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An Art Form

September 30, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Economy, Pat LaMarche

Homeless Advocates Gather to Promote Cooperation

by Pat LaMarche

The Texas Conference on Ending Homelessness was held last week in Austin. More than 400 homeless advocates — from shelter directors to student liaisons — came together to update their certifications, learn from each other, and recharge their spent fuel cells.

AFTS11 7606 Bennie Mjumbe SorrellsKen Martin, executive director of the Texas Homeless Network, was encouraged by their near record turnout in the face of budget cuts and an increasing demand on overtaxed service providers. The economic downturn over the last half-decade — since the stock market crashed in October of 2008 — has caused an uptick in homelessness all across the nation. Because agencies have to do more with less, Martin and his organization provided free booth space to not for profit agencies hoping to interface with the advocates who attended the conference.

Art from the Streets is one of those not-for-profit groups.

Founded by a couple of artists in the 1990s, Art from the Streets is preparing to host its 21st art show and sale this November. Homeless artists from Austin have been creating and selling their work with encouragement and materials provided by Art from the Streets. Only recently an official 501(c)3 charity, all paper, canvas, and pigment mediums came from donors who hadn’t even gotten a tax break for their contributions. (more…)

Bicycling Means Business

November 13, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Economy, Jay Walljasper

Cities Discover Good Biking Attracts Jobs and Talent

by Jay Walljasper

“Biking is definitely part of our strategy to attract and retain businesses in order to compete in a mobile world,” says Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak as we pedal across the Mississippi river on a bike-and-pedestrian bridge. “We want young talent to come here and stay. And good biking is one of the least expensive ways to send that message.”

“I was having dinner with a creative director that a local firm was eager to hire for a key post,” Rybak adds.  “He was an American living in Europe, and we spent most of the evening talking about the importance of biking and walking to the life of a city. He took the job.”

Minneapolis has invested heavily in biking — creating a network of off-street trails criss-crossing the city, adding 180 miles of bike lanes to city streets, launching one of the country’s first bikeshare programs, and creating protected lanes to separate people on bikes from motor traffic — which is why it lands near the top of lists ranking America’s best bike cities.

“We moved from the suburbs to downtown Minneapolis to allow our employees to take advantage of the area’s many trails and to put the office in a more convenient location for commuting by pedal or foot,” explained Christine Fruechte, CEO of large advertising firm Colle + McVoy, in a newspaper op-ed. “Our employees are healthier, happier and more productive. We are attracting some of the best talents in the industry.” (more…)

Progress, Not Commerce

May 21, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Jerry Elmer, Politics

Human Rights and Dignity Are Larger than the ‘Jobs Issue’

by Jerry Elmer

On May 7, North Carolina voters, by a margin of over 20 percentage points, approved an amendment to the state’s constitution banning same-gender marriages. In the days leading up to the vote, former President Bill Clinton recorded a robocall to North Carolina voters, urging voters to vote against the proposed constitutional ban. Clinton’s message said, in relevant part, “I’m calling to urge you to vote against Amendment 1 on Tuesday, May 8…. What it will change is North Carolina’s ability to keep good businesses, attract new jobs, and attract and keep talented entrepreneurs. If it passes, your ability to keep those businesses, get those jobs, and get those talented entrepreneurs will be weakened.”

I understand completely why President Clinton framed his argument in terms of jobs. Clinton was trying to think of an argument that would be persuasive, and in today’s economy, economic arguments have weight. Moreover, Clinton’s argument had the added benefit of being factually accurate; states that have enacted marriage equality, such as Vermont and Massachusetts, are benefiting economically from an upswing in marriage tourism. So, Clinton is making a sincere effort to be politically persuasive on a controversial issue — and he is doing so by telling the truth. I get it. (more…)

Restore the Middle Class

February 28, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Guest Author, Politics

Promoting Economic Security Beyond Jobs

by Peter Barnes

A cushion of reliable income is a wonderful thing. It can help pay for basic necessities. It can be saved for rainy days or used to pursue happiness on sunny days. It can encourage people to take entrepreneurial risks, care for friends, or volunteer for community service.

Conversely, the absence of reliable income is a terrible thing. It heightens anxiety and fear. It diminishes our ability to cope with crises and transitions. It traps many families on the knife’s edge of poverty, and makes it harder for poor people to rise.

There’s been much discussion of late about how to save America’s declining middle class. The answer politicians of both parties give is always the same: jobs, jobs, jobs. The parties differ on how the jobs will be created — Republicans say the market will do it if we cut taxes and regulation. Democrats say government can help by investing in infra¬structure and education. Either way, it still comes down to jobs with decent wages and benefits. (more…)

Remembering the Great Society

October 05, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Harry Targ, Politics

“Money for Jobs and Justice, Not War”

by Harry Targ

On Monday, September 26, the Reverend Jesse Jackson visited Ohio University, located at the northern edge of Appalachia. President Lyndon Johnson had introduced his vision of a “Great Society” in 1964 at this site and Jackson was returning 47 years later to call for the establishment of a White House commission to address poverty and hunger in America.

Jackson pointed out that Athens County, Ohio, where he spoke, represented “ground zero” as to poverty in America today. Thirty-two percent of county residents live in poverty.

The fact that increased poverty is a national problem was underscored in a September 13 press release from the United States Census Bureau. The Census Bureau reported that 46.2 million people lived below the poverty line in 2010, the highest number in 52 years. (more…)

Catalytic Conversions

September 13, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, David Swanson, Economy, Politics

I Just Found 29 Million Jobs!

by David Swanson

No, not 29 million job offers. I’m no better at applying for jobs than you are, and my town offers nothing but dead-end McJobs or positions in the military industrial complex, just like yours. I mean I just spotted an easy way to create 29 million jobs, one for every unemployed or underemployed U.S. worker.

No, I’m not about to say, “Just raise taxes on gazillionaires and hire people to build stuff.” I’m all in favor of that, for lots of reasons, including the political corruption created by a concentration of wealth. We might have to disempower gazillionaires before we can enact any sensible policies, including the one I’m about to propose, but it can itself be done without raising a dime in revenue. This means that the President, who has broad, albeit unconstitutional, powers to move funding around from one program to another could do this himself. Or Congress could. (more…)

Protest, Don’t Parade

September 05, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Politics, Robert Reich

Workers Deserve a Better Deal for Labor Day

by Robert Reich

Labor Day is traditionally a time for picnics and parades. But this year is no picnic for American workers, and a protest march would be more appropriate than a parade.

Not only are 25 million unemployed or underemployed, but American companies continue to cut wages and benefits. The median wage is still dropping, adjusted for inflation. High unemployment has given employers extra bargaining leverage to wring out wage concessions.

All told, it’s been the worst decade for American workers in a century. According to Commerce Department data, private-sector wage gains over the last decade have even lagged behind wage gains during the decade of the Great Depression (4 percent over the last ten years, adjusted for inflation, versus 5 percent from 1929 to 1939). (more…)


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