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Democracy For The Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area
Friday, August 26, 2005
 
A History Lesson
Did Progressives Destroy America?
From Daily Kos Blog
Fri Aug 26th, 2005 at 12:25:37 PDT
This seems to be a big question on the minds of conservatives these days. I challenge their romanticized version of an earlier time in America, one they have coated with a high gloss shellac, the pre-progressive era, the 1890's.
Photo archivist Otto Bettman collected and preserved thousand of visuals of the nineteenth century: children working long hours at dangerous industrial machinery, sick cows held up by straps for milking, pictures of shanty towns ridden with diseased children, raw sewage, and unemployed. He kept public service warnings from the 1800's warning against putrid milk, and epidemics spred by unsanitary food. Otto Bettman's book, "The Good Old Days-They were Terrible!" is my source fort his diary.
So, let's take a trip down memory lane, the way things used to be:


FOOD:
Adulteration of foodstuffs was problem and conventional practice in the 1880's. Alum, copper, and sulphur were often added to bread flour for preservatives. Coloring for candy was often toxic, sickening children and adults alike. "Bogus butter," a mixture of animal fats, calcium, or potatoes (whatever was on hand) was bleached and processed in disgusting conditions and repackaged by merchants and labeled as butter. Canneries operated under filthy conditions, and the process itself often was proven detrimental, through the use of chemicals added to preserve. Slop fed to cows often made the children sick.

SANITATION:
Cities such as Chicago, Pittsburgh, New York, Helena Montana, Leadville Colorado, generally suffered from putrid conditions. The air stank, refuse filled the streets, garbage and food refuse was dumped everywhere, the waste of humans and animals alike trickled through crowded streets. Unhygienic conditions on the streets were matched by interior conditions in workhouses, orphanages, factories, asylums, hospitals, and farmhouses. Life in the country did not proved an escape from unsanitary conditions; private wells were often contaminated by close proximity to barns, privies, and household refuse. Many homesteaders lived with farm animals in their homes during winter months.

EDUCATION:
Farm children found little time for school, the mind numbing work and drudgery of the farm leaving very little time for scholarly pursuits. The school year lasted barely twelve weeks. Attitudes of the farmers toward public school were not positive, indeed compliance meant less able farm hands. The "summer vacation" we are so familiar with is a concession made to farmers whose children were expected to work under gravest of conditions. Blacks in several states were by law, forbidden to enroll, and what colored schools were available came under assault through neglect or vandals. City schools were overcrowded, underfunded, dismal, dimly lit, unventilated, and places of rampant abuse and epidemic. In the cities, where many of the children worked long hours in the factories, as they crammed themselves into various crowded conditions, often slept their time in class. Education itself came in the form of memorization, children spending their days memorizing the spelling of words, facts, poems, or simple chastisements. Abuse was common, and children caught napping, or unable to perform tasks were often beaten or humiliated.

FARM LIFE:
In the 1880's, about 40% of farmers were sharecroppers or tenant farmers. As owners mortgaged property and foreclosures took effect, many families would be put off the land. Refuse from animals and human alike polluted small lots owned by the majority of homesteaders. Diseases such as malaria and smallpox were rampant in the countryside, and country doctors were generally no more than charlatans and opportunists. Farm life was generally backbreaking, heartbreaking and subsistence. Stoves used to heat also caused smoky conditions inside, flies and mosquitoes were constant companions outside. Open-hearth fireplaces were dangerous, and women often suffered injuries and disfigurement doing the most basic of household chores.

LABOR:
Conditions on the farms were often tedious, backbreaking, and mind numbing, however the conditions of industry were often explicitly dangerous. Workers could be beaten, hours required were long, and pay was generally a pittance for work extracted by the worker. Workers were essentially a cog in the industrial wheel. Unventilated air exposed workers to coal dust, saw dust, steel shards, poisonous gasses, and high temperatures. Death and disability was common. In 1890, one of three railroad workers was injured, one in thirty killed. Safety equipment was unknown, and death of a worker was considered "his own bad luck." The garment industry offered squalid conditions in warehouses, or whole families were contracted to do piecework around the clock to simply pay rent. Children worked long hours, often sixteen hours a day, with little food, and dangerous conditions. Shanty towns were built atop slag heaps, often laborers and families lived in boxes, with rats and pests.The idea that women did not work is patently false. Pay for one male worker often was not enough to cover rent alone, much less food or clothing, and the majority of Americans, men, women and children worked day and night to survive. Children were oftened abandoned to the streets, to a life of exploitation and prostitution.
Bill Gates bought the Bettman Archives, now housed underground in Pennsylvania. It is imperative these documents are copied and brought into the public domain. The revisionist historians of the right can only do so if they accomplish the task of hiding our archives from public view. Please urge Bill Gates to bring the archives to the light of day.
http://www.sfbg.com/SFLife/35/30/lead.html

Wednesday, August 24, 2005
 
Dementia of the Right(eous)
Robertson’s Fatwah: “A Whole Lotta Smitin’ Goin’ On” by Mike
Whitneywww.dissidentvoice.orgAugust 24, 2005

Pat Robertson doesn’t have a monopoly on ignorance, he’s just heavily invested in it. Like his ideological twin in the White House, Robertson’s tongue simply outpaces his wit and gets him in trouble from time to time. It’s no big deal.
When did it become a crime to be an old man in the grip of senility?
Actually we should be grateful to the prattling preacher for summarizing American foreign policy so succinctly.
“I don’t know about this doctrine of assassination,” Robertson sheepishly admitted, “but, if he really thinks we are trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it.”
Who could argue with that logic? Certainly, no one in the White House where such policies are part of a long tradition.
Of course, some sticklers to convention might find something wrong with the head of the Christian Coalition supporting state-sponsored murder, but Robertson isn’t troubled by such quibbling. The real question for him is whether to “whack” Chavez before he turns the other cheek or after.
This isn’t the first time that Robertson’s been in hot water for his off-the-wall comments. Once he declared that feminism “encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”
“Witchcraft”?
It sounds to me like Robertson might be a bit nostalgic for the good old days of the 13th Century when women could be trundled off to the public square and burned at the stake. Is that what he means by “family values”?
It’s not only women that bother Robertson either, but homosexuals as well. He once warned the people of Orlando, Florida that if they didn’t stop celebrating Gay Pride month at Disney World God would send “some serious hurricanes…It’ll bring about terrorist bombs. It’ll bring earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor.”
“Meteors”? Maybe, but it sounds like Robertson’s crystal ball might be fogging up a bit with age. What difference does it make anyway? Is it really worth putting the old guy through the predictable regimen of self-abasement and repentance that’s coming? Do we really need to see another regional icon dragging himself through the streets in sackcloth and ashes?
What purpose does it serve?
Think of the positive side, at least when the reverend is dazzling the world with his political acumen he’s not extorting money from old ladies on the 700 Club. Besides, Robertson was just putting an exclamation point behind a policy that is already in place.
It’s no secret that the Bush administration has been looking for a way to topple Chavez. Their involvement in the coup three years ago is now part of the public record. Perhaps, that explains Donald Rumsfeld’s bland response that Robertson “is a private citizen. Private citizens say all kinds of things all the time.”
Of course, Rumsfeld failed to add that if Robertson was Muslim he’d be dragged off in leg irons and plunked at Guantanamo Bay. Instead, he’ll get a mild public rebuke and retain his prestigious place among America’s class warriors.
It is Robertson’s less celebrated remarks that are really worth considering. He said that Chavez had “destroyed the Venezuelan economy” and was turning Venezuela into a “launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism.”
The claim of “Muslim extremism” is too far fetched to even consider, but the “communism” charge gets to the heart of the matter and the real reason why Chavez is so reviled by the oligarchs in the Bush administration. Chavez has initiated mild reforms that has redistributed some of Venezuela’s prodigious oil wealth and created free health care, free education, jobs-training programs, and welfare assistance -- all the policies that are anathema to the elite cadres of capitalists in the Bush administration. Robertson shares their contempt for these “redistributive” programs and merely echoed that hatred in his statement. That’s why it’s unlikely that his punishment will be too harsh.
If Robertson is to be accused of a crime it should be about something of substance not his foolish blathering about Chavez. His real failing as a religious leader is that he has never defended the rights or liberties of the downtrodden he pretends to represent. He has never spoken out against the horrific abuses at either Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo, nor has he wavered in his support for a war that has killed over 100,000 Iraqis. Instead, he has used his position to fatten the coffers at the 700 Club and to conceal his unbridled disdain for gays, women and Muslims.
There is a Biblical precedent for men like Robertson, but it has nothing to do with “The Golden Rule.” It’s all about duplicity, like Matthew says in the Gospel:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the Law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel.” (Matthew 23:23-24)
Self righteousness is not righteousness. Robertson should pay a little more attention to the Book he says he believes in.
Mike Whitney lives in Washington state, and can be reached at: fergiewhitney@msn.com

Tuesday, August 23, 2005
 
Tricounty DFA: DSM Meeting Postponed
This is a quick posting to alert everyone that I just received a call from Rep. Sweeney's office that Sweeney aide Jim Clark has been called down to Washington and will not be able to meet with us tomorrow. I was told he will contact me and reschedule the meeting when he returns.

My thanks to everyone who RSVP'd for the event tomorrow and your willingness to come -- again, our Downing Street Meeting with Sweeney aide Jim Clark that was to have been tomorrow, Wednesday, August 24th at 12:30 has been postponed. We'll let you know about any possible rescheduling.

Saturday, August 20, 2005
 
Tricounty DFA Update: Vigil, DSM meeting next week, DFA-Link and more
Hello Everyone;

In this update:

1. Downing Street Memo Meeting Next Wednesday
2. Reminder -- Register With DFA-Link!
3. "Ignore The Neocons" -- An Important Story About Army and Marine Commanders and a way out
4. Price Check For DFA
5. Join DNC FOIA On Roberts
6. NARAL: Petition Action -- Save Birth Control Access
7. Great Vigils In Saratoga And Elsewhere In Support Of Cindy Sheehan


1. Downing Street Memo Meeting Next Wednesday

The next big local DFA event is our Downing Street Memo meeting with Rep. Sweeney aide Jim Clark on Wednesday the 24th at 12:30. We will be discussing the implications of the Downing Street Memo and asking the Congressman to consider supporting a bipartisan investigation of the origins of the war in Iraq. Remember - there are Republican congressmen who are now totally against the war (like North Caroline Rep. Walter Jones, who once even moved a resolution to rename french fries "freedom fries" in Capitol Hill cafeterias).

We appreciate being able to meet with Jim Clark, who we met with last April to discuss Social Security. As a result of that meeting, a number of our members got tickets to Rep. Sweeney's forum in Clifton Park. Jim has been very good about meeting with us, and let's remember, there are offices of Republican Congressmen that are refusing to meet with DFA people. The intention is for this meeting to be a non-confrontational working session to discuss the issue, explain our view, solicit theirs and urge change.

For everyone who turned out for the Vigil to support Cindy Sheehan, this is the next logical step. We need at least a dozen people to attend the session, which will be in Sweeney's regional office in the Rogers Building at 21 Bay Street in downtown Glens Falls across the street from the Crandall Library. Please RSVP to me or use DFA-Link to confirm your attendance.

2. Reminder -- Register With DFA-Link!

As you probably know DFA has created DFA-Link to replace our meetup.com tools. Again, please take a second, click this link and go online with DFA-Link and register. http://www.DFA-Link.com/register.php?c=g&id=91042f3ae603ef90&email=__EMAIL__

After you get to the page, just follow the instructions and then click to join our local group, Democracy For The Greater Glens Falls Area. Others will be up soon. These tools will really empower all our local groups and make it easier for us to do all kinds of things; we'll be seeing a lot of this in the future. RIght now, we need you to register! Thanks.

3. Ignore The Neocons -- A very important story

That the war in Iraq is going very badly is becoming increasingly clear. However, this piece from TomPaine.com calls attention to a side of the Iraq War this is getting little attention; the effort of our military commanders in Iraq to get neocon extremists in Washington to negotiate with secular professional military commanders in the Iraqi Army we disbanded and secular Baath officials we fired, most of whom were simply careerists.

The fact a pitched battle occurred between Baathist and old Iraq military elements last week and forces of Al Queida went unnoticed in most of the mainstream media. But the secularists want Al Queida out of their country -- along with us -- and they are willing to fight to do it. But no one in Washington wants to listen to our military commanders on how this is the responsible and safe way for the US and the world to resolved the Iraq crisis. This seems to include many Democrats, sad to say. It's hard to understand; what's the problem with backing up Army and Marine generals? Isn't that "cover?" http://www.tompaine.com/articles/20050818/first_ignore_the_neocons.php

4. Price Check For DFA

You may have gotten this message from DFA's Executive Director, Tom Hughes. "Over the past few months, you've joined thousands of DFA members nationwide to lead the fight to make America's largest and most powerful corporation -- Wal-Mart -- a better company.... But in case you haven't noticed, Wal-Mart's claim to "Always Low Prices" is still a tremendous draw. Despite the bad press, lawsuits and activism exposing the company's policies, hardworking Americans like bargains, and in many places they still think Wal-Mart offers consumers a good deal.

So this month, Wal-Mart Watch -- an organization DFA works closely with -- needs your help launching a nationwide project to test Wal-Mart's low-price guarantee once and for all. There has been a lot of speculation about Wal-Mart's pricing tactics. Do they price nationally, regionally or store-by-store? Do they cut prices upon moving into a new community only to raise them when free of nearby competition? Do they lure customers with bargains on featured items only to stick it to them on more mundane goods? We need your help finding out."

If you want to help out by checking a few prices locally, go to: http://www.democracyforamerica.com/pricecheck

5. Join DNC FOIA On Roberts

The DNC is asking Democrats everywhere to cosponsor a Freedom Of Information Request for Supreme Court Nominee John Roberts. What is the administration hiding? The latest revelations on his positions on civil and women's rights are frankly fairly shocking. We need to know more. To co-sign, go to: http://www.democrats.org/page/petition/foia

6. NARAL: Petition Action -- Save Birth Control Access

As many predicted, the right to birth control is now incrementally under attack. NARAL is fighting this. To learn more and petition Governor Pataki, and help save the right to birth control for all, go to: http://prochoiceaction.org/campaign/NY_fedlis_takeover_8_18_05/step1.tcl

7. Great Vigils In Saratoga And Elsewhere In Support Of Cindy Sheehan

Finally, there was a great vigil in Saratoga Springs Wednesday in support of Gold Star Mother For Peace Cindy Sheehan. We want to thank and salute all the organizers of this event in Saratoga! It was one of the largest demonstrations I have ever seen in the Northcountry; several hundred were present; for the vigil and march.

Tonight it is reported Cindy is back at her stand in Crawford, after leaving to attend to her mother. You would think common sense would tell Bush that no politician ever won an argument with a Gold Star Mother, but common sense seems to be in short supply these days. As Terrance Samuels on Prospect.org noted today: "... no amount of political capital can compete with the moral gravitas of a grieving mother. The mothers of dead soldiers have no credibility issues. They command attention and demand respect...."
http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewWeb&articleId=10151


Some pictures DFA member Roger Wyatt took and a description by yours truly wound up on Blog For America Thursday.
http://www.blogforamerica.com/archives/006763.html
Also our group blog at http://townmeetingday.blogspot.com

Thanks Everyone! Make sure to register with DFA-Link and please RSVP to me for the DSM meeting Wednesday!

Larry

Thursday, August 18, 2005
 
Saratoga Peace Vigil In Support of Gold Star Mom Cindy Sheehan
Hello Everyone!

Attendance at the Saratoga Springs Peace Vigil of support for Cindy Sheehan surpassed all expectations; over 150 people had registered online, but as many as 600 may have been present. News media presence was extensive, including representatives from several Albany, NY television stations and local newspapers. The local organizers in Saratoga and host Leland Lakritz did a great job setting everything up, but also attending to important little details like keeping the sidewalks open. After about 45 minutes of mostly quiet vigil, they led the assembly approximately three blocks down Broadway to the end of the main downtown district, and then back up around to the original meeting place in front of the Old Post Office. We were very pleased to be able to support this event. Some pictures are below.

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More to come!

Monday, August 15, 2005
 
Vigil In Saratoga Springs
Hello Everyone;

A brief flash update;

1. Moveon Vigil To Support CIndy Sheehan
2. Pirro And Mob Money?
3. Dean Sets Down New Marker
4. Register with DFA-Link
5. DSM Event NEXT week
6. On Roberts

1. Moveon Vigil To Support CIndy Sheehan

If you got the update from our Executive Director Tom Hughes, you'll know DFA is urging us to join Moveon.org's vigil of support Wednesday to show support for Gold Star Mother Cindy Sheehan, who is asking Bush to take a few minutes from his five week vacation to explain to her why her Marine son Casey had to die. In response to her request, Bush stated "I have to get on with my life..." How nice.

Our friends in Saratoga Springs have already set up a vigil for Wednesday at Broadway and Church Streets at 7:30pm. Rather than trying to create a competing event in the middle of the summer, I would urge all of us to head down to the Spa city for a few minutes Wednesday night. To confirm, click on:

http://political.moveon.org/event/events/index.html?action_id=24&search_distance=30&search_zip=12801&submit=Search
or
http://tools.democracyforamerica.com/link/event.php?id=504

2. Pirro And Mob Money?

The NY Daily News says Pirro took mob money and won't return it.
http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/336972p-287736c.html

3. Dean Sets Down New Marker

On Face The Nation yesterday Gov. Dean set down a new line of attack: If women under the new Iraqi constitution are going to have fewer rights than under Saddam, what on earth are we doing there?

Read his comments at: http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/face_81405.pdf

4. Register with DFA-Link

Again, please take a second, click this link and go online with DFA-Link and register. http://www.DFA-Link.com/register.php?id=91042f3ae603ef90

After you get to the page, just follow the instructions and then search by zip code to join our local groups. Democracy For The Greater Glens Falls Area is already up.

5. DSM Event On the 24th -- Not 17th

Our local Downing Street Memo meeting with Staff of Rep.Sweeney is on the 24th. We had hoped to be able to have a Downing Street Meeting along with other DFA groups across the country Wednesday, but Rep. Sweeney's staff can't accommodate us until the following Wednesday, August 24th.

More details later.

6. On Roberts

Finally, the last paragraph of WIlliam Raspberry's column today on Judge Roberts is something to think about: "Nothing in that glide path suggests exposure to anything that might temper his conservative philosophy with real-life exposure to the problems and concerns of ordinary men and women. Roberts is undeniably bright, said my friend, but his life has been one of quite extraordinary privilege.
And then it occurred to me: Roberts's life has been amazingly like that of the man who wants to put him on the court -- but with better grades."

As former Texas Governor Ann Richards said, they are both men who were born on third base and thought they hit a home run.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/14/AR2005081401035.html

Thanks everyone!

Larry

Saturday, August 13, 2005
 
Tricounty DFA: Dean on Face The Nation: DSM Meeting with Sweeney Staff for the 24th; more
Hello Everyone:

In this update:

1. Dean On Face The Nation Sunday
2. DSM Event On the 24th -- Not 17th
3. Jean Pirro Speaks Out
4. DFA-Link Is Now Up
5. Good Links: Estate Taxes, Frank Rich, Why Isn't The War An Issue, and Religion & Politics
6. Who Fought For America?

1. Dean On Face The Nation Sunday

Democratic National Committee Chair Governor Howard Dean will be on Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer for the whole half hour Sunday morning. Face The Nation's time spot in the Albany, NY broadcast market is 10:30am. Dean has been on the move and has now visited 30 states, so he hasn't been on national TV in quite some time. Should be interesting!

2. DSM Event On the 24th -- Not 17th

Our local DSM meeting on the 24th. We had hoped to be able to have a Downing Street Meeting along with other DFA groups across the country next Wednesday, but Rep. Sweeney's staff can't accommodate us until the following Wednesday, August 24th.

This is fine! We actually appreciate being able to meet with Sweeney aide Jim Clark, who we met with last April to discuss Social Security. As a result of that meeting, a number of our members got tickets to Rep. Sweeney's forum in Clifton Park. Jim has been very good about meeting with us, and let's remember, there are offices of Republican Congressmen that are refusing to meet with DFA people.

I'll be emailing on this later on, but again, we will be meeting with Sweeney staff member Jim Clark on Wednesday, August 24 at 12:30pm.

3. Jean Pirro Speaks Out

Republican Senate Candidate Jean Pirro spoke out on Senator Clinton this week...sort of... If this is the best she's got, it's going to be.... interesting. Check it out.
http://asphaltjungle.com/Speechless.mov

4. DFA-Link Is Now Up

As most of you now know, DFA has set up a new online service called DFA-Link to replace the about to be bankrupt Meetup.com. These new tools are sensational and are going to take DFA to whole new level because they empower us to "do stuff" easier and faster. No one out there has anything like this.

But all that hard work Burlington has done is for nothing if we don't register. So I am asking everyone to please take a second, click this link and go online with DFA-Link and register. http://www.DFA-Link.com/register.php?id=91042f3ae603ef90

After you register , you can then search by zip code to join our local groups. Democracy For The Greater Glens Falls Area is already up. More will be coming shortly. That way, you'll stay informed about the group you chose! If you want you can also directly join our regional coalition group, Democracy For the Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area.

Thanks!

5. Good Links: Estate Taxes, Frank Rich, NYT and Rove, Why Isn't The War An Issue, and Religion & Politics

Just when you think your capacity for shock is blown for good, something like this comes along. The Washington Post has a must read that shows that even in this debauched, decadent era of unbounded greed there are some ultra rich people for no tax at all is apparently to much. For instance, the Waltons, yes, the Walmart family, the richest family on earth, even richer than the Saudi Royal family, apparently aren't going to be able to sleep at night until they know for sure they will never pay a cent in Inheritance Taxes.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/11/AR2005081102013.html

Frank Rich

Also not to be missed is this brilliant column by one of the NY Times' two redeeming voices, Frank Rich:
http://nytimes.com/2005/08/14/opinion/14rich.html?pagewanted=print
The Times is going to put these behind a pay site, so enjoy while you can.

The Times need's Rich's and Paul Krugman's redeeming presences, and you see why when you read this digest about the next Vanity Fair issue on Karl Rove and NYT: http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001013806

Why Isn't The War An Issue?

Like Frank Rich, more people are asking: Why isn't the War an issue?

Gary Hart has an interesting take in the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/theblog/archive/gary-hart/a-voice-crying-in-the-wil_5482.html

But the best may be Ari Berman in Nation Magazine, who explores the culture of Democratic pundits and policy wonks in Washington, how they have been consistently wrong, and why. This is a real eye opener. http://www.thenation.com/docprint.mhtml?i=20050829&s=berman
How do these guys get these gigs? That's what I'd like to know.

In Salon Francis Kissling has a reality check on religious message advocate Jim Wallis and the implications of his ideas for women's rights. This is disturbing and really makes the case that when you fight fire with fire, you get a bigger fire. What you want is a hose.
http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2005/08/12/religious_progressives/print.html

6. Who Fought For America?

Finally, Pell Kennedy and her Dad sends this along, and it is great reminder in a week when our chickenhawk deserter president doesn't have the balls (excuse the expression, but this is really disgusting ) to meet with Gold Star Mother Cindy Sheehan. Probably afraid she'd grab him by the ear and turn him over her knee, or something. (For more on that, check this out: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=104x4331131 )

This list should also now include Paul Hackett, USMCR, Democratic Candidate , OH-2.


who sends whom to war

The List

Democrats:
* Richard Gephardt: Air National Guard, 1965-71.
* David Bonior: Staff Sgt., Air Force 1968-72.
* Tom Daschle: 1st Lt., Air Force SAC 1969-72.
* Al Gore: enlisted Aug. 1969; sent to Vietnam Jan. 1971 as an army
journalist in 20th Engineer Brigade.
* Bob Kerrey: Lt. j.g. Navy 1966-69; Medal of Honor, Vietnam.
* Daniel Inouye: Army 1943-47; Medal of Honor, WWII.
* John Kerry: Lt., Navy 1966-70; Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V,
Purple Hearts.
* Charles Rangel: Staff Sgt., Army 1948-52; Bronze Star, Korea.
* Max Cleland: Captain, Army 1965-68; Silver Star & Bronze Star,
Vietnam. Paraplegic from war injuries. Served in Congress.
* Ted Kennedy: Army, 1951-53.
* Tom Harkin: Lt., Navy, 1962-67; Naval Reserve, 1968-74.
* Jack Reed: Army Ranger, 1971-1979; Captain, Army Reserve 1979-91.
* Fritz Hollings: Army officer in WWII; Bronze Star and seven campaign
ribbons.
* Leonard Boswell: Lt. Col., Army 1956-76; Vietnam, DFCs, Bronze Stars,
and Soldier's Medal.
* Pete Peterson: Air Force Captain, POW. Purple Heart, Silver Star and
Legion of Merit.
* Mike Thompson: Staff sergeant, 173rd Airborne, Purple Heart.
* Bill McBride: Candidate for Fla. Governor. Marine in Vietnam; Bronze
Star with Combat V.
* Gray Davis: Army Captain in Vietnam, Bronze Star.
* Pete Stark: Air Force 1955-57
* Chuck Robb: Vietnam
* Howell Heflin: Silver Star
* George McGovern: Silver Star & DFC during WWII.
* Bill Clinton: Did not serve. Student deferments. Entered draft but
received #311.
* Jimmy Carter: Seven years in the Navy.
* Walter Mondale: Army 1951-1953
* John Glenn: WWII and Korea; six DFCs and AirMedal with 18 Clusters.
* Tom Lantos: Served in Hungarian underground in WWII.
Saved by Raoul Wallenberg.

Republicans -- and these are the guys sending people to war:
* Dick Cheney: did not serve. Several deferments, the last by marriage.
* Dennis Hastert: did not serve.
* Tom Delay: did not serve.
* Roy Blunt: did not serve.
* Bill Frist: did not serve.
* Mitch McConnell: did not serve.
* Rick Santorum: did not serve.
* Trent Lott: did not serve.
* John Ashcroft: did not serve. Seven deferments to teach business.
* Jeb Bush: did not serve.
* Karl Rove: did not serve.
* Saxby Chambliss: did not serve. "Bad knee." The man who attacked Max
Cleland's patriotism.
* Paul Wolfowitz: did not serve.
* Vin Weber: did not serve.
* Richard Perle: did not serve.
* Douglas Feith: did not serve.
* Eliot Abrams: did not serve.
* Richard Shelby: did not serve.
* Jon! Kyl: did not serve.
* Tim Hutchison: did not serve.
* Christopher Cox: did not serve.
* Newt Gingrich: did not serve.
* Don Rumsfeld: served in Navy (1954-57) as flight instructor.
* George W. Bush: failed to complete his six-year National Guard; got
assigned to Alabama so he could campaign for family friend running for
U.S. Senate; failed to show up for required medical exam, disappeared
from duty.
* Ronald Reagan: due to poor eyesight, served in a non- combat role
making movies.
* B-1 Bob Dornan: Consciously enlisted after fighting was over in Korea.
* Phil Gramm: did not serve.
* John McCain: Vietnam POW, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit,
Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross.
* Dana Rohrabacher: did not serve.
* John M. McHugh: did not serve.
* JC Watts: did not serve.
* Jack Kemp: did not serve. "Knee problem, " although continued in NFL
for 8 years.
* Dan Quayle: Journalism unit of the Indiana National Guard.
* Rudy Giuliani: did not serve.
* George Pataki: did not serve.
* Spencer Abraham: did not serve.
* John Engler: did not serve.
* Lindsey Graham: National Guard lawyer.
* Arnold Schwarzenegger: AWOL from Austrian army base.

Pundits & Preachers
* Sean Hannity: did not serve.


* Rush Limbaugh: did not serve (4-F with a 'pilonidal cyst.')
* Bill O'Reilly: did not serve.
* Michael Savage: did not serve.
* George Will: did not serve.
* Chris Matthews: did not serve.
* Paul Gigot: did not serve.
* Bill Bennett: did not serve.
* Pat Buchanan: did not serve.
* John Wayne: did not serve.
* Bill Kristol: did not serve.
* Kenneth Starr: did not serve.
* Antonin Scalia: did not serve.
* Clarence Thomas: did not serve.
* Ralph Reed: did not serve.
* Michael Medved: did not serve.
* Charlie Daniels: did not serve.
* Ted Nugent: did not serve. (He only shoots at things that don't shoot
back.)

Please keep this information circulating
--Illinois State Sen. Howard W. Carroll

Thanks everyone! Please remember to register with DFA-Link! http://www.DFA-Link.com/register.php?id=91042f3ae603ef90

Larry

Tuesday, August 09, 2005
 
Tricounty DFA Update: DFA-Link! Voting Machines, Pirro In, EC Out and more
Hello Everyone!

In This Update;

1. DFA-LINK Going Online!
2. Happy 70th Birthday Party Wednesday With ITTC
3. Verified Voting
4. Pirro To Run Against Clinton
5. Pataki Vetoed EC: NARAL Action
6. More On Roberts And The Disabled
7. Governor Dean: Next Scapegoat -- Immigrants

1. DFA-LINK Going Online!

There is major news from DFA tonight: as most of you probably know, DFA is discontinuing it's connection to Meetup.com, which is a commercial service DFA has subscribed to. DFA's 'net staff up in Burlington have been slaving away for months on creating a new set of meeting, communication, organizing and just general community building tools. The new tools are called DFA-Link. They've now started going online and I have been looking them over. Honestly, the new tools are sensational. They've taken internet organizing to a whole new level. Down the road these tools are going to redound enormously to DFA's benefit. Much of the success of our movement has been because of the empowerment of average Americans. Quite simply, these tools empower people to "do stuff" by making it easier and faster to do more things, and perform those functions transparently, and I believe more people will come into DFA because of that empowerment. No one out there has anything like this.

So, first! Hat's off to everyone in Burlington who have been working on this project! You've done a great job, even an historic one. If there was an Oscar for political tools, one would be coming their way.

Next, all that hard work is for nothing if we don't use these great tools. So I am asking everyone to take a second, click this link and go online with DFA-Link and register. http://www.DFA-Link.com/register.php?id=91042f3ae603ef90

That's the first step. After you register a new account, you can then search by zip code to join our local groups. Democracy For The Greater Glens Falls Area is already up. More will be coming shortly. That way, you'll stay informed about the group you chose! If you want you can also directly join our regional coalition group, Democracy For the Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area.

I'll be talking more later on how this will empower us.

2. Happy 70th Birthday Party Wednesday With ITTC

Wednesday, August 10 at 12:30, the In This Together Coalition will be celebrating the 70th birthday of Social Security. They will be visiting Congressman Sweeney's office in Glens Falls to present him a Social Security Birthday cake and they asked us to join them.

I think this is really a winner because it is so humorous and visual. The presentation will be at Sweeney's office in the Rogers Building at 21 Bay in downtown Glens Falls across the street from the Crandall Library. If you want to help in this fun event, meet in the lobby about 15 minutes before hand. Who knows, there may be cake, too!

3. Verified Voting Heating Up

I was on our monthly State leaders/liaison conference call last night and the call was dominated by the subject of what voting machines New York State is eventually going to use. Contrary to what we have heard, this issue is still pending and we are going to have to focus on this again at our next meetup.

This night, news comes from Cliff Perez of our Albany/Troy meetup of a NY State Board of Elections meeting that was held today (Monday):

"The starting time for the meeting was scheduled for 12:00 P.M. however, the meeting did not begin until 1:35 P.M. In attendance were staff members, three out of the four Commissioners and roughly 12 to 15 members of the public. They did speak about voting machines: 1. no Voting System has been certified to date, & 2. they spoke about whether they (Board Staff) would want to look at these voting machines prior to the Certification process. However, no decision was rendered at this meeting and I don’t recall any mentioned about the next meeting. The bottom line in all of this is that we (our state) is far from being ready to implement this process by the first of January of 2006...."

So the process and the decision is still hanging. As we have noted before, it is essential for the integrity of our democracy that we have Paper Ballot that are optically scanned -- the paper ballots are the real ballots and they can be recounted by hand to prevent fraud. As we know from Florida and Ohio in 2000 and 2004, machines that are all electronic are invitations to vote rigging.

In case anyone doubts it, electiion fraud is still an issue:

For instance, was Ohio stolen again during the special Congressional race last week? Questions are being raised.
http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2005/1398

There was a major op-ed piece in the Times Union on verified voting yesterday:
http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/storyprint.asp?StoryID=386580

The Fairness By Beckerman blog has a huge compilation of voting and voting fraud issues.
http://fairnessbybeckerman.blogspot.com/

I understand there is also a very major piece in Harper's Magazine for August, but it is not online, unfortunately.

4. Pirro To Run Against Clinton

Westchester District Attorney Jean Pirro announced today that she intends to run for Senate against Hillary Clinton.

Well, this should be choice! The NY Times is already fawning over her (naturally), but, to quote the TU, " Pirro was re-elected district attorney in 2001 while her husband, lawyer-lobbyist Albert Pirro, was in federal prison for tax fraud, and he has been an issue in most of her campaigns. In 1997, he was fighting a paternity suit, which was ultimately successful. In 1986, he refused to release information about his law practice and she had to withdraw as the GOP candidate for lieutenant governor. He is a major Republican fundraiser."

As you might guess, the sleaze factor of this Republican couple is right off the scale. Will her jailbird hubby release his tax returns?
Will we ever know if she is on the take if he doesn't? As the tabloid would say, Enquiring Minds Want To Know. The Republican tradition of the trashing of public service goes on, along with the demise of shame.

5. Pataki Vetoed EC: NARAL Action

As many expected, Gov. Pataki reversed his support of women's right to chose now that he is seeking favor with the far right so he can run for some other job, so he vetoed the emergency contraception bill. You can send him a letter protesting.
http://prochoiceaction.org/campaign/ny_gov_ec_8_8_05/step1.tclml

6. More On Roberts And The Disabled

Ann Sharpe sends along this along about Judge Roberts and his legal rulings:
http://www.law.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=OpenMarket/Xcelerate/Preview&c=LawArticle&cid=1123232712673

7. Governor Dean: Next Scapegoat -- Immigrants

Gov. Dean predicts that for 2008 the GOP will use immigrants as the scapegoat/distraction du jour, replacing gay marriage, runaway brides, other people's clinically brain dead loved ones and the like: http://cnn.netscape.cnn.com/news/story.jsp?floc=ne-main-9-l1&flok=FF-APO-1110&idq=/ff/story/0001%2F20050806%2F0843790067.htm&sc=1110

Thanks everyone! Make sure you click the DFA-Link link and register!

Enjoy your summer. Don't forget author/provocateur Jimmy Kuntsler at the Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe tomorrow at 7pm.

Larry

Thursday, August 04, 2005
 
Tricounty Meetup Report
Hello Everyone;

In this update:

1. Meetup Report
2. DFA Action Day
3. Social Security Birthday with In This Together
4. Social Security Debate in Hyde Park
5. Glens Falls Municipal Issues Forum
6. The Meaning of Hackett and Ohio
7. Leo Strauss
8. Is the Dear Leader a Gogo fan?

1. Meetup Report

We had another successful Meetup yesterday at the Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe. We agreed to participate in DFA's national Action Day For August on the Downing Street Memo, discussed some In This Together Events and had a lively forum on municipal issues for the Glens Falls mayoral race.

2. DFA Action Day

We are asking for a group of our DFA members to meet with representatives of Rep. John Sweeney, or the Congressman himself, although that is unlikely, to discuss the Downing Street Memo. This action will be on August 17th from 12:30 to 1pm +. This is a working meeting to discuss the DSM and urge every member of Congress to press for a full investigation of the Downing Street Memo, with special focus on whether or not the US went to war in Iraq on false premises. I know this is an issue close to all of us, who started either protesting against the war and then became involved in progressive campaigns like Howard Dean's.

I sent in the request for the meeting this morning. If they respond as they did in April for our Social Security Action Day, we will meet in the lobby of the Rogers Building, 21 Bay Street, across from Crandall Library in downtown Glens Falls. A number of our members have already signed up, but we would like more. If you would like to participate in our Action Day, please RSVP to me as soon as possible. However, a good number of our members have already committed to attending, it will go on (if they respond) in any event.

3. Social Security Birthday with In This Together

Next week, August 10 at 12:30, the In This Together Coalition will be celebrating the 70th birthday of Social Security. They will be visiting Congressman Sweeney's office to present him a Social Security Birthday cake.

I think this is really a winner because it is so humorous and visual. This is also at Sweeney's office in the Rogers Building at 21 Bay. Meet in the lobby before hand.

4. Social Security Debate in Hyde Park

Also, at Hyde Park, NY National Monument home of President Franklin Roosevelt, on Saturday, August 13 there will be a program to celebrate Social Security's 70th birthday. The brilliant economist and New York Times' columnist Paul Krugman will debate the future of social security with someone from the right wing Cato Institute. Call Michelle Myers of In This Togetehr at 465-4600 ext 110 for more info.

5. Glens Falls Municipal Issues Forum

At our meetup Wednesday we had a very successful forum on municipal issues facing the City of Glens Falls. I took extensive notes of what was brought up and they represent a fair cross section of voter's concerns. Per our meeting, I have sent them to all five candidates for mayor in Glens Falls asking for them to respond, as well as the Post Star and Chronicle. The full text of the issues is in a preceding posting.

6. The Meaning of Hackett and Ohio

I have to make a note on the Congressional By-Election in Ohio as it relates to us here in the 20th Congressional District. It may be hard to believe, but Ohio-2 is in fact more Republican than the 20th. We actually have better registration stats than they do. What's more, many of our Republicans here in upstate NY are old style Rockefeller Republicans. Unlike the Republicans in southern Ohio, they are not hard right "movement conservatives". In fact, Ohio-2 is almost southern. As those of us who were involved in the Dean campaign know, many of the Rockefeller Republicans came out for Governor Dean; they liked him a lot and from the ones I still encounter, they still do. Their votes are "gettable."

What this means for us, is that if Paul Hackett can come within four points in Ohio-2, then the prospects for Democrats here in the 20th NY are even brighter. After all, we did have a Democrat back in the 70s, which they didn't. But much depends upon all of us. It won't happen unless we make it happen. This is our time of calling and of challenge. Will we rise to history's spotlight? Or let the country and the world down? I believe we can do it! This group has shown amazing perseverance over the last two and a half years. Our movement has already changed America. We began to Take Back America by Taking Back The White House. Now we can Take Back America by Taking Back The House -- the House of Representatives. Together we can take the 20th blue in 2006!

7. Leo Strauss

For all our education, I would recommend Thom Hartmann's review of a new book on neocon guru Leo Strauss. Strauss is little know to the general public, but his work has had profound -- and disastrous -- consequences for America. Much of this thinking underlies the extremism of the new reactionary right we have confronted in the last few years. We need to know our enemy. http://www.buzzflash.com/hartmann/05/08/har05008.html

8. Is the Dear Leader a Gogo fan?

Finally, on the lighter side:

Remember that great Gogos song, "Vacation"? It goes, vacation is all I ever wanted, vacation, got to get away..."

Looks like "W" agrees. According to the Seattle Times, here the Dear Leader's vacation stats:
49 - the number of vacations that Bush has taken since he was inaugurated in 2001
5 - the number of weeks that Bush will spend on vacation, starting yesterday. It is the longest presidential vacation in at least 36 years.
319 - August 3, 2005 was the 319th day Bush has spent on vacation since his 2001 inauguration.
20% - the fraction of Bush's presidency that he has spent on vacation
Now:

23 - the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq in August alone. That's right. In three days, 23 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq.
1,822 - the total number of U.S. troops who have died in Bush's illegal Iraq war, as of August 3, 2005.
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2002417607_crawford03.html

Thanks everyone! Hope to see many of you at the Action Day on the 17th. The municipal forum points are below.

Larry

 
Glens Falls Issues Forum
On August 3rd, 2005 Greater Glens Falls Democracy For America held a forum on Municipal issues. Our members felt these issues facing the City of Glens Falls were critical and would like to see all of our mayoral candidates respond to them.

*Budget. The City has run up a massive debt in the last few years -- the city is now approximately $45 million in debt. This represents a continuing hidden budget deficit -- debt cannot continue to be piled up. As mayor how will you deal with these issues:
1. Will you cut expenses?
2. Raise taxes?
3. Will you commit go over the budget line by line and remove unneeded small items? Many small items add up to major expense. This was in good part how spending was controlled 94-98 when taxes were held flat and then reduced.
4. For instance, how many cars does the City have? How often does it buy new ones? What are the overall cost of keeping old police cars for other departments?
5. Why not an audit of Water and Sewer? Is there too much overtime?
6. Why haven’t water meters been turned on? What was the point of buying them? Water & Sewer minimums are way too high, and some people, especially seniors, are paying way more than their fair share.
7. How would you keep taxes flat without reducing services?

*Privatization. As mayor what will your stance be on privatization?
1. Are contracts negotiated properly? For instance Earth Tech’s contract says they only have to dig down 14 feet. But some mains are 20 feet deep. Recently a separate contract for $175,000 was let to do excavating work on water mains when Earth Tech refused to do the work. Is this proper? Are other companies being hired to do work Earth Tech should do?
2. Many people feel privatization has been bad for the city, that services have declined.
3. Are city owned facilities properly maintained by privatized operators? Many people are concerned that these companies intend to run City own facilities into the ground, pocket the cash, and then leave and stick the City with big bills for restoring City owned facilities. How can this be prevented?
4. In effect much of DPW and the Tree Department have been privatized; DPW staff has been reduced and Tree Department has been eliminated all together.
5. The Water & Sewer owns a sewage sludge incinerator. It has surplus capacity. How much revenue are we contracting out to raise additional money for the City? Is the City getting the best deal possible?
6. Should the Earth Tech contract be renewed?

*Fire Department. The Fire Department is an area where many people feel major economies could be easily made without jeopardizing safety or services.
1. Do we really need two firehouses? There is a little used park behind the Ridge Street firehouse. Why not expand slightly into the park by expanding the Ridge Street firehouse and eliminating the Broad Street firehouse? This would save on very expensive redundant management overhead. The Broad Street facility could be sold and put back on the tax rolls as well.
2. There is a tremendous amount of overtime in the Fire Department. How can this be controlled?
3. Does the City really even need a professional fire company? Could a volunteer fire company do the job? Why not a feasibility study?
3. Should the City move to a more modern “call man” system as have many other communities? That is, we would still have professional firefighters who are paid, but they would only be paid when they work. Beepers and cell phones would direct them to fire locations. One or two men would remain in the firehouse to drive the trucks. It is noted that the present system of having firemen paid to sleep in the firehouse dates from the 19th century era of horse drawn equipment, before the invention not only of wireless communications like beepers and cellphones, but the telephone itself -- firemen had to be physically in the firehouse to get the message about fire calls. This is no longer true. Isn’t paying men to sleep in the firehouse archaic? Doesn’t it lead to huge overtime since shifts tend to run past 40 hours?

*Consolidation.
1. It has been proposed to create a joint garbage pickup service with Queensbury, and perhaps other areas. This is touted as consolidation, even though Glens Falls presently has no pick up. Good idea or bad? For or against?
2. Why can’t Queensbury do more to help the City? Glens Falls does much to benefit surrounding communities.
3. Is it fair calls for consolidation are always directed at the City and not at Queensbury?

*Tourism. What can be done, realistically, to promote more tourism?

*The Roundabout.
1. Is is really a “done deal?”
2. What happens if it doesn’t work and it has to be taken out? Who pays then? Will federal/state money be available for the necessary remediation?
3. Isn’t it actually a lose-lose for the City? If it doesn’t work out, City taxpayers will have to make a considerable investment to restore traffic. If it does work, won’t it will speed traffic through downtown to other shopping areas? Isn’t slowing down traffic helping bring downtown back? Isn’t that the very idea?

Monday, August 01, 2005
 
Tricounty Meetup Reminder
Hello Everyone;

In this update;

1. Meetup Coming Up -- this Wednesday
2. Picnic reports
3. Rally At The Capitol
4. Petitions
5. Hackett
6. New Meetup in Greene County
7. Roberts & The Disabled: The Stealth Scalia


1. Meetup Coming Up -- this Wednesday

We're having our August Meetup this Wednesday, August 3rd at the Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe in Downtown Glens Falls. The time is 7pm.

We will be discussing and planning our August DFA Action Agenda -- DFA Burlington is asking us to meet with Congressional representatives and push for an official investigation of the Downing Street Memo.

This issue is now closely tied in with the "Plamegate" spy exposure scandal, so it is time to raise the temperature under the pot. Time has a new piece out this is really interesting on this angle: the White House knew much earlier, before Joe Wilson's article exposing Bush's lies, that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was a secret CIA agent. The noose tightens around Rove, Cheney and Cheney aide Libby Lewis, maybe even Condolezza Rice and possibly Bush himself. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1088709,00.html

Also related to this is the news that the "War On Terror" has been officially renamed the "global struggle against violent extremism." So they are finally against abortion clinic bombers? Really? George Lakoff has a great piece out on this: http://www.alternet.org/story/23810/

We'll also be having a forum on municipal issues to present to mayoral candidates this year for the clarification on the issues, which just isn't happening. We'll also be talking about our Autumn agenda and maybe a picnic for this month.

To reach the Cafe take Exit 18 of the Northway east into downtown Glens Falls. Go past the Hannaford supermarket. At the fork in the road by Stewart's store bear right past the Post Office and the Glens Falls Hospital. The Cafe is ahead on the left past the Hospital by the light at the corner of Elm and Exchange Streets and Hudson Avenue, just before the main intersection downtown.

Also at the Cafe on 8/9 at 7:30pm will be Saratoga author Jim Kunstler, who will be talking on his latest book The Geography of Nowhere on the interrelationship between suburban sprawl, the built environment and the energy crisis.

2. Picnic reports

There were great picnics this weekend by the Washington County and Saratoga County and Ballston Town Democrats. Three Lt. Governor candidates came and spoke at the Washington Co, picnic at Lake Lauderdale: Joseph Ruggiero, Wappinger Town Supervisor, State Assemblyman Tom Dinapoli, who came from Great Neck, and Leecia Eve, of Buffalo, former counsel to Senator Clinton. All made impressive addresses -- it's a strong field. In Saratoga, the main attraction with former Housing and Urban Development Secretary for President Clinton, Andrew Cuomo, who is running for Attorney General.

I'll be putting some pictures of the Saratoga event up on our blog at http://townmeetingday.blogspot.com

3. Rally At The Capitol

There will be a Rally For The Emergency Contraception Bill this Thursday, 8/4, at 11:30am at the Capitol Park-West (next to the NYS Capitol, between State and Washington Streets), Albany.

The Unintended Pregnancy Prevention Act -- a bill that will increase availability of emergency contraception to women – is expected to be delivered to Governor Pataki to be signed into law. Family Planning Advocates and many other organizations concerned about women’s health are holding the rally to make sure that the Governor puts science above politics and approves this important bill.

The rightwingnuts used to claim they were only concerned about abortion -- that they didn't have a larger agenda of reversing the right to contraception. The fact they are moving on and trying to take us back to the days before Margaret Sanger helped make contraception a right proves they were lying about that, too. The real issue is controlling women's lives, not fetuses. For more info contact:

Susan Pedo
Director, Communications and Public Affairs
Family Planning Advocates of New York State
17 Elk St.
Albany, NY 12207
susan@fpaofnys.org
Phone: 518.436.8408,x212
Fax: 518.436.0004

4. Petitions

People For The American Way has a really interesting and innovative petition on saving the Supreme Court by opposing the Roberts nomination. This petition is based on the notion of the six degrees of separation:
http://petition.savethecourt.org/ft/campaigns/savethecourt/impact/eb871f3f222b0372985c92c8e2dc8ba8/

5. Hackett

Paul Hackett, a Marine reservist, Democrat, and the first Iraq War veteran to run for Congress is surging in the polls; at last count he was within the statistical margin of error. His district, Ohio 2, hasn't gone Democratic in generations. This could be a bell weather race if it goes Democratic. If you have a few dollars to spare, you can contribute at: http://www.hackettforcongress.com/

6. New Meetup in Greene County

A new DFA Meetup is being created in New Baltimore in Greene County. If you are in that area and getting this message, or know someone who is who might be interested, please contact Diane Lewis at Dlcasbeer@aol.com

6. Roberts & The Disabled: The Stealth Scalia

And finally, just below, are some very interesting pieces on Judge Roberts and the disabled courtesy of Anne Sharpe; this is disturbing stuff. It looks like he has very few compunctions when it comes to further hurting those already harmed. Behind that amiable smile is a stealth Scalia.

See you all Wednesday!

Larry


Disability Analysis of Judge Roberts' Record

Thanks to the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law for producing this
analysis.


The nomination of John Roberts for the Supreme Court vacancy created by
Justice OConnors retirement poses serious concerns for people with
disabilities. As a judge, a private lawyer, a special assistant to the
Attorney General, and a deputy Solicitor General, John Roberts has
repeatedly argued to narrow the protections of the Americans with
Disabilities Act and other civil rights laws, to give very limited scope
to the powers that allow Congress to pass civil rights laws, and to limit
remedies under civil rights laws. Below is a summary of Roberts record
on disability and civil rights laws.

Narrowing the Protections of the ADA

* In Toyota Motor Manufacturing v. Williams, 534 U.S. 184 (2002),
Roberts successfully argued to the Supreme Court that a woman who had
developed severe bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis from
working on the assembly line at an auto manufacturing plant could not
prevail in a suit against her employer for failing to accommodate her
disability. Roberts argued that she was not a person with a disability
because she was not sufficiently limited in major life activities outside
of her job. Roberts brief greatly distorted the extent of the womans
limitations. As a result of Roberts advocacy, the Supreme Court held
that the test for coverage under the ADA is a narrow one that must be
strictly applied, and it articulated a more stringent test than the test
set forth in the law itself.

Narrowing the Coverage of Section 504

* In Grove City College v. Bell, 465 U.S. 555 (1984), the Supreme
Court ruled that the requirements of Title IX only applied to the
admissions office of a college that accepted federal funds, and not to
the entire college. This decision applied equally to Section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act. Several years later, Congress passed a law
overturning this decision and requiring that when an institution accepts
federal funds, the entire institution is subject to the requirements of
Title IX, Title VI, and Section 504. While various legislative proposals
to correct Grove City were pending, John Roberts, then associate White
House counsel, stated in an internal memorandum that the requirements of
Title IX should apply only to the specific program receiving federal
funds, and that the corrective legislation later passed by Congress would
radically expand the civil rights laws to areas of private conduct never
before considered covered. Had Roberts view prevailed, the
antidiscrimination mandates of Section 504, Title VI, and Title IX would
apply to far fewer entities.

Limiting Enforcement of Medicaid and Other Rights

* In Gonzaga University v. Doe, 536 U.S. 273 (2002), Roberts
successfully argued before the Supreme Court for a restrictive test to
determine whether laws may be privately enforced in court by the
individuals they protect. In that case, the Supreme Court held that an
individual could not go to court to enforce his rights under the Family
Educational Rights and Privacy Act. This case has been used to defeat
the ability of Medicaid recipients to enforce their rights under the
Medicaid Act in numerous cases.

* In Wilder v. Virginia Hospital Association, 496 U.S. 498 (1990),
Roberts filed a brief in the Supreme Court on behalf of the United
States, as deputy Solicitor General, arguing that Medicaid rights were
not privately enforceable. Fortunately, the Supreme Court rejected this
argument, and the Wilder decision has been the basis for most cases in
which courts have permitted Medicaid recipients to enforce their rights.
This victory has been severely eroded by the Supreme Courts subsequent
Gonzaga, in which Roberts argued to limit private enforcement of statutes.

* In Suter v. Artist M., 503 U.S. 347 (1992), Roberts successfully
argued to the Supreme Court on behalf of the United States, as deputy
Solicitor General, that children could not enforce their rights under the
Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act to require states to make
reasonable efforts to preserve and reunite their families. This decision
has been used to defeat individuals ability to enforce their rights under
many other important statutes as well.

Limiting Remedies for Violations of Disability and Other Civil
Rights Laws

* In Franklin v. Gwinnett County Public Schools, 503 U.S. 60
(1992), Roberts, as deputy Solicitor General, filed an amicus brief with
the Supreme Court arguing for a restrictive view of what remedies were
available under Title IX, and under civil rights statutes generally. The
Supreme Court rejected Roberts arguments and held that absent a contrary
indication from Congress, all appropriate remedies are available. The
Franklin decision has been extremely important in ensuring that civil
rights plaintiffs who prevail, including ADA and Section 504 plaintiffs,
are able to obtain appropriate relief.

Narrowing Federal Education Law Protections for Students with Disabilities

* In Board of Education v. Rowley, 458 U.S. 176 (1982), an eight
year old student who was deaf sought to have a sign language interpreter
provided to assist her in school. The trial court ruled that federal law
required the state to provide an interpreter for her. The appeals court
affirmed. Roberts, while at the Justice Department, wrote a memo to the
Attorney General criticizing these court decisions. Roberts stated that
the lower courts, in an exercise of judicial activism, used the vague
statutory language to overrule the board and substitute their own
judgment of appropriate educational policy. Even the conservative
Justice Department of that time disagreed with this view and filed a
brief supporting the student. The Supreme Court held that the student
was not entitled to an interpreter because she was benefitting from her
school instruction and federal law did not require the state to maximize
the potential of each student with a disability.

Restricting Congresss Power to Pass Disability and Civil Rights Laws

* In Rancho Viejo, LLC v. Norton, 334 F.3d 1158 (D.C. Cir. 2003),
Roberts, sitting as a federal judge on the D.C. Circuit, dissented from a
denial of en banc (full court) review in a case concerning Congresss
authority to apply the Endangered Species Act to protect an endangered
species of toad. A panel of the court had held that this application of
the Act was a constitutional exercise of Congresss commerce power. The
full court denied review. Roberts dissented, criticizing the panels view
of the commerce power as too broad. Roberts would have held that the
specific application of the Endangered Species Act to the arroyo toad,
which lives only in California, did not implicate interstate commerce,
and thus Congress had no power to regulate it.

The commerce power is one of the bases for Congresss passage of the ADA, > and Roberts interpretation would have dramatic implications for the
ability to enforce many important provisions of the ADA. Fortunately,
Roberts view of the Commerce Clause was subsequently rejected by the
Supreme Court in Gonzales v. Raich, 125 S. Ct. 2195 (2005), in which the
Court made clear that Congresss commerce authority cannot be defeated by
carving out a specific set of activities that are purely local, if these
activities are part of a larger scheme regulating activities that
substantially affect interstate commerce. Having Roberts on the Supreme
Court could dramatically affect how the Court views Congresss commerce
authority in the future.


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