Sunday, December 28, 2008

Parson wants new laws for petitioners (Missouri)

Reform would curb fraud, official says.

Chad Livengood
December 27, 2008

When an interest group wants to gather signatures in Missouri to put a proposed change in the Constitution before voters, they commonly hire people to help.
And those petition circulators typically get paid per signature, heightening the possibility of fraudulent names being signed to the forms.
State Rep. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar, wants to put an end to the practice of people being paid for every signature they gather.
"What's happening is a company or a special-interest group can come in from out of the state, basically unload the signature gathers (from a bus), do a marketing campaign and change the Constitution of the State of Missouri," he said.
Parson said the system is being abused by people who are more interested in making money than making legitimate improvements to the Constitution.
"Let's face it, do they really care what the issue is they're doing? Their job is to gather signatures," said Parson, a former Polk County sheriff. "If we're going to change the Constitution of the state of Missouri, let's have Missourians who are going to do it."

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At Capitol, slavery's story turns full circle

The Boston Globe
Historians hope significance comes to light as Obama takes office
By Michael Kranish, Globe Staff December 28, 2008

WASHINGTON - When Barack Obama takes the oath of office at the US Capitol, the first African-American to become president will be standing amid stonework laid by slaves more than two centuries ago. He will appear before a crowd massed on the Mall, where slaves were once held in pens, ready for auction. He will end his inauguration route at the White House, where the foundations were laid by slaves, and where eight presidents held blacks as their human property.
At nearly every turn of Obama's march to history, the thread that deeply intertwines the founding of the nation with its great stain, slavery, will be evident. Yet for all the attention on Obama's racial breakthrough, the full story of slavery in the nation's capital remains beneath the surface.
While the Lincoln Memorial on the far end of the Mall draws attention to the fight to end slavery, there is no memorial at the spot near the Capitol where slaves were once kept and sold in a three-story building called the Yellow House.
"Many people come down to the National Mall and never realize that they are walking on the site of the slave markets," said Jesse J. Holland, author of the recent book, "Black Men Built the Capitol." Now, with Obama's inauguration, historians are hoping that the role of slaves in the history of building Washington will become more widely recognized.
Obama is the son of a black African father and a white Kansan mother, while his wife, Michelle, has a direct connection to America's history of enslavement, as Obama noted during the presidential campaign, saying the next first lady "carries within her the blood of slaves and slave owners." Her great-great grandfather, on her father's side, was born into slavery and is believed to have lived in a small cabin at a coastal South Carolina rice plantation.
Thus, a story that begins with slavery comes full circle with the arrival of the Obamas. "It is an affirmation of the whole democratic ideal in American history," said historian William Seale, author of "The President's House."
It was in the early 1790s that the government of the United States, founded on the notion that "all men are created equal," began to pay slaveholders for the work of their slaves on both the Capitol and the White House.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Secret Service penalized in discrimination case

Agency accused of denying minority agents promotion because of their race
The Associated Press
updated 9:11 p.m. ET, Thurs., Dec. 18, 2008

WASHINGTON - A judge ruled the Secret Service "made a mockery" of the law to thwart black agents accusing it of bias and penalized the agency by barring it from introducing rebuttal evidence during the trial of their lawsuit.
The severe and rarely invoked penalty — just short of awarding victory to the agents — is the latest twist in an eight-year-old case that alleges the Secret Service denied minority agents promotion because of their race.
In a scalding 51-page opinion issued late Wednesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson concluded the Secret Service refused to provide documents requested by the plaintiffs during the discovery phase of the trial, ignored judicial rules and defied court orders so extensively that it damaged the agents' ability to present their case.
Robinson concluded that "no reasonable search for the documents responsive to plaintiff's requests ... was ever conducted" despite federal rules requiring it, 9 separate court orders by Robinson demanding it and three previous penalties imposed by Robinson. The agency's "substantial and prejudicial" stubbornness "virtually mandates a finding that defendant's noncompliance ... was willful," Robinson wrote.
The U.S. Attorney's office plans to appeal Robinson's decision, Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said, adding, "It's far from over."
The sanction does not mean the agency has been found guilty of discrimination, though government lawyers argued it was tantamount to that because it does prevent the agency from presenting evidence that particular promotion decisions were made for nondiscriminatory reasons and from presenting statistical evidence to rebut claims that bias affected an entire class of employees.
Lawyers for agents must still present evidence of discrimination at trial.
A discriminatory culture?The lawsuit was filed in 2000. The plaintiffs say white colleagues and supervisors regularly use a racial epithet to refer to criminal suspects and black leaders of other countries. The lawsuit claims the Secret Service has always had a discriminatory culture — a claim the agency denies.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Obama Labor Appointee Vows to Bolster Unions, Enforcement, Training

Workforce Management
December 19, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama’s nominee for secretary of labor promised to bolster unions, workforce training and the agency’s enforcement of pay rules when she was introduced at a Chicago press conference on Friday, December 19.
Obama has tapped Rep. Hilda Solis, D-California, to helm the Department of Labor, one of four appointments he made Friday. He also announced his choices for secretary of transportation, U.S. trade representative and head of the Small Business Administration.
In her fourth term representing parts of Los Angeles and outlying areas of the city, Solis is the third Hispanic that Obama has chosen for a Cabinet position. He said that she “has been a champion of our middle class” and “an advocate for everyday people.”
Obama asserted that Solis would turn around what he called a wayward agency.
“For the past eight years, the Department of Labor has not lived up to its role either as an advocate for hardworking families or as an arbitrator of fairness in relations between labor and management,” Obama said. “That will change when Hilda Solis is secretary of labor. Under her leadership, I am confident that the Department of Labor will once again stand up for working families.”

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Monday, December 22, 2008


The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
December 18, 2008

Universal Agreement in Florida Covers 56 ‘Old Country Store’ Locations Statewide

TAMPA – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (Cracker Barrel) today announced the signing of a Universal Agreement to Mediate (UAM) to informally resolve workplace disputes through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) prior to an EEOC investigation or potential litigation. The UAM applies to 56 Cracker Barrel establishments throughout Florida.
“We commend Cracker Barrel for entering this mediation partnership, which signals its intent to address workplace disputes in a constructive manner,” said EEOC Chair Naomi C. Earp. “More employers nationwide are realizing the many benefits of EEOC mediation, which saves time, money, and is non-adversarial.”
Michael J. Zylstra, Cracker Barrel Vice President and General Counsel, said: “Cracker Barrel is committed to providing a fully inclusive workplace, where diversity is welcomed and everyone is treated with courtesy and respect. This innovative agreement builds upon our existing policies and procedures to effectively and fairly resolve employee concerns and demonstrates our shared goal to create a bias free workplace. We look forward to developing an even stronger relationship with the EEOC.”
Under the terms of the UAM, all eligible charges of discrimination filed with the EEOC Miami District Office in the State of Florida in which Cracker Barrel Old Country Store is named as an employer/respondent will be referred to the EEOC’s mediation unit, as appropriate. The company will designate a corporate representative to handle all inquiries and other logistical matters related to potential charges in order to facilitate a prompt scheduling of the matter for EEOC mediation.
Expanding mediation is a key component of the EEOC’s efforts to improve operational efficiency and effectiveness. The EEOC has entered into 178 national and regional Universal Agreements to Mediate (UAMs) with private sector employers, including several Fortune 500 companies.
Additionally, EEOC district offices have entered into approximately 1,275 mediation agreements with employers at the local levels within their respective jurisdictions. Under the EEOC’s National Mediation Program, more than 110,000 charges of employment discrimination have been mediated with about 70% being successfully resolved in an average time of 97 days – less than half the time it takes to resolve a charge through an EEOC administrative investigation.
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of the publicly held CBRL Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: CBRL). Established in 1969 in Lebanon, Tenn., Cracker Barrel operates 582 company-owned locations in 41 states – including 59 stores in the State of Florida. Further information about the company is available on its web site at
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, gender (including sexual harassment and pregnancy), religion, national origin, age, disability and retaliation. Further information about the EEOC and its mediation program is available on its web site at

Mo. affirmative action proposal prompts litigation
Associated Press Writer
Monday, Dec. 22, 2008

A proposed constitutional amendment banning many Missouri affirmative action programs again has prompted litigation over the wording of the proposal's ballot summary.

Earlier this month, the secretary of state's office approved for circulation a proposed 2010 ballot measure that would restrict affirmative action programs in public contracting, employment and education. But the measure's description - just like an identical proposition for the 2008 ballot - has prompted a legal fight over the fairness of the ballot summary prepared by the secretary of state's office.

Although supporters of initiative petitions write the language of their own measures, the secretary of state's office writes the summaries that appear on the ballot. So supporters and opponents of controversial measures frequently sue on claims that the state's summary is unfair or insufficient.

The 2010 summary written by Secretary of State Robin Carnahan's office asks whether the state constitution should be amended to: "Ban affirmative action programs designed to eliminate discrimination against, and improve opportunities for, women and minorities in public contracting, employment and education; and allow preferential treatment based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin to meet federal program funds eligibility standards as well as preferential treatment for bona fide qualifications based on sex?"

Petition sponsor Tim Asher said Monday the wording is inaccurate, confusing, unfair and prejudicial. Critics of the ballot measure don't like the state's summary either, calling it insufficient while seeking to have the entire petition declared unconstitutional.

It's a close replay of the legal wrangling that marked Asher's efforts to get an affirmative action petition on the 2008 ballot.

Earlier this year, Cole County Judge Richard Callahan called Carnahan's summary for the 2008 version "troubling" because it could have led voters to believe they were voting for affirmative action programs.

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UT Regents name Cigarroa as chancellor finalist

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
by Associated Press
Dec 22, 2008, 06:37

Francisco Cigarroa, president of the UT Health Science Center, has been named the sole finalist for chancellor of the University of Texas System, the state's largest and most prestigious network of colleges.
The UT Board of Regents unanimously approved the choice after meeting for several hours in a closed, executive session. The only other candidate for the job was AT&T executive John Montford, a former state senator from Lubbock and former chancellor of the Texas Tech University System from 1996 to 2001.
``We are extremely pleased Dr. Cigarroa has agreed to be considered for the position of UT system chancellor,'' said UT Regent Chairman H. Scott Caven. ``The UT System is a national leader in higher education and health care, therefore the selection of a chancellor is one of the most important decisions this governing board will make.''

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Sarkozy Acts for Ethnic Diversity

The New York Times
Filed at 2:41 p.m. ET

PALAISEAU, France (AP) -- President Nicolas Sarkozy, impatient with what he said was the slow pace of promoting diversity in France, announced measures Wednesday to put more ethnic minorities on TV screens, in political parties and in elite schools.
A government action plan to be presented by March will spell out the measures in detail. The project is to be overseen by a newly appointed commissioner for diversity and equality, Yazid Sabeg, a son of Algerian immigrants who is known for his efforts to bring equality to the workplace.
''It's not moving fast enough,'' Sarkozy said in a speech at the elite Ecole Polytechnique, south of Paris, a symbol of the very system that has locked minorities out of the mainstream. France must change so that ''no French person feels like a stranger in his own country.''
Turning to his audience, Sarkozy said prestigious schools must make room for all.
''We are going to throw open the doors of places where tomorrow's elite are formed,'' he said.
He wants top schools to reserve 25 percent of their places for students receiving state aid by September -- and 30 percent by September 2010. Many students who receive government education funds are ethnic minorities from underprivileged backgrounds.
Increasing diversity was a campaign promise of Sarkozy, elected in May 2007. Long ignored, diversity topped the political agenda after fall 2005 riots in poor French neighborhoods exposed deep anger among people of immigrant origin and revealed the extent of discrimination in France.
The election of Barack Obama as U.S. president sparked renewed soul-searching about why so few ethnic minorities rise to the top in France.
Sarkozy squarely rejected affirmative action for France. But in a significant departure from French practice, he raised the possibility that scientists might begin gathering statistics on ethnicity -- long taboo in a country that is officially colorblind.
Researchers are handicapped by the inability to make head counts based on religious or ethnic factors and have pressed for permission to do so. Sarkozy said scientists must be able ''to clearly identify lagging and measure progress.''

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The Disciples of Hatred, in Their Own Words and Images

The New York Times
Published: December 22, 2008

Nazi hunters have made an art of exposing war criminals through photographs taken in the death camp era. This strategy would have worked well against Southern lynch-mob killers who posed for the camera while murdering African-Americans in a campaign of terror that persisted into the mid-20th century.
Black American lives were viewed as expendable in the pre-civil rights South. The murderers who hanged, dismembered or burned black victims alive — before crowds of cheering onlookers — knew well that the law would not act against them. These savage rituals were meant to keep the black community on its knees.
The white men and women who flocked to these carnivals of death sometimes brought along young children, who were photographed no more than an arm’s length away from a mutilated corpse. These photos were often turned into grisly postcards that continued to circulate even after Congress made it illegal to mail them.
A particularly vivid lynching postcard depicts the charred and partially dismembered corpse of Jesse Washington, who was burned before a crowd of thousands in Waco, Tex., in 1916.
The card, which appears to have been written by a white spectator to his parents, is signed “your son Joe.” He refers to the horrific murder — in which the victim’s ears, fingers and sexual organs were severed — as the “barbecue we had last night.” He identifies himself in the crowd by placing a mark in ink about his head.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

$1 Billion More a Year for Gender Equality, Clean Energy and NASA, Says House Chairman
$1 Billion More a Year for Gender Equality, Clean Energy and NASA, Says House

Friday, December 19, 2008By Josiah Ryan, Staff Writer
House Science and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) (Photo: Web site of Rep. Gordon.)
( - Despite the recession, House Science and Technology Committee Chairman Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) introduced an expanded agenda for his committee for 2009, which includes developing clean energy technologies, a proposed expansion of NASA space missions and restoring gender equality to America’s laboratories. It is estimated to cost $1 billion a year in new spending. Gordon said that while he does not know precisely how much the agenda will cost in total, he hopes the proposed $1 billion a year will be paid for, in part, by the stimulus package President-elect Barack Obama has outlined for early 2009. Obama’s plan is estimated to cost nearly $1 trillion over two years. “It’s just a matter of funding what we pass,” said Gordon at a Capitol Hill press conference on Thursday. “We provide the administration with the blueprints and all they have to do is write the check.” A statement given to reporters by Gordon’s office called for action and described both “a climate in crisis” and a “foundering economy” as problems that need “solving.”

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Hilda Solis is Obama Pick for Labor Secretary; Supports Affirmative Action

According to news reports Congresswoman Hilda Solis (D-CA) will be nominated to serve as Secretary of Labor under the Obama Administration. As such, she will be responsible for the enforcement of Executive Order 11246 and other laws that require nondiscrimination and affirmative action by federal contractors. Solis will be the first Hispanic Labor Secretary.

Solis was the first Latina to serve in the California State Senate and received the "Profile in Courage Award" from the John F. Kennedy Library. In her acceptance speech, she indicated her support for affirmative action, among other issues, saying:

"As the first Latina ever elected to the California State Senate, I represent a community that has been historically disenfranchised and sometimes used as political scapegoats for the benefit of a few. I serve as their voice and as such, I have been embroiled in some of the most controversial issues facing the nation; raising the minimum wage, protecting immigrants from sweatshop enslavement, and affirmative action. Now, I am fighting for environmental justice.

In a "Congressional Conversation" with the "Younger Women's Task Force," Solis said:

" I support affirmative action in educational settings. Encouraging more women and minorities to enter into a wide variety of fields will produce the qualified candidates needed in the public and private sectors. With the growing diversity of our country, our workforce and government will need to reflect and understand our population. I continue to encourage women and minorities to run for office."

While Rep. Solis is most regarded for her environmental support, her record on civil rights is strong. She is rated 100% by the NAACP and reflects a "pro-affirmative action stance," according to the website "On the Issues." According to this site, Solis also voted:

YES on prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation
NO on Constitutionally defining marriage as one-man-one-woman
Voted NO on making the PATRIOT Act permanent
Voted NO on Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage
Co-sponsored a Constitutional Amendment for equal rights by gender
Rated 87% by the ACLU, indicating a pro-civil rights voting record
Issue a commemorative postage stamp of Rosa Parks
Co-sponsored the bill to Reinforce anti-discrimination and equal-pay requirements

Rep. Solis' bio follows:

First elected in 2000, Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis is serving her fourth term in Congress representing California's 32nd Congressional District, which includes Azusa, Baldwin Park, Covina, Duarte, El Monte, Irwindale, Rosemead, South El Monte, and West Covina and portions of Monterey Park and East Los Angeles. Solis’ priorities in Congress include expanding access to affordable health care, protecting the environment, and improving the lives of working families. Solis is the first Latina to serve on the powerful House Committee on Energy and Commerce, where she is Vice Chair of the Environment and Hazardous Materials (EHM) Subcommittee and a member of the Health and Telecommunications Subcommittees. From 2003-2006, she served as the Ranking Democratic Member of the EHM Subcommittee. Solis also serves on the House Committee on Natural Resources and in March 2007 was named a member of the newly created House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.Solis also serves as Co-Vice Chair of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. She is a Senior Whip, as well as a Regional Whip for Southern California. Solis is also Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Task Force on Health and the Environment, under which she spearheads annual summits across the country about racial and ethnic health disparities.In 2007, Solis was appointed to the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (the Helsinki Commission), as well as the Mexico – United States Interparliamentary Group. In June 2007, Solis was elected Vice Chair of the Helsinki Commission’s General Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions. She is the only U.S. elected official to serve on this Committee.A former Co-Chair of the bi-partisan Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues, Solis is an outspoken advocate for issues of importance to women and families. She has been a leader in efforts to end the murders of women in Guatemala and the U.S. border town of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, and played a key role in the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2006.In Congress, Solis has won legislative victories to: provide workforce training for “green collar” jobs (Public Law 110-140); authorize a federal study of how the San Gabriel River Watershed's recreational and environmental opportunities can be improved (Public Law No. 108-042); remove barriers to U.S. citizenship for non-U.S. citizens serving in the U.S. military and reserves (Public Law 108-136); ban pesticide testing on pregnant women and children; help ensure health care access for Latinos suffering from HIV/AIDS; and promote domestic violence awareness, particularly in communities of color.A nationally recognized leader on the environment, Solis became the first woman to receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in 2000 for her pioneering work on environmental justice issues. Her California environmental justice legislation, enacted in 1999, was the first of its kind in the nation to become law.Solis graduated from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and earned a Master of Public Administration from the University of Southern California. She worked in the Carter White House Office of Hispanic Affairs and was later appointed as a management analyst with the Office of Management and Budget in the Civil Rights Division.Solis was first elected to public office in 1985 as a member of the Rio Hondo Community College Board of Trustees. She served in the California State Assembly from 1992 to 1994, and in 1994 made history by becoming the first Latina elected to the California State Senate. As the chairwoman of the powerful Senate Industrial Relations Committee, she led the battle to increase the state's minimum wage from $4.25 to $5.75 an hour in 1996. She also authored a record seventeen state laws aimed at combating domestic violence.Solis is a lifetime resident of the San Gabriel Valley and currently resides in the city of El Monte with her husband Sam, a small business owner. Her parents and six siblings continue to be a great source of inspiration to Congresswoman Solis.

AAAA - SJW 12/19/08

A New Look at the Impact of Diversity

Inside Higher Ed
Dec. 19
A New Look at the Impact of Diversity

Much of the rhetoric about diversity is based on ideas about what happens when students are exposed (or are hardly ever exposed) to people who are from different backgrounds than they are. A new study that tracked 2,000 students at the University of California at Los Angeles attempts to move beyond the rhetoric by documenting exactly what does happen when students interact with different kinds of fellow students.
Some of the findings may cheer supporters of affirmative action. Notably, the research found a positive impact on racial attitudes from students who are exposed to those of other races and ethnicities. While many educators have long said that they believe in such an impact, the new study provides longitudinal research to back up what to many has been conventional wisdom more than scientific research. These findings may be crucial because court rulings upholding the legality of affirmative action have made the point that some broad societal gain is needed, not just the individual benefit that goes to an admitted minority students.
Other findings, however, may anger some diversity advocates (not to mention some fraternity and sorority leaders). The researchers examined the impact of membership in groups that are defined largely by race and ethnicity (such as black student unions) as well as membership in groups that do not have an explicit racial or ethnic mission, but have overwhelmingly white members (some fraternities and sororities). Generally, they found that a negative impact resulted from membership in these groups — white or minority — in which belonging to such a group led to an increase in feelings of victimization.
“The overall point of this study was to try to find out what effects the college experience has on intergroup attitudes of students,” said Jim Sidanius, the lead author and a professor of psychology at Harvard University. The results are being released this month in The Diversity Challenge: Social Identity and Intergroup Relations on the College Campus, a book being published by the Russell Sage Foundation. (The other authors are Shana Levin of Claremont McKenna College, Colette Van Laar of Leiden University and David O. Sears of UCLA.)

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AAAA Note: "The Diversity Challenge" is now available on the AAAA Bookstore. Go to: to purchase your copy and support AAAA's programs!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bad Corporate News Finds Few Women on Board

Run Date: 12/18/08
By Saabira Chaudhuri
WeNews correspondent

The outpouring of bad U.S. corporate news has produced a news gallery of mainly male faces. There's a matching shortage of women on corporate boards, although Rupert Murdoch did tap opera singer Natalie Bancroft for News Corporation last year.

(WOMENSENEWS)--Headlines with the word bailout or economic crisis don't cast any glory, but they do show who's mainly in charge of U.S. big business.
And the answer is men.
Rick Wagoner heads up General Motors, the Detroit giant on the brink of bankruptcy. Edward Liddy is top executive at American International Group, which found itself at the epicenter of the home loan crisis. Bernard L. Madoff is the manager of a fictional fund dazzling and shaking onlookers by the sheer magnitude--$50 billion--of its losses.
Beneath the news surface, that same male domination is found on corporate boards, which are required to keep companies on the right track.
Look, for instance, at the automakers now in the limelight as they struggle for public help. Women comprise less than 17 percent of directors.
Women's presence on the corporate boards of the Fortune 500--an annual ranking by the magazine of the country's leading companies--inched up in the first four years of this decade.
But over the past three years that progress stagnated, with the composition of women in those influential and high-status posts reaching 14 percent and apparently refusing to budge, according to surveys conducted by Catalyst, the New York nonprofit research organization that focuses on women in business.
"The numbers are very low, but what I think is even more significant is that the increases have become trifling," says Sheila Wellington, clinical professor of management at New York University's Stern School of Business, and former president of Catalyst.
Wellington says that, as in the early 1990s, many companies began taking the view that "women's advancement is a done deal; it's taken care of."
She points to the danger of tokenism. Many companies, she says, consider their boards diverse when they appoint a woman or two. For that reason it's important to continue disseminating hard data about representation.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Lynching in Brooklyn

The New York Times
December 17, 2008

The murder of José Sucuzhañay, an Ecuadorean immigrant who died over the weekend at a hospital in Queens, has thrown a harsh light onto a savage, hate-inspired crime that should sicken us all. This horror is also a reminder that bigotry can be deadly, not just to the groups intentionally targeted, but to anyone unfortunate enough to cross its path.
José and his brother Romel appear to have been misidentified as gay as they walked home, arms around each other, on a predawn morning in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. Romel managed to escape the three men who emerged from a passing car wielding a baseball bat and shouting anti-gay and anti-Latino epithets.
José was struck on the head with a bottle, then kicked and beaten into unconsciousness. He was subsequently declared brain dead and expired last Friday night, one day before his mother, who was traveling from Ecuador, could reach him.
The victim, who had come to this country a decade ago, had been living the immigrant dream. Starting out as a waiter, he eventually bought several buildings and became co-owner of a real estate agency in Bushwick. He cared for his community and was well-liked in return.
This was the second recent killing of an Ecuadorean in the New York area.

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Ward Connerly continues to crusade against equal opportunity

The St. Louis American
Monday, December 15, 2008
9:55 AM CST

Ward Connerly, the multi-millionaire California political operative has initiated again his plan to re-write Missouri’s state constitution and outlaw equal opportunity programs after failing in four of five states that he attempted to pass his divisive and deception “civil rights” initiative. On Thursday, the Missouri Secretary of State's office announced that it had approved for circulation Connerly’s proposed initiative.“The people of Missouri joined three other states this year in rejecting Ward Connerly’s out-of state campaign to re-write state constitutions and outlaw equal opportunity programs but he hasn’t learned any lessons from his failure,” said Kristina Wilfore, Executive Director of the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, “Before he gets started again he needs to take responsibility for the trail of fraud he has left in his path.”This year Connerly spent over $3 million in out-of-state funding to re-write constitutions in five states- Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma. As a result, he failed to qualify for the ballot in Arizona, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Connerly’s initiative was defeated in Colorado 51%-49% but passed in Nebraska 58%-42%. However a court decision is still pending on a legal challenge that questions whether Connerly’s campaign broke the law to in order to place the initiative on the ballot in Nebraska.He chose to employ an out-of-state, paid signature gathering firm with a shady past to collect petitions for his initiatives, and was plagued by charges of fraud and deception in every state.

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Gene Reduces College-Going for Men Who Lack Social Support

The Chronicle of Higher Education
Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Young men are less likely to attend college if they carry a common form of a gene associated with poor impulse control, a new study has found. But the study also found that a strong environment—a high-quality high school and heavily involved parents—can counteract that genetic risk. For boys with this gene who grow up in supportive environments, there was no drop in college attendance.
The study, which was written by three sociologists and a behavioral geneticist, examined genes and survey data from more than 2,500 people who have participated in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The paper appears in the November issue of the American Journal of Sociology, which was published last week.
The lead author, Michael J. Shanahan, a professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, insists that the study should not be used to support fatalism or genetic determinism. On the contrary, he says, the study offers a new kind of evidence about the roles that social institutions play in reproducing or ameliorating inequality. ...

Among white men, 59.3 percent of those without DRD2 risk continued their educations beyond high school, whereas only 44.4 percent of those with DRD2 risk did so. Among African-American men, 51.5 percent of those without DRD2 risk continued their educations, but only 34.7 percent of those with DRD2 risk did so.

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Men trail women at tertiary study
By REBECCA TODD - The Press Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Three times more women than men will graduate from New Zealand tertiary institutions by 2025, a new report says.

A new Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report, Higher Education to 2030, predicts that women will make up 76 percent of tertiary education graduates in New Zealand by 2025, despite accounting for only 60 percent of all students.
In 2005, they made up 61 percent of graduates and 59 percent of students.
In Australia, women are expected to make up 62 percent of graduates in 2025, and 71 percent in Britain.
Student populations in OECD countries were dominated by men until the 1990s, when "inequalities to the detriment of men" started to reverse the trend, the report says.
Women were marrying and having children later and faced less discrimination in the workplace, which encouraged them into tertiary education.
"There is a need now to review policies on educational equality between the sexes by taking note of the fact that it is not now women who are necessarily at a disadvantage, and also by paying attention to the achievement of boys," the report says.

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Bias Against Older Candidates

Inside Higher Ed
Dec. 17
Bias Against Older Candidates

Everyone knows that colleges doing faculty hiring can’t bar people from applying if they are over 40 (or some other cutoff). That’s age discrimination and that’s illegal.
But are departments paying attention?
In 2005, the American Historical Association decided to retire its statement banning age discrimination, and simply added a line to general statements about all kinds of discrimination condemned by the society. This month, responding to reports of age discrimination in faculty hiring, the association has reinstated its original explanation about why age discrimination is both illegal and wrong. And some experts on age discrimination suggest that historians are hardly unique in experiencing the problem, and may just be ahead of other parts of academe in acknowledging it.
Among those who have most frequently raised concerns about age discrimination are adjuncts. Departments that have no problem hiring adjuncts to teach courses semester after semester many times hesitate, they say, even to consider these instructors when full-time, tenure-track positions open up. Younger candidates, with new Ph.D.’s and less teaching experience, seem to beat them out, many report, even for positions that are teaching oriented. And the AHA statement agrees that this is one of the situations in which age discrimination is taking place.
“When a department or institution decides to confine its search to younger applicants, it discriminates against two groups,” the statement says. “One is made up of older individuals who earned their doctorates during the job shortages of the 1970s and 1980s, have since held a variety of temporary and part-time positions, and are interested in entry-level positions that offer the possibility of tenured status. Although their teaching experience and often impressive publications might be expected to give them an advantage in the search process, they sometimes find themselves dismissed without interviews as ‘overqualified.’ “
The statement also refers to a second group of victims of age bias: “The other group that suffers age discrimination is made up of those who have earned their degrees later in life and thus are recent Ph.D.’s but no longer young. Such candidates have received the same training as their younger colleagues and have benefited from more extensive life experience, yet search committees sometimes tend to be biased against those whose lives do not fit traditional patterns. By eliminating well-qualified candidates simply because of age, search committees lose valuable opportunities to enrich their departments and institutions.”

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ex-Foley & Lardner associate may sue firm for alleged discrimination

The National Law Journal
Lynne Marek / Staff reporter
December 16, 2008

CHICAGO — Zafar Hasan, a former associate in Foley & Lardner's Chicago office, can proceed with an employment discrimination suit against the law firm, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in a ruling today that overturned a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Hasan, who is a Muslim of Indian descent, alleges in the 2004 lawsuit that certain partners at the law firm pushed to fire him on the basis of his race, religion, color and national origin after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in New York. The firm first justified Hasan's dismissal by saying his performance was poor, but later, after positive work evaluations turned up, said that the firm didn't have enough work to keep him busy, according to a recap of the lawsuit in the 7th Circuit decision. The U.S. District Court granted summary judgment to the law firm, saying that Hasan hadn't created a "convincing mosaic" of evidence of the discrimination that could permit a jury to agree that Foley had intentionally discriminated against Hasan, but the appellate court disagreed and said there was sufficient evidence. Hasan had been an associate in the business law department until he was asked in December 2002 to leave within six months because of "deficiencies in his performance." "That 'mosaic' of evidence, together with the unresolved questions of fact, is sufficient under the direct method of proof for Mr. Hasan to survive summary judgment on his discrimination claims," the Dec. 15 7th Circuit decision said.

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Black Enrollment at Columbia Tops Ivy League for Third Year

Columbia Spectator
By Aaron Kiersh
Published December 08, 2008

Columbia leads the Ivy League in enrolled black first-years for the third consecutive year, according to the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. The class of 2012 includes 162 African-American students, or 12.1 percent of the class, up 80 percent from 2004.
Columbia is the only Ivy League institution where the first-year class is more than 10 percent black.
Black Student Organization president and Multicultural Recruitment Committee member Ruqayyah Abdul-Karim, CC ’10, was unsurprised by the statistics.
“I had an idea that our student body is now at or over 50 percent students of color,” Abdul-Karim said. “I am really encouraged by these figures because they are very reflective of the national population, which is what we set out to do.”
Abdul-Karim denied that admissions officers had applied affirmative action to admit a designated number of minorities.
“We do not want more of one demographic versus another,” she said. “We do not have outreach efforts specifically geared towards one specific ethnic group. We do work hard to cultivate prospective first-generation college students and low-income young people. We want to make sure the opportunity is there for everyone.”

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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
December 11, 2008

EEOC Says Three Women Subjected to Vulgar Sexual Comments, Unwanted Touching, Propositioning

SEATTLE – Fred Meyer Stores, Inc. (Fred Meyer) will pay $485,000 to three female victims of sexual harassment and retaliation to settle a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the EEOC announced today.
According to the EEOC’s suit (EEOC, et. al. v. Fred Meyer Stores, Inc. No. CV08-0208 HA, United States District Court of Oregon), the company’s practice of harassing female employees occurred during 2004 through 2005 at the Fred Meyer Oregon City store. The EEOC says the sexually hostile work environment started at the top, with illegal conduct by the store director and operations manager. The EEOC further asserted in the litigation that the store director and operations manager repeatedly subjected females to graphic sexual discussions, unwanted touching, and requests for sexual favors.
The lawsuit alleged that Fred Meyer condoned and accepted this sexually harass­ing behavior, and the Commission obtained testimony from the company’s human resources manager who witnessed the harassing conduct on several occasions and simply walked away. According to the EEOC, the same human resources manager failed to take appropriate action against the store director or operations manager. In addition, the EEOC charged that the company retaliated against the female employees when they complained about the sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about it violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.
Under a consent decree filed with the federal court, Fred Meyer agreed to pay $485,000 to the three women who came forward during the EEOC’s lawsuit. The company also agreed to provide anti-discrimination training for the owner, managers, supervisors and employees; establish policies and procedures to address sexual harassment issues; provide information to the EEOC concerning any future discrimination complaints; and allow EEOC to monitor the work site for the next two years.
“It is unfortunate that these women had to endure a workplace permeated with such sexual hostility. We are hopeful that Fred Meyer Stores learns from this litigation that one of the most important duties it has to its employees is to keep them safe from workplace discrimination,” said EEOC’s San Francisco District Office Director Mike Baldonado.
EEOC Regional Attorney William Tamayo added, “The evidence in this litigation pointed to an alarming lack of recent workplace, anti-discrimination training for the high level managers involved in this case. It is unfortunate that a sophisticated employer like Fred Meyer Stores failed to recognize the importance of such training for its managers.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, gender, religion, national origin, age and disability. The Seattle Field Office’s jurisdiction includes Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at

Free-Speech Group Says Most Colleges Violate the First Amendment

Chronicle of Higher Education
News Blog
December 15, 2008

Nearly three-quarters of colleges and universities maintain unconstitutional speech codes, according to a report released today by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. The group, known as FIRE, gave 270 of 364 institutions a “red light” for having “at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech.” In last year’s report, FIRE gave 259 of 346 colleges and universities that designation: 74.9 percent, compared with 74.2 percent this year.
In its news release announcing the report, the group quotes from a few universities’ antiharassment policies and lists recent targets of its Speech Code Litigation Project. The group has recently represented students in battles against the State University of New York at Binghamton, Temple University, Valdosta State University, and the University of Delaware. —Sara Lipka

Monday, December 15, 2008


The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

A Message from the Chair

I am pleased to present the U.S. Equal Employment OpportunityCommission’s (EEOC’s) Performance and Accountability Report (PAR)for Fiscal Year 2008. This report contains the agency’s assessment ofits FY 2008 program and financial performance, as well as anupdated Strategic Plan that was approved by the Commission andnow covers the period through FY 2012.In FY 2008, while trying to maintain sufficient staff levels, our privatesector charge receipts rose to 15.2% above last year’s level.Nevertheless, we continued to focus on improving our delivery ofservices to the public and strengthening our systemic enforcementefforts. In September, I appointed one of our key field officedirectors to serve as the national systemic investigation programmanager. I also promoted two regional attorneys to senior litigationproject managers for the program. Our strong and growing systemicprogram is crucial to the elimination of any and all instances ofunlawful pattern or practices, policy and class discrimination whichhave a broad impact on an industry, profession, company, orgeographic location.In early December 2008, we will complete the move of ourWashington Headquarters and Washington Field Office to 1 NoMa Station, located in a newlydeveloping area northeast of the Capitol. We are confident that our new location, in the heart of anincreasingly vibrant commercial and residential community, will address our infrastructure needs andenhance our efforts to serve the public.In the context of service, the transitioning of our National Contact Center, which was responsible forreceiving initial calls and inquiries from the public, from an outside contractor to an in-house operation,known as the Intake Information Group (IIG), is nearly complete. The steps taken during FY 2008included hiring and training IIG staff and beginning the process of acquiring the technology needed toprovide superior customer service. We expect that the transition, which began in December 2007, willbe completed by February 2009.While this has proven to be another year of significant challenge, I am gratified that we have receivedan unqualified opinion for the fifth consecutive year from independent auditors. I am confident that thefinancial information and the data measuring EEOC’s performance contained in this report arecomplete and accurate.We have also worked together to manage our internal controls environment. Based on a review of agencywidematerials and the assurances of the agency’s senior managers, the agency’s management andfinancial controls environment under the Federal Managers’ Financial Integrity Act (FMFIA) was sound in FY2008. The agency did identify 20 financial non-conformances, including 7 that were carried over from theprevious fiscal year. Of the 20 identified, 16 financial non-conformances were fully corrected in FY 2008,including the 7 that had been carried over from FY 2007. Of the 4 remaining financial non-conformances,the agency has implemented corrective action plans to resolve all of the findings in FY 2009.2 A Message from the ChairOn the policy front, in fiscal year 2009, we will address the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act(GINA), which prohibits public and private employers from using genetic information in employmentdecisions. The EEOC will also be providing tailored training and technical advice and assistance to itsfull array of stakeholders regarding GINA and its implementing regulations that will be issued in fiscalyear 2009. In addition, the agency will be issuing regulations implementing the Americans WithDisabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008, which changes the way EEOC will be evaluating charges ofdiscrimination received under Title I of the ADA and federal sector complaints brought under Section501 of the Rehabilitation Act.In looking ahead, we find that race and color discrimination are still very much alive in the Americanworkplace and that significant work remains to be done. Beyond traditional outreach and educationefforts, we will pursue charges for priority, novel or emerging legal issues in the context of race andcolor discrimination, through the agency’s E-RACE Initiative.We will also pursue several other key outreach programs, as part of our proactive prevention efforts,including continuing our work with small and medium-sized businesses and Commission Initiatives,such as the Youth@Work and LEAD Initiatives. We will continue our fee-based training and ouroutreach, education and technical assistance programs to meet the needs of diverse audiences and willpartner with the employer community and other stakeholders to foster strategies to recognize andprevent discrimination in the workplaceAll of our activities during the past fiscal year were in furtherance of our mission of promoting equalityof opportunity in the workplace, while providing high-quality, professional customer service that thepublic expects. With the achievement of solid and meaningful results, we have made enormousprogress towards ensuring equal employment opportunity for America’s workforce, present andprospective.

Obama's True Colors: Black, White ... or Neither?

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
by Associated Press
Dec 15, 2008, 03:48

A perplexing new chapter is unfolding in Barack Obama's racial saga: Many people insist that "the first Black president" is actually not Black.
Debate over whether to call this son of a White Kansan and a Black Kenyan biracial, African-American, mixed-race, half-and-half, multiracial — or, in Obama's own words, a “mutt” — has reached a crescendo since Obama's election shattered assumptions about race.
Obama has said, “I identify as African-American — that’s how I’m treated and that’s how I’m viewed. I’m proud of it.” In other words, the world gave Obama no choice but to be Black, and he was happy to oblige.
But the world has changed since the young Obama found his place in it.
Intermarriage and the decline of racism are dissolving ancient definitions. The candidate Obama, in achieving what many thought impossible, was treated differently from previous Black generations. And many White and mixed-race people now view President-elect Obama as something other than Black.
So what now for racial categories born of a time when those from far-off lands were property rather than people, or enemy instead of family?
"They're falling apart," said Dr. Marty Favor, a Dartmouth professor of African and African-American studies and author of the book Authentic Blackness.
"In 1903, W.E.B. DuBois said the question of the 20th century is the question of the color line, which is a simplistic Black-White thing," said Favor, who is biracial. "This is the moment in the 21st century when we're stepping across that."

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Defeating Giants On The Ballot

Denver Urban Spectrum
By: Carlos Valverde, Jr.

Ward Connerly, the anti-affirmative action millionaire from California, steamrolled into Colorado like a heavyweight champion. Like Clubber Lane from the movie Rocky III, Connerly and his Amendment 46 seemed unstoppable with prior statewide ballot victories in California, Washington, and Michigan. The undefeated champion was the odds-on favorite in Colorado, boasting tremendous financial resources and deceptive ballot language that gave him a huge 18 point lead in the early polls.
Connerly usurped language from the 1964 Civil Rights Act to create this backdoor attack on equal opportunity initiatives. This measure looked to undermine the very principles of the Civil Rights Act and the movement that spawned it. It would have eliminated programs like the Colorado Pay Equity Commission that works to reduce the pay gap between men and women, numerous college scholarship for minorities, and government contracting opportunities for both women and minorities.
Connerly teamed up with the Independence Institute, the rough-n-tough mouthpiece for the right-wing conservative movement in Colorado. The team seemed invincible like Clubber Lane. Who would take them on, who would fight for civil rights? Colorado has some heavy hitters too, but many seemed to be engaged in other ballot fights, and others seemed to be afraid of losing to these giants.
Then, like Rocky Balboa coming out of retirement, the local, longtime protectors of equal opportunity came together to take on the challenge. Now, these weren’t the usual big names of civil rights in Colorado. These were the small grassroots organizations and community members that make up Colorado Unity.
The Colorado Unity coalition formed in 1996 to educate Coloradans about the importance of a diverse society and equal opportunity for all in our great state. The coalition, lead by 9to5 National Organization of Working Women and the Colorado Progressive Coalition, laced up their gloves to take on the giants.

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Initiative Petition Relating to Banning Affirmative Action Programs Approved for Circulation for 2010 Ballot

Missouri Secretary of State
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Contact: Laura Egerdal, (573) 526-0949
Contact: Ryan Hobart, (573) 526-4734
Initiative Petition Relating to Banning Affirmative Action Programs Approved for Circulation for 2010 Ballot

JEFFERSON CITY, MISSOURI - Secretary of State Robin Carnahan announced today that a new initiative petition met state standards for circulation. The petition would amend the Missouri Constitution relating to banning affirmative action programs.
The ballot title for the petition relating to banning affirmative action programs reads:
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:
ban affirmative action programs designed to eliminate discrimination against, and improve opportunities for, women and minorities in public contracting, employment and education; and
allow preferential treatment based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin to meet federal program funds eligibility standards as well as preferential treatment for bona fide qualifications based on sex?
The total cost or savings to state and local government entities is unknown. Most state governmental entities estimate no costs or savings, however, costs or savings related to future contracts are unknown. Some local governments estimate no costs or savings, but prohibition of certain municipal policies may result in unknown costs.
Before any constitutional changes can be brought before Missouri voters in the November 2010 election, signatures must be obtained from registered voters equal to eight (8) percent of the total votes cast in the 2008 governor's election from six of the state's nine congressional districts.
Signatures on behalf of all initiative petitions for the 2010 ballot are due to the Secretary of State’s office by no later than 5 p.m. on May 2, 2010.
Before circulating petitions, state law requires that groups must first have the form of their petition approved by the Secretary of State and Attorney General. The Secretary of State then prepares a summary statement of no more than 100 words and the State Auditor prepares a fiscal impact statement, both of which are subject to the approval of the Attorney General. When both statements are approved, they become the official ballot title.
The petition relating to banning affirmative action programs was submitted by Tim Asher, Missouri Civil Rights Initiative, P.O. Box 545, Grain Valley, MO, 64029, (816) 812-4929.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bean Counting, 2008

The Washington Post

Achieving diversity in presidential appointments is a lot easier than it was in 1992.
Thursday, December 11, 2008; A24

ONE OF THE more jarring moments of Bill Clinton's presidential transition came at a Dec. 21, 1992, news conference in Little Rock, when a finger-wagging president-elect lashed out at feminist "bean counters" who, he asserted, were "playing quota games and math games" in assessing the diversity of appointments to a Cabinet he had vowed would "look like America." Fast-forward 16 years, and the atmosphere is gratifyingly different.
Part of that, certainly, stems from the temperamental differences between the two presidents-to-be and the differing styles of their campaigns and transitions. Mr. Clinton was prone to anger, in contrast to President-elect Barack Obama's cool; the Obama campaign and transition have been astonishingly successful at keeping disagreements and tensions private. Behind the scenes, assembling the diverse tableau of appointments made so far has been more difficult than the surface placidity suggests.
Nonetheless, the contrast can also be attributed to the dramatic progress made by women and members of minorities in the intervening years. The Clinton administration itself helped by providing important experience and credentials to many of Mr. Obama's choices; meanwhile, women and minorities have risen in the political ranks of Congress and state governments. Mr. Clinton's push to select the first female attorney general resulted in a tortured search; Eric H. Holder Jr. would be the first African American to serve as the nation's chief law enforcement officer, but, in large part because of his service as the Justice Department's No. 2 official in the Clinton administration, no one questions whether he possesses enough experience. Likewise, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano comes to the top Homeland Security post buttressed by expertise gathered as a prosecutor and a governor of a border state; her gender is icing on the cake. The fact that there has not been a white male secretary of state since Warren Christopher left office in January 1997 offers another data point suggestive of change.
That's not to say that diversity is easily achieved or that it arrives without the kinds of friction that infuriated Mr. Clinton on that winter day so long ago. But it's not only the election of the first African American president that illustrates how much the country has progressed.

Full Editorial:

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Coping when jobs and budgets are slammed by the bad economy

New York Law Journal

Coping when jobs and budgets are slammed by the bad economy.
By Katherine Frink-Hamlett
December 08, 2008

Due to the ailing economy, all departmental budgets of our firm, including diversity, are required to make substantial cuts. I have played an integral role in formulating our firm's diversity activities and, as such, am deeply concerned that the reductions will severely undermine our diversity efforts. I would like to recommend to our Executive committee that our budget be left intact or that minimal cuts be made. Any suggestions?You may have an uphill battle. First, I would note that the cuts are being made on a firmwide basis so it's not as if diversity is being unfairly targeted. But also, you must remember that diversity has to be about the business, especially now, so that unless you can demonstrate that your "diversity activities" have a direct or indirect impact on the firm's bottom line, any appeal to maintain the budget is an untenable position. In order to achieve your goal and preserve your diversity efforts, you must be prepared to make a presentation that not only addresses the firm's diversity image but, as importantly, demonstrates the long-term impact on the firm's diversity numbers and bottom line. For example, if monies are being siphoned from a viable pipeline initiative, then your position is bolstered. Or, if expanded on-campus recruiting at law schools with significant numbers of students of color is being curtailed, then again, your position is completely justified. But if all that you can show is that you're seeking dollars for elaborate diversity events featuring pretty people in pretty places, with pretty smiles upon their faces, then you are on shaky ground. Sure, these functions can yield tremendous good will, but, dollar for dollar, they may not be a top priority, particularly in this tenuous economy. Remember, diversity dollars must make business cents (couldn't resist).

•Katherine Frink-Hamlett, a graduate of New York University School of Law, is president of Frink-Hamlett Legal Solutions, Inc. and can be reached at

Court Weighs Contract Versus Right to Discrimination Trial

Workforce Management

Justices weighed the right of individual workers to file age discrimination suits against the certainty a contract provides employers and unions that the cases will be settled in arbitration.
December 1, 2008

In a case presented Monday, December 1, the Supreme Court considered whether employees can pursue discrimination cases in court even if a collective bargaining agreement mandates that they go to arbitration.
The justices weighed the right of individual workers to file age discrimination suits against the certainty a contract provides employers and unions that the cases will be settled in arbitration, which is considered faster and less costly than court proceedings.
The case revolves around workers employed by Temco Services Industries, a contractor that works in buildings owned by the Pennsylvania Building Co. and 14 Penn Plaza LLC. They were covered by the collective bargaining agreement between the Service Employees International Union and the multi-employer association of the New York City real estate industry.
Several of the Temco workers allege their jobs as night watchmen were taken away and they were reassigned to less desirable positions in August 2003 when Temco contracted with Spartan Security. They said that they were the only people on staff over the age of 50 and filed an age discrimination grievance.
But their union did pursue the wrongful transfer or age discrimination complaints in arbitration. Under the collective bargaining pact, arbitration was mandatory for discrimination claims.
In May 2004, the workers filed discrimination charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, asserting that their rights had been violated under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

Full Story:

Monday, December 8, 2008

Q&A: Lani Guinier and the Pimple on Adonis’ Nose

Diverse Issues in Higher Education
Dec 5, 2008, 22:26

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - Lani Guinier, the Bennett Boskey Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, is among a panel of speakers participating in “The Future of Diversity and Opportunity in Higher Education: A National Forum on Innovation and Collaboration,” conference here this week.
Co-sponsored by Columbia University; the Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia Law School; Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey; and the College Board, the conference opened Wednesday and sessions will continue at Rutgers University through today.
Conference organizers said 325 people had registered, including college presidents, provosts, foundation leaders, researchers, policymakers and professors from a wide variety of institutions.
Scheduled to speak Thursday evening about merit and the mission of higher education, Diverse caught up with Guinier before hand to talk about alternatives to traditional admissions criteria such as test scores and grades that can be used to identify students with the potential to succeed in college and contribute to a global society.
The following are excerpts from our conversation with Guinier.
Q: The topic of your panel discussion, “Reconnecting Merit and the Mission of Higher Education,” is intriguing. How did these two things become unconnected?
There is a sense in which the admissions practice has become the mission. That is … selectivity in admissions is a way of enhancing the reputation of these institutions, as if their mission is to be selective. Whereas I certainly would argue that … the mission of institutions of higher education, whether they are public or private, is a public mission, and it is a democratic mission — that there is a social compact between universities and the larger society … in which we subsidize institutions of higher education. We don’t expect them to pay property taxes. They don’t have to pay taxes on the income from their endowments. They get enormous subsidies for research, as well as for student aid. They get academic freedom and autonomy, and in exchange there are expectations that these institutions will contribute to the larger project of democracy by providing upward mobility and opportunity for people to improve their lives and that of their children, producing new knowledge [through their research] and training future leaders.
But rather than focusing on the extent to which they accomplish that mission, which I would call “democratic merit,” that institutions that realize their role in a democracy are democratically meritorious, we should think about institutional metric. Instead of focusing on democratic merit, it focuses on individual merit and the individuals they attract to campus. They gain lots of prestige based on the accomplishments of the individuals … admitted to the school. But these are individuals they have had nothing to do with. These are people who did whatever they did before they even got to the school. That is what enhances the reputation of the school.
That is one way in which mission and merit have been disconnected, because merit is not about the democratic mission, it is about the reputational index, based on the selectivity of students.
The second point is that the way in which merit is defined at the individual or private level, distracts from or somewhat camouflages the use of merit as a mechanism from laundering wealth and privilege. So what we are calling “merit” is not only disconnected from the democratic mission of the institution but it is also dependent on, or in some ways an enhancer, of those who are already privileged continuing to enjoy the benefits of that privilege. So we overemphasize test scores, the SAT tests, when the research shows those test scores are more highly correlated with your parents’ socioeconomic status than with your future performance.

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Miss France wants to advertise French diversity

Associated Press
By RACHID AOULI, Associated Press Writer – Sun Dec 7, 12:03 pm ET

PARIS – The new Miss France, born to an African-American mother and white French father, said Sunday she wants to advertise her country's diversity on the world stage.
Chloe Mortaud is not the first nonwhite winner of the beauty pageant, but she is joining a growing chorus of French public figures breaking traditions by speaking openly about race.
"I want to go to people and explain to them that fear of the other is unfounded," she told The Associated Press the day after being crowned. "I want to incarnate ... today's French diversity" at international beauty pageants.
France has championed a colorblind standard that sees all citizens as just French, regardless of ethnic origins — an ideal meant to make everyone feel equal. But it has failed to snuff out racism, particularly against immigrants from former French colonies in Africa. Discrimination in part fed riots in 2005 by largely minority youth in French housing projects.
Days after Barack Obama's election last month, leading French figures published a manifesto urging affirmative action-like policies to expand opportunities for millions of blacks, Arabs and other minorities. First lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy said she hoped the "Obama effect" would reshape France's political and social elite.

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Another Obstacle for Affirmative Action, And Congress Is Prepared to Fight

The Washington Post
By Joe Davidson
Wednesday, December 3, 2008; D01

On Nov. 4, amid all the excitement surrounding Barack Obama's election, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit struck down a Pentagon program that included a 5 percent set-aside for companies run by African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans.
The impact of the decision is unclear; the court's focus on an old Pentagon rule to decide the case created uncertainty about whether the set-aside remains. But if the panel's ruling stands, the implications for minority-owned companies that received almost $15 billion in fiscal year 2006 in Defense Department contracts could alter a long-standing program that allowed under-represented groups access to lucrative government contracts.
Last month, the panel ruled that the Defense Department erred when it failed to use a "price evaluation adjustment" tool, which allowed the Pentagon to increase bids from white-owned companies by 10 percent before comparing them to firms owned by people of color.
The Defense Department allowed International Computer and Telecommunications, a firm then owned by a Korean American couple, to win a computer contract even though its $5.75 million bid was $180,000 more than one submitted by Rothe Development, a San Antonio company owned by a white woman. Rothe sued the government in 1998.
A senior Defense Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that at the moment Pentagon officials are confused.
The court talked about the department using "preferential treatment based on race," but with the price tool defunct, that's not the case. "We don't really know what to do . . . " the official said about the decision. "We're having trouble explaining it."

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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
The Federal Hispanic Work Group

Executive Summary
On May 21, 2008, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Chair Naomi C. Earp, in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA) Commissioner Michael J. Astrue, announced the creation of a Federal Hispanic Work Group. This event marked the culmination of a series of discussions between the Chair and representatives of the Hispanic federal and EEO communities.
The Hispanic Work Group was directed to examine concerns about federal sector employment including, but not limited to, hiring, leadership development and retention. More importantly, the Work Group was given the responsibility of formulating recommendations designed to enhance and refocus federal Hispanic employment plans, and to remove barriers and level the playing field to encourage greater opportunities for Hispanic applicants and employees throughout the federal government. The Work Group was tasked with issuing a report containing both assessments of the problems, as well as issues and recommendations on how to resolve them. The enclosed report constitutes the Work Group’s recommendations to the EEOC Chair.
The Work Group divided itself into a series of sub-groups to focus on specific aspects of this problem. The sub-groups included: (a) recruitment and hiring; (b) retention; (c) leadership development; (d) Hispanic Employment Program Managers; (e) accountability; and (f) science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These sub-groups examined data and various facets of the issues, interviewed stakeholders and experts, and developed recommendations to the EEOC Chair.
The Work Group also considered a host of creative ideas and concepts that fell beyond the purview of either the Commission or federal agencies to implement. Included among these are the following: require an agency’s annual budget appropriation to be contingent upon satisfactory EEO performance; pass the Senior Executive Service Diversity Assurance Act; and expand federal employment opportunities to those who are not citizens. These concepts, though noteworthy, could not be included in this report inasmuch as they would require action by the Legislative branch of government.
Examples of the groups’ recommendations are listed below.

Develop a Hispanic Media Outreach Strategy and branding tool to assist agencies in marketing various types of federal employment;
Establish a consortium of federal agencies whose mission-critical occupations include science, technology, engineering and mathematics to coordinate recruitment efforts;
Better utilize intern programs;
Create a government-wide mentoring program;
Create full-time Hispanic Employment Program Manager positions to address Hispanic employment initiatives and programs; and
Include EEO/diversity requirements in all hiring officials’ critical performance elements.

In sum, the enclosed report is designed not only to discuss the problem, but to offer practical, comprehensive solutions that can be adopted by agencies in their effort to enhance employment opportunities for Hispanics.
The Work Group offers its heartfelt thanks to EEOC Chair Naomi C. Earp for her leadership in establishing this Work Group, her continued support and guidance, and enabling us to contribute to this vital endeavor.

To View the Entire Report, go to:


U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
December 2, 2008

Company Refused to Hire Men into Weight Loss Counselor and Other Jobs, Agency Alleged

BALTIMORE – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today that it has resolved its pattern or practice sex discrimination lawsuit against LA Weight Loss Centers, Inc., (renamed Pure Weight Loss, Inc., in early 2007), for $20 million and other significant relief.
According to the EEOC’s suit (WDQ-02-CV-648), filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Pure Weight Loss had a nationwide policy of not hiring qualified males into the positions of counselor/sales, medical assistants, assistant managers, center managers, area supervisors, trainers, and other field positions. Former Area Trainer Kathy Koch was disciplined and fired in retaliation for complaining about the company’s policy of not hiring men and for interviewing male candidates, the EEOC also alleged.
Pure Weight Loss discontinued its business operations in January 2008 and filed a voluntary petition under Chapter 7 of the United States Bankruptcy Code on January 11, 2008, in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Case No. 08-10315-JKF). The bankruptcy trustee has agreed to the terms of the consent decree, which was approved by the bankruptcy court.
Refusing to hire qualified applicants because of their gender, maintaining sex-specific job classifications, and retaliating against employees who protest unlawful discriminatory practices violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Pursuant to the consent decree and as approved by the bankruptcy trustee, the EEOC will have a claim in bankruptcy court of $20 million -- $16,842,656 in back pay and $3,157,344 in punitive damages -- payable to men whom the EEOC determined were subjected to hiring discrimination because of their sex during the period January 1, 1997, through the entry of the decree. The portion of the settlement, if any, that the EEOC will be able to obtain through its pending bankruptcy court claim is presently unknown. Koch settled with Pure Weight Loss in November 2005.
Along with the monetary relief to the class members, the 10-year consent decree provides for significant injunctive relief. The decree applies to all Pure Weight Loss centers or to any successor resuming business operations. The decree:
Prohibits Pure Weight Loss from discriminating against job applicants or employees because of sex and retaliating against any of its employees or applicants;
Requires Pure Weight Loss to use an electronic applicant tracking system for each person hired and for any person who submits an application, and to provide specific information on applicants by sex and other categories defined by the EEOC; and
Mandates that Pure Weight Loss create a discrimination complaint procedure, post its commitment to equal opportunity and a diverse workforce, and report compliance to the EEOC.
Additionally, the consent decree requires hiring of rejected male applicants and includes numerical benchmarks for hiring and/or promoting men to the positions from which they had been previously excluded; requires Pure Weight Loss to conduct quarterly reviews to assess attainment of its hiring goals; and, at the EEOC’s option, requires Pure Weight Loss to employ an outside expert to examine the hiring process to assist in achieving any unmet hiring goals.
“We brought this lawsuit to advance the legal right to a workplace free of sex discrimination and to remind employers that they must make employment decisions based on the applicant’s ability to perform the duties of the job,” said EEOC Philadelphia Regional Attorney Jacqueline McNair, whose jurisdiction includes Maryland.
“EEOC will strongly pursue employers who choose to flagrantly disregard federal law by engaging in systemic gender discrimination,” said EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney Tracy Hudson Spicer. Added EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Ronald L. Phillips, “The EEOC’s systemic initiative was undertaken to combat company-wide discriminatory employment practices like this one.”
The EEOC’s Baltimore Field Office litigation team included EEOC attorneys Tracy Hudson Spicer, Ronald L. Phillips, Corbett Anderson and Cecile Quinlan. Applying the Commission’s national law firm model, the Baltimore team was also assisted in this case by attorneys from EEOC's New York, Boston, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Dallas, and Chicago offices.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at

What Universities Can Do to Graduate More Minority Ph.D.'s

The Chronicle of Higher Education
Thursday, December 4, 2008

Universities have long rued the stark disparity between minority students' share of the population and their share of Ph.D.'s, especially in engineering and the sciences. And three decades' worth of efforts by private foundations and federal agencies seem to have had only sporadic positive effects. But in a session here Wednesday at the annual meeting of the Council of Graduate Schools, three scholars said there is no legitimate reason for universities to give up on diversifying doctoral education. Successful models are out there, the scholars said, and ought to be imitated.
In a nutshell, the panelists' advice was: Think broadly.
If universities want to diversify their doctoral programs, the scholars said, they should improve the academic climate for all of their students, not just for minorities. Universities should consolidate and coordinate the support that is offered by foundations and federal agencies, rather than relying on a hodgepodge of small diversity-related grants and programs. And universities should work together with their regional peers—and even with local school districts—rather than trying to solve the problem on their own.
"Diversity programs can only be successful if the climate for all students is a good one," said Janet C. Rutledge, interim vice provost for graduate education at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.
Ms. Rutledge's campus is among the 29 institutions participating in the Council of Graduate Schools' Ph.D. Completion Project, a seven-year effort to reduce attrition among doctoral students (The Chronicle, September 19). She said that the mere act of carefully measuring their attrition rates had caused many programs on her campus to be more thoughtful about recruiting, training, and overseeing their students. And students from underrepresented minority groups, she added, have disproportionately benefited from those changes.
Daryl E. Chubin, director of the Center for Advancing Science & Engineering Capacity, a project of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, agreed that paying even modest attention to attrition patterns could pay huge dividends.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Dear Workforce: How Do We Measure ROI on Diversity?

Workforce Management
Dear Workforce Newsletter

Dear Workforce: How Do We Measure ROI on Diversity?
Don’t get hung up on proving ROI. Instead, spend your time (and money) on initiatives that make business sense. A successful diversity effort creates a culture in which people of various backgrounds are happy, productive and successful.

Dear Workforce:
What problems might I expect to encounter related to championing diversity in the workplace? Also, what is a good tool to measure the return on investment of having a diverse workforce? I’ve heard varying accounts of whether diversity is a useful tool or merely a politically correct buzzword.
— Blending People Together, services, Allentown, Pennsylvania

Dear Blending:
Promoting the concept of diversity in the workplace is, above all, a process of education. Organizations that report the greatest success (and fewest problems) with diversity obtain maximum productivity from their total workforce. The fundamental concept that your people must understand is easy to grasp: Organizations that get maximum productivity from a wide variety of people tend to perform better than those organizations that don’t.
We have not seen a valid tool for accurately measuring the return on investment in diversity, nor do we believe one exists that would work in a universal sense for most organizations. This article, Diversity’s Business Case Doesn’t Add Up, casts doubt on the claims of some companies that they have proved the ROI of their diversity efforts.
That is not to say that there’s no business value in managing a diverse workforce well; it’s just that no reliable method has been developed to measure that value definitively. That being said, if Company A has developed systems, procedures, policies and a culture that allows men and women from diverse backgrounds to succeed, while Company B’s systems work only for certain types of people, it stands to reason that Company A is going to perform better. The argument needs no help from a measurement tool.
Some people will resist your effort to promote diversity, no matter how skillfully executed. Don’t let that deter you.

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He's Not Black

The Washington Post
By Marie Arana
Sunday, November 30, 2008; B01

He is also half white.
Unless the one-drop rule still applies, our president-elect is not black.
We call him that -- he calls himself that -- because we use dated language and logic. After more than 300 years and much difficult history, we hew to the old racist rule: Part-black is all black. Fifty percent equals a hundred. There's no in-between.
That was my reaction when I read these words on the front page of this newspaper the day after the election: "Obama Makes History: U.S. Decisively Elects First Black President."
The phrase was repeated in much the same form by one media organization after another. It's as if we have one foot in the future and another still mired in the Old South. We are racially sophisticated enough to elect a non-white president, and we are so racially backward that we insist on calling him black. Progress has outpaced vocabulary.
To me, as to increasing numbers of mixed-race people, Barack Obama is not our first black president. He is our first biracial, bicultural president. He is more than the personification of African American achievement. He is a bridge between races, a living symbol of tolerance, a signal that strict racial categories must go.
Of course there is much to celebrate in seeing Obama's victory as a victory for African Americans. The long, arduous battles that were fought and won in the name of civil rights redeemed our Constitution and brought a new sense of possibility to all minorities in this country. We Hispanic Americans, very likely the most mixed-race people in the world, credit our gains to the great African American pioneers of yesterday: Rosa Parks, W.E.B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King Jr.
But Obama's ascent to the presidency is more than a triumph for blacks. It is the signal of a broad change with broad ramifications. The world has become too fused, too interdependent to ignore this emerging reality: Just as banks, earthly resources and human disease form an intricate global web, so do racial ties. No one appreciates this more, perhaps, than the American Hispanic.

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Monday, December 1, 2008

Bob Schieffer Hosts CBS's "Face The Nation"

TV Programs
Nov. 30, 2008

And joining us, this morning, Bob Woodward, Michael Eric Dyson, Jane Mayer and Fareed Zakaria.
Fareed, I want to start with you. We've been spending so much time talking about the economy, but were we ever reminded, this weekend, that terrorism is still there, and it still must be dealt with.
What is this all about, what has happened this week in India? ZAKARIA:
Well, at some level, I mean, this is actually quite personal for me. My mother has an office at the Taj Hotel. SCHIEFFER:
Really? ZAKARIA:
She's the editor of the Taj Magazine. And the office was destroyed. Luckily, she wasn't there.
But I think, if you step back, what's happening now is the problems of Pakistan, Afghanistan and India are bleeding into one another, so that what you have is a kind of South Asian terrorism, where these groups are feeding off each other, finding pockets where they can train in lawless parts of the country.
And you really have to ask yourself, if you are looking at this from Washington, what can we do about it?
Because, in many cases, these are parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan that those governments have not had control of for 200 years.
But the key is -- if there is a key -- is that the Pakistani military has created, trained and sustained groups like this for three decades.
I don't think the government is involved in this one, the Pakistani government. But they have to really reorient themselves strategically to say, you know, there are no good militants and bad militants.
The Pakistani military used to feel the good militants are the ones that destabilize India and Afghanistan, which is good for Pakistan, and the bad ones are the ones that kill Pakistani citizens.
The problem is they're all blurring into one another. And can we effect a strategic reorganization in Pakistan?
There are some good signs. The Pakistani government seems more understanding of this reality than in a long time. But that's the real challenge. SCHIEFFER:
What can we do -- or should we do? ZAKARIA:
Well, we've given Pakistan $10 billion of aid in the last -- over the last five or six years. We have close relations with the military.
If any outside player can play a role here, it's us. And I think it would be to try to make the Pakistanis understand that, you know, it is not in their interest that Afghanistan be unstable, that India be on edge, that they will prosper as a nation.
It's a sort of broader, you know, economic understanding of national security than a narrow, competitive political-military one.
And there's a really interesting question of, can you get the Pakistani military to see their national security in this broader way? SCHIEFFER:
Bob Woodward, the president, if all goes as expected, at 10:50 Eastern Time tomorrow, will announce his new national security team, to be headed by Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state. WOODWARD:
She never goes away.
She and her husband. It's an amazing national security team that Obama appears to have selected. It's, kind of, like Goldilocks and the three bears. You've got "too cool," which might be -- or at least "appropriately cool" General Jones as the national security adviser; Gates is, kind of, just right, in the middle; and Hillary Clinton, hot.
This is going to be a whole new center of gravity for the news media, for the world. My assessment, without having any knowledge, really, is that the economists and the economic team around Obama convinced him that the economic crisis is so deep and going to require so much time, go ahead and give Hillary and Bill the world. DYSON:
It may not be his race as much as his community organizing background that will play a significant difference here, because a person who has organized poor people, who has attempted to get their interests and concerns as part of his bailiwick, will exert a profound influence over those issues when it comes to the economy, when it comes to making America safe, when it comes to protecting borders, and when it comes to trying to articulate ideas that will resonate not simply with African-Americans but more broadly.
I mean, the fact that you have a black first family, two beautiful children, an intelligent and brilliant wife and an intelligent and brilliant president, does an enormous good to people. The psychological advantage of waking up every morning, seeing that this is the most powerful man in the world does an incredible amount of good to people who look on.
But what he proves is that, look, OK, that got me in the door in terms of my skill and talent, but now I have got to really go forward here and govern in a way that respects all Americans, because all of America elected him president. SCHIEFFER:
Do you think having an African-American president will have more of an impact on black people or white people? DYSON:
Well, I think certainly for the broader society, the mainstream society, I think white Americans certainly probably never felt they'd see this day. They always say black people say, boy, I'd never thought I'd see the day that a black man would be in the White House, but many more white Americans perhaps felt the same thing.
In realistic terms, black Americans don't expect much from an Obama presidency that specifically targets them. What Mr. Obama has shrewdly comprehended is that if we're going to help everybody, we're going to help African-American people, we have to help everybody. So that his policies will be geared in a universal way.
In terms of <affirmative> <action, certainly he continues to be a supporter of that, but more in terms of class than in race. He talks about policies for poor people that will benefit the working class and the working poor, but also the middle class.
So I think that for white Americans to see an intelligent, articulate, sophisticated, cool, black man who whose feathers are not easily ruffled, who is able to carry himself with a matter of self- possession and confidence without bleeding into the Bush swagger that ended up being quite reckless, I think is an example that black people can, when chosen, perform a job, and that when they perform and execute that job, they do so with passion and intelligence. And I think that's a tremendous signal to the broader world.

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