We can’t shape effective community action in a vacuum

Police have a racist predisposition to shoot black males – true or false? Do we have any evidence to know the extent to which this statement has validity? Sadly enough, we do not, contends Michael Wines, whose recent column in the New York Times noted that statistics which could support or refute the contention that police shootings unfairly target blacks “do not exist. And because of that, the current national debate over the role of race in police killings is being conducted more or less in a vacuum.” Continue Reading

War on Poverty – Winning economically and morally

Has the War on Poverty succeeded or failed? January of 2014 marked the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson’s “declaration of war” against poverty. As Johnson put it, “Our aim is not only to relieve the symptoms of poverty, but to cure it and, above all, to prevent it.” During the first half of this year, some columnists and pundits have questioned whether we have won this war or lost it. Continue Reading

Collaboration to create healthier communities in Minnesota

Health-wise, many other countries look better than the United States. The French, the Germans, the Swedes, the Israelis, for example – they all live longer than we do in the U.S. Our nation currently fixates on Obamacare, with narrow-minded public officials and pundits of all persuasions asserting their positions on how to finance health care, arguing over whom to blame for system problems, and debating alternatives. Continue Reading

How can our state be so good, yet so bad?

It’s the Minnesota Paradox. We need to solve that paradox, to ensure the prosperity of our state and a high quality of life for all of our residents. Minnesota has steadily grown in population since the mid-20th century; projections show continued steady growth for at least the next few decades. How those residents will fare, however, depends on critical choices we must make now. Continue Reading

50 years – How much change has occurred?

I vividly remember the 1960s. I remember watching Dr. King speak live. I remember listening to the debates about civil rights, and eventually participating in them. I remember the news reports and the reactions to the murder of Medgar Evers, just shortly before the March on Washington. Continue Reading

Should homeless people smoke?

I pondered that question at about 11:30 p.m. on a Friday night in June, while attempting to fall asleep on my cot in the basement of a church I had never set foot in previously, where I served as an overnight volunteer for Project Home. Continue Reading