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October 31, 2005

Princeton Ties....SC Nom

Randomly from CQ Midday Update...

Ah, the old school tie. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., informed reporters this morning that he and Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. share an alma mater: Princeton University. Alito graduated in 1972, Frist in 1974. "So very quickly people started sending me e-mails this morning," including one calling attention to the 1972 edition of the yearbook, the Nassau Herald. According to Frist, the final two sentences under Alito’s pic said, "Sam intends to go to law school and eventually warm a seat on the Supreme Court." Not so fast. First he has to get safely off the hot seat in the Senate Judiciary Committee, a perch that can burn a nominee.

Posted by cj at 5:11 PM | Comments (0)

October 30, 2005

Striking Healthcare Workers Blogging

Dialogic posted a significant portion of an Alternet article regarding striking SEIU United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW). Annalee Newitz wrote "Strike Blog," which is an interesting if incomplete / not always correct article re labor strikes and blogging. Some of the commentors on her article have already corrected her most glaring mistake (being so enamored with blogging and laws that she thinks union speak online could keep folks interested in writing about their workplace conditions from being fired).

I know unions aren't a panacea for all that ails workers in America. But please look past whatever grievances you have with unions as institutions to sympathize with the plight of the workers at Sutter CPMC in San Francisco. I've never personally been involved in a strike, but as a former SEIU organizer, my heart goes out to the workers. Regardless of education level, all Americans deserve healthy working conditions, affordable healthcare, a living wage, and a real pension. There's a fundamental crisis in the US - a race to the bottom of wages and benefits for the vast majority of workers, while an elite few take an ever-expanding piece of the pie.

I'm glad to see SEIU expanding its use of alternative forms of communication.

Important Links:
Sutter Strikers' Blog
Official SEIU-UHW Sutter Strike Site
Take Action! Sign the Online Petition Supporting Sutter Strikers

and a related link found via the comments section of Alternet:
Communicate or Die: American Labor Unions and the Internet's post re Sutter Strike

Posted by cj at 2:25 AM | Comments (0)

October 27, 2005

More Information on The Situation in the Middle East

Rafah Pundits has pictures of both the suicide bombing and the Israeli missile strikes. The site is under new management and doesn't have all of its archives back yet. Insightful quotes from their site:

The Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, have strongly condemned the attack and said "such acts of violence provoke further Israeli retaliations". His condemnation was denounced by the Islamic Jihad spokesperson in Gaza, Mr. Khalid Al-Batsh, who said "How is it fair that Israel has the legitimacy to assassinate, invade, detain and bomb Palestinian cities, while we don’t even have the right to react to these violations?"
Juan Cole wrote a brilliant post on the similarities between Iraq and Palestine / Israel.

More gruesome photos of Israelis and mainstream news account from the NYT: "Palestinian Suicide Bomber Kills 5 in an Israeli Town," by Greg Myre and Dina Kraft
The NYT also reports on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disgusting speech: "Iran's New President Says Israel 'Must Be Wiped Off the Map,'" by Nazila Fathi with contributions from Greg Myre

Extensive quotes from the extremely disturbing speech by Ahmadinejad are available at Iran Focus.

The vitriolic statements and violence in the Middle East remind me of all the ethnic conflicts I studied in college. My senior year research was on what makes ethnic conflict become ethnic violence. I am convinced that charismatic leaders create the climate necessary to kill one's neighbors. I believe Ahmadinejad is the wrong leader for Iranians and I believe Ariel Sharon's apartheid wall, annexation of Palestinian Jerusalem, and encouragement of colonizers in the West Bank is the wrong leadership for Israel.

I pray that we in the U.S. will kick the bums out of power in DC and replace them with leaders who recognize the need for diplomacy and engagement in the Middle East, rather than knee-jerk support of all Israeli actions.

Posted by cj at 7:44 AM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2005

Violence in Israel and Palestine After Disturbing Statement

I am not sure about the sequence of events, since this Reuters article is not written in chronological order.

Here's what I think has happened:

Personally, I find both the suicide bombing and the Israeli missile response abhorrent. As a Woman Challenging U.S. Policy on Israel / Palestine, I believe the U.S. should allow the PA to determine how to diffuse the power and violence associated with paramilitary political groups.

More info: "Israeli warplanes pound Gaza after suicide attack," by Nidal al-Mughrabi with reporting from Wafa Amr and Corinne Heller, from Reuters on Yahoo News

Much more information available at IMEMC, International Middle East Media Center.

cross-posted from the US WILPF blog.

Posted by cj at 11:08 PM | Comments (0)

October 24, 2005

Big Brother Still Watching...

The FBI doesn't want you to worry about its secret access to your emails, online transactions, and bank statements. It feels okay not even following its secret court's procedure for obtaining "warrants."

The Electronic Privacy Information Center thinks the FBI is full of crap and is suing. The document EPIC obtained details (with plenty of black outs) thirteen probable violations of intelligence gathering. The FBI's access to your private correspondence and records was vastly increased by the "USA Patriot Act."

It is really appalling how much we US citizens will put up with from our government. I suppose as long as they keep the black-listing to secret tribunals, the masses will continue to assent to this neo-McCarthyism.

More info: "FBI Papers Indicate Intelligence Violations: Secret Surveillance Lacked Oversight," by Dan Eggen in WaPo

Posted by cj at 7:30 AM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2005

Workers Gettin Screwed in America

Yesterday, General Motors and the United Auto Workers reached a tentative deal that will slash healthcare benefits for workers and retirees, to save costs since GM has been in the red for a few quarters. The LAT points out that news is part of a larger trend - workers are being asked to work harder for less pay and miserly benefits. The number of employers offering any healthcare benefits has drastically decreased since 2000. Let's be clear: access to affordable healthcare should be a right, not a priviledge. As executive pay continues to skyrocket, the vast majority of US workers are making do with much less. The gap between the rich and the poor continues to increase in our "land of opportunity." This isn't some socialist diatribe - its just the facts, ma'am. A business writer was on NPR this morning talking about how companies are clamoring over elite workers, enticing them with huge bonuses and perks. He also admitted that the vast majority of US workers are "a dime a dozen" and don't have any leverage in compensation negotiations. Yahoo for the new wild West.

more info: "U.S. Labor Is in Retreat as Global Forces Squeeze Pay and Benefits," by David Streitfeld in the LAT

Posted by cj at 8:39 AM | Comments (0)

Rise in Violence in Darfu

[apologies for the break in posting - I have been ill.]

There are more militia factions in Darfur, Sudan now then previously. The janjaweed are now fighting the government, other militias, and terrorizing and murdering the people of Darfur. The situation is so bad the UN has pulled out most of its personnel.

The "silver lining" is that, according to the NYT, conflicts tend to intensify as peace becomes imminent. Supposedly the new groups want a seat at the table and/or some of the spoils of war.

More info: "Chaos Grows in Darfur Conflict as Militias Turn on Government," by Marc Lacey in the NYT

Posted by cj at 8:18 AM | Comments (0)