Broad Shoulders Update

news and information for cmun dev advocates in metropolitan Chicago

Archive for the ‘low’ tag

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States Resist Medicaid Growth,” - Washington Post

The nation’s governors are emerging as a formidable lobbying force as health-care reform moves through Congress and states overburdened by the recession brace for the daunting prospect of providing coverage to millions of low-income residents.

The legislation the Senate Finance Committee is expected to approve this week calls for the biggest expansion of Medicaid since its creation in 1965. Under the Senate bill and a similar House proposal, a patchwork state-federal insurance program targeted mainly at children, pregnant women and disabled people would effectively become a Medicare for the poor, a health-care safety net for all people with an annual income below $14,404.

Obama uses L.A. program as a model for going green,” - Los Angeles Times

Urging the government to “lead by example,” President Obama ordered federal agencies on Monday to set ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, cut energy use, save water and recycle more.

The order calls for a 30% cut in vehicle fuel use by 2020, a 50% increase in recycling by 2015 and the implementation of high-efficiency building codes.

Housing Battle Reveals Post-Katrina Tensions,” -  The New York Times

CHALMETTE, La. — The parish of St. Bernard, a quiet, insular suburb just east of New Orleans, has in the end agreed to allow housing for low-income families.

But even though it is only a few hundred apartment units, it had to be ordered by a federal judge. The parish has fought desperately to prevent such housing and an influx of renters, at one point even approving a law that prohibited homeowners from renting to anyone other than a blood relative, before it was challenged and repealed.

Written by Keith Forest

October 6th, 2009 at 10:17 pm

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Average family health insurance policy: $13,375, up 5%,” -  USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — An average family health insurance policy now costs more than some compact cars, and four in 10 companies will likely pass more of that expense on to workers, according to a closely watched survey of businesses released Tuesday.

The average cost of a family policy offered by employers was $13,375 this year, up 5% from 2008, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust survey found. By comparison, wages rose 3% over that period, the study said.

Proposed Tax on Sugary Beverages Debated,” -   The New York Times

The debate over a tax on sugary soft drinks — billed as a way to fight obesity and provide billions for health care reform — is starting to fizz over.

President Obama has said it is worth considering. The chief executive of Coca-Cola calls the idea outrageous, while skeptics point to political obstacles and question how much of an impact it would really have on consumers.

Road and Rail Spending Proposals Stall as Lawmakers Punt on Revenue Fix,” - The New York Times

On Capitol Hill, House and Senate leaders agree on one thing when it comes to overhauling the national transportation strategy: They have no plans to raise taxes to pay for the reform.

Off the Hill, however, most transportation experts agree you cannot address the nation’s infrastructure without a new revenue source.

Written by Keith Forest

September 18th, 2009 at 7:14 pm

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Oakland Housing Authority creates loophole to use Section 8 funds for public housing,” - East Bay Journal

Oakland - The disposition plan for over 1,600 public housing units owned and operated by the Oakland Housing Authority (OHA), signals the end of public housing as we know it if other Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) follow suit and switch to the Section 8 model being promoted by the OHA for it’s public housing program.

In a nut shell, the OHA wants to determine which of it’s small scattered public housing sites that are occupied with very low-income households, will be sold off, so that the proceeds can be used to build much larger mixed income housing projects for higher income residents, like the Hope Vl mixed income housing projects that have displaced the poor all across the nation.

Road and Rail Spending Proposals Stall as Lawmakers Punt on Revenue Fix,” - The New York Times

On Capitol Hill, House and Senate leaders agree on one thing when it comes to overhauling the national transportation strategy: They have no plans to raise taxes to pay for the reform.

Off the Hill, however, most transportation experts agree you cannot address the nation’s infrastructure without a new revenue source.

Outside the Superstar Spotlight, Minorities Struggle With Obesity,” - Washington Post

As any sports fan knows, this time of year is like Christmas in September. The NFL season is about to start, and the speed, power and grace of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is on display. The U.S. Open is in full swing, with Serena Williams tearing through the field as usual. Baseball is heading toward the playoffs; the superhuman Albert Pujols has a shot at the Triple Crown. The majestic Michael Jordan was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame and it won’t be long before Kobe and LeBron are back on the floor.

Yet here is the irony I couldn’t escape as I sat in front of my television last week, taking it all in: The overall fitness level of the minority groups those superstars represent is appalling. By any measure that matters, blacks and Hispanics are in worse shape than whites — who, of course, are firmly in the grip of the obesity epidemic themselves.

Written by Keith Forest

September 15th, 2009 at 7:48 pm

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Slums of Suburbia,” - Newsweek
Sorting through the rubble of California’s foreclosure tsunami.

John Cowgill is standing in the rain on quiet Victory Avenue in Manteca, Calif., a gridlike town of 65,000 people located just outside of Stockton. A realtor with PMZ, the biggest real-estate firm in the northern San Joaquin Valley, he is responsible for the vacant and vandalized house standing behind him; inside, grafitti covers the walls, the banister is torn off a staircase, and glass shards from a broken chandelier peak out from the carpeting. Blocks away, the road comes to an abrupt end as rows of neatly planted crops replace rows of houses.

“Look at this house and the one over there. What’s different?” Cowgill asks. At one house, the lawn is neatly trimmed and a small purple bicycle leans near the front door. At the other house, black iron bars are affixed to the door, a sight more commonly associated with the heart of the inner city than the outskirts of suburbia. Nearby, a rusty sports car sits in the driveway. “Manteca was a desirable place to live,” he explains. “But this Wild West financing meant anybody could end up here. That’s what this thing did. It scrambled communities.”

Unhealthy glut of options: Fast food dominates eating choices in vulnerable Brooklyn neighborhoods,” - The New York Daily News

In Brooklyn, you are where you eat.

Close to 60% of the borough is overweight or obese, according to recent state Health Department data.

Cutbacks pinch homeless programs,” - USA TODAY

The homeless are having more trouble getting help because of state budget cuts, and federal stimulus funding in September will fill only part of the gap, service providers for the homeless say.

“It’s a perfect storm” of falling revenue and rising need, says Joel John Roberts of PATH Partners, a group that advises communities on services for the homeless. “The holes in the safety net are getting bigger.”

Written by Keith Forest

August 25th, 2009 at 8:53 pm

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Tennessee Experiment’s High Cost Fuels Health-Care Debate,” - The Wall Street Journal

In 1994, Tennessee launched an ambitious public insurance program to cover its uninsured. The plan, TennCare, fulfilled that mission but nearly bankrupted the state in the process.

 ”Poll: 57% don’t see stimulus working,” - USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — Six months after President Obama launched a $787 billion plan to right the nation’s economy, a majority of Americans think the avalanche of new federal aid has cost too much and done too little to end the recession.

 ”New Orleans Neighborhood Housing Services to run $20 million home repair effort,” - The Times-Picayune

The city is negotiating a deal with the nonprofit Neighborhood Housing Services to run a home-repair program that would make nearly $20 million available to owners of storm-damaged property, according to a recent city memo describing the proposal.

Written by Keith Forest

August 18th, 2009 at 8:15 pm

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NYC aids homeless with tickets home,” - The New York Times
City is struggling to keep families out of expensive shelter system

NEW YORK - They are flown to Paris ($6,332), Orlando ($858.40), Johannesburg ($2,550.70), or most frequently, San Juan ($484.20).

They are not executives on business trips or couples on honeymoons. Rather, all are families who have ended up homeless, and all the plane tickets are courtesy of the city of New York (one-way).

 ”Americans have tools to reverse obesity trend, conference told,” - Los Angeles Times
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius urges adoption of ‘obesity strategies,’ focusing on healthy foods and activity.

Reporting from Washington — There’s good and bad news when it comes to American obesity, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Tuesday at an event addressing the nation’s increasingly costly and deadly weight problem.

The inaugural conference on obesity control and prevention — attended by health educators, policy analysts, epidemiologists and dietitians, among others, and sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — comes at a time when the average American carries an extra 23 pounds and the nation, collectively, is about 4.6 billion pounds overweight.

Recession Probably Will Leave Kids Worse Off,” - Washington Post
Casey Study Looks at Health, Well-Being

Even before the recession, the health and well-being of a significant number of American children were growing worse, according to an authoritative report issued Tuesday.

The Kids Count assessment by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, an advocacy group that funds programs designed to help disadvantaged children and families, concluded that their situation changed only modestly during the boom years of this decade and by some measures declined.

Written by Keith Forest

July 30th, 2009 at 6:38 pm

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The Ultimate Obama Insider,” -  The New York Times

On Jan. 25, 2008, the day before the South Carolina Democratic primary, Barack Obama endured a grueling succession of campaign events across the state. When his staff informed him that the evening would conclude with a brief show-up at the Pink Ice Ball, a gala for the African-American sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha, Obama flatly refused to attend. “I’ve been to sorority events before,” he said. “We’re not gonna change anybody’s mind.”

Rick Wade, a senior adviser, Stacey Brayboy, the state campaign manager, and Anton Gunn, the state political director, took turns beseeching their boss. The gala, they told Obama, would be attended by more than 2,000 college-educated African-American women, a constituent group that was originally skeptical of the candidate’s “blackness” and that the campaign worked tirelessly to wrest from Hillary Clinton. State luminaries like Representative James Clyburn — himself an undeclared black voter — would be expecting him. They would be in and out in five minutes.

 ”EPA vows to examine impact of hazardous waste on poor communities,” – Los Angeles Times

The federal Environmental Protection Agency vowed Tuesday to home in on the impact of hazardous waste recycling plants on minorities and low-income communities.

The move hearkens back to a Clinton-era executive order that required federal agencies to consider the impact of their policies on disadvantaged communities. Although the Bush administration largely ignored the mandate, Obama-appointed EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson has promised to analyze those impacts.

Fact check: Obama’s health care claims adrift?” - The Associated Press
Assertions at news conference sometimes at odds with Congress, rhetoric

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama’s assertion Wednesday that government will stay out of health care decisions in an overhauled system is hard to square with the proposals coming out of Congress and with his own rhetoric.

Even now, nearly half the costs of health care in the U.S. are paid for by government at all levels. Federal authority would only grow under any proposal in play.

Written by Keith Forest

July 24th, 2009 at 3:22 pm

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2008 Surge in Black Voters Nearly Erased Racial Gap,” - The New York Times

In last year’s presidential election, younger blacks voted in greater proportions than whites for the first time and black women turned out at a higher rate than any other racial, ethnic and gender group, a census analysis released Monday confirmed.

As a result, in the election that produced the nation’s first black president, the historic gap between black and white voter participation rates over all virtually evaporated.

 ”S.C. case looks on child obesity as child abuse. But is it?,” - USA TODAY

Jerri Gray was doing all she could to help her son lose weight, her attorney says. But something had gone terribly wrong for the boy to hit the 555-pound mark by age 14.

Authorities in South Carolina say that what went wrong was Gray’s care and feeding of her son, Alexander Draper. Gray, 49, of Travelers Rest, S.C., was arrested in June and charged with criminal neglect. Alexander is now in foster care.

Ten Questions on the Health-Care Overhaul,” -  The Wall Street Journal

It is crunch time for health care. Lawmakers who are trying to fundamentally remake one-sixth of the U.S. economy say this might be the most complicated legislation they have undertaken.

Here are some basics that everyone can grasp — and probably ought to, because the health bill, if it passes, will affect almost everyone.

Written by Keith Forest

July 21st, 2009 at 4:16 pm