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Sec. Gates Unlikely To Authorize Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

June 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Elliot Millner

In a move that is not likely to sit well with an important group of potential voters for President Obama, it has been reported that retiring Defense Secretary Robert Gates is unlikely to authorize the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” prior to leaving office. Read more…

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TSA To Implement Less Intrusive Pat Down Policy for Children, Elderly

June 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Elliot Millner

After receiving outraged responses for conducting pat downs of small children, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has announced that it will change the policy it uses for screening young children, and in some cases the elderly. Read more…

Texas Executes Possibly Mentally-Disabled Black Man

June 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Elliot Millner

Milton Mathis, A Black man in Texas convicted of the murder of two people and of critically injuring another, was recently put to death, despite strong indications that he was mentally disabled.  Read more…

Possible “Blunder” In Healthcare Bill May Allow Millions of Middle-Class Access To Medicaid

June 22, 2011 2 comments

Elliot Millner

In news that may send many Tea Partiers into cardiac arrest, It was recently discovered that a portion of the recently passed healthcare reform bill would allow millions of middle-class Americans to receive Medicaid by mistake. Read more…

More Drama in Detroit: Two Resign From Mayor’s Staff, Allegations of “Chaos”

June 20, 2011 9 comments

Elliot Millner

It would probably be bigger news if a week went by without some type of drama coming out of Detroit, Michigan. Two members of Detroit Mayor Dave Bing’s staff recently resigned. The resignations come just days after a lawsuit was filed by a former mayoral staffer alleging wrongful termination. Read more…

Van Jones Challenges Glenn Bleck To Debate

June 20, 2011 2 comments

Elliot Millner

Van Jones, President Obama’s former “green jobs” czar, has recently produced a television ad sponsored by MoveOn.org in which he challenges soon-to-be leaving Fox News host Glenn Beck to a debate concerning Beck’s attacks on “millions of hardworking Americans who just wanna(sic) give their kids a better life”. Read more…

College Board Study Shows Blacks, Other Minorities, Still Lagging Academically

June 20, 2011 3 comments

Elliot Millner

A recent study by the College Board sheds more light on the massive divide in education achievement between minority males and minority women and white men. Read more…

Years Later, North Carolina Struggles With History of Forced Sterilization

June 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Elliot Millner

Approximately 35 years after the fact, the state of North Carolina is coming to grips with its dark history of forced sterilization. Although many states in the U.S. had varying forms of eugenics programs during the early 1900’s, most of those programs were abandoned post-World War II, because of the negative associations with Nazi Germany’s efforts at racial purity. However, unlike most states, North Carolina not only continued its program of forced sterilization, it expanded its program until the early 1960’s.

Read more…

College Costs Continue To Skyrocket, While Salaries Remain Stagnant: Time To Consider Other Options

June 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Elliot Millner

The standard perception of a college degree as the key to success continues to take a hit. In a recent study, it was shown that while the median income in the U.S. has continued to remain around $33,000 for approximately the past decade, average college tuition and fees have more than doubled in the same time period. Read more…

Miracle-Gro Wants to Get Into Marijuana Business: Who Can Blame Them?

June 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Elliot Millner

Marijuana is big business, and I’m talking about the legal kind. That being the case, it’s no surprise that the CEO of Scott’s Miracle-Gro recently stated in an interview that his company wants to begin targeting the marijuana market. Read more…

Categories: african american news

Dems Demand GOP Condemn “Most Racist, Sexist Ad Ever”

June 15, 2011 1 comment

Your Black World Staff

It’s election season, so you know what that means: More racist (and in this case, sexist) ads from the Republican Party! Read more…

Anthony Graves: Another Black Man Almost Executed For A Crime He Didn’t Commit..Where Does It End?

June 15, 2011 1 comment

Elliot Millner, J.D.

Some of you may already be familiar with the story of Anthony Graves, a Black man who spent 18 years on Texas death row for a crime he did not commit. While the present prosecutor admits that there wasn’t any evidence linking Graves to the crime he was incarcerated for, that didn’t stop him from being sentenced to death. Just another example (if you still need one) of how easily an innocent person can be wrongly convicted, particularly if that person is poor and Black. Read more…

GOP Budget Plan: Cut Programs for Low-Income Women and Children

June 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Elliot Millner

In news that should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the standard positions of Republican lawmakers, the GOP-controlled House plans to propose large cuts to programs aimed at assisting low-income women and children. This while the House Appropriations Committee plans to pass a measure that will increase the Pentagon’s operating budget (while slightly cutting costs for overseas military operations). Read more…

Republicans Decide to Attack Obama at Debate, Save Each Other for Later

June 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Elliot Millner

In the first of what will be many debates, the seven Republican candidates present generally avoided taking swipes at each other (and particularly supposed front-runner Mitt Romney), and focused the majority of their energy attacking the polices of President Obama. Read more…

Gucci Lawsuit: Boss Made Jokes About Blacks Being 3/5 of Human Beings

June 14, 2011 2 comments

Elliot Millner

Details relating to the lawsuit filed by a former Gucci attorney alleging racial discrimination continue to emerge. Although the suit initially garnered attention because the company allegedly attempted to swindle more money out of singer Rihanna, now even more disturbing allegations have been revealed. Read more…

The Reality of Uncle Tom’s Cabin: Why Reading Is Fundamental

June 14, 2011 3 comments

Elliot Millner

In this recent Op-Ed piece, the author provides an excellent account of how Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, went from being considered by proponents of slavery as one of the most dangerous books written, to having one of its main characters, Uncle Tom, become synonymous with cowardly, traitorous behavior. Read more…

Prince George’s County, Maryland: “Most Affluent Black County” Suffering Massive Foreclosures, Other Problems

June 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Elliot Millner

According to a recent story, Prince George’s County, Maryland, long considered the most affluent Black county in the U.S., is now suffering a foreclosure crisis that is by far the worst in the state of Maryland. Foreclosure sales in the county have jumped from 34 percent in 2009 to 51 percent so far this year. The rise in foreclosures is having a negative impact on other areas of life in the county as well. Read more…

FBI Giving Agents More Powers: Should We Be Concerned?

June 13, 2011 4 comments

Elliot Millner

According to a recent report, updates to a FBI manual (Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide) will provide the FBI’s approximately 14,000 agents with even more authority in searching and keeping surveillance on American citizens. These new powers will include searching organizational databases, expanded usage of lie detector tests, and extra leeway in going through household trash. Read more…

Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr.: One Of The First “Thrown Under The Bus” Continues To Speak Out

June 13, 2011 2 comments

Elliot Millner

In a sermon given recently at Shorter Community A.M.E Church in Denver, Colorado, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr. touched on several issues, particularly those relating to Black men and the various “mess ups” we can find ourselves involved in. Read more…

Here We Go Again: Cleveland Police “Find” Missing Jail Video That Provides Proof of Them Lying

June 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Elliot Millner

In a shocking and never before seen turn of events, the Cleveland Police Department recently “discovered” a missing video of a Black man being abused while being arrested. Prior to Jalil Anderson’s trial, the prosecutors’ office subpoenaed the police department for the video; however, they were told at that time that the video no longer existed. Read more…

Rep. Elijah Cummings Nephew Murdered at His Off-Campus Apartment

June 13, 2011 1 comment

Your Black World Staff

The nephew of long time Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) was murdered at his off-campus apartment recently. Christopher Cummings, 20, a student at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA, was a Criminal Justice major with a 3.5 GPA. His roommate, Jake Carey, was also critically wounded in the shooting. Read more…

(White) Americans Are Popping Rx Drugs Like Skittles: Where’s The War On Them?

June 10, 2011 2 comments

Elliot Millner

A recently story details the unneeded and illegal prescribing of prescription drugs, particularly various painkillers, to a certain demographic of Americans. Let’s be real here, the vast majority of the pain pill poppers are white. And, despite the fact that the White House recently stated that the rate of deaths from accidental prescription drug overdoses now exceeds the overdose rates from the crack cocaine epidemic of the 80’s and the black tar heroin craze of the 70’s combined, the response seems to be very different. Read more…

Supreme Court: Fleeing the Police Is A Violent Felony

June 10, 2011 1 comment

Elliot Millner, J.D.

The Supreme Court ruled late Thursday that fleeing from the police in an automobile constitutes a violent felony. In a 6-3 decision, the majority opinion, drafted by Justice Anthony Kennedy, stated that “the risk of violence is inherent to vehicle flight”. Dissenting to the ruling were Justices Scalia, Kagan, and Ginsburg. Read more…

Out of Prison, But Not Out of Debt: States Continue to Pile Fees on Ex-Convicts

June 10, 2011 4 comments

Elliot Millner

In a very informative piece, this author details another part of the criminal justice system that many people are unaware of. Even after serving their time, and in addition to being placed on probation, many released prisoners are also forced to pay a variety of fees as part of their probation arrangement. Read more…

Categories: african american news

U.S. Border Patrol Agents Bribed with Money, Sex By Drug Cartels

June 10, 2011 1 comment

Elliot Millner

In another proud moment in the failed travesty known as the “war on drugs”, it has been “revealed” that Mexican drug cartels are bribing U.S. Border Patrol Agents with “cash and sexual favors” in exchange for the agents allowing unauthorized immigrants to cross the border, leaking sensitive information, and even acting as escorts and protectors for the drug traffickers. This disclosure was made by the acting Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security while testifying before a Senate Subcommittee. Read more…

Unemployment Benefits Disappearing, No Jobs On the Horizon: What Exactly Are People To Do?

June 9, 2011 3 comments

Elliot Millner

The news just keeps getting worse for those who are unemployed or underemployed. According to a recent report, despite the fact that the jobless rate in the U.S. continues to rise, many of those newly unemployed people will likely be limited to 26 weeks of state unemployment benefits, at best. This is because the deadline to file for extended federal unemployment benefits expires in December 2011, meaning that if a person hasn’t filed for benefits by approximately July 1, federal benefits won’t be an option.

Add this news to the recent report that the numbers of those chronically unemployed(unemployed from six months to a year or longer) is on the rise and it begs the question: What exactly are these people supposed to do? With Republicans in control of the House of Representatives, and looking to cut spending, the likelihood of any unemployment benefits extensions are slim to none. Read more…

Allen Iverson Wants to Return to NBA..Who Will Give Him a Shot?

June 9, 2011 9 comments

Your Black World Staff

According to a recent report, former NBA star Allen Iverson is looking to return to the NBA. Iverson, 36, most recently played ten games this past season for the Turkish club Besiktas, before his season was ended due to an injury to his right calf.

Although his last couple of seasons in the NBA were pretty average, especially by the high standards he set early in his career, Iverson is convinced he still has something to offer an NBA team. It’s hard to forget the Iverson who crossed up Jordan, or the Iverson who lit up the Lakers for 48 points in the 2001 NBA Finals. The question many NBA teams will ask themselves is does this 36-year-old version of AI have any of that left in him? Read more…

California’s Initial Response to S. Court Ruling: Send Low-level Offenders to County Jails

June 9, 2011 3 comments

Elliot Millner, J.D.

In response to the recent Supreme Court decision that determined that California’s prisons were dangerously overcrowded, California officials have proposed a plan that would relocate approximately 33,000 inmates considered to be low-level offenders to various county jails throughout the state. The plan, which is unfunded, still needs to be approved by the state legislature and voted on by California citizens before it could be implemented.

In addition to the county jail plan, the state is also planning to deal with the overcrowding problem through construction, and a program already in place in which approximately 10,000 inmates are contracted to out-of-state facilities. If the county jail plan is not implemented by November 28 (the cutoff date the court gave for the initial decrease in inmate population) the state could be forced to release some inmates early. Read more…

Categories: african american news

Herman Cain Won’t Sign Any Bill Longer Than Three Pages (???)

June 9, 2011 1 comment

Elliot Millner, J.D.

You have to give it to Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain; he knows how to keep his name in the news. At a recent speech in Iowa, Cain criticized the lengths of bills that are passed by Congress, particularly the 2,700 healthcare bill. He stated that these bills were too long for average people who had other responsibilities to read. Cain stated, “That’s why I’m only going to allow small bills..three pages. You’ll have time to read that one over the dinner table.”

I’ll give Mr. Cain the benefit of the doubt and assume that some of this was just campaign talk, and that he didn’t actually mean three page bills. Maybe I’m assuming too much, but I’d like to think that Mr. Cain knows that it is not possible to include all of the information necessary for a bill(any bill) governing the entire country to fit into three pages. Read more…

It Had to Be Alabama: Proposed Bill Would Ban Abortions In State

June 9, 2011 Leave a comment

 Elliot Millner, J.D.

A bill presently before the Alabama legislature would ban all abortions in the state. The bill (Senate Bill 301) defines a human life from the point of fertilization and implantation, thus making it a crime to have an abortion at any point, for any reason.

It should come as no surprise that something as backwards as this is coming out of the state of Alabama. No offense to all my friends who live or are from there, but let’s be real. Abortion is definitely a controversial issue, and there are reasonable people who disagree on both sides. But there are also completely insane, irrational people who think that it has to be their way or no way, and most of those people seemed to be grouped together on the anti-abortion side.

What is sad is that the most lunatic fringe of anti-abortion supporters almost always use religion and the Bible as their crutch. They care so much about life, that they are going to force a woman to have a child, no matter the circumstances surrounding the impregnation. Incest? Gotta have it. Rape? Gotta have it. Why should the woman have any say in the matter? And why should these same people care what happens to the child once they are born? That’s not their problem, and would require too much, you know, thinking. And the irony is that if the child happens to go down a particularly bad path and end up on death row, many of these same people would be the first ones ready to perform the lethal injection. Read more…

More Police Behaving Badly: Police Attempt to Destroy Video Taken By Innocent Bystander

June 8, 2011 1 comment

 Elliot Millner, J.D.

Two witnesses to a fatal shooting on South Beach in Miami involving police allege that the police officers involved attempted to intimidate them, and when that didn’t work, threw them to the ground and destroyed their camera. What the officers failed to realize is that one of the witnesses had already removed the sim card from the camera and hid it in his mouth. The video can now be seen on YouTube.

Most states have laws concerning interfering with a police officer’s ability to perform his/her job, usually stating you have to keep a certain distance away from them or something to that effect. Some states also have laws against secretly recording police during an interaction. However, in most places, it is perfectly legal to openly record(from a safe distance) the actions of police officers. But, this doesn’t stop many police officers from doing things such as what happened to these two witnesses. Read more…

Republican Presidential Hopeful Calls Obama “Champion Practioner of Class Warfare”

June 8, 2011 2 comments

Elliot Millner, J.D.

In a recent speech given at the University of Chicago, Republican Presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty took several shots at President Obama, including calling him a “champion practitioner of class warfare”. He also went on to say that the President needed to enter “economic rehab” and proposed a “google test”, meaning that if people can go on google and find a good or service, then the “federal government probably doesn’t need to be doing it”.

Given that a lot of people are probably saying “Who is Tim Pawlenty?”, that tells you a lot about his remarks during this speech. Tim Pawlenty is the Governor of Minnesota, and a Republican presidential candidate. Despite being in the public eye for several years, Pawlenty has been having trouble making a name for himself among Republican voters in his quest for the nomination in 2012. It seems that no matter what he does, people just don’t think of him as one of the frontrunners for the Republican nomination. Maybe it’s because Pawlenty (at least up until now), hasn’t shown the requisite amount of craziness and factual distortion to appeal to the extreme right of the Republican Party. Based on this speech, it seems that he is looking to fix that problem. Read more…

Woman Sues Dunkin Donuts: Know Your Facts Before You Judge Case

June 8, 2011 1 comment

 

 Elliot Millner, J.D.

Many of you may have already heard of the case of a Pennsylvania woman suing Dunkin Donuts for allegedly putting sugar in her coffee instead of the artificial sweetener she requested. According to the lawsuit, the sugar in the coffee caused her to go into diabetic shock.

Now I know a lot of people will immediately file this under the “silly lawsuits” section and keep it moving, but that may not necessarily be the case. We clearly don’t have all of the facts in this case, however it is at least plausible that what this woman claims happened did occur. And if it did happen as she claims, then she may have a legitimate claim for damages.

I’ll be the first to say that there are many frivolous and pointless lawsuits out there. However, many lawsuits that may seem ridiculous or absurd on their face actually have merit to them. One of the most famous examples of this is the McDonald’s “hot coffee” case. The media had a field day with the case, making jokes and talking about how absurd it was that someone would sue for coffee being hot (“coffee’s supposed to be hot!”). However, most of the people making jokes were completely ignorant to the facts. Yes, it is true, coffee is supposed to be hot; however, coffee isn’t supposed to be so hot that it melts the cup that it is in. McDonald’s had guidelines for how hot the coffee was supposed to be, which were not followed. Also, the plaintiff in that case suffered permanent scarring in the groin area from the boiling hot coffee.

We have been bombarded with this idea that American society is overly litigious, and it may be. But, the reality is that many lawsuits that seem frivolous have ended up providing safer products and services for all of us. Sometimes the only way to get a corporation or business to respect its customers is through litigation.

Categories: Uncategorized

Big Suprise: GOP Calls For Rep. Weiner’s Resignation

June 8, 2011 Leave a comment

 

  Elliot Millner, J.D.

In a move that should come as a surprise to no one, the Chairman of the Republican Party stated that Rep. Anthony Weiner should resign from office for admitting to sending lewd photos via twitter and having inappropriate “online relationships” with at least six women.

Let me be clear. I in no way condone the actions of Rep. Weiner. He is and will continue to suffer the consequences of his actions, both in his professional life and in his personal life. His obvious desires to become mayor of New York City are almost certainly done. And I’m sure this situation is not making things comfortable for him with his family.

However, the reality is that anyone who still believes that politicians are or should be held to a higher moral level than the general population is delusional or just hasn’t been paying attention. When it comes to extramarital affairs and other forms of scandalous behavior, politicians may only be a notch or two below professional athletes (some of them may rank higher). I also don’t hold Republicans to a higher standard than Democrats, unless that Republican is caught with his/her pants down while browbeating others about being moral and having high character (Newt Gingrich for example). That is usually the reason that Republicans catch more flack on issues such as this..because they hypocritically pretend to be morally upright and self-righteously lecturing others for doing the same things they eventually get caught doing.

In the grand scheme of illicit behavior among politicians, What Weiner has done ranks pretty low. As was the case with John Edwards, it’s the attempt to cover-up his behavior that likely will prove more harmful to him. It is no secret that “some” politicians lie; however to spend days alleging that someone hacked his twitter account, while all the time knowing it was untrue, is kind of disturbing, and to me speaks more to Weiner’s ability (or lack of) to carry out his functions in Congress.

Whatever Weiner decides to do regarding his seat, the damage has already been done. He was a rising star, with big ambitions. It must be devastating to know that he destroyed any chance at reaching those goals by losing self-control and sending a few pictures.

Categories: Uncategorized

More Bad News: Chronic Unemployment at Higher Levels Than Great Depression

June 8, 2011 Leave a comment

 

Elliot Millner, J.D.

According to a recent Time Magazine article, the news for those unemployed and looking for work just keeps getting worse. According to the story, chronic unemployment (described as being unemployed for six months or longer without break) is at higher levels now than during the Great Depression..for all people. Of course, we know that if broken down by race, those numbers would be even higher for Black people.

Worker mobility, the normal process by which people leave jobs and other’s come in and take them, has dropped considerably in the last couple of years. This is easily understandable. People are less likely to leave a job (even one they don’t like) in a tough economy than when things are going well. And this in turn decreases the numbers of job openings for people looking for work.

Also, the longer that a person is out of work, the more difficult it is for them to get reemployed. Even temporary jobs, which are usually a fall back for many, have been steadily declining in the past several months. And what is even more concerning is that there aren’t really any answers on the horizon. Many companies aren’t planning to budge when it comes to hiring until financial regulations become clearer, and they get an opportunity to see the impact of the healthcare legislation.

President Obama’s continued claims of the recession being over and unemployment being on a steady decline are beginning to look as delusional as former President Bush’s “mission accomplished” fiasco. This situation just seems to keep getting worse, and instead of using smoke and mirrors to make things appear better temporarily for political gain, it is time for the president and Congress to at least be honest with people. There will be no more stimulus (not saying that would solve the problem). Given the current Republican majority in the House, there will be no new legislation of any kind that will provide relief on the economy. Although I adamantly support the President and Congress being pushed to provide answers on the economy (particularly for Black people, who no matter how bad the statistic, are in a much worse position than the general population), the reality is that the President had his big chance to impact the current economic crisis when he had a majority, and he failed to adequately do so. Now, that path is no longer an option. As much as I dislike saying this, it appears as though until the private sector begins to feel comfortable hiring again ( meaning get their way on upcoming legislation), this situation isn’t likely to change anytime soon.

Categories: Uncategorized

NAACP Sues Business For Closing During Black Bike Week

June 3, 2011 3 comments

Elliot Millner, J.D.

The NAACP recently filed suit against Molly Darcy’s, a restaurant located on the waterfront in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for closing during Black Bike Week, allegedly based on racially discriminatory reasons. The suit alleges that Molly Darcy’s closed during Black Bike Week for the particular purpose of not wanting to cater to Black customers. The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction against Molly Darcy’s to prevent it from continuing the discriminatory practice, in addition to actual and punitive damages for all plaintiffs harmed by the activity.

Without getting into the particular facts of this case, I will say that this type of action is nothing new and something that I have personally observed in Myrtle Beach. I have also heard of similar things taking place during other events with an overwhelming majority of Black attendees in other cities. The difficulty in cases such as these is that the plaintiff must prove that the party being sued acted in a racially discriminatory way, and that there was no legitimate reason other than racial discrimination for the business closing during this time period. In addition, they must show that they suffered some type of actual harm from the business being closed. I’m sure Molly Darcy’s attorney’s are already coming up with dozens of other “reasons” why the business closed during that time period, having nothing to do with race.

I know a lot of people have issues with the NAACP and complain about it being an organization out of touch with the problems Black people are facing today. And I know a lot of people will look at this case and say that if a business doesn’t want to cater to Black customers, then why should we want to give them our business anyway, much less sue to do so? Those points are understandable to a certain extent, however the real issue isn’t about begging to give white-owned businesses our money, it’s about obeying the law and providing equal access to people regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or any other protected characteristic. It’s much easier to say “just go to a Black business instead” when you’re living in D.C. or Atlanta, but what about if you’re driving through Oregon and that isn’t an option? Doesn’t that sound very much like the existence many of our elders and ancestors were forced to deal with only a few decades ago?

If Black people took repeated instances like this as motivation to patronize Black-owned businesses more regularly, that would be a wonderful outcome. But the issue in this case is something different. Let’s give the NAACP and the plaintiff’s involved the benefit of the doubt before passing judgment.

Categories: Uncategorized

The Death of “Dr. Death”: Jack Kevorkian Dead at 83

June 3, 2011 2 comments

Elliot Millner, J.D.

Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the Michigan pathologist famous (or notorious, depending on your perspective) for helping in the suicides of over 100 terminally ill people, died recently in Michigan, reportedly of pneumonia and kidney problems.

Kevorkian was sentenced convicted of second-degree murder and administering a controlled substance in 1999 for assisting in the suicide of Thomas Youk, a man suffering from Lou Gherig’s Disease. He was sentenced to from 10-25 years in prison, however was given early release in 2007.

Kevorkian was extremely outspoken in his support of an individuals right-to-die, and of the right of trained medical professionals to assist those experiencing extreme suffering to take their own life if they chose to do so. Although the majority of countries around the world and states within the U.S. have some type of laws against physician-assisted suicide, the practice has a large amount of support. Only the states of Oregon and Washington explicitly permit physician-assisted suicide. 34 states have statutes explicitly making assisted-suicide illegal, while the other states fall somewhere in between.

Regardless of what position you may take on the issue of assisted-suicide, one must respect the amount of dedication Dr. Kevorkian had to his particular cause. To be willing to be vilified and imprisoned for a cause is something that most people would not have the stomach for. Kevorkian was a doctor, he could have easily lived a life of comfort and not gotten involved in something as controversial as assisted-suicide. And, despite some of his most absurd critics, there is no indication that the man simply liked killing people. His intention was to end the suffering of those with no hope for recovery; to allow them to make an informed decision about something that is the ultimate personal decision.

Because of the potential legal ramifications, it is highly unlikely that someone will come along to take Dr. Kevorkian’s place anytime soon. Even in those states that don’t have explicit laws forbidding physician-assisted suicides, the practice can still be covered by the common law, possibly as a degree of murder or manslaughter. Most doctor’s aren’t going to risk prison-time, or even the loss of their ability to practice medicine, to help someone die, even if they support the practice of doing so.

Dr. Kevorkian, love him or hate him, drew a lot of attention to an issue that needed it. He sacrificed greatly for a cause that he adamantly believed in. That act alone is deserving of respect.

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Former Presidential Candidate John Edwards Indicted: A Long, Ugly Fall

June 3, 2011 2 comments

    Elliot Millner, J.D.

Two-time former presidential candidate John Edwards has been indicted on six federal charges of conspiracy, illegal campaign contributions(4 counts), and making false statements. The charges relate to his affair with former campaign videographer Reille Hunter and the child that was produced from that affair. Edwards allegedly used payments from various sources to conspire to keep the child he had with Hunter a secret during his second run for president, including relocating Hunter and the child during the 2008 election in order to avoid detection by the media.

Although nothing should be surprising when it comes to politics and politicians, this situation is particularly disturbing and despicable. Of course we know that legally-speaking a person is innocent until proven guilty, but the majority of the dirtiest parts of this case are public record and have been (reluctantly) admitted to by Edwards himself. He admitted that he had an affair with Hunter, and that he got her pregnant. He also eventually admitted to publicly denying he was the father for an extended period of time, to protect his image and aspirations. He also allegedly had former campaign staffer Andrew Young claim to be the father of the child, to deflect suspicion from himself. Oh, and all of this was taking place while his wife Elizabeth Edwards was battling cancer, a battle she unfortunately lost last year.

Aside from the ugliness relating to the affair and child, the other aspect of this that is unfortunate is that from a political perspective, John Edwards likely would have been a powerful force within the Democratic Party, whether as president or in some other capacity. He was easily the more natural Progressive than current President Obama, who was always more of a moderate (despite what the Tea Partiers and Fox News would like you to believe). Edwards focused on issues relating to poverty and criminal justice far more than any of the other well-known Democratic candidates during both of his runs for president.

Now, regardless of what comes of the impending trial, his political career is over. Although he would have lost a lot even if he had been truthful about the affair and child from the beginning, he would not likely be facing serious felony charges, and the damage to his image and reputation may have been repairable. In politics people tend to have short-term memories bordering on amnesia. There are plenty of current well-known politicians who have had affairs, children out-of-wedlock, solicited prostitutes,etc. Edwards hurt himself most by attempting to cover-up the truth, which we have learned can be viewed worse than the actual wrongdoing. Hopefully he has learned some lesson from all of this, and(regardless of the trial outcome) will move on in a more honest, productive manner.

 

Two Parties Serving the Same Master..What Are Black People To Do?

June 2, 2011 Leave a comment

Elliot Millner, J.D.

In this recent magazine article, the author provides a fairly detailed timeline of how and when they feel that the Democratic party (still considered by most of the general public to be the “party of the people”, and more interested in working for the interests of the poor and middle-class) lost its way and became more similar to the Republican Party in its subservience to the super-wealthy and corporations.

Although I won’t go as far as some and say that there are no differences in the two major parties, especially on social issues, increasingly the economic policies put forth by the Democratic Party largely serve the interests of the business community and wealthiest 1% of the population. Democrats increasingly do just enough to make sure that they are able to get enough votes to maintain their seats. Take for example the extremely watered-down health care reform bill. Despite all the raucous debate surrounding it, the final product is a shadow of what could have been given the fact that Democrats held the presidency and both houses of Congress. Is it better than nothing? Yes, but that should not be the standard when you are in control, and when you claim to represent the interests of everyday working people.

The question that goes unanswered is this: What are the alternatives? If, as the author suggest, the Democratic party had no choice but to run to the super wealthy and corporations for support given its loss of a base with labor unions, what new or other base can come along to change that? There is mention of the fact that Black people have consistently been the most loyal voting block to the Democratic party, however is this continued loyalty the best plan of action given the ever decreasing returns on that loyalty?

Politically-speaking, there is much more value in being a free agent than in being a known loyalist to one party. I’m not promoting a mad rush to the Republican party, however at least having the bluff of large numbers of Black voters NOT blindly voting Democrat may be the only option we have left. Third party options should also be considered. Many immediately shoot down the idea of supporting third-party or independent candidates because they view them as wasted votes incapable of winning. However, is supporting a longshot worse than supporting a party that shows less and less interest in the needs of its most loyal constituents? Politics is not like everyday life. Loyalty is great with friends and family. Politically-speaking however, blind loyalty is foolishness. It is nearly impossible to advocate for things you desire when those you are negotiating with know that no matter what, you’re voting democrat. This is especially true now, given how outraged many Black people get at even the slightest criticism of President Obama.
Does President Obama receive a lot of unwarranted, often racially-motivated criticism? Absolutely. However, it doesn’t follow logically that Black people shouldn’t demand that he address issues that are specifically relevant to us. On some issues, the argument that “he’s everybody’s president, what he does for everyone helps us” may work, but on others it doesn’t. Mass incarceration of Black males and the causes and effects of it is of particular interest to us; so is the disparity in the unemployment rates for Black people, males in particular. So are the cuts in the funding of many programs that particularly serve and help mostly impoverished communities of color. It is mind-boggling how defensive some people get about President Obama, while showing no concern for those in most need. President Obama is already a millionaire; whenever he leaves the White House, he’ll probably write books, give speeches, and make millions more. He’s going to be ok. He’ll still have his Secret Service detail.
It is one thing to support, another to follow and/or worship. Here is your measuring stick: If you can articulate things that President Obama has done in his presidency that you agree and disagree with, then you are probably a supporter. If you can’t think of a thing that Obama has done wrong since he’s been in office, then you need to get up off of your knees. Obama has an entire staff to defend his interests; we need to work on preserving our interests while there is still something left to preserve.

Global Council on Drug Policy Says What Black People Have Known For Years: “War on Drugs” Is a Failure

June 2, 2011 Leave a comment

 Elliot Millner, J.D.

In a recently released report, the Global Council on Drug Policy (which includes former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, as well as former presidents of Mexico, Brazil, and Columbia) state that the decades long so-called “War on Drugs” has been a complete failure, resulting in almost no progress in decreasing the global demand for illegal drugs, while at the same time helping to destroy entire communities, in the United States and around the globe.

In addition the Council concluded that “arresting and incarcerating tens of millions of these people in recent decades has filled prisons and destroyed lives and families without reducing the availability of illicit drugs or the power of criminal organizations.” The report also references how drug cartels around the globe are thriving off of the profits made supplying illegal drugs to the world’s number one consumer..the United States.

Although the idea may be controversial to some, legalizing various drugs in some fashion should at least be given consideration. Continuing the failed drug policy of the past several decades is not an option. The devastation inflicted on poor Black communities by drugs is unspeakable, and the damage done in the supposed effort to remove the drugs from those communities has been worse. It would be naive to think that simply legalizing drugs will solve all of the problems of impoverished communities; however, alternatives to repressive policing and excessive sentencing must be enacted. The years of blatantly racially and socioeconomically biased drug policy must end.  If a white person in the suburbs receives treatment and support for their drug problem, then so should a Black person from a poor inner-city neighborhood.

Although changes in U.S. drug policy are desperately needed, we must remember this is only one part of a larger picture. The “War on Drugs” was just the most recent excuse used to target communities of color and people of color for excessive arrest and imprisonment (because we definitely aren’t the main drug users, or the main suppliers). Injustice in the criminal justice system as a whole has existed long before the drug war, and won’t simply disappear, even if every drug is legalized.