Wednesday, March 4, 2015

POSTED: Tuesday, February 24, 2015, 10:37 AM
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani

Here’s what I think happened: Rudy Giuliani walked into that eat-and-greet dinner for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker -- a dinner he wasn’t originally invited to -- saw all the big-money executives and conservative media people inside that trendy New York restaurant checking out the potential presidential candidate, and decided he wanted them to pay attention to him instead. So in a fit of jealousy, he threw a hunk of red meat at the diners, saying something so explosive it would make national news. That it was a lie did not dampen Giuliani’s fervor.

“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” said Giuliani. “He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”

It’s hard to believe that anyone would put up with the attacks on his character that Obama has had to take from Giuliani and others if he didn’t love his country. Giuliani’s remark is even more appalling when you consider what it suggests about Obama’s maternal grandparents, who helped raise him. During World War II, Stanley Dunham served his country as a G.I. in Europe while his wife Madelyn worked on a bomber assembly line back in Wichita. Isn’t it likely they taught a young Obama a thing or two about love of country?

Harold Jackson @ 10:37 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, February 4, 2015, 10:53 AM
A Northridge, Calif., pediatrician speaks to a mother whose 18-month-old child has just been given the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine. (AP Photo / Damian Dovarganes)

The governor of New Jersey’s comments about the current measles outbreak has gotten a lot of attention, but it is Pennsylvania that has more to fear from the childhood disease that can be fatal. The Keystone State ranks among the last in the nation in its percentage of kindergarten-age children who have been vaccinated, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

With only 85 percent of its kindergarten-age children immunized against measles, mumps, and rubella, Pennsylvania is more susceptible to those childhood diseases, along with Kansas, 87 percent; Arkansas, 86 percent; and Colorado, 82 percent.

According to the CDC, 97 percent of New Jersey kindergartners have had the MMR vaccination. Maybe that’s why Christie felt free to play politics in earlier suggesting it was fine for parents not to have their children vaccinated. He has since backed off that position in acknowledging the risk to public safety. But another Republican presidential contender, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, has not.

Harold Jackson @ 10:53 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, January 27, 2015, 12:04 PM
Two Holocaust survivors returned to the Auschwitz Nazi death camp in Poland for a commemoration of their liberation 70 years ago . (AP Photo / Alik Keplicz)

Like “Selma,” a theatrical release that recreates the events leading up to a seminal event in the American civil rights movement, people who are either too young to know much about it, or old enough to have put it out of their minds, should see the HBO documentary “Night Will Fall,” which includes actual footage of the rescue of Holocaust victims.

The film makes it painfully clear that human beings are capable of the most inconceivable depravities. But worst than the perpetrators of war crimes were the seemingly good people who tried to pretend they were unaware of the godless activities occurring a slingshot away from their bucolic communities in concentration camps like Dachau, Auschwitz, and Buchenwald.

The documentary includes footage from a film called “German Concentration Camps Factual Survey,” which the Allies began making in 1945 but never released after World War II ended. Apparently, the British and Americans decided making the Germans feel more guilt about the millions of emaciated, brutalized bodies discovered in concentration camps would crush their morale at a time when defeated Germany was already being considered a potential ally against the surging Soviet Union.

Harold Jackson @ 12:04 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, January 5, 2015, 2:06 PM
Protesters demonstrated in Philadelphia in September to push fast-food chains to pay their employees at least $15 an hour (AP Photo / Matt Rourke)

It amazes me when I hear near- to above-middle-class earners complain about the push to raise the federal minimum wage, which has stood at $7.25 for almost five years, including during the 2008 recession. These critics look at the $15 an hour that protesting fast-food workers have been asking for and say that’s too much for someone at that level of employment. What they’re really saying is that $15 an hour is getting too close to what they make and does not properly reflect the gap in education and responsibility between them and a – pardon the expression – hamburger flipper.

They’re looking at the issue from the wrong end of the microscope.  It’s not that fast-food workers are asking for too much for what they do. An annual salary of $16,120 isn’t excessive when you consider the price of goods and services in today’s world. A worker with a family earning that amount would need another job if he or she were the sole source of income. A young person earning that amount and trying to go to college would have a hard time keeping up with expenses even if he still lives at home.

It’s not that lower-paid workers are asking for too much; it’s that workers making more are settling for too little. Wages need to be adjusted from the bottom up, with those at the very top income levels – the multimillionaires making dozens of times more than their workers – giving up some cash to compensate. While the federal minimum wage didn’t budge, the average pay of CEOs rose 5.5 percent last year to more than $11 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. Yes, the trickle-down theory can work, if it’s actually applied. Instead, the average Fortune 500 CEO is making 200 times more than his lowest-paid employees.

Harold Jackson @ 2:06 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, January 5, 2015, 1:48 PM
Protestors demonstrated in Philadelphia in September to push fast-food chains to pay their employees at least $15 an hour (AP Photo / Matt Rourke)

It amazes me when I hear near- to above-middle-class earners complain about the push to raise the minimum at the federal level, which has stood at $7.25 for almost five years, including during the 2008 recession. These critics look at the $15 an hour that protesting fast-food workers have been asking for and say that’s too much for someone at that level of employment. What they’re really saying is that $15 an hour is getting too close to what they make and does not properly reflect the gap in education and responsibility between them and a – pardon the expression – hamburger flipper.

They’re looking at the issue from the wrong end of the microscope.  It’s not that fast-food workers are asking for too much for what they do. An annual salary of $16,120 isn’t excessive when you consider the price of goods and services in today’s world. A worker with a family earning that amount would need another job if he or she were the sole source of income. A young person earning that amount and trying to go to college would have a hard time keeping up with expenses even if he still lives at home.

It’s not that lower-paid workers are asking for too much; it’s that workers making more are settling for too little. Wages need to be adjusted from the bottom up, with those at the very top income levels – the multimillionaires making dozens of times more than their workers – giving up some cash to compensate. While the federal minimum wage didn’t budge, the average pay of CEOs rose 5.5 percent last year to more than $11 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. Yes, the trickle-down theory can work, if it’s actually applied. Instead, the average Fortune 500 CEO is making 200 times more than his employees.

Harold Jackson @ 1:48 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, December 15, 2014, 11:01 AM
Protesters confronting police in Ferguson, Mo., last summer. (ROBERT COHEN / St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

I have told friends that my mistrust of the police comes legitimately. I grew up in Birmingham, Ala., during the 1960s, when the city became infamous for the brutal way that civil rights demonstrators were treated by policemen who used snarling dogs and pummeling blasts of water from fire hoses to disperse protesters. A 9-year-old classmate was one of the youngest demonstrators arrested.

Back then, black people saw the police as appendages of a racist judicial system that more often than not protected, rather than prosecuted, whites accused of harming African Americans. Today, many think the same thing about the white police officers in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island, N.Y., who killed unarmed black men and managed to avoid prosecution.

My family didn't even think about looking to the police for protection after the 16th Street Baptist Church was bombed by racists in 1963, killing four little girls, including an 11-year-old who attended my school. Instead, my father and other black men armed themselves, anticipating more violence.

Harold Jackson @ 11:01 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, December 8, 2014, 11:03 AM
In the tiny village of Da Ping, China, an elderly man proudly wears his faded army jacket. (Photo by Harold Jackson)

On a train from Xi'an to Beijing, traveling 180 miles an hour as it cuts through air so polluted you can't see the tops of city skyscrapers, a female attendant mops the speeding car's floors between stops to keep the compartment tidy. Clean floors, dirty air. This is China in the 21st century.

Arriving in the People's Republic three weeks ago, I expected to learn a lot - and I did. Perhaps most important, I learned that President Obama is right to try to shift America's foreign policy focus to Asia. Unfortunately, our country's preoccupation with the Middle East since the 9/11 attacks won't allow us to put that perpetually roiling situation into perspective and move on.

Two months prior to my nine-day visit, sponsored by the Hong Kong-based China U.S. Exchange Foundation, a group of Chinese journalists visiting The Inquirer while making a similar tour of the United States expressed disappointment in Americans' lack of knowledge about their country. Now I understand what they meant.

Harold Jackson @ 11:03 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, November 18, 2014, 9:29 AM

Xi'an - The contrast couldn't be more pronounced between the metropolis of Xi'an, which, under the radar of most Americans, is trying to compete for business with California's Silicon Valley as a center of high-tech innovation and enterprise, and the little village of Da Ping, about 90 minutes away.

 The fewer than 50 villagers typically pass the day quietly on their one road, which was mud until paved in recent years. They grow cabbages and potatoes in the rocky ground on the Huashan mountain range, but there is no industry, no jobs, so all the young people have moved away. The village is literally dying.

Meanwhile in Xi'an, China is building the country's top R&D center, which has been attracting some of the world's leading companies. Already, one area of the sprawling complex has been designated Samsung City. Xi'an itself is experiencing tremendous growth, and expects its population of more than 8 million to exceed 10 million by 2020. 

Harold Jackson @ 9:29 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
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