Friday, September 30, 2005

Will the Real Judy Miller Step Forward

Still blogging from the Irish countryside...

For the past couple of days I've been following the Judy Miller story from a distance. As someone who was turned off by her pro-war propaganda pieces in the New York Times I'm not overly sympathetic.

This case raises a lot of questions about the mainstream media...especially their role in promoting the Iraq war. For a really good analysis see what Arianna Huffington has to say in her latest post. Click here for her article.

What's your theory?

Three More Cheers for BuzzFlash...

Still blogging from the Irish Countryside...

It was so gratifying to read the comments on yesterday's post. Check them out. Great to know there are lots of people out there that appreciate the valuable contribution that BuzzFlash is making. Pass the word to your friends and supporters.

Now that "the hammer" has got himself in trouble with the law a new day may be dawning. Of course thought leaders in the liberal blogosphere such as Atrios are also making a major contribution. They all deserve our support.

In the meantime, the mainstream media may be finally emerging from a deep slumber.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

BuzzFlash: Leading the Charge Against Right-wing Propaganda

This past week the progressive blogosphere has had several stories about the efforts of the right-wing propagandists to put their spin on the Administration response to Hurricane Katrina. As usual, the right-wing spinners are pursuing a “blame the victim” strategy.

Over the past month the progressive blogosphere has clearly played a lead role in countering this propaganda. And this counter-attack has had a major impact on the mainstream media.

These comments lead me to say that there is one on-line news source that has been leading a lonely fight against right-wing hate-mongering for several years. I’m referring to BuzzFlash. They were waging this fight long before some of us in the progressive blogosphere joined in the fight.

I first discovered BuzzFlash over two years ago while working on a research project. It was a most fortunate discovery. I immediately signed up for the daily reports that BuzzFlash provides to subscribers.

The daily updates keep me in touch with what's happening. They include links to articles as well as editorials and interviews. Great material…and it’s free!

I highly recommend BuzzFlash to all readers of this blog. The editors have a very clear agenda…and that is to promote a progressive political agenda. No messing around! No sucking-up to corporate interests!

Click here to sign up for daily BuzzFlash reports. And consider providing financial support for this valuable publication.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Right-wing Hate-mongering Needs to be Confronted

In a recent post I wrote about Rupert Murdoch's efforts to promote his own extreme right-wing agenda. The fact of the matter is that the voices of hate have become dominant in recent years. These people seem to be against everyone except rich conservative Christians of the Pat Robertson type.

I've changed the tagline for this blog to include discussion of "hate-mongering" because I believe it is time to directly confront Murdoch's hate-mongers and others that are poisoning the body politic. These people have become the toxic sludge of our society.

Expect outspoken discussion of this issue on this blog during the coming months. This is a necessary step if we are to successfully promote progressive values in our society.

"Exposing the Truth About American Poverty Is a Good Thing"

Portlaoise, Ireland – Since arriving here in Ireland last Friday I've heard more than a few comments about Hurricane Katrina, the War in Iraq and the Bush Administration. My family and friends are not bashful about expressing their opinions.

Here are a few random thoughts based on what I’ve been hearing.

I continue to be impressed at the level of political literacy found here. Young people generally know more about American politics than their counterparts in the United States. Part of the reason is that people on this island read newspapers. It is not unusual for a family to pick up two or three newspapers on a Sunday morning.

When the war started in Iraq I was amazed at how many over here were willing “go give Bush the benefit of the doubt.” That has changed since my last visit in late 2004 with more people now expressing opposition to the American occupation of Iraq. (Of course there is a similar shift in attitudes in the United States).

What has surprised many in Ireland is the “American poverty” revealed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. They saw those horrifying scenes from New Orleans. The illusion that America is the land of opportunity for everyone has been shattered.

"Exposing the truth about American Poverty is a good thing," is the way one farmer summarized his views.

The Irish people have great empathy for any people that are poor or oppressed. Of course they are not far removed from hard times themselves. When I grew up in the Forties and Fifties I saw the kind of poverty described in Frank McCourt’s memoir, Angela’s Ashes. Now they have a safety net that takes care of the most vulnerable in society.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Are Bush Critics Anti-American?

Blogging from Portlaoise, Ireland:

“Rupert Murdoch has said Tony Blair told him BBC’s World’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina was “just was full of hate for America and gloating about our troubles.”

Eddie Holt, The Irish Times
Saturday, September 24, 2005

“We’re Sick of You’re America-bashing”

Denis Kelleher
Member, Irish-American Economic Advisory Council
Quoted in Irish Independent
Sunday, September 25, 2001

I don’t know if Tony Blair really told Murdoch that the BBC was spreading hatred of America. The programs that I’ve heard on BBC World have had some criticism of George W. Bush but certainly no explicit of anti-Americanism.

Murdoch, an Australian who took out US citizenship to expand his media empire, may have an agenda in putting out this kind of information. Owner of Fox Cable News and other right-wing propaganda operations, he was a prime instigator of the Iraq war. As you know, Fox is home to some of America's leading hate-mongers, including Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Bill O' Reilly and Sean Hannity.

I don't know if Murdoch is a megalomaniac buy he certainly seems obsessed with imposing his neo-con agenda on the rest of us.

Which brings me to Murdochs insinuation of anti-Americanism in Europe. Clearly, millions over here opposed Bush’s elective war in Iraq…and many to them took to the streets. While some of these individuals may feel vindicated by subsequent events I know no one who takes pleasure with what's now happening in that God-forsaken country.

Here in Europe there has been some criticism of the Bush Administration for the response in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. This criticism should not be construed as an expression of anti-Americanism. I've heard nothing but great sympathy for the people who suffered in New Orleans and on the Gulf Coast.

Come to think of it…Europeans are not the only critics of the war in Iraq or the handling of the Katrina disaster. Many Americans share these criticisms…and most of them would consider themselves PATRIOTIC citizens.

We can be critics of the Bush Administration and still be loyal Americans.

Post your comments.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Meet the Thought-Leaders in the Progressive Blogospher

Portlaoise, IrelandThe Katrina Memo is quickly finding its niche in the progressive blogosphere. Our goal is to focus less on partisan politics and more on issues of class, race and poverty. These are the issues that were exposed by Hurricane Katrina…and they require ongoing exploration after the mainstream media has moved on to other interests.

We will provide some limited commentary. More importantly, we will provide links to other resources, including some of the thought leaders in the progressive blogosphere. Several of these links can be found on the right sidebar of this page. Here are a few of our favorites:

Daily Kos – this progressive political blog receives almost a million unique visits each day. Look for this blog to become more influential than the DLC as we approach the 2008 election. I visit Daily Kos at least twice daily.

– lots of great links. Hundreds of visitors post comments. This is another blog that I visit at least twice each day.

AMERICAblog – may not have as much traffic as Daily Kos or Eschaton but it is certainly worth checking out every day. A strong clear progressive voice.

The Rude Pundit – The Rude Pundit advertises himself as someone “who doesn’t give a shit about what anyone else thinks.” No comments accepted! He uses earthy language with frequent uses of the “f” word. Not for everyone. Not for everyone.

Crooks and Liars – This blog is worth regular visiting just for the media clips provided. I visit at least once every day.

Billmon – This is a blog where you’ll find serious commentary. Doesn’t post every day…but what he puts out is really insightful.

The News Blogs – The couple who publish this blog track down thought-provoking articles and reproduce them. Again, a strong progressive perspective.

The Huffington Post – published by Arianna Huffington. This is the first blog I read every day as it’s like a newspaper with all thee main headlines on what’s happening in the political arena. And Arianna’s contrarian views are always worth a read.

This is just a sample of the progressive online publications now available. As you explore the blogosphere you’ll discover that each blog develops its own unique voice. And they share information with each other. All of these blogs have been publishing great stuff in the wake of Katrina. They are now beginning to influence the stories covered in the mainstream media.

More on the Incompetence of the Bush Administration

Another story of government incompetence in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. This latest story comes from the Chicago Tribune and reported yesterday by Atrios.

The basic story involves the $100 million contract that had been paid to a company to provide busses in the event of an emergency. A couple of days after the storm struck the company was looking for busses on the Internet!

Read the original story for insight into the politics involved.

Update: A couple of readers have suggested that I might be a too negative about all the stuff that has been happening in our beloved nation. Looks like I may not be the only angry this post by Billmon.

Friday, September 23, 2005

On the Road...blogging from Ireland

Portlaoise, Ireland – A few days on my brother’s farm here in the Irish countryside provides a little distance from all the bad news we have been coping with laterly.

Of course in this connected world there is no real escaping what is happening. Just watched the 9 pm news on RTE Television and heard reports of what's happening down in Texas and Louisiana. Was particularly dissappointed to hear about the levee breaks.

I’ve been interested in hearing what people over here have to say about the Katrina disaster. Will post some comments during the coming week.

Yesterday I mentioned that there was some controversy over the decision of the Irish Government to donate one million Euros to the Red Cross and other agencies providing relief on the Gulf Coast. It seems that the head of one of the major aid agencies here criticized the donation saying that America was “awash in millionaires.”

Many Irish people were outraged at this criticism, as they had seen the terrible suffering of Katrina’s victims on their television sets. The public response was not surprising. The Irish people have a great tradition of donating generously to people in need in any part of the world.

Ireland is near the top of the list of countries on the basis of per capita donations.

A View From the Other Side of the Pond

Dublin Airport, Ireland - This morning I arrived in Dublin and will be posting from this side of the Atlantic during the coming week. I've been so emotionally caught up in the Hurricane Katrina disaster that it will be good to get some distance.

One issue I plan to explore is the controversy over the decision of the Irish Government to donate one million euros to the Red Cross and other organizations providing relief on the Gulf Coast.

More on this issue later.

Update: Okay, I read the comments on yesterday's post. There will be a moratorium on Bush-bashing ...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Bush Links Hurricane Katrina and Terrorism

The New York Times has this report on a speech delivered earlier this week by President Bush at a luncheon of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

Bush linked Hurricane Katrina and terrorism. He said that terrorists look at the storm's damage "and wish they had caused it." An amazing inference!

Someone should tell the President that what the terrorists really wish is that the US Government would change our Middle East policy.

Same Old Slightly Concealed Racism

"The question is do we really want to flood New Orleans with Money"

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.)
The Washington Post

Kingston went on to say he detected a building hostility towards New Orleans among his constituents. If you have lived in the Deep South, as I have, you know he is referring to his white constituents.

Reading Kingston's comments reminded me of another U.S representative who had great sensitivity to his white constituents. His name was John Rarick and he represented East Baton Rouge Parish in the early Seventies. He was a member of the KKK.

At one time I wrote a letter to Walter Mondale asking for support on legislation affecting the anti-poverty program. Sent a copy to Rarick who was my representative. Rarick, in his response, basically told me to go to hell. Here's part of his letter:

"Your activities in the Baton Rouge area are well known to all Louisiana taxpayers and citizens. You have an invincible record of hurting the chances of the poor and agitating to worsen race relations.
I think that I speak plainly for the overwhelming majority of the people of my district when I advise you that I will do nothing to defeat the President's Reorganization Order."

He was referring to President Nixon. Again, like Kingston, he was referring to the white people of his district.

How depressing. Not much has changed in the last 30 years.

What do you think?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Do These Guys Really Give a Shit?

Want to know why this Administration is so incompetent? Read this post for insight. And remember it's our tax dollars that's paying these clowns.

Update: Here's good news for you Maureen Dowd fans. Click on this link to read her latest column. And you don't have to shell out any cash. Simply take a minute to register for the Star-Telegram.

Good News! My good friend, Ron Goodenow, just emailed me this link where you can get all the New York Times op-ed columns. And its legit. Ron also advised me to spell the capital of Iraq correctly!

CLARIFICATION: Read the comment below by Ron Goodenow for clarification on the newspaper site listed for NYT columnists. He points out that several op ed contributors, including Bob Herbert (my favorite) are not included.

How Racism Manifests Itself in American Life

One of the difficult issues to come to the surface in the wake of Hurricane Katrina is race. It's a touchy subject and this may explain the lack of attention from the mainstream media.

In surfing the blogosphere I came across this post that provides food for thought. This article reminded me of my early days in Louisiana in the 1960s. I unconsciously embraced many attitudes that were clearly racist.

Nobody likes to admit to racism. It's more acceptable to say the Administration response to Hurricane Katrina was incompetent rather than racist.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

What Does Looting in Baghdad Have to Do with Poverty In America?

Okay, this blog is supposed to be about issues of class, race and poverty here in America. You might be asking why I am even commenting on a story about the defense minister in Iraq making off with a ton of money. My understanding is that the US military is supposed to be auditing these expenses.

We now know that billions have been poured into Iraq...much of it ending up in the hands of thieves and crooks. And for what? In my simplistic way I think about what could be accomplished here at home with these resources in addressing the social problems that have come to light as a result of Hurricane Katrina.

My issue is about our national priorities at this time.

One reader commented on a previous post that the story of the billion dollar looting in Baghdad might not be fully credible since it was first reported in the Daily Mirror, a tabloid newspaper. As already noted, the Guardian has confirmed the story.

For more insight on this story read what Billmon has to say.

FEMA Needs to Get Out of the Way

You have heard those stories about how FEMA officials blocked the delivery of aid to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. In one case Fire Fighters, who had traveled 18 hours non-stop from Chicago were stranded on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge while FEMA tried to figure out the paper work. Some of the bureauracy seems to have been based on excessive paranoia about terrorism.

Now comes a story from the Daily Mirror in London that is almost beyond belief. I'm including the full story here because it speaks for itself:

HUNDREDS of tons of British food aid shipped to America for starving Hurricane Katrina survivors is to be burned.
US red tape is stopping it from reaching hungry evacuees.
Instead tons of the badly needed Nato ration packs, the same as those eaten by British troops in Iraq, has been condemned as unfit for human consumption.
And unless the bureaucratic mess is cleared up soon it could be sent for incineration.
One British aid worker last night called the move "sickening senselessness" and said furious colleagues were "spitting blood".

The food, which cost British taxpayers millions, is sitting idle in a huge warehouse after the Food and Drug Agency recalled it when it had already left to be distributed.
Scores of lorries headed back to a warehouse in Little Rock, Arkansas, to dump it at an FDA incineration plant.
The Ministry of Defence in London said last night that 400,000 operational ration packs had been shipped to the US.
But officials blamed the US Department of Agriculture, which impounded the shipment under regulations relating to the import and export of meat.
The aid worker, who would not be named, said: "This is the most appalling act of sickening senselessness while people starve.
"The FDA has recalled aid from Britain because it has been condemned as unfit for human consumption, despite the fact that these are Nato approved rations of exactly the same type fed to British soldiers in Iraq.
"Under Nato, American soldiers are also entitled to eat such rations, yet the starving of the American South will see them go up in smoke because of FDA red tape madness."
PAIN: Child survivor cries
The worker added: "There will be a cloud of smoke above Little Rock soon - of burned food, of anger and of shame that the world's richest nation couldn't organise a p**s up in a brewery and lets Americans starve while they arrogantly observe petty regulations.
"Everyone is revolted by the chaotic shambles the US is making of this crisis. Guys from Unicef are walking around spitting blood.
"This is utter madness. People have worked their socks off to get food into the region.
"It is perfectly good Nato approved food of the type British servicemen have. Yet the FDA are saying that because there is a meat content and it has come from Britain it must be destroyed.
"If they are trying to argue there is a BSE reason then that is ludicrously out of date. There is more BSE in the States than there ever was in Britain and UK meat has been safe for years."
The Ministry of Defence said: "We understand there was a glitch and these packs have been impounded by the US Department of Agriculture under regulations relating to the import and export of meat.
"The situation is changing all the time and at our last meeting on Friday we were told progress was being made in relation to the release of these packs. The Americans certainly haven't indicated to us that there are any more problems and they haven't asked us to take them back."
Food from Spain and Italy is also being held because it fails to meet US standards and has been judged unfit for human consumption.
And Israeli relief agencies are furious that thousands of gallons of pear juice are to be destroyed because it has been judged unfit.
The FDA said: "We did inspect some MREs (meals ready to eat) on September 13. They are the only MREs we looked at. There were 70 huge pallets of vegetarian MREs.
"They were from a foreign nation. We inspected them and then released them for distribution."

You can link to the original Daily Mirror story here.

Update: The Guardian (UK) picks up the story about the "looting" in Baghdad, referenced here yesterday. According to the story in today's edition some of the looters are going to be punished. I'm so cynical I wonder if this will happen. By the way, why do we have to go to British newspapers to get this kind of information?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Looting in New Orleans versus Looting in Baghdad

The British newspaper, The Independent, yesterday carried a story about the "looting" that is going on in Baghdad. According to the story, one billion dollars has been plundered from Iraq's defense ministry in one of the largest thefts in history, leaving the the country's army to fight an insurgency with museum piece weapons.

The money, intended to train and equip an Iraqi army capable of bringing security to Iraq was siphoned abroad in cash and has disappeared. The article suggests that officials appointed by the US military were implicated in the theft. The newspaper story has all the details.

Compare the looting in Baghdad to the looting that went on in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina left thousands homeless and destitute. Remember all that outrage by the conservative pundits as images of black people leaving Wallgreens on Canal Street with their packages of diapers and bottled water were replayed over and over on our television screens.

Maybe we should be more offended over the "looting" in Baghdad than over what happened in New Orleans.

Update: Today is Black Monday. From this day forward you will have to shell out the cash if you want to read on-line what New York Times columnists such as Paul Krugman, Bob Herbert and Maureen Dowd have to day. Here's a link where you can read (for free) what Krugman has to say in today's Times. I am still searching for a link for today's Bob Herbert column. Let me know if you know of a link and I'll pass it on. Both Krugman and Herbert are providing some of the best analysis on the implications of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

What Newsweek Has To Say About Poverty in America

The September 19 edition of Newsweek is devoted to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. One article on the issue of poverty in America is particularly insightful. Here are a few key points:

  • Poverty in America is actually getting worse
  • The poverty rate, 12.7%, is the highest in the developed world and more than twice as high as in most other industrialized countries. Note: this is a somewhat controversial statistic with some claiming the problem is not this serious
  • Even if the real number is lower than 37 million, that’s a nation of poor people the size of Canada living inside the United States
  • The poor are mostly out-of-sight and out-of-mind. Their fellow Americans know little about them
  • The United States contains more poor whites than blacks or Hispanics. However, while only a little more than 8 percent of American whites are poor nearly a quarter of all African-Americans are poor. (Whites make up 72 percent of the population while blacks make up 12 percent).
  • The primary economic problem is not unemployment but low wages for workers of all races
  • Isolation is a factor that makes poverty even worse. There is de facto segregation of the poor from the middle class.
  • The problem of poverty is often exacerbated by a subtle racism

There was one quote in the Newsweek article that particularly caught my attention. It was by a retired middle-school principal from Jefferson Parish. She said, “I have lived in the city all of my life and I didn’t realize there were so many suffering socioeconomically.”

Having worked back in the late Sixties for the anti-poverty program in the neighboring city of Baton Rouge I can understand how this can happen. I moved between two different worlds. In the mostly white middle-class community there was almost no appreciation of how people “on the other side of the track” lived.

If the Huricane Katrina disaster has a silver lining it is that many are now discovering “the other America.”

Update: A comment on a recent post raised questions about this blog. Our goal is to raise consciousness of issues of class, race and poverty in America. Mostly we'll serve as a news source...with lots of links to valuable information. We expect that the mainstream media will loose interest in these issues sooner rather than later. Fox Cable News is already back on the Natalie Halloway story.

We welcome voluntary contributions since considerable staff time will be devoted to this publication.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Lights Came on before Bush Arrived, they went off after he left

Back in the Sixties when I worked for LBJs anti-poverty program in Baton Rouge, Louisiana I developed a great respect for the media. They always seemed to be on the side of people who did not have a voice in society.

In recent years I've been less than impressed with the mainstream corporate media.

One of the good things to come out of Katrina is the emergence of several gutsy journalists who tell it like it is. One of these is Anderson Cooper. Another is Brian Williams. Here is some background information that Williams provided on the speech by Bush:

I am duty-bound to report the talk of the New Orleans warehouse district last night: there was rejoicing (well, there would have been without the curfew, but the few people I saw on the streets were excited) when the power came back on for blocks on end. Kevin Tibbles was positively jubilant on the live update edition of Nightly News that we fed to the West Coast. The mini-mart, long ago cleaned out by looters, was nonetheless bathed in light, including the empty, roped-off gas pumps. The motorcade route through the district was partially lit no more than 30 minutes before POTUS drove through. And yet last night, no more than an hour after the President departed, the lights went out. The entire area was plunged into total darkness again, to audible groans. It's enough to make some of the folks here who witnessed it... jump to certain conclusions.

Well done, Brian!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Mr.President, We Need Actions, Not Words

The Bush White House is very good at staging photo-ops. Last night Jackson Square looked like the old New Orleans I had visited so many times. The advance team arranged to have St. Louis Cathedral flood-lit in the background. This image might have brought comfort to the Archbishop who is trying to set up temporary operations in Baton Rouge.

Despite the sanitized setting for the speech I could not help remembering those scenes from the Superdome and the Convention Center...just a few blocks from Jackson Square. People dying while the government figured out what to do. There was something eerie about a speech in an empty New Orleans while the inhabitants of that city are scattered in emergency shelters in faraway places.

Bush said all the right things. My concern is that the reconstruction of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast will become another Corporate Welfare Program. The Administration is going a better job of getting out those multi-million no-bid contracts than in getting financial aid to the displaced citizens.

Maybe I am too cynical. I know about the billions in reconstruction funds that have "disappeared" in Iraq. Last night Bush promised that there would be inspectors to insure that the funds would be properly spent.

Talk is cheap. Mr. President, we need actions, not words.

Update: For thoughtful insight into the proposed recovery program read this article by Paul Krugman in today's New York Times. For an even more cynical view of the reconstruction program see what Arriana Huffington has to say in the Huffington Post today. If you really want the inside scary story on what the Administration is planning for New Orleans read the most recent post in this blog.

For those who want to understand why we have not solved the "poverty problem" in America read this article:

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Sick and Abandoned: A Story About the chaotic ineptitude of FEMA

If your anger at what happened in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina is subsiding you need to read this story in today's New York Times. It will make your blood boil.

In his Times article, columnist Bob Herbert describes the horror that unfolded at one New Orleans hospital. The patients were condemned to several days of fear and agony by bad decision-making in Louisiana and the choatic ineptitude of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Some of the patients died.

Read the story.

Note: This is the last week you will be able to read Herbert and other Times columnists on-line for free. Beginning Monday, September 19 the newspaper will be charging a subscription to read their op-ed columnists.

Update: I just had an email from a former colleague expressing the view that nothing has changed over the past 30 years in regards to issues of race, class and poverty. As someone who was an active participant in the "war on poverty" in the Sixties and early Seventies I tend to agree with this cynical view. Actually, some of the problems have gotten worse.

We now have a higher percentage of the population living in poverty than any other industrialized country. The Census Bureau reports that 17% of the nations children live in homes below the poverty level. And we have 37 million citizens who are considered as living in poverty.

My response to my former colleague who sent me the email is to say that we must learn to speak out and not be intimidated by those dominant voices that advocate greed and selfishness. This is what Maxine Waters so eloquently said on the floor of the US House of Representatives last night.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Poverty Rate Continues to Climb in the USA

Census Bureau data reveals that more Americans slipped into poverty last year. The poverty rate for African American is almost one in four. It's estimated that 35 million Americans live in poverty.

Not all poor people are part of the underclass. What is not well understood is that many of our fellow citizens work hard and are still poor. A single mother with two or three children who is working for Wal-Mart is a member of the "working poor." And she most likely has no health insurance.

Hurricane Katrina has focused attention on the have-nots in our society. It has also produced a lot of idiotic commentary by conservative pundits on the solutions to poverty. Perhaps the most idiotic comment came from George Will last Sunday. On the ABC program, This Week, he said that girls in the ghetto shouldn't have babies until they are eighteen.

It's almost 30 years since I worked at the grassroots level in the poor neighborhoods of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Nothing has really changed in the intervening years. People with power and influence are still blaming the victims.

I keep hoping there is another Bobby Kennedy out there who will take up the challenge of advocating on behalf of those least advantaged in our society.


Looks like we will have this publication "up and running" in about a week. My plan is to start posting on a daily basis.

I am working on plans to let the progressive community know about this Web Log.

Update: A special word of thanks to Brett Hedberg of Cabredesigns for the design work on this site. Mucho thanks, Brett.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Real "Scumbags"

The hate-mongers of talk radio are having a field day with the issue of race back in the news. One Clear Channel host, Glen Beck, referred to survivors of Hurricane Katrina who remained in New Orleans as "scumbags." He also had some despicable things to say about the people receiving the $2,000 debit cards in the Astrodome.

Makes one sick to think of a fucker making tons of money by sliming people who have lost everything they own in the world. I hope there's a special place in hell reserved for hate-mongers like Glen Beck.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

More Money to Fight Terrorism, Less to Address Poverty

North Andover, MA - Rudy Gulliano was just on CNN giving his take on Hurricane Katrina. He asserted that our government is going to have to do more to prepare for a terrorist attack. I quess this will mean more money for Homeland Security. He said nothing about addressing the ugly poverty that was revealed by the Hurricane. But then, Rudy has never been a friend of the poor and disadvantaged.

Update: Fox News commentator Tony Show has assured viewers that his network would not show the removal of dead bodies in New Orleans. He said the fair and balanced network "would not show anything that might reflect on Dear Leader or the Republican Party." He also said that he and other Fox commentators would be ready to slime any news organization showing the removal of Hurricane victims.

Friday, September 09, 2005

I've Hit the Wall

North Andover, MA - One of my favorite bloggers yesterday wrote a post in which he described how he had "hit the wall" as a result of the stories coming out of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. His comments summarize how I have been feeling the last few days.

I'm trying to get myself psyched-up to get this blog up and running. Something has to be done about the politics of hate and greed that has dominated our political culture for the past 25 years. My hope is that I can make a contribution.

Each day I become more convinced that there is now an opportunity to advocate for fairness and justice in our society. However, at the back of my mind is the lurking fear that we'll soon be back to ignoring the havenots' in our society. I expect the advocates of trickle-down economics to come out of their bunkers in the very near future.

This weekend I'll start telling friends and colleagues about his blog site. I'm curious about the response. Will they think I'm crazy for embarking on this project?

Anyway, for now it's just therapeutic to be able to write these comments.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Coming Soon!

Just launched this blog. Will be adding the "bells and whistles" over the next few weeks. Included will be information on how concerned citizens can support this blog.

The Other (Forgotten) America

This blog will provide a national platform for conversations about "the other America." Our purpose will be to raise awareness.

I believe the terrible Gulf Coast tragedy has opened up an opportunity to talk about the gross inequalities in American society. It may now become possible to interject the issue of poverty into the political discourse.

A particular focus will be on exposing how powerful special interests dictate priorities to our politicians.

We are not going to be overly polite in what we have to say. Recent television pictures from New Orleans are a reminder that millions of our fellow citizens live in abject poverty. And we have an Administration that doesn't seem to give a shit about them.

We are not just going to expose those Republican politicians who are committed to helping the rich get richer while ignoring the interests of the poor. We are also going to expose those Democrat politicans who have sold out to corporate interests.

Expect some lively debate.