Wednesday, March 31, 2010

AFP: US private sector sheds 23,000 jobs in March

"Where are all these jobs being promised by this Congress and the Obama Administration?" - Syreeta L. McNeal, CPA, JD

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US economy shed 23,000 private-sector jobs in March, a payrolls firm said Wednesday in a report that was dramatically worse than market expectations.

Non-farm private payrolls fell 23,000 in March on a seasonally adjusted basis, payrolls firm ADP said.

Investors had expected around 40,000 jobs to be created this month.

March's job losses eased slightly from February, when 24,000 jobs were shed according to a revised figure also published on Wednesday.

Despite the apparently bleak picture, ADP cautioned that the figures may distort the true state of the economy.

The firm said severe winter weather may have again weighed on hiring levels.

"The lack of improvement in employment from February to March is consistent with the pause in the decline of initial unemployment claims that occurred during the winter," ADP said in a statement.

"The March employment decline was the smallest since employment began falling in February of 2008," it added.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Is ObamaCare Constitutional?: 38 states say No

"I have a feeling, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide this interesting piece of legislation after Obama signs it into law tomorrow." - Syreeta L. McNeal, CPA, JD

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dr. Boyce: Clarence Thomas' Wife and Ethical Issues

Clarence Thomas' wife's Tea Party ties are supremely disturbing

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

  •         When I heard that Clarence Thomas' wife Virginia was launching a Tea Party group, I wasn't really shocked. I was, however, confused that the Thomas family would allow for such a blatant revelation of their political biases. Not only is Clarence Thomas seen as a profound disappointment to the African-American community, he has now further embarrassed the legal profession and undermined the integrity of the bench. When you sleep next to someone who has openly admitted that she wants to undermine the president's "hard-left agenda," you can hardly call yourself impartial.
    In Virginia Thomas' words, "I have come to know and love the Tea Party patriots. It has been a privilege to become a bit of an ambassador of sorts for the national board."

  • NYU Law Professor Stephen Gillers says that Virginia breaks no rules by becoming a Tea Partier, "Ideological issues, as opposed to monetary ones, are not a subject of concern." A judge's spouse, he said, "can have a full political life, and take positions on political issues and legal issues, even ones that come before his or her spouse."

Click to read

Monday, March 15, 2010

Black Social Commentary from TheGrio - 3/15/10

  • Dr. Boyce Watkins

    Dr. Boyce Watkins

    Author and Finance Professor at Syracuse University

    Democrats' crack-cocaine compromise is still 'racist'

    9:00 AM on 03/15/2010

    OPINION - While some might call this political pragmatism, others might describe this outcome as the modern-day version of the Three-Fifths Compromise...

    > MORE

  • Earl Ofari Hutchinson

    Earl Ofari Hutchinson

    Journalist, author and broadcaster.

    California police stop proves racial profiling is alive and well

    8:37 AM on 03/15/2010

    OPINION - In an address to a joint session of Congress in 2001, then President Bush blasted racial profiling, "It's wrong and we will end it in America." It hasn't...

    > MORE

  • Talia Whyte

    Talia Whyte

    Journalist & Activist

    Is the average single black woman really worth just $5?

    9:02 AM on 03/12/2010

    OPINION - If this disturbing new study doesn't prove once and for all that America isn't 'post-racial' I don't know what does...

    > MORE

  • Christopher Chambers

    Christopher Chambers

    Professor of Journalism at Georgetown University

    Prison shouldn't be a publicity stunt for Lil Wayne

    8:22 AM on 03/12/2010

    OPINION - If Lil Wayne regards his cell as an extension of his studio or his label's offices, he will suffer...

    > MORE

  • Dr. Boyce Watkins

    Dr. Boyce Watkins

    Author and Finance Professor at Syracuse University

    'March Madness' isn't amateur, it's big league exploitation

    8:17 AM on 03/12/2010

    OPINION - The amount of money made during March Madness exceeds that which is earned in the playoffs for the NFL, NBA or Major League Baseball...

    > MORE

  • Dr. Janet Taylor

    Dr. Janet Taylor


    Too many Tigers, not enough Trojans

    7:05 AM on 03/12/2010

    OPINION - What's notable is reportedly not only did Woods not wear a condom, but his partner's didn't insist upon it...

    > MORE

  • Dr. Boyce Watkins

    Dr. Boyce Watkins

    Author and Finance Professor at Syracuse University

    Why African-Americans are more optimistic despite fewer jobs

    11:10 AM on 03/11/2010

    OPINION - A new study shows that blacks are more economically optimistic than whites, with 36 percent stating that we expect our financial future to improve...

    > MORE

  • Dr. Janet Taylor

    Dr. Janet Taylor


    How black women can combat genital herpes crisis

    10:42 AM on 03/11/2010

    OPINION - According the Center for Disease Control nearly half of all African-American women are infected with the HSV-2 virus...

    > MORE

  • Marcus Vanderberg

    Marcus Vanderberg

    Sports and social commentator

    Torii Hunter is right about blacks in baseball

    8:57 AM on 03/11/2010

    OPINION - By associating Dominican players with blacks, it disguises the fact that MLB has a long way to go in competing with the NFL and NBA in urban communities...

    > MORE

  • Thursday, March 11, 2010

    AP: Half of Kansas City's Schools to Close by Fall

    Mar 11 12:48 PM US/Eastern
    Associated Press Writer

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas City's school superintendent said Thursday the plan to shutter nearly half the district's schools, while "painful," will move forward quickly so that all the closures will be complete by fall.

    The school board narrowly approved the plan Wednesday night to close 29 of the district's 61 schools to try to stave off bankruptcy. The closures have angered many parents, students and teachers, but administrators say they had no choice because without them, the district would have been in the red by 2011.


    Although other districts nationwide are considering closures as the recession ravages their budgets, Kansas City's plan is striking. In rapidly shrinking Detroit, 29 schools closed before classes began this fall, but that still left the district with 172 schools. Most other districts are closing just one or two schools.

    To continue reading, follow the link below:""

    Wednesday, March 10, 2010

    Commentary: President Obama v. U.S. Supreme Court

    By James Joyner
    Wednesday, March 10, 2010

    Chief Justice John Roberts says he’s not sure why the Supreme Court still attends the State of the Union address, indicating that perhaps it was time for that tradition to end.

    U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts said Tuesday the scene at President Obama’s State of the Union address was “very troubling” and the annual speech has “degenerated to a political pep rally.”

    Obama chided the court, with the justices seated before him in their black robes, for its decision on a campaign finance case.

    Responding to a University of Alabama law student’s question, Roberts said anyone was free to criticize the court, and some have an obligation to do so because of their positions. “So I have no problems with that,” he said. “On the other hand, there is the issue of the setting, the circumstances and the decorum. The image of having the members of one branch of government standing up, literally surrounding the Supreme Court, cheering and hollering while the court — according the requirements of protocol — has to sit there expressionless, I think is very troubling.”

    Breaking from tradition, Obama criticized the court’s decision that allows corporations and unions to freely spend money to run political ads for or against specific candidates. “With all due deference to the separation of powers the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections,” Obama said in January. Justice Samuel Alito was the only justice to respond at the time, shaking his head and mouthing the words “not true” as Obama continued.

    Roberts told the students he wonders whether justices should attend the speeches. “I’m not sure why we’re there,” said Roberts, a Republican nominee who joined the court in 2005.
    Justice Antonin Scalia once said he no longer goes to the annual speech because the justices “sit there like bumps on a log” in an otherwise highly partisan atmosphere. Six of the nine justices attended Obama’s address.

    Roberts and Scalia are right. It’s not so much that Obama’s dig at the Court was improper but that the nature of the address has gradually evolved over the years into a more partisan, overtly political affair. Perhaps that’s to be expected, since American politics has similarly changed. But it may well be time for the Justices to stop attending, lending the impression that the SOTU is some sort of national unity moment. Ditto, incidentally, the Joint Chiefs.

    UPDATE: Via the comments, I see that Glenn Greenwald has an interesting alternative viewpoint:

    It’s not actually a unique event of oppression or suffering to have to sit and listen to a speech where someone criticizes you and you can’t respond that very moment (but are able, as Roberts just proved, to respond freely afterward). Even in the State of the Union Address, it’s completely customary for the President to criticize the Congress or the opposition party right to their faces, while members of his party stand and cheer vocally, and — as the reaction to Joe Wilson’s outburst demonstrated — “decorum” dictates that the targets of the criticism sit silently and not respond until later, once the speech is done. That’s how speeches work. Only Supreme Court Justices would depict their being subjected to such a mundane process as an act of grave unfairness (and, of course, Roberts’ comrade, Sam Alito, could not even bring himself to abide by that decorum).

    What makes Roberts’ petty, self-absorbed grievance all the more striking is that this is what judges do all the time. It’s the essence of the judicial branch. Federal judges are basically absolute tyrants who rule over their courtroom and those in it with virtually no restraints. They can and do scold, criticize, berate, mock, humiliate and threaten anyone who appears before their little fiefdoms — parties, defendants, lawyers, witnesses, audience members — and not merely “decorum,” but the force of law (in the form of contempt citations or other penalties), compels the target to sit silently and not respond. In fact, lawyers can be, and have been, punished just for publicly criticizing a judge.


    The very idea that it’s terrriby wrong, uncouth, and “very troubling” for the President to criticize one of their most significant judicial decisions in a speech while in their majestic presence — not threaten them, or have them arrested, or incite violence against them, but disagree with their conclusions and call for Congressional remedies (as Art. II, Sec. 3 of the Constitution requires) — approaches pathological levels of vanity and entitlement.

    All fair points.

    But here’s the thing: The president, the Congress, and the Supreme Court are theoretically equals. Judges and those appearing before them are not.

    In reality, though, the president and the Justices aren’t equals. The former presents himself as the leader of the country and gets to lecture everyone else. There are no comparable venues where the president comes and sits quietly while judges berate him.

    It’s true that presidents criticize Congress in these speeches and outburts such as “You lie!” are considered poor form. But it’s not true that Congress is expected to sit there and take it; they cheer and jeer as a matter of course. The Justices, meanwhile, are supposed to present the illusion of impartiality.

    Further, unlike the president and Congress, the Court is not an elected, political institution. They’re supposed to be impartial arbiters separate from politics. That’s a transparent fiction, of course, but one that must be maintained. If the Supreme Court is finally revealed to be nothing more than a band of partisans, their authority will vanish.

    Finally, Roberts isn’t arguing that the Justices should get to shout “You lie!” when they’re insulted. He’s merely questioning whether they should attend political speeches where they’ll be scolded.

    So what are your thoughts on the lively discussion between President Obama and the U.S. Supreme Court and the role of the President's State of the Union? - Syreeta L. McNeal, CPA, JD

    Wednesday, March 3, 2010

    Is the NCAA a Billion Dollar Sweatshop?


    by Dr. Boyce Watkins 

    I was invited this week to speak to the Stanford University NAACP about whether or not college athletes should be paid.  When I am asked whether I think college athletes should be compensated for their labor, I simply respond to the question with another question:  “Why shouldn’t they get paid?  Did they not earn the money?  Is someone else earning money from their labor? Is the labor of the athlete essential to the revenue-generating process?”  Answers to these questions help us to understand how insane it is that athletes earn billions of dollars for coaches, but aren’t entitled to any of that money for themselves.  I’ve seen race horses get better deals than that.

    Click to read.



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    Gov David Paterson Accused of Ethics Violations

    The state Commission on Public Integrity charged Gov. David A. Paterson on Wednesday with violating state ethics laws when he secured free tickets to the opening game of the World Series from the Yankees last fall for himself and others. The announcement came as the governor, already mired in scandal, met with his cabinet and insisted he would stay in office.

    In addition to violating the state’s ban on gifts to public officials, the commission found that Mr. Paterson falsely testified under oath that he had intended to pay for the tickets for his son and his son’s friend. The commission determined that Mr. Paterson had never intended to pay for the tickets and only did so after inquiries from the media, after which he submitted a backdated check as payment.

    The commission had referred the case to the Albany County District Attorney, P. David Soares, as well as Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, for further investigation. Mr. Cuomo is already investigating Mr. Paterson’s role in allegedly trying to suppress a domestic-violence case involving a close aide, David Johnson.

    Mr. Johnson also attended the Yankees game in question and was involved in soliciting the tickets from Yankees officials. The tickets, with a face value of $425 each, seated them a few rows behind home plate.

    Click to read.


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    Your NewsA: OJ Simpson’s Suit Rejected by the Smithsonian

    by Dr. Boyce Watkins, AOL Black Voices 

    Remember the suit that OJ Simpson wore when he was acquitted of murder in 1995? I'm sure you do. The images of OJ breathing a sigh of relief after his acquittal were viewed all around the world. You probably remember exactly what you were doing at that precise moment, similar to the 911 attacks. Well, the Smithsonian Institute has announced that they do not want OJ's suit, claiming that it is "inappropriate for their collection."

    The announcement came after a 13-year legal fight over what to do with the suit. Since that time, it has been in the possession of Simpson's former sports agent, Mike Gilbert. Fred Goldman, father of one of the men Simpson was accused of killing, has been fighting for the suit since the 1990s. Simpson told authorities that the suit was stolen from him.

    The suit was also part of the reason that Simpson is in prison right now. OJ was arrested and convicted for an incident in which he robbed men in Las Vegas in order to reclaim memorabilia that he believed to be stolen. He'd been told that the suit was among the list of things being offered for sale.

    The Smithsonian used these words on its website:


    Click to read.