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« January 2009 | Main | March 2009 »

Front Page » Monthly Archives » February 2009

By Angelo Lopez on February 28, 2009

The economy has been a lot on my mind, as I figure it's been on the minds of a lot of Americans these past few months. Whenever I look at the headlines it just seems to be more bad news on the economy and I have to admit to being a bit scared of the things that I've read. I know friends and family who have lost their jobs and I often get confused trying to understand what the various experts say about the root causes of our recession. I've been trying to read about economics from various books and magazines to try to understand better about this economy. I did a cartoon for the February 18, 2009 edition of the Tri-City Voice about Obama trying to help the average American in this turbulent economic time.

Read more from this post here ...

By Sarah Burris on February 28, 2009

As another way of showing my dedication to 1100 Torches, I wanted to report on an important blog post my friend Don sent me.

Advocates for Youth has been championing a great cause - that we zero out Abstinence Only programs and instead begin mandating comprehensive sex education be taught in public schools. The 2010 Budget Blueprint, AFY reports, only includes a section under Health and Human Services for preventing Teen Pregnancy.

"Prevents Teen Pregnancy. The Budget supports State, community-based, and faith-based efforts to reduce teen pregnancy using evidence based models. The program will fund models that stress the importance of abstinence while providing medically-accurate and age-appropriate information to youth who have already become sexually active."

Read more from this post here ...

By Gerald Britt on February 27, 2009

Sean Callebs at CNN is conducting a pretty interesting experiment: he's living off of food stamps for a month.

Of course we call them 'food stamps' out of habit, now is actually called the 'Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program', or SNAP. Callebs has to cheat a little, because he actually doesn't qualify for the SNAP program. He's is living off of the monthly allocation for a single person, which is $176.

Here are a few entries from his blog on the experience...

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on February 27, 2009


If you care about jobs creation...

Or, the environment...

Or, national energy independence...

Or, the renewal of urban, inner city communities...

Or, re-energizing our national economy in a sustainable manner...

Then, you need to hear Van Jones.

Read more from this post here ...

By Sarah Burris on February 27, 2009

I don't usually wear my feminist hat on here at EC, but March 8th is International Women's Day. Events actually occur throughout March to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women while also looking at ways we can move forward to protect women around the world who are still facing oppression.

Each year there is a different theme that countries and organizations choose that focuses on the progress and the hope for progress. This year the United Nations has chosen as their theme: Women and men united to end violence against women and girls.

Another more local group has also chose this as a theme: The state of Kansas. But more importantly Governor Kathleen Sebelius has signed a proclamation recognizing it as "Jana Mackey Day in Kansas."

Read more from this post here ...

By Gerald Britt on February 27, 2009

When I was watching President Obama's joint session of Congress speech on Tuesday night, I couldn't place the little girl seated next to the First Lady. Of course, the world knows who she is and rightfully so. Fourteen year old Ty'Sheoma Bethea is the student from J.V. Martin Junior High School, who wrote to the President and to her Congressman to remember her 113 year old school next to a noisy railroad track. But she didn't just write about the tragic conditions of the school building. She expressed her ambitions and those of her classmates,

"We are just students trying to become lawyers, doctors, congressmen like yourself, and one day president, so we can make a change to not just the state of South Carolina, but also the world."
Her letter, after a visit by then-presidential candidate Barack Obama, became a metaphor for the plight of poor students in inadequately funded schools and by extension, yet another metaphor for the plight of public education in our country.

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on February 27, 2009

Many of my friends often complain of how wasteful public spending always turns out to be. I expect they have a point about how some public dollars are expended.

Who can forget the thousand dollar toilet seats installed on some battleship somewhere via a contract that didn't go out to bid in proper or competitive fashion?

More recently, recipients of the first round of federal "bail out" money evidently used some of it to fund luxurious retreats, underwrite lucrative retirement packages and purchase state-of- the-art corporate jets.

Read more from this post here ...

By Gerald Britt on February 27, 2009

Probably the most unfortunate thing about living in the age of the 24 hour news cycle and the Internet is that it doesn't give time for reflection. Immediate reporting and equally instantaneous opinion, via blogs and online news, means that the time to process is undermined by a barrage of images and reactions.

So Attorney General Eric Holder's controversial statement on race, in which he referred to our Americans as 'a nation of cowards' when it comes to a serious discussion on the issue, was merged with the New York Post's controversial cartoon of two police officers gunning down a chimp with the words, "Next time they'll have to get someone else to write their stimulus package."

Immediate reactions to Holder's comments, 'he was right'; 'he was wrong'; 'he was right, but he had no business as Attorney General making such a statement'. Reactions to the cartoon: 'another racist shot at African-Americans, proof that bigotry is alive and well'; or, 'people are out of their mind, its obviously a shot at Congress for authoring such a lame-brained stimulus bill'; or 'another assault on free speech. People ought not be so thin skinned. The media should say whatever they want.'

Read more from this post here ...

By Bob Hooper on February 27, 2009

"Reason is and ought to be the slave of the passions and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them." - David Hume, 1711-1776
It is the best of times; it is the worst of times. It is the Age of the Internet.

Those like me who express opinions in the public media at first naively expect to be lauded for courage and humble insight into life's perplexities, whether offered with a chuckle or a scowl.

Read more from this post here ...

By Darrell Hamlin on February 27, 2009

The blueprint for the federal budget has now been unveiled by the President. It’s a lot more than most citizens can absorb without a wince or a whistle. Deficit hawks from both parties are wailing like the only reasonable response to this plan is to douse oneself with kerosene, assume a lotus position and drop a lit match. When the smoke clears on the political theater, however, I do hope the mainstream matrix reports that one reason this budget is so much higher than previous budgets is that so much more federal spending is now being honestly calculated into the numbers released as part of the budget. I swallowed hard when I saw the numbers, just like you did. But what troubles me more than the reality of a deficit spending binge is the lie of hiding costs like, well, two wars. Okay, reality bites. But at least it’s reality, and that’s a start.

Read more from this post here ...

By Glenn Staab on February 27, 2009

Tis the season. It's that time of year when Democrats from all over the state gather in Topeka for our Washington Days celebration. As the First District Democratic Libations Chair (duly appointed by the First District Chair), I have many duties, so it will be an excellent time to clean up the mail bag.

Not only that, our keynote speaker Friday will be Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer; last seen giving one of the greatest speeches of last year's national convention. And finally, I will get to see and visit my favorite governor, Kathleen Sebelius, and see many of my great friends in our state party.

Read more from this post here ...

By Janet Morrison on February 26, 2009

As the news broke that Mayor Tom Leppert was considering a take-over of the Dallas Independent School District, emotions start rising.

When asked for a comment, all Mr. Leppert would say was, "The statement speaks for itself. I'm sticking with the statement," he said, adding only that "in the end, the kids have to be the priority. We're having a lot of conversations."

However, some school board members are questioning his motives. "Why would he want to be in charge of the school district?" Lew Blackburn wondered. Other board trustees from the southern sector (a primarily African-American section of the city) are stating their concern about a mayor from the northern sector (a primarily White section of the city) running the Dallas district (which is primarily African-American and Hispanic).

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on February 26, 2009

Take the time to listen to 7-year-old Tarak McLain share 30 of 100 things that he believes right here.

The class assignment on the 100th day of school was to bring 100 of something to class. Kids brought all kinds of things. Little Tarak brought a list of 100 things that he believes. NPR did a story as a part of its "This I Believe" feature. I'm going to list the 30 things that he shared on the radio segment so you can read them. But the best way to take in the child's wisdom is to hear them in his own words at the link above.

Here is his list of 30 beliefs...

Read more from this post here ...

By Gerald Britt on February 26, 2009

At some point, in a tour of some new found friends from the east coast, I mentioned 'DISD'. I, do have a habit of using acronyms and phrases that I think are universally understood. It can be embarrassing when you find out they are not. As in this case.

What's 'DISD'? One of they 'tourists', a preacher from Virginia, asked. "Dallas Independent School District"? I replied, patiently. "Independent?", he asked. "Independent, from what?" As I fumbled through the an explanation, I realized it was something I had just taken for granted. Aren't all school districts 'independent'. Those of you who know better are probably laughing me to scorn. I don't blame you.

But the idea, that school districts in Texas, operating as independent government bodies, is something I've always taken as a matter of course. But, over the past year or so, what we have really seen, is something that those of us who just 'assumed' the independent nature of public education, have often suspected: they appear to be independent of accountability.

Read more from this post here ...

By Gerald Britt on February 26, 2009

One wonders what governors throughout the country who say they don't want the federal money made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (or stimulus package) are thinking. Well Texas has one of those governors.

Facing a budget shortfall of anywhere between $3-$10 billion, Governor Rick Perry is taking a proud stand and picking and choosing his way through the stimulus package. Perry, who earlier simply called stimulus package a bad bill, is now shedding some of the bluff and bluster in order to get highways and bridges fixed. But, in order to show this deficit loving-spend happy-Democratic President and Democratic Majority Congress just who's who and what's what, he is contemplating rejecting increased unemployment benefits for those Texans who have lost their jobs! That'll show 'em Gov!

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on February 25, 2009

This is Ray's story:

Saturday night was so cold.

Had my money held out, I could have stayed another night at the Army shelter, but I didn't have the $7.00 I needed to get in. Maybe the worst of the cold is over now.

Hope so. But, who knows.

The pavement in the alley back of the abandoned office building was about as hard as usual, but I managed to avoid the cold wind most of the night. Funny though, how the wind finds ways around the corners of buildings, even close to the ground.

Spent the night alone, last night. Don't know what happened to Bobby. He and I try to stick close. There's safety in togetherness. But, made it through to sunrise. Seems coldest right before dawn breaks.

Read more from this post here ...

By Jim Faris on February 25, 2009

I was reading in the Oskaloosa Independent the other day when I came across a letter to the editor that I had to share. This is a perfect example of what you SHOULDN'T do when you are running for office, especially for a small town race like McLouth City Council.

Read more from this post here ...

By Tula Connell on February 25, 2009

Wanted to share this great Point of View from Professor Edgar Moore.

For any people to be able to exercise their rights effectively, they must have certain preconditions—a job, physical safety, education, adequate housing and medical care. Without those preconditions, those formal rights are a dead letter. They can’t be exercised. Labor unions have done more to provide those conditions for African Americans than any other social institution in the United States.

According to John Schmitt of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a higher percentage of African American workers (16.2 percent) belong to unions than the rest of the population (13.5 percent) for good reason. Unions serve the African American community well. It is true that unions, like the rest of American society, delayed opening their doors to African Americans for too long, but enormous progress has been made since it happened.

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on February 25, 2009

I suppose all living things possess the instinct to "nest." Everyone wants a home--a place that provides rest, safety and renewal, a place for young to arrive and thrive.

A family of Mockingbirds built this nest in a tree just outside our front door. Throughout the year I've watched and listened as the birds would come and go from the home they built for themselves and their young.

Home. Powerful idea. Nothing shapes a child more than the environment in and around a house.

Read more from this post here ...

By Janet Morrison on February 25, 2009


The third challenge we must address is the urgent need to expand the promise of education in America.

In a global economy, where the most valuable skill you can sell is your knowledge, a good education is no longer just a pathway to opportunity. It is a prerequisite.

Right now, three-quarters of the fastest-growing occupations require more than a high school diploma, and yet just over half of our citizens have that level of education. We have one of the highest high school dropout rates of any industrialized nation, and half of the students who begin college never finish.

Read more from this post here ...

Earlier posts in this month:

What Does it Take to Get the Respect of a Citizen?, February 24, 2009
For Those Who Would Change the Wind, February 24, 2009
Seeking Rights for Those Who Have Little, February 24, 2009
Click Clack Moo: A Children's Story of Community Activism, February 24, 2009
Out of the Mouth of Babes, February 24, 2009
Race Dialogue: 'You have to go through it', February 23, 2009
What we don't know can hurt us, February 22, 2009
The Wisdom of Melvin, February 20, 2009
Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Part III, February 20, 2009
Housing for the Homeless: A Round We Are Likely to Lose?, February 20, 2009
Republican Party: Not Exactly Internet Savvy, February 20, 2009
Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Part II, February 19, 2009
Recognition: Who Shapes the Immigration Debate?, February 19, 2009
NaNoWriMo, February 19, 2009
Soul of a Citizen, by Paul Rogat Loeb, February 19, 2009
Universal Healthcare: Will Kathleen Sebelius Be Our Leader?, February 19, 2009
We Usually Get Exactly What We Intend, February 18, 2009
Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Part I, February 18, 2009
Me n' Sarah, February 17, 2009
What If Things Changed?, February 17, 2009
UPDATED: KSGOP Says to Blame Union for No Pay, February 17, 2009
Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing, February 17, 2009
Teachers! Stop the cupcakes!, February 16, 2009
Ripple Effects of Community Organizing, February 15, 2009
Another Sign of an Era's Passing, February 15, 2009
Full Circle, February 15, 2009
For Those Who Would Change the Wind, February 15, 2009
Legislature Must Act Quickly on SCHIP, February 14, 2009
Hyacinths and Memories, February 14, 2009
Gigapan Photo of the Inauguration, February 14, 2009
The Debate, February 13, 2009
Pew Survey - Right Wing Didn't Vote Obama, February 13, 2009
NAACP's 100 Anniversary, February 13, 2009
A President's Message, February 13, 2009
Teaching Algebra with Pizza, Water Balloons and Ice Cream, February 13, 2009
Our Mother: Agnes Tullis Bird, February 12, 2009
A Growing Appreciation for Lincoln, February 12, 2009
GOP's Sudden Love of Youth = FAIL, February 12, 2009
Strengthen Schools and Decrease Unemployment, February 12, 2009
Smears and Paranoia Plus Fiber?, February 12, 2009
Stimulating a Coin of Phrase, February 12, 2009
Two of a Kind?, February 11, 2009
Hunger Moving Closer to Us All, February 11, 2009
Drunken Negro Cookies, February 11, 2009
Local Newspapers: Tweaking the Bothersome Groin, February 10, 2009
Where Do We Get the Money to Help Exonerees?, February 10, 2009
So, Where's the Pork?, February 10, 2009
Helping negotiate the college system, February 10, 2009
Attention: Culture is finally being considered an asset!, February 10, 2009
Great Political Speeches, February 9, 2009
An Irreversible Loss, February 9, 2009
Robert Emerson Glaze, February 9, 2009
Encomium for a friend, February 9, 2009
Is the Concept of Justice Politically Irrelevant?, February 9, 2009
Waltz With Bashir, February 9, 2009
Al Gore is Apparently Hitler, February 9, 2009
For Those Who Would Change the Wind, February 9, 2009
Just what is multicultural education?, February 8, 2009
Taking a Stab at Understanding the Economy, February 8, 2009
600,000 More Jobs Disappear, February 8, 2009
My Country, Right or Wrong, February 8, 2009
Education Can Fight Terrorism, February 8, 2009
Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnership, February 8, 2009
My Time At An Evangelical Church, February 7, 2009
Texas superintendents advocate for changing the focus of public schools, February 7, 2009
Hate Radio in the Valley of Love, February 6, 2009
Older People on SN Sites, Youth Still Dominate, February 6, 2009
Lessons from Gran Torino, February 6, 2009
Seth Godin Talks Tribes and SN's at TED, February 6, 2009
Be Fruitful and Multiply? ART, Ethics, and our Responsibilities, February 6, 2009
What's So Hard About This?, February 6, 2009
It's Everywhere, February 5, 2009
Dear God: It's Me, Jennifer on Behalf of Sarah, February 5, 2009
Cartoons for February, February 5, 2009
Faith: An Important Part of Who We Are, February 5, 2009
Coffee, Tea, or Misogyny?, February 5, 2009
Want a volunteer project?, February 5, 2009
Granting Employees the Right to Walk Away: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?, February 5, 2009
Getting to know the community is critical, February 4, 2009
Reflections on Generational Change, February 4, 2009
Obama Signs SCHIP Bill, February 4, 2009
You Think You Can Do Better? Here's Your Chance!, February 4, 2009
The 'Spirit' of My Homeless Friends, February 4, 2009
Doubt vs. Possibility, February 4, 2009
The Obamas: Setting a new standard of 'values', February 4, 2009
Who's Cheatin' Who?, February 3, 2009
Food Funds Help Everyone, February 3, 2009
Congratulations to Michael Steele, New President of the RNC, February 3, 2009
Life is hard. Mentoring is harder., February 3, 2009
Open Letter, February 2, 2009
Systemic Decisions, Systemic Results, February 2, 2009
Stimulus Watch Launches for Web 2.0 Government, February 2, 2009
Apropos, February 2, 2009
Technology Causes Decline in Critical Thinking?, February 2, 2009
Lest We Forget, February 1, 2009
Here's One Source of Hope, February 1, 2009
Missouri Ice Storm: Federal Disaster Causes Community to Shine, February 1, 2009
Dr. Seuss' Political Books, February 1, 2009

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