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Written by DrP on Nov 4, 2009

Different cities approach the problem of urban poverty in different ways. And within these cities some plans come from the political authorities and others from the people, each with different focuses and different effects... What happens, however, when one considers the national outlook? Is urban poverty a domestic issue of top priority? Are there anti-poverty plans that treat the problem as a national one?

US Census Bureau works to revise its poverty formula

Here again we find a bifurcation of approach. On the federal level recent efforts to address poverty have focused on measurement devices. According to a recent report on MSNBC.com the Census Bureau is considering a new formula by which to calculate poverty. The new formula, devised by the National Academy of Sciences, takes into account variables that the old Census formula does not (e.g., expenses like clothing, housing, and medical costs; differences in the cost of housing per state and region; and additional non-cash income like food stamps, public housing, and free school lunches). Using data for 2008, then, the Census Bureau revised their poverty projections; while the old formula concluded that 40 million...

Written by Khady on Nov 3, 2009

My first encounter with Richard Florida was in a Global Studies (Cities and Globalization) class taken at St. Lawrence University. Even though his ideas came across to me as “elitist” and “naïve”, I did not completely disregard his theories. Since then Richard Florida has been at the back of my mind, and I have tried my best to keep my “eyes” and “ears” open to anything that will assist me in making sense of his ideas. Thus, needless...

Written by awball04 on Nov 2, 2009



 The fall premiere of PBS' Masterpiece Contemporary Theatre this past week was a film entitled Endgame. It outlines the secret negotiations between the white minority led apartheid regime and the ANC (African National Congress). The discussions begin thanks to a British business executive, Michael Young, who is concerned with losing assets in a diamond company. Young enlists deputy representative, Thabo Mbeki to the president of the ANC, Oliver Tambo, to be the voice for the ANC. Finding people to take with Mbeki was Young's challenge as the ANC was being depicted as violent and dangerous at this time, which is arguably true. Fortunately, Young is able to find voices to speak for the whites, among them Professor Willie Esterhuyse.

The film is masterfully done. Not only does it provide excellent content and an understanding of the time period, it also provides a rare glimpse into the success of the ANC and the birth of the new nation of South Africa without shining the spotlight on Mandela. Instead, it is Mbeki who is able to shine as he helps explain to the white coalition why there are factions amongst the ANC, mainly known as Umkhonto we Sizwe, who feel relegated to violence...

Written by Acorde on Nov 2, 2009

I want to share a short video that describes the work of the organization 100 Families Oakland.

Basically, families from Oakland come to together and through guidance from professionals create art. In so doing, they share their life stories with their communities, and therefore, create a more solid relationship with their immediate community instilling values such as solidarity, understanding, cooperation, dialogue, and much more. They create meaning within their family and open a dialogue with the greater community.

What I find most interesting about this project is that it starts from the smallest sub-section of society, our immediate means of socialization and where we create start creating our vision of the world: the family. The video will tell you more about the organization, their work, and the outcome...

Written by johncollins on Nov 1, 2009

54 It appears that those who responded skeptically to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, insisting it would never amount to much, are slowly being forced to eat their words.  Since I began writing this series on BDS, the movement has celebrated a number of significant victories in its struggle to mobilize ordinary citizens and key sectors of civil society in opposition to Israeli policy vis-à-vis the Palestinians.  In this fourth installment on the BDS movement, I will provide a brief overview of some of the movement's recent successes, including the creation of an ongoing campaign to free activist Mohammad Othman (pictured at left - image courtesy of Free Mohammad Othman) from Israeli custody. ...

Written by Matiwos09 on Nov 1, 2009

What made me happy in Ethiopia?

It’s been nearly four months since I returned from Ethiopia and I seem to miss it more with every day. Despite all the friends and family I have here in the US, something about Ethiopia clings to everything in my life; my job working with kids, my social life, and my future aspirations. Before I left Ethiopia, many of the people I had grown to know, my students, the shop-owners on my street, the kids living in my neighborhood, taxi drivers, teachers I worked with, and perhaps most of all the people who worked at the juice house that I would visit every day kept asking me the same question; when are you coming back? Every time I was asked this question it was not are you coming back but when? The truth is, then as now, they were right. I will go back someday, but alowokum meche (I...

Written by Seanedwardwatkins on Nov 1, 2009

This week I want to look at a brief article entitled "'Fix' Facebook's New Home Page  " by Rick Broida on The Washington Post.

As some of my loyal readers may already know, I wrote my undergraduate thesis on Facebook. I haven't really touched the topic of Facebook since, but recently have been thinking about presenting at a conference on how the site has changed in the past three years.

In my paper, I argue that Facebook fosters an uncritical space where users don't really think about what or why they post the things they do. Also, I argued that because Facebook (and most of the internet) has no recorded history, users really only have their own memories to remember an 'old' Facebook. So, someone who starts using the site today would have no knowledge of what came before.  I have received mixed reviews on my thesis, but it seems that in terms of memory, Facebook is still up to its old tricks.

 In the above story, an author explains how to recreate 'old' Facebook by changing some settings. I find it interesting that Facebook users keep having these same sorts of upsetting episodes where the site changes, they are angry, they 'protest', and then the site changes and they adapt....

Written by EPG on Oct 31, 2009

As I mentioned before the New York Times  isn’t just one source that reports human trafficking issues, but I would like to point out that they do a great job bringing to light this issue in its many forms.  For example, this article  talks about the issue of adolescents and youth in the US who run away from home, making them easy targets for coercion into prostitution.  Once entangled in this deadly process of trafficking, it’s usually very difficult for them to get out.  What this article highlights is the young age at which these adolescents fall victim to this...

Written by brianlind on Oct 30, 2009


To refer back to the Cornel West quote from my last post, it's not easy to be a war president under "the pressure of peace."  As NATO moves to commit more troops to Afghanistan, Obama is still weighing his options on adding more US troops to the Afghan war effort .  Either way, the pressure of peace and the pressure of war are dividing opponents and supporters of Obama around the world and around the country.  The presidential candidate, now president, who promised to close Guantanamo, end the war in Iraq and do right by Afghanistan has yet to accomplish any of these things.  The war in Afghanistan is escalating, Guantanamo remains open, and withdrawal from Iraq looks more and more like a consolidation of military forces to bases than an exit plan.  

There are those on the Left that feel they were misled, thinking that electing Barack Obama president would dramatically alter the course of US policy and history.  Obama has continued to fight Bush's wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq, while expanding the more nebulous "War on...

Written by DrP on Oct 30, 2009

              US poverty is on the rise, says the US Census Bureau. The question that remains, then, is: What will Americans do to stop it?

            As I mentioned in an earlier post, Buffalonians have approached the problem of urban poverty from above and below. In the former case, Mayor Byron Brown responded to the US Census Bureau's reports in a press conference announcing his "plan." This plan entails the formation of an Anti-Poverty Taskforce, purporting to improve the city's employment opportunities, educational services, neighborhood security, and social environment (see video).