All Renisha McBride wanted to do was to go home. She had been in a car accident, her cellphone was dead, and she needed help.
The brilliant surgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson is out of order and out of control when he compares the Affordable Care Act to slavery. As a physician, he must know how many people lack health care, and how much work this administration had done to right that wrong. As a health advocate, he must have seen those men and women who decide to forego pain medication in favor of something to eat for their children.
At press time, it was unclear whether Congress would finally evade a government shutdown on Oct. 1. I do know, however, that I am sick of the budgetary brinkmanship that plagues our government. Every few months there is some crisis or another that has the House of Representatives and the White House at loggerheads. This time, Republicans in Congress want to defund Obamacare as part of the budget that must be passed and say they are willing to let government close to meet their goal. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says that Republicans are holding a gun to the American people’s heads, and he isn’t lying.
When the poverty data was released on Sept. 17, comparing the poverty situation in 2011 to that in 2012, many hoped that poverty levels would drop as an indication of economic good news. But while the gross domestic product has risen, and the wealthy are gaining income, those stuck at the bottom are still simply stuck.
Steven and Laurie, a White married couple that lives near Richmond, Va., work at a big box store. She is a cashier; he works in the storeroom. Each earns about $9 an hour but neither works 40 hours a week. Indeed, they are lucky to pull 40 hours a week combined. Sometimes, they are fortunate enough to pull 45 hours a week between them. Some weeks their combined hours are just 30.
President Barack Obama stepped on a big limb when he threatened “limited action” against Syria because the country’s leaders allegedly used chemical weapons against their own people. There are international bans against the use of chemical weapons, with Syria one of few countries not supporting the ban. Chemical weapons allegedly killed more than 1,400 Syrians, and the ongoing civil war may have killed as many as 100,000.
The 1963 March on Washington was a pivotal moment for African Americans, a day when people joined to fight for jobs, peace and justice. More than 250,000 people traveled to Washington, coming by busses, trains and occasionally planes.
Every time I hear the voice of Russell Simmons, I hear a cool, clean, clear meditative voice, especially on Twitter where he drops his yoga knowledge in a reflective way. I guess he wasn’t folding his legs and saying a centered “Om” when he decided to ridicule an African woman. How did his voice distort itself to decide that he would post a YouTube video on a space where everybody could watch a so-called parody of Harriet Tubman having sex with her White slavemaster with the intent of filming it and blackmailing him? How could he, this forward-focused man, decide to demean an emancipation heroine? Choose to demean her by making her a sexual object? Even as he took the offensive tape off his website, please tell me, somebody, what Simmons was thinking? (In my first draft of this column, I called this man a “brother,” but really I mean the brother from another mindset.)
Research shows that this generation of young people, no matter their race, are likely to do less well than their parents did. Shackled by a trillion dollars worth of student loans and a flat labor market, the New York-based Demos organization says the student loan burden prevents young people from buying homes and amassing wealth. While there are some racial gaps, many young people enter the labor market already behind the space their parents occupied.
Last week, workers at fast food restaurants demonstrated outside their places of work, highlighting the low wages they receive and demanding more. They say twice as much, or $15 an hour, will provide them with a living wage. In Washington, D.C., the City Council has sent legislation to Mayor Vincent Gray requiring “big box” stores such as WalMart and Best Buy to pay $12.50, which is more than the D.C. minimum wage of $8.25 an hour. In response, WalMart says it may not build all of the six stores it had slated for D.C. Responses depend on whom you talk to, with some of the unemployed saying that an $8.25 job is better than no job, and others saying that $8.25 is not a living wage.