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Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014

Is there even worse D.C. dysfunction ahead?

Viewpoints: So the 2014 midterm elections are here. Since some bare-faced gerrymandering put control of the House beyond Democrats’ reach a few years ago, only the Senate holds any mystery as far as the post-election breakdown of seats, and has thus commanded most of the attention, including the obscene amount of money poured into campaigns across the country. Comment.

Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014

Ebola, human rights and poverty – Making the links

Viewpoints: CAMBRIDGE, Massachussetts, Oct 27, 2014 (IPS) - The catastrophic Ebola crisis unfolding in West Africa offers many lessons, not least for global anti-poverty efforts. These will culminate in a set of targets, to be agreed by the United Nations in 2015, known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Comment.

Water shutoffs and unintended consequences

Viewpoints: CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts, Oct 24 2014 (IPS) - United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation Catarina de Albuquerque and Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing Leilani Farha were in Detroit, Michigan Oct. 17-20. Comment.

Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014

Fantasies of an Obama-style breakthrough

Viewpoints: When we get to the point where mention in the media of the name of Louisiana’s governor, Bobby Jindal, is regularly accompanied by the line that he is a prospective 2016 Republican presidential aspirant, you understand why buzz continues about Mitt Romney being seriously courted within the party to be a third-time seeker of the nomination. Comment.

Open letter to Vincentians on crime and violence

St Vincent: To The Editor: As our blessed homeland, St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), commemorates its 35th Anniversary of Independence, we acknowledge the strides and gains we have made as a people to secure our sovereignty. Yet we acknowledge that our quest for independence has not always been without social, economic and political challenges, which have at times tested our resolve as a people. Notwithstanding, our resilience has always brought us through and will continue to give us moments for which we can be justly proud. As our anthem asserts, “What e’er the future brings, our faith will see us through.” Comment.

Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014

Fighting again for rights already secured

Viewpoints: The disturbing irony we’ve already noted here, of Barack Obama’s elevation to president signaling to a sizeable segment of this society the need for rolling back, not advancing, certain hard-fought, long denied privileges of democracy to some citizens, has nowhere been more starkly manifested than in what’s been done across the country with the voting process. Which, let’s be clear, really refers to the voting process as it pertains to people of color and others in the overall demographic of minority voters. The Republican/Tea Party collective came on like gangbusters to “fix” things when the first-term Obama off-year election was approaching in 2010. And, having in the interim secured appropriate tools of mischief, they’re ready again this year to make sure that stamp of regression remains ever more firmly affixed. Comment.

Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014

Not the route to take

Trinidad and Tobago: When Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh announced his second hunger strike I, like most people, began to wonder whether he would surpass his previous 21-day record. For most Trinidadians the thought of 21 days without food or water is almost unthinkable. Comment.

Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014

Forgiveness may hold key to health, youthfulness

Viewpoints: Generally, people believe that as they get older their beauty, health, and youthfulness diminish with age. For this reason, many lean toward plastic surgery, strenuous exercise, and harsh diet. However, this is not true for this writer, Minister Janet Lovell, 55, looking better today than I did in my thirties. My miraculous transformation was done without medical science or the above mentioned. My life changing health and wellbeing I attribute to the act of forgiveness. Comment.

Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014

Those coalition partners of ‘pipsqueak’ status

Viewpoints: For the second time since entering the 2000’s, we’re deep in “coalition” talk, thanks this time to the strange breed calling themselves ISIS. President Obama, despite his reassurances to the contrary, may well have to commit U.S. ground troops to the effort to rout this collection of maniacs, because of revolting behavior they not only practice but seem to have a sick fetish for advertising. Given today’s cause, getting member states of the UN aboard in the attempt to assemble a coalition has been nothing like the side show when George W. Bush and his bloodthirsty phalanx tried doing the same for their Iraq misadventure. Back then the coalition-building process extended even to offering enticements for joining. But a shared feature of both undertakings was the presence of power hitters as well as partners of markedly lesser consequence. Comment.

Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014

Planet racing towards catastrophe and politics just looking on

Viewpoints: ROME, Oct 6, 2014 (IPS) - If ever there was a need to prove that we are faced with a total lack of global governance, the U.N. Climate Summit, extraordinarily called by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sep. 23, makes a very good case. Comment.

Monday, Oct. 6, 2014

Will American Ground Troops Be Sent to Fight ISIS?

National: With the United States dropping bombs on yet another Muslim country, we might benefit from a close look at President Obama’s anti–Islamic State strategy. Obama and his spokespeople are always quick to make two points: first, that no American ground forces will be sent into combat against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and second, that the United States will merely be part, albeit a leading part, of a broad coalition of Arab and NATO countries. The Obama administration’s emphasis on these points strongly suggests that Americans would not support a war against ISIS fought solely by the United States with American ground troops as part of the effort. Comment.

Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014

Tackling the proliferation of patents to avoid limitations to competition

Viewpoints: GENEVA, Sept., 29 2014 (IPS) - The steady increase in patent applications and grants that is taking place in developed and some developing countries (notably in China) is sometimes hailed as evidence of the strength of global innovation and of the role of the patent system in encouraging it. Comment.

Holder, a fearless social justice warrior

Viewpoints: It’s been our expressed view here that one unfortunate hiccup of the Obama tenure has been his apparent diffidence about the “black president” perception in the wider society, perhaps most notably dramatized in both first and second-term cabinets including but a solitary African American presence. Announcement of Eric Holder’s intention to resign as attorney general pointed up again the lone-wolf status he has had among the administration’s frontliners. Be that as it may, and even as speculation kicked off regarding his replacement, it needs be said that if President Obama saw fit to be served by only one cabinet-level person of color, we would just as soon have had Eric Holder be that choice. Comment.

End-of-life nightmare lesson for all

Viewpoints: The tragic legal battle between legendary radio host Casey Kasem’s family members over his end-of-life care before he died in June is a teachable moment for millions of Americans. It illustrates the challenges and importance of end-of-life planning. It also demonstrates the urgency to reform the system so millions of baby boomers and their aging parents do not experience a similar nightmare. Comment.

Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014

Back when we first talked ‘referendum’

Trinidad and Tobago: Scotland’s bout of referendum fever last week probably rewound an early 60s tape for a lot of West Indians, recalling images of when we were ourselves awash in referendum chatter during what turned out to be the beginning of the end for our federal experiment. Jamaica is where the action was, the focus, back in September 1961, on the two all-time lions of Jamaican politics, Norman Manley and his cousin, Alexander Bustamante. Comment.

Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014

Step up efforts against hunger

Viewpoints: ROME, Sep 19, 2014 (IPS) - At the 1996 World Food Summit (WFS), heads of government and the international community committed themselves to reducing the number of hungry people in the world by half. Five years later, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) lowered this level of ambition by only seeking to halve the proportion of the hungry. Comment.

Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014

Still determined to force-feed us war

National: When FDR delivered his historic “day that will live in infamy” speech about the Japanese Pearl Harbor attack in 1941, there was no great cajoling effort needed to get the American public on board with the idea that the most muscular of responses was the only way to go. Likewise was the population galvanized into a resolve that whoever was responsible, 60 years later, for the 9/11 atrocities should have hell to pay, regardless of whatever it would demand of U.S. resources. Comment.

Obama’s quick fix won’t solve the regional refugee crisis

Viewpoints: SAN FRANCISCO, (IPS) - In recent months, an unprecedented surge of refugee women and children has been traveling alone to the United States to seek protection at our southern border. Comment.

Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014

Walk in their shoes

Viewpoints: I’m a CEO with a GED, and I have walked in the shoes of a minimum wage worker. I know from experience that it’s a tougher road today. The minimum wage buys fewer necessities now than it did when I needed it to survive. And as a successful capitalist, it pains me to see that the American Dream, which so inspired me, is increasingly out of reach. Comment.

Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014

Unpardonable ‘dis’ of the steel band culture

Arts & Theater: The lineup of activities for the 2014 Labor Day weekend West Indian Carnival is history. And, like a couple of years ago when we were constrained to make scathing reference to the appearance in the Eastern Parkway parade of a few female exhibitionists who brought the skimpy-costume fad to levels of gross indecency, so was there this year reason for taking exception, this time to a patently poor-taste move on the part of the organizers. The Steel Band Panorama contest providing backdrop for the off-color display this time around. Comment.

Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014

Boosting resilience in the Caribbean countries

Environment: UNITED NATIONS, Aug 26, 2014 (IPS) - Having lived and worked for more than a decade in four Caribbean countries, I have witnessed first hand how Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are extremely vulnerable to challenges ranging from debt and unemployment to climate change and sea level rise. Comment.

Whopping $700 media fee creates controversy

Arts & Theater: After 46 years of coverage of the annual West Indian American Day Associations annual festivities in Brooklyn, in an un-precedented action, the organizers required media individuals to pay a whopping $700 in order to report on the activities. Comments (1).

Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014

Grisly repercussions from wrong-headed policy

National: Occurrences like that ghastly business the other day when the ISIS marauders executed journalist James Foley serve as reminders of the major wrong turn made by George W. Bush and the warmonger crew he assembled in Washington, when they decided that invading Iraq to dethrone Saddam Hussein was a smart foreign policy move. Comment.

Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014

Salute to columnist Vinette K. Pryce

Movies: Tip of the hat to Caribbean journalist and Inside Life columnist Miss Vinette K. Pryce for her perceptive and thoughtful review of the award-winning, independent feature-length fiction film, “Garifuna In Peril” headlined “Indigenous Hondurans Unite to Preserve Culture.” (Inside Life Column by Vinette K. Pryce, Caribbean Life Newspaper, May 16 through May 22 2014 issue). By extension, a hearty Seremein (“Thanks” in the Garifuna Language) goes to the Caribbean Life newspaper for publishing her review. Comment.

Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014

The Hillary pot shots keep on coming

National: Were Hillary Clinton to decide eventually that she won’t be a presidential candidate in 2016 after all, we know this would leave a whole lot of folk quite deflated. True, she looked like a shoo-in for the White House to be back under Clinton control in 2008 too, before history took an altogether different turn. But as of now, she looks hard to beat, both for the Democratic nomination (if there’s any challenge mounted there) and when facing off against the Republican nominee. But if, when the word does come from her, it’s a “no,” there’s good reason to be understanding, even if dispirited about how that could change the complexion of the next presidential race. Comment.

Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014

A commitment to democracy

Trinidad and Tobago: The debate in the House of Representatives on the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2014 was a landmark event in Trinidad and Tobago’s politics because of both the content of the proposed legislation and how Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar handled it. The most significant part of her strategy was to allow a conscience vote which freed every member of the People’s Partnership from following the guidelines of the whip, ensuring that no one would be penalised for breaching the principle of collective Cabinet responsibility. Comment.

No to casino gambling

Grenada: By CDGLH Citizens in Defence of Grenada’s Lands and Heritage has noted with dismay the introduction of legislation in the House of Representatives last Thursday, Aug. 14, to permit casino gaming in hotels with at least 300 rooms. We wish to repeat and to place on record our unequivocal, unapologetic opposition to this measure as a strategy to promote economic development, particularly the tourism sector. We heard that the legislation seeks to facilitate “quality entertainment in a pure environment.” Poor Grenada! Comment.

Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014

No light stepping after chokehold outrage

Viewpoints: There would be those, certainly, for whom the expression “New York style” doesn’t have about it a ring of specialness. Not so the bulk of us who call the Big Apple home. There is, we know, a certain elan, a certain panache to New York style which is to be in no way construed as being lumped in with the rest of the pack. What most distinguishes true New York style is that it’s cool. Off-color stuff purporting to emanate from a New York source despoils our desired order. Like, upon Obama’s being declared re-elected to the presidency in 2008, we get word that a bozo identified with New York named Donald Trump calls for the citizenry to march on Washington. No less a corruption of true New York style is an African American man meeting his death while being arrested for allegedly selling “loosies” on Staten Island. Comment.

Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014

Improving your end-of-life healthcare

Health: The day my father died from prostate cancer -- Jan 11, 2011 -- is the day I decided that no family should ever experience the same pain. That day everything changed for me. I had worked for seven years at an organization whose sole focus is end-of-life care, yet I had not had even one conversation with my father about his end-of-life wishes. It was truly a wake-up call, an eye-opening experience I hope I never have to repeat. Comment.

Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014

The U.S. government still tries to subvert Cuba

Cuba: When I saw the headline about the U.S. government and Cuba in my newspaper the other day, I thought I’d awoken in 1961. It was a Twilight Zone moment for sure: “U.S. program aimed to stir dissent in Cuba.” I expected Rod Serling to welcome me to “another dimension.” Comment.

Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014

Where ‘good governance’ means a big joke

Trinidad and Tobago: Chances are if Speaker John Boehner were asked, he would insist that the obstructionist, do-nothing course he and his Republican/Tea Party confederates have pursued in Congress is “good governance.” No doubt even the noxious upstart Ted Cruz would respond likewise, about his flamethrower tactics not only in the Senate, but as we’ve seen recently, in moves to also be a point man of influence for fellow extremist kooks in the House. Comment.

Tribute to Sir Howard Cooke

Jamaica: I may have been fortunate in the first place. On top of my perch as a full tenured professor of one of the world’s prominent universities for an extended period of time, I had a unique window through which a multiplicity of events could be viewed. The City University of New York (CUNY) attracts students from more than 200 countries, representing all the corners of the earth. It also boasts a commensurate quantity and quality of some of the finest faculty and administrators in academia. Comment.

The ‘global’ land rush

Viewpoints: OAKLAND, United States, Aug. 4, 2014 (IPS) - The first years of the twenty-first century will be remembered for a global land rush of nearly unprecedented scale. Comment.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

No coming of age happened in 2008

Viewpoints: With due apologies, I will say again, how paradoxical it is that the very event — Barack Obama’s election as president — that many a pundit characterized as America’s true coming of age, has in fact turned out to be affirmation of the country’s racist core being nowhere near declining as one of its defining markers. Comment.
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