September 28, 2013

Obama's Weekly Address: Averting a Government Shutdown and Expanding Access to Affordable Healthcare

In this week's address, President Obama says that on October 1, a big part of the Affordable Care Act will go live and give uninsured Americans the chance to buy the same quality, affordable health care as everyone else. It is also the day when some Republicans in Congress might shut down the government just because they don't like the law. The President urged Congress to both pass a budget by Monday and raise the nation's debt ceiling so that we can keep growing the economy.

I think that the Republican Party is out-of-control and I don't doubt that they will shut down the government because they don't have a clue how to govern. What do you think?

September 18, 2013

VIDEO: Review of 2013 BDPA Technology Conference

35th Annual BDPA Technology Conference was held in Washington DC on August 14-17, 2013. The event marked the largest gathering of IT professionals of color in the nation ... and also included over 50 major corporate sponsors. The 4-day event included an awards gala, career fair, corporate hospitality receptions, IT Showcase, live entertainment, plenary sessions,workshops and a youth technology camp. This video gives a glimpse of the people and activity from this annual conference!

BDPA exists to advance the careers of African Americans in the IT industry from the classroom to the boardroom. There are 46 local BDPA chapters located around the nation. Visit or call (301) 584-3135 to ask questions or discuss further.

Video Credit: Sharrarne Morton (Morton Media) and Steve McMillan (Cape Fear Productions).

September 17, 2013

Good News Tuesday: Carson Huey-You

Child prodigy, Carson Huey-You, just started his freshman year at Texas Christian University, and he is the youngest person ever to attend the private university in Fort Worth. Carson was in high school at the age of 5, he was reading chapter books at age 2 and could multiply and divide a year later.

Carson scored a 1770 on his SAT, was co-valedictorian of his high school senior class and speaks Mandarin Chinese.

Today Carson is 11 years old and taking a full college load, including physics, calculus, history and religion. His mother, Claretta, is attending classes with him.

Carson’s feet barely touched the ground when he played Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" on the piano during his admissions interview.

This blog will continue to seek out Good News stories about people of African descent and share them with you each Tuesday. We need to tell the positive and upbeat information about OURstory. We can't depend on others to do it for us. Please pass along any Good News story that comes your way. In the case of bloggers ... we want you to join our Good News parade every Tuesday.

September 6, 2013

Don't Let Your Teen's Future Go Up In Smoke

I notice that the laws and restrictions on the use of marijuana have been going away in many places around the country. I don't sense much happening with those types of laws here in Ohio. I have two teenagers ... so I'm glad. Personally, I don't think that marijuana and teens are a good mix -- especially when it comes to learning and academic success.

We know that all young people face challenges as they grow and mature and that the dangers and temptations of drugs are all around. We also know that as a parent or someone who cares about young people, you want the very best for them; you want them to do even better than you did and lead productive lives.

While overall drug use among teens continues to drop, there are still too many brilliant young people whose potential is ruined. Don't let drugs destroy their chance of going to college or landing a good career.
Parents and family are still the most important influence in young peoples' lives so keep the lines of communication open, set a clear, 'no marijuana' rule, stay involved, and continue to discuss the dangers and consequences of drug use. You make a difference. Knowing that education is the key to a better tomorrow, you have the power to protect their potential and help lead them on the road to success.

September 5, 2013

Village Tip: Improve Your Credit Score

Many villagers have no idea what their credit score is. A credit score is a number that is used to predict how likely you are to pay back a loan. Your credit score starts with the information about you from your credit report. A mathematical formula – called a scoring model – is then used to create your credit score.

You can get a free copy of your credit report at The information in your credit report influences your credit score. Unlike your credit report, which you can get at no cost to you, you usually have to pay for your credit score. There are certain instances in which you are entitled to your credit score for free, for example if you are denied a loan on the basis of your credit score.

Studies show that the average person could save about $80 a year on interest by raising their credit score by just 30 points. Here are some ways to improve your credit score:
  1. Pay more than the minimum payment so your balance doesn't build up.
  2. Pay bills on time. If you have been late, paying on time for six to nine months can raise your score. One way to make sure your payments are on time is to set up automatic payments, or set up electronic reminders.
  3. Don't borrow the maximum on any one card, even if there is a low-interest offer. If you ave card with $10,000 in available credit, don't owe more than $6,000. Credit scoring models look at how close you are to being 'maxed out', so try to keep your balances low in proportion to your overall credit limit.
  4. Don't open two or three new cards within a couple of months. This will lower your score.
  5. A long credit history will help your score. Credit scores are based on experience over time. The more experience you have with getting credit and paying your bills on time, the more information there is to determine whether you are a good credit risk.
A credit score of 730 or more will get you favorable rates on credit cards, auto loans and mortgages.

September 3, 2013

Broke-A$$ Brotha Tip #5: Retirement Planning and Investing

It is never too late to begin a program of retirement planning and investing. It would be better if you started sooner ... but, today is the first day of the rest of the life for any Broke-A$$ Brotha (or Sista)!   This blog likes to share tips with y'all about ways to increase revenue and decrease expenses ... we call them Broke-A$$ Brotha Tips.

Part of how Broke-A$$ Brothas get broke is procrastination. There is still time for you to make a commitment to a program of retirement planning and investing to plan for your future ... and the future of your progeny.
  1. Commit to saving for retirement. - Just hoping that you'll have enough money for retirement is not a smart strategy. Social Security alone won't cut it It's wiser to take control of retirement planning yourself by investing in company 401(k) plans and IRA accounts. Also, make a plan to save on a regular basis, whether you start with $50 a month or $5,000 a year.
  2. Create and adhere to a financial plan. - Having a plan enables you to how you can help your family in the fugure. For example, opening and contributing to a college saving fund gives you a sense of relief. There are many people who earn good income but don't think ahead for college education until the children are ready for college. President Obama wants to reduce the cost of college education ... but, we need to do our part.
  3. Don't waste your money. - You want to grow your money not throw your money away. Don't depend on winning the lottery as an investment or retirement fund. Look to investment vehicles such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds. Real estate is also a definite idea for you to consider.
How are you doing with your retirement planning? Investments? How about your savings plan ... do you save a regular amount each month? Being Broke-A$$ ain't something any of us want. Use these tips to jump start your commitment to financial empowerment.

September 1, 2013

Gates Millennium Scholars Program

Every year, the Gates Millennium Scholars Program selects 1,000 talented minority students to receive a good-through-graduation scholarship to use at any college or university of their choice. The program provides scholars with personal and professional development through our leadership programs along with academic support throughout their college career.

Administered by the United Negro College Fund, the program was initially funded by a $1 billion grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Since 1999, it has funded the education of more than 16,000 students, awarding them more than $614 million dollars to pay for tuition, fees, books and housing.

The program aims to reduce financial barriers for African American and other students of color with high academic and leadership promise who have significant financial need; increase the representation of these target groups in the disciplines of computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health and the sciences, where these groups are severely underrepresented; develop a diversified cadre of future leaders for America by facilitating successful completion of bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; and provide seamless support from undergraduate through doctoral programs, for students selected as Gates Millennium Scholars entering target disciplines.

The deadline for submission is January 15, 2014.

Click here to learn more about the 2014 Gates Millennium Scholars program.