August 26, 2006

Katrina Survivors
Simply Blown Away
by Emma Dixon  

When I was a child, I remember my mother waking all of us children in our modest house north of New Orleans to alert us about a severe storm. The crashing thunder and the lighting flashing at the windows had already made sleep virtually impossible. My mother insisted that we get dressed so that if we were blown away, we would be fully clothed.

Five decades later, my mother was blown away by Hurricane Katrina. She survived the 160 mph winds, but the storm shook her foundations, as it did with the houses near her home in Bogalusa. Her health, already precarious, deteriorated steadily over this past year. She was hospitalized earlier this summer, and is still unable to come home.

I'm not alone in struggling with seniors' reactions to Hurricane Katrina. One friend's elderly mother dwindled from a size 14 to a size 8 over the last year. Seventy-six-year-old Rita Collins, according to an August 16 Knight Ridder article, died of a stroke in May after being moved twice in the aftermath of the storm. Her daughter Michelle said, "We were trying to get her back to Buras, but we never made it. It was the stress, not knowing where she was at. It killed her." more...

August 25, 2006

Race And The Right To Vote
by Neil Weare and Erika Wood

By all accounts, the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act was a success. But while the Act has helped ensure that more and more Americans are able to vote, the unfortunate truth is that over 8 million Americans of voting age living in United States territories, Washington, D.C., or convicted of certain crimes, remain legally disenfranchised. This disenfranchisement is especially troublesome because almost 6 million of those who can‚t voteųmore than 70 percent of the totalųare racial and ethnic minorities. Unbeknownst to most Americans, this has resulted in over 1 in 10 minorities of voting age being blocked from enjoying the same voting rights as their fellow citizens. more...

August 24, 2006

Dick Cheney wins Nobel prize
by Walid

Unconfirmed sources report the US Vice President Dick Cheney will be awarded a Nobel prize. The news reached Cheney as he was delivering one of his hallmark "Democrats are supporting Al-Qaeda" tirades. The Vice President was "pleasantly surprised" at the news and he even flashed a smile to the surprise of all attending the event. The upbeat mood did not last long, soon after as it was revealed the award was not Alfred Nobel prize, it was in fact the Ricky "Stubbs" Nobel prize for "Shit Talking Texas Rubbish". more...

August 23, 2006

When Hillary Meets Ned
by Arianna Huffington

Hillary Clinton is meeting with Ned Lamont in the next few days on her home turf in Chappaqua in what may well be a more important meeting for her future than for Lamont's. Their get-together is coming at a crossroads moment for both Hillary and the Democratic Party.

In recent weeks Lamont has come from nowhere to beat Lieberman in the primary and he shows no signs of letting up.

As the latest polls show, he has caught up to Lieberman in their general election rematch -- the two are currently in a statistical dead heat. The state's Democratic voters are backing Lamont by a 35 percent margin while the state's Republican voters are backing Lieberman by 40 percent.

So where is the Democratic Party's presumptive 2008 standard-bearer? Precariously balancing on the tip of a triangulation strategy. As usual. more...

August 22, 2006

Wal-Mart Licks Its Wounds
by Barbara Ehrenreich

Poor Wal-Mart, it just can‚t seem to catch a break anymore. There they are, the monks of Bentonville-- who, according to company legend, share hotel rooms on business trips rather than drive up the price of pantyhoseųtoiling away to make the good life affordable to the impecunious masses. And what do they get? Nothing but grief. The Democrats are running against Wal-Mart in the fall Congressional elections, and not just the wild-eyed progressive ones. Centrist Hillary Clinton returned a $5000 donation from the company, citing its inadequate health benefits, and Joe Biden just attacked it because he doesn‚t see „any indication that they care about the fate of middle-class people.š

Then Andrew Young, the former civil rights leader-turned-Wal-Mart-flack, pulled a Mel Gibson, lashing out at the company‚s small business, ethnic, competitors: „I think they've ripped off our communities enough. First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it's Arabs, very few black people own these stores." Wal-Mart quickly distanced itself from the remark, as did Young himself. He stepped down from his Wal-Mart job, though he has not yet followed Mel‚s example by seeking counseling from leading Korean fruit vendors. more...

August 21, 2006

Hopes and Homes: Subject to Seizure On Katrina's Anniversary
by Stephen Bradberry and Jeffrey Buchanan  

The one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, August 29th, 2006, should be a day to remember our commitments to our fellow Americans and our collective losses. It should be a day to reflect on what we as American citizens should expect from our government in our most dire hour of need. It should be a time to honor the courage of the hundreds of thousands of still displaced Katrina survivors as they struggle to return home one year after the storm broke land.

Mayor Ray Nagin, and the New Orleans City Council callously plan to make August 29th not a time to remember but a the time to begin bulldozing what little hope remains by excluding displaced families from the city‚s future. Through passing City Ordinance #26031 unanimously in May, the Council decided that those who have not been able to make the necessary repairs to their battered homes by August 29th risk having their property seized and bulldozed by the city.

Many working class families cannot return to New Orleans to prevent their homes from being seized. Most are still waiting to receive payment from insurance claims and can not pay the roughly $10,000 charged by contractors to gut their home nor can they afford to take time off to gut their homes themselves. Low income families in New Orleans could now lose their homes before receiving a dime from the federal government‚s $7.5 billion „Road Homeš home repair grant program for Louisiana‚s homeowners, as those vitally needed funds continue to sit in limbo.

The Council‚s decision will further „cleanseš New Orleans of its poor, continuing the exclusion and discrimination that have become hallmarks of the reconstruction. more...

August 20, 2006

In the Heart of America's Love Affair with Firepower

firepower
The Knob Creek machine gun shoot in Kentucky attracts thousands of neo-Nazis and other extremists. But the orgy of firepower helps everyone get along just fine.

**********

What Next?

 By Daniel L. Byman and Kenneth M. Pollack   
The debate is over: By any definition, Iraq is in a state of civil war. Indeed, the only thing standing between Iraq and a descent into total Bosnia-like devastation is 135,000 U.S. troops -- and even they are merely slowing the fall. The internecine conflict could easily spiral into one that threatens not only Iraq but also its neighbors throughout the oil-rich Persian Gulf region with instability, turmoil and war.

The consequences of an all-out civil war in Iraq could be dire. Considering the experiences of recent such conflicts, hundreds of thousands of people may die. Refugees and displaced people could number in the millions. And with Iraqi insurgents, militias and organized crime rings wreaking havoc on Iraq's oil infrastructure, a full-scale civil war could send global oil prices soaring even higher.   

However, the greatest threat that the United States would face from civil war in Iraq is from the spillover -- the burdens, the instability, the copycat secession attempts and even the follow-on wars that could emerge in neighboring countries. Welcome to the new "new Middle East" -- a region where civil wars could follow one after another, like so many Cold War dominoes.    

And unlike communism, these dominoes may actually fall.  more...
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