Posted by: brendablackmonmy9 | November 7, 2011

Power-Gotta Have It!

Hi there! It’s been awhile I know. Actually I’m too embarassed to write myself, so my students are doing it for me.  Allow me to introduce them, one at a time, first names only to protect their privacy.  Short sentences only to protect their brain power.  They are talented, enthusiastic, creative and hopefully learning more every class about ethics and the media. Today’s conversation-one you’ve probably talked about too, especially if you live in the area of New Jersey or Connecticut affected by the power going out!

Bonnie, an athlete from Germany writes, “No one ever really told you when the power definitely will be back. The electric companies in charge…should be more responsible!”  Lonnie from Florida writes, ” Was it right to put everybody in one gym when forced to leave the dorms?” Abbas named the adventure, “Trick or Sleet”. “I was left locked out of my hotel that would not compensate me for the night.”  The Bronx was quite a distance from class!  Michael says, ” No power so I was bored out of my mind. What the hell? I had a paper due Monday that I couldn’t do.”  Bryan is doing what the utility companies should-thinking ahead, “Shouldn’t there be a contingency plan???”  Edward went home to Massachusetts, 3-4 hours! Only to be told to come back!   Did someone forget the state of emergency and hazardous travel situation?!  He missed 3 classes, no fault of his own.  Alfredo reports there were some unethical ghosts playing pranks on unsuspecting people caught in the dark. Shame on the spooky trespassers!  Waydell reminds tech people, no power means cell phones running on low; text messages or calls, important ones about what to do and where to go during the storm, don’t get through!And even worse, there was no hot water.  Tayona also writes, cold showers are no fun. Everyone knew it would snow, but had no idea what kind of damage it would cause.  Anna writes, “Trees crashed on power lines. Traffic lights didn’t work. ” Jason adds, as an athlete, “I know how difficult it was to get homework done, not sleep in our own beds, hardly eat during day, and still compete in games or practices.”  Gary describes it as a scary adventure, choosing, “I did not stay in my apartment near campus.  I was at home in Jersey City relaxing.”  And Tabitha had the favorite: ” It even ruined plans but not for me!  hahaha!  I was still able to go through my everyday life normally. I still had electricity, heat and hot water:-)  Dejan sums up the sentiment, indeed. “Saturday was a day to remember.”

Posted by: brendablackmonmy9 | November 16, 2010

FDA-My Say

In America we get to have our say in the way our country is run.  Never was that message made clearer to me than today.  I got to testify in an open Public Hearing of the ACC (Arthritis Advisory Committee).  They discussed the biologic license application (BLA) 125370, belimumab, proposed trade name Benylysta, in lupus patients.  Bottom line, the first drug for patients with lupus in 5o years!  Meetings like this allow the FDA to get advice from scientifically knowledgeable advisors in an open forum, along with people like me who are not medical folk…just families and victims of the disease.  We get to say how the disease has affected us. And we get 3 minutes to do that.

   Think about it.  If you had 3 minutes to tell someone how your life had changed because of a disease and how it could impact the rest of your life, the lives of countless others who still suffer and even those yet unborn who will come into this world with no hope for living past a certain age without pain every day…suffering for days and weeks at a time…and watching families hurt knowing there is nothing to help.  No drugs.  No time.  No hope.   Put all that into 3 minutes.  That’s what I tried to do today.  Here is my 3 minute talk before the hearing in the Washington area this afternoon.  I’ll share the outcome at the end.

   GOOD AFTERNOON. MY NAME IS BRENDA BLACKMON. (I ESTABLISH NO CONNECTION TO THE DRUG COMPANY OR ITS PARTNERS, ETC. and I start to cry-can’t help it) MY DAUGHTER, KELLY, HAS LUPUS.  SHE WAS AN HONOR STUDENT, ON HER WAY TO LAW SCHOOL, GONNA MARRY HER COLLEGE SWEETHEART AND HAVE THE LIFE EVERY MOM DREAMS FOR HER DAUGHTER.  FAST FORWARD THREE YEARS LATER.

I WAS SITTING IN THE ICU OF ENGLEWOOD HOSPITAL IN NEW JERSEY, HOLDING MY DAUGHTER’S HAND.  SHE HAD LOST 30 POUNDS IN LESS THAN A MONTH.  SHE WAS CONNECTED TO LIFE SUPPORT.  I HAD CRIED AND PRAYED AT HER BEDSIDE FOR 52 DAYS, ALONGSIDE HER HUSBAND, HER COLLEGE SWEETHEART.

   AN OVERNIGHT HOSPITAL STAY FROM WHAT I DESCRIBE AS A “HOUSE” TV EPISODE-ONLY THIS WAS FOR REAL.  LUPUS ATTACKED KELLY’S BRAIN.  14 DOCTORS WITH SPECIALITIES IN HEART, KIDNEYS, LUNGS, MUSCLES, BRAIN AND THE NERVOUS SYSTEM HAD ALL GIVEN UP ON HER.  EVEN PERSONAL FRIENDS WHO WERE PHYSICIANS CAME TO SAY THEIR GOOD-BYES.  AFTERALL FOR 50 YEARS, THERE WAS NOTHING NEW TO FIGHT AGAINST LUPUS.  AND NOTHING IS TYPICAL WITH THIS CHRONIC DISEASE EXCEPT THE SUFFERING, MUCH IN SILENCE FOR THE PATIENTS AND THE FAMILIES.

   CAN YOU IMAGINE A DOCTOR TELLING YOU, YOUR DAUGHTER IS GOING TO DIE?!  YOU MUST TAKE HER OFF LIFE SUPPORT!  I ASKED GOD TO TAKE MY LIFE INSTEAD OF HERS!!!

   WE ASKED PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD TO PRAY FOR HER. THERE WAS NOTHING THAT DOCTORS COULD DO.  NO DRUGS WERE AVAILABLE TO HELP.  WE ONLY HAD PRAYER.

…….That was the half way mark of my statement.  the good news came by the time I arrived back to work after the hearing.  What could have taken months, took only hours.  The panel recommended the FDA approve the drug!  That could mean early next month Benlysta could get FDA’s stamp of approval and lupus patients and their families and communities get a special kind of treatment -hope -something they haven’t had in 50 years.

And because I live in America, I got My Say in little history today, that was as personal as it gets.

Posted by: brendablackmonmy9 | October 17, 2010

Latest Show 10-17-2010

Congressman Steve Rothman comes to New Jersey Now this morning. Guess what we’re talking about. Midterm elections, maybe? Definitely!  Just a few weeks left. Popularity for Congressional members who have seats are not  very favorable.  Could this 9th Congressional District candidate be in trouble. He gives his candid opinion, including his view of what kind of  job he thinks the President is doing. 

Peter Kasabach, Executive Director of New Jersey Future and Paul Tyahla, Excecutive Director of the Common Sense Institute of New Jersey say when it comes to that ARC tunnel project for New Jersey, it ain’t over, ’till it’s over.  It’s really a matter of who’s going to make a move first to get some sort of compromise back on track.  You have to listen to both sides talk about the political strategy that goes into making a decision that affects taxpayers and commuters, federal and state dollars.  Interesting indeed!

Political Analyst Arlene Quinones Perez, Esquire of Impact New Jersey and Republican   Strategist Greg Menken, V.P., Beckerman, both seem to believe, if Governor Chris Christie is going to make a run for President in 2012, he has to make a move now.  They tell us why.  There is serious talk about his doing just that, despite his publicly saying otherwise.  The Governor has travelled the country and gained top spot credentials from a tea party straw poll as their pick for President next time around.  A Fairleigh Dickinson Public Mind Poll rated his approval at 51 percent.

You get to rate the show Sunday at noon!  Enjoy!

Posted by: brendablackmonmy9 | October 3, 2010

October NJ Now

Hollywood’s latest take on schools is stirring up conversation nationwide on the topic of education. “Waiting for Superman” is all the buzz at the box office with plenty of public  opinion.  Our guests have their opinions too: Janellen Duffy, Vice President for Policy at the Newark Charter School Fund and Junius Williams, Director of the Abbott Leadership Institute.  You get to hear their take on it and a candid discussion that doesn’t seem to wanna end when the subject turns to charter school transparency.

It’s only been a week since Newark schools drew nationwide attention through a generous gift from Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg.  A $100 million donation gets reactions, but it also draws questions and even criticism.  Where has the attention and the money really left the education of  the children?  Mayor Cory Booker’s efforts to change the school system that’s been run by the state for more than a decade presents quite the challenge,  even WITH quite the financial supplement.   Councilman Ronald C. Rice from Newark’s West Ward tackles all the issues surrounding the education of his City’s kids.

Asdsemblyman Ralph Caputo (D) of District 28 and Assemblyman Anthony Bucco (R) of District 25 react to Governor Chris Christie’s call for education reform.  Tenure laws. Teachers’ Union.  Race to the Top Money. Everything’s on the table for discussion.  Hot topics!  Tune in!  Today at noon.  My9.

Posted by: brendablackmonmy9 | September 26, 2010

NJ Now 9/26

Who would have thought? A gift of a hundred thousand dollars would not be a good thing?  The big announcenment from Lady “O” actually had some folk saying, wait a minute, the devil may be in the details!  You gotta hear what Democratic Strategist, LeRoy Jones and the Chair of the Union County Republican Committee, Phil Morin, have to say about the Booker, Christie and Zuckerman appearance on Oprah and what it really means for Newark New Jersey.

And that’s not all! Did you catch the heckler during Governor Christie’s national tour and how the Governor got up  in his face?!  TV worth watching, for certain! The Governor’s national tour—just midterm election promotion or is he testing the Presidential waters?  The strategists give their takes on the water’s temp.

When Assemblyman John Wisniewski(D) who chairs the Transportation Committee and Senator Michael Doherty(R) of the Budget and Appropriations Committee, show up for the show, expect fireworks!  First they tackle that nine mile stretch of commuter rail line known as the ARC project set between North Jersey and Manhattan.  When federal dollars are promised and state dollars are a little short, so are tempers and discussions on possible cost overruns. Whew, it gets interesting!

You know where to watch and when don’t you? Of course. My 9. Today at noon!

Posted by: brendablackmonmy9 | September 19, 2010

NJ NOW-LAST SUMMER WKEND

There’s still time to set your tv sets for NJ Now. You don’t want to miss another discussion on mid-term elections as the race for the 12rh District is a fight to the finish!  Democratic incumbent Rush Holt has to fend off a Republican newcomer, Scott Sipprelle.  Hear how the Congressman reacts to his challenger’s comments during a candidate’s forum, the economy, the President’s plan for job creation, healthcare and education.

That’s not all! Assemblywoman Nellie Pou(D), who chairs the Appropriations Committee and Assemblyman Scott Rumana(R), on the Education Committee go at it. When it comes to budget cuts and their impact on education, these two just can’t agree and that makes for some stirring debate.  $820 million cut from the State budget but is class size really affected? Listen to their answers and decide the impact of cuts on YOUR kids.

Ryan Peane is a Republican Strategist and Raj Mukherji is a Democratic Strategist. Same question to both generates much different views, so different questions and lots of stimulating responses. We mix it up as we talk about the Governor’s plan for reforming the State. 

‘Ya gotta tune it to test the waters and enjoy. Every Sunday afternoon.  Meet ‘ya in front of the tv set (or computer) (or phone)🙂

Posted by: brendablackmonmy9 | August 14, 2010

NJ NOW-8/15/2010

Today on New Jersey Now, Senator Bob Mendendez recaps a busy two years on Capital Hill that haven’t been free of criticism and controversy while reform has come on many fronts: health care, wall street and jobs!  He and Senator Frank Lautenberg are working tirelessly too in the investigation into the release of Abdel Baset Al-Megrahi, the Lockerie bomber set free from a Scottish prison last year on “compassionate grounds” when doctors claimed he had only three months to live from terminal prostate cancer.  They lied! And the Senator is fighting to get the convicted criminal back in jail and find out why he was really set free.

   The subject of oil came up and we talked about it. You’ve got to hear what he has found!. Major bills passed and the mid-term elections are here. The Senator tackles all fronts.

   There’s fun stuff too. You have to describe The Jersey Shore as fun, no not the show. Assemblyman Jon Bramnick, who serves as Republican Conference Leader talks shore options with us, along with Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, a member of  the Tourism and the Arts Committee.  It’s  a lively discussion and some cuts from The Jersey Shore-the show.

   There is a contest!  You can enter!  We’ll tell you alllllllll about it!

   And the Social Security Administration celebrated 75 years with cake this past week. But do you see anything worth celebrating when you think about what your future earnings in SSI look like?  Can you do anything now to change that? Who knows better than The Money Coach-Lynette Khalfani-Cox.  She has some tips you gotta hear and adhere!  She’s a financial coach with a plan and with her help,  you can have a better plan for your later years.

   Sunday at noon on My9. See ‘ya then!

Posted by: brendablackmonmy9 | August 8, 2010

NJ NOW-TODAY!

DID YOU GO TO SLEEP AND WAKE UP THINKING FEARS OF DEPORTATION AND FAMILY SEPARATION WERE OVER? THINK AGAIN. 

COULD YOU HAVE EVER DREAMED THAT PEOPLE BROUGHT TO AMERICA TO WORK BY BUSINESSES WHICH PROMISED THEM DREAMS OF A  BETTER LIFE FOR THEIR FAMILIES PUT THEM IN A POSITION TO THREATEN DREAMS OF ALL AMERICANS?

NOW TO THE CONTINUING BATTLE OVER IMMIGRATION! IS IT GETTING SO CLOSE TO HOME HERE IN NEW JERSEY, THAT WE TOO ARE TAKING TO THE STREETS IN PROTEST?! IS THE  ARIZONA IMMIGRATION LAW SPREADING?

DR. GAYLE KESSELMAN, CO-FOUNDER OF NEW JERSEY CITIZENS FOR IMMIGRATION CONTROL  AND DANIEL SANTO-PIETRO, PUBLIC POLICY CHAIR FOR LATINO ACTION NETWORK ARE BRAVING THE STORM OF CONTROVERY TO TALK ABOUT IT ON NEW JERSEY NOW TODAY AT NOON ON MY 9 WITH ME.

BUT FIRST WE’RE TAKING ON A BIG BATTLE IN NEWARK – THAT NASTY DEBATE BETWEEN THE MAYOR, THE RESIDENTS AND THE CITY COUNCIL OVER THE CITY’S 70 MILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT!

CUTS HAVE SCRAPED THE BARREL: WORKER FURLOUGHS , TOILET PAPER PURCHASE REDUCTIONS, AND A  PROPOSED MUNICIPAL UTILITIES AUTHORITY TO IMPROVE THE  CITY’S WATER SYSTEM THAT GOT FLUSHED, FAST!

WHO SITS IN THE HOT SEATS TO IRON IT ALL OUT?  NEWARK CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT DONALD PAYNE, JR  AND WEST WAR COUNCILMAN RONALD C. RICE. TV WORTH WATCHING!

AND THAT’S NOT ALL.  A CANDIDATE’S FORUM WRAPS IT ALL UP WITH THE MIDTERM ELECTIONS COMING UP.  WHO IS IT AND WHAT’S HE SAYING? SURPRISE! YOU GOTTA WATCH TO FIND OUT! NOON ON NINE-NEW JERSEY NOW!

Posted by: brendablackmonmy9 | March 31, 2010

Wednesday’s Blogs

Blog 1

Women’s History Month

“I have a confession to make. I do not know a lot about history and that includes anything that has to do with Women’s history month. I am however grateful for all the things women have done in the past that made it possible for life now to be the way it is. I can’t imagine having to go through a struggle to overcome oppression and the women who did have to go through things like that and to be looked upon as heroes.

Even women now, who are CEO’s of corporations, housewives, etc. they should all be given respect. All women do something that affects the world. Every woman is important.” AC

Blog 2

Women’s Rights

“Today I was watching the Tyra show… The topic of the show was about women who were happy and satisfied being single with no kids at an older age.  It just so happens it’s women’s rights month and in today’s world women have gotten more independent than ever.  For the first 30 minutes of the show they had a debate of married women and non-married women.  Some women in the show stated that a woman needed to be married with a spouse and kids.  She proclaimed that the bible made it clear that women were only made for making babies and to be the care giver while the man becomes the provider.  While the other side of the room (non-married) proclaimed that they are fine by themselves making their own money, and are happy not married, or not with kids.  I think that it’s great that women love themselves and don’t feel pressured or obligated to get married very fast because of how society will think of you.  It shows we are more independent than ever.”  DG

Blog 3

“Since I was a little girl, I’ve learned about so many different influential women and what they’ve done to change the world for the better; Amelia Earhart, Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller and Rosa Parks to name a few. These women have done amazing things that have impacted the world, such as fighting for equality and defying all odds while still making a difference. While all of these women deserve a round of applause and much more, the woman that has influenced me the most is not a woman that you’ll find in any history text book. She’s not a woman that has any distinguished awards, she’s not even a woman that asks for any recognition at all. She is the most selfless person I know, working night shifts at the hospital from 7 in the evening until 7 in the morning. She works hard but spends no money on herself. She is a woman who puts her family before everything in the world. She is a woman that, although not famous or recognized, receives praise from all that know her, and that woman is my mom. Even though she is not known by millions of people as a life changing woman, my mom is influential and an important woman in my life. She taught me that it is better to give than to receive, that it is important to put family first, and to never take anything for granted. My mom is strong and loving and the mother I hope to be someday. My mom is no superhero, but she is my superhero and for women’s history month this year, I’m going to think of my mom, along with Rosa Parks and Helen Keller, and I’m going to be thankful that there are people like these great women to guide us all.”  JD

Posted by: brendablackmonmy9 | March 30, 2010

Tuesday’s Blog

Women’s History Month

“When I think of women’s history month I really would love to rattle off a bunch of names of successful, brilliant, accomplished women through out time. I owe it to them, and I recognize the efforts that women put in decades before to give me the rights that I do have now. I respect each and every one of them, from earning women the right to vote, to education, and the rights in the workplace.

But what I really want to acknowledge for Women’s History Month are the women in my life today. I find myself at home, school, and work surrounded by admirable women.

At home, I have to congratulate my grandmother for being the woman she is today. She has worked her entire life, owned her own business, been a single mother raising two boys, and held a job until she retired at the age of 72. She has taken care of not only her own children, but grandchildren as well. She grew up in a time when women were not expected to go to University or College unless they had money, and even then they were looked down upon.  She lost both her husbands but still raised two boys, working full time to support them-owning her own house. My grandmother taught me to never take anyone’s crap, no matter what sex they are. She is a woman who throughout the history of her life has broken boundaries in the worst of times, and this month is for her.

At school, I acknowledge the women I have met, both peers and faculty. I have had the opportunity to work with some of the most talented, driven and articulate women at The Equinox. I also admire my advisor, Tinker (Professor Foderaro) for teaching me not only the basics and ethics of journalism and running a student news paper, but about being a woman in the scholastics, and what it takes to be a success, as a woman, in an industry dominated by men. Her rich story and history of her life makes her another woman I admire.

And at work-any job I have had I had the pleasure of working with a successful woman-whether it was at the fast food level, or the corporate news at the suite level. I once met a producer who gave me some insightful advice. We shared desks next to each other and one day she smelled my cup of coffee and said, “Oh I wish I could have some right now, that smells great.” Without even thinking and as a gesture of kindness, I offered her a cup.

Her demeanor changed instantly. She   suddenly leaned in real close across our desks and said to me in a severe tone never to offer anyone a cup of coffee. I quipped back real quick that it was just a kind gesture; I actually work at Starbucks part time and its hard not to want to offer.

She said, as women in this industry, you have to make it clear to anyone-even another woman that you will not be walked upon. She told me that my part time job only existed when I was there and that it wasn’t who I am. She told me that you will not become someone’s slave. You will not get someone’s coffee. That once you step into the office, even as an intern you are just as powerful and meaningful as the executive producer.

At first, I was pissed. I just offered to grab a cup of coffee! I wasn’t offering to tie her shoes. But then I thought about it more and more, and she taught me something when she basically scolded me for my kindness. She taught me that I should be who I am. She taught me to be professional and not let anyone boss me around, even as a young woman starting off in the business. She made me realize my worth. And my worth is not getting someone else a cup of coffee.

So for these women who have touched my life and the women before them-thank you.”  JV



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