Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Congress Must Act to Bolster Voting Rights Act

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

(Huffington Post, Rep Hank Johnson, Georgia 4th District) Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet." - Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

I wish every member of the Supreme Court had the wisdom and insight of Justice Ginsburg. Her message, written one year ago, is clear: Preclearance was working.

We are closer to the goal of equal voting rights, but we are not yet there. Efforts made to restrict the right to vote in the last election prove that we still have a long way to go. The progress we have made proves that the law works and is a reason to keep the Voting Rights Act intact, not a sign that it has become obsolete.

This is especially true here in the South.

During the last renewal of the landmark law in 2007, Congress conducted more than 21 hearings with nearly 100 witnesses and amassed a 15,000-page record documenting the ongoing discrimination against minority voters. Congress voted to renew the law in overwhelming bipartisan majorities: 390-33 in the House and 98-0 in the Senate.

But this activist, conservative court struck a dagger in the heart of the law last year. Ruling from the bench Jim Crow-style, the court held 5-4 that the decades-old law used to protect minority voting rights had outlived its usefulness.

Full story…

Congress Must Act to Bolster Voting Rights Act

Prominent black men ask Obama: What about black women and girls?

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

(Washington Post) A group of prominent black men — 210 so far — have written an open letter to President Obama, asking that he consider the plight of young women of color in tandem with his administration’s focus on young men of color. Signed by scholars, ministers and activists, the letter comes as the White House announced this week that former basketball star and entrepreneur Earvin “Magic” Johnson will co-chair “My Brother’s Keeper,” a $200 million public- and private-sector effort that will direct resources to black and Hispanic boys.

The signers of the letter, among them actor Danny Glover and civil rights activist James M. Lawson and leading academics, write to Obama that they were “were surprised and disappointed that your commitments express empathy to only half of our community — men and boys of color.”

We write as African American men who have supported your presidency, stood behind you when the inevitable racist challenges to your authority have emerged, and have understood that our hopes would be tempered by the political realities that you would encounter. While we continue to support your presidency, we write both out of a sense of mutual respect and personal responsibility to address what we believe to be the unfortunate missteps in the My Brothers Keeper initiative (MBK). In short, in lifting up only the challenges that face males of color, MBK — in the absence of any comparable initiative for females — forces us to ask where the complex lives of Black women and Black girls fit into the White House’s vision of racial justice?

Full story…

Prominent black men ask Obama: What about black women and girls?

Obama taps Castro for Cabinet, boost to Democrat

Monday, May 26th, 2014

(AP) — In a second-term Cabinet reshuffle, President Barack Obama tapped San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro on Friday to be the nation's next housing secretary, giving a prominent national platform to one of the Democratic Party's most celebrated up-and-comers.

Joined by Castro and Vice President Joe Biden, Obama also announced he was nominating current Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan to run the White House budget office – an opening Obama created when he asked his former budget chief to take over the Health and Human Services Department last month.

"Just because you are of modest means does not mean that your aspirations or your opportunity ought to be limited, and it certainly means you can have the talent to succeed and achieve the American Dream," Castro said as he accepted the nomination in the State Dining Room of the White House.

The 39-year-old Castro was propelled into the national spotlight two years ago when Obama chose him to deliver the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention – a political baptism by fire not unlike the president's own rise to prominence when Obama keynoted the 2004 convention. Friday's announcement gives another major boost to Castro's profile, just as Democrats are eyeing him as a potential vice presidential candidate in 2016.

Full story…

Obama taps Castro for Cabinet, boost to Democrat

Voting Rights: The Real (and Continuing) Battle Against Racism

Friday, May 9th, 2014

(Huffington Post) While the racist harangues of Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling have been consuming air time and newsprint, institutional racism in the form of discrimination against African-American voters remains on the rise in states dominated by Republican governors and legislators.

In the '60s the entire power structure in the Deep South — from the state house down to each county sheriff — collaborated to prevent African Americans from voting,beating and sometimes killing those who tried to exercise our most basic right of citizenship.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlawed poll taxes, literacy tests and other tactics that had been used to prevent African Americans from registering to vote. It also gave the federal government the power to enforce the VRA.

But in June of last year, by a vote of five to four, the Supreme Court struck downSection 4 of the VRA, which had required states with a history of racial discrimination to get preclearance from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) before changing their voting laws. Without the preclearance provision, the DOJ can no longer prevent a biased law from going into operation; it must react case by case.

Full story…

Voting Rights: The Real (and Continuing) Battle Against Racism

Asian American group tries to reconnect with GOP, citing shared core values

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

(Foxnews) A group of Asian Americans is starting a grassroots effort to garner support for the Republican Party and its candidates, saying the GOP most closely aligns with their core values including family, education and entrepreneurship.

The group, the Asian Republican Coalition, is co-founded by international investment banker John Ying, who during the 2012 presidential election cycle served on the Republican National Finance Committee.

“We need a forum, and this first step will go a long way,” Ying told FoxNews.com earlier this week.

He hopes the effort, which will include a May 6 kickoff event at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., will provide a “friendly front door” for both potential voters and Republican lawmakers and officials.

While much of the Republican Party’s focus has recently been to trying to connect with Hispanic voters, considering Democratic President Obama won 71 percent of their vote in his re-election victory, Asians are the country’s fastest-growing ethnic group, according to a 2012 U.S. Census report.

Full story…

Asian American group tries to reconnect with GOP, citing shared core values

Is Barack Obama ‘black’? A majority of Americans say no.

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

(Washington Post) But according to data in a fascinating new Pew Research study, a majority of Americans describe the president as "mixed race," while just more than a quarter (27 percent) call him "black.

While whites and Hispanics are far more likely to describe Obama as "mixed race," a strong majority of African Americans see him as black. And black voters voted in historically large numbers for Obama. He won 93 percent of the African American vote in 2012 and 95 percent among that group in 2008. (John Kerry won 88 percent of the black vote in 2004; Al Gore won 90 percent in 2000.)

Obama, for his part, struggled for much of his life in how to define himself racially with a Kansas-born white mother and a Kenyan father. David Maraniss documents that process in fascinating detail in his biography of the country's 44th presidentOf Obama's racial identity, Maraniss wrote:

Full story…

Is Barack Obama ‘black’? A majority of Americans say no.

Chinese-Americans wooed by the GOP over anti-affirmative action in public universities

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

(San Jose Mercury News) Chinese-Americans were exhorted Sunday to redouble their opposition to the proposed California constitutional amendment that would reinstate affirmative action in public universities.

If passed by the Legislature and then by state voters, Senate Constitutional Amendment 5 would jeopardize their children's chances of being admitted to state universities, opponents told more than 150 people gathered at a "Stop SCA 5" forum at the Cupertino Community Center.

"It would be a serious mistake to let the Latino caucus secure the vote of all Democrats," said Ward Connerly, author of Proposition 209, which SCA 5 would overturn. Connerly's proposition outlawed consideration of race in University of California and California State University admissions. He called SCA 5 "a violation of all democratic principles."

Frank Lee, of the conservative Pacific Justice Institute, said, "No student should be favored or degraded because of race." He vowed that the institute would sue if the initiative passed.

Proponents have said that SCA 5 would simply allow admissions officers to consider applicants' race.

Full story…

Chinese-Americans wooed by the GOP over anti-affirmative action in public universities

Uninsured rate drops due to health care law, but signups lag among Hispanics

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

(PBS) The share of Americans without health insurance is dropping to the lowest levels since President Barack Obama took office, but sign-ups under his health care law lag among Hispanics — a big pool of potential beneficiaries.

With just three weeks left to enroll on the new insurance exchanges, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, finds that 15.9 percent of U.S. adults are uninsured thus far in 2014, down from 17.1 percent for the last three months — or calendar quarter— of 2013.

Released Monday, the survey based on more than 28,000 interviews is a major independent effort to track the health care rollout. The drop of 1.2 percentage points in the uninsured rate translates to about 3 million people gaining coverage.

Gallup said the proportion of Americans who are uninsured is on track to drop to the lowest quarterly level it measured since 2008, before Obama took office.

“It’s probably a reasonable hypothesis that the Affordable Care Act is having something to do with this drop,” said Frank Newport, Gallup’s editor-in-chief. “We saw a continuation of the trend we saw last month; it didn’t bounce back up.”

The survey found that almost every major demographic group made progress getting health insurance, although Hispanics lagged.

Full story…

Uninsured rate drops due to health care law, but signups lag among Hispanics

Minn. legislator eventually apologizes for ill-considered, uninformed, racially dubious tweet about NBA, ‘streetcrime’

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

(Yahoo Sports) Pat Garofalo represents District 58B in the Minnesota House of Representatives. He's a 42-year-old fifth-term Republican first elected in 2004, and unless you were a Twin Cities resident with business before with the state House's committees on energy policy, state and local taxes or living wage jobs, you probably wouldn't have much reason to have any idea who Rep. Garofalo is.

(Unless, of course, you remember hearing about some dude who was mad that you might not be allowed to buy guns at the stadium on an upcoming Minnesota Vikings game day.)

On Sunday afternoon, he introduced himself to the world with a staggering bit of nonsense:

Maybe you read that missive and connected the "possible exception of increase in streetcrime" with the premise that NBA players on those folded teams would be out of work and, y'know, let loose to prey on humanity. Maybe you thought Garofalo was claiming "streetcrime" would increase because the folks who make up the NBA's fan base would no longer have their attention diverted by their favorite teams. (Nevermind that the NBA's fan base remains largely white … albeit not nearly as white as Garofalo's district.)

Full story…

Minn. legislator eventually apologizes for ill-considered, uninformed, racially dubious tweet about NBA, ‘streetcrime’

Senate blocks Obama’s pick for civil rights post

Monday, March 10th, 2014

(AP) – President Barack Obama's choice to lead the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division was blocked by bipartisan Senate opposition Wednesday in an emotional postscript to the long-ago murder of a Philadelphia policeman and the legal help his killer received.

The vote against advancing Debo Adegbile toward confirmation was 47-52, shy of the majority needed under new procedures Democrats put in place late last year to overcome Republican stalling tactics.

In this case, though, to the dismay of civil rights organizations and the White House, Democratic desertions played a decisive role in the outcome. Eight members of Obama's party joined all 44 Republicans in preventing a final vote.

Obama swiftly condemned the action. In a statement, he called it a "travesty based on wildly unfair character attacks against a good and qualified public servant."

Full story…

Senate blocks Obama’s pick for civil rights post
Subscribe to RSS feed