OBAMA AND IRAN: STRANGE BEDFELLOWSBy Susan Stamper BrownWe should be thankful the Obama administration is nearing its end. This year is bound to have its share of surprises and grandstanding from a president who seems more enamored by regimes like Iran than America. The administration relentlessly insists the Iranian regime can be trusted to keep its word and honor treaties, even after the recent hostage-taking of U.S. Navy sailors who weren’t released until we apologized.In short order, the Obama administration did its best to communicate the swift return of the sailors was due to their diplomatic outreach to Tehran. The release was about as connected to diplomacy as a homemade video was connected to Benghazi.As the saying goes, a picture paints a thousand words — and what a picture was painted when a humiliating video surfaced showing the boat’s captain apologizing to Iran. NCIS’s Leroy Gibbs would be appalled, given his rule #6: “Never apologize — it’s a sign of weakness.” Despicable videos followed of sailors on their own boat, apparently kneeling in submission at gunpoint, displaying the picture of weakness this administration exhibits and America’s enemies exploit at every opportunity.And elsewhere in some alternate universe to which the Obama administration dwells, Secretary of State Kerry thanked Iran for its “diplomacy” in their handling of the matter.As I write, news breaks about the release of four additional hostages from Iran, which at first blush seems to contradict my opinion about the administration’s new BFF, but as I read further, the hostages came with a hefty price tag. In addition to the pending $150 billion from Obama’s nuclear deal, apparently seven Iranians were released from U.S. custody, and charges were dropped for an additional 14. With details still unclear, and given the Bergdahl debacle, one can’t help but be suspicious of any deals this administration cuts.Surely, we would’ve had those hostages back straightaway, if, like Ronald Reagan, America stood up to evil regimes rather than constantly capitulating. Admittedly, words sometimes work, as Reagan’s presidency taught. History shows us Reagan’s tact also allowed him to tell the enemy to go to hell in such a genteel way, our enemies appeared to gladly anticipate the trip. “We maintain the peace through our strength; weakness only invites aggression,” Reagan said. Of course, sometimes a good punch in the face communicates much better than words.What business does the Obama administration have doing deals with Iran anyhow? Throughout the whole nuclear deal negotiation process, it’s been documented that Iranian leadership continued to chant “Death to America” and say the U.S. remains “the great Satan and their “number-one enemy.” Were I in charge, I would take that personally. As Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said, “When someone chants… death to America, we should take him at his word, and we shouldn’t put him on the path to a nuclear bomb.”As retired U.S. Army lieutenant general Michael Barbero wrote in an article for the Weekly Standard last August, the Obama administration’s nuclear deal also lifts sanctions on the man responsible “for sowing sectarian conflict in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.” Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp Quds Force Commander Major General Qassem Suleimani is also responsible for the deaths and injuries of thousands of American soldiers fighting in Iraq — yet we’re about to pour in his pockets “a large infusion of cash to wreak more havoc and terror,” Mr. Barbero wrote.One can’t help but wonder what sort of terror might be visited upon the planet once the sanctions are removed and the billions begin to flow. After all, there is a reason why, up until this administration, America didn’t negotiate with terrorists.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail
The Simpsons is a staple of American culture. As longest-running prime-time television series, since its debut in December of 1989, the animated program has become iconic, gaining critical acclaim and dozens of awards in addition to the millions and millions of viewers who’ve seen the show in the last near-thirty years. In May of this year, the show wrapped up its 28th season, and the show has already been renewed for a 29th and 30th, ensuring that the show will run through to 2019. However, today, the news broke that The Simpsons’ composer, Alf Clausen, had been fired from the long-running show.Alf Clausen has been with the show for 27 seasons, with his 35-piece orchestra becoming an integral part of the show. During his tenure with The Simpsons, which started during the show’s 1990-91 season, Clausen has scored over 560 episodes and received two Emmys (in 1997 and 1998) in addition to 21 additional nominations since 1992—making him one of the most-nominated composer in Emmy history with 29 nominations under his belt.In a statement to Variety, Clausen noted that the show was “seeking a different kind of music,” though this reasoning is at odds with series creator Matt Gorening’s long-standing insistence that Clausen’s orchestra be used from the start of The Simpsons. While a Fox representative declined to comment on the matter to Variety, others have speculated that Fox unceremoniously fired Clausen and his orchestra as a means to cut on costs, as maintaining a 35-piece orchestra for the program has cost the network millions. Regardless, The Simpsons has consistently been a cash cow for Fox, so their release of one of the most decorated and beloved composers in television history is somewhat befuddling.Clausen’s final season, the 28th seasons of the show, has already aired, so The Simpson’s upcoming 29th season, which is slated to air on October 1st, will be the first without the composer. Thanks for all your work over the years, Mr. Clausen! While he’s sure to be able to find work elsewhere, he’ll be missed on the program for sure.
The women who make up the USWNT are very close. In fact, they call themselves the “22 best friends.”Defensive midfielder Julie Ertz had all of those friends on the field throughout the 2019 World Cup in France, plus an extra best friend in the stands — her husband Zach, who plays tight end for the Philadelphia Eagles. Afterwards, Julie found out there were two reasons to celebrate, and she was overcome with emotion. As soon as the whistle blew here in San Diego, we had some good news for @julieertz…💚🦅@ZERTZ_86 & the @Eagles are heading to the @SuperBowl! pic.twitter.com/dI5MvG53VR— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) January 22, 2018The power couple met at a baseball game in college. Julie played soccer at Santa Clara University, while Zach was on the football team at Stanford.The couple wed in 2017. Members of the USWNT appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday in celebration of its World Cup victory, and host Michael Strahan mentioned Julie Ertz’s biggest fan.”It meant the world truly to have him there,” Ertz told Strahan. “We call each other 22 best friends and he’s my plus-one best friend, so to have him there meant the absolute world.”WORLD COUPLES: USWNT stars and their athlete significant othersZach Ertz isn’t shy about the love and pride he feels for his two-time World Cup champion wife. He supports her both on the sidelines and on social media.WORLD FREAKING CHAMPS!!!!! SO PROUD OF YOU @julieertz!!! pic.twitter.com/NOoqOK3gha— Zach Ertz (@ZERTZ_86) July 7, 2019A freaking BALLER and her husband pic.twitter.com/SCfkFqgyDe— Zach Ertz (@ZERTZ_86) June 28, 2019JOYThrough It All pic.twitter.com/xzAWRHzeoJ— Zach Ertz (@ZERTZ_86) June 21, 2019The internet fell in love with this couple when a video of Julie finding out that Zach was Super Bowl 52-bound went viral in 2018. Julie Ertz and the USWNT beat Denmark while Zach and the Eagles were playing the Vikings in the NFC championship game.
RENEE POWELL It was a “A Conversation in Courage” that personified perseverance and determination. The dynamic, educational dialogue took place at a brunch sponsored by The PNC Financial Services Group on the morning of Feb. 25. The financial institution exhibited a heart for diversity and change, and in recognition of African-American history, presented a celebration of dignity. The event, emceed by KDKA’s Harold Hayes, was held at the August Wilson Center in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. PNC is instrumental in “creating a more engaged workforce where employees feel valued and respected for who they are and for what they do,” said Marsha Jones, chief diversity officer for the corporate giant. Jones’ informative opening was evident of the pride that exists among PNC employees and the invited guests. The influential business leader was pleased to announce that the Black History Speaker Series is now in its’ sixth year of providing a forum that showcases the history, struggle and success of African-American leaders throughout the Civil Rights Movement.One such story of dedication and determination is that of Dr. William J. Powell, told in a warm, moving conversation by his devoted daughter, Renee. Powell is the only African-American to design, build, own and operate a golf course in the world.His service to his country in World War II still did not open the doors for African-Americans to play on the golf courses built on American soil for which he fought. The passionate golf enthusiast was continually denied the right to walk on the greens because of the black color of his skin. “Faith is taking the first step when you don’t see the whole staircase.” These words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would continually guide the young man with the big, if not, impossible dream. It was a world in which the Powells faced discrimination, denial and discouragement. But one looking at the steps of that long staircase can only see the unwavering faith of a man who refused to let the world dictate his accomplishments or the success of his family. Not one to be deterred because of racism, “Dr. P” set out to provide America with a golf course that was accessible to everyone, regardless of color, religion or creed.Married to the late Marcella Oliver, the impassioned father of three built a golf course with his own blood, sweat and insurmountable determination. In 2001, the beautiful 18-hole Clearview Golf Club, located in East Canton, Ohio, was named to the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of Interior.Not only did Bill Powell excel in golf, he excelled in life.The courage of this humble, gentle man was instilled in the heart of his daughter, Renee. It is impossible for the golf professional to tell her story without telling the story of her father, and she does so with pride, respect and admiration. She spoke of her love for her father and is emphatic when she states that “the world is a better place because of him.”Walking her audience through a part of history that solidified the essential role of African-Americans in this country, she expressed the embodiment of the character and integrity of her father. Her parents, she stated calmly, “taught me not to become bitter because of diversity and indignities.”Her success is known throughout the world and one of the gifts she embraced was that of obtaining true, dependable friendships. Throughout her travels, she was continually denied service in restaurants or registration at hotels while traveling the circuit. Although a sign of the times, it was a struggle in which she and her parents had to fight relentlessly for the rights of the young professional. The loving family provided the sound foundation of strength, enabling the young woman to rely on the courage that became a part of her inner being.“Pride is one thing no one can take away from you,” stated Renee adamantly, recalling the encouragement she received from her grandmother. Those words carried her, not only on the golf courses across this country, but on worldwide circuits that included, among others, Australia, Japan, Africa and the United Kingdom. Ms. Powell, a “pioneer in the sport of golf,” competed on the LPGA Tour for 13 years and is only one of three African-American women to accomplish that feat.The professional golfer’s illustrious career includes a stint as commentator for ABC and CBS. Along with LPGA professional Murle Breer, she continues to conduct the Renee Powell Golf School at Clearview, determined to make the sport more accessible to minorities.Recipients of a myriad of awards, accolades, recognitions and honorary degrees, the remarkable lives of Renee Powell and her beloved father, Dr. William Powell, leave an indelible mark, not only in the world of sports, but in the world of humanity. Unfortunately, the man who changed the world in more ways than one, passed away on New Year’s Eve 2009.However, his courage continues through the strength and heart of his daughter, who carried on a conversation in courage on behalf of her father. The achievements of this distinguished father-daughter team continues to touch the lives of people across the world, far exceeding the barriers of color or culture.Renee continues to inspire and defeat the odds through her talents and/or philanthropic work within a multitude of organizations that benefit from her service, including Black colleges, United Negro College Fund, Special Olympics, Ronald McDonald House Charities and a many other organizations that benefit because of the heart of this awesome lady.William Powell knew all too well the prejudices, heartaches and anguish of being Black in America. But he never stopped envisioning a different world. It is because of that pain that Renee knows the discipline of hard work, the determination to reach to the top of the staircase, and the embodiment of courage. Today, the Clearview Golf Course is reflective of the incredible achievements of a family who withstood the obstacles, and because of William Powell and the Powell family, it is “America’s Course.”
Amy DuBois BarnettESPN Digital & Print Media today announced that award-winning journalist Amy DuBois Barnett will join ESPN as Executive Editor of Jason Whitlock’s upcoming site that will provide coverage, commentary and insight about sports and culture directed towards an African-American audience. In this role, Barnett will manage editorial operations for the site. She will report to Whitlock, founder and Editor-in-Chief.Most recently, Barnett was Editor-in-Chief of Ebony, the oldest and largest African-American magazine in the country. At Ebony, Barnett executed the publication’s first top-to-bottom redesign in its 68-year history and also re-launched Ebony.com, both to critical acclaim.“Amy’s impressive resume across a wide range of publications and brands, as well as her leadership experience, will ensure that the site will be at the forefront of news and commentary relevant to African-Americans,” said Whitlock. “Together, we aim to serve audiences with quality and innovative journalism when the site debuts.”“We continue to attract highly-acclaimed editors that bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the ESPN Digital & Print Media team, and Amy is a prime example,” added Patrick Stiegman, vice president and editorial director, ESPN Digital & Print Media. “She and Jason are building a tremendous team that will speak to, entertain, inform and serve African-American audiences about sports and culture.”Prior to Ebony, Barnett was the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar. Barnett was also the Managing Editor of Teen People. Before Teen People, Barnett served as Editor-in-Chief of Honey magazine where she oversaw a major redesign of the magazine. Prior to Honey, Barnett was with Essence magazine, heading up the publication’s style content and lifestyle department.For her work as a journalist, Barnett received the 2012 MAAX Award for Media Executive of the Year by Target Market News. In 2013, she was included on the Folio 100, a list that honors the most innovative and influential professionals in magazine media.This past school year, Barnett was also an Adjunct Professor of Management & Organizations at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, teaching a Spring semester class on Shifting Business Frameworks in Media and Entertainment.A Brown University graduate, Barnett also has an M.F.A. degree in Creative Writing from Columbia University.http://targetmarketnews.com/storyid08071401.htm