A newly formed African-American political action group said it would file a federal lawsuit against the state of Maryland charging racial gerrymandering if the legislature enacts and Gov. Martin O’Malley signs the congressional redistricting map proposed this week by the Governor’s Redistricting Advisory Committee.
“If the plan now being proposed by the governor’s redistricting commission passes, we are going to go into federal court and file a lawsuit charging the state of Maryland with violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act,” said Radamase Cabrera, spokesman for the Fannie Lou Hamer Political Action Committee (FLH-PAC).
Based in Prince George’s County, the Hamer PAC said the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund could be a potential partner in the lawsuit.
African-American population grew
Because of the growth of the African-American population in the state since the 2000 census, the Hamer PAC had asked the Governor’s Redistricting Advisory Committee to create a third African American congressional district. The PAC asserts that African American voters are being gerrymandered into reconfigured congressional districts for the sole purpose of protecting white, Democratic incumbent lawmakers.
“We hope the governor and the House and Senate leadership during the special session will consider what they’re doing and not pass a plan that racially gerrymanders,” Cabrera said. “Otherwise, … we’ll seek an injunction to stop the April primaries and force these lines to be redrawn under the guidance of the federal courts.”
Every 10 years, federal law requires states to redraw their political legislative district lines based on the new Census data. In 2002, Gov. Parris Glendening, (D), and the Democrat-controlled legislature were widely criticized for gerrymandering attempts, producing several lawsuits. O’Malley is planning to call a special legislative session Oct. 17 to enact congressional redistricting maps in time for the Jan. 11 filing deadline for the April 3 primary.
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State officials say Delaware will bear the brunt of U.S. job cuts planned by British drugmaker AstraZeneca PLC.
AstraZeneca announced Thursday that it will eliminate about 400 jobs from its U.S. commercial business as part of a push to streamline operations.
The cuts include 70 currently vacant positions, leaving about 330 employees facing job losses.
Brian Selander, a spokesman for Gov. Jack Markell, said Friday that officials have been told most of those 330 job cuts will be in Delaware.
Selander said the layoffs would begin early next year, and that AstraZeneca expects to tell employees by early December which positions are being cut.
AstraZeneca currently employs about 3,500 people in Delaware, meaning the job cuts could result in a reduction of almost 10 percent in its state work force.
New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg took to the airwaves again for his weekly radio show. In his last broadcast, as reported earlier on The Blaze, the New York mayor sounded as if he was getting concerned with the growing number of protesters.
This week he sounds downright annoyed.
His biggest concern?
He believes the protests — should they spiral out of control — will hurt the city’s financial centers, having a ripple effect that would ultimately hurt the workers they claim to fight for.
“What they’re trying to do is take away the jobs of people working in the city, take away the tax base that we have,” Bloomberg said. “We’re not going to have money to pay our municipal employees or anything else.”
He also added that, whether they want to admit it or not, the banks are absolutely vital to the economic well-being of New York and railing against them will only exasperate an already precariously balanced financial situation.
“Everyone’s got a thing they want to protest, some of which is not realistic. And if you focus for example on driving the banks out of New York City, you know those are our jobs,” he said. “You can’t have it both ways: If you want jobs you got to assist companies and give them confidence to go and hire people.”
“The protests that are trying to destroy the jobs of working people is unproductive,” he added.
As he did on his last show, Bloomberg implied that the protesters may only have a little bit more time left before he decides that enough is enough.
“The one thing I can tell you for sure,” he said, “is if anybody in the city breaks the law we will arrest them and turn them over the district attorneys.”
In reference to claims that some protesters “charged the police a few nights ago,” the mayor added, “that is just not something we’re going to tolerate, period.”
“We are trying to deal with this is a way that doesn‘t make the problem grow and protects everybody’s rights… we’re trying to let this — not ‘play out,‘ that isn’t quite the right word, but let them express themselves.”
Owners of New York City’s Zuccotti Park may be starting to get fed up with it being occupied.
Brookfield Office properties, the firm that owns the central location for the Occupy Wall Street protests, has released a statement claiming that they have not been able to properly maintain the park and that sanitation has become a growing concern.
“Because many of the protestors refuse to cooperate by adhering to the [park] rules, the park has not been cleaned since Friday, September 16th, and as a result, sanitary conditions have reached unacceptable levels,” said in a written statement by the property management firm.
Brookfield normally cleans and inspects the condition of the park every night which includes a power washing, landscaping, and trash removal. They haven’t been able to do so since the protestors have sent up a tent city as part of the protests.
“Basic rules intended to keep the park safe, open, clean, and welcoming to all visitors are clearly posted,” the statement from Brookfield reads. “These rules includes bans on the erection of tents or other structures, as well as the placement of tarps, sleeping bags, or other coverings on the property.
“Unfortunately, many of the individuals currently occupying the grounds are ignoring these basic yet necessary requirements, which interferes with the use of the park by others.”
“#BrookfieldProps says they can’t clean #LibertyPlaza. We’ll share our brooms if they want 2 help,” said one posting on the twitter feed @OccupyWallSt NYC.
Brookfield says that they recognize people’s right to peacefully assemble but that they are also obligated to ensure that the park remains safe, clean and accessible to everyone.
Read more here.
Thomas the Tank Engine has been a beloved character for decades. But now, the fictional steam locomotive is finding himself at the center of the ongoing debate surrounding political correctness and faith in the public square.
With Christmas only months away, it seems it’s never too early to debate the presence of religious references in children’s cartoons.
To sum up this Christmas controversy in simple terms: critics are accusing the team behind Thomas the Tank Engine of falling prey to political correctness by purposefully removing references to Christmas in the company’s latest DVD, “Little Engines, Big Days Out” (the episode is called “Keeping Up With James”).
Christmas, a holiday that is celebrated around the world — one that is obviously very much rooted in and centered upon the birth of Jesus Christ — has been written out of Thomas’ latest adventure.
Read more here.
GOP House Majority Leader Eric Cantor voiced concern Friday about the “growing mobs” of “Occupy Wall Street” protesters that have sprung up in major cities across America.
Speaking at the 2011 Values Voter Summit — a conference for cultural conservatives held by the Family Research Council — Cantor became the first Congressional Republican leader to directly denounce the protest movement.
“I, for one, am increasingly concerned about the growing mobs occupying Wall Street and the other cities across the country,” Cantor said Friday morning. “And, believe it or not, some in this town have actually condoned the pitting of Americans against Americans.”
In the past few days, Congressional Democrats, unions and professional liberal organizations have endorsed the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. The protesters are rallying against banking and financial institutions, which they say are responsible for social inequality and the state of the economy.
Read more here.