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ICCED Women Report.jpgThe Insight Center for Community Economic Development released a report on the gender wealth gap to mark International Women's Day. The report found nearly half of all single black and Latina women have zero or negative wealth, meaning their debts exceed all of their assets. The median wealth for single black women is only $100; for single Latina women, $120. This compares to just over $41,000 for single white women.

Democracy Now spoke with "the chief author of the report, Mariko Lin Chang and C. Nicole Mason, Executive Director of the Women of Color Policy Network." Click here to read or watch the interview.

Global North's Role in Haitian Crisis

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People-wander-the-streets-008.jpgVictims bodies laid out in the street | Photo: Cruz Roja /Espanola/EPA

13 January 2010

Guardian, UK
BY Peter Hallward

Peter Hallward is professor of Modern European Philosophy at Middlesex University and author of Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide, and the Politics of Containment

If we are serious about assisting this devastated land we must stop trying to control and exploit it

Any large city in the world would have suffered extensive damage from an earthquake on the scale of the one that ravaged Haiti's capital city on Tuesday afternoon, but it's no accident that so much of Port-au-Prince now looks like a war zone. Much of the devastation wreaked by this latest and most calamitous disaster to befall Haiti is best understood as another thoroughly manmade outcome of a long and ugly historical sequence.

Some Racists Aren't in the Best Interest of the Free Market

Excerpt from "Analysis: Limbaugh's words keep him from a dream"
AP National Writer

15 October 2009

"The league has 78 percent African-American players," Lebowitz said. "Do you bring in someone who has made racist statements to own a team that's largely made up of players the owner has made slurring statements about?"

story.jpgThe decision to exclude Limbaugh was made Wednesday by a group led by Dave Checketts, chairman of the St. Louis Blues, who are trying to keep the Rams in town. It came after concerns were raised by players, their union, civil rights activists, at least one NFL owner and the commissioner of the country's most popular sports league.

All franchise sales must be approved by 24 of the NFL's 32 teams -- an ownership group that is overwhelmingly white, conservative and focused on the bottom line, which could have suffered if fans or advertisers were angered by Limbaugh.

"There's an argument that says the very principles Rush espouses -- the free market -- are what did him in," said the conservative radio host Michael Smerconish. "This IS the free market. These are private businessmen who made a decision about what was in the best business interest of their thriving venture.

"It's definitely ironic. There's a bit of hypocrisy here as well," Smerconish said, citing a study that showed 70 percent of NFL owners' political contributions went to Republicans. "Through their dollars they are very supportive of the sort of politics that Rush talks."

Said the Rev. Al Sharpton, who was a loud voice of opposition to Limbaugh's bid: "It's remarkable in that he was denied by other powerful whites. At the end of the day, his own peers said, 'You are a liability.' Even the rich and powerful do not want to be identified with racism."
Limbaugh insists that he is not racist, and that comments such as one from a 2007 transcript on his Web site -- "The NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it" -- have been twisted by his liberal critics, and sometimes flat-out fabricated.

Two of the racist quotes recently attributed to Limbaugh, which praised slavery and Martin Luther King Jr. assassin James Earl Ray, may have been falsified and then magnified in the media echo chamber.

The quotes were published in a 2006 book by Jack Huberman, "101 People Who Are Really Screwing America." Asked Thursday for the source of the quotes, Huberman said he had no comment. His publisher, Nation Books, also declined to comment.

But the record shows Limbaugh also was forced to resign from ESPN's Sunday night football broadcast in 2003 after saying of the Eagles' Donovan McNabb: "I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well."

Is the Doctor Accepting New Patients? Sort Of

Harold Graves

I am trying to get my daughter an appointment with a pediatrician for a flu shot. This means I have to find a pediatrician since we just moved to the Eastern Shore. More importantly, I want to give our daughter (us) an opportunity to develop a relationship with a physician with whom she will, hopefully, feel comfortable and with whom she will hopefully maintain a lasting relationship.

I am also looking for a "family practice" doctor or a physician in internal medicine.

I have spent at least 18 hours researching, trying to find background information on various physicians I've discovered. It is virtually impossible to locate information on doctors these days. When you Google any doctor by name, the following sites have taken control of a doctor's background information.

It seems that these days you may only access information beyond a doctor's name, address, and sometimes education for a fee.

You can obtain some patient ratings for free on, but my bias is that if a patient's comment seems infused with either complimentary or disparaging statements along with multiple serious grammar and spelling errors, I'm not sure I can trust the recommendation.

I finally contacted a pediatrician I thought might suit our daughter. A woman. A woman of color: Japanese-Irish American. A woman who had been burned as a child and has since dedicated her life to childhood injuries.

"The doctor is no longer taking new patients."

But her partner is. Her partner is white and a woman. I ask to make an appointment for a flu shot for our daughter.

'What is your insurance?' is the first question I am asked.

"The Near-Death Experience of Antioch College: A Cautionary Tale"

50.jpgFrom American Association of University Professors' newsletter:

What happens when a university's corporate management betrays the institution's core educational mission; when it abandons its key constituencies; when it hides its intentions and plans; and when it manipulates or withholds essential financial information? The AAUP's investigative report on Antioch University provides disturbing and disheartening answers to these questions.

Antioch College, founded in 1852 in Yellow Springs, Ohio, has had a long history as a pioneer in liberal arts education. Significant innovations, subsequently adopted by many other institutions, have included cooperative education, experiential learning, community governance, recruitment of African American students before and after Brown vs. Board of Education, and the country's first study abroad program. Through good times and bad, Antioch has produced distinguished graduates such as Coretta Scott King, Stephen Jay Gould, and Eleanor Holmes Norton. It has received top rankings among colleges whose graduates go on to complete the PhD as well as continuing recognition in the areas of academic challenge, enriching educational experience, active and collaborative learning, and student-faculty interaction.

The Antioch University administration and board of trustees, in suspending the operations of Antioch College and then closing the institution on June 30, 2008, appears to have decided that the college's rich history of progressive education and its residential liberal arts setting were luxuries that its 21st-century management philosophy could not afford and did not need. Antioch's closure is thus of concern to everyone interested in high quality liberal arts higher education.

The report of the AAUP's investigative committee analyzes the protracted dissolution of Antioch College in the light of the Association's recommended standards for faculty participation in program development, curricular control, budgetary allocation, declaration of financial exigency, and treatment of faculty under such exigency. The report details the gradual deterioration of faculty governance at Antioch through a series of administrative actions over several decades that led ultimately to the closure of the college. Key managerial decisions made by the administration repeatedly disregarded longstanding principles of faculty consultation and shared governance.

Specifically the report reveals that the Antioch University administration:

  • usurped the faculty's responsibilities by mandating a new curriculum that the faculty neither initiated nor approved;
  • failed to consult with the faculty regarding the college's financial condition prior to the declaration of financial exigency and the process by which university administrators and board members had reached that decision;
  • failed to provide faculty members the right to examine or challenge the decisions both to declare financial exigency and to close the college;
  • systematically reduced the flow of budgetary information to the Antioch College faculty and its governance bodies;
  • failed to protect the autonomy of Antioch College and, in fact, significantly undermined it by approving a shift of administrative functions from Antioch College to the university administration without ensuring means for communication or sharing of governance.

During its 156-year history, the college had struggled through many hard times but had been sustained by the strong tradition of its faculty's engagement with enlightened boards, distinguished administrators, eminent alumni, and talented students working together to serve the common good. Fortunately, those devoted to the Antioch tradition have once again taken critical steps toward reopening Antioch College. As announced on June 30, 2009, the governing boards of Antioch University and the college's alumni have reached agreement on opening a new Antioch College, independent of the university. Reopening is anticipated for fall 2011. Antioch College, it seems, will rise again phoenix-like and survive to continue its tradition of progressive education. But its near demise provides clear and eloquent testimony to the havoc wrought by a board and administration that abandoned their commitment to liberal arts education and to the fundamental principles of shared governance.

Gary Rhoades, General Secretary

Obama's Speech to the NAACP

071609_obamanaacp.jpgIn his recent speech to the NAACP Centennial Convention, Obama did strike some balance in his reprimand of poor and working poor African Americans. Yet the NY Times focused on his admonishment rather than his acknowledgment of the reasons why people are poor.

President Obama delivered a fiery sermon to black America on Thursday night, warning black parents that they must accept their own responsibilities by "putting away the Xbox and putting our kids to bed at a reasonable hour," and telling black children that growing up poor is no reason to get bad grades.

Even as he urged blacks to take responsibility for themselves, he spoke of the societal ills -- high unemployment, the housing and energy crisis -- that have created the conditions for black joblessness. And he said the legacy of the Jim Crow era is still felt, albeit in different ways today. "Make no mistake, no mistake: the pain of discrimination is still felt in America," Mr. Obama said, by African-American women who are paid less for the same work as white men, by Latinos "made to feel unwelcome," by Muslim Americans "viewed with suspicion" and by "our gay brothers and sisters, still taunted, still attacked, still denied their rights."

Mr. Obama paid particular attention to education, declaring that more than 50 years after the Supreme Court's landmark segregation case, Brown v. Board of Education, "the dream of a world-class education is still being deferred all across this country" as African-American students lag behind white classmates in reading and math.-Sheryl Gay Stolberg, NY Times, 16 July 2009

I must admit that I do bristle when I think about the fact that African Americans received a sort of homily from a president who identifies as a biracial-African American. And, this they received via the mouthpiece of black propriety: the NAACP. Obama attended an elite secondary school and college and thereby entered formal adulthood with the very American necessity of social capital.

The Credit Crisis for the "Unfamiliar" & "Uninitiated"

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VIDEO: The Crisis of Credit
BY Jonathan Jarvis*

This video in combination with Naomi Klein's speech at University of Chicago, "Ideas have Consequences: The Wall Street Crisis Should be the End of Neoliberalism," work well together to help make sense of how ideology ("neoliberalism") and political-economic practice (the free market and its obsession with speculation) affect the well-being of everyday people. (Thank you to Seanne Thomas, an extremely conscious and conscientious realtor in the Twin Cities for sharing this! Seanne warned long ago that the housing "boom" would harm the futures of working poor people.)

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

*Jonathan Jarvis is a designer who recently began designing for Google's Creative Lab.

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