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« March 2008 | Main | May 2008 »

Front Page » Monthly Archives » April 2008

By Angelo Lopez on April 30, 2008

I’ve worked in the Sunnyvale Library since I graduated from high school in 1985, and over the years I’ve noticed that many of my coworkers are aspiring writers, musicians, and artists. One of those coworkers has been working especially hard at writing novels and organizing his coworkers into an effective union. Two years ago, Bob Balmanno published September Snow, a wonderful science fiction book that combines the qualities that I admire in Bob as a person: a strong sense of storytelling and a passionate social conscience.

Read more from this post here ...

By May Silverstein on April 30, 2008

The AFL-CIO has released a new Executive PayWatch website, linking the compensation schemes for top executives at financial companies and the sub-prime mortgage crisis. The website also unveils a comprehensive database of brand new CEO pay figures.

The CEO of a Standard & Poor’s 500 company averaged $14.2 million in total compensation in 2007. By comparison, the median pay for workers rose only 3.5 percent to $36,140 in 2007, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on April 30, 2008

Structural conditions endured by many blacks as a result of these deficits and continued discrimination lead to rational choices that better-endowed whites view as suboptimal. Nearly three-fourths of white evangelicals believe that the black-white socioeconomic gap is the result of black culture and lack of motivation and initiative, or both.

A convergence of numerous, mostly negative, factors — economic, historic, and social — have merged in our nation’s history to produce a significant underclass populated by a disproportionate number of African Americans. To understand race in America, one must come to grips with this often harsh and crushing reality.

Read more from this post here ...

By Janet Morrison on April 30, 2008

The media has gone crazy over Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his association with Barack Obama.

As I watched Nightline's report on Barack's latest disownment of Wright, I'm discouraged and saddened.

On a daily basis, I converse with friends about Barack's chances at the nomination and we express our hopes, concerns, and even skepticism.

Barack represents an opportunity for our country to demonstrate it's ability to deal with race and ethnicity. Of course, that's not the only reason to vote for him, but to many of us, we see his ideas as different. He addresses issues that many people seem to think are unimportant. Yet, to those of us who deal with race on a daily basis, his words are a breath of fresh air. It's nice to know someone is finally talking in a constructive way... not just about race, but about the way our country can be an agent of change. In my opinion, it seems like dealing with race as a core issue would help any number of other issues fall into place.

Read more from this post here ...

By Buck Kramer on April 30, 2008

Anyone from Hays, Kansas knows the finer things in life revolve around: (1) beer, (2) German food, (3) family, and (4) Oktoberfest. Having deep roots in this pleasant Kansas town, I have always had a strong affection for the Founding Farmers who trekked across America to lay the hay bails for future generations. Placing a yardstick in time, the challenges of the Founding Farmers could be measured in drought, family illness, poverty, and America’s progression into two world wars. The names Staab, Dreiling, Pfeifer, Urban, Leiker, and Pfannenstiel may only resonate with a few reading this post, but to Hays America, the names represent an interconnected community.

Read more from this post here ...

By Lola Wheeler on April 29, 2008

This week, I have read two really good and insightful blog posts here, both about racism and reverse racism as it relates to Barack Obama. A wonderful blogger here wrote this thoughtful blog about Rev. Jeremiah Wright. She did an excellent job of helping us to understand that we have not really seen Wright in context or fullness. Her blog shows us to see that Rev. Wright is much more compassionate than his sound bites may have previously made him appear. I liked her post as well as the comments that followed.

Earlier this week we also read a good post from another blogger here who expresses her dissatisfaction with Obama for attending a church that is not inclusive of all races in its mission or definition of itself. She made a few good points too about reconciliation and the destructive nature of reversing racism. I think her point was that "two wrongs don't make a right."

What did Obama have to say about all this?

Read more from this post here ...

By Ally Klimkoski on April 29, 2008

Former Congressman Jim Slattery is making his way through the state of Kansas today officially announcing his candidacy for the US Senate against Pat Roberts.

Slattery for Senate has launched an unbelievable website, beautifully designed and complete with an amazing video showcasing his history of leadership and his life as a Kansan. I've spent the past year poking a lot of fun at websites in Kansas and the extent to which people seem so far removed from the web 2.0 explosion that seems to have captured everyone in the country except for Kansas. Slattery's team clearly gets technology. Perhaps that is because he's a full 200 years younger than his opponent. Or maybe its because Joe Trippi is consulting.

Either way, Slatts is armed with a well made website, a good chunk of money raised in just 12 days, and a score of Kansans who are grateful to see someone with his caliber at the top of the ticket.

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on April 29, 2008

Nothing beats a good job.

Not just work, but a decent job, a job you enjoy, a job that pays a living wage for a hard days work.

Read more from this post here ...

By Bill Shanahan on April 28, 2008

Producing biofuels today is a crime against humanity," argues Jean Ziegler, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. Among others, he also blames IMF policies aimed solely at debt reduction and calls for agricultural policies to help ensure survival.

"The world is facing the most severe food price inflation in history," observes Earth Policy Institute founder and president Lester Brown. This legendary environmentalist contrasts previous price increases that were "weather-induced" with the present "policy-induced" crises.

The combination of forces driving food shortages and price increases involves a number of other causes as well, a veritable hit list when it comes to concern for those populations who live on the margins of existence, sometimes referred to as the planet's "expendables."

No one should be expendable, especially when the solutions are well within our reach. We have all heard the statistics: more than 850 million people suffer from hunger and malnutrition, while over 35 million die from starvation and related causes every year.

Read more from this post here ...

By Jacinta Faber on April 28, 2008

A gentleman named G.J. Warnock described empathy as "moral imagination." He viewed putting oneself in another's shoes as one of the components of a moral compass leading to the good life.

I am married to a philosopher, and as a family, we have spent many an evening around the dinner table discussing what living the good life means. When our kids were younger, our son tended to equate the good life with the number of toys he owned.

His acquisitiveness was scorned by his older sister, who thought that there must be more to living the good life than acquiring things. She seemed to be more on the path of developing her moral imagination.

An industrial wind project is challenging the moral imagination of my county. The situation reads as follows.

Read more from this post here ...

By Ally Klimkoski on April 28, 2008

UPDATE 2: Rock the Vote recently released statement calling it "supremely wrong."

UPDATE 1: Politico has also reported on the topic
The US Supreme Court just voted to disproportionately disenfranchises our rights to cast a ballot. Remember that whole thing about democracy and everyone having the right to vote - HA! I bet you thought that was real, right??

According to a press release from Common Cause

"In a year in which millions of people have registered to vote in the presidential primaries, including thousands for Indiana’s primary next week, it’s disheartening to see the Supreme Court uphold a measure that will deter and prevent Americans from participating in the electoral process and having their votes count,” said Tova Wang, Common Cause’s vice president for research. Although the court left open the possibility of future “as applied” challenges to voter ID laws, this will do nothing for the citizens of Indiana in this crucial election year, Wang added."

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on April 28, 2008

Our nation is involved in a new and serious conversation about race as we head for the general election in November. John E. Stapleford’s work is important for any meaningful conversation based on hard data and genuine understanding of the issues facing the nation and, more particularly, African Americans.

I’ve been breaking down the research of Stapleford that is reported out in his very insightful essay, “A Torturous Journey: The Condition of Black America,” (Christian Scholar’s Review, XXXVII, No. 2, Winter 2008, pages 240ff). You can read my previous posts on his work by backtracking a bit here, here and here.

To conserve space, I have summarized much of what he presents, but all of what follows comes from his work. The way out of the economic hole facing blacks in the United States was found in access to...

Read more from this post here ...

By Janet Morrison on April 27, 2008

I have learned over the last several years that there are well-intentioned people who end up doing some abhorrent things unintentionally (I'll give them the benefit of the doubt here).

On the other hand, there are people who are intentionally spiteful.

The sad part is, whether unintentional or intentional, both have the same result.

Without being educated on whatever message it is we are sending, even the "unintentional," well-intentioned people can end up perpetuating a stereotype that is hurtful at best. (My last post addressed this on a different issue).

Read more from this post here ...

By Bill Robb on April 27, 2008

Having purposely kept an eye off the political scene recently I have found myself taking a much larger interest in issues more close to home and those that are family related. So it was with "curiosity" only that I too took notice of the FLDS issue in Eldorado Texas this past two weeks. Not being a person of any religious conviction I joked about the hair styles of the women of the sect.

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on April 26, 2008

"The U.S. has less than 5 percent of the world’s population but almost a quarter of its prisoners. But it has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners. Indeed, the United States leads the world in producing prisoners, a reflection of a relatively recent and now entirely distinctive American approach to crime and punishment. Americans are locked up for crimes — from writing bad checks to using drugs — that would rarely produce prison sentences in other countries. And in particular they are kept incarcerated far longer than prisoners in other nations." (Inmate Count in U.S. Dwarfs Other Nations, New York Times)

I plan to work through more of the content here in the near future. But for today, consider my friend Frank.

Years ago, Frank was arrested for burglary of a building. Bad mistake...

Read more from this post here ...

By Ally Klimkoski on April 26, 2008

Phill Kline will never die. Doesn't matter what you do. He'll never go away. He has infested the state of Kansas like a swarm of crawling bugs that crap in all of your boxes of mac and cheese. Like Cher, not even a nuclear winter will take this guy away.

He has infested my state with his bad attitude, his rudeness, and worse his crappy policies that marginalize people, probe into our lives like the TSA.

So we shouldn't be surprised that the anti's are trying to encourage another term where Phill Kline can showcase his "talents."

Read more from this post here ...

By Matthew Musgrove on April 25, 2008

I can't count on my two hands the number of times I've heard people say that they learned all they needed to learn by the time they left grade school. I'm not quite sure of the accuracy of that statement, but I will admit to having learned a considerable amount in those days.

One of the lifelong lessons that was introduced in grade school was something that you could call a national point of pride, the puritan spirit. It's the idea that one of the common threads that carried us through the colonial and revolutionary periods was an independence to shape or mold your own destiny through the freedoms afforded to us from many sources. It's a common saying of course, but as children we perhaps all heard that we could be astronauts, or firefighters, or perhaps even the president of the United States.

What happened to that America?

Read more from this post here ...

By Tula Connell on April 25, 2008

So it seems Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) thinks it's just fine if women workers can almost never get redress for pay inequities they suffer on the job.

This week, the U.S. Senate failed to get the 60 votes needed to vote on a bill that would have enabled women who are paid less than their co-workers doing the same job to challenge the inequity. Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama took time from their campaigns to vote for the Fair Pay Restoration Act.

McCain didn't show up. But he did make it a point to say that had he bothered to vote (McCain has cast the fewest votes in the Senate of any senator not seriously ill), he would have opposed it...

Read more from this post here ...

By Ally Klimkoski on April 25, 2008

This week People for the American Way hosted their Young Elected Officials Network conference in Little Rock, Arkansas. No, not because Bill and Hillary Clinton were hoping to lock the superdelegates in a room and placed a chip in the back of their necks. But because young elected officials are different from those regular 'ol elected officials.

More than 150 elected officials age 35 and under, descended upon the Clinton Library to share their experiences, policy initiatives and best practices, and build a lasting network with their fellow young elected officials from across the country.

My friend Jason Croucher, Councilman to Osage City, Kansas, was in attendance and it can be said that the conference had such an impact on him that it has changed his outlook on his position and on politics. It can be said that Jason for all his youth and idealism was a fairly establishment kind of Democrat who only recently began to dabble in the internets.

With his iPod touch Jason sent me sporadic updates mostly saying how awesome it was...

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on April 25, 2008

Yesterday afternoon, I met with the owners of the two apartment complexes in North Dallas where we provide housing for formerly homeless, disabled neighbors via our growing "Destination Home" program.

"Destination Home" is funded by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through our local area continuum of care. Our effort fits in with the local 10-year plan to end homelessness. The purpose of my meeting with the property owners was to explore the possibility of our leasing 55 more units of housing thanks to our most recent grant award from HUD.

Here's the wonderful news.

Read more from this post here ...

Earlier posts in this month:

Racism and Sexism in Presidential Politics, April 24, 2008
Race in America, Part 3, April 24, 2008
Christians, how can we be change agents?, April 24, 2008
The entire national health care system has been imploding, April 23, 2008
Commemorating the Warsaw Uprising and Jewish Resistance, April 23, 2008
Never Fear, Democrats, April 23, 2008
As the Contrast Drives Me Forward, April 23, 2008
The League of Pennsylvania Voters, April 23, 2008
Waxing nostalgic over $3 gas, April 23, 2008
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius Deserves Enormous Earth Day Praise, April 22, 2008
Missouri Stream Team, April 22, 2008
Hey Kansans: Buy Your Machine Guns Now!, April 22, 2008
His Election Would Bring 'Dwellings in Flames', April 22, 2008
Working Families Are Where It's At, April 21, 2008
Nation At Risk, April 21, 2008
Hard Choices, April 21, 2008
Florida Tomato Pickers Threaten Burger King Boycott, April 20, 2008
Humility, Gratitude, Duty, April 20, 2008
Don't Tax Your Brain With Facts, April 19, 2008
Learning how to love people, April 19, 2008
Why do we think the answer is always more guns and more force..., April 18, 2008
Race in America, Part 2, April 18, 2008
Colombia Trade Deal Is Derailed. Let's Keep It Off the Tracks, April 18, 2008
More Middle Class Families Experiencing Hunger and Fear, April 17, 2008
A Clean Conscience, April 16, 2008
Immigration and Social Security: Not Talking Chump Change, April 16, 2008
...but can we walk the walk?, April 16, 2008
Super-Delegates, please don't kill our party!, April 16, 2008
Big Mac's Campaign Caught Stealing, April 15, 2008
Judging public opinion in Iraq, April 15, 2008
Senator Pat Roberts: Bad news for Kansans, April 15, 2008
Progressive Christians and History, April 15, 2008
Happy Tax Cuts for the Super Rich Day!, April 15, 2008
Did General Petraeus betray us?, April 15, 2008
Race in America, Part 1, April 15, 2008
Compassion Issues: Moral Values gets a makeover, April 14, 2008
The Whole Package, April 14, 2008
Andre Shashaty: Who needs Brad Pitt?, April 14, 2008
Protect Undocumented Workers From Exploitation While Protecting Benefits of Documented Workers: One Small Step, April 13, 2008
Information Explosion, April 13, 2008
Horse Hockey: Amish Heaters, April 13, 2008
Dissent and the Olympic Relays, April 12, 2008
The Series: Five Ideas to Change the World, April 12, 2008
Name or Un-Named, We Remember, April 12, 2008
KS-02: What is Lynn Hiding From Now?, April 11, 2008
The Story of Failure: Health Care Horrors, April 11, 2008
Nothing New Under the Sun, April 11, 2008
Cultural Libertarians, April 11, 2008
African Americans and Unions, April 10, 2008
Camille Rose Garcia and the Tragic Kingdom, April 10, 2008
Working Families Lose As Corporate Profits Soar, April 9, 2008
Asking For Care, Not Favors, April 9, 2008
Ignoring the Labor Vote, the Invisible 800-lb Gorilla of the Pennsylvania Primary, April 8, 2008
Help for Working Families Without Insurance, April 8, 2008
Clinton Tells the Truth, April 8, 2008
Fred Phelps: No Longer Untouchable?, April 7, 2008
Next President's Accountability: Do Something About Poverty, April 7, 2008
I don't want to do this anymore! I want to go back to my little church!, April 6, 2008
Learning to Live Together, April 6, 2008
By the time I got to Phoenix ..., April 6, 2008
Doonesbury and Bloom County, April 6, 2008
The Need for Community, April 4, 2008
My Appreciation of Martin Luther King Jr., April 4, 2008
cocktail of emotions: a freestyle on April 4, 1968, April 4, 2008
Dangerous Unselfishness: Forty Years Ago Today, April 4, 2008
New GI Bill Up in House Today, April 4, 2008
Courage and Justice, April 3, 2008
Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?, April 3, 2008
Something Beautiful Replacing Despair: Destination Home, April 2, 2008
Below Media Radar: The Next American Civil War, April 2, 2008
Jesus for President, Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw (Part 2), April 2, 2008
Eyes On the Prize, April 1, 2008
Mayor Booker, April 1, 2008
Obama Only Youth Game in Town?, April 1, 2008
Jesus for President, Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw (Part 1), April 1, 2008

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