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Pres. Obama and Trump let their guards down at White House

buzzz worthy. . . By Mona Austin President Obama and Donald Trump met for the first time on Thursday to begin talks about the official...

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Jason Nelson reveals inspiration for writing songs

buzzz worthy. . .

Jason Nelson is doubly gifted as a singer and songwriter possessing the ability to shift the atmosphere for worship.  He discusses songwriting in an interview with Mona Austin, revealing inspiration for "I Am" the lead single from his latest CD, "Jesus Revealed."  Jason sometimes teams with other writers such as his  twin brother and fellow gospel artist Jonathan Nelson, but here he shares his personal perspective. With an attitude of Godly submission  he said, "You don't determines what to tell them, God determines what to tell them.  You just hae to be open to receive."
Listen to the entire interview.
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The fight is on!

buzzz worthy. . .

IT'S OFFICIALLY  GOING DOWN: The Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao​ fight set for May 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Mayweather signed the agreement to face off against Pacquiao on Feb. 19 and has said it will be an "easy" win.  Both fighters will reportedly make $100 million each. Ticket prices range form $3440-$12,000+.   Who will win?
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Friday, February 20, 2015

Eating Disorders: More Than A Physical Threat - Queendom Study Reveals That Eating Disorders Are Often A Sign Of Deeper Mental Health

buzzz worthy. . .

A recent study by Queendom.com and PsychTests.com indicates that many individuals who have eating disorders are more likely to suffer from other mental health issues like depression and anxiety. 

Montreal, Canada – February 20, 2015 – While body image issues and negative food attitudes are a major part of Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge Eating, there is a deeper and darker side to these disorders. Statistics collected by Queendom.com through their Eating Disorders and Emotional Eating Test reveal that individuals dealing with eating disorders are often plagued by depression, anxiety, and other debilitating mental health problems. Researchers at Queendom.com urge sufferers to seek medical help as well as psychological counseling for a more well-rounded healing approach.

February 22 to 28 marks Eating Disorder Awareness Week, a campaign to bring attention to one of the most chronic mental health issues, and for good reason. Research by the Eating Disorders Coalition indicates that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, with only 1 in 10 people seeking treatment.
Eating disorders are more than just a weight issue, however.

After analyzing data from 465 people who have been diagnosed with an eating disorder, research by Queendom reveals that eating disorders are both a physical and psychological battle. According to Queendom’s study: ·

45% of individuals diagnosed with an eating disorder have low self-confidence.

 · 58% believe that they will never be loved unless they have a perfect body.

 · 56% crave other people’s approval.

· 40% have a pessimistic outlook about their life and their future.

 · 70% ruminate excessively and obsess about problems in their life.

· 56% find that their life is too stressful or difficult.

· 72% tend to have difficult overcoming failure.

Queendom’s study also indicates that eating disorder sufferers are more likely to experience symptoms of depression and/or anxiety, including:

 · Persistent feelings of emptiness (63%)
 · Loss of interest in activities that they used to enjoy (50%)
 · Tendency to cry for no apparent reason (52%)
 · Feelings of worthlessness (53%)
 · Feelings of sadness (60%)
 · Feeling like they have nothing to look forward to (47%)
 · Feeling like they are losing control (69%)
· Tendency to focus on upsetting situations or events (63%)
 · Chronic worrying (73%)
 · Fear of what the future will bring (61%)
 · Edginess and tension (63%)

 “When it comes to eating disorders, we need to treat more than the physical repercussions, like nutritional deficiencies and unhealthy body weight,” explains Dr. Jerabek, president of PsychTests, the company that runs Queendom.com.

“It’s unclear as to whether depression and anxiety are precursors to eating disorders or vice versa. What is clear is that there is significant comorbidity between eating disorders and anxiety or depression-related disorders. And that is aside from the fact that 57% of the people in our eating disorder sample indicated that they have experienced physical, sexual, or some other form of abuse.”

“If we hope to help women and men who have eating disorders, we need to focus on both the physical side of the disorder as well as the underlying psychological factors. Otherwise, there is a significant risk of falling back into unhealthy and potentially dangerous eating habits.”

Do you have a healthy body image and a healthy relationship with food? TAKE THE TEST

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Handcuffs, handcuffs baby: Vanilla Ice arrested

buzzz worthy. . .

Vanilla Ic,a well know 90's rapper has been arrested on home burglary charges.  TMZ, which first reported the arrest, says that the incident allegedly involves a house being renovated for VanWinkle’s reality show, “The Vanilla Ice Project.” The series, which has been a hit for DIY Network, features the rapper fixing up houses around his own home in Palm Beach County, where he’s lived for years.
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500,000 Walmart workers will receive a pay increase

buzzz worthy. . .
Remember when Walmart workers went on strike for better pay? The company has heard their cries and thousands of Walmart employers will be getting raise as a part of several new improvement initiatives , the company announced yesterday. Approximately 500,000 full-time and part-time associates at Walmart U.S. stores and Sam's Clubs will receive pay raises in the first half of the current fiscal year. Current and future associates will benefit from this initiative, which ensures that Walmart hourly associates earn at least $1.75 above today's federal minimum wage, or $9.00 per hour, in April. The following year, by Feb. 1, 2016, current associates will earn at least $10.00 per hour. The new initiatives will also give associates more control over their schedules.
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Hoda Kotb to host show exclusively on SiriusXM

buzzz worthy. . .
SiriusXM announced Hoda Kotb will host a live, one-hour show twice a week on SiriusXM's exclusive channel TODAY Show Radio starting on February 23, 2015. The announcement was made yesterday on NBC's TODAY. On her new show, The Hoda Show, Kotb will discuss some of her favorite "water cooler" topics, including the latest on her favorite TV shows, dating, health and beauty. Kotb will share personal anecdotes, take calls from SiriusXM listeners and speak with some of her favorite celebrity guests. "I am so excited to peel off my Spanx®, wipe the shellac we call makeup off my face, get in my fat pants, and…gab on my new SiriusXM show," said Hoda Kotb. "Let's let it all hang out!" "We're thrilled to welcome Hoda Kotb, one of the most popular hosts on broadcast TV, to the SiriusXM team to lead this original and exclusive call-in radio show. This will be a refreshing and fun addition for listeners nationwide," said Scott Greenstein, President and Chief Content Officer, SiriusXM. "And we are again excited to work with the NBC Universal News Group, expanding our relationship further with one of the most respected brands in media." The Hoda Show will air Mondays and Wednesdays starting February 23, 2015, at 2:00 pm ET on SiriusXM's TODAY Show Radio, channel 108. The show will also be rebroadcast on Mondays and Wednesdays at 5:00 pm ET. On Monday, February 23, the day The Hoda Show launches on SiriusXM, NBC's TODAY will air a special segment showcasing the behind the scenes of Kotb's new SiriusXM show. Hoda Kotb is the co-host of the fourth hour of "TODAY," alongside Kathie Lee Gifford. Kotb has also been a "Dateline" correspondent since April 1998 and covered a variety of domestic and international stories, as well as human-interest stories and features, across NBC News platforms. SiriusXM launched TODAY Show Radio in June 2014, making the NBC morning program available to radio listeners for the first time ever. The satellite radio channel offers SiriusXM listeners across the country access to live audio feeds of TODAY from both coasts, including replays. SiriusXM is the exclusive audio home of TODAY. In addition to the live audio feeds, SiriusXM's TODAY Show Radio features exclusive content, including news reports from NBC News correspondents, backstage interviews with TODAY hosts and conversations with fans from around the world on the Rockefeller Plaza.
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The 'Empire' soundtrack is coming out this March

buzzz worthy. . .
#empire 'Empire' fans, this is for you: The soundtrack from season 1 of the prime time TV hit will be out on March 10.
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Thursday, February 19, 2015

The White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism

buzzz worthy. . .

This week, the White House is convening a three-day summit on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) to bring together local, federal, and international leaders – including President Obama and foreign ministers – to discuss concrete steps the United States and its partners can take to develop community-oriented approaches to counter  hateful extremist ideologies that radicalize, recruit or incite to violence.  Violent extremist threats can come from a range of groups and individuals, including domestic terrorists and homegrown violent extremists in the United States, as well as terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIL.

Understanding “Countering Violent Extremism”
CVE encompasses the preventative aspects of counterterrorism as well as interventions to undermine the attraction of extremist movements and ideologies that seek to promote violence.  CVE efforts address the root causes of extremism through community engagement, including the following programs:
·         Building awareness—including briefings on the drivers and indicators of radicalization and recruitment to violence;
·         Countering extremist narratives—directly addressing and countering violent extremist recruitment narratives, such as encouraging civil society-led counter narratives online; and
·         Emphasizing Community Led Intervention—empowering community efforts to disrupt the radicalization process before an individual engages in criminal activity.

U.S. Government Policy to Counter Violent Extremism Here at Home
In August 2011, the White House released Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States, the first national strategy to prevent violent extremism domestically.  The underlying premise of the approach to countering violent extremism in the United States is that (1) communities provide the solution to violent extremism; and (2) CVE efforts are best pursued at the local level, tailored to local dynamics, where local officials continue to build relationships within their communities through established community policing and community outreach mechanisms.  The Federal Government’s most effective role in strengthening community partnerships and preventing violent extremism is as a facilitator, convener, and source of research and findings. 
Since the release of the Strategy, local governments and communities around the United States have developed prevention frameworks that address the unique issues facing their local communities.  Three cities—Greater Boston, Los Angeles, and the Twin Cities—with the leadership of representatives from the Federal Government, have created pilot programs to foster partnerships between local government, law enforcement, mayor’s offices, the private sector, local service providers, academia, and many others who can help prevent violent extremism.  Federal departments and agencies have begun expanding support to local stakeholders and practitioners who are on the ground serving their communities.  Each city created an action plan tailored to addressing the root causes and community needs they identified.  The pilot framework developed by these three cities emphasizes the strength of local communities with the premise that well-informed and well-equipped families, communities, and local institutions represent the best defense against violent extremist ideologies and offers three overarching components.
The Federal Government is supporting these efforts in a number of important ways. In conjunction with the Summit, we are announcing new steps to advance our whole-of-nation CVE efforts, including by:
·         Appointing the first-ever senior level, full-time CVE Coordinator at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS);
·         Establishing, in partnership with the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles-based Office for Strategic Engagement and committed on-the-ground dedicated staff to facilitate information sharing, engagement with local partners, strengthening of community and law enforcement partnerships, and the local establishment of prevention and intervention frameworks.  Due to the successes in Los Angeles, DHS on-the-ground engagement staff will be expanded in 2015 to Boston and other municipalities across the country;
·         Seeking $15 million in appropriated funding for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to support community-led efforts to build resilience and counter violent extremism in the President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2016;
·         Awarding nearly $3.5 million in National Institute of Justice research and evaluation grants to address domestic radicalization to violent extremism for the third year;
·         Leading a workshop with the creative arts community and community leaders in Los Angeles to develop innovative, scalable and implementable programs and tools to counter violent extremism.  In 2015, these new programs and tools will include film training for disadvantaged youth and a “CVE Hub” that will be a non-governmental organization to connect, network, organize, and drive community groups, funders, academics, and the tech sector towards long-term, sustainable, creative, and nimble solutions for domestic CVE;
·         Sponsoring a joint DHS and DOJ symposium for local partners to collaborate and share best practices on intervention and prevention framework development and implementation in 2015; and
·         Joining Canada and the United Kingdom to bring together researchers from four robust and comprehensive research programs to deliver practical, timely and plainspoken results to practitioners. This international compilation will ensure the best results are validated and shared with those who need them most.
U.S. Government Policy to Counter Violent Extremism Globally
The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA):  At the United Nations in September 2014, President Obama called on member nations to do more to address violent extremism within their regions. He also asked that they return in 2015 with concrete steps taken to address “the underlying grievances and conflicts that feed extremism.”  The White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism is the first of many events leading up to UNGA in September 2015, through which the United States and its partners will develop actions to counter the most immediate threats, including ISIL, and stop the spread of violent extremism.

Ministers from nearly 70 countries, the UN Secretary-General, senior officials from other multilateral bodies, and representatives from civil society and the private sector will gather during the Ministerial segments of the Summit to develop a comprehensive action plan against violent extremism.  They will also chart a path for progress that will include regional summits, aimed at taking concrete steps to prevent violent extremism in the lead up to UNGA 2015.  This week’s Summit offers an opportunity to approach CVE in a comprehensive way and build upon the framework of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which encourages the UN and other multilateral bodies to intensify efforts to identify and address the local drivers of violent extremism. 
Focusing on Foreign Fighter Recruitment:  CVE is also a key component of the U.S. Government’s strategy to combat foreign terrorist fighters.  Internationally, there is an unprecedented flow of foreign terrorist fighters to Syria and Iraq, with more than 20,000 foreign fighters from more than 90 nations traveling to Syria since the beginning of the conflict, including at least 3,400 from the West. 
To complement the CVE discussions to prevent terrorist and other extremist recruitment and radicalization and implement other aspects of UN Security Council Resolution 2178, the Resolution that emerged from the Security Council session President Obama chaired last year, the Department of State is hosting an Information Sharing Ministerial on the margins of the Summit. The Ministerial is focusing on actionable steps to disrupt foreign terrorist fighters travel to and from conflict zones. 
Additionally, the United States next week will host the Global Counterterrorism Forum’s Foreign Terrorist Fighter Working Group workshop “Raising Community Awareness to Address the Foreign Terrorist Fighter Phenomenon” to focus on ways in which communities and governments can develop specific programs and efforts to address the issue of foreign terrorist fighters.
Widening the Global Base of CVE Stakeholders
Social Media Solutions:  The U.S. Government, in partnership with foreign governments, civil society, and the private sector, is working to weaken the legitimacy and resonance of violent extremist messaging and narratives, including through social media.  The Summit will identify concrete ways to build upon ongoing initiatives aimed at countering extremists' perverse message and new and innovative solutions to the challenges posed by violent extremists, especially online.  For example:
·         The United States is partnering with the United Arab Emirates to establish a digital communications hub that will counter ISIL’s propaganda and recruitment efforts, both directly and through engagement with civil society, community, and religious leaders. 
·         The State Department is launching a Peer-to-Peer Challenge to empower university students in the United States, Canada, North Africa, Middle East, Europe, Australia, and Asia to develop digital content that counters violent extremist messaging.
·         The United States and our partners in the private sector are organizing multiple “technology camps” in the coming months, in which social media companies will work with governments, civil society, and religious leaders to develop digital content that discredits violent extremist narratives and amplifies positive alternatives.  The Summit will provide an opportunity to explore further collaboration with the information technology industry on empowering moderate voices and undermining violent extremists.
·         The United States has designated a Special Envoy for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications at the Department of State to drive U.S. Government efforts aimed at discrediting terrorists’ propaganda and degrading their ability to disseminate messages and recruit fighters, with a particular focus on ISIL. 
Religious Leaders and Faith Community EngagementThe United States works with religious leaders and faith communities around the world to address both religious and non-religious causes of violence and extremism, including by working with religious leaders on projects emphasizing peace, tolerance, and coexistence at the community level and training religious leaders on outreach to at-risk youth. 
Civil SocietyIn September 2013, President Obama launched Stand with Civil Society, a global call to action to support, defend, and sustain civil society.  Working in partnership with other governments, the philanthropic community, and multilateral initiatives, the United States is fostering supportive and permissive environments in support of a vibrant civil society and identifying innovative ways to inject technical, financial, and logistical support into this space.  The Summit will explore opportunities for civil society to be a still more active partner in efforts to build local partnerships against violent extremism.
Youth Engagement:  The United States is supporting young leaders in the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, including through projects that provide youth a sense of belonging, as well as technical skills and vocational training, scholarships, opportunities for civic engagement, and leadership training.  As part of these efforts, the United States trains, mentors, and provides seed funding to young leaders, for example, who are working to counter extremists’ narratives, reintegrate former violent extremists, and promote tolerance and non-violent dispute resolution.
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Rev. Dr. Charley Hames Authors Transformative New Book - PRESSING RESET: When Life Forces You To Start Over Again

buzzz worthy. . .

Thirty-two years before Rev. Dr. Charley Hames, Jr. pastored one of the Bay Area’s fastest growing churches, he was a timid fourth grader who was ridiculed by his teacher: “You will never be good at English,” she said. “You will never be good at public speaking.” Those angry, biting words changed young Charley’s life.  He owned them, at first. But then, he pressed reset making the choice to prove this teacher wrong. Now at the age of 41, Dr. Hames leads over 2,500 worshipers at Beebe Memorial Cathedral in Oakland, CA and can be heard by millions each week as the "Voice of Inspiration" on San Francisco Bay Area's 102.9FM  KBLX Radio.  Hames has now released his first book, PRESSING RESET: When Life Forces You To Start Over Again, and urges the churched and unchurched to stop dwelling in the past because God gives us all a clean slate. 
“When a shameful life episode hits you so hard you think you can’t do anything but give up, when you feel God has left you - that’s when you must reach for the reset button,” said Hames.  “I’ve pastored hundreds of people who’ve thought they didn’t deserve better lives and that it was too late to shift their destiny.  My hope is that this book invigorates people like them — just hoping for a spark of inspiration that tells them they can still fulfill their dreams and leave a lasting legacy.”

In PRESSING RESET, Dr. Hames turns his own stories of overcoming challenges into a powerful and inspirational guide that instructs readers on how to design a Reset Plan for their lives.  With transparency and humility, he also shepherds readers through ways of dealing with some of life’s most devastating predicaments like separation, divorce and the death of a loved one.  Using vivid bible-based accounts and real-world examples Hames leaves readers feeling even closer to God.

PRESSING RESET, published by Spirit Driven Publishing, is available now on Amazon.com.  For more information about Dr. Hames, please visit www.drhames.com or download Dr. Hames Press Kit: here.
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buzzz worthy. . .

Andrea McClurkin-Mellini Starts the New Year off with a Chart-Topping Single;  a Guest Appearance on Donnie NEXT Taping March 15 and Performances at Key Events during Stellar Award Week in Las Vegas, NV
Los Angeles, CA (February 19, 2015) - The McClurkin siblings crew up singing together around the house along with five other sisters and brothers, not realizing there was a bigger plan waiting to be unveiled.   Andrea McClurkin-Mellini traveled for years singing in the background for her well-known brother, Donnie McClurkin, who’ve had great success as a gospel recording artist and a respected and beloved pastor of Perfecting Faith Church.
In the recent CALLED Magazine cover story www.calledmagazine.com Donnie and Andrea opens up about life, music and ministry.  The family’s ability to be candid about their struggles have become a trademark over the years; but it’s the humor and laughter, laced within the interview that allow readers to get a glimpse of how one can heal emotionally, while growing spiritually.  McClurkin-Mellini shares feelings on stepping out as a solo artist for the first time and how the journey has been a walk of faith.
“I am overwhelmed and completely humbled by how well the single is doing! I told the Lord from the onset of the project, to take this music where he wants it to go; He has proven faithful and is answering my prayer.  I pray it continues to gain the momentum that he orchestrates and prescribes,” says McClurkin-Mellini.
The statuesque soprano has a busy first quarter that awaits her as she preps to promote her sizzling single, “God Can” that is close to breaking Top #10 on the gospel charts.  The heat is on as she makes her rounds starting with the Be Beautiful Expo in Philadelphia, PA on March 14.
On Sunday, March 15 McClurkin- Mellini is set to tape the new online television show, Donnie NEXT, to support her brother’s new venture and her debut solo album, Higher on Camdon Music, as well.  The first show will be filmed at B.B. King Bar & Grill located at 237 West 42nd Street in Time Square (212) 997-4144.  The show will feature live performances, interviews and an opportunity for audience and viewers to participate in real-time voting during the “Listener’s Choice” segment.  The taping is open to the public and tickets are $20/$25 day of show can be purchased at www.bbkingblues.com.
Donnie TV will also be expanding to other cities throughout the year.

All roads lead to Las Vegas as Who’s Who in Gospel Music prepares to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of The Stellar Awards, Gospel Music’s biggest night.  With the hot single paving the way, McClurkin- Mellini  s already onboard to sing at key events such as: All White Pre-Awards After Party; promotional performance at the Artist Showcase & Industry Recognition Party; and Pre-Stellar Central South Awards Show for Radio Announcers.
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President Obama's 2015 Economic Report

buzzz worthy. . .

This morning, the Council of Economic Advisers released the sixty-ninth annual Economic Report of the President, a 7 chapter document which reviews the United States’ accelerating recovery and ways to further support middle-class families as the recovery continues. The economy is recovering from the Great Recession at an increasing pace, growing at an annual rate of 2.8 percent over the past two years, compared with 2.1 percent over the first 3½ years of the recovery. The speed-up is especially clear in the labor market, where job gains have reached a pace not seen since the 1990s. But it is essential that a broad range of households benefit from the United States’ resurgent growth, so this year’s Report focuses on factors that are important to middle-class incomes: productivity, labor force participation, and income inequality. The President’s approach to economic policies, what he calls “middle-class economics,” aims to improve each of these long-standing elements and ensure that Americans of all income levels share in the accelerating recovery.

Below are some highlights from each of the seven chapters in this year’s Report:

Chapter 1 reviews the progress of the recovery and explores the long-term factors that drive middle-class incomes. The U.S. recovery has accelerated in terms of both output and employment, with job growth rising 30 percent faster in 2014 than in 2013 (Figure 1-2). Indeed, the unemployment rate has fallen to levels that, as recently as 2013, were not expected until after 2017. These labor market improvements have begun to translate into wage gains for middle-class workers, but nevertheless, this recent progress cannot make up for decades of sub-par middle-class income growth. The chapter provides historical and international context for middle-class income growth and the three key factors that influence it: productivity growth, changes in labor force participation, and income inequality. The increasing strength of our current recovery provides an opportunity to address these long-standing challenges, and the President supports a wide range of policies, detailed in this Report, that will strengthen all three key factors.

 Chapter 2 reviews the macroeconomic performance of the U.S. economy during 2014, including the growth of output and employment, the continued decline in the unemployment rate, the healing of the housing market, and the improvement in the budget deficit as a share of GDP. By most measures, the pace of output growth has risen relative to the beginning of the recovery. Gross domestic product grew 0.7 percentage point faster per year over 2013 and 2014 than over the first three-and-one-half years of the recovery. Meanwhile, U.S. households continued to pay down their debts. Figure 2-15 shows the dramatic rise in the household sector’s liabilities-to-income and debt-service ratios in the run-up to the financial crisis, along with the reduction in these ratios that followed. By the third quarter of 2014, required payments on mortgage and consumer debt had fallen to 9.9 percent of disposable income, nearly the lowest level on record. The chapter explores this and other macroeconomic developments, including the slowdown in global growth, which could pose some downside risk to U.S. economic growth in the future. The chapter also reviews the assumptions about future growth that underlie the President’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget, including the economic benefits of the President’s agenda. The chapter explores the benefits of immigration reform, infrastructure investment, and business tax reform, among other pro-growth policies that the President supports.

Chapter 3 addresses the opportunities and challenges facing the U.S. labor market. The sharp drop in unemployment in 2014 came amid a stabilization in the labor force participation rate and the strongest annual job growth since the 1990s as businesses added more than 3 million jobs. But economic performance must be gauged by more than just the unemployment rate—a successful job market also encourages labor force participation, supports quality jobs, and facilitates effective job matching of workers and positions. This chapter reviews the United States’ recent labor market progress and discusses five long-standing labor market challenges that motivate many of President Obama’s policy initiatives. The decline in the labor force participation rate earlier in this recovery is one such important challenge. Just over half the participation decline has been driven by an aging population as the “baby boomer” generation has begun to retire (Figure 3-6). Moreover, labor force participation has stabilized over the past year, indicating that the 2014 unemployment decline reflected strong job growth rather than a shrinking labor force.

Chapter 4 discusses how American family lives have changed over the last half-century and the implications of these changes for our labor market. Women now represent almost one-half of the workforce, married couples increasingly share child-care responsibilities, and people live—and work—longer than in the past. Today, all parents are working in more than 6 out of every 10 households with children, up from 4 out of 10 in 1968 (Figure 4-4). Chapter 4 considers some of the crucial changes that are needed to help Americans better balance their work and caregiving responsibilities. While many workers have limited access to family-friendly workplace policies such as paid sick and family leave, recent State and local policies have expanded access to these benefits. The chapter examines workplace flexibility policies—a range of policies that enable workers to adjust aspects of work as needed. It also discusses the economic evidence for paid leave and workplace flexibility policies that the President has proposed, showing how these policies can increase worker productivity, retention, and morale. This evidence demonstrates that family-friendly policies can benefit workers, businesses, and the economy.

hapter 5 shifts the focus to productivity growth with an examination of business tax reform as well as a briefer discussion about the complementary issues in individual taxation. In 2014, the top statutory corporate tax rate in the United States was roughly 10 percentage points above the OECD average. At the same time, the U.S. tax code is riddled with loopholes that benefit certain companies without justification. For example, the tax code gives U.S. corporations the ability to reduce dramatically their tax bills by locating subsidiaries in small, low-tax countries. This pattern is evident in the outsized amounts of foreign corporate profits reported in many of these countries (Table 5-1). The President’s approach would close loopholes in the tax code while making it more attractive for companies to locate and invest in the United States. The chapter describes this and other components of the President’s approach to reform, documenting four channels through which reform can boost productivity and living standards: encouraging domestic investment, improving the quality of investment, reducing the inefficiencies of the international tax system, and facilitating investments in infrastructure. 

Chapter 6 reviews the profound transformation of the U.S. energy sector. The United States is producing more oil and natural gas and generating more electricity from renewables such as wind and solar. While the dramatic increase in U.S. oil production in widely recognized (Figure 6-3), a less well known but also critical trend is the decrease in U.S. oil consumption (Figure 6-2a), which reflects rising fuel efficiency among other factors. To build on this progress, to foster economic growth, and to ensure a sustainable low-carbon economy for future generations, the President has set out an aggressive all-of-the-above energy strategy. This chapter lays out the key elements of the strategy that will enhance U.S. energy security and limit greenhouse gas emissions in ways that also support economic growth and job creation. In recent years, expanded production of oil, natural gas, and renewables has raised employment in those industries during a period of labor-market slack. At the same time, technological innovation and greater production have helped to reduce energy prices, to the benefit of energy-consuming businesses and households. These developments have contributed broadly to employment and GDP growth, and will continue to do so.

Finally, Chapter 7 situates the United States in the context of the global economy. The United States is more integrated with the rest of the world than ever before. This chapter examines the substantial potential benefits of greater U.S. integration with the global economy, through both international trade in goods and services and financial transactions in international capital markets. It presents empirical evidence on the economic effects of enhanced U.S. trade and free trade agreements, as well as on ongoing trends such as the Nation’s growing surplus in services trade. U.S. businesses that expand in response to the increased foreign market access provided by U.S. free trade agreements support American jobs, strengthening the middle class in several ways. As Figure 7-6 shows, on average over the 1990s and 2000s, export-intensive industries report 17 percent higher average wages than non-export-intensive industries, similar to what has been found in other studies. Exporting industries also tend to be more productive and to rely more on capital and skilled workers. In addition to bringing down our trading partners’ tariff and non-tariff barriers closer to the low levels the United States already has, President Obama’s “values-driven” trade policy seeks to do what’s best for the American middle class by enforcing international trade agreements that improve labor and environmental standards around the world, combat corruption, and strengthen the rule of law abroad. These agreements therefore allow American firms and American workers to compete on a level playing field in the global economy.
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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

'Bishop Noel Jones Presents Trent Von Lee I Am A Praiser' CD Release Celebration at H.O.M.E. in Beverly Hills

buzzz worthy. . .

February 18, 2015 (Los Angeles, CA)-Trent Von Lee, gospel music artist, will celebrate his upcoming album, 'Bishop Noel Jones Presents Trent Von Lee I Am A Praiser,' with a free CD release celebration February 23, 7-10p.m., at House of Music Entertainment, 430 North Camden Drive, Beverly Hills, California.

Hosted by comedian Jonathan Slocumb, Lee will showcase five original songs from his upcoming March 28 release offering equal parts entertainment and praise & worship with an edge, accompanied by a live band.  A movement designed to instigate intense praise with a goal to worship, the room is sure to be filled with high energy throughout the evening.

"I am excited to finally unveil a work of art that has been in the works for a while," states Lee.  "I believe this celebration will be nothing anyone expects and everything they need."

Produced by Lee, Charles Harris, Jr., Marcus Hodge and Chadwick L. Williams, "I Am A Praiser" is a compilation of testament songs that express Lee's heart for praise & worship and the passion of his earth's purpose.

Featured guests, Grammy® nominated recording artist VaShawn Mitchell and recording artist Lena Byrd-Miles, will entertain the crowd and set the stage for what is expected to be a powerful testament of songs that express Lee's heart for praise & worship and the passion of his earth's purpose.

Known as one of the kingdom's ambassadors of worship, Lee is a man of faith, praise and power.  He has traveled extensively throughout the United States, the Caribbean, Canada, Europe and Africa sharing the power of worship through seminar and demonstration.  His goal is to help, inspire and enlighten people with the benefit of the presence of the Lord.

Fans, friends, tastemakers, musicians, media and industry professionals are scheduled to attend.
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Tyscot Records signs Lonnie Hunter

New Single “Forever I Will” Hits Radio In March
Stellar Award winning recording artist, choir conductor and syndicated radio show host, Lonnie Hunter, has signed with Tyscot Music & Entertainment, the oldest minority-owned and operated gospel label in the USA. The label will release Hunter’s new radio single “Forever I Will” in March. The inspiring new anthem features Hunter’s vocal ensemble Structure and the song anchors his forthcoming #GETITDONE album.

The #GETITDONE project offers listeners an absolute worship experience. It is a musical tool for ministers of music, praise and worship team leader and music lovers alike. The music runs the gamut of Sunday morning congregational songs to tracks with a full-throttle concert vibe. “While the Ge​t It Done c​ampaign started as a clothing line and a motivational message to The Lonnie Hunter Show listeners, the #GETITDONE message could not stop there,” Hunter says of the motivating set of tunes. “The #GETITDONE album is a mandate from God to the gospel music lover.”

A Chicago native, Hunter began his career as a runway and print model but music was his first love. He was a soloist for the U.S. Air Force Jazz Band and a celebrated gospel choir conductor. He was well known for his work with the Voices of St. Mark Choir where he produced three albums for Malaco Records that resulted in the radio hits "Even Me" (The Drip Drop Song),” "Let's Dance" and "There's Power In His Name." He began his radio career with Chicago’s #1 gospel radio station WGCI where he dominated the morning drive ratings for three years. Since 2007, Hunter has been a radio personality with Radio One where he currently hosts the nationally syndicated afternoon drive program “The Lonnie Hunter Show.” He also serves as Pastor of Worship at Bethany Baptist Church, a 26,000-member church in Lindenwold, NJ, where Bishop David G. Evans is the Pastor.
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Tuesday, February 17, 2015


buzzz worthy. . .

A Small Valentines Weekend Movie Dominates in its Theaters

BURBANK, Calif.  Love is in, and a new movie about it is breaking records and turning heads.  OLD FASHIONED—an upstart, indie romantic drama about respect in romance—sold out theaters, drew spontaneous applause at the end and, according to Box Office Mojo, holds the new record as best-performing Christian film in fewer than 300 theaters. In 224 theaters, OLD FASHIONED exceeded $1 million for the four-day holiday weekend. Viewers on Rotten Tomatoes rated it a positive 96 percent.

The reviews are in. . .
OLD FASHIONED deserves commendation. [It’s] well acted and beautifully shot.”
Glen Kinney

“Endearing . . . the story of a man and a woman falling in love with respect, honesty and a spiritual element that never gets too preachy . . the kind of production that makes couples want to hold hands in the theater.”
Rick Bentley
The Fresno Bee

OLD FASHIONED is a refreshingly-principled parable proving that a picture championing chastity can be every bit as entertaining and enjoyable as one promoting promiscuity.”
Kam Williams
Baret News
“People are saying it’s a good and refreshing story well told—and that the cinematography makes them fall in love with Ohio, as well as Clay and Amber,” OLD FASHIONED writer, director, and star Rik Swartzwelder said.  Swartzwelder knew nothing of FIFTY SHADES when he began his screenplay, but its release was deliberately timed to show a contrast in the films’ two messages.  “We wanted to make a modern love story with timeless meaning,” he said. “Two wounded souls well past their 20s—or their first loves—are trying to do love right this time around.  Based on the spontaneous applause at sold-out shows all across the country, it’s clear there’s an audience for this kind of story.”

At weekend’s start, Super Bowl winning Coach Tony Dungy posted to Facebook, “If you're going to the movies this weekend with your wife, take her to see Old Fashioned. This is a story about how a man really wins a woman.”

At Rotten Tomatoes, viewers echo Dungy’s review:
“Great story, wonderful acting, great production, nice music, good in every way. It ranks with my top five favorite romantic movies. All this from a little independent film company. I am so impressed!”
“A story of love and forgiveness and leaving the past behind. Beautifully filmed and with hidden depth it is truly worth seeing.”

“I will see it again!”

“It is a movie with Christian principles, yet it is not at all “preachy.”  . . . so refreshing to see a quality movie about old fashioned values.”

A romantic-drama, OLD FASHIONED centers on Clay Walsh, a former frat boy who gives up his carousing and now runs an antique shop in a small Midwestern college town. There, he has become notorious for his lofty and outdated theories on love and romance as well as for his devout belief in God. When Amber Hewson a free-spirited young woman with a restless soul, drifts into the area and rents the apartment above his shop, she finds herself surprisingly drawn to his strong faith and noble ideas, which are new and intriguing to her. And Clay, though he tries to fight and deny it, simply cannot resist being attracted to her spontaneous and passionate embrace of life. Ultimately, Clay must step out from behind his relational theories and Amber must overcome her own fears and deep wounds as the two of them, together, attempt the impossible: an "old-fashioned" and God-honoring courtship in contemporary America.

Besides Swartzwelder (THE LEAST OF THESE, WAR PRAYER), OLD FASHIONED features Elizabeth Ann Roberts (Criminal Minds, Southland, CSI), Dorothy Silver (THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES), Tyler Hollinger (BLACK DOG, RED DOG; TRUST ME, I’M A LIFEGUARD; Taxi Brooklyn; What Would You Do?), LeJon Woods (HOMEMAKERS, TOMORROW YOU’RE GONE), Nini Hadjis (CROSS-EYED DINNER THEATER PRESENTS!, FOCUS ON ME), Maryann Nagel (INTO THE STORM, TRUE NATURE), Joseph Bonamico (Miami Vice, The Light of Day, Unsolved Mysteries), Lindsay Heath, Anne Marie Nestor (TURBINE, One Life to Live, The Onion News Network) and Ange’le Perez.
OLD FASHIONED is produced by Swartzwelder’s Skoche Films, Nathan Nazario of Motion Picture Pro Studios, Dave DeBorde and Nini Hadjis. Freestyle Releasing distributed.
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Over 600,000 watch Crouch funeral

buzzz worthy. . .

(LOS ANGELES, CA) -- Over four thousand people from all over the world packed into the West Angeles Church of God In Christ on Jan. 21 to pay their respects to legendary Gospel artist Andraé Crouch. The concert and Celebration of Life services were streamed live on BET.com as well as the churchs website, with more than 600,000 people logging on to watch online.

The four-hour funeral service included performances by Stevie Wonder, CeCe Winans, BeBe Winans, Shirley Caesar, Ledisi, Yolanda Adams, Richard Smallwood, Tata Vega, Krystal Murden, Donald Lawrence, Israel Houghton, Tommy Sims, Jonathan Butler, Donnie McClurkin and original members of Andraé Crouch and the Disciples. The service was officiated by Bishop Kenneth Ulmer, with a eulogy by Pastor Marvin Winans, as well as comments by Rev. Jesse Jackson, Dr. Bobby Jones, Kirk Franklin, Edwin and Lynette Hawkins, Bishop Clyde Ramalaine from South Africa, Bishop Barbara Amos and Stevie Wonder. In addition, letters were received from President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton, with video tributes from Bishop Charles Blake, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Kenneth Copeland, Rance Allen, Michael W. Smith, and Bill & Gloria Gaither. Acknowledgements were issued from numerous pastors and organizations including Bishop Clarence McClendon, Bishop Noel Jones, the music department of the COGIC, Rev. Jackie McCullough and more.

A musical tribute was held the night before, with performances by Donnie McClurkin, Fred Hammond, Bryan Duncan, Kurt Carr, Donald Lawrence, The Clark Sisters, Kim Burrell, David and Nicole Binion, Erica Campbell, Smokie Norful, Richard Smallwood and many more. The evening also included a performance by BeBe Winans, Howard Smith, Daniel Winans and Pastor Marvin Winans representing the original Testimonials before Ronald, Marvin, Carvin and Michael became The WINANS due to Andraé Crouch. The star-studded crowd also included Tyler Perry, Sheila E. and others.

Numerous tributes are being planned in the months to come. The Super Bowl Gospel Celebration paid tribute to Crouch on February 1st, and the 57th Annual Grammy Awards will include Crouch in a Memoriam during the February 8th broadcast. The MovieGuide Awards are planning to pay tribute, and the Stellar Awards will honor him with the Thomas Dorsey Notable Achievement Award.

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Hosted by LL Cool J,25-Time GRAMMY Winner Stevie Wonder Takes The Stage In A Surprise Performance; Babyface, The Band Perry, Tony Bennett, Beyoncé, Andrea Bocelli, Gary Clark Jr., Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, India.Arie, Lady Gaga, John Legend, Annie Lennox, Janelle Monáe, Aisha Morris, NE-YO, Jill Scott, Ed Sheeran, Ryan Tedder, And Pharrell Williams Celebrate The Icon's Songbook
Surprising the audience with a captivating finale performance, Stevie Wonder received multiple standing ovations singing some of his all-time classics, including "Superstition" and "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life," at the "Stevie Wonder: Songs In The Key Of Life — An All-Star GRAMMY® Salute." An impressive superstar cast of 19 artists saluted Wonder with songs from his stellar songbook in front of a sold-out audience at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE.

Two-time GRAMMY winner LL COOL J hosted the star-studded special tribute, with appearances by Jason Derulo, Jamie Foxx, Tyler Perry, Craig Robinson, and Maya Rudolph. Recorded live, the tribute concert, paying homage to Wonder's half-a-century's-long career in a two-hour special, was presented by The Recording Academy®.

A 25-time GRAMMY winner, Wonder is the only artist to have received Album Of The Year honors in three out of four consecutive years with Innervisions (1973), Fulfillingness' First Finale (1974), and Songs In The Key Of Life (1976).

"We must, without question, let the world know that love is king and queen," said Wonder, thanking fellow artists and fans from the stage before launching into a medley of his hits. "I encourage all of us as artists to write songs about love. Love is the key, and you've given me love, and I thank you for it."

Following is a list of performances:

Beyoncé                                                          "Fingertips"
Beyoncé & Ed Sheeran                                   "Master Blaster (Jammin')"
Beyoncé, Gary Clark Jr. & Ed Sheeran           "Higher Ground"
Tony Bennett                                                   "For Once In My Life"
John Legend                                                    "I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)"
Annie Lennox                                                  "My Cherie Amour"
Lady Gaga                                                       "I Wish"
Andrea Bocelli                                                 "I Just Called To Say I Love You"
Babyface & Ariana Grande                              "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours"
The Band Perry                                                "You Haven't Done Nothin"
Ed Sheeran                                                       "I Was Made To Love Her"
India.Arie, Janelle Monáe & Jill Scott              "As"
Pharrell Williams & Ryan Tedder                    "Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing"
Jennifer Hudson                                              "All In Love Is Fair"
Aisha Morris & Ne-Yo                                   "Isn't She Lovely"
Stevie Wonder                                                 "Contusion," "Sir Duke," "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life," "Ribbon In The Sky" "Overjoyed," "Superstition"       
Stevie Wonder & Ensemble                             "Happy Birthday," "Another Star" 

Babyface and Ariana Grande
Ryan Tedder and Pharrell Williams
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BET HONORS premieres on Feb. 23

buzzz worthy. . . NEW YORK, NY- February 17, 2015 – Continuing the Black History Month celebration, BET Networks returns with the eighth annual “The BET HONORS” to pay tribute to the contributions of legendary African Americans in the areas of education, theater, business and technology, music and innovation. Comedian Wayne Brady hosts the show for the second year, honoring Tony Award-winning actress Phylicia Rashad (Theatrical Award), 21-time Grammy Award-winning entrepreneur Kanye West (Visionary Award), multi-platinum recording star Usher (Musical Arts Award), Dr. Johnetta Betsch Cole (Education Award), and Chairman of Microsoft, John W. Thompson (Business & Technology Award). “The BET Honors” premieres Monday, February 23, 2015 at 9 pm/ET. The show opened with an entertaining old-school hip hop performance by Wayne Brady that earned him a standing ovation from the audience. The star-studded roster of performers included Ne-Yo, K. Michelle, Mary J. Blige, Trey Songz, Patti LaBelle and Charlie Wilson who was joined on stage by Kanye West for an impromptu performance. Keisha Knight Pulliam, Anthony Anderson, Damon Dash, Bobby Brown, Glynn Turman and Diahann Carroll presented the awards to the honorees. Proceeds from the private sale of “THE BET HONORS” will benefit the National Cares Mentoring Program, an organization that helps transform the lives of Black children by inspiring, recruiting, and mobilizing masses of caring Black men and women to mentor and nourish, challenge and champion them. “THE BET HONORS” sponsors include AT&T, Lexus, Macy’s and the U.S. Army. Stephen Hill, President of Programming, BET Networks, and Lynne Harris Taylor, Vice President of Specials & Music Production, BET Networks are executive producers, along with Jesse Collins of Jesse Collins Entertainment.
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TUNE IN ALERT: BET's first mini-series explores little known character over 3 days

This Black History Month BET tells the story of Aminata Diallo (Aunjanue Ellis, "The Help") and her travels from Mali to Britain during slavery in the mini-series, "Book of Negroes." Last night during its premiere, viewers were introduced to the courageous early life of Diallo as she entered slavery/servitude in South Carolina. "If I can't say a word, I just wave my hand." These words from an Old 100 hymn are indeed an appropriate reaction to the story thus far. The history of Blacks from Africa to America is astounding to the point it can be numbing. Much can and has been said about the highs and lows of the "Black Experience." This is the first time I am hearing the story from the perspective of a non-American and woman (it is Canadian made) and thus far have no words to describe the feeling I experienced as I gasped, looked away and at times stared blankly into the eyes of the lead character. The acting and directing kept me completely enraptured. As an African American, I was literally moved to reverential silence, with respect to the captivity, Middle Passage and arrival of Africans to a strange new land. Tonight, part 2 of the epic, 3-part event airs on BET at 8:00 p.m. ‪#‎blackhistorymatters‬ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNHG_3-Zad8
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