Ten New Years Resolutions for the Obama Administration

In 2010:

1. I will inspire. I am one of the most charismatic orators of our generation, but as president, I’ve moved away from that critical element of my leadership. While my speech to the Muslim world in Cairo and onreproductive rights at Notre Dame were inspirational—if I do say so myself—I haven’t brought that eloquence to my key domestic agenda items, or to my broader vision and goals as president. In 2010: 1. I will inspire. I am one of the most charismatic orators of our generation, but as president, I’ve moved away from that critical element of my leadership. While my speech to the Muslim world in Cairo and onreproductive rights at Notre Dame were inspirational—if I do say so myself—I haven’t brought that eloquence to my key domestic agenda items, or to my broader vision and goals as president.

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Spotlight on Community Voices Heard and the Economic Recovery

The economic stimulus package has tackled some of the most pressing job-related issues facing our communities.  However, with national unemployment at over 10% for the first time since the early 1980s, we have to make sure recovery monies are spent in communities who need help the most. We have a better chance of achieving success in these areas if we come together to ensure that our most vulnerable communities, including communities of color, immigrants, and the poor, can participate in and contribute to our economic growth.

Over the next few months, The Opportunity Agenda will be highlighting the progress that a number of community groups have had in dealing with the economic recovery. Specifically, we will be highlighting the successes and challenges that these groups have had in accessing stimulus funds, how those funds have been used to increase job opportunities and ensure economic security, and what the economic recovery package has meant for poor communities and communities of color.

As an organization working to ensure equal opportunity in the economic recovery, we have begun interviewing local and state-level groups to gain a better understanding of how our country is faring during this critical period. Today’s post centers on the our interview with Sondra Youdelman and Henry Serrano, focusing on their work with Community Voices Heard (CVH), a membership organization working to build power for low-income families in the state of New York. Sondra is the Executive Director of CVH, and Henry is their Senior Organizer/Voter Engagement Project Coordinator.

During these trying economic times, CVH has been lucky enough to achieve success by taking advantage of stimulus funding opportunities and grassroots activism. Recently, CVH won $25 million in new resources for subsidized employment, partly through regular Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) contingency money. In addition, CVH has been extremely proactive in assuring proper oversight and monitoring of public housing capital funds, specifically in the enforcement of Section 3 provisions of the 1968 Housing and Urban Development Act. The Opportunity Agenda interviewed Sondra and Henry together on October 21, 2009. Here are some portions of that interview:

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Blog Action Day: Climate Change

Today is blog Action Day.  In the organizers' own words:

Blog Action Day is an annual event that unites the world's bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day on their own blogs with the aim of sparking discussion around an issue of global importance. Blog Action Day 2009 will be the largest-ever social change event on the web. One day. One issue. Thousands of voices.

Although The Opportunity Agenda does not directly work on climate change, the problem is so pervasive that it impacts the issues we do work on.  Climate change is not an abstract phenomenon when it comes the lives of everyday people in America.  There is mounting evidence that greenhouse gases are increasing the potency of hurricanes, whose impact disproportionately affects those most vulnerable in our society.  And as the climate does change, it will be the poorest among us that suffer in increased fuel costs. Finally, the polluting elements that cause climate change are also most common in low-income communities of color.  As a result, the health of residents in these areas is worse than those in more affluent neighborhoods.

For these reasons, climate change isn't an issue simply to be addressed by environmental groups.  Social activists, too, must see the connections and address this universal concern—a step in realizing the promise of opportunity for all.

Read more at The Opportunity Agenda website.

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Peace Prize Victory for "We"

One of the shining moments in Obama's campaign from 2008 was the "Yes We Can" mantra that rang out across America. It was a powerful reminder of the founding principles rooted in our democracy, the idea that we live as "We The People." I think this is an important icon to meditate on after hearing news that President Obama is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

The United States lost a great deal of respect by the world community during the eight years leading up to Obama's victory. This is, I believe, due to the rampant cowboy behavior we wore on our sleeve when stepping out into the world. For eight years, the values of the old frontier—boot straps, Bibles and bourbon—were thrown down on the table; bootstraps because we lived by a "We don't need anyone to help us" mentality, Bibles because we saw the world with certitude as if we were gods, and bourbon because we drank ourself blind with greed and profit.

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Creative Minds Needed -- Help Us Rename the KDP Blog!

It's been about three months since I headed South to Kansas to take over the online operations at the Kansas Democratic Party. I've had the chance to do some cool things and meet a lot of interesting people. But nothing has me more excited than what we'll be rolling out online in the next few months.

Our new website won't be done for a little while but we're leaking a bit of it today. (I couldn't wait!)

One of the newest features of our new website will be a fully functional, community blog in the style of Daily Kos. We haven't worked out all the kinks yet but we want to create a place where all Kansas Democrats could go to talk about their local party, candidates, and partner organizations.

Hopefully, it will become the new standard for state Democratic Party blogs.

This new blog will be 100% free to all Kansas Democrats. All we need to do to make official is give it a new name! Can you help us out by suggesting a blog name for our new community blog?

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Diaries

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