Commentary

Unlock the Block Project Director Jazz Hayden observes that the "felony disenfranchisement" laws that bar 4.65 million Americans from voting have an explicitly racist history.

Is it coincidence that the harshest disenfranchisement laws are mostly in former slave states? Not in the slightest. Like poll taxes and literacy tests, the ostensibly race-neutral disenfranchisement laws were created to keep blacks from voting.

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NEW YORK -- As New York City peers into the abyss of deep budget cuts, many city leaders are infuriated by Gov. George Pataki's unwillingness to do more to help the five boroughs. This is hardly the first time city leaders have howled about not getting their fair share from Albany, but the problem has become so pronounced that the City Council even held a hearing recently to consider seceding from New York State.

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NEW YORK -- As Congress debates next year's budget, alarm bells are sounding among groups that work with the poor. Every day, it seems, brings a new report about drastic cuts at the state level to health insurance, child-care, and other programs that help low-income families. Advocates predict that Republican budget proposals, with their meager aid to the states, will mean ever more pain for Americans at the bottom of the economic ladder.

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President Miles Rapoport looks at the challenge of implementing the new Federal election law in a way that will maximize voter participation.

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Senior Fellow David Callahan discusses how charities and other nonprofits radically tighten their belts, marking a heady golden age for America's nongovernmental sector as coming to an end. Emerging hopes that this sector could do better than government at easing social ills -- hopes championed by the right, but not uncommon on the left -- seem naive in the context of recent funding trends.

The endowments of many US philanthropic foundations have declined by a third or more in the past several years, and individual giving is also way down.

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Senior Fellow David Callahan suggests that the anti-war movement hints at growing disenchantment with American democracy and a new concern about sustainable energy policy.

What might today's antiwar movement say about domestic politics? Two undercurrents of the protests hint at larger critiques of United States society that seem to be gaining momentum. One relates to consumption, the other to democracy.

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In making the case for war, there is one thing on which President Bush and his critics agree: It's all about trust. The leaders of eight European countries who signed on to the war effort in a commentary in the Wall Street Journal and European papers last week didn't make a judgment on the evidence; they argued that history and the North Atlantic alliance demanded that Europe trust America.

But if the case for war rests on trust, there are good reasons why this president, like any powerful democratic leader, needs to be distrusted.

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This report deals with the role Mexican immigrant organizations are playing in promoting or inhibiting immigrant political incorporation into the U.S. political system.

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studentorgs

America has lived for two centuries with the myth of its independence, sure that its sovereignty would protect it from outside aggression. After all, before Sept. 11, the last major assault by foreigners on mainland American soil was the British attack on the White House and the Capitol in 1814. But our sovereign independence, already under siege from new forms of global disease, global technology, global crime, global ecology and global markets, came under direct assault on Sept. 11.

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NEW YORK -- Over the last year and a half, Federal Reserve rate cuts have dramatically lowered interest rates on consumer loans, setting off a stampede of home refinancing, as well as new home and auto purchases. But such Fed inspired rate relief is not happening everywhere: credit card rates remain staggeringly high. It's almost inconceivable -- yet true -- that in 2001, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates 11 times, yet the average credit card rate dropped by less than 1 percentage point.

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