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Opinion

The seed experiment

The seed experiment

A perennial favorite science project from preschool on up is the "seed experiment." That's when a child plants identical seeds in two pots. She places the first pot inside a dark cupboard and leaves it there, and she puts the second one in a sunny spot and waters it every day. She waits to see what will happen. It's very easy for even the youngest children to figure out that their seedlings need the basics – sunlight and water – if they are going to survive and thrive.

The same is true for children, and "the basics" during children's earliest years can have long lasting effects. Arloc Sherman, senior researcher at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and one of the contributors to the new Harvard Education Press book "Improving the Odds for America's Children," put it this way:

"I think sometimes we forget to say how important for children's futures the day-to-day basic assistance of food, clothing, shelter is . . . We've had help from the research community recently, striking studies that help make the case that when you just provide the basics, that's one key cornerstone for children's future success. So it's not just that we're meeting an important need – which would be enough in itself – but we're also providing for opening future doors of opportunity."

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Rancher Cliven Bundy and ‘The Negro’

Rancher Cliven Bundy and ‘The Negro’

As is typical of blowhards, Cliven Bundy, the conservative movement's most recently defrocked hero/criminal, opened his mouth once too often. In doing so, the Nevada rancher revealed who he really is behind all the Stars-and-Stripes flag-waving and man-of-the-West rhetoric. The man who has grazed his cattle on federal land for more than two decades but has refused to pay the minimal grazing fees the government charges all ranchers (Bundy now owes about $1 million) is an arch-racist as well as a chiseler.

On Saturday, April 19, Bundy, speaking to a small group of his supporters – and, fortunately for the rest of us, a New York Times reporter and photographer – went off-message to hold forth on a number of topics, including race.

According to the Times, Bundy said: "I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro," as he recalled driving past a Las Vegas public housing project, "and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids – and there is always at least a half dozen people sitting on the porch – they didn't have nothing to do. They didn't have nothing for their kids to do. They didn't have nothing for their young girls to do."

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Don’t knock V. Stiviano’s gold-digging hustle

Don’t knock V. Stiviano’s gold-digging hustle

Like every other adult with Internet access, I've been following the Donald Sterling saga since TMZ released the hidden recording of his racist rants on Friday night. Over the past many days, it's all anyone seems to talk about. Surely, recently departed "Scandal" co-star Columbus Short is somewhere thanking the gods for taking the attention off him.

I've taken to calling this whole affair As the Plantation Turns (which I can't take credit for). The unique cast of characters – the geriatric billionaire racist sugar daddy, his not-so-estranged wife and the biracial mastermind mistress; the guest appearance by basketball legend, businessman and HIV activist Magic Johnson (who was unfairly dragged into all this mess); and the setting of professional basketball during the high-stakes playoffs are better than anything a novelist could create. This all lends credence to the popular joke that sports are reality TV for men.

At the heart of this drama is V. Stiviano – a mysterious woman who apparently has gone by several different names – whose voice is heard on the TMZ tapes that started this whole debacle. So the story seems to go like this: Sterling's billionaire wife was angry that her husband spent around $2 million on gifts for his lady "friend" of four years, a woman young enough to be his granddaughter. The Los Angeles Times reports that over four years, Sterling bought Stiviano four luxury cars and a $1.8 million duplex home in Stiviano's name and gave her $240,000 in "living expenses."

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Do corporate leaders buy or earn diversity awards?

Do corporate leaders buy or earn diversity awards?

The NBA's decision to ban Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life and fine him $2.5 million for his racist comments is big news.

But the story behind the story is that Sterling, who had a long record of discriminatory conduct, donated money to the Los Angeles NAACP and was even honored by the organization with awards on two separate occasions.

In May, the Clippers owner and real estate billionaire was set to receive a lifetime achievement award — his second from the civil rights organization. But then things unraveled right before his eyes.

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Flirtatious co-worker, overbearing aunt & a boyfriend who’s a felon are all in the mix

Flirtatious co-worker, overbearing aunt & a boyfriend who’s a felon are all in the mix

The Dilemma: My co-worker is very flirtatious, he's married & I'm not interested. I have a boyfriend and my co-worker goes too far sometimes. What should I do?

The response: First, you should have a discussion with your co-worker to make sure that your assumptions are valid. If they are, then shut him down graciously concerning his intentions. Do not lead him on or partake in any situations that may be construed questionable.
If the problem persists, then you may need to mention it to your boyfriend. This should be a last resort, because this could lead to an altercation. Let your co-worker know that you are going to inform your boyfriend about his advances toward you. See if this warning is enough to get him to back down.
If not, tell your boyfriend. Then ask him if he has a peaceful solution in which you all come to a diplomatic understanding? I'm sure that you all will come up with a positive resolution.

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Howard University made right call in honoring P. Diddy

Howard University made right call in honoring P. Diddy

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have had a long tradition of pursuing and encouraging excellence. Howard University in Washington, D.C. is considered by many to be the flagship of HBCUs. It one of the leading institutions of higher education in United States with a global brand of high achievement and historic contributions to the empowerment of Black America and to all who strive for human progress.

I am a proud graduate of Howard University and a strong proponent of the evolution of hip-hop culture and entrepreneurship. Therefore, I am extremely pleased that Interim President Wayne A. I. Frederick selected Sean John "P. Diddy" Combs to deliver the 2014 commencement keynote address. This is another example of President Frederick, a well-respected faculty member and an accomplished scholar, providing Howard University with effective leadership during a period that the university is searching for a new president.

As soon as President Frederick made the announcement that Sean Combs would be the commencement speaker, there was an immediate outcry by those who felt that Combs, who dropped out of Howard before graduating, was an inappropriate choice. I beg to differ. A true education is not strictly defined by whether one graduates from college.

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Why MATA should hold up on ‘piecemeal’ proposal to solve financial woes

Why MATA should hold up on ‘piecemeal’ proposal to solve financial woes

First, I am not surprised that the MATA administration is proposing an elimination of all game shuttles to the Liberty Bowl and FedEx Forum. In the dark shadow of a failed vote on a gas tax referendum for MATA, cuts in government funding and a lower ridership, I am just grateful that MATA is still surviving on her deathbed for those who are transit dependents. There is no doubt in my mind that the fact MATA is still breathing is an example of miracles.

As a sports fan, I join other sports fans who believe that providing bus shuttles to the Liberty Bowl and FedEx Forum is a valuable service to the city of Memphis. At the same time, as a longtime advocate for bus riders, I know that public transportation is so bad that transit dependent riders are spending up to four hours on buses on a daily basis as a result of tough economic times at MATA. Some are being forced to walk blocks to and from their destinations because there is little or no bus service in their neighborhoods or at their destinations.

In an effort to be fair to the regular bus riders and the sport fans, I believe that the MATA Board should not cast a "Yea " or "Nay" on eliminating bus shuttles or changes in bus service while budget talks are about to take place with the Memphis City Council at City Hall. I believe that any considerations of any proposals of MATA should be delayed until the end of June.

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