Insight News

Oct 09th


NAACP issues call for civility in gang database discourse

NAACP issues call for civility in gang database discourseThe Saint Paul Branch of the NAACP, the Minneapolis Branch and the Minnesota/Dakota State Conference, conveyed their disappointment at what looks like a breakdown of respectful relations between the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office and guardians for civil rights.

In a letter to the Pioneer Press editor, the two organizations shared their dismay in the antagonistic content of the March 1h article, “Ramsey County sheriff fights to save gang-member database that bill would eliminate.” In the article, undersheriff  Nick O’Hara is quoted as stating that the author of gang database reform legislation, State Sen. Mee Moua -DFL-67,  “must have some kind of a perverse support’ of gang members”.

Haiti’s restavèk children: The child servitude crisis

The recent earthquake in Haiti gave the rest of the world a glimpse of a form of child suffering that often goes unseen. When a group of American missionaries were accused of child trafficking, many people were confused by the story that unfolded. How could parents have been desperate enough to agree to simply give their children away to strangers? Sadly, this wasn't just an isolated event that only happened because of the earthquake. Thousands of poor Haitian parents send their children away to live with strangers every year, desperately entrusting them to people who tell the parents they will help provide their children with a better life. But not all of these children are transferred to well-meaning caregivers who plan to give them an education or help them find adoptive families. Instead, many poor Haitian children end up trapped in child servitude.

Health Care is a Fundamental Right: no repeal and replace!

“Repeal and replace” has become the battle cry of Sarah Palin and the bulk of Republican Senators after the passage of comprehensive health care reform.  They’re rousing fears, threatening those with health insurance that their costs and taxes will go up; as if everyone would keep their insurance at the same costs if there were no reform.
Think again.   Health care costs went up 131% over the last decade; general inflation was only 28%.  If they stay on the same trajectory, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, they’ll go up another 166% over the next 10 years.   As the costs go up, working families lucky enough to have insurance pay higher co-pays and get less coverage.

Executive pay: The bottom line for those at the top

Private jets and chefs, limo and driver, skybox suites, are job perks that many CEOs have to endure.  It is reported that the heads of America's 500 biggest companies’ total aggregate compensation amounts to $5.1 billion each a year.  Standard & Poor’s says a chief executive officer of a top 500 company was paid, on average, $10.9 million in 2008.

The Black Press: A weapon in the Black freedom struggle

I was privileged to attend the Annual Conference of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), the trade association for more than 200 newspapers in Black America. I was also honored to receive NNPA's North Star Community Service Award, which is named after the militant newspaper founded by Frederick Douglass in 1847. It was a real treat to have the opportunity to meet and interact with Black writers and publishers from around the country. As a kid I can remember being a paperboy for the Pittsburgh Courier in the Hill District of the "steel city." Every Thursday you could hear the voices of young boys hollering out "get your Pittsburgh Courrrrrrrrrier!" The few nickels and dimes I collected put some change in my pocket and enabled me to stride with a little pride. When I moved to Youngstown, Ohio, the Buckeye Review was the principal voice for the Black community. Founded by Earl B. Dickerson, this cherished news organ was passed on to McCullough Williams, Jr. and eventually Margaret Linton-Lanier. For a time I served as Advertising Director for the Buckeye Review.

A toast to the administrative state

There was much laughter following the presidents signing of the health care bill.  Democrats were positively giddy over having successfully secured America’s decline.  There were fist bumps and back slapping; the champagne flowed. 

Democrats were not alone in their celebration.  Republicans too shook hands with constituents and lapped up attention and praise for, let’s face it, having done very little. But, hey, why let that spoil a good time?  My fear is that not only will Republicans not “repeal the bill” should they take control of congress after the mid-term elections, but that in the very near future Republican candidates will also be running on promises to nurture it.  Such is my confidence in the current GOP.

To the Editor: My thoughts about Special Education and the African American adolescent male.

If it takes a village to raise a child, then is it feasible to come together as a community to raise our African American males who are in special education? Studies across the county and in Minnesota revealed that there is an overrepresentation of African American males in the special educational system.  Legislation known as NCLB (No Child Left Behind) and IDEIA (Individual with Disabilities Education Improvement) provides resources for the success of youths with disabilities and their families. 
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