Saturday, May 31, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Today, when I opened up my emailed version of The New York Times, I read in an op-ed piece by Thomas Friedman, about a charter boarding school in Maryland called SEED where a lottery was held, open to the public, for the first 80 students to go to this innovation in education. Friedman was there on the day of the selection, and witnessed the joy and disappointment of the crowd there.
A school program like SEED is not a cure-all for anything. It is not going to turn around the dismal reality of so many public schools in the US. It will not magically reduce total dropout rates in cities like Balitimore, New York and New Orleans. There is no magic bullet, but it is an attempt to face up to the reality that the problem is not just money, but real ideas. The solution is not privatizing schools, or testing the hell out of schools to decide which ones to shut down. the solution is not cutting music and art classes.
The shortcuts are easy. They are easy in a country like Brazil, where quotas have engendered more outrage than the US has ever seen. The affirmative action plans of both the US and Brazil only band-aid a problem that needs to be attacked at the root, which is elementary school. If ideas like SEED can take off in school systems throughout the US, there is no real reason why they cannot be adapted, not necessarily copied, in Brazil.
Something must be done, and steps must be taken. A first step is looking at the reality of things, and not being blinded by ideals.
To read Friedman's op-ed piece, entitled Hope in the Unseen, go to:
Here are the words of Orwell:
" We are capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield."
Like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, so on and so on.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
SWAT report slams LaBruno
by Charles Hack
Tuesday May 27, 2008, 10:59 PM
The internal investigation into the Hoboken Police Department slams Chief Carmen LaBruno for failing to control Lt. Angelo Andriani and even colluding with him to abuse his position as SWAT commander, according to a copy of the scathing report obtained today by Hoboken Now and The Jersey Journal.
The report goes beyond the Hooters photo scandal and alleges a cozy relationship between Andriani and LaBruno that led to Hoboken cops working at Andriani's Verona home and points out that the now much-maligned SWAT team served absolutely no purpose for the citizens of the Mile Square City.
Hoboken labor attorney's David Corrgian's report entitled "In the Matter of an Investigation of the Hoboken Police Department" is dated March 25 and was intended for internal use by the Hoboken administration to decide what disciplinary action to take following the scandal.
Some key findings of the report:
*"Andriani did whatever he wanted with respect to the administration and operation of the unit," which he was in charge of since 1991 when the newly appointed LaBruno granted permission to form the SWAT team."
*"The SWAT team rendered virtually no meaningful services to the city" and the services it did perform such as providing security during the World Cup and two trips to Louisiana "did not benefit any business, resident or taxpayer of the City of Hoboken."
*"The Hoboken SWAT unit was more than a waste of money and/or time. The unit's operations either directly or indirectly let (sic) to several acts of misconduct engaged in principally by Andriani."
*Chief Carmen LaBruno "permitted Andriani to keep the SWAT bus at his home in Verona, New Jersey and work from home," where police officers worked on Andriani's boat and SWAT bus while being paid by the city.
*"'Working outside of Hoboken gave Andriani a license to have the police officers engage in private work for Andriani while the were being paid by the city."
*Andriani and LaBruno entered into a "secret" and "illegal" verbal agreement in the guise of aiding the SWAT operation, where Andriani allowed the police department to use his boat. But the "contract was not submitted to the City Council as required by law. The city received not benefits whatsoever. LaBruno let Andriani use the City's dock, which cost $15,000 for Andriana's boating pleasure."
*LaBruno allowed Andriani to collect SWAT dues through members' paycheckd without exercising "any oversight" on how the funds were spent.
*La Bruno allowed Andriani to use the SWAT funds to pay for the chief's trip for the Maddi Gras trip in 2006, stopping off at Houston where his family was on vacation.
The report also details the circumstances of the two trips to Louisiana after Katrina in the fall of 2005 and for Mardi Gras in early 2006, which led to infamous pictures of Hooter's waitresses, handling SWAT weapons for the camera..
The report, while showing that La Bruno had intervened to prevent disciplinary action against Andriani, also criticizes four police officers for allowing Andriani's misconduct as a "racist, liar and cheat" to continue longer than it should by not reporting until it was reported to Internal Affairs in Oct. 15, 2007.
LaBruno , 59, will retire shortly with an estimated $147,555 annual pension, plus a one-time payment of between $275,000 and $375,000, as per his contract with the city. That includes compensation for 150 unused vacation days and $150,000 in termination pay
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Over the past several weeks, my fellow City Council colleagues and I learned that the Administration has been misleading the City Council and the people of Hoboken about the state of our City's finances. We have spent millions of dollars more in this fiscal year than the Mayor disclosed in his budget. The City has been hiding its true spending by continually "sliding" payments into the next fiscal year. This practice is clearly irresponsible and very likely illegal.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Though, one criticism - there had to be some strong women figures during this solid defeat of the democrats and we are stuck with only one performance of Katherine Harris that though extraordinarily accurate is the only women's role worth discussing in the film. Where was Donna Brazile? Was it all men running the show? I guess that question could be a yes, but that is troubling in itself.
The film is superbly acted, however and brings you solidly back to the trauma, though there is a sampling of excitement now that our nominee is clearly picked and we are a mere 240 days before these fuckers are gone forever.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
The Top 20 Shows of the season were released after sweeps week. Below are the actual top five shows for the year. It is simply pathetic. Maybe Daddydan was right, who cares about the writers strike if this is what we are stuck with? There is not a show on here I actually watch or would ever watch for that matter. Does that make me out of the mainstream? Weird? Out of touch? Am I one of those crazy liberals those white working class voters in Pennsylvania, Ohio, W. Virginia and Kentucky talk about? I am an elitist because I cannot stomach this garbage. The #6 show is the first actual drama in the list and that is the ever eventful and laughably bad Desperate Housewives. And of course CSI and House - also garbage. I cannot decide which is worse the reality shows or the ridiculous piles of shit they put on television as drama. The only sitcom on the list is Two and Half Men, led by the genius of Charlie Sheen.
I guess I am an elitist. We have become so dumbed down by what is on television. We actually reach out and say this is good when ten years ago it was ridiculous. It is shock and awe on the little screen with a lot of sex and no substance. Pathetic. We bought HBO again last night just to have something worthwhile to watch on the little screen. I can't wait for Recount. Of course no one will watch it and that my friends is how we get stolen elections, preemptive wars, torture and executive power with no end.
1.“American Idol” Tuesdays - Fox - (28.75 million)
2.“American Idol” Wednesdays - Fox (27.78 million)
3.“Dancing With the Stars” Mondays - ABC (21.67 million)
4.“Dancing With the Stars” ABC - (19.58 million)
5.“Dancing With the Stars” Tuesdays results shows ABC - (19.56 million)
Mrs. Clinton apologizes, but seemingly to the wrong person.
Olbermann does not accept the apology and says this final episode is "unforgiveable."
Friday, May 23, 2008
From think progress: Dobbs has a history of perpetuating myths on his show, previously linking undocumented immigrants with cases of leprosy, airing a report saying that the “invasion of illegal aliens is threatening the health of many Americans.” When CBS News confronted Dobbs and told him his claim was false, Dobbs simply replied, “If we reported it, its a fact.”
Last night, Dobbs similarly dismissed challenges to his fact-free claims, calling Waldman “an ideologue” and “a left-wing hack.”
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Make no mistake about this the Clinton campaign is back in full swing claiming Obama is actually like George Bush because he is disenfranchising voters in Michigan and Florida. The campaign is going on the offensive about sexism as well. I saw an argument tonight claiming sexism is the reason she did not win the nomination or is not winning. It has nothing to do with the fact that she has run this campaign like a Republican, she is the candidate of "let's obliterate Iran." She has pulled out every stop, asked for the votes of white, hard working Americans so why not bring up sexism as the reason.
So, let me say a little something about this. There is no doubt sexism has played a part in this campaign especially from the media stand point as has racism - clearly. Arguing which ism is worse is a useless, petty argument that has no place here (though one could make the argument since women make up 58% of the voting in democratic primaries this has not been a disadvantage). Both candidates suffer the hardship of being the first, but I feel as democratic voters are concerned (excluding media bullshit and Republican crazies) each candidate has been given a fair shot by the democratic voting public. You can say W. Virginia and Kentucky would never go for Obama because of "cultural" elements there just as you can say MD., VA. and DC and other southern states were going Obama all the way because of his advantages in garnering most of the black vote.
The argument is petty, vile and stupid. The Clinton campaign is not going away. They are taking this to the convention unless the most powerful democrat in the country stops her. Yes, Nancy Pelosi. Act soon.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Obama expresses his support for Ted Kennedy
Senator Byrd offers his tearing support to his dear friend.
Monday, May 19, 2008
My wife and I were driving down the highway the other day. Actually we were stuck in traffic. Parked on the highway. To our right was a ginormous billboard announcing the 2008 Green Car of the Year:
Sunday, May 18, 2008
From the Washington Post: Sen. Barack Obama has seen his share of large crowds over the last 15 months, but his campaign said they have not approached the numbers gathered along the waterfront here right now. The campaign, citing figures from Duane Bray, battalion chief of Portland Fire & Rescue, estimated that 75,000 people are watching him speak.
The scene suggests this is not an exaggeration. The sea of heads stretches for half a mile along the grassy embankment, while others watch from kayaks and power boats bobbing on the Willamette River. More hug the rails of the steel bridge that stretches across the water and crowds are even watching from jetties on the opposite shore.
"Project Laundry List was created at Middlebury College. We launched National Hanging Out Day and asked people to 'hang your pants, stop the plants' and 'put yourself on the line.'
"I've gotten hundreds of e-mails from people all over the country saying that they're going to try putting a clothesline in their backyard. It's an easy step anyone can take. The problem is that in a lot of neighborhoods, community associations see hanging laundry as a flag of poverty, and they have banned it in public. In Columbus, Ohio, you're not allowed to hang clothing out to dry in any historic district, and there are other restrictions around the country. We're trying to pass legislation in North Carolina and Vermont that would say community association boards can't prohibit people from using clotheslines. We are also championing right-to-dry language in any national climate-change legislation.
Weinberg said she understands hospitals are struggling, but they cannot be allowed to make-up in lost profit on the uninsured, especially she says when these men and women are the least able to pay. Senator Weinberg's bill, S1797, would cap hospital bills for uninsured patients at no more than 15% above the Federal Medicare charge. The bill also calls upon the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a sliding fee scale, based on family income, which would be used to determine reasonable costs for hospital services.
In order to qualify for these set fees, residents' income would have to be less than 500% of the Federal poverty level, which is currently $21,200 for a family of 4 (500% of which is $106,000), said Senator Weinberg.
As someone who has been a victim of this fraud I applaud Senator Weinberg, who has shown herself to be a true blue progressive. Bills are high enough in hospitals when one has insurance, but when you don't the bills pile up at insurmountable proportions. I had surgery after a car accident that was a very serious situation. Within days my bills were passing the $75,000 dollar mark. With no ability to pay (I was in law school) and because I sacrificed my health insurance for food and books I was up the creek. Two years later, poverty stricken throughout law school I finally won a lawsuit to pay the bills.
But, the unfairness in charging someone who does not have health insurance more for their health care shocks the conscience. How many different issues could universal health care actually solve? It would be an interesting list to compile.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Obama responds in a forceful way outlining the differences between he and these nut Republicans. I think it is interesting though the credibility Obama brings because he never supported this war. He speaks with conviction and outrage just like Americans who never supported this disastrous policy. He stands strong and cannot attack him like they attacked Kerry. Though, I must say we must change our policy toward Israel which he is signaling he won't do. But, the entire middle east peace depends upon it. Anyway, here is the clip:
Friday, May 16, 2008
This got me to thinking. And I just read in today's local Bauru daily newspaper, that, on one of the highways that runs from Bauru to another city called Iacanga, someone dies every 10 days.
Now, this is a disturbing fact, just on the surface, but when combined with the fact that this statistic is fatal accidents, it becomes truly frightening when you think about how many total accidents must occur daily on that particularly small, two-lane road.
I have written in the past about my experiences driving in Bauru in particular, and this week, in one of my Conversation classes at CNA Language School, where I teach ESL, I tried to get to the roots of the problem.
The consensus was that individuality, and the belief that one's life is so stressful that everyone is just getting in the way when you are driving, leads to so many of the accidents on today's roads.In the textbook we use, the writer notes some instances in Philadelphia, in which one driver, cut off, shot another driver in the head. Another, in the same city, was over a parking spot.
As I drive to work today, I am certain that I will feel the adrenaline rush when someone cuts me off, or runs a red light, and I try not to blow my horn at them. Then, I am sure I will let my mind wander for a moment, longing for a city where I don't need to drive to work, because I have the greatest subway system in the world: New York.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
How to Make a Laptop Bag from Cardboard
So you've just received a nice laptop, but you can't afford 40 bucks for a carry case? Or your current laptop bag has shredded, gotten coffee spilled on it, or doesn't fit your new laptop? You can make an inexpensive temporary replacement from nothing more than a box and some packing tape!
What a couple of days we are having. First NARAL endorses Obama, then Edwards does the same and now CA sees the light. Woohoo! It's a good week.
Although there is still an anti-gay marriage ballot initiatives slated for a vote in Cali. Consider donating to stop it.
BBC, as I just read in Folha de S. Paulo, is on top of things in the Amazon, as well as Indonesia, another literal hotspot for the burning and destruction of rainforests worldwide. The photo attached to this post is from yesterday's issue of BBC online, and shows the drastic demarkation between farmland (mainly soy) and the Amazon, in the state of Mato Grosso. This report, combined with the numerous reports both nationally and internationally regarding the acquittal of Bida, accused of ordering the death of Dorothy Stang, who tirelessly defended natives and the rainforest in the state of Para, has put the focus back on what has become today's Wild West, and one of the most important battlegrounds in the fight to control climate change while feeding a world increasingly dependent on Brazil for food. Numerous reports here in Brazilian periodicals have noted that areas with high levels of illegal lumbering also have the highest numbers of homicide per capita. With the aforementioned acquittal of a powerful farmer in the death of Stang, many fear that it is open season on dissidents an voices for the Amazon.
To check out the fascinating slideshow on BBC, complete with shocking captions and stories about those who make up the Amazon reality today, go to:
Do not miss this revealing and disturbing look at one of the most important places in the world.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Update: Videos below.
This is great news! They are getting some negative responses on their blog, so stop over and show them some pro-choice, Obama-lovin' support!
Monday, May 12, 2008
Sunday, May 11, 2008
- 1 child in 4 does not reach his or her fifth birthday in Afghanistan, Angola, Niger and Sierra Leone. In Sweden, only 1 child in 333 dies before age 5.
- Fewer than 15 percent of births are attended by skilled health personnel in Afghanistan and Chad; 96 percent of births are attended by skilled health personnel in Sri Lanka.
Over the course of her lifetime, 1 woman in 8 will die in pregnancy or childbirth in Afghanistan. Compare that to 1 in more than 47,000 in Ireland.
- A typical woman in Angola, Dijbouti and Niger has less than four years of schooling versus a typical woman in Australia or New Zealand who receives over 20 years of formal education.
- A girl born in Swaziland will not live to see her 30th birthday. Compare that to a girl born in Japan who will live to 86 years old.
Why doesn’t the United States do better in the rankings? The United States ranked 27th this year based on several factors:
● One of the key indicators used to calculate well-being for mothers is lifetime risk of maternal mortality. The United States’ rate for maternal mortality is 1 in 4,800 - one of the highest in the developed world. Thirty-five out of 43 countries performed better than the United States on this indicator, including nearly all the Western, Northern and Southern European countries and Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Hungary, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine.
● Similarly, the United States did not do as well as many other countries with regard to under-5 mortality. The U.S. under-5 mortality rate is 8 per 1,000 births - up from 7 in last year’s Index. Twenty-nine countries performed better than the U.S. on this indicator.
● Only 61 percent of children in the United States are enrolled in preschool - making it the ninth lowest country in the developed world on this indicator.
● Next to Australia, the United States has the least generous maternity leave policies of any wealthy nation.
● The United States is also lagging behind with regard to the political status of women. Only 17 percent of seats in the U.S.Congress are held by women, compared to 47 percent in Sweden and 42 percent in Finland. Why is Sweden number one? Sweden performed as well as or better than other countries in the rankings on all the indicators. It has the highest ratio of female-to male earned income, the highest percentage of women with seats in the national government and - along with Iceland - the lowest under-5 mortality rate in the world.
Friday, May 9, 2008
ideal bite posted some super useful ideas today...
- Add to the $2.3 trillion already invested in socially responsible businesses - money that helps the green marketplace grow.
- Between 2000-2005, the value of the Global 100 most sustainable companies outperformed a common benchmark (the MSCI World Index) by 80%.
Community Investing Center - put money into a low-risk bank account (insured at $100,000 per depositor like traditional banks) that provides loans to underserved borrowers. Measure your potential impact here.
Blue Marble - socially responsible investment firm helps you green your portfolio; low account minimums (starting at $100 plus $100 per month).
MicroPlace - makes it easy for you to give small loans (even just $100) to entrepreneurs in developing countries; you make a low-risk return of 2%-3%.
Fleur de l'Europe Brut - hell, even do-gooder investors ought to indulge in a little biodynamic bubbly once in a while ($70).
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Philly policemen were videotaped stomping, kicking and beating three men suspected to be involved in a nearby shooting. An attorney representing the men called it a brutal attack by cops. He also said one of the men had a baseball-sized welt on his forehead, multiple scrapes and bruises, and was barely conscious.
Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey who saw the video, said, "On the surface it certainly does not look good, regarding the amount of force that was used. But a full investigation is underway."
The video shows police cars chasing a gold sedan to a stop in the 3700 block of North Second Street.Other police cars keep arriving. About six to eight officers, with guns drawn, swarm over the sedan, pulling open the driver's door. As more officers race up to the car, one beats the passenger's side with a baton. All four doors are pulled open, and as each of the three men is pulled from the car, he is tossed to the street and surrounded by three to five officers.
A group of about three or four officers begin trying to handcuff the driver and can be seen delivering at least 13 kicks to the suspect's head and sides as well as several punches. The passenger pulled from the rear seat is also kicked by a group of four officers as well as being struck four or five times by an officer who appears to be wielding a baton.A canine officer stands nearby restraining an excited police dog.The video is only 52 seconds, but believe me it is enough.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
more about mr. ames on wikipedia... thanks for making new jersey proud... and showing that the typical suburban upbringing is not so predictable!
The Alcoholic ended up as a graphic novel (published by Vertigo, which recently announced a plan to put more focus on original graphic novels) through Ames's friendship with artist Dean Haspiel, a fellow Brooklynite. "I was sitting in a cafe in Brooklyn,” Ames said, “and he came up and introduced himself to me, said he was a fan of my writing, and then we fell in love, and eventually adopted several children. We were kind of like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, except nobody knew it," Ames joked. More seriously, he added, "After meeting at the cafe, we became friends. One of those rare after-age-35 new friendships."
We shall see tonight.
Monday, May 5, 2008
Sarah Silverman has vowed never to marry her longtime boyfriend Jimmy Kimmel - because their relationship is perfect as it is. The 27-year-old has been romantically involved with Kimmel, host of TV talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live, since 2002 - but she insists she has no plans to wed any time soon. She tells People.com, "I'll be honest, we have it good. I don't want the government involved in our love. When my friends get married I think it's romantic, I cry, whatever. But it's not for me." However, Silverman hasn't ruled out having children: "I might adopt, but we're going to wait. If you're going to have kids, you need to have time to give them undivided attention."
Sunday, May 4, 2008
* Hispanics remained the largest minority group in both New Jersey and the nation. At 1.4 million, they made up 15.9 percent of the state population. Nationwide, Hispanics numbered 45.5 million, making up 15.1 percent of the population. Since 2000, the Hispanic population in New Jersey grew by 22.6 percent, and nationwide by 28.9.
* Blacks were the second-largest minority group in New Jersey and the nation. In New Jersey, they numbered 1.3 million, comprising 14.5 percent of the population. That marked an increase of 3.7 percent since 2000. Across the United States, they totaled 38.8 million, making up 12.8 percent of the population. Their numbers grew 8.5 percent since 2000.
* About 650,000 New Jersey residents listed their race as Asian, making them 7.5 percent of the state population, which constitutes a 30.6 percent increase since 2000. At the national level, they were 13.4 million, or 4.4 percent of the population, reflecting a growth of 25 percent since 2000.
* Young children, ages 10 and below, and adults between 30 and 60 years of age were the major forces behind the growth in New Jersey's Hispanic population since 2000. The adults fueled 51 percent of the increase, and young children fueled 17 percent.
* For Asians, the biggest drivers of change – accounting for 60 percent — were adults ages 30 to 60. Children 10 and under were less of a factor for Asians than for Hispanics, accounting for 10 percent of the growth.
Note: Census analysis did not include people who reported more than one race.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Saturday, May 3, 2008
"Most of the electorate understands that the U.S. is in sorry shape, which is why more than 80 percent of poll respondents say we’re on the wrong track. The Rev. Jeremiah Wright has nothing to do with any of that. The idea that his nonsense may shape the outcome of this election is both tragic and absurd."
By BOB HERBERT
Published: May 3, 2008
The Rev. Jeremiah Wright is no doubt (and regrettably) a big issue in the presidential campaign. But what we’ve seen over the past week is major media overkill — Jeremiah Wright all day and all night. It’s like watching the clips of a car wreck again and again.
We’ve plotted the trend lines of his relationship with Barack Obama over the past two decades. What did Obama know and when did he know it? We’ve forced Barack and Michelle Obama, two decent, hard-working, law-abiding, family-oriented Americans, to sit for humiliating television interviews, reminiscent of Bill and Hillary Clinton on “60 Minutes” at the height of the Gennifer Flowers scandal.
We’ve allowed the entire political process in what is perhaps the most important election in the U.S. since World War II to become thoroughly warped by the histrionics of a loony preacher from the South Side of Chicago.
There’s something wrong with us.
Race is like pornography in the United States — the dirty stories and dirty pictures that everyone professes to hate but no one can resist. But I suspect that even porn addicts get their fill sometimes.
The challenge for the working press right now is to see if we can force ourselves past the overwhelming temptations of Wright and race and focus in a sustained way on some other important matters, like the cratering economy, metastasizing energy costs, the dismal state of public education, the nation’s crumbling infrastructure or the damage being done to the American soul by the endless war in Iraq.
A highly decorated Army ranger named David McDowell, a 30-year-old father of two from Ramona, Calif., was killed in Afghanistan this week. As I read his obituary, I noticed that he had been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq seven times. What does that tell us about our shared wartime sacrifices?
I’d like to hear a lot less about Reverend Wright and a lot more about why the U.S. can’t close the deal in Afghanistan and hardly even seems interested in extricating our G.I.’s from Iraq.
Among the many other important issues overshadowed by the good reverend is a legitimate dispute between the presidential candidates over a proposed gasoline tax holiday, to run through the summer. Hillary Clinton and John McCain favor this dopey, irresponsible proposal, which would save individual motorists a grand total of $28, but which would result in $9 billion in lost tax revenues, much of it targeted for infrastructure needs.
(Senator Clinton says she would recoup the losses with a windfall profits tax on oil companies. Don’t hold your breath.)
No one with a serious understanding of the nation’s energy needs supports this foolishness. Senators Clinton and McCain have been assailed by editorial writers on the left and the right for pandering. Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City was stinging in his criticism, calling the proposal “about the dumbest thing” he’d heard in a long time.
“Obama was right on this one, and McCain and Clinton were wrong,” said Mr. Bloomberg. “The last thing we need to do is to encourage people to drive more and to take away the monies we need for infrastructure in this country.”
The point here is that this was a tailor-made opening for the press to push the candidates hard on a phenomenally important question: What should we be doing in the short and long term about U.S. energy requirements?
Another issue: Economists were exhaling Friday because we only lost 20,000 jobs in April. After all, we lost 81,000 in March. Nevermind that we need to be creating millions of jobs if we’re ever going to get our economic house in order. With credit cards maxed out, real estate prices falling and enormous amounts of home equity already drained, a good job is the only legitimate way to put real money into the hands of cash-strapped families.
Americans are hurting on the jobs front. Those who are employed are working fewer hours and for less pay. Some sectors are crippled by unemployment. There are big-city neighborhoods in which the real jobless rate of young African-Americans is 80 percent or higher.
Do the candidates have concrete strategies for engaging these problems? Could we hear about them? Explore them? Critique them?
Are we in the news media going to be serious about this election, or is it really going to be all about Wright and race all the time?
Most of the electorate understands that the U.S. is in sorry shape, which is why more than 80 percent of poll respondents say we’re on the wrong track. The Rev. Jeremiah Wright has nothing to do with any of that. The idea that his nonsense may shape the outcome of this election is both tragic and absurd.
Anyway, I was thinking Obama needs to get back to the issues, get back to inspiring us and his base. Me. A liberal (very liberal) white man with advanced degrees and the African-American population. Inspire us. We can win it for you and we will eventually bring the rest along. So, here it is. He was great last night. Here is the closing that was essential politicking.
Friday, May 2, 2008
Thursday, May 1, 2008
The decision turns back centuries of voting and jurisprudence that accepts a voter's signature at the voting booth. The Justices in their opinion admitted there is "no evidence" for wide spread voter fraud for enacting these laws, but yet here we are.
Voting rights activists have long argued that since photo ID can cost money, or may demand expensive trips to government agencies, the requirement constitutes a "poll tax." Taxes on the right to vote were used for a century to prevent blacks and others from voting in the south and elsewhere. They were specifically banned by the 24th Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1964.
Justice Stevens, the court's most reliable liberal wrote the opinion for the 6-3 court arguing though rare, the "risk of voter fraud" was nonetheless "real" and that there was "no question about the legitimacy or importance of the state's interest in counting only the votes of eligible voters."
This latest Supreme Court decision is yet another serious blow to voting rights advocates - and probably to the Democratic nominees for President and other offices. It will clearly make it far more difficult for poor, minority, elderly and young citizens to vote. Tens of thousands of normally Democratic voters in key states - especially Florida, Michigan, Georgia and Louisiana - will simply be prevented from getting a ballot.
The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University's School of Law in its "Friend of the Court" brief noted that between 10% and 13% of eligible voters lack the identification now required in Indiana. People without an official photo ID tend to be disproportionately minorities and poor, ushering a new Jim Crow era based on race and class apartheid. One Indiana study, according to Inter Press Service reporter Jim Lobe, found that 13.3% of registered Indiana voters lacked the now-required ID, but the numbers were significantly higher for black voters at 18% and young voters age 18-34 at more than 20%. Read the rest here.
There is no other reason for these laws, but to disenfranchise voters at the polls. There are not widespread voter fraud throughout the nation. It just does not exist, yet we now have a Supreme Court decision that states one must have an I.D. at the polls. While the danger for 2008 is real, 2010 could open the flood gates.
Shame on Justice Stevens.
Happy May Day! Radical historic significance aside, May Day is one of my favorite lesser-recognized holidays. When I was a wee lass we would weave paper ribbons through plastic strawberry baskets, fill them with flowers, leave them on neighbors' doorsteps, knock and run. Did you know you're supposed to get a kiss if you're caught? Pick your neighbors carefully, I guess! In later years this was the day that I moved my bedroom to a roomy second floor balcony and slept al fresco through the end of September. Although the official first day of spring has come and gone, it doesn't really get started for me until the 1st of May.
Two years ago today, I was traipsing around Rochester in Kent, England with dear friends, taking in my first castle, trying not to tread on ancient graves, and enjoying the annual Sweeps Festival. This was my most touristy request - attending a traditional May Day celebration. The rest of the trip was spent exploring relatively obscure roadside attractions, dusty bookshops, fancy chocolatiers, outdoor markets, and oddball museums.
This year, May Day happens to fall on the 1st Thursday of the month, so we have even more to celebrate than usual! We're proud to present an exhibit of recent work by Portland denizen and international animal hero, Nicole J. Georges, entitled I Like To Be Alive. In addition to the art show, we are also celebrating the recent release of the second collected volume of her enchanting and beloved zine, Invincible Summer (Microcosm, 2008). We've been showing Nicole's work for years and it's been a pleasure to watch her evolve as an artist. Even in the early days, she demonstrated a remarkable knack for capturing expression and spirit in her animal portraits, but this show, and in particular the wolves and rabbit pieces, reveal quite a leap in technique. It's going to be hard for me to restrain myself from snapping them up, so you'd better come quick!
So, after all this reminiscing, how about we start a new May Day tradition? Let's all do something fancy for someone else's benefit, for no other purpose than to brighten their day. You could have one intended recipient or perform an act of public fabotage* to benefit any random passersby.
Send in your reports to for a future update. Bonus points for photos and anonymity in your fancy attack!
Your Faithful Proprietress,
*Fabotage is a word that I coined last year to describe a deliberate action aimed at changing something for the better through various methods of improvement and embellishment. While a subversive and possibly illegal act, it should not obstruct, disrupt or destroy its target.
May Ms. Palfrey rest in peace.