Saturday, February 27, 2010

Charles Payne and Wall Street Strategies, Inc.

Charles V. Payne, left, is the CEO and Principal Analyst at Wall Street Strategies, Inc. (WSSI), which he founded in 1991. Wall Street Strategies, Inc. is an independent stock market research company that has successfully provided timely and effective equity advice to money managers, brokers, and individual investors. Today, WSSI provides information to over 30,000 subscribers, in more than 60 countries as well as several of the largest bank/brokerage firms.

Charles Payne oversees a team of stock analysts that cover specific industry groups, in addition to monitoring the entire market and individual sectors on his own. Charles got his start in the industry at EF Hutton in 1985 as a stockbroker. After four years he accepted a position with GreenTree Securities in 1989. It was there that he first saw a niche for independent and timely equity advice, which led to the creation of Wall Street Strategies.

Due to the success, Charles has become sought after by many highly respected finance-oriented radio, web and television programs. He is widely recognized in the media as a leader among the analyst community, and is routinely contacted for his market opinions by several prestigious news organizations. Charles is a regular contributor to the Fox Business and Fox News Networks.

In addition, he continually provides opinions on the market to scores of prestigious news organizations such as Reuters, Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times and has been the keynote speaker at many investment conferences worldwide. Charles' new book, "Act Fast, Be Smart and Get Rich" debuted in April 2007. Charles attended Minot State College and Central Texas College during his time in the Air Force and Majored in Criminal Justice.

Rev Al Sharpton and Tavis Smiley Debate Black Agenda

Update: "We Count! The Black Agenda is the American Agenda" (March 19, 2010)

Al Sharpton and Tavis Smiley 'go at it' in public over what the reverend and others said after their meeting with President Obama in the Oval Office at The White House.

The three part audio is provided courtesy Politik Ditto Blog.

Tavis Smiley's "The Black Agenda is the American Agenda" will take place on Saturday, March 20, 2010, 8am (CT), on the campus of Chicago State University at the Emil and Patricia A. Jones Convocation Center. Tavis' morning radio show that sparked the 'debate' is also at the link above.

Hat tip to Booker Rising.

Friday, February 26, 2010

EPA Administrator Meets With Stakeholders At Headquarters


By Norris McDonald

"A Conversation with Administrator Lisa P. Jackson"

EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson sponsored a meeting at the agency headquarters today to have a discussion with stakeholders. The meeting was held in 'The Green Room' just outside of her office and approximately 50 representatives from various organizations and businesses participated. It was a spirited interchange of ideas between the administrator and the attendees. Issues included everything from local business concerns to international activities. As usual, Administrator Jackson was her affable and knowledgeable self. Very patient and interested in the questions from the participants. Previous adminstrators usually organized these types of meetings, made a brief statement and left without taking questions.

I was particularly fascinated with Administrator Jackson's response to my question about international activities: she responded that no EPA administrator had ever visited the continent of Africa. I found that to be shocking. I think that oversight is about to come to an end.

Stephanie Owens, Director of EPA Public Outreach opened the meeting and program presentations were given by: Rafael DeLeon, Esq, Director of Cooperative Evironmental Management, Sarah Hospodor-Pallone, Deputy Associate Administrator for Intergovernmental Relations, Kimberly Y. Patrick, Esq, Deputy Director-Office of Small Business Programs, Myra Blackely, Deputy Director-Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization, Carlton Eley, Green Jobs Team-Ofc of Policy, Economics and Innovation, Willima 'Bill' Saunders, National Ctr for Environmental Research, Marva King, Coordinator & Grants Team Lead-Community Action for a Renewed Environment, Sheila Lewis, Grants Program Manager-Office of Environmental Justice, Michael Zatz, Chief of Market Sectors Group-Energy Star Commercial & Industry Branch, Ginger Potter, Senior Environmental Education Specialist-Environmental Education.

[Photos: EPA]

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Karen Bass Seeks To Replace Diane Watson in Congress

California Assembly Speaker Karen Bass has announced her candidacy for Congresswoman Diane Watson's congressional seat. Watson recently announced that she would not run for reelection after 35 years in public office.

GreenGov interviewed Speaker Karen Bass at CLCV's Environmental Leadership Awards in December and asked her what qualities the next governor of California should have in order to be considered a green governor. In her view, the governor must first understand that Californians care about the environment. Therefore, the governor must consistently protect the environment through funding, policy, and appointments, and must include the environmental community in the process. She also stated that environmental laws must be strengthened, not weakened, especially during a crisis; further, the state must continue to move forward and maintain our leadership role. See GreenGov video below:

California League of Conservation Voters honored California State Assembly Speaker Karen Bass at their 16th annual Environmental Leadership Awards gala in Los Angeles 12/2/09.

DC Green Muslims

According to the Green Muslims in the District Blog, the group is a network of Muslims in the District of Columbia (and surrounding areas) working proactively to help our communities understand and implement sustainable and eco-conscious ways of living while relating it to our faith and a holistic world-view. These eco-conscious DC-area Muslims are promoting a message of environmental stewardship to both Muslims and non-Muslims in their community.

The strong connection between Islam and protecting the Earth led a group of friends to form the DC Green Muslims in October 2007. A ‘green Muslim’ is someone who realizes that being aware of their impact on the Earth is something that is not a foreign concept to Islam but knows that it is rooted in Islam, according to the groups organizers. DC Green Muslims has worked with Washington Parks and People to revitalize neglected parks and other programs.

Environmentally aware Muslims cite a Qur’anic verse that says amana was offered to the heavens, the earth and to the mountains. However, they refused to accept such a burden and it was transferred to humankind.They propose that in this situation, humanity becomes a fulcrum for the earth. If humanity is centered and whole, the earth is balanced. But if humanity is not balanced -- by harming the environment and not promoting social justice -- corruption will spread on earth. They believe that if the earth can serve as a mosque, this supports a strong argument against polluting its land and its water. (Arab News, 2/20/10)

EPA Administrator Appoints Dr. James H. Johnson as Chair of the National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy & Technology

U. S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson has appointed Dr. James H. Johnson, Jr., left, as chair of the National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology (NACEPT), an independent committee that advises the agency on a broad range of environmental policy, technology, and management issues. He is the first African- American to serve as chair of the committee.

Dr. Johnson is Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering and former Dean of the College of Engineering, Architecture, and Computer Sciences at Howard University in Washington, D.C. He previously served the university as chair of the Department of Civil Engineering and Interim Associate Vice President for Research. Dr. Johnson’s research interests include the treatment and disposal of hazardous substances, the evaluation of minority environmental policy issues and the development of environmental curricula and strategies to increase the pool of underrepresented groups in the science, technology, engineering, and math disciplines. From 1996-2002, Dr. Johnson oversaw the activities of the Engineering Coalition of Schools for Excellence and Leadership in Education, a National Science Foundation-funded consortium. From 1989-2002, he was the associate director of the EPA-sponsored Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic Center for Hazardous Substance Research.

Previous service to EPA includes six years on both the Science Advisory Board and the Board of Scientific Counselors, where he served as chair for two years. Dr. Johnson is currently a member of the National Research Council’s Division of Earth and Life Sciences Oversight Committee, and chair of the Anne Arundel Community College Board of Trustees in Maryland. Dr. Johnson has published more than 60 scholarly articles, contributed to three books and co-edited two books. Dr. Johnson received his B.S. from Howard University, M.S. from the University of Illinois and Ph.D. from the University of Delaware.

Juliet Eilperin Finally Writes About a Black Environmentalist

Washington Post reporter Juliet Eilperin, left, finally recognized a black environmentalist (Van Jones) in an article in that newspaper. AAEA pointed out Ms. Eilperin's proclivity for avoiding recognition of the many blacks participating in the environmental movement. In our opinion, it was a vile example of biased journalism. We know she saw our commentary because when her name is Googled, our comments would be shown. Thank God for Google. It provides a way for long ignored groups such as ours to get our information out into the marketplace when gateskeepers such as Ms. Eilperin have kept us out.

Juliet Eilperin's evolution was not necessarily voluntary. She was compelled to quote President Obama on his environmental programs and when he appointed an African American woman to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Perez Jackson. Her brand of liberal elitism is reflected in the traditional environmental organizations that are still among the most segregated sectors in American society. They include blacks, just as long as they 'stay in their place.' In the green groups that is on the administrative staff. For the couple of blacks working policy, those places are primarily weatherization and outreach (EJ). There still aren't a handful of black policy professionals working at the green groups.

So we are delighted that Juliet Eilperin finally decided to write an article about a black environmentalist. Too bad Damu Smith died before she decided to bless a black environmentalist with her pen.

Juliet Eilperin Compelled To Quote A Black Environmentalist

Juliet Eilperin Continues Excluding Blacks When She Can

Walter E. Fauntroy Birthday Celebration Sat. March 13th

Invitation Letter from SCLC

Dear Friend,

In the second half of the 20th century, probably no other person has left a more indelible footprint on the landscape and blueprint of Washington DC History ...than our own Honorable Rev. Dr. Walter E. Fauntroy, (Congressman, Ret.)

Our Birthday honoree, has been at the core of every Civil and Human rights effort during this time span. A DC Public School Graduate, matriculated to Yale University..upon graduation from Yale..., returned back to serve and minister in the valley, from the very neighborhood he grew up in, and subsequently led the transformation of the Shaw community, building and providing jobs, for the least of these. Locally, Nationally, Globally, his record speaks for itself " know his story, and know his song!"

As a respected leader, among this city and most certainly your constituency...I write to ask you to pause and consider "as we open the floodgates of our memories" and share with us in this "Moment in Time" the 77th Birthday Celebration of our friend and brother Walter E. Fauntroy. on Saturday, March 13th.

RSVP with a Sponsorship, Table, and Individual Seat, information. We have followed up on the Ad Packet, for your company's visibility, for this historic occasion. Finally, if you can not attend... please consider to forward your table/ticket to some deserving members of your constituency ...who would treasure this momentous occasion on Saturday, March 13th!


Keith Silver

WashDC/SCLC, Chapter President
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Blacks Talk About Northeastern Energy at National Grid

Martin Cook,Norris McDonald, Carolyn Green, Frank Stewart, Bill Suggs
The American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE) and the Alliance of Black Professionals (ABP)
held an energy forum today at National Grid in Brooklyn, New York with the theme:

“Future of Northeast Energy – What is on the Horizon?”

Panelists included:

Lisa Crutchfield, National Grid

Martin Cook, National Grid

Carolyn Green, National Chair of AABE

Frank Stewart, National President of AABE

Moderator: Norris McDonald, President Center for Environment, Commerce & Energy, African American Environmentalist Association

The forum was held in the Metrotech Auditorium and covered a broad array of electricity, energy and environmental issues facing the Northeast. Some questions considered included: Is there adequate electrical capacity to satisfy the needs of Northeastern states in the next few years? Will energy prices negatively affect the Northeast? How could pending carbon dioxide regulations affect the Northeast? What about the influence of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) on a project 'low-carbon' future? Do you know of any policies that are being put into place to address energy efficiency and alternative technology marketing techniques? How are companies and organizations looking to address the "green divide" to make sure minority communities in the Northeast region are not being left behind? Many other questions were addressed during the forum.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Comcast Grant to Nat'l Black Caucus of State Legislatures

The Comcast Foundation has made a $50,000 grant to the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) to form the "NBCSL/Comcast Broadband Legislative Fellowship" in order to increase efforts to conduct research and develop solutions regarding broadband adoption among African Americans.

According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project's 2009 "Home Broadband Adoption" study and the "Broadband Imperatives for African Americans" report spearheaded by NBCSL and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, there is a disproportionate rate of broadband accessibility and adoption among African American communities.

The newly formed Fellowship between Comcast and NBCSL will provide support for two graduate level public policy fellows to develop public policy recommendations to increase broadband adoption and use by African Americans. The recommendations developed by the Fellowship will further direct the efforts of NBCSL in authoring recommendations to Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as they develop national and local solutions to alleviate disparities in broadband access, adoption, and use.

NBCSL has been a progressive leader in addressing economic, social and political issues that face Americans -- particularly African Americans. Healthcare, juvenile justice, education and international trade are among the policies that NBCSL will address at the state, local and federal levels. Comcast's partnership with the NBCSL further enables Comcast to create opportunities and empower the communities it serves.

Since 2001, Comcast has provided $1.4 billion in cash and in-kind support to national and local non-profit organizations in 39 states and Washington D.C. The company has made a $1.2 million commitment to sponsor the One Economy Corporation's Digital Connectors program for three years, beginning in 2009. (DVRepublic, 12/9/09)

Joint Center Releases Broadband Report

John Gant, Blair Levin, Mignon Clyburn, Nicole Turner-Lee, Ralph Everett

Joint Center Releases Report on Trends in Broadband Adoption and Use Among Minority Americans

National Minority Broadband Adoption: Comparative Trends in Adoption, Acceptance and Use

On the program:

The Honorable Mignon Clyburn, FCC Commissioner

Blair Levin, FCC Broadband Advisor

Norris McDonald, Mignon Clyburn
The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies (Joint Center) Media and Technology Institute released a groundbreaking report today at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill that examines how minority groups compare in using the Internet and broadband services, including mobile broadband, to advance their social and economic interests. In the interest of environmental sensitivity, hard copies were deferred in favor of an electronically sharing the report. AAEA President Norris McDonald attended the event and is pictured at left with FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn.

The National Minority Broadband Adoption Study obtained telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 2,741 adults living in the continental United States. The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI) from December 1, 2009 to January 4, 2010.

The Joint Center releaseed the report at an event at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Remarks: The Honorable Mignon Clyburn, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission,

Ralph B. Everett, Esq., President and Chief Executive Officer, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies,

Blair Levin, Esq., Broadband Advisor, Federal Communications Commission.

Panelists: Jon Gant, Ph.D., Visiting Resident Fellow, Media and Technology Institute, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Blanca Gordo, Ph.D., Center for Latino Policy Research, University of California-Berkeley, John Horrigan, Ph.D., Consumer Research Director, Federal Communications Commission, Ying Li, Ph.D., Research Associate, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Marc Morial, Esq., President and Chief Executive Officer, National Urban League and Chairman, Broadband Opportunity Coalition (BBOC), Lee Rainie, Director, Pew Internet and American Life Project, Nicol Turner-Lee, Ph.D., Vice President and Director, Media and Technology Institute, Joint Center, and Danny J. Weitzner, Esq., Associate Administrator for the Office of Policy Analysis and Development, National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies is one of the nation's leading research and public policy institutions and the only one whose work focuses primarily on issues of particular concern to African Americans and other people of color. The Joint Center will mark its 40th Anniversary of service in 2010.

DOI National African American History Month Event 2010

The Department of the Interior is celebrating National African American History Month with the theme “The History of Black Economic Empowerment.” The Presidential Proclamation is available on the DOI Diversity Website.

The Bureau of Land Management is partnering with the DOI Blacks in Government Chapter to sponsor a program in observance of African American History month on February 26, 2010, from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. in the Sidney Yates Auditorium, Main Interior Building.

The keynote speaker will be Joe Madison, left, Talk Show Host, Radio-One WOL-A.M.

Musical selections will be provided by the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church Christian Academy students.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Responses to USDA Pigford II Settlement Agreement



National Black Farmers Association - Dr. John Boyd, President:

"Today's announcement moves us an important step closer to a just resolution of the black farmers cases. President Obama, Secretary Vilsack and the Administration have shown leadership in getting us to this moment. Next week another Black farmer will lose his farm. Others are at risk of not living to see justice. These farmers have waited for years, and simply cannot wait any longer for final resolution."
Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Barbara Lee (CA):

"I am encouraged that today's settlement is an opportunity for black farmers who were denied the benefit of USDA loans and programs to begin to be made whole."
NAACP - Hilary O. Shelton, Director of Washington Bureau:

"The NAACP applauds the USDA for taking this crucial step today to finally close what is a painful, but sadly all too pervasive, chapter in our Nation's history. We would like to commend President Obama, Secretary Vilsack, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Dr. Joe Leonard and others for their commitment to seeing that the U.S. Department of Agriculture fully address this significant injustice and allow all who were affected to seek remedy. The NAACP is now committed to partnering with the USDA and the Congress to try to see that the full $1.25 billion requested by President Obama to help resolve the Pigford claims in his FY 2011 budget proposal is fulfilled. We are further committed to working with the Administration and the Congress to try to level the playing field and to prevent future discrimination against America's farmers."
(USDA Press Release)

President Obama Statement on Black Farmers Lawsuit

USDA & DOJ Announce Black Farmer Settlement

Black Farmers Protest Outside USDA in Washington, D.C.

President Obama Statement on Black Farmers Lawsuit

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
February 18, 2010

Statement by the President on the Settlement in the Black Farmers Lawsuit against USDA
“My Administration is dedicated to ensuring that federal agencies treat all our citizens fairly, and the settlement in the Pigford case reflects that commitment. I applaud Secretary Vilsack for his efforts to modernize operations at the USDA, as well as the work of the Justice Department in bringing these long-ignored claims of African American farmers to a rightful conclusion. I look forward to a swift resolution to this issue, so that the families affected can move on with their lives."
(The White House)

USDA & DOJ Announce Black Farmer Settlement

USDA and Department of Justice Announce Historic Settlement in Lawsuit by Black Farmers Claiming Discrimination by USDA

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the successful resolution of the longstanding litigation known as Pigford II. The settlement agreement reached today, which is contingent on appropriation by Congress, will provide a total of $1.25 billion to African American farmers who alleged that they suffered racial discrimination in USDA farm loan programs. The settlement sets up a non-judicial claims process through which individual farmers may demonstrate their entitlement to cash damages awards and debt relief.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack:

“USDA has...worked hard to address USDA’s checkered past so we can get to the business of helping farmers succeed...Because this Administration firmly believed that a full and final class-wide settlement was possible, the Administration requested $1.15 billion in the 2010 budget, on top of the $100 million already provided by Congress, to facilitate a settlement. I now urge Congress to provide the funding necessary to ensure that that these farmers and USDA can close this sad chapter and move on.”
Attorney General Eric Holder:

“Bringing this litigation to a close has been a priority for this Administration. With the settlement announced today, USDA and the African American farmers who brought this litigation can move on to focus on their future. The plaintiffs can move forward and have their claims heard - with the federal government standing not as an adversary, but as a partner.”
In 1999, the USDA entered into a consent agreement with black farmers in which the agency agreed to pay farmers for past discrimination in lending and other USDA programs. Thousands of claims have been adjudicated, but thousands of other claims were not considered on their merits because the affected farmers submitted their claims after the settlement claims deadline.

To address the remaining claims, Congress provided these farmers another avenue for restitution in the 2008 Farm Bill by providing a right to file a claim in federal court. The total amount offered by the federal government in the agreement announced today, $1.25 billion, includes the $100 million appropriated by Congress in Section 14012 of the Farm Bill.

Last May, President Obama announced his plans to include settlement funds for black farmers in the FY 2010 budget to bring closure to their long-standing litigation against the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The settlement is contingent on Congress appropriating the $1.15 billion that the President requested. Following the appropriation, class members may pursue their individual claims through a non-judicial claims process in front of a neutral arbitrator. Claimants who establish their credit-related claims will be entitled to receive up to $50,000 and debt relief. A separate track may provide actual damages of up to $250,000 through a more rigorous process. The actual value of awards may be reduced based on the total amount of funds made available and the number of successful claims. (USDA Press Release)

Black Farmers Protest Outside USDA in Washington, D.C.

The National Black Farmers Association (NBFA) marched on Washington, D.C. this week to challenge Congress to fund a court settlement compensating historically discriminated-against black farmers. The rally was held on Monday outside the U.S. Department of Agriculture amidst two feet of snow still engulfing the Nation's Capital.

NBFA Founder and President John Boyd said:

"We are here acting on a law that was enacted in 2008 by Congress. So this is already law and the black farmers are still waiting."
NBFA has organized demonstrations this month throughout historically black agricultural areas of the South, including Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Virginia, Alabama, South Carolina, and Georgia.

Congress has yet to approve a budget that would pay for a 1999 class action settlement ordered by a federal judge. In 2008, lawmakers established a system to review claims of racial bias from more than 70,000 farmers who were denied various types of farm support by the USDA. But Congress has yet to approve the 2010 farm bill, in which President Barack Obama has proposed including more than a $1 billion to cover the compensation claims. (CNN, 2/15/10)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

'Carbon Fast' An Option For Observers Of Lent

Reprinted from The Hartford Courant, Feb 16, 2010

Frankly, some people may be tired of giving up chocolate, vodka, fried chicken or poker for the 40 days of Lent.

But sacrificing a lightbulb, or higher temperature on the thermostat? Maybe finally spurning plastic bags for reusable organic cotton totes? As many of the Christian faith begin Lent on Wednesday, one option — the "carbon fast" — could be as basic as unplugging your cellphone charger when not in use.

Repentance, reflection and self-discipline are supposed to be observed during Lent, which symbolizes the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert and resisted Satan's temptations, as described in the Bible.Among some worshipers, Lent also is known as the time "to beat yourself up" before [Resurrection Weekend] Easter
, rather than a season to "take stock with what you're doing with your life and make positive changes," said the Rev. Jane White-Hassler, a priest at Grace Episcopal Church in Newington.

A green Lent could mean "thinking about the environment and doing things to save it for yourself and those who come after us," said White-Hassler, whose church possesses the mind-set year-round. Since the summer, Grace Episcopal has been undergoing eco-friendly renovations and is considering solar panels.

The practice of a carbon fast for Lent has been talked about in Christian circles since at least 2008, when the Church of England suggested shrinking one's carbon footprint and provided a list of 40 green actions, one for each day of Lent. ("Day one, Ash Wednesday
: Remove one lightbulb and live without it for the next 40 days.")

The call was part of a global effort with Tearfund, a Christian relief agency, to help drought-ridden, impoverished communities that already suffer from the effects of climate change.In Connecticut, the carbon-fast campaign gained a follower in the Rev. Tom Washburn, a Catholic priest and Franciscan friar who, at the time, ministered at St. Francis Xavier Parish in New Milford

Often, when people consider the need for environmental improvements, "we talk about these huge, sweeping changes," said Washburn, now based in Boston as vocation director of the Immaculate Conception Province of the Franciscans. But "for the average person, we have the ability to make change in our own lives very easily."Shortly before Lent 2008, Washburn wrote about the fast on his blog, "A Friar's Life." And it became the topic of a column he wrote in St. Francis Xavier's weekly bulletin, "which got a great reaction" among parishioners, he said.

Soon the church's exterior and walkway lights, some of which were on past midnight, were turned off at an earlier time. Washburn also examined his personal habits.He may not have done each of the 40 steps — some can be difficult in day-to-day life, such as composting meal scraps or refusing to consume food that has been imported by plane — but Washburn said he did enough to become hyper-aware of his environment and basic wastes of resources.

There was the hallway light that was always on, the faucet water that ran while he brushed his teeth, the cellphone charger left plugged in the wall that needlessly drained energy.But the gas-guzzling church SUV? Well, Washburn's energy-saving didn't end with Lent.

Within a few months of the '08 carbon fast, Washburn traded in the Dodge Durango he had been driving at 12 miles per gallon for a 45 to 47 mpg — on average — Honda Civic Hybrid. The Franciscan province paid for the car."In the Gospel, the core of Jesus' message was that the kingdom of God is at hand. So we are stewards of that kingdom," Washburn said. "It's not just a good ecological approach; it's a good spiritual approach."
Copyright © 2010, The Hartford Courant

Environmentalists Meet With OMB on Fly Ash Reg

Daniel Cornelious, Emily Enderle, Norris McDonald
AAEA participated in a meeting on fly ash today with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that was organized by Earthjustice and held at the New Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C. Emily Enderle, Earthjustice Legislative Associate, coordinated the meeting between community stakeholders and representatives from OMB, EPA and the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

The goal of the stakeholders was to share stories with OMB from the environmental justice communities impacted by improper coal ash disposal. Stakeholders also illustrated how states have not done a good job protecting people and how we must move beyond the status quo.

Since receiving the proposed rule for review from EPA on listing fly ash as hazardous waste in mid-October, OMB has been meeting with industry representatives who do not want fly ash ruled as a hazardous waste. Stakeholders want a rule that is protective of human health issued as soon as possible so the public participation process can be initiated and so that the discussion based on speculation will come to an end. Stakeholders want a rule from EPA that defines fly ash as a hazardous waste with an exemption for beneficial reuse (concrete production).

After an introduction by Ms. Enderle, stakeholders shared their stories and information via teleconference. Hope Taylor shared information about North Carolina coal ash plant sites, David Ludder described the Arrowhead Landfill in Perry County, Alabama, Anna Frazier described the Four Corners Power Plant ash ponds, Cindy Rank described the West Virginia unlined ponds and mine filling, Don Barger described the Wateree Station/Congaree National Park, and Tim Tankslee and Dub Tolbert described the Bokoshe, Oklahoma coal ash dump.

AAEA President Norris McDonald gave a short presentation about beneficial reuse of fly ash. Daniel L. Cornelious, Jr. of the Howard University School of Law also participated in the meeting. Ms. Enderle gave a summary statement to conclude the meeting. Dr. Robert Bullard of the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark-Atlanta University, could not attend due to the weather. Leslie Fields, Environmental Justice Coordinator for the Sierra Club was scheduled to participate, but had a meeting conflict.

More information:

Will EPA & OMB Ignore & Abuse Blacks With Fly Ash?

Fly Ash Environmental Injustice in Perry County Alabama?

Video of People Living Near Perry County Landfill

House Hearing On Kingston Tennessee Coal Ash Spill (March 31, 2009)

Coal Combustion Waste Storage and Water Quality (House Hearing April 30, 2009)

Can Coal Combustion Waste Lead To Green Jobs?

Flue Gas Desulfurization Gypsum Used On Farm Fields

Coal Combustion Waste To Be Regulated

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Kettleman City, California Toxic Waste Controversy

Kettleman City, California is a predominantly Latino/Hispanic community about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Many of the 1,500 residents work in agriculture or service jobs. For decades Kettleman City residents have fought Waste Management over proposed expansions of its 1,600-acre Kettleman Hills landfill. The dispute has included charges of environmental racism and repeated concerns that the toxic dump is causing health problems. Local residents suspect chemical waste is to blame for the recent spike in birth defects. (Living On Earth)

The Root

The Root is a daily online magazine that provides thought-provoking commentary on today's news from a variety of black perspectives. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., left, is The Root's Editor-In-Chief. Donna Byrd, right, is Publisher of The Root aims to be an unprecedented departure from traditional American journalism, raising the profile of black voices in mainstream media and engaging anyone interested in black culture around the world. The Root is published by Washingtonpost and Newsweek Interactive. (The Root)

"Lift Every Voice And Sing" - - "Star Spangled Banner"

Lift Every Voice and Sing

Lift every voice and sing,
'Til earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on 'til victory is won.

Stony the road we trod,
Bitter the chast'ning rod,
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
Yet with a steady beat,
Have not our weary feet
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,
Out from the gloomy past,
'Til now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who has by Thy might
Led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,
Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;
Shadowed beneath Thy hand,
May we forever stand,
True to our God,
True to our native land.

-- The Black National Anthem, by James Weldon Johnson

Star Spangled Banner

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light, What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thru the perilous fight, O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming? And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave? On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep, Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes, What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep, As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses? Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam, In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream: Tis the star-spangled banner: O, long may it wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion A home and a country should leave us no more? Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution. No refuge could save the hireling and slave From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave: And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand, Between their loved home and the war's desolation! Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation! Then conquer we must, when our cause. it is just, And this be our motto: "In God is our trust" And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Composed by Francis Scott Key, "In Defense of Fort McHenry" in September 1814. Congress proclaimed it the U.S. National Anthem in 1931.

Marvin Gaye sings American National Anthem

Friday, February 12, 2010

John Boyd's NBFA State Capitol Rally In Alabama

John Boyd, left, president of the National Black Farmers Association (NBFA), led a black farmers rally on the steps of the state capitol building in Montgomery, Alabama on Wednesday February 10, 2010 to encourage Congress to spend $1.15 billion to help black farmers. Congressman Artur Davis (D-AL), right, spoke at the rally too.

The current conflict dates to 1999, when the USDA reached a settlement with black farmers in a discrimination case that alleged that the agency had denied federal loans, disaster assistance and other aid to certain farmers because of the color of their skin. (The agency is still fighting similar class-action suits filed by Latino and Native American farmers). The USDA approved about 15,000 claims and paid out about $1 billion, but has refused more than 70,000 claims that were filed after the October 1999 deadline. Farmers said they were given no notice of the deadline. The two sides have been fighting ever since. And despite a fairly scathing slap by the Government Accountability Office a few years ago, and President Obama more recently pledging to add an additional $1 billion-plus to the settlement fund as part of other Congressional bills, the cash still isn’t getting out to these farmers.

Claimants are still looking for their money, more than a decade after the federal Department of Agriculture reached a landmark settlement for having cheated generations of black farmers through “indifference and blatant discrimination.” The 1999 agreement on what is known as the Pigford class-action lawsuit was hailed as the biggest civil rights settlement in American history. The judge estimated a swift $2 billion payout — or $60,000 each — for victimized black farmers.

It has not worked out that way, as the White House’s new budget confirms with a request for $1.15 billion to pay still-pending claims from black farmers. The same amount was requested last year but did not survive Congressional budget cuts. The class-action suit detailed how eligible black farmers traditionally were denied loans by the agriculture agency while their white peers went to the head of the line for growing-season wherewithal and homestead improvements. After the settlement, some farmers got their money, but far too many ran into a new buzz saw. They were stalled and rejected through paperwork technicalities, tight deadlines and a lengthy appeals process that officials insisted was necessary. There was early confusion within the Obama administration about whether the settlement process had been capped, but Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack insists no; the aim, he says, is to finally “close this unfortunate chapter.”

In 2008, then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama sponsored legislation to reopen the application process and added $100 million to the U.S. Farm Bill to begin the process. The Justice Department has since claimed in court filings that the $100 million is a cap on any payments. John Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association and the Congressional Black Caucus disagreed. President Obama’s federal budget proposal includes $1.15 billion in funding for discrimination claims. But the funding is not yet attached to a bill that would make the dispersal of the money a law.

The Department of Justice is still working on terms of a settlement that will play a large role in how the claim system works and how the money is distributed. Boyd estimates there are 30,000 black farmers who make a full-time living by farming and another 100,000 who are part-time farmers. (NBFA Emails, Montgomery Advertiser, Photos: Montgomery Advertiser, Mickey Welsh)

Goodluck Jonathan - Nigeria's New Acting President

Goodluck Elebe Jonathan, left, has assumed the duties as Nigeria's new acting president since President Umaru Yar'Adua has been getting medical treatments out of the country since November. Mr. Jonathan is Nigeria's first president from an ethnic minority of the Niger Delta, which is rich in oil. Dr. Jonathan holds a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) Honours, University of Port Harcourt, Master of Science (M.Sc.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) from University of Port Harcourt. He is seasoned administrator, an academic, a democrat, and an accomplished technocrat and indeed the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State. Dr.Jonathan holds an Honorary Fellowship at the Nigeria Environmental Society (NES). Dr. Goodluck Jonathan is married to Mrs. Patience Faka Jonathan and they have two children.

Maybe President Goodluck will improve conditions of people in the Niger Delta with that nation's massive oil revenues. AAEA has long recommended increased international cooperation between African Americans and Nigerians in operating the oil industry in that country. Nigeria has long been a key crude supplier to the U.S. Currently, Chevron Corp., ExxonMobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC, control oil production and export in Nigeria. Nigerian militants are hampering the efforts of these multinational energy companies to produce and export oil. There needs to be a way to increase prosperity for Nigerians through their oil revenues, increased African American petroleum entrepreneurship and continued inclusion of the multinational energy companies in the production of oil. Everybody can benefit and there is enough oil there for everybody to profit. (WSJ, 1/12/10, Online Nigeria)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Gloria Ruben & Benjamin Jealous On Global Warming

Marc Littlejohn, right, is clearly making a big difference at the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). We know he is behind NWF's new Fair Climate Project, which seeks to empower leaders from under-served communities to promote fair, equitable, and economically sustainable solutions to the climate crisis. Marc was also instrucmental in getting the NAACP to endorse climate legislation last summer at their convention. Keep up the great work Marc.

The Group of 10 Gives Responses to Environmental Justice

AAEA sent a Green Group Diversity Survey to environmental groups in 2003 and we developed a Green Group Diversity Report Card from that survey. Only five of twenty five groups bothered to respond, but now some groups have posted their environmental justice bona fides in "High Country News" magazine. Basically, some of the groups with some pride in their records on minority hiring, retention and programmatic outreach posted in the magazine and responded to our survey. Our most significant complaint is that no matter the group, we estimate that they commit less than 1% of their massive budgets to issues related to the most impacted communities in the United States. A group's priorities are reflected in their budgets and staffing. As such, environment justice is really not a priority for the green groups.

Of course, we understand their motivation to advertise their efforts during Black History Month after the first year of the first African American president. Yet we are left to conclude that the environmental movement remains one of the most segregated sectors in American society. We are not aware of even a handful of policy professionals among the groups. However, the groups that received a good grade on our Report Card and are featured in "High County News" include: Environmental Defense Fund and Natural Resources Defense Council. World Resources Institute received a 'Good' rating and Environmental Law Institute received and 'Excellent' rating in our Report Card. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation received a 'Poor' rating and arrogantly refused to answer our survey.

If the mainstream green groups can cruise through four to eight years of an Obama administration without changing their discriminatory hiring practices and racially insensitive operations, they will have quite the laugh on the president, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and Attorney General Eric H. Holder. Yet, even as these green groups sue the administration in pursuit of environmental goals, so too should the adminstration investigate any group that receives federal funding and discriminates. It is easy to ignore us, but we doubt it would be so easy to ignore the Obama administration.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Obama Discusses Jobs With African American Leaders

Ben Jealous, Al Sharpton, Marc Morial
President Barack Obama met with African-American leaders in the Oval Office at the White House today to discuss jobs and the economy. The two feet of snow enveloping Washington, D.C. appropriately captured the unemployment situation in Black America. Included in the meeting were: Rev. Al Sharpton, president and founder, National Action Network; Benjamin T. Jealous, president, NAACP; Marc H. Morial, president and CEO, National Urban League. Dr. Dorothy I. Height, chairwoman, National Council of Negro Women, was invited but could not make it due to the weather.

Rev. Al Sharpton said:
"Obama shouldn’t be expected to create jobs programs exclusively for the black community. We’re not looking for a race-based program. We’re looking to make sure everyone is involved. ... We don’t expect him to be the black president. We expect him to be the American president of everyone, including blacks. I met with Bush. I met with Clinton. I don’t think I’ve seen a meeting this open and candid."
NAACP President Benjamin Jealous said:

"It [jobs bill] needs to be passed. It needs to get through the Senate. It’s not enough for the Republicans in the Senate to say, ‘no, no, no,’ when the people are suffering, suffering, suffering. That’s our focus right now.”
Marc Morial said:

“The crisis of unemployment and underemployment among urban and minority communities has reached a devastating level and it continues to deepen. While the overall picture appears to be brightening, we cannot allow it to blind us to the worsening situation for black Americans. I believe our meeting today with President Obama has focused his attention more solidly on the plight of these neglected communities."

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Angela McGlowan Should Adopt a Form of Cap & Trade

Black conservative FOX analyst and Tea Party candidate for the 1st Congressional District in Mississippi Angela McGlowan, right, opposes Cap and Trade and denies that global warming is a problem. She uses the talking point phrase of 'Cap and Tax' to slam the concept. Yet the concept of Cap and Trade has been promoted by conservatives such as former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. Their Clear Skies Initiative was a Cap and Trade proposal to control emissions. We supported that proposal too. A Cap and Trade program can be designed to unleash American innovation and create a significant number of new jobs. It is market-oriented and that is why Republicans and conservatives embraced the concept in the past.

Although McGlowan has spoken against the reality of climate change mitigation and Cap and Trade as a tool to fight it, there is actually very little from her about the issue on the internet. Thus, we are left to assume that she is open to supporting a good Cap and Trade solution. She should know that Cap and Trade helps the technological solutions of emission free production of electricity through solar power, wind power and nuclear power. These technologies complement each other very well. We are also proposing a solution (Energy Defense Reservations) that would be complemented by a national commodity market in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. McGlowan should also consider making her campaign carbon neutral via utilization of our CO2 offset trading house, the Carbon Mercantile Exchange (CMX).

Her book: Bamboozled: How Americans are being Exploited by the Lies of the Liberal Agenda

Angela McGowan Speaks At Tea Party Convention

Support Letter For Commissioner Nominees to NRC

February 9 , 2010

Honorable Barbara BoxerRoom 112
Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Boxer:

The Center for Environment, Commerce & Energy supports the nominations of George Apostolakis, William Magwood and William Charles Ostendorff to be members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The Center, founded in 1985, is an environmental organization dedicated to protecting the environment, enhancing human, animal and plant ecologies and promoting the efficient use of natural resources. The Center's outreach arm, the African American Environmentalist Association, seeks to expand participation in the environmental movement.

Dr. Apostolakis is a nuclear science professor at MIT and a member of NRC's scientific advisory committee. He is a professor of Engineering Systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and received his Ph.D. in engineering science and applied mathematics from the California Institute of Technology in 1973. He is a Fellow of the American Nuclear Society and the Society for Risk Analysis. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2007. Dr. Apostolakis is a member and former chairman of the statutory Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards of the U.S. NRC.

Mr. William (Bill) Magwood was director of the Department of Energy's Office of Nuclear Energy under former presidents Clinton and Bush from 1998 to 2005. From 1984-1994, he managed electric utility research and nuclear policy programs at the Edison Electric Institute in Washington, DC and he was a scientist at Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Mr. Magwood holds a B.S. degree in Physics and a B.A. degree in English from Carnegie-Mellon University. He also holds an M.F.A. degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

Mr. William (Bill) C. Ostendorff previously served as Counsel and Staff Director for the Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, a Director of Mathematics and Science at the U.S. Naval Academy, commanded Submarine Squadron Six in Norfolk, Virginia and was Director of the Submarine Force Atlantic Prospective Commanding Officer School. He served on six submarines and graduated from the United States Naval Academy with Merit in 1976, with a B.S. in Systems Engineering. He received a J.D. from the University of Texas and an LLM in International and Comparative Law from the Georgetown University Law Center. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas.


Norris McDonald

Monday, February 08, 2010

Earth911 Celebrates Eco-Warriors For Black History Month

People To Celebrate

by Marisa McNatt

Devoting the month of February as a time to recognize African Americans’ contributions to society began with Carter G. Woodson in the early 1920s. After spending his childhood working on Kentucky coalmines and finishing high school at the age of 22, Woodson went on to earn his doctorate at Harvard University. Reading the history books, he was dismayed at the lack of attention paid to African American history.

So we thought we’d compile our own list of African Americans acting as stewards of the environment. Watch out for these eco-warriors because this won’t be the last time you hear about them. Featured are Dorceta Taylor, John Rosenthall, Norris McDonald and Samara Swanston.

Earth911 is an environmental services company that addresses product end-of-life solutions for businesses and consumers. It provides the platform and tools needed to support recycling and proper disposal for various products, giving the people who buy them a number of ways to participate in companies’ sustainability initiatives. Through its innovative Local Recycling and Proper Disposal Database, hosts information for hundreds of products in over 117,000 listings across the country.

Marisa McNatt, pictured above, is in the master's journalism program at the University of Colorado at Boulder and is earning a certificate in environmental policy and society.

The Tea Party Movement & The Environmental Movement

The first Tea Party Convention in Nashville, Tennessee was broadcast on C-SPAN and the attendees looked to be all White. They even bemoaned the lack of minority participation and cited Blacks hither and yon who are participants. It reminded us of the Environmental Movement. Highly racially segregated yet pointing out 'hither and yon' participation. The Environmental Movement is privately proud of its exclusive make up. It makes us wonder if the Tea Party Movement is secretly proud of its elitist status too. Oh they do the 'corn pone' but we know all about that kind of corn bread. Sarah Palin was their keynote speaker at the end of the conference. And black Tea Party Mississippi congressional candidate ex FOX News commentator Angela McGlowan spoke at the conference too.

Interesting that the Environmental Movement has racial segregation in common with the Tea Party Movement. Yet they both give empty lip service to 'wanting' minority participation. Welcome to far left and far right racial hypocrisy. Do you have to drink the Kool-Aid to participate? Of course you do. We are wary of both of these movements because they have zero interest in Black communities. In fact, they do not even want to acknowledge the existence of these neighborhoods. Except in some sort of abstract way, as in they don't go there but surely some sort of 'program' can address the needs of 'those people.' We prefer President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush to these exclusive movements. At least those presidents let us in the door in high-level positions. And acknowledge our existence. Even the GOP recruited Micheal Steele. So don't go thinking you are 'all that' Tea Party Movement. Neither you nor your step sister the Environmental Movement are 'all that' to us.

The Mickey Leland Environmental Internship Program

Norris McDonald & Mickey Leland, 1982
The Mickey Leland Environmental Internship Program provides summer internship opportunities for minorities, women, and economically disadvantaged students pursuing environmental, engineering, science-related, and public administration careers at colleges and universities across the United States. The program was established in 1992 by the Texas Water Commission (a predecessor agency to the TCEQ) in partnership with the Texas Water Development Board, the Texas General Land Office, the Texas Chemical Council, the Texas Council of the American Electronics Association and numerous private corporation.

The purpose of the program is to expose undergraduate and graduate students to environmental issues and provide them with opportunities to gain professional experience.
The program honors the late U.S. Congressman Mickey Leland's effective efforts to promote a clean and healthy environment. Congressman Leland was killed in a plane crash on August 7, 1989, en route to Ethiopia on a mission as Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Hunger. Leland's environmental commitment is well documented. He was most noted for his contributions as a member of the Subcommittee on Health and Environment. He emphasized and demonstrated the importance of heightened awareness and involvement of minority participation in the protection of public health and environmental issues and consistently addressed public health issues related to the minority community.

Students interested in participating in the Mickey Leland program must have completed at least 60 undergraduate semester hours at the end of the most immediate past Fall semester or be a current graduate student enrollee. Candidates must be enrolled full time during the current Spring semester and have a minimum academic grade point average of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale at the time of application.

The official deadline for submitting the application and supporting documents will be April 1, 2010. Interested intern candidates should submit an application form.

AAEA President McDonald, pictured above with Mickey Leland in 1982, organized the first Congressional Black Caucus Energy Braintrust in cooperation with the congressman's office. (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality)

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Grio's 100 Features 7 Black Environmentalists

During Black History Month, the Grio is featuring 100 influential African Americans in various fields designated as "History Makers In The Making." They Black environmentalists include:

1) Lisa Jackson - EPA Administrator

2) Jerome Ringo - Greenports

3) Will Allen - Growing Power

4) Shelton Johnson - National Park Service

5) Robert Bullard - Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University

6) Beverly Wright - Deep South Center for Environmental Justice at Dillard University

7) Majora Carter - The Majora Carter Group, LLC

(the Grio's 100)