Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Debate Thread and a Thought
There's a presidential debate tonight on MSNBC for the Democrats. I've been leaning Obama, though I like the policy positions of Edwards and if I thought he had a legitimate chance to win the nomination I would consider him. Lately, I have to admit, Obama has made my preference for him less of a positive conviction and more of a response to the reality that he is the only non-Hillary candidate with a chance. I had hoped not to be in his corner only out of default.

On another front, here's the news I'll be using to frame tonight's debate in my own mind. We've just learned that in Tennessee now, the number of public school children who are so poor as to qualify for school lunch assistance has topped 50% for the first time - at 53%. That's right - more than half of Tennessee's public school children are impoverished. In fact the entire South is above 50%. It's absolutely astounding in America. It's devastating that we can be so completely surrounded by need and still demand such little change to do something about it. More than half.

It's just plain wrong - embarrassingly so. CEOs rake in hundreds of millions - and that's just in failure. Meanwhile most Americans have trouble meeting their mortgage, trying to get by with little or no health coverage, and that's often with more than one job. Forget about actually having the time and skill and patience to raise children that have their heads on straight and a chance at going to college. It's insane. It's profane.

What I'm getting at is that tonight I want to look for the candidate whose leadership and policies have the best chance of attending a significant decline in that number. It's complicated for sure, and not wholly in the realm of Presidential influence, for sure. But this way of being is just not sustainable. It's got to stop somewhere, sometime. With apologies to the Gulf Coast state, we are all becoming Mississippi. 20 years ago, only that state was above 50% and now, the entire Southeast, plus WV, NM, CA, and TX. If you want to know where we're headed, MS is now at 75%, LA at 84.

You can read the entire report - if you really think you want to - here.

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