People Get Ready

[ make levees, not war ]

Archive for March, 2005

Rest in peace Terri Schiavo

Posted by schroeder915 on March 31, 2005

Salient points from a NY Times editorial:

One of the most astonishing things about the human experience is the realization that loved ones die. The first time it happens, we are invariably amazed that nearly everyone who has ever lived has weathered an experience so wrenching. We see other humans on the street and in the shops and marvel that they manage to simply go about their business [and] that there is no constant, universal, primal scream in the face of such an awful fact.

That level of grief seldom brings out the noblest emotions. The sufferers can barely make their way through the day, let alone summon their best reserves of patience and compassion for the lucky people who continue to be living.

May Terri Shiavo’s husband, parents, siblings, and other loved ones, finally find comfort, or at least closure. I think Terri Schiavo would have wanted that.

The frightening thing about the case was that other people, far more powerful and far less emotionally involved, looked at the world we live in today, in which politics is about maximizing hysteria at the margins.

I hope that we have learned again the importance of loving our democracy more than loving our politicians.

Finally, for the tens of thousands of other people who suffer from being trapped between this world and the next, may their wishes be known, and may their loved ones respect those wishes.

Rest in peace, Theresa Marie.

Oh…one more thing. When we think of Terri Schiavo, rather than the pictures of a debilitated woman used to exploit the public’s emotions, I suggest we hold in our memories an image of Terri as I think she would prefer to be remembered:

Advertisements

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Rest in peace Terri Schiavo

Dubya’s living will

Posted by schroeder915 on March 30, 2005

Laura Bush said on Tuesday that she and her husband have living wills that would guide medical decisions if either of them became incapacitated.”

Uhh…given Dubya’s impaired mental agility, I think there might be sufficient justification to execute his will now…maybe remove his feeding tube?

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Dubya’s living will

Posted by schroeder915 on March 30, 2005

Laura Bush said on Tuesday that she and her husband have living wills that would guide medical decisions if either of them became incapacitated.”

Uhh…given Dubya’s impaired mental agility, I think there might be sufficient justification to execute his will now…maybe remove his feeding tube?

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Dubya’s living will

When the soldiers come home

Posted by schroeder915 on March 29, 2005

It is hard to admit that one has been used. Some of the crippled will forever insist that the war was needed, that they were protecting their sisters from an Islamic invasion, or Vietnamese, or Chinese. Others will keep quiet and drink too much. Still others will read, grow older and wiser—and bitter. They will remember that their vice president, a man named Cheney, said that during his war, the one in Asia, he “had other priorities.” The veterans will remember this when everyone else has long since forgotten Cheney.

Across America, in places where you might not expect it—in Legion halls and VFW posts, among those who carry membership cards from the Disabled American Veterans—there are men who hate. They don’t hate America. They hate those who sent them. Talk to the wounded from Iraq in five years.

Fred Reed, “Walking Wounded,” The American Conservative, January 31, 2005.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on When the soldiers come home

Here’s what monkey boy is hiding when he says Social Security is in crisis

Posted by schroeder915 on March 29, 2005

If President Bush’s tax cuts of 2000 are not allowed to expire in 2010, the result will be budget deficits year after year until 2042, when the US Treasury will be in arrears by over 10 percent of GDP.

By contrast, if the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire, the result is an overall federal budget surplus for every year after 2010, through 2050, eliminating budget deficits for the foreseeable future, and allowing full payment of scheduled Social Security benefits as well as expected growth in spending for Medicare and Medicaid.

From Congressional Budget Office projections, charted by the Economic Policy Institute.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Here’s what monkey boy is hiding when he says Social Security is in crisis

Here’s what monkey boy is hiding when he says Social Security is in crisis

Posted by schroeder915 on March 29, 2005

If President Bush’s tax cuts of 2000 are not allowed to expire in 2010, the result will be budget deficits year after year until 2042, when the US Treasury will be in arrears by over 10 percent of GDP.

By contrast, if the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire, the result is an overall federal budget surplus for every year after 2010, through 2050, eliminating budget deficits for the foreseeable future, and allowing full payment of scheduled Social Security benefits as well as expected growth in spending for Medicare and Medicaid.

From Congressional Budget Office projections, charted by the Economic Policy Institute.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Here’s what monkey boy is hiding when he says Social Security is in crisis

Tom Delay’s soul is required in hell

Posted by schroeder915 on March 28, 2005

Family of the lawmaker involved in the Schiavo case decided in ’88 to let his comatose father die.

“More than 16 years ago, far from the political passions that have defined the Schiavo controversy, the DeLay family endured its own wrenching end-of-life crisis. The man in a coma, kept alive by intravenous lines and oxygen equipment, was DeLay’s father, Charles Ray DeLay.”

This will be all over everyone’s blogs in a matter of minutes, I’m sure, but in case you missed it, here it is.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tom Delay’s soul is required in hell

Tom Delay’s soul is required in hell

Posted by schroeder915 on March 28, 2005

Family of the lawmaker involved in the Schiavo case decided in ’88 to let his comatose father die.

“More than 16 years ago, far from the political passions that have defined the Schiavo controversy, the DeLay family endured its own wrenching end-of-life crisis. The man in a coma, kept alive by intravenous lines and oxygen equipment, was DeLay’s father, Charles Ray DeLay.”

This will be all over everyone’s blogs in a matter of minutes, I’m sure, but in case you missed it, here it is.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

PBS under attack

Posted by schroeder915 on March 28, 2005

This past week, I had the immense pleasure of watching an incredible Masterpiece Theatre production of the great Boris Pasternak drama, Dr. Zhivago. I remain in awe. The film reveals in much more detail than did the Omar Sharif/Julie Christie version the dark side of Bolshevism, and presents a much more realistic potrayal of human weakness.

I have not read the novel, although now I know I must.

What most made an impression upon me was how it seemed the true love was between Tonya and Zhivago–although tragically, Zhivago only realized it too late. In the Omar Sharif/Julie Christie film, Tonya (played by Geraldine Chaplin) was a less-desireable character, seeming too pampered and naive to hold Zhivago’s interest. The Tonya in the Masterpiece Theatre version was a much more independent spirit, but held back her own independence for love of Zhivago. It was only after Tonya left for good, giving Zhivago his freedom, that he realized her love was much stronger than any Lara could provide.

I was also struck by the more emotionally challenging scenes which would never have been allowed in the earlier film: a young boy shot at the moment he received his freedom, and a cannibalism scene. It’s just a sign of the changing times.

The occasion of seeing that great drama on PBS leads me to a post I’ve been wanting to do for quite a while about the difficulties PBS is facing again from reactionary Republicans. Public television has been under fire ever since the Reagan administration, and maybe Nixon as well. That’s right, PBS, the people who bring you Big Bird, Mister Rogers, acclaimed science programs like NOVA and National Geographic, and yes, controversial but well-researched programs like Frontline that serve our democracy well by asking tough questions.

Most recently, I was shocked and angered when PBS caved in to Republican pressure to cut back the PBS news magazine Now from a full hour program to a half hour format. Complaining that Bill Moyers was too liberal (meaning he reported on the hubris, lies, and hypocrisy of the Bush administration), Republicans in Congress suggested that the program should be co-hosted by someone with conservative credentials–that bow tie twit Tucker Carlson, or Paul Gigot.

Sadly, the Republicans won (I say “Republicans” not “conservatives” because, as is often the case, this is not a “conservative” versus “liberal” battle–it is a one-sided war by Republicans to censor any criticism against them). After Bill Moyers retired, PBS downsized Now to a half hour, and they allowed Tucker Carlson to host his own half-hour program of the most self-righteous blather, hypocrisy, leading questions, and strategically-omitted questions in PBS history. Honestly, I can’t recall Bill Moyers ever stating on air that he was a “liberal”, but Tucker Carlson promotes his “conservative” beliefs at every opportunity.

There are lots of other signs that the network is in trouble. Earlier this year, Pat Mitchell announced that she would retire next year as the PBS president. She objects to claims that she’s leaving because of Republican pressure. Meanwhile, program underwriting is down from $221.9 million in 2001, to $184 million last year. “The risk is the tighter your budgets get, the less you can afford to fail,” said the PBS chairman Alberto Ilbarguen. “If you can’t afford to fail, you can’t afford the risks.”

Here are extracts from an exceptionally well-written NY Times editorial:

“…conservatives in Congress and the White House have apparently decided that independence is O.K. only as long as the programming doesn’t stray from their political ideology. Since the federal government provides 15 to 20 percent of the budget for public broadcasting, Washington’s heavy hand–which comes crashing down with petty and even ludicrous complaints–threatens to choke the creativity out of PBS.

When conservatives attacked the respected Bill Moyers, labeling him a dangerous liberal, PBS offered Tucker Carlson and Paul Gigot. Whatever slightly liberal flavor might be dug out of Moyers broadcasts, those are openly ideological conservative editorialists. Will they do investigations like Mr. Moyers? Will they dig beneath the large, loud surface of TV punditry? If not, how, please, is PBS different from MSNBC?

If this Congress and president make their political mark on PBS, what’s to stop the next president from doing the same? Politicians should not be allowed to trim public broadcasting to their liking”

And here, remarks from my letter to Pat Mitchell:

“At a time when conservative perspectives increasingly dominate the media–and Carlson in particular is a ubiquitous media presence–the decision by PBS to fund and broadcast blatantly conservative programs runs counter to the public broadcasting system’s founding mission to “provide a voice for groups in the community that may otherwise be unheard,” and to broadcast programs that “help us see America whole, in all its diversity.”

If you want to keep me as a supporter, please re-consider the conservative slant of your programming and go back instead to the principles of journalistic integrity that have guided PBS since its inception.”

Finally, these letters to the NY Times editorial board:

“As a 16-year old, I am perplexed that conservative groups choose to direct their criticism at PBS.

If I were a parent worried about television content, I would be much more disturbed by the violence and the erectile dysfunction ads that other channels show, and I would not let my children watch TV at all.”

Yelena F.
Swarthmore, Pa.

“The attack on PBS by the right is the last straw. What the right really fears is the loss of votes that may result from an informed electorate, and it is therefore willing to destroy the most beautiful programming on television to achieve its ends–shows like ‘Nature’ and ‘Masterpiece Theater’ that have imitators on cable television but no real rivals, and the best in children’s programming.

Well, I have news for conservatives. I pay taxes, too, plenty of which support policies that I don’t support but accept as part of living in one of the greatest societies on earth.

It’s time for conservatives to grow up.”

Deborah M.
Houston

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Wal-Mart: Do the crime, do the time

Posted by schroeder915 on March 28, 2005

After three recent rulings against Wal-Mart for violating immigration, labor, and environmental laws, citizens might be forgiven for believing that the federal government is on their side, not Wal-Mart’s side.

“Ha ha ha. That’s a good one,” said a Christian Science Monitor editorial.

Take a closer look at the numbers.

Wal-Mart has $285 billion in sales a year. The average Wal-Mart “associate” takes home an average $250 a week–about $13,000 a year.

Here are some recent fines levied against Wal-Mart, presented alongside the equivalent amount that might be levied against an associate for the respective violation, adjusted proportionally to the earnings of an associate.

Child labor violations:
Wal-Mart fine: $135,540
Associate equivalent: 7 tenths of a cent

Clean water violations:
Wal-Mart fine: $3.1 million
Associate equivalent: 16 cents

Immigration violations:
Wal-Mart fine: $11 million
Associate equivalent: 56 cents

In other recent news, Wal-Mart shut down a store in Quebec rather than let its employees form a union, and in Colorado, a union vote failed after workers were intimidated by Wal-Mart.

Jonathan Tasini argues that the only way to force compliance with the law is jail time for Wal-Mart executives. But more fundamentally, says Tasini, flagrant corporate law-breaking is symptomatic of “a deeper flaw in our system: Once a person walks through the door of the workplace, he or she loses basic rights we all take for granted like liberty and free speech. The only way to stop corporate misconduct against workers is to empower people to shape the conditions at work (mainly by having the real right to unionize), and strip away the power corporations have under our system to create conditions that lead to child labor violations.”

A good overview of Wal-Mart’s tactics can be found in PBS’ Store Wars.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »