LA Progressive: May 16 to 22, 2010

Cyril Neville Joins Voices Crying from the Louisiana Delta. Amidst additional news that British Petroleum has been slow or negligent in the release of flow data and videos of the catastrophic rupture of the Transocean/Deepwater Horizon wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico, there is another story that is crying for attention. A revered Chief of the Chahta Indians, the youngest brother of the Neville Brothers Band, and a Catholic nun know the stories of the dispossessed Indians, shrimpers, fishermen and women, oysterers and business owners deep in the wetlands and bayous of south Louisiana. They want to be heard. - Georgianne Nienaber

InnerCity Struggle Wins Real School Change in East Los Angeles. East Los Angeles schools will have the opportunity to become a model for school transformation through the implementation of five Pilot Schools. Coordinated by the Los Angeles Education Partnership, the five Pilot Schools will work in collaboration as a Community School responsible for the academic success and emotional well-being of students. -Maria Brenes

Why Not Blame It on a Black Man. I just read a pilot study that CNN released on the racial attitudes of children. And nearly 60 years after the watershed Brown v. Board of Education case – in which the Supreme Court invalidated Jim Crow school segregation – it seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same. -David A. Love

Return of the Doughfaces. The Republicans of the 1850s were democratic revolutionaries. The Tea Baggers are reactionary counterrevolutionaries. Their movement – not coincidentally almost all white — represents some of the worst traits in the body politic, notably racism, sexism, nativism, militarism, jingoism, homophobia, religious bigotry and greed. -Berry Craig

TeaBag T-shirts, the Summer Job Connection. Tom Hall: Republican activist Dick Armey claims that he built the Teabag movement to energize Republican right wing activists. Is there an army of Teabaggers eager to wear T-shirts proclaiming “I’m a soldier in Dick Armey’s army of dicks!”Tom Hall

Primaries, Immigration, and an Appetite for Change. Immigrant advocates will be asking themselves what role immigration played in the primaries. The fact is that the immigration issue probably played a small role, if any, in Tuesday’s elections. Quite frankly, Members don’t have much of a record on the issue for voters to base their votes on because Congress has been too scared to take on the issue and see what their constituents say about it. But the sentiments behind the immigration debate echo what we saw in the polls—the public has grown tired with inaction. -Michele Waslin

The Media & the Murder of Aiyanna Jones. When a little white girl goes missing, online news, supermarket tabloids and cable network stations bombard us with up-to-the-minute dispatches on the crime, the victim, her shattered family and anguished community. When a little black girl is murdered in cold blood by a big city police department it is up to the community and those who care about social justice to ensure that the case doesn’t fade into the national obscurity that is usually reserved for the lives of people of color. -Sikivu Hutchinson

Cheating Harvard. We live in a society that is hypercritical of failure and super exuberant about success. As a culture, we have developed a false and damaging dichotomy about the relationship between failure and success that success has become a public affair of celebration and failure a private funeral of condemnation. -Rev. Irene Monroe

O.J., Blumenthal, Souder, and Other Liars: What’s the Point?. It’s one thing for a sociopath like Simpson to think he can get away with asking, in effect, “Who do you believe, me or your lying eyes?” But why do politicians — who love to praise the smarts of “the American people” — tell lies time and again when common sense dictates they’ll be caught, especially now that online searches allow facts to be instantly checked and communicated Michael Sigman

Obama Suggests Lincoln-Like Humility. One of the great ego traps for any president is being surrounded by “yes men and women” who tell him (and maybe someday her) that he is always right. In The Audacity of Hope, Obama wrote of an occasion when President Bush’s “eyes became fixed, his voice took on the agitated, rapid tone of someone neither accustomed to nor welcoming interruption. His easy affability was replaced by an almost messianic certainty. As I watched my mostly Republican Senate colleagues hang on his every word, I was reminded of the dangerous isolation that power can bring, and appreciated the founders’ wisdom in designing a system to keep power in check.” -Walter Moss

Mutual Respect: The Passing of Bill Elkins and the Lessons of Growing Old. I’m sure many attended the service out of a deep love and friendship for Bill Elkins. I’m all were there in a show of deep respect to Bill Elkins. I know I was. A life lesson we often miss when we are young searching for respect, never understanding that it is earned in ways one least expects. Respect becomes mutual as time reveals the results of our stands. Sometimes it takes a passing to realize what the fight was really all about. We both wanted progress, just in different ways. -Anthony Samad

Haiti: “Americans Can See Exactly the Way We Live”. Writing about the shattered hopes and dreams of the Haitian people is like trying to describe the movements of a symphony to a hearing-impaired person. How does one separate the elements of the whole, the hundreds of conversations, pleas, and stories that assault the senses, while explaining to an indifferent world that they must open their eyes because the cries of the Haitian people are certainly falling on deaf ears -Georgianne Nienaber

sarah palin winksPennsylvania’s Primary: Good News, Bad News for Progressives. The 2010 Pennsylvania Primary had a lot of good news for progressive Democrats. The 18 May balloting saw Representative Joe Sestak take out five-term Senator Arlen Specter, just a year after the latter switched to the Democratic Party in the face of an assured loss in the Republican primary. And, the Democrats held the seat long occupied by the late Jack Murtha. On the other hand, the most progressive candidate in the gubernatorial primary, Joe Hoeffel, finished a poor fourth, and the winner, Dan Onorato, is not only less progressive, but starts well down in the polls against the Republican nominee, state Attorney General Tom Corbett. -John Peeler

Winograd vs. Incumbent Harman: The Margin Narrows. With less than 3 weeks to go in the primary election, a new poll shows the Winograd/Harman race is competitive and may be reflecting an anti-incumbency wave. The IVR Poll of nearly 1,000 Likely Voters Indicates Winograd is within four points of the embattled incumbent. The poll of likely primary voters shows Congressional Candidate Marcy Winograd (CA-36) may well defeat opponent Jane Harman in the June 8th Democratic Party primary.

How Many is “Too Many”? In Los Angeles County, child abuse hotline tips flow in at a rapid clip. Responsibility for investigating them falls to the Department of Children and Family Services. The Los Angeles Times reports that more than 18,000 cases are unresolved within the mandated time limit of 30 days, at least in part because there are simply not enough social workers. -Ron Wolff

Mutual Respect: The Passing of Bill Elkins and the Lessons of Growing Old. I’m sure many attended the service out of a deep love and friendship for Bill Elkins. I’m all were there in a show of deep respect to Bill Elkins. I know I was. A life lesson we often miss when we are young searching for respect, never understanding that it is earned in ways one least expects. Respect becomes mutual as time reveals the results of our stands. Sometimes it takes a passing to realize what the fight was really all about. We both wanted progress, just in different ways. -Anthony Samad

arizona boycottHaiti: “Americans Can See Exactly the Way We Live”. Writing about the shattered hopes and dreams of the Haitian people is like trying to describe the movements of a symphony to a hearing-impaired person. How does one separate the elements of the whole, the hundreds of conversations, pleas, and stories that assault the senses, while explaining to an indifferent world that they must open their eyes because the cries of the Haitian people are certainly falling on deaf ears -Georgianne Nienaber

A Bonny BP Ditty. The U.S. Congressional Hearings were held to learn where the blame lies between British Petroleum, Halliburton or Transocean for the largest oil spill in U.S. history. The circle of lies has started going round and round, where it stops everyone knows. BP blames Halliburton, Halliburton blames Transocean and Transocean blames BP. We can see the blame lies in a circle of lies. The only real question remaining is which big oil CEO will be the first to receive a billion dollar bonus. -Jerry Drucker

The “Mad-As-Hell” Party Scores as the Anxious Class Stews. It’s the economy, stupid. American politics is turning anti-establishment because so many Americans feel screwed by the economy and they blame the establishment. If there’s a trend here, it’s not left-wing Democrats versus right-wing Republicans. It’s the “Mad-As-Hell” Party against both. -Robert Reich

Newsweek Blew It. it was refreshing to hear Washington Post Chairman Donald Graham’s candor about the fate of Newsweek, his company’s iconic money-hemorrhaging magazine, about which he said earlier this month, “If anyone should take the blame for this ending, it is me — for not seeing early enough and reacting in the right way to the changes that have come to our industry.” -Michael Sigman

I Will Defend My Mother’s Purity! What prompted TCT to produce “Fabulous”? Andy recollected, “We have always been huge fans of Paul Rudnick’s work with his play “Jeffrey” recently produced in Austin at the Arts on Real Theatre. “Most Fabulous” is a play with a lot of humor, but with a lot of heart as well. We pride ourselves in staging all types of live theatre and with much variety to every season. We always hope to appeal to the wide range of people who make up the Austin theatre community.” -Carl Matthes

bp oil spillFor Capitalists, Obesity Is a Sign of Marketing Success. Obesity and the hidden costs behind it are a classic example of privatizing profit and socializing losses. The more successful the food industry is, the fatter we become and the more society has to absorb those costs. The military has reportedly turned away over 48,000 recruits since 2005 for being too fat to serve. And if they can’t pass the military’s standard of 26% body fat, they’re not likely to make it as a civilian first responder either. -Tina Dupuy

Sarah Palin Supports Arizona’s Law? You Betcha! After weeks of negative press, calls for boycotts, and talk of legal challenges to Arizona’s law, Gov. Brewer is on the defensive—as evidenced by trotting out Sarah Palin to launch a new website. For the most part, Palin used Arizona’s controversy as a soap box for her Tea Party talking points—Washington: broken, President: bad, Sarah: good. -Seth Hoy

When Spiders Unite, They Can Tie Down A Lion. When spiders unite, they can tie down a lion is an old Ethiopian proverb that is a metaphor for what we, the people, can do when we stand united and work for what is in our best interest. Friends, we are calling you out – if you have ever held a dream for peace. Please give every spare minute you have, helping us guarantee a Winograd victory. This is our chance to change history. If we unify. If we work HARD. If we all do this as if it really, really matters. Which it does.

How to Win A Political Campaign with Just $30. 1 Million Strong Against Prop 16 with 1 Millionth the Budget of PG&E” is launching a quirky street-interview video campaign May 18, betting their thirty-dollar budget that social media can beat the thirty-million-dollar mainstream media campaign by the corporate giant Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E).

Canada’s Prime Minister Finally Exposes His Christian Right, Anti-Abortion Agenda. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper always swore he had no interest in changing Canada’s pro-choice laws and abortion availability. But in recent days, he revealed his true, anti-choice, hard right, nature. -Charley James

ACLU Challenges Arizona Immigration Law. The suit, which represents labor, domestic violence, day labor, human services and social justice organizations, along with ten individuals who would allegedly be subject to harassment or arrest, claims that not only is SB-1070 “un-American,” it’s also unconstitutional. -Andrea Christina Nill

California’s Cutbacks Imperil “the Obama Generation”. From an environmental agenda imperiled by nationwide public transit cuts, to a “Jobs” agenda jeopardized by state-induced layoffs, to the lack of full implementation of the President’s prized national service expansion, state budget cuts imperil progressives’ electoral gains of 2008. And no group risks having their expectations more shattered than the students and recent college grads – often described as “the Obama Generation” —whose energy and turnout helped define the 2008 election cycle. -Randy Shaw

BP Stands for Bad Petroleum. Ad campaigns about corporate social responsibility are cheap. So are public scoldings by politicians about a corporation’s irresponsibility. Watch not what they say but what they do. The only way BP will pay more than $75 million — and the costs of the spill will easily top that — is if they’re required by law to do so. -Robert Reich

haiti campsVoices From the Camps in Haiti: “We Don’t Know What Will Happen”. In an unbelievable lack of planning and haphazard distribution of “aid,” a Potemkin Village of white tents courtesy of USAID’s implementing partners, World Vision and OXFAM, now adjoins Camp Canaan. Look beneath the surface of this flagship Haitian government project and one realizes that the residents of “Camp Corail” are really no better off than the residents of Camp Canaan, except for the fact that their tents do not leak–so far. -Georgianne Nienaber

Go Loco? or Go Local…. Sideways is the new direction for this bundle of believers, these frustrated yet sunny souls. Status quo has wrapped its stony fingers around the electoral apparatus of each ardent constituency. We are in a stall, a dead calm sea. And the natives are restless, very restless. But before we muster up the courage for a new direction, let us take a deeper look at the state of the State. -Brad Parker

These Foliticians Are America’s Problem. To be sure, the BP accident is an environmental threat that speaks to the deadly serious pitfalls of off-shore drilling. But it is also a crisis of bad political intentions, from the right-wing lobbyists such as FreedomWorks that worked with BP to push for more oil drilling, to the corporate lackeys at the 2008 GOP convention who shouted “drill baby dril.” Let’s not forget former Vice President Dick Cheney, who championed deregulation of the oil industry with his energy task force, and whose companyHalliburton figures prominently in the oil rig disaster. -David Love

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon: Politicians Who Love Their Job More Than Their Country Led Arizona Astray. Gordon described a “perfect storm” consisting of three factors. First, the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine radicalized the political discourse. Second, beefed up border security along the California and Texas borders with Mexico redirected smugglers and cartel operatives toward Arizona. And lastly, the economic recession. Gordon explains that “politicians who love their job a lot more than they love their state or their country” exploited the three factors and led Arizona into the predicament it’s in now. -Andrea Christina Nill

A Modest Proposal: “Give Arizona Back to Mexico”. Giving back Arizona may potentially jumpstart our economy and stimulate our national imagination towards creating a greater common vision. If returning Arizona to Mexico doesn’t work, we can always revisit and adapt Jonathan Swift’s “Modest Proposal” and sell and consume undocumented immigrants as food in the ultimate and most seamless form of assimilation into the body politic of the US. -John Delloro

Feting a Fetid War. The U.S. government’s inability to distinguish between al-Qaeda, with global ambitions, and the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, with their local goals, has merely made more enemies, including those who would begin attacking the United States. How are Americans being made safer by this war -Ivan Eland

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