‘People Who Are Different Are Not the Problem in America’

By James Lankford & Tim Scott/Politics-THE ATLANTIC
JAN 12, 2018

Two members of the U.S. Senate urge Americans to honor the legacy
of the Martin Luther King Jr. by engaging with others of different backgrounds.
This year, Martin Luther King Jr. Day carries additional significance, as it marks the 50th anniversary of his tragic death. In April of 1968, King was killed in Memphis, Tennessee, at the hands of a ruthless murderer who was filled with hate and racism.One of the reasons we, as Americans and citizens around the world, remember King’s legacy is his call to freedom and racial unity through love and engagement for all people—a message he still shares with the world a half-century later. Love is the consistent theme throughout many of his writings and remarks: “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend,” or “I have decided to stick with love … Hate is too great a burden to bear,” or “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”.

Perhaps the words King wrote to fellow ministers while he was in the Birmingham Jail in 1963 are the most impactful: “Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.”

King’s words still ring, but his work is not complete. Americans have come a long way since the 1960s, but the dream is not yet fully realized.After the 2016 police shootings in Dallas, Minnesota, and Louisiana, we challenged our constituents and people everywhere we went with a simple question, “Have you or your family ever invited a person or a family of another race to your home for dinner?”  We called it “Solution Sundays.”Sunday is a slower, yet significant day, for most Americans. So, we challenged each family to give one Sunday lunch or dinner for building relationships across race and ethnicity, to literally be part of the solution in America. Any other day of the week would work as well; the goal is for people to engage on a personal level in their own homes, to break down walls, to listen, and to build trust across communities. It is harder to stereotype people that you know.

When is the last time you or your family had dinner in your home with a person or family of another race?

We are convinced that we will never get all the issues about race on the table, until we get our feet under the same table and talk like friends. At its core, racial divisions are a heart issue, not a skin-color issue. Our children need to see their parents developing friendships around the dinner table with people who look different, so that the next generation can be different.

The same goes for civil discourse in America. The love and respect that King spoke about do not require absolute uniformity or watered-down viewpoints. They require respect for cultures and views that are different, and an understanding that people who are different are not the problem in America; they are our brothers and sisters in humanity.

Sadly, our cultural discourse often looks like hate trying to drive out hate, rather than allowing light and love to drive out hate.

Our national leaders should model this truth rather than just reflect the culture. Just take a glance at social media and cable news, and you’ll see disrespectful shouting and shaming that descends on our country and our children like a cold rain. In fact, you can test that theory by posting this op-ed to your social media account, and you will probably see what we’re talking about within minutes. This sort of rhetoric threatens our ability to weave together multiple communities together to form a single nation; it loses sight of the fact that all people are made in the image of God and have worth and human dignity.

After two centuries, we are making progress on race, but we seem to be rapidly losing our “melting pot” of ideas, respect, and acceptance. A trend has emerged that encourages people to listen only to people who are the same or share their values, philosophy, and ideas, then dismiss or belittle anyone who is different or disagrees, even if they only disagree on a few issues. A good burn is the new goal, rather than a good word. We still need the reminder that “love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

Let this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day be a time where we, as Americans, honor his memory and legacy by engaging neighbors who are different. If the national pendulum is ever going to swing, it will require role models in every community who don’t just call out for respectful engagement, but live it.

WeBuyBlack Partners with Essence Magazine

Black News.com  Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Nationwide — 23-year old entrepreneur Shareef Abdul-Malik of Washington, DC believes in doing for self. That’s why he created WeBuyBlack.com, an online marketplace for black-owned businesses and sellers.

“It allows small black-owned businesses to grow by being exposed to an international market; it’s the largest online marketplace for black-owned businesses and sellers,” says Abdul-Malik. “These black-owned businesses may hire and create employment opportunities for those in our local communities.”

 

The website launched last year on June 19th, celebrating the 150 year anniversary of Juneteenth. Since its launch, the site has over 2,000 registered businesses and sellers; more than 4,500 products uploaded and have reached 500,000 page views.

In December, the site garnered over 105,000 page views, according to Abdul-Malik. There is no fee to upload a product to the site.

Abdul-Malik, who is a Howard University graduate, says he’d been inspired by institutions such as the Black Wall Street of Tulsa, Oklahoma that served the needs of the black community.

“This is a long term result after inspirational institutions such as the Black Wall Street which was burned down, ridding hope of family and community survival, financial independence, and the collective motivation to build for our next generation’s well-being,” says Abdul-Malik.

“I didn’t come up with the idea of WeBuyBlack.com, I manifested the idea. I researched the needs in our community and the solution came to me by the words of ‘Do-for-self’ – A concept I have been raised upon.”

Starting Feb. 1, the company will launch its largest campaign to circulate $100,000,000 on the website through Feb. 1, 2017. African-Americans have a current buying power of $1 trillion which is forecasted to reach $1.3 trillion by year 2017, according to a report published by www.nielsen.com

“The vendors asked for a more comprehensive platform that would allow for them to fully commit and launch their shops on the site,” added Abdul-Malik.

In response to this, WeBuyBlack.com hired a black owned engineering firm to reconfigure the website, adding features that will allow the black community to fully circulate its dollar within its own community.

For example, the site will allow non-profit organizations to apply for a referral code. This code may be distributed to their congregations and supporters. When their supporters purchase from the site, they can enter that referral code and the organization will receive up to one percent of every purchase..

Individuals may also apply for a referral code. “They are then able to sign up businesses and receive up to one percent of the businesses’ sales,” he said. “The beauty is vendors will always receive their full commission and will lose absolutely nothing by allowing someone to sign them up.”

In addition to the referral system code, the site will allow customers to subscribe and receive their product on schedule, without having to reorder. Businesses who already sell subscription plans will now be able to incorporate their business on the site, according to website staff.

“When I first learned of WeBuyBlack.com, I was thrilled to see that something like this was being done. I signed on as a vendor thinking it would be another way to showcase products; to my surprise and delight things have gone very well quickly,” said Angela Williams, 37, of Kentucky, who started Forever Regal, a website offering a wide range of products imported or inspired by Africa.

“The customer responses have been amazing,” she said, “The team at WeBuyBlack.com have been supportive beyond my expectation.”

The site has attracted black-owned businesses from many parts of the world such as the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Australia, Kenya, and Canada.

Phoebe Mwanza, owner of The Prodigal Daughter, an Australian clothing and accessories label, said her company is proud to be part of WeBuyBlack.com.

“WeBuyBlack.com is an important platform for those that want to support black-owned businesses like ours and for young businesses that would otherwise not have similar opportunities,” said Mwanza.

For more information about the site, visit www.WeBuyBlack.com or connect through social media at:

Instagram – www.instagram.com/webuyblack/

Facebook – www.facebook.com/webuyblackcom

Twitter – www.twitter.com/webuyblackcom

 

PRESS CONTACT:
Shahid Abdul-Karim
shahidabdulkarim@gmail.com
203 605-3844

 

Climate Change Update: COP23 at Bonn Germany

Here’s what the Bonn conference is all about

You’ve probably heard of the Paris climate agreement from 2015, when world leaders agreed to voluntarily limit greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to stave off the worst effects of global warming.

That agreement was forged at the United Nations’ annual climate change conference, which was in Paris that year. This year, it’s in Bonn.

On the agenda this time around: filling in the details of those Paris pledges. They are voluntary, vague, and not easily verifiable. The diplomats in Bonn hope to firm up the countries’ commitments and make it easier to measure progress.

• Here are answers to the five biggest questions about Bonn, including: What’s the best-case scenario? And what might set off a fight?

• Here are five world leaders, or sets of leaders, who are emerging as climate change champions as the United States disengages.

Two years after Paris, the world is still off track

Under the Paris deal, nearly 200 countries submitted proposals for cutting their greenhouse gas emissions. Yet not one of the major industrialized nations is on course to hit those goals.

And even those goals are just a starting point — emissions would have to be cut even further to stop global average temperatures from warming more than 2 degrees Celsius over preindustrial levels, the point at which scientists say drastic consequences will be unavoidable.

• Where do the countries stand now, what have they pledged and what will they eventually need to achieve? These charts lay it out:

Here’s How Far the World Is From Meeting Its Climate Goals

Two years after countries signed a landmark climate agreement in Paris, the world remains far off course from preventing drastic global warming in the decades ahead.

• Separately, a study released on Monday was another indication that the world has not turned the corner on cutting emissions. Industrial emissions had been steady for the past three years, but are projected to rise to record highs this year:

• Separately, a study released on Monday was another indication that the world has not turned the corner on cutting emissions. Industrial emissions had been steady for the past three years, but are projected to rise to record highs this year:

Graphic

CO2 Emissions Were Flat for Three Years. Now They’re Rising Again.

Industrial emissions of greenhouse gases will likely rise in 2017 after a three-year plateau. It’s a sign that the world is still far from achieving its goals to limit global warming.

• The increase in global emissions is due in part to China burning more coal. Indeed, China is full of climate contradictions — it wants to be a leader in fighting global warming, and is on track to meet its Paris goals, but it is a long way away from weaning itself off coal.

• The Green Climate Fund, established in 2010, was meant to help developing countries tackle climate change. Seven years later, many of the most vulnerable nations have not seen any grants and some projects have raised red flags.

• Led by Canada and Britain, 19 countries will end their coal power use by 2030. But none of them are big coal consumers.

• Some island nations, extremely vulnerable and frustrated by the slowness of the United Nations process, have started to look elsewhere for aid.

• The talks ultimately kicked most of the big issues down the road until 2018. It was a stark reminder that the real action on global warming often does not unfold in international venues.

The United States is in an awkward position

• The Trump administration has sent a delegation to Bonn, but the American negotiators are hashing out the details of a climate deal that President Trump has vowed to abandon — “like a spouse who demands a divorce but then continues to live at home,” as our reporter put it.

• Yet delegates from other countries have refrained from openly criticizing the United States. “What is to be gained?” a United Nations official asked.

• On Thursday, the top American diplomat at the talks, Judith G. Garber, struck a conciliatory tone, mentioning climate change and not coal, and drew polite applause.

• But the Trump administration also sent representatives from energy companies to promote coal, natural gas and nuclear power, industries that Mr. Trump has pledged to support. Their presentation was met with jeers from protesters on Monday.

• A shadow American delegation is also at the talks, led by former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York and Gov. Jerry Brown of California, who have vowed that states, cities and businesses are “still in” the Paris agreement, even if the federal government is not.

Syria announced last week that it would join the Paris climate accord, meaning that every country in the world has now signed on to the pact or intends to join — and only one, the United States, has signaled its intention to withdraw from it. (Nicaragua, another holdout, said last month that it would join the agreement.)

• On the Friday before the conference opened, 13 federal agencies released a comprehensive scientific report that affirmed that humans are to blame for most of the global warming that has occurred since the start of the 20th century. That will not surprise anyone at the Bonn conference — but it does directly contradict statements from some top Trump administration officials.

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Managing Your Condition With Exercise Get Motivated to Exercise

Need a reason to work out? Here are 7 to start

What if someone told you that a thinner, healthier, and longer life was within your grasp? Sound too good to be true? According to a wealth of research, exercise is the silver bullet for a better quality of life.

Not only does regular exercise aid in weight loss, it reduces your risk for several chronic diseases and conditions. Finding activities that you enjoy and that become part of your daily routine is the key to a long and healthy life.

The list of health benefits is impressive, and the requirements are relatively simple — just do it.

Ward Off Disease

Research has confirmed that any amount of exercise, at any age, is beneficial. And, in general, the more you do, the greater the benefits. The National Academy of Sciences has recommended that everyone strive for a total of an hour per day of physical activity. Sounds like a lot, but the hour can be made up of several shorter bursts of activity (it can be walking, gardening, even heavy housecleaning) done throughout the day.

Physical activity is an essential part of any weight-loss program, to maximize your fat loss while keeping valuable muscle mass. But exercise has many other health and longevity benefits. It can help prevent or improve these conditions:

1. Heart Disease. Regular activity strengthens your heart muscle; lowers blood pressure; increases “good” cholesterol (high-density lipoproteins or HDLs) and lowers “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins or LDLs); enhances blood flow; and helps your heart function more efficiently. All of these benefits reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Researchers at Duke University suggest that the amount of physical activity, rather than its intensity, has the biggest impact on improving blood lipids (cholesterol). According to The New England Journal of Medicine, these researchers also found that any exercise is better than none — although more is better.

2. Stroke. In an analysis of 23 studies, researchers found that being active reduces your risk of having and dying from a stroke. According to a study published in the journal Stroke, moderately active study participants had 20% less risk of stroke than less active participants.

3. Type II Diabetes. This disease is increasing at alarming rates — by 62% since 1990 — and 17 million Americans now have it. Physical activity can enhance weight loss and help prevent and/or control this condition. Losing weight can increase insulin sensitivity, improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and reduce blood pressure — all of which are very important to the health of people with diabetes.

In a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Frank Hu, MD, of the Harvard School of Public Health found that a brisk walk for one hour daily could reduce the risk of type II diabetes by 34%.

4. Obesity. Overweight and obese conditions can be prevented or treated with exercise along with a healthy diet. Activity helps to reduce body fat and increase muscle mass, thus improving your body’s ability to burn calories. The combination of reduced calories and daily exercise is the ticket to weight loss. And controlling obesity is critical, as it is a major risk factor for many diseases. Lowering your body mass index (BMI) is a sure way to reduce your risk of dying early and to live a healthier life.

5. Back Pain. Back pain can be managed or prevented with a fitness program that includes muscle strengthening and flexibility. Having good posture and a strong abdomen is the body’s best defense against back pain.

6. Osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercise (such as walking, jogging, stair climbing, dancing, or lifting weights) strengthens bone formation and helps prevent the osteoporosis or bone loss often seen in women after menopause. Combine a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D with regular weight-bearing exercise for maximum results.

According to The Journal of the American Medical Association, data from the Nurses’ Health Study showed that women who walked four or more hours per week had 41% fewer hip fractures than those who walked less than an hour a week

7. Psychological Benefits. Improved self-esteem is one of the top benefits of regular physical activity. While exercising, your body releases chemicals called endorphins that can improve your mood and the way you feel about yourself. The feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as “euphoric” and is accompanied by an energizing outlook. Exercise can help you cope with stress and ward off depression and anxiety.

And these are just a few of the ways exercise improves your health. Studies have suggested it can also help with certain types of cancer, improve immune function, and more.

Putting It All Together: Exercise and a Healthy Diet

Exercise alone produces modest weight loss; when combined with a reduced-calorie diet, the effects are much more impressive.

In a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, University of Pittsburgh researchers found that people who exercised regularly and ate a healthy, modest-calorie diet lost weight and improved cardiorespiratory fitness regardless of the length or intensity of their workouts.

Another study published in JAMA showed that it is never too late to reap the benefits of physical activity. Sedentary women 65 years and older who began walking a mile a day cut their rates of death from all causes by 50%.

Resistance, Resistance

If exercise is so good for us, why aren’t people doing it?

Some 64% of men and 72% of women fail to fit in activity on a daily basis, according to data from the 2000 National Health Interview Survey. Americans today are no more active than they were a decade ago.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends a combination of aerobic exercise (the type that makes you breathe harder, like walking or jogging) for cardiovascular conditioning; strength training (like lifting weights or calisthenics) for muscle toning, and stretching to improve your range of motion.

Strive for doing all three types, but remember that any exercise is better than nothing. Here are some easy ways to work physical activity into your life:

  • Adopt a dog and take it for walks every day.
  • Do things the old-fashioned way — get up and change the television channel; open the garage door manually; use a push lawnmower.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Walk briskly whenever you can.
  • Minimize use of your car; walk to destinations within a mile.
  • Take up tennis or any other game or sport you enjoy.
  • Join a gym or health club.

Next time you are tempted to skip exercising, keep these wonderful health benefits in mind and remember, every little bit helps. You may not feel up to a rigorous workout, but how about a walk in the neighborhood?

Don’t pass up a chance of a lifetime — that is, a longer and healthier one.

 

 

 

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Worried about Russian Collusion? Gerrymandering & Voter Suppression are worst threats

From Electoralgeographies.web

 Gerrymandering / Congressional Redistricting

Manipulating congressional districts through gerrymandering  has become a pervasive problem in the United States since its utilization by Elbridge Gerry in 1812. The point of gerrymandering is to cram “all of [your opponents’] supporters into a small number of districts. This method allows the legislature to spread its own supporters over a larger number of districts” (Ingraham, 2014b).

The graph above shows data on 8 states’ gerrymander index scores. It is clear that these data, in general, indicate that states are becoming more gerrymandered over time.

North Carolina and Maryland are regarded as the most gerrymandered states in the United States.  North Carolina’s 12th district is one of the worst in the nation, stretching over 77 miles from Winston-Salem to Charlotte in a snake-like pattern. (below)

NorthCarolinas12thcongressionaldistrict

There are certainly regional and demographic factors at play in the more recent gerrymandering efforts, such as those that we saw in 2010. Republicans gained a majority of House seats and state legislatures that year, and as a result were in charge of districting after the 2010 census. Redistricting’s original intent (after the census every 10 years) was to provide fair representation for people in different states as their populations increased or decreased, but it has largely become a political tool dominated by  whomever controls the state’s legislature.

From the graph below, you can see that the South, and the East Coast in general, is becoming more gerrymandered than the rest of the United States. The darker reds represent states that are more gerrymandered on the index score, and the lighter colored states represent those that are less gerrymandered.Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 7.51.11 PM

Gerrymandering the Electoral College?

Republican victories and the subsequent Congressional districts established by Republicans in 2010  gave the party momentum to propose legislation regarding alterations to the electoral college. Their goal is to set up a congressional district system in their respective states, which would ultimately determine the outcome of the Presidential election through dividing electors amongst state districts.

over-timegerrymander

Nebraska and Maine already have a congressional district system in place, and Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Virginia are all considering legislation (Henderson & Haines, 2013). Systems such as this in Ohio and Virginia, key swing states during the 2012 Presidential election, would have indicated a victory for Mitt Romney (Berman, 2012). But such law, if implemented, would also change presidential campaign strategies, and would generate and eliminate different battle-grounds.

Voter Suppression Laws 2014

Similar to gerrymandering, voter suppression laws are a way for political parties to gain an advantage through manipulation.  The 2014 midterms witnessed minority populations in the South, and other parts of the country being targeted by such legislation. A major issue at hand were voter ID laws. Many states introduced newly established ones this cycle. 11 states had new voter ID laws, which excludes states where these laws will be implemented in future elections-such as NC.imrsimrs

Screen Shot 2014-11-22 at 1.17.56 PM

21 states featured new voting laws more generally which included elimination of same day registration, elimination of out-of-precinct voting, limitation of early voting days, and longer wait times for criminals to regain their voting rights.

Research indicates that affected states “tend to have large black and Hispanic voter populations” (The Economist 2014). As an example, 1/3 of North Carolina’s African American voters utilized same day registration in 2012, a privilege which was eliminated in the state this cycle.  The portion of the Voting Rights Act which was struck down by the Supreme Court in a 2013 decision may be to blame for some of the problems in the South. Southern states are largely dominated by Republicans, and are no longer required to receive federal approval before changing legislation.

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Puerto Rico’s Human Catastrophe Is Hedge Funds’ Inhuman Nightmare

By William D. Cohan, Vanity Fair   October 2, 2017

 

THIS IS HOW YOU CAN HELP

http://unitedforpuertorico.com

 

Amid Donald Trump’s most brain-dead tweets about the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico was one implying that he would have more sympathy for the gut-wrenching events there if the various debtors on the island had repaid the $70 billion they owe creditors, many of which are American hedge-fund managers. “Texas & Florida are doing great but Puerto Rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt, is in deep trouble,” he wrote. “Much of the Island was destroyed, with billions of dollars owed to Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with.” Water, food, and medical supplies, he added, are “top priorities.” But the first two-thirds of his statement showed that it was Wall Street on his mind.

As usual, Trump’s Twitter storm was beyond contemptible for all the obvious reasons. It was also obscene for the less obvious reasons that Trump himself knows well what it’s like to stiff creditors bigly, since he made a habit of doing it regularly with properties such as his casinos in Atlantic City, the Plaza Hotel, and the Trump Shuttle. Companies he owned, or managed, left creditors holding the bag for billions of dollars. Closer to home in Puerto Rico, in 2008, Trump had a big hand in causing the government to lose its $33 million investment in a golf resort when a licensing and management arrangement with the Trump Organization fell apart. Not for nothing did Lin-Manuel Miranda tweet to Trump, “You’re going straight to hell, no long lines for you.”

Back in the real world, the people of Puerto Rico—American citizens all—are experiencing unparalleled devastation, nearly two weeks after Maria hit. Many still have no power, no food, no water, and no way to communicate their needs. It is a moment for the American government and the American people to show their compassion and support for their fellow citizens, just as they did for the people of Houston and in Florida. There is nothing to debate.

 

But let me digress for one moment to discuss the fate of Puerto Rico’s creditors, the ones various entities on the island owe $70 billion. No one should feel terribly sorry for them. They are big boys, so to speak. They more or less knew what they were getting themselves into when they decided to invest in the island. There was plenty of risk, and they knew it and were hoping to be paid to take that risk. They bet wrong and will lose billions. Indeed, this was already pretty much the case before Maria hit the island. It’s a near certainty now. One former Wall Street banker who has followed the Puerto Rico financial saga told me that he thinks much of the $50 billion of debt owed generally by the island will get wiped out now.

Then there is the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, known as PREPA, which owes $9 billion to creditors comprised of hedge funds such as Blue Mountain Capital, and bond funds managed by Oppenheimer and Franklin Templeton. Other large creditors include Assured Guaranty and The National Public Finance Guarantee Corporation, an indirect subsidiary of the insurer MBIA, Inc., which essentially will have to make up the difference between what some bond holders get from PREPA in a restructuring and 100 cents on the dollar. Before Maria hit the island, these creditors had negotiated a deal with the company where they were to get around 75 cents on the dollar, in present value terms, for their bonds as part of a restructuring that would have required them to invest capital into PREPA to upgrade its physical plant and its power grid. That deal was scuttled, though, by the oversight board on the island created by the June 2016 passage of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act, known as PROMESA. In rejecting the deal between PREPA and its creditors, the PROMESA oversight board correctly decided that the deal was too generous to creditors and too much of a future burden on PREPA’s customers. In July, PREPA filed for bankruptcy.

The two sides were back at the negotiating table when Maria hit. And things weren’t going that well for the creditors, having had the judge in the bankruptcy case rule against them in appointing a receiver and in forcing a rate increase. (The creditors are appealing both rulings.) Now, the PREPA bonds are trading around 35 cents on the dollar, and are probably on their way to zero or something close to it. As we have heard repeatedly in the past few weeks, the island’s electric grid has been all but wiped out. It was already in terrible need of a long neglected and overdue upgrade, but now it appears the company has the chance—indeed will have little choice—but to rebuild from scratch. That could mean anything from solar power or wind power to a new version of the old power system with more efficient components.

This, it seems to me, is where the deep-pocketed creditors come in. Their only chance for a decent recovery on their $9 billion of debt is if the company’s power lines are rebuilt in a state-of-the-art way so that the current rate of 21 cents per kilowatt hour paid by PREPA’s customers can be lowered to something more affordable. Lower rates would probably lead to higher usage and help the island achieve some semblance of an economic recovery. The choice is stark for PREPA’s hedge fund, mutual fund, and bond insurance creditors. Either face nearly a wipe out, save for whatever money makes its way to PREPA from FEMA, or step up and invest serious money into the redesign and recovery of PREPA’s power grid, giving them a shot at a total recovery down the road. So far, the PREPA creditors have gambled and lost.

But they might be beginning to get some religion. According to Reuters, In recent days, PREPA creditors have offered the utility a new $1 billion loan and a discount on a portion of its existing debt. The new loan would help PREPA do its part to enable it to get FEMA funds of at least $3 billion, and possibly as much as $9 billion. That kind of money would allow for a rebuild of the power grid and a chance for creditors to get a recovery. The new $1 billion from creditors would have a priority over the debt owed to other creditors and would need to be approved by the bankruptcy judge. The creditors might also think about working closely with new outside investors—for instance the Blackstone Group has a new $20 billion or so infrastructure fund that might find PREPA an interesting opportunity—or a private utility on the mainland to rebuild PREPA to upgrade its physical plant and lower its costs.

At this particular moment, there’s no reason to feel sorry for PREPA’s creditors, especially when thousands of human lives still remain at risk on the island in the wake of Maria. But the dire straits for PREPA and its creditors leave them little choice but to stop bickering and to propose a restructuring plan—either alone or with new outside investors—that gets the utility into the 21st century and gives the creditors a viable chance to get more of their money back. Anything less does a terrible disservice to millions of people already suffering enough.

 

Muslims Feeding RVA’s Needy For 2 Decades Needs Your Help

The Masjid Bilal Food Bank has operated for more than 20 years under the direction of Dr. James H. Rasheed . Residents from all over the Richmond Churchill community receive grocery items including produce, meats, baked goods and canned goods. Feeding more than 1000 people monthly, the program has been the recipient of numerous community awards. The Masjid Bilal Food Bank, one of the principal ministries of the Muslim American Community RVA , works in collaboration with the Central Virginia Foodbank.

Future plans include merging this project into a Job Readiness, Financial/Computer Literacy Initiative, Restoration of Voter Rights and Integrated Family Visitation Services.

This initiative has relied upon the volunteer efforts of many Churchill residents working side by side with members of the muslim community. The program receives no grants and relies solely upon individual contributions.

This program which is vital to so many families is in jeopardy of closure due rising cost and a reduction in contributions. We need your help!

Become a sustaining supporter of this community program. Please give a generous tax-deductible one time or monthly contribution.

It’s Easy! Just click on the Link below.

http://www.paypal.com/donate/?token=tmcF2vYJqbyldMCyM4wB_OESXHsxUGL4Q8uK2ntO2cYSQWCS6ijTat_Nx6itmpbLWZz9W0&country.x=US&locale.x=US

We invite you to come by and see your dollars in action! The food bank operates the fourth weekend of each month, Fridays 2pm-4pm and Saturdays 9am –12 noon. To find out more about this initiative, contact James Rasheed at jhrasheed@aol.com.

Because of your donation, your elderly neighbors and children won’t have to go to bed hungry again.

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The Hajj..The Journey of a Lifetime

The Hajj ( Arabic: حَجّ‎‎ Ḥaǧǧpilgrimage“) is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, the most holy city for Muslims, and a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey, and can support their family during their absence. It is one of the five pillars of Islam, alongside Shahadah, Salat, Zakat, and Sawm. The Hajj is the largest annual gathering of people in the world. The state of being physically and financially capable of performing the Hajj is called istita’ah, and a Muslim who fulfills this condition is called a mustati. The Hajj is a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people, and their submission to God (Allah). The word Hajj means “to intend a journey”, which connotes both the outward act of a journey and the inward act of intentions.

The pilgrimage occurs from the 8th to 12th (or in some cases 13th) of Dhu al-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar. This year the Hajj is being
observed on Thursday, August 31st, (Dhul Hijjah 9, 1438) with the Eid ul Adha, The Day of Sacrifice being celebrated on Friday, Sept 1st (Dhul Hijjah 10, 1438).

Because the Islamic calendar is lunar and the Islamic year is about eleven days shorter than the Gregorian year, the Gregorian date of Hajj changes from year to year. Ihram is the name given to the special spiritual state in which pilgrims wear two white sheets of seamless cloth and abstain from certain actions.

(exerpt from WikIpedia-Hajj)

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC HAJJ DOCUMENTARY

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Muslim Journal Newspaper is committed to disseminate unadulterated news to the reading public as an independent newspaper that recognizes Islam as a Promoter of Freedom, Justice and Equality.

We have inherited a standard “excellence” dating back to 1827, when the first African American newspapers, the Freedom’s Journal, was published, and the decisive newspaper, The North Star, published by Frederick Douglass, the ex-slave and abolitionist who became Ambassador to Haiti. Muslim Journal picked up the mantle passed on by Malcolm X, as he represented the Hon. Elijah Muhammad in the creation of the Muhammad Speaks.

Muslim Journal’s masthead reads: Bringing humanity together with truth and understanding. Its working mantra is to “Fill the Void” for our readers and in doing so allow them to “See The Full Picture!” We pride ourselves on producing the best quality paper that speaks not only to the physical and material realm, but also to the spiritual realm of the human soul.

Never failing to print a week’s issue of this publication for the past 30 plus years, our staff is qualified and dedicated in making sure that your expressions are heard and that our community news is disseminated, utilizing the unique language and school of thought ushered in by Muslim leader, Imam W. Deen Mohammed.

Our pledge to you – readers, advertisers and subscribers – is to stay the course! As Prophet Muhammed said, “Whenever the Muslim endeavors in a thing, he seeks to perfect it.” Following the Prophet, Muslim Journal combats the lingering effects of inferiority in our persons and in our work ethic and champions the spirit of a free and clean press.

Editorial Policy
“We won’t be afraid to agitate, because a sheepish paper that tries to keep any waves
from coming on the water isn’t going to be appreciated by our people.”

Imam W. Deen Mohammed
April 24, 1985

MUSLIM JOURNAL Editorial Policy is based on Qur’an, Hadith of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) and School of Thought (Mathab) of Imam W. Deen Mohammed’s Ministry.

MUSLIM JOURNAL is an “independent newspaper” that recognizes Islam as a Promoter of Freedom, Justice and Equality.

ALL ARTICLES appearing in Muslim Journal — solicited or unsolicited, by Muslims or wire services — are reviewed in keeping with Muslim Journal’s Editorial Policy. Please submit articles to the Editor.

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