Saturday, March 26, 2011

Democracy in America

Charlie Sheen has over 1.3 million followers on Twitter.
Every week millions of votes are cast for American Idol singers.
The Department of Defense said it has @$1billion to spend on Libya without asking Congress for more money... (oh, if only the DoD had to hold bake sales to raise monies, and not schools)

People are watching the democratisation of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Syria. . . but are they paying attention to the democracy here at home?

GE the nation's largest corporation ". . . reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, and said $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States. Its American tax bill? None. In fact, G.E. claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion."

Other states are joining Wisconsin in their anti-labor move...from banning collective bargaining to making their state "business friendly" by removing WPA murals and renaming conference rooms--No more Frances Perkins room--in Maine.

Federal, State and local budgets are cutting off aid to children, cutting education spending, cutting police forces. . . most target working poor and the middle class.

The income gap is getting bigger (SEE

13.7 million people are currently unemployed. According to Bob Herbert's column 3/26 there is currently only 1 job for every 5 job seekers.

Wait, I thought cutting corporate taxes would create jobs. Doesn't seem to be happening.

No, what seems to be happening is that we are losing sight of democracy.

In Wisconsin, Republicans are trying to silence William Cronon who published a study guide that begins with "After watching the sudden and impressively well-organized wave of legislation being introduced into state legislatures that all seem to be pursuing parallel goals only tangentially related to current fiscal challenges–ending collective bargaining rights for public employees, requiring photo IDs at the ballot box, rolling back environmental protections, privileging property rights over civil rights, and so on–I’ve found myself wondering where all of this legislation is coming from." His questions lead him to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)...he follows the conservative rise to power and its affects on politics, the economy and America.

Where is democracy in America? It is in everyone of us, if we are paying attention. But, most of us are distracted by Charlie "Winner" Sheen, by American Idol...

Some of the other resources mentioned, so you may read for yourself.

Obama's Budget proposal:

NYS budget proposal:

Cronin's OP Ed piece 3/22

His 3/24 blog piece

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Friday, March 25, 2011

100 years ago today

The Triangle shirtwaist fire happened 100 years ago today. This is the fire that sparked labor reform, factory and occupational safety requirements.
Here is Frances Perkins and Eleanor Roosevelt talking about it on the 50th anniversary of the fatal fire.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

National Teach-in

April 5th 2-4:30 will be a national teach in on austerity, debt and corporate greed (and what we can do about it).

"Wall Street Banks, American corporations and their political allies have declared a one-sided war on the American people. This war is being waged at our schools and colleges, on public employee unions, in our workplaces and in our communities.

Today, Americans are working harder and earning less while corporate profits soar. Homeowners, consumers and students are seeing their wealth being stripped away by banks. Our government plunges into debt waging trillion dollar wars. Meanwhile, our infrastructure erodes, climate change proceeds unchecked, our schools, daycare centers, senior facilities, clinics, parks and emergency services are all starved while corporations and elites get billions in tax breaks!

“Austerity” policies falsely suggest that spending on social needs is the reason why governments-- at all levels-- are facing massive budget short falls. NO! Our debt and deficit problems are a direct result of corporate tax breaks and extortionist bank practices that have lead to a scandalous and unprecedented transfer of wealth-- from hardworking Americans to the richest segments of US society.

The courageous actions by the citizens in Wisconsin are an inspiring defense of the core values of this country: a civil society based on freedom of association, healthy and stable communities that value public services and the public good.

The outpouring of support nationally shows the possibilities for challenging deepening economic inequality and political marginalization of the majority of the American people. We are on the cusp of a great movement to resist and roll-back the corporate domination by banks, energy companies and war profiteers.

To join that movement and escalate the activism planned in the days, weeks and months ahead we are organizing a “National Teach-in on Debt, Austerity and How People Are Fighting Back. The live web cast Teach-in will be streamed on Tuesday, April 5th, 2011, from the Judson Memorial Church in New York City, beginning at 2:00 PM EDT. Admission to Judson is free. Social justice experts and activists from around the country will be hosted by moderators FRANCES FOX PIVEN and CORNEL WEST in New York City through a live web cast that you can join by organizing a teach-in on your own campus."

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Happy International Women's Day

International Womens Day Celebration on the Walkway Over the Hudson

The Eleanor Roosevelt Center will celebrate International Women's Day with a walk across the Walkway over the Hudson bridge. Registration will go from 2:30-3:30 p.m. on the Poughkeepsie side of the bridge. The keynote speaker will be the inspiring, Kadiatou Di-dibe Sarassoro, who will discuss how she fled the Ivory Coast and settled in Dutchess County.She will provide information about the plight of women in other countries, serving to create awareness about women's equality elsewhere in the world, which is one of the goals on International Women's Day. The celebration is dedicated to making women of the past proud, women of the future inspired, and make women of the future envision. Women have made great strides to equality in the last century and this event will commemorate the impact that women have had. In addition to a key note speaker, local women's organizations will have information booths set up and the first 500 attendees will receive a free gift.

How are you celebrating?

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Thursday, March 03, 2011

The slow pace towards equality

The first White House report on the status of women since the one Eleanor Roosevelt helped sheppard in 1963. While there are some slight improvements in almost 48 years, we still have a long way to go to reach equality. And at this rate. . .

Read it for yourselves:

And, then ask yyourselves: What does this mean today in 2011?

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