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Thursday, 17 April 2014 11:19

America stands with Kansas City mourners

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) - Attorney General Eric Holder says all Americans are standing with the mourners of three people killed at Jewish community sites in suburban Kansas City.
 
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and several religious leaders also attended the service Thursday at the Jewish Community Center.
 
Holder told the overflow crowd of more than 1,000 that every alleged hate crime, no matter the intended target, is an affront to the nation.
 
Avowed white supremacist Frazier Glenn Cross is charged with capital murder and premeditated first-degree murder in the killings Sunday of Dr. William Lewis Corporon and his grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, outside the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City.
 
Cross is also accused of killing Terri LaManno at a nearby Jewish retirement complex. Her funeral is scheduled for Thursday.
Published in Local News

Consumers shopping for health insurance on the exchanges are getting another reprieve from the Federal Government.

 

Anyone looking to start coverage on January 1 was supposed to sign up by tonight. Regulators extended the deadline for people to enroll until the end of Christmas Eve.

 

In Missouri 16 percent of residents under the age of 65 are uninsured. 

Published in Local News
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Just before the March on Washington in 1963, President John F. Kennedy summoned six top civil rights leaders to the White House to talk about his fears that civil rights legislation he was moving through Congress might be undermined if the march turned violent.

Whitney Young Jr. cut through the president's uncertainty with three questions: "President Kennedy, which side are you on? Are you on the side of George Wallace of Alabama? Or are you on the side of justice?"

One of those leaders, John Lewis, later a longtime congressman from Georgia, tells the story of Young's boldness in "The Powerbroker: Whitney Young's Fight for Civil Rights," a documentary airing during Black History Month on the PBS series "Independent Lens" and shown in some community theaters.

In the civil rights struggle, Young was overshadowed by his larger-than-life peer, Martin Luther King Jr. But Young's penetration of white-dominated corporate boardrooms and the Oval Office over three administrations was critical to the movement. Working with leaders within the system, including three presidents, made him a target of criticism by those who wanted a more aggressive path to racial equality.

An appreciation for what Young brought to the movement came after his death in Nigeria in 1971 at age 49. But it was not sustained, said Dennis Dickerson, author of "Militant Mediator: Whitney M. Young Jr."

"He should not be diminished," said Dickerson, a Vanderbilt University history professor who also appears in the film.

A number of schools and facilities have been named for Young. First lady Michelle Obama graduated from a Chicago high school named for him. But his role in economic issues surrounding civil rights has not gotten just due, said Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, an organization Young led as executive director from 1961 to 1971. During his tenure the organization greatly expanded.

Young influenced a number of anti-poverty programs such as Job Corps, housing counseling and Head Start, Morial said.

"He was one of the earliest voices who said to corporate America ... that business leaders and the business community had a stake in the development and rebuilding of urban America, but also in the success of civil rights," Morial said.

Born July 31, 1921, in Lincoln Ridge, Ky., Young learned to negotiate with whites from his father, an educated man who ran the all-black Lincoln Institute boarding school, said Bonnie Boswell, the filmmaker and Young's niece.

There, Young's father surreptitiously educated black students to become doctors, lawyers and teachers to escape segregation and poverty while tricking white financial backers of the school into believing he was training the black students to be nannies, maids, janitors and mechanics.

The school campus had been something of a shelter for Young from the everyday cruelty of segregation, but he encountered it head-on when he served in a black Army battalion led by white officers in World War II.

After that experience, Young dedicated himself to race relations. Later he borrowed on the postwar rebuilding of Western Europe to push with President Lyndon B. Johnson his proposal for a domestic Marshall Plan providing $145 billion to improve education, employment and welfare for black communities. Johnson folded some of his ideas into his Great Society programs.

Young overcame the broken relationship between blacks and President Richard M. Nixon to persuade him to heavily support social programs that assisted the poor. Nixon lauded Young's work when he spoke at his funeral.

Young's desire "was to help America live up to her ideals," Boswell said, quoting her uncle.

"He would say, `I could become more popular if I got off the train in Harlem and shouted bad things about white people, but can I be more effective if I go downtown and help get jobs from white people to give to minorities,'" Boswell said in an interview in Washington with The Associated Press.

Young was able to tell people like industrialist Henry Ford II that they needed to step up and do something about the living and working conditions of blacks in ways that captured their respect, said Nancy Weiss Malkiel, author of the 1989 book "Whitney M. Young Jr. and the Struggle for Civil Rights."

Young was not as visible on the front lines of civil rights protests, but he could say with humor and partly in earnest to members of the white establishment that if they didn't deal with him, they would have to deal with Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael, who espoused more radical agendas than King, Malkiel said.

Boswell's film airs as the first black president, Barack Obama, begins his second term in office. Obama, whose mother was white and father was black, has endured a racist backlash in his presidency and criticism from within the black community over whether he is doing enough for black Americans.

Dickerson said Young's ideas are a template that Obama has deployed in his political rise. "That is inter-racialism and an emphasis on corporate relations," he said. "That was Whitney Young's mantra and that's the president's mantra."
Published in National News
Sunday, 17 February 2013 08:26

Could next Pope come from America

NEW YORK (AP) -- Conventional wisdom holds that no one from the United States could be elected pope, that the superpower has more than enough worldly influence without an American in the seat of St. Peter. But after Pope Benedict XVI's extraordinary abdication, church analysts are wondering whether old assumptions still apply, including whether the idea of a U.S. pontiff remains off the table. Benedict himself has set a tone for change with his dramatic personal example. He is the first pontiff in six centuries to step down. Church leaders and canon lawyers are scrambling to resolve a litany of dilemmas they had never anticipated, such as scheduling a conclave without a funeral first and choosing a title for a former pope. The conclaves that created the last two pontificates had already upended one tradition: Polish-born Pope John Paul II ended 455 years of Italian papacies with his surprise selection in 1978. Benedict, born in Bavaria, was the first German pope since the 11th century. "With the election of John Paul, with the election of Benedict, one wonders if the former boundaries seem not to have any more credibility," New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan said, discussing Benedict's decision this week at SiriusXM's "The Catholic Channel." The election also follows a pontificate that featured Americans in unusually prominent roles. Cardinal William Levada, the former San Francisco archbishop, was the first U.S. prelate to lead the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican's powerful guardian of doctrine. Cardinal Raymond Burke, the former St. Louis archbishop, is the first American to lead the Vatican supreme court. And Benedict appointed others from the U.S. to handle some of his most pressing concerns, including rebuilding ties with breakaway Catholic traditionalists and overseeing the church's response to clergy abuse cases worldwide. But as Christopher Bellitto, a historian at Kean University in New Jersey who studies the papacy, said, "There's a big difference between letting somebody borrow the car and handing them the keys." "The American church," he said, "comes with a lot of baggage." Among the negatives is the clergy sex abuse scandal, which has affected every U.S. diocese and bishop. The 11 U.S. cardinals expected to vote in the conclave will include Cardinal Roger Mahony, the former Los Angeles archbishop who was recently stripped of public duties by his successor over his record on handling abuse cases. Also attending will be Cardinal Justin Rigali, who stepped down as Philadelphia archbishop after a landmark indictment of priests revealed he had kept several clergy on assignment despite claims they molested children. The cardinals are also struggling against the perception, held particularly by Europeans, that most Americans aren't sophisticated enough to handle the papacy. In a faith 2,000 years old, the United States is considered relatively new ground. Europe was still sending missionaries to the U.S. to create the church through the early 1900s. Popes are also expected to be multilingual, or to at minimum speak Italian fluently. Dolan, considered to have one of the highest profiles in the U.S. church, speaks only halting Italian and a little Spanish, but no French or Latin. He led the North American Seminary in Rome, a kind of West Point for American priests, but has never worked in a Vatican office. "There really never has been any American who rises above his American-ness and holds the esteem of the international group of cardinals because of his service, because of what he's done for the church," said Brother Charles Hilken, a historian at Saint Mary's College of California, who has studied the papacy. Beyond the qualities of individual candidates, the cardinals take church history into account. The church has tried to keep the papacy separate from a reigning superpower for centuries, whether the Holy Roman Empire, France or Spain, according to the Rev. Thomas Reese, author of "Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church." When France captured the papacy, the nation moved the seat to Avignon in 1309 and kept it there for seven decades. But the role of the United States in the world today is what weighs most heavily against a American pope. The Vatican navigates complex diplomatic relations within the Muslim world, in China over the state-backed church, in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and beyond. An American pope could be perceived as acting in the interests of the United States instead of Catholics. "That would be enough of a concern for enough cardinals to make them leery about voting for an otherwise good American candidate," Hilken said. "These men come from places. They're citizens of other countries of the world." Despite all these factors, Dolan is being mentioned in some church circles as a potential - albeit longshot - choice. Round and quick to joke about his size, he is an ebullient and approachable representative of the church who is a strong speaker and is known in Rome. "He's the bear-hug bishop," Bellitto said. Dolan already was part of one upset election: In a surprise 2010 vote, his fellow church leaders chose him over the expected victor as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. It was the first time in the history of the conference that the man serving as sitting vice president was on the ballot for president and lost.
Published in Local News

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