Friday, April 3, 2009

Racism's Long and Torturous History Against African-Americans

The Civil War was fought in part over slavery, but legal prejudice against African-Americans and other cultures was sanctioned by U.S. laws, and it wasn't until the 1940's and 50's that things really began to change.

(SALEM, Ore.) - There are no simple answers for racism. Few problems in our society rival it, and for the first time in U.S. history, we will very likely elect our first black President. This scenario leaves many people grinning, and others grimacing, as they watch something take place that they never would have predicted.

It is important to separate fact from fiction when it comes to racism and the plight of African-American people in the history of this place we call the United States.

White people have lived from the beginning of western society, with a relative amount of comfort. They have for the most part, had the ability to work and be paid fairly for that day's labor.

Black Americans of African descent on the other hand, lived generation after generation as slaves from 1619 to 1865. That is when the southern states that separated from the United States in a bloody Civil War that cost millions of lives, was defeated. Slavery was abolished.

But it did not end there for African-Americans. As the years after the Civil War passed, one law after another was drafted incorporating direct prejudice blacks. As you will see below; one state would pass a racism-inspired law and then another would follow, and another one would slime out another law based purely on racism. The last state time after time, would be Oklahoma.

Some people argue that we are all born with prejudice as part of our psyche, and maybe that is true; but it is our personal responsibility as adults and parents to educate ourselves and others by learning to respect other races and cultures, hopefully through co-existing with people of other backgrounds.

The graph to the left shows the changes and modifications to racism that people of color endured in the early days of the Colonies, through the Civil War, and into more recent years. Only a small portion of these years show black people being treated with a degree of fairness. It is important to note the length of the red column next to it.

One of the people I have spent years studying, is the only black pilot of World War One. Eugene Bullard, born and raised in the United States, would be remembered by many as "The Black Baron" and his exploits as a pilot flying for France were in the legion of the greatest heroics. But France was the only country Bullard would fly for; the United States refused to even consider him for a pilot's job because he was black.

Bullard's racist beating at Peeksill in '49

As late as 1949, Eugene Bullard was beaten by an angry crowd in New York for trying to attend a black spiritual rally. (see: Book Review: Eugene Bullard - Black Expatriate in Jazz-Age Paris)

Sadly, events like this well documented case of abuse define American history and as great as we view ourselves to be, the truth bears out a different story where the "greatness" was reserved for people with the right skin color.

Over the years Dr. King, Malcom X and a host of others have tried to bring balance and decency to the plight of the African American. Their achievements stand out and their failures are lamented, but they did what it took to make their voiced heard, much like Barack Obama has today.

The bottom line to many of us, is shown in the graph at left. Blacks were treated with indecency far more years in this country than they were treated fairly.

Racism Timeline in the U.S.

One crucial event in the development of early America was the arrival of Africans to Jamestown. A Dutch slave trader exchanged his cargo of Africans for food in 1619. The popular conception of a racial-based slave system did not develop until the 1680's.

Millions of Native Americans were also enslaved, particularly in South America. In the American colonies in 1730, nearly 25 percent of the slaves in the Carolinas were Cherokee, Creek, or other Native Americans. From the 1500s through the early 1700s, small numbers of white people were also enslaved by kidnapping, or for crimes or debts.

The Virginia Assembly declares that "no Negro, mulatto, or Indian shall presume to take upon him, act in or exercise any office, ecclesiastic, civil or military." Blacks were also forbidden to serve as witness in court cases.

Ledgers and account books kept by George Washington clearly show that he bought slaves. In 1754 he bought two male and a female; in 1756, two males, two females and a child, etc.

Slave traders are excluded from the Society of Friends by American Quakers despite the fact that many Quakers own slaves.

Philadelphia - The Continental Congress bars blacks from the American Revolutionary army, even though about one-fifth of the people of the mainland colonies were of African ancestry.

Members of a black group called the Free African Society were pulled off their knees in November at a "white" Methodist church. It led to the establishment of the African Methodist Episcopal Church which improved the economic and social conditions of American blacks through the Free African Society.

Tobacco Slave Narrative "For any of the higher offences, the slaves are stripped, tied up by the hands- - sometimes by the thumbs- - and whipped at the quarter- - but many times." - Charles Ball, Fifty Years in Chains; or, the Life of an American Slave (New York, 1858).

The Yankee John Quincy Adams wrote that "slavery in a moral sense is an evil, but in commerce it has its uses." In another episode of tragic irony, an aged Adams returned to Washington as a Congressman to wage a heroic, lonely battle against the slavers' domination.

Maryland slave Harriet Tubman escapes to the North and begins a career as "conductor" on the Underground Railway that started in 1838. Tubman made 19 trips back to the South to free more than 300 slaves including her aged parents in 1857.

The same year that the last slave ship arrived in the U.S., Abolitionist John Brown with 21 men seized U.S. Armory at Harpers Ferry (then Virginia) October 16th. U.S. Marines captured raiders, killing several. Brown was hanged for treason by Virginia December 2nd.

The Civil War begins, and President Abraham Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation, then signed a bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia in 1862, nine months later. The act brought to conclusion decades of agitation aimed at ending what antislavery advocates called "the national shame" of slavery in the nation's capital.

Robert E. Lee surrendered 27,800 Confederate troops to Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia. The United States won the Civil War against a number of southern states that took up arms against the U.S.A. so they could continue owning slaves.

Some people believed that everything would change. In some cases, for a while at least, it did. The African-American citizens of Washington, D.C., celebrated the abolition of slavery with a procession of 4,000 to 5,000 people assembled at the White House. They were addressed by President Andrew Johnson. Marching past 10,000 cheering spectators, the procession, led by two black regiments, proceeded up Pennsylvania Avenue to Franklin Square for religious services and speeches by prominent politicians. A sign on top of the speaker's platform read: "We have received our civil rights. Give us the right of suffrage and the work is done."

Height of global European Imperialism and the "scramble for Africa" proceed, rationalized as a "civilizing mission" based on white supremacy. Europeans assert their "spheres of interest" in African colonies arbitrarily, cutting across traditionally established boundaries, homelands, and ethnic groupings of African peoples and cultures. Following a "divide and rule" theory, Europeans promote traditional inter-ethnic hostilities. "The European onslaught of Africa that began in the mid 1400s progressed to various conquests over the continent, and culminated over 400 years later with the partitioning of Africa.

Segregation of public transportation. Tennessee segregated railroad cars, followed by Florida (1887), Mississippi (1888), Texas (1889), Louisiana (1890), Alabama, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Georgia (1891), South Carolina (1898), North Carolina (1899), Virginia (1900), Maryland (1904), and Oklahoma (1907)

In order to stop one of the biggest fears in society: the mixing of the races, the U.S. government succeeded by using segregation laws which required railroads operating in the state or passing through the state to house black passengers in separate cars from the whites.

African-Americans are disenfranchised. The Mississippi Plan, approved on November 1, used literacy and "understanding" tests to disenfranchise black American citizens. Similar statutes were adopted by South Carolina (1895), Louisiana (1898), North Carolina (1900), Alabama (1901), Virginia (1901), Georgia (1908), and Oklahoma (1910).

"D.W. Griffith's "Birth of A Nation" represented the essence of racism in film. The movie set the stage for future portrayals of blacks in film. Griffith showed blacks as, "endearing inferiors duped into rising above their accustomed station by misinformed abolitionists and vindictive reconstruction congressmen who had betrayed Lincoln's benign plans for the defeated South."

The mob of about 400 whites in Washington, D.C. that went on a rampage, was motivated by weeks of sensational newspaper accounts of alleged sex crimes by a "Negro fiend" that unleashed a wave of violence that swept over the city for four days.

A riot destroyed a 30-square-block area of north Tulsa, Oklahoma known as Greenwood, a primarily black neighborhood. Newspaper accounts reported 76 dead, but historians have put the figure closer to 300. Blacks here have long maintained that whites used airplanes to bomb homes, churches and businesses in north Tulsa.

Jessie Daniel Ames formed the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching. She got 40,000 white women to sign a pledge against lynching and for change in the South.

This is the year the Second Great Migration began - In multiple acts of resistance, more than 5 million African Americans left the violence and segregation of the South for jobs, education, and the chance to vote in northern, midwestern and California cities.

Jackie Robinson plays his first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first black baseball player in professional baseball in 60 years, and President Harry S. Truman issues Executive Order 9981 ordering the end of segregation in the Armed Forces.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs Executive Order 10590, establishing a committee to enforce a nondiscrimination policy in Federal employment. This is the year teenager Emmett Till is killed for whistling at a white woman in Money, Mississippi, (see: Cousin of Emmett Till Speaks Tonight at Willamette)and on December 1st, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus, starting the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Incoming Alabama governor George Wallace calls for "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" in his inaugural address. In April, Mary Lucille Hamilton, Field Secretary for the Congress of Racial Equality, refuses to answer a judge in Gadsden, Alabama, until she is addressed by the honorific "Miss". Hamilton was jailed for contempt of court but she prevailed in court.

In February, Malcolm X was shot to death in Manhattan, New York, probably by members of the Black Muslim faith. March 7th is remembered as Bloody Sunday: when Civil rights workers in Selma, Alabama marching to Montgomery were stopped by a massive police blockade as they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Many marchers were severely injured and one killed.

On a primetime television special, Petula Clark touched Harry Belafonte's arm during a duet. The Chrysler Corporation, manufacturers of today's biggest gas guzzling monstrosities, was the show's sponsor. They insisted the touch be deleted, but Clark stood firm, destroyed all other takes of the song, and delivered the completed program to NBC with the touch intact. On April 4th, Dr. Martin Luther King was shot and killed in Memphis, Tennessee by James Earl Ray.

On March 3rd, four white police officers are videotaped beating African-American Rodney King. In April, Los Angeles riots erupt after the officers accused of beating Rodney King are acquitted.

Barack Obama receives enough delegates by the end of state primaries to be the presumptive Democratic Party of the United States nominee, making it likely that he will become the first African-American presidential nominee of a major party in United States history.

I found these points in history to be very important, and the fact that many forms of racial prejudice are behind us today is extremely noteworthy. But in 2008, people in the south will tell you that the times of racial prejudice are not completely behind us. In Los Angeles, problems between black and Hispanic cultures are bloody and deadly. I think the hysteria over so-called "illegal immigrants" has driven a lot of the problems in southern California.

Hopefully a black President will inspire the American people to leave prejudice at the door, and to move toward finding the list of solutions for so many problems unaddressed and out of control over the last seven years.

Latest Data Shows More Than 2.2 Million African Americans Enrolled in All Levels of Higher Education

The data shows that in 2007 there were 1,052,166 African Americans enrolled in four-year college programs. 912,978 African Americans enrolled in two-year community college programs.

In addition, 230,233 blacks were enrolled in graduate programs and another 25,043 blacks were enrolled in professional schools.

All told, there were more than 2.2 million African Americans enrolled in higher education in the fall of 2007.

Michael Vick Doing Construction Work???

Thee QB who’s athletic ability and natural talent questioned the whole makeup of a NFL offense and definition of Quarter Back, is talking about being a construction worker when released:

Everyone is expecting Michael Vick to return to the football field after his incarceration, but he has other plans….…Vick’s lawyer announced in Bankruptcy court today that the former QB has a construction job lined up after his prison release and Vick will work a regular 40 hour work week. Further details about wages or the duration of his new career were unavailable. After being the highest paid player in the league, Vick was suspended indefinitely from the NFL after his 2007 indictment. The NFL Commissioner has said he will review Vick’s status after he is released.

This is ridiculous and way out of hand, but say what you need to say to get your freedom, bruh. Good luck Vick, we hope you return to the field soon.

It’s Put Up or Shut Up Time for Allen Iverson

We’ve been ardent Allen Iverson apologists for much of his short stint with the Detroit Pistons this season; that is, until recently when my colleague questioned whether or not he’s still an impact player at this late stage of his storied NBA career. (For the record, Andrew’s verdict was essentially “no, he’s a washed-up bum.”)

I’m surely not the only one who’s starting to agree with him. At the very least, since returning from his prolonged back injury that sidelined him for a month, Iverson has only reinforced the notion that he’s a cancer, a team-chemistry killer, and a one-dimensional player (once) capable of stuffing the stat sheet, but not of buying into a team-first mentality and truly adjusting his game for the greater good.

He said all the right things early on this year, but that seems like a long, long time ago, doesn’t it?

You’ve probably already read his recent postgame rants since returning to the Detroit lineup last weekend, a return which saw him starting the game on the bench for the first time in his career. But just in case you missed it:

“How many minutes did I play?,” Iverson said after he scored 11 with three turnovers in 18 minutes. “It seemed way, way, way less than that. Eighteen minutes? Come on, man. I can play 18 minutes with my eyes closed. It’s a bad feeling, man. I’m wondering what they rushed me to get back for? For that? It’s a bad time for me mentally. I am just trying to get through it without starting a whole bunch of nonsense. I’m looking at the big picture. If I vent my frustration then it’s like, given who I am, I’ll be the one everybody points the finger at. I am just going to try to laugh to stop from crying.”

That came following Monday’s loss to the Cavaliers; he wasn’t done though, spouting off again last night after the Pistons dropped to a wretched 36-39 following a loss to the New Jersey Nets:

“I’m in a position now that I’ve never been in my whole life,” Iverson said. “It’s harder than I thought it would be. With the back injury, I have to sit out at the start, then go in, then sit again. It’s tough to really get going. I take my hat off to the guys who can come off the bench and be effective. It’s tough for me. I’m struggling with it.”

“I’d rather retire before I do this again,” Iverson said. “I can’t be effective playing this way. I’m not used to it. It’s tough for me both mentally and physically. If I’m able to go out there, I should be able to get it done and I can’t right now. It’s my fault. I have to be able to overcome the adversity and do what I have to do. I just have to find a way to get it done. Not being 100 percent makes it harder and you can see that I’m not 100 percent.”

He went on to say that despite his claim that he wasn’t at full strength, he wouldn’t use it as an excuse for the fact that he’s stunk up the court since his return: over his last three games, Iverson has shot a combined 9-25 and averaged 7.6 points, 2.6 assists, 1.3 boards, and 2 turnovers. As an unrestricted free-agent-to-be this summer, he’s not doing himself any favors with his poor play, by popping off to the media at a critical stage in his team’s season, and doing little to nothing to shake the stigma that he’s anything but a team player.

It’s time for GM Joe Dumars to step in and send Iverson home. Remove him from the bench. Bid him farewell, adieu, goodbye, have fun spending your $22 million paycheck for this season. There’s no point in having him around any longer: he doesn’t want to be there, something tells me his teammates don’t want him there, and he’s become an unnecessary distraction to a fast-fading team that’s in serious danger of falling all the way out of the playoffs and into the lottery.

On top of that, he’s taking away valuable, earned playing time from second-year man Will Bynum, the Pistons’ backup PG behind Rodney Stuckey while Iverson was out and a guy who’s been one of the most pleasant surprises in the entire league over the past month. For the month of March, Bynum averaged a respectable 11.2 points on 48% FG, 4 assists, 2.1 rebounds, and 1.1 steals in just under 21 minutes per. As A. Sherrod Blakely recently said, Bynum has outplayed Iverson in Detroit this year.

It’s not fair to pin all of the team’s deep-reaching problems this season on Iverson: he’s but one part of the puke that has become the 2008-09 Detroit Pistons. Still, just as he did in Denver, there’s no question that Iverson has now put himself in a position to be the main scapegoat for another team’s disappointing season.

Life Web site offers unpublished photographs from hours after Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination

ATLANTA -- Almost 41 years to the day after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, newly published photographs of the aftermath of his shooting at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., are on a magazine's Web site.

About a dozen black-and-white pictures published on today include scenes of King's associates meeting solemnly in the civil rights leader's motel room, standing on the balcony where he stood for the last time, and workers cleaning the last of the blood.

They were taken April 4, 1968, by "Life" photographer Henry Groskinsky, who was on assignment in Alabama with writer Mike Silva when they learned that King had been shot in Memphis and rushed to the scene.

To their surprise, they had access not just to the motel but to King's room.

"I was very discreet. I shot just enough to document what was going on. I didn't want to make a nuisance of myself," the 75-year-old Groskinsky said in the caption to a photo showing a group of King's associates, including Andrew Young and the Rev. Ralph Abernathy, assembled inside the room.

"It's very somber, and there I am with a flash camera. So I took a couple of pictures and just kind of backed off," Groskinsky said.

There was no explanation on the Web site of why the photographs have not been published before now. A phone number for Groskinsky could not be obtained to reach him for comment tonight night. Attempts to reach representatives from Time & Life and Getty Images were unsuccessful.

Obama Hits France

President Obama continued his tour of Europe as he arrived in France this morning for the NATO conference being held in Strasbourg.

French President Sarkozy gave Obama a surprisingly warm welcome and even greeted the president with something of a welcome gift; the symbolic announcement that France will take one detainee from the soon-to-be-closed Guantanamo Bay prison. Wow!

Obama will hold a town hall in Strasbourg this morning before focusing on the NATO summit.

President Obama traveled to France today for the start of a two-day summit of 26 leaders of NATO countries as members of the World War II-era alliance commemorate the past and contemplate the future of their mutual defense pact.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy welcomed Obama and, in a symbolic gesture of support for the new U.S. leader, said his country would accept one of the detainees from the American detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in an effort to help shut it down.

But in making the offer, he also said he must “speak the truth,” and blasted the decision by the Bush administration to open and maintain Guantanamo Bay to indefinitely detain terror suspects.

“I appreciate the values of the United States,” Sarkozy said, standing beside Obama at a news conference in Strasbourg. “Guantanamo Bay did not conform to the values of the United States.”

Obama met said he brought U.S. allies the message that they should expand their national defense capabilities. “We’re not looking to be patrons of Europe,” Obama said. “We’re looking to be partners of Europe.”

N Korea 'preparing rocket launch'

North Korea is reported to be pressing ahead with final preparations for its planned satellite launch, despite stern warnings from the US and its allies.

A US defence official said there were indications the North was fuelling the rocket in a final step to the launch.

US President Barack Obama said Pyongyang should halt the expected launch, calling the move "provocative".

North Korea said it would launch a satellite between 4-8 April, but critics suspect it is a missile test.

At a news conference on Friday, Mr Obama said the threatened launch had put "enormous strains" on international talks over Pyongyang's disputed nuclear activities.

He said that the North's "unhelpful" response only added to its international isolation. He said North Korea could not threaten the "safety and security of other countries with impunity".

See satellite images of North Korea's launch pad

Before Mr Obama made his comments, the North had threatened immediate retaliation over any intervention.

Pyongyang had also warned that any attempts to impose UN sanctions would be seen as a hostile act.

Favourable weather

Last month North Korea said it had told the International Civil Aviation Organisation that it would launch the rocket only between 0200GMT and 0700GMT during the five-day launch window.

Observers say North Korea will very likely stick to this commitment, firing the rocket at the first sign of good weather conditions during the given times.

North Korea's missile programme

According to South Korean media, the forecast for Saturday is partially cloudy, but considered reasonably favourable at the moment.

Seoul's defence ministry says it has stepped up surveillance ahead of the launch.

The unification ministry, which deals with cross-border relations, urged groups and individuals to avoid travelling to a joint industrial zone in the North from Saturday.

On Thursday, the US president and his South Korean counterpart Lee Myung-bak said a "stern, united response" would follow any rocket launch by North Korea.

South Korea and Japan also affirmed their intention to refer Pyongyang to the UN Security Council for sanctions if a launch was carried out - a move backed by the US.

President Lee said they should also try to convince China and Russia, security council members with veto power, to "join in a strong response".

Japan has said it will shoot down the rocket if it misfires and endangers Japanese territory.

North Korea's military has threatened immediate retaliation if "even the slightest effort" is made to intercept its rocket.

Jobless rate bolts to 8.5 percent, 663K jobs lost

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's unemployment rate jumped to 8.5 percent in March, the highest since late 1983, as a wide swath of employers eliminated 663,000 jobs. It's fresh evidence of the toll the recession has inflicted on America's workers, and economists say there's no relief in sight.

If part-time and discouraged workers are factored in, the unemployment rate would have been 15.6 percent in March, the highest on records dating to 1994, according to Labor Department data released Friday.

The average work week in March dropped to 33.2 hours, a new record low. Since the recession began in December 2007, the economy has lost a net total of 5.1 million jobs, with almost two-thirds of the losses occurring in the last five months.

"It's an ugly report and April is going to be equally as bad," predicted Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's

The deterioration in the jobs market and a worse-than-expected reading of the strength of the services sector in March come despite a few hopeful signs recently that the recession — now the longest since World War II — could be easing.

Orders placed with U.S. factories actually rose in February, ending a six straight months of declines, the government reported Thursday. Earlier in the week, there was better-than-expected reports on construction spending and pending home sales. And last week a report showed that consumer spending — an engine of the economy — rose in February for the second month in a row — after a half-year of declines.

The job market traditionally doesn't rebound until well after a recovery starts. But the stock market generally bottoms out before the economy, and stocks have been rising for three weeks.

The Dow Jones industrial average spent most of Thursday over 8,000, the first time that happened since early February, before adding 216 points to close at 7,978. The Dow dropped about 60 points in midday trading, and broader indices also slipped.

Last month's tally of job losses was slightly higher than the 654,000 that economists expected. The rise in the unemployment rate matched expectations.

Employers cut 651,000 jobs in February when the jobless rate was 8.1 percent, the same as initially estimated. January's job losses, however, were revised much higher, to 741,000 from 655,000. Figuring prominently into that downgrade: much deeper job cuts in construction and professional and business services. January marked the worst payroll losses since the fall of 1949.

The number of unemployed people climbed to 13.2 million in March. In addition, the number of people forced to work part time for "economic reasons" rose by 423,000 to 9 million. Those are people who would like to work full time but whose hours were cut back or were unable to find full-time work.

Looking forward, economists expect monthly job losses continuing for most — if not all of — this year.

However, they are hoping that payroll reductions in the current quarter won't be as deep as the roughly 685,000 average monthly job losses in the January-March period.

In the best-case scenario, employment losses in the present quarter would be about half that pace, some economists said. That scenario partly assumes the economy won't be shrinking nearly as much in the present quarter.

But as the economic downturn eats into their sales and profits, companies are laying off workers and resorting to other cost-saving measures. Those include holding down hours, and freezing or cutting pay, to survive the storm.

Job losses were widespread last month. Construction companies cut 126,000 jobs. Factories axed 161,000. Retailers got rid of nearly 50,000. Professional and business services eliminated 133,000. Leisure and hospitality reduced employment by 40,000. Even the government cut jobs — 5,000 of them.

Education and health care were the few industries showing any job gains.

Meanwhile, the services index from the Institute for Supply Management, a Tempe, Ariz.-based trade group of purchasing executives, fell to 40.8 last month from 41.6 in February. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected the index to edge up to 42.

Any reading below 50 indicates contraction.

The report, released Friday, is based on a survey of the institute's members in 18 industries and covers such indicators as new orders, employment and inventories. About three-quarters of Americans work in service-providing industries such as hotels, retail, education and health care.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the recession could end later this year, setting the stage for a recovery next year, if the government is successful in bolstering the banking system. Banks have been clobbered by the worst housing, credit and financial crises to hit the country since the 1930s.

Even if the recession ends this year, the economy will remain frail, analysts said. Companies will have little appetite to ramp up hiring until they feel the economy is truly out of the woods and any recovery has staying power.

Given that, many economists predict the unemployment rate will hit 10 percent at the end of this year. The Fed says unemployment will remain elevated into 2011.

Economists say the job market may not get back to normal — meaning a 5 percent unemployment rate — until 2013.

"There's going to quite a long haul before you see the jobless rate head down," said Bill Cheney, chief economist at John Hancock Financial Services.

To brace the economy, the Fed has slashed a key bank lending rate to an all-time low and has embarked on a series of radical programs to inject billions of dollars into the financial system.

And the Obama administration had launched a multi-pronged strategy to turn the economy around. Its $787 billion stimulus package includes money that will flow to states for public works projects, help them defray budget cuts, extend unemployment benefits and boost food stamp benefits.

The administration also is counting on programs to prop up financial companies and reduce home foreclosures to help turn the economy around.

Still, skittish employers announced more job layoffs this week.

3M Co., the maker of Scotch tape, Post-It Notes and other products, said it's cutting another 1,200 jobs, or 1.5 percent of its work force, because of the global economic slump. Healthcare products distributor Cardinal Health Inc. said it would eliminate 1,300 positions, or about 3 percent of its work force, and semiconductor equipment maker KLA-Tencor Corp. said it will cut about 600 jobs, or 10 percent of its employees.