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It is unfathomable that the federal minimum wage has not been increased in more than a decade, since 2007. It is also unfathomable that the minimum wage, at $7.25 per hour, has remained flat through recession and recovery, through extremely high unemployment rates and much lower ones.
An Australian white nationalist who says he hates immigrants acted out his hate by murdering at least 49 people and seriously injuring dozens more last week. He
Nearly half a million people die every year from complications from smoking. About a tenth of them never put a cigarette to their lips; they die from exposure to second-hand smoke.
Our nation was founded on the principles of racism and patriarchy. They are reflected in our very Constitution, where enslaved persons were counted as a fraction of a person and only men of property were allowed the right to vote. The filthy inequality at the foundation of this nation now has bubbled up and boiled over, polluting every aspect of our lives.
The economy is doing well, crows the pugilist-in-chief, complaining that he doesn’t get enough credit for the things that he has done to “make America great again.”
Senate Republicans hope to get Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, confirmed before Oct. 1. Senate Democrats hope to hold off any vote until after the November elections, when Democrats have the possibility of taking a majority in the U.S. Senate and giving Republicans a dose of their own medicine.
The effort to repeal and replace health care insurance is generating headlines, and the attempt to investigate our 45th president’s Russia connections is of high importance. The specious claim that former President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower, too, has generated interest, largely because it is unprecedented for one president to accuse another of a felony, and because 45 has absolutely no proof that President Obama has done any such thing.
The economic philosophies of Democrats and Republicans are drastically different. While neither party is interested in dismantling the predatory capitalism that extracts surplus value from workers, Republicans are more interested in reinforcing predatory capitalism and “free markets,” while Democrats are more interested in ameliorating the effects of predatory capitalism and regulating markets in ways that produce somewhat more equitable results than so-called free markets.
When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned the Poor People’s Campaign in 1968, he envisioned all kinds of people descending on our nation’s capital, bringing demands to federal agencies. He envisioned people pushing for affordable housing, for quality education, for better health care, for minority business development programs and more.
“Ain’t I A Woman? I have ploughed and planted and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman! I could work as much and eat as much as a man — when I could get it — and bear the lash as well. And ain’t I a woman? I’ve bourne thirteen children and seen most all sold off and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman.” — Sojourner Truth
When Donald Trump was running for president, he specifically targeted the white working class, telling them he would prevent their jobs from leaving the country, bring back manufacturing jobs and revive the oil and steel industries. He hasn’t taken office yet, but he already has celebrated the fact that Carrier, a heating and air conditioner manufacturer in Indianapolis, Ind., has agreed to keep jobs in the United States, even though the company had announced earlier that it would move jobs to Mexico.
The apprehension that I felt upon Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election has only increased as he has announced the appointments of his chief of staff, strategist and cabinet members.
There is no question that Hillary Clinton won the Sept. 26 presidential debate. She was knowledgeable, composed, unflappable and occasionally even funny. Her opponent, who had the temerity to criticize her “stamina,” seemed to lack stamina of his own. By the time the 90-minute debate was over, her rude, sniffling, frequent water-sipping opponent Donald Trump looked like a candidate for enforced bed rest.
Our American exceptionalism allows us to shimmer too fully in our greatness. We are the biggest and the baddest. We are the best armed and the most influential. We win the most Olympic medals, and we have the most nuclear weapons. America, the greatest! We are so great that we wave our flags and shout, “USA! USA!”
With a woman heading the Democratic Party’s presidential ticket, it may be challenging for us to remember that women have had the right to vote for less than a century — and black folks less than that.
When North Carolina passed laws eliminating anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and passed its “bathroom bill” mandating that transgender people use the bathroom of their birth gender, they experienced almost immediate backlash.
The Dictionary defines warrior as “a person who fights in battle and is known for having courage and skill.” In “Roots,” reimagined Kizzy Kinte tells her dad, “Reading is my way of being a warrior, my way of feeling free inside.” Teaching enslaved people to read and write was illegal in most Southern states, so reading was an act of resistance, an act of rebellion, a warrior act that could get you sold or worse. Reading material described as “subversive,” such as David Walker’s “Appeal,” could get you killed.
Dylann Roof, the unrepentant racist who killed nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., is — no question — a monster. He prayed with people before reciting racist cants and annihilating people. After his heinous acts, it was discovered that he was a rabid racist who had wrapped himself in the Confederate flag. Does he deserve the death penalty? No.
Former President Bill Clinton mixed it up with Black Lives Matter activists last week as he defended his presidency and his 1994 crime bill while campaigning in Philadelphia for his wife, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton. Hillary fans will say it isn’t fair that the Black Lives Matter folks keep raising issues from the Bill Clinton presidency. But the Clintons campaigned in 1992 by asserting that they were a “two for one” presidency, so raising those issues is at least somewhat fair.
Some words seem rarely mentioned in this highly toxic political season. We’ve heard about bombs and walls, but very little about peace. One is almost tempted, when some of the candidates are speaking, to burst into “Give peace a chance.” In this Women’s History Month, it makes sense to reflect on women and the peace movement and especially on the African-American women who have played a significant role in this movement.
Three unarmed black men encountered a group of white men walking down a dirt road in Slocum, Texas, on July 29, 1910. Without warning, and with no reason, the white men opened fire on the black men. And, for two days, white men simply slaughtered black people. Eight deaths have been officially acknowledged, but historians who have studied the Slocum Massacre say that it is likely that dozens more were killed, with some saying as many were killed in Slocum as in Tulsa, Okla, in 1921, and those numbers range into the hundreds.
Jannie Ligons is an Oklahoma City grandmother who left a friend’s house to drive home. She collided with Daniel Holtzclaw, the rogue police officer who seemed to think it was part of his duty to sexually abuse black women. He raped them because he could. They did not accuse him because they feared they could not. Some of the women had criminal records — they had been involved with drugs or had other skirmishes with the law. They felt both vulnerable and violated, and they thought nobody would believe them.
On the same day that President Obama gave a stirring and historically grounded commemoration regarding the 150th anniversary of the passage of the 13th Amendment that “abolished” slavery, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia chose to disregard tenets of equality and opportunity from the bench during the Fisher v. University of Texas hearing when he suggested that African-American students would benefit more if they went to “lesser track” schools. His verbatim comments:
The buildup began right after Halloween, when the newspapers got thicker, the advertising inserts longer and emails touting shopping bargains coming more frequently.
Congress must approve a budget by Oct. 1, or our government will shut down. That means that people will not be paid and, technically, government departments will cease to operate. Social Securitypayments, veterans’ benefits and more will cease to be paid. Literally, government will shut down.
Freddie Gray is neither the first nor will he be the last person to die in police custody. According to a 2011 report from the U.S. Department of Justice, 4,813 people died in police custody between 2003 and 2009 (the most recent data, reported in 2011). However, not every state reports their data, so the number is probably higher. A new report is scheduled to be released this year or next.
You know their names — Eric Garner, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice — because these African-American men were unarmed and killed by law enforcement officers. Their names have been part of a litany invoked when police shootings are discussed. Their deaths have been part of the impetus for the Black Lives Matter movement, especially because the police officers that killed these men — and a little boy — have paid no price for their murders.
Eleven Atlanta teachers have been convicted of altering student test scores on standardized tests. They are charged with racketeering and conspiracy. The much-celebrated superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools, the late Beverly L. Hall, was among the indicted but was too ill to stand trial. She died March 2.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel just got spanked. Despite a campaign war chest of more than $15 million and the support of President Obama, the former congressman and White House chief of staff could not avoid a runoff in the non-partisan election. Garnering 45 percent of the vote to runner-up Jesus “Chuy” Garcia’s 34 percent, he did not clear the 50 percent bar for victory. Mr. Emanuel, the darling of the mainstream Democratic Party, has earned the dubious distinction of being in the first Chicago mayoral runoff in nearly 20 years. He also runs the risk of being the first incumbent mayor ousted since Harold Washington beat Jane Byrne in 1983.
The racial differential in the poverty rate is staggering. About 12 percent of the people in the United States, one in eight people are poor. Depending on race and ethnicity, however, poverty is experienced differently. Fewer than one in 10 white people are poor; more than one in four African- Americans and Latinos are poor. Differences in occupation, income, employment and education are considered the main reasons for poverty, with current and past discrimination playing a role in educational, employment and occupational attainment. We see the discrimination when we consider that African-American women with a doctoral degree have median earnings of about $1,000 a week, compared to about $1,200 a week for black men and white women, and $1,600 a week for white men. White men earn 60 percent more than African-American women, and a third more than black men and white women.