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Dec 21st

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Congresswoman McCollum confronts Republicans on EPA Budget Cuts, environmentally destructive policies

Washington, DC – Recently, Congresswoman Betty McCollum (MN-04) participated in the markup of the Fiscal Year 2012 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill that sets funding levels for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Interior and other agencies within the subcommittee’s jurisdiction.  The proposed spending bill led by the House Republican majority includes drastic cuts that will threaten the safety of America’s drinking water and let corporate polluters go free.
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Congressman Keith Ellison calls on Congress to protect Social Security

WASHINGTON—Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), on Friday, July 8 introduced a resolution urging the House of Representatives to reiterate protections for Social Security and Social Security benefits. 

Discussions have been swirling that that the Social Security program might be cut as part of negotiations to prevent the United States from defaulting on its debt.  Rep. Ellison’s resolution notes that the Social Security trust fund actually has $2.7 trillion in assets on hand, and that any reform to improve Social Security’s long-term outlook should not decrease benefits or raise the retirement age.
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Freedom From Fear Awards: Immigrant rights a new frontier for Black activist

Freedom From Fear Awards: Immigrant rights a new frontier for Black activistPart one in a six-part series profiling the winners of the Freedom From Fear Awards.

It was reading Malcolm X that convinced Chokwe Lumumba to go to law school. Malcolm X had wanted to be a lawyer, but his teachers discouraged him. As an undergraduate student at Kalamazoo College in Michigan in the late 1960s, Lumumba decided to be the lawyer that Malcolm X might have been.

In the nearly four decades since then, Lumumba as championed for civil rights in Michigan and Mississippi, working as a lawyer representing accused murderers in front of unsympathetic juries; as the vice-president of the Republic of New Afrika, a Detroit-based Black-nationalist group in the late '60s; and currently as a City Council Member in Jackson, Miss.
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Obama Administration announces 14 initial partners in the Better Buildings Challenge

Obama Administration announces 14 initial partners in the Better Buildings ChallengePrivate sector partners, local governments commit more than $500 million and 300 million square feet to improving energy efficiency

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced last month at the Clinton Global Initiative America meeting in Chicago the 14 initial partners committing to the Better Buildings Challenge.  The Better Buildings Challenge is part of the Better Buildings Initiative that President Obama launched in February to catalyze private sector investment in commercial building upgrades and make America’s commercial buildings 20 percent more efficient over the next decade.  The Better Buildings Initiative is co-led by the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and former President Clinton.  Earlier last month, the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness recommended to President Obama prioritizing the Better Buildings Initiative as an important way to support job creation.  The initial partners in the Better Buildings Challenge include private sector companies, financial institutions and local governments. 
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The Wavelength: FCC decries lack of Media Diversity, stymies low-power tv

Local coverage and diversity are in short supply in today's media landscape–especially when it comes to broadcast and cable TV. But there is hope. In markets like the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles, low-power TV (LPTV) is emerging as a viable alternative to network and cable TV, offering 24-hour programming and locally-produced news shows for ethnic communities in their own languages.

While LPTV offers incredible opportunities for ethnic communities, as I reported for New America Media, these stations face considerable challenges, including an unfriendly regulatory landscape and the weighty influence of the big-bucks telecommunications industry, which just wants LPTV to go away so it can claim the full digital spectrum.
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Black migration changes the political landscape in many states

Black migration changes the political landscape in many statesAfrican-Americans once were clustered so heavily in urban areas that the terms “Black” and “inner city” came to be used almost synonymously. According to the 2010 U.S. Census results, that time is history.

While Blacks have by no means vanished from cities, unprecedented numbers have headed for the suburbs or left the big cities of the North and headed south. As legislative districts are redrawn, nonpartisan groups and both political parties are watching how this unexpected migration will affect local and state elections.
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DHS provides Hennepin County and the city of Minneapolis $200,000 for tornado recovery

The Minnesota Department of Human Services is providing Hennepin County and the city of Minneapolis $200,000 to assist those impacted by the tornado that struck North Minneapolis May 22. The grant, voted on and approved last Tuesday by the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners, will be administered by the Hennepin County Department of Human Services and Public Health, in partnership with the city of Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support, as well as Hennepin County’s NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center.
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Ramsey County prepares for potential state shutdown

The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners has authorized County Manager Julie Kleinschmidt, in the event of a state government shutdown on July 1, to pay for services already included in the 2011 Ramsey County budget, based on the estimated revenue that is likely to be received from the state when a state budget is adopted.

The board adopted a resolution at its meeting Tuesday that read in part: “It is not the intent of the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners to assume financial responsibility for the State in the event of a State shutdown.”
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US Labor Department provides $5.5 million in grants to mentor young parents

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced a total of $5.5 million funding for four grantees under the Young Parents Demonstration Program. The grants are being awarded to community and faith-based organizations in Los Angeles, Calif.; Asheville, N.C.; Birmingham, Ala.; and Worcester, Mass., to provide intensive mentoring services for low-income parents and expectant parents ages 16–24, as a supplement to educational and occupational skills training available through existing workforce development programs.
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The state may shut down but the MOA Aquarium doors are open

The state may shut down but the MOA Aquarium doors are openJuly 1 is the deadline for when legislators and Governor Dayton must decide on a budget solution or face a government shutdown. Just in case that deal can’t be reached, SEA LIFE Minnesota at the Mall of America is ready to entertain recently laid off state employees.

If there is still no agreed upon budget by July 1, the more than 35,000 state employees who will find themselves out of work can visit SEA LIFE Minnesota for free through Sunday July 10. In order to redeem the offer, state employees need only bring a copy of their lay off notice, and present it at the Aquarium Box Office on MOA Level One. 
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Supreme court tells working women, you're on your own

SYNOPSIS: Despite a vast amount of evidence of wage discrimination against women, the court's conservative (all-male) majority decided to give Wal-Mart -- a company well known for its union-busting policies -- the benefit of the doubt.

Sitting in the majestic paneled courtroom in the U.S. Supreme Court three months ago, it did not take long to get that dreaded sense that Betty Dukes and 1.5 million other current and former women employees at Wal-Mart were not likely to prevail in their epic 10-year battle against the nation's largest private employer.
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