LA Progressive: 23 to 29 May 2010 Articles

latina voterGlenn Beck: “Historian” for a Troubled America. The wide dissemination of Beck’s views wouldn’t matter much if the United States were in better shape today. But the status quo that is emerging cannot help but create a highly volatile electorate for years to come. Class lines are hardening, mobility is stifled, unemployment will remain near double digits for many years, there is a sea of angry voters who are susceptible to jingoistic appeals and conspiracy theories (like the ones Beck promotes). The ongoing fiscal crisis at the local, state, and federal levels has led to the heartless rollback of public institutions at exactly the time when they are needed the most. -Joseph Palermo

Gulf Oil Spill: The Importance of Presidential Indignation and Explanation. Respectful disagreement is virtuous in a democratic society, but so is appropriate indignation. Indignation signals to the public that social responsibilities have been breached, and thereby lends credence and authority to all those who are working toward them. Franklin D. Roosevelt had no hesitancy blaming the “economic royalists” – the rich bankers and executives who stood in the way of the New Deal. -Robert Reich

The Otherworldly Attack on Public Education. It remains a mystery to me that an administration that can spend millions of dollars to bribe states into facilitating its quite controversial school “reform” programs can’t come up with the resources to stave off the pending mass layoffs of teachers. It can’t be that the White House has adopted the reactionaries’ tactic of starving public education until it falls to privatization. Education Secretary Arne Duncan appears to be genuinely alarmed at the economic crisis in public education. -Carl Bloice

Tedi Snyder at age 18.

Qualifications of a Black Political Candidate? The sophistication of the black voter is always called into question lately. The black community gets blamed when somebody’s issue (ballot initiative) doesn’t win or somebody’s candidate takes a fall…it’s the black voter’s fault. Voter turnout wasn’t high enough, or voters didn’t “get in” in time to make a difference. Most of the time, our community does get it. -Anthony Asadullah Samad

Buried Alive. Though the Supreme Court ruled on May 17, that juveniles must not be sentenced to life without parole for any crime short of homicide, we expected no surprise and no mercy when we arrived in court Friday morning for the sentencing of young Tedi Snyder. But Judge Ohta did not hand down the preordained 80-year-to-life-sentence. Not because such a sentence is, in effect, equivalent to life without parole, but rather because he, the judge, was recovering from surgery. -Diane Lefer

Bush Recession Comes Home to Roost. Tax cuts caused the current budget deficit, not crazy spending. Local government revenues fell 57% after Proposition 13. Even more egregious, the consume-atives™ (they do not conserve), now complain that State funding for local governments to fill that revenue hole meddles too much in local affairs. -Adam Eran

Anti-Incumbent Sentiment Growing. Beth Krom understands how to connect the dots, she is solution oriented and demonstrates the kind of passion and courage that is desperately needed in Congress today. Unlike Campbell who is rarely seen in the district and who hates the retail side of politics, Beth Krom is seen as both accessible and effective. She is energetic and focused, and respected by almost everyone — even those who may disagree with her on certain issues. -Lori Vandermeir

Ten Thousand Shovels, Ten Thousand Buckets! Let us get serious here. If BP was interested in doing the right thing, it wouldn’t take them over a month to get started fixing the damage caused by their greed. Meanwhile they have allowed the continuous destruction of the entire East Coast and Gulf Coast, including all fishing and sea-related industries. Indirectly, I am impacted, because the price of California fish just went up through the roof. -Steve Ybarra

Crosscurrents on the Gulf of Mexico. The nesting place for migrating birds and the womb for shrimp and oysters is being destroyed. No one — not British Petroleum or the Coast Guard — was there trying to prevent or clean up the silent horror. CNN’s Anderson Cooper dipped his rubber-gloved hand into the Gulf water and it came up coated with oil. Phillipe Cousteau, son of famous oceanographe Jacques Cousteau, dove into the toxic soup of oil particles and dispersant, a dead sea emptied of creatures. -Lydia Howell

Invisible Hands, Invisible Liberty. Kentucky does appear to be a state red enough that Rand Paul, no matter how many times he slips up and tells his constituents how he really feels, is still likely to be their next Senator. But in many ways Republicans will be hurt more nationally if he is, making it a minimum of six more years, rather than six more months, that he’ll be their problem. -Mark Bowen

The Recent Press and E.F. Schumacher’s Warnings. Having just completed research on economist and environmentalist E. F. Schumacher (1911-1977), I have been struck by how relevant many of his warnings are to today’s events. Although I don’t necessarily agree with everything he wrote, his comments are well worth considering as we struggle to deal with all our complex problems. -Walter Moss

Riding the Anti-Immigration Wave: Short- and Long-Term Political Implications. Can the Republican Party (once the ‘Party of No,” then the “Party of Hell No” and now the “Party of Papers Please?”) really afford to further alienate the fastest-growing U.S. voting bloc—Latinos? -Seth Hoy

Free Concert and Rally for Marcy Winograd. On May 30, we’re throwing a party as part of our Get Out The Vote efforts—and you’re the guests of honor!Come to our free concert and hear Vonda Shepard,Chris Shiflett (of the Foo Fighters), Matt Keating, Lili Haydn, Wendy Starland,Tom Freund—and of course our own Marcy Winograd, plus other very special guests. Tickets are free.

Wall Street’s Political Poison Still Catnip for Many Incumbents. Today’s quiz: At a time when California’s Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman is losing ground to her Republican rival in the primary because of her ties to Wall Street…when Wall Street is political poison, why are politicians still so intent on doing its bidding? -Robert Reich

winograd concertWhy Winograd Matters. Marcy Winograd is more relevant than most of us, today, right here, and right now. Through six years of campaigning to win a seat in the House of Representatives, she has revealed the true inner workings of the Democratic Party, both in California and nationally. Her epic struggle to unseat Representative Jane Harman, in the 36th Congressional District of California, has proven Winograd’s true grit and revealed the Party’s soulless Status Quo Establishment in inexorable decline. -Brad Parker

Hammering Out Future Immigration Flows: Immigration Commissions in Context. While some disagree as to how future immigration flows should be regulated, immigration advocates agree that planning for future flows of legal immigration is among the most critical elements that comprehensive immigration reform must include. -Michele Waslin

Jim Crow in a Teabag. From their early days at the McCain-Palin rallies during the 2008 presidential campaign, the Tea Party crowd has had an energy about them that smells of a Jim Crow type of racial intolerance, just like the 1950s and 1960s. Rand Paul’s prominence only confirms what many already knew, which is that racism under girds the Teabag movement. -David Love

Constitution Contains Not One Commandment. There are no democratically elected leaders in the Christian Bible. I know – it’s shocking. But, if you catch the rhetoric pertaining to the US Constitution, you’d think the Ten Commandments are its bullet points. They’re not. The whole idea of a representative democracy (a Greek word) comes from Ancient (think then-solvent) Greece. The leaders in the Bible were all kings or tyrants and the Bill of Rights is nowhere in the New or Old Testaments. -Tina Dupuy

Jonesing on 24? Try 61 Hours. Reacher fascinates more because his isolation isn’t metaphorical. He has no home, no family, no ongoing relationships, no cell phone and no possessions. He buys a new set of generic clothes every few days, and earns pocket money via odd jobs as he randomly drifts from place to place, encountering more troubles than Job and more liaisons than Ricky Nelson’s Travelin’ Man. -Michael Sigman

Another Day, Another Massacre in Afghanistan. Just as every cracking wooden fence requires a white wash, so every unsavoury event needs a good cover-up. After the massacre, it’s reported that the Coalition Soldiers removed the bullets from the walls, plastered over the bullet holes, and then tied the hands of the dead victims behind their backs and gagged them -Patrick Henningsen

What Do Teabaggers Stand For? Another error in the Commandments is the one about “Thou shalt have no Gods before me.” Any Teabag Republican can tell you that it is more important to worship power and money than God. This points to another mistake Jesus made, according to Republicans. He said that heaven was for the poor and the meek, and that “it will be harder for a rich man to enter heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.” Republicans say that this is totally wrong – in fact, only the rich will get to heaven. Being rich is a sign of good religion. -Tom Hall

Dolores Huerta, Holly Mitchell

Jim Dean Sorta Kinda Supports Marcy Winograd. Marcy Winograd is a stand-out. She’s is campaigning against Congresswoman Jane Harman, a wealthy warmonger corporatist who has been caught conspiring against her nation with foreign agents, who suppressed the warranteless spying story until George W. Bush could get a second term in office, and who has referred to herself proudly as “the best Republican in the Democratic Party.” Marcy Winograd, on the other hand, has been a leader of Progressive Democrats of America and has perhaps the smartest and most progressive platform in the country. She also garnered 38% last time, with no help. -David Swanson

Are Obama, Democrats Really “Remaking Washington”? while Obama and the Democratic Congress have achieved major gains, there is a entire other range of critical issues — the record military budget, increased troops in Afghanistan, inaction on both comprehensive immigration reform and EFCA, the absence of a major job creation program — where change is missing. This leaves Obama’s “remaking” far less sweeping than Ronald Reagan’s achievement in 1981. -Randy Shaw

Theory of Blacks’ Intellectual Inferiority Rears Ugly Head at Harvard. We all know affirmative action is a hot-button issue. At a basic level, it’s an attempt to take race, gender, and ethnicity (to name a few factors) into consideration to promote a level playing field for all. But the sub-text in all affirmative action debates is the fallacious belief that blacks selected to benefit from it are hopelessly and helplessly genetically inferior — that their DNA is chromosomally deficient, if not defective. -Rev. Irene Monroe.

Obama’s Regulatory Brain. The most important thing to know about the 1,500 page financial reform bill passed by the Senate last week — now on he way to being reconciled with the House bill — is that it’s regulatory. It does nothing to change the structure of Wall Street. -Robert Reich

How Democrats Are Saving the Party from Itself. Democrats are not supposed to run primary candidates against incumbents because it is “divisive” – but it was time to hold Senators like Arlen Specter and Blanche Lincoln (who killed the public option) accountable. 2006 and 2008 were the years that voters picked “change,” and both Senators are the reason such change failed to get traction. Joe Sestak and Bill Halter faced huge odds taking on a Senator in their own Party who had the President’s support, but what they had was disenchanted Obama activists who wanted to see change happen. -Paul Hogarth

Beth Krom, candidate for California's 48th Congressional District

Why Marcy Winograd? A Personal Story. I was a teenaged mother. Many said I was too young. Perhaps they were right. But, like any mother, I worked hard and sacrificed. It all paid off. Except for . . . -Sharon Kyle

When the Leaders Lead, the People Have Sorrow. In sharp contrast to Jane Harman, Marcy Winograd would not just instantly join the Progressive Caucus — she would immediately be one of its most intrepid and resilient members. Anyone who has ever worked with Marcy is sure that her progressive commitments are unshakable. That’s why Democratic Party power brokers are doing all they can to defeat her. -Norman Solomon

Amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Would Give Equality to All Americans. As a society, we should consider amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” placed next to the words “race and gender.” -Tracy Emblem

Arizona Anti-Immigration Senator Going After ‘Anchor Babies’ Next. Pierce isn’t the first lawmaker to go after the children of immigrants. Since taking office, Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA) has tried and failed to pass seven pieces of legislation that would either repeal or reinterpret the 14th Amendment’s definition of citizenship. Most recently, Bilbray took his anti-14th Amendment crusade to the state-level, backing the Taxpayer Revolution’s “Anchor Baby” reform initiative which sought to limit the rights and benefits of the U.S. citizen children of undocumented immigrants by redefining the 14th Amendment’s jurisdiction. -Andrea Nill

Is Opting Out of the Secure Communities Program an Option? Given ICE’s stated intention to eventually install the system in all state and local detention facilities nationwide, and given the fact that DHS signs MOAs with the states, it is unclear how those local jurisdictions that want to opt out will be able to do so. Thus Secure Communities raises serious questions about the relationship between federal and local law-enforcement agencies, and about a local community’s ability to weigh in on important decisions affecting the entire community. -Michele Waslin

Slavery24, Shel Silverstein, Muons, and God’s Toe. Just as it was perversely gratifying to find out that no one — including the experts — understood the complex financial derivatives that undermined the global economy, it’s nice to know that even the top physicists don’t really understand the mind-bending contradictions of quantum theory. -Michael Sigman

Financial Reform Too Small to Succeed. The financial reform legislation currently winding its way through the Congress is a step in the right direction but it retains too much of the status quo that brought down the economy in the first place. The key problem, as many economists have been telling us, is that the top financial institutions remain “too big to fail.” Congress can enact all the regulations it wishes but even the best written rules won’t be enough to prevent another financial meltdown. -Joseph Palermo

Will Marcy Winograd Pull a Sestak? In Kentucky, political neophyte, libertarian extremist, and Tea Party enthusiast, Rand Paul, clobbered the hand-picked candidate of Senator Mitch McConnell, the most powerful Republican in Washington. Both election results send an earsplitting message to the leadership of America’s two dominant parties, warning that: ‘Your choices, endorsements and power don’t matter. We’re electing who WE want.’ -Linda Milazzo

Judging the Judges 2010. The candidates arrive, deliver their stump speeches, wait for the votes to be tallied, listen to see if they have been endorsed, and then leave. The information they present is little more than what is on their website or the other sites that I link to below. Most of the time, not all candidates show up. Some candidates will send a surrogate to speak on their behalf. Still others don’t send anyone. In that case, they are unlikely to get endorsed. To say the process is flawed is an understatement. The candidate with the most energy and the deepest pockets is in a better position to be elected regardless of their qualifications. -Sharon Kyle

And Carter Thought He Faced National Malaise. The spectacle of British Petroleum literally killing off the Gulf of Mexico before our eyes while the Obama Administration apparently believes that BP is honorable enough to be trusted to dutifully clean it up is depressing beyond belief. Hearing Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal complain about the lagging federal response after he built his political career trashing the federal government is just too pathetic and stupid to even bother to ridicule. -Joseph Palermo

Closing Tax Loopholes For Billionaires. It’s not as if these investment fund managers are worth a $20 billion subsidy. Nonetheless they argue that if they have to pay at the normal rate they’ll be discouraged from investing in innovative companies and startups. But if such investments are worthwhile they shouldn’t need to be subsidized. Besides, in the years leading up to the crash of 2008, hedge-fund and private equity fund managers weren’t exactly models of public service. Many speculated in ways that destabilized the whole financial system. -Robert Reich

BP, Corporations, Capitalism, Progressivism, and Government. We can grant that capitalism can have many beneficial effects and that other systems like socialism can have their defects, nevertheless the essence of capitalism is the selling of goods and services and making a profit, and it has no higher moral goal. Essentially an economic system, it provides no adequate answers for how to deal with such problems as unsafe working conditions, unfair business practices, pollution and other environmental degradation, public health, slum housing, or the abuse of child labor. This absence of any higher comprehensive social philosophy led to efforts to supplement it by providing an overall philosophy of the public good. This absence led to Progressivism. -Walter Moss

Watching Conan Twitch. Listen up, O’Brien’s band of merry suits. Twitching may have killed ‘em at the Hasty Pudding Editorial Planning Brunch, but it won’t fly with people who have grown-up wants, needs, and programming options. -Mike Price

Promoting Positive Body Images. By the time I’d reached high school, no longer chunky, I’d developed a fat phobia that resulted in all sorts of unhealthy behaviors. I skipped meals, counted calories, restricted my diet, filled up on water, and did cardio most days of the week. I got into single-digit clothes sizes and seriously challenged my genetic predisposition toward curves and muscle. My practices probably resulted in me depriving myself of an extra inch of height -K. Danielle Edwards

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