Friday, August 30, 2013
Thursday, August 29, 2013
The strikes spread quickly across the country and have shut down restaurants in New York, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Raleigh and Seattle, according to organizers.
The fast-food workers were expected to be joined by retail staff from stores owned by Macy's Inc, Sears Holdings Corp and Dollar Tree Inc.
The fast-food workers want to form unions in the virtually union-free sector without employer retaliation and bargain for higher wages.
They are demanding pay of $15 an hour, up from $7.25, which is the current federal minimum wage.
Martin Rafanan, a community organizer in St. Louis, said local employees of McDonald's and Wendy's can't make it on the salaries.
"If you're paying $7.35 an hour and employing someone for 20, 25 hours a week, which is the average here, they're bringing home about $10,000 a year. You can't survive on that." Rafanan said. Missouri's minimum wage is $7.35 an hour.
"Unless we can figure out how to make highly profitable companies pay a fair wage to their workers, we're just going to watch them pull all the blood, sweat, tears and money out of our communities."
McDonald's profits totaled $5.47 billion in 2012, and is the largest and most profitable fast food chain in the world.
Last November, some 200 workers walked off their fast-food jobs in New York City. Groups in Chicago, Kansas City, Detroit and other cities followed their lead in April and July.
The $200 billion U.S. fast-food sector as well as retail sales and food preparation have been under the spotlight because they have added most of the jobs, in many cases lower-paying and part time, since the recession.
Restaurant chains and trade groups say the protests are unwarranted because fast-food and retail outlets provide Americans with millions of good jobs with competitive pay and ample opportunities to rise through the ranks.
"Our history is full of examples of individuals who worked their first job with McDonald's and went on to successful careers both within and outside of McDonald's," McDonald's said in a statement.
Wendy's and Burger King did not respond to requests for comment.
The restaurant chains have not changed their wage policies as a result of recent strikes.
The National Retail Federation said in a statement the strikes are "further proof that the labor movement has abdicated their role in an honest and rational discussion about the American workforce."
In the Wall Street Journal last week, the conservative Employment Policies Institute ran a full page ad with a picture of a robot making pancakes, warning that higher wages would mean "fewer entry-level jobs and more automated alternatives."
"You can either raise prices and lose customers, or automate those jobs," said Michael Saltsman, EPI's research director, adding that "the idea that restaurants are rolling in the money is not representative of the situation franchisees face."
The median wage for front-line fast-food workers is $8.94 per hour, according to an analysis of government data by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), an advocacy group for lower-wage workers.
"The workers are responding to total failure on behalf of the federal government to raise the minimum wage to keep up with inflation and the cost of living," said Tsedeye Gebreselassie, an attorney at the NELP, referring to the strikes.
The walkouts, coming before the U.S. Labor Day holiday on Monday, also took place in the Southern states of Texas, Louisiana, and North Carolina.
Dorian Warren, an assistant professor of political science at Columbia University who has published work on labor organizing and inequality, said the significance of protests in the South is "a huge, huge deal."
"The South has always been the model for low wage employment, from slavery to the Jim Crow laws, to the present. It's also the most anti-union part of the country, so the fact that workers feel empowered enough to take collective action is enormous," Warren said.
The charges were unveiled at a hearing in Duncan, Okla. The ballplayer, Christopher Lane, was visiting the town, where his girlfriend lives, the police chief told The Associated Press. He passed a home where the teens were staying and was gunned down at random, the chief said.
If convicted of first degree murder, the suspects could face life in prison.
“They saw Christopher go by, and one of them said: ‘There’s our target,’” the chief, Danny Ford, told the local media, “The boy who has talked to us said, ‘We were bored and didn’t have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody.’”
Lane, 22, is from Australia but was in Oklahoma playing baseball. He was a rising senior at East Central University in Ada, Okla., a catcher who started 14 games and hit .250 for the Tigers this season, according to the school’s athletics website.
Lane’s father, Peter, said that the killing was “heartless, and to try to understand it is a short way to insanity.”
“The fact that something that shouldn’t have happened has happened, it’s the fact that somebody we all love so much is not going to come home,” he said.
Lane's girlfriend, Sarah Harper, visited the street where he was gunned down. A memorial with flowers had sprung up.
“I don’t really care what happens to them,” she said of the accused in an interview . “I feel like if they don’t get what they deserve now and in the present, they will eternally. They’re just evil people.”
Jennifer Luna, who identified herself as the mother of Chancey Luna, said her son should be punished if he was involved.
In a tearful interview with reporters, she addressed the parents of the dead ballplayer: “I wouldn’t want to be in that position that they’re in right now. I’m always on my kids. I always tell them: If I lost y’all, I wouldn’t be able to live.”
The three teens are being held in individual cells at the Stephens County jail.
Since this vile act was committed, there has been commentary from the Conservative right comparing this murder to that of Trayvon Martin. In their dubious attempt to go "tit for tat" they ask, "where is the outrage in the African-American community." Eagerly implying that the African-American opinion of crime is specially tailored to fit a particular set of circumstances.
But the fact of the matter is that we as African-Americans are even more outraged. The loss of any, and all humanity is a tragedy. But the murder of Christopher Lane serves as validation for those who are fond of stereotyping, and marginalizing young Black men. It says that Black men are dangerous. It implies that "stand your ground" laws are essential, and in the minds of many, Trayvon Martin and these teens are one in the same. Dangerous, young black men with savage intent. These three boys represent every Black man in America even though one of them was white.
The outrage in the Black community is rooted in shock at the depraved indifference shown by these children, and the smug joy that the Conservative right gets from their tongue and cheek, "I told you so's."
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Zimmerman and his legal team believe they are entitled to the refund because Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder July 13 for having shot and killed Martin, 17.
The shooting in February 2012 sparked a national discussion over racial profiling after Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, said he acted in self-defense.
The motion, to be filed by Zimmerman's lead attorney, Mark O'Mara, would seek refunds for the hundreds of thousands of dollars the defense spent on fees for expert witnesses and court reporters for depositions, travel and other similar expenses.
The request is expected to be between $200,000 and $300,000, according to Shawn Vincent, a spokesman for Zimmerman's legal team.
Attorney fees for the defense team, including O'Mara, wouldn't be part of the motion.
The state Judicial Administrative Commission, which would be responsible for paying out the money if the request is approved, didn't immediately return a call seeking comment Monday night.
Zimmerman's request was first reported by the Orlando Sentinal, which quoted O'Mara as saying he would soon file the motion with state Circuit Judge Debra Nelson.
The Sentinel reported that Zimmerman's request would be based on a Florida law that says a defendant who's acquitted isn't liable for costs associated with his or her case. It must be approved by a judge or a clerk.
This sounds like another Florida law designed to help a perpetrator escape culpability.
O'Mara told the newspaper he expects the Judicial Administrative Commission to throw up roadblocks.
"That's where the fight is," said O'Mara, who told the paper he's been paid nothing by Zimmerman but has kept billing records. Granting Zimmerman's legal team's request that the State of Florida cover their legal fees is like paying Zimmerman for murder.
I have two questions.
1. What happened to that ridiculous, Conservative funded, legal defense fund?
2. Why don't Zimmerman's attorney's sue him for unpaid bills?
I would not be surprised if his debt mysteriously disappears by way of anonymous contribution or if the state of Florida pays his bills.
Monday, August 26, 2013
This story goes out to all of my fellow Americans who are under the impression that a post Obama America is a country where racism, and predjudice no longer exists, and to the SCOTUS who seem to think that racism is part of our ugly past, and not our perilous present.
Michael Brown and a group of friends were celebrating his cousin’s last day in Charleston, South Carolina last month at the Wild Wing Cafe. After waiting 2 hours with his party of 25, the shift manager told him that there was a "situation".
Brown said, “She said there’s a situation where one of our customers feels threatened by your party, so she asked us not to seat you in our section, which totally alarmed all of us because we’re sitting there peaceably for two hours. Obviously, if we were causing any conflict, we would have been ejected out of the place hours before.”
Brown explains that while talking to the shift manager, someone in his group began videotaping the conversation, which is when the manager became upset and refused to seat them.
He explains, “I want to be clear with you. I said so you’re telling me I have to leave. She said I have a right to deny you service. I said so you’re asking me to leave because you’re upset because he was recording you, after we’ve waited for two hours, and after you’ve already pretty much discriminated on us, and she answered yes.”
After making several calls to the corporate office in Mt. Pleasant. But his calls were never returned, so he took to Facebook with this post on Thursday.“
I will never go to Wild wings cafe in N. Chs again! We (Party of 25 family and friends) waited 2 hrs, patiently and were refused service because another customer (White) felt threatened by us. This type of racial discrimination is unacceptable and we have to put a STOP TO IT. The manager looked me dead in the face and said she was refusing us service because she had a right to and simply she felt like it. DO NOT SUPPORT THIS ESTABLISHMENT… PLEASE SHARE THIS POST… We need your help.
Suddenly Brown got the restaurant’s attention.
Debra Stokes, the chief marketing officer for Wild Wing Cafe said, ”We got alerted through social media, so we always encourage our customers to respond to us or to comment on our social media pages.”
She said she spoke with Brown, “We had a conversation. It was a really good conversation. He and many of his family and friends were there about a month ago, and they are regular customers of ours. So, they were having a going away party, and they just didn’t receive the experience that they have come to know and love.”
Brown said that an apology was offered and a free meal for the entire group, but he’s not completely satisfied.
He said, “We weren’t coming there for a free meal. When we came there that night, we were coming to patronize the business. This is not a situation where you can just give us a free meal and everything is ok because it’s deeper than that.”
Free food is not a band aid for discrimination. It fact, when it is implied the someone's pride and dignity can be bought with free food, it's almost like pouring salt into a wound. I've gotten free food for getting the wrong order in a restaurant. Surely these people's embarrassment is worth more than being given French fries free, because you ordered onion rings
Sunday, August 25, 2013
- He has promised to supply every need we have. The Bible says: "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus".
- God has promised that His grace is sufficient for us. (II Corinthians 12:9). in fact, He has made provision for our salvation by His grace through faith.
- God has promised that His children will not be overtaken with temptation. Instead, He assures us that a way of escape will be provided.
- God has promised us victory over death. He first resurrected Jesus by way of assuring our resurrection.
- God has promised that all things work together for good to those who love and serve him faithfully.
- God has promised that those who believe in Jesus and are baptized for the forgiveness of sins will be saved.
- God has promised His people eternal life. We must live so that the promises of God will be ours.
5 For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Thursday, August 22, 2013
1963 was noted for racial unrest and civil rights demonstrations. Nationwide outrage was sparked by media coverage of police actions in Birmingham, Alabama, where attack dogs and fire hoses were turned against African-American protestors, many of whom were in their early teens or younger. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was arrested and jailed during these protests, writing his famous "Letter From Birmingham City Jail," which advocates civil disobedience against unjust laws. Dozens of additional demonstrations took place across the country, from California to New York, culminating in the March on Washington. President Kennedy backed the Civil Rights Act, which was stalled in Congress by the summer.
The stated demands of the march were the passage of meaningful civil rights legislation; the elimination of racial segregation in public schools; protection for demonstrators against police brutality; a major public-works program to provide jobs; the passage of a law prohibiting racial discrimination in public and private hiring; a $2 an hour minimum wage; and self-government for the District of Columbia, which had a black majority.
President Kennedy originally discouraged the march, for fear that it might make the legislature vote against civil rights laws in reaction to a perceived threat. Once it became clear that the march would go on, however, he supported it.
While various labor unions supported the march, the AFL-CIO remained neutral.
Outright opposition came from two sides. White supremacist groups, including the Ku Klux Klan, were obviously not in favor of any event supporting racial equality. On the other hand, the march was also condemned by some civil rights activists who felt it presented an inaccurate, sanitized pageant of racial harmony. Malcolm X called it the "Farce on Washington," and members of the Nation of Islam who attended the march faced a temporary suspension.
Nobody was sure how many people would turn up for the demonstration in Washington, D.C. Some travelling from the South were harrassed and threatened. But on August 28, 1963, an estimated quarter of a million people—about a quarter of whom were white—marched from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial, in what turned out to be both a protest and a communal celebration. The heavy police presence turned out to be unnecessary, as the march was noted for its civility and peacefulness. The march was extensively covered by the media, with live international television coverage.
The event included musical performances by Marian Anderson; Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mahalia Jackson, Peter, Paul, and Mary; and Josh White. Charlton Heston, representing a contingent of artists, including Harry Belafonte, Marlon Brando, Diahann Carroll, Ossie Davis, Sammy Davis Jr., Lena Horne, Paul Newman, and Sidney Poitier, who read a speech by James Baldwin.
The speakers included all of the "Big Six" civil-rights leaders (James Farmer, who was imprisoned in Louisiana at the time, had his speech read by Floyd McKissick); Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish religious leaders; and labor leader Walter Reuther. The one female speaker was Josephine Baker, who introduced several "Negro Women Fighters for Freedom," including Rosa Parks.
The two most noteworthy speeches came from John Lewis and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Lewis represented the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a younger, more radical group than King's. The speech he planned to give, circulated beforehand, was objected to by other participants; it called Kennedy's civil rights bill "too little, too late," asked "which side is the federal government on?" and declared that they would march "through the Heart of Dixie, the way Sherman did" and "burn Jim Crow to the ground—nonviolently." In the end, he agreed to tone down the more inflammatory portions of his speech, but even the revised version was the most controversial of the day, stating:
The revolution is at hand, and we must free ourselves of the chains of political and economic slavery. The nonviolent revolution is saying, "We will not wait for the courts to act, for we have been waiting hundreds of years. We will not wait for the President, nor the Justice Department, nor Congress, but we will take matters into our own hands, and create a great source of power, outside of any national structure that could and would assure us victory." For those who have said, "Be patient and wait!" we must say, "Patience is a dirty and nasty word." We cannot be patient, we do not want to be free gradually, we want our freedom, and we want it now. We cannot depend on any political party, for the Democrats and the Republicans have betrayed the basic principles of the Declaration of Independence.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last."
Bernice King, CEO of the King Center in Atlanta and daughter of Dr. King and Coretta Scott King, recalled her father's speech, which referenced the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation: "He said, 'One hundred years later, the Negro is still not free.' And I would argue that 150 years later, the African American race is still not free ... There are still great disparities in the African American community."
This year saw a confluence of several racially charged events, including the Supreme Court striking down
“If this year has shown us anything, it's that the work of the 1963 march is not yet finished,” Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP President and CEO, said recently.
As with the demonstrations in the '50s and the '60s, King said, there is still an opportunity for change. "We always must remember that this was a people's movement ," she said.
legislative responses ensued, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, she said, "It was a result of the people joining forces together, letting their voices be heard, and being vigilant."
The March On Washington in 1963 has often been thought of as Black History. A march for African- American people during the civil rights movement. But it is so much more. The March On Washington is an all inclusive part of American history. Not merely a march for black people. To marginalize the march by making it about one ethnic group is an attempt to minimize its significance. It was a march for freedom, justice, and equality for all Americans regardless of their race, creed, or color.