The lunch rush at Tom’s on Main in Yazoo City had come to a close, and the waitresses, after clearing away plates of shrimp and cheese grits, seasoned turnip greens and pitchers of sweet tea, were retreating to the counter to cash out and count their tips. Wylene Gary was at the register ringing up the last of the $6.95 lunchtime specials as we chatted about her job, a modest low-paying one of the sort all too common in Mississippi, America’s most down-and-out state, where a full 20 percent of the population doesn’t graduate from high school, 22 percent lives in poverty—and even more than that, a quarter of the state, goes without health care coverage.
Gary didn’t have health insurance either, not that she hadn’t tried. When the Affordable Care Act mandated that Americans buy coverage, she didn’t want to be a lawbreaker: She had gone online to the federal government’s new website, signed up and paid her first monthly premium of $129. But when her new insurance card arrived in the mail, she was flabbergasted.
“It said $6,000 deductible and 40 percent co-pay,” Gary told me, her timid drawl giving way to strident dismay. Confused, she called to speak to a representative for the insurer Magnolia Health. “‘You tellin’ me if I get a hospital bill for $100,000, I gotta pay $40,000?’” Gary recounted. “And she said, ‘Yes, ma’am.’”
Never mind that the Magnolia worker was wrong—Gary’s out-of-pocket costs were legally capped at $6,300. She figured that with a hospital bill that high, she would have to file bankruptcy anyway. So really, she thought, what was the point?
“This ain’t worth a tooth,” she said.
She canceled her coverage.
The first year of the Affordable Care Act was, by almost every measure, an unmitigated disaster in Mississippi. In a state stricken by diabetes, heart disease, obesity and the highest mortality rate in the nation, President Barack Obama’s landmark health care law has barely registered, leaving the country’s poorest and most segregated state trapped in a severe and intractable health care crisis.
“There are wide swaths of Mississippi where the Affordable Care Act is not a reality,” Conner Reeves, who led Obamacare enrollment at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, told me when we met in the state capital of Jackson. Of the nearly 300,000 people who could have gained coverage in Mississippi in the first year of enrollment, just 61,494—some 20 percent—did so. When all was said and done, Mississippi would be the only state in the union where the percentage of uninsured residents has gone up, not down.
Why has the law been such a flop in a state that had so much to gain from it? When I traveled across Mississippi this summer, from Delta towns to the Tennessee border to the Piney Woods to the Gulf Coast, what I found was a series of cascading problems: bumbling errors and misinformation; ignorance and disorganization; a haunting racial divide; and, above all, the unyielding ideological imperative of conservative politics. This, I found, was a story about the Tea Party and its influence over a state Republican Party in transition, where a public feud between Governor Phil Bryant and the elected insurance commissioner forced the state to shut down its own insurance marketplace, even as the Obama administration in Washington refused to step into the fray. By the time the federal government offered the required coverage on its balky HealthCare.gov website, 70 percent of Mississippians confessed they knew almost nothing about it. “We would talk to people who say, ‘I don’t want anything about Obamacare. I want the Affordable Care Act,’” remembered Tineciaa Harris, one of the so-called navigators trained to help Mississippians sign up for health care. “And we’d have to explain to them that it’s the same thing.”
October 28, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 28, 2014
By Jana Kooren, firstname.lastname@example.org, 651-645-4097 x123, 651-485-5925
St. Paul, Minn, – The American Civil Liberties Union has released data that shows dramatic racial disparities in the Minneapolis Police Department’s arrest rates for a number of low-level non-violent offenses from 2004 – 2012. The data released covers white and African American arrest rates for four low-level non-violent offenses: marijuana possession, disorderly conduct, vagrancy, and juvenile curfew violations/loitering.
In conjunction with the data release, the ACLU-MN sent a letter to Mayor Hodges and Police Chief Harteau calling their attention to this alarming data and urging them to investigate the causes of these racial disparities and the solutions that could transform the Minneapolis Police Department into an institution that treats all parts of the City’s community fairly and reflects the City’s progressive values. The ACLU released the data and sent the letter to provide additional context for the Mayor and the Police Chief’s ongoing discussions with the community about policing in Minneapolis.
“The Department is not meeting its Constitutional duty to protect and serve everyone equally and fairly,” said Emma Andersson staff attorney for the ACLU. “An arrest – even without a conviction – makes it harder for anyone to get a job and rent an apartment, and it can significantly limit educational opportunities.”
The Minneapolis Police Department’s own data, as reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting, reveals that between 2004 and 2012, an African American individual was, on average:
- 11.5 times more likely to be arrested than a white individual for marijuana possession;
- 8.86 times more likely to be arrested than a white individual for disorderly conduct;
- 7.54 times more likely to be arrested than a white individual for vagrancy; and
- 16.39 times more likely to be arrested than a white juvenile for curfew/loitering
“The Minneapolis Police Department has the ability to change its policing practices for enforcing these non-violent low-level arrests,” said Charles Samuelson, Executive Director of the ACLU-MN. “These arrests are largely subjective and therefore prone to the abusive exercise of officer discretion. The Mayor and Police Chief need to reassess its current arrest practices and take into account these alarming disparities when working on a plan for the Department’s future.
Hamline University professor David Schultz is guest analyst on The Ron and Don Show – Wednesday at 8:30 p.m.
By IBNN NEWS on #BlogTalkRadio
Join the award winning BlogTalkRadio program The Ron and Don Show with co-hosts Ronald A. Edwards (Minnesota historian, civil rights activist, television host and the most quoted African American in the Star Tribune), and Don Allen (Hamline University student, award winning journalist and founder of The Independent Business News Network) as they welcome Hamline University’s professor of political science Dr. David Schultz to talk about the upcoming elections, Hamline University’s gubernatorial debate and the possible outcomes from the Minnesota Senate Ethics hearing regarding senators Jeff Hayden and Bobby Joe Champion.
On Wednesday, October 29 at 8:30 p.m. you are invited to an in-depth examination of local politics and our prediction on the elections and who is more likely to win. David Schultz is Hamline University’s professor of political science and law and a University of Minnesota School of Law Professor. He is the author/editor of more than 28 books and 100 articles on American politics and he is frequently interviewed in the local, national, and international media including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and National Public Radio.
BlogTalkRadio is an online radio station that nurtures citizen journalism and is broadcast globally online via laptops, home computers, iPads and Smartphones.
Dr. Schultz told producers of The Ron and Don Show, “I would be honored to do the show.” The Ron and Don Show has been on the air for over three years and is one of the top-rated programs in Minnesota. Please tell fellow students, friends and co-workers to tune in Wednesday, October 29 to the best in BlogTalkRadio. Phone lines will be open and we welcome callers to contact us at (347) 426-3909
IBNN Exclusive: Jack Shepard files federal complaint with U.S. Department of Justice against Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau and others
No candidates running for office has made a statement like the one write-in candidate Jack Shepard has made. IBNN NEWS was the first to release this information.
Minneapolis, Minn. – In hopes to one-day return to Minneapolis from Italy, fugitive-felon Jack Shepard is keeping his word to make sure everyone knows about the abuse that goes on behind the scenes of Minneapolis and St. Paul’s justice system. Shepard, who fled Minnesota many years ago said, “I was a practicing dentist. They [Hennepin County] were trying to railroad me into jail. I have a son with special needs and the court systems wanted to see me locked away for a crime I did not commit and my children homeless. This is me fighting back; I want to come home.”
Shepard, a write-in candidate for 2014 Minnesota senate race has filed an official complaint with US Department of Justice against Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, Ramsey County Attorney Office John J. Choi and chief Tom Smith of the St Paul Police Department.
Shepard cites the following in his complaint to the U.S. Department of Justice: (PDF: US Department of Justice complaint)
There is a pattern or practice of discrimination in Ramsey and Hennepin Counties of Minnesota which has increased over the past 14 years; also this complaint raises an issue of general public importance because it is presently costing the Minnesota Taxpayers unneeded over 44 millions of dollars, in this time of recession these funds I think can better well spend fighting dangerous criminal, not non- violent kid going to prison for possession of Marijuana. I find even more troubling that the above 4 people; who this complaint is against aggressive enforcement of marijuana possession laws has a proven pattern or practice of discrimination against Black’s; which needlessly mires thousands of people in the criminal justice system, crowding our Minnesota jails, wastes millions of taxpayers’ dollars, fails to reduce marijuana use and availability, diverts precious police resources away from solving serious crimes, and is carried out with staggering racial bias. These arrests have a significant detrimental impact on people’s lives, as well as on the communities in which they live. When people are arrested for possessing even tiny amounts of marijuana, they can be disqualified from public housing or student financial aid, lose or find it more difficult to obtain employment, lose custody of their child, or be deported.
Hennepin County has the 5th Largest Percent Increases in Racial Disparities in Marijuana Possession Arrest Rates (2001-2010) with an increase of 328%. How could Minnesota be the 5th high increase when America has 3143 county, this cannot be an accident from testimony and statistics my Complaint Merit please urgently Correct and these civil rights policies violations must be corrected. The above named law enforcement agencies and County Attorneys offices have systematically deprives Black Men and Women under their jurisdiction of their basic civil rights by using illegal policing practices, including racial profiling as well as unconstitutional stops, frisks, and searches. These law enforcement agencies and district attorney offices have prioritized enforcement of marijuana possession laws because their measure and success is the productivity by the number of arrests they make.
To view the full complaint here on a Google Document: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxmIk4Mty3smSWZ1Y1RTMzhWQTQ/view?usp=sharing
Please read this story very carefully. Could this be the reason MinnPost is attacking CSI?
By Diane Ravitch, Guest Contributor – IBNN NEWS.
Many wealthy families want to leave a legacy, something to remind the world of their beneficence and power. Andrew Carnegie covered the land with free public libraries. Others have endowed museums, public parks, zoos, and many other monuments that the public would enjoy long after the family had gone.
The Kramer family of Minneapolis will leave as its legacy the destruction of public education in that city. They have devoted their considerable energy and power to building public support for charter schools and cutting away public support for public schools. Because of their role as advocates for charter schools, Minneapolis this year has 34,000 students, while the surging charter sector has 20,000. This year, the public schools expected enrollment growth of 900, but only two new students appeared. Meanwhile, the Board of Education bickers about “market share” and forgets their primary mission as stewards of a public trust, as Peter Greene explained.
What have the Kramers to do with the sinking fortunes of public education? EduShyster documented their leadership of the privatization movement in Minneapolis. She writes, in her cheeky fashion:
“Readers: meet the Minneapolis Kramers. Father Joel is the former publisher of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and took home $8 million when the paper was sold to McClatchy. These days he presides over Minnpost.com and a brood of young rephormers. Son Matt is the president of Teach for America, in charge of TFA’s “overall performance, operations, and effectiveness.” Son Eli, another former TFAer, is the executive director of Hiawatha Academies, a mini charter empire in Minneapolis. Meanwhile, daughter-in-law Katie Barrett-Kramer is a former TFAer who now serves as director of academic excellence at Charter School Partners, a non-profit organization devoted to expanding the number of charters in Minneapolis, including the ones her brother-in-law runs.
“Now I have acquired a deep thirst just writing about the Kramer siblings and their dedication to the civil right$ i$$ue of our time. But there’s still more. Matt, who with his brother attended the tony Breck School (which I suspect is likely not a ‘no excuses’ school), also sits on numerous rephorm boards. Matt is the chair of the board of 50Can and a member of the board of Students for Education Reform.
“And did I mention that the Kramers are avid supporters of young TFA school board candidate and life-long educator Josh Reimnitz, who moved to Minneapolis in May, and received an undisclosed amount of money from TFA’s political phund???
But what about Père Kramer? Has he no role in this touching rephorm tableau? Phear not reader. Papa Kramer’s online publication, MinnPost, serves as an influential booster for all of the Kramers’ assorted kauses, including Hiawatha Academies. There is nothing the slightest bit conflict-of-interest-ish about this as evidenced by this, perhaps the kraziest quote from an actual publication that I have ever encountered:
“And here we must pause for Learning’s Curve’s lengthiest Kramer Disclaimer yet: [Charter School Partners] employs Katie Barrett-Kramer, wife of Teach for America President Matt Kramer and daughter-in-law of MinnPost founder and Editor Joel Kramer and Chief Revenue Officer Laurie Kramer.”
It is difficult to think that any family in the U.S. wants to be remembered as the family that destroyed and privatized public education. But that is how the Kramer family of Minneapolis will be remembered. How very sad.
I watched a debate last Sunday morning broadcast by Fox 9 News from the campus of Hamline University. I stood traumatized, in shock and no longer able to view Minnesota politics with a trusting lens. Sources confirm with IBNN NEWS that Fox 9 News and partners scheduled, scripted and played out a debate in a made-for-television political comedy.
By Don Allen, Founder – Black Politics in Minneapolis
St. Paul, Minn. – When it comes down to the nuts and bolts of political tomfoolery, Minnesota voters do not have to choose between Democrat and Republican. I invite you to visit candidate Hannah Nicollet’s campaign website. For the minority community, Ms. Nicollet is the best decision a voter could make in 2014 to get our men and women out of prison and the court systems for crimes that caused no harm to person.
Minnesota has a candidate on the scene that could possibly upset the distant left and the far right in statewide politics.
Hannah Nicollet gets it.
Nicollet writes, “Understanding that neither the right nor left have a monopoly on good ideas, I will take a pragmatic approach to challenges, insisting on tangible results. I believe applying the principles of freedom and innovation to social and economic policies are the best way to increase opportunity and improve outcomes for all.”
When she says “all,” that’s everybody – not like the Minnesota DFL who hand-picks a few community poverty pimps to speak for a caste of people with a broad voice; and not like the Minnesota GOP, who safety when it comes to numbers of minorities in the party align themselves with a few Uncle Toms and Aunt Jane’s that would never bust a grape on behalf of minority issues. Candidate Hannah Nicollet is cut from a different clothe.
Tell me, when was the last time you heard a politician say, “It’s time for government to serve the people?” Nicollet writes, “Why is that although 76% of Minnesotans favor legal medicinal marijuana, 68% oppose publicly funded sports stadiums, and 59% desire Sunday alcohol sales, politicians refuse to carry out the will of the people? In each of these cases lawmakers voted in favor of influential lobbies and private interests over the public’s interest. Independence is the answer.”
If Minnesota Nice puts back on it’s thinking caps, Hannah Nicollet for Minnesota governor could be the answer we’ve been looking for since Mr. Ventura became a private citizen. Make your vote count; send a message.
The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court.
“The city’s subpoena of sermons and other pastoral communications is both needless and unprecedented,” Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Christina Holcomb said in a statement. “The city council and its attorneys are engaging in an inquisition designed to stifle any critique of its actions.”
ADF, a nationally-known law firm specializing in religious liberty cases, is representing five Houston pastors. They filed a motion in Harris County court to stop the subpoenas arguing they are “overbroad, unduly burdensome, harassing, and vexatious.”
“Political and social commentary is not a crime,” Holcomb said. “It is protected by the First Amendment.”
The only saving grace for Fox 9 News is anchor Alix Kendall, the morning weatherman and a couple of reporters (Whazz up Iris?). In the case of not inviting Hannah Nicollet to be a part of the 2014 Gubernatorial Debate on the campus of Hamline University, some students, staff and faculty cry foul. Tune into The Ron and Don Show Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m. (CST) to hear Candidate Nicollet’s side of the story and how Minnesota’s liberal FOX station never returned calls to the candidate’s campaign regarding the debate. (To listen to The Ron and Don Show on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. click here.)
By Don Allen, Founder – The Independent Business News Network
St. Paul, Minn. – Hamline University is partnering with FOX 9 News to hold a live, televised gubernatorial debate on Sunday, October 19 at 9 a.m. on Hamline’s Saint Paul campus in Klas Center, Kay Fredericks Room. Governor Mark Dayton (DFL) and challenger Jeff Johnson (GOP) will square off at this debate, which will be moderated by FOX 9 News. A media panel of local reporters will pose questions to the candidates. What this partnership did not do was include a third party candidate who is making waves of her own in Minnesota politics.
Minnesota’s best kept political secret is 2014 gubernatorial candidate Hannah Nicollet. Candidate Nicollet thinks understanding that neither the right nor left have a monopoly on good ideas, she will take a pragmatic approach to challenges, insisting on tangible results. She believes applying the principles of freedom and innovation to social and economic policies are the best way to increase opportunity and improve outcomes for all. Nicollet is tired of politicians using their influence to manipulate the playing field and cater to the well-connected and elite, prioritizing corporations, special interests, and self-interest, ahead of the public’s interest.
Hamline University becomes complicit in not speaking up for the students, staff and faculty on behalf of what is right in terms of having all candidates running for Minnesota governor represented in this debate. Unfortunately, this native of Arden Hills is caught between a rookie news director at Fox 9 News and some staff at Hamline University who have become more like groupies with stars in their eyes and would never question direction given by the “artist.” The white male social power construct is hard at work attempting to hide what could be a political upset in Minnesota if Nicollet gets a chance to be seen and heard by the mainstream media.
“Tickets” for a couple of members have silenced the voice of Hamline University’s Student Congress. Of course, none of the Hamline University veterans were invited, or ticketed for the event. In the worst-case scenario, in the worst way, this it telling about white male-driven politics, news directors and a Fox News station to the “left” of Nancy Pelosi.
I guess on a university campus there is nothing like a left-wing indoctrination.
Let me make this perfectly clear: IBNN NEWS and its affiliates support and endorse the re-election of Sheriff Rich Stanek in 2014
There is something to be said about history, honor, integrity, valor and service. Don’t be fooled by big-box, one-sided, limited thinkers. Sheriff Rich Stanek is the only choice for Hennepin County Sheriff. Vote Rich Stanek for Hennepin County Sheriff 2014.
IBNN Political Endorsement 2014
Rich has lived in Hennepin County, Minnesota for his entire life. He lives in Maple Grove with his wife of 31 years, and their two children. As a boy, Rich lived in Nordeast, Minneapolis where the police officers from the Minneapolis Police Department became role models for him and other kids growing up in a tough neighborhood. Rich grew up with his six siblings in a second generation Polish-American family. Rich’s father was a World War II hero and postal worker. He lived next door to a police officer whose dedication to service and community inspired Rich to become a police officer.
Rich earned his way through college at the University of Minnesota, and got his first job as a Minnesota licensed police officer in 1984.
Rich worked as a street cop for decades. In 1986 while working as a Patrol Officer in North Minneapolis and taking 911 calls, he started the Minneapolis Police Athletic League (a police volunteer program for at-risk kids, providing positive role-modeling and mentorship). He worked double duty, taking tough shifts to also earn his Masters Degree in Public Administration from Hamline University in 1989, and to serve as a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives from Maple Grove for 9 years. He chaired the House Crime and Public Safety Committee for 6 years, and was then appointed by the Governor as Minnesota’s Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety and Director of Homeland Security.
From 2004-2006, Rich returned to active police duty, and experienced first-hand how neighborhoods in Minneapolis had deteriorated: gangs, drugs, guns and murder. As Commander of Criminal Investigations for the Minneapolis Police Department, he responded to nearly every homicide scene in Minneapolis in those years, and led 38 murder investigations just in the first half of 2006. He was also responsible for the investigations of other violent crimes: rape, assault, and robbery.
Violent crime was so bad in Minneapolis, The Weekly Standard called it “The Return to Murderapolis.” The gangs returned first to Minneapolis North and South residential neighborhoods and then expanded to the streets of downtown. Our businesses asked for help, but were told to hire private security guards. The Minneapolis Police Department couldn’t respond to all the calls for assistance. Once again, Minneapolis had become one of the most dangerous cities in the nation.
That’s when Rich Stanek first ran for Sheriff, and he made five promises to the voters of Hennepin County: Read more about Sheriff Stanek by clicking here.
Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent represents causality in the case of Hayden, Champion and CSI
“In law a man is guilty when he violates the rights of others. In ethics he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so.” ~Immanuel Kant
Related stories on IBNN
- Minnesota Senate Republicans only need three to testify on Ethics Inquiry
- Senator Jeff Hayden will be cleared on Ethics wrongdoing and State Officials must look at receivership for MPS
- Does Minnesota Need a “13th” Grade?
- Why the Minneapolis Urban League’s 13th Grade is a Bad Idea
By Don Allen, Founder – OurBlackNews.com
Minneapolis, Minn (Oct. 9 3:30 p.m.) – Again, after carefully analyzing the facts provided publicly about complaints filed against Senators Bobby Joe Champion and Jeff Hayden, there is more information that must come forward to explain the position, and statements of MPS superintendent Bernadeia Johnson and the allegations that black elected officials “threatened her” to fund the CSI project.
The Republicans based the Community Standards Initiative complaint entirely on a Minneapolis Star Tribune report from Sept. 11. The newspaper quoted an unnamed source who said Hayden and fellow Minneapolis Democrat Bobby Joe Champion “threatened to withhold state aid” if the district discontinued its contract with CSI
It would seem that someone is lying. The Minneapolis Public Schools – District 1, has never had any challenge funding CSI, or any programs with the same doyennes in the past. A data privacy request from IBNN NEWS to the Minneapolis Public Schools shows MPS had no challenge in making sure CSI was funded. In a story published by IBNN, “Minneapolis Public Schools: Funding bullies and bullshit backfires,” the Minneapolis Public Schools gave this trackinof money paid to CSI and its fiduciary agent; the MPS data request department wrote:
“Mr. Allen, Your request was for amounts of cash or grants paid to fiscal agent New Bethel for the Community Initiative Program (CSI)(sic) program from 2011 – Y-T-D” on May 12, 2014. The payment information given to you on 7/23/2014 was accurate as to payments made between January 1, 2011 to the date of your request (May 12, 2014). The amounts paid were all payments paid to New Bethel Baptist Church and New Bethel Missionary Church for the period of your request.”
Minneapolis Public Schools made the following payments to CSI’s fiscal agent beginning 1/1/2011 to the date of my request, 5/12/2014:
The above dates and dollar amounts show there was no need for a “threat” by elected officials, which makes the MPS argument null and void. Why since the probing of MinnPost and the Star Tribune has MPS official made up an elaborate story of corruption and threats? It would seem to me rather than going after Hayden and Champion, we must find out who is running New Bethel Baptist Church or New Bethel Missionary Church and do some “drop-ins” to see if there really is a program. The question still remains – what is the CSI program doing? Is there a report? Which MPS board members assisted in pushing this agenda item without public comment? Who really is dug into the Minneapolis Public Schools to the point they’d risk political suicide by throwing money at an operation that has not made any difference for students of color in the MPS?
There are too many moving pieces in this incident and there needs to be a “come to Jesus” meeting with school district administrators who have consistently failed children of color for more than 10 years.