The Senate has confirmed Elena Kagan as Supreme Court justice. The fomer Harvard Law School dean is the fourth woman and 112the justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. According to the Wall Street Journal, the vote was 63-37. Click here for the Wall Street Journal article.
By Peter Baker-The New York Times -- Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., left, joined Republican and Democratic lawmakers to watch President Obama sign the legislation.President Obama signed legislation on Tuesday reducing longstanding federal sentencing disparities between those caught with crack and those arrested with powder cocaine, finalizing a bipartisan consensus addressing a racially polarizing law enforcement debate.
Mr. Obama made no comments as he signed the bill, but during his 2008 presidential campaign, he said that the old law disproportionately affected young African-American and Hispanic drug users. In a speech last week, he said the new legislation would “help right a longstanding wrong” and was “the right thing to do.”
The legislation was a compromise reached by Democrats and Republicans who agreed that the old law imposed unduly harsh sentences for crack violations, which effected minorities in particular, compared with powder cocaine violations. For the full story click here.
By ERRIN HAINES (AP) ATLANTA — After nearly 10 months of silence, the Rev. Bernice King urged the Southern Christian Leadership Conference on Tuesday to end the bitter infighting that has split the group she was elected to lead.
King said at a news conference she still plans to lead the civil rights group but declined to say when she would take the post. She has indicated she would wait out the bickering and legal wrangling.
"I believe that the time is now for us to come together in unity as one SCLC," King said. "A house divided against itself cannot stand. The SCLC family must be about the business of restoring, rebuilding and redeeming its own internal soul as we continue in our quest to redeem the soul of America."
Shortly after her election in October by a unified SCLC, the leadership of the group co-founded by her father, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., split into two factions that have since met and made decisions separately. The SCLC is awaiting a decision from a judge as to which faction controls the group. Click here for the full story.
Washington, DC - Melanie L. Campbell, president & CEO of The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation issued the following statement regarding the resignation of Ms. Shirley Sherrod, former Georgia State Director for Rural Development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture:
"We’ve come a long way in America as it pertains to race relations. However, when an upstanding woman that has excelled throughout her long career is forced to resign before the facts are revealed, in an effort to be politically correct; it’s time to examine where our journey to justice and equality has lead us.
"Taking into account the fact that her father was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan, Ms. Shirley Sherrod’s story of her own personal growth and racial transformation epitomizes the change many of us hope for in America and have worked for over the years.
"As an African American woman in leadership, I have to wonder if a man would have been humiliated and asked to pull over to the side of the road to text a resignation without the opportunity to tell HIS side of the story.
"The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation calls on the USDA to make every effort to right this egregious wrong by offering Ms. Sherrod her job back, and making her feel secure that she will suffer no further repercussions due to their rush to judgment.
"Ms. Sherrod deserves an apology from USDA, the media, and every individual and organization that reported the story or publicly admonished her without a thorough investigation of the facts. A fast food worker would have received more respect and due diligence.
"The lesson here is that if we strive to be legally and morally correct rather than politically correct, and take the time to be right instead of first, we will not taint the reputation of a reputable woman based on comments taken out of context with the intent to incite racial discord."
Graduates of medical schools at historically black universities such as Howard and Morehouse are the most likely to practice the kind of medicine especially needed under the health-care overhaulthan graduates of elite medical schools at universities such as John Hopkins, Northwestern and Vanderbilt in the Annals of Internal Medicine ranked medical schools based on the communities where their graduates worked and whether those doctors practiced primary care. The Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Howard University College of Medicine in the District and Meharry Medical College in Nashville ranked as the top three, in that order.
By the study's "social mission" criteria, other well-known medical schools ranked far lower. Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville was last among the 141 ranked schools and Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago was 139th. The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore ranked 122nd.
The United States faces a shortage of up to 100,000 primary-care doctors in 2020, six years after the health-care overhaul fully kicks in with more than 35 million newly insured Americans. Yet elite medical schools place a stronger focus on specialized medicine and research, the study said. They also lag in recruiting underrepresented minorities -- Latinos, Native Americans and African Americans -- who tend to fill the openings created by the shortage.
"It's no surprise," said Eve Higginbotham, a senior vice president and dean of health sciences at Howard University. "We've known for a long time that minority students end up working in underserved areas four to five times more than majority students." Read the full story here.
By Julianne Malveaux - I was among the many who were disappointed that President Barack Obama did not nominate an African American woman to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. After all, there are six white men, two women, one Latina and one white, and a nominal African American man on the Court. Why not an African American woman?
The Black Women's Roundtable, led by Melanie Campbell, was so disappointed that they shared their concerns with the President in a letter that spoke both to the contributions African American women have made and the qualifications of a few good women that President Obama should have considered before nominating Ms. Kagan to the nation's highest court.
I won't even speak on what I perceive as some of the shortcomings of the Kagan nomination. The Solicitor General has earned the support of some colleagues that I fully respect, such as Harvard Professor Charles Ogletree. At the same time, we have to pause at the fact that her definition of diversity is ideological diversity, not racial and ethnic diversity, and that she seemed to make Harvard a more welcome place for conservatives, if not for African American faculty.
The hue and cry about the absence of an African American woman nominee, however, speaks to a greater issue in the African American community and among African American leadership. African Americans are too often in the reactive, not the proactive mode. If we had been thinking long run, we might have projected that there would soon be a Supreme Court opening. Then, conversations about the possibility of an African American woman nominee might have been happening sooner, not later. Read the full column at www.juliannemalveaux.com
Marvin Isley, whose muscular bass lines propelled the hits of his classic sibling band The Isley Brothers, died Monday in Chicago at age 56.
The cause of death has not yet been announced, though Isley suffered from diabetes severe enough to have caused him to leave the band in 1997. Later, his condition led to the amputation of both legs.
Isley will be remembered for the resilience and power of his bass work, which, for one thing, formed a crucial hook in the undulating '70s hit "Fight The Power." The bassist also played on the smash "Who's That Lady," as well as on prominent songs like "For The Love Of You" and "Harvest For The World."
Isley, who grew up in Englewood, New Jersey, wasn't old enough to join the first incarnation of the Isley Brothers, who have a history snaking back to the mid-’50s and who scored hits in the '60s like 1966’s "This Old Heart Of Mine" and the funky, 1969 track "It's Your Thing." By the late '60s, while still of high school age, Isley formed a trio with older brother Ernie and brother-in-law Chris Jasper. By the dawn of the '70s, those three pacted with the other Members of the group to create the classic "3+3" album, which went Top Ten in 1973.
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