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From South Central LA to President Bush’s photographer

draper 600Who'd ever think that a black kid from South-Central Los Angeles could grow up to become the personal photographer of a Republican President of the United States? But that's precisely the unlikely career path enjoyed by Eric Draper, who served as head White House shutterbug from 2001-09.

How did he get the job? Well, after covering the 2000 campaign for the Associated Press, he was invited by George Bush to a Christmas party at the Texas governor's mansion. Taking a page out of the President-elect's own playbook, Eric summoned up the gumption while shaking his hand and looking him straight in the eye to paraphrase one of his popular stump-speech refrains: "I want to be your personal photographer."

Bush took the inquiry seriously, and hired Eric a week later, after closely examining his portfolio. And over the next eight years, Draper would be a constant companion and an eyewitness to history, accompanying the Chief Executive on trips to 70 countries and 49 states.

Giving thanks is healthy and it never gets old

Chef Timothy_Moore-160It's that time of the year again when we look forward to spending time with family and friends, reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the new one. Some may feel that the year has been a total failure and hope and pray that the new year holds more for them. Others will simply feel blessed and fortunate that they have been allowed to see another year.

Everyone should realize that there is always something or someone to be thankful for, no matter how bad life gets them down at times. At Thanksgiving in particular, we should not complain about what we don't have or should have; just be thankful for what we do have, no matter how much or how little.

Don't be concerned about what you didn't accomplish in the past year; be thankful for what you did accomplish and look forward to what you will accomplish in the coming year.

Battling cancer by learning to love your ‘who’

Chef Timothy_Moore-160While working with cancer clients from all over the United States, I continually hear women ask why this dreaded disease happens to them. One such person is 26-year-old Joan, who is originally from Nairobi and now lives in Texas.

Joan has brain cancer that is spreading throughout her body. Especially prevalent in young African-American women, the disease has derailed Joan's once-promising career in engineering.

Over and over again, Joan has questioned God about why the frightening cancer has entered her body and boxed up her dreams and goals.


Professor Cornel West vs. President Barack Obama


I am no longer surprised that Professor West is at it again, attacking the president. An article titled, “Cornel West and the Fight to Save the Black Prophetic Tradition,” lays out a blistering list of charges against the president. My intent is to examine the charges, then challenge Dr. West on both his assumptions and his conclusions.

  • The main charge is that there is an unseen effort by the White House to silence those who would continue the fight to save the black prophetic tradition. Chief among those to be silenced are Cornel West and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
  • Supporting the main charge is another that the White House uses surrogates such as Al Sharpton and Steve Harvey to attack Dr. West, who describes himself as the most prominent of those under attack.
  • The silencing effort is intended to hide the fact that the president is the ideological heir of Booker T. Washington, an accomodationist who counseled blacks to adjust and submit to white tyranny.
  • He accuses the president of being the face of an empire that is responsible for heinous crimes, even crimes against humanity. He describes how Obama has overseen the eradication of civil liberties, the expansion of imperial wars and the mass incarceration of people of color.
  • Although he does not accuse the president of being directly responsible for it, Dr. West implies that the “emaciation” of the black press, the consolidation of the media, the exclusion of Dr. West from the broadcast media and the absence of the subject of the black prophetic tradition in public schools all occurred on the president's watch and thus, by implication, is a charge against the president.

Dr. West describes the black prophetic tradition as the major roadblock to American fascism. Again, by implication, the president supports both imperialism and white supremacy by his unseen efforts to suppress those who would carry on the tradition.

Now, that is a heavy load to lay on the president. One of the problems we have is that the main charge is “unseen.” Consequently, we have to take Dr. West's word for the fact that the White House is, in fact, orchestrating the effort to silence Dr. West and others.

One way to go at judging the validity and ultimate value of his message is by examining the underlying premises of his position; that the black prophetic tradition does act as a block to fascism, that president Obama knows this to be true, does attempt to suppress its practitioners, does act as the face of imperialism with all of the abhorrent outcomes that this entails and does, in fact, act as heir to Booker T. Washington in admonishing black people to adjust and submit.

I can agree that the leaders and martyrs of the black prophetic tradition named were certainly effective at drawing attention to the tyranny of the white majority. At a propitious time in history and with the proven strategy of non-violence, Dr. King was astoundingly successful at awakening the sleeping conscience of the nation and the world. The fascism practiced daily by the most ordinary white citizen against the completely helpless black people was too much for the nation to see without reacting in horror. But, notice that the practices were open, violent and wanton. At the same time, there was no effort to make the practices visible until the television cameras saw Dr. King. This revealed to the whole world the stark difference between what the US wanted to present to the world and the reality that the world could see. By contrast, I have seen no such impact from Dr. West's efforts.

I would think that President Obama is quite well aware of the black prophetic tradition and most certainly with Dr. West's loudly proclaimed assertion that Dr. West is the most prominent of the current practitioners. But, the president does not have to waste his time or concern on "suppressing" them. The networks have no problem choosing those to whom they give air time. The people who are on network shows are overwhelmingly, even nauseatingly Republican, imperialist, white supremacy sympathizers.

Is the president an imperialist? If he were not, he would not be president. The US has been on an imperialist path since WWII. No candidate for the office would have the necessary support to make the run if that person did not show by enthusiastic word and deed that the imperialist path was acceptable and necessary. By the way, one does not have to agree to understand the nature of political reality. Lastly, to accuse the president of being an heir to Booker T. Washington, accomodationist, is an ad hominem attack, the lazy way of attacking and most unworthy of a renowned scholar.

Now, we are left with the question, "Why does Dr. West spend so much energy and personal capital attacking the president?" Even though he says it is not personal, there is evidence that it is. An article, again written by Chris Hedges, that makes the personal hurt painfully clear is available at the following link, http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_obama_deception_why_cornel_west_went_ballistic_20110516. The article tells us that Dr. West, at the time a true believer, worked 65 campaign events for the candidate. In the words of the author, Dr. West, "now nurses, like many others who placed their faith in Obama, the anguish of the deceived, the manipulated and the betrayed." The only surprise is that the scholar allowed himself to be devastated by a politician. After all, if the president were not a politician, he would not have been elected...twice.

Dr. West's "anguish" likely intensified to the point of fury when the president did not invite him to the inauguration. The fury has been too evident ever since.


Read more http://www.michronicleonline.com/index.php/rtm-news-reel/15041-professor-cornel-west-vs-president-barack-obama

  • Written by by Aubrey Lynch
  • Category: Original

President Obama Uncovers Modern Racism


Racism as the old folks knew it, from Jim Crow through the desegregation of schools in 1954 to the present has been buried under mounds of Affirmative Action, political correctness, a burgeoning economy fueling corporate need and demographic pressure stemming from minority birth rates and immigration.  For black people, we must give Dr. King immense credit for breaking the back of southern racism, a most vicious form of day to day terrorism.  The overt racism of the time prior to 1954 that included physical brutality against blacks, confinement to heavily guarded ghettoes, societally enforced rules against participation in the economy and other practices which blacks knew well, have been ameliorated to a great extent, although not eliminated.

 Affirmative Action was a very effective tool in ensuring that at least a few highly qualified black people had a chance to make an impact on the closed, stultified atmosphere of corporate America that existed prior to Dr. King.  The black pioneers hired in major corporations as a part of Affirmative Action had a very difficult time, as pioneers usually do.  Part of the difficulty stemmed from the fact that, no matter how qualified an individual happened to be, their white counterparts could discount the quality and assure themselves that, after all, the person was black and got in through the unfair-to-white-people Affirmative Action initiative.  Such black pioneers experienced first-hand what it meant to be "The Spook Who Sat By the Door," (Sam Greenlee, 1969).  Clearly, Dr. King, the Black Panthers, Rap Brown and Malcolm X had a profound effect on the US corporations.  Otherwise, black people would not have been hired for even token positions.

  • Written by Roz Edward, National Content Director
  • Category: Original

March event gives TSD freelancer shot at history

tillmanmarch-1-600I boarded a flight early Friday morning (Aug. 23) headed to Washington, D.C. for the 50th Anniversary March on Washington. On the plane was Congressman Steve Cohen, the Rev. Samuel "Billy" Kyles, who knew Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. well, and Tonja Sesley Baymon, the programs director of the Memphis Urban League.

Realizing that the March on Washington anniversary included the journey there, I went to work capturing images.

We landed at Reagan National Airport about 11 a.m. (ET) and headed to baggage claim. I turned around and there was John Conyers, the Congressman from Michigan. I introduced myself and asked if I could get a photograph of him, along with an interview.

He said, "Yes." Now I was two for two.

President Obama Releases Statement on Zimmerman Verdict


President Barack Obama on Sunday released a statement Sunday morning on the death of Trayvon Martin and the jury's finding George Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter. The full statement via WhiteHouse.gov is below.

The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy.  Not just for his family, or for any one community, but for America.  I know this case has elicited strong passions.  And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher.  But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken.  I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son.  And as we do, we should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities.  We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis.  We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this.  As citizens, that’s a job for all of us.  That’s the way to honor Trayvon Martin.

  • Written by Atlanta Daily World
  • Category: Original

Stewart aka ‘Pebblez da Model’ charged in butt-injection murder

pebbelz-1-400Memphian, Natasha Stewart aka Pebblez da Model made an appearance late last week in a Hinds County court room after six months in State custody. She is facing a possible life sentence for referring an Atlanta woman to a non-licensed butt enhancement doctor who was allegedly injecting women with concrete or commercial grade silicon.

Stewart has admitted referring a young Atlanta woman by the name of Karima Gordon to Tracey Lynn Garner, formerly known as Morris Garner for the butt injection procedure. Garner, a transsexual, apparently had built a reputation for providing these kinds of illegal medical procedures and administered injections to Gordon at a cost of $1,500.