The Promise of Opportunity

Taking another look at "New Progressive Voices," a collection of essays outlining a new long-term, progressive vision for America, today we turn to our Executive Director, Alan Jenkins', contribution.

The piece paints a bleak picture.  Alan outlines many of the problems facing regular Americans today.  Many people are having trouble getting a job that pays a living wage, paying for health care, and getting their children into quality schools.  Tying this together with the present high rates of incarceration, all signs point to a general lack of opportunity in America.

In keeping with goals of this essay collection Alan's essay, "The Promise of Opportunity," strives to give concrete solutions to these communal ills.  Alan's essay suggests making "opportunity" a metric by which to consider the viability of federal programs.

As with the environmental impact statements currently required under the National Environmental Policy Act, the relevant agency would require the submission of information and collect and analyze relevant data to determine the positive and negative impacts of the proposed federally funded project. Here, however, the inquiry would focus on the ways in which the project would expand or constrict opportunity in affected geographic areas and whether the project would promote equal opportunity or deepen patterns of inequality.

While the measures of opportunity would differ in different circumstances, the inquiry would typically include whether the project would create or eliminate jobs, expand or constrict access to health care services, schools, and nutritious food stores, foster or extinguish affordable housing and small business development. At the same time, [these Opportunity Impact Statements (OIS)] would assess the equity of the project's burdens and benefits, such as whether it would serve a diversity of underserved populations, create jobs accessible to the affected regions, serve diverse linguistic and cultural communities, balance necessary health and safety burdens fairly across neighborhoods, and foster integration over segregation.

To read the full article, click here.

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Progressive Democrat Newsletter Issue 171

This week's newsletter includes another discussion about the Republican neglect of our infrastructure. Since I wrote it two more levees have failed, flooding Des Moines, which aren't included in my analysis. If you want to help the Midwest, you can go here.

Turning to the election, the attacks have begun in earnest. Republicans rolled out a whole slew of attacks against Barack and Michelle Obama...some borderline racist, some merely lies, and none all that effective. In most states Obama's popularity has surged such that if the election were held today, Obama would easily win with over 300 electoral votes, just like Senator Chuck Schumer predicts will happen. But keep in mind, this is just the first volley of attacks.

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Funding PA School projects - the PA challenge

It appears more Obama supporters have taken up Stephen Colbert's challenge to help fund Pennsylvania classroom projects with a lot more interest, judged by donations, than Clinton's supporters. (See Colbert push the challenge here http://www.comedycentral.com/colbertrepo rt/videos.jhtml?videoId=164383)

Basically, the challenge asks Obama and Clinton supporters to make donations to fund school projects in PA in the name of their candidate.  Supporters of each candidate are being asked to donate a total of $66,001. As of noon-ish today (3/24), nearly nine-hundred Obama's supporters have donated a total of $58,287, impacting 9789 students. Nearly one-hundred Hillary's supporters have donated $11,699, impacting 1744 students. The average donation for an Obama supporter is ~$64 compared to ~$124 for a Clinton supporter.

Supporters of senators Obama and Clinton who have contributed to this worthy cause aught to be commended. This is at least one good outcome of this extended nomination process

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A Moment of Silence - new law in Illinois

Journal Gazette: A "moment" is about as nonspecific a term for measuring time as, say, a "smidgen" is for delineating distance or a "tad" for calculating volume.

But, that didn't stop the Illinois legislature from passing a measure earlier this month requiring all public schools to observe a daily "moment of silence," without defining exactly how long these so-called moments should last.

Such ambiguities in the modified Silent Reflection and Student Prayer Act -- which previously permitted such periods of quiet on a voluntary basis.

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REVEALED:Fuel & Mining Magnate Behind Gore Film Attack in UK

British Government released the movie, An Inconvenient Truth, to be shown in schools.

One man, Mr. Dimmock, a school Governor, challenged that in court, making of course, outrageous claims of the movie.

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