, GA; a sister-in-law, Ms. Emma Jones, Leslie, GA; seven grandchildren, Ms. Khalilah Alaman, Atlanta, GA, Mr. Tyrone Wise, Lithonia, GA, Mr. Arafo Carmichael Wise, Teaneck, NJ, Ms. Malika Williams, Mesa, AZ, Ms. Aisha Alaman, Americus, Mr. Marcus Wise and Mr. Major Wise all of Americus, GA; seventeen great grand, Precious Williams, Semaj Brandon (Maria) Ward, Diamond Ward, Malik Ward, James Ward, Laylah Mae Lani Alaman, Joshua Alaman, Tyrone Wise, Jr., Maliek T. Richardson, Shallice Wise, Arafo Wise, Jr., Chanel Rose Wise, Marquis Davis, Marcus Wise, II, Aunquierra Ross, Donaven Wise and Jakory Wise; six great, great grandchildren, Lydia Ward, Arya Ward, Alex R. Wise, Isabela Maya Wise, Landen Wise and Amari Ross; and a host of nieces, including two devoted niece, Ms. Emma Mae Dismuke and Ms. Michelle Williams, nephews, including a devoted nephew, Mr. Joe (Mary) Hampton, cousins other relatives and friends, including devoted friends, Mrs. Beverly Thomas, Mrs. Gillian Willis, Mrs. Ann Knighton and the Cox family also survive.




Mr. James Bell, Jr. was born in Sumter County, Georgia on May 22, 1949 to the parentage of the late Mr. James Bell, Sr. and the late Mrs. Thelma Frederick. At an early age, he joined the Union Tabernacle Baptist Church. He is preceded in the death by a sister, Ms. Eloise Lyles.

He leaves to cherish his memories, his wife, Mrs. Glover Dean Bell, Americus, GA; two sons, Mr. Maurice Bell, Atlanta, GA and Mr. Keith Bell, Americus, GA; two daughters, Ms. Tiffany Bell and Ms. Kachina Wright both of Atlanta, GA; his step-children, Mr. Thomas Moye, Jr. Americus, GA, Mr. Gregory (Lorna) Moye, Leesburg, GA, Mr. Bruce (Larato) Moye, Atlanta, GA and Ms. Sharon Ogletree, Macon, GA; six brothers, Mr. Willie Frank Bell, CA, Mr. Mario Hardy, Mr. Ernest (Phyllis) Frederick, Mr. Leroy (Roberta) Frederick all of West Palm Beach, FL, Mr. Robert Hardy and Mr. Charles Hardy, Americus, GA; six sisters, Ms. Deborah Smith, Plains, GA, Mr. Judy Hardy, Ms. Carolyn Mosley, West Palm Beach, FL, Ms. Peggy Jackson, Americus, GA, Mrs. Diane (James) Holman, Douglas, GA and Ms. Melinda Price, Marietta, GA; four grandchildren, seven step grandchildren, eight step-great grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins other relatives and friends also survive.


image1721Ms. Ida Mae Green was born in Sumter County, Georgia on April 1, 1921 to the parentage of the late Mr. Jimmy Green and the late Mrs. Mamie Griffin Green. She is preceded in death by her brother, Mr. David Green, Sr. and three sisters, Ms. Ruby Green Davis, Ms. Essie Mae Green and Ms. Jimmy Lee Green.

She leaves to cherish her memories, a loving and devoted sister, Ms. Thelma Green, Americus, GA; a sister-in-law, Ms. Bernice Green, Americus, GA; her nieces & nephews, Rev. Willie (Bernice) Turner, Atlanta, GA, Mrs. Martha Hardy, Dr. Shirley Green Reese, Mrs. Bobbie (William) Andrews, Dr. Gregory Green and Mr. Jimmy Green all of Americus, GA;  her great nieces & nephews, cousins other relatives and friends also survive.

How A Trump Presidency Will Impact Small Businesses



After an extremely divisive election and close presidential race, the final winner was Republican candidate Donald Trump. Now the billionaire businessman makes history as the first president of America never to have served in the military, public office, or to release tax returns. What will be in store for small business owners come January when Trump enters the White House? How will the policies of his administration affect America’s 28.7 million small businesses?

There are critical issues around how small businesses will fare in relation to minimum wage, taxes, healthcare, trade policy as well as other important economic factors.

Minimum Wage Is A Ballot Winner

The minimum wage was a winner this election in four states. Voters supported ballot initiatives gradually raising Arizona, Colorado, and Maine’s minimum wages to $12 by 2020, and Washington State’s wage floor to $13.50 by 2020. Leaders are urging Congress to follow suit and raise the outdated federal minimum wage of $7.25, which comes to just $15,080 a year for full-time workers, advocates say. More than 1,000 business owners, executives, and business organizations have signed Business for a Fair Minimum Wage’s statement supporting a federal minimum wage of at least $12 by 2020.

Holly Sklar, CEO of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, said in a statement, “Four very different states passed ballot initiatives today to raise the minimum wage. That speaks volumes.” Voters know the minimum wage is too low and needs a boost. Workers are also customers, and increased pay means increased consumer buying power—as well as lower employee turnover and improved productivity.

Unlocking Capital Access

One of Hillary Clinton’s main running points for small businesses was to unlock access to capital to ease the burden for community banks and credit unions—giving them the finances they need to build, grow, and hire. When it comes to starting businesses, Clinton promised to allow entrepreneurs to defer student loan payments, with no interest, while they get their ventures off the ground. She also planned to protect small businesses from large companies using litigation hurdles to deny payment for services, offering recourse to take on predatory behavior. Trump is not likely to adopt the later given his company benefited from such practices.

Part of Trump’s so-called “new deal,” which he revealed during one of his election stops, included new tax incentives for inner cities, new microloans for African Americans to start companies and hire workers, and a plan to reinvest money from suspended refugee programs in inner cities.

Small Business Groups Applaud Trump Presidency

Karen Kerrigan, president and CEO of The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council), looks forward to working with Trump’s administration, stating that “His agenda of lower taxes and simplifying the tax code, relieving small businesses of excessive regulation and red tape, competitive solutions for more affordable health insurance, bringing down barriers to capital access and formation, leveraging our energy resources and America’s energy renaissance more fully, smarter trade agreements, and advancing growth-oriented policies to restore healthy investment won the day.”

Startup Funding: What Are Your Options?

startupsignAn expert on startup financing shares the options you have at your disposal for outside funding

As financial professionals, we often get asked, “how can I attract funding and other sources of outside capital?”
Having had the good fortune to provide nearly 20% of all the privately funded, venture-backed companies nationwide with our services, we know the path to fundraising well. The key elements that you need to consider cover several options around funding, including alternatives to outside funding.

On Bootstrapping

Before you seek outside investment, you should consider what your business, product, and field are and whether you can make a go of it financially on your own. Whether it’s from personal savings, time invested, or other self-generated resources, bootstrapping is an option early on.

There are three reasons why you should be pursuing outside investment, and those are the main signals that fundraising is worth pursuing.

Why You Should Seek Funding

There is the meta reason and the specific, the meta reason being to ask yourself if funding can substantially move your company forward in a way that you couldn’t otherwise.

The specifics are one of the following three ways:

  1. To accelerate growth
  2. Network expansion
  3. Timing

All of these are heavily dependent on how far along you are, what you’ve done so far, and where you’re going.

Different Investing Stages

If after checking that one or more of those areas is ripe with possibility that an outside capital infusion could greatly enhance, then here are the levels of investment and what you can expect of each.

Friends and Family

At this personal stage, it’s exactly what it sounds like—seeking investment from your close network, friends, and family. Maybe even a friend of a friend who is a high net-worth individual.

Some things to consider: You will have a low valuation at this stage. There is realistically a 90% chance of failure this early on. Every entrepreneur believes this doesn’t apply to them. My advice to you is because of the personal nature of this round and the high failure probability, make sure to not take any investment from a relationship that would be heavily jeopardized by that possibility. Protect your relationships first.

Read more at…

David Ehrenberg is the founder and CEO of Early Growth Financial Services, an outsourced financial services firm that provides early-stage companies with day-to-day transactional accounting, CFO service, tax, and valuation services and support. He’s a financial expert and startup mentor whose passion is helping businesses focus on what they do… (read more)

BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.

Retirees Need Better Understanding of Home Equity



Majority want to stay in their homes, but don’t know how to cash in

While the finding by an American College of Financial Services study that a majority of retirees want to stay in their homes after retirement is not surprising, one has to take pause at the lack of understanding the survey revealed when it comes to knowing how to capitalize on the equity in their homes. This should be of particular concern to black families.

The Home Equity and Retirement Income Planning Survey found that 83% of the respondents do not want to relocate in retirement.

“One very interesting notion, was that the desire to age in place increases significantly as you get older,” said survey author Jamie Hopkins, professor of Retirement Income Planning and co-director of The American College New York Life Center for Retirement Income Planning.

“We saw more uncertainty between the ages of 55 and 62. But once we started getting past 62 and you start moving into retirement, we saw that these individuals really don’t expect or want to leave their homes.”

The survey, created to better understand retirees’ attitudes about home equity and housing decisions, also revealed that 44% have considered using home equity in retirement, but that only 25% feel comfortable spending it as a source of income.
It also found that only about 20% felt that it was extremely important to leave their home as a legacy asset to their children or other heirs, while 45% listed it as not important.
The respondents were generally misinformed about reverse mortgages, while holding a slightly negative view on reverse mortgages as a retirement tool.
“This is really going to open a lot of eyes about just how little people moving into retirement with some home equity know about reverse mortgages,” added Hopkins.

Home equity as a source of income is a particular challenge for blacks.

The American Civil Liberties Union, says given the unequal impact of the Great Recession, white descendants are projected to have 1.6 times the home equity of black descendants.

“We know that home equity is an important part of the household wealth passage for all Americans, but particularly true for families of color,” said Rachel Goodman, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program.

“Black families tend to have fewer assets invested in the stock market and retirement accounts. Home equity is the source black families are generally drawing on to help family members do things like pay for college, help with down payments on homes of their own, or leave money in wills,” she adds.

When it comes to retirement planning, be sure to talk to a financial professional about the ways in which the equity in your home plays into your overall retirement savings plan.

Serena Williams, Common spark rumors of rekindled romance

(Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images and Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

(Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images and Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

Serena Williams and Common were spotted together during a small, private event in California, which has kicked off a whole new round of dating rumors.

The two stars dated on and off again for three years before breaking it off in 2010, but according to TMZ, the two were spotted together chatting in a back room at the grand opening of the Yetunde Price Resource Center before Williams spoke at the opening, though they were careful not to get their picture taken together.

Last February, Common told “The Meredith Vieira Show” about their breakup and suggested that the timing was simply wrong.

–Serena Williams says trip to Africa changed her life–

“It was kinda eventually a mutual thing, but she initiated it. It’s OK though! We’ve got a great understanding, and I care about her as a person,” he said. “Most of the women that I’ve dealt with, I care about, so we can keep that friendship… You still have that respect and have love for them and still want to see them do well.”

He later added, “I do recognize that if we were both at different points at that time then the relationship would have been different, but I let the past be the past, grow from the past and stay in the present.”

Oscar-buzzing ‘Moonlight’ gives viewers something to hold on to

moonlight-1In too many black coming-of-age films, black people don’t have lives; they have agendas. In 1991’s Boyz n the Hood, we get lectured on inner-city crime. 2006’s ATL educates us on growing up poor. In 2015’s Dope, the main character actually addresses the audience to judge how we expect a black teenager to live.

Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight has no agendas. It doesn’t need them. It tells the story of a gay black kid’s coming of age in Miami so clearly and sensitively that it becomes your story.

Working from Tarell Alvin McCraney’s unpublished play, “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue,” Jenkins dividesMoonlight into three acts. Three different actors play the protagonist Chiron at different points in his life.

In the first act, he’s nicknamed Little (Alex Hibbert). He lives with his drug-addicted mother (Naomie Harris) but finds guidance from a drug dealer named Juan (Mahershala Ali). In the second, Chiron is an ungainly teenager (now played by Ashton Sanders) struggling with bullies and his closeted sexuality. The final chapter shows us a grown-up Chiron (Trevante Rhodes), his now muscular shoulders burdened by the emotional baggage he’s carried all these years.

In Jenkins’s three Chirons, you see the same body language, the same facial tics, the same eyes that project a battered soul.

In capturing Chiron’s experience, Jenkins creates real people. His first feature, 2008’s Medicine for Melancholy, revealed this gift. In that film, he patiently followed a black man and woman in their 20’s around a gentrifying San Francisco as they walked and talked. Their conversations covered the changing racial makeup of the city, what it means to be black, and how that meaning changes in different situations.

Instead of being a lecture, these ideas flow naturally out of the characters’ interactions. Jenkins writes black people you can imagine bumping into on the street or on the subway.

That authenticity blesses Moonlight’s cast beyond the three newcomers who play Chiron. Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, André Holland as a childhood friend of Chiron’s, and even singer Janelle Monáe as Chiron’s surrogate mother, suggest deep pools of feeling and lived experience with just a glance.

The film’s craft complements the cast. Cinematography,music, sound design and editing combine to cast a spell that slows us down and draws us in. The film seems to breathe in the summer air. Deep sky blues, pearly shades of white and the orange glow of street lights wash over us like ocean waves gently splashing ashore.

And behind it all is Jenkins, whose artistry since Medicinehas risen from observation to poetry. His twirling camera turns the rough-and-tumble play of black boys into ballet. His wide compositions convey Chiron’s isolation. His gaze savors the telling detail: a look shared between two old friends, as if searching each other’s face for traces of the boy they knew, or a hand clenching in the sand, shivers of desire running through it.

Coming out of the film, I recalled these images so vividly they could have been memories from my life. A few of them are. I know the childhood roughhousing that Jenkins depicts. And I know the fear that can grip boys who act tough so as not to appear ‘soft.’ But anyone watchingMoonlight will know the struggle to become who you want to be.

The beauty in Jenkins’s film comes from empathizing with Chiron’s experience whether you’ve known a part of it or not. And when his old hurts and buried desires rush back to the surface in Moonlight’s climactic scenes, you’ll feel so close to Chiron by then that you’ll want to reach out and hold him.

You’ll want to hold onto Moonlight, too.

Movie review: ‘Almost Christmas’ is predictably warm, heartfelt

Danny Glover and Mo’Nique star in “Almost Christmas,” the festive story of a beloved patriarch who asks his family for one gift this holiday season: to get along. Quantrell D. Colbe/Universal Pictures

Danny Glover and Mo’Nique star in “Almost Christmas,” the festive story of a beloved patriarch who asks his family for one gift this holiday season: to get along. Quantrell D. Colbe/Universal Pictures

A familiar recipe of family, food and friction are cooked up to create “Almost Christmas,” a new holiday movie that you can slot into your seasonal viewing like one more piece of comfort food.

As warm as your mother’s mashed potatoes. As predictable as your cousin’s green-bean casserole. As sweet as your mother-in-law’s pecan pie. As unoriginal as your brother bringing chips and soda as a contribution.

And yet “Almost Christmas” works as a holiday movie that wears its heart on its sleeve, almost tirelessly, jumping back and forth between high comedy, romantic interludes, potential tragedy and Mo’Nique blowing through like a hurricane.

The movie is in love with love and its unabashed good spirits, and who doesn’t need more of that in their lives?

While lacking in surprises, it’s full of charm, thanks to an ensemble that makes it look like they had a blast making this movie.

Danny Glover plays the family patriarch with the big family, but five days before Christmas, he’s preparing for a houseful for the first time after the death of his wife.

She was full of love, could cook up a storm and was a tireless volunteer at the local homeless shelter. Her loss is felt in the community, and it leaves a hole in this family.

Glover’s character just wants the whole family under one roof, sharing their love, memories of Mom and peace during the week of Christmas.

But that will all be tested, beginning with his daughters.

One is a divorced single mom/law student (Gabrielle Union) and the other (Kimberly Elise) a woman married to a former basketball player with a wandering eye, and these sisters have never gotten along.

Then there’s his over-achieving sons: Romany Malco (“Think Like a Man”) plays an aspiring U.S. Congressman who won’t stop campaigning during the holiday, while Jessie T. Usher plays the late-in-life son who’s a college football star preparing for the NFL draft, and who’s recovered from an injury but not the prescription pain pill habit he formed.

These character types are all over the place, and the family arrives with plenty of drama on their plates, and mixing it all together turns into a buffet of bickering and secrets.

But that doesn’t mean there’s not time for a group dance-off to the Dazz Band’s “Let It Whip” or a family football game, or even a car-crash drama and a prom re-enactment scene. The buffet runneth over.

There’s always something going on, whether it necessarily makes sense, but the action is never lacking in a stuffed-like-a-turkey script by writer-director David E. Talbert (“Baggage Claim”).

That infectious energy is matched by the consistent comedy, with a ring-leader in Mo’Nique as the mother’s surviving sister, bellowing at the younger generations and spicing up more than a couple of her commands with a sassy “yo ass” conclusion.

The ensemble cast is spirited, with nice turns by Omar Epps (good to see him back on the big screen) and JB Smoove (frequently hilarious) and good young actors playing the grandchildren who gleefully use technology against their elders.

Again, this is usually corny and funny at the same time, producing the kind of laughs that families can share. That’s what this film was made for, and it might become a staple for some, like pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.

Speaking of predictable goodness: Does Glover, amid all these family antics, deliver his most famous movie line, telling us that he’s getting too old for this you-know-what?

Please. Did we mention that “Almost Christmas” is completely predictable, and yet it consistently brings a smile to your face in spite of that fact?

PBS newscaster Gwen Ifill has died at the age of 61

Gwen Ifill, the veteran journalist and newscaster who co-anchored "PBS NewsHour dead at 61.

Gwen Ifill, the veteran journalist and newscaster who co-anchored “PBS NewsHour dead at 61.

Gwen Ifill, the veteran journalist and newscaster who co-anchored “PBS NewsHour,” has died, PBS said Monday.

Ifill, 61, broke gender and racial barriers and became a role model for journalists across the country. She had been battling endometrial cancer while covering this year’s presidential election, one of her best friends, Michele Norris, told CNN.

PBS said in a statement that she died Monday “surrounded by family and friends.”

“Gwen was one of America’s leading lights in journalism and a fundamental reason public media is considered a trusted window on the world by audiences across the nation,” Paula Kerger, the PBS president and CEO, said.

“She often said that her job was to bring light rather than heat to issues of importance to our society,” Kerger said.

During a press conference on Monday, President Obama described Ifill as “an extraordinary journalist” who “always kept faith with the fundamental responsibilities of her profession, asking tough questions, holding people in power accountable, and defending a strong and free press that makes our democracy work.”

Ifill, who worked at The Washington Post, The New York Times and NBC News, became moderator of PBS’s “Washington Week in Review” in 1999. She was tapped to be the co-anchor of the “NewsHour” in 2013. Ifill and co-anchor Judy Woodruff were the first women to jointly lead a national nightly news broadcast.

Ifill also moderated the 2004 and 2008 vice-presidential debates, as well as a 2016 Democratic primary debate.

“Whether she reported from the convention floor or from the field, whether she sat at the debate moderator’s table or the anchor’s desk, she not only informed today’s citizens, she also inspired tomorrow’s journalists,” Obama said. “She was an especially powerful role model for young women and girls who admired her integrity, her tenacity and her intellect, and for whom she blazed a trail as one half of the first all-female network anchor team on network news.”

“I think we’re all diminished without Gwen,” CNN’s Gloria Borger, a longtime friend of Ifill’s, said after the news of Ifill’s passing was announced.

Borger recalled that Ifill’s “preparation for those debates was stunning.”

“She was such a role model for me, and for so many people,” CNN’s Nia-Malika Henderson said.

“We all loved her,” CNN’s Jamie Gangel said, remembering Ifill as smart, funny and fearless.

fill was a pioneer for women and for African Americans in journalism, becoming the first African American woman to host a major political talk show when she took the helm at “Washington Week in Review.”

Her path to prominence was hard-fought: While in college in the late 1970s, Ifill secured an internship at The Boston Herald.

“They didn’t know what a college-educated black woman was and they didn’t know how to treat me,” she once told The Washington Post. One day, she told the Post, a staffer left her a note in the photo lab that said “Nigger go home.” The editors were so apologetic about the issue that they hired Ifill after her 1977 graduation, she recalled.

Common Food Additive Promotes Colon Cancer In Mice, Georgia State University Researchers Find

istock_25809257_medium-1527x1125-977x720ATLANTA—Emulsifiers, which are added to most processed foods to aid texture and extend shelf life, can alter intestinal bacteria in a manner that promotes intestinal inflammation and colorectal cancer, according to a new study.

The findings, published in the journal Cancer Research, show regular consumption of dietary emulsifiers in mice exacerbated tumor development. The study was led by Drs. Emilie Viennois, Didier Merlin, Andrew T. Gewirtz and Benoit Chassaing, researchers in Georgia State University’s Institute for Biomedical Sciences.

Colorectal cancer, the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide, was responsible for about 700,000 deaths in 2012. There is increasing awareness that the intestinal microbiota, the vast, diverse population of microorganisms that inhabits the human intestines, play a role in driving colorectal cancer.

The microbiota is also a key factor in driving Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, the two most common forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD is known to promote colon tumorigenesis and gave rise to the term “colitis-associated cancer.” Low-grade inflammation, a condition more prevalent than IBD, was shown to be associated with altered gut microbiota composition and metabolic disease and is observed in many cases of colorectal cancer. These recent findings suggest dietary emulsifiers might be partially responsible for this association.

“The incidence of colorectal cancer has been markedly increasing since the mid-20th century,” said Viennois, assistant professor in the Institute for Biomedical Sciences. “A key feature of this disease is the presence of an altered intestinal microbiota that creates a favorable niche for tumorigenesis.”

“The dramatic increase in these diseases has occurred amidst constant human genetics, suggesting a pivotal role for an environmental factor,” said Chassaing, assistant professor in the Institute for Biomedical Sciences.

Previous reports by the Georgia State research team suggested that low-grade inflammation in the intestine is promoted by consumption of dietary emulsifiers, which are detergent-like molecules incorporated into most processed foods that alter the composition of gut microbiota. The addition of emulsifiers to food seems to fit the time frame and had been shown to promote bacterial translocation across epithelial cells. Viennois and Chassaing hypothesized that emulsifiers might affect the gut microbiota in a way that promotes colorectal cancer. They designed experiments in mice to test this possibility.

In this study, the team fed mice with two very commonly used emulsifiers, polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulose, at doses seeking to model the broad consumption of the numerous emulsifiers that are incorporated into the majority of processed foods. Researchers observed that consuming emulsifiers drastically changed the species composition of the gut microbiota in a manner that made it more pro-inflammatory, creating a niche favoring cancer induction and development. Alterations in bacterial species resulted in bacteria expressing more flagellin and lipopolysaccharide, which activate pro-inflammatory gene expression by the immune system.

When using a well established model of colorectal cancer, the researchers observed that dietary emulsifier consumption was sufficient to make the animals more susceptible to developing colonic tumors because this created and maintained a pro-inflammatory environment associated with an altered proliferation/apoptosis (cell death) balance. The researchers observed that enhanced tumor development was associated with an altered intestinal microbiota, characterized by an increased pro-inflammatory potential.

This study demonstrated that emulsifier-induced alterations in the microbiome were necessary and sufficient to drive alterations in intestinal epithelial cells’ homeostasis, which is thought to govern tumor development. The effects of consuming emulsifiers were eliminated in mice devoid of microbiota (germ-free mice), and transplanting microbiota from emulsifier-treated mice to germ-free mice was sufficient to transfer alterations in intestinal epithelial cells’ homeostasis, suggesting a central role played by the microbiota in tumor development.

Overall, these findings support the concept that agitating host-microbiota interactions to cause low-grade gut inflammation can promote colon carcinogenesis. The team is now investigating which microbiota members are triggering this detrimental effect, as well as the mechanism of altered microbiota-induced cancer promotion.

This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America and the Department of Veterans Affairs.


Moderate Alcohol Use Linked to Heart Chamber Damage, Atrial Fibrillation in New Study

wine-pouring-into-glassEnjoy a glass of wine with dinner or a nightcap before bed, but don’t count on their heart benefits.

A new study by UC San Francisco researchers found that even moderate alcohol consumption may change the structure of the heart in ways that increase the risk of atrial fibrillation.

“There’s growing evidence that moderate alcohol intake may be a risk factor for atrial fibrillation, the most common heart rhythm disturbance in the world, but the mechanism by which alcohol may lead to atrial fibrillation is unknown,” said Gregory Marcus, MD, endowed professor of atrial fibrillation research at UCSF and senior author of the study published Sept. 14, 2016, in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Possible Pathway Between Alcohol and Atrial Fibrillation

Marcus and colleagues looked at damage to the left atrium of the heart as a possible pathway between alcohol and atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is a known risk factor for stroke. The irregular pumping of blood can lead to blood clots, which may travel to the brain and cause stroke.

The researchers evaluated data from more than 5,000 adults collected over several years in the Framingham Heart Study, including echocardiograms, medical history and self-reported alcohol intake. The study participants, mostly white and in their 40s to 60s, reported on average just over one drink per day. The overall rate of atrial fibrillation in the group was 8.4 cases per 1,000 people per year – meaning over a 10-year period, eight out of 100 people were likely to develop atrial fibrillation.

Every additional drink per day was associated with a 5 percent increase in the yearly risk. Every additional drink per day also was associated with a statistically significant 0.16 millimeter enlargement of the left atrium, highlighting a possible site of physical damage caused by drinking.

Complex Relationship Between Alcohol and Heart Health
The new findings shed light on the complex relationship between alcohol and heart health – one that likely precludes blanket advice on drinking habits, said Marcus.

Research has shown that moderate drinking can reduce the risk of heart attack while increasing the risk of atrial fibrillation. Marcus’s team captured this conundrum in a study published earlier this year looking at hospital admissions in dry and wet counties of Texas. They found that patients in counties permitting alcohol sales were more likely to have atrial fibrillation but less likely to have heart attacks and congestive heart failure.

Alcohol’s abilities to protect and harm the heart likely operate through different mechanisms and vary from person to person, said Marcus. The work in his group seeks to decipher these mechanisms, which will inform therapies for heart conditions and may ultimately enable physicians to give personalized advice to patients.

“I’m constantly trying to remind people that there are various forms of heart disease and not all are related to heart attack,” said Marcus, who is also a practicing cardiologist. “Atrial fibrillation is growing in importance as our success in preventing heart attack grows.”

He added that one pattern, revealed by UCSF’s Health eHeart Study, is clear – people who believe alcohol is good for the heart tend to drink more.

Short Sleepers Drink More Sugary Sodas

11338There appears to be a connection between getting too little sleep and drinking more caffeinated sugary drinks, but the direction of the association is not understood.

Researchers found that people who sleep 5 or fewer hours during the night also tend to drink more caffeinated sodas or energy drinks containing sugar than people who sleep more than 5 hours, according to a study appearing online in Sleep Health.

It is not clear if drinking caffeinated, sugar-sweetened beverages causes people to sleep less or if it is the opposite, that sleep deprivation causes people to give in to cravings for the sugary drinks.

But Aric A. Prather, PhD, of the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues noted that the findings suggest some connection between the intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and poor sleep.

“We think there may be a positive feedback loop where sugary drinks and sleep loss reinforce one another, making it harder for people to eliminate their unhealthy sugar habit,” Prather noted in a press statement, adding that the data suggest that improving people’s sleep could potentially help them reduce their sugar intake.

The researchers noted that sugar-sweetened beverages are the primary source of added sugar in the American diet, and have been linked in numerous studies to weight gain and metabolic syndrome. Lack of sleep has also been linked to an increased risk for metabolic disease.

In an effort to better understand the association between sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and poor sleep, the researchers analyzed National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2005-2012 data on self-reported sleep duration and beverage intake (types of sugar-sweetened beverages, juice, water, coffee, and tea) from two 24-hour dietary recalls among 18,779 adults. Survey respondents who reported sleeping 7 to 8 hours during the period were considered the reference group.

The researchers relied on generalized linear models adjusted for sociodemographics and health characteristics in the analysis.

Thirteen percent of patients reported sleeping 5 or fewer hours per night. In fully adjusted models:

Respondents who slept 5 hours or less had 21% higher consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (relative difference 1.21, 95% CI 1.11-1.32);
When considered by beverage type, caffeinated sugary beverages accounted for this difference; and
No associations were seen between self-reported sleep duration and consumption of 100% juice beverages, tea, or diet drinks.
The researchers noted that the cross-sectional nature of the study precluded making any clear inferences about causality. The reliance on self-reporting of beverage consumption and sleep assessment was also cited as study limitations.

“Studies examining associations of sleep with dietary intake using objective measures of sleep are needed,” Prather and colleagues wrote. “In addition, although analyses adjusted for sociodemographic and health characteristics known to show prior associations with sleep and SSB [sugar-sweetened beverages] consumption, other potential confounders (e.g., psychological stress, neighborhood socioeconomic status) unmeasured in NHANES may play a role in the sleep-SSB link. Replication and extensions of this work in large prospective cohort studies are warranted.”

Despite the limitations, the researchers concluded that the findings “provide novel evidence that sleep duration may reflect a possible target for attenuating SSB consumption in adults, although there are likely bidirectional relationships between sleep and SSB consumption, particularly among caffeinated SSBs.”

U.S. HIV Incidence dropped during past decade



HIV incidence in the United States declined by approximately 26% since 2003, based on a study using a new and simple method of estimating the number of new cases.

“Previously, the number of newly diagnosed HIV cases in a year was used as a proxy measure for HIV incidence but has never been used as the sole data source to calculate HIV incidence, because HIV infection can remain asymptomatic for many years and newly reported cases represent both recent and long-standing infections,” wrote Qiang Xia, MD, of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and coauthors.

Overall, the estimated incidence of HIV decreased from approximately 52,721 in 2003 to 39,651 in 2010. Incidence of HIV dropped from 38,164 to 33,035 in men and from 13,557 to 6,616 in women during this time.

The researchers divided the period of study from 2002-2011 into 3-year intervals with overlaps, and estimated HIV incidence based on the assumption that all HIV infections would be diagnosed through testing or death and that HIV incidence and case findings were stable within each 3-year period. HIV incidence was then defined as the number of new HIV infections in a year, and the number of new diagnoses in the previous year, current year, and following year were used to calculate each current year.

The study was limited by several factors, including the accuracy of HIV case reporting and the stability of HIV case finding within the 3-year periods, the researchers wrote. However, the findings suggest that the “CDC may have overestimated HIV incidence and HIV incidence in the United States may have been declining since 2003,” the coauthors said. “We should consider all available methods, rather than relying on one, to provide more accurate estimates of HIV incidence to guide our intervention programs,” they added.

The researchers had no financial conflicts to disclose.

Find the full study in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS. 2016 Sep 19;138:e20154664. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000001185).

Is Paul Ryan already eyeing Medicare cuts?

2016-11-10t194835z_01_was704_rtridsp_3_usa-election-trump-5169House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Thursday that Medicare has “serious problems” that would need to be addressed when Congress moves to repeal and replace President Obama’s health-care reform law — a signal that he is willing to immediately enter the treacherous politics of entitlement reform and perhaps break with President-elect Donald Trump.

“When Obamacare became Obamacare, Obamacare rewrote Medicare, rewrote Medicaid, so if you’re going to repeal and replace Obamacare, you have to address those issues as well,” he said in a Fox News Channel interview. “What people don’t realize is that Medicare is going broke, that Medicare is going to have price controls. Because of Obamacare, Medicaid is in fiscal straits. So you have to deal with those issues if you’re going to repeal and replace Obamacare. Medicare has got some serious problems because of Obamacare. Those things are part of our plan to replace Obamacare.”

Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong declined to comment further on Ryan’s plans for Medicare and Medicaid, but he has long advocated major changes to both programs that could reduce their costs — and their benefits for poor and elderly Americans.

Ryan (R-Wis.) specifically cited the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a body created under the Affordable Care Act that has the power to recommend cuts in the level of government’s payments to providers who participate in Medicare. It is set to start wielding its powers next year, and while Obamacare’s backers say the board is an important tool for reining in health-care costs, conservatives see it as an infringement on the free market that could lead to the rationing of care.

The “Better Way” policy package that Ryan drafted earlier this year with the aid of his fellow House Republicans proposed a broad package of proposed Medicare reforms, ranging from the repeal of the IPAB to expanding the privately managed Medicare Advantage program to a full-blown overhaul of the Medicare system into a “premium support” model.

That would involve transforming Medicare from a largely single-payer federal program to a private model where seniors would be federal subsidies to buy private insurance — similar to the subsidies available to younger Americans who can now buy insurance on the ACA-mandated state marketplaces.

“This reform ensures affordability by fixing the currently broken subsidy system and letting market competition work as a real check on widespread waste and skyrocketing health-care costs,” the GOP plan says. Ryan has included a premium support model as part of the budget proposals he put forth as chairman of the House Budget Committee, calling them necessary to stabilize the nation’s long-term fiscal outlook.

But any radical changes to Medicare have historically been deeply unpopular. Trump, by and large, stayed far away from proposing Medicare cuts during the campaign. Hishealth policy platform, for instance, does not make any mention of Medicare amid its promises to repeal Obamacare. It does, however, support “block-granting” Medicaid — that is, changing the federal health program for the poor from an open-ended, formula-based system with strict rules on benefits to a lump-sum model in which states would have great leeway to reduce or supplement benefits.

Last year, Trump briefly said he would consider a plan supported by GOP rival Ben Carson that would have seniors rely on health savings accounts to finance their care before reversing course and saying he was wary of Medicare changes.

“Abolishing Medicare, I don’t think you’ll get away with that one,” he said. “It’s actually a program that’s worked. It’s a program that some people love, actually.”

In a 2013 speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump said, “As Republicans, if you think you are going to change very substantially for the worse Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in any substantial way, and at the same time you think you are going to win elections, it just really is not going to happen.”

But his new transition website includes a revised health policy agenda that could encompass the sorts of changes that Ryan has proposed. “Modernize Medicare, so that it will be ready for the challenges with the coming retirement of the Baby Boom generation — and beyond,” the document reads. “Maximize flexibility for States in administering Medicaid, to enable States to experiment with innovative methods to deliver healthcare to our low-income citizens.”

As for whether Medicare is “going broke,” the program’s trustees say that the “Part A” trust fund — the costliest component of Medicare, covering hospital visits — is set to become insolvent in 2028. In 2009, before the passage of the Affordable Care Act, however, the trustees projected that fund would be insolvent in 2017.

The latest projections from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office show that Medicare spending is set to rise from the current level of about 3 percent of gross domestic product to more than 5 percent of GDP in 2040. But that is considerably less growth than the CBO projected before the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which showed Medicare spending in the realm of 7 percent around 2040. In the next 10 years alone, the difference between those projections could amount to $2 trillion, according to an analysis by the liberal Center for American Progress.

“Both in the aggregate and on a per capita basis, Medicare spending growth has slowed in recent years,” the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation said in a July report. “While spending is expected to continue to grow more slowly in the future compared to historical trends, there are signs that spending growth could increase at a faster rate than in recent years, in part due to rising prescription drug spending, growing enrollment in Medicare, increases in provider payments, and higher growth in input prices for medical care.”

Fox anchor Bret Baier asked Ryan about “entitlement reform” generally Thursday, and while he readily proposed reforms to Medicare and Medicaid, he appeared much less eager to propose changes to Social Security. “Fiscal pressures are mounting faster on health care than they are on Social Security,” he said.

Dissatisfied, divided and doomed? America’s woes after Election 2016

clinton-trump_11-15-2016Americans cast their votes for a new president Nov. 8, but regardless of the choice for new leader of America, Inc., can a nation wracked by division, bitter division, be put back together in the election’s aftermath? Where would the country start, given the race-baiting, hatred, dissatisfaction of voters and lack of trust in Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald J. Trump? Voter suppression at the polls, the Ku Klux Klan’s official newspaper touted front page support for Mr. Trump, while a Black church was set ablaze allegedly by Trump supporters.

On the other hand, Ms. Clinton remained unpopular, with Americans skeptical of her and her alleged connections to corrupt Washington insider practices. Neither presidential contender inspired much confidence nor vision for a united future.

“Reuniting is up to the people of the United States,” said Cynthia McKinney, a former U.S. congresswoman and presidential candidate.

But how can Americans unite with such different views and different allegiances?

Vitriol between and against the candidates alongside volatile rhetoric fed violence during Trump rallies and some threats of more violence in post-election American society.

The obvious answer coming out of Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan’s major address, “If Satan Cast Out Satan, His House is Divided Against Himself; How Then Will His Kingdom Stand?” is the divided house cannot stand. It is doomed to fall.

“I want to say to my friends who are with Mrs. Clinton, and some other of my friends who were with Bernie Sanders, and others of my friends who are with Mr. Trump: We are not going to lose any friendship over White people that want to continue to rule us,” he said in a message delivered from Mosque Maryam in Chicago.

“The ‘bigger picture’ is the Black masses of America and the American people whose lives are at stake,” he said. “Now, the scripture is being fulfilled wherein it prophesies that in these days, meaning the end of the wicked world of Satan: Rulers are against rulers, kings against kings, nations against nations. In the days of the prophets, there were no heads of government who were given the name ‘president;’ rulers were referred to as rulers and as kings of the people. The prediction of the prophets who wrote our future before we lived is now coming to pass.”

“America is now being torn to pieces politically as Pharaoh’s political party was in the days when Jehovah went after the freedom of the children of Israel. Egypt was plagued with drought, great hailstorms, rain and fire—according to the Psalms of David, ‘running sideby- side, fire and water.’ These plagues now are visiting America from Almighty God Allah,” said Min. Farrakhan.

Forever fractured America?

The FBI has opened a civil rights investigation into the Nov. 1 arson and vandalism of a Black church in Mississippi, where “Vote Trump’’ was spray-painted on an outside wall.

The fire blackened the sanctuary’s pews, pulpit and walls, but the shell of the church is still standing.

Fire Chief Ruben Brown Sr. Estimated that the church was 80 percent destroyed. He says authorities are offering an $11,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever did it.

Ms. McKinney is thinking about change since witnessing Mr. Trump ruin the Republican Party’s structure and support base.

“I don’t know how long that’s going to last, but it’s not an accident for us to watch, as a result of Trump’s wrecking ball, all of the slime has slithered over to the Democratic Party. And so now you’ve got the very people that Democrats fought are now supporting the Democratic nominee,” Ms. McKinney observed.

“This tells me a lot, because I know how I was treated, and when I tried to do something that went against the establishment, then I was cast aside, castigated, you name it. It happened to me; had stalkers, the whole bit,” she told The Final Call.

America is confronted with how to behave with a political system in flux, said Ms. McKinney. One of the wings of the same political bird with two wings has now been totally devastated, she stated.

According to NBC 2016 Election tracking reports, the U.S. Justice Department planned as of Nov. 3 to send election monitors to four North Carolina counties “including one that’s being sued for allegedly removing thousands of voters from the rolls.”

The NAACP filed a lawsuit on Oct. 31 alleging that Cumberland, Moore, and Beaufort counties have illegally removed thousands of North Carolina voters from the rolls, the vast majority, around 3,000, in Cumberland County, nbcnews.comindicated. And reported, “New federal lawsuits were filed in five different states on Oct. 31, alleging that thousands of Black voters are illegally being purged from voter registration lists by Republican officials and threatened with intimidation by the campaign of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.”

After the first full weekend of in-person early voting ended on Oct. 30, reported Politico, Black “turnout failed to meet expectations—or historic precedent—leaving top Democrats and activists fuming or worried that Clinton’s campaign isn’t living up to the hype in Florida.”

“What I say is that we the people do not have any stake whatsoever in the continued survival of this bird. This bird has been bad for all of us,” Ms. McKinney stated. “Now we have an opportunity to debilitate the other wing of the bird. That means that instead of voting for Hillary as many are being told to do, and then fight her, you vote against Hillary,” she told The Final Call.

“Stage two is then us being able to come together and rebuild a political system in the United States that is more reflective of all of us,” said Ms. McKinney.

Black survival bigger than voting, elections only

Black survival depends on Black awareness, Black struggle, and Black unity, political, civil rights and spiritual leaders said.

Instead of depending on false promises from political parties that have already failed on their promises, Min. Farrakhan called on Blacks to take control of the organs of power to make their communities decent places to live.

The organs of power are education, politics, economics and the boards that make the decisions for the communities, he said, adding that Black politicians are controlled from the outside, so Blacks must finance their own politicians and hold them accountable.

“Walk your community and see who owns the stores. You’ve got predators in the Black community. Immigrants build their hope of the American dream on the Black nightmare,” he said.

“I think we’ve lived long enough to understand that notwithstanding your partisan feud, whether you’re Peace and Freedom or Black Panther, Democrat, Republican, Green, whatever, at the end of the day, you gotta realize that you’re Black,” said Robert Farrell, former Los Angeles City Councilman and Freedom Rider.

He said it’s not about the specififics of Blacks in the parties, but it’s about how they deal with Black people period. It’s about younger people, Millennials, and getting police accountability front and center, and addressing the failed criminal justice system, Mr. Farrell said. Young America has put things on a different level, he said.

“We’re talking survival, and it cuts across lines, and I realize there will be people who will have the conversations where the differences are there. I think that there will be a number of people … that’s going to be part of it in saying wake up Black people,” Mr. Farrell told The Final Call.

Whether it’s health care, economics, housing, immigration reform, education, Blacks need to stay focused on their own self-empowerment and healing in the midst of all this madness, said Kevin Powell, activist, public speaker, and author of 12 books, including “The Education of Kevin Powell: A Boy’s Journey into Manhood.”

To him, Black self-empowerment must be holistic and include six areas consistently: spiritually, politically (voting and organizing in communities where they live), culturally (like who are they, do they love themselves, know their history), fifinancially, physical health, and mental wellness.

“Regardless of who is president or who runs the American government, racism and all forms of oppression and discrimination are not disappearing any time soon. We’ve got to be clear about this, and know our work continues no matter what, to help ourselves in education, health care, housing, economics, all of it,” Mr. Powell said.

He added, “No matter who is elected president for the next four years we’ve got to have our own vision, our own plan of action. Nothing beats that. When we look at our history, be it Harriet Tubman or Booker T. Washington, Marcus Garvey or Mary McLeod Bethune, or Ella Baker or The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, what they all had in common was vision, organization, a plan of action, empowerment tools for our people. That is what we need to be doing, remixed for these times. We have no other choice.”

Been there, done that

Blacks must unite and chart their path of expectations from the new president’s cabinet and programs, Mr. Farrell offered. That’s despite polls and promises.

“Notwithstanding whether it’s a Trump victory or a Clinton victory, we still are faced with challenges as Black people that at a particular point transcends all that traditional consideration of a party outlook,” Mr. Farrell said.

“If we can’t do it at this point in the 21st Century, when will we ever do it? And if we don’t start doing it after the election of 2016, we don’t have a chance as we move forward to look at well, what will happen after 2020? And what’ll happen after 2024 as we move forward,” he continued.

He thinks across the board, across the country, Black people are awakened to the point that this may be a different pattern of discussion after the 2016 election. He feels Blacks will begin to view themselves as they really are in society.

“Post-Obama means that notwithstanding the success of our brother in being there for eight years, ‘Been there. Done that. Obama gone,’ ” he said. “Is there going to be some legacy that is ours that we can hold on to in a tangible way, or is this going to be, by cynical, pretty much what it was just before Obama got elected?” he wondered.

“In a way I’m optimistic for post-election to be a time of turmoil, dynamic, positive, creative turmoil in our community where we really do pull together to say where do we go from here, and I think that for the first time in many, many, many years there’s a real sense that the ‘we’ is going to be all-encompassing, everybody coming together under a tent with all of our national and regional and local leaders pretty much coalescing around a common core of values and concerns,” Mr. Farrell said.

The Food Stamp Capital of the U.S. is WHITE and REPUBLICAN

kent_1In spite of the prevailing stereotypes and assumptions about who uses SNAP Food Stamp benefits the most in the United States, the highest usage is not in Compton, Queens, nor the South Side of Chicago. Instead, a city that is 99.22% white and 95% Republican comes in the lead. Owsley County, Kentucky is a community of about 5,000, residents earning the lowest median household income in the country outside of Puerto Rico, according to the U.S. Census.

The decline in the profits from coal, tobacco and lumber industries led to a harsh toll being taken on the community.

Cale Turner, county executive of Owsley County told ABC back in 2010 that economic hardships have led to a high incidence of drug addiction.
“Those with drug addictions end up in prison without effective treatment. And it happens over and over in this community. The drug problem continues to get worse every year.”

Strangely enough, the residents of Owsley County are almost entirely Republican, in spite of the traditional opposition to the Food Stamp program by the GOP. In fact, just last November, residents of Owsley saw their SNAP benefits reduced drastically as a result of Republican opposition to funding the program.

This might rank among the greatest of ironies in history: the Food Stamp Capital of the U.S. is almost entirely white and Republican.

About the author: M.B. David is the author of several scholarly works on Middle Eastern politics, history and religion, such as People of the Book: What the Religions Named in the Qur’an Can Tell Us About the Earliest Understanding of “Islam” as well as the recently published Sci-Fi novel Sleeper Cell 2240: Memoires of the 21st Century Interplanetary Revolution. He is currently working on his doctorate, writing a dissertation focused on the non-profit Hashlamah Project Foundation and associated global study circles.

Black Women Were the Only Ones Who Tried to Save the World Tuesday Night


Hillary Clinton

Black female voters—when they had no real cultural or social obligation to do so—stayed on course with Hillary Clinton even while white women coolly abandoned her.

h dust settling on the biggest political upset in U.S. history, the hazy day after is an atom-bomb-drop mess of circular firing squads, blame games and armchair-quarterbacking analysis of what just happened. And while the top-line analysis pretty much points to white America’s collective anti-black streak as the primary culprit, we are now getting a detailed, rich picture of Tuesday night’s results broken down by factors such as age, race, gender, education and income.

While large slices of most key demographic groups crazily skipped to the apocalypse with their support for Donald Trump, one rather intriguing and tragically poetic polling point stands out: Black women tried, desperately, to save the world Tuesday night.

If anyone is to blame for Trump’s dastardly white nationalist-driven win, to the dropping jaws of many, clouds can’t be sent over black women (at least not according to the exit polls). Sisters may have instinctively felt the approaching electoral freight train—perhaps that same way in which worried black mothers, for centuries, have given racial-warning pep talks to black children, bracing for dreams deferred. But asdata show, they turned out rather solidly for Hillary Clinton: Ninety-four percent of black female voters broke for the Democratic nominee, compared with only 4 percent for Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Support for Clinton was just 2 percentage points less than the overwhelming 96 percent black female support that President Barack Obama received in both 2008 and 2012. As for black men, some of them weren’t feeling the notion of a first female president: Thirteen percent voted for Trump. That mirrored a somewhat hidden chauvinism among brothers that circulated during a bruising Democratic primary battle between Clinton and favored Larry David stunt double-turned-overnight revolutionary Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Whether black women’s votes were, indeed, an honest attempt at sincerely supporting the candidate or whether they were seated in a real belief that she would be the most qualified president since, well, Barack Obama, is beside the point. What’s poignant is the impressive show of electoral force from black women, despite odds historically stacked against them and—frankly—the almost scandalous underestimation of their value at Election Day polls.

When America reached one of the most dramatic “come to Jesus” moments in its history, faced with a choice between the certainty of operational continuity under Clinton and the uncertainty of a man with no moral fiber beyond building his brand, black women stepped up like Queen Nzinga and did all they could to keep the nation from falling off the cliff.

Unfortunately, they were too late—not for lack of trying (just 2 percent voted “other” or were “unsure”). But black women could not hold up any electoral levy on their own. The approaching flood of determined white voters, along with many more Latinos and Asians than anticipated, simply overwhelmed and offset any gains sisters could sustain for Clinton and other Democrats down ballot.

Even as Democrats—once again—pitched heavily to Latino voters and white women (particularly white college-educated women) at the expense of get-out-the-vote resources directed at reliable African-American voters, those efforts, ironically, came up short. Nearly 30 percent of Latinos, including 26 percent of Latino women, came out for Trump—better than GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s performance with that voting bloc in 2012 (John McCain actually won 31 percent of Latinos in 2008). Despite months of widely ignored polling that consistently showed Trump’s Latino support, on average, ranging from 20-25 percent, Democrats appeared ambushed and confused by election night results.

The same went for Asians, 29 percent of whom voted for Trump, another surprise for Democrats—especially considering that many are from heavily populated Muslim countries in South Asia.

But the big question of the night: What happened to all those white women who were supposed to bust out strong for their fellow sister after 30 years in policymaking? That was the most stunning result, the gut-punching battleground trick that may have left Clinton speechless for a full night: A decisive 53 percent of white women placed their faith in Trump—after weeks of hot-mic moments, allegations and rape charges (all, if not most, involving white women) that seemed to rattle the Republican nominee toward defeat. Even after all that trash talk about Democrats winning over college-educated white voters, that demographic sneaked in votes for Trump.

These were many of the same white women who actively crucified Democratic primary voters in 2008—especially black voters—for not supporting Clinton’s run against then-political upstart Sen. Obama.

And yet black women—when they had no real cultural or social obligation to do so—stayed on course with Clinton even while white women coolly abandoned her. It’s an amazing lesson in political loyalty, now soaked in brutal political absurdity, to which Democrats should pay close attention.

The calculus for black women in this election was abundantly clear, the stakes chillingly higher for sistren as they stood at a unique “misogynoir-istic” intersection of racism and sexism. Crushed between the two most ferocious pillars of national hate, underappreciated for their contributions, while equally ignored for the challenges that oppress them, black women always find a way to make a needed statement—the lemonade from lemons, to subtly borrow from Beyoncé. And they just did it again, to no avail, when the rest of us fell crookedly short.

Donald Trump’s Victory Was Built on Unique Coalition of White Voters

Patrons at Fred’s Divot, a bar in Ambridge, Pa., watching election returns. Ambridge is in a county won by Donald J. Trump. Credit Hilary Swift for The New York Times

Patrons at Fred’s Divot, a bar in Ambridge, Pa., watching election returns. Ambridge is in a county won by Donald J. Trump. Credit Hilary Swift for
The New York Times

Donald J. Trump’s America flowered through the old union strongholds of the Midwest, along rivers and rail lines that once moved coal from southern
Ohio and the hollows of West Virginia to the smelters of Pennsylvania.

It flowed south along the Mississippi River, through the rural Iowa counties that gave Barack Obama more votes than any Democrat in decades, and to the Northeast, through a corner of Connecticut and deep into Maine.

And it extended through the suburbs of Cleveland and Minneapolis, of Manchester, N.H., and the sprawl north of Tampa, Fla., where middle class
white voters chose Mr. Trump over Hillary Clinton.

One of the biggest upsets in American political history was built on a coalition of white voters unlike that of any other previous Republican candidate, according to election results and interviews with voters and demographic experts.

Mr. Trump’s coalition comprised not just staunchly conservative Republicans in the South and West. They were joined by millions of voters in the onetime heartlands of 20thcentury liberal populism — the Upper and Lower Midwest —where white Americans without a college degree voted decisively to reject the more diverse, educated and cosmopolitan Democratic Party of the 21st century, making Republicans the country’s dominant political party at every level of government.

Mr. Trump spoke to their aspirations and fears more directly than any Republican candidate in decades, attacking illegal immigrants and Muslims and promising early Wednesday to return “the forgotten men and women of our country” to the symbolic and political forefront of American life. He electrified the country’s white majority and mustered its full strength against long-term demographic decay.

“A lot of stuff he’s talking about is just God-given common sense, which I think both parties have lost,” said Tom Kirkpatrick, 51, a Trump supporter who used to work in an industrial laundry plant and is now on disability. He stood near the Florida State Capitol on Tuesday, holding an American flag. “Let’s put him in. And if he doesn’t do what he says, I’ll help you vote him out.”

But Mr. Trump also won over millions of voters who had once flocked to President Obama’s promise of hope and change, and who on Tuesday saw in Mr. Trump their best chance to dampen the most painful blows of globalization and trade, to fight special interests, and to be heard and protected. Twelve percent of Mr. Trump’s supporters approved of Mr. Obama, according to the exit polls.

Mrs. Clinton won by a greater margin than Mr. Obama among affluent whites, particularly those living in the Democratic Party’s prosperous coastal strongholds: Washington and Boston, Seattle and New York. In Manhattan, where Mr. Trump lives and works — and where his fellow citizens mocked and jeered him as he voted on Tuesday — Mrs. Clinton won by a record margin, amassing 87 percent of the vote to Mr. Trump’s 10 percent. Around the country, she won a majority of voters over all, harvesting the country’s growing and densely packed big cities and a plurality of the suburbs.

But Mr. Trump won lowincome white voters to the Republican ticket, reversing a partisan divide along class lines that is as old as the Democratic and Republican Parties — a replay of the “Brexit” vote in June, when the old bastions of England’s Labor-left voted decisively to leave the European Union. His breakthrough among white working class voters in the North not only erased the Democratic advantage but reversed it, giving him a victory in the Electoral College while he lost the national popular vote.

Get your armor on for Trump’s Confederate States of America

(Photo Illustration/John Sims)

(Photo Illustration/John Sims)

If you are shocked about Donald Trump winning the 2016 presidential election, don’t be.

Because it is more shocking that you did not see it coming. And very often folks who swim around in data sets and read the New York Times are out of touch with the American Midwest and South. They, too, also didn’t see it coming.

Such literate folk seem to forget one important axiom: The majority of Americans are a very emotional people. We are reactive. We are impulse consumers. We don’t read. We don’t study. And we like very short sentences. This is why someone can lose all the presidential debates, insult millions of Americans, encourage violence at his rallies, joke about sexual assault and still win the U.S. presidential election.

We prefer wealthy bosses over lawyering public servants. We prefer reality TV and empty histrionic theatrics over meaningful, consensus-building conversations. We prefer trips to movies, bars and churches over a trip to a good mental health professional, turning national elections into a therapy session to process fears around PC identifiers, economic abandonment and the general anxiety of being voiceless. This is how bullies and car salesmen win: they prey on the weak, desperate and emotionally unfocused.

But some smart people did see this coming. Filmmaker Michael Moore saw it. In the first paragraph of his “Five Reasons Why Trump will Win” he stated:

I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I gave it to you straight last summer when I told you that Donald Trump would be the Republican nominee for president. And now I have even more awful, depressing news for you: Donald J. Trump is going to win in November. This wretched, ignorant, dangerous part-time clown and full-time sociopath is going to be our next president. President Trump. Go ahead and say the words, ’cause you’ll be saying them for the next four years: PRESIDENT TRUMP.
–Donald Trump and Woodrow Wilson: How to get your bigot on as president–

Moore is no prophet; he just lives in Michigan, so he gets it, and he understands the mindset of nervous, insecure, blue-collar white men. He predicted that Trump would campaign heavily in the rustbelt states: Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania. And true enough, not only did he focus on those states; he won them. He also won the whole damn South, making winning almost a sure thing.

Steven Thrasher, writer for the Guardian, in his piece published in May 2016, said, “Trump has to be the next president. American history dictates it,” and that is so on point. The title says it all. Thrasher reminds us that progress is always met with backlash, a push back, and a costly bill to pay after that five-course meal you thought was a buffet. And now he warns us to hold our loved ones close.

What should we really expect? We should expect Trump to say and do very stupid things. We should be ready for scandals and skeletons. But most importantly, we must know that the radical right will wage a very strong campaign against civil and women’s rights.

White supremacy will proliferate. Black Lives will matter less. More women’s bodies will be under attack. More immigrants will live in fear. Ford will sell more F-150s, and more people will fly Confederate flags as the Oval Office leads the singing of Dixie Ueber Alles. Someone will copyright the name “The Deplorables” and use it to start a successful country rock boy band. More innocent men of color will be shot down by cops. Foreign policy will become tense. The economy might tank. And even the most savage Clinton hater might have wet dreams of the Obama years.

I am certain Trump will undermine his own presidency. Until then, what should we do? First, we must acknowledge the great historic campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders for both inspiring millions of Americans to dream about breaking the glass ceilings on so many issues. Some of their work and words will undoubtedly live on and fertilize the next generation of public servants, showing us that the important work is a lifelong project. And I hope that this post-election despair is translated to sustainable activism and palatable change for a greater America.

In terms of President-elect Trump, we must push back even harder and stronger. We must build formidable coalitions. Our activist leaders must tune in and allow for new blood and ideas. The Democratic Party must be less corporate, more grassroots and more transparent. We must be more open to a multi-party system. We must urge leading protest movements to transform social media activism to real policy change and long-term programming.

–Process and Action: Here’s what to do with your post-election pain–

The creative class must be ready to express resistance at every turn with a Trump administration. We gotta get “fired up” and “ready to go.” The artists, writers, musicians and creative producers must be ready to keep Trump in view and in check at every moment. Film, theater and comedy folks got to bring it. And hip-hop must wake up and come correct and get gangsta about the politics and real power struggle that will shape the next generation.

From the death of Prince to the election of Trump, 2016 has more torque than a category 5 Floridian Purple Rain Hurricane. The Trump victory speaks to the fact that the USA is so divided going all the way back to the Civil War. Blue collar white male anxiety is real and formidable, fueling a social bipolarity that induces major mood swings from party to party.

I hope that this brings a very serious call to deep social, political and cultural organizing leading to critical and sustainable progress and core transformation. The overthinking, under-feeling and general detachment are at top toxic levels. There needs to be an Emotional Reconstruction, where unity trumps duality, personal engagement trumps “zombism” and a collective creative resistance trumps Trump. We shall overcome this because there is no other option. So get ready!

Donald Trump’s Victory Is Met With Shock Across a Wide Political Divide

studentThe American political establishment reeled on Wednesday as leaders in both parties began coming to grips with four years of President Donald J. Trump in the White House, a onceunimaginable scenario that has now plunged the United States and its allies and adversaries into a period of  deep uncertainty about the policies and impact of his administration.

Democrats, who will be out of power in both the White House and Congress for the first time since 2006, were particularly crestfallen that Hillary Clinton had a slender lead in the popular vote but lost in the Electoral College, a fate similar to Al Gore’s in 2000.

On campuses nationwide, students marched against Mr. Trump with signs bearing slogans like “Not my president,” and protesters in Oakland, Calif., smashed windows and set fire to garbage bins. On Wednesday night, thousands of people protested in several cities, including Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle and New York, where demonstrators converged in Midtown Manhattan in front of Trump Tower, the home of the president-elect.

With millions of other voters euphoric at the election of a true political outsider as president, the clear divide over Mr. Trump inspired pleas of unity from his two biggest opponents, President Obama and Mrs. Clinton. At separate news conferences, they urged Americans to come together for the sake of the republic, and for the good of Mr. Trump’s presidency.

“We are all now rooting for his success,” said Mr. Obama, who planned to meet with Mr. Trump at the White House on Thursday. “The peaceful transfer of power is one of the hallmarks of our democracy. And over the next few months, we are going to show that to the world.”

Mrs. Clinton, in her first remarks to supporters after the election, said Americans owed Mr. Trump “an open mind and a chance to lead.” Choking back tears at times, she said she was “sorry that we did not win this election for the values we share and the vision we hold for our country.”

“This is painful, and it will be for a long time,” Mrs. Clinton said, standing beside her husband, former President Bill Clinton, in a tableau that underscored the end of a nearly 25-year era in which the Clintons dominated American politics.

The clash between excitement and dread was especially palpable over the likelihood that Mr. Trump, at the head of a unified Republican government,
would try to reverse Obama administration policies and appoint a conservative Supreme Court justice. The House speaker, Paul D. Ryan, indicated on Wednesday that Republicans would try to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and Democrats privately began strategizing to thwart that agenda. Republicans also expanded their power in state capitals,
and Democrats pledged resistance.

Foreign leaders who have had tense relations with Mr. Obama were particularly welcoming to Mr. Trump. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel called Mr. Trump “a true friend” of Israel, while President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said he hoped to have a “constructive dialogue” with him. Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin had previously exchanged warm words, to the consternation of both Democratic and Republican leaders, but Trump advisers said on Wednesday that the two leaders had not spoken by phone yet.

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, whose immigration policies Mr. Trump has dismissed as “insane,” offered her cooperation but emphasized the importance of human rights, while President François Hollande of France noted that some of Mr. Trump’s views might test “the values and the interests that we share with the United States.” Mexican officials congratulated Mr. Trump but said they would not pay for his proposed border wall, as he has flatly insisted they will.

Mr. Trump’s campaign advisers said on Wednesday that he had been fielding calls from politicians like Mr. Ryan and world leaders, while also assembling a cabinet and White House team and selecting a conservative nominee for the Supreme Court vacancy. They said Mr. Trump was inclined to roll out a few cabinet nominations at a time, rather than kicking
them off with one high-profile pick for a critical department like Treasury or State.

Among the candidates for cabinet secretaries and advisers are members of Mr. Trump’s inner circle, aides said, including Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a crucial adviser on policy issues; Steven Mnuchin, a businessman who was Mr. Trump’s national finance chairman; Rudolph W. Giuliani, a former mayor of New York; Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey; and Newt Gingrich, a former speaker of the House.




“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” {Matthew 8:32}

As humans, we are prone to error. After all, no one is perfect. But we must recognize that there are mistakes that have low casualties while there are some that are eternally fateful. Because God, our Heavenly Father, knows that we have weaknesses, He has bestowed gifts of the Holy Spirit so that we can know what we otherwise wouldn’t know. The Lord gives us men who have knowledge, revelation, and insights that God shares from heaven.
He also, as individuals, gives us discernment so that we can know right from wrong and good from evil.

But there is one thing that can override all of the gifts of the Spirit, including discernment. Although God gives us light and insight, we can still miss the mark. Many times it’s of our own volition. That means that we know fully well when we go outside of His will. And then there are others times when we truly are impeded without our conscious knowledge. Some might call such instances blindspots.

In the dictionary, blindspots are defined as “a tendency to ignore something, especially because it is difficult or unpleasant (” In layman’s terms, it’s choosing to overlook what’s right in front of our faces. As I mentioned, there are times when such mistakes result in light impacts. But then there are times when lives are lost and destinies are thwarted.

One such situation is the experience of the prophet Eli. Eli and his sons operated in God’s temple before the people. It was reported, however, that his sons were engaged in sin and enticed others to participate. Instead of Samuel dealing with it, he turned a blind eye to their actions. In the process of time, God raised up the child Samuel to serve Him. Samuel notably heard the voice of the Lord calling Him audibly. And later God informed Samuel of the judgment upon Eli’s family because he allowed sin to reign in God’s house. In the end, both Eli and his sons lost their lives.

Another example of a destiny-altering blind spot in the life of a child of God is Samson’s experience. We know Samson as the man empowered with supernatural strength by the power of God. But what we don’t often recognize is that Samson was anointed, also, as a judge to govern the people of Israel. As with some, Samson’s downfall was falling for a woman named Delilah. The Bible describes her in such a way that it’s evident that she didn’t have a relationship with God. And in several situations, it was evident that her motive was not love for him but for profit and financial gain for his demise. Samson was literally sleeping with the enemy. His love for her blinded him to her real agenda. In the end, he shared a secret that she told to his enemy. In the process of time, he went from being one of the most powerful men to a slave blinded by his enemies. Although he was eventually vindicated, his life had taken such a turn that he died in the midst of his redemption.

The Bible goes on and on about people that, at one time or another, gave heed to the wrong people because of their relationship with them. Adam received the forbidden fruit from Eve’s hands. Abraham listened to Sarah and entered into a wrong relationship with Hagar. Ahab allowed Jezebel to rule in his kingdom and turn the hearts of the people to false gods. Their love for another superseded their love for God in those moments.

But there is one example of a man who loved others but was not blinded by their motives. Jesus so loved the world that He allowed His life to be given as a living sacrifice for sin. He came so that we might have life more abundantly. But, by the Spirit of God, He was always fully aware of people. He didn’t have a blind spot. He could celebrate Peter’s revelation that He
was the Son of God. And He could also rebuke the devil from influencing Peter when he spoke against Him giving His life for sin. And He could receive a kiss from Judas and know that this was the one that would betray Him.

Christian friend, as we walk along the path that God has ordained for us, we will encounter many tests and trials. While it’s good that we love others, it’s imperative that we love God most. We have to love Him more than we love others and even ourselves. It’s then that we can walk fully aware of who others are in our lives. That way, no matter what role people play in our lives, we can look beyond their titles and actions to see their true motivations. It’s so important that we discern good and evil.

It is evident that a blind spot can surely be those we love. However, we must remember that God requires us to love and serve Him first above all. Keeping Him as the head of your life will ensure that you will run your race and be victorious. As we prepare for a new year, let’s ask God to ensure that we walk in the light of His Word. We want to be fully operating in discernment so that we know the voice behind the voices that speak to us. And don’t be blinded by things that can trip us up. One thing that Jesus said, even concerning his family, was that his mother and brothers were those that were about doing the will of God. It’s now coming a time when we have to truly ask of everyone, “Who is on the Lord’s side?”


Americus Mourns the Loss of a ASHS Football Player

Jamorrian Devon Johnson

Jamorrian Devon Johnson

Jamorrian Devon Johnson, age 17, 366 Cora Drive, Ellaville, Georgia passed Saturday, October 29, 2016.

The funeral service was held at 11:00 A.M., Friday, November 4, 2016 at Kingdom Hall of Jehovah Witnesses, 104 Packinghouse Road, Americus, Georgia. Burial followed at Hopewell Cemetery, Ellaville, Georgia.

Jamorrian, affectionately called “Big Man,” was born June 2, 1999 in Americus, Sumter County, Georgia to Mario Smith and Tiffany Johnson. Jamarion was educated in the public school system of Sumter County and was currently an 11th grade student at Americus-Sumter High School. He was a linebacker on the Americus-Sumter High Panthers football team and was also on the baseball team. He was preceded in death by his paternal grandfather, Eddie Stovall, grandmother, Theodora Thornton, and brother, Jarius Johnson.

Jamorrian was full of joy, for he loved joking with his brothers, sisters, and friends. He also spent time studying the bible and learning about God’s promises for mankind.

Survivors are his parents, Tiffany La-Nee Johnson-Clayton (Myron) and Mario Smith (Andrea), both of Ellaville, Georgia; maternal grandparents, Angelita Neal (Ronnie) and Elijah Johnson, both of Ellaville, Georgia; paternal grandmother, Julia Mae Smith; ten siblings, Breana Smith, Precious Smith, Cole Smith, Jasmine Mercer, Keondra Lundy, Jamyron Clayton, Ja’Myah Clayton, Ja’Breah Clayton, Jiyah Clayton, and Jazlynn Clayton; aunts and uncles, Wylinda Smith, Jerome Smith (Linda), Antwan Smith, Rahine Neal (Ivey), all of Americus, Georgia, Katesha Tyner (Chris), Labrent Neal, all of Atlanta, Georgia, Deacon Eddie Stovall, Jr. (Chiquita), Warner Robins, Georgia, Natasha Johnson, Crystal Peeples, both of Ellaville, Georgia, Nigel Clayton, Buena Vista, Georgia, Vennie Thornton, Rhode Island, New York, Eric Clayton, De’Erica Clayton, and Anthony Clayton, all of Columbus, Georgia; devoted cousins, Quantavious Johnson and Savion Johnson, who along with Big Man and his brother referred to themselves as “The Four Boys,”; devoted friends, including Derrick Tatum, Jr., Brae’lin Williams, and Sh’Qual White; a host of other relatives and caring friends.

Donald Trump and Woodrow Wilson: How to Get Your Bigot on as President

Republican president-elect Donald Trump (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) | President of the United States Woodrow Wilson (1856 - 1924) | (Photo by Tony Essex/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Republican president-elect Donald Trump (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) | President of the United States Woodrow Wilson (1856 – 1924) | (Photo by Tony Essex/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Republican president-elect Donald Trump’s lack of black and minority support in Tuesday’s election comes as no surprise, considering the way that he actively appealed to extreme right-wing conservative voters since first announcing his candidacy last June.

But amid Trump’s upset defeat against Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States, a question that begs asking is: Would a President Trump rank as the most racist president in U.S. history?

Trump’s track record on race suggests so.

Beyond Trump’s bigoted rhetoric has been his well-documented history of racial discrimination in leasing properties to black tenants in New York City as far back as the 1970s. Then there’s the full-page ads he took out in the New York Times in 1989 calling for the death penalty for the Central Park Five, a group of young black men who were falsely accused and later cleared of raping a white woman.

And, of course, his leadership of the “Birther Movement,” which accused America’s first black president of not being a U.S. citizen.

As bad as Trump’s rhetoric has been on the campaign trail, it will be difficult in this modern era for him to top the shameful legacy of arguably the most openly racist president in American history, none other than Woodrow Wilson.

Wilson, a native of Staunton, Virginia, was a historian by trade and a Civil War buff. Lest we forget that upon the conclusion of that war, formerly enslaved blacks flourished in many ways during the 12 or so years of Reconstruction, this period saw the establishment of citizenship and voting rights for blacks per the 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, as well as the establishment of schools, banks and hospitals that served as the foundation of flourishing black communities.

But by the late 1880s, many former Confederate soldiers and slave owners had returned to power in Southern states. By the mid 1890s, every Southern state in the Union had enacted “Jim Crow” laws that eradicated most of the legal gains that blacks had earned during Reconstruction.

In 1896, when Homer Plessy challenged this new racial caste system that forbade blacks from sitting alongside whites on trains, the United States Supreme Court held that such laws were constitutional while establishing that “separate but equal” was the supreme law of the entire land, not just the South. By so doing, the Supreme Court ensured that within a decade, no blacks held high elected office anywhere in the South, black voting rights were mostly a nullity, and black businesses were eliminated from receiving lucrative government contracts.

It was amid this backdrop that Woodrow Wilson was elected president in 1912, where he beat Republican William Howard Taft and former Republican Teddy Roosevelt, who ran on the third party “Bull Moose” ticket.

It was Roosevelt, in fact, who nearly a decade earlier had drawn the ire of white Southern Democrats when he invited famed black educator Booker T. Washington to dine with him at the White House during his presidency.

By 1915, three years into Wilson’s first term as president, the Ku Klux Klan was revived in Stone Mountain, Georgia, and its membership skyrocketed. The following year, Wilson held a personal screening of DW Griffith’s virulently racist movie “Birth of a Nation,” one that glorified the old Klan as protectors of white society and white womanhood. Wilson, the historian, commented that the movie’s negative depiction of blacks was like “writing history with lightning.”

For the remainder of the decade, white mobs attacked and killed blacks with impunity. When 156 black soldiers stationed at Camp Logan near Houston, Texas, marched toward town to protest the beatings of two fellow black soldiers by white police officers, when violence erupted that left several whites dead, President Wilson personally reviewed the appeals following the court martial and approved the death sentences that were meted out to 17 black soldiers.

As president, Wilson also rolled back gains for blacks in federal civil service positions and as postal workers. When Monroe Trotter, a black Harvard University graduate and newspaper editor, protested Wilson’s policies, Wilson dismissively chided him as having an “offensive tone” and told Trotter that “segregation is not a humiliation but a benefit, and ought to be so regarded by you gentlemen.”

Today, yes, black people have shaken our heads at Trump’s penchant for saying “The Blacks” or “The African Americans,” appellations that are reminiscent of Wilson’s “you gentlemen” comment to Monroe Trotter. But unlike 100 years ago, systemic Jim Crow is a relic of the past, and there is no Supreme Court precedent equal to the Plessy decision that would allow a President Trump to usurp equal protection under the law for blacks or any other racial, religious or sexual minority group.

But therein lies the potential danger of a Trump presidency and the historical irony. Just like Woodrow Wilson was the manifestation of white backlash against black political, social and economic progress after Reconstruction, a Trump presidency, replete with up to three Supreme Court nominations, could be the manifestation of modern conservative white backlash to the Obama presidency, affirmative action, and the still elusive goal of a color-blind criminal justice system.