Leid Stories Stories and news that affect us all

May 16, 2014  

What a week! So much has happened where you live, across the nation and around the world, it’s enough to make you lose your mind. But don’t. It’s “Free Your Mind Friday” on Leid Stories—the perfect antidote to mental meltdown.

Let’s hear your thoughts and opinions on issues and events that mattered this week, or on any other subject you think warrants special attention. Here there’s no “right” or “wrong” way of seeing the world; we’re interested in the logic and integrity of your position and, truth be told, a sense of humor while we banter.

The main task, you see, is to vent with purpose. This way, we declutter, recalibrate and ready ourselves for a great weekend with family and friends.

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May 15, 2014  

Class Warfare: New Charter Schools Target Poor with ‘Blended’ Education

Haitians, Dominicans Fight Racist Law That Has Made 500,000 Stateless

A new type of charter school is getting ready to make a grab for children’s minds in communities of color all over America. The new model, pushed by the corporate-backed Rocketship chain of charter schools, already has taken root in Milwaukee, Wis., having sold state legislators on its low-budget, untested “blended education” formula for sharply cutting costs while delivering supposedly quality educational services to children in poor communities.

The formula?  Hire young, inexperienced teachers; reduce the curriculum to focus mostly on reading and math; and substitute digital learning for in-person pedagogy.

Dr. Gordon Lafer, a political economist, associate professor at the University of Oregon’s Labor Education and Research Center, and research associate at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., details his extensive study of charter schools and of “blended education,” the aggressive push by charter-school profiteers for virtual schools.

Bowing to pressure from racist nationalists in the Dominican Republic, the Constitutional Court, the nation’s highest court, reversed 80-plus years of previous law and ruled last Sept. 23 that “the children of undocumented migrants, who have been in the Dominican Republic and registered as Dominicans as far back as 1929, cannot have Dominican nationality as their parents are considered to be ‘in transit.’”

Activists from the Dominican and Haitian communities update Leid Stories on their battles against the new law, which is wreaking havoc in Haiti, the D.R. and internationally. 

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May 14, 2014  

U.S. Postal Service Activists Decry ‘Reforms’ and Property Auctions

Revelations: Continuing the Discussion on the Donald Sterling-NBA Debacle

The U.S. Postal Service on May 9 issued one of the gravest reports in recent years on its fiscal health—a 2014 second-quarter net loss of $1.9 billion; liabilities of $64 billion exceeding assets of $42 billion; and a 4-percent dip in its main revenue generator, first-class mail. It was the 20th time in the last 22 quarters that the agency posted a loss, and a bipartisan congressional committee has been working on a menu of drastic “reforms.”

Union activist David Welsh says the U.S.P.S. and Congress continue to ignore the extreme and unfair financial burden the federal government has placed solely on the agency—a mandate that it fund 75 years worth of retirees’ health benefits with current payments, amounting to $5.5 billion a year for the next 10 years.

Jacqueline McCormick, executive director of the National Post Office Collaborate, reports on efforts to halt the sale of historic post office buildings and other property—part of its $85-billion real estate portfolio Congress is recommending it sell to raise revenue.

Leid Stories continues with yesterday's discussion, "Revelations: The Brutal Truths Behind the Donald Sterling-NBA Debacle."

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May 13, 2014  

It’s a constant caveat of Leid Stories’ ongoing media-literacy exercises: Be alert, defensive consumers of information. Pay attention to what’s not being said or shown. The Donald Sterling-NBA debacle is a treasure trove for media literacy, and Leid Stories today begins a series of “classes” based specifically on the issue.

Appropriately, Part 1 concerns the media itself—how and why it has shaped the story the way it has, essentially as a morality tale about an octogenarian billionaire bigot spectacularly “outed” and reaping his just rewards as befits a pariah.

But what’s missing here? What’s the truth? What is it that we really need to know? What is it that the media won’t tell or show us?

Brace yourself for revelations.

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May 12, 2014  

On Life and Leadership, Much In Common Between Nigeria and U.S.A.

It may seem like an anomaly, but President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria and President Barack Obama have much in common on matters of political leadership and the direct impact of their respective administrations on the day-to-day issues affecting hundreds of millions of people they were elected to serve.

Leid Stories examines the startling similarities between the two statesmen, whose administrations are now partners in an international effort to find 276 girls kidnapped at night from their dormitories by the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram on April 14 and still in the hands of their captors.

Dr. Chika Onyeani, publisher and editor in chief of The African Sun Times, is our guest.

First Lady Michelle Obama, on Saturday (May 10), the eve of Mother’s Day, made an impassioned speech from the White House deploring the Nigerian girls’ kidnapping, focusing on their dedication to their education. Leid Stories comments on the irony of her speech.

From Detroit, Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African Newswire and Detroit organizer for the Workers World Party, reports from bankruptcy court on today’s hearing on creditors’ objections to the city’s controversial bankruptcy-exit plan.

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May 9, 2014  

Here we are, at the end of a news-riddled week. It’s impossible you don’t have an opinion about a major news story or issue that’s been in the headlines—or should have been.

Well, share it. Let’s hear it. It’s “Free Your Mind Friday” on Leid Stories, and the entire program is driven by listeners’ considered thoughts and opinions about any subject they choose. Folks may agree or disagree with your point of view, and that’s OK. What matters most is the integrity of your argument.

Share your intellectual wealth in a real-time forum for the exchange of information, opinions and ideas. 

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May 8, 2014  

It’s the home stretch for midterm elections and a lot is riding on the outcome. All 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 33 U.S. Senate seats are up for grabs; the power matrix in 46 state and four territorial legislatures dramatically can be altered; 36 governorships are available; and mayoral races in 28 key cities will determine whether and how life might change for millions of people.

Are voters excited? Recent polls are all over the map with regard to voters’ attitudes, which seem as mercurial as news headlines. The political duopoly, however, continues the mad dash for cash, fairly certain that the contest will be between Democrats and Republicans, and the prize will go to the candidate with the most money to sway public opinion.

Two months since Leid Stories’ last unofficial sampling, we return to the basics. Have your political views/consciousness changed; if so, how? What issues are most important to you now? What do you see as your political choices in this election year?

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May 7, 2014  

Under house arrest until a hearing May 16 on voter-fraud charges, the Rev. Edward Pinkney maintains a surprisingly upbeat demeanor, calling it “just the latest effort to beat us down in the battle we’ve been waging here.”

“Here” is Benton Harbor, Mich., an almost all-black town that has seen its population plummet from 45,000 to about 10,000 residents, 70 percent of them unemployed and 90 percent at or below the U.S. poverty level. But it is a “beachtown,” on the shores of Lake Michigan, and major corporations have their eyes on its real estate.

Whirlpool Corp. wants it all, Pinkney says, and it’s been very aggressive in getting its way—including co-opting local political leadership and paying off civil-rights organizations like the NAACP. His house arrest, he says, stems from his leadership of a campaign to recall the mayor, who he calls a “stooge of the corporations.”

The pastor of the nondenominational God’s House of Faith, discusses his abiding faith in the power of grassroots people to create change, even when the odds appear to be against them. They must be prepared—as he is, he says—to deal with “corruption and co-optation of their own.” 

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May 6, 2014  

Boko Haram: Repeat the Offenses of the Arab Slave Trade

NBC’s ‘Liberals’ Think A Skit About Slave Breeding Is Funny

The Non-Racist Mrs. Sterling Would Like Her Millions Now, Please

Leid Stories tackles three subjects that require us to suspend belief, common sense and even our dignity:

·   President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria says his military forces tracking as many as 270 girls kidnapped from school on April 14 by the al-Qaeda-linked extremist Islamist group Boko Haram have no idea where they are. 

·   NBC shamelessly offered for America’s entertainment on its May 3 “Saturday Night” edition a skit featuring an African American woman yearning for the good old days of slave breeding. At least she’d get a date, she says.

 ·   Rochelle Sterling, wife of Donald and for more than 30 years co-owner with him of the Los Angeles Clippers, having pronounced herself absolutely free of racist attitudes and racially motivated actions (despite evidence to the contrary), apparently is acceptable as a business partner of the NBA as it proceeds to “punish” her errant husband by selling the team, valued at $575 million. 

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May 5, 2014  

Say “Cinco de Mayo” to the average American and you’d probably be asked, “Where’s the party?” True, it is a celebration, but the advertising world and the mainstream media have all but erased its historical significance; most people associate Cinco de Mayo with after-work bar crawls and copious amounts of tequila and beer, and tacos and guacamole.

Cinco de Mayo commemorates this day in 1862, when an outnumbered, outgunned Mexican army repelled French invaders in the Battle of Puebla. Oddly, the event goes practically unnoticed in Mexico, and is more celebrated in the United States, particularly California and Texas.

Dr. David Hayes-Bautista, author of El Cinco de Mayo: An American Tradition and professor of medicine and director of the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture at UCLA’s School of Medicine, explains the connection between Cinco de Mayo and the abolition of slavery in the United States, the Civil War, the Declaration of Independence and, most importantly, the “Indo-Afro-Iberio Americano” sociopolitical achievements already made  long before English settlers founded Jamestown (Va.) in 1607, and Plymouth (Mass.) in 1620.

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