December 24, 2004

What Social Security 'crisis'? Simply restoring pre-Bush tax rates on the richest one percent of Americans could bring the Social Security system into balance indefinitely, without reducing promised payouts by one penny. more....


Change Means Fewer Students Will Be Eligible for Pell Grants The Department of Education yesterday announced a new formula for calculating eligibility for college financial aid, a move that will eliminate federal Pell Grant scholarships for an estimated 80,000 to 90,000 low-income students and force a modest scaling back of other types of state and federal assistance to broader categories of undergraduates. more....


These quotes from Bruce Taub:
-- "We're going to make sure, in this recount, every single vote counts." Democrat Christine Gregoire, Nov. 17, 2004, after the Republican gubernatorial candidate was declared the narrow winner in Washington state.

-- Christine Gregoire should "do the decent thing, the honorable thing and concede, instead of dragging this into the Christmas season with the state not knowing who the governor is." State Republican Chairman Chris Vance, Nov. 23, 2004.

-- "If you count and recount and recount and keep on counting until you finally win, what do you really have in the end? An illegitimate governorship, that's what you have in the end. It's time to move forward, that's the message." Republican Dino Rossi, Dec. 1, 2004.

-- "We're going to be going across the state demanding they make every vote count." Rossi spokeswoman Mary Lane, Dec. 23, 2004, upon learning Gregoire's overall lead, after the third tabulation of ballots concluded yesterday, was 130 votes out of nearly 2.9 million votes cast.

December 23, 2004

Holiday Haul Goes to High-End Retailers

Preparing to test-drive a silver Mercedes-Benz sport-utility vehicle one recent afternoon, Bobby Meehling chuckled sheepishly as he described himself as a "consummate consumer" who's had a pretty good year.

Consumers like Meehling help explain why upscale retailers such as Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue have seen their sales soar this holiday season while discounters like Wal-Mart and many mid-price department store chains have struggled. They also help explain how the economy could grow at a healthy 4 percent this year even as it seemed stagnant to so many who had trouble finding a job or whose income did not keep up with higher costs for food, energy, health insurance, tuition and other items.

Pay is rising more than twice as fast for the top fifth of wage earners as it is for all others, and the pace of gains at the high end is quickening, according to economists' analyses of government income data through September.


The pay trends are also evident in the Washington area neighborhoods without easy access to even a Wal-Mart or Target.

Edna Jones, 33, of Capitol Heights, said her work as a security guard at a downtown D.C. office building now earns her $10.41 an hour, up from $10 an hour when she started five years ago. That means her average weekly wage has risen 4.1 percent over a half-decade, to $416.40 before taxes.

Jones, whose husband works for fast-food restaurants, said their combined income barely covers the rent on their three-bedroom house plus all the expenses involved in caring for their three children. Still, the security job "puts food on the table," she said. "It's a struggle, but I have a roof over my head and the kids have food."

Jones said her Christmas shopping will be limited to replacing the clothes her three children grow through so quickly. She wishes she could buy them more, she said, "because they've been so good." ....more

December 22, 2004

On January 6, 2005, the House and Senate will meet to consider the electoral vote count. Progressive members of the House of Representatives will challenge the vote count based on the voting irregularities and recount efforts still underway.

TAKE ACTION: Urge your Senator to stand with the Representatives and contest the vote to avoid a repeat of the 2000 silence from the Senate. It takes just a minute or less to fill out a form that will be sent to several Senators, including Barbara Boxer.

December 21, 2004

Newly Obtained FBI Records Call Defense Departmentâs Methods "Torture," Express Concerns Over "Cover-Up" That May Leave FBI "Holding the Bag" for Abuses

A document released for the first time today by the American Civil Liberties Union suggests that President Bush issued an Executive Order authorizing the use of inhumane interrogation methods against detainees in Iraq. Also released by the ACLU today are a slew of other records including a December 2003 FBI e-mail that characterizes methods used by the Defense Department as "torture" and a June 2004 "Urgent Report" to the Director of the FBI that raises concerns that abuse of detainees is being covered up.

The two-page e-mail that references an Executive Order states that the President directly authorized interrogation techniques including sleep deprivation, stress positions, the use of military dogs, and "sensory deprivation through the use of hoods, etc." The ACLU is urging the White House to confirm or deny the existence of such an order and immediately to release the order if it exists. The FBI e-mail, which was sent in May 2004 from "On Scene Commander--Baghdad" to a handful of senior FBI officials, notes that the FBI has prohibited its agents from employing the techniques that the President is said to have authorized.


Smokey, another long time Telegraph Avenue vendor, asked me to put up his photo of Bob Fabian, who recently passed away.
So, for all of you Telegraph vendors, click on the icon for a larger view.

December 20, 2004

The New Military Life: Heading Back to the War

'Earlier this year, as Sgt. Alexander Garcia's plane took off for home after his tense year of duty in Iraq, he remembered watching the receding desert sand and thinking, I will never see this place again.'

Never lasted about 10 months for Sergeant Garcia, a cavalry scout with the First Armored Division who finished his first stint in Iraq in March and is now preparing to return.

He and the rest of his combat brigade at Fort Riley, the Army base a few miles from this town, have been working for weeks, late into the frigid prairie nights, cleaning and packing gear and vehicles for the trip back to Baghdad after the New Year.

"I figured that the Army was big enough that one unit would not have to go back again before this thing was over," said Sergeant Garcia, 20. "It's my job and it's my country, and I don't have any regrets. But I kind of feel like I did my part. Just as I was readjusting to life back home, just as I was starting to feel normal again, this kind of throws me back into the waves."'

December 19, 2004

I watched the movie, Born on the Fourth of July the other night. The story of Ron Kovic emphasizes the ongoing tragedy of the war in Iraq. We have fewer deaths than in Vietnam, about 10% of those wounded; however, the wounded, both physically and mentally, that have survived, are now estimated to be between 15,000 and 20,000.

In late October, Lancet, the British medical journal, published an article that said that Iraqi civilian deaths numbered over 100,000. The Iraq Body Count website puts the number at being between 14,800 and 17,000. There are over 400,000 Iraqi children suffering from ãwastingä ÷ a condition marked by chronic diarrhea and deficiencies in protein.

December 18, 2004

I went down to Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley last Saturday. The weather was beautiful. The sun was out and it was warm. The street was closed and the craftspeople had their annual Fair. The fair continues today, tomorrow, and next Thursday and Friday as well. There's a lot of good crafts out there so support some local business if you're in the Bay area.


ãThe Economic Bill of Rightsä
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Excerpt from 11 January 1944 State of the Union message to Congress.

We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all÷regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

Americaâs own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens.


(Click on icons to see larger images.)

michael icon
December 24, 2004

jeannie icon
December 23, 2004

yolanda icon
December 22, 2004

mina icon
December 21, 2004

monica icon
December 20, 2004

shirley icon
December 19, 2004

ron icon
December 18, 2004


August 21, 2004 - August 27, 2004
August 28, 2004 - September 3, 2004
September 4, 2004 - September 10, 2004
September 11, 2004 - September 17, 2004
September 18, 2004 - September 24, 2004
September 24, 2004 - October 1, 2004
September 2, 2004 - October 8, 2004
October 9, 2004 - October 15, 2004
October 16, 2004 - October 22, 2004
October 23, 2004 - October 29, 2004
October 30, 2004 - November 5, 2004
November 6, 2004 - November 12, 2004
November 13, 2004 - November 19, 2004
November 20, 2004 - November 26, 2004
November 27, 2004 - December 3, 2004
December 4, 2004 - December 10, 2004
December 11, 2004 - December 17, 2004

No War in Iraq march.
San Francisco, Ca., January 18, 2003
San Francisco, Ca., February 16, 2003



Creative Commons License View My Profile

photoblogring | Join | Random | List

Powered by Laughing Squid