Insight News

Friday
Oct 31st

Commentary

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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In the age of Obama, is the movement for reparations dead?

Like many Black Americans, the Project 21 Black Conservative Leadership Network called the US Senate’s “apology for slavery” resolution “useless”.  But, Project 21 seems to be singing somebody else’s agenda when they say: “apologizing for slavery and segregation will be used as a lobbying tool to acquire reparations payments.”   Is the concept of reparations for Blacks a dead issue and is Project 21 contributor Jimmie L. Hollis right in urging the Senate to “move on”? Hollis says: “As an American of African ancestry, I think this apology is ridiculous and useless.  It is just another ‘feel good’ action.  If we are to start apologizing for every injustice and wrong done in the past, we will spend the next few decades just apologizing.”

Most American descendants from slaves would agree “an apology is not enough.”  In 2010, a disproportionate number of African Americans are in jails and ensconced in judicial systems. Unemployment among Blacks remains, as it has for decades, twice that of Whites.   Black institutions, social agencies, education and communities are typically funded below rates for Whites.  Yet, in the face of America’s institutionalized pattern of discrimination, this cadre of young Blacks steadfastly stands for the status quo.
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What we mean by “educational reform”

The Board of Education and the administration of the Minneapolis Public Schools are committed to creating educational reform throughout our schools in order to raise academic achievement for all students.

What do we mean by “educational reform?” We mean evaluating district practices and contract rules to make changes that research has shown are most essential to raising academic achievement and closing the achievement gap. These changes include:

•Adjusting the way we hire and retain the very best teachers in our schools by developing a less rigid and more flexible system
•Achieving stability for our students by strengthening the practice of “mutual consent,” where principals and teachers agree that each teacher is the “right fit” for the needs of a particular school
•Reducing  teacher turnover, the current practice of moving teachers around frequently from school to school based on rules of seniority rather than keeping stable teaching teams together with a principal leader
•Improving accountability at every level in the Minneapolis Public Schools
•Moving toward the establishment of performance-based pay for all teachers and principals, where the academic achievement of students and other growth measures are part of performance evaluation and compensation, rather than pay for the number of years teaching

As always, our financial status affects every decision we make.
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Reflections of Fidel
: Sisterhood between the Bolivarian Republic and Cuba

-April 18, 2010 
(Taken from CubaDebate) 
Translated by Granma International

I had the privilege of talking for three hours last Thursday 15th with Hugo Chávez, president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, who had the gentility to once again visit our country, this time arriving from Nicaragua.

Few times in my life, perhaps never, have I met a person who has been capable of leading a genuine and profound Revolution for more than 10 years; without a single day of rest, in a territory of less than one million square kilometers, in this region of the world colonized by the Iberian peninsula which, for 300 years, ruled over a surface 20 times greater, of immense riches, on which it imposed its beliefs, language and culture. One could not write the history of our species on this planet today and overlook what took place in this hemisphere.
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Race is the least of the problems


The people of Mississippi have not been angels.  The history of the Magnolia State and segregation invites the kind of scrutiny and criticism that has recently been visited upon the state.  Media reports that the Walthall County School District has been ordered to stop segregating its schools raised the ire of most Americans because it was a reminder of a particularly ugly moment in this nation’s history–-a history that Americans have no desire to repeat.

Still it stretches the limits of credulity when a school that is 66% white and 35% black is labeled a “racially identifiable ‘white’” school and the county supporting the school is depicted as filled with a bunch of ugly racists just itching to don the bed sheets and ride through the night terrorizing the countryside.  Yet, that is exactly the case in Walthall County, Mississippi. 
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Seeking environmental justice


We recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of the first Earth Day, a day designed to increase appreciation for - and to inspire individuals to protect – the earth and its environment. From school yard tree planting ceremonies to corporations sharing ‘green tips’ on national news shows, America got in the green spirit and vowed to take care of Mother Earth. The government was among the loudest when it came to promising to keep the earth clean. Unfortunately, it seems that promise doesn’t extend to people of color.  
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"Madame" Redux

Good Hair was a 2009 American documentary comedy film by Chris Rock Productions and HBO Films.  The film focuses on African American women's hair, the styling industry surrounding it, the acceptable look of African American women's hair in society, and the effects of both upon African American culture

The film and theme created controversy on many levels.  It started disputes debates over: extent of the European ethos among Blacks; whether Rock infringed on another Black’s work; and myths about the icon of the Black Hair industry, Madame CJ Walker.  Rock says he was prompted to make the Good Hair movie after his 5-year-old daughter asked him, "Daddy, how come I don't have good hair?"  But, according to filmmaker Regina Kimbell, Good Hair was a rip-off of her documentary My Nappy Roots: A Journey Through Black Hair-itage; which she says she screened for Rock in 2007.  After a federal judge allowed its release, Good Hair opened as the fourteenth highest grossing film for the October 9-11, 2009 weekend.
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