Digital Bootstraps for Analog Problems — A Reply to Gene Marks’ “If I Were A Poor Black Kid”

Dec 22, 2011 by

A truly clueless if well-intentioned column by Gene Marks titled “If I Were A Poor Black Kid” in Forbes magazine is getting righteously ripped from journalists all around the web. They’re correctly pointing out how bereft Marks’ column is of history, research, practical awareness, racial sensitivity, or the sheer realities of hunger or even homelessness that low-income children face. Marks seems to suggest that kids from impoverished backgrounds – all too many of whom are African American – can simply access computers and lift themselves up by their digital bootstraps to use free websites and enter elite prep schools or colleges. Maybe a handful of motivated kids will manage a heroic feat like that despite all the odds, but is this going to work for the majority of poor kids?

–> Read the rest of this post here, at

Cynthia Liu is founder of the grassroots education news site, which empowers parents, educators, and students to report on important events at their local neighborhood schools and provides tools for maximum civic engagement in support of public education. This piece originally appeared in Technorati.

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Statement From Secretary Sebelius

Dec 19, 2011 by

Statement from Secretary Sebelius on becoming the new Chair of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness

Yesterday, I was pleased to take on the role of Chair of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. I look forward to building on the hard work of this year’s Chair, Secretary Solis, whose accomplishments include: developing a plan to increase access to mainstream benefits and launching Opening Doors-the nation’s first-ever comprehensive strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness.

The implementation of Opening Doors over the last year has given our federal agencies an opportunity to work together on an issue we all care about. Each member of the Council brings a unique approach to this problem and through this collaboration we’re laying the groundwork for future successes with better data collection, better reporting, and better use of mainstream resources. By engaging states and local communities in the plan’s goals and strategies, we’re making sure everyone is in agreement as we move forward.

While I’m proud to say we are making progress, homelessness remains a serious issue and there is more work to do. As I take on the role of Chair for the year ahead, I am looking forward to building on our current foundation as we work to end homelessness altogether. In these tough economic times, continued cross-agency collaboration is more important than ever to help those who are homeless.


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Pursuit of Happiness Hour: Holiday Edition

Dec 16, 2011 by

IMG_3846The government will not shut down — hurray! And the Most Wonderful Time of the Year is here — hurray! Both are cause to celebrate (or something). Congress may like to hoist a $1 trillion-plus catchall budget bill, but here at MOMocrats for special occasions we like to hoist a very classy martini or glass of wine or tankard of ale or…you get the picture.

Today's Pursuit of Happiness Hour suggests a very tasty martini:

Danish Christmas Cookie Martini

one shot Vanilla vodka

half shot DiSaronno

shot (or so) of Ginger Ale to taste

It's best to mix this with chilled ingredients versus shaking with ice, but in the event you haven't got them chilled, shake briefly and gently with ice and serve only slightly chilled versus cold.

Pour into chilled martini glass.

If you want to get really fancy, rim the martini glass with powdered sugar.

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Mom’s Clean Air Force Twitter Party

Dec 13, 2011 by

Moms Clean Air Force

Thursday December 15th our friends at Clever Girls Collective will be hosting an historic twitter chat sponsored by the women at Mom’s Clean Air Force featuring EPA administrator Lisa P Jackson.

This is an amazing opportunity for MOMocrats readers to actually ask first questions about one of the issues that effects all of us, air quality.

Currently, there are no national limits on the amount of mercury and other toxic air pollution released from power plant smokestacks. The toxic air pollutants from the coal and oil fired plants have numerous and serious health effects, especially on children. Research has shown that Mercury harm’s children’s developing brains, including effects on memory, attention, language, and fine motor and visual spatial skills.

The other toxic metals found such as arsenic, chromium and nickel are known to cause cancer. Not to mention the damage Mercury and many of the other toxic pollutants causes our nation’s lakes, streams, and fish.

This is just a handful of the reasons why the EPA’s proposed Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule will have a huge impact on our health, the air, the economy and even jobs.

The EPA estimates the value of the improvements to health alone total $59 billion to $140 billion by 2016 by preventing thousands of premature deaths and tens of thousands of heart attacks, bronchitis cases and asthma attacks. Meeting the standards created by the rule would also create new jobs such as building, installing and operating the equipment to reduce the harmful emissions of mercury and other toxics.

Got questions? Well join the Clever Girls Collective community Q & A session with Administrator Jackson where you can get your air quality-related questions by her! They’ll also be discussing clean air—how pollution has affected you and your family sharing tips for ways you can help ensure we leave a legacy of cleaner air to future generations. They’ll also be offering prizes throughout the hour — including Moms Clean Air Force prize packs and gifts.

Moms Clean Air Force Twitter Event ft. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson on Thursday, Dec 15 at 12pm PT/3pm on Twitter! Use the Tweetgrid here:

Follow: @momsCAF, @lisapjackson, @clevergirlscoll—and hashtag #momsCAF

RSVP here to let us know you’re joining the event

Please spread the word with your networks by tweeting this out:

Join us! Moms Clean Air Force Twitter Event w/ EPA Admin @lisapjackson! 12/15 @ 12 P/ 3 ET! Fab prizes! #momsCAF RSVP

This is a sponsored MOMocrats post written as part of the Clever Girls Collective campaign for greater awareness of Mom’s Clean Air Force.

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