TBI Gala May 15 Honoring The First Couple of NYC

2014 Annual Celebration & Award Reception

Honoring The Black Institute’s Couple of the Year

Mayor Bill de Blasio & First Lady Chirlane McCray

Also honoring

Ana Castro, Founder L.A.T.I.S.M. (Latinos in Tech Innovation & Social Media)

Cheryl McKissack, President & CEO, McKissack & McKissack

Stephen Hawkins, Executive Director, Amnesty International USA

Community Resources for Justice

Music by Grammy Winner DJ Hex Hector

Host Committee (In-formation): Stuart Appelbaum RWDSU, Rev. A.R. Bernard, Hector Figueroa 32BJ SEIU, George Gresham 1199SEIU, Ed Lynch UFCW, Bob Master CWA District 1, Mike Mulgrew UFT, Peter Patch & Linda Kane, Larry Park NYSTLA, Eugene Schneur & Mo Vaugh OMNI New York and Doug Wigdor

The Black Institute Board: Selvin Bushay, Stephen Chukwumba, James Heyliger, Vince Morgan, Ademola Oyefeso, Martha Stark, Carmen Wallace and Jacquelyn Williams

For more information or to purchase ticktes please click here, call 212 871 6899 or email events@theblackinstitute.org


The Black Institute


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Conservatives In Denial Over Equal Pay Day

Some other things I’ve read this week: Jamelle Bouie’s advice on how to cover race in the age of Obama, Felix Salmon’s examination of the rise of data journalism, and Paul Krugman’s review of an important new book on inequality.

John Whitehouse
Twitter: @existentialfish

Equal Pay Day Denial

Melissa FrancisEqual Pay Day was this past Tuesday, with many noting its importance because of the breadth of the gender pay gap. One of the strangest arguments in defense of the gender pay gap was a Fox host arguing that women are better off making less than men: http://mm4a.org/1dP01Rr Related: Fox News on the whole is in denial over the gender pay gap: http://mm4a.org/1edFM06 When cable news discusses the economy, the guests are almost always men: http://mm4a.org/PMQBen

Three Libel Cases

LibelIn general, making a libel case is very difficult due to established legal protections. But today three high pro-file libel cases are working their way the legal system against conservative outlets The Blaze, The New York Post, and National Review: http://mm4a.org/1ssfpYc



BoehlertAppearing on All In With Chris Hayes, Eric Boehlert discussed how conservatives are avoid a factual debate on Obamacare: http://mm4a.org/1eb3bPW


Walter WhiteAn actor who played a character whose life was ruined by sub-par health insurance supports Obamacare. Fox News doesn’t get it. http://mm4a.org/1i9UMcg


Where Are The Economists?


Take the pledge. Reduce your meat consumption!

Looking for a healthy alternative to meat? For every Earth Day Sampler Pack, Paleta will donate a dollar to plant a tree through EDN’s Canopy Project.

earthdaylogoDid you know that the meat industry is responsible for about 20% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions? That’s more than the entire transportation sector! The production and distribution of meat doesn’t just consume a lot of energy and cause greenhouse gas emissions, it also requires a huge amount of water—up to 2,500 gallons to produce just one pound of beef. Take the pledge to reduce your meat consumption today! And the problem is getting worse. Over the last 10 years alone, global meat consumption has increased by 20%. So what can we do to help solve this problem? It’s simple—eat less meat! In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, eating just one less burger a week for a year is the equivalent of skipping 320 miles of driving. Join us in pledging to not eat meat one day a week. Thanks for your support. -The Earth Day Network Team



Going Nuclear on GOP Obstruction

On three recent occasions — January 2011, January 2013, and July 2013 — Senate Democrats threatened to make changes to the Senate filibuster rules in order to stop Republicans from obstructing even the most routine business of the Senate and slow-walking or simply blocking the president’s nominees. Each time, Democrats agreed to very modest changes to the rules or even simply a gentleman’s agreement with Republicans and each time Republicans broke their word and went back to their same old obstructionist ways.

In the past few weeks, things have gotten even worse than usual. Senate Republicans have embarked on an unprecedented campaign of obstruction:

  • Republicans blocked the nomination of Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the agency that oversees mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He is the first African-American nominated to head the agency and the first sitting Member of Congress denied confirmation since the Reconstruction Era.
  • Leading Republicans have already announced their plans to block two more top Obama nominees: Janet Yellen to head the Federal Reserve (the first woman in the world ever selected to lead a central bank) and Jeh Johnson, the first African-American nominated to lead the Department of Homeland Security.

Republicans have reveled in this disturbing pattern of partisan obstruction, daring Democrats to change the Senate rules in order to eliminate the filibuster on nominations.

Well, it appears Republicans have made their bed and now they may have to lie in it.

A parade of Democrats, including some who have previously expressed strong opposition to the idea, have come forward in recent days to support changing the Senate rules:

  • Sen. Barbara Boxer ((D-CA): “I am very open to changing the rules for nominees. … I was not before, because I felt we could work with them. But it’s gotten to an extreme situation where really qualified people can’t get an up-or-down vote.”
  • Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA): “If ever there’s evidence for [a rules change], it is now.” Feinstein said she changed her position after a compromise deal reached last year to push through nominees did not stop obstruction from leaving crucial seats vacant. She told the Huffington Post it is “unconscionable” that Senate Republicans are now allowing a vote on Obama’s cabinet and judicial nominees.
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA): “So far they have shut down the government, they have filibustered people [President Obama] has nominated to fill out his administration and they are now filibustering judges to block him from filling any of the vacancies with highly qualified people: We need to call out these filibusters for what they are: Naked attempts to nullify the results of the last election.” She added, “If Republicans continue to filibuster these highly qualified nominees for no reason other than to nullify the president’s constitutional authority, then senators not only have the right to change the filibuster, senators have a duty to change the filibuster rules. We cannot turn our backs on the Constitution. We cannot abdicate our oath of office.”
  • Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), one of the original proponents of filibuster reform, said recently: “The Senate rules must change … This is a war on the other two branches of government and their ability to do the jobs the American people need them to do.”
  • Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) is another longtime supporter of filibuster reform. He said last month: “We keep getting up to the edge of it, and then we make some, quote, gentleman’s agreement … and then you find out the gentleman’s agreement doesn’t hold. … I’ve been so frustrated by it.”
  • Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV): The Senate majority leader holds the ultimate authority on whether Democrats invoke the nuclear option. He said Tuesday he is actively weighing a rules change, and won’t accept a deal to avert the nuclear option that includes anything less than confirmation of all three D.C. Circuit nominees stalled over the past few weeks. In July, Democrats scored a short-term victory with a deal to confirm seven executive branch nominees in exchange for dropping filibuster reform. But just a few months later, they ended up facing the same sort of Republican obstruction.

Sen. Reid reportedly may move to end the GOP’s partisan obstructionism as soon as this week. We’ll be sure and bring you the latest updates.

BOTTOM LINE: We simply cannot allow a minority in Congress to retroactively veto laws and the results of elections. This is unfair, makes a mockery of our constitutional system, and represents the worst kind of partisan gridlock that the American people are sick and tired of. It’s time for the GOP’s unprecedented campaign of obstruction to end.