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Herman Cain Slams Liberals, gets Slammed in Return

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Special to the NNPA from the AFRO-American newspapers –

Herman Cain, the first Tea Party-backed candidate to take the initial steps toward a 2012 presidential run, is already making waves.

In a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Cain, an African-American, ruffled feathers with his thoughts on why he disagrees with the direction of America. “The objective of liberals is to destroy this country,” Cain said in his speech. “The objective of liberals is to make America mediocre like everybody else who aspires to be like America.”

Cain, the former chairman and CEO of Godfather Pizza is an Atlanta-based radio talk show host who formed an exploratory committee last month to weigh a 2012 presidential bid.

An Atlanta native who holds degrees in mathematics from Morehouse College and in computer science from Purdue University, Cain rose through the ranks first with the Coca-Cola Company and later as an executive with Burger King and its parent company Pillsbury in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

According to a company history, Pillsbury appointed Cain as president of Godfather’s Pizza, then a subsidiary of the food conglomerate, in 1986. But two years later, citing weakening profits, Pillsbury encouraged Cain and a group of senior managers to buy out Godfather’s and run it independently.

After turning around that company, he left to become president of the National Restaurant Association in 1994, according to his presidential exploratory committee Web site, during which time he began a political career as a lobbyist and speaker for the food industry.

He challenged then-President Clinton on the president’s health care reform proposal in 1994, and later ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in Georgia, finishing second in the Republican primary to the eventual victor of the seat, Johnny Isakson. More recently, he took the national stage last year to defend against claims that the Tea Party movement incorporated racist elements, according to Yahoo! News.

At CPAC, Cain detailed the tactics he believes liberals use to gain a political advantage. “[Liberals] only have three tactics: S.I.N.,” Cain said. “They shift the subject, they ignore facts and they name-call.”

His speech immediately drew sharp criticism from AlterNet, a progressive blog. The blog post went past Cain’s politics and, in a commentary by Chauncy DeVega, a Black progressive activist, brought race in to the discussion.

“Instead, Herman Cain’s shtick is a version of race minstrelsy where he performs ‘authentic negritude’ as wish fulfillment for White Conservative fantasies,” the posting said. “Like the fountain at Lourdes, Cain in his designated role as Black Conservative mascot, absolves the White racial reactionaries at CPAC of their sins.”

“This is a refined performance that Black Conservatives have perfected over many decades and centuries of practice,” it continued.

That response garnered national attention for Cain, as many have come to his defense. Journalist and commentator Juan Williams, appearing on Sean Hannity’s self-titled show on Fox News said the comment was “Black-on-Black” crime. “It is just so insulting,” Williams said. “And, the idea that this is Black on Black crime. It's essentially a Black-on-Black drive-by shooting in my mind. It just blows your mind. It's the start of the 21st century. He accuses Herman Cain of being a minstrel for giving a speech at CPAC. Now, if nobody spoke who was Black at CPAC, then you'd say, oh CPAC is racist.”

Cain is also a cancer survivor; he was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer in both his liver and colon in 2006, but underwent surgery and chemotherapy and has said he is now cancer-free.

Cain has temporarily left his radio talk show as he considers a possible presidential campaign, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He plans on making more appearances at Tea Party events.

Dr. Calvin C. Green, Unsung Civil Rights Hero Succumbs at 79

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By Jeremy M. Lazarus, Special to the NNPA from the Richmond Free Press –

Dr. Calvin C. Green led the fight against segregated schools in New Kent County. In the process, he would father a U.S. Supreme Court case that legal scholars now rank second in importance to the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case that outlawed racially separated public schools.

He is the unsung hero of the case known as Green v. New Kent County, which came 14 years after Brown and finally required governments across Virginia and the South to end school apartheid. Dr. Green, who also was a pastor, schoolteacherm and Army Reserve officer, succumbed to cancer earlier this month, at his residence in Quinton in New Kent County. He was 79.

“He was devoted to helping people,” said Ella Mary Osborne Green, his wife of 56 years. “He pushed education.”

Dr. Green launched the landmark lawsuit while serving as president of the New Kent NAACP branch, which he led for 16 years. He led the fight in 1964, a decade after the nation’s highest court had issued the Brown decision overturning segregated schools. But, little had changed in New Kent which, like hundreds of Southern school districts, largely ignored the Brown ruling. Fed up, Dr. Green rallied Black parents and began pushing for change based on provisions of the newly enacted 1964 Civil Rights Act. The new law contained provisions barring school segregation.

But, the most the county would offer was a so-called “freedom of choice” plan that allowed Black parents to petition for their children to attend all-white schools instead of the shabbier Black schools. Working with NAACP lawyers, notably Oliver W. Hill Sr., Samuel W. Tucker, and Henry L. Marsh III, Dr. Green rejected that approach as a sham and brought the federal lawsuit, with his youngest son, Charles C. Green, now a teacher in Winston-Salem, N.C., as the lead plaintiff.

The effort was vindicated four years later when the U.S. Supreme Court issued the Green decision.

Impatient with the slow pace of desegregation, the court used the Green case to reject freedom of choice plans and to order school systems to provide racial balance in all schools. The goal: To “convert promptly to a system without a ‘white school’ and a ‘Negro school’ but just schools,” the court wrote. In the wake of the case, the percentage of black students attending desegregated schools rose from 32 percent in the 1968-69 school year to 72 percent in the 1970-71 school year. Busing for racial purposes became commonplace.

Born into a Middlesex County family of 11 children, Dr. Green served in the Korean War and then spent 36 years as an officer in the Army Reserve. He rose to the rank of colonel and served in the medical service and as a chaplain before retiring in 1991.

He also was a schoolteacher in Richmond for 33 years. He began teaching at Armstrong High School and led the school’s JROTC program after earning a bachelor’s degree in biology from Virginia State University in 1956.

He would later add a master’s degree from North Carolina A&T and a doctorate from Nova Southeastern University. He served as chairman of the science department at Thomas Jefferson before he retired in 1990.

He also found time to follow his father, the Rev. James H. Green, into the ministry. He served as pastor of Lebanon Baptist Church in New Kent for five years and also was pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Saluda for 13 years.

He earned a master’s of theology degree from Virginia Union University, a doctorate of theology from the International Bible Institute and Seminary in Orlando, Fla., and doctorate in pastoral counseling from the International Seminary University in Plymouth, Florida.

In recent years, he operated an income tax service and computer servicing business.

In 2000, he created and ran two trusts to offer financial aid to help students attend college and victims of natural disasters.

Pennsylvania Black Reps Stiffed in Political Shake-up

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By Christian Morrow, Special to the NNPA from the New Pittsburgh Courier –

While Democrats in the state house railed against Republican measures to limit their voice last week, Black Democrats are upset with their own party for the same reason—no voice on key committees.

Though the November election saw Democrats go from a five-seat majority in the state house to a 22-seat minority, Black Caucus Chair Ron Waters, D-Philadelphia, said that should not have translated into fewer Blacks serving on house committees. “We didn’t lose. All the Democratic losses were White legislators,” he said. “In fact, we actually gained in the Black caucus because Margot Davison took a seat that was Republican for a long time.”

Waters said the most glaring omission is the judiciary committee, which has no African-Americans serving. “There are so many issues, sentencing, incarceration. We make up 12 percent of the general population, but about 60 percent of the prison population,” he said. “And we have no representation at all.”

In addition to the Judiciary Committee, there are also no African-American representatives on the Insurance Committee, the Environment and Energy Committee, the Liquor Control Committee, and the Committee on Committees. Yet other committees, Human Services, Health, have multiple Black representatives.

“If they can pack five African-Americans on the Health Committee, it seems to me that having none on Judiciary could be easily fixed,” said Waters. “There are a lot of people who were very unhappy with the Committee process.”

State Rep. Joseph Preston, D-East Liberty, said losing seats on committees comes with being the minority party. They get 10 seats per committee, the Republicans now get 15. He also said not having any African-Americans among the Party leadership could lead to such omissions.

“But you have to ask for those spots,” said Preston. “You give the leadership your four to five choices, and they try to give you at least three. Sometimes, you don’t get any.”

Preston said with the Black Caucus making up 20 percent of the Democrats in the state house, they should be more involved in the party leadership. “There were divisions in the caucus during the leadership vote and that cost us,” said Preston. “As a result, there are no people of color in the leadership. Still, we actually did gain one chairmanship, even with Ron and Dwight Evans turning down chairs.”

In addition to Preston, who chairs both the Consumer Affairs Committee and the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, the current Black Chairs are Louise Williams Bishop, Children and Youth; James Roebuck, Education; Rosita Youngblood, Gaming Oversight; John Myers, Health; and Thaddeus Kirkland, Tourism and Recreation.

Jake Wheatley, D-Hill District, who still serves on four committees but no longer chairs any sub-committees, joined Waters in asking Minority Floor Leader Frank Dermody, D-Cheswick, about the lack of balance with committee assignments.

He said Dermody has promised to address the problem following the (Feb. 1st) special election to fill the late Robert Donatucci’s seat, which his wife Maria is favored to win.

“Frank said he could tweak the process, we’ll see,” said Wheatley. “That the leadership took this in the direction it did, intentionally or not, says a lot about how we are viewed. This is an afterthought. We should not be an afterthought. We’re going to have to work even harder to change that.”

Haiti's Election Campaign and Aristide Expected Return

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By Tony Best, Special to the NNPA from The New York Carib News –

About a month before millions of Haitian voters trek to the polls in the second round in Haiti’s disputed presidential election, a cloud of uncertainty has descended over the country’s political climate.

The questions mark can be traced to the planned return of former President Jean Bertrand Aristide and its potential impact on the outcome of the election.

At the same time, though, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, the United Nations special envoy to Haiti, is convinced the March 20 election will produce a winner. He made a special one-day trip to the Caribbean country last week and he held talks with the presidential candidates, Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martelly and Dr. Mirlande Manigat and discussed the future reconstruction of the earthquake ravaged country.

In addition, the Organization of American States to which Haiti and its Caricom neighbors belong is putting the final pieces in place to send its joint OAS- Caricom Electoral Observation Mission back to the country to monitor the voting under the leadership of Colin Grandison, a senior Caricom official.

“We hope that the irregularities and logistical problems we experienced in the first round on November 28th last year will be mitigated in the elections of March 20th,” said Albert Ramdin, OAS Assistant Secretary-General and Chairman of the Organization’s Group of Friends of Haiti. “That will depend on the resources available to the Provisional Electoral Council, CEP, to conduct the election. We need to have good, well-organized elections.”

But, as the steps are being taken to ensure an acceptable outcome, the key unknown factor in the political equation is Aristide’s impact, should he return home before the election.

Having been granted a diplomatic passport by the Haitian government despite the stated objections of the Obama Administration, Aristide hasn’t indicated when he would he set foot in the country and if he would campaign for any one of the candidates. What’s also unclear is how such a dramatic step would affect the election.

Ira Kurzban, the ousted president’s attorney in Florida, said a few days ago that he was still trying to figure out a way to give his client the Haitian passport. For his part, Aristide has seemingly left his options open.

“As I have not ceased to say since 24th February 2004, from exile in Central Africa, Jamaica, and now South Africa, I will return to the field I know best and love: education,” was the way Aristide put it in a recent article in London’s Guardian newspaper.

The prospects for his return have dominated conversations in and out of Haiti, especially in the Diaspora, on radio stations, the Internet and in Haitian gatherings in New York and Miami. And, like his two terms in office, both of which were prematurely terminated, discussion concerning Aristide’s future divides Haitians.

“Although Aristide must be allowed to return to his country, it would be unwise for him to go back now because of the upcoming election and the confusion it can cause,” said Michel Louis, a Brooklyn resident. “If Jean Claude Baby Doc” Duvalier can go back to Haiti without being arrested for all the trouble and the pain he caused when he was president, then Aristide can also return. But, the timing isn’t right.”

That’s the view of Charles Henri Baker, who contested the November presidential election but failed to get into the run-off.

“The timing is not right for this controversial figure,” said Baker, who opposed Aristide when he was in the presidential palace and might have played a role in his ouster seven year ago. “Anything that has the possibility of disrupting peace should be avoided.”

Jean-Pierre Baptiste, who lives and works in Miami, disagrees. “I take Aristide at his word that he simply wants to go back home,” Baptiste said. “Even if he wants to campaign for someone, that should be his right. At this stage, I don’t believe he can cause any more trouble than currently exists in Haiti.”

Tony Jeanthenor, a Haitian activist in Miami who also supports the ousted President, contends the move to keep Aristide out of Haiti is blatant discrimination.

“Duvalier can go to Leogane. He talks on the radio. He can go wherever he wants,” Jeanthenor said. “It is more than a double standard. It’s discrimination against political beliefs.”

What worries Haitian and American officials is the prospect of Aristide’s supporters taking to the streets to demand that he be allowed to serve out his second term, which was abruptly ended when a militia took up arms against him and Washington used it as a pretext to fly him out of Haiti and into exile.

“I think we would be concerned that, if former President Aristide returns to Haiti before the election, it would prove to be a distraction…an unfortunate detraction,” said P.J. Crowley, U.S. State Department spokesman. “The people of Haiti should be evaluating the two candidates that will participate in the run-off, and I think that should be their focus.”

 

No Home for Blacks and Latinos at Top NY High Schools

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By Stephon Johnson, Special to the NNPA from the New York Amsterdam News –

A newly released report by the New York City Board of Education shows a huge shortage of Black and Latino students at specialized high schools in New York City.

Through a series of articles in the New York Amsterdam News, this student shortage has been chronicled for many months, beginning last year, while the New York Times reported the disparities in an article last week.

The report shows that out of the seven specialized high schools in the five boroughs, only four percent of the students admitted were Black, six percent were Latino, 13 percent were Native American/Alaskan, while 35 percent were Asian and 30 percent were White (Editor’s note: The DOE total does not add up to 100 percent). More than 70 percent of the New York City student population is either Black or Latino.

Since the mid-1990s, the percentage of Black and Latino students at the marquee public schools—the Bronx High School of Science, Stuyvesant High School and Brooklyn Technical High School—has been steady declining.

In an earlier New York Amsterdam News story, it was reported that the Bronx High School of Science’s current ethnicity breakdown is 61 percent Asian, 25 percent White, eight percent Latino and three percent Black. Stuyvesant’s breakdown is 69 percent Asian, 26 percent White, three percent Latino, and two percent Black. And, Brooklyn Tech’s breakdown is 59 percent Asian, 21 percent White, 12 percent Black, and eight percent Latino.

The other top high schools around the city labeled as specialized include the High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering at the City College, the High School of American Studies at Lehman College, Staten Island Technical High School, Queens High School for the Sciences at York College, the Brooklyn Latin School and the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts.

Only 12 Black students were admitted to Stuyvesant for the freshmen class of 2011. Stuyvesant is famous for placing large numbers of students in the Ivy League (including schools such as Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Brown and Cornell) and other prestigious public and private universities. Last year, only seven Blacks were admitted to Stuyvesant, whose freshmen classes have several hundred students each year.

The stubbornly low numbers of Black and Hispanic students has been a problem that the city has been aware of for many years. Students are admitted to many of the programs, including Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech, solely on the basis of a single test—student grades or teacher recommendations are not considered.

To improve the situation, the Department of Education has begun a preparation program to help with the admissions process. An earlier New York Amsterdam News article chronicled the lack of information and publicity for these test preparation programs available to Black and Latino students as they entered the seventh and eighth grade. The story reported on the plight of a Black student who went to a specialized high school and his family from Staten Island (whose names were changed at their request).

According to the father, James, it was all about knowing when the specialized high school test was scheduled and how soon parents/students found out. “I know through the grapevine, you hear that there are a limited number of seats, and it’s on a first come, first served basis,” he told the New York Amsterdam News. “Which means you either have to be in the PTA or in the network to get the information right away so you can act on it. And after a while, all the seats fill up and you realize the situation. They tell you that there are no more seats available or they’ll have to find a prep course on their own or do some studying outside of the classroom [for the exam].”

However, prep courses take money, and the economic gap between Blacks, Latinos, and Whites is well-chronicled. It was suggested by James that minority parents form an alliance across the city to keep each other up to date on educational matters. He feels that the Department of Education will never do right by them, so they have to do right by themselves.

The city admitted last week that despite its so-called attempts through preparation programs, it hasn’t done enough to reach out to Black and Latino students.

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