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Tuesday January 26th 2021

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Did a Minnesota construction firm build sub-standard Housing in Haiti?

Tune into the Ron and Don Show by clicking this link at 8:30pm: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/theronanddonshow/2018/03/29/did-a-minnesota-construction-firm-build-sub-standard-housing-in-haiti 

Call in to speak with the host (347) 426-3904

Related Stories

  1. How Disaster Relief Became a Disaster of its Own – Jake Johnston in Boston Review”(2014)
  2. Haiti: Second USAID Contractor Suspended Following Caracol Housing Debacle” (2015)
  3. How the US Plan to Build Houses for Displaced Haitians Became an Epic Boondoggle” (2015)

By The Ron and Don Show

Tonight on the Ron and Don Show on #BlogTalkRadio the team of Don Allen (IBNN) and Ronald A. Edwards (The Minneapolis Story) welcome Mr. Jake Johnston from the Center for Economics and Policy Research to talk about a situation (ongoing) in Haiti that first came to light in 2015.

Mr. Johnston’s piece, “How the US Plan to Build Houses for Displaced Haitians Became an Epic Boondoggle, cited the following:

After the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti in January 2010, the US government responded with an ambitious plan to build 15,000 new houses in the country. But the ensuing program to put roofs over the heads of displaced Haitians has included a boondoggle of epic proportions at one $35 million housing development, where shoddy construction practices and faulty sewage systems are currently the subject of an ongoing investigation. On February 3, the US-based company Thor Construction was suspended from receiving government contracts because of its work in Haiti. Another contractor with close ties to the Haitian president has so far escaped punishment.

Join us tonight at 8:30pm (CST) to hear the details, which some are calling “fake news,” while others are really concerned about the Haitian people and their continued demise.

About Jake Johnston

Jake Johnston graduated from Boston University in 2008 with a B.A. in Economics. At CEPR his research has focused predominantly on economic policy in Latin America, the International Monetary Fund and U.S. foreign policy. He is the lead author for CEPR’s Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Watch blog and has authored papers on Haiti concerning the ongoing cholera epidemic, aid accountability and transparency and the U.S. foreign aid system. His articles have been published in outlets such as The Intercept, NACLA, Boston Review, VICE News, Al Jazeera America, and Truthout.


Dr. Nekima Levy-Pounds must lead the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights

We have many challenges in Minneapolis’ Black community…the appointment of Levy-Pounds as head of the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights would be a step in the right direction. 

By Don Allen, Senior Editorial Columnist

Dr. Nekima Levy-Pounds can do the job that needs to be done. (photo: Facebook – Fair Use)

Minneapolis, Minn…Dr. Levy-Pounds and I haven’t seen eye-to-eye since the unravelling of the Black History Museum and let’s not forget the Minneapolis NAACP elections a few years back where she won the election and became the president of the Mpls NAACP. Well that was then, this is now, and I don’t really care about the museum or the NAACP (local and nationally, they leave a lot to be desired). One thing I can say is that Dr. Levy-Pounds was one of the very few people who knew I spoke what was on my mind and was unapologetic in recognizing that “a voice,” some-voice, needed to be heard on behalf of black people in the state of Minnesota and that usually, black voices are pretty much ignored in favor of a few black, lackluster community idiots.

The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights; the most non-functioning department in the city of Minneapolis and its leader Ms. Velma Korbel are up against a brick wall; shredding claims, a screwed up call-in line, and many “cash-settled” lawsuits from 2006-2016 that took money and resources from the citizens of Minneapolis and paid out claims of wrongful terminations, sexual harassment and a variety of stupid pet tricks. The challenge, the DFL party, protects consistent malfeasance in favor of a tight-knit club of DFL social “greats” that happen to be black people and party loyalist, so when something goes wrong, what makes you think that anyone in this social cabal will pay?

Well it hasn’t happened yet.

On February 3, 2016, I appeared before the Minneapolis City Council in support of letting Korbel continue on in her role as director of the Mpls. Civil Rights Department and this is what I said:

“In The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights needs a disciplined, data-driven

Velma Korbel’s lackluster performance and results are disappointing. (photo: MinnPost – Fair Use)

approach for eliminating its defects. The internal and external organizational design lacks integrity and has moved far away from simple perfection. I’m not here today to say Ms. Korbel does not need to be re-appointed – but I am here to say a different approach to the process of civil rights needs to be downloaded. Using a time-management system pinned with a list of objectives should be designed, publicized and expanded upon. For the city’s sake, the TMS must be put in place to demand the highest performance from this agency. As some of you already know, data tables about unemployment in regards to the population of Minneapolis show in some cases an excess of 40 percent for certain zip codes. I maintain the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights and its neglect to contract compliance are partly to blame for this unacceptable and surreptitious promotion of structural violence. For me, the solution or fundamental objective would be to remove the maleficence-of-process from the daily operations of the department and replace it with user friendly, results driven community and city engagement. This would build a framework for implementing and enforcing good-faith efforts in contract compliance, self-initiated civil rights investigations and for sure addressing the list of solutions from the 2010 City of Minneapolis Disparity Report. There are no self-updates or bug fixes; Ms. Korbel must be re-appointed because she now needs to be a problem-solver that fixes Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights.”


I’m sorry, I was wrong…Korbel is not the person to run the Mpls. Department of Civil Rights, nor has she successfully demonstrated that she has the acumen to reset the department or even handle the out-of-whack contract compliance department, nor does she know how to hold prime contractors accountable for not hiring qualified community members beyond a good-faith effort.

With this written, it’s time for Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey to make an unpopular, but effective decision and make Dr. Nekima Levy-Pounds the new director of the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights…immediately!

Like I said in the beginning, we (Levy-Pounds) do not see eye-to-eye on many issues, but one things for sure, this is the best move that will not only shake up the MDCR, but make them an effective operation.


Review of the Hennepin County Ten-Year Plan to end Homelessness for Single Adults #FAIL

Veterans, Families, Adults still homeless at the hands of pencil pushers without a clue. (photo: Homeless shelter gets city support, despite complaints…#MinnPost)

This writer is reviewing the information provided to this writer in response to a Freedom of Information request for all data from The Heading Home Hennepin Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness initiated in 2006 and ended in 2016. The reason for that request was due to, after millions of dollars being spent, homelessness was not ended; in fact, homelessness increased.

By Margaret Hastings, Guest Columnist
Heading Home Hennepin (HHH) advocates acknowledged this failure without taking responsibility for it. HHH advocates are now calling upon the city and county to open more homeless shelters due to the rise in street homelessness.

The information sent to this writer in response to the FOI request had minimal information, did not contain any coherent assessment of data, there was minimal data at all in the documents received.

Annual reports for each year were not produced by Heading Home Hennepin. Annual reports were produced for 2010, 2011, a 2012 Five Year Report and 2105 report.

The 2015 annual report does not provide specifics, it is more of an overview of programming, and general comments. In short, no real depth. The director notes in the report that 2015 to 2016 is the final year of HHH. There are some numbers thrown out related to single adults housed (the area I am looking at) it does not address that these numbers fall far, far short of ending homelessness. That, in fact, not even a significant dent has been made in homelessness.

The 2015 report throws out numbers that ignore the larger numbers of those who remain homeless. The focus is more about extolling progress than critical analysis of how short of the goal the HHH plan fell.

The 2012 Five Year Report: The title of this report implies that the first five years of the HHH plan will be addressed. Instead, this document is poorly organized, hops from one year to another with no clear analysis of what has been put in place per year, what had worked, what has not.

In the introductory Letter from the Director the statement is made that from 2007 to 2011 “350 people living on the street were moved into housing.” There are no supporting documents explaining the sources for these numbers. It does not address the number of single persons still homeless, which remained at a large number. No analysis of the barriers that limit effective service to the majority of single adults who remain homeless.  If 350 was an accurate number of housed, is that number the most that can be served with the available resources? What further resources, staff, approaches were needed to go beyond that number to reach the goal or close to the goal of ending homelessness?

From the 2012 report: “Our latest street count revealed a 40 percent reduction in the number of people sleeping outside since 2010.”

My question: What is the reduction since 2006, the start of the HHH plan? And what does this number actually mean? Since 2006 to 2016 the baseline number of homeless (those in shelters and outside) has persisted between 1,000 and 1250 (with spikes in numbers for two years) based on the HUD COC counts for the years 2006 to 2016. The HHH ten-year plan to end homelessness was dealing with these baseline numbers at its start yet that baseline persisted. WHY? HUGE amounts of money poured into HHH and the numbers they tout represent a small portion of those housed.

From the 2012 report “Homelessness for dozens of chronic livability offenders in downtown Minneapolis was ended and chronic re-offenses were reduced by 78 percent. My response: I find this very difficult to believe. No supporting documentation was provided to support these claims. And now in 2017, elected officials, police and downtown businesses are voicing concern about livability offenses.

The 2011 report: The 2011 report states numbers: “From October 2007 through July 2010, St. Stephen’s Street Outreach has housed over 200 people directly from the street, mostly without subsidies.”

The 2012 report states that from 2007 to 2011, more than 350 people living on the streets were moved to housing, thanks to St. Stephen’s Street Outreach”. What accounted for the decrease by 50 in the year 2010 to 2011?

The 2015 report does not mention numbers for the years 2012 or 2013 but states that St. Stephens Street Outreach “…housed 100 people in 2014” Why were 2012 and 2013 left out? And despite touting the above numbers, adult street homelessness has increased as of 2017, a fact not refuted by HHH advocates.

Why? What was missed? Over 3 years the claim is 200 people were housed; that is 66 people per year. How many street outreach workers were there? How many people total did they work with?
Was there a need for more street outreach workers? What was recognized as barriers to providing further services to larger numbers?

From the 2011 report RE: The Currie Avenue Housing Partnership: (CAP) has ten Housing Case Managers to connect people with disabilities Staying at Currie Avenue shelters with housing and supports. The program officially began in May 2010 and has successfully housed 150 people.

Individuals have obtained permanent housing or are in the final stages of obtaining Housing.


From the 2012 report “More than 150 people with disabilities who slept in overcrowded, downtown shelters now having housing, thanks to a partnership created between the Downtown Business Council and the Downtown Congregations to End Homelessness. Eighty-seven percent of these individuals have stayed in their housing for at least one year.



From the 2010 Annual Report: See my comments below this taken from the report:
Single Adult Shelter Network: The Shelter   Efficiency group identified a need to coordinate services among shelters for shelter guests who use multiple shelter sites.  The team developed a shared release form that shelter guests can sign in order to have their case coordinated among all the shelters serving single adults.  This collaborative is titled the Single Adult Shelter Network (SASN).  The group meets bi-weekly and discusses approximately 15-20 cases each meeting.  The group develops a shared plan to help a shelter guest move into appropriate housing or work on eliminating a barrier to housing such as a criminal charge or record, insufficient income, or lack of money to pay a damage deposit.  During its first year, the number of SASN clients housed was 12, while there are 7 with housing pending, 14 percent still homeless, and 9 percent with client status unknown.  SASN has increased efficiency and reduced redundancy of efforts amongst shelter providers.  Youth agencies created their own network, Young Adult Shelter Network (YASN), to accomplish similar coordinated case management.”

My comment below:
Regarding the bold type…12 housed out of, how many total? 14 per cent still homeless OUT OF HOW MANY TOTAL? I mean really? 14 per cent of what?” And if they only housed 12, with only 14 per cent still homeless that means if you do the math, they housed 86 per cent of whom? The limited caseloads they managed? If they housed 12 and 7 pending that is 19 people. So, if 19 is 86 per cent of most people served. I one year they only worked with about 22 people total. Even more embarrassing, or they should be embarrassed is that out of the hundreds of people in their shelters, they were only able to house 12?

How many and what percentage of the homeless persons declined to sign the release form? How often did staff not offer the release form? What were the causes for those who declined the form, for declining to sign it?”

Final thoughts: The Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness did not have a plan. In reading the annual reports, that is strikingly clear. There is no evidence of a plan that established goals, put in place a system to assess, analyze and critique progress made and alter what was not working.

Despite the glowing snippets of how many were housed and programs in place, the fact remains
that not only did homelessness stay the same, it increased over the ten years. Given the millions of dollars spent on this failure, the tax payers and homeless persons deserve an accounting as to why it failed and consider removing those responsible for this failure.

Minneapolis Homeless Advocates lose over $600,000 in Federal funding

By Guy Terrill Gambill  – Publisher of The Daily Desmadre and Guest Columnist 

Is there a “tick” in the city and counties progressive ideology? (photo: Lyme Disease and Ticks: What You Need To Know – Fair Use: www.glutathionepro.com)

Minneapolis, Minn. – (Editorial Facts)…How did Minneapolis Homeless Advocates lose over $600,000 in Federal funding through incompetence and inattention. Next time this crowd comes before the public complaining about Federal funding, bring this up:

Let’s start taking a look at specifics in expenditures which took place under one Federal funding stream during the course of the 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness in Hennepin County during the term of the plan 2006-2016. As a reminder, the net effect of the Plan at its terminus, as pointed out by a number of media outlets, was that over 300 more people were homeless in Hennpin County in 2016 than had been in 2006.

Let’s look at the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP). Under this Federal program there was authorized 1.5 billion dollars for a three year period, 2010-2012. The amounts allocated for Minneapolis:

$5,520,920.00 Total funding authorization

$4,908,789.04 Total amount drawn, (83.5% of authorzed amount)

$612,119.94 Gap or projected gap in meeting 100% expenditure over three year program allocation period.

$294,814.19 Approximate monthly draw to meet 3-year 100% requirement.

As you have probably been able to figure out for yourselves, those responsible for administration and use of this three year Federal funding allocation failed to expend the amount allocated by over half million dollars during the stipulated three year period. What that means is that the City-County lost that amount of funding due to its failure to follow the stipulations for expenditures during the period.

Not like homeless people in Minneapolis could have used 612,119 for anything they needed or anything, right? So why did this happen? Don’t ask me, ask them…the people in charge of this mess, that is. Oh, wait, you can’t ask the Director of HHH I guess…she got promoted to head up the State’s efforts. You’ll have to ask the new director of HHH….who was one of the large shelter directors…you know, one of the guys who was in charge of administering the program under discussion. Cos when you’re a member of this cozy “Conspiracy of Dunces”, to quote Arthur Turovh Himmelman pissing away 600,000 in Federal funding isn’t cause for reprimand or questioning, it’s cause for promotion.

Please note that a significant percentage of other Metropolitan did manage to maximize Federal dollars. But not Minneapolis. My reference for the above, click here. 

Minnesota Super Bowl 52: Where is the Community Benefits Agreement?

By Don Allen, Publisher – The Independent Business News Network – September 30, 2017 12:49p

I first wanted to ask this question to the City of St. Paul in regards to the new soccer stadium that is already causing major gentrification issues in the Snelling/University neighborhoods. But hey, since the Super Bowl will come and go, let’s start with them. 

Minneapolis, Minn. – (Editorial Opinion) …First of all, this question is problematic for several reason, the first being I do not watch football, or any sports on television, one of the many great features my wife says I have. Secondly, when I ask questions about economic development in Minnesota’s minority-ethnic community, some folks ask me: “What have you done for the community?” It’s a great question and more often then not, my answer is: “I’ve stayed in my lane, asked the critical thinking questions and hoped the community activists, politicians and the self-appointed community leaders in my community (black community), at some point will pull it together and figure out something is wrong in Minnesota, and while some would say we are separate, we are definitely not equal.”

I guess I could have started by asking how many Blacks, Native Americans, Hispanic-Latinos, Asian and Immigrant Minnesotans sat on the the Minnesota Super Bowl committee, but that would have been a misdirect to the real questions. It’s not about the race or color of the people who make the decisions, its about the way they think and the process they use to make decisions. At this point, I feel as if everyone including the local politicians are caught up in the bright-lights of the Hollywood Syndrome; human issues take a back seat to fun, free tickets, events and smiles.

The question I ask has nothing to do with entitlements, victimhood, nor giving handouts, but it has everything to do with fair-share approach for an event that is poised to make the Twin Cities over a billion dollars is revenue. Personally, I have not heard of any Minneapolis’ mayoral candidates talking about the revenue profit and how they would use it, nor have I heard the governor of Minnesota, the honorable Mark Dayton speak as if there was a plan to use “profits” as a springboard to help cherry-pick the most critical blight in Minnesota and use public policy to guide funding in a problem-solving mission that would benefit Minnesota long after the Minnesota Vikings win Super Bowl 52 (just kidding).

The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee estimated the Twin Cities metro area will reap $338 million in economic activity from the 2018 game, regardless if some some economists immediately think that amount is too high (Star Tribune, 2017). Stakeholders in the Minnesota’s Black community say the Super Bowl will do better than $500 million-plus and the mainstream is not considering side-deals cut (legally), that would benefit many local businesses including hotels, bars, restaurants and transit. Herein lays the challenge because nobody (at least from what I’ve heard and seen), is talking about how profits from “52” will benefit those less than a mile away from U.S. Bank stadium where a family of four is living on less than ten-thousand dollars a year. Yes, times are tough, but creating meaningful coalitions are tougher.

The current Minneapolis mayor, who might be defeated in November because of her Trumptanious missteps in budget, police operations and leadership remains tight-lipped on even the suggestion of a Community Benefit Agreement (CBA). Mayoral candidate Jacob Frey wants to put so many police in downtown Minneapolis that he went public in a effort to say: “If you look like me, you’ll be safe in downtown Minneapolis.”

Both the St. Paul mayor and Minnesota’s governor are acting more like ambassadors versus problem-solvers by inviting people to see “Minnesota Nice,” versus “Minnesota Real.” But I guess this is how things continue to operate in a state where payoffs to community leaders come in the form of businesses at local venues and direct funding…regardless if anyone’s life trajectory never gets better, there are people at the top who make sure they stay there by never asking any questions and handing the lower one-third of the community to the mainstream on a silver platter.

I think there should be a Community Benefit Agreement (CBA), but not under the current public policy, which is: If they (minority-ethnics) make to much noise, get them leaders in here for a payoff to control the community members and to remind them of the promises that were made. The people at the top (politicians/funders) must stop funding failure or divisiveness. White guilt makes money for some while practical experience and human needs are left to wither like a flower growing in between a crack in the sidewalk.

What have I done for the community? I just spoke my mind…

Ron and Don Show with Ms. Bonita “Bo” Money: Did Al Sharpton sell us out (again)?

Ms. Bonita “Bo” Money, businesswoman, and a guiding force in the United States cannabis industry.

Join us Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at 8:30pm on the Ron and Don Show on #BlogTalkRadio for an EXCLSIVE interview with co-founder of Women Abuv Ground and co-creator of That Glass Jar™. “Bo” is set to expose a trend of Black men and women excluded from the Cannabis conversation and the people who look like us that continue to sell us out.

By The Ron and Don Show

The lack of minority representation (in the Cannabis business) is especially fraught given that research shows African-Americans


were disproportionately arrested and incarcerated during the war on drugs. Now that marijuana is seen as a legitimate business, advocates argue that minorities should also reap the profits (Tracy Jan and Fenit Nirappil, The Washington Post, 2017).

There’s some names we as black business men and women need to know; the first is DECODE.

DECODE Cannabis Education Fund (really), is a 501c3 organization (of course) tasked with organizing a national mobilization effort to educate Americans on the social benefits of a federal mandate removing Cannabis from the Schedule I. In doing so, DECODE will support important issues in the industry such as decriminalization, inclusion, women and minority business, civil rights, research, caregiver/patients rights, workers’ rights, safety & testing and responsible advertising. But some worry that DECODE is allegedly DECIVING the Black community in the United States by ignoring local business people of color who are in the forefront of the cannabis business, but being ignored by this nonprofit agency.

Sources tell Our Black News that the reverend Al Sharpton could have been paid (allegedly) in excess of $25,000 to be the face and representation of Black America’s Cannabis business; if this is true, Sharpton as again sold out and coon’d the black community once again. In the lead-up to the fourth annual Cannabis World Congress Business (CWCB) Exposition in New York City earlier this summer, Rev. Al Sharpton had strong words for the cannabis industry.

Sharpton, a famous civil rights activist and political commentator known for (and sometimes criticized for) his left-leaning views on race, said that people of color need to do more to break into the industry. According to the Huffington Post, Sharpton said that “Just because I don’t use marijuana as a minister, does not mean I have the right to impose my moral values on others. However, I will challenge the cannabis industry and its distributors in states where it is legal to support civil rights movements and ensure that we are not disproportionately excluded from business opportunities.

The cannabis industry itself has been largely white.

…Enter Bonita “Bo” Money, a West Coast businesswoman.

Bonita “Bo” Money

Bonita “Bo” Money is best known for her behind-the-scenes work in Hollywood. Despite having success as a producer early on in her career, with the likes of “Let Me Ride” by Dr. Dre and other big name projects, she surprisingly still faced many barriers.   Bo found that being, not only a young up-and-coming producer but also a young ethnic female, left her fighting for equal pay, respect, and most importantly a network of like-minded women. It’s no surprise then that Bo joined the “Green Rush” on an entrepreneurial whim, but with the complex legalities of an emerging industry that’s still considered federally illegal, Bo did what any smart women would do, foster genuine connections. As Bo learned to navigate the tricky landscape of this illegally legal plant, one of her best friends developed a case of MRSA, a bacterium responsible for causing debilitating almost untreatable infections in humans. It was out of this pure need, to provide her dear friend with compassion and healing, that Bo was able to co-create That Glass Jara powerful cannabis-infused healing topical cream proven to cure the MRSA bacteria as well as a number of other serious illnesses. She quickly found however that touting a cannabis-infused topical was no easy feat. Not while our federal government refuses to acknowledge the medicinal properties of cannabis, a Schedule I drug for which they’ve secured a medical patent.   The whole experience has led Bo to her niche, creating connections to build communities and open doors for all aspiring cannapreneurs, whether they’re working directly or indirectly with the plant. To our great fortune that resulted in her co-founding Women Abuv Ground, a networking organization dedicated to introducing women of color to the cannabis industry, which is by far the only platform to take on such a critical mission. Bo not only knows what it takes but is also eager to share the wealth of information.  “The thing about it is, if you’re not connected, like with any industry, it’s very difficult,” said Bo.

Bonita “Bo” Money provides us with the following facts about women in the cannabis industry:

Women hold 36% of leadership positions in the entire cannabis industry and if you think that number is low, just wait to hear how many minorities hold leadership positions. But know that you’ll have to wait a couple of months, years, maybe. That’s because there is currently no state mandated programs to review such demographic data regarding cannabis business owners. Our guess is that it will be just as shocking as the national average, according to the Survey of Business owners, only a mere 14% of owners are minorities. That’s largely due to the fact that opening up shop requires qualifications and connections as well as large sums of financial and social capital. Add to this a clean record and instantly minorities can find themselves at a huge disadvantage.

“The war on drugs was very biased, very racial…now its creating exclusion for the people of color, because of their criminal record around drugs they’re unable to get licensed,” stated Bonita Money, and as a former producer turned successful Cannapreneurs, she’s well qualified to speak on the subject.

Join Ronald A. Edwards (Black Focus) and Don Allen (The Independent Business News Network) with special guest Bonita “Bo” Money for an eye-opening EXCLUSIVE.


Colin Kaepernick could take the Minnesota Vikings to the Super Bowl?

Colin Kaepernick a Minnesota Viking?

Note: Don’t be a Redneck.

By Don Allen, Publisher

Minneapolis, Minn…Yeah, I know…he wouldn’t stand for the National Anthem and now all of the God fearing patriots and NFL front offices are afraid to hire Colin on their team to take them to the Super Bowl; but what about Minnesota? Hey, I’m a veteran; I salute flags when I drive by them…I always will. I know what it means to be a patriot.

Minnesotans boast they’re the nicest, kindest and non-racist bunch of folks in the United States. Could we show the world that regardless of having the worst wealth and education gap in the U.S. between whites and blacks, we are a kind people and would like Colin to take our team, the Vikings to the Super Bowl in 2018? Stranger things have happened. ESPN staff writer Bill Barnwell penned, “NFL quality of play isn’t worse (but Colin Kaepernick might make it better),” asking the question, “Does the NFL have a quality-of-play problem? Over the first two weeks of the season, it’s fair to say that the league hasn’t exactly delivered much in the way of exciting action. Furthermore, if you really believe that there’s a quality-of-play issue built around offensive problems, there’s a quarterback sitting in the free-agent market who would be an upgrade for a handful of teams and a high-quality backup in case of injury for just about every other team. You can’t simultaneously make an argument saying that the league is suffering from a dearth of quarterbacks and also suggest that Colin Kaepernick doesn’t deserve a meaningful role in the NFL.”

But is this true? The only reason the NFL and and the mainstream dislike Kaepernick is because he stood up for Black Americans, you know, the guys and gals that were not human’s when the Constitution of the United States was written by some old white guys who owned slaves. Does this mean that America is moving backwards in a direction when people owned people? In an unrelated, but related story from The Guardian titled, “Median wealth of black Americans’ will fall to zero by 2053′, warns new report.” This report says that by 2020, median black and Latino households stand to lose nearly 18% and 12% of the wealth they held in 2013 respectively, while median white household wealth increases by 3%,” the report states. “At that point – just three (3) years from now – white households are projected to own 86 times more wealth than black households, and 68 times more wealth than Latino households (Lartey, 2017).

Colin Kaepernick could be the controversial shot in the arm Minnesota needs; I mean my goodness, the most winningest team we (MN) have are those wonderful Minnesota Lynx (Personally, I think the city should rename the Target Center, the Lynx Center – it’s only right).

But I know, Minnesota doesn’t like controversy but comfortable with it’s passive-aggressive behavior disorder and as people of color, we sit silent lead by people that look like us who have sold us out during the Tim Pawlenty administration (former governor of MN), and the current governor holds the ship on course firm and in the direction to disenfranchise any one a shade darker than khaki except for a select few house folks who like waking up to slave dust.

Yeah, I don’t like millionaire cry-babies either, but hell, Colin Kaepernick was letting American know that it has an issue with black people; sans the police shootings in every city in the United States of America, the people lowest on the food chain just happen to have a color, race and overwhelming disparities. Like the opioid epidemic, if the prejudice towards Colin Kaepernick happened to anyone else in another culture, there would be an official statement from the governor’s office on how we’d rid society of this heinous problem.

I say what do we have to lose? Let Colin Kaepernick be a Minnesota Viking.

A Pragmatic Look at Translanguaging and Codeswitching for Teachers

“An excellent job with this paper, Don! You chose a very timely topic—in fact, I witnessed a discussion as to whether or not translanguaging was a useful ‘new’ term or not at a conference just last year. Your paper shows that there is indeed a difference and thus the term is useful to describe a specific set of linguistic behaviors. This paper was an absolute pleasure to read. It was well organized and your discussion was carefully presented and supported by the research. Thank you!”

~Professor Jennifer Killam – Hamline University 2017

By Don Allen, M.A. Ed. 


Translanguaging and Code Switching, parts of English. (photo: Linguistic Code Switching? YouTube)

In a bid to understand how translanguaging and codeswitching  can be perceived in the classroom, there are several comparisons made between the linguistic features such as translanguaging and codeswitching  and their similarities. Several literatures were reviewed in order to understand the basis of the linguistic features in urban English speaking classroom and the importance of the knowledge to the teachers. The introduction of codeswitching  and translanguaging is apparently a hallmark of bilingual communities world-wide and it has only begun to attract serious scholarly attention in the last few decades. These worldwide translanguaging and codeswitching  practices are taken for what they are, namely the normal mode of communication that, with some exceptions in some monolingual enclaves, characterizes communities throughout the world.


Presently, educational programs as regards bilingual and multilingual are gradually increasing. The last four decades have witnessed several global events that have accelerated the process of globalization. The global events have increased the wide spread of English as a lingua franca and the renewal of minority and heritage languages. The change in the approach from monolingual to multilingualism has contributed majorly to the development of field of multilingual research. However, language programs around the globe are still grounded on a monolingual bias and insist on reinforcing traditional monolingual behavior in the language classroom. Though CS is apparently a hallmark of bilingual communities world-wide, it has only begun to attract serious scholarly attention in the last few decades. Researchers first dismissed intrasentential codeswitching  as random and deviant (Weinreich 1953) but are now unanimous in the conviction that it is grammatically constrained. The basis for this conviction is the empirical observation that bilinguals tend to switch intrasententially at certain (morpho) syntactic boundaries and not at others.


Codeswitching involves the use of two or more languages, varieties, or even dialects within a single language turn. This occurs both inside and outside of classrooms. Several scholars have attempted to define code-switching and code-mixing. According to Hymes (1974) codeswitching  is a common term for alternative use of two or more languages varieties of a language or even speech styles. Also Bokamba (1989) proposed that code-switching is the mixing of words, phrases and sentences from two distinct grammatical (sub) systems across sentence boundaries within the same speech event.

Codeswitching is a widespread phenomenon in bilingual speech, and it is therefore not surprising that a great proportion of research on bilingualism focuses on codeswitching . Most researchers, who have paid attention to code-switching, have however been concerned with the sociological interpretation and discourse functions, i.e. the socio-pragmatic aspect of code-switching. For this reason, linguists who do not specialize in bilingualism often automatically assume that research in codeswitching means sociolinguistic research. It is certainly an interesting issue to investigate when and why a speaker chooses one linguistic variety rather than another: this can be explained by stylistic or metaphorical motivation, where factors such as the interlocutor, social role, domain, topic, venue, medium, and type of interaction play an important role. In this case, language alternation can also serve as a conversational cue, expressing attitudes towards language or marking linguistic identity (Auer (ed.) 1998). Only in recent years has research on the patterns of codeswitching, i.e. its grammatical structure, become increasingly focused on in bilingualism research (s. Myers-Scotton 2002).

Researchers in this field discuss the types of code-switching structures that are possible within a given data set. It is possible to offer interesting indications about the underlying structure of language systems by analyzing code-switching constraints, i.e. the points within a sentence at which the transition from one language to the other is possible. This approach can be described as the grammatical approach to code-switching (Auer 1998).

Codeswitching scholarship within sociocultural linguistics may be divided into several (sometimes overlapping) streams. For the purposes of this paper, three broad areas will be discussed: the social psychological approach of Myers-Scotton’s markedness model (1993) and related work; analyses of identity and code choice; and studies of the effect of codeswitchin  on talk in interaction. This last category, largely based on conversation analysis, tends to view codeswitching  behavior both as a method of organizing conversational exchange and as a way to make knowledge of the wider context in which conversation takes place relevant to an ongoing interaction.

Codeswitching  and borrowing are based on some principled combination of elements of the monolingual (i.e., unmixed) vernaculars of the bilingual community, it is important to have as explicit an idea as possible of the nature of these vernaculars before concluding that a code-mixed element is behaving like one or the other. The analysis of code-mixing as a discourse mode requires access to the grammars of the contact languages as they are spoken, and spoken language is characterized by structural variability. In confronting, rather than evading this variability, Sankoff et al. (1990) and Poplack and Meechan (1998) developed a method to compare bilingual structures with the unmixed source languages of the same speakers. Making use of the framework of linguistic variation theory (Labov 1969), the inherent variability of such forms is used to determine their status. If the rate and distribution of, for example, case-marking of the contentious lone other-language items show quantitative parallels to those of their counterparts in the (unmixed) recipient language, while at the same time differing from relevant patterns in the donor language, the lone other-language items are inferred to be borrowed, since only the grammar of the recipient language is operative. If they pattern with their counterparts in the (unmixed) donor language, while at the same time differing from the patterning in the unmixed recipient language, the lone other-language items must result from CS. Quantitative analysis of language mixing phenomena in typologically distinct language pairs shows that lone other-language items, especially major-class content words, are by far the most important component of mixed discourse. These lone items show the same fine details of quantitative conditioning of phonological, morphological, and syntactic variability as dictionary-attested loanwords, both of which in turn parallel their unmixed counterparts in the recipient language (Poplack and Meechan 1998). This tendency is apparent regardless of the linguistic properties of the language pair. This is evidence that most lone items are borrowed, even if only for the nonce, despite the lack, in some cases, of dictionary attestation or diffusion within the community.


Translanguaging differs from the notion of code-switching in that it refers not simply to a shift or a shuttle between two languages, but to the speakers’ construction and use of original and complex interrelated discursive practices that cannot be easily assigned to one or another traditional definition of language, but that make up the speakers’ complete language repertoire.” (García & Wei 2014)

The term translanguaging was first coined by Williams (1994) to refer to a pedagogical practice in Welsh schools where two languages were employed within the same lesson. As an example, students were asked to read in Welsh and write in English. Therefore, both languages alternated. Since this first definition, the concept of translanguaging has been further developed over the last decades in line with the change of language paradigm moving from monolingualism to multilingualism (see Lewis, Jones & Baker, 2012, for a review). At present, the term translanguaging is not only employed in education, but in all multilingual spaces, from homes to streets. In fact, translanguaging refers to “the communicative norm of multilingual communities” (García & Sylvan, 2011, p. 389).

Also García (2009, p. 44) proposed that Translanguaging is an approach to bilingualism that is centered not on languages as has often been the case, but on the practices of bilinguals that are readily observable. These worldwide translanguaging practices are seen here not as marked or unusual, but rather taken for what they are, namely the normal mode of communication that, with some exceptions in some monolingual enclaves, characterizes communities throughout the world.

More specifically, Canagarajah (2011, p. 401) claims that translanguaging refers to “the ability of multilingual speakers to shuttle between languages, treating the diverse languages that form their repertoire as an integrated system”. Such conception contrasts with a monolingual perspective according to which languages were conceived as bound systems located in separated boxes in the brain. In line with current models, such as the Dynamic Model of Multilingualism proposed by Herdina and Jessner (2002) suggests that multilingual speakers use the language systems in their linguistic repertoire as a continuum and not as entities detached from each other.

Nevertheless, to the best of our knowledge, very few studies to date have explored the translanguaging practices of very young learners, although the one conducted by García, Makar, Starcevic and Terry in 2011 can be considered one of the few exceptions. García et al. (2011) analyze the language practices of 37 preschoolers aged five and six at a school located in the city of New York. The school follows a two-way dual bilingual program in which Spanish and English are taught as vehicular languages. Even though classes are supposed to be only in English or only in Spanish, the authors describe how these young multilingual learners use translanguaging for six functions: (1) To mediate understandings among each other; (2) To construct meaning of what the other is saying; (3) To construct meaning within themselves; (4) To include others; (5) To exclude others, and; (6) to demonstrate knowledge. According to García et al.’s (2011) findings, the most common function of translanguaging is to co-construct meaning. However, the focus of this study is on a bilingual program, and, as far as we know, very few studies have taken into consideration the interaction of more than two languages inside the same.


Language experts across the globe have investigated in their experiments the causes, functions, characteristics and effects of code-switching. Such investigations on the causes of the phenomena, for instance, have revealed sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic factors. One is bilingualism or language contact that results “in lexical borrowings and mixture of English and vernacular expression” in the speech of West African bilinguals (Ansre, 1971; Bamgbose, 1971; Cheng & Butler, 1989). Some are status, integrity, self-pride, comfortability and prestige (Akere, 1977; Bokamba, 1989; Hymes, 1962; Kachru, 1989; Kamwangamalu, 1989). Other causes include modernisation, westernization, efficiency, professionalism and social advancement (Kachru, 1989; Kamwangamalu, 1989). According to these scholars, some of the functions of code-switching and code-mixing are intra-group identity (Gumperz, 1982); poetic creativity (Kachru, 1989) and the expression of modernisation (Kamwangamalu, 1989). One of the major characteristics of both phenomena is their imposition as the norm of language use in the most bilingual communities (Kamwangamalu, 1989). Among their effects, however, are undermining of certain traditional values (Kachru, 1989), innovations in the structure of one of the other of the languages code-switched and code-mixed (Kamwangamalu, 1989) and making one language to be more dominant than the other, thereby causing the individual to switch always to the dominant language (Cheng & Butler, 1989). It is observed that all the studies on the phenomena reviewed so far above are silent on the implication the phenomena have on language acquisition right from childhood. It is this area that this study focuses and explores in order to verify what the situational implications are in respect of the acquisition of language in childhood.


The foregoing study appears to have shown that code-switching and translanguaging correlate positively with the educational attainment of individuals. As shown also, both phenomena have their merits as well as demerits in the speech repertoire of their users. Some of the functions of code-switching and are intra-group identity (Gumperz, 1982); poetic creativity (Kachru, 1989) and the expression of modernization (Kamwangamalu, 1989). Translanguaging refers to the ability of multilingual speakers to shuttle between languages, treating the diverse languages that form their repertoire as an integrated system. Such conception contrasts with a monolingual perspective according to which languages were conceived as bound systems located in separated boxes in the brain.


Bokamba, E. 1989. Are there Syntactic Constraints on Code-mixing? World Englishes 8(3).

Canagarajah, S. (2011). Codemeshing in academic writing: Identifying teachable strategies of translanguaging. The Modern Language Journal, 95, 401–417.

Cheng, L. & Butler, K. (1989). Code-switching: A Natural Phenomenon vs. Language Deficiency. World Englishes 8(3).

García, O., Makar, C., Starcevic, M., & Terry, A. (2011). The translanguaging of Latino kindergartners.

Gumperz, J.J. (1982). Discourse Strategies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Herdina, P., & Jessner, U. (2002). A dynamic model of multilingualism: Perspectives of change in psycholinguistics. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Hymes, D. (1962). The Ethnography in Speaking. In: T. Gladwin (ed.), Anthropology And Man Behaviour. Washington.

Kachru, Y. (1989). Code-mixing, Style Repertoire and Language Variation: English in Hindu Poetic Creativity. World Englishes 8(3).

Kamwangamalu, N. (1989). Code-mixing and Modernisation. World Englishes 8(3).

Labov, W. (1969) Contraction, deletion, and inherent variability of the English copula. Language 45(4): 715–62

Lewis, G., Jones, B., & Baker, C. (2012) Translanguaging: origins and development from school to street and beyond. Educational Research and Evaluation: An International Journal on Theory and Practice, 18 (7), 641-654. doi:10.1080/13803611.2012.718488

Myers-Scotton, C., (1993) Duelling Languages. Clarendon Press, Oxford, UK

Poplack S, M., (1998) Instant Loans, Easy Conditions: The Productivity of Bilingual Borrowing; Special Issue of the International Journal of Bilingualism. Kingston Press, London

Rothman, J. & Potowski, K. (2011). Bilingual youth: Spanish in English speaking societies pp. 33-55). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Weinreich, U. (1968) Languages in contact. Mouton, The Hague

Williams, C. (1994). An evaluation of teaching and learning methods in the context of bilingual secondary education. Bangor: University of Wales.




Why local media did not report about stabbing victim in downtown Minneapolis

Downtown Minneapolis’ Warehouse District; once a place of fun and excitement, now a place to watch who you pass on the streets. (photo: Meet Minneapolis – Fair Use, Google Search).

If it bleeds, it leads; not in the case of a 24-year old black American female that almost lost her life in downtown Minneapolis. Remember, the Super Bowl is coming and we don’t talk anything but “Minnesota Nice” in the ugly eye of oversights.

By Don Allen, Publisher – IBNN NEWS

24-year old Myra Reed is laying in a hospital bed at HCMC with eight staples in her heart from a knife attack that went in her stomach, up through her liver and pierced her heart. Her aunt, Angela Edwards tells the story about what happened from Reed who now is coming out of a fog from this violent encounter.

“Myra was in a shelter in downtown Minneapolis and might have got into an argument with some other women. As she was being attacked, laying on the ground, someone passed  the young woman fighting Myra a butcher knife and that’s all my nice remembers,” said Edwards.

Downtown Minneapolis’ Warehouse Distirct has become a area of great concern and rising crime. While the city of Minneapolis wants to play-down the violent after club crime in the streets, others, including this author are troubled by the once “fun area” of Minneapolis on some nights turning into a gang-land shooting and stabbing range.

In June of 2017, the City Pages published, “17 years of watching downtown Minneapolis go from vibrant to shaky to frightful,” by Carter Averbeck who wrote:

“One would think I live in a war zone, and that notion wouldn’t be wrong. The police now have become reactive instead of proactive. Political restrictions placed on them by a higher level of city government render their abilities almost futile, since a crime has to happen before they can act.And city council? When I send them the footage, I am lucky if I even get a response back. In the case that I do, it’s usually some slick rhetoric that does nothing to solve the issue, while real time crime continues to escalate.

Myra Reed might have not been the most perfect Minnesotan, but she lived the best way she could. Living in shelters, trying to get your life back together is not an easy task; but when someone has reached an animalistic level of terror and attacks with intent to kill, there is something very wrong in a system that overlooks the “least of thee” in what should have been headline news at 6pm and at least a mention in the local newspapers. Reed was stabbed on Tuesday, August 9 with no media coverage.

Sources tell IBNN, the City of Minneapolis is not willing to give up on downtown Minneapolis with alleged plans to ship “shelter people” far away from the city during the Super Bowl events, making it seem like Minneapolis is some type of Urban Shangri-La.

What has happened to Ms. Reed has happened to many more in downtown Minneapolis; most incidents of this nature go unreported because of the demographic of this population: Poor, of color, veterans, families, children and all homeless – a combination best left alone, not talked about and most of all hidden from the people and millions of dollars the city will make during one of the largest sporting events in the world.

In a mayoral election year, I’m sure no one is concerned about Ms. Reed; and certainly, the mainstream media is in collaboration with the city to make sure “bad” stays “silent.”

Minneapolis mayoral candidate Al Flowers on Twin Cities New Talk

Al Flowers with Michael Eric Dyson.

By IBNN NEWS – (Sponsored Placement)

Al Flowers, candidate in a crowded field of contenders for Minneapolis’ mayoral seat that is up for grabs in 2017. Local mainstream media outlets, mainly the Star Tribune have ignored Flowers and have taken quotes out of context and attributed them to other candidates in what we think is an attempt to silence Flowers and his come-from behind non-traditional approach.

On Monday, July 31 around 8:00AM, Minneapolis mayoral candidate will mix it up with the two most important men in political talk radio: Jon Justice and Drew Lee of the “Justice and Drew Show” on Twin Cities News Talk, AM 1130/FM 103.5; an #iHeartRadio station.

Flowers says, “I humbled by this opportunity to be on such a powerful radio program and I hope that listeners will tune in and hear what I have to say. I’m not scared to answer any question, but I also want to make sure the real story gets out,” said Flowers.

Over a month ago, a north Minneapolis mother was traumatized when she came home and found her 15-year old daughter in the bedroom closet dead from hanging herself. The Star Tribune, fully briefed on the situation never wrote a story about the circumstances surrounding the young girls’ death, nor that she was interrogate by police for over four-hours who sought information about a local north Minneapolis murder the young child might, or might not have witnessed.

Flowers is instrumental in making sure the public has the opportunity to review police body camera footage planting himself in the state legislature in 2016 demanding that privacy wasn’t just for the police and local news agencies.

About Al Flowers – Truth to the People! www.TruthtothePeople.com

Al Flowers believes that police accountability starts with the City of Minneapolis following the Federal Mediation Agreement between the Police Federation and the community.

The black elected and Al.

Al Flowers reveals his New Housing Policy and Funding Platform at the Northside Minneapolis Mayoral Forum.

Al Flowers work includes organizing for the The North Minneapolis African American Housing Opportunity Survey in collaboration University of Minnesota Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA).

Communities are united together to get needs met for all in Minneapolis under Al Flowers leadership. Whether you are White, Somali, Latino, LGBT, Hmong, young, elderly, or Black, you have a seat at the table.

Al Flowers Creates Community Dialogue

Al Flowers has shown through the radio and TV the importance of talking to people. We need a Mayor who will excel in walking into every community and have an authentic dialogue, not just there for a photo-op.

Al Flowers Respects People

Minneapolis has become a nation wide embarrassment for our horrendous police-community relations. It has gotten to the point that people do not call the 911 because they view the police making the situation even worse. This has got to stop. Al Flowers believes that the Minneapolis Police should serve all residents in this city.

Al Flowers Brings Common Sense Government

Too much bureaucracy is getting in the way providing good policies and resources to people. Al Flowers knows that basic rights are not “privileges” and getting paid for your work is not an “entitlement”. Al Flowers has established programs with many to meet the needs of families and individuals in Minneapolis.

Al Flowers cares for our Elders and Youth

Al Flowers a community activist directed the meeting of with community leaders, faith leaders and police officials talking about the recent outbreak of violence on North side.] A group of community leaders met with police officials and others today to talk about shootings and homicides that have pushed the north side to near boiling point. In the basement of New Bethel Baptist Church, Community Standards Initiative was held with community leaders, faith leaders and police officials talking about the recent outbreak of violence on North side. Richard.Sennott@startribune.com Richard Sennott/Star Tribune Minneapolis Minn. Wednesday 7/9/2014)

As a family man, Al Flowers had committed to seeing our young people be provided with positive choices in education. Providing positive choices for young people will results in positive outcomes for years to come. In addition, Al Flowers is concerned that the needs of our elders are not seen and heard. Needs of those who help built our communities need to be met and with out any exceptions

Al Flowers has Strength and Dedication

Often times fragile egos get in the way of getting things done. Politicians would rather be heard they are right then doing what is right for the people. Al Flowers has demonstrated the strength to pursue good ideas and is dedicated to do what is best for our communities.

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