Because too many lies are being told about Public Employees and how they’re ‘ getting over’. Here’s a chart of the TRUTH of the matter:

Shane Bakken, left, an Ironworker Local 8 member from Milwaukee, and Jaymie McCoy, an AFSME member, protest Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to eliminate collective bargaining rights for many state workers Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011, at the State Capitol in Madison, Wis.
—AP Photo/Andy Manis

Read more:

From Balloon Juice

Ironworkers Local 8

by Kay

I was reading about the protests in Wisconsin, and I saw this photo. The gentleman on the left is a member of Iron Workers Local 8. That number made me stop and think. That number has meaning to me, because I know the history of labor unions in this country. It means nothing to conservative pundits or the vapid giggling morons who comprise the brain trust on Morning Joe, and it means nothing to the Governor of Wisconsin, but it resonates with me.

Eight is a low number. It’s a low number because that local was chartered a long time ago.

How long? This long:

Our official celebration was based on the charter issued by the International Association of Bridge and Structural Ironworkers of America on February 1, 1901 to the Housesmiths and Bridgemen’s Local Union No. 8 of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Although the words “Housesmith’s and Bridgemen’s” were dropped long ago, that charter still hangs proudly in the board room of Local 8’s office in Milwaukee.

If you go to that local’s site, you’ll read this:

“Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor and could not have existed had not labor first existed. Labor is the superior of capital and deserves much the higher consideration.”
-Abraham Lincoln

This is the dictionary definition of collective bargaining:

Method whereby representatives of employees (unions) and employers negotiate the conditions of employment, normally resulting in a written contract setting forth the wages, hours, and other conditions to be observed for a stipulated period (e.g., 3 years). The term also applies to union-management dealings during the term of the agreement.

The phrase collective bargaining has a much larger meaning than “benefits”, and to watch Scott Walker with his vacant ideologue’s stare reciting bullet points over and over is to realize he has no idea what it means.

It means workers have a seat at the table. It’s a simple idea but it’s incredibly powerful. That’s what they’re defending.

Tens of thousands of people don’t get off their couch and camp out in a capitol building because of a dispute over paying 15% towards health insurance or paying 20%. Conservatives and their media allies would like to convince us they do, they’d like to convince us that this is about budget numbers or contract terms or benefits, but it isn’t.

Scott Walker is threatening to take away something very valuable. He’s telling them two things: your long labor history doesn’t matter, and you haven’t earned a seat at the table. They know better than that.

President Obama used the word “assault” because it’s accurate, within the history and context of labor unions. If you’re a person who is willfully or lazily pig-ignorant of that history, or a person who believes this country began with the election of Ronald Reagan, you’ll miss that, and you’ll start reciting deficit numbers and health insurance co-pays of union members as compared to non-union employees. But if you do that, you’ll be missing the point.

Negotiation is to unions what diplomacy is to nations. It’s what they work like hell at before they fail, and go to war. Union members aren’t proud of their ability to stop working and strike. Any idiot can start a war. A strike means negotiations failed. They’re proud of their ability to negotiate. They’re proud of that fact that they’re sitting in a hard-won seat at the table, and dealing as equals with the other representatives sitting at that table.

Scott Walker wouldn’t sit down with them. He denied them their history and the hard-won agency and dignity that comes with a seat at the table and in doing so threatened something much more valuable than wages or benefits. He refused to use diplomacy; refused to grant them the respect that dealing with them as equals confers, and went right to war. They know that. It’s why they turned out. President Obama chooses words very carefully. He knows it too.

I thought this was about the most powerful summary of what was happening in Wisconsin that I’ve read.

Below is a collection of some nice offerings from the interwebs, Twitternets and our very own comments section backed by the musical stylings of the Song Du Jour. Go ahead, get some get right.

* Wisconsin Protesters Want Governor to Stop Being a Nozzle, Compromise [NPR]

* Libyan Government Attempts to Clap Back; Protesters Say, “You Gotta Come Harder Than That, B” [BBC News]

  • RELATED: Gaddafi’s Son Says Civil War Would Make Him Less Rich, Possibly Dead Be Bad for Oil Wells, Country [The AP]

* Yemeni Youth Killed in Clash with Military [Reuters]

* Israel Not Ready to Hand Out Dirt Naps Over Suez-Bound Iranian Ships. Yet. [Ha’aretz]

* Congolese Colonel Gets 20 Years For Rape [Miami Herald]

* Kobe Drops 42 for the West in All-Star Victory; ‘Black Mamba’ Nickname Still Rather Terrible [Boston Globe]

* Music Exec Says Grammys Are All Stupid and Ish Because the Popular Artists Lost to Good Artists That Aren’t as Popular [Reuters]

* Census: If You’re Last Name is Washington…You’re Probably Black [The Houston Chronicle]

It’s President’s Day, JJPers. Shine your light on the world.

Monday Open Thread

21 Feb 2011

Today is President’s Day, so we can celebrate it, and Black History Month at the same time.

Good Morning.

As you begin a new week, don’t forget JJP.

Drop those links. Engage in debate.

Give us trivia and gossip too.

And always, have a peaceful day.

Sunday Open Thread

20 Feb 2011

Good Morning.

As you spend this weekend with family and friends, don’t forget JJP.

Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.

And always, have a peaceful day.

Winning the Future: Investing in education to compete in the global market

President Obama dedicated this week’s address to the intertwined issues of education and global competition for jobs in the 21st Century. Speaking from the Intel campus in Oregon, the President stressed how the jobs of tomorrow are being provided by companies like Intel who are looking for workers with background educations in math and science. The fact that America has fallen behind other countries in such fields, President Obama argued, is cause for concern and all the more reason why the United States should invest in education to win the future:

“Companies like Intel are proving that we can compete – that, instead of just being a nation that buys what’s overseas, we can make things in America and sell them around the globe. Winning this competition depends on the ingenuity and creativity of our private sector, which was on display in my visit today. But, it’s also going to depend on what we do as a nation to make America the best place on earth to do business.

Over the next ten years, nearly half of all new jobs will require education beyond high school – many requiring proficiency in math and science. And yet today we’ve fallen behind in math and in science and in graduation rates. As a result, companies like Intel struggle to hire American workers with the skills that fit their needs. If we want to win the global competition for new jobs and industries, we’ve got to win the global competition to educate our people. We’ve got to have the best trained, best skilled workforce in the world. That’s how we’ll ensure that the next Intel, the next Google, or the next Microsoft is created in America and hires American workers.”

With that being said, the President lauded his administration’s efforts in education, highlighting such initiatives as America’s Race to the Top, making college more affordable, and connecting graduates with businesses looking for their skills. Looking towards America’s youth and innovative spirit, President Obama was confident that America can succeed:

“The truth is we have everything that we need to compete – bold entrepreneurs, bright new ideas, and world class colleges and universities. Most of all, we have young people just brimming with promise and ready to help us succeed. All we have to do is tap that potential.”

President Obama’s Weekly Address:

Saturday Open Thread

19 Feb 2011

Ending the week with Eddie Murphy.

Eddie Murphy is a popular comedian, movie star, and part-time singer who started life in the housing projects of Brooklyn. His parents divorced when Murphy was a toddler, and his father, a policeman, was killed by an angry girlfriend when Murphy was 8. Murphy and his older brother, Charles, were placed in foster care when their mother was hospitalized for a long period of time. By high school, Murphy was the class clown, and by age 17 he was performing comedy in clubs where a kid his age wouldn’t otherwise have been allowed in. The smaller venues paid $25-$50 a night, and he soon worked his way to larger clubs, including New York’s Comic Strip.

At 19, he was hired as a minor player on Saturday Night Live. He was quickly promoted to full-fledged cast member. On SNL, Murphy’s running gags included “Little Richard Simmons”, “Velvet Jones”, “Buckwheat”, “Gumby”, “Raheem Abdul Muhammad” (the militant black movie critic), and “Mr. Robinson”, a blaxploitated homage to Mr. Rogers. In 1982, Murphy issued his debut comedy album, a self-titled effort that was criticized by the humor-deprived for making fun of Asians, women, and especially gays. The same year he made his big screen debut in 48 Hours, stealing the film from big star Nick Nolte.

Then came Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop (in a part originally written for Sylvester Stallone), and Coming to America. He reportedly turned down the Ghostbusters part that went to Ernie Hudson. In recent years, Murphy has reinvented himself in family-friendly fluff comedies like Doctor Dolittle, Daddy Day Care, and Shrek, and he was Oscar-nominated for his supporting role in 2006’s Dreamgirls.

In 1985, Murphy released How Could It Be, a album of pop music including the million-selling single “Party All the Time.” His other musical albums include So Happy (1989) and Love’s Alright (1993).

Good Morning.

As you spend this weekend with family and friends, don’t forget JJP.

Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.

And always, have a peaceful day.

Read the rest of this entry »

Black people are prone to conspiracy theories. We enjoy them — we like to share them, parse them, invent them, update them. And while charming in a way at times, disturbing and/or offbase at other times, a deep interest in conspiracy theories persist because our community has been the victim numerous and well-documented times of actual conspiracies against us of a harmful nature.

The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment stands out as a legend as does the refusal to inform slaves in Texas for 2 years and a half of the Emancipation Proclamation. The Juneteenth holiday celebrates the day Texan slaves were finally freed for real. And really, I don’t think we have time today to get all up into COINTELPRO, but kids, if you don’t know what that is, I’d suggest you click this link.

Soledad O’Brien is well-known to us at JJP for her Black in America series on CNN. We’ve had lively discussions/debates re: Black in America and other In America shows on CNN in the past. I can’t say I’ve always been a 100% fan of the series.

Ernest Withers Photo: I AM A MANThis time, though, Soledad (who is half black btw) has something very special that I think is worth your time. She has unveiled a whole new conspiracy for your parsing pleasure: the FBI’s Ghetto Informant Program. Her new Black In America special “Pictures Don’t Lie” — fresh for Black History Month — focuses on Ernest Withers, who took many of the most powerful, iconic and influential photographs during the Civil Rights Era. You may not have heard of him, but you’ve seen his pictures of Martin Luther King or marchers holding signs saying I AM A MAN, most likely. He was a welcome and integral member of the movement. He was also, as it turns out, an FBI informant — one of thousands recruited during the 1960s & 70s.

Soledad was kind enough to speak to me on the phone Wed about this latest project in the hopes it would intrigue you. According to her, she became interested in Ernest Withers because of his importance in bringing the civil right struggle to life and in making sure his photos were passed to folks outside of the black press. She told me re: Withers’ complex history:

“He helped make the movement. His story shows that it was a critical time in the United States. It sheds light on the FBI of that time and what it was like to be African-American at the time.”

Most of Withers’ friends and family don’t want to believe that Withers was an informant even though “there’s proof and documentation”, Soledad says. She sees his story (given the evidence) less of a whodunit (since, you know, he took money from the FBI for information) but a whydunit. Was he coerced or threatened in some way or just a desperate and underpaid photojournalist willing to take a handout to continue his groundbreaking work.
Read the rest of this entry »

Afternoon Open Thread

18 Feb 2011

Rachel Maddow does an excellent series of pieces about why this attack on the unions is an attack on the Democratic Party. This attack is about the only institutions that financially help the Democratic Party.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Good Afternoon.

As you go through the rest of your day, don’t forget JJP.

Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.

And continue to have a peaceful day.

Read the rest of this entry »

This is Wharlest Jackson.  He accepted a job promotion and was killed for it.

There’s a saying in the African-American community about whether there’s JUSTICE, or “JUST US”?  If you want to really be in the know, I’d like to suggest that you tune in tonight to ID Discovery Channel and watch “The InJustice Files”, which are a series of documentaries showcasing the efforts of the FBI’s Civil Rights Cold Case Unit, and highlighting the cases of unsolved crimes against African-Americans during the Civil Rights Movement and beyond.

Critically acclaimed filmmaker Keith Beauchamp (“The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till”) teamed up with CBS Eye Productions,the Discovery Channel to bring other untold stories of African-Americans murdered, lynched and subjected to home-grown American Terrorism before the label “terrorist” was coined.  The first case, about a family man named Wharlest Jackson, will air on ID Discovery Channel at 9:00pm Eastern Time, and willl re-air at 1:00am.

If you got to get your clubbing on, then please set your DVD or TiVo to capture these stories of extraordinary men doing extraordinary things and paying for it with their lives.  Up tonight is the story of Wharlest Jackson, a worker at Armstrong Tire and Rubber Factory in Natchez, Mississippi, who was also the Treasurer for the local chapter of the NAACP.  On February 27, 1967, Mr. Jackson got a job promotion to a position that only white guys believed they should get, and on his way home from work, his car is blown up.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tony Moseley, 18, a Posse Scholar, center, is congratulated by friends James Cole, 18, left and Cedric Hakeem, 17, as he steps to the front of the auditorium to be recognized for his accomplishments during an assembly at Urban Prep on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011. Every senior at Urban Prep Academy in Chicago has been accepted to a four year college and the school held an assembly.
—-Nancy Stone/ Chicago Tribune
from The Chicago Tribune:

Urban Prep charter school again beats the odds
All seniors accepted to college for second year in row

By Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah, Tribune reporter
9:32 p.m. CST, February 16, 2011

Fire broke out in Cedric Abdul-Hakeem’s Englewood home Dec. 31. After making sure everyone was out safely, the 17-year-old re-entered the smoke-filled home to retrieve his laptop.

“My laptop had all my applications, and most college applications are due Jan. 1,” explained Abdul-Hakeem. “I figured if my laptop burns, I’m through.”

He got his laptop. He got the applications in on time. And so far, he’s been accepted to half a dozen colleges, including Grinnell College in Iowa, where most of his tuition will be paid through scholarships and grants.

Abdul-Hakeem is yet another Urban Prep success story. For the second consecutive year, every single senior in Chicago’s only public all-male, all-African-American high school has been accepted to a four-year college or university.

In all, the 104 members of the 2011 graduating class have been accepted to 103 colleges, including some of the country’s most selective schools. With many acceptance letters still anticipated, the charter school, which has campuses in the Englewood, South Shore and East Garfield Park neighborhoods, is hoping at least one of its students this year will land an Ivy League invitation.

“We would never advocate that anybody run into a burning building to get a computer or essay or application, but what (Abdul-Hakeem’s story) speaks to is how much our students are dedicated and focused on getting into college,” said Urban Prep’s founder and CEO, Tim King. “They recognize that with college they will have very different lives that will be transformative for them and their communities.”

On Wednesday, Urban Prep Academy for Young Men celebrated its repeat with a tie-exchanging ritual in which the final three seniors to receive acceptance letters exchanged their red uniform ties for red-and-gold ones as the other seniors did before them. Mayor Richard Daley and Chicago Public Schools’ interim chief education officer Charles Payne were on hand. So was alum Israel Wilson, a freshman at Morehouse College in Atlanta, who said he has earned a 3.3 GPA and made the dean’s list his first semester.

Skeptics last year had questioned whether grads would actually attend college and be able to succeed in higher ed programs. One of the school’s missions is to ensure students earn that bachelor’s degree, so King and his staff have helped secure money for plane tickets, driven students to college campuses, held workshops for alumni in the summer and winter, and checked up on them. Of the 107 seniors in 2010—the school’s first graduating class—101 enrolled in college, King said. Three went into the military and another three joined the work force.

Just some good news this morning. Many blessings in the future for these young men.

In case you don’t know, the new right-wing Governor of Wisconsin is attacking public employees. He wanted to ram through the Wisconsin legislature stripping the public employees of their right to collective bargain. The response from the public employees is that they have been protesting in Madison about this.

The Governor began this threatening to bring out the NATIONAL GUARD against the protesters, but I guess someone clued him in that that would be a bad idea.

Then, today, the Democrats in the Wisconsin Senate left the state. They straight up left the state. Without them, the Governor can’t get a quorum to ram his proposals through.

Make no mistake, this is a concerted effort by Republican Governors to demonize public employees, break their unions, and turn them into serfs just like they want for the rest of the workforce. This much is absolutely clear.

Read the rest of this entry »

Below is a collection of some nice offerings from the interwebs, Twitternets and our very own comments section backed by the musical stylings of the Song Du Jour. Go ahead, get some get right.

The Intergalactic Battle for the Soul of Unions Will Take Place in Wisconsin [USA Today]

Reports of Rising Body Counts as Libyan Protests Continue [CNN]

VIDEO: Libya Prepares for “Day of Anger”; Hollywood Finds Title to Nicolas Cage’s Next Crappy Movie Tour de Force [EuroNews]

President Obama Allegedly Prepared to Put Hillary Clinton State Department  in Figure-Four Leg Lock Over Egypt [NewsMax]

Oscar Whiteout: Filmmakers Who Are Black Are Really Not Reaping the Benefits of Post-Racial America [The Star-Ledger]

NFL Labor Talks Headed for Mediation Because There’s Quibbling Over a Billion-Dollar Business Being a Bajillion-Dollar Business [ESPN]

A Little Twenny Twen Twennnn…: Md. Black Caucus Backs Bill to Ease Laws Concerning The Sticky Icky Icky [Baltimore Sun]

Man on Fire: LA County Fire Department Elects First Black Chief [KTLA]

It’s Friday, JJPers. Smile.

No one is arguing that young Chad Holley was a perfect kid. But no one deserves this:

Please be aware, the content of this video is graphic

As you can see from the video, Holley was running from police. Holley, only 15 years old at the time, immediately surrendered to officers, lying flat and placing his hands behind his head. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop four Houston police officers from brutalizing him while 8 other officers looked on.

We’ve all heard of the “Blue Wall of Silence” — the unspoken but understood police code that keeps officers from reporting the bad behavior of other officers to supervisors. Well, it was in full effect here. This incident went unreported until someone anonymously sent the police chief the security video above. Sadly, even with the video, the officers involved only face minor charges.

This incident has led Houston activist Quanell X to release more videos of HPD officers beating civilians in their custody. It’s clear: Houston Police Department has major problems — problems so deep that only the Department of Justice can create real change. And that process starts with prosecuting the officers involved on charges that reflect the seriousness of their crimes.

We’ve launched a petition calling for exactly that. Here’s the message we sent to ColorOfChange members yesterday:
Read the rest of this entry »

Video above: Jill aka me confronting Eric Schmidt publicly during the 2008 Democratic National Convention at the Big Tent’s Digg Stage during a talk on the Internet and Politics. He gave the lamest of answers to my questions about Google’s hiring practices and lack of diversity. Starts at 29:19. Transcript of him admitting bias at Google and basically lying to Rachel Maddow’s and my face after the jump

The President, I hear, is having a very exclusive dinner tonight with the top CEOs of Silicon Valley. From the Caucus, a gossipy post:

President Obama will sit down for dinner with a dozen of the titans of the American technology industry Thursday night at the Silicon Valley home of the venture capitalist John Doerr, according to two people familiar with the president’s plans.


Expected to attend, to discuss what White House officials said would be the president’s efforts to promote innovation, are: Steve Jobs, the C.E.O. of Apple; Eric Schmidt, the chairman and C.E.O. of Google; and Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and C.E.O. of Facebook.


In addition to Mr. Doerr, Mr. Jobs, Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Zuckerberg, the president will meet with the following executives, according to the White House:

Carol Bartz, president and C.E.O., Yahoo; John Chambers, C.E.O. and chairman, Cisco Systems; Dick Costolo, C.E.O., Twitter; Larry Ellison, co-founder and C.E.O., Oracle; Reed Hastings, C.E.O., NetFlix; John Hennessy, president of Stanford University; Art Levinson, chairman and former C.E.O., Genentech; and Steve Westly, managing partner and founder, the Westly Group.

Wow…that sounds like a hot dinner party. You know who’s NOT invited? Anyone who’s not white. Yes, see, that’s Silicon Valley’s dirty little Jim Crow secret. They have a terrible — and worsening! — record on hiring women and minorities. A record, btw, they’re working hard to keep quiet cuz it’s not a good look.

The miracle of the tech sector, which Obama wishes to learn about to invigorate other industries, is only a miracle for some people. Minority leaders in the Bay Area staged a protest at the Googleplex today. From Black Voices:

Saying the Silicon Valley tech industry needs to do a better job of hiring native-born blacks, Latinos and some other minority groups, minority leaders picketed Google’s Mountain View headquarters Tuesday, asking the Internet giant and other large valley companies to disclose their workplace diversity data.

The protest, organized by the Black Economic Council, the Latino Business Chamber of Greater Los Angeles, and the National Asian American Coalition was sparked by a series of reports in the Mercury News last year. The protest drew about two dozen people to the Googleplex, as minority leaders criticized Google, Apple and 20 other Silicon Valley tech companies that refused to share their workforce diversity data with them. The leaders called on the federal government to review the H-1B work visa program that tech companies use to hire engineers from abroad, unless the companies comply.

The groups are filing a complaint with the federal government, saying of 34 Silicon Valley tech companies from which they requested workforce data, just 12 agreed to share it. The groups are asking the government to force the companies to disclose their data. They said they singled out Google for Thursday’s protest because of its growth and visibility.

Hmm…the leading tech companies’ answer so far to the shortage of trained workers in America to ahem…win the future…has been to either outsource to or import talent from other countries with better, more equitable educational systems churning out more techies, engineers and scientists than we are. So far, there just doesn’t seem to be much interest in investing here in training American workers among leading tech companies. Sure, these powerful and beloved companies have directly or indirectly created hundreds of thousands of jobs — heck, perhaps even mine! But how many more could be created here, if they actually tried harder?

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Who We Are

Cheryl Contee aka "Jill Tubman", Baratunde Thurston aka "Jack Turner", rikyrah, Leutisha Stills aka "The Christian Progressive Liberal", B-Serious, Casey Gane-McCalla, Jonathan Pitts-Wiley aka "Marcus Toussaint," Fredric Mitchell

Special Contributors: James Rucker, Rinku Sen, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Adam Luna, Kamala Harris

Technical Contributor: Brandon Sheats


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