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Oct 01st

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Nonviolent Peaceforce featured at high level briefing at the UN

Over 130 representatives of UN member States, Observers, UN officials and civil society representatives met Friday at the UN, for a high level briefing organized by the Permanent Missions of Belgium, Benin, Costa Rica and Philippines, to discuss broadening the concept of peacekeeping to include the contribution of civil society to the unarmed protection of civilians in conflict situations.

His Excellency Ambassador Libran Cabactulan, Permanent Representative of the Philippines, delivered the welcoming remarks. H.E. Ambassador Eduardo Ulibarri, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica, acted as moderator. H.E. Jan Grauls, Permanent Representative of Belgium and H.E. Ambassador Jean-Francis Zinsou, Permanent Representative of Benin summarized the discussion and delivered the closing remarks.

Mr. Tariq Al-Ansari, Deputy Chief of Staff of the President of the General Assembly opened the event with remarks on behalf of the President, Mr. Nassir Abulaziz Al-Nasser: “We all understand that UN Peacekeeping mandates have become more complex. And the protection of civilians is becoming more and more crucial to the work of our Missions.” He also affirmed: “To protect them, we need to make sure that all available resources are engaged in a combined and well-coordinated effort.”

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To Be Equal

“The single issue that arguably stands to have the greatest impact on the future of Black America in 2012 is the vote.” The State of Black America 2012

This week, the National Urban League takes its fight for jobs, education, voting rights and empowerment to Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.  In meetings with Obama Administration officials and leaders from both parties in Congress, we will demand immediate action on the persistent jobs crisis and we will offer our own 8-point plan to Educate, Employ and Empower the 13 million Americans who remain out of work.

The highlight of our three-day occupation of the nation’s capital is the March 7 release of our annual State of Black America report at a 7 pm town hall meeting on the campus of Howard University.  I will be joined by Howard University president, Dr. Sidney Ribeau and a host of civil rights, political, business, youth and religious leaders for an open-dialogue about some of the most pressing issues facing Black America.  In this election year, no issue is more important than galvanizing Black voter participation and turning back the current assault on voting rights that threatens to disenfranchise as many as 5 million Americans this year.

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National Urban League: Occupy the Vote

The National Urban League’s annual “State of Black America” report took a sharp turn this year from what it normally considers the most pressing issues facing African-Americans.

“More than the economy, more than jobs, more than an excellent education, the single issue that arguably stands to have the greatest impact on the future of Black America in 2012 is the vote,” wrote Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League.

 That’s quite a statement from the head of an organization famous for its successful job training programs and close working relationship with Fortune 500 companies.

Morial explained: “As Congress wrestles over measures to create jobs and grow the economy, a multi-state effort is underway to exclude those Americans most profoundly affected by the political process.”

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Rep. Murphy and Sen. Hayden introduce the “Healthy Minnesota Exchange”

Lawmakers believe the bill will open discussion of a Minnesota health care exchange

Last Monday, State Representative Erin Murphy and State Senator Jeff Hayden unveiled the “Healthy Minnesota Exchange,” another framework for establishing a state health care exchange. Both Rep. Murphy and Sen. Hayden believe this will broaden the conversation on constructing an effective health care exchange.

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IRAQ REFLECTION: Anniversary of the Kurdish spring

17 February 2012—a year after the Kurdish spring.  A sense of powerlessness is in the city as military and police presence builds in anticipation of possible activities on the first anniversary.  There is no clear-cut agenda for a demonstration, just calls on Facebook to gather in the square at 11:30.  All calls are faceless and a sense of uncertainty looms.

At 10 o’clock we joined a large group, many of whom we had walked with through the streets of the old city during the Valentine’s Day witness, at the graveyard above the area where one of the young men killed during the demonstrations is buried.  It was a solemn beginning to the day, a reminder that anything can happen when things spin out of control.

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Minnesota Senate district 58, soon to be 59

As Minnesota’s population grows, each legislator needs to represent the additional people more accurately. Redistricting is the process of redrawing the boundaries of election districts in response to population changes determined by the results of the decennial US Census. The purpose of this update every ten years is to ensure that the people of each district are equally represented.

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North Minneapolis is up for grabs.

The confluence of Census-driven redistricting, the announced resignation of Hennepin County 2nd District Commissioner, Mark Stenglein, and the earlier announcement that State Sen. Linda Higgins would not seek reelection has set in motion what could be a historic domino effect scenario for Black political empowerment unrivaled in Minnesota history.

Minnesota has long discussed the possibility and eventuality of increasing the number of Black people and other people of color in city, county and state elective office. But despite the theoretical opportunity, on the street, those who would be candidates, whether spoken or not, measured their gait by the internal cycles of DFL leadership entrenchment, particularly in North Minneapolis, but likewise in South Minneapolis and St. Paul.

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NAACP slams Minnesota Majority Voter ID ad campaign

NAACP slams Minnesota Majority Voter ID ad campaign

 

“The Minnesota Majority advertisement plays into racial stereotypes that have no place in public debate. It reveals how weakly this group believes their own claims that they are trying to battle voter fraud. They know that the myth of voter fraud is nothing but a fraud itself, so they resort to fear and bigotry to make their case,” according to NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous said Friday in response to a troubling advertisement from Minnesota Majority, a self-described election watchdog organization.

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Excerpt: President Obama addresses Governors

Governors are at the front line of America’s recovery. You see up close what’s working, what’s not working, and where we can take it.  And the thing that connects all of us -- and no matter what part of the country we’re from and certainly no matter what party we belong to -- is that we know what it means to govern, what it means to make tough choices during tough times, and hopefully to forge some common ground.  We’ve all felt the weight of big decisions and the impact that those decisions have on the people that we represent. 

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Sleight of hand at work in conservative’s right to work amendment

Sleight of hand at work in conservative’s right to work amendment

There’s a move afoot that if successful, will likely lead to you getting a smaller paycheck.

But for something that would hurt you that much, you couldn’t tell by the name of the proposal, because it’s called “Right to Work.” Right-wing legislators are hoping you’ll fall for melliferous name enough to amend Minnesota’s constitution in this fall’s election.

Currently, if your workplace is represented by a union, you can choose to join the union at full benefit, and pay the full dues. If you do not wish to join a union, you can become a fair-share employee, where you pay only the costs of the union’s costs related to negotiating your pay and benefits.

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Minnesota State Senator Jeff Hayden appalled by pro-photo ID supporters’ racist online imagery

State Senator Jeff Hayden (DFL-Minneapolis) spoke out Monday against blatantly racist images posted on WeWantVoterID.com, a Web site run by Minnesota Majority. The Web site features a “Voter Fraud” banner depicting an African-American in a prison uniform and a man in mariachi dress at a poll booth.

“As if attempting to disenfranchise voters weren’t bad enough, now Minnesota Majority is using scare tactics and racial profiling to ensure passage of the voter suppression amendment. It is appalling,” said Hayden.

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