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AP Finds Valid Votes Tossed by ID Laws

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Number Far Exceeds Cases of Alleged Fraud

Subprime Implosion Could Scar Blacks for Decades

Media Cover Jobless as Political, Not Human, Story

. . . Others Focus on Homicide Rate, Killings by Police

A Shooting in L.A., a Photographer's Flashbacks

NAHJ Candidate Says He Was "Warned" With Bad Info

. . . 39 "Lifetime" Members Disqualified From Vote

Surprise! A Media List Drawn With Eye on Diversity

T.J. Holmes Says He's Done With Using "N-Word"

Short Takes

In wide-ranging remarks, NAACP Board Chair Roslyn Brock spoke Sunday at the NAAC

Number Far Exceeds Cases of Alleged Fraud

"When Edward and Mary Weidenbener went to vote in Indiana's primary in May, they didn't realize that state law required them to bring government photo IDs such as a driver's license or passport," Mike Baker reported Monday for the Associated Press.

"The husband and wife, both approaching 90 years old, had to use a temporary ballot that would be verified later, even though they knew the people working the polling site that day. Unaware that Indiana law obligated them to follow up with the county election board, the Weidenbeners ultimately had their votes rejected — news to them until informed recently by an Associated Press reporter.

"Edward Weidenbener, a World War II veteran who had voted for Mitt Romney in the Republican presidential contest, said he was surprised by the rules and the consequences.

" 'A lot of people don't have a photo ID. They'll be automatically disenfranchised,' he said.

"As more states put in place strict voter ID rules, an AP review of temporary ballots from Indiana and Georgia, which first adopted the most stringent standards, found that more than 1,200 such votes were tossed during the 2008 general election.

"During sparsely attended primaries this year in Georgia, Indiana and Tennessee, the states implementing the toughest laws, hundreds more ballots were blocked.

"The numbers suggest that the legitimate votes rejected by the laws are far more numerous than are the cases of fraud that advocates of the rules say they are trying to prevent. Thousands more votes could be in jeopardy for this November, when more states with larger populations are looking to have similar rules in place.

"More than two dozen states have some form of ID requirement, and 11 of those passed new rules over the past two years largely at the urging of Republicans who say they want to prevent fraud. . . . "

Subprime Implosion Could Scar Blacks for Decades

"The implosion of the subprime lending market has left a scar on the finances of black Americans — one that not only has wiped out a generation of economic progress but could leave them at a financial disadvantage for decades," Ylan Q. Mui reported Monday in the Washington Post's lead story.

"At issue are the largely invisible but profoundly influential three-digit credit scores that help determine who can buy a car, finance a college education or own a home. The scores are based on consumers' financial history and suffer when they fall behind on their bills.

"For blacks, the picture since the recession has been particularly grim. They disproportionately held subprime mortgages during the housing boom and are facing foreclosure in outsize numbers. That is raising fears among consumer advocates, academics and federal regulators that the credit scores of black Americans have been systematically damaged, haunting their financial futures.

"The private companies that calculate credit scores say they do not consider race in their formulas. Lenders also say it is not a factor when deciding who qualifies for a loan; federal laws prohibit the practice. Still, studies have shown a persistent gap between the credit scores of white and black Americans, and many worry that it is only getting wider. . . ."

Media Cover Jobless as Political, Not Human, Story

"As the government on Friday released its latest official snapshot of the American labor market — finding that the economy in June added a paltry 80,000 net new jobs, while the unemployment rate held steady at 8.2 percent — most commentators seized on the data as generic fodder for the unceasing campaign story," Peter S. Goodman wrote Monday for the Huffington Post.

". . . The horrendous job market is not a political story. It is a national emergency playing out in slow motion, a catastrophe that has come to dominate life in millions of American homes. The persistent shortage of paychecks has seeped into our aspirations and made them smaller. It has eroded the basic American understanding about the supposed rewards of trying hard, getting educated and looking for work — a formula too many people have been following only to wind up destitute, discouraged and dispossessed.

"Will the president survive the most punishing job market since the Depression? That's backwards. The real question is whether people like Yvonne Smith can survive the job market.

"Out of work, out of money and running out of improvised solutions to the problems of not being able to afford rent, Smith and her 14-year-old son have been sleeping on the floor of a storage locker in northern Georgia, where they stashed their belongings after being evicted from their rented townhouse in February. . . . "

(Credit: Malcolm X Grassroots Movement)

. . . Others Focus on Homicide Rate, Killings by Police

". . . From July 9 to July 15, Politic365 will put special focus and attention on epidemic of violence and death in the city of Chicago," the website announced last week. "As of July 4, 260 people have been killed in Chicago, Ill. Though violent crime rates have decreased other U.S. in recent years, Chicago is a literal war zone with casualty rates surpassing that of our soldiers on the battlefield in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2012.

"Can the violence be stopped? Have we accepted a certain level of violence? Why isn’t this a national crisis? Should the National Guard be called in? What are [the] solutions?"

Meanwhile, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement published "Report on Extrajudicial Killings of 110 Black People since January 1st, 2012." A release says, "Every 40 hours in the United States one Black woman, man or child is killed by police, and by a smaller number of security guards and self-appointed vigilantes. These are the startling findings of a new report on Extrajudicial Killings of Black People released July 9, 2012. What motivated the round-the-clock research for this new Report? More than two years ago, on New Year's Eve, police killed two innocent men: Oscar Grant in Oakland, Adolph Grimes in New Orleans and shot Robert Tolan in a Houston suburb. Based on research started in 2009 after those murders, we learned there were a lot more killings that had not yet been uncovered. . . ."

It continues, ". . . The corporate media have given very little attention to these extrajudicial killings. We call them 'extrajudicial' because they happen without trial or any due process, against all international law and human rights conventions. Those few mainstream media outlets that mention the epidemic of killings have been are unwilling to acknowledge that the killings are systemic – meaning they are embedded in institutional racism and national oppression.

"On the contrary, nearly all of the mainstream media join in a chorus that sings the praises of the police and read from the same script that denounces the alleged 'thuggery' of the deceased. Sadly, too many people believe the police version of events and the media’s 'blame-the-victim' narratives that justify and support these extrajudicial killings."

LAPD officers run with weapons drawn to a fatally wounded gunman after he fired

A Shooting in L.A., a Photographer's Flashbacks

" . . . What he saw that Friday morning, Dec. 9, 2011, sticks with him still," Kurt Streeter wrote Sunday for the Los Angeles Times.

"For many, especially those who weren't there, the gunfire and panic will fade into just another senseless killing by someone whose demons nobody fully understands and never will. That's what we do in Los Angeles — we shove many of history's hard moments aside and don't think about them again.

"But not Gregory Bojorquez. He suffers flashbacks and nightmares about blood and death. He thinks he always will."

The story began with Streeter setting the scene:

"Sunset and Vine.

"Cars peeled out of the intersection, some in reverse. Tires shrieked. Gregory Bojorquez smelled the hot, smoking rubber. A man yelled: 'Someone is shooting! Someone is shooting!'

"This isn't East L.A., Bojorquez thought. This is Hollywood. People don't go on shooting rampages around here. Maybe it's make-believe. Maybe someone is shooting blanks. But he heard windows shatter, and then he saw the guy, Tyler Brehm, 26, a dreamer from a small town in Pennsylvania, who had moved here in search of his fortune. 'He had what looked like a .45,' Bojorquez says. 'He was shooting bullets.'

"Bojorquez, 39, is an arts photographer. He pays his bills by making pictures of movie stars and music celebrities. His real passion, though, is documenting Latino gangs and the rough-and-tumble life of East L.A., where he grew up. His camera bag, as usual, was slung over his shoulder. Inside was a Nikon camera so old it still used film. Brehm aimed his pistol wildly, pointing it in Bojorquez's direction and at everything else. Only 120 feet of pavement and a newspaper rack separated the two. Bojorquez began pulling his camera out. . . ."

NAHJ Candidate Says He Was "Warned" With Bad Info

Last week, supporters of television reporter Sal Morales of the National Association of Hispanic Journalist's South Florida chapter said the NAHJ elections committee discouraged him from running for the general at-large seat, leaving only one candidate in the contest. She is Elizabeth Alvarez, a member of the HalftimeInNAHJ slate of presidential candidate Russell Contreras. Contreras is NAHJ's vice president/print and chief financial officer.

Mekahlo Medina

Soon afterward, another candidate who is not part of the slate came forward. Mekahlo Medina, a tech/social reporter at KNBC-TV in Los Angeles, wrote on Facebook:

"I will tell you, as a candidate for VP of Broadcast and as a member working for a legacy media company, I [received] a call from an election committee member WARNING me that my boss was 'unsure' if my organization would support my run. The problem here, my boss was on vacation and NEVER talked to her! Thankfully, I got a hold of him to confirm he never talked with them and he FULLY supported my work with NAHJ. After reading about Sal, it made me question if there was a motive here to discourage me to stay out of the race."

The elections committee member, Nadine Arroyo-Rodriguez, did not respond to requests for comment. However, the committee chair, Elaine Aradillas, posted this note on Facebook on Sunday:

"I am out of town on assignment with spotty access to internet, so I'm just now catching up with all of this. Let me start off by saying that I am proud of the work done by the committee. As a committee, we spoke to candidates, their employers and references. We followed the bylaws and the election guide. I am sorry if people feel they were pressured, warned, discouraged, etc. I believe our group has been fair and professional. As for Sal, I spoke with him and he withdrew his nomination. I told him I would keep our conversation private, which I have done."

. . . 39 "Lifetime" Members Disqualified From Vote

Thirty-nine "lifetime" members of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists have been disqualified from voting in the upcoming NAHJ election, Anna Lopez Buck, the NAHJ interim executive director, told Journal-isms on Monday.

"From the 168 lifetime members that we have on our membership roster only 129 are eligible to vote in the upcoming election because they fall under the category of regular or academic members which are eligible to vote as stipulated in our bylaws," Lopez Buck said by email.

She explained last month that the organization was sorting through its lifetime members, many of whom voted in the last NAHJ election two years ago, and disqualifying as voters those whose principal means of support is not "earned in the gathering, editing, or presentation of news."

"Lifetime members that didn't meet the qualifications should not have been voting in the past. That was a mistake that no one caught," Lopez Buck said then. The "lifetime" category was created as a fund-raising device, members have explained.

Surprise! A Media List Drawn With Eye on Diversity

The editors of Columbia Journalism Review have compiled a diverse list of "20 women to watch: A by-no-means-complete list of eXXcellent talents we'd bet on to map the future of the media business."

Included are Michelle Ebanks, "longtime steward of Essence and now also People en Español"; Mona Eltahawy, Egyptian-born Middle East expert; Melissa Harris-Perry, host of her own weekend show on MSNBC; Jennifer 8. Lee, the former New York Times reporter whose "brain often hovers above the intersection of journalism and tech"; Monica Lozano, graphic artist and photographer; Aminda Marques Gonzalez, executive editor of the Miami Herald; NBC's Mara Schiavocampo, "the first backpack journalist to break into the big-time network news ranks"; and Jenna Wortham, an alumna of Wired who "smartly covers the tech-startup scene for The New York Times."

T.J. Holmes Says He's Done With Using "N-Word"

Earlier this year, two different CNN reporters said the N-word on live television while reporting stories about hate crimes, T.J. Holmes, the former CNN weekend anchor now with BET, recalled in an essay Monday for theGrio.

". . . But, if asked to explain why they used the n-word in their reporting, the two CNNers could make their case, agree with it or not. Ask me to explain why I used the n-word 20 times in a conversation with my best friend at dinner last night, I don't have much of a case to make.

T.J. Holmes"In fact, I don't have any case to make. Yes folks, I too use the n-word, and I assure you I'm not using it in order to put anything in context. I use it casually and sometimes constantly. I have no real logic behind using the word, but for whatever reason, I'm given somewhat of a pass by society because I'm black.

". . . My problem has been that no one ever held me accountable for my, at times, gratuitous use of the n-word. So, while I can toil endlessly about who I do and don't mind saying the n-word, I never stopped to think that maybe there are people who don't want to hear that word from me. There are plenty of black people who don't want to hear fellow blacks use the n-word, but we give each other a pass. Stop.

"Sure, go ahead and hold the two CNN reporters and Gwyneth Paltrow accountable and give them a chance to explain themselves. Ask Ms. Paltrow to explain herself. But, make me explain myself as well. Poet and author Oliver Goldsmith said that 'every absurdity has a champion who will defend it.' Using the n-word 20 times during a casual conversation is absurd. And, I can't defend that."

"So, for all intents and purposes, this will be my last 'ni**a.' "

Short Takes

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Richard Prince's Journal-isms originates from Washington and is published Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It began in print before most of us knew what the Internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a "column." For newcomers: The words in blue (on most computers) are links leading to more information. The Web site provides passwords and user names to some registration-only news sites, but use may be illegal in some states. Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.

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Chicago's Mayor has failed Black Residents

One of the tragic truths about the legacy of racism in our nation is how the pathology of racism has and continues to damage the every life style of Black Americans who live in Black venues.

The carnage unfolding in the streets of Chicago is directly linked to the absence of significant Black leadership and decision making in the mayor's office.

Clearly the city's white mayor has been impotent in his policies to protect and save those citizens living in at risk venues in Chicago. The mayor of Chicago lacks the competence and the ability to delegate to Black leaders in the city insights and recommendations on how to end the carnage in far to many Black venues of Chicago.

This critical failure of leadership is a legacy of the failed evolution and relations between white liberal leaders and the Black electorate who have for decades supported white mayors like Chicago's failed leader of the city.

It is therefore incumbent upon those residents of Chicago to not expect nor should they depend on the mayor to really make a dent in the quality of life for Black residents of the city. One could argue that the election of a white liberal mayor with shallow credentials like the present mayor is an instructive lesson for urban venues with large Black residents and impotent white political candiates during any election cycle when the race of the candidates is in play.

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