All Articles Tagged "NAACP"
In the midst of a firestorm over the IRS’ admitted scrutiny of conservative organizations, President Obama dismissed the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, Steven Miller, and today appointed a new acting commissioner, Daniel Werfel. Steven Miller knew that the IRS had been asking Tea Party organizations for more information before giving them tax-exempt status, says The New York Times. Miller will testify before the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday and will step down from his post next month.
Werfel will take the position on May 22.
Attorney General Eric Holder has promised to pursue anyone in the agency that gives false statements on the issue. Moreover, he says there will be an investigation into whether anyone’s civil rights were violated by the IRS’ actions.
“The American people deserve to have the utmost confidence and trust in their government, and as we work to get to the bottom of what happened and restore confidence in the I.R.S., Danny has the experience and management ability necessary to lead the agency at this important time,” President Obama said in a statement released today. Werfel’s job will be to make sure the government adheres to the restrictions of the sequestration.
Conservatives and the media have been up in arms over the IRS scandal, with IRS trending on Twitter for at least the past two days.
Coupled with controversy over the Justice Department’s subpoena of AP journalist’s phone records and the ongoing investigation into the attack in Benghazi, it’s been a tough few days for the administration.
Meanwhile this week, Julian Bond, chairman emeritus of the NAACP, said he and his group faced increased IRS attention in 2004 when he made a speech critical of then President George W. Bush. He argues that the NAACP does actually get out the vote. He says the attention that the IRS paid to Tea Party organizations was “legitimate” because this is a “group of people who are admittedly racist.” Mediaite has the clip, which is also available below.
Have you been paying attention to this controversy? And do you agree with Bond?
An illustration published with the headline “The Great American Housing Rebound,” the cover is being called racist by people across the Internet. Now the NAACP has chimed in with its thoughts.
“It’s racist and a mischaracterization,” the organization’s senior director of economics tells New York magazine’s Daily Intelligencer. “They are clearly racializing the issue by having mostly Blacks and Latinos, possibly only Blacks and Latinos, benefiting.”
Now the editor of the magazine, Josh Tyrangiel, says he has “regrets” about publishing it. Of course this is after getting what he calls “strong reactions.” One wonders if he would’ve had as many “regrets” if fewer people complained.
The subhead of the cover reads, “Flips. No-look bids. 300 percent returns. What could go wrong?” Some say it implies that minorities are causing economic trouble.
“The claim that minorities are creating a housing bubble through flipping, no-look bids, and 300% returns is simply not reality,” Yahoo News quotes from HousingWire.com. “Flipping is a form of fraud and not a typical transaction. No-look bids are not exclusive to Hispanic and African-American investors. No one is making a 300% return.”
Andres Guzman, a Peruvian artist who now lives in Minnesota drew the cover. He’s said in a statement that he made the drawing the way he did because “those are the kind of families I know.” He went on in his statement to call it a “mixed” family.
The online magazine Slate actually got the ball rolling on the backlash with the headline “Businessweek Warns That Minorities May Be Buying Houses Again.” (Which makes you wonder who’s reader the magazine and whether they were shocked.) We looked for the story online quickly and couldn’t find it. Slate writer, Matthew Yglesias, says the story actually makes no mention of minorities. “Obviously, though, as Businessweek well knows someone else on the staff should have been able to see how this was going to look in the U.S. context,” he writes. Seriously.
We like the sound of this!
WE TV has partnered with the NAACP for a campaign that will give it up for black women who are doing things great and small to make the world a better place.
Part of the NAACP’s ”Unsung Heroes” project, WE TV already has a page set up on its site to drum up interest and gather stories for the project. You can add your video and information about your “hero” here. To get the ball rolling, members of the Braxton family talk about their heroes here. This Tumblr has been showcasing the project for some time.
In addition to the Braxtons, Mary Mary, and stars from WE shows including My Fair Wedding: Unveiled are participating in the campaign, according to Multichannel News. The media outlet says public service announcements will be made, incorporating the submissions.
Are You Buying This? Critics of NYC’s Large Soda Ban, Including NAACP, Say It Hurts Minority Businesses
Opponents and supporters of New York City’s ban on oversized sugary drinks made a court appearance yesterday, with critics seeking to put the measure on hold while this lawsuit is resolved. It’s scheduled to go into effect on March 12. At issue, reports the Associated Press, are biases that will disproportionately impact small and minority-owned businesses.
Mayor Bloomberg and his administration say this is an effort to combat the high obesity rate — 24 percent of adults in the city — and trim the $4.7 billion price tag for treating obesity-related illnesses.
The NAACP and the Hispanic Federation have joined the American Beverage Association and a number of other groups who argue that the rule oversteps into consumer choice and isn’t fair to businesses that will be prohibited from selling the jumbo beverages while convenience stores and other large businesses, which aren’t subject to city health rules, can sell the items. Businesses caught violating the 16-ounce rule will face a $200 fine, starting in June.
“The NAACP and the Hispanic Federation, an organization of 100 Northeastern groups, say their concern is that minority-owned delis and corner stores will end up at a disadvantage compared with grocery chains,” wrote the AP.
But some are calling out these organizations because of their ties to the big beverage companies. Among the ties cited: Coke is giving $100,000 to the NAACP for healthy lifestyle initiatives and former Hispanic Federation President Lillian Rodriguez Lopez now works for Coca-Cola. Gawker (h/t New York‘s Daily Intelligencer blog) also points out that the Hispanic Federation’s annual gala will honor Coca-Cola with the Corporate Leadership Award.
“Given that obesity rates are higher than average among blacks and Hispanics, the NAACP should refuse soda makers’ money and ‘reevaluate the position the group is taking in New York City,’ Michael F. Jacobson, the executive director of the nutrition advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest,” the AP adds.
“In its brief, the N.A.A.C.P. conceded that obesity was a significant problem among blacks and Hispanics. But the group urged the city to create a more holistic program to attack the problem, including an increase in financing for physical education programs in public schools,” The New York Times reports.
Are you buying this racial argument from the NAACP and the Hispanic Federation? The ban is a little heavy-handed, but honestly, if you want to drink that much soda, you can purchase that much soda. You just can’t do it in one container. So instead of buying a 20-ounce soda at the corner store, you buy two cans. Is that so outrageous?
The health issues associated with obesity have to be tackled, and we have to start somewhere. Why not start here? And if it doesn’t work, you do away with it. The NAACP is right; there should be increased physical education in public schools. But diet is a huge issue as well. Public policy is stepping in to try and change unhealthy behavior.
Politico spoke with Benjamin Jealous, the president of the NAACP, last night at the BET Inaugural Gala, who told the site that, among his remaining appointments, the organization would like to see President Obama name a black woman to the Supreme Court. Specifically, Jealous would like to see Kamala Harris, California’s Attorney General, on the High Court.
“He still has several more appointments, and we expect that we’ll see at least the same diversity that we saw the first time around. What we’re hoping to see is a black woman on the U.S. Supreme Court,” Jealous said.
Politico named Harris one of the “13 people to watch in politics in 2013″ just a few weeks ago. In its blurb about the 48-year-old Harris, the site said ”many Democrats sense her catapulting up the ranks in the party” with questions about her possibly replacing the nation’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, or possibly getting a seat on the Court. She is California’s first African American and first Indian American AG.
President Obama has been criticized by Democrats, and more specifically by Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), for the lack of diversity in some of President Obama’s choices for the second term. Speaking to MSNBC earlier this month, he said that, by this time, there should be a number of qualified women and minorities to fill spots that have opened up in the cabinet and on the Court.
Just a couple days before this interview, this story ran in The New York Times, which called out the President for a seemingly all-male “inner circle” for his second term.
At the moment, it’s anticipated that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who is 79 years old, will step down from the Supreme Court soon. Justices Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy aren’t too far behind at 76 years old.
The NAACP has released a new report — “Finding Our Way Back to First: Reclaiming World Leadership by Educating All America’s Children” — that suggests four areas where education practices must improve if the system is going to keep up with the global economy. Those areas are: effective teaching, pre-K prep, “targeted spending,” and additional learning time.
NAACP president and CEO Benjamin Jealous says in this blog post on the NAACP website, “Our proposition is simple: if every public school does what the best schools do, every child will be able to get a great education.” The emphasis of the report is on children across the socioeconomic spectrum.
Black Voice News explains the four areas of improvement in more detail:
The first element, “Prekindergarten Prep for Achievement,” suggests that higher quality, universal prekindergarten programs that better prepare students for school; the second, “Effective Teaching,” seeks to better prepare teachers and make ensures that only the most qualified teachers lead classrooms.
“More Time, More Learning,” points to both a longer school day and an extended school year, while “Targeted Spending for Widespread Success” points to the better usage of the limited resources schools and school district have.
Just today, we reported on a new analysis that found that while American students have moved up on education scale, there are still a number of countries that are excelling beyond us. The report also found that race and financial status determine educational achievement.
“If the United States is to remain competitive in the global marketplace, we must have a strong and innovative workforce. To attain that workforce, we need to educate students at a higher level than in the past,” Black Voice News quotes NAACP Education Director Beth Glenn.
How would you like to see the American education system improved?
University of Maryland law professor Sherrilyn Ifill has been tapped to lead the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF), starting in January 2013. She will be following in the footsteps of the legendary Thurgood Marshall, who headed the LDF when it was first launched in 1940 until 1961. The LDF is the country’s first and foremost civil and human rights law firm.
It’s a perfect fit. Ifill is a civil rights litigator who has specialized in voting rights and political participation, and she is also an LDF alum. According to the Afro, as a young attorney, Ifill served as assistant counsel in LDF’s New York office.
“It was a dream come true to serve as a lawyer at LDF years ago, and it is a high honor to return to this premiere institution as president and director-counsel,” Ifill said in a statement.
LDF, which was founded more than 70 years ago, focuses on legal advocacy centered around advancing equality in the criminal justice system, achieving educational parity, increasing political participation and ensuring the appointment of fair-minded and diverse judges. Some of most famous civil rights cases were prompted by the LDF. When the LDF coordinated legal assault against officially enforced public school segregation, the campaign culminated in Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark Supreme Court decision in 1954 that overturned the “separate but equal” doctrine of legally sanctioned discrimination, known as Jim Crow.
Ifill says she is up to the task. “I am looking forward to working with the LDF team, allies and partners to advance an innovative 21st century civil rights practice that confronts the barriers to equality and justice in the lives of the most marginalized members of our community,” she added in the press statement.
Outside of he courtroom and classroom, Ifill is a noted public intellectual, who regularly offers commentary on pressing issues. Ifill, a graduate of the New York University School of Law, is also the author of On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the 21st Century.
In 1993 Ifill joined the faculty of the University Maryland School of Law, where she established several innovative legal clinics, including an environmental justice clinic, and one of the first legal clinics in the nation to focus on the legal rights of ex-offenders.
If her surname sounds familiar, Ifill is a cousin of noted Public Broadcast System news anchor Gwen Ifill.
It Still Doesn’t Add Up: Despite Being Cuffed Behind His Back, Chavis Carter’s Death Officially Ruled A Suicide
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A man whose hands were cuffed behind him in the back seat of an Arkansas patrol car shot himself in the right temple with a handgun he apparently concealed from arresting officers, according to an autopsy report released Monday that listed the death as a suicide.
The state crime lab report, signed by three medical examiners, said the muzzle of a gun was placed against Chavis Carter’s head when it was fired. Jonesboro police released the report to The Associated Press and other news organizations under a Freedom of Information Act request.
The report said the manner of death was ruled a suicide based on autopsy findings and investigative conclusions from the Jonesboro police department, which has faced questions from Carter’s family and community members about the circumstances surrounding the July 28 shooting.
“He was cuffed and placed into a police car, where apparently he produced a weapon, and despite being handcuffed, shot himself in the head,” the report said. Chief Medical Examiner Charles P. Kokes did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
Police have said officers frisked Carter, 21, twice after a traffic stop without finding a gun before he was fatally shot, but the department’s internal investigation continues. The FBI also is monitoring the case and the local branch of the NAACP has called for a thorough investigation into the death of Carter, who was black. Two other men who were in a truck with him during the stop and the two officers on the scene are white, according to police.
Read more on the case and the official autopsy report on BlackVoices.com.
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Since our country’s inception, black women have been instrumental in shaping the law of the land. They overcame racial and gender barriers to become lawyers and judges, while using their influence to enact laws for the greater good of society. One legal eagle – a former slave – never went to law school, but possessed the innate ability to present oral arguments before the Supreme Court. These trailblazers reshaped the legal landscape in their pursuit of liberty and justice for all.
Charlotte Ray has the distinction of being the first black female lawyer in the United States. In 1869, she applied for admission to Howard University’s Law School under the name “C.E. Ray” since the university discouraged women from applying to law school. When Ray graduated from Howard in 1872 with a degree in commercial law, she was the first black woman – and only the third female in the United States – to receive a law degree. That same year, she also became the first woman admitted to the bar in the District of Columbia.
Oooooh, tough crowd, eh? Just kidding, it wasn’t that bad, or maybe it was…
While speaking to the NAACP in Houston at their annual convention today, Romney’s criticisms of President Obama and his policies was met with boos and uber shade by those in the crowd listening to his 25-minute speech. When he talked about his hope to get rid of non-essential programs and policies that President Obama has put in place, including “Obamacare,” many in the crowd booed loudly. He tried not to let the heat burn his collar, and kept his speech and smile going. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Romney also felt the heat for saying, “If you want a president who will make things better in the African American community, you’re looking at him.” I think laughing at that remark would have been more appropriate than booing loudly, but to each their own.
But I’m sure Mitt Romney knew he wasn’t going to be able to impress or change the mind of many in that room, as many in the NAACP stand behind the president, but think of all the hell he would have caught had he passed on their invitation. Ironically, President Obama isn’t planning to speak to the group this election season, but will send Vice President Joe Biden in his place.
Other things Romney touched on during his speech to the civil rights group included his support of traditional marriage in light of President Obama’s support of gay marriage (no boos there from the crowd), and even shouted out his late father, George Romney, and his work with civil rights as if they were his own accomplishments:
“It wasn’t just that my dad helped write the civil rights provision for the Michigan Constitution, though he did. It wasn’t just that he helped create Michigan’s first civil rights commission, or that as governor he marched for civil rights in Detroit – though he did those things, too. More than these public acts, it was the kind of man he was, and the way he dealt with every person, black or white.”
And though he says his dad’s work inspired him to do the same and be the same way, let’s keep it real: When you align yourself with fools like Donald Trump who lead the “Birthers” movement and embrace those of the Tea Party, you’re not going to have much luck with many black voters. I’m just saying, but nice try though.
“Thank you, come again.” *in my Apu voice*
Check out video from the convention, which includes his thoughts on “Obamacare” and the crowd’s response…
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