Julianne Malveaux

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Counting the Cost

Ignoring infrastructure needs is ‘stupid’

When Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188 derailed on May 12, federal budget observers wondered if the underfunding of our nation’s fraying infrastructure was at least partly responsible for the deaths of eight people (according to the New York Times) and the injury of 200 more. Despite these questions, House Republicans voted to reduce President Barack Obama’s request for Amtrak funding from $2.45 billion to $1.14 billion. The Republican proposal not only reduces the current level of funding for Amtrak (which is $1.4 billion), it also delays or eliminates needed capitol for improvements.

Counting the Cost

Human rights for prisoners

Baltimorean Freddie Gray is neither the first, nor will he be the last person to die in police custody. According to a 2011 report from the Department of Justice, 4,813 people died in police custody between 2003 and 2009 (the most recent data, reported in 2011). However, not every state reports their data, so the number is probably higher. A new report is scheduled to be released this year or next.

For-profit colleges: Buyer beware

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, about 1.7 million people will receive their Bachelor’s degrees, and another nearly 750,000 will receive associate’s degrees this May and June. The numbers have been rising over the past 10 years, with 22 percent more receiving bachelor’s degrees (the growth in women’s degrees is faster than that of men), and 12 percent more associate’s degrees (again, with the degrees awarded to women growing faster than those awarded to men).

Deferred and unheard

What happens to a dream deferred?

A young sister ‘hashtagged’ me out of my silo

Counting the Cost

When a colleague dropped the line, “You can’t hashtag your way to freedom,” I loved it! I laughed out loud, and promised that I’d not borrow the line, but steal it because I was so enamored of it. I’ve used it quite a few times since then, and gotten my share of grins and guffaws. So I used it again and again, always getting the same reaction.

Should African Americans endorse Whites over Blacks?

Counting the Cost

Two prominent Black Maryland officials– Montgomery County Executive Issiah Leggett and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III–have endorsed Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a White man, over Black Rep. Donna F. Edwards in the race to replace retiring Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski.

Economic Recovery? Ask the Fed

Counting the Cost

Has the Great Recession ended with our economy returning to normal? That may be “conventional wisdom,” or the word we get from those who think that there is no more intervention needed to stimulate the economy. President Barack Obama has bragging rights on the reduction of unemployment rates and the fact that economic growth is robust. Citing these improvements, our Republican Congress wants to continue to tighten the federal budget belt. Despite this, the Federal Reserve Bank’s Open Market Committee says that there is too much slack in the labor market, and that unemployment rates could be lower than they are now.

After the chants

Counting the Cost

Just a week or so after Black History Month concluded, the Civil Rights Movement experienced a special commemoration. Tens of thousands thronged to Selma, Ala. for a historic march across the Edmond Pettus Bridge, marking March 7, 1965, the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” when armed police officers attacked peaceful marchers attempting to walk to Montgomery, the state capital. More than 10,000 people were attacked in 1965, including Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), whose powerful eloquence puts the entire protest movement in context.

How about letting members of Congress live like other people?

Counting the Cost

Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) couldn’t bring his French bulldog, Lily, on an Amtrak train. So when Amtrak funding came up for a vote, he inserted a provision that required one car on an Amtrak train to be designated a “pet car.” Pet owners will pay a fee to bring their furry companions on the train, and there are size restrictions to the pets that can travel. Still, this new provision is seen as a victory for pet owners who ride trains.

Democrats still searching for winning formula

Counting the Cost

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel just got spanked. Despite a campaign war chest of more than $15 million and the support of President Barack Obama, the former Congressman and White House chief of staff could not avoid a run-off in the non-partisan mayoral election.

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