An American Prospect

Two new government reports illustrate the complex and troubling state of opportunity in America, but also the right way forward. The first set of data, by the Bureau of Labor […]
Alan Jenkins
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Holding Arpaio Accountable

Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is known for housing inmates in tent cities in the desert and making them wear pink clothes as humiliation, but also for allegations of […]
Alan Jenkins
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Opportunity Marching Forward

The Washington Post reported this week that a coalition of over 150 social justice and public interest groups has come together to call for job creation and investment in opportunity, […]
Alan Jenkins
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Listening to the Mayors

By and large, mayors are pragmatists. They’ve got snow to remove and potholes to fill, schools to run and crime to fight. Literally and figuratively, they must keep the trains […]
Alan Jenkins
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The Case for a Constitutional Visionary

The conventional wisdom is that President Obama’s nominee to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens won’t change the Supreme Court much, since Justice Stevens is part of the Court’s progressive […]
Alan Jenkins
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Rights at Home

Mossville, Louisiana is an historic African American community in the southwest part of the state. Like too many similar communities around the country, it is surrounded by 14 industrial facilities […]
Alan Jenkins
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Marching for America

Last Sunday, as the health care bill was being debated, 200,000 Americans gathered on the National Mall to urge action on another national priority: fixing our broken immigration system. Speakers […]
Alan Jenkins
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International Women’s Day is a Day for Action

President Obama and the First Lady recognized International Women’s Day earlier this week with a moving and sometimes funny ceremony in the East Room. The President said that “the story […]
Alan Jenkins
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Power of the Pen

Last week President Obama used a strategy that should become an important part of his leadership going forward. On February 18, he issued an executive order creating a bipartisan commission […]
Alan Jenkins
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Ten Lessons for Talking About Racial Equity in the Age of Obama

Experience from around the country shows that discussing racial inequity and promoting racial justice are particularly challenging today. Some Americans have long been skeptical about the continued existence of racial […]
Alan Jenkins
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Negroes Against Apartheid

So who even uses the word “Negro” anymore, much less the phrase “Negro dialect”? Apparently Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, in a conversation with reporters before Barack Obama became president. […]
Alan Jenkins
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Ten New Years Resolutions for the Obama Administration

Ten New Year’s Resolutions for The Obama Administration In 2010: 1. I will inspire. I am one of the most charismatic orators of our generation, but as president, I’ve moved […]
Alan Jenkins
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Americans Believe in Government…When it Works

On issue after issue, President Obama is locked in a struggle for the hearts and minds of the American people. At issue—transcending health care reform, economic stimulus, the bailout of […]
Alan Jenkins
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An American in Paris, and Beijing, and London…

During a series of trips through Europe and Asia that I completed last week, I was reminded that the Americans with Disabilities Act really is the Americans with Disabilities Act, […]
Alan Jenkins
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Coming Clean on the Stimulus

A report issued by the White House and the Education Department on Monday showed that the federal economic stimulus package (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) has so far created […]
Alan Jenkins
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The Speech I Hope the President Will Give

My Fellow Americans: I speak to you tonight at a crucial moment in our nation’s history. When you elected me president almost one year ago, you voted in favor of […]
Alan Jenkins
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The Quiet Revolution in Criminal Justice Reform

A panel of federal judges has ruled that conditions in California’s overcrowded prisons violate the constitution. Quoting Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s words from 2006, the court found that “immediate action is […]
Alan Jenkins
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Race and Law Enforcement: What We Do Know

Only two people know what actually went down between Professor Henry Louis Gates and Sergeant James Crowley last week, and even they disagree—apparently in good faith—about what transpired. So as […]
Alan Jenkins
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Wrong About Ricci

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated decision in Ricci v. DeStefano, the New Haven firefighters case. While the Court’s decision was disappointing in many respects, it preserved employers’ […]
Alan Jenkins
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Missing Luke

I learned last week that my friend and law school classmate Luke Cole had died in a car accident while vacationing with his wife in Uganda. Luke was an incredible […]
Alan Jenkins
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Obama’s Wrong Note

During the presidential campaign, candidate Barack Obama spoke eloquently about race in America and its continuing relevance to our national progress. But at the press conference marking his first 100 […]
Alan Jenkins
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Torture, Accountability, and the Future

Article 1 of the International Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment provides, in simple terms, that “torture means any act by which severe pain […]
Alan Jenkins
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The State of Opportunity

As Obama’s first 100 days draw to a close, new research shows that addressing today’s economic crisis will require reinvesting in a bedrock American principle: Opportunity. The State of Opportunity, […]
Alan Jenkins
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An Uneven Journey

Earlier this year, I visited my father, who lives in the Bay Area. As we drove from the Oakland airport, the conversation quickly turned to the Obama presidency. Born in […]
Alan Jenkins
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Now for the hard part…

Two weeks ago in this column I called for equal opportunity guarantees in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Ensuring equal and expanded opportunity for all, I argued, will be […]
Alan Jenkins
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Recovering Opportunity

This week President Obama promoted his much-needed economic recovery package in a prime-time news conference and a trip to economically depressed Elkhart, Indiana, where the unemployment rate has topped 15%. […]
Alan Jenkins
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Dr. King’s Modern Legacy

In the days just before and after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 80th birthday, I had the opportunity to visit two places that are integral to his modern day legacy: […]
Alan Jenkins
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It’s a Wonderful Movie

Every year, I watch the holiday screening of the 1946 film “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and marvel at how relevant the film remains. That was true in spades this year. […]
Alan Jenkins
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A Time for Sacrifice

A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll is getting a lot of attention for its finding that President-Elect Obama is getting a whopping 67% approval rating from the public. But another, […]
Alan Jenkins
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The Opportunity Multiplier

In his first 100 days, President-elect Obama plans to pass an economic stimulus package that will create or save 2.5 million jobs. Economists estimate that this may require almost $1 […]
Alan Jenkins
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How Not to Blow It

It’s hard to overstate the transformative moment that we’re in as a nation and, particularly, as progressives. In just a few years, we’ve gone from the high point of conservative […]
Alan Jenkins
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Americans See Health Care as a Right

In the second presidential debate, moderator Tom Brokaw asked the candidates whether health care is a privilege, a responsibility, or a right. John McCain answered privilege, while Barack Obama said […]
Alan Jenkins
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Pre-Inventing History

You’ve got to admire the conservative echo chamber. In the shadow of a financial meltdown that McCain and Obama both (correctly) agree stemmed largely from a lack of governmental oversight […]
Alan Jenkins
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Walking and Chewing Gum

The challenges facing Americans today tend to be framed in the media and on the campaign trail as a daunting and often depressing laundry list of economic and social woes: […]
Alan Jenkins
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Opportunity at Risk at the Ballot Box

With Election Day just two months away, the presidential campaigns are (finally) beginning their home stretch. At the same time, voters are starting to pay attention to a dizzying array […]
Alan Jenkins
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Leading by Example

Seventy years ago this month, New York State’s political leaders gathered in Albany to confront an economic and social challenge, the Great Depression, that makes today’s situation look rosy. Representing […]
Alan Jenkins
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Making A Wave When You Can

Over the weekend, I found myself listening to the theme song from the 1970s TV show “Good Times,” because, yes, I have that kind of time on my hands. The […]
Alan Jenkins
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Bringing New Integrity to Our Criminal Justice System

There is a saying in many African-American communities that our system of criminal “justice” means “just us.” While overstated, the expression reflects longstanding, as well as very recent, experiences of […]
Alan Jenkins
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What’s the Matter with Ohio?

For decades, residents of the Coal Run neighborhood of east-central Ohio had to haul water from wells or collect rainwater to drink, cook, and bathe. Their story might be quaint, […]
Alan Jenkins
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