Monday, November 28, 2011

Blue Tarps and Evictions: Tornado money only went to those who played the game

Blue Tarps and Evictions: Tornado money only went to those who played the game

While some may say, Broadway Avenue doesn’t need the Prayer Center – actions by local neighborhood organizations (White) that received city funding are not willing to help anyone outside of their “game-plan.” Just down the street sits the Pohlad Foundation, Northside Achievement Zone and a host of other non-profits that still have not put funding to good use – but remain the keepers of the gates. But hey, we still have to remember, “If it’s Black, the red-necks want it back.” That’s the new Minnesota Nice.

As winter weather hits Minnesota, we still see over 50+ homes with blue tarps.

Something doesn’t add up. Wasn’t there a trailer on the corner of Penn and Broadway mobilizing “minority contractors” for what should have been one of the greatest public works projects in north Minneapolis history?

It’s happened again. The Gilligan’s Island Syndrome in north Minneapolis. They come; they gain; they leave and don’t send back any help.

Why are there still blue tarps and evictions?

Friday, November 11, 2011

The FCC’s plan to bring the Internet to the poor

Learn? Use? Access?
With the silence of Minnesota's Broadband Technology Opportunity Program and the recent events that have missed the mark in assist the Twin Cities poor in obtaining marketable skills in the areas of data entry and learning how to navigate the Internet, the FCC comes to the rescue. Is this a good thing?

By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols | November 10, 2011, Guest Contributor

Summary: The FCC’s “Connect to Compete” plans on bringing the Internet to the U.S.’s poor.

I know about poor. I grew up in the backwoods of West Virginia. I was lucky. I had several gifts and made the most of my chances. Thus, I was able to move from a dirt road to Manhattan skyscrapers in a few years. Most poor people don’t get that kind of shot. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has decided to help today’s poverty-stricken youth get their chance to move up by unveiling a plan to bring broadband Internet connections to eligible low-income families, Connect to Compete.

Working in partnership with National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) ISPs the FCC has arranged for poor families to get broadband Internet connections, without an installation/activation fee and no modem rental fees (with an option to purchase a $10 modem) for $9.95 a month. Eligibility for Connect to Compete will be limited to households that have a child enrolled in the national school lunch program and that are not current or recent broadband subscribers.

According to the NCTA, “Broadband is an increasingly integral part of getting a quality education, yet too few of the most needy kids have the service at home. Research shows the barriers to broadband adoption involve a complex mix of digital literacy, perceived relevance of online content, and access to low-cost computers and Internet service. Compete to Compete is the largest private sector initiative ever to address one key prong of the adoption problem: getting broadband Internet into the homes of students where the adoption problem is most acute. [It] can give millions more students the tools to do homework at home and to develop the skills they will need to find a job in the 21st Century economy.”

In a statement FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski expanded on this theme, “There is a growing divide between the digital-haves and have-nots. No Less than one-third of the poorest Americans have adopted broadband, while 90%+ of the richest have adopted it. Low-income Americans, rural Americans, seniors, and minorities disproportionately find themselves on the wrong side of the digital divide and excluded from the $8 trillion dollar global Internet economy.”

You’ll get no argument from me on that point. Tomorrow’s good jobs are technology jobs. Basic technology literacy is as important as reading, writing and arithmetic was to earlier generations. When I say “technology literacy,” I’m not talking about being able to program in C. I’m talking about simply know how to use a Web browser and how to send an e-mail.

As Genachowski points out, 80%+ of Fortune 500 companies require online job applications, including major employers such as Wal-Mart, Target, Costco, and ExxonMobil. Increasingly, if you’re not on the net you can’t effectively apply to go to college or get a job.

How much of a difference does Internet access make? A lot. Genachowski cited a Federal Reserve study that “found that students with a PC and broadband at home have six to eight percentage point higher graduation rates than similar student who don’t have home access to the Internet.”

I expect that the gap between those with access to the Internet and technology and those without will only increase. For example, libraries are beginning to close their doors to patrons without e-readers. Oh, it’s early days still, but you can see the trend against physical books and the buildings that hold them starting from here. You may be OK with that… if you have a e-reader and an Internet connection.
In short, we, the people of America, need Internet access for all and Connect to Compete is a step in that direction.

Lucky Rosenbloom resigns from COBM: Another Emergency Meeting Called!

Lucky Rosenbloom resigns from COBM: Another Emergency Meeting Called!

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