Broad Shoulders Update

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Archive for the ‘Barack Obama’ tag

Did you miss these? (December 20, 2008)

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A recape of this week’s equity news

 ”Poverty off political radar,” - Washington Times
Edwards’ issue seen as ‘casualty’ of indiscretion

Believers in John Edwards are urging President-elect Barack Obama to forgive the former presidential candidate’s indiscretions and consider him for an administration post or at least elevate Mr. Edwards’ signature issue of poverty.

Friends, former aides and even the Virginia man whom Mr. Edwards made central to his fight for universal health care say the Democrat should be given another chance.

Leaner nations bike, walk, use mass transit,” - Associated Press
Link found between ‘active transportation’ and less obesity in 17 countries

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Jim Richards is no kid, but he loves to ride his bike. At 51, he has become a cycling commuter, pedaling 11 miles from his home in the suburbs to his job in downtown Knoxville.

“It really doesn’t take that much longer” than driving, he insists.

And he gets 40 minutes of exercise twice a day without going to the gym, which he attributes to a 20-pound weight loss.

 ”North Texas Food Bank program gives kids healthy snacks for the weekend,” - The Dallas Morning News

Hundreds of kids eagerly line up in the James Bowie Elementary School gym after lunch every Friday, wearing their blue backpacks open against their stomachs.

Five-year-old Agustin Granados stood at the front of the line last week to receive his sack of nutritious snacks for the weekend from the North Texas Food Bank. His school, James Bowie Elementary in north Oak Cliff, is one of 269 that participate in the Food 4 Kids program. One by one, physical education teacher Sharon Foster fills each of their packs with a plastic grocery bag full of food. The milk, cereal, crackers and other nutritious snacks come through the North Texas Food Bank and are intended to keep the kids from going hungry over the weekend, when they can’t rely on school breakfasts or lunches.”Thank you, coach,” they say as they zip up their packs.

Did you miss these? (December 13, 2008)

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A recap of this week’s equity news

“California adopts the most sweeping curbs on greenhouse gas emissions in U.S.,” - Los Angeles Times
The state air board orders a 15% cut in emissions over the next 12 years, bringing them down to 1990 levels.

Reporting from Sacramento — California regulators adopted the nation’s first comprehensive plan to slash greenhouse gases Thursday and characterized it as a model for President-elect Barack Obama, who has pledged an aggressive national and international effort to combat global warming.

The ambitious blueprint by the world’s eighth-largest economy would cut the state’s emissions by 15% from today’s level over the next 12 years, bringing them down to 1990 levels.

“Obama: Transportation can get economy moving,” - Associated Press

WASHINGTON - When President-elect Barack Obama says he wants to get the economy moving again, he means it quite literally.

Transportation will play a central role in Obama’s first months in office, not just for policy changes aimed at improving highway, air and rail travel, but as a road toward economic recovery, energy independence and environmental protection.

“Study: Poverty dramatically affects children’s brains,” - USA TODAY

A new study finds that certain brain functions of some low-income 9- and 10-year-olds pale in comparison with those of wealthy children and that the difference is almost equivalent to the damage from a stroke.

“It is a similar pattern to what’s seen in patients with strokes that have led to lesions in their prefrontal cortex,” which controls higher-order thinking and problem solving, says lead researcher Mark Kishiyama, a cognitive psychologist at the University of California-Berkeley. “It suggests that in these kids, prefrontal function is reduced or disrupted in some way.”

Tell the Highway Lobby About ‘09 Transpo Spending

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Not to be outdone, the road-building lobbyists at the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) have launched their campaign to influence federal transportation spending priorities over the next year, including the 2009 TEA package.

Last week, while encouraging team Obama to incorporate highway construction into its economic stimulus plan, AASHTO rolled out, a web site that invites the public to submit written and video comments on what the president-elect and Congress "need to know to take action to improve transportation."

Courtesy of trucking trade pub FleetOwner, here's what AASHTO has in mind:

At the heart of the group’s effort is a call for $545 billion worth of transportation infrastructure investment from 2010 through 2015 for highways ($375 billion), transit ($93 billion), freight movement ($42 billion, largely from sources outside the Highway Trust Fund), and intercity passenger rail ($35 billion).

As of this writing the AASHTO site has at least one video from a public transportation commuter, and a scan of written comments turned up a good number of pro-transit arguments. Let's keep 'em coming.

Written by archive

December 1st, 2008 at 9:42 pm

Integration / Segregation Researcher on Obama’s HUD Review Team

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President-Elect Obama continues to expand his transition team and confirmed what some suspected earlier this week: integration / segregation researcher Xavier de Souza Briggs of MIT is a lead on the Agency Review Team for the Department of Housing & Urban Development, Federal Housing Finance Board, and Interagency Council on Homelessness Review.


Xavier de Souza Briggs is an associate professor in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning. A former Deputy Assistant Secretary at HUD, his expertise includes affordable housing, economic development and inequality, environmental sustainability, and civic engagement and collaboration.

This move should encourage advocates of racial, ethnic, and economic integration and is especially exciting for - our core concept is largely informed by Prof. Briggs’ work:

  • His 2007 study “Some of My Best Friends Are…”: Interracial Friendships, Class, and Segregation in America analyzed data on social capital to find that those who participate in community based organizations are much more likely to have friendships across racial and ethnic lines. This is part of the reason will work to help new community residents quickly and easily meet their new neighbors by automatically connecting them to community based organizations that serve their new neighborhoods. From MIT News’ summary of the study, “…Ties across racial lines provide essential ladders to economic opportunity, give people a broader perspective on public issues and expand their sense of self and community. These ties, in turn, help contain conflicts among different racial groups, promote wider access to information and influence, and enhance the ability to work with others to get things done in diverse communities and organizations.”
  • The Geography of Opportunity: Race and Housing Choice in Metropolitan America, edited by Briggs, is a wealth of ideas on policies that might foster equity and build integrated communities. In his concluding essay in the compilation, “Politics and Policy: Changing the Geography of Opportunity”, he notes, “In broad terms, expanding housing choices means three things: creating more valuable choices for a wider array of people, protecting those choices from discrimination and other barriers to choice, and enabling the choosers to make the best possible choices for themselves and their families [emphasis in original]” (p. 331). He goes on to explain, “We need to dramatically scale up well-implemented, metropolitan-wide housing mobility programs for low- and moderate-income families” (p. 332).
  • Finally, in the spring of this year Prof. Briggs and Margery Austin Turner of the Urban Institute released a comprehensive analysis of the successes and failures of the Moving to Opportunity and Moving to Work demonstration projects at HUD. Our previous post “Risks and Resources” (recommended reading) on this research noted, “This second alternative is at the core of’s approach. We believe that every neighborhood is a unique combination of opportunities and challenges - this article terms them “risks and resources”. The trick for ensuring a lasting, integrative, affirmative move is connecting families to “resources” or opportunities they need in neighborhoods with challenges or “risks” they can handle. In the current housing search matrix, this calculation of opportunity and challenge is clouded by discrimination, affordability, and our own ignorance and prejudices.”

Soon, will be launching a campaign to encourage the new administration to make policies that promote integration a priority, but appointments like this are definitely a step in the right direction.


Written by justinmassa

November 15th, 2008 at 7:19 pm