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Gender: Male
Current location: NC
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 40,215

Journal Archives

United States Congress: A Graveyard for Democracy and Justice


Published on Thursday, January 19, 2012 by Common Dreams

United States Congress: A Graveyard for Democracy and Justice

by Ralph Nader

The editor of The Hill, a newspaper exclusively covering Congress, said that Congress was not going to do very much in 2012, except for "the big bill" which is extending the payroll tax cut and unemployment compensation, which expire in late February. That two month extension will likely reignite the fight between Democrats and Republicans that flared last month.

In 2012, Congress, the editor implied, would be busy electioneering. That is, the Senators and Representatives will be busy raising money from commercial interests so they can keep their jobs. There won't be much time to change anything about misallocated public budgets, unfair tax rules, undeclared costly wars, and job-depleting trade policies that, if fixed, would increase employment and public investment.

So this year, Congress will spend well over $3 billion on its own expenses to do nothing of significance other than shift more debt to individual taxpayers by depleting the social security payroll tax by over $100 billion so both parties can say they enacted a tax cut! That is what the Democrats in Congress and the President call a significant accomplishment.

Will someone call a psychiatrist? This is a Congress that is beyond dysfunctional. It is an obstacle to progress in America, a graveyard for both democracy and justice. No wonder a new Washington Post-ABC news poll found an all time high of 84 percent of Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing.


Arizona School District Wipes Latino American History Off the Map


.Published on Tuesday, January 17, 2012 by Common Dreams

Arizona School District Wipes Latino American History Off the Map

- Common Dreams staff

A catastrophe in slow motion has played out in Arizona schools over the last several years as anti-immigrant sentiment crept into state legislation guiding how and what kind of Mexican American and indigenous history could be taught in classrooms across the southwestern border state. What may have seemed absurd until recently is now a reality as boxes of banned books will now be gathered up and locked away.

Jeff Biggers, who has covered the ethnic studies ban in Arizona extensively, reported at Salon:

As part of the state-mandated termination of its ethnic studies program, the Tucson Unified School District released an initial list of books to be banned from its schools today. According to district spokeperson Cara Rene, the books “will be cleared from all classrooms, boxed up and sent to the Textbook Depository for storage.”

Facing a multimillion-dollar penalty in state funds, the governing board of Tucson’s largest school district officially ended the 13-year-old program on Tuesday in an attempt to come into compliance with the controversial state ban on the teaching of ethnic studies.


This is the list of textbooks cleared from the classrooms, according to KGUN 9 in Tuscon:


Critical Race Theory– Richard Delgado

500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures – edited by Elizabeth Martinez

Message to AZTLAN – Rodolfo Corky Gonzales

Chicano! The History of the Mexican Civil Rights Movement – Arturo Rosales

Occupied America: A History of Chicanos – Rodolfo Acuna

Pedagogy of the Oppressed – Paulo Freire

Rethinking Columbus: The next 500 Years – Bill Bigelow

Dogs Now Welcome At Domestic Violence Shelter Thanks To Heroic Pooch


Dogs Now Welcome At Domestic Violence Shelter Thanks To Heroic Pooch

A Great Dane who saved his owner's life by protecting her from her boyfriend's physical abuse has now inspired the local domestic violence shelter to allow companion pets, KCTV 5 News Kansas City reports.

The Rose Brooks Center, a domestic violence shelter in Kansas City, Missouri, became the first shelter in the area to accept pets after receiving a desperate call from a woman whose boyfriend had attempted to beat her with a hammer, KCTV reported.

The woman told emergency hotline operators that she escaped death only because her Great Dane had jumped on top of her and absorbed most of the blows. Undeterred, the boyfriend threw both the woman and her dog out a second-story window, and the two were seriously injured.

She refused to accept a space at The Rose Brooks Center, however, when she learned that they didn't accomodate pets.


Honoring Martin Luther King Jr. while perpetuating the racial divide


Published on Friday, January 13, 2012 by CommonDreams.org

Report: Massive Movement Needed to Fix 'Perverse Concentration of Wealth'
Honoring Martin Luther King Jr. while perpetuating the racial divide

- Common Dreams staff

Martin Luther King's dream of racial equality is far from reality.

Census Bureau figures show the U.S. on track to be a majority minority nation by 2042. But if the trends of the last 30 years continue, according to a new report, the economic racial divide is set to increase.

The non-partisan group United for a Fair Economy's (UFE) ninth annual MLK Day report, State of the Dream 2012: The Emerging Majority finds that racial economic divide will remain "disastrously large and will threaten the stability of the entire economy."

While the numbers of people of color in the nation surge, this fact alone is not enough to change the economic reality. From the report:

In the age of mass media and Citizens United, money buys influence, and the national income and wealth will remain over-whelmingly in the hands of Whites – a small group of Whites at that.


Democratic Host Committee securing Charlotte parks for convention week


by RAD BERKY / NewsChannel 36 Staff
Bio | Email| Follow: @RadBerkywcnc
Posted on January 10, 2012 at 11:47 PM

Democratic Host Committee securing Charlotte parks for convention week

Updated Wednesday, Jan 11 at 2:10 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- NewsChannel 36 has learned that the Democratic Convention Host Committee is lining up a number of city parks for the week of the convention in September.

The Host Committee has already secured the right of first refusal to use almost all the city's parks, according to a spokesperson, and that could mean limited access or no access for the public during the convention.

"I'm about freedom and liberty," said James Bailey at the Occupy Charlotte encampment at the old city hall.


The Host Committee spokesperson also pointed out that arrangements were started to reserve the parks during the time the city was bidding to win the convention and that was long before the Occupy Charlotte camp was established.

The Value of Teachers


The Value of Teachers

Published: January 11, 2012

Suppose your child is about to enter the fourth grade and has been assigned to an excellent teacher. Then the teacher decides to quit. What should you do?

The correct answer? Panic!

Well, not exactly. But a landmark new research paper underscores that the difference between a strong teacher and a weak teacher lasts a lifetime. Having a good fourth-grade teacher makes a student 1.25 percent more likely to go to college, the research suggests, and 1.25 percent less likely to get pregnant as a teenager. Each of the students will go on as an adult to earn, on average, $25,000 more over a lifetime — or about $700,000 in gains for an average size class — all attributable to that ace teacher back in the fourth grade. That’s right: A great teacher is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to each year’s students, just in the extra income they will earn.

The study, by economists at Harvard and Columbia universities, finds that if a great teacher is leaving, parents should hold bake sales or pass the hat around in hopes of collectively offering the teacher as much as a $100,000 bonus to stay for an extra year. Sure, that’s implausible — but their children would gain a benefit that far exceeds even that sum.

Conversely, a very poor teacher has the same effect as a pupil missing 40 percent of the school year. We don’t allow that kind of truancy, so it’s not clear why we should put up with such poor teaching. In fact, the study shows that parents should pay a bad teacher $100,000 to retire (assuming the replacement is of average quality) because a weak teacher holds children back so much.


Bob Weir's Sweetwater Music Hall to Open this Month in Mill Valley


Bob Weir's Sweetwater Music Hall to Open this Month in Mill Valley, CA

Facebook page...Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - 3:33pm
by Shelley Champine

This just in from the Sweetwater Music Hall, Mill Valley, CA:

The much-anticipated Sweetwater Music Hall – a community gathering place and live music venue dedicated to bringing back the Sweetwater’s musical legacy to Mill Valley – is set for a soft opening this month. The opening of Sweetwater Music Hall marks a rebirth of the landmark roots music venue and San Francisco Bay Area treasure founded by original owner Jeanie Patterson nearly 25 years ago.

A local venture that will be comprised of multiple investors including Bob Weir (Grateful Dead, Furthur) and other longtime supporters of Patterson’s club, the Sweetwater Music Hall is a state-of-the-art nightclub and café that will not only present nationally recognized top-quality entertainment but also will provide a comfortable home venue for local and emerging talent to perform and experiment.


Is this land made for you and me? by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship

Published on Thursday, January 12, 2012 by Moyers & Company

Is This Land Made for You and Me?
by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship

Over the next few weeks, on the air and on our new website, BillMoyers.com, we’ll be talking a lot about “winner-take-all” politics and how economic inequality – the vast gap between the rich and everyone else– isn’t the result of market forces and Adam Smith’s “invisible hand.” It has been deliberately, politically engineered.

But first, as they used to say on radio, a musical interlude. The traveling medicine show known as the race for the Republican presidential nomination has moved on from Iowa and New Hampshire, and all eyes are now on South Carolina. Well, not exactly all. At the moment, our eyes are fixed on some big news from the great state of Oklahoma, home of the legendary American folk singer Woody Guthrie, whose 100th birthday will be celebrated later this year.

Woody saw the ravages of the Dust Bowl and the Depression firsthand; his own family came unraveled in the worst hard times. And he wrote tough yet lyrical stories about the men and women who struggled to survive, enduring the indignity of living life at the bone, with nothing to eat and no place to sleep. He traveled from town to town, hitchhiking and stealing rides in railroad boxcars, singing his songs for spare change or a ham sandwich. What professional success he had during his own lifetime, singing in concerts and on the radio, was often undone by politics and the restless urge to keep moving on. “So long, it’s been good to know you,” he sang, and off he would go.

What he wrote and sang about caused the oil potentates and preachers who ran Oklahoma to consider him radical and disreputable. For many years he was the state’s prodigal son, but times change, and that’s the big news. Woody Guthrie has been rediscovered, even though Oklahoma’s more conservative than ever – one of the reddest of our red states with a governor who’s a favorite of the Tea Party.



OWS Protesters Re-Occupy Liberty Square!

Ron Paul's Strange Bedfellows - "What is it with progressive mancrushes on right-wing Republicans?"


Ron Paul's Strange Bedfellows

Katha Pollitt January 4, 2012 This article appeared in the January 23, 2012 edition of The Nation.

What is it with progressive mancrushes on right-wing Republicans? For years, until he actually got nominated, John McCain was the recipient of lefty smooches equaled only by those bestowed upon Barack Obama before he had to start governing. You might disagree with what McCain stood for, went the argument, but he had integrity, and charisma, and some shiny mavericky positions—on campaign finance reform and gun control and… well, those two anyway.

Now Ron Paul is getting the love. At Truthdig, Robert Scheer calls him “a profound and principled contributor to a much-needed national debate on the limits of federal power.” In The Nation, John Nichols praises his “pure conservatism,” “values” and “principle.” Salon’s Glenn Greenwald is so outraged that progressives haven’t abandoned the warmongering, drone-sending, indefinite-detention-supporting Obama for Paul that he accuses them of supporting the murder of Muslim children. There’s a Paul fan base in the Occupy movement and at Counterpunch, where Alexander Cockburn is a longtime admirer. Paul is a regular guest of Jon Stewart, who has yet to ask him a tough question. And yes, these are all white men; if there are leftish white women and people of color who admire Paul, they’re keeping pretty quiet.

Ron Paul has an advantage over most of his fellow Republicans in having an actual worldview, instead of merely a set of interests—he opposes almost every power the federal government has and almost everything it does. Given Washington’s enormous reach, it stands to reason that progressives would find targets to like in Paul’s wholesale assault. I, too, would love to see the end of the “war on drugs” and our other wars. I, too, am shocked by the curtailment of civil liberties in pursuit of the “war on terror,” most recently the provision in the NDAA permitting the indefinite detention, without charge, of US citizens suspected of involvement in terrorism. But these are a handful of cherries on a blighted tree. In a Ron Paul America, there would be no environmental protection, no Social Security, no Medicaid or Medicare, no help for the poor, no public education, no civil rights laws, no anti-discrimination law, no Americans With Disabilities Act, no laws ensuring the safety of food or drugs or consumer products, no workers’ rights. How far does Paul take his war against Washington? He wants to abolish the Federal Aviation Authority and its pesky air traffic controllers. He has one magic answer to every problem—including how to land an airplane safely: let the market handle it.

It’s a little strange to see people who inveigh against Obama’s healthcare compromises wave away, as a detail, Paul’s opposition to any government involvement in healthcare. In Ron Paul’s America, if you weren’t prudent enough or wealthy enough to buy private insurance—and the exact policy that covers what’s ailing you now—you find a charity or die. And if civil liberties are so important, how can Paul’s progressive fans overlook his opposition to abortion and his signing of the personhood pledge, which could ban many birth control methods? Last time I checked, women were half the population (the less important half, apparently). Technically, Paul would overturn Roe and let states make their own laws regulating women’s bodies, up to and including prosecuting abortion as murder. Add in his opposition to basic civil rights law—he maintains his opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act and opposes restrictions on the “freedom” of business owners to refuse service to blacks—and his hostility to the federal government starts looking more and more like old-fashioned Southern-style states’ rights. No wonder they love him over at Stormfront, a white-supremacist website with neo-Nazi tendencies. In a multiple-choice poll of possible effects of a Paul presidency, the most popular answer by far was “Paul will implement reforms that increase liberty which will indirectly benefit White Nationalists.” And let’s not forget his other unsavory fan base, Christian extremists who want to execute gays, adulterers and “insubordinate children.” Paul’s many connections with the Reconstructionist movement, going back decades, are laid out on AlterNet by Adele Stan, who sees him as a faux libertarian whose real agenda is not individualism but to prevent the federal government from restraining the darker impulses at work at the state and local levels.

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