More than half the refugees UNHCR serves now live in urban areas
An A-Z of refugee achievers around the world.
More than half the refugees UNHCR serves now live in urban areas
An A-Z of refugee achievers around the world.
The concept of separating church and state is often credited to the writings of English John Locke. philosopher According to his principle of the social contract, Locke argued that the government lacked authority in the realm of individual conscience, as this was something rational people could not cede to the government for it or others to control. For Locke, this created a natural right in the liberty of conscience, which he argued must therefore remain protected from any government authority. These views on religious tolerance and the importance of individual conscience, along with his social contract, became particularly influential in the American colonies and the drafting of the United States Constitution.Thomas Jefferson stated: “Bacon, Locke and Newton..I consider them as the three greatest men that have ever lived, without any exception, and as having laid the foundation of those superstructures which have been raised in the physical and moral sciences” Indeed such was Locke’s influence,
Reflecting a concept often credited in its original form to the English political philosopher John Locke, the phrase separation of church and state is generally traced to the letter written by Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to the Danbury Baptists, in which he referred to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution as creating a “wall of separation” between church and state.United States Supreme Court first in 1878, and then in a series of cases starting in 1947. This led to increased popular and political discussion of the concept. The phrase was quoted by the
The concept has since been adopted in a number of countries, to varying degrees depending on the applicable legal structures and prevalent views toward the proper role of religion in society. A similar principle of laïcité has been applied in France and Turkey, while some socially secularized countries such as Norway have maintained constitutional recognition of an official state religion. The concept parallels various other international social and political ideas, including secularism, disestablishment, religious liberty, and religious pluralism.
We’ll be taking a welcome day off next Monday, and we hope all of you can do the same. But celebrating Labor Day is about more than just a three-day weekend. It’s a chance to reflect on the importance of unions and remember that we need them now more than ever.
Unions have been at the center of some of America’s most important fights for fair labor standards. Unions helped end child labor: the very first American Federation of Labor (AFL) national convention passed a resolution calling on states to “ban children under 14 from all gainful employment.” Labor unions negotiated for and won employer-provided health insurance coverage, one of the first great expansions of health care to all Americans. And unions didn’t just give us this Labor Day long weekend – they fought for labor standards that gave us ALL weekends.
Unions are central in providing good jobs and middle-class security to America workers. As unions go, so goes the middle class. The chart below spells that out pretty clearly: as union membership has declined, the middle-class share of income has also dropped:
Nowadays, union membership is under attack from many who are either ignoring history and economic data, or only have the wealthiest Americans’ interests in mind. Anti-union policy groups and lawmakers in states across the country are attacking an already weakened labor movement by advancing so-called “right-to-work” laws, which inhibit workers from collectively bargaining for better wages, benefits and protections, under the guise of ‘choice.’ These laws allow some workers to get the advantages of a union contract—such as higher wages, benefits, and protection against arbitrary discipline—without paying any fee associated with negotiating on these matters. This doesn’t result in more freedom, it results in lower incomes.
Wisconsin became the latest state to adopt a “right-to-work” law and take its working families in the wrong direction. Estimates by Marquette University economist Abdur Chowdhury suggest that Wisconsin workers and families will lose between $3.89 and $4.82 billion in direct income annually due to effects of the law. Recently, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) vetoed a bill passed by the Missouri legislature to enact a similar policy there.
The numbers are clear. The typical worker in a “right-to-work” state makes about $1,560 less per year than she would in a state without such a law. According to new research, women in union jobs earn $212 per week, or 30.9%, more than women in non-union jobs; men in union jobs earn $173 more per week than their non-union counterparts. Union women also face a smaller gender wage gap: They earn 88.7 cents for every dollar a man makes, compared to 78 cents across all workers.
BOTTOM LINE: If you care about a strong middle class in America, you should care about unions. The organizers that have been at the heart of many important labor reforms in the past have a vital role to play for America’s economy now and in the future, too. It’s on us to take every opportunity we can to remind people that unions work. So have a great long weekend, and make sure you remind your friends and loved ones: Enjoying your labor day weekend? Thank a union.
A law that makes people suspects on the basis of their looks should outrage African Americans, even if they are worried about illegal immigration.
The immigration law passed in Arizona last week is the kind of reckless act that keeps us minorities paranoid in America. The new law compels local law enforcers to verify immigration status based on “reasonable suspicion”–whatever that is–and has created the potential for cops to stop brown people in the streets and demand to see their papers. Even the sheriff of Pima County, Ariz., (which borders Mexico) says the law is “stupid,” “racist,” and would force his officers to racially profile people. The scope of the law was narrowed after its passage in order to assure Hispanics, who make up 30 percent of the state’s population, that they would not be the victims of racial profiling.
But those assurances that people won’t be suspects because of the way they look have little credibility when the experience of black and brown people in America has been so contrary to those promises. Being stopped for Driving While Black (or Brown) is such a common phenomenon that comedians make jokes about it. And a city like New York, which operates a massive stop-and-frisk policy that probably violates a dozen constitutional principles, keeps trying to explain why black and brown citizens make up 80 to 90 percent of those questioned by police. The latest rationale: They fit the description of suspected perps when 98 percent of those stopped and questioned are innocent of any crime.
The reason people of color get worked up about such policies is America’s nasty habit of making everything racial in a panic. We have a long history of lynchings and runaway convictions that were triggered by fears that black people were getting out of hand in some fashion, whether it was interracial sex or talking back to massa. The roundup of Japanese Americans during World War II will forever stain this country’s history.
After 9/11, looking Arab or simply wearing a turban, whether you are Muslim or not, turned out to be a grave danger in some parts of the country and a constant annoyance in others. No Muslim American believes that the frequent “random” checks they endured at airports in the months after the tragedy were really a matter of chance. And last week, the front page of the Boston Herald illustrated a cover story about the crackdown on benefits for illegal immigrants with a photo of black, Hispanic and Asian models, their foreheads stamped with the following: “No Tuition, No Welfare, No Medicaid.” Ironically, the headline at above the newspaper’s logo announced a “workplace diversity job fair.”
Of course, the concept of white or blonde illegal aliens is apparently beyond the capacity of the people passing the laws or the editors at the Herald. But nearly 600,000 of those in the United States illegally were estimated to come from Europe or Canada in 2005; and while I knew many Irish, English and other Europeans who had overstayed their visas when I was growing up in New York, I never heard of a raid of an Irish bar, except when ATF or the FBI were trying to trap Irish Republican Army gun runners during the “troubles.”
Now Arizona, better known for resorts, retirees in golf carts, and college basketball teams whose players never graduate, is suddenly at the center of a debate that could shape U.S. politics for the next 10 years. The only surprise is that it took so long. All the great economies have been struggling with the immigration issue for years. Just last week, France was in tizzy about the burqa, the full-length outfit with only an eye-slit that conservative Muslim women wear. Nicolas Sarkozy’s government has considered banning the burqa on security grounds (you can’t identify the person), but the real reason behind this initiative, Arizona’s or any of the dozen being considered in other states or countries is fear of change.
No doubt, the Great Recession of the last three years has heightened American insecurity. Although the downturn has hit blue-collar workers the hardest, many people who thought they were solidly in the middle class have seen their savings, their safety net, even their homes evaporate in the financial collapse. The next step for many of them would be to step “down” into the blue-collar workforce. Suddenly, the Mexican, Salvadorian and African immigrants they hardly noticed during boom times are now potential competitors.
African Americans, who lost more than their fair share of blue-collar jobs in the downturn, have long been ambiguous about illegal immigration. As Cord Jefferson noted here a few months ago, a growing number of experts believe that blacks and Hispanic immigrants battle for unskilled jobs at the bottom of the labor pool. Black Americans have not turned out in large numbers at immigration rallies, despite the fact that many African-American politicians talk of the need for coalitions with Hispanics.
But a law that puts you in jeopardy for being has special resonance with black Americans. We already know the peril of living in a state where you are presumed guilty by the color of your skin. A law that makes a suspect of anyone who might look illegal should make us vigorously resist this encroachment.
Joel Dreyfuss is managing editor of The Root. Follow him on Twitter
first posted in 5/2010 …
Still looking for a Father’s Day gift? Consider getting a food thermometer, perfect for safe grilling during the warm months.
When using a food thermometer, remember these three easy steps to cook like a PRO:
1. Place the thermometer
2. Read the temperature
3. Off the Grill!
Read more about how to cook like a PRO.