Opinion | Blacks Still Face a Red Line on Housing – The New York Times

“For generations of white American families, homeownership has been a fundamental means of accumulating wealth. Their homes have grown in value over time, providing security in retirement and serving as an asset against which they can borrow for education or other purposes.

But African-Americans were essentially shut out of early federal programs that promoted homeownership and financial well-being — including the all-important New Deal mortgage insurance system that generated the mid-20th-century homeownership boom. This missed opportunity to amass wealth that white Americans took for granted is evident to this day in a yawning black-white wealth gap and in worse health, living conditions and educational opportunities for African-Americans.

The Fair Housing Act, which turned 50 years old last week, ended the most egregious forms of discrimination and brought a modest rise in black homeownership. But those gains — and the hard-won wealth they represented — were wiped out a decade ago in the Great Recession, which reduced the African-American homeownership rate to levels not seen since housing discrimination was legal in the 1960s.”

David Lindsay:
This editorial gets three stars out of three from me. The good news is we are leaving plenty of low hanging fruit for our children and their generation to fix up and improve upon.

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Opinion | Walter Mondale: The Civil Rights Law We Ignored – The New York Times

“Fifty years ago on April 11, Congress enacted the Fair Housing Act, the last of the three great civil rights laws of the 1960s. Along with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act, it was an attempt by Congress to translate the movement led by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others into enduring statute. But it also has the more dubious distinction of being the most contested, most ignored and, at times, most misunderstood of those laws.

For most of the 20th century, an array of forces worked to divide American communities into black and white quarters. Some involved explicit discrimination, including racial redlining in federal mortgage insurance, and real estate covenants that restricted home buyers by race. But some were more subtle, like the steering by real estate agents of racial minorities into certain neighborhoods, biased lending and underwriting, and the concentration of low-income housing in low-income neighborhoods.”

Opinion | Lilly Ledbetter: My #MeToo Moment – The New York Times

“Equal Pay Day — the day up to which the typical woman must work in a particular year to catch up with what the average man earned the previous year — always brings back a rush of memories. Not surprisingly, many of them I’d rather forget: the pit in my stomach, for example, that developed when I read the anonymous note left in my mailbox that told me I was being paid a fraction of what other, male supervisors at Goodyear were making. And when the Supreme Court denied me justice in my pay discrimination case.(Some of them are happier memories, like when President Barack Obama signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to ensure other women would not receive the same treatment.)

But this year, Equal Pay Day, which falls on April 10, has brought back a whole different set of memories:

“You’re going to be my next woman at Goodyear.”“Oh, you didn’t wear your bra today.”
“If you don’t go to bed with me, you won’t have a job.”

Those words, spoken to me by one of my supervisors many years ago, still crawl through my ears and down my spine. I remember my fear, both for my personal safety and because if I lost my job, I didn’t know how I would pay my kids’ college tuition, our mortgage and other bills. I remember how that fear led me to keep a phone number for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission tucked in my pocket at all times, in case I needed legal help.”

Opinion | M.L.K.’s Unsanitized Lessons – by David Leonhardt – NYT

“You can read his final speech, delivered in Memphis the night before his death, or you can listen to it. Don’t settle for the usual quick outtakes. The famous lines — like “I’ve been to the mountaintop” — aren’t the only worthwhile ones.

“Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination,” King said. “And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge, to make America what it ought to be.”

Another option: If you haven’t yet read Taylor Branch’s great book, “Parting the Waters,” you can start it. It remains one of my 10 favorite books, on any subject.You can also watch the new HBO documentary that Branch created along with Trey Ellis, Jackie Glover and others. (If you don’t have HBO, you’ll need to wait a bit.) “For thirty years, I have been trying and failing to help move authentic civil rights history to film,” Branch tweeted last weekend. “It’s not the familiar, ‘sanitized’ MLK.”

You can also read the collection of Op-Eds that The Times has published in recent days, by Wendi Thomas and others. We’ve linked to each of those pieces in Related Coverage below. If you have questions for Jesse Jackson, who wrote one of the pieces, leave them in the Comments section of his article; he will be replying to some of them in coming days.”

Robert Kennedy’s eulogy for Martin Luther King

David Margolick wrote in an op-ed in the NYT today, that the eulogy below might well be the best speech Robert Kennedy ever delivered. There was no hyper-link to the speech, so I went and found it.

“For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and distrust at the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I can only say that I feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man. But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to go beyond these rather difficult times.

My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He wrote: “In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”

 

The following text is taken from a news release version of Robert F. Kennedy’s statement. For more information please contact Kennedy.Library@nara.gov or 617.514.1629.
JFKLIBRARY.ORG

Opinion | Jesse Jackson: How Dr. King Lived Is Why He Died – The New York Times

“As the nation prepares to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we should dwell not merely on how Dr. King died but also on how he lived.

He mobilized mass action to win a public accommodations bill and the right to vote. He led the Montgomery bus boycott and navigated police terror in Birmingham. He got us over the bloodstained bridge in Selma and survived the rocks and bottles and hatred in Chicago. He globalized our struggle to end the war in Vietnam.

How he lived is why he died.”

The Rev. Jesse Jackson ends this lovely op-ed:
“Dr. King bequeathed African-Americans the will to resist and the right to vote. Yet while we were marching and winning, the powers of reaction were regrouping, preparing a counterrevolution. Five decades ago, a segregationist governor, George Wallace, peddled hate and division in reaction to the civil rights movement. Today, it is the president himself who is inciting anguish, bigotry and fear.

We are in a battle for the soul of America, and it’s not enough to admire Dr. King. To admire him is to reduce him to a mere celebrity. It requires no commitment, no action. Those who value justice and equality must have the will and courage to follow him. They must be ready to sacrifice.

The struggle continues.”

Opinion | Mitch McConnell- Your Female Colleagues Are Fed Up – The New York Times

“Over the past six months, Americans have come to understand the galling ubiquity of sexual misconduct and how such misdeeds are too often swept under the rug. Now some of the most powerful women in the United States are saying they’ve waited long enough to address these issues at their own workplace.

All 22 female members of the Senate, Republicans and Democrats, are demanding the chamber’s leadership stop stonewalling an overhaul of Congress’s byzantine method of handling complaints of sexual harassment against members of Congress and their staffs under the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995.”

The Abortion Case That’s Really About the First Amendment – By ROBERT McNAMARA and PAUL SHERMAN – NYT

“The United States Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments Tuesday in a case that pits abortion-rights advocates against religious groups dedicated to steering women away from abortion — including, some say, by outright deception.

But that is not why the case is important.To be sure, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra has all the hallmarks of a classic culture-war throwdown. The case centers on California’s attempt to force so-called crisis pregnancy centers, which exist primarily to dissuade women from having abortions, to display prominent advertisements detailing the availability of state-funded abortions.

As The Times’ Adam Liptak put it, succinctly: “The centers say the law violates their right to free speech by forcing them to convey messages at odds with their beliefs. The law’s defenders say the notices combat incomplete or misleading information provided by the clinics.”

In certain ways, the case has played out just as one might have expected: The Conference of Catholic Bishops has lined up on one side and Planned Parenthood on the other. Most people’s opinions on abortion rights and their opinions on the correct outcome in this case are probably pretty closely linked.

But that link shouldn’t be inevitable. We filed a brief in this case supporting the First Amendment rights of crisis pregnancy centers, even though we also personally support abortion rights (our firm shares our view of the First Amendment, though it takes no position on abortion).”David Lindsay: Sad, but probably true. I found no fault in the logic of these lawyers.

They argued:

“Sometimes, government officials use their newfound powers to silence speech they find politically uncongenial. For example, after the American Medical Association adopted a policy urging doctors to discuss gun ownership with their patients — either to talk to them about gun safety or, perhaps, to dissuade them from owning guns at all — the Florida Legislature, spurred by gun-rights advocates, rushed to prohibit doctors from doing so. In court, Florida defended the law as a regulation of unprotected “professional speech.” It took five years of litigation, in the face of repeated court rulings upholding the ban, before the law was finally struck down in 2017 by the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

Other times, officials simply try to silence speech that is embarrassing. When an Oregon man named Mats Järlström, who we have represented, wrote to his state engineering board to complain that traffic engineers had made mistakes in how they calculated the timing of red-light cameras, the board fined him $500 for doing the underlying math without an engineering license. (As it happens, the physics professor who initially came up with the formula for timing red-light cameras thought that our client was probably right, but that made no difference to state officials.)

And these threats to free speech extend far beyond traditional professions like doctors or engineers. Regulators have invoked the idea of professional speech to crack down on everything from everyday advice about healthy eating to private citizens’ testimony at public city-council hearings. One court even held the professional-speech doctrine applies to fortune tellers; in another case, city attorneys said it should apply to tour guides telling ghost stories. It turns out that there really is no such thing as just a little bit of censorship.”

dl: I’m not happy about the Pro life clinics, but they aren’t the only choice for advice in California. On the good side, they provide an outlet for their hard core believers. The reason they should be regulated, is that environmental scientists are saying things like we need to set aside half the planet for non human life, most of which is going extinct, and that extinction threatens our future existence. Some scientists argue well that though humans now are 7.5 billion, the proper sustainable number of humans for a safe clean quality of life and environment is probably 4 billion. Abortions might be terrible, but over population leading to civil war, starvation and massive die offs of human population centers is probably much worse. Medical triage is also mean and horrible, but it saves the largest number of human lives.

 

Supreme Court Won’t Block New Pennsylvania Voting Maps – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court rejected on Monday a second emergency application from Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania seeking to overturn decisions from that state’s highest court, which had ruled that Pennsylvania’s congressional map had been warped by partisan gerrymandering and then imposed one of its own.

The ruling means a new map drawn by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will very likely be in effect in this year’s elections, setting the stage for possible gains by Democrats. Under the current map, Republicans hold 12 seats while Democrats hold five and are expected to pick up another when the result of a special election last week is certified.The latest application was denied by the full Supreme Court without comment or noted dissents.”

David Lindsay: The resistance to GOP Trumptopia just got a boost from the Supreme Court! Thank you for calling one for democracy. Pennsylvania districts will be un-gerrymandered

Turn Prisons Into Colleges – by Elizabeth Hinton – NYT

“Imagine if prisons looked like the grounds of universities. Instead of languishing in cells, incarcerated people sat in classrooms and learned about climate science or poetry — just like college students. Or even with them.This would be a boon to prisoners across the country, a vast majority of whom do not have a high school diploma. And it could help shrink our prison population. While racial disparities in arrests and convictions are alarming, education level is a far stronger predictor of future incarceration than race.

The idea is rooted in history. In the 1920s, Howard Belding Gill, a criminologist and a Harvard alumnus, developed a college-like community at the Norfolk State Prison Colony in Massachusetts, where he was the superintendent. Prisoners wore normal clothing, participated in cooperative self-government with staff, and took academic courses with instructors from Emerson, Boston University and Harvard. They ran a newspaper, radio show and jazz orchestra, and they had access to an extensive library.

Norfolk had such a good reputation, Malcolm X asked to be transferred there from Charlestown State Prison in Boston so, as he wrote in his petition, he could use “the educational facilities that aren’t in these other institutions.” At Norfolk, “there are many things that I would like to learn that would be of use to me when I regain my freedom.” After Malcolm X’s request was granted, he joined the famous Norfolk Debate Society, through which inmates connected to students at Harvard and other universities.”

Yes. And here is one comment of many that I liked.

James Lee Arlington, Texas 4 hours ago
The value of Professor Hinton’s suggestion should be obvious, but our society tends to treat lawbreakers as outcasts, whose offenses deprive them of any right to decent treatment on our part. So we stash them in hellholes, then release them back into the outside world, still hobbled by restrictions on their ability to get a job and lead a constructive life. After all this, we declare ourselves shocked, shocked that so many of them wind up back in prison.

We could improve this miserable record if, as many European countries do, we regarded inmates as members of the community whose behavior required their temporary removal from society. If we treated them as resources who retained the potential to contribute to our economy and society, then most of them would respond positively to incentives that enabled them to fulfill that potential.

This has nothing to do with sentimentality. This country spends an enormous amount of money on mass incarceration, without striking at the roots of crime. While some inmates would defy any efforts to rehabilitate them, common sense and all the empirical evidence collected by experts demonstrate that such people form a small part of the prison population.

If our country truly regarded education as an investment rather than a cost, moreover, we would spend more wisely on schools, reducing the number of inmates in the first place. It is cheaper to prevent a problem than to cope with it after it has developed.
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