Chicago Daily Observer

March 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

Chicago Daily Observer

More Keeping of Brothers: Extending the War on Poverty

Posted: 11 Mar 2014 06:08 AM PDT

Last week’s column about President Obama’s new initiative, My Brother’s Keeper, focused on helping young, at-risk black youths achieve better outcomes in life through a variety of programs, elicited several penetrating questions from friends, fellow activists and journalists. Some I might have pre-empted by explaining my points, though I fall back as an excuse on my 500-word limit imposed as a guideline by my editors. Therefore I want to expand on several of the points raised.




I noted that “fortunately” the bulk of the funding would come from grants from foundations and elsewhere in the private sector. One friend immediately chided me for using the word because such funding should properly come from government.


He is quite right about that, but the reason I chose the word “fortunately” is that quite simply in this political environment it would be next to impossible to get the Congress to fund the initiative. That would have been most unfortunate.

Another veteran organizer and author noted that similar benevolent  “initiatives”—though not as comprehensive as this one—have come and gone through the years and wind up forgotten or played out within a couple of years.

Again, he is correct. But what makes this one more likely to take root and grow is my conjecture that Obama wants to devote himself to this special cause in his post-presidential years, much as Bill Clinton has his international foundation and Jimmy Carter has his affordable housing project.  If I’m wrong about Obama making this a major part of his later life, then, unfortunately, it could vanish like so may other nice ideas.


Finally, yet another colleague asks why this program should be limited to African American youth, rather than simply a broad-based effort to combat poverty everywhere. Another good question.


The answer:


Poverty and the social problems emanating from it in black communities require specialized attention because the ills of broken homes, lousy schools, gangs, violence, etc. are products of the unique history of blacks in America, unlike any other immigrant or ethnic group. This is not to ignore or disrespect the special issues relating to Latinos today or the historic discrimination against other immigrant groups from Europe or Asia.


Historically, blacks were the only unwilling immigrants, brought here as slaves in chains. (See “12 Years a Slave” for a taste.)  After emancipation came nearly a century of legalized discrimination and second-class citizenship in both the Jim Crow South and the North, which continues today in a painfully biased criminal justice system and renewed efforts to damage voting rights.

We are just beginning to emerge from centuries of skin-based oppression that has created its own special brand of sociopathology. This calls for specialized efforts to deal with problems well beyond welfare, food stamps, job training or other classic palliatives for poverty.

Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty did not fail; it simply did not go far enough long enough.  Would that Obama had the Congress Johnson had we could be dealing not only with the special problems of African Americans, but attacking all poverty at its roots.


Don Rose is a regular columnist for the Chicago Daily Observer

Man, I Gotta Dance!. That A Problem, Clyde?

Posted: 11 Mar 2014 03:17 AM PDT

Man, I gotta dance!  Don’t know what it is, but Jack I gotta hoof!  I hear the sounds of the CSX railroad in front of my house, the drip, drip, drip of the basement laundry sink which my kids never shut off all the way, or the memories of dances at St. Nick’s of Tolentine Hi-Club, Mendel Buckingham dances, or the Catalina’s Styx in Omaha.JPG( AKA Tradewinds Four/TW Fours?STIX) at Little Flower circa 1966-’70) who dressed in red blazers and ties for the 1st three sets and ended in Hippie gear and Werewolf from bookishly sweet and devout Pat Hickey into Jimmy McGonigle!!!!!!!

Man, I’m dancin’!!!!!!!! Watch out, cat!

Harry Reid again attacks Koch brothers during climate change debate

Posted: 11 Mar 2014 02:45 AM PDT

The Hill reports:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) used an all-night climate change campaign in the Senate to once again bash Charles and David Koch.

“It’s time to stop acting like those who ignore this crisis — the oil baron Koch brothers and their allies in Congress — have a valid point of view,” Reid said Monday evening. “But despite overwhelming scientific evidence and overwhelming public opinion, climate change deniers still exist. They exist in this country and in this Congress.”

We can only guess how much money Harry Reid and his family have invested in “green energy”? After all, Harry Reid did get into politics to get rich.


Obama to ban development on California federal lands

Posted: 10 Mar 2014 09:23 PM PDT

The Daily Caller


Scarborough, Brzezinski Confront de Blasio: Is Charter School Campaign ‘Personal’?

Posted: 10 Mar 2014 08:44 PM PDT



‘NCIS’ Portrays ‘Reprobate’ by Showing Him with President George W. Bush

Posted: 10 Mar 2014 08:23 PM PDT

Big Hollywood


Some Illinois concealed carry applicants notified of security breach

Posted: 10 Mar 2014 08:16 PM PDT



Truax for U.S. Senate. His new radio ad

Posted: 10 Mar 2014 07:20 PM PDT

Originally posted on Oak Park Republicans:
Doug Truax hits the air waves tomorrow. Listen up.

Has Austerity Failed? (Has It Been Tried?)

Posted: 10 Mar 2014 05:55 PM PDT


Bob Costas: My Armed Security Doesn’t Make Me a Hypocrite on Guns

Posted: 10 Mar 2014 04:24 PM PDT

Big Journalism


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