We all should care about the state of public education

Good public education has long been a staple of American democracy and social mobility; but that promise is increasingly threatened. Nowhere is this more evident than in the state where I live, California. The Golden State’s educational system from kindergarten to the university was affordable and excellent for decades; but today we have a systemContinue reading “We all should care about the state of public education”

“The worst social disaster in America”

A couple years ago, I was contacted by an Italian filmmaker shooting a documentary about slums and poverty in various parts of the globe, and she wanted to talk about poverty in Los Angeles. I happened to be free the next morning, so I obliged and so she came over to my office with herContinue reading ““The worst social disaster in America””

Yeah, it’s a slow economy

I went into my local bicycle store this morning to get a long-overdue tuneup and saw clear evidence of how the horrible economic situation is affecting retailers. First, I was the only customer in the store: this on a Saturday morning, when that store is usually filled with cyclers passing by the bike route inContinue reading “Yeah, it’s a slow economy”

GOOD reporting on a sad reality

If you haven’t heard of GOOD, you should check it out at http://www.good.is. Here’s how the website explains what it’s about: GOOD is a collaboration of individuals, businesses, and nonprofits pushing the world forward. Since 2006 we’ve been making a magazine, videos, and events for people who give a damn. You can get a subscriptionContinue reading “GOOD reporting on a sad reality”

Disparities Faced by Boys and Men of Color in California

In a previous post, I alluded to the endurance of inequality along race/ethnic lines in many socio-economic indicators. A recent report by RAND, commissioned by The California Endowment, is a good example of research documenting these disparities. The report, titled Reparable Harm, looks specifically at the gap between Latino and African American males and theirContinue reading “Disparities Faced by Boys and Men of Color in California”

The impact of the recession on the poor, and what’s in the stimulus bill for the hardest hit anyway?

As highlighted in my previous post, accurately measuring poverty is difficult enough, but another challenge is the timeliness of the data. Even when we have good numbers there is usually a significant lag time between when residents were surveyed and when the final data are released. The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty hasContinue reading “The impact of the recession on the poor, and what’s in the stimulus bill for the hardest hit anyway?”

Layoffs increase the ranks of the uninsured

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in the U.S. went up 1.6 points from September 2008 to January 2009, which would mean according to these estimates that the number of people without health insurance increased by about 1.7 million. Clearly, the economic meltdown is affecting all sectors of our society and placing strains on already-overburdened safety net systems.

Report from New Orleans, Part II: What you can do to help

As noted in an earlier post, the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina to New Orleans was unbelievable, but just as impressive from my recent visit there was the vibrant spirit of rebuilding by committed residents and organizations. As promised, here are some ideas on what you can do to help in this effort: Visit, eatContinue reading “Report from New Orleans, Part II: What you can do to help”

Race and Inequality: the End of White America?

One of the most enduring factors in socioeconomic inequality in the U.S. has long been differences along racial lines, particularly between whites and African Americans. Due in large part to the successful presidential campaign of Barack Obama, the salience of these dynamics have come into question. If he could win over the nearly all-white populaceContinue reading “Race and Inequality: the End of White America?”