Friday, May 26, 2006

NY State Green Party Candidate Challenges Hillary

Howie Hawkins campaign focuses on three leading policies:
http://hawkinsforsenate.org/

Out Now - End the War - Bring the Troops Home

National Health Insurance (Medicare for All)

Clean Energy to Stop Global Warming - A Global Public Works Program to Rewire the Planet with Renewable Energy in 10 Years

An independent opposition party like the Greens is the most effective way to advance peace, justice, and a sustainable society. It is not just the peace vote that is open to alternatives. So are the millions without health insurance, the workers who are losing wages and benefits and their very jobs, the environmentalists who see no program to address global warming, and the women and people of color who are losing their recently won rights. All have reason to be dissatisfied with Clinton, who is taking them for granted as she rebrands herself as a moderate for her presidential run.

Clinton has been a consistent war hawk on the Iraq war and, indeed, all the wars initiated by Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. She is more responsible than any other person in America for killing the single-payer national health insurance bill that had about 100 members of Congress as co-sponsors in 1993.

That's why Howie Hawkins asks for your vote in November

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Full Text of Letter to Pres. Bush--from Truthout.org

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/051006A.shtml#1

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Pink's "Mr.President"

PINK has written a poignant song --Dear Mr. President--that everyone should hear. Luckily a video of her singing it is posted at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eDJ3cuXKV4

Saturday, May 06, 2006

English ONLY?

Lately, Americans (the real Americans from the US) have united to demand that English be the national language—the language of the national anthem and the language every citizen must speak to if they are truly patriotic. As a teacher of English for over 30 years, I may have some advice I can offer.

First, most people born in this country are not speakers of Standard English, at least the English in the hundreds of grammar books used in classrooms monitored by No Child Left Behind. Take a trip to New York, Boston, Kentucky, Memphis, Miami, Los Angeles, or New Orleans. I believe that the diverse discourse you are likely to hear is why this president and this Congress have instituted the English testing standards mandated by No Child Left Behind. In fact, the President’s own “nucular” and other ungrammatical gaffs indicate that Texans have a lock on a new, more American English. I suspect we ought to revise the national anthem to begin “Oh, say canya see ..”

As far as the anthem goes, we may want to ask how many people in this country actually know the words of the national anthem. Ever listen to people around you at a baseball or football game? From what I hear, most of us could use a printed copy and a pronunciation expert. The song has just too many words we don’t use anymore, and no one I know says “proudly we hail” on a regular basis.

More to the point, we ought to consider the reality that the national anthem was composed nearly a century after the Constitution was written. If we really want to stick to tradition, shouldn’t we find a song written in language more similar to the Queen’s English spoken by Jefferson, Franklin and Washington? After all, isn’t our patriotic duty to figure out exactly how our Founding Fathers spoke? Let’s get back 200 plus years to a time when automobiles, telephones, and airplanes didn’t pollute our America with new fangled notions of connecting all people and cultures. The Founding Fathers didn’t need to worry about language since the elite status of citizenship didn’t include Native Americans, slaves, or women.

If we still believe a national language is so critical to our country, perhaps we should follow France’s lead. The French have a department of language, complete with language police to protect the purity of the French language and culture. We could use another Department of Something, especially since FEMA is about to be eliminated. As a Katrina refugee, I could use a full time job. I’d be happy to move to the White House and give the President a few lessons, maybe even a multiple choice grammar test or two. After that, we could train language police to monitor Congress, State Houses, City Councils, and School Boards. While we’re at it, let’s require every voter to pass a high school exit exam in the English language as a prerequisite for exercising the right to vote in this democracy that we call the United States of America.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Who cares about in which language the national anthem is sung?

The whining about a Spanish version of the national anthem is so bizarre I have hesitated to even discuss it. Real men and women ought to be debating the causes of and solutions to unemployment, the continuing lack of concern or help fro New Orleans and The Gulf Coast, the rising gas prices and our refusal to participate in energy conservation and the Kyoto agreement, childhood hunger, illiteracy in this country, the high rate of infant mortality in this country--you name it (and don't even get me started on this immoral Iraq war).

What's UP! Wake up! and Deal with reality.

FEMA Welches New Orleans

by Jeff Crouere (BayouBuzz.com)

Yesterday’s report that FEMA is closing its long range planning office in
New Orleans should not come as a surprise to anyone. FEMA neglected New Orleans before, during and after the storm. As the city continues to struggle post-Katrina, the agency that can provide the most assistance is leaving. FEMA is charged with helping New Orleans prepare a recovery blueprint to rebuild neighborhoods, schools and homes. Incredibly, in the midst of the most massive recovery undertaking in the history of this country, FEMA is abandoning a city that remains flat on its back.

Katrina knocked out most of the businesses, schools, hospitals and infrastructure in New Orleans. Eight months later, less than half of the population has returned, only a few schools and hospitals have opened and many New Orleans landmarks, such as famous restaurants and even the world renowned St. Charles Streetcar line are still not in operation. The floodwaters that sat in many sections of New Orleans for so long did incredible damage.
1,300 people died because the Army Corps of Engineers, a federal government agency, failed to build adequate levees around New Orleans. The levee problem was compounded by the poor response from FEMA. The vital aid that thousands of people needed was so delayed and inadequate that many people died unnecessarily. Walmart and other private groups and businesses were much more effective in getting assistance to people who needed help in New Orleans. Of course FEMA was overwhelmed, but so was everyone else. The fact that FEMA was besieged was no excuse for tardy and ineffective assistance for the stranded people of New Orleans.

Eight months later, the people of New Orleans are still stranded. FEMA provided the city with little help in the immediate aftermath of the storm, so it should be going overboard today to make up for the previous problems. Instead it is leaving its most crucial post and abandoning its most important mission, a decision that is not only unconscionable, it is immoral.
According to Aaron Walker of FEMA, “We can only do so much and then we look to the city to embrace and begin planning and managing. We have reached that point where the city needs to take that step forward. And once they begin planning, we can re-engage with them."

FEMA is demanding that a broke city facing potential bankruptcy, which had to fire 3,000 employees in a cost cutting move, take over the planning process. Today, city government is a shell of its former self, with limited personnel and even more limited resources. Obviously, the Nagin administration should have done more to assist FEMA and work with them in the planning process. The problems with local government are too numerous to outline at this point. Nevertheless, FEMA should not abandon its post and relinquish its duty because of any problems on the local level. The agency needs to complete the assignment however long it takes.
Since Katrina, FEMA has often changed personnel in New Orleans and each time a new planning team came to town, the promises would change.. According to city officials, a former FEMA Director made a verbal commitment to fund the planning process. Unfortunately that Director is now long gone and so is the commitment.

New Orleans, a unique and historic jewel in this homogenized country, should not be forgotten. The fact that FEMA is walking away from the most important mission in the agency’s history is reason enough for Congress to vote to eliminate the agency. At this point, FEMA does not deserve to exist any longer. In its place a new, independent agency should be formed immediately with direct access to the White House and staffed by caring, competent professionals. The City of New Orleans and the country has seen the dysfunctional incompetence and criminal neglect from FEMA for far too long.



Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 8:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and Noon till 2 p.m. weekdays on several Louisiana radio stations. For more information, visit his web site at www.ringsidepolitics.com. E-mail him at jeff@ringsidepolitics.com.


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