Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Chicago Youth Centers Wish List

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Maria Jordan-Smith <mariajordansmith@yahoo.com>
Date: Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 10:33 PM
Subject: Chicago Youth Centers Wish List
To: mariajordansmith@yahoo.com

My sister, Roberta Douglas is the Center Director

--- On Tue, 7/31/12, Roberta Douglas <roberta.douglas@chicagoyouthcenters.org> wrote:

From: Roberta Douglas <roberta.douglas@chicagoyouthcenters.org>

Date: Tuesday, July 31, 2012, 1:40 PM

Hi All,


CYC ABC Polk Bros. has 17 youth going away to college.  Here at CYC we celebrate their departure in a big way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are seeking donations for their trunks.  Below is a wish list of items needed.  If you can donate please drop off items by Saturday August 4.  We will be open from 8 until 3pm.  Or come to the trunk party where you will have the opportunity of meeting our college bound students and putting items in their trunks.


Thanks in advance for your assistance.

ABC Polk Bros. Youth Center

3415 W. 13th Place

Chicago, Illinois 60623


 Roberta Douglas, Center Director




Please donate to the abc trunk party

Monday, 8/6/2012

6 pm


Things college students need


Pillows; Hangers; Mirrors, Surge Protectors, Desk Lamps, Waste Baskets, Dry Erase/ Bulletin Boards/ Markers, Desk Calendar/ Planner


Shower Caddy, Tooth Brush & Case, Tooth Paste, Deodorant, Soap, Lotion, Shampoo, Disposable Razors


Laundry Bags, Laundry Detergent, Towels/ Wash Cloths, Slippers, Flip Flops, Socks


All Purpose Cleaner/ Wipes/ Paper Towels, Kleenex, Cups/Mugs, Dish Washing Liquid, Food Storage Containers (microwavable and w/ lids), Lysol Disinfectant Spray (scented) 


Ramen Noodles, Microwave Popcorn, Snacks


Book Bags, School Supplies – Tablets, Pens, Pencils, Highlighters, USB Flash Drives


Gift Cards – Walmart/ Target










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Us Athletes Protest the Rules that are Designed to Keep Them Broke | Kulture Kritic | Kulture Kritic

A Grassroots Effort -

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Chicago high school principal reflects on the last 13 months: 27 current or former students shot, 8 dead at Harper High School

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "The Black Star Project" <blackstar1000@ameritech.net>
Date: Jul 16, 2012 9:07 AM
Subject: A Chicago high school principal reflects on the last 13 months: 27 current or former students shot, 8 dead at Harper High School
To: <brianlbanks@gmail.com>

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Making Progress; Moving Forward!
27 students shot; 8 killed at Harper High School in Chicago
Young Men from Streets Discuss Ending Violence
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A Chicago high school principal reflects on the last 13 months:
27 current or former students shot,
8 dead at Harper High School 
This story will make war veterans and policemen cry as they hear parents wail about the death of their children on the streets of Chicago! Our children are at war and are losing badly!   
Harper High School Principal Leonetta Sanders
Please listen to this outstanding story
by Linda Lutton, July 6, 2012
All photos by WBEZ/Bill Healy 

Violence in Chicago is making headlines nationwide, again. Murders are up, and more kids were shot this past school year than the year before.


The weight of the city's struggle with violence falls heavier on some than on others. One person shouldering a lot is the principal of a South Side high school.


WBEZ talked with her recently. She was at the funeral of one of her students. 


Funeral, Christian Youth Missionary Baptist Church, Chicago

You hear about the bullets that find the kids. Kids shot on the block where they live. Kids shot on the way to school. Kids shot while they play.


SANDERS: Basically I do come to all the funerals.


Leonetta Sanders is principal at Harper High School in the Englewood neighborhood. But on this day, she's also a mourner, one of hundreds overflowing a little church at 88th and Hermitage. She is wearing a bright orange shirt, the color of lilies and popsicles.


One floor above us, in the sanctuary, the casket is covered with flowers. Shakaki Asphy was 16, just finished sophomore year, a girl who loved basketball and playing the drums. She was shot on a porch talking to friends. 


Principals think about numbers all the time. Test scores and attendance and dropout rates. This year, Sanders is counting funerals, too.


SANDERS: It would be eight total, with current and former students.

Sometimes, she cannot even get to the funeral, before the next gun comes out.


SANDERS: We are literally picking up students in the morning in our own cars and bringing them to school because they cannot walk through certain areas. Yesterday morning for example I had a student walking down Wood from 63rd to 65th, and he was shot at. He was shot at-yesterday morning.


Sanders sometimes dreams she could pick up her whole school and plunk it down a few blocks away, so she could get Harper High out of these raging gang wars.


SANDERS: Starting last June I started a binder, known as the Harper High School Victim and Offenders Binder. One day after-and I can't remember which incident-I just started a list....LaMont Goggins, Marcus Nunn, Deondre Alexander, Cedric Bell, Sergio Penex, Brian O'Neill, Darius Farley...


Sanders' list stretches across two sheets of paper. It's 27 names total, all current or former Harper students. Nineteen shot. Eight dead. One school year.


Near each student's name, Sanders marks down gang affiliations if she knows of any, or details about the death. Like "shot sitting on porch."

Damary Ward, Jaw Gresham, Kajota Sanders, Raymond Fuller...


SANDERS: As I wrote the list, tears just ran down my face. Because it's different when you see it like this. When you see the total number of students in one high school that have been affected by gun violence.

Deshaun McKinney, Dartanyon Stevenson, Kamal Brown, Treshawn Thomas, Excel Moore...


SANDERS: And I sit back and I just say, Wow. Is anyone else looking at this data? Because every couple of weeks I'm adding another name.

Dashon Mapp, Jamal Wiley, Paris Smith...


Then she had to add Shakaki Asphy's name.


SANDERS: With Shakaki's death, a lot of staff members broke down. I found out Sunday morning at like 7:45 when they called me. I was getting ready for church, and I couldn't even go, because I broke down the whole day. I had to call my psychologist and my social worker, because I didn't think I could continue this work.


Basically, Sanders' school is in a war zone.


SANDERS: I had to call one of Shakaki's teachers, and she just screamed on the phone. The social worker that worked with her fell out. And so when I knew all this was going on I had to gather myself together and the first thing I did was just go in my bathroom and pray. And I just prayed for God to give me the strength to deal with this.


At the funeral, Shakaki's mother cried out in pain, her wails pulled tears from the hundreds who packed the church.


From the pulpit, principal Sanders read a resolution from Harper High.


SANDERS: Whereas God, in His infinite wisdom and divine love, has called from our midst Shakaki Asphy, we, the staff of Harper High School, take this time to share our heartfelt and sincere sympathy with the entire Asphy family...


The girls basketball coach spoke. Shakaki's teammates stood near her casket, dressed in their red jerseys. 


Sanders says, for her, the most painful thing about all this is how it affects her students. She says recently, some Harper alumni came back to visit.


SANDERS: I had a student in there, his name is Deonte Tanner. And he said, 'Do you know what me and my friends talked about at the end of the school day, the last day of school?' And he said, 'Which one of us won't make it back in August.' What kind of conversation is that for children to have?


Sanders says it's not that people aren't trying. She says she can't imagine a better staff. When she asks the police commander for more cars at dismissal, she always gets them. CPS found more than 200 summer jobs for Harper students.


SANDERS: But it's still a missing component. I mean, I don't have the magic, I don't even know what the magic is that will stop this. But something has to be done. Something has to be done.


Sanders says people need to stay "prayed up."


SANDERS: I pray every day, all day for my children, that I don't get another call stating that another student has been killed. We just started the summer. I got a long summer to go.


Christian Youth MB Choir: "Goin' Up Yonder" 

Click Here to listen to full story. 
Click Here to comment on this story.  

Unfortunately, another Harper student, Joseph Briggs, was murdered since Shakaki's death. At the funeral a parent of a Harper student said that was the fifth funeral of a teenager she had attended in the past two months.

Young Men from the Streets of Chicago Tell the Governor, Mayor, Police Chief, Pastors, People of Chicago and the United States How to Stop the Violence in Chicago...

But Nobody Is Listening.

  Black Star Logo


Young Men Discuss

 Ending the Violence in Chicago

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

9:00 pm on Channel 19

CAN-TV Chicago


or call 773.285.9600 to request a dvd of this show.


With hundreds of people shot and with numerous dozens of people killed (including children) in Chicago over the past few months, and with no apparent solutions in the near future, we are finally asking those who know the violence best how to stop it.  What took us so long?!!  



Young men from the streets of Chicago including young men from Altgeld Gardens - Golden Gate; Jeffrey Manor; Englewood; and the West Side of Chicago along with Phillip Jackson, Executive Director of The Black Star Project.  These young men are our sons, nephews, brothers, neighbors, boyfriends, husbands, fathers and our future.



Young men from the streets of Chicago's south and west sides, who know violence best, will tell police, elected officials, university researchers and preachers how to stop the crippling, devastating, embarrassing violence in Chicago. But will they listen?



The Governor, the Mayor, the Police Chief have failed to stop the violence in Chicago. Prayer vigils and peace marches haven't slowed the flood of violence in Chicago. No one knows about the violence in the streets of Chicago better than these young men who live among the violence every day. They want it stopped as much or more than the police and the Mayor. They understand the violence best and they know how to stop the violence.  But will anyone listen to their ideas?



Channel 19 - CAN-TV, Chicago Illinois



Tuesday, July 17, 2012; 9:00 pm, Central  


Black Star Logo
Become a member of The Black Star Project today and let's work to make this summer safe and full of learning.  
Your support will help us expand our network of FREE Saturday schools called Saturday University.  These community-based learning centers offer reading, writing, math, mentoring and other specialty subjects. Additionally, we place a major emphasis on parent engagement.

Each donation of $50 will support one student's participation for a whole month.  Each donation of $150.00 will support one student's participation for the whole summer.  Each donation of $500.00 will fund the complete operation of a Saturday University site for up to 25 students for one day! 


or send checks to:
The Black Star Project
3509 South King Drive, Suite 2B
Chicago, Illinois 60657
Please call us at 773.285.9600 to invest in Black children or visit our website at www.blackstarproject.org.
This email was sent to brianlbanks@gmail.com by blackstar1000@ameritech.net |  
The Black Star Project | 3473 South King Drive, Box 464 | Chicago | IL | 60616

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Washington Post op-ed: "Beginning of the end for ‘prison-based gerrymandering'"

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Peter Wagner" <pwagner@prisonpolicy.org>
Date: Jul 16, 2012 8:42 AM
Subject: Washington Post op-ed: "Beginning of the end for ‘prison-based gerrymandering'"
To: "bigdaddybees@gmail.com" <bigdaddybees@gmail.com>

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Prisoners of the Census news
for the week of July 16

The 2010 Census will count more than
2 million people in the wrong place.
How will your vote suffer?


Beginning of the end for ‘prison-based gerrymandering’

Main Content Inline Small

by Peter Wagner
Washington Post, July 15, 2012

Sandwiched between its controversial immigration, campaign finance and health-care rulings last month, the Supreme Court issued a little-noticed decision in a Maryland case that gave the green light to states to eliminate the repugnant practice of “prison-based gerrymandering.”

States are now unquestionably free to correct for an ancient flaw in the U.S. Census that counts incarcerated people as residents not of their homes but of the places where their prisons are located. When the prison population was small, the problem was little more than statistical trivia. Today, however, the census counts more than 2 million people as though they were residents of places where they have no community ties.

In a June 25 summary disposition of the case Fletcher v. Lamone, the court upheld Maryland’s landmark 2010 “No Representation Without Population Act,” which does what the Census Bureau would not: count incarcerated people at home for redistricting purposes. Maryland was the first state to recognize that the bureau’s method of counting people in prison resulted in a systematic transfer of political clout that undermined the constitutional principle of “one person, one vote.”

As a 2010 report I presented to the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland showed, after the 2000 Census Maryland drew one state legislative district that was 18 percent incarcerated. The result was to give every four people who lived near the cluster of prisons in Hagerstown the same representation in Annapolis as five from any other district in the state. While urban and African American communities bore the brunt of the harm, prison-based gerrymandering diluted the votes of residents of communities across the state.

Each level of government experiences this problem differently. Local governments often provide the most dramatic examples. Somerset County, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, has a sizable African American voting population, but until 2010 it had never elected an African American to county office. In the 1980s, the county settled a Voting Rights Act lawsuit by agreeing to create a district in which African Americans had the numbers to elect a candidate of their choice, but census counts that included the prisons created problems. Padding one district with a largely African American and entirely nonvoting prison population created what we call a “false majority-minority district,” which did not contain enough African American voters to carry an election. Prison-based gerrymandering split the African American voting population between multiple districts, and for decades the county commission remained entirely white.

Maryland’s law now requires the state to determine the home addresses of incarcerated people and perform a simple adjustment to the federal census data prior to redistricting. Lead sponsors Sen. Catherine Pugh (D-Baltimore) and Del. Joseline A. Peña-Melnyk (D-Prince George’s) had large prisons in their districts, took a principled stand for fair redistricting and won bipartisan, urban and rural support for their bill. They made it clear that their bill would not affect funding but would ensure equal representation for all.

Three other states quickly followed suit. New York's version was successfully implemented for this decade’s redistricting, and Delaware and California's laws require incarcerated people to be counted at home for the redistricting cycle in 2020. Several other states, from Rhode Island and New Jersey to Illinois to Oregon, are considering similar legislation.

Of course, the best place to improve on federal Census Bureau data is at the bureau itself. The Supreme Court’s ruling will accelerate states’ demand for the tools and data needed to end prison-based gerrymandering. Thankfully, census policy is not set in stone. As the country has changed, the rules for counting many groups has necessarily evolved as well. As former Census Bureau director Kenneth Prewitt has explained: “Current census residency rules ignore the reality of prison life. . . . Counting people in prison as residents of their home communities offers a more accurate picture of the size, demographics and needs of our nation’s communities.”

The next census is years away, but the planning for it is already underway. The bureau should figure out how to count incarcerated people at home in the next census, or all states should follow Maryland’s lead and, with the blessing of the Supreme Court, improve the census themselves.

The writer is executive director of the Prison Policy Initiative.

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Can Obama save manufacturing? - The Washington Post

Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/can-obama-save-manufacturing/2012/07/13/gJQAe2zxhW_print.html (sent via Shareaholic)


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Can Obama save manufacturing?

By Published: July 13

As he campaigns for reelection, President Obama has embraced soaring political rhetoric, pledging to harness the ingenuity of America “to bring manufacturing back.” In beat-up factory towns across the land, he has promoted a vision to rebuild manufacturing after decades of shuttered plants and vanishing middle class jobs.

But he wasn’t always so sure. Three years ago, confronting the issue in an Oval Office debate, Obama was less of the chest-thumping politician he is today. Vice President Biden led a group of advisers who were making the case for an ambitious plan to reverse the industry’s long decline.

Obama had witnessed the devastation of lost factory jobs from his earliest days as a community activist in Chicago and felt in his gut that there must be some way to help, but the president, a policy wonk and onetime professor, also wanted to know what the research showed.

“There’s a narrative that countries have to make things to be successful,” Obama said to his economic advisers. “What’s the evidence?”

His economists, top academics from schools like Harvard and MIT, replied that there wasn’t much evidence. In fact, they argued, manufacturing represented relatively few jobs in the nation’s economy. And governments had terrible records of investing in specific industries, anyway.

The advisers, on both sides of the debate, looked to the president for resolution.

“It’s a draw,” Obama said, failing to resolve the split within his team — or even within his own mind.

Today, Obama has settled that conflict in favor of manufacturing, a decision explained by politics, economics and the president’s trust in his own instincts, according to interviews with more than 30 current and former Obama advisers and others who’ve worked with the White House on manufacturing.

As he mulled whether to adopt policies to try to reverse manufacturing’s long decline, critics said, Obama risked allowing even more jobs to go overseas. The vast majority of manufacturing jobs lost in the recession have not come back — and today there are still fewer jobs in the sector than when Obama took office.

But now Obama is a man on a mission, pursuing major tax breaks for manufacturers, loans to help sell manufactured goods overseas, tougher trade enforcement to protect U.S. industries from foreign competition, investments in clean energy, high-tech manufacturing clusters and a range of other policies.

Obama has rallied in part because of pressure from his own party to find good-paying jobs for millions of factory workers, who sense that their economic future is slipping, or has slipped, away. He has followed recent economic evidence that has led him to believe that it is important — and feasible — for the government to take steps to revive manufacturing.

But he has also listened more closely to his political instincts, rejecting the view of many economists, including several on his team, that manufacturing doesn’t have an especially dynamic role to play in the nation’s economy. People who work closely with him say Obama has followed an impulse that the government must try to protect manufacturing workers — people who make things.

“As the issue has been surfaced,” said Ron Bloom, Obama’s former top manufacturing adviser, “the president’s core values have had a chance to come out and I think you see them now.”

Even so, as happens in any election year, the president’s rhetoric is a step ahead of his policy. He hasn’t declared specific national goals for restoring manufacturing to the place it once was or launched a race-to-the-moon-like government program.

Not that it would be easy. Global, decades-long forces haven take a massive toll on American manufacturing, and there are few signs they will abate. And the nation’s strained finances – and paralyzed politics -- limit what government can do to help.

The president’s embrace of manufacturing comes during a campaign in which his rival, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, has also pledged to rebuild the sector. Obama’s strategists see political gain in the relentless focus on manufacturing, drawing a contrast with Romney’s background as someone who financially invested in industrial companies but never ran one, and his criticism of the auto bailout.

But Obama has his own vulnerabilities. Romney and Republicans say there is already an example of Obama’s manufacturing policy at work — the “green jobs” program that benefited political donors and lobbyists, such as the backers of the failed solar energy company Solyndra.

A long slide

Manufacturing, long a source of high wage jobs, has been shrinking as a portion of the economy for 45 years, from representing more than a quarter of economic activity to just 12 percent today, a decline that helps explain the nation’s anxiety about the future of the middle class.

The slide is the result of many factors, including dwindling union membership and automated factory technology, but largely reflects the rise of low-wage jobs overseas. In the past decade, fueled in large part by open trade with China, factories have shed millions of jobs.

The policies of presidents of both parties have over the years been shaped by the widely held view among economists that manufacturing’s decline — like agriculture before it — was inevitable and even beneficial for American consumers, who snapped up inexpensive products made overseas.

As someone who began his career organizing jobless factory workers, Obama came to office with a view that more should be done to protect these communities, but he wasn’t sure exactly what was possible. “I cannot wish away the sometimes competing demands of economic security and competitiveness,” he wrote as a senator.

Faced with an economic crisis, he deployed federal stimulus money to jolt a domestic clean energy industry to life. And months later, Obama pumped tens of billions of dollars into General Motors and Chrysler to save them.

His economic advisers were not always fully comfortable with these actions, which involved a profound government intervention in the private market, but agreed that clean energy had broad benefits to society and the collapse of America’s auto industry in the midst of a deep recession would have been catastrophic.

The view of Lawrence Summers, a Harvard economist and one of Obama’s top economic advisers, was best captured in an e-mail he wrote to an outside investor about the administration’s loan to Solyndra.

“I relate well to your view that gov is a crappy vc,” Summers wrote, referring to venture capitalist. “But suppose we think there are all kinds of externalities to renewable investments. What should we do?”

Beyond responding to crises, the question was whether Obama would try to do something more transformational: rebuild manufacturing in America. To many inside and outside the White House, the answer during the first half of Obama’s term was no.

Sense of urgency

In spring 2010, before a series of meetings with China’s leadership, Obama gathered with his topic economic advisers in the Roosevelt Room of the White House for a private briefing with outside experts.

One of the first speakers was Clyde Prestowitz, an old Washington hand and policy adviser to the semiconductor giant Intel. He had long advocated government investment in manufacturing and a hard line with China, which essentially makes it cheaper for companies to operate there through subsidies.

“As a fellow Kama’aina,” Prestowitz recalled telling Obama, using the Hawaiian word for “child of the land,” “one of the problems is we’re losing jobs we’re good at.”

That caught Obama’s attention. Prestowitz described how Intel was on the verge of opening its first high-tech semiconductor fabrication plant in China. Intel wasn’t looking for cheap labor, he said, but was pressured by Chinese leaders, who tended to offer free land, low taxes and other incentives.

“What do you think we should do?” Obama asked.

“We need to match the incentives and the urgency,” Prestowitz said.

After the meeting drifted to other speakers and topics, Obama brought it back with a staccato of questions: “Why can’t we make batteries in America? Why can’t we make fast trains? Why we can’t make windmills?”

Prestowitz recalled being struck by the fierceness of the president’s questions but also wondering why more was not being done to answer them. As an outsider, his guess was that Obama’s economic advisers hadn’t made it a priority.

“My impression was, hey, this is the real president and he’s got red-blooded American instincts,” Prestowitz said. “But it’s not his area of expertise and he’s got all his advisers here — and they are smothering his instincts.”

A policy split

Prestowitz’s assessment hinted at a divide within the White House that was getting in the way of a more ambitious manufacturing plan.

One camp, led by Biden and Bloom, represented Obama’s political instincts, his sense that something had to be done to help manufacturing workers. Biden “has a very tangible, gut understanding of the importance of manufacturing to the communities across the nation,” said Jared Bernstein, Biden’s former chief economic adviser. These advisers channeled the views of labor unions and Democratic politicians who saw in manufacturing a way to show workers how government was protecting their jobs.

They wanted more subsidies, to refurbish old factories and turn them into production facilities for electric car batteries and wind power turbines, and more aggressive trade sanctions against China.

But then there were Obama’s economic advisers — famous academics such as Summers and Christine Romer and financial policymakers such as Timothy F. Geithner — and their faith was in conventional economic theory.

And that meant a preference for unfettered trade. One adviser had written a study defending the importance of offshoring.

And if the government was handing out subsidies to manufacturers, the aides worried that those with the best lobbyists would get them — rather than firms with the best business prospects. More than that, the economists viewed manufacturing as a bit of a distraction, with unemployment still high and fewer than 1 in 10 of the nation’s jobs in the industry.

‘We can do it’

Obama had tapped Bloom, who had spent his career working with displaced steelworkers and other factory hands, to sketch out a manufacturing plan. But in an office outside the White House gates and lacking any real authority, Bloom had struggled to gain traction.

“I just found that I wasn’t able to get space for it,” he recalled.

A year ago, Obama and Bloom sat in the presidential limo winding south toward a manufacturing event in Alexandria. On that ride, Obama made clear that he wanted an ambitious manufacturing strategy. He “wanted this change in administration focus to be real,” Bloom said.

In the limo, Obama looked at Bloom and asked, “Why is Germany so successful at running a high-wage manufacturing sector?

The country’s culture, Bloom responded. It has a long tradition of job training programs integrated into the fabric of German society. And the country’s banks have made a top priority of financing manufacturers.

“Why can’t we do this?” the president demanded.

Bloom said there are things the United States could do: subsidize research and development, build stronger relationships between universities and companies, better enforce trade laws. The president could use the bully pulpit more, too.

Obama then did something unusual for the professor-president. He offered a view from his gut.

“If they can do it,” he said, “we can do it.”

Window of opportunity

The president was not just taking a leap of faith as he began to push his team to build a manufacturing plan. He was making a considered judgment, influenced both by political calculation and emerging economic evidence.

From centrist Democrats in the House like Steny H. Hoyer (Md.) to old-fashioned liberals in the Senate like Sherrod Brown (Ohio), the president had faced intense pressure to promote domestic manufacturing. Hoyer’s motto, “Make it in America,” even made it into one of Obama’s speeches.

Obama’s political advisers reviewed polling data showing the popularity of manufacturing. And, of course, it had special appeal in swing states in the Midwest.

Beyond politics, Obama based his thinking of new economic research and data. Research showed how unfettered free trade with China had led to fewer jobs and lower wages in the United States and outsourcing was depriving the nation of the know-how, production facilities and skilled workforce that is necessary to build the high-tech products of the future.

But he also saw signs that the United States might be able to reverse these trends. China’s low-cost advantages were beginning to wane. The auto industry, and manufacturing overall, had started to bounce back after recession lows. Academic research suggested that manufacturing had unique benefits that “spill over,” leading to better paying and more secure jobs and benefiting companies down the supply chain.

Manufacturing was the one area where business and labor leaders alike agreed progress could be made.

“He certainly feels that his economic instinct that there could be a resurgence in manufacturing has been increasingly validated,” said Gene Sperling, a Michigan native with a soft spot for manufacturing who replaced Summers as Obama’s top economic adviser.

A building block

In his State of the Union address earlier this year, Obama invoked manufacturing 15 times — on earlier occasions, he had never mentioned it more than three times — and called it the building block of his economic vision.

Still, the strategy has skeptics. Romer, Obama’s former top economist, wrote an op-ed saying the president’s case isn’t “completely convincing.” In an interview, she said it is right for the White House to ask whether manufacturing has special benefits, but said the evidence it cites is “inconclusive.”

While manufacturing is enjoying a modest rebound from a slide in the recession that was unusually swift, it’s not clear the growth will be sustained. Last month, after growing since the end of the recession, the nation’s manufacturing activity suddenly started to contract.

What’s more, as a result of international competition, wages for many factory jobs are under immense pressure not to rise. And while China might be paying its workers more, U.S. wages are still many multiples of what laborers are paid there.

Sperling said the president is optimistic, but understands not every job is coming back. “He doesn’t want to over-promise by suggesting we can protect every job from global competition,” he said.

Still, on the campaign trail lately, Obama has been raising a lot of hopes.

“I bet on American manufacturing,” the president said in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Tuesday. “What’s happening in the auto industry can happen in other industries, and I’m running to make sure it does. I want high-tech manufacturing to take root in places like Cedar Rapids and Newton and Des Moines.”

And not just in those places, according to his stump speeches. Obama has said manufacturing can come charging back across Ohio — in Youngstown, Cleveland and Columbus. There’s great promise, too, in Pittsburgh, Detroit and Baltimore. And across this land, from Richmond and Charlotte to Chicago and Denver — all places where he’s said manufacturing should see a renaissance.

© The Washington Post Company

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Penny Pritzker Had Big Role in Obama ’08 but Is Backstage in ’12 - NYTimes.com

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

New Orleans Mayor Calls Black-on-Black Crime ''Unnatural' | Black Like Moi

Pet Health Benefits: Study Shows Dogs And Cats May Make Kids Healthier - The Huffington Post

Supreme Court ruling fuels state efforts to end prison-based gerrymandering

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Peter Wagner <pwagner@prisonpolicy.org>
Date: Tue, Jul 10, 2012 at 10:38 AM
Subject: Supreme Court ruling fuels state efforts to end prison-based gerrymandering
To: "bigdaddybees@gmail.com" <bigdaddybees@gmail.com>

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Prisoners of the Census news
for the week of July 10

The 2010 Census counted more than
2 million people in the wrong place.
How will your vote suffer?


Hartford Courant wants to see an end to prison-based gerrymandering

Main Content Inline Small

by Leah Sakala

The Hartford Courant is cheering the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Maryland law ending prison-based gerrymandering. In a recent editorial, the paper called on the Connecticut Legislature to follow Maryland's lead by passing legislation to count incarcerated people at their home addresses for redistricting purposes.

As the editorial proclaimed:

Though it fell in a rather busy week and didn't grab much attention, another Supreme Court decision last week should have ramifications for Connecticut. The ruling affirmed the constitutionality of a Maryland law that counts incarcerated persons as residents of their last legal home addresses, not the prisons, for redistricting purposes.

This is the fairer way to do it. The decision should be an impetus for Connecticut to follow suit.

Prisoners are counted in the locality of the prison here and in most states, which is an accident of history. When the census began more than two centuries ago, it didn't much matter where inmates were counted because relatively few people were in prison and the prisons and jails were often in the same town where the prisoner lived. But the burst of prison building and mass incarceration in the latter part of the 20th century changed the landscape. Now there are many more people in prisons that are most often in other municipalities.

Connecticut has a head start on ending prison-based gerrymandering, with an active campaign already in place. Although the effort in the previous legislative session was unsuccessful, the Courant editorial points out why it must be a priority for the next legislative session:

Next year it should pass. The current system tends to dilute the political power of urban areas, where the majority of inmates come from, in favor of suburban towns that happen to have prisons. Remember that most prisoners cannot vote. So if, say, 15 percent of a district is made up of inmates, then the remaining 85 percent of the district's population has the same political muscle as 100 percent of the people in a district with no prison. That would appear to violate the "one person, one vote" rule.

I note that Connecticut has been on a long march towards fairer redistricting for the last half a century. Fifty years ago, districts were apportioned in a way that gave the residents of some towns hundreds of times the influence of residents in the urban centers. Connecticut rightly fixed that injustice, and ending prison-based gerrymandering is the next logical step.

Also, since Maryland-style legislation counts incarcerated people at home for redistricting purposes only, the Connecticut legislature could end prison-based gerrymandering without worrying about inadvertently impacting funding formulas. Political power, not money, is at stake here.

In the end, as the editorial concludes, "The vast majority of inmates leave prison, and most go home. That's where they should be counted."

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Massachusetts Redistricting Committee plans ahead for 2021

by Leah Sakala

Even though the Massachusetts Special Joint Committee on Redistricting only last year released the new state legislative district maps, the members are already planning ahead for next decade. The Committee recently held a hearing to collect public feedback on the redistricting process in anticipation of their wrap-up report on how the redistricting process went and what they can improve for the next round of redistricting after the 2020 Census.

At the hearing, Prison Policy Initiative's Executive Director, Peter Wagner, presented testimony he co-authored with Brenda Wright of Dēmos that details what the legislature can do to prevent prison populations from distorting the redistricting process next time around. Committee Co-Chair Senator Stan Rosenberg has already pointed to the problem of prison-based gerrymandering as one of the main issues to resolve moving forward.

A provision of the Massachusetts Constitution made it difficult for the Massachusetts legislature to pass a bill ending prison-based gerrymandering like the ones in Maryland, New York, Delaware, and California. But now, the Massachusetts legislature has the time to take concrete action to make sure that prison-based gerrymandering doesn't continue to be a problem, and the Redistricting Committee's wrap-up report is a perfect opportunity to start taking proactive steps.

As the testimony explains, the best solution would be for the Census Bureau to count incarcerated people at their home addresses in the 2020 Census, ending the issue of prison-based gerrymandering nationwide. Massachusetts can send the message to the Census Bureau that change is needed by documenting the way prison-based gerrymandering distorts state legislative districts, and by enacting a bill or resolution calling on the Census Bureau to count incarcerated people at home.

Also, Massachusetts can consider revising the state constitution to allow the legislature to adjust Census data for redistricting purposes, ensuring that prison populations do not add additional unwarranted political clout to the districts that contain them.

Massachusetts's unique and forward-looking post-redistricting review process is a great opportunity to acknowledge and document the important progress that Committee on Redistricting has made towards ensuring fairness and transparency in the redistricting process. In addition to providing continuity over the decade between redistricting seasons, the report gives the legislature concrete goals to work towards for next time. With foresight and care, the current Massachusetts legislative districts can be the last ones that are distorted by the Census Bureau's prison count.

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In this issue

Other news

Wisconsinites buoyed by Supreme Court ruling on prison-based gerrymandering

A Wisconsin Pubic Radio story points out that the ruling from the highest court in the nation unquestionably affirming states' ability to adjust Census redistricting data gives the green light to states looking to end prison-based gerrymandering.

Common Cause says reform is a matter of racial justice

In a letter to the editor, Executive Director of Common Cause Connecticut Cheri Quickmire says the time to end prison-based gerrymandering is now.

Baltimore's AFRO covers U.S. Supreme Court victory

Maria Morales writes on the civil rights victory that was won when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Maryland's law ending prison-based gerrymandering.

Pennsylvania allays one side effect of Census Bureau's prison count

Governor Corbett signs law preventing the Census Bureau's prison count from resulting in small municipalities being unfairly forced to implement a curbside recycling system.

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