Category: Top News Written by Cornelius Fortune
No matter what team you’re playing on (pro superhero or that other side) it’s hard to escape the popularity that the genre is currently enjoying on film. In fact, movies such as Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, “The Avengers” and “Iron Man” have brought in people who at they’re core aren’t avid comic book collectors at all. They love a good story, engaging characters and sometimes, humor.
Hollywood typically spends at least $100 million for these movies (well, these days, it’s closer to $300 million), but television simply doesn’t have as large a budget. Still, superheroes don’t just have to live on the big screen. They have found homes, successfully, and lamentably on TV. Some were great. Plenty were awful, but you have to admire the risk, the bravura of taking on these characters in as cinematic a way as they could accomplish in those days.
Live action TV shows featuring super powers are tough to pull off, but when they’re good, they’re almost as engaging as their silver screen counterparts.
Perhaps the most anticipated superhero TV show is “Arrow,” featuring the DC Comics character Green Arrow. We’ve seen Justin Hartley do his take on Oliver Queen (the Arrow’s secret identity) on “Smallville,” but this time, the character will be played by Stephen Amell, and having seen the pilot, I can tell you, the series definitely has promise. Lots.
Here’s hoping for more quality superhero TV series in the future. If we’re lucky, maybe HBO will take a shot. Now, that would be worth seeing. – Cornelius A. Fortune, managing editor
The New Adventures of Wonder Woman (1975-1979)
There have been several attempts to revive Wonder Woman for both TV and feature films. For now, Linda Carter’s take on the character remains the iconic go-to version. Carter’s winning smile and that killer theme music (try getting it out of your head) made “The New Adventures of Wonder Woman” worth watching.
The Greatest American Hero (1981-1983)
Sure, it was silly most of the time, but this series had – sorry for the cliché, but it applies – heart. And, let’s face it, this is how you’re supposed to do opening credits – ‘80s style with a long musical introduction, nice big title cards, and a sequence that tells you everything you need to know in a couple of minutes. They really don’t make them like this anymore.
The Flash (1990-1991)
This cool (as in awesome) ‘90s take on Barry Allen (AKA The Flash) had a rousing theme from Danny Elfman (1989’s “Batman”) and even featured Mark Hamill (our very own Luke Skywalker) as a villain. Audiences were excited about Tim Burton’s comic book movies till “Batman Returns” split the fans into two camps, and eventually led to that infamous “Batman & Robin” film (directed by Joel Schumacher). Considering the limitations of television, they did a great job.
If you get past the not-so-super special effects, there’s much to admire in this series, which focuses on Clark Kent’s college years. John Haymes Newton and Gerard Christopher (my personal favorite) played the title role.
Our modern myths
Get ready for this dark series that will air on “new comic book day” Wednesdays.
The second season just kicked off Monday nights on the SyFy Channel. If you love action stories with a little super powers thrown in (ala the X-Men), you should definitely check this one out.
The series about a young Clark Kent (Tom Welling), who by the 10th and final season wasn’t very young, was the very epitome of up and down television quality. Most viewers wanted more from this show, but got a mildly entertaining revamp of the Superman mythos. “Smallville,” however flawed as a single story, had some good moments throughout the series (spoiler alert: the finale didn’t really deliver on the series’ promise, namely, Welling in the suit). You’ll find the show’s purest mission statement in the first three seasons.
The first season of this series, a nearly pitch perfect outing, really brought the feel of comic book storytelling to TV sets. “Save the cheerleader, save the world,” became the mantra for both geeks and non-geeks. This show had the same appeal as “The Avengers” several years before the film’s release. Sadly, a writer’s strike and convoluted scripts eventually killed the series. If you forgot how good it really was or never caught it during its first run, see for yourself. “Heroes” Season One was the finest example of superhero television.
A vampire detective with a soul? This “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” spin-off from “The Avengers” director Joss Whedon gave us a different hero, one very flawed with a more than checkered past, but thankfully, a champion of L.A. Season One has more of a noir feel, but Season Five is arguably the most inviting, when rival Spike (James Marsters) joined the cast. Whedon is slated to direct an “Avengers” sequel as well as produce a new Marvel TV series.
Gone too soon?
The Cape (2011)
After NBC slung the ax on “Heroes,” they decided to try another superhero show. Problem was no one watched after the premier and dismal ratings sent this one straight to the canceled column. It’s worth a look – if you like viewing train wrecks from the comfort of an armchair.
No Ordinary Family (2010)
Maybe folks thought it looked too much like “The Incredibles,” a wonderful animated feature directed by Brad Bird. “No Ordinary Family” starred Michael Chiklis, who played The Thing in Marvel’s “Fantastic Four” films. Unfortunately, the series couldn’t find a consistent enough audience to warrant a renewal.
If only Sam Raimi (director of the “Spider-Man” trilogy and the “Evil Dead” films) could have made this one as successful as his fantasy series “Xena: Warrior Princess” and “Hercules,” maybe we’d have a better promo image (and a Blu-ray release). Carl Lumbly brought some serious acting chops as a wheelchair-bound scientist who dressed up at night to fight crime as (drum roll please) M.A.N.T.I.S. Sadly, this show was way ahead of its time and didn’t get a full season.
Birds of Prey (2002-2003)
Ah, the WB…they had guts putting this series about Batman’s daughter in a future Gotham City (New Gotham City) on the air. You have to admire the WB because they took so many creative risks. Without it, there may not have been a “Smallville” or “Arrow,” as “Buffy,” it’s spin-offs, and “Charmed” helped to put a mainstream face on fantasy/sci-fi TV. “Birds of Prey” was a flawed if spirited attempt at putting superheroes (and their comic book universe) on the small screen.
Last Updated on Monday, 27 August 2012 02:26
Category: Top News Written by Melody Moore
SPECIAL TO THE CHRONICLE
When Portia Roberson was young, being a public servant was instilled in her. The daughter of retired Judge Dalton Roberson Sr. and a former school teacher, Roberson was taught to leave things in a better state than she found it.
Now Roberson is the team leader for the Detroit Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiative under the direction of President Barack Obama’s administration. The initiative, which was launched last year, operates in six cities and aims to foster more community collaboration.
“Each city has 15-25 team members and those members come from various agencies including HID, transportation, Small Business Administration, commerce, education and labor and we coordinate with various agencies and look for ways to implement the project,” Roberson said. “We work on how to move things forward and we look for funding for those opportunities.”
Strong Cities, Strong Communities operates in only six cities - Memphis, Tenn; Chester, Pa; Cleveland, Ohio; Fresno, Calif.; and New Orleans, La. In each city, federal resources have been designated to increase the city’s productivity and streamlining the process to access the government. Additionally, best practices around the country are reviewed to determine what can be implemented to produce growth and vitality.
“Strong Cities, Strong Communities is a project that is here to help Detroit move forward,” said Roberson. “The Obama administration certainly recognizes a lot of cities are having the same struggles and we had to figure out, how do we do more with less? The six cities were chosen for a reason, not because Detroit is the worst place in the world but because of the opportunities that are here.”
Strong Cities, Strong Communities aims to break down the silos at the federal level and make it easier for the select states and cities to have access to the federal government.
Among the other projects connected to Strong Cities, Strong Communities are employment ventures and where growing career fields like information technology (IT) are identified and individuals are trained. Businesses are linked to the program as a way to discover new potential hires.
Most recently, a 14-week boot camp was held, where 90 students were trained to enter the IT field. Wayne County Community College District provided faculty members and additional resources, while Galaxy Solutions, Compuware and Quicken Loans offered the job training. After completion, 29 students received jobs.
While Roberson’s appointment can end as early as November, she is working toward goals to accomplish.
“I would like to see projects that can be sustained and continued long after I am gone,” said Roberson. “Like an IT boot camp to get people trained and get people working again would be great. Or if you can implement the program to address issues prior to youth committing violence,” she said.
The Detroit native is a Cass Technical High School graduate. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Michigan and a law degree from Wayne State University.
In 2009, President Obama appointed Roberson as director of Intergovernmental Affairs and department liaison for the Justice Department. However, last year, she was sent on detail to Detroit. In her current assignment, Roberson aims to establish a foundation that will continue to change the lives of Detroit residents. Prior to her initial appointment, Roberson worked as a private lawyer for nearly seven years, served as an assistant Wayne County prosecutor for more than two years, and worked as the associate general counsel for the Detroit Medical Center. In 2008, she became involved in the Obama campaign.
With Detroit being her heart, Roberson said she was very excited about the role and the opportunity that was set before her.
“I always knew I would come home and this has been an excellent opportunity for me,” she said. I feel like we have success and we are really helping people on the ground who are working with the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan. We establish collaborations across our agency and make sure that we create the best possible circumstances for things to get done.”
Last Updated on Monday, 27 August 2012 01:50
Category: Top News Written by Leland Stein III
LONDON — Surly the city of London was much different than Beijing, Athens and Sydney. However, the 2012 Games were all about the athletes that train and train and compete to get to the level of world class.
Seems like everywhere I went at Olympic venues there were the Duke and Duchess (Harry and Kate) of Cambridge and Prince Harry. One time I went to the ExCel Exhibition Hall to interview US boxer Claressa Shields and Kate was sitting right in front of me. I asked security if I could take a picture to prove to my friends that what I was saying really happened. They said no go.
Besides the Royals, the real star of London 2012 was the athletes who brought the world community together.
The Jamaican phenomenon Usain Bolt made himself a legend of sports with his unprecedented second gold triple double, winning the 100, 200 and 4x100-meter relay.
The 25-year-old Bolt, in the face of stronger competitors than in Beijing, unleashed that intrinsic determination and drive that only a superior athlete can processes “I have won both events twice at the Olympics,” Bolt said, “I have won world championship gold medals, I have broken world records many times. My coach is leaning towards the 400 meters, I am leaning away from the 400. It will be an intense conversation. Have you seen the training program for the 400?”
My favorite male athlete has to be the 800-meter runner from Kenya, David Rudisha, who set a world record in winning the gold medal. I have never seen anyone with a more beautiful stride and running gait.
My favorite female athlete is sprinter Allyson Felix. I have known her since my days in Los Angeles when she was a young up and coming sprinter.
In spite of Felix getting edged in the 2008 Games in Beijing and feeling sorry for herself, she went to work. Running everything from the 100 to 200 to 400, she has made herself the most versatile sprinter in recent American history.
In London she was the second woman ever to win gold in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays, after American Chandra Cheeseborough at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games. In addition, Felix’s three gold medals in London tie her for second among women in athletics for most gold medals at one Olympics. Only four others have accomplished the feat.
Great Britain’s Mo Farah came into his home Games under pressure to deliver medals in the 10,000m or 5000m. He won both in thrilling style, seven days apart. If there had been a roof on the stadium it would have come off as 80,000 people roared for Farah.
Farah became one of a handful of men in Olympic history to complete the long-distance double. He said:,“It’s an unbelievable feeling, the best feeling ever.”
There were standout performances right across the 2012 Games from Felix Sanchez’s golden night in the 400-meter hurdles to Uganda’s Stephen Kiprotich stunning the Kenyan challenge to clinch Olympic Games gold in the men’s Marathon on the Mall.
The London Games also saw Michael Phelps become the most decorated Olympian of all time with 22 medals. Phelps also holds the all-time record for Olympic gold medals (18, double that of the next highest). In the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Phelps won four gold and two silver medals.
Serena and Venus Williams won their unprecedented third doubles gold medal. Sandra Richards-Ross finally earned the individual gold medal in the 400-meter run.
The Olympics are a celebration of humanity. People come together in a friendly spirit of competition that challenges not only their opponent, but themselves.
Last Updated on Thursday, 16 August 2012 14:51
Category: Top News Written by Michigan Chronicle
"DC-NABJ Chapter Members Only
August Meeting with Special Guest, Former Detroit Mayor
Kwame M. Kilpatrick"
WHO Detroit Chapter National Association of Black Journalists
WHAT DC-NABJ Monthly Membership Meeting
Guest Speaker: Detroit’s Former Mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick
WHERE Hotel St. Regis
3071 West Grand Boulevard
Detroit, MI 48202
WHEN Date: Thursday, August 16, 2012
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
CONTACT Vickie Thomas, President, DC-NABJ & WWJ News Radio AM 950 (CBS)
WWJ News Radio 950 will stream the event live. You can click here to listen to the event beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 16, 2012.
Only paid members will be allowed in the room. No television cameras will admitted. No video-taping of any kind will be permitted.
DC-NABJ is committed to:
• Increasing black employment in the media.
• Increasing the number of blacks in management positions.
• Providing continued professional development and training for black journalists.
• Sensitizing the media to the importance of fairness in coverage and in the workplace.
• Strengthening ties among black journalists.
• Honoring excellence and outstanding achievement by black journalists.
• Expanding job opportunities for black journalists and assisting in recruiting activities.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 August 2012 13:47
Category: Top News Written by Steve Holsey
With all of the excitement building — combined with the media hype and the film company publicity blitz — it seemed only right to go back to where it all began.
The original “Sparkle,” a Warner Bros. film directed by Sam O’Steen, was released in 1976 and became a favorite, particularly in the African-American community where it has maintained a consistent level of popularity. And not only did En Vogue do a remake of “Giving Him Something He Can Feel” in 1992, they also re-created the movie performance in their video.
Remakes of movies can be tricky, but in this case it was a logical venture, and certainly one that meant a lot to the late Whitney Houston.
“Sparkle” was also important in that it moved several young Black actors and actresses to the next level of their careers, including Detroit’s own Lonette McKee, Philip Michael Thomas, Irene Cara and Dorian Harewood.
Thomas co-starred with Don Johnson on the immensely popular and trendsetting “Miami Vice” from 1984 to 1989.
Cara appeared in several films and had huge hits with her recordings of “Flashdance...What a Feeling” and “Fame.”
McKee was a favorite in movies such as “The Cottton Club,” “Jungle Fever” and “Malcolm X.”
Harewood was more television oriented, including “Roots: The Next Generation,” “Matlock” and “Iron Man.”
“Sparkle” was said to be “inspired by the Supremes” but in actually had very little in common with the story of the famed trio from the Motor City. Comparing “Dreamgirls” with the Supremes would be much more logical.
Another thing that made “Sparkle” so successful and durable was the great songs (and production) provided by Curtis Mayfield, including “Giving Him Something He Can Feel,” “Look Into Your Heart,” “Hooked on Your Love” and “Jump.”
Strangely, there was never a soundtrack album. Instead, an album by Aretha Franklin was released titled “Sparkle: Music From the Warner Bros. Motion Picture.” It was a huge hit and among Franklin’s best work.
The cast was not happy about this turn of events although, truth be told, none of the singers in the movie could come close to matching the power of Franklin’s voice and performances. Still, their gripe was understandable.
The cast also included Dwan Smith, Mary Alice and Tony King.
“Sparkle” takes place in Harlem, New York, in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It follows the meteoric rise of the three Williams sisters and the problems that end up tearing the group apart, from outside sources and from within. (I thought “Sister & the Sisters” was a rather silly sounding name.)
Much of the drama of the film is due to “Sister” (McKee) who hooks up with a seedy character named Satin and ends up drug addicted which ultimately leads to her death. Once the group has disbanded, “Sparkle” (Cara), despite some travails, goes on to have a successful solo career, reaching a peak as opening act for Ray Charles at Carnegie Hall.
“Sparkle” is an enjoyable film, although I felt it was racist for the film’s makers to have made sure that the evil, drug dealing Satin (a name close to “Satan”?) was played by a very dark-skinned actor. (“Dark” is evil, right?)
The new “Sparkle,” with Jordin Sparks, Whitney Houston, Carmen Ejogo, Mike Epps, Tika Simpter and Michael Beach in its cast, is set for Aug. 17 release
Last Updated on Saturday, 11 August 2012 00:00
Category: Top News Written by Cheryl Pearson-McNeil
If you’re one of the millions of viewers who watched the Olympics recently, you’re not alone. Nielsen research shows that the all-important, mega-produced opening ceremony in London garnered a stunning 40.7 million total U.S. viewers (Blacks made up 3 million of those watching), annihilating all previously held records for a Summer Olympics broadcast. Not surprisingly, Americans are far more likely to tune in when the games are happening on home turf. Until now, Atlanta’s Olympics opening ceremony in 1996, attracted the largest number of viewers with roughly 40 million. As much as we want to think of the Olympics exclusively as the world's foremost sports competition (and it is), that can catapult participants into national and even international fame (which it can), it is also a marketing bonanza for sponsors, advertisers and marketers. So, while millions of us watched with bated breath to see which of our stellar athletes or teams would ascend the podium to accept the gold, bronze or silver medals, billions of dollars were spent and/or made to capture our attention as we did all of that watching – and you thought consumerism wasn’t a professional sport!
As you might expect, ratings for the Olympics will probably dwarf the competition for its two week-plus run when the final numbers are calculated after Sunday’s closing ceremony. It’s interesting to note that NBC will probably break ratings records with its Olympic coverage even though much of it was tape-delayed to run in primetime, which some analysts believe underscores the growing power of sports programming. It’s the excitement, the feeling of power and the awe that attracts audiences to the Olympics. You can’t help but feel patriotic when you see the red, white and blue. You get to know the Olympians as if they were your best friends. So, you want to continue to tune in to cheer them on.
Let’s talk about what those numbers mean. We all know that the cost of everything continues to climb over the years. Check out the increase in a 30-second U.S. commercial spot during the opening ceremony:
- In 1988, for the Seoul Olympics, a 30-second commercial cost $155,000.
- In 2000, advertisers in the Sydney opening ceremony shelled out $275,000 for a 30-second spot.
- In 2008, the cost climbed to $320,000 a spot for Beijing’s opening ceremony.
- A spot in the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony jumped up to – are you sitting down – as much as $725,000 per commercial.
Nielsen analysis shows that with some $1 billion in ad sales and another $200 million in local TV and digital ad revenue, NBC and its family of networks, the U.S. broadcaster which aired the Olympics, may actually break even with its $1.28 billion investment into the London games. For the record, NBC owns the rights to the next four Olympics, having spent $4.38 billion for a package that extends through 2020.
The televised games provide an opportunity for a parade of brands to tap into your inner most yearnings while you are feeling patriotic, or inspired or emotional, or all three. What mother among us -- who hasn’t given up our early mornings, late evenings and full weekends and holidays to drive, cheer, and coerce our own little athletes toward glory – could tear our eyes away from the commercial that celebrated mothers globally? Whew. Talk about powerful stuff. My eyes were glistening as my own memories of similar mornings flitted across my mind as I watched moms across the world jostling their little ones out of bed and getting them off to practice, returning home later, to do laundry and cook and clean with the company’s products. My 6’4” basketball-playing son looked on incredulously as the tears trickled down my cheeks as I watched the spot. His 16-year-old cynicism collapsing into three words: “Really Ma?! Really?”
But you know what? I don’t expect him to understand why that particular commercial resonated with me. Because likewise, I don’t feel any connection when my non-athletic self watches a sweaty, hoopster guzzle down energy drinks in a spot that highly resonates with him. And, that my dear fellow consumer is the true sport of advertising – connecting an audience to a product. And when a marketer does that successfully, we, as consumers, repay them with our own form of a gold medal – we purchase the product. But, just like we demand of any Olympian – be sure advertisers earn the status we give them.
Cheryl Pearson-McNeil is senior vice president of public affairs and government relations for Nielsen. For more information and studies go to www.nielsenwire.com.
Last Updated on Friday, 10 August 2012 10:30
Category: Top News Written by Leland Stein III
LONDON — Serena and Venus Williams have made the Wimbledon Lawn and Tennis Center their person playground. The sisters have each won five Wimbledon singles titles.
For Serena it has been an unbelievable month. First, she wins her fifth Wimbledon Grand Slam singles, then she comes right back and doubles her pleasure with two more gold medals, one in singles and her third gold medal in doubles with her sister Venus.
The Williams sisters now have won four gold medals each. They have three doubles titles together, 2000 in Sydney, 2008 in Beijing Games and now the ladies can add 2012 to their rising gold medal collection. Venus won her singles gold at the 2000 Games. The sisters have become the most decorated tennis players in the modern history of the Olympic Games.
Since Venus had already won a singles gold, Serena told me she really wanted to get it done at these Games; however, she was quick to add that the doubles was more important to her.
“It was so exciting to win singles,” Serena said following her double’s gold venture, “but like I said at the beginning of the tournament, my main gold was to get another gold medal in doubles. There’s something about standing next to Venus and holding that gold medal. Three times we have played in the Olympics together and three times we have got the gold medal. We are pretty stoked about it.”
Added Venus: “It is so exciting being in the Olympics and winning the gold with your sister. It has been amazing watching Serena, seeing her win the singles title and completing the golden slam. We have been winning the doubles title together since 2000, so we come in here as the favorites, but it’s easier said than done.
Surely Venus and Serena are not the young kids on the block anymore as each is over 30.
When Serena swept through the 2012 Wimbledon field to claim her 14th Grand Slam title, I, like many, just marveled because in the tennis world longevity is not how world-class tennis players evolve. Serena and Venus appear to be breaking the mold by managing to sustain a world-class competitive level. The sisters said they have a lot more tennis left in them.
“I think we love it more than anything,” Serena said. “We don’t do it for any other reason outside of pure joy. It is a great opportunity to do something that you love to every day. Not everyone gets to do that with their lives. So we really enjoy these moments.”
Venus stated, “I think for us, knowing that we have so much more to give, that we still have great tennis in our racquets. We want to be able when we’re done to look back and say we gave everything.”
Serena in particular has been playing spectacular tennis. She outlasted the Wimbledon women’s stellar field a month ago and came right back and overwhelmed an equally stellar Olympic field. She took Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova to task in straight sets.
On why she is playing such great tennis right now, Serena said she just gives all the glory to God for getting her healthy. Then she added with a smile: “Lately I’ve been focused only on tennis, nothing else, no distractions, no life. My life is practice in the morning, training in the afternoon. Wake up to practice in the morning and training. Definitely been spending a lot of time on the tennis court. I have a nothing-to-lose attitude. Maybe my health concerns gave me a new fire that I would not have had.”
Serena has played in 17 Grand Slam Finals, winning 14. She is No. 4 in all-time Grand Slam singles victories and Venus has made it to 14 Grand Slam Finals, winning seven times.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 August 2012 22:01
Category: Top News Written by L. Monay Fort
The Michigan Supreme Court ruled on Friday, Aug. 3, that a repeal of the Public Act 4, Emergency Financial Law should be placed on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Michigan’s highest court is controlled by Republicans, 4-3. However, GOP Justice Mary Beth Kelly broke from the majority in this case and provided the decisive vote to order the state Board of Canvassers to have the referendum put on the ballot.
Once the Board of State Canvassers meets to certify the petition on August 15 at 1:30 p.m., Public Act 4, Emergency Financial Manager Law will be suspended and the previous law, Public Act 72, will be reenacted until Nov. 6, 2012.
The revised Emergency Manager Law amended a 1990 statute that gave appointed managers the power to run cities and school districts that are in financial distress, the authority to cut spending and sell assets, and nullify labor union contracts without the approval of elected officials.
A formal opinion from Attorney General Bill Schuette was issued.
“The former Emergency Manager Law, enacted in 1990, was repealed when the Legislature approved the new and more controversial act last year,” Schuette said. “But the repeal of Public Act 72 (the old law) has been rendered ineffective unless (PA 4, the new law is) approved by the electors.”
Opponents of Public Act 4, Standup for Democracy, collected over 226,000 valid petition signatures from citizens across the state. Some citizens and local clergy expressed outrage by the stalling tactics used by the courts prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling on Friday.
“This is a question of justice, decency and honesty. We signed a petition and the petition has been violated. Let the people decide,” said Norman Thomas, pastor of Sacred Heart.
Detroit NAACP President Rev Wendell Anthony applauded the state high court, saying, “It was never the intent of the framers of the Constitution and the Founding Fathers to usurp the power of the people based on the financial distress of a local community. Less we forget the 13 colonies were in financial distress when they were compelled to come together to forge a Declaration of Independence.
“They did not petition King George III of England for an emergency manager. Their petition ultimately would lead to the creation of the United States Constitution.”
Anthony said the 226,000 people from all over the state who signed the petitions did so in good faith, “trusting their government and believing in the democratic process with the belief that their voices would be heard.”
Gov. Snyder noted he is in full support of citizens expressing their views, but suspension of the Local Government and School District Fiscal Accountability Act may make matters worse.
“One of the act’s primary goals is to identify financial emergencies before they become full-blown crises. Suspending the law limits the state’s ability to offer early intervention and assistance, and eliminates important tools that emergency managers need to address financial emergencies as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Snyder said.
So far, emergency managers have been installed in four cities (Benton Harbor, Ecorse, Flint and Pontiac) and three school districts (Detroit, Highland Park and Muskegon Heights).
It is believed but not confirmed that the suspension of PA 4 would make the Emergency Financial Law null and void and therefore would require the dismissal of emergency managers that are currently on the job.
Last Updated on Thursday, 09 August 2012 00:00
Category: Top News Written by Huffington Post
The Michigan Supreme Court's narrow decision to put Public Act 4, the Emergency Manager Law, on the November ballot was the right thing to do. But the ruling presents for Mayor Dave Bing - who has publicly declared his opposition to the act - a political dilemma. Will he campaign for its repeal - or its defeat? The law was passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed into law by GOP Gov. Rick Snyder. It spawned statewide protests from Big Labor claiming the law deprives citizens of their right to self-determination and illegally voids union contracts.
The issue reached the Michigan Supreme Court after the State Board of Canvassers deadlocked 2-2 on whether to put the question on the ballot after more than 200,000 signatures were gathered. Snyder's administration contends the EM law is the cornerstone of a successful Detroit consent agreement with the state. But the governor reportedly plans to reinstate the old, weaker statue, which limits the ability of EMs to cancel contracts. Organized labor is elated - and for reasons beyond the city retaining local control of its finances and the destiny of its workers. It doesn't seem to matter to Big Labor that many union workers might end up with no job at all if Detroit is prevented from offering jobs at wages the government can afford - thus putting the city into bankruptcy. Labor may have a broader objective. A game of power politics will be played out across Michigan this November.
At stake is the ability of unions to deliver a strong vote for President Barack Obama whose weak poll numbers raise doubts about his re-electability. The president's support is shaky after his policies failed to lead a robust economy. Massive government spending only added to the nation's debt. Rather than an economic stimulus, we got stagnation. Labor has been Obama's unwavering political ally. In an act of solidarity, its leaders hope to rally behind the president by persuading their members to become active participants in this election. Organized labor can gain political advantage with such hot button referendums as the repeal of Public Act 4 - and the proposed, union-bankrolled Protect Our Jobs ballot initiative. A large labor-backed turnout, of course, helps Obama. And depending on how the dust settles on Public Act 4, it may be labor - not Mayor Bing - who ultimately controls the city's political power center. Should he decide to seek reelection next year, labor may be in a power position to field a formidable opposition candidate if Bing is seen as a foe.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 August 2012 12:55
Category: Top News Written by Steve Holsey
TV One, the cable channel, is to be commended and loudly applauded for “Unsung,” the series of hour-long documentaries that focus on Black recording artists who have had a lot of success, yet are deserving of more recognition.
The shows are informative, well-researched, and feature the artists themselves revealing their truths and sharing their opinions regarding their careers. We also hear from others associated with them. Plus, programs are just fun. And get this, if you, like me, do not have cable, you can watch the “Unsung” shows online (visit the TV One website or watch them on YouTube).
Most recently I enjoyed the editions on Millie Jackson, Mary Wells and the O’Jays. Among the other artists who have been profiled are Ray Parker Jr., the Sylvers, Tyrone Davis, Phyllis Hyman, Heatwave, Sheila E., DeBarge, Klymaxx, Freddie Jackson, Vesta Williams, Miki Howard, Whodini, Angela Winbush, David Ruffin, Stacy Lattisaw, Bobby Womack, Tammi Terrell, Donny Hathaway, Klymaxx and Billy Preston. Oh yeah, and Teena Marie, but most people considered her Black anyway!
THE JACKSON FAMILY has every reason to be ashamed of themselves for their shockingly deplorable behavior in recent weeks. The accusing, the counter-accusing, the slapping, the name calling, the media baiting, the lying and, of course, the getting on what are probably the last nerves of 82-year-old Katherine Jackson.
So much for peace in her golden years. I feel sorry for her. No wonder she had to get away from it all by temporarily relocating from the Los Angeles area to Arizona!
We all know how tainted megastar Michael Jackson was, and his family “imploding” right before our eyes fits right in. And it still seems strange that super rich Michael would leave everything to his three kids and his mother and absolutely nothing to his brothers, sisters, father or any other relative or friend.
And if I were a big gambling man, I would bet that those millions have something (maybe a lot) to do with this disgusting madness. Talk about a dysfunctional family!
WE HEAR that contrary to certain rumors, Black radio superstar Donnie Simpson, like the Electrifyin’ Mojo, has no desire to return to radio, or in Simpson’s case, television either.
The very personable Simpson started out in the 1970s as a Soul Teen Reporter on WJLB, representing Denby High School, and soon became a full-time radio personality, known as “the Luv Bug.” His show would start with the Supremes’ hit “Love Is Like an Itching in My Heart,” featuring the opening line, “The love bug done bit me!”
After that he spent 15 years at WRC-FM (which later became WKYS) in Washington, DC, and 17 years at WPGC-FM in the same city. That’s in addition to hosting BET’s popular “Video Soul” show from 1983 to 1997.
But it was time to move on. Donnie told me that it had gotten to the point where some artists from the hip-hop world would approach him in public places, reminding him that they had been on “Video Soul” — and he would have no recollection.
It must be nice to retire wealthy. By the way, the very first article on Donnie Simpson was done in the Michigan Chronicle, in this column. He once said on “Video Soul” that “Steve is a good guy.” Thanks, Donnie! Backatcha!
THERE IS an old song titled “Nice Work If You Can Get It.” Well, as you know, Mariah Carey will be coming aboard “American Idol” as a judge next season. She will be paid a whopping $18 million, making her the highest paid judge in the history of competition music TV shows.
Good for her, but is she really worth that much? Just asking! Simon Cowell, the often acerbic but popular former “American Idol” judge, said there might be a problem with Carey being tough when she needs to be because she is “nice.”
In 2003 Black rock star Lenny Kravitz opened an interior design company, based in New York City. Now he wants to go global with Kravitz Design, including clothes, bedding and furniture. Considering his track record, success seems likely.
Readers have provided some interesting information regarding recent concerts. One reader said Cherrelle was not at her best at Chene Park recently. Apparently there were even boos and the songstress seemed to “influenced.”
Another reader, A.B. Braggs, said Pattti LaBelle’s performance at the DTE Energy Theater was, surprisingly, “lackluster at best.” He said, “Her voice was weak and she showed no energy at all.”
Let’s hope these were one-time-only occasions.
BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW...that Diana Ross used to work in the basement cafeteria at Hudson’s department store. Her job was to clean off tables.
MEMORIES: “Keep On Truckin’” (Eddie Kendricks), “If I Were Your Woman” (Gladys Knight & the Pips), “The Great Pretender” (the Platters), “Something About You” (the Four Tops),” “One Nation Under a Groove” (Funkadelic), “Trapped By a Thing Called Love” (Denise LaSalle), “It’s You That I Need” (Enchantment). “Young Hearts Run Free” (Candi Staton).
BLESSINGS to Walter Hall, Jill Day-Foley, L.J. Reynolds, Marcus Patton, Brenda Perryman, Keith Alan Owens, Alexis Williams, Terry Cabell, Stephen Singleton and Gwen West.
WORDS OF THE WEEK, from Alan Cohen: “Thank God for what you have and you will always have what you need.”
Let the music play!
Last Updated on Friday, 03 August 2012 15:41
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