S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Poverty is no longer news

Yesterday's news?

Who says poverty is not news? I was moved to do research on poverty in the news (see *section below) by watching the C-SPAN broadcast of a forum sponsored by the Eisenhower Foundation. It was moderated by former Oklahoma Senator Fred Harris. Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting Senior Analyst, Steve Rendall, was one of many participants discussing poverty, inequality, racism, etc. as it is currently covered by the media.
One of my favorite bloggers, Christy Hardin Smith, co-founder of Firedoglake, spoke often and eloquently about the lack of coverage of this widespread problem that is so ignored in our country. To quote from her blogs about the subject,
  • "Hope Floats"
    This week, I am honored to be participating in a national forum on poverty, inequality, race and the media that is sponsored by the Eisenhower Foundation. I was asked to participate, in part, because of my background in working with at-risk children in the legal system, but also because of some of the articles that I have written here at FDL on Katrina, on the mining tragedy here in WV last January, and other topics.
    . . .The Congressional Black Caucus recently sponsored a forum on some of these issues, and talked about ways to bring these to the fore starting in January. Since the horrible aftermath of Katrina unmasked so much of the issues of race and poverty while the entire nation watched in horror, I have been hoping for some real inititive on these issues — perhaps, come January, we might see the beginnings of that. (See here for the beginnings of an academic study already begun on Katrina. PDF).
    . . . But I have hope that some political will might be brought to bear on some of these issues, with the Democrats in Congress already mustering strong support for changes in the minimum wage for the first time in twenty years. And that's just for starters — and this despite the craptastic mess that the GOP left for the Dems to clean up, having finished out the 109th Congress and gone home on vacation with 9 of 11 budget bills not even passed.
    There are so many intertwined issues that need addressing. But for the first time in a long time, I get to be part of the conversation on the whole of them, and not just slapping a band-aid on individual problems in the courtroom and hoping it would hold (although most often it did not, due to the weight of so many underlying problems pushing out at the edges). And for the first time, in a long, long time, I have some hope that the folks who will hold the reins of power in Congress will be the kind of people who not only understand that these problems need to be resolved, but will also have the compassion and the will to try and tackle them.
  • "Making the point for working families"

    . . . interview with Harry Reid . . . Clear, concise, and right on point for working families. . . Funny how having not raised the minimum wage in close to 20 years is a huge, huge bone of contention — but the Congress having raised it's own wages by around $35,000 the last few years is much ado about nothing, isn't it?
*Poverty - Today's post began with the C-SPAN program and ends with a bit of research on "poverty" in the news. Bloglines is my primary aggregator. When looking at its news about poverty, I did a search for current posts on the subject. It returned 552,600 items. In order of appearance here is what I found of posts about U.S. poverty:

  • No. 28 - "Megachurches coming in the shadow of Washington" at Perspectives in Public health by Wade Schuette. To quote,
    African American megachurches are rising in Baltimore-Washinginton corridor and may meet some social needs that the government is not, according to the article's focus.
    The comments on the article are fascinating and reflect a wide range of strong opinions as to whether churches or religion at all is a good thing, whether these churches care strongly about poverty or whether they are an exploitive scam to make the pastor rich, whether social programs to help the poor are effective, whether the focus of these churches is helping the rich or the poor, etc.

    No. 54 - "Question of the Day. . . Appreciation" by SA'ILA at othermatters
  • . . . it can be argued that one cannot truly appreciate the blessings of wealth without the experience of poverty. Does experiencing the absence of one allow you to better experience the fulfilment of its opposite?
  • No. 80 - "Quote of the day" by a conservative, Hispanic Pundit, posts about the interesting debate over the minimum wage. To quote,
    “As a means of raising people from poverty or near poverty, the minimum wage is distinctly inferior to the Earned Income Tax Credit, which compensates for low wages without interfering with the labor market…So why are the Democrats pushing to increase the minimum wage rather than to make EITC more generous?
A rose by any other name . . . One of the Eisenhower forum participants wanted to identify himself as "liberal" rather than "progressive." I am not that particular. I am a retired social worker. About that I am particular. We are among the primary poverty workers. We will never be out of jobs. Many people remain hungry, whether the USDA insists they have "very low food security" or not. I just added a "poverty" label to 22 of the posts I have written do date. I must apologize to any social workers reading this blog for taking this long to admit that poverty is a valid subject. Until today I had called it all "politics."

My "creative post" today at Southwest Blogger is about my childhood Christmas.

My “dreams and dreaming” post today at Good Second Mondays is about a new educational link about dreaming.

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