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marmar

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Thu Oct 28, 2004, 11:18 PM
Number of posts: 74,800

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The Collapse of Black Wealth


from the American Prospect:


The Collapse of Black Wealth

Monica Potts
November 21, 2012

Prince George’s County was a symbol of African-American prosperity. Then came the housing crisis.


When Joe Parker was a young, newly married public-school administrator who wanted to buy a home in 1974, he didn’t even think about leaving Prince George’s County, Maryland. It was where he and his parents had grown up. But when Parker first tried to bid on a house in a new development in Mitchellville, a small farming community that was sprouting ranch and split-level homes on old plantation lands, the real-estate agent demurred, claiming there were other buyers. In truth, the development had been built to lure white, middle-class families to the county, which sits just east of Washington, D.C. Parker never told the agent that he served on a new county commission to enforce laws forbidding housing discrimination. He just persisted, he says, until he and his wife were able to bid. “My wife kept saying, ‘Why don’t you tell him?’” Parker recalls, but he refused to pull rank. “I said no, because what does the next black man do?”

The next black families did arrive. Throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, most of the professionals who bought homes in Prince George’s County came from Washington’s black middle class. Laws that expanded minority homeownership, combined with a booming mortgage market, brought more and more black residents out to the suburbs. When Parker bought his home in the ’70s, African Americans made up about 14 percent of the population in Prince George’s County; by 2010, the share of black families would be almost 65 percent. Across the country, in the final decades of the 20th century, minorities were moving into suburbs in unprecedented numbers. But Prince George’s County was distinct: It was one of the few places—like Southfield, Michigan, outside of Detroit; Warrensville Heights, Ohio, outside of Cleveland; and DeKalb County, Georgia, outside of Atlanta—that grew wealthier as it became blacker. Median income in Prince George’s outpaced the national median from the 1970 census forward.

Prince George’s County today is a collection of cities, small towns, and bedroom communities with a population of about 870,000. Home-improvement stores and shopping centers pepper broad boulevards; McMansion-filled subdivisions end in cul-de-sacs. With a median income of $71,260, it’s wealthier than the state as a whole. There are Outback Steakhouses and Whole Foods markets. There are fall festivals, international festivals, and food festivals. There are pumpkin patches and Christmas-tree farms. Bowie, in the northern part of the county, is home to Bowie State University, a liberal-arts college that once trained black teachers as the Maryland Normal and Industrial School at Bowie. Joe Parker, now retired from the school system, serves as a neighborhood captain to welcome families into the development he bought into almost 40 years ago and is a neighborhood historian. His three sons still live in Prince George’s County. It’s home.

Prince George’s County became emblematic of a long-delayed advance toward equality: the growth of black wealth in America. For three centuries, structural racism had prevented black families from building wealth. School systems, hiring practices, red-lining, and discriminatory lending practices all combined to deny the opportunities that white Americans, whether immigrant or native born, saw as their birthright. In the South, especially, there were more direct means of holding back black economic advancement: Violence was often directed toward black men and women who owned businesses or farms and toward those who fought for their right to work for fair wages. But in the 1980s, helped by laws that encouraged homeownership among minorities, African American families were at last able not only to earn higher incomes but to buy homes and build wealth. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://prospect.org/article/rising-tide-2



Marijuana Decriminalization Drops Youth Crime Rates by Stunning 20% in One Year


The Center for Public Integrity / By Susan Ferriss

Marijuana Decriminalization Drops Youth Crime Rates by Stunning 20% in One Year
Arresting and putting low-level juvenile offenders into the criminal-justice system pulls many kids deeper into trouble rather than turning them around.

November 26, 2012 |


Marijuana — it’s one of the primary reasons why California experienced a stunning 20 percent drop in juvenile arrests in just one year, between 2010 and 2011, according to provocative new research.

The San Francisco-based Center on Juvenile & Criminal Justice (CJCJ) recently released a policy briefing with an analysis of arrest data collected by the California Department of Justice’s Criminal Justice Statistics Center. The briefing, “ California Youth Crime Plunges to All-Time Low ,” identifies a new state marijuana decriminalization law that applies to juveniles, not just adults, as the driving force behind the plummeting arrest totals.

After the new pot law went into effect in January 2011, simple marijuana possession arrests of California juveniles fell from 14,991 in 2010 to 5,831 in 2011, a 61 percent difference, the report by CJCJ senior research fellow Mike Males found.

“Arrests for youths for the largest single drug category, marijuana, fell by 9,000 to a level not seen since before the 1980s implementation of the ‘war on drugs,’ ” Males wrote in the report, released in October. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/marijuana-decriminalization-drops-youth-crime-rates-stunning-20-one-year



La Guerre Civil among the Right in France


from the WaPo:



PARIS — France’s conservative opposition has exploded in a divisive and invective-laden struggle — disenchanted commentators have called it a “vaudeville act” — over who will replace former president Nicolas Sarkozy as the standard-bearer of right-wing forces arrayed against the ruling Socialists.

The contested leadership election, a week old and still unsettled, is particularly bitter because it will determine not only who leads the party in the post-Sarkozy era but also, to a large degree, what direction France’s conservative forces will take in their push to return to power over the next five years.

“Beyond the quarrel over ballots, the right wing is fractured over essential things,” commentator Bruno Jeudy wrote in the Journal du Dimanche. “Its swing to the right has divided it. This is proof that Nicolas Sarkozy’s defeat, whose causes nobody on the right wants to analyze, has caused much more damage than the party’s leaders admit.”

The battle — between former prime minister François Fillon and the current party chief, Jean-François Copé — is ostensibly over who will lead the Union for a Popular Movement, the conservative alliance that Sarkozy relied on when he was president from 2007 until his defeat last May by Francois Hollande. But beyond that, Fillon and Copé are arm-wrestling to see who will be best placed to become the right’s presidential candidate against Hollande in 2017, a job Sarkozy has said he does not want. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/french-consertives-struggle-to-bring-rival-factions-together/2012/11/26/c7f8d364-37cd-11e2-8a97-363b0f9a0ab3_story.html



Noam Chomsky: Corporate Attack on Democracy





Ground the Drones


from In These Times:



BY Medea Benjamin

Foreign policy played a minor role in a presidential election that focused on jobs, jobs, jobs. But like it or not, the United States is part of a global community in turmoil, and U.S. policies often fuel that turmoil. The peace movement, which lost steam during Obama’s first term because so many people were unwilling to criticize the president, has a challenge today to reactivate itself and increase its effectiveness by forming coalitions within the progressive movement.

This revitalized peace movement must address five issues.

The first is Afghanistan. Despite Obama’s talk about getting out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014, the U.S. military still has some 68,000 troops and almost 100,000 private contractors there at a cost of $2 billion a week. And Obama is talking about a presence of U.S. troops, training missions, Special Forces operations and bases for another decade. But the overwhelming majority of Americans think this war is not worth fighting, a sentiment echoed in a recent New York Times editorial “Time to Pack Up.” It is indeed that time. The peace movement must push for an immediate withdrawal and for ruling out any longterm presence in Afghanistan.

Second, drone attacks are out of control, killing thousands, many of them civilians, in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, creating widespread anti-American sentiment and setting a dangerous precedent that will back to haunt us. Anti-drone actions have sprung up all over the United States at Air Force bases where the drones are piloted, at the headquarters of drone makers, at the CIA and in Congressional offices. Our job now is to coordinate those efforts, execute a massive public education campaign to turn around pro-drone public opinion, and call on our elected officials to start respecting the rule of law. If we strengthen our ties with people in the nations most affected and join in with those at the U.N. bodies who are horrified by drone proliferation, we just might get some global standards for the use of lethal drones. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/14189/ground_the_drones



Great things happen when you dump your Teabagger mayor....


(Detroit Free Press) Groundbreaking is planned Tuesday for a federally funded $6.3-million regional transit center in Troy after nearly a decade of debate.

"It's a great time for our city to do this," Troy Mayor Dane Slater said, adding that the center will spur demand for employment and housing in Troy and nearby communities.

The 2,000-square-foot center will go up near the southwest corner of Maple Road and Coolidge Highway, next to an Amtrak rail line that connects Pontiac to Detroit, Dearborn, Ann Arbor and Chicago. The rails form the border between Troy and Birmingham at that point, and the new center will replace an Amtrak platform on the Birmingham side.

The center will not only board rail passengers but also be a hub for taxis, SMART buses, and passengers on foot and bicycles, city officials said. The U.S. Department of Transportation has set Oct. 1, 2013, as the deadline for the center to open if it's to qualify for federal funding. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.freep.com/article/20121126/NEWS03/311260024/Groundbreaking-set-for-Troy-transit-center?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|p



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Germany's Ongoing Refusal to Forgive Greek Debt


from Der Spiegel:



The International Monetary Fund believes that the only way to reduce Greek debt to a sustainable level is by way of a debt haircut involving the country's government creditors. But with an election approaching, Germany has refused to consider the proposal. Reality is on the IMF's side.

An elegant appearance is important to Christine Lagarde. The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) wears her short hair carefully coiffed, and diamonds glitter on her manicured fingers. When she talks about global financial issues, she hardly ever raises her voice. Her colleagues at the Washington-based financial authority call her "Ms. Perfect."

But last Tuesday Lagarde, who was once French finance minister, was having trouble keeping her composure. She had hurried back to Europe from Asia to attend the latest in a series of Euro Group crisis meetings on Greece. And even though she had a fever and felt weak from the flu, she began to raise her voice as she spoke. For Greece to recover, she insisted, creditor countries would have to forgive the government in Athens a large share of its debt. "Nothing else will work," Lagarde said.

But the group, most notably Germany's impassive Foreign Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, from Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), refused to budge. The meeting ended unsuccessfully at around 5 a.m. and was adjourned until this Monday. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/germany-remains-adamant-in-refusal-to-forgive-greek-debt-a-869300.html



Chris Hedges: Stand Still For the Apocalypse


from truthdig:



Stand Still For the Apocalypse

Posted on Nov 26, 2012
By Chris Hedges


[font size="1"]AP/Elizabeth Dalziel
In much of the world, including China and the United States, dirty energy remains cheap and plentiful, with disastrous consequences
.[/font]

Humans must immediately implement a series of radical measures to halt carbon emissions or prepare for the collapse of entire ecosystems and the displacement, suffering and death of hundreds of millions of the globe’s inhabitants, according to a report commissioned by the World Bank. The continued failure to respond aggressively to climate change, the report warns, will mean that the planet will inevitably warm by at least 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, ushering in an apocalypse.

The 84-page document,“Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must Be Avoided,” was written for the World Bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics and published last week. The picture it paints of a world convulsed by rising temperatures is a mixture of mass chaos, systems collapse and medical suffering like that of the worst of the Black Plague, which in the 14th century killed 30 to 60 percent of Europe’s population.

A planetwide temperature rise of 4 degrees C—and the report notes that the tepidness of the emission pledges and commitments of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will make such an increase almost inevitable—will cause a precipitous drop in crop yields, along with the loss of many fish species, resulting in widespread hunger and starvation. Hundreds of millions of people will be forced to abandon their homes in coastal areas and on islands that will be submerged as the sea rises. There will be an explosion in diseases such as malaria, cholera and dengue fever. Devastating heat waves and droughts, as well as floods, especially in the tropics, will render parts of the Earth uninhabitable. The rain forest covering the Amazon basin will disappear. Coral reefs will vanish. Numerous animal and plant species, many of which are vital to sustaining human populations, will become extinct. Monstrous storms will eradicate biodiversity, along with whole cities and communities. And as these extreme events begin to occur simultaneously in different regions of the world, the report finds, there will be “unprecedented stresses on human systems.” Global agricultural production will eventually not be able to compensate. Health and emergency systems, as well as institutions designed to maintain social cohesion and law and order, will crumble. The world’s poor, at first, will suffer the most. But we all will succumb in the end to the folly and hubris of the Industrial Age. And yet, we do nothing.

“It is useful to recall that a global mean temperature increase of 4°C approaches the difference between temperatures today and those of the last ice age, when much of central Europe and the northern United States were covered with kilometers of ice and global mean temperatures were about 4.5°C to 7°C lower,” the report reads. “And this magnitude of climate change—human induced—is occurring over a century, not millennia.” ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/stand_still_for_the_apocalypse_20121126/



How Consolidated Agribusiness Harms The Organic Sector


from Civil Eats:



How Consolidated Agribusiness Harms The Organic Sector
November 26th, 2012 By Wenonah Hauter

The pioneers of organic agriculture probably did not foresee the day when consumers could buy organic junk food at the supermarket. But now organic is a $31 billion a year big business and the biggest food companies are eagerly moving to capture the profitable and high-priced organic food label. Although many consumers and farmers moved to organic to avoid corporate-controlled and unsustainable industrial food production, the Big Food monopoly is catching up.

In the past decade, the organic food sector has consolidated rapidly, and it now closely resembles the conventional food industry. Major food companies have snapped up organic brands and launched their own organic versions of popular foods. Between 1997 and 2007, a third of the 30 largest food-processing companies purchased organic brands, and half introduced organic versions of their conventional food brands.

These conglomerates are also diluting the definition of organic and selling meaningless “natural” substitutes for organic foods. Giant food manufacturers and agribusinesses with valuable organic lines (like General Mills, Campbell’s Soup and Driscoll Strawberry Associates) have had company representatives on the USDA advisory board that establishes the standards for organic farming and food manufacturing. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the number of non-organic substances approved for organic food has tripled over the past decade.

But some companies can just sidestep the tedious process of weakening organic standards by capitalizing on consumer enthusiasm for organic without living up to them. Typically, that effort involves substituting a self-defined “natural” brand for the more tightly regulated “organic” counterpart. Dean Foods and its WhiteWave-brand Silk Soymilk provide an example of how costly such actions can be to the organic sector. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://civileats.com/2012/11/26/how-consolidated-agribusiness-harms-the-organic-sector/



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