Insight News

Friday
Oct 31st

Commentary

Pay teachers now!

It’s no secret that the American economy is in shambles; every sector is feeling the pinch. The nation’s public school system, which has long struggled with issues related to under funding, has been hit particularly hard. In fact, the states all but begged the federal government for a safety net just as teachers around the country were being laid off. So, it’s surprising that, with billions in federal funds set aside so that schools could hire needed staff, school districts around the country aren’t making any moves.

In early August, President Obama signed a $26 billion federal aid package that granted $10 billion to the country’s school districts. The money would allow schools to keep existing teachers on staff or rehire those who had been laid off, as well as bring on new teachers, counselors, and other school staff. Instead of moving quickly and creating a hiring boom, many states began thinking of ways to save the money so that it could be used for other school years and purposes.
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Tolerance and the Ground Zero Mosque


I am fascinated that the same people who have been able to find a Constitutional right to government control of education, healthcare, and the energy industry are unable to divine from that same document any rational basis for the government to prevent a mosque from being built on Ground Zero. 

Of course, the issue is not whether the American Society for Muslim Advancement has a constitutional right to build a 13-story, mosque, and community center within 600 feet of Ground Zero.  There are a number of things citizens have a right to do—things that the constitutional protection of speech protects—that people of good conscience choose not to do and that others might view as offensive or insulting.
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Avoid blood diamonds


Diamonds are a girl’s – or rapper or baller's - best friend; this we know. But, these precious stones are also at the core of some of the greatest atrocities known to man.  “Blood diamonds” or conflict diamonds, as they are called, are diamonds mined in war zones and then used to fund violent militias; they’re most common in Africa, where about two thirds of the world’s diamonds are produced.  As governments and organizations around the world have become more of ‘blood diamonds’ and the roles they play in war, actions have been taken to limit their appearance in the market place. We too can, and should, do our part to make sure any bling we might buy is conflict free.
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Letter to the editor: English only laws

I am saddened to hear of cities such as Lino Lakes enacting “English only” laws and I sincerely hope that other cities in Minnesota will not follow.

As citizens of the 21st Century and of the great state of Minnesota, it is in our best interest that non-English speaking residents, citizens and visitors in our communities are able to interact with the local government. Local governments should foster that interaction.

I call on my mayor R.T. Rybak to prevent similar legislation from ever happening in Minneapolis, Gov. Tim Pawlenty to prevent this from happening on a state level and our senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken to prevent similar laws from being enacted on a federal level.

I am a proud Minnesotan and I hope that we can all come together to make sure that Minnesota supports all of the populations who help make our state a great place.

Erika J. Doerr, Minneapolis

Let's Reclaim the Dream on August 28th

(NNPA) - Forty-seven years ago, our nation was in the midst of uncertainty, trepidation, fear, frustration, anger and unrest.  Forty-seven years ago, we were simultaneously hopeful, dedicated, ambitious, determined and resilient.

Forty-seven years ago, people of all races gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to urge their federal government to live up to the standards and ethos embodied in our Constitution.  Forty-seven years ago, we demanded equal access to education, voting rights, desegregation across the board, just employment opportunities and equanimity in society.

And forty-seven years ago, men and women from all walks of life, and from all ethnic persuasions rallied and marched for a larger federal government to intervene because states were failing to ensure our basic human civil rights.  It was on August 28th, 1963, that the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. unequivocally summarized the sentiments of the over 250,000 attendees and millions across the country at home when he delivered his ‘I Have a Dream Speech’.  Now forty-seven years later, it is time to Reclaim that Dream.
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Five years after the levees broke

(NNPA) - On August 29, we will commemorate five years since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans drowning the city in feet of water.  Five years ago our nation exhibited some of the most profound indifference to human beings as thousands of New Orleaneans were stuck without food, water, or sanitation in the Super Dome.

In the aftermath of those five years, those divisions of race and class have determined which individuals have recovered from Katrina and those whohave not.  Five years after the levees broke, the City of New Orleans is still bruised from the tragedy of a natural disaster, a man-made disaster, and an indifferent government.
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Kia Soul goes too far

Kia Soul goes too farFirst you see the hoodies, a few gold chains, then you hear the sounds of hip hop grooves and beats. Then you see the faces of giant hamsters speaking in hip hop’s rhythmic vernacular about “This or That.” There is no question that the voices behind the animals are intended to represent African American brothers kicking it in the hood. While Kia’s website (http://www.kia.com/#/soul/explore/videos/?cid=sem&ppc=y) says that the animals are hamsters, if you don’t know the difference, they look like Rats. Dressed in styles and doing movements associated with America’s Black urban youth, Kia Soul represents a new low in television advertising.

That Kia selected the word “soul” to represent their product is not accidental. The term is all too frequently used as a proxy for talking about Blackness-- as in ‘soul brothers,’ ‘you got soul,’ etc. And the images of giant hamsters “kickin’ it” in front of buildings that look an all-American urban core neighborhood is not accidental. These animals are not the hamsters in your science class but anthropomorphized (animals or non-living things made to appear human) symbols of Blackness and more specifically urban black males. There’s nothing cute about the association.
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