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September 28, 2008

Blog worth checking out: Dissenting Justice

Darren Hutchinson, a colleague of mine at AU, has a new blog worth bookmarking (from the length of his posts you can already tell he is busy with it!): Dissenting Justice.  Not surprisingly, the focus right now is on the financial crisis; here is one sample post, "Bringing Back Welfare as We Know It: My Indignant Take on the Wall Street Bail-Out." 

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

September 28, 2008 in Links and Web Resources | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 26, 2008

New Poverty Article: Tara Melish on New Governance and War on Sources of Poverty

Tara J. Melish has uploaded a new paper, "Maximum Feasible Participation of the Poor: New Governance, New Accountability, and a 21st Century War on the Sources of Poverty," to SSRN.  The abstract is below:

In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson called for a Nationwide War on the Sources of Poverty to "strike away the barriers to full participation" in our society. Central to that war was an understanding that given poverty's multi-layered complexity, finding solutions to it required the "maximum feasible participation" of affected communities in identifying its varied sources and preparing long-range plans of local attack. Equally central, however, was an understanding that such decentralized problem-solving could not be fully effective without national-level orchestration and support. As such, LBJ set up at Office of Economic Opportunity, located in the Executive Office itself, to support - through encouragement, funding, and coordination - grassroots community efforts to eliminate locally-identified and locally-prioritized barriers to economic opportunity. 

This Article argues that while the regulatory and political context of the 1960s provided inauspicious ground for LBJ's "maximum feasible participation" policy to effectively take root, four decades later two broad paradigm shifts have yielded a new, more fertile opportunity framework. The first involves the transition in U.S. regulatory law away from command-and-control structures favoring fixed rules and centralized enforcement, toward a "New Governance" model that privileges decentralization, flexibility, stakeholder participation, performance monitoring, and guided discretion. The second is the concurrent paradigm shift in U.S. social movement approaches to poverty - what I call "New Accountability" - which likewise promotes local voice and inclusive participation, decentralized performance monitoring around human rights indicators, and negotiated policymaking (rather than non-negotiable material demands and mass confrontation, the preferred tactics of 1960s activism). Supported by a renewed U.S. interest in collecting and reporting performance indicators for government programs, these two shifts converge to create a theory and policy-based environment in which it is both practically feasible and normatively coherent to reembrace the participatory orientation of the early "War on the Sources of Poverty" strategy. The challenge for U.S. social welfare rights law, I argue, is how to bring these two complimentary paradigms together in constructive synergy to mount a 21st century battle against poverty. A set of national subsidiarity-based institutions to support this effort is proposed in Part IV.

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

September 26, 2008 in Books/Articles/Reports of Interest | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 25, 2008

Entertainment: Scalia is not a fan

UPDATE 2: Jeffrey Selbin's Repsonse

UPDATE:  Lawrence D. Wood and Richard M. Wheelock's response (they teach Chicago's Law and Poverty class) and Peter Edelman's response (Georgetown). 

I am not sure how to categorize this but Scalia is not a fan of poverty law classes... on the positive side perhaps ironically his lack of poverty law background is itself an indication of how important the class is.  Here is what the Chicago Sun-Times reported about a recent talk by Scalia:

"I took nothing but bread-and-butter classes, not "Law and Poverty," or other made-up stuff, Scalia said to laughter. He said his advice to law students was: "Take serious classes. There's so much law to learn. Don't waste your time."

The full story is here

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

September 25, 2008 in Legal Academy Info | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Recent proposal to sterilize the poor

From the "enlightened" town of Metairie, LA, a suburb of New Orleans that was both home turf of the late Sheriff Harry Lee (who at one point promised his constituents: "If there are some young blacks driving a car late at night in a predominantly white neighborhood, they will be stopped.") and elected David Duke to the state legislature, comes this new gem: a plan, detailed in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, to pay poor women $1000 if they get sterilized

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

September 25, 2008 in News Coverage of Poverty | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

For Fun: Wordle of Poverty Law Prof Blog

Courtesy of Wordle.net and procrastination from class prep:Wordle_of_poverty_blog_jpeg
-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

September 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Slides on Financial Bailout

Perhaps of use in your class:

For my own poverty class I put together a Powerpoint of slides connected to the Bailout, drawing heavily from The Big Picture Blog postings and with links to some multimedia (Stewart/Colbert, etc).  Note, the links may not work but I tried to give enough info that you can find them on either youtube.com or Comedy Central's webpages.  Download financial_turmoil_and_bailout.pptx

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

September 25, 2008 in Course Materials | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 24, 2008

New Book: The Gloves-Off Economy: Workplace Standards at the Bottom of America's Labor Market

A new book, The Gloves-Off Economy: Workplace Standards at the Bottom of America's Labor Market, has just been published by Cornell University Press (Amazon link here).  The summary from the publisher is below:

Across the United States, increasing numbers of employers are breaking, bending, or evading long-established laws and standards designed to protect workers, from the minimum wage to job safety standards to the right to organize. This “gloves-off economy,” no longer confined to a marginal set of sweatshops and fly-by-night small businesses, is sending shock waves into every corner of the low-wage labor market. In the process, employers who play by the rules are under growing pressure to follow suit, intensifying the search for low-cost business strategies across a wide range of industries and ratcheting up into ever higher reaches of the labor market. Although other books have touched on pieces of this problem, The Gloves-off Economy is the first to provide a comprehensive, integrated analysis-and quite a disturbing one.

This book examines a range of gloves-off practices, the workers who are affected by them, and strategies for enforcing workplace standards. The editors, four respected labor scholars, have brought together economists, sociologists, labor attorneys, union strategists, and other experts to offer varying perspectives on both the problem and the creative solutions currently being explored in a wide range of communities and industries. Annette Bernhardt, Heather Boushey, Laura Dresser, and Chris Tilly and the volume's other authors combine rigorous analysis with a stirring call to renew worker protections in the twenty-first century.

-Thanks to Noah Zatz for the heads up!  E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

September 24, 2008 in Books/Articles/Reports of Interest | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 22, 2008

Call to focus on Africa's bottom billion

Paul Collier, author of The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It (2007), has a new op-ed pointing out problems in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and arguing that the focus should be on those stuck at the bottom, mainly in Africa.  The op-ed is: Paul Collier, "A Measure of Hope," NYTimes (Sep. 21, 2008). 

For more on the MDGs, the World Bank has a cool interactive atlas that goes through the goals one by one.  And of course the UN has a page with lots on them, as does the UNDP.  The UNDP's Millennium Development Goals Report (2008) is here

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

September 22, 2008 in News Coverage of Poverty | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 21, 2008

Symposium: The Roberts Court and Equal Protection: Gender, Race, and Class

The South Carolina Law Review's Summer 2008 symposium is on "The Roberts Court and Equal Protection: Gender, Race, and Class." The articles in the issue are:

Deborah L. Brake, What Counts as "Discrimination" in Ledbetter and the Implications for Sex Equality Law, 59 S.C. L. Rev. 657 (2008).

David S. Cohen, Justice Kennedy's Gendered World, 59 S.C. L. Rev. 673 (2008).

Teresa Stanton Collett, Judicial Modesty and Abortion, 59 S.C. L. Rev. 701 (2008).

Kevin Brown, Reflections on Justice Kennedy's Opinion in Parents Involved: Why Fifty Years of Experience Shows Kennedy is Right, 59 S.C. L. Rev. 735 (2008).

Daniel S. Greenspahn, Stop Making a Federal Case Out of Education: A Constiutional Right to Learn After Rodriguez (1973) and Parents Involved (2007), 59 S.C. L. Rev. 755 (2008).

Osamudia R. James, Business as Usual: The Roberts Court's Continued Neglect of Adequacy and Equity Concerns in American Education, 59 S.C. L. Rev. 793 (2008).

Pamela Bridgewater, Gonzales v. Carhart: Continuing the Class Critique of the Reproductive Rights Doctrine and Movement, 59 S.C. L. Rev. 827 (2008).

Eboni S. Nelson, The Availability and Viability of Socioeconomic Integration Post-Parents Involved, 59 S.C. L. Rev. 841 (2008).

Andrew M. Siegel, From Bad to Worse?: Some Early Speculation About the Roberts Court and the Constitutional Fate of the Poor, 59 S.C. L. Rev. 851 (2008).

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

September 21, 2008 in Books/Articles/Reports of Interest | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 20, 2008

Scalia as Lord Vodemort?: J.K. Rowlings acts on concern for the poor

J.K. Rowlings, Harry Potter author, recently gave $1.8 MILLION (original was off a lot!-thanks "Adam" for the catch) to the Labour party and according to an AP story, accused "rival Conservatives of discriminating against poor parents." In light of his recent statements, who knows what Scalia would say about this. =)

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

September 20, 2008 in News Coverage of Poverty | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 18, 2008

New York City settles homeless lawsuit

NYC settled a suit from 1983 on the rights of homeless people: Sewell Chan, "City Settles Lawsuit Over Homeless Families," New York Times (Sept. 17, 2008).

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

September 18, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 16, 2008

Two Interesting Rutgers L. J. Articles on CEO pay and de Soto

The Rutgers Law Journal has posted to interesting articles to its main page (the articles are not yet available on Lexis, but the PDF is on the Journal's page).

Rashmi Dyal-Chand wrote a great article looking critically at the ideas of Hernando de Soto, the author of The Mystery of Capital. Her article is: Rashmi Dyal-Chand, Exporting the Ownership Society: A Case Study on the Economic Impact of Property Rights, 39 Rutgers L.J. 59 (2008). After you read this article, if you are still interested, the AALS Property Section is doing a session on de Soto at the AALS annual meeting in San Diego.

Second, the Journal has published, Sandeep Gopalan, Changing Social Norms and CEO Pay: The Role of Norms Entrepreneurs, 39 Rutgers L.J. 1 (2008). Since I haven't read the article yet, I won't comment, but it looks interesting.

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

September 16, 2008 in Books/Articles/Reports of Interest | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 11, 2008

New Issue of Pathways: "Can We Fight Poverty During Economic Downturns?"

Pathways_summer_2008_2 A new issue of Pathways, from the Stanford Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequality, is now online. The Summer 2008 issue is entitled "Can we Fight Poverty During Economic Downturns?" and features articles by Frank F. Furstenberg, Alan Krueger, Dalton Conley, James Furman, Ron Haskins, Benjamin Friedman, William A. Galston, and Devah Pager.

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

September 11, 2008 in Books/Articles/Reports of Interest | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Article: Welfare Reform and Children's Short-Run Attainments

A study of children's attainment and welfare reform that might be of interest is: Hau Chyi & Orgul D. Ozturk, "Welfare Reform and Children's Short-Run Attainments," SSRN. The abstract is below:

Using PIAT Math test score as a measure of attainment, we find that both single mothers' work and welfare use in the first five years of their children's lives have a positive effect on children's outcomes, but this effect declines with initial ability. The higher the initial ability of a child, the lower the positive impact work and welfare have. In fact, in the case of welfare the effect is negative if a child has more than median initial ability. Furthermore, we find that the work requirement reduces a single mother's use of welfare. However, the net effect of the work requirement on a child's test score depends on whether the mother's work brings in enough labor income to compensate for the loss of welfare benefits. We also look at the implications of the welfare eligibility time limit and maternal leave policies on children's outcomes.

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

September 11, 2008 in Books/Articles/Reports of Interest | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 10, 2008

Empasize universal coverage or health care cost reductions?

Robert J. Samuelson argues that rather than focusing on universal coverage candidates should focus on reducing costs. His op-ed also notes that near equality of heath care spending across income quintiles. The article is: Robert J. Samuelson, "Health Care Realism," Washington Post, Sept. 10, 2008.

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

September 10, 2008 in News Coverage of Poverty | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 3, 2008

Possible Legislation for a New Poverty Measure

More reporting on the move for a new measure... The New York Times coverage is here: Rachel L. Swarns, "Bipartisan Calls for New Federal Poverty Measure," New York Times, Sep. 1, 2008. 

-Thanks to Stephanie Humphries for the heads up.  E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

September 3, 2008 in News Coverage of Poverty | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Year Long Series on the Working Poor

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram did a year long series in 2007 entitled "Working Poor" that profiles four families and the website includes videos of the families talking about their experiences as well as stories focusing on a range of issues.  Well worth checking out and good as a tool for class...

-Thanks to Aric Short for the heads up.  E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

September 3, 2008 in News Coverage of Poverty | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 2, 2008

Three Interesting Pieces in the New York Times

Here they are:

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

September 2, 2008 in Books/Articles/Reports of Interest | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack