Homeless [and powerless] in St. Louis: A problem without borders

I sat in a barely comfortable chair yesterday for three hours listening to men in suits debate whether a homeless shelter in St. Louis is a “detriment to the neighborhood.” The whole thing was rather surreal. I’m not complaining about sitting three hours doing nothing but filling that chair, because I remember last Sunday I…

The racial dot map

Many of us in progressive circles pride ourselves on being a diverse, tolerant, and accepting group. And we are. It’s not hard to see how that plays out in politics, with the GOP constantly struggling for relevancy among minorities, not usually an issue for Democrats. Thanks to Dustin Cable at the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper…

Cory Booker: It’s not easy being a political star

Several weeks ago, I  wrote about the hazard of being seen as a hero. The downfalls of General David Petraeus and Lance Armstrong demonstrate this idea  quite clearly. As Newark, NJ Mayor Cory Booker ponders whether to run in 2014 against Governor Chris Christie or Senator Frank Lautenberg, he is seen by most of the…

Obama sees the poor as well as the middle class

Shortly after assuming the presidency following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson announced his commitment to a war on poverty. That was the unofficial name of legislation first introduced by Johnson in his State of the Union address on January 8, 1964. In the  2012 presidential election, the code word for equality…

FEMA: another example of why states’-righters are wrong

The current conflict regarding FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) is essentially about whether the federal government should have primary responsibility for addressing disasters, or whether the states, localities, and private organizations should handle these issues. If any disaster demonstrates why FEMA needs to continue to exist in its present form as a federal agency, Hurricane…