Obama: Addiction is a preventable disease

— Before an audience at the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta, President Barack Obama said he wasn’t sure what it was that tipped his life away from addiction. “I wasn’t always as responsible as I am today. In many ways I was lucky, because for whatever reason addiction didn’t get it’s claws on me … except cigarettes,” he said.

“Regardless how individuals get into theses situations. We don’t know everything. There may be genetic components. Addictions may be different for different people. What we do know is there are steps that can be taken to get through addiction and get to the other side, and that is under-resourced.”

The President came to Atlanta on the heels of announcing several initiatives earlier in the day to expand addiction treatment and access. He sat on a panel moderated by CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, to discuss the ravaging opioid epidemic across the country.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 78 Americans die every day by overdosing on opioids, a family of drugs that includes legal pain medications such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, along with illicit drugs such as heroin.

On the panel with the President was Dr. Leana Wen, health commissioner for the city of Baltimore, 35-year old Crystal Oertle of Shelby, Ohio, and 28-year old Justin Luke Riley, the president and CEO of Young People in Recovery. Oertle and Riley shared their personal journeys of recovery.

Oertle was 20 years old when she started using Vicodin recreationally. She said it went from there to other prescription drugs, and when those drugs were no longer available she turned to heroin. She would use while her children were at home. She has been in recovery for the past year.

The President said it would take hearing more stories like this to focus attention on the under-resourced crisis. “The public doesn’t fully appreciate the scope of the problem,” he said, which is why he came to Atlanta “It helps to provide a greater spotlight on how to solve this problem.”

President Obama said that to fully understand and solve the issue of addiction and drug abuse, there needed to be a fundamental change in understanding of addiction as a preventable disease from law enforcement to doctors to the public.

Wen agreed, saying the current attitudes toward addiction and treatment were “unscientific, inhumane and frankly ineffective.” They too frequently ended up criminalizing addiction, she added.

WATCH: Dreams come true at Africa’s largest aviation academy

— CNN’s Zain Asher visits Ethiopian Aviation Academy where students from all over the continent receive training in everything from piloting to maintenance.

CNN Video

Dreams come true at Africa’s largest aviation academy

CNN’s Zain Asher visits Ethiopian Aviation Academy where students from all over the continent receive training in everything from piloting to maintenance.

Blackonomics: Do black organizations really have our backs?

— While Black people are bogged down in shallow and meaningless political discourse, our vaunted Black organizations continue to be M.I.A. except for their time in front of the cameras with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. They say they cannot endorse candidates, but we all know that’s a sham.

In an article written by Freddie Allen of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, Marc Morial said the nine Black organizations that met with the candidates wanted to “provide to every candidate who is running for president of the United States, be they Republican or Democrat, the opportunity to hear from us on issues of civil rights, social justice, and economic justice in America, today.” Any real demands made on our behalf?

Al Sharpton said, “For the first time in American history, we will watch a Black family leave the White House and we do not want to see the concerns of Blacks leave with them.” So, that’s where our concerns have been hibernating for the past seven years; and all this time I thought Sharpton and the POTUS were taking care of them.

And, I suppose to give comfort to Clinton and Sanders, Morial said the nine historic civil rights organizations represent tens of millions of Americans and that all of their organizations were “multicultural and multi-ethnic.” Multi-cultural and multi-ethnic? That’s strange; I thought they were Black or at least “colored.”

Speaking of colored, let’s look at one of these “Black” multi-cultural/ethnic organizations.

The NAACP, known for “Nonstop Aiding and Abetting in Corrupt Practices,” in my opinion, answered the Ferguson issue by walking 130 miles to the Missouri Governor’s office, followed up by a 1,000 mile stroll from Selma to the steps of the U.S. Capitol in search of justice. Guess they didn’t find it when they got there.

This is the group that practices outright hypocrisy by railing against voter suppression and voter ID laws, while accepting and even promoting those corrupt practices within their own ranks. More specifically, this is the group that has wreaked havoc in Ohio by conducting four elections for State President, two of which were legitimately won by Jocelyn Travis over Sybil McNabb, and two of which were do-overs by the national office via its henchman, Gill Ford, to keep their chosen candidate, McNabb, in office.

In the first corrupt election over which the national office presided, children were allowed to vote for McNabb—yes, children! In the second corrupt election, which just took place on March 12, 2016, again under national supervision, the same corrupt practice used in Cincinnati was used by Gill Ford in Columbus. He suspended Travis three days prior to the election, just as he did the Cincinnati president, whom he suspended the day before the election in an obvious effort to have his chosen candidate run unopposed.

The NAACP’s “Nonstop Aiding and Abetting in Corrupt Practices” is shameful, especially in light of holding themselves up as the national champion for fairness in the voting process. Even more shameful is the fact that only a relative few members, among those who have actually seen these shenanigans take place, are willing to stand up against the NAACP’s corruption.

The good news is that a group of members throughout Ohio have followed the lead of the Crittenden County (Arkansas) and Cincinnati branches by seeking and winning a temporary restraining order against the national office of the NAACP, due to its continued interference in local elections. The results of the March 12th election are being held in abeyance by a Columbus, Ohio judge, who will conduct a hearing on April 7, 2016. You can be sure that all evidence of corruption, voter suppression, and election rigging will be brought forth at that time.

Aside from the obvious hypocrisy displayed by the national leadership of the NAACP, not only in this case, but also in several other branches across the country, their corrupt practices also point to a larger problem. So-called Black organizations like the NAACP, despite their implied social contract with Black folks, can be swayed, bought, rented, or leased with nothing expected in return except a few dollars under the table, a political photo-op, or a nice hotel suite. The NAACP needs to stop abusing its members’ rights before purporting to speak on our behalf.

As for nine Black organizations suggesting they are the repository of Black power, here’s a question: If they have power, why after nearly eight years of a Black President are we, as cited in Morial’s State of Black America Report, worse off now and in “crisis?” As the heads of those organizations now intercede on our behalf, by meeting with presidential candidates, what would make us believe Blacks will get anything specific from the next administration?

James Clingman is the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people. His latest book, Black Dollars Matter! Teach your dollars how to make more sense, is available on his website, www.Blackonomics.com.

Film Review: London has Fallen

— A good action-thriller movie keeps you tense, engaged and excited. A great action-thriller does all that and you still feel anxious long after you’ve left the theater. This sequel to the $161M-grossing Olympus Has Fallen, about a Secret Service agent who guards the president, is good but not great.

Creighton Rothenberter and Katrin Benedikt wrote “Olympus.” This project has added two more writers to the team, Christian Gudegast (Man Apart, Immortals) and Chad St. John, to flesh out the storyline. In the beginning, it’s political, suspenseful and intriguing. Then the script drifts into a mindless, straight-out action film with lots of gunfire, blasts and fistfights.

Director Babak Najafi (“Banshee” for Cinemax) keeps the pacing crisp for one hour and 45 minutes. No time to get bored, and he’s pretty good at coordinating the action scenes. None are particularly original or over the top (like the opening sequence of the James Bond movie Spectre), but they are engrossing.

Aamir Barkawi (Alon Aboutboul, “The Dark Knight Rises”), a sociopathic international arms dealer, throws his daughter a lavish wedding on a rooftop in Lahore, Pakistan. A U.S. drone bombs the event. All assume Barkawi and his evil son (Waleed F. Zuaiter, from the film “Omar”) are dead.

Two years later, the British Prime Minster dies suddenly, and world leaders attend his funeral. President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) is accompanied by Secret Service Director Lynne Jacobs (Angela Bassett) and Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler).

Before anyone can step into St. Paul’s Cathedral and sit in a pew, visiting dignitaries are killed, London landmarks are blown up and the POTUS, Jacobs and Banning barely escape a hail of bullets. London, under siege, is locked down. Back home, Vice President Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) and his staff (Melissa Leo, Robert Forster, Jackie Earle Haley) work feverishly with officials in the U.K. to find out who is behind the massacre and save the president.

Long before heads of state are picked off like sitting ducks, the camerawork (Ed Wild) is doing grandiose panoramic shots of London and the musical score (Trevor Morris, Olympus Has Fallen) is blaring like a broken speaker in a mall. By the time the real action starts, it’s too late for the music to crescendo, it’s already loud and melodramatic. The soundtrack becomes less of a sore point once the action sequences kick in, which are well-paced and decently edited (Michael J. Duthie, Paul Martin Smith). Your eyes are stuck to the screen, for a lot of shallow reasons. There is no depth.

Eckhart is about as accessible and watchable as a young Robert Redford. He doesn’t have the intensity of a Christian Bale, but he has a strong screen presence. Freeman as Trumbull, the man in charge, doesn’t build on the deep-voice and authoritative persona audiences expect from him. His characterization of the V.P. borders on cliché. Aboutboul and Zuaiter are fine within the confines of their roles.

Angela Bassett suffers from the Leonardo DiCaprio syndrome. She is far more talented than most of the films she is cast in. You hope one day a project will come her way that is worthy of her skills and visible enough for her to win a long overdue Academy Award. When Jacobs tells Banning, “Make those fu—– pay,” you don’t doubt her sincerity.

Gerard Butler is the new John Wayne. He shoots, kills and chokes multitudes of assailants, barely getting nicked in the process. There isn’t much reality connected to what he’s doing and the role he plays is never more than two-dimensional: loving husband, super-human Secret Service man. Nonetheless, he’s fun to watch.

It should be noted that this film seems a bit heavy on evil Pakistanis and light on normal ones. It is the duty of the screenwriters, director and producers to make a movie that reflects the good and bad in every culture. That doesn’t happen in this film.

For a bullet-a-minute action/thriller, London Has Fallen is good. Never great.

Ebola is no longer a world health emergency, WHO says

— The Ebola outbreak in West Africa, at one time considered the worst outbreak in history, is no longer a public health emergency of international concern, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday.

The announcement came after an emergency committee meeting to review the situation in key countries: Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

“The committee noted that since its last meeting, all three countries have met the criteria for confirming interruption of their original chains of Ebola virus transmission,” WHO said. “Specifically, all three countries have now completed the 42-day observation period and additional 90-day enhanced surveillance period since their last case that was linked to the original chain of transmission twice tested negative.”

As expected, there have been “flare-ups” and a handful of new cases, most recently in Guinea, that relate to a new single chain of transmission. That case has infected eight people and seven of them have died.

The committee reviewed the data from those cases and determined that there is enough expertise on the ground to contain the spread, meaning the risk of the current cases leading to the spread of the disease is low. A genetic trace of the Ebola virus can live on in someone’s semen for a little over a year after the person has experienced initial symptoms of the disease, but it is at a low level.

The committee said it believes there will soon be even fewer of these clusters.

As of March 2016, about 11,320 people had died in the epidemic. Guinea lost 2,540 people, Sierra Leone lost 3,956 and Liberia lost 4,809 and there were a handful of deaths in other countries, including in Nigeria, where there were eight cases. Mali lost six people and the United States lost one, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Two countries at the heart of the epidemic have been declared free of the Ebola virus for months. WHO declared Liberia free of Ebola virus transmission on May 9, 2015. Sierra Leone was declared free of Ebola virus transmission in November. There were two cases reported in January of this year, but the country was free of new Ebola cases as of March 17.

Guinea went on that list December 29, 2015, but fell off when eight patients related to the same case popped up. All but one of those cases were in the same village, and with the measures on the ground, the disease was considered under control as of March 27.

WHO Director General Margaret Chan said any remaining travel or trade restrictions put in place at the height of the epidemic to help limit the spread of the deadly virus should be lifted.

The WHO also urged the international health community to keep up the fight against future outbreaks of the disease and to continue work on a vaccine.

Lando Calrissian wants you to drink Colt 45

Pabst is bringing back smooth-talking Billy Dee Williams of “Star Wars” fame to reprise his 80s role as the pitchman for Colt 45 Malt Liquor.

“The world moves fast, but change isn’t always a good thing, when you got it right the first time around,” says Williams, in a commercial that juxtaposes clips from his 80s ads with him pouring a beer.

“Sometimes a true original doesn’t need to change a thing,” says Williams, wearing a suit with an ascot. “It works every time.”

“It works every time” was the catch phrase from his 80s ads — where he was often accompanied by an attractive woman.

The new ad is currently on Youtube.

Williams’ break-out film was in 1971, when he co-starred with James Caan in the tear-jerker sports drama “Brian’s Song.” But he is best known for playing “Star Wars’ “Lando Calrissian, the intergalactic gambler who won Cloud City but lost the Millennium Falcon to Han Solo. He appeared in “The Empire Strikes Back” in 1980 and “Return of the Jedi” in 1983.

Pabst has owned Colt 45 since 1999, when it acquired Stroh’s. The brewery, established in 1844 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is best known for PBR, or Pabst Blue Ribbon, an inexpensive beer that’s become popular with hipsters and millenials.

But the company has many other brands, including Schlitz, Tsingtao, Old Milwaukee, Colt 45 and Blast, a fruitier and more potent version of Colt 45. Snoop Dogg is the pitchman for Blast, a rival to Four Loko.

WATCH: ‘The People v. O.J. Simpson’: What really happened?

— CNN’s Don Lemon talks with Jeffrey Toobin and Alan Dershowitz about the O.J. Simpson trial and the realism of the FX television show, “The People v. O.J. Simpson.”

CNN Video

‘The People v. O.J. Simpson’: What really happened?

CNN’s Don Lemon talks with Jeffrey Toobin and Alan Dershowitz about the O.J. Simpson trial and the realism of the FX television show, “The People v. O.J. Simpson.”