Thursday, February 20, 2014

Turmoil at Temple: Excerpts of The Blackboard's interview with Dr. Anthony Monteiro

By Charles Brooks
See an excerpted version of The Blackboard’s interview with Dr. Anthony Monteiro below:

The Blackboard (BB): So what are the next steps Dr. Monteiro to address this issue? Where do you go from here?

Dr. Anthony Monteiro (DAM):We’re developing a united front – a coalition of labor, faith based organizations – that is everybody from Christian, to Muslim to Buddist to Hari Karishna – whoever you might be, grassroot community organizations, scholars, students, and youth. A coalition that is saying to the administration of Temple University, this is not acceptable, Dr. Monteiro has to be reinstated, you have to override the actions of this Dean, and that if you do not accede to what we consider are the just demands of the black community for education and for scholars who would educate our children as well as white children, if you do not accede to that, we will take action to force the university to do the right thing.

Turmoil at Temple: Fired Dr. Monteiro demands his reinstatement!

By Charles Brooks

Temple University is embroiled in yet another controversy involving their African-American Studies Department – this time taking drastic action against Dr. Anthony Monteiro by refusing to renew his contract - after 10 years. Temple's decision to fire Dr. Monteiro has touched off a firestorm and has galvanized a tremendous groundswell of supporters who seek nothing less than Dr. Monteiro’s reinstatement to Temple University - with tenure. The Blackboard spoke with Dr. Monteiro about this matter along with a number of issues connected to his firing, which will be in Part II. But first, in order to get a true understanding of the issue at Temple, let’s understand who is Dr. Anthony Monteiro – a rare intellectual rooted in the very community he is committed to educate and be politically engaged with.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Blackboard Survey: Michael Dunn Trial

As you know, the Michael Dunn trial is in the jury deliberation phase where the jury will decide the fate of Michael Dunn, who is charged with first degree murder in the shooting death of 17 year-old Jordan Davis. Mr. Dunn shot and killed young Mr. Davis, because of the loud music playing in the SUV, Mr. Davis was in. Mr. Dunn is white and Mr. Davis is Black.

So what do you think? Take the Blackboard survey below - Do you think the jury will find Michael Dunn, innocent or guilty?

Click here to take survey

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Poverty in America: who is really deserving of help?

By Charles Brooks

The Economic Policy Institute recently reported that in the roughly three decades leading up to the most recent recession, looking at the officially measured poverty rate, educational upgrading and overall income growth were the two biggest poverty-reducing factors, while income inequality was the largest poverty-increasing factor. The federal government set the poverty line at $23,550 for a family of four in 2013, $11,490 for a single individual, and $4,020 for each individual person. The Blackboard spoke with Dr. Wilhelmina A. Leigh, who serves as a Senior Research Associate with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, about poverty in America: “People have to be aware of (poverty), care about it and understand that having the kind of inequality we have in this country is not good for any of us. People have to be made aware, somehow, that inequality and high levels of poverty impairs all of our lives and limits the growth of our economy.”

The poor suffers again...billion$ in cut$ to food stamp$

By Charles Brooks

                         Photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc

Just ten days after delivering his most recent State of the Union address, where he described 2014 as the “year of action” – President Barack Obama kicked off the year by signing into law a $987 billion Farm Bill. In doing so, the president signed away $80 billion, over a ten-year period, in cuts to food stamp benefits. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the cuts will affect approximately 850,000 people, who will see their monthly benefits reduced by $90. But just a few days ago, President Obama stood before the nation and outlined his proposals designed to tackle poverty, income inequality and economic mobility. These proposals focused on job creation, immigration reform, tax policy reform, job training, and unemployment insurance reform. Yet days later, President Obama talks about the reforms and the billions of dollars the new law will save. The $987 billion Farm Bill appears to be another example of how public policy can exacerbate poverty while simultaneously advancing income inequality. Consider for a moment that while billions of dollars are cut from food stamps – the agribusiness interests will reap the benefit$.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

President Obama's State of the Union address - "At least they're thinking about it..."

By Charles Brooks
(Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
In the days leading up to President Barack Obama’s fifth State of the Union (SOTU) address, income inequality emerged as a highly anticipated topic to be discussed. This was quite understandable and actually made sense considering the recent events - the president’s speech on income inequality (though billed as a speech on economic mobility), his announcement of the Promise Zones as part of his administration’s anti-poverty strategy, and the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty. As the president delivered his address and spoke about working hard and getting ahead in America, he said, “Now, let's face it: That belief has suffered some serious blows. Over more than three decades, even before the Great Recession hit, massive shifts in technology and global competition had eliminated a lot of good, middle-class jobs, and weakened the economic foundations that families depend on.” The President continues, “Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled. The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by; let alone to get ahead. And too many still aren't working at all. So our job is to reverse these trends.”