The Common Good

Blog Posts By Elizabeth Palmberg

Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 1 year 34 weeks ago
So you’ve heard the flu shot is somewhat ineffective this year, and, though you have a normal immune system, you don't want to take the Eucharist from a common chalice.Part of me kind of wants to slap you.Obviously, that's not what Jesus would do. We know what Jesus did  — he offered you his lifeblood, saying "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many." Ever after, Christians have taken wine and bread, a sacrament which binds us together in communion with other Christ-followers around the globe and through two millennia.For the last few months, because my cancer treatment had decimated my immune system, I haven't been able to drink from the common chalice (or to eat most raw food, go to the movies, or get on the bus without a face mask). I really miss it. So I want to share two key insights I’ve had about the common Eucharistic cup.
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 1 year 44 weeks ago
I've been thinking, as Advent goes on, what it meant for God to lay aside infinity and put on a body that was not just tiny, inarticulate, and helpless, but also already marked, to the marrow of its little bones, with the seeds of death.He must have felt in his own flesh this dramatic comedown — from omnipotence and omnipresence to a being that had about threescore and 10, max, even if it hadn’t going to be cut off halfway by self-sacrifice and Roman capital punishment. And that must have given Jesus infinite tenderness and patience towards the waves and waves of people who, during his short ministry, were always coming up to him and asking, directly or just by their presence, for him to heal their bodies. In Luke, the Gospel focus of the new liturgical year, there are more than 20 healings by my count, compared to two times when someone asks Christ how to get eternal life (and only one of them actually wanted to know).Those healings of all those bodies matter, millennia later. One big reason they matter is because healing matters. Another is because, by showing God's power over death as well as by going through death ahead of us, Christ teaches us not to be dominated by fear of it.
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 1 year 45 weeks ago
A low-cost, highly successful rural housing self-help program is at risk from both sides of the aisle. A year ago, the Sojourners article Seven Ways Home described: the “mutual self-help” model, where families in rural America first qualify for a mortgage, then partner with seven to 11 other families who will all build their homes together.The model first gained prominence in the Central Valley of California in the 1960s through the work of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). The Quaker group had listened to the housing dreams of migrant farm workers, many of whom lived in squalid conditions—30 families might share one rusty faucet. In response, AFSC offered the mutual self-help model: Families would work together to build their homes, with no one moving in until all the homes were completed. This built community as well as housing. The success of this model inspired the formation of Self-Help Enterprises, based in Visalia, California, which has helped more than 5,000 families build homes. The model has been so successful that today some self-help housing is sponsored by the USDA’s Rural Development program.Now, the Daily Yonder reports that the program is under threat:Self-Help Housing is unique among the panoply of federal programs. Under it, nonprofit housing developers provide training, technical assistance and close supervision to small teams of future owners who build their own homes. Each family invests roughly 1,200 hours, creating what's known as "sweat equity." Construction professionals do the rest. 502 direct loans finance the debt. The average annual income of participant families is $27,000. Most are minorities. Their repayment record is better than higher income families.The key to this success story is the assistance provided to participant families by nonprofits. But instead of increasing funding — or at least holding funding level — the Obama administration’s FY 2013 budget reduces funding for these groups by two thirds.. The House version cuts this program by half.This classic, highly effective pairing of citizen initiative with governement aid shouldn't be undermined by short-sighted cuts.Elizabeth Palmberg is an associate editor of Sojourners magazine.
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 1 year 49 weeks ago
OMB Watch reports that the lame-duck Senate may move forward on a bill that could hamstring the SEC as it works to fight fraud and implement financial regulatory reform, tying up the agency in needless red tape and lawsuits:A pending anti-regulatory bill that targets independent regulatory agencies would significantly curtail the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) ability to protect investors from financial fraud and other economic hazards. The Independent Agency Regulatory Analysis Act of 2012 (S. 3468) would require independent agencies to conduct formal cost-benefit analyses for all significant rules and would allow the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) to review those analyses. This would cause lengthy delays in implementing the financial oversight contained in the Dodd-Frank law. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGAC), chaired by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), may mark up this bill during Congress’ upcoming lame-duck session, even though no hearings have been held on the bill.The bill would also hamper the essential work of the FDIC, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, and other government watchdog agencies.Elizabeth Palmberg is an associate editor of Sojourners and tweets @ZabPalmberg.   
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 2 years 5 days ago
For World Food Day, here’s a roundup of recent Sojourners magazine articles about food, a subject with tendrils throughout our lives and world—from field to farmworker to plate to body!
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 2 years 5 weeks ago
When the U.S. is negotiating a mammoth, powerful international trade agreement, what do negotiators do when faced with tradeoffs between commercial interests in the U.S. and other U.S. values—such as human rights, preserving the planet we all have to live on, and helping the poor?That’s the question I asked Carol Guthrie, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Public and Media Affairs, last weekend at the Leesburg, Va., resort where the next big thing in trade negotiations—the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), basically NAFTA for the Pacific Rim—was taking shape in its 14th round of negotiations.Many parts of civil society, from the Sierra Club to the Columban Fathers, argue the TPP would have profound negative effects on the environment, public health, human rights, internet freedom, and the global poor, among other things. A number of civil society groups showed last Sunday in Leesburg, where they could sign up for a chance to speak to negotiators—but not, unlike around 600 mostly-corporate insiders, to see the actual text being negotiated. (Members of Congress reportedly are allowed to see the text—but, unlike the insiders, not to download a copy, take notes, or bring an expert staffer with them).
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 2 years 9 weeks ago
The advocacy group Stop Gambling on Hunger reports world food prices are predicted to rise sharply in the coming months, due partly to speculation:"The New England Complex Systems Institute, [which has] developed a quantitative model able to very closely predicted the FAO’s food price index, released a new report predicting sharply higher food prices due in part to excessive speculation."Their model, originally released in September 2011 matched the FAO’s index from 2004 to 2011. Since then it has continued to closely follow the real world numbers."Unfortunately, the model now predicts, 'another speculative bubble starting by the end of 2012 and causing food prices to rise even higher than recent peaks.'"While the researchers acknowledge that the drought in the Midwest U.S. will cause prices to rise, their model shows that excessive speculative activity will have an even larger effect. Though some key financial reforms passed in 2010 may finally begin to be implemented in early 2013, that may be too late to avoid the coming price bubble."Read the rest of the article here.
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 2 years 9 weeks ago
As conflict, rape, and other human rights abuses continue in eastern Congo, armed groups are still funding themselves with conflict minerals — gold, tin, tantalum, and tungsten — which are often used in the manufacture of cell phones, computers, and other electronics. Now advocacy group The Enough Project has issued a new report card about how well different corporations are doing at cleaning up their supply chain to avoid contributing to violence.Some companies, such as Intel and HP, are doing much better than others — get an ethical clue, Nintendo! — but everyone has some room for improvement.See the rankings here or take in the chart-at-a-glance here. 
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 2 years 13 weeks ago
More about the efforts of the Nasa people in Cauca, Colombia to free their territory of armed actors:"Indigenous leaders in Colombia's conflict-scarred southwest say they will put on trial before tribal elders four alleged leftist rebels they accuse of attacks on civilians.""Nasa Indian leader Marcos Yule tells The Associated Press the four could face such punishment as floggings or exile if convicted in this weekend's trials.""The 115,000-strong Nasa say they are fed up with being in the crossfire of Colombia's long-running conflict. They have been trying since last week to force government troops and leftist rebels to leave their territory."The rest of the short news item is here.
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 2 years 13 weeks ago
Activists from Colombia’s indigenous Nasa people continue to make headlines — but there’s far more to their peacemaking  than the occasional story that makes the U.S. news. Here’s part II of the interview I did with two Nasa Indigenous Guard members, Manuel and Herman, in Cauca, Colombia, last August. The interview took place a month after an earlier round of violence: a bus bomb, suspected to be from the FARC, that went off in the town of Toribío, killing three and wounding more than a hundred in July 2012.Sojourners: What’s it like to be in the Indigenous Guard?German: Being an Indigenous Guard is very risky.  Obviously there are moments of conflict in which you know what you’re facing -- then there are moments of apparent calm, but calm can switch into situations of risk very quickly.
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 2 years 13 weeks ago
The photos from rural Cauca, Colombia are so dramatic they’ve repeatedly made the international news: indigenous Colombian activists--bearing sticks, community spirit, and a whole lot of moxie--demanding that heavily-armed FARC guerrillas and government armed forces alike leave their territory. As the war between the FARC and the government heats up again in Cauca, civilians are — as usual — getting caught in the crossfire; the town of Toribío has been attacked 14 times this year, according to the BBC.In response, Nasa activists last week shouted FARC guerrillas from their roadblocks back into the jungle, overran a hilltop government military outpost, and booed Colombian President Manuel Santos when he went to Toribío to hold a saber-rattling emergency cabinet meeting. (Yesterday, government forces used tear gas to drive out activists and re-occupy the post).Last summer, in Cauca with Witness for Peace, I was able to interview two of those activists, members of the Indigenous Guard formed by the Nasa ethnic group. The Indigenous Guard , armed only with beribboned ceremonial staffs of office, has been standing up against armed groups for years--for example, marching into the jungle to successfully demand the release of Toribío’s mayor when the FARC abducted him in 2004. What empowers these activists? Here’s what I learned last year from two Indigenous Guard members, Manuel and German (as translated by Witness for Peace Associate Director Jess Hunter-Bowman)
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 2 years 13 weeks ago
In an Indigenous region of Colombia's Cauca province, activists armed with ceremonial wooden staffs, moral authority, and *lot* of moxie are telling both government armed forces and guerrillas to get out of their territory. In the face of an upsurge in guerrilla-vs.-state violence, Colombian President Manuel Santos made a saber-rattling visit to the town of Toribío to hold an emergency cabinet meeting there, but indigenous activists from the Nasa ethnic group--all too aware that government troops' presence in civilian areas can paint a target on them--were not impressed with Santos' offer of more of the same. “The military can’t protect us and the guerrillas don’t represent us,” [Indigenous Guard leader] Mensa said, as he cradled the tasseled staff that identifies the volunteer guard. “All of them need to leave this area and let us live in peace.”..."Even before Santos had finished the emergency meeting, the community had decided to take matters into its own hands. One group confronted the FARC at the roadblocks and another walked more than two hours to a barren mountaintop army battalion that overlooks Toribío."After a short standoff with troops, about 200 people swarmed the base and began toppling sandbagged bunkers and filling in foxholes."..."At the FARC roadblocks, villagers shouted the guerrillas back into the jungle and seized five homemade mortars, called tatucos..."Read more from the Miami Herald.  When I visited Colombia last summer, I interviewed two members of the Indigenous Guard for an article for Sojourners magazine, and was deeply inspired by their commitment, strategy, and guts.
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 2 years 15 weeks ago
Florida governor Rick Scott says he won't take the federal money that would enable Medicaid to be expanded in his state, The Nation's blog reports:"Nearly 1 million Floridians will be denied access to Medicaid they would have otherwise received under the Affordable Care Act if Governor Rick Scott gets his way. The Supreme Court ruling last week on the law made it easier for states to opt out of an expansion, and Sunday night the governor’s office e-mailed a statement from Scott that 'since Florida is legally allowed to opt out, that’s the right decision for our citizens.'”This choice is particularly ironic, given that Scott was CEO of Columbia/HCA in the 1990s: that company was found to have defrauded Medicare on his watch. Eventually the company pled guilty to 14 felonies and paid fines of $1.7 billion. Scott denied knowing what was going on when he was in charge of the company. As the Miami Herald reported:"He has denied knowing frauds were taking place while he was there, and he was never charged with any crimes."However, federal investigators found that Scott took part in business practices at Columbia/HCA that were later found to be illegal -- specifically, that Scott and other executives offered financial incentives to doctors in exchange for patient referrals, in violation of federal law, according to lawsuits the Justice Department filed against the company in 2001."Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2010/06/rick-scotts-role-in-columbiahca-scandal.html#storylink=addthis#storylink=cpy
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 2 years 16 weeks ago
It's a honking long list of insiders — 605 names long, give or take a few duplicates. What do all of them, mostly from corporate America, know about the secret playbook U.S. trade officials are using next week in San Diego to negotiate a potentially huge international agreement?Five U.S. senators and 132 members of the House of Representatives wish they knew. They've been asking U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, the official in charge of such negotiations, to pretty-please let all members of Congress see the working text, or at least chapter summaries, of the deceptively benign-sounding Trans-Pacific Partnership, now in the works. So far, Kirk has said no. (In his defense, last month House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., leaked a draft of the "intellectual property" chapter of TPP, just because it's a "secretive agreement" that could “undermine individual privacy rights and stifle innovation." Leaking, whistleblowing--potato, potahto).
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 2 years 17 weeks ago
Adjunct faculty in today's colleges and universities are often, to put it mildly, not treated well in terms of income and job security, so it's not surprising to me that the adjuncts at Pittsburgh's Duquesne University are considering unionizing. After first agreeing to a union election, the university filed a legal movement last Friday to kibosh the process by claiming labor law doesn't apply to Duquesne as a religious institution.I don't know whether Duquesne's professors' job is religious enough to make this legal claim stick, in the same way  the "ministerial exception" means anti-discrimination law doesn't apply to religious employees (as Melissa Scott explained in "A Hire Law for Churches" in the April Sojourners). But I do know that it seems ironic that the professors may have a better grasp of Catholic teaching regarding labor unions than the university administration does:From Inside Higher Ed:"Joshua Zelesnick, an adjunct who teaches English composition at Duquesne, said he was taken aback that the university signed an agreement to follow all NLRB rules and regulations and was now trying to back out of it. ...“'They have a history of bargaining with other unions on campus -- for instance: they're not too Catholic to bargain with the Teamsters, who represent the campus police; not too Catholic for other unions.  How are they all of a sudden too Catholic for the USW?' Zelesnick said, adding that if the university wanted to exhibit its Catholic identity, 'upholding the papal encyclicals would be a great place to start.'"Robin Sowards, an adjunct who teaches composition and linguistics at Duquesne, pointed out that the Roman Catholic Church has said that unions are an 'indispensable element of social life.'”The school's full name is Duquesne University of the Holy Spirit. Is this a case of  "Spirit" vs. the letter of church teaching?Read more at the Inside Higher Ed website.
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 2 years 20 weeks ago
Watching TV is bad for kids' self-esteem, except if they're white boys. (Seems likely that too much TV is bad for everyone's esteem for their fellow humans, made in the image of God ...)"A new study suggests exposure to today’s electronic media often reduces a child’s self-worth.Indiana University researchers say this is the case if you are a white girl, a black girl or a black boy.However, researchers believe the media exposure can help the self-confidence of white boys.... In the study, the researchers surveyed a group of about 400 black and white preadolescent students in communities in the Midwest over a yearlong period."Read more here.
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 2 years 20 weeks ago
If there’s a contest for the title “greedy geezer,” a Social Security recipient living on $14K/year probably isn’t in the top ten…"…former Sen. Alan Simpson recently referred to a group of seniors concerned about cuts to Social Security as “greedy geezers.” While Simpson characterizes retirees who receive an average annual Social Security benefit of $14,000 as “greedy,” a new issue brief from the Center for Economic and Policy Research shows that simply raising or eliminating the Social Security payroll tax cap would only affect a tiny percentage of workers – the wealthiest in our nation -- while strengthening Social Security. …""[Currently,] a worker who makes twice the Social Security wage cap – $220,200 per year – pays Social Security tax on only half of his or her earnings, and one who makes just over 1.1 million dollars per year pays the tax on only about a tenth."Read full report HERE.
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 2 years 26 weeks ago
If you want utterly flawless no-knead bread, use the New York Times recipe. But if you want something extremely good and a lot less persnickety to make, try this recipe. It’s extremely popular around the Sojourners offices and, in honor of Sojourners magazine’s May 2012 issue about food justice, from farm to table, we’re bringing it to you!
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 2 years 26 weeks ago
Last week, anonymous U.S. officials told the media that the U.S. military wouldn't stop the drone-launched missile attacks, which they have been carrying out for years within Pakistan.Discouraging news, indeed. 

But we all need encouragement, so here's a little good news—images of a chance encounter of a peace-building kind.
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 2 years 27 weeks ago
Whatever President Obama does at the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia this weekend may not be front-page news in the U.S—but for many Colombians trying to make an honest living in their homeland, it could just be Obama's "Mission Accomplished" banner moment. President George W. Bush's May 2003 speech in front of a giant "Mission Accomplished" sign was, to put it mildly, a premature declaration of triumph in the U.S. war with Iraq, an enterprise that was a bad idea in the first place. In Cartagena this weekend, word is that Obama may declare that, after one year of a promised four-year plan, Colombia has met its commitments to crack down on offenses against Colombian workers' rights and lives.
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 2 years 29 weeks ago
It's ripped from the headlines: A young person is killed, but the police seem to be casting aspersions on the victim. It outrages us when it happens in Florida, and it should outrage us just as much when it happens further south. It was not one person but five who were found murdered on March 15 in the town of San Isidro, Cauca, Colombia. They had been bound hand and foot and shot in the head. As in the case of Trayvon Martin, race was a factor: the victims were ethnically indigenous. As I saw for myself when I visited Cauca last year, indigenous people in Colombia are (along with other historically marginalized groups) often stuck between a rock and a hard place —attacked or driven from their homes by both guerrilla insurgents and right-wing paramilitaries, both of which want to control territory and each of which accuses neutral parties of supporting the other side.
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 2 years 30 weeks ago
I’ve been thinking about the media and the truth after listening to This American Life's show this week, which is devoted to thorough and heartfelt repentance for inadvertently broadcasting a story in which monologist Mike Daisey said things that weren’t true. In contrast to the makers of This American Life, Daisey was, shall we say, non-thorough in his apology. And, as we all know, Daisey is just the latest link in a long chain of non-apologizers. Such a long chain, in fact, that I think it deserves its own Twitter hashtag: #circumpentance: Giving a vague approximation of repentance while sidestepping the real issue, often by misusing the word “if” or other rhetorical footwork. For example, Daisey’s statement: "the audience of This American Life … if they feel misled or betrayed, I regret to them as well." (Related term, already in use: #fauxpology.) Once I got started thinking about this, the media-survival hashtags just started bubbling up.
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 2 years 35 weeks ago
The approach of Transfiguration Sunday reminds me how, all through my evangelical upbringing, all those Bible passages about God's glory, and especially the parts where God demands glory, made me a bit uneasy. For example, Sunday's reading from 2 Peter 1 doesn't exactly hide anything under a bushel: Jesus “received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, 'This is my Son, my Beloved...'"Divine love? Great. Family relationship? Warm and fuzzy.But the double helping of glory with honor on the side and majesty on top — doesn’t that come off as, well, a trifle narcissistic? The root of my misperception was that our culture doesn't have a concept of glory at all. We just have celebrity, which is way, way, different. While giving someone celebrity can get degrading to all concerned (insert your own Jersey Shore joke here), God demanding glory is actually a deeply relational act. I didn't realize my cultural blind spot from any church sermon or from 10 years of small group Bible studies or from getting my Ph.D. in literature, so thank God that I eventually found myself trying to teach the epic of Gilgamesh. That’s when I realized how central the idea of fame was in many ancient cultures.
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 2 years 37 weeks ago
I know why those polar bears you're seeing everywhere look so pensive. They're thinking not just about coke (a byproduct of coal used in industry), but more generally about the massive use of dirty coal — used to make nearly half of all U.S. electricity (while renewable sources account for only about a tenth).They're thinking about how the U.S. and the rest of the world's decades of reckless fossil fuel use keep ratcheting up greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, causing Arctic ice to melt even faster than expected, and threatening them and all their polar bear friends. They'd like a cold one, all right — a cold Arctic, the way their home should be.
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 2 years 37 weeks ago
There are a lot of heinously unmerited personal attacks going on in these United States right now, but for some reason I’m most bothered by the ones against Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist and evangelical Christian. As this current Sojourners action alert describes, she’s been targeted by Rush Limbaugh, among others, for her efforts to speak the truth about global warming.Partly, these attacks get under my skin because I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for evangelical scientists. My dad is one, and my Intervarsity-linked Bible study in grad school was so full of them that, as often the lone humanities student, I jokingly made up a scientific discipline to fit in (“I’m in immunostatistics — I model atypical populations.”)But mostly, the attacks on Hayhoe sadden me because she’s so genuine and earnest in her desire not just to convey the evidence for climate change, but also to engage in respectful dialogue.
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 2 years 37 weeks ago
Editor's Note: In a recent New York Times op-ed, Nicholas Kristof slammed Village Voice Media’s Backpage.com for refusing to shut down its adult services section, which has repeatedly been linked to the sex trafficking of young girls. Check out a sneak preview of Associate Editor Zab Palmberg’s forthcoming piece in the March issue of Sojourners Magazine about the faith community’s response to Backpage: The Internet makes it easier to sell your old bicycle — but, as a growing interfaith coalition of clergy is emphasizing, it shouldn’t make it easier to sell children for sex.Two years ago, under pressure from anti-trafficking activists and 17 state attorneys general, Craigslist shut down its “adult services” section. Now, researchers say, the leading online purveyor of “adult” classified ads — which, as numerous criminal cases have shown, include ads pimps use to traffic children they have entrapped — is BackPage.com, owned by Village Voice Media.
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 2 years 39 weeks ago
Most real-life law students I've met are at way, way less risk of being murdered than their counterparts in a John Grisham novel--except for Francia Marquez. The Afro-Colombian activist and mother of two has received multiple death threats as she advocates to keep her home community from having their ancestral home stolen by a land-grab big mining project. There's gold in them thar hills in Francia's home, La Toma, in Colombia's Cauca province. Families in her hometown have lived for generations off of small-scale, by-hand gold mining. (Francia herself still puts in some mine time when she visits home, although these days she's spending the most time in her legal studies in Bogota.)But lots of larger-scale mining concerns want in on the action. Some have sent in bulldozers illegally. Others are joining the land rush of getting mining concessions from the national government--notwithstanding laws on the books that give local communities various rights, including prior consultation on any mining projects.
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 2 years 39 weeks ago
We're once again in that sugary time of year, Girl Scout cookie season — but, as two Girl Scouts from Ann Arbor, Mich., want you to know, there's palm oil in those cookies, as there is in many foods we eat. And palm oil has been linked not only with rainforest destruction in Indonesia, but with plantations in league with paramilitary killers in Colombia. (Kind of gives appalling new meaning to the phrase “cookie monster.”)Last year I also met with Colombian farmers driven off their land by paramilitaries, as I write about in this month's issue of Sojourners, so I was excited to interview Madison and Rhiannon after their recent trip to Colombia.Read on to find out about how, trying to live by the Girl Scout Law, these two intrepid 11th-graders have been on a five-year mission to stop cookies — and lots of other things you may be planning to eat — from, well, palming off human rights abuses on U.S. snack-seekers.
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 2 years 46 weeks ago
This analysis is not from Occupy Wall Street: It’s from those long-haired, hippie radicals over at Bloomberg News, whose Freedom of Information Act lawsuit finally pried the bailout details out of the unwilling Fed. Turns out the banks made $13 billion in profits off the government’s sweetheart-deal interest rates, which New Deal 2.0 is calling maybe “the biggest subprime loan operation of all time.”The contrast couldn’t be clearer: While the government swung into extreme, double-secret action to save Wall Street, it’s sitting on its hands as long-term mass unemployment hammers Main Street.
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 2 years 47 weeks ago
As the finger-pointing begins over the supercommittee debacle, another epic Capitol Hill fail flew under the radar last week.
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 2 years 51 weeks ago
When three dozen prominent clergy (including Jim Wallis) signed an ad in the New York Times saying that the best way to stop the sex trafficking of children on Backpage was to shut down that website's "adult" section, the company's response was awfully familiar to me. Rather than accepting this advice from the clergy--which was the same as the urging of the attorneys general of 48 U.S. states plus three territories--Backpage went on the defensive. This reminded me, a lot, of the time I spent last summer talking with a lawyer for Craigslist, following up on Sojourners' anti-child-trafficking story Selling Our Children.
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 3 years 15 weeks ago
Don't get me wrong -- I love sitting behind my computer here at Sojourners, or proofreading a stack of magazine-pages-to-be, fresh from Art Director Ed Spivey's printer. But sometimes there's no substitute for being on the scene, live and in person.
Posted by Elizabeth Palmberg 3 years 16 weeks ago
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Two weeks ago, McDonald's shareholders voted down a shareholder resolution asking the corporation to study how its advertising to children contributes to widespread childhood obesity. The resolution was sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, along with a Catholic hospital network and other institutional investors.
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Last summer's financial reform bill included something the world has long needed: a requirement that electronics manufacturers disclose whether their products include conflict minerals from Congo. Money from conflict minerals helps fund militias' reign of terror and rape in the country's eastern region. (See activist site Raise Hope for Congo's listing of how 21 leading electronics companies are doing at voluntary disclosure -- no one gets a gold star, but some are worse than others. Yeah, we're talkin' to you, Nintendo.)
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