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Two milestones in the long, painful decline of the blue social model were reached this week and reported, of all places, in the pages of the very éminence grise of the monde bleu: the New York Times.There is a reason blacks are either moving from the city and to the burbs or are moving back to the Southern states altogether.
The first was a piece of national and historical news: The Census reported that waves of blue state blacks fled the stagnant job opportunities, high taxes and rotten social conditions of the mostly blue northern states to seek better lives for themselves in the south. The second milestone was local and literary: Bob Herbert, for many years the only regular Black columnist on the New York Times‘ op-ed page, has written his last column before stepping down.
The Census story is a shocker. First, according to the Times, the Blacks leaving tend to be the “younger and better educated”. Second, the three states Blacks left in largest numbers don’t just include snake-bit Michigan; the other two are Illinois and New York. Within those states, Chicago and the city of the New York (widely considered among the most successful cities in the country) are the places Blacks are deserting. 17 percent of the Black flight from Big Blue is from the Empire State; after almost a century of trailblazing social policy, New York State has succeeded in creating the most hostile environment for Blacks in the country.
It gets worse. One would think that the Blacks who choose to stay in the cold, unwelcoming North would cluster in the cities where more liberal and humane governance models mandate such generous policies as “living wage” laws and where all the beautiful features of the blue social model can be experienced at full strength.
But one would be wrong. Blacks across the North are fleeing the urban paradises of liberal legislation and high public union membership for the benighted suburbs. The Times interviewed a professor to get the straight scoop:
“The notion of the North and its cities as the promised land has been a powerful part of African-American life, culture and history, and now it all seems to be passing by,” said Clement Price, a professor of history at Rutgers-Newark. “The black urban experience has essentially lost its appeal with blacks in America.” [bold italics added]
Tabitha Allen doesn't need a kick in the butt because she was born into unfortunate circumstances. She needs a kick in the butt for bringing five children into her world. A world where hope is hard to come by.Now she has to manage 5 children harshly as a good parent should, but it's an even tougher task only because there are 5 to deal with. Not just the 10 year-old who punched his teacher so hard that it not only knocked her glasses off, but gave her a black eye. MAN!
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Obama [in 2002] sat down with a Democratic Party staffer in a room at Springfield’s Stratton Office Building known as the “inner sanctum,” with a very specific idea of what he wanted his new district to look like: a narrow band, following the Lake Michigan shoreline from 95th Street to downtown. Obama got rid of low-income Englewood and added the Gold Coast. He would no longer be a South Side Senator. He’d be a Lakefront Senator, representing most of Chicago’s monuments – Soldier Field, the Adler Planetarium, Grant Park – as well as the Magnificent Mile and its multi-million dollar high-rise condos. Mayor Daley would be a constituent. So would Oprah Winfrey. Obama wanted to run for U.S. Senate, and the new district was an ideal platform. Losing to Bobby Rush had taught him that his natural constituency wasn’t inner-city blacks, but well-educated eggheads of all races. Also, he’d be representing some of the most generous Democratic donors in the state. They’d see his name on a ballot, and his face on the “Legislative Update” every senator sends home.Well he learned how to play the political game very well. In starting his political career even after being largely rejected by Chicago's Black establishment, he was smart enough to engage in the tried and true tactic of objecting to candidate petitions.
“This is the Motor City and this is what we do,” announced Eminem in this year’s iconic Super Bowl ad boasting that Detroit was back. That boast rings hollow this week after 2010 census figures revealed Detroit’s population is now just 713,000 — a breathtaking 25 percent decline from a decade ago.
This is the Motor City and this is what Democratic urban policy does.
Press reports lazily wrote the figure off to the “crumbling industrial base of the Midwest” (New York Times) and a victim of “the auto industry’s slump” (Associated Press). Sure Michigan as a whole was the only state to lose population due to car trouble and a hostile, anti-business union culture. But if Detroit is a victim of the Not-as-Big Three, how come the census found that all three counties bordering Detroit — all hammered by auto job layoffs — have increased in population?
What is driving down Detroit’s numbers is a black middle class in full retreat to the suburbs — fleeing the high-crime, high-illiteracy dysfunction that two generations of fatherless inner-city homes have bred. Detroit is America’s poster child for disastrous federal welfare policies that have gutted the black family and made inner cities everywhere unlivable.
Tuesday’s timely A1 USA Today story, “Black populations fall in major cities,” tells the tale. “The black population is declining in a growing number of major cities, fueled by distinct trends,” reports the paper. “Blacks — many in the middle or upper-middle class — (are) leaving cities for the suburbs.”
A dedicated proponent of service and working with young people, first lady Michelle Obama is an example of how one woman can positively influence the world. On Sunday, May 15, at 3 p.m., at the Georgia International Convention Center, Mrs. Obama will inspire more than 500 graduates to also leave their mark on the world when she delivers the commencement address to the Spelman College class of 2011. Mrs. Obama will also receive an honorary degree.Did I mention that in time for my commencement, Morehouse attempted to have President Obama give the commencement address? It didn't happen and that OK, I hear there was a lot of logistical things to work out. I mean Obama is the leader of the Free World and there are security measures that need to be in place for him.
Honorary degrees will also be bestowed upon director, actress and choreographer Debbie Allen, and her sister, actress and director Phylicia Rashad. Wendy Kopp, CEO and founder of Teach For America will receive the National Community Service Award.
"Having Mrs. Obama as our 2011 Commencement speaker is a true honor because she embodies the Spelman College mission which is to prepare women to change the world in a meaningful way," said Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D., president, Spelman College. "I know our students will be inspired by her powerful presence."
The number of African Americans residing in the District plummeted by more than 11 percent during the past decade, with blacks on the verge of losing their majority status in the city for the first time in half a century.So, I'm sure this is a recurring theme:
According to census statistics released Thursday, barely 50 percent of the District’s population was African American in 2010 — a remarkable shift in a place once nicknamed “Chocolate City.”
The black population dropped by more than 39,000 over the decade, down to 301,000 of the city’s 601,700 residents. At the same time, the non-Hispanic white population skyrocketed by more than 50,000 to 209,000 residents, almost a third higher than a decade earlier.
The census statistics showed a steeper change for both blacks and whites than had been estimated. With the city ‘s black population dropping by about 1 percent a year, African Americans might already be below the 50 percent mark in the city.
In a city that prides itself on being a hub of black culture and politics, a majority of residents have been black since whites began moving to the suburbs en masse at the end of World War II. By 1970, seven out of 10 Washingtonians were black.
The loss of blacks comes at a time when the city is experiencing a rebound, reversing a 60-year-long slide in population and adding almost 20,000 new residents between 2000 and 2010.
Maurice Jackson, a professor of African American history at Georgetown University, said the black middle class has followed the white middle class before them, heading to the suburbs in search of more affordable housing and good schools.BTW, former Mayor and Washington, DC city councilman Marion Barry was quoted. Not so sure he can provide an answer to this issue. Although he does talk about something Chicago that was an issue in the recently concluded mayoral campaign. Whether or not city workers MUST live in the city:
Barry, the four-term mayor who emerged from the civil rights movement, also faulted Congress for overturning a residency requirement for local government workers in 1988. That, he said, helped build up what he called “Ward 9,” referring to Prince George’s County.Black leadership in Chicago are grappling with the fact that Blacks are leaving the city. Probably not much different there than here. Surely DC had public housing projects which they recently demolished or turned them into co-ops where tenants must pay rent. If DC is very difficult to survive without a college degree then hey where else can low income people go but out of the inner city.
“We can’t keep people from moving, but if we had a residency requirement, we could keep government workers from moving,” Barry said.
Until Mayor Rich Daley's unanticipated retirement, Emanuel's game plan was to return to Congress in 2012 or 2014, pushing out successor Mike Quigley, get back into the Democratic leadership, and become speaker of the house by the end of the decade. The Republicans' House takeover in 2010 and likely dominance in upcoming elections, and former speaker Nancy Pelosi's refusal to relinquish control of the Democratic minority, make that option not feasible. The speakership is now foreclosed. But, as Chicago's mayor, the presidency is not -- although he needs to win another job, Illinois' governorship, to get there.From the 5th Floor at City Hall, to the Governor's Mansion in Springfield, to finally 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC. In Chicago's history at least one Mayor went on to become Governor of Illinois but that happened over a century ago. Others just became judges.
As mayor, Emanuel need not curry favor with special interests, such as the public sector unions, because he has no intention to run for reelection in 2015. His goal is to be a competent, innovative, decisive, reformist, cost-cutting and tax-cutting mayor.
Having absorbed the intricacies of "triangulation," or co-opting the middle ground, from Clinton, Emanuel will position himself on every issue so as to maximize his publicity, enhance his reputation and demonize his enemies. He will be neither liberal nor conservative, but rather patently opportunistic. He will obsess on two major issues: fighting crime and upgrading educational performance. Having been elected without the backing of the police and teachers' unions, Emanuel owes them no debt. He can be creative, redeploying officers where needed, demanding teacher accountability, and embracing charter schools to inspire educational choice and invoke competition. If he performs deftly, he will be monumentally popular among both black and white voters in the short term. His goal: To produce tangible results within 2 years and then in 2014 venture into the fiscal and political wasteland of state politics, posturing as the "savior" who can rescue Illinois from the stupidities and vacillations of Governor Pat Quinn's 6-year "Reign of Error." By 2014 "Governor Jello" will be about as popular as a blemish at a beauty pageant. Quinn is a lame duck; he barely won in 2010, and he will not be electable in 2014.
By capturing City Hall, Emanuel has become a major player on the national stage. A presidential nomination in 2016 or 2020 is within his grasp, but only if he performs spectacularly as mayor and becomes Illinois' governor.
On this day in 1854, a group of former Whigs met in a Ripon, Wisconsin church to found Republican Party. Illinois Democratic Senator Stephen Douglas' Kansas-Nebraska bill, which would open up western territories to slavery, inspired the Wisconsinites to act.The party we know as the Democratic party starting during the Presidency of Andrew Jackson who served between 1829-1837.
AT&T Inc plans to pay $39 billion for Deutsche Telekom AG's T-Mobile USA to create a new U.S. mobile market leader, but the pricey purchase is likely to attract intense antitrust scrutiny over potentially higher customer bills.
The deal gives AT&T, the No. 2 US mobile service often criticized for its poor network performance, additional capacity to expand and meet ever increasing demands for videos and data from devices such as Apple Inc's iPhone.
For Deutsche Telekom, the deal offloads an asset that was declining in profitability and provides it with funds to pay down debt and buy back shares. The German telecom operator also gets an 8 percent stake in AT&T as part of the deal, becoming its largest shareholder and retaining some exposure to the U.S. market.
The deal leaves smaller rivals like Sprint Nextel scrambling to figure out their next step. Sprint also held talks to merge with T-Mobile, the No. 4 U.S. mobile service.
But the world's largest M&A deal so far this year could run into trouble with U.S. antitrust officials who fear that fewer wireless players could drive up prices for consumers. T-Mobile USA now offers some of the lowest wireless services rates.
The deal will add 34 million customers to AT&T's current 96 million, giving it a combined market share of an estimated 43 percent from 32 percent, putting it well ahead of Verizon Wireless' 34.5 percent share.
"It's just nuts," said David Balto, an antitrust attorney and a former policy director at the Federal Trade Commission. "When you look at healthy and unhealthy markets, this is at the top of the list of unhealthy markets."
One analyst pointed out that the two top U.S. operators -- a larger AT&T and Verizon Wireless -- will account for nearly three out of four mobile subscribers after this deal, which could lead to higher bills.
AT&T, however, is betting big that the deal will be approved. It has agreed to pay an unusually high breakup fee of $3 billion and to give T-Mobile USA wireless airwaves if regulators reject it.
AT&T said it expected regulators to require it to sell some assets as a condition of approving the deal, which it hopes to complete in 12 months.
AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson told reporters on a conference call on Sunday that AT&T had done its "homework" on the regulatory front and boasted that the deal could generate savings of more than $40 billion.
In this husband's apology, we learn a lot about the remarkable teacher who is his wife. Her students sure are lucky. Every day that she shows up with such optimism is another day her students get a chance to believe in a better version of themselves.OK, well that was a sweet letter. I hope the husband recognizes that his wife does everything she can for her students. I hope he can separate the hardworking teacher from those who are not so hardworking.
Thankfully, this teacher is not an anomaly. Despite recent attacks on their pay, motives and even their supposed lifestyle, the majority of public school teachers across the country continue to bring their talent and high ideals to some of our most troubled districts.
Consider the take-home message for America's schoolchildren:
Conservative politicians emboldened by brand-new legislative majorities insist that children are our most precious resource, but then pass bills guaranteed to undermine the teachers entrusted with our children's future.
Nevertheless, those same public school teachers under attack continue to report for duty every day.
We know that children watch, and learn. And what they are sure to understand is that, unlike those politicians, their teachers refuse to give up on them.
Talk about a lesson in character.
A Wisconsin judge has blocked the state's new and contentious collective bargaining law from taking effect, raising the possibility that the Legislature may have to vote again to pass the bill.I suppose Wisconsin will be in for more drama, though perhaps not as much as had existed last month.
Lawmakers had passed Gov. Scott Walker's measure last week, breaking a three-week stalemate caused by 14 Senate Democrats fleeing to Illinois. Demonstrations against the measure, which would strip most public workers of nearly all their collective bargaining rights, grew as large as 85,000 people.
Dane County District Judge Maryann Sumi granted the temporary restraining order today in response to a lawsuit filed by the local Democratic district attorney alleging that Republican lawmakers violated the state's open meetings law by hastily convening a special committee before the Senate passed the bill.
Sumi said her ruling would not prevent the Legislature from reconvening the committee with proper notice and passing the bill again.
"They won power; they're using the power to push through structural political and economic changes that will be hard to reverse. They're making the same bet Obama did — if they do this, the economy will rebound, and their political opponents will have been weakened in a way they may never recover from."Taking on the unions and successfully challenging their collective bargaining rights. Yeah that may be hard to reverse, but I'm sure that it'll be tried. Of course it was noted that while this may be good news in the long term for Ohio & Wisconsin this could spell trouble for Republican Presidential hopefuls.
Here is a diagram to put the Japan Tsunami in perspective. If Chicago had a Tsunami that reached 6mi inland, the red area would be destroyed. The Blue area is the footprint of the Great Chicago Fire.Well Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel at least could organize an evacuation further inland if there was sufficient warning, yes?
That’s because Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel are the centers of the universe, no matter what the Census Bureau says.
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So how can two neighboring states have such wildly different political cultures? It’s simple. Wisconsin was settled by revolutionaries. Illinois was settled by people trying to make a buck.OK there ya have it Illinois is about the almight dollar. Well if that makes sense, alas, many Illinois politicians haven't exactly shown that money doesn't matter to them. :(
Wisconsin is renowned for its German culture, but it’s important to understand the type of Germans that settled there. The first German settlers were fleeing from the Revolution of 1848, which attempted to establish a republic with free speech, trial by jury and freedom of the press. After it failed, the rebels needed a place to hide. They chose Wisconsin. As a result, Wisconsin became an innovator in progressive reforms: the “Wisconsin Idea” championed public education and workers’ compensation. Wisconsin was the first state with a public radio station, the first state with a presidential primary, and it abolished the death penalty in 1853.
Chicago, on the other hand, was settled by people looking to make a killing in the fur trade, or in real estate. Our very first mayor, William Ogden, arrived here from New York to sell some land that belonged to his brother-in-law. From then, Chicago attracted men who were trying to Make It Big, from Cyrus McCormick to Al Capone. With all that money flowing, the politicians had their hands out, too. “Good government,” a cherished tradition in Wisconsin, was a dirty term in Illinois, because it interrupted the orderly flow of cash between business and politics. Illinois politics was never about advancing ideals. It was about getting jobs and contracts for your friends, family members and campaign contributors.
While Wisconsin’s revolutionary instincts have usually been directed toward progressive reforms, they’ve also advanced conservative causes, if the political winds are blowing in that direction. We saw that with Sen. Joe McCarthy. We’re seeing it again with Gov. Scott Walker. That’s why Madison is in chaos, and Springfield is still a place where the House Speaker’s son-in-law gets a six-figure job as a lobbyist for a state agency.
Like thousands of Illinoisans who have lost their jobs, former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger has applied for unemployment benefits.Not sure what to say about this. This revelation may be one reason why he's no longer County Board President. In fact this revelation may also show a lack of political skill. Indeed if he was interested in the insurance business as indicated in the article, I'm starting to wonder if he had actually started looking since before he lost his primary election.
But newly minted Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s administration officially “protested” the claim with the state’s unemployment agency.
“. . . Former Board President Todd Stroger did submit an application for unemployment,” said a source in the Preckwinkle administration who is familiar with the application. “That application was protested because, as a former elected official, he is ineligible.”
Those benefits are tied to wages earned in the year leading up to the job loss. But state law doesn’t recognize the wages an elected leader earns in office when it comes to unemployment benefits.
“When someone applies, their weekly check is based on how much money they’ve earned,” [Greg Rivara, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Employment Security] said. “Could be from one source, could be from multiple sources, but wages earned from doing the job [someone was] elected to don’t figure in.”
In other words, it’s as if they didn’t work — or earn a dime.
That could effectively disqualify Stroger from collecting unemployment benefits — at least benefits resulting from his elected position.
It would be different if he were a regular county employee or worked in the private sector. If he could prove his case — that, say, the voters didn’t fire him for cause but that he lost his job through no fault of his own — he might qualify for unemployment, according to state law.
Nostalgia does not bother Maze Jackson. Like most people he knows, he cherishes the memory of Mayor Harold Washington.I was at Morehouse when on the first of two occasions I attended events attended by one Kasim Reed who is now Mayor of Atlanta. His advice to aspiring young politicians is to "start running now". Lay the groundwork for a political career now, especially if it means you may have to work with members of the old guard today.
But what does upset the 40-year-old political consultant and makes him fear for the future of black politics in Chicago is what he witnessed during the mayoral campaign: black leaders “stuck in the past.”
“I call them the ‘remember-when crew.’ ” Mr. Jackson said. “Remember when Harold said this? Remember when Harold did that? We need to honor and respect the accomplishments of our elders. But it’s time for them to step back and allow us to serve.”
Mr. Jackson, and his group, the Next Generation Leadership Council, are among many in the black community who are seeking new ways to find and train the political candidates, pollsters and campaign mangers of tomorrow.
The search for new blood and fresh ideas only became more intense after a contentious coalition of black elected officials, business leaders and ministers repeatedly evoked Mr. Washington’s name as they struggled to find a consensus black candidate for the Feb. 22 mayoral election. And the stark disappointment of Carol Moseley Braun, who failed to win more than 9 percent of the citywide vote, accentuated the need for new thinking.
“There’s been a lot of soul-searching going on since the election,” said Cathy Cohen, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago.
The search for new talent is not confined to blacks. Miguel del Valle, the city clerk, who came in third in the mayoral election, is also trying to recruit and train the next generation of political leaders. He hopes to create a citywide, multiracial coalition to improve life in the neighborhoods beyond the gentrified areas of downtown and the North Side.
“Everybody is talking about this,” Mr. del Valle said. “But if we don’t do it right, we’ll end up with more of the same. It really has to be done at a community level. It’s not retired politicians who are going to make this happen.”
Vandals fired yellow paint-balls at a statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. located near the Illinois statehouse, Secretary of State Jesse White's office announced Friday.Probably some young men engaging in some pranking with little idea as to who's statue that they hit. Although yeah it's possible that there is someone out there who really wanted to make a statement by assaulting Dr. King's statue.
The Illinois Secretary of State Police is investigating the vandalism, which was reported around 7 a.m.
According to a statement from White's office, no other statue or structure in the capitol complex was damaged. The statue has been cleaned and no permanent damage was sustained.
"I find it reprehensible that anyone would seek to denigrate the legacy of Dr. King in any way," White said in a statement. White was personally associated with King, when he attended Alabama State College, where King was his minister.
"Our state and our country owe him a debt of gratitude," White said. "and his memory should always be cherished and celebrated."
In October, shortly after Mayor Richard M. Daley said he would not seek re-election, Ms. Braun hired Mr. Noonan, a former top operative for Michael Madigan, the speaker of the Illinois House. Mr. Noonan led the effort to circulate nominating petitions to place Ms. Braun on the ballot, gathering more signatures than any other candidate.
Soon after that success, Mr. Noonan said, he clashed with her. “We had fundamentally different views of how campaigns should be run,” he said, adding that Ms. Braun had made it impossible for him to schedule even the most basic campaign activities.
One e-mail shows that Ms. Braun canceled a meeting with an alderman on the eve of the event in December. “Nobody asked me about meeting with” the alderman, Ms. Braun wrote. “It can be rescheduled for another time that we clear.”
On Jan. 5, Ms. Braun sent an e-mail to aides to complain about an interview with a newspaper reporter, a commitment that she said she did not know had been put on her schedule.
“Would it kill you to call, text or send an e-mail to ASK me if I will sit down with a reporter for an interview?” Ms. Braun wrote. “Are you too busy to remember the Golden Rule? How would you feel if I just sent dictates to you with no conversation or notice? Being a candidate does not make me less than a human being.”
Gradually, Mr. Noonan’s involvement faded, although both he and Ms. Braun publicly denied a rift. Other supporters like Mr. Schaffer, a lawyer, grew in influence during the final two months of the campaign.
Terry Moore, assistant director of Sangamon County Court Services, has followed the bill. He says there are already measures in place to screen youth before they are placed in detention centers.It's kind of sad that this is up for debate. I'm very curious about what constitutes a severe offense. Would the child have had to commit a violent felony?
While an argument for the bill says children as young as 10 should not be exposed to detention centers, Moore says the other side is that most children that young are not admitted to detention centers, except for severe offenses.
Over the past five years, only 4 to 7 percent of children admitted to detention centers have been under the age of 13.
“It’s a very small number of youth relative to the total admitted,” Moore says.
Detention gives juvenile court the opportunity to look at the situation of each child and determine their best interest, he says, which sometimes may be short-term placement in a detention center.
Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs is on medical leave, but that didn't stop him from making a surprise public appearance to unveil the iPad 2, an upgraded tablet computer that could help the company fend off a slew of rivals in the burgeoning market.Alas this device is still a bit out of my reach :(
"We've been working on this product for a while and I just didn't want to miss the day," Jobs said shortly after receiving a standing ovation Wednesday. Jobs, who took the highly publicized leave in mid-January, has battled pancreatic cancer. He received a liver transplant in 2009.
The iPad 2 will go on sale March 11 at the same prices as its predecessor, starting at $499 for the entry-level device with Wi-Fi only and going up to $829 for the version with a 3G cellular connection. Consumers can get the cellular iPad 2 from both AT&T and Verizon without signing a long-term contract, though the monthly data fee can be $35 or more.
Apple highlighted the new iPad's lighter weight — 1.3 pounds compared with the 1.5-pound original — as well as the addition of front- and back-facing video cameras that allow users to conduct video chats. The device has a newer computer processor that will make it run faster and allow for smoother performance of video-intensive applications like games and movies, Apple said.
Jobs spent considerable time showing off a new case for the iPad. Apple said the case for the original device was too bulky and interfered with its performance. The newer case, which Apple calls a "smart cover," magnetically attaches to the front of the iPad to create a kind of screen protector and automatically puts the machine into sleep mode when it is attached.
Though none of the new features were particularly surprising, analysts believed the incremental enhancements would allow Apple to keep its place at the top of the tablet market.
Finally, while the Clause bars the General Assembly from adversely changing the benefit rights of current employees via unilateral action, these rights are “contractual” in nature and may be modified through contractual principles. In sum, while welching on public pension promises is not an option for Illinois as some legal and civic commentators have suggested, legitimate contract principles provide a solution to mitigate this crisis.Speaking of collective bargaining - a buzzword in the political situation in Wisconsin with regards to both their new Republican Governor and public employee unions - an article from Heritage (via Instapundit) regarding that term:
There is a big difference between rights and privileges. Americans have the right to vote. The state, barring a felony conviction, cannot take that right away. Driving, on the hand, is privilege. The state can refuse you the privilege of driving for a myriad of reasons including failure to pass a test showing you know the rules of the road or failing to purchase auto insurance.Two unrelated issues I know well indirectly in any event. Collective bargaining to work on Illinois' underfunded pensions. Then to Wisconsin to address their issues of collective bargaining with their public employee unions.
Similarly the freedom of association is a right shared by all Americans and protected by the First Amendment. In contrast, collective bargaining is a special power occasionally granted to some unions. In upholding North Carolina’s ban on government union collective bargaining, a federal court wrote in Atkins vs. City of Charlotte: “All citizens have the right to associate in groups to advocate their special interests to the government. It is something entirely different to grant any one interest group special status and access to the decision making process.”
Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) budget bill in Wisconsin in no way infringes on any Americans’ right to associate and lobby government. What it does do is allow Wisconsin employees to choose not to join a union and keep their job at the same time. It also forces the government unions in Wisconsin to collect their own union dues instead of using the power of the state to withhold them directly from employee paychecks.
Black lawmakers accused Republicans on Tuesday of trying to “manufacture tension” between African-Americans and immigrants as GOP House members argued in a hearing that more minorities would be working were it not for illegal immigration.Just wondering if there are any Black politicians anywhere who is looking into the potential issue of Black unemployment or any correlation with that in terms of illegal immigration. Sadly I haven't heard much about it and it's doubtful that the CBC has any stomach for that.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, D-Mo., chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, criticized the hearing’s premise in a statement. Several other Democratic lawmakers echoed that argument, saying Republicans were ignoring their lack of support for job training, affirmative action, college financial aid and other programs more critical to employment of minorities.
“I am concerned by the majority’s attempt to manufacture tension between African-Americans and immigrant communities. It seems as though they would like for our communities to think about immigration in terms of ‘us versus them,’ and I reject that notion,” Cleaver said in his statement.
Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, issued a warning at the start of the hearing against any attempts to pit blacks against Latino immigrants, a notion that he said he found “so abhorrent and repulsive.”
Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, pointed out that after Immigration and Customs Enforcement raided Georgia Crider Inc., which had 600 jobs filled by people not working in the country legally, the company raised wages $1 an hour and attracted legal workers, primarily black Americans.
“With unemployment at over 9 percent for 21 months, jobs are scarce. And that is especially true in minority communities across the U.S.,” Smith said.
The three witnesses supporting the Republican view at the hearing were Hispanic and black. Lawmakers and witnesses presented their own studies and statistics supporting their positions.
In the age of Arab revolutions, will Saudis dare to honor Facebook calls for anti-government demonstrations on March 11? Will they protest at one of Jeddah's main roundabouts? Or will they start in Qatif, the eastern region where a substantial Shiite majority has had more experience in real protest? Will Riyadh remain cocooned in its cloak of pomp and power, hidden from public gaze in its mighty sand castles?As you read the rest of this article, what do you think will go on in that nation?
Saudi Arabia is ripe for change. Despite its image as a fabulously wealthy realm with a quiescent, apolitical population, it has similar economic, demographic, social, and political conditions as those prevailing in its neighboring Arab countries. There is no reason to believe Saudis are immune to the protest fever sweeping the region.
Saudi Arabia is indeed wealthy, but most of its young population cannot find jobs in either the public or private sector. The expansion of its $430 billion economy has benefited a substantial section of the entrepreneurial elite -- particularly those well connected with the ruling family -- but has failed to produce jobs for thousands of college graduates every year. This same elite has resisted employing expensive Saudis and contributed to the rise in local unemployment by hiring foreign labor. Rising oil prices since 2003 and the expansion of state investment in education, infrastructure, and welfare, meanwhile, have produced an explosive economy of desires.
Like their neighbors, Saudis want jobs, houses, and education, but they also desire something else. Since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq in 2003, they have expressed their political demands in their own way, through petitions that circulated and were signed by hundreds of activists and professionals, men and women, Sunnis, Shiites, and Ismailis. Reformers petitioned King Abdullah to establish an elected consultative assembly to replace the 120-member appointed Consultative Council Saudis inherited from King Fahd. Political organizers were jailed and some banned from travel to this day. The "Riyadh spring" that many reformers anticipated upon King Abdullah's accession in 2005 was put on hold while torrential rain swept away decaying infrastructure and people in major cities. Rising unemployment pushed the youth toward antisocial behavior, marriages collapsed, the number of bachelors soared, and the number of people under the poverty line increased in one of the wealthiest states of the Arab world. Today, nearly 40 percent of Saudis ages 20 to 24 are unemployed.
Meanwhile, scandal after scandal exposed the level of corruption and nepotism in state institutions. Princes promised to establish investigative committees, yet culprits were left unpunished. Criticism of the king and top ruling princes remained taboo, and few crossed the red line surrounding the substantial sacrosanct clique that monopolizes government posts from defense to sports. The number of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience swelled Saudi prisons. Under the pretext of the war on terror, the Saudi regime enjoyed a free hand. The interior minister, Prince Nayef, and his son and deputy, Prince Mohammed, rounded up peaceful activists, bloggers, lawyers, and academics and jailed them for extended periods. Saudis watched in silence while the outside world either remained oblivious to abuses of human rights or turned a blind eye in the interests of oil, arms, and investment.