Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Power of the Latina Vote

By Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas

It is undeniable that the Latino vote had a tremendous impact on the election. Approximately 17.9 million Latinos are currently eligible to vote, 9.1 million of whom are women, and since 2004, the number of Latinos registered to vote has doubled.

Early exit polling suggests that Latinos overwhelmingly supported Obama, with 67 percent voting for Obama and 30 percent voting for McCain. According to the University of Massachusetts's Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy, Latinas have become increasingly engaged in politics, making up 5 percent of total voter turnout (Latino men made up 4 percent). Latino overall support for Obama became especially significant in the battleground states of Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico and Virginia; all of which have large and growing Latino populations, and all of which were carried by Obama. These statistics are just proof of the fact that the Latino vote matters more than ever before.

The Latino vote has led to the great strides for women and Latino candidates and increased their representation in the federal government. In 2008, Latinos ran in over 37 states across the country for both federal and state legislative seats. The 25 Latino members of Congress added another colleague to the list who will serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. The 111th Congress will include seven Latina Congresswomen from Florida, New York, and California. They’ll be joining the 64 re-elected incumbents in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Preventing Unintentional Racial Impacts


By Sen. Mattie Hunter and Rep. Arthur Turner

Suppose you're a white person who uses drugs. Now suppose you're a black person who uses drugs. Think you run the same risk of being arrested and incarcerated?

Think again: Recent reports highlight vast differences in the way blacks and whites are treated, despite similar rates of drug use. Fortunately, Illinois has just enacted a measure that lays the groundwork to help address this inequity.

Using new data from 34 states, Human Rights Watch found that black men are nearly 12 times as likely to be imprisoned for drug convictions as adult white men. Illinois had the highest black drug offender admission rate and the second highest black to white ratio of prison admission rates for drug offenses.


By Adam Linker

For much of its history North Carolina was known as a state with bold leaders and progressive ideas. It built Research Triangle Park, one of the nation’s best community college systems and created pioneering early childhood education programs. The state was even a leader in expanding health care to its citizens.

In the 1940s a group of influential businessmen and politicians came up with a series of recommendations, dubbed the “Good Health Plan,” to boost the number of doctors in the state, create a teaching hospital at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and expand Blue Cross insurance. At the time, Gov. Gregg Cherry said, “Only less sacred than the right of a child to obtain an education is his right to get a fair chance of health in his youth.”

Despite the work of these early visionaries, there are still more than 250,000 uninsured children in North Carolina.

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By Page S. Gardner

More than a week after an historic election, political analysts still are sifting through the results, trying to figure out how different segments of society voted, why they cast their ballots as they did, and what their political preferences and patterns of participation mean for the future.

But three lessons are inescapably clear: The electorate that changed America reflects a changing America -- younger, more racially and ethnically diverse, and less likely to be married. The largest demographic group within this new American electorate -- unmarried women -- played a pivotal role in electing Barack Obama as president, building a bigger margin for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and delivering the largest Democratic margins in national politics since 1964. And, for progressives from the White House to both houses of Congress, there is no more urgent challenge than addressing the needs of unmarried women -- especially for economic security -- and ensuring that they continue to participate in the political process.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It’s Time to Look at the Way We Vote


By Linda Brown

More than 112,000 voters in Maricopa County were forced to cast provisional ballots on Election Day. That is 16 percent of those that went to the polls, well more than the margin of victory for several races and ballot measures. We still don’t know how many of those were counted.

Was the turnout 72 percent, or was it higher? We have no way of knowing for sure. A good number of registered voters went to the polls and left without voting at all.

Arizona has been labeled by Mother Jones magazine as one of the worst places to vote in America. Polling places frequently move. It is estimated that nearly 40 percent of polling places in Maricopa County have shifted locations during each of the last two major election cycles.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Remembering The War To End All Wars

By Mike Ferner

At the stroke of the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 the roaring guns fell silent. Our holiday that marks the end of “The Great War” is now called Veterans Day, yet it’s worth taking a moment to recollect when it was called Armistice Day and meant more than midnight madness sales at department stores.

Thirty million soldiers were killed or wounded and another 7 million were taken captive in that war. Never before had people witnessed such industrialized slaughter. Congress responded to a universal hope among Americans that such a war would never happen again by passing a resolution calling for “exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding…inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.” Later, Congress added that November 11 was to be “a day dedicated to the cause of world peace.”While it is a good thing to honor the country’s military service veterans, the original intent of Armistice Day -- promoting peace -- has gotten lost over the years. One veterans’ organization is trying to recreate that original intent. Its name, appropriately enough, is Veterans For Peace.