MALCOLM GLADWELL: Kids Today Don’t Understand The Need …

Malcolm Gladwell

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Author Malcolm Gladwell appeared at SHRM’s 2012 annual conference in Atlanta today to talk about generational diversity and how Millennials are different from previous generations.

The gist of his argument is that we’re in the middle of a fundamental shift in how people communicate with each other, and this has spawned a new type of social organization.according to Susan Avello at HR Virtual Cafe

He focused on the differences between Occupy Wall Street and the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s.

OWS didn’t have a leader and it didn’t even follow a single set of ideas. There was not real structure to it — just a “general assembly” system. Everybody in OWS had a say, but there was a complete lack of organizational hierarchy. It was one big social network.

Gladwell explained that the civil rights movement as set up by its leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a classic hierarchy, according to John Hollon at TLNT. It was “disciplined” and “centralized,” with one person in charge and a distinct strategy set by the leadership team.

Is the OWS-style social organization effective for a movement? How about a business?

Companies have long been built around hierarchies. Some may be more bureaucratic and others may have less management layers, but there has always been someone — or a group of people — in charge. They’re there to present a vision, and help their workers achieve those goals.

In the end, it was that total lack of hierarchy that prevented OWS from prompting large-scale change, according to Gladwell.

“One form is not better than the other,” said Gladwell. “They’re two different forms with very different sets of strengths and weaknesses … Networks may start revolutions, but they can’t finish them. Our job is to remind Millennials of the importance of hierarchies as well as networks.”

NOW SEE: 12 Mind-Blowing Concepts From Malcolm Gladwell’s Bestsellers

Is the Occupy Wall Street Movement Still Relevant?

PRINCETON, N.J., June 25, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ –
A recent ORC International survey of American adults has found that awareness of the Occupy Wall Street movement is unchanged since the intense media coverage of the movement’s events through fall and winter of 2011 but that support for the movement has declined.

ORC International updated a series of questions about Occupy Wall Street asked in late 2011 and found that 71% of Americans remain aware of the movement, even while media coverage has significantly declined and protesters have largely dispersed from the parks and fronts steps of the world’s financial capitals. The continued awareness is in part to the ongoing social dialogue that continues by both supporters and protesters of the movement. According to ORC’s social analytics product, Social Buzz, Occupy Wall Street conversations continue to steadily appear with an average of 156,000 posts daily in the social universe since mid-December. This is mostly driven by specifically timed events including the six month anniversary to re-occupy Zuccotti Park in New York City on March 17-18, mass arrests on March 22, and a May Day Protest.

Overall agreement with the movement’s position regarding the financial inequities continues to hold steady at 30% since the fall, however, those who disagree has risen seven percentage points to 28% over the past six months.

While levels of coverage in both social media and traditional media have varied, the combination has continued to keep this movement in front of the American public. Long-term sustainability of the movement, however, remains a question.

**Poll conducted using ORC International’s CARAVAN® service from June 9-11, 2012. The poll interviewed 1005 US Adults by telephone.

About ORC InternationalORC International is a leading global research firm with offices across the U.S., Europe and Asia Pacific. We offer a platform of integrated intelligence that combines traditional and forward-thinking methodologies, technology, industry expertise, and skilled research professional to provide clients with the most comprehensive foundation for providing actionable insight to solve their most pressing business challenges worldwide. The Company has been a partner of CNN on the CNN|ORC International poll since 2006 and founding member of the CASRO. For more social media information, please visit our blog: or the company website .

ORC International Contact:Christina HungsprukeSenior Director, Corporate MarketingPhone: 609.452.5419E-mail:

SOURCE ORC International

Copyright (C) 2012 PR Newswire. All rights reserved

Future Perfect

UFO : Unexplained NASA Files

China : UFOs Sighted During China’s Space Rocket Shenzhou 9 Launch

Something mysterious happened after the launch of China’s Shenzhou 9 spacecraft last week.

The incident happened after the manned spacecraft, Shenzhou 9, lifted off and exited the atmosphere at an altitude of about 15,000m. Infrared video cameras captured two unidentified objects moving swiftly past the rocket at the four minutes and 11 seconds mark.

Health care ruling looms

Washington (CNN) — The U.S. Supreme Court will rule Thursday on the constitutionality of the sweeping health care law championed by President Barack Obama.

The high court announced a series of other decisions on Monday, but not the most anticipated one. It announced that all remaining rulings for the year will come in three days.

The stakes cannot be overstated — what the justices decide will have an immediate and long-term impact on all Americans, both in how they get medicine and health care, and also in vast, yet unknown areas of “commerce.”

Saving this ruling for the final day “may not be political, but they understand drama,” said David Cole, a Georgetown University constitutional law professor. He added, “It’s also the most difficult case, the most important case, so they may want the extra few days to make sure that they’re happy with their written opinions.”

The nation’s highest court heard three days of politically charged hearings in March on the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a landmark but controversial measure passed by congressional Democrats despite pitched Republican opposition.

The challenge focused primarily on the law’s requirement that most Americans buy health insurance or pay a fine.

How SCOTUS rulings could shape 2012 race

Bachmann: Obama not talking health care

Supporters of the plan argued the “individual mandate” is necessary for the system to work, while critics argued it is an unconstitutional intrusion on individual freedom.

All sides preparing for political fallout from health care decision

Four different federal appeals courts heard challenges to parts of the law before the Supreme Court ruling, and came up with three different results.

Courts in Cincinnati and Washington voted to uphold the law, while the appeals court in Atlanta struck down the individual mandate.

A fourth panel, in Richmond, Virginia, put its decision off until penalties for failing to buy health insurance take effect in 2014.

The polarizing law, dubbed “Obamacare” by many, is the signature legislation of Obama’s time in office.

After a lengthy and heated debate marked by intense opposition from the health insurance industry and conservative groups, the law passed Congress along strictly partisan lines in March 2010.

When Obama signed the legislation later that month, he called it historic said it marked a “new season in America.”

While it was not the comprehensive national health care system liberals initially sought, supporters said the law would reduce health care costs, expand coverage and protect consumers.

The law establishes a staged series of reforms over several years, including banning insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, forbidding insurers from setting a dollar limit on health coverage payouts, and requiring them to cover preventative care at no additional cost to consumers.

It also required individuals to buy health insurance, either through their employers or a state-sponsored exchange, or face a fine beginning in 2014.

Supporters argue the individual mandate is critical to the success of the legislation, because it expands the pool of people paying for insurance and ensures that healthy people do not opt out of buying insurance until they needed it.

Critics said the provision gave the government too much power over what they said should be a personal economic decision.

Twenty-six states led by Florida say individuals cannot be forced to buy insurance, a “product” they may neither want nor need. And they argue that if that provision is unconstitutional, the entire law must go.

The Justice Department countered that since every American will need medical care at some point in their lives, individuals do not “choose” whether to participate in the health care market.

The partisan debate around such a sweeping piece of legislation has encompassed almost every traditional hot-button topic: abortion and contraception funding, state and individual rights, federal deficits, end-of-life care, and the overall economy.

During arguments on March 27, Justice Anthony Kennedy said the law appeared to “change the relationship between the government and the individual in a profound way.”

Congress ready for high court’s health care decisions — then it gets tricky

Chief Justice John Roberts argued that “all bets are off” when it comes to federal government authority if Congress was found to have the authority to regulate health care in the name of commerce.

Liberal justices, however, argued people who don’t pay into the health system by purchasing insurance make care more expensive for everyone.

“It is not your free choice” to stay out of the market for life, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said during arguments.

“I think the justices probably came into the argument with their minds made up. They had hundreds of briefs and months to study them,” said Thomas Goldstein, publisher of and a prominent Washington attorney, though he conceded that “the oral arguments (in March) might have changed their minds around the margin.”

Americans are largely split over the reform effort and its legality, according to polling.

A March poll for CNN by ORC International found that while support for the law appears to be growing, 50% of Americans opposed the law, 43% supported it and 7% had no opinion.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents said they wanted the Supreme Court to overturn at least some of the law’s provisions, although the poll did not specify which ones.

The law, which helped spur the creation of the conservative tea party movement, is likely to be a centerpiece of the presidential election campaign.

Obama’s presumptive Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, has promised to repeal the measure if elected.

But 76% of respondents in the March CNN/ORC poll said a Supreme Court ruling against the law still wouldn’t change their minds about whom to vote for in November.

The 2010 passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act came after months of bare-knuckled fights over politics and policy and a century of federal efforts to offer universal health care.

The legislation signed by Obama reached 2,700 pages, nine major sections and 450-some provisions.

The first lawsuits challenging the health care overhaul began just hours after the president signed the legislation.

Basics: Health care reform issues

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Supreme Court mostly rejects Arizona immigration law

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer will be live at 6 p.m. ET Monday on CNN’s “John King, USA” to discuss the Supreme Court ruling involving Arizona immigration law.

Washington (CNN) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down key parts of an Arizona law that sought to deter illegal immigration, but let stand a controversial provision that allows police to check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws.

In a decision sure to ripple across the political landscape in a presidential election year, the court’s 5-3 ruling upheld the authority of the federal government to set immigration policy and laws.

“The national government has significant power to regulate immigration,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. “Arizona may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration while that process continues, but the state may not pursue policies that undermined federal law.”

Read the Supreme Court ruling

While concluding that the federal government has the power to block the law , the court let stand one of the most controversial parts — a provision that lets police check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws if “reasonable suspicion” exists that the person is in the United States illegally.

Voices of Arizona immigration

Gillespie on Romney’s immigration plan

“There is a basic uncertainty about what the law means and how it will be enforced,” Kennedy wrote, making clear that Arizona authorities must comply with federal law or face further constitutional challenges.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety and the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police said it wasn’t immediately clear whether authorities would begin checking motorists’ immigration status while enforcing other laws. They referred questions to the Arizona attorney general’s office, which did not immediately return a call Monday from CNN seeking comment.

Opponents of the Arizona law said the so-called “show me your papers” provision will lead to racial profiling.

“I know they will not be using that kind of tactic on people with the last name Roberts, Romney, or Brewer, but if your name is something like Gutierrez or Chung or Obama, watch out,” said Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. “The express goal of the authors of Arizona’s SB1070 is to make life miserable for immigrants so that they will leave, and a key tool in that effort was upheld by the court.”

President Barack Obama also expressed concern over the immigration status checks allowed by Monday’s ruling, saying they could lead to racial profiling.

“No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like,” Obama said. “Going forward, we must ensure that Arizona law enforcement officials do not enforce this law in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans, as the court’s decision recognizes.”

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, meanwhile, declared the ruling a victory for her state, saying the “heart” of the law can now be implemented “in accordance with the U.S. Constitution.”

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on immigration ruling: We won

“Law enforcement will be held accountable should this statute be misused in a fashion that violates an individual’s civil rights,” Brewer, a Republican, said in a written statement.

However, Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said Monday’s ruling “essentially puts an end to immigration enforcement since the states no longer can step in and fill the void created by the Obama administration.”

The hot-button immigration issue has become a major attack line in this year’s presidential campaign, with Republicans, led by their certain presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, accusing Obama of failing to devise a comprehensive strategy to deal with illegal immigration.

In a statement issued by his campaign, Romney sounded defiant of the high court’s ruling, saying: “I believe that each state has the duty — and the right — to secure our borders and preserve the rule of law, particularly when the federal government has failed to meet its responsibilities.”

The Arizona law generated immediate controversy after it was signed by Brewer in April 2010. The American Civil Liberties Union issued a travel alert for Arizona, and dozens of groups canceled meetings or conventions.

The federal government challenged four provisions of the Arizona law that never were enforced, pending the legal ruling.

Obama: Congress should fix immigration

Rubio: Immigration isn’t a talking point

Provisions struck down included:

– Authorizing police to arrest illegal immigrants without warrant where “probable cause” exists that they committed any public offense making them removable from the country.

– Making it a state crime for “unauthorized immigrants” to fail to carry registration papers and other government identification.

– Forbidding those not authorized for employment in the United States to apply, solicit or perform work. That would include illegal immigrants standing in a parking lot who “gesture or nod” their willingness to be employed.

Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the minority, argued the court’s ruling encroaches on Arizona’s sovereign powers.

“If securing its territory in this fashion is not within the power of Arizona, we should cease referring to it as a sovereign state,” Scalia wrote in a dissent backed by Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas.

The majority included Kennedy, Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Steven Breyer, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Justice Elena Kagan did not hear the case. Before taking the bench last year, she had been involved in the administration’s initial legal opposition to the law as solicitor general.

Several other states followed Arizona’s lead by passing laws meant to deter illegal immigrants. Similar laws are under challenge in lower courts in Georgia, Alabama, Utah, Indiana and South Carolina. Arizona’s appeal is the first to reach the Supreme Court.

“Hopefully today’s decision will spur the federal government to enforce the rule of law in the immigration arena,” said a statement by Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange. “My office will be reviewing today’s decision to determine the full extent of its impact on Alabama’s law and the pending litigation.”

Fed up with illegal immigrants crossing from Mexico — and what they say is the federal government’s inability to stop it — legislators in Arizona passed the tough immigration law. The federal government sued, saying that Arizona overreached.

At issue was whether states have any authority to step in to regulate immigration matters or whether that is the exclusive role of the federal government. In dry legal terms, this constitutional issue is known as pre-emption.

During an April hearing, Paul Clement, lawyer for Arizona, told the high court the federal government has long failed to control the problem, and that states have discretion to assist in enforcing immigration laws.

But the Obama administration’s solicitor general, Donald Verrilli, strongly countered that assertion, saying immigration matters are under the federal government’s exclusive authority and state “interference” would only make matters worse.

Lens on immigration: Adolescence deported

Arizona is the nation’s most heavily traveled corridor for illegal immigration and smuggling.

Federal courts had blocked four elements of the state’s Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, known as SB 1070.

During the 70-minute arguments in April, Roberts raised concerns.

When enforcing other law, “the person is already stopped for some other reason. He’s stopped for going 60 in a 20 (mph zone). He’s stopped for drunk driving. So that decision to stop the individual has nothing to do with immigration law at all. All that has to do with immigration law is whether or not they can ask the federal government to find out if this person is illegal or not, and then leave it up to you,” Roberts said to Verrilli. “It seems to me that the federal government just doesn’t want to know who is here illegally or not.”

Kennedy echoed the thought, suggesting the federal government is not doing enough on illegal immigration, which might give states discretion to intervene.

Verrilli argued the law would hurt Washington’s ability to carry out diplomatic relations with other nations.

The Justice Department said Arizona’s population of 2 million Latinos includes an estimated 400,000 there illegally, and 60% to 70% of deportations or “removals” involve Mexican nationals.

The Pew Hispanic Center recently issued a report that found that Mexican immigration to the United States has come to a standstill.

The economic downturn in the United States and better conditions in Mexico, along with deportations and other enforcement, has led many to return to Mexico.

However, the debate continues as more than 10 million unauthorized immigrants — from Mexico and other countries — continue to live in the United States.

Even if immigration has slowed to lows not seen in decades, proponents of tough immigration laws want to beef up enforcement ahead of any future pressures.

Arizona decision will affect other states

Opinion: An incomplete win for Obama

CNN’s Jessica Yellin contributed to this report.

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Morrissey: High court’s Arizona ruling an incomplete win for Obama

Editor’s note: Edward Morrissey is a senior editor and correspondent for the conservative commentary website

(CNN) — One of the most anticipated Supreme Court decisions in recent times — Obamacare — was not announced Monday. That gave an air of anti-climax to an important decision that was handed down, one with its own political baggage and implications for the election, although not nearly as fraught with peril as the health care law.

In any other session, the outcome of Arizona v. United States might have been the headline case of a Supreme Court season. Instead, the Obama administration will have to celebrate an incomplete victory in the next 72 hours before the court delivers its ruling on the fate of Obama’s signature legislation.

The White House largely won in challenging Arizona’s harsh 2010 immigration law, although it might be difficult to sell that point. Last year, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down four provisions of the law, ruling that the federal government pre-empted state regulation on immigration. The Supreme Court mostly agreed.

Edward Morrissey

Unfortunately for the administration, the Supreme Court reversed the lower court on the most controversial part of the law, the “show me your papers” provision that requires law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of people while enforcing other laws.

Arguably, this provision was designed to force the federal government to take action on illegal immigrants by identifying them to the Department of Homeland Security.

By upholding this provision, the Supreme Court allowed Gov. Jan Brewer to claim victory for Arizona’s immigration enforcement efforts:

Voices of Arizona immigration

Arpaio: We’ll continue to enforce laws

“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is a victory for the rule of law. It is also a victory for the 10th Amendment and all Americans who believe in the inherent right and responsibility of states to defend their citizens. After more than two years of legal challenges, the heart of SB 1070 can now be implemented in accordance with the U.S. Constitution.”

But that narrow win is tenuous. The court pointedly did not rule that the provision was constitutional, which means that further court cases may well strike it down at a later date. Arizona can put it into effect, but it probably won’t take too much time before a case comes up that will put the provision back under scrutiny.

The White House will portray the Supreme Court’s ruling on immigration as a principled victory over a state that had infringed on federal prerogatives to manage immigration. It may even get a couple of days’ worth of traction on that argument. That won’t last long, though, for two reasons.

First, the coming Obamacare ruling will vastly overshadow this nuanced win by Thursday morning. Second, this win serves as a reminder that the Obama administration has done a poor job of enforcing immigration law — and along with Obama’s recent decision to stop deporting some young illegal immigrants — border states have no reason to expect a second term that will improve on the first.

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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Edward Morrissey.

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First debate will decide Obama’s fate

Then-Sen. Barack Obama shakes Sen. John McCain's hand in the first presidential debate of 2008.

Editor’s note: LZ Granderson, who writes a weekly column for, was named journalist of the year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and is a 2011 Online Journalism Award finalist for commentary. He is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN the Magazine and Follow him on Twitter: @locs_n_laughs

Grand Rapids, Michigan (CNN) — President Barack Obama will not lose his re-election bid because of Eric Holder.

As sensational as the headlines surrounding the Fast and Furious controversy might be, recent history tells us Holder is only the topic of conversation right now.

Come July, we’ll forget all about it much in the way the Keystone Pipeline is hardly mentioned.

LZ Granderson

Remember, it was just last week that all of the talk was about immigration and the Latino vote.

The week before that, it was same-sex marriages.

Romney attacks Obama but lacks details

Author: Obama better off without father

Bloomberg on President Obama

So Holder — and the rest of those those sexy subplots — are really just there to keep us entertained until the main event, the only event that matters leading to the election: the first debate. Everything before that will will likely fade away by November, especially for independents.

It’s what happens when Obama and Mitt Romney finally square off on Wednesday, October 3, that will have the greatest influence on those who are undecided. The candidates will debate at the University of Denver, in the first of three planned presidential debates.

But you know the old saying: the first impression is the last impression. So if Obama stumbles in the first, he might as well spend the rest of the fall packing.

Team Romney knows this, which is why what we saw in the Republican primary debates is not what we’re going to see in October. Back then, Romney came across flat and on the defensive in the first debate, but this time expect him to come out swinging, questioning nearly every decision the president has ever made — from cash for clunkers and bailouts to health care reform and the stimulus package.

The presumptive Republican nominee won’t have to knock Obama out, but if the night ends with the president appearing to be on the back of his of his heels, the game is over. After all, what could he possibly say in the next two debates or on the campaign trail that would erase an image of him struggling to defend his own record?

Especially against a guy who continues to struggle to be liked, much in the same way a rigid Richard Nixon struggled against the charismatic John F. Kennedy, the wooden Al Gore paled next to the friendly demeanor of George W. Bush and listless John McCain couldn’t come close to igniting the crowd like Obama in 2008.

But to complicate things, Obama is defending his record against a man who is not afraid to distort the facts (i.e. lie) to win brownie points. That’s not my opinion, that’s what the people who currently endorse Romney said.

After a debate in Florida, Newt Gingrich said Romney gave “the most blatantly dishonest performance by a presidential candidate I’ve ever seen.” Earlier, Rick Santorum said he was “stunned that Mitt Romney does not have the ability to discern something that is blatantly false.”

On top of that, Obama has to find a way to remind the country where it was before he took office without appearing to be blaming former President Bush because, fair or not, people don’t want to hear it. And unlike the backdrop of 2008, Obama doesn’t have the luxury of speaking in generic hypotheticals because the country will have specific examples in 2012 to look at.

Nowhere to run.

Nowhere to hide.

And not a teleprompter in sight.

Just Romney, the list of promises Obama made in 2008 and his list of accomplishments heading into the stretch run of 2012.

If he’s re-elected, it won’t be based on how he handles gaffes or controversies such as Fast and Furious. It will be because he took the GOP’s best shot and came out on top on the one night doing so mattered most.

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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of LZ Granderson.

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Romney smart to speak to NAACP

Mitt Romney needs to offer substantive policies and not just happy talk in his NAACP speech next week, Roland Martin says.

Editor’s note: Roland S. Martin is a syndicated columnist and author of “The First: President Barack Obama’s Road to the White House.” He is a commentator for the TV One cable network and host/managing editor of its Sunday morning news show, “Washington Watch with Roland Martin.”

(CNN) — It’s a safe bet that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will not garner many votes from African-Americans in November.

Not only is he running against the first black president, Barack Obama, the GOP has done such a lousy job of cultivating black voters over the past 40 years that it has pretty much given Democrats an easy path to winning 90% and more of black voters.

Yet despite the long odds, Romney’s decision to speak to at the NAACP national convention in Houston next month is a smart move, and one that could be beneficial to his candidacy and the future prospects of the party.

Let’s face it, the Republican Party is as white as it could be. Sure, the party can boast of the electoral wins of Reps. Allen West and Tim Scott, both African-American; Indian-American Govs. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Nikki Haley of South Carolina; and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico, both Hispanic. But the GOP gets virtually nothing from black folks, and Hispanics predominantly vote for Democrats.

Roland Martin

And with minorities in America quickly becoming the majority, the GOP had better figure out real soon that relying on white voters to win local, state and national elections ain’t the smartest electoral strategy.

Most of the GOP’s outreach to minority groups is targeted at Latinos. Anything that targets black folks is cursory at best, and frankly, that is really the GOP’s fault.

Any number of white Republicans — Doug Hoye, who now works for Rep. Eric Cantor; former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman; Ari Fleischer, former press secretary for President George W. Bush — have told me personally that they have prodded the party to expand its messaging to appeal to African-Americans.

Yet it seems the GOP is deathly afraid of reaching out to black folks. I’ve even said that it seems like the GOP is scared of black people. That has ticked off some conservatives, but it’s real.

I’ve had a difficult time getting white Republicans in Congress to come on my TV One cable network Sunday morning news show, “Washington Watch.” We’ve had an open invitation for the last three years for every member of the GOP’s House and Senate caucuses to come on the show, but only Reps. Tom Price of Georgia, Pete Olson of Texas and Steve King of Iowa have accepted the offer.

You would think a backbencher who never gets called by a network would be willing to get some face time on the only one-hour Sunday morning news show targeting African-Americans on a black cable network, but GOP press secretaries have been pretty awful at even returning e-mails and phone calls.

By making the effort to attend the NAACP, Romney will have an opportunity, finally, to present an agenda that will be of interest to African-Americans.

Now I’m sure there will be some who will say, “A black agenda should be an American agenda.” But let’s be real: Politicians appeal to constituencies all of the time. What you say to socially conservative evangelicals isn’t the same thing you tell Latino elected officials, and we know that speaking to women’s organizations isn’t the same as talking a LGBT group.

The reality is that when issues such as mandatory minimum sentences are discussed, that affects African-Americans in a different way than the rest of the country.

If the issue is HIV/AIDS, there is no doubt a general message is vital, but when the rise today is among African-Americans, then a different focus is necessary.

The nation’s housing crisis, of course, is a general issue. But 53% of black wealth was erased between 2005 and 2009 due to the housing foreclosure crisis, according to an analysis of government data by Pew Research, and with the Census Bureau reporting this week that whites have 22 times the wealth of blacks, how to close that gap is worthy of a discussion.

As a major education advocate, I support every form of education — public, private, charter, magnet, home school, online, vouchers, you name it. Romney should be willing to specifically address what he plans on doing about education, especially as it relates to African-Americans. The high school dropout rate in the nation is way too high for African-Americans, and that should be on the table.

With GOP state legislatures adopting onerous voter suppression laws, Romney better understand that protecting the right to vote is mandatory among African-Americans.

Bottom line, Romney has a lot of material to work with when he comes to the NAACP, and Republicans need to understand that speaking on issues that black folks care about, and offering substantive policies and not just happy talk, can lead to success.

When Mike Huckabee was governor of Arkansas, he enjoyed black support at the polls above 40%, and the same for Ohio Sen. George Voinovich. But that only happens when you don’t run from African-Americans, and instead engage them, dialogue with them and work with them.

The GOP should be thinking of the long term and not the short term. Sure, in the interim, it’s not going to result in a huge bloc of votes, but the only way the GOP can break the Democrats’ lock on the black vote is to go after it.

But Mitt, just do me one favor when you speak to the NAACP: Please don’t come with that “Party of Lincoln” crap. The GOP of today ain’t the GOP of the 1800s. Black folks rewarded Republicans for decades based on Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, and Richard Nixon erased that with the implementation of the “Southern strategy,” which was all about alienating black voters and appealing to white voters.

I say it’s time to emancipate the GOP from its hostility toward African-Americans. Speaking to the NAACP is a step, but that must be followed by many other outreach efforts large and small.

But it’s a start. And I’ll be right there in my hometown of Houston, Mitt, to see if you offering empty platitudes or a real blueprint for change that black folks could realistically consider.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Roland Martin.

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