28 Feb 2007 04:37 pm
Army to Walter Reed Patients: Shut Up!
The Army Times reports that soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Medical Hold Unit have been told not to talk to the media when they have problems with their quarters, but instead to send the appropriate paperwork up the chain of command.
The soldiers have been told that they will wake up at 6 every morning and have their rooms ready for inspection at 7.
One Medical Hold Unit soldier, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that the soldiers “believe this is a form of punishment for the trouble soldiers caused by talking to the media.”
The Department of Defense has suspended planned projects by CNN and the Discovery Channel. The soldiers in the Hold Unit will be moved to a building on campus where any reporters will have to be escorted by Public Affairs personnel.
All sergeants that had been in charge of the facility have been relieved of duty and moved to other positions.
24 Feb 2007 04:37 pm
Severe Poverty Rises in Spite of Growing Economy
Data from the 2005 census show that the percentage of Americans living in severe poverty has reached a 32 year high, that millions of working Americans are falling closer to the poverty line, while at the same time, the gap between rich and poor continues to grow.
An analysis by the McClatchy newspapers showed that 16 million Americans now live in severe poverty. The number living in severe poverty rose by 26% between 2000 an 2005, more than 50% faster than the growth of poverty as a whole.
Washington D.C. and hurricane ravaged Louisiana and Mississippi have the highest percentage of severely poor. Areas along the Texas-Mexico border and the mid-west rust belt are also severely affected.
A study by the Center for Policy Research at Syracuse University of 31 industrialized nations shows that with the exception of Mexico and Russia, the U.S. devotes the smallest portion of its gross domestic product to federal anti-poverty programs, and those programs are among the least effective at reducing poverty, the study found.
The U.S. ruling class has dropped even the pretense of the “trickle down” theory and now blatantly skews tax and spending policies to favor the rich. Our distribution of wealth is becoming more and more like third world countries where only an elite few enjoy prosperity while the vast majority live in poverty.
Democrats have virtually abandoned the poor and Republicans make no pretense at all of helping them. The result is a political vacuum that the Green Party needs to fill.
Iraqi Blogger at the Demonstration
One of the most famous Iraqi bloggers, Raed Jarrar, whose bog, Raed in the Middle, has chronicled events in Iraq since before the war began. Some of his earlier posts have been published. On Febuary 4, he spoke at the rally on the Mall.
Watch his talk on You Tube.
01 Feb 2007 08:33 am
Maryland’s Vendetta Against the Green Party
From Ballot Access News:
In 2003, the Maryland Green Party won a spectacular ballot access lawsuit in Maryland’s highest state court. That court ruled that it is unconstitutional for a state to require double petitioning. That is, it is unconstitutional to require a minor party to submit one petition to qualify itself, and then separate petitions for each of its nominees (”nominees” means people chosen at the party’s nominating conventions; it doesn’t mean people seeking the party’s nomination).
As a result of that decision, Maryland ballot access for minor parties is now reasonable and fair, a great contrast to Maryland law between 1967 and 2003, when it was extraordinarily repressive.
The Maryland State Board of Elections seems to have a vendetta against the attorneys who won that 2003 case for the Maryland Green Party. The Board has refused to pay attorneys’ fees. The latest attempt by the Board to avoid payment was in July 2006, when it persuaded a lower court judge to issue a subpoena, letting the Board see all the e-mail between one of the attorneys and the Green Party. Because that attorney works for a college as a librarian, the subpoena also asks to see his employment application and his payroll records. The attorney used his computer at work for e-mail with the Green Party (something that was permitted by the employer, as long as it wasn’t extensive), but the State Board of Elections argues that therefore the attorney-client privilege was waived. The Board of Elections also apparently hopes to substantially cut the hourly rate for the attorney, by trying to demonstrate that his relatively modest salary as a librarian demonstrates that he should not be paid as though he were an ordinary attorney.
On January 26, the ACLU of Maryland filed a brief in the Maryland Court of Special Appeals on behalf of the Green Party and its attorneys, arguing that the subpoena should be quashed and that the Board quickly settle the amount of attorneys fees. The case is Maryland Green Party v Maryland Bd. of Elections, no. 01321, Sept. 2006 Term.