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Posted by on Jul 2, 2008 in At TMV | 28 comments

Obama & Giving Something Back To The U.S.

01aaa_NewRosie.jpgThe concept of national service is for me a no-brainer because it is a great way to give something back to the U.S. and even our erstwhile friends overseas while receiving valuable training and experience in return. I suppose the very fact that it makes such sense is why we haven’t heard much about it during a presidency that has made as its centerpiece a war that has bankrupted the national treasury and for which it has asked no one to sacrifice.

The first and subsequent times I heard Barack Obama on the stump this year he spoke at length about national service being a centerpiece of his presidency, and while he remains short on specifics, there is much to like in his plan, which he will roll out in a speech later today:

* Encourage national service to address the great challenges of our time, including combating climate change, extending health care, improving our schools and strengthening America overseas.

* Expand AmeriCorps to 250,000 slots and double the size of the Peace Corps.

* Integrate service learning into schools and universities to enable students to graduate college with as many as 17 weeks of service experience under their belts.

* Provide new service opportunities for working Americans and retirees.

* Expand service initiatives that engage disadvantaged young people and advance their education.

* Expand the capacity of nonprofit organizations to innovate and expand successful programs.

* Enable more Americans to serve in the armed forces.

The devil, as they say, is in the details, but Obama at least has some real-world experience as a community organizer on Chicago’s South Side and stint heading Project Vote, which his campaign says helped register 150,000 new African American voters in Chicago.