THE BLOG

Morning Diversity News And Notes Round Up

01/16/2013 10:13 am ET | Updated Mar 18, 2013
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Maryland lawmakers are expected to consider a measure sometime in the next two to three weeks that could eliminate the death penalty and make the state the first south of the Mason Dixon line to ban capital punishment. Eighteen other states, including Connecticut in April, have taken similar steps. The Maryland vote comes after activists and organizations such as Color of Change and the NAACP worked to collect data on the disproporitionate share of blacks and Latinos facing the death penalty. During a Tuesday press conference NAACP CEO Benjamin Jealous said he hopes the a repeal in Maryland would lead other states to follow, Delmarvanow.com, an area news site, reported. The death penalty has failed our state. It is broken beyond repair, but it was broken from birth," Jealous said. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a white Democrat, backs the effort to eliminate the state's death penalty. O'Malley told the Wall Street journal that capital punishment is both costly and ineffective in reducing violent crime. And in a speech about his stance, O'Malley referred repeatedly to a 2008 study that found that prosecuting capital murder cases in which the death penalty is a possible penalty costs the state three time as much as a murder case with a possible sentence of life without parole, The Wall Street Journal reported. O'Malley also attempted to overturn the state's death penalty in 2009.

In her continuing campaign to define and describe non-white America as the country's primary problem, Ann Coulter has declared the nation's unusually high rate of gun violence and gun deaths a "demographic problem." According to Coulter, the share of the county's white population murdered each year is comparable to that experienced in other developed countries such as Belgium. Coulter, who shared her views about the demographics of gun violence on Fox News Tuesday, insisted that it's the violence in communities of color that pushes the U.S. murder rate up above that in most of the world's wealthiest countries. "So perhaps it's not a gun problem, it's a demographic problem," Coulter said.

In Venezuela, the political uncertainty continues. Ailing presidnet Hugo Chavez's Vice President, Nicolas Maduro, stood in for Chavez Tuesday and delivered an short state of the nation speech and delivered a report on his legal elegibility to lead the country in Chavez's absence. Chavez, who is said to be recovering from Cancer surgery in Cuba, has not been heard from in nearly five weeks. But, ABC Univision has published a series of undated photos of Chavez with family and friends.

Both The New York Times and Politics365.com are wondering this morning just what will be in Obama's gun control package.htmlWill it attempt to do something about the more ordinary -- not a mass shooting -- gun violence that takes lives daily? Politics365.com seems to be very much on the side of a long-languishing bill called the Youth Promise Act to help fight gang activity and gun violence. The New York Times reports that Obama's slate of reforms will likely include a requirement that all gun sales be made after a background check, and other features.

President Barack Obama dropped the gauntlet on gun control this week when he made it clear that he is willing to use his executive powers to force certain changes if Congress will not act. And some Republicans are lmaking mention of something in their tool box: impeechment. "Edwin Meese, former U.S. attorney general under former president Ronald Reagan, has become the latest prominent Republican to raise the specter of President Barack Obama's impeachment over his anticipated executive orders on gun control," The Grio reports.

The Obama Second term cabinet is continuing to change shape and form. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who oversaw a moratorium on offshore drilling after the BP oil spill and is also Latino, will resign from his post with the Obama administration in March, The Associated Press reported.

Slate is working with an outside group, @ GunDeaths to keep tracking the number of people killed by gunfire since Newtown. It's a disturbing picture of America, but one worth noting. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/crime/2012/12/gun_death_tally_every_american_gun_death_since_newtown_sandy_hook_shooting.html

The folks at The Grio offer up an interesting take on the nation's convoluted but true history of race and gun control today. Black gun ownership was restricted closely when the United States was a string of English colonies. And the NRA wasn't a proponent of universal gun ownership or the right to bear arms when the Black Panthers made weaponry stockpiles and defense part of their stated mission. http://thegrio.com/2013/01/11/nra-was-pro-gun-control-when-it-came-to-black-panthers/

Two prominent Mexican human rights activists are demanding an explaination from Harvard University. The University recently hired former Mexican President Felipe Calderón, ABC Univision reports today. "Calderón is slated to begin a one-year fellowship at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government later this month," according to ABC Univision.

Obama is planning to join a long running D.C. protest. In the District of Columbia, license plates include the phrase, "Taxation without representation," a reference to the city's unique legal status. It is not a part of a state, but father a federal distict where residents pay federal taxes as well as local taxes but do not have a voting member of Congress to represent the city's interests. Obama's staff will place one of the protest plats on each of his offcial vehicles, Politics365.com reports. http://politic365.com/2013/01/16/presidential-vehicles-to-display-taxation-without-representation-plates/

So this should probably not come as a surprise to anyone, but disproportionate job losses and long term unemployment among black and Latino workers has another terrible consequece. A new study found that the share of blacks and Latinos living without health insurance followed a similiar pattern. http://www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/p60-243.pdf

Also from the ABC Univision news collboration, "Evangelical leaders representing more than 100,000 churches across the U.S. are backing immigration reform, and they're asking their congregants to do the same.Calling reform a religious imperative, the Evangelical Immigration Table is asking Christians across the country to engage in 40 days of praying and reading scriptures related to immigrants and immigration..." This is an interesting development as these are the voters that Republicans will need in future elections.

Finally, I've never been a fan of the leggings as pants look, but this seems a bit extreme. A Los Angeles area middle school honor student was sent home from school Friday after school staff declared that her brown leggings -- a shade similar to the girl's brown skin -- made her appear to be nude. This is what you call a brown girl problem. The girl and her mother are planning to take legal action against the school, The Grio reports.