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BLOG | Obamacare, fair housing and a little jiggery-pokery

(Image from Supreme Court website)

Three cheers for SCOTUS! The marriage equality decision almost overshadowed two other important decisions, as the Supreme Court of the United States again upheld Obamacare, and also issued a tremendously important fair housing decision that could have specific application to Twin Cities housing policies. Continue Reading →

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Tobacco marketing targeted Blacks with ‘devastating effects’

Black media now seeks inclusion in tobacco settlement 
News Analysis

By George E. Curry

Contributing Writer


The National Association of Newspaper Publishers (NNPA) and the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB), two industry trade associations whose members reach more than 95 percent of African Americans, filed a friend-of-the-court brief objecting to the exclusion of all Black media companies in a proposed settlement that requires the tobacco industry to run ads and TV commercials to correct their misleading assertions about the harmful effects of smoking. The amicus brief was filed last Friday in federal court in Washington, D.C. U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler is expected to review the proposed agreement Wednesday and consider the merits of the brief filed by NNPA and NABOB. An agreement was reached January 9 between the U.S. Justice Department, the Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund, and the four major tobacco manufacturers — Altria, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Lorillard and Philip Morris USA — on what “corrective statements” the tobacco industry should be forced to make in “corrective statements.” These ads would address the falsehoods the manufacturers have disseminated about the harmful effects of smoking, the addictiveness of smoking, the dangers of second-hand smoke, and claims that low-tar and light cigarettes are healthier than regular cigarettes. The Justice Department sued the tobacco companies in 1999, charging that they violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Judge Kessler found them guilty in 2006. Continue Reading →

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March on Washington revisited








By Marc H. Morial

Guest Commentator


“Almost 50 years ago, I gave a little blood on that bridge in Selma, Alabama for the right to vote. I am not going to stand by and let the Supreme Court take the right to vote away from us.” — Representative John Lewis at the 50th anniversary March on Washington


Last weekend tens of thousands of citizens from around the country converged at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington and to dedicate themselves to a continuation of the fight for jobs, voting rights and a host of other challenges that are having a disproportionate impact on African Americans and other communities of color. Just as 50 years ago the National Urban League was on the front lines of last week’s March activities, I had the honor of addressing the multitude from the same location that Dr. King and Whitney Young did during the 1963 March. Approximately 5000 Urban Leaguers and friends marched with us to the Lincoln Memorial in a pre-march rally. We came in full force. Continue Reading →

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Hearye, Hearye, Justice Scalia — voting is a right




By Marc Morial

Guest Commentator


No voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice or procedure shall be imposed or applied by any State or political subdivision to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color. — Voting Rights Act of 1965

Last month during Supreme Court oral arguments in Shelby County v. Holder, Justice Antonin Scalia called a key part of the Voting Rights Act — Section Five — a “racial entitlement.” Section Five requires that the Justice Department or a federal court “pre-clear” any changes made to voting procedures by covered jurisdictions to ensure they do not “deny or abridge the right to vote on account of race or color.”

This act was established to fix a broken system, and it remains relevant today. As long as blatant voter-suppression measures like Voter ID laws and district gerrymandering are being used to keep certain groups from the polls, the Voting Rights Act — in its entirety — remains necessary. And to clear up any confusion that Justice Scalia or anyone who found merit in his argument has, let’s be clear: Voting “rights” are indeed that — a right guaranteed to every citizen of the United States. They are not a special privilege. Continue Reading →

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Blacks have a different agenda from Whites on gun control

Let me state what’s important to African Americans on the gun issue. White Americans who have invented the Black boogieman will never give up their guns that they feel will protect them from the American Black uprising, which has always been a myth, because all we have tried to do is stay alive in America. I will say yes, it’s true, our people have always stood up against injustice. We’ve always fought for freedom, justice and equality. But White Americans are trying to change the issue to mental health. Continue Reading →

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