The Art of the Deal: The Budget Deal, That Is!

It’s time to Break It Down!

In 1987 current Presidential Candidate Donald J. Trump wrote a book entitled, “Trump The Art of the Deal.” This post is not about that. Rather, it is about the budget deal tentatively struck by Congress and the White House Monday evening. The measure will likely be voted upon today. This is key, and leaves no margin for error.

The urgency, in part, stems from the desire of House Speaker John Boehner to execute and dispense of the matter prior to the vote to elect a new Speaker, also tentatively scheduled for today, to elect Rep. Paul Ryan to the Speaker’s position. In the world of Washington politics, a lot has to go right for all this to happen.

First, not everyone is on board with the new budget. That includes Rep. Ryan; sort of. In fact, Mr. Ryan strongly condemned even the way the accord was put together. He explained he had not even laid eyes on it. He said:

“About the process, I can say this: I think the process stinks. Under new management, the people’s business will be conducted differently.”

Beyond the Ryan objections, it’s fair to say a number of the House and Senate’s most conservative members have reservations, objections, or concerns about the deal. In fact, to reach the deal, compromise, a word that has become anathema in the hallowed Halls of Congress in recent years, had to be reached. And it was.

The House Rules Committee met late into last night in an effort to ensure the deal reached the House floor by today. One key sticking point was a reduction in crop insurance payments; a move designed to raise $3 billion over ten years. A number of the top members of the Senate Agricultural Committee released a statement yesterday opposing the deal. Committee Chairman Michael Conaway (R-Texas) said:

“Make no mistake, this is not about saving money, it is about eliminating Federal Crop Insurance. The House Agricultural Committee was not consulted regarding any changes to policies under the jurisdiction of our committee.”

Also on the concerns side of the ledger, following Tuesday morning’s meeting, some conservatives complained that the budget negotiations were conducted without the input of committee chairs and rank-and-file members. It is however, unlikely that they will have the numbers to derail the pact, that is, presuming Democrats and moderate Republicans stay onboard. Representative John Fleming, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, said:

“I don’t know if this thing could pass. It could break apart, and we could begin tackling this piecemeal well into Paul Ryan’s Speakership.” Or so it would seem, he hopes.

Representative Tom Cole, a centrist, said:

“The deal isn’t perfect, but it prevents default and gives certainty to the military, while making long-term reforms to Social Security and Medicare. I think it’s a pretty good choice to make. It’s a compromise and that means we had to give some things up that we don’t want, but we got some great things.”

Concerns notwithstanding, aides downplayed the risks that reservations about the issue could alienate enough votes to damage the deal.

The gist of how, why, and when all of this came about is tied directly to politics and timing. It has been two years since Congress and the White House has reach genuine bi-partisan budget compromise. This…is that. Speaker Boehner, who resigned a few weeks ago, effective October 31st, wanted very much to craft/negotiate a budget deal, and get it approved before he left his position, and his Congressional Seat. He considered this a parting gift to Mr. Ryan, who will likely assume the reins of the Speakership tomorrow after the vote on the budget, if successful. Speaking about brokering the compromise yesterday, Speaker Boehner admitted he was cleaning a “dirty barn” for his likely replacement, Rep. Ryan, who was not involved in the secretive negotiations.

More precisely, Boehner said that he crafted the deal before his departure because he didn’t want the new Speaker “to walk into a dirty barn full of you know what.” He conceded that the package should have been assembled in a more inclusive way. He went on to add, “This is not the way to run a railroad.”

Ultimately, the leadership of the House and Senate privately negotiated the deal. Those actively involved included Speaker Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. The group kept a tight lid on the negotiations. They revealed the deal only after it was complete.

Minority Leader Pelosi embraced the agreement yesterday, signaling that the 188 House Democrats could provide a large portion of the vote needed to get a majority in the House. She indicated:

“The bi-partisan budget package unveiled Monday night represents real progress for hard-working families across the country. I look forward to working toward House passage of this proposal this week. Next, we must move forward to complete the appropriations for FY2016 and keep government open.”

If Representative Pelosi and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer can deliver votes from most, if not all, of their members, Mr. Boehner will have to win the support of only about 40 to 50 Republicans to pass the deal.

The Vice President, Joe Biden, praised the deal yesterday. He said:

“The last seven years, we’ve gone from crisis to recovery, and we’re on the verge of being able to have a genuine economic resurgence here. And what we’ve put together is a good deal. No one got everything they wanted. But it will last for two years and it will prevent us from lurching from crisis to crisis.”

Yesterday, Senator McConnell said to reporters that the agreement reaches issues important to Republicans, including more money for defense programs and offering funding increases through spending cuts rather than increases. He added:

“I’m hopeful and optimistic that the bill will come over to the Senate, and when it does, we’ll take it up.”

By most early accounts, key Senate Republicans are also on-board. Among them, Senator John McCain, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said he would support the deal because “It restores all but $5 billion of the defense requirements.” He noted that if the budget agreement passes, he could move quickly to adjust and pass the National Defense Authorization Act that was recently vetoed by President Obama over budget concerns. Backing by McCain virtually insures the support of other defense hawks, including Senator Lindsey Graham, a GOP Presidential Candidate. About the deal, Senator Graham said:

“We’re in a box here. But if Senator McCain is okay with it, then I’ll probably be okay with it.”

The White house also weighed in. One White House official said:

“The agreement reached by congressional leaders last night meets these key tests: It provides substantial relief from harmful spending cuts, and it does so equally on the defense and non-defense sides of the budget.”

It should be noted that the deal is not a complete victory for Democrats, who wanted even more spending increases and hoped to pass an increase without including it in a broader budget deal. President Obama has insisted that the debt limit not be used as a negotiating tool for spending cuts. The proposal will allow the President to say he secured a bargain on a scale that has not been seen since the 2013 agreement between Mr. Ryan and Senate Budget Committee (then) Chair Senator Patty Murray.

Democrats will still get to celebrate a messaging victory and will probably take credit for the deal. Senator Charles Schumer pointed out that that the proposal is the kind of spending agreement he and other Democrats have been promoting. He also said:

“For months, we Democrats have asked for a budget that increases spending significantly above sequester levels and does so in a way that is equally balanced between defense and key middle-class programs. The agreement does both.”

There are several key elements of the bipartisan deal, which constitutes a win for both the economy and budget discipline. Some of these points include:

Bipartisan Debt Deal

  • Removes the cloud of uncertainty over our economy at this critical time, by ensuring that no one will be able to use the threat of the nation’s first default now, or in only a few months, for political gain;
  • Locks in a down payment on significant deficit reduction, with savings from both domestic and Pentagon spending, and is designed to protect crucial investments like aid for college students;
  • Establishes a bipartisan process to seek a balanced approach to larger deficit reduction through entitlement and tax reform;
  • Deploys an enforcement mechanism that gives all sides an incentive to reach bipartisan compromise on historic deficit reduction, while protecting Social Security, Medicare beneficiaries and low-income programs;
  • Stays true to the President’s commitment to shared sacrifice by preventing the middle class, seniors and those who are most vulnerable from shouldering the burden of deficit reduction. The President did not agree to any entitlement reforms outside of the context of a bipartisan committee process where tax reform will be on the table and the President will insist on shared sacrifice from the most well-off and those with the most indefensible tax breaks.

Mechanics of the Debt Deal

  • Immediately enacted 10-year discretionary spending caps generating nearly $1 trillion in deficit reduction; balanced between defense and non-defense spending;
  • President authorized to increase the debt limit by at least $2.1 trillion, eliminating the need for further increases until 2013;
  • Bipartisan committee process tasked with identifying an additional $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction, including from entitlement and tax reform. Committee is required to report legislation by November 23, 2011, which receives fast-track protections. Congress is required to vote on Committee recommendations by December 23, 2011;
  • Enforcement mechanism established to force all parties – Republican and Democrat – to agree to balanced deficit reduction. If Committee fails, enforcement mechanism will trigger spending reductions beginning in 2013 – split 50/50 between domestic and defense spending. Enforcement protects Social Security, Medicare beneficiaries, and low-income programs from any cuts.

When you come right down to it, there are many angles to this proposed deal. There are forces that promote it; factions that oppose it, and a fringe that is watching to see who is for it and who is against it. I don’t have a crystal ball, but my reading of the tealeaves suggests, despite Senator Rand Paul’s pledge to filibuster the bill, the President, Democrats, and a fragile and fleeting coalition of Republicans, buoyed by the urging of outgoing Speaker Boehner will carry the day. That result would in effect provide the Speaker with a parting victory, Mr. Ryan with the gift of a clean slate…or barn, as it were, and the American People with a winning budget proposal, courtesy of The Art of the Deal: The Budget Deal, That Is!”

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Ryan’s Rules: Demands, Conditions, Stipulations…Pick the Semantic of Your Choice!

It’s time to Break It Down!

The very high profile and discordant GOP stalemate appears to be coming to a merciful end; the dispute nearly over. Maybe!

A few weeks ago, in the midst of Pope Francis’ American DC-NY-PA Tour, House Speaker John Boehner underwent an epiphany and announced he would resign from his Speakership, and retire from Congress. At that moment, it appeared Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Leader, was most likely to pursue the Speaker’s position.

Indeed, he had Speaker Boehner’s blessing and endorsement. It should be noted, that was always going to be problematic for McCarthy. Boehner had become a less than popular leader, especially among the ultra conservative wing of the GOP, which includes the Tea Party element.

As if the onus of being close to the Speaker were not enough, in a Truth Serum-like induced moment of candor, Mr. McCarthy admitted in a Fox News interview that he was part of a Benghazi probe that had resulted in deflating Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers. Oops!

Quicker than a magician could say abracadabra, Representative McCarthy’s SNAFU ascended to a top-tier Twitter trending item, and part of a continuous loop in the 24-hour news cycle. Can you say liability? In a matter of days Mr. McCarthy evolved from a candidate who hoped to survive a spirited and contested battle for the Speakership to someone who lost all hope. He entered a meeting at which a vote on the matter was expected, and left, having taken himself out of the running.

On some level it was not a surprising move; yet it was totally unexpected. He had given no indication he would recuse himself from running. In some ways, it was a most artful sleight. It allowed him to proactively disengage from what was sure to be a figurative intra-Party OK Corral kind of gymnastic. Score one for the Kev.

As much as his “Smooth Operator” move made matters less complicated for him in the long run, and less contentious for the GOP in the short term, the tactic further roiled the waters for the Party, which at its core needed to get on with the business of electing a New Speaker, and complicated Mr. Boehner’s level of duress. After all, he hopes to gavel to a close his final meeting by October 31st.

Almost immediately after McCarthy’s exit, a Draft Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan movement emerged in full bore. There had been some level of interest in his becoming a candidate for the post, all along. His advocates, whom, represent various elements of the Party largely agree that he is one of the few, if not the only person whom, at this time, could persuade the requisite number of House colleagues to coalesce around and elect a candidate.

From the outset, Paul Ryan navigated the ensuing process in an arm’s length fashion. By most accounts, the job (Speaker of the House) is one he did not want, and in fact opted not to seek. There are a number of reasons for this, including, the nature of the job called for, from his perspective:

– Too much travel

– Too much fundraising

– Too much jousting and in fighting

Ryan is currently Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. He assumed the Chairmanship in January of this year. Prior to that, he spent four years as Chairman of the House Budget Committee. The Committee on Ways and Means has a wide range of oversight and responsibilities. The Committee on Budget is also the kind of high-level policy-heavy assignment that Ryan considers right in his wheel well. He is a policy wonk that wants to reform the tax code, and would ideally like to take a crack at running for President. He was on the ticket as Mitt Romney’s choice for Vice President in 2012.

The Committee on Ways and Means is the chief tax-writing committee of the United States House of Representatives. Members of the Ways and Means Committee are not allowed to serve on any other House Committees unless they apply for a waiver from their party’s congressional leadership. The Committee has jurisdiction over all taxation, tariffs, and other revenue-raising measures, as well as a number of other programs including:

The U.S. Constitution requires that all bills regarding taxation must originate in the House of Representatives. Since House procedure is that all bills regarding taxation must go through this committee, the committee is very influential, as is its Senate counterpart, the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance.

The U.S. House Committee on the Budget, commonly known as the House Budget Committee, is a standing committee of the United States House of Representatives. Its responsibilities include legislative oversight of the federal budget process, reviewing all bills and resolutions on the budget, and monitoring agencies and programs funded outside of the budgetary process.

Last night, Mr. Ryan took the first step toward what Republicans, at least the group that considers itself of the mainstream variety hopes will be the beginning of the end of the Speaker selection impasse. At first blush, it seems promising. But the contemporary Republican Party is almost not one Party in the traditional sense.

Ryan, understanding just what he is working with laid out a series of caveats that the Party must accept, in order for him to “reluctantly” take the job. The gist of those points his colleagues must agree to include the following:

  • He must receive the support of all three groups inside the House Republican conference: the House Freedom Caucus, the Republican Study Committee and the moderate Tuesday Group.
  • He wants changes to House rules made as a team — a major demand of the House Freedom Caucus; he wants to make it harder to overthrow a sitting speaker.
  • He wants a better work-life balance than out-going House Speaker John Boehner had.
  • He also emphasized the importance of unified support for the next speaker. Ryan told his colleagues he is willing to take “arrows in the chest but not in the back,” a GOP source inside the meeting told CNN.

Ryan closed his remarks by adding, should the conference agree to his stipulations, “I am happy and willing to get to work.” He went on to say, “I hope it doesn’t sound conditional, but it is.” According to members inside the room. He paused after saying the word “conditional,” for effect.

In explaining his insistence on the aforementioned terms of engagement, Ryan said, “This is not a job I ever sought; this is not a job I ever wanted. I came to the conclusion that this was a dire moment.”

Observers close to the process also weighed in. Peter King (R-NY) by most accounts a moderate, said, “If Paul Ryan can’t unite us, no one can. Who else is out there? That’d be a sign of utter dysfunction, total madness.”

Ryan’s allies say his conditions for becoming speaker are likely to include an understanding that he would have a free hand to lead without a constant fear of mutinous reprisals. One, Peter Wehner, a former adviser to President George W. Bush, said Ryan wants House conservatives to make clear that they would not seek to “cripple him” from the start.

Wehner added, “He doesn’t have a moral obligation to get Republicans out of the rubble they’ve created for themselves. Asking for their goodwill is completely reasonable.”

Perhaps the most challenging element for Ryan to get his arms around, and to whip or coerce, or coddle into line is the group known as the Freedom Caucus. This is a group of hardline Republicans who were not enamored with Speaker Boehner, and who tried to unseat him on a number of occasions.

In the initial stages of the group’s existence, which came to power in 2011, after the Tea Party swept a number of 2010 midterm election, the focus was primarily on reducing government spending. Latter day emphases have included specific targets such as Planned Parenthood, and its funding. But as time wears on, it is increasingly clear that what the Freedom Caucus wants more than specific legislation is power.

The clock is ticking, and the brinksmanship, while interesting in a sociological kind of way, is a totally counterproductive endeavor. We will soon see if the Representative from Wisconsin’s First Congressional District has constructed an acceptable path forward, via “Ryan’s Rules: Demands, Conditions, Stipulations…Pick the Semantic of Your Choice!”

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A Look Back at the Million Man March: My Generation’s March on Washington (Reprised)

It’s time to Break It Down!

As many of you did, I spent much of last night watching this season’s first Democratic Party Presidential Debate. I was extended, and accepted an opportunity to attend and participate in a Focus Group to discuss the Debate. Instead of creating a post after viewing the debate, I chose instead to repost a story I logged a year ago.

On Friday we will observe the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March. Last year I wrote about what I felt the MMM represented for my generation, from my perspective, of course.

A natural query to pose is, “But what about the March this past weekend; why not focus on that one?” It is a fair question. The same controversial leader, Minister Louis Farrakhan, who was a central figure in the 1995 March was at the forefront of last Saturday’s Million Man March for Justice or Else; the Washington Mall facing the Capitol was the same location, and tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people, mostly blacks, assembled from all across the country.

All of that is true. What is also true is I did not attend this past weekend’s event. I chose to reprise the 1995 March because of my personal connection to memories of that March. To that end, what follows is the unedited post from October 15, 2014, titled as above.

Tomorrow will mark the 19th Anniversary of the Million Man March (MMM). Before moving to the narrative, I know there are those who are disturbed that I would deign to conflate or equate The 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom; the March of A. Phillip Randolph, of Bayard Rustin, and of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I understand completely, and that is not what I’m doing.

On August 27th and 28th, 1963, I was nine years old. My participation came courtesy of my vantage point, seated in front of our 19-inch Black & White TV. It was informative, and inspiring, but it was not in-person (for me). Rustin, Randolph, King, and their co-participants and contemporaries, through their actions, reframed the trajectory of the landscape of American society, as we knew it. All of us are forever in their debt…each and every one of us. If you are an American today, whether you were born by then, or lived here at that time, if you are here now, you are obliged to credit, or blame if you choose, them for the country we have become.

By October 16, 1995, I was forty-something. I had been aware of the planning and development of the Million Man March from its early stages. From the outset, I was committed that this time, I would be fully present and accounted for. This time, timing was on my side. I actually had a job that made it not only acceptable, but also desirable to be there. I went, on my own aegis, not for work. But with a job title, Minority Affairs Director, I had no doubt; it was meant for me to be there.

Most of the rest of this post will be devoted to a verbatim recounting of an essay I wrote about my first person experience attending the March. The essay was one of three that appeared in the November 1995 Edition of OUTLOOK (Vol. 26 No. 11), the Newsmagazine for employees of Mecklenburg County, NC. All three were captured under the broad heading, “Reflections on the Million Man March.”

Here’s my essay:

For me, this event was at once a culmination and a commencement.

Nearly a year ago Minister Louis Farrakhan spoke here in Charlotte and announced plans for a Million Man March to be held in Washington, D.C. I left the Convention Center that evening committed to be at the March. My interest and enthusiasm culminated with my participation on Monday, October 16, 1995.

The March also was the point of commencement for the strategies and action to create positive and deeply rooted change in the social fabric of our individual communities and in the entire nation.

Though estimates of the actual attendance are in dispute, whether the number was 400,000 or more than a million, the turnout was epic. By the former measure, it is the largest civil rights rally in the history of this country; the latter would make it simply the largest gathering ever on the Washington Mall.

Being there was to be engulfed by the spirit of the moment; surrounded by a sea of positively focused humanity. It was an endeavor whose moment had come. It had to be done!

The day was characterized by its organizers as a time for collective atonement, reconciliation, responsibility, and absence: atonement for having been AWOL from familial responsibility; reconciliation to the women, children, families, and communities that had been abandoned; responsibility for our own actions and the consequences of those actions; and absence from normal daily employment and consumption (buying) patterns. These steps underscore the seriousness of our circumstances, and provide a vehicle to penetrate the nation’s consciousness. (Mission accomplished).

Minister Farrakhan and the Reverend Benjamin Chavis are correctly viewed as principal symbols of “The March.” They played central roles in conceiving and organizing the effort. In the final analysis however, “The March” belonged to THE PEOPLE. No one, two, or twenty individuals could adequately represent the total spectrum of this undertaking. It spanned wide ranges of economy, geography, religion, politics, ideology, age, gender, disability, and general point of view. African-Americans united to respond to the beleaguered condition of people…not against anyone.

Speaker after speaker – Maya Angelou, Charles Rangel, Kwaisi Mfume, Jesse Jackson, Rosa Parks, Jawanza Kunjufu, John Conyers, Stevie Wonder, Tynnetta Muhammad, Kurt Schmoke, Marion Berry, Benjamin Chavis, and Louis Farrakhan – in their own way, challenged and urged those in attendance, those watching at home (or at work) and those who would later hear about it, to work together to heal our society.

Minister Farrakhan specifically outlined several steps that participants should take, including:

  1. Register to vote and actively work to make sure others do;
  2. Affiliate with an organization(s) focused on improving the Black Community;
  3. Join a church, synagogue, mosque, etc., and put your religion to work in the community;
  4. Adopt one of the 25,000 black children waiting for adoption;
  5. Develop a relationship with a prisoner and help that person in their transition to life after prison;
  6. Establish a black United Fund to help our communities.

These steps alone will not alleviate all the problems we face. But if these measures are adopted, we will have taken one giant step forward.

Those of us assembled on the Mall on Monday, October 16, 1995 were prayerful, powerful, respectful, and reverent. More importantly, we were inspired by having been there, and we left committed to begin, continue, or accelerate our personal efforts to implement solutions to the trenchant social problems we face in our communities. I’m ready to do my part.


That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Arguably, a dozen years before I conceived and introduced The Sphinx of Charlotte/Break It Down, this essay was my very first blog. Who knew? Now, you do. I hope you enjoyed this narrative version of Throw Back Thursday (remember, tomorrow is the anniversary), brought to you on Wednesday. So there you have it, “A Look Back at the MMM: My Generation’s March on Washington!”

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A Tale Of The Great African Migration: Emphasis On Tale!

It’s time to Break It Down!

Allow me to flout convention and begin with the end. In summary, the perpetrator’s effort to address the subject is a start, but falls short, far short in fact, of what’s necessary to make right an immeasurable injustice.

How did we arrive at this point?

In recent years there has been a not so subtle effort to reimage American History, or at least a key part of it. A certain element of the country has increasingly flexed its growing political and cultural muscle by successfully lobbying to change the way textbooks express the emergence, growth and development of the United States as a World Power.

Legislatures in several States have voted to participate in this unsavory practice. Even the Republican National Committee has gotten in on the act. Conservatives scrutinized the 2014 edition of the College Board’s release of its new Advanced Placement U.S. History teaching guidelines for not being patriotic enough. The Republican National Committee issued a resolution describing the framework as a “biased and inaccurate view of many important events in American history” and calling on Congress to withhold federal funding from the College Board.

Read: New AP U.S. history teaching framework released after controversy

It can be argued that, at best, this deception dilutes the truth quotient associated with the course of American human events. At worst, it totally whitewashes, no pun intended, the atrocities visited upon millions of erstwhile Africans. These men and women were violently separated from their homeland, and transported across an Ocean under the most brutal of circumstances. The conditions the human cargo was subjected to; shackled in cramped quarters, and barely fed, effectively killed countless men and women during the transcontinental voyages. Those who survived had their lives leveraged for free labor, while they essentially built significant portions of the infrastructure of this country.

As previously referenced, a number of States engage in this unpalatable behavior. However, none is bigger and/or more influential than Texas, if for no other reason, than because of the sheer number of textbooks the State purchases. Moreover, due to the large number of books prepared for Texas, that version of the texts is likely to be marketed to other smaller states that cannot command, based on volume, a different, truer-to-fact, version of the texts.

Publisher McGraw-Hill is contracted to prepare and provide World Geography textbooks for the State of Texas. In the version of events approved by the Texas Legislature, African slaves are referred to as “workers” and “immigrants.” In one passage, the book notes:

“The Atlantic slave trade brought millions of workers…”

OK, hold on, wait a minute! This low-grade historical rewrite has been kicked around in newspapers and Internet news sites for some time. Finally a student and his mother, Coby Burren and Roni Dean-Burren, respectively, collaborated to kick-off a Facebook post that went viral. The ensuing smoke apparently made its way all the way up the communications chimney to McGraw-Hill executives.

The Dean-Burrens recoiled at the manipulatively nuanced characterizations that referred to individuals whom we know were slaves, as workers and immigrants. In response, Mrs. Dean-Burren asked:

“Workers implies wages … yes?

In one more testament to the viability and velocity of the inherent in general, and of Facebook in particular, her post had drawn 1.4 million page views on Facebook through Sunday before last. The higher-ups at McGraw-Hill not only heard (or saw/read, as it were), they responded.

Once confronted by the outcry emanating from the Dean-Burren family, McGraw-Hill reviewed the section. After a quick refresher, they concluded that the phraseology comprised in that particular section does not live up to their standards. As the Company put it, in a post on its own Facebook Page last Friday:

“We believe we can do better to communicate these facts more clearly, we will update this caption to describe the arrival of African slaves in the U.S. as a forced migration and emphasize that their work was done as slave labor.”

The company noted the edits will appear in the online version of the book immediately and will be included in the book’s next printing.

In response to the news, Mrs. Dean-Burren said on her Facebook Page:

“This is change people!!! This is why your voices matter!!!” And they do.

In citing a couple of specific examples of the reinvention of history in the text, Mrs. Dean-Burren elevated a passage from the section called “Patterns of Immigration.” In that section the text provides snapshots of how various ethnic groups arrived…in America. It notes:

“The Atlantic slave trade between the 1500s and the 1800s brought millions of workers from Africa to the southern United States to work on agricultural plantations.”

Immigration? Really? Mr. Trump and his immigration foes must not have received the memo. There is an immigrant pool that not only works but also does so for free.

A separate passage describes the arrival of Europeans who came to work as indentured servants “for little or no pay.” Here, they note that English and other Europeans received little or no pay, yet, no mention that Africans were slaves…just workers.

Mrs. Dean-Burren accurately calls this characterization of slavery in the text an “erasure.”

“Erasure is real y’all!!! Teach your children the truth!!! ‪#‎blacklivesmatter”

Coby, a ninth-grade student at Pearland High School south of Houston, brought the textbook and its loose-with-the-facts language to his mother’s attention. Texas has been a battleground in the fight over changes to textbooks that some say concede too much ground to conservative viewpoints on subjects such as climate change, religious liberty and especially slavery.

Read: Texas OKs school guidelines after ideological debate

While Mrs. Dean Burren took solace in having been a catalyst for a degree of change in McGraw-Hill’s posture on the subject of describing slavery in appropriate terms, some believe the changes aren’t enough and are asking the publisher to recall existing versions of the book and replace copies for schools that can’t afford to buy new books. I support this view. One comment on McGraw-Hill’s Facebook Page read:

“Thanks for the gesture, but that doesn’t help the school districts that can’t afford to purchase new textbooks! Kids will continue to read the same incorrect & inconsiderate information for probably the next 5-10 years! There must be a better way!”

Others say the publisher’s revised language still plays down the horrors of slavery.

“Forced migration? I believe the words you’re looking for are kidnapped and stolen,” wrote a commenter.

With those observations, I will end this post as it began, as I said I would. In summary, McGraw-Hill’s effort to address the subject is a start, but falls short, far short in fact, of what’s necessary to make right an immeasurable injustice. Therefore, when you reflect on this sordid episode, all you really need to know is, this was “A Tale Of The Great African Migration: Emphasis On Tale!”

I’m done; holla back!

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Consult the links below for more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post:—7CBMCh9Hw/‘workers/vp-AAf8yM