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(Slate) — “I’ve been unemployed or underemployed since September 2006,” said Benito Diaz. “The only thing I’ve done since then is part-time jobs, not even in what I used to work in. Frustrating is not the word. Yeah, so, the most important thing to me is the issue of jobs.”  There are seven of us sitting around Diaz, listening and nodding. This was the sharing portion of the meeting, when everyone got three minutes to talk about how the economy was affecting them and the poor schlubs they knew. When we were done, according to our briefing papers, we were scheduled to talk about “the time in your life when you felt most proud of your community of America.” And after that, we were supposed to make some lists.  We were making history, maybe, sitting at one of the inaugural get-togethers of the American Dream movement, aka the Rebuild the Dream movement, aka the insanely ambitious project that Van Jones has been talking about ever since Glenn Beck and some bloggers succeeding in bouncing him out of the White House. This get-together, in a Quaker meeting house in Washington’s Dupont Circle, started at 4 p.m. on Saturday and went on for two hours. It was one of about 1,600* such parties happening around the country last weekend, and one of 10 within a short bike or car ride from my house.

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