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The GI Bill and Race

I didn’t know this.

From NYT:

Katznelson (author of When Affirmative Action Was White’: Uncivil Rights) reserves his harshest criticism for the unfair application of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, known as the G.I. Bill of Rights, a series of programs that poured $95 billion into expanding opportunity for soldiers returning from World War II. Over all, the G.I. Bill was a dramatic success, helping 16 million veterans attend college, receive job training, start businesses and purchase their first homes. Half a century later, President Clinton praised the G.I. Bill as ”the best deal ever made by Uncle Sam,” and said it ”helped to unleash a prosperity never before known.”

But Katznelson demonstrates that African-American veterans received significantly less help from the G.I. Bill than their white counterparts. ”Written under Southern auspices,” he reports, ”the law was deliberately designed to accommodate Jim Crow.” He cites one 1940’s study that concluded it was ”as though the G.I. Bill had been earmarked ‘For White Veterans Only.’ ” Southern Congressional leaders made certain that the programs were directed not by Washington but by local white officials, businessmen, bankers and college administrators who would honor past practices. As a result, thousands of black veterans in the South — and the North as well — were denied housing and business loans, as well as admission to whites-only colleges and universities. They were also excluded from job-training programs for careers in promising new fields like radio and electrical work, commercial photography and mechanics. Instead, most African-Americans were channeled toward traditional, low-paying ”black jobs” and small black colleges, which were pitifully underfinanced and ill equipped to meet the needs of a surging enrollment of returning soldiers.

Something as American as the GI Bill which acted as an economic stimulus for middle America was administered in a racial way. I think this is remarkable. This reminds us that race is an all-encompassing issue in United States. I thank Linda for pointing this out.

Update: This is Katznelson’s web site – Of the 3,229 GI Bill guaranteed home, business, and farm loans made in 1947 in Mississippi, for example, only two were offered to black veterans. At no other time in American history has so much money and so many resources been put at the service of the generation completing education, entering the work force, and forming families. Comparatively little of this largesse was available to black veterans. With these policies, the Gordian Knot binding race to class tightened.

By |2012-04-05T20:48:45-04:00March 18th, 2012|Civil Rights, Military, Race|Comments Off on The GI Bill and Race

Violence in Athens (photos)

It should be clear to everyone that our economic future is tied with the fortunes of Europe. This is a result of more than 20 years of deregulation and “opening up markets.” Capital flows freely because those on Wall Street have been pushing for the free flow of capital for more than three decades. A significant amount of our GDP, therefore, depends on Europe’s ability to buy our goods. Last night, the Greek Parliament agreed to bend over and take the beating that some in the financial community believe they deserve. Many of the Greek people, on the other hand, are not ready to take their beating.

From Reuters news agency

Rioter being kicked by police

photo by Reuters

Molotov cocktail engulfs police

From NYT:

After violent protests left dozens of buildings aflame in Athens, the Greek Parliament voted early on Monday to approve a package of harsh austerity measures demanded by the country’s foreign lenders in exchange for new loans to keep Greece from defaulting on its debt.

Though it came after days of intense debate and the resignation of several ministers in protest, in the end the vote on the austerity measures was not close: 199 in favor and 74 opposed, with 27 abstentions or blank ballots. The Parliament also gave the government the authority to sign a new loan agreement with the foreign lenders and approve a broader arrangement to reduce the amount Greece must repay to its bondholders.

The new austerity measures include, among others, a 22 percent cut in the benchmark minimum wage and 150,000 government layoffs by 2015 — a bitter prospect in a country ravaged by five years of recession and with unemployment at 21 percent and rising.

By |2012-02-13T10:39:12-04:00February 13th, 2012|Economy, Foreign Affairs|Comments Off on Violence in Athens (photos)

Greed in Congress

In my mind there are two types of people on Capitol Hill. There are those who are really trying to fix America’s problems and there are those who are really trying to line their own pockets. I really love those who are trying (even those who are misguided but who are trying to fix America). I really, really loathe those who are simply padding their bank accounts.

From NYT:

Soon after he retired last year as one of the leading liberals in Congress, former Representative William D. Delahunt of Massachusetts started his own lobbying firm with an office on the 16th floor of a Boston skyscraper. One of his first clients was a small coastal town that has agreed to pay him $15,000 a month for help in developing a wind energy project.

Amid the revolving door of congressmen-turned-lobbyists, there is nothing particularly remarkable about Mr. Delahunt’s transition, except for one thing. While in Congress, he personally earmarked $1.7 million for the same energy project.

So today, his firm, the Delahunt Group, stands to collect $90,000 or more for six months of work from the town of Hull, on Massachusetts Bay, with 80 percent of it coming from the pot of money he created through a pair of Energy Department grants in his final term in office, records and interviews show.

Experts in federal earmarking — a practice of financing pet projects that has been forsaken by many members of Congress as a toxic symbol of political abuse — said they could not recall a case in which a former lawmaker stood to benefit so directly from an earmark he had authorized. Mr. Delahunt’s firm is seeking a review of the arrangement from the Energy Department. (more…)

More from CREW:

Rep. Delahunt’s case may be more direct than most, but he isn’t alone. CREW’s research found five other former lawmakers, all of whom left office within the past five years, collecting lobbying fees for institutions they earmarked to while in office (two others are registered to lobby for institutions they have earmarked to, but reported earning only nominal fees). The members collectively earmarked more than $70 million to the organizations they went on to represent, and have pulled in a total of nearly $1.9 million from the work. Former Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), for example, earmarked $1.6 million for defense contractor Northrop Grumman in the 2008 budget. Then he left office – but apparently kept up the relationship. The company was one of his early lobbying clients, and lobbying disclosure records show the contract brought in nearly $1.3 million in fees between 2008 and 2010.

By |2012-01-28T09:05:10-04:00January 28th, 2012|Congress, Ethics|Comments Off on Greed in Congress
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