Monday, August 31, 2015

Last Call For An Historic Mountain Of Trouble

President Obama is doing the right thing here, and the GOP is sure to show their true colors over him backing Alaska's bid to finally rename Mt. McKinley to Denali.

President Obama on Monday will announce a plan to rename Alaska’s Mount McKinley to Denali, the name that nearby natives have long used.By taking action to officially name the 20,000-foot peak Denali, Obama will take the Alaskan Natives side in a dispute that has stretched on for more than a century.

“Generally believed to be central to the Athabascan creation story, Denali is a site of significant cultural importance to many Alaska Natives,” the White House said in a Sunday fact sheet. “The name ‘Denali’ has been used for many years and is widely used across the state today.”

Alaska first formally requested the change in 1975.

It has often been a bipartisan legislative priority among Alaska’s congressional delegation to rename the mountain. Lisa Murkowski (R), the state’s senior senator and chairwoman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which is responsible for the matter, has sponsored legislation in every session of Congress to do so since taking her seat.

At a hearing about the Denali bill in June, Murkowski said renaming the mountain “seems a fitting gesture and an appropriate way to honor the culture and history of Alaska Natives.”

“There is no need for this name confusion and controversy to continue,” she said.

He has the backing of both GOP senators in Alaska.  And again, this is something that the state of Alaska has been trying to get done for 40 years now, it's nothing new.

But Republicans in Ohio, where President McKinley was from, aren't going to stand for this of course.

"There is a reason President McKinley's name has served atop the highest peak in North America for more than 100 years, and that is because it is a testament to his great legacy," Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement issued Sunday night.

"I'm deeply disappointed in this decision," Boehner said after noting that McKinley served in the Army during the Civil War before representing Ohio in Congress and as governor. 
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said in a statement posted to social media that he was similarly "disappointed" in the decision to rename the mountain long named after "a proud Ohioan." 
"The naming of the mountain has been a topic of discussion in Congress for many years. This decision by the Administration is yet another example of the President going around Congress," Portman said. 
"I now urge the Administration to work with me to find alternative ways to preserve McKinley's legacy somewhere else in the national park that once bore his name," Portman added. 
"This political stunt is insulting to all Ohioans, and I will be working with the House Committee on Natural Resources to determine what can be done to prevent this action," Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio)said in a statement.

But it's going to be a fight, and we all know the GOP can't resist picking a fight with the President.  Dayton Rep. Mike Turner is ready to lead the charge.

"The Ohio delegation certainly didn't hear about this from the president," he said. "I’m certain he didn’t notify President McKinley’s descendants, who find this outrageous. Clearly this is a president who is not concerned with the deliberative process."

Turner would correct that by any means necessary. "William McKinley was assassinated in September 1901," he said. "We have an anniversary coming up when Congress returns from the recess. At that time I plan to go to the House floor to commemorate our assassinated president, and to begin part of the congressional effort for legislative action."

That could take many forms. Turner was ready to craft a 'sense of Congress' resolution, to write a standalone bill, to attach the un-re-naming of Denali to must-pass legislation. Asked if he would ask the House to pursue legal action over the president's move, he did not say no.

"There are a number of avenues, all of which can be pursued," he said. "The question is whether the president even has the authority to do this."

There is also the little matter of the fact that Alaska's native peoples have been asking for this for four decades, and until now, nobody's really paid attention other than President Obama.  Ohio has more electoral votes than Alaska, you see, and is far more important politically.

But as I said earlier, President Obama did the right thing here.  With Denali being in a national park, and the Secretary of the Interior having pretty clear jurisdiction over geographical names by federal law, I'm pretty sure there's nothing Orange Julius and his crew can do.

Well, short of the next Republican president naming it back.  Go for it, Ohio Republicans.

All Demagogues Matter

Glenn Beck reportedly drew 20,000 for his "All Lives Matter" rally in Alabama on Sunday, proving once again that whenever the black community says something, we have to be corrected by a "concerned" white guy.

Led by conservative activist and talk show host Glenn Beck, more than 20,000 people chanting "All Lives Matter" marched the historic civil rights route from Kelly Ingram Park to Birmingham City Hall this morning.

"It's about taking our church out in the streets," Beck said. He said marchers came from as far away as China, Dubai and the Netherlands.

Actor Chuck Norris, a conservative activist known for his martial arts, action movies and TV show "Walker, Texas Ranger," marched about two rows behind Beck. Alveda King, a niece of civil rights activist the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., marched in the front row. Bishop Jim Lowe, pastor of the predominantly black Guiding Light Church in Birmingham, co-organized the march with Beck and marched with him at the front. As a child, Lowe attended Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, where the march started, a headquarters church for the civil rights movement in Birmingham. Lowe and his sisters were in the church when a KKK bomb blew up the church and killed four little girls on Sept. 15, 1963.

"Love is the answer," Lowe said as he marched. "God is the answer."

Some Birmingham police officers said the crowd could have been as large as 25,000 to 30,000. It may have been the largest march in Birmingham since the civil rights marches of 1963.

It's a march for white people to tell black people what they are doing wrong, which is apparently not trusting white people enough.  By the way, Glenn Beck really cares about the black community.

The march was part of Beck's "Never Again is Now" campaign to raise awareness and funds to aid persecuted Christians in the Middle East.

Not so much us black people being killed in the US.  They're Christian too, but hey, why would Beck raise funds and awareness for us?

Wearing a Yankees cap, Steve Titus of Chicago, 63, and his wife, Terri, 62, wore red, white and blue clothing.

"As chaotic as our country is right now, the history of this city will help us to unify, racially and spiritually," Titus said. "It's really in the spirit and words of Martin Luther King Jr."

"The United States has really become divided," Terri Titus said. "We want life for everybody. How does it feel to have a movement start in your town? It's happened again."

Yay white people co-opting the black civil rights struggle for their own purposes, with Beck replacing King.  I'll tell you what, this is some prime BS right here.

And it's only going to get worse.

A Tale Of Two Cincies

The Urban League of Southwestern Ohio's latest "State of Black Cincinnati" report is out today, and the numbers are very grim.  Twenty years after the Urban League first looked at it, The Queen City remains one of the most shockingly unequal places in the US to live if you're black and economically things have only gotten worse.

The numbers speak for themselves. 
In 1995, 15.8 percent of blacks living in Greater Cincinnati were unemployed. That number is now around 17.1 percent. 
The poverty rate for blacks has also headed in the wrong direction – 34 percent to 35.7 percent today. 
When it comes to median household income in the region, blacks earned 49 cents for every dollar white households earned in 1995. Today that figure is worse: just 42 cents for every dollar
To underscore the impact on the local economy, consider this: If incomes for blacks had just kept pace with inflation, an additional $200 million in earnings would be available for families, an Enquirer analysis shows. If incomes doubled compared to 20 years ago, local black families would have nearly $2 billion in additional income. 
That “missing” money could have been invested or used to buy homes. It could have been spent at stores to support local jobs. It could have helped build the region’s tax base. 
And that’s just looking at one issue covered in a new report that paints a picture of stunning disparities in Greater Cincinnati from outcomes in the criminal justice system to child poverty. 
The Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio’s 164-page report, to be released Monday, echoes a State of Black Cincinnati report that the Avondale-based nonprofit organization released 20 years ago. 
There have been two decades of discussions, well-intended programs and energy spent trying to fix the problems. Donna Jones Baker, president and CEO of the local Urban League, wonders “why are we still asking the same questions and why are we getting the same answers?

The Clinton and Bush era economic booms passed Black Cincinnati by.  When the economy crapped out in 2008, it never recovered.  The figures are heartbreaking: three out of four black children under six live in a family below the poverty line.  Three out of four.  This, despite the fact that half of Cincinnati's population is black.  Life expectancy here a full ten years less for black men than white men.  Ten full years.

But of Greater Cincinnati's more than two million residents, only 12% are black.  I know I talk about the streetcar and Mayor Cranley and the recent Sam DuBose shooting case on this blog, but even I was unaware that things were actually considerably worse than 20 years ago, although it's not surprising.  But it sure seems like that Cincinnati's growth and success, part of the reason I moved here, passed a lot of people by.

That's got to change.


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