links for 2010-09-22

  • "After an emotional buildup for many towards the 2:30 pm EST hour yesterday, when the U.S. Senate voted, 56-43, against a motion to proceed on the National Defense Authorization Act. This shut down the possibility of the DREAM Act and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell being presented as amendments to the Defense bill. All Republican senators voted against cloture and two Democrats, Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor, both of Arkansas.

    "Up to the moment of the vote, I watched U.S. Senators, all white old men, talk about gays in the military. Republican Senators like John McCain danced around their homophobia by saying they didn’t want to add DADT because the military hadn’t had a chance to do polling about the impact on combat readiness if there were out lgbt folks in the armed forces. Other Republicans looked at the DREAM Act in one of two ways : a ploy by Senate Majority Harry Reid to get the Latino vote and/or a version of 'amnesty' for some undocumented."

  • "But something hung in midair, unspoken.

    “'We recommend our staff not to say it,' Ms. Tan said, looking over the crowd. 'We don’t want to escalate with African-Americans, so we don’t say it.' Then she turned and faced a reporter. 'But it is racial,' she said. 'That’s fact.'

    "It has been years since race relations in the Bay Area, where diversity and tolerance are pillars of the civic religion, have taken such a sharp turn for the worse.

    "The recent spate of highly publicized attacks on elderly Asians by black teenagers has abruptly enhanced a longstanding perception among Asians that they are disproportionately targets of racially motivated violence."

  • "On its face, Farakkhan v. Gregoire is about whether felons have the right to vote. But it's really about institutionalized racism: namely whether Washington's criminal justice system treats minorities unfairly.

    "'You have vast disproportionate rates of incarceration and sentencing for African-Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans,' said Dale Ho, one of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund lawyers representing the plaintiffs in the 14-year-old case. They claim that due to racism built into the court system, the state's law banning felons from voting violates the 1965 Voter Rights Act. 'Black defendants convicted of crimes lose their right to vote 50 percent longer than white defendants,' Ho said."

  • "On Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is expected to announce a significant commitment to a group working to address the problem, with a goal of providing 100 million clean-burning stoves to villages in Africa, Asia and South America by 2020. The United States is providing about $50 million in seed money over five years for the project, known as the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.

    "The World Health Organization says that indoor air pollution caused by such cooking methods is the fourth greatest health risk factor in developing countries, after unclean water and sanitation, unsafe sex and undernourishment. The gathering of fuel is mainly done by women and children, millions of whom are exposed daily to dangers in conflict-torn regions. The need to forage for fuel also keeps millions of children out of school."

  • "Still, if the bustling farmers’ market is today’s most coveted suburban amenity, this is one for those pretty much left out of the game. In a world where the slow-food, eat-local, simple-beats-processed gospel of Michael Pollan et al. tends to be the playbook only for those with a little (or a lot) extra to spend, Roosevelt’s new market seems to be prospering, a small bit of food equity in a world where eating can be pretty Darwinian, too.

    “'There seems to be this perception that low-income communities don’t have the same needs and interests when it comes to food, and we do,' said Clara Gillens-Eromosele, one of the leaders of the Roosevelt revitalization group. 'We’re not looking to have more fast food in our community. We’re looking to educate people about alternatives.'”

  • "Some schools still do not have broadband connections, the F.C.C. noted in its National Broadband Plan, released this year. The company that administers E-Rate received at least 200 requests in the 2009 fiscal year for money to pay for dial-up Internet connections. The program mostly serves schools in poor and rural communities. At its monthly meeting on Thursday, the F.C.C. also will consider allowing schools to open the use of Internet resources paid for with E-Rate funds to the local community after school hours and when school is not in session, which is currently not allowed under E-Rate regulations."