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The difficult math of inequality

The difficult math of inequality

Thousands of fast food workers took to the streets last week, staging strikes in protest over their low pay. In states where the minimum wage has not been raised above the federal level, if a worker could put together a full-time, full-year schedule, she would earn just $15,080 a year.

Some people scoff at raising the minimum wage for these workers, on the basis that "they only flip burgers." By that logic, what should you get paid if you are the chief burger flipper? Not much, right? Well, the CEOs of fast food restaurants average $11,884,000 in pay annually. That's a lot of hamburgers to flip.

Here is where the math of inequality comes into play. We haven't given minimum wage workers a raise in more than five years, yet inflation has continued. So minimum wage workers' purchasing power has been falling. In 2009, $15,080 a year would place a single mother with a child above the poverty threshold. Today, she and her child would be living in poverty.

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6 lesser-known facts about Brown v. Board

6 lesser-known facts about Brown v. Board

Brown v. Board of Education – the landmark Supreme Court ruling that desegregated public schools – turns 60 this year, and if someone were tasked with identifying the most interesting parts of the case in order to repurpose it for a "Law & Order" special, what would that episode look like?

Who were the major characters? Which one of the nine Supreme Court justices held out on his decision until the last minute, and then eventually changed his mind? What was special about the plaintiff, and why did he make it a credible case?

And since the last five minutes of any legal drama are especially juicy because viewers want to see how the courtroom reacts to the verdict, how did the country respond to the 1954 Supreme Court ruling that made the "separate but equal" doctrine unconstitutional?

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A better way to compensate college athletes

A better way to compensate college athletes

Athletes at Northwestern University shocked the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the governing body of college sports, by taking steps to unionize student-athletes. Surprisingly, NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell, former NFL great Jim Brown and Harry Edwards, who organized a human rights protest at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City that culminated in Tommy Smith and John Carlos giving a clenched fist salute when they mounted the winners platform, do not support the idea.

It's not that Bill Russell, Jim Brown or Harry Edwards have mellowed – they have not. Rather, they think there's a better way to help athletes who generate $500 billion a year to major universities, athletic vendors and others.

"I am totally against the unions in college," Brown said. "I don't like the NCAA. I think it's a greedy organization, a dictatorial organization, an organization that's totally unfair to the players...But on the other hand, I think we have all gotten away from the value of an education."

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African-American leaders divided on whether to view Rand Paul as friend or foe

African-American leaders divided on whether to view Rand Paul as friend or foe

Sen. Rand Paul's (R-Ky.) aggressive outreach to the African-American community over the last several months is dividing African-American leaders, as some are excited that a prominent conservative Republican is embracing their causes, while others argue that working with the Kentucky senator and a likely 2016 presidential candidate is a mistake.

Paul, openly acknowledging the Republican Party's longtime struggles with African-American voters, is giving speeches at African-American colleges and meeting with key African-American pastors and leaders across the country. He is also taking stances, such as urging the restoration of voting rights for convicted felons and reducing the use of mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes, that are unusual for a Republican.

"It's extremely significant and I think quite encouraging for Senator Paul to not just raise these issues but also to be such a passionate advocate," said Jotaka Eaddy, a senior director at the NAACP. She added, "It's always positive when you have unexpected voices that are advocating around these principles."

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A first: African-American executive editor at the New York Times

A first: African-American executive editor at the New York Times

Dean Baquet will become the first African-American executive editor at the New York Times, replacing Jill Abramson who leaves the top position unexpectedly. The news apparently stunned New York Times staffers who did not see this move coming.

On Wednesday, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., publisher of the New York Times and chairman of the New York Times Company, first told senior staff of the changing of the guard and then informed the full newsroom around 2:30 p.m., the New York Times reports.

While the reason for the change was not immediately made clear, Baquet seems a fitting choice to lead the newspaper with his being a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and a former editor of the Los Angeles Times.

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‘Debt Relief & Reparations for HBCUs’

‘Debt Relief & Reparations for HBCUs’

The enslavement of African Americans in the United States is an atrocity that Orlando Matthews abhors and doesn't mind talking about. He spoke about that desolate period in human history during a recent two-day conference and community town hall meeting in Nashville on "Debt Relief & Reparations for HBCUs."

The conference was held on the campus of Tennessee State University and organized to save Historically Black Colleges and Universities from budget shortfalls, to restore Africana Studies on HBCU campuses, and to keep the focus solely on educating African-American students.

Though Matthews was one of several conference facilitators, there were others of note, including U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), who conducted workshops during the community town hall meeting at Ray of Hope Community Church and emphasized the urgency for reparations to keep HBCUs solvent to avoid going defunct.

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Building muscle to fight ‘the disease of aging’

Building muscle to fight ‘the disease of aging’

If you want good health, a long life and to feel your best well into old age, the No. 1 most important thing you can do is strength-training, says Dr. Brett Osborn, author of "Get Serious, A Neurosurgeon's Guide to Optimal Health and Fitness."

"Our ability to fight off disease resides in our muscles," Osborn says. "The greatest thing you can do for your body is to build muscle."

He cites a large, long-term study of nearly 9,000 men ages 20 to 80. After nearly 19 years, the men still living were those with the most muscular strength. (BMJ, formerly British Medical Journal, 2008).

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