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« March 2009 | Main | May 2009 »

Front Page » Monthly Archives » April 2009

By Gerald Britt on April 30, 2009

One hundred days! ALREADY?! My how time flies! And they said it wouldn't last! Got anymore cliches?

To be honest, I thought the clock started ticking on President Obama's term on November 5th!

Allow me to take a pass on grading the past the President's performance since January. Allow me to simply say that what I have seen in the Obama administration is promise.
Obama came into office deciding not merely take on a broken economy, but to rebuild the foundation on which the economy is built.

Through his American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, he has attempted to jump start the flow of commerce.

Read more from this post here ...

By Tula Connell on April 30, 2009

Yesterday in Norfolk, Va., union veterans held the first event of what will be a nationwide campaign for the Employee Free Choice Act, uniting union and nonunion veterans from across the country in support of the freedom to form unions and bargain.

In a dozen states,, Veterans and Military Families for Progress (VMFP), Veterans' Alliance for Security and Democracy (VETPAC) and the AFL-CIO Union Veterans Council are teaming up to host military veterans, family members and union members for rallies, roundtable discussions and mobilization events. More than 2 million union members—14 percent of all union members—are veterans and, along with national veterans' groups, they're ready to mobilize for a level playing field in the workplace and the freedom to bargain for the economic opportunity they deserve.

Jon Soltz, an Iraq war veteran and the chairman of, says freedom of assembly and the right to bargain for a better life is a critical part of the American promise that needs to be kept.

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on April 30, 2009

Through a contract with the Department of Agriculture, Central Dallas Ministries provides hundreds of thousands of lunches and snacks to the children of low-income families during the summer months when schools are closed. We call this effort Nurture, Knowledge and Nutrition (NKN). CDM is delighted to be a part of a partnership between Share Our Strength and Colgate-Palmolive, that is working to increase funding for summer feeding sites around the country!

To coincide with Mother’s Day, Colgate-Palmolive launched a campaign on April 20th called ‘Share Mom’s Love’ that features an online contest to support summer feeding programs in select cities in the U.S. (Vote here)

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on April 29, 2009

Children brought to the United States by undocumented immigrant parents find themselves in a cruel state of limbo when they graduate high school and, in a growing number of cases, college. Even after receiving and taking full advantage of the national investment in their lives, these hard-working students cannot land a job, at least not legally. In short, their preparation and the public investment to get them ready for the marketplace goes wasted.

Read more from this post here ...

By Jim Faris on April 29, 2009

After being elected to office, I wanted to share some of my first moments on the Oskaloosa City Council with you all so some that are interested in running for such an office, they know a bit more of what they are getting into once they are in.

Read more from this post here ...

By Gerald Britt on April 29, 2009

An interesting criticism of the Obama administration's first 100 days. His promise of aid for urban areas hasn't materialized as some had hoped. It seems the White House Office for Urban Policy is leaving something to be desired.

When the office was officially formed in mid-February, urbanists rejoiced: “It’s past time,” said Elnora Watson, president of the Urban League in Jersey City, N.J., as she walked the halls of Congress recently. “Way past time,” added Ella Teal, another Urban League president from the neighboring city of Elizabeth. “Cities will lead America,” Newark Mayor Cory Booker said at an April speech on city government in Washington. “When it comes to industry, innovation, education and the arts … cities are where it’s at.”

But celebrations about the potential triumph of urban policy may be premature. In recent weeks, the Obama administration has begun referring to the office as “urban affairs,” rather than “urban policy,” a small but notable downgrade.

Unemployment, crumbling infrastructure, failing businesses and schools, along with home foreclosures still need the intense focus of Washington, if we are to pull out of this recession. And while the president's efforts to deal with the economy are yielding some results, we can't afford to see him neglect or inadequately tend to our cities.

Read more from this post here ...

By Pamela Jean on April 28, 2009

"The poet today must be twice-born. She must have begun as a poet, she must have understood the suffering of the world as political, and gone through politics, and on the other side of politics she must be reborn again as a poet." - Adrienne Rich
Many of our interesting Everyday Citizen bloggers are poets, musicians, writers and artists in addition to being active citizens and bloggers. Angelo Lopez, a prolific political cartoonist and muralist, often shares his art with us here at Everyday Citizen. Another of our artistic bloggers, Melissa Tuckey, was recently interviewed by The Writer's Center. In the interview, Melissa explained how politics help shape her poetry,
"I care passionately about social issues and have been involved in a lot of activist work, so it’s been important for me to find a voice in my poems that can encompass these experiences as well as other experiences...

"We cannot keep the suffering of the world out of our poems, anymore than we can pretend we are somehow immune to politics. We learn to see that all things are connected. Not only that, but there are systems of oppression and histories."

Melissa is also one of the founders of the Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness, an annual springtime festival in Washington DC that offers poetry readings, workshops, community building opportunities, youth programming, films and panel discussions to help festival goers to "grapple with a crippling economic crisis and other social and environmental ills."

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on April 28, 2009

We showed the video below at the 14th Annual Urban Ministries Prayer Breakfast last week. Our keynote speaker, Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins challenged the audience of about 1,000 with a message about prison reform and community justice and safety. It was quite a morning to say the least.

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on April 28, 2009

Central Dallas Ministries continues to put resources and substantial effort into training men and women for livable wage jobs. CDM WorkPaths, under the direction of Gerald Britt and led by Andrea Bills, provides hard and soft skills training of various kinds for students interested in improving their ability to land better jobs.

Read more from this post here ...

By Gerald Britt on April 28, 2009

"In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute."

Thurgood Marshall, 1908 - 1993
Chief Counsel for NAACP (1940-1961), Federal Judge Second Circuit Appellate Court (1961-1965), Solicitor General (1965-1967), Supreme Court Associate Justice (1967-1993)

By Larry James on April 28, 2009

In spite of the impressions given by a handful of mega-churches, congregations all over America are in decline. That is the verdict of all of the reliable research.

While I typically don't give this sort of data much thought, I've had an experience that stretches over three years now that has been very instructive.

Read more from this post here ...

By John Petty on April 27, 2009

Richard Nixon is the architect of today's Republican Party. It was the Nixon "southern strategy" in 1968 that began the south's "flip" from Democratic to Republican. When Nixon and Reagan said "law and order" and "states' rights," everyone knew what it meant.

For awhile there, the GOP was the home of both hard-core southern conservatives and northeastern and midwestern moderates, which gave them enormous electoral clout. In 1980, the GOP still had a moderate wing, and it went for Reagan.

While the south was flipping, the northeast and midwest were, more slowly, moving away from the GOP. Moderate suburbanites found Bill Clinton's emphasis on education and the environment to be more compelling than fighting culture wars.

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on April 27, 2009

Photographer Jonathan Torgovnik has produced a photo and video documentary regarding the horror of the Rwandan genocide of 1994.

His special focus deals with the use of rape as a weapon of war.

In particular, Torgovnik reports on the infamous Hutu militia groups known as the Interahamwe, their terror tactics and the survivors of the outrage.

Read more from this post here ...

By Gerald Britt on April 27, 2009

There is something profoundly 'spiritual' about the point where the hopes and dreams of ordinary people inform the judgment of those who make decisions that impact their lives and the lives of their families.

Those of us who lead institutions or influence them, have a responsibility not to forget people like this man at the bar (click 'Read More' below). True greatness is achieved by those who work to make lives like his (and the lives of those who are trying to get where he is) better...

Read more from this post here ...

By Bob Hooper on April 26, 2009

"In his latest This Week in Washington e-mail, Rep. Jerry Moran claims he was deeply offended by a recent Department of Homeland Security report that returning military veterans are joining right-wing, domestic terrorist groups. He implies that DHS and Secretary Napolitano are unfairly accusing all our veterans and attempts to relate this report to the poor treatment that Vietnam veterans received years ago. Talk about unfair accusations." (Retraction in Order)
Claire Matthews' letter to my local newspaper accurately described security concerns recently declassified by Homeland Security. (See excerpt continued after the fold below.) Since my local newspaper has a serious obligation to sort truth from spin, its readers should be informed that there were two declassified documents - each about ten pages, and both in plain language. The first was released in January of this year, and warns about "leftwing extremism." The most recent, released this month (April) is a warning about rightwing groups. For starters, Americans should read each carefully and make up their own minds.

Read more from this post here ...

By Sarah Burris on April 26, 2009

UPDATE: Just in, team Activism2Go won!! Thanks so much for everyone's help. Hopefully we'll be on board with developing this application for campaigns this season!!

This weekend the Mixed Media team (the org I work for) went to StartUp Weekend in Kansas City. StartUp is a program where developers and tech folk come together to create something that is useful.

Josh and Karl came up with a great tool inspired by Barack Obama's iPhone App from his campaign. If you don't know about the iPhone App, it took your cell phone book and divided it up by state and them prioritized numbers by swing states. So you could call your friends and make sure they were voting for Obama.

Activism2Go took that to a whole new level - enabling any campaign or organization to let their volunteers sign into their website and receive a list of people who needed to be called for the phonebank. Gone are the days of paper lists, you could call from your home, office, car, anywhere and help phonebank for a cause all by installing this simple application on your iPhone, G1, and eventually Blackberry.

Read more from this post here ...

By Gerald Britt on April 26, 2009

The reintroduction of the DREAM Act, provides the country with an opportunity for a serious debate about real immigration reform. I think passage of the DREAM Act is an important preliminary step. It makes no sense, and it is highly unfair, to send children to a land that they do not know, nor to which they have any allegiance.

It also makes no economic sense. These are young people in whose education, health and welfare, we have already invested. What sense does it make to increase the asset that they can be to this country by allowing them a pathway to citizenship that include further education or even service in the military? These are not children we don't know. They are graduates of our high schools (in some cases valedictorians or salutatorians), they have stayed out of trouble and only look for a chance to make a contribution to the country that they have called home virtually all their lives.

Read more from this post here ...

By Sarah Burris on April 26, 2009

With the Credit Card Holder's Bill of Rights voted out of committee last week, the full House goes to vote next week. According to the Speaker's Blog,

The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights protects Americans against the unfair and often abusive practices of credit card companies. Americans should never be subject to excessive credit card fees, sky-high interest rates, and unfair, incomprehensible agreements that credit card companies revise at will. But during a recession, with so many families in economic peril, these practices can be devastating.

This legislation is a departure from an era of government indifference to anti-consumer practices. I commend Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney for her tenacious work on this legislation in the face of continued opposition from corporate interests. I look forward to a strong, bipartisan vote in favor of the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights and to working with the Senate to send this critical pro-consumer legislation to President Obama for his signature into law.

While the economy is in free fall and CEOs are jumping out of windows, Americans are seeking refuge in bankruptcy courts and in the offices of credit counselors across the country. Young people are no different.

Read more from this post here ...

By Bob Hooper on April 26, 2009

I never thought I'd praise anything on FOX News, but this I will. At last, somebody on FOX News got a clue. The recent right-wing paranoia about the release of a previously classified document from Homeland Security and the FBI, has got "true believers" foaming at the mouth with something like jingoistic rabies. Actually, as the video reports, there were two documents, the first in January outlining the threat from left-wing extremists and the second in April outlining dangers from right wing extremism. BOTH documents were ordered under the Bush administration, and since it took some time to prepare them, they were not released until after the Bush administration had left office.

By Janet Morrison on April 25, 2009

An article in the New York Times finds that the gap between urban and suburban graduations rates is astounding.

"...the average high school graduation rate in the nation’s 50 largest cities was 53 percent, compared with 71 percent in the suburbs."
So, if you had a choice, where would you want your child?

Problem is, most low-income parents don't have that choice. Housing developments and low-income housing are usually concentrated in the city. Even if they weren't, it's often harder for families to choose to move to suburban areas due to their lack of transportation.

I hear a lot of judgment in our urban communities by people outside of the communities about what parents should/shouldn't be doing. But let me challenge that thinking.

Read more from this post here ...

Earlier posts in this month:

Our Clear Choice: Who or What is King?, April 24, 2009
Obama to Address Rising College Tuition, April 24, 2009
Texas and Rick Perry: Secession from the Union?, April 24, 2009
Can't Ship Out Those Green Jobs, April 24, 2009
Accomplishing the Mission - But at Whose Expense?, April 23, 2009
Where Love Lives, April 23, 2009
DREAM Act, Relief, April 21, 2009
New approach to college orientation, April 20, 2009
Is America a Christian Nation?, April 19, 2009
Sharin', April 19, 2009
For Those Who Would Change the Wind, April 18, 2009
Community Organizing in San Antonio, April 18, 2009
Call in April 21 for Student Aid and Progressive Budget, April 18, 2009
Women Faced Voting Problems in 2008, April 17, 2009
Relying on Appearances, April 17, 2009
Quite a Challenge, April 17, 2009
Lenten Cartoons, April 16, 2009
GOP's TEA Parties: Let's Pay for War, Not Food or Healthcare, April 16, 2009
Arr, me hearties, plunder on - In defense of piracy, April 16, 2009
Picture Window On Homelessness, April 16, 2009
Sometimes Getting in Trouble is a Good Thing, April 16, 2009
United States and Christianity, April 16, 2009
Control Your Drawbridge, April 15, 2009
Outsourcing Caused Recession: Job Losses Began Years Ago, April 15, 2009
American Citizens Asked to Change Their Names?, April 15, 2009
We Shall Remain - Don't Miss It!, April 15, 2009
Like Some Knowledge With That Diploma?, April 15, 2009
Proud to Pay Taxes, April 15, 2009
Afraid of Not Scoring? No Problem. Just Move the Goalposts!, April 14, 2009
Poverty and Stress, April 14, 2009
These Internets Give Us Exciting Times, April 14, 2009
Fighting for "the Least of These", April 14, 2009
Honoring The Memory Of A Friend, April 13, 2009
Looking toward the future of our children, April 12, 2009
For Those Who Would Change the Wind, April 12, 2009
Celebrating the Possibility of New Life, April 12, 2009
Easter Meditation: 'This is my church...', April 11, 2009
A Less Christian America - What's Good About That?, April 11, 2009
Numbers and the Texas Housing Trust Fund, April 11, 2009
Epic Struggle Between Man and Distant Ice, April 11, 2009
The Problem of Hunger in America, April 10, 2009
RI and CA Trying for Universal Registration, April 10, 2009
Who Could Say 'No' to This?, April 10, 2009
The brutal death of the man Yeshua, April 10, 2009
Plaza Inn Deal Fails: The Takeaways, April 10, 2009
Tolerance – A Good Thing, As Far As It Goes, April 9, 2009
Recycled Housing?, April 8, 2009
Democracy Is Not a Miracle, April 8, 2009
Public Education: Real Adults Figure it Out!, April 7, 2009
A Nation of Prisoners, April 7, 2009
Justice for Exonerees: Texas is Getting Closer, April 7, 2009
C. S. Lewis: Reflections on Charity, April 7, 2009
Vote Hal Gardner for Topeka USD 501 School Board, April 6, 2009
Vanessa Sanburn for School Board, April 6, 2009
Important Distinction: When Charity Is True Charity, April 5, 2009
AHF Leader Killed in Tragic Accident, April 4, 2009
Rep. Speier Calls for Commission on Women, April 4, 2009
A Cartoon on Gay Marriage, April 4, 2009
For Those Who Would Change the Wind, April 4, 2009
The D.R.E.A.M. Act Reintroduced, April 3, 2009
Her Son's a Quadriplegic; That's the Least of Her Worries, April 3, 2009
Ten Things You Can Do to Support the DREAM Act!, April 3, 2009
Election Official Uses New Media for Turnout, April 3, 2009
The Grapes of Wrath, April 3, 2009
What We Need is Compassion Toward One Another, April 2, 2009
Redemptive Suffering, April 2, 2009
CityWalk@Akard: An Ongoing Report, April 2, 2009
Carrots & Sticks: Not just for asses anymore, April 2, 2009
Civil Rights Leaders Urge Passage of Employee Free Choice, April 2, 2009
Acknowledging the Work of César Chávez, April 2, 2009
Change In Thought Is Needed, April 2, 2009
Online Explosion in Kansas Politics, April 2, 2009
Manners Today: Don't Touch the Queen, April 2, 2009
An Unexpected Endorsement, April 1, 2009
Raisin in the Sun: Timely and Timeless, April 1, 2009
Instructive Irony, April 1, 2009
Making education possible, April 1, 2009

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