I remember 9/11.  I was up early for my morning walk.  It was primary day in Los Angeles and I stopped by the polling place to vote.  People were gathered around a small television set saying a plane had hit the World Trade Center.

As soon as I finished voting I called Tina who was on Long Island.

I hurried home and turned on the TV, and booted up.

I saw the pictures of the towers coming down over and over.

I was filled with rage.  So much anger I would have turned an entire nation into glass just to kill those responsible.

I’m glad we didn’t.  The wars we have gotten into were a mistake.

Nonetheless I am glad Bin Laden is dead…  Kill the rest of his followers too.  The same way…  Leave the civilians out of it.

From The New York Times:

By and
Published: May 1, 2011

WASHINGTON — Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the most devastating attack on American soil in modern times and the most hunted man in the world, was killed in a firefight with United States forces in Pakistan on Sunday, President Obama announced.

In a dramatic late-night appearance in the East Room of the White House, Mr. Obama declared that “justice has been done” as he disclosed that American military and C.I.A. operatives had finally cornered Mr. bin Laden, the Al Qaeda leader who had eluded them for nearly a decade, and shot him to death at a compound in Pakistan.

“For over two decades, bin Laden has been Al Qaeda’s leader and symbol,” the president said in a statement carried on television around the world. “The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat Al Qaeda. But his death does not mark the end of our effort.” He added, “We must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad.”

The death of Mr. bin Laden is a defining moment in the American-led war on terrorism. What remains to be seen is whether the death of the leader of Al Qaeda galvanizes his followers by turning him into a martyr, or whether it serves as a turning of the page in the war in Afghanistan and gives further impetus to the Obama administration to bring American troops home.

The death of Mr. bin Laden came nearly 10 years after Al Qaeda terrorists hijacked three American passenger jets and crashed them into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon outside Washington. A fourth hijacked jet crashed into countryside of Pennsylvania. Late Sunday night, as the president was speaking, cheering crowds gathered outside the gates of the White House shortly before midnight as word of Mr. bin Laden’s death began trickling out, waving American flags, shouting in happiness and chanting “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” In New York City, crowds sang the Star-Spangled Banner.

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A Tipping Point for Marriage Equality?

I’m tired of the so called “Liberal Media” singing the lyrics handed to them by the Christo–Fascists of the Right Wing.  It is Marriage Equality, not Gay Marriage.  For one thing lesbians might like to get married too and so might TS/TG people.

They accept the right wing frame that somehow LGBT/T folks want some sort of special rights when we just want the same rights straights enjoy.  BTW  those are only rights when everyone has them otherwise they are special privileges.  Why should straights be privileged and LGBT/T people be denied equality?

From the New York Times:

Published: April 30, 2011

WASHINGTON — It’s not every day that a leading law firm fires a client for holding a position so extreme that it may be said to be unworthy of a defense. And it is rarer yet — unheard of, really — when that client is the House of Representatives and the position in question is a federal law.

Yet that is just what King & Spalding, a venerable Atlanta firm, did last week. Under pressure from gay rights groups and apparently fearful of criticism from the law students it recruits and the corporate clients it serves, the firm said it would not defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act against a challenge that it violates the Constitution.

The episode has so far mostly been discussed as a matter of legal ethics, and the firm has had a rough ride. But there is something larger going on, too.

For many gay rights advocates, the decision amounts to a turning point in the debate — the moment at which opposition to same-sex marriage came to look like bigotry, similar to racial discrimination and the subordination of women.

To opponents of same-sex marriage, the firm’s decision is the latest evidence that elite opinion generally and the legal culture in particular is racing ahead of popular opinion and shutting down a worthwhile debate.

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Oklahoma professor allegedly terminated for being transgender

From Raw Story:

By Eric W. Dolan
Sunday, May 1st, 2011

An Assistant Professor of English, Humanities and Literature at Southeastern Oklahoma State University was allegedly denied tenure and terminated because of her gender identity.

Despite being a highly accomplished scholar who was recommended for tenure and a promotion by her colleagues last year, Dr. Rachel Tudor will be terminated from the university effective May 31. She claims to have been dismissed from the Southeastern Oklahoma State University because she is transgender.

“I firmly believe that I was not granted tenure because of discrimination,” she told Raw Story. “In addition to the egregious violations of policy, due process, and precedent, the administrators responsible for denying me not only tenure, but even the opportunity for an up or down vote, have repeatedly refused to heed the voice of the faculty.”

Tudor recently received the Faculty Senate Recognition Award for Excellence in Scholarship. According to Southeastern Oklahoma State University policy, the president is obliged to honor faculty recommendations, except in cases where there is a “compelling reason” or “exceptional circumstances” to reject a recommendation.

“President Minks and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Doug McMillan, have refused to meet with me in person,” she continued. “In addition, it has been reported to me from reliable sources that Doug McMillan is committed to severing me from the university because he disapproves of my gender identity.”

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Ahhh May Day, The Forgotten Holiday and the Struggle for Workers Rights

Prior to the late 19th Century, May Day was a sort of pagan religion based Spring/Planting/Fertility complete with Maypoles and and stripped of meaning celebrations.

Then in the late 19th Century, the 1880s  American workers were organizing unions and fighting the rich corporate bastards for such things as the 8 hour day and decent wages.

The May Day celebrations around the world are tied to those struggles and the events surrounding the Hay Market Massacre.


The history of the world holiday on the 1st May – May Day, or International Workers Day, held in commemoration of four anarchists executed for struggling for an 8-hour day.

Originally a pagan holiday, the roots of the modern May Day bank holiday are in the fight for the eight-hour working day in Chicago in 1886, and the subsequent execution of innocent anarchist workers.

In 1887, four Chicago anarchists were executed; a fifth cheated the hangman by killing himself in prison. Three more were to spend 6 years in prison until pardoned by Governor Altgeld who said the trial that convicted them was characterised by “hysteria, packed juries and a biased judge”. The state had, in the words of the prosecution put “Anarchy is on trial” and hoped their deaths would also be the death of the anarchist idea.

The anarchists were trade union organisers and May Day became an international workers day to remember their sacrifice. They were framed on false charges of throwing a bomb at police breaking up a demonstration in Chicago. This was part of a strike demanding an 8 hour day involving 400,000 workers in Chicago that started May 1st 1886 .

It began over a century ago when the American Federation of Labour adopted an historic resolution which asserted that “eight hours shall constitute a legal day’s labour from and after May 1st, 1886”.

In the months prior to this date workers in their thousands were drawn into the struggle for the shorter day. Skilled and unskilled, black and white, men and women, native and immigrant were all becoming involved.

By the 1950s when I was a kid May day Celebrations were associated with Communism and the American Version of Labor Day had been watered down and moved to September to avoid the taint of anything associated with either its history or with radicalism.

As for the Maypole and the pagan aspect…  I vaguely remember various “Christian” organizations denouncing that one based on it being pagan.

I kind of like both aspects, the worker and the pagan, especially since the pagan is so closely related to nature, planting, etc.  Not to mention the closeness of May Day to Earth Day.

I especially like the international aspects of May Day as a special day for the working people whose labor produces all the wealth.  Which is a secret the rich do not want working people to know.  Again and again I have heard the rich described as the most productive.  Nonsense…  The lowest paid workers in any corporation tend to work harder than the most highly paid.  Those who work in the sweat shops are more productive.

There is an old truism, “Behind every great fortune, Great theft.”  Working people labor and produce the wealth that the owning class becomes rich upon.

The working people from around the world have more in common with each other than they have with the rich who own the corporations.

Hence the singing around the world of The Internationale (The original French words were written in June 1871 by Eugène Pottier (1816–1887, previously a member of the Paris Commune)[1] and were originally intended to be sung to the tune of La Marseillaise.[2] Pierre De Geyter (1848–1932) set the poem to music in 1888.[3] His melody was first publicly performed in July 1888[4] and became widely used soon after.)

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Apple’s Chinese workers treated ‘inhumanely, like machines’

From The Guardian UK:

Investigation finds evidence of draconian rules and excessive overtime to meet western demand for iPhones and iPads

Gethin Chamberlain, Saturday 30 April 2011

An investigation into the conditions of Chinese workers has revealed the shocking human cost of producing the must-have Apple iPhones and iPads that are now ubiquitous in the west.

The research, carried out by two NGOs, has revealed disturbing allegations of excessive working hours and draconian workplace rules at two major plants in southern China. It has also uncovered an “anti-suicide” pledge that workers at the two plants have been urged to sign, after a series of employee deaths last year.

The investigation gives a detailed picture of life for the 500,000 workers at the Shenzhen and Chengdu factories owned by Foxconn, which produces millions of Apple products each year. The report accuses Foxconn of treating workers “inhumanely, like machines”.

Among the allegations made by workers interviewed by the NGOs – the Centre for Research on Multinational Companies and Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (Sacom) – are claims that:

■ Excessive overtime is routine, despite a legal limit of 36 hours a month. One payslip, seen by the Observer, indicated that the worker had performed 98 hours of overtime in a month.

■ Workers attempting to meet the huge demand for the first iPad were sometimes pressured to take only one day off in 13.

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The Right-Wing Network Behind the War on Unions

From Mother Jones:

Inspired by Ronald Reagan and funded by the right’s richest donors, a web of free-market think tanks has fueled the nationwide attack on workers’ rights.

By Andy Kroll
Mon Apr. 25, 2011 12:01

From New Hampshire to Alaska, Republican lawmakers are waging war on organized labor. They’re pushing bills to curb, if not eliminate, collective bargaining for public workers; make it harder for unions to collect member dues; and, in some states, allow workers to opt out of joining unions entirely but still enjoy union-won benefits. All told, it’s one of the largest assaults on American unions in recent history.

Behind the onslaught is a well-funded network of conservative think tanks that you’ve probably never heard of. Conceived by the same conservative ideologues who helped found the Heritage Foundation, the State Policy Network (SPN) is a little-known umbrella group with deep ties to the national conservative movement. Its mission is simple: to back a constellation of state-level think tanks loosely modeled after Heritage that promote free-market principles and rail against unions, regulation, and tax increases. By blasting out policy recommendations and shaping lawmakers’ positions through briefings and private meetings, these think tanks cultivate cozy relationships with GOP politicians. And there’s a long tradition of revolving door relationships between SPN staffers and state governments. While they bill themselves as independent think tanks, SPN’s members frequently gather to swap ideas. “We’re all comrades in arms,” the network’s board chairman told the National Review in 2007.

Occasionally, SPN think tanks boast of their clout. Such was the case when the Tennessee Center for Policy Research bragged on its website recently that it “leads the charge against teachers’ union” and “laid the groundwork” for the bills now in the Tennessee legislature to restrict, and possibly eradicate, bargaining for public school teachers. More often, though, the fingerprints of SPN’s members are less apparent.

Founded in 1992 by businessman and Reagan administration insider Thomas Roe—who also served on the Heritage Foundation’s board of trustees for two decades—the group has grown to include 59 “freedom centers,” or affiliated think tanks, in all 50 states. SPN’s board includes officials from Heritage and right-wing charities such as the Adolph Coors and Jacqueline Hume foundations. Likewise, its deep-pocketed donors include all the usual heavy-hitting conservative benefactors: the Ruth and Lovett Peters Foundation, which funds the Cato Institute and Heritage; the Castle Rock Foundation, a charity started with money from the conservative Coors Foundation; and the Bradley Foundation, a $540 million charity devoted to funding conservative causes. SPN uses their contributions to dole out annual grants to member groups, ranging from a few thousand dollars to $260,000, according to 2009 records.

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Happy May Day

Courtesy of Facebook friend, Andy W. Taylor

I’ve been reflecting on these two poems by Harlem Communist Langston
Hughes. Their sorrow and anger is in my guts too… And thinking of May Day, I thought others might resonate with the conviction Hughes expressed that “the world is not good enough. We must make it better”…So to May Day and to Langston… Hughes we pledge ourselves anew to fight for a world worthy of Humankind.(1) Mother to Son

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor —
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now —
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

(2) God to Hungry Child

Hungry child,
I didn’t make this world for you.
You didn’t buy any stock in my railroad.
You didn’t invest in my corporation.
Where are your shares in standard oil?
I made the world for the rich
And the will-be-rich
And the have-always-been-rich.
Not for you.
Hungry child.See More

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