Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Top News Stories of 2009

There were a lot of choices for this year’s list President Barack Obama continues to be big news but scandal may be a close second. There are number of holdovers from last years list but issues outside the United States will influence us in the future. So here goes the list.

10. Technology changing the world. The advent of smart phones like the I-phone, Blackberry, and others has changed the information landscape. This was most evident in Iran of all places. In the wake of a disputed election, those on the ground protested and it was carried via new mediums like twitter, Facebook, and MySpace. The next piece of technology to revolutionize our world will involve a book reader. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle.

9. The Inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States. It’s almost a year later and those who went and saw it on television knew something different was about to happen.
I had a front row seat and it was the culmination of a story I began four years earlier. Yeah, just make his day he received the Nobel Peace Prize.

8. War. The United States is fighting two wars. Pakistan is in the middle of a war. Congo, Columbia, Indonesia, Chechnya, Somalia, and the so call war with or against Islam. I believe Edwin Starr said it best, “War, what is it good for, absolutely nothing.”

7. Scandal. Pick your poison; from Mayors Kwame Kilpatrick and Shelia Dixon, Bernie Madoff, AIG, Tiger Woods. All I know is power corrupts absolutely.

6. Political Coarseness. The name calling and personal attacks didn’t end with the election of President Obama, it intensified. Voices like Glen Beck, Bill O’Rielly, Rachel Maddow, Keith Obermann, and Rush Limbaugh seem to heighten the polarization. The Tea Party Movement rose from this discontent. We know it can mobilize the disaffected but they seem to eat their own. Not good way to start or keep a new movement.

5. The death of Michael Jackson – In a blog post I talked about Jackson’s life and his link to black politics. His music is enduring and there was an optimism that we all hope he would put the past behind him and find a new voice. His death consumed a lot of air time. He was an icon who could singularly transform a culture.

4. The Writers of Black Culture – If you haven’t noticed a number of Black people have taken to pen and paper (sometimes via ghost writers). The tales they tell are uplifting, hilarious, hateful, insightful, strange, and downright enjoyable reads. I’ve read at least five books this year that have hit on all these facets. Many of the authors I know personally and suggest you turn off the television. I’m especially waiting next year for the Denzel Principle from Jimi Israel, and don’t know if I’ll have the stomach to read “Bitch is the new Black’ by Helena Andrews. Other recommendations include books by LaDawn Black, Rosefogg(Harold Fisher), Byron Pitts, Vic Carter and Debbie Owens.

3. The death of Print. I watched in horror as several news papers and magazines from around the country folded. As a Board member of the National Association of Black Journalist I can tell you nearly 40 percent of those laid off were people of color. The” hey day” of print is over. You know it’s bad when Ebony Magazine goes looking for a buyer and can’t find one. So why should you care? If there aren’t Black Publications, and Black writers you may end up with stories and publications that have no relevance or substance about how you think.

2. The post industrial age of America. America has shipped its industrialization to the third and second world. The cost of manufacturing is too costly in the U.S. The bigger problem is we want to compete in a global economy where the smoke stack industries of the past will not solve our short term or our long term economic growth.

1. Unemployment. This is my fourth recession and nothing before has prepared me for what is going on now. I know people who’ve gone without steady work for a year or more. Yes they can pick a job here and there but this may be the first generation which will not do better than the previous. But I am eternally optimistic.

Persons of the Year: Robert Satcher and Leland Melvin . You probably are wondering who they are? Melvin was the pilot of the space shuttle Atlantis, Mission STS-129; and Satcher was mission specialist who worked at the end of the robot arm. Talk about Driving While Black…. their boss is Gen. Charles Bolden who is also Black. You can check them out clicking on their names.