Katherine Forrest's blog
An old organizing vehicle, the union, has recently come on the scene in a new guise that promises to shake up the political process. Specifically, it is a new union for the unemployed (and underemployed), known by its nickname, UCubed.
It’s been only a month that a union for the unemployed has come into existence through an ingenious grass-roots organizing campaign. In case you haven’t heard about it, the union’s name is “UR Union of the Unemployed” or its nickname, “UCubed,” because of its unique method of organizing.
Topic: Ask Kate
An Ask Kate question:
Please read this article on the efforts of Secretary of State Clinton: "Clinton Makes Women's Economic Power, Security Key Policy Goals." I am wondering what we can do to help? --Helen
The attention Secretary of State Clinton was able to get for women's legal and social rights, as discussed in this article, exemplifies what women can do when they are in leadership positions and when they have the courage and determination to take action.
But we don't have to be Secretary of State to make a difference. The kinds of things all of us can do to improve the status of women in our country and around the world are: get informed, speak out, take political and personal action, and provide financial support. Here are some suggestions:
The Nobel Committee's surprising announcement that it will award the Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama is a powerful testimonial to how much thoughtful people around the world appreciate Obama's basically progressive approach to foreign affairs.
The full citation reads: “The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.
A friend just brought National Affairs magazine to my attention, with the guileless query, “…let me know what you think.” What I think, sadly, is that there are a whole lot of educated people in this country who need to tune up their crap detectors.
Looking at the About page of the new magazine, I recognized some of the names, particularly that of Bill Kristol, a well-known promoter of conservative philosophy via The Weekly Standard and FOX News. Look up the bios of the editors, authors and publication committee, and you’ll find connections to National Review, Hudson Institute, Manhattan Institute, American Enterprise Institute, Project for the New American Century, Pepperdine University, and other hotbeds of conservativism.
This commentary was contributed by Commonweal Institute Advisor Patrick O'Heffernan.
The liberal blogosphere has been buzzing about Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst at the President last night during Obama's address to a joint session. A diary on dailykos accuses Wilson of adopting "tea bagger tactics" and calls on “kossacks” to donate to the campaign of Rob Miller, his presumptive political opponent. The Huffington Post featured an unflattering photo of Wilson and the headline, "A Muzzle for Old Yeller", plus an analysis of his allegation.
Following the recent murder of Dr. Tiller, one of only three remaining physicians in this country who performed late-term abortions, PBS ran a NOW program about late term abortion, with correspondent Maria Hinojosa as the interviewer. Anti-abortionists (mislabeled "pro-life", which many of them are not) are up in arms about the show, on which the other two physicians described how their lives and those of their families have been impacted for years by ongoing efforts to intimidate them and shut down access to abortion. One of the doctors referred to the tactics of the anti-abortionists as "domestic terrorism".
According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, which tracks statistics on abortion:
Nearly half of pregnancies among American women are unintended, and four in 10 of these are terminated by abortion. Twenty-two percent of all pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) end in abortion.
The economic crisis rolls on, but people are coping by turning to public libraries, parks, and some of the more umble pleasures of everyday life. Read Jay Walljasper's short piece about the resources we have, but often do not appreciate:
Let me offer some good news about the state of your wealth. Sure, the 401(k) tanked, the house lost a big chunk of value, and things are looking shaky at work. Indeed, the Federal Reserve recently reported that Americans all together lost $5.1 trillion during the last three months of 2008 alone.
But what you possess individually accounts for only part of your true net worth. Each of us also owns a stake in some extremely valuable assets: clean air, fresh water, national forests, the Internet, public universities, blood banks, rich cultural traditions and more.
All these things are part of what is now being called "the commons," and they are more important than ever.
With rising unemployment and comsumer timidity, everyone seems to agree the economy could use a swift kick to get it going again. I like this idea: 100% write-offs for all capital goods purchased in 2009 by small businesses, and comparable benefits for owners of rental and commercial property. That means immediate tax credits, not protracted depreciation schedules.
What is obvious is that we need an immediate and powerful jolt to the economy. We need action that will restore consumer and business confidence, put people to work, and lift the feeling of gloom that's hanging over the country. We need a true small business stimulus.[...]
We need a 100% write-off that will create immediate economic demand, generating manufacturing and construction jobs across the country. And with more jobs will come stronger consumer confidence, with greater ability and willingness to spend.
The latest revelation about voting machines is that, since the outset, infamous Diebold (which now calls itself Premier Election Systems) has had a profound defect in the GEMS software it uses in both direct-recording electronic (DRE, touch-screen) voting machines and in optical scan machines. This defect makes it possible for election officials or others to alter the audit log, which is the purported backup that is supposed to guarantee that, in case of possible vote fraud, one could go back to see whether any votes might have been lost by mistake or through tampering.
According to a leading election organization, Verified Voting, Premier Election Systems equipment is used in over 1400 voting districts, representing over 43,000,000 voters.
Now that Thomas Friedman is saying:
Let’s today step out of the normal boundaries of analysis of our economic crisis and ask a radical question: What if the crisis of 2008 represents something much more fundamental than a deep recession? What if it’s telling us that the whole growth model we created over the last 50 years is simply unsustainable economically and ecologically and that 2008 was when we hit the wall — when Mother Nature and the market both said: “No more.” [...]
We can’t do this anymore.
...maybe the country will wake up. The global economy is on a collision course with the reality that we live on a finite planet.
Economist Herman Daly has long been one of my heroes, as he has been talking about the need for a steady-state economy (neither growing nor shrinking) for decades. Here is what Daly said recently, in April, 2008: