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« September 2008 | Main | November 2008 »

Front Page » Monthly Archives » October 2008

By Larry James on October 31, 2008

Common wisdom says that folks in this country can work hard, keep their noses clean and sooner or later they will "make it" through their sheer effort alone. While this assessment works out occasionally, it is not the prevailing reality for millions of poor people who understand generational poverty.

People who will protest my judgment here simply don't understand all of the forces that conspire against the urban poor. The factors that work counter to breakthroughs for low-income Americans are legion. Some relate to public policy, be it educational opportunities, enhanced skills training, health care, decent and affordable housing, access to higher education... the list goes on and on.

Read more from this post here ...

By Gerald Britt on October 31, 2008

For all of those who think that in these bad times there is no good news;
For everyone who thinks that our country's economic crisis is something too big to get their arms around;
For everyone who think that generosity is something that no one can afford, take a look at this!
And for the record: I'm proud it happened in Dallas!

By Larry James on October 31, 2008

Several weeks ago, back in the summer, I received the following message from a young pastor who leads a new, young church in an undisclosed urban area. He wants to lead his congregation in reaching out to the poor. He really wants his group to be committed to engaging the realities of urban poverty, including homelessness and extreme poverty.

Read more from this post here ...

By Sarah Burris on October 31, 2008

UPDATE: CNN Picked up this story on iReport. Its on the lower right hand corner of CNN.com and the video on iReport is here.

We've said it before and we'll say it again... its the best way on the best day. Best way because its face to face communication with voters, and its the best day because its the day when people expect strangers to come to their door, knock on them, and ask for something. This year, don't just ask for candy, ask for votes!

Read more from this post here ...

By Janet Morrison on October 31, 2008

This month I have had several moments I'm very proud of.

The first one came when one of my friends IM'd to ask me to send some of the pictures I'd taken of the Chemistry Camp our kids attend with her each spring. After I sent her the pictures, she explained why she needed them. She had been chosen as one of the 100 women for the White House Leadership Project.

A couple of weeks later...

...voila! The picture I'd taken ended up in "O" Magazine, along with a great article on my friend, Jennifer Stimpson, explaining her chemistry program.

Not long after, I was asked to write an op-ed for the Dallas Morning News. It was published this past Monday, drawing a variety of positive and negative comments.

Then, earlier this week my friend, Shawn Williams (who blogs at Dallas South) asked me to be a guest on his Blog Talk Radio segment. You can listen to us talk a little about my life in South Dallas, a little commentary on the op-ed I wrote, and my thoughts and observations about the political candidates and campaigns and how I feel they have affected rural America by clicking here.

It's been a busy month... but very productive and fun. Are we really already in November???

By Carter Maddox on October 30, 2008

This is the best that the Yes on Prop 8 folks can do? Breaking someone else's toys?

By John Atlas on October 29, 2008

The Republican attack on ACORN, the community organizing group, has accelerated dramatically in the last few weeks, with John McCain, Sarah Palin, conservative columnists and bloggers, and right-wing TV and radio talk show hosts all joining in the anti-ACORN chorus. Among other assaults, they have been scapegoating ACORN for Wall Street's disastrous lending spree. As Peter Dreier and I reveal in our article, "The GOP's Blame-ACORN Game," which appears in the November 10 issue of The Nation and also on-line, the accusations are completely bogus. The campaign against ACORN has gotten traction because the conservative echo chamber has been effective at injecting their views into the mainstream, especially since McCain and Palin have jumped on the anti-ACORN bandwagon.

Read more from this post here ...

By Carter Maddox on October 29, 2008

This is my first blog post. And I'm a bit nervous.

I've always recognized the importance of blogging for organizations and campaigns -- it's hugely powerful as a mechanism to connect with an audience and invite them into a conversation. I've always been hesitant to blog myself, though -- I have too many examples of good blogs and bloggers around me to pretend that I have something profound to say. However, there are just too many things going on in the country now to no longer speak out. And this blog is the mechanism I have at my disposal. So I'm using this blog entry -- my first -- to talk about one of the most core pieces of who I am...and how it's about to be taken away.

California has a ballot proposal on the table right now to remove the right of same-sex couples to marry. I know that most of the country sees this as a Californian issue -- for many of my friends on the East Coast, it's difficult to really personalize the issue. I've gotten involved with the issue politically and believe in the right for anyone to marry, so long as they're consenting adults. But it was today that I cried about this fight.

Read more from this post here ...

By Stephen Tramel on October 29, 2008

My wife and I are Bible-believing Christians and registered Republicans. This year we will vote for Barack Obama, and we encourage others to do so, too.

The American electorate has come to believe that Bible-believing Christians should vote for Republicans automatically, especially for national offices. I nowadays only rarely find a Republican for whom I can vote – not because I am a Democrat, but because I am a Christian. The present alliance between the political and the religious right has encouraged the belief that to be a Christian is to support policies that openly favor and protect the rich at the expense of the poor, as well as policies that favor military intervention over efforts to find peaceful solutions. Present-day priorities are revealed starkly by our comparative spending for making war, on the one hand, and for guaranteeing an opportunity for the pursuit of happiness or at least the relief of human suffering, on the other. As Republican President Eisenhower once said,

Read more from this post here ...

By Bill Shanahan on October 29, 2008

I voted to abolish the office of the president in 1984, a write-in of course. My "candidate" did not win, and I gave up on the enterprise of voting. The intervening 24 years found this committed anarchist eschewing the polling place in favor of direct action.

Politics for me are local. I altered my own communities. Most notably, I decentralized the decision-making in the classroom and the debate squad room, willingly giving up the authority bestowed upon me as teacher and coach.

Read more from this post here ...

By Sarah Burris on October 29, 2008

Frequently ignored, rural voters are sometimes the most insistent. Rural youth, are just as dedicated to policies that can make their lives better. In Oklahoma youth have a solid idea of how issues impact their world. Unique to their area, the environment has a larger impact on their lives than that of urban America.

"In my town, if the river's high, everybody knows it. If the river's dirty, everyone knows about it," young voter Dale Denwalt says.

Kyle Meade is a second generation American whose grandparents came from Mexico. He attacks Republican Tyler Trammell on his assumption that immigration will force Americans into a Mexican culture. Meade says he's living proof that those stereotypes aren't true.

See what they think at the Rural Roundtable...

Read more from this post here ...

By Melissa Tuckey on October 29, 2008

They hang the man and flog the woman
That steal the good from off the common,
But let the greater villain loose
That steals the common from the goose,

The Law demands that we atone
When we take things we don't own
But leave the lords and ladies fine
Who take things that are yours and mine,

The poor and wretched don't escape
If they conspire the Law to break;
This must be so, but they endure
Those who conspire to make the Law.

The Law locks up the man or woman,
Who steals the goose from off the common
And geese will still a common flock
Till they go and steal it back.

--- English folk poem, circa 1764

By Gerald Britt on October 29, 2008

I witnessed something very interesting today. I attended a 'Town Hall' meeting with some of the formerly homeless in our Destination Home program. It basically was an effort on behalf of our staff to touch bases with the residents to review the terms of their lease and, with representatives of the apartment complex owners present, see if they had any problems that needed to be addressed. Most of these residents had been in the program for a year, some for a little less.

Adam, one of the case managers was talking to them about their 'life plans', goals for each one of the residents which the case managers help them achieve as they move towards self sufficiency.

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on October 29, 2008

This year marks the 75th anniversary of Coit Tower, one of the great landmarks of the city of San Francisco. Coit Tower is a frequent tourist attraction that offers a breathtaking view of San Francisco and the Bay. Within its walls are a series of murals created by 26 different artists during the 1930s. These murals depict many of the struggles that working class people were going through during that time. It came at a time when the San Francisco art scene began to develop its distinctive personality, one that reflected the multicultural diversity of the city by the bay.

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on October 29, 2008

Young man, just a lad,
growin' up in a swamp of pain -
poverty so hard, so raw,
stumblin' just part of every day
you live.

Young boy, puttin' on
that smile - unforgettable glow
makin' me wonder what you got
to keep your feet in all this and not quite
fall today.

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on October 28, 2008

My buddy in Memphis, Justin, sent me this YouTube from The Work of the People. The title, "What is poverty?" The answer will surprise many. The answer stands at the heart of what we have learned here in Dallas over the past almost 15 years. What makes people poor? Consider your answer before you watch.

Read more from this post here ...

By John T. Bird on October 28, 2008

It seems that the Democrats have been sucked into letting the last week of the election be about the horse race aspects of the campaigns for President, House and Senate. All the blogs and news sites are talking about are the "numbers": how big a win for Obama, how many takeaways from the R's in the House, how close the D's will get to filibuster-proof in the Senate.

Where is the message? How about talking about we need a big win to put the vested interests back into their cages? How about telling the voters, in a cohesive, comprehensive, cogent way that when three of the four possible partisan permutations (D President w/R Congress, R President w/R Congress, R President w/D Congress) have failed and brought us to the brink of economic, environmental and extra-territorial cataclysm, the only real choice is the fourth and final combination, Democrat President, Democrat Congress? How about we tell the voters that if they want a broken system fixed, we need to install new parts?

People are not going to give us the majorities we crave just to be with a winner: we have to show them how they get to be the winners by making us the winners.

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on October 28, 2008

It’s always difficult for an individual to go against a group of people. We all want to get along and be liked by people, so we often keep quiet about opinions when we’re with a group of friends or family members who may not agree. I learned the hard way that keeping quiet about one’s opinions and allowing other people to think for me does long term harm to myself. I’ve been very interested in learning about the dynamics of groupthink, the tendency of a group to limit independent thinking and questioning in the quest for consensus and group cohesiveness. The dangers of groupthink are numerous, from Nazi Germany in the 1930s, China during the Cultural Revolution or in the McCarthy era in America in the 1950s. While it is good to find a community where one can find love and acceptance, it’s also important to be able to speak for oneself and to be able to think independently.

Read more from this post here ...

By Henry Schwaller on October 28, 2008

Senator Obama currently leads in newspaper endorsements over Senator McCain by a 2 - 1 margin. While it's tough to figure out how endorsements affect election results, there is evidence that in close elections, undecided voters may be influenced by the opinion pieces.

There are two endorsements that I find interesting, one from the Anchorage Daily News, the other from the Lawrence (Kansas) Journal-World. Both papers represent states with a "favorite son/daughter" but decided to go in the opposite direction. This is not surprising, as the editorial content of both generally does not favor the candidates' respective parties. The Journal-World, in particular, is an old school conservative stalwart, a home town newspaper that remains controlled by a local family that does not shy away from its parochial, paternalistic, and patriarchal heritage. That said, here are the highlights from their endorsements:

Read more from this post here ...

By Joanne Tramel on October 27, 2008

I believe that life begins at conception, that a woman has no right to end that life just because it is in and depends on her body, that life is sacred, and that life is a gift of God. It is precisely because I believe these things that I will be voting on November 4 for Barack Obama.

My reasoning is as follows. Life is a seamless whole, beginning with conception, and ending on this earth with death. Morally, we cannot allow this life after it has been born to be tortured, to be bombed to smithereens, to live hungry, to have inadequate health care, to receive little or no education, to be the victim of crime and neglect. Yet under the current administration too much of this moral outrage has taken place. We are engaged in two wars both of which have cost hundreds of thousands of lives and have left both countries devastated and filled with suffering and bitterness, but after six years of this horror, Osama bin Ladin and Al Qaeda are still alive and flourishing, our economy is down the toilet, over fifty million Americans are without health care insurance, we have engaged in torture, our first amendment rights have been compromised, the unemployment rate has skyrocketed, and our nation's students score poorly in comparison to other students around the world with thirty percent of them not even finishing high school.

Read more from this post here ...

Earlier posts in this month:

Misrepresented, October 27, 2008
Before We Just 'Get Over It', October 27, 2008
You Don't Know Jake, October 27, 2008
Your sacrifice allows others to have food they need, October 27, 2008
An Irrational Preoccupation, October 27, 2008
Our World Today: Progress and Resistance, October 27, 2008
Voters Guide for People of Faith, October 26, 2008
For Those Who Would Change the Wind, October 26, 2008
Yes I Did!, October 26, 2008
Cooking Books: Wall Street and Presidential Campaigns, October 25, 2008
Food Insecurity: What about the children?, October 25, 2008
So, where's the ministry?, October 25, 2008
Battling for the Soul of American Democracy and American Christianity, October 25, 2008
You can vote however you like, October 24, 2008
We Must Keep Voting, October 24, 2008
Largest, Most Diverse, Most Progressive, Most Threatened, October 24, 2008
Blogging the Election: My Salute to Ya'll, October 24, 2008
Head held high, October 24, 2008
Graphic Art and The Masses Magazine, October 23, 2008
CNN Report: Students Face HUGE Obstacles When Voting, October 23, 2008
Reverse Robin Hoods: Ultra-Rich Steal Our Taxes and Powers, October 23, 2008
Can we afford the rich?, October 23, 2008
The Election Scandal You Haven't Heard About, October 23, 2008
Logical Consequences, October 23, 2008
Slattery for Investments in Infrastructure and Education, October 23, 2008
When Do Clergy Cross the Line?, October 23, 2008
Al-Qaida 'Endorses' John McCain, October 23, 2008
Plumbing, poinsettias and goodbyes, October 23, 2008
Out of Bounds, Out of Line, and Out of Control, October 22, 2008
A Church I Really Admire, October 22, 2008
The Truth About ACORN, October 22, 2008
McCain's Neo-Hooverism: Real Wrong for Our Times, October 22, 2008
What the Folks Say About Redistribution, October 22, 2008
Work and the Earned Income Credit, October 22, 2008
Campaign Rhetoric, October 21, 2008
My glad reunion with Joe, October 21, 2008
God, Grant Us the Courage to Change the Things We Can, October 21, 2008
Meet Joe the REAL Plumber, October 21, 2008
Evaluation of Leadership: Powell's Endorsement, October 20, 2008
Negative Ads and Campbell's Crazy Idea, October 20, 2008
The Fight for Interracial Marriage, October 19, 2008
Time to Decide, October 19, 2008
Taking the Long View: Working for Justice, October 19, 2008
Colin Powell decides Barack Obama is the one ready to lead, October 19, 2008
I'm sick of the haters, October 18, 2008
For Swing Voters, October 18, 2008
Social Contract, October 18, 2008
For Those Who Would Change the Wind, October 18, 2008
'Young Voter's Have the Power to Swing this Election', October 17, 2008
The Political Self Interest of Joe the Plumber, October 17, 2008
California's Proposition 8, October 17, 2008
How True, October 17, 2008
Senate Candidate Does Campus Tour, October 17, 2008
Play, Play, Play!, October 17, 2008
Think about it, October 16, 2008
GOP Solidifies Reputation As White Man's Party, October 16, 2008
Coffee Pot Values, October 16, 2008
Domestic Violence Month, October 16, 2008
Primer On Depression, October 16, 2008
Clay and Joe the Plumber, October 16, 2008
An Ode to Community and Organizing, October 15, 2008
Shriver on Palin: 'Jaw-dropping', October 15, 2008
Montana GOP ED Resigns After Voter Suppression Attempts, October 15, 2008
Obama Tax Calculator, October 15, 2008
Stealing Back Your Vote, October 14, 2008
McCain Now Linked as ACORN Supporter, October 14, 2008
Still Another Challenge: Correcting This Injustice, October 14, 2008
The Problem: Lending Money Poorly to Rich People, October 14, 2008
Can We Work On the Crisis, and Stop the Scapegoating?, October 13, 2008
Who’s Afraid of ACORN, and Why, October 13, 2008
Join the fun! Accept the challenge!, October 13, 2008
20/20's Youth Hater Story, October 13, 2008
ACORN Under Fire, But Is It Justified?, October 12, 2008
When Evil Marries Profit, October 12, 2008
Are we ready to move to the next level of race relations?, October 11, 2008
Racism Affects the Intelligence of People, October 11, 2008
My Political Cartoons for the Tri-City Voice, October 11, 2008
The New Paradigm for Financial Markets, by George Soros, October 11, 2008
For Those Who Would Change the Wind, October 11, 2008
Walt Kelly and Pogo, October 10, 2008
We Are Better Than This!, October 10, 2008
Hate Speech Cuts into the Health of the Nation's Soul, October 10, 2008
ACORN Fraud Story FAKE GOP Scam, October 10, 2008
Pro-Boyda Blog Back After Hiatus, October 10, 2008
Financial Crisis Hits Students, October 10, 2008
Anatomy of a Personal Debate, October 10, 2008
Why I Support Obama, October 9, 2008
Debates, Presidential and Personal, October 9, 2008
If You Value People Over Politics, Unseat Todd Tiahrt, October 9, 2008
Social Security is Not Broken, October 9, 2008
Dumb and Silent, Led to Slaughter by Bush's Government?, October 9, 2008
Board Games: The Perfect Teaching Tool, October 9, 2008
Your Opportunity to Act, October 9, 2008
May God have mercy on us all, October 9, 2008
Not a Single Penny for Victimized Homeowners?, October 9, 2008
Old friends put election excitement on hold, October 9, 2008
The Poor Are Us, October 8, 2008
Debate Review: A Tale of Two Tillers, October 8, 2008
Temper (Mental): John McCain Scares Me, October 8, 2008
He's No Teddy Roosevelt..., October 8, 2008
'Obama Scares Me', October 8, 2008
KU Students Respond to Debate08, October 8, 2008
Ending Homelessness Via Homes, October 8, 2008
Let the Voter Disenfranchisement Begin, October 7, 2008
What Country Do These People Live In?, October 7, 2008
Biggest Bailout, er Rescue Whoppers, October 7, 2008
Deregulating: Fear and Darkness in Neighborhoods, October 7, 2008
Another Warning, October 7, 2008
The Priorities of Our National Life, October 6, 2008
Generation We, October 6, 2008
Exonerees, October 6, 2008
E-mail: Scumbags and Dummies, October 5, 2008
Just Who Exactly Is Joe Six-Pack?, October 5, 2008
Who’s Pulling for Struggling Americans?, October 5, 2008
How to Defeat the Republicans in the 2nd Election This Year or, Why Funeral Directors Live in Big Houses, October 5, 2008
Ever wonder why people in our inner cities are angry?, October 4, 2008
The Party of Life, October 4, 2008
Best Summary of the Fraud, October 4, 2008
Frank Capra and the Populist Film, October 4, 2008
Presidential Candidates and Their Tax Plans, October 4, 2008
For Those Who Would Change the Wind, October 4, 2008
Sarah Palin and Her Decision Tree, October 4, 2008
CRA and the Current Credit Crisis, October 4, 2008
Will We Take Our Economy Back?, October 3, 2008
Of Beauty Queens and Debates, October 3, 2008
Who Won the Debate? Maybe We Did..., October 3, 2008
Upper-Income Borrowers: More Subprimes Than Poor?, October 3, 2008
Formerly Homeless Neighbors Speak to Power, October 3, 2008
Our Congress Can Tweet!, October 2, 2008
The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations, October 2, 2008
Don't Go Blaming CRA Requirements - Come On!, October 2, 2008
Breaking News: Palin Returns from Overseas Trip in Time for Debate, October 1, 2008
How Osama bin Laden Won (Almost), October 1, 2008
Early Advantages Accumulate, Like Early Disadvantages, October 1, 2008

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