Department of Justice Criticized for Hiding Findings on Diversity
The Department of Justice has recently come under harsh scrutiny from Democrats for the heavy editing of an internal report, tracking the diversity of the department, which was posted on their web site. Russ Kick, a writer and editor from Tucson who operates the website thememoryhole.org, electronically stripped the blacked out passages of the version of the report the Justice Department had posted, according to the New York Times. Kick found the deleted passages of the report revealed more diversity problems at the Department of Justice than department officials were willing to publish.
The report by consulting firm KPMG was sought by the Department of Justice itself to review its record on race and gender diversity in its attorney workforce. Deleted findings of the KPMG report, however, include details of the "significant diversity issues" faced by the department, the Times reports. Some shortcomings of the department include a perception of "unfairness in a number of human resources practices, such as hiring and promotion" by minorities; the "significant" under-representation of minorities in management ranks; and a higher likelihood of racial minorities to "leave the Department than whites," according to Kick's website. Also deleted was the fact that only 60 percent of women thought the promotion process was fair in regard to gender, as opposed to 81 percent of men, according to columnist Derrick Z. Jackson of the Boston Globe. Jackson also points out that the conclusion that "race and gender combine for a particularly strong negative effect of identity for women" was also deleted.
This week, Representatives John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) have drafted a letter asking Glenn Fine, the Justice Department's inspector general, to investigate the department's decision to delete large portions of the report before publicly releasing it, according to the New York Times. Conyers and Nadler wrote that they found it "outrageous that the very agency that is charged with rooting out discrimination would make it so difficult for the public to scrutinize its own civil rights record," the Times reports. Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) has also criticized the way the department has handled the report. At a recent Senate hearing, Kennedy told James B. Comey, deputy attorney general Larry Thompson's successor, that deleting parts of the report "gives the distinct impression that the department commissioned the report, then left it on the shelf, ignoring its recommendations," according to the Times. The study on gender and racial diversity cost the Department $2 million, was finished two years ago, and had not yet been released until October of this year, despite numerous Freedom of Information Act requests.
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .