Category Archives: NEWS – USA

The Measure of America 2008 – 2009

The Measure of America: American Human Development Report 2008–2009, the very first of its kind. It’s a human development report about the United States of America.

This report uses a Human Development Index that provides a single measure of well-being for all Americans. The disturbing results reveal huge disparities in the health, education, and living standards of different groups across the nation.

This is a fascinating book. It’s based on the United Nations Development Programme methodology for developing countries, putting a lens on ourselves to see how we measure up, using, for example, these three categories of measurement: access to knowledge, health, and livelihood.

Over the past 25 years or so, from 1980 to 2005, of the top 12 countries in the world, the United States started out as number 2, right below Switzerland, and has fallen all the way to the bottom, number 12, in 2005. It started in 1980.

So what is this concept of “human development”? Basically, the definition we use is that it’s the process of improving people’s well-being and enlarging their freedoms and opportunities. The idea draws heavily on the capabilities work of Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen and uses that as its conceptual framework. The model emphasizes the everyday experience of ordinary people. It includes the economic, social, cultural, political, and so forth, processes that shape the range of options that are available to people.

So human development is about two things. It’s about what people themselves can do to enhance their well-being and expand their opportunities. It’s also about how institutions of society constrain or expand the choices and opportunities that people have. Basically, human development is about what ordinary people can do and become.

The concept of human development is far-reaching. It includes things like political participation, personal and community security, and environmental sustainability—basically, a range of things. But the index measures just three factors. It measures education, health, and income. These three components are valued by people the world over as the building blocks of a good life and the ones that we would argue that Americans care about the most. These are the things that people are talking about around the kitchen table, that they are worried about when they are thinking of the future. They are areas where there is not too much debate around whether they are important or not. Everyone pretty much agrees that they are important.

WATCH the video presentation of this report here!

READ the transcript of the video presentation here!

Purchase a copy of  The Measure of America: American Human Development Report, 2008-2009 (A Columbia / SSRC Book) by Sarah Burd-Sharps, Kristen Lewis, Eduardo Borges Martins, and Amartya Sen (Hardcover – Jun 27, 2008) from Amazon.com

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California Prop 8: An Orthodox Perspective

California Orthodox Bishops Issue Statement on Proposition 8

Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese | Oct. 28, 2008

The decision of the California Supreme Court on May 15, 2008, unilaterally redefines the sacred institution of marriage in a manner unprecedented in human history — and alien to our Christian tradition. We, the Orthodox Christian bishops of California, were saddened by this decision which constitutes a direct attack upon the longstanding role and freedom of religion in American life. A majority of the justices declared not only that same-sex couplings must be allowed to exist at those couples’ discretion as “marriages,” but that the state of California is forbidden to refer to these couplings as anything but “marriages.”

Orthodox Christianity holds in high regard the God-ordained institution of marriage and the family. The Orthodox Church must and shall remain true to its faith and tradition, and affirm that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, given by God to one another for mutual support, encouragement, love and the ability to bear children.

As members of the Church and as citizens of this great land, we cannot withdraw from the society in which we live. Our parishes and our faithful are called upon to be “salt and light,” to paraphrase Christ, and as such, they engage with their neighbors in acts of charity and love. We will continue our charitable works, and our engagement with society — including to faithfully teach the truth about Christian principles of living.

The Orthodox Church in the United States thrives and grows, in many respects, because of the enduring principles upon which this great country was founded. Our definitions of basic institutions such as marriage, shaped by the unfathomable forces of love and nature coupled with the experience of all recorded human history, rightly derive from what the Founders of our country knew as the “natural law” of “nature and nature’s God”.   Read Full Text

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A New Progressive Era?

Blog for Our Future | 29th October 2008 | article by Robert Borosage

An Institute for America’s Future op-ad in Tuesday’s New York Times calls on us to “remember who we are,” comparing the present crisis with that our parents and grandparents faced at the dawn of the New Deal.

If, as seems likely, Sen. Barack Obama is elected and Democrats win greater majorities in both houses of Congress, will we witness a new era of bold progressive change, a 21st-century Green New Deal? Certainly many of the elements are present:

Moment: Events force change. Franklin D. Roosevelt famously campaigned in 1932 on a balanced budget and resisted laying out a bold agenda. But the scope of the economic collapse required bold action. Similarly, Obama began his campaign intentionally vague about his “change” agenda. But the scope of the financial collapse, the deepening global economy downturn have already forced what was unimaginable only months ago.

Mandate: Herbert Hoover’s failure and the speculative excesses and crimes exposed in the stock market crash discredited the Gilded Age policies of that conservative era, giving FDR a mandate for a very different direction. Similarly, President Bush’s catastrophic failures have discredited modern day conservatism. Sen. John McCain has helped define the scope of Obama’s mandate, with his closing argument that the election poses a choice between Reaganism—smaller government and lower taxes—and “socialism.” At this point, socialism is winning. Obama is far from a socialist, but he too has framed his closing argument as a choice of a new direction or the “failed philosophy” of trickle-down economics that scorns government, lowers taxes on the rich and increases insecurity for the many. He will be elected with a clear mandate for a change in direction, not simply a change in parties.

Majority: Roosevelt’s overwhelming victory… Read the Full Article

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American Socialism is pro-Democratic; anti-Communist.

At present the American Union of Orthodox Christian Citizens is just an informational digest blog. It is the creator/editor’s hope that other like minded Orthodox Christians who are neither encrusted on the Right or embolden on the Left of the political spectrum will choose to unite in fellowship & action as a real grass-roots AUOCC organization in order to influence legislation and social change on the one hand and on the other, to support a viable unity amongst all of us; what might be known in the future as the “Orthodox Church of The Americas”.

When the AUOCC is populated and organized the members will decide on the appropriate policies, strategies and alliances based upon its founding purpose. In the meantime, this blog does not alley itself nor endorse any particular organization, political party or campaign. Neither do we support any one local expression or representation of the (Eastern) Orthodox Church rather we look to the catholicity and apostolic reality of the Mystical Body of Christ that is the Orthodox Church. –Praxis editor.

With that said, we would like to point out that the American conscious seems to have forgotten the reality and existence in this nation of the pro-democracy movement in the late 19th & early 20th century known as the Social Democrats aka Democratic Socialists or Socialists/USA. This movement was very pro-labor union, supporting the working class and strongly against Communism, Marxism and Leninism and all types of fascist and anarchists thinking. So it was a misnomer for Sara Palin to denounce Sen. Obama as a Socialist. In the American context of this term it was more of a compliment to the Senator. If however she meant that Obama would “spread the wealth” (we don’t believe him to be “Socialist” enough to do so) in the face of what the Republicans stand for then we can understand her use of the label.

Please note that Capitalism is not inherently democratic as an economic philosophy.

Here, in the right hand column, there are several Social Democratic links you may wish to visit. Below is an excerpt from the blog, ‘Democratic Socialists for Obama‘ that speaks a bit about what they stand for:

“The Social Democrats, USA–Socialist Party of America is what remains of the legacy of the socialist party of Debs, Thomas, Randolph, Zeidler, Harrington, and Rustin. Anyone can claim this heritage, or some part of it, but the SDUSA–SPA is the only group actually running candidates as socialists / social democrats who intend to win and hence to govern as socialists. For too long socialist political activity consisted of running candidates for positions they had no hope of winning, just to raise the “red flag”. This is not our socialist tradition. The Socialist Party of America of the early part of the twentieth century included twelve thousand office holders. In 1916, when Debs’ health prevented him from running for president he made a serious bid to be elected to the US Congress. it should be remembered that Norman Thomas relieved nearly a million votes in 1932. This had a major influence on New Deal legislation as the Socialists continued to pose a serious challenge to the capitalist parties.

Even after the Party began to work within the Democratic Party in did not abandon independent political activity. Witness the candidacy of Richard Parrish for Manhattan Council. Parrish was a black trade-unionist. His nominating petitions were hand-carried to city hall by Norman Thomas and Bayard Rustin. This was in 1964. The year before, Bayard Rustin had been the lead organizer for the March for Jobs and Justice. The March is best remembered for Dr. King’s “I have a Dream” speech. It was the Socialist Party in the form of A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, Tom Kahn, and Rochelle Horowitz who made the March happen.

The March for Jobs and Justice lead to the 1964 Voting Rights Act and the 1965 Civil Rights Act. These were the first steps in eliminating discrimination in the United States. We now are engaged in another step. Barack Obama’s candidacy will test how far we as a nation have come as regards private racism and discrimination. I believe Obama made a terrible error in not choosing Hilary Clinton as his vice-presidential partner. This error may well cost him the election. It reminds me a great deal of Fredrick Douglas’ refusal to demand that the fourteenth amendment enfranchise women as well as black men. Women, of course, did receive the national franchise, fifty-five years later! Many women are justifiably upset that they worked so hard to nominate a women who may have a real shot at becoming president. Senator Clinton, for reasons I don’t understand, also became the candidate of many working-class whites. I am not sure that Joe Bidden can capture that same vote for the Democrats.” Read the Full Article.

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DFLA Announces Endorsed Candidates

DFLA Press Release | Received October 24, 2008

Washington, DC – October 22, 2008 – Democrats For Life of America is proud to announce our endorsements for the U.S Senate and House.  Pro-life Democrats are pulling up in the polls in both the federal and state level.  We are proud of the candidates listed below and are confident that they will all work hard to promote and pass legislation that will protect life at all stages.  Importantly, we hope they will swell the ranks of our current pro-life members who are so dedicated to protecting pro-life issues in the Congress including Congressmen Altmire, Berry, Boren, Costello, Cuellar, Davis, Donnelly, Ellsworth, Holden, Kildee, Lipinski, Marshall, McIntyre, Melancon, Mollohan, Murtha, Oberstar, Ortiz, Peterson, Rahall, Skelton, Shuler, Stupak, Taylor and Wilson.

US Senate – Ronnie Musgrove (MS) (DFLA Priority Candidate) 

Mississippi Governor since 2000, Ronnie Musgrove now challenges Republican Roger Wicker, who assumed Republican Trent Lott’s Senate seat when he resigned in December 2007. There is no clear favorite in this race.  Musgrove’s statewide recognition could be the key to removing this seat from the Republicans.  Also, his strong pro-life record will help in this pro-life state.  As a State Senator, he supported a 24-hour waiting period before a women could obtain an abortion and to require those performing more than 5 abortions a month to be licensed as abortion clinics.  As Governor of Mississippi, Musgrove signed a bill to ban public funding of abortion. He would be a welcome addition to the U.S. Senate for pro-lifeDemocraticSenators Ben Nelson and Bob Casey.     

U.S. House Races

 
Bobby Bright (AL-02, open seat) DFLA Priority Candidate!
Bobby Bright was elected Mayor of the City of Montgomery, Alabama in 1999 and has been re-elected twice. He now challenges Republican candidate Jay Love for the 2nd Congressional District seat of retiring Republican Terry Everett. Although Love has a small lead in the polls, Bright could be the Democrat to challenge the area’s Republican tradition. A poll that John Anzalone conducted for Bright’s campaign shows that he has a strong lead among independents (51% to 37%). He has the support of the fiscally conservative Democratic Blue Dog Coalition and has made financial security a core feature of his campaign.
 
Parker Griffith (AL-05, open seat)  (DFLA endorsed)
With Democrat Robert E. “Bud” Cramer retiring from the 5th Congressional District, pro-life Democrat Parker Griffith hopes to defeat Republican challenger Wayne Parker and keep the district Democratic. Griffith has the advantage of Cramer’s popularity and Parker’s previous failed attempts in 1994 and 1996 to gain the seat. The race is close in funding and polling, with no clear lead. A former teacher and now a medical doctor, Griffith has the support of Alabama’s State Fraternal Order of Police and the testimony of dozens of former patients.  He says he is pro-life because as a doctor he has spent his “entire career as North Alabama’s first Radiation Oncologist trying to saves lives” and he “understands how precious life is.”
 
Doug Heckman (GA-07) (DFLA endorsed)
Doug Heckman challenges incumbent Republican Rep. John Linder for Georgia’s 7th Congressional District seat. Linder has held that position since 1992.   Doug, a West Point graduate, currently serves as a special forces colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves.  He was endorsed by General Wesley Clark.
 
Mike Montagano (IN-03) (DFLA endorsed)
Although earlier polls favor incumbent Republican Rep. Mark Souder to win Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District, recent news that most undecided voters do not identify as Republican is good news for challenger Mike Montagano.  Montagano recently aired a commercial (which can be viewed here) where he explicitly highlights his pro-life beliefs.  For that reason, he is faring well against the Republican candidate.  Increasing name-recognition and advertising will be key as the election draws near. Recent polls put him within 5 points of the Republican incumbent, a gap that can easily be closed.
                                                                                                                                   
David Boswell (KY-02, open seat) DFLA Priority Candidate!
After more than 30 years of public service, State Senator David Boswell of Owensboro, Kentucky is running for the open seat of retiring Republican Representative Ron Lewis of Congressional District 2. In addition to a good reputation and the respect of State Senators from both parties, Boswell enjoys strong support from his own party, having won all 21 counties in the primary. Kentucky has a long Democratic tradition, and in 2007 Democrat Steve Beshear defeated incumbent Republican Ernie Fletcher to become governor. In a campaign poll conducted October 8-9, Boswell maintained a small lead over opponent Brett Guthrie (41% to 40%). As for voter perceptions of the candidates, Boswell has a significant advantage: more than two-to-one voters who know Boswell view him positively, whereas Guthrie’s margin is barely favorable. The Boswell campaign considers him “poised to win” with “solid prospects of victory.”
 
John Milkovich (LA-04, open seat) (DFLA Endorsed)
Sadly, DFLA-endorsed John Milkovich has dropped out of the Democratic primary race for Louisiana’s 4th Congressional District. Runoff elections will take place on November 4th for a general election on December 6th. Paul Carmouche leads with 48% over Willie Banks at 23%. Both pro-life Democrats, the winner will face either John Fleming or Chris Gorman on the Republican ticket in a district that has favored Republicans. May the best pro-life Democrat win!
 
Don Cazayoux (LA-06) (DLFA endorsed)
Pro-life Democrat Don Cazayoux won a May 3, 2008 special election to gain Louisiana’s 6th Congressional District. In the conservative-leaning Baton Rouge area, Cazayoux was a strong candidate in part because of his economic platform and his pro-life committment. A Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee poll conducted October 8-9 shows Cazayoux with a lead of 46% compared to Republican challenger state Sen. Bill Cassidy’s 29% and independent state Rep. Michael Jackson’s 9%. Jackson lost to Cazayoux in the Democratic primary and poses a threat to securing the vote of African Americans, who represent one-third of district residents. Cazayoux will need to emphasize his approval ratings and performance this year to beat Cassidy’s strong campaign and minimize Jackson’s impact.                      
 
Joseph Larkin (MI-11) (DFLA Endoresed)
Lawyer Joseph Larkin faces incumbent Republican Thaddeus McCotter, who has represented Michigan’s 11th Congressional District since 2002. Although McCotter is confident that he will win, Larkin has the support of several workers’ associations. Larkin also supports term limitations and advocates a “citizen Congress” rather than career politicians.
 
Travis Childers (MS-01) (DFLA endorsed)
In a surprise win May 13, Travis Childers won a special election to replace Republican Rep. Roger Wickers in representing the 1st Congressional District of Mississippi. Since then, Childers’ rating among voters has remained strong. He defeated Republican Mayor of Southaven Greg Davis in May by eight points and is poised to defeat him again. Thus far, Davis has been unable to convince voters to return the seat to Republican representation in a race that now leans Democratic.                    
 
Jim Esch (NE-02) DFLA Priority Candidate!
In his second run for political office, pro-life Democrat Jim Esch is challenging Republican incumbent Lee Terry to represent Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District. The district includes the core of the Omaha metropolitan area, Nebraska’s Democratic base and home to three-fourths of the state’s growing African American population. In the 2006 Senate race, pro-life Democratic Senator Ben Nelson won the District’s Douglas County by over 30%, a good sign for Esch. An Anzalone-Liszt poll conducted October 13-15 shows Esch and Terry in a dead heat, with Terry’s approval rating in decline. Esch leads 51% to 41% with voters who have not registered with either party. Although the district has leaned Republican in the past, the margin of support for Republicans has diminished, and polls reveal a close Presidential race.  High voter turnout could swing this district blue.
 
Steve Driehaus (OH-01) DFLA Priority Candidate!                               
After three terms as a moderate Democrat in the Ohio House, Steve Driehaus is running against 1st Congressional District incumbent Republican Steve Chabot. Although Chabot has already served seven terms, his win in 2006 was his narrowest. The current political environment strongly favors Democrats, and high spending from both campaigns demonstrates that this race is tight. Driehaus emphasizes his fiscal conservatism and his previous efforts in the state legislature to address the foreclosure crisis. An independent Research 2000 poll shows Driehaus with a 46% to 44% lead against Chabot. A greater turnout among Democratic voters during this year’s presidential election could be the boost Driehaus needs to end Chabot’s tenure.
                                                                                                                                    
Bill O’Neill (OH-14) (DFLA endorsed)
Although Republican Steven C. LaTourette survived his party’s battering in 2006, in Bill O’Neill he faces the toughest challenge in his seven terms as Representative of Ohio’s 14th Congressional District. O’Neill is a former state appellate judge, a nurse on weekends and evenings, and a single father who has raised his four children since their mother’s death in an automobile accident in 1995. LaTourette is favored, but O’Neill has raised more money than previous Democratic opponents.  He could pull of a victory.
 
Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-03) DFLA Priority Candidate!
Republican incumbent Phil English is running for an eighth term in Pennsylvania’s 3rd Congressional District. After a mediocre win against a weak candidate during his last race, Democrats have high hopes that English’s days representing Erie and greater northwestern Pennsylvania are numbered. Dahlkemper has proven her commitment to improving the industrial region’s economy, earning an endorsement from Erie’s General Electric Union and many other unions and workers’ organizations. Union representatives have spoken out in support of Dahlkemper and against English’s poor record on trade, wages, and other issues relevant to workers. The numbers testify to Dahlkemper’s strength: an independent Research 2000 poll from October 6-8 showed her leading with 48% to English’s 41%, with even greater support for Dahlkemper (57% to 31%) in English’s home base of Erie County. With a mid-month endorsement from fellow Democrat Senator Robert Casey, Jr., Dahlkemper’s victory is in sight.

DFLA

Democrats for Life

202-220-3066

Kristen Day

Executive Director 
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