Insight News

Sep 01st


Legislature got high marks for Green Jobs leadership

Payday loans a civil right issue

Jermaine Toney is the Principal researcher at the Organizing Apprenticeship Project, which recently released its ‘Annual Minnesota Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity’. Batala McFarlane, publisher of ‘Insight News’ and producer of Conversations with Al McFarlane, joined host Al McFarlane in conducting the Toney interview.

Al McFarlane: The Report Card says, “Despite declarations that an economic recovery is underway; more than a 132,000 Minnesotans have lost their jobs since December 2007 and in particular the unemployment and wealth crises has worsened for American Indians, Communities of color and new Minnesotans who were facing desperate poverty and unemployment rates even before this recession and to make matters worse the report says Minnesota’s safety net for child care, for housing and education has been nearly dismantled by a decade of public disinvestment. Predatory lending practices from home ownership to pay-day lending have undermined income and wealth opportunity making it nearly impossible for Minnesotans of color and poor Minnesotans to earn and lean on assets in hard times. Our economic recovery must be equitable fueled by policy that upholds fair treatment, family supporting wages, a vibrant safety net, culturally appropriate financial services and that build on economic contributions of Communities of Color.” The report summarizes, “Our future prosperity relies on eliminating barriers economic opportunity. Minnesota’s younger workers are more racially diverse than older workers. We do see today’s barriers will ensure that our younger workers of color are successful future investors, law makers, farmers and business owners of Minnesota”.

So Jermaine, why it is important to insure equity and to reduce inequity in the area of economic and wealth equity?

Has Wal-Mart discriminated?

The federal appeals court, in a split decision, has ruled 6-5 that a sexual discrimination case against Wal-Mart can move forward as a class action suit. The case began in 2001 when six women claimed Wal-Mart paid women less than men, awarded smaller raises to women and provided fewer opportunities for promotions for women. Later, more than one million women signed on to become claimants in the case which is the largest employment discrimination case in this nation’s history.

The plaintiffs point out that, although 65-percent of Wal-Mart hourly employees are women, only 33-percent of its managers are women. Obviously, Wal-Mart does not want the case to proceed and has announced it will appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States. Additionally, Wal-Mart maintains that the discrimination claims are based on individual decision making, not corporate.

The playground jail

(NNPA) - Adults often start conversations with children by asking them what they want to be when they grow up. We tell them to dream big, and encourage them by giving them pretend doctor’s kits, fancy dress-up clothes, and other toys that let them imitate adult life.

Now, imagine you’re a parent, and in the middle of your neighborhood, there is a playground. Of course you’d want that playground to be a joyful, creative space. If your neighborhood were a crowded public housing development in the middle of a city, the chance to bring your children to a small outdoor sanctuary where they could stretch their bodies and imaginations would be even more precious. You might hope the jungle gym would include a pretend steering wheel, storefront, or spaceship, like the equipment in thousands of playgrounds across the country. Imagine, then, if instead the “sanctuary” the city provided for your children featured a pretend jail.


Run, Princella, run!

Some voters in Arkansas’ 1st Congressional District will believe Princella Smith is just too young to be a congresswoman.  Doing business on Capital Hill requires wisdom and life experience; at 26-years-old, Smith is a baby.  Of course, age was not an issue for Edward Rutledge, who at 26 signed the Declaration of Independence.  Nor was age an issue for Amelia Earhart, who at 25 set an altitude record for female aviators. 

Would you want your child to grow up to be like?

Are Black role models different than white ones?  General use of the term means a "person who serves as an example, whose behavior is emulated by others".  The image of the “First Black” in a position in the mainstream is usually made as a reference to social roles to which all should aspire.  Taking an evaluation of some “first Blacks” brings questions of their competence and whether they’ve shown qualities other Blacks should imitate.

Title I fund formula disadvantages many children it was created to help

NNPA Columnist

(NNPA) - Title I was created “to ensure all children a fair and equal opportunity to obtain a high-quality education.” However, the formula for distributing Title I funds is stacked against the very children it was most intended to help. The current formula (a complex combination of four formulas) favors large districts regardless of their child poverty rate while children trapped in areas of concentrated poverty in mid-sized cities and rural districts are seriously disadvantaged. The inequities between and within states are blatant and must be rectified in this reauthorization cycle.

Why should Mississippi, the state with the highest concentration of Title I eligible students (27.2 percent) and the highest concentration of child poverty (30.4 percent), get an average allocation of $1,318 for each Title I eligible student while Wyoming, with the lowest percent of Title I eligible students (11.6 percent) and a three times lower child poverty rate (11.6 percent), receives an average of $3,149 per Title I eligible student—a $1,831 difference per child?

Regulate health premiums or reform benefits will be lost to many

The President and Congress successfully overhauled the healthcare system in a major way, making it possible for nearly four million Americans to get needed healthcare insurance. Despite this great – and historical – news, more work remains. One of the remaining obstacles we have to overcome is making sure health insurers can’t raise their premiums by an exorbitant amount. Without oversight on this front, the benefits of the healthcare bill will be lost to many.

Insurer Anthem Blue Cross in California plans to raise its insurance premiums by 39-percent, a move that has many customers on edge. The company has put the rate hike on hold for now, but the very thought of such an increase from any insurer has legislators moving quickly to act.  U.S Senator Diane Feinstein (D-California) and U.S Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois) are pushing legislation that would prevent insurance companies from raising premiums without prior approval from a regulatory body. Some states already have this step in place, most do not.
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