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Affirmative Action After Ricci
Frank Ricci, left, lead plaintiff in the "New Haven 20" firefighter reverse discrimination case speaks to the media outside of Federal Court in New Haven, Conn., Monday June 29, 2009. The Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., were unfairly denied promotions because of their race, reversing a decision that high court nominee Sonia Sotomayor endorsed as an appeals court judge. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Frank Ricci, left, lead plaintiff in the New Haven firefighters' reverse discrimination case, speaks to the media outside of Federal Court in New Haven, Conn., on Monday, June 29, 2009. The Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the white firefighters were unfairly denied promotions because of their race. (AP)

Yesterday the Supreme Court handed down the most anticipated decision of its term, finding that white firefighters denied promotion in New Haven, Connecticut, were the victims of racial discrimination.

In doing so, the justices overturned a ruling joined by Federal appeals court judge, and high court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor. That alone grabbed a lot of headlines.

But more profound are the questions raised about civil rights law and the future of affirmative action in the United States.

This hour, On Point: the Ricci case, civil rights law, and the future of affirmative action.

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.


Joining us from Washington is Jess Bravin, Supreme Court correspondent for The Wall Street Journal.

From Chicago we’re joined by Richard Epstein, professor of law at The University of Chicago and author of “Skepticism and Freedom: A Modern Case for Classic Liberalism” and “Principles for a Free Society: Reconciling Individual Liberty with the Common Good.”

And from San Francisco we’re joined by Richard Thompson Ford, professor of law at Stanford University and author of the books “The Race Card: How Bluffing About Bias Makes Race Relations Worse” and “Racial Culture: A Critique.”

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  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    I think the Sotomayor connection is overblown. It was a 5-4 decision and Sotomayor would have probably voted just as Souter did and been on the liberal side of this one.

    Aside from that, the case is fascinating because it seems to be being looked at as the beginning of the end of social engineering to make up for past racial discrimination which, right or wrong, coupled with the fact that we now have a black president, means the country is changing.

  • Mike

    i have mix feelings about the ruling, but agree more with justice Ruth G.

    “In dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the white firefighters “understandably attract this court’s sympathy. But they had no vested right to promotion. Nor have other persons received promotions in preference to them.”

    can u talk about the conservatives judges empathy express toward the white fire fighter and there judicial activism?

    From what i seen in my town in in mass. the fire-fighters, police station intentionally found ways to not hire minority and anyone not in the club mind-set but did hire 1 women as a fire-fighter who father was the chief of the station or hold openings for friends without informing outsiders. This is common not just in my town but the towns next to it. so i can see why some may think the test was flawed

    Also was reading the city has been sued in the past by black fire-fighter 3 times for discriminating .Plus if rush l. and the talk radio crowd agree with it i assume there is something flawed.

    Can your guess talk about the city past with discrimation?

  • Joe B.

    The Supreme Court reversal of the Sotomayor decision illustrates just how radical and out of touch her judicial views are and further emphasizes the dire imperative that Sotomayor not be confirmed to the high court.

  • Jim T

    Political conservatives criticized Judge Sotomayor as an “activist” for her comment that the appeals court is where policy is often made. Now they are critical of her for a ruling in the Ricci case that didn’t make policy but instead upheld legal past legal precedent. It seems she is damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t.

  • Todd

    The Court got this one right. In reality, Affirmative Action is itself discriminatory based upon race. Simply put, if race isn’t supposed to be an issue, then don’t make it an issue.

  • Micah

    Reverse Discrimination? Discrimination is Discrimination. What is the reverse of it?

  • Alexandra

    Micah– I totally agree. I cringe when people use such terms as “reverse racism” and “reverse discrimination.” Commentators should be more careful…

  • Stephen Hughes

    I have a question to ask your guest. What is involved in a promotional test, e.g., a single written test or are they other elements to a promotion test; written, supervisor appraisal, other stuff? Do test follow a national standard or are they more localized?


  • Rachael

    The commentators mentioned how the effects of discrimination are intergenerational. Yes, this is very true, but it only supports my questions about affirmative action. I am a decedent of immigrants, but I am considered a generic white female. My grandparents were called vulgar racists names and forced to burn their treasures from Italy in order to stop the hate crimes against them. We were unable to raise to the level of privilege that is “expected” to be possessed by “white people” yet are not separated from those economically above us. I recently applied to law school and watched minorities with lower scores than I get into schools I was rejected from, with scholarship. I, and people like me, are being left behind by mandated affirmative action, and nothing is even being mentioned about it. Who speaks for me? Where is my affirmative action? I’m glad the Ricci case turned out the way it did.

  • Putney Swope

    Joe B can you read? It was 5 to 4 decision, hardly a majority.

    This was a bad decision, period. Race discrimination will happen, it is ingrained in our culture. You don’t have to go back to far to find African Americans who were jailed and forced to work, slavery. This went on well into the the 30′s and 40′s.

  • Lois

    There are reasons to rethink some of the current affermative action practices. Aferall we have learned a lot over the last 30 years and have developed more nuanced approaches. AND the fact that we still need them is exemplified by your own clip of the white fire fighter snickering when their representative alluded to the “Audicity of Hope”. White male privilige is still the norm in many (if not most) police and fire public service professions.

  • Doshi

    Give me a break. It’s common knowledge that fire fighter (or college) applicants benefit from preferential treatment if a family member was a fire fighter (or attended that college).

    While affirmative actions or quotas may not be THE answer, by no means is discrimination over in this country because of the race of the current president.

    Ingrained prejudices and tendencies to hire “people like me” instead of the best persons for the job keep many institutions homogeneous and status quo. Given the history of this country, it is IMPOSSIBLE for race not to be a factor in hiring, to some degree, because people are human and EVERYONE born in this country has racial baggage.

    Research has proven that diversity of background and opinions improves the quality of group performance and decision-making. Numbers don’t lie. If the fire dept or any institution has few minority or women members or leaders, something is behind it. Look at all the players behind the financial crisis – few minorities or women at the highest levels. Perhaps some diversity or a lone voice of reason would have resulted in different outcomes.

    Applicants with equal education and experience will always be judged on subjective criteria and it might not be logical, empirical or based on the best interests of the institution. Letting private employers hire in their best interests is the same argument as letting financial institutions regulate themselves. Neither will necessarily act in best long term interests.

  • jonas

    What a joke; the commentators range from a neo-con to a rightwinger to the legal writer for the WSJ. Then there is the apparently unchallengable dogma that fire departments and other employers all want to hire only the best, the only question being how to go about it.
    Thats a joke; fire departments want white fire departments. They have little interest in minority employees except where forced to be interested. For instance, many fire departments giving hiring points to applicants who have fireperson relatives. where is the committment to the best in that? Not to mention that almost no minority applicants have fire person relatives.
    Ditto colleges that give acceptacne points to applicants who parents had attended the college. Where is the execellence in givng a leg up to someone simply because their parent went to the college?

    Similarly the line that we need more trust for the munipalities and employers as wanting to end discrimination. The same people who peddle that line are constantly telling us in other situations to never trust politicans.
    Don’t forget to do another fundraising pitch.

  • Professor Nell

    Jane, first let me state that I beleive you are the most professional and unbiased person working at WBUR. The others think their personal opinions are more important than RAW unfilitered facts. While I thankfully do not know your poltitcal leanings, you ask the tough questions in a very fair way from all sides.

    Supreme Court Ruling for New Haven Firfighters

    As an undergrad student in the late 60′s early 70′s, I literally donated thousands of tutoring hours to African Americans (AA’s) who entered colleges when standards were lowered.

    As am adult I served as the only white on my states NAACP Board. As a professor I have taught or tutored 100′s of students of all colors and races from around the globe. I have alsow worked with oters to set up after school free tutoring programs in local libraries.

    In the 60′s and 70′s (AA’s) absolutely needed the disparity laws because they were victims of separate but equal education which was totally substandard.

    In the late 80′s and early 90′s I noticed that education was deemed a “bad” thing in AA culture. In foreign cultures from Africa and elsewhere on the globe. learning was highly valued, and these students worked hard to earn their grades, even though it meant doing so in a second language and foreign culture. Amd I have to say 97% of foreign students from everywhere suceeded. American blacks had the attitude their were entitled to degrees because of salavery in the past. Only few were willing to put in the time their counterparts from othere parts of the globe did.

    Four years ago, I collapsed and am grateful that my city’s Firde Department DID NOT lower standards as these people literally saved my life. So I for one do not want standards lowered for those who work in Health Fire Departments, Police or any other critical life and death professions.

    The “excuse” of disparity is no longer justified. Standardized tests have study questions and previous exams which to use for those willing to study. How discouraging that people in America are still using skin color as a “reason” for their own lack of responsibility and willingness to take time to avail themselves of readily available materials to help them advance. Why should anyone expect promotions on the basis of skin color rather than competence?

  • Professor Nell

    Please forgive the spelling errors – in a rush and did not check spelling b4 posting.

  • Professor Nell


    The people on the Fire Department who saved my life were descendants of 3 races.

    Stop using the color of your skin as an excuse for your own unwillingness to pu forth the effort needed to aspire to a specific position.

  • Putney Swope

    Professor Nell while I am to talk of spelling mistakes you however have set yourself up here. You said you were typing to fast or posted before spell checking and yet you are still posting with spelling and grammatical errors.

    Maybe you should avail yourself to some of these “programs” to help with that.

    When you tutor people who are not like yourself are you biased? Seems like it to me, at least the subtext to your first comment hints at this: African Americans (AA’s) who entered colleges when standards were lowered.

    Lowered standards? What colleges are you talking about here.

  • Professor Nell

    Putney Swope,

    I am dislexic and now disabled. It means if I do not use a spell checker, which takes time, I make mistakes. As far as my knowledge, experience and abilities; I will pit them against yours any day.

    I walked the walk – have you?

  • Professor Nell


    Reliance on grades, SAT scores, and entrance writing papers were lowered at Brown, Harvard, Columbia and most colleges across the country at that time. If you have followed the news, both Michelle Obama and Sotomayor have acknowledged that they benefited from the lower standards to get into their colleges.

    That was then, this is now. I still help out at the tutoring center of my local Community College on my “good” days.

    Sorry my spelling ofends you. It is hard to focus when you have people calling to you while you are trying to sincerely respond.

    Personally, I could care less if someone is polka dot, or any other exterior physical feature. Attitude and willingness to strive will win my support and I will go to bat for those who show those qualitites.

    Even Obama has mentioned this. Why do AA’s in the USA ‘dis learning or willingness to strive as being “oreos”? The only way things advance is if everyone, regardless of origin, s willing to set their goals, and be responsible enought to put forth the effort necessaary.

  • Putney Swope

    Nell how am I supposed to know your dyslexic and disabled.

    As far as my knowledge, experience and abilities; I will pit them against yours any day.

    I walked the walk – have you?

    Oh boy, a little defensive are we. That sums it up for me.

    Michelle Obama and Sotomayor have acknowledged that they benefited from the lower standards to get into their colleges. That’s what I read. I read that they benefited from affirmative action not lowered standards.

    By the way sparky I’m dyslexic as well.

    On another note, why is that the right always uses the term “activist” when they disagree with a judges ideology. How is it that when it does not reflect the rights values and political leanings, that it’s “activist”? They go on to say judges should not legislate from the bench. Well, is this not what the Supreme court did today? Legislate from the bench.

    (“activist” is code for we hate judges who are not with us.)

    Personally I find Judge Roberts to be “activist”.

  • Mike

    does anyone have or know how many points on a test u get for say, if your parents were fire-fighters before, in the military, collage, if your parents where in collage?

    was it a big enough amount to change someones score by a large amount?

    i agree with jonas, and puntey, the guess where from right to extreme right where jane interupted Richard Thompson Ford when he try to make his point and let Richard Epstein go on pretty much unchallenged.

    onpoint come on jane is a terriable host if it involves hot topics, shes rude to the callers and biased or perceived to be.

    the town i lived in mass.(supposedly a very liberal state) there is no possiable way that we get minorites on the force unless they were caught or called out on it. there is so many ways to exclude them without going under the radar of the government which my town does and some around it.

  • Mike

    also how is onpoint not talking about Honduran and the sacking of a dem elected prez?

  • Chris

    Lois (June 30, 9:54 a.m.), THANK YOU SO MUCH for hearing that wretchedly biggoted snicker in the background of the sound clip. It sent CHILLS down my neck!

    And, Doshi, THANK YOU SO MUCH for your articulate views! I agree, but I would have STRUGGLED to say it as well!

    It’s almost too bad that this case was about firefighters instead of teachers — to whom it COULD apply. In the late 1990’s, with a master’s degree in education, I took a college course that required we go out in pairs to volunteer as tutors in an inner city elementary school. What my partner & I observed was positively revolting. An experienced teacher repeatedly mocked and set-up for ridicule and failure a delightful boy, referring frequently to his race as the reason she suspected he was such a “problem”. We soon realized we WERE indeed seeing this behavior from the teacher, when my partner said in a voice meant for only me, but actually much louder, that we should report the classroom teacher to our professor. I didn’t even have time to reply before the teacher summoned us to her desk and told us we were dismissed & would not be allowed back in her classroom.

    We both immediately wrote up what we had seen for our professor who told us she would take things farther, but that WE would not be able to be kept notified of any results, although she expected there would be NO favorable results because of how protected the teacher was. So, I cannot report to you that bad teaching behavior has its own negative consequences for the perpetrator.

    It DOES, however, have disempowering consequences for students who are exposed to the subtle or not-so-subtle behavior of their teachers. HOW can children in those circumstances thrive enough to eventually PASS the tests & qualifying requirements for entry to college, elite or otherwise; or, for jobs, public or private, including that of firefighter?? Well, one ANSWER is DIVERSITY.

    IF this child were exposed to teachers of varying ethnicities, including his own, he would learn from their varied experiences, as would ALL the students. And, one of the MOST important things he might learn that would contribute to his overall success would be self respect. This child might have other sources for learning about his own dignity, but it is HARD for that alternative view to take hold when Abuse has gotten into the soul first! I KNOW! “Dissing” education can possibly be viewed as yet another form of Black Protest; unfortunately, a self-destructive form of protest, perhaps chosen in emotional exasperation BECAUSE so many more empowering forms of protest have still not brought equity to the African-American community. It took UNTIL 1964 to even GET a Civil Rights Act, and yet, AFTER 1964, WHAT could be said about the schools and neighborhoods available to the majority of African-Americans? That they are failing, under-served, smitten with racial profiling AND violence, etc., etc. And then, there are the people who CLAIM to be supporters of racial equality, but who snicker at the mention of “Audacity of Hope”; or who say that the needs of Title VII & Title IX “dilute” “leadership”, as a firefighter on TOTN said yesterday; or, who, while CLAIMING to HELP students of color say that Brown U. and others took in inferior students to cover Affirmative Action needs. I happen to know many Brown grads across the age span,and,sorry: they’ll ALL brilliant, yet in splendidly diverse ways, because Brown saw diversity as a rich soil for the generation of growth!!!!

  • mr.independant

    Chris well surprise surprise, you found out that there are some bad teachers out there. In this case one, who is protected by a union that refuses to change with the times.

    What does this have to do with affirmative action?

    I’m white and in the forth or was it fifth grade, I had a teacher repeatedly tell me that I was stupid and she would announce this to the entire class because I was dyslexic and had trouble reading and writing. There are bad teachers in every school in every community. The teacher you describe is a monster and one hopes she was fired. I say fired not moved to some other position.

  • Richard Johnston

    Why didn’t anybody ask what quality of leadership Chief Justice Roberts is providing? It seems clear to me from all the unclear outcomes and the inclination to delay decisions that he is a weak Chief Justice.

  • Micah

    I’m an African-American male with moderate political views (I’m also a freethinker when it comes to religious views), and I agree with the decision that was made. If they did not pass the test for promotion, they were not prepared for it. All of this talk about how if almost everyone who passes a test is of one race then that test is bad is stupid. If you ask someone who’s from the Himalayan Mountains a question like what an isosceles triangle is, of course, more than likely they won’t know what you’re talking about. But will someone please tell me what a BLACK firefighter question is, or a WHITE firefighter question, or HISPANIC firefighter question is for that matter? People need to explain this if they want to argue that the test was somehow bad. I agree that steps should be taken to prevent people from getting treated differently because of their race. But why in the world would you want to take it to the point that it winds up being unfair to other people and you wind up ignoring other people? It defeats the purpose. Extreme liberals want to try to say that, for some reason, non-white people need affirmative action so let’s give them a test that’s easier and let’s use rules so that employers need to fulfill a diversity quota in the workplace even if they hire people who aren’t really qualified for the work. Extreme conservatives want to say that a lot of non-white people, for some reason, are lazy and don’t want to work hard and they want hand-outs. Both of those ideas are insulting to me. I have taken job skills assessment tests and military aptitude tests and gotten high scores on both of them! So according to the far left libs and far right cons I shouldn’t be getting these scores, because I need to take a “black” test, or I’m not smart enough to do it on my own…I need to get a handout. I don’t want to hear anything else about this case. Everytime I hear it it’s like fingernails scraping on a chalkboard!

  • ronnie greg

    i think the supreme court is way out in the theoretical world and not in the pragmatic world of white firefighters who want to maintain their position of supremacy. As a so called minority, I went to school with the elite children of this country by way of scholarship and affirmative action. I saw up close how majority white students pass on tests and test question to their own. I studied the hard way…through hard work and succeeded.These old boy white networks are alive and well in America.The white majority firefighters , who by the way have traditionally been firefighters. They have been there for generations. I am absolutely sure they passed around old test and question to each other to make sure they passed and succeeded. Did anyone on they court consider this or is it too easy to believe minority firefighters are in some way inferior
    or not as knowledgible. This ruling today further solidified the old boy network in America.

  • Veranda

    I am always intrigued when voices are raised to discuss the relevance of affirmative action, civil rights legislation and its perpetual affront to a society build on meritocrity, hard work and competencies. The problem with the dialogue from inception is that it attempts to tackle the notion of social injustice in naively simplistic terms ignoring the enormity of this country’s unique history and the socially complex foundation responsible for its emergence. In reality, the issues of social inequity, particularly racial bias, prejudice and racism are centuries evolved and remarkably complex social phenomena.

    The greatest prohibition to engage in a truly meaningful dialogue and solutions is our inability to wrap our minds around our national identity (the good, bad and the ugly) and its forceful affect in shaping our society, our values and our distinct attitudes towards ‘others.’ Certainly, we have evolved to a become a relatively civil society but we have also crafted very sophisticated institutions that are interdependent and support the continuance of social injustice.

    In order to marginally ingest the issue of social inequality, we resort to discussing it in sound bites, and in what appear to be unrelated fragments, like employment. Yet employers are only one link in the supply chain of inequity and in many ways, are expected to bear the full burden of alleviating or delivering a social remedy. Albeit, employers are microsims of the larger society and some are better than others. However, I believe that our hopes for a radical or expedient social reform, laid at the feet of employers is misguided or at least insufficient. Studies suggest that employer based diversity training have little to marginal affect on employees’ perceptions of ‘others’ unless they forge meaning connections with ‘others’ on a social or emotional level.

    I’ve not yet read the New Haven discussion, and unclear regarding the legal basis by which the decision stands. Regardless, I can declare without that information that I reject discriminatory practices no matter its form. Yet, we must be careful in our celebratory postures that we don’t become increasing myopic regarding social injustice, and not regard test taking as unrefutable indicators of compentencies to allow for illogical and dangerous conclusions that the inclusion of minorities and women will jeopardize quality and standards. This too is error. The deeper more substantive question is how we view ourselves, whether our attainments and social status could withstand a merit based critique and do we view ‘others’as threats to those gains. We each are the key to social justice and a truly inclusive, democratic society. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice every where.” (MLK)

  • Tom

    A bunch of black guys didn’t study enough for a test for whatever reason (slavery, Jim Crow, bad parents, etc, etc, etc.). Here’s the solution: Study next time they have a test. Instead we’ll now have “assessment centers”. GREAT! If the people running the “assessment centers” don’t promote the politically correct population proportion than they’ll be replaced. I think Just Prevailed today.

  • Norman Chapman

    I think it was an abomination that today’s “On the Point” host, Jayne Clayson allowed a guest to defame or call into question the stellar academic reputation of Barack Obama, President of the United States of America.
    This obnoxious character in answer to a question about the controversy surrounding the firefighters at core of the argument, had the nerve to suggest, unchallenged, that Barack Obama was not an outstanding academic. For those misled by the guest’s slander, let me just say that no less an authority than Professor Lawrence Tribe, who taught the President at Harvard Law School, described Obama as the best student he ever taught. the host of today’s show should be ashamed of herself for allowing this form of slander to go unchallanged.

  • meredith

    Re June 30, 2009 on Affirmative Action
    This on point show didn’t help my understanding too much. I need explanation of the why’s and wherefores of this case. Especially about the test and what was on it. The wsj guy seemed prejudiced…he mentioned whining minorities…to me he was sounding like a whiner…complaining about affirmative action.

    The guests rarely had enough time to develop their points…they sounded rushed….with these legal cases it’s hard to quickly grasp the issues unless explained clearly and simply. These journalists and lawyers deal with these terms all the time, but listeners many need more background on the meaning and history of these concepts.

    Too much time is wasted on non essentials…long introductions of the guests, with thanks for being here and thank you for having me—repeated until I could gag. Then the host constantly repeats statements, rephrasing the guests or caller’s point, to the other guest, in case he didn’t get it….not adding anything. Then the callers being welcomed and saying thankyou for taking my call (tftmc) until I could scream. Just introduce the guests them and ask them a question! This all distracts, and eats up time, until you sayWHERE’S THE MEAT OF THIS PROGRAM?

    Significant, informative sentences, and engagement back and forth between the guests must be sandwiched into all this noise and garbage. There is a bit, but we need much much more. The guests mainly state the basics of their positions with not enough mutual discussion back forth on their points, and why they may disagree.

    Why must you take a break every 19 or 20 minutes? Who sets up these requirements? This is not commercial radio. I spend most of the program waiting….waiting for commercial breaks to end, for long repeated guest introductions to end, for rephrasing of guest/called statements to end, and for some good illuminating talk to take place.

    Npr hosts should work to eliminate a lot of this nonessential trivia and rubbish. Protest to the higher ups mandating so many breaks. This is PUBLIC SUPPORTED radio, not commercial radio. Stop all this bull.

  • david

    As long as the world will continue there will always be a minority group. When one group rises to the top there will always be one on the bottom. So,in the words of a famous victim, can’t, can’t we just get along. This is from one who is a majority, living as a minority, in a county made up of minorities, who are now the majority. I also am a member of a volunteer fire department that is made up of the majority, who live as minorities in a county of minorities, who are the majority, who make up only a minority of the members in our department. The strange thing about it all is that we all get along very well. The reason why? If its a matter of life or death, we don’t care what color your skin is, we have learned that we are all just plain human beings, period!My rambling above is representative of the insane state of mind our country has become over race.

  • meredith

    The playing of media clips was never done until few years ago, and your shows were fine without them. They are another annoyance, taking away time from comments from guest and caller. We hear these or read them already on the news, so to hear them again is a pain in the neck. Please leave them out!

  • Mike

    found this debate on affirmative action,


    u can find the rest of the clips on youtube as well

  • Meredith

    i agree with norman above about the guest saying obama wasn’t such a great scholar, but was a better politician. What a stupid put down. but jane wouldn’t challenge him on that, so as not to be confrontational. Being PLEASANT is more important. So the most outragous and absurd statements usually go unchallenged by media, because they are afraid of seeming unobjective or too liberal. The right wing has them by the short hairs!
    It’s obvious white mail privilege has always operated with fire and police. I’ve never even seen a black firefighter. This country has had nothing but affirmative action for whites for hundreds of years. Any white immigrant, no matter what their bad treatment, has had it better than blacks, because they could eventually blend in. They didn’t have the big X mark of color on them. Only intervention by govt to ensure entry for minorities, women, and especially blacks who suffered the most, would ever start a benign cycle of fair treatment. Whites may not set out to be mean, but it’s human nature to be biased in favor of your own. The progress blacks have made has been due to affirmative action allowing them to use their efforts and abilities in previously forbidden jobs.

  • Stephen Hughes

    Jane, below is a process used in the Honolulu fire department for a captain’s promotion. I wish NPR would do some research on what the test consisted of to see if it (New Heaven’s) was fairly administered. In other words, how about drilling down a little rather than just giving us listeners your guest opinions.

    1) The City Dept. of Human Resources generates a test from a list of approved reading materials (e.g. Department Policy and Procedures and Standard Operating Guidelines, HFD Rules and Regulations [disciplinary action stuff], the union contract, textbooks, and other Departmental manuals).

    2) The candidates are ranked according to a combination of points scored on the written exam and points given for time in service (per rank) and education.

    3) The number of candidates interviewed equals the number of opening plus four (it’s called “the Rule of Five” – a union/management agreement where for any one opening, five people have to be interviewed. When you do the math, no matter how many openings there are, there will always be four guys who do not get promoted.)

    4) The candidates are invited for an interview according to the highest ranking first (when I made Captain, I was ranked number 5.)

    5) Before the interview, candidates are asked to submit a resume.

    6) The interview panel consists of two members, one steps above the departmental rank being interviewed for and one member two steps above (ex. for Captain, my interview panel was made up of two Battalion Chiefs and one Assistant Chief).

    7) The interview panel can only ask predetermined questions – the same questions for everyone. However, the panel can probe deeper into any comment that interviewee makes. (ex. For my FF3 promotion, I mentioned that I had one shift as Acting Captain while I was a FF1. The panel asked me to elaborate on what kind of alarms I responded to and what actions I took.)

  • wavre

    Five hundred years of “brutal affirmative actions” in favor of whites folks! and still counting!?

    Come on people!Are you kidding me?

  • http://n/a Ben

    As a Jew, I endorse affirmative action – even though Jews don’t get it – because I think in balance it’s ‘good for the jews’. I especially like this idea of ‘hispanic race’. It divides white hispanics from ‘non-hispanic whites’, and it divides blacks from latin america from blacks in america, The more the goyim are divided up, the better off is the Jew.

  • Pat Bateman

    The truly appalling thing is that four justices looked at this case–in which a man was denied a job solely because of the color of his skin–and saw no racial injustice there. We live in an insane country.

  • Arnold

    We should not be surprised by this verdict in a postracial society. We have little need for the discrimination of affirmative action and quotas now. I welcome the return of a system based solely on merit with less coddling and interference by prejudiced governent officials.

  • Rick Evans

    Arnold wrote “We should not be surprised by this verdict in a postracial society.”–
    Only someone who is deaf to reports that blacks with equal incomes, educations and creditworthiness to whites but are offered sub prime mortgages believes this is a “post racial” society.

    Only someone who is deaf to the disparate prosecution of black crack possessors vs. white powder cocaine possessors believes the myth of the “post racial” society.

    Only someone deaf to disparate treatment of by the medical industry black vs. whites believes the myth of the “post racial society”.

    That said I actually agree with the decision. Not because of some wishful thinking that Obama’s election shows America is post racial ,but because zero evidence of discrimination other than the outcome and fear of a lawsuit was offered.

    Arnold also wrote: “I welcome the return of a system based solely on merit with less coddling and interference by prejudiced governent officials.”

    The above statement shows evidence Arnold has never cracked a real history book.

  • ellen

    as a person of jewish descent, i am sorry to read the post above by a jew, who says he’s glad to see divisions and strife among other ethnic/racial groups. This nonsense is bizarre, odd, eccentric and mean. Most jews don’t think this way at all.

  • Micah

    Ellen, I agree with you. Most people of Jewish decent don’t think like Ben, but the ones who do are the reason why people (black, white, asian, etc) can act prejudiced against your ethnic group because of the stereotype that Jewish people are out to gain control of everything.

  • jeff

    If you had been paying attention, you’d know nobody’s getting a subprime loan. As long as all crack possessors get the same treatment, who cares.

    I’m with Arnold on this one and I’m old enough to know my history.

  • Mike


    no ones getting a subprogram loan cause its not lucrative and profitable as before and he feds found out it was predatory lending going on.remember country wide, Washington mutual, also credit swaps are now partly regulated, along with AIG not doing crazy beats.

    On top of that people are now going to jail for it.

    “As long as all crack possessors get the same treatment,who cares.”

    what the heck are u talking about?

    arnold shows use how uninformed he is by his statement and yours leaves little doubt u do know your history.

    …. what history are u referring too do tell?

  • jeff

    “Subprogram,” now we know for sure you’re out of your depth. More whites got subprime than blacks; more whites get arrested for crack possession than blacks; more whites get arrested for coke possession than blacks.

    Find the racism in that.

  • Mike

    uhh, no one said that blacks got more subprime loans or do more crack than whites. Nor did anyone call u a racist.

    alittle soft are we, are we hiding something?

    still waiting on your history lession?

    again your statments leave little doubt on what your talking about.

  • Tiffany

    Whenever there is a remedy for injustice such as Affirmative Action, diversity initiatives etc. there is always someone in power who will try to get around it and/or fight it….
    I was the only black person in my department and the ways that were employed to discourage me, exclude me, isolate me and unjustly terminate me from my job was just blatant.
    I live in Boston and black firefighters have caught hell since they have had black firefighters. I had to shake my head when I saw a group of white firefighters because of what they stand for; white male privilege.

Sep 1, 2014
This Friday, Aug. 22, 2014 photo shows a mural in in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago dedicated to the history of the Pullman railcar company and the significance for its place in revolutionizing the railroad industry and its contributions to the African-American labor movement. (AP)

On Labor Day, we’ll check in on the American labor force, with labor activist Van Jones, and more.

Sep 1, 2014
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (95) recovers a fumble by Carolina Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson (3) in the second quarter of the NFL preseason football game on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh. (AP)

One outspoken fan’s reluctant manifesto against football, and the big push to reform the game.

Aug 29, 2014
Beyoncé performs at the 2014 MTV Music Video Awards on Sunday, August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California. (Getty)

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Aug 29, 2014
Ukrainian forces guard a checkpoint in the town of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko called an emergency meeting of the nation's security council and canceled a foreign trip Thursday, declaring that "Russian forces have entered Ukraine," as concerns grew about the opening of a new front in the conflict.  (AP)

War moves over Syria, Ukraine. Burger King moves to Canada. Nine-year-olds and Uzis. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
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Friday, Aug 29, 2014

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Thursday, Aug 28, 2014

Football great — and vineyard owner — Drew Bledsoe talks wine, onions and the weird way they intersect sometimes in Walla Walla, Washington.

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