Bars Beat Books

Expect to see lots of stories tomorrow about a new study called Cellblocks or Classrooms. The study shows how states have spent astronomically on jails in recent years, but have not kept pace with education money. No surprise. We’d rather lock ’em up than educate ’em.

Cellblocks or Classrooms? shows that as corrections expenditures have grown, state spending on higher education has not kept pace with increased spending on prisons. Between 1985 and 2000, spending on corrections doubled or tripled in most states, while only one state doubled its higher education spending in real dollars.

Thanks to harambeejournal for passing this on.

Selling Tech To Black Folks

In a column for BusinessWeek online, via yahoo, Roger O. Crockett comments on the Blacks and Technology conferences convened by Tavis Smiley. Interesting numbers: 90% of those logging on from home are white. (Only 5% of African American small businesses have an e-commerce plan, compared to 35% of white businesses). I find their ideas for marketing to us a bit unsettling. I don’t really think selling web pages to me as “homie” pages would strike the right chord. Maybe I’m just not black enough.

Starvation in Zimbabwe

The land redistribution efforts in Zimbabwe will probably end up starving thousands. Among all the things black Americans could be talking about, is this one of them? It feels like something we ought to be paying attention to. Then again, it is Africa and you know we gots issues with thinking about any nation on that continent. Anyway, it was wrong for so few to own so much of the land and it seems right to try to correct that. But to do it in a way that simply replaces one elite class with another and leaves people in peril is unconscionable. Here’s a profile of President Robert Mugabe. And a short profile of Zimbabwe, the former Rhodesia.

Gay Backlash in Florida

From NPR: Black Churches and Gay Rights, “some of Miami’s African-American churches and civil rights activists are campaigning against a local law protecting homosexuals from discrimination.” Listen here. According to one woman, part of the motivation may be some black folks need to find somebody who we can be ‘better than.’ People For the American Way is involved in a lawsuit about Take Back Miami’s efforts to repeal the law.

A few hours north, in Orlando, the city doesn’t even have the law on the books yet and churches are trying to fight it.

At last count, 6,590 pieces of correspondence had arrived at City Hall, most of them copies of the same form letter. Letters from opponents outnumber those from supporters more than 2-to-1.

If you live in Orlando, send the city commissioners a letter and change those numbers. Orlando City Hall, 400 S. Orange Ave., P.O. Box 4990, Orlando, FL , 32801. Fax: 407-246-2842. Email the mayor: ghood@ci.orlando.fl.us

It feels like Florida is slipping backwards. Perhaps a boycott, like the ongoing NAACP tourism boycott of S.C., would work here. Question is, can Florida tourism take another financial hit?

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